#Article (Archive)

Being Realistic is Not Being Pessimistic

Jul 31, 2008, 6:45 AM

Are we a pessimistic people? The former majority leader and member for Upper Fulladu West, Honourable Churchill Falai Baldeh, seems to believe that we are. In a recent exclusive interview with this paper he said that Gamabian people look at the negative rather than the positive side of things. We really must disagree. Optimism and pessimism are worldviews one holds when one is not faced with very harsh realities. At the moment many people in The Gambia are struggling to pay for the basic commodities required for life such as food and energy. In this reality it is very difficult if not impossible to be optimistic as only a fool would think that prices are coming down any time soon. Perhaps people might be optimistic about getting a job or a wage increase if they are already lucky enough to be employed, but if bitter experience has taught them that this is effectively a waste of time then we must say they are realists rather than pessimists. A pessimist will believe that the negative will happen even when there is a chance that there may be a positive outcome. Perhaps the homourable member should have said that Gambians are realists.

In fact many would say that even in the face of harsh reality the people of this nation take their trials with amazing good grace. Even though many of our people are living in dire poverty without access to many services, this is still a peaceful nation. In many other parts of the world we have seen food riots but not in The Gambia. A remarkable stoical acceptance is what sets us apart from other nations and this is an attribute we should laud.

According to Mr. Baldeh, no government in the world has met the full needs of her people and so The Gambia is no exception. This is certainly true but this is not an excuse for any of our shortcomings. We must forget about other countries and their achievements and failures, and simply focus on our basic tasks. We must achieve food self-sufficiency, eradicate poverty, educate all our people and ensure that we have comprehensive health care available to all Gambians at all times. These are basic goals but it will, as Mr. Baldeh pointed out, require all of us to put our heads together and work with each other to ensure a better reality for the coming generations.