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03.10.2008 Feature Article

Dr Gyan's Sabbath

Jomo, are you familiar with the admonition derived from a weird blend of philosophical counsel and traditional logic which says when you cannot obtain what you want, be content with what is available and when things go haywire in your scheme of things, just console yourself that matters could have been worse?

The last thing I want, Jomo, is to take sentry outside a polling station in a voters queue as stagnant as the Korle Lagoon and as long and winding as peace and war, on the Lord's Sabbath, of all days, but the Electoral Commissioner says we shall have no choice on December 7.

 These days, I have my eyes fixed more intently on Dr Afari Gyan and my ear lobe stuck closer to the man's lips, than to those Pharisee chaps had theirs on Jesus the day he stood up in the synagogue, rolled out a scroll and began to read a passage from Isaiah.

The other day, a news headline which began with “Electoral Commission to fix new date …” made my heart  skip a beat.


Holy Moses, said I to myself, Dr Afari Gyan has finally reckoned that it is sacrilegious to monkey about with the Lord's Sabbath.

It turned out that Dr Gyan had not changed his mind about holding the elections on a Sunday after all. The Commissioner was merely postponing the scheduled date of filing of nominations of election candidates by the various political parties.

Offertory-happy pastors will probably lose loads of cash in offertory collections if Dr Gyan insists on running the poll on a Sunday.


There are those whose worry is that the Lord might not take kindly to the theft of his flock from His temple on a Sunday by king-makers who cannot get their priorities right.

Others speculate that on the contrary, voter turn-out might be lower than anticipated because many who spend long hours in church may not be inclined to join long voters queues thereafter.


What is your prognosis, sorry, prediction?

The sudden death last week of Finance Minister and MP, Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, continued to race with the headlines this week.


There are two angles to the man's and indeed every death, you may want to note:

Angle number one: Christians are taught not to contemplate death fatalistically as if it were a very final and dead-end to human existence but as a necessary transition to a better, more refined spiritual existence, yah?


They are taught that the body disposed of in six feet of earth is only a discarded mortal envelope.

It is usually when the someone dies that you begin to wonder if those who teach this believe it themselves.


There is often so much wailing, sorrow, gloom and despondency all around, you begin to wonder whatever happened to the glorious new life Christian doctrine teaches.

Even in churches, an announcement of the death of a member of the congregation is preceded by “the very sad death is announced of…” or “on a very sad note…” References are made to so-and-so's “demise.”


Demise? Did they not say that being essentially spirit, man never dies?

In the meantime, most people would rather not think of death but when they do, they tend to think of death as something that only happens to other people and not to them.


It scarcely occurs to some people that when they wake up in the morning strong and healthy, they may not actually make it to the evening.

When the very sudden death of our former Finance Minister was announced last week, showers of impromptu tributes echoed all over the place as usual: “He was a very good man”, “He was a very exceptional individual.


 I don't know how to describe him.” “Oh, he was so affable and never discriminated against anyone on any grounds”, “He was very humble…”

If indeed people see some individuals as very “good”, “hard-working”, “or “exceptional” why don't they ever tell them how much they appreciate them while they are still alive?


What is the point in singing praises to a corpse in a morgue, do you know?

That is the nature of man, Jomo. Some people spend their time muttering reproaches about hard-working individuals and then when one dies, this trade- mark hypocrisy is lent such free rein!

Angle number two: In the typical “who-dunnit” of our traditional folklore, the assassin's proverbial smoking gun is symbolised by an invisible long-range missile fired from the spiritual realm of so-called African electronics.

In the case of the death last week of the late Finance Minister and MP, Mr Baah-Wiredu, a local politician who lost the New Patriotic Party constituency primaries to the late MP, was accused by constituency campaign activists of having fired a purported missile that dispatched his former political rival to the sixth acre.

We gathered that doctors in South Africa who attended to the late politician had an entirely different and more scientific diagnosis: Prostate cancer.


 Males above 50 are at the greatest risk, but a specialist told me last week that if the ailment is detected early, the life of a patient can easily be saved.

Guess what happens when you go for a prostate cancer test, Jomo: First you are put through laboratory diagnostic tests, followed by a physical examination:


The medic tells you to strip right down to the pyjamas Mr Adam wore around in Eden, see?

Next, he makes you lie on your side on a couch. Then he puts on hand gloves, apologises gently (“sorry about this”) and shoves a forefinger right up your wetin callit and probes round and round and around with the finger, looking for a characteristic, telltale swelling in the recesses of the rectum.

If he finds it, he tells you to count yourself truly lucky that you came in the nick of time for a prostate test. He then prescribes a process of treatment to save your life.

The specialist told me that as is usually the case with prostate, hypertension and other malignant and sudden killers, there are many dead people walking around looking hale, hearty and as pleased as Punch with life.

Many of us have palates with insatiable craving for oily foods and fatty meat which we consume like no starving wolf's business, clogging our blood vessels with thick layers of messy, cholesterol-packed grease.


We sit around on our butts and do not get any physical exercise, a great recipe for very sudden departure from hereabouts!  

By George Sydney Abugri 

Daily Graphic
Daily Graphic, © 2008

This author has authored 236 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: DailyGraphic

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