Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Illinois teen wears a hijab, and invites everyone to try it, just for one day

youthjournalism.org
A small number of the Muslim students at victor J. Andrew High School in Tinley Park, Illinois, include, from left, Esraa Gomaa, Jameela Yasmin, Ayaa Kanan, Diana Awawdeh, Danya Abuawad, Tesneem Abdelkhaliq and Jenna Ahmad.
By Diana Awawdeh
Reporter
TINLEY PARK, Illinois, U.S.A. – A hijab, or head scarf, is not meant protect men but to honor women. It is not just what you’re wearing but it's also what you do and say.
It’s who you are.
World Hijab Day is to represent and support Muslim women who wear the hijab. Anyone can wear the hijab for a day on February 1st  to support and represent these women. You don’t need to be religious or a Muslim to do it.
New Yorker Nazma Khan founded National Hijab Day, which was first celebrated in New York in 2013.
Last year, people in 150 nations took part in World Hijab Day, according to the event website, worldhijabday.com. Organizers are expecting participation from people in 190 countries this year.

When I began to wear the hijab, I was 15 years old and it was my choice. Nobody ever told me to wear it or forced me to wear it. My parents made sure when I wore it, I was comfortable and happy in it.
I wear it every day and only around people who aren’t related to me. I can take it off at home and around my female friends and my family.
Some people think the hijab oppresses women. Technically it's not. It gives women freedom to try to be whatever they would like in a career or hobby.

Islam doesn’t have any rule that specifically tells women not to work in an environment because of her gender or her clothes. Islam isn’t oppressing anyone and is welcoming and gentle.
Let me tell you something. Since July 21st, 2013 – the first day I wore it – I am still in love with my hijab and will always be.
My hijab gave me strength and confidence, and I always lacked confidence. As a Muslim American, I wore my hijab to express my beliefs and to show the world what the hijab really is. Wearing the hijab is my decision alone.
With a hijab, Muslim women can express our beauty and let people know that we are not oppressed but instead living with freedom and happiness.

With all the anti-Muslim sentiment coming from all over the country and especially the man sitting in the White House, you may think that I have second thoughts about my hijab and keeping my religion private.
I did not, surprisingly.  I never had any hesitation about wearing my hijab or being open about my faith. I'm always proud and never afraid to show it.
As a Muslim in today's society, you can't be weak. You have to stay strong and keep your head up. There may be people who are bigots, but then you will find people who have your back and stand up for you.
Knowing there are people out there in the United States who show their love towards us and don’t judge us makes me happy and stronger.

After President Trump signed the executive order creating the “Muslim Ban” that restricts people from seven mostly Muslim nations from entry into the U.S., thousands of people across the country protested it.
No matter what role you have in life, what race you are, whether you are Republican or Democrat, a celebrity, a billionaire or a regular student or working person, we all need to fight together against discrimination. It will make us stronger and keep our heads up high.

To my Muslim sisters: never hesitate to wear your hijab. It makes you stronger and beautiful.
As a Hijabi (a women who wears a headscarf called a hijab for religious beliefs), I chose to become a fashion and lifestyle blogger and YouTuber, so I can show the world what the hijab really is and how beautiful it is. It’s my way to prove to the whole world that just adding a piece of cloth to your head does not make you different.
When they see on the internet what the hijab is, people become more familiar with it and view it no differently than other fashions or styles.  A hijab embraces the beauty of a woman and shows the world how she is just as beautiful as a woman who is not wearing one.
The color of our skin, hair or eyes, or our choice of clothes doesn't change who we really are deep inside. We are all human beings.
What do you think? Will you stand in solidarity with me and my Muslim sisters by wearing the hijab for one day on February 1?
With all the modesty and respect you get as a Hijabi, you would feel like a queen and that your hijab is your crown.
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Monday, January 30, 2017

Muslim ban breaks America's promise

youthjournalism.org
The Statue of Liberty, as seen from New York harbor, has long been a beacon of hope to American immigrants and refugees.
By Mugdha Gurram
Senior Reporter
"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
WEST HARTFORD, Connecticut, U.S.A. –  That promise of open arms, engraved on the Statue of Liberty, rings empty in the ears of immigrants and refugees now.
On Friday, January 27th, President Trump signed an Executive Order stopping immigrants and refugees from seven Muslim countries entering the United States.
Following through on promises he made during his campaign, Trump implemented the ban with the intention of decreasing acts of terror, the blame for which he placed upon the Muslim community.
It was an action rooted in hatred, fear, and cowardice.
The Trump administration fails to see the humanity in an issue that is at its core about humanity.
Immigrants and refugees are not statistics. They are not “this percentage” terrorist and “that percentage” job stealers. They are people who are fighting for hope and opportunity, people fleeing injustice and persecution. They are people seeking the open arms promised at America’s gates, the home promised by words engraved on the Statue of Liberty. They are people who have faced threat after threat only to be accused of being one themselves.
As an immigrant, I can say proudly that we understand and embody American values just as well, if not better, than many native-born Americans. Because being an immigrant is not easy. You do not just get to just hop on a plane and fly to America on a whim. It takes time and money and grit and patience. You have to fight be an immigrant. You sign document after document, wait year after year, invest thousands after thousands to arrive and do it all again just to stay here.
Immigration is not a process for the faint of heart. It takes people away from their family, their homeland, from everything they’ve ever known and tosses them into a sea of uncertainty.
But immigrants do it anyways. Why? Because we believe in American values. We believe in the freedom, hope, and opportunity promised by the United States.
No race, faith, or nationality keeps an immigrant from believing in that promise. And for that reason, no race, faith, or nationality should keep an immigrant from their rightful place in America.
I fail to see how any proponent of American values can support this Muslim ban. How can someone who claims to celebrate freedom deny it to those who seek it? How can someone who claims to support equality deny it to those they deem lesser?
My heart breaks on behalf of all those who overcame barrier after barrier just to be stopped at the finish line. Those who have come running into the open arms of a nation should not have to see it turns its back at the last second.
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Saturday, January 28, 2017

Celebrating the Year of the Golden Rooster

Selvaganeshamoorthi Balakrishnan / youthjournalism.org
This is the Year of the Golden Rooster in the Chinese zodiac calendar. Effigies of roosters are omnipresent in Singapore's Chinatown for the Lunar New Year celebration.
 

Selvaganeshamoorthi Balakrishnan / youthjournalism.org
Thousands of people filled up the streets and alleyways of Singapore's Chinatown on the eve of the Lunar New Year.

Selvaganeshamoorthi Balakrishnan / youthjournalism.org
The color red is ubiquitous during the Lunar New Year period, as it's seen as an auspicious color in Chinese culture. These lanterns are hung on strings along the streets of Singapore, illuminating the path below.

Selvaganeshamoorthi Balakrishnan / youthjournalism.org
Workers selling sweets at the Lunar New Year Night Market at Chinatown, Singapore.

Selvaganeshamoorthi Balakrishnan / youthjournalism.org
Giving sweets to loved ones is a Lunar New Year tradition. In multi-cultural Singapore, citizens of every ethnicity join in, giving gifts to their Chinese friends and money in red packets (Ang Pows) to children.

Selvaganeshamoorthi Balakrishnan / youthjournalism.org
Colored flower lanterns and other decorations for the Lunar New Year brighten a roadway in Singapore.
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Monday, January 23, 2017

Teen journalists and teachers, it's time to enter your work in YJI's 2017 contest

youthjournalism.org
Trophies from Youth Journalism International's 2016 Excellence in Journalism contest.
WEST HARTFORD, Conn., U.S.A.  –  January 23, 2017 - Connecticut-based non-profit organization Youth Journalism International is hosting its eighth annual Excellence in Journalism contest, the largest in the world for English language work published by amateur journalists aged 19 or younger. The event aims to further YJI’s mission of promoting a free youth press, fostering cross-cultural understanding and showcasing the voices of the next generation. In the contest, original content published in 2016 will be judged by professional journalists, educators and experts in related fields. The deadline for entry is 11:30PM EST on Feb. 3, 2017 (see rules for details).
The international contest features “High Honors” prizes in more than 20 specific categories, including individual and team reporting, sports journalism, multimedia, reviews and more. In addition, five “Highest Honors” prizes recognize outstanding commitment to key values of journalism as well as journalism education. Winners receive YJI prizes and often receive acknowledgements from local and national/international news outlets as well.
Photo provided
Francisco Martinez of the Alaska Teen Media Institute won the 2016 Frank Keegan "Take No Prisoners" Award for News for his story on a new drug, spice, that was sweeping his community.
This year, “Technology” has been added as a category for High Honors prizes, in recognition of the profound impact that technological advances have had and will continue to have on the world around us. Another change is the expansion of the “Sports” category definition to include “Esports,” or professional video gaming. Work in any journalistic medium that focuses on Esports is officially included in its respective Sports category. For example, an Esports photo submission would be judged alongside Sports photos and receive a Sports category prize.
“Youth Journalism International is dedicated to providing next-generation resources and community for thousands of young aspiring journalists across the globe,” said YJI Executive Director and veteran journalist Jackie Majerus. “From our beginnings as a teen newspaper in 1994, we have served as a platform for young people to hone their reporting skills and collaborate online and in-person to see their perspectives impact the world. Our annual contest is a celebrated part of recognizing and encouraging that work.”
The 2016 YJI Excellence in Journalism contest saw nearly 100 winners in 19 U.S. states and nine nations across five continents. Students and student publications in middle schools, high schools and universities were recognized for original content ranging from reporting on local drug addiction epidemics to features on discrimination against LGBT teens to photo essays about India.
The contest’s coveted Courage in Journalism award has been given to young journalists who investigated teen murder and rape in Ethiopia, overcame challenges to launch independent, internationally-flavored news sites and more.
“The truth is, YJI saved my life,” wrote former YJI reporter Jessica Elsayed, winner of the first Courage in Journalism prize in 2011 for her coverage of the Arab Spring in Egypt. “It showed me that that I, like all youth, have respectable thoughts that, when put into writing, are priceless.” Elsayed went on to graduate from Denison University in Ohio, U.S.A. and become an AmeriCorps member who currently works in Community Refugee and Immigration Services in Columbus, Ohio.
Previous contests and winners have been highlighted by NPR, NBC affiliates, the Journalism Education Association, WorldNetDaily.com, the International Journalists Network and many other notable organizations and publications. Winners have gone on to attend some of the world’s most prestigious post secondary schools and some are professional journalists.
About Youth Journalism International
The genesis of YJI traces back to 1994, when Majerus and YJI board President Steve Collins started a teen publication in Bristol, Connecticut called The Tattoo. When The Tattoo went online in 1996 as the first website devoted entirely to student journalism, it sparked keen domestic and international interest, which led to YJI’s formal incorporation in 2007. As YJI’s network grew to more than 200 students in dozens of countries (and more on the waiting list), the platform has featured eyewitness reporting on nearly every major story of the past decade worldwide; YJI reporters have attended press events by international journalism outlets like ESPN, interviewed the Dalai Lama and more. Visit YJI at http://youthjournalism.org/ and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/YouthJournalism/.

Contact:
Jackie Majerus
Executive Director
Youth Journalism International
860-655-8188

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Sunday, January 22, 2017

Women march in Omaha as part of worldwide protest against Trump

Garret Reich / youthjournalism.org
The Women's March in Omaha on Saturday, Jan. 21.

By Garret Reich
Senior Reporter
OMAHA, Nebraska - “This is what democracy looks like!” rang out in Nebraska just as it did in cities and towns across the land Saturday.
The Women’s March on Washington movement started as just that -- a march by women on the nation’s capital. But one day after the inaugural address of President Donald Trump, it exploded into an international crusade.
Omaha was just one of the hundreds of cities to feel the electrical pulse. The organizers were not expecting a crowd much larger than a few thousand. They were thrilled when more than 12,000 showed up.


Garret Reich / youthjournalism.org
Marchers gather in Omaha, Nebraska.
Before the march, protesters waited outside and within Century Link Convention Center to find seats, in order to hear the day’s speakers. Due to the unexpected turnout, it was difficult to get in.
This didn’t stop protesters from staying loud and inspired.  
The Betsy Riot group, a prominent congregation in the march, held a makeshift coffin with “Democracy” painted on the front. A leader of the group said they were mourning the fall of democracy. They later led cries of “No KKK. No NRA. No neo-Nazi USA.”
Starting at the convention center at promptly 6 p.m., protesters kicked off their march through Omaha. They traveled through 14 blocks of the Old Market, cycling chants and jubilant cheers.
“Love trumps hate!” and “Hey hey, ho ho, misogyny has got to go” were two common shouts.
The crowd’s favorite appeared to be “We will not go away!” echoed closely by “Welcome to your first day!”
Women were certainly not the only ones on the march. Both men and children accompanied them in large numbers. They walked, leading many of the cheers and holding home-made signs.
One eight-year-old girl held a sign that canvassed for her 2048 presidential campaign. Another young girl held one that said, “Because I matter.”
At the conclusion of the march, those who finished first, stood and continued to cheer. People poured through until the police cars ushered participants onto the sidewalk, thanking those that did so.
Walking away, one could still hear the continued shouts from protesters who aren’t ready to give up.
Garret Reich / youthjournalism.org
Outside the Century Link Convention Center in Omaha for the women's march on Saturday.

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Friday, January 20, 2017

Senseless violence in Australia leaves some young people feeling vulnerable

By Jack Ward
Reporter
ARARAT, Australia – In Australia, people are stunned after a man, seemingly struggling with mental health issues, ran down dozens of people in the Melbourne Central Business District.

Around midday Friday the shocking news came through that there had been an incident in the center of Melbourne, and of course my first thought – and I’m sure I wasn’t alone – was terrorism.
The horrific incident – seen in footage shared on social media – started with the offender doing burn outs in what is one of the busiest intersections in Melbourne, with onlookers even approaching the car and hitting it with a bat.
The 26-year-old man then drove towards the Bourke street mall which was at its busiest, with it being school holidays and around lunch. He then drove down the mall, plowing through innocent shoppers, workers, tourists and children.
Police arrested the driver at the bottom of the mall with an unsettling empty pram on the car’s bonnet. The business district then went into lockdown and the investigation began.
These dreadful events caused speculation of suspected links to terrorism, but that police from Victoria dismissed that.
It’s unclear what was the motive behind this attack that left a man and woman in their 30s and a child dead and at least another 15 injured, including five critically. Whatever the reason, it doesn’t excuse this man for taking three lives away.
The future doesn’t look very positive for young people with more and more attacks occurring, whether it’s related to terrorism or drugs, as this is expected to be.
Are we safe anymore? The emergency services do a great job responding, but what is being done to prevent these events from happening in the first place? Youth are starting to feel unsafe, summing up this action as devastating and tragic.
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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Gambia's empty streets and military checkpoints reflect fears of the people

Lama Jallow / youthjournalism.org

Serrekunda, a busy seaside city in The Gambia, is typically bustling, but with the president unwilling to cede power after losing the national election last month, people are fearful of political violence and are staying off the streets.

By Lama Jallow
Senior Reporter
SERREKUNDA, The Gambia – Deserted streets in this busy seaside city are one indication that citizens here are fearing war.
The sitting president, Yahya Jammeh, remains unwilling to step down after losing the Dec. 1 national election to challenger Adama Barrow, who leads a coalition party. Barrow is supposed to take office Thursday, Dec. 19.
Intervention by other African leaders has so far failed to convince Jammeh – who has ruled for 22 years – to take part in a peaceful transfer of power. Immediately after the election he conceded, but since then has rejected the results.
Two countries, Nigeria and Morocco, have offered him refuge in exchange for accepting defeat, but he remains here.
But still there are no signs of peace and soldiers are positioned with armored vehicles at military checkpoints here.  

Barrow's representatives have said no one should go out after midnight tonight. A spokesman for Senegal's army told Reuters that its troops will enter The Gambia at midnight if Jammeh doesn't leave power.


U.S. State Department map
The Gambia, on West Africa's coast, is surrounded on three sides by Senegal.

On Tuesday, Jan. 16, Jammeh declared a state of emergency in The Gambia. After that, terrified people ran to close their shops.
On Wednesday, local news and international media reported that the nation’s parliament had accepted the state of emergency and extended Jammeh’s rule for 90 days.
In Serrekunda, big stores were closed Wednesday and many usually crowded streets are empty.
The city’s large market, however, was full of people hurrying to stock up, much like they did before the election when people feared that unrest would follow.


Lama Jallow / youthjournalism.org
On Wednesday morning, people rushed to buy food at the market in Serrekunda, fearing that violence could keep them inside.

Those who can are buying food so if anything happens they will not be found wanting.
Most of the shops that remained open Wednesday are owned by foreigners from the northern part of Africa. People who were late in buying food for their homes are happy the shops are still open.

Lama Jallow / youthjournalism.org
Vehicles lined up at a Serrekunda garage to be picked up after repair. But with people fearful and fleeing, no one is picking them up, causing a loss of income to those who did the work.
Tourists were ordered early Wednesday by their own countries to leave The Gambia.
Some people are adamant that Jammeh will step down before the planned inauguration. It's a sign of hope, but not enough to convince people to stay.
Jammeh is showing no sign of stepping aside and Barrow making no indication that he will wait.
According to a report Wednesday in The New York Times, a multi-national military force from West African nations is “ready to intervene” if Jammeh doesn’t leave. In addition, the newspaper reported that a Nigerian warship is on the way to Gambia, though Nigerians are calling it a training exercise.
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Iowa: natural beauty after an ice storm

Garret Reich / youthjournalism.org

Gettys, a 25-year-old Arabian horse who belongs to the photographer, makes her way through the remains of the ice after a recent storm at her home in Glenwood, Iowa. Click on the photo to enlarge.

Garret Reich / youthjournalism.org

A classic Iowa sunset, with light reflecting off the last of the melting ice after a recent winter storm in Glenwood, Iowa.
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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Smog chokes Iran, sickens citizens

Frida Zeinali / youthjournalism.org
Smog chokes Tabriz, Iran.

By Frida Zeinali
Junior Reporter
TABRIZ, Iran – When you have chronic asthma, air pollution statistics are more than just numbers.
Negin Golizade is 16 and a student at Danesh Amuz High School in Tabriz whose life is made worse by smog.
Iran’s air pollution problem has forced her to miss school and stay indoors, she said.
The smog makes her asthma worse and increases the number of attacks she suffers during a day, Golizade said.
The absences from school have dramatically affected her grades as well as her health.
She’s not alone. Iran’s health ministry announced that 80,000 people lost their lives in 2012 due to air pollution-related diseases.

Photo provided
Negin Golizade of Tabriz, Iran, struggles with the smog even more because she suffers from asthma.
Polluted air has a significant impact on the general health of Iranian citizens. It’s common to see people walking around outdoors wearing masks.
“Everything is connected like chain links,” said Dr. Behzad Mafie, a pharmacist and drugstore owner. “Patients used to ask for antibiotics every year on this time and influenza was the most common illness among them, but nowadays we are dealing with a huge demand for respiratory disorder medications.”
The government is making efforts to minimize air pollution, but there is a long road ahead.
The smog forces authorities to close schools and kindergartens to reduce car traffic in cities and protect children from adverse health risks of air pollution. 
Frida Zeinali / youthjournalism.org
Smog hangs over the city of Tabriz, Iran.
 “Without Car Tuesdays” is a widespread campaign to reduce smog that was started by Mohammad Bakhtiari, an Iranian architect. Tuesdays are the middle of Iranian week and it is the day that pollution peaks. 
Despite these efforts, the smoke continues to choke people.
Decades of industrial growth spurred a rise in air pollution. Smog reaches dangerous levels in Iran’s major cities each winter, according to an official municipal website in Tehran dedicated to air quality, http://ai w.tehran.ir/.
A thick layer of smog covers the sky during this period, causing life-threatening health problems and environmental damage, according to the website.
According to experts, geography, temperature inversion, uninspected cars and low-quality fuels are among the main reasons for this dire situation.
Official statistics say cars produce 48 percent of Tehran’s pollution and motorcycles 22 percent. Uninspected cars add more pollutants to the air by incomplete combustion.
A layer of warm air above the city traps pollution from vehicles and causes air inversion. In this case, the topography of cities can have a crucial effect. Because of this, Tehran is the most exposed city to air pollution and suffers the worst results.
Pollution also affects other cities, including Ahvaz, Isfahan, Tabriz, Mashad and Karaj. 
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Sunday, January 15, 2017

Tension in The Gambia as president refuses to allow democratic transfer of power

Lama Jallow / youthjournalism.org
Foreigners pack up their things on top of vehicles ready to leave The Gambia, fearing political unrest.

By Lama Jallow
Senior Reporter
SERREKUNDA, The Gambia – People here who have never experienced war will witness a huge moment in the country’s history on January 19, when Adama Barrow, our new president, is supposed to take office.
The trouble is that President Yahya Jammeh, who lost the December 1 election to Barrow, is refusing to step down after holding power for 22 years.
Jammeh initially accepted defeat, surprising Gambians given that Jammeh had once said he would rule for a billion years.
But sadly, he went back on his decision to step down by nullifying the results and strongly rejecting the election outcome, claiming some abnormalities at the polls.
This caused a stir and prompted other African leaders to intervene while citizens are growing fearful of what could happen if there is no resolution when Jammeh’s term expires Thursday.
Lama Jallow / youthjournalism.org
Belongings of foreigners who are preparing to leave The Gambia, packed in bags ready for transport out of the country.

Delegates from the West African regional bloc, known as the Economic Community of West African States, arrived in the country January 13 with a hope of settling the problem.
The delegates were African heads of states: President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria, President Ellen Sir Leaf Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia and former President of Ghana John Drahami Mahama, who accepted defeat in the Ghana elections in December 2016.
The national leaders initially gathered last month in The Gambia to try to help settle the problem, but failed to persuade Jammeh to hand over power peacefully.
An official letter from Barrow said that meeting had no “productive results.”
After that, Barrow was invited to attend the summit that just ended in Mali with French and African leaders. Among other issues, they were to discuss Gambia’s situation. Gambians are eagerly waiting for what their president-elect will say after the summit.
Lama Jallow / youthjournalism.org
Vans that will take people out of the country.

Jammeh wants the a new election, but Barrow and supporters of his coalition party strongly reject this idea.
The elections have divided the country along ethnic lines. The Jola ethnic group, which includes Jammeh, fears an attack from the Mandinka ethnic group, which includes Barrow and many supporters of his incoming coalition party.
Gambians hope for a peaceful transition but the country is filled with weird speculation about the future.
Lama Jallow / youthjournalism.org
People prepare to leave The Gambia.
Foreigners, including those from Guinea, Liberia, Senegal and Sierra Leone, are going back to their respective countries, fearful of a similar situation that befell them in the wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Gambians are also on the move but mostly not out of the country. They're seeking refuge in their home villages where they have relatives.
Serrekunda – the busiest city due to its big market– is witnessing a drastic decline in its busy population, which includes many foreigners.
"It's a terrible situation and am disappointed if at all Jammeh will prefer fighting than peacefully stepping down, to be frank,” said Mahmoud Balde, who was at the market and preparing to go to Conakry, the capital of Guinea. “Gambia is a very peaceful country and Jammeh should consider that."
Nigerian officials recently approved asylum for Jammeh if he prepares to leave, but with Jammeh not appearing in any way ready for change, Gambians are worried about war.
In his efforts to stay in power, Jammeh has implemented his old methods of instilling fear within the Gambian climate to control every single thing that people do.
The national election commissioner is now in exile in neighboring Senegal, probably after fleeing Jammeh’s notorious secret thugs and the official election results have vanished from the national website.
Jammeh also closed down media outlets, notably the popular Paradise FM, Teranga FM, which is known for its turbulent relationship with the government and others, too. The Committee to Protect Journalists called on Gambian authorities early this month to lift the broadcast ban on three independent radio stations.
He didn’t stop there, but also arrested activists associated with the #GambiaHasDecided campaign. Others had already flee the country fearing for their lives as Jammeh and his associates continuously hunt activists, journalists and anyone speaking bad against his government.
Gambian musicians continuously showed their complete dissatisfaction about the current situation in their recent songs and urged Jammeh to step down.
The African Union, known for supporting members against rebels or any challenge to their democracies strongly demanded Jammeh resign before January 19.
Jammeh is not alone. His ministers and followers are right behind him, putting pressure on for him to stay in power.
Why is this all happening? Perhaps Jammeh committed unspeakable crimes against the Gambian people during his many years in power and fears being arrested immediately after stepping down.
If the world will sit idle and watch a tiny country being destroyed by someone who willingly rejected the will of the people, then that is against the ideology of democracy.
What will happen is still unknown, but anything is possible as the clock ticks towards the deadline.
Will Jammeh surprise Gambians and the world once again by stepping down peacefully, or will he prefer to go to war with anyone willing to remove him by force?
Only he has the power to settle this national crisis in a peaceful way – by stepping aside for the good of the nation to let the new president take office.

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