Whenever the human conscience is violated or traumatized, the experience stays with you especially a life changing traumatic event. We can all recall our experiences in the jujuwo/mbaar (initiation camp) no matter how long ago it was.
I even remember the very first time I had ice cream and the circumstances around it. When I was no older 4 or 5 my grandmother passed on, obviously I did not know what death was and in my culture it would take many more years before anyone has the “talk” with you on what death mean, if they ever do. But I remember my mom crying each time she opened her chest of clothes and I point to an outfit and say “n’maa”, indicating that was my grandma’s and I remembered. It must have been painful for her to lose her mom or maybe it was more painful that I have been missing her in my own childlike way without knowing how to grief. But I remember decades later, and I still have a mental picture of what the inside of that long lost wooden chest looked like and what clothes my grandmother wore.
My point is, it is unconscionable that people in positions of authority will sit before an entire nation to answer questions about events that they presided over and made decisions about only to fall back to “I don’t know; I can’t remember; it was a long time ago” as explanation.
The only sensible explanation I can come up with is that it never pricked their conscience or they are deliberately telling lies to safe their necks. I don’t know which of the two is worse.
There was not a darker day in Gambian history; ever, than April 10th and 11th of 2000 in which over a dozen school children were mowed down by armed soldiers trained to kill; for no other reason than assembling to peacefully protest the murder and rape of two of their fellow children. To think that mothers and fathers can sit today and tell us that they cannot remember very relevant and obvious details on that most tragic of days in our nation’s life because it was 19 years ago is mind boggling.
How can people live with themselves knowing fully well that they are lying to an entire nation after committing grave wrongs? I think the fact is that their actions never bothered their conscience and that is why they went on with life as if nothing wrong ever happened. They saw their positions threatened and they acted to protect themselves throwing vulnerable children to the wolves; children that were put to their charge to protect. They told themselves that they averted instability in the country so it must be justified action.
Spineless people who knew what the right thing to do was, refused to do it and when their failures emerged they chose to do more harm by lying than to clear their conscience with the truth. They feared Yaya Jammeh and his erratic acts of sadism so they cowered to him. Now that the truth is out, they fear public perception so they lie again, feigning ignorance or amnesia in attempts to project themselves as victims we should sympathize with. Yet, every next sentence that comes out of their mouth invokes God or scripture. Oh the torment that awaits the souls of such hypocrites!
Our country is morally sick and needs healing. We are already too far behind but if we do not start now we will forever remain in the backwaters of human advancement.
What a sad state of affairs! It hurts to say this but we must face the truth in order for us come together as a nation to redirect our affairs towards that which serves us all well.