In the midst of the hullabaloo concerning the tribalistic comment, apology and resignation of a Ghanaian deputy minister, I think it’s time a shared a little part of me with y’all. This is a true story. It’s not a big story but it is my story. I hope you get to read this letter.
After seeing you yesterday, I have been reminiscing about what could have really become of us. I know it’s an open secret that we liked each other but for some reason, we never even befriended each other. I know, we’re two weirdos who have known each other for more than eighteen years, with only a wall separating us. Why weren’t we ever friends? I always wanted to play with you and discuss books. I wish we had become at least friends through our letters after Junior High. I heard the stories of how impressed you were at how I handled the guys in the hood. I just wished we had been bold enough to talk to each other. Instead we hid behind pieces of papers and resorted to using little kids as mail posters. It saddens me that I never got to know you. The real you. The brilliant person behind that shy sober face. Your love for art entices me. You’re so handsome it’s a sin to look at your face. Why did we stop sending each other letters? We should have continued through to Senior High.
Here’s my truth: I liked you and I was scared of liking you even more so I kept my distance. However, I was hoping you’d say what was in my heart. But never did, so I took that to mean we were not meant to be. Anyway, all eyes were on us – mothers keenly watching us to see the drama that would unfold between us eventually. I didn’t want to be the center of such ridicule and so, I pretended you didn’t exist. But who am I kidding? There were more pressing issues which I’m even ashamed to admit but I know those were also your reasons for staying away.
Honestly, I was afraid that I would like you more than I could contain. I knew what issues liking you could bring. I knew then and I still know that our families could be at loggerheads for that.
For some reason, I feel like a hypocrite. I’m so big on equality gibberish and yet, I didn’t befriend you because of your religion. We both didn’t. I don’t know what that makes me. I keep criticizing people for being biased towards some ethnic groups more than others, but am I any different? What differentiates me from the girl who turns down a guy’s proposal because he’s an Ewe and she’s an Ashanti, and that’s totally unheard of?
Seeing you again, forced me to look back at all the moments we could have become friends but didn’t. I feel so ashamed of myself. Ashamed that until a few days ago, I had no idea that I was this ethnocentric person, or used to be, to say the least. I’ve made a mental note to myself to avoid passing judgement on people based on their religion, ethnicity/tribe or country of origin. I pledge to try as much as possible to form my sentiments or perceptions based on their character rather than where they come from. I pledge to not make the rumors about a group of people affect how I treat them, especially in a despicable way. I pledge to treat all people, male and female, Christian and non-Christian equally. I do realize that sometimes it may be unconscious, but I will try my very best to treat all people alike.
I’m sorry that we never became friends.
Your neighbor, A.
Asiedua Yeboah ©2017