The ministers in the church of the state, dressed in beautiful apparels with a song, hold a blade of mockery to tear the hearts of the innocent mother and baby.
They sang unendingly songs of promises to the teaming congregation: “We are in the season of promises and less action. Whoever wishes to join and follow us must know that mere rhetorics are the oil with which food is eaten here”.
One of the Apostles of the church, a poor breadwinner, holds an umbrella over the head of the Presiding Pastor, while it drizzles, to deliver his sermon.
“This is something I noted once when reading Genesis in the Bible, and I’m still wondering if there's any meaning to it”, these were the opening remarks by the presiding pastor.
He quoted Genesis 7:11 (ESV): “In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened.”
Indeed, the windows of heaven have been opening but how it opened on that fateful Wednesday left babies clutching on the bodies of their mothers who were equally vulnerable for survival.
Imagine the struggle of a dying mother trying to save the life of her baby. It was so horrendous and disturbing a picture that could leave me, a Fisherman, into a mandatory fasting for days.
Death I know is on a rollercoaster mission, but for people to die like the way they did on that fateful day really defined the vulnerability and the mortality of humans.
Running away from a disaster to meet a disaster was a disturbing situation that can even make a cat tremble at the sight of a mouse.
Death that knows no profession, no gender, no position, no status, and no wealth, came crushing humans like how a fufu pounder pounds fufu with the pestle.
Millions continue to wail not only for the world to see their tears but the anguish and pain that punctures the soul is so enormous and indescribable such that it shreds the heart into pieces- it makes humans question their very existence sometimes.
Everyone will die but the kind of death that comes as a twin-tower of fire and rain is so grueling. The nation mourns the killing by fire and flood several precious lives. Lives filled with passion and sweet dreams that are energetic enough to transform the world.
In situations like this, the emotions that arise as a result of the pain of our loss lead us to make promises unremittingly. If Ghana were to take part in a promising competition, I surely know we would clock the unenviable position of leading the rankings on this planet.
Our leaders in times of heartbreaking disasters promise, then promise not to make any more promises, but all their promises are soon forgotten when the pains subside.
The memories of the Melcom disaster are still fresh on my mind. The tragedy that killed 14 people and injured about a 70 others still shilly-shallies in my memory.
When that disaster happened, a lot of hasty approaches and decisions were taken. I remember pretty well how the bearded man who sits on the throne of Accra arrested someone in connection with that. ‘Apostles of the pen’ took to serious writing, pontificating the source of the problem and what is to be done.
Today, we no longer talk about them. Our leaders have gone back to sleep; the citizenry have kept quiet on the matter waiting for another disaster of that magnitude to strike before we look for the recommendations that were spelt out.
When vehicular accidents do happen (when a prominent individual is involved), a lot of knee-jerk reactions are suggested. While some suggest a ban of second hand tyres, others suggest a mandatory seat belt to help the situation.
They also make suggestions that could make the colour of a funeral clothe whiter than snow. We go back to bed and the usual rhetoric surfaces, ‘never again should we allow this to happen again’. We close the chapter and our reading adventure comes to an end.
Just as this unfortunate situation has bedeviled the nation, many promises have been given. But what remains is connecting the widening gap between the governed and the authorities. People entrusted with the resources of the state like the Town and Country Planning, the EPA, the Fire Service and the Assemblies continue to grant permits to their cronies to inflict such pains on us.
The citizenry keeps eating ice creams; watch the unfolding events until they explode to claim lives before they jump from one place to the other to shout on top of their voices.
In fact, at Oguaa, where I live, the EPA and the Metro Assembly have granted permits upon permits for filling stations and other structures to be constructed on water courses. The authorities watch people wean sand at the beaches; steal stones that have been designed for sea defense. They keep their eyes closed until a disaster happens and then the musical-chair-stricken conversations start.
The blame games are revised, rehearsed and played very well on every available platform. The conversations are done just for the period that the pain persists in the body of the masses. They sink into oblivion later only to resurface when another disaster rears its head.
When we have situations where gas and fuel filling stations have been turned into entertainment spots where residents and the leaders join hands to eat grilled chicken, tilapia and banku, smoke and dance azonto to seal it in the evening, imminent danger that could claim the life of your family members and possibly your life is assured. The regulating agencies are left off the hook.
Leaders issue vain threat but the corresponding actions to get the right things done are missing in action. Being filled with emotions in the period of crisis is just like promising your girlfriend all your life savings when you have reached the peak of your sexual encounter with her, forgetting that you have been relieved of your job.
Chinua Achebe seals it delicately, “In dealing with a man who thinks you are a fool, it is good sometimes to remind him that you know what he knows but have chosen to appear foolish for the sake of peace”.
Until we value ourselves, we will not value our time. Until we value our time, we will not do anything with it in this country.
I pray you spare a thought for the departed because you and I could have been the ones whose memorial service was held on Wednesday June 10.
The writer, Richard Kwadwo Nyarko, is a broadcast journalist with JOY 99.7 FM. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @quajo2009. Facebook: Like my page Richard Kwadwo Nyarko.