Opinions Sun, 13 Sep 2009

No Group Can Push Ewes Into the Sea!

If writings and perorations were awarded the highest marks for divisiveness and subversiveness, then the anti-Ewe gangsters' effusions on pro-Ghanaian Internet portals would have won by a large margin. And on the continuum of human intelligence, even the worst narcissists and nihilists, who, of course, are placed by civilized society at the bottom of this continuum, know that there is always a day of reckoning, for while evil may appear to triumph temporarily over righteousness, the forces that propel the latter always overcome the powers that foist the former on humanity. In other words, evil may appear to be triumphant for a season, but righteousness always carries the day, no matter how long the darkness may have persisted. The preceding statements thus bring me to the unity-stultifying and hate-espousing piece written by one Samantha Hammond, a calculating purveyor of ethnocentrism who sees the speck in others' eyes, but who is unable to see the log in her own eyes.

Anyone who read Samantha Hammond's annoying and hate-proliferating piece, titled "In This Ghana in which we live in it" [sic], would have come away with a feeling of disgust and shock, for not only did this dangerous individual affirm in her second paragraph that "people [should] stick to the issues and not just 'attack' for the sake of it!" – but she would advocate the censorship and bowdlerization of those who employ "filthy and abusive language that seem to be the hallmark of the 'comments' section." Samantha Hammond may not have used "filthy and abusive language" in her piece, but what she gave the reading public as her position on ethnocentrism in Ghana is actually worse than the use of "filthy language": it is downright treasonable. I certainly hope that someone will drag her before a court of law to explain some of her nauseating and strife-peddling accusations against the good Ewe people of Ghana.

I am sure the reader may have observed by now that not a single Ewe writer has ever written a denigrating article on Ghana-leaning Web sites about Asantes – but some of our fellow citizens, obviously non-Ewes, perhaps in line with their evil machinations to see Ewes come to ruin, continue to assault the sensibilities of the good Ewe people of Ghana with their dangerous and treasonable lies and conjectures on these oft-accessed pro-Ghanaian Web sites. In their conspiracies to demean an entire tribe – the Ewes – these treacherous individuals expose their true desires: the eventual annihilation of Ewes. Samantha Hammond, who suddenly has become an expert on Ewe issues, without hesitation, wants the Ghanaian public to believe her outright lies that [the] "majority of scholarships [were] given to Ewe students" during the regime of the erstwhile Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC), in order to perpetrate a so-called Ewe hegemony in Ghana.

I knew an Ewe gentleman who met with the late Mrs. Ababio once at the Osu Castle, and his reason for going there was to seek a scholarship to go study Chemical Engineering in Poland (he was a first-year student at the University of Ghana, Legon, at the time), but he was not successful: the list of students had reached the limit for each Eastern European country and no additional applicants were being considered that year. Knowing that he was an Ewe candidate, why did Mrs. Ababio not add him to the list or, perhaps, drop an Akan on the list to make way for him? It saddens me that Samantha Hammond, who, perhaps, never met the affable Mrs. Ababio, would go on record to say that the poor woman (may she rest in peace!) was "by far the most diabolical" of those appointed to coordinate affairs at the Scholarship Secretariat. Does Samantha Hammond know that Mrs. Ababio's relatives could sue her for defamation? How did Samantha Hammond know that Mrs. Ababio was appointed to the Scholarships Secretariat "to ensure that the majority of scholarships [went] to Ewe students"? Ms. Hammond claims that the records at the Secretariat point to the obvious, so where are the records? Look, Ms. Hammond, those scholarships were given to people on merit!

Did Ms. Hammond ever consider the possibility that, perhaps, more Ewes and northern Ghanaians than, say, Asantes, were awarded a greater number of these scholarships because the former did better in the Secondary School Advanced Level examinations? If the preceding statement is annoying to an Asante, such a feeling is justified, which should explain how Ewes also feel when they are scorned and disparaged for no justifiable reason! And to accuse the august body charged with administering the Advanced Level examinations throughout the West African sub-region of complicity in awarding undeserved grades to Ewes is downright criminal and smacks of jealousy toward hardworking and successful Ewe students of the past!

It is also very easy for Samantha Hammond (a pseudonym, most likely!) to surmise that schools and training colleges in the Volta Region rarely get non-Ewes as institutional heads. Even if Ms. Hammond's allegations were true, could she produce empirical evidence to support her hate-espousing claim? If Ms. Hammond were any knowledgeable, she would understand why people act in certain ways under certain conditions. With the widespread hostility toward Ewes, has Ms. Hammond considered the likelihood of some Akans refusing their assignments as heads of schools and colleges in the Volta Region? What about the disdain for the Ewe language, which could also make a non-Ewe not want to move to an Ewe-speaking region of the country? I will prefer to not even discuss the issue of the establishment of a university in the Volta Region, except to remind Ms. Hammond that public schools are spread across any nation for a reason, which is why the University of Ghana, the University of Cape Coast, and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology are all not situated in Kumasi!

Then there is the heretical and arrogant view by Samantha Hammond – and her ilk – that juju is a preserve of the Volta Region only. Nothing riles this writer more than the holier-than-thou attitude some of us display on these Web sites, as if certain regions of Ghana are devoid of diabolical acts. The notion of juju is truly a relative one, for to what other vices are we comparing juju? There is more witchcraft in the Ashanti Region than any other part of the country (just ask Ghanaian Pentecostals!), so if Samantha Hammond wants to point accusing fingers, she must understand that many of us were born and raised in Ghana, so we have about the same level of understanding regarding the cultural proclivities of each group. In other words, individuals would dabble in certain religious or cultural practices, but to extend these disingenuous and reprehensible accusations to every member of an ethnic group, just because it is on record that one person had seemingly done something wrong, is tantamount to intellectual embolism and crass stupidity.

As is normal with these anti-Ewe fanatics, one conjecture after another is espoused on these pages to fool the reader into assuming that all Ewes embrace juju. A look at Ms. Hammond's inane examples reveals the all-too-common thread of irresponsible reasoning among these anti-Ewe fanatics: one day it is Ewes populating the civil service with their own kind, to the detriment of others; the next day it is an Ewe threatening to kill an Akan coworker with juju! We all read every day on these pages about the evils and atrocities committed by people from all parts of the country, so I do not have to cite specific examples. The fact remains that there are bad people in every ethnic group, and if we want to discuss horrific events, we need to exhibit unwavering honesty by being fair in our reportage.

I once knew an Asante man who insisted on stopping his son from pursuing his Advanced Level education in Ghana, simply because he wanted his son to take over his metal-fabricating shop. Even while his son objected vehemently to his father's request, I had the rare opportunity to advise the young man to never sacrifice his education for mundane things, as he would live to regret it. When the storm finally abated, the younger man's insistence won the day: he went on to study at Accra Polytechnic and today has a job as a public servant, the same line of work Ewes have been erroneously accused of dominating in Ghana! We all have the capacity to dwell on what we assume to be wrong with other groups, so the question then is: What do we gain by maligning others?

Patrilineal heritage among Ewes is not a crime, and matrilineal heritage among Akans is not wrong either: Each group practices what works best for it. So, for Samantha Hammond to surmise that there was a particularly advantageous reason for an Ewe male to marry an Asante woman, just because of the foreknowledge that the couple's children could inherit wealth matrilineally, is nothing short of preposterous. No Ewe wants to usurp an Asante stool, Ms. Hammond, so stop purveying your unabashed balderdash! Rawlings loves Nana Konadu, so does any other Ewe man whose wife is an Asante. Well, Ewe men, in Ms. Hammond's perverted estimation, not only control the civil service and many government agencies, but are now intent on raising "mongrels" among the royal Asante households! Perhaps, Ms. Hammond will embrace "anti-miscegenation" laws in Ghana! I hope the reader sees how easily our actions and words can create anxiety in our beloved Ghana.

There are some Akans who see everything about Ewes through a Rawlings prism. How sad indeed! For once, let us understand that Rawlings is not a spokesman for Ewes, and unless we are willing to look beyond this pettiness and bigotry against Ewes, nothing about our negative attitudes will change readily. The dangerous road to self-destruction, which some of our citizens have now taken, is the same that Adolf Hitler traversed, when he brainwashed the German citizenry – the Aryans in particular – that Jews were evil and ought to be eliminated. The message was repeated so often that even upstanding Germans started to believe Hitler's heinous propaganda. The world has never recovered from Hitler's actions!

Even the Akan nation that some people love to point to is not a homogeneous group: Bonos, Fantes, Ahantas, Nzemas and Akyems do not care much for Asantes anyway, so we need to stop pretending that a forty-nine-percent Akan population will one day unleash its full might on the poor Ewes of Ghana! The idea that Ewes will soon be chased into the ocean is foolish, folks! Our leaders have too much work to do: stabilizing the cedi, providing jobs for those who need them; increasing access to health care; improving our schools, so the last thing these political leaders need right now is interethnic conflict.

Hate is evil. Bigotry is dangerous. Ethnocentrism is a canker. Negative tribal attitudes are perilous. Ethnic hegemony is not possible in Ghana . No ethnic group has – or will ever have – that singular influence in Ghana so as to subjugate another. Let us stop the evil propaganda against Ewes, for nothing but self-destruction will be the result. Just as Ewes have no right to tell another ethnic group to get out of town, so no other ethnic group has the right to tell Ewes to beat it: We shall continue to live alongside one another, and the only way to enjoy these side-by-side living arrangements is to treat one another with respect. Just as the Ga-Adangbes cannot drive the Fantes into the ocean, so can the Asantes not drive the Ewes into the Keta Lagoon: we must live in peace or perish together!

The writer, Daniel K. Pryce, holds a master's degree in public administration from George Mason University, U.S.A. He is a member of the national honor society for public affairs and administration in the U.S.A. He can be reached at dpryce@cox
Columnist: Pryce, Daniel K.