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City of Banjul
Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Letters: Tribute to my best friend, Grandpa, Sir Dawda (Papa)

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Dear editor,

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Firstly, my sincere thanks to the people of the Gambia for their remarkable farewell to their founding father, and my grandfather; and to the security service and the Gambian Armed Forces for the elaborate, exceptional, heart-felt, and befitting send-off performance for their former commander-in-chief.

I have never been so proud for being a Gambia.

The Gambian people lost a gallant, compassionate, tolerant, and principled citizen of theirs this week.

To all Gambians, Sir Dawda Jawara was the father of our nation; the father who guided our small nation to become internationally recognized model for democracy, tolerance, and good governance; the father who ensured his people did not go hungry, uneducated, oppressed, or treated unjustly; the father who slept and awoke with the welfare of his citizens in mind. Our nation will miss him dearly.

For his family at home, he was the paradigm through which we lived.

We loved him for his compassion, fairness, and simplicity; but sometime hate him for conditioning us against shortcuts.

He denied us extravagance, but thought us humility and responsible living. He led us by example without raising a voice.

He loved every one of us and ignored none of us.

He always pays his way through his toils; when we asked and he had none, he told us to wait for his next paycheck.

He forbade himself from unjustly taking what belong to others, and admonished us the same.

To his family, Sir Dawda was the perfect human being, a perfect husband, a perfect father, a perfect grandfather, a perfect uncle, and a perfect great-grandfather. His support staff was equality as his children and grandchildren.

He watched sports games with them, made jokes with them, made them laugh, praised them and ensured they never walked out of his room without a smile on their face.

Our family will miss him immensely.

For me, Sir Dawda was my mentor. He was my best friend.

He made me laugh, cry and laugh some more. He thought me wisdom, compassion, and tolerance.

“There is always room for compromise, on principle and fairness,” he once told me.

He thought me to always find ways to compromise, but to never compromise my principles on what is right.

He never seized to recognize injustice and his passion to correct it.

During our many political discussions, Sir Dawda conditions me to standup for the weak and to vehemently correct injustices at all cost.

I was amazed when he would ask for my input on matters by saying “what do you think?” or “is that a good idea?” He was never above soliciting opinions from even a young kid like me.

You will forever be in my heart!

Love you and will miss him so much.

est blissfully in Jannah tul Firdaws grandpa, for the nation you left behind will defend your legacy and become what you always dreamed—a nation of One People, Peaceful and Prosperous!!!

Papa Faal

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