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.

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 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
Part 2
Part 3
And the final part 4
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.