Alagi Yorro Jallow
Pro-democracy clicktivists are rebooting adulations and demagoguery, they are shouting and screaming from roof tops tolerate double standards and defend amorality, unethical, Machiavellian and the contradiction of contradictory beliefs and ideals. We will never stop our critique from administration to “ Jalibas and Jali-Ndings” of the phenomenon of intellectual opportunism frequently associated by its critics with careerism and dubious unprincipled self-promotion, where ideas become just another commodity or a bargaining tool. Gambians of conscience should be comforted by iconic Chinua Achebe’s immortal words in his book, ‘The Trouble with Nigeria:’
“There will always be some people whose personal, selfish interests are, in the short term at least, well served by the mismanagement and social iniquities. Naturally they will be extremely loud in their adulation of the country and its system and will be anxious to pass themselves off as patriots and to vilify those who disagree with them as trouble-makers or even traitors. BUT DOOMED IS THE NATION WHICH PERMITS SUCH PEOPLE TO DEFINE PATRIOTISM FOR IT “Patriotism is an emotion of love directed by a critical intelligence. A true patriot will always demand the highest standards of his country and accept nothing but the best for and from his people. He will be outspoken in condemnation of their shortcomings”.
This is about the Gambia and not about juvenile personality politics – that could live and accept as a fine outcome of morality versus legality. Those Clicktivists stung into action by hailing and “ Jaliya”. They stung into action in behalf of few individuals by the persistent voices of patriotism justifying double standards and obsequiousness. The Gambia cannot survive with the conscienceless and overbearing influence of these “supposed owners of the country” who surreptitiously command every facet of our nation’s socioeconomic and political life.
And the entire purpose of our critique against the Clicktivists double standards are well captured: we can do better, we deserve better. If we fail, we critique, we scrutinize, and we keep holding people to higher and higher standards. We expect them to try and try and try again till they get it right.
Once they get it right, the next phase of their pro-democracy struggle begins: institutionalizing that which we have gotten right so that the system and the process continue to work like a fine-tuned machine long after they retire from activism or consumed by the administration. At every stage of this process, they will be heavily critiqued, heavily scrutinized by those who understand that they have a civic duty, a solemn obligation not to cut their motherland any slack in the journey to catch up with the 21st-century.
A note to those who are being called names because of the sustained critique that has been producing results. The first thing we must notice is that every time their spinning and unrelenting engagement produce results, those whose m ission is to praise amorality to high heavens, defend the status quo, rationalize travesty, and make highfalutin arguments for how great the administration or their own friends are doing, they immediately change gear and move in to declare victory seamlessly.
That is why as soon as they yielded to pressure from unconstitutional brigandage to a semblance of legality birthed by our unquenchable choric hailing of the administration’s previous illegality.
From justifying everything about select few of their friends in government and claiming there was no case of contradiction and as soon as the administration swayed by relentless criticism without instituting an Inquiry to probe, they moved seamlessly to gloat and proclaim victory as if that shift by the administration had been occasioned by their hailing and “ Jaliya”.
In case after case after case, they hail the administration on the wrong path. Whenever critique stings the administration, they pull the rug from under their feet and changes course, they immediately move in to claim victory.
This should be a lesson for those whose sustained critique and engagement and struggle are providing these minimal gains: even the most irredeemable sycophants recognize results and are willing, ready, and able to take credit. They are just too far gone in personality cultism to be willing to offer what is expected of them to get such results in a democracy and civilization: critique, sustained engagement, and a zero tolerance for mediocrity and “ Jaliya”.
What the community of engagement must understand urgently is that this stuff is serious business and it is not a popularity contest with professional praise singers. They must be called names on their path of sustained critique and be willing to allow to be praise singers to move in and claim credit and gloat over results and progress delivered by the sort of critique in which they did not participate.
They must also remember that if they give in to intimidation and name-calling by personality cultists, the country will never make progress for their own idea of critique to continuously lower the bar of expectation to such ridiculous depths that even if President Barrow reads Facebook, it can be celebrated as the achievement of the century.
They lower the bar of expectation, clobber and pummel fellow citizens psychologically into a culture of accepting stomach-churning illegality as the height of 21st-century Gambian success, genius, and innovation.
Borne by personality cultism, the confederacy of hailers creates national atmospherics in which the bar of expectation for President Barrow and the entire leadership in the country is considerably lower than what is expected of leadership in other countries in the sub-region.
We must make way for daily celebration of roaring success. If we judge all birds by their ability to fly at the level of butterflies, there will always be daily occasions to celebrate the soaring prowess of every bird.