During our trip to the Maldives we noted the parodies captured between Western culture and its long tradition of romanticizing the imagery of the East.
The Maldives today is wavering between the fiction of the West and the reality of the East, and the islanders are at the conjunction of Edward Said’s theoretical duality “West is Culture, East is Nature”. In 2007 Maldives even became the first country to open an Embassy in Second Life, the online virtual world, adding more confusion to the country’s fictional reality.
Our journey to the Maldives is about the East coming into its own. We meet the Maldivian community, the Dhivehi people, which means “the islanders”, not as anthropologists, colonialists or journalists, but as citizens of the Arab world who want to learn what’s left of the shared history and how this amphibious nation is treating its contemporary culture in relation to its ecological strengths and weaknesses.