Stop Insulting Our Intellect

Mr. Sutay Kuta Sanneh’s original article titled “How the struggle against Jammeh could end up producing low caliber leaders” published on kibaaro newspaper in 2013 was not only based on cynicism and pessimism but it was also insulting, condescending, lack of tolerance and respect for constitutional right of Gambian citizens who participated in the fight to remove military dictatorship from the Gambia. The original article has no place in any civilized society where divergence of views and tolerance are essential for not only participatory democracy but also his cynicism and pessimistic attitude led to prolongation of military dictatorship in the Gambia. Mr Sanneh’s article at the time served as negative force of energy that discouraged outstanding citizens determined to salvage our country from the tyrant. Sutay has failed woefully in his self prophecy to convince many who truly believed in themselves and what they fought for. Here is a man who had inculcated cynicism and pessimism in the minds of those who felt victim of his idiotic talk.

“Most of the angry and intellectually inept Gambians I meet on Facebook or Twitter, on blogs and the ever growing one man (he who pays the piper calls the tune) newspaper websites or physically in public places also tend to be people whose careers have been unsuccessful. These are the men and women who join our politics. Therefore, the “struggle” and politics is a dumping ground for mediocrity.”

His insults on our intellect continues: “It is therefore not by surprise that most of the young men and women whose careers have been unsuccessful in the professions find a home in the “struggle” bus. There, they promote politics of confrontation, exclusion and corruption. One has to listen to callers and moderators on some of the online radios to appreciate what I’m talking about.”

Mr. Sanneh’s above comment is the exact opposite of what President Barack Obama dismissed and discouraged in his speech at commencement ceremony at Rutgers State University in New Jersey in May 2016.  “Don’t lose hope in the face of naysayers. And certainly don’t let resistance make you cynical. Cynicism is so easy, and cynics don’t accomplish much,” Obama advised.

Mr Sanneh’s bashing of Gambians he considered ”unsuccessful or intellectually inept and the Gambian Struggle and politics at the time as a dumping ground for mediocrity” has never accomplished anything; it only proved that he was a cynic with false assumption. It was such negativity and discount of those he perceived as ”unsuccessful or intellectually inept” that led to his recent article titled ”It’s our time to eat”, to vilify and blast the supporters of UDP and the coalition government.

In the history of political struggle, we have seen many cynics like Mr. Sanneh who berated the efforts of those they considered ”unsuccessful or intellectually inept”. President Obama was a victim of negative characterization. Despite his higher education and successful legal career, he was considered “Unsuccessful” by his opponents but he has proven his critics and cynics wrong during the course of his political career. Mr. Obama had a different priority as evidence in his statement that “my primary message is going to be to reject pessimism and cynicism, know that progress is possible and that problems can be solved.” This was the same attitude majority of Mr. Sanneh’s so-called ”unsuccessful or intellectually inept” Gambians had and believed in the possibility of making progress and solving the problem of dictatorship. They have successfully helped to remove one of the worst dictators Africa has ever seen. Cynicism and Pessimism — attitudes that must be eradicated — are the worst enemies of progress. Mr Sanneh’s obsession with what he called successful or intellectual Gambians is also a clear indication that he does not truly understand the meaning of ”Intellectualism” which is defined as the ability to have wisdom, ideas, foresight, and moral fortitude to contribute positively to advancement of society. Intellectuals advocate for better economic, social and political conditions of citizenry through innovative ideas, policies and strategies aimed at eradicating poverty, health disparity abe job creation. During the Gambia’s military dictatorship, some of our so-called intellectuals were busy emptying our national treasury and helping the Tyrant to consolidate and entrench in power. Majority of them were cynical and pessimistic about the possibility of change and they served as tools for corruption , economic exploitation and human rights violations. They have lost moral values and principles to do what was right for the country but now they are shamelessly blaming everyone except themselves.

So Mr Sanneh, going back to your original article, I want to end here with words of wisdom from one of the greatest freedom fighters of all times, Dr Martin Luther King when he said in acceptance speech of Nobel prize that “I refuse to accept the cynical notion that nation after nation must spiral down a militaristic stairway into the hell of thermonuclear destruction. I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality” . With this I say to you , the people who you called ” unsuccessful or Intellectually inept” at the time of struggle were armed with unarmed truth and unconditional love for the country and their actions and words became the final reality.



One Comment

  1. If they insult people for healthy struggle, not being physical then they have a very low IQ level. People should fight their rights on intellectual level and not physical, or violence. So we need more intellectual democracy and politics, let our minds play fair and unbiased!

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