Ghanaians were generally noted as patience, kind, friendly, hospitable, God-fearing and peace loving people. When it comes to hospitality, the famous Ghanaian hospitality spoke for herself. People loved to visit this country just for that experience and the story thereof was a long and interesting tale. It is rather a sad awakening that in Ghana today, that is all a thing of the past. The proud, happy, warm and peace loving Ghana has been replaced with a bitter, cold and war some person. I have no idea where the pieces of the past can be picked up from. The peace we have proudly and remarkably enjoyed is being replaced with chaos. That was once our identity! These days in our media are stories of ambushing, murder, robberies, rape, molestation and abuse, fighting and rivalry, among others. The clashes are becoming rampant with each passing day. I keep asking myself: Where are the true Ghanaians? For the people I see around me today, are only shadows of the past!

With the passing of each political term, the turmoil keeps mounting. We seem to be embracing chaos in the name of democracy. Youth factions are rising up eagerly against each other on grounds of politics. The youth, the invaluable resource of this nation who should be bred in preparation for the future are being trained as combatants. In the past, people coexisted as one but in Ghana today, neighbours happily and proudly fight each other. The communal spirit is no more since people no longer have time for each other. Even our children are not left out because playgrounds have turned into political campaign grounds overnight. Our lullabies and play songs have been replaced by political versions. Even our gospel music has not been spared! On our airwaves, it is one insult after another as people rattle out in the name of political propaganda, their biases and ignorance! No one recognizes the truth anymore. It is the reign of lies and deceit! Where are the true Ghanaians?

The popular Ghanaian hospitality has been replaced by intolerance! Landlords are turning away tenants each day in the name of tribal and political differences. People can no longer speak freely even in their own homes. Dependants are at the mercy of their benefactors. Gone are the days when people could sit and discuss matters affecting their lives and the nation collectively and objectively! These days, it is the attack of one personality after another. These days, it is the attack of one political party after another. A mere comment is now regarded as propaganda and is met with heated argument and attacks! It is now clashes of ideologies! When did it become a crime for people to voice out their opinions? Are we truly exercising our freedom of speech and expression? Where are the true Ghanaians?

In the past, we could sleep with our doors and windows widely open to enjoy the cool breezes of the night. It would be suicidal to attempt this today! In the wake of assassinations, murders and robberies, people are forced to imprison themselves in all sorts of security systems.

For the growing populace, their innocence is lost. Children in Ghana today are growing up pre-maturely. Our children are being forced to become adults overnight! That is the sad reality in modern Ghana! The various atrocities being committed to and against our children was regarded a great taboo in the past but today, it is gradually becoming accepted. Children are being raped each day by unscrupulous people. Fathers are sleeping with their own children and sadly, some mothers are not left out! The issue of sex was regarded with secrecy but today, it is on our streets. Our animals are not also being spared. In the pursuit of all sorts of sexual pleasures or perhaps orgies, people are sleeping with animals! That is the lowest any human can go! Where are the true Ghanaians?

As humans, we are supposed to be at the head of the hierarchy of the animal kingdom! First class animals! Rather sadly, the other classes of animals are better examples to us all! It is quite intriguing and rather disheartening to note that other animals have been able to coexist without going beyond their boundaries. For goodness sakes, dogs are mating dogs, and so are goats and sheep. Other animals fight each other occasionally and on founded grounds. Can that be said about us? Can that be said about the Ghanaian today? Where are the true Ghanaians?

Parents are teaching their children to be disrespectful and that is gradually becoming a norm. In the past, it was the tradition for children to pay respect to adults through the simple courtesy of greetings and perhaps lending a helping hand. For a child to greet an adult today would be a miracle. Adults are being attacked and beaten by our youth each day. Parents have become punching bags for deviant children. On our media, our political leaders are paying our youth to call in and attack their elders and shockingly, most of us are in agreement. Tomorrow, the table might turn on you! In the Ghana of yesteryears, age was regarded in high esteem. Indeed, it was a gift. These days, it is sheer luck for our youth to live that long. People are dying out of their recklessness and ignorance. Where are the true Ghanaians?

On the subject of infrastructural development, Ghana was once a gateway. In terms of education, we were the best in the sub-region. Can that be said about our educational system today? With our national wealth, development was at a peak in the past. Sadly today however, it is only an optical illusion. We seem to be moving, but only in circles! We are indeed moving but not making significant progress! When would we wake up and see recognize the truth? The one who speaks the truth is in the end placed on the banner of a political party and perhaps, news headline! The true Ghanaian was straightforward in his dealings. Honest was the key! That seems to be a thing of the past? In Ghana today, truth is rather relative! Where are the true Ghanaians?

The Ghana of yesterday was one all were proud of! It was a country that sparked the attention of people each time her name came up in discussions. The name of this great country was always at the top of peace talks in Africa and beyond. Ghanaians were easily identifiable in countries beyond. This is because their traits were similar! There was a benchmark of honesty, warmth and peaceful exuberance! Indeed, she was an example worth emulating! Can that be said about her today? In terms of building policies, Ghana was a yardstick. In implementing them, what do we have to say? On the grounds of political tolerance, what have we got to say for ourselves? With the caliber of youth being brought up in this country today, where lies her future? What legacy is being left for the future? And so, again, I ask. Where are the true Ghanaians?

Anna Esi Hanson ([email protected]), Takoradi.

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