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From an idol to trash: Dr UN must be 'crazy'

Fri, 16 Oct 2020 Source: Prosper Setsoafia

The importance attached to particular objects or beliefs depends mostly on the stories woven around them. These narratives either make or unmake the items and the ideas they represent. Objects per their nature are not neutral because they carried charges that the records bestowed on them within context. Without commonly accepted stories about certain things like money, states, brands, etc. our complex human society cannot function the way we wish.

We strive to own banknotes which are just mere paper merely because there is a commonly accepted story about them. The banknote(s) serves as a medium of exchange for goods and services. You can exchange a bowl of 'Gari' with a required banknote because the humble vendor equally has a shared belief in the paper you hold as legal tender. The faith in a mere form transcends any other contradictory idea one might have about the country from which a particular banknote originates. Osama bin-laden, might not believe in American ideologies, but he has a shared belief in the American dollar.

Apart from money, there are several other objects and ideas we hold in high esteem because of the fictions that backed their Authority. You prefer one brand to another, because of the compelling collective stories that make them an authoritative brand. Assuming your university withdraws the Authority backing your certificate, your once cherished certificate becomes worthless like an older Ghana cedis denomination.

In recent days, there was an uproar about an awards scheme spearheaded by one Dr Foudjour (a self-acclaimed UN rep.). Would this have happened if say the fictional brand UN has not distanced itself from the awards? Take into consideration the calibre of some of the individuals awarded. Being recognised by the global brand UN, to some of them is a lifetime achievement. You could see their excitement receiving and displaying their novel awards. I called the objects awarded novel not merely because it was different from the conventional awards. Who in his right thinking mind would accept a 'bottle' or a 'plate as an award? Warmly received were the awards because of the brand that was allegedly associated with the bottles.

These bottles were once precious objects to their recipients, but they are now worthless because the narratives that make them robust and cherished by recipients have changed.

The issue about an object becoming worthless when the narratives surrounding them change, brings to mind the 1980-is film directed by Jamie Uys "The Gods must be crazy". The film thrives on the human prowess of inventing stories or even Gods to fill the gaps in their understanding. The 'rejected' Coca Cola bottles became a coveted object. The narrative being, it is a gift from 'God'.

Like Dr UN 'bottles' it is an honour to be recognised by the Gods. But the once-coveted utensil of the 'God' became a mere bottle or a curse when it started to wreak havoc to the honour and credibility of the recipients. Why? The Authority associated with those objects claimed they had no idea or better still the award was not sanctioned by them. Thus an item becomes worthless when the concepts it represents is corrupt.

The novelty of Dr Foudjour is an eye-opener to take a second look at particular objects and ideas we hold in high esteem. Today it was the UN that withdrew their authority 'fraudulently' associated with an award scheme. Tomorrow might be the Papacy and the

Columnist: Prosper Setsoafia

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