Opinions Wed, 14 Feb 2018

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Ebony must not die in vain

The unfortunate death of the young musician, Ebony, through a motor accident is no longer news.

What is making news now are the many reactions to the death; including that of the many prophets who are claiming that they saw it coming.

Some say she has been punished to teach the youth a lesson. Other prophets are claiming that she died because she was a lesbian and also because of her way of dressing. Others also attribute it to evil forces. Very interesting perspectives indeed! It is amazing that people would think that God is sitting somewhere marking a register of how people are dressed. If that be the case, why hasn’t God killed the Madonnas and Rihannas of this world all this time?

This attitude of attributing everything to the devil and superstition is not helpful. I remember the accident-prone area in the past at Potroase in the Eastern Region. Many accidents occurred there due to defects in the construction of the road, but alas, the accidents were attributed to evil forces and many rituals ostensibly to keep the forces at bay yielded no results until the defects were corrected.

My concern really is not what Ebony chose to wear or not, though culturally it did not sit well with most of us. What is of concern to me is how we keep losing such budding talents due to our actions and inaction. And the fact that the nation has lost a very young and talented musician who could have entertained us for a much longer time and who could have been one of the country’s ambassadors on the wings of music.

Day in and day out, many are perishing on our roads due to accidents which could have been avoided. The list has been endless. It has included Terry Bonchaka, also a very young talented musician; Kwame Owusu Ansa, an actor; Suzzy Williams, another actress, and Ferdinand Ayim, a politician.

As has become the trend, social media is saturated with different kinds of stories and videos about the accident. What I found unacceptable is the pictures of the bodies of the deceased being circulated almost immediately after the incident and the shoving of microphones into the mouths of relatives for interviews from those most affected by the death of the musician, at a time when they were in a vulnerable state grieving. The interview of the father and the driver were not only unethical but also callous.

Once again, the issue of safety on our roads has been brought to the fore. It seems that as a nation, we are not doing enough to make our roads safe and consequently, reducing the number of preventable deaths on our roads.

It is sad that many healthy and productive people are losing their lives because of inaction.

First, in our cities, for instance, driving on the streets at night is a nightmare. The streets are not lit, thus making it difficult for motorists to clearly see their way, since the headlights alone are insufficient. Drivers, therefore, do not see where they are heading, driving mainly by intuition and creating the inability for them to make a quick decision to avoid danger. Related to this is the lack of proper road signs necessary for guidance.

Pits are dug in the middle of the road and left for ages and there are potholes which make drivers drive in the opposite lane of the road in order to avoid them.

Driver indiscipline is also a danger to other road users as they run through red at the traffic lights, putting other road users in danger. Some drivers still use leaves on the highways instead of well positioned triangles, resulting in many vehicles running into stationary vehicles, with catastrophic results.

We need to look more seriously at road safety and if the authorities responsible are not living up to the task, it should be the duty of the media to keep hammering on the issue until action is taken.

In this particular accident, the story was that there was a heap of sand that was an obstacle and that this heap had been left there by a contractor for long.

Part of the blame should go to the media for not bringing the state of the road to the attention of the appropriate authorities. It seems that the interest of the media is more focused on politics and sports because they claim that is what people want to hear, but we cannot develop a country in that manner.

As is usually the case, “funeral mongers” will be frantically looking for their mourning clothes to see Ebony off. We have lost Ebony through this unfortunate accident and the best way we can keep her memory alive is to resolve to make our roads safer. Ebony must not die in vain.

Columnist: Doreen Hammond

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