by Alagi Yorro Jallow
Mamudu: Restricted leadership was a legacy at Animal Farm. There were only two leaders after Old Major died. Napoleon and Mr. Jones. Despite the many other animals who could have been trained to lead, leadership remained in the hand of a privileged few. Building the windmill was an essential goal of the farm. It would bring electricity to give light, heat, fresh air, and leisure. For this, the animals steadily toiled.
Mamudu: It would be the major project that would help them realize and experience their, not the American Dream, but their Animal Farm Dream. It would make real “their Canaan, their promised land.”
So much more could be said about the characters and many other themes. However, let me begin the application from “Animal Farm” to Animal “The Gambian” Farm.
Mamudu: After 55 years, Napoleon and Snowball, other than Mr. Jones, were the only leaders that the farm had ever known. Why, oh why, after 55 years, has the Gambia only produced three leaders – Is there no one else among us qualified to lead?
Really? Do politicians, religious leaders, civil society activists, and people have no shame? Furthermore, why is there no constitutional amendment, as was promised, to limit leadership to a maximum of two terms? Strange enough, after 55 years, we still hear about diversification of the Gambian economy. We first heard that “political catchphrase” in the 1970s and the 1980’s while in high school. Moreover, still, we hear it today as if it were some fresh, ingenious, brilliant idea.
Mamudu: After 55 years, we have allowed the agricultural fishery market to degenerate to the point of subsistence living only. What a waste of potential, the thousands upon thousands of wasted barren acres in our country hungry to be “impregnated, to give birth” to tropical fruits which can be exported around the world. After 55 years, we are still relying on tourism. Are we serious?
Mamudu: After 55 years, we have had no windmill that would provide a quality of existence, stable electricity that would lay the foundation for leisure and pleasure. Have we moved forward, upward, onward, and together? Like “Animal Farm,” we have lost our Agricultural and tourism identity, been conditioned to revel in the parades, the entertainment culture that cultivates patriotism, thus helping us to forget the more significant issues of society and foster contentment with the non-industrial status of the country.
Mamudu: Let us celebrate and parade on Kairaba Avenue, a new leader in 2021, three or four major industrial/agricultural/technological exports that rival tourism’s revenue. Let us celebrate our foreign business investments; our world industries; “windmills”; that bring windfalls to this country.
Cassius to Brutus in Shakespeare’s political tragedy “Julius Caesar” was timelessly and universally correct: Why man, he would not be a wolf, but that we are sheep. The ignorance of the animals brought about tyrannical leadership.
Mamudu: After 55 years, we have rather proudly “independence” ourselves not just from England, but also God. Man’s most dependable independence always has logically, morally, and financially his dependence on his Creator.
Mamudu: After 55 years, the ignorance of the masses has been exploited by Napoleon and his colleagues. Anyone who attempted to become a thinker, dreamer and demonstrate leadership prowess has been ostracized, criticized as rabble-rousers and then marginalized by the security dogs of nepotism, cronyism, despotism, sprinkled with subtle and at times overt acts of victimization, persecution and covert deprivations of various instances of life, liberty and happy pursuits.
Mamudu: After 55 years, we have degenerated from being Gambians. We are primarily tribal and political opportunist; our democracy fails in this because we listen to “a majority” we draw hard lines and quickly classify people as “Us and Them “… our democracy fails because it is not purpose-led. Subsequently, the best ideas, visions, intellectual, and leadership prowess are overlooked or underused until the next party gets in office. Then the cycle repeats itself. Rather than become more non-partisan, we continue to foster partisanship, and the country suffers tremendously. Furthermore, the aged politicians stay in office, snuffing out bright young leaders.
Mamudu: After 55 years, the Gambian people like Boxer have concentrated their physical energy on labor and loyalty to the established order, only to die poor, unappreciated, without seeing or tasting the fruit of the “promised land.”
Mamudu: After 55 years like Muriel and Clover, we struggle to understand what our true freedom was all about, not remembering, nor understanding the many societal changes. They had good hearts but bad heads.
by Alagi Yorro Jallow