THIS week, President Barack Obama is meeting with nearly 50 African heads of state in Washington DC, at a summit that is the first of its kind ever held by an American President.

Among the issues to be raised are trade relations between Africa and the United States, and, of course, the threats to Africa’s security that Al Qaeda and its affiliates pose to countries such as Nigeria, Kenya, Mali and Cameroon. No doubt the US will offer assistance to the threatened countries in particular, and Africa as a whole, in fighting the terrorists who are threatening the lives and limbs of our people.

If I were an African head of state who had gone to Washington to discuss such security issues with President Obama, I would tell him politely that I would not accept any help from him because he has made himself an accessory to terrorism, as inflicted upon the people of Gaza, by Israel.

I would tell him that I understood the determination of the United States to assist Israel to resist any attempts by its Arab neighbours to wipe her off the face of the earth. That while the birth of Israel had displaced millions of Palestinian people, the answer was not to wipe Israel off the face of the earth, but to try and salvage something out of the situation into which Israel and its Arab neighbours had been placed by the Great Powers. (It was their selfish desire to accommodate Zionist aspirations that had led them to create the state of Israel in 1948, on land that was then inhabited by Palestinians.)

In doing this, the Great Powers had turned millions of Palestinians into refugees overnight. These refugees were forced to live in other Arab countries, such as Lebanon, which already had their own internal problems. The Arabs reacted by trying to use war as a means of recapturing the land stolen from them. They fought in 1948. And they lost. They fought again in 1967. And lost again. They still tried once more – in 1973. And again, they lost.

What the Arabs did not seem to fully grasp was that in fighting against Israel, they were fighting against the United States. The US did not do anything as crude as sending troops to help Israel (though it is not beyond belief that they sent “military advisers” secretly to help Israel.) What the US did openly was to t provide Israel with some of the most sophisticated weaponry in the American arsenal. Plus intelligence gathered by satellites focused on the Arab-Israeli theatre(s) of war.

Now, if your “secret” military communications are being sent in real time to your enemy, seconds after you have transmitted them, you have already lost the war. But the Arabs ignored such realities and somehow seemed to believe that they could defeat the American deployment of military prowess on behalf of Israel, through the help of – possibly – metaphysical entities.

The Arabs are in fact snookered. The creation of Israel by the Great Powers is a fait accompli. Wars have not been able to reverse it. So a negotiated settlement is the only possible answer.

However, the current politicians of Israel do not want that. For unless they can dangle the threat of extermination-by-Arabs before the eyes of the Israeli electorate they will lose power. Hence the Israeli penchant to create, through their intelligence organisation, Mossad, to create movements within Arab states like Lebanon, which can be used as agents provocateurs to ratchet up incidents that continually remind the Israeli voters of the Arab “danger”. The Arabs should use political finesse to try and avoid the traps laid for them by the Israeli politicians, in this regard. Anwar Sadat tried that approach. But he was misunderstood and gunned down.

In fact, the “enemy” which Israel is currently “fighting” in Gaza, Hamas, was initially created by Israel to act as a foil against genuine Palestinian freedom fighters. This fact was revealed by The Wall Street Journal on 24 January 2009:

QUOTE: How Israel Helped to Spawn Hamas


WSJ Jan. 24, 2009 12:01 a.m. ET

Moshav Tekuma, Israel

Surveying the wreckage of a neighbor’s bungalow hit by a Palestinian rocket, retired Israeli official Avner Cohen traces the missile’s trajectory back to an “enormous, stupid mistake” made 30 years ago. “Hamas, to my great regret, is Israel’s creation,” says Mr. Cohen… [For] more than two decades, [Cohen was an Israeli official responsible] for religious affairs in the region until 1994. Mr. Cohen watched the Islamist movement take shape, muscle aside secular Palestinian rivals, and then morph into what is today Hamas, a militant group that is sworn to Israel’s destruction.

Instead of trying to curb Gaza’s Islamists from the outset, says Mr. Cohen, Israel for years tolerated and, in some cases, encouraged them as a counterweight to the secular nationalists of the Palestine Liberation Organization and its dominant faction, Yasser Arafat’s Fatah. Israel cooperated with a crippled, half-blind cleric named Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, even as he was laying the foundations for what would become Hamas. Sheikh Yassin continues to inspire [Hamas] militants today; during the recent war in Gaza, Hamas fighters confronted Israeli troops with “Yassins,” — primitive rocket-propelled grenades named in honor of the cleric. UNQUOTE

I would remind President Obama that he had been briefed on all this, and ask him, How can you turn a blind eye to the mistakes of Israel? Were you elected by the Israelis? Are you at all interested in how the world sees the United States, vis-a-vis its unshakable support for Israel?

Mr President: a lot of people in my country perceive Israel as a sort of “playground bully” who, having been offended by a tiny but insolent tot, then goes ahead to engage in a mammoth overkill, by giving the tot the pasting of his life. When the impudent tot’s cries reach the school teachers, do you think they will ask why the bully beat him up so badly? No! They will just punish the bully for beating up someone less than one-third his size.

, Mr President (I would add) having watched Israel destroy most of Gaza city with bombardments from the air; having seen on TV, the destruction by the Israelis of homes, hospitals and schools; having been told that about 2,000 Gazans, many of them women and children had been killed and thousands injured; knowing from the UN that Israel had bombed UN schools despite being told by UN officials that hundreds of civilians were taking refuge there: you, President Obama, nevertheless authorised your Army to replenish the arms and munitions that Israel had expended in its destruction of Gaza.

You, Mr President, knew that the whole world was appalled by the unequal contest Israel was

waging against Gaza. About 2,000 Gazan civilians had been killed, Yet Israel had lost less than soldiers! Is that a war or a massacre? You know fully well that the rockets Hamas fires into Israel are almost always intercepted. In fact, according to USA Today,

The rockets are less of a threat since many are intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome defensive system that protects populous areas.”

You know all this, Mr President. Yet you resupplied Israel with weapons at a time when the emotions of most of the world’s TV audiences were aroused to fever pitch by the unequal punishment Israel was dishing out to the people of Gaza. Why should Africa believe that you want to help African countries defeat Boko Haram in Nigeria or Al Shabab in Kenya? What is the difference between dead children in Gaza and dead children in Tombuctoo?

I would end thus: President Barack Obama, your election as President of the United States was an unusual occurrence that filled many of us with the fantasy that having risen from the Black section of American society – a section that had been subjected to enslavement, brutal treatment at the hands of law enforcement officials and racial discrimination in every sphere of life — your sense of justice would be far more heightened than that expected of the usual run of American Presidents. But you have disappointed me and proved that my hopes were just what I now know they were – a mere fantasy.

In particular, your decision, announced publicly, to replenish Israeli weapons at this time when many hearts in the world are bleeding for the children that have been slain or disfigured by precisely such weapons in Gaza, was an act of insensitivity such as I would never thought you capable of. I don’t need any assistance from you. For life is indivisible. If you do not respect the lives of civilians in Gaza, I don’t see why you would value the lives of my people, either. Sorry.




Home / Columnist / The Senselessness Of Terrorism

The Senselessness Of Terrorism


Daily Guide July 19, 2014

Cameron Doudu

You buy a ticket and board a plane to conduct your business somewhere, perhaps other than where you reside. Maybe you’re returning home from abroad.

You are full of anticipation. You are going to meet loved ones, whom you have not seen for quite some time. You are going to visit familiar places. Eat familiar dishes.

Hear the noises that filled your ears in years gone by. In short, you are going to live life as you would like to live it, were work and other necessities not in the way. Or you are going to carry out work at your destination that will contribute greater happiness or contentment to your later life.

But sitting somewhere, unknown to you, someone is planning to deprive you of that beautiful life you have sketched out in your mind.

That someone is a terrorist, who will try and bring down the aircraft that you are boarding. No one can see him, where he is hiding. No one even suspects that he is going to get that plane. For thousands of planes fly each day, without being attacked.

But in particular cases,  in some unknown hideout, surrounded by equally evil-minded fellow-conspirators, a terrorist ”leader”  has dispatched instructions that will ensure that his bomb or missile will  bring down  your plane

That is precisely what happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 17 on Thursday, 18 July, 2014. The plane was shot down in the Ukraine, in an area near Donetsk, held by dissidents fighting against the Kiev-based Ukrainian Government.

The plane, a Boeing 777-200, was carrying 298 passengers from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. No less than 189 of the passengers were Dutch nationals.

Another 44 were Malaysians. Others came from Britain, Australia, France and some other countries. May their souls rest in peace.

One cannot help but pity poor Malaysia Airlines. Only 4 months ago – on 8 March, 2014 to be exact – another Malaysia Airlines plane en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur disappeared and is  believed to have  crashed, for it has not been heard of again, despite an extremely thorough search by experienced international investigators, of the area in the ocean where it could have crashed.

One wishes the Malaysia Airlines authorities, their fingers burnt by the earlier disaster, would  have been wise enough to  avoided Ukrainian air space altogether. That air space had been declared safe by international authorities, it is true. But these authorities are capable of under-estimating the danger to be found in certain areas. I believe that British Airways and a few other international airlines had stopped flying over Ukraine. Malaysia Airlines might have been flying that route because it is shorter and makes better economic sense. But economic sense at what cost?

backed dissidents trying to use military attacks to bring down the Ukrainian Government. Kbacked dissidents have been provided with missiles by the Russians. In fact, the dissidents y have already managed to  down some military planes belonging to the Ukrainian Government. That’s why the belief in Kiev is that it was some of these same  missiles that were used to bring down the Malaysia Airlines plane.

The Russian Government has, as could be expected, denied providing any missiles to the anti-Kiev dissidents.

On 18 March, the UN Security Council met to hear speeches that condemned the attack on the Malaysia Airlines plane.

The Council was given a detailed report on the air crash by the US Ambassador to the UN, Ms Samantha Power.

She stated that Russia continues to assist the Ukrainian separatists, and that it could not be ruled out that Russia provided technical assistance to the Ukrainian separatists during the operation to shoot down the plane.

This was because (she said)  the missile used – a sophisticated SA11 capable of bringing an aircraft down from a height of over 30,000 feet – could not be operated by people ‘without special knowledge’.

In other words,  direct or indirect Russian involvement is not being ruled out by the US. But whether Russia was involved in the actual shooting down of the plane, or merely in providing training that could eventually be used to commit such a crime, remains to be proved.

Ms Power also revealed that anti-Kiev Ukrainian dissidents had boasted in tweets and other social media messages, that they had downed a ‘military plane’. The dissidents deleted this message after they had [probably] realized that they had made a mistake and shot down a civilian airliner.

Ms Power added that if it was established through investigations that Russia played any part in the downing of the plane, the international community would make sure that Russia endured a “heavy cost” for so doing.  She urged Russia to help end the war against the Kiev regime.

What can one say about a crime like this? That it is a crime against humanity?

Of course, it is.

That the perpetrators of the crime should be taken to the Hague and tried by the International Court?

Of course, they should. But who will find – and arrest – them? Only Russia can do it, and it does not look as if she will do it.

Certainly, not on the say-so of the United States. For  Russia can cite any number of cases in the world whereby the US has assisted dissidents – in Nicaragua and Bolivia, for instance mention a few.

But it would be wrong for the rest of the world to fold its arms and pretend that this is a confrontation between the United States and its allies on the one hand, and Russia and its allies on the other.

Too many innocent victims are claimed by these senseless acts of terrorism. And increasingly, terrorism is forming part of insurgencies whose effects should be strictly localised.

At least 80 children among those killed in this air crash. What offence could they have committed in their young lives to subject them to such a terrible fate?

That is what makes terrorism such a senseless crime. Even if the terrorists have legitimate grounds for fighting, once they begin to kill innocent people, they become nothing but simple criminals.

There is no way murderous terrorists who have been able to achieve power can win  the respect of decent people around the world.

Even as their hands are shaken in line with diplomatic  practice, the terrorists should be aware that those who deal with them are bound to retain a certain amount of disgust for them —  at the very least in their sub-conscious minds. They  ask themselves this:

“I shook hands with someone whose hands are soaked in blood – can I ever clean my hands enough?”


e been




CHAIR: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Board of Enquiry.

You all know the reason why this Board of Enquiry became necessary.

In short: a bridge that had not been officially opened was used by a heavy motor vehicle. The bridge collapsed. The truck fell into the river,. And 23 people were drowned.

It might have been thought that this was an open and shut matter. But in this country, there are always 25 million opinions waiting to be expressed on any issue that has the slightest controversy attached to it. No-one ever accepts responsibility or blame for anything. So we have to formally establish what actually happened. The secretary of the Board has passed me some notes which illustrate the point I am making:

The driver of the truck blamed the bridge-constructors for only putting tree branches and palm fronds at the entrance to stop traffic from using the bridge. He said the tree branches were too easy to move aside.

But the bridge-constructors countered that by saying that they had actually stationed men at both ends of the bridge to stop traffic from using it.

3. The men stationed at the entrances to the bridge said that they were summoned to attend a political rally on that day, and fearing that if they did not attend, they would be dismissed, they went to the rally. But after the rally they could not return early to their stations because a brass band began playing good hi-life music. And since the men could only hear hip-life music on their radios nowadays, they got nostalgic and danced until the wee hours of the morning. They blamed the women who sold akpeteshie for enabling them to become “high”.

4. The akpeteshie sellers blamed a chap they called “Minister Inflation” for causing them to sell their stuff to whoever wanted to buy it, no matter how drunk he already was. “Money is the root of all our troubles!” they protested. “We can’t buy Blue Omo because it’s so expensive. We can’t buy torchlight batteries. How are we supposed to brew aps without ogogoro ingredients?”

5. “Minister Inflation” also but the blame on “Minister Depreciation.” One paper quoted him thus: “Look, in this country, most products have inputs bought with foreign exchange. So when the Cedi does its yo-yo-callisthenics-local prices also dance kpanlogo! Rent, transport costs, yo-ker-ari and Kofi Brokeman all take their cue from the Cedi’s Olympian performance, and dance as if some Dwarfs had invaded their pubic hairs!”

6. I could give you more examples about how the blame-game is played here. For instance, “Minister Depreciation” said that the inconsistency of the Bank of Ghana’s directives to the banking sector had been giving him a feverish onslaught akin to what he imagined Ebola might produce, only that he knew not what Ebola was really like since it had only attacked Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, and why was Ghana getting all stirred up about it for? And so on! You see? So, our MD is sure that the buck will be passed to him in no time at all, unless he produced a report in exactly 23 hours dead!……

1st MEMBER: Sorry to interrupt, Mr Chair., but this obsession with the number 23 interests me! First it’s the number of people who died on the truck. Now, it’s also our deadline for producing the report! Why?

CHAIR: It was our MD’s idea. He says that 23 is a special number. In hours, it almost marks a full, complete day. So it conveys an idea of urgency: he didn’t want to delay by wasting even one single day on it! Twenty-three hours! Right? And, if you like, I shall take you into in occultism too — 3 comes after 2 in numerical order. Right? And yet if you try to divide 23, you find it is – indivisible! Next, you ad-mix it with – as has been pointed out – the number of people who died in the truck! Was it a mere coincidence that they numbered 23? Huh?

2nd MEMBER: But all that was accidental? Fortuitous?

3rd MEMBER: But some accidents are ordained from Heaven? Why had Zacchaeus climbed a tree, in the Bible, when our Lord Jesus Christ was passing by? Why was Zacchaeus so short that he needed to climb a tree to be able to see Jesus?

4th MEMBER: So if you drink too much whisky on an empty stomach, whilst you are on medication, and you end up getting a stroke….?

2nd MEMBER: Please don’t let us get personal. Anyway, it was my high blood pressure….

CHAIR: Gentlemen! Gentlemen! We’ve only got 23 hours! And you are using the time bickering over metaphysical imponderables….?

3rd MEMBER: Ah? Ose dien? [What's he on about?]

4th MEMBER: He likes to use big English words. Don’t mind him!

3rd MEMBER: But what does it mean? Metameta-ponderable-physics?

CHAIR: SILENCE! Usher! Call the Chief Engineer.


CHAIR: Chief, welcome. You know why you are here. Why did the bridge fall?

CHIEF: Stupidity was at the root of the matter.


CHIEF ENGINEER: The bridge fell because the concrete had not fully set when the truck was driven over it. We had blocked the road five miles away from the bridge and stationed guards near the bridge itself so as to make it impossible for anyone to drive a vehicle near the bridge. But someone wanted to hold a political rally in a village just three miles from the bridge. One truckload of the people he wanted to bus in was late. And his staff called the truck’s driver on his mobile phone and directed him to where he could take a short-cut by driving over the blocked bridge!

CHAIR: But the driver said that….?

CHIEF ENIGNEER: Do you expect anyone to tell you the truth in this matter? Especially if the truth makes him out to be a fool or an incompetent person?

No! What happens is this: First, everyone finds someone else whom he can plausibly blame. But having blamed one another, they will join together to put the entire blame on “Unfortunate, Unexpected Circumstances.” And “Unfortunate Unexpected Circumstances” will inevitably be traced to God Our Father Almighty. And when it gets there, everyone will be happy. For they will just say, “It was unfortunate but it was was God’s will. And we, as obedient children of God, must accept God’s will”.

CHAIR: Hey stenographers, you can’t write that down! That is both a religious, political and sociological rationalisation of what happened. The MD will never accept a Report based on such factors. Her wants us to establish THE FACTS. The full facts and nothing but the facts. We cannot be making political inferences or religious prognostications about such an issue.

CHIEF ENGINEER: I beg your pardon? Are you suggesting that the mindset of people does not have any relevance to their actions?

CHAIR: Mr Chief Engineer, you are trying to annoy me. I had heard that you are too known (you think you know better than anyone else) but I didn’t think you would be so brash as to bring it here to show us in public. A full report of your conduct will be made to the MD. And I am sure he will pass it on to the Board of Directors. A lot of people in the company say that you are arrogant and that you think that you should be the MD, because the MD only studied Architecture, whereas you studied Construction Engineering….

CHIEF ENGINEER: I object to that statement! It is a lie! Anyway, I am not on trial here! You are a crony of the MD and you are using this opportunity to attack my integrity so that your friend will not have any rivals in the firm….

CHAIR: Objection overruled. You can be as impudent to me as you like! We shall continue with the enquiry and write our report — without your input.


HAIR: (COVERS MOUTHPIECE OF MOBILE PHONE AND WHISPERS) He has just walked out! Ei, you know human nature paaaa! You predicted everything! Get your company lawyer to write the dismissal letter so that it will be waiting for him when he arrives back at his office. Yes – all the radio stations have been alerted and his walkout will be the main story of the say! He walked out! That will be sensational enough for them and they won’t worry about anything else. Anyway, he won’t give them an interview even if they ask him for one!…Oh you’re so kind! With the two of us working at the helm, 2 can be transformed into 3 – and then become 23!





Today at 11:38 AM



So much heart-ache has been inflicted on the Ghanaian public by the failure of the Black Stars to advance from the Group Stage to the Quarter-Finals that nothing less than a public enquiry should be held to find out how the officials sent to service the Black Stars performed – or did not perform – their duties.

The call for a public enquiry has nothing to do with a desire to humiliate the officials. Humiliating them will not enable us to go back to Brazil to beat Portugal or the United States. But it will prevent our having to live through the nightmare of the past fortnight again, in future.
You see, there are some people who simply lack common sense and this should be publicly demonstrated so that others can learn that our complex brain matter was not given to us for nothing.
Now, everyone knows how agonising it was for us to lose that match against Uruguay in South Africa in 2010. One would have thought that having undergone that horrendous experience, our football officials would say to themselves: “Even when we do not make mistakes, fate can intervene to defeat us. Well, we cannot control fate. But there are some things that are under our control. So let us do those things so well, that even if fate intervenes again, our people would at least understand that, like the evil Suarez incident, victory was “beyond our means”. (And maybe, fate will eventually punish our tormentor, whoever it is, just like it has finally punished Suarez for us, in Brazil!)
Is that such a difficult notion to understand? I would have thought not. Yet look at what happened.
Money was spent on sending a huge contingent of officials to Brazil, some with their relatives and friends. But money is not water. Hotels that were supposed to be habitable proved to contain rooms that were sometimes like a “swimming pool.”
Everyone had read stories about how Brazil was finding it difficult to complete even THE STADIUMS on which the tournament was going to be played. So why couldn’t our numerous officials go and have a look at the hotels into which our players had been booked, so as to short-circuit any problems that they might harbour? You and I would not, I believe, expose our families to potential difficulties in a foreign country. How much more the collective
jewellery amongst our nation’s sporting galaxy of stars?
Again: does anyone actually exist who does not know that football stars are among the vainest creatures on earth?
In the UK, the lifestyle of a football star is synonymous with “bling” – huge houses, expensive Bentley or Ferrari or Maserati cars, and, of course, numerous wives and girl-friends ( known to the tabloid press as “WAGS”), some of whom do not scruple to “kiss-and-tell” mostly-invented stories, about the footballers who lavish luxuries on them.
In other words, the average ego /common sense ratio of some football stars can easily
be calculated by a two-year-old child. So when you put 23 of them together in any one place, you must expect that you have a mini-Armageddon in your hands, waiting to implode. Me, if you ask me to manage even three of them, I shall thank you and go back to look for the old typewriter on which I learnt how not to type. But there are braver people than me who, without being asked by anyone, sought SEEK ELECTION into jobs which would occasionally place them in the position of managing managing 23 or more of these peacocks! Have you ever seen a peacock that performs in a circus? No – peacocks only perform when they want to! So, if you want performance from them, treat them as peacocks.
But some people can take on a job like that and then go and sit in business class in an aeroplane, with wife and children, and put the peacocks in economy class! Yipes?
They can put the peacocks on a flight that obliges them to sit idly at an airport for 9 hours, waiting for a connection? They can book them on flights that manage to leave their luggage behind? “My football boots! Without them, how can I train?”
Worst of all, these officials, like almost every official in Ghana these days, LIE to them. You forget that you have had money problems with the footballers before! In South Africa — twice – during the World Cup and during the Africa Cup of Nations.
You forget that it was money that nearly stalled the match with Egypt in Kumase. Not only that – knowing that money is the be-all of modern football, you nevertheless leave your players in doubt about how you will manage the payments arising out of the Brazil tournament. Their money never arrives as promised. Yet you have money to fly in 500 “supporters”! . Today, you say their money is being “processed” (I love that word!) by the banks. Tomorrow you say it is the sponsors. The next day you change the story to FIFA. Meanwhile, you suggest that the Ministry of Youth and Sports, or the presidency, or both, are also involved.
Yieee! How can this be? You have hotheads in the group. You have rivalries, even enmities. All par for the course in any football club, let alone a national side. But you are also fielding a Ghanaian coach for the first time. I mean, HOW MANY PROBLEMS do you want to be placed on your head before you sit up, for crying out loud?
So you go to Brazil. And things begin to build up very quickly indeed. There are published rumours that some GFA officials seek to benefit from “match-fixing”. In the tournament itself, one inexplicable mistake – and Ghana is beaten by the USA. Grave mistakes made in an atmosphere of allegations about match-fixing?
Imagination, fuelled by natural frustration and hurt pride , bring everything into the open. Matters that had apparently been settled are reopened.
In desperation, the President of the Republic, who is busy interacting with other African heads of state in Equatorial Guinea, orders that $3m should be flown by chartered aircraft to pay the players. In the euphoria of the moment, one member of your delegation lets this out to the public. The international press picks it up. And Ghana, which has been basking in the glory of having been able to draw with Germany – even leading them at one stage – suddenly becomes the laughing-stock of the world.
Meanwhile, no discussion has apparently taken place with the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, about the modalities of importing so much cash into Brazil! Brazil is embarrassed. FIFA is embarrassed!
Ao! mini sane ner? (What kind of mess is this?)
But, of course, our officials are not worried. Our President is their paddy-man: he will only reassign those he thinks are inefficient, not dismiss them! Besides, there 500 party foot-soldiers, who will bear witness to the effect that everything went absolutely well in Brazil (except that the journalists were bribed to send sensational stories!) Ministers will tell the President that it was all caused by the “bad boys”, especially Sulley Muntari and Kevin Prince Boateng. “They are terribly rich so they don’t respect anybody!” the Ministers will say to the President. As if no player can express his opinion, like anyone else.
I was once friendly with someone who used to be asked to secretly investigate economic crimes during the bad kalabule days of the nineteen-seventies. After he had uncovered two or three instances of corruption and seen nothing done about his reports, he stopped taking requests for investigations seriously. He used to say, “Ho – as for these loudly-touted investigations, ennkosi hwee!“ (Nothing will come of them!)
And because nothing came of them, rumours about what was happening grew by leaps and bounds. No-one was present when any woman was asked to bring her “bottom” to come and collect a VW Golf car. [“Fa wo to begye!] But many people believed such rumours.
Import licences – ditto.
The purchase of crude oil – same old story.
Allocation of consumer goods from factories –duka daaya! (same thing)
Even the selling of cocoa abroad was supposed to be tainted with malfeasance.
People just shrugged and said, “As for rumours, we shall monger!””
Eventually, the atmosphere became so rank with talks of greed and the resentment it engenders that we had the most frightening explosion ever to take place in this country.
Please everyone: we have a chance, with this Brazilian football disaster, to prove that it isn’t everything that ends in “ennkosi hwee!” (so to speak).
Let us grab that chance.
With both hands.




I am not a betting man. I was cured of that vice when one morning, instead of buying myself a delicious breakfast before I went to school (hmm — it was some “breakfast” – kokonte plus cow-tail-and-cow-entrails-soup: the sort whose ‘fragrance’ never leaves your hands, even if after you’ve washed them with soap, thus enabling you to boast to your classmates that – lucky you – you were rich enough to pass by “Maame Amma’s place” before coming to school) yes, stupidly, I sacrificed all that and went and betted on a lottery system constructed from torchlight bulbs powered by dry-cell batteries.

The bulbs lit up and extinguished themselves in sequence, illuminating numbers written on a board. You selected a Number, and if the bulb corresponding to that Number stayed lit up whilst all the others flashed alight but went out again, you won. I thought the Number 7 was unbeatable and put my breakfast money on it. But it was the Number 8 that came up. My friends comforted me by saying that I “nearly” won!

It was that which made me want to cry. How could fate have been so cruel? I was cheated of a good one shilling (twelve breakfasts! I mean: those were the days when twelve pennies (more correctly, “pence”) made one shilling, not these days when, in decimal England for instance, people actually say “one pence”!) by just one number coming after mine, in the sequence. I decided that if fate could play such tricks on me, then I wasn’t going to trust it ever again. Please let me repeat that: “one pence in the Land of The Queen’s English? Yes, I’ve heard it myself – filifili!) What is life coming to?

My resolve not to ever gamble again didn’t last too long. When ”Lotto” (or “Toto” as it is known in many European countries) first came to Ghana, I too was seduced or rather caught by its tentacles. I didn’t mind the Lotto Doctors, because they charged for their services. The question my rational mind asked was, “If they really were sure that their research would yield good results (they could tell you what numbers were dropped in Malta on 13 August 1950!) why did they need my money? Why didn’t they stake the results of their research and become millionaires, instead of standing by boards in the hot sunshine and trying to convince fools that the director of State Lotteries would celebrate his birthday (secretly discovered from the Ghana Gazette!) by dropping numbers that corresponded to that auspicious event?

Anyway, the Lotto Doctors’ efforts were irrelevant to me because –1had developed my own system of selecting the correct numbers that would “drop” each week. In one week, I would use the registration numbers of motor vehicles that I had fallen in love with in the past: the registration number of the first Morris Oxford car I had ever driven, AD 1943; the second Morris Oxford AD 2502; the number of the Cocoa Rehabilitation Department’s Ford Pilot that I had loved so much and which, shamefully, I can’t now remember; the Bedford one-and-a-half ton truck whose pedals I had had to fight to reach with my feet, AR 3460…The first brand new big saloon car whose embrace I’d enjoyed, Vanguard can Number AR 8397; and other less well-adored cars, such as AD 5081; or AR 9887. The next week, I would use the birthdays of my girl friends, starting with 10-11….

I wouldn’t just write down the numbers, but perm them. Well, one day, I had given my permed numbers to a lotto agent, with enough money to back them, and she was busily writing them on lottery tickets, when a friend I was waiting for made an early appearance. He claimed he would be late for his appointment and harried me to leave the lottery for “later”. Before I recovered from my bout of beer drinking, the deadline had passed for staking numbers had passed and the Lotto kiosks had all closed.

Yes, you’ve guessed it –that week’s dropped numbers began exactly where my permed numbers that had not been written by the Lotto Lady when I collected my money and the paper on which I’d written the numbers, from her at the urging of my friend. Had I continued staking all the numbers in my perm, I would have got four or even five numbers right! Talk of someone giving another bad luck! I am not sad to tell you that my friendship with the guy whose impatience had prevented me from becoming a multi-millionaire waned considerably after that. Since then, I have tried to obey the precept that one should never put one’s interests above those of anyone else: the Christian rule, after all, is love thy neighbour as, not better than, thyself!

And now, a very good friend has said something which has made me dare him to an interesting bet. He wrote a rather challenging posting on our internet forum, predicting that “BS will win the WC”! I couldn’t let that pass, could I?

At first,I thought that he was joking, or merely being sarcastic. After all, in the usual meanings attributed to those two sets of initials, they usually hung together – I mean “BS” usually lands with a thud (pun intended, despite the absence of the letter “r” in thud) in the “WC” doesn’t it?

But he has since confirmed that he really meant ‘BS’ to stand for ‘Black Stars’, and ‘WC’ stood for World Cup! This is what he wrote (in fairness, I must admit that he wrote this before he saw the display put up by Holland against Spain, which will probably make him eat his words, though I know him to be very stubborn!):

“… My predictions have all been uncannily accurate since August 2013… I’m now reaffirming that I expect the Black Stars to win the World Cup. To recap my football predictions:
1. Man City to win the English Premier League;
2. Arsenal to win the League Cup/FA Cup and come 4th in the Premier League;
3. Real Madrid to win the Champions League, beating Bayern either in the semis or final and 4. Kotoko to win the local league. Now, I say BS will win the World Cup. Let the Games begin, let the games continue!”

The wager I made with him, on appraising his self-predicated approbation of his predilection for predictions, was this:

“Dearest… while your other predictions may be impressive, your prediction re- ‘BS’ is, with the greatest respect, ‘bs’! (in small letters).

“You see, the mentality of Ghana’s current selectors seems to be this: defend, and defend, and defend, and leave it to some genius of a goal-scorer (Jordan Ayew, for example) to break through — unintentionally — to win the match for us! Or — we must pray that our opponents play without a goalkeeper (as happened to South Korea when we played them, for instance, and the absent goalkeeper dashed us four of the best!)

“I mean, look at Croatia — Croatia! — who IS Croatia? — attacking and attacking and attacking and forcing Great Brazil to score an own goal? Do you fully
appreciate what it means for Brazil to be forced to score an own goal? In
Brazil’s neighbourhood, in proper South American football, scoring an own
goal amounts to no less than treason, is punishable by death, and that
particular penalty can be enforced by any private citizen at will. I urge you to Google “own goal+execution+Colombia” to refresh your memory! If that fails, try the more specific words, “Escobar+World Cup ’94+shot six times+died”!

“Yet, instead of learning from the fact that attacking an unsettle many defences and force them to play FOR us, rather than AGAINST us, we are falling back on the dull football prevalent in Europe. I ask you: how did Brazil bounce back after scoring an own goal in that infamous match against Croatia, huh? Reverting to its usual style, Brazil counter-attacked and attacked and attacked. Croatia had no choice but to wilt. And it went down by 3 goals to 1!”

I asked my friend this: “Do you realise that Ghana is pitted against three of the greatest killjoys in the game of football today, namely, the USA (boring) Germany (stodgy) and Portugal (uninspiring, unless Ronaldo shines)? All three treasure the vaunted “technical” formulae laid down by scientifically-proficient soccer academies. We, on the other hand, hone our skills on the sandy beaches of Prampram and Kokrobeti; on the speckled pebbles of Rawlings Park, and from gutter-to-gutter across the storm drains of Kokompe and Ablenkpe. We, at our best, suck in the world’s breath of admiration by doing crazy things – such as Sulley Muntari shooting at goal from forty yards, without a by-your-leave to either the presumed instructions of his coach, or the pleas from fellow-players that he should pass the ball!

“Remember the crazy manner in which we beat the Czechs 2-0 in World Cup 2006 (in Germany)? We were on a frenetic attack from the first second, and got a goal after only 70 seconds – repeat 70 seconds! These sorts of attacks have been our landmark whenever we’ve shone in the international arena; in fact, ever since we drew 3-3 with Real Madrid and beat Blackpool 4-0; then became back-to-back Champions of Africa (1963 and 1965; and when we almost repeated the feat in 1978 and 1982).

“Didn’t you see what we were going to do to former World Champions, Uruguay, before Luis Suarez “The Shark” extended his ugly fin to keep the ball out?”

I became so intoxicated with the verbosity of my own football recollections that I forgot I was a non-betting man and wrote: “ I bet you– nay, I challenger you to this wager – if in spite of our current preoccupation with the middle ground, we do manage to win the World Cup (as you boldly predict) I shall accompany you arm-in-arm into the Sambisa Forest, in Borno State, Nigeria, and by our own efforts alone, without the slightest guidance from any Fulani herdsmen, “Bring Back” The Abducted Girls of Chibok!

“Then we shall conduct a poll of Ghanaian arm-chair football coaches: those of us who advocate attacking football will not get any of the girls at all, whilst those who go for defensive tactics will be allotted girls according to the girls’ own defensive prowess, i.e. as indicated by the size of their behinds. (Surely, you have heard of “bottom power” and its uses in Nigeria? If you haven’t, just ask me, and I shall tell you the full story! For a handsome fee, of course!”)

I am waiting to see whether the guy will take the bait. After the humiliation World Champion 2010, Spain, was subjected to on 13 June 2014, I am sure I shall win the bet. In fact, anyone who wants a Chibok Girl can start applying to me now.

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