#Article (Archive)

What is a dad?

Dec 16, 2008, 5:56 AM | Article By: Mrs Marie-Pierre Hydara- John

A dad is a best friend, a great listener, an angel sent down to protect and guide you from all evil and from harm's way.

A dad is caring, sincere, loving, intelligent as he knows how to answer all your worrying questions.

A dad has always got a convincing smile to make you feel assured that all is well and that he will always be there when needed.

A dad accepts you for who you are, allay your fears and right your wrongs and help you overcome any difficulties. A dad is not a part-time job or a one-off show when you can or want to. A dad is like a doctor on call always ready when needed come rain or shine, come what may he will always be there to support and care for his children, no matter what.

Anyone canbe a father but it takes real guts and compassion to be a dad. And we were blessed to have had DEYDA HYDARA for a dad, who fitted the job description in every sense of the word

This is what makes it the hardest to deal with or to move on. Our lives have been devastated on so many different levels we cannot begin to trust the system that should have provided the shield to protect one of its own. (They owe him that much since he was one of her finest)Some people say forgiveness helps the healing process but some wrongs are not easily forgiven or forgotten. Time will tell, but who needs forgiveness is the question I want answered. Turning up and owning up is one thing, and being forgiven is another. We are believers and do have faith in the Almighty and thank him every day for seeing us through these times of hurdles. We know getting these "rank-and-files" would not bring him back from the dead but we strongly believe it will make things less tense.

We have seen yet another year gone by with extreme disappointment as there isn't any hunt for his killers. Chances of finding them slashed off once again. It has been four painful years and all we are left with is a series of unanswered questions.

Not a day goes that we don't miss him but around this time it feels like a wound that is being torn open.He has left an irreplaceable void in our lives and since the circumstances surrounding his death are full of ambiguity we cannot help but think that there is something lacking somewhere whether by intention or default. Justice is denied to a man who stood and fought for democracy and against injustice.

This year has seen a lot of achievements where Deyda is concerned. At the risk of repeating ourselves we once a again commend Aloa Ahmed Alota and Uncle D.A Jawo for an extraordinary biography. A Living Mirror is a perfect recognition of Deyda's dedication, bravery, his love and commitment to his family and to profession.

Uncle D.A. has been more that a colleague to dad. Ahmed is an editor dad was always proud of. All your turmoils are registered in our hearts with appreciation and thankfulness to the Almighty for helping you see this through.

There were times when a lot of people thought that you would give up the research for this moving and historic tribute to a great man. You jumped through a lot of hoops to get the memoirs done. Both of you had doors slammed in your faces, ran into dead ends, travelled far and most of the time to no avail but you stubbornly refused to give up and went the extra mile, just like dad when he set out to get a task done.

A Living Mirror is a symbol of what Deyda stood for, and who is best to do it than the people who honestly loved and knew him well. It highlights the rising of a man who despised oppression. An extraordinary revelation of a man who fought with all he had and got nothing in return. Who shared all he had with everyone, his hands- on -role as a dad and a husband.

It portrays him growing from strength to strength in his campaign for Press Freedom and Free Expression. It captures his usual runnings with the authorities. His daring and fearless ways when he challenged the laws imposed to muzzle the press. He defended press freedom and freedom of expression the only way he knew how (pen to paper) as he believed he was the voice of the voiceless. A distinguished career spanning over 30 years. He ran and held and participated in a variety of activities, all of which were geared towards a better society.

In a nutshell, A Living Mirror is a masterpiece written for a distinguished editor, an excellent mentor, and fearless journalist, a good husband and most of all the best dad anyone could asked for.

We pray that the Almighty bless protect and guide you. Your efforts and hard work will forever remain in our hearts.

We also thank the few trustworthy friends, family and colleagues who bravely gave accounts of who Deyda was. We remain ever so grateful to you as without your contribution this book would have been impossible. We also thank once again the cowards who refused to admit any connection with this great man. We strongly appreciate your lack of contribution (sheer cowardice)as this has no place in a biography of such a brave man. You should hang your head in shame and remember Deyda's killed but everyday a new Deyda is born. Even from his grave, some people still feel threatened by him.

He stood fought for the truth and died for what he believed in. We are glad he served his purpose as all he ever wanted was to be a journalist. He became one of the best in the world and died a hero and a fearless campaigner of press freedom who will never be forgotten in any democratic society.

Thanks are also due to the publishers, management and staff of The Point newspaper for their continued support, the Gambia Press Union, Action Aid, International Pen, Agence France Press, Reporters Without Borders, the Open Society Initiative for West Africa, the International Federation of Journalists, Rhodes University in South Africa, Article 19 (Senegal), the Deyda Hydara Trust and WAJA for its most recent award.

We thank all other press freedom organisations such as the Media Foundation for West Africa, Media Rights Agenda, who join us in fighting to bring the perpetrators of this hideous crime to justice.

To Pa, we love and miss you always; you've done us proud. RIP.