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THE NATIONAL ANTHEMpdf print preview print preview
01/08/2007Page 1 of 1
 
CULTURAL NEWS
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
Friday, August 3, 2007
Monday, August 6, 2007
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
Thursday, August 9, 2007
 
THE NATIONAL ANTHEM [2]

…and make our nation great and strong…
 

Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength; unto all.! (Chronicles 29:120.

The first part of this article appeared last Thursday.

 

By:   AHUMAH OCANSEY


IN the 19th and 20th centuries, when Britain ruled the waves as a seafaring nation, and extended her political sway from Asia, through the Caribbean to Africa, she commanded immense wealth from her trading and investments in those territories.

On account of her global hegemony, and past naval battles which established her military superiority as a world power, the word ‘Great” was added to Britain, to be Great Britain.

Similarly, we used the word “great” of Alexander the Great (200 BC). As early as 18 years he succeeded to the throne of his father, Philip, of the Macedonian empire. Alexander undertook a vast military exploit that led to the conquest of the Persian empire, and lands from Egypt through Mesopotamia to India. At age thirty-two he died suddenly. Alexander was “great” because of his achievements at an early age, which depended on courage, ambition and skills.

In the world of boxing, Muhammed Ali has been described as the great west boxer that ever performed. Without him the world of boxing has lost its thrill and fascination, colour and humour.

In today’s contemporary world, greatness refers to military prowess, economic buoyancy, technological superiority and political dominance. By virtue of these indices, weaker nations look up to those nations which exhibit the above characteristics.

FORTUNES

Further the strong nations carry a lot of influence and power, and can determine the fortunes of weaker nations. If our prayer is that Ghana must be great, then in what realm must our greatness be?

Remarkable, by being the first African country to win independence south of the Sahara, and by linking our independence to the total liberation of Africa, Ghana incepted the political movements that led the rest of Africa to win their freedom from colonial rule.

The sacrifices that Ghana made on behalf of Africa points to a sterling quality of greatness in us, which requires refinement and focusing in order to achieve unquestionable success and property in all aspects of life. Although Ghana’s political growth has had its traumatic moments, the current democratic dispensation within which governments have been peaceable changed shows a commendable level of maturity and fair play in the governance of our country.

We could, therefore, tell ourselves that in the realm of political governance, we in Ghana shall excel by demonstrating fairness and equity in the manner of self governance.

Although Ghana is a small country within the context of African politics, we can so govern ourselves well, as to be a model for the continent, and such excellence will qualify us to be called great.

Nonetheless, we must introspect and put a finger on that aspect of our national character that shows natural propensity of a latent or obvious source of greatness, and then work hard at it.

Admittedly, the true greatness of our country lies in the convergence of success in our political, economic, technological, and scientific and educational life. The drive for excellence in these on sound plans designed for immediate and future needs of our country.

Unlike greatness, the word strong or strength relates to the moral fibre of the nation. Are we strong in nationalism? Do we love our country? Do we value honesty? Are we a reliable people? Or are we shifty? The natural strength of character is the product of education and environment.

For example, China is emerging as the future super power of the world. The phenomenal growth of its economy is not only based on the huge investments made in its economy by also the product of the proverbial hard work, simplicity, and humility of the average Chinese. Communist China instilled those virtues in the people. That is a source of strength for China.

We have also learnt that the people of Singapore are very particular about their environment, and that they are very neat and orderly. That is a source of strength for the nation.

I must add, though, that a great nation may not be necessarily strong in terms of its moral fibre, The Roman Empire was one of the greatest empires of its time, but debauchery, corruption, greed and complacency undid the power of the empire.

PRINCIPLES

Our prayer for Ghana to be great and strong can be realized when we aspire to create a society where truth, honesty, excellence, and patriotism are extolled as national principles, and made so organic to our society that they become universally characteristic of Ghanaians. We cannot wish our greatness and strength into being.

It requires astute political leadership, and an ambitious citizenry to work together in the attainment of this desideratum.

 
THE NATIONAL ANTHEM [3]

…Bold to defend forever the cause of freedom and
 right

Execute your judgment and righteousness, and deliver the spoiled out of the hand of the oppressor; and do no wrong, do no violence to the stranger, the fatherless, nor the widow… (Jer 22:3)

ON that remarkable night of 6th March, 1957, Kwame Nkrumah proclaimed: At long last, the battle has ended, and Ghana, your beloved country, is free forever!

Freedom! How sweet the name sounds on our lips. Freedom! That for which our founding fathers resisted British hegemony in the then Gold Coast, and employed their intelligence, energy, will, and blood to obtain for Ghana. Freedom! The ambient air that supplies the inspiration and power for self-discovery, self-worth, self-actualization.

Freedom! What feats of struggles, of revolutions, of wars, of death and hardships have people not engaged in that they might break the shackles of tyranny and be free!

Ghana’s motto is Freedom and Justice! And well have we enshrined Fundamental Human Rights and Freedoms in the 1992 Constitution. Reference to freedom and right in the National Anthem indicate the privileges of birth that define you as a person, and accords you respect and significance. When those privileges of birth are taken away from you, you lose your liberty, and your rights. You become a non-entity!

The freedoms and rights in chapter 5 of our Constitution are several, but I shall mention only one or two.

Art. 17 (1) says: All persons shall be equal before the law.

Art. 18 (1) says: Every person gas the right to own property…

Art. 21 (1) (a) says; All persons shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression which shall include freedom of the Press and other media.

The freedoms and rights given expression in the Constitution are by themselves nothing. They have value only when we boldly defend them from abuse, or neglect, or outright prohibition. How then can we defend the cause of freedom and of right?

Very fundamental to the good governance of this country is the Rule of Law. When the law is in operation, then the freedom and rights of the citizenry are respected and protected. Within the context of the law, any abuse of the freedoms and rights can be contested in court for redress. Our commitment to these twin values goes beyond our immediate personal needs; it embraces the freedoms and rights of all other persons: be they Ghanaians or non-Ghanaians.

At a higher level of meaning, true freedom is economic freedom. That is to say, the average citizen must be free from want, and that means he must be gainfully employed, must have a decent habitation, a healthy environment, and must be educated to evolve on his own. When we construe freedom in this context, we shall appreciate that there is enormous work to be done for the majority of Ghanaians to experience true freedom. For, indeed, it is only when a person is free from the drudgery of existence or survival that the finer freedoms of owning property, and expression of mind shall be meaningful.

To defend the cause of freedom and of right means to agitate for the freedoms and rights which are in danger to be re-stored to normalcy? It means to call public attention to, and to lobby Parliament, and to engage NGOs on behalf of a cause that affects the lives of others. Admittedly, one needs the spirit of courage and openness to undertake such a venture. Fighting on behalf of freedom and right is fraught with danger! Invariably, the political powers of the day attempt to muzzle the advocate, and to unnerve him from carrying on with the advocacy for the enforcements of the rights of others.

Freedom carries with it responsibilities as well. In a democratic regime as we have in Ghana, both the citizenry and the press owe each other the duty of freely speaking their minds on issues within a spirit of truthfulness, goodwill and love. That means speaking to contribute to the good of society. However, when freedom is exploited to malign people, to excite ethnic passions, to hound opponents, and to distort realities, and to make truth repugnant to good conscience, freedom then ceases to be a developmental tool; it becomes an oppressive, malicious instrument of creating fear and compromise.

Much as freedom enables us to criticize government and to keep governance in the open, the continuity of freedom also enjoins us to fulfill our basic civic responsibilities of paying the environment wholesome, and contributing in diverse ways to the good of our country.

Ghana’s progress and advancement depends as much on such intangible values as freedoms and rights, as it does or technology and industrialization. We must be united in vision and will power to let those twin values be integrated into our lives and be reflected in our national development.

 
 
THE NATIONAL ANTHEM [4]

…fill our hearts with true humility
 

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not your own interests, but also to the interests of others.  (Phil 2:3-4).

 

WHOEVER has watched the film GANHI would be struck by one thing about Mahatma Gandhi: his humility! Although he fought for the independence of India, he declined to be the prime Minister, and gave the honoured role to Nehru.

In a true spirit of humility, he wore white cotton sari, and walked in simple sandals from village to village, preaching peaceful resistance to British dominion and, at the same time, co-ordinating the political strategy for the eventual independence of India.

The same humility is seen in the life of Jesus, a whole God, who took on the aspect of man, to redeem us from our sins and be reconciled to Himself. All that Jesus did, from eating with so called sinners, to healing people of all manner of diseases, until hi death on the cross, like a thief, he did in a spirit of humility.

Why is humility such a vital virtue in nation-building?

Humility means patience; patience to wait for government to have the enabling power to provide for our needs. Humility means faith; faith in our ability to overcome the challenges that confront our development, and the assurance that what we don’t have today would be available tomorrow.

Humility means service; service to the cause of the good of Ghana; that service where we graciously go to the rural areas to work in lessening the hardships and inadequacies to which they are subjected that quality of service where we appreciate that all Ghanaians deserve respect and equal treatment, and we don’t look down on each other. That type of service where we conscientiously and diligently do our work in good time, and excellently too.

Humility is tolerance; the tolerance of our shortcomings as human beings so that we become less severe in criticizing others, knowing full well we could be in the position that they find themselves in. Tolerance of our differences as people of diverse tribes within a common melting pot, with our respective strengths working to wards the goal of national unity and advancement.

Humility, lastly, means dependence on God. No matter how well we plan and scheme, and regardless of the nobility of our intentions, we can achieve nothing without divine support, guidance, and protection. Depending on God for our national prosperity is a mark of humility and a commendable one as well.

EDUCATION

As a developing nation we have a Herculean task of providing ourselves with the fundamental tools of education, health, clean water, housing and other basics to assure us of a modicum of decent living. Simple though it is to enumerate our needs, the actual work involved in raising money, planning, and providing these multifarious needs is as daunting as searching for a lost needle at the sea shore!

Above all, given the existing inequalities between the urban environment and the rural areas, with the deprivations and inconveniences of the latter, one would then appreciate the place of humility in this complex scenario. That is, the willingness to sacrifice the comforts of the urban life for the discomforts of the rural life, in service to one’s nation.

If Ghanaians understood this line of our Anthem well, we would not fill administrative positions with people from our tribe, and appoint Ministers on ethnic basis, in the belief our tribe is superior to the others. It is a mad folly! Born of ignorance and arrogance!

Humility implies limitation of knowledge; no one knows it all Thus, within the administrative culture of organizations, it is a mark of good leadership and wisdom to elicit the opinions and ideas of the members on issues and matters that affect them. When a leader assumes a superiority complex and disdains the ideas of his subordinates, or even his peers, he shows himself to be proud, conceited and egoistic. Such a leader will fail. And one reason why so many Ghanaian businesses fail is that the leaders lack humility.

CULTURE

The want of humility shows when we also look down on our national culture, and prefer foreign culture to our own. It is our native culture that provides us with the ingredients for our advancement our own, out of pretentious foolishness; we keep ourselves underdeveloped and poor.

The harmful consequence of not having humility is very obvious in the non development of scientific and technological know-how within the Ghanaian society. We have acquired such a perverted taste for foreign things that we do not have the inclination to evolve technologically and accept, and improve on, our own things, That is to say, we lack the humility to accept ourselves as a developing nation, and to be committed to the creation of our things.

Consequently we have not evolved in most areas of national development, especially the technological and scientific. The fact is, in applying our knowledge to create scientific and technological things; we are bound to make mistakes. And we need patience to use what we have developed, while we work at improving them.

There is such a terrific power in humility that in praying that God fills our hearts with true humility, we are asking for a virtue most pleasing to God, for God resists the proud and reveals his glory to the humble and meek.

 
THE NATIONAL ANTHEM [5]

…And make us to cherish honesty…

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such serialization of the Anthem.

 

ONE would ask: where is the place of honesty in nation building?

Obviously, honesty refers to adherence to the principles of truthfulness, fairness, equity and candour. But that is not all. To cherish honesty means to love, to adore, to value and, above all, to defend honesty. And these are strengths which should be cultivated by Ghanaians in the normal conduct of national life.

If we seriously reflect on the metaphor of nation building, we shall appreciate that, for a building to be whole and stable and useful, the right quantities of iron rods, concrete, and the rest of items, along with the right choice and quality of paint and other interior decorative things must be as determined by the architect or the owner. If a compromise occurs in any aspect of the construction, there are bound to be problems sooner or later, the correction of which would be costly and time consuming. Such a compromise is dishonesty.

The same process of building a house applies to a nation. Very fundamental dishonesty takes place when the political leaders practice graft by inflating contract sums, diverting foreign earnings into their accounts, and so on.  In fact, the ways of financially hurting the nation are many and sophisticated. Since the independence of Ghana, several Ghanaian Ministers and Heads of State have fallen foul of the honesty required of them as leaders. They were dishonest! And the results of such dishonesty are too well known to merit restatement.

Nation building has a complexity of relationships and tasks that hinge on one thing and one thing only: honesty! So that it makes sense to say that if we the citizens don’t value our role in these complex relationships, and to conduct ourselves with honesty, we disconnections in our relationships, and that amounts to loss of happiness to the nation. It amounts to poverty and under development for the country. It amounts to political oppression of the citizenry. It ultimately leads to war, destruction, and misery. Any violent uprising in any country is traceable to the gross dishonesty of the leaders.

Within the context of government, some of the most unbelievable betrayals of national interest take place in the guarded councils of leadership. Decisions taken and meant to be secret are spilled to the press by unknown persons. This is dishonesty.

A countervailing force that attempts to bridle public dishonesty is the press. The press are watchdogs of society, poised to defend truth, fairness, equity, and candour. The press are quick to scream danger and call for public enquiry into questionable acts of government. The press champion the rights of the citizens, and advocate the cause of the defenseless. A critical and well-informed press, objectively pursuing their professional calling, is a great asset to a democratic nation.

Honesty is a virtue which must be inculcated in Ghanaians right from birth. It must be taught at school, preached in churches, and cherished by Ghanaians. Honesty is a national value worth dying for. Without honesty, what good could ever come from any government, which says one thing, and does another? And what will be our multifarious relationships, without the adhesive of honesty?

And, above all, the Ghanaian society must never leave undefended, nor forsake those who live for, and die for honesty. They must always be rewarded, and the cause for which they stood must be sustained for the good of our country.


THE NATIONAL ANTHEM (6)

‘…And help us to resist oppressor’s rule with
 all our will and might forever more’
 

Is not this the king of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? (Is - 58:6).

Today we end the serialization of the discussion on the Anthem.

 

GHANA’S independence was not won on a silver platter! The victory was the culmination of acts of defiance and courage, of deprivations and suffering; of determination and faith in the justness of the cause, and the unswerving loyalty of the citizenry to the vision of their leaders.

Must we throw off the yoke of the colonial masters, only to replace it with another form of servitude? An oppressor is an oppressor, regardless of whatever cloths he wears!

Ghana’s staunch commitment to freedom and justice finds expression in the line above. Remarkably, that prayer anticipated the evolution of democracy in the country, where the Rule of Law shall be the aegis under which we shall govern ourselves, and the tyrannical and arbitrary rule of a leader shall be anathema in Ghana.

Political governance that promotes oppression is the one party state, or a politically dominant party that has emasculated the opposition. Within such a country the few hold away over the majority, dictating the pace of personal liberties and rights, economic distribution of resources and incomes, and share of political positions in government. Strangely enough, the very founder of modern Ghana, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, was to be the first leader to act contrary to the spirit of freedom and justice enshrined in our consciousness as a national motto. The oppressive nature of his government was symbolized by the Preventive Detention Act, under which opponents and any person suspected to be an “enemy” of the CPP, or the President, or any important person in government was detained without trial.

True development cannot take place when the creative spirit of the people is stifled by fear, their mouth muzzled by oppression, and liberties shackled by capricious leaders. Thus, when Nkrumah was overthrown in 1966, the soldiers rightly called themselves Liberators! In light of today’s appreciation of what tool place some 40 years ago, we may question whether the liberators actually liberated Ghanaians from one form of political oppression, only to push us into the oppressive state of economic penury and abortive development.

However, we must understand oppressor’s rule in the limited sense of political governance. Throughout history, people have fought against foreign domination, which is often oppressive. Americans had to fight against the British for their independence. And since the oppressor has the advantage of incumbency, with all the arms and security forces, it requires an extraordinary will and determination to fight him off. Further, to resist oppressor’s rule does not necessarily mean physical confrontation with the dominant power. The law could be used as an effective instrument in a war against the oppressor. By the power of the law, the rights and freedoms of the citizenry could be defended from the corrosive actions of the government. Civil strikes and the like are other means by which the rule of the oppressor can be broken.

It must be said that what Ghanaians did to Nkrumah in 1966, through a military coup, Ghanaians did the same to J.J Rawlings through the ballot box, in 1992, when the PNDC, which was oppressive, became converted into the NDC, for national elections to pave way for the current democratic dispensation.

The Anthem calls on Ghanaians to be vigilant in resisting anything that diminishes our freedoms and rights; the prayer enjoins Ghanaians to face up to any person who is intolerant and insensitive to the sensibilities of others; the prayer demands courage and steadfastness of Ghanaians in championing the Rule of Law in the governance of the country.

Lastly the prayer expects Ghanaians to strengthen the weak, assist the vulnerable, defend the poor, protect the defenseless, and support one another in any legitimate cause that promotes the good of all.

  
*Source:

The Ghanaian Times     -           Wednesday, August 1, 2007                 Page:    8                                                                                                               Friday, August 3, 2007                            Page:    9                                                                                                               Monday, August 6, 2007                         Page:    9                                                                                                               Wednesday, August 8, 2007                 Page:    9                                                                                                               Thursday, August 9, 2007                      Page:    8

 
 
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