We – as a people – must seek and find ways of reawakening the zeal to read in our youth. It is often said that the youth are the leaders of tomorrow; but, they need not wait for tomorrow. I say that the youth are the leaders of today! That should be the aim. The youth must take centre stage in the running of the nation.
The truth is that we need to create a ‘new Gambian’ in the New Gambia. The Gambian of yester years has woefully failed us. For, fifty-two years after independence, we have failed to create the Gambia we want. We have failed to create a national identity of which our young ones are proud. The Gambian of old has not been able to rise above self-love, above the benefit of the individual and embrace that of the society. He has not taken the chances that the new dawn has ushered into the world, or seized the freedom that is being offered by the proliferation of information.
The Internet and other technological advancements have made it easier to seek knowledge (developmental eduacation) and wisdom and create a platform for self-actualization. We need to create a New Gambian who knows his heritage, who knows his yesterday and knows his worth; a New Gambian who will not only think of his food for the day, but will work on planning for tomorrow and the decades ahead. We need a New Gambian who knows that failing to plan is planning to fail.
This ‘New Gambian’ will know that we cannot depend on foreign aid and handouts. We cannot depend on importation of basic commodities like food. He will know that for us to move towards our progress, we need innovation and creativeness and entrepreneurship. He will know that we need to invest in an education which will produce job creators and not job seekers. Thus, he will solve the unemployment problem and find ways of enabling us to feed ourselves.
We need to create a Gambian who is politically, morally, socially and spiritually aware. This New Gambian, though will not be irreligious, will not be a fanatic either. He will not see tribes and ethnic differences as divisions which can be harbingers of wars and genocides, ethnic cleansings and bigotry, but he will see them as a boon which can be exploited and used to develop our country in such a way that our future generations can be proud of; so that, in the future, they can stand tall among the comity of nations and raise their voices.
We need to create a New Gambian who is consciously aware of his duties and responsibilities to protect and defend human rights. He will be, as the common parlance goes, his brothers keeper. If we do this we will have a society which is developed, advanced, aware and just. After all these, we will have lasting peace and stability.
In this struggle, we need all hands on deck, so to speak. We need an inclusive outlook which embraces all and sundry. Every individual must be a defender of human rights and an advocate for the rule of law. We must seek genuine and sincere engagement with government and elected officials. We need to appreciate genuine efforts of our government when there ia any, but also hold them to account whenever and wherever they fail or falter.
Additionally, we need to inculcate a love of country which goes beyond personal desire or party afliation. We must make the nation a nation that we will be proud of; and our children will bask in the rays of progress and equality.
Tha Scribbler Bah