This is one of many comments about “Black Man’s Sorrow and Other Poetry.” Though it is my wish that my works will inspire everyone. I normally forget about them once they are published and move on to other ideas. If you are interested in my latest poetry book, you can buy it here or here. All proceeds go to CWC Children’s Orphanage in Ghana in service of humanity.
On this occasion of the celebration of the African Union Day, I’m asking them where is the union? There is more trade between Africa and Europe than among African countries. Movement is also restricted with bureaucratic immigration procedures because African Leaders don’t trust each other. So where the hell is the union they are talking about?
Immanuel Kant as a moral philosopher? Please tell me this is a joke. What moral precepts did he contribute to the molding of the African personality, consciousness and existence? Would you label someone who called you an ox, who said you should be driven apart with thrashings a moral philosopher? Yet this is what Kant said of Black Africans.
Worst still, would you take someone seriously if he wrote voluminously about how married couples should relate to each other when in fact he himself never had the courage to marry? Kant may be a giant in European philosophy, fair enough why shouldn’t he be, but to teach one concept and live the other is unethical.
One enters the department of philosophy in a typical African university and they are teaching Kant, Hegel, Locke, Rousseau, Hume, Descartes etc. The irony in all this epistemological blunders is that there are probably more sages in Africa than there are elsewhere. Why not primarily teach the aphorisms of African sages as African philosophy. Wouldn’t that be more plausible and logical and even meritorious to Africa?
It is a fact that different societies have different morals and value systems. This argument is further advanced by most amoralists and serves as a basis for a rejection of universal moral values. But even when we look at the great diversity in human nature, societies and their values and norms, it is by all means that whatever one does, one will be repaid in full. This is what justifies vengeance even if it is done in the name of one god or another god. The desire for justice is innate in every human. Morality itself is not based on reason, it has its basis in instinct. So a rational discussion on morality is futile – one would just be moving in circles. However, one thing that runs through all moral laws irrespective of geographic location, social group, race or nation is that there is reciprocity. There is something akin to a reward or payback (though sometimes difficult to perceive) based on an act that was perpetuated or neglected thereof. This reciprocity is not peculiar to only relationships within social groups, it is the fabric of all individual human interactions. Others call it karma. The problem however is that sometimes this reciprocal relationships are also subject to subjective interpretations and people with similar perspectives randomly self organize and create a morality of their own. They may even seek to punish someone who may have done something right for the majority. In a society as dysfunctional as mine, based on random self organization, criminals or the most unscrupulous are sometimes selected as the decision makers and adjudicators. When it happens that way the righteous is punished and everyone turns evil. There is reciprocity in there. Society has to be better than individuals so it is very important that people aspiring to leadership positions have high ethical principles and are people of highest moral standards. This ensures that the right values are emulated and promoted in the system. Sadly, as the reader may be aware this is often not so. We elect leaders based on their wealth and connections, then we turn around and complain when they attack us.
See how they struggle with each other like crabs as to who should sit on the throne. And often times the throne sits on filth and filth also sits on the throne. They have no shame. No one ponders what the problem is, let alone attempt a solution. Many things are wrong with the country, yet nothing meaningful and sustainable is done. It’s a harvest season again and see how they line up their bald heads and pot bellies vying for votes from the poor ignorant masses. But nothing is a secret now, every human, goat and chicken in this country knows that nothing will change as far as living conditions are concerned. Even doctors and nurses can’t get jobs these days. So what do they mean by creating a future for the youth? I don’t really get it. A future where? They speak of a future like fanciful children looking into the sky. So called left wing media agencies also do selective activism. Once they receive their little doughnut monies they suddenly go silent. The result of all this is a failed state.
To be perfectly sincere, any of those imbeciles could become king (for there is minimal difference in their intellectual capacities). Enthrone anyone and you will notice that he will instantaneously concern himself only with securing a place in the future world for his genes, for only his genes and perhaps few of his tribesmen. Equality is an illusion. If democracy is working for the developed world, it’s certainly not working for Africa. Democracy has fueled corruption, thuggery and political recklessness even further in Africa. When they speak of a future, what I would like to ask them is if what we see on the streets is the future they speak of, if so, then they must fantasizing with their goons.
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.
Although this post is specifically about Ghana, most African nations share same problems associated with governance and economic development. The term elite capture simply describes a situation where resources designated for the benefit of the larger population are usurped by a few individuals of superior status –be it economic, political, educational, ethnic, or otherwise. Typically, individuals or groups take advantage of government programs aimed at distributing resources or funds to the general public by using their elite influence to direct such assistance in such a way that it primarily benefits the elite group. In some cases it benefits their own associates, family members or friends. Cleptocracy on the other hand, is a rule by thieves and Kakistocracy is a rule by the most unqualified or the morally corrupt in society.
Ghana is a country of make-believe. Even little kids acquire this instinct of crafting lies for no apparent reason. The entire society is organised around speculations, superstitions and farcical ideas. Facts and truths have no grip on the Ghanaian mind. The quickest and most effective way of influencing the Ghanaian is through music, the least effective is through the written word. Books influence only a thin stratum of intellectuals. The politicians know the people so well that during every election all the major political parties compose music that plays countless times on the airwaves. They know that the average man or woman on the street is not really interested in lengthy manifestos. Just give them music and entertainment. Added to this is the problem of ethnocentrism. You can visit a typical Ghanaian organisation and notice that almost everyone in a particular office, unit or department belong to one tribe. And when tribal affiliations set in there is absolutely no room for reason.
The most corrupt people in Ghana and Africa for that matter, also happen to be the elite class, most with doctorates. They form the core of the cleptocrats. Their luxurious lifestyles often cost the state more than necessary but nobody takes any action to stop this lunacy. Let me explain that a PhD in Ghana does not necessarily mean the holder has contributed anything to the field of knowledge. Here, a certificate simply designates a title. The worst mistake one can ever make as a subordinate is to try to report an allegedly corrupt official to one’s overall boss. One will be reporting to the ‘thief executive officer’ and thereby identifying oneself as a traitor in the organisation. This can cost you a promotion or salary increment etc considering that firing a public servant in Ghana is not a straight forward procedure. The thieves, supported by the ignorant masses, continue to rule in Africa.
This concerns possibilities in our personal lives and I intend to make it short. Why are some things thought to be possible and others not possible? And yet the opposite often manifests as true. Many of you will remember the door knob in ‘Alice in Wonderland’ when Alice mistook ‘impassable’ for ‘impossible.’ The knob replied: ‘Nothing is impossible.’ I imagine the fuller meaning will be nothing is impossible if you believe in yourself. For instance, most people don’t see any kind of possibility or opportunity in Africa but many are also making a living there and Europeans arrive and depart everyday. A few even naturalize. Real opportunities exist only where there are real problems.
Of course there are limits imposed by actuality on us individually but there is always a way out of every difficulty – it just might take some time. How futile and deficient one’s efforts will be if one is looking for a job but already believes that jobs don’t exist – looking for lasting happiness but already believes that happiness is an illusion – looking for genuine love but already believes there is no such a thing as genuine love. It will be impossible. One’s belief system is like a magnetic field, it has to exist and be strong enough to detect and attract what it’s designed to attract.
If we look at our personal lives, everything we have ever achieved is as a result of believing first that, the objective set is achievable. Our field of perception seem stronger and sharper if backed by a strong realistic belief. I’m not speaking of religious jingoism or delusions or infatuation for a pop star, in the case of love. With such strong realistic belief you will not be drawn back by the dark voices that constantly remind you of your past mistakes and tragedies. The more fearful you become in any venture the more errors you will likely commit. And even when it comes to love and relationships, fear and doubt creates misunderstanding. Openness and honesty is key to character.
In the mind, thoughts and feelings are not categorized into social, economic, political etc as we have it in the institutionalized world. So one problem in one aspect of our lives can affect all other areas if not solved. If you were hurt by those who were supposed to love and protect you, still believe you are lovable. If you had an unhappy childhood filled with traumatic events, still believe you can experience peace and happiness and lastly, if you were despised and didn’t get much by way of erudition, still you can earn a living. How else will I know if I had not directly and indirectly experienced most of these. Happy Sunday to all of you! Especially you. You know yourself.
Where is your home?
Where is your home Blackman?
When you’re in Europe you say I am going home.
When you’re in America you say I am going home.
When you’re in the Far East you say I am going home.
And when you’re in Africa you say I am going home.
Where is your home Blackman?
Where is your home?
Whatever you seek is within you.