First of all, cherished readers and fellow compatriots, let me try to correct a very erroneous impression that Mr. Rawlings has, over the years, created in the minds of people that he was the only person who could make and unmake Ghana. Judging from his posture, apart from himself; nobody else was honest. Not only that; but, perhaps, he thinks he is the most sensible and probably the wisest person in Ghana and that is very, very untrue. And since he started eating and drinking politics in Ghana let alone having read about our forefathers who struggled and fought selflessly and relentlessly to gain self-rule and independence for this nation Ghana; virtually, there has not been any corruptible person/politician who, perhaps, surpasses this self-inflicted enemy, arch-rival and colleague ex-president, John Agyekum Kufuor.
The apparent enmity could well be that Kufuor's two-term office of four years by far outpace that of his 19 years including the 11 years tyrannical rule under the AFRC/PNDC that Ghana went to the political abyss. Why this pettiness and unprecedented hatred? And for how long will J.J's attitudinal hatred change for the better? Does he not know that he is gradually sowing the seed of enmity between his children and those of JAK? How does one expect these two parallel families to co-exist after the two 'oak trees' have fallen? Only God knows! Apart from the failed or abortive military insurgence of his on Thursday, May 15, 1979, that was probably the only brainchild of his, none, repeat none, of the two successive changes of governments by force of arms i.e. coup d'etat on Monday, June 4, of the same year and Thursday, December 31, 1981, was his architectural design. The first, incidentally, June 4, supposedly carried out by his best-man, then Captain Boakye Djan, who it is rumoured by many, later became his arch enemy. Then the second one of December 31, 1981, was also led by the then tiny-mind Sergeant Alolga Akatapore of the 5th Battalion of Infantry of the Ghana Army stationed at the Burma Camp, Accra.
This poor sergeant later, after the overthrow had succeeded and the country restored to normalcy, was hotly chased out of the country for fear of being killed as he was a thorn in his flesh. And what was the reason? That he became popular for being at the frontline where the exchange of fire was the fiercest in the overthrow of the late President, Dr. Hilla Limann. He had to flee to save his life thereafter. His close friends have confided that he was in exile in Britain for 30 years and how his wife and family fared for themselves during his absence was by an act and finger of God. More often than not, he was acclaimed by his peers to be the only white-Ghanaian (half-caste) soldier (despite the Major-General Mensah Woods, the Col. Pattingtons, the Col. George Slaters, the Capt. Richters, etc., who were of the same caste) in the Armed Forces who could rattle the Queen's English than he did, hence the rescue operation that saved his life from prison custody on that fateful Monday dawn when his friends or mentors led by Boakye Djan managed to remove him from cell (amidst fears that they rather were going to execute him) to avoid imminent judgment of death by firing squad.
The same day, possibly between 10.30 a.m. and 12.00 p.m. mark, would have had a pronouncement of death sentence by firing squad if luck had not earlier smiled at him to get released from prison custody. There was no doubt that he would not have faced an imminent verdict of death sentence without any available option by the late Col. Enningful, chairman of the court martial sitting at the Burma Hall being surrounded by heavily armed guards. Except for the many Ghanaians under 35 years who do not know, when the June 4 Revolution succeeded, he ensured that Col. Enningful's wife and household were wiped out from the earth's surface by his 'crazy', suspected wee-smoking and uncontrollable soldiers between June 4 and 16 alongside the 8 Generals three of which were former heads of State (Lt.-Gen. Akwasi Amankwa Afrifa, Gen. Ignatius Kutu Acheampong and Lt.-Gen. Fred W. Kwasi Akufo);
Air Force Commander, Air Vice-Cdre. Yaw Boakye, the Navy Commander, Rear-Admiral Joy Amedume, the Border Guards Commander, Lt.-Gen. Emmanuel Kwasi Utuka and the Army Commander, Brigadier N.A. Odartey-Wellington, who met his untimely death while trying to resist with equal force, the junior officers' unprofessional military insurgence. This is an unknown hidden secret to the youth of today. Now please read on.
THE INFAMOUS ANNIVERSARY
Mr. Rawlings's undignified pontifical mass for the 35th anniversary celebration for this year's function that has been ruled out by the Supreme Court of Ghana as unconstitutional, according to his own Gospel of the book of St. Jeremiah, Chapter 79 (even though, the Book of Jeremiah does not have as many as 79 chapters, but 52); the author has wittingly coined this to revisit the 1979 atrocities and excesses committed during this period by junior officers of the Ghana Armed Forces and the other ranks, supposedly led by him because he was the only one whose fluency and proficiency in the Queen's English language was unparalleled hence, as it were, the use of Jeremiah 79: verses 4 and 6 (fourth representing the date and the sixth for the month of June). It is rather unfortunate that to date, Mr. Rawlings has never seen any wisdom to show any sign of remorse and does not even hope to dream of asking for an apology from Ghanaians with a contrite heart let alone pray for forgiveness. But strangely enough, he always cherishes to celebrate this infamous dictatorship and tyrannical rule amidst fanfare, pomp and pageantry with the connivance of few selected dignified personalities in society who have nothing to lose than to gather in their hundreds for pittance after the constitutionally prohibitive celebration was over. Is it not shameful, worrisome and very sordid indeed?
JUNE 4, 2014
Once again, on the morning of June 4, 2014, as characteristic of him, Mr. Rawlings had sent out invitations to his cadres/cronies and a couple of hundreds of youth who, probably, were under 35 years and did not know the full and concise history of Ghana before independence. They had gathered patiently to wait for their idol. Most of these youth had not yet seen anything in life, let alone play any meaningful role either. Their only gratis were some green 'T' shirts to appease them. The only person that these people knew was JJ and nobody else. Their aim was to collect the daily 'chop money' of Gh¢10.00 that was a firm promise i.e. half of this amount was to cover for transport to and fro the Square opposite the Jubilee House.
They converged there to hear the usual rantings against Mr. Kufuor and his opposition members and the telepathic clap of hands to announce to the world that there was a huge gathering when he celebrated his anniversary. The nefarious, criminal and unconstitutional act he has on two occasions committed against the State and people of Ghana including, of course, the initial mutiny of May 15, 1979, a total of three, all of which were very treasonable, and could have ended his life abruptly by firing squad at the Teshie Military Range or to jail for life imprisonment. If I were him but cannot be him, the obvious thing I will always do was to repent, pray fervently and reflect soberly and ponder over the gloomy past memories about the many atrocities and excesses that were committed during my two administrations and ask for forgiveness from God and Ghanaians and those whose parents and relatives who lost their lives because of my inordinate ambitions.
The Good Lord should do well to obliterate this unpardonable and ignominious cruelty to humanity, this indelible stigma and ignore them totally and to remember me and write my undeserved blood-stained name in the Book of Remembrance. God should forgive him for the extra-judicial killings against humanity. The horrendous crimes committed against the State are unimaginable and unprintable. Because of his incorrigible and stubborn posture, he will never do this. Since his appearance onto the Ghana political microscope and limelight, there has virtually been no occasion that his utterances and outbursts have not been centred and associated with insinuations and vituperations - all against the NPP who, he claims to be the bourgeoisie class and who can 'steal' government money but cannot be caught for prosecution.
As someone puts it, it has always been litany of errors and agitations on his mind. One wonders whether having exited from frontline active politics; he has seasoned advisers who periodically brief him before spitting his chronic bombshells. It should not be surprising that one of his former deputy ministers, Dr. Tony Aidoo, for no mean ministry than the Defence under him as a democratic chief executive, this same man, having gotten a fresh appointment as an ambassador to The Netherlands, goes haywire on air from far away Amsterdam to insult the intelligence of Ghanaians with very vulgar, unprintable and unpolished language when he was allowed airtime to explain his side of the story that had been attributed to him by a compatriot, one Appiah Stadium.
THE DECADE THAT BROUGHT THE DECAY - 1982-1992 Mr. Rawlings may not have been lucky to succeed the December 1981 coup attempt but for the acquiescence and connivance of the late PV and Sgt. Alolga Akatapore. On PV's part, since he was the chief engineer at Mankoadze Fisheries whose vessel carted the arms and ammunition from Gaddafi's Libya; it became easier for them to beat the security. On his part, having clinched the loyalty and comradeship of Alolga, a professionally trained soldier backed with 15 years standing as special non-commissioned staff (training of weaponry, military tactics, precision, strategy, expertise in other sophisticated arms (the G3, the SMG, ground-to-air missiles) and ammo handling experience acquired from the British instructors) while at the boys' company in Kumasi in the late 60's, mind you, JJ had secured the unflinching support for his inordinate pregnant ambition to materialize. PV assisted him so he should be rewarded in kind. He became the de facto prime minister. Alolga initially was also remune -rated to become a member of his PNDC but was later chased out.
The death of three high court judges - Justices Cecilia Koranteng Addow (Mrs.) - then a nursing mother of three-month old baby, Sarkodie and K.A. Agyepong and the army officer (Major Sam Acquah) who were abducted from their homes, killed while in blindfolds, are all there for the youth to be told this bloody past. Monday, June 30, will yet commemorate the 32nd anniversary of the infamous, dastard and gruesome murder of our celebrated compatriots; and, as usual, Madam Georgina Theodora Wood, will gorgeously dress and grace the occasion. If she has time for this occasion, why could she not have told her panelists who wasted 8 months deliberating the Election Petition Hearing that they had perverted justice; a clear case situation t that could also have set the whole nation ablaze? How does she feel after the infamous judgment? Does she feel sound or ashamed? Posterity will judge her anyway.
If Mr. Rawlings and KojoTsikata can extricate themselves and absolve themselves from this heinous crime (mind you, the keys to the Fiat Campagnola vehicle used in the abduction exercise was picked from Nana Konadu's dining table), the author will be prepared to stick his neck on the line! Shameful isn't it? Was it because K.T. was still blood-thirsty from his atrocities committed against the innocent people of Congo D.R. then Congo Kinshasa, when he led a platoon of soldiers on a UN peace=keeping expedition - 1961 - to wipe off a township including every living object in that village -that was why he readily acquiesced to be privy to that primitive act?
Furthermore, unashamedly, Rawlings, glued to the national television on state broadcast to the nation, on July 1, turned round to accuse the perpetrators of being enemies of his infamous revolution as saboteurs and nation wreckers. Double standards indeed! If the author were Mr. Rawlings, he would go into hibernation instead of always muddying the waters to arouse recognition and attract public attention. His delicacy has always been to incite people especially the down-trodden against the rich in society and authority for which he has perfected par excellence. Why? Why? What at all does he want in life on this planet earth that he has not gotten for himself? Instead of allowing the trauma that has befallen many people who have unexpectedly become orphans, widows and destitute to subside, this same man of a coward will like to rekindle their bitterest moments and to rake their wounds. Since his appearance onto Ghana's political scene, he had always not stopped at nothing but to announce his presence and insensitivity to the families he had previously offended. But as far as the child who would not let the mother sleep equally does not also sleep, so be it.
Knowing too well what might befall him in future, especially, after involving himself with the two coup d'etats, above named, did he not consult with one Major Stanley Pierre (Rtd.) formerly of the Briscoe Motors, to surreptitiously insert the shameful, inimical, obnoxious, outrageous and controversial indemnity clause in the novelty 1992 Constitution to absolve himself and other cronies who misconducted themselves dastardly in the excesses from blame or legal action. If he has advisers, he should conceal his identity for sometime but, for him, incorrigible as he has always been, does not feel the slightest shame but to bark unnecessarily without any provocation. It is a big shame that he does not take a cue from colleague world leaders and ex-presidents on retirement and learn of them and be wise like what Prov. 6:6 talks about the sluggard and the ant in the Bible. If he wants to enjoy his retirement in quietude, that will afford historians to seek him to know much about his actions and inactions during his reign as former statesman. If his acquaintances have not mentioned it to him, he should be told that his incessant and flurry of attacks on ex-president Kufuor makes him Kufuor more of a hero than a villain of the peace as he thinks. All that his poverty situation catapulted him to involve him in a couple of overthrow of government has not helped him to enjoy his wealth. What else does he want in life?
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Mr. Rawlings' perception about JAK's high grade corruption and destruction of Ghana's economy is that while he tries to point an accusing finger at JAK, the four remaining fingers keep pointing towards him. May be he has forgotten so soon that after Col. E.M. Osei Wusu (Rtd.) and Ibrahim Adams had been found guilty by CHRAJ to have been implicated in bribery scandal and embezzlement against the State; he was the one who issued a government white paper to annul same. We are tired and very much tired of his fruitless, boisterous effusions to incite the populace. Sources close to the World Cup venues for the 64 soccer nations indicate that the cheapest hotel rates per single rooms per night without breakfast is US$800.00. The purported 500 government-sponsored supporters, inarguably and obviously, will all be NDC foot-soldiers and cronies to secure their 2016 votes in the national election. When you multiply the number by the room rate, it gives you some $400,000.00; if you take the group stage for the Black Stars to be say 14 days i.e. up to June 26, the figure further will increase to $5,600,000.
This is just the hotel bill only minus food and other subsistence allowances. It is not possible for the Ghana Embassy to pick up this huge bill. Assuming Ghana qualified for the quarters and semis, then your guess could be as good as mine. Now back to the semantics. Doctors back home are crying for pay rise. POTAG are yelling for research and book allowances. UTAG are gearing up for refresher strikes because Sam Okudzeto Ablakwa who recently dropped off from their hands picks a colossal pay packet of nine thousand, five hundred Ghana Cedis (Gh¢9,500.00) as a deputy minister in charge of tertiary education.
This gross salary does not include the bits and pieces from the parliament as a member where as part of the majority side, he will obviously be made a member of one or two select committees of the House. Again, he enjoys free telephone, free accommodation and other perks. The GNAT, NAGRAT and Concerned Teachers too, have, as a united front and in unison, shown their dwarf teeth in anticipation for strike actions. The nurses in public hospitals, health posts and clinics are also in contention for their pound of flesh. NYEP nurses have not been paid for well over 18 months for services rendered and their plea or agitation has gone unnoticed and unheeded. The best Maame Shirley Ayittey (the recent reshuffled minister of Health) and her team of experts could do to appease these angry and hungry workers was to pay them for just 4 months. Either they take it, or leave it, or go hang: and that is the NDC government for you!
The colossal sum above, to the Mahama-led government, is just peanuts to fiddle with. What does Mr. Rawlings have to say if Mr. Kufuor's government had done the same inexplicable mistake while in government? Will he spare the rod and spoil the child or remain silent and let go as usual? Readers should revisit the fairy tale about the 'crab and the scorpion' in the Akan folkloric plays. Crabs are generally, the delicacy of many Akan families whilst the scorpion is inedible, and gets crushed because of its poisonous and dangerous nature.
To date, there are countless numbers of 'trees under schools' instead of 'schools under trees', to quote the NDC MP from the Afram Plains South constituency. Hope his party colleagues still remember that day when he was permitted by the Speaker to exhibit his ignorance and amplify his illiteracy.
This figure could well help relieve at least one of such schools from deprived state, Better still, as you read this piece, almost all the government or public hospitals nationwide have no decent places for our pregnant mothers to sleep after the hard labour; all pregnant mothers and sisters after going through the ordeal of labour, are asked to sleep on bare floor because of no beds, and we take the ugliest pride in being touted as the 'Gateway to Africa.' Is this not stupidity of the highest order and mockery of ourselves and seemingly akin to the old adage, 'While Rome was burning, Emperor Nero was feasting?
PIERCING QUESTIONS THAT NEED ANSWERS
1. Who was/were the signatoriy(ies) to the A/C No. 48 that was opened at the Legon Branch of the Ghana Commercial Bank Limited in the heat of the June 4, 1979 AFRC revolution? How much was realized and how does Mr. Rawlings account for it? If he cannot, he should not decide to open his erratic mouth again to call someone a corrupt person.
2. How much was the Kanda GNTC building and surrounding plot of land cost Mrs. Rawlings? Was it not for Gh¢500.00 (¢5,000,000.00)? What about the Nsawam Cannery and all the machinery within? Was that also not for pittance? Come on! What about the Aboso Glass Factory that he and the master tactician and security capo and expert, Capt. Kojo Tsikata, sold to a confidant, Gilchrist Olympio, of Togo who was in self-exile here? And he has the guts to call someone a corrupt person.
3. Who authorized the sale of the over 9 Black Star Line merchant vessels- MV Volta River, MV Densu River, MV Ankobra River, MV Korle Lagoon, MV Bosumtwi, MV Oti River, MV Pra River, MV Tano River and MV Benya River between 1982-1992 and where is the proceeds? It is believed to have gone to wrong pockets! And who is to blame, Mr. J.A. Kufuor or J.J. Rawlings?
4. Who doled out a whopping $25m to Ms. Cotton, the American con lady for the Aveyime Rice Project? Mr. Kufuor or Mr. Rawlings?
5. Which minister in Ghana had some ¢250m under his bed between 1992 and 1997; that became the toast for his police guards? Was it Mr. Kufuor or Dr. Obed Yao Asamoah?
6. How much money, assets and liabilities were recovered/retrieved or confiscated or seized when the late Col. Kweisie was in charge of the Assets Confiscation Committee? How much did the State benefit from same?
7. How much did the State benefit from the sale and diversified public assets of the over 80 SOEs during the PNDC/NDC.1 & NDC.2 regimes during the 19 years for which Mr. Rawlings was the Master of all Ceremonies in Ghana? Ghanaians must know this for a fact.
8. In whose reign as head of State of Ghana was the ¢50.00 (or Gh¢5.00) notes, the highest denomination at the time, unilaterally demonetized to render most Ghanaians economically impotent? How much did he, the Ahwois and the Tsikatas make from the seizure of the large sums of money at the peril of Ghanaians?
9. Who accommodated Gilchrist Olympio, son of former Togolese President, Sylvanus Olympio to operate from within to occasionally destabilize the late president Gnassingbe Eyadema to contest for political power? 10. Did Mr. Rawlings confess before his audience this time round that he was extremely sorry for beating up his late vice president, Dr. Kow Nkensen Arkaah at a cabinet meeting in the 90's?
11. Who sowed the seed of indiscipline; nurtured it and matured for harvest these days? The author leaves the answer to the judgment of the good people of Ghana. Do some people still remember the days of 'We no go sit down make they cheat us everyday! Daabida?' That was the genesis of the era in Ghana when indiscipline, respect for the aged and authority reared its ugly head in our body politic and it has travelled with us till today.
12. By the way, who owns the twin 9-floor Polo Heights near the Shangri La Hotel at the base of the Accra Kotoka Airport? Guess who!
13. For your information, the Mahama-led government is indebted to B.O.S.T. of statutory payment of US$1.8m and should not be surprised that our emergency reserves could be in jeopardy any minute.
14. Since the Mills-Mahama government assumed power on January 7, 2009, the judgment debts that have been hurriedly paid to 'undeserved' individuals like Alfred Agbesi Woyome - Gh¢51bn., CP's €94m. and other corporate bodies just to name a few and their assigns and of course people in government (Uncle Ebo Barton Odro and Mama Betty Mould-Iddrisu and the now tamed S.O.A., who acted as 'pushers' to ensure Ghana lost heavily and painfully total up to $1bn. Mr. Rawlings, what is your stake on this? What would you have done if it happened during JAK's time? Be honest with yourself!
15. Will JJ not agree with the author that if not but for the dislike of change of government by force of arms, his darling boy would have been booted out of office and uprooted like cassava from soft soil in the rainy season?
Is it a truism that Mr. Kwame Peprah is the brain behind the ADINKRA HEIGHTS? This Adinkra Heights Project is the plush posche estate housing development in progress and covering the vast land mass supposed to be a 40-acre parcel of land just opposite the 37 Military Hospital, Accra. Is it because Kwame is Rawlings' boy and not Kufuor's that is why the Ga-Dangbe Youth led by the octogenarian K.B. Asante have kept mute and blind eye over the scramble for that land? Have Ghanaians noticed that JM's obstinacy for not settling local statutory bills even including the periodic payments to the physically challenged institutions like the Mampong Deaf & Dumb School, the Dzorwulu Special School, the Ankaful Leprosarium plus a few others and the District Assemblies Common Fund for government infrastructure development, the GETFund, the NHIS designated clinics and what have you that ought to be reimbursed their mandated quota for continued service to humanity for which his government has arrogantly and blatantly refused to honour, has propelled him to exhibit same incorrigible behaviour to the continental body to bring shame to us all.
What advice has Mr. Rawlings given to his darling boy, JM for defaulting in the payment of the AU's statutory payments of $3m while JM's government sees wisdom to cough $5,600.00 to transport 500 NDC supporters to Brazil? Mind you, this figure only represents the first 14 days to the end of the group stage. This amount does not cover food and drinks plus the purported first-class tickets for some of them. If we should travel beyond that, your guess could be as good as mine. It is very often said that if your aggressor does not relax in his pursuit against your destruction, you also should not rest for a split second to flee to safety; to wit: in the Akan language, it says, 'se dee otaa wo soo no se ommree a, wo nso wonnyae mmrika tuo.'
To Mr. Kufuor; silence, they say, is golden! Remain silent to let him become the perpetual villain of the peace and a laughing stock if he still thinks he was in his thirties some years back in 1979. In terms of human and natural/mineral resources, unlike Ghana that has much more, la Cote d'Ivoire that was hit by civil war to keep them away from peace for some time, is now beaming with smiles due to good leadership and strategic priorities in place.
To bring the curtains down, the author would like to drum home to Mr. Rawlings that as long as he does not desist from his incessant attacks on Mr. Kufuor and takes delight in descending to the gutters, some pro-Kufuor sympathizers like us, will equally break loose and let the same gutter politics be our daily bread and butter. After all, all die be die. On this note, the writer will like to conclude the write up with the colloquial French thus: 'A tout l'honneur, tout a leur'; i.e. honour to those who honour is due. Respect is reciprocal. Mr. Rawlings has not learnt his lessons after 35 years on; that he has now outlived his usefulness. If there was anybody he needs to straighten up, it was John Mahama and not John Kufuor, because he has behaved as the prodigal son and frivolous profligate spendthrift. Is it not destined for man to die one day? Where is your cherished PV now? Is he not dead and gone back to the unknown world? Did you know that he will die so soon? And was it not just yesterday, Sunday, June 22, that the Great Ameer Maulvi Dr. Abdul Wahab Adam, the leader of the Ahmadiyya Movement passed on?
Fellow Ghanaians, those who have, one way or the other, brought shame unto themselves, their immediate families, untold hardships to Ghanaians through their professions, by acts of omission and commission, acquaintances with the powers that be to perpetuate and entrench themselves in power, will live to regret. And that day was near. Are we sane at all as a nation or daft and still snoring that nobody can call the bluff and profligacy of the government as well as its ineptitude and misplaced priorities?
The author entreats Mr. Rawlings to read the Book of Jeremiah, Chapter 17:11 that reads, 'As the partridge sitteth on eggs, and hatcheth them not; so he that getteth riches (undeserved power), and not by right, i.e. (through cheating, falsification of figures by the EC and perversion of justice as witnessed by all), shall leave them in the midst of his days, and at his end shall be a fool.' Mr. Rawlings, your disappointed apprentice will continue to fumble in the running of the affairs of Ghana no matter what; even if all the 'oil money' from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait were brought in to salvage the comatose condition of our national economy. With the authority vested in the judiciary to let justice prevail after the 8-month marathon EP trial so that there will be sanity in the society, five known 'untouchables' perverted justice for JM to become the partridge sitting on the strange eggs.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
The CEO of the NPA (the National Petroleum Authority), Alex Mould, Esquire, is purported to have authorized the monthly rental for a 5-storey building at a cost of $64,000.00. Suppose the landlord, who may be an NDC sympathizer, requests for a five-year contract which could be a possibility, then you do the multiplication yourself to arrive at the final figure that is going to waste whilst nursing mothers, due to poverty, sleep on bare floor with their new babies at the hospitals. Does this quasi-government institution have a statutory board at all? Why did he not suggest to his board to put up a similar structure with one year's rent?
Are some Ghanaians in responsible positions very sensible at all or 'Ye bedii keke!? On his part, Ing. Jabesh Amissah-Arthur, inarguably, the biological brother of the Vice President, now heads the Bui Dam Hydro Project as its CEO. Conflict of interest or Kokofu Ball or what? But in view of the no 3-square meal for most Ghanaians, this man of a spendthrift, has the guts (who born dog) to construct a golf course at the Bui area at a prohibitive cost of Gh¢3m (¢300bn) or $935,000.00 for himself and other golfer friends, who will be visiting him for recreational purposes to deprive him of his Accra city dwelling at the expense of the Ghanaian tax-payer.
While the souls of men are dying and hopes of Ghanaians have been dashed as a result of JM's incompetent government with no savior in sight; the opposition NPP too, who should be the obvious government in waiting, are busy and silly fighting with daggers drawn at each other's throat. Is this Ghana's destiny or a curse?