On Death and Patriotism

I thank my friend Kwasi: for asking me to fish this one from the archives.

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There is nothing like a “good” funeral to bring Ghanaians together.

Attah Mills’ death in July of 2012 was a wonderful opportunity for the good people of Ghana to air out their best black and red attires. To the extent that traders ran out of red funeral cloth several times before the funeral took place.

Indeed, it was a sobering and shocking time for Ghanaians as we reflected on the truth that good people… and presidents could die, just like that. So we cried, and wailed and said really good things about late uncle Attah, hoping at the back of our minds that it will somehow make up for the awful way we had talked about the living Attah. Call it silly, but I found an uncanny resemblance between us and the North Koreans when their Dear Leader, Kim Jong Il, died. Ghanaians everywhere were sad, tearful and yes, touchy. When J.J. unwavering pronounced that his dear friend Attah Mills could have lived longer had he taken the much needed rest recommended by the late president’s doctors both at home and abroad, J.J. immediately incurred the wrath of many Ghanaians, Ghanaians who were outraged that he had spoken wrongly and out of turn about a man who had laid down his life for Ghana.

Yes, uncle Attah has become something of a modern day martyr. It seems Ghanaians needed a hero and he has suddenly become that with some going as far as to compare his exploits with Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. I had to tread carefully those days, lest my unbridled views about death made me a national traitor. However, in some ways, you could say that the late president actually died for Ghana. But whether it was worth all the trouble is another matter all together. And only time will tell just how much his death will be a catalyst for a Better Ghana. Perhaps what he struggled to attain in his lifetime he might achieve in death? We all know that uncle Attah was like everyone’s favourite uncle who wouldn’t spank you when you erred, but only send you off with some stern words and lollipop to go.

Like I said before, there is nothing like a “good” funeral to bring fellow Ghanaian brothers and sisters together. I wish I could say confidently that the sort of patriotism I saw on the day our Dear Leader was laid to rest is here to stay. God bless our homeland Ghana.

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