Tue, 15 Feb 2011 Feature Article

All Die Be Die: The Semantics, The Spin And The Spear

All Die Be Die: The Semantics, The Spin And The Spear

Nana roars again. He is emphatic–with some conviction: All Die Be Die. He stands his grounds, emboldened by events of recent history of by-elections in Atiwa and Chereponi.

The political organisation he belongs to would not stand arms or legs akimbo to write another stolen verdict. They would write the verdict while events are still playing, by resisting intimidation and standing up to their opponents when they bring it on. This is the philosophy of All Die Be Die. Of course, if in the event you die as a member of the New Patriotic Party, then you haven't died a needless death, because All Die Be Die.

If you came across All Die Be Die in the works of Ralph Waldo Emerson or Nelson Mandela, death would not immediately spring into your thoughts. The meaning behind the meaning of the words would form basis of your investigation. If the same words poured forth from Donald Rumsfeld, his known unknowns could be invoked to neutralise or counter-spin the most likely interpretation. What if J.A Kufour said it? But, All Die Be Die in any Rawlings context would be mis/taken for doom and boom, or doomboom read backwards. Yet the same statement would make enough war sense in Adolf Hitler and stir up feelings of noble resistance in any of King George V1's wartime speeches.

To all intents and purposes (I hate this expression), what is All Die Be Die supposed to achieve in any context? There are only two things we can safely presuppose: Death is certain. And then, there are types of death. The rest is all spin blown up with powder that is not worth anybody's death, really. 'Death is certain' does not mean that somebody is going to die. It may even mean death is the only way to die, otherwise you are only dead. Pun aside, anybody wishing to live must necessarily stand up to death, so he will not die.

In the scheme of all things honourable, All Die Be Die on any good day is a form of resistance–against suppression, oppression and repression. It may not be misconstrued to mean urging violence or promoting war. In the same way, Dzi Wo Fie Asem, when spoken to us even as children, only meant that we did not have the same rights we enjoyed in our homes when we went to the homes of our closest friends. Our parents, by that, did not forbid us from making friends with our contemporaries or going to play with them. Yet, some senior journalists made Ivory Coast seem dead to Mills.

What is not very clear is whether All Die Be Die is the new campaign platform the NPP is going to execute the 2012 presidential election. That contest, like every election, is a Do and Die affair. There isn't a middle way anywhere. If Nana's strategy is to immediately constitute the virtue of noble resistance into the conscience of the NPP supporters, to prepare them to be firm, bold and resolute like the Macbeths, then is it just as good as Yes We Can. And to think that lack of vigilance allegedly made Florida cool for Bush, even in the advanced democracies, All Die Be Die is not a misplaced mantra.

However, the NPP would remember that Kufour's Hwe wa setena mu caution worked better than Adu Boahen's Akonta besi fom anti-incumbent narrative. Even in difficult circumstances, Ghanaians have proven that they have no difficulty in making sense out of the confounding and the pure didactic. Neither spin nor spear would survive that power.

Kwesi Tawiah-Benjamin is a journalist. He writes from Ottawa, Canada

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