By Landing Ceesay
The co-founder of Council of African Descendants [COAD] continued to seek Gambia’s consideration of the automatic citizenship proposal by the group.
“I am asking for our automatic citizenship proposal to be at least considered, I am asking for an audience with President Barrow to discuss just that. Because we need to be automatically seen as Africans. This has already been ordained within the African Union,” Juliet Ryan, the co-founder of Council of African Descendants said.
She continued that it is their ‘birth right to be seen as automatic Africans’ quoting opposition Halifa Sallah, the flagbearer of opposition PDOIS.
“As Halifa Sallah said ‘it is our birth right’. So, we are not begging for anything, we are already citizens of Africa. Because our ancestors never gave up their birth rights not to be citizens. We are proud Africans and that’s why we are here.
“You could not ask to be born where you were born. I could not ask to be born where I was born. We didn’t have that power or control over where any of us were born; or whom we were born to. But yet we are here. We found ourselves in this situation where we are discriminated against by the fact that our ancestors went through the trans-Atlantic slave trade,” Ryan stated.
She said it is very hard to return because it is not an easy journey to return. Ryan said many people in the West are not aware of the beautiful aspects of Africa, and the economic benefits that are being ripped out of Africa every day; thus, the need for people to come together to stop the exploitation and re-colonization of Africa which she said is happening at a rapid speed.
Juliet Ryan who goes by her Gambian name ‘Nyancho Kujabi’ further stated that they need to be part of an integrated law, an integrated society and also an integrated part of the educational system so that they are not treated as others or outcasts.
“We are your long-long cousins, and I will not treat my long-long cousins like how we are being treated here [Gambia] at the moment. I am not talking about the local people but the legislature and the system in place; and I’m not blaming anyone because these are laws inherited from colonialism,” Juliet stated.
COAD comprises individuals born to Africans transported from the continent through the Trans-Atlantic trade who were living overseas but traced their origin in African. They decided to return to The Gambia as permanent residents seeking for a legislature to grant them automatic citizenship, a request still not granted. The group uses Blaxit, a YouTube channel to advocate the return of African descendants to Africa and find their roots. Juliet is also the Chief Executive Officer of Blaxit YouTube channel.
She made these remarks on 30th May at a symposium organised by the Council of African Descendants (COAD) and BLAXIT YouTube channel to discuss automatic citizenship for African descendants living in the Gambia.