By Mathew K. Jallow, Madison, Wisconsin
Apostate, traitor, turncoat, heretic, double-dealer, defector; apt monikers for the profile of a man severely lacking in integrity, but faithless is perhaps the epitaph that best underpins the character of this achromatic moral oddity. Bending the truth, misrepresenting facts, and trafficking in spectacular lies, with amazing frequency and vigour, have become second nature to this Quisling, who, in a short space of time, has deliberately or inadvertently, done what seemed so impossible only yesterday; turn an entire nation against his skewed and degenerate moral compass.
Some derogatively called him Sam Lobster Sarr, and I don’t know why, but I will just call him Sam Sarr, and what I do know is that Mr Sam Sarr, has in a very short space of three years, transformed himself into the Gambia’s Goebbels character; dark, cold and sheeting with misplaced anger and rage. It would seem as though Sam Sarr is possessed by a powerful force that feeds off taunting the traumatized people of our country, without regard to the repetitive executions, state sanctioned killings, mass incarceration and prevailing climate of fear, which, for far too long, have devastated the mental stability of an entire nation.
But, Sam Sarr is a reflection of the intolerable culture of greed and heartlessness, which has permeated every aspect of Gambian society, and in the process, torn apart the social fabric that bound our diverse cultures together into a single homogenized nation of people, who share the same human value of caring. Sam Sarr’s is only the latest, and certainly, a far less credible voice to short-circuit the Gambia’s world renowned currency as a peace-loving nation and citizenry, in support, even if indirectly, of Yahya Jammeh’s indefensible atrocities against Gambians.
There is history of a long line of the most vocal and vociferous supporters of Yahya Jammeh, who over the years ended up murdered, incarcerated, forced into hiding or fled The Gambia, and even putting religion aside, basic human morality precludes supporting human characteristics, which border on animal behavior, as Yahya Jammeh has demonstrated, time and again, over two decades.
And in truth, Sam Sarr, like many Gambians who have betrayed their social compacts as human beings, is easily comparable to another unique character of embarrassing repute; a Norwegian, whose name was re-purposed to reflect the crimes that he committed against his country; Quisling.
There are other historical parallels to what Sam Sarr and many Gambians are doing, but in their own ways, each has its distinct characteristics that represent the individual behind each self-serving mask of pure opportunism. But, if Vidkun Quisling is only a vague historical idea, as it is to me, Arne Treholt, a more recent Norwegian Soviet spy, may be a more fitting embodiment for what Sam Sarr and his ilk are doing to The Gambia. Sam Sarr may not be selling his country’s military secrets to the evil Soviets, but he may be doing even by far worse than that; selling his country’s soul to the devil, for money, power and the accompanying ephemeral prestige. This is terrifyingly sickening, besides being morally reprehensible. It symbolizes the ultimate destruction of the human soul.
And besides, Sam Sarr’s frequent rambling articles, devoid of empathy, human compassion, and bursting with inconsistencies and blatant falsehoods, are overt rejection of the peaceful social order that The Gambia has represented in the distant past, but also a damning indictment of the level to which The Gambia’s social norms have devolved, over the last twenty-two years.
The numerous articles Sam Sarr has written and the many radio interviews he has given are tinged with blatant indifference and detachment form The Gambia’s sad history of political repression, state violence and social mayhem, which Yahya Jammeh has foisted on the Gambian people. The gradual erosion of the moral fibre of Gambian society, as exemplified by the Sam Sarr persona, almost brought The Gambia to the edge of complete moral bankruptcy, in the past.
Now, Sam Sarr represents a new breed of Gambians who first made their mark as committed political dissidents and created credible household names for themselves, as unapologetic critics and opponents of The Gambia’s military regime. Paradoxically, the esoteric, but banal nature of the relations between Yahya Jammeh and his future victim, Sam Sarr, it is not unlike the glue that once bound Yahya Jammeh to the dead, the missing or those who fled the Gambian; Pa Bojang, Ben Jammeh, Harry Sambou, Capt. Tumbul Tamba, Capt. Musa Jammeh, Col. Vincent Jatta, Lieut. Solomon Jammeh, Lamin Jobarteh, and Waa Juwara, to name only a few. The culture of sadism that has seeped into the Gambia’s political system and surged into the broader society, is an extrapolation of the prevailing economic circumstances and the dynamics of self-preservation, etched by a force far more potent and tempting than human virtue and morality.
The core of Sam Sarr’s being may still lurk behind his irreverent moral eccentrism, but the lethargy that he showcases, and the insipid ethical defoliation he wilfully unveils, in his articles, are more than what Gambians can bear. For now, Sam Sarr’s relentless attacks on Gambians, especially in the diaspora; in essence, the hope, faith and determination they embody, is an exercise in futility, and an example of the embarrassing insularity of the man who tied so desperately to kill the people’s hopes and dreams. Something has got to give, Sam