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Opinions of Friday, 15 August 2008

Columnist: Asamoah, Kwasi

Please Don't compare Nkrumah to Hitler

Don’t Compare Dr. Kwame Nkrumah to Hitler.

Mr. PhD my colleague…Give me a break.

I have always had this feeling that our quite impressive contemporary history and all, Ghanaians, as a people, generally speaking, are not as cognitively diligent and creative as we could be. And the latter insidious traits continue to remarkably impede our collective intellectual and cultural development, to speak much, much less about our economic and industrial development. One only has to follow the trend of the raging debate on the acquisition of Dual-Citizenship by Ghanaians resident abroad in order to either concur or contradict my observations.

Another intriguing example comes from that regressively intransigent group of Ghanaians who claim to be the diehard revivalists of a long-dead and rotten Mafia-like political organization called the Convention People’s Party (CPP). In any case, whoever heard of a “Convention” People’s “Party,” except one who is hopelessly intoxicated with dope, first-class Jamaican dope, perhaps? These days, however, we are also embarrassingly alerted to the fact that the best dope may actually be grown and processed in Ghana; and of all places in Ghana, good, old Dzelukope. Not that my dear reader could not have readily surmised this fact. And guess who the producers of vintage Ghanaian dope might be, if not the terror-mongering fanatical operatives of the Rawlings Corporation?

Still, the preceding is not the focus of our discourse today; our discursive focus today regards what is generally and widely termed “Skin Pain,” a soul-withering type of cancer/canker that so rabidly eats at the innards of its victims that the latter shortly end up being declared clinically insane. At its most virulent stage, it takes the form of a cross between Inferiority Complex and raw envy, tinged with a crabby craving for cheap recognition.

A typical symptom of “Skin Pain” came in the form of an E-mail message that yours truly received on May 14, 2008. The message read luridly as follows: “Dear Dr. Okoampa-Ahoofe: Please as a brother, I am imploring you to stop writing. Do you really have to post an article each week[,] and do you have to comment on every topic[?] You command respect when your are scarce and comment only when really necessary. Your latest article about one of the presidential candidates recorded nothing but personal insults. Is that what you want[?] You are the only PhD holder that these commentators respect the least and why? Please stay away from Ghanaweb and Modernghana for a while[,] and please [the] next time you write[,] offer some constructive ideas as to how we can move Ghana along economically[,] instead of this hatred sort of politics between [sic] the NPP, NDC and CPP that seems to be your forte. Your colleague PhD holder Kwasi Asamoah”

What fascinated me more than any other of “Dr.” Kwasi Asamoah’s gripes, regarding my supposedly unsavory frequent literary presence on both Ghanaweb.com and Modernghana.com, was the following question from the writer: “Do you really have to post an article each week[,] and do you have to comment on every topic?” Obviously, there is something akin to common envy in the tone of the writer’s question, particularly when the reader also factors in the patronizing presumption of “Dr.” Kwasi Asamoah to the effect that since he and yours truly both possess doctoral degrees, therefore, perforce, both yours truly and “Dr.” Kwasi Asamoah ought to be listening to, as well as marching to the same tune vis-à-vis our individual relationship and attitude towards Ghanaian politics and culture.

Naturally, I was almost overwhelmed with amused contempt. I had intended not to respond to such bunk and peevish scatology, but ended up sending back “Dr.” Kwasi Asamoah this terse note, if I remember accurately: “Dr. Asamoah, the fact of us both holding doctoral degrees – in whatever academic or professional endeavors – does not necessarily make us peers. But even more significantly, it is rather presumptuous of you to attempt to define for me exactly what constitutes actions that entail what might be described as “constructive ideas for moving Ghana along economically.”

What is also fascinating is that “Dr.” Kwasi Asamoah did not pinpoint exactly what I had written about “one of the presidential candidates” that made the alleged insults appended to my article in the Ghanaweb.com chat-room worth my while or the while of any critically thinking and well-meaning Ghanaian, for that matter. You see, it is this kind of facile attitude to discourse with quite a slew of many a loudmouthed Ghanaian intellectual that rankles me more than all else.

On quite a lighthearted note, however, “Dr.” Kwasi Asamoah provoked such gaseous laughter in me that I almost, literally, fell off my chair. For exactly what did the writer mean by the following seemingly solicitous questions: “You are the only PhD holder that these commentators respect the least and why? Please stay away from Ghanaweb and Modernghana for a while[,] and please [the] next time [that] you write[,] offer some constructive ideas as to how we can move Ghana along economically[,] instead of this hatred sort of politics between[sic] the NPP, NDC and CPP that seems to be your forte.”

You see, dear reader, I relish, and I mean it quite candidly…that I truly relish this streak of arrogance, such as politely expressed by “Dr.” Kwasi Asamoah that shamelessly parades as measured humility. And you know what, it is absolutely and incontrovertibly Ghanaian, just like “Osino Graphic” or “Mamfe Tart.” And, if, indeed, “Dr.” Kwasi Asamoah has the key “to move Ghana along economically along,” even as yours truly infuses Ghanaian politics with abject hatred, exactly where was my “colleague PhD holder” all the twenty years that Mr. Rawlings had the scrawny necks of Ghanaians in his hairy and musty armpits screaming: “Enough with your Structural Adjustment Program, Chairman!”?

Then again, if “Dr.” Kwasi Asamoah is so convinced that yours truly’s “forte” squarely entails preaching “this hatred sort of politics between[sic] the NPP, NDC and CPP,” then why presume that I am any capable, at all, of offering some constructive ideas as to how we can move Ghana along economically? This is a classical example of what I term as Cognitive, or Intellectual, Constipation.

In any case, what sort of Ghanaian of sound intellect would court the “respect” of largely anonymous and sludge-spewing chat-room babblers (not commentators, mind you) who go by such pseudonyms as: “Pussy Galore,” “Etwe Monkey,” “Julo-Jato Tsikata-Rawlings,” “Your Mother’s Bearded Tunnel” and “Akadu Mensema”? Of course, there a handful of impeccably astute critics and commentators like Oyokoba (a.k.a. Eric Bottah), Ekuonaba, Kumasi Abrantea[sic], etc., to whose intellectually and morally edifying comments one looks forward to reading on a daily basis.

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 the author of 17 books, including “Ghanaian Politics Today” (Atumpan Publications/lulu.com, 2008). E-mail: okoampaahoofe@aol.com. I think Dr. Okoampa-Ahoofe surprised himself by obtaining a doctorate degree. He is obsessed with it. Perhaps he never thought he could do it. He writes recklessly and makes wild assertions. Apart from big words, his English is full of run-on sentences, simple split infinitives, with several other grammatical errors which may not be obvious to the ordinary reader. This is little piece is just a rejoinder to an article he posted on Modernghana titled: Mr. PhD my colleague…Give me a break …copied above. Lately, he sends more articles to Modernghana than to Ghanaweb for obvious reasons: He has become redundant and a nonentity on Ghanaweb and he is aware of it.

Sure, “Dr.” Okoampa, you can never be my peer. I will vehemently reject that comparison. I used the word colleague because we both have PhDs and that is where it ends. I graduated from an Ivy League university in the USA and I have taught at leading Universities in the USA including New York University. Certainly, you cannot compare yourself to me in any way, even when it comes to physical attraction. Community college teacher my foot. You write only to impress people with your few collection of big words which most of the time obfuscate the meaning of what you intend. You asked me where I was when Rawlings was in power. Where were you yourself and what did you do to stop him when he was in power? Didn’t you go into self exile? You are exiled in New York and from where you write articles filled with nonsense and hatred. When was the last time you visited Ghana? Perhaps you travel incognito. Who are you to compare Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah to Hitler? If Kwame Nkrumah is comparable to Hitler then you, “Dr.” Kwame Okoampa-Ahootan, as some of the commentators on Ghanaweb prefer to address you, you are comparable to an ugly beast – a four legged animal. Yes, I cautioned and advised you privately via e-mail to write constructively, because you spew nothing but venom in your writings, but you chose to go public with your fumings.

I am glad I have become a dilemma to you. I have made you sleepless and worry since May of this year and, at least, I have forced you into some kind of hiatus. The following is “Dr.” Kwame Okoampa’s article he posted on Modernghana on June 27, 2008 which necessitated this posting. I had written to him in private, but he chose to display his foolhardiness in public. I will not reply to your nonsense any longer…dimwit.

Kwasi Asamoah, Ph.D