Saturday, November 15, 2008

New Home For Sale ?

AFP

LONDON (AFP) — The Maldives' newly-elected president said in an interview Monday that his government will begin saving to buy a new homeland in case global warming causes the country to disappear into the sea.

Beloved by tourists for their white sandy beaches, palm trees and clear waters, the 1,192 coral islands that make up the Indian Ocean country risk devastation by rising sea levels caused by climate change.

Mohamed "Anni" Nasheed, who won the Maldives' first democratic presidential election last month, told The Guardian his government will start putting aside part of its billion-dollar annual tourism income in case the worst happens.

"We can do nothing to stop climate change on our own and so we have to buy land elsewhere. It's an insurance policy for the worst possible outcome," he told the newspaper.

He added: "We do not want to leave the Maldives, but we also do not want to be climate refugees living in tents for decades."

Nasheed said he had already broached the subject with a number of countries and found them to be "receptive". India and Sri Lanka are targets because they had similar cultures and climates, while vast Australia was also an option.

He told the newspaper he intended to create a "sovereign wealth fund" from the money generated by tourism, much like Arab states had with oil revenues. "Kuwait might invest in companies -- we will invest in land," he said.

Outgoing president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, Asia's longest-serving leader, launched a book in April to highlight the threat to the Maldives posed by global warming.

He said at the time that they could only adapt to the problem by relocating citizens to safer islands. The alternative, building protective walls on the 193 inhabited islands, was too expensive.

The issue is - will anyone sell a chunk of their territory with full sovereignty ? What would Sri Lanka think, say, if then their Maldive Republic then did a land-for-assistance deal with the Tamil Tigers ? Or created an army and moved it to the border ? Or bought all their goods and services from Tamil Nadu, or denied their airspace to Sri Lankan tourist overflights ?

Only asking. The idea of recreating the old country elsewhere might appeal to some Brits as well as some Maldivans. Trouble is, where's habitable land to be had these days ?

Russia is one answer, or Ukraine/Belorus. Empty land, shortage of people, good soil. But I don't think the British Volga Republic is a terribly good idea, any more than Vladimir Putin is likely to. In the Tsar's day thousands of Germans moved there to farm, and a very good fist they made of it too. Come the 1917 revolution, the Volga German Autonomous Republic was created. And it was all downhill from there. The empty lands round Penza might be related to the fact that the last lot of foreign famers ended up in Siberia.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

"will anyone sell a chunk of their territory with full sovereignty"

Well we joined the EU and signed the EU constitution, the only difference is we pay them to take our sovereignty away..

It'll end in tears.

Anonymous said...

The Maldives is a fascinating case. While they fret about the potential loass of their homeland, and the fear of becoming stateless persons, they are deliberately and systematically inflicting that very fate on their own non-muslim population, and they are doing it now:

http://www.jihadwatch.org/dhimmiwatch/archives/019112.php

Monty

Anonymous said...

I doubt Mohamed "Anni" Nasheed sees it that way

Anonymous said...

They could by a chunk of Australia from the aboriginals.
The Labour party dubbed them original owners of Australia.
Lots of cash disappears into Aboriginal affairs .
New South wales seems broke at present.

Hugh Oxford said...

Everyone's allowed a homeland except us, it seems.

Here in Scotland the government talks about the rights of ethnic minorities and the value of "multiculturalism" That got me thinking.

There are 4m Scots.
There are 172m Pakistanis.
There are 1.2bn Muslims.
There are 1.2bn Chinese.
There are 148m Nigerians.

Something tells me the ethnic "minorities" that are given protected status and whose parallel cultures are fostered do not include the Scots.

Who, in this scenario, are the needy, the vulnerable, the society on the edge of annihilation? Which culture, in this scenario, needs the most protection from being destroyed or swamped by the others? Which ethnic minority should be on the endangered list, exactly? Which of these peoples needs a defined homeland and living space free from invasion and dilution?

Dammitall! said...

Here at home in the old UK we're not becoming stateless persons, even though many of us feel that we're exiles in our own land.
We've got too much state, but not enough home.

Hugh Oxford said...

We've got too much state, but not enough home.

I think that's absolutely right. Problem is, the idea of the nation state still sticks in peoples' heads. New Labour hate the nation, by extension of the fact they hate the family. They can't imagine an independent, strong people joined by a common past and identifying with each other on a racial or genetic basis. So they hate the nation, but they love the state.

More nation, less state. I wonder if, on some level, those things have become incompatible.

Oddly enough, if you say that people who identify primarily with other nations but who live in our state should be sent back to the nations from which they came, to oppose that is to beg the question - what exactly is wrong with Pakistan, Morocco, Nigeria etc?

Dammitall! said...

Hugh Oxford's post appeared while I was still typing. But I'd started, so I'll finish.
Consider the following slogan;
"We must secure the existence of our people and a future for our children."
If that were uttered by someone from a Brazilian rain-forest tribe, who could object?
If that were said by an inhabitant of the Hebrides, who would object?
If that were said by a member of the Inuit people, who could object?
The answer might be, anyone who had an interest in possessing the Indians' lands, or in colonising the Hebrides, or in drilling for oil.
Have you coma across this little slogan before?
Do you find anything morally objectionable in it?
Doesn't you heart swell with sympathy when you hear a version of it applied to some forms of threatened wildlife - tigers, elephants, red squirrels?
Well, I haven't been QUITE straight with you.
The statement has been altered in one particular, and it originally ran, "We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children."
Has it taken on a new moral dimension? Do you now feel you've been taken in? If so, WHAT is your objection to the statement as it stands...it's the actual content of the statement that's at issue, not the source of it, or the company it keeps.

Anonymous said...

I think that's absolutely right. Problem is, the idea of the nation state still sticks in peoples' heads. New Labour hate the nation, by extension of the fact they hate the family. They can't imagine an independent, strong people joined by a common past and identifying with each other on a racial or genetic basis. So they hate the nation, but they love the state. Mortgage Refinancing should be an important thing here. We do not want to leave the Maldives, but we also do not want to be climate refugees living in tents for decades. We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children."
Has it taken on a new moral dimension?