Alagi Yorro Jallow
Fatoumatta: When we pray, we must expect that God will answer, and we must open our hearts and be willing to accept the outcome without preconceived notions. The Lord is quite efficient. He works things together for the good of all who love him. He does not expose the beam in our brothers and sisters’ eyes without showing us the beam on our own.
May the souls of the dead rest in peace. May the wounded heal. May the ravaged be consoled. May those who will no longer be firewood to act and to take their everyday actions. The first step to healing this nation is acknowledging that we are a sick nation. There can never be healing without realizing the TRUTH and “to bury the hatchet” and promised in the healing process of a bleeding and a divided nation.
Fatoumatta: Peace, stability, and reconciliation must be built on TRUTH and JUSTICE. A genuine liberation struggle must be founded on an honest memory and appreciation of our past tragedies and heroic successes. A person who does not remember and take account of their past is like a ship without a compass and anchor: it will capsize in the deep seas. Our decades of liberation struggle must be focused on not repeating the past mistakes and tragedies. However, more profoundly, it must be intended to address and correct the tragedies committed against Gambians by rogue security service members.
The illness is diagnosed – it is brought out into the sunlight – and only then can the healing begin. Truth Reconciliation Reparations Commission (TRRC) should be accompanied by justice; otherwise, It will not last.
While we all hope for peace, it should not be peace at any cost, but peace based on principle, justice, and truth. Reconciliation cannot be a superficial lip service process. It must fundamentally be inclusive in issues and stakeholders. The truth must come out.
We share why the hate/bitterness and collective peaceful means find common ground for real reconciliation, restructuring, and reconstruction. Those in power and the old guards must also be ready to give up many of their privileges, or else we all face the wrath of the Gambian people.
Fatoumatta: When I think about Truth and Reconciliation Commissions, the first examples that pop into my head are Rwanda, South Africa, and Cambodia, developing countries that have been plagued by conflict and need to find a way to air their grievances and start to move the country forward. Truth and Reconciliation Commissions are often viewed as an alternative to violence. They are a mechanism by with grudges can be aired, and perpetrators of crime can take responsibility for their actions through engaging in conversation. It is the idea that through talking with one another, we can create a space in which we can begin to move past these grievances and begin to move forward.
Fatoumatta: Justice cannot be served unless the truth is revealed. We know some dynamics are different, but there are also many similarities between what has happened in The Gambia, Rwanda, and South Africa. Gross human rights violation, injustice, and denial of human dignity.
After the change came in South Africa and Nelson Mandela became president, the truth and reconciliation commission was set up by Arch-Bishop Desmond Tutu in South Africa. Even though it may have had some flaws, and in my opinion, the Truth Commission helped a “bleeding and a divided nation” in a healing and reconciliation process. It supported overt a bloody civil war that could have destroyed South Africa and killed tens of thousands.
The wise statesman, Nelson Mandela, as the father of a new South Africa, encouraged Tutu to do this. These incredible leaders helped save the nation from horrible destruction in the 1990’s. Victims and families of deceased victims faced their oppressors in excruciating meetings. With the promise of immunity, the oppressors told the truth of the crimes they had committed or conspired to commit.
The nation had to have time to bleed before it could heal. South Africa still has many problems to overcome today. However, I doubt if any person of color would want to go back to those segregationist apartheid days of white oppressors brutally ruling them—unity; not vice versa. Gambians cannot have prosperity without justice and freedom, either. We must fight for and get space, fairness, and integrity before listening to any myth or fairytale.
Criminals such as those despots and bandits who murdered our heroes and innocent civilians must be named, exposed, shamed, and punished. Criminals who have died and killed innocent Gambian and looted our resources must be tried, convicted, and sentenced posthumously.
Those continuing to loot public resources, kill and oppress innocent Gambians together with their co-conspirators – must be face justice right here on earth before they die. We will RESTORE the land and resources these despots stole from us back to the people. We will address all past injustices and atrocities.
Fatoumatta: It is a tremendous opportunity to accept the darkness of our collective history and proceed, without delay, with reconciliation and rebuilding our relationships, reconcile our difference, heal the nation, and then move forward. Let us not let it slip away. We can have a Fair Country
Alagi Yorro Jallow