I haven't seen the video that made the rounds last week showing Students of Mensah Sarbah hall in the ONLY University of Ghana in a mad frenzy to poke their fingers between the thighs of an alleged female thief, neither am I interested in seeing it. If you have it, please keep it, don't send it to me. Just listening to, and reading the description of how our future leaders in a reputable university scrambled to get access to the holy of holies of a strange woman they knew not from Adam with their fingers, cameras and anything was repulsive ,repugnant, revolting and nauseous enough without the benefit of the pictures. The fact that the senseless act took place in the open and was not deterred by the presence of phone cameras and videos at the scene, says a lot about the IQ of our supposed best brains. This is another good reason to believe that our educational system is not producing the informed intelligent manpower required to operate in a knowledge society. You would expect that students at that level will recognize that what they were doing was a crime, and the cameras will only serve as evidence for the state against them.
The eagerness of the male specie to seek comfort in the holy passage that delivered humanity has long been recognized as potentially abusive to the female specie. Society has since made rules to obtain legitimate access, this fact must be known to every JSS student. What the finger-happy boys from Sarbah hall did is a throwback to the days of the pre-historic man who had yet to come to terms with the fact that he lived in a plane higher than the abode of the animals he shared the jungle with. I have heard arguments that what happened was instant justice rather than a crime against 'womanity', but the truth is, it was more of the latter. Was a single woman part of dishing out that senseless (in)justice? If a thief is polite enough to ask me to choose between losing my laptop and a one man attack , similar to what the lady suffered, on any female member of my family, I will deliver the laptop to his hideout with a tithe offering. The cavemen committed a bigger crime than the lady. The act of the Sarbah cavemen is indefensible, no matter how hard you try. The whole act is reminiscent of the early days of Chairman Rawlings's revolution, when stories that soldiers did not only strip market women naked in the streets but forced men to inspect what was in between their thighs, in the name of instilling discipline, were common. We have been hoping that those events will never recur in our society. But the appearance of computer savvy cavemen in Sarbah hall is a sharp reminder that we seem not be learning from our history. Back in the Vandal city in the days of yore, the boys from Sarbah were described as something police (I haven't learned to repeat the refrain without a prick on my conscience), it seems the Vandals were right after all. With all the faults of Vandals, such acts would be regarded as an abomination that causes desolation, and the perpetrators would pay with their 'blood' at 'Gono' where they will face all the three rudiments of shaboro- face up, face down and sub-marine.
The shameful act and the attempts to justify it by explaining that the lady at the receiving end is a repeated thief who has jumped bail, throws light on two evils in the Ghanaian society, namely , the penchant for instant justice and an overly casual attitude towards sexual violence.
Too many Ghanaians will join a beating party before asking what the chap did wrong. Not too long ago, innocent men were lynched because somebody said they caused their manhood to vanish. There were no attempts to verify that the manhood was gone. We saw people literally razing down a house occupied by a certain Dr. Beckley because the crowd believed he was an occultist who sacrificed children. A man appeared on TV claiming that a child was tied to a tree in the house and an angel came and untied her. The child was never seen, the parents were never known, and the angel refused to appear and testify against Beckley. Yet people were ready to maim Beckley. Even though these people were shown on TV, not a single attempt was made to arrest and prosecute anybody. Many years ago at Legon, we chased a thief from Commonwealth and apprehended him in front of Legon hall. As we attempted to march him to the Legon police station, the crowd grew thicker with every step we took, and so did the beating. Yours truly attempted to stop the beating, but the few lashes that were thrown my way adequately exorcised my foolishness. I approached a security man at the gate for help but he was too smart to fall into such a stupid trap, he blatantly refused. In equal measure, he blatantly denied he spoke to me when I reported him to the university. As for the thief, he was left half dead at the gate, even though the police came for him, I don't think they got anywhere with a prosecution because society failed to help them. 'Enlightened students from Legon chose to exact justice the way of the caveman, instead of respecting institutions of civilization. If the police don't get into the habit of prosecuting the apostles and disciples of vigilante culture, they will never go away.
We trivialize sexual violence. Consciously or unconsciously, it does happen. In my teenage years in secondary school, I noted how conversations about 'gala' (gang rape) were well patronized. If young people get used to making fun out of such barbaric practices, they will do the Sarbah when they get to Sarbah hall. Remember Gyedu Blay Ambulley's song? 'Woman behind, something dey there, wey tin dey there,………' He successfully got ex President Rawlings to sing it at a show. Such lyrics can only serve to blunt the mind about the seriousness of sexual harassment. I hear that my fellow Vandals from Commonwealth hall are focusing the 53rd hall week celebration on promoting women empowerment. Bravo! My V-mates. Please focus some of your effort on getting rid of all songs from your repertoire that degrade womanhood. That will be a practical demonstration of your good intention beyond the talk. Such songs do not help the course of 'womanity'. The guys in the colonies do not understand the mystery behind your lyrics; it will only spur on guys in Okponglo to get in touch with their animalistic instincts. As always, Truth Stands!
As for all my good friends from sarbah hall, it's time to go back home and talk some sense to those boys. Patrick Adjei (Mr. president '94/95), Patrick de Souza, Barbados, and Elvies Afriyie Ankrah, boys Chaaaarge . To all of us in the larger society, we need to get it into the heads of our sons, nephews and brothers that the residual remains of Oedipus complex will always take boys back to where they came from, but guys, there are rules of engagement, Respect!