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Harruna Attah writes: Brɔfo! How JM outwitted them with language

Let us do some laughing in these columns today! In those very far away days when “The Readers Digest” was a leading must-read, it was educative but also had many humour-laden titbits. These were little breaks that provided all sorts of vignettes of life. One of my favourites was “Laughter, the best medicine”, which always lived up to its billing. You would come across stuff to make you laugh, smile, or even guffaw and generally set your mind in a positive lighthearted mood. The world seems to have stopped being funny with all of us hiding stilettos behind us, ready to sink into each other’s hearts for one thing or the other, especially those involving money, religion and politics! That’s not meant to be funny!

The Mat of shame

It’s not funny, all that pervading dourness and humourlessness now the defining character of Ghana! I have been compelled to dredge out Bedlam, several times in these columns, to summarise the situation in Ghana today. Within this context, I came across some fun stuff last week which got me laughing quite a lot. It was not humour as in ordinary slapstick, but something rather delicate and cerebral. Ihave not been able to stop laughing. There is a proverb in Hausa that goes something like this, the spelling is Anglicized: “Tabarman kunya, da hauka ake nadewa.” Translation: The mat of shame is rolled up with madness. Could also be the mat of embarrassment. And the madness, could also be tantrums.

Thank You Tour

Three English words, “Do or Die” were the source of my mirth. During his “Thank You” tour of the country, President Mahama told his party members and supporters, somewhere in the Bono Region that the next elections would be a “Do or Die” affair. With “All Die Be Die” in mind, some people, but especially Nana Addo apologists, like that rejected MP of one of the Greater Accra Constituencies, who often sounds demented, immediately jumped into action, finding in JM some sinister threat fit for condemnation. This apologist pounced, finding something as usual, to equalize. Others, not so demented, but exhibiting the usual sanctimoniousness of uncritical minds, also jumped on to the bandwagon chastising JM for his choice of words – not knowing they were parading ignorance for knowledge.

As unflappable as ever, JM took no umbrage but calmly explained the usage as idiomatic and referred all the critics to go to their English language dictionaries. Google was for me closer at hand, and this is how I was educated: “…used to describe a critical situation where one’s actions may result in victory or defeat” and explaining further, the genteel sport of golf was cited as an example as in “the 72nd hole was do or die”. There was no hint of violence, neither from whoever – person or group – caught in that predicament. It was more like you setting yourself a target or objective, that you must not lose. It is your choice.

JM is not a combative or pugilistic kind of person and chooses his words carefully and so refusing categorically to retract with the kind of gusto he did was refreshing and enervating. A JM aficionado like me could not help but punch the air in support. This dictionary ruling should have ended it there, but some people, including some media, still wanted to create a mountain from an issue that was not even a mole hill by asking for a public opinion. That got me laughing, if a little irritated. What was the point? And I was left wondering how the former MP’s face looked after all that egg…


And now comes the real hahahaha part: Tilapia the cartoonist. He settled it for me and I think, for all, with his take – see image above. All copyright protocols and acknowledgements duly deposited here. It is Tilapia’s startlingly succinct interpretation that got me in stiches – laughing all the way to the loo! Laughter is indeed the best medicine. As I was healing myself with laughter, another laughter-inducing thought crossed my mind: The National Peace Council. I thought they would also issue one of those their one-sided statements of condemnations against JM and have egg all over their faces! I think they held themselves in check just in time, or maybe just like JM, they also knew the true import of Do or Die, in which case, they just shut up. But would it not be fair for them to issue a statement asking people to leave Mahama alone, for he had done nothing wrong? A little honesty would do nicely here. Stop comparing apples with oranges or horses and donkeys! These two creatures, even if they are from the same Equidae family and may look alike, to the untrained eye, a horse is not a donkey and vice versa, they are quite alike, but different. Do or Die is an English idiomatic expression as stated earlier, encouraging great effort in any endeavour to avoid failure. “All die be die is a pidgin language term for readiness to kill or be killed as a means of achieving a goal.

Knowledge is truly power – even if it involves only a littlebrɔfo!

Hahahahaha! Ghana is too tense, so tense that, this play with/on words becomes a national issue and the tabarman kunya is rolled out!  About time we healed our selves with laughter and say cheers to Gelos and Risus.

PS: Ama Atta Aidoo

Long may Auntie Ama live. Announcing the demise of one of our most respected literary icons when she is still alive? I had started doing a tribute when a disclaimer from her daughter was posted online to reverse the earlier obituary. No further comment.

Amb. Alhaji Abdul-Rahman Harruna Attah, MOV

Source:3 News

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We need White Canes for Members-Ghana Blind Union

The Ghana Blind Union (GBU) has made a passionate appeal to the government and members of the public to provide white canes for its members to facilitate their movement.

The appeal comes as the Union is preparing to celebrate the International White Cane Day, which falls on October 15, every year.

White cane is a tool which is a symbol of the blind or partially sighted persons, which enables them to be mobile and walk freely in their environment.

It also serves as an identity and informs the sighted world that there are visually impaired persons and therefore, they should give recognition and respect to the white canes when walking around or crossing the road.

In a statement made available to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Kumasi, the Union said the white cane enabled members to know the things around them or their environment and made them independent in their daily activities.

According to the statement, although a large percentage of the partially impaired persons required the white canes, many of them were unable to afford them due to their weak financial situation.

The Union therefore urged individuals, NGO’s, religious groups and other public-spirited organizations to come to their aid with financial support to acquire the white canes, since they were expensive and were not produced in Ghana.

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Hairdresser in court for pouring hot water on “stubborn” son

 A 42-year-old hairdresser who poured hot water on his 19-year-old son for being stubborn has appeared before an Accra Circuit Court charged with causing harm.

Cynthia Owusu, a mother of three, is said to have poured the hot water on the victim while he was asleep.

Accused after the act, allegedly abandoned the victim and her siblings until the landlord smelt a stench from the accused room and sent the victim to the hospital.

She has pleaded not guilty to the charge.

The court presided over by Mrs Christina Cann admitted Cynthia to bail in the sum of GH¢80,000 with three sureties two to be public servants earning not less than GH¢4,000 as net salary at the end of the month.

The sureties are also to deposit copies of their Ghana Card at the Registry pending the final determination of the case.

The matter has been adjourned to October 27 for case management conference.

The victim Kofi Asirifi is receiving treatment.

Prosecution led by Chief Inspector Kofi Atimbire said the complainant is a Retired Educationist and landlord to the accused and they reside at Kisseman, near Achimota.

Chief Inspector Atimbire said on September 7, this year at 12:30am, Cynthia intentionally poured hot water on the victim while he was sleep.

Prosecution said accused said the victim was stubborn.

The prosecutor said the accused after committing the crime abandoned the victim in her room together with the other siblings.

Chief Inspector Atimbire said the complainant smelt an unusual scent emanating from the accused room and called the accused person’s daughter, one Salomey Atati to accompany him to the room and to his surprise, he saw the victim burned with the hot water.

Prosecution said the complainant and some witnesses escorted the victim to the Greater Accra Regional Hospital where he was admitted.

On September 11, this year, prosecution said at about 1000 hours, the complainant reported the matter to the Domestic Violence and Victim’s Support Unit at Tesano.

Later accused was arrested and a caution statement was obtained from her.
Source :GNA

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Catholic Church opens doors for victims to report sexual abuse cases

The Roman Catholic Church-Ghana, the Accra Diocese to be precise, has begun investigations into allegations of sexual abuses levelled against some priests.

A letter written by a member of the Star of the Sea Catholic Church in Dansoman on Friday, September 24 notified the Metropolitan Archbishop of Accra about the several cases of sexual abuse against members.

In a swift response, just four days later, Most Reverend John Bonaventure Kwofie gave an assurance that the cases would be looked into as he makes arrangement for the lady to meet the Accra Archdiocesan Officer in charge of Sexual Abuse Cases “to furnish him with all the information you have on this matter”.

Speaking on TV3‘s Midday Live on Monday, October 11, Reverend Father Wisdom Larweh, who is the Priest in charge of Child Abuse and Clerical Sexual Abuse Cases, admitted that it takes courage for one to come out to complain about such cases.

“Sometimes, a lot of shame and embarrassment go into this and it takes very strong-willed persons to step out and say I have suffered this and I have gone through this and so I need some redress,” Rev Fr Larweh told news presenter Komla Adom.

But he assured that the Roman Catholic Church will go all lengths to ensure that it gets to the bottom of each reported case.

“I don’t think the church will on any day distress someone or do anything to ask anyone to discontinue an effort that is meant to unravel any situation of abuse or somebody suffering any violence in the hand of a cleric of the church.

“I don’t think that will be encouraged. This is all part of the reason why such office will be functioning and just to assure the listening public and the viewing public that on any day, if there are any of such situations kindly do not hesitate to report them to us so that the church can take up the matter and we will try as much as possible to do the best that we can.”

The Roman Catholic Church across the world has in the last few decades been plagued with an avalanche of child abuse accusations.

The most recent being the abuse of 216,000 children by members of the clergy in France since 1950.

A Vatican statement said Pope Francis “felt pain” over the findings, and expressed hopes for a “path of redemption”.

Rev Fr Larweh said the cases in Accra will not be covered up, neither will they be dealt with openly in order for the identity of victims to be protected.

Source:3 News

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