I cried last night. The whole day I had been in a bad mood. Somehow off, unable to identify the source of this melancholy. It was the last thing I expected after the good mood of celebrating the 4th of July and Eid al-Fitr. Trying to shift my foul mood, I thought to do a yoga practice but even just a basic warm up was a challenge. I felt weighed down and tears coming on.
In that moment, two young boys a PCV had told me about earlier in the day, were on my mind. They had been caught in a sexual act at school and the teachers proceeded to beat them. Other students were present and exclaimed “Wrong! Wrong!” How awful it must have been and will continue to be for these boys. Traumatic, to say the least. Homosexuality is illegal in Ghana and the culture very much against it. Here were two young people, exploring and experimenting – only to be ruthlessly shamed. They have been made to feel they were wrong. How can they grow up comfortable and confident in who they are now? Especially if it turns out they are gay? They live in a society that would not accept them. I thought, even in America, not everyone is on board with equal rights – how long before Ghana gets to that point? I felt helpless. All I could do was practice loving-kindness for these boys and continue crying.
Then I thought about Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, the two black men shot and killed by police in Louisiana and Minnesota, only hours apart. I saw the news about Alton and the following morning saw video footage thinking it must have been him. But the man in the video looked different. It was Philando. I did not want to believe that more black men were being senselessly killed by policemen. By people who are supposed to serve and protect us. This is not an America I am proud of.
I live in Ghana. So therefore, I live in a black community. A black country. When Ghanaians express desire to go to America, I cannot help but think how hard it would be for them. Even if all they wanted was to visit. And all simply because they are black. I do not want them to come to the US. Not right now. Because I am ashamed of how we treat our own citizens. Because Americans are unlikely to greet and invite you to eat out of their bowl. Because most Americans would not go out of their way to drop you off at your destination on a hitch. Because they may be judged to be thugs, thieves, convicts, drug dealers – all because they are black. Because they may be shot and killed by the very people that are supposed to protect and help them. And today, I woke up to Dallas. Violence cannot be fought with violence. This has to stop. All of it has to stop.
Underpinning all this emotion were the horrific events that took place in Istanbul, Baghdad, Dhaka and Saudi Arabia. I live in a Muslim community and Daesh seems so far away – the furthest thing from the Islam I have seen and experienced in Ghana. I hope it stays that way. The only way I know how to fight this terror is by continuing to live my life the way I want.
The human race is what has been getting me down. It is all senseless, fearful treatment of others that are different than us. Love is love, color is only skin deep and in the end we all believe in the same thing: something greater than us. We are the same