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01.06.2017 Feature Article

Lack Of Empathy, The Cause Of The Ills In Ghana

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JUN 1, 2017 FEATURE ARTICLE

"A human being is a part of a whole, called by us "universe", a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest... a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty (Albert Einstein).

I write in shame with Reference to death of Captain Maxwell Adam Mahama that has caught the spectacles and emotions of the general public.

A society in which we care only to those we know and act inhumanely to strangers, because we feel he or she does not belong to us. The perpetrators were not empathetic to know how it feels to lose a parent,husband, wife brother or a sister. What a premeditated assault resulting from a premeditated act of aggression. Always think before you act and not vice versa.

He was held in ill repute, no one would trust his words. He kept yearning for help but no one would listen to his cry. We should be more concern about people less in the light of what they do or fail to perform, and more in the light of what they suffer. And that someone's pain is as meaningful as your own.

He died in the face of premeditated criminal acts caused by grossly negligent. He could have fired back and kill some people before his death, considering that self-preservation is the first law of nature, but Captain Mahama had the law in his heart. He could not kill the same people he pledged to protect. He is a legend to the law and Ghana as a whole. May his soul Rest in peace.

Common sense will tell you that, no armed robber will hold a gun and be jogging in a broad day light. Come to think of it, where in the constitution is one allowed to torture someone to their death even when caught in a wrongful act. We have heard, if not witnessed, issues of lynching every passing day and nothing is being done, a society in which people acts with their own whim and caprices. We have been in this predicament of anarchy for long, and a law must be passed and enforced.

Ghanaians are reactive in focus, they wait for the unimaginable to happen before they act, and there is always a scapegoat. In fact, this state of affair is not helping. Preventive measures is better than curative measures because not all ills can be cured. The dead they say is always guilty( a popular Akan proverb). After his death, there are a lot of invented lies and despicable talks to make him appear guilty.

The leaders in the community were not pragmatic enough to handle the situation. They should have known better with respect to the law. And even if he was an armed robber, what right do they have to kill?Theyshould have taken him to the police station when he was motionless. The issues in this case are, the infringement on the rights of Captain Mahama and infringement of duty on the side of the community leaders. Is this the competent leadership we have? A good leader must be able to apprehend complex situations at any point in time, and deal with it amicably. Violence is not the best option.

The emotions of the spectator will still be very apt to fall short of the violence of what is felt by the sufferer. Mankind, though naturally sympathetic, never conceive, for what has befallen another, that degree of passion which naturally animates the person principally concerned (Adam Smith's-the Theory of Moral Sentiments).

All those people who had a hand in his death knows that killing is repugnant to morality, yet they took someone's life. Where lies our sense of reasoning.

Empathy is born out of the old biblical injunction 'Love thy neighbor as thyself (George Mcgovern).

Empathy, tolerance and love, these are the values that our religious leaders, teachers, parents, among others must propagate and inculcate in the youth to bring up a peaceful society. Empathy is about standing in someone else's shoes, feeling with his or her heart, seeing with his or her eyes. And it is only through that can we make the world a better place to live.

Thank You.
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Prince Ayerakwa
Prince Ayerakwa, © 2017

This author has authored 21 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: AyerakwaPrince

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