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Feature Article of Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

On Israelis and Arabs, Kwesi Pratt is a Joke!

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

Maybe Mr. Kwesi Pratt ought to read Nigerian scholar Chinweizu’s treatise titled The West And The Rest Of Us, impeccably edited by African-American Nobel Literature Laureate Ms. Toni Morrison, in order to fully appreciate the fundamentally nettlesome relationship between Africans and the Arabs, who continue to occupy at least one-third of our continent and continue to even more aggressively push for more “living-room,” in Hitlerian parlance. Needless to say, our Arab conquerors and occupants continue to reward us with the kind of racial discrimination that makes the much-maligned Black-Jewish relations in the proverbial Promised Land seem like a mid-summer picnic (See “ ‘Israel Can Never Be Humanitarian – Kwesi Pratt, Jnr.’” Modernghana.com 11/11/12).

I also hope that when the editor-publisher of the so-called Insight newspaper rather jejunely complains about Israeli warplanes having bombarded the Sudan, the Al-Bashir-Arab North, that is, he also bears in mind that for generations Northern Sudanese Arabs had a wanton open season of slavo-colonial domination against their indigenous Black-African compatriots with little or no help, whatsoever, from politically sovereign African states and the rest of the so-called civilized and “humanitarian” world.

And so I don’t quite know whom Mr. Pratt believes himself to be fooling, when he so facilely suggests that, somehow, Black Africans have a far more significant relationship with the aggressive and impenitent occupants of our forcibly alienated North African lands than with our erstwhile Western-European slavo-colonial masters. No such argument could be more scandalous.

Let us also get one point clear: The Israeli rescue team that was dispatched by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party government to help out with the Melcom Building tragedy in Accra, did not come to Ghana because they were in dire need of any public relations favor or some of our new-found oil wealth from the transitional Mahama regime, as Mr. Pratt and his ilk clearly appear to suppose. Indeed, the Israelis intervened and remarkably reduced the number of casualties suffered in the Melcom tragedy, primarily because the Ghana government which claims to be equally equipped with human-sniffing dogs and trained rescue personnel found itself to be woefully inadequate to the task.

Ghana’s traditional voting pattern at the United Nations, which is largely and routinely (or blindly) pro-Western, clearly does not make us any political force worth lobbying or fervidly courting by the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem government for Prime Minister Netanyahu to have sweated or agonized over hurriedly dispatching a rescue team so as to be on our good side. He very likely did it because it was simply the right thing to do, even as Mr. Pratt was fairly smart enough to acknowledge.

I also find it rather pathetic and amusing to launch a broadside assault vis-à-vis Black-White relations in Israel the way Mr. Pratt would have it, for this is a subject on which I have written extensively and even had occasion to argue with several of my Jewish and Zionist colleagues during the past twenty years, and for which I have also been the recipient of a literary award, having also been a member of the Jewish Studies Committee at my academic institution.

Still, I find it especially pathetic because the recent tribalistic electioneering campaign rants conducted by the Mahama-led National Democratic Congress (NDC), gives no Ghanaian the credibility to take a moral grandstand on the Israelis in the manner that a shamelessly ardent champion of NDC ethnic and sub-ethnic chauvinism like Mr. Pratt appears to be doing.

But that even a highly schooled politician like the late President John Evans Atta-Mills could so successfully alienate the Fante vote from Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, a fellow Akan, on the dubious grounds of intra-ethnic linguistic and cultural differences, makes Mr. Pratt’s pretense to a moral grandstand all the more pathetic and repugnant.

I also don’t think that he demonstrates any critical sense of intellectual and moral maturity when the same Mr. Pratt who staunchly backed the late Col. Muammar Gadhafy in the latter’s untold atrocities against the Libyan people and neighboring African states, now imperiously presumes to dictate Israeli foreign policy towards countries like Northern (Arab) Sudan and Iran, whose peoples are hardly known to be any specially hospitable, warm or affable towards global African people as to be any more protective of our dignity and integrity than either the Western white man or his Eastern white counterpart.

On the latter score, one prefers to credit the remarkably savvy President Mills’ mantra of minding one’s own national business, his abjectly parochial ideological blinders notwithstanding.

*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is Director of The Sintim-Aboagye Center for Politics and Culture and author of “Dr. J. B. Danquah: Architect of Modern Ghana” (iUniverse.com, 2005). E-mail: okoampaahoofe@optimum.net. ###

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