Our dangerous roads
I ardently hope you will kindly allow me space in your news medium to share with you my worries about the spate of accidents on our roads. In 2012, the police disclosed that 805 road accidents were officially recorded compared to the 853 registered figures in 2011, indicating a slight decrease of 5.96%. Thanks to the efforts of the police with the deployment of mobile police officers at different traffic hubs, these figures dropped significantly in the first quarter of 2013 to 203 accidents only.
However, around mid-January 2014, the first accident was officially reported. In early April, another one happened resulting in one casualty. Barely two weeks later, two separate accidents were recorded along Bertil Harding Highway and Sanyang respectively killing two people. Hard on the heels of that accident, a vehicle somersaulted on the Banjul-Serekunda highway. Mercifully, all three passengers escaped with minor bruises and injuries.
As if that was not enough, a passenger ‘gele-gele’ vehicle collided with another ‘gele-geleh’ vehicle, leaving a lot of passengers wounded around the KMC headquarters. I stand to be corrected but these figures, no matter the decrease, are unspeakably and undoubtedly worrisome. Accident occurrences whether due to drivers speaking on their mobile phones, texting, inebriation, over-speeding, recklessness or related activities should be reduced. I think there are enough human and material resources at the disposal of the police force to make our roads safer for all.
Meanwhile, I take this opportunity to advise and warn pedestrians, joggers, bicycle riders and those on motor bikes to do more to promote road safety in the interest of all.
We need to end the culture of silence
A story was once told of a mouse who looked through the crack in the wall to see a farmer and his wife open a package. What food might this contain?
The mouse wondered, but was soon devastated to discover it was a mousetrap. Retreating to the farmyard, the mouse proclaimed a warning: There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!”
The chicken clucked and scratched, raised her head and said, “Mr. Mouse, I can tell this is a grave concern to you, but it is of no consequence to me. I cannot be bothered by it.”
The goat sympathized, but said, “I am so very sorry, Mr. Mouse, but there is nothing I can do about it but pray. Be assured you are in my prayers.”
The cow said, “Wow, Mr. Mouse. I’m sorry for you, but it’s no skin off my nose.” So, the mouse returned to the house, head down and dejected, to face the farmer’s mousetrap alone.
That very night a sound was heard throughout the house – like the sound of a mousetrap catching its prey. The farmer’s wife rushed to see what was caught. In the darkness, she did not see it, was a venomous snake whose tail the trap had caught.
The snake bit the farmer’s wife. The farmer rushed her to the hospital, and she returned home with a fever.
Everyone knows you treat a fever with fresh chicken soup, so the farmer took his knife and offered the chicken for soup. But his wife’s sickness continued, so friends and neighbors came to sit with her around the clock.
To feed them, the farmer butchered the goat. The farmer’s wife did not get well; she died. So many people came for her funeral, the farmer had the cow slaughtered to provide enough meat for all of them.
The mouse looked upon it all from his crack in the wall with great sadness.
Hmmm! The story calls us all to stand for/with one another, so that the next time we hear someone is facing a problem we should not think it doesn’t concern us, because when one of us is threatened, we are all at risk.
Your silence at this moment when your voices need to be heard, standing, and condemning every act of bigotry and tribalism anywhere and everywhere, of all Gambians, speaks volume to those who may not belong to your divide now.
Your silence, though golden now, will no longer be golden when the world is finally turned into a theatre of hatred and war and friends are made enemies devouring one another.
Your silence will no longer be golden when cries of pain, sorrow and death rents the air all around you and foul smell of injustice fills you breathe, with bells of guilt hanging over your consciences.
Your silence will no longer be golden, when in your freedom you realize you are now living in chains and shackles of those who have now taken over your life without your consent and all because you refused to talk when it was most necessary and needful.
Speak, also now, before your voices become irrelevant by today’s silence.
If you refuse to speak you will soon realize that you share common enemies with those you now label fanatics and are still advancing a course in your name.
If you do not still speak, you may only wake up one day to realize that the fanatics own you already and when there are no more enemies to target, you will yourselves become slaves and victims of the blood thirsty political vampires.
Alagie Yorro Jallow
New York City