The journalist vs the witches
GhanaWeb offers us a peek at some of the challenges facing a society struggling to leap into the 21st century - and they mght not be what you expect:
In a society mired in massive superstition, more so helped by its culture where belief in witchcraft, juju-marabou mediums, spiritualist of all brands and the interpretation of many events by unseen and omnipresent forces, the power of prophets and other spiritual mediums to influence the gullible and influence even state affairs is troubling. The other day a prophet said the Ghanaian presidency should have an Office of Prophecy to intervene in unsual affairs such the sharp increases in vehicular accidents. Another one said all Ghanaians will die if they don't repent and that the spate vehicular accidents occuring are the work of evil forces. For the spiritualists, and there are plenty of them and growing, there are gravity of evil, unseen forces pulling Ghanaians into dark orbits, hence the increases in vehicular accidents and other misfortunes Ghana-wide.The struggle to maintain traditional beliefs in the face of encroaching (hurtling?) modernity is probably going to be the defining struggle of the 21st century. It has certainly left its mark upon the first five years, and I can't imagine it going away any time soon - but this may simply be a lack of perspective on my part. What struck me in the article was how the writer sees applying journalistic integrity to the coverage of religion as being a necessary part of both preserving those traditional beliefs as well as helping his nation grow. This didn't strike me as a "Westernize or else" position; rather, he wants to preserve his country's rich spiritual traditions - without letting them undermine their society:
As the Ghanaian journalists work to open up the development process from within Ghanaian values first and other values second, they have not done so by analysing, with the help of the best thinking by the best scholars on every important religious, prophetic and other spiritual propositions grounded in journalistic objectivity and fairness. Like good enviromental/science/business writers, Ghanaian journalists who write about the prophets, religion, juju-marabou mediums and other spiritual activities should not only report the news but also should offer an assessment of what the experts know and don't know given the evidence at hand. Aware of a society deeply superstitious, this approach could enlighten the Ghanaian society and help Ghanaians think better, in part because of agreement or disagreement among theologians, philosophers, and other scholars on many religious, prophetic, juju-marabou and other spiritual activities. This, in the atmosphere that religion and other spirtual activities are subjective, personal and experiential; and contention among theologians and philosophers whether reason (or rationality) can reveal the truth about things prophetic, religious or spiritual, especially in Ghana's on-going development process.I personally found it to be a fascinating look at the internal struggles of a world which we in the West all-too-rarely see - or pay heed to, other than as a source for exotic imagery and color, or as a look-at-the-poor-Africans-starving-and/or-killing-each-other story.