If great leaders starting from Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) to Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr and Nelson Mandela went by what was popular for political points or reasons, we would probably not be living in a civilized world albeit all its flaws. Words like mercy, compassion, reconciliation, dialogue, freedom, peace, love, community, justice, change, hope, and individual rights would have being missing in our vocabulary.
My brothers and sisters, even though we cherish the agony and pains in our hearts for victims everywhere, we must to work together for the common good and do away with sentiments such as retaliation, hate, kill, animosity, insults, and chaos. We all know we have a problem and in order to fix it, we have to identify, verify and understand the problem. It is only then that we find sustainable solutions to the problem. It is the duty and moral obligation of each one of us to do whatever we can to solve the problem. Whatever approach one takes, it does not have to be popular for political points, or be in fear of getting condemned and left alone to stand for a just cause. I am at the solution face and hope you will join anyone who wants to solve our problems and not add to them. There are brothers and sisters who are genuine and will go about doing things differently but that do not make them unpatriotic or anti-government. There are members in different political parties who may share the same just cause we are all fighting for but are scared that they will be turned away because of their past relations. In addition, others are just waiting for the right words and actions to unite us all, but see little hope because the hope and inspiration they need is lacking. No one should attack anyone for choosing a side but should work tirelessly to gain their support so that you can snatch them away if you mean well.
Do not get me wrong, I strongly believe that the same thing all the organizations are yearning for is the same thing I want. That same thing is a peaceful Gambia living up to democratic principles, with freedom and peace each day. Where one gets to be proud to live in dignity, respect, and pride as a born Gambian. However, we may disagree with logic and methods as to the way forward, but for anyone who believes that violence is the only way to achieve peace, you are clearly mistaken and need more guidance. I will give you some examples to reiterate what I just said.
The Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) who Muslims look up to as a guidance, was a husband, father, General, and Prophet of Allah sent on to us mankind with God’s mercy for us. Yes Islam and many religions fought but the Prophet (S.A.W) endured so much before he fought with his people. Not to say that you haven’t, but let us learn from his actions and ways of dealing with those that oppressed him. The Prophet (S.A.W) was driven to exile after all the terrible ordeal he went through with his people in Mecca, to Medina. The Prophet (S.AW) had to negotiate and sit with the opposite side for a peace treaty after all the blood and sacrifices that was made. When he started writing in the name of Allah and his Prophet (S.A.W) they automatically stopped him and told him to erase that because they don’t believe in his God and him. His companion Caliph Omar peace be upon him could not stand it and was furious. “How can you allow this for them not to recognize our God and you are the Prophet of Allah? No No!” According to a hadith this was said by Caliph Omar (Pbuh). The Prophet (S.AW) said not to worry and took the name of Allah and his name off just to gain peace for 10yrs. After that, Islam grew and the people just marched to Mecca without hurting anyone. The Prophet (S.A.W) showed compassion by releasing all those who were plotting and killing his people. When asked about Jihad which many people misinterpreted, he said that the Jihad we should be worried about is fighting our inner self. May Allah guide us to the right path?
Other examples which I will shorten are in the case of Nelson Mandela who was meeting with the Apartheid leaders that instructed to kill many Africans. You probably all know how that ended. Martin Luther King Jr had numerous meetings with the government and African Americans who thought that violence was the only way out. He was a man of character full of conviction that non- violence is the just way out and that is what I believe too. As Martin Luther rightfully said, “said,” Cowardice asks the question – is it safe?
Expediency asks the question – is it politic?
Vanity asks the question – is it popular?
But conscience asks the question – is it right?
And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular; but one must take it because it is right.” This is where I stand, so let us stop the blame game and do what is right. Although risky, I like many others have faith in what we are doing. What I believe is right is to fight injustice everywhere not just in Gaza, Nigeria, U.S.A, but even in your own backyard. What is right is to learn from Martin Luther King’s inspiratory called Mahatma Ghandi. Ghandi achieved a lot for India and around the world by nonviolence. He had numerous meetings with the British Colony, and eventually got the freedom they rightfully deserved.
Nothing easy that is worth something or valued comes easy as President Obama said before. We need to make huge sacrifices in order to achieve our goals. While the time calls for unity, what we cannot afford is to sit by and rant or make excuses when action is what is needed. I may not have the consent to speak for all at this moment with this approach I am taking to open dialogue with the President of our beloved country The Gambia, but I would ask that we have an honest debate when we meet in August to show vision and clarity as to a way forward. A way forward that would lead us to a peaceful Gambia. May we all do what is right for the greater good of all and not just self. May we all unite under one voice and leadership to fix what is broken. Let us exhaust all diplomatic channels with sincerity, faith, and hope for a better Gambia that will protect its National Interest. The interest of the people of the Gambia. I am one of you, and you are one of me. Regardless of party affiliation, tribe, religion, gender, or colour, we are one big family. Senegal is our family too and we shall always have the same National Interest because we are too close of a neighbour and bonded in family to do otherwise. May we always stand firm with our beliefs and not let any political points or popularity choices overshadow the moral good of what we have to do. May God continue to bless us all and may we all have a blessed Eid!!Let justice guide our actions towards the common good as the National Anthem rightfully says. May God continue to bless the Gambia!!