Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Gambia's Islamic state

We get very little African news in Australia, so it requires a special effort to keep up. This is a photo of Gambian President Yahya Jammeh.

For those who don't know Gambia, it is a narrow meandering slice along the Gambian River. The smallest country in mainland Africa, The Gambia is less than 48.2 km (30.0 mi) wide at its widest point, with a total area of 11,295 km2 (4,361 sq mi)..So its rather tiny.

Jammeh became head of state in a coup in 1994 and has remained in power since. Early fairer elections seem to have become progressively less fair.

Wikipedia records that on 11 December 2015, President Jammeh declared The Gambia to be an Islamic republic in what he said was a move designed to distance the country further from its colonial past. 

Speaking on his return from the 13th Islamic Summit of the Heads of State/Govenrment of the Organisation of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), President Jammeh thanked the member states of OIC for the support to host the 2018 OIC in Banjul. He concluded:
 “I depend on the Almighty Allah for whatever we achieve in this country, am not counting on anybody am counting on only the Almighty Allah for whatever we are going to do in this country because it is only the Almighty Allah that can give you what you want and that is what am banking on,” 
Meantime, the political situation in Gambia appears to have become more oppressive with the arrest of opposition leaders. I am not implying a link between the somewhat unexpected move to an Islamic state and the deterioration in civil liberties, for the deterioration in civil liberties was underway before that move. However, the President does appear to be using the move to provide further justification for the positions he is adopting.   


Anonymous said...

Jim, on Africa, I've been using this website for some time:


Haven't decided yet if it is wholly reliable - as far as sources on the web can be - but I wondered if you've seen it before?


Jim Belshaw said...

Thanks, kvd. I hadn't seen this one and it looks interesting, if with a strong SA focus.

Sue said...

Hi Jim

I feel very uninformed about Africa and will check out the website KVD mentions above.

I hesitate to admit this, but these days my knowledge of Africa is largely about Botswana based on Alexander McCall Smith books...

I always remember how impressed people were with your detailed knowledge about Japan - do I need to say any more? (James Clavell!)I suspect there is a serious point to be made here.

You might remember that in our trip to London we noticed the extensive media coverage of Africa in the UK(as compared to the focus on Asia here).



Anonymous said...

Now Sue, I can identify completely with your concerns!

For mine, I have often wondered if my view of wolves is at all affected by my mother's many readings of Little Red Riding Hood, and that dreadful story of the Three (fat, socialist, cosseted) Pigs - not to mention Huge Jackman's lack of a decent nail lacquer!

On Africa, I suggest surveying the efforts of one Johnny Weissmuller, and also selected readings of Wilbur Smith, to gain a more intimate understanding.

and ps, I would be careful of Jim's "knowledge" of Japan if he cannot quote Shintaro. "Hhhrruummpphh!" is basically obligatory :)


Sue said...

Too funny.


Jim Belshaw said...

Laughed at the Shogun reference. It's a better guide than Shintaro, kvd! Hhhrruummpphh!

I do remember our reaction to the Africa coverage in the British press and especially the FT, Sue. A year or so back I focused on African history for a period in my train reading just to fill a gap. And, like you, I know far more about Botswana than many of the countries and for the same reason!

Now kvd, Wilbur Smith can be quite a good intro to the history of South Africa, Ethiopia and the Lower Nile. Bit more distorted, though! I do think that you have pointed to the cause of some of your strange views. Little Red Riding Hood on the banks. And the influence of the Three Little Pigs may have been deeply distorting.

Anonymous said...

One for Sue, on Shakespeare, by the sort of decision tree Jim seems to employ:

What do you want to do: Cry
What's your opinion on revenge: It's the best!
How do you like your death tolls: Moderate, with a side of angst
Decision: Hamlet!

For source, see: http://static1.squarespace.com/static/52403b09e4b0284d431e4457/t/57151c1ff850820e125cb67a/1461001744092/?format=1000w

Actually, 'angst' is my second favourite word, but the best is 'bacon'.

The politicians' favoured breakfast: Bacon & Angst :)