This is all figment of imagination. I have no idea what is meant here by the term intellectual. However Gambians who got university education have done well for our country and this is everywhere to be seen – agriculture, healthcare, education and every other sector. I am aware that an open season has arrived for intellectual bashing, becoming even more intense with Dr Isatou Touray’s declaration of her intention to stand for the presidency, galvanising her opponents to attack anything to do with education. But to think that someone’s acquisition of a degree suddenly make him or her an alien is, quite frankly, barmy. The people referred to have, before university education, learned social knowledge and skills in the communities from which they originated. Therefore to think that their motivation and actions, thereafter, will be entirely geared towards undermining the interest of their communities and the whole country is sloppy judgement brought about by political fanaticism, I would guess. Dr Touray, in particular, is an example of one who has utilized the two aspects of her life (societal knowledge and advanced training in research work) to good effect by working at grassroots level to help uplift the status of women in our society. Who is in a better position to help redress injustice against women than a woman who grew up in the society and had acquired research skills for digging deeper into the nature of problems? On the contrary, male chauvinism comes out so clearly in the editorial, with claims that such interventions in the lives of our people is condescending on the part of the ‘intellectual,’ failing to acknowledge the participatory aspect of these programmes. The motivation of the editorial is clear – an attempt to prescribe conformity – claiming erroneously that the purpose of education should be to do away with tension when the reverse is the case. Education should be geared towards stimulating creative tension for society to seek ways of improving itself. Our society is not utopia and there are a whole host of things that activists such as Dr Touray and other university graduates could do to improve lives.
It is also important to highlight that the regime which is holding us all hostage, has used the same intellectual bashing to sow distrust among us. The use of religious zealots by the regime in the kinds of imam Fatty and Imam Touray , were all geared towards tarnishing the image of a phantom “intellectual”. In that category, as far as this regime is concerned, the editors of this very medium belong.
Therefore blasting in the same horn, is a disservice to our collective strive for a better country. Like Mr. Jawneh points out, people with degree have and continue to contribute immensely to national development and are equally proud of their backgrounds.
Again, It is refutable to suggest that people who gain a degree are “importing values ” for which their indigene peoples are yet ready for. We send our children to school in order that they pursue better means of making our lives better and secure our collective future. Hence it is inevitable that sciences and new discoveries collide with our ways and tradition. Thus I fully agree that “education should be geared towards stimulating creative tension for society to seek ways of improving itself”.