Harris’s comments about history apt

The Vice President of the United States of America, Ms Kamala Harris, and her entourage paid a historic visit to the Cape Coast Castle as part of her three-day state visit to Ghana.

When a tour guide took the group through a brief history of the pain and torture millions of African slaves were made to go through before being shipped through the slave castle to Europe and the Americas, media reports say Ms Harris became distraught as she relived the sufferings of the slaves.

Then she said the horror of what happened at the Cape Coast Castle must always be remembered.

Supporting that assertion, Ms Harris said the sufferings of the slaves had become history that must not be denied but must be taught and learned.(See our story on page 12).

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She added that it was a prerequisite for humanity to learn from history and asked that history must be taught with the understanding that it would not only be of the past alone but also of “our destiny and our future”.

Ms Harris has raised an important issue that must be given the needed attention.

Due to today’s circumstances, particularly in Africa, no young people would gladly choose to pursue history beyond junior high school because they do not see any prospects in that subject area.

No one can fault them but Ms Harris’s assertion brings to mind the need for every educated person to know at least the aspects of their national history that affects everyone of them.

For instance, in Ghana, the people should have a vivid knowledge of their specific ethnic group and important political events such as the struggle for independence, military take-overs, particularly the ideals of the June 4, 1979 and the December 31, 1981 coups and compare them to the happenings in the running Fourth Republic.

We can say that the leaders of this noble country have failed to be guided by history to plan for the needs and aspirations of the people.

In a country where naked corruption has caused coups d’etat, nobody ever thought public officials would dare indulge in corruption, but that evil appears to have been legitimisedby the so-called rule of law and human rights.

In a country where majority of the people are so poor that having a three-square meal is a miracle, why should the framers of its Fourth Republican constitution (the 1992 Constitution) introduce in it an article 71 that legitimises the payments of huge remunerations and ex-gratia to a few people, usually politicians who, compared with other citizens, render short services to the country.

Today, young people want to go into politics because it is the easiest channel through which they would have material and financial gains in no time and get worshipped by others.

Let our leaders do soul-searching and see if they deserve what they siphon from state coffers without remorse and at a time the country is in financial distress.

History is said to teach political intelligence; morals and values; how to build better citizenship; and clear warning signs given by the past.

Can the country’s leaders pass these tests?

For the importance of history in national development, we suggest that henceforth, every Ghanaian child who goes through formal education should, at least, study the country’s political history up to the tertiary level as a requirement and as well be encouraged to learn their own community history to guide their public life.

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