Alagi Yorro Jallow

In the Gambia, some people are paid handsomely to sit behind a keyboard and create alternative realities, against the better judgment of what we know and feel, and they have a mandate to consistently beat these improvised realities into our brains. You really must believe this. Gaslighting:

 Gaslighting is a narcissistic personality. Only their facts are true. They insist in repeating and drilling you until you begin to doubt yourself or your own truths. It can be a type of brainwashing.

Even the brightest, most self-aware people can be sucked into gaslighting—it is that effective. It’s the “frog in the frying pan” analogy: The heat is turned up slowly, so the frog never realizes what’s happening to it. The more you are aware of these techniques, the quicker you can identify them and avoid falling into the gas lighter’s trap.

A colleague of mine tells me it’s a well-known mind-control mechanism in psychology called “Gaslighting.” I went to check this concept up on “The Random House Dictionary of the English Language, College Edition” and was shocked at the definition. It fits our present reality as snugly as a body bag would fit a dead body.

When you have read up the concept of “gaslighting”, you would have then known that form of mind control or psychological manipulation which, according to Random House: “seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted group, making them question their own memory, perception and sanity. Using persistent denial, misdirection, contradiction and lying, it attempts to destabilize the target and delegitimize the target’s belief.” This is what is being currently practiced on Gambians by President Barrow and his Tactical Alliance government, and it is largely succeeding. A faceless philanthropist last year donated 57 vehicles to the National Assembly members through President Barrow. Today another faceless Arab philanthropist donate Hajj package worth of 11 million dalasis to President Barrow. Where is the accountability and transparency? Gaslighting!!

Gaslighting is a tactic in which a person or entity, to gain more power, makes a victim question their reality. It works much better than you may think. Anyone is susceptible to gaslighting, and it is a common technique of managers, abusers, dictators, narcissists, and control freaks. It is done slowly, so you don’t even realize it is happening.

People who gaslight typically use the following techniques: They tell blatant lies; they deny they ever said something, even though you have proof; they use what is near and dear to you as ammunition; they wear you down over time; their actions do not match their words; they throw in positive reinforcement to confuse you; they know confusion weakens people; they project; they try to align people against you; They tell you or others that you are crazy; they tell you everyone else is a liar.

This is one of the insidious things about gaslighting—it is done gradually, over time. A lie here, a lie there, a snide comment every so often…and then it starts ramping up.

So, even as you are reeling from the sharp pains of the pernicious and fresh injuries you have just been inflicted political leaders, even as you watch your gaping sores bleed, as you try to bury your dead; with a wry smile on their faces, but without a conscience, they stroke your hair and telepathically whisper soothing words of blackmail, straight from their laptops, into the ears of your brain. In the stillness of that moment, they tell you:

“Those are no wounds, my friend! Those are the therapeutic incisions of this administration to heal the wounds of past administrations!! You should be grateful for it. Thank Adama for it. You hate Adama if you begrudge him your gratitude!!”

Or they say: “This is no blood my friend, you would be foolish to believe this to be blood. You must hate Adama to believe you are bleeding. You are not bleeding. These are mere menstrual blood which confirms that this administration is ovulating. We are fertile. It confirms we are seminal. We are about to birth development, hence the blood…it’s not bloods from injury. It is blood that precedes development.”

There is no end to the nonsense we hear daily, spewed out as excuses or alternatives to the actual realities we feel. These insidious characters, who repeat falsehood on a minute-by-minute basis, just to sway public opinion or emotionally blackmail the populace into accepting the corpse-laden mediocrity called “change”, they are the real enemies of the Gambia.

These fellows remind me of Adolf Hitler’s recipe for effectively disseminating propaganda. Hitler, when asked how he was so successful in his Aryan supremacy and anti-Semitic propaganda, gave a simple recipe on the matter as follows:

a. Keep it simple;

b. repeats it often; and

c. let it burn.

This is what these people are doing to us. They are paid to repeat these lies ever so often and create and disseminate a reality alternative to and different from what we experience daily, that even the strongest of resolves will collapse or buckle under the weight of repetition, with time. You just find yourself accepting the lie, which you know to be a lie, after several repetitions.

But wait a second, have you been told that people who are complaining about hardship in government are those that stole from previous administrations? But you do know it’s a lie, don’t you? There are countries that are prospering and their citizens living well, without corruption.

This is the sort of country Adama and his ex-coalition partners promised. Hardship in times of plenty is never a result of lack of corruption. It’s the result of abysmal economic management and policies. But this government will never admit this. Somehow, they are now only content that things are tough. To them, it shows the country is rid of corruption. What madness!!

Have you heard that people hate Adama Barrow because they can no longer steal from public funds, as though we are all in government employment or feed from government? In their eyes, the Gambia has never had a private sector. Everybody fed from government.

Of the 1.9 million of us, none has eaten anything that did not come from government. And nothing legitimate came from government. No legitimate business was ever done with or by government. Everything was stolen. So, the tougher the hardship, the better the economic outlook is for the Gambia. What sadism!!

Have you heard that this administration is still better than the previous ones because the death tolls don’t match? This may sound ridiculous, but you will believe if repeated often enough.

It’s a crazy country we live in, but it’s never been this bad. You need to have a very strong mental attitude to contend with the unremitting wave of propaganda of this administration. It’s a blitzkrieg.

To take away gaslighting and propaganda from this government, is to unravel this government completely. It is to find that it is very hollow, like a doughnut. But in most cases, once the veil is removed, you’ll also find an unconscionable fellow, seated behind a computer, spewing out carefully crafted alternative realities, to improve the political capital of a government that perhaps knows a little about good governance, but has no true affiliation to it.

It is against this backdrop that I still maintain that these are not the best of times to be Gambian. By degrees, it is becoming very scandalous to rise and be counted among the lot.