STUDENT’S VOICE

With Saikou Suwareh Jabai

You are welcome to yet another edition of your weekly Student’s Voice. We feature stories, articles, poems, etc, from students and teachers alike. We encourage other students to contribute and get their writing skills developed. The column is open to all and sundry in the education milieu in The Gambia. Sit back, relax and enjoy these fascinating pieces.

QUOTATION OF THE WEEK

“The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant,” —Max DePree

THE REFUGEES

Some western countries are eager to spend millions of dollars to oust or dethrone a despotic dictator or act as a spark plug to rekindle tension in a country where the existence of mineral resources is abundant. However, they are paying a deaf ear to the call of thousands desperate refugees scattered at every nook and cranny of Europe. Undoubtedly, no one would have thought that the Arab Spring in 2011 could have acted as an ignition chamber that ultimately fuels the current mass exodus of migrants into Europe. This has become an unpleasant and a global problem for that matter. In this year along, over 350,000 migrants have crossed into Europe, more than 2000 innocent souls has perished in the sea trying to reach this tantalizing destination they called Europe.

I want to seize this opportunity to say a very big bravo to the Germans for opening their noble hearts to welcome thousands of desperate families. In fact, they are putting up integrity to posterity by willingly accepting 800,000 migrants by the end of 2015. Their magnanimity is appreciated and acknowledged across the world. I think the rest of the European powerful countries should emulate Germany for upholding the Geneva Convention, which advocates for the universal declaration of human rights. This is a global problem and there should be a global mechanical solidarity, a concerted effort and collective responsibility to address it. Powerful countries in Asia, America, and Europe should accommodate a significant number of migrants, not out of charity but out of solidarity.

When we critically scrutinized the horrible condition of refugees in certain hostile European countries with a legal optical instrument and from a human rights point of view, we would notice that there is a huge aberration of justice and violation of international human rights. Being a refugee, does not mean that an individual should be an outcast or objectionable person. Migration is as old as history itself, and the current movement of people into Europe might not necessarily be so peculiar in history. Wars and instabilities are sporadic and unpredictable; those in wars were not born in it, neither do they pray for it, wars are usually caused by man’s greed or competition for power, wealth and status. In the past, wars or civil strife has been fought in every country, beginning in Europe and spreading to other parts of the world. Today, we see painful human sufferings in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Yemen etc as a result of war. Tomorrow it might be somewhere else. No one knows, as it is unpredictable. Therefore, Europe must cautiously handle the current influx of migrants into their land, because they are under the global microscope for having been involved in the wars in the case of Libya, and using proxies in Yemen, Syria and Turkey.

Recently, Hungary has enacted a new law on refugees by imposing jail term for illegal crossing of its borders; others are busy fencing their borders with razor wires and some so-called leaders who have no atom of humanity in them described them as “swarm of migrants”. From my own humble perspective, I think this is totally unacceptable and is not consistent with international conventions. Asylum should and must be granted to whom it is due; no one should be sent back to a place where his life is imminently threatened.

Finally, the world is watching, and European countries that are setting draconian laws to control, humiliate and brutalize these innocent desperate destitute, should think twice before they find themselves on the wrong side of international law. These countries are using a hacksaw when a scalpel is needed. If they run away from their responsibilities, they might not go scot free from the ramifications of their irrational and diabolical action. Remember Sir Albert Einstein was a refugee but he became one of the world’s most eminent scientists in history.

By Sulayman Jammeh (Your Highness)    

UTG, School Of Engineering and Architecture.

RECYCLISM

We are now dancing with a different lyric in the arena of our mentality because a perpetual waste has turned into a treasure. That is the power of innovation and the beauty of recycling. This has created employment opportunities to people of all ages. Some youths are scavenging at every nook and cranny of the society; jumping from one point to another like frustrated frogs all in the name of acquiring scrap metals for income.

Apparently, these scrap metals has gone into extinction; yet some youths have turned themselves into overnight archeologists by digging every suspected location where this treasure might reside. It’s a complete serious business now, if not a special field of its own which I call business archeology.

I once witnessed an interesting scene on my way to the market; it was around midday when the sun was directly overhead the equator, while I was walking lazily at the pedestrian side of the main road. All of a sudden, I heard a loud “kekk…” sound behind me, when I glanced behind, I noticed that it was just a motorcycle that nearly knock a man rushing to crossing the road. The motorcyclist pulled over at the side of the road and angrily shouted at the man, “You they mad, you never have eyes before or Na your papa way own this road abe?!!” My inquisitiveness had drawn me closer to the scene. Initially, when I heard the accent of the motorcyclist, I knew that it was a Nigerian speaking. However, what actually made me perplexed and finally turned me into a Doubting Thomas was when I glanced at the motorcyclist keenly after taking off his helmet and spectacles that looks like a welding goggle, I have found out that this motorcyclist was a woman in her prime. She was breathing faster and as well sweating ceaselessly as if her blood was boiling under her skin. She had welded her motorbike in such a way that it resembled that of a mini truck, it was overloaded with scrap metal of all ages, types and colours; silver, aluminum, copper, steel, iron, zinc etc. most of them are rust since they might be under the earth for decades.

As the woman got her motorbike started, I stood there for some time thinking how productive this scrap metal business could be.

Finally, this scenario has injected a thinking in me that there is nothing that is a waste, and almost everything can be recycled; it is just that we don’t know how to reuse them after the first usage because of the technical knowhow and technological gap.

By Sulayman Jammeh (Your Highness),

UTG, School of Engineering and Architecture