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Feature Article of Monday, 23 April 2012

Columnist: Owusu-Gyamfi, Clifford

Too Much Insult on Ghanaweb!

When Jesus was captured and brought before the chief priests to be interrogated, a man slapped Jesus from behind for answering the chief priest rudely. Jesus turned and replied to this man, "If I said something wrong, testify as to what is wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me?” John 18: 22, 23. To Jesus, it was unfair to slap someone without a justifiable course and even not necessary, a responsive dialogue is better.

I’ve been following articles on Ghanaweb forums and all that I see is insults and chastisements on people’s opinion. It has always given me a shock and had longed decided to draft an article on this uncouth phenomenon until unfortunately I fell into the traps of these sharp edged tongue critics upon my reaction on the arrest of Mr. Agyapong Kennedy’s case. People who didn’t know me, who I am, what I do, began to call me fool, stupid man, useless fool, etc. meanwhile, they couldn’t draw the line between my mistake and the thematic of the article. So is this the reward of democracy to Ghana? When shall we grow? I’ve been following forums on Yahoo, CNN and Swiss electronic journals and haven’t seen such behavior. We keep on yelling at politicians for insulting Ghanaians whiles we’re insulting our colleagues here on the internet. Now you see that if you point a finger at someone, the rest point at you.

Every person has the write to express his views, and you too have a moral obligation to read and comment or walk away. It isn’t to my view ethical to jump on someone with round of insults. The sad thing is that, most of you who do that are religious men and women who praise your God on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. You speak the so called Holy Spirit tongues and you come to insult people you don’t know. The Holy Ghost taught you that, huh?

As the best known American journalist Sydney Hillel Schanberg (January 17, 1934) said and I quote him “I just don't believe that you have to come in and insult people when you want to change things.” In fact by insulting, you’ve achieved nothing neither have you changed anything.

Some of us are in rigorous efforts trying to change the status quo for all of us to have a free and fair society. We are spending our money, time and energy on projects of national interest to make Ghana a good place for all and because you don’t know us, you can jump and insult us based on what we believe to be right. And if you keep on doing that and the forum becomes messed up with insults, which politician or government will read and take us serious?

I strongly believe that the webmaster created this site for a reason. He didn’t conceive the idea to make this place a boxing ring or an arena of gladiators. This is a piece of advice to all of us. But before I conclude, let’s consider these things:

1. Some of you bring your emotions and preconception into reading which doesn’t help much.

2. Political fanaticism is a poison to objective thinking. Don’t commit your soul to politics. Be reasonable enough to separate the chaff from the wheat.

3. Read thoughts and care less about people’s grammar. I do my studies in French but my professor always tells me that I need your thoughts not your grammar.

4. Comments on thoughtful articles. Some of you are easily attracted to what we call in journalism “gutter press” or sensational articles, and you spend your time insulting and following insults, meanwhile, you read thoughtful articles but never said any word of compliment.

5. When someone writes (excuse me to say) foolish thing and you reply by saying foolish man or stupid man, what benefit does he or she gets? And what benefit do readers benefit from your comments? Aren’t both of you fools? You can disagree with someone without insulting him or her. If you can’t hold it, then walk away peacefully.

6. Some of you don’t read articles to the end. You read the introduction and somewhere and there and you begin throwing the firebrands. Some even follow the comments and adds theirs. Please reader it doesn’t help much.

Jesus didn’t appreciate when someone slapped him. It was a big insult and damnable act. I want to be reasoned out than to be insulted. Very soon, leadership mantle will fall in our hands and if we really want to change the face of Ghana, we must prove it here. We must first civilize own self before we can overcome the world. If not, am afraid, it will follow us till it ruins the last of our integrity which advertently will postpone Ghana’s development.

NB: Please share your views on this article and respect the views of others.

Clifford Owusu-Gyamfi

University of Lausanne, Switzerland

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