All of you who use gas for cooking know how dangerous it can turn out to be if you don’t handle it wisely.
The gas has no smell, so if you sleep in a small room where you store your gas bottle, you will fall into the eternal sleep if your bottle has been leaking gas.
We also know that it takes only one spark to lit the gas and cause an explosion.
Those of you who follow my column knows that I like metaphors, so what if the story about the gas was one? What comes in to your mind if I speak about something that we can’t see, we are not aware of it until it’s too late and that one spark can cause an explosion? Well, some of you who have a vivid imagination might come up with a lot of more or less creative options, but we must stop ourselves before we are crossing the line of decency.
What I am thinking of is the freedom of speech. And how can that be dangerous, you ask yourself while you are scratching your head.
My dear reader, your words can be poisonous if you don’t care about what you are saying, when you are saying it and to whom.
Not all that goes on in our heads are made for expressing, wise people know that they need to think before they speak out.
Words used wisely can calm the angriest people, but words can also cause sparks that will end up in an explosion.
For every person who has some kind of power this must be one of the first things to keep in mind as soon as they are going to speak out publically.
Not many have the ability of thinking and speaking at the same time.
It is better to write down the speech, read it through several times and also think it through.
What kind of signals do you wish to give to others? Do you wish to encourage something good or do you want to whip up a riot? Do you wish to build up, or tear down?
I searched for the word anarchy in a dictionary and found this:
· a state of disorder due to absence or non-recognition of authority or other controlling systems
lawlessness, absence of government,
nihilism, revolution, insurrection, riot,
rebellion, mutiny, disorder,
disorganization, misrule, chaos
2. absence of government and absolute freedom of the individual, regarded as a political ideal.
Democracy should never ever be confused with anarchy! Never! In an anarchy you do whatever yEEou want, without one thought of the consequences.
In a democracy all citizens have their freedom as long as they are aware of the consequences of their actions.
This awareness is giving all of us a sense of security, and we also know that those who don’t abide the law will be punished.
The same rules and laws apply for all. Some of you might believe that anarchy is better, that you are so tired of being restricted and therefore you do what you want.
If you think like that, then remember that others do the same. If you set a car on fire, burn down a house, steal money from someone then what if someone does that to you or your loved ones? What if it is your own Taxi that is destroyed? The car you saved all your money for? What if your family lives in the house someone set on fire? What if the stolen money belonged to your Mum and now she has nothing to feed your family? Actions always have consequences , no matter if you write on social media, speak out in public or do something bad.
The average age of the Gambian population is low, looking at the statistics most are children and people of young age.
Looking more at the statistics we can see that still a little more than half the population is illiterate and still not all children in the Gambia go to school.
This means that it will take generations before the Gambian citizens have come up a level were you can compete with other countries on the same terms.
This will affect all parts of the society, from the government down to the lowest level.
To be able to develop the Gambia we need to work together and we must realize that as soon as possible. Now is not time for selfish needs for anyone, together we are strong but as I have said before – no chain is stronger than its weakest link.
The blame-game must stop and instead all strong and creative forces must come together. I understand the impatience for the young ones who are fully aware of all the defiencies that rule the Gambia.
You see it, but you don’t know what to do about it. You know that it is not you who are to blame for the circumstances in the Gambia and you feel that the older generations have robbed you on your future.
You are frustrated, disappointed, poor and uneducated, therefore you are also easily led astray. These are the times when you need to be wiser than the generations before you, because you have a weapon they didn’t have – social media.
Social media can be a curse as well as a blessing, it is now you need to choose wisely.
Our leaders can’t get away with things they were able to in the past, it will spread like a wildfire through social media. We can hold our leaders accountable in a different way than before.
We can find information, and spread information through the internet. Do you have the right to write exactly what you have on your mind about the person that bugs your mind? Are you allowed to write his or her name, use foul language and whip up a situation that can go out of hands ? Are you allowed to gather outside someone’s home, making the people inside feel threatened and even damage buildings and cars? This is what happens when you don’t think about the consequences , you only follow your impulse. This is an action of an ignorant person and that must stop! Actions always have consequences and you might not be able to see them all.
I have read about demonstrations that have become tense.
Don’t you see that not everyone who participate in the demonstrations are there for the sake? They are there for the action, for the possibility to cause problems because for these people this is fun.
That is why you need permission from the police. The police are there to protect but they must know when and where the demonstration is meant to be, otherwise they can’t interfere before it’s too late. We can’t demonstrate or even hold a peaceful march here in Sweden without a permission from the police.
The country is here for us all, not only those who are upset because of something at the moment. The police have a duty to protect both demonstrators and the people around. They must also protect those who are the target for the demonstration and it is not an easy task.
Hard words are like the poisonous gas I told about in the beginning of this article, and the spark is never far away.
There are a lot of things that needs to be improved in the Gambia, but if we want to protect our fragile democracy we need to act wisely. Use your energy to improve your writing skills and write articles.
Bombard your local politicians with one petition after another until they must react.
Don’t allow the politicians to relax, ask for meetings, prepare these meetings with written questions. Mind your language, remember that people prefer to listen to someone who is respectful and who knows how to express themselves.
You wouldn’t attack your mother or father with aggressive manners and a horrible language, would you? Would you like someone else to treat them the same way you treat others?
In a democracy we play by the rules, we discuss important matters and try to find consensus.
What needs to be considered is that once something has been posted on social media it will never disappear. How do you wish to appear in the future, as a serious and responsible person, or as a hot head who is spewing out whatever you wish without one single thought of the consequences?
If you are very opionated and have a lot to say; that’s fine, but think before you post something.
Does everything really have to be posted or can you write it down to let out some steam and then erase the worst parts? What if you will apply for a job one day and the boss has seen and read your posts? Are you proud of yourself or do you have reason to feel ashamed? Maybe you have written something that will harm either yourself or someone else? Maybe you have even destroyed the life for someone? Is that something to be proud of?
It takes time to achieve change in a country that is so run down as the Gambia.
Frustration hits us in the head on daily basis but we must keep on working together.
Gather in groups and discuss what needs to be changed, but don’t expect others to change everything for you.
Ask yourself what you can do, use your creativity, use your intellect.
If you can’t afford to study at the University then find other ways.
You will find so much useful information on the internet if you only begin to search for it. Select a topic, search for information, read it and soon you will find that one things leads to another. This is what I do on daily basis, I begin to pull a thread in one end and suddenly I find a lot of other stuff that I just have to read.
Keep your mind busy with learning new things and you will find that you learn a lot about yourself. You learn to understand not only the world around you but also the people around you. When my life was a mess I began to study psychology because I wanted to understand why people acted in one way or another.
While I studied I also found out why I reacted in one way or another and that was very helpful. When the ball of studying begins to roll it will never stop.
It moves slowly forward and new knowledge adds to the old.
When your ball has started to roll you will wonder to yourself what you did before this happened.
Your mind will always be occupied with something new and interesting, your creativity is developing and you will find yourself useful in many ways.
You will see that even if you still keep your small anarchist deep there in within, it has calmed down a bit, got wiser and found new and better ways to achieve change.