Long Live JJ Rawlings!
Americans have a saying that there are two things that are inevitable in the life of any adult citizen. And these two things are “Death” and “Taxes.” Of course, the payment of taxes is largely for citizens with jobs, although it goes without saying that anybody who has ever taken money out of their wallet for the purchase of any item, including foods, has paid some form of tax.
The question of death, on the other hand, is a patently pedestrian matter of course and time. Shakespeare called it “an existential act of lottery.” The legendary Bard-of-Avon, England, did not exactly put it in the words quoted above, but he definitely meant it. Just as short of being, ourselves, a part of a multiple birth, such as my twin late mother was, most of us popped out of our mothers’ wombs severally, or individually; and, of course, to Mother Earth shall we return in single file. Or may I say in a “beeline”?
I have heard it either said or announced more times than I care to remember, that Chairman Jerry John Rawlings has died. The last time was nearly two months ago, when one of my elder sisters called to tell me that she had be sent or “wasapped” such news, or chanced across the same on one of the legion Ghanaian media websites, or Facebook or Twitter, I forget which. For, as those of you regular readers of my columns know, I have no particular fondness for the man and his equally snooty and megalomaniacal wife and their eldest daughter, who well appears to be poised towards securing her bloody father’s old job by hook and/or crook in the eerily foreseeable future. I really couldn’t care less about whether Ms. Zanetor Agyeman-Rawlings ever becomes President of Ghana or not, for I do not intend to go back and live in that country anytime soon or ever again at all. Life, over all, has not dealt me that badly, at all, in the choppy waters of these United “Shades” of America, as that Cable News Network (CNN) comedian by the name of Kamau prefers to put it.
But what such false “death wishes” for Rawlings bring to mind, for me, is the fact that the oldest of the former junta leaders whom this career coup-plotting criminal fell in his so-called Housecleaning Revolutionary Exercises was only 48 years old. Going by this relatively evanescent life-expectancy scale, I guess my own life should have ended nearly a decade ago. At one point, I came dangerously close to giving up on Divine Providence, for allowing unconscionable and cold-calculating butchers like the Rawlingses and the Tsikatas walk our godforsaken Earth in filthy richness for so nauseatingly long. Then, I had to quickly regain my sanity and come to the grim realization that Judgment did not belong to me. Oh, no, not by any stretch of the imagination! And that is all well and good; for then would I have become precisely that very epic monstrosity that I have lived most of my life straining to avoid.
But I also don’t know that whoever manages the Office of Chairman Jerry John Rawlings got it right in asserting that the persons who have been feeding the media with the fake news of his/her boss’ demise, have done anything nearly half as “distasteful” as the at once brutal and primitive summary execution of the 8 former military rulers of the country. I also don’t buy this inanity that, somehow, merely publishing fake news about the death of Chairman Rawlings is any “reckless or insensitive act” that is apt to cause harm to “family, friends and sympathizers of the former President.” A mild heart-attack, maybe.
You see, I have never imagined a dead Chairman Rawlings laid out in state at the State House, with congenital buffoons and rascals like Messrs. Koku Anyidoho, Kofi Adams, Johnson Asiedu-Nketia, Kofi Portuphy, and the rest of the hoodlum pack doing obeisance to this equally reprobate half-Scottish waif for a couple of weeks like was done for President Kwame Nkrumah. Don’t you think, dear reader, that that would simply be too costly?
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By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York
May 27, 2017
E-mail: [email protected]
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