By Yanks Darboe
They said Jammeh was at it again of recent, with renewed vitriol against the Mandinka people. The question that lingers in many minds, or many have been asking is not what he said – for all can guess what that must have been – but what will the Mandinkas do about it? The same question that must have been lingering in the rotten minds of Yahya Jammeh, when he pondered over his vitriol, before uttering them! But the question that lingers in mine, as a Mandinka and that of many Mandings, is what do they expect us to do about it? Start a war against Yahya Jammeh or his tribe, the Jolas or the state he heads, the Gambian state? What do they really expect or want the Mandinkas to do about it? This is what I tried to battle with in the rest of this piece and hope that you make sense out of it, not feel offended!
Surely, it would not make sense to anyone to believe that a tribe of more than a million people can fight with a single individual; especially when that individual is as rotten as the little spoilt brat called Yahya Jammeh!!! It therefore would ruled out any conjecture of a possibility of a battle or fist fight between the Mandinkas, as a tribe, and Yahya Jammeh an individual. Surely, it is becoming vivid that Yahya Jammeh is hankering to bequeath a legacy of a folklore to be narrated to generations after him, that he is the Jola boy, who took on the Mandinka tribe and won. Rather than being the little brat, who was too scared to take on the challenge of a little Mandinka boy called Yanks Darboe for a boxing contest in a neutral country. But this spoilt brat has a dream, a dream of a legacy hero boy, who battled the Mandings and won. But if such be his wish, let him take me on first in a neutral country, and see if this Manding blood running in my veins would not be strong enough to whip his smelly ass!! So, we must not let Yahya Jammeh win in his quest of a legacy of such a narrative. A tribe cannot fight with an individual, especially when that individual is as cowardice as Yahya Jammeh.
So, since the Mandinkas cannot take on Jammeh, in a tribe versus an individual contest, what else is expected of the Mandinkas to do to avenge against Jammehs tirades. Do they expect us to go to war with his tribesmen, the Jolas or the Gambian state, made up of Mandinkas and every other Gambian tribes. In simple terms that will be a war of Mandinkas against Mandinkas and all other Gambian tribes. Something which is not feasible or winnable. It sound more like suicide, if you ask me.
So that left us with only one option, which is a war against the Jolas! Is this what Jammeh and those harbouring such hideous questions want? And tell me what would be gained out of a Mandinka mob from Jarra, Kiang, Badibu, Niumi, and Kombo marauding the habitats of Foni; killing, pillaging and destroying, as witnessed in Rwanda, Burundi, Liberia. Simply because, that happens to be the habitat of the Jammeh tribe. I tell you what will be gained out of such madness. The Mandinkas will simply be labelled as savages by the international community, whilst the other half will be paraded at the ICC for crimes against humanity. Is this what will satisfy Jammeh and those asking such hideous questions, as justice for the Mandinkas against Jammeh’s vitriol. Someone would ask in any subsequent trials of the Manding folks, what has an innocent young Jola girl or boy had to do with Jammeh’s insolent vitriol.
Many forgot that the Mandinkas of today and those of yesterday are very different. Mandinkas of today have embraced changed. They inter-married and shared new cultures of nationhood with Wolofs, Fulas, and Jolas. Those who think a war between Mandinkas and Jolas will be limited to those communities, are not aware of the dimensions of the Gambian heterogeneous society.
They think a Mandinka wielding machete man, from the rural Gambia, will ask a question of whether one is a Jola or Wolof or Fula before striking. This is because, although the Jolas are not the largest tribe in the Gambia, but they are related to all other tribes the Gambia, including: the Mandinkas, Fulas and Wolofs. So where do we draw the lines. How do you control a machete wielding Mandinka man from rural Gambia to strike only at those, who are Jolas but not those who are related to Jolas. The same would go for a Jola wielding machete man from Foni.
For example, as a Mandinka – and unlike what others would feel, I am a very proud Mandinka and that will never be dimmed by the son-of-a-bitch Yahya Jammeh – I have relatives from my mother’s side who are Jolas from Cassamance. Something which could make some Mandinkas think that, even I am not pure Mandinka enough. So what ought to be my fate. Will I also be butchered because of that link to the Jolas or speared as a Mandinka!!
Yahya Jammeh knows that there cannot be a war between Mandings and Jolas, in which Jolas will triumph and that is a common knowledge to most Jolas. Simply because of the sheer number of the Mandings. The Jolas are mainly centred in the Gambia and southern Senegal. The Mandings are one of the largest tribes in West Africa. You will find them in Mali, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso and Liberia, etc. In fact even if Yahya and Jolas joined and massacred all Mandinkas in The Gambia and Senegal, it will not be the extinction of the Mandings. But if Jawara or another Manding leader in Gambia are to do the same to the Jolas in Gambia and Senegal, then Jolas will become an endangered tribe.
So why should such a tribe, as big as Mandinkas, stoop so low to pick a fight with one individual, who is the world’s worst coward, Yahya Jammeh, as to be battered and bruised by his insults and plunge his whole tribe and nation into smouldering waste land. Despite many years of hard work to build such a heterogeneous society called The Gambia.
When Yahya Jammeh first came to power, he started his vitriols against the Jolas first. Since then he has insulted all of the other tribes in The Gambia. He insulted all of the Gambian men few years ago that they are not all men enough. Few days ago, he insulted all of the Gambian opposition transcending beyond any one particular tribe in The Gambia. If we do not want anymore insults from Yahya Jammeh; we must rise up as a nation to fight him together as a national problem, but not see it as a tribal problem.
Yayeh Jammeh was brought to power not through the efforts of the Jolas, but that of the efforts of the Gambia National Army consisting of all tribes. He was not brought to power by Mandinkas and is therefore not our problem alone but a national problem and must be tackled as such! Otherwise if Mandinkas alone defeat then, they will have every right to chase all other tribes of the Gambia out of the country and claimed it as their spoils of war!