Are you Going to #OccupyFlagStaffHouse?

“Chile, I don’t want you mixed up in all dat revolution, y’hear? They gon’ KILL your scrawny ass!”

This phrase was repeated in various forms in Negro homes all across America in the 50s and 60s. Parents who had lived through Jim Crow and whose own parents and grandparents had come out of slavery and Reconstruction knew what a cagey government and ruling class bent on the destruction of a people was capable of. Asking for change was dangerous. They could (and often would) actually kill you – the fed up, ordinary citizen – to maintain the status quo. The fear of these parents whose children were seeking radical change and ‘revolution’ was real and absolutely warranted. They had often witnessed the fiery destruction that comes with change, and thus became apathetic.

That’s why I know for a fact that if I was in Ghana on July 1st, my father would absolutely forbid me from attending #OccupyFlagStaffHouse. It’s too risky, and that is why he would never permit his grown daughter to attend this event. And you know what? Despite the fact that I am a 36 year old woman with four kids of my own, I would have to acquiesce to his wishes or risk the shame of being branded a ‘disobedient daughter’ in the course of attempting to usher in change through civil disobedience. There are thousands of women and men who will have to make that same choice on July 1st.

For the benefit of full disclosure, allow me to state now that I do not live in any part of Ghana. I live abroad with my family and visit Ghana annually. Regular visitors to this blog know this, but for those who are coming here because of this hashtag, I do not want to give the impression that I am championing this cause from the comfort of my climate controlled home sipping imported coffee because I have the luxury to. I will neither condemn anyone who wants to attend this rally nor those who see no use in it. I understand each position equally. People are afraid, and they have every right to be.

For those of us old enough to witness or remember the stories “Rawlings Chain”, firing squad, people disappearing in the night or having your home razed because you had one too many toilets, #OccupyFlagStaffHouse is akin to courting trouble. Why do all that? Why not wait until 2016 and vote these NDC bums out!

The problem is Ghana’s decay is not an NDC or NPP problem. This is a Ghanaian problem. These “leaders” come from among us. My uncle went to school with JJ Rawlings. One of your uncles or aunties went to school with Kuffour and Co. Some of you went to school with Victoria Hammah. These individuals did not sudden garner a new set of mores when they got into political office and acquire power. For example, if a politician does not build a house for his mother within his first 2 years in office, he is insulted mercilessly. The entire family expects “to chop” some of the benefits that come with his position. The rest of us have to wait your turn to put a son in power! The politician then therefore becomes “hope” in himself, rather than working to create hope for the nation. No wonder these guys think they are demigods.

We have a culture of service and respect, but we keep it relegated to the realm of the traditional. You would never go to Nana’s house and drop your waste in his courtyard. But what do you find outside of the chief’s palace in our streets? You find people dropping Fan Ice and Pure Water wrappers in the road, plastic waste everywhere, and hawkers selling dog chains on barren patches of land with a sign commanding “Do Not Walk on the Grass”.

wasteIt’s all very cyclical. Ghanaians do not have the structures in place to allow them to be a better brand of citizen and so they in turn exhibit behaviors of poor citizenship. Our streets would not be so filthy if we had proper, reliable waste management, and the ONLY body sanctioned to provide that right now is the federal government. Give Ghanaians waste baskets and recycling containers on the streets, educate the masses on the hazards of improper waste, dispose of it properly and we will change our habits! But for Heaven’s sake, please stop this practice of moving our metropolitan garbage into the countryside and polluting their landscapes and water bodies. It’s demonic.

This is but one of the many, many issues that Ghanaians are protesting against on July 1st. People are asking for:

  • A commitment to better governance and transparency
  • An end to wanton, indiscriminate corruption
  • A tangible plan to power and provide the whole of Ghana with basic, necessary utilities like electricity and water
  • Access to better education for ALL Ghana’s children
  • An overhaul of the tax code and revenue accumulation practices
  • Ensure a proper functioning health insurance scheme
  • Scrap all policies which inhibit establishment and growth of business
  • A commitment to stop dicking with our progress as a  people

(Okay, okay! I confess. I added that last line item. It is not on the official list.)

 

What is so “revolutionary” about these requests in 2014?

That is why #OccupyFlagStaffHouse is not a “revolution”, although the idea itself is. It’s a peaceful protest asking and providing ordinary citizens a platform to exercise their right to protest the needlessly harsh conditions under which they find themselves. In a country as where the populace is as apathetic and conditioned to accept scraps as ours is, movements like One Simple Step and Occupy Flag Staff are paramount civil disobedience indeed!

Now, they naysayers who say there is no need or benefit in protesting want a “wait and see” approach. They say Ghanaians are lazy and that that they need to “innovate”, rather than demonstrate. But really, who is more innovative than the kindergarten boy who has to make his own toys out of milk tins and flip flops because his dad cannot find a job in Ghana’s abysmal economy? And every day, whether they are seamstresses or event planners, men and women have to get up and go to work doing the same thing: building their enterprises out of milk tins and chale wote. We cannot “innovate” our way to progress when there is only one functioning imaging machine at the harbor and your imported food items for your cold store go rotting in the container for an eternity while the officials scan other boxes that have been sitting there for months. A Ghanaian entrepreneur cannot “innovate” his way to success when he suddenly lands a long awaited deal and upon discovering he needs to renew his passport in order to travel and close said deal, is told that he will have to wait 3-6 months to get it because the passport making machine is broken!

Ah ah!

I get it. I understand people are afraid. They don’t want these Occupiers rocking the boat. Some say Ghanaians are not ‘fearful’ but rather apathetic to their plight. An apathetic population is the biggest gift you could give to a corrupt, inept government, because they no longer have to use bully tactics like firing squad and search and seizure to keep you in check: you’ll keep yourself in check. It’s easier to just shrug, suffer, sleep and repeat.

I think Edward Tagoe summed up the necessity of #OccupyFlagStaffHouse quite nicely:

edward

It’s a fascinating idea, isn’t it? That the Black African who all have said can only be ruled by force and the gun can use his/her wits and civility to change their circumstances? Isn’t that how we got our independence in the first place? And for all those asking “Ehhh…you’ve gone to sit in the sun on the grass and then now what?”

Well, that really depends on the Mahama Administration, doesn’t it?

 

 

 

 

 

Are American Parents Under A Systematic Societal Attack?

Becoming a parent should be a joyous event in everyone’s life; however circumstances surrounding a birth are not always ideal. Some of us are products of rape or incest. Some of us were born into poverty or dysfunctional families. No matter what our circumstances, if you’re reading this blog today, it’s safe to assume you’re alive. You’re here. You exist, and you matter. For that, you have a parent or guardian to thank.

Being a parent is hard work, but it has been my experience that being a parent in America is 400 times harder than anything I ever imagined. Everyone is so insular. Community support is virtually non-existent. The government is perpetually in your family’s business, gathering the most minute details of your existence in order to build a profile around you, and everyone – and I do mean everyone – has an opinion (but rarely offers tangible support) about how you raise your child(ren) or conduct your daily affairs.

Despite all the social structures, amenities and checks and balances we have in this country, parenting is a hard task. Perhaps it is because of all those so-called checks and balances that raising a family is so difficult in America. It gives a false sense that life is foolproof and that absolutely nothing can ever go wrong at any time under any circumstances. This is nonsense, of course. America is not Heaven and it is inhabited by humans. It’s not perfect. However I truly believe that a large swath of Americans have deluded themselves into thinking this is the case: individually, they think they are perfect and that therefore everyone else is perfect. These are the folks who wantonly use the terms “always” and “never” in the comments section of the news and on radio.

They aren’t very bright, but they can’t be ignored because they exist in such large numbers.

Four years ago I wrote a blog entitled Judging Shaquan Duley  which was about the young mother who smothered her toddler children before driving their lifeless bodies into a lake. In this post I talked about the gloomy side of motherhood – the side that doesn’t make it onto pastel-prismed television commercials or glassy magazine ads. Poor, Black, single motherhood is hard, and it requires a level of mental fortitude that not all women possess. Ms. Duley’s children paid the ultimate price for her frailty. Reactions were swift, condemning and predictable, calling Duley a monster who should be “hung from the nearest tree”, all of which I documented in the blog.

Recently, a mother stopped at a gas station in Houston and left her 8 month old baby in the car while she went inside to pay for gas. As I understand, it was pretty late at night, and the baby was sleeping. As she waited to be attended to, a male suspect took her car (which was still running with the keys in the ignition) and drove off with her baby which he later abandoned in the woods. Again, social reaction was quick and condemning. “No one” could understand why “anyone” would leave their child in the car! Some wanted the mother charged for negligence. Again, some suggested killing the mother for retribution for what she had done. I read with disbelief, although I shouldn’t have been shocked. Why was none of this ire reserved for the criminal who stole the car? The mother and her child were the victims here. I can completely understand why she left the car running: it was Texas. It was probably hot as hell, and she didn’t want to leave her child in a hot car while she went inside to pay for gas! But you know, Americans are ‘perfect’ and when things are not done the way in which they approve of…

Speaking of hot cars, I want to return to Justin Harris’ case. A friend of mine copied me on a CNN report showing breaking news on the developments within the case. I am here to state unequivocally that I support Justin Harris and that I believe in his innocence. I have never met Mr. Harris, but I know him. I’ve met people like him in various forms in my life.

If you live long enough, you will encounter all kinds of people. You’ll meet folks who are introverts, overachievers, slackers, simpletons, douchebags, saints, opportunists, narcissists and prodigies. You will also meet people who are just plain forgetful, and I truly believe Justin Harris is the lattermost. First of all, he’s a man – and it is the nature of men to forget. I am by no means knocking men, but if you’ve ever dated or raised a man, you know that they do forget things rather easily: dates, anniversaries, socks in the trunk of the car or to pick up dinner on the way home. Forgetting any of these things is annoying at worst; no one ever got hurt because dad forgot to pick up the Hamburger Helper on the way home. But when dad is absent minded or easily distracted by nature, we see in baby Cooper’s untimely and sad death how the results can fatal.

Why do I believe Justin Harris is the victim of a witch hunt in a self-absorbed society? In the CNN report I mentioned, the reporter(s) states that Mr. Harris did a search on how long it takes an animal to die in a hot car “before leaving his son to die in his hot vehicle” (the article has since been edited). What the report failed to indicate was when this search was done, and if CNN or its staff had an ounce of integrity, they would admit that this search was done in 2013 in relation to a police officer from a Georgia K-9 unit who had left his dog to die in a hot car! But no, that would not be sensational enough to satisfy a blood thirsty American populace looking for a modern-day lynching. The obvious intent in printing this sentence was to lead public opinion, not to report accurately.

I guess at the heart of it, this is what’s pissing me off about the way this whole story is being handled. It’s a story being built on half-truths and whole lies, and that charge is being led by the media. Journalism was to be my profession had I not chosen PR, and to know that the likes of Victor Blackwell, Devon M. Sayers, MaryLynn Ryan and Joe Sterling over at CNN – as well as hundreds of other crap reporters working for lesser known organizations who are sullying the foundation of journalism – could be named as my colleagues makes me grateful that I am not included in that number. It’s DISGUSTING. It pains me to see this power being abused this way. At the end of every headline, paragraph and comma, a man’s life hangs in the balance…but you can’t report the story without a slant for the sake of sensationalism and ratings? If I could come by your office and take a dump on all your desks I wouldn’t hesitate to do so. You deserve nothing but scorn.

sherrifWhat’s even more stomach churning is the behavior of the police in this matter… as though they as a unit or as individuals are above error or reproach. Did you know that in Douglas County, within days of Justin Harris forgetting his son in the car on that fateful day, an entire DIVISION of the police left two teens in a holding cell for nearly three days because someone “forgot” they were there? Left them with nothing but a toilet and a sink over the weekend. (Douglas County is 28 minutes away from Cobb county where Justin was arrested, by the way.) So you see, even the police can forget. Although in this case, they have the luxury of calling it an “oversight” because thankfully neither of the kids was hurt.

I am frightened MOM Squad. We live in a world where people think they are entitled to every bit of minutiae in your life in order to sit in judgment of and eventually try to crucify you with it. We live in a society that allows no room for human error. What’s even more unsettling is that so many of these people demanding perfection themselves lack critical thinking skills, the power of deduction and more importantly, compassion – and these are the folks who are fueling and steering the engine of our society!

This is what scares me as a parent living in the Land of the Free. One wrong Google search, one unexplainable scrape on my child, one moment spent doing something in haste and I too could find myself accused unspeakable, unfathomable things.

I will continue to keep the Harris family and all families in this country in my prayers.

Are you a parent? Do you feel supported by your community? Have you had the opportunity to raise children in different parts of the country/world? How does it compare? Discuss!

Why Can’t Zendaya Play Aaliyah? It All Goes Back to Cotton.

Hey there, Reader! Do you have any idea what this is? No, no. Not the white fluffy stuff. That’s easy. We all know that’s cotton. I’m talking about the big wooden thing it’s sitting in. I’ll give you three attempts before I tell you.

WhitneyCottonGin

That, folks, is Eli Whitney’s cotton gin…or a replica of it, at least. Did you know that just before this invention, slavery was on its way to being phased out in the South because it had become so unprofitable to grow and harvest cotton? The overhead cost of housing and feeding slaves was blowing cotton planter’s margins so abysmally that they nearly gave up on the enterprise! But then came Eli Whitney (and his Black apprentice too) with his witty invention that separated cotton fibers from their seeds and *POOF!*, Black people found themselves in bondage for another hundred years!

Most White folk don’t use cotton gins any more, seeing as there aren’t that many cotton plantations dotting this country’s landscape. The once useful cotton gin – this innovative tool that tied Black folk in bondage – has become a relic of the past. That’s what White people do: they develop tools and discard them when they have no more use.

That’s what they did with colorism.

We all know colorism was a tool used on the plantations to create social hierarchies that would pre-determine what benefits every person of color would receive. At one point in time, there were about 285 designations of Black color based on pigmentation, hair type and features, as well as accompanying tests to determine where an individual fit in the spectrum. Some of the more famous ones are the “brown paper bag” and the “pencil” tests. Colorism, just like Eli Whitney’s cotton gin, was yet another effective tool that the white ruling class used to keep Black people in bondage. But they don’t need it anymore so guess what? It became too became a relic.

Oh, please. Make no mistake. To the average Caucasian of a certain age Black is Black is Black. I work with a particular (white) gentleman named Will* who routinely calls my other (black) co-workers by wrong names. He is always quick to apologize.

“I’m sorry so!” he said with a chuckle once during a break. “It’s just that Mark and Kevin look so much alike!”

I snorted in contempt, replying “What are you talking about Will? Mark is four shades darker than Kevin, and Kevin was a bodybuilder. Even their frames are completely different!”

“Well,” he went on the explain, “to the average white man like me, they look pretty much the same…”

And THAT folks is how Mark could do the crime and Kevin could end up doing the crime. The idiotic nature of his view aside, Will unwittingly revealed something about how people who are not black see blackness: and that is that it is universal. It’s just “Black”. And why should it not be? After all, whiteness comes in peaches n’ cream, chalk and olive, but it still has the ‘benefit’ of being just plain ol’ white skin. There is no more stigma to having a creamy complexion than there is to having a copper colored one. This dynamic does not exist in the Black community, and I’m here to say it needs to!

zendaya-instagram-musicMy Twitter timeline has been alight for the last few days about a little girl named Zendaya. Zendaya Coleman is a Disney star: she sings, acts dances – you get the picture. Zendaya has also been tapped to play Aaliyah in an upcoming Lifetime biopic. This has certain Black folk – who are still stuck with a plantation mentality – very angry indeed. They say Zendaya is “too light” or “not black enough” to play Aaliyah.

zen and dadThis is where it gets complicated and really political. This is Zendaya’s dad. He’s about as dark as my dad, which is pretty darn dark. Zendaya is biracial – her mom is white. It is no fault of Zendaya’s that she was not born darker. She’s half black, and according to what society has been telling us for years, that makes her “all” black. However, because she is not an “acceptable” shade of black, she is unfit to play Aaliyah (God rest her soul). Looking at these two pictures of the pair side-by-side, I’d say she’s an afternoon in the sun away from matching Aaliyah’s complexion.

Zen aaliyah

But who cares? Seriously! Is this something to be miffed about? Zendaya has the talent to play the role, so why are some factions so eager to keep her from an opportunity based on the circumstances of her birth? Isn’t that what the whole Civil Rights/Lunch Counter/Bloody Sunday thing supposed to be about? So that mainstream society would judge us based on our abilities and not on the color of our skin? Why are we still holding on to relics from the past that our former oppressors themselves not only no longer use, but don’t even recognize?

On a certain level, I get it. Hollywood has long used lighter skinned Black people as the standard of “good enough” in marketing and film-making. I had a lengthy discussion with a friend about this last night, who is herself very light skinned. She was incensed. She talked about how hard it is for black women beyond “this” shade of brown to get any major roles, and that light skin is the only Black face white Americans feel comfortable seeing on screen and in print.

“That may all well be true, but we’re the ones with the power to change that, and we haven’t,” I pointed out.

Any one of our top producers and directors could have chosen to make an Aaliyah biopic and cast Keke Palmer (which would be absurd) or Raven Symone (even more preposterous) who both have the benefit of being born to two black parents to satisfy this ridiculous self-hatred that pervades our culture.

So there you have it: Zendaya can’t play Aaliyah because deep down inside, despite all of our progress, some Black people would still really rather be picking cotton.

 

Be honest: does Zendaya’s mized race heritage make her unsuitable to play the tragically departed singer? Halle Berry is biracial, but her skin is darker than Zendaya’s. If Ms. Coleman had been born “darker” would it make casting her in this role “better”? Are there larger political implications of a mixed race girl playing a Black girl that I’m ignoring? Just raise your hand if you think the whole thing is just asinine. Discuss ↓

Hairenemies – part 2

Originally posted on Hairvolution:

I present the concluding part of Hairenemies. If you haven’t read it, do check the previous post.

6. This is truth; trimming does not make hair grow. Of course if your ends are weak and damaged, they will have to go but regular trimming in itself does not increase the hair growth rate. Pay attention to the ends of your hair and trim accordingly. Don’t allow that scissor – happy stylist, to chop off those tresses unless they are absolutely necessary.

7. Relaxer ills; there are some stylists who spread the relaxer over already processed hair which weakens the hair more than it already is. If you want thick healthy hair, ensure that your processed hair is coated with Vaseline or shea butter. I mentioned Vaseline because its stifling properties are what we need to shield our already processed hair against the relaxer-attack. Your hair does not have to cook…

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Hairenemies (part 1)

Malaka:

Yes! We are talking about HAIR again. But instead of all the negativity, this discussion is about loving your locks to length. It’s a two-part series, written by my friend Lady Adwoa.

Originally posted on Hairvolution:

Today, I present to you part 1 of what I’ve titled, ” Hairenemies”

So you’ve never gone past a certain length when it comes to your hair…is it neck length? Or shoulder length? Or just because you think your hair does not and cannot grow, you really do not care anymore? How about if I told you that you and your hairdresser/hair stylist may be the reason why your hair does not grow out? Is it true? Let’s see

  1. Heat. Everyone wants to look fly all the time and I do not begrudge you but honey, please put the flat iron down. Put the curler away. Many of us use these items on a regular basis without a heat protectant and we damage our hair badly.  A heat protectant is a product that protects your hair from potential damage from regular use of direct heat such as flat irons, curling irons…

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Hot Cars

I wasn’t going to discuss this story because it hits so close to home, but now I feel like I have to. Before I became a parent I was extremely judgmental. I never knew why people with kids houses and cars were so dirty, and why moms couldn’t make themselves look better when they went outside. Now that I am a parent I am less judgmental, but I still find myself frowning upon the antics of other parents.

So today, I am here to tell on myself, and to do so in support of a man I have never met.

****

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014, must have been a day for forgetting. Wednesday is the day the trash man comes to collect our garbage. It is my husband’s duty to take out the garbage every week. He has done this for 11 years, and I can only recall one other time – years ago – when he forgot to do it. My husband was preoccupied with trying to get “frisky” that morning, and I wanted none of it. I wanted to keep reading the news, so he got up to go to work. As he made for the door, I called for him not to forget to take out the trash.

“I won’t,” he called back.

Then I heard him make his breakfast, grab his backpack, and walk out the door. There was no rustling of plastic bags or metal scraping concrete. Had he taken out the trash? A trip downstairs 5 minutes later confirmed he had NOT. I called him immediately to make him aware of his folly.

“Don’t worry,” I said dryly. “I have already taken it out.”

That was a lie, but I didn’t want him turning around in Atlanta traffic to do something that although I am loathe to do, am very capable of doing. I muttered obscenities as I dumped soaked pull-ups and sticky yogurt containers into the larger bin for collection.

Later that day, I was driving with the kids to go get some lunch and was reminded of how annoyed I was with my husband for making me perform this menial task. Then I was distracted by something a prickling in my armpits. Gosh it was hot. My phone said the high was 93*. My car said it was 97* outside. I turned on the A/C, but that hardly had any effect on the suffering my children and I were enduring. How ironic that unbeknownst to us, another child was going through a thousand times a worse agony.

On Thursday morning, my husband sent me a text at 8:48 am. He usually waits to call me at lunch so I knew something exciting must have happened. When I read the message and felt sick.

“My co-worker left his son in the car yesterday…”

I gasped in horror. He didn’t even have to finish. The sensation of that extreme heat we all felt in my own car on that Wednesday flooded my body.

“The baby didn’t make it,” I typed frantically. I waited for him to tell me I was wrong.

“No,” Marshall confirmed. “He died.”

I inwardly and immediately forgave him for forgetting to take out the trash the day before. Without warning, I was overcome by anger and fury. I typed a cryptic message.

“If you ever leave one of our kids in the car, I’ll kill you. I’ll kill you and then I’ll divorce you.”

A few hours later Marshall called to tell me he’d be coming home. He couldn’t take it at work, and he wanted to be around his kids. He had held the child who’d passed away not too long ago.

“Malaka, he was THE cutest white baby ever,” he said in amazement. “He was perfect…like a little Gerber baby.”

His face had a blank, drawn out look. His eyes were devoid of life. I’d seen this same look before. It is the same vacant gaze that clouds his co-workers mug shot. The look that internet trolls have described as “unfeeling”. Perhaps they are right. Some things hurt too much to feel….

ross

I suppose Marshall wanted a distraction from all this horror, which might explain why he announced on Friday that he wanted to take me out. With four kids in our arsenal, there is no room for spontaneity. I informed him that i he wanted to go out, he would have to make the arrangements. I certainly was in no mood to try to secure a babysitter, figure out rates,  go to the ATM to get cash to pay her, etc. Fortunately, we had a willing party who had no plans of her own that evening. She lives in Norcross, which meant a 40 minute drive to her house, coupled with another 40 minute drive downtown to have our outing, and then the same journey in reverse just to get home.

I was exhausted by the time we pulled up to our driveway and fell asleep in the car while Marshall and the kids got out. When I had rested enough I got out, locked the car and the front door and went up to bed. Marshall was putting on Stone’s pajamas as I groggily slipped off my shoes.

“Did you get Liya out of the car?”

“What?!”

All sleepiness abandoned me as panic took over.

“Liya,” he repeated. “She asleep in the backseat of the car.”

I raced down the stairs and went to retrieve my child; but the car door was locked. I growled for Nadjah to have her father unlock it from upstairs. She casually went upstairs to relay the message as I had my hand on the handle waiting for the mechanical *click*. Why wasn’t the door unlocking?

Nadjah suddenly materialized and handed me the keys saying, “Here you go, Mommy.”

Those were not my instructions! Whatever. I thanked her and told her to head for bed as I opened the back hatch to pull Liya out. She was completely knocked out, sleeping soundly and silently. I never knew she was there.

*****

And that folks is how I too could have left my kid in a hot car all night. If my husband had not asked if I had gotten her out, we might have been living through our own Hell this weekend. We try to be good parents, but we are neither perfect parents nor do everything perfectly as people. I do not know what was going through Ross’ mind that morning when he left his first and only child in his car. I don’t know if he saw him. I don’t know what changed in his routine that morning. All I know is that I believe he did not intentionally leave his kid in there to die such a painful death.

“Ross is a good man,” Marshall lamented. “He was a good father who loved his son very much.”

That this tragedy occurred so close to Father’s Day is something that Ross will have to live with the remainder of his life. I hope and pray that his wife can forgive him, that he can forgive himself, and that the AJC, Yahoo and other internet trolls will realize that it is only by the grace of God that similar tragedies do not befall us all more often. One slip up, one lapse in attention for a moment is all it takes. You are NOT perfect.

Just be vigilant, my people. If you have kids, remember to look twice. Look out for one another and if you see something amiss, please say or do something.

Discuss ↓

 

 

 

Open Letter to My Broken Heart: Requiem for the Black Stars’ Loss

Dear Broken Heart,

How is it you are still beating? I marvel at your strength. To endure such a blow and to choose to carry on…My; that that is a testament to your tenacity indeed.

I suppose you’ve been here before though. You’ve had a lifetime of being ‘swerved’ and have come back from it. Remember when I was in primary school and my parents told me I’d be travelling to America for the long vacation? The dates that they gave me coincided with part of the final exams, and I gleefully skipped around Soul Clinic smugly informing my classmates that I not only would I not be on campus while they were figuring maths and social studies questions, but I’d also be in the air eating fine airplane food which would most likely include some sort of pudding for desert.

Do you remember the devastation when my parents informed me that my trip had been postponed for another month? Oh the shame…the shame of it all! In my heart I would rather die than go back to school to take an exam (which I had foolishly not studied for) and face my friends who would undoubtedly shame me. And shame me they did. Joanna Aryee had asked me to bring her Jehri Curls upon my return from America, and there I was – sitting by her in my beige and brown. Still, you kept beating, insisting that I carry on living.

My parents did this to me once more before I learned to shut up and stop bragging about events that had not come to pass and that were not certain for the future. From then on, whenever I got news of a big event, I kept quiet until it had come and gone. It was too stressful for you, my dear and one and only heart. I forgot that lesson and look what I’ve done to you again!

Do you recall how we spent last night? It’s not as though the memory is not fresh. I dug up the archives of all the old love songs – or gnashing ballads, as I like to call them – in an effort to soothe the pain of the loss to Team USA.

Team USA.

Kai! How can a whole Ghana lose to a marshmallow team like the Americans? (And this is not a racist quip ooo. I mean marshmallow as in ‘soft’, not ‘white’!) A team whose country neither prays for them, thinks of them, knows a single member of their squad and whose scoring average is similar to that of a Li’l Kickers soccer league? How, how, how?? It is because we were over confident. After all, they haven’t outmatched or outplayed us in 12 years. But it was that over confidence rendered me weak and curled up in a fetal position playing and replaying End of the Road, Where do Broken Hearts Go?, and Naija Baby until the pain went away. The remedy didn’t work. Still, it persists. Even Boys II Men can’t fix this one!

It’s not even so much that Ghana lost oo. It is specifically that we lost to America. When your day starts with reading articles such as this gem from the WSJ whose opening line consists of this string of despicable wording:

Of all the possible nemeses in world soccer, the American national team is haunted by a team from an impoverished West African nation with a population less than one-tenth the size of the U.S.

it kind of puts a sting in your bum. Who told him Ghana was ‘impoverished’? What an odd choice of words when the Appalachian Mountains are just a few hundred miles away from where this post was written. Now that’s real poverty!

And then when this same soft American team goes on to score in the first 40 seconds of the game, it boggles the mind. But even that vertigo inducing moment isn’t nearly as bad as when Ellen dissed my homeland with this tweet:

ellen tweet

You stupid wench. Do you know where the slave labor and chocolate that you give to your guests in your greenroom come from? No? Ahhh…okay. You are just all the way ignorant then. Your nyass, wae?

Finally, as the game came to a close, another titan of American industry took a swing at my beloved Ghana. Delta airlines, which has weekly flights from JFK to Accra posted this image on twitter to congratulate the US team.

delta-airlines

Hei?!!? How?!?! Has any Delta pilot seen a giraffe walking around Kotoka International Airport as he’s landed? Why would Delta Airlines make America look so unyieldingly ignorant when Google could have provided a myriad of images? Even if they had used a crocodile, I couldn’t have been offended. After all, we used crocs in our adinkra symbolism and as tourists’ attractions. In addition to that, our climate isn’t even hospitable to giraffes. You want to kill one of nature’s most majestic beings with your ignorance? Delta, Delta, Delta…

Anyway, I believe the Football gods didn’t want Ghana to prevail, though we prayed desperately. Yes, we would have loved to have won, but a win would only serve as a distraction to the real issues we are facing. We can’t print passports because the only passport making machine in the country is down and has been for nearly 3 months now. We are borrowing power from our neighbors just to ensure every citizen has the assurance that he/she can watch the Cup (come July, it’s back to erratic supply, so charge your appliances while you can!). Parliament is going to pass the Plant Breeders Bill while our noses are fixed on our TV and enslave the nation to Monsanto while MPs line their pockets with kickbacks. And then we have also forgotten the Chibok 234, which is why Nigeria found herself in a scoreless tie against Iran and Ghana was late to lend her support for Nigeria! The Football Gods are punishing us for being foolish! And back to the WSJ journalist’s point: Ghana is not impoverished, but it certainly is mismanaged.

But where does that leave you, dear Broken Heart? What can I say to comfort you? Nothing. This is a pain that neither Coke, nor chocolate, nor ice cream, nor sex could cure. We must wait until Saturday when Ghana plays Germany and pray for a win…this time with humility and silence. Continue to beat as strong as you can.

With all my love,

Malaka