Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine

Ghana, Marxism and Lies

Baffour Ankomah

Mr. Baffour Ankomah, editor of the Pioneer of Kumasi, Ghana, currently on an EEC-sponsored "Journalists in Europe" programme sent us this report of his impressions of the Marxist German Democratic Republic against the backdrop of Ghana's revolution.
President Reagan calls it an evil empire. An American religionist once described it as satanic. But if you saw communism or socialism (or Marxism as we know it back home in Africa) in the face, as I saw it in late November in East Berlin, you would realise that communism was not only evil or satanic, it was also a disease a disease that infects one of your most important rights as a human being: freedom.

I am not a western propagandist, first and foremost. Having lived in western Europe for six months as a black, I have seen enough of the evils of the western empire that shames the system. I wouldn't say the western system is perfect.

I have never lived in any of Moscow's eastern colonies. But I have read volumes of their propaganda - of how their system is the best in the world. Back home in Ghana, I know many people who sermon- ise beautifully on the virtues of Marxism, a system they say will solve all our problems, Ghana and Africa.

But if what I saw in East Berlin on November 30 and in East Germany proper on December 2 was what Marxism could give a people, then I would prefer to live under the evils of the western system to the liberation of the east.

I spent a whole day in East Berlin and six long hours travelling by train down the rural districts of East Germany (from Berlin to the border town of Gerstugen) and I saw misery in its raw form. Misery not of hunger or deprivation as we know it in Ghana or Africa, misery not of beggars in the streets or unemployed youths turning into punks (since they say they have no unemployment), but misery of a caged people - human beings turned into zoological animals, misery of people in small, old, ugly cars. Misery of the east; misery of living in what could safely be described as a police state.

And I shook my head. "Are these the people who bring to us in Africa, in Ghana, white doves of liberation?" I asked myself. "Is this the liberation they say would solve all our problems - no class society yet a police state?" I shook my head on the streets of East Berlin; I shook my head on the train taking me through East Germany, and nearly exclaimed: "then they will have to slit the throats of all of us, freedom-loving people of Ghana, to impose this liberation on us - for sure."

Oh, the Marxists of Ghana, if they ever saw the real face of what they drum about! They would surely be the first to throw their Marxist propaganda books into the fire, I know.

In the last few years in Ghana, we have seen so-called hard-core Marxists who mounted government platforms to pound home the qualities of Marxism and who shouted insults on the western capitalist system. But they, when a chance came to them to flee Ghana, did not go to Moscow or East Berlin (No. 2 capital of Marxism), but fled to London. And had big weddings!

What did I see in East Berlin on November 30? Join me then on a trip to the city using the old Berlin subway. Two stations have been shut down in the eastern sector; it is now the office of police dogs and heavily armed policemen. The third subway station is the checkpoint which the easterners consider as a frontier. And this frontier is over- populated by a pack of policemen. Out of nowhere, fear rushes into you - thanks to the oppressive presence of the police.

Lengthy queues of West Berliners and western tourists have formed, all waiting to go through the ritual of entry for- malities. And the police pore over your passport inside and out, suspicious, before you are cleared.

You pay five West German marks as entry fee. And then you are compelled to change another 25 West German marks for 25 East German marks which you are to spend in East Berlin at all cost - whether you like it or not.

The centre of East Berlin is beautiful. It is decorated with enough beautiful buildings to impress western tourists. But if you pick one of the intra-city trains to the suburbs, you will see what eastern liberation has done to East Berlin.

I asked a Spanish journalist his impres- sion about East Berlin a day after. "Sad faces in sad cars on sad empty streets," he said.

No description is apt. During the one day I spent in East Berlin, I saw just one smile and it came from a waitress in a restaurant. Beautiful girls dressed daintily usher in tourists to the East Berlin TV tower, but they don't smile - maybe 40 years of sadness have stolen from them that human quality. It is amazing!

The only people on the streets who looked prettily happy were policemen. I saw a good amount of warmth about them - because they are part of the oppressive class, who are suppressing and shooting East Germans wanting to liberate them- selves from the shackles of Marxist lies.

What perhaps will amuse you is the sentimental attachment the eastern authorities have for the Berlin Wall, a monstrous construction that has caged up millions of human beings like animals in a zoo.

Their side of the Wall in East Berlin is painted white, clean and beautiful. And God be with you if you draw pictures on it as happens in West Berlin. There are police guards with dogs and rifles ready to shoot anybody who attempts jumping over the Wall to freedom. There is a first line of wire fence, after which are land- mines and watchtowers in which guards sit all day, all night, to keep East Berliners from fleeing to the West.

Since 1961 when the Wall was built, more fleeing East Berliners have been shot and killed. At the Wall near the State House in West Berlin, there are wooden crosses commemorating those killed fleeing. You will read: "Ingo Kruger killed 10-12-61. Axel Hanneman killed 5-6-62. Klaus Schroter killed 4-11-63. Unknown killed 16-4-63. Hainz Soko- lowski killed 25-11-65. Unknown killed 24-4-73. Marinette Jirakowski (18 yrs) killed 22-11-80. Unknown killed 30-11-84....

The only people on the streets who looked prettily happy were policemen. I saw a good amount of warmth about them- because they are part of the oppressive class, who are suppressing and shooting East Germans wanting to liberate themselves from the shackles of Marxist lies

As late as November 1984 - men, women and teenagers who couldn't live any longer with the lies of eastern liberation were shot and killed!

Indeed, if you want to compare the quality of life in West Berlin and in West Germany to the life across the Wall, you simply find no comparisons rolling prosperity versus disgusting decadence!

Some explain it away by pointing to the US Marshall Plan that helped West Germany's reconstruction efforts after World War II. But what stops Moscow from helping East Germany with a Lenin Plan of its own? And they say the USSR is a young country, only 1917, without much money. If 40 years after the War they cannot still help their number-two- country to lift itself from the slums, what right do they have to export the same lib- eration to us in Africa, to us in Ghana?

Marxists the world over have a beauti- ful theory: there is no freedom for man than his right to employment, right to a roof over his head, right to food and clothing that is human rights. Yes, indeed. These are essential rights of man. Undisputable!

But if you cage a bird in your home, you give it food, shelter and clothing and employment, if possible, what rights have you given the bird when it cannot fly to wherever it wants- either to Moscow or Washington, a God-given right of mobility. And the bird cannot even express itself, to live like a bird. And human beings are worth more than birds.

Sadly, nowhere in Moscow's newfound-lands, not even in Moscow itself, do people have this right of a bird. They allow you to move around only in the colonies. And they have liberated you. In East Berlin, you can only travel to West Berlin when you are on retirement when your years are gone.

But let's ask ourselves: who will ever flee from Heaven to Hell? Satan, the devil himself, king of Hell, I am sure if he is ever invited to pay just a day's visit to Heaven, would never decide to return to his enclave in the east where nothing moves without him. If Marxist liberation is full of all the glories they talk about, why did 3.5 million East Germans flee before the Wall came into being, after living under liberation for 12 years (1949-1961), and why do more still want to flee even after 40 years of liberation? This is the liberation for you Ghana, for you Africa.

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