Well, most of the fellow country men/women seem to be too engrossed these days in the political brawl that?s spread throughout the entire Maldives but I think it is an excellent time for us to set aside and recall what happened on these couple of days in the month of November in 1988.

Nov 3/4, 1988 saw all of us waking up to a new, frightening drama playing out in the otherwise peaceful roads in the capital island Male'. Despite being very young then, I still remember snapping out of slumber early morning to find my parents in frenzy. My dad had recognized the sound very much alien to most of us - the sound of gunfire. He was disturbed. I was told to remain indoors and not to go out - not even to the veranda. I remember hearing and seeing an Indian army helicopter land right next to our home at the time. I remember climbing onto the windows to peek out onto the road which was abandoned and not a person to be seen. I remember hearing a car passing by just as I jumped back down. I remember an increase of chatter in the neighborhood as people reconnected to each other, recounted the event, offered support and probably just let it all out. I remember watching telly afterwards - of people on a ship, of people in handcuffs, of blood, of damaged buildings with bullet holes and particularly of the Maldivian flag being raised high, being laid on those coffins of the martyrs and murdered hostages.

Innocent people died that day, in going about their simple life, in attempting to defend themselves and in standing up to defend the nation against a handsomely armed and equipped enemy. Peruse the book detailing the accounts of the day if you haven't already had the chance to. It will certainly leave you with questions and doubts - not of the obvious exaggerations of valour of certain people but of the omissions and the simplicity...

Almost two decades gone and thanks to governmental and social neglect, people now have no heroes to enshrine and idolize. Heroes, especially on a national level, play a great role in promoting unity, strength and purpose. It promotes a common identity - a culture. That is one thing important we can learn from the Americans, even if there is nothing else we'd take from them...


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