In this smartphone generation, it’s too easy for digital content to go viral. Clearly, smartphone polices the society way more than the police. It’s second to none when it comes exposing people. The Gambia Senior Secondary School girl too has tasted the wrath of a smartphone. Perhaps, she never knew her dirty dance would cause firestorm on the social media, let alone subject her family to public ridiculing. The unnamed teen girl and a boy unashamedly acted like porn stars during a music party at Muslim Senior Secondary School in Banjul a month ago. No one raised an eyebrow until the inappropriate video got leaked on social media. The issue became an immense public concern, with parents fearing depletion of morality in a country where an ousted dictator encouraged and entrenched immorality. Like the devil, Yahya Jammeh was happy whenever immorality became rampant and conquered – typical of any idol worshipper. Was he not the same former president who damned religious leaders for preaching against the use of condom at the 2001 national youth festival in Basse? His excuse was that condom use would ensure a healthy younger generation. As a matter of fact, the teen girl and boy are the fruits of Jammeh’s moral bankruptcy labour.
Opinions have been mixed about what most people consider as “disrespectful and abominable act that must not be condoned in the country.” Blame has been apportioned on the girl, her parents and the school. Some went to the extent of even cursing out the girl’s parents who, like most people, could be clueless.
But one renowned religious leader dealt with the issue in a totally different approach. Imam Momodou Ceesay, the Chief Resident Imam of Detroit’s Islamic Center, released an audio emphasising the importance of knowledge and religion which, according to him, must be backed by good upbringing and positive cultural values. Otherwise ones knowledge becomes less essential.
“Allah honoured Adama by educating him, which was why he (Adama) excelled over angels during a test. It’s therefore incumbent on human beings to seek knowledge to attain honour. We must not only seek knowledge, we have to equip our schools with guidance and counseling centers where the girl and boy who dirty danced can be supported,” Imam Ceesay, the anchor of Kairo Radio’s weekly Islamic program, said.
Imam Ceesay advised people to support the girl’s traumatised family instead of cursing them out. “No parent will be proud of seeing your child in such an ugly state. I am appealing to the girl’s school principal to settle for suspension because an expulsion will not benefit the society. It will only reduce the young girl to a social liability. For us to guarantee a proud and promising generations, we have to inculcate the teaching of religion and positive cultural values in our schools. We are in the era of social media that exposes our children to every kind of junk. We have to be very protective of our way of life,” Imam Ceesay added, exhorting the Barrow government to work with religious and traditional leaders to help mould our children.
We concur with Imam Ceesay that people should go beyond apportioning blame. He is also right that the teen girl must not be expelled for an act that has already left its mark on her family. Let’s join hands and support with advice, guidance and prayers. The trauma of one family must not under any circumstances be fueled by any Gambian.