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‘It’s a Long Way to Furudu’ – 60 Minutes (1978)

You MUST watch this video from 1978.

It’s a fascinating glimpse into Maldives history and an incredible piece of journalism recently uploaded almost 40 years after it was made.

As well as showing detailed shots of Male’ during the transition from President Nasir to President Maumoon, the American ’60 Minutes’ programme gives rare insights into some of the country’s lesser known stories.

The film tells of the US Christian evangelist Oral Roberts, whose words were broadcast across the subcontinent using bandwidth rented from the Maldives’ first radio transmitter. Not mentioned in the show, the broadcasts were stopped the same year – perhaps as result of this film?

More incredibly, the presenter is then able to travel to Fuladhu, in Goidhoo atoll, and interview Joachim Blom – the recently banished German tourist. The footage of the 23-year-old Blom – convicted of murdering his girlfriend in Male’ 18 months earlier – emerging from among his new community (10 mins 42 seconds) is truly unique. The banished blond is now a grandfather in his 60s. He remained on the island, though he prefers not to speak with media nowadays.

Finally, a sign of the Cold War times, the film finishes with a stern warning. ‘The Russians are coming’ suggests presenter Morley Safer before detailing the Soviet Union’s million dollar offer to lease the just-vacated air base on Gan.

Would the same film be possible today?

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