Emotional competence and a decent moral compass are central to setting principles to live by in life. Emotional competence is necessary to help adjust our emotional arousal to an appropriate level to make better decisions, and moral compass helps guide those decisions. It is my opinion that there is a minimum set of emotional competence and adequate moral compass needed to be able to recognize the common good, but am afraid too many of us may be operating below that threshold. Without the minimum requirements, taking a stand on anything in life will be virtually impossible.
We are now consumed by self-interest, a culture of meaningless competitions, and enormous greed. If you are of the belief that tyranny is wrong and bad for humanity, you should vehemently reject it and anything that directly promotes it in all its forms. There are some things we should accept, and some things we should not accept.
This brings me to the ongoing brouhaha over the call to boycott Thione Seck’s upcoming tour in the U.S, to send a strong message to him and all the other Jammeh praise singers. Anyone that claims to be against tyranny should not be involved in such, or try to justify it. Those invoking the names of other Jammeh praise singers in their attempt to rationalize the up-coming Thione Seck events are basically talking from both sides of their mouths. Two wrongs don’t make a right. We are good at finding ways to justify what benefits us, even when it does not align with what we claim to stand for or represent.
When concerned Gambians expressed their objections to Senegalese musicians endorsing and condoning dictatorship in Gambia and asked that they refrain from doing so, it was only Thione Seck who responded in the media, and angrily too. Here is his response, “nobody can prevent me from doing my work. I will sing praises for anyone I like, including President Jammeh.” These were the words of a man supposedly endowed with wisdom, if we are to go by some of his songs (ndaanan nu ndaanan yee). Arrogant and disrespectful, to say the least!
Music is a powerful Art form and comes with a heavy responsibility, that’s why it is a special talent and not everyone has it. Music and musician have a way of influencing people’s psyche, and that should not be taken for granted. Beyoncé and Jay-Lo performed private concerts for dictators and were compelled to donate their pay to charity because they came under fire, and those were private concerts. This is a public concert and those who have issues with some of these artists and their unscrupulous ways should be able to voice their legitimate concerns.
What do we believe in as a people? Do we empathize with the plight of the Gambian people and are willing to make a minimal sacrifice? We keep chasing the intangibles at the expense of the suffering, and conflicting ourselves along the way. It is impossible to dialogue/negotiate with a double agent. And who does that anyway? Standing for something will not kill you, it will only help build your character and show that you value and recognize the common good.
We have been blinded by meaningless entertainment to the detriment of our people. It has become fashionable and a bragging right to be the number fan of one of these Senegalese praise singers. We spend more money on entertainment/”heews” than educating our children. You ask for a simple sacrifice of not attending a Thione Seck event to take a stand, and folks are ready to riot! Don’t get me wrong, I will dance to a tune myself, but will effortlessly take a rain check for the common good as well. There will be more tunes to dance to.
If you give your paycheck, tax returns funds, or your jewelry to a praise singer to sing your praises, you are basically buying yourself a “lie”. No, you don’t own Atlanta (yai borom Atlanta). No, you don’t own London (yai borom London). No, your Grandpa never owned half of any town in Gambia. But if that’s what makes you feel better, then go for it, have fun, and dance your troubles away.
Gambians in the diaspora have a choice to make and the opportunity to stand for something and make a difference no matter how minimal, unlike most back home. Hopefully, with proper usage of our emotional competencies and moral compasses, enough will decide to make the right choice!
Culled from Facebook
Beyoncé, Mariah Carey and Usher Performed at Qaddafi Family PartiesAll took huge paychecks for singing for the Libyan dictator’s family
Beyoncé reveals that she donated Gaddafi performance fee, while Mariah Carey issues statement: ‘I feel horrible and embarrassed’