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Saturday, April 20, 2024

Letters to the Editor

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Seedy Njie cannot cleanse Yahya Jammeh from his atrocities

Dear editor,

Let us tell Seedy Njie that he cannot control the narrative about the actions and inactions of Yahya Jammeh. Seedy Njie has no capacity in any way to attempt to cleanse Yahya Jammeh against the overwhelming evidence of the atrocious nature of that regime. He will only serve to destroy his own soul if he seeks to defend the indefensible.

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Let Seedy understand that the issue of Yahya Jammeh is about the life and soul of the Gambia. Let Seedy enjoy his politicking freely and openly, thanks to Gambians, but let him not seek to ridicule, mock and dishonour the lives and dignity of Gambians. No amount of democracy or partisan politics should make a human being toy with the very lives of fellow human beings. Because of Yahya Jammeh, hundreds of Gambians and non-Gambians have been killed and hundreds more live in pain and misery today.

For anyone to come out openly to celebrate such a despicable despot and his regime is the height of imbecility and self-destruction. Yahya Jammeh is merely a dishonest, corrupt and unfortunate son of the land who betrayed the trust of the people, abused our institutions and plundered our resources and then used them to torture, rape and kill fellow human beings. No decent human being must laugh about that much more seek to cleanse such a murderer in the face of his victims. It is callous, unpatriotic and immoral.

If Yahya Jammeh knew that he was innocent of the murder of those West Africans why then would he compensate for a crime of which he was innocent? Yahya Jammeh was not required to compensate, rather what he was required to do was to ensure accountability. Since 2005 his Government never took anyone to court for the murder of those human beings. We know that those victims were arrested and detained by state agents from the Navy and the police and then handed over to the Junglers who killed them.

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The only person who could give such orders was Yahya Jammeh. If he had not given the orders then he should have stopped the killings. But he did not. He had the legal authority and obligation to bring perpetrators to justice but he also never did that even though he knew who the perpetrators were.

To therefore hear Seedy Njie hide behind the so-called agreement and compensation to attempt to cover up for Yahya Jammeh only serves to further expose this despot. UN and ECOWAS did not agree with Yahya Jammeh on anything about that crime. The UN and ECOWAS only came to investigate but Yahya Jammeh’s government refused to cooperate and only gave them a false narrative. The UN or ECOWAS cannot do anything more but to go back with what Yahya Jammeh gave them that his government was not involved in the killings.

The idea of compensation was Yahya Jammeh’s diabolical and unintelligible idea; thinking that he can fool people that he has a sense of humanity. Those families do not need compensation. They need justice. Therefore let Seedy Njie know that he cannot control the narrative anymore in the Gambia particularly in his false and disgraceful attempt to defend and justify the atrocities of a tyrant. Seedy is too little to carry such a job.


Madi Jobarteh

Ramadan is a riddle

Dear editor,

Ramadan is a riddle. Fast ferociously, eat excessively. Contradiction? Pray for forgiveness this month just to go astray next month. Hypocrisy?
The intensely personal time is one that is conversely communal. Perhaps that is the Ramadan trope and not the reality. Balance. That is your equation. Find it. Practice it. And so, the posts, the blogs, the snaps, proliferate on ‘eating well’ and ‘being fit’, while you fast. Mindfulness in meditation. Check. Do not forget charity. Give a dollar. Give ten. Give a hundred. Post about it. Tell people about it. Check. What is Ramadan?
Many things to many people.

That is okay. It is a month of search and defined by as many questions as there are answers. In the West, it is a cocoon for one’s identity as Muslim. In the East, it is an obligation of collective expression of identity. It is habit. It is practice. It is when you fit back in. Is that Ramadan?
What I hope though, is that Ramadan can be a time of transcendence. Transcendence over my ego, from self to something larger. Transcendence over the petty and parochial, the pedantic and political. Transcendence over inscribed identities and immature inflexibilities. Yet, what I see is foolishness. I see a Muslim world – an Ummah – locked in foolishness.

Ramadan does not empower escape from this but only seems to supercharge it. We reinforce the ingrained differences and injustices and satiate our appetite for difference making with nominal – important, but nominal nevertheless – contributions. Our divisions remain. Our ignorance’s stay with us.

If Ramadan is a time to elevate and be transcendent why do, we not ask – why? Why must we be locked in conflict between Sunni and Shiite? Why must Persians and Arabs have enmity? Why must Pakistan and India be at war? Why must the vast majority of what was Muslim civilization be governed by autocracy? Why must Christians be killed? Why must Jews be absent from our cities? Why must we treat people with a lack of education as having a lack of valid perspective?
Many say they are above this, do not believe in it, and want to change it, but at the same time they – we, me – benefit from the very system that perpetuates the reality that we should be questioning. We – the elite of the Muslim world – are the merchants of Mecca before the Prophet, walled off in our own world, and each Ramadan we celebrate it in our silence, as the world burns around us. Why?
Taufig Rahman.

Alagie Yorro Jallow
New York City

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