DAY 30 The Only Way is Ethics

February 28th, 2013 § 2 comments § permalink

To pursue the theme: why be good anyway, and what about the after-life?


Weighing the soul, Egyptian book of the dead

It has become increasingly clear to me – and I’m surprised the various monotheistic religions haven’t caught on earlier –  that if you’re only being good because you want to avoid an eternity of torment, then you aren’t really being good at all. (Kant, Don Giovanni and de Sade, those near contemporaries, had some such idea – see Alenka Zupancic’s Ethics of the Real. Have I been waiting for a chance to reference that!) So, much as one would like to think of Rasputin, Ratzinger, Tony Blair, Mark Regev, Dick Cheney, Ant, Dec et al. burning forever, it’s intellectually incoherent, and we’ll have to think of something else. At best, the after-life, in these liberal times, will have to be some sort of probation; where human rights violators are made to run community projects for disadvantaged youth and write 2500-word assessments (with Harvard-style bibliography) of how successful they were. Oh, and they could be forced to sign up for group therapy. The Mikado‘s ideas on punishment were more picturesque…


The feeble grasp on economics which my poor brain held was finally dealt a death-blow by the announcement that the Bank is considering introducing negative interest rates. I hope you are as confused as I am about how these would work. If I deposit £100 in the bank, will it have become £99 a year later? and in that case, what’s the point of banks at all, I might as well go back to keeping it under a mattress. Michael, in Mary Poppins, was pretty sceptical of what banks would do with his tuppence – but this sounds much worse.

To consider other possibilities – would the bank pay me for running an overdraft? Will the total on my credit card steadily diminish, and finally vanish? I’d welcome the advice of a financial advisor before I make a bigger fool of myself than I am.

To move on to an attempted paradigm shift: I was spellbound watching a programme about the difficulties of finding things smaller than the Planck length (you know, like, well small as in 1.616199(97)×10-35 m.), which of course would help us enormously in understanding string theory. This being too hard and really expensive, the presenter suggested that the best answer was to be found by looking at things unimaginably huge and far away, so that we’d be looking at them as they were zillions of years ago, indeed they may have totally disappeared by now. Whatever ‘now’ is. Clear so far?

It occurred to me that the simplest thing, which you or I can do, lies in between these extremes: to look for singularities in space-time at the medium level, like in the kitchen or bathroom. It’s here that I’d suggest that mini-events which we’ve all experienced lead to the unexplained disappearance of socks, earrings, hairpins, bits of jigsaw, purloined letters, naval treaties and so on – absorbed by black holes whose diameter is somewhere between 1 and 10 cm. This kind of research won’t ask the taxpayer to shell out the GDP of, say, Qatar to finance it – indeed, being carried out by citizens in their own homes it could become truly democratic as in the early days of Maoism (remember?) I’m too old to hope for a Nobel Prize for this kind of work now, but I’d be willing to supervise a Ph.D. student.

With Ghana independence day (6th March) coming up I had better get a Ghanaian poem in; this, in Twi (of course with translation) is the best I could do at short notice:


My people

Monim berε a yεwɔ mu yi?

Do you know what time WE are in now?

Ɛyε kaeberε

It is time to remember


To remember

Kae Nkwa

To remember life

My people

Yεada akyε

WE’ve rested so long in sleep

Berε tenteenten ara

Far too long

Ma yεnsɔre

Let US arise

Yεnsɔre nkae

Let US arise and remember

Kae Nkwa

Remember life

Banyansafoɔ ne Nkwaseafoɔ

Wise people and Fools

Nsoromma afεfε ne Ahoɔden mu Awia-Awia

Beautyful Stars and Powerful Suns

Abibiman Mpanimfoɔ ne mmɔfra

Children and Elders of Afrika


Remember<o:p< o<=”” i=””>

Yεtumi kae mmerε ansa na

Can WE remember the time before

aborɔfoɔ duruu Abibiman mu?

The arrival of albinos/europeans to Afrika?

Ansa na yεasensam wiase nyinaa soɔ

The time before WE were dispersed all over this earth

Ansa na sonkahyirebɔ ne nkoasom

Before slavery

Ansa na nhyεsoɔ mu atubra

Before colonialism

Ansa na apoobɔ

Before exploitation

Ansa na Abibiman korona fitii mogyahwieguo aseε

Before the heart of Afrika began bleeding<o:p< o<=”” i=””>

Hwan na ɔfaa ayayadeε yi nyinaa baeε?

Who caused all of this suffering?


WE know


WE know

Na yεkae

And remember

Yεn werε amfiri

WE did not forget

Onua…kae, na da wo ho soɔ

Remember and be prepared

Hwan na ɔmfa nokorε mmu adwe?

Who ignores the truth?

Hwan na ɔmfa abakɔsεm mmu adwe?

Who ignores the history?

Hwan na ne werε bεtumi afiri yεn ya(w)

Who can forget Our suffering?

Wɔ nkoasom mu

In slavery

Wɔ nhyεsoɔ mu, wɔ apoobɔ mu

In exploitation of colonialism

Eyi nkamfua(w)


Yεkyee adeε

WE survived

Yεkyee adeε

WE survived



Yεde yεn tamfoɔ bεba atεmmufoɔ bi anim

Our enemy will be brought before justice

Ɔntumi nhinta ne ho afiri yεn Nananom ani

He cannot hide from the eyes of the Ancestors



Kae na gyina

Remember and stand

Anomaa wɔ ntakra, n’anomaa na ɔde gyaa no no

Birds have feathers because they were passed down to them by other birds





Sankɔkwan no wɔ he nie?

Where is the returning path (to Our Way)? 

Bu wo nkɔmpɔ hwε w’akyi agya, na te nkaeε ho tumi a ani gyangyan ntumi nhunu

Look back and feel the unseen power of remembrance

Ɛfiri sε, yεn Nananom ne yεn gyina

Because Our Ancestors are with US

Wɔɔnom yε yεn ahoɔden

They are Our strength

Yεn Nananom si nketekrakye yε adwuma denneennen ma yεn

Our Ancestors work very hard on Our behalf

Yεn nso, εwɔ sε yεmia yεn ani de nsi ne anem yε adwuma

WE also, WE must work very hard

Aboa yεn mma na asakra asaase so asetena

To help Our children and change life on earth

Nkwa yε apɔ(w)bɔ ne apɔ(w)saneε

Life is tying and untying

Mmom, monkae

But you must remember

Fa ahopakyi hwε akyiri

Look back

Na kae

And remember
Yεwɔ nkwantanan bi so

WE are at a crossroads

Wɔ Nkwa ne owuo ntam(u)

Between life and death

Hwan na ɔbεkyerε yεn kwan no

Who will show US the way?

Hwan na ɔbεbue kwan no

Who will open the path?

Yεn ara

It is 

Bεyεn w’adwene

Train your mind

Bεyεn wo tumi

Train your mind

Nkaeε ne ayaresa ntira

To remember and to heal

Nkaeε ne aweretɔ ntira

To remember and to destroy



Wɔ “so deε εso wo mu no mu” so

To hold onto that which holds you up

Mfa mma obi adɔesatorɔ mu

Do not give it away

Kentene wo ho

Rise up (spiritually)

To dwom foforɔ bi

Sing a new song

Kae yεn amammerε

Remember Our traditions


Let’s Return

Yεn amanneε hɔ

To Our institutions

Yεn nhyehyεe ne ayεsu hɔ

To Our systems/nature/order



Nsakrae ntira

For Change



Treneesεm ntira

For Justice



Adεnnεn ntira

For Balance



Nkwa ntira

For Life



Nkabom mu




by Kwadwo Nkita-Mayala as translated into Twi by Obadele Kwame Kambon

And here, as you would expect, is Lord Kitchener’s 1957 anthem ‘Birth of Ghana’.


DAY 29

February 26th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

With the news that Samer Issawi has been sentenced to an additional month (and perhaps more) while continuing his



Bobby Sands                                                                                  Samer Issawi » Read the rest of this entry «

DAY 28

February 18th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

Hats off to Vivienne Westwood


for pointing out that  Duchess Kate “Let them eat horse” Cambridge is not going to the launderette often enough, preferring » Read the rest of this entry «

DAY 27

February 13th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

It seems appropriate that the wicked pope Ratzinger should announce his resignation on Mardi Gras. Will it be a carnival for the liberationists whom he has persecuted? It’s tempting to speculate on the release of subversive energies…



» Read the rest of this entry «

DAY 26

February 3rd, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

The users of the British Library’s reading rooms aren’t everyone’s idea of an oppressed group; one would naturally think of them as escapist petty-bourgeois intellectuals, » Read the rest of this entry «

DAY 25 From Pole to Pole

February 1st, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

My latest revelation, halfway through Spielberg’s 2 1/2 hour blockbuster on and around the bumpy passage of the 13th Amendment, was Lincoln’s point about Euclid’s belief in equality as self-evident (First Common Notion). » Read the rest of this entry «

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