January 27, 2012

National day sentiments

Two days ago, the first of Rabeeul Awwal was a very special day for me. For one thing, it was my birthday on the Hijri calendar. But setting that aside, it was also the Maldives’ National day - the day when our Dhivehi-Raaje was rescued from the domination and yoke of the Portuguese in the 16th century; and the triumph of our national religion Islam.

Given this backdrop, what is the significance of this to our life as a nation? To my mind, it is to remember the agony of subversion and to celebrate freedom. It is also a time for the young and youth to connect with the legacy of our past and the notion of a one-Maldives. But, regretfully, this day in 2012 was marred by other untoward emotions. The present internal turmoil on our pristine coral soil is something to reflect on and feel the lament. A nation of such social and religious harmony such as ours must reflect it on the ground also by our actions. Artificial divisions only bring about conflict. And we as Maldivians need to look at the bigger picture that harbors on common interest rather than on the individual interests that can never be bridged without the effort of listening, accepting, reflecting, and dialogue. Anger is never assuaged by anger as fire is never squelched by fire. There has to be a give and take that will neutralize the war of words and swelled egos. The welfare of the majority of those who don't have voice must be protected by those who have the voice. This is the meaning of stewardship in a democracy. It is not for the powerful to take the day. But the powerful to prove they have compassion to exercise the responsibility that comes with the power that was bequeathed to them by vote or wealth. We cannot let the adage "a nation deserves the leaders they get" get the better of our national sensibilities. May Allah Bless us all as Brothers and Sisters of a common nation and clear the haze that blinds our eyes.


Anonymous said...

First of all, Happy Birthday to you. May you find peace, happiness and friendship in the days to come in increasing numbers.

Democracy has been touted as bringing peace to the nation. That is intended to mean direct democracy. What is practised in many nations is electoral democracy. The Chief Executive is selected by popular vote. After that it is his whim as is the case with many of our countries. There is liberal or representative democracy where representatives are selected to represent people. But the representatives consult the people only at vote time. The issues with regard to liberal democracies are in the wikpedia article on democracy. Our nation is not democratic as what is practiced is more important than what is said. It is a slogan used to seduce external and internal players.

Abdul Sattar Yoosuf said...

I certainly agree. That democracy isbeset with many issues is an understatement, but as one great statesman said, no one pretends democracy is perfect, but it is the best of the bad lot there is out there that have been practiced from time to time. The essence of democracy is consultation, and is an inspired truth. But of couse the rest is perpiration--to develop the process by which we practice it. By its very nature, democracy does not seem to signal success through an imported model but needs to be homegrown with cultural wisdom and foresight. That is the hope for its survival and its message of hope for the total polity.