Barca or Berserk

sallahBy Dr Momodou Sallah

I must go to Barca or Berserk

I must go

I must fly away

From this jail

And look for bail

I drink the Atlantic

And eat the Sahara

I swim with sharks

To escape the economic barks


I must go to Barca or Berserk

Waiting for death

Or confronting death

Are the only paths on this road

I must go to Barca or Berserk

Bolt’s 9.58 seconds has nothing on us

Ten of us could sprint into a bowl

Under 5 seconds flat!

Messi can only aspire for our ability to dribble hunger

Everyday is a struggle to outlive the month

Every eye passes judgement

Hopelessness is prescribed 3x a day

Hope is proscribed from daily dreams

Life is a distant reality

I am infested with anger

Possessed by hunger

And puffed up by the nerves syndrome

The coliseum beckons

I must go to Barca or Berserk

I have tried them all

The silent treatment

The mental breakdown

The good grades

The beaches

The distant relatives

But I remain anchored in this port

Drowning with frustration in this court

I must go to Barca or berserk.


I must go to Barca or Berserk

I am but a throw of the dice

Education is a misdemeanour

Politics is a basket of lies

My father’s stick shunts me

My relatives’ gossip stunts me

And my mother’s smile gaunt me

The children’s eyes haunt me

The daily empty boiling pot taunts me

I must go to Barca or berserk.



  1. A great poem fittingly giving voice to our voiceless youths who take this highly dangerous route called “The Back Way”, especially those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Thank you Dr. for empathizing with their inner feelings, their physical/(human) environment, the centrifugal factors that contribute to their risky voyages and their uncertain destiny.

  2. Fine literary. But when we write in vernacular ,in this case Wollof, lest we be mindful of our correct spelling by the use of phonetics otherwise one can hardly understand it. Away from spelling it correctly, use italics for the word or parentheses to explain the meaning in English. Barca or Berserk can best be spelt ” Barrsaa or Barrsaakh”.

  3. Thanks for your comments Alkali and Buba, very much appreciate them. Buba, is it possible that the title is a play with words that needs to be deciphered?

    I guess the objective of the author is to put the issue of youth migration on the spot; to provoke a critical discussion towards sustainable solutions to this phenomenon that is neither acceptable nor inevitable.

  4. Front way, back way or the dark way,who gets there knows how.By the way, we can see that it won’t cost the westerner much to cross our borders,this is just one minor case within a super big case.This horrible life risking form journey is a result of social, political injustice, hypocrisy,greed,witchcraft,juju,praise singing,illiteracy,the lack of deepness in religion amongst the people of faith,guns to secure the lifes and property of Gambia on their own heads, etc..and in fact, one disheartening reality in the western journey; thanks to our former British colonial masters and their allies for learning to come from worse to bad for making available to us the free and fair atmosphere and job opportunity as they are watching another fruit of colonialism ripening to shed it’s red juice which the fearful face beast and his juju ranking vampires are crunching their jawbone in warm up to quench their vampire’s thirst.The western journey true is draining Gambia and most Africa as a whole of its human resourse for the fact that it has become the mean of bringing free labor to the doorstep of their indebted eu member countries.The likes of the slave trade Caribbean plantations exist today in Europe without the knowledge of many of you folks out here in the UK or US.Shark are GOD’S creatures who only brave men can swim with. To whom it may concern;’he who fights and run away, leaves to fight another!’

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