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Sunday, March 7, 2021

Re: ‘Distorting History’ – A word for Mai Fatty

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She is definitely a woman of stature who went through a lot in pursuit of a cause she believed in. However, I wonder how things would have been like for her if she were here in The Gambia today?.

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I had also read the response from Mai Ahmed Fatty, who narrated his ordeal at the hands of the Special Branch Unit as a teenage student. To Mr Fatty, I think it is regrettable what you have experienced as a young person. Nonetheless, there is a saying that ‘what does not kill you, makes you stronger’. Looking back at your time as a lawyer – when I used to enjoy your arguments and defence tactics in court – and what you have become today, I believe these experience have made you who you are: smart, brave, intelligent, and so on.

So keep up the struggle. Bravo to you and Jainaba Bah. When certain levels of torture is administered on anyone, you can let go of the most treasured possession without a single hesitation, not to talk of the psychological effects that can equally make you shun the best of friends and even relatives. So recall the past but don’t hold on to them so dear. Let them go.

 

Sanna Keita

Faji Kunda

 

 

Democracy and human rights are just mere words

 

 

Dear editor,

 

I enjoyed reading the series from Jainaba Bah’s ‘Omerta’. It was insightful into the activism life of a lady who had so much courage to do and experience what she did.

In those days when I was a Gambia Senior Secondary School student, my friends and political science teacher, Alkali M Dibba always argues that democracy means government of the people, by the people and for the people. 

For human rights, I believe are moral principles that set out certain standards of human behaviour, and are regularly protected as legal rights in national and international law. They are commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because he or she is a human being. Human rights are thus conceived as applicable everywhere and egalitarian. The doctrine of human rights has been very powerful within international law, global and regional institutions, in the policies of states and in the activities of non-governmental organisations and has become a corner stone of public policy around the world.

As powerful and influential as it may be, democracy and human rights seemed very vulnerable and undermined not only in Africa now but in the West.

In The Gambia, there are many cases of unlawful detention. Today, security officers in our Tourism Development Areas are always harassing people who are not bumsters but ordinary citizens who go to the beach area to relax or exercise. People are being forcibly driven away from the beach. Is this what we call constitutional rights? We are being forcefully sent away by officials who are supposed to be protecting us and watching our backs as we work, party and sleep every day and night.

Of course we are all aware that the government generates a lot of foreign exchange from tourism, some say at least 40 per cent of our country’s economy or more. So it makes sense to want to give tourists freedom but we must never compromise our constitutional rights for the pleasure of the tourists.

To tackle this misapplication of democracy and human rights, all hands must be on deck if we are to leave no stone unturned in our pursuit for freedom, real democracy and immutable constitutional rights.  We MUST change democracy and human rights’ from mere words to something concrete, something we can all cheer about. 

 

Modou Manneh

Bakau Wasulung Kunda

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