By Suntou Bolonba Touray
The dignity, reputation and self-respect of women need preserving. A key determinant in gaining an air of respect and nobility all across the world for women is associated with their dignity. Societies like that of ours still lay enormous emphasis on a woman’s chastity and manners. To attribute remotely any form of infidelity and casual indulgence in affairs outside marriage is not a small attack on a woman’s personality alone, but all those who associate and are related with such woman.
The scriptures warn the faithful to avoid accusing women of infidelity and lacking self-control. The warnings are so dare, anyone who accuses a believing woman of sex outside marriage without any proof; such a person is in the eye of the divine laws condemned to 80 lashes.
Two Gambian women were accused of having a boy friend on a widely read Gambian newspaper. These women are stained by the mere attribution of casual love affairs outside a marital sanctity. Many will suspect the credibility and validity of such statements against the women in question, but still some faint hearted readers may continue to believe in it.
The question all well meaning Gambians or people of concern should ask themselves is what good does such irrelevant news stories serve?
The private lives of independent women who are not occupying any public position where they are remunerated by Gambian tax payers, why should their private lives become a subject of our news papers?
Another vital point to note is that, why should hard working, well respected women be associated with having boyfriends? It is a simple chauvinist behaviour and an outdate attitude which needs to be do away with.
Isn’t there more respectable and better ways to question the conduct of a woman instead of going after her jugular?
Fatoumata Jahumpa is openly associated with the dictatorship of Yahya Jammeh, yet that is not a license to use her name in castigating the respectable sister in Fatou Jaw Manneh. One can write voluminous accounts of Fatou Jahumpa on her role in fostering sycophancy and selfishness, but that should not extend to her private personal life. No one can mistake the real intention of the so-call letter, the aim is to discredit Fatou Jaw Manneh not fatoumata Jahumpa.
Fatou Jaw Manneh has endured more than many of us. She continues to be part of the struggle and in the media business. Many who have smoothly sailed into the comfort of the Americas or Europe quietly went about their business uninterested in current developments affecting Gambians.
Fatou Jaw could have done the same and quietly lay low, avoiding media spotlight, thus safe guarding her private personal live. I doubt if the editor of Freedom news paper will publish anything against Fatou Jaw if she is not providing alternative media outlet for Gambians online.
In 2009, the privacy and dignity of Gambian women shouldn’t become a subject of our media debate. Let us talk about what affect us all in the public space of the Gambia. Writing about the private lives of people will do us no good. Regular readers on the online discussion forums also see these unhealthy exchanges. Some believe, by writing innuendos and concocted stories about others just to score futile points they have gain. One would expect the editor of Freedom news paper to have grown beyond such unhealthy style of journalism, but alas, salvaging personal point’s means doing whatever it takes for some.
The least we can all do for fatou Jaw Manneh is to respect her privacy and stop manufacturing lies on her private life. I am very sad to read untruth about prominent women in our male dominated circles.
Fatou Jaw Manneh’s dignity remains intact. There are certain habits which are more sinful than drinking alcohol; lying against the dignity of others is one such act.
The editor of Freedom newspaper should retract that so-call letter and apologise to Fatou Jaw for aiding the transmission of a character assassinating lies. He needs to take note of our social norms and values, and stop trespassing on people’s privacy.
The letter shouldn’t have pass through a vigorous editor’s lenses. The piece is scandalous, rude, unnecessary and in bad taste. Fundamentally it also exposes the ever uncompromising stance of folks in demeaning others to for whatever selfish reasons.
"foro son tee menti, jaaw salalela, namee tasinin, Allah saa bo ikan" (what is not the habit of one, a jealous sob can ascribe it to you, but in the end, God will preserve your dingnity)