By Nanama Keita
Those of us chastising Lawyer Darboe or other opposition leaders for their reluctance to take to the streets in protest against the unending barbarism that’s bedeviled the Gambia need to look inward and ask ourselves whether we’re being reasonable in our chastisement.
First, when we say Darboe should take to the streets, we are not necessarily expecting Darboe – as an individual – to make any difference, but the PUBLIC that would be in tow.
But if I may ask these questions, what/who is the public? Isn’t it the ordinary people that constitute a nation, and in this case the Gambia?
And who are these ordinary people? Aren’t they my and your brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces, uncles, fathers, mothers, etc?
And at dinner tables in our various households, what do we normally tell our family members when it comes to dissenting ‘the status quo’ in Banjul? Isn’t it: “please, dad stay out of it, we don’t want you to get into trouble” if it’s children-to-parents, or “shut up, it’s none of your business”, if it’s the other way around.
So, if we’re all talking our relatives/friends, who also are the public, out of showing that slightest sign of dissent in strong defense of our self-interest, then who’s going to accompany Lawyer Darboe to the streets? Or do we have group of jinns waiting somewhere to accompany him?
Common folks, let’s be realistic! We all know how things are run in Banjul, and how timid – and sometimes selfish – we’re as a nation.
The likes of Daba Marena, RSM Bah and others had been murdered, and countless other innocent have been locked up. But how often do we see/hear even their own family members bringing up their cases in public? And the irony is that, it’s even more likely than not, that some of those family members had used the cruelties meted out on these people as an opportunity to seek political asylum in the West. Yet they’d never spare a minute to publicly remember them.
This is the harsh reality. We’re – myself included – so self-centered that most of us have completely forgotten the term “public interest”.
And lest we forget that Darboe – as an individual or leader – does not have power. We do! Only that we don’t know how to utilize it. This is like holding the keys to your locked-door, while telling someone else with no keys to open it for you.
Despite the continued authoritarianism in Banjul, our continued inaction can’t be blamed on a single individual, but all of us as a nation. Let’s remember, no one person can do anything, but everyone can do something.