Tuesday, 21 December 2010

My Reaction to Musa Jeng, Mathew Jallow and LJ's articles

http://www.maafanta.com/MusaJengTheCompromise.html He said, a revisit to THe NADD MOU, ADJUST IT TO meet certain criteria and go from their. A bold statement overall, but the first step is making the bad blood evaporate and negative energies vanish. Musa's final call may be problematic, but he should be commended. Cheers Musa. http://www.maafanta.com/MathewJallowonAfricaUDPandPdois.htmlMathew on the other hand was sober in analysing and drawing heart from the Guinea experience. This is more level headed and sound than his earlier attacks. Still, I believe that, a way out can be devise from the hopeless fire fight and academic politics. Our case is far over that.
The time is not anymore about who is saying what, but are we bridging the gaps. let the opinion makers take that into account. I agree and disagree with LJ's position that, we cannot be silent when leaders are talking. I agree that if our dialogue here derail their talks, then something else is wrong. But the way we engage in the dialogue counts. LJ's views are on mark for now, his reactions can be seen as vindicated already, since the fallout from the Sedia press release and subsequent responses may escalate with other parties sharpening their knives. Let us hope, we can all see the big picture, our collective nightmare (the dictatorship).
It is also ridiculous and malicious for anyone to think that, the youths and larger supporters of UDP will sit and let its leader perpetuate himself. I will be among the first to raise my darker. UDP may seem less interested in academic politics, but make no mistake, we're cue in what modern politics is all about.The time to draw closer together is here. And the hope is all big and large players can see the realities.
I hope also political commentators like Baba Galleh, Cherno baba, Binneh, Joe, LJ etc can diagnose the issues constructively for neutrals, journalist to all nudge the opposition leaders. Our democracy is young and facing serious struggles.
If you ignore the situation now, when you feel you are ready to throw your excellent ideas in the ring, remember you will be guilty of self serving. Let us all help clear the landscape, this way, new political parties or those Gambians who may express the ambition to play their part in the public live will be a smooth transition.For the good or worst, we're equal to it.Suntou

Monday, 20 December 2010

Sad episoud of child abuse by western tourist in the Gambia

Independent Appeal: Breaking the silence of Gambia's sex tourismThe tiny West African state has become a magnet for Western predators looking to abuse children. Simon Akam reportsMonday, 20 December 2010 SHAREPRINTEMAILTEXT SIZENORMALLARGEEXTRA LARGESIMON AKAMA projector plays over the face of a Gambian boy at an event designed to raise awareness of child sex abuse in the country ENLARGEOn a hot Wednesday evening local children gather by a mango tree in the sandy backstreets of Bijilo, close by Gambia's main tourist drag on the West African country's Atlantic coast. A generator thumps a little way off to power a projector and on a fabric screen a film plays in which a young girl is groomed by an older man with a gift of a mobile phone.
Later she is raped.After the screening Samba Njie, youth co-ordinator with the Child Protection Alliance, a Gambian NGO in partnership with the British development agency ChildHope – one of the charities supported by this year's Independent Appeal – addresses the young audience."Now we are getting to the tourist season," he says, speaking in the local Wolof language. "There are some tourists who come here to abuse young children. Whether we accept it or not, it happens," he adds.Tiny Gambia, a former British colony surrounded inland by former French possession Senegal, has a complicated relationship with the West.
Package holidaymakers arrived in the 1970s and blessed by a GMT time zone, easy flight connections from Europe and a stable political climate the winter sun industry blossomed.Today over 100,000 tourists arrive each year and in 2008 travel and tourism provided 17.9 per cent of GDP and 89,000 jobs, 14.4 per cent of the country's total employment.But there is a darker side to the annual influx of "toubabs", as westerners are known. The Gambia has become a target for unscrupulous tourists looking for sex with children."Men like younger girls," said Ahmed Jegan Loum, national co-ordinator of the Sex Workers Intervention Project, a local organisation that works with prostitutes.
"Europeans come here to see young girls who are not too involved in sex." Very young boys can be seen approaching tourists and offering an under age "sister", promising she is a virgin."It's just an adventure for them," added the local chief, Abdoulie Joof, in Kololi, an area dominated by beach resorts.
"They want to experience young girls. Some of them are homosex[ual], they go in for the boys."Campaigners believe that since Asian countries tightened up their regulations men wanting sex with children turned their attention to destinations like the Gambia."At that time we found it was relatively new and coming up fast," explained Mireille Bijnsdorp, who has conducted one of the few in-depth investigations into the subject, for the NGO Terre des Hommes. "There was a feeling, this was a new issue for the country."Despite the risk of trauma, Aids and ruined marriage prospects, for many young Gambian women prostitution appears to be an aspirational lifestyle choice. "Many girls envy them and would like to get such opportunities no matter what happens," said 16-year-old Yamai Jobe."Some would like to step into their shoes to get the same benefits." A girl of 12 saw her friend with a mobile phone and asked her how she got it. "At the beach," said her friend, so she went herself the next day and asked a tourist for a mobile. She was raped in the bushes and left with some coins.

Campaigners say that "sponsoring a child" has become a vehicle for abusers to gain access to underage sex. Tourists typically offer to pay for a year's schooling, for them only the cost of an expensive meal, in exchange for a relationship.A night walk through the Senegambia tourist strip reveals middle-aged white men in ill-advised shorts sitting at al fresco tables with African girls half their age.
A pair of balding European lotharios drive past in a jeep, the rear seats jammed with young black women. Elsewhere, Gambian youths with dreadlocks and imitated South London accents squire wobbly white women old enough to be their mothers. Many parents regard the exhibition of their offspring to holiday makers as an "opportunity" rather than a threat. It is in this environment that the Child Protection Alliance does its work.

An umbrella body founded in 2001, the CPA co-ordinates NGOs and other bodies involved in child protection issues."It was founded to fill a gap," said Njundu Drammeh, the Alliance's national co-ordinator. "At the time CPA was founded there was no child rights organisation in the Gambia."The alliance's work is reflected in legislation. The Gambia passed a Tourism Offences Act in 2003, followed by a Children's Act two years later.

The local police have also set up a child protection unit, while hotels are signatories to a code of conduct."We are not trying to look on everyone as a suspect, but we have systems in place," said Memunatu Junisa, human resources manager at the Kairaba Beach Hotel. "You come in with the child? Who is that child? What is the relationship?"ChildHope's support for the Gambian CPA is a new venture, set up this year. "We partner with an organisation because we believe in their issues," said Allan Kiwanuka, ChildHope's partnerships and programmes manager for Africa.An unfortunate consequence of increased vigilance has been to force prostitution into smaller guesthouses and even private houses.Faced by these challenges the Child Protection Alliance has introduced a series of neighbourhood watch groups, comprising adults and children, which report suspicious goings-on to the authorities."They go places where these things are happening," explained youth leader Mam Jobe. "They disguise themselves as an innocent party, watching out." Yet, despite the legislatives measures and the work of CPA, prosecutions for the abuse of children in the Gambia remain few and far between and a culture of silence – known as "maslaha" – prevails.

What makes combating this more difficult is that in Gambian culture even mentioning sex is taboo and children are not allowed to complain about adults. If a child is abused, it is rarely reported. The staff of the Child Protection Alliance are clear about what needs to be done and that includes breaking the silence.The charities in this year's Independent Christmas AppealChildren around the world cope daily with problems that are difficult for most of us to comprehend. For our Christmas Appeal this year we have chosen three charities which support vulnerable children everywhere.*
Children on the Edge was founded by Anita Roddick 20 years ago to help children institutionalised in Romanian orphanages. It specialises in traumatised children. It still works in eastern Europe, supporting children with disabilities and girls at risk of sex trafficking. But it now works with children in extreme situations in a dozen countries – children orphaned by AIDS in South Africa, post-tsunami trauma in Indonesia, long-term post-conflict disturbance in East Timor, and with Burmese refugee children in Bangladesh and Thailand.www.childrenontheedge.org* ChildHope works to bring hope and justice, colour and fun into the lives of extremely vulnerable children experiencing different forms of violence in 11 countries in Africa, Asia and South America.
Barnardo's works with more than 100,000 of the most disadvantaged children in 415 specialised projects in communities across the UK. It works with children in poverty, homeless runaways, children caring for an ill parent, pupils at risk of being excluded from school, children with disabilities, teenagers leaving care, children who have been sexually abused and those with inappropriate sexual behaviour. It runs parenting programmes. www.barnardos.org.uk

Thursday, 16 December 2010


Today December 16, 2010 marks six years since the gruesome murder of Deyda Hydara, former GPU Chairman, Proponent and Martyr of Free Expression, Democracy and Human Rights.Deyda as he was fondly called was gunned down on the December 16 2004, by unidentified gun men aboard a taxi around the Police Intervention Unit Headquarters in Kanifing.
The gruesome incident sent shivers down the spine of the nation as it occurred at a time when Deyda Hydara served as the vanguard for the struggle against what we journalists perceived as an attempt to stifle free expression through the enactment of draconian media legislation.

Irked by the cowardice and illegitimacy of this act, the Gambia Press Union has always stood firmly on its stance on the assassination of Deyda Hydara, and today, renews its call on the State Authorities to investigate the matter and bring the culprits to book.Six years has elapsed since the assassination of Deyda Hydara and the culprits are yet to be arrested and brought to justice. Taking note of the Authorities? appeal for the public to come forward, we join this call to ask any member of the public with relevant information to come forward in order to help unearth the truth.We also remind the Authorities that it is the responsibility of the State to protect life and property as enshrined in Section 18 (1) and Section 22 (1) of the 1997 Constitution of The Gambia.
We therefore call on the Gambia Government to not allow the trail to go cold. They should solicit support from willing bilateral partners including the United Kingdom?s MI5 to help them in the investigation of the matter.The Gambia Press Union is of the belief that the assassination of Deyda Hydara is an onslaught on the Rule of Law. It is therefore profoundly important for justice to be seen to be done. All actions of violence should be nipped in the bud since they have no place in a decent and civilized society.We hope that the assassins of Deyda Hydara will one day account for their deed.Today, we also join the Hydara family to mourn their loved one. The GPU will never forget Deyda Hydara.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Africans are their own worst enemies

When one looks at the map of Africa from Zimbabwe to Somalia to Eritrea and Gambia and in between, it is painful for me as pan-Africanist to nod my head and in silence admit that these enemies of Africa were perhaps partly right.
We Africans are our own worst enemies. Let us stop blaming colonialism, the slave trade, imperialism, etc for our own self-made tragedy. Our education has failed to remove the village mentality in most of our leaders.

All we think and talk about is “eating” or “manger” in French. Some allege they have killed an animal and must be given eternity to feast on the carcass. With such mind-sets Africa may indeed sooner, rather than later, die. Yes, Africa is dying. Our primary challenge is to save Africa from imminent death and keep the hopes of our people alive.
Mr Achema is a political scientist, consultant and a retired ambassador based in Arua

Europhonism, Universities and African intellectuals

Europhonism, Universities, and the Magic Fountain (Excerpt)28 January 2010
written by Republic Report New York 41 views View Comments By Ngugi wa Thiong’o…

Language, which is the carrier of culture, is the ultimate and the most primal means of imagination. Now we know that empire builders have always known that, and in trying to shape how the dominated imagined their future they clearly saw the importance of de-linking the elites of the dominated communities from their languages and literally transplanting the minds in the languages of the imperial center, and where the traditional elite resisted the transplant because they were too rooted in their languages and cultures, the empire builders simply manufactured a new elite through a massive cultural surgery carried out in the theatres of their new schools and colleges.

The aim, realized or not, was to turn them into beings for others, even in their conception of themselves. Examples abound, and we do not even have to go to the special case of plantation slavery, where whole communities were de-linked from the languages of their original homes. We can also cite Colonial British India, because the centrality in the making of modern Britain became a social laboratory with the result later transplanted to other colonies.When I was doing research for my novel, some of the action takes place in India, in Africa, in the New World, New York also. I did some research on Madras because my character went for education in Madras University. That was the first setting of the British India Company, I believe. Now one of the early governors of that particular area was somebody called Elihu Yale, and the money that he made in Madras that went into the foundation of Yale University, so Yale University is somewhat connected with colonial India. And so, because of the centrality of India in that whole situation, the words of Thomas Babbington McCauley, who as a member of the Supreme Council of India, helped reform the colonies and nuclear system as well as the penal code have a special significance for us today.
You remember that in the famous minute on Indian education he had visions of the English language producing, “a class of persons Indian in blood and color, but English in taste, opinions, in morals, and intellect” Here we can note that this was not for the aesthetic pleasure of disinterested cultural engineering, but rather the hope was that this class of persons “may be interpreters between us and the people we govern.” Exactly 87 years later McCauley’s words were to be repeated in colonial Kenya by then British governor Sir Philip Mitchell, in outlining a policy for English language dominance in African education literally as a moral crusade to supplement the armed crusade against the Mau Mau guerrilla army. He saw this new language education as bringing about “a civilized state in which the values and standards are to be the values and standards of Britain in which everyone whatever his origins has an interest and a part”In both instances, McCauley’s India in 19th century and Mitchell’s Kenya in 20th century, the context was colonial and the aim was clear, but just as in the military realm the colonial powers had carved out a native army, simultinously alienated from the people whence they came and collaborative with the forces of their own conquest, the same would be true in the realm of the mind.
Create from the governed an intellect both alienated and collaborative, you create a being not for itself, but being for others, and therefore in some ways against its own being. The Horton-Asquith model had a whole colonial tradition and theory behind it, and the model was inherited almost unaltered in the era of independence. It was the products of the McCauley system of education who spread out to fill the vacant places of white judges, prosecutors, defense lawyers, lawmakers, governors, military leaders, and heads of departments of education in most parts of Africa, and what an inheritance for Africa.The result is really a paradox. Systems of education entrusted by the new nations to research ideas of emancipating and modernizing Africa and for which process the new nations invest a good percentage of GNP now brings up brilliant intellects in every field of modern learning, and yet they cannot put even a summary of what they have acquired in their native African languages.

Their is no doubt that these colleges, particularly in their haydays, have produced remarkable scholarships. African scholars whose first degrees were often acquired in the colleges of the Horton-Asquith model in major universities in Africa and abroad, but they are clearly alienated intellects, exiles at home and abroad, or rather exiles in search of a place they can truly claim as their own.In the sense of the collective social body they become beings for others, but not beings for themselves, or at the very least beings against themselves, against the very soil that gave birth to them. African language communities pay for intellects which cannot put a single idea, even about Angriculture, or health, or business, or democracy, or finance, into the very languages which gave them birth.
This paradox of African scholarship in general is best mirrored in the particular case of the production of African literature. Because English was so central to all aspects of learning in the new colleges the English departments were very prestigious, and quite frankly it is difficult to quite express in words the tremendous prestige with which a good performance in English was held. Students of English were the elite of the elite, and a first class degree in English was the simply the first among equals. We can now see the implications of the Horton-Asquith model. A people can be deprived of wealth and even power, but one of the worst deprivations is a means of achieving all that, articulating it, and therefore developing a vision and a strategy for fighting it out.
We cannot of course blame it on colonialism, and believe me, I’ve done my share of blaming in many of my publications, but remember, we cannot accuse colonialism of failing to do what it was clearly not meant to do. Colonialism and colonial models were never meant to develop colonies for the benefit of the colonized.So we cannot accuse them of failing to do that, and that is why I think it is time that African scholarship and universities begin to question that kind of model and its legacy of language, policy, and practice.

I’ve said elsewhere how I find it contradictory in Africa today and elsewhere in the academies of the world to hear of scholars, and here I must say, I was very impressed by what is happening here, so let me not apply it to here, but anyway, I have sort of been alarmed of scholars of African realities but who do not know a word of the languages of the environment of which they are experts. And my question has been do you think that any university outside Africa, or outside the cultural African universities, or even within Africa itself, would give me a job as professor of French literature would give me a job if I confessed that I did not know a word of French?I’d be kicked out. I wouldn’t even be given an interview.
The schools in Africa and abroad are people by experts, whether African or not, whether sympathetic to the African cause or not, whether progressive or not, who do not have, to demonstrate, and acquaintance, let alone an expertise in any African language. They hold chairs and produce PHD’s without the requirements of an African language. But its difficult to blame it on these institutions abroad when they are merely taking the lead from the practice of African universities on their own soil.
The result is the marginalization of African languages in the academy at home. So African languages, this is the most amazing thing, African languages have no place in their own home. Imagine you go home and you do not find a bed in your own home. Where do you go to? It’s a most devastating situation. African languages have no place at home. They do not control their home base because their home base is ruled by tongues from Europe.
In this respect I find the words of Hounani K. Trask(?), she is a lady from Hawaii, she has a book called From A Native Daughter. In her book she argues that indigenous languages replaced by colonial ones result in the creation of dead languages, but what is dead or lost is not the language but the people who once spoke it and transmitted their mother tongues to succeeding generations. Everywhere it’s received European languages come shouting the often quoted words from Bhagavad Gita, “I am become death, the shatterer of worlds.”Now we think of death too narrowly in terms of physical disappearance. Death comes in many forms. There is an equal diversity of cultural deaths, and we Africans already provide a good example of such a possibility. This is in terms of naming systems and other areas, over the last 400 years we’ve seen Africans in the west lose their names completely, so that our existence is in terms of Jones, James, Jones, James, etc. Now today every achievement in sports, academia, in the sciences and the arts, goes to reinforce the European naming systems and cultural personality.
Language of course is the most basic of naming systems, and with the loss of our languages will come the loss of our entire naming system, and every historical intervention, no matter how revolutionary, will then be within an European naming system, enhancing its capacities for ill or good. Thus, in whatever she or he does, they will be performing their being for the enrichment of the cultural personality of white Europe.For me then the question of languages goes to the heart of the very being and existence of the African, or for that matter any community deprived of its languages.
That’s why I now regard Europhonism as the most dangerous intellectual system for the development of Africa. Its logical development is the complete wiping off of African personality on the global cultural map and it becomes simply one of several branches in the European language system, and the only struggle is for the recombination of the equal worth of all the cultural branches of a European global whole.
Perhaps it is time that African scholars seriously took another look at the Blighdon vision. The Blighdon-Hayford model rejects the assumptions underlying the relationship of Africa to the world, which equates knowledge, modernity, modernization, civilization, progress, development, democracy, whatever the name, to the acquisition of European languages.
There are hundreds of languages in Africa and the world each of which is a unique store of memories and thoughts and experiences which are of benefit to human life. It is true that the current revolutions in information and technologies daily shrink the globe into McLuhan’s “global village,” but they also quite frankly open possibilities for expansion of the human community.Academic and other cultural institutions should be among the first to sensitize the world community to the existence and reality of knowledges in diverse languages of the world. There are of course practical difficulties in implementing policies that realize fully the plurality and diversity of languages.
There needs to be conscious effort by various disciplines to recognize the existence of knowledges in languages from places other than Europe, and find ways of tapping into the knowledges thereby contained and in the process help in a dialog among languages. Dialog between languages is definitely one way of giving back to the languages from which we draw sustenance, and there are moves in that direction.
In 1996 I attended a conference in Barcelona, Spain organized in part by the International Pen(?) which came with a declaration of universal linguistic rights based on the recommendation of the need for equality and dialog among languages. But for Africa the question goes beyond that of simply sensitizing the world and it goes back to the very heart of our being and existence…

Monday, 13 December 2010

John Pilger's new film

If you love Pilger, you love investigative journalism, then seat tight and watch John Pilger's new film: 'The war you don't see'


Those in the U.K, watch it for free on the ITV tomorrow. If you like films, better like serious films. By God's grace, I will make my tea and watch the whole thing and shall review it here.

What is the use of Education to Africans: A Dialogue between Suntou, Yusupha Jow And Haruna

Will the Media expert Baba Galleh Jallow, law expert Dr Lamin J Darboe, writer Saul Saidykhan, Ethnologist Ebrima Kamara, Journalist FJ Manneh, Pro-Democracy advocate Haruna Darboe, Professor Dr Abdoulie Saine, Dr Alagie Jeng, Dr Malanding Jaiteh (Columbia University) etc etc be the real article in a tense democratic situation like the Ivory Coast or The Gambia? An informal chat between Suntou, Haruna and Yusupha Jow

We see a PhD professor Laurent Gbagbo openly refusing to respect democratic norms, double PhD holder Abdoulie Wadde wish to manipulate the democratic norms in extending his rule... what are the determinants which Africans can certainly say are the ingredients for a genuine democrat? Academic politics is not the solution because, scholars are none the wiser it seems.

Yusupha Jow says;
"I don't think the level of education influences whether one becomes a dictator or not. The problem in Africa is lack of solid and independent institutions that prevent such things from happening." Yusupha Jow

"A very pertinent observation Yusupha. But also critical when we evaluate the manner our own 'Professor' behaves towards his 'educated' cabinet. He says, it doesnt matter how much PhD one has, he is still the best. The higher the level of education, it is assume, one gets better, but as you said, the institutions must be there to support it." Suntou Touray

Shakespare may be right "education makes a fool become a bigger fool and the wise to be more wiser"

Haruna Darboe views
"It goes to show that a man's education is not as significant as the content of his character" Haruna Darboe

Suntou, while I'm here, let me share some ideas on democracy. Thank you for the opportunity:

I get the impression that quite a number of Africans supplant multi-party regimes with a democratic dispensation. This is troublesome and it demonstrates a lack of understanding and appreciation for democracy. It is a way of life. Within democracy are certain mechanisms to accrue and nurture a democratic dispensation. One of those mechanisms is the ability for citizens to exercise their freedoms of choice, expression, and association for industry, religion, and politics.

So the fact that multiple parties exist in a country does not really reflect the democratic health of that nation. The reason is that if you have 100's of political parties who contest elections but the elections are organised and certified by a hand-picked "Independent Electoral Commission" or a malignant "Supreme or Constitutional court", elections are rigged before they even begin. This is even if there was no electoral fraud, theft, or other chicanery. Besides if the campaigning toward the election is not FAIR, the election itself cannot be declared Free and Fair. I don't care how many international observers certify it thusly.

Just thought I'd share these nuances with us.

Thanx again Suntou for sharing. "Education is highly subjective. It cannot be a determinant of character." Haruna Darboe

"Education is highly subjective. It cannot be a determinant of character." Haruna Al-Mutawakil

Suntou's response:
Hence Wadda the accomplished economist don't see anything wrong with his intent to over stay, because he will use his education to rationalise it so. Therefore Haruna are we still at the infant stage of democratisation since our 'perssive educated elites' including you advance ideas that, might be at interlock with certain traditions we have? For instance, The late Micheal Baldeh (Rest In Peace) was able to mobiles large number of influential inter-ethnic votes in Basse area, whilst Dawda Jawara was snob simply because of his 'caste'. Hereunder, his arguments wasn't listen to, because he was a cobbler.
What is your advise in democracy harmonising such entrench traditions with the vital values you espoused here? There is a reason our PhD Gbagbo is declining to leave. Those underlying unreasonable reasons are antenna to democratic values he himself went to prison for. Why should a PhD Professor all of a sudden go blind?

On Wadda: "Wade was born in Kébémer, Senegal; officially, he was born in 1926,[2] although some claim he was born several years earlier, and the record-keeping of the time is not considered particularly reliable.[5] He studied and taught law at the lycée Condorcet in France. He holds two doctorates in law and economics. He was also dean of the law and economics faculty at the University of Dakar in Senegal.[3]" An Intellectual per excellence as well.........just like Professor Laurent Gbagbo, no joke he is a real University professor in History.

A Gambian scenario:
Controversially, what should we expect of our own (Dr Malanding Jaiteh http://www.columbia.edu/~msj42/index.htm)

Baba Galleh: (Baba Galleh Jallow is former editor-in-chief of the Daily Observer and Founder Editor and CEO of The Independent newspaper, which was forcibly shut down by the Gambian authorities in March 2006. With a BA in Political Science from Fourah Bay College and a Masters in Liberal Studies from Rutgers University, Baba is currently a PhD student in African History at the University of California, Davis. His other books, also published by Wasteland Press, are Dying for My Daughter (2004), Angry Laughter (2004), and The Anatomy of Powercracy and Other Essays (2006). His latest book is Mandela's Other Children.) http://gamwriters.com/africa/gambia/post/2008/8/22/baba-galleh-jallow
Dr Alagie Jeng
Dr Lamin J Darboe
(http://www.kangkangba.com/lamin_j1.htm) Double LLM one is said to be in international criminal justice, LLB, Dr Jurisprudence)
Mr Haruna Darboe (http://thegdp.wordpress.com/)
Dr Abdoulie Saine
Ethonologist Mr Ebrima Kamara

Mr Saul Saidykhan (Excellent writer)
Foday Samateh (book editor)
Fatou Jaw Manneh (Publisher and Journalist)
etc etc.
Education is the high point we see some of you guys, but is that enough to be sure that, the values Gambians are crying for, which is the bucket loads of tears in other parts of Africa will for sure be taken care of? I wonder, but the circles that engulf us matters i believe.
Just a thought

Haruna Darboe's response:
SUntou, you're a very funny man.

FWIW, there is no exception to the quote: "Education is highly subjective. It cannot be a determinant of character."
In amicus of education, I will offer the following:
The discipline inherent in learning, study, and research, enhances the character of a GOOD man (human).
The people you mentioned below Suntou without exception, I hope you will refer to their character rather than their educations. Some of them were already good and continue to be good despite or inspite of their education. Snme have never been good but desired to dress-up their characters with oodles of useless educations.
For Wade, the trick is not to look at how many PhD's or titles he holds. You look at what he does with whatever education he get. If I were Wade, I'd demand a refund for both PhD's from whatever university sold them to him. A bad bill of goods. PHD economics, PHD political science, PHD law. Neemang bondaala. Look at the economics, politics, and Law. Not the PHD's those subjects wear. Can you share Wade's schools with us and some of his professors??

Bye Suntou. I hope you're not gonna vote for me as President of Gambia because I'm founder of The GDP? If you would, I encourage you to vote for others instead. Haruna Darboe

Suntou's Response
Bear with me Haruna. Why is that, the intelligentsia or intellectual Africans are more likely to spark in an IMF building than in our central power basis? Is it our attitude to learning, knowledge or is it the fact that, what we learn has little use for our traditions, societies or institutions? Here I mean, what you learn is as important as where you learn it.
The average African scholar is likely to be detached from the wider community, enigmatic to be precise. I wonder if this is because the educational programming they/we undertake is relevant to our discourse or social settings hence, the African scholar is confuse in his/her own terrain.

The sample of brothers I listed are a test case. I know the character traits they possess will dictate what their 'future' attitudes become to the wider roles they are to play in African/Gambian settings. Can we safely then say, we cannot take any single person's word to effect that, he/she will respect, abide by and practise the dictates of democracy until after the person assume office and do as the rule book says and then leave office an honourable fellow. Then one can pat himself as to the accomplishments ala ATT, the former Botswana President, Kufo of Ghana, Diof of Senegal, Arab Moi of Kenya. Some of the brothers, former leaders aren't perfect examples but left office peacefully.
The detachment culture found within the 'intellectual' community results in the lack of care to society, the people and the laws. The fault line isn't just to Wadda, Gbagbo, Mugabe and so on. The fault line could be you, LJ, Galleh, Dr Jeng, Dr Saine, Dr Jaiteh, Mr Ebrima Kamara, the list goes on. Education plays a central role between pursuant of powerful offices and being right for the job. Therefore, we cannot place it any lower when those with horse cart load of certificates to their names misbehave.

Haruna Darboe's response:
I'm sorry I have no idea what you're saying. I will share another idea with you, perhaps that will help your anxieties:
The idea for learning is discovery and optimal growth (self-improvement).
So again, education is not a determinant of a man's character.
You cannot draw sociological conclusions on that. It is a fact not a theorem. It does not mean that an educated person is not of good character and it does not mean that an uneducated person of a good character. I will also refrain from drawing conclusions about one or more humans. Each human is unique. What you may consider good for society, tradition, and institution, could be markedly different from what I may consider good for society, tradition, and institution. And we could both be living a democratic lifestyle. For example, I do not follow all traditions. I cleanse myself of bad and odious traditions and enhance good traditions as I grow. If you happen to be a strict traditionalist, I will appear to you to be ungood for your traditions. Do you see what I mean? It is all in perspectives.

Given all this, as long as you are willing to accord your fellow their inalienable (intrinsic) human rights of free choice, speech, and association for religion, industry, and politics, within the constraints of your society's constitution, you should be fine. Don't worry too much about how your fellow behaves, what religion he/she chooses, the nature of his/her politics, what his/her customs and traditions are, etcetera, until he/she encroaches on your human rights.
Governments are expected to manage the relationships among their citizens. The citizens vote for those managers. You don't necessarily have to vote for your fellow citizen with the greatest number of degrees or no degrees. There is greater calculus to voting for someone than their level of education. It is very shallow to vote for someone on the basis of the number of degrees thay have or whether they have a degree or not. Where education and training becomes critical is in the area of Engineering and Medicine.
Let it go Suntou. Let it go. It will lead you to a cul-de-sac. Every human must be judged by the content of his/her character. Those, like Yahya, who lack the requisite base faculties to affect their own characters, we reserve to the insane asylums of our societies. With help and assistance from the rest of us. Haruna

Suntou's Response:
I get you Haruna, however still you're way of the mark with regards to the intrinsic value of education ie in our use or application of it in executing our every day administrative affairs (democracy as well).
We don't elect uneducated individuals as Governors of banks, clerks of national assembly, or even as Presidents of the country. There is an exception in our case because he hijacked the normal democractic route.
Therefore, attaching lesser value to education and it resultant impact on individuals outlook in live is a significant undervaluation.

The quest here is not to say, educated people should be good in the public and private spheres of live. Because, someone can be a consumer of alcohol yet be good at his/her job. Some traditions and religions view that as bad. That is not the argument at all.

My focus is on the African scholar or intellectual. Why does their performance fare less when compared to South East Asians, Europeans or Americans? We cannot overlook the fact that, in credible western institutions, you find African graduates doing well, yet place them in an African institution, they will disappoint you. It is not inherently their faults I believe but other overriding short falls contributes. The question is, can we rely on the African intellectual who keeps forgetting about his training and values whenever the slightest of pressure is apply (Gbagbo, Mugabe, Wadde etc) to fix the problems we all aspire to be sorted so that, our democracy can work towards global standard?
Education to me should encompass (awareness, using the local languages, traditions, cultures to uplift the whole nation) but elements of Gambians or African (intellectuals) looks down on this and rather glamorise cultures they don't understand. The American educational system is American-centric, it contain items of patriotism, the values of the founding fathers, the holidays, the whole socio-cultural systems of the country.
Can we say the same for the Gambia? Why is it that, when a President lost an election he can dare refuse to leave and the Military will back him? Why is that, a Yahya Jammeh can commit undemocratic acts yet rely on the military to defend his rule? Is it because they are uneducated in the values of democracy, human rights and good governance?

The intellectual scholarly class cannot drive the change because they don't know how. They wallow in their titles and status, therefore sacrificing for the common is less of a priority. Whilst in the South East Asian sphere, the intellectuals are the ordinary citizens. People know their rights and leading figures cannot polarise the nation to their end without facing a fight. There are less wedge between the two camps.

"When war breaks out, the poor visit those who don't invited them, they invite themselves to places with guard dogs, iron gates and Mansons".
It is for the interest of the African intellectual to work for the social improvement of the citizenry, because they will leave them alone.
How many more Gbagbos do we have out there?

the discussions took place the Gambia L and Gambia post mailing list.........

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Sedia's Flemsy Excuses: The Deceptive Trick

The Talks between UDP and PDOIS
This is the most un-gentlemanly behaviour I have ever read from a senior Gambian politician. Sedia was hasty to say the least. Ousainou hasn't yet gotten back to him whilst he is consulting with members of the executive, some of whom are travelling the country on the voter engagement. Yet what did Sedia do? Instead of phoning Ousainou to discuss his apparent fable rumours, the imagine tale, he did what PDOIS are good at, run to the media. This is a man who many believe is easier to deal with than the rigid Halifa. But make no mistake; Sedia has sold his soul to Halifa. Whatever Halifa says, this is what he does since their marriage began.
It is shocking, annoying and a complete armatures conduct. All over the world, speculation is a bed-fellow with politics. However, responsible politicians don't jump because people are saying X, Y and Z. Sedia was brought up in a village level where the need to honour ones word is a core ethical man to man dealing. Whoever twists his hands disgrace him beyond redemption. Shame, shame, shame.

Ousainou virtually pursue Sedia for weeks before he agrees to meet him. Sedia was advancing all sorts of excuses, saying "I am travelling to Wulli, To South Africa, etc". Some PDOIS supporters are saying, Ousainou made mention of their meeting. This is untrue, a false lie that seems to dominate the illicit propaganda within PDOIS. Their media obsession is such that, private discussion is thrown away for cheap publicity. Let PDOIS be warn, we are no more going to ignore their pretences.

Ousainou honoured his discussions with Sedia. He did not say it anywhere in the Gambian media fraternity. Hence where did Sedia or his shadows get wind of the rumours or speculations? Isn't speculation part and parcel of politics, trade etc?
Those PDOIS folks saying that Ousainou made mention of his meeting with Sedia should ceased the lying. It was at the Brikama Rally that, Ousainou said "I am willing to meet my elder Sedia at any place of his choosing". He said "I want Sedia to call me, I will come and answer to him". Does the statement above imply divulging on a private meeting? The see-through PDOIS age old propaganda is unveiled. Let them cease the chest pumping and bravado.
The reason we want to sit and talk is simply to act like mature elders. A face to face dialogue will bring down facades created by supporters and the media. Face to face talks create an atmosphere of personal touch. The unnecessary love of media war is evidently detrimental to our Unity and togetherness.
To some it is better for Yahya kill than, a person of their distaste, a person they regard as the 'other' to lead the coalition. Their words betray them, we know what their core, imagine and real motivations are. But Sedia, you misfired, you should have acted honourably. Shame!!!

Coalitions are happening all across Africa, yet we never heard of a concept call primary between members of a different political persuasion. Why should such absurd idea be thrust on Gambians by one man? Halifa cannot come to terms with the fact, he is low on the pecking order of Gambian voters choice, desperately counting absent voters is the biggest political gimmick. Agenda 2011 was hastily thrown on the media for the purpose hardening the negotiation processes. No wonder this is exactly what the PDOIS leaders wish to solidify. The fear that, allowing sedia to talk with his colleagues (fellow opposition members) face to face will mitigate a condition were both side have to make concessions. And the Halifa way is the Agenda 2011 way, which means the only way.
We realise as UDP supporters that, misconstrued insinuations and arrogant self-righteous view that, backing a party led coalition will be probing up a party which will not honour its agreement is malicious and sickening. The leaders and supporters of PDOIS wish to concoct the notion that, only they have the best interest of the Gambia at heart. And that, there is no difference between the other parties, therefore they are not oblige to back any of them. This is the pulse vibrating from the marrows of PDOIS.
We say to you, politics have change. The UDP is a progressive party, it will abide by term limits, create an environment of respectable politics. The UDP has dynamic young people who are ambitious and aware of the new political realities. There is no issue in having a leader beyond the two term limit. The UDP is ready to make positive concessions to its peers in shaping a better and progressive Gambia.
Finally, Sedia’s apt and rash action exposed him as an untrustworthy comrade who will spill what two gentlemen agree to keep between themselves. However, it is no surprise that, he went to press. That is the PDOIS way. Complex political dialogue is keep private until a mutual agreement is reached. We see this mechanics in Ireland, U.K, Ukraine, Guinea and countless other places. The intent from them here is to stalled talks by water-mouthing needlessly. Let us hope, sanity can prevail.

Those PDOIS hunters dog calling for ending the quest to bring brothers together should desist and think wisely. Anger and cheap emotion achieve nothing but hate and animosity. Gambians intend an opposition unity, which we will continue to work for realistically. May God make it a reality. Ousainou is no Wadde, he is a gentleman who has refuse to throw scorn at his fellow opposition rivals whilst those with sweet tongue and vengeful minds huff cooked up stats all over place masked with bitter and malicious analysis.
Ousainou refusal to mud sling is giving the false impression to ready blabbers That, they have the most delicious tongue. A man who made his living defending people in a court of law, if such a person refuse to play dirty, it is not lack of knowing how, it is because he prefer a dignify inter-party relation to sarcasm and deception.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Free Legal Aid in U.K for Immigrants

The Chinese will quip that, cheap cheap things is no good, and vice verse but there may be a difference of legal representation between the U.S and U.K. When i said 'legal aided' I mean just what you alluded to. A state subsidised legal representation. There are law firms that are private, value for money who represent clients and then claim the cost from the tax payer. These law firms are now refered to as:
'Law centres' http://www.lawcentres.org.uk/
Law Centres "Law Centres are not-for-profit legal practices providing free legal advice and representation to disadvantaged people. There are 56 Law Centres in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, staffed by solicitors and barristers who specialise in areas of civil law including employment, housing, discrimination, welfare benefits, education and immigration. Law Centres are embedded in their communities and answer to committees of local people. They assist vulnerable people when they suffer injustice, educate people about their rights and tackle local problems. In doing so, they transform people’s lives, helping them to stay in their homes, keep their families together and get into employment or education. Law Centres are members of the Law Centres Federation."
They usually only take cases they can win, because their reward is some how tie to the outcome of the case. There are very high quality solicitors in these centres. They hire the dearest of Barristers if the need arises.
The cost in Pa Modou's legal fees high because of what the solicitor will have to pay the costly Barrister. The solicitor here will get very little.However, it will be wonderful if we are able to raise his legal cost for him, so that he choose the individual he is more comfortable with. Let us see how it goes, we should leave other options open should raising the fees takes a longer time than expected.
We have many rich brothers here, hopefully, they will cheap in privately, there is Dr Jaiteh, our rich accountants Joe, Saloum, Bambalaye, academic scholar like Dr Alhagie Jeng, Alh. Momodou Camara. So £1500 is raisable. May Allah take care of things through benevolent souls. Good work though, remember the Hare and the tortoise race, easy does it.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Book review By Dr Siga Fatima Jagne: Silent voices

By Dr Siga Fatima Jagne-Jallow
“Until we can understand the assumptions in which we are drenched we cannot
know ourselves. And this drive to self-knowledge, for women, is more than a search
for identity: it is part of our refusal of the self-destructiveness of male-dominated
society" Rich Adrienne, When We Dead Awaken: Writing as Re-Vision 1
The above quote from Adrienne Rich sets the tone of the review, as the sleepwalkers awaken.
This book, as its title suggests, “The Silent Voice: Stories of Gender in The Gambia” is about the coming
to a voice of those women who have been silent over the centuries. The coming to voice is important for
every human being. Without a voice you become a subaltern as passive subject rather than an active one
with Agency. Amie Sillah in her stories shows us women who have a sense of agency, whether in the
rural or urban context.
In the tradition of Mariama Ba, though not in an expostulatory form, the eleven stories in the book focus
on the trials and tribulations of everyday women in their social and domestic context. As Mariama Ba
puts it, even though I was well-educated I also had to learn how to wield the pestle. From Habibatou to
Ndungu, the women always have the presence of mind to change their situation by moving from an
oppressed state to one of liberation and celebration. In each of the stories, poetic justice is common place.
The stories are not about gloom and doom but about the celebration of women who triumph and whistle
like women undaunted; undaunted by their situation and arriving at a position of strength. These are
women who whistle undaunted against the chauvinism of the world; women who whistle undaunted
because their mothers make sure that they do. No adversity is too great for these women not to overcome
it-- they ride the waves of adversity to arrive safely onshore.
The empowerment of women through education and economic activities is a recurrent theme in the short
stories, the heroines are always redeemed through education or their children are. In the short story ‘the
Caste system” Fatima uses her education to buy her freedom from oppressive in-laws and ensures that she
never gives herself time to wallow in self-pity. This is the case of all the main characters in the book. In
the case of Majula, a victim of FGM, she was able to triumph over the legacy of FGM and proclaim that
none of her children will have to go through what she went through.
Issues of wife beating, polygamy and general violence against women is explored in all eleven stories;
stories so touching that they can only lead to deep reflection on the issues raised. The gender power
relations are evident in all the stories, but each one also provides the opportunity for the heroines to
reclaim their lives and their bodies. Because the ultimate question is whose body is it anyhow?
1 Rich, Adrienne. When We Dead Awaken: Writing as Re-Vision. Ways of Reading. Ed. John Sullivan. Boston:
Bedford, 1999. 601-615.
The author brings to life all the silent referents in our society; the issues that never enter the public debate
albeit in a limited space. Caste, always a silent referent, is brought up here to raise issues of
discrimination based on issues that are not gender or economic. To the author the politics of location of
her heroine, heroes and anti-heroes are extremely important. Fatim’s mother- in-law like Yaye Khady in
Mariama Ba’s “A Scarlet Song” is caste conscious and long for the golden old days when everybody
knew their place. These stories show the women as both oppressed and oppressors. It is not all the
women who are good in these stories making them transcend simple gender issues and entering into a
more universalist discourse. The fact that the book closes with an actual historical happening is no
accident because it brings together the past and the present to then map out the future of gender relations.
The complexities raised in the stories show that the issues have moved from gender discourse to a
transformational one allowing the characters to move from gender to class and positioning issues.
The question on most lips will be, do these stories depicted here actually exist in our society? Though
hard to believe, they mirror the realities of the poor, the vulnerable, the downtrodden and all those thrown
at the margins of society in one way or the other.
Women’s space as ritual ground is also brought up even when women work out of the home. The home is
the ritual ground were all the women’s activities take place
However, to conclude all the women-- in the words of Bessie Head’s heroine, Elizabeth in “A Question of
Power,” “I have discovered God and Elizabeth is his prophet” Profound words indeed.
Congratulations Amie! You have put the key issues of Gambia on the map and not just on gender issues,
but on socioeconomic issues, such as poverty, power relations and so on.

England, how the BBC and Times caused it lose the Bid

England the home of football shoot itself in the foot well before the race proper began. The Times so-called revelation and the nail on the coffin of Panorama which added more pain on the Fifa executive, did what many proud Englishmen/women were strongly against, brandishing the squeaky clean image of always doing things by the book.
England, a country i came to admire, funnily, our African former tormentor and colonial masters, yet we student of African culture, traditions and history knows more than many that, Great Britain's path to greatness was not always conducted by the book.
There is no need to list the systematic ways things where done. Today's England is democratic, respect human rights in her borders, promote media freedom etc but that doesn't some English businesses aren't committing unethical business deals. The English press and BBC should have waited with all intent and purpose until the Fifa announced the winner. After all, FIFA will always be there, and the cleaning up of football should never be accompanied by righteous sword wielding. The BBC and the Times made England loose the bid. They hurt the honour of grey haired men, yet expected the outcome to be different.
Hopefully, we can host the 2026. What a lose, imagine the jobs and related opportunities for the country.
As the Mandingo saying goes "you leave the reptile at home and go to the bush to hunt for other reptiles" meaning, you let certain things go for a more better cause.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Plan Interview with Fula Riti Legend Juldeh Camara

I have arrange to interview the Riti legend Juldeh sometime by late Febuary. His music is a big part of rural cultural Gambian Fulas and also in the Jazz loving community of the west. However, few Gambian know anything about his music, the culture and traditions. His travel and export of Fulbe music. It was a long planning, starting in November last year whilst he was in the Gambia, now we have completed all arangements.

I hope Juldeh fans will stay tune. By the end of Febuary we will meet at his residence in Birmingham City. He is recording at present with his U.K band partner. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YTFAK3eCAug&NR=1

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

A light joke

A good laugh!
A husband and his young wife were not on good terms. In fact the wife was convinced that he was carrying on with their pretty housemaid, so she laid a trap.
One Friday evening she suddenly sent Ekaette (the maid) home for the weekend, and didn't inform the husband. That night when they went to bed, the husband gave the old story: "Excuse me my dear........my stomach," and disappeared towards the bathroom.
The wife promptly dashed along the corridor, up the back stairs, into the maid's bed. She barely had time to switch the lights off when "he" came in silently............He wasted no time or words but quickly took out his willy, and got on top of her. When he finished his business and still panting, the wife said "You didn't expect to find me in this bed did you!!" and switched on the lights."No madam, said the gardener. Madam fainted!!--
Shared by:
Cherno Omar Barry

Monday, 22 November 2010

Amie Sillah to launch pro-women's right book: Silent Voices

Dear all,

For so long now have the subdued, the depressed and the voiceless wallowed into silence, accepting the painful and the unjust. Tears keep rolling down pale cheeks, on haggard faces, as enslaved women and mutilated children cower in tightest despair. Is it tradition or culture that justifies these deeds or has religion no means of deterring such injustice? In this collection of stories, we discover the horrible and hair-raising accounts of true experiences that only befit a crime fiction movie or a fantasy.
Amie Sillah has taken a bold step and has become the first woman to use words as a weapon as she makes us discover the stunning ability of the silenced triumphing over adversity. The eleven stories have swept through pertinent themes such as early marriage, the caste system, betrayals, complexity in polygamy, difficult relationships with in-laws and mutilations meted out to young innocent girls. These issues have haunted our communities and people for years and the intricacy continues to lie in the misconceptions and misunderstandings they have engendered.
It is an act of courage for Amie Sillah to write and release such vital secrets that many continue to consider taboo to question. Questioning is provoking a fit of the fantods.
To borrow from Yvonne Vera, in this collection, the text ‘is granted its intimacy, its privacy, its creation of a world, its proposals, its individual characters [and] its suspension of disbelief’. A pace is set by the emboldened Sillah to deal with such complex issues by opening the cupboard and exposing the skeletons. A new era of Gambian women’s literature is emerging.

Amie Sillah is finally launching her much awaited collection of short stories. A fervent gender activist and a promoter of the cultural rights of Gambian women, Amie has set her mark by maintaining a column on social and cultural issues affecting women and relationships between men and women on the Foroyaa Newspaper for several years now. She has also actively taken part in conferences both within and outside the country as an ambassador of women affairs and women right activist. It should be quickly explained that she is not a feminist but a woman who believes that women (the child and adult alike) have a fundermental role to play from the family to the international level. She believes our society needs only give them the due right to fully show their potentials. Do not miss this unique launch which will set it unique in its genre.
Mon, 29 November, 4pm – 8pm GMT+00:00
Paradise Suites Hotel
(Guest list has been hidden at organiser's request)

Our sister, Amie Sillah is launching her book entitled The Silent Voices at the Paradise Suites Hotel, on Monday 29 November from 16hrs onwards. This is a unique occasion in that it is the first time we have a collection of stories revealing some of the most painful experiences within our socio-cultural ways of life. Amie Sillah has pledged to donate any funds raised in the sale of her books to the Women welfare in the form of grants.
All participants to the launched are kindly urged to bring along at least D200 and but a book. Institutions, organisations and individuals are encouraged to make make pledges, philanthropic or personal, to donate books to schools or libraries, so that not only are people aware of these issues raised in the stories (which is the primary objective) but funds are also raised to help the poor woman who strives hard to help support her family.
Further information will be provided shortly (a scan of the book cover, the blurb and a short profile of the author).
Best regards.
Cherno Omar Barry
General Secretary
Writers Association of The Gambia
Tel: 9904617 / 3612612

Cherno Omar Barry

Friday, 19 November 2010

Ugly scenes in Guinea

Why Why why
what does it matter if the President is not your tribe?
what does it matter if he speaks other ethnic dialect?
should we kill or be ready to slaughter, pillage and run amock
because the winner is not of us?

How long Africa!!!
Shall bread and butter politics lead to street riots?
The ugly scenes in Guinea
Is indicative of parallel co-existence
We live together but we never like each other
we inter-marry but never love deeper
we share jokes but don't laugh genuine

The darkside of the sun
always reflect the bitter truth of our state
what shall it take to see beyond
unwritten languages and traditions?
Guinea, relent and let calmness prevail
Conde or Diallo
They cannot do miracle

infact, their Fulaness and Malinkeness is superficial
think and observe

Say No Oppression and Helping an Oppressor

Prophet (Upon Whom Be Peace) said: "A Muslim is the brother of another Muslim. He does not oppress him, nor does he leave him at the mercy of others." (Sahih Muslim Book 032, Number 6219).
The Hadith above advise us not to oppress our fellow brothers and sisters in Islam but also fellow human beings. We cannot partake in the torture and killing of fellow country men and women. Doing acts of human right abuse makes you lower than wild beast. Have respect for human dignity.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Eidul Adha is on the 16 of November 2010

THE ULTIMATE SACRIFICE: Eidul Adha: Man or Animal
01 December, 2009 03:11:00
Eid is on the 16 whilst the day of Arafah is the 15. A day to fast for those not fasting.

Following on from the footsteps of the father of monotheism, the Prophet Ibrahim (May God be please with him), sacrificing for the sake of God became an Islamic duty. The well narrated incident when God command Ibrahim to sacrifice his son, testing the words of the Prophet to actual deeds. The attempt of Ibrahim to do what his lord commanded, determine to proof his obedience to the only God, the unique.
Ibrahim’s symbolism prevent mankind from adopting the ultimate of sacrifices: the sacrificing of man instead of lower being animals. Man is the highest of all God’s creation, under whose care other living beings are left charge of. Although, believers are commanded to have animals has food (of which are the ones permissible to us), man can domesticate any animal it has access to.
The Abrahmic tradition which is a manifestation of obeying God and tasking oneself to dutifully undertake what a true believer will always do. The prophet Muhammad continued on the Abrahmic tradition of sacrificing for the sake of Allah.
Christians unlike Muslims don’t observe any sacrifice deeming it unnecessary as they are exempted from doing any such act. The Christian reasoning of not doing animal sacrifice which can be eaten is the incidence of much higher spiritual journey.
The Christian God, the begotten son of God, Jesus Christ was sacrifice on the cross. Since Jesus is a perfect man and also of God’s stock, his death on the cross replaces any form of lower being sacrifices. Paul preaches that, Christians are exempted from male circumcision and practicing animal sacrifice because Jesus’ death, his blood spilled suffices all future sacrifice for mankind. The only qualifying grounds to benefit from Jesus’ death and his blood is to believe in him as your personal saviour and lord. In short as co-equal with God.
Muslims on the other hand, carry on the sacrifice of edible animals which the Sunnah recommends for us. The act of sacrifice which some modernist Muslims avoid or down play indicates the lack of deeper understanding of the reason why the act is undertaken.
The virtues attached to observing Eidul Adha is of high merit and religiously fundamental. In Surah Al-Baqarah 2:196 God states “if any one wishes to continue the umrah on to the Hajj, he must make an offering, such as he can afford, but if he cannot afford it, he should fast three days during the Hajj and seven days on his return, making ten days in all.” The sacrifice of animal (hadi) comes after the fifth pillar of Islam is done with. So sacrificing for sake of Allah is not a light matter in Islam as some us now think.
Allah further states that we should “eat of them and feed the poor and the beggar...” Quran (22:36). The verse further bring to sharp focus the importance of understanding that, God does not have any need of the blood or the meat of the animals, but the piety of the worshippers that what he is interested in. This also dismisses the voodoo practice slaughtering animals for idols. The idols are said to be interested in the blood of the carcass.
The event of sacrifice (eidul-Adha) Tobaski in Senegambia is a day of thanks giving, remembrance, forgiving, friends and family reunion and a day of happiness. Therefore attending the Eid prayer is a highly recommended act of Sunnah. Any Muslim, who willfully abstains from it, should look into him/herself for scrutiny. Also if one attend Eid congregational prayer; it becomes obligatory to listen to sermon after the two units of prayers.
The animal can be sacrifice on the day of Eid after the prayers not before and also three days after the Eid. Eid is a day of remembering the greatness of God. He gave us mankind the ability and the right to eat of lawful animals; therefore he should be thank for giving us that privilege. We shouldn’t engage in acts of disobedience on the day of Eid like it is in some places.
Man or Animal:
Since man is the higher being in the animal kingdom. The Christians rely on the death of the sinless man, whilst in primitive cultures human sacrifice is utilize for very important rituals. Although the distinction between the Christian abstinence from animal sacrifice was a one off bloodletting of the Son of God, which fulfill the rites to all Christians in all generation. In comparison, that singular event doesn’t eliminate the similitude with ancient human sacrifices.
God on the other hand, don’t accept the life of man to be a sacrificial ornament, we as Muslims don’t condone that. Sacrificing one’s life for the good of others can be in other avenues, ie defending ones country, family, own life etc but not as similar with taking the lamb to the slaughter. This is why suicide is grossly forbidden in Islam.
Animal sacrifice has much more benefit and reward. The meat is eaten, we have less ties with animals than human and the atmosphere will be jolly not sad.
Also we as Muslims don’t believe that, God sacrifice his own Son for the sin of others to come. Sin even lay people like myself can tell is ever increasing, therefore God sacrificing his only Son for us make little sense.
The virtues of Eidul Adha is also enhancing an Islamic identity and also acting as a corner stone of Muslim unity. A departure from pagan festivals during the early days of the Islamic religion. Increase brotherhood among Muslims by sharing the meat; greet each other and gaining reward. A further test as to whether men of religion will use their wealth in acts of worship. Spending on the family, friends, the poor, the love of material versus the love of God.
May God accept our efforts and forgive us the sins committed. Amen.
Happy Eidul Adha

The Brilliant Serialisation and Commentary of: Enter Gambia

Saul Saidykhan on Enter Gambia an explosive book
Saul Saidykhan is a sensible and entertaining writer on equal measure. His writing ability is among the best of Gambian writing. I rank him along with folks like Lamin J Darboe, Hamjatta, ML Sillah, Galleh, Foday Samateh and the like. Saul made simple statements readable, eloquent and fanciful.The explanation of Berkeley Rice's book on the Gambia is timely and relevant for correcting lies against elements of the former regime.
In fact, Saul's exposure is not in any way absolving the wrongs of the PPP, but setting the records straight on many propaganda malice against the characters of the early PPP pioneers. And the ethnic maligning which resulted in distorting the facts on the early days of Gambia's rebirth was a crime worth rectifying.

Saul should be commended for serialising a book hardly available in the market.The pains he took to digest the records of Berkeley Rice is noteworthy and a patriotic endeavour.His analysis should be made available to our future generations so that, they too can come to the realisation of facts no matter who dislike it to be known. Kudos Saul for a fantastic job.Below are the links to part one to four of his fruitful scintillating narratives:
Part 1 http://www.maafanta.com/SaulKhanonBerkerlyriceEnterGambia.html
Part 2 http://www.maafanta.com/SaulKhanBekerleyRiceGambiaNo2.html
Part 3 http://www.maafanta.com/SaulKhanGamHistpart3.html
And the final part 4 http://www.maafanta.com/SaulKhanBerkeleyPart4.html
Thanks Saul for taking us on an enlightening journey.

Bamba Mass Revealing article on the brutal murders of Nov 11 1995

I urge all sane Gambians to read the chilling account of how the soldiers of Nov 11 were lied against and kill and then buried behind a toilet. Bamba Mass's narrative is very sad. Please read this and forget the small leisure for a munite, these are our brothers. We don't hate Yahya because he is a Jola or anything, but he ordered the killing of our fellow country men. We hate him because he is murderer and if anybody suspect this and still support him, God's Judgement is on you also. Human Soul is not for wasting.


Friday, 5 November 2010

Muslims Scholars role in a secular Democracy: An interview with the Sheik Imam Abu Usama At-Thahabi

A brief biography:
Abu Usamah was born in New Jersey, USA. He embraced Islam in 1986 and went onto to study in the Islamic University of Madina for eight years where he graduated from the College of Da'wah and Usool-ad-Din. He was also very fortunate to have spent two summers in intensive study under Shaikh Ibn Baaz and Shaikh Ibn Uthaymin in Riyadh and Qaseem respectively. He also presented a television program for Huda Satellite TV titled: Islam 101 as well as a program entitled THE SUNNAH THE BETTER for Islam Channel, UK.He has travelled extensively throughout the world with a focus on giving Dawah in West Africa and trying to spread the authentic Sunnah in that part of the world.He is currently the Imam of the biggest Masjid in B'ham Uk called Green Lane Masjid which is a Masjid that is known for understanding and practicing Islam based upon the understanding of the Salif Saalih (righteous predecessors).
The Interview:
The interview was conducted in the spirit of clarifying the Islamic view points on the role of religious scholars in a secular democracy. The standoffs which just ended between the members of the Supreme Islamic Council and the young fire brand Sheik Bakawsu Fofana expose to us the importance of religious leaders in even so-called secular countries.
Dictatorship and tyranny is the worst forms of governance all across human civilisation. The world has seen a fair bit of mad men who kill, mayhem and destabilise just because they want to remain in power and control at all cost.
The validation exercise the secular tyrants embarked on spares no one, not even the Kaftan wearing long bearded Imams. Their roles in Muslim and Christian societies means that, dictators sharp eyes get locked on them for their selfish power crabbing adventures. To this end, the SIC (Supreme Islamic Council) leaders fulfilled that coveted role of deifying the petty smocked faced 45 year old Gambian mafia President, Alh. Yahya AJJ Jammeh (Sheik Professor, Dr).
Yahya Jammeh’s hijacking of Muslim leaders connotes a multiple of ramifications. The subtle anti-Muslim sentiments get tongue loose in places where Muslims and Islam is catalogue and chastise for propaganda reasons. The debate gets so ugly, the derogatory tags level at certain Muslims leaders go below the belt (Abdoulie Fatty and Muhammed L Touray). This brings in writers whose Identity we don’t know, however, the secular sword they wield is unmistakeably visible all over their notes.
To bring back sanity to the debate, I went to the Green Lane Masjid, to speak to a man who understand the ways of secular societies and obviously Muslim ones. The question will appear as:
Suntou and Abu Usama.
I encourage Gambian Muslims and interested parties to follow the discussion. No one is perfect, and seeking clarification opens the doors to tolerance, mutual love and understanding.
Asalaam Mualaikum Sheik Usama, thank you for accepting my offer for an interview at a very short notice. I am an ordinary Gambian who occasionally expresses an opinion over matters relating to our country. Your truthfulness, in-depth scholarly knowledge, clarity in speaking (English and Arabic) is well known in the Islamic circles. Therefore, to choose you among the many scholars in England wasn’t too difficult.
Imam Abu Usama:
I am humbled by the choice. I am still a student of Knowledge. I will do my best to answer the questions to the best of my ability. Allah knows best.
In the secular democrat climates that Muslim scholars find themselves, how should they deal with difficult political situations?
Imam Usama:
Every situation scholars find themselves, they require to figure out what is appropriate for the community they are serving. Scholars have a role in the Muslim societies. If they are not there, wouldn’t the Islamic voice be drowned out? Islam is vital to the lives of the followers. However, secular democracy calls for judging the people by what Allah hasn’t decree or legislate and Muslims are happy now to comply with such demands.
Islamic scholars therefore have to know that, the leaders don’t have the authority to hide from the laws they are administering with (constitutional democracy). The Muslims leaders cannot by themselves change a dictatorship or oppressive regimes. They have to work with all stake holders (Judges, the media, civil society, teachers, doctors etc). This way, no single segment of the society will bear the brunt of the oppressor.
The president in our country controls the police, the army, the secret service, and also have other loose cannons terrorising the vulnerable at will. Is it the job of Imam, Scholars to speak up against such conditions, bearing in mind the Prophetic advise that, “Muslims shouldn’t revolt against their rulers”.?
Imam Usama:
Prophet Muhammad said that “the best Jihad is speaking the truth to an oppressive leader”. Heads of states or Presidents is there to serve the people. The Imams and scholars should critically weigh the pros and con of speaking out and the methods to be use. They shouldn’t unnecessarily place themselves in harm’s way. They should never compromise their social responsibility of serving Allah with the highest standard.
The President pledged to uphold the sacrosanct supreme law which is the constitution. In that piece of documents, he swore to protect the life and property of the citizens of that country, if he reverses that pledge and commence acting contrary to dictates of the constitution; the religious scholars should remind him of his contract with his electorates.
Publicly declaring the will to rule according to the constitution and then doing otherwise later run is wrong.
Should Islamic religious leader befriend secular politicians or lobby for them publicly?
Imam Usama:
The Prophet (PBUH) said, “Anyone who frequents the doors of the worldly leaders will be tried”. This has deeper meanings. The President is obviously a secular leader, he will utilise everything to get the vote bank. Therefore if Imams or Islamic scholars will facilitate him win elections, he will use them like he uses other ordinary citizens. The advice is for Imams and Scholars to stay away from dictators or politicians in general. At the most they should not lobby for them at all. The President has the ability to compromise the Islamic leader, which will translate into pacifying him. Also close association with Politicians leads to a wish for material gain and excess love of the good life.
Abu Hanifa for instance refuses to serve the Caliph of his time, but Imam Malick accepted the role of Chief Cadi, but he was maltreated by the Caliph Al-Mansour. So the Imams in your case should look to past and make inform decisions. The imams should preach for the respect of human life and dignity.
Every five years, there is election to elect a new President. Should Imams or Muslim scholars’ campaign for the President bearing in Mind the nature of secular politics?
Imam Usama:
The wise option is to use Hikma (good wise judgement). The exchanges involve slander and untruth about opponents. Imams shouldn’t assist in such un-Islamic adventures. The Islamic scholars or leaders should stay away from the working of the political process in so far as public endorsement is concern; if not there legitimate religious opinion is neglected by those unsupportive of the President.
Revolting or more modern, coup de’tas is another means of over throwing dictators and tyrants whose manipulation and tampering of the democratic process makes them unshakeable. Is it Islamically acceptable to overthrow a sitting President?
Imam Usama:
Naturally revolts within Islamic states are discouraged because of what the aftermath entails. The nature of African politics is such that, incumbent politicians create an environment of discontent. Therefore revolt or forceful change of governments has become a staple norm.
However, if we look at the track records of coups, there are apparent evidences of bloodshed, ethnic strife, instability and infighting. The Islamic standpoints on revolts are allowed if the President or leader is engaging in open Kufr (disbelief) in which there is no doubt. The secular call here would be, so long as the people dislike his governance style, they have the mandate to remove him. Again Islam looks at the aftermath of the revolt, what will be the end result? Coups may do more harm than good.
Islam is against civil unrest. The fostering of public cohesion and peace and stability is the core principle the people most look up before embarking on violent change of government, because the incumbent will not necessarily give up peacefully. Through peaceful means, a government can be changed.
Islamic scholars are branded with all sorts of adjective and names, from Mad Mullahs to Fanatics by members of the media and civil society sometimes, how should they respond to this phenomenon?
Abu Usama:
Islamic scholars should respond to such comments with something that is better. They shouldn’t be angry or shocked by those remarks. Moreover, they should call on the leaders of the nations to be transparent and do justice to the people. In earlier generations, scholars were called with harsher names than the ones we are facing today. Some of the name tags are invented by non-Muslims to demean Islam which sadly uninformed Muslims repeat.
Is it acceptable for Islamic Councils to sanction ordinary preachers?
Abu Usama:
Each country has its ways of doing things. What is important is to avoid such eventuality in the first place. The Ulama should have an environment of open mutual exchanges. So it is not palatable to sanction anyone. However, if there are statements a preacher is making which is contrary to the teachings in Islam; peers can talk to the Preacher for proofs to back himself.
What is your opinion on lobbying to International organisations in remedying deadlock political problems?
Abu Usama:
There is no problem with that, so long as it will bring lasting peace and progress to a country. The international organisations are partners in fostering harmony, therefore they are useful sometimes.
Secular democracy allows us to write, speak and protest against dictators and their governments, Is this Islamically allowed?
Abu Usama:
Speaking and writing anything requires it to be facts and true. Islam forbids slander, backbiting and causing unrest. However, here we are looking at a President who uses a democratic means to get to power. The ancillary facilities of democracy are that such things are tolerated by the system. Democracy unless if it conforms to Islamic principles has many things that require fine tuning. But overall, the lesser of two evil is what we call for here. Dictatorship is worst than democracy any day.
Muslims have to deal with their reality; those who wish to align their country’s democracy to their faith should do so within the system and involve Islamic scholars in guiding them.
Is it allowed for a Muslim country scholars to say, “we will fast when Saudi Arabia Fast”?
Abu Usama:
Yes it is acceptable to say so because the Ulama (Scholars) in Saudi Arabia are serious about their religion. There is no doubt about the permissibility of such statement because the distant between Saudi Arabia and many African countries is less four hours. We are one Muslim community; therefore uniting in matters like that is a good thing.
However, local sighting of the moon is more preferable but we don’t unnecessarily split over minor matters. In modern times, the feelings a against Saudi Arabia in the secular community is high but we are not talking about the politics here.
Now, coming to the minor aspects of the interview, these are things Gambian Muslims require scholarly answers to.
Is skin bleaching permissible?
Abu Usama:
No it is Haram or forbidden. It is changing the creation of God. An expressed demonstration that one is dissatisfied with how God created him/her. It is a major sin. It is a sign of low self esteem which is bad for a believer. No human race is better than the other.
The breading or Plaiting of artificial and synthetic hair is common among Gambian women, is it allowed?
Abu Usama:
No it is haram or forbidden as well. The Prophet Muhammad cursed those who practised it and the angels cursed anyone who added hair to his/her head which is not her own.
Poetry is something we Gambian like dabbling into, what is Islamic view on it?
Abu Usama:
It is allowed so long as it not immoral and indecent statements. Surah Ash-Shu’ara (chapter 26) in the Quran is name after ‘the poets’. Poetry shouldn’t be about lies.
Jazkalah Kaer, thank you very much for the time and wisdom you shared with me.
Abu Usama:
Waa Iyakum brother Suntou, you are welcome anytime.

Interviewers note:
It is imperative that, we who stand aside and criticise the few Imams or Islamic leaders that associated with Yahya’s government realise that, this people are compromised because of their neglecting to safe guard themselves against the trapping of dictators.
They all know without a doubt the dangers of confronting the regime, however, where they didn’t help themselves is their validation of the status quo and the architect of Gambia’s dictatorship.
If they can stay away from the regime, give their religious instructions with the fear of Allah, advise the President in a none confrontational manner, avoid over stepping their duties, no one will fault them them. The suppressive atmosphere made us all into scapegoat hunters, May God remedy this nightmare in the soonest way possible, in peace and stability. Amen. Thank you for reading.

Recommended Book---Dead Aid....why Aid does not seems to work

Official Website of Dambisa Moyo
Dambisa Moyo is the author of Dead Aid which argues against aid to Africa, and argues for more innovative ways for Africa to finance development including trade with China, accessing the capital markets, and microfinance. Her book is published by Penguin internationally.

Suntou said:
I recommended Africans to read the book.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Colonialism: An interesting video.. Mamdani


Colonialism needs to be understood in the right perspective. The historian Mamdani explain why?

Heroes of Africa: Samora Machel and Thomas Sankara


The Late Thomas Sankara on the debt burden of Africa. He eloquently lead the charge against debt repayment, saying Africans will die if the leaders accept to repay the debt. He considered the burden to be a neo-colonialist weapond in rettarding Africas growth and development.

Sankara change the name of his country, Land of the Upright man:


How Samora Machel treated the collaborators with the Portuguise.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Clarifying a poem: Remnants of the Nyanchos

'I do not mean to chastise....'Re: Responding To Haddy Sanneh
Our able sister, Nyancho Fatou Jaw Manneh, our many Nyancho brothers within the Gambian democratisation struggle, among them (Abdoukarim Sanneh, Dave Manneh, Banka, Kebba Sanneh Sweden, etc) I salute you. The poem I wrote over an year ago was in fact, acknowledging the valour and fortitude of Nyanchoya and the Korinya generation.
I respect the suspicions of Haddy Sanneh in wanting others to provide further explanations to the poem. However, sister Haddy should remember that, poetry is open to individualistic understanding, hence the poetic license terminology. The poem was inspired by the books I read on the adventures of the Nyanchos and Korings across the Gambia and Kabbu. Their motivations, philosophy, thinking and the reasoning behind their military campaigns across what is now the Senegambia intrigue me.

Haddy should be reminded that, the Nyanchos even though were not Muslims use to have very close cordial relationship with the spiritual witch doctors or Marabous (Moros) of which, we the Manden Moris are equally complicit in energising the good and bad expeditions. To this end, a famous episode is associated to the reason why, the Tourays and Sanyang kunda became very strong cousins. The simple explanation of the poem is to do with, the advent of the Nyanchos embracing Islam. And this spiritual turnaround was never by force.
Even after Kaabu fell, the Nyanchos continue to maintain a relatively respectable positions within societies they inhabit. This is evident in the settlements they founded in the Gambia and Cassamance.However, in paganism they vow to die without hesitation for the sake of empire and pride in their heritage. In Islam, pride is curtailed if it is to do with ones birth right, tribe, race, wealth etc.

In Islam, the Nyanchos threw away all the mega idols of Kaabu (Tamba-Julu-Jalans: Kabentu Tabo, Len-ko, Kansala-Sibo and the decommissioned ‘Kantenten Suto’, Bere Kolon Jiinoli and the minor bees they place their trust with).
Islam forbids associating partners with the only creator of mankind. The interest in Idols is to do with the demons that enter them and make believe that, the rocks, Trees, rivers, bees etc people direct their worship and venerations to are intermediary to God. The Nyanchos became prominent in the Monotheistic religion of Islam to earn the title Kan-Sanneh, Kan-Sanyang etc.
So Haddy, it is on that vain the poem was speaking. Extolling the Nyanchos to remain in the faith and never try to allow the pride of the past make wine or idolatry fanciful.I quote the Qur’an:
On IdolsVerily, Allah forgives not that partners should be set up with Him (in worship), but He forgives what is less than that for whom He wills; and whoever sets up partners with Allah in worship, has indeed invented a tremendous sin. (Chapter 4:48)
Finally, on Alcohol, fortunetelling etc"O you who believe! Intoxicants (all kinds of alcoholic drinks), and gambling, and Al-ansab and Al-Azlam (divinations by using arrows) are an abomination of Shaitan's handiwork..." ( Qur'an 5:90)
Idolatry and alcohol indulgence was the bedrock of Nyanhoya past time. These two things constitue the worst sins in Islam. On the issue of Idols, that is a straight red card in Islam, whilst Alcohol drinking is classified the mother of all sins. Any Nyancho who freely abandon them is still a hero.

Below are further explanations of the key Mandingo terminology used: I hope that helps?

Kabunka Kelus: Kaabuu men. They use to vow to attain excellence in bravery or martyrdom. The griots would say, these sorts of men are extinct. I would say, may be a few are around.
Fan kun fan kun: This means the selfishness that is now unhidden. People choosing number one even in dire situations where the majority plight should be considered first.
Tipu korto and majah doloh: Tipu korto use to be a certain fashion of trouser in the old days. The top is tight and the leg end is widen.
Maja doloh is the maize wine.Kumaa baa foo and Jamun dima: Boastfulness and seeking praise for the bravado.

Sidoyaa anin laban tiinya: Early death and improper end of life. Here I took a swipe at the Nyanchos for preferring to die early instead of living up their dreams. I find them courageous but one should stay and finish a business instead choosing death. But the other side of their choosing death is that, they will never tolerate humiliation, death is better.
Muu nyo mann nyon-soto: patient is a virtue. When one can be calm on the face of adversity, you are a winner.
Suturo maan nyon soto: To be discrete is vital. Allow an air of mystery.
Nka nko kumo lefo aliyee: A talk in MandingoTaa moo kana ale badalindi: The phenomena that travel has created in our society is open for all to see.
Kubaa bee laban, kun din: Everything ends in humility and weakness.
Saya wote baye lah: Death is inevitable. Sometimes our intelligence deceives us.
Nyancholi tubita: The nyanchos have accepted monotheism, i.e. IslamAllah yee tuboli mutale: God has accepted the repentance.Thank you Haddy. The poem was never a ridicule or chastisement. I love the Nyanchos.Suntou

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Lauren Booth became a Muslim at the Global Peace and Unity Conference 2010

It was a fascinating sight seeing Tony Blair's sister in-law (Lauren Booth) accepting Islam at the annual Global peace and Unity Conference. She has been a staunch supporter of the Palestinian statehood and a human activist. Through her years of travel through the Muslims lands, she learned the religion and traditions well before professing the faith. These are privilege individuals who have every opportunity to listen to the Islamaphobes, but God as they say, work in mysterious ways. Welcome to Islam Lauren Booth. We who are born into this beauty of faith and life style should be thankful to the Allah. Below is an article on her back in 2008

September 3, 2008
Lauren Booth, Tony Blair's sister-in-law, stuck in Gaza StripOrly Halpern, in Jerusalem, and Michael Theodoulou Tony Blair's sister-in-law is stuck in the Gaza Strip today after entering the territory without a permit as part of a human rights mission.
Lauren Booth, sister of the former Prime Minister's wife Cherie, has been refused entry into both Israel and Egypt after arriving in Hamas-run territory by boat from Cyprus 12 days ago. She travelled to Gaza as part of a human rights mission called the Free Gaza Movement, which aims to draw attention to the international blockade of the territory.
Israel says it is under no obligation to allow her entry so she can fly home from Tel Aviv because she had entered Gaza without permission. Egypt, meanwhile, claims it refused her entry through its Rafah crossing point because it had been open for humanitarian traffic only. “It could be days, weeks or years before I can leave, depending on the mood of the Israeli authorities,” she told The Times, adding that she was upset she could not be with her children as they began the school year.
Ms Booth said that, after Israel's refusal, she and three others spent hours at the Rafah crossing waiting to cross before Egypt also refused her passage. “We were down there on Saturday in an overheated bus for more than two hours with over 100 people in 90 degree heat,” she said, adding they spent nine hours in total on Saturday and 13 hours on Sunday trying to cross into Egypt. Yigal Palmor, an Israeli foreign ministry spokesman, said: “No country in the world is required to allow a foreign national to enter its territory."
An Egyptian official, who asked to remain anonymous, said: "She was not refused. The crossing was only opened for humanitarian cases that were coordinated in advance by the PA [Palestinian Authority]. Egypt is welcoming anybody at anytime, but not at the Rafah crossing point – which according to a 2005 agreement is being [kept] closed."
Ms Booth broke an Israeli naval blockade on the Strip as part of a human rights mission. The two boats on which she and her party travelled returned to Cyprus a few days later, leaving behind 11 activists to do humanitarian work. Only Ms Booth and three others are trying to leave. “This is a punishment, and it’s a warning to the people who may in the future want to come on the boat: imprisonment in the largest internment camp in history," she said.
Ms Booth said she had visited several refugee camps while in Gaza and took part in a protest to help an old woman who had a spinal tumour to get access to a hospital in Jerusalem. As she remained stranded in Gaza, her brother-in-law - who is now international peace envoy to the Middle East - was holding meetings only a few miles away with officials in Israel. His assistant Matthew Doyle said that the British Consulate was working hard to provide her with assistance.