Assalamu alaikum/greetings, All of this should probably be broken up into different posts, however, I had quite a few things I wanted to blog about, and I didn’t want what I wanted to say to get old/stale/out of date, before I actually had the time or was motivated enough to sit down and write.
Yahya Jammeh has a new (religious) title. Yep, according to the Daily Observer, in addition to Shaykh Professor Dr. Alhaji His Excellency (did I miss anything?) Yahya A. J. J. Jammeh (and yes supposedly you have to say all of this *every time* you mention his name like on the news or something unless you wanna end up unemployed or detained or worse), you can now also add the title “Naasiru Deen” as well. The article, from the Gambia’s Daily Observer as published on AllAfrica.com states:
The Office of the President has announced that the Gambia Supreme Islamic Council has conferred the religious title of Naasiru Deen on the Gambian leader and shall henceforth be addressed as Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr Yahya AJJ Jammeh Naasiru Deen, media dispatch issued yesterday stated.
On why Yahya Jammeh supposedly deserves sucha title, the article goes on further to state:
This honour has come as a result of President Jammeh’s unreserved commitment and support for the cause of Islamic in the Gambia and beyond.
Hmmm, am scratching my head, ’cause I’d sure like to know how detention without charge, disappearances, and murder, not to mention possible arms and drug trafficking, helps the cause of Islam in The Gambia and beyond, but hey, maybe I’m missing something here. But perhaps giving away over a million dalasi for a Qur’anic competition, perhaps that’s what did it? Perhaps even for our supposedly esteemed Muslim religious leaders in The Gambia, money talks and, well, ya know the rest. All I can say is Allahu Akbar. Will do my best not to get angry here, and leave the rest to Allah. But if even the religious leaders are involved in this madness, than what about the normal everyday common people? There are a whole lot more people that I can think of that deserve the title of Naasiru Deen, and Yahya Jammeh ain’t one of them, and I personally will never refer to him as the helper of anything. Except his own self of course.
And yes, an interesting segway I know, given Qadafi’s somewhat, shall we say “interesting” history as regards West Africa but… Where do I start? On the discussion of the alleged (and I say alleged because I honestly don’t know) hatred of Arabs toward black Africans. Please tell me, especially if we’re dealing with Muslims here, that it ain’t as bad as “all” or “most” Arabs hate black Africans? Because that’s the mantra I’ve been hearing the past few days. That there aren’t really mercenaries, primarily from sub-Saharan African countries (but other places too), and that it’s the “Arab Libyans” who are using the uprising to attack black Africans and black Libyans and saying they’re mercenaries as an excuse? Add to this the “oh Qadafi was against the west” mantra, (until of course he started signing oil deals with them), and “the west is being hypocritical” etc., and I feel that you’ve got a “Arabs hate us Africans so who cares what Qadafi does”, coupled with “hey the West is hypocritical anyway” any time the “so what do we do” question is brought up in response to Qadafi’s killing of his own people. And I sense a whole lotta hypocrisy by the same people who are shouting “hypocrisy” at The West. And I also saw this too when discussing Robert Mugabe too, but that’s another story. But it seems that if a dictator can stick it to “The West” as it were, he can do anything he wants to his people (especially if they’re Arabs, and especially if these Arabs hate black Africans, which if you listen to enough people, all Arabs hate all black Africans anyway), but said dictator can be as violent and oppressive to his people as he wants to be, as long as he hates “The West” enough and says so, because ya know “The West” are just a bunch of hypocrites anyway. And besides, we’re all liars anyway, said dictator really isn’t oppressing or killing his own people, it’s just lies of Western governments and Western media anyway. And yes I’ve seen this too.
So let me back up here and give my own take on the situation. Given that Qadafi has been known to foment rebel movements in the past (NPR just had a story on this last week but I gotta find it), remember Sierra Leone or Liberia anyone? (and this is to name just two countries I can think of, I think there’s more), it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that he’s probably using mercenaries, not only from Sub-Saharan Africa but primarily so, to oppress his own people. And this unfortunately, may be contributing to whatever hatred and racism that may exist toward black Africans by Arabs. However, my nature is not to generalize. There is a lot of racism everywhere, but it’s by no means universal, or businessmen in Benghazi wouldn’t be feeding migrants, or households wouldn’t be sheltering their black workers (as I read myself in a press release which was attempting to highlight the plight of sub-Saharan African migrant workers which I believe isn’t getting enough attention). I’m just saying this “all Arabs are evil” stuff really bothers me, and even more so when it’s used to justify or downplay any oppression or human rights’ abuses that they may suffer (and yes I’ve actually seen this sentiment expressed, something along the lines that it’s the Arabs turn to suffer because they’ve been oppressing others for so long, or another sentiment along the lines of the only human rights I care about is those of Africans). Because it’s just simply not true. Arabs, obviously, aren’t the only ones prone to racism, and I as a white person know this for certain *smile*. But I just don’t believe in painting anyone, be they Arabs, white people, Muslims, etc., with a broad brush.
Qadafi is oppressing his own people, and maybe he’s using mercenaries to do it, and if this is indeed fomenting racism among Arab Libyans against black people, then I find this to be deplorable. But again, deplorable too is Qadafi’s oppressing of his own people be they Arab or something else. And as far as the reaction of Western governments goes, well, perhaps they’re hypocrites, I don’t doubt this, however, if they didn’t react then the “Western governments are hypocrites” crowd would be yelling about how “Western governments aren’t doing enough” to help the people of Libya. IMHO, though, I think imposing sanctions, travel bans, etc., is a good first step, I’m a little leery of any kind of military solution at this point, even if it is only a no-fly zone, as that just gets us involved in perhaps another conflict, that I don’t think we really need to be getting involved in right now. Especially since it could really lead to some unforeseen consequences.
As far as hypocrisy goes, we’re all guilty of that, to one extent or another, be we an individual or a government. We’re all guilty of acting in our own best interest sometimes. But I don’t think this is any reason to downplay a dictator’s oppression and killing of his own people. I think that’s all I’m trying to say.