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Dear America, Ghanaians deserve some respect

A PLUS FFJDFFWJF.jpeg Kwame Asare Obeng alias A Plus

Tue, 9 Aug 2022 Source: Kwame Asare Obeng (A Plus)

Though some people disagree that America is the most powerful country in the world, there are many of us who do. Power emerges in many forms such as economic power, military might, cultural impact on other countries, global political influence, etc.

In 2020, The United States had the world's largest economy with a GDP of $20.93 trillion and the biggest military budget in the world of $778 billion, while their movie industry which has a global appeal generated a revenue of more than 11 billion dollars.

In this article, I do not seek to prove, analyze or justify America's superpower status. Neither is it to infer that America is perfect in everything. This article is rather to question why irrespective of America's might, capabilities, and ability to smoothly run 53 states, they have struggled over the years to give Ghanaians something as simple as interview dates for visa applicants.

When I was a boy, my father bought me a small radio. At the time, (in the early 80s), we did not have FM radio stations transmitting in our village. What we had then were GBC1, GBC2, and many radio stations across the globe transmitting through SW1, SW2 and AM. Before my radio was handed over to me, my father carefully tuned, whiles navigating through static mixed with tens of radio station popping up for a split second in many languages. In a matter of minutes, we were all set. My radio had found, and was firmly and clearly on, "This is the voice of America." VOA to be precise. My father warned me not to tune it. "Don't touch this one," he said, as he pointed to the tuning control. "You must always listen to this station. I want you to understand the world from this perspective."

Before Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallion, Chuck Norris, and many others American actors convinced us through their movies that one American soldier could conquer a whole Vietnamese battalion, the VOA was already serving me with documentaries about the moon landing, America's role in the first and second world war; how Japan was defeated, how the CIA operate, how the Bay Bridge was built over the sea, the invention of the cotton gin, the history of the Fairri Wheels by George Washington Gale Ferris in 1893, the history of Radiocarbon Dating, just to mention a few. To be honest, I grew up loving America so much that I sometimes refer to myself as a member of the LGBTQ+ community - I'm an American trapped in a Ghanaian body.

Now, this is where the problem is. As the saying goes, there is nothing that screws us up in life than the picture in our head of what it is, how it works and how it's supposed to be. I get disappointed, frustrated, and depressed, when I see almighty America, struggling to deliver a service as basic as interview dates. Sometimes, I'm tempted to believe that, it is either the love we have for America is not reciprocated, America does not value us, (we are not important humans to them) or once you enter our environment, the system makes you incompetent and reduces your power so much that even Jesus will find it difficult to resurrect if he dares to die in Ghana on his second coming.

It hurts some of us, to see such a great country which gave the world it's first automobile, landed the first man on the moon, landed many rovers on different planets, "touched" the surface of the sun recently, Revolutionized Manufacturing and the process of mass production with the interchangeable parts and the moving assembly line, gave us the electric bulb, 3D printing etc., struggling to give the people of Ghana interview dates for visa applications.

How difficult is it for a country which successfully evacuated thousands of people from Afghanistan, a very dangerous country, in a few weeks, to give Ghanaians dates to answer questions about their intended trips to America? In my opinion, there can be only three reasons for this;

1. America in Ghana does not respect the Ghanaian.

2. The Ghanaian atmosphere will render the most sophisticated and competent system incompetent.

3. America may have a new policy to make America unattractive to Ghanaians.

If the latter is anything to go by, then why "SelectUSA."

As a Ghanaian, I will always speak and fight for Ghana. Just as a janitor told J.F Kennedy that he was helping put a man on the moon by keeping NASA clean, I equally believe that Ghanaians are part of the men and women who built America. Our forefathers worked harder than the Afghans who worked alongside America during the war. We therefore deserve better. The Afghans were salaried workers in their home country while our people were slaves, taken away from their culture, families, friends and their land, through a door of no return, to work on farms, and in many other industries to help build what is today, America. I’m not asking the US to evacuate us, like they did in Afghanistan. Neither have I asked for a visa waiver for Ghanaian passport holders. Of course, that will not happen. But as you may agree, Ghana is a far safer and peaceful country than Afghanistan. If the US was able to, in a matter of six weeks, (6 weeks) process documents and evacuate a hundred and twenty-four thousand Afghan people to the US and allied countries, and give them accommodation etc., the US must be able to give Ghanaians at least early interview dates. What is happening now is just not fair. If for nothing, we pay.

Ghanaians are generally peaceful, law-abiding and some of the most hard-working people on earth and do not deserve to be treated as trash.

I know that such articles, especially the one about Abena Pomaa, is why you denied me an interview waiver. I'm also very aware that such articles may affect me in my next renewal application; you'll, try very hard to find a reason to deny me a visa when I apply for a renewal. That is not a problem. At least, Abena Pomaa is back and is gradually regaining her sight. I am also aware that this article, irrespective of it's effect on me personally, will play a significant role in beginning a conversation which will in future help make securing interview dates for a US visa application easier for my people. Some people fought for women, some fought for equal rights, some are fighting for gay rights, some fought for animals, I'm fighting for dignity and a better treatment of my people.

Ghanaians are so frustrated these days that they now have to travel to neighbouring countries to acquire a resident’s permit, to enable them apply for a visa in that country and get an earlier interview date. Come on America!! If for nothing, we held a funeral for George Floyd. We are friends. Don't treat us like this.

When I first travelled to America, I noticed that suggestion boxes were mounted in plain sight, and avenues for reviews were readily available. I also immediately realized how the environment encouraged criticism, tolerance and free speech. Going by the aforesaid, I'll like to end by stating clearly without fear that, giving a Ghanaian US visa applicant a 2024 interview date and blaming it on Covid-19 is ridiculous, totally unacceptable, disrespectful and does not merit America's superpower status.

You are America. Do America everywhere. Even in Ghana, aka Nyame Bekyere Republic.

Yes, you can!!!

Columnist: Kwame Asare Obeng (A Plus)