By Ebrima S Jallow
In dire distress and confusion, I pondered the way forward of a country that has seemingly been faced with an unceasing introduction of a barbaric nude culture in a society that had always known decency and moral well-being. Our society has seemed to be appearing upside-down in recent years as the socio-cultural tenets of a continent that has been a subject of cultural production and performance admiration dwindle.
This country, The Gambia is bounded by almost hundred per cent religious beings of different beliefs. Principally, Islam forms the majority followed by Christianity. These two Abrahamic religions preach peace, moral values and above all, obedience of a Supreme Being (Allah). What then has gone wrong in the breasts of men (men and women)? Watch! I’m not trying to insinuate any believer or their institutions; I’m just helpless and cannot help thinking that some sons and daughters of believing men and women can sometimes behave more reckless than beasts.
As for the beasts, religions have vindicated them to bear no sins for their nakedness (nudity) because they have been created as lower animals for the use and comfort of mankind.
With generations in succession, society has been ironically claimed to be changing for the better in the names of modernization, global villaging, fashion and enlightenment. To be frank to one-self, to what has society changed? I shall leave this question to the readers’ intellectual being. From a moral perspective, one can easily look around and realise that social development is ironic in this regard.
Indecent people have taken advantage of global interactions to culture-transfer their moral decadence in to civilised societies in the name of fashion. Let’s ask ourselves as decent beings; what fashion is all about? In this case, I shall reserve the denotative meaning of the term. Fashion, from the point of view of intellectual consciousness is being decent and presentable in speech and dress in the eyes of anyone without the feeling of remorse and embarrassment in the slightest point. Unfortunately, the semantic form of the word fashion has been significantly altered to mean nakedness, shamelessness, vulgar speech and dance, and of all, disrespect and indiscipline.
Inter-cultural bridging and sharing is something wonderful, but it has created a gigantic rift from decent civilization. The whole world speaks with a voice to create a society free of social barriers using the social media. Sadly, the paradoxical reason of this initiative is blurred in the eyes of the ignorant. No innovation is without reasons. Synchronising two or more unseemingly related cultures of entirely different origins undoubtedly elevates one at the expense of others. This is what is happening today in the Gambia. This country has become a battle field for cultural ideologies, each trying to triumph over others at an unimaginary expense. Very shockingly, the most indecent habit and life-style is almost winning the race as youths, especially our sisters are competing by the day; as to who can appear most revealing to prove their sexual prowess to unknown spectators both physically and digitally.
Recently, so many videos have gone viral on the social media revealing disgracing images of sexual body parts and actions. I cannot imagine how human beings of complete psyche could do such things and still seem to live with a sound conscience in the midst of people feeling easy and comfortable. This has given me the warrant card to ask -What has this world turned into? Where are the good people in the services of God? Where are the parents and guardians of these people? Well, the answers to these questions are obvious. They are within us, in the society, in our homes, in our mosques and churches. What are our roles as parents, moral counsels, rulers and motivational speakers? In our social gatherings and seminars, do we ever take serious notes to address this menace? Remember, God is watching and will hold everyone accountable for our inaction.
If I may draw your minds a little back in history, in our holy scriptures, we read or heard that there once lived a people who embraced the culture of nudity and same-sex marriage. These people rejoiced in excess disbelief and no one said anything, may be for fear of death or expulsion. God sent a warner to them, but they took no heed until everyone among them was soiled in the act directly or indirectly. Their earthly punishment was tremendous. Having the few believers out of the town, it was turned upside-down by the power of nature and command; all buried in one mass grave. This is the result of inaction against an evil act at its foetus stage. It is worth noting, that the degree at which an evil deed spreads supersedes a good one because the devil is within and often takes advantage of our distraction and disobedience of a civilised culture and beliefs.
Gambia is surely in the sinking boat because we all have people and relations who are directly or indirectly involved in these revealing fashion styles, yet we do or say nothing. The ethics of religion and proper dress codes are no longer upheld. In fact, strict followers of their religious beliefs and morals are labelled as out-dated, unfashioned and fundamentalists. They have been dejected by the day which sometimes forces those with low egos to succumb to criticisms and finally find themselves on-board. The most vulnerable are the young people who get exposed to all sorts of fashion on the digital media. They carry internet access mobile phones and computers to scavenge for dirty dress styles and photo-imaging. It is like some have become so much dissatisfied with the short and se-through dressing styles that they have to become nude which is gradually becoming the order of fashion. Now, young girls are in the habit of taking naked pictures of themselves posting them on the social media for their sex-partners or interested people to watch and get obsessed with sexual feelings.
Parents now don’t care. Their daughters get dressed in their presence and majestically walked out into the street to advertise their privacy. Sometimes one wonders if such people had really come out of homes. When confronted, they claim their inabilities to control their own children with the words ‘they are young’, ‘it is fashion’, ‘the world has changed’, ‘it is child’s right’ and so on. It is disheartening to hear such expressions from supposedly responsible parents and guardians. I even wonder if such people are capable of being parents. How could a mere belief or slogan deter your responsibilities as family and social leaders from taking necessary steps to trample demonic attitude. Have we forgotten that one day, we shall lie helpless in our coffins, being prepared to answer questions to the most Supreme George? Are we thinking of this? Well, if anyone doesn’t, they better do before the boat finally sinks to undiscoverable depth of human ignorance.
All praises are due for Allah
Ebrima is Social Commentator with B.A in English and Development Studies