A Paradise Divided

In the cavernous hall of a dazzling white palace that rises out of the Indian Ocean, the tiny President of one of the world's smallest countries wriggles forward in his armchair, plants tiptoes on the floor and begins the story of his revolutionary days. It's a little-known epic of how a humble teacher endured oppression, rose to lead his island people against a tyrant and finally triumphed, uniting the palm-lined Maldives. Maumoon Abdul Gayoom wears a saintly smile as he stresses that he "did not seek" greatness but rather "a lot of people wanted me to be President... so I...

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