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City of Banjul
Friday, September 18, 2020

Letters to the Editor

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Success by any and all means

Dear editor,

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In a conversation with a good friend of mine yesterday, Eden Sharp, I reaffirmed my conviction that as a society, we need to redefine success.

The perception we have of the meaning of success is leading us to a place of the death of empathy, fellow feeling, sympathy and social cohesion. These are some of the traits that make us human. If we lose these, then we will become human bodies as opposed to human beings.
It is this erroneous perception of success that is making us glorify villains and condemn the righteous. We applaud blatant corruption and condemn righteousness and sincerity. I mean who are we kidding? We perceive success to mean being rich; having a lot of money, owning big and beautiful houses, driving the latest cars and so on. We forget that the qualities that make us human are far from these.

 

One does not have to have all the above to be successful. Success has more to do with how many lives one impacts (positively) than it has to do with how many compounds you own, or the type of car you drive. This perception is making us forget who we are, what we used to – should – value and just rushing all the time.

 

This rush to grab the proverbial buck is creating greed and selfishness that promotes corruption, nepotism and all the other ‘isms’. No one cares about truth and honesty any more. No one gives due regard to that individual who always speaks the truth no matter what. No one goes the extra mile to help someone in need. Everything is about money and fame.

 

We used to be a people who shared and cared. We invited total strangers into our homes to share a meal. We used to discuss personal issues with our neighbours with a view to seeking advice or assistance. Now we walk around like zombies. We have lost that vital human trait called empathy and fellow feeling. We are becoming desperate people who can’t talk to each other and as a result, sulk alone while life goes on.

 

Our children will grow up believing that whoever is not rich – does not have a car, a compound, and a lot of money – is not worth talking to.

 

They grow up aloof, totally oblivious of the hungry woman sitting by the door, the lady who has only one dress and cannot go out, the child who can’t go to school because the parents are poor and thus he has to work to support them. We are becoming islands without water!

 

As a society, we need to reevaluate what we deem success and creating role models who will serve as figures to look up to. This is how we will leave a good legacy for our children. Cultivate empathy and fellow feeling. Reach out to your neighbours and creating a relationship based on what is good.

 

Oh reader! Just turn round and shake the hand of the person sitting on your right, then the one on the left. Feel the human connection. That will not be much but it can be a catalyst for change.

Musa Bah
Nusrat SSS

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