The Island President (2011)

16 Feb

As many of you know I live in the Netherlands. It’s a country which is mostly below sea level, but through good watermanagement the dutch have managed to keep it all dry. I personally live at one of the lowest points of the country (more than 6 meters below sea level), so this documentary was an interesting watch. President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives also has an issue with water, only he has the problem that his country consists of many small islands and as the sea level is slowly increasing and washing away parts of the country he’s got a very big problem. If nothing is done the country will disappear under the sea. This documentary looks at his struggle to convince other countries to change the CO2 emissions to slow down the effects global warming has on the sea level.

Before this documentary I had heard of the Maldives, but only as a vacation destination. I didn’t know much about its history and this movie makes it clear that the country has had a violent past. President Maumoon Adbdul Gayoom was seen by the media and opposition parties as a dictator. He made sure that opponents were arrested and many were tortured while they were there. In 2008 the president finally allowed elections and Mohamed Nasheed was chosen as the new president. He had experienced the reign of the previous president himself as he had been in prison several times.

After this history lesson, the documentary focusses mostly on the climate and the many negotiations which Nasheed has to go to in order to convince big countries like India to agree with the changes that need to be made. It feels like you are given full access to the personal life and negotiations the president is part of. It’s an interesting look into something you normally only see as a small news segment. It’s an important documentary which manages to drive home the message that the climate is changing and that it’s almost impossible to change it if you can’t change the minds of the people influencing it. Something that’s also for the country I’m living in, because dealing with rising sea levels remains a challenge.


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