Ordinarily, in these “covidic” times, one would have thought that, an innocent and well intentioned tree planting exercise of one thousand seedlings by volunteer residents supported by the Lions Club in any community would have been received with approval, joy and applause by all, especially after being advertised heavily by WhatsApp and personal visits to homes by the Executives.
However this was not the case over the weekend of Saturday, 11th July 2019 in my Community 18.
On the contrary, it brought out some interesting aspects of our nature.
Before we went half way through the planting exercise, reports reached us that a landlady had uprooted the newly planted seedlings we had planted minutes earlier. When we went to find out why, she said she had her own plans of landscaping her frontage with concrete.
Incidentally, when we bought our land from the Tema Development Corporation (TDC) in the early 1990s, the area was very green with a relatively cooler climate and more rainfall than Burma Camp where we lived. Subsequently, the greenery has been replaced by a “concrete jungle” which generates so much heat.
I found the landlady’s desire and others like her, to add more concrete when we are trying to plant trees unfortunate.
Worse still, another resident called the Police at us in spite of our Vice President’s earlier communication with him. When the Police came, they were surprised at why an individual could have them called when the exercise being undertaken was such a laudable one. Was it a case of abuse of power backed by money and influence? The Police chatted with us and left unhappy about why they should be called in for this. This incident sent me back to a story we read about in my primary school days.
Thomas Yaw Kani
Thomas Yaw Kani was a prolific Twi writer whose books we read in the primary school in the early 1960’s. One of the stories we read was about the porcupine known in Twi as “kor-tor-kor!” Porcupines are large rodents in the same family as the popular grass-cutter whose meat “akrante nam” and light soup is a delicacy for some Ghanaians.
The porcupines’ coats of sharp spines or quills protect them against predators when attacked. They are said to be of a gentle disposition and would normally not initiate an attack. However, if attacked porcupines release their quills on the attacker in self-defence.
A story has it that, long ago in winter in temperate climes, porcupines were forced to huddle together for warmth and survival. However, their quill started pricking one another. Thinking this discomfort was unbearable, they started going their separate ways individually. In no time, many of them died from the cold. The survivors quickly came together again, having realised that, in unity lay strength and their survival.
The trees we are planting in Community 18 are not meant for us retirees, but for future generations. For young individuals who will be the future beneficiaries of our efforts to uproot seedlings and call the Police at us is therefore unfortunate.
Similarly, the present adversarial stance of Ghanaians against one another in the name of politics, religion, ethnicity etc will only succeed in destroying us as a nation.
For my generation who had our secondary education in the 1960s, were we not taught among others to be Ghanaians first and not tribalists? Why did other African nationals overseas with us those days claim to be Ghanaians? Are we proud of ourselves as Ghanaians with the current spate of insults we hurl at one another daily?
So, what have we bequeathed the younger generation such that, like the porcupines did initially, we are now going our separate ways as individuals, until death teaches us a lesson?
Unbelievable disrespect, insults and vitriolic and incendiary language, the threat of violence and in some cases its actualization appear to have gone beyond epidemic proportions into a “local pandemic” across all regional and district boundaries of Ghana.
In my article in the Daily Graphic of 11th March 2019, titled “Racing towards self-destruction?”……, I advised Ghanaians not to create conditions for UN peacekeeping troops to be deployed in our dear country as Ghanaian soldiers have been doing in war-torn countries. Some of the unpleasant peacekeeping experiences we soldiers have on operations scar us psychologically for life.
There is nothing good about violence!
What is the point in achieving power at all cost such that Ghana is thrown into anarchy?
Let us live like the porcupines in winter and suffer little pricks of discomfort and disagreement, rather than go our separate ways as individuals and die!
COVID-19 must unite us!
FELLOW GHANAIANS, WAKE UP!
Brig Gen Dan Frimpong (Rtd)
Former CEO, African Peace Support Trainers Association
Family Health University College
Source: Brig Gen Dan Frimpong (Rtd)/ [email protected]
|Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are those of the writers and do not reflect those of Peacefmonline.com. Peacefmonline.com accepts no responsibility legal or otherwise for their accuracy of content. Please report any inappropriate content to us, and we will evaluate it as a matter of priority.|