After listening to all the complains and murmurings of the Ghana-guy on the bus about the redundancy of the Ghanaian government and absolutely everything and everyone around him…I began to think:
So how productive is it, to sit in a land so far away from home and complain and insult people? What does it achieve? How can a people who have done nothing helpful but whine all willy nilly about everything expect anything better of a country that is still growing? (Disclaimer: I do recognize and acknowledge that not all Ghanaians whine, some of us actually get up and work towards ‘positive change’. [Disclaimer within disclaimer: I have no affiliations to any political party through the use of the phrase ‘positive change’])
Yes, Ghana and her government have issues, everyone does…and no matter how much we improve, there’ll always be room for improvement. Either way, it is no excuse to be complacent about the affairs of the land neither is it right to cry about very important issues like a 65 year old baby! If something is wrong, use the words of your mouth to criticize constructively. Was the government not voted into power? Is Ghana not democratic? I do admit that I sound a bit idealistic when I speak like we’re in America where the voice of the people is made to appear like it carries weight…but complaining and insulting has never done anything. In a way, hypocritical though it seems, I am also complaining about this guy on the bus.
Constructively though, how do we move forward from here? When we identify problems in our societies, do we just sit and find outlets to rant and rave or do we come together and see it as our responsibility to make this place better. Are we not members of communities and therefore capable of making change in some capacity? I don’t think it is right to demand stuff when we have not carried out our duties and responsibilities. In social studies…or was is religious and moral education aka R.M.E. (J.S.S. for you!) I remember we were taught that rights and responsibilities go hand in hand. Now, everybody can say anything without fearing the repercussions, but we fail to acknowledge that words are seeds…once they are spoken/written, they are planted…and can grow to become monstrosities. The freedom of speech does not absolve from the responsibility of that speech.
I have learnt from all this to take responsibility for the words that I speak or do not speak, because sometimes, silence can be deadly. The words I speak must, in some capacity build, and not tear down. You cannot pull others down so that you will be brought up.
This afternoon on the 30 min bus ride back from work, I encountered some black people…no big deal…until I hear…”Ekwan da ha!”, the lady at the back of the bus calls to the guy who just got on.
Dan-dan-dan-daaaaan! Ghanafo on board. My first reaction was to not make eye contact…just to watch and listen.
After a few minutes, a Chinese/Korean lady gets on the bus, which is full by now, so she has to stand…she tried to pack up her umbrella (it was pouring outside) but accidentally splashes my feet with water…I don’t mind, but the Ghana-guy at the back starts in twi,”hw3 hw3 w’ahwie nsuo no agu obaa no ho.” At this remark, I turn and look at him…after which he scolds the woman, (who may well be in her 40’s mind you)…”Why are you pouring water on her?” Ei! Ns3m!
Well, the ride goes on…and I pretend to be listening to music and reading at the same time.
Their conversation goes in this direction (mostly in Twi):
Oh the NDC was responsible for the burning of Kantamanto…(Ei!) …some more sentences blaming political parties, interjected with insults such as ‘Nkwasiafo’ (standard political banter). Then he starts to talk about the Chinese and their galamsey operations in Ghana…me hoping to hear some thoughtful perspective on the matter ended up feeling very embarrassed! He is speaking in Twi most of the time, so the largely Chinese audience on the bus cannot hear the insults he’s hurling at them, their country and Ghana’s government. Well, not until he starts to insult the Chinese in English, with interjections about how he, a Ghanaian cannot go to China and claim land there with a gun, but then they can come to Ghana and do so….and about how there’s no land in China for their people so they’re coming to Ghana to take ours…I’m like (Ei! these are some heavy declarations o)
While this is happening, someone is sniffling on the bus (it has been raining heavily so people are cold, noses are running etc)…to this he yells, “Who is that sniffing like a buffalo marooned on an island?”…This one everyone understands…he continues…”Don’t you know that is uncivilized? Who is that uncivilized person?” (OH!) He didn’t stop here….but said a few more unnecessary statements. If I could turn red, I would’ve because I felt the blood rise to my head…I was too shy! What!…In what way is he, the Ghana-guy, being civilized by saying such things? How wise is it to be insulting the Chinese especially as you live and work in Richmond! **
Hmm…i have a lot to say but this post is already long so maybe I’ll write another one.
**Richmond, the area where this bus was coming from, is heavily populated with mainly Chinese, Koreans and Japanese folk.
I’m going to take a plunge and put up some personal thoughts on Ghanaians in the diaspora up tomorrow.
Toni Cade Bambara, “What It Is I Think I’m Doing Anyhow,” from the Janet Sternbergh-edited “The Writer on Her Work,” published by Norton in 1980.
I added the publication information and a link to the page on Google books. I think it is important for us to source quotes, particularly by writers like Bambara who have set such goodness in motion, so that there work can be more seriously engaged by interested people. -jalylah
- El Shaddai: The sustainer
- El Olam: The everlasting
- Jehovah Jireh: He will provide
- Jehovah Rapha: Our healer
- Yahweh: I am that I am
- Jehovah shalom: Lord of our peace
- Jehovah Tsidkenu: The Lord our Righteousness
- Jehovah Nissi: The Lord our Banner. Exodus 17:15
- Jehovah Shammah: The Lord is Present. Ezekiel 48:35
- Jehovah Sabaoth: The Lord of Armies. Isaiah 44:6
- Jehovah Jireh: The Lord will Provide. Genesis 22:14
- Jehovah Rohi: The Lord is my Shepherd. Psalms 23:1
- Jehovah Mekeddeshem: The Lord Who Sanctifies. Leviticus 20:7-8
- Jehovah Adonai: The Lord Our Master. Genesis 15:2
- Jehovah Elohim: The Lord Our Creator. Genesis 1:1