‘The Island President,’ reviewed by Marshall Fine


Recent events in the Maldives Islands – specifically, a coup that toppled democratically elected president Mohamed Nasheed by military loyal to his tyrannical predecessor, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom – give the documentary “The Island President” both an urgency and a poignancy.

The film by Jon Shenk chronicles Nasheed’s attempts at the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Summit to convince the international community to modify its approach to climate change. His nation’s survival, he argued, was at stake, in the most literal sense.

“The Island President” examines the life of Nasheed and his efforts to, first, help bring democracy to a country that had been a brutal dictatorship for 30 years, and then to try to both revive the country’s economic fortunes and prevent it from being literally washed off the map.

The Maldives is a country made up of a string of more than 1,000 islands in the Indian Ocean (about 200 of which are inhabited). None of them rises more than 20 feet above sea level. So the projected effects of climate change – with rising oceans due to melting polar ice caps – spells disaster for the tiny island nation, which already has to battle erosion to the encroaching seas.

This review continues on my website.

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