You are here: HomeWallOpinionsArticles2016 06 04Article 444664

Opinions of Saturday, 4 June 2016

Columnist: Austin Brakopowers

Live from the woods: Is the June 4 celebration still relevant?

We have, as a nation, debated fiercely about the relevance of the celebration of June 4 'revolution' by a former dictator of Ghana, Flt Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings.

Much as I don't want to wade into this 'unrighteous' argument, I believe giving the matter a befitting burial will be apt during this time of our history as a nation.

What at all is the June 4 celebration meant for? Is it not for celebrating, in the minds of the perpetrators of the atrocities, a period when they, supposedly 'overcame evil with good'? Or in the perspective of Jerry [as he loved to be called], a celebration of when he 'saved Ghana from the clutches of corrupt government officials'?

The fact is, June 4 deserves to be likened to a coin. It has both positive and negative sides. And I believe, strongly, that any argument about the relevance of the celebration must be situated within the right perspective and context - the period of the 'revolution.'

Was it necessary? Was our nation not consumed by corruption? Were government functionaries, backed by their Western sponsors, not bleeding our country of its rich resources? Was the poor not dis-appropriated from their own lands? And were goods not hoarded by the rich of this country?

The answer to all these questions is YES. Ghana has been all things on June 4, 1979. It has been an oppressor and oppressed at the same.

And as happened elsewhere in the world, the only way to yank off oppression has been through the will of the people instigated through mass reaction and/or revolution.

This has, largely, been demonstrated not achievable through the ballot which is an importation of Western standards - though its relevance to Africans has not been sufficiently proven. The ballot has, in our part of the world, been simply an avenue for changing one corrupt regime after the other. Though the new President of Nigeria, Buhari is rewriting the maths. Anyways enough of the digression.

In the words of Jerry Rawlings, he heard the cry of Ghanaians and sought to be a source of help in reshaping the destiny of the country. I can't fault him for thinking that way. Fact is, we have seen some persons do all sort of heinous things in the name of the people - both democratically and non-democratically elected governments.

So when Jerry mobilised some of his military friends backed by civilians to overthrow another military-led government, Supreme Military Council, popularly called SMC and put in place the popular government of the masses, he believed Ghana has to change structurally to sustain the 'gains of the revolution.'

Again, he believed like many guerrilla leaders, such as Ernesto Che Guevera and Fidel Castro of Cuba, that the only means of achieving that was to change that aspect of the society that places the rich ahead of the poor; that artificially created ladder in the society that has relegated the poor to a spectator only to be manipulated at the end of every four years in the name of an election; and to perpetually sever that web that continues to trap children of the poor to 'forever' be subservient and 'cleaners' of the children of the rich and poerful.

This brought many, hitherto, rich folks to their knees. The blood of coup leaders and civilians was shared to water such 'over-ambitious' [because decades on, Ghana has proven incapable of being corrupt free] ideal such as 'probity and accountability.'

So accountability was exacted from persons who had arrogated responsibilities to themselves. They were maltreated, and maimed in the name of preserving the life of the country from such depraved minds.

I have been in support of the motivation behind the June 4 'revolution', however, I regret the excesses committed by some blood thirsty and vampire Ghanaians - who faintly thought they were doing so for the good of Ghanaians. Well many years on, nothing has changed.

The thrust of the issue is that no one, and I mean this, no one gets to change a society through killing. However, largely this is what is done in Africa.

Rather, society is changed when debate someone else's ideas or when you forcefully, not by killing, impose your ideas on them. You are open to contest this, however, often it helps to foist your ideas on others especially when the have demonstrated that they cannot think on their own. I mean when you give an idiot the chance to think, you will have to wait forever.

I believe the idea was a good one, but the uncontrolled behavior of the perpetrators deserved to be condemned for changing the true nature of what was supposed to be a revolution.

As we enter into June 4, the question i get asked by persons who know my position on the so-called 'revolution' has always bothered around its relevance.

Well, let me use this part of the essay to answer the topic question: Is the debate about the relevance of the June 4 celebration relevant?

My answer is Yes it is. And is the celebration relevant? The same YES!

Let me ask you this: I heard our government held a memorial service to mark the first anniversary of [largely accepted] the greatest disaster in the history of our nation, June 3, 2015 disaster. Is it true?

Oh ok don't you bother to respond because my colleagues in the Woods have confirmed that. So President John Dramani Mahama, actually, attended the memorial to celebrate the failings of his government [previous governments inclusive]?

As far as I am aware, this can only happen in Africa where governments are buoyed by their incompetence to parade their 'nakedness' on the streets pretending to be more catholic than the Pope.

Since you are aware, I have been in the Woods for sometime now trying to weave my thoughts into a tapestry for the good of Ghanaians. I was thinking of coming to town one of these days, just that I dread I'd be swept off my feet by flood in Ghana's capital, Accra - since nothing much has changed since the last downpour.

At least not even the uncombed beard of the Accra Mayor, Dr Okoe Vanderpuiye is enough to put the city to sleep.

The argument has often been that if France and the USA could be flooded, why can't Ghana get flooded.

And my response at all times, even when I am asleep on my mat in the Woods, is that if you are a weak thinker in our part of the world, please spare us your u solicited opinion. We need people to act and not to be spinning 'unconvincing' theories. To think that France and USA could get flooded and so Ghana should brace up for same is as perverse an idea as the June 4 concept was in the mind of Rawlings.

But this is what I am convinced about that if Vanderpuiye will give permits to some deprave minds to put up structures on waterways thereby preventing the flow of water in the event of flooding, where then lies the safety of the city?
So if the death of scores of Ghanaians due to the failure of someone to think into the future of the nation could be 'celebrated' with a memorial service, then the June 4 which also claimed many 'innocent' lives derserved to be celebrated.

This conclusion, has nothing to do with my unsympathetic feelings for families who lost their loved ones in the twin flood and fire disaster at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle on June 3, 2015.

I guess I will have to go back into the Woods since I have set a trap hoping to lay my hands on one of the animals for my meal tonight.

I don't know how Jerry is planning to celebrate this June 4 this time around, especially, when Ghanaians are mourning. But I am hoping to hear he's got on his chest. Does anyone in Ghana cares about his 'Messiah-nist' attributes?
Sorry, he does himself.

The good news is I don't care. But wait, does that make it a good news?
I've got to go people. My friends need me back in the Woods. We've got a big celebration underway to mark the day we killed that giant elephant. See you later.