“Britishers” 300 years V. Jammeh’s 13 years:
Friday, February 15, 2008
Look, here atthe Daily Observer, we want to call a spade a spade. We have no ill-will towards anyone. In fact, we love everybody - in typical Gambian fashion. And we appreciate what many individual British citizens and organisations such as the MRC do to help us develop The Gambia. But historical facts are historical facts. The “Britishers” left nothing here after 300 years of colonial rule.
In Kenya, Zimbabweand other places where they built the country for white settlers, they left excellent roads, railways, hospitals, schools, universities, farms, government buildings, etc.
They built for their kith and kin what Jammeh’s government has built in The Gambia during the last 13 years for the Gambian people. We will repeat here what we printed yesterday of President Roosevelt of the USA’s view on British rule:
“In Africa, Rooseveltsaw, as we can unfortunately still see today, the horrendous, abysmal conditions of life which have resulted from British rule. When Roosevelt visited British Gambia on the West African coast in 1943, and saw the appalling conditions there, it created a strong image in the President's mind of the truly ugly nature of British colonialism.
He later spokeabout it in his press conference: “I think there are about three million inhabitants, of whom, one hundred and fifty are white. And it's most horrible thing I have ever seen in my life.... The natives are five thousand years back of us. Disease is rampant, absolutely. It's a terrible place for disease.
“And I looked it up, with a little study, and I got to the point of view that for every dollar that the British, who have been there for two hundred years, have put into Gambia, they have taken out ten. It's just plain exploitation of those people.''
He told hisson after his visit to Bathurst (now Banjul), the capital of Gambia, that workers were paid only fifty cents a day. “Besides which,'' he added, “they're given a half-cup of rice. Dirt. Disease. Very high mortality rate.... Life expectancy - you'd never guess what it is. Twenty-six years. These people are treated worse than livestock. Their cattle live longer!''
Roosevelt threatenedthe British, that he would expose what they were doing in Gambia:
'' ... if you Britishersdon't come up to scratch - toe the mark - then we will let all the world know.''
Roosevelt wouldn't letChurchill forget about what he saw in his visit to Gambia. Years later, when he became seriously ill, he quipped to Churchill, that he was sick with “Gambia fever'” from “that hell hole of yours called Bathurst.''
So Jammeh winshands down, because his government did in 13 years what the “Britishers” could not do in 300 years. Still we appreciate what “Britishers” and others contribute to our development now. So we invited them to joyfully celebrate our independence with us on Monday.