Sunday, June 27, 2010
Two legs good, four legs bad…
When you are viewing the World Cup in Ghana as an ardent football supporter, the phrase ‘opiate of the masses’ returns to thought, often and enough. Last night was very wild here. Horns. Singing. Dogs barking. Chickens cackling and crowing. Goats bleating. Speakers blasting. Euphoria as the goals went in. Skill beats brawn. And the silky skills were Ghanaian and the brawn was the Imperialistic US!
Since this is my adopted country, it was a tense but rewarding affair. There were many eulogies banded about in the televisual media such as ‘All Africa is behind Ghana’. In the mean time, one of the ads on tv has leading African footballers packing bags in grainy black and white. A ‘profound poetic voice’ speaks over the images, saying, “Football called us. We answered the call’. To riches and fame far away from their African roots. The success of Ghana so far has been gained despite the poverty of the infrastructure here. I’m glad that they beat the US because that country insists on handouts (they call it aid) and prohibits free trade. Dependency rather than independence. Slavery by other means. Another version of Orwell’s Animal Farm. Thus it is that everyone from footballers to nurses and doctors fills the holes in the UK and American football league teams or health services rather than building their country’s own infrastructure. Thus it also is that Ghana, like many other African States, never tackle corruption because their leaderships channel aid into the pockets of the elite. Thus it is that wherever you go, everyone seeks to ‘chop’ and take bribes. (Chop means to slice off money for yourself from whatever aid or investment there may be). It is endemic because at the heart of things, the elite in these countries are self-serving rather than seeking to serve their people.
For a few ecstatic days, Ghana is Africa. It is learning about national identity (in itself a miracle given the tribal divisions which tend to procreate political parties) and it feels very proud of its achievement. Would that this translated into a government that truly looked after its own people and built its putative democracy to such an extent that the western and now Oriental capitalist megastructures were forced to treat it as a partner, not a poodle running on a lead over its mineral-laden territory.
And what a football force it would be. The Brazil of the African continent.