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No Place Like Home

Jun 2, 2008, 5:06 AM

There is a lot of debate these days about African Immigrants trying to enter Europe through what many call the "back way."

Like many African countries, The Gambia has lost many of its citizens, mainly youths, on the dangerous seas between Spain and Morocco and despite the recurrence in grievous loss of lives, many are still willing to brave the precarious conditions to enter Europe, which African youths have for years looked on as the only solution.

It has been reported last week that a total of 22 Gambian youths were intercepted in Senegal in a suspected attempt to sail to Spain. The youths, who would have contributed immensely to nation building, were apprehended by the Senegalese security forces on Tuesday along with their Senegalese accomplices as they boarded a boat bound for Spain.

The practice of embarking on perilous, mostly sea, voyages has in recent years been an all too common phenomenon that has taken its toll on life and limb of African youths who resolve to reach the European mainland by all means.

How sorrowful, considering the price of the misadventure. It is costing many a hope-starved African youth a great deal of money which they and their families have to raise through a variety of difficult means. The huge amounts involved in such perilous journeys would have helped many youths to establish small businesses if not a big one that would benefit not only them but the country at large.

Most African youths attribute their extreme decision to the inability of their respective countries to provide jobs or, when they could provide them, fail to guarantee the kind of remuneration at least reasonably comparable with that which can be earned in Europe. In so many cases in The Gambia now we see people working very hard for very little money which does not even cover the rising cost of basic commodities.

Be that as it may, the thing that our youths should understand about the dream of Europe is that all that glitters is not gold. In so many cases when people have succeeded in making it there, they find themselves in such unexpected situations that they have to lead lives of terrible poverty and suffered shocking discrimination.

Africa has a lot of potential and one should therefore be steadfast. The search for greener pastures should not be pursued as a matter of life and death.

"The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation."

Henry David Thoreau.