Letters: The Peter Pan syndrome

Letters: The Peter Pan syndrome


Dear editor,

“All children, except one, grow up”, wrote the author of “Peter and Wendy”.  In The Gambia, all children, except soured political party diehards, grow up. And in The Gambia, these soured political party diehards are a dime a dozen and they are precariously propped on both ends of the pendulum with no middle ground in their political (read personality politics) world. For them, politics is black and white. Either you are with “them” or you deserve anything that befalls you because you are with the “others.” And if you were to ask them, they’d tell you they are actually enlightened politically!


The Peter Pan syndrome refers to a person who refuses to “mature” and act their “age”. And when someone is afflicted with the Peter Pan syndrome, the way they rationalize events can leave much to be desired. It’s all about them and what makes them satisfied. If they’re not happy with the Cherreh before them, they have no issues pouring sand into. It’s like that toddler who does not get their way and decides to throw all their toys out of the pram. Or like the adult that says “because you refused to vote for my preferred political candidate, all of you must suffer!  In fact, I don’t care if you die.” It’s akin to the old adage where Saffiong decided to cut off his nose because he was so angry with his face since the face does not look the way he desires. Such profound reasoning eh!

The Peter Pan syndrome is also applicable to that person who so happily jubilates the defeat of another simply based on “since I didn’t win, I’m over the moon that you didn’t win either.” As much as we pretend to be what we are not, the reality is that some of us find political joy in the political pain of others. And as hard as it can be to stomach this, it’s also very understandable. But if the one jubilating should be feeling the same pain, that makes it rather confounding. Such exemplary political maturity eh!

Schadenfreude, or what some call social sadism, would have applied if one wasn’t also a participant “loser” in the political race. But things don’t always have to make sense in The Gambia. It’s in senselessness that many of us thrive. Our traffic is an indicator.  And so is our politics.