Alagi Yorro Jallow
Fatoumatta: From the beginning of man, there has been a raft of spiteful, irrational brutes with no social restraints. In real life and face-to-face conversations, a gamut of human constraints like body language, tone, eye contact, age, social status has held people back from expressing their honest thoughts and display their worst instincts. However, with social media and the internet in general, the natural constraints on irrational and irresponsible behavior no longer apply from behind the screen of cheap phones, cheap data, and free browsing.
These agent provocateurs or charismatic loudmouths come on WhatsApp network forums. Facebook and Whatsapp forums become echo-chambers of politicians calling for ‘fire for fire,’ ‘matching violence for violence,’ ‘killing one of the people with different views and tribe or belonging to a different political persuasion,’ they sit in the comfort of their wretchedly cozy homes to promote strife, they are the ones who indeed are the filth from the filthiest gutters.
Fatoumatta: It is worse in the Gambia Diaspora, where they invent nothing, adopt and consume what others produce, even before understanding the product or service. Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp in the Gambia have created a vast swath of trolls and keyboard warriors and cyberbullies who hawk their appalling lack of empathy, poor upbringing, and no social restraints of any kind. Gambian social media space is heaven to spiteful keyboard groupies and simulcasting on social media with herds mentality, poor education, expired thinking capacity, rabid partisanship, ethnic chauvinism, and religious bigotry. The platform of interaction built to shorten distances of modern living has given sociopathic cowards the avenue to express the worst in human nature devoid of actual contact.
Why would an older adult insult people on social media other tribes? We read things we disagree with all the time. When we do, we walk away. If we read from someone we know or admire, we will add your comment respectfully. If they misunderstand your remarks, you apologize and never go back there again. You avoid conflict if you can. It has ceased to amaze us why some people go to Facebook Live or record on WhatsApp forums to insult people and insult other people’s tribes, insult people’s political party affiliations, and abuse people. It is Keyboard Cowardice and cyberbullying. You can have differences of opinion and make a case for our point of view without offending people.
Fatoumatta: What is it that turns people into aggressive, uncouth, and unpleasant older adults? People’s baffling propensity has to be rude, arrogant, pedantic, self-conceited, and self-opinionated calls for concern. What brand of indecency propels fully-grown men and women to live on Facebook as a tribal bigot, misogynistic, and champion malevolence and narcissism? Who bred these kinds of people for the Gambia? Where are decency and respect for boundaries? What encourages these rude loudmouths with tiny brains? Why can’t people walk away from updates they do not like then become a bigot? Because of cheap popularity, they criticized and insult everyone differently or have contrary viewpoints or political ideology, especially the political elite, without addressing other structural and public policy issues. Have these folks become condescending to public intellectuals? So, they only become accepted when we abandon or work against the interests of the people? So, they prefer a public intellectual who sees no evil. Who would rather pretend that they have answers to a haven of good governance?
Give us a break! One way to wake for the wannabes on this social media traffic these days is offensive, insulting, and condescending. Things we used to take as conventional in those days will insult the hell out of you if you dare mention it to them. So what could be the cause? The nigh virtuality of these streets? Herd mentality or a genuine socio-cultural transition in the consciousness of these wannabes? What is fueling their adolescent belligerence?
Fatoumatta: The liberty of free speech does not confer on the holder the right to be rude, derogatory, and insulting. You can disagree without belligerent and insulting; that is, suppose Adama Barrow’s National People’s Party( NPP) retain public insulter Fatou Jagne in the party and Ousainou Darboe, and the United Democratic Party (UDP)could also keep public insulter like Bakary Trawally and Fatou Darboe and host of castigators in the UDP as one of his party surrogates. Why won’t they have the guts to be insulting people up and down on Facebook with their atrocious grammar? For example, good or bad, it has a contagious effect on those following.
Be warned and fear these on Facebook. Mine is as follows: Here is a thoroughbred brain. This person Bakary Trawally, can be likened to the American Pit Bull Terrier. He is politically combative. He devours the opposing side without pity. Taking a swipe at his can be suicidal. Making incoherent arguments in his vicinity is an indelicate maneuver and an unforgivable trespass. You will be cast as a specimen, a missing link between man and baboon, and the subject of tutoring and positive insult for a lifetime. I have warned you. If in doubt, ask the political class and social media activists. Be careful!
These other persons can be likened to a Rottweiler. Fatou Darboe of the (UDP) and (Fatou Jagne of the NPP) are guardians of culture and master the Mandingo and Wolof vernacular language. They have an uncanny ability to dispense sense to the senseless. When unprovoked, they are a delight. The only chance of survival when attacked by a Rottweiler is to be passive. Do not provoke them. If you do, keep a fast dialogue with your legs and turn off notifications. Dear Lord! These are German Shepherds. Their tenacity is legendary. They search and catch their prey. They look for double-speak and inelegant posturing on political matters. If the offenders continue to resist, these two are irresistibly cruel.
When did it become a crime to have an opinion? They cannot give what they do not have? While they fool themselves on social media, there are Masters and doctoral students of various disciplines analyzing their behaviors and documenting their irrationality for humanity. Even the Facebook algorithm is capturing their stupidity.
Fatoumatta: Why would a man or a woman creep on social media to heap insults and hate speech? We know we can’t all be respectful and thoughtful, but the rude rubes of the Gambia have taken rudeness to the Zenith. Isn’t it preposterous to think we should write what suits certain people or pander to individual interests? We are not surprised when people think everyone is hungry and looking for cheap popularity and access to the powerful and politicians. Paul Coelho, the great Brazilian novelist, has helped us understand why they do that. He observed: “How people treat others is a direct reflection of how they feel about themselves.”
Fatoumatta: We know many of these social media insulters mask their insecurities by being rude and insensitive, so they appear fearless. However, each time they exposed their upbringing, the value systems in the families they grew up in are not the same expected of people from decent families. Those raised where verbal abuse is the norm and objects were routinely thrown around in anger with a slap here and a kick there would take rudeness as acceptable behavior. It is a shame, in any case. It feels like we are in the age of vulgarity.
Alagi Yorro Jallow