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Opinions of Thursday, 7 November 2019

Columnist: Isaac Ato Mensah

All souls day, ghosts and our demons

While reflecting on 2 November, – All Souls Day a little girl asked me, “Why did God allow us to be born only for us to die later?”

“There is nothing like death; it is part of life,” I replied, sharing with her my mentor’s perspective.

Such it was as the Christian world and beyond meditated on death and the afterlife during All Souls Day, Halloween and the Day of the Dead.

The powerful sermon “The Beauty of Death”, delivered by Rev. Akua Ofori-Boateng at the All Souls Chapel, Lashibi – Ghana, the leading funeral home is a must listen.

As should be, she gives Christianity a lofty and sublime interpretation.

But let us now reflect on how in A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens, Jacob Marley’s Ghost appears at night. Yes, the terrors of the night.

Is this the same as the “valley of the shadow of death” or “the dark night of the soul?”

The ghost, Ebenezer Scrooge’s deceased business partner, negotiates with Scrooge, but does not compromise on revealing the truth about Scrooge’s past to him.

The most terrifying part of the story is not the appearance of the ghost- no, it is the hard truth that Scrooge fears is known by the ghost and is about to be revealed, albeit only to Scrooge alone, all in a night’s dream.

In such moments of guilt, the judgement, of course, is not made by the ghost but by ourselves; we all become Scrooge, over and over again.

There are several incidents in the life of our country that should make us all pause and reflect and feel guilty – perhaps for our implicit complicity on account of our silence.

They include, the continued detention of Gregory Afoko; the non-commencement of trials in the banking scandal; the absence of arrest and trials for MPs who took double salaries; the non-commencement of investigations in the “sex for grades” by law enforcement; the lack of an arrest and trial of the murderers of Ahmed Hussein-Suale; the summoning of journalists before the General Legal Council (GLC); the dodgy fines and cronyism exhibited by Institute of Chartered Accountants Ghana (ICAG); the unbridled public bigotry towards minority sexuality, just to name a few.

How can we forget law enforcement officers -crass bullies, who have detained people they never intend to prosecute?

Scrooge, the main character in A Christmas Carol, was a miser and mean spirited.

There are incidents in other contemporary spheres where Marley’s Ghost would certainly not have been silent.

These include stealing company funds to “splurge” on friends who then become grovelling minions and sycophants and then backdating documents to hide the theft.

Remember, today a simple photocopy can be made with a date change.

Thus “document hacking” has become prominent among IT students and the IT community.

Then there are the employers and HR managers who lay off workers without due process nor compensation.

Hiding behind a group decision will not save you – Marley’s Ghost will visit you tonight, whether you are dead or alive!

What about the accusations and counter-accusations of “doctored tapes” which are strangely enough never resolved by the police?

And when a doctor who the Ghana Medical and Dental Council says is not licenced is cleared by the courts; the Council and its shifty Registrar are still at post and with what moral authority?

All these are some of the demons that we live with in ghana and from which we must set ourselves free.

A practising Hindu colleague shared the Hindu perspective: “When we are going through suffering we should be happy because it means our errors in our past or present life are being cleansed.”

She argued that it is better to get almost immediate punishment for our errors rather than reincarnate and come back to pay for them with another whole lifetime of suffering.

“It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

May we beat our spears and AK 47s into ploughshares, and always seek and speak the truth while we remain in this mortal frame – a tabernacle of clay.

May the Supreme Ruler of the Universe have Mercy on us all.

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