Yameen Rasheed was an IT professional, a writer with a large following, and a resolute believer in the people’s right to govern themselves. The satire journalistic blog The Daily Panic, of which he was the editor-in-chief, and his personal Twitter account, where he was most active with over eighty-four thousand tweets, alone have a combined following of over sixteen thousand people – and those are just the figures that are easily accessible and only in-part takes into account the great number of people who have the blog starred on their devices. Undoubtedly, those that believed his voice echoed within them were not few - he was loved and admired.
The Disobedient Writer was vocal about a host of things: he advocated for better representation of the massive migrant population not just in the capital but across the nation, democratic values and human rights in public policy, and even dared to chime-in on topics more sensitive to the general public – such as the interpretation of Shaira and Islamic scripture. It is only natural that the 29-year-old, who was respected for his writing and prominent for his wit, has left the entire country speculating about the circumstances surrounding his brutal and untimely assassination – and those that reverred him with a loss from which they will not soon heal.
The police have identified two suspects and there have been reports of people attesting to either having seen or heard the crime occur. The media, powered by public outcry, has been kept typing, and news station RaajjeTV has produced a timeline of events through observation of footage gathered outside of the residence where the heinous act occurred. The Disobedient Writer’s family and opposition leaders have called for an independent investigation and the police on Tuesday guaranteed speedy results as they publicized photographs of said suspects. Further speculation without any more facts, though expected and tempting, would only serve to isolate a party that is now apparently willing to forgo not only the law but notions of honourable conduct and launch a disgusting ambush from within a person’s home, as he unsuspectingly walked in at night.
The manner in which the assailants executed their deed is too passionate and calculated to merely be premeditated – it was fuelled by utter hatred. It is an act of violent desire and is too significant to become a political tool or to be treated lightly. If some now resort to point fingers and carelessly express, without reflection of how far the foundations of this event may trace, it will only aggravate the indecency from which this filth was born. To speculate would be to isolate a coward that is beyond exercising their intellect in considering the avenues of prosecution guaranteed to them by the law, whether for political or religious reasons - through legislation on expression and religious unity. The motivation for the death is political, it violates the very spirit of democracy - where opposition is celebrated, ideas are shared and put to constructive debate. If it is religious, then it is disrespectful to the context of scripture and very tenets of Islam. To speculate would be to isolate a party that is clearly crazed, whose only principle and mantra is ‘death be upon you’.
However burning the act is, there are some implications that are blatantly clear. To someone, The Disobedient Writer was deeply taunting. To that person he could not be absolved, and he could not be negotiated with. To that person, he only deserves one fate. This dishourable thug felt insulted enough by their own response to the ideas The Disobedient Writer brazenly put forth, to run dry of logic and became motivated to murder him on the grossly inadequate grounds of simply having caused said response within him. This ruthless person shows no respect for negotiation and bargain.Their tactics are midevil and barbaric.
This person is a monster with a violent arsenal that it is readily willing to use. The act shocked the entire nation, but we cannot deny that this monster was born within of our society, it is our creation, it was encouraged by our institutions, and we empowered it enough to kill a human being in cold blood - without trial, without negotiation, and without honour. This monster does not seek to depose a president, alter an election, loot the economy, or disrupt trade. It is not one that seeks to guide us or fill our hearts with purpose. This monster is grim, gray, and spiteful. It seeks only to destroy anyone that finds freedom and the slither of hope under the Maldivian flag.
Maldives has had a recent past marked with instability – anyone that follows current affairs would be familiar with phrases such as ‘flailing democracy’, ‘corrupt judiciary’, and ‘jailed opposition’. However, we can yet proudly claim that we have the composure to carry on through darkness without butchering each other over our differences in the name of achieving a tangible thing that appeals to our human affinity for unity. It is times such as now that we must embrace this reputation, if Maldivians ever wish to be hailed as peaceful people. A reputation that, due to politicking and fierce societal response to acts of the state, strikes at the tourism sector, the very heart of the country’s economy. A reputation that is deeply rooted in our ever-challenged national identity. It is a monster that is not coloured by the pinks and yellows on the streets or religion, but one that is Maldivian first and foremost. It is one that is prevalent in society, and currently erodes the very unification that our institutions and people require, if we wish to ever be a nation worth respect. If we are to ever move beyond the rage over our differences, to ever act with enlightenment and settle our differences without blades and bullets.
The Disobedient Writer - described to have been well-natured and of extreme good sense by his family and those that worked with him - was found butchered on Sunday with over fourteen stabs to his chest. He was cut-down on the staircase of his home and had little pulse when anyone that could offer credible aid found him. To forget this act - to ignore this monster - would be to remove reason from our dialogue and to remove tolerance, humanity, and justice from our hearts. To forget it would be to submit, to fold our knees, before injustice and barbarism.