Weblog van Lutek Dabrowski. Medio 2007 in gebruik genomen, toen als voornaamste reden verslag te doen van de reis door Ghana met Arnon Grunberg en Timme Sjoerd Hos. Na thuiskomst besloten door te gaan met stukjes schrijven. Reacties zijn welkom.


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« Gold Dust | Home | Saturday »

Ding-Dong Politics

26 06 07 - 22:38 Did we learn a lot yesterday? Hell we did. But that is nothing compared to what we learned today. We learned politicians act like politicians a lot. In fact some of them make it a full-time job.

Ghanaian beaurocracy takes on forms you haven’t seen before. Which is a good thing: It gives you a clear view of the blurred picture of Ghanaian transparency in politics. That makes sense, doesn’t it? It does here.
(In other words I would say, as we almost did to the Technical Director of Mines – the man just under the Minister of Mines – “Your attitude has just answered most of our questions.”)
My suggestion also was to ask him for a list of questions we were not allowed to ask. Just to make things clear. (you know, in regards to getting the Truth and everything)

"let's go to work"

We spoke to many people in charge today, and the least you can say it was very refreshing.
The leader of the opposition party gave us a lecture on the recent history of Ghana. In answering one (just one ! ) question of Arnon, he talked for two straight hours. Now we know everything of the history of Ghana. He was extremely nice and very open about things. ( I think I mentioned before, though, that it’s best for socialists parties to be in the opposition. Always )
Two weeks ago when I showed my boss in Rotterdam the programme for this week, he was raising his eyebrows, and said: ‘this doesn’t look like a holiday at all!’
Today I had to think of this remark more than a few times.

The Minister of Mines addressed the troops for a minute and made it clear it is a ridiculous notion thinking we could talk to him. While saying this, he was holding a copy of the letter of confirmation we had received last month, entitling us to have an interview with him.
The confusion escalated when his aide-de-camp kept on telling us he wanted us to know the Truth and not tell Lies. We said we were after the truth, but he dismissed the remark. Several times.

Things got really confusing when the earliest appointment made – two months ago – the one with the Armed Forces, did not come through. I believe the problem was we applied for an interview too late. (They found that out half an hour prior to our arrival)

We decided then we had time still to go the press centre in downtown Accra, a beacon of free speech if there ever was one. We were cordially greeted by both the General Secretary slash Director of the Ghana Int. Press Centre, and the Vice President of the Ghana Journalists Association slash Chief Editor of Ghana Broadcast Corporation. Very cordially. A bit too cordially to my taste really, but that’s only my idea. The two men were called Mr. Bright and Mr. Money, which leaves me without comment, a rare occasion I know.
Mr. Bright was answering most of our questions, with Mr. Money coming in as a kind of ventriloquist’s doll, repeating every four last words of every second sentence Mr. Bright was saying. A bit like the Muppet Show, or the two plumbers in the movie ‘Brazil’. It was very funny. We didn’t learn anything here of course, only that some people are better than others in not telling what they don't want to tell us. This man was really good!
On the whole the day was very entertaining, to say the least.

We sat down outside for a drink and evaluated the day. We agreed unanimously this day alone already made our stay worthwhile. Furthermore we agreed – due to Timme’s and my behaviour at the bar – we were no longer Arnon’s assistants, we were his pigs, his swine. Arnon vowed to introduce us as his pigs the rest of the stay. Timme and I are happy with that.
Now we don’t have to pretend otherwise anymore.

Let’s see, apart from being a very eager journalist today – I think I even amazed Arnon – I turned out to be a fairly cheap prostitute, selling myself for only 10 euros. It is not the money naturally, it is the fact that I had no reservations.
It was a test, no doubt, for future occasions. If I do this for 10 euros, I might do other things for 20 or 30 euros. No, I won’t disclose exactly what the bribes were for. Use your imagination. It’s there for a reason.

You’ll notice I made rather a mess of the wonderful occasion today to write something that would really be dealing with topics that touch the heart. You imagine me jumping on the table and demanding justice, and being dragged out by security. I’d be in prison before I’d be in the newspaper, so I opted not to.
I smiled and was polite, and thought about today and thought about tomorrow, and then I opened a beer and smoked a cigarette.
I thought about Charles Bukowski today, and for the life of me I have no idea why. The idea alone makes me thirsty needless to say – it always does.
Let’s leave you with a few photographs that really need no explanation at all.

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