?There comes a time when we heed a certain call. When the world must come together as one. There are people dying. The greatest gift of all?We are the world, we are the children?Send them your heart so they?ll know that someone cares. And their lives will be stronger and free. As God has shown us by turning stones to bread. So we all must lend a helping hand?? (?We Are The World?).

Acknowledgedly, our ?intelligent? children, the abused, are modest enough not to demand of society what they know it obviously cannot provide them. In other words, they are simply asking for elderly guidance, unrequited respect, and enforced constitutional protections from society, of which, incidentally, they are humble members, in saintly humility. Aren?t these children ?wiser? than their supposed elderly political kleptomaniacs? Now, back to the political economy of practical solutions as far as driving girls/women out of the dungeon of victimhood is concerned: Are victims encouraged to report rape to the appropriate authorities without fear of reprisal from civic society? Are policemen and policewomen trained well enough on issues related to gender sensitivity? Are rape victims fully protected by the state and by constitutional instruments?

Do rape victims have confidence in the judicial system? Do rape victims have confidence in the police? What specific roles do parents, foster homes, civic society, religious institutions, and women organizations have to play in protecting children from abuse? Are we adequately enforcing existing laws on child abuse? How do we restore confidence, dignity, and hope to the shattered lives of victims, that is, of ?trokosi,? ?female genital mutilation,? ?ritual murder,? and ?Witch Camps?? How do we help victims stay alive after long periods of unsolicited abuse from society? What are the odds that victims will not be forced into the threadbare poncho of social stigma if they dare report a case to the authorities? Is it the moral duty of the state to offer alternative livelihoods to priests, ?shrine masters,? so-called, before state institutions justifiably find a reason to scrap ?trokosi,? ?female genital mutilation,? ?ritual murder,? and ?Witch Camps? from the planet of social injustice?

What are we seriously doing about addressing sexism and patriarchy in our society? What are the functional roles which Islam, Judaism, and Christianity play in the cultural entrenchment of sexism, patriarchy, and male chauvinism in our societies? Is sexism merely biological (genetic), merely cultural, merely psychological, or all three? How do ignorance and a lack of universal quality education, privation, employment, and materialism affect child prostitution, parental dereliction, child slavery, social disorganization, and, consequently, ?trokosi,? ?female genital mutilation,? ?ritual murders,? and ?Witch Camps?? Education, slavery, and ignorance, which is most expensive? On the other hand, how do we socially, psychologically, and economically prize slavery and ignorance given their identicalness?

Do we have sufficiently efficient psychiatric facilities, effective psychoactive drugs, qualified counselors, and competent psychiatric professionals to treat victims of ?trokosi,? ?female genital mutilation,? ?ritual murders,? and ?Witch Camps,? given that, possibly, victims? problems may be psychiatric in addition to other underlying causes such as poverty, ignorance, spiritual power struggles between male and female, economics, fear, etc? What are we practically doing by way of the psychological appraisal of the priesthood as well as of parents neck-deep in the institutions of ?trokosi,? ?female genital mutilation,? ?ritual murder,? and ?Witch Camps?? What is Ghana?s ?Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection? doing to remedy the situation? What do we do with multiple perpetrators of rape victims at ?trokosi shrines,? so-called, in line, but not under conditionalities of amercement, with statutory requirements?

Is spiritual pedophilia beyond the enforcement reach of the law? What do we do with parents and wards who lend their moral support to these institutions? As a matter of moral and political urgency, if we can dispatch men and women to Mali, Somalia, and other parts of the world to protect their citizens against the scourge of terrorism, of war, to stem the tide of indiscriminate killings, why can?t we do the same right here in Ghana? Are the human rights of Malians and Somalis more important than those of the victims of ?trokosi,? ?female genital mutilation,? ?ritual murder,? ?ritual murder,? and ?Witch Camps?? Why have we timorously allowed the otherworldliness of cosmic irony to take over our progressive institutions? Also, when are we going to be serious about taking women into our confidence, by, among other things, considering the female as a creative covariate suitable for the polynomial equation of national development?

Then again, isn?t it high time we began seriously prosecuting ?shrine masters? who flout existing laws protective of children and even subjecting them to long prison terms if found guilty? What is the Bureau of National Investigation (BNI) for? Is the Ghana Baptist Convention more powerful than the military and police combined? Is the Ghana Baptist Convention more responsible and powerful than the national government and civic society combined? What does it say of African Religion if the Ghana Baptist Convention, a Christian organization, approaches these ?shrines? and rescues the traumatized girl child? Don?t we need standing armies in areas where these practices are entrenched? How do we integrate rescued victims into society so that they fully enjoy all the benefits specified under the constitution?

How do we make victims productive in society after years of psychological, spiritual, and biological exploitation? What are we doing to bring back the cultural ethos of the extended family system, which, according to Ayi Kwei Armah, made social aberrations such as homelessness something of a rarity in pre-colonial Africa? Are we protecting whistleblowers and investigative journalists well enough? What institutional measures have we put in place to underwrite victims? education and their children?s nurturance? Strictly in line with Fanonian and Freirean social and political operationalization, have we educated the general public well enough, to the extent it can trust institutional authorities, and freely report abuses of children to them? Hasn?t Kwame Bediako, the African Roots Reggae Ambassador, consistently admonished us on the track ?One Man No Dub?: ?One leg, how far can you run? Have you ever seen one hand give you a good clap?? In fact, any institutional approach to remediation, a process undertaken to locate creative solutions must consider all of the foregoing questions and more.

Finally, why are we so obsessed with the political economy of women?s grassroots participation in national development? The answer, a report by the World Bank, ?Engendering Development Through Gender Equality,? published in 2013, says: ?On one level, poverty exacerbates gender disparities. Inequalities between girls and boys in access to schooling or adequate health care are more acute among the poor than those with higher incomes. These disparities disadvantage women and girls and limit their capacity to participate in and benefit from development. On another level, gender inequalities hinder development?A central message is clear: Ignoring gender disparities comes at great cost to people?s well-being and to countries? abilities to grow sustainably; to govern effectively, and thus to reduce poverty.? There is no need for further elaboration on our part.

On the other hand, a Liberian peace activist, Leymah Gbowee, founder of the Young Girls Transformative Project, also says, quoting another woman: ?My wish is to be educated. And if I can?t be educated when I see some of my sisters being educated then my wish is fulfilled. I wish for a better life. I wish for food for my children. I wish that sexual abuse and exploitation in schools would stop. This is the dream of the African child.? We shall, if you may permit us, at this juncture, to take a discursive detour from our shopworn reasoning to consider the following theoretical scenario: If Ghana were Somalia, Mali, or Kenya, say, what would she have done in the face of incessant terroristic aggressions? We ask this question because we consider ?Al-Shabab or Boko Haram a necessary subset of the African family, yet, at the same, a dangerous internal enemy of the African family.

Alternatively, the question, therefore, is this: How does one treat a sibling, husband, boyfriend, parent, grandparent, uncle, aunt, son, wife, girlfriend, or daughter, someone, who, regrettably, is also a potentially dangerous enemy, a shadowy one at that? Would Ghana have deemed it apposite to bring herself to accept ?an eye for an eye,? a formulaic edict enshrined simultaneously in the hearts sharia, the Hammurabi code, and the Mosaic laws, in countering the terroristic incursions of Al-Shabab or Boko Haram into the cultural, psychological, and spiritual heart of Africa? Would Ghana have extended a compromising hand of indemnity to Al-Shabab even when Al-Shabab is not ready to give up on ?terrorism?? Would Ghana have subscribed to the Fanonian line ?violence is a cleansing force? in a likely showdown with her terroristic Al-Shabab or Boko Haram brothers and sister?

Anyway, would Ghana wait for the ?shock doctrine? of Al-Shabab?s or Boko Haram?s terrorism before finally revising her national security priorities, which includes the fate of the girl/woman victim? Would she have resorted to the Christological formula ?turn the other cheek? after the other cheek had been completely destroyed? Would she have appealed to the moral conscience of South Africa?s ?Truth and Reconciliation Commission,? an institution whose moralistic shortcomings Wole Soyinka includes in the following indictment: ?The failure to demand restitution may build an expectation of impunity that can only encourage further crimes?? Summarily, what would Ghana have done if she were hit hard, here and there, now and then, by the asymmetric warfare of Al-Shabab? Besides, by substituting ?asymmetric warfare? for ?female genital mutilation,? ?trokosi,? ?ritual murder,? and ?Witch Camps,? what do we see?

Is the failure to eliminate these practices a lack of courage or fear? ?I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear,? once declared by Mandela. Correspondingly, could the ?brave man? enforce the law? Could the law ?triumph? over social injustice? Could the ?courage? of constitutionalism ?conquer? the ?fear? of political or moral inaction? In effect, Mandela has placed the burden of responsibility on our shoulders to make the world a better place for all. He has asked us to defend our children, our culture, our continent, and our humanity without fear. Isn?t it equally true that inculcating ?fear? in victims of institutional inaction and constitutional neglect, in and of itself, goes hand in hand with ?terrorism??? Quite convincingly, doesn?t the elephant called ?courage,? an equalizing temperamental force, make the ant called ?fear,? both a nonentity and nonissue.

Indeed, doesn?t Ghana require elephantine ?courage? to tame the dangerous aphrodisia of antian ?fear,? otherwise called ?terrorism,? and, this, whether it is of Christianity, of Islam, or of African Religion? Again, our contentions are not peculiar to African Religion. We have not forgotten the universal suppression of cases of pedophilia in the Catholic Church, neither have we forgotten the alleged pedophilia in the Jehovah?s Witnesses (See Mitch Blacher?s ?Team 10 Obtains Video Of Admitted Child Molester In Jehovah?s Witnesses?). That said, what do the African Theology of Kwesi Dickson, Lamin Sanneh, Bolaji Idowu, Kwame Bediako, John Mbiti, and Gabriel Setiloane got to say about these social or cultural questions? What does Mercy Oduyoye?s ?The Circle of Concerned African Women Theologians? got to say about these social or cultural questions? What do the Black Liberation Theology of Jeremiah Wright, Cornel West, Dwight Hopkins, James Cone, and Robert Beckford got to say about these social or cultural questions?

Certainly, Lionel Richie, much like Michael Jackson, understands the political economy of social and political activism. Lionel sings (?Love, Oh Love?): ?Show the world and all its people. All the wonders love can bring. Give us strength and understanding. Give us all one song to sing?It?s time to stand up to a new world that is now so near.? What does ?one song? imply? Unity, we think. However, for analytic convenience we may necessarily have to substitute ?one song? for ?progressive nationalism,? of the kind we associate with Kwame Nkrumah. Progressive nationalism also implies active collaboration where ethnic antagonism or differentiation is shelved in the best interest of national development. Further, progressive nationalism potentially eliminates ethnicized finger-pointing where one group unnecessarily blames the other for ?female genital mutilation,? ?trokosi,? ?ritual infanticide,? or ?Witch Camps.?

That is, progressive nationalism circumvents the shallow rivers of ethnic trivialities and pushes society to embrace inter-culturality. On the other hand, the meaning of ?It?s time to stand up to a new world? is self-evident. It?s a revolutionary call to psychocultural arms. And ?psychocultural arms? is nothing but Afrocentric vigilance and activism, if we may put it that way. Still, Afrocentric vigilance and activism are inclusive of progressive nationalism. Again, this is not to say ethnic multiplicity is purely a matter of social paleontology, far from it, a point we have belabored in the immediate sequel of ?Ama Mazama: An Intellectual Portrait.? It?s merely to stress the point that multiculturalism and ethnic diversity, systems construed within the philosophical scope of Afrocentric theory, are not anathema to progressive nationalism. By the way, who are the majority in Ghana, non-Akans or Akans? Don?t non-Akans outnumber Akans in Ghana?

The point is that, as far as Afrocentricity is concerned, both multiculturalism and ethnic diversity undergo philosophical deliquescence in the moral heat of progressive nationalism. This conclusion finds explanatory comfort in the anthropology of Diopian inter-culturality among Africa?s ethnic diversity. Yet we must equally be wary of the ideological tension between essentialists and postmodernists. In other words, postmodernist conceptualization of race, sexuality, and ethnicity, to name but three, as social constructs may not be the answer to sexism or to social problems accruing from psychological militancy of male chauvinism. Then, essentialism, on the contrary, assumes full acknowledgement of the social and cultural actualities of ethnicity. Frankly, it is not in our best to shy away from essentialism, given that postmodernism merely dabbles in the conscious stream of philosophical Shangri-la.

Lionel continues: ?From the bottom to the top, to the leaders of the land?Make it clear today. All the walls are falling down. No more children off to war. If we search in our hearts, all the suffering will be no more. And let there be joy in the world. And let there be no sorrow, for all God?s children. Let them see that love, oh love. And freedom, no more lies. We can save this world if we try. One world I know we can make it. Yes, it?s only in your heart. Yes, it?s only in your dreams. You can climb the highest mountain. You can make the whole sing?? Lionel critically admonishes us against hoarding ideas we may have for changing the world, positively, if you will, in our hearts and in our dreams. Actually, he wants us to render these transformative ideas actionable, actionable by standing up to social injustice, bigotry, gender inequality, ethnic insults, ignorance, ethnocentrism, etc.

That is to say, he lyrically directs us to dismantle the ?wall of silence,? to raise responsible children, to extend happiness, freedom, truth, and love to all of God?s children! Could we sincerely search our hearts or look deep into our souls if we are doing the right thing by remaining nonchalant in the face of crushing unfairness, brutality, sexism, or ethnocentrism? Where is the heart or soul of the nation as these innocent children are brutalized? Again, as Lionel also implies, can we make the ?whole,? or progressive nationalism, sing the ?one song?? Can we climb the highest mountain together? What is ?the highest mountain? anyway? Could ?the highest mountain? connote ?female genital mutilation,? ?Witch Camps,? ?ritual infanticide,? and ?trokosi? together? If it is, as Lionel seems to imply, then, it is left up to us to climb it together, as a people, since we don?t see it as being necessarily taller than the Mount Kilimanjaro of progressive nationalism!

In the meantime, Lionel calls on everyone, that is, those at the bottom of society, those at the top of society, and those between, to brace themselves for the social and cultural Armageddon yet to be fought in the sweltering cauldron of moral conscientization to free the hoi polloi of crazed modernity, to free clueless politicians and civic society from the psychological straitjacket of political inaction, as well as to free the girl child from the warped conscience of society. Aren?t these exactly what Lionel?s ?Love, Oh Love,? Daddy Lumba?s ?Children Of The Future,? Bob Marley?s ?One Love,? Marvin Gaye?s ?What Is Going On??, Houston?s ?Greatest Love Of All,? Billie Holiday?s ?God Bless The Child,? Lucky Dube?s ?Hero,? and Lionel/Jackson?s ?We Are The World,? and Scorpions? ?Wind Of Change? all about?

Finally, Lionel?s and Jackson?s ?We Are The World? has an eye-catching line ?turning stones to bread.? Did you notice it at the beginning of this essay? Well, it essentially says it is imaginable to convert ?stones of impossibility? to ?bread of possibility,? a psychospiritual act of derring-do actualizable through the power of positive thinking (See Dr. Ben Carson?s ?Think Big: Unleashing Your Potential For Excellence?), love, faith, unity, activism, hard work, and community. ?I believe in creating possibilities,? remarked Kojo, a heroic character in ?Slave Boy,? Parts l and ll, a sensational Nigerian movie as well as one of the best African movies we have seen so far. Taken together, it features Kofi Adjorlolo and Patience Ozokwor, among others. In summary, Kofi, a humble yet venturous spirit, rose from the valley of being a ?slave? in the fishing industry to the mountaintop of being a ?master? in the corporate world, owning chains of profitable concerns all over the place. What are we implying? We hope to see our girl/woman victims enjoy an ocean of spiritual, psychological, and material richness just as Kofi?s.

Ideally, what has Lionel?s ?Love, Oh Love,? ?let there be no sorrow,? ?we can save this world,? ?one song,? and ?from the bottom to the top? got to do with ?We Are The World?? Are we really ?we are the world?? If we are indeed the world, what are ?we are the world? doing to make society better? Think deeply about these questions!

We shall return?

 

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