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27.03.2009 Feature Article

Letter to Jomo: Dr Osei and the abodam virus


Our Chief Psychiatrist, Dr Akwasi Osei this week confirmed what I had suspected all along: Most of us, (about some 40 per cent of the population) are either psychologically unbalanced, psychiatrically challenged or gone completely bananas and plantain pieces.

Looking around, it seems that in varying degrees nearly the entire population is truly gone cuckoo, loony, brainsick, demented, disordered, dotty, badly cracked, maniacal, moonstruck and tuned off from sanity.

Someone berated Dr. Osei on the Internet over his claim, describing it as evidence of a typical lack of diligence and excellence among many professions in Ghana today.

Dr Osei's cyberspace assailant demanded evidence that any epidemiological research had been conducted to arrive at an incredible 40 per cent prevalence of mental illness among Ghanaians.

He suggested that the Chief Psychiatrist confined his professional practice to prescribing "abodam" pil1s for his psychiatric patients.

I think the good doctor really had his mathematics upside down, but only because his statistics were too far out on the conservative side. My own estimate is that some 85 per cent of us have blown fuses in our skulls.

Most of us appear flaky, badly scrambled, screwy, batty, unhinged, daffy, wacky, buggy, touched, unsound and gone full cycle around the bend.

By simply assuming the name of a psycho, one of the most famous musicians in town has conceded the pathology as it applies to him leaving it to the rest of us to acknowledge or deny that we are each creaky upstairs like him.

The evidence is there all around: If you mentally demarcate an area of some 100 meters square within the open spaces, you will find that nearly everyone is busy breaking the law or misbehaving in some dangerous and annoying way.

Except for a relatively small number of desk-bound white collar workers, the majority of people are always out on the roads and that is where evidence of the epidemic of madness is visible.

When there is a dispute over the accuracy or scientific basis for statistics, we could always run to a discipline called "the statistics of statistics" for ready help:
During the week, those who keep the records revealed that an average of 42 people are killed on one of the country's most bloodthirsty highways, the Cape Coast-Accra Highway, every week. That is six people every blessed day!

If we held at least one person responsible for every human life taken, (which methinks we should), then it means more than 40 out of every 100 people are busy killing people in some locations.

On a per centum basis, that works up to more than 40 per cent of the population engaged in murder everyday. Who else but schizophrenics and psychopaths would do that? Quot Erat Demonstrandum, Jomo! Dr Osei is right.

Many blame the 'abodam' epidemic on booze, drugs and Satan's genes in many people. The prudent thing if you ask me, is to accept it, study it, research it and begin a mass 'therapy!

Gory scenes from the terrible road accidents which have kil1ed hundreds of people in the past few weeks have seen us at our very best at problem solution: It usually takes the form of wringing our hands in despair while looking desperately around for scapegoats to ease our consciences.

But for a colony of lunatics where else wil1 you find human beings being slaughtered like flies and all people ever do, is wring their hands in despair and go looking for solutions everywhere except where they should be looking: Law enforcement.

Examples: Even nursery school children know that roads are for driving on, so how come that we have car and bus parks right in the middle of busy streets?

The very grave danger notwithstanding, motorists have turned two-lane roads into four and five-lane roads.

Trotro bus drivers go charging along the shoulders of the roads throwing up a lot of dust over other road users. Whenever for some miraculous reason they drive on the roads, they stop and take off so dangerously that it is a wonder many road users are lucky to get home in one piece every day.

Keeping your automobile in good condition driving carefully and observing all traffic rules does not guarantee anyone protection from sudden death these days. If all this is not mass madness then get me another dictionary.

Amid all that, the major concern of many people is with political propaganda. Political propaganda has become so fierce you would think a cosmic accident has catapulted us through time and space into 2012, the year of the next national elections.

The ruling NDC appears to have no propaganda machine or at best an amateurish one which would have collapsed but for a group of hardy, over-worked young reporters on NDC-friendly radio and a few poorly packaged pro-NDC publications.

The NPP's propaganda appears more unrelenting and robust but not too floating-voter sensitive.

A lot of it is in the media of course. No media, no propaganda. Hold a press conference under any political banner, issue a press statement, interview a ghost in a three-piece suit and a mask and quote his views in the media to give the opponent a bad day and a bad name.

The line between news and information on the one hand and propaganda on the other is becoming slimmer and slimmer by the off-season campaign hour!

Propaganda! It is one of the most troublesome words in the English language, Jomo. Up to date, no one has been able to define propaganda clearly and precisely, so that whenever it is used, it means exactly the same thing to everybody.

Some people perceive of propaganda as a communication tool manufactured in the devil's chamber, which employs half-truths and lies while suppressing or concealing facts, in order to manipulate public opinion for undue advantage.

The idea behind this kind of propaganda is to get people to accept ideas and beliefs which are in the interest of a particular person or group and the disadvantage of another group or person.

Those whose perception of propaganda comes anywhere near being decent, are those who see it in public relations terms, as a technique and device for projecting their good public image.

Propaganda is often more crucial for the opposition than a ruling party. The nature of the propaganda the NPP is employing will either win it more supporters and votes at the next election or distance the party from many voters. That is how Ghanaians are, "abodam" disposition and all.

Credit: George Sydney Abugri; Daily Graphic [Email: [email protected] Website: www.sydneyabugri.com]

Ghanaian Chronicle
Ghanaian Chronicle, © 2009

The author has 1023 publications published on Modern Ghana. Column Page: GhanaianChronicle

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