The TRRC is, in my view, the “best thing”, paradoxically writing, that has happened to The Gambia. We wouldn’t be knowing the truth, hard as it is to come to terms with.
It is forcing me to search deeply in my soul, to understand why a nation and people who prided themselves as godly and god fearing, as the “Smiling Coast of Africa”, tolerated or endured or accepted or resigned to the brutality, cruelty, violations, untold sufferings some of her own children and their own blood and kin endured. The snakes hissed where the pigeons sang.
Our “chastity” was fake; our godliness wasn’t godly; the love we professed for each was plastic and untrue. Before our eyes, our innocence was raped, plundered, exploited and ravaged and some of us were complicit in the abuse and rape.
The TRRC provides us the opportunity, as a nation, to engage in serious soul searching, to understand why it tumbled to ignominy and witnessed a barbarity unparalleled in its history and to learn from this past. Are we learning from this past?
So far my take are:
That there were men who, at cost to life and limb and without regards to tribe or language but with blood of human kindness in them, provided succor and solace to the victims.
That still serving our nation and living on our taxes are men who are being named as those who allegedly perpetrated the worst kinds of torture on our people and bear the greatest responsibility for the crimes.
That the scars are still deep, fresh and hurting and the “collateral damages” to the families of victims remain heavy, costly and psychologically devastating.
That if “Never Again” is to become an enduring pillar of the state and if “the truth shall set us free”, then respect for human rights and strengthening of good governance and the rule of law must have the highest pride of place in our governance.
That if our future is to be better than our past, then every person must have the courage of his or her conviction to stand for the truth, to always stand for what is right and do what is right according to his or her conscience, to always defend the truth.