MR ABDUL SAVAGE IS A RETIRED UNITED STATES ARMY. THE VIEWS EXPRESSED ARE HIS OWN AND MAY NOT REFLECT THOSE OF NEW AFRICA BUSINESS NEWS AND ITS PARENT COMPANY THE GLOBAL INTERNATIONAL AND ITS AFFLIATES.
I must say and declare here that I stand for truth, honesty and service. So, I am aware and tracking that the sentiments herein mentioned in this article will probably sit uncomfortable with some. But let’s examine ourselves, thoroughly examine ourselves.
This DIASPORA space in the ‘struggle” is getting crowded. We can have all this crowd back home in the Gambia in the name of democracy, but we cannot afford to have this crowd in the diaspora at this crucial junction in our history.
I will get straight to the point and give you just an example: Now, say DUGA (I am not calling out DUGA or anyone out here, I am just giving an example to make a point, keep that in mind), writes a letter to ECOWAS, the State Department or the Home Office. CODERG or GCC will not want to be outdone; word gets around sometimes among us. So, since GCC will not want to be outdone, they will in turn write a letter to the same Home Office or the State Department, or even an entirely different agency. These agencies will not respond right away to any of these entities, but they will reply to acknowledge receipt of their letter, and indicate that they will probably look into the matter, or examine it further. These are government agencies, and they behave accordingly.
Now, imagine the same is done to or with NGOs, and or private individuals or entities. These non-governmental agencies and private entities will start to wonder if this is the beginning of a new kind of Gambia 419. So, in order to project some form of resemblance of unity in this struggle, it is imperative that these entities come together under one umbrella.
Yes, the diversity is bringing attention to the plight of the Gambia. But this is not good, nor conducive for conducting business. And given the record, evidence and all against that Monster regime back home, this diversity of entities is hampering collective efforts to fight a shared and common enemy in any and every way possible. So, while these entities are bringing attention to the plight of the Gambia, they are, in other regards, doing a service to the Gambia, and damage to the essence, image and objective of the struggle. And that cannot be afforded at this junction or any other junction.
And we must continue to talk and write about this. It is long past due. And don’t tell me if we don’t talk and or write about it, Monster Jammeh will just go away, or the problems in the Gambia will evaporate. So, we must continue to talk and or write about it. But we have a duty and responsibility to distinguish
all the talk and writing. Just because you can talk and or write does not mean that you can do so irresponsibly, or for attention, fame, glory and or financial reward.
This “struggle” is not a business venture, or an employment scheme. In spite of the duplication of radios, shows and other forms of media outlets, we must be responsible. Yes, true, we equally have a duty and responsibility to our coffers. But we must not use that to explain and or justify irresponsible behaviors or acts. We must keep in mind that the bigger and broader responsibility here is to the Gambia, and the Gambian people. But this “struggle” is not a business venture or an employment scheme.
And true, education is part of any and all movement. But any movement without action, despite all the education you put in it, is useless. A classic example is the civil rights movement here in America. All kinds of ways and means were devised, developed and used to educate the people, but at some points, action was needed, used and implemented. And the leaders certainly did not instigate and or called for action while they conveniently sit overseas thousands of miles away.
Every right comes with a responsibility. And so, we have to distinguish the talk. We have to distinguish which talk is cheap, which talk is risky, which talk is attention seeking, and which talk is irresponsible.
We don’t want all this talk to go from “cheap talk” to “free talk”. It is beginning to smell a whole lot like “free talk”. Action is needed, but responsible action, well thought of, planned and executed action. In our desperation and haste, I submit, like I have always, we must exercise caution and planning.
We must limit all these redundant and frequent publicity stunts in social media and other forms. There are only 24 hours in a day; it will never, ever be 22 or 28. And you add the fact that all or many of the “leaders” in these varying and different entities have other jobs and occupations too, blend in with family and other social times. So, we must face and accept the reality of time constraints and limitations, and respond and deal accordingly. True, during all this talk and writing, both private and public, we will have disagreements, and will certainly not see eye-to-eye on some instances. But during all this discourse, both private and public, we must, MUST, respect and be civil to each other.
And true, men and women are, by nature, different, and we, as men, are protectors of women and children. But when it comes to debates and discussions, I submit that it is unfair, wrong and improper for certain women to run behind gender, or use such maneuver to curry favors, sympathy, reward or glory.
With all due respect, some in this diaspora are now beginning to hijack certain segments of the struggle through shows, radios and other media outlets. This is all good, well and dandy. I respect and admire it, and that they are doing so to have employment, and help better their lives and families. That is indeed good, and must get our support where rightfully deserved. However, be responsible. Don’t be hypocritical, or employ what I will refer to as irresponsible and childish maneuvers. And when you help people, don’t around mercilessly and deafeningly singing your song, or imploring others to do so on your behalf. We have a duty and responsibility here, and it is to the Gambian people, and the Gambia. We stand for and represent all things Gambian. And we must project and exhibit the kind of admirable quality we would like to see in others.
I, and few others, proposed for leaders of these different entities to meet over a cup of coffee in Atlanta, Raleigh or anywhere else, and talk about UNITY, and talk about how to converge and consolidate themselves and their efforts.
BY Abdul Savage. Retired, US Army
Member, Military Order of the Purple Heart
Member, Veterans of Foreign Wars