Dida HalakeBy Gambiano

Mr. Halake,

Your fantasies, or perhaps orgies really provoke a response. Without being uncharitable to neither your person, nor your compulsions, I choose to be terse with diction today. “5 Things Senegal will gain by toppling Jammeh” isn’t from a Gambia-lover who is wary of collateral damage, decades long hostility and suspicion, or setting a dangerous precedent with a gory domino-effect, not to mention the corollaries of such an unpredictable trajectory. I have always respected and felt a little sorry for Dida Halake until you came with this fetid mind, boding naught but bloodshed for innocent citizens of both Gambia and Senegal in the wake of any military engagement. Your provocateur may stir those Gambians and Senegalese who seldom converse with reasonable intellection. But there are those of us who understand the risk-to-benefit-ration of a military injury to both Senegal and Gambia.
You see, Mr Halake, I felt bad when you were at war with Suwaibou Conateh who offered a Mandinka translation and transliteration of your name—and it didn’t mean well at all. Ad hominems aren’t usually on my menu. But here you were, at war with Sherriff Bojang of “Brikama”, then (pun intended since Sheriff is now a Thane of Cawdor). Another African man in the UK cannoned an article about how you were a free-loader in his house when you had nowhere to go in UK. Again, I felt bad because he shouldn’t have annulled the meeds of his deeds thus. An American Car manufacturer came up with a certain model which meant something unpleasant in Spanish. The company later knew this was going to destroy sales in Mexico or among Spanish-speakers in the States. They cancelled the brand.
With a name quite peculiar to both Suwaibou, Sheriff, and most Gambians, here was Mr. Halake serving Jammeh, gung ho with the benefactor’s whims to an abyss. You would still have been milking from his herd if he didn’t burst your bubble. Of course you didn’t spot “5 things Senegal will gain by toppling Jammeh” then? You piped for Jammeh and sounded his timbrels to the heavens. You extolled him like he had resurrected the dead! Again, there were no “5 things Senegal will gain by toppling Jammeh” then. Instead, Jammeh was a Bellona’s Bridgeroom with keys to Africa’s millennial treasures. Instead, he invented Pan-Africanism and was en route to a Pax-Africana, at least in your lexicon. Like a phoenix, Jammeh was charging with might at those who rendered Africa poor and are still puppeteering its leaders, at least in apparitions you sequelled in.

Perish be my soul and all I strive for if it’s not my wish that Jammeh quits immediately. I have been one of the first to tell him to hand-over power. I declined his offers in polite ways—offers which even those looking for Jammeh’s aorta told me I “Should have honored.” I have not and will not. Jammeh’s fundamentalists kept playing the same music for a sway. Not just the Qur’aan, I’ve also read “A Man for All Seasons.” My readers know it’s far from my style talking about myself. But Dida, you would have jumped at the offers Jammeh and his apparatchiks dangled at my humble self.  I have never worked for Jammeh. So, unlike you, I’m at a vantage bearing to chide his ills. And Dida, I can easily set up my own online paper and leak extremely sensitive information no medium has scooped upon yet. Then why am I writing this? To show the difference between an opportunist on the verge and a student of wisdom.
Mr. Halake, it has been my belief that you love Gambia. But your article speaks something too different. Such article irrespective, I’ve been a great admirer of your language prompts. They won’t deprive me of the liberty to paint parables here to pique your honest thoughts. A surety pleases me that you will easily connect the puzzles. An old story tells of two women fighting over a baby and the king speaks of splitting the baby into two for them to share. Immediately, the real mother offers the baby to the lying woman just to save its life. The wise king immediately understands who the real mother was. Of course, you might have read this story! In context, that baby is Gambia and Senegal. The wicked, lying mother is those who pray for turmoil in tiny Gambia or Senegal. And the real mother is those who understand Jammeh’s wrongs, but due to the love and connection they have for Gambia, they pray for requisite peace. Of course, you’re not writing those articles from Syria or Gaza. Instead, you’re writing far from bullets and anarchy.

You are not angry at Jammeh more than many indigenous Gambians. My family suffered Jammeh’s heavy-handedness. Some of my friends died because of Jammeh. Jammeh has not spared even his relatives. But you don’t pour gasoline on your house and strike a match because there is a gaboon viper in it. A smart way is to kill or remove the venomous reptile without damage to neither the house, nor its occupants. Your article pokes at burning the entire house. Let’s say Senegal sends a secret mission to poison or kill Jammeh in a clandestine way—a sudden power vacuum will thrust the tiny nation into a civil war. I’m surprised you think the West wants Jammeh removed. It shows you don’t understand the West’s ways. If Gambia had the same border with Israel, Jammeh would have been a dead duck by now. If Gambia had oil not offshore, or some huge deposits of a coveted resource, Jammeh would have been a roasted Turkey. Gambia isn’t a geopolitical bull’s eye or even close.

Mr. Halake, the last name Jallow you adopted doesn’t make you indigenous. You don’t have the same historical affinity to Gambia like the natives do. This is why you could write such a dangerous piece with abandon. And it’s why America doesn’t let us immigrants run for president even with a U.S passport. Your bubble burst, you’ll easily relocate somewhere and leave the real Gambians to deal with consequences. And you’ve already rehearsed part of that even before a turmoil. Look, you can’t even face a job loss when Jammeh removed you. What a chutzpah to write about a Senegalese military involvement in Gambia. You might say, “Well, I only wrote about it. I never pray or recommended it.” Well, would that let me write, “5 Things Hell Will Gain by Burning Dida Halake” or “3 things to Gain When Dida Perishes”? Nooooo!!! Why? Because I care about your wellbeing! In Mandinka, “Halake” means “perish”. You already know that.

At the bottom of your article, a comment from a very intelligent mind reasoned that not even the Casamance conflict provoked Senegal to engage Jammeh militarily. And that conflict garners a much higher Senegalese priority. If Senegal were to attack Jammeh, Mr. Halake, bullets don’t discriminate who is Jammeh and who is not. This is about the military of both countries at war. If you weren’t in Gambia in 1981, Senegal lost so many soldiers around Kembujeh forest in Brikama as they came down from their parachutes. Gambians didn’t know how to observe battle protocols then, and shot at every parachute before landing. So many neighbors of mine perished in cross fires, Mr. Halake. Later, Jawara imprisoned some parents of my classmates in Mile II till they died, thinking they were Kukoi sympathizers. Those classmates were four years old in 1981, fatherless thenceforth. Other kids ended up with PTSD. Until around 1984, I panicked whenever I saw a military uniform. An old man today, I still can’t stand military paraphernalia. And all these are very little ramifications of war and conflict. Such conflict will send both countries twenty-five years back. For years, what many “semesters” worked so hard to build in houses, businesses, etc. will all be destroyed in few hours or days. Above all, lives will perish. You don’t care about that because you neither have generations of blood relatives, nor property in Gambia.

You don’t want Jammeh gone more than myself, Ousainou Darboe and other opposition members do. But have you seen or heard any of them coming up with “5 things Senegal will gain by toppling Jammeh”? Like myself, Darboe and others have blood ties to Gambia. You don’t have that, Mr. Halake. Please don’t tell me marrying a Gambian pre-empts that argument. It doesn’t! There are so many foreigners marrying American citizens here, some with kids. But America refused to give them papers and they are deported or thrown in jail. Why? America thinks the ties they have to this country aren’t enough! Please talk Pan-Africanism. I always enjoy it when you do. If you have to dive in Gambia’s politics, please feel free to do so. But wear heavy coats of mail because any literature speaking of Gambia’s future gashes will invite responses from those who know that Jammeh must go, but without Gambia bleeding a dot. Asalaamu Alaikum!

“Convictions are worse enemies to truth than lies.” Nietzsche
“I prefer injustice to disorder.” Goethe
“Appearances to the mind are of four kinds. Things either are what they appear to be; or they neither are, nor appear to be; or they are, and do not appear to be; or they are not, and yet appear to be. Rightly to aim in all these cases is the wise man’s task.” Epictetus.



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