Opinion: The Peace-Loving Gambian: Your role to advocate, promote and protect justice, fairness and peaceful co-existence.

Thursday, June 06, 2019

There comes a time when one needs to stand firm in truth and fight for what is JUST. The person who decides to be firm and resolute is simply a human being who is not interested in taking sides. The person just believes fighting for JUSTICE is the right thing to do. The battle is not based on religion, tribe, race, and/or political affiliation. The life mantra of this person is“JUSTICE FOR ALL”. And that is the sole reason for the fight. Surely, this person may visibly identify with certain people or group(s) of people but this is not based on sentiments such as tribe, religion, race, political affiliation. The fight is simply, for JUSTICE to prevail.

Moreover, in this fight for JUSTICE, there should be no criteria that prevent certain people from participating. Your tribe, race, religion, and political affiliation should not matter. People with good conscience will fight because it is the right thing to do. Therefore, when a certain section of our society is targeted, whether you are one of the targeted or not, you should stand-up and fight because it is the right thing to do. In the face of INJUSTICES, one must not decide to be neutral no matter how attractive it may look. Anyone who does thatis certainly part of the problem and not the solution. This is when the saying “silence means consent” is clearly affirmed.

“On that day, we will not be angry with those who oppressed us, but those who saw it and said nothing”, were the very words of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, acclaiming the sanctity of the right to speak out against injustice anywhere. He went further to note “we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends” and finally affirmed that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” These priceless sayings are ever more relevant in The Gambian society today where there is a concerted effort by a few greedy people to dispossess a particular group of people(MANJAKU) what they possess(LAND) since time immemorial. Good conscience demands that, one should stand and fight with the oppressed. Invariably, fighting with the oppressed does not mean sympathizing with them. It means you are standing for what is right, as aptly put by Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. The oppressed could be the very people that constitutes the highest proportion of that society. It was the Boers of South Africa that made the least population of that country, but they were the very oppressors of the majority black population. Those who fought alongside the blacks did not do it on the premise that the blacks formed the greater proportion of the population. They fought because it is of immense importance to fight against INJUSTICE. In this regard, one ought to be aware that “Majority” and “Minority” are simply not the basis for fighting against oppression. This is because the oppressed may be the “Majority” as it was the case in South Africa during Apartheid. The conscience of the individual is the greatest asset in the fight against oppression and injustice.

Furthermore, if fighting for what is right should be the reason for one to be termed “Political”, there is nothing wrong with that. It was Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who famously said, “There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe nor politic, nor popular, but his conscience tells him is right”. In this trying times when a part of the Gambian society (MANJAKU) are being targeted out of sheer disregard to humanity, anything that separates us should be put aside as we fight in tandem for what is right. This call is for every genuine Gambian who have respect for humanity and is interested in fostering peaceful co-existence. We should be able to confront that which is confronting the very fabric that make us who we are. It should not be “a them against us” thing. Instead it should be “all of us together in it” or as our oppressed black brothers and sisters in America would say “we are in it together”. True patriotism would be that; we are able to move out of our comfort zones and speak-up against our very selves in condemning the ills that are being perpetuated by ourselves. We should be able to rebuke a brother, father, mother, uncle, auntie who appears to lose focus of what we have in common as civilized people living in a society. “What is good for the goose is good for the gander”, as the saying goes. We should be careful not to allow our common enemy to succeed in turning us against one another.

Ultimately, we should not live together as a people under the pretext of “Tolerance’’ when the very fabric of our society and indeed our existence is being threatened. Tolerance for me is: When one is trying to put up with something or someone that ordinarily should not have existed. It is compromising just because one feels a need to extend favour to another person. In the light of the above, if we keep seeing ourselves as tolerating one another, then there is no way we would live in eternal peace as we sojourn. This is because, at certain times and conditions, the one who feels is tolerating the other for peace to reign will eventually become weary. And if that happens, the peace that has existed for long will cease to be. Instead, we should start seeing ourselves as fellow citizens, who must live together in peace and harmony.

Respecting one another based firstly on citizenship with equal rights, and as human beings with diversities is sine qua non for our continued co-existence. I am cognizant of the fact that no one will be comfortable being “tolerated” in his or her own country as a token gesture. Gambia should do away with the notion that, being considered one of the countries in Africawith a good standing on tolerance is a plus. We should instead be celebrating if we are regarded as having a good standing in terms of respect for cultural, religious, tribal and political differences. In the presence of all these unfortunate differences that so much appeal to our being, Julius Malema will certainly be faultless when he said, “Africans are suffering from self-hate”. And indeed, he is already faultless because this rampant perpetuation against the MANJAKU in the Gambia by their fellow Gambians is enough to vindicate him. Any person with good conscience must speak against this unwarranted hatred directed to the MANJAKU community by their fellow citizens.

Celestine Mendy, is a young man from Fallah village, Kombo South, Western Region. He is currently residing in Ningbo, China pursuing Bachelor’s degree in Accounting (CPA).