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Opinions of Monday, 25 August 2014

Columnist: Abdul-Yekin, Kofi Ali

Re-awakening of the Ghanaian republicans

A group of people in a suburb of Kaulak, Senegal, had a culture of living with their teeth stained red. Everyone in the Community had their teeth stained and that is how they know those from the community and those who are not.
Oral Tradition had it that, the ancestral spirit of the community is responsible for this and it happens when the spirit is giving the people a version of their holy communion.
What is strange about this culture is, when a member of the community leaves and settle down outside for a very long time, the person's teeth begins to whiten. It was also the case that when persons from other communities stay in this community for a very long time, they also start getting their white teeth turned red. Well, none the wiser as no one dare challenge culture and tradition, to offend the gods. People lived with this and myths relating to why this is the case, were only limited by how far the imaginative skill of the community's narrators of history can go. Generations were born and grew with it. In fact, the community had the state to include this as part of their traditional character in the nations history lessons for student to learn and know about their history.
In time, a child born in that community travelled to France where he ended up studying medicine. After the new exposure, the young man travelled home to visit his people. He had nice holiday and enjoy being with his own people, among whom he grew. He noticed the anomalies in how his people do things but loved their innocence and sincerity on how they go about these anomalies. He however realised that his own teeth is white, while his father and other members of the community had stained teeth. Of course the endless excuses by the locals why this has to be the case.
The young medical doctor could not understand this mystery, so it become a challenge to him. The man returned to the part of France where he practice and continued his life. He however developed the habit of frequenting home and staying longer. He then started noticing that, each time he return to the community in Senegal, his teeth start getting stained. This then stops when he leaves.
Given this trend, his back ground in medicine as a scientist who do not believe in mere myth and the exposure to the new world, the man decided to research into the course of the staining teeth.
The young man took a lot of samples and carry out lot of laboratory tests. One thing that become certain to the scientists was, this has something to do with food. He then established that people of all ages have their teeth stain, as long as they are matured enough to have teeth.
In the end, it turn out that this is caused by the water the community drinks. The river from which the community gets her water happens to run over a rock that was discovered to have some chemicals components, which make the water stain anything stony white. So anyone who drink from the water then ends up with a stained teeth.
The man then decided to break the news to the community, feeling proud of himself as giving something back to the society that gave life to him. He gathered all the elders and broke the news to them. Prior to this, he mentioned the discovery to his own father who seem not happy with the new, but for some reason, did not object to the issue.
The elders gathered together on the agreed date and the young medical doctor broke the good news to them. In fact, he carried out some experiments before the community to prove his case.
The elders did not say anything but remain quite throughout. After the young man has finish all he had to say, the elders then said to him, "Son, we have heard what you have to say and seen what you did. It sounds true but we are not going to take it!" They then told the young man that, before his father and great grand parents, were born, their ancestors have been drinking the water from the river. They added that the water is not killing them but making them live longer, through the spirit of their ancestors. The elders added that the stained teeth is part of their culture and tradition with which the are able to identify themselves and their unity consolidated.
What the young medical doctor could not tell the community was, the effect of the chemical is not limited to teeth staining but to some other ailments that kill gradually like tobacco. The community then continued the practice despite the appeal and the detailed information, as the elders saw the whole thing as a threat to their authority. All the elders have to use is to refer to the old practice as their culture and tradition.
Well, if this society, under the guise of culture and tradition, chooses not to trust its own son with such great sense of wisdom, who could save this people from themselves? Fellow Ghanaians, do not let us be like these people, who disguises under culture and tradition, to sustain the life of lesser human beings. This is the reason why we opted for democracy, as it is the only means by which we can change anything, if we know exactly what we are doing. Our destiny is in our own hands.
Kofi Ali Abdul-Yekin
ECRA (ECOWA Citizen Rights Advocates)
Twitter: Actiongroupa
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