Vandalism @60: The next chapter; Dr Arthur Kennedy writes

Vandals Hall 222 Members of the Commonwealth Hall are known as Vandals

Fri, 30 Jun 2017 Source: Arthur Kobina Kennedy

This weekend, all around the world, Vandals both current and past will meet to reflect on "The next chapter". Up on the hill where it stands, Vandal City will welcome its alumni, including a former President.

They will, no doubt, reflect on the history of our illustrious hall and it's future.

Permit me, fellow vandals, to share a few thoughts.

Despite having an older brother who was a Vandal, my association with Vandalism was unplanned. Indeed, when I was randomly assigned to the hall, I was disappointed. My disappointment was confirmed when a month later, I met my senior secondary school biology teacher, Miss Bodom.

When I informed her I was a Vandal, she was depressed. "How could they do this to you?", she wailed. When we met two years later, I was the Hall President. " Why would they make you Hall President if you were not a ruffian like all of them?", she demanded.

In truth, being in Commonwealth Hall was the defining experience of my life. The motto, "Truth Stands", strengthened my faith and clarified my vision. It reinforced one of my favourite Bible texts, John 8:32, "And ye shall know the truth and it shall make you free".

And we lived by it. We led Legon and other institutions of higher learning to confront dictators and to speak truth to power. We denounced the murder of the judges and spoke up for their grieving families. We marched with the masses to protest poverty and denounce false revolutions!

We were doing God's work.

We learned that earlier generations of Vandals had taken on dictators from Nkrumah to General Akuffo. We believed that Vandalism was a positive force that could transform, not only Ghana but all of Africa.

But 6 decades on, we must ask ourselves some hard questions. We have sent generations of Vandals into our civil service, industries, ministries, houses of worship and even the Presidency.

Are our courts more just because of Vandal judges?

Are our institutions more honest because of Vandals?

Have we been on the side of the people and against power? Have we been on the side of the working people or the moneyed interest? There was a time when I believed that when Diogenes of Sinope held his lantern and looked for honest men in vain, he failed because he missed vandalism by a few centuries.

But my fellow Vandals, I believe the problem may be, not in vandalism but in vandals. I realised this when a well-known Vandal angrily admonished me to "grow up".

Grow up from what, I asked? "Truth stands" which is our motto? Courage and selflessness? Community? In the spirit of "truth stands", I assert that many passed through Vandal City without ever becoming vandals and some who were never there, were Vandals at heart. Others have discovered power, wealth and sectionalism and ceased to be vandals.

Today, I ask you, my fellow Vandal, in the name of God and Father Bacchus, to hold a certain part of your anatomy and ask yourself solemnly, "Am I still a Vandal?"

A Ghana under the sway of vandalism will be less corrupt, more efficient and more caring. That is why we must nationalise Vandalism and "vandalise" Ghana. That should be our agenda for the next chapter and every Vandal must embrace it for as long as he lives. Let the Vandals say, "Amen" and the colonies respond, "God bless you".

Columnist: Arthur Kobina Kennedy