THE GAMBIA WAILS!! CAN YOU HEAR HER?
Tuesday 9 June | By Omar Bah
THE GAMBIA WAILS!! CAN YOU HEAR HER?
We are all too prone to bemoan the vicious cycle of poverty choking the very life out of us, depriving us the very dignity we strive to maintain as decent people. Perhaps if you have the time and resources to complain about it on social media you are above the poverty line in The Gambia. The Gambia is a failed state and if you are too sensitive about it I would rub your ego and say The Gambia governments past and present have failed its people. The people who are being failed are not those who need scholarships to earn a degree at the UTG or the ones being discriminated by the immigration and police officers because they did not fit certain ideal categories of the society. As much as I feel the pains of the unemployed youths wandering at the ghettoes, being targeted continuously by certain agencies and being ridiculed by society for the lofty dreams they dared dream without the opportunities to actualize them. They are not the ones failed by The Gambia when I talk about Gambia’s massive failure.
In as much as I feel the pains of my Sukatarian cousins who are suffering at the hands of a mercantilist and heartless government hell-bent on mortgaging the Gambia to the highest bidder are not unfortunately in my mind as I punch the keyboard of a friend’s laptop emotions overwhelming me.
The gardeners whose lands are being destroyed within the Kombos, the coastal settlers whose daily source of protein is being pillaged to feed pigs in a faraway China; the college students who are forced to pay exorbitant fees to earn diplomas that would probably be of no value to their stock of knowledge are despite their unfortunate sufferings, not the ones in my mind when I talk about Gambia’s F9. The people who have had sweated for donkey years to buy a piece of land and have it demolished without valid reasons and no compensations foreseen are definitely too privileged in light of what I have in my mind.
My mind goes to the rural dwelling people living in the hinterland of The Gambia. The poverty I saw in these places overwhelmed me greatly and awoken me to the reality of a Gambian living under one dollar per day on average. These are people forgotten by the Gambia government. Their daily ordeals as heart-wrenching as it is, the resilience in them is inspiring. These are people who live on meagre meals and have problems accessing potable water. They have to fetch water from afar boil it to render it potable which is medically doubtful. Gambia’s poverty could be seen only at a microscopic diameter more so if you are within the Kombos promoting tourism or affording enough credit to be online.
55 years of nationhood has not yielded us anything to bring home apart from the frivolous anthems and flags. Our independence showed only our cannibalism as demonstrated over the years with the mass unacknowledged graves of the 1981 coup and through Yaya Jammeh’s massacre of our brothers and sisters. Our accomplishments could perhaps be addressed to the colonialists as “alas we did worse than you”.
Our sister countries from Senegal to Bissau it could be observed that real and meaningful developments are underway and responsible leadership is being manifested within their corridors of power, something that if you are attentive the Gambia wails for. Yaya Jammeh’s 22 years of “StayHouse” occupation has resulted in him philandering more than the country’s external debts, 60% of our budgets go into such debt servicing. I would have been relieved if Yaya Jammeh was our only problem. Jammeh may be away but the same culture of ravishing state coffers exists and you will be myopic if you think a system change is an ultimate solution but that is my opinion. Endless commissions such as the Janneh Commission may ensue despite it is common knowledge that it was futile and did not live to the spirit of what really was expected! The endemic systemic corruption depriving decent Gambians of a decent living standard must be ended and it has to happen soon. Radical overhauling of the rotten system could be our first step towards self-actualization.
To The Gambia Ever True!
Omar Bah writes for GunjurOnline from Malasia where he is currently studying