Saturday, December 29, 2012

Ghana Elections: Good news is no news

“I am disappointed.”

“Why is that, my dear friend?”

“Don’t you dare call me your friend, my friend!”

“Ah, what’s bugging you?”

“I am sorely disappointed!”

“In me, what have I done to wrong you, my friend?”

“You and your bunch of friends from the Western Press.”

“Eh, what the heck are you talking about?”

“And you call yourself a friend!”

“What are you talking about? Why are you in such a nasty funk?”

“I am talking about you western media people!”

“And what on earth is wrong with us?”

“That exactly is the problem, ah! You still do not know why I am so angry with you lot?”

“No, I don’t know.”

“For crying out loud, we had one of the best elections ever conducted anywhere in the whole wide world and none of you guys deemed it newsy enough to write on it. I search in vain for anything positive about the fairness, the freeness, the drums, the dances, the electric atmosphere generated, nothing. Zilch. That’s what I got, Niets! Nothing from the BBC right up to the Constant Negative News channel you call CNN. None of you have anything to say.”

“Oh, that! Is that what’s bugging you.”

“Yes, yes, yes! And don’t tell me that it is not enough to bug anyone! I knew how you guys went to town to pillory Africa after the debacle in Nigeria, Kenya and Zimbabwe about flawed elections. Why don’t you give credit where it is deserved?”

“I am afraid, my friend, you really do not understand the way of the world.”

“What way of the world are you talking about here? We just had a world-class elections conducted with all the international busy-bodies that call themselves ‘Election Observers’ claiming that it was the best ever in the world, and not a single paper or media in the West deemed it newsworthy. You deluded us with tons and tons of info on the mayhem that happened in Kenya, yet not a whimper about the fair, free and violence-free elections in Ghana. I am so disappointed.”

“I feel both sad and sorry that you feel that way, my friend. But your anger is misdirected. If only you understand the way of the world, you won’t feel that way.”

“What way of the world are you talking about, eh?”

“I am truly sorry that you feel that way. But your anger is grossly misplaced. You truly lack the capacity to see the whole picture. You cannot grasp the entire perspective.”

“What are you talking about? I asked you why you Western Press people failed, miserably I should add, to mention a well conducted elections in Ghana, whereas you are prepared to devote reels and reels of newsprint to any conflict in the most obscure part of Africa!”

“Exactly, my point. I don’t think that I can start by introducing you to simple Economics as the subject appears beyond the comprehension of you Africans.”

“Now, now, what are you talking about? What has Economics got to do with your biased reporting about the continent of Africa?”

“Semantics, semantics, my friend. You called it biased-reporting but I called it obeying the immutable laws of economics. You do not believe that I sent myself here, do you?”

“What exactly are you talking about, my friend?”

“I represent a newspaper which, you may believe it or not, need hard cash in order to survive. And since we do not believe that money grows on trees like people in Africa do, it follows that we have to generate our cash somehow. Our income comes mainly from advertisers. Our advertisers make their monies selling products that hard-working people in the West are prepared to shell out their hard-earned income to buy. The people buy the newspapers hoping to get their money-worth in news and stuffs.”

“I still do not get the point!”

“Patience, my friend, is a great virtue. I am coming to the point in my own round-about way. You do not expect Joe the Plumber to come home, after a hard day’s job, and be confused by improbable headlines like free and fair elections in Ghana. The man is tired. He has worked hard and he has downed his fair share of liquor, and only need to read about some chaos and mayhem and things in his newspaper before he goes to bed. You do not expect us, in good conscience, to disallow him his daily dose of gory news, do you? You don’t believe people in the west are going to be happy if they sit at their breakfast tables, perusing their newspapers and be side-blinded by headlines like, “Ghana Conducted Successful Elections,” or “Ghana Election shines,” or such monstrosities like that.”

“What exactly is wrong with that? You will only be reporting the truth? Wasn’t it written that you will know the truth and the truth shall make you free?”

“Don’t be daft, my friend. What’s the truth? Do you think that my editor is going to hang a medal on my neck if I should send him a report about how successfully Ghanaians conducted their elections?”

“I thought journalists are supposed to report objectively!”

“You thought wrong, my friend. I am not your crusading, revolutionary reporter bent on shaping the world in my own image. I’ve got a family to support, a mortgage, children’s school bills, etc, etc, to consider. You don’t expect me to throw all that away in some messianic pursuit of what you called objective journalism.”

“I didn’t call it that! That’s what you Western Press people claim to be!”

“Don’t be naïve, my friend! You don’t expect me to come here and tell you that I am ‘Mr. Biased Personified,’ do you?”

“So there is nothing about objective about you Western Press?”

“Don’t put words in my mouth, but don’t blame us if you guys decided to go off the rail.”

“What do you mean, going off the rail?”

“Why did you decide to do the un-African thing? Who has ever heard of an election in Africa devoid of violence, rigging, mayhem and stuffs? Can you imagine that I searched the whole day in vain for close shots of mayhem, arson, police brutality, violent-protest and things? I even tried to bribe some youth at Alajo in Accra to stage a protest for my sake, but the patriotic idiots refused my generous offer. My cameraman was so bored that he fell asleep. Happily, I should add, in the arms of one of those well-endowed, succulent ladies with good rear engines parading the streets of your capital. What exactly is wrong with you Ghanaians?”

“What do you mean?”

“All that you are doing is destabilizing a perfect equilibrium. Who but a Bolshevik revolutionary is interested in free and fair elections in Africa? Everyone knows that good elections in Africa are occasions for fossilized, sit-tight father-of-the-nation to dispatch his uniformed goons, armed with our discarded museum pieces, to beat up citizens, award fantastic electoral votes to himself and his cronies, with everyone going home happy and dandy. But you Ghanaians decided to upset the smooth apple-cart.”

“But there have been free and fair elections in Botswana, Sierra Leone, Liberia and…”

“You are wasting your breath, my friend. Those are mere exceptions that do nothing to challenge the rule. We all know what to expect from African elections and is it not among your sayings that a Tiger does not change its spot?”

“It is Leopard; there are no Tigers in Africa.”

“Leopard, Tiger, Elephant or whatever, no one is going to believe the tale of a violence-free election in Africa. All they want are reports of Do-or-Die elections.”

“You are not telling me that your readers are interested only in mayhem, violence and arson?”

“I am saying no such thing. Just that some things are so predictable: The sun will shine in Africa tomorrow; an African dictator will steal an election. People are used to that. But when you start on the path of successful elections and things, those are uncharted, potentially-dangerous revolutionary trends and it might upset our folks.”

“You mean white folks?”

“Who else? You didn’t reckon that we generate our income from your voodoo economies, do you?”

“Are you telling me that your decent white folks are only interested in your reporting violence and mayhem?”

“Once again, you are putting things out of context. We are in business to inform our readers, pander to their tastes and their delicate sensibilities; we are not in the business of evangelizing or crusading. We are not on a mission to change the world or how the world’s people think.”

“Now I am getting the picture.”

Friday, December 21, 2012

Every Child is Beautiful, Mr. President

When beggars die there are no comet seen… the heavens themselves blaze forth for the death of Prince.” – Shakespeare in Julius Caesar.

The price of hating other human beings is loving oneself less.” – Eldridge Cleaver in Soul on Ice

I can think of no other way to say this, so here goes: An awful lot of white folks need to pull our heads out of our collective ass. Two more children are dead and thirteen are injured, and another community is scratching its blonde scalp, utterly perplexed as to how a school shooting the likes of the one in Santee, California could happen. After all, as the Mayor of the town said on CNN: “We’re a solid town, a good town, with good kids; a good church-going town; an All-American town.” Well, maybe that’s the problem.

I said this after Columbine and no one listened, so I’ll say it again: Most whites live in a state of self-delusion. We think danger is black or brown, not to mention poor, and if we can just move far enough away from “those people,” we’ll be safe. If we can just find an “all-American” town, life will be better, because “things like this just don’t happen here.”

Well excuse me for pointing this out, but in case you hadn’t noticed, “here” is about the only place these kinds of things do happen. Oh sure, there’s plenty of violence in urban communities too. But mass murder, wholesale slaughter, kill-’em-all-let-God-sort-’em-out kinda’ craziness seems made for those “safe” white suburbs or rural communities. Yet the FBI insists there is no “profile” of a school shooter
.” –

Given the utter lack of human empathy exhibited by the US in its dealings with the world, it should perhaps come as no surprise when the lack of empathy is replicated on a smaller scale at home by school assassins and the like. It goes without saying, however, that the president’s tears are reserved for the non-military slaughter of domestic civilians.

As for Obama’s pledge to do whatever he can to “prevent… more tragedies like this”, it would seem that true prevention efforts would require the comprehensive rewiring of American society.

I don’t believe my son belongs in jail… But it seems like the United States is using prison as the solution of choice for mentally ill people. According to Human Rights Watch, the number of mentally ill inmates in US prisons quadrupled from 2000 to 2006.

In the end, however, gun control is merely one of many issues requiring attention in a country that should itself be diagnosed as mentally ill.
” – Belen Fernandez

According to Mother Jones, since 1982, 61 mass murders involving firearms have occurred throughout the country. Of these, 43 of the killers were white males, and only one was a woman. Mother Jones focused on whether the killers obtained their guns legally (most did). But this highly visible sign of mental illness should lead us to consider how many people in the U.S. live in fear, like I do.

When I asked my son’s social worker about my options, he said that the only thing I could do was to get Michael charged with a crime. “If he’s back in the system, they’ll create a paper trail,” he said. “That’s the only way you’re ever going to get anything done. No one will pay attention to you unless you’ve got charges.”

I agree that something must be done. It’s time for a meaningful, nation-wide conversation about mental health. That’s the only way our nation can ever truly heal.

God help me. God help Michael. God help us all
.” Liza long, ‘I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother.’

It has become a familiar spectacle: for whatever reason, another American has grabbed an assault rifle, that big gun designed for combat troops to achieve maximum kill-rate, and sprayed innocent people with hot lead and left scores dead.

The media rush to express shock like it has never happen before. Analysts brought out their crystal balls and talk themselves silly on the Constant Negative News (CNN). Politicians dodged and fudged and the Commander-in-Chief donned the garb of Mourner-in-Chief, made impassioned speech, not forgetting to wipe off a tear or two and vow to do something ‘meaningful.’

Candles are lit and a solemn funeral held where the names of the victims are called and remembered with fondness by loved ones.

There is a vow to do something to stop the senseless massacres. Everybody goes home. Few days later, things are back to normal. Massacre is forgotten. It is time to eat hamburger, drink soda and watch football unmolested by the dins of wars and of drones and their missiles.

After all this is America, land of the free and the brave which has a genius of insulating itself from the mayhem and the violence its unrestrained military unleashes on the world every minute of every hour of every day of every year since 1945.

So, a young man of 20 years somehow got hold of an assault rifle. There are reports that the weapon belongs to his mother.

There are several questions provoked here: At the risk of sounding sexist, what on earth is a woman doing with an assault rifle in her home?

Many societies consider a 20-year a teenager that still needs parental\societal guidance to navigate the maze that is life.

But of course in God’s own country, even babies have constitutional rights that are inviolable. And men (and women, too) consider the amassing of insane amount of armaments God’s given rights.

One of the most baffling things I noticed during my sojourn in Europe was the ability of the people to totally divorce themselves from all the reality around them.

Europeans claim to be educated but they know so little about the world they so thoroughly dominated (through their military and their media) and they care even less.

The genius of the European Power Elite was to successfully create societies where people are totally isolated from any and all atrocities committed in their names by their armed forces.

For example, the Netherlands was actively engaged in two wars – in Iraq and Afghanistan (let’s forget the Dutch participation in the NATO piracy off the Somali coast, for a while), with the citizens delightfully unaware.

Not once did I see a picture of the war on Dutch television. The people are simply not allowed to see the blood and the gores of wars.

The wars got mentioned in the press all right but sans its nastiness and its messiness.

The Dutch media has so totally dehumanized the enemy that even the most progressive of citizens have trouble thinking of him (it?) as a human being worthy of empathy.

The other, the enemy, is reduced to a Nonentity; a mere abstract statistical figure in a remote place with unpronounceable name.

After all, democratically-elected government has determined that it (the enemy) is a blasted, freedom-hating, horned ogre with no purpose in life than to threaten the lives of the civilized, Christian, democratic, freedom-loving, altruistic Westerners.

The westerner has had this falsehood fed and brow-beaten into his head he knows nothing better.

Lest the Westerner veer and start a dangerous self-doubt, the Western free press constantly do their best to re-inforce the imagery with relentless bombardment of untruths and outright lies.

Dutch businesses get a good cut of the pie that is war booty (an oil contract here, a pipeline deal there eventually adds up to serious money so beloved by the Dutch).

War booties keep the economy on good stead and living standard high and they guarantee good life for Dutch citizens.

So what if some, ungodly Afghan, Somali, Iraqi or Pakistani child, or children got killed?

Collateral damages happen in wars, don’t they?

So, the Dutch blissfully go about their businesses unconcerned, unmoved, untroubled and without the least worry in their lives, except for worries about inflation and the state of the Euro.

That is until the enemy kills a Dutch soldier.

And suddenly, the whole country wake up to the realization that there is war going on after, all.

Flags are lowered; Generals and Politicians put pancakes on their faces to look good on television where they blabber until kingdom come.

The Dutch Monarch, the Queen, is drag into the affairs. As head of state, she has to lead and be seen to do so.

There is great fanfare in the land with all the attendant pomp and pageantry.

The fawning media is there is to capture and propagate the disaster (the killing of a Dutch, nay, Westerner, anywhere is always a disaster) until tomorrow.

I often wonder why the Westerners always think that their lives are worthier than those of the rest of us.

Dutch troops kill Iraqis, Libyans, Iraqis routinely with no mention made in the Dutch media. But there is over-saturation of news coverage if a single Dutch soldier is killed.

It is the same way I wonder why the Dutch celebrate the four years Nazi occupation of their country, but develop collective amnesia when it comes to the question of their country’s bestial colonization of Indonesia and Suriname or the dastardly apartheid they imposed to blight the beautiful country of South Africa.

Another trait of the West that constantly baffles me was the way people think that they somehow will not reap what they sow.

I see Westerners expecting to reap love when they (or should I say their governments?) go around to litter the world with hatred.

The people of the European Stock (apologies to my editor at the New African magazine, Baffour Ankomah), tout their rationality, but few of their actions suggest rationality.

They also appear incapable of telling themselves the truth.

However much we grief for the hapless victims, especially the children of Connecticut, we should be honest enough to tell ourselves some home truths.

Any society that promotes and glorifies violence should expect tragedies to happen.

Any nation that thinks only of violence to resolve disputes should not express surprise when some citizens do the same.

A nation that built multi-billion dollars blood-drenched video games industry should not tell us that it does not expect its citizens to become violent.

A nation that allows citizens, for whatever reasons, to have more guns than some nation’s army is only courting serious trouble.

A nation where bullets are dirt cheap should also expect massacres to occur now and then.

A nation where film industries make billions in make-believe violent wars should realise that some citizens will sooner or later act upon the fantasies.

So, our Nobel Laureate Emperor Obama is capable of shedding tears on the death of little children?


This is the same man that day after day orders the killing of little children from Yemen, through Somali through Afghanistan through Pakistan.

According to reports, Mr. Obama has taken personal charge of the CIA-engineered drone wars and has ordered more drone attacks that all his predecessors put together.

Of course, like its Dutch counterpart, the American media shield the American from seeing the unpleasant sides of wars.

A drone assault on a wedding party in Pakistan is mentioned alright, but the reportage is so bland, so devoid of all humanity that it is impossible for the American to feel a darn thing for the victims.

A missile assault on a hut in remote Afghanistan might wipe out entire family including little children, but to the American, it is just another dry statistics.

The media could have been talking about goats or sheep.

Which American journalist has the time to ferret out the names, the ages, the hobbies and the ambitions of little Afghan children?

Which true-born American wants to read about those inanities anyway?

When Obama was making his speech, many called for the N—– to get off their television so that they can watch their football? See here:

You don’t have to teach people how to be human. You have to teach them how to stop being inhuman.” – Eldridge Cleaver

Readers, kindly read this:

With seven seconds left to go, there was no one to be seen on the ground. Bryant could still have diverted the missile at that point. Then it was down to three seconds. Bryant felt as if he had to count each individual pixel on the monitor. Suddenly a child walked around the corner, he says.

Second zero was the moment in which Bryant’s digital world collided with the real one in a village between Baghlan and Mazar-e-Sharif.

Bryant saw a flash on the screen: the explosion. Parts of the building collapsed. The child had disappeared. Bryant had a sick feeling in his stomach.

“Did we just kill a kid?” he asked the man sitting next to him.

“Yeah, I guess that was a kid,” the pilot replied.

“Was that a kid?” they wrote into a chat window on the monitor.

Then, someone they didn’t know answered, someone sitting in a military command center somewhere in the world who had observed their attack. “No. That was a dog,” the person wrote.

They reviewed the scene on video. A dog on two legs

– ‘The Woes of an American Drone Operator,’ By Nicola Abé, published by Der Spiegel.

It was Mr. Obama who ordered the drone attack that killed the innocent children in a village between Baghlan and Mazar-e-Sharif(they even lack the decency to get the name of the village).

An innocent human child heartlessly and unfeelingly reduced to a mere dog.

It was the same Mr. Obama that tearfully tells us how beautiful the children that died in Newtown, Connecticut were.

Was the child in a village between Baghlan and Mazar-e-Sharif ugly?

We would never know as he went quietly to his grave, anonymous, unnamed, unloved, unsung, un-praised and with no dirge and no high-falutin rhetoric from Emperor Obama.

May his innocent soul rest in peace.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Presidential Inaugural address

Fellow compatriots, brothers and sister, our tradition and simple courtesy demands that I use this occasion to thank you for the confidence that you have reposed in me, by electing me to serve as your Executive President for the next four years.

It is a great honour and privilege to be elected to occupy the seat once occupied by the illustrious founding father of our nation, the great Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah.
I feel very humbled.

It is with great humility that I accept your vote of confidence and I promise to do my best not to disappoint you, the good people of Ghana.

I am very grateful for the chance you have given me and my party to be the custodian of our nation’s affairs in the next four years.

Fellow compatriots, I thank you greatly.

The tasks ahead of us are great and they call for the utmost dedication from each and every one of us.

It is, of course, the duty of governments to provide leadership and direction, but citizens also have their own roles to play.

Our dear country faces great challenges in all the spheres that we care to look.
Our economy is confronted with very deep problems.

We suffer greatly from the adverse effects of global warming due to no cause on our part.

Our electricity and water supplies remain inadequate for our citizens.

We face great challenges in the large number of our people that are out of work.

Many of them have received little or no education at all, so that they cannot even participate in the building the great nation we so cherished.

Tribalism, that terrible ogre that has consumed so many lives on our dear continent from Cape to Cairo, is rearing its ugly heads in our dear country.

But, fellow compatriots, I urge that we maintain a positive outlook of life.

Life is nothing but a struggle.

Many people have faced greater peril than what today confronts us, and they triumphed.

They succeeded simply because they did not allow themselves to be unnecessarily daunted by the challenges that life poses.

They took their challenges in stride and they conquered them.

It is this positive way of looking at challenges that I dearly recommend to each and every one of us.

We shouldn’t allow ourselves to be defeated by a pessimistic philosophy that is alien to our culture.

Our African cosmogony thrives on unbridled optimism.

Our forebears bequeathed to us rich legacies we can build upon.

Our African Personality has stood us in good stead over the years, and it is not something that we should jettison in a hurry.

The challenges that confront us today might look immense, but they pale in comparison to what our forebears have to bear.

Today we bemoan lack of adequate food, water, shelter, clinics, good roads and the rest of the things that have become part of modern, civilized life.

I do not mean to belittle these challenges that confront us, but I hasten to add that compared with what our fore-parents had to face, our challenges pale into insignificance.

We are indeed very lucky.

Today, we do not have to cope with slave raiding parties that denuded our lands of its most productive best and brightest.

We do not have to battle today with the indignities of been colonized by foreigners that do not wish us well.

Compared with what our fore-parents had to bear, I say that we are lucky, very lucky indeed.

Our fore-parents had to live in constant fear of been captured, beaten, branded, shackled and sold like common cattle, never to see their land and their people again.

In slavery, they became common chattel. That means that they were someone’s property.

Spell that with a capital letter.

From slavery our forebears had to endure about a hundred years of bestial colonialism.

A group of European powers decided to share our continent among themselves and they sent their officials to take possession of our land and of our lives.

Our parents were browbeaten into submission, had their lands forcibly taken away from them and forced to become indentured workers for white colonisers.

Under colonialism our parents were made to endure every form of humiliation and indignity.

Luckily for us, their children, today no colonial official is bossing us around.
We have total control of our land and all its rich resources.

We are today the masters of our own destiny.

Allow me to depart from the traditional form of address common to inaugural ceremonies, so that I can engage in a personal and candid conversation with you, fellow compatriots.

During my campaign I eschewed the traditional form of promising you the moon.

The only that I promised was that I am going to be a president the like of which you never had before.

I also promised not to be your typical politician who promised to do things for you that are simply not possible.

I promised you that I will be truthful, honest and be very candid with you in all my undertakings.

That was my solemn pledge and one that I will carry out faithfully.

I believed that it was on the basis of my promise to tell you nothing but the honest truth that you elected me to run the affairs of our dear nation for the next four years.

By virtue of your votes, I stand there today before you as the president our beloved republic.

Fellow compatriots, God in his infinite wisdom gave every human being the faculties to cater for himself.

He gave us the brain to think. He also gave us two hands and two legs to accomplish whatever our brain cells are able to craft for us.

If you care to look closely at me you will notice that I have only one head just like the rest of you.

God also did not equip me with extra legs, eyes, ears or arms.

It simply means that I’m no super-human; I am an ordinary mortal like the average man or woman.

During my campaign, I tried to be as honest with you as humanly possible.

In all my campaign speeches I told you that by giving us immeasurable resources, the gods have done the best they could do for us.

How we use (or abuse) these vast natural resources is left for us.

Fellow compatriots, the time for hypocritical, flattering talk is over; we have to be very frank with ourselves.

Looking back at all the close to sixty years that we have been managing our affairs, we have no cause to beat our chests triumphantly.

The truth is that we have not fared well at all.

Given the resources at our disposal, we have fared very badly, if the honest be told.

I am not going to bore you with statistics but since we all live in this our dear country, we can all see the abysmal poverty that remains the lot of many of our fellow citizens.

Depending on whom you believe, fifty to eighty per cent of our people are living below the poverty level.

That means that they make do with about one point five cedis a day.

That’s the abysmal existence many of our compatriots still eke out daily!

We can blame foreigners, we can blame governments all we like, but we have to come back to what we, ourselves, are doing to improve our material existence here on earth?

There are a lot of things that we can do as individuals to ameliorate the poor states of our station, and as your president, I shall be remiss if I do not share some ideas with you.

The job of building Ghana is not for the president or the government alone.

We are all citizens of this great country and we together must build our homeland.

Our only ambition in life should be to build a nation that our children and their children, children will be very proud of.

So that when we join the ancestors, we can do so with a smile on our faces, knowing full well that we left our footprints in the sand of history.

We can then carry the message to our forebears that our children are enjoying the sweat of our hard labour.

No honour can be greater than the knowledge that our children and their children will be proud, very proud of what we accomplish in our sojourn in this spinning ball that we all call home.

Fellow compatriots, my brothers and sisters, I will not promise you the moon.

I will never, I repeat never make a promise to you that I cannot and will not keep.
If I make a promise, I’ll keep it.

I can understand cynics who may scoff at this very idea.

For very long time, many leaders have made many promises that they did not keep.

You can write this down that I stand before you today and solemnly promise never to tell the good people of our great nation anything but the truth.

My promise to you shall be sacrosanct and shall be kept.

Let my friends and foes write this down.

Every week I shall be sharing with you ideas about the nature of our nation. I shall be sharing with you my own ideas about what I think we can individually and collectively do to move the wheel of our nation’s progress forward.

Until next week when I shall come to address you again, and share with you the first of the ideas I have, I say God bless you and may the good Lord continue to bless our beloved homeland.

Wise saying:

" Never use both feet to test the depth of the sea." - African proverb