Mamos Media

Alagi Yorro Jallow
Fatoumatta: Let all living souls be thankful that the fading year has not consumed them, and be prayerfully hopeful that the dawning new year will not bury them. Furthermore, we all remember our loved ones and fellow compatriots who departed these shores. May their souls Rest In Peace.

For those who are in need and struggling for accomplishments, or who may be troubled, afflicted, or facing difficulties, we urge courage and perseverance. Hope usually defeats despair. Furthermore, resoluteness often outlasts adversity. Life, healthiness, and longevity compensate for long-suffering. Therefore, despite the calamitous disorder in our society and the personal chaos it has occasioned in many lives, let us, in sober gratitude, celebrate life; and tomorrow, the yearly renewal of time.

Fatoumatta: Hundreds of thousands of people who have fallen so far celebrated the dawn of 2021 on the first day of the year. The Coronavirus pandemic aborted many’s survival dreams and wishes. The new omicron variant of Covid-19 with probable cases and its economic sorties also poured in their troops for a devastating mop-up. It has been a horrible year that demands very sober reflections. We should not be heard insulting the memories of the dead with indecent, indecorous outbursts. If 2021 has been a year of the howling of battle, the winking 2022 should be of victory songs. May the new year be of success and celebration for us all. 2022 will heal and rebuild all of us. Happy New Year. Compliments of the season.

Fatoumatta: Today is the last day of 2021, and we shall rejoice and be glad about the new year,2022, to renew our hope and faith in God, pray without ceasing in everything give thanks to God’s will.

Why not? One American motivational speaker and author, Dr. Robert Schuller, famous inspirational quote “Tough times never last but tough people do,” and tomorrow is January 1, 2022. It should ordinarily be a day of celebrations and prayers for reflections and prepare your heart and mind for the new year. However, 2022 will be more than a new year’s day for us in the Gambia. This new year of despair can beget a year of hope and prosperity that will inspire a fresh start of 2022 and ready and prepare for some of the challenges facing the 21st Century of unfulfilled dreams of humanity such as hunger, poverty, climate change population, pollution, new media, global governance, and the emergence of international institutions. In 2022, Gambians can piece together our shattered civic and political norms in this new year. We can re-tie the bonds of unity that cynical politicians have gone for their gain. We can recommit ourselves to a path of empathy and justice. So, what were the most indiscreet, absurd, ridiculous, and foolish statements of 2021?

Women wearing lipstick and powder are the same as activists, political party surrogates, and social media pundits. Political, religious, and tribal rapidness was the fashion of the times. Men and women in power took action that would otherwise have been irregular. Will the Gambia get out of intellectual power arrogance, obsequious sycophancy, and intolerance is the question 20121 leaves behind. The answer will come loud and clear as 2022 gets into stride. Threats to citizens with different opinions will either become the rule of life or a thing of the past, depending on how civil we all become in our politics go from now.

Fatoumatta: This story is about a little boy who visited the village store with his father. On their way out after shopping, they encountered the owner of the store, who offered the little boy some free candy. “Get a hand full of candy,” the store’s proprietor said to the boy. However, rather than act as directed and scoop the candy, the boy just stood there looking up at his father. Thinking the boy did not get his message, the owner repeated himself, “Son, get a hand full of candy, it is free.” Again, the boy did not move as he continued to look up to his father. Finally, the father reached into the jar, got a handful of candy, and gave it to his son, who beamed with smiles. However, as they walked back home, the father stopped and asked his son why he had to rely on him rather than scoop a handful of the free candy by himself. With another big smile on his face, the boy looked up to his father and said: “Because I know that your hand is bigger than mine.”

Whatever may be the challenges we face in 2021, for those of us who believe in the Almighty Allah, we must learn to place them in His hand. Because “His hand is bigger than ours.”

Fatoumatta: A new year calls for stocktaking and projections. It will be nice to start 2022 by carrying the cake of one’s charity from home to orphanage homes; thousands of children live without one or both parents, putting them at risk of dropping out, falling ill, being malnourished, and suffering from other effects of poverty. This new year, 2020, should define so many things and people at goal setting. This new year will tell if the Gambia will ever work for the Gambian people, the hoipolloi, or an oligarchy.

2022 will also be momentous in the politics of the Gambia. Somehow, you feel that the Gambia will work only if Gambians explain our new year standpoint or resolutions. When we hear desert encroachment, our minds race to the arid North and its geography. However, desertification is much more than having rainless years and infertile soil. Can’t we see the political and fiscal choices made in the past? Has the Gambia become a veritable desert in politics and economics?

Power tussles garnished with dangerous politics reign in this country. There is a thick plume of intolerance in the air. Independence of mind, critical evaluation, and critical thinking of issues used to mark out the Gambian people. However, they are capital offenses today among the so-called progressives. The Gambian people must be warned against Gambians getting bogged down by the pettiness of power addict politicians, fake patriots masquerading as democrats who were already showing their faces even in those early days of the regime change five years ago.

Fatoumatta: We witnessed in 2021 are careerist and power-addicted politicians and political parties masquerading as big and small herd their sheep from one brown pasture to another. Politics, to them, has become an end in itself; fulfilling election promises and making life better for the people are distantly secondary. The desert is approaching, encroaching. Should those who claim leadership of the race is seen fighting personal battles when the real enemy is advancing? When the desert encroaches on the fertility of our existence, what do you do? We were taught to stop it, whatever it takes. This strain of encroaching desert will take much more than ceremonial tree planting by effeminate emperors to conquer. A divided people cannot confront a determined enemy. They will lose their present and their future. I hope someone listens — before it is too late.

According to doyen Journalist Dan Rather’s best-selling book, ‘What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism, eloquently stated that “empathy is not only a personal feeling; it can be a potent force for political and social change.” The veteran journalist further scribed that “the suppression or denial of empathy is a deliberate part of a cynical political calculus.” Dividing people and stoking animosity can pave a path to power. This has been well known since the time of the ancients. However, these divisions inevitably come at the expense of the long-term health and welfare of the nation.

FatoumattaL 2021 was a very challenging year all around. For most of the world and the Gambia, it was a year that came with its promise of adversity and disasters of unparalleled magnitude. However, a year also brought the elements of possible change together. Between world politics, disease and catastrophe, 2021 was colored black and red.

On a national scale, Gambians encountered their fair share of the misfortunes from the atrocious events that went down during the last twelve months. The year 2021 brought a torrent of dire news for a nation that is all too familiar with receiving ominous information. It was a frantic year stained with death, political intrigue, and shame. It was a year for, what I call, Political-Swingers, where Gambian political office seekers, in anticipation of their aspirations in the just concluded presidential election, hopped from one party to another, depending on the popularity of the party they were defecting to, in the specific area they were contesting.

A year certainly took a course in reinforcing Gambian democracy and giving Gambians the impression that there maybe change. The tighter cohesion of President Adama Barrow’s administration, its ability to knock down regional, tribal, and ethnic barriers, and the unconditional acceptance of the party to a broad base of

Gambians empowered the party as the most formidable political party platform we have ever had. Moreover, whether one supports any political parties, the prospect of legislative elections in the New Year has given people hope of a future that provides an atmosphere where the majority’s wishes will be reflected in the polls. Moreover, whatever the outcome of the National assembly elections, many are confident that 2022 portrays a real scenario where Gambians will have their say.

Fatoumatta: If we live in a democracy, we have more than just a chance; we have a real opportunity to build a perfect country. You understand that it can seem that our democracy is under attack from within, and indeed in many ways, it is. However, we have seen an outpouring of energy and activism swell for real change from Gambians of all walks of life since Gambians decided in 2021. We are pushing back the tides of prejudice, small-mindedness, and bias. This task will not be easy. The forces arrayed against the majority will of the Gambian people are solid and well-financed. An unfair and entrenched political system fuels them. However, they can be defeated. They feed off fear. As the 32nd President of the United States of America Franklin D. Roosevelt famously exhorted, “we have nothing to fear but fear itself.” We have only one Gambia, one of the multiple faiths, multiple languages, numerous food and dress cultures—Incredible Gambia. Will the incredible retain its glory?

Happy New Year once again to all my friends, colleagues, and family. A fresh start is a moment of hope and great expectation; may all of you begin 2022 with boundless joy, joyful spirit, and abundance of Allah’s favor. My greatest desire for all of you this New Year is success, courage, and prosperity.

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