The Island President


The Island President- sp – The producers gave this documentary film the tagline, “Can This Man Save the World “. In the Indian Ocean there are a series of small islands called the Maldives with a population of about 400,000. It is the lowest lying country in the world with literally no hills. There are some large building on at least one of the islands but the main industry is tourism with beautiful beaches and high-end hotels. Since 1978 the country had been under the iron rule of President Maaumoon  Abdul Gayoom who was able to harshly suppress any opposition to his ruling party. One of the leaders of the opposition was Mohamed Nasheed who was thrown into jail and spent 18 months in solitary confinement. Eventually a new constitution was established in 2008 which allowed the country’s first multi-party presidential election which elected Mohamed Nasheed as President. This documentary is about this man and how he became a world wide symbol for environmental reform. Nasheed made it his mission to make the world aware of how his country is seriously threatened with extinction if global warming continues and if the water line rises another three feet, which it is on track to do. He made the case that eventually much of the world,  even New York City will be threatened by the rising water which comes with carbon emissions and global warming. Despite opposition by developing countries such as China which feels it needs to use fossil fuels  to continue its growth, Nasheed  carried on an amazing, almost one man, campaign at the all important 2010 Copenhagen World Wide Environmental Conference attended by important representatives from most of the world nations including Secretary of State Hilary Clinton . This film used a very creative and effective approach by following this passionate, very likeable sincere man who pleaded individually and at the plenary sessions to save his country and save the world. In the end, while he couldn’t get full agreement on the exact number to which  carbon emissions should be reduced over a period of time, he got members of this conference for the first time sign a document agreeing to reductions . The emotion of this accomplishment was quite palpable as the viewers felt close to this remarkable man as we followed him throughout his non-stop activities with a musical backdrop effectively provided by 14 songs from Radiohead and some other music by Stars of the Lid. The film was directed and photographed by Jon Shenk and Samuel Goldwyn Films picked it up for distribution. You come away from this movie quite informed and feeling good. It is scheduled for release at the end of March and  President Mohamed Nasheed was supposed to help promote this movie in the US and elsewhere which would allow him continue to crusade for the environment. Unfortunately, a month before the scheduled release there was a coup d’edat in the Maldives and Nasheed was forced to resign and was thrown in jail again. The situation there is evolving and the “ end cards “ for the film are constantly being revised as the political situation changes day by day.(2012)

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