Yameen Rasheed, a name that hardly rings a bell. But not too long back, the news reported that a dynamic blogger, activist and Maldives popular satirist happened to be found murdered on the 23rd of April, 2017. He was 29 years of age.
His brand of satire breathed optimism and humour in a struggle that is anything but funny. In the fight between Saudi sponsored radical ideology and scientific rationalism and human rights, Rasheed, though principled, used satire to keep things lively but focused. Take for example this post from the month of November,
Court to begin trial on MDP leadership election
Alhan Fahmy wants the court to force MDP to hold an election and choose a new President and VP – asserting that the terms of President Nasheed and party deputy leader Mohamed Shifaz are over.
Now, I honestly don’t know if there’s any merit to Alhan’s case. I’m way more fascinated with Alhan’s strange sense of entitlement to the party’s top position. Why would you want to be the leader of a party where, clearly, nobody likes you?
Just think about it. Alhan once held a public rally, and literally six people showed up. I have had more people show up to my birthday party – and I didn’t even invite anyone! (Also there was no party. And it wasn’t even my birthday)
The last election he contested, he barely managed a double digit vote count in a seat he had previously represented.
And instead of humbly accepting this public drubbing and trying to rebuild his base, he instead goes: ‘Fuck this shit – I’m going to aim for the party’s very top position’
That’s not how it works, Alhan. That’s not how anything works.”
While clearly taking a dig at a leader who lacked popular mandate, the self depreciating humour around the birthday party that wasn’t, was such a breath of fresh air. I will miss his writing incredibly.
You might be wondering, what is Yameen to me? After all, bloggers are under threats across the world, Bangladesh and Maldives being closer to home. Truthfully speaking, I had no idea who Yameen was until I met a friend of mine in Singapore who was from the same institution where I completed 12th grade. She was Yameens classmate and introduced his work to me during our conversations when we met.
You see, Yameen was her classmate and a senior of mine in the very same institution where I completed my 11th and 12th grade. One of my greatest regrets will remain that I knew him only by his blog, the daily panic, than in person even though he was just a few classrooms ahead of me and despite having friends in common.
In such a short span of time in his life, Rasheed made a name for himself through courage, exemplary integrity and resolve to a cause that could not be shaken, even as the ruling government threatened to “use the truncheon in lieu of conversation”. An extraordinary life full of accomplishment, in his death, he has left a role model almost impossible to emulate.
Everything that begins must end and that is the rule of nature- but when a man like Yameen Rasheed rises, his light burns so bright that when it dies out, it leaves a void. To the men and women who plotted and executed his murder, Rasheed will remain alive for a long time to come because through his words, he has transcended the limitations of time.
May his satire reign supreme and may the spirit he represented burn brightly in every Maldivian out there!