Sunday, November 8, 2009

A word for Surata Marong and co

This is intended to be a precise and simple response to Surata Marong’s letter, published on Freedom Newspaper, November 7 2009. I have resolved not to serve as a reason for any political scavenger to attract Yahya Jammeh’s attention by provoking my engaging them on whether I should be writing about the man or not. I have gotten a couple of similar missed placed pieces that I preferred not to respond to, because they do not worth wasting my time for. It’s that Surata raised some fundamental issues that made me feel obliged to put him through what he obviously does not know about the man he calls a ‘blessing’ to Gambians. In fact, he knows nothing about Yahya Jammeh other than what he sees written or hear about him. Whether he is blessing or not, let’s leave that for posterity to judge.

I believe all of those who clamor about Yahya Jammeh and how his rule lay on the line the future of Gambia have legitimate reasons one way or the other to do so, but those who criticize him based on their experiences have an even solid raison d'être to do so. That is the club I belong to. I assure you, Surata, that the best you can do is to listen and then make a fair judgment. This is not to say support or sympathize with me or any other aggrieved person over Yahya Jammeh’s misrule. What I mean is learn to appreciate the reality of things, however unpleasant they might be for your liking.

I have never argued on the basis that Yahya Jammeh can or cannot develop the country more than Dubai, as he seems to fantasize at any given opportunity. Every single individual who is distressed about the status quo in Gambia today has a unique reason. Ask anyone of them and they will tell you. You might be right to say that ‘‘When it comes to getting things done in the Gambia, we need fewer architects and more bricklayers.’’ However, architects are what we lack in the country today, because they are all being chased out as a result of innate hate been perpetuated by Momodou Sanyang and the likes. What kind of democracy is this that we are talking about?

When I joined the Daily Observer, I did so because I wanted to be a journalist not a politician. However, I recognized the fact very well that I was bound by an editorial policy which I respected fully. But even that would not save me from being accused of receiving critical information about Yahya Jammeh. If a leader thinks he has nothing to hide, he has nothing to worry about what people write. I have come to believe now that this is not like Yahya Jammeh.

Yes, we rejoice seeing our leaders being bold, but I hope you are not taking pleasure from saying this of Yahya Jammeh who takes such awkward decisions, backing them by the constitution. What is bold in sacking innocent people after they have been falsely reported to be opposed to your ideologies? If he really wants to sack people who are not working, there are many of them serving at all levels of government. All they do is misuse tax payers’ money.

I find it interesting that you would understand the fact that ‘‘Thrust is just like a virgin, once you lost it you can never regain it,’’ yet you can’t appreciate the fact that people like me who criticize Yahya Jammeh today are doing so based on a lost trust. It was you who recognized that in my interview on Freedom that I was polite and very specific of what I wanted. I guess that was because I tried to speak the Freedom editor out of frequent personality attacks and verbal assault on the president. Please, do distinguish personal attack from issues. You can not discuss political issues on Gambia today and don’t have to mention Yahya Jammeh. He forcefully dominates everything. Is it anybody’s fault that he is being discussed? I precisely attempted to speak Pa N’dery out of verbal assault of the president, not against attacking his egocentric tendencies.

You might be right that something about me has changed. You are not the only one who has said so of late. However, contrary to what you feel, I did not pass any specific ransom demand as such. I expected that when people make such serious allegations against people close to you, if you really are what you claim to be you ought to find out and not be arrogantly dismissing them. Jammeh’s statement, as published on Freedom, when he came to the US, left me disappointed, and if you have been following my writings well you will realize that it was after then that I started going the way I have been going. Such statement tantamount to endorsement of the lethargic and anti-progressive advice he is getting from Momodou Sanyang and his likes. Have you asked yourself what could cause me to accuse Momodou Sanyang, some one of my father’s age?

You sounded as though you were not expecting me to say anything after my interview with Freedom. I am afraid; you are making a big mistake. The only full time job I have known and love is journalism. Now tell me, if I do not write on Gambian affairs what do you expect me to write on? Gordon Brown and British politics I guess. I tell you what; some other people might get carried away by your praises for Yahya Jammeh, but certainly not me. I lived in that for close to two years working at the Daily Observer. I got the opportunity to see both his good side and his bad side. While you can play your game well with the hope that some day on return to Gambia you will get compensated, I do not need a job from Yahya Jammeh. Get that right. So, I will write my mind out regardless of how either you, Yahya Jammeh or whoever it is thinks.

Internal politics, like you put it, might be everywhere in the world, including where you are in the UK. But between you and God, you know that they do not report people on the ridiculous false allegation of receiving information critical of a leader whom the whole world knows can not stand divergent views. Do you know what that means to the reprehensible NIA of the Gambia? That was what Pa Malick Faye and Momodou Sanyang did to me. Pa Malick had his own agenda, and as far as I am concerned, he is not an issue to me except to say that he did that, just like he and the rest of the satanic trio, which includes himself, Sanyang and Dr Saja Taal, sacrificed Chief Manneh. I only make mention of Pa Malick when I talk about the Issue of Chief Manneh, because he was part of the cause of his disappearance. Those who think it is because of grievance that I am talking certainly do not know that I was not sacked, I ran away for my life. And you probably might want to know that I could have remained editor-in-chief of the Daily Observer up until now, but only at the expense of my conscience. Momodou Sanyang tried to lure me into that. By the way, is it correct to say this is internal politics when it involves Sanyang who doesn’t work there?

I think you deserve my advice, not the other way round. Since it is obvious that you do not know anything about me, please do find something else to say.

I am of the firm conviction that what I have contributed to Yahya Jammeh and the APRC government, you Surata Marong hasn’t done half of it. So if I change, it behooves you to fine out why I have changed. That way you can make an informed decision on your wasted time of support for Yahya Jammeh and his dictatorial tendencies. And like you and some other distraught guy in Raleigh North Carolina in the US, Pa Malick is not going to get mentioned by me only to have Yahya Jammeh appoints you people. If you want that go to Gambia and strive by yourself. That way you will get a better idea of what it is like living in that kind of situation. Wa Salam!

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