I normally would not respond exclusively to individual pieces of articles. I have decided to do so in the case of this gentleman, Omar Jallow of Raleigh NC, as published on Freedom Newspaper Online, Thursday October 8, 2009, only because, unlike the rest of those who have done something that attracted my attention, he has put up some very good and salient points that I would not want to pass without discussing as it will be of very great importance to all.
By the way, Jallow, thank you for the wonderful piece of advice embedded in your article occasionally lined up with mild premeditated attacks. I appreciate your bravery and show of literary prowess.
Having said all this, I am a little bit concerned about your tendency for suppression of free speech. I must remind you at this point that you are in a country which was founded on the basis of fundamental values that included free speech. The guarantee of these values is what made you and all the online Editors-in-chief you are chastising encouraged to resettle there. Nonetheless, I do accept the fact that as human beings, we all have our buts. It is the individual advantages that we possess that make us prevail over one another in terms of our thinking. I just intend to point out a few things I think you should take note of for your future articles.
In fact, at first thought I was going to write to you through your personal mail because I did not want to get drawn into a cyber battle with somebody who is clearly looking for cheap popularity, which I know will not only discredit me, but will also add on to my already regrettable feeling of disappointment. Yes, it was me who described President Yahya Jammeh as noble or what have you. I even went further to reproof the editors at Freedom for being too personal against the president, and I still stick to that view. I however did not say no body should criticize the president or any other person in his government, did I? I am in a situation, and this situation was caused by people who work with President Jammeh. Remember I promised to share my experience with the rest of the world. When I recount my problem, you will be certain to have me mention President Jammeh. Is it my fault that the president continues to harbor and glorify people who have the blood of innocent people in their hands? Or could it be that it is because they carried these crimes on his behalf?
I do not know when you left Gambia, or under which circumstances you left in the first place, but you sound to me like one of those opportunist Diaspora Gambians who take advantage of situations like this only to have the president’s attention for possible appointment or something. This is attestable in your statement ‘‘I am openly inviting the APRC government into Raleigh and you better trust me on this with no strings attached the turn out will be overwhelming.’’ And you went on to put you number at the end of the article hoping to receive a call sooner or later from State House in Banjul. Well, I tell you what, you are the kind of people Jammeh falls for so easily. But let me warn you, find out what has become of the people like before you try it. I swear you might regret it. Yahya Jammeh will use you and then dump you! And then you might not be able to return to North Carolina because you probably have overstayed your visa now.
I want you to understand one thing, Jallow; I was never a registered member of the APRC government because I was not interest in political position. If I supported Yahya Jammeh I did so purely out of genuine feeling. I probably have done so many things more beneficial for the president and his government than you might have done. And I did all what I did with the genuine feeling that he was the right guy. My change in attitude today is as a result of a feeling of disappointment. So you do not sit there and preach me as if you love the Gambia more than I do. I do not need any position from Yahya Jammeh. So I do not give a damn (sorry for my language) about what he feels. Even if I am going to die in exile, I am resigned to that fate. I have a story to tell, and I am going to tell my story. Do you know that my blood brother is behind one of the papers you commended for doing good job because they did not lose sight of the need to highlight our sporting achievement? In this world, we all can not be on the same path. I worked at the Daily Observer, a paper owned by Yahya Jammeh. And I tell you what; it is a crime there to mention the name of anybody that is seen as opponent of the president. It is no secret that President Yahya Jammeh detests seeing his opponents being made mention of. What a pathetically selfish attitude of a leader of a whole country. This is part of the story I have to tell the world. So if you do not want it, you can go and tell Yahya Jammeh to put a stop to his murderous spree that is responsible for the making of so many online editors-in-chief and Diaspora oppositions. Sorry, I maybe sounding aggressive now, but it is because I hate people who always take advantage of other people’s unfortunate plight and advance their selfish course. I am afraid, that is what you are.
I am happy, however, that you agreed that we should criticize one another but constructively. But do you know that constructive criticism is what the government you claim to be supporting refuses to accept?
And please, just a point of correction, I have never been recruited by any online paper editor to criticize Yahya Jammeh or the APRC. I am a man of independent thinking. Do you know that all the articles you read online which are authored by me are actually on my personal blog Justice For The Press? I am not a sellout, so I do not need to appease any online newspaper editor as they have nothing, absolutely nothing, to offer me. We only happen to share a common goal, and that is how to cleanse our country of the dictatorship there. I accept that you are entitled to you opinion by describing editors of online newspapers as using their media to settle personal scores, but do you also know that this Yahya Jammeh you support is a master in that? I served as editor-in-chief of the Daily Observer, where I have evidence of him getting personally involved in using the paper to strike at his opponent abroad, people like the Senegalese President Abdoulie Wade. And of course, you are right to say that ‘‘there is nothing wrong with criticism if it is genuine, because it will make the person in question deliver from his mistakes.’’ I just want to point out here that in the case of Gambia, I am afraid, it is no more a matter of mistake…For how long is the free world going to be appealing to a man who has no respect for genuine decent? Ours is a matter of getting rid of the dictatorial regime. Simple and straight forward! Besides, you criticize and hope for change from a government that tolerates criticism.
The more I read your article, Jallow, the more I get a reinforced feeling that you have no idea about what is happening in Gambia, which makes me wonder if you have any genuine reason to say anything on this matter.
You went on to say ‘‘I also happen to notice that with the exception of the DAILY OBSERVER, THE POINT, GAMSPORTS, GAMBIASPORTS none of the other online papers is covering the sports in our country, as if that is not part of nation development.’’
Again, do you realized that the Yahya Jammeh you support hates all these papers you mentioned except the Daily Observer, which is because he owns the latter? Have you asked why no journalist from the independent media is allowed to report on presidential affairs other than Daily Observer and GRTS? Please do and get back to me.