Thailand was all over the news earlier this week. 12 schoolboys (who were also footballers) and their coach stuck in the Tham Luang cave for eighteen (18) days were finally rescued in an extraordinarily daring mission. For three (3) days, a joint team of Thailand’s Navy SEALs and international divers put their lives on the line for these young Thai assets, one of such even losing his life. This is a nation that cares!
A nation that places its citizens above anything else will go every length to keep them safe. A nation that perceives each soul that belongs there an asset will do all within its power to rescue them when it matters most. A great nation is one where every life matters.
Elsewhere in Ghana, a government hospital was also trending within the same period for denying a pregnant woman critical attention because her husband could not immediately pay a token of GHC500 as doctor’s motivation fee (whatever that means) for a Cesarean Section (C.S) to be carried out on her. When he finally returned with this token after hours of frantic search, his wife was rushed into the theatre only to be told that she had passed away!
Two different nations, two different perceptions towards human life. Two different nations, two different systems of value for their human capital. You are a Ghanaian but are you a proud one? You are willing to die for your nation but is your nation, on the flip side, willing to kill you!?
This is Ghana… where you are more likely to die an avoidable death. Welcome to Ghana where your life finds its way on a negotiation table every time you visit a hospital. You are welcome to a country of queues where even queue to die and be buried!
Failing systems. No value for life. Improper structures to support dreams. Different shades of corruption. Money over human lives. Politicians building substandard hospitals and schools they’ll never attend. Human capital wasted because of poor leadership. Well… this has always been Ghana.
We preach sacrifice yet our systems sacrifice us for peanuts each day. We preach dying for the nation but our nation is not even ready to die for us. Needless deaths. Needless poverty. Unthinkable waste of resources. Greed. Selfishness. All hail a nation that is almost always championing patriotism!
It is not enough to preach patriotism. A people that have no value for human life have no moral right preaching dying for a nation. If in this era of stunning technology and development, lives are still cut short because of another man’s GHC500 worth of motivation, then we indeed are far behind the world.
We don’t only want to be Ghanaians by birth. We want to be Ghanaians by value; a country that places a premium on our existence, at least. We want to live in a country whose actions and inactions point to the fact that it has value for lives.
Our wives and daughters can’t die from maternal mortality in this modern age. We can’t afford to mourn just because we couldn’t pay some Ghc500 in a hospital for a job someone is paid for. We can only be proud Ghanaians when this pride is paid back with value for our lives. Where there’s no value, there’s absolutely no pride.
We can’t place value on a country that places no value on us. A nation can only be an asset to its people when it has systems in place that regards these people as assets. A great country is one whose citizens are its primary assets. A country worth our blood is one that knows the value of this blood!
This country can only make progress when we redirect our attention to the people that make it up. Progress can only happen when we redefine value for human life in every sphere of this nation. Our schools should know the value of human life. Our hospitals, too. The first move to development is when every facet of our society places value on the lives that make society.
You see, value of human life may seem farfetched to you until you sooner or later become a victim of the demon of a system we have created for ourselves. Human life may seem valueless to you until you are one day the patient lying speechless on the floor of a hospital because of lack of beds.
The story of the death of this young woman may not matter to you until you’re someday in the shoes of a pregnant woman or the husband of one. This nation will go nowhere if the lives of the people that make it do not matter. Every life matters. In a great country, every single death matters… and that is why it should not be for a petty cause!
To think of a life being lost because of GHC500 may beat your imagination but others have been lost for even less. While other countries will do all they can to keep their assets called citizens safe, we bargain ours with death for this much; only GHC500 or sometimes less.
Lives do matter. No life deserves to be lost because of a measly GHC500. We talk about dying for the country. We preach nationalism but forget that it can’t be a reality when value is not placed on every single life in this country. This nation can only be as great as its citizens. An investment into the people is an investment into the country.
Today, the pregnant woman may be the unfortunate victim. Who knows whose turn it may be tomorrow? Maybe you. Maybe me. Should I find myself in an unfortunate circumstance, like the Thai cave survivors, will my nation sacrifice everything to rescue me… or they’d just ask me to pray?
I am ready to die for Ghana but will this country die for me when the need arises? I may never receive an answer in my lifetime.
The writer is a playwright and Chief Scribe of an Accra-based writing firm, Scribe Communications (www.scribecommltd.com).
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