26.2 C
City of Banjul
Saturday, October 16, 2021

History is repeating itself

I felt good when I read in your newspaper the story about the enrollment of some youths for short-term courses at GTTI. Our understanding is that those were potential ‘back-way’ goers. Some in fact, had attempted the perilous journey. The intervention was therefore, timely.      

Many, many years ago, Europeans came into our land, explored and exploited our natural and human resources, colonised us and, in the process introduced their own system of governing called the ‘indirect rule system.’ And now history is repeating itself with thousands of Africans scrambling for illegal entry into Europe. 

Over the past decade or so, illegal migration by Africans to the EU in search of better living conditions, hit a record high of thousands. Several crusades and campaigns have been launched by governments and other stakeholders to reduce drastically if not stop this worrying trend. But so far all attempts to achieve this objective have proved abortive. Hundreds have perished in the high seas since the beginning of the perilous voyage but thousands more are determined and willing to make it, dead or alive. ‘It is better to die trying than sitting, doing nothing’, I have heard a back-way hopeful say. 

The youths are ever desperate, frustrated and confused more now than before due to the challenges of poverty and unemployment they face. The news of friends and family members who are successful on the dangerous journey and made it into Europe have encouraged hundreds to make the attempt if not thousands. 

The fact that youths are so desperate and pessimistic about their prospects in the country and leave in large numbers for Europe cannot be denied. Recently, a young man from NBR who traveled to Lampedeusa, Nfamara Singateh, described the journey as ‘very, very hard.’ According to your report, he claimed that he was subjected to physical torture and suffered a lot before he was dumped in the desert by some armed men together with five other travelers. 

Although I can understand the anxiety of young people to improve their living conditions and access more opportunities, the path which many of my fellow countrymen choose is not something we should cheer about or encourage in any way. We should encourage them to try more legal and safer ways of traveling to their countries of choice. 

Finally, I can confidently say that it is Europeans who first came here to our lands and stayed for as much as they wanted. Then why can’t Africans do the same? Why are they putting stringent visa requirements on Africans to enter Europe? European citizens trying to travel to African countries do not face similar requirements with the same stringency.

 

 

Halimatou Jobe 

Mariama Kunda

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