Monday, June 29, 2015

Mid morning, Monday 29th, Looking past the gay rights conversation

If you've ever been in a tense situation where a rabble wa working themselves up to mob you or lynch for whatever reason (I have. There was a combination Safe involved and we were at Labadi), the subtle ebb and flow of tempers can be informative of where things are going.

I try not to particularly care too intensely about what happens in another country that has little to do with my reality, but I couldn't help note the evolving conversation that occurred after America's landmark decision on the ‪#‎GayRights‬,‪#‎Gaypride‬ and ‪#‎LoveWins‬ debate, especially since my own Social network in Ghana was all over that this weekend.
If you've ever been in a tense situation where a rabble was working themselves up to mob you or lynch you for whatever reason (I have. There was a combination Safe involved and we were at Labadi), the subtle ebb and flow of tempers can be informative of where things are going.

First, there was the announcement, and people begun reacting as one would expect, depending on which side of the conversation they stood.

Rainbow Profile pictures begun to go up, eliciting the respective cheers and jeers from their friend network,

The opposition's response was at first muted, then came the personal posts, usually reflecting the shock and defensiveness expected, more than a calculated response. The bottom seemed to have fallen out, and this initial reaction could be comparable to further, albeit intimated jeers.

In response, the For-camp begun jeering right back, with long posts that weren't going to change any minds, but were reflective of that camp's own frustration with the Against-camp for simply not playing dead or holding hands with them and singing 'We are the world'

The next phase of this came once everyone had had a moment of pause, and were able to respond more rationally.

See this like the wave breaking, the 'Whoosh' sound and the gentle ripples that come in afterwards.

There were witty posters from both sides, links to measured-blog posts by the less fanatic of either camp,

And finally the rabble began doing something anyone in the eye of the storm might not have believed possible just moments earlier; People begun talking across to each other, rather than at each other.

It makes me realize,
Living in harmony isn't about agreeing to any single thing or even being open-minded to the other side of the argument at all. And thank God for that. The worst of human oppression happens when people stop seeing different sides and start agreeing to just one thing. It doesn't matter how right it seems then, it will become shackles later. It's about being able to move past the rhetoric and back to dealing with one another, no matter how we differently we see the world.

Whether you are for showing marriage diversity, or about taking it back for the Christian God, I find it apt that the symbol for the last few days a Rainbow,

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Life in a time of ECG, 2am - April 3rd, 2015

I was awakened early this morning by voices in the next apartment. Two women, a mother and daughter murmuring in some distress that hadn't quite risen to screams. I had no sense of time. My phone had finally run out of battery some hours earlier.
The women were slapping their chale wotes against the wall (Or floor - I couldn't tell which).
I thought they were fighting some cockroach infestation or something, but the beating of their chale wote was all wrong -- less Brownian, more rhythmic.
At first the mumurs made no sense -- Or Perhaps I wasn't quite awake yet. But something about it woke me up -- kept me up.
So I lay there, my skin clammy from perspiration, staring at the ceiling, one arm over my forehead, listening in,
Then the woman said to the girl, "Ka hu" (Hurry up).
It was strained but said without panic.
Bth women are quite large, so regrettably I wasn't going to get an accurate sense of urgency as she lumbered, more than run through her darkened apartment. I could hear everything, courtesy of the thin celement-block walls dividing our apartments. I could tell which room she was in, the thump and thud of her moving awkwardly in pitch blackness from room to room and the sound of mosquito doors opening and closing.
Finally she emerged outside her front door, and shouted, to no one in particular, "Ogya!". First almost in conversation voice, then louder. She was still waking up, still getting into character.
It took me about 10 full seconds to make sense of what was really going on. The slapping of chale wote against walls and floors on a blackened night without power, two women in frenzied activity at what I later gathered was 2:30am. "OGYA!"...
Fire! ... FIRE!
I leapt from my bed, threw on some clothes and run to my bathroom and grabbed the bucket of water I had in the corner. My senses now fully alert.
I could still hear the talking, the girl had returned to the scene, and was saying in Twi, of her neighbors in our horseshoe of apartment buildings, courtesy of the lack of response to her calls, 'It seems they have all gone out'.
She says this in a matter of fact kind of tone, also without panic.
I got outside, and see several of my of neighbors emerging from their rooms. There was smoke everywhere, and the acrid smell of something artificial recently burnt.
The women emerged eventually, saw the crowd and announced the fire had been put out.
It must have been a candle, left on through out the night, or a smoldering edge of a mosquito coil.
From snatches of the conversation between the mother and my land lady, The Bible had caught fire first, and either spread to other things, or burned violently enough to give them real concern.
Having confirmed they would not need it, I carried my bucket of water back to my bathroom, and returned to bed, too awake to simply fall back to sleep, and wondering if the fire was truly out, or if some burning embers might reignite; the remainder of the Book of Revelation perhaps. Could I indeed close my eyes and sleep or could that cause a raging inferno that might trap me behind a wall of flames?

I must have been more tired than I felt, because I never got an answer to my own question.
Instead I woke up to my alarm clock, noted that the power was back, and begun wondering if I had really experienced what had happened or had been delirious from the heat and simply had a really vivid dream...