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Pa Nderry, Yanks Darboe, Et al., Please Listen


Yankuba Darboe, the NTCG's justice minister, in Paris on 10 October 2012

By Gambiano

Pa Nderry, Yankuba Darboe (Base) et al., please listen. If I address you by your nick names, you’ll both, perhaps, get my true identity and that will whomp a vow or purpose. Just consider this a live interaction I’m doing with you. So if the language sounds too informal, personal, or family, please be advised of the disclaimer. And you, the reader, this piece could be rated PG 25, okay—for these are folks I can address with abandon.

Also, it’s not my style to use pronouns ‘I’ and ‘Me’ because I’m too insignificant and poorly situated to draw attention to myself. But this is one of those jeremiads that can scarcely shun that. I don’t know about you, but I still love to be called, “Baa Doleh”, “Fuwaaro (Indigent)”, Fali Bayilaa (Donkey driver), or son of a poor farmer—not a “seasoned journalist”, or academician. I don’t even have a proud college degree.

But why this article? Your ongoing mudslinging heralds a chaotic post-Jammeh theater of ego gladiators, perhaps currently steeped in personal fables as to entertain thoughts of leadership or strategic positions of power. Please don’t offer tiny Gambia robes too Peloponnesian—attires too bellicose and premonitions too internecine, yet temperaments too ripe with mediocrity.

Yanks Darboe and Pa Nderry, you might be poles apart on the functionary spectrum as I type these. But did you realize you both share a thing too large to ignore? It’s called ‘ego’ with its avuncular “personal fable”, for a phrase. Usually, people that pique history’s attention fare very humbly. They prefer their silence to their speech, their calm to their stir, and their impact to their identity until providence calls otherwise.


Pa Nderry

Pa, neither Walter Cronkite, nor Peter Jennings would bear the chutzpah to say, “My Mexican or Black Brothers, you can come after me if you want…” blah blah blah! Not even your synonym, William Randolph Hearst would ditto. And there’s a high voltage reason I equate you to Hearst. There are words sentiments or emotion may force to the mouth that should never meet expression. I’m not a Mandinka or Wollof. I’m a Gambian, a human being, and a citizen of the world—period! So before I ask you to cut the crap, I’m not defending any tribe here.

But here’s my stance on tribe. Often do you hear only in Africa, especially Senegambia, “Mann domi Wollof peerrr laa!” (I’m a pure Wollof offspring), just like you often hear a Mandinka, Jola, Fula, or Njaago uttering the same nonsense. Well first of all, “Peerrr” isn’t Wollof, Jola, Fula, or Mandinka. It’s a derivative of French “Pur” or its English “Pure”. So, brothers, we can’t even speak our “pure” languages—how do we verify the pureness of our tribal lineages? Who can stand in the streets of Serrekunda, Banjul, or Jarra Soma and vaunt, “I’m a pure Mandinka or Wollof because all my forefathers never consorted with women of other tribes”? Don’t you forget how polygamous our ancestors were!

Pa, you might argue, “But I didn’t say anything tribally-offensive and I’m not tribalist.” Your words are, even if the intent was goodwill. I give you an example in the American context—can a Caucasian address a black person on any medium, “Hey Blackman, you’re very good-looking”? The intent in this sentence isn’t ill—the inference is, especially with the current Tea Party wave seeking forceful swash.

Brothers, the modern age is busy with inventions. And we are busy head-butting about tribes! How I wished I was in front of all of you right now—Pa Nderry, Yanks, and co. Look, I don’t know about you, but the world doesn’t care about Jolas, Mandinkas, Fula, Wollof, Njaago, Serere, or Serahule. They clump us into one lump—negroid, niggers, or dark skinned and dim-wits who can’t even solve hunger and starvation, let alone invent an iPhone or Samsung Galaxy! If anybody feels hurt with my words, please grab a big cardboard and scribble your tribe’s name on it and then wave it at cars and people passing in any street in Washington, Seattle, London, Paris, or Riyadh and then watch the reaction.

If you really want to weigh how shallow someone is, just pay attention to what they value. Prophets never clung to tribe—nor did sages, seers, philosophers, or inventors. Did Steve Jobs bellow his Syrian pedigree—or Bill Gates his Hellenistic rub-off? These guys accumulated so much while we were, and still are, busy placing premium on things as inefficacious to our cry as is a rain drop to an ocean.

Pa, please stop the ad hominem. I’ve never met Bamba Mass or Suntu Touray. So don’t think I’m taking sides. If we all resort to your style, Pa, you’ll go to bed crying any day I open my mouth. A word for the wise is enough and I hope you’ll heed this plea from a little brother. Yes, little brother and you know how little brothers are—they can address big brothers loosely, or throw stones and yet hide their hands. You won’t happen to remember how you used to call me almost every night, and sometimes confiding very serious personal information. I’ve kept those secret not because of you, but Allaah. And any day your enemies know them, they’ll build sovereign shrines of headlines! But I gave my word to Allaah: I’ll go to the grave with them, insha Allaah.

Just stop being too excited about being in America. Be humble, please. I thank you for that which you think you’ve achieved just like I thank you for the good job you think you’re doing. In all spheres of life, you’ve achieved very little, compared to some Gambians. But they’re humble. And please stop devouring obvious flattery.

Those Gambians that could have assumed journalistic functions on the international scene are somewhat preoccupied with other commitments. That’s one of the reasons Freedom Newspaper has been at the zenith of Gambia’s online stage of hearsay or better put, factoid and vignettes of score-mongering. But I give you credit for the devotion. You’re not a full-time or trained journalist, Pa. A degree in communication or PR doesn’t make anyone a journalist.

You see, Pa, Gambia has been behind for so long. We’ve been behind in sports, the arts, academics, etc. How many Gambians really graduated from journalism schools? Have you ever been invited at a press conference where you shared a platform with counterparts from other countries? I bet you won’t even whisper at any White House press briefing—will you?

But please meet journalists from Senegal, Nigeria, Cameroon, South Africa, etc, and see how less you know or can do. I don’t have time for ad hominem. But please work on your spoken and written English. It’s very likely you can’t even list and explain the eight parts of speech before reading this silly philippic. Nor do you seem to fathom subject/verb agreement (seventh grade grammar) considering how you write or speak. But has this made you any humble? Those respect humility who really know. And those are eager to show that they know who know not. Listen to Socrates, please:

As for me, all I know is that I know nothing…” Socrates

Thanks to the advent of Yahya Jammeh and his Nebuchadnezzar propensity, diaspora Gambians found a forum to purge sentiments legitimate or otherwise. And I thank Freedom Newspaper and all other fora for that. But Pa, your recognition only stays in that diaspora. Go to the streets in The Gambia and find out how many even know you. Even if Freedom Newspaper wasn’t blocked, please count how many Gambians have internet access and factor that into the electorate mass.

I could infer from one of your references to Yanks Darboe stating that whenever you’re interested in ruling Gambia, you’ll announce it. I can’t be sure if you wanted to reiterate the opposite—if not, please wait till Jammeh is no more and see if Gambians will look at you let alone vote for you. That’s why I phrased earlier, “personal fable”. The online community isn’t the whole Gambia. The equation can’t court a balance! Please gauge your fame or scope in The Gambia and find out. And how long have you been away?

Certainly there’s a poke at leadership you may harbor however faint it is. You did replay Yank Darboe’s tape to stratagem and pitched your cards well. Why did you significantly pick the segment saying, and I paraphrase, “Pa Nderry should be our leader”? The wise pose the axiom tersely that, “Day dreaming is a very bad habit.” Here’s a laser point, Pa. Work on parlance first. Seek wisdom, hygienic or chaste English (at least for the medium), and practice humility.


Yanks Darboe,

“Base”, just the nostalgia the nickname evokes conquers me! You were always a comedian.  You weren’t as personal with Pa Nderry as I was back in the days. But please, for the sake of the time we all spent together with Pa and many others, bury the hatchet. I can vouchsafe that Pa was never a tribalist—at least not during the time he spent with us. If you say he now bears a slippery tongue, that I may agree. And if you say he glibly makes statements, that I’ll purchase as well. When he arrived in America, I used to tell him not to be too excited.  (As if I knew what such could lead to) ‘Base’, all humans are signatories to weaknesses and flaws. I love it when people inform me of mine. Here’s yours if you would kindly resist thinking I’m being too uncharitable: Attention freak and ego marketer! Now don’t feel bad. You were my pal so I can tell you anything. Here’s what may please thee: You weren’t like this pre-UK. Like Pa Nderry, don’t be too excited about abroad. Gambia is sweeter than abroad except for Yahya Jammeh’s defiance of reason. Just few weeks ago did I stand at the old Observer premises and almost shed tears. All of you swarmed to memory as the fit of retrospection charged. I still have a photograph of us in my custody which you will seriously love to see. Base, you were such a lovely pal with a rare sense of humor. Please don’t let that fallow.

Any really successful Gambian won’t easily trumpet his presence anywhere. Why? Because we’ve not finished helping Gambia yet, let alone Africa. Let me break that down: If I go to Wall Street and treat barons to my feat, that’s a bit more comfortable than doing the same with Gambians or Africans who need our help and pity—not our pomp. So, who are we marketing our clout, success, or ego to—especially when we go on air? Certainly, the Rothschild’s would seriously deign to take a sneak peek at these—and that is, if they give a hoot!



Both Pa and Yanks, please utilize your Facebook pages, Kibaaro and Freedom and exchange pleasantries. We all make mistakes. I’ve said this before and will repeat: Our current political divide and its tempo carry a curious exponent not commensurate to Gambia’s population, size, and demographics.

Quite a popular WAEC question used to go, “Coalition tends to disintegrate when the common enemy is removed, discus”. This was about Napoléon I and the concert against him (Verona, Troppeaux, & Aix La Chappeles) in pre-1830 revolutions in Europe. The common enemy here isn’t Napoleone. It’s Yahya Jammeh. And this common enemy isn’t even removed, yet coalition tends to disintegrate. Now imagine what will happen when he’s removed!

So may I end with “Those who don’t learn from bad history often repeat it.”