Maldives Twitter wakes up to a fever dream where everyone is Ali Rameez
At 12AM on Friday the 23rd of November 2018, a whole bunch of Maldivian twitter users changed their profile pictures to the one above. It shows a young Ali Rameez leaning back, relaxing his head against his arm. The incident is referred to by some as #NationalAyyaDay.
#MenAreTrash hashtag sparks widespread debate and outrage on Maldivian twitter
The polarising hashtag caused an uproar and week long drama across the Maldivian twitterverse and tweeps debated the controversial topic. Are men trash? Are men trash, but is the wording wrong? Have people who say men are trash actually not met enough men who are not trash? Are women responsible for the men in their life being trash? Can they simply just filter them out? All this and more below. This is of course just a taste. I also did not include some of the nastier stuff from obvious troll accounts.
A collection of Yameen Rasheed's writings on Maldives, Secularism, Standing up for Maldivian Minorities, and Fighting Religious Radicalism #WeAreYaamyn #FindMoyameehaa
I initially began this post as an interactive timeline of Yameen Rasheed's best tweets, but it soon became too inaccessible due to the sheer amount of relevant posts that he was putting out.
So instead, here is a collection of some of his best writings. He deals with topics that very few people in the Maldives have the courage to openly write about. More importantly, the fact that he talked about these issues is being erased from the conversation about his murder.
Furthermore, the dangers and threats that he faced were not a characteristic unique to the current administration. He faced these same threats under Mohamed Nasheed's government as well, who is arguably the best and worst president that the Maldives has ever had. Nasheed promised freedom, but ended up granting those liberties only to religious extremists; and in the process condemned those who opposed those extremists to their fate. In an open letter to Nasheed written in March 2009, Yameen says that he was under investigation by the Maldives Police Service, and accused the president of failing to protect the rights of secular liberal minded Muslims like himself.
He was not your average journalist, blogger, or rights activist. He was of the rare breed that promoted secularism and actively acknowledged the existence of minorities within the Maldives such as LGBTQI people and apostates. There is absolutely no way that the work he was doing was comparable to the output of people who to this day deny the existence of such minorities.
He was a staunch opposer of the Maldivian constitution, which he called intolerant, for it's lack of the basic right of freedom of conscience. There is absolutely no way that he is comparable to the people who, even in their articles about his death, have failed to mention this extremely important fact of life in the Maldives.
Challenging religious radicalism was not some one off thing for Yameen. It was his bread and butter. His mashuni and roshi. To say Yameen didn't write a lot about religion is like saying Stephen King doesn't write a lot of horror. Post after post on his blog deals with these issues directly. Yameen was also the founder of the Facebook group "Ban The Adhaalath" - arguably one of the first ever online groups formed to directly tackle religious extremism within the Maldives.
How can there be a genuine democracy in the Maldives, how can there be genuine freedom, if the right to think differently is illegal?
Maldivians freak out over harmless gesture from Maldivian Idol contestant
The recent launch of the Maldivian version of the hit "Idol" format by TVM is one of the most significant events in Maldivian TV history. The show is by no means perfect, but it is one of the first times that Maldivians from all over the country have had a platform to show their talents. It is inspiring to see the joy on the faces of contestants who make the cut. Part of its purpose also seems to be to give the impression that the Maldives is a lot more progressive than it actually is. Probably a move by the Yameen administration to improve it's image abroad. Whatever the case, the show is commendable for sticking to it's progressive values. Predictably the backlash from the conservative crowd has already begun, with many calling to boycott the show for being "laadheenee" or irrelgious and "against Islam".