Wed, Sep


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Many have so much wealth that they've never been in need. For such people poverty and squalor are beneath them. Those in that bracket, are fit only to run their errands and keep their gardens. Even there, they are not cherished for keeping the grass green until they are gone and the grass begins to wither.

For us as Ghanaians and Black Africans, it is a 'taboo' to glory over even your enemy's misfortunes. I believe that's the reason why when people die, we don't focus on their terrible human attributes but turn to the bright side, just so the ultimate Judge may look with favour upon their failing souls.

I received a link from a great friend in the United Kingdom with the headline 'ATOMIC JUNCTION FIRE ATTRACTS "AND SO WHAT" TYPE OF COMMENTS ON DAILY MAIL FACEBOOK PAGE'. I took the trouble to go through the comments, those from elsewhere, coupled with those from some Ghanaians, obviously depressed about the commentary.

For one of the commentators, it's even historic that the fuel station at Atomic Junction (in Ghana) had fuel. It tells you who these hombres are. Unexposed chauvinists who are entitled to everything but empathy, displaying their worst nature, even in the face of bad news. They have issues with why bad news in Africa must be served on their stables. That same rich man, who complains about the grass losing its greenery doesn't want to know how the grass keeper, wakes up every morning or gets water to keep it green. All he wants is that the grass must stay green.

A roommate from Legon first shared videos of the blazing flames of the Atomic filling station at 10pm on Saturday night. The video of the ferocious flames was accompanied by "Gas explosion at Atomic Junction-Legon".

My response was "wow"! He said "yes oo". I asked whether he was in the area so I could get my colleagues in the media to speak to him. But he answered in the negative, indicating that a friend had sent it to him. But my initial contact told me the team was on the ground and was lacing up. I must commend the media houses that got it right because, any human being who saw that video on social media, would be needing updates as to how the fire was being controlled; the response from the emergency services; as well as how the possible casualties were faring. That's what human beings do.

It doesn't matter who is involved - what is important is that human lives are at stake and so if you won't empathise because you feel shielded from any such misfortune, you can sympathise with the 'poor' souls who may either perish, be hurt or worse still, lose their entire investment. Whoever endures such misfortune deserves our prayers.

I received the video in the midst of other Africans and everyone wanted to know what the cause of the fire was. Is the fire service there? Oh! this would be a big blow. We talked about how similar fires in the past claimed lives and properties and subsequently, grieved over the African malaise. That's what humans do.

The first set of comments on the link I received was full of cynicism. 'Who the f##k cares?', 'hope you are ok, Peter?', 'so fooking what', 'eh who cares', 'why should we care' and 'muslim bomb it 😀', were crafted by readers of the Daily Mail. Rosa Cross, Therese Mills, Paul Walsh, Nikki Sliepcevic, Haidar Jaba and Vu Nguyên, put together barbaric comments.

'Was there a crop growing', led the next thread, it was followed by; 'Yawn', then came; 'lovely', and then; '*Petrol station'. The icing on this next set was; 'Islam done it' and 'Pray for Gas station', were in the next set of views.

The next thread had; isis has claimed it 🤣, serious note hope peoples ok'; 'the most spectacular thing whats ever been seen in Ghana'; 'Breaking news, Petrol Station in Ghana actually has petrol'; 'they be putting that out with their flip flops. To say these comments were not just savage but merciless, would be an understatement.

It may be unwise to recount specific horrific incidents in various parts of the world, as that could offend other sensibilities and remind victims of such catastrophes and their relations of those dark moments. But no one who is actually human reacts to calamity with an 'AND SO WHAT?'

No human being sees an animal seeking to hurt another human being and looks the other way. They do something. They call 999; they call an emergency service; they tell someone they believe is in a position to help. They act. They don't treat the incident or victims with disdain. They commiserate.

It's no secret that despite our enormous human, material and other endowments as a people, we have failed to improve our circumstances. We have not contributed much to today's global discourse as positively as we could. We have failed to wean ourselves off aid, making us a near-forgotten lot among comity of nations. We haven't advanced as fast as we could due, in part, to poor leadership and unpatriotic citizenship.

But let it not be said that we don't count or we are less than human. Let not those who are yet to gain command over their native language condemn us because of an accident. Who plans an accident? Who deliberately creates a situation that triggers fire, consuming innocent lives in the process.

Hopefully, no accidents will occur where these crude people hail from or dwell. There's one thing I am sure of - when tragedy strikes anywhere in the world, human beings in Black Africa won't react with pessimism, even if it was the negligence of self-seeking individuals, who put their interest ahead of everyone else's.

We can only wish all who reacted to our tragedy over the weekend with 'AND SO WHAT' well. May devastation never strike where they are. But if it does, we will remain human beings and commiserate with them.

I rest my case.

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