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City of Banjul
Monday, September 21, 2020

On hate speech and tribalism: both ugly and dangerous

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Vitriolic attacks directed at one ethnic group or another have now become common in the New Gambia. This is a cause for concern as one of the fastest ways to self-destruct is to engage in petty squabbles of otherness.

The unfathomable thing here is that this despicable act is mostly done by people one would have expected to know better due to their level of education, exposure or age. If even old men and the educated begin to spew tribal nonsense, then we should know that there is something very wrong with our society.

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It’s time for self-assessment and taking corrective measures to ensure that this bane does not reach a stage whereat it will cost lives and or property. It will be prudent not to wait until this happens then start running around seeking solutions.

The solution has to be multi-faceted and thoroughly comprehensive for it to be successful. The first approach has to be civic education using every tool in the box, so to speak, from radio, television to newspapers.

The National Council for Civic Education should embark on this soonest.

The second approach has to be through our education system. Let us do away with anything that will focus the minds of the young people on their tribe rather than the nation.

From the very beginning, children should be made to see the folly in being tribal in thinking and shown the benefit of being patriots.

The third approach should be legislative. Let us formulate laws against hate speech. Whoever is found guilty of hate speech – speech that can incite violence be it religious, tribal or racial, should be severely punished to serve as a deterrent to others. It is time to rid the country of tribal bigotry which has the potential to destabilize our nation and instill in everyone, the values that matter and celebrate diversity of our people.

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