By Sainey Darboe
It’s stunning how we all pretend Barrow’s attitude with the accompanying incompetence and outright deception is a marked departure from the norm.
Matter of fact, the poor attitude the occupant of State House displays is replicated at individual level across Gambia. People blatantly lie, fraudulently obtain money from others, let down their families and nobody puts up a spirited fight.
The state of health care system in The Gambia is unacceptable. People are dying with alarming frequency of simple illness while the government watches with callous indifference.
The government cannot even provide basic needs like water and electricity for people, yet they allow themselves to be led to the slaughter like a sacrificial lamb. Successive Gambian governments have conspired in the suffering of our people and disastrously changing the course of lives without any respect. And with immense ruthlessness.
In conversations with people back home, one is struck by how everything that goes wrong in our lives is ascribed to Allah. God damn it. Let it be said with the least bit of respect that the state of our lives is a consequence of the decisions we have made as a people.
What changes lives and countries is not Allah or some higher power, but the decisions we have made over time, who we put in power and what we give of ourselves and our time.
Barrow has made himself victim of his own sect to be immolated on the flames of infinite greed. He has fed on fallacy and corruption, he has fed on dishonor and avarice. He has put himself above his feverish appetite and his congenital fear of losing his protruding pot belly, without knowing that it’s an endless vice the satiety of which generates its own appetite until the end of time.
He has known since his beginnings that they deceive him in order to please him, that they collect from him by fawning on him, that they coerce with bribery the huge crowds that line his routes with ululations of glory and venal signs of eternal rule to the magnificent one who has killed the lion. But he has learned to live with those and the miseries of glory, as he discovered in the course of his years that a lie to his people is more comfortable than doubt, more useful than love, more lasting than truth.
He has arrived without shock at the ignominious fiction of commanding without power, of being exalted without glory, of being obeyed without authority when he became convinced in the trail of yellow leaves that he had never been master of all his power in that State House in a state of gracelessness.
He realized he is condemned not to know power except in reverse unless he set about casting into political purgatory the father that was not his. He is condemned to decipher the seams and straighten the threads of the woof and the warp of the tapestry of illusions of reality without suspecting even too late that the only livable life is one of truth, love and honor. But why am I pouring oceans of ink on a clueless president. Oops…just discovered too late he is not worth the effort.
Now back to our people. And back to the future. It will be impossible to put our beloved country on the path to development when we give up on our agency and ascribe our state to absentee superior powers who have forsaken us through centuries of endless suffering of a people dispossessed. We should get to work and stop congregating at mosques in hope of some miracle.
To paraphrase Frank Underwood in House of Cards, there is no solace above or below, only us, small, solitary, striving, battling one another. I pray to myself for myself.
Gambian-British rapper J-Hus captures our sad state best in his latest album Big Conspiracy. He raps:
‘How you gonna run the world?
You can’t even run your life
I’m Destiny’s Child, every day I survive
No time to plan, I had to improvise
If you was real, you would recognize
How do you sleep at night
When you don’t even fight for your right?
How do you sleep at night
When you never even fight for your right?’