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Opinions Sun, 5 Apr 2020

Coronavirus: Time to use expletives

COVID-19 has seared itself into our consciousness; sadly people are dying and more people are going to die – we should all know that by now.

But the moral imperative to THINK and ACT soundly still appears totally lost on our leaders and public officials.

Listen to the airwaves: 1) a USD10.1mn tax break for Zipline drones; 2) opening the Bank Hospital for VIPs and retracting after a public outcry; 3) not providing PPE for Korlebu staff; 4) the new ambulances have mobile ventilators; 5) use of chloroquine/hydroxychloroquine without any reference to the science or data; and 6) the Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) who after six months training have terrible knowledge of basic emergency care according to a peer reviewed paper are suddenly top class after two weeks training for the 308 ambulances under the same director.

All these bring to the fore the inverted nature of our society and its largely retrogressive leadership.

There is no independent verification of our readiness; contact teams, isolation centres, ICU beds, PPE.

Julie Alexandra Fraser, writing in theconversation.com on 31 July 2018, had this to say about confronting the inverted world described in the Victorian cult classic, Wuthering Heights.

“The reader must give herself over to the horror of Brontë’s inverted world. She must jump, as it were, without looking to see if there is water below. It is a Paradise Lost of a novel: its poetry Miltonic, its style hyperbolic, and its cruelty relentless. It has left readers and scholars alike stumbling to locate its seemingly Delphic meaning, as we try to make sense of the Hobbesian world it portrays.”

An important question is; what tenor of language is appropriate for these terrible times when death stalks us all sometimes through no fault of our own?

For our leaders when the home front coincides with the war front, it is very easy to see through propaganda, clumsy PR and gross inaccuracies.

Needless to state when challenged an “apoplectic” response is the result and the tired totally disingenuous accusation of hurling insults.

Lt. Col. Aggrey-Quashie, director of public relations of the Ghana Armed Forces, and the ghana COVID-19 task force, should continue using straightforward language in calling out the ignorant and dishonest media personnel broadcasting fake videos.

He should, however, refrain from further wholesale rejection of the videos showing military personnel abusing civilians.

For example, in the Kasoa squat and stand “You want my girlfriend to see me” video, wherein a soldier was seen punishing a civilian for videoing the military street enforcement, it is not credible for the military to say they sent about 50 men to that location and yet from even the voice, they cannot identify the culprit soldier.

At the same time, a stern warning to recalcitrant civilians idling about smelly choked gutters needs to be forthcoming from the military hierarchy that is assisting the lockdown operations.

Lacking also are the kind of expletives/ explosive or colourful language that are not out of place in addressing those still walking about town.

Where is Kpakpo Nii G aka KCurtiz1 on Instagram when you need him?

By the way, in the video of over 30 women, stopped on the Accra-Kumasi highway, hiding under cargo and travelling to Walewale, the vice president’s hometown, why did the police simply allow them to continue – in the cargo truck and with an escort? WTF!

A recent public service announcement in which an actor is heard telling people to get off the streets pulls no punches.

Such was his direct language:

“I’m not saying please. Mother** stay inside. Stay your little***** ass inside.”

As our COVID-19 cases rise sharply, my mentor meanwhile cannot help but clarify a la Trump the following:

“A s***hole country has

More ministers than ventilators

More parliamentarians than ventilators

More embassies than ventilators

Far more COVID-iots in the public square than ventilators.”

For him, the time for niceties is long gone; only the Truth will set us free.

The world – our world, needs to change.

Meanwhile, from an initial two cases on March 7, ghana recorded a cumulative 205 cases on April 2.

Is any body plotting the curve as our leaders continue talking “by heart”?

Even in the US, the Department of Defence has been requested to supply 100K body bags as the pestilence rages.

Let us all put this in perspective so that the next time you hear a ghanaian public official or leader talking bull; you have the vocabulary to confront his sorry, pompous, dishonest ehrm…..self.

About time.

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Writers and Shakespeares Ghana Limited exist to be a moral and intellectual guide to the best practice of PR and integrated communications around the world, beginning with Ghana.
Columnist: Isaac Ato Mensah