Today we are all feeling extra patriotic. Even those of us who don't have an ounce of patriotism in their blood have their chests out, proud to be called Maldivian. Proud of the green, red, and white that define and unite us.
But come tomorrow, how can we all go back to forgetting those who have made it possible for us to live in a free and independent society. How can we go back to not remembering their names; names etched forever in our history books but lost from our memories except for that one name and maybe because his valiant efforts were rewarded by naming a prominent building after him.
We can only imagine the terror that must have filled their hearts when faced with a barrage of bullets from an enemy with the sole purpose of falling the then government and capturing its assets. But we are all witness to the bravery and valor of those fallen heroes; young and inexperienced they maybe but so willing to fight the enemy till the last drop of blood. Because we are all sitting in our homes and offices free of worry and fright because they were so willing to sacrifice their lives to ensure our freedom and independence.
So, don't we owe it to them to educate ourselves and our children about this brutal assault on our country's freedom in recent times?.
Try a simple google search of the words 3rd November 1988, the first hit is a Wikipedia post about the failed attempt to befall the government and the perspective is alarmingly distorted. After skimming the post, the reader would be left with the view that the Maldives was only saved because India came to its aid in a timely fashion.
It may be true to some extent but we as Maldivians must not let 3rd November 1988 be just the day India successfully executed 'Operation Cactus' and saved its 'tiny and helpless' neighbor from falling into the hands of traitorous locals and armed mercenaries.
The least we can do is remember the names of our fallen heroes and brave civilians; the 19 souls who tragically lost their lives at hands of the enemy. The least we can do is not belittle their ultimate sacrifice for political gain and social media popularity and acknowledge that the attack was deterred because our soldiers refused to put down their weapons and let the enemy take over the military headquarters.
In this regard, maybe the state can do more to preserve the hard work that went into quelling the attack that day. A fellow journalist on social media suggested a special section on the national museum dedicated to the heroics of that day. In this digital day and age, we all need visual reminders that capture our attention, not just a hole in the wall as impressive it might be.
That day, the country was ill-prepared for such an attack, having not fathomed that a handful of locals would mastermind such a belligerent attack on our soil.
But today our military has since buffed up. Our soldiers are now well trained and our military is well-equipped to quell such a brazen attack without maybe lifting a finger let alone without losing 8 of its soldiers like we did that day 32 years ago.
Even so, may God forever protect our country from such a fate in the future.