Hi Pa! For the records and for the benefit of your audience, I’m making the following correspondence public. This was what i sent to the LGBT community and local media.
Here is some background information about my concerns with the sister city relationship.
Copied below was my letter to the Mayor’s office but unfortunately the calls of many diaspora Gambian U.S. residents have been ignored by Madison City Council. I think it is important for the public to be aware of this as it is seemingly distant political stuff the city is being drawn into that the officials seems to be clueless about in my view. Mayor Yankuba Colley of Kanifing is on record advocating for the beheading of LGBT people in Gambia and he is a key member of dictator Yahya Jammeh’s party.
The following are some external sources of reference for your convenience:
Thank you for your attention and I look forward to talking with you further about the issue.
Regarding Sister-City Kanifing:
I write to express my utmost disappointment after hearing the great City of Madison is in the process of establishing Sister-City relationship with the City of Kanifing, The Gambia. Though, I am resident outside the city-limits of Madison, I do work in Madison and always consider Madison as my hometown.
I was born and raised in Gambia and I love the country dearly and still wishes the best for its citizens. I am now a U.S. citizen, proudly serving in the U.S. Navy Reserves, and a productive resident of Wisconsin since 2000.
I would like to convey to the Mayor that the tiny West African nation of Gambia has been under a brutal repression since 1994. Many exemplary citizens of the Gambia have either been killed, tortured, subjected to political persecution, or exiled as in mine and many others simply for daring to speak out against the government. I am not going to begin to list the kind of daily injustice the people of Gambia are forced to endure under the current political dispensation. I would suggest doing a thorough research on the country and you should have plenty of credible sources to confirm what I am alleging herein.
It is without doubt, Madison is one of the friendliest cities worldwide and is welcoming to everyone. The Gambia today is no different than North Korea, where there is only one party government that dictates what goes on at all levels of society. So there is no such thing as an independent city council and/or mayor who is independently elected and serves in the best interest of their communities.
I want to remind the Major that Madison is one of the foremost friendliest LGBT communities in the world, which is totally in contrast to the hostile attitudes of the current government of the Gambia. In fact, the current president Yahya Jammeh is on record publicly threatening to execute and torture LGBT people in the country. Sadly, that is exactly what happened to some LGBT Gambians, some of whom are lucky to make it into exile and related their stories to outside media outlets and human rights organizations. Such inhumane attitude and hostility is unacceptable to all civilized Gambians as we were once one of the most hospitable people on earth.
Mr. Mayor, this is not a relationship I would recommend pursuing at this time. I would rather implore on you to use your public profile by adding your voice in helping the Gambian people to win back their long lost freedom. That will be most appreciated and remembered by generations of Gambians. Certainly, there will be plenty of time to explore a sister-city partnership in Gambia under better circumstances.
Written By Bubacarr Ceesay