The following comment was posted on the Allgambian.net forum.
Subject: The Gambia Michigan Association an agency of the APRC?
Name: Salieu Jeng
Date Posted: Jan 23, 06 – 5:27 PM
I wish to express my utter frustration at the Gambian Michigan Association’s decision to pull out an article written by a young journalist because a member of the organisation found it politically offensive. The article was written by Cherno Baba Jallow and it was critical of Yayah Jammeh and his goverment. It was reported that the episode first started when a senior goverment official who was scheduled to visit the members in Detroit decided to cancel at the last minute because of what he called an anti Yayah article on the organisation’s web site. The web manager decided to pull out the article and said no more articles of that nature will be published in the future. You may recall that Cherno Baba Jallow was young reporter who was arrested many times, detained and tortured by that same Jammeh government because of thetruth he revealed to his readership. Mr. Jallow had to desert his home country because he could not continue to endure the political persecution inflicted on him by a brutal dictator. He thought he found a sanctuary in America to continue to express his political views,again Jammeh managed to use the organization as an agency to censor Mr Jallow’s views. This is political naivity at its best. Are the executive members trying to milk the Jammeh cash cow by allowing Jammeh to dictate what goes on in their own web site. In fact i have been informed that the organization is trying to raise funds to send medical supplies to the Gambia. This could be a politically charged gesture meant to benefit just a few at the expense many.I have personally been trying to reach mr Jallow but to no avail. This is a total disgrace.
I was not subscribed to the mailing list of the Gambian association of Michigan at the time I read this post. I sent it to my friend to have him forward it to the mailing list. My only motivation was to make the community aware of the situation.
However, instead of addressing the substance of the allegation, one of the members insinuated that my friend and I have something to do with the initial posting. When we reacted to her insinuation, the vice president of the association tried to make us look like nuisance…you know the party spoiler kind. She made it clear that her comment was supposed to be the last one on the issue. Well not if I have something to do with it.
Let me hasten to say that I disagree with Salieu Jjeng’s point that the Gambian Association of Michigan (GAM) is an agency of the APRC. However, judging by the circumstances that led to my own restriction from posting anything on the association’s mailing list, I will venture to say that elements within the executive are allergic and intolerant of opposing views.
Below is the message I received when I tried to send something to the list. Bear in mind that this is after I posted two messages to the list correcting the misrepresentation attributed to me and my friend by a member and taking offense at the vice president of the association’s portrayal of our grievances as petty squabbles.
We are unable to deliver the message from email@example.com to Gambians MI@yahoogroups.com
You are not allowed to send email to this group. There are two possible
reasons for this:
1. This group may only accept postings from moderators.
2. The moderator of this group may have removed your ability to post to
To contact the group moderator, send mail to Gambians-MIfirstname.lastname@example.org
This is nothing more than a naked attempt to stifle dissent and to create a criticism-free bubble around themselves. Apparently the only ideas allowed to be expressed on MichiGambia mailing list are ones, which glorify the leadership. Dissenting views are prohibited and will subject someone to restrictions or as the secretary of the association who happens to be one of the moderators boasted …de-listment. Message cleansing of that sort belongs at a political rally in Kanilai, not on a community mailing list.
Censuring opinion because you don’t agree with it is unhealthy and disgusting. Michi Gambia executives are not entitled to reverence and worship. They should not want or expect that either. Criticism, dissent and divergence of opinion are principles they should foster. The idea that they will restrict or delist someone for espousing a view contrary to their own is disgraceful.