It was a day from the early years of the 1900. The day was a calm and serene day with a clear sky. Not even the slightest disturbance from the nature leads to a fine day for some fishing with my dad who has been at home for his holidays. I was lucky enough to hunt for the little fishes that are bound to be found on the side of the reef where the hustle bustle of boats are bound to be found as well.
At the heart of Thiladhunmathi Thakandhoo, all ages of people are found minding their own businesses at the edge of the jetty area. Suddenly, the eyes of everyone locked on to the horizon at the sea where everyone saw a glimpse of a big ship crossing right across our faces. I have never seen a majestic king such as this one crossing right across my eyes. Normally, I bear witness for “Kanamana”, Naagoashi”or “Randhee” which are boats of fishermen who normally brings back the fish from the vast sea.
After seeing this ship, my heart was filled with happiness which I could not express. As much as my heart was filled with happiness, it slowly started to build up this curiosity as well. I wondered to myself. “Why on earth would these big ships enter into a small island nation like us? Wouldn’t they be much more beneficial to travel along the big countries at Europe?”
Anyways, after trying to get an answer to the little heart that was engulfed with a very important curious question, we kind have to take a deep dive into the geographical situation of this country. The rich location of our country. The god gifted natural beauty of the country. But, the truth that we could unfold by looking closer into our lives are that how unfair it is for the people living in the country. How difficult the situation is for most of us. The slavery of the jobs to the everlasting buried economy of the country.
Even till yesterday, the most common phrase that we all are subjected to hear as a Maldivian is that we are a country with limited support and resources. But my question is, when did we become a small country? When did our resources became this limited? I would like all of you to take a stroll down this lane where I would highlight some of the most important facts about our “little” nation.
First of all, us, Maldivians, we are sitting on top of throne of economy. The Maldives is clearly from all the countries, sitting at the 75th position of being the longest coastal area among all the countries in the world. World Resources Institute states that our country is almost 2002 km long. With the vast sea counting, this country is 115,000 km long country!
This countries own economic area is 923,322 km long. Therefore, including the land that can also be utilized, the whole lot of the country sums up to 1,038,322km! There are registered 188 islands where people are inhabited with. And around 1004 islands where people are un-inhabited.
Countries which gets a huge profit from their reefs are quite common all through out the world. When we do a fact check on the Maldives, we have the 7th biggest reef system than any other country in the world. This accumulates 3.14% of the whole of the reef systems in the world (8927km). If utilized correctly, from every hector of the reef, a profit of 1.25 million dollars may be profited. On 2017, UNEP has stated this fact. If this is calculated correctly, this is almost 1.116 trillion Dollars.
This country even now got abundance of islands with abundance of resources. What we really need are people who have a mission to increase the economy of this resourceful country. If the people want their islands to be associated with the tourism industry, why not include the beloved people of the atoll to the resorts built in the atolls? If the people wanted their time to be used for Farming or Fishing, don’t we have enough resources to do so?
For fishing and farming, we will always get men and women who are eager to do so from every single island. We can always make the islands chief councils more powerful and make the islanders work and get the profit for themselves as well. We can still make our businesses go beyond the borders of Maldives to Cochin and to the Bangladesh with our own vessels if we all try and work together.
This article is originally written by Ahmed Salim in Thiladhun and this is a rough translation of his piece.