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Update: Gandhi’s Statue at the University of Ghana Will Come Down

Critical Investigations into Humanitarianism in Africa (CIHA)

October 21, 2016

balme_libraryRecently we posted a petition calling for the removal of the Gandhi statue at the University of Ghana on the Blog. In this historic effort, the online petition started by a group of professors and students at the University has received nearly 2,000 signatures as well as a great deal of coverage in local and international news sources. The news articles shed light on the short history of the statue that was presented to the people of Ghana by Indian President Pranab Mukherjee in June 2016.  Following the creation of the petition to remove the statue, the campaign quickly “gathered steam.” The critical dialogue surrounding the erection of the statue has focused not only on Gandhi’s racist identity, but also on the implications of the image of Gandhi in this space and what it means for students, professors, and the nation. In an article titled, “The Venal Illusion of Independence: Ghana vs. Gandhi,” Akosua Abeka states, “How can a public university adopt a foreign hero for its campus? How can our tax payer’s money be used in feeding a diet of a Gandhi monomania to our own children?” Abeka outlines the dangerous influence of the statue on the Ghanaian’s collective consciousness and the reality of cultural hegemony.

On October 6, 2016, Time reported, “Ghana Will Remove ‘Racist’ Gandhi Statue From Its Oldest University.” Abigail Abrams of Time noted that, taking into consideration the petition and protests, Ghana’s government has decided to relocate the statue. In an article titled, “Removing Gandhi statue from UG good news – Group,” Dr Akosua Adomako Ampofo was quoted as stating, “I am happy the statue will leave the University of Ghana campus. I am curious to know where it will be relocated to and if necessary we’ll ask further questions.” While the future location of the statue remains unknown, and the University Council to whom the original petition was submitted is yet to meet and respond, what does appear apparent is that through advocacy, petitioners and protestors have succeeded in in creating a dialogue about the importance of symbolism and dignity. 

Check here for further information:

BR Ambedkar, “What Congress and Gandhi have done to the Untouchables” (1945);
GB Singh, “Gandhi: Behind the Mask of Divinity” (2004); “Gandhi under cross examination” (2009);
Booker prize-winning author Arundhati Roy “With the Doctor and The Saint” (2014);
Ashwin Desai and Goolam Vahed “The South African Gandhi—Stretcher bearer of Empire” (2015).

Revival or Survival

A Culture of Imbeciles

 

The three waves of 19th Century evangelical religious revivals in the US, known as the Great Awakening, are characterized by fervent enthusiasm. Designed by promoters to engage recruits on an emotional rather than intellectual level, these ecstatic gatherings resemble the recent wave of environmental enthusiasm associated with climate change.

While early waves of environmentalism responded to the petrochemical and nuclear crises noted by advocates like Rachel Carson and Helen Caldicott, later waves addressed systematic crises posed by militarism and consumerism. In the 21st Century, advocates like Arundhati Roy and Winona LaDuke invoked the environmental crises of human relationships, between indigenous nations and modern states under globalization.

Most recently, false prophets of the non-profit industrial complex, like Naomi Klein, hijacked environmental sentiments toward the crisis of fossil-fueled climate change, using funding from petroleum pooh bahs and oil train tycoons. Having misdirected the latest wave of environmental enthusiasm, these false prophets force a choice between revival or survival.

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