We tell ourselves we are all equal. We teach them to the children at school. But coming from a society where we study mainly to pass exams and not to imbibe the knowledge, it is disheartening having to witness the injustice people usually found at the bottom of the social ladder, face on a regular basis.
Gone are the days when suspected lawbreakers are hurled to the police station for justice to take it due course and be served when need be. Gone are the days when killers were assumed to be hardcore criminals who lurked in the dark and pounced on vulnerable people.
These days, in our so-called ‘modern society’, the people we see on our streets day in day out all dressed up and about their business, could automatically turn into heartless beings at the sound of ‘thief!’ Like the American TV series, the Vampire Diaries, it seems people switch off their humanity and beat the life out of a fellow person like monsters. Even animals are spared and given a quick death and not made to suffer that horrible fate.
Last week started on a bad note for all Ghanaians upon hearing the news of how a noble army captain was lynched to death by some locals. It wasn’t the first time this has happened but this story touched every heart that heard it because for the first time, most of us got to see the agonizing video of how a helpless man was hit over and over again by his own countrymen.
I assumed we were all remorseful and that people would have a change of heart and not administer instant justice to anyone who is said to have stolen something but I assumed wrong. Just twenty four hours later, there was another story of a young man lynched in another city for allegedly stealing a phone. Then another story broke of an old woman who was lynched because she was thought to be a witch. And the latest is that of a 55-year old man who was also beaten to a pulp for allegedly stealing money from the woman who runs a pub, a place he frequented.
I hear all these stories and I wonder what went wrong. Why do people assume the one who cries ‘thief’ is always right and take the law into our own hands and beat people to death? What happens during that time that one’s pleas for mercy goes unheard and continues to be attacked until blood spills and breathing ceases?
Meanwhile the ‘big’ people in high offices embezzle huge amounts of state money and they get to walk scout free and even revered by the laymen who would beat their fellow who steals one Ghana cedi. How is that equality? Why are some entitled to have their case heard and others are not?
I can’t help but shudder when walking on the streets these days. I ask myself, so this guy who smiled at me when I greeted, would he turn on me and kill me if someone was to point a finger at me and call me thief? Are we all in danger? How can we be safe from such an enemy whom we can’t see until too late? Who would listen to us if accused of something?
Maybe it’s out of frustration at our law enforcement system that people resort to such cruelty. A criminal is caught red-handed and is released after a short while over ‘lack of evidence.’ He comes back to harass people the more and as such, others have made up their minds to put a stop to them once and for all. Even if he did something horrible, it is not up to us to take their lives away.
Let’s respect life and treat each one with dignity even if they falter.
If there’s one thing I’ve realized to my utter dismay, it’s that we all have it in us-to hurt each other if given the opportunity. I was shocked to hear educated people who should rather choose the rule of law, demand that the fate of the poor soldier be visited on the locals. If only we could tame that wild side of us and see each other as we see ourselves- human and worthy to be given a fair hearing, our society would feel safe for us to live in.
© Josephine Amoako 2017
***Kindly subscribe to my newsletter. Thanks!***