Monday, 12 September 2011

35, 45, 70? Firaw(Volta). Who Cares Anymore?

Canoes on the Volta
Depressing memories of  the Akoto Lante Tragedy keep flooding to my mind lately. In the early 80s while still in primary school fourteen school children drowned gorily in a discarded well in James Town. They were as children like to do romping away carefree atop this abandoned well that had apparently been sealed off. The whole of Ghana went into mourning. The national flag eternally proud in its arresting hues of red, gold and green with that tellingly prominent black star was flown at half mast. Rawlings then chairman of the Provincial National Defense Council(PNDC) was at that harrowing burial at Awudome Cemetery. This our Republic went into mourning as one man(woman). As a lad I had nightmares the result I guess of my mind playing back all those painful images of caskets bearing the frozen lifeless bodies of kids whose only crime was that they were playing.

Here we are today. A massive national tragedy has befallen us. On the Firaw several of our compatriots have lost their lives. It is a telling testimony of our collective state of mind that this occurrence is seen as just one of those things. No flags fly at half mast. I have not heard any statement from the presidency. The opposition leader Nana Akufo-Addo is not showing leadership on this: he is as mute as the vast expanse of Mars! There is an almost cursory, laid back, breezy, jocular, nonchalant attitude in the media(though it must be said our media has carried the news but without its famed intensity on Obinim and NPP and NDC issues). Civil society is not up in arms on what has become an almost maddening routine of our ordinary compatriots dying needlessly on the Firaw. NADMO seems out of sorts; an almost pathetic national disaster response outfit run by an otherwise intense gentleman who seems tired. As I write we are not sure how many actually perished.  As I monitored the news NADMO’s  presence on the Firaw was all but absent. No divers with oxygen tanks on their back racking the under belly of the Firaw to find at the very least the bodies (including babies and our dearest women)  of this our dear compatriots; bona fide citizens of this our Republic. No speed boats in sight. On one television network the report was that there was just one naval officer on site after almost 48 hours. I recall the recent tragedy at a ‘Galamsey” site that involved quite a number of young people. The same national nonchalance;  same ambivalence by our national leadership.

The regrettable irony is that we mourn with solemnity (with some pointed official gestures) the recent Japanese Tsunami victims and the dead of  9/11 and the Norway massacre( and rightly so because of our common humanity) but think it is okay for our very own to die foolishly. Have we become numb to tragedy and death and suffering and inhumanity as a nation? I mean dead bodies are always graphically shown in the media without the slightest respect for the dead which our far wiser ancestors would not do. If needless pain and death is now acceptable with what urgency will we pursue our national transformation drive? With what urgency will we get pontoons on the Firaw, fix our roads and hospitals and schools and filth choked environment? There is a very short route from such inhumanity to cutting each other up and ultimately incinerating this our beloved Republic. Yen oman yi abo ana??????????????????????????????????            

1 comment:

  1. Hi Lloyd, I need more information on this Akoto Lante Tragedy. Where can I find it?