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City of Banjul
Monday, January 25, 2021

Letters: Is insulting now acceptable?

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Dear editor,

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I understand that my morality is not your morality. I also appreciate that we cannot legislate morality or behavior, but we also know that social cohesion is based on certain norms of acceptable behavior. There is order even in the jungle. There is something systemically wrong, if someone like Ajantala, the public insulter and public sperm donor on social media are hailed in a society. There is something wrong when the youth segment sees rudeness, being totally uncouth, disagreeable and brash as attributes to celebrate.
I know most of us and those before us were taught and raised right. Somehow, most of us did not pass it on to our children.

Now, we have Ajanta’s as (petulant Veruca Salt Children) all over the place.
Ajantala is the equivalent of the Frankenstein monster, for those who do not know, Ajantala was supposed to be a child born to a mythical Yoruba couple, grew up the same day and started to manifest wonders. The bane was that the wonders were malevolent streaks. He was even reported to have laid whips on the backs of everybody – including his parents! He was satanic.

We know survival is the hidden code in generational poverty. We know that fights are the way scores gets settled in poverty.

With limited possessions, and with survival in mind, people are the only thing that can be possessed. That is why fights are so intense in generational poverty. I understand that. If you must aspire to free yourself and rise above your beginnings, you must learn the rules of the game and tame your emotions.

People hail Ajantala, raises a lot of concern over our systemic loss of values. Most importantly, it tells me how poverty has become weaponized and democratized in a conservative society. Do you want a husband, brother, uncle, nephew like Ajantala? Novelist Paulo Coelho wrote: “How people treat other people is a direct reflection of how they feel about themselves.”

What is the meaning of “Sit down and do nothing”? What is the difference between “a lot of Gambian youths” and “Gambian youths on social media”? We are not fooled by petty distinctions. President Barrow defenders are trying too hard to find exceedingly small difference which is neither important nor useful. Attempting to cast the insults in positive terms is disingenuous. It is the kind of hair splitting that gives politics a bad name, thus making tin gods out of politicians. It is tasteless for political party surrogates, supporters and militants to berate against each other and voters anywhere and on social media. For what it is worth, you have the right to defend they too have the right to attack on policies and programs as well as on superior ideas.

I agree with friends that we must not let the Ajantala’s define us. We must not mainstream rudeness and crudity. We must use our platform to educate. We expect to be well behaved people; we are, and we must uphold that. We cannot fold our hands and let people stink the world in the name of choice. Only a foolish goose goes to a fox’s Church.

Alagi Yorro Jallow

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