SEE ME AS YOUR BROTHER.

The Cry of the Physically Challenged.

You need a brother, without one you’re like a person rushing to battle without a weapon.’ – Arabian proverb

It is the commencement of another semester.  It is not the semester itself that bothers me much.  It is the tussle and troubles that my colleagues and I will go through again that has become my source of worry.  I am already late for my first lecture.  I have been standing in front of my place of residence for forty minutes now waiting for a shuttle or taxi to pick me.  It seems the commercial vehicle drivers are more interested in my able bodied colleagues more than the physically challenged.   Not even the numerous lucky ones around with their own cars will be generous enough to give us free rides to the lecture block.  My problems continue when I get to the Faculty itself.  How to climb those steep and numerous staircases will take me all my strength and another decade to accomplish.   I nearly shed tears when I saw my sister who uses wheelchair stuck up at the mouth of those frightening staircases.   When I enter the classroom, how to find a place to sit is another problematic package in itself.  The case in the hall is no different.  I was allocated a top bed in my room because the other three are of the same family as me.  I don’t know if they want me to fly before getting unto my bed.  The case at the washroom is worse.  It takes almost one hour to bath in cases where water is not flowing in the bathhouse.  I mostly don’t visit the lavatory because I can’t afford to sit on the toilet seat that has been soiled with all kinds of things.  My legs can’t support me to squat on it either.  People are so wicked and careless that they don’t think about the discomfort they create for us when they do such things.  I wish I would be able to go to the library but the staircases scare me off.  I can’t go to the bank because their air-tight doors are nightmares for me.  Did I make a wise decision by pursuing further education?  I hope you might be wondering who I am.  I am the physically challenged person out there who struggles day in day out because my disability was not factored in and is not being factored in when policies are being made.

It is time the appropriate authorities factor in the case of the physically challenged when structural and other policies are being drawn up for tertiary institutions and other institutions in the country.  It is time new buildings on campus are made disability-friendly.  Our libraries should have materials that can help our blind brothers to also seek knowledge to the level they want to.  Their blindness should not be a hindrance to their desire to further their education.   Buildings should be designed in such a way that wheelchair users can drive themselves comfortably to lectures and back to their places of abode.  As we are in a period of great technological advancement, let our tertiary institutions set the pace by facilitating their various institutions with disability-friendly materials that will allow physically challenged students to also live and learn like any normal student.

The great emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte once said that ‘in life, we are all either born kings or pawns’.   Simply put, we are all not born equal.  The mere reason that someone is born with a defect in a part of his body is not enough or acceptable reason to exclude him or her from the necessities and the few luxuries of life.

It very sad and appalling when one observe how some people treat our physically challenged colleagues with some unwanted level of disdain. These kinds of treatment leave a lot of piercing and unanswered questions on the minds of our brothers and sisters.  Is it their doing to be born blind? is it a fault of theirs to be crippled?  Why can they not be treated like any other person and accorded the needed respect and geniality. Why can they also not be aided to pursue those wonderful dreams that everyone else has?  Why should they be stigmatized and ostracized of a sort?

It is time that as a nation which have so many times boasted of unparalleled hospitality, we come home to the never-ageing adage, ‘charity begins at home’.  If we cannot treat our own people with the basic requirements of life, then where lays our so-called internationally acclaimed warmth?  It is good news in itself that our democracy is growing gradually.  However one thing we must not forget is that democracy is not just about freedom of speech or NDC and NPP waking up every morning to argue over mostly needless issues.  It is also about embracing everyone in the society and making them feel part of it.  As a country we keep doing the kindergarten kind of merry-go-round with such issues.   We keep talking about getting our brother off the street and getting them to do something meaningful with their lives, yet most of our actions drive them to the streets.

To my physically challenged brothers and sisters, I have a small pocket of advice.  No one owns your life.  There is more to life than practicing self-pity all your life.  Life is what you make out of it.  If Fanny Crosby and Helen Keller were able to do it in their days with such high level of limitations, you can go steps further.  Do not let your handicap be a barricade to the future that lies ahead so bright and so promising.   Forge ahead, keep hope alive, turn your misfortunes into tools of motivation and when you get weary on the way, just pause and sing praises to your Maker.  With hard work you will surely live to see your name written in gold.

A society that harnesses all resources available to it and put them to good use, always see massive development.  Therefore in our quest to develop as a nation, let us harness all resources available by bringing everyone on board and give them the necessary push.  A responsible society is a developed society.

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POLITICAL SCIENCE CLASS OF THE YEAR

POLITCAL STUDIES 2011 YEAR GROUP

….retrospection.

PART ONE

This class is undoubtedly one of the best classes that I found myself in.   it consisted of wonderful characters that will always make a writer’s pen ink eager to flow.  The class members and the lecturers alike make a wonderful family.   The first two years saw an over populated class like China, so everyone kept to himself until all the refugees and illegal immigrants were sieved out.  We however maintained some asylum seekers from the History class.   That was when the producer screamed ‘ACTION’ and the movie of life started.

The class was more like a country demarcated into very evident regions.  There was the frontline region of the perceived serious students who always hijacked any academic discussion in the class.  The regional minister was our fastest academic rapper in history.  I am sure she might have committed the whole Bible to memory by now.  She will readily beat rapper Sarkodie in any contest.   Due to some unknown ties with her, I will omit her name for now.  The likes of Prudence, Mama Tabitha, Salima, Agya Peter and Gyamponsa Peter.   We also had the dispersed region who only contributed in class when it comes to the issues of girls and other non-academic issues.  Over here Vondee is an authority and Usher Ray is an expert.     The backbench region was very much informed about issues relating to clubbing, girls and anything entertainment and fashion.  Talk of the likes of Ekow the toad, Burberry the silent killer, Hans Herbert and Black-Mo.  Then we had the ghost region where you will never see anyone of them contribute to any issue at all.   Gloria Papanko, Anita Newman and their compatriots form this region.

Who even said ‘power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely’?   We were all in a political science class where Prudence Owusu, wife of the most romantic gentleman of the class played Mugabe on us.  She was the perpetual class president and imposed her whims and caprices on us.    We saw her grow from that fearful bookworm to that sexy student leader.  I never knew that she could exhibit that talent of a high school sexy girl who always wear skirts that make guys wonder what was next.  She was however one of the best that we had as a class.   If you don’t know, she was learning karate to enable her protect Vandyke from predators.

If the department was to go strictly by the regulations of the school, people like Usher Ray, Ogashie, Pinocchio (how many of you even know him), Black-Mo and Sefa Badu Mills will still be in first year.  Did the slim Kezia attend class more than them?   Aha, there was this time that Kezia and Ekow had to sit on one chair.  Even Satan would have told them it was wrong.   These people were so  allergic to class that their class attendance combined together amounted to just two semesters.    Pinocchio is on record for attending class for just one minute.   Right Honourable Vondee was the Shadow class president.   He presided over all the absentees.  Together with Usher Ray, they exhibited the talent of shifting cultivation where they run shift in relation to classes.  Usher Ray had the talent of mixing up the courses.  I just imagined what life would have been with him as our class rep.  He once said he was going for a PROBLEMS IN POLITICAL THEORY class.   Gosh!

In the contest for most handsome gentleman of the class, you will see people like Obese and Osibisa getting all the cat-calls.  Please I have not mentioned anyone’s name.   not forgetting  Bernard Quansah of blessed Negro memory.   Who wins the race?  As for me I can not sit in front of this my 1960 IBM computer and decide.

Hmmmmn! Please do not laugh.  One man who was always a mystery for the class was MR. the Boy Boyefio.  He was either ahead of the class or behind the class.   What most of us didn’t know was that anytime he was saying something that looked like he was thinking ahead; he was actually in a trance flying a plane.  His brain was always tuned to the speed of the plane and the noise that he hardly hears anything that goes on in class.  I remember the first time I sat so close to him in a computer class.  He picked his mouse and raised it into the air like the steering wheel of an airplane.  That’s MR. BOY for you.  Do you remember this:   PLEASE SIR, CAN YOU REPEAT WHAT YOU SAID?  WHEN YOU WERE TALKING I WAS BUSILY WRITING.

This is part one of the Kyeiwaa-like series that will be unfolding.   Watch out for the likes of Afia Nkotoweseza, Salima the doubted virgin, Agya Petel Salpong, Ato Kwamina, the grandson of Aya Koo and many more.  You can’t afford to miss.  Please like some  daft lecturer I know,I will not tolerate any threats…..hahahhaha.  if you think you have anything to say, drop it in the column created for comments, not on my phone line.  This is the work of an innocent writer.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AGAINST MEN.

Between January and August 2007, 150 cases of domestic violence were reported by men, as against 116 cases for the whole of previous year (Social Affairs, 2007). DOVVSU of the Ghana Police Service indicated 49 assault cases were reported by men against women while assault cases reported by women against men total over 2000 in the year 2006. Most victims of domestic violence are women yet few men are left battered and bruised by their girlfriends and wives.

The legislation seeks to bring an end to domestic violence in Ghana, targeting in particular the abusive practice of “wife beaters” and men who habitually perpetrate violence against their partners. Men were not considered as victims but some men go through hell in relationship.

Men are hidden victims of domestic violence probably because of the stigma and embarrassment men may feel as victims of domestic violence. The official figures underestimate the true number of male victims. Culturally it’s difficult for men to bring these incidents to the attention of the media and police. Men are reluctant to say that they’ve been abused by women, because it’s seen as unmanly and weak. Also remember that violence happens in homosexual relationships and that women aren’t the cause of all violence against men.

Male victims are almost invisible to the society; the problem is that domestic violence against men is portrayed by the media as amusing.

If a man hits a woman, this is portrayed as domestic violence and is unacceptable whatever the circumstances, rightly so. If a woman hits a man, it is usually portrayed as him having “deserved it.” I once held that popular notion, I laughed when a man walked to the hospital with police form indicating physical assault by his wife. Domestic violence is often seen as a female victim/male perpetrator problem, but the evidence demonstrates that this is a false picture.

More men have most probably been charged with domestic violence than women. Just understand that for many men who are genuine victims of domestic violence may well be scared of any woman when they first seek refuge and cannot have even an abused woman there. Men assaulted by their partners are often ignored by the society, see their attacker go free and have far fewer refuges to flee than women (Men’s rights campaign group Parity, UK). Can it be applicable in our country? Is it possible for us to emulate this “Parity” campaign?

BY:  LYDIA NUAMAH.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

Fear, anxiety, and insomnia hunt my lonely soul.
I live with a bleeding scar and in sorrow…
I feel devastated as I drown in tears of blood,
which witness my pain and stain my pillow.

You swore it wouldn’t happen again, yet you abused
and bruised my heart; and your presence is terror…
Your abuse is tearing my world apart.

Now on my own, I feel used under dark clouds.
– Why should I live with a bleeding scar?

Due to your abuse, I seek solace in alcohol.
I feel like I am walking on egg’s shell
and the painful memories I revive in strife.

Your abusive behavior causes health problems.
I am always in hospital just to fix a broken bone.
I’m too scared to share my story with the care givers.

You are only interested in jeopardizing my life.
Who will be my comforter? I’m tired of seeking refuge
at a friend’s and domestic violence shelter!

You never reciprocate the perfect love I show you…
You may need me some day, but no chance from me again.
I won’t continue to play the game your way.

By:  LYDIA NUAMAH.

WITCHES FLY OVER GAMBAGA

WITCHES FLY OVER GAMBAGA.
“My granddaughter dreamt that I was hitting her head with a stick. When she woke up the next morning she accused me of being a witch. She started hitting me with a stick and others joined her. I was beaten and forced to confess. I had to do it because I feared they will kill me if I don’t agree with them that I am a witch”

GAMBAGA WITCH CAMP

This is the pathetic line that is repeated by the thousands of women who have been falsely accused of witchcraft in some parts of Northern Ghana. Ignorance and poverty, coupled with primitive cultural beliefs and practices have encouraged people to meet out very horrendous and inhumane treatment to innocent old ladies all in the name of witchcraft.
Many of these women who are accused of witchcraft are exiled in some seven so-called witch camps in the northern part of Ghana. Gambaga happens to house majority of them, thereby becoming the most famous witch camp in Ghana. The circumstances under which some of these people are dispatched there are disheartening. The very conditions under which they live are so horrible.
Ignorance has played a major role in this unfortunate practice. People are so ignorant about their society that they tend to easily give spiritual meaning to everything. Imagine a young man who has just over-fed himself and goes straight to bed. He is likely to have strange dreams. Worse of all, if his granny is the last person he sees before going to bed, it is her face she is likely to see in his dreams. Any bad dream that has the face of that innocent old lady’s face in it is interpreted to mean she is a witch and after his life. But the bigger question is, should we allow these people to hide behind the curtains of ignorance and the likes and dehumanize our women to that point?

watch?v=iFhHX7CJSes&feature=related

A lot of questions run through my mind anytime I watch a documentary or read a piece on this particular topic. Is it only women who practice witchcraft? Is it only old ladies who excel in the school of witches? Are the wizards on strike? What actions are our numerous human right agencies and governmental bodies taking about this? Do the younger generations who perpetrate this act ever reason that it will soon catch up with them?
One thing which still baffles me is that, these alleged witches cease to operate the moment they get to the witch camps. If they are really witches, wouldn’t they have turned those camps into terror places by now. Will those camps not be launch pads for them to avenge the cruelty meted out to them? The flimsy reason given is that Gambaga and the like are sacred places where witchcraft cannot function. They also claim some cleansing rites are performed on them to neutralize their powers. On the lighter side, one of these days, like the legendary Captain planet cartoons, the alleged witches will get up and scream, “LET OUR POWERS COMBINE’ and hell will break loose over Gambaga and its environs. I wait to see the day witches will fly over Gambaga and cause real terror.
Whatever be it, we cannot hide behind religion, culture or any other societal institution to dehumanize the status of others. Let us all join hands in stopping this disgraceful and pitiless acts. Join in the education, join in the crusade. Tag as many people as you can and lets rescue our industrious and innocent women. We cannot also run away from the issues that confront us everyday. We must stand up to them and tackle them, else they ruin us all. GAMBAGA and the other witch camps must go!!! But do not be surprised when real WITCHES FLY OVER GAMBAGA tonight to go and eject the illegal tenants over there an take their rightful places.