Myohaung Day - Celebrating Imperialism Or Resisting Oppressors Rule

Thu, 25 Aug 2011 Source: Sapara, Kojo

“Tomorrow January 23rd 2011, the Ghana Armed Forces and its Commonwealth colleagues (then known as (the) British Empire) from Nigeria, The Gambia and Sierra Leone will be celebrating the 67th Victory Anniversary in Myohaung in far-away South East Asia, specifically in Burma, also known as Myanmar”.

These were the opening words of the statement that announced the commemoration of events of Myohaung Day by the Veterans Association of Ghana (VAG) in the Daily Guide of January 22nd 2011. It was authored by one Capt. Victor Ansah (Rtd), PRO of VAG.

I am not sure whether the said writer wrote the above story in his personal capacity, on official behalf of VAG or for the entire military establishment. Whatever the case and by all its intents and purposes, I was overly dejected by the gist and import of the article.

To begin with, the statement that “the Ghana Armed Forces and its Commonwealth colleagues will be celebrating the 67th Victory Anniversary ......... in Burma, also known as Myanmar”, is not entirely true. I don’t know about the Gambia and Nigeria but Sierra Leone as explained further down the article has ceased celebrating this event since 2009. Secondly, Burma is “not also known as Myanmar”. Burma, as the name of a country, has ceased to exist. Whether this lapse was as a result of the misuse of the English language, a Freudian slip, brazen ignorance or plain old traditional imperialist inspired mischief, the truth is that today we have only Myanmar as a country – period. In the same manner that we cannot describe our country as – “Ghana, also known as the Gold Coast”, likewise, we cannot say the same for other countries. By the time I reach the end of this article, I would like Capt. Victor Ansah or VAG to also explain ”whose victory” and “what anniversary” as stated in their announcement, the Ghana Armed Forces will be – or, have been celebrating all these years.

The immediate impression I had was that, the combined disposition of the writer and the entire VAG of that war in Burma, as implied in the article, all seemed to be wound up in a regrettable self-denigrating time warp. With no intended disrespect and without seeking to overlook the pains and losses suffered by those of their membership – our grandfathers, fathers, uncles and elders, who, as it were, were ‘commandeered’ or ‘requisitioned’ - most of them apparently as delinquent youth, to go and fight a war which was not of their making or of their accord, and of no interest whatsoever to them and their fellow-citizens - and at a time when they, the conscripts themselves and the rest of their countrymen and women were also languishing under terrorist colonial bondage in which they had no rights whatsoever - and which was similar to, or worse than that which the assumed enemies of that war were being accused of, I am particularly peeved at VAG for showing such a fond and nostalgic recollection of that unjust war which in truth, Africans were reluctantly dragged into without the consideration of their human rights, their democratic rights or the choice of declining.

The sentimental recollection of that war, in the manner as expressed in Capt. Ansah’s article, exposes a certain strain of treacherous subservience to the vile diktat of imperialism – a manifestly reactionary statement of racial, national and personal self-denial which has become a notorious characteristic of Africans – particularly ‘educated’ Africans.

This unfortunate and grovelling mind-set is difficult to come to terms with, especially when juxtaposed against the evidence of reliable accounts that have it that African soldiers were frequently used as cannon fodder – sacrificial lambs to distract and at other times, to simply ‘waste’ the superior firepower and tactics of the Japanese enemy on ‘disposable’ numbers of men – in this case, African men. But for their native intellect and perhaps some amount of divine intervention, most of them would have been quietly wiped out of existence in the same manner as have been expatriate black recruits who having been compromised with contemptible American visas, were together with our African-American brothers, thrown into the war front in the illegal invasions of Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan to die senseless deaths which went unrecorded only to make the losses of the imperialist NATO invaders look good so as to cast white soldiers in the image of a more intelligent, valiant and invincible force.

VAG and the military establishment need to sit up, revise their history, their observation about war, international politics, the related priority of their professional practices and their national ceremonial obligations. Indeed all of us – civilians included, need not only revise, but to review and rewrite our national history to reflect a predominant posture of our unique national values and aspirations. Not only has the Ghanaian military establishment persisted in worshiping imperialist military and political events but our whole society has been pitifully subjective to the glorification of alien usurpers. This has had far-reaching negative effects on our peculiar psyche as a people and our development.

Our so-called academics – generally speaking, an amalgam of men of little hope, little native pride, little initiative, little courage, warped vision and of a considerably unwholesome intellectual disposition, still prostrate before and share communion with the basic principles of the kind of perfidious and illiterate education that shamelessly asserts that Europeans ‘discovered’ Africa. This, they accept and sermonize on, in spite of indisputable, incontrovertible and unassailable facts – scientific facts, which have been grudgingly corroborated, even by the most ardent imperialist anthropological institutions, that Africans pre-date Europeans by – not hundreds, not thousands, not hundreds of thousands, but by several millions of years. So, who, in the light of this historical fact could possibly ever have discovered who? They, together with their imperialist mentors and patrons, continue to shelve and eclipse major outstanding achievements, from the arts to the sciences – that Africans, in spite of all odds, throughout the ages of time, have contributed in no small way, to the development of human society to bring it to the appreciable standards that we now have. The idea behind this is to kill our confidence, to keep us ignorant, under-developed and therefore, subservient and prone to exploitation.

The ignorance of these basic facts by any African, creates an impression of a serious breach of the understanding of our unending predicament and by which default, commits and leaves any such African frail, ignorant, confused, defenceless and stranded behind the prejudicial barriers of our oppressors to celebrate and commemorate with them, inimical and shameful events such as Myohaung and Commonwealth Days.

As a sovereign country, we have no business whatsoever in celebrating Myohaung Day. Put into proper perspective, it was simply a war in which Africans were unduly coerced and ‘used’ to take part in, the interests and the purpose of which were of no benefit whatsoever to or for Africa. Indeed, the aim of that war itself contradicted the aspirations of freedom and independence which Africa and all freedom loving people had at the time begun to fight for against the same enemy - imperialism. In the same vein, the Burma war did not even benefit the people of Burma who had at the time, had enough of the wicked ways of British imperialism and were more and better disposed towards the more humane Japanese who then held dominion over them.

At this point I must digress a little to make my point clear. In our once proud and prestigious institution of ‘higher learning’, the Legon University of Ghana – an institution whose hitherto unparalleled standards have declined from a beacon of the finer nationalist aspirations of Africa into a squalid, decadent over-crowded ghetto, we still have one of the major Halls of residence there, named after the Commonwealth. As we all know, the British Commonwealth is an association of ‘proud to have been colonized’ former colonies led by Her Imperial Majesty the Queen of England – who, having occupied that position as Queen, longer than any other known dictator in the world, sits in regal and supercilious splendour over a worldwide constituency of compliant and still mesmerized former colonies.

Now as if this affront is not pungent enough, the mass of dark-skinned, strapping, ‘scholarly’ alumni of the so-called Commonwealth Hall, impetuously brand themselves not as Akatakyies, Obrafos, Togbe’s, Obaahemas or Wulomei, but guess what? They shamefully, in the most spurious manner call themselves Vandals. Yes! Vandals. How, when, whose, what, which, who, where? This is just simply incomprehensible - in fact inexplicable and mind-boggling to say the least. This in sum, is the quality of educated African that the prime University of Ghana purports to produce. It would serve our common purpose if readers would search for the meaning of what a Vandal is and go on from there to figure out if any African who irrationally prides him or herself as being a vandal - whether in jest, or in earnest, can be of any ‘good’ use for the development of Ghana, Africa or the Blackman.

In the same University, we have native-born Ghanaian wannabe-intellectuals - not of chemistry, not of biology, not of geography, not of linguistics but ‘professors’ who call themselves ‘experts’ of international relations who in their myopic and obfuscated pseudo-intellectual analyses, champion and defend the resurgent neo-imperialist crusade to re-colonize and monopolize the resources of Africa exclusively for the interests of as usual, Europe and America. Any learning or knowledge, that is not primed for the advancement and protection of ones lineage, ones self and ones people – or even for all peoples, but rather serves to vulgarize and diminish the aspirations, the dignity, the values and the wealth of any of those people, is impotent, inappropriate and useless knowledge.

Why has it become so difficult for Africans to be just simply what God in his infinite wisdom made us, which is precisely who we are – Africans - proud Africans. Africans who will for once, jealously and by any means possible, guard against the theft of our material and intellectual resources, our culture, our pride, our dignity and our very lives?

To allay the fears of all those who perhaps may think that my points of view may be derived from undue xenophobic sentiments, I ask; after the infinite trillions of dollars, pounds sterling, French francs, Deutse marks, Italian liras and Swiss francs worth of mineral resources comprising incalculable millions of tons of gold, diamonds, iron ore, timber, silver, bauxite, platinum as well as human resources - also very probably numbering in the hundreds of millions of slaves that were callously looted and kidnapped during several hundreds of years of orgiastic plunder of Africa, where in Europe or America have we seen or heard of Yaa Asantewaa Hospital, Nana Agyeman Prempeh II, Hall, Obuasi Stadium, Tackie Tawiah Conference Center, Kwegyir Aggrey Memorial Park, Yaa-Naa Hospital, Koforidua Boulevard, Africa Day, RWAFF Day, Akwatia College, Achimota Mall, Takoradi Inst. of Technology, Kwame Nkrumah Research Center, Tamale Street or even the Busia/Danquah crèche? When and where in Europe or America do we celebrate the heroic bravery of soldiers of the RWAFF for assisting and enabling them to colonize and re-colonize parts of Asia and Africa with the subsequent loss of thousands of our men? Where and when have we heard or seen an American or European person named Kwame, Abena, Nii, Edem, Sika, Mensah, Deidei, Aryee, Kaku, Torgbor and so on? So, I also ask, are Europeans and Americans also xenophobic? If yes, then my presumed xenophobia is justified to counteract and resist racist white xenophobic aggression. If No, the evident and unprovoked ills of racist white xenophobia and aggression foisted upon us, obviously require treatment and cure by a serum derived from the genetically ingrained antibodies of their own xenophobia.

This sentiment is also backed by the mean fact that if the British, before the period of World War II, could not treat Africans – even very well educated Africans such as medical doctors, lawyers and craftsmen, humanely in ‘normal times’ in Europe, America or on home soil in colonial Africa, one could very well imagine how the oppressed African soldiers were treated by their fellow white combatants of the Allied Forces in remote, isolated far-away places in the humid jungles of ‘Burma’.

Information gleaned from historians and prominent Veterans has it that many African and Asian soldiers who fought alongside the British and American imperialist forces were mischievously maltreated, maimed and even killed by their own white colleagues out of sheer racist sadistic pleasure - traits which up until today, you cannot find wanting in any person of Caucasian ancestry - no matter how hard they pretend. It is an inherited genetic trait that is passed on at birth. Why, the Ku Klux Klan of the US, the British National Party, Le Front Nationale of France and the Neo-Nazis of Germany and across all of Europe - to all intents and purposes, all unrepentant racially inclined terrorist organizations who are not only legally registered entities but who in addition, play vital roles in the ‘democratic’ processes of their various countries when the 'nigger lynching season' is closed, are considered as respectable establishmentarian organizations with full rights and freedoms to practice their repulsive practices and policies.

It is hardly surprising therefore that the surviving African ex-Servicemen, by the time they arrived back home after the 2nd World War, had taken a firm stand that the ‘Whiteman’ was after all, not quite the angel that they had previously perceived him to be. White people, they had discovered rather belatedly, had proven themselves to be an extremely obnoxious species of humankind. Having realized that they were not to be trusted or deserving of their respect any longer, the Veterans decided to take them on, on home territory.

This realization fired them up and led to some of those clashes between the colonial govt and the ex-Servicemen which aroused popular dissent against the colonialists, leading to the Independence of Ghana. The most significant confrontation was the one involving the shooting of Sgt Adjetey and other members of his protest group to death at the Osu Castle crossroads by an officer of the same ungrateful colonial govt who had earlier dispatched them to Burma to risk their lives for Europe and America. What was the basis of their protest? They were simply demanding the payment of their war pension benefits as well as other issues related to the freedoms and rights of the native people of the then Gold Coast.

Had the PRO of VAG come out to solely express sympathy for the Africans who took part and died in the 2nd World War and explained the difficult and unfortunate circumstances that led to their participation in that war, I would not have had any qualms with the VAG statement. Perhaps Capt Ansah and the leadership of VAG have not had the opportunity to take a professional and a more meaningful analysis of World history and particularly of recent emerging history of all the accessories of imperialism - notably, slavery, colonialism, neo-colonialism and capitalism. If they had, and they had read in-between the lines, they would have issued a more self-respecting and dignified statement of commemoration exclusively on behalf of and in solemn memory of our compatriots who were conned and forced to go and fight and die fruitlessly, whilst engaged in a war on the same side of their own oppressors and historical enemies.

Coincidentally, or perhaps as a providential act of God, I entreat readers to refer to an article in the same newspaper, same page and directly above the VAG statement. In it, an old white Portuguese settler in Mozambique gives a chilling account of how during the period of the liberation war of Mozambique, he casually committed many atrocious crimes including one in which he led a unit of anti-independence colonial activists to a village where he personally picked children from their mothers arms and threw them into a crocodile infested river. They then raped the women and hacked them as well as their menfolk to death. These are the kind of people the Veterans fought for and whom we glorify by the celebration of Myohaung Day.

Apart from a few recorded cases, one can only imagine the myriad of other occasions in which Africans were subjected to incomprehensible acts of bestiality during the slavery and colonial period and which in the eyes of the ‘Whiteman’ were normal and therefore freely went on unpunished, unrecorded and actually applauded and rewarded.

Frankly speaking, if people who had enslaved us and at the time, held repressive colonial dominion over us and who did not think that we were capable and intelligent enough to enjoy democratic governance, or worse-still who did not think that we had the right to rule or misrule ourselves as they do, why would they for any reason think that we were therefore competent to fight a war together with them on an equal footing or on their behalf? I am absolutely certain that the imperialist powers were not in any dire deficit of manpower from their home countries at any time before or during the 2nd World War that could have prevented them from drafting or recruiting their own assumedly, ‘more intelligent’, ‘more competent’ and ‘superior’ Europeans for their own colonial military adventures. One therefore wonders how and why it became necessary for them to fall on the hapless people of their colonized territories to go and fight and die in a war for them. Worst-still, isn’t it curious that for people who have always and still continue to assert that Africans are lazy, stupid, laid-back and of no use and no good whatsoever to the world, they found it necessary when it came to war, to round us up to go and fight for them?

To this day, almost seventy years on and without any sense of gratitude, respect or remorse, these same imperialist countries, their accomplice companies and their citizens, by and large, find it extremely difficult to so much as to freely open up their countries for Africans to visit and to thereby open their arms out to fraternize with us, or to employ qualified Africans or even rent their properties out to expatriate Africans in Europe or America.

After all this – not excluding the slave trade and the massive purloining of our mineral resources for several centuries without accounting for any of it, they have erected insurmountable visa and immigration barriers which are fifty times higher than the ‘Iron Curtain’ Wall of Berlin to prevent and discourage particularly Africans from gaining access onto European and American soil to so much as to get a feel of just an infinitesimal fraction of what the wealth and labour of Africa has done to improve the quality of their societies and lives.

To acquire a visa to Western Europe or America, an African would under the prevailing circumstances, have to bare and expose, to voyeuristic foreign consular officials, the minutest details of their entire personal lives as well as their most private physical parts under anti-terrorist scanning machines for the ogling pleasure of purposefully appointed typically rude, uncouth, badly brought-up and ill-mannered visa and immigration officers who, for the simple request of a visa, talk down at us and treat us like scum even in our own country.

If they cannot commemorate our invaluable assistance to them in the first and second world wars and other wars in-between, why are we commemorating theirs? If naming their institutions, towns and events after respectable African nationalists and icons is too much for them what about at least naming a few of their institutions after those treacherous Africans who collaborated with them to undermine the African people and those who continue to pander to their every whim and foible. In this regard, they could consider establishing institutions such as the J.B. Danquah Institute for Terrorism Research in Langley (CIA Hqtrs); the Joseph Mobutu Sese-Seko Bank for European Development, Switzerland; the Morgan Tsvangirai Institute for Rapid Imperialist Intervention in Africa at AFRICOM; the Kofi Abrefa Busia School for Imperialist Relations Management, in France and so on and so forth. Such gestures will show that at least, they are grateful to Africa or to some Africans for making it possible for them to reach the high level of development that they have achieved today.

On page 49 of the Daily Graphic of 8th March 2011, 54 years after independence, there is a story accompanied by a very instructive photograph in which a white French ‘Military Advisor’ in Ghana, a Lt. Col., is clearly seen, in a patronizing posture of confident self-importance, discussing an issue with what appears to be an overly over-awed, subservient-looking and obsequious group of two Ghanaian Brigadier Generals and a Rear Admiral. The accompanying story has it that the occasion was the launching of the French language Awareness Day in the Armed Forces by the Chief of Defense Staff, Lt. Gen. Augustine Blay.

The story continues that with the collaboration of the French Govt., the GAF intends to open more French Centers in all Garrisons of the GAF. I hope that the GAF will go beyond just the mere, albeit useful learning of the French language and delve into the more important details of the history of French imperialism in Africa, particularly the underhand activities of France in the recent history and current affairs of our brothers and sisters in La Cote d’Ivoire and Libya. If after that they still have the appetite to learn French, then they should be applauded for their thick-skins.

For some of us, we have gone past the stage of getting excited when imperialist oppressors of any kind throw the crumbs of their neo-colonial exploitative returns back at us, as ‘gifts’, ‘development assistance’ ‘aid’ and which invariably turn out to be bait and poisoned chalices for some other murky ulterior motives.

On each occasion that we see such events taking place, we get alarmed and curious about what their real intentions are. It has happened so many times, it has become so routine, it has become so established that even if for once the French and indeed any other member of the imperialist marauding gang did not have some sinister motive in mind, we would recommend that they see a doctor.

If the Ghanaian Military Command wants to know who they are dealing with, they should just simply first of all go and revise the history of how the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British systematically colonized us by presenting ‘gifts’ to our Chiefs and to thereby eventually occupy and colonize the entire Gold Coast. In almost every instance since the era of the slave trade up to today, they worm themselves into your confidence with overtures of friendship, assistance and gifts. Our men in the GAF should then go on from there to explore the horrors of the period of the French colonization of Guinea, La Cote d’Ivoire and particularly Algeria – from the right sources, not French sources. The multiple acts of wanton and mass genocide, horrific torture and suppression, officially perpetuated and committed by France against African people is just unspeakable. Some of the accounts make the sins of Adolph Hitler look like child’s play. After familiarizing themselves with the history of France in the last 100 years only, our soldiers should come back to us and tell us if they still want to learn French.

To date, the French have not had the remorse nor the humility to apologize for any of those heinous acts of extermination and here we are, happy and grinning like Cheshire cats that such people are going to help us learn French - the same people who a few months ago were heartlessly throwing out of France, thousands of Roma gypsy settlers who had lived and settled in that country and endured lamentable racist tribulations for many generations.

We have excellent tutors of French here in Ghana at the Ghana Institute of Languages (GIL) who are as good if not better than any from France or Europe. Ghanaian language experts from the GIL are abundantly visible and respected in all major international organizations of the world to the extent that Ghana is now known globally as a reliable source for this expertise. Why does the Ghana Armed Forces need to circumvent all the better available local opportunities and fall for the French bait of ‘assistance’ in this regard?

Is it because the military hierarchy has been compromised by the added package of a few plane tickets to France by the top brass? By the glaring expression of submissive naiveté, as depicted by the Ghanaian military officials in that photograph, the Ghanaian military hierarchy obviously do not know the people they are dealing with or the high-stakes game that is being played with them. They probably think that white people are of the same moral fibre or of similar substance as the famous one that they see each and every Sunday hanging on a cross in their churches. Far from that. The French imperialist terrorists are only looking for a point of infiltration into the officer corps of the Ghana Armed Forces to look for local clones of the Allasane Ouattara syndrome – serfs who they can keep on a leash to manipulate, explore and defend their imperialist machinations and exploitation of Africa.

I implore the govt to instruct the military hierarchy to flush out all these dubious foreign military ‘experts’ and ‘training programs’ from our military barracks – particularly those from the US, France and Britain. If we do not wise up to the fact that by the time these so-called military advisors end their duty tour they know as much as where every single bullet in the GAF is kept so that at any time that we become ‘disobedient’, they know exactly where and how to cripple our military. If by now we have not had enough of their evil intrigues, then we should quietly submit to what they think of us – that we are a race of stupid people.

France, like a typical rogue state, has refused to demobilize its military forces comprising thousands of soldiers from La Cote d’Ivoire on the spurious pretext that they are protecting French citizens and property in that sovereign country. What this means in effect is that they have re-colonized La Cote d’Ivoire through the license and collaboration of their puppet Allasane Ouattara. We Ghanaians don’t want to end up in a similar situation where in the near future, it may become impossible to eject them because they may put up a claim that they are protecting their language teaching equipment and experts.

I again implore all officers and men of the Ghana Armed Forces to refer to an article in the Daily Graphic of 4th March 2011, page 19, titled, “Our Mission in History – A view of the Ivorian crisis” written by one Ekow Duncan. It is an eye-opening must-read article which I think all our men in the Armed Forces should appraise themselves with before they are swallowed up together with us in the quick-sands of imperialist intrigue.

In Europe and in America, they would often only employ qualified Black employees because out of frustration and exasperation of widespread racial prejudice and exclusion, the African applicant will accept a salary which has been slashed down to a third of what a lesser qualified white skinned European or American would have demanded for the same job. In residential areas that are deemed to be up-market and therefore devoid of ‘white trash’, ‘white niggers’ or real live niggers, the slightest sign of a Blackman moving into or anywhere near that neighbourhood would immediately trigger a panic reaction of mass evacuation of white residents to safer grounds and a subsequent sale of properties.

This is what we, as a people, got in return for fighting the Myohaung war for our colonial oppressors in far-away Burma in 1945. As if infatuated or content with our subservient and menial posture in world history, Capt Victor Ansah (Rtd) gleefully states inter alia that, “…….. the West African troops did not disappoint General Giffard”. Meaning in other words that as flunkies, we fought exceedingly well to impress our colonial oppressors – a group which some unfortunate and still unliberated African serfs refer to as ‘Colonial Masters’.

Many of those soldiers who fought and died in that war in Burma, courtesy the grand imperialist oppressor of ‘Great’ Britain, had never ever known the pleasure and joy of what it was like to be a free citizen in an independent sovereign country. They fought and died for the inconsiderate and hugely ungrateful British imperial monarchy and some racist American president or the other who may have very likely, been brought up in a home that was serviced by hundreds of disenfranchised Black chattel slaves who had no more rights than the family pet dog.

Of course the freedoms, the happiness or the rights of Black people amounted to little concern or regard for Europe or to America - all of whom had participated in what to all intents and purposes, is by far the worse crime against humanity in the history of the world – the abominable Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade – an abhorrent trade in human beings – the details, the extent and horrors of which are beyond the comprehension of civilized human beings and will, until eternity, stand out as the most odious and hideous indignity of the world.

The native country that these soldiers had left behind to go and fight for others, was one that was colonially oppressed by the same ruthless imperialist countries that their white commanding officers came from. The prevailing conditions of freedom of the citizens of the native country that the veterans would return to at the time was such that no African, except ‘night watchmen’, were allowed to venture to or go anywhere near the relatively plush ‘European quarters’ residential areas, one of which is today known as the Ridge area in Accra, after 6pm. The name ‘European quarters’, where only white people lived, explains itself and a violation of this curfew-like law by any Black person could earn the offender anything from a fine, a jail sentence or the draconian dismemberment of a limb or two.

Unperturbed by all this, Capt. Ansah further goes on to happily recollect what to all intents and purposes is a patronizing pat on the head of the then Royal West African Frontier Force (RWAFF) by Admiral Mountbatten, the then Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces who after the war, is said to have addressed the surviving African soldiers with these words, “Now that the operation in which you have been engaged in Burma has been so successfully completed and your return home is imminent, I wish to acquaint all officers, NCO’s and men of the 81st West African Division of my sincere appreciation and gratitude for the outstanding services in fighting for the liberation of Burma”. That was all. Of course we all now know on hindsight that, what he really meant to say was to thank the Africans for helping them ‘liberate’ Burma not for the people of Burma but from another colonial oppressor Japan to and for themselves Britain. I wonder if at the time, these hapless African troops of the RWAFF took the words of appreciation of the imperialist Commander serious. If they did, they must have been sorely disappointed.

Like any understanding entered into with imperialists, those words of appreciation were not to be honestly translated into deeds. From the now virtually extinct populations of native American Indians to the much-cheated people of Zimbabwe, imperialist colonizers have defrauded and lied their way out of every agreement reached with native peoples in former colonies and present-day neo-colonies. Simply put, the veterans were not, as was to be expected, appropriately honored and compensated. British, French, Australian and American soldiers who fought in the same war - safely tucked behind the dangerous frontlines that were composed mainly of Africans and Indians, were well settled and taken care of after the war. Even though the Gold Coast, Nigeria, Gambia, Sierra Leone were then under British colonial bondage, African troops that had fought for the Allied Forces, were left to their fate, to live or to die from the mental and physical anguish they suffered after the war. One just needs to take a look at the pathetic living conditions of surviving Ghanaian veterans of that war and compare them to their counter-parts in Europe and America.

Even Major Seth Kobla Anthony the outstanding Ghanaian soldier and icon of that war, the first ever African Army officer, who even by the accounts of racist war correspondents, performed what was described as magical and exemplary feats during the conflict, was not given as much recognition as was other European and American soldiers who fought under his command and many of whose lives, he saved from the jaws of certain death.

Even though he was handed a worthless MBE, his counterparts in Europe were so well rewarded that they could afford to live the rest of their lives as Earls, Viscounts, Barons and Lords in palatial villas in the aristocratic and urbane outskirts of London, Liverpool, Washington etc for having ‘fought bravely and won the war’ for the Allies. Some of them had towns, roads, institutions, days, stamps, sovereigns and major landmarks named after them whilst the names of others are commemorated annually at public events.

This is what Cameron Doudu, a veteran Ghanaian writer, had to say about the shabby treatment meted out to Major Anthony by the British. “Four months before Anthony's death, in July 2008, Viscount Slim, son of the Field Marshal and president of the Burma Star Association, travelled to Ghana to decorate Anthony with the Burma Star Badge. I had written in The Ghanaian Times (13/11/2007), on the Guardian website (19/11/2007), and in New African magazine (June 2008) deploring the lack of recognition which the British had shown towards Anthony, and the Burma Star decoration, though belated, was a welcome gesture”.

If indeed, Major Anthony truly deserved that honor, why did the imperialists need to be reminded, 63 long years after the fact, before they bestowed the honour on him on the eve of his death? Now if this is what they could do to the shining star of Africa whose military dexterity facilitated their hard-won victory of the strategic town of Myohaung and subsequently Burma, one can well-imagine how the ordinary ranks of the African veterans were treated. Yet, we still find cause to celebrate that despicable war - their war. Isn’t it about time that we took a good, hard, long look at ourselves in the mirror?

I would have thought that an organization like the VAG with its largely experienced and knowledgeable membership of retired officers and men, who may very well hold a wealth of unspoken, unrevealed and undigested experiences and information on the history of the Ghana Armed Forces, would have availed itself of the prevailing unfettered freedoms of thought, speech and the capacity to freely assimilate information of retirees to reflect, deliberate on and review the history as well as the tenets of the current and future integrity of the military establishment of Ghana. To willy-nilly continue with what to all intents and purposes are simply, self-demeaning extraneous military traditions for no obvious purposes, other than to glorify our historical oppressors to make us seem menial, is just simply not good enough.

I must confess that I am not wholly familiar with what VAG as an institution, does from day to day apart from managing data and information of its members and engaging in some minor income generation activities of its own. I would otherwise suggest that VAG, in addition, could constitute itself or some of its members into a veteran think-tank of seasoned experts to brain-storm on past military experiences so as to put into proper theoretical and political perspective, the history and the critical ‘personality’ of the Ghana Armed Forces. This way, they could place themselves in better stead to sanitize themselves of all incommodious historical liabilities and grandiloquent delusions such as Myohaung Day.

The scurrilous effect of Capt Ansah’s statement, within the current administrative posture of the military in Ghana, only tends to further enforce, in the eyes of the discerning public, the widely held misconception of our military as a fifth-columnist institution of pliable zombies that can be manipulated at will and used time after time, by rogues, criminal foreign interests and their local lackeys, against our country – a country which they have sworn to defend against oppressors rule. Why we still continue to commemorate ‘Myohaung Day’ and other such events, which only go to confirm our amenable and subconscious subjectivity to imperialist subterfuge against Africa, to me, is a mystery.

Even the then people of Burma, whom the veterans were at the time deceived into thinking that they were ultimately fighting to liberate, have out of disgust for the chicanery of British imperialism, denounced all those epithets and events which the imperialists imposed on them. For starters, they have changed the name of their country from Burma – a British vulgarization of the original name of Bamar, to Myanma(r) to reflect certain historical and native values. Even though the UN, ASEAN, China, the Russian federation and other Asian countries have acknowledged this change of name, some, including France, the US, Australia and of course the United Kingdom, who typically think that they know better and think that Myanmar must be run under their thumb, refuse to acknowledge this change.

In line with these changes, which is affectionately referred to as “Myanmarization”, the Union of Myanmar have also reverted the names of other major cities and towns to suit their peculiar historical, cultural, political and ethnic circumstances. These are namely, Rangoon, which is now Yangon; Arakan, which is now Rakhine and Myohaung, which is now Mrauk U. So if the native people of Myanmar have now seen the need to change the names of these towns and cities, why are we, far away in Africa still hanging onto the now non-existent colonially jaundiced names like Rangoon Villas, Arakan and Myohaung Barracks and most importantly Myohaung Day which is not only not celebrated as a historical event in Myanmar but does not now exist at all in that country. So what is it that we are we still celebrating, is it the death or the ghost of Myohaung – or is it the nostalgic glee, as serfs, of having fought an imperialist war on behalf of, to the exclusive benefit of and at the pleasure of the Queen of England? Perhaps out of the intolerable and haunting pains suffered under British colonialism, the people of Myanmar have now also relegated themselves from the club of still-subservient neo-colonial ‘pauperized’ nations which not so ironically, is called the British Commonwealth.

The commemoration of ‘Myohaung’ Day, by Ghana is therefore an activity which in legal terms, is null and void – invalid, yaa mutu. It has no relevance in the country of its origin where it is considered a non-event or at best, only a distant bitter memory of the pains of what the greed of imperialism inflicted on Myanmar. Its relevance to Ghana should have ceased on 6th March 1957. In fact the continued commemoration of that day by countries such as Ghana may actually bruise the diplomatic sensitivities of the Govt. and people of the Union of Myanmar. The only possible reason and purpose we may have in the continued observation of ‘Myohaung Day’, is in erroneously and foolishly giving de facto political recognition and support to the imperialist significance and value of that event. So are we supporting or resisting oppressors rule? Perhaps it would do well for VAG and its membership to recollect and memorize the lyrics of our national anthem.

A few years ago, the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF), once a member of the hapless RWAFF, who also suffered in the pursuits of the contending greed of the imperialist scramble for colonies and resources, decided to invalidate any further celebration of the event. They have instead, duly and wisely opted to celebrate the occasion as the Sierra Leone Armed Forces Day in commemoration, recognition and appreciation of all gallant Sierra Leonean soldiers.

The following statement was delivered by Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone and Commander-in-Chief of the RSLAF in February 2009 at a gathering of Ministers of State, Diplomats, military Officers and other ranks. “We are gathered here today to mark the transformation of Myohaung Day to Armed Forces Day. This is a significant milestone for the gallant officers, men and women of our Armed Forces who have fought in many other battles since Myohaung and they have repeatedly proved their gallantry and sacrificed lives and limbs for the glory of Mother Sierra Leone”. This is a commendable nationalist and self-respecting position that should be emulated by the leadership of all former colonies who have managed to remove the scales of psychological subjectivity from their eyes.

Yet Ghana, the once proud and heroic protagonist of the emancipation and liberation of Africa and all oppressed people, the Black Star of Africa, has by default, shown that it has relapsed into the undependable, unreliable and counterproductive incubus of imperialist dominion.

I am at great pains to figure out what further agony and anguish that Black people – Africans, need in order to shock us to wake up from subjective apathy, to open our eyes and to become sentient to the unfortunate, depressing and crass conditions of our reality. We have borne the brunt of the worse man-made horrors of human history and we still continue to suffer from the pains and shortcomings arising out of those reprehensible experiences. Yet still, we continue to depend on and to look up to the criminal perpetrators of those crimes, their way of life, their traditions and worse of all, their warped offensive political sentiments as the models which we think are the best suited ideals upon which we can improve and develop our lives. This does not add up.

There is no gainsaying the fact that current trends of global political development indicate a certain ominous drift that Africans are being misled, in a subtle way, closer and closer to our racial, cultural and material apocalypse. Why do we still continue to diddle and dawdle on the precipice of and in the face of political exclusion, sequestration and extinction? Perhaps we need to be reminded more often of the tragic scenario in which many millions of original native Indians of North and South America, Aborigines of Australia, natives of New Zealand and many other islands dotted in the seas and oceans all over the world, went through this phase and have now been virtually decimated – forever wiped out, from the face of the earth - and their lands and resources taken over by Western Europeans – better known in political parlance as imperialists.

Over the past few weeks, two retired Ghanaian military officers, in separate media interventions, have proven to the more discerning Ghanaian public and to the world at large that the Ghanaian soldier is not just made of bluster, treason and acquiescent brawn. Col. Festus Aboagye (Rtd) and Major V.K. Vigah (Rtd) have made astounding and eye-opening military and political analysis in the media on the crisis in the Ivory Coast. The contributions they made, have reduced those of the so-called experts dozing in the ivory towers of our institutions of ‘higher learning’, appear amateurish, pedestrian and untrained. By their commendable intervention, these two officers raised the bar of intellectual analysis, the temperature of African nationalism and the quality of professional accomplishment onto a more prolific and palpable level. I can vouch with a certain amount of conviction that these two veterans have by their brief input, not only changed the opinion of many more Ghanaians of what they think of our soldiers but by so-doing, they have also inspired and greatly uplifted the sagging national morale. This is the kind of far-reaching intellectual and patriotic posture we expect from VAG as an institution.

Perhaps, the sum total of VAG’s statement was ostensibly aimed at proving how valiant and professionally capable the Ghanaian soldier is. However they misfired woefully by standing on the wrong premise to quote the wrong period of history and the wrong event to buttress that point. The rounding up of tens of thousands of local youth by traditional Chiefs and forcibly drafting them into the Gold Coast Regiment on the instructions of the Colonial govt., to go and fight – by force, in Burma, during the 2nd World War, is something that every discerning African should condemn and be unreservedly ashamed of.

To enable us hold our heads high and keep our badly bruised dignity intact and from further obliteration, we should just simply learn to keep quiet about such unfortunate episodes of our history – unless of course, we have to dredge them up from the ‘muddy’ archives of our colonial past to use as evidence to further expose the evil shenanigans of imperialism. No proud or civilized human being, race or institution publicizes such adverse instances of shame, abuse, plunder and betrayal as occasions and instances of pride and public celebration.

The Ghanaian soldier has been used and been misused throughout the history and lifetime of the military institution to our mutual disadvantage and for the benefit and interests of imperialism, much too many times.

Even when in the early sixties Dr. Kwame Nkrumah dispatched Ghanaian troops to the Congo to assist UN forces to defend the newly independent country from the greedy and rapacious clutches of imperialism, some of them were bought off by American, British and Belgian interests to look the other way whilst they executed their foul, evil and criminal deeds. The imperialists then proceeded to slaughter thousands of Congolese people who attempted to resist the intrigues of Sgt. Mobutu, Kasavubu and the other imperialist pimps. Having done that, they then went on to cold-bloodedly murder - in the most cowardly and brutal fashion, the democratically elected, popular and formidable Prime Minister, Patrice Lumumba in 1961. In a most bestial manner and out of extreme hatred borne by the fear and panic that Lumumba could have denied them ‘the fruits’ of the Congo, they then proceeded to dissolve his remains in a barrel of acid to allay any remote possibility that he may arise from the dead. Ever since, the DR Congo has not known peace, stability or any meaningful development.

In terms of the magnitude and diversity of mineral resources, the DR Congo has no equal in the world. Weighed against the measly crumbs that was paid to those errant UN soldiers and the treacherous Congolese pimps to enable imperialism to have its way to loot those resources, as against what Africa could have otherwise gained, is for the discerning ones amongst us to conjecture. Many decades after those treacherous African army officers have passed away with the ‘small change’ that they were rewarded with and the sentiments of shame and contempt that their names will always conjure, we and our children’s children in Africa will remain much the poorer.

As if imperialists think that Africans are so dim-witted that we can never think positively for ourselves, Ghanaian troops, under a dubious UN mandate in La Cote d’Ivoire were again seemingly misused to defend and pave way to install another puppet in exactly the same way that the imperialists installed Mobutu Sese-Seko who eventually and not-so-surprisingly, shared the abundant resources of the Congo – officially per capita, one of the poorest countries in the world, with the larcenous gluttony of global imperialism.

Before his humiliating fall from power, Mobutu, who was but a Sergeant in the Congolese army before the imperialists saw in him the useful potential of treason, was richer than the entire nation of the DR Congo and several other African nations put together. Beyond that, he was one of the richest men in the world. All the tens of billions of dollars that he surreptitiously spirited into western European Banks – in cash and in property, were after his demise, conveniently and scandalously contrived to have become ‘untraceable’ in the imperialist financial system, whilst the citizens of the Congo continue to live or survive on the poverty-stricken level and standard as those of animals. Before his death, many countries refused to host him as an exile, even though he was frail and dying from a terminal disease. However, Mobutu has made Europe and America richer by many billions of free dollars. Even so, the imperialists were loudest in giving him a most disparaging obituary of scorn, contempt and derision after his death. This should serve as a lesson for all would-be treacherous Africans including Afrifa and Kotoka - that imperialists have no morals nor standards of any kind when it comes to matters of money and profit.

Again, the Ghanaian military was used and misused to reverse the greatest political advancement in favor of Africa and the Black race in the history of mankind by the catastrophic and earth-shattering military overthrow of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s govt in 1966. The over 200 state industries that Dr. Nkrumah set up in only eight magical years, have virtually all now subsequently been sold off to imperialist interests and their local lackeys. Those that were not sold, have been left to rot under the dictates of the naïve, impracticable and barren prescriptions of the World Bank and the IMF which after several decades of practice in Africa, have only succeeded in entrenching poverty to the extent that for a country like Ghana, virtually all our vital and strategic socio-economic resources and institutions are now in the hands of or in the control of imperialist organizations. Today, for the lack of these industries that Kwame Nkrumah set up, the citizens and children beg for alms and sell trifles on the streets whilst the govt. itself also begs for alms from imperialist financial institutions to balance and support our ineffectual annual budgets that as a consequence, are dictated to us by Europe and America. Is it any wonder then that we sink so low that pompous French Lt. Cols can come and arrogantly, as it were, ‘school’ our Brigadier generals?

Today, we import everything that Kwame Nkrumah made it possible for us to produce and export fifty years ago – even tooth-picks and matches. Today, under the guise of training programs, we entertain foreign ‘military advisors’ from those same countries that openly contrived to demonize and then to finally overthrow Dr. Kwame Nkrumah - the best thing we ever had. Whilst full-blooded Ghanaians are stopped, searched and questioned at the entry gates, these so-called ‘military advisors’ and ‘businessmen’, from the bastions of imperialism, drive freely in and out of the nerve-centres of our Military installations and the Presidency under the protective escort of Ghanaian security.

These so-called foreign advisors sit-in at every high-level meeting in this country. We have even been intimidated to go on to justify their intrusive presence in our affairs by describing them as ‘development partners’ even though it is glaring by the general lack of substantial development over several years that, their contribution to our development has only been to strengthen our dependence and attachment to their apron strings – in other words, consolidating our contrived state of poverty in favour of their development. Did we go or did we come?

Capt Ansah needs to be told in plain language that there is no percentage for us in romanticizing about certain past military events which in actual fact were not only shameful and counter-productive for our national interests and image as a people but that, these have also largely contributed to making Africa a loser on the world stage.

The institutional culture and the public impression of our Armed Forces needs to be revamped and overhauled into one that in word and in deed will protect us from the intrigues and recurrent nightmares of oppressors rule. We should and we must revise all those epithets and designations in our military establishments which only serve to painfully remind us of our shortcomings and subservience to oppressors rule. We must inasmuch as possible, try to revert to indigenous African names and significant days such as Osei Tutu Military Hospital, Agostinho Neto Military Barracks, Kulungugu Memorial Day, Samora Machel Medium Mortar Regiment, Ghana’s Day of Shame, Gen. Michele Barracks, and such other names of days, reputable and honorable Africans, Ghanaians and especially illustrious military officers and men who did not sell their conscience and dignity and who did not steal and trade-off the sovereignty of their motherland for a mess of potage to imperialist oppressors.

All those absurd and incompatible alien names and traditions of military institutions in Ghana which Capt Ansah glorifies and irrationally refers to as landmarks of pride of the Ghana Army, are anachronistic flaws to our dignity as a nation and as a people. They are dishonourable stigmas of an era that for our own good, we would sooner put behind us than carry with us into the future.

For now, we concede that they – Capt Ansah and his lot, are of the Old School Order, those who still sentimentally and with some amount of nostalgia, are inclined to use the term ‘colonial masters’ instead of the more apt reference, the ‘colonial terrorists or oppressors’. Capt Ansah and his generation are innocent victims of the cultural disorientation program of the ancient imperialist juggernaut. Perhaps it may be too much now to ask of them to break out of that self-denigrating mindset. Perhaps it may be too late for them but Africa, its people and its institutions cannot continue to remain stuck in a disagreeable, hostile and obstructionist time warp which we must continue, as Kwame Nkrumah did, to fight against. It does our morale no good and serves as a dampener on our racial and nationalist psyche. We cannot let posterity down. We must continue the struggle.

For some of us, so long as we live, we will continue to sacrifice our time, our energies and our life working in whatever little way towards sanitizing and enhancing the image of the African in all spheres of life. We will continue to have hope and we will continue to have confidence that in time - hopefully soon, a new generation of the intellectual and military corps will emerge - ones who will be proud of the true tenets of their chosen careers, proud to be Ghanaians and above all else, proud to be Africans. Hopefully, they will be professionals and citizens who will not cower to and subjugate their dignity and their high sense of patriotism to the greedy whims of others. They will be military Officers and citizens whose professional and nationalist stature will reflect a positive testimonial of hope for the future of Ghana and all Africans.

They will confine to the rubbish heaps, those archaic epithets and alien institutional practices and culture that have only served to glorify the arrogant whims and conduct of our oppressors above our own and which perpetually seeks to keep us in the dark shadows of imperialist bondage as well as in racial and cultural subjugation.

Together, we will all strive towards a new dawn where the African will be his own keeper, his own master and not his own enemy.

“For the imperialist, human values count for nothing

and are always subordinated to his quest for profit”.

Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah

At the 4th Afro-Asian Solidarity Conference, Winneba, 10th May, 1965

Kojo Sapara

Columnist: Sapara, Kojo