What Happened To Ghanaian Civility: What’s that?
6/20/2011 10:57:49 AM -
VOICE OF REASON:
Forget about going to school. If you want money just buy yourself a pick -axe and a shovel and start filling pot- holes on weekends on our accident -prone roads. What about school aged kids peddling pure water at lorry stations? Does our policy makers and so- leaders, see them at all? Where is their sense of civility: Empathy, obligation, Kindness and justice?
Like almost every Ghanaian who have spent the major part of his life outside Ghana, I fell wildly in love with Ghana every time I went home .My feelings were intense that now decades later, I dream about it.So when the opportunity came for me to move back to Ghana ,permanently I jumped on it like a jockey .
Finally, I'm in Ghana trying to find my bearings so as to be able to play my role and make a difference in my own little way. However, while I'm waiting patiently to learn the system I began a sinister love affair around the same time--one that is consuming my energy. My love affair is: kids' plights and searching for the Ghanaian civility.
As adults who grew in a toxic culture,some of us fall in love with cars ,electronic gadget or dangerously, drug or cigarettes and alcohol .But, just as we're more vulnerable to the glory and heartbreak and heartache of romantic love than we will ever be again ,at no time are we more vulnerable to the seductive power of looking for self interest than we were in adolescence .
Living in Ghana for just seven months I have come to realize that many Ghanaians---irrespective of their educational background or stature in the society-- see no place for civility, in a- less- than -perfect world. To them they feel they live in a competitive, dog-eat-dog, no- hold barred, cutthroat society, therefore civility is a luxury they can't afford -period! They say being civil is not only hazardous to your health but to your professional ambition and bank account. They believe nice guys always finish last.But can Ghana live up to its glory if civility is thrown out of the window?
What is civility and what does it mean to you?
Civility has complex meanings to some people. But it has something to do with courtesy, fairness, decency, concern, tolerance, selflessness, trustworthiness, lending - a -hand, politeness, and good manners. However, for the sake of this discussion we're going to concentrate on another form of lack of civility: Our inability to postpone or renounce the gratification of our desires; at the expense of the nation's health, and how it's affecting everything we do as a nation. We have refused adamantly to conform to written or unwritten rules and regulations because that restricts our actions or inactions. So we glamorize the non- conformist and romanticize the maverick.
Our politicians and community leadership are the main culpritswho always make their own rules.The recent election in Ghana speaks volumes of that. This has not only eroded the respect we have for our leaders at both national and local level, but it has also evaporated the trust we have for them. The mistrust has also developed into distain for the ruling class in our society.
Our religiosity has not even prepared us to be civil.Going to church constantly is not the prerequisite for being civil, kind, concern and empathy. If we're civil we will fight injustice in our society.We will protect our resources (rivers and streams).We will see the need to protect and prepare our kids to face the next century.
There is an increase of the erosion of authority in recent time. All figure of authority has lost it power.From politician to teacher to parent. It's because those who are entrusted with the task of promoting pro-socially behaviors and preserving established values have make their messages less credible and most likely to be seen with jaundiced eyes and distain .
The mistrust for authority is partially the result of an increase in literacy rate. The fact is when we nourish our brains and refine our intellect, we in effect become more critical and less civil. Most Ghanaian educated people are not only unwilling to conform to rules and regulations or respect any authority, but they also show total disrespect for established power and values in our communities. In effect, the more education we attain the less respect we have for authority and the more we feel the need to satisfy our own needs and self. If You don't believe me, just look around.
Having made the SELF the central concern and value in our lives, we should not be surprised to see why civility has suffered and the national interest is in the back seat.
If we have civility we will learn work ethics and do a quality job instead of working on lottery numbers .We will learn integrity and concern about our environment more than our personal enrichment. We won't be throwing plastic bags around that tend to choke our archaic sewage system and become a breeding habitant for mosquitoes.
Where is our civility as a nation when our children go to school under mango trees? If we are civil we will protect what we put on TV and radio waves and teach our offspring how to make a living in an old-fashioned way.
DEMOcracy suffers when civility is at its low level. And even in non -democratic societies anarchy rules when civility goes on vacation. Once the individual needs out weight the needs of the general population the desire for massive intervention of the government becomes the only choice. Does the Arabs unrest ring a bell?
Lack of civility has produced unemployable citizens, lousy politicians, lazy customer-service-impaired workforce and all the society ills in our midst. Our teenagers lack Socialization and mental skills that are needed in the new economy.
The remnant of governmental and societal neglect of our teens over decades has produced (and still producing )a generation that does not like reading or following politics and has no respect for authority , elderly and work ethic ;yet it want to be rich over night, with no sweat.
How long can a great nation like ours continue to enjoy its vitality if its citizens have no civility?