While it is appropriate to reciprocate your Salam and that of the entire senior membership of your party currently in the grip of tyranny and terror of the APRC government, I cannot help but reflect on the similarities of our situation with that of Nazi prisoners of conscience. Under similar circumstances Pastor Bon Hoeffer wrote in a Letter from Prison (1943), as to “whether there have ever before in human history been people with so little ground under their feet – people to whom every alternative seemed equally intolerable, repugnant and futile, who looked beyond all the existing alternatives for the source of their strength, so entirely in the past or in the future, who yet without being dreamers, were able to await the success of their course so quietly and confidently.”
After 73 years of that deranged and discredited Nazi experiment, I must be excused to think that with advancement in knowledge and understanding in our social evolution, and our claims and practices of similar faiths, certain unsavoury acts of savagery are peculiar to the periods of the old and can only be read in the unfortunate pages of history for some reflections. Lo and behold! to witness a thoughtless revival of such degenerative conduct in an otherwise serene settings as the Gambia is as disheartening as is frightening, especially when one recalls the sanguinary terror and material destructions such aberrant and obscurantic management of human affairs had wrought on the world.
First, to read you in such shape, form and confidence as inherent in our letter is soul-elevating and reassuring that even in the niche of terror the lives and consciences of the innocents are clear and confident, and their will untrammelled. We know your unmistakable understanding, appreciation and commitment to the principles of justice, democracy and the rule of law, and we heed your advice to ever remain law-abiding wherever we are, yet vigilant and unrelenting in this hour of trial. We are however, troubled by the possibility of your fate to be left in the hands of villains whose notion of governance is dominance, of justice injustice, of civility, of humility arrogance and terror. While we pray for your health and continued sound intellect, we are equally on the constant call out to the world to help watch out for your physical beings to be protected, your dignity respected, and your rights restored. We would not leave these to chance knowing what a brute with the knowledge of state power at his disposal can do to civilized beings.
Aunty Nokoi Njie’s solemn account of the dehumanizing treatments she and colleagues had suffered in the hands of their captors serves notice of how low and sadistic a barbarian can go to reducing a dignified human being to dust, and thus begged the same questions that similarly situated people have always asked. Henry Ford asked in the Summer of 1914: “it has all come as by the leap of some awful monster out of his lair – he is upon us, he is upon all of us here, before we have had time to turn around. It fills me with anguish and dismay, and makes me ask myself if this then is what I have grown old for, if this is what all the ostensibly or comparatively serene, all the supposedly bettering past, of our century, has meant and led up to. It gives away everything one has believed in and lived for.”
In this dawn of Summer 2016 just as in 1994, we are again asking just as you demand of these purveyors of brutality, as of whether this is the Gambia we have all wished for? Is this the Gambia and the terrible social milieu we have inherited or wish to bequeath to our children? Is this the prize of our innocence; our timidity? What havoc has history played on us? May the architect of this iniquitous and brutish system be shamed – for ever!
Where in the world is it a crime to ask of the body of our brutalized deaths? When one hears racist Western leaders in their inverted racial undertones of arrogating basic universal values to their particular race, Gambians, and any under similar fascist outfits, can only nod in shame of resignation for forfeiting our rights to such values – thanks to Jammeh and his enablers! Certainly Gambia has reached a new moral low, with the revelling in abandonment of basic human decency.
On the other hand I join you in extending our felicitous greetings to the father of our nation Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara on the occasion of his birth day! May the Providence sustain him in health and sound intellect? May he live long to witness the cheats and deceivers that violently enthroned themselves on us be consumed in the tide of their own brutality and mismanagement?
It is a shameful to have him witness his long and selfless work of tolerant and socially inclusive society he gave his life to being reduced to the system of apartheid.
Gloomy as things are in the Gambia, to have elders of your ages, wisdom and intellect ready to serve as medicine to help cure our social pathology of Jammeh and goons is as much a blessing as a gift. Oh yes. “To die fighting to right the wrongs is a gift of life.” Ken Sero Wewa tells us. Thus the lives of Ebrima Solo Sandeng and all those whose earthly surgeons have been untimely terminated by this strange strand of fascism shall not go in vain. May their earthly lapses be forgiven, and their positive records be found in the righteous books of Illiyoun!
May the Almighty afford you and colleagues the strength and stamina to again render Gambia healthy, socially sound and tolerant as was bequeathed to us? Ameen!