“Senegal is worth all the sacrifices”
My fellow countrymen,
I was tempted to keep quiet and live, in silence, my suffering to see the country I love so much sink into distress, but an inner path intercepted me to tell me that my mutism risked leaving negative and indelible traces in my conscience. This leads me to address you to offer, in all humility, some ways of thinking for a crisis exit for the sole purpose of serving our dear country.
In the aftermath of the violent protests that took place between June 1st and June 3, 2023, the official record released by the competent authorities states 16 deaths and nearly 400 injured. Cheikh Anta Diop University, distribution chains, petrol station networks, infrastructure and means of transport, banks and financial institutions have been attacked by several of our media outlets. The list is far from exhaustive
For the first time in Senegal’s history a demonstration has caused so much loss of life, so much bodily damage, so much material damage in so many vital sectors of our economy. Senegal, a country of dialogue, which, before mining, oil and gas resources, considered peace, stability and hospitality as its main assets, has now served the whole world a particularly negative image.
As a former Foreign Minister who, for three years, had to present the world the image of Senegal as a peaceful haven and endless opportunities for investors, I can only feel infinite sadness and profound discomfort. Immeasurable sadness to see the loss of lives of young Senegalese who were a hope of prosperity for themselves but also for their parents.
Bottomless discomfort to witness the destruction in a few days of so many apartment properties of nationals and foreigners who were the only mistake of choosing Senegal, based on its reputation as a country of peace and stability, to invest in it.
My sincere condolences to the Senegalese nation and to the relatives and friends of the victims. My sincere sympathy for the immense pain you are feeling. My deepest condolences to the persons whose property was vandalized. However, in my previous posts, especially in the one I launched on the occasion of Korité 2023, I had sufficiently sounded the alarm saying that the only way out to preserve peace in Senegal was a sincere and inclusive dialogue.
But the time is not for rematch. The hour is ticking. The time is to look for ways out of the crisis before it is too late. I can only first join my humble opinion with that of Mr. Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, who “urges all actors (… ) to restraint” and that of Mr. Moussa Faki Mouhamed, President of the Commission of the African Union, who calls on “all stakeholders for a dialogue to overcome their differences”.
We are all Senegalese, we were all fundamentally educated in the cardinal values of peace and respect for human life. Since our common enemy, anger, has driven us to act against our nature, the current moment of calm must lead us, on the other hand, to a serious introspection to stop damaging the lives, integrity and property of Senegalese people as well as foreigners.
The international community is watching us. We are at the crossroads of our destiny as a nation. We can choose to sink for decades into the depths of shared terror, but I trust the peaceful genius of our people will not choose that path.
My dear compatriots, you who exercise power by divine will, my dear compatriots, You who aspire to lead this country by proposing to the Senegalese other ways of prosperity, the only urgency of the moment is the search for salvation for our people.
You know, I know, our salvation of the moment lies solely in our commitment, with courage and responsibility, to an inclusive dialogue involving all political actors. I am convinced that deep inside all of us there is a deep murder that will only come out the day when peace finally returns to Senegal.
Let us give ourselves the chance to leave to history the most beautiful page of height and sacrifice to put the fate of our country back on the tracks of its intrinsic values of peace, solidarity and humanism (jamm, ayad ak yeurmandé). I conjure you by the grace of God hear your reason hear your love for this country.
God save Senegal .
President Madicke NIANG