The truth we have failed to teach our children all this while in Ghana is that without palpable evidence any story they try to sell to us would amount to a tall tale. It sometimes takes a charm to have your story believed, especially in a country where self-centeredness is fast unseating communal feeling.
But last Friday, the charm was on the side of a nursing mother whose wealth in the world amounted to a paltry GHS270. That’s enough, considering some people are looking for a mere GHS10 to start an orange business. Truth be told, I cringed when I watched with horror the video in which the police officer was busy ‘teaching the woman some lessons.’
Surprisingly, the same officer had shared a Facebook post some weeks back about the need to humanise our dealings with one another.
“Be tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong,” the post read but he didn’t show any of the characteristics when he had the opportunity to do so.
I was scandalised to learn that there were some onlookers who chose to laugh at the display of brutality and visitation of dread on an innocent woman and her baby, instead of reaching out to them. I was annoyed the more when a man tried to rescue the woman’s baby, when he could have stopped the police officer. And the shouts that “Madam 2.5 no yɛ de bɛ ma wo” (we will give you your GHS250) nearly ripped my heart apart when these same people had not attended to the woman for days.
But like I said, the charm was on her side.
Her story has a video to back it so even before sharing with Ghanaians about what happened we already know what was done to her.
This is significantly different from the case of the seven murdered Zango men, who could not share their story with Ghanaians. Or Joy News’ Latif Iddrisu, who has no video to back his claim of police brutality, some months past. Sadly, so many people fall for single stories. The police have alleged the murdered Zongo seven were armed robbers. But how?
Unfortunately for the seven, some Ghanaians have swallowed the story of the police hook, line and sinker. The police could be telling the truth but they could also be selling a lie, remember they are humans willing to fight for their interest at all times.
I was fascinated by Joy News’ Manasseh Azure tweet in which he said: “if the police officer’s A-K47 had gone off and killed the woman and there was no video, we would have heard a different fiction with a well-woven plot that incriminates the poor woman. After all, dead people don’t talk”.
And that is the danger in believing the single story without clamouring to hear the other side. Let’s flip the coin at all times. The single story can convict the guilty and acquit the innocent, however, it can also convict the innocent and acquit the guilty. So would you have condemned the woman if the story had turned out the way Manasseh tweeted, without knowing how innocent or guilty the woman is? We have all fallen prey to the single story at a point time or another but it is time to change that mindset. #flipthecoin.
The seven Zango men may have been armed robbers or may have been innocent men but they are not alive to tell their story. Usually, before a policeman fires a shot, the perpetrator would have attacked the police first or made one or other violent moves which will leave evidence for all to see. But with no evidence of resistance, attack on either the police or civilian, the blood of ‘innocent’ men have been shared ruthlessly and a bunch of people are praising the police because we have been told the men are from Zongo.
What a tragedy of thinking?
Just like the way some white men believe Africans are living on trees, and have not attempted to find out the truth, that is how some Ghanaians are. The descendants of the slave masters still believe in Joseph Conrad’s perception of the blacks in his book “The Heart of Darkness”. But how can they know when they have not heard the story of the black man yet and when they keep distancing themselves from the black man because of the stereotype that has kept them from knowing the truth?
I must state that it is not all our police officers who are heartless in their dealings with civilians (whether they are guilty or not) in the same way, not all Zango boys are thieves, armed robbers or rapists.
A majority of them actually are responsible men whose good image has been overshadowed because of the few who are bad. Hence, to those who are saying the Zango boys deserved to die and the Zangos should be wiped out, do not fall prey to the single story, it might be you. Yes, you may be the next target or a relative. Don’t believe so easily, else you will die that easily.
“An eye for an eye a tooth a for a tooth” is usually the police mantra when one of them is injured, assaulted or killed. They stand to investigate and take action when it is one of their own but their mouths are shut and “no comment” has become their mantra in the issue of the dead seven and “we are going to investigate” instead of “we are investigating” is their mantra in the case of the assault on the lady.
From where I stand, I see the laws of the nation at some point to be ineffective in the protection of the innocent, the truth and the weak but favours the guilty and the lie.
The nursing mother deserves justice, the policeman deserves to pay for his assault and the seven murdered Zongo men deserve justice also, guilty or not, because instant justice in whichever form must be rejected at all levels.
When the justice system is blurred what happens to the civilians who the law is meant to protect? Ghanaians should wake-up and say #justice4zongo7
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