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Monday, June 27, 2022

Gaslighting

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With Aisha Jallow

Once there was a great American playright by the name of Alfred Hitchcock. This man was able to make the scariest movies and after you had seen them, your heart beat fast and you looked for invisible enemies everywhere. One of his movies was called ”Gaslighting” and it was about a married couple where the man tried to make his wife believe that she was getting mad. Their house was lit with gas lamps, and they began to flicker whenever the man was up on the attick, searching for his wife’s jewelry. The man was in great need of money, so he tried to find the jewelry his wife had hidden somewhere. The woman was unaware of his evil plan, and when she complained about the flickering lights her husband told her that it was all in her mind. The woman began to question herself, because the man was very persuasive. Slowly, slowly the man broke down the mind of his wife and made her believe that she was becoming crazy. This is an example of psychological violence, a method used by someone who has an evil scheme.

Gaslighting became a psychological term, describing different ways of manipulation where you break down others and make them doubt themselves. The Gambia government White Paper on the report of the TRRC has been released. It contains 178 pages, for those of you who wish to read it. Many of you seek the truth and take the time to read the report, but others will dismiss it and say that they are sure this report is full of lies and it could not be as bad as the victims claimed. The gaslighting was active during the 22 years of terror and fear in The Gambia, and some people still claim that it was not as bad and that it was only malicious rumours.

The political party, founded by the mastermind of evilness himself, still exists. For me it is completely incomprehensible that President Barrow and his government didn’t show the Gambian people any respect and ban the party forever. Barrow’s inauguration had to take place in Senegal, his life was in danger and he had lots of security personel protecting his life at the occasion. That was good for him, but I wonder if his fear made him understand how his fellow citizens had felt during all these years? Was there any thought in Barrow’s mind that when things had settled, he would make sure that history will never repeat itself?

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It doesn’t seem like the thought processes in the president’s mind is so much of what he can do for the country, but more of what the country can do for him. The gaslighting has become like a huge gas cloud, covering The Gambia and it has poured into people’s minds. Those who were in favour of the predator, sorry …President Jammeh would never admit that evil forces ruled the country. They claimed that people misunderstood, that they misbehaved and were punished according to the law. They made people doubt themselves and kept people in fear. Psychological violence is when someone is ruling your life and doesn’t wish anything good for you. You will not have any of your needs met, your health deteriorates but you will not get the health care you need. You are taught that someone else is in control over your life and you are not supposed to question that.

Sometimes, when I think of The Gambia, it feels like the whole country is a psychological experiment. It is like the great Ruler is sitting in his tower, watching the whole country and with vague interest, studies who will survive and who will not. Perhaps I should use another narrative where the Ruler instead is studying a lot of ants running up and down. The ants struggle for their survival, hoping for the best, but the Ruler can any minute put his foot down and crush them. What a rush of power for the Ruler, knowing that he has the power over the lives of these small creatures that means nothing to him. Maybe I am digging too deep, maybe there is no scheme, only stupidity and ignorance combined. Which is worse? There is not much hope for change in any of the cases.

Where is the will for change? #Neveragain is only a catchy slogan for a T-Shirts nowadays, or is there is any fighting spirit in the minds of the Gambian people? The mental gas that has poured into people’s minds is slowing down any process that could create any progress in The Gambia. This gas is lethal but the process is slow and the effects of it are not discovered until it is too late. The minds that are still fresh and unaffected try to lift your spirits, they try their best to let the fresh wind of change blow the mental gas away but they are too many times met with resistance. Some are resisiting because they fear change. They know that the current situation is not good, but that is all they know and change is scary. Others who are resisisting don’t want any change because they benefit from the current situation.

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With some doses of gaslighting from time to time, it is easy to make people believe that they are not supposed to wish for anything better. Make them believe that the president knows best, just because he is the president. Make people believe that they are not supposed to wish for more than they have because God has decided that they should suffer. Keep people in ignorance, keep them starving enough so they are too weak to fight for their rights. Keep people illiterate so they will not be able to learn about their rights. Keep people afraid to lose their jobs so they will stay quiet and not complain about low wages, bad working conditions and unequipped working places. Spread the mental gas everywhere so you can keep control over the people and not allow them to demand a change for the better if they would have the time and strength to consider their situation.

Don’t allow anyone to diminish you! Don’t allow anyone to make you believe that you are not worthy a good life. Don’t allow anyone to take away your human rights. Every human being has the right to food, a home, healthcare and to live in peace. These are your rights, so never stop to claim them. Free your mind from the mental gas that has been affecting The Gambia for too long now!

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