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10th and 11th April 2017 were days that renewed my faith and trust in society . A historic day, we were marched in solidarity with students , members of the executive, legislature, diplomatic corp, civil society and well meaning Gambians.
We marched behind a ‘Never again ‘ banner. I believed those two words. What we did in April 2000 was morally right and I would go out and do the same thing today if I were a student and the same circumstances were repeated.
Why were we out protesting?
A female student was raped by our men in uniform.
A male student was badly beaten resulting to his death also by our men in uniform.
I will register my protest against brutality because as kids we were thought that “lu bonn barhout”.
As kids you are told that you are the future , as kids one has ambitions and aspirations , as kids one feels secure and safe in their environment be it school , our neighbourhoods , community , etc. What they did to us robbed me of that sense of security, a better future and reduced my adolescent life to looking forward to almost nothing. What they could not do was take away my determination/our determination to fight on despite huge challenges.
We were abandoned by our government that unleashed that pain on us and by a section of society who looked the other way , some out of fear and the others because it was convenient.
What can we learn from our situation?
When you see an injustice denounce it.
When you see the vulnerable being abused do something about it.
Our men in uniform are our first line of defence. You should have been protecting us, the most vulnerable stakeholders in society. Instead I sit here with my future almost stolen from me and it’s not making a blind bit of difference.
Yes, we received the physical bullets , endured pain , loss of life , compromised futures , but as a nation an entire generation had an unprecedented round of lethal ammunition rained on their psychological being. An entire student population growing up in fear . Our free spirits curtailed and some went as far as being groomed into sycophancy. For
In 2017 we were offered treatment to Turkey , once again hopes raised only to be dashed as our government said they could not afford the air fares. Hopes being dashed has become a recurring theme in our lives for 19years .
My recommendations are :
For civic education to be taught in school from basic education and this extended to radio and TV programmes across the country.
As victims of April 10/11th we submitted a petition to The Attorney General and are still waiting for an official respond to the demands made on that petition. I wish to tender a copy to the TRRC.
To our men in uniform defending the Gambian should never be compromised.
Please lets stop being bystanders when the vulnerable are attacked.
To all those who stood by us , I cannot thank you enough. You know who you are, Thank You!
However if I can be allowed to mention just one person , Koto Saul , Thank you .
To the Chair , Commissioners , Counsels, and the entire personnel of the TRRC , please help us to ensure Never Again does not become a gimmick.
Finally to the cowards who shot at us innocent students and a red cross volunteer , to Yayah Jammeh the former President of the Gambia and his entire executive , to the entire security apparatus , we are stronger today than we were on April 10th and 11th 2000. We might have had our dreams shattered, we are proud to have done what was right . Let no one take that away from us . We were and are still dictated by our moral conscience.
Momodou Lamin Chune,
Wuyea Foday Mansareh,
Momodou Lamin Njie,
Omar Barrow (Red Cross volunteer )
Rest in Peace.
I am proud to be associated with you. We will continue to fight for justice , your lives will never be in vain.