This is an e-mail that just went out to the 35,000+ people who signed the petition in support of peace and democracy in the Maldivies from Zaheena Rasheed:

Dear friends,

You may not know me, but I’m writing to thank you.

My name is Zaheena. I’m a young Maldivian, recent university graduate, former intern, and member of the Maldives’ movement for democracy. I’m writing to personally express my gratitude. Your outpouring of support for President Nasheed’s safety, and the plight of democracy and peace in the Maldives, was truly inspiring.

In under a week, an incredible 35,553 of you signed our petition to world leaders. Last week, I was able to travel to Washington, DC to hand deliver your messages to the political desk that handles Central and South Asian affairs at the US State Department. Here’s a picture of us about to make the delivery:

The response from the State Department was standard boilerplate, but they were clear that your messages made a difference–and I believe them. International pressure was crucial in making the democratic elections of 2008 happen and in bringing democracy to the Maldives, and will be important in restoring democracy.

After the frightening events that took my country by surprise a few weeks back, thousands of people marched in the capital Male’ protesting the coup d’état and calling for democracy and justice. In recent days all political parties agreed to early presidential elections, giving us hope that we will overcome these trying times democratically.

I am so grateful to know so many people care about my homeland, and I sincerely believe that if the world keeps an eye on the Maldives, things will start to change for the better.

There is much in common in the battle against climate change and for democracy–the right to a healthy and dignified life–and this can happen when people are free to speak their minds, make decisions over their own resources, and have the power to act against injustice. 

Thanks for all the work you do in your own community to fight climate change, and for standing in solidarity with our fight for climate safety and democracy.


Zaheena Rasheed

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