#GambiaHasDecided – one year in

#GambiaHasDecided hashtag campaign founders, The Gambia, West Africa ©Helen Jones-Florio
#GambiaHasDecided hashtag campaign founders, Bakau, The Gambia, West Africa. L-R: Lamin, Gilleh, Asta, Salieu  ©Helen Jones-Florio

 

The Gambia – the smallest country on the African continent – has come a long way since this time last year and the beginning of what, doubtlessly, will be an incredibly long journey.

It’s always a pleasure to see these guys, the founders of what became one of the most important, impactful, social media campaigns to come out of West Africa.

#gambiahasdecided 
Inauguration banners for President Adama Barrow - image ©Helen Jones-Florio , 2017. — with Andrew Renneisen and Jason Florio.
Inauguration banners for President Adama Barrow – image ©Helen Jones-Florio , 2017. — with Andrew Renneisen and Jason Florio.

 

#GambiaHasDecided - Gambian boys wearing their t-shirts for President Barrow Senegal inauguration celebrations, at Westfields junction, in The Gambia © Helen Jones-Florio
#GambiaHasDecided – President Barrow Senegal inauguration celebrations in The Gambia © Helen Jones-Florio

 

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#GambiaHasDecided

 

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Image © Jason Florio – Ex-President Yahya Jammeh leaving The Gambia to fly into exile in Guinea

 

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Image ©Helen Jones-Florio – Ex-President Yahya Jammeh leaving The Gambia to fly into exile in Guinea

 

 

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Image ©Jason Florio – Waiting for Jammeh – Press Gang, Yundum/Banjul Airport, The Gambia

 

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The Gambia – The Victims and the Instigator. Portraits © Jason Florio

Ex-president, Yahya Jammeh, with his ever-present security force ©Jason Florio
Ex-president, Yahya Jammeh, with his ever-present security force ©Jason Florio

 

One man, many victims

The Gambia – torture, abuse, and dissent

From 1994 -2017 Yahya Jammeh ruled the GambiaWest Africa as his own fiefdom, crushing dissent, and opposition with brutality. With Jammeh’s ouster and flight into exile, hundreds of Gambians now feel safe to come forward and speak freely about the crimes committed against them by his regime.

This portrait series is a work in progress…Jason Florio.

Jugana Susso, was arrested and detained during a peaceful demonstration by President Jammeh's feared security services. She was tortured and beaten so badly on her legs she has problems walking even around her own home ©Jason Florio
Jugana Susso, was arrested and detained during a peaceful demonstration by President Jammeh’s feared security services ©Jason Florio.

 

Read/see more images on Jason Florio’s blog and website.

"We Never Gave Up: Stories of Courage in Gambia" free doc screening, Aug 13th, London. Poster Image © Helen Jones-Florio (inside Mile2 prison) "We Never Gave Up: Stories of Courage in Gambia" free doc screening, Aug 13th, London. Image © Helen Jones-Florio (inside Mile2 prison)
“We Never Gave Up: Stories of Courage in Gambia” watch the documentary trailer Image © Helen Jones-Florio (inside Mile2 prison)

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Back in The Gambia, West Africa – images ©Jason Florio & Helen Jones-Florio

A recap, from The Gambia, West Africa – April 2018

Street Life, Serrekunda, The Gambia- young girls playing ©Helen Jones-Florio
Street life, Serrekunda, The Gambia ©Helen Jones-Florio
Here we are, back in our second home…

As ever, there are lots to see and do – and, a little time out from work to reconnect and celebrate with old friends

Black and white, Samba and Fatou's wedding celebrations, The Gambia, West Africa © Jason Florio
Samba and Fatou’s wedding celebrations, The Gambia © Jason Florio

 

And, of course, there is always the #9 pack…

 

Wolf, one of a pack of stray Gambian dogs, from the beach ©Helen Jones-Florio
‘Wolf’, one of the many waifs and strays who come to the compound for food, shelter, and a little pampering from us – Gambian dogs ©Helen Jones-Florio

 

Peaceful marches…

Connected to what we were up to last year, early on in the year and later in November, we headed over to Serrekunda and joined in on the Solo Sandeng Memorial March, April 14th, 2018, which took place to commemorate the prominent activist – of the opposition party, UDP, and youth leader –  and other victims. Sandeng was murdered whilst in custody on this day in 2016, under the old dictatorship of Yahya Jammeh. His death sparked a national outcry and the beginning of the end of Jammeh’s brutal rule – Gambians had decided that enough was enough. Saturday’s march would never have been possible under the former regime, without there blood being shed and/or lives lost

Solo Sandeng Memorial March, Gambia, West Africa ©Helen Jones-Florio
Solo Sandeng Memorial March, The Gambia, West Africa ©Helen Jones-Florio

 

Images from the Memorial March for murdered UDP activist, Solo Sandeng, The Gambia © Helen Jones-Florio & Jason Florio
Memorial March for murdered UDP activist, Solo Sandeng, The Gambia © Helen Jones-Florio & Jason Florio
Memorial March for murdered UDP activist, Solo Sandeng, The Gambia © Helen Jones-Florio
Memorial March for murdered UDP activist, Solo Sandeng, The Gambia © Helen Jones-Florio
Photographer and documentary film maker, Jason Florio at work, The Gambia © Helen Jones-Florio
Photographer and documentary filmmaker, Jason Florio at work, The Gambia © Helen Jones-Florio

 

On Monday, 16th April, we headed over to the capital of The Gambia, Banjul, to join a peaceful vigil by families of victims of Yahya Jammeh‘s regime, to demand that the Gambian government release the bodies of exhumed victims, and to open a dialogue with the families to help keep them informed of what they are doing to bring the perpetrators to justice.

Mr Njie during a vigil, in Banjul, for victims of the Jammeh regime holding a picture of his nephew Nyass who was killed during an attempted coup in 2014 to bring down the dictatorship, Gambia © Jason Florio
Mr. Njie during a vigil, in Banjul, for victims of the Jammeh regime holding a picture of his nephew Nyass who was killed during an attempted coup in 2014 to bring down the dictatorship © Jason Florio.

 

A peaceful vigil by families of victims of Yahya Jammeh's regime, holding placards of their missing family members, The Gambia © Helen Jones-Florio
A peaceful vigil by families of victims of Yahya Jammeh’s regime, holding pictures of their ‘disappeared’ loved ones © Helen Jones-Florio
A peaceful vigil by families of victims of Yahya Jammeh's regime © Helen Jones-Florio
A peaceful vigil by families of victims of Yahya Jammeh’s regime, Banjul, Gambia, with a police escort © Helen Jones-Florio.

 

We are looking forward to the next few weeks, here in The Gambia, to see what else our journey presents to us… feel free to follow us

@floriotravels / @jasonflorio

on Instagram – for regular photo updates.

Helen Jones-Florio

Jason Florio & Helen Jones-Florio, The Gambia, West Africa
Jason Florio & Helen Jones-Florio, The Gambia, West Africa, Nov 2017