I'd better not go to Gambia...


In Gambia, two Scottish Christian missionaries have been given a year in prison with hard labour, having sent emails home criticizing the government. Criticizing the government is not, it seems, allowed in Gambia. Well, I think the government of Gambia are complete scumbags, so I guess I should give myself up now.

Gambia at least has a constitution, but it gives most power to its President - retired colonel Yahya Jammeh. It even has elections that border on being fair, which brought the colonel to power in 2006. It may have helped that he had arrested a number of opposition sympathizers and journalists on the grounds that they were plotting a military coup.

A special commission has the power to imprison journalists, print and broadcasting media have to be registerd with the government, and libel and slander, including criticism of the government, of course, is punished with imprisonment. The media prights group Reporters Without Borders reckons that Gambia is a police state which uses murder, death threats, and arrest to curb criticism from journalists.

What always amazes me, when such injustices are exposed, is why we take countries like Gambia, or Zimbabwe, or any of the others, seriously. Most of all, why do we let them strut at the United Nations as if they are on a par with truly democratic nations?