Monday, 22 January 2018
Late Major Mahama deserves better; not a monument

Late Major Mahama deserves better; not a monument

By Greg Davis
“Man passes away; his name perishes from record and recollection; his history is as a tale that is told, and his very monument becomes a ruin.”- Washington Irving

IF we are serious about stamping out mob attacks, lynching, illegal mining, among others, then we MUST, as a matter of necessity, declare 29 May, the day Major Maxwell Adam Mahama met his untimely death, as a statutory national ‘Major Mahama Memorial Day Against Mob Attacks and Environmental Degradation.’
The rhetoric, the stirring tributes, the soul-inspiring songs, the sermon and moving prayers we heard at Major Mahama’s state memorial and funeral service on June 9, 2017, will be forgotten. And even though erecting a monument in his honour, per se, is not a bad idea, it does not go far enough to adequately address and achieve its purpose. A day in his memory will go a long way to help us all as a nation.
I have personally seen monuments in this country and beyond deteriorating due to lack of proper maintenance. Monuments can be forgotten and easily become a white elephant. Monuments can deteriorate or be pulled down. Tommy Douglas succinctly encapsulates this in the following imagery, “I don't mind being a symbol but I don't want to become a monument. There are monuments all over the Parliament Buildings and I've seen what the pigeons do to them”.
Monuments are not the best reminders. They are not omnipresent or ubiquitous and, as such, cannot be an effective constant reminder to every citizen of this country. The impact and memory of Major Mahama’s tragic death must go beyond the fallen hero himself and his family.
The memory of this soldier should never be drowned in oblivion. It should inspire soldiers today and tomorrow. It should serve as a catalyst for national change and transformation. His story must inspire and engender an ardent desire to emulate his exemplary character, sacrifice, discipline, service, and duty for God and country. His children must grow up to be proud of their father. May 29 must remain a day of sober reflections and a day of pride as a Ghanaian.
We cannot afford not to take advantage of this unfortunate atrocity to educate, reorient and change the mentality of our people. If we miss this opportunity, we are doomed for good. What will be the use of a monument without the conscious and calculated plan towards a total national attitudinal transformation and positive change?
As Pericles, rightly, puts it: “What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others”. The memory of the fallen hero must strike a positive chord on our national psyche and moral fiber.
Henceforth, May 29 must remain a nationwide Memorial Day to celebrate the life and memory of this gallant soldier, and other victims of lynching and mob attacks. It must also be a day to resound ‘Never Again’ to all these social vices. And this must be reechoed through every nook and cranny of our beloved country.
From Accra in the south to Zabzugu in the north, let the sound reverberate: never again. From the big mansion to the small huts and hamlet, from the deep valleys to the high mountains, let the voices be heard and the story be retold from this generation to the other that 'never again!
From the sprawling shores of our coasts to the thickest forests and the vast savannahs, never again! Never again to illegal mining (‘galamsey’), which is denying the next generation their right to life; never again to mob attacks and political violence.
From school to school, from every market to every tabletop, from the roadside seller to the big mall; from Parliament to every church and mosque: never again! From the chief's palace to the highest courtroom of the land, from every newspaper, every radio and television station, let the airwaves be saturated with a loud 'never again!'
Let the nation arise with an unadulterated proclamation to this generation and the next to come, never again!
May 29 must be a day of national unity and forgiveness for our trespasses, a day of kindheartedness towards each other; a day to eschew lawlessness, tribalism, violence among others.
Let it be said that the soldier, who could have defended himself with his gun against the marauding barbarity of his assailants, instead, chose to suffer the most atrocious and humiliating death, so that his beloved country will be saved from the evil claws of mob attacks, instant injustice, and importantly, mindless illegal mining and environmental degradation.
With this, Major Maxwell Mahama would have proudly concurred with the following: "If I have done any honorable exploit, that is my monument; but if I have done none, all your statues will signify nothing” (Agesilaus II).
Major Mahama’s death must serve as the rallying point for a turning point for mother Ghana.
. The writer is a University Chaplain, Pre-certified Marriage and Family Psychotherapist and Security Watcher.
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