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A LIGHT OF HOPE IN THE DARKNESS

Friday: July 10 | Omar Bah


An environmental protection enthusiast dubbed as an attention-seeking freak who has not only suffered unlawful detention but life-threatening menaces because he dared say no to the destruction of a community he grew up loving. This incident galvanized his zeal to protect the environment whose destruction bitterly frustrated him. The state in whom he and his community relied on to protect them had woefully failed. A prominent personality in whom the people had heavily relied on went on further to deny the carnage happening in Gunjur. Stating there is no foul smell whatsoever. I had deliberately skipped many weekends due to the horrendous smell. So to me, that was the lowest of the lows.


The state has ceded away the people of Gunjur for annihilation to the Golden Lead factory. One wonders why is or how is, the golden lead so powerful? The factory has not only to pose as a food security threat but continues to devastate Gunjur's pristine environment. The Bolongfenyo nature reserve's plight is quite unpropitious, especially if one is familiar with scenarios surrounding it. For instance, I once overheard the Director of the nature reserve during Jammeh's obsessive devilish worship at the Gunjur dune mosque; proclaim that should Jammeh wish to have the place for himself or have the crocodiles he (JAMMEH) would first have to kill him. A place that's remained preserved through arduous circumstances and now the state is an accomplice in its destruction. The Director has done all he could to make sure the place remains preserved. One would expect in a "democracy" he would enjoy the state's help lo and behold.


The Ya Kumba Jaiteh case may depict some semblance of independence within the judiciary, but Gunjur's case against Golden Lead manifests the contrary. Maybe Gambians are so much into politics that other sectors intrinsically that correlates to it are forgone. This passive form of politicking archaic and its place is in the dustbin. If we continue to ignore the havoc the fish meal factories are wreaking in our communities, we all would face the sorry consequences. The Kombo Tura we so adore might become history if we continue to play dumb, deaf and blind to the plight of these coastal settlements.


However, my purpose of facing the screen today to punch in this script is to celebrate a brother. A friend who personifies resistance and defiance in the most romantic way one would come across in the new Gambia. Souleyman does not stand adorned with grandiose degrees, but his altruism has led him and his team to render the Gunjur beach green. Every Sunday he would be at the beach coordinating as well as actively taking part in the watering of coconut trees with his team. The Gunjur Youth Movement is undoubtfully one of most pragmatic associations within Gunjur, and by extension the whole nation. A youth whose drive is his communities development. He stands out among his fellows who would ridicule his efforts at greening the environment. He has resuscitated an environment in moribund.


He is an icon that needs recognition among the youths of the country. The National Environment Agency, Ministry of forest and all related stakeholders must crown this young man's efforts.


To Souleyman Bojang, I am a proud fan of your work. And you are a source of light amid this crazy darkness!!

Youth leader and environmental activist, Sulayman Bojang

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