On Bees and Crocodiles: Letter to my Ex-Nephew


On Bees and Crocodiles: Letter to my Ex-Nephew 

Dear Sheriff,

As I have said to my many mistresses over the years, messing around with the embers of a dying fire seldom rekindles the flame … you just end up with lots of dust in your eyes. Having disowned you when you intoned to the BBC that Solo Sandeng (rip) and Lawyer Darboe “started it” back in April 2016, I have avoided any contact with you.

But this week an interloper with a broken pen, now having changed his skin like a Chameleon from bright green to bright yellow, and claiming to be your “friend”, mentioned thine and mine names in the same breath. The “broken-pen’s” aim in mentioning thine and mine poetry of our “Letters” of yonder years was, ostensibly, to rekindle “for the people” your God-given poetic gift that you are, Chris Okigbo-like, denying your people.

Like romance, poetry has its time too (I wrote that phrase to our Dictator when he detained me at Kotu Police Station and sent his NiA operatives to take a statement from me – I was detained because I had refused to continue as Editor-in-Chief of thine and mine former publication the Daily Observer). Sure, love, romance and life itself are the wings upon which poetry flies, but sometimes the best poetry is written in the worst of times (such as WW1 trenches poetry with which I am familiar as a school history teacher).

And so it was with thine and mine ‘Letter to My Uncle’ and ‘Letter to My Nephew’. They were products of their time – they captured a unique moment in time in poetic fashion. There may have been a message for our Dictator in there, by the main characteristics of those letters, which I have just un-archived and read, was sheer poetry. We were not dressed in green or yellow – infact on many occasions we had nothing but contempt for those dressed in green and yellow!

So the interloper with a broken-pen, formerly green but now dressed in bright yellow, invites you (and, rather coyly, I) to write some poetry for Da People.

But the times are different; the stars do not align to inspire poetry. The people now like noise, lots of it. Noise in newspaper columns, noise online, noise in the markets, noise in the villages. And all that noise is made as loudly as possible, dressed in bright green, bright yellow, white, and all the various political colours that have mushroomed up. The political debate in The Gambia today is a cacophonous din that is not amenable to any sensible analysis, let alone a poetic rendition.

How can one make sense of the fact that the broken-pen actually quotes the Holy Koran, yes Holy Koran, when referring to the “bees” that are supposed to have attacked his political opponents in Kerewan?! I am sure the Holy Bible will be quoted next to explain how Moses sent for the pen’s political enemies the crocodile captured this morning near State House!

Yes indeed, these are not times for poetry, but deafening cacophony. Don’t rekindle the flame. Let the past remain in the past.

Dida Jallow-Halake.

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