Alagi Yorro Jallow
In one of Shakespeare’s most renowned plays, Hamlet, Act III, Scene III, King Claudius lamented, “My words fly up but my thoughts remain below. Words without thoughts never go to heaven!” Halifa contributed immensely to the foundations of New Gambia.
His vision and determination will ever be a lasting impression on every facet of our national endeavor transform twenty-two years of dictatorship to a fledgling democracy.
It is due to his initiative that new Gambia now has a strong and solid base and is a major moral giant of Africa. Halifa is inspired by a durable foundation and represents a renewed initiative towards consolidating the gains of national reconstruction at this crucial stage of our national development.
From the corner of my memory’s eye I catch this movie in which a community decides to collectively hate on this Jewish guy who always wears a hat. The kids are fed a belief that the guy has horns under his hat…. what’s the name of that movie… so a generation of youngsters is growing up hating a Jew (and therefore all other Jews they’ll ever know) because they believe he has horns growing out of his skull as a sign of his inherently evil nature.
He’s the boogieman they dare not come near… darn it, what’s the name of that movie… There’s a funny scene where two of the kids who know the truth decide to lure other kids to the Jewish guy’s home so they can see his horns when he takes off his hat. The knowing kids laugh themselves silly when the other gullible kids take off in terror upon seeing the man with the horns approaching… what the devil’s horn’s the name of– forget it.
For now, “the man with the horns” is the real-life movie playing out in the Gambian politics especially in diaspora among a group that believes the man from the shores of Sere-kunda Central is indeed Mephistophelian in nature. He’s the Gambia’s guy with the hat that hides something diabolical, and he is to be greatly feared by the godly and spiritually favored group that has decided there’s only one man anointed to lead the country.
I do not come to judge your faith or to question the veracity of such bizarre claims – heck, I don’t know if the man is hiding a chicken claw that can run all by itself under his hat – but as a human being who refuses to stay silent in the face of crimes against humanity, I will point to the chilling markings of a dangerous collective mindset clothed in holiness and humility.
Somewhere in this political madness that has affected diaspora and Gambian politics, there’s a light, and I know that light well because I have bathed often in its unpretentious generosity. At a time like this, we must dare invade each other’s exclusive spaces even when we’re not welcome, talk to each other long enough, heart to heart, across the divide, however difficult the conversations, and only then will we begin to find each other’s shared humanity.
Halifa will never repent like King Claudius who killed for him to ascend to power. He tried to kneel in prayer, but couldn’t feel any sense of comfort, mercy and Claudius soon realized that because he had no intention of confessing the crime or changing his earthly status, his words were empty and meaningless. Consequently, the weight of his sin kept him bound to earth, with no hope of touching heaven.
By Alagi Yorro