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Opinions of Sunday, 20 June 2010

Columnist: Alordey, Susu

Bawku & Yendi: Crime or conflict?

The Daily Graphic of June 2, 2010, carried a feature article with above topic.

My interest in the said publication was not merely because the author, Professor Kwesi Agyeman, was my lecturer at the University of Ghana, but significantly, his employment of philosophical tools of ‘Relevancy and Relativity’ to address the ‘uncanny conflict’ appears to be most apt, except for a few issues I wish to humbly dissent.

First, his suggestion of Relevancy of cultural ethos as a consequential tool to deal with the conflict in the north appears to be inadequate, given the Relevancy of the same cultural ethos, in a larger context.

Society has always evolved with time and location cladding itself in varying cultural norms and its relevancy – sometimes, very opposed to the strong values it formerly upheld. Indeed, society is dynamic. This dynamic phenomenon gave birth to states and nation- states with its colours and shapes of acceptable practices. One must not labour on the fact that constitutions are the sequel of unionization of cultures and the later ascribing certain acts as good or bad and, for that matter, crime as a crime

Now, the question we must begin to ponder over is whether a struggling modernized society should accept certain acts of conflict, even with certain historical cultural precedence, as a mere belief system in conflict over the other? Can’t a modernized society accept murder or any other crime as a crime in a conflict situation? Is crime not an act that must be punished though a struggling society with diverse culture strives to solve a conflict? Answers to this question will help us grasp the point. Even so, when we say certain cultural institutions are there to resolve social conflicts, are we again saying that the same institution cannot ascribe an act is good or bad?

These are the nagging questions that eluded my good professor’s analysis. For it is necessary to stress on the obvious fact that certain cultural ethos or belief systems have outlived their usefulness. It is for no other reason that trokosi is banned as a cultural practice today, that female genital mutilation is abhorred, etc for their irrelevance, inhuman and threat to modern society.

Thus, I wish to submit that my professor’s “Lesson in Story” may be relevant and applicable yesterday but, most definitely, not today. Infact, any effort to super-impose cultural ethos over rule of law in a civilized society will be an effort to re-incarnate cannibalism.

By Susu Alordey. Email: 0244594893