Here we are, at the end of a decade and the beginning of a new one. How many of us were tempted to take one more look back as we crossed the threshold into 2010? How many of us were taking our most eager step forward of this ending year? And then again, how many of us were as indifferent as a person could possibly be?
Like any year, 2009 came with a myriad of unexpected surprises, not all of them good.
Let's take on me and my life first. 2009 has, personally, been a year of positive change for me. Started out as a single woman and ended up being married and well into the second trimester of my first pregnancy ;) Now you guess just how interesting my year would have been. I've been building my career in an, if not new, extremely challenging area. I do feel I could have achieved more in this field, but I do appreciate that I did well in overcoming a web of hurdles and challenges thrown my way. I won't bore you with more stuff about me.
Next priority is my country. It's been a year of constant changes, not all of which I support. The elected president has definitely lived up to some aspects of his campaign promises, but his unquestioning lending of power to less democratic, less civilized parties have often had me, and others, pondering if we had really voted wisely enough.
Hopes to see a more developed Maldives with better and more accepting attitudes towards modern living and equal rights/opportunities regardless of gender, social status and other factors have been rather dampened within the year 2009. Instead, what we witnessed was certain bodies working to spread exactly the opposite ideas. Women were being more openly oppressed and less empowered. It didn't help that the voices which few, if any, people used to listen to was now given open authority in the form of a separate Ministry.
As these bodies worked to spread more fundamentalist ideas within the country, we saw more and more people questioning the ideologies that were being brought out in a consistent stream regardless of any criticism in the media or more commonly, in personal blogs, etc. The country became a nest of hypocritical statements and claims which, if investigated, would prove to have no roots.
We are seeing a Maldives with an alarmingly low tolerance level for freedom of expression. We are seeing a country move not forward, but making a slow retreat into less developed beliefs. I shall not say anymore.
Over all, this wasn't the best possible year. A year not completely wasted, but somehow spent focusing more on trivialities.
The beginning of this ending decade, back on New Year's Eve 2000, I witnessed a Maldives full of energetic people gathered together to mark the beginning of new opportunities, ready to take on new challenges. Ten years into the future, where are those people?
Maldives is no longer what it was then. Exactly a year ago, the newly established Ministry of Islamic Affairs declared that New Year's Eve was not a day for celebrating, but rather a day for repenting. A huge number of pre-authorized, pre-planned events were cancelled, or forcibly closed down by authorities. This may have contributed to the lack of events this year. Apart from small private celebrations held by individual groups, I gathered that the only event in Male' was a countdown show at Olympus.Certainly not exciting enough when it's not just a new year, but a new decade that we are stepping into.
My sincere wish is 2010 brings development to our country, a better state of mind for Anni (I've had it with being vague: the year could have been so much better if Anni hadn't let Adhaalath eat into his brain! I appreciate everything else you've done, Mr.President, but that makes me rethink about voting for you/MDP again) and fresh starts for Maldives and for all of us :)