Our Roots in America Go Much Deeper Than Donald Trump
Maybe somebody more historically savvy and civically responsible ought to remind President Trump, that as a people, the roots of the erstwhile Gold Coasters, presently called Ghanaians, reach much deeper into the soils of America than himself. You see, long before migrant European tribes like the Polish, Hungarians, Russians, Italians, Czechs and Slovenians and other non-WASPian groups flooded and literally swamped the present-day United States, Ghanaians and other West Africans, including Sierra Leoneans, Senegalese, Gambians, Nigerians, Togolese, Beninese (or Beninois) and Ivorians had already arrived – of course, against their wishes and best judgments – and tamed much of the land and made it both cultivable and habitable with their blood and trail of tears.
In those days, absolutely no Africans required any visas or travel documents to come to the United States, then vaguely and simply called The New World. According to Mr. Christopher Columbus (See Ivan van Sertima’s “They Came Before Columbus”), Africans preceded the first modern European settlers of the Americas. We were instead, the human gold, diamonds, visas and machinery that members of these European tribes required to make their settlement and existence in The New World worthwhile (See “US Visa Sanctions: Government Ready to Pay Price to Defend Ghanaians – Hadzide” CitiNewsRoom.com / Ghanaweb.com 2/3/19). Well, I have waited until now to weigh in on this relatively “mild” controversy raging between small-country Ghana and mega-nation America because from the get-go, I vaguely reckoned the impasse to be one that decidedly verged on racism.
Indeed, as of this writing, I was still convinced that the imposition of visa restrictions or the sanctions slapped on the pate of the Government of Ghana was a veritable and an inescapable act of blood-dripping racism. Here is why: you see, if the Trump Administration so direly wanted to rationalize immigrant/migrant residency here in the United States by ensuring that everybody living on this land who was not a Native American entered this country legally, then the onus of poof of illegitimacy and/or illegality rested fully on the party effecting the deportation orders. And that individual or institutional entity could not unilaterally decide that just about anybody rounded up for deportation or eliminations from the United States, who claimed to be of Ghanaian descent or Ghanaian citizenship without any documentary proof was, perforce, a bona fide Ghanaian citizen. No such hollow premise could be more preposterous or absurd.
The stance assumed by the United States’ Department of State and the Immigration Services (ICE) is downright preposterous because merely claiming that any individual or groups of individuals are of Ghanaian origin necessitates documentary proof or verifiable evidentiary confirmation of the same. The American Consulate in Ghana or ICE officials here in the United States can simply not arbitrarily dog-tag any Negroid-looking person with the label of “Ghanaian” and expect the Government in Accra to servilely and knee-jerkily comply with such edict by the prompt and unquestioning issuance of passports and other travel documents to such persons within the temporally lightning space of 30 days or one month. Forcibly bundling such deportees onto the relatively more expensive charter flights ought not to be the problem of the Ghanaian Government either, if also because clearly due judicial process had not been followed, in most cases.
I have personally been resident here in the United States for nearly 35 years and can readily attest that if the diametrically opposite situation had been the case, there is absolutely no way that either the White House or US Immigration and diplomatic officials would have servilely and unquestioningly complied. I am also an American citizen and can readily vouch that had the sanctions recently and presently imposed on Ghana by the Trump Government been imposed on the United States by the Government of Ghana, two things would have happened by way of a swift response. One, the United States would have either given Ghana an ultimatum of just under several hours or a couple of face-saving days to lift such sanctions or have the full-brunt of Uncle Sam’s military might promptly unleashed on peanut-sized Ghana. Of course, the other more civilized diplomatic alternative would have been for Uncle Sam to corral its allies to immediately ensure that Ghana was literally brought down to its knees via the swift imposition of UN-backed comprehensive sanctions.
What the Trump Administration is presently doing to Ghana is inexcusably insulting and must be vehemently protested in no uncertain terms. Ghanaians should not allow themselves to be so taken for granted. But it also significant to note that the scandalous decision by former President John Dramani Mahama to deviously and secretly accept the two Saudi-born Yemeni terror suspects detained in Cuba’s Guantanamo Bay Prison by the US Military for more than 10 years, apiece, from the then departing Obama Administration, has quite a lot to do with such show of abject disrespect on the part of these officials of the Trump Government. Indeed, legend has it that at least two of America’s favorite church hymns, namely, “Amazing Grace” and “How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds” were composed by one of the “born-again” slave-catching and trading Wesley Brothers, while awaiting a shipload of Eighteenth-Century Ghanaians, offshore of Cape Coast, bound for the rice, cotton and tobacco fields of the so-called New World.
Indeed, barely a month after I had departed the shores of Ghana with my wife and two sons, last year, Mrs. Melania Trump flew to Ghana and embarked on a tour of the Cape Coast Castle, a veritable dungeon of massive African enslavement between the 1450s and the 1820s and pretended to pay a heartfelt tribute to global African humanity. I regret that Mr. Trump, once again, characteristically, and deviously, decided to use his wife for the crass indulgence of such a patent charade. I am also quite certain that Divine Providence is not the least bit amused.
*Visit my blog at: kwameokoampaahoofe.wordpress.com Ghanaffairs
By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York
February 9, 2019
E-mail: [email protected]
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