08.09.2004 Feature Article

Letter From The President: Harsh Tones

Letter From The President: Harsh Tones
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Countrymen and women, loyalists and opponents, I am gladdened by the large number of fan mail I have received from you. There are hundreds of them. Some of you commend me, others condemn me. Many of you want me to live longer than I want to. Others have threatened to hasten my passage to the other world. Some of you think that I am not really the Excellent One of Sikaman and that I am a phoney who is trying to take the whole nation for an unnecessary ride. Others think that I am really the Excellent One and they have even been trying to court my favour by telling me about how I am related to their father's and grandfathers as well as my libidinous escapades with their mothers, sisters and grandmothers. It all goes to show that my letters are read by a lot of people, inside Sikaman and abroad. I am glad that I can continue to stay awake at night and task my fickle mind to write to you, knowing very well that my letters will not be ignored. It's such a good feeling, you know.

I am sorry to say that I cannot reply most of your letters. As you know, I am a very busy man – too busy that I don't actually know what I do with my time. I think I have been spending too much time on 'nothing' and I am gradually learning to use my time effectively and manage my schedules like an Excellent One should. I hope that in the near future, I will have sufficient time on my hands to reply each of the letters you write to me.

In this letter however, I will like to address one of the themes in the letters some of you have written to me. Many of you think that even though I speak the truth, I do it with “harsh” words.

Take two letters for example – the reaction from the Police Administration, signed by Mr. Eklu, to my 'Nonsense Police' letter and a reader's letter, published in the Daily Dispatch last week, in response to the 'Maids and Bodyguards' letter. Both letters seemed to suggest that even though I have not insulted anyone, I have not stayed within our self-imposed cultural boundaries of acceptable language. All well and good.

I welcome every criticism of my writings. I have learnt from your criticisms. But I will resist any attempt by any group of people to wage a psychological warfare with me by calling me names and trying to bottle me up in 'decorum'.

My intention here is not to defend myself against the criticism that I am too 'harsh'. Do you think I don't know that I am 'harsh' – I know that my language is too strong, vitriolic and almost provocative. Don't forget, I am the Excellent One and I have the right to speak my mind. I don't care if you get provoked by what I say. In fact, I like it very much when I provoke people. Sometimes, I get so provocative that I feel provoked and I like it. It's such a wonderful feeling when you provoke yourself. I think it's good for our nation. Since the Old Man above called PAVA into eternal glory, very few people have dared to try to “go to town”. I have not actually gone to town like PAVA did – not yet. If my 'harsh' words are making you so uncomfortable that you want to play the cultural card, I wonder what will happen if I really decide to go to town like PAVA did.

To those of you who want me to tone down 'small', I am sorry I can't promise you that. I have no intention of toning down my language. If I tone down, I am afraid most of you will even stop reading my letters. I am not a diplomat. I can't speak like one and I don't intend to even try to speak like one. I think that the citizens of Sikaman need to be told what they don't want to hear in tones they don't like. We have pampered ourselves with diplomatic speak for too long. We like to beat about the bush too much. This is a serious problem in our society. So serious that people find it difficult to say what they mean and mean what they say. I don't know how else I can be able to describe the current state of our police corps if I am not allowed to state clearly that the corps is incompetent, inefficient and absolutely corrupt. If that's harsh language, I am sorry. Whoever feels offended should go and set hell on fire. If you are afraid to say that some of those who have announced their intention to contest for our nation's presidency are 'jokers' and I offer to say it in 'harsh' tones, I think the least I expect from you is for you to neither condemn nor commend me.

Finally, I want you all to know that I hold the firm belief that culture is good but sometimes we allow it to become a barrier to progress. Our culture says that you don't talk harshly to your elder. I believe that those who formulated this unwritten rule were wise enough to entreat the elders to behave well so that they wouldn't attract harsh criticism from the young ones. People who have been placed in positions of responsibility are expected to exhibit common sense, show their competence and respect for the offices they occupy whiles exhibiting compassion for the people they lead. In the absence of these, they open themselves up for harsh criticism from people like me. If the Excellent One cannot criticize his people harshly, who else can? I will not miss any opportunity to give it to anyone who misses the mark, loyalists and opponents alike.

If you don't like what I say or how I say it, you must thank God for democracy and the gift of choice. You can stop reading my letters or vote me out. I don't care. If you feel too insulted or libeled, the courts are open and I will gladly meet you there.

Excellently Harsh

J. A. Fukuor [email protected]

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