Mr. Editor, in 2010, just one person’s act of self-immolation in Tunisia was to spark off various protests in the Middle East. The street vendor by the name of Mohamed Bouazizi took the ultimate sacrifice of self-immolation in protest against the act of a local law enforcement officer. This incident sparked a lot of demonstrations in the country and as a result the Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali who led the country for 23 years fled amidst the mass demonstrations calling for his resignation.
The aftermath of Tunisia resonated to many Arab countries. Pertinent among them were the Egyptians who took to the street and ousted Hosni Mubarak, the Libyans slaughtered Gadhafi in the streets; the Yemenis ended the regime of Ali Abdullah Saleh and up to now in Syria, Bashar Al Assad is fighting a civil war. Other Arab countries too succumbed to the demands of their people and ushered in political reforms.
What happened with some of these protests was the ousting of dictatorship. The one that particularly caught my eyes was the way the Libyan people ousted Colonel Muammar Gadhafi who was depicted not only as the “mad dog” of Africa but he was also the most repressive President in Africa. In my wildest of dreams, I wouldn’t have thought that Gadhafi would die in the hands of “area boys” in Libya. Not only did he die in their hands but he was heard pleading for his life from the same boys whose parents were either killed by him or were forced into subjugation by him.
I see the Gambian problem as a replica of the Arab Spring in its own right. If media reports are true about the death of Solo Sandeng, then he took the ultimate sacrifice of liberating the Gambia from the destitute President Yahya Jammeh. What is happening in the Gambia is really history in the making because the fact that people are able to go out and chant songs of praise for Lawyer Darboe and demand his release and even demand to know the whereabouts of Solo Sandeng, goes to show that the fear factor is dying out gradually.
Quite Frankly Mr. Editor, five years ago, no one would dream of going out in the street of Banjul and demand justice for an imprisoned political prisoner. Look at it this way, how many Gambians disappeared or were killed by Yahya Jammeh or are incarcerated at unknown locations and nothing came out of it? Should the present situation not send shock waves to Yahya Jammeh that the Gambian people are ready to take back their country?
I believe that Yayha Jammeh should see the writings on the wall and either subdue to free and fair elections which he will lose; and leave the country. He also has the option of leaving in peace and follows the footsteps of former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali or dies the way his mentor Colonel Muammar Gadhafi died. I am also sure that when Jammeh is captured; every Gambian will enjoy watching him molested in the streets by the countless orphans and widows he created in the space of 20 years.
Written by Ebou Ngum. Everett, Washington