Dear brother Irbard,
I hope all is well with you. In the abundance of social media platforms, maybe, I could have chosen to either call you, send you a text or even “whatsapped” you especially because you have never failed to answer my calls or respond to my texts. Bro, I have chosen to make this letter open just so that someone else who loves and admires you as much as I do, might also see it and reiterate the message to you.
The friendships which last are those wherein each friend respects the other’s dignity to the point of not really wanting anything from him except to take pride in being friends.
When you burst into the media space in Ghana, you immediately caught the attention and impeccable admiration of every keen follower of news and current affairs. You were not just eloquent in English, but you also spoke the Arabic language with such finesse that when you spoke to issues concerning international events, terrorism and any such matters that had to do with both the English speaking and Arabic speaking worlds, your analysis stood tall like Gulliver the giant, often making the views of other analysts appear like Lilliputs.
Bro, you combined brain power with an extremely handsome physique that was admired by many spinsters and envied by many fellow young men. Your colorful suits teamed up with your charismatic personality and made you stand out in any gathering.
Our elders say, when a boy washes his hands well, he dines with kings. Indeed, you washed your hands well whilst still a boy and as a result, even before you have attained “puberty”, you have wined and dined with kings. You have shared the same platform with the high and mighty. You have made media headlines through your words of knowledge and wisdom. Whiles still a boy, your words and actions – your general demeanor and approach to even controversial matters – drove older men and women to become your mentees. I am one of them.
Bro, a bird that flies off the earth and lands on an anthill is still on the ground. You took off so well, but unfortunately, instead of flying up high, you have rather landed on an anthill and It appears you are still on the ground.
Bro, unfortunately, these days, unlike in months past, I never seem to hear of you unless some “disaster”, major or minor, has taken place. Don’t get me wrong, I ll be the last person to ask you not to speak your mind on any issue you consider important. I ll probably fight anyone who tries to gag you. However, as I have discussed with you in person a number of times, I would wish that sometimes – just sometimes–that you will tarry a while before you speak.
I don’t know much, but the little I know about communication is that it doesn’t thrive where and when there is “noise”. So, for example, in the aftermath of the Anas expose of activities within the GFA, you chose to speak for Mr Kwesi Nyantakyi. Of course, you were convinced that he had done no wrong. You were convinced that he had been entrapped by Anas and his team. And of course, you had every right to defend Mr Nyantakyi. I just thought that you chose to communicate your message “within the noise” at the time. As a result, very few could hear you. The few who heard you, only heard you also contributing to the noise. The damage you sort to control appeared to have controlled you at that point.
Similarly, in recent times, you have chosen to speak for Menzgold victims and for a man who has been alleged to have abused his wife. So much unlike you, in your defense of the alleged woman abuser, you have chosen to go as far as quoting scripture. So much unlike you, while quoting the said verses to support “striking a woman” you failed to give context.
You also failed to let us know that in translating the words from Arabic into English from the verse you quoted that other translators have also used words such as “chastise” and “Punish” and not “strike”. But more importantly, in this case too, you chose to speak when there was too much noise.
Again, you only contributed to the noise. In attempting to defend both Mr Nyantakyi and the alleged wife beater, you rather succeeded in exposing them to even more insults and ridicule.
Bro, please desist from speaking when the market place is noisy. Our people say ” where water is the boss the land must obey”. In this case the “noise makers” are the “water” and you the “land”. Until the water flows away, don’t talk.
Bro, I also believe that what should move us to action is human dignity: the inalienable dignity of the oppressed, but also the dignity of each of us. We lose dignity if we tolerate the intolerable. But bro, you must attend to your business with the vendor in the market, and not to the noise of the market.
You have made it your business to defend people you believe have been unfairly treated or misunderstood by society. Since you have chosen to carry their egg baskets, please do not dance, lest you break the eggs.
But while you defend others, remember you have your own reputation and future to protect. Remember that where you will sit when you are old shows where you stood in youth. You are still very youthful, very intelligent, very charismatic, very industrious and entrepreneurial. You “sitting place in future” looks very bright. Do not allow the “sitting place of other people in the past to destroy yours in the future. When the roots of a tree begin to decay, it spreads death to the branches. Remember that even the lion, the king of the forest, protects himself against flies.
Bro, let me pause here and take a sip of water and allow you a few seconds to ponder over what I have said. You are not just knowledgeable, you are also wise. But wisdom is like a baobab tree; no one individual can embrace it.
Even as the archer loves the arrow that flies, so too he loves the bow that remains constant in his hands. Your recent comments are like your arrows. They will fly off, but remember that the bow – your personality – is constant. Do not damage it.
The elders say you do not teach the paths of the forest to an old gorilla. I will end here, knowing very well that advice is a stranger; if he’s welcome he stays for the night; if not, he leaves the same day.
See you soon on the next episode of the “Issues”.
By: Abdul Hayi Moomen