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Monday, July 15, 2024

Walls are thick on an ivory tower

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An ivory tower used to be a symbol of virtue and also a place where you could withdraw for contemplation. Nowadays, it is used in a different way. This is cut from a dictionary:

”an impractical often escapist attitude marked by aloof lack of concern with or interest in practical matters or urgent problems”.

For those of you who follow my writings, you know that I often use metaphors to highlight different matters. The State House is nice and white, like ivory, and everyone staying in there is very well protected by guards and the police. No one needs to worry about their safety, and the residents can even forget about the outside world if they wish.

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In the outside world there is no safety and it seems as it has become worse and worse. Some people complain and say that it was so much better during Jammeh’s time, because people didn’t commit so many crimes then. That is true in one way, people were so terribly afraid of the consequences so they were more careful by then. In the other way; the worst crimes were committed by Yahya Jammeh and his folks. They were very creative in the ways they made Gambians suffer. (That was sarcasm, in case you became upset and thought I was disrespectful).

It seems as there are two kinds of processes going on at the same time in The Gambia. The Gambian Police Force is changing their approach and their work is more transparent than before. There is still a lot to do in this area, but their intentions are good. At the same time as the police officers strive to find a more humane approach, the criminals in The Gambia become more and more daring. In broad daylight armed criminals attack innocent people. There seems to be no hesitation to stab someone to death, as if it wasn’t bad enough to just threaten someone with a knife.

How come the criminals have become more daring than before? Do they feel that they don’t respect the police in the same way as before? In which direction do we wish our society to go? Back to the days where we feared the police or forward to a system where we feel safe and secure when the police are around? The safety issues in The Gambia are taken very seriously by the Police Force and by the common citizens, but what about those who don’t have to worry about their safety? Not until you have become a victim of crime yourself, you can really understand how it feels, but common sense and empathy takes us a long way.

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Some time ago, I wrote about a case where a family was attacked by a relative with mental problems. They called the police but got the answer that the police couldn’t come because they didn’t have any petrol in the police car. This seems to be common in The Gambia and this is a disgrace for the country. How will it be possible for the Gambia Police Force to maintain law and security when they are so under equipped? It is horrible and embarrassing at the same time. This is one of the reasons why I complain about the residents of the Ivory Tower; they don’t need to bother about their security even for a second.

I’m sure you have heard the expression: ”Everyone for themselves ”. This seems to be the approach to security issues in The Gambia. As long as those who actually could change the system are not affected by the same security problems as others, they will not fight for a change. In broad daylight, women have been raped or threatened with rape. Criminals break into people’s homes and force the residents to give them whatever valuables they have. Pickpockets roam around where there are crowds, drivers fear to keep the car windows open in case someone would reach in and grab something of value.

The duty of law makers is to make sure that the law enforcement has everything they need to be able to prevent crime. There must be enough police cars and these must of course have petrol in their tanks in case they need to answer to a call. The Police Force must have modern equipment, no matter what kind of crime they need to prevent. The police officers must get proper uniforms, and they should of course not be forced to buy their uniforms themselves. The salaries of the whole Police Force must be increased so they will get paid according to their responsibility and their risk taking. It is hard for a common police officer to manage on his/her salary as it is so low.

Let us look at the cut from the dictionary again. Ivory Tower means:

”an impractical often escapist attitude marked by aloof lack of concern with or interest in practical matters or urgent problems”. An escapist is someone who mentally is far away from the everyday life of others. This person is not bothered with anything as everything seems to come to that person without any effort at all. Being a president in The Gambia seems to be a nice job. A nice house to live in, full security 24/7, good food, plenty of food, I mean really plenty of food as it seems as almost the only thing that has increased in The Gambia since 2017 is the waist line of our president.

The president was promised that he shouldn’t bother about the fact that he was extremly inexperienced. No, he would have such good advisors who should take care of every issue and give him good advice in every matter. Well, we have seen how that went. We can’t have a president who has none or very low education. We must have someone who has a clear vision for his country and who understands that he is there for the people, and not the other way round. A president must be able to make substantiated decisions based on research and facts. A president shouldn’t act like a puppet on a string, moving in whichever direction someone is pulling the string.

I understand that the president can’t have knowledge of every area of The Gambia, but at the same time it shouldn’t be too difficult as our country is very small. The smallest country in Africa, so…..

The media has daily reports about the increasing violence and some of it should have reached inside the thick walls of the Ivory Tower. Of course it must be very convenient to stay in there and chill, but where is the sense of responsibility towards the Gambian people? The ”meet the people tour” is well orchestrated and doesn’t show the ugly truths about our country. I don’t wish that anything bad should happen to our current president, I just wish that he would wish the same for everyone else.

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