Women of Substance






The “patriots” are marching, marching into the abyss, beating the drums of war! Today, I saw my countrymen call for the foreign occupation of our beloved Gambia. Today, I saw “patriots” advocating violence against other Gambians. And, today, I WEEP FOR MY COUNTRY! Recent developments in The Gambia have left a good many of us sullen and crestfallen - and many of my comrades have taken to social media to condemn the abhorrent treatment of protesters in the country, and rightly so. According to reports - some protesters have already lost their lives, some were brutally beaten, some languishing in jail, including Lawyer Ousainou Darboe. The rest of us are either rabble rousing online, calling for mass demonstrations on the streets; while some of us are calling those who don’t want to demonstrate and not condemning the actions in the country, unpatriotic and hypocrites. While the puritans back home are calling the online warriors agitators and “non-peace-loving Gambians”.  These past days have been a spectacle and I am sure we all share the sorrow and dismay that is going on in our dear ole country, tis of thee!

Folks are really angry at the mass arrests and the subsequent lost of life - and I think this is another dark chapter in the Gambian saga.  Notwithstanding, some are, for some violent reasons, asininely calling for the Senegalese military to enter Gambian lands and change our government. When I first heard the incantation of the silly idea that the Senegalese Gendarmerie should march into the Gambia and change the government - I was shocked that - I had to pause for a second to make sense out of such senseless sentiments. But then again, like I usually do when I am at lost for words -- I tried to weigh the pros and cons of such - and when my conflicting thoughts reached a consensus - I came to the conclusion that absent the change of personnel at the helm - no good comes out of this.

First, I pictured the Senegalese armada with their heavy arsenals engaging in a shooting match with our Gambian soldiers around the Serekunda market; Senegalese forces chilling in the State House, just for the hell of it; literally controlling everything that comes in and out of our country; I also pictured them staying in the country for the foreseeable future in the name of security. I am asking my fellow countrymen who are willing to let the Senegalese military invade our country to imagine the following: Imagine, just imagine, the Senegalese military  - exchanging fire with the Gambian military in your parents neighborhood? Imagine the carnage, imagine the blood and gore, imagine the Senegalese soldiers killing your fellow Gambians? I mean, what kind of precedent are we even setting here? Does that mean that whenever our government’s interest clash with that of our neighbors - they can willy-nilly come in and do whatever the heck they want to do? Isn’t that government that is going to be in charge after the overthrow of the present government going to be beholden to the Senegalese colossus? One thing that beggars belief, though, is that most of these folks want to see a democratic Gambia; however, for some crazy reasons, they are nonchalantly okay with an unconstitutional, violent overthrow of the government. That’s more than a glaring paradox, it is moral contradiction.

The pacifist in me believes that change, in all its forms, should be non-violent, for a violent overthrow of the current administration would be a catastrophe of epic and seismic proportions. In all honesty, what do we get out of a violent regime change? Are all means necessary, including a foreign military invasion of our sovereign land something that we should even be broaching? I know we are at our wit’s end with the current government, and trust me, it is annoying as hell; however, we ought to be more responsible than that - we should not look at this only with an emotional prism or arbitrary whim, for the times call for cooler heads. I think some of our peoples anathema towards the president has made them so removed from the ramifications of such that they are not mostly having these discussions in abstractions. I know we all have this idealistic fantasy that regime change - no matter the outcome - for as long as Jammeh is usurped - would yield a better Gambia. Well, all the violent overthrow of governments in the postbellum era have begotten more violence, instability, failed states, and so forth. If history is something we are to look at then I think the Somali, Sierra-Leonean, Guinean (Bissau),  and most recently -- the Libyan regime change - should serve as a precedent. When shall we ever learn?

Be that as it may, I think we should also ask the president and his administration the following 60s protest questions: Mr. President, how many times must the cannonballs fly before they're forever banned? How many years can the people exist before they're allowed to be free? How many ears must you have before you can hear people cry? Yes, and how many deaths will it take till you know that too many people have died?

In the end, “remember, generations of Gambians to come will one day, ask of us living, what have we done with our time? Hopefully, we will answer that we have mastered our destiny; that, we have contributed to the PEACEFUL advancement of The Gambia. That, essentially, should be our summons to The Gambia ever true.”

Let’s pray for the departed and their families, and may cooler heads prevail!


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