Blackness

The capitalist will offer any gift to his labourers except the gift of freedom from the bridle. It was not the intention of the slave buying nation to grant citizenship to the slaves after bringing them to the new world. The intention was to put them to work until they died. 

Citizenship and equal rights was granted (in principle) as a last resort. The founders contradicted themselves through the preamble of the constitution by claiming that “All men are created equal” and this made them feel guilty. Abolition of slavery was a test of the human conscience. The truth is they don’t want you there. Any wonder that they shoot and kill black people for no real reason. 

When a white leader oppresses or imprisons a black man without moral justification or without due process of law, the black man is simply asked to forgive but if a black leader oppresses or imprisons a white man, they rally all the European people in the world and demand compensation for the oppressed whites. They consider their lives worth thrice a black person’s life.

Meanwhile the neo-colonialists continue to turn a blind eye to the fact that Ian Smith’s racist government stole lands, killed many native Africans and imprisoned Robert Mugabe for 11 years during which his son died. Maybe we are a foolish people, but the world must acknowledge the black race’s capacity to forgive – as Soyinka has said earlier.

Are we truly independent?

Today my country is celebrating its “independence” day with the usual symbolism, diversion and pomp by the leadership. Meanwhile, hungry children will be marching in the sun together with horses. Many will faint. Others will be swearing oaths. At first I wondered why the quaker or bobs red mill will not be fed to the children. Then they said no, they will be: SWEARING OATHS, AS IN MAKING DECLARATIONS. Oh I get it now. I swear some of these children will be marching on an empty stomach today. UNICEF please intervene.

Speaking of “independence”, is Ghana truly independent? If yes, in what regard? If no why?

Is Africa itself free considering that African economies are fully controlled by the Pound or the Dollar or the Euro? What is Africa’s USP in the global market? Do we have bargaining power?

Are we aware at all of our own realities?

What is the purpose of science if it doesn’t serve humanity?

With president Donald Trump reportedly cutting funds to the arts and humanities, I wonder what consequences it will have on the development of a national culture for a country as diverse and racially heterogenous as the United States. Without education in the arts and the humanities civil unrests will be more frequent because people wouldn’t know or understand how to live with one another and even with the state. All knowledge of the arts and the humanities helps us to know who we are, why we are the way we are and what we ought to do to improve ourselves, our communities and the larger society. Law, Politics and Business are all traditionally categorized as arts and humanities.

In the past half century or so there has been intense focus globally on science education, which is good but not good enough to create a more humane civilization and make humans a better and conscientious people. Science has given us many beautiful inventions but their purpose will depend on the purpose we as humans envision for those inventions. What good is a powerful weapon, machinery, tool, vaccine etc if one is not trained to use it humanely.

Science has told us in clear terms that it cannot help us as far as the purpose or meaning of life is concerned. We can only turn to the arts and the humanities for truly meaningful answers. There are tens of thousands of literary and cultural organisations across the U.S. often offering voices to the voiceless and the under-represented. This no doubt is important in uniting such a racially divided country. If funding to the arts and humanities is cut, the government is simply postponing a problem not solving it. Unless peace, coexistence, civil rights, and national unity is not a priority for the government at the moment. As someone who is passionate about literature and the arts, I can only ponder the consequences if literature and art is further underpromoted.

Africa, my Africa

We want to go and
See what’s happening
In the underworld.
Perhaps the gods and
Ancestors know why.
We ran and ran and
When our feet refused to
Go, we saw that we were
Back in whitey’s chains –
In the oppressor’s talons.
Africa cries for a liberator.
How can her children go
Hungry when she has
Fertile land? How can she
Be poor when she has gold?
Nkrumah said revolutionary
Path will bring freedom but
Who will fight for us?
No one wanted to fight.
Whitey’s dollar is working.
Lumumba is gone.
Sankara is gone.
Madiba is gone.
Nyerere is gone.
Kenyatta is also gone.
And so is great Nkrumah.
Heroes die soon and
The clowns live long.
But Africa, my Africa is not
What is shown the world.
My Africa will rise…again.

The Ethical Flaw in Euthanasia

Those who may not know, euthanasia means mercy killing – to ask to be put to death either because of deteriorating health, abuse, misery or simply despair. Euthanasia is legal in some European countries but not yet in Africa, where there is so much gregariousness. It will be absurd to even speak of such a thing to the most ordinary African.

I must convey a very important observation here. Many people confuse moral laws with legal codes or rather they superimpose legal instruments over moral ones. If something is legal it doesn’t necessarily make it moral. Immoral laws are sometimes passed because there is so much pressure on the judiciary to help solve certain perceived problems. Suppose that a friend feels so much pain as a result of disease or personal misfortune and asks to be put to death, I can never be the one to do it. My solution will be to give him as much help as I can and send him to social welfare or public care home.

My deep mistrust of medical doctors was confirmed recently when they put a woman (alleged to have been sexually abused for over 15 years) to death because she had asked to be killed. I can tell you assuredly that they are murderers though they did it legally. There are serious ethical problems right there especially the fact that every physician swears an oath to try his best to save human lives. The average underprivileged person has had suicidal thoughts at least once in his or her lifetime but those moments are only transitory. The storm soon disappears and life resumes to normality. Therefore, as a society we should not be quick to grant people their wishes. Nobody likes death. When people choose death it’s because they feel rejected, empty and abandoned by humanity and it’s a shame. This is why I think everyone needs to cultivate spirituality because it acts as a ‘shock absorber.’ Spirituality is an attitude and a valuable survival skill. I may not be religious but I don’t joke with my personal spiritual life.

Concerning euthanasia, it speaks worse of the society where it’s accepted than the people who request for it. At many levels, I think life is a gift which must not be wasted.

The Brutal Rape of Africa

 

Seeing that Africa was young and endowed with treasures,

There came many kings seeking to lure her and dominate her.

And Africa, much to their disappointment rejected all of them,

But the kings went and took counsel how they might put down Africa.

Behold, with deceitful pretenses, they seized Africa and raped her –

 

The king of the tribe of the British,

The king of the tribe the Dutch,

The king of the tribe of the Spanish,

The king of the tribe of the French,

And the king of the tribe of the Belgians –

 

Each king holding each limb, they took turns and raped Africa.

And in those days Africa was barely a teen.

She lay on the ground in pain and agony.

Her blood flowed through the gold mines of South Africa and the Gold Coast,

Through the diamond and copper mines of Sierra Leone and the Congo,

 

Through the rubber plantations of Liberia,

And finally through the uranium mines of the Niger.

Vagabonds, did Africa produce as offsprings.

And I saw an old queen wearing a gold crown stolen from none but Africa.

Suddenly there came a loud voice from Abyssinia saying:

 

‘We shall wipe her tears and we shall restore Africa to her people.’

And after the voice, I saw Africa anew, adorned as a bride

For her groom – for her people.

The old Africa is long gone – this is a new Africa!

And I saw her people embrace her – and there was no more war nor strife nor

Disease nor ignorance nor even revenge in her heart.

 

©2015. Tawia Tsekumah.

 

 

“Beasts of No Nation”

“Beasts of No Nation” is a 2015 feature film co-produced by and starring Idris Elba. It was shot mainly in Ghana. It seems to me in this modern times, that for a movie to be critically acclaimed it must have at least one of these three ingredients – sex, drugs or violence. Apart from the violence it portrays, the film together with many other similar ones like “Blood Diamonds” further damages Africa’s image by reinforcing the negative perception that people have about Africa.

The supposed beasts which the movie talks about turned out to be black Africans – child soldiers chanting, shooting civilians, throwing bombs and making a mockery of their own culture and traditions. This is what the average outsider already believes about Africa – a continent filled with bullets and bombs flying about in all directions – a dark continent where travelers and investors enter at their own risk. But is this really the whole story? Do people who have actually been to Africa give such accounts?

Many countries in Africa have never experienced civil war and are very peaceful yet rarely will a foreign film portray anything akin to that. Although living conditions in Africa, like anywhere else are not perfect, most African communities are very united and peaceful and typical African youths rarely do drugs. Suppose it was a movie portraying any city life in Africa, then of course we know every city in this world has its fair share of thuggery and violence – which is even something localized not continent wide.

Most people speak well of the artistic direction of “Beasts of No Nation” and I also think it’s really good, even better than “Blood Diamonds” but those who researched and wrote the story did not dig deep. There was violence and hooliganism in almost every scene. I guess it was all about commercial appeal and the box office, but not to correct any misconceptions about Africa although Idris Elba is a Sierra Leonean – Ghanaian by ancestry. I do perfectly understand the commercial appeal part of the whole project because the biggest challenge to filmmaking now is funding.

 

 

Revealing Truth Causes Chaos

Anas, an incredibly talented investigative Ghanaian journalist, has been able to secretly film at least 34 judges, including high court judges allegedly accepting bribes in return for passing lower sentences or acquitting criminals altogether. The news which broke last month shocked everyone. Many people are calling for the implicated judges to be suspended or dismissed. But I don’t think that will be enough to deter others. Simple dismissal is not the equivalent of miscarriage or abatement of justice. In fact dismissal could mean unlimited freedom for these allegedly corrupt judges. But of course not all judges are corrupt. I know that there are many who are fair in the true sense of the word.

If the evidence Anas has provided is sufficient proof, then I believe the law is supreme and must be applied. The most valuable thing a person has is his freedom and when that is rightfully taken just as it’s done to others, then we can be said to be serious about justice and equitable law enforcement. Keep in mind, that, justice is the prelude to peace. Considering the widespread allegations of corruption and bribery that hits the country every now and then, and now creeping it’s way like a virus into the judiciary, Ghana’s democracy is likely sitting atop a volcano.

In every organized system, revealing or speaking truth creates chaos. But that chaos is needed to completely turn the situation around sooner. To avoid the chaos is to postpone the change.

Very recently, Anas was expected before the judicial investigative committee which resumes work this week but it was reported that three hooded men, dressed almost the same way arrived at the premises of the court leaving onlookers with no clue about which one of them is the real Anas.

Since truth has no place is this fallen world, the best way to present undiluted truth, if one must, is to constantly mutate one’s identity. I believe it’s an excellent thing he did.

The photographs remind me of the Ku Klux Klan but in contrast these guys are clearly aiding Anas and therefore the state in its fight against corruption.

A Country Where Lunatics Are Prosecuted

A man was recently sentenced to 10 years in prison custody for attempted assassination of the president. According to the story, the man (who was showing signs of mental illness) was found in a church where the president regularly congregates. The president was not in church that particular day but the man was alleged to have entered the church with a weapon concealed in his pants (underwear) and comfortably sat as a congregant.

During the sermon he was reportedly acting suspicious so the presidential guards arrested him and he was subsequently arraigned and sentenced within 48 hours. Now the question is what kind of assassin will attend church, with the intention of killing the president, have his (undisclosed) weapon concealed in his pants and continue behaving suspiciously. The inability of the police to disclose the weapon he was carrying made many people conclude that they are making a big case out of slight evidence or none.

As a result of pressure from civil society and the general public, a recent medical test was conducted and it confirmed that the man indeed was clinically insane and so many people hope that he will be released and placed on medication. But we are told there will be a retrial. We don’t want Ghana to be the first to prosecute lunatics. The law on the legal process is very clear – that for an accused to be arraigned before court, proven guilty and sentenced, he must be of a sound mind. Here is a man who is not of a sound mind yet is being prosecuted. Ghana is a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 December 1948 in Paris, which includes the rights of the mentally-handicapped.