By Modou Modou, New York, USA
27 years, reminiscent of the old Greek adage, can neither be discounted as the swift passage of Helios’ chariot across the skies, nor likened to the mere blinking of Athena’s wise eyes. Just as the venerable philosopher, Plato, once intoned, “Time is the moving image of eternity,” the United Democratic Party (UDP) stands as a testament to the idea that true principles and valor neither wane nor diminish; they only grow more resolute with the relentless passage of Chronos.
In the sun-kissed climes of Gambia, where even the mighty Zeus might have chosen to rest his weary feet, the UDP has navigated the treacherous political tides. Much like Odysseus, who sailed between Scylla and Charybdis, they have maneuvered with dexterity between the towering zeniths of praise and the abyssal troughs of challenges. Their genesis in the crucial year of 1996 was not a mere act of fate or the capricious whim of the Fates; it was a deliberate design forged by political Hephaestus-like figures who molded the party with fiery passion and unwavering dedication.
Lawyer Ousainou Darboe stands as a modern-day Pericles, embodying wisdom, integrity, and an unwavering will. Far from being a pawn in Fortuna’s ever-turning wheel, Darboe, schooled in the hallowed halls reminiscent of the great Athenian academies, emerged with laurels not just from Lagos but also from the revered temples of knowledge in Ottawa. His foray into the legal arena was akin to Aeneas’ descent into the underworld; fraught with challenges, but also illuminating the path to destiny. And when he chose to embark upon the political odyssey, it was with the fervor of Marcus Tullius Cicero defending the Roman Republic.
Every epic, be it sung by blind Homer or penned by the noble Virgil, contains its tales of heroism and heartbreak. The annals of UDP are no different. The turbulent storm clouds of the Jammeh epoch saw not just the passive acceptance of fate but a Herculean resistance. It was during these tumultuous times that icons like Solo Sandeng and Solo Kroma arose, embodying the spirit of Spartacus and the valor of Leonidas. Their tales, whispered in the alleys of Banjul, are not mere stories but sagas that rival those etched on ancient Greek amphorae or Roman frescoes.
In the shadow of such monumental history, the words of the blind seer Tiresias echo: “It is the destiny of the great to suffer greatly.” But like the Phoenix, the UDP has risen time and again from its ashes. Every setback, every challenge has only served to sharpen its resolve, as the whetstone does to the blade. As they set their eyes on the political constellation of 2026, one can’t help but be reminded of the wisdom of Seneca, “It is not because things are difficult that we dare not venture, it is because we dare not venture that they are difficult.”
To honor the illustrious 27-year journey of the UDP, let us raise our goblets high, filled to the brim with nectar and ambrosia. Let us toast to the relentless spirit of determination, to the undying flame of democracy, and to the timeless dance of history and destiny, intertwined like the ancient double helix of life itself.