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paa.kwesi's blog

Thinking in English: Exile Sonnet

Posted by paa.kwesi on Fri, 04/28/2006 - 13:08

Another of those recorded fears from the past...

Exile Sonnet

Homing birds
Coming in to roost
They will always return
Back to their roots

When they travel
Over land. Over sea
To dig gold in alien places
They will return to pay homage

Or they will return to scorn
That which gave them birth
Either way they will come
Lest their hearts give them no rest

Pity those who die in a strange land
When their home has not spurned them

Shameless Slippery Slope

Posted by paa.kwesi on Fri, 02/24/2006 - 08:50

So ridee that ROPAB's officially in the law books, what go stop the removal of the residency requirement for becoming president of Ghana?

And then how about say we go commot the requirement that those who hold political office for be accountable to their constituency--the peoples of Ghana?

Check this out: In one breath dem say ebe within the EC's powers when dem go implement the law. Den in the next dem say dem for do am soonest.

We have nya shame. The reality on the ground is that we no be even capable of looking after our wanna citizens wherever dem dey for the world. For West Africa sef, which dey wanna body norr, Ghanaian citizens naani have any guarantees (personal experience as well) of dema country's ability to protect dema dignity from abuse. We have nya shame.


Posted by paa.kwesi on Tue, 02/21/2006 - 14:40

Not had much time these days to write anything but I should imagine that 10million years later, when some bright kid is doing research on Accra in 2006 she must be able to conclude that I was around because I made a comment on the supposedly pressing issue of the day!

OK, quickie thoughts on this on top of the very sensible discussion from the Chronicle Editorial here:

1. For anyone in the Diaspora who thinks it's a good idea to pass ROPAB, ask yourself why are you living outside Ghana in the first place?

For majority of Diasporeans we are not in Aburokyire because we want a change of climate. No, we're there because Ghana doesn't work, simple.

Wobɛtumi anaa?

Posted by paa.kwesi on Thu, 01/26/2006 - 10:14

Nkran, Gaana.
Sanda-Ɔpɛpɔn 24, 2006

God's Trotro
Meara mede me eni hunii!
Animals cannot Forgive
Sɛ woyɛ abowa bi bɔne a, ɛmfa nkyɛ wo nti dwene ho bio... True talk.

I propose a little change

Posted by paa.kwesi on Mon, 01/02/2006 - 03:07

Afehyia Pa to the whole wide world!

Occasionally, I trawl through my docs from previous phases of life. And what a more appropriate time than on this New Year's day! I just came across this speech I wrote for a public-speaking competition. The general theme was to write on a subject of a patriotic nature or citizenship or some other nebulous concept like that. The prizes were to be awarded for the speeches which gave the warmest fuzzy feeling. I didn't win any prize so it might have been that the speech was not convincing enough or it was the wrong audience. I like to think it was the latter just to make me feel better since it was an American audience.

Awerɛhowsɛm :(

Posted by paa.kwesi on Fri, 12/09/2005 - 20:39

Mere-try dɛm pidgin Twi yi so that me etum akasa free aa munsuro dɛ mebɛka Gaana ho asɛm biara a, obi bɛfa no out of context without consulting Gaana ni bi a obetume akyerɛkyerɛ mu.


Ah, na Gaana bɛyɛ yie ni? This week yi na mene me nyɛnko brɛbo bi paa rebɔ nkɔmbɔ. Yɛrekeka kɔ na ɔba pɔleteks (as usual:)). Ndɛ so, obi a menye no reyɛ edwuma ka the same thing te sɛ na ɔwɔ hɔ na first conversation no happenee!

Anyways, nti, argument no ne sɛ, ehwɛ kurow no mu a, mbofra nni role models biara. Hɔn nom a wobetume ayɛ role models no nyina nyɛ world class. Mebɛma mfatoho.

Making it worth dying for...

Posted by paa.kwesi on Thu, 11/24/2005 - 18:46

This week I have been reading Lee Kuan Yew's Singapore, From Third World to First World and I was very impressed with the guy. Granted, the tone came across as patronizing all throughout but you got to give the guy his bragging rights. In my ignorance I'd assumed him to be a mighty despot, only tolerated because he'd done his country good despite it. Now, a few days after finishing, I get the impression that he is the epitome of the Asian that we envy. The model citizen (as of the stereotypical Asian in the US), quickly assimilating and adding a touch of excellence to it all. Except that though thoroughly Westernized, he still had a strong sense of his Confucian heritage.

God did us wrong

Posted by paa.kwesi on Wed, 11/16/2005 - 10:38

God did us wrong
For allowing us to be born here
Instead of there, where we want to be
Putting in our paths innumerable obstacles
So that from the start we are disabled
And cannot compete

God did us wrong
And planted two trees
And made one well-kept from the start
And neglected the other
God did us wrong

God did us wrong
Does God do wrong?
Does he frustrate men?
Gleefully delighting in their misery

Or we do God wrong
Forsaking our tree in favor of another's
Trying all our lives to escape from our duty
To keep our tree
Trying all our lives to assume the duty
Of keeping the other tree which we are not responsible to keep

Accra. Revisited.

Posted by paa.kwesi on Fri, 11/04/2005 - 21:00

So I was trawling through some old ruminations and came across this rant from July 9, 2003. I repost the parts of it that I think still hold true in my mind.

Accra is a harsher reality than I imagined. Most certainly its people are happy as they are, but all of a sudden the thick Ghanaian accent struck me as sounding very strange. Being away, it now sounds as if they are now speaking with an accent, mine having become a mix of the Ghanaian and the American way of speaking. I think I am going to stick to speaking Twi just to avoid drawing attention to myself. But talk of attention, my messy afro is already distinguishing. It looks certain to be decimated by a good ol’ Accra barber. That will be for later though.

Nobody cries for these...

Posted by paa.kwesi on Wed, 08/31/2005 - 02:47

Disaster strikes, again and again, and nobody cries for these 21 lives, and more waiting in the wings.

My brother, and your aunt, and their children together
Will not grace the obituary pages of Le Figaro

Because there are no passports, not anymore
No foreign office representation, not for the poor

At home, or abroad.
Nobody cries for these...

In an unrelated development, someone's idea of life is killing another.

Our emboldened president, Mr J A Kufuor

Posted by paa.kwesi on Sun, 08/14/2005 - 21:59

I have never seen Mr Kufuor so self-assured before in any circumstance. Not even at his inauguration, where he thumbed down (the sign for "aseÉ› hÉ”") to his supports at every possible opportunity in almost boyish glee at finally capturing the presidency. As a disinterested political observer (I think the party system must be abolished and chieftaincy restored based on a modified meritocracy:) ), I've had occasion to hear the president speak about Ghana's ICT policy at Columbia University during one these UN general assembly meetings. I wasn't impressed. But of course, the president wasn't out to impress me. However, the address lacked substance, and the president seemed hesitant in his delivery. Independent opinions also confirmed the impression that Mr Kufuor wasn't a very confident speaker. Maybe you might not think that's an important qualification--oratory skills--to be president. No you need not be a Cicero, but tone and strength of voice are fair indicators of confidence.

Our own oburoni

Posted by paa.kwesi on Sat, 07/30/2005 - 23:01

Ever been treated or called "our own oburoni" by your own folks/friends on returning to Ghana? For some reason a few years sojourn in the land of the Oburoni makes you an oburoni (ok, nearly) too. All of a sudden you are not supposed to drink the water that you drunk right until the day you left. You are supposed to like eating with utensils more than with your fingers. And with each meal must come a soggy clump of cole slaw which you are supposed to eat to show class and all-oburonis-like-salad. And how come you are still taking a troski? And everyone speaks English to you as if you were not raised in Takoradi.

Aboro and where power lies...

Posted by paa.kwesi on Sat, 07/30/2005 - 20:42

Greetings from the Accra I am experiencing, where impunity and sabotage are the order of the day. It's amazing how these two qualities have permeated the culture. I'm so sure these are some of the negative remnants of the effect of colonialization on our culture.

First, sabotage.
Adu-Boahen writes in his "African responses to colonialism" that in reaction to military dominance, the dominated Africans resorted to sabotage and general non-cooperation with the colonizers. Frantz Fanon, in his "Wretched of the earth" explains this reaction as giving the impressions to the colonizers that their African subjects are thieving scoundrels, lazy, inattentive, unwilling to learn, unmotivated and more likely to run spend a whole night in a frenzied religious service than to apply an ounce of wit to diligence. On the other hand the same kind of Africans became suddenly very enterprising even when working in their own limited interest (growing all that cocoa, coffee, cotton in exchange for cash to pay their hut taxes).

Searching for an Internet connection in Ghana

Posted by paa.kwesi on Sun, 07/17/2005 - 12:24

Besides the very high cost of transportation in Ghana (averaging GHC65 000) per day, getting a reliable Internet connection is the other bane of my life. Fortunately, at my workplace desk there is a reliable broadband connection for most of the day. So if you want to hit me up on Yahoo voice chat or Skype feel free to do so when you see I'm online.

The kasahorow Localization Project needs to be housed elsewhere and so that is the reason I have been shopping for a cheap broadband connection. Ghana Telecom's Broadband 4 U product is ridiculously priced. $95/month for the residential connection. But at least their download/upload speed is fairly decent.

There are two other shops I've discovered who provide broadband solutions via wireless--

Fear Shall Fail

Posted by paa.kwesi on Thu, 07/07/2005 - 14:44

Fear Shall Fail
By Tsegaye Gebre-Medhin (1967)

Yet fear shall fail to conquer our warmth
Since each has
A sunny side of a cause to serve,
Though distant cries come breaking
On our threshold
And homes tremble
With the terror of the earth,
Though glories are uprooted
And many more shall be,
Though heroes lament
Birds wail
Fowls feast
And waterfalls sucked dry
Yet fear shall fail to conquer our warmth.

This is the first verse of the 3-verse poem by Ethiopian poet, Tsegaye Gebre-Medhin. Given Tsegaye's history, this poem was probably originally composed in Amharic. I got this English transcription from an Ethiopian friend.