By Yahya Barrow
A mother is that parent who loves and cherishes her children equally, with no discrimination. And her children are usually alike and similar in many ways. Normally, there is no contention as to whether a particular child is really the son or daughter of a mother because it is always obvious. In that vein, among the offspring they share, many features are inherited from the mother. Above all, one fundamental common denominator is – they share the same womb. What bond or connection is there that is more powerful than the bond of the womb?
The Gambia is a womb that all her children share by virtue of birth. That being the case, all of us are equal and have a common length and breadth to traverse in the context of our individual rights.
Having said that, almost every Gambian understands this concept. We are one of the few countries in the world that manifests the highest degree of tolerance. In fact, we should be taken as a model for the world to emulate. Oftentimes, we saw conferences, conventions and negotiations around the globe in the quest to have nations like The Gambia: peace to reign, and tolerance to be the air that everyone breathes. For this, the nation deserves the Smiling Coast of Africa moniker.
We are people that indulge in caring and sharing; exhibit togetherness and collectiveness. We appreciate diversity and respect the differences. We endeavour to take our differences for strength and not weakness. When we sing our National Anthem, we say ‘And join our diverse people, To prove man’s brotherhood.’ This statement has sunk into the consciousness of many Gambians.
However, despite the positive and many desirable traits of co-existence in mother Gambia, there exists among her sons and daughters that don’t understand. There is no harm in appreciating, respecting and being passionate about one’s background.
But this by itself shouldn’t at all be a reason to despise others and put them down.
The golden rule is: the minority should not suffer at the hands of the majority; the poor shouldn’t suffer and be exploited by the rich; the weak and the voiceless shouldn’t be maltreated by the powerful and the elites. Above all, the ignorant shouldn’t be tricked and looted by the knowledgeable.
Never judge people on things they have no control over. Did anyone choose a family, tribe, complexion and even origin? No, answer is emphatically NO. So why then these variables are used on the scale to measure human value? It makes no sense to anyone with sound intellect. The most important thing is the heart and what value we add to humanity. This depends solely on oneself, not any other factors mostly used which are totally by chance.
My compatriots, we all probably know a common Mandinka saying: ‘Soowo sa bory nyawo-nya ekalafa busula leh.’ That being the case, I implore on you to be tolerant not a terrorist; peaceful not violent, and dialogue not to indulge in bitter arguments.
We may never have common opinions on the same and even different phenomenon, but always remember, our common denominator is that we are Gambians. Regardless of our difference, we have a nation to build. Everyone has a role to play. Together we can move a mountain. To the Gambia ever true.