Society problems

A society turned in on itself – Graphic Online

I became very worried about this country. No, not the cost of living and the rising price of my eye drops and bunions. I was starting to feel like I was living in a country so obsessed with its own problems that it had become extremely inward looking.

The term, introspective, I confess to using it with some trepidation, knowing what happened to the last person who used the term, but for now I can’t think of a better word so I’ll stick with it. hold .

As I cleared my throat to bring up the subject of Ghana as an introverted country, Queen Elizabeth II died and I wondered if I should revise that opinion.

Before I come to the question of whether I should revise the opinion, I should probably first demonstrate how I came to believe that we were introverted.

It had taken a long time to build up, this feeling of unease that I have that we don’t care about what’s happening in the rest of the world, but from August 30th when the news of the death broke. of Mikhail Gorbachev, the malaise crystallized.

Yes, it is a well known fact that we Ghanaians love to travel to all parts of the world and it is said that there are Ghanaian communities in all parts of the globe.

Pride

We pride ourselves on being not only the geographical center of the world, we claim to be or aim to be the hub of everything in West Africa and the African continent as a whole.

We house the headquarters of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). We do a lot, which presupposes, I like to think, that we know the countries of the continent, their politics, their economy, what makes them work, etc, etc.

I am tempted to do this but I will not start from the continental scale to show how truly indifferent we are to anything that happens outside our borders unless it is the Ghanaian community in a particular country.

Take the countries that are our immediate neighbors – Togo, Burkina Faso and the Ivory Coast – and take any of our newspapers or radio or television stations and see how many stories you can find on all this happening in these countries.

If there is a story of any kind about these neighbors of ours, it would be pulled from the BBC or some other international news agency with all the bias and language we complain about that ” Western media” use about Africa.

No newspaper or radio station considers it important to have a correspondent or freelancer in one of our neighboring countries.

Reporting on the current security situation in the Sahel and especially in our neighboring countries is done, if at all, only from the perspective of the same “Western media” that we profess to hate.

I heard it was because our newspapers and radio stations didn’t have the financial means to send their own reporters.

I am not buying the excuse of poverty; they always find money for what they deem important.

Perhaps for historical reasons and probably also linguistic ones, we have always been more linked to Nigeria than to the three countries which are our real geographical neighbours.

Indeed, once upon a time Ghanaian newspapers covered events in Nigeria quite extensively, even when telephone connections were non-existent.

Today, communications are so much easier and distances have shrunk, but our newspapers and radio stations are alarmingly devoid of any significant foreign news content.

Maybe our editors think we all now go online and read or listen to news from the country of our choice.

Big Claims

Since we claim to be the hub and invite the rest of the world to deal with us to enter the rest of the continent and the sub-region, surely it would be a good idea for us to demonstrate that we have some knowledge of what is happening around us and beyond.

Unfortunately, this limitation of interest to local affairs is not a characteristic of our newspapers and radio stations alone; our commentators, politicians and dare I say even intellectuals behave the same way.

My fears were confirmed, or exacerbated, when Mikhail Gorbachev died and the response to the news in Ghana was deathly silence.

Most newspapers didn’t even publish the news of this man’s death, nor any commentary about him.

Not on social media, not on the radio, not on TV, not in bars, cafes or wherever people gather these days to gossip.

As far as Ghana is concerned, we had far greater things to fear than the death of a 91-year-old man somewhere in Russia. It didn’t matter that this 91-year-old Mikhail Gorbachev changed the world.

People who are powerful in this country and when they claim to speak or write governments shake, who tweet and policies have to change, who know every detail of how Ghana should be governed, did not think that Mikhail Gorbachev would be a valid subject of discussion.

Some of them say that Gorbachev destroyed the Soviet Union and therefore should be a hated figure.

Some tell me they didn’t know who Gorbachev was and weren’t convinced he was someone worth spending time in 2022.

Someone told me I was just flaunting the fact that I’m an old woman trying to make a big deal out of Gorbachev.

Even if indeed it was important some time ago, I am told, I should accept that these events have no relevance to the present.

Our young people have in mind SIM registration, corruption in high places, the new iPhone launched by Apple and the latest music from the hottest star.

Perestroika

Am I to understand that people go to school and end up with certificates or diplomas or degrees and know nothing about Perestroika and Glasnost. And if young people don’t know about the subject, what about the need to inform and perhaps even educate.

Am I elitist when I insist that a society that has found no place for information about the death of Mikhail Gorbachev is a truly backward society, regardless of how many people are on Twitter or how many statements published daily on the state of “our democracy”. ”?

And then Queen Elizabeth II died and everyone seems to have something to say about it; should she or should she not be mourned by Ghanaians, Africans, former colonies?