As a rural Gambian native, it is with heavy heart and immense sadness that, I express the solemn condolences to the many families grieving due to the dangerous and desperate attempt of young men dying whilst crossing the hostile meditterannean sea to Europe. They are either searching for greener pastures or running away from political persecution.
By Suntou Touray (Bolongba native)
‘The silent war in the Gambia. No guns, no bullets, but even far worst. Fear is used as a political weapon.’
The bulk of the boys/men who died at sea are from the Rural Gambia. The failures of our institutions, both educational and job, and more importantly, the failures of the political leadership are the root causes of the massive suicidal attempt by young men running from political suppression and economic hardship.
Today, the news from Provincial Gambia is that of many ‘absent copse funeral prayers’. This is shocking and disgraceful to our society. The pains and anguish are immeasurable.
Parents preparing funeral prayers for their ‘absent children corpses’. No feeling is worst than that. Yet, parents also don’t want to feel helpless, impotent and unable to provide for their children. Likewise, young adults also don’t want to wake up in the morning, not knowing what their purpose in life is all about. They feel useless and wasteful.
This is the more reason why the political class ruling the Gambia have blood on their hands, on their faces, and in the depth of their bellies. They are vampires and lacking compassion.
Gambian youths now need to look for other avenues to end the madness and strained economic climate. We need a new start, a new hope, simple. The business community is decimated and totally destroyed. Excellent businessmen and women are now investing in other countries for fear of being eaten up by a President whose belly is filled with haram. This leaves the Gambian economy in a state of barrenness and unproductiveness. No single sector is performing well.
Agricultural produce has no avenues for processing and the market is not creative enough to sustain the goods for long. Farmers are poorer and young men see no need to go back to farming. Hence the mass exodus to Europe for a better life.
This means the industry we can boast of is not good enough to earn a decent living. Our agricultural graduates are the best in the sub-region, yet they are helpless and afraid to even suggest solutions to our dire situation. I remember growing up in a farming community, waking up early in the morning to tend to my grandmother’s farm before coming home and heading to school.
In the groundnut buying season, one is satisfied that, some hard earn cash will ease the labour pains. Not anymore. The message to European leaders is that, the Gambia does not have a government administering its affairs to enhance the lives of our people.
The Gambia is under the custody of one man and his endless security agents and officers. A man who believes in nothing but the large entourage of sycophants and selfish technocrats. The NGOs in the country only help to enhance his battered and bruised image.
President Jammeh is a curse and torment for Gambians. The jailing, exiling, execution, torturing are the tip of the ice bag. The cumulative effect of the many fault lines is the result of young men running away.
No amount of EU policies will stop Gambian youths risking their lives, nothing except a change of political leadership in the country. We are held ransom and cannot even breath.
For now, let us bury our brothers and few sisters, whose corpse we shall never set eye on. And tomorrow, more young men will risk the same journey to the sea. May the ones gone rest in peace, and the ones preparing to go rest in peace. EU owe it to Gambians and Africa to stop sustaining leaders whose only aim is self-preservation and ruthlessness. The young men about to journey have no interest in what is being debated in the EU parliament. The message they want to hear is one that will end their poverty, fears and sufferings.