You are here: HomeWallOpinionsArticles2022 10 21Article 1647248

Opinions of Friday, 21 October 2022

Columnist: Joy Babanawo

'Those whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make mad'

Magnus Naabe RexDanquah is the author of this piece Magnus Naabe RexDanquah is the author of this piece

…The Ghana analogy

This anonymous ancient proverb is wrongly attributed to Euripides and quoted as a “heathen proverb” in ‘Daniel, a Model for Young Men’ (1854) by William Anderson Scott. The origin of the misattribution to Euripides is unknown.

Several variants are quoted in ancient texts, including Sophocles, Antigone 620-3, a play pre-dating any of Euripides’ surviving plays. An ancient commentary explains the passage as a paraphrase of the following, from another, earlier poet.

“When a god plans harm against a man, he first damages the mind of the man he is plotting against,” this suggests that the source of the quotation is a tragic play.

Another quote says: “For whenever the anger of divine spirits harms someone, it first does this: it steals away his mind and good sense, and turns his thought to foolishness so that he should know nothing of his mistakes.” Again, it is suggested that the source is a tragic play or sometimes misattributed to the much earlier semi-mythical statesman, Lycurgus of Sparta in a footnote of recent editions of Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations and other works.

The quotation – “Those whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make mad”, is however often used to comment on a foolish action seen as self-destructive in its effect. It also found expression in the earlier classical Greek tag, ‘when divine anger desires to ruin a man, it first takes away his good sense’.

It is also sometimes given in Latin as “Those whom a god wishes to destroy, he first deprives of reason” or “Those whom Jupiter wishes to destroy, he first deprives of reason” and both have been used in English Literature since at least the 17th century as classical Greek antecedents.

The simple and short of all these explanations is simply this ‘when the gods want to disgrace you, they first take away your sense of rationalization or sound reasoning against making you headstrong' to question everything, including what could possibly lead to one’s salvation.

RATIONALIZATION has been defined as ‘the act or process of ascribing one’s actions or opinions to causes that seem reasonable and valid but are actually unrelated to the true, possibly unconscious and often less complimentary ones, such as ‘Those who torture prisoners believe, in their loftiest rationalizations, that they are committing their deeds for the good of the nation; or the act or process of making something conformable to reason or to the principle that reason is the highest authority for truth.

All this English simply means that ‘there comes a time in a person’s life when he becomes so full of himself or herself, believing he or she has gotten to the pinnacle or greatest height of all achievements – riches, houses, or positions such as Presidency of a state, not to find himself or herself accountable to anybody or any human or authority because he or she is the ULTIMATE AUTHORITY in the land or company or institution.

That is the point that when he calls any other authority because he will be subservient to his, he will come running for the order that ‘arrest him and jail him’ and nobody will ask for what crime than to do just that. When one gets to this point then this person ought to know that he has reached the end of the road because that is when he would not listen to any pleadings than the fulfillment of his or her ego – the “moment of don’t you know who I am and how dare you question my authority” and “I don’t care if you won’t vote for my party in the next national elections”.

For sure, VANITY will always remain an ‘ASS’.

You see, this, they say, is the DAVID MOMENT OF REALIZATION that as the King, he can orchestrate and maneuver the death of the husband of the woman he desires so that he can fulfill his insatiable sexual appetites; and for that moment of insanity, he forgets all his sensibilities and humaneness. It is the moment of this madness without any rationalization to commit whatever heinous crime, knowing and believing that you are beyond accountability and above the law of the land and nature.

Who dares question you for any such crime against the clauses of IMMUNITY enshrined in the 4th Republican Constitution? My take on this is that any desire for the review of our Constitution should include the stripping of all clauses of immunity for any public office holder, including Presidents and Vice Presidents so that this ‘SWORD OF DAMOCLES’ over their heads will put the ‘Fear of the Lord’ into them forever so they comport themselves and serve the people always whilst in office.

You know, this moment comes easily to our political class, the MOMENTS OF WHOM THE GODS WISH TO DESTROY, THEY FIRST MAKE MAD’, where ‘madness’ is the state of insanity, senseless folly, rage, lunacy, extreme anger, excitement, or foolishness; a state of absurdity, irrationality, delusion, stupidity, aberration, psychosis, neurosis, derangement and phobia.

These moments come easily to those at the apexes of political power or class like Vice Presidents or Ministers of State, who know that even when their parties win the next elections, they would not be invited to occupy any position in the governance structure, especially after a second term, when the sitting President cannot come back in any form.

Has anybody ever sat down to soberly consider the state of things that face us as a nation and as a people within the current most depressing economic environment, when each passing day comes with its own increasing exchange rate and yet salaries and all other factors are constant with no change?

Where did all these narrations of the ‘worst currency’, the ‘worst economy’, ‘the worst / highest exchange rate ever’, the worst of anything and everything ever: where did all these emanate from?

Why all these that none of our prophets were able to see to warn us or the Presidency of the coming except possibly the Vice President to make him shift into the new exclusive DIGITALISATION ARENA, ceasing to have any known role to play in the issues of the management of the economy and exchange rates ‘will expose you’ paradigm?

The coincidences are really scary, leaving His Excellency the President alone to now face the music of ‘Those Whom the Gods Wish to Destroy They First Make Mad’ – figurative of course but the incidents of recent weeks are frightening, especially considering when the ‘World Comes To Ghana’ Musical Show and the booing scene; the visit to Kumasi and its own booing; the President’s response to the threat of some people determined not to vote for the New Patriotic Party (NPP) for failed promises and his response – all seem to point to a coming storm when set against the performance of our economy.

Are the ‘gods of Ghana’ telling us something, especially set against the GALAMSEY Roadshow, when a known kingpin sits two chairs away from His Excellency the President on his visit to the Otumfuo Nana Osei Tutu II, the Asantehene? I thought that was a real below-the-belt blow but then again I could be wrong not knowing what might have gone on prior to the visit.

Or was it an image rehabilitation?

Too many strange things now keep occurring and recurring in our land at a certain rapidity that it isn’t funny anymore, including the silences of prominent Ghanaians, who hitherto could raise hell from every corner, including pulpits to admonish previous governments for their inactions and actions. What is happening to us, is it the MOMENT OF FIRST MAKE MAD before the DESTRUCTION BY THE GODS?

And what is all this thing about MAKING MAD – is it in the way and manner our elected officials RETORT to our questions than answer us with the least of respect, against when they wanted our votes in 2016 and 2020 and were begging for our votes; when they were ready to sit in trotro with ‘KALYPO’ and also visit families and be seen to be pounding fufu?

Does the ‘MAKING MAD’ also include ‘arrogance’? When nobody seems to care any more than to wait for the rest of their tenure of office and exiting?

Now, I seem to understand why former President John Agyekum Kufuor refused to support any semblance of ‘Breaking The Eight’ during the 2008 National Elections – was it because of the pending doom he saw to want to walk silently into his statesmanship?

Or the current call of ‘BREAKING THE EIGHT’ is it part of the ‘…THEY FIRST MAKE MAD’ mantra? Some are silently thinking that it is part of an overall plan not to be accountable when out of office considering all the questions so many of us have concerning brokerage fees for all the loans syndicated over the past how many years on the principle that one cannot do business with himself in such high positions of state.

I might be wrong on this because nothing seems abnormal anymore as all things which were wrong under previous regimes are now holy and right before anything and everything: ‘HOW THINGS CHANGE SO FAST IN NOW GHANA?’ I shudder to ask, will anybody ever again have the audacity to pontificate about ‘FAMILY AND FRIENDS GOVERNMENT’ ever, ever, ever again, again?

Words, they say, have life, and as we were warned during childhood never to say some words during the darkest of nights because of the consequences therefrom so I crave everybody’s attention that we all be mindful of our own ‘IDES OF MARCH’ and beware so that we can avoid playing into the ‘hands of fate’.

To this extent, I wish to remind the President of the days of yore, when as a candidate, he was in all humility begging the people of this nation to ‘TRY ME AND SEE’, and that we will continue to hold his fingers to the fire on all the promises he made, amidst all swearing and begging for our votes in the days before the 2016 general elections, which he won by about a million votes, even if he seems to have forgotten.

Need I remind him that he still has years, months, weeks, and days still ahead of him to finish his tenure. If I was him, I will become like former President John Agyekum Kufuor and forget or worse still never mention the ‘BREAKING THE EIGHT’ mantra because that will play into ‘Those Whom The Gods Wish To Destroy, They First Make Mad’. He doesn’t need this type of protection except one from us, the people of Ghana, and our sovereign will.

Need I Say More? A CHANGE IS GONNA COME, sooner than later.