Gambian President Kind of a Meanie-Face

Well, we can add human rights workers to the long list of people Gambian President Yahya Jammeh has threatened to kill and/or destroy. (Included already are journalists and homosexuals and some refugees I met one time.)

Speaking before his departure for the U.N. General Assembly meeting last week, he bid a tender farewell to his nation, reminding them to empty the dishwasher and also not to foment civil unrest because: “I will kill anyone who wants to destabilize this country.”

And just in case that wasn’t clear, he added: “If you think that you can collaborate with so-called human rights defenders, and get away with it, you must be living in a dream world. I will kill you, and nothing will come out of it.”

Man, dude was a lot more humorous when he was yammering on about his magical healing powers. (Bet you didn’t know there’s a cure for AIDS after all; patients just need to go off their anti-retrovirals and drink a nice cup of dictator-soup.) Anyway, in memory of that kookier, less overtly murderous Jammeh, here’s an awesome old cartoon from afrol News (that’s Jammeh there on the left):

Kate Cronin-Furman


  1. While some of your posts are truly very good, your treatment of this issue is in very poor taste. Cynicism invites humor, undoubtedly. But it should be judiciously used to prove a point, not to simply make your post more amusing to those so far removed from the issue at hand they can delight in its frivolous presentation. Jammeh's remarks are reflective of 15 years of serious human rights abuse; anyone who has suffered as a direct result of these policies would be disenchanted and – more likely – disgusted by the way you've decided to present news of his speech…it caused (even further) widespread fear among some of the bravest Gambians at home and abroad, ones who already practice self-censorship when it comes to speaking out against human rights abuse in their country because of both threats and disturbing actions taken by Jammeh's regime and his notorious NIA.

    Almost as bad is your treatment of the magical healing powers…there are very serious consequences for the individuals and communities duped into believing he can cure their fatal diseases. It is not funny in any way; it causes suffering. Please don't try to use this type of humor in hopes it appears ironic in some way and actually represents the seriousness of these issues. If that was your goal, it failed; though I don't believe it was possible in the first place. There is nothing funny about either of the issues you've chosen to address here. Your attempt is only insulting and cruel to those affected by the consequences of both. And there are many.

    If you want to make fun of Jammeh, perhaps point to stories accusing him of bestiality (although, if true, poor animals…) or accounts of him having so many protective charms (jujus) with him on the day of his coup that he even had some sticking out of his mouth. Like you so often say to others: do a little research. Reporting integrity is in both the gathering and the presentation of information. Discretion is key. Use it.

  2. Dear Anonymous, bleak situations invite humor. I don't find anything said here to be in poor taste, except for you telling commentators how to "report" and how to use humor, and on their own blog! I guess you don't read The Onion either.

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