Dear editor,

Many thoughts come to many minds on the last days of the year as well as the beginning of the year. Naturally the mind wonders back and forth and reflects on what has happened and may happen; how one has carried out her work and her commitments and, how one has succeeded or failed.

I wonder how The Standard newspaper’s readers looked upon the past year in terms of the regularity, consistency, quality and decency of a tireless contributor in the name of Aisha and her column, AÏCHA: TALES FROM SWEDEN.

Aisha has certainly worked hard in collating her thoughts. She certainly has projected herself as a tireless writer. She certainly has projected herself as a disciplined and cautious communicator. Aisha regularly communicates that which is immediately, willingly and readily consumable. She certainly has said for us in concise, readable and polite manner, all that we had wanted to know and say but don’t know how to.

Aisha’s tales, which are unique and original, invite the uncommitted to commit themselves to decency, tolerance, democracy, while at the same time redefining for those already committed the value of their affirmation: that stripped off the enticements of propaganda, “tolerance and commitment” are the lubricating oil for a functional democracy. This much the committed citizenry has learnt from Aisha’s Tales.
Without heat, without cant, without despair, Aisha’s tales quietly and eloquently qualifies her to be named “woman of the year.” This is my humble submission to The Standard to name Aisha Jallow as Woman of the Year, 2019.

A concerned citizen
(Name and address withheld on demand)







Dedication to the loving memory of Magji Ousman Manjang

Dear editor,

On 6th October, 2019, comrade and brother Ousman Manjang passed away, having lived for almost 67 years. We met on the path of struggle for the cause of the people, under the Movement for Justice in Africa.
On this 22nd day of January, three years ago in 2017, I was released from detention. But before that, he had offered to sacrifice his freedom in my favour. I dedicate this poem, untitled, to his loving memory, aluta continua. May his rest in peace.
We the free-spirited and age-less
Who put our genetic stamp
On humanity;
We the enslaved and colonised
Who inspired freedom and
Democratic development;
We the cultured and communal
Whose fountain nurtured
The arts and science;
We Africans, the cradle of cooperation,
Are rising again,
To redeem human dignity.








Some truths about the coronavirus

Dear editor,

More than 17,000 people worldwide are infected with the novel coronavirus.
There have been more deaths in mainland China than during the SARS outbreak.
The World Health Organisation has stepped up the fight against confusion and misinformation around the outbreak.

The novel coronavirus, 2019-nCoV, has now been detected in 23 countries.
The majority of people infected are located in China, where more people have now died from the new coronavirus than were killed by Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2002-2003. So far, 362 people have died from the new coronavirus.
As fears and misconceptions spread online, the WHO has started a campaign to educate people on the new coronavirus.

Here are key things to know about the novel coronavirus.
Vaccines against pneumonia and flu do not provide protection against the novel coronavirus, says the WHO. It’s simply too new, and work on a vaccine specifically for the new virus is still in process. At the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos last month, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations announced a new partnership to develop vaccines for 2019-nCoV as quickly as possible.

There are still things you can do, such as washing your hands – especially if you have been sneezing. And if you are sneezing, make sure to cover and catch that sneeze. You can cup your hands over your face, or sneeze into the crook of your elbow, or into a tissue. But make sure to securely dispose of the tissue straight away.
The 2019-nCoV may have come from animals, but your pets are not likely to be part of the equation. The WHO says, “At present, there is no evidence that companion animals/pets such as dogs or cats can be infected with the new coronavirus.”

There are lots of other reasons for good hygiene around pets, though. Some common bacteria can pass between animals and people, such as E.coli and salmonella. Washing your hands with soap and water can guard against them.
In the 2002-2003 SARS outbreak, 8,422 people were infected and there were 916 deaths worldwide. The overall death rate for infected people was 11%. But for infected people 24 and younger, the death rate was just 1%, while for those aged 65+ it was 55%.

In short, anyone can catch a virus. But the effect it will have on you, and how seriously ill you might become, can be dependent on several other factors. Older people and anyone with pre-existing medical conditions, like asthma, diabetes or heart disease, appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the new coronavirus, according to the WHO.

Pierre Mendy

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