Reports of Gambian youths dying in the Sahara Desert, stranded at the Niger border town of Agadez, or deported from Libya, still dominate the news. In addition, there are occasional news reports about young people trying to migrate to Europe through the 'Back Way' being apprehended by Immigration personnel at our borders. All these indicate that despite attempts being made by government to ensure that our youths engage in meaningful enterprises here at home, many are still glued to the 'Babylon' dream.
We have constantly spoken against this bogus dream on the pages of this paper, yet it is unfortunate that our youth are paying deaf ears to our concerns. The current state of affairs in Libya has made that country a 'death trap'. The insurrection in the North of Mali and the Tuareg rebellion in the upper extremes of Niger have also made the voyage to Europe via the desert simply 'hellish'.
While we agree that poverty is a push factor to migration, as its primary motivation is the search for economic opportunities and ultimately economic wealth, it is essential that the youth of the country understand that material things are only objects of utility and can never be more important than human life.There is no point in searching for material wealth through means that will send you to your grave.
That apart, even those who survive the journey and eventually make it to Europe deny themselves a sense of belonging. This is because they reject where they belong to and force themselves into a society in which they will never be accepted. They will simply be treated as uninvited refugees at a rich man's gate and hence survive at the expense of their dignity, personality and worth.
The series of development projects that have opened up windows of opportunities for Gambians are numerous. The government has initiated a series of self-help projects that if utilised by the people can lead to them achieving a reasonable livelihood. Suffice to say, The Gambia is on the path to gaining the economic benefits of infrastructural development.
It is therefore a moral obligation upon each and every Gambian to partake in the ongoing national development process. Venturing into agricultural production, the output of which will help generate income for a decent livelihood, learning a trade and petty business among other things, will produce a progressive future.
The enabling environment is already in place for a progressive future, let us amalgamate our efforts to complement those of the government, otherwise we would become enemies of our own progress.