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Readers of this blog have come to live with a permanent fixture on the right side of the blog in the form of a photo, a poem and a question: who killed Deyda? It has been two years since he was murdered in cold blood on a deserted street in Kanifing. His killers still roam the street of the Gambia for all I know. His murder join the list of many more that has never been adjudicated in the annals of Gambian history. Names such as Ousman Koro Ceesay, Ebrima Barry and the martyrs of the student demonstration that followed his death at the hands of Brikama firemen. Ousman Sillah escape their bullet, but will live the rest of his life reflecting on how lucky he was to escape the assasins bullet. The scar of that fateful day will live with him till kingdom cometh.

I am not a member of the journalistic fraternity. Never claimed or aspired to be one, but I have an affinity for what they do and respect those that stick to the ideals of the profession. I don't know Deyda Hydara, never met him, but will forever respect him. He paid the ultimate price for something he believed in. That counts for something in my book.
To commemorate his work in the face of adversity and paying the ultimate price for it, reporters without borders added his name to a cenothaph honoring the work of many a great man that work for something bigger than themselves. Here is what his son wrote of his experiences at the ceremony:

A little over a month ago, my mum Mrs Mariam Hydara, my sister Nelly, I and a host of guests from Africa, Europe and America attended a memorial ceremony in Normandy, France, for journalists who lost their lives in pursuit of the ideals of their profession.

Reporters Without Borders had erected a cenotaph for journalists who were killed in the last two years in the course of their work.
Among the names on that glorious cenotaph was my father’s - Deyda Hydara - who was murdered two years ago, even though his killer or killers are yet to be tracked down and brought to justice, as demanded by the national and international media fraternities.

It was a memorable day for the Hydara Family as it was an honour for us to have his name on the cenotaph in Normandy where heroes and historical greats such as Charles de Gaulle and Second World War veterans were laid to rest. These veteran soldiers fought for the freedom of France while these journalists, including my father, died for the freedom of expression in their own countries...GambiaEcho

The colleagues he left behind at the point ( the newspaper He co-founded with Pap Saine) wrote a heartfelt editorial to commemoriate the anniversary and vent their frustration at the fact that his killers are still at large. Reproduced below is the editorial in its entirety:
It’s said that when death is glorious, it has to be envied. Deyda died gloriously, and his murderers are probably even envious of the glory that has followed his death.

Ever since Deyda was murdered by some cowards two years ago, his name has been reverberating all around the globe. Though his physical frame has been destroyed, his soul remains untouched and untouchable, because it is a noble soul. Great souls such as Deyda don’t die - they live on and on forever.
Deyda like Julius Caesar, seems to be much more important in death than in life. At least posthumous awards have been showered on him since his passing on 16th December 2004.

Now, Reporters Without Borders has immortalized his name for all time by inscribing his name on a cenotaph, where the likes of Charles de Gaulle are memorialized.
Deyda was a great man through and through, not in the sense of being wealthy, because he wasn’t; he just had enough to take care of his needs and share generously with those who lacked. But he was great in the sense that he took on a cause greater than himself.
He believed that public office should not be used for personal aggrandizement but to serve the common good.
He believed and insisted consistently that politicians should put the interest of the State above their own narrow personnel interests.
He saw in journalism the capability of pushing his ideas to the powers-that-be. He established The Point not to enrich himself, but to contribute meaningfully to the process of nation-building. Besides, he said it was an opportunity to help younger Gambians to develop themselves as journalists and social crusaders. In his own little way, he helped a lot of Gambians and non-Gambians alike to give a meaning to their lives.
So why would someone ever think of killing such a kind, patriotic and humane man? Who was afraid of Deyda Hydara?
It is those who dwell in murkiness, it is those who can’t stand the force of the truth who couldn’t stand Deyda’s guts.
If Deyda had been a coward, perhaps he would still have been alive today, wining and dining with scoundrels. But he wasn’t. He chose to lead a life of purpose; he was gunned down by evildoers who wouldn’t want their dirty linens to be washed in the public.
His killers are cowards. They chose brute force to confront a man of peace and letter. While they believe in the power of the gun, Deyda affirmed the supremacy of the pen over the gun. Isn’t the pen mightier than the sword?
Deyda is still honoured all over the world today, but his killers are sneaking around at night, fearing exposure.
Deyda died in glory, but they will surely die in shame, Deyda has been immortalised, but no one will ever speak or remember his killers. Deyda is a celebrated martyr but his killers will die unsung, uncelebrated and unremembered.
Their memories will turn to ash the very day they die.
We will remain proud of Deyda, not only for his famed generosity, for he was generous to a fault. He would rather go without than to see his fellow human suffer. We are proud of him because of his unswerving commitment to the cause he believed in. We are proud of him because he was a man of courage.
We are proud of him because his life is an inspiration that evil never triumphs over good.
Though Deyda has died, many more Deydas will spring up to continue on with the cause he had started. Deyda has proved to us that there is value to a life of service and sacrifice.
To his killers, we pray that nemesis should be kinder to them than they were ever him! Amen... The Point

The daily Observer in the meantime didn't even think it is important enough for an honorable mention. Instead they (Daily Observer) have become a notice board for the never ending messages of felicitation sent to Yahya Jammeh for winning the september elections. What a piece of rag.

Rest in Peace Deyda.

Is it just me or is the office of the president so inept at spin that they will release an idiotic statement like this:

According to the release, “it is amazing that the hidden safe was not part of the inventory of the office and cash found in both the safe and the steel cabinet were also not reflected in the handing over notes, which Mr. Jaiteh presented to his successor.”..the point

Run that by me one more time. Mr. Jaiteh was transfered from one position to another or fired. He hand over an inventory of what he is leaving behind to his successor, but didn't mention the hundreds of thousands of dalasis he has sitting in a safe under his desk. A desk that he won't be returning to again. Really smart...won't you say. Except that Mr. jaiteh I take it isn't that stupid. The press people at state house don't even care to lie good anymore or else they won't release such a bogus statement and expect Samba from sare pateh to believe that.

Why would someone trying to steal money leave it in the office he is vacating? Does that make any sense to any functioning human being? The office is the last place to hide stolen money in the volatile environment that constitutes working for Yahya Jammeh.
The press release is just a smokescreen. The hiring, firing and detention of Gambians trying to do their duties continues. I have seen some of my country men blame the victims of Yahya's endless firings and detentions as deserving of it. They argue that these officials shouldn't work for Jammeh in the first place. I disagree. We should place the blame where it belongs...on the ignoramus that is ruining that nation. Somebody has run the infrastructure that is the polity of the Gambia. Don't think for a second that Yahya Jammeh will give up if these professional fail to work for his government. He will just stcok the departments with mediocre talent and run the country to hell faster than you can sneeze.

My beef with these professionals is their tendency to get dominated once they get into these positions where they can effect positive change to the system. Instead most of them collect their checks and have this don't want to rock the boat mentality.

In his now famous Sunugaal slide show with its heart breaking lyrics, Senegalese poet cum musician Awadi sang the following:

All your beautiful words
All your beautiful promises
We always wait for them

You had promised me that I would have of the job
You had promised me that I would never be hungry
You had promised me of true activities and a future
Really up to here I still see nothing
That's why I decided to flee, that's why I break myself in dugout
I swear it ! I can't stay here one more second.
It is better to die that to live in such conditions, in this hell
Come what may
I again prefer to die

See the slideshow and hear the accompanying lyrics here

He was decrying the decay that has befallen his countrymen, but you can swap the name Senegal with any other African country, and the situation he is bemoaning will be just as true. The Gambia has lost many a son to the waves of the Mediterranean sea. They died braving the demons of the sea to reach what they believe is the promised land. Those fortunate enough to make it to the shores of the Spanish Canary Islands are now been sent back en mass as reported by the point in this story:

As part of the drive to combat illegal immigration, some 111 Gambians have over the weekend been deported to The Gambia as they tried to enter Spain. The Point has learnt that the would-be immigrants left The Gambia some three weeks ago aboard a vessel but ran out of luck on entering the Canary Islands, their vessel having been intercepted and all the men on board put in a plane back to The Gambia. The latest arrivals bring to 255 Gambians deported within a period one month..point

The economic toll of this mass deportation will reverberate around the whole nation. There are families in the Gambia that sell all their livestock to scrunge together the 25000 dalasis ( about $890) to have someone going on this trip. Getting sent home means no returns on their investments and the consequences will not be pretty economically. The toll apart from the millions of dalasis that went down the drain will take years to reverse. The psychological impact of cheating death just to be dump back to square one could have traumatic effects on many a youngster in a country where mental health advice is virtually non-existent.

African countries have thrown their weight behind efforts to preserve the priceless Timbuktu Manuscripts, ancient documents that hold the key to some of the secrets of the continent's history and cultural heritage - and shatter the conventional historical view of Africa as a purely "oral continent".

The Timbuktu Manuscripts - or Mali Manuscripts - reams of written manuscripts dating as far back as the 13th century, are ancient Arabic texts that hark back to the Malian city of Timbuktu's glorious past, when it existed 500 years ago as a gold trading port and center for academics and scholars of religion, literature and science.

The manuscripts provide a written testimony to the skill of African scientists, in astronomy, mathematics, chemistry, medicine and climatology in the Middle Ages...

click here to read details of this project
Other avenues to peruse for Timbuktu manuscripts are linked below:

The ford Foundation
The Library of congress

Like most immigrants coming to this country, I wasn't privilege enough to have my school paid for. I had to get a job to pay for school and support a family back home. A co-worker at one of these jobs ( yes I had numerous jobs) used to tell me that despite our similarities in skin tone, my accent counts for something. It used to make me laugh. The notion that white people will gravitate towards me despite what I termed as a detriment (my accent) doesn't make a lot of sense to me then. But he insisted and as I integrate more into the society of my adopted country, I have come to realize the folly of taking his insistence for granted. The institution of slavery have left a stigma on the off springs of Africans who came through the middle passage that Air Africa arriving immigrants like yours truly are not subjected to. This story in the Nation magazine illustrates just that point:

Less than ten years ago I found myself one Sunday in a white Baptist church in rural South Carolina listening to a sermon titled "Surrounded" and sincerely wishing I was somewhere else. For more than an hour I sat there, gradually realizing that my own considerable discomfort was dwarfed by that of the worshipers around me. The stares I received betrayed not hostility but genuine confusion. In a segregated town that was 60 percent black, my presence in this white space was itself a statement. But about what, no one knew. The eyes fixed upon me desperately sought answers. "What are you doing here? You know the rules. Everybody knows the rules. We don't go to your churches, and you don't come to ours. Why are you doing this to us? What do you want?"
When the sermon was over, I tried to leave as quickly as I could, but a hand caught my shoulder. "Welcome. I'm so glad you came," said one woman.
"Thank you, I'm glad to be here," I said. On hearing my voice her face relaxed a little. "You're not from here, are you?" she said. "No, I'm from England," I said.
As the words were repeated all around me a small crowd formed. "He's from England," "He's English," I could hear people muttering as a mini-stampede came to shake my hand and greet me. I was English. I was not their problem. I would not be coming back. 

As a black Briton I know a thing or two about white America's comfort zone around race. The wariness at the sight of me and the relief at the sound of me can leave doors half-open that might otherwise be firmly shut. American racism has me pegged somewhere between the noble savage and the idiot savant--it adds twenty points to my IQ for my accent but docks fifteen for the bell curve.

Read the rest of the story here.
If only I can find old Mitch, I will tell him he is got a point.

As Fola said in the comments:

Stanley Crouch wrote in his New York Daily news column something along the same hypothesis. He has a provocative title for it: "What Obama isn't: black like me". Here is a snippet of what he said in that column:

Back in 2004, Alan Keyes made this point quite often. Keyes was the black Republican carpetbagger chosen by the elephants to run against Obama for the U.S. Senate seat from Illinois. The choice of Keyes was either a Republican version of affirmative action or an example of just how dumb the party believes black voters to be, since it was obvious that Keyes came from the Southeast, not the Midwest.

That race was never much of a contest, but one fascinating subplot was how Keyes was unable to draw a meaningful distinction between himself as a black American and Obama as an African-American. After all, Obama's mother is of white U.S. stock. His father is a black Kenyan. Other than color, Obama did not - does not - share a heritage with the majority of black Americans, who are descendants of plantation slaves.
Read his take on this subject here.

The metro times has an interesting take on African immigrants in the metro Detroit area. I happened to be one of those immigrants who now call metro Detroit home. The story focuses on our successes and short comings. Our interactions with the broader native born black citizens we found here. The suspicion as intimated in the article is hindering cross cultural cooperation amongst our people. This sums up the frustration felt on both sides of the debate:

Detroit Mayor Kwame M. Kilpatrick questions whether there is enough communication between the traditional African-American community and Africans who have arrived in recent years and decades. Kilpatrick says he has high expectations for unity between the two communities and suggests the present relationship is nowhere near its potential. "I don't know if Detroit is benefiting from African immigration because Detroiters themselves don't feel like they are benefiting from it," Kilpatrick says. "The community doesn't feel it, so we can't say that we're benefiting from it yet as a city. ... It's great for property taxes and revenue, but currently that's about it."

Instead of the mayor taking the initiative to bring together people of African descent, he is promulgating the stereotype that make this happen in the first place. He spoke as if property taxes do not benefit Detroiters as a whole. The last I checked, property taxes help to maintain the city. The problem lies in ignorance on both sides of the divide. We failed to take the time to learn enough about each other and end up sticking to preconcieved notions. Thus we end up in isolated communes within the same city.

Read the rest of the story here. It is a wonder read.

George Bernard Shaw wrote that:

"A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul."

Lest I come off as condescending or patronizing, please understand that it is stories like this one in the point that make my body die for the Gambia. Translation: feel sorry for the state of affairs in that nation.

These morons are borrowing a shit load of money from international banks for projects that fall on the wayside. In the process they are robbing Peter (the Gambian taxpayer) to pay Paul (Banks) and the cycle continues. The international financiers will continue to use the gullibility and more so the greed of third world bureaucrats to line their pockets with the interest that is tacked on these loans.

The most revealing part of the story came at the very end when the minister is quoted as saying:

adding that in The Gambia, poverty is widespread and endemic, although there is evidence of alleviation in certain areas of the country.

So after massive borrowing, poverty alleviation is still a slogan bandied around. The beneficiaries of these funds continue to be corrupt officials with fat Swiss bank accounts."Chei fitna".

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