Farrakhan 4 President in 2008?

Reading through the Chicago defender, I came across this interesting article: "Blacks urged to form independent political movement". The following quotes caught my attention. They illustrate African American's growing disappointment with the Democratic Party.

...Jesse Jackson Sr., a two-time candidate for president on the Democratic
ticket, acknowledges that African-Americans are getting shafted by
Democrats.

...However, Jackson stopped short of calling for Blacks to leave the Democratic
Party. But Minister Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam argues that
African-Americans are not being respected by either Democrats or Republicans and hinted that he might launch an independent candidacy for president in 2008.

Notice that Farrakhan is not aligning himself with either the democrats or republicans. This will [in my opinion] help him in wooing a lot of disenchanted black voters from the Democratic Party. Unlike the route taken by the good reverends Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. Does he stand a chance? I don’t think he do; but the end result will be to make Democratic Party realize who their ardent constituency is and to work on the issues affecting these constituents. Another positive thing that might come out of it is that the Republican Party will vie for the same votes. The white house it seems have already started the courtship according to this LA times story: "White House wooing black clergy" explaining that "the Bush administration is teaming up with some of the nation's best-known and most-influential black clergy [including former Atlanta Mayor and United Nations Ambassador Andrew Young] to craft a new role for U.S. churches in Africa."

The following questions crossed my novice political mind. Can democrats afford to have Louis Farrakhan run for president in 2008? And what solution should the Democratic Party come up with to make their most loyal supporters feel respected and appreciated? Both questions posed serious threats to the Democratic Party establishment. They can’t afford to have minister Farrakhan siphoned off a chunk of the black vote in an independent bid. The answer to the second problem is to focus and deal with issues affecting black voters and in the process avert the tragedy that a Farrakhan candidacy will cause to their party. Will they take the later course? Not likely… because even though they depend on the black vote for electoral success, working on issues that benefit black voters will distance them even further from the white middle class. They [democrats] don’t want these white middle class voters to think that they are pandering to their most valuable voters for fear of losing them. They’ve already lost most of the middle class white males to the republicans [the so called NASCAR dads] and thought of losing the middle class white female voter because of addressing black issues is a dilemma that might cause them the black vote as well.

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NADD LAUNCHED

National Alliance for Democracy and Development [NADD] was formally launched at Tallinding on Sunday, May 29th 2005. An audio transcript of the event can be access at Freegambia.com

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Binneh S Minteh a former Gambian Army Lieutenant give the following version of events that transpired at the Denton Bridge on July 22nd 1994 in an interview published on Allgambia.net site:

His answer to one of the questions caught my attention. I have heard a different version from someone calling himself Ebou Colly who once graced the pages of the Gambia-L with a series called Coup in the Gambia.

Here is Binneh’s version of the events in an answer to a question:

Q. WHAT WAS YOUR ROLE IN THE JULY 94 MILITARY TAKEOVER?
My role throughout was rather a mediating role to avoid bloodshed. On the sad day of July 22nd 1994, I was deployed to the Denton Bridge with some troops to barricade Members of The Gambia National Army from crossing to Banjul. Unfortunately, we were deployed with limited means to counter the insurgence. The Men under my command each had only an AK 47 rifle and two magazines of armour at their disposal. At that juncture all that any responsible commander could have done was to avoid the use of force. After a careful assessment of the situation, I took up responsibility to approach the insurgents, with the primary goal of finding out what their concerns were, so we could find an alternate solution to their concerns. Upon arrival at their location, I was halted and ask to lay my arms down and raise my hands up. Without any sense of fear, I noticed that the insurgents were lead by Yaya Jammeh and Edward Singhateh with Major Amadou Suwareh taken captive. I then asked them what their problems were, and my simple reason of approaching them was to try to avoid bloodshed, as we are all Gambians. This was what Edward Singhateh responded;" Minteh, I know you. Listen we have broken the armouries, we over ran Yundum Barracks, Fajara Barracks, we are more armed than you and we have outnumbered you. We can blow the bridge with just a grenade. If you cannot join us just withdraw your men from the bridge, because we will blow it up". My respond to Edward was that we will not get to that point as we are all Gambians. I told him that we will not resist and will have the authorities come speak to them. Upon getting back to my men on the ground, I found MAJOR CHONGAN giving orders that we should fire at them when they try crossing and then he left the bridge. One thing I learnt as an officer is to deploy and use my men in accordance with the means available. I concluded that resisting and fighting back at that juncture was poor leadership and just sacrificing our men. I then ordered the men to withdraw from the bridge and follow me to the Inspector General's office.

Upon arrival, at the Inspector General Pa Sallah Jange's office, the situation was explained to him and was urged to come down on the ground and talk to the insurgents. His respond was for us to go negotiate with them and that he was on his way. The authorities failed to take up their responsibility in facing the reality on the ground. By the time we left the Inspector General's office, the insurgents were on Marina Parade heading to the State house. I then went straight to the main gate of state house on Marina Parade and ask the Guards who the most senior officer was on the ground. He called Lieutenant Lang Tombong Tamba for me, who told me that they were given orders to fire as well, but all of them left including President Jawara to the U.S. Naval vessel. My advice to Tamba was not to resist because there was no way they can put up any kind of resistance, as it will just turn fatal and bloody and that they can never contain the situation. I urged him to open the Gates for the insurgents and that we should only find a peaceful solution to the problem. This was how Jammeh and his men had access to the State house. Upon entering the State House, series of meetings were held with some senior officers of The Gambia National Army, but nor Major Chongan neither the Inspector General of Police were present. It was later on announced as a coup and Edward Singhateh declared that it was them Five Junior Officers who are the council members and by virtues of their seniority Yaya Jammeh was the most senior and he is the most senior and therefore the chairman. I was later on deployed to Fajara Barracks where I assumed responsibility as the Battalion 2nd in command.

But this is what Ebou Colly posted to the Gambia-L on Sunday may the 13th 2001 about the events that transpired at the same location on the same fateful day:

Back to the events of 22nd July 1994, I was on my journey from the marine unit in Banjul via Bond Road to Yundum Barracks after Major Antouman Saho would not buy my hasty tactical blueprint. It was about 10.00 am and the first sign I read to indicate that things had totally gone wrong was the eerie manner in which the Banjul-Kombo highway was virtually deserted at that time. Not a single thing was in motion on the road except my car. It was an absolute sign of trouble ahead. I was in goose pimples from head to toe not knowing what the heck was ahead. Then I arrived at Denton Bridge. There I realized why the road was so quiet. The TSG had closed the bridge in the same way they did two years ago when they successfully stopped the demonstrating ECOMOG soldiers from entering Banjul. It looked like they were in two defensive positions. A detachment had dug in under the supervision of Major Swareh (a captain at the time) at the foot of the bridge on the Kombo end facing the advancing GNA troops who were about two hundred meters away. The second detachment was positioned at what was very close to the center of the bridge, under Major Chongan's command.

I had to park my car at the foot of the bridge on the Banjul end and ran to Major Chongan without even taking the keys or closing the door. The major was in total rage with the GNA. His words were sharp and uncompromising. He put it to me that their tolerance for the army's misbehavior had been exhausted and that the bridge was closed with a final warning to any GNA personnel to risk being shot if anyone attempted to cross it, especially with arms. Despite his inferior weapons, I could sense that he was prepared to battle it out with the soldiers. At that moment I did not know that a short while before my arrival the major had already fired warning shots to the soldiers at the other end to show them that he meant business. Anyway I was able to reason with him to allow me to go and talk to the soldiers before any fighting was started. The men around him did not trust me. He later confessed to me that they had recommended that he allowed them to arrest me if I tried to cross the bridge. But I appealed to Major Chongan telling him the odds in winning a battle against the GNA with the light weapons they had at their disposal. My appearance, i.e. the number two office uniform I was wearing might have helped in convincing him that I was not part of anything close to the GNA coup operation. Soldiers ready for combat would usually wear battle-dressed uniforms (BDU). I was in full office uniform that day. I warned him to go back to Banjul and try to get the weapons at the marine unit. "I was there", I told him,” but I couldn't convince Major Saho to get them out”. Beside, they knew that I was determined to cross the bridge, come what may. When I took off with all those weapons pointed at my back, I prayed to god aloud to help me survive the crazy situation. Chongan, I later understand, immediately returned to Banjul and was able to go to the Marine Unit with the Nigerian military adviser, Kebba Ceesay, Director General then NSS and now in the same position as D.G.NIA and Lamin Kabba Bajo the commander of the presidential guard at the time. According to Chongan, Saho refused to see them when they sought to meet him. It took about a good two hundred meters or more of running before I reached the soldiers on the other side. I also learnt from them that the only thing that saved me from being shot when they saw me galloping towards them was that some soldiers recognized me, plus I was not carrying any weapon. But after Chongan's warning shot and then suddenly they saw someone running towards them, they thought it was an assault from the TSG and had almost opened fire on me. Anyway to be very frank, I was never prepared for what I saw when the soldiers started emerging from their hideouts in the mangroves. I was shock to see officers and not ordinary soldiers as I expected. There were Captain Momodou Lamin Sonko, officer commanding "Bravo Company", Lieutenant Yaya Jammeh officer commanding the military police unit and Second Lieutenant Edward Singhateh platoon commander "Charlie Company".

I asked them what was going on and Captain Sonko responded, yelling at me that it was a coup operation and whether I liked it or not I must join them or die. While verbally threatening me, Sonko kept on hitting me with his 9mm pistol on my chest. I was afraid it was going to explode and kill me. 9mm pistols are taboos to me because a good chunk of the bullet that hit me in 1988 is still lodged in my thighbone. Doctors had long since given up trying to remove it and I have now learnt to live with it. They are messy and very deadly.

I was worried but I could still think straight. I told Sonko that I could not join in a coup that I couldn’t understand its head or tail. Then I slammed him with my own threat too. I told him that the American troops in Banjul, twice their size in strength having allsorts of modern weapons including amphibious tanks were waiting for them. I told them that they would all be wiped out if they tried anything stupid. There Sonko lowered his weapon for the first time and turned to look at Yaya who was carrying more "jujus" than ammunition. He also loosened up in what I thought was a marked change of heart. Both Sonko and Yaya now turned to Singhateh to hear from him. Amazingly throughout that encounter at the bridge, Yaya never said a word. But find the clown lately in his periodical state of delusion and he would tell you a lie so big about what he said or did that day that you would think that he alone toppled the government without anyone's help. Yet everything was Singhateh. Singhateh fired back tome saying that they did not care about the Americans. Their mission was to overthrow the PPP government and if the Americans decided to interfere on the government's side they would all die fighting them to the last man. Singhateh's bold remark and defiant position told me an important thing-that he was actually in charge and he was not prepared to give it up. I could not reason out what was going on but I at least knew who the main person was. So I focused on him.

I told him how unnecessary it was to start a war with the Americans when all they needed to do was to go back perhaps to Radio Gambia and announce to the country that their problem was not with the Americans but the PPP government. In that case the Americans who were preparing for an exercise until they were informed that their would-be-training partners were actually bent on to assaulting them would leave the ground back to their boat. Sonko tried to yell at me again but Singhateh yell back at him to shut up. The captain obeyed instantly. That brings me to principle number two of a coup situation. EXPECT THE COMMAND STRUCTURE TO TURN UPSIDE DOWN. By all indication the second lieutenant was in charge of both the first lieutenant and the captain. It was pitiful. Singhateh started negotiating. He wanted me to go back and inform the TSG personnel to stop firing and get out of their way or else they would open fire on them. If they had opened fire on the TSG, something I later realized Singhateh to have the capability of doing, then I am afraid the country would have never recovered from that crisis. And I don't think those sadists cared much about the preservation of the country’s peace and stability that day.

I agreed to go back. Sonko insisted that I must take along a weapon. I refused to take one. One of the reasons why I survived coming from that end without being shot at was because I was not carrying arms; therefore going back there armed would be totally suicidal. Singhateh agreed to my request to go back unarmed. It was all frightening. In the first place I could not imagine what happened at Yundum Barracks that morning. Most of the soldiers I spotted around were members of "C" company. Captain Badjie (now a colonel) was the de facto and de jure commander. Captain Sonko was the company commander of "B' company. Yaya was the commander of the MP unit, the main company responsible for enforcing law and order within the military establishment. Yet there they were, Captain Badgie was nowhere to be seen.

The two narratives both paint a tense standoff at the Denton bridge. They are eerily similar except for the fact that the mediators are two different people. Which brings me to the gist of this post… who is Ebou Colly and why is Binneh four years from the publication of Colly’s famous postings coming out with a similar version of the events with him starring as the mediator?

Can a lieutenant over rule a major as Binneh espouses here?

“Upon getting back to my men on the ground, I found MAJOR CHONGAN giving
orders that we should fire at them when they try crossing and then he left the
bridge. One thing I learnt as an officer is to deploy and use my men in
accordance with the means available. I concluded that resisting and fighting
back at that juncture was poor leadership and just sacrificing our men.”


Colly told us a different story about who was in charge of the TSG on that day thus:
‘A detachment had dug in under the supervision of Major Swareh (a captain at the
time) at the foot of the bridge on the Kombo end facing the advancing GNA troops
who were about two hundred meters away. The second detachment was positioned at what was very close to the center of the bridge, under Major Chongan's command.’


If you believe Binneh’s version that by the time he reached the insurgents Major swareh is in captivity, how come Colly is telling us he [swareh] was in charge of a detachment? Boy am I confused or what?

Why am I doing this? Because I believe some one is making up a story. Both of these guys claimed to be mediating. Ebou Colly’s identity has been a source of rumor on the Gambia-L during this time. I don’t know who he is. But Binneh is out there and may not be aware of this other version of events. Clarification is my motivation. If lieutenant Minteh will be kind enough to indulge me.




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Allah’s Bank at Work?

President Yahya Jammeh has pledged another sum of D1M and D100, 000 for every goal scored by the national Under-17 football team in Sunday’s final. In addition, the President was able to inspire institutions, companies and individuals to pledge D2.735M. He further pledged 40 percent contribution towards the air tickets of the team to the World Under-17 championship in Peru.

What can I say? The guy gets loans from Allah… Am I been sarcastic? Hell no. I am mad as they come. This kleptocrat stole the taxpayers’ money, stashed it into foreign bank accounts and on occasions like this give some of it back as if he earned the damn thing in the first place. He got the balls to tell us that the money comes from Allah’s bank. What is he thinking? That Gambians are morons, that they won’t realize there is no such thing as Allah’s Bank. The fact he is an armed robber who has been keeping them hostage for ten years too long hasn’t been lost on them.

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Déjà vu all over again?

A tale of detainee abuse:

Even though military investigators learned soon after Mr. Dilawar's
deaththat he had been abused by at least two interrogators, the Army's
criminalinquiry moved slowly. Meanwhile, many of the Bagram interrogators, led
by the same operations officer, Capt. Carolyn A. Wood, were redeployed to Iraq
and in July 2003 took charge of interrogations at the Abu Ghraib prison.
According to a high-level Army inquiry last year, Captain Wood applied
techniques there that were "remarkably similar" to those used at Bagram.

Okay, let me see if I understand this: Abuse occurs in an "institution"; those in authority are slow to examine the behavior. The abusers, instead of being punished are reassigned – then reports of even more abuse come to light.

Is Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston running the US military’s prisoner policy?

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Will the moderates please stand up?

In the heated debate-taking place in the United States senate over judicial nominees, both parties will like to make you believe that the other guy is the bad guy. They resort to such phrases like assassinate, tyranny to describe the tactics of their adversaries. But who is to blame in this morass? I would say that both parties are at fault. The real culprits are zealots on both sides of cultural issues—pro-and-anti abortion activists, marriage traditionalists versus gay-rights activists, august academics versus "intelligent design" creationists, to name a few—who see every debate in public life as a battle over the fate of this republic.

In this political madness, the notion of courtesy that the Senate as an institution takes pride in gets lost. Hard-line Republicans and Democrats both insist that they want to save the Senate, as we know it from procedural abuses. They both can't be right. Indeed, they're probably both wrong. Any form of moderation is scoffed at. The centrist block members are either characterized as RINO (republican in name only) or DINO (democrat in name only). The disappearance of this moderate conscience tears at the fabric of what was left of a patriotic middle in America who has no voice in political fights where the extreme right and left demand our law makers to enact legislation they favor to the detriment of the rest.

How do we stop this slide? Well for starters the independent/moderate voters in this country will have to stand up and demand restraint. Will they?

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Top ten-filibuster hooeys.

David brock and his guys at media matters for America set the records straight.

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Hypocrite
This morning on the floor of the Senate, Sen. Chuck Schumer asked Majority Leader Bill Frist a simple question:

SEN. SCHUMER: Isn’t it correct that on March 8, 2000, my colleague [Sen. Frist]
voted to uphold the filibuster of Judge Richard Paez?

Here was Frist’s response:

The president, the um, in response, uh, the Paez nomination - we’ll come back
and discuss this further. … Actually I’d like to, and it really brings to what I
believe - a point - and it really brings to, oddly, a point, what is the issue.
The issue is we have leadership-led partisan filibusters that have, um,
obstructed, not one nominee, but two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight,
nine, ten, in a routine way.

It looks like Princeton University never prepared him [Frist] for the art of politics. It takes book smarts to be a medical doctor, but politics is a different ball game all together. Come to think of it, the filibuster might be all we need in this country to get the minority party to become what it is supposed to be [that is a genuine opposition]. They have been cowering for years now. Essentially becoming republican lite.

American Progress has the goods on Frist’s chameleon tendency on this filibuster thingy.

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Voices of Diasporans [STGDP Announcement]

Save The Gambia Democracy Project is proud to announce the official launching of the Voices of Diasporans (VOD) short-wave radio broadcast on June 4, 2005.

VOD can be heard on 9405KHZ (9.4MHZ) on the 31 Meter Band of your short-wave radio every Saturday from 2000hrs to 2030hrs GMT.

Our maiden broadcast on June 4, 2004 will feature a brief introduction to the VOD and the aims and objectives of STGDP in English and all major languages spoken in The Gambia. Subsequent weekly programs will cover current issues affecting The Gambia's political and social environment with insights from various guest speakers.

STGDP in collaboration with partners in The U.S, Germany, The Netherlands and The Gambia, successfully carried out three test broadcasts in late April. The response to these test broadcasts were overwhelmingly encouraging. Strong signals were received in all parts of the Gambia and around the world. We have since decided to go ahead with regular programming to open up another avenue for free speech and the promotion of democracy in response to the current predicament of the private media in The Gambia.

Please share the radio frequency information with your friends and family in The Gambia and around the world. It is as easy as tuning in to BBC, VOA or RFI - if not easier - to get to VOD on 9405KHZ (9.4MHZ) on the 31 Meter Band of your short-wave tuner. Stay tuned Gambians and friends. Your sons and daughters are coming at you with dedication and a focused message for the promotion of democracy and freedom of expression in The Gambia. Share the message please!
For STGDP:

My Take:
The efforts of the STGDP are laudable. I am not sure how prevalent short wave radios are in the Gambia. I am rusty on that issue but if my memory serves me right they (short wave Radios) are not the norm of reception for most Gambians. But again the dynamics involved in setting up this clandestine station maybe the reason behind this bandwidth choice. In any case a little is better than nothing at all.

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Come on…

I am an equal opportunity critic. The hypocrisy coming out of the right wing blogosphere since Newsweek admit to shoddy reporting in their Koran desecration story is mind boggling, especially the shady characters that espouses them. Glenn Reynolds at instapundit moralized thus:

"People died, and U.S. military and diplomatic efforts were damaged, because -- let's be clear here -- Newsweek was too anxious to get out a story that would make the Bush Administration and the military look bad."

Et tu Glenn. Is it that cut and dry? This is the same guy who spent every week agitating for war with Iraq on the grounds that Saddam was probably involved in 9/11, a war, which ended up snuffing out the lifes of thousands of Americans and Iraqis. Damage the image of the United States in the eyes of the international community for years to come. But the macho keyboardist saw nothing wrong with that. Newsweek, in his wingnutted psyche has to be stopped at any cost even in the face of his own wrong assumptions that thousands of innocent people ended up paying the ultimate price for.

Update:
"It's puzzling that while Newsweek now acknowledges that they got the facts wrong, they refused to retract the story," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said. "I think there's a certain journalistic standard that should be met and in this instance it was not."

"The report has had serious consequences," McClellan said. "People have lost their lives. The image of the United States abroad has been damaged."

Is it just me? Can Scott McClellan lecture anybody on ethics? This guy make a living out of spewing lies in defense of policies that kill hundreds of thousands of people by some estimates. Scott, do the freaking math. The consequences of the lies you tell and the effects of newsweek's story. I am not excusing irresponsible reporting. It is not like newsweek is the first to report the doggone story anyway. It is been swirling around for a while on the blogosphere. How about Scott and his boss taking responsibility for mesopotamia [iraq]?

Man, the audacity of these people [bush &Co] is maddening... yuck.

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"The Dark Continent"

Africa has been the formative element of my life. Conspicuously this post about the west’s behavior towards “bilad_as _Sudan”… (Land of the black people as the Arab merchants called it) will inevitably bear the mark of subjective influences. Not the least of which is my conviction that throughout human history Africa has been misunderstood and misused by the rest of the world. Simply put (I am usually accused of simplistic views) humanity doesn’t recognize its debts and obligations to a continent they’ve looted for years.

In the psyche of a typical westerner, Africa is “The Dark Continent”. An innocent phrase? Perhaps, but it is also a potent connotation of a persistent western inclination to set Africa and its inhabitants from the rest of humanity. As if they are some sort of alien species. “The Dark Continent” terminology is not just a description of the depths of Africa’s tropical forest; the color of the African skin or the lack of knowledge about the continent. It is implicitly used to label Africa as a place where a cruel form of darkness exist… the cruelty of man towards his fellow man. Contextually Africa is the place where people do terrible things, not because these behaviors are characteristic of all human beings, but Africa is believe to be uniquely barbaric and less “civilized” than the rest of the world.

The fact that people behaved (and continue to) barbarically in Africa is undeniable. However events in other parts of the world have shown that this is not an exclusively African tendency. This brings me to the western idea/understanding of civilization…which is usually confused with exponential growth, use and understanding of technology. But is technological prowess what civilization is or is civilization an exposure or adherence to a culture? Is it a predetermined sequence of human progress as most westerners believed, with white Anglo-Saxons leading the way, the rest of the world following and Africans toiling centuries behind? I will venture to answer NO. Civilization to me is an enlightened self interest that all societies develop to regulate their interactions within a given locality and with other people for the benefit of all parties involved.

But enlightened self interest is a delicate thing; easily eroded. In the event of such an erosion, the human capacity for unspeakable barbarity ala Rwanda, Nazi camps or Stalin’s Siberia rise to the surface. Africa’s horrors like those of Nazi Germany are a chilling example of what people can do to one another when short term exploitation has taken over the work for the common good; when accountability is swept aside to develop hamlets like Kanilai (Gambian president’s home village) at the expense of a nation swirling in poverty.

But is any of these uniquely African? I will have to answer no one more time. Even though subjective passion is what I ascribed to in the beginning of this post, objective readers will agree with me that it has been anything but. Developments, barbaric in nature that happen in Africa occurs elsewhere in the world. I am not an apologist for these African tragedies. I am just an African agonizing over the negative implications of that in famous phrase “the Dark Continent”.

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Association of Gambians in Engineering & Computer Science

For a moment, think about the last century, our world today, and then the world in which today’s children will live. In the last millennium, a significant number of important events were clearly related to technology and many of the most influential people were innovators and inventors. We now have the technological means to dramatically alter our future in unimaginable ways. The acceleration of technological change inspires and thrills some people, but confuses and even alienates others. Most of the Gambian population sadly falls into the later category.

Technologies will not solve all of the problems in the future and I submit will undoubtedly create some. We must learn to weigh the benefits and risks of technologies and make informed choices about our future. However, for a society deeply dependent upon technology, we are largely ignorant about technological concepts and processes, and we mostly ignore this discrepancy in our educational systems. The result is our citizens are neither comfortable with nor objective about technology, and are effectively disengaged from decisions that are helping to shape our future. This is a terrible disservice to our youth, the leaders of tomorrow. The need to achieve technological literacy is a national imperative. This awareness brings us to the question of how to educate a generation that can comprehend, cope with, and direct technology. This becomes the challenge that our schools must respond to if our youth are to compete in a globalize economy. A technologically literate person understands and appreciates the importance of fundamental technological developments and can better contribute to the global society. The need for literacy about this human effort, that is, the development and use of technical means, is the role of technology education.


And this is what AGECS aspires to instill in Gambian youth, the love for science and technology. If we get their interest at an early age, they will grow up to love, learn and inspire others. In the same vein we (AGECS) will try to influence educational policies towards this goal. To look at technology education classes as “elective” offerings means missed opportunities for children, and talents left unexplored as well. How many national leaders or creative geniuses are we losing?

If you are interested in the challenge of developing technologically literate citizens please join the Association of Gambians in Engineering and Computer Science. To learn more about the organization, please pay us a visit at:
http://www.agecs.gm



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Sana Sabally

The erstwhile vice president of the AFPRC wrote a tribute to his fallen comrade Sadibu hydara. I read through the whole thing. But guess what? Prison has done a number on him. The guy keeps rambling about the same thing over and over again. Some one once told me that Sana came out of prison well verse in the Quran and the Bible... well he didn't disappoint on that judging by the numerous quotations he made from both. However I think he needs to see a shrink. Jeez.

The funny thing is that he didn't divulge their side of the story. Why was him and sadibu (the second and third most powerful men in the AFPRC hierarchy then) summarily imprisoned for alleged treason? Was it a setup as most people believed? or were they quilty of the charge? I hope the next time he has time to rant, he will kindly indulge folks on this issue. Here it is: Sanna pays tribute to late Sadibou Hydara

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Religion and politics

"Religion is today banished from the public square? John Kennedy finished his first report to the nation on the Soviet missiles in Cuba with these words: "Thank you and good night." It would be a rash president who today did not conclude a major address by saying, as President Ronald Reagan began the custom of doing, something very like "God bless America."

Unbelievers should not cavil about this acknowledgment of majority sensibilities. But Republicans should not seem to require, de facto, what the Constitution forbids, de jure: "No religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust." Read the rest of:
George Will's reasonable reminder to the wingnuts in todays washington post.

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Playing the race card

Which party in Washington is playing the race card with judicial nominees? The answer simply put is both the donkeys and the elephants. In the current edition of the Weekly Standard, Stephen Calabresi argues that Democrats have taken the vow, "No More Clarence Thomases," and have thus focused their filibuster focus on black, Hispanic, Catholic and female judicial nominees:

Why are Senate Democrats so afraid of conservative judicial nominees who are African Americans, Hispanics, Catholics, and women? Because these Clarence Thomas nominees threaten to split the Democratic base by aligning conservative Republicans with conservative voices in the minority community and appealing to suburban women. The Democrats need Bush to nominate conservatives to the Supreme Court whom they can caricature and vilify, and it is much harder for them to do that if Bush nominates the judicial equivalent of a Condi Rice rather than a John Ashcroft.”

Stephen is trying to convince his readers that democrats are obsessed with blocking these nominees because of their race, gender, religion or some combination of them. The implicit message a critic can draw from this reasoning is the opposite…that the GOP is pushing these nominees precisely for the same reasons. Is that far fetch? Not if you read this statement from Orrin Hatch calling for the quick approval of nominees Priscilla Owen and Janice Rogers Brown:

“The American Bar Association unanimously gave Justice Owen its highest rating of well qualified. This means she has outstanding legal ability and breadth of experience, the highest reputation for integrity, and such qualities as compassion, open-mindedness, freedom from bias, and commitment to equal justice under law. Yet, some of the very Democrats who once said the ABA rating was the gold standard for evaluating judicial nominees now call Justice Owen an extremist.Another nominee branded an extremist is California Supreme Court Justice Janice Rogers Brown, nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. She is the daughter of Alabama sharecroppers who attended segregated schools before receiving her law degree from the University of California at Los Angeles. She has spent a quarter-century in public service, serving in all three branches of state government.”

Notice how Hatch uses the ABA ranking to make the case for Owen and talks up her "outstanding legal ability" and "breadth of experience." Yet, for Judge Rogers, the focus has to be on her racial biography. Lamenting on her sharecropper’s heritage is a code word for letting in the audience on her race. The same slant is noticeable in the ads run by Progress for America (an anti-filibuster 527). The ad right off the bat states, “Janice Brown is the daughter of sharecroppers." How about starting with her legal attributes instead of how her parents toiled in the southern cotton fields. Republicans have this obsession about leading with the "sharecropper" line. It's as if people don't learn that she's not the "daughter of sharecroppers," there's no way that the public will learn that she's black.

Democrats are charging these nominees with extremism and republicans are pushing their race, gender and what not upfront. The hypocrisy of both parties is being showcased. Democrats want minorities to succeed and become anything except conservative (rhetorically). Republicans want minorities to be conservative but are most content to highlight their up-from-sharecropping experiences instead of focusing on their hard work, intellect and integrity.

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