By Madi Jobarteh
Western Europe and the United States share a terrible history with Africa. History has shown that slavery and colonialism were the imagination and invention of Europeans for the purpose of exploiting and oppressing Africans. History has shown that London, Manchester, Amsterdam or Paris were small and poor towns before the advent of slavery. But soon after the African Holocaust, these European cities and many more in Spain or Portugal emerged as huge industrial conglomerates ever since. For centuries Europeans came to African to kidnap our ancestors to ship away to their ‘New World’, which are the Americas from where the United States and Canada emerged as the richest countries.
Since Africa began its liberation struggle and eventually gaining independence from the 1960s, we have seen how western European countries and the United States jointly and individually spared no effort to undermine our struggle for self-determination. Where we even produced visionary leaders through the democratic process such as Kwame Nkrumah, Patrice Lumumba and Ahmed Sekou Toure, we have seen how the West purposefully sought to eliminate them one by one through various means. Until today the West continues to support dictators, rebel groups and exploit Africa’s huge resources for their own benefit and to our detriment.
Yet, in spite of slavery, colonialism and now neo-colonialism, Africans now willingly struggle hard to go the West. Today Africa’s best doctors, engineers, lawyers and engineers as well as experts in all fields have found home in the West, working there and developing Western economies. Our young people including the illiterate and unskilled are not left behind in this exodus to the West. Thousands continue to embark on all sorts of dangerous journeys just to get to the West. Thanks to our people in the West many families at home are having decent lives.
Why is that? Why are our people not running to China, Russia, Brazil or India like they head to the West? No one goes to seek asylum in China or Malaysia or Rumania? What is in the West that makes it our first choice and not to North Korea or Turkey or Iran? Why do we still go to the West despite the horrible history we share with them until today? China or Russia or India never enslaved or colonized Africa, yet we do not go to those countries but only to the West. Why?
The answer is simple. We all want to go to the West because of democracy. Any African who is persecuted in Africa runs away to seek asylum in the West. Any African who is seeking greener pastures or education goes to the West. This is because there is Democracy and Good Governance in the West. Because of that democracy and good governance, the West has produced sustainable economic wellbeing and immense opportunities for its people and we also want to benefit from that. Gambians in America, UK and Western Europe know this because they see how these countries are governed. They have see how American people or the British and Western Europeans engage and monitor their leaders to make sure they produce the right leadership based on democracy.
When one considers all of these, why then are Gambians, especially some of them in the West who have seen and experienced democracy face to face now deny democracy to their own people at home. Why is it that when someone raises his or her concerns and issues about the Gambia Government or Adama Barrow or a political party, these people in the West unleash so much violence on that person? They call you a tribalist, hater, social media expert, attention seeker or seeking cheap popularity. They would even try to question what you did during the APRC Tyranny as if they stayed in the Gambia and physically wrestled with Yaya Jammeh and defeated him a long time ago! Some would even rationalize that Gambia is not UK or US as if democracy is good for the West but not good for the Gambia.
Instead of these people demanding the best from our leaders and subjecting them to hard scrutiny, rather they condemn anyone who is trying to hold the Barrow Administration to account. What is most amazing is that these people are behaving exactly the same way as APRC folks were behaving when Yaya Jammeh was in power. At that time anyone who criticized Yaya Jammeh, you were labeled an unpatriotic citizen, a Western-backed agent or a tribalist who just hated Yaya Jammeh. Why are we repeating this? Why then did we remove Yaya Jammeh?
Everyone has seen that the only reason Western Europe, US and Canada are so rich and powerful is because of democracy. Therefore one would expect that Gambians in the Diaspora would uncompromisingly demand and insist on democracy for us also by any means, but so far what is coming out from some folks there is indeed scary. They enjoy democracy in the West yet they want to deny democracy to their own people in the Gambia. Why should we label a Gambian citizen negatively just because the person holds and expresses a divergent and dissenting opinion? Whose idea is correct? Who has the power to determine who is right or wrong? Can’t we just agree or disagree without having to vilify each other?
Is this the way we want to build the New Gambia? Is this the way we want to support and protect Adama Barrow? Can’t these people realize that they are not only harming Adama Barrow, but we are fundamentally taking our country back to dictatorship and destruction? Yet they still enjoy democracy in the West but they do not want their own people to enjoy the full extent of democracy at home. Certainly it is not ignorance but this is sheer dishonesty.
Gambians, Get Ready! We have entered Part 2 of the Struggle against New Dictators. On December 1 Gambia decided for True Democracy and we must not allow a bunch of Minority Dishonest Dictators to reverse that decision. Certainly this is not the reason why Solo Sandeng led patriots to demonstrate for democracy and electoral reforms. The struggle continues…
God Bless the Gambia.