Why is it that in times of great distress to us humans, the most appropriate words with which to express our feelings, always come from words written long, long ago?
Who, as the television pictures came to us from the apocalyptic scenes in Turkey and Syria, did not say the equivalent of the following line, in his or her soul -- even if limitation to past reading could not have led to the exact phrase--“No man is an island, entire unto itself”?
John Donne penned that line in 1624, that is, just under 400 years ago.
But as the TV camera s brought us the sad scenes in the home of a national hero of ours, Christian Atsu, did not our souls lament in unison with those millions of bereaved families in Turkey and Syria?
We knew exactly what they were feeling, far away though they were.
Oh, how did So-and-So get under that horrible rubble?
Why couldn't he/her have been somewhere else on such a fateful day? Oh why them?
There are no answers to such questions. The disaster teaches us how small the world really is; how incredibly vulnerable we ALL are, in the presence of UNFEELING NATURE.
Often, in the past, when we have heard the radio news bulletins tell us of disasters somewhere else on Planet Earth – floods, hurricanes, earthquakes – we have secretly thanked “Our God” that He has saved US from such calamities.
But this time, one of OUR very own was involved. A beloved young man who had come to our notice because “Our God” had blessed him with extraordinary gifts, Christian Atsu, had become a “casualty” in the awful catastrophe.
Atsu was a strong, heroic footballer, who could face tough opposition and overcome it to score beautiful goals. Also, (according to those who knew him well) he had a very pleasant personality, and was very charitable towards those who needed help from him.
But now, on a cold morning in Turkey, wh0ie asleep recovering from the rigours of a recent match in which he had shone, he had perished. Painfully no doubt.
Alas, the disaster caused by his untimely demise has demonstrated to us, what a crappy nation we have become.
So-called “journalists” and social media “commentators” who cannot say anything except at the top of their voices, began to invent stories about such a horrible incident.
Without a thought about the distress that would be caused to Atsu's family, they created and disseminated utter falsehoods about Atsu's fate.
The most horrendous story gave a baseless hope that Atsu might have survived. This fable claimed that “someone” (a doctor/trainer/coach) from his club had said that Atsu was “safe” in and had been carried to hospital, but that he “had injured his foot!”
Did they ask intelligent questions about how and where that falsehood came from to deceive Atsu's anxious family?
Eventually the story was padded up with alleged quotes from some of Atsu's footballer colleagues who are also abroad.
And then it inevitably happened: the Ghana 'Kwaku Ananse' prophets put in their oar!
One maintained that he had “dreamt” of Atsu the previous night!
Why would Atsu come to him, in particular, in a dream? And why only “ the previous night”, when the catastrophe had happened more than a week ago?
No answers. Yet the story was repeated again and again by the brainless chattering classes of Ghana
A poor house help, who probably had a crush on Atsu, kept asking for “updates” on the story. Had Atsu's foot healed yet? Would the Turkish club he played for be sending his family to Turkey for a reunion with him?
When told that the Ghana media was not to be trusted on all their reports about stories like that, she said she had seen a report of it not in the local media, but on her phone! “On Tik Tok”! (she elaborated)
The poor woman is still recovering from the shock of realising that not all the voluble “commentators” she sees on Tik-Tok” are to be believed.
When will our “social media” geeks catch on that if they continue to undermine their own credibility by rushing to invent stories about "Breaking" events, then, in a few years' time, they would have no consumers at all whatsoever?
If only they knew enough about world affairs to realise that a preponderance of lies can bring even lying GOVERNMENTS AND POWERFUL "LEADERS" down!
Consider this: why don't the people of a certain country get nice clothing like those in another country? A lying government claims it was because a foreign country was seizing things that were being shipped to the one whose output was detested by its own people, for "political reasons"!
And so on and so forth! Tweaaa!
And now look: the product of an Anti-truth state organisation, is trying to bring an end to the entire world through nuclear war whilst trying to level Ukraine into the stone age.
In doing so, he proclaims that he merely wants to “restore the dignity” of his Motherland.
But what is the difference between the destruction of homes, schools and hospitals in Ukraine and the destruction we have been seeing as a result of the earthquake in Turkey and Syria?
Is there any difference between being crushed by rubble cause by bombs and that rained down by an earthquake?
The only difference is that one type of destruction is being deliberately caused to humans by other humans.
What do state-empowered killers think the rest of the world is thinking about them? Do they really think they cam employ “diplomatic tatics" to hide what they are dong, when the TV pictures bring the reality to our homes all the time, in living colour?
I am beginning to think that the world, in 2023, is quite MAD. Why should humans inflict such terrible suffering on their fellow humans, when Nature is lurking around the corner to inflict similar, if not worse, distress upon the heads of all of us?
What have Syria and Turkey done to Nature? Is there a NATO-type organisation hiding somewhere waiting to embrace the two countries?
Of course the Americans and their Western allies DO bear a great deal of responsibility for what's happening in Ukraine. They flattered the Ukrainians into thinking that if they provoked Putin, they would become heroes.
Now -- the Ukrainians
are real heroes, yes. But at what cost to the ordinary Ukrainian and his/her offspring?
The Ukrainian leadership should have known from their intelligence sources that Putin does not care a hoot for concepts like “national independence” and “abstractions. He was brought up in a political atmosphere that worshipped what is called REALPOLITIK! Dead humans are the content of such a policy, alas. The freezing Ukrainians are realizing that in REAL TIME, ALAS AGAIN.
One wishes that one could allow distance to act to as a barrier between one's cognisance of such facts and the inhumanity of some other humans.
But that is a vain hope. For, as John Donne so eloquently reminds us: “NO MAN IS AN ISLAND, ENTIRE UNTO ITSELF.'