By: Dawda Baldeh
The poem titled “Was Forced to Choose the Back Way” by Ebrima Jallow, also known as The Ghetto Pen, stands as a heartfelt tribute to the young lives tragically lost in a boat capsize while attempting to reach Spain by sea.
Jallow, a second-year law student and poet at the University of The Gambia, extends his condolences and solidarity to the grieving families.
The poem illuminates the driving forces behind such perilous journeys—nepotism, hardship, and the daily struggle for survival.
Jallow underscores that opting for the “back way,” a hazardous route, often stems from a lack of opportunities and a dim future in their home country.
He critiques the leadership and societal conditions perpetuating poverty and inequality, describing a culture where the poor become poorer and the rich become richer.
Jallow questions why he shouldn’t seek a better future, even if it means risking his life.
The poet acknowledges that life inherently involves risks, asserting that he would rather face the dangers of the journey than remain in a place where there is no hope for improvement.
He contrasts the economic disparities between his home country and Europe, expressing the allure of a brighter future abroad.
Jallow concludes his poem by dedicating it to the fallen youths, expressing his wish for them to find eternal peace. He also prays for guidance and solace for the grieving families during this challenging time.
In summary, the poem serves as a poignant reflection on the desperation, aspirations, and sacrifices made by those embarking on perilous journeys in search of a better life. It also sheds light on the underlying societal issues pushing individuals to take such risks.
Was Forced to Choose the Backway
It’s nepotism, hardship and sufferation day after day,
So one faithful day, I decided the BACK WAY,
Yes, the dark, horrible and deadly way,
Since, cold fish leaders are the ones captaining the ship,
I’ve no option, but to dodge them ship,
And chose to sail in the rubber boat,
Optimistic that, God willing, man will enter safely and unlock the poverty code,
Where poor poorer and rich richer is the culture,
Truth is there’s no bright future,
So why shouldn’t I seek for a greener pasture?
Yes, it’s risky,
But life is all about taking risk,
So you gotta open your door with your own key,
I will rather escape gunshots and chose to be a desert pedestrian,
Or even die in the Mediterranean,
Than to only listen to the beautiful stories narrated about the European,
Could you imagine D50 is equivalent to 1 Euro,
Surely, me in Europe is from zero to hero,
12 months savings will be my 1 hour earning,
Tips received is what I will spend on feeding and clothing,
Here, salary eamings shows that we’re sinking,
So it’s better to chose drowning,
Was forced to chose the BACKWAY, so I’m going.