By Alagie Saidy-Barrow
Saying we could have all done better by our people does not mean that we are all equally responsible for the 22 years of dictatorship. Some enabled, others participated as silent and “peaceful” observers, and a few fought back through various means. Our roles in enabling the dictatorship were not the same and our level of responsibility is not equal or the same. Saying we could have all done better is about personal reflection and self-accountability, it should and must never be a way for enablers to water down or minimize their roles by saying “we all failed.” No, we didn’t all fail! At the very least, some of us fought back against the evil government machinery that was killing, raping and stealing from our nation, while many of you minded your business because you hate all “forms of violence”! That’s not withstanding the fact that you glorify the Battle of Badr while others take pride in the Crusades! You have all rights to ignore the violence against your people because you hate violence, but for some of us, our conscience never had that luxury. So don’t put us in your box!
Unlike many, some of us were offered jobs with prestigious benefits, but we never even considered accepting them. Unlike many, some of us could not just go to sleep knowing our sisters and mothers were being raped, that our fathers and brothers were being killed and disappeared, that our mothers and fathers were being rounded up and called witches. That our children were shot at, for simply standing up against the rape and abuse of their fellow children. You can claim you didn’t know about any of the violence against Gambians, if that lie helps you sleep easy, and that is fine too. But unlike you, some of us were prepared to give our lives to save our people that you chose to ignore because they were not your “people” enough, for you to care enough, to stand up and say enough.
So no, while some of you maintained your “peace” in the midst of Yaya’s violence against Gambians, some of us did everything we could to stop it! So speak of your role, but please don’t lump us all in the same boat! You don’t have to agree with our actions at all, just as we don’t have to agree with your silence and inertia, or enabling of the abuse against Gambians. To each their own. I certainly don’t belong to your group of enablers, neither do I belong to those of you who chose to be “peaceful” and “law-abiding” in the midst of violence against your people. And I know many that don’t belong to your group, because they stood up when it mattered, and when it was a matter of life and death. Unfortunately, they’re not here to tell you that they never abandoned their people, even at the expense of death! But I am grateful to remind you of them. May their souls rest in heaven!