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…Re-Visiting The ‘TOWER OF BABEL’ Myth For Development


“Now the whole earth spoke one language and used the same words (vocabulary).


And as people journeyed eastward, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and they settled there. They said one to another, “Come, let us make bricks and fire them thoroughly (in a kiln, to harden and strengthen them).” So they used brick for stone (as building material), and they used tar (bitumen, asphalt) for mortar. They said, “Come, let us build a city for ourselves, and a tower whose top will reach into the heavens, and let us make a (famous) name for ourselves, so that we will not be scattered (into separate groups) and be dispersed over the surface of the entire earth (as the Lord instructed).”


Now the LORD came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. And the LORD said, “Behold, they are one (unified) people, and they all have the same language. This is only the beginning of what they will do (in rebellion against Me), and now no evil thing they imagine they can do will be impossible for them.


Come, let us (father, Son, Holy Spirit) go down and there confuse and mix up their language, so that they will not understand one another’s speech. “So the LORD scattered them abroad from there over the surface of the entire earth; and they stopped building the city.


Therefore the name of the city was Babel – because there the LORD confused the language of the entire earth; and from that place the LORD scattered and dispersed them over the surface of all the earth.”


GENESIS 11:1 – 9  


THE POWER OF ONE, collective as a nation and as a people, unimaginable what we cannot accomplish if we work together by consensus – and thus, making ‘A (FAMOUS) NAME FOR OURSELVES’.


About two years ago during the 2020 General Elections, I had a unique opportunity to take a backstage to assess the direction we were drifting as a nation and as a people, all the acrimony, the fighting and bloodshed for ‘temporal’ power, the insults, the depth of hatred our politics was generating to set husbands against their wives, children against the parents, neighbours against each other, to make us wonder: ‘WHAT AT ALL IS THIS DEVIL CALLED PARTISAN POLITICS?’


In my state of soliloquythis is simply, the act of talking while or as if alone; an utterance or discourse by a person who is talking to himself or herself or is disregardful of or oblivious to any hearers present (often used as a device in drama to disclose a character’s innermost thoughts but one that when you do it on the streets of Sekondi, people will look at you double-double as if you have lost it up there – I began to wonder, where did we get it all wrong over 60 years after our Independence i.e. 6th March, 1957: that fateful day that we were made to believe that was the end of all our troubles since we heard vividly “The black man was capable of managing himself” or was it “mismanaging” himself?


You see, the situation we find ourselves in now as Ghanaians is akin to the opening phrase of a soliloquy given by Prince Hamlet in the so-called “nunnery scene” of William Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 1. In the speech, Hamlet contemplates death and suicide, bemoaning the pain and unfairness of life but acknowledging that the alternative might be worse.


In his famous “TO BE OR NOT TO BE, THAT IS THE QUESTION” soliloquy, Hamlet philosophically concludes that no one would choose to endure the pain of life if he or she were not afraid of what will come after death, and that it is this fear which causes complex moral considerations to interfere with our capacity for action.


Many a time, we have found ourselves in situations to question ourselves in respect of life and death, deciding that the alternative to life might be worse than what we are currently suffering, hence the “To Be Or Not To Be” moment – would we have been better off under colonialization still or endure the worse administration and management of our own resources by fellow Ghanaians, who appeared to us as the ‘real saviours’?


Our kith and kin, who now rule us and are charged with managing our collective resources, unfortunately always forget that “PEOPLE BUILD NATIONS, INDEED UNITED PEOPLE BUILD GREAT NATIONS AS INDIVIDUALS ONLY LEAD”, especially when they get into the false sense of security that they have arrived and we, the people cannot do anything than to endure them for the period of their term of office because we have chosen DEMOCRACY as our way of life. And that, this democracy also allows them to use the police and quasi-military to hunt us like criminals because we dare to speak our minds or to question their jaundiced self-interest decisions?


It is amazing how we allow our little differences, especially in politics or the quest for preferred economic paradigms or sense of living and development to divide us as a people; and thereby miss the bigger picture of our joint strengths in unity and singleness of purpose to accomplish the IMPOSSIBLE, not only for ourselves but posterity.


We allow ourselves to always miss the BIGGER PICTURES of everything, as we allow our selfishnesses as INDIVIDUALS to cloud our common values and judgements, thereby not allowing us to realize our full potentials as a people, united to face and subdue all challenges of life and living – ‘towards building the tallest tower to reach the heavens’.


According to Genesis 11, at a point “the whole world had one language and a common speech” and as they moved eastwards, they found a place to build for themselves a CITY with a tower that reaches to the heavens so they could make a NAME for themselves. However, the LORD came down to see the city and the tower that the ‘sons of men’ were building and then said: “If as ONE PEOPLE, speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be IMPOSSIBLE for them”, therein lies the DEPTH OF THE POTENCIES of our unity as a people and a nation with a common destiny and purpose.


As a people, we should not be deceived by the mere terminologies and ideologies of politicians and our politics, these slogans are always meant to confuse and bamboozle us the citizens, that is their stock-in-trade, so with our lack of understanding, we will think of them as doing great and wonderful things. Check, they have names and slogans for everything including common annual budgets read on the floor of Parliament, painting such a great picture of heaven-on-earth and then finally on assessment, they turn out to be just empty slogans.


Trace their histories and evolutions over the past years and decades to appreciate that what all parties offer us is semanticswords: some boiled, some fried, some grilled, some baked and others dried but all meaning the same thing, either as diehard capitalists turn semblance of socialists, or as socialists adopting fringes of capitalism to confuse our people and end-up taking away from us the FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS OF EVERY MAN.


A politician will always consider himself or herself first; trust me! In the olden days during our fight for independence, a Gold Coast delegation was sent to the UK to make a point for our liberation and part of the story that filtered back was that one member was found negotiating scholarship for his nephew in the corridors of the Queen’s Parliament House.


They are always thinking of themselves and their families first after they have secured our collective votes to get into power, and losing sight of the bigger picture of the ‘power that we originally exhibited before the LORD, our UNITY AND SINGLENESS OF PURPOSE, when we decided to build the ‘Tower of Babel’.


You know, our kind of politics now, takes our right to think, so that we take for granted the right to do things for ourselves and as a consequence, unable to build for ourselves a NATION, united in all perspectives; thereby replacing this with over-reliance on INDIVIDUALS, who in turn tend to play ‘god’, as provider of everything like a ‘Father Christmas’, even when they are using our own funds from taxes. This way, we cease to think for ourselves as a PEOPLE. Don’t forget that, even the loans they take for anything will be in the name of a sovereign state for us to pay through more TAXES, after their mismanagements. 


You see, INDIVIDUALS don’t build NATIONS, it is only when we come together as a PEOPLE with common destiny, to build the ‘city’ and ‘tower’ can we realize our fullest potentials as a nation.


We need to appreciate fully well that individuals like Presidents (whom we elect as leaders) with their appointed Ministers of State, MCE / DCE and other political appointees only LEAD, and we have them traditionally as chiefs too.


From where I sit, we are now at a CROSSROADS as a people – ‘to be or not to be’ situation, if we don’t come to terms with what our separate roles really are – party in government against party in opposition and rest of us neutrals, we would stagnate and allow the rest of the world to pass us by than to seize the full potentials now as a people to build this TOWER, irrespective of our political persuasions; that will MAKE A NAME FOR OURSELVES to bequeath to our descendants.


There should be no intimidations henceforth or ‘showing the people with a voice where power lies’, either now or the rest of our lives as a nation, recognizing that we are building a NATION for our children, children’s children and rest of our collective descendants: definitely not for now but for posterity.


This is the ultimate sacrifice we all have to make: the price we all have to pay, so we need to bury individual prides and commit to the overall interest of the whole, through consensuses over major national, economic, infrastructural, health and development paradigms, to push our nation forward as conceived by our forebearers. 


This is not the time for sectoral interests or party politics or tribal hegemonies or partisanship of any sort; and definitely not business as usual. This is the time to speak out without harassments from anybody, knowing we drown or swim safely to the shore together as the ‘NEW GHANAIANS’ under a ‘NEW GHANA’ – a nation determined to learn from the mistakes of the past and forge ahead with new perspectives from the lessons learnt.


Don’t ever forget that this generation shall arise from the ashes of all that has held us back for so long in our abject poverties, even as the political class and their leadership soak themselves in the finest of wines, caviars, whiskeys and scotches as they play the new ’elitism, aristocracy peerage and haut monde’, forgetting how far we have come as a nation and as a people since June 4th 1979; and as if we have forgotten all the painful, gruesome lessons learnt. We cannot afford to go back as we refuse to be silenced by all means possible, determined to stand up and be counted for the emergence of the ‘NEW GHANAIAN’ and the ‘NEW GHANA’.  


A CHANGE IS GONNA COME, sooner than later so join the change now and refuse to be a BYSTANDER because no bystander is ever innocent, either here on earth or at the final day of reckoning after death.


Need I say more?



By Magnus Naabe RexDanquah, the Ghanaian – is a Land Economist & Appraiser, 

Events Architect & Planner, SportBusiness Consultant, Social Commentator and an Author

(The Daily Searchlight appears every day on the newsstands and for sale 24 hours every day and all week on www.ghananewstand.com. Visit www.ghananewstand.com for a wide variety of newspapers published in Ghana and from across the world.)

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