Requiem for a Country

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Requiem for a Country

There is a certain level of intellectual and societal excitement and engagement on which cultures, organizations, countries and systems thrive. It is that which makes us want to get up at the crack of dawn to go to work creating new things, modifying existing ones and generating new wealth through productive and creative enterprise. Ghana doesn’t have this!

It is a certain ferocious ferment that drives us to want to achieve uncommon ends. It is like the high one gets from a new romance, except it hangs permanently over you, drives you and is in turn driven by you. Ghana doesn’t have this!

This ferment generally raises not only our level of security, it assures us our honest labors will bear fruit providing a driving force which moves us all forward. It is self-generating, self-reinforcing and gets its momentum and fuel from like-minded people working for the collective good. Ghana doesn’t have this!

That sense of purpose is absent here; that bubbly feel of agitated excitement is non-existent for we have collectively embraced mediocrity and subverted talent and brilliance through corruption. Our malaise hangs over us, our needs unmet and nothing works right because there is no inspired leadership guiding us. This is where we Ghanaians find ourselves!

Nothing works right because honest work, the touchstone of progress is not rewarded. Rather, money flows to those who game the system through influence-peddling, corruption, naked cronyism and rent-seeking. Our country is slowly and quietly shriveling and will eventually collapse on itself. Our nation is the organic equivalent of bread without fermenting yeast, it is unleavened, it will not rise. This is what we Ghanaians are dealing with whether we admit it or not.

Because there is no invigorating excitement, we wake up yawning, drained, resigned, lacking in spunk and oomph. We go through the day dazed by the unrelenting abuse of those who govern us – our do-nothing government. The daily social violence which results from their public policy abuses and malpractices now have the feel of what social scientists call the “battered wife syndrome.” We are all numb, jaded, insensitive to our own maltreatment and debasement. We have been robbed of all ambition and pride by our self-inflicted poverty: our poverty of ideas, of spirit, of worth and now everyday feels like a lifetime. This is Ghana.

We are resigned to the fact that each day is going to be just the same old humdrum struggle against the forces of illogic, irrationality, official obtuseness and the casual cruelty our ruling elite inflicts on us. We are helpless to the reality that the bureaucrat getting our paperwork done will ask us for the third time to “go and come tomorrow.” The police will stop us yet again at the same intersection for no other reason than to shake us down; the smell from the open gutter in front of our house will remain because no one has thought of how to get rid of it; Electricity Corporation of Ghana will, for the umpteenth time in a week, turn off our power and our fridge will thaw, our food spoil. And their only excuse, as always, will be “we are facing technical challenges.” And no one will do anything about it!

Our streets will remain littered with trash because no one has come up with an ingenious way to rid the city of its filth even though we were promised Accra would be the “cleanest capital in Africa.” The garbage truck, which was to have collected our garbage on Thursday has yet to show up and it is Saturday evening; it is now brimming with festering maggots.

We know we will be assaulted yet today with the same old, tired and irritating political claptrap repeated ad nauseam, on the radio talk shows and the droning nonsense regurgitated by feckless, self-dealing politicians with no solutions, no skills, no tools to change the course of our lives has become the persistent soundtrack and drumbeat of our daily existence!

It is another day, yet you feel like crawling back in bed, pulling the sheets over your head and going back to sleep. Because nothing will ever change. Nothing can change. And nobody seems to care if it does or doesn’t. And that’s how Ghana feels to us.

That ferment and excitement and that sense of perpetual engagement with life, that striving to create a better society for ourselves is absent from Ghana. And sadly, in its place is an unforgiving bleakness, darkness, shadows with no disinfecting sunlight to clear any of it up. It just isn’t happening here and that’s the Ghana we live in!

No matter how much we kid ourselves, delude ourselves into thinking – even believing – we are doing great, this rudderless country is in a dance with death. It is in a rut, spinning its stuck wheels in a muddy pool and going nowhere as the rest of the world – Kenya, Rwanda, Malaysia, Vietnam, even Bangladesh and other war-torn places – passes us by. Like Gertrude Stein said of Oakland we too can say of Ghana, “There is no there, there!”

It is all very sad, demoralizing and depressing. There is no end in sight, no proverbial light at the end of this dark and foreboding tunnel. Dark days are here again and Kwame Nkrumah is spinning in that mausoleum wondering whatever happened to his shining black star.

–Kwasi Asiedu


March 25, 2021

Kwasi Asiedu

Kwasi Asiedu, © 2021

The author has 2 publications published on ModernGhana.Column: KwasiAsiedu

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Kwaku A. Danso | 3/30/2021 7:04:29 AM

Wow! Kwasi- what sad poetic words to describe what some of us have been writing about for decades. Your last year and half full time resettlement in Ghana confirms the pain in the rudderless but boastful, greedy and selfish leadership we have had post Nkrumah. Love for country is missing whiles cultural subservience allows these elected leaders to bully and steal! BUT LETS HAVE HOPE! Our nephews and children exposed to life and struggle and competition in America, Europe and other areas of …

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