When you have a deep seated conviction, you don’t get swayed. You recognize that what you suffer for is bigger than yourself. Others may not recognize that because it is in conflict with their interests so they will stand in your way.
Not physically, but they will talk down at you, they will ridicule you, they will label you, they will insult you and lie about you. Worse, they convince themselves that their lies about you are true.
But take pride in your convictions as long as they are true and genuinely beneficial to more than yourself.
When Jammeh was defeated and the revelations are pouring in at the various commissions, be comforted knowing that you stood firm for over two decades in the face of all manner of injustice. You watched comrades tortured and killed, loved ones lost their jobs and struggling daily. Some of those accusing you of greed today were the same ones who turned you and your loved ones away when you struggled to make ends meets. They say it’s your own doing for defying “God’s judgment”, because yalla mo ko fal (referring to Jammeh then). They sang his tunes happily, stayed mute or condemned you for speaking out.
You were laughed at, mocked, ostracized and insulted because you “refused to see the light and the good work that Jammeh was doing.” It took two decades, but you endured and today everyone knows it was a fight worth fighting and you were front and center, never waited to be called on.
For some of those people filled with nothing but bitterness towards you, had they supported you by not condemning your convictions, a lot of people who died would’ve been alive today. A lot of those who got raped wouldn’t have gone through that agony. A lot of those orphans missing their fathers on father’s day would’ve grown up knowing what fatherly love feels like because change would have come sooner.
We may not always get it right, but we know when we do, everyone benefits, even the ones hating on you today, and THAT, more than anything else, is why you should wake up everyday, more resolute than the day before to continue the fight under the banner of UDP.
That conviction was what kept His Excellency Femi Peters going even in his 70s. That conviction was worth it for Hon. Muhammed Lamin Shyngle Nyassi to carry on even after being the most tortured political opponent in our land. It was worth it for Nogoi Njie to stand up to armed thugs, willing to die in defense of her chastity and that of her comrades. It was worth it for Solo Sandeng, Solo Kurumang, Kanyiba Kanyi, Kebuteh Jaffuneh and countless others to make the ultimate sacrifice.
We cannot match their sacrifice and suffering, but we owe it to them to fight on, no matter who we fight against or who fights alongside us until we realize for them that dream of a Gambia free for all to live in decency, to have that individual liberty to pursue that which makes them feel their lives are worthwhile; to fight and ensure that despite our differences, our collective values and cultures are preserved for those who will be coming after us.
Yes, it’s easy to say that the change was everyone’s, but like every human endeavor, we can’t be equal in our individual contributions. All that some had to do was vote and go home. That’s not equal to one who died in demand of electoral reforms. That’s how we compare. It was not all done by UDP alone, and everyone shoukd bebproud of their fight, but no one ranks above UDP in their contribution to end tyranny in the Gambia, take comfort and pride in that.
Whenever you feel like giving up, think of Hon. Femi Peters; think of Hon. Shyngle Nyassi, of Solo Sandeng, Lang Marong, Solo Kurumah, Kanyiba Kanyi and countless others who showed up even when the price was too steep to pay. They never did it in anticipation of monetary or any other rewards but for the satisfaction of bequeathing a free country to their children and by extension everyone else’s.
Take solace in the knowledge that we stand on the bones of martyrs and on the shoulders of giants in the patriotic sense, in their stead we stand to fight against that which they fought against. It will not be easy, but it will be worth it. Sometimes you will have to fight against your own, like we are witnessing with Barrow. But do not let that make you give up hope or faith in people, we learn and pick ourselves up, seek to do better next time. The sin does not lie in making a mistake, everyone does, it lies in persisting in error even after your mistakes have been made manifest.
“The ends you serve that are selfish will take you no further than yourself but the ends you serve that are for all, in common, will take you into eternity.” – Marcus Garvey