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Saturday, September 19, 2020

To Gambian youths: a call to peace, reconciliation and solidarity

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I salute you all brothers and sisters with the salutation of peace, Asalaamu alaikum!

 

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Recent developments in our country have demonstrated what some of us suspected many months ago, that our cherished peace and stability is challenged. But the good thing is that, with a positive mental attitude, every challenge brings with it opportunities beyond measure. It is in view of such thinking that I write to appeal to all of you across ethnic, religious and regional lines to come together in the spirit of unity to speak and act for peace, reconciliation and solidarity for the progress and prosperity of our dear nation, The Gambia.

 

The challenges young people face all over the world, especially our part of the world, are huge enough even under normal circumstances; and that is why we must not allow an already tough situation to be further complicated by disturbing our indispensable key to development, peace and stability.

 

As an economist I know the challenges facing our government and other governments around the world; our economies cannot provide the requisite opportunities for gainful employment and self-actualization for young people under current trends of global economic performance. Therefore every ounce of our energy should be properly channeled towards creative avenues for socio-economic development that would benefit all of us.

 

Sowing the seeds of chaos under such circumstances would be nothing short of self-destruction. We should all maintain a principled stance against violence whether that violence is coming from the state, individuals or groups. We need peace and we should all speak and act with one voice to preserve the peace and stability of our dear motherland!

 

Two wrongs have never, and would never make a right; so I plead that we all forgive one another and embrace the ethos of peaceful coexistence preached by our two main religions, Islam and Christianity. If in doubt as to what step to take in any situation, in our these challenging times, my advice is to ask yourself “what would Jesus or Muhammad do?” May Allah’s peace and blessings be on both of them.

 

I was privileged to be an invited guest when leading artiste Gibou Bala Gaye distributed meals for the breaking of fast at Westfield last weekend; it was a moment of great joy when I saw other artistes, including Killa Ace and T Smallz join the group in sharing and caring. This was a great win for Team Gambia as we all showed love and care regardless of tribe, regional or other considerations. This occasion was a great show of peace and reconciliation for Gambian youths and the spirit should be imbibed and replicated country-wide.

 

Let us live the Quranic injunction of making peace between our contending brothers as taught in verse 10 of Surah Hujurat; the Holy Bible equally enjoins us to keep the peace and maintain the spirit of brotherhood/sisterhood by being one another’s keeper. Please let us all take heed, the words of Allah (subhaanahu wa ta aalaa):

 

And fear the Fitnah (affliction and trial, etc.) which affects not in particular (only) those of you who do wrong (but it may afflict all the good and the bad people), and know that Allah is Severe in punishment.
-Surah Anfaal, 25

 

My brothers and sisters, let me repeat my plea earlier posted on social media:
Calling on all young Gambians to go out of their way and do all they can to extend love, care and support to relatives, strangers and all during this Ramadan. Let us fill this country with love and compassion. Say no to violence from whichever end it attempts to show its ugly head.
#KanaSong
#CantCageMe

 

We can, and we should, all work together to achieve this, as taught by my high school Bible teacher, Father David Jarju: every man under his vine and under his fig tree!

 

It can be done and we should all work together for this: a peaceful Gambia, adorned with love, harmony and prosperity! But it can only be done within an atmosphere of peace and stability. Let us speak and act that principle together for a better Gambia.

 

Momodou Sabally Former Presidential Affairs Minister, Motivational Speaker and author; Founder of Sabally’s Leadership Academy (SLA).

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