Shithole Folklore: The Tortoise the rope plant and the beautiful bird, by Dr. Yaw Berko

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In Election year 2016, forty-two percent of Americans did not vote, a significant proportion of them like myself were recent immigrants from “shithole” countries! I guess most of them believed their votes won’t matter or sway anything here in the United States of America!

Before they make any such fatal decisions not to vote on Tuesday, I shall humbly seek their permission to share with them one of my favourite “shithole”folklores!

Once upon a time in a forest in the Great Village of Kwahu Pepease, by one of the forest trees lived a tortoise, a hanging rope plant and a beautiful bird! The bird’s plumage was more beautiful than the feathers of the Mandarin duck that has so captivated America’s imagination in New York City! In addition to its glowing beauty, the bird could sing! Because of its virtues, this bird loves to show off!

This bird sang daily 24/7. This situation made the tortoise worried! It rightly thought that the bird’s display could call unnecessary attention to them, so it asked the hanging rope plant to ask the bird to sing softly just for their own safety! The hanging rope plant retorted back to the tortoise that it is not its business to interfere with other people’s affairs so it ignored the tortoise’s warning and failed to relay the message.


One day a hunter was passing by when it heard the bird singing! The hunter spotted it perched atop the tree and took aim and shot it. The bird fell by the tortoise and as the hunter got to the location to pick up the bird accidentally also found the tortoise and picked it up! His hands were full so it needed a rope to tie his booty! He used his cutlass to cut the climbing rope plant and used it to tie the bird and the tortoise! The tortoise then reminded the rope plant of its folly. Had the climbing rope plant heeded the tortoise advice and relayed its message to the bird they could all be alive today!

Moral of the story is; your inaction could lead to disaster for other people! I don’t care whether you are a Republican or Democrat, I implore you to vote for truth! I am tired of living every day of my life hoping that no immigrant gets into any sort of trouble so all immigrants get blamed as one! When did it become an American idea that collective punishment should be offered to people based on the behaviour of one individual from amongst them!

Most immigrants I roll with are in the top 1% of American society and pay more taxes than 90% of American society! A lot of us immigrants contribute meaningfully to the well being of American society, but our current presidents rhetoric makes it sound like all immigrants especially those from black and brown nations are parasites! It’s horrible and gut wrenching!

Disagreeing on principles does not make me an enemy, unpatriotic or unAmerican! It’s just that! As a nation we should be able to talk about our policy differences without the hate, fear mongering and race baiting!

So on November 6, I shall honour those who from before me lost lives, limbs, and blood to make it possible to vote! I am voting to “Make America Great Again Again” and so should you!


By Dr. Yaw Berko an Internal Medicine Physician in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin

Featured image, courtesy of Jungle Animals Wallpaper;


A physician providing primary medical care to patients across the lifespan