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Opinions of Monday, 4 November 2019

Columnist: Isaac Ato Mensah

Remembering Yitzhak Rabin while facing off the bigots

Yitzhak Rabin Yitzhak Rabin

Twenty-four years ago on 4 November, 1995, Yitzhak Rabin, an Israeli Prime Minister (PM), and Nobel Peace Prize winner, was assassinated by an extremist Israeli.

The world cannot forget the historic moment when Palestinian Leader Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin, met US President Bill Clinton at Camp David, in a determined search for peace.

The Oslo Peace Accord (signed by Rabin, Shimon Peres and Arafat; all subsequent joint winners of the Nobel Peace Prize) was supported by many countries including Ghana.

It recognized the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) as Israel’s partner in permanent status negotiations, and the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination.

Since Rabin’s assassination, the bigots have gradually taken over – not only in Israel, but in many places around the world.

This week, Dresden, the German city preparing to become a cultural city in 2020 has declared “a Nazi emergency,’ after what city authorities describe as years of extremist, racist activities.

These days in the USA, bigotry has become an almost daily ritual.

Add Brazil, Hungary, Italy and yes, parts of Britain.

Now, what is the local situation right here in ghana on extremism, intolerance, racism and bigotry?

What the Right Honourable Speaker of Parliament said last week about homosexuals and people of different sexual orientations cannot be repeated anywhere, certainly not among civilized and educated people.

For heaven’s sake, Mr Speaker is a lawyer, a political scientist, a former MP, a former academic, a book author and a minister of the Gospel of Christ!

His utterances can only be described as the most malignant and pernicious form of bigotry which ought to be roundly condemned.

It shames the whole country.

Same goes for Moses Foh-Amoaning, a law lecturer who also regularly makes strident bigoted statements about people of a different sexual orientation other than what he is.

Do these two “learned” persons know our African history?

Is there any practical difference in the way they think from that of Abu Bakr Baghdadi, the Daersh leader who was killed last week?

Did Baghdadi not have a PhD in Islamic studies?

Indeed the very instruments of learning can be destructive if not properly channelled and elevated for the greater good.

“Our laws, regulations and time honoured traditions are capable of the loftiest interpretations,” says my mentor. “Going to school is one thing, being EDUCATED is completely different.”

The Dresden situation tells us that thankfully the Germans are monitoring their situation.

What about us here in Ghana and our bigots, who if given the chance, will take all of us to a very dark and terrible place – and this is based on the facts of history; are we monitoring our bigots?

It is also a shame that the governing party was silent over the recent rant by their “Gold Coast politician,” about “Nkrumah’s nationality”.

However, we noted with pleasure that this administration granted dual citizenship status to two Germans, – no fuss about mother’s hometown, father’s hometown, ethnic group, tribe or Ghanaian languages spoken.
Did the same fuss over nationality not lead to civil war in Cote d’Ivoire, our neighbour?

As my mentor says, “I have lived the majority of my life as a minority; even in my own hometown of Accra, I am a minority; I, therefore, reserve my strongest language for the bigots; I am their sworn enemy.”

What about you?

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