The Right to revolution (Part 2 & 3)

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By Alagie Saidy-Barrow

While still on the topic of supposedly hating violence, never mind that many of us, especially Gambians, grew up tolerating verbal and physical violence against our mothers and some of us remain violent towards our spouses and children. Never mind that some of the Africans parroting unthinking cliches about hating all forms of violence have no problem with the perversion of state-sanctioned violence against fellow citizens (April 10/11 and Jammeh’s witch hunt comes to mind). Never mind that some of these unthinking Africans live in countries where their tax money pays for wanton violence against women and children in faraway lands where “smart” bombs kill innocent people attending weddings. But these Africans claim to hate violence! Yet they pay for it.

While still on the claim to hate violence, since many of us in this colonial space called Gambia call ourselves Muslims, let me remind you that you are not as dedicated to prayers or as pious as those early Muslims from the Saif Al-Ba?r platoon or those who fought in the battle of Badr. In the Battle of Badr, it is reported that Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and his forces were fighting in the battlefield even as he prayed for victory. He didn’t just rely on prayers, he relied on “violence” to defend the honor of his people and achieve his objectives. Africans have been tamed into thinking that only prayers will deliver their freedom from the clutches of a tyrant. And so they pray for deliverance while in the captivity of their governments! It has never happened anywhere and it will never happen for any Africans. It is not as if God loves you more than He loves the rest of mankind. The chokehold your governments have around your neck will continue so long as you continue to accept it. And because you accept it, you deserve it.

People, cowardice and peacefulness are not the same. Many of us try to cloak our cowardice in the raiment of peacefulness but there is a reason why our elders said that “tears never flow in the house of a coward”. There’s a reason dictatorships and authoritarian rulers thrive in Africa. Mental slavery does not only turn one into cowards, it slowly renders you impotent and kill your will to demand your freedom because you would rather “eat meat in slavery than eat a mushroom in freedom.”


Our African elders did say that “the person who has been a slave from birth does not value rebellion.” And while many of us claim to be physically free, I don’t think too many can argue against the mental slavery that is still pervasive all over Africa. Many of us don’t even know how it feels to be free because we have never experienced true freedom in our homelands. I mean how many times have you heard Gambians say “So and so gave us freedom to do this or that?” If you think that your freedom or ability to realize your fundamental human rights that you were created with is in the hands of another human being, how different are you from the enslaved? That is why the apostle of Black Liberation, Robert Bob Nesta Marley, wailed for us to “free ourselves from mental slavery.” That song was sang in June 1980, and sadly, not many have heeded to his call or the words of Marcus Garvey who influenced that particular line. We remain, willingly if I may add, mired and wired to mental slavery and some of us are so comfortable in it that we are always poised to fight against the very people that try to free us. For every Nat Turner that starts a slave revolt, there will be a bunch of docile and impotent Africans willing to remain slaves because they prefer the crumbs that the masters give them to their own freedom. And in Africa, docility certainly has found a home in many heads…