Some people fear the term socialism, they believe that it is some kind of evil entity that forces them to share their wealth. As most of the citizens of The Gambia don’t live wealthy lives, they have nothing to fear, quite the opposite. Socialism is what built up our welfare in Sweden, beginning about a 100 years ago. According to the dictionary, socialism means:
o an economic and political system based on public ownership of the means of production.
o all legal production and distribution decisions are made by the government in a socialist system. The government determines all output and pricing levels.
o citizens in a socialist society rely on the government for everything, from food to healthcare.
o proponents of socialism believe that it leads to a more equal distribution of goods and services and a more equitable society.
Remember that this is what the dictionary says, it mainly explains the word socialism so it becomes understandable.
What the dictionary tells us about socialism is its rigid form. Socialism, as I prefer to interpret it, is more about sharing and caring. We should consider ourselves as a family and the head of the family has the obligation to make sure that everyone is cared for.
Sweden was once a very poor country, and people fled overseas to the US to make a new and hopefully better life. At the end of 1800 and the beginning of 1900 , people were poor, they were starving. People were oppressed by the church and the state. There was no freedom of expression, people were not allowed to hold religious gatherings in their homes. The church and the state were intertwined and controlled everyone and everything. When industrialisation began to form in Sweden, more and more people left the countryside and moved to the cities. Before that, people didn’t often leave their home village or town, they were born and die at the same place. People knew each other and the village priest kept control over the members of his parish.
Thanks to the industrialisation, people moved away from the social control and began to enjoy their freedom. We had a system change in 1842 when the public school reform was implemented. It was said that every village should have their own school with an educated teacher. Slowly but surely this reform was part of changing people’s lives. With knowledge comes awareness, and with awareness comes dreams and demands of a better life and independence. As long as people were oppressed by the state or wealthy business owners, there was no freedom or independence .
Equality is when every citizen is valued, has the freedom of expression, possibilities to study, have a job and the ability to support oneself and one’s family. In a society based on solidarity, we make sure that we share our assets so there will be enough for every citizen. In a society of solidarity we have wise and honourable leaders who look after the needs of the society and make decisions accordingly to its needs. In a society of solidarity it is the needy, not the greedy, who are cared about the most. This is what the Social Democrats fought for in Sweden. The resistance from the high and mighty was hard but a constant drop of water can hollow a stone.
We have a responsibility towards each other to look at what is best for each and everyone of us. Good education, healthy food, affordable healthcare, reliable electricity and water supply. This is a matter of human rights so if we deny anyone these rights we are not humane. How can anyone defend that that person is of higher value than anyone else? Where lays this value? In the fancy clothes someone is wearing, how many cars someone owns, if that person owns a compound with a three storey house? Is that person of higher value than the worker with holes in his trousers, or the woman who sells fruit at the market, or the little girl who has to stay up late every evening because she is not allowed to go home before she has sold all the bananas on her plate?
Who decides the value of our people, and what are the categories? Who is looking after those who are not considered as valuable enough, or are they left to manage on their own? As usual I am rather harsh with my questions, but I seek a reaction. My questions are like the mosquito in the darkness of your bedroom – annoying and impossible to avoid. If you can’t sleep at night, I want to plant one thought in your brain, which will keep it occupied: what is solidarity? Something good or something bad? Sorry, that actually became two questions, but they are connected so leave it like that.
Socialism is solidarity, sharing and caring. That is what the leader of PDOIS, Honourable Halifa Sallah has been preaching all the time. Are you ready for that? If there should be a document where there are certain points which say that all humans are created equal and have the same needs – therefore they should have the same rights would you sign that document with your name? Do you think that other people are of the same value as you are? If you visit the hospital, – do other patients there feel pain the same way you do? If someone dies in a traffic accident because of the condition of our roads, do the relatives of that person mourn the same way you do? When you pray, does God listen more keenly to your prayers than everyone else’s prayers?
So many prayers are said in time times of the presidential election. Every candidate wishes to appear his best, one more honourable than the other. Some time ago I teased Hamat Bah in one of my articles, and said that the title honourable doesn’t suit him. Empty barrels make the most sound, even Yahya Jammeh has said that about Hamat Bah. Jammeh said that about Honourable Halifa Sallah too, but compare these two – Hamat Bah and Halifa Sallah and tell me who earns more of your respect? Who makes a fool of himself, yelling and accusing other people for this and that, and who remains calm and tells his opinion whether you like it or not?
Halifa Sallah is considered old fashioned by some people, but what they fail to see is that here is a man who doesn’t bend his back for anyone. If we should look at the politics as a show, Halifa Sallah wouldn’t have the leading part, but in a show a lot goes on behind the curtains. Some of the presidential candidates put up a grand show, but Honourable Sallah has no need for that. His vision is clear, but can you see it? Are you ready for a dose of solidarity, because it is about time that we should vaccinate The Gambia against greed and corruption.