by editor | November 24, 2014 5:42 am
BY: Samsudeen Sarr, Newark, New Jersey
The controversy over the recent unfortunate event in Senegal concerning Gambian entrepreneur Mr. Amadou Samba and those identified as Anti-President Jammeh activists, once again puts the Senegalese government on the spotlight of being suspected of encouraging these elements beyond what is reasonable or tolerable. However, I at first thought that it was all about Mr. Sedia Bayo again, the “French Gambian” activist constantly poking his nose in the political affairs of The Gambia with a hostile intention of overthrowing the APRC government, until I came to realize that Dr. Amadou Scattred Janneh was also involved in the fracas that was more than just a deliberate assault and humiliation of Mr. Samba in Dakar. The incident, on the whole, had a lot to do with the convergence of Gambian dissidents in Senegal, practically under the leadership of Dr. Janneh to provoke the same kind of political crisis in The Gambia that recently caused the leadership change in the West African nation of Burkina Faso.
The evidence gathered further confirmed that Dr. Janneh’s tactics to oust President Jammeh out of power was literally the same he had applied in 2011 but failed miserably, culminating in his arrest and subsequent life conviction to The Gambia’s Mile Two Central Prisons. Thanks to the intervention of Reverend Jessy Jackson, in January 2012, Dr. Janneh, a naturalized American citizen of Gambian descent was pardoned by President Jammeh and allowed to return back to the USA with the Civil Rights leader. It is however worth mentioning that in 2005, Dr. Janneh on his own discretion left the USA with his entire family to take up a high-profile position of employment from President Jammeh’s government which he eventually lost in 2006, perhaps sooner than he had expected, which as a result, seemed to have radicalized him into a defiant Anti-Gambia-Government activist.
Dr. Amadou Janneh Takes Oath of Office As Jammeh Watches: 01/01/2004
Anyway, to abandon whatever he was engaged in for the infantile tactic of clandestinely distributing T-shirts and banners inscribed with slogans of dissent against The Gambia government and believing that it could spark political commotion that might unseat President Jammeh, was at best naïve, and at worst, irrationally desperate. How the former American college tutor and former Gambian Minister of Information thought he could apply the same tactic that had failed to yield any positive result in 2011 and expect a different upshot in 2014, demonstrates an enormous perceptual flaw. He did not only fail to achieve anything constructive but ended up violating the trust and confidence of many people among them the wonderful Gambian businessman, Mr. Amadou Samba, known for his generosity and civility and who had always treated him as the trustable brother-in law he thought he was. And what about Reverend Jessy Jackson who had in 2012 flown all the way from the USA to The Gambia to plead with President Jammeh for his freedom? Let me say this before elaborating on the Reverend’s position on the whole issue. It beats my imagination or, saying that differently, I find it hard to come to terms with what folks like Dr. Janneh really want in life. Did he miscalculate his priorities when he left whatever he was doing in the USA in 2005 to take up employment from The Gambia Government? Or was it just about those familiar intellectual adventurists whose fascination with hopping from one occupation to another is all that matters to keep them relevant in a world they find practically difficult to fit in satisfactorily? However, unless Dr. Amadou Janneh is faced with the problem of tenure as a Professor, I see no reason why he couldn’t have come right back to his old College job after he had been sacked by The Gambia government in 2006. I honestly refused to entertain the notion that like most of those Diaspora misfits, Janneh is simply unequipped to rectify whatever setback, if there was any, that had compelled him to quit the American academic world for the ministerial job in The Gambia. I will not necessarily question Mr. Janneh’s decision to commit his life on what he thinks best for him and his family given his level of academic achievement; nevertheless, I have also seen time and again, that education like wealth is no guarantor of rational behavior. After all, instead of being motivated by what we know, most of us are sometimes seriously controlled by the satisfaction we derived from our wild imaginations. So for Reverend Jessy Jackson on this whole issue, Imagine how he will feel if told that Dr. Amadou Janneh, the American-Gambian he had rescued from The Gambia’s prison in 2012 was again engaged in the same activities against the same government that had led to his conviction in the first place? This will not just be a slap in his face for betraying the trust of the Gambian people and leadership but might as very well discourage him from ever helping such types of Americans in trouble. It was not the first time and certainly not the last for Reverend Jackson to go out of his way to rescue Americans in foreign jails; but in the case of Dr. Janneh’s with all the on-going negative publicity, I think it will in effect undermine the Reverend’s confidence in future ventures over similar humanitarian reaches. And don’t be fooled by how Americans project their global political and ethical images as being the greatest or the best ever in existence; at the end of the day, such boastful mentality coupled with the mere lack of good answers to our messy track records that are often conveniently dismissed as negligible human errors only help in incubating more hate, despise and vengefulness from angry people all over the world. In other words, many people who we at time think we are out to help believe that America has much to atone for, both domestically and overseas. For instance, in America’s arrogant mistake to shape the political destiny of Iraq, we have all witnessed the open-ended devastation triggered in that country by starting a war based on proven false pretext. With the monumental effect of calamity caused by dismantling the stabilizing components of Sadam Hussain’s Iraq, compounded by the unintended consequences of plunging the entire region into a vicious cycle of senseless violence, former President George W Bush still believes that America was right in attacking the country for allegedly harboring “weapons of mass destruction.” After all weapons , that never were! The loud and clear statement of hate and vengeance made by the Iraqi journalist, Muntadhar al-Zaidi on December 14, 2008 when he threw his shoe to President George W. Bush in Bagdad and called him a dog, was a clear testimony of most Iraqis dissatisfaction with what America did to their civilization under the guise of liberating them from Sadam Hussain. Invariably, it is only the American who expects to be taken seriously when he unequivocally asserts to the world that torturing captured enemy combatants is unjustifiable but still justify the dropping of a smart bomb in a wedding ceremony in Afghanistan or Pakistan to only kill “Abu Jihadist”—one enemy combatant—suspected of being present there and dismissing the death of the innocent men, women and children in the crowd as collateral damage. No wonder, when the American war mongers started re-kitting for another global military adventure into Syria, neglecting the mess they turned Iraq and Libya into, Russia defiantly stood up against it with a stern warning of never to sit and watch while America deliberately ignites unjustifiable wars they usually seem unable to extinguish. As Arundhati Roy succinctly sums it up in one of his assessments of American foreign policy, thus: “The American government does not judge itself by the same moral standards by which it judges others…….. Its technique is to position itself as the well-intended giant whose good deeds are confounded in strange countries by their scheming natives, whose markets it’s trying to free, whose societies it’s trying to modernize, whose women it’s trying to liberate, whose souls it’s trying to save……It has conferred upon itself the right to murder and exterminate people “for their own good”.
That may sound somewhat farfetched until one actually factors in the domestic genocide committed on Native Americans and the dehumanization of African captives over two hundred years of slavery that still bear some terrible and permanent residual effect on their living conditions. Until a week ago, when the New York Police Department—NYPD, finally took steps to correct their racial policies of targeting young black men and Latinos for low-level marijuana possession that earned New York City the infamous title of being the “Marijuana Arrest Capital of the World”, about 140 people on the average were arrested daily with 86% being blacks and Latinos even though research consistently demonstrates that young whites use marijuana at comparatively higher rates.
Unfortunately, for these young minorities arrested, almost 70% are under the age of 30 years which means criminalizing their profile and automatically ruining their prospect of being productive in a government or work establishment with minimal or zero tolerance for such minor convictions. But now that New York has passed a law decriminalizing the possession of marijuana quantity of not more than 25 grams, what should they do now about those criminalized in the past for merely being caught with a single joint? And it’s not just in New York but all over America where millions of young people’s lives have been destroyed because of such petty crimes. So if Dr. Janneh wants to fight for the human and civil rights of the underprivileged or underdogs he could have his hands full by starting to help American youths in millions, criminalized for what is now viewed as unnecessary convictions. I could go on highlighting a lot of facts that clearly indicate that the America we often portray as the citadel of political, moral and social purity is not always necessarily as so.
I have recently been echoing my appeal to those Gambians who have naturalized in the USA but believe that they are obliged to commit all their energies and worthiness into civil and human right campaigns against only The Gambia government to re-examine their priorities for more realistic occupations. It doesn’t make sense to renounce your allegiance to The Gambia for the USA through naturalization here and think that Gambians will understand your help at home when you cannot help yourselves here. To the majority of Gambians at home, they all seem to prefer the way President Jammeh rules the country and therefore, don’t want to hear any of our over-rated wisdom. Our arrogance to impose our alien views upon them is like insulting their intelligence especially, when we have little or nothing to show them in qualifications and experiences for asserting such authoritative prerogatives. If you think of yourself as being that outstanding what in the world should prevent you from employing your ingenuity in the very countries you now call home? Arguably, as an American holding a doctorate degree therefore, Dr. Janneh should be able to find a respectable job in the USA and contribute his quota to the system that educated and sheltered him and his family. Otherwise, if too obsessed with the preoccupation of being a civil or human rights activist without any ultra-agenda, I recommend that he starts from right here in the USA where the political, economic and social disparity between the rich and the poor and the blacks and whites provide ample challenges for any genuine person to take head on. But to believe that the problem is only about The Gambia government and President Jammeh is disingenuous and absolutely absurd. And to also hope that there could be any effects for political change in The Gambia by again printing and distributing mere propaganda T-shirts from a safe distance outside the country, edges on some form of hallucination. I may be wrong but I seriously believe that it was all about what happened in Burkina Faso that stirred the naïve excitement of instigating a similar political upheaval in The Gambia. Let us get this straight folks; Burkina Faso is not Gambia and Campaore is not Jammeh either. When I heard about the sudden political turmoil in Burkina Faso and then took a quick flashback on recent similar upheavals resulting in devastating effects after uprooting stable governments without proper replacements, my first reaction was to pray and wish the country a peaceful settlement of the crisis no matter what the outcome. I can no longer celebrate such potential disasters after what Iraq, Libya and Tunisia turned into from such upheavals.
Retrospectively, I will now swear to leave Sadam Hussain and Momar Gadhafi in power than settle for what I see in Iraq and Libya respectively. And after all, regardless of what people may think or say about Blaise Campaore, he was and still is my hero for what he did for that country in the past, outstanding from all, being the necessary stoppage of the late Thomas Sankara from transforming Burkina Faso into a brutal Marxist-Leninist state in 1987. At a time when the world had few years left to dismantle the unsustainable doctrine of socialism and communism, Sankara had decided to lay the foundation of a decadent system in the heart of the Sub-Region with a fanatical zeal reminiscent of Stalin’s, Kim Ill Sung’s, Pol Pot’s and those hardline communist rulers of the old school. As an admirer of Fidel Castro’s Cuban Revolution, Sankara had set up Cuban-style Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDRs) that acted like the gestapo in the Third Reich of Nazi Germany. How he would have reacted to the first waves of revolts in Poland in 1989 a period often referred to as the “Autumn of Nations” that continued in Hungary, East Germany, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia and Romania leading to the ultimate fall of the Berlin Wall in 1990 could be anyone’s wild guess. He would have been in total shock over the political future of Burkina Faso in the wake of the crumbling ideology of Marxism and Leninism. Thanks to Campaore for a good riddance. After Sankara, Campaore ushered Burkina Faso into the community of modern African states, building a political and economic system modeled in the form and substance of a conventional market-oriented base. Of course, like all progressive leaders he had certainly committed mistakes here and there but in general, I believe that his good deeds far outweighed the bad ones. And I hope the Armed Forces of Burkina Faso will respect that and shield him and his legacy from any kind of retaliatory actions from short-sighted trouble makers who have very limited knowledge of history. This is the kind of discussion expected from the likes of Dr. Janneh as a former professor during such political uncertainties in Africa, or the world for that matter. But to hear that he was in Senegal with the intent of duplicating the trouble in Burkina Faso into The Gambia was at best irresponsible and at worst, treasonable. In the same manner that Burkina Faso yesterday needed Campaore to save them from the disaster of forcing the country into becoming communist, I believe The Gambia today needs President Jammeh to save it from the overwhelming political turmoil of the world. The country enjoys perfect peace and prosperity and nothing should necessitate sabotaging it. We should all learn how to change our beliefs to suit the challenges in life especially when our attempts to defeat the challenges into what we believe continue elusive.
I keenly look forward to 2017 when President Jammeh will be inaugurating the Yelletenda and Bambatenda Bridge, one of the continental landmarks that will go down in history as one of the greatest achievements of a twenty-first century African President. There is no doubt in my mind that he will contest and win the 2016 national election by an overwhelming majority and will start a new project after the inauguration of the Trans Gambian Bridge in 2017. Perhaps that will be the construction of the Barra–Banjul Tunnel which by estimate should take five years. Great Stuff! I am therefore still humbled to always ask for your forgiveness for doubting your wisdom in the past. I AM SORRY A MILLION TIMES. Samsudeen Sarr, Newark, New Jersey
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