We must not let the demon called ‘Tribalism’ show its ugly head in our new political dispensation. Oxford Dictionary of Current English, third edition, outlines tribalism as behaviour and attitudes that are based on one’s loyalty to a tribe or other social group. Gambians are known all over the globe as highly sociable, hardworking, peace loving and law abiding citizens. This has branded us with a unique mark most countries envy us with thus I believe that trend should not be jeopardised thereof leaving us in an abyss. The gaping abyss seemingly wants to draw us back and eventually consume us but we as brothers and sisters of a great nation in dire need must not give space to hate speech, political and ethnic division in any form hence catalysing and serving as a magnetic force that would drag us into the gaping abyss. I repeat from those whom have been in the fore front nuturing the spirit of oneness and working in unison for a better Gambia from the inception that, it is only we Gambians who can make Gambia a heavenly place or hell on earth depending on how we reason and come to terms. Hate speech and uncalled sentiments must have no space in our atmosphere.

Accordingly, I would like to give a brief clue of what transpired way back in an impoverished African nation, Rwanda as reference to what hate speech, political and ethnic division can give birth to if left unaddressed.

Have you ever thought of any horrific event? The treachery and the tears brought about as a result of that event? Well, if no, let me take you through the horrendous marks genocide has left on the foreheads of Rwandans as a result of the aforementioned factors and what it was like to be in the desert of gunshots.

Way back in once a happy African nation, when hate, racial prejudice, rape and killing were the hobbies of a section of the Rwandan populace. Breaking a man’s head was worth fun and no longer fear. On 6th April 1994, the presidential airplane carrying the presidents of Rwanda and Burundi was put to doom by untag smart forces. With the sound of RPG sort of weapon, the whole nation was condemned to fear. That night, innocent souls were reminded of the Rwandan civil war which began in 1990.

Ensuing this, the perpetrators took advantage of the power vacuum to arm their loyalists with assortments of weapons to rape, maim and above all facilitate their fellow Rwandans journey to joining their forefathers. The earth opened to receive dead bodies of all sizes. An estimated one million people were killed in just 77 days because of their ethnicity. There were road blocks everywhere; not even a rat could escape and the perpetrators lived a life of watering the crops with blood in that rainy season. You could hear innocent yells in distant voices being battered to a cruel death. Do you think a man in his 80s could be spared when a 2 year old child is chopped into pieces with a machete?

Those indeed were dark moments. Some of the country’s infrastructural pillars were deliberately turned into dust. The exuberant masses, teachers, professors, nurses, doctors and the iconic individuals I term as ‘mobile libraries’ were forever muted. How do we progress as Africans when we no longer care about our most precious parts of the labour force and the fountains of knowledge being condemned and sealed from inhaling oxygen forever? Life was bitter sweet for those who lived to witness a new Rwanda and i keep wondering will those wounds inflicted on those innocent Rwandans forever heal. Where was the International Community when the Rwandan state turned into a human abbatoir? Have the perpetrators been brought to justice and all the wasted lives compensated? These are the questions that come on my lips every new day.

Today, we are witnessing more violence and killings in other African states as a result of greed for power and ethnic division. Peace, the African fraternity!
Enough is enough! The butchery committed is enough to change the waters of the world into red. He’s said it all ” In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

This isn’t an in-depth story of what really took place in Rwanda but should be a learning point to all and sundry that national interest should be put first before any other thing. We are indivisible and being a Wollof, Manjago, Jola, Fula, Mandingo, Serahule etc. doesn’t matter. What matters is the identity of being a Gambian and an African at large. The same red blood runs in our veins.

May Allah save and protect our dear nation The Gambia from all forms of evil. Amin.

By: Gibril Sanneh

Alias The Anonymous Pen

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