The Gambia: The Case Of A North Korea In The Heart Of West Africa

by editor | January 27, 2015 3:03 am

By Mathew K Jallow, Madison, Wisconsin

In more ways than one, the similarities are just as striking as they are notorious. Even the subtle differences are mind-blowing, and bear downright diabolical resemblance. Behind the extreme isolation and unmatched secretiveness, a self-absorbed political juggernaut still champions a visionless political maxim that is characterized by a brutal lethargy to any discourse of social and economic justice. It is a regime stigmatized by a legacy reminiscent of an era long gone, and a regime with a cruel history mercilessly excoriated for its unimaginable tyranny. It is a nation guided by an antediluvian axiom so traumatizing that it etched a permanent mark of guilt and shame in the collective global conscience. But more; it is also a place where even time seems to have stopped, and the people, beaten and battered by utter neglect and unbelievable abuse, have lost the will to live. For this country on the far eastern rim of the Asian continent; this epitome of a pariah nation north of the dreadful DMZ, the darkness of primitive ignorance still lives on, its rivers of blood still flow senselessly on hallowed grounds, and its life of an era whose time is long forgotten, still haunts a terrified nation silenced by the unforgiving power of fear and terror. For, this country where time has stood still for decades, even generations, the merciless projection of cruel tyranny is exercised beyond the forceful use of words.

Has anyone ever had the urge to reach up a library shelve and grab a book, journal or magazine expose of North Korea? No! Then ready, set, go. What you will find is the depressing reminder, not of the rebirth of the intolerable demons of Adolf Hitler, but a frightening memorial to an unparalleled cruelty that has so effortlessly vexed the unflappable, silent voices of conscience, and offended the sensibilities of human compassion. It exemplifies the nauseating capacities for reptilian cruelty imposed by the privileged few who sit in judgment of a barbarized nation; a vicious cabal that stands in the way of its peoples’ liberty and economic justice. If this Asian nation exists anywhere else on the planet, it is in Africa; West Africa, to be precise. North Korea and the Gambia, two countries separated by wide expanses of paradoxically harsh yet awe-strikingly beautiful rugged mountains, mighty ocean and vast expanses of rolling savannah, in more ways than one, share many haunting resemblances. But, it is not North Korea’s awesome sunrises and the alluring beauty of the Gambia’s magical sunsets that obsess the deep sense of anguish in the collective human consciences. For, as the international community, saddled with guilt and shame, continues to look the other way, the barbarism of North Korea continues; the dysfunction of the governments, undeniable, and a people silenced by the unbelievable cruelty, remain faceless and unheard, and living on the edge of Armageddon.

In North Korea, decades of tyranny and global indifference have forced the people to cede their inalienable rights to the state, with devastating consequences. The senseless subordination to state authority has effectively reduced its people into objects of sympathy and hopelessness. But, this is also the story of the Gambia. The insensitivity with which Gambia is disorientated towards a culture of individualism, selfishness and state barbarism, has no bearing, whatsoever, on the country’s long history of peaceful tribal coexistence. It is as if Yahya Jammeh has drawn lessons from Kim Il Sung’s playbook, or ripped a chapter right out of Niccole Machiavelli’s tragic political thesis; The Prince. True to form, Yahya Jammeh has proven every bit as evil, cruel and narcissistic as North Korea’s Kim IL UN would want and Niccole Machiavelli would celebrate. However, Yahya Jammeh, has added to the Kim IL UN script by his ignorant introduction of tribal bigotry and social Darwinism in Gambia society. But, Yahya Jammeh is fighting a losing battle for the survival of his doomed thousand-year Jola hegemony, which was planned to extend from the northern edge of Senegal to the depth of Guinea-Bissau. In the same vein, the extraordinary capriciousness, with which Yahya Jammeh executed twenty-six prisoners bear an uncanny resemblance to North Korea, and has generated a firestorm of visceral reaction from around the globe.

The past several years tyranny and butchery of citizens in the Gambia have emboldened the proliferation of an inordinate number of diaspora human rights organizations, a phenomenon inspired by the new social media and sustained by a deep commitment to the rule of law and return democracy in the Gambia. But, with diverse opinions and view-points among the diaspora, superficial disagreements among the organizations often materializes, but these are vastly outweighed by the profound hatred for Yahya Jammeh and his clique of co-tyrants. Since the cataclysmic and brutal Mile 2 Prison massacre elevated Yahya Jammeh’s standing as an international pariah, the senselessness of his actions will surely come back to haunt him. Yahya Jammeh is inconsolably aware of the nagging feeling that the curtains may soon come down; that the bright lights may soon dim, the glitz and glamour of unchecked power may soon fade into distant memory, and a nation held hostage for so long, will once again breathe free. The growing Gambian determination to end the barbarity and senseless killings has infused a new dose of commitment to the Gambia’s dissident liberation struggle. And as the countdown to Yahya Jammeh’s inevitable demise ticks on, the eventuality of his end days will bring out his worst reptilian character. But the world is watching and waiting for his inevitable downfall. For Africa needs it. ECOWAS wants it. The Gambian people deserve it.

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