Gold is one of the rarest metals on Planet Earth.
That’s because the process by which it is created is very uncommon in the Universe itself.
You have probably heard of a SUPERNOVA – a cosmic body that is created by the collision of two or more stars (such as our SUN) in the Universe. (There are said to be more stars like our SUN in the universe than there are sands on all the beaches in the world!)
Now, the amount of “energy” released by the creation of a supernova is so vast that its gravitational force attracts other bodies, which then fuse to become even greater bodies (in mass) called KILONOVAS. From these gargantuan bodies are formed those incredible fusions of forces that are called BLACK HOLES.
Nothing that falls into a Black Hole can ever escape. Physicists suspect that the laws of physics actually break down inside a black hole!
In any case, something called a “singularity” comes into play when black holes are discussed, and I am sorry but that is Nobel Prize for Science territory).
All I can grasp is that during the process in which stars like our SUN run out of fuel and die, to become supernovas and kilonovas, they eject from their exploding cores, debris made up of extraordinary elements whose power and density is almost beyond calculation. Can you imagine ha teaspoonful of an element that weighs 10m. tons? I told you this is creepy stuff, for where would anyone get a teaspoon strong enough to weight the stuff in the first place?
This debris catches clouds and dust in its orbit , that are themselves in the process of coalescing into “planets”.
Planet Earth suffered – some might say “enjoyed” – a “shower” of such debris during its formation (in orbit around our star, the SUN) billions of years ago. Among the elements contained in that “shower” was — GOLD!
The almost mystical attraction that gold holds over humankind is so elemental that one could probably call it
“cosmic” and not be guilty of tautology!
Perhaps the best illustration of the power of Gold’s ineluctable “pull” can be found in the story of King Midas.
This was a monarch who fell so much in love with gold that he asked for – and got – magical powers that enabled him to turn everything he touched into – gold.
King Midas, eventually, could get no food to eat because everything he touched DID literally turn into gold! So, the “RICHEST” man in the world died of STARVATION – an end usually reserved for the POOREST people!
We in Ghana, in particular, have to be mindful of this allegorical tale, for we have once placed ourselves in a position not too far removed from that of King Midas. We produced so much gold that FOREIGNERS heard of it and travelled thousands of miles by ship to come and “buy” it from us.
They got so much gold from us that they used hyperbole to describe our country as – THE GOLD COAST!
When they could no longer get gold in the quantities that would sate their “Midas-type appetite”, they turned on us and began to catch our people and use them as “merchandise” in lands that they had conquered elsewhere!
Worse, they enticed some of our rulers to collaborate with them in shipping abroad, the rulers’ “war captives”. For the humans thus exported, they paid the rulers with alcoholic drinks, beads, cloth, mirrors and other idiocies that the rulers regarded as useful acquisitions.
The idea of war as, primarily, a mechanism for self-defence, was corrupted into “war for gain”.
Largely unknown to our rulers (because there was little communication between peoples in those days) the unfortunate people who left our shores were forced – at gunpoint – to work on sugar-cane, tobacco and tea plantations in North America and the Caribbean, to make foreigners extremely wealthy indeed.
So rich and powerful did they become that when they stopped trading in slaves, they turned on us again, and transformed our sovereign country – and those of our neighbours – into their “colonies”; that is, slaves in their own countries!
They ruled us for over 100 years. Even when they finally gave us political independence (because they could no longer repress our struggle for freedom) they “inserted” our economies into a world “economic system” in which we would use our lands to produce for them, “raw materials” that we did not have the ability to turn into manufactured goods ourselves.
We grew cocoa. But we couldn’t process it into chocolates or cocoa beverage.
We produced gold (in a lesser quantity); manganese, bauxite and timber. But none was processed here to enable us benefit from a realistic price.
Our timber was carted away as logs without being turned into furniture, even though we had carpenters of excellent quality who could have been trained to use machines to make furniture to world standards, for export.
Alas, we are now back to square one: gold is again, making – sebe o, tafracher – unthinking animals of our people! It’s as if a curse had been thrown to hang around our necks – from the COSMOS itself!
For who would have thought that educated Ghanaians would be so stupid as to work with foreigners to turn our riverbeds upside down – in search of gold?
With all their education, they cannot see that chemicals like arsenic and mercury, used to turn sand into gold dust or nuggets, on chanfan machines stationed on our river systems, will bring cancer and other diseases to our people?
Chiefs who should be protecting rivers streams and water-bodies inherited from their ancestors long ago, pretend that they cannot see galamsey in operation on their lands. Because they too get some “tribute”money out of the galamseyers.
Even those who don’t take money from the galamseyers are afraid to organise their inherited “ASAFO” groups into strong self-defence bodies who can kick out the galamseyers from their land. Because the chiefs are afraid that the ASAFO groups, once reinvigorated, may turn on bad chiefs and destool them! But if you are a good chief, why should you fear your own “ASAFO”? Your own inherited self-defence army?
Politicians who should be mobilising their followers to stop the destruction of the nation they aspire to rule, are throwing insults at one another, instead.
No questions are being asked in Parliament about galamsey.
No Private Members’ Motions.
No parliamentary committee enquiries (though MPs can spend hours questioning, in minute detail, the audit reports of local assemblies whose budgets are negligible.)
Soldiers ad policemen sent to enforce the law against galamseyers, are taking money from them and allowing them to go free.
Magistrates and judges before whom galamseyers are brought are taking money from them and allowing them to escape justice. Few galamseyers are being prosecuted, in any case!
Excavators seized from galamseyers have become an albatross around the necks of the very people who ordered their seizure! Accusations are flying endlessly – about where they are; whether they have been sold; and if so, to whom, by whom!
Surely, the gods must be laughing, as they watch us strangle our nation with the cosmic “gift” of – GOLD?