By Musa Bah:
The media experts tell us that a dog biting a man is not news as much as a man biting a dog is; but, in the case of the Gambia this week, it is news that a dog bit a man. A report on the newspapers on Thursday, 2nd January 2020 has it that dogs were found eating a dumped baby in the outskirts of Farafenni. Certainly, those dogs biting a man is newsworthy enough! What a tragedy!
This is one bad omen to enter the year 2020 with, no? Certainly, when we look at the enormity of this incident we will all agree that it is a bad presage for the nation and the people that call it home. What has happened to the morals of society to an extent that girls will give birth and then dump the baby in a dumpsite or in a pit latrine? What are the causes of these evils and how can they be stopped?
One has to throw the net as widely as possible to diagnose the problems that lead to these sordid actions. To begin with, what happens to the men or boys who engage in acts that can lead to the unwanted pregnancies of young girlsor women? Who censors the boys or men when things like this happen and who calls them out? Almost no one says a word about the evil they perpetrate. Sometimes, the victim-cum-perpetrators are young naïve girls whose schooling is brought to an abrupt end just because a young man (sometimes old men) could not zip it… excuse my French. The society is so patriarchal that when things of this nature happen, only the girl is named and shamed. What hypocrisy!
Obviously, a girl cannot impregnate herself but who talks about the man or the boy who was an integral partner ofthe events leading to the pregnancy? But then the other part of the blame should - has to - go to the parents of such girls. The effort to bring up children has become a second priority in some households to an extent that many parents do not know the first thing about what their kids are up to.
When those kids go until they do something deemed ‘abominable’, the parents turn on them like hungry lions. They shame them and punish them. As a result, when the girl child happens to fall in such tragedy, the first thing that comes to her mind is how to save their skin. This leads them to such actions as dumping the baby or running away from home. Consequently, they become worse than their earlier state.
I am in no way condoning the throwing away of babies - you can’t think of a worse action - but we do not have to put the entire blame on the girl child alone. A lot of things- and a lot of time - go into getting pregnant. So, do not only focus on the end result. It began somewhere, something triggered it. Look at it wholly and then apportion blame wherever it belongs. That’s all I am saying!
But then what do we expect if we cannot say one thing and mean it. Some of our religious and political leaders say one thing in the morning and by evening they believe and say something totally different. We have seen it repeatedly that some leaders are vociferous about their beliefs at some point only to turn round and be propagating something totally different.
Just look at the newest political party in town. President Adama Barrow said so many times that he will only serve for three years; that he is a very contented man, and that he will not run for office for a second term, only to turn around and form a political party.
His godfather, Lawyer Ousainou Darboe was also heard saying that he is fully behind Barrow serving for five years only to be heard saying that Barrow should resign after three years. In fact, he was so adamant that he said whoever talks of Barrow resigning after three years he will sue the person.
But even before them, Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara also said he was going to step down in a meeting at Mansakonko but reneged on that promise and continued to serve as president. Yahya Jammeh called President Barrow and congratulated him on his election victory. A week later, he attempted to annul the results of the elections.
Some religious leaders supported Yahya Jammeh to an extent of comparing him to Prophet Yahya. They gave him the title of Nasiruddin and some other fancy titles. Now they have made a complete U-turn and are in other camps. Many of the things they said yesterday, are now in the dustbins. There are new standards!
Equally, some political pundits said a lot of things in the past and have now turned a new page. They have had a complete change of heart and are now trumpeting new things. Of course, I am not suggesting that people should not change and adopt to new and improved trends, but some fundamental changes are symptoms of something being wrong.
All these begs the question: what is wrong with us as a people? Is it in us or in them, I mean the leaders? I am of the view that the malady is with us, we must look at ourselves afresh and adjust.
The New Year 2020 has come with a new promise: we must do better! I take this opportunity to wish you a happy and prosperous year ahead.
Editors note: Views expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Gunjur Online. Got an opinion article? send it to us at GunjurNewsOnline@gmail.com