A paradise is classically a place where no sorrows abide; a place where happiness abounds; a place where want is unwanted and needs are bountiful. That the place has not yet been explored, we are told in the scriptures that it does exist and that sometime to come, a section of humanity may occupy the place permanently.
No matter how beautiful and well resourced that place might be, nature has also created paradises or mini-paradises on earth for mankind to nurture and tender for his use and the use of generations to come. Nations may not be equally endowed with physical and material resources that make their environments paradise in the classical definition of it, but surely, if what is available to them are properly and judiciously utilized, a certain paradise may be created within available resources. Individuals can create paradises for themselves depending on their appreciation of what life is.
Ghana should be placed in the category of nations where the abundance of natural resources should have easily made the country a paradise. However, the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve placed on this land decided that they would turn this nation into hell and so we have over the years. Meanwhile, other nations that were by their original creation could have easily been put in the category of hells on earth, have conquered their disadvantaged situations and turned their natural misfortunes into sustainable fortunes and put themselves into paradise or near paradise.
Some nations have turned rocky lands into sustainable food-producing nations, feeding themselves and exporting surplus produce to other nations including Ghana. Nations that lacked adequate basic natural resource like water in required quantities have protected the little available to them and have added more to meet the needs of today and the generation of tomorrow.
Bare lands have seen afforestation which otherwise would have been deserts with time and are today green and very protective of the environment. Human activities have turned places that could have been described as hells into paradise or close to paradise through deliberate and progressive efforts.
The opposite is the story in the case of our beloved Ghana. We have turned green forests into semi-deserts by recklessly and indiscriminately cutting down trees for today’s consumption without thinking of tomorrow’s needs. In the process, the land surface was exposed to the weather and its scorching tropic sun. We are told by international studies that last year alone, Ghana lost 60 per cent of its land cover. This means that in spite of the destruction of the past 60 years, we managed to destroy 60 per cent of the remaining forest cover and the nation does not look worried about this.
Even though we are in the rainy season when natural water supply is abundant, we are washing our faces with spittle because the various pristine water bodies nature endowed us with, which should have added to our paradise, have been systematically and deliberately destroyed for the wealth of a few who live in their small paradise, while the majority of us are in hell because we have been deprived of water, essential for life and second only to air. We still don’t seem to care.
If we do care, the seriousness with which we tackle the problem is nothing but a child’s play. Those who wield the power to deal with this man-made malaise of decimating what nature has endowed us with have almost always succumbed to the blackmail of political actors engaged in destructive acts of criminal dimensions with no mercy for the future generation.
No single known river body in this country can we boast of it being pristine today; meanwhile, they are our sources of potable water supply to the citizenry. The irony of this paradise being lost is that while political leaders preside over the destruction of our world, including one of the most single needs of humankind, water, they keep on assuring the people of adequate supply of potable water for domestic use. Where are you going to get the water from, import them? The people are just told lies – nothing less, nothing more.
Arable agricultural lands have become death traps even as we say we are fighting galamsey. We have done nothing to restore fully or partially the natural state of the agricultural lands so painfully destroyed by the self-seekers who want a paradise for themselves while the rest of us live in want and penury.
It is heartwarming to hear that former President Jerry John Rawlings is using the June 4 occasion to plant trees – a very good exercise worthy of emulation and support. I have never been a fan or believer of the June 4 uprising, but truth be told, if the senseless destruction of our natural resources in the name of galamsey had happened at the levels that we have experienced over the past 20 years and under J.J. Rawlings, the perpetrators would have heard their ‘bobolibobo’. I never liked most of his style, but he would not have tolerated these levels of national destruction as a leader, his foibles notwithstanding. Who born dog?
Most of the time, we only see the destruction of this country from the physical and material points of view. We see the joblessness, the indiscipline, the filth we create and the attendant challenges we go through in our daily lives. We pay little or no attention to the destruction of our minds and cultural destruction or adulteration.
Today, even the creative arts which are supposed to uphold our values and exhibit what we are to show to the outside world have become very destructive of who we are simply because those in there want to be who they are really not. Some virtually go naked on stage, copying foolishly from other societies which do not have values.
The most outrageous points in these bizarre spectacles of discipline gone mad, these caricatures of poor students of some foreign immoral lifestyles, present themselves as celebrities. Who is celebrating them but the young ones who are supposed to be the future of this great nation. If the role models of these young ones are artiste who virtually go naked on stage, organize thugs or musical vigilantes onto stages where guns are pulled and chaos becomes the only constant variable in the scheme of things, then the paradise which is expected to be an epitome of discipline and peaceful co-habitation among mankind is lost in our case.
We are constantly bombarded with the exposures from people who once upon a time were married couples but gone their various ways with what should be a purely private matter between a man and a wife, with each one of them shamelessly telling the world about his or her ex-partner in the most foul of obscenity, in many cases, their sexual lives. These are role models without scruples and values. These are the people a section of our youth is copying from. Nothing is but what is not.
Indeed, if a nation has nothing very serious and productive to occupy its citizens, and poverty becomes so endemic among the generality of the populace, the few shining ones tend to take the rest for a ride and enslave them mentally. They enlarge their lustful orgies and move them to scandalous hills, and in the absence of the will to enforce laws that regulate such acts, the shameful acts tend to become acceptable ways of our lives.
Ghana will lose it all if we do not wake up and deal with the problems confronting us. It is very terrible!
Daavi, some three tots for the evening.