Thursday, 27 May 2010


Hassum Ceesay (Sr) (1944-2010) a generous man and a writer per excellence
On 19 May 2010, the community of Gambian writers lost one of their members, Mr Hassum Ceesay. He died at the age of 66 after a brief illness at the Ndeban Clinic.

Hassum Ceesay – not the curator but the one commonly called senior – was a veteran writer. Hassum was a financial economist who obtained a Bachelor of Science degree from Durham University (UK) under the auspices of Fourah Bay College, Sierra Leone and two Masters Degrees at the prestigious universities of Oxford, the United Kingdom and Havard, the United States of America. He hailed from Panchang village in Upper Saloum and was the son of Alkalo Madi Ceesay, a well-known alkalo of Panchang and he was a royal descendant on his mother's side. Hassum was also a devout Muslim and a great scholar in Islamic teachings. He was known to have started writing since his primary school days.

He published several articles on The Gambia News Bulletin. In 1968, he wrote several articles some of which are: A Spot Worthy of Tarzan (GNB N°67, 18th June), Mr Edward Brewer, Forestry Department Abuko Nature Reserve, and Random Thoughts on a Money Spinner (GNB N°127, 7th November 1968, p3). He also wrote several articles on Gambian Literature in the Daily Observer. Hassum worked for the United Nations (UN) for more than 17 years before he retired in 1996 and settled at Kololi. In Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara's autobiography, Kairaba, readers are told that The Gambian Mission to the United Nations in New York was first opened by Hassum Ceesay and Mr Galandou Goree Ndiaye in February 1979.

Hassum served as Counsellor and Mr Goree Ndiaye as Mission Secretary. Hassum was a member of the United Nations Transition Assistance Group in Namibia (then called Southern Africa and under apartheid) helping Namibians to transit from an apartheid regime to a free state and to conduct their first elections in 1990. He worked in several countries including the RDC (then Zaire), the Central African Republic and Senegal. He has also travelled extensively.
After his return to The Gambia in 1996, he contributed immensely in different ways to the Gambian society by donating his books and giving financial assistance to schools, mosques and individuals. So humble was he that he refused to be acknowledged for such financial and material aid. He bought several compounds in the greater Banjul area and gave them out to people from whom he knew he would never ask for rent and he disbursed huge funds for the construction of important mosques in the same locality. Some of these revelations only came out after he died.
Ndaanan contibutions
Along with his diplomatic career, Ceesay developed a keen interest for literary production. In the early seventies, He joined a group of Gambian writers to create the first literary magazine, Ndaanan for which he was a co-founder. Ndaanan is the first literary magazine published in The Gambia in 1971. He published 8 of his poems and a short story in it. From its creation to 1973, Ceesay remained the Advertisement and Circulation manager and until it stopped being published in 1976, he was part of the editorial board along with Dr Lenrie Peters, Swaebou Conated, Charles Jow, Gabriel J. Roberts, Dr Wally Ndow, Esther Sow, Marcel Thomasi and Margareth Jallow.
The eight poems he published in Ndaanan are Fugitive & Manifa Musu (Vol. 1, issue 1, 1971), The Cotton Tree, The Palmwine Vendor’s Son, & Behind the Looking Glass (Vol. 2, issue 1, 1972), and Waves, Stigma & The Sun Stood Still and the story Caught in The Crossfire were published in the last volume (Vol. 5, issue 1 & 2, 1976).
Published Works
Hassoum has written extensively and it will be difficult to enumerate all his publications here. He has numerous unpublished works too such as his novellas Farm, Sisters of a Kind, What’s a Mother to Do? and The Origins of a Song. His first published work is Seeking to Please, published in 1974 in Banjul. At the time, Ndaanan was facing financial challenges. It deals with a variety of subjects: beauty, settling of scores, the dirty tricks of a prostitute, inflation of prices. In the forward he wrote on the subsequent series of Seeking to Please, he had this to say:
When, as a very idealistic youth, I published SEEKING TO PLEASE 1 in 1974, there were no newspapers, only about six hours of air time from Radio Gambia, and no TV. There was an acute general public craving for something, anything, to read, especially Gambian creative writing. Amazingly, with five hundred copies of that publication, distributed free, I not only intended but expected to satiate that craving! (Ceesay, 2003: p iii)
The first volume is made up of five short stories and twelve poems. Soon after, he published several other short stories, poems and plays. Seeking to Please has ten volumes. The first six volumes are published by Macmillan UK and the four others were published locally. The last published and distributed novel is The Power of Ngewel or Banjen’s Honour (2007). Ceesay has, in his archives several unpublished works in manuscript form (novellas, short stories, poems) some of which are already typed and under edition while others are in long hand. One of his published but undistributed books is entitled Things happen on the way to the well.
From his poems one easily recognises Ceesay’s love for the Gambian people and his concern for their well-being. All his poems observe those issues that one hardly notices even though they directly affect our lives. Ceesay took it upon himself to entertain through his writings but not forgetting, like a true caring person, to enlighten and educate, to warn and counsel. He felt, as a writer, a poet and a dramaturge, it was his duty to send a message to all, both in The Gambia and elsewhere, on the issues and concerns affecting our societies and of the beauties that lie within.
It is in this view, that upon publishing the 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th collections of Seeking To Please, he donated a large bulk of it to the Government, the Department of State for Education, for distribution to all the school libraries throughout the country. An official letter from the Department of Education, written on 18 May 2005 and signed by Mr Baboucarr Bouy, acknowledged receipt of 2,400 books donated by him and expressed appreciation for contributing to the education sector. He also donated books to several libraries and institutions.

Mr Abdou Wally Mbye wrote a letter on 28 November 2003 acknowledging the reception of 100 copies of Seeking to Please 2 and congratulating him for the unique and unprecedented act of donating so hugely to the library. Among the schools and institutions that wrote to him are the Management Development Institute (signed by Ms Mathilda Johnson, Principal Librarian, on 4 May 2005 for the donation of all the Seeking to Please series), Kaur Senior Secondary School (signed by Mr Adama Jimma Jobe, Principal, on 16 December 2003 for the donation of 59 books) and the Gambia Muslim Senior Secondary School (signed by Mr Sulayman Njie, Principal, on 11 March 2004). None of his books was for sale, he insisted, except for the interest of students or student associations. The books he wrote were meant to entertain and to help schoolchildren develop interest in reading. It fact, they contain enough motivation as each chapter of the story unfolds, as each verse of the poem reveals itself, as each scene fills an act, the reader is ‘hooked’ and discovers and marvels. Ceesay could have concentrated on poetry, prose, or drama only instead of taking all three. However, he was one of those rare Gambian writers who are good in all three genres.

Seeking to Please (the series)

I am giving the title ‘SEEKING TO PLEASE’ to this collection as that is precisely what I am doing to the Gambian public in this endeavour. As I see it, the avidity around us to read anything creative and with local origins is something of a stigma on any one of us who can do anything about it and, contrary to belief, there are many of us who can. Ability is certainly not lacking.

The four last books of the series published are a collection of poems (Seeking To Please 9 and 10), prose (Seeking To Please 8) and drama (Seeking To Please 7). Below we give a brief review of each of these.
We with service reverent Great Bacchus make contend. Not by pleasing all, But seeking to please. For what pleases the gods Pleases not men (Extract from The Palm Wine Vendor’s Song by Hassum Ceesay)
DRAMA: Seeking To Please 7: You Will See for Yourself
Allah made me who I am and what I am. A scholar in the Holy Quran, and a teacher of the religion of Islam. What am I suppose to do? What am I suppose to say, when a parent brings his child to me with that message? Shall I say no I will not be able to provide for his upkeep? Then I would not be a believer… (Act 4, Scene 1, page 38)
You Will See for Yourself is a piece of drama in four acts with almost a dozen characters. The setting is in ‘a sizable multi ethnic village with a population of four hundred people, mostly fulas, wollofs and mandinkas in the Central River Division’. (Act One; Scene 1; p2). A Quranic teacher cum Imam cum Alkalo, Baa Foday Jabbi, is the main character. There are 11 scenes. Act One (2 scenes) introduces Baa Foday and his talibehs. Juldeh Jallow, a senior talibeh over three decades old, will have a special chat with his Master. A particular question on women will arise as Juldeh is recently married and solicits guidance in maintaining a good marriage. In Act 2 (four scenes), certain issues will arise. The first is the question of the music in Baa Foday’s courtyard. Mayamel (Juldeh’s wife) and Hijinka (Baa Foday’s wife) will play music and they both love it. Baa Foday councils Juldeh to admonish his wife and help guide her to stop indulging in sinful habits. In this act too, parents of one of the talibehs will arrive. They will discover their talibeh child turned into a dirty scrambler of thrown coins in a fight in the streets. The question of the state of the Almudo arises. The parents are welcomed in Act 3 (three scenes). Juldeh will have a lengthy discussion with his wife as he tries to inculcate some of his master’s principles in her. The closing act, Act 4, presents two very interesting scenes. The first is a lengthy discussion on the question the Almudo (a begging talibeh) where heavy irony is observed as the author tries to portray the reality of the situation, and a curious scene between Baa Foday and his young seductive bride Hijinka as Juldeh and Mayamel watch secretly through the complicity of Hijinka.

Hassum Ceesay tries to portray, in this story, the irony behind certain believes and practices. He intends to provoke the spectator (or the reader where the play is read from the book), to reflect on certain social and cultural issues. He obliges the spectator to question three particular things: the complete veneration of certain religious people particularly local quranic teachers where one’s life is dictated (as this is probably the case between Juldeh and Baa Foday) and the question of the ‘Almudo’ and its raison d’être. Juldeh is persistently cautioned about the evil intends of women and advised to strictly apply measures to correct or moderate them. And who is to blame for the Almudo’s situation? The play is thought provoking. Ceesay builds a lot of humour in the play and equally uses simple understandable English as usual.PROSE: Seeking to Please 8: Have Friends, Will Win
“All we parents are saying to you children is to be more thoughtful. Be more slow to judge. Weigh the effects of your words. And why do we keep saying so? […] We love you and we want to keep you out of trouble. […] But above all because God enjoins it upon us to bring you up well.” (p48)
This is a story of a university student, Pa Ndongo, who completed his undergraduate studies and leaves the university to return to his family in Sukuta. Pa Ndongo, a BA student in Agricultural Science, have just completed his final exams and was waiting for the end of year events: the end of year debate where he is to present a paper, and the end of year agric and debating club parties. Pa Ndongo, commonly called Faana Faana Soona farmer, supported by his close friends Mansawula commonly called Wula or De Gaulle ears, Njilan Joof and Jelleh Ndure, he will make an impressive presentation at the debate and be declared the winner.
The 62-page story deals with many social issues particularly that of the undergraduate student and university activities. Ceesay, I believe, intends to delve into pertinent social issues through an easy-to-read short text with a lot of entertainment. One cannot help noticing the ‘kal’ attitude between the schoolmates; particularly, how much it will be effective in helping Pa Ndongo overcome his shyness during the debate competition.

Among the students too, there is constant girl-talk on how they perceive girls and girls’ attitude. In fact, a curious relationship will build up between Pa Ndongo and one of the most desirable girls in the University, Yabanaa. The writer did not hesitate to portray our present society and leave us to judge for ourselves. Most of all, Ceesay intends to point out the importance of friendship and its advantages in our lives. Have Friends, Will Win is an unstoppable book that one enjoys from the first to the last page. The reader sails through, with the help of simple English language structures suitable even at the Upper Basic level, a wonderful story that grips you to the end and makes you laugh, frown, and relaxed. It is readable anywhere, on trips, at the Attaya Vous, while waiting during appointments even during half time while watching football on TV.
POETRY: Seeking to Please 9: Sewruba Rhapsody and Other Poems
“A convention and child rights / Is incomplete unless/ It says no more war. / Why do I say so? / The first right is the right to life. / Adults declare war / then they stay at home / And send the youths to fight / The war they didn’t declare. ” (Child Rights, p19)
Ceesay proposes two books on poetry. The poems, like his books on prose and drama, deal with social issues and expose some of our social ills. In Sewruba Rhapsody and Other Poems, Ceesay proves a good observer of our contemporary society and translates his observation in simple and easy to read poems. He centres his concern on youth matters, children’s affairs, national issues, nature, etc. Ceesay goes further by writing poems in Wolof and Mandinka, which he includes in these collections.
POETRY: Seeking to Please 10: Our River and Other Stories
“Lo giss wanneh/ Lo gaeg netili/ Lo kham wakh/ Lo mann def./Lunj neh yaa ko def/ Yaa ko def/ Lunj neh yaa ko wakh/ Yaah ko wakh.” (Sanj Sanj, p11)
This 34-page collection of poems regroups 34 poems dealing with issues such as nature, cultural manifestations, new technology, relationships, leisurely activities, current issues and four poems in Mandinka and Wolof. Each poem traces a specific line of thought and tries to leave the reader the choice to judge. Ceesay is careful to use easy language as always and to provide thought provoking verses.
The Power of Ngewel
This is the story set in a fana community where values and traditions are the guiding principles of the community’s way of life. Ngange Demba and Daado Kura are married but on the day of the ‘moor’ and ‘jebbaleh’ (a common yet significant stage of the marriage process among the wolof where the bride is transported to the her husband for the last and final time) Daado wakes up to find herself on the bed of Njaga Hinch in Pallen Sanjal far from Simbara in Lower Saloum, beside her husband. This story affirms the positive social and historical roles Gewels (griots) play in our society, using as a vehicule, the challenges that parents and their young adult children have to overcome to live together successfully in an environment that preserves and respects our traditions, customs and indigenous values.
ConclusionHassum Ceesay ‘had a big and generous heart’. His concern for young Gambian children was quite apparent in his philanthropic actions geared towards their well-being. Ceesay’s concern, unlike most writers and poets, was not to enrich himself. He had chosen to invest heavily in children’s education by donating almost all his books to the schools, institutions of higher learning, libraries and the Ministry of Education. That is why he wrote in his forward, which is duplicated in all his collection of Seeking to Please,: “Like the first Seeking to Please, the present ones are free, and may be sold only to raise funds for students and student associations.”
In the new Education policy for 2004-2015 published in May 2004, it is clearly mentioned under section IV of Chapter 11.2.3 on page 36 that “Textbooks written by Gambian authors will be encouraged and utilized where appropriate and relevant.” I believe that today Gambian writers are important stakeholders in the development of education.

Hassum Ceesay has already taken a giant stride in this vein. It is true that not all writers may have the same opportunity to publish and donate their books free of charge but if Government is prepared to work hand in hand with the writers through the existing Writers’ Association, certainly swift and efficient solutions will be found in the earliest possible time and the necessary actions taken immediately. The Gambia is facing serious problems with the quality of English spoken and written by many senior officials, in the media and more alarmingly, the poor results of English at the level of Grade 12. This has become a great cause for concern to educators and the Ministries of Education. There is no doubt that one of the most efficient solutions is to rekindle the desire to read among the very young by providing the necessary environment and resources.

Books written by Gambians could be very appropriate for this because young readers may not only be fascinated and entertained, but they will recognise themselves in these stories as they are drawn by the familiarity of the setting, the characters, the plot and the themes. That alone could be a major step towards building and strengthening the reading culture in The Gambia.
Death spares nobody and has not spared him. Knowing Hassum Ceesay, he was certainly far from imagining that it would end too soon and must have had several good surprises coming. Yet, every soul must taste death, the Holy Quran witnesses. Many will miss Hassum Ceesay. The writers’ community too, for his unique demonstration of what a true patriot and a good writer would aspire to be. He is undoubtedly the success story for his input in fighting against the dying reading culture.
The Writers’ Association of The Gambia, through its Interim President Mrs Ralphina da Almeida, wishes to extend their heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family and friends. We all pray that he be offered Janna! Amen!
I personally thank Kebba Ceesay and Fana Ceesay for providing the much needed information and the pictures.
By Cherno Omar Barry,
General Secretary Interim, Writers’ Association of The Gambia,
Lecturer, University of The Gambia.

Sanna Sabally's infamous Gambisara visit

I can still remember vividly the day my uncle narrated the infamous event to me in Sutukonding, Sedia Jatta's heart land. Prior to Sanna Sabally and his thugish army boys tour of the URD now URR, there was some communal unrest in one of the biggest Sarahuleh towns, Gambisara. The trouble in the town was over a Mosque affairs.

Some of our Tablique Jamaat brothers may recall the founder of the movement in the Gambia, may his soul rest in Peace. He is originall from URR and he wanted to build a new mosque to promote the Tablique Jamaat methodology of Dawaah.
The old guards in the town were strongly against the building of that mosque.Hence the stand-off. I am sorry to add, but there still remain the division of communities into different caste, even in Banjul I am told.
The influential family members, this is according to my uncle, decided to task their slaves, not the old fashion concept here. But slaves non-the-less, to discipline any one they found attempting to work at the new Mosque site.
To resolve this problem, some elders in the whole of Basse and its surrounding towns and villages form a delegation of wise and learned elders. The delegation was so inclusive, you had--influencial Tucklours, Fulbe Futas, Mandingos, Jahankes, Sarahulehs etc to descend in Gambisara on a burning hot summer day. In fact, they said the heat was so hot, they have to relocate to the outscart of the town under a big shaded tree. Among the elders are well verse Imams with their students including my uncle.
To their chagrin, they show a dust coming their way. The four wheel motorcade was none other than, Bairo Sabally. According to them, the chairs they provided for other elders were never used. Sanna sent all the elders under the sun. He place his booted feet in one of the chairs and launch stinking attacks on the elders. At some points, even insulting. Some of this respectable elders resort to hiding their faces.
Sanna after he was satisfied, again load enough dust on the elders and drove away leaving many shaken with disgust.
This is the parts to Sanna we need to also remember. Even to this day, the elders can recall the unfaithful Summer day.
Not also foorgetting about the 3am radio broadcast of the killings of Basiru, Dot Faal, Nyang, Sey and others. I recorded Sanna's voice from the radio seed broadcast. He was frantic and menancing. We should never respect killers, under old laws, they should be hanged.

Again I can see the rational of your argument. However, Sam Sarr we all know love his name and titles. Hence, to clear his name, he will stop at nothing. Do kejau knows whether his name will soon emerge in the narratives of Sam Sarr.
Didn't we all read the account Kejau provided here of Chongan? Before Sam mention others in his diatribe, I think Chongan should intervene, he should tell Sam, this is between you and me. Leave others out.
We the non-soldiers are brought up in Wannas and environments were, however angry one gets, you do not reveal personal secrets against friends in the public. So if soldiers can fail such small test, God help us.
This is why Chongan most break his silence. He should take on Sam in ways that can bring a good ending to the ugly episode. I will not buy any statement that, I am a respectable fellow. I will not engage in petty squabbles. You are already in it. Stop Sam before he emerge with part four and five. We have seen some writers defending Chongan and believe me, Sam will respond to them should he feel offended.

Thursday, 20 May 2010


Save the Gambia Democracy Project (STGDP) in partnership with GTRS International wishes to provide you with exciting information regarding our latest project-A new, thought provoking, and educational radio program designed by Gambians called Baati Rewmi that will commence broadcasting this Saturday, May 22nd at 6:15-6:30 pm (GMT).

I have attached a flyer as well as four ads in English, Mandinka, Wollof and Pular to give folks a glimpse of what they can expect to tune into so, if you could please help us spread the word by forwarding this information to everyone in your email contact list or when you call friends and family, particularily those living in the Gambia, kindly pass on the information provided in the various materials attached.
If you are a blogger, have your own personal website or have a page on Facebook, it would be of enormous help if you could post the information there as well. We appreciate your effort to spread this information so the program can become a hit!

To listen to the first program that will be broadcast this coming Saturday, please visit us at www.savethegambia.orgThere is an option you can choose-Baati Rewmi Radio Station. Folks this is 100% Gambian made so, we ask for your support to make this program the success we envision it to be. With warm regards,Christine Sukuna on behalf of STGDP

Save the Gambia Democracy project, a US based civic and democratic movement committed to bring about democracy, good governance and the rule of law in the Gambia brings a new independent radio broadcast to the citizens of the Gambia. STGDP believes that a responsible independent media will create an environment in the Gambia within which democracy and all its instruments can be nurtured and STGDP strongly believes that the Diaspora has become an important partner in our quest for the enhanced for a developed Gambia. development of our country, and with that comes the need for the building of a nexus between Gambians in the Diaspora and Gambians at home. This nexus is needed to facilitate dialogue with the government of the day, civic organizations, opposition parties and the entire citizens of the country.

To begin the process of constructive dialogue, STGDP wishes to introduce a direct weekly radio broadcasting program in all local languages to the Gambia. This radio broadcast is not an anti/pro – government radio, or a pro/anti opposition radio but rather a pro - democracy radio, with a belief that this will help bring about the building of the institutions of democracy which ultimately will lead to political stability, economic development and prosperity to the shores of the Gambia . We will be looking forward to working with responsible, independent media in the Diaspora and at home and together we will have a positive impact to our motherland.

Below is the program of events:

Commencement Date: May 22nd, 2010Date & Time: Saturdays 6:15 – 6:30p.m. (GMT)Radio Frequency: 15,225 kilohertz on the SW Frequency Please pass the word to your friends and family in the Gambia and the Diaspora. Together we can educate each other to become informed

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

How The Britsih SAS enter the Gambia after the 1981 coup

The SAS in Gambia 1981
Three British Commandos Recaptured an Entire Country
Apr 27, 2007 Christopher Eger
When the leader of the Commonwealth nation of the Gambia needed his country back after a coup, the SAS sent three crack commandos who got the job done in 72 hours
The Gambia is the smallest independent country in mainland Africa. It gets its name from the River Gambia that cuts it in half. Independent since 1965 it is almost completely surrounded by its much larger neighbor Senegal which it was friendly with. In 1981 its population was slightly under a million and it did not even feel the need to have an army. The country’s president Sir Dawda Jawara was invited to attend the Royal Wedding of Prince Charles due to the Gambia’s status as a member of the British Commonwealth. On July 31, 1981, 400 Marxist radicals under the name of The Movement for Justice in Africa that had been armed and trained in Libya took advantage of his absence to seize control of the country. In the capital city of Banjul they sized Jawara’s family, the radio station, police armory and airport. President Jawara declared he would return to his country and asked for British help. He was given a British Army force of two men. These two men were not your average soldiers, they were SAS men.
The 22nd Special Air Service Regiment, (better known as the SAS) has been Britain’s premier commando force since the end of world war two. The detachment was made up of then-Major Ian Crooke and a picked sergeant. Crooke had years of experience in Borneo, Ulster, the recapture of the Iranian Embassy in London and other hot spots by the time of the Gambian affair and had risen to third in command of the SAS. He and a sergeant that remains unnamed to this day donned civilian clothes and left for Senegal, Gambia’s neighbor. They brought grenades, a pair of Heckler and Koch MP5 submachine guns and a matching set of Browning Hi Power pistols, all of which fired the same 9mm cartridge in a diplomatic pouch. They arrived the next day and walked over the border and into the lawless Gambian capital dressed in polo shirts and blue jeans. They were met by Mr. Clive Lee, a former commando who had retired in Gambia who had been in touch to see if he could be of assistance. The three men ventured together through the capital to assess the situation.
They found that the airport had been retaken already by elite French-trained paratroopers from Senegal, who President Jawara had also contacted for assistance. The three commandos made contact with the Senegalese forces and outlined a plan to retake the city and defeat the rebels. The SAS team went first - disguised as doctors -to the local hospital where President Jawara’s family was being held and disarmed the rebels there without incident. The commandos then led the assault on the radio station and the government’s police armory with support of the Senegalese the next day. A film crew from the BBC captured the out of place and out of uniform British commandos several times running all over town from engagement to engagement. By August 3rd, the attempted coup was over and the quiet and professional SAS men flew back to Britain just as President Jawara returned to the Gambia from there.
In the aftermath of this stunning event Major Crooke was awarded the Distinguished Service Order. He retired as a Colonel and now lives in South Africa. It was estimated that anywhere from 600-1000 Gambian casualties were suffered in the three days of rebellion and anarchy. In December 1981 seven ringleaders were sentenced to death after trail for their role in the coup. President Jawara was re-elected five times in democratic elections and remained the leader of his country until he was removed in 1994… a military coup.
SAS: The First Secret Wars: The Unknown Years of Combat and Counter-Insurgency Tim Jones I. B. Tauris publishers 2005Read more at Suite101: The SAS in Gambia 1981: Three British Commandos Recaptured an Entire Country

Saturday, 15 May 2010


Roger Miller and his 1990 Cameroon brilliant team. Makanaki and co.

What dance did Miller did? Was it Ndagga? or Was it just a spontaneous routine? Stay tune to find out.

Coca Cola's new advert features Miller's famous goal celebration in 1990. Ian Wright the Arsenal legend mentioned in clip that, Miller's dance change the face of football celebration. He said everybody start copying Miller. African foothold in football. Give it up for Miller. Below is the

England V Cameroon

-- Surah- Ar-Rum 30-22"And among His signs is the creation of heavens and the earth, and the difference of your languages and colours. Verily, in that are indeed signs for men of sound knowledge." Qu'ran

Monday, 10 May 2010


The warring factional standoff
Symptomatic of small country people
The stiff silence, acknowledging the good of others
Fears borders on the fewer bones to pick
The big brothers are complicit in the spread of negative pulses
Lifting a finger, an ink is impossible, simply
It may incriminate you in later life
For instance, if a man from the small country writes an essay or a book
Should all authors, poets, automatically, publicly, acknowledge the brilliant contribution to learning?
To literary empowerment, reading and knowing?
But then, small country mentality dictates that, we keep quiet.
We look around and see, ask. Is he one of us? Do we think on similar lines?

Why complain?
Even religion, which frowns upon excessive praising, encourages
Certain public acknowledgements
In matters of charitable givings
We are told to give in public sometimes, that way, the stingy may be pushed to hand out

The big brothers maintain and ferment the moles in us all
Yet they wish to have it both ways
To cry over intolerance is one thing, however if you are guilty of the crime, then crocodile tears ensues
Getting ahead in time will mean opening up to what is acceptable
The unique cultural, traditional characteristics are means to stand back and view one another as the…

Reserved usually for racial stereotyping
How can the big brothers break the parallel course that many are embarking on
Fake smiles and stares
There are eventual reasons for the big brothers to be upstage
And those fears do notch the big brothers into panic modes:
Seeing the worst, hearing the worst, believing in the worst
In essence, a grand lodge of suspicious small country camp fire is lit
Creating creepy loyalties based on feeble imaginations
The bottom of which crumbles like an anthill
It then ends up with the following query:

Why are you complaining?
If you are guilty of the emotion you are complaining of?
What is the point complaining
If your shell is getting harder by the minute
You are engaging in complain-able actions yourself
There are enough demonstration emanating from you that, no one matters
Hence your regard is for you
You might interpret it as a misunderstanding, however keen observers aren't mistaken
The fact is, we are all guilty in maintaining the closed society we found ourselves in
Anyone who wishes to be bold, frank, open and engaging
Seems to be more often than not tagged with reference bordering on
Showmanship and boastfulness—ill comments rain like thunderstorm

--manic phone talks
Dual face back scratching--
What will the big brothers do? Complain or be the change for the small country people.

Friday, 7 May 2010

The Fula Factor In Gambian Politics

Responding to Bailo query as to my mentioning Hasan Jallow's part in the 1994 coup.
It seems that you missed the larger points in my statements. The information I put across is known in some circles, however, I did hasten to say, this doesn't mean Hasan in any way or form took part in the coup or was aware of it.What I express is the fact that, If Mathew can pick and chose who to blame for Gambia's woes, there are also indications that, Fulas he refuse to see in the larger picture are equally to blame for other failures and crimes.
Sir Dawda did indicate in his book that, the Minister who receive him at the airport always debrief him on the state the country is in. Hasan on the other hand did not accompany him to state house let alone told him anything.I am not in anyway retaliating against Mathew. Since your good self have exposed the antiquated political commentator.
I am merely extrapolating situations where people can comment on individual politicians failings without making reference to their ethnicity.In short, the burden of proof lies with Hasan Jallow to clarify what happen the day before the coup. This will help balance the statements in Jawara's book and other quarters. I am sure Hasan is aware of this statements. Remember Hasan was senior officials in PPP and later with AFPRC, his affairs then is of historical importance in our public live matters.

Responding to Mathew Jallow's errors and his statement that, he doesn't know any Fula who has committed crimes or is found wanting in former PPP era.
I have said my quota, however if you are saying No Fula ever held power in the Gambia whose actions impact negatively on Gambians, then you need more research before embarking on sensitive journeys. What about former Attorney general Hasan Jallow, Foriegn Minister Omar Sey, health, Finance Minister MC Cham, Health Minister MC Jallow, Youths and sports Minister Buba Baldeh, Keba Leigh, Yahya Baldeh, Momodou Musa Njie ( A Fulbe Gawlo), Husain Njie , Commissioner Omar Khan whose actions allow more than five men to die in Darsilame village in 1992 when he sent the then disbanded gendarmerie to fight off the land owners unlawfully seized by the Sarahuleh inhabitants to be use as cemetery.

The thugist Basse stationed Gendarmeries beat the hell out old men, some with health conditions without due process. Khan step his foot over the case, when it eventually reach the high court, the cemetery was nearly full.Mathew, we can narrate to you endless such stories, however is there any benefit in doing that and many others? Should the people of Darsilame in Sandou took the crimes of Omar Khan to be a Fula problem?

Mathew, in your honest opinion, are you saying those people named above weren't powerful to influence decisions in favour of people they are allied with? Or are they not Fula enough? Do you know, the 1994 coup happen when Hasan Jallow deputised for Saihou Sabally in receiving former President Jawara from his U.K trip? Hasana Jallow instead of accompanying President Jawara to his state house residence, and debrief him on the state of the country, instead went straight to his house without telling Jawara anything. Saihou Sabally was attending to his brother's funeral at the time. This is why, Jawara was clueless about the coup until he was told the soldier are at Denton Bridge.

I am not saying Hasan Jallow knew about the plan coup, however his departure from protocol was unprecedented. Mathew, you generalise in the ways you put your message across. You mentioned about a certain Mandingo who told, the Gambia belongs to them. Why should you take such irrelevant statement to the general instead of the specific? Your blindness to seeing Fulas in the Gambian discourse says a lot about your agenda.

It will be rather unfortunate for you to alienate keen readers of your materials on flaw propaganda adventures. By all means, continue writing, however remember, we are reading attentively and with our eyes wide open. I thank you for the good things you have highlighted, but am equally appalled by your lack of judgement in matters of ethnicity in Gambian politics.

In the United States, families such the Bush, the Kennedys, in India the Ghandi's, in Pakistan the Bhuttos, in Italy the Balasconis, in England the aristocrats, in Russia the Oligas and many other countries has individuals families whose share of the public cake always far out weigh the rest of the masses. They go to the best universities, get the best jobs, and share power amongst themselves. The historical importance of, "no taxation without representation", the magna carta, the law of the forest and many other unprecedented efforts by the under privilege to level the playing field is continuing. And if you should speak against individuals you feel are usurping or have usurp our national cake unjustly, by all means do so. Do so with reference to their names and the crimes you think they commit.
However, making reference to their tribes will make your message lost in transition.We discuss to find solutions to a common problem, however if your agenda is not to be fair, the discussion becomes futile. Ajaramah Suntou

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Mathew Jallow adamant on Divisive Strategy

Your inability to comprehend the human duplicity is what is causing you be tormented with non-existence issues. Mathew remember, people know you off the pages of TheGambia echo and some of your open and blatant tribalism since as a teacher in Basse. Hence your continuous sickness with tribal writings is nothing new. And by the way, having Mandinka friends is not in any way an indication of one's lack of prejudice. So you can only fool people who lack deeper understanding of such issues.

Address individuals whom you may have concluded were tribalist, that way, you will address issues in there rights context. Why haven't you ever labour to show us Fula tribalist? Are you saying there isn't one in the Gambia?
Mathew, what I am defending and shall continue to defend is the foolish fears you created in your sub-consciousness against the Mandinkas. Yes you do write about Wollof Banjulains, but then again is just the Banjul Wollofs that are guilty of public space tribalism?

Since you have an encyclopedic knowledge of every single Mandinka/Banjul Wollof tribalist, why can't you address those people as individuals instead of generalising a phenomenon Mathew himself is full of?

Just because you fail to highlight Fulas who equally played a key role in the independent struggle to the 30 year PPP rule and the current 16 years APRC rule doesn't mean Fulas aren't equally to blame for the mess the Gambia is in.Mathew, did you remember telling a certain former teacher in St georges' that, "taro, taro Lumba bata mayo" the meaning here is whatever you do, you cannot be a Fula.

You made this statement when the mandinka guy propose to Marry a certain Fula girl. Mathew, I am not defending any tribalist, however, when you labour to generalise, I have no option but to challenge you. Generalisations has led to the second world war and many others wars in Africa.

A scholar of your calibre should do more in addressing the issues at hand, remaining with people whom you think are tribalist and then conclude with them. You will not convince any sound minded Fula about the worthiness of your crusade. Seriously, your bringing Kukois Coup etc only expose your deep seated animosity against the Mandingos. Just because Jawara was Mandingo doesn't at all means he benefited them collectively. And your crimes of generalisation will cause offense not just to Suntou, but to thousands of Mandingos who gain nothing because Jawara was the President.
Finally, Mathew, I careless if you direct your venom's at the people you felt wrong Gambians. Many readers know you are stubborn with your stance, however you will find equal match in some of us. We will not sit by and allow your errors to fill the pages of the Gambia Echo. Your statements on Saihou Mballow is for him to comment on. However, The UDP has open its doors to good men like Mballow, he help the party and been help by the party, moreover as far we know, he is still involve in the party in many others ways. I guess your appealing to Fula pride will cause many more offense to the Fula community. Write, criticise the UDP, or Ousainou, but do so within the realms of Gambian politics. If you believe, you can tribally analyse Gambian politics, then do so honestly. equally include the NRP into your analysis as well, hence any generalisation will be ignored.

"For some reason, Suntou has convinced himself that when I write about tribalism relating to the Mandinkas experience, it is fear. Fear of what, might I ask? Are you kidding me? I am an equal opportunity critic of both the Wollofs and the Mandinkas experiences in our country, especially during those dark Jawara years when the Mandinkas wanted it all, and some orchestrated elaborate schemes to exclude everyone else from our nation’s meager resources. And, you wander why, first, Kukoi Samba Sanyang burst onto the scene, and when that failed, Yahya Jammeh came along. Things don’t happen in a vacuum. True the Wollofs were notorious for treating the Mandinkas as second class citizens; Mandinkas too were later notorious for treating everyone else as foreigners in their country. When I was in college, I had no concept of tribalism, and my best friends were Mandinkas for the most part; Sarjo Sonko from Essau, late Lamin Jobarteh from Kaur Janneh Kunda, and Musa Trawalley from Georgetown. Musa and I were so close, I spend Xmas and Easter holidays with his family in Bakau, and we were always posted to the same schools when we were teaching. Everyone understood how so bound together by friendship we were. By the mid-80s, I was no longer naïve, for I had became aware of the tribally motivated rivalries in the country. And I lost count of how many times I heard Mandinkas saying; Gambia mandinkol la banko leti; and ridiculous and irritating as that sounds, some hold on to that stupid way of thinking" Mathew

The above statement is a clear testimony of your generalisation. Any Mandinka who told you what you said is an individual person, deal with that person individually. If you think your brushing everyone with one brush is correct, then you need help. The rivalries you experience has been experience by Mandingos too, so really you are crying about a natural human problem.

In the U.S that you live in, some people experience one form or other unpalatable prejudices. But if those people start brushing every single white person with racist tag, they will be committing serious errors. Similar thing can be said of our country, we will have some Mandingos, Fulas, Wollofs, Jola, Sarahulehs who will be prejudice base on unnecessary reasons. However, should that worry us if there is fundamental cases of the rule of law and due process? No.
There are racist in America still, but why aren't blacks saying we shouldn't live here? Because, the law protects every single person, even criminals are threated according to law. If the Gambia have such laws, I careless about Mathew Jallow's tribalism or anybody else.

I live next door to racist BNP supporters, it doesn't bother me the least. Mathew, you cannot cure the tribalism in Fulas, so why worry about others? Let us call for good governance and democratic norms.

Responding to Saihou Mballow interventions:
Thanks for your wise words. However, I felt Mathew's drunkenness with Mandingos cannot be left alone. This is a dangerous strategy that should be tackled. If he name Burama, Dodou or Junkun as tribalist, then it is up to those people to respond to him. But when he sticks his poisonous knife in the heart of every single Mandingo, we will take him on.Why is the Gambiaecho a melting pot of anti-Mandingo vibes? Why?

Did you ever read Mathew saying anything about Fulas? And why is that? Are Fulas so pure they are above the crimes he is labelling against Mandingoes and Banjul Wollofs.How many up country Wollofs are tribalist, How many Sahahulehs are tribalist and etc? If he thinks he is good enough to attack us, let him do the same for every single tribe of the Gambia. We show in Rwanda how small talks like Mathew’s led to full scale barbaric wars. If he continues attacking Mandingos, God-willing I shall respond to him.

This is the same nonsense some former army officers are doing. Actions of Wollof officers are criticise as bad, complicit etc, the same action by a Mandingo officer, pinn, there tribalist watch eyes are wide open. This is utter nonsense.Let Mathew criticise Ousainou morning, evening and night, let him criticise the UDP, we have no problem with that.

Really, his criticisms are welcome, however should he try to cross the boundary and bring in his reverse psychology problems, we will respond to him. Notwithstanding his generalisations, I consider him a good advocate of democracy, however, if he thinks a Fula should be the next president, he should sell that to Gambians in a positive light. I deal with Mathew privately, however, this is a public live subject, our difference of opinion is on matters of principles only. Suntou

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

The link above has some of his narratives.
Below is my response:

Brilliant notes Masoud. Perhaps you should do a rejoinder to editor Mathew for the benefits of non-Gambia L members.

As I said before, if Mathew can once and for all deal with his constant tribalo-politico fixation, all his messages will be fine. I believe, he is a great person, however, he has build up an aparent non-existent fear of Mandingos unnecessarily. Should he be able to discuss Gambian politics without the endless Mandingo this, UDP should be inclusive and so on, he can add to the current debate a vital contribution.
UDP has lots of Fulas -Yahya Jallow--- May be Yahya is not Fula enough for Mathew, Femi Peters, May be he is too Aku, Ebou Manneh A Balanta, Nyassi our youth President working with the grassroots etc. And the efforts ongoing including lots of youths in the decision making process will involve all sections of the Gambia. Mathew should do a bit of research on UDP before always lamenting on why they should include Fulas.
Remember Hamat can turn on more voters than some of the guys he mention. Who is more Fula than Hamat and his team? We will even put Mathew in our executive should he wish to join the new efforts. The UDP is open to all Gambians, however no one can force anybody to join politics.
Mathew should know, the bigger problems is far larger than, tribe A or B.
This reminds of me of reading about Charles Taylor's rampant killing of Mandingos in Nimba County and many other areas. His reason was because when he commences his rebellion, Mandingos refuse to join him. His divisive strategy was rejected, Charles Taylor then resort to targeting the Mandingos of Liberia. It was not until the community show that, without collective intervention, Taylor was committing ethnic cleansesen did Alhagie Kroma form his resistance movement countering Taylor back to Monrovia, forcing him to enter peace talks.


A Similar thing occurred in Ivory Coast. When Alasana Watara was denied the right to become President, the open targeting of Mandingos forced the army to split the country into two.

So the records are there for Mathew to look into should he so wish. Hardly did Mandingos go on open hostility in any region of Africa. The slender population advantage should never cause endless writers to commit cataclysmic errors in probing fears of a peaceful people. And i know similar narratives can be said of many Gambian tribes.
Yes there are words/statements within each tribal groups which does not anchor well with other tribes, however at the bottom of all those statement, there is no ill intentions. If Mathew take a serious look at the assimilation and inter-absorption of people, his fears will quinch themselves. How did we have abundant Tourays, Ceesay, Jannehs and so as hardcore Fanafana Wollofs? How did we have countless Camara as Manjakos or even Jolas proud of their heritage.Hence some of the people Mathew might be counting as Fulas are in fact culturally Wollofs. Which sides should they take?
In fact, it is us so call secular educated folks that ferment subliminal tribalism, not the struggling ordinary people. In they consider such politics, Yahya should never cross a 4% vote margin.
Our faiths taught us to reject factionalism/tribalism, and the leadership of UDP has demonstrated that. Darboe's leadership doesn't mean Mandinkas own the UDP. I doubt if the the man who started the famous drinking parlour in Basse teacher John from Sambang should be branded a tribalist for naming his beer/palm wine den as Sambang.

We can't eliminate the signatures we are born into. No amount of progressive thoughts can take us away from being born into Tribes and cultures which varies to a degree.
Should we fear Essa Bokar Sey for calling himself Masena Toro? Should we fear brothers with open Fulbe Names, Galleh (compound) Gainako (herdsman) Bailo (blacksmith) etc? I believe, the urgency is tackling a manic totalitarian, we shouldn't try to justify or appeal to tribal sentiments. This is not to say, we shouldn't celebrate or conduct our private affairs in Fulbe culture, Manden culture or Wollof/Serere traditions. This is not to say, those who enjoy Jola music or Wollof dance are tribalist, that is what tinge their emotions.
Diversity is a phenomenon no one can eradicate. Yes some will say language is just a medium of communication, however, the reality is that, it is much more than that. If it is simply a medium to communicate, then the adoption of cultures within tribes too shouldn't make sense. But we know this is impossible. Those who have adopted Wollof language, by virtue pick up Wollof culture and verse vice for other language groups.
And another serious area for Mathew to contemplate is that, Folks like me with peculiar Mandingo name were in fact from very mixed background. And this can be said of many people I know right here in this forum. Mathew is under estimating the complex structures we have in the Gambia. To his credit, yes there are those who are very passionate about who they are, Mathew is no exception here. He is a proud Fula, but many don't have any problem with that.
I hope Mathew can write without threading the tribal line always. I for one enjoy reading him, but the dots of inherent fears embedded in him is a disturbing recurrence.