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09.06.2022 Feature Article

No Quislings Around Here

No Quislings Around Here
09.06.2022 LISTEN

CHAPTER 1: Norway’s Turn at Judas
‘Never a Quisling be’. I remember stumbling upon this perfectly worded sentence years back as a kid, and being instantaneously wowed by it. There is some musicality to it; you cannot deny—never a Quisling be. But as you know, lying behind this beauty is an ugly history from a not-so-distant past—for a particular group of people, at least.

Coming from a long line of preachers—eight consecutive generations of preachers, to be precise, Vidkun Quisling could never stand anywhere and claim he had never heard of Judas and the fate that befell him—causally, by his own lips (a kiss), and consequently by his own hands (death by suicide). Yet Quisling was to undertake steps during the span of his eventful adult life that led to him becoming a Judas—the Judas of Norway.

There comes a time in a person’s life when they want to be something. So there was Quisling in 20th Century Europe, a Norwegian, an extremely brilliant young man—so brilliant that one could understand his tireless and religious search for purpose… He was twenty-four when he ditched the family profession of pastorship and joined the army. He was thirty-one when he left his home, Norway to Russia, then to Finland, then to Ukraine. This military officer was with these travels, and with the leadership and humanitarian edge he exhibited during these travels, slowly transformed into a diplomat. He returned to Norway no longer a military man, but a politician. And it was in politics that Quisling was plagued with yet another urge of wanting to be something. He wanted to be Prime Minister; to achieve this, he thought it best to create his own political party—so in 1933, he did. The Nasjonal Samling (the National Union), it was called. Having suffered a couple of defeats in the national elections with this political party of his, Quisling decided he needed another plan.

He found a plan in war. It was 1939 and the Second World War had kickstarted with Germany’s invasion of Poland. Knowing very well that the Nazi Party needed commodities like iron and ships to foster its war efforts, and knowing very well that these were commodities his own country, Norway could offer, Quisling, having tried and failed at the Presidency, devised a plan… He was going to stage a coup.

Quisling went to the Nazis with this proposal: ‘I will stage a coup d’état in my country, install myself as Prime Minister, and willingly open our national borders up for your occupation, so far as you support my claim at the throne.’ This got Hitler’s attention. So Hitler, he said yes. The truth is Quisling, in this ambitious thinking, did not intend this so much an occupation as he did, a plan to deter the Allied powers from laying claim to Norway first. But this supposed nationalistic move of his was quite easily marred with his own selfish ambition—the ambition of wanting to ‘be’—of wanting to be ruler. Needless to say, things did not go as he expected.

Arguably, Judas when he planted that kiss, intended it a con directed at the Roman soldiers, not a betrayal of Jesus per se. Because how many times during his time with Jesus, had he seen the Saviour escape from crowds of aggressors? Wasn’t Jesus going to pull this same disappearing stunt on the Roman soldiers? Wasn’t Judas going to walk away freely with that money, having supposedly played his part of finger-pointing (or in his case, ‘mouth-pointing’)—everyone none the wiser? Wasn’t the failure at capturing Christ going to be attributed to the ineffectiveness of the soldiers instead of the inadequacy of his intel given them? Ah, and wasn’t Judas going to respond, ‘yes’ to the question ‘you want to bam ba, you wanna chill with the big boys?!’, and go about on the frolic, a few Cedis richer? But what did Jesus do? Submit—to Judas’ dismay—to the arrest. Judas was left with no option but to find peace in self-imposed death.

Quisling’s fate was no different, as the German’s pulled a fast one on him—every step of the way. He was to succeed at getting that Presidency, but was only a shell of a leader—a ceremonial leader, an unceremonious leader. His plan had been for Norway to maintain its sovereignty, yet have its military defence outsourced to the then higher power—Germany. To live independently on a land and enjoy freely the fruits therefrom, and leave the strong to fight your national battles for you... this makes no sense, does it? In fact, not only was Norway put under the restrictions of German rule with this planned occupation, but on top of that, they were to find themselves mobilised and forcefully conscripted to fight German wars—so much for an independent Norway outsourcing its defence to Germany.

Naturally, this plan of a sovereign Norway allied with the then ubiquitous Germany was to come to not. Quisling was merely a puppet—the nation’s premier Puppet. A brilliant young man, a proven leader, he was to spend his years as Head of State tainted with insufficiency. Because if there is one thing we all know about puppets, gossips, traitors, and co., having encountered them in our workplaces, families, churches etc., is that they always shoot for the top, but they never get there. In fact, it is always for this top that they take to the art of ‘puppeting’, gossiping, and traitoring in the first place. Yet very interestingly, having been tainted with the servitude of ‘puppeting’, gossiping, and traitoring, they are never seen as persons deserving of leadership—not even by the beneficiaries (e.g., puppeteers) of their acts themselves. And this was the fate that befell Quisling.

He was to eventually fall with the fall of his puppeteer—Hitler and the Nazi regime—in 1945. Death by firing squad, read his obituary. His legacy: treason, crime against humanity (having, among others, helped lay the foundation for the persecution and mass incarceration and incineration of Jews), war crimes, corruption, etc. He lays buried, doomed for eternity—so doomed with history into perpetuity, so much so that if fraudulent White Jesus were true, one would know for certain that Judas would sooner get to heaven than Quisling ever could. Not only is he doomed in heaven but more poignantly on earth—for all eternity. The White folk, seeking to eradicate all instances of a re-occurrence of yet another Quisling, has made it a point to undertake full-fledge national ostracisation of such acts of un-patriotism and betrayal—even where the lines of these supposed betrayals are blurred. I mean, just look at what America did to Edward Snowden…

Betrayal done the White folk is supposedly betrayal felt so deeply that its perpetrator’s name becomes a word, subsumed in the English language as equivalent, globally, to traitorship. A citizen of a relatively small country has risen to sheer international prominence; he’s been put on the global plane and derided; his name ditched into a global gutter, no person ever to be re-named that again; he’s noted as traitor par excellence; his existence and betrayal to his homeland highlighted as consequential to the whole world… so much so that as we speak, in the world ranking of top traitors of all time, a ranking which includes notorious names like Judas Iscariot, Quisling always ranks in the top five—sometimes he is fourth, sometimes he’s third. Sometimes he even ranks higher than Judas—the betrayer of the Messiah himself. Why? Because this territory upon which he caused this betrayal happens to be largely White—European. I tell you, betrayal done the White folk is presumably betrayal done the whole world—a pain felt more deeply. We’ve spent too much time on this matter, let’s move on to the next chapter…

CHAPTER 2: Russia v. Ukraine Is Telling Us Something

Have you ever met those kinds of people who would brush off whatever situation it is you’re going through should you make a mistake of, for fraternity sake, informing them of your fate, but when they are to be faced with same or situations smaller than yours, they demand of you and the whole world around them, utmost attention and audience—as though to say, ‘World, stop whatever it is you’re doing, come and see what has happened to me!’ Whereupon should you remind them of the fact that you’ve been faced with something worse, a fate of which they themselves belittled, they would respond impliedly or sometimes explicitly, “But now, it’s happening to me!” Emphasis on the ‘me’. Ladies and gentlemen, this is what we have unsurprisingly been presented with in the case of Russia v. Ukraine.

Not that this has not happened countless times before. But now, in the wake of the White folk’s supposed wokeness, one would think we would witness from them, a much better jab at introspectiveness and I dare say, wisdom. As Russia’s claim on sovereign Ukraine proceeded vehemently, we all received the shock of our lives as media reportage, in print, on TV, on the internet, etc. spewed nonsenses such as:

“It’s very emotional for me because I see European people with blonde hair and blue eyes being killed every day with Putin’s missiles and his helicopters and his rockets,” said Ukraine’s former deputy general prosecutor on BBC, to which the BBC presenter responded, “I understand, and of course respect the emotion.” Score one for stupidity. Yes, we are keeping scores.

“Now the unthinkable has happened to them [Ukrainians], and this is not a developing, Third World nation; this is Europe!” One reporter lamented on ITV News. So you see, if this Ukrainian wahala had happened to a developing, supposed ‘third world’ nation like Ghana, in the eyes of this reporter and many people like him it would be totally ‘normal’. There would be nothing tragic or excruciatingly sad about it on the international plane. But you see, this is happening to the European—ladies and gentlemen, the European! So the world must join this dim reporter in grieving more viscerally.

One British journalist wrote in The Telegraph, “They seem so like us. That is what makes it so shocking. Ukraine is a European country. Its people watch Netflix and have Instagram accounts, vote in free elections and read uncensored newspapers. War is no longer something visited upon impoverished and remote populations.” Now, don’t get too excited thinking that your Netflix and Instagram accounts would qualify you, in the eyes of this journalist, as deserving of global attention should this Ukrainian fate befall you. Because the keyword here, you see, is ‘European’. Well, White European.

“This isn’t a place, with all due respect, like Iraq or Afghanistan that has seen conflict raging for decades. This is a relatively civilised, relatively European—I have to choose those words carefully—city where you wouldn’t expect that, or hope that it’s not going to happen.” One CBS news senior correspondent pulled one of the stupidest comment yet out of his anal region and splashed it on the rest of us all. And notice how he said he had chosen his words carefully—this stupidity spewed was in that Eurocentrically raptured mind, so spewed out of ‘care’. One can only imagine the actual nonsense he intended to say. There is another layer to this dense comment. We witness Ukraine insulted and degraded too, because apparently they are ‘relatively civilised’, and they are ‘relatively European’. In his dim Eurocentric mind, ‘European’ is in itself a status of civilisation—the highest status of being. But the Ukrainian they are, according to this commentator, just ‘civilised’ and ‘European’ enough to merit better treatment and attention from this world of cause and effect.

There is yet another layer to this silly comment: the part about Ukraine (being relatively in Europe, according to this commentator) being a place where one would not ‘hope’ such a tragedy would happen. Pardon us asking: who is doing this hoping? This hoping where such a people are deemed not deserving of such ill-fate as those of us in non-White territories should suffer—who’s doing this hoping? According to him, it’s the whole world. Why, because won’t Africa sooner wish upon themselves such a fate, than they would, any European nation? Score four for stupidity.

“We’re not talking here about Syrians fleeing the bombing of the Syrian regime backed by Putin, we’re talking about Europeans leaving in cars that look like ours to save their lives.” This was said by a French journalist on the nation’s premier news channel. Someone tell the supposed ‘sub-humans’ of Syria that a higher set of beings are suffering the same fate as them—so they should suffer silently, I guess.

An Al Jazeera English presenter came in with, “Looking at them, the way they are dressed, these are prosperous… middle-class people. These are not obviously refugees looking to get away from areas in the Middle East that are still in a big state of war. These are not people trying to get away from areas in North Africa. They look like any European family that you would live next door to.” Ah! Is there ever an effective belittling without the mentioning of Africa?

A French parliamentarian, in an attempt of extending an open arms to the Ukrainian refugees, is said to have described them as “…an immigration of great quality, intellectuals, one that we will be able to take advantage of..” Never has the ‘refugee’ status received such status.

In showing support for these Ukrainians, politicians, journalists, and all such persons having recognisable voices, have used words such as ‘intellectuals’ and ‘European’ in description of these people—and have in so doing, done so in supposed contrasts against brown and black people of the Middle East, Africa, etc. I mean, we can ignore the explicit ‘blue eyes’, ‘blond’, and ‘they look like us’ descriptions used by White commentators, and argue that by ‘European’, they mean Europeans of all colours. But then again, we are all bearing witness to the hard time Black people are facing at those Ukrainian borders—being made to give room firstly for the escapes of their White counterparts in this very crucial bid at fleeing.

Many are calling this racism—many are referring back to this decadent word, ‘racism’ in description of this all. But over here in this column, we call it, quite bluntly, a lack of wisdom and insight (what we actually mean to say, is ‘stupidity’)—and then there is that infamous selective amnesia we’ve talked about on numerous occasions right here in this column. The White selective amnesia. In this article, we shall refrain from calling all these people racist, and shall go with the right description instead, ‘dim-witted’—momentary dim-wittedness, for some of them at least. We do hope that what it was that was suffered by them that they made such comments was temporary enough that they would accept this description of momentary dim-wittedness—whereupon such lapse in mental prowess shown by them would be forgiven. Anything outside this would mean dim-wittedness in perpetuity.

But frankly, do you know what’s funny about these whole Russia-Ukraine dense commentaries? It is the fact that when it comes to this world ‘commodity’ called war, it is the White folks who have done them so consistently, ruthlessly, and unapologetically. All the great wars—cross-national, multinational, civil, unrests, etc. and the consequent instabilities, displacements, arising therefrom have been done very largely by White folk in their individual histories of nationhood. But of course, suffering this selective amnesia, they are too quick to very conveniently forget, and treat any re-occurrence as an abnormality. Oh sweet amnesia, thou art abundant!

Before we move on to the next chapter, we must quickly note that having been Eurocentrically trained as those of us in Africa characteristically are, it is to be expected that the gravity of the above-listed stupidities might just be lost on some of us. We shall refer back to something Nelson Mandela wrote in his autobiography, ‘Long Walk to Freedom’, a matter we have already discussed in the article ‘Willingly, Your Ideological Slave.’ Mandela wrote: “While I was walking in the city one day, I noticed a white woman in the gutter gnawing on some fish bones. She was poor and apparently homeless, but she was young and not unattractive. I knew of course that there were poor whites, whites who were every bit as poor as Africans, but one rarely saw them. I was used to seeing black beggars on the street, and it startled me to see a white one. While I normally did not give to African beggars, I felt the urge to give this woman money. In that moment I realised the tricks apartheid plays on one, for the everyday travails that afflict Africans are accepted as a matter of course, while my heart immediately went out to this bedraggled white woman. In South Africa, to be poor and black was normal, to be poor and white was a tragedy.” Mandela has spoken; now to the real matter at hand…

CHAPTER 3: The Matter Spoil
So the IGP sent a four-page letter. Coming into this matter against this global backdrop of a misguided White superiority, you know that the sentence ‘so the IGP sent a four-page letter’ is written with a hint of pride—you know what let’s be frank, more than a hint. And of course, this particular headline is arguably old news. But what are we to do, this is a weekly column, we had to wait for this week to dissect the matter. And in fact, the matter contained within the letter, or the fine lines of the letter are, sadly, still as pertinent—and we’ve found this to be very true following the media reportage derived from the Russia-Ukraine rift. And it is this: the White folk, for some strange reason—and a credence given them by people like us, Black folks, having suffered a gory, servile history in their hands—think themselves, quite bluntly a better race, on all fronts. Their individual prowess, they deem better. Their collective ability at nation building, they deem better—even though their nation building has been largely blood, gory, and death-enabled—our blood, gory, and deaths, to be precise. And even their pain, they deem better—when misfortune befalls them, they deem it an abnormality, they deem them situations requiring immediate solutions—no road is bad road in this search for remedies.

[Without bothering with the legality of the matter—without making reference to the written text of law, i.e., the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, and on capacity (i.e., the IGP’s), we are going to have to dissect this matter as briefly as possible because time (or ink) is far-spent.]

One cannot help but sniff a hint of a cognisance of this backdrop in this letter issued the British High Commissioner by the Inspector General of Police. “Ordinarily, the Ghana Police Service would not have responded to comments such as yours, obviously made from either a biased or uninformed position…” Dr. George Akuffo Dampare famously wrote in his letter addressed to the British High Commissioner, Harriet Thompson—a response to that tweet of hers that read, “…convenor of #FixThe Country movement arrested again, I understand for a motor offence on his way to court. I’ll be interested to see where this goes…”

The letter goes on to raise the issue of legality and alleges a breach thereof—on the part of the High Commissioner, that is. Having considered silence on the matter, i.e., the tweet, the letter sends us through the thinking of the IGP, choosing this time around not to stay quiet in satisfaction of some supposed notion of diplomacy. He does so with fifteen solid questions.

There comes a time in a person’s life when they want to be something. And in this era of social media, where instant gratifications for our sense of self is sought each and every day—each and every tweet, every picture and written text posted on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and co., is very often so done for instant gratification sake. And this bane of wanting to instantaneously be something, a person having climbed to the position of High Commissioner is not automatically free of. So then, a tweet, barely two sentences long, with ellipsis at its end, implying that there is more the writer would want to say and is privy to but chooses not to... Press send—and right there and then, instant gratification is derived on a matter a person perhaps knows very little of.

In this particular case, it does not help matters that the person doing the tweeting is clothed in a skin that has, and is still quite plainly, claiming a throne of global superiority—overtly and covertly. Would you blame us then, for misinterpreting or interpreting this tweet, and reading into it, the supposed world dynamic of the ‘White teacher’ and a ‘forceful Black student’?—no matter how supposedly well-intended this tweet was? Such comments tend to read as though, by default, we never know what we are doing—that we need help and supervision. Ordinarily, we would dismiss this as reading too much into a thing a simple as a tweet. But then again, within these past weeks, the Russia-Ukraine War has been telling us something. It behoves of us to listen.

I, for one, see why the IGP’s letter might be getting a bad rap from some camps—because… four pages long! Eh, many think the response might just be a tad too long for a two-sentence tweet. Kindly go back and reread this letter and tell me if there wasn’t a way to condense that whole thing into three pages instead. Eh, perhaps the fonts could have been made smaller, and the spacing, tighter. Overall, the fourth page could have been squeezed in with the rest to make three pages—but that’s one person’s opinion. Also, on the matter of the language of the letter—how it sounded... Too harsh, some think. I, for one, think in selecting the Ghanaian language to use for that Ghanaian adage, the IGP could have perhaps gone with Akuapim Twi instead, and said something to the tune of, “Mepakyew se, di wo fie asem’. That would have solved this whole ‘harshness’ issue. But then again, that’s one person’s opinion.

But I do hope Harriet Thompson got the time to read that letter. I hope she looked closely at those crucial fifteen questions raised. And I do hope she will find introspection enough, to be able to answer each question with the sentence: ‘I am deeply sorry’. Then again, this would depend on the sincere conclusion her introspection brings her to. Otherwise she can just forget the matter, sweep it under the carpet, after all we are a people whose reparation never came. We will be totally fine. I guess.

[Published in the Business & Financial Times (B&FT) - 9th June, 2022]

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