I have refrained from updating my social media and blog this past couple of weeks after being advised by those assisting me with my asylum process. But I could not sit back and not say anything after having the misfortune of seeing the image of the brutalized body of my friend Yameen Rasheed. So I thought I would say a few words to express how I feel after seeing what can never ever been unseen again.
Just to be clear, at this time I do not intend to post the picture on my social media channels or my blog, taking into account the sensitivity of the matter, the extremely violent and brutal way that he was killed and the feelings of his family and those of his friends and loved ones.
But I feel it’s important that these pictures are made public and remain as part of the public domain. It is the undeniable and the inevitable evidence of the brutality of the Maldivian political and religious violence, we are subjected to on such a regular basis now. Seeing the images brings home the reality of the violence in a way that nothing else can. It is this understanding of the reality that can push us to work for the change we so desperately seek. Keeping our society cushioned like the little snowflakes that we like to be from the brutality of such violence only empowers those who commit the violence. Because they know and understand that the public would always be protected by the horrors of their actions. And in this protection, they get the impunity to carry out more violence.
Those of us that are outraged at Raajje.mv for making the picture public (they deleted it soon after publishing), should take a step back and rethink their positions. I do not believe they published the image because they wanted to sensationalize Yameen’s death like a tabloid would, as so many of you are quick to accuse them of. They have intended, as I mentioned above, to bring home the reality of this violence so that we may actually do something about it.
I do want to remind those of us among our secular circles who face the daily struggle of dealing with the extreme Islamization of the Maldives who are also against making these pictures public, to ask yourself why you are so outraged? Are you outraged that you see yourself one day in the same position that Yameen ended up? Is that what you are afraid of? If you are, then stop being complacent and actually do something about.
When the situation was different, back when we all were fighting against the Gayoom regime, were you all not involved in your complicity when pictures of brutally murdered Evan Naseem, and others were made public which resulted in the domino effect that eventually toppled the Gayoom regime? What has changed about you all since then?
And for the record, Yameen’s views on this issue is something I would have to really consider before making the image public. Our friendship and activism weren’t always based on mutual agreement. We talked it out and made compromises when we had to. Our podcast recordings on YouTube is a testament to that.
So as I contemplate whether to post the picture or not, I do extend once again my deepest sympathies to Yameen’s family, his friends, his loved ones and those that love him for what had been done to our friend.
No human (or animal for that matter) ever deserves to be butchered like the way he was. It is indeed a cruel cruel world that we live in. But losing hope for humanity would get us nowhere. We need to be strong and face the challenges of reforming our society and combatting the ideologies that empower the deterioration of our society.
Below is the text of the now deleted Raajje.mv article that accompanied the picture of Yameen’s body.