Author Archives: Mama Salone

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SIERRA LEONE WOMEN STOP ATTACKING OTHER WOMEN FOR YOUR WAYWARD PHILANDERING MEN!!

There is a disturbing video being shared on social media, mainly on WhatsApp, among Sierra Leoneans. The video shows a very young girl in Sierra Leone, being assaulted physically, verbally and appearing to be held against her will in an … Continue reading

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CLICK BAITING, FAME SEEKING CYBER BULLYING WOMEN IN SIERRA LEONE: LOVERS BEWARE!!

Mama Salone Blog is committed to promoting, advocating, and defending girls and women in Sierra Leone. But above all, Mama Salone Blog stands against oppression, injustice, and unfairness against anyone, regardless of gender, race, or creed. Therefore, it will be … Continue reading

Open Letter to Sierra Leone Minister of Education: Twerking Is Not “the Play of Children”

Dear Mr. Minister:

You started a recent post, in response to Sierra Leoneans who condemned the St. Joseph’s Girls twerking video with the expression: “There are certain things I believe in with my core-one of them is Freedom and the other is Education for all.” You went on to say that it is these core beliefs that led you to work with Youssou Ndour and other artists to produce the “Raise Your Hand,” video, which you shared in your post.

I share these core beliefs with you, as I am sure most Sierra Leoneans do. Also, as a woman born and raised in Sierra Leone, who experienced education marginalization, I, along with most Salone women and men, have been raising our hands for education, especially girls’ education, for decades. Therefore, in the interest of our shared core principles of Freedom and Education, I write in response to your post in which you chastised Sierra Leoneans who condemned the twerking girls on video at the St. Joseph’s Convent School in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

In your post, you stated that you were responding to people who condemned the girls for engaging in twerking while in a place that appears to be their classroom and during school hours. You further stated that critics have called for the girls to be expelled or suspended, to which you added “no, they weren’t expelled, nor will they be suspended.” Of course, I would not call for the girls to be expelled nor suspended; however, you could have reported this fact to the public in a more informative way, without making it sound so condescending toward Sierra Leoneans who disagree with you, given the public office you are currently occupying.

You also said “Girls must be girls. Children must be children.Do not talk about children’s body parts. Do not sexualize the play of children. Do not make a big deal out of children dancing and yes twerking in school (an all girls school, in their classroom, on their lunch break.)” 

As a mother, I remember when my kids were little and would engage in behavior I did not approve, especially in public; I would first say to him or her, ‘cut it out!’ If the child persisted, I would say, ‘Do not…’ And that would be immediately received by the child as a serious command from Mommy, which had consequences if not obeyed. Mr. Minister, I use this example to call your attention to our mutual principle, “Freedom.”

Why would you start any response to the Sierra Leonean adult public with the words “Do not?” Do Sierra Leoneans have the “freedom” to express how they feel about seeing schoolgirls engaging in twerking in their classrooms? Are you standing on your platform of power as a government minister to silence Sierra Leoneans who do not share your views on the publicly displayed sexually expressive dancing of our schoolgirls? I have no doubt that you hold “Freedom” as a core belief, as you freely express how you feel in your post. But I am a little concerned about you giving us the impression that other Sierra Leoneans do not have the same freedom to express how they feel.

Before I continue, here is the definition of twerking from Oxford Languages:

Twerking: Dance to popular music in a sexually provocative manner involving thrusting hip movements and a low, squatting stance.

Yes, the St. Joseph’s Girls got twerking to a T!

They were dancing in such a sexually provocative manner that left nothing to the imagination, in front of a video camera. So, when you say to Sierra Leoneans who condemn this, “Do not sexualize the play of children,” are you saying that it is the Sierra Leonean critics who are sexualizing the girls’ dancing moves? You would be wrong if that is your assertion. It is the girls whose dancing is entertaining to viewers who enjoy watching sexually expressive dancing of girl children; that is the problem Sierra Leonean critics are trying to point out in their condemnations.

Mr. Minister, twerking is not “…play of children” as you put it. In a country like Sierra Leone, where rape of girls is rampant and unabated, girls cannot afford to adopt sexually provocative dance as their chosen dance form to record and share on social media. Yes, girls have a right to self-expression, but they also need adult guidance as to how they can safely express themselves in creative ways, without attracting the wrong attention. Twerking is a form of dance that could inadvertently promote the very problem that is plaguing our girls and keeping women in their chronically marginalized status in Sierra Leone.

As the minister of education, who is fully aware of the fact that girls in Sierra Leone continue to lag behind boys in completing secondary school and in attaining higher education, due primarily to adolescent pregnancy and early marriage, you should understand why Sierra Leoneans would feel so strongly about girls engaging in behavior that could jeopardize their chances of attaining their highest educational potential.

You mentioned in your post that the girls in the video were in their final year of secondary school. Are Sierra Leoneans wrong to feel that these senior girls are setting the wrong example for the girls behind them? You also said that you were “tremendously proud of the leadership of St Joseph’s convent.” Is this your way of telling us that you influenced the decision of the school’s leadership on this issue? So, you are proud of them because they agreed with you, but you are saying “Do Not…” to those who do not agree with you, and you accused critics of cyber bullying the girls.

Mr. Minister, your response and reaction to Sierra Leonean critics, as previously pointed out, could be construed as a form of cyber bullying. You are a person in a position of power in government, therefore, responding to the reaction of ordinary folks who do not agree with you should not begin with “Do not…,” which does not spell “Freedom.”

Of course, I personally, would not ask for the girls to be expelled or suspended, regardless of whether they were in their junior or final year in school. Yes, St. Joseph took the right steps to offer counseling and speak to the parents. However, since this was out there in the public domain, Sierra Leoneans in the public domain should have the “Freedom” to react also, because they too wish the girls success in achieving their educational goals. As such, seeing them engaged in behavior that could be detrimental to their success in some ways, is troubling and must be called out.

I find your concluding remarks as a threat or warning, given that Sierra Leone now has a cyber law. and your remarks are also contradictory to your stance in this issue. You said,  

“It brings a few things to my attention- how we create and share digital content. Did those girls consent on sharing their videos? When you share and make sexual innuendos, do you know you are contributing to the gender-based violence?”

So, the girls who twerked, and were obviously twerking FOR the video camera, meant for social media, were, in your view, engaging in child’s play. But people who share that video, are breaking the law and “…are contributing to the gender-based violence?” This could be interpreted as your way of silencing Sierra Leoneans who do not agree with your views. Do you see why you should be careful what you say or write while holding a position of power?

Then you pose a very disturbing question to Sierra Leoneans who disagree with your views “… what did you dream last night to have so much hate in you for children?” Are we still talking about citizens condemning a bunch of schoolgirls dancing in a sexually provocative manner in front of their classroom? Why is it “hate” when Sierra Leoneans exercise their freedom to express distaste for girls behaving in this manner?

Most Sierra Leoneans may not hold government minister positions, but they passionately want to see girls self-expressing in creative ways, especially in ways that reinforce girls’ self-development and enhance their chances to succeed in attaining their highest educational and professional potential. Sierra Leoneans do not criticize because they hate any of those girls, in fact, they criticize out of love. I know I would not want to see any of my daughters twerking in front of their classroom to entertain sick minded sexual predators out there.

By the way, I watched the video you shared, and twerking was definitely NOT one of the dance forms included in it. I’m sure it would have been rejected had anyone suggested twerking to be part of it.

Mr. Minister, when you are in a position of power and influence, you must be cautious in exercising your “Freedom,” to admonish the public for exercising their “freedom” to express their views about issues in our society.

As a government minister, you are like a person running while holding a pair of scissors. Be careful!

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THE RAPING OF GIRLS IN SIERRA LEONE CONTINUES UNABATED

By Fatima Wahab Baby Girls and Adolescent Girls in Sierra Leone continue to be savagely raped, not by strangers but by men in their families and communities. There seems to be no deterrence for this savagery, as only a minute … Continue reading

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IS SIERRA LEONE THE WORST PLACE TO BE A GIRL TODAY?

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Due to the country’s high maternal mortality rate, somebody once said that “Sierra Leone is the worst place to be a pregnant woman.” Now the high rate of rapes, especially of very young girl children, the country is earning yet … Continue reading

HUMAN TRAFFIC RECRUITERS THRIVING IN SIERRA LEONE: IS GOVERNMENT UNAWARE OR COMPLACENT?

Despite the recent deportation of 85 Sierra Leonean women from Kuwait to Sierra Leone in May 2020, authorities in another West African country, Senegal, on June 23, 2020, arrested 87 young Sierra Leonean women, who had been brought to Dakar by a network of HUMAN TRAFFIC RECRUITERS and were waiting to be smuggled to the Middle East.

87 Sierra Leonean Women Arrested in Senegal

87 Young Women from Sierra Leone Smuggled into Senegal. Photo credit: SeneWeb

The 87 Sierra Leonean women in Senegal, who were found in houses in the suburbs of the capital Dakar, had been kept in hiding from the authorities, while the network of traffickers worked their magic to get them out of Dakar and across the desert, into Middle Eastern countries, such as Kuwait, Lebanon, etc., by all means possible. But thanks to the vigilance of the Senegalese authorities, this particular consignment of potential modern-day slaves has, hopefully, been saved.

Many of the recent deportees from Kuwait were the women whose video and audio messages we have all watched and heard, about being enslaved, tortured, and dehumanized in many other ways in Kuwait and other Middle Eastern countries. Many of these women were appealing to the public to rescue them and help them return home to Sierra Leone, Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda, and many more.

Photo credit: ThisIsSierraLeone.com

The Kuwaiti government, which had never cared much about the women’s plights, decided to deport the women back to their countries in the middle of the COVID 19 Pandemic.

Upon arrival in Sierra Leone, 67 of the deportees tested positive, even though the Kuwaiti government claimed they had tested negative before their departure.

The 85 Sierra Leonean women returned home with nothing but their breath, whatever illness they might have picked up and years of trauma that will forever haunt them emotionally, mentally, and probably physically.

HUMAN TRAFFIC RECRUITERS promise the women lucrative jobs as maids and childcare workers in the Middle East. But once they arrive, their passports are taken away from them by their employers, who treat them as slaves. The women work around the clock without pay or freedom to move around or leave.

A woman from Sierra Leone burned in Kuwait by her slavers. Photo credit: Abiodunborisade.com

The reasonable wo/man might think that after all this, the Middle East slave labor industry would have been shattered in Sierra Leone and Africa at large. But the reality is far from it.

In Sierra Leone, HUMAN TRAFFIC RECRUITERS are operating openly. Their advertisements are circulating mostly on WhatsApp open forums that have become the staple for young people in Sierra Leone. This makes one wonder whether the government of Sierra Leone is aware or just complacent about being a source country for this global slave labor industry.

On the issue of the women who were suffering in Kuwait and begging the Sierra Leone Embassy to rescue them, an Embassy official stated that,

Sierra Leonean housemaids working in Kuwait were recruited by agents approved by the Ministry of Labour of Sierra Leone with absolutely no knowledge of their presence by the Embassy of Sierra Leone in Kuwait (AYV Newspaper, 2020).

So, if the Sierra Leone Ministry of Labour is approving these recruitments, then that answers the question as to whether the Sierra Leone government is unaware of or complacent about HUMAN TRAFFIC RECRUITERS’ ability to openly operate in the country.

HUMAN TRAFFIC RECRUITERS in Sierra Leone are boldly transporting their chatel across the borders, to other West African countries for shipment to the Middle East into modern-day slavery and indentured servitude.

The image below is an example of the bold advertisement by recruiters in Sierra Leone, who are OPENLY sharing these ads on WhatsApp groups, and probably through other non-electronic means.

Sierra Leone Human Traffic Recruiters Advertisement

When this RECRUITER in the above ad was contacted, s/he informed the person that there was a group in Freetown that was ready to depart as soon as airline flights resume in Sierra Leone.

S/he advised that if the person wanted to be in the next group, the person should try and get a passport, a medical clearance, which s/he said would be provided by doctors in the HUMAN TRAFFIC RECRUITERS’ network.

S/he advised that the total cost is $10,000.00 (ten thousand US dollars) and the person would have to pay an initial amount, equivalent to $3,500 (three thousand five hundred US dollars). Upon completion of the process, the potential slave would pay the balance of $6,500 (six thousand five hundred US dollars) before leaving the country.

The ad even says that the potential slave can pay the balance at the airport; from this, we can deduce that none of the women are paying the full $10k before they leave the country. It would be impossible for these Sierra Leonean women, who are trying to flee poverty, to afford $10K. Even the women who engage in prostitution to pay for such a trip cannot accumulate such an amount in a short time. It is obvious that the only amount needed by the HUMAN TRAFFIC RECRUITERS is the $3,500 for the paperwork and airline tickets to their designated port of entry into the Middle East.

Ultimately, the potential slave is told to pay the balance of the money when she starts working in the Middle East, which is how slavery begins. The Middle East employers usually make payments directly to HUMAN TRAFFIC RECRUITERS; that is how they get paid and disappear from the sight of the enslaved women they recruit.

The reasonable wo/man may ask, ‘Why are young women putting themselves up for sale in the modern-day slave market?’ Here are some likely reasons:

  • First of all, HUMAN TRAFFIC RECRUITERS are conmen, and women who are well-versed in the art of inducement.
  • Young women in Sierra Leone see very little prospects in their future by staying in the country.
  • The majority of young women are illiterate, as Sierra Leone has one of the lowest female literacy rates in the world.

All this and more, make young women in Sierra Leone easy prey for persuasive, sweet-talking HUMAN TRAFFIC RECRUITERS. 

As authorities in Senegal have demonstrated by halting the passage of the 87 Sierra Leonean women into slavery, the government of Sierra Leone too can step up and play a major role in halting the operations of HUMAN TRAFFIC RECRUITERS in the country. 

@Fatimababih

@Mama_Salone

#StopHumanTraffickingSierraLeone

#ModernDaySlavery

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5-YEAR-OLD AMERICAN GIRL BRUTALLY RAPED and KILLED IN SIERRA LEONE: LET THE HILLS AND VALLEYS RE-ECHO HER CRY

All Sierra Leoneans Must Take Responsibility for Her Death and for the Protection of Girls and women!!

The victim, a 5-year-old girl, whose name and photos have been shared liberally on social media, but will be referred to in this article as our Precious Angel. She was born in Sierra Leone to an American father; which makes her a U.S. citizen born abroad, as she held a U.S. birth certificate and passport.

The father who lives in the United States, reports in audio heard on social media, that he received a call from Sierra Leone on the morning of June 17, 2020 (or thereabout) with news that his otherwise, healthy little girl was dead, with no cause of death reported to him, and that the burial arrangement was underway to bury her immediately.

The father reports that he insisted that his daughter’s body should not be buried until an autopsy was performed to know the cause of her death; so, an autopsy was performed.

The autopsy result, which has been widely shared on social media, shows that the poor Precious Angel’s cause of death is “MANUAL STRANGULATION, also called ASPHYXIAL DEATH.”

Strangulation is how large predator animals kill their prey.

This means the RAPIST, acting like an animal, strangled our Precious Angel by placing her in some kind of a chokehold or otherwise obstructed her normal breathing process; her inhaling and exhaling or respiration was stopped physically through the forceful hold by the RAPIST.

We all witnessed George Floyd dying in the same manner, in a video that showed the wicked policeman Derek Chauvin, with his knee on Floy’s neck, while Floyd cried “I can’t breathe.” George Floyd was a 46-year-old man of almost 6 feet tall and over 180 pounds, yet we all felt the frightful agony of his asphyxial death; we can still hear the echo of his cry for his mother.

Our Precious Angel’s death in this same heartless, brutal manner brings some  questions to mind:

  • Did our Precious Angel cry to her rapist “I can’t breathe?”
  • Did she call for her mom or dad?
  • Could anyone, besides her rapist, hear her cry?

These are questions that are distressing me and I’m sure doing the same to others.

The autopsy of this Precious Angel shows that, as a result of the rape, she suffered VIRGINAL and ANAL DILATIONS. This means that she was raped multiple times through both front and back. The autopsy also shows that her tongue was bitten; probably from the RAPIST holding on to her tongue with his teeth.

All of these brutalizing perpetrated on this Precious 5-year-old baby girl would have severely injured or killed any adult woman of any age.

Imagine the horror and pain of a 5-year-old baby girl dying in such a brutal, senseless way!

The RAPIST, in this case, is alleged to be a teenager, 15 or 17-year-old (who looks older in his pictures) identified as IBRAHIM BAH, who lived in the same household with the victim.

There are various versions of how this predator is related to his victim. One version is that the RAPIST is the biological half-brother of the victim and her 8-year-old sister, who has also been allegedly raped by this same RAPIST in the past.

He is also reported to be the biological brother to the victim’s mother, which would make him the uncle; and also, as the biological son of the victim’s aunt, which makes him a cousin. The fact, though, is that the RAPIST is a family member, who either resided with the victim in the same household or within the same community. But even if he lived in another town, the familial ties put our Precious Angel right in the wicked hands and filthy hold of this vicious predator.

Sadly, statistics show that nearly 75% of RAPISTS are not strangers to their victims, so only 25% of rapes are committed by people outside the family and community of the victim.

Since learning about the brutal death of our Precious Angel, I have been filled with so many emotions. I feel guilty, sad, angry, and depressed all at once. As an advocate and activist for girls and women’s rights and wellbeing, I feel guilty that I have not been able to contribute enough to have helped put things in place to protect the life of this Precious Angel; and probably many more girls in Sierra Leone, who are being buried without autopsy or public notice when they are brutally raped and murdered.

The adults in the family of the Precious Angel and her community must also feel guilty that they did not provide a safe home for her to live and thrive.

The government of Sierra Leone should feel guilty that with all its laws on the books, its weak legal system and social institutions have not handled rape cases judiciously nor have they provided safety and security for girl children in Sierra Leone to live and thrive.

Civil society in Sierra Leone, including community leaders, community members, families, and all ordinary folks must feel guilty that they have all failed our Precious Angel and other girls by not treating rape as a serious crime against humanity.

ROOT OF THE RAPE PROBLEM IN SIERRA LEONE SOCIETY

No legislation is going to stamp out rape in Sierra Leone until the people of Sierra Leone change their attitude about rape and change the way they view it and handle it. The normal handing of rape in Sierra Leone is the root cause of this problem. When a rape case is taken to the police, they usually ask that the families settle it as family or community matter, especially since 9 out of 10 times the RAPIST is a member of the same community.

The families would then get together and sort it out, leaving the girl, to deal with her mental, emotional, and physical wounds. All parties would be begging the parents or guardians of the victim not to “ruin the rapist’s future” by insisting on the legal prosecution process. And many times, when the rape results in a pregnancy, the girl is forced to go and stay in the home of the rapist’s family, to be cared for by them until she gives birth to the child.

This is the tip of the iceberg for how rape is a deep-rooted societal problem in Sierra Leone. I, therefore, propose that Sierra Leoneans must unite around the rape issue so that we can unearth this horrible ill from its root in the family and community units.

ALL SIERRA LEONEANS MUST SHARE THE SENSE OF GUILT AND RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE DEATH OF OUR PRECIOUS ANGEL AND OTHER RAPE VICTIMS!

As parents, especially mothers, we do everything in our power to protect our children from outside sexual predators and other harms, but it is almost impossible to protect them from those who are in our households, families, and communities. Therefore, all Sierra Leoneans must use this time of grief for our Precious Angel to reflect and ask themselves some questions:

  • How have we viewed rape in our families and communities?
  • Since we know that rape is perpetrated by people in our homes, communities, how can we use this information to stamp out rape in our families and communities?
  • How can we recognize RAPISTS in our midst, in our own households, families, and communities?
  • How can we STOP this gross violation of girls’ and women’s right to life and the right to live in safety and security?
  • How can we stop such sadistic, sick, and wicked souls from living and cohabitating with our precious girls and women in society?
  • what are the signs we should look for in boys and men as red flags for rape?
  • How many potential rapists, young or old, men do we have living among normal people in households and communities in Sierra Leone?
  • How can we protect our baby girls from such sadists within the family, community, and country?

This gruesome death of our Precious Angel should not be in vain and should be a wakeup call for all Sierra Leoneans to be vigilant and work to stamp out rape.

Sadly though, there is no sign of Sierra Leoneans uniting, not only to fight for justice for our Precious Angel but to also fight to prevent future RAPISTS and KILLERS of our precious girls in Sierra Leone. Based on the numerous audios and social media postings, the case is already being hijacked by people with various ulterior and political motives. This is the tragedy that will make the gruesome death of our Precious Angel go in vain and lead to continued rapes and killings of our precious girls.

HOW MANY MORE STORIES OF RAPE OF OUR PRECIOUS GIRLS ARE WE GOING TO WRITE AND TALK ABOUT BEFORE WE START FIGHTING TO STAMP OUT RAPE IN THE LAND THAT WE LOVE??

I hope and pray that this is the last rape story in Sierra Leone that needs to be written on Mama Salone Blog!

@Fatimababih                                                             #StampOutRapeSierraLeone

 

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Book Review: Looking Back My Life and Times by Dr. Sama Banya

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By Fatima Wahab Babih Looking Back My Life and Times is the autobiography of the erudite Sierra Leonean medical doctor and statesman, Dr. Sama Banya aka Puawui, who is also fondly called Uncle Doctor by his numerous nieces and nephews. … Continue reading

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Honor Her Birthday: Demand Justice for Breonna Taylor

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Today June 5, 2020, would have been Breonna Taylor’s 27th Birthday. But having been hit by 8 bullets that were shot into her body by Kentucky police officers, in her apartment, which they forcefully entered, while looking for persons that … Continue reading

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PRESIDENT MAADA BIO PLEASE PUT A LEASH ON YOUR MINISTERS AND PARTY LOYALISTS: GIVE PEACE A CHANCE IN MAMA SALONE!

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Yes, a LEASH! We are sick and tired of hearing their hate-mongering and violence-inciting speeches. We must remember that “When elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers” (African Proverb).   We at Mama Salone Blog are very concerned and … Continue reading