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Friday, May 24, 2024

Human rights?

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It is very easy to dismiss the violations of the human rights, as long as it doesn’t concern yourself or your nearest and dearest. You hear of someone being arrested, slapped around, threatened and you dismiss it as nonsense. You have heard about the person who is in trouble at the moment, and you are sure that this person deserves what he or she gets. You have heard from someone, who knows someone else, who has an uncle that comes from the same village as your neighbour’s friend younger cousin that the person who is trouble is in fact a trouble maker. Maybe you have even seen a short video on Facebook about that person, and therefore it must be true. Anyway, this person is so ugly and has high thoughts of him or herself so it is about time someone is putting him or her in their place.

You try to get on with your day as nothing has happened and you thank whatever God you believe in that it wasn’t you who was harassed. During the Jammeh era you never knew when it was your turn to be in trouble. A hard knock on the door at night time made your pulse rush and you almost peed your pants in fear. You really want to believe that these times are over, don’t you? You want to believe that the laws of this country are followed by all. You stick your head in the sand and refuse to believe that bad things are still happening in The Gambia. This is a survival instinct, but how many are allowed to keep on living here with any harm done to them? Is it enough if harm is only done to those who deserve it? What kind of harm is okay for you? Is there a level on how much pain we can cause to others?

The problem is that if we don’t protect human rights in The Gambia, no human has any rights in the end. Who knows who will be the next victim if we are so quick to turn our backs and to cover our ears so we don’t hear their cries for help? Next time it can be you, or me. No, it is better to keep your head down and move along, hoping that no one will notice you. It is better to pretend that all the rumours you have heard are true so you don’t have to be involved.

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#neveragain, do you still remember that? What does it mean to you? Is the slogan too old so we need to invent a new one that is more catchy? What about this:

#nevereveragain! It is like we need to convince ourselves that what happened during the 22 years of fear and terror maybe didn’t happen so we can keep on living in this country God somehow seems to have forgotten.

Oh la, la, some of you might shout out that this is blasphemy. I can’t say that about God when the country is filled with mosques and churches. Or can I? Telling that a country or place is in such a mess that it seems like God has forgotten it is an expression for resignation. It doesn’t seem to matter how many pious people in high positions we have here, if they are not acting according to their faith. Praying alone doesn’t change a thing if your prayers are not followed by your thoughts and your actions . Praying for others is only lip service if the words you say doesn’t mean anything to you. You just follow the tradition, what you have been taught, but you repeat the words like a parrot.

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A parrot doesn’t have that much of a brain, but it has enough to not cause any harm to any other living being. You can tame a parrot to repeat some words or even sentences, but the words don’t mean anything to the parrot. A parrot speaks parrotish, not humanish, so what you hear from it is only sounds it has been taught to repeat.

We never see animals killing one another just for the pleasure of it. A lioness hunting her prey is not evil, even if some people love to think of animals as partly humans. A lioness is hunting because she and her babies are hungry, not because she gets a rush from scaring another animal and chasing her prey until she will be able to kill it.

Sometimes we call someone else a beast, that he or she is acting like an animal, and we use it as an insult. Instead we should take it as a compliment, because animals only kill for food and otherwise they respect each other and keep their distance to those they don’t like. Where does this pleasure come from, to harass, to intimidate, to misuse your power, to show the world that you are in charge and everyone else should only accept and do as they are told? What is wrong with people? What are they trying to prove? Do they believe that others will be impressed by their actions? That others in fact are expecting this kind of behaviour from the ”big wigs”? Some might do that, but what most people expect is to be treated with respect for their integrity and their humanity.

Yahya Jammeh showed the way how to control the Gambian people through fear. No one was safe, because a dictator doesn’t follow the rules. A dictator makes the rules and others has to follow. The problem with this kind of rules is that they suddenly change depending on the mood of the dictator. Just look at one of Jammeh’s puppets, Ousman Rambo Jatta. He suffered while he still was a member of UDP. He was jailed and tortured. He was rotting away in a cell somewhere far away in a place that God really had placed in the back of his mind. If it wouldn’t have been for Amnesty International, Rambo Jatta would have been dead and his body would have been thrown in an empty well like so many others.

This harassing of Rambo Jatta and his family kept ongoing for years until Jatta became persuaded that the only way to maintain his liberty is to support his abuser – former president Yahya Jammeh. In his very own words:”If you cannot beat the system, you join the system.” Rambo has been brainwashed through fear for his own and his family’s lives to join the one who caused him more pain than anyone can imagine! It sickens me! Still today Rambo is defending the former president, Mr Cruel, and telling that it was all a mistake. How many mistakes is a person allowed to make until you can’t forgive this anymore? Where is the level of pain caused to others before enough is enough? #EnoughIsEnough!

When someone has a lot of power, this person should always use it with consideration. If you don’t respect the human rights, you can’t expect anyone else to respect yours the day things go south for you. Others were nothing in your eyes, they were just a tool for you to gain even more power. Karma is a bitch, they say, so what comes around goes around. Don’t for a second belive that people will respect you more if you use your power to harm others. Don’t expect that people will respect a ”big wig” who has decided that it is okay to physically and emotionally harm a woman who can’t defend herself. Respect has to be earned, not demanded. One day the shit will hit your fan too, so you’d better learn to run fast.

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