Alagi Saidy-Barrow: The They Problem And Us Solution

Alagie Barrow

Ask anyone you meet on the streets and they will tell you what Gambia’s problems are and those behind the problems. Corruption? We all know who the corrupt ones are.

It just so happens that the corrupt ones are not us or our family members. It is the “others”. Hypocrisy? We know who the hypocrites are but It is not us or our associates or family members. It is the “others” in that “other”group. Mediocrity?

Again it is the “others” that accept mediocrity. For our friends, family, colleagues and associates, we have very high standards and it’s the “others” that are destroying The Gambia with their mediocrity. Tribalism? Oh the “others” are the tribalists, we are too miseducated and tribally conscious to be tribalist! Politically ignorant? It’s the others that are politically ignorant; me and my kind shun personality politics.

I don’t need to go on because I think you get my drift. It’s always the “others” that are the problems. Never us. As far as MOST of us are concerned, our fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, family, friends, colleagues, associates and etc. are never the problem, it is always the “others” outside of our circle or group.

Try getting anyone to accept being part of those behind the problem and they will assume a Rock of Gibraltar status: Unmovable!

Our experts/scholars/intellectuals/hustlers, ministers and their favorite minions, directors and wannabe important people, attention junkies cum politicians, hustlers cum politicians all know our challenges as a nation but it is never any of us, it’s always the others. Meaning, everyone else is the problem except us and those that subscribe to our persuasion. Everyone thinks everyone else is the problem. I call it the “They Problem” and it is the opposite of the “Us Solution”.

The They Problem allows you to point fingers at others and put the blame squarely at their feet. The They Problem absolves you of any responsibility and excuses inertia. The They Problem allows you to entertain antiquated notions of ethnicity/tribalism and point fingers at others because they are the problem tribalists.

In the They Problem, it’s ok to take a back seat, high on the moral pew, and spew garbage at others because they are the moral problem. The They Problem gives you license to be duplicitous because you can hide behind the veil of some religion or political party and spew garbage thinking no one can see through you. The They Problem is never wrong; it’s always right and it’s the others that are always wrong.

On the flip side of the They Problem is the Us Solution. The Us Solution encourages introspection. The Us Solution interrogates the soul. It Demands self-accountability. The Us Solution discourages pointing fingers at others and promotes holding the mirror to oneself first and foremost.

The Us Solution does not tolerate mediocrity. It abhors sycophancy. It does not subscribe to the low expectations syndrome, it encourages higher standards. The Us Solution pushes blame-gaming to the dustbins of irrelevance and assumes responsibility for its own actions.

The Us Solution does not stand by family or friends or party members when they are inept, idiotic or morally corroded. The Us Solution is all about accountability and honesty. The Us Solution does not blindly follow any political godfather while pointing fingers at others for doing the same. The Us Solution questions everything and accepts that it is ok to criticize any leader.

The Us Solutions is grounded and is not after fame or notoriety. The US Solution asks questions and makes demands and does not settle for less than it deserves. The Us Solution is grounded in communitarian values. The Us Solutions thinks. The Us Solution values Africanism and shuns colonial systems that Africans continue to promote only for their own selfish gains.

At the core of the Us Solution is ACCOUNTABILITY! The Us Solution subscribes to people first and not some popularity-seeking and sojourn into the murky waters of statecraft. The Us Solution asks questions such as: How have I contributed to this problem of flooding in Banjul? What must I do to solve this problem? How do I make sure it never happens again? The Us Solution understands the fallibility of humans but recognizes the thick line between a mistake and a deliberate act!

The Us Solution doesn’t have many friends even though everyone claims to love it. The Us Solution is easily recognized for it represents everyone. The Us Solution maintains that we are the problem. It is much more soothing and placating to point fingers at others and embark on the They Problem train. And yet we continue to wallow in failure while wondering why! Try the Us Solution. This colonial space we call Gambia is not where it is because the land wanted to be, it’s because YOU AND I made it so! You and I meaning you reading this!

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