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City of Banjul
Saturday, January 16, 2021

The blood of innocent children

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The world seems full of crises and disasters: from political stasis, tribal racial standoffs in Africa, Europe, the United States, to the classic conflicts of capitalism in “emerging” economies, to sectarian uprisings in the Middle East and other part the world. But the small coffins of Peshawar’s students are the heaviest burden on our conscience.

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The murder of children crushes our soul. It destroys the already frail hope, without which life becomes unbearable, that there is justice in our world. Adults commit unspeakable atrocities in the name of religion, race, nation and profit. But none of our many competing gods has yet explained why the innocent young should suffer for the sins of adults.

The killing of 148 children in Peshawar violates the shared assumptions that regulate the conduct of humanity. Some unshakeable tenets, which the fiercest partisans on the left and right both cherished, have been trampled into the earth. It is why our grief is not assuaged by the ritual condemnation of international statesmen and editorialists, the cool analysis of terrorism experts, or the retaliatory measures of politicians and generals.

Nor is it alleviated by jeremiads against allegedly anti-modern Islam, or the unique depravity of the Pakistani Taliban. The group’s apparent enemy Pakistan’s security establishment, has itself sponsored some of the most vicious militant organisations in the South Asia. The massacre of children has occurred in the same fortnight that a former vice president of the world’s biggest democracy claimed that he would authorise torture again if needs be.

We cannot precisely diagnose a crisis that seems so all-encompassing-the life denying nihilism that hangs over the world like a smog. It does hint at insidious decay in the very institutions and processes- families, education, media and inherited patterns of culture – through which basic values such as self-restraint are transmitted.

This is true not only of brutalised contestants in an endless war. There seems to be a pervasive uncertainty in even the world’s relatively peaceful zones about what one generation should pass on the next, or how it should define the duties and responsibilities of human beings.

Many of the young today are nurtured by and mature intellectually in new communities of meaning on the Internet, where everything seems permitted. In the resulting moral vacuum, estranged young men succumb to an infatuation with charismatic figures and utopian movements.

Something more than just economic and political distress must explain the worldwide proliferation of men who espouse spine -chilling convictions and fantasies of mass murder. We cannot afford to renounce the possibility of achieving a more democratic, free and just society through political chance. Yet we can no longer believe that the enabling conditions of nihilistic violence or the apocalyptic mind-set can be removed by reform or modification of public policy alone, let alone by military retaliation.

The blood of innocent children rouses us to drastic action. But it is not cowardly to acknowledge problems to which there are no stock socio-political remedies, and to grasp the unprecedented nature of the threats in our time to Han life, freedom and dignity. Certainly, however deep our revulsion to atrocities perpetrated by all sides- sectarian or secular, governments or terrorists- it won’t help to blame religion for phenomenon that is so clearly rooted in a catastrophic loss of the religious sense.


Musa Val Banja



April 10 & 11 Victims Fund seeks donation


Dear editor,

We, the survivors of the April 10/11, 2014 thank you for your immense show of support and your monetary donation to the fund raising efforts held in April and May 2014 to address our dire medical and cost of living needs. Through your support, a total of five thousand and eight hundred dollars ($5,800.00) was raised between April 2014 to August 2014. Your money has helped to immensely change our lives for the better.  Because of your donation and that of other generous Gambians and Friends of The Gambia who care, we were able to receive so much needed and long overdue medical care; hence we are finally beginning to experience some relief from the frequently recurring physical pains of our gunshot wounds.  Over the past fourteen years, every single one of us, at one time or another, struggled with severe pain and gross infections of our wounds often resulting in much suffering for us.  Through all those difficult times, we kept hoping and dreaming of the day that we will no longer be without constant pain and all our medical challenges would be just a memory.  But after such a long time, we were beginning to lose hope of ever getting to that point. But then in April of this year, generous and caring people like you extended a hand to help lift us up.  I hope you know that your gesture and that of the others, who like you also donated, has helped restore faith in us that the day will soon come when each of us can finally begin to live his life again. We have been denied that joy for the past fourteen years.  

We have since May 2014 relocated to and have been living in Dakar, Senegal where we started the aforementioned medical evaluations and care. In addition to the medical care, your financial donations also helped provide us with housing and food in Dakar, transportation (medical and other), as well as other living necessities.  As of September 1, 2014, the total cost of these expenses was five thousand and six hundred dollars ($5,600). Thus, as of September 1, 2014, only two hundred dollars ($200) remained of the total donations received.  

Our doctors in Dakar deem that in order to fully recover, we all need advanced rehabilitation and physical therapy such as that available in the United States, England, Sweden, and other developed countries.  Thus, we have been contacting various medical charities, trying to get someone to help us attain this next and very important phase of our medical care.  We know that in order to get to our final goal of full recovery from our injuries and get to a point that we can become productive members of society, we must get this much needed treatment abroad. While we wait, we want to start getting rehabilitation and physical therapy here in Dakar. We will continue to need financial support to pay for our ongoing medical needs, housing and food, transportation, and other necessities.   We therefore hope that we can again count on your generosity to support us get to our goal.  We will keep hope alive that one day soon we will get to a place in our lives that we can put all this behind us and start contributing our own quota to better our communities and our country.  You see, we simply want to be like you- a generous donor.  We want to be able to one day help make things better for others and for all, just like you.  Please help us get to that goal. Donate by visiting the GOFUNDME Link:  http://www.gofundme.com/8ja8tg 

For information about the expense report & detailed story of the young men, please visit the web link below.



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