Saul Saidykhan’s article titled Gambia 2018: Personal Experience and Observations is brilliant because it accurately describes our current sociocultural condition. I am intrigued by your great sense of reasoning which I always admire. Despite my busy schedule, I must say thank you for your brilliant piece to educate Gambian people about the impact of “new immigrants” who have already destroyed our way of life and culture. The Gambian society has been destroyed by former President Dictator Yahya Jammeh who has no significant deep-rooted cultural and family ties to our country. His father was an illegal immigrant from war-torn southern province of Senegal. Jammeh and many of his core henchmen have no significant family and cultural ties to The Gambia and the Gambian people.
Therefore, it was not a surprise to see him changed the social and cultural dynamics of The Gambia during 22 years of tribalistic-militarization of the country. Jammeh has successfully changed not only our culture by encouraging influx of new wave of low skilled immigrants but also allowed criminals to become publicly accepted players in our education, economy, governance and healthcare sectors. This is a great concern. So-called Nigerian musicians and music videos have destroyed our culture. This is evident of embracing of their immoral behavior in the form of armed robberies and many criminal activities that are so prevalent in The Gambia today. Before Jammeh and his gang of criminals introduced many of these criminal activities we are currently seeing in our country, Gambian people were one big family who live in peace and harmony. There was no tribalism and all tribes live in peace and harmony. But with the introduction of people from violent societies like Nigeria, Liberia, Casamance and many hot spots, The Gambia became a troubled country with identity crisis. As you have rightly mentioned in your article, many of the recent immigrants have no respect for our cultural values and have successfully transformed our social norms and values. Today you will see many young women in The Gambia exposing their naked pictures to men within and outside the country. This is very rare in the United States where there are laws that deal with indecency and prostitution.
The new administration should focus its attention on cultural development and sustainability of our way of life. The Gambian education system should be culturally oriented which would allow our values and norms to be integral part of our education system. I support the idea of encouraging our Gambian music to be promoted in our sociocultural events. We must begin the Gambianization of our country. This can be achieved through creation of national language and identity which majority of the people can speak and relate to. Already The Gambia has such National language which majority can speak fluently. This is Mandinka language. It is matter of political will to accept Mandinka language as a national language. This is the first start. Our way of life and identity is under attack and we must not relent to this new wave of “immigrants” transforming our country into violent and moral bankrupt society. We must resist just like we have overcome 22 years of tribalistic military dictatorship in The Gambia.