It is a feeling of empowerment and solidarity that sweeps over me everytime I join the masses protesting against the coup d’etat of 7th February. It isn’t the delusion that as one single protester I might instill compassion for the people or acceptance of the citizens’ voice in the hearts of the current leaders. That is an impossible, and far too idealistic, view of the situation. Had these people had any respect for the people, they wouldn’t have brought about a coup d’etat in the first place! It isn’t even that I have overcome the fear I have when standing firm among the protesters, in defiance to the security forces facing us in full riot gear with weapons in their hands. Rather, it is the strength in people, the perseverance I observe, and perhaps contribute to, every time I join the protesting masses.
In toppling the first democratically elected government of the Maldives, it is our rights that these persons have undermined and violated more than even those of the elected leaders then in power. This is why I personally feel that despite one’s political affiliation, and regardless of what Nasheed or MDP might organize, it is a personal duty of each of us citizens to stand in resistance of the coup.
Since February 7th, we saw unprecedented numbers of people coming out onto the streets in protest of the coup. It has been over five months from then, and within this duration, the Maldivian people have been subjected to previously unseen levels of brutality and unlawful detention at the hands of a rogue police institution. It is, to say the least, amazing to see that people still continue to stand up with a lot of courage even with such insurmountable pressures being brought down on them by the coup state.
The three powers which should be separate as per the books, seem now to be working hand in hand to strip us of our rights. As the legislative debates on topics from leaving the commonwealth to drafting legislation limiting freedom of assembly, the judiciary is meting out sentences in obvious contrast to the constitution itself and all this time the executive sits cozy, giving a blind eye to all the gross injustices while adding insult to injury by conducting direct defamation of protestors in addition to the disgusting misuse of public funds and resources.
These people have come to power through high treason, and continue to stay there through brute force.
How is it possible to go about one’s day with a sense of normalcy and ignore all the wrongs being done unto you? At the end of the day, the one person who can and who will stand up to protect your rights is you, yourself. This is why I make time for the protests, regardless of having a full time job and a toddler to take care of alone. This is why I actively resist the illegitimate government on every possible medium, be it on the streets, on social media or through the line of work. This is why I resist, and will continue to do so, until the instigators of the coup d’etat are brought to justice, and the flag of democracy and freedom waves over our heads again.