“I have news for you, there is no Superman (it’s up to us.)” -Tom Mboya, former assassinated Kenyan Minister
“He who fights for honor cannot be led astray”-General Hannibal
There is a silent discussion taking place among Gambians as to the level of heroism and bravery among the freedom fighters currently in the struggle and the fallen COMRADES. The foiled coup last year was not the only attempted coup and may not be the last. With the system that President Jammeh instituted to rule the Gambia, democratic and undemocratic attempts may continue to be made until he is dislodged from power. The figure of those brutally slain by Jammeh’s henchmen is said to be high.
Who are Gambian heroes, and how shall we quantify our heroes and heroines? In a dictatorship, all conscientious citizens are forced into a corner, and by virtue of their refusals to condone evil, oppression, murder, torture, corruption, nepotism and sycophancy, they become heroes and heroines without any public recognition and celebration.
In a national struggle against open or silent oppression, the freedom fighter cannot afford to take a leaf from his oppressor. Oppressors thrive on marginalising their opponents, isolating them and victimising them. They master the art of creating a wedge and perfecting the policy of ‘we’ versus them. Freedom fighters or pro-democracy activist will lose legitimacy where they want to become the struggle by constricting the public discourse.
Stakeholders in these Gambian nightmares will not stand aside and watch. Since it is an equal opportunity patriotic duty for all conscientious Gambians to take a stand, don’t wait to be invited in this noble endeavour. No other Gambian has any higher stake than you, wherever you are. Stand up and be counted, the struggle is not owned by anybody, group, sector or influence.
With that has a backdrop, the Gambia has had many heroes and will continue to produce many more. Heroism is not restricted to men and women in battle. Heroism and conscientiousness encompass a much wider scope of people.
There are Gambians in exile who will thrive if they accept the status quo back home, but they refused to be a party to the tyranny. These categories of Gambians include the highest number of silent heroes. We have to salute them and encourage them to take the next step of funding opposition activities and youth movements affiliated with the organised opposition parties on the ground.
Another category of heroes are the men and women in the media. These groups of people spend time, money, and sacrifice their leisure to provide vital food (information) to Gambians all over the world and also to the international community. Left with the GRTS, and Daily observer, the international community will have no idea about the brutal system dictator Jammeh has entrenched in the country. Salute them in their perfect and sometimes imperfect ways of getting news and disseminating it.
The solid heroes for many are the official oppositions on the ground. Many of these men and women lost the privilege to earn a decent livelihood in their own country. The ones who have careers and operate outside the ambits of the state are the ones with private source of income. Men and women of the different opposition parties accepted poverty, harassment and suppression, yet their spirits remain high, these are my quintessential heroes and heroines. Whilst some of us live in foreign lands, enjoying unlimited freedom, these people remain at home.
The state uses many tactics to dwindle the support base of the opposition. However, with hardship and brutalities, ordinary people continue to bear the brunt of the dictatorship, salute to them as well.
The heroes who have fallen since the unfaithful day of July 22 1994 to date, vary in complexities in the patriotic political undertaking. For the UDP alone, the torture related deaths to its party members stands at 9, with others who suffer chronic pains after soldiers/APRC militants attacked defenceless party militants. The cooked up trials and charges against them also created a lot of heroes and heroines. Gambians who planned or were involve in insurgency also met their death at the hands of the merciless dictator’s brutal agents. Several Gambians are today held incommunicado at the hands of President Jammeh’s security. The November 11 1994 coup plotters were brutally killed, and the coups that followed also likewise. The 30th December insurgency also produced men who met Jammeh’s security officers face to face and they too lost their lives.
The fortitude of many Gambian lawyers, standing in a bias law court, defending their clients on politically related charges also require recognition. Men have been acquitted from treason trial, sedition and unfair dismissals thanks to the hard work and bravery of these legal luminaries.
The silent heroes/heroines also include businessmen who privately assist the opposition, the media and other civil society in conducting their activities.
The ultimate sacrifice in any struggle is death, from serving military officers, secret agents; opposition party members, journalist, and political activist have all met an unfaithful brutal end in the hands of the security agents of the dictatorship. Salute them all. Hence, Gambian heroes and heroines cannot be quantified.
The earlier heroes and heroines are the forerunners to the ‘human rights coalition defenders’. These ladies and gentlemen embodied the high spirit of fearlessness, as they foresee the rising storm of dictatorship miles away whilst some of the current crops of freedom fighters were romancing with the devil.
The battle to end tyranny and dictatorship did not start today, or yesterday, and the activist in the struggle have come in all shapes and forms. A new cadre of heroes are those utilising pen names by exposing serious crimes within the dictators. You are all heroes.
RIP all fallen comrades.
Enjoy the words below by General Hannibal:
General Hannibal’s Six Movers of Men…..
-He who fights for gold is already blinded by the glitter and glare of his own greed, all too soon led astray by all things shiny
-He who fights for blood soon finds it dripping from his own heart
-He who fights for glory never lives long enough to hear the victory songs
-He who fights for sport seldom finds The Gods in a sporting mood
-He who fights for love must leave the one he loves the most behind so he can dance with the one he hates the most
-But he who fights for honor cannot be led astray
The STRUGGLE is own by every citizen and even the friends of the Gambia.
An excellent motivating article!
I join in the praising , albeit not a cynical one.
Courageous men and women continue to defy madness, thankfully. What is needed is for us all to recognise that ours is not courant normal. We must abandon restraints and get ourselves mobilised for the common good. The international community may play their part, but the elephant role must be assumed by us. We have to join our “heroes” or at least lend helping hand to the effort. Gambia’s doom will be a concern to anyone of us, sooner or later! That doom will not single out a mandinka or wolof nor will it single out a muslim or a christian. All shall face the consequences of – fair enough in some quarters – momentarily feverish passivity.