What if I told you I am afraid to attend church services in America today! With the Sutherland Springs and Charleston church massacres, I am now afraid of being shot in church, you would definitely say Yaw is that not an overgeneralisation? And I would agree with you because the vast majority of Christian Evangelicals go to church all week with no adverse incidences!
That’s exactly how I feel when people watch one or two episodes of National Geographic or a documentary on Africa and assume that we all grew up poor and destitute or rear lions and tigers alongside ostriches in our backyards!So the other day I was happily doing my medical rounds, gallivanting in the hospital corridor in my shit-hole strides and pride, not caring a hoot about anything except for the joy of my patients and their families, when one coworker enthusiastically approached and said “guess what Berko, I get to go to Africa for a mission trip next May!
So naturally, I was like “where in Africa” to which she replied, “Let me check my email.” After a few minutes, she came back and said “Kenya.”
So as we were talking about dos and dont’s and what to be careful about particularly with food and spices, another co-worker started eschewing vituperative nonsense, more like Fox News fodder like an old parrot that had learnt some words by rote!
She said “ isn’t Africa where there is big trouble with all the Moslems? Aren’t the Moslems the terrorists in Africa?
I was naturally taken aghast! The whole of Africa under attack by all Moslems? Now you know me, the great-grandson of Opanin Yaw Berko and grandson of Akwahuhene both from the Great Village of Kwahu Pepease was not going to let this slide? So I countered, “where in Africa are all Moslems causing terror?” She replied “isn’t Boko Haram a Moslem organisation in Africa causing all that harm?
So I replied “Boko Haram is a terrorist organisation in a tiny part of Northern Nigeria, that has misappropriated Islam for foolish causes! It does not mean all Moslems are terrorists! There is a Christian terrorist group in Uganda called “Lord Resistance Army” and that does not mean all Christians are terrorists
There is one thing that I have discovered with ignorant people? When faced with facts they quickly deflect to another unrelated topic! I call it intentional confabulation!
So she quickly changed the topic to the genocide in Rwanda! Dong forget what the Moslems did in Rwanda in 1992? And is Rwanda not a dangerous place to go?
Another wild ridiculous assertion!
So again I took my time and explained! What happened in Rwanda in the 1990’s had nothing to do with religion! Similar events happened in Yugoslavia in the 1990’s and yet that area does not carry the perpetual curse of being a dangerous place! More people get killed in Chicago every weekend and yet people go to.visit Chicago all the time!
In America ignorance pays! It is very productive to be ignorant and keep educated people ignorant especially along tribal lines! The more ignorant and tribal shit you can espouse the bigger your platform and the bigger your reward!
I am on a solo mission to correct false knowledge and ignorance! It is said that “false knowledge is more dangerous than ignorance” but I also believe “to remove ignorance is an important branch of benevolence!
I have resolved to never ignore ignoramuses and so should you! If we all endeavour to correct false knowledge and engage ignorant folks, we can make the world a better place, by changing ignorant folks one at a time! The task is arduous but to relent is not an option!
“Remember where ignorance is our master, there is no possibility of real peace.” Dalai Lama
By Dr. Yaw Berko a Internal Medicine Physician in Fon du Lac, Wisconsin
Feature photo: “Victoria, Gozo Island” by Travolution360 is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0