Alagi Yorro Jallow

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”― John F. Kennedy

Come my fellow Gambians: Let us sing a song. “Rosa sat / So Martin could walk / Martin walked / So Barack could run / Barack ran / He ran, and he won so that all our children could fly.”

Now, let’s talk. Some of you are flying, and looking down at those walking. You’re completely blind to why and how you gained the freedoms that enable you to fly freely. You’re saying- look at those silly people taking to the streets to protest, only uneducated people, idlers and criminals do that, and when they get tear-gassed you complain…. this government is dictatorship.

Then you also notice that some of those taking to the streets are people in the flying category. They have good jobs, some are well-titled personalities in successful professions, and you say- look at them perfectly sensible people, engaging in time-wasting activism, what an indignity, totally embarrassing…

It’s the same mentality that drove some people who thought they were being sensible to say- If Solo Sandeng or Ousainou Darboe and United Democratic Party leadership has grievances they should go to court like a lawful citizen!( can you imagine protest under dictatorship) As if protesting is unlawful, beneath the dignity of a person who’s been a lawyer and leader of the main opposition, like seeing your father marching down a Pipeline- Westfield street with a placard shouting “We-Want-Justice!” You cringe at the thought.

You forget people’s fathers and mothers did just that, so you could fly. In your mind, you have placed protest in the same category as the hanging of your soiled underwear in public, ergo, only a mentally unstable person or an extremely narcissistic person would do such a thing.

None of your freedoms ever came without someone’s struggle and great sacrifice. None. And taking it to the streets has always been a part of that struggle, a relentless pursuit of a goal that shifts the earth beneath the feet of the ogres of our times. Be glad elevated philosophies gave us the weapons of nonviolent revolution. Struggles remain a never-ending process of Sat-Walk-Run-Fly no matter how civilized our societies become. We just hope that we don’t have to keep protesting the same shit.

Whatever you choose to do to contribute to a better society, do not look down on those who choose to walk as if they were idle scum of the earth. The best of them are good at it, they have mastered the art of movement leadership, organization and mobilization, and they have the guts and brains to maneuver the process. They are warriors. It’s as lawful as going to court, and the law should protect them.

Now, don’t point at hooligans who callously steal and destroy during protests and tell me that is what nonviolent protest are. I can point you to thugs and killers in suits sitting in swiveling chair in the same skyscrapers you have your office. Would it be fair to say you’re one of them?