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24.09.2004 Diaspora News

Small Mindedness At GhanaFest - A REJOINDER

By R. H Hadzid (GNC Treasure)

In the AFRICAN SPECTRUM (SPECTRUM), a small Chicago based newspaper publication of September 2004 edition, the publisher and Editor-in-Chief dedicated their editorial on page 3 to chastise the Ghana national Council of Metropolitan Chicago (GNC) for a perceived maltreatment he alleged was meted out against his newspaper by “small minded” GNC executives (READ).

The alleged incident the editorial claimed happened at the recent Ghanafest and it was the result of the SPECTRUM's unintentional inability to publish GNC Executive's pictures after this years Ghana's independence anniversary celebrations!

It is preposterous that “big minded” publishers like the SPECTRUM could fall low to such shameful journalism and not come up with the facts or cross check their facts prior to the publication of the appalling editorial.

Even whilst the” big minds” were pleading for a space at the recent Ghanafest, they were threatening officials of the GNC that they will write nasty article against the council if their demand is not met immediately.No wonder after agreeing voluntarily to pay $100.00 for the space they used at the recent Ghanafest, our “big minds” made good on their threat against the “little minds”.

Every credible newspaper publishes facts not peddle lies.

Ironically the “big minded” publishers of the SPECTRUM do not know the difference between Ghana National Council Executives and the Council or the name of the organization, The Ghana National Council of Metropolitan Chicago, GNC, they claim in the editorial that they belong to!

The facts of the matter is that, when the council, made up of three members of each of the twelve organizations affiliated to the GNC and not the executives, met sometime in January this year, some members proposed that the GNC should not advertise both the Ghana Independence Anniversary Celebrations and the Ghanafest in the African Spectrum. Amongst the reasons given were:

• Due to the one dollar sales tag on the paper, most members of the community do not read the SPECTRUM as before. The monthly paper used to be free.

• There are other Newspapers in the community that are free and widely circulated.

• The increase in visits by members of the community to our website, ghanannationalcouncil.org, over four hundred thousand page impressions within three weeks at a time, has made our website a viable and cheaper alternative to the SPECTRUM.

The Council, not the Executives, who carry out decisions made by the Council, voted to advertise in the SPECTRUM during Ghana's independence Anniversary celebrations at a latter date.

An agreement was reached with the SPECTRUM to provide a full page advert of the independence anniversary celebrations. As part of the agreement, two free dinner tickets ($80.00) and $150.00 check were given to the management of the SPECTRUM. The SPECTRUM agreed to provide a full coverage of the celebration in return! After the independence anniversary celebrations, some members of the council, including the executives, made comments that the SPECTRUM did not cover the independence anniversary as promised. Some how, the SPECTRUM got wind of the comments made and immediately took offense. This generated into a litany of lies by the management and publishers of the SPECTRUM in the community.

None of the council members said anything negative about our own hero, JERRY AZUMAH'S picture in the paper! Why should we? Gracious comments acknowledging the presence of the NFL and Chicago Bears Star, Jerry Azumah , were made by the GNC members at our May meeting. Some congratulated the Executives for bringing one of our own, a hero to all Ghanaians in the Diaspora to the independence anniversary celebrations. The council did not need the SPECTRUM to tell us about the importance of Jerry in our community. We brought him there for those very reasons the SPECTRUM would like its readers to know they, the SPECTRUM, were championing!

The GNC invited Azumah to grace our occasion, we invited him to speak to his brothers and sisters, but he declined and preferred to make a comment instead. “I do not want to be in the limelight”, the hero humbly declared to us and favored to enjoy himself at the sidelines!

What does the SPECTRUM want Jerry to feel about the GNC after reading their biased yellow journalistic editorial?

These are the same people who uncaringly tarnish the image of the GNC down and at the same time castigate it for not doing enough for the people!

Unlike previous Ghana fest's, the council, not the executives, for reasons mentioned earlier, decided against advertising in the SPECTRUM. Besides Ghanaweb, an Atlanta newspaper, THE GHANAIAN HERALD, gave the GNC free advertisement for the Ghanafest! THE GHANAIAN HERALD then had a distribution network in Chicago.

When the management of the SPECTRUM contacted the GNC for advert in the paper of the Ghanafest and they were declined, they took offense and threatened to publish malicious articles about the council! The threat continued when for reasons unknown to us, the “big minded” SPECTRUM management came to the Ghanafest 2004 well after one o'clock in the afternoon. Prior to this, they were informed that due to the fact that this year our merchants were demanding payment prior to the festival all payments by sponsors, art, craft and food vendors must be paid before their participation. This rule was strictly enforced against the twelve affiliate members of the council, but the “big minded” SPECTRUM guys refused to make payment even on the park.

At no point was the SPECTRUM or for that matter any individual or organization promised a space or spaces to vend without making upfront payments to the council this year.

A member of the executives accepted the promise by the SPECTRUM management that they will pay after the event. A place was then secured at the Western Union stand for the SPECTRUM by an Executive member of the GNC.

It is therefore a blatant lie by the SPECTRUM that Western Union, a sponsor and participant at the recent Ghanafest, gave out a space the GNC rented to Western Union to the SPECTRUM without the prior consent of the GNC! The SPECTRUM will never have been allowed by the Organizers, the GNC if that were the case.No corporate vendor or sponsor has the right to sell or “graciously” give their space or part of it to another vendor without our prior KNOWLEDGE OR CONSENT OF THE GNC The SPECTRUM was well aware of the same incident last year when a Ghanaian vendor sandwiched between two corporate vendors were made to pay $250.00 for the little space!

SPECTRUM was bent on getting a “bigger” and free space from the beginning because of their “contributions” to Ghanafest all these years so they refused a space given them at the media stand. The SPECTRUM waited two hours because they wanted to!

It is of importance for readers of the SPECTRUM to note that the SPECTRUM has never sponsored Ghanafest! Previous to this year's Ghanafest, the arrangements has always been lucrative and beneficial to the African Spectrum. SPECTRUM advertises Ghanafest for a $300.00 fee whilst the GNC gives SPECTRUM a two page advert space in the Ghanafest brochure booklet,$200.00 value and a corporate stand, a $300.00 fee! Commonsense tells us that the GNC loses $200.00 every year as a result of SPECTRUM'S so called sponsorship!

“Not to be outdone, we duly returned the favor by withdrawing our routine and long-standing sponsorship of the festival.” Audaciously the management of SPECTRUM sold this LIE to their readers because the facts show otherwise! It was the GNC that declined the request to advertise in the SPECTRUM which resulted in the collapse of the “long-standing” sponsorship arrangement! Hello, is somebody listening!

If we were the management of the SPECTRUM, we would coil our tails in shame for not investigating the facts before publishing this infamous editorial, but “big minds” will never do that! They know it all and somehow they had it already figured. Read the facts below!

There was no website from Atlanta that participated in Ghanafest 2004 as was reported by the SPECTRUM! The GHANAIN HERALD from Atlanta was there but they did not request a space. Ghanaweb (Ghana Home Page), a sponsor, participated in the festival by giving the GNC over $2500.00 worth of advertisement space on their premium pages before and after the festival! Ghanaweb is based in Finland and not Atlanta!

There was no allocation of space to any Canadian Newspaper at Ghanafest 2004 as the SPECTRUM would like us to believe! The only Canadian paper known to us at the festival was the Ghanaian Times, whose editor-in-chief, Mr. Ayiku was at the Ghanafest with the keynote speaker (also from Canada).Mr. Ayiku was not given a space by any GNC official nor did he use a space at the festival to vend! He at times left his seat and distributed the Ghanaian Times free to patrons of the festival!

In their confusion, trance and anger that the “little minded” people are not listening to the “big-minded” bosses, the SPECTRUM did not check itself to these basic facts before peddling the concocted story that a Canadian Newspaper was given a stand at Ghanafest!

Foregoing the lies above the most outrageous peddle in the editorial was that there was nepotism at Ghanafest. These are some of the reasons brothers find themselves on the wrong side of the law if they recklessly publish articles without cross checking their stories!

There was not a single GNC Executives' spouse, acquaintance or family who sold Ghanaian pastries at the festival. We challenge the publishers of the SPECTRUM prove their allegation and stand by it in court! There is no iota of truth in this spiteful assertion.

Publishers of the SPECTRUM are procreating the usual smear and slime that has ruined countries in our part of the world! That has been their stock of trade, they cannot just change!

SPECTRUM took offense because Annaka Enterprise was given a space at Ghanafest? It might interest readers of SPECTRUM to know that besides Western Union, Annaka Enterprise has been a pillar behind Ghanafest, not SPECTRUM! They have consistently supported the GNC in dire times! Moreover, Annaka Enterprise did not occupy any press booth!

Lest we remind the “big minds” that as much as the GNC's actions and activities are enjoyed by Ghanaians, it does not mean all Ghanaians are members of the GNC! African Spectrum does not belong to all Africans.

GNC is made up of the twelve Ghanaian affiliate organizations and if you are not a member of these affiliates, you are not a member of the GNC period!

We would like to mention that, the GNC at times has been duped by organizations and the SPECTRUM is included. The GNC paid $300.00 to the “big minds “at SPECTRUM for publishing an article about Ghana and Ghanafest, not an advert! Those were the “good” old days for the “big minds”. “Chopping” the GNC days are over so they have to threaten the “little minds” because the “big minds” are untouchable and always have to have their way even if they are cheating the community! We do not and will never take our marching orders from the SPECTRUM. We will love to work together but not dictated to.

Uncontrolled emotions, lies and unsurpassed vindictive attitudes shown by the SPECTRUM “the big minds” at Ghanafest and in the editorial drive great men to their doom and alienate them from their community. We hope the SPECTRUM will learn and use its self acclaimed mouth piece of the Ghanaian community in Chicago to assist and not to divide us by peddling lies!

For “big minded” people at the SPECTRUM to think that GNC officials pictures were not published in their paper so they were being treated badly by the Council is not only absurd but NONSENSE. GNC officials have many other bigger avenues to show off their pictures if they wanted to.

Many of us subscribe to the SPECTRUM to help out one of our own. Most of the time it takes repeated reminders to receive a copy every now and then, but we do not take offense at the SPECTRUM! That's how brothers are supposed to live together or so we thought!

Members of the Ghana National Council of Metropolitan Chicago volunteers their time, energy and money to keep our beautiful Ghanaian Culture and Society alive. If truth is to be told, we have produced the biggest Ghanaian cultural shows in North America with our “small minds” We are not perfect, no one is!

It is about time those who sit on the fence and use their resources to attack the council do so wisely and get involved!

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