By Musa Bah
Even a half dose of the current obsession of the Gambian media – both new and traditional – can turn an optimist into a pessimist. All you read/hear will be about doom and gloom. This is not necessarily realistic. Most times.
Tune in to any radio station, television station; read any newspaper – both off and online – any social media site and all you will see or hear will be about Three Years Jotna and how it will disrupt the country; about how our Diplomatic Passport is being dished out like cinema tickets; how Ports Authority or some other parastatal is ignoring its responsibilities.
At a point, it will seem that nothing positive ever happens here or that there is no hope for this country. The political backstabbing and intrigues, slander and the economic woes and how they are caused by x, y or z.
With all this hullabaloo, the ordinary folks and their struggle is lost and they and their problems become just debris in the economic and social upheaval. They are the ones who truly deserve all the attention most of us choose to devote to the politicians and their platforms.
Our media rushes to the political stories like vultures swoop on carcass. But then, who can blame them? Their work is swayed by our interest as that is what will sell their papers and/or ideas.
In this way, we forget or ignore that woman who sells ‘kani bu dija’ at Latrikunda Market who makes a pittance every day. As a result, when her child gets sick and she takes him/her to the hospital and is given a prescription to go and buy the drugs from the pharmacy.
Unfortunately, she does not have enough money to buy the drugs. But who does she tell?
Or about that farmer in Wuli Sutu Koba or Jokadu Dasilami or Jarra Sutukung who has no way of buying fertilizer for his farm. He can’t buy it because whatever he has goes into feeding; leaving his children little or no chance to go to school. Who does he turn to?
We are so much invested in the political and economic mishaps of the politicians that we forget the ordinary folks who are the real people with real issues. We relegate them to the background and drown the little noise they make in the almost weekly scandals in Banjul.
It is easy to blame the media and the civil society activists but do we ever stop to think of our hand in all the problems that are eating at us; eating at the fabric of our society?
We prefer to take the easy route because it involves less thinking, less work, less exposure and less chance of owning up. Unless we begin to take responsibility and own up to our problems, we won’t seek solutions in a realistic and holistic manner.
What is the way forward?