Our New Gambia; one can’t say if it is tragic, sad, or both; that we seem to be taking on issues with such frivolity and lack of depth in our thinking. We are so sentimental with a flair for the dramatic that we cannot separate issues from personalities or vice versa. Or maybe the New Gambia is a call to shun all manner of intellectual maturity in our discourses as far as social media is concerned, at least for some; or are we deliberately seeking to enthrone our saints and cast others out as villains so much so that basic decency is thrown out the window?
Everything, until now seemed fine and normal until certain personalities associate themselves with it, personalities that we disagree with on one or two issues and so by extension everything they are associated with has to be cast in bad light regardless of who else may be associated with that issue or who benefits from that issue. Judging by the average age of social media users, our future looks bleak indeed. But it is not all bad news, there are very mature and intellectually sound youngsters that make you smile when you hear them speak up. You smile with optimism and hope, certain that not all is lost. Let us hope and pray that they seek public office and beyond to shape the future we would all desire for our progeny.
The hallmark of Gambian, and indeed African culture is the respect for elders; respect so great it borders on reverence accorded the divine. That respect in tone and approach seems to be lacking in many a discourse these days all in the name of ‘free speech’ and ‘democracy’. How tragic!
I was appalled to read somewhere on social media that President Barrow and the officials that accompanied him on the trip to Mecca for the Hajj were “busy with idol worship while floods ravage the country.” How low can one sink? Spare me with the notion that not everyone views the Hajj as devotees of the Islamic faith do, or that they have a right to express their views; how could expressing one’s views with respect be anything anti-free speech?
Of the thousands of scholars and saints (in the literal sense of the word) that traversed that land, transforming lives and improving people’s conditions, one so lacks respect for their efforts and their memories as to cast them as unworthy just because they subscribe to an ideology that you cannot fathom due to your blind hatred and bigotry towards Arabs due to the false narrative that they forced their religion on us.
The greatest self-deprivation is to reject the truth because of one’s blind hatred engineered by a mind fed with false narrative, and one that refuses to research facts because he presumes the notion of guilt by association.
Along those lines of finding fault with the Hajj because President Barrow and some government officials embarked on it, some made assumptions of corruption on a grand scale; the moderate ones suggested the passing down of the Hajj package to the poor who could have benefitted from that magnanimity. This stance, after it was established that the entire Hajj package was sponsored by the Saudi government. Even then, some went on to lecture us on how Saudi Arabia should conduct its foreign policy decisions that should favor the poor.
Logically, since it is an obligation on all believers who can afford it to perform the Hajj, is it not prudent that one that can afford it goes first before extending the opportunity to others? As a culture though, we give preference to our parents and elders, a commendable gesture that should be encouraged.
On the other hand, it is said that “sorri faano buka werren dendeh”
The power players in the Muslim world are Iran and Saudi Arabia (sadly, considering unity is a better approach), each tries to corral Muslim majority countries to their side through foreign policy gestures, the Hajj package being one such attempt. Saudi Arabia cozying up to The Gambia in that fashion is not new or unique, but it is sad that we live in times where matters of faith are used in power play games.
On that note, say President Barrow decides to go the route of giving the package to poor farmers who never dreamt of making the trip; judging by The Gambia’s political climate, is it farfetched to say that such a gesture will be viewed from a purely political perspective? Some will interpret it to say he is trying to make a name for himself like Yaya before him. Here’s a better one that would even generate more ill-informed sentiment…
…The Gambia is a secular state, why would the president use our tax Dalasis to sponsor a purely religious affair at the expense of other religions in the country? As if claimants believe anyhow themselves.
Gambians with terms and their meanings/implications needs a revisit. What democracy means, secularism, freedom/free speech, dictatorship, tribalism etc. have all become bastardized words so frequently abused and misused; I’d like to think mostly deliberately for sentiment.