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The following comment was posted on the Allgambian.net forum.

Subject: The Gambia Michigan Association an agency of the APRC?
Name: Salieu Jeng
Date Posted: Jan 23, 06 - 5:27 PM
Message:

I wish to express my utter frustration at the Gambian Michigan Association's decision to pull out an article written by a young journalist because a member of the organisation found it politically offensive. The article was written by Cherno Baba Jallow and it was critical of Yayah Jammeh and his goverment. It was reported that the episode first started when a senior goverment official who was scheduled to visit the members in Detroit decided to cancel at the last minute because of what he called an anti Yayah article on the organisation's web site. The web manager decided to pull out the article and said no more articles of that nature will be published in the future. You may recall that Cherno Baba Jallow was young reporter who was arrested many times, detained and tortured by that same Jammeh government because of thetruth he revealed to his readership. Mr. Jallow had to desert his home country because he could not continue to endure the political persecution inflicted on him by a brutal dictator. He thought he found a sanctuary in America to continue to express his political views,again Jammeh managed to use the organization as an agency to censor Mr Jallow's views. This is political naivity at its best. Are the executive members trying to milk the Jammeh cash cow by allowing Jammeh to dictate what goes on in their own web site. In fact i have been informed that the organization is trying to raise funds to send medical supplies to the Gambia. This could be a politically charged gesture meant to benefit just a few at the expense many.I have personally been trying to reach mr Jallow but to no avail. This is a total disgrace.

I was not subscribed to the mailing list of the Gambian association of Michigan at the time I read this post. I sent it to my friend to have him forward it to the mailing list. My only motivation was to make the community aware of the situation.

However, instead of addressing the substance of the allegation, one of the members insinuated that my friend and I have something to do with the initial posting. When we reacted to her insinuation, the vice president of the association tried to make us look like nuisance…you know the party spoiler kind. She made it clear that her comment was supposed to be the last one on the issue. Well not if I have something to do with it.

Let me hasten to say that I disagree with Salieu Jjeng’s point that the Gambian Association of Michigan (GAM) is an agency of the APRC. However, judging by the circumstances that led to my own restriction from posting anything on the association’s mailing list, I will venture to say that elements within the executive are allergic and intolerant of opposing views.

Below is the message I received when I tried to send something to the list. Bear in mind that this is after I posted two messages to the list correcting the misrepresentation attributed to me and my friend by a member and taking offense at the vice president of the association's portrayal of our grievances as petty squabbles.

We are unable to deliver the message from moribolong@yahoo.com to Gambians MI@yahoogroups.com
You are not allowed to send email to this group. There are two possible
reasons for this:

1. This group may only accept postings from moderators.
2. The moderator of this group may have removed your ability to post to
this group.

To contact the group moderator, send mail to Gambians-MI-owner@yahoogroups.com


This is nothing more than a naked attempt to stifle dissent and to create a criticism-free bubble around themselves. Apparently the only ideas allowed to be expressed on MichiGambia mailing list are ones, which glorify the leadership. Dissenting views are prohibited and will subject someone to restrictions or as the secretary of the association who happens to be one of the moderators boasted ...de-listment. Message cleansing of that sort belongs at a political rally in Kanilai, not on a community mailing list.

Censuring opinion because you don’t agree with it is unhealthy and disgusting. Michi Gambia executives are not entitled to reverence and worship. They should not want or expect that either. Criticism, dissent and divergence of opinion are principles they should foster. The idea that they will restrict or delist someone for espousing a view contrary to their own is disgraceful.

3 Comments:

  1. Modou Jah said...
    I am impressed with the "NO DISSENT ALLOWED HERE" article, it was well thought out and expressed as well. I still disagreed with your opinion that this non-profit, none political community website should be a platform for dissent in terms of politics. I know your target audience is wider and more politically savvy than this community is, if the way your write is anything to go by.

    I cannot understand why this executive has been so vividly attacked all of a sudden by certain individuals in our community unless one construes such unfounded criticism as an attempt to undermine the progress of our association. I think many people have this association at heart, but some of them have a very funny way of showing it.

    You suggested that, Criticism, dissent and divergence of opinion are principles we should foster. I couldn't agree with you more, however, I don't want to sound like am beating on a dead horse, but you know that there is a difference in criticizing our policies and attacking our personalities. If someone comes out of the woodwork and start swinging at us with derogatory terms we will be offended and will act appropriately.

    I will response almost in the same manner you did if my response privileges were suspended from my own community mailing list. We came to that conclusion emotionally because the responses going around were becoming personal and you know that doesn't help anyone. We just don't want things of that nature to escalate to something unnecessary.

    After reading the article I couldn't help but notice your criticism to our policies and not attacking us personally. I think this distance you from others who have ill will towards the progress of the association and or are just flat out bitter. Again, not hiding under an alias and openly pointing out some of the areas you think we need to improve unlike someone who hides under an alias like a retard speaks volumes.

    Whatever the case may be, I can assure your readers that whenever we meet as an executive the interest of the association and the community as a whole is our utmost concern and there is no doubt in our sincerity in serving the Michigan Gambian community as an executive.

    Mo
    ousman ceesay said...
    Mo wrote:

    "I am impressed with the "NO DISSENT ALLOWED HERE" article, it was well thought out and expressed as well. I still disagreed with your opinion that this non-profit, none political community website should be a platform for dissent in terms of politics.."

    I think you are confusing the issue here. When I wrote the piece, I was reacting to the way you guys went about restricting my ability to send mail to the list.

    I have already written another piece that illustrates my take on the reactive nature of the executives decision vis-a-vis opining on the website. This piece has been sent to the mailing list as well.

    You went on:

    " but you know that there is a difference in criticizing our policies and attacking our personalities. If someone comes out of the woodwork and start swinging at us with derogatory terms we will be offended and will act appropriately."

    I agreed that personal insults do not foster coherent debates. However, i have to say that am puzzled by that statement. I have not personally attacked anyone. I responded to their bogus insinuation and grand standing. I reserve my right to that again if Ramou and Sira did what they did. The saddest thing is the near nepotistic nature of the executives decision. You guys decided that I am the trouble maker because I have the temerity to talk back to your friends. I bet they were not restricted.

    You went on:

    " We came to that conclusion emotionally because the responses going around were becoming personal and you know that doesn't help anyone. We just don't want things of that nature to escalate to something unnecessary."

    Well, well, well the cry babies can't stand a trivial phrase like "I am just getting started". So big brother in the form of the executive have to protect them from the bullying ousman. For the life of me, I can't understand why you guys broker the way you did. But what are friends for?

    You wrote:

    "After reading the article I couldn't help but notice your criticism to our policies and not attacking us personally. I think this distance you from others who have ill will towards the progress of the association and or are just flat out bitter. Again, not hiding under an alias and openly pointing out some of the areas you think we need to improve unlike someone who hides under an alias like a retard speaks volumes."

    That was the reason why I got so upset with Ramatoulie's insinuation and Sira's grand standing. If I have something to say, I am not going to hide behind pseudo names. That is not my modus operandi.

    Furthermore you wrote:

    "I will response almost in the same manner you did if my response privileges were suspended from my own community mailing list."

    I am glad you understand.It is nothing personal. It is all about principles. I have no ill feelings toward anybody. It is just another day of debate as far as I am concerned.
    SUNTOU TOURAY said...
    Interesting exchanges ousman. It seems Gambians have a long way to go in appreciating different view points.
    As an executive member of a Gambian association in u.k, i don't see any reason why, the Michican brothers should stop you and your friend posting your comments. After all, you and your friends views is not representative of the association.

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