Arthur Kennedy writes: Rawlings goes home

President Jerry Rawlings joined his ancestors today, in Accra.
As expected, there has been an outpouring of grief and an effusion of tributes.
Let me begin by extending my condolences to Obaapanin Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings and her family. I do not believe that the unfortunate family, particularly the children, is/are responsible for Mr. Rawlings’ misdeeds.
I have tried a number of times to summon grief for Mr. Rawlings but I have been unsuccessful. It is the same feeling I have thinking of Nkrumah– I cannot separate him from his victims,  starting with J.B. Danquah. What I feel, honestly, is grief for his victims and they are many:
— Acheampong and the other soldiers executed after June 4th.
— Justice Agyapong and the other 3 murdered after the fatal ride in the Fiat Campanola.
—Tommy Thompson, Kugblenu and other journalists murdered.
And there were more who were killed.
But there were also many who were imprisoned– including Kweku Baako, Ben Ephson, Harruna Attah, Kweku Baako, Hans Djaba and Sam Okudzeto.
Then there were those exiled for years, including J.H. Mensah, Chappy Hutton-Mills, Leo Blay, Dr. Twumasi Boateng, J.N.A. Attoh, Captains Dua and Koufie and many more.
Many had their businesses destroyed.
Whatever the good he did– and he did some good, it is outweighed by the suffering he caused, in my opinion.
And through it all, Mr. Rawlings did not once show remorse for the pain he had caused to so many.
While he was the face of these atrocities, he had a lot of help. No one can do so much evil all by themselves.
From those who shouted “Let the blood flow”, to those who manned the firing squads to those who provided intellectual justifications, there are many who were complicit in the pain he caused.
He and them, committed murders and caused pain in our name.
Regardless of what we feel about Rawlings,  we must acknowledge the pain of those orphaned and widowed, those bankrupted– those with emotional scars– those women raped under his curfew and apologize for the evil done in our name.
As we eulogize Mr. Rawlings, let us set aside some time to acknowledge his victims and their pain. America has made peace with Japan and Germany but it celebrates those who perished at their hands.
We will get more of what we celebrate and honour.
May God bless the victims of President Rawlings.
May he forgive President Rawlings.
May God bless Ghana.
Arthur Kobina Kennedy ( 12th November, 2020)

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