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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Voice from Afar: Ghana must be resurrected

Author: K.B. Asante
Author: K.B. Asante

My people of Kwahu are right in celebrating Easter with more gusto than they mark Christmas. Birth with all its mysteries leads to life. Can death then wipe out this great life into oblivion by one gasp of breath?

As we bring the Easter festivities to an end, therefore, let us maintain our vision of the life eternal and abandon that existence which begins and ends with self.

Let us promote the good life through our offspring, those around us and humanity at large by rescuing our country from the unfortunate depths to which it has sunk. Ghana must be resurrected! At Achimota I was fascinated by the South Pacific volcanic eruption of Easter Island when the art master dwelt briefly on the islanders’ burial platforms and their surrounding statutes. The islanders appeared to take death and burial as seriously as we take them in Ghana.

I then read about Christmas Island but became unhappy. The island was said to be discovered by a Dutch admiral on Easter Sunday in 1722, hence the name. I asked myself: “Did not the island exist before western adventurers?” I was not surprised about what I subsequently learnt because if you discover or find something out of the blue, you use it as you like. And this was precisely what happened.

Easter Island was annexed by Chile in 1888 after the inhabitants had been converted to Christianity. Thereafter, the natives of the island were confined to one village where they had 5,000 acres of land for subsistence farming. The rest of the island with 30,000 acres of grass-covered land was leased to a company for grazing of sheep and cattle.

I was surprised that a country named to commemorate the victory of life over death was bled to oblivion by human greed. Today, I wonder whether our country is not bleeding through the short-sightedness and greed of our own people in high places. It is difficult to understand what is happening.

The majority of the country appears to be devout Christians. And our Moslem brothers and sisters are also strong in their faith. Is it that we practise the outward forms of our belief with its rites and shows to the neglect of deeper meaning?

I am afraid there is a great deal of evidence to suggest that some priests or religious leaders mislead the people for gain. As life gets burdensome, they promise not only redemption but riches. “The Lord will provide”, they say. “You give and He will replenish what you contribute 10-fold”. Stories about the fleecing of the poor are difficult to believe.

It appears that it is not only the little-educated who run away from facts and succumb to the natural characteristic of wishful thinking. One example will suffice. An organisation with many big brains and professionals has started constructing a building. It now appears that it does not have enough funds and has no plans nor capacity for raising the extra money required.

Apparently some are relying on faith. “If you have faith it can be done”; “with God everything is possible”, they appear to argue, even if they do not come out explicitly. Yes, we need faith. Yes, we can do a lot with determination and confidence. But you cannot get money out of empty or unwilling pockets. Good analysis and planning are necessary. It is after one has used the brains and hands given by God that one can confidently ask for the blessings of the Almighty.

And so let us move forward with the real Easter spirit. Lying, cheating and stealing may lead to abundant life but they kill the soul.

Misleading the poor and underprivileged destroys the innocent life. The country is poor, under-developed and appears to be sinking because we favour the immediate and not the future. Ghana has a great future provided we work for it. Ghana must be resurrected!

Credit: K.B. Asante/Daily Graphic

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