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The 'Island President' hits the media circuit [video]

April 6, 2012 |  4:30 am


The ousted president of the Maldives has been on the American media circuit, making stops on  "The Daily Show" and "Letterman" like a movie star -- which he is.

Mohamed Nasheed, the first democratically elected president of the chain of islands in the Indian Ocean, is the subject of a new documentary about climate change, "The Island President."

The Maldives has an unusually high stake in the global-warming debate: If the seas continue to rise, the Maldives fear they could disappear. It's a message that Nasheed tried to push on the world stage while he was in office, once holding a Cabinet meeting underwater  to draw attention.

Since then, the Maldives grabbed headlines for a totally different reason. Nasheed says he was forced to step down at gunpoint in February, allegedly at the hands of forces loyal to the former dictator.

His former vice president, Mohammed Waheed Hassan, now in power, has denied there was a coup and says Nasheed stepped down freely after his decision to sack a judge led to waves of popular protest.

In his recent media blitz, Nasheed has pleaded to protect his country -- both from the rising seas and the forces he fears could blot out its young democracy. He has been interviewed by Time magazine, Salon, even Conde Nast Traveler, and has appeared on television.

"It's easy to beat a dictator through an election. But it's not so easy to flush the remnants of a dictatorship. So they come back -- and when they come back, they come back with a vengeance," he told Jon Stewart on Monday. Here's the video:

Nasheed also appeared on "Late Show With David Letterman" last week, saying of climate change: "What happens to the Maldives today is going to happen to everybody else tomorrow. You know, Manhattan is an island." The video is below:


On the same day last week that Nasheed met with the U.S. deputy secretary of State, he made an appearance on "Andrea Mitchell Reports." In that interview, he said the Maldivian government tried to murder him:





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-- Emily Alpert in Los Angeles

Photo: Former Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on March 24, 2012. Credit: Ishara S. Kodikara / AFP / Getty Images