When the architects of the Gulag of the New Islamic Republic of The Gambia arrogantly, and impudently railroad the state into a political and moral cul-de-sac or dead-end locally and internationally on the question of maladministration, perversion and sadistic practices, there is an aged old rhetorical device that is often employed by Pharaoh and his flatterers for a distinctive and deceptive purpose: deliberate and disingenuous conflation of interests of pharaoh with that of the state in the attempt to confuse the mass, and in the maelstrom of that sophistry the chief magicians are called upon to espouse and celebrate the distinctions of Pharaoh and the divine majesty of his sceptre.
Pharaohs are created and instituted with the negligence and ambivalence of the mass. While in drunken stupor of hate and bacchanalia, the population chose to abdicate the burden of critical thinking for her creative yet collective survival; a cheat and deceiver tiptoed past the gatekeepers of the national temple and enthroned himself as the saviour of mankind. As a poster child of our spring time, he morphed into a monster by the winter.
Once upon a time, beautiful and peace loving Gambia has been reduced to a ghost and haunted town of Bavaria with the advent of pharaoh. Along with the fading of the sound of colosseum observed strange phenomenon of industrial pollution that downs on the population with a terrifying fury. Strange footsteps on our corridors, mid-night knocks on our doors, gang-styled abductions, wiretapping conversations, and stern faces with goggles of masked men in numberless vehicles are reported at every moment and observed by nearly every conscientious member of the community; a phenomenon of a wave of terror felt and observed by one and all. What social or economic development requires this gale of terror as a prelude except to enthrone and firmly fix a phantom? The population is in a suspension of disbelief: a state of hysteria, while old friends and visitors still think the New Gambia is still the old where people smile unconditionally and unpretentiously, where people share, where no problems were certainly no-problems.
The house looks beautiful and well lit from the outside and well decorated on the inside. Sign posts clearly marked with the seductive signs: welcome to the Gambia – the Smiling Cost of Africa. Yet no one truly smiles on the inside amidst the beauty and splendour, amidst the overt intimation of a holiday never to be forgotten. Oh yes. A holiday, a visit or a return to the loved ones, still offers the possibility of a unique and distinct experience never observed before.
Past the first entrance gate, the billboards and signposts of “the Gambia no problem”, and the smiles, waves and pretence of welcome immediately turns to an interrogative demand for your “particulars”. No matter how exact and accurate the particulars, you cannot pass without being run dry of your means of sustenance for the period of your stay. The first contrast to the outer beauty displayed; the first irony of “welcome to the smiling coast of Africa”. Perhaps you are the only unlucky guest/stranger to experience this detailed, often weird interrogation.
Hungry faces cannot complain of their conditions of hunger much less of certain reversal of misfortunes. Within a span of time, the otherwise convivial banters have become abominable, and by-the-fire-side conversations of the Gambia have been reduced to hush-hushes for fear of being overheard by the demons on our shoulders. With the new national narratives, stories are sanitized of truth, and doused with the myths of Pharaoh. True to their functions, the magicians resurrected and chanted mutual suspicions of friends, families and tribes as our Divine givens; religious animosities, like Eugenics of racial purity of the Third Reich, our national survival, stability and progress are dependent on our tribal and religious mutual exclusivity. Arrogance and hauteur elevated at the cost of modesty, decorum and circumspect.
With these startling experiences, certain names could not be mentioned for want of reference; group discussions are reduced to a monologue, and the culprits of our present condition lie in the medieval injustices of overlords of the white race; a tirade of one time abusers of black Africa: the colonialists, the Americans, the British, the Deutsch, Apartheid, and now Senegal! Yet the stories simply do not hold! The measure of distance between the vaunted racial inequity of that infamous colonial mandate and the extant criminality against Gambians by the willing tools of Pharaoh; the naked fleecing of the public treasury by the executive and the self-serving thumpers; the same-race colonial police and security forces that only perfected the art of perversion are simply striking!
While Moses (truth) is the first causality in the Palace of Pharaoh, and less armed with strong band of refined and polished disciples, he had to run for his life to Madian. The rest of the population had to endure the brutalities of Pharaoh and goon. But with his second coming (Moses) – the incontestable and incorruptible elements of our natural and moral laws – when clashed with and lay bare the phantoms and edifice of fictions erected around the throne – pharaoh loses one of his dependable constituencies – the magicians: the flatterers.
Master psychologists they always are, pharaohs know what warms the cockles of the hearts of magicians, and thus when asked of what benefit would accrue them in the event of victory over Moses (Truth), they always offered no financial remunerations but confidently and earnestly ensured and assured elevation of status and ease of access to the sceptre. The feeling of self-importance and influence on the corridors of power is magnetic – seductive at best. Who missed this trap for fools since the advent of ours in the Gambia of 1994? Of the lists of gullible victims from the most informed, erudite and divinely instructed to the most secular, or uncouth, no two are the same of our stenographers!
From the recent storm within the belly of the empire, could anyone miss the insignificant and instituted go-betweens (the paratroopers) at the court house in Banjul trading insults with commoners hoping to catch the eyes of the Palace minders for some unearned recognition and elevation?
See the heartless Junuds (soon to be decorated with the badge of cruelty for the karate styled arrest of peaceful demonstrators), and their readiness to aid, stoke and guarantee maladministration, perversions and bestialities in the name of patriotism. The Roman historian Tacitus tells us that it is in the nature of men to be cruel to those they hate in their attempt to justify their hatred. Are we hoping of rescue by a crew that are almost certain to again get us shipwrecked before the Palace of Pharaoh?
See the rag-tags (so-called informants) in the streets of the far-of places of Dakar that are only accorded a false sense of privilege of access to pharaoh, ready to misuse and abuse one and any whose measured and carefully calibrated visions are not clouded by the halos around the throne; the implants that would pretend to be one of us, but helping to identify any vociferous vocalist for crucifixion. In all seriousness pharaoh is not the only depository of criminal tendencies and reservoir of despotic practices. The Pharaonic pathology is present aplenty in all his lackeys.
Of the most disturbing strand of magicians, see the clergy’s relinquishment of divine duty and hastily reducing themselves to weekend muftis and selective moralists by condoning abuse and condemning the abused. These weightless soothsayers simply do not believe in their own publicly professed creed that the best Jihad is to tell truth to a tyrant and be killed for it. Instead of being true to their calling and demand justice for all, they trooped to the aggrieved, deprived and disposed for some temperance in accommodation of Pharaoh’s inhumanity. But if indeed they care about the peace of the empire, let the rights to justice of the Solo Sandeng and Co. be their sermons at the pulpits. The peace of the empire cannot be maintained with the aggregate abuse of individual rights that is swelling the national belly with tensions.
They celebrate Pharaoh for calling the Gambia an Islamic Republic, yet never call into question the suitability of “drunkards” as our public executioners in fulfilment of Sharia law! Which god would accept a sacrifice of his vicegerent on earth from a bottler for the expiation of our national sins?
As Moses (truth) is closing in on Pharaoh, the flatterers are in awe of the courage of conviction of the population to demand for the last of their right – dignity. With the gale of hypocrisy lifted, Pharaoh’s throne is seen for what it is: phantom of deception, a mirage of delusion and a trap for fame for self-adulating magicians – the flatterers. Strip of the halo, and see the emperor in his nakedness, magicians are changing sides.
History at least offers us the lesson that Pharaohs are beyond reach for reform and elevation. A reformed pharaoh is one consumed by the tide of justice; who sees his sceptre and throne washed on the shores of regrets, only if they are lucky to survive it.