Compare the pictures. Start from the top. In one picture, woman of Maalhos island preparing spices for the holy month of Ramazan, way back about 20 years ago. The other picture…women in a protest. Look at the friendliness and unity of the charming people in the picture on the left side. However, I am deeply saddened to witness the existing disunity among us although we have lived in a harmonious society for years. Historically, our society has been closely knit and disciplined as a result of unity of religion and culture.
‘They are industrious in arts and manufactures, and polite of manners: a people superstitious beyond measure, and much devoted to, their religion, yet, in their indulgence of women, lascivious and intemperate.’ Pyrad writes in his The Voyage of Francois Pyrard of Laval to the East Indies, The Maldives, The Moluccas and Brazil. “Women are better swimmers than men, while defining most Maldivians as half-fish.” He added in his book.
Unity and closeness is part and package of the Maldivian lifestyle. The Maldivian lifestyle has always been free from division and partiality. We were kind, affable and compassionate. These qualities were prominent in our society. But a “tremor” has destroyed all these qualities sending us in groups and tribes of different beliefs and ideologies. It has created new cultures. We have never expected these consequences. But today we have declared that we are a failed state.
Most Maldivians still want to believe in upholding unity and oneness in faith, but the “reform” or democracy in the country has created a whole new culture of enemies. The country is enclosed in a cave of inhabitants fighting for supremacy and rivalry. We blame each other and claim that we are fighting for the sake of Islam and the nation. But we are unable to uphold the identity of our nation and religion- Islam.