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Letters to the Editor

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Six ways to solemnly observe July 22 – the day of infamy

Dear editor,

As we approach that Day of Infamy, July 22 in our political history, let us bring out the meaning of the Brutal AFPRC and APRC Regimes to the lives of Gambians and the Gambia. Let us recall what we went through and what we hope for the future.
Here is my list of possible options as to how we can observe this Day of Infamy:

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1. Social Media Campaign:
Let us show the meaning of AFPRC/APRC by listing the persons who were arbitrarily arrested and tortured, abducted and forced to disappear and summarily executed over the years. Do not just ‘Like or Dislike’ or ‘Comment’, but if you agree, list on your wall all the names of victims that you know under the title ‘The Casualties of AFPRC/APRC’ on July 22. In that way, we will expose the full atrocities and carnage of AFPRC and APRC under the Dictatorship of Yaya Jammeh. Let us mark this fateful day by remembering those we lost and those who suffered since this infamous date until today.


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2. Minute of Silence:
Let us identify 1200hrs (noontime) as the time we all observe a minute’s silence everywhere Gambians are – at home and abroad. Sharp on this hour, let us stop all music and business and work everywhere you are for all stand still and remain silent for one minute to remember the atrocities, misery, pain and destruction of our rights, properties and lives because of this infamous day.


3. Public Singing of the National Anthem:
As opposed to a Minute of Silence at 1200hrs (noontime) or in addition to it, we could sing the national anthem, For The Gambia, Our Homeland, to reflect our gaining of freedom and the death of AFPRC/APRC. Let us sing our national anthem to signify the regaining of our sovereignty and democracy in our country. Let us sing the national anthem to rededicate ourselves to the building of a new Gambia of justice, freedom and democracy.


4. Presidential Address With Victims:
Let us demand that Pres. Adama Barrow address the nation on that day to recognize and show solace over the pain and misery our people went through since 22 July 1994. He must also show appreciation to the determined stance that Gambians took to remove this oppressive and exploitative regime. He must also call on us all to stand up for democracy so that never again to allow another tyranny to emerge in this country. He must therefore give us assurances that he will also follow on the path of democracy and good governance as per his manifesto and our Constitution. Let him invite all victims of AFPRC/APRC to join him while he makes his statement.


5. Memorial Service in Mosques and Churches:
Let us convene memorial or prayer services in all mosques on Friday July 20 and in all churches on Sunday July 22 and indeed in any place or home or street or beach etc to pray for the departed souls and the suffering of the surviving victims. Let us pray for the country to never ever undergo such a tyranny again. Let us pray that any citizens that wishes to bring tyranny onto our country again to be exposed and doomed by God The Almighty. Let us pray that all the perpetrators from Yaya Jammeh to be exposed and pay for their crimes in full in their lifetime.


6. Day of Infamy Grand Rally at the Buffer Zone:
Let us convene a huge grand memorial ceremony at Buffer Zone on Sunday July 22 to celebrate the end of the AFPRC/APRC Tyranny. Let us bring victims to the ceremony to speak about their ordeal. Let us hear voices of our people how they lived and suffered. Let us hear our artists – musicians, dramatists, poets, painters and other performers – to immortalize the trials and tribulations of our people under the Tyranny. Let them compose and deliver songs, poems, dramas, paintings and performances depicting freedom to inspire us to stand for democracy. Let us make a public pledge to stand together to defend democracy in our country forever and ever. Let us print banners, t-shirt, posters and other materials with pictures of victims of Yaya Jammeh and AFPRC/APRC. Let us print messages of human rights, democracy and hope for a better Gambia.


We can choose any one of these options or we can do all of them together or we can modify them in any way that best suits us or bring in new options altogether. But let us not let Sunday July 22 pass off without remembering our ordeal and call for justice and the building of democracy in the Gambia. Let the media give this event huge coverage. Let us have radio discussions about the trials and tribulations of our people over the past 22 years.

We have only one week. Let us start the planning and preparation right now. Families. Children. Youths. Women. CSOs. Public Institutions. Private Sector. Security Agencies. The Media. The Academia. Religious Leaders. Traditional Leaders. We all suffered in one way or another. This is a national event!

Madi Jobarteh

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