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The Ghanain In USA

A nation brought forth in peace and unity, even if you never were privy to the transpirations of the events leading to our independence. The history books have given you a fairer retrospective intuition, how we fought together to resist defiantly the oppressors’ rule with our strength and might. In the face of seeming Kilimanjaro odds, we travailed and prevailed, the incessant ramshackle visits of the Liner, Pinter and Santa Maria never truncated the Ghanaian in us, it rejuvenated and reinvigorated our solemn quest to be free and  our inner sense of we-feeling despite our glaring frailties, amidst the tsunamis we surged on, typical of the Latin phrase ‘Omnia Vincit Labor’, literally meaning ‘Perseverance Conquers All’, even when the humongous Berlin Conference sought to dictate to us what to do with regards to Nature’s given geographical abode, we stayed put, we were on the roller-coaster together, the Plebiscite of 1954 echoes it the more profound.

That we did all these together  as one body wanting the end results of developmental fruition save our individualistic ethnic underpinnings is much admiration and pearl-like to all who care to delve into our strong ties that bind. However, many at times we have exchanged the Ghanaian in us for trivialities that only but seek to retrogress our onward surge to the actuality of sacred freedom, that kind of freedom which abhors unhealthy parochial factionalism, that obstruct our materialization as one nation with a common destiny, that innate believe that Ghana can soar together on   the collective inputs of the distinct ethnic groupings that only tells of our proud, unique and superb royalty as pure indigenes of this part of the globe. Beneath demonstrate noteworthy trajectories literally corroborating how some of us have consciously or inadvertently compartmentalize segments of our lives to be in sync with our myopic purview as to who is a better Ghanaian albeit from my peep hole.

THE ETHNOCENTRISM PARACHUTE

The blatant conviction of one’s cultural superiority to the unpardonable detriment of the other in our dear country leaves much to be desired. When you perceive yourself as a better Ghanaian owing to the mere fact that you belong to Ethnic Group B or C then there is a grave cause for re-scrutiny. When you dish out preferential treatment to people you categorize as better Ghanaians then you fall in the ethnocentric fray. Truth be told, it has been proven that those who cling firmly to the tenets and precepts of ethnocentrism are those who cannot bring themselves up to speed with the healthy competition with the others and as such employ such diabolic tendencies to darken the white shirts of their contemporaries. Does it make their white shirts any whiter and brighter? When we cloth ourselves with illusionary linens of ethnic ornaments we refuse expressly thereby displacing the place of logic in our relations with people other than one of our particular ethnic orientation. Take for instance, an Akan guy named “Yaw Ketewa’, ketewa means (small)” ridiculing and discriminating against an Ewe guy “Yawvi, ‘vi also means small in Ewe” forgetting chiefly that they are just the same names but have only been varied courtesy of language.

Again, we have been shrouded in our ethnic garments so much that, we fail to see that Yakubu who is a Muslim has the same name as James, a Christian, that Ibrahim in Muslim is Abraham in Christianity and so on. Instead of us celebrating the unique Ghanaian in us, this triviality is gradually transcending beyond the sands of time. Education and inter-marriages have even made it such that we are all now interlinked and related one way or the other and alluding to the fact of wars of conquest, there is no really one distinct ethnic group who has not mixed or inter-married with the other. When Martin Luther king Jnr. declared that one day sons of former slave owners and sons of former slaves will sit together at the table of brotherhood, he was speaking against this particular canker that proffers out fatalistic bigotry and if we hold these truths to be self-evident that we discriminate internally here in Ghana, should we cry foul when the same treatment is meted out to us overseas?

SOCIAL AFFILIATIONS (EDUCATIONAL AND RELIGIOUS BACKGROUND)

In this dispensation too there are people who think they should get their way often just because they are from the same alma mater, he went to a first class school and you went to a village school so what really is the bottom line? Are we suddenly judging people by the nice sceneries of their schools and other social affiliations than their actual worth in content and mental capacity? Suffice to say rather sadly, there are even some board meetings and committee sittings that ply towards this trajectory. When meetings which are supposed to brainstorm collectively and agree to disagree together erupt into alma mater factions, what do we stand to gain? He went to an ‘A’ school and you attended a ‘D’ school so what? The world needs performers and not braggarts. When we declare with machismo and unsolicited bravado of us going to an Ivy League school, does that make us more Gha naian than the other?

RELIGIOUS ORIENTATIONS

If God intentionally made us all different, why should everyone be expected to love God in the same way? Naturalists are most inspired to love God out-of-doors, in natural settings. Sensates love God with their senses and appreciate beautiful worship services that involve their sight, taste, smell, and touch, not just their ears. Traditionalists draw closer to God through rituals, liturgies, symbols, and unchanging structures. Ascetics prefer to love God in solitude and simplicity. Activists love God through confronting evil, battling injustice, and working to make the world a better place. Caregivers love God by loving others and meeting their needs. Enthusiasts love God through celebration. Contemplatives love God through adoration. Intellectuals love God by studying with their minds according to Gary Thomas in His ‘Sacred Pathways”.

There is no “one-size-fits-all or universal” approach to worship and friendship with God. One thing is certain: You don’t bring glory to God by trying to be someone he never intended you to be. God wants you to be yourself. The humanistic way of thinking which had proclaimed itself our guide did not admit the existence of intrinsic evil in man, nor did it see any task higher than the attainment of happiness on earth .It started modern western civilization on the dangerous trend of worshipping man and his material needs as posited by Aleksandra Solzhenitsyn, in his book “A World Split Apart”. To squelch dissident voices, the dogmatic and superfluous nature of some secular as well as religious public discourse is becoming increasingly obvious to many social critics and to put the matter to rest you do not become more Ghanaian by belonging to any particular sect.

Most often our daily discourses are actuated by religious hypocrisy, simply put religion backed discrimination, malice and sheer ignorance whether catholic or protestant, gay or straight rendering our moral and political fabric very uncertain. Being straight does not make you more Ghanaian and whilst we utmost adhere to our moral and cultural tenets that despise the act of gayism, let us not be so blind to ignore the just treatments those who are gay should be accorded by virtue of our “Ghanainness”. In Dante Alighieri’s “Inferno”, he writes the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutriality.The fact that the act of homosexuality is frowned upon does not warrant inhumane treatment to be meted out to those involved in the act. I’m not in any way condoning homosexuality but Christians who indulge in adultery and other vices should redefine their basis for condemnation of gays.

POLITICAL ASSOCIATIONS

As for our body politic, the least said about it the better; the disheartening assumption by some people that they become better Ghanaians by subscribing to a particular political party is highly erroneous and depicts ignorance at its peak. The crux of the matter is the ever growing love and inundation of personal pleasure at the expense of public responsibility. Winston Churchill declared that democracy is the worst form of government except for all the others. Thus democracy gives human beings the freedom to shape their futures by collaborating with others. Whilst we agree to disagree, and thus employ communicative justice-giving all citizens a voice in public life becomes meaningless if citizens do not value responsible listening and speaking. Convictions about moral ravages of radical individualism and excessive materialism should be traded for Ghana first. The national cake should be distributed equitably in such a way that people will not brand themselves as more Ghanaian than the others.

These and other sullen trivialities betray our smiles of goodwill to treachery in dark places and ill will to our fellow countrymen. Whilst we carry on and commute daily amidst thick and thin we should always be optimistic of our dear nation in transition, we should strive to get there no matter how distant and weary our journey may be, it begins with you, it begins with me, we do not have better Ghanaians in Volta Region than in Ashanti Region, nor Greater Accra, Western Brong Ahafo, Eastern, Northern and Upper Regions. Neither are they separate geographical entities, they all together form one Ghana. And there is none better than our Ghana.

Michael Dale-Asiedu, michaeldaleasiedu@gmail.com michael.daleasiedu@facebook.com