Emile Short, Why Did It Take So Long?

Wed, 22 Sep 2010 Source: Berko, George

EMERGENCY!!! Emile Short, Why Did It Take So Long? We Better Take Heed and Shape Up!

I could not help but respond as follows to the Article appearing in our Media, reporting the warning by Emile Short, the CHRAJ boss, of Ghana’s susceptibility to Genocide. His warning is not a new observation but rather a sad late assertion by the CHRAJ boss that still needs to be taken most seriously by all. Luckily, it didn't come too late to get people to pay heed for a change. Many, like I, have long been yearning for some authoritative voice like Mr. Short’s to sound the alarm for both our leaders and Youths to take serious note of.

One evil ignored leads to many subsequent ones to be perpetrated with impunity. We, humans are prone to inquisitive preliminary testing of the waters. Once convinced and enticed by the preceding outcome, we tend to replicate the actions with greater intensity. If no lasting deterrent consequence is noticed from an earlier offensive incident or action, people are most likely to cause the repetition of those events. The fact that various prominent fatal assaults on many Citizens either quickly froze to join the Cold Cases archive, or were not adequately investigated and adjudicated to get the culprits reasonably pay for their miscreant behavior, has increasingly emboldened others to dare perpetrate similar actions of their own or in revenge.

As worrisome as any growing level of vicious crimes in a Nation could always be, what makes our situation dire and deserving of the warning as given by Mr. Short, is the stereotypical victimization by such crimes. More disturbingly, we have witnessed a spate of inter- and intra-tribal killings in recent years, some of which many Citizens have faulted various Political entities for encouraging or overlooking and all of which are reflective of a Nation losing its cohesiveness.

The various clashes involving the Nanumbas, Konkonbas, and Dagombas were ample evidence of the volatility of the situation in Ghana, and a likely harbinger of something similar to the Rwandan situation. The recent seemingly relentless exchange of insults between Ewes and Akans, especially, Ashantis, and the Techiman-Tuobodom-Ashanti Chieftancy crisis, in particular, further establish the threat.

Yet, it took Emile Short this long to publicly admit and warn us about the danger!

Our Parliament and the Council of State have both been naively silent about the escalation. But as cases keep piling up without due mature and wise counseling for resolution, it takes only one little step to cross the threshold and bust the limits of people's tolerance beyond recovery. Many of our leaders have lost their allegiance to the sovereignty of the Nation. They are using our kinships to draw out the masses to fight to secure them (our leaders) their wealth--wealth that they would never, ever share with the ones who would be most at risk in time of such fatal confrontation. Many of our Rural folks are neglected and left to the debilitating ravages of diseases, for instance; their Political representatives either do not care to visit back there to help find solutions to their plights, or they know but are just plain insensitive and cruel to do anything to help bring some medical relief to them. Meanwhile, these helpless, hardworking producers of our core Economic substance are the very ones the Politicians expect to rally and fight for them and scream undeserving adulations for them, calling the Politicians Nana O, Nana O, Togbe, Togbe, and other hollow reverberating titles.

The fact that our Politicians, especially, the Leadership of both NPP and NDC, who ought to know better, have been playing the Political Poker game and Russian Roulette along the Tribal lines, makes it all the more probable that we are heading towards Rwanda. It is the Politicians whose deliberate but often subtle actions and words inflame the people to segregate themselves into Ethnic or Tribal warring factions.

Fanning the embers to conflagration has also been noticed with some members of the Clergy and our Academic maestros. Ghanaian Professors at various Universities in and outside the Nation, for instance, have been part of the veiled parochially Tribal-motivated surge to the explosive confrontation. These, presumably enlightened, members of our Society who we would normally expect to be neutrally pragmatic and boldly objective on issues without invoking any reasons to deepen our natural differences have been pitifully priming the flashpoints with irreverent, inciting comments.

We all seem to have lost the essence of using appropriate form of communication to resolve issues. Almost every single objection to another’s comment on our forums begins with some form of insult at the person we are responding to; and many of such insults tend to be stereotypically attacking the Tribe or Ethnicity of the target. If our leaders and Elders were paying attention, that characteristic of our forums alone could be enough symptom or evidence of a Nation drifting into a granitic mutual intolerance. But, for this little tardy alert by the CHRAJ boss, and a recent transient admonition by the Otumfuor Osei Tutu II that we refrain from Tribal Politics, no significant attention has been paid by our leaders to the looming danger of our heading towards a genocidal catastrophe.

Meanwhile, no amount of warnings from the ordinary folks, like me, means much to the young and youthful impetuous members of the feuding camps, who, in their puerile estimation, envisage that their illusive heroic victory in any anticipatory violent encounters is measurable with their bulging muscles from their Gym exercises.

The morbid truth, however, is that when the guns begin blazing and the machetes start swinging wildly, no amount of "Rambo-ism" or "Azumah-zoom-zoom-ism" could determine the winner, or the last Tribe standing. Many innocent victims would have wrongly and needlessly been sent to their graves.

The instantaneous encapsulation of all issues of National concern into Tribal seeds of conflict reflects the unwise usurpation of objective, pragmatic assessment of issues, the convenient refusal to listen to one another’s genuine concerns, and the ongoing hard-wiring of the Youths to eventually resort to genocidal means to resolving our problems.

From the Tsikata Trial to the EO-Group-Kosmos saga, the peril has been clearly deepening with the fight over money and who controls most of our Nation’s assets to enrich a few individual's pockets. That could be the last alluring reason to pull the machetes and "Te-abofres" (shotguns) out.

It is almost impossible to deny that the subtle recruiting entreaties by the feuding factions for more Tribal sympathizers to join their ranks have principally featured the illusion that any huge financial gain by the few leading individuals could be instantaneously spread out and shared with all others of the same Tribe. The deceptive Politicians have postured to delude many into thinking any criticisms against them by anyone who does not belong to their Tribes are solely meant to attack their Tribe of which every Youth or member owe some inalienable responsibility to defend. Hence, if any member of any of the feuding Tribes dares question the integrity of any such Politician in his or her Tribe, others already bitten by the bug of his or her inculcation would jump and denounce that individual and call him or her a Traitor who’s selling out his or her Tribe.

But we have seen it all before. Barely any Politician that we help to become wealthy whilst in Office comes back to help build our Schools or Hospitals or Roads for us. So, where, really, is the justification to respond to such invitation to fight for the Politicians? Could there be any truth to the notion that when we help annihilate the other Tribes, we would end up sharing all the wealth of the Nation among only our Tribes-folks, making us all in our Tribe rich for life? Could we be so easily oblivious to the characteristic self-centeredness of the Ghanaian Politician who wants us only recognize him or her as our next Colonial master, to whom we have to accord all the benefits and grace of the former imperialist Elites? How could we so easily forget the following typical scenarios among us and sacrifice our blood and that of others for the greedy Politicians?

While our Children still attend literally open-air classes under the shade of trees and at the mercy of the weather, the wealthy Politicians send their kids to expensive Private schools or ship their children abroad to escape the shortfalls in our Academic System. Whilst our neighborhoods are left with piles of stinking garbage from run-offs for lack of street drainage, our Politicians mostly isolate themselves in humongous Mansions with picturesque landscape and regularly manicured lawns behind barricades of Concrete fences to enjoy their booty. While we trudge along the muddy roads, strewn with pot-holes, praying that some Timber truck would happen to pass by and offer us a most dangerous lift, with us hanging in-between the hefty tonnage of logs and the Cab of the Trucks, and hoping that we reach our destinations in one piece, the Politicians would zoom by in their Pajeros, and Benz cars, feeling none of the bumping and jerking around we endure on the trucks. When we have to curtail our sleep and wake up 3:00 AM to walk under the coolness of dawn in the North to our distant farms and till the soil hard and fast before the sun begins to toast our skin, and had to walk back to our cottages and compounds with hefty loads of firewood and farm produce, the Politicians enjoy a comfortably rested sleep and wakes up late to soothing and mouth watering aroma of coffee or Tea and egg sandwich that his houseboy or housemaid might have prepared for him, and jumps into his posh air-conditioned BMW to make a quick round of tour around his or her mechanized farm and head towards the City, and sometimes whisk pass us with a trailing choking blast of dust, without caring to even wave us “Good Morning”.

Who are these Politicians really seeking the wealth for? We know it isn’t for us! And yet, most of us resist accepting the cognitive verity, the truth we already know, that any such expectation of seeing the Politician bring the bacon home to share with us is only an illusion. “Adze wo fie a, na oye!” Yeah, right! The other Politicians kept banging us too with “Yereko y’anim!” Oh, yeah? Who is advancing? Not the ordinary folks. Advancement among the Citizenry does not reside in how humongous the Presidential Palace could be or how fat the Ex-gratia for the MPs are.

Why then should we rush to respond to his or her call to arms just because we and he or she belong to the same Tribe? Not because he is fighting for the construction of our Schools, etc. or anything. So, where is the justification? No one has to prove their Ashanti-ness by how vitriolic they can verbally trounce Ewes or defend a corrupt Ashanti Politician; no one has to prove their Ewe-ness by doing likewise against Ashantis or defend a crooked, hypocritical Ewe Politician. No one can claim some Tribal purity by just vigorously, but blindly ignoring the obvious facts of an issue that involves a member of his or her Tribe. The Glories of our past are not authenticated by any replay of the ancestral wars in today’s World. We cannot suddenly manufacture a hero among our Tribe to equate the true heroes of another that History has indelibly marked in their ancestral footprints for the sole purpose of providing us an instantaneous source of comparable pride. And if we see some undeniable systematic machinations by any one group or individuals to always throw only the rotten meat our way, we have plenty of civilized and proven modern methods of counteracting such diabolically driven schemes without fallen to the low level of the schemers to resort to barbaric physical confrontation.

The stakes are so highly elevated, now, especially, by the introduction of the Oil money that has not even started rolling in, yet. Oh, bouy, how true the salient caution by our sages that: “Sika fre Mogya” (Money attracts Blood)! Money, many believe, is the root of all evil.

Our leaders seem to be in denial of the undeniable. And so, we keep depressing the accelerator to the floor, speeding to disaster. Our leaders are selfishly leading us into a possible genocidal confrontation and our Youths are naively all eager to show-boat their brawn, failing to use their brain to sort things out and call the leaders to order. The lack of jobs and opportunities to invest profitably in our Nation are not going to vanish under the banner of these Tribal war-mongering, selfish, egoistical Politicians. Helping the relics of the aged, bitter, politically irreconcilable foes revive their old wars of revenge isn’t going to create a more promising future for the Youths.

As things stand now, one would be safe to pronounce our leading statesmen insensitive to the building up of animosity among the Tribes. And these leaders should be ready to claim the bulk of the blame, should we get engulfed in any genocidal conflagration.

Nevertheless, we have the ability to utilize our gumption to defeat the temptation that draws in the Blood to taint the money the Politicians are fighting a proxy war to secure. It is up to us and our leaders to make the choice of either working hard to change course, or gear up to face the dreadful monster of genocide prowling along the periphery of our otherwise peaceful Society. The blood of our wives and children would be on the hands of our Parliamentarians, Political and Traditional leaders, the Clergy and the Professors who keep fueling the fire with vitriolic, unguarded, instigating comments. Truth can always be told without resorting to violent coercion to impose it on people. Our Media and Political Parties owe us nothing but the truth. Anything else is courting us into immeasurable catastrophe that not all of us would come out unscathed.

But it is not too late. We can reverse the vectors. With the relative quicker learning aptitudes of our Youths today, and the existence of easier access to tools for verification of facts, thanks to the Web, our Youths would be foolishly selling off their future to the incorrigibly gullible egocentric leaders to just take the bait and embroil themselves in these needless Tribal feuds the leaders are wont to perpetrate.

Should the caution as offered by Emile Short is rejected by our leaders and any of the apocalyptic predictions comes to pass, with the Nation sucked into a genocidal conflict, I would appeal to the World that the Parliament and the Council of State be the first to be tried at any subsequent World Court. But I also stand to warn all of us that we better shape up and begin letting commonsense and deep thinking rule in each one of us. Even if cases emerge out of Political witch-hunting, we would be smarter to seek redress without impartiality at the Courts. This is also where the Judiciary bears and shares the responsibility to either diffuse or escalate the mess.

We will be closely watching and listening to the words that roll off the tongue and lips of our leaders. We will be critically assessing the effusions of those that preach the mantra of Ethnic and Tribal hatred. We are keeping tight vigilance on those who conveniently flip purely Partisan vengeful reaction to the plate of Tribal animosity. We have our eyes and ears on you.

Long Live Ghana!!!

Columnist: Berko, George