By fiifi DZANSI
#FixTheCountry is arguably Ghana’s most popular hashtag on social media in 2021. And it’s birthed as a result of the frustrations many are facing in the country. It has since turned into a protest movement.
According to #FixTheCountry leaders, the protest was organized to put pressure on the government to address the country’s numerous challenges, including youth unemployment.
While the cost of living has gone up the roof, the system just seems to be failing. Wherever you go, you find people who are beaten down and are squealing out of pain.
During my preteen years, there was no internet, at least not in Ghana. It took a couple of years for newly released movies to come to Ghana. We wrote letters and queued at phone booths to make calls.
Now, life is different. Some of the youth have had the opportunity to travel outside and witnessed how things are done elsewhere. And others are constantly in touch with the rest of the world through the internet. On the internet, we live in one country. We know what’s up around the world.
Always, we’re wowed by the technologies and creativity of countries like Japan that are light years ahead of us. We wonder if it’s the same blood flowing through their veins.
In those developed countries you could go to a bus stop and expect a bus to arrive at an exact time.
In your old age, when you’re grey and frail, you could spend the rest of your years in old folks home where you’re properly taken care of and not called a witch because of someone else’s failure.
Dial an emergency number, and the police would arrive within ten minutes if you’re not at the outskirts of town.
It’s an endless list. That’s not the point of this writing. Because from where I sit, it’s just a dream detached from reality.
Ghana’s problems, unbeknownst to many of the youth, are not new. They’ve been embedded in our society like a malignant tumour since the beginning. And they can only get worse.
A friend who once served as the deputy editor of Daily Graphic gave me a bound volume of all articles ever written in the publication since its beginning. And boy, oh boy, the headlines have remained the same till now.
Governments have come and gone with their ministers and foot soldiers.
Political parties wrestle for power on the streets and at the ballots. Some have had pure motives and were honest in their dealings.
Furthermore, there have been demonstrations during every government rule. Sad to say, though, the country is still riddled with poverty, corruption, and all the woes that come with it.
The search for who would #FixTheCountry is currently active.
Sometimes when fire gets to the buttocks of the youth, they explode. In Ghana, they take their frustrations to social media and rant. Or they protest on the streets for a while.
It was different in Tunisia. In 2011, Mohamed Bouazizi, a fruit vendor, doused himself in petrol and lit himself up.
That was the beginning of the Arab spring. Arab nations that went through this upheaval never truly recovered. Syria is still at war after 10 years. Egypt and Tunisia are tottering between governments.
Some people have regretted taking part in the demonstrations, claiming life has gone worse than before.
Who, therefore, is going to #FixTheCountry?
One thing I know for a certainty is that it would take someone with superpowers to accomplish that. Unfortunately, Superman and Batman only live in movies and comic books.
Ask me who the saviour could be, and I’d have to point heavenward.
For the time being, we can all do our bit and change the world in our corner. Of course, good governance provides a conducive environment for progress.
On the other hand, I can’t fathom how a rude, corrupt and lazy person can have the moral right to protest against bad governance.
Before you go on the rampage, put things in perspective. The whole world is suffering from the blows of the COVID-19 pandemic. Several economies have crumbled, and experts say it may take several years after the pandemic for countries to make significant recoveries.
Remember also how the Arab spring turned out. Extensively, more problems have been created than solutions.
But you can #FixTheCountry – the world you live in – even if the government fails.
READ. READ. READ. All the blueprints for the developed world’s success have been documented in books and videos. These materials are widely available for free on the internet.
Take advantage of these to better yourself, the environment and your business. Unless it’s your business, cut short the time you spend mocking footballers on social media or endlessly scrolling through photos.
Sad to say, though we have more information available for easy access than we ever had before, the youth in Ghana are not making use of this. Instead, they prefer to spend all their time on frivolous and mundane posts of other people they adore.
BE FOUND DOING YOUR BEST AS A GOOD CITIZEN. Work hard and do legit work. Success stands aside for those who put in the hours, tears and sweat. Beware of the get-rich-quick schemes others flaunt around. In the same way, stay far away from the lavish lifestyle celebrities sell to you.
It’s all a façade that peels away with time. Take care of your needs, and your wants would be taken care of. Also, happiness does not result from the many medals we win or the wealth that we amass for ourselves but from contentment.
REDIRECT YOUR ANGER. The more we complain and grumble about authorities who disappoint us, the more tired, frustrated and even depressed we become.
Identify a challenge in society and provide a practical solution and share with others. It could become your business. It’ll not be in our best interest to let bitterness, hate and anger consume us.
Do more. Talk less. Spread more positive messages to uplift others and bring hope to people. After all, that’s what we all need in these turbulent times to carry on.
Governments have a role to play – to #FixTheCountry they manage. But they may not always be equalled to the task. When that happens, we need to continue to fan our joy, guard our dignity and live our best life.