Saturday, 17 September 2011

WE ARE LIONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This piece appeared in the Graphic Business in 2008 in a column I penned called     “ Asia 601”. I was looking this week for the words that would inspire my fellow compatriots amidst what sometimes seems like an encircling, depressing darkness. Suffering from the writer’s block I pulled this out from my archives. I guess being reminded of our greatness now and again can be useful and invigorating.Kindly read on.....

Raring for action!!!
This denouement was riveting indeed. Achilles was frothing at the mouth in fury as he bellowed out the name of Hector ensconced behind Troy’s city walls. The almost immortal Achilles was seeking a duel to the death for the slaying of his beloved cousin Patroclus by Hector. Hector’s younger brother Paris had unleashed his uncontrollable libido on a very married Helen and eloped with her. This was a casus belli for the Greeks to attack the Trojans in this European epic penned by Homer in his immortal Iliad. In the movie “Troy” this war of antiquity is brought alive by the commanding performance of a star studded cast including the late Peter O’toole, Eric Bana and Brad Pitt. I have watched this flick umpteen times. This particular scene seems to be one of my best.  
An exposure to the classics as an academic discipline would make this piece digestible I must confess. But in our worrying focus on profits and the market (which should not be a bad thing) some look down on the Classics Department at Legon as a waste of time and money; utterly irrelevant. But the truth is that philosophy (logic) has a hand in the PC in front of you and globalization had its roots in the ancient world! But I digress! 
Hector bounds out of the gates of Troy and not before biding an ominous farewell to his father King Priam and other nobles. The stage is set for what was a slaughter. Before squaring off and in no doubt about his fate Hector asks that his body be given to his family. Achilles's response is deep: “Lions do not make pacts with men.” Achilles was the lion. Fearless, peerless, confident in his fighting prowess; almost imperious. The lion is native to Africa. In Ghana’s coat of arms a lion is engraved slam dunk in the center. This feline unchallenged master of the wild can break the back of an adult zebra with one strike of its paw. Its roar which can be heard three miles away is the loudest of all animals and leaves in its wake a cloud of dust and scurrying prey. It pursues its prey usually as a team or alone employing a beguiling mix of stealth, scientific prudence, tenacity, clear headedness, exactitude and intensity. In short shock and awe tempered with forbearance!!! Google the phrase “the Lion city” and Singapore’s name pops up. Neither Ghana nor any African country. Indeed this city state has branded itself as the lion of the world a fact reflected in statues of this shaggy quadruped spouting water at key points in that country. 
And so I wonder what happened to Ghana’s own branding exercise? What happened to the “gateway to West Africa” packaging maneuver? West Africa not even Africa if you noticed dear reader! And a gate? What can a gate symbolize to energize a people whose history, achievements and potential provides a window into boundless possibilities that still tarries? I will say WE ARE LIONS!!! And on this point I was scandalized by the comments of the kindly doctor Mahama when he proffered a response to a question at the Institute of Economic Affairs Presidential Debate in Accra recently. He looked Ghanaians in the face and called us “ignorant” because if it was in America every kid would know that fiber could be obtained from cocoa. Every kid? Come on Doc. There are Americans who cannot read nor write. Our presidential aspirants should INSPIRE us not run us into the ground. Without an inspired people the most well crafted policies will remain just that: policies. An inspired people will turn half chances into gilded opportunities.
The second stanza of our national anthem inspires with these lines:
With our gifts of mind and strength of arm,
 Whether night or day, in mist or storm,
 In every need whate'er the call may be,
 To serve thee, Ghana, now and evermore

  It is only lions who can stand up to this task and produce results the world will marvel at. The choice is ours!      


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