The Meaning Of February 18
With National Independence, A Call to Community Service
The essence of February 18 is to continue building on community progress, join a local association, take part in your community's activities and be your brother's keeper
By MB Krubally
I am sure by now most of you know how passionate I am about my country, community and the desire to organize. I am a true believer that we are a stronger and more effective people when we pool our resources. As a father, I have pledged a part of my life to do whatever I can to help better my community and country at large for my kids, the future. I understand that this task entails an amount of risk and hard work, but the results to me far out-weigh the troubles. It is with this desire that I am sending this call to hopefully rally Basserians in particular and Gambians in general, to join their local association to create the community strength needed to move forward.
Yesterday, as many of us celebrated our nation's 46-year independence thousand of miles away from home, I would like to take this opportunity to discuss, open a dialogue and to challenge you all. I would also like to encourage all Gambians especially those in the Diaspora to join their local association to help move our country forward, create a sense of getting to know one another and most importantly, to build on the good foundation our founders who fought for our Independence, set for us.
Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara in his early days
In the years preceding 1965, a few brave Gambians took on a selfless task of freeing us from control and the influence of others, our colonial 'masters' in this case. It is evident that this was not an easy task. The-then leaders were challenged by the colonialists but mostly by their own people who couldn’t understand their powerful desire for freedom. Unlike the leaders who wanted more freedom, the skeptics had accepted and were satisfied with the life that was being brought onto them. In layman terms, they were scared of being free not knowing what freedom would bring. Some of these skeptics did not trust that their people were ready and able to fight the colonial patrons. They also never believed or saw the possibility of their own people improving their lives better than the colonialists were providing at the time.
And so is the situation with us today. As we struggle to build our communities and country at large, some are, in a way, the skeptics of yesterday. This sense of doubt, the thinking that we cannot mobilize, build associations, better our communities to help one another, fight for each other and most importantly, really get to know each other, has now become a part of the average Gambian thinking DNA.
As we look across the United States, it will be fair to say that almost all Gambian associations in place are struggling to either form up or maintain continuity. Apart from the bad experiences that a few went through during the first attempts of the new foundations we are building on, many have refused to join for reason unknown to most of us. The typical excuse, "I am here to better myself and not get into foolish matters," has become the one-line excuse most use for not joining their local associations. Some of the young are engaged in the push for personal success rather than strengthening their communities, failing to realize that a united front, an organized community, a mobilized group of people, is the ultimate solution to our challenges.
Rallying Around the Flag
Today, I am challenging all Gambians, my brothers and sisters, to please look beyond personal interest and join a local association to better our lives and help move our country forward.
It must be pointed out that all of us, especially the leaders of our communities, must take the time to explain the benefits and needs to join a cause. We must work tirelessly to bring into the fold the few who are not a part of us, for as leaders, taking care of their needs lies with us and history will judge us harshly if we fail to respond.
Working for the Community: BA Sports Secretary Ousainou Krubally working on a road rehabilitation project during recent vacation in Basse
To move forward, it is our duty to reach out to one another, be open-minded and willing to listen to our critics. To improve our communities, we must work as a team, create a support system, find means to engage each other in a healthy manner and most importantly, create the needed programs that will help us develop one another. We must all tirelessly engage one another and be creative in educating our community. To practice community outreach, we must first accept and love each other unconditionally. And build the desire to enjoy and cherish each other's success and uniqueness.
We owe it to our nation's founders, those who fought for us, to join local associations and continue the community building in progress. The foundation has been set for us; it is now our turn to help continue and strengthen what has been started. History will judge us harshly if we fail to play our part.
Independence Day Celebration
Happy Independence Day, and for our homeland, rise up and do your part by asking yourself, what have I done to better my community? Individually we are all doing well. But can we say the same as a community?
MB Krubally is the Secretary General of the Basse Association, Inc. He lives in Los Angeles, California, USA.