Feature Article of Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Columnist: Esinam Femensah

Lord Receive Atta Mills…And Forgive Us Our Iniquities

Dear Father,

The joke is on us now. He’s gone and left us speechless. Here we are, huddled in twos and threes, arms around our bodies, still trying to comprehend the news on this black Tuesday. We keep searching for the right words to comfort each other, but in times like this, words I find, can be woefully inadequate.

The common choruses now are “oh, he was such a good man”, or “oh, he was so humble and loved his nation and its people dearly” and the most surprising one- “he was the best president yet….” What is it about death that makes us say good things about people we vehemently opposed or disliked when they were alive? I guess I’ll never know.

I spent Tuesday morning listening to the various morning shows intermittently and the radio stations with their panelists didn’t disappoint. The business of politics and running the country was a common theme, leading to much name-calling, uncouth and irresponsible utterances.

President Mills (as he was then) wasn’t spared- he had his share of ribbing from panelists and callers alike. A few hours down the line however, all those social commentators, political party activists, callers and indeed all of us, who had used all manner of negative adjectives to describe this son of yours, are now singing his virtues. What hypocrites we are! Shame on us all! I doubt if we’ll make it through your pearly gates now.

Father, I’m so ashamed and oh, feeling my own mortality. What haven’t we said about him- “he’s sick.., he’s unfit to rule Ghana.., he’s incompetent...” We’ve rained insults on him. Some of us even called for his death. Shame on us all! Father, you knew him so well and knew his flaws, yet you loved and accepted him anyway. I am ashamed to admit that we took much delight in taunting and mocking him, making fun of his slips and sabotaging his work. Did you decide to take him home to rest because you had gotten tired of us making his life miserable by our words and deeds?

Father, my heart is heavy and I feel so ashamed. I wish I could take back those words. I wish I could tell him how sorry I am for my hurtful words. My only consolation is that he finally has the peace he deserves. He’s free from the manipulation; he’s free from the insults and the betrayals.

I’m glad though that he can sit with a cup of cocoa tomorrow and finally enjoy those blissful holidays with you, without all the noise, hurt and pain. I wonder though if there are any Morning shows in Heaven. If not, please encourage him to listen to us down here tomorrow as we put aside our differences and affiliations to mourn this fine son you gave us.

Once again, we are sorry for making each other’s life miserable. We are sorry for taking each other for granted. We are sorry for trampling on each other’s pride in pursuit of selfish ambitions.