Feature Article of Thursday, 16 August 2012

Columnist: Boamah, Ebenezer

Why Do They Always Praise the Dead?

Come to think of it that almost every dead person was good and kind; smart and hardworking; selfless and caring; meek and humble; a great son/daughter of the land; and the likes. Brethren these are but some of the few and modest among many and high attributes often ascribed to the deceased. But our just passed-on president, the late Professor J E Atta Mills, has chalked another ‘unprecedented’, this time around positive, though on the face value. Just immediately after the unfortunate unprecedented of dying on the presidency, the praises, accolades and the eulogies heaped on his lifeless body have also been ‘gargantuanly unprecedented’ - among them others that seek to deify the man. Some holy (consecrated, set apart) attributes of God, the Almighty, Yahweh Sabbaoth have been used to portray the said character of the man, very prominent among them is the title Asomdweehene (the Prince of Peace).
Truth we must understand
Now it is the cliché that the late President Mills was battered left and right with all kinds of fault salvos. And I say again ‘fault’ (even though many say ‘insults’), because left to me along I hardly heard such vanities or that which were true insults e.g. ‘Atta Mills spots an ugly coconut head’ and the likes used on him, even though the Ghanaian culture is very notorious to denigrating the very physic of a person. At least I can say that 99% of that which were said about him was descriptive of his actions or otherwise inaction. As to whether things said about him were apt to the reality or not is not the point at this moment, but it is about time that we knew spade from the shovel; it is high time we, Ghanaians recalibrate our thinking to line up to the reality. For instance, if I stole something, and you called me a thief, it is no insult to me but descriptive of my action. Therefore at worst, if I didn’t steal, and yet labeled thus, it is rather a false charge to be disclaimed, if I cared, but not necessarily an insult to me for me to fight over. Brethren this little discourse is very important to undertake and understood, if our politics is to be sanitized in terms of our public discourse. If agreed that we are fallible to fault sometimes; and also automatically not God to see and know all things as they truly are all the time, then we must make room for the nasty pronouncements that may describe our actions or inaction; and also those nasty charges that may miss when we are innocent. What must be avoided, as civilized people, are the vain words that try to demean one’s physical persons, e.g. ‘look at your nasty big eyes like that of the owl’. Such are vain, in that they add nothing constructive to the debate, and the nation building in general; and more so such are an affront to God our maker. But mind you, those who also maliciously use false charges against opponents in other to malign, and to deceive the public are guilty of Hell Fire, and such people must be boycotted.
Hypocritical Phenomenon we must discard
Now, as I was saying, many are we who faulted the poor Professor than those who praised him, as a politician, but then after his demise what do we hear , what do I hear but too loud a mass chorus, singing the eulogies of the once, according to many of us, no show Professor president? What has transpired to warrant this V-turn (to sharp to be a U-turn) of morphing once a political non-performer unto a universal unprecedented smart- saint, by our lips, in the history of our poor-but –to –be- the-greatest nation? Did we make a very poor judgment of the man when he lived, or are we hallucinating given the shook of the so called ‘sudden death’ of the president (which death is not sudden then), or our memories are that very short, or times were super under the deceased president, but that we failed to see then because most of us were sick by President Mahama’s ‘mental block syndrome’?
Brethren, since the bombardment of the late president’s praises of his character, and so called unprecedented achievements began, I have been jostling myself and shaking my head to clear it of any ‘mental block syndrome’ that I might be suffering of ; and yet my reality is still the same, that the late President Mills presidency is the worst I have ever witnessed – his government broke the law all the time, and created lawlessness; not constructively logical in the public discourse, but hypocritical with false propaganda; talked all, but did nothing; very vindictive; very violent and fomented violence and discord; very mediocre, and worse no show; but that which broke the camel’s back is the fact that it was ‘unprecedented gargantuanly stinking corrupt’. Mill’s led administration messed up the National Health Insurance Scheme while they sought the best of medical cares outside of the country!
But, brethren, where from this human phenomenon of death changing all black and red into snow white always; of death making sinless saints out of even villains? At the core of this hypocrisy lies the big phobia that man has of DEATH, and more so for the Ghanaian, the DEAD. This fear of Death and the Dead is able to cause hopelessness in hopeless societies and individuals to do and say unimaginable things. People say and do all kinds of things in the face of death to hopelessly smoke-screen the harsh reality of death in general, and their own pending demise. The Ghanaian goes further with the praise of the dead to appease the so-called ghost in order not to court his/her wrath but even blessings. That most that we do in the name of the dead, in reality, are hypocritically for our pitiful selves – what use has the dead of the dressings and eulogies served, by the hopelessly confused living? Soberly speaking, such hypocrisies and vanities which we indulge upon the demise of a person serve no good either for the dead or the living. This flattery of the dead is destructive to society in the end. It distorts history and perpetuates vice sometimes. We must learn from God, the Bible never hid the faults of the saints because God knows we must learn from the sins and mistakes of others to avoid towing the same wrong paths to our detriment. Seeing the lies we are serving our very selves now, concerning the late president, I wonder what would handed down to posterity in the history books. See, if the world were full of sinless but good and hardworking people (as our automatic praise of the dead stands to reason) how come we have such a messy world full of injustice and lies; murders and massacres; greed and corruption; backbiting and sabotage; and more so, so much poverty and destitution in the face of enough – how come ‘love and care’ is missing in the air?
There is only one man who was and is sinless and perfect, Christ Jesus, the true Prince of Peace, our Righteousness. Only a sincere surrender to Him would make one perfect, before God, where it matters. All the solidarity that we believe we give to the dead can never change the place or circumstances of the one gone; neither would the false comfort with which we try to console ourselves from the harsh menace of Death make us avoid death. Surrendering your life to Christ Jesus who is the Life and the perpetual Light is your sure victory over Death. No mature God-fearing person has fear of Death or Hades, because he is aware that that which is called Death, to him, is the ridding of the flesh which is corrupt and imprisoning. That death is the ushering unto the true and perpetual ‘Life and Light’, therefore gain. That it is not important how you die, but how much true eternal profit you make out of the opportunity of life. Nevertheless, the harsh reality of suffocating darkness and torment awaits any person who lives and dies without the Truth and the Light, Christ Jesus. Do not trust those priests and prophets who canonize and heap tones of false blessings and worthless intercessions on the dead. Even before those could pray for the dead without Christ Jesus, he/she would already be serving a damning eternal sentence.
My brethren, come to think that had the showers of the praises of man had any worth to go by, God wouldn’t have woed the person whom all people praise (Luke 6:26). Let us speak the truth even in the face of death, so that the living would learn to write a better tribute with their lives; let us endeavor to speak the truth all the time that we do not deceive ourselves into destruction. Those with ears, let them listen to what the Spirit says.
Ebenezer Boamah
Email: ebenbo@yahoo.com