By Alagi Yorro Jallow
President Abraham Lincoln’s Father Was A Shoemaker:
Ms. Rohey Lowe no one can hurt you without your consent. It is not what happens to you that hurts you. It is your dignity that hurts them. “Ship don’t sink because of the water around them; ship sink because of the water that gets in them. Don’t let what’s happening around you get inside you and weigh you down.
We shine under the same sun, romance under the same moon and stars, laugh in the same air, toil on the same earth. When did we get separated that I cannot accord you the same dignity to not call you my brother or sister? A belly full of gluttony and mind full of arrogance ends up with shameful consequences. Why all the euphoria to scramble for recognition. What will happen to those who bled to cross the River Gambia?
When you begin to de-humanize others you seek to rationalize your negative actions against them. In the process, you lose your humanity. A martial artist cherishes life above all and will only respond with violence when given no other options in a situation. It is said that the longest trip is from the heart to the head. That is because the heart feels, and the head try to rationalize what the heart knows to be true.” Never throw mud: You can miss the target, but your hands will remain dirty” says Dorothy Parker, but George Bernard Shaw refers to the same idea better.” Never wrestle with a pig, you get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it”
Fatoumatta: The Gambia being a nation with myriads of differences-religiously, culturally, linguistically and with each community and group historically different and distinct from the other, appreciating the differences will do Gambian democracy a great deal of good rather than wiping out the differences to create a homogenous society. The strength of the Gambia’s national integration process lies in its “Unity in diversity” not in “Unity in homogeneity”. And that constitutes as one of the foundation stone of democracy- equality of each with each and all with all.
Lying dormant during the anti-dictatorship struggle, caste system and tribalism raises its ugly head soon after dictatorship and is dictating the landscape of the Gambian polity ever since. Caste system is a traditional and hereditary ranking of society into various levels determined based on a person’s occupation and role in Africa society since immemorial.
Fatoumatta: Let us read the moral and lessons of America’s 16th President Abraham Lincoln. When he became the President of America in 1861, his father was a shoemaker. And, naturally, egoistic people were very much offended that a shoemaker’s son should become the president. On the first day, as Abraham Lincoln entered to give his inaugural address, just in the middle, one man stood up. He was a very rich aristocrat. He said, “Mr. Lincoln, you should not forget that your father used to make shoes for my family.” And the whole Senate laughed; they thought that they had made a fool of Abraham Lincoln.
But certain people are made of a totally different mettle. Lincoln looked at the man directly in the eye and said, “Sir, I know that my father used to make shoes for your family, and there will be many others here because he made shoes the way nobody else can.
He was a creator. His shoes were not just shoes; he poured his whole soul into them. I want to ask you, have you any complaint? Because I know how to make shoes myself. If you have any complaint I can make you another pair of shoes. But as far as I know, nobody has ever complained about my father’s shoes. He was a genius; a great creator and I am proud of my father”.
The whole Senate was struck dumb. They could not understand what kind of man Abraham Lincoln was. He was proud because his father did his job so well, with so much enthusiasm, such a passion, and perfection.
It does not matter what you do. What matters is how you do it – of your own accord, with your own vision, with your own love. Then whatever you touch becomes gold. Rohey: No one can hurt you without your consent. It is not what happens to you that hurts you. It is our dignity that hurts them.
Casteism and tribalism, like fascism, can use pseudo-radical slogans to mobilize mass support; and of using democratic institutions to seize power (or fragments of it) and destroy democracy from a position of strength. There is complete absence of two things in Gambian society. One of these is equality, we have in the Gambia a society based on the principle of graded inequality which means elevation for some and degradation for others. On the economic plane, we have a society in which there are some who have immense wealth as against many who live in abject poverty, we are going to enter a life of contradictions. How long shall we continue to live this life of contradictions? How long shall we continue to deny equality in our social and economic life? If we continue to deny it for long, we will do so only by putting our political democracy in peril. We must remove this contradiction at the earliest possible moment else those who suffer from inequality will blow up the structure of democracy. And since independence, the entire realm of Gambian social and political demography is still battling to come out of these inner contradictions.
Fatoumatta: Partisan treatment of the dominant religious and cultural groups; denial of democratic rights, subversion of ethnic and minority identity, deprivation of economic justice to the underprivileged while granting economic incentives for the promotion of economic interests of upper caste-upper class, social and religious exclusion of the lower caste, regional economic disparity and underdevelopment on caste and communal lines should be stopped and handled with utmost democratic care.