The days of opposition protests (during Dec to Feb 2012) were a nuisance, latter going on for 23 nights nonstop. Everyone was hell-bent on bringing down the then President, Mohamed Nasheed.
And in the end, it happened. The overly tired MNDF (Maldives Defense Force) and Police, as a consequence of working day and night for almost two months and also because of the pressure from the opposition coupled with the pro-opposition factions within these institutions – mutinied on the night of February 6, 2012. President Nasheed too has to take blame for his unconstitutional acts as well as decisions taken leading to that moment, as well as the ones taken that day on the spot without proper thought. But then again, the situation looked so bleak at that moment, people watching the coverage on TV from home was also open-mouthed.
On the 7th of February 2012, I took my little one to school at 6:55am as usual (at that time I had no idea the protest was still ongoing). Once on the road, things looked amiss and some people were reporting about chaos erupting at the Republican Square. I did not believe it was too serious. I had faith in the security forces to bring back peace and order. How wrong I was!
I headed to work at 7:40am. Kids were sent home from school around 10nish – Their dad picked them up and took them home (I was on the recruitment panel and was interviewing candidates for one of our vacant jobs). Even after the interviews, I was still at work for I haven’t given up my faith in the security forces. But we were getting all sorts of news about the happenings. There were rumors that some people had been killed, there were rumors of exceeding bloodshed. We kept hearing sirens here and there. And then news started to come that the President has been given an ultimatum to resign before 12:00 noon.
We were holed in our workplaces. All work had been stalled. Everyone was anxious to find out what was happening, how things will unfold and what tomorrow will bring. Surprisingly, not too many were concerned whether what was happening was fair or not.
We also started to hear that security forces (MNDF/Police) was all over the roads showing how powerful they were. Myself along with my colleagues also went outside and there was the faint smell and feel of teargas in the air. Our workplace is in the vicinity of Television Maldives (the then MNBC1) – we later found out the place was tear gassed and “overtaken” from MNBC by the security forces. The gates to our institution were locked from the inside. And we could peep out.
There were a group of security people (never got round to differentiate between MNDF and Police unless the Police is in plain blue uniform) lazing around on a corner in front of the gate. They were having some refreshments and had the air of superiority written all over their faces. And then, marched down another huge group of security in Uniform. They had all sorts of paraphernalia in their hands; batons, and some had a whitish looking rod like thing. They were in their full gear and they made a scary sight. Their steps on the brick road with their combat shoes also left reverberating sounds that only sounded like doom, in the eerily quiet Male’ City. It was quiet, because almost everyone was staying inside for their own safety. Those few who were on the roads were walking because of road blockades. My loathing for the security forces was ingrained that day.
I do not belong to the former President’s political Party. And I did not vote for him. And yet, that day (and even now) I believe the former President was ousted by force. Technically it was a resignation … but it was figuratively under gun point.
Back to the day. Around mid-day we heard that the President has in fact agreed to resign and that the formal resignation will happen shortly. And around 12:30 our management informed the staff that whoever wanted to go home can leave and call it a day. It all sounded like a happy day … it sounded like go home to celebrate! The workaholic I am, wanted to stay behind as there was so much pending work I had to tackle. But then again, the rest of them wanted to leave. Technically I could not stay by myself – so, I too ended up going home around 13:00hrs (I think).
No sooner I was home, the President’s resignation was televised live. I couldn’t help feel sorry for the guy, I actually shed a tear and my throat was dry. Clearly he took the best decision under the circumstance and I was proud to see how composed he was even when under so much pressure. If he had not resigned, what could have unfolded could have been much much worse.
The atmosphere in Male’ City was unusual. It was still. There was a deafening silence. I was reminded of a horror story by Stephen King, were he describes a stillness devoid of even the wind. I was wondering, where the hell was all MDP fans! What happened to make them so so quiet. But then again, I found the answer within me. I was a fan even if not an activist. I felt numb. I felt disbelief. I felt vomit erupting in me. I needed to sit still to digest the turn of events.
What unfolded the following day, was the snapping of those frozen minds. I was at work and could hear the commotion on the road, made in the wake of the MDP supporters taking to the streets, walking to demonstrate that the supporters were behind President Nasheed. I felt a sense of relief to hear news that MDP was not sitting quiet.
But, as the day stretched on to meet the night, things looked bleaker than ever. There was no law and order. The security forces were in a frenzy. It was as if they found a new leash on life to experience their wildest fantasies in using their weapons. The videos that started to stream on youtube of them beating down civilians with their boots, pepper spraying directly into the eyes of anyone presumably on their way, bashing with their batons anyone who so much as opposed them with their words. It was the most atrocious day I have ever witnessed.
Image source: http://article.wn.com
My heart heavy as rocks
for the injustice and tyranny!
My mind numb with disbelief
for the pigheadedness of people around me!
Click to read more of the post – I wrote this an year ago, in stunned silence.
- Nasheed’s ousting result of “planning, propaganda and a lot of work”: Umar Naseer (minivannews.com)
- Dismissed human rights minister alleges “assassination” plot against former President Nasheed (minivannews.com)
- Maldives to hold first polls since president toppled (dailystar.com.lb)
- Home Minister says Nasheed was ‘toppled’ (thehindu.com)
- Maldives plummets to 103rd in Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index (minivannews.com)
- We will win if a fair poll is held: Nasheed (thehindu.com)
- Coup-versary! (http://hudhuhandhu.wordpress.com)