Many Gambians have given up on a search for truth. It just seems too costly, too frustrating, and too ethereal. People who got their loved ones murdered by this regime have in most cases simply put it behind them or at least act like they do. Many fear that the truth, if we can ever find it, will make us into a vengeful and intolerant people. However, I am a believer in the phrase: “You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free.”
All of us crave for politicians that will tell us the truth and stop lying to us. It is so easy to dismiss such yearnings as naïve fantasies. Yet if no one can be trusted in our society, then the foundations of our democratic culture are indeed doom from the beginning.
True democracy is based on the gift of freedom, and the gift of freedom comes from the knowledge of truth. “You shall know the truth,” means that truth is attainable; truth is knowledge, truth matters. “The truth shall set you free” means that truth is not abstract and irrelevant, but powerful and liberating. Truth changes everything. Lies kill everything.
We can therefore take heart in the fact that politicians like Hamat Bah have not forgotten that there are serious human rights issues brushed under the carpet by the Jammeh dictatorship that need to be investigated and the perpetrators brought to justice. The democratic culture that the coalition has set itself up to build need to have truth as its foundation. Set the record straight, the innuendo about the murders will die and our society will be better for it.
The events of history are the result of the struggle between two states of mind: one, which wishes to imprison, and the other, which desires to set free. The scene of this tussle in today’s Gambia is represented by the regime of Yaya Jammeh in the former scenario and the NADD coalition representing the later. The decisions we make in the 2006 election will go a long way in determining the type of society we want in that nation for posterity.