Sunday, December 15, 2013
The Brikama Rally : We will be cheering you on
Recent installments have tried to lend support to a political process that seemed to have stalled for various reasons which we'd rather not address here but to simply say that all's not well in the state of Denmark. Therefore, when we see what we think are green shoots sprouting in an arid spot, we'd rather fill our jerry cans with water instead of kerosene with the hope of propagating strong and healthy enough roots to support a trunk of hope for a citizenry that has been lied to, cheated, traumatized and their rights trampled upon by a very corrupt and inept regime.
For the UDP, PPP and GMC to organize a joint rally in a non-election year is a significant event and , in my view, a necessary first step in a long process of getting rid of the dictatorship. We also recognize that in an atmosphere of mistrust of politicians and a high level of frustration, these baby steps can easily be dispelled as insignificant. Insignificant they may be but they are necessary. It is, therefore, imperative that all those genuinely in support of the idea of a united opposition front against tyranny lend support to the process with constructive suggestions that will be helpful to the opposition leaders on the ground. Words of encouragement in difficult situations like the ones these brave men and women face every day go a long way in boosting the morale of opposition supporters who risk everything, including their personal freedom.
We spoke with a Banjul resident yesterday who said that he learned of the rally on television. He was surprised to hear for the first time on state-controlled television (and I presume on state-controlled radio too) an announcement of the rally. It is tempting to pooh pooh this development as just another ploy or gimmick by the regime or that it is unworthy of our notice because, after all, the television station is ours funded by our taxes. Recognizing a right that was denied us for 19 years is late in coming but a significant shift in policy nonetheless. Let us acknowledge the policy shift with a determined resolve and a renewed commitment to help sustain the process with a view to registering incremental gains as we move forward.
Are we altogether happy with the opposition? No. Have we been critical of them? Constantly, and we will continue to do so, but with what we judge to be reasonable, sensible and well-measured alternatives. We have gone past the era of the Kamikaze. We now live in the age of the drone and 'smart power'. Let's employ the new and powerful tools at our disposal, smartly and wisely. Let's cheer them on today, criticize them tomorrow, so that they will do better the next day. Until then, we wish the UDP, PPP and GMC and their respective leaders a successful rally.