One hundred days of sorrow: Missing Moyameehaa

This article first appeared on Republished with permission

“You run back and forth listening for unusual events,
peering into the faces of travelers.
“Why are you looking at me like a madman?”
I have lost a friend. Please forgive me.” – Rumi

Sunday will be the 100th day since Ahmed Rizwan (Rilwan) Abdulla, @moyameehaa, was abducted. Time has dragged, weighted down by the burden of not knowing. Between then and now much, yet nothing, has happened. The posters brightening a thousand walls with Rilwan’s smile have faded with the sun and dissolved with the rain. Five thousand men and women put pen to paper, ‘Good Sir, kind Madam, please find Rilwan,’ they begged. At least as many thousand Tweets have echoed round the world: ‘#Findmoyameehaa, #Findoyameehaa.’ Hundreds of friends and supporters have marched on Male’s streets with the question: ‘Where is Rilwan?’ Scores have met many miles away in Melbourne and in New York, asking the same question.

Rilwan’s mother has said, to any ears that would listen, ‘I am poor, but my love makes Rilwan a priceless treasure. Please find him for me.’ Hundreds have felt her tears roll down their faces. ‘He is alive,’ Rilwan’s father has insisted. His mind has been far from the assorted fruits and vegetables he sells at the local market. ‘How do you know?’ ask customers who have stopped to listen. Without batting an eyelid he has said, ‘I asked a clairvoyant.’

It may seem odd, approaching a clairvoyant to look for a son abducted in this technologically advanced twenty first century. But when the natural world makes no sense, the supernatural often appears the only consolation. In its investigation into Rilwan’s disappearance, Maldives Police Service (MPS) has been more than negligent; it has been willfully perverse. In hundred days the MPS has given almost as many excuses for making zero progress in the search for Rilwan: nobody was abducted; it was a woman who was abducted; it was not an abduction, it was a rape; Rilwan ‘disappeared himself’; Rilwan is an apostate, not worth looking for; Rilwan is playing an elaborate joke; Rilwan is writing his own missing persons reports; Rilwan was abducted by gangs, there are no gangs in the Maldives; we have arrested someone, we have let him go; Rilwan was abducted by violent extremists, there are no violent extremists in the Maldives; Rilwan is not missing, it is all a political drama; no comment; Rilwan who?

Rilwan the journalist who examined the many maladies of Maldives. Rilwan the teenage blogger who gave a damn about the poor and the wronged. Rilwan the ex-radical who understood the extremist mindset better than all official strategists. Rilwan the story-teller whose #FerryTales shortened the distance between Male’ and Hulhumale’ more than any bridge can. Rilwan the well-mannered young man who respected the elderly. Rilwan the friend who listened. Rilwan the writer who inspired. Rilwan the aspiring poet who read Rumi and Neruda. Rilwan the thinker who sought spiritual succor in meditation, Nusrat Fatah Khan and the Quran. Rilwan the friend who laughed; the brother who baked; the uncle who played; the son who loved. Rilwan the Maldivian who cared.

The reasons why Rilwan’s friends, family and supporters want him found are the very reason the authorities want him to remain missing. What Rilwan abhorred in our society, our rulers cheer loudly.

Rilwan wanted a society free of corruption; our leaders revel in it. He wanted to see Jihadist ideologies become less attractive to young Maldivians; our religious clerics encourage it while the government turns a blind eye. He wanted gang violence to have less power over society; senior government officials outsource authority to favoured gang members. Rilwan wanted equal justice for all; our rulers want judgement and punishment to be arbitrary, wielded by them how and when they please. He wanted a society where citizens shared its wealth more equally; our rulers want all wealth to be their own.

Rilwan wanted us all to think more deeply about how to live a more meaningful, spiritual and equal existence; it is the antithesis of all that our rulers desire. For the moment we begin to think more deeply is the moment we begin to regret voting them in. It would be the beginning of our demand for change, the precursor to saying: ‘Enough. I will not let you rule me anymore.’

If the past 100 days has made anything clear, it is that this government will do all it can to stop Rilwan from being found. It is in its interests to do so. The past 100 days has also made something else very clear: we must do all we can to find out what happened to Rilwan. It is in our interests to do so. Our pursuit of a more just, equal and democratic society, as dreamed of by Rilwan, cannot begin if we forget Rilwan’s abduction and the government’s role in it, either by taking him or covering it up.

Let’s not stop our pressure on the authorities to #FindMoyameehaa. We owe it to Rilwan, and to our future.


5 thoughts on “One hundred days of sorrow: Missing Moyameehaa”

  1. The government's negligence on this issue is blatantly obvious. First thing we need to do after voting out PPM is reform the police and judiciary. I don't care if we have to fire a thousand politicized police officers, we have to do it for our country.

    PPM will run their campaign based on how the opposition wants to punish the police, which is exactly what they did last time. Well guess what PPM....criminals need to punished Whether they're police, military, Gayoom, Nasheed, or gatu mua

  2. Surveillance of abducting weblog Rilwal is gang work for money I suspect the Islamic fundamentalist behind the kidnapped 1) Afresheem 2) hilath 3) Rilwan Sensational is the police involvement.

  3. @falooda

    Wont work.

    Remember what happened to the last guy who tried to reform the judiciary? Every rapist, every heroin peddler, every pedophile and every last petty criminal the corrupt judiciary spared came out in force to topple the government, screeching about 'dheen this, dheen that, gaumu this, gaumu that'.

    If you want to reform the police and judiciary, you'll have to use force. Shoot every last judge, SO thug, Secret Police officer and gangster. Expropriate the institutions and use armed force against those who come to defend it.


    Yes. It is savagery. But what's more savage is what they're doing to us.

    War is hell, and Maldivians must experience it once more to appreciate their lives a bit more.

    And screw campaigns and voting. With the EC in their hands, it will always be the 20% ruling over the 80%+. Only a violent revolution will tear down the Maumoonist empire and more importantly, purge the MDP of peacenik scum who have transformed a noble movement to a toothless organization.

  4. Shortsighted people always make the mistake of resorting to violence to solve their problems, when violence will only exacerbate existing problems. Violence didn't work in Egypt, Libya, Israel and Palestine, or any of the wars fought in the history of mankind.

    If people are to create a movement to purge corruption from within the government then that movement must be able claim the moral high ground over its opposition. Violence is not the way to achieve that.

  5. @faloodha

    To you, your way. To me, mine. I can respect that.

    But even if you have the moral high ground, remember - the enemy has no morals whatsoever, and can change 'morals' for cash.


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