It has been eleven long years since we have all lost a dear father, husband, granddad and friend. I have had to grow up without my dominant paternal figure there to support me through the stages of my life where I have needed his help or opinion. Now at university, it would have been nice to get help and ideas off grandfather as he is experienced within my field of study, and so is my grandma but not in the media side of my course. It hurts me every time, I think about how hard it could possibly be for me to become a journalist, or and learn the tricks of the trade, when I don’t have the person who has been through all that and had accomplished so much in his life to support me. 

 It also hurts, when my friends receive letters from their grandfathers, and I’m always thinking that if my granddad was hear he would send me a lot of letters to see how I am getting on my studies and other stuff. But as a result of murderous thugs I have missed out on these opportunities. I would give anything to have my grandfather back; university and everything else I would give up just to chat and go on trips with him again. 

 I am not personally accusing anyone, but I think that Gambian society is no longer save for anyone to be in, if after eleven years, a serious homicide has not been solved. It says a lot about crime prevention and access to weapons of violence, it is not prohibited and people are able to go around the law nowadays quicker than ever. This is as a result of corruption within the police and security services, if something is not done soon  then Westerners will boycott The Gambia, as one of my teacher’s friends have decided to do so because of the low level homophobia that exists as well as uncalled for murders and violence. It really puts out a negative representation of the ‘smiling coast’, more like the ‘dangerous coast’. This will result in a poor economy as the tourism will no longer be available for the people. 

 I believe that The Gambia is not safe until my grandfather’s murder has been solved; killing innocent beings is not the way. The more you oppress the more bad publicity you will get, the more bad publicity, the less aid will be given. All my grandfather wanted was equality, democracy and freedom to all. What feral would say no to that? Unless you’re a backward minded fool. At least he was brave and courageous enough to sacrifice himself for his fellow people. I may not have a grandfather, nor my sister and cousins, but we have a hero and saviour of press freedom within our blood, and in our generation no one will be able stop us from exercising it.  

I’d like to say Happy 65th Birthday to my granny! She’s been the backbone of this family and an aspiration to those who may be in a similar situations to us. She has not been able to celebrate well because of these cowards- (I hope the guilt painfully eats away your soul leading you to dark and desolate place, ameen.) which I am sure my grand dad would have been like “Maria, why are you letting these rank and files stop you from having your day!”. They were like turtle doves with each other, when one goes the other stays to become stronger each day, and I think that is my granny. xx

Written By Aminatta Sey

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