By Yero Jallow
“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me” (Martin Niemoller, 1892-1984).
The eloquent Pastor Martin Niemoller challenged world Citizens, the German leaders and the intellectuals in his memorable quote of his he is greatly remembered for, reminding them the danger of being complicit through silence on the Nazi’s aggression on millions of people notably the Jews. Hitler was indeed an undesirable element whose criminality couldn’t be inked to historical accuracy, at least the level of his aggression. World leaders especially African leaders and intellectuals must be challenged to the same standards when it comes to Gambia’s current political predicament in the hands of a criminal brute, Yaya Jammeh, and failure to do so, the noted class would have failed Gambians. Neutrality and sitting on the side bench is unacceptable, as it is not only political hypocrisy, but criminal by complicity in silence thereby enabling to some degree.
I was surfing the Freedom Newspaper on my daily dose of news and as usual came across the following distasteful article with its abominable contents. The contents are unfortunate, and very telling of a person who claims to be the leader of country as respectable in terms of ethnic and religious tolerance as the Gambia. I wanted to condemn Jammeh’s marginalization and continued attack and dehumanization of the Mandeng (The Mandinko), an ethic group with large population in West Africa, especially the Gambia. Jammeh’s direct attack on the Mandeng resembles the late Guinea’s Saikou Touray on the Fulbe of Guinea. Touray, who paraded himself as a Pan-Africanist was a brute and an iron-fist ruler of the highest magnitude who killed OAU’s first Secretary General, Telli Diallo, and brutalized a lot of Fulbe dispersing them the far and while within the region.
“I prefer five Wollofs to work for me than one Mandinka. I also prefer four Fullas to work for me than one Mandinka” (Yaya Jammeh, Freedom Newspaper, 5/14/2015. Web link Source http://www.freedomnewspaper.com/Homepage/tabid/36/newsid367/10902/BREAKING-NEWS-JAMMEH-SAYS-HE-PREFERS-FIVE-WOLLOFS-TO-WORK-FOR-HIM-THAN-ONE-MANDINKA/Default.aspx).
Let us look at the problem of the irrational mindset in Jammeh, a power-drunk whose rotten egos are dead criminal, goes a long way in putting other Gambian tribes including the Jolas in harm’s way, if not now, possibly later, because of the likely backlash such comments are likely to cause. Without much analysis, it is conclusive that Jammeh’s bigotry comments are malicious, criminal and without substance. Such comments have the tendency to tighten tensions and create hatred among existing tribes in the Gambia. A good reference of chaos that tribal fighting can bring is recently Kenya, and that should serve a good lesson that Citizens must not get so disparate and helpless that they will be cornered by such unfortunate comments coming from a criminal mind to the point of reciprocating such towards other citizens by default of their tribal belonging.
There is a reason for Jammeh’s attack and such is not far-fetched. For a fetish and paranoid person like Jammeh, it is not a guess work, not a brainstorming exercise either, almost conclusive that the end is drawing nearer, with the arrest claws getting closer to his neck and hands, and the only option for a drowning criminal who won’t rehabilitate, is to hallucinate on his fears and wallow in lies and fabrication, in an effort to justify his criminal actions continually. More to it is that Jammeh is an attention-seeking criminal, a pathological liar, and an unyielding criminal ruler whose inferior complexity makes him mentally imbalanced and phobic enough to purse his perceived enemies. Armed with Gambia’s State resources (power, the military, funds, the state media, etc…) gives him the ready recipe to even execute his hate, divide and rule, and prey on more citizens in an effort to keep the throne. Without doubt, the December 30th 2014 alleged Coup in the Gambia touched his egos, and increased his paranoia greatly to the level to where he thinks even the noise that comes from his shoes are after his power grip.
The Mandeng like all other Citizens must raise their eye brows beyond the horizons and notice that Jammeh is just being him, a divide and rule criminal ruler, who won’t settle at nothing other than coming after his perceived enemies, in whatever manner to justify his criminal actions. Jammeh’s latest directive criminal comments, just like his previous, is enough to send a warning sign reminder to Citizens on the Gambia’s deepening wounds, a recipe for continued conflict. Jammeh’s recent comments are not new, matter of fact, not long ago the same was done through Momodou Sabally on GRTS. It is becoming an un-challenged norm, if not for the Diaspora who took liberty in taking Jammeh heads-on on the dangers he continues to pose in today’s Gambia.
Jammeh’s bad mouthing at Citizens continually must not go un-challenged. Sons and daughters must rise, Citizens must rise, and the nation as a whole must rise to confront an immediate danger in the loose criminal Yaya Jammeh. His continuity in power signals an impotent nature and timidity of some of Gambia’s citizens, while many others will take to their comfort corners thinking life is all good, as long they weren’t directly affected. Oh well sooner or later, the lashes of the criminal ruler somewhere somehow touches on the very enabling force and you keep hearing the late outcries.
I encourage Citizens to keep their participation active and to challenge Jammeh’s continued criminality locally, petition international organizations and Governments about Jammeh’s nature, and create a heightened environment that empowers citizens to rise up with the backing of the country’s military to eventually do a minor political surgery in ousting Jammeh.
Here you go again fellow Citizens. Power is you, and power is your face and hearts. It is in your hands and you must not fold your hands or take to silence. You all can make the difference by making your opinions heard. Accepting defeat and retreating to an armed bandit like Jammeh in today’s Gambia equals to accepting being bullied. While you can be physically eliminated, your ideas will live on, and that is more desirable than unhelpful physical presence.