Cremation-Diamonds, Soon Real In Ghana?
One evening, as we sat in the garden of a friend to celebrate someone’s 70th Birthday, the conversation switched across to the scarcity of land for every aspect of life. Ghana does not possess relentless tracts of land, as might be portrayed by officialdom or land prospectors. What do we mean when we say, “every aspect of life?” If you are not controversial, just stick to matters like farming, urbanisation, road and railway construction, airport construction, a couple more of which are going to be needed in Ghana, willy-nilly. Talking of the need of anything willy-nilly, could we forget about burial grounds and cemeteries? I was surprised that the gathering was in the garden of someone who had just celebrated his birthday, and one would have thought, “We had better talk about anything except the final farewell.” Not even the celebrant was perturbed. It implied the subject was of concern to all of us, and you could call most of us intellectuals. In many communities of the Republic of Ghana, “seventy-year- old areas” our ancestors used to farm on are now townships or cemeteries. If you would recall the statistics, you would find “in 1960, we Ghanaians occupied a quarter of the land areas we occupy today.” Instead of six million souls then, we are a whopping 25 million as you read this script in AD 2012. So, we don’t possess land unlimited, and that should be a fact. Worldwide wars have been fought over land, and war still goes on. Where land is being contended most is between Israel and Palestine. Fifty years ago, the world population stood at 3.4 billion human beings. In some parts of the world, cremation has been a method adopted to check on usage of land. If you were born into a culture where cremation was the “way of parting” with loved ones, you wouldn’t catch that “eerie feeling” that left nobody untouched, as one Saturday afternoon at the “Osu Cemetery” in Accra, Ghana. I had joined friends and loved ones to bid a 56-year-old loved one eternal farewell. Just fifty metres away from our own affair at the cemetery was the cremation ceremony of another, using “firewood” to bid farewell to a man who had just spent his eightieth birthday, two weeks prior to the ceremony we all gathered to watch, “of natural causes.” The shooting-off into the skies of “fireballs” was both scary and off-putting. But, “high-tech” cremation is soon expected to be available in Ghana too. It requires a special aggregate, which does the job of cremation in a manner which would fascinate even those without the slightest “sense of fun.” If the price would not be inflated like many things in our Republic, the procedure, in terms of cost, would be in the equivalent of US $75. The preparation for it should add scores of US$ to it. But, those talking briskly about it give the impression the procedure stands a very good chance of picking up in Ghana. In terms of basic science, the human body contains a high percentage of water (over 87%), and the rest is composed of elements such as Phosphorus, Nitrogen, Sulfur, and Carbon, the symbol of which in elementary science is the letter C. Diamonds are said to be a woman’s best friend, and they are forever in a “James Bond series”. They would stay better so, when they would emerge as residue of the woman’s spouse, or loved ones. The science and technology of scientific cremation could create diamonds to carat, color, and cut to shape and design to one’s wish, not talking of TASTE. The debate has been on in the West. In Ghana, it is likely to “swing on” in this direction. Won’t most people like to inherit the luxury mansion left behind in a will by a grand-daddy or grandma? How about one left behind by the sugar-daddy, whose wedding to the flashy young lady had been the subject of gossip for almost a decade-and-a-half? Digging into the earth’s core for diamonds is a contributing element to the earth’s degradation. “Diamonds from cremation” is both new and stimulating. How much would they cost to create? If anybody doubted the world is drifting to materialism at an unprecedented pace and extent, he or she is far from real. Electioneering in third world countries has reached unimaginable proportions, because, getting a political position may bring the young man (scarcely a woman) directly into wealth untold, without the risk of having to access a bank loan, for which collaterals may be asked, which may not be available. Turning cherished carcasses into diamonds through cremation may require less capital investment than acquiring land and machinery to look for diamonds, which might not exist. How long would such diamonds so created last? Do we know? On some comparison, the seventy-five-years-old grave was accidentally dug into to discover that a mat made out of some plastic material was among the items that had survived almost intact. But, would Diamonds for rental be attractive? Why not? One would imagine, no less attractive than bridal gowns for rental would be. Re-orientation in this direction should be seeing such a twist as a type of recycling. Does anybody know how much reserve of “natural diamonds” still remain buried in South Africa or Sierra Leone? Cremation-Diamonds would serve as a recycling mechanism. I tried to discuss the idea of cremation-diamonds with some intellectuals and businessmen over a “weekend jamboree” in our Republic, and it was fascinating. One person held the opinion of trading with parts (not parts, but ashes) of a “parted loved one” as just a dastardly twist of thinking. It became easy to drill the intellectual’s mind to agree that it shouldn’t be any more dastardly so doing than selling an inherited piece of land to raise money for a project which had a better future. In other words, one would have included an element of a gangster’s viewpoint. It is said that Napoleon II had to sell the state of LOUISIANA to the Government of the USA to raise money for a campaign he badly needed going in Europe. Is France worse off as a nation today, because of that? Endlessly debatable. But, all said and done, the issue of Cremation-Diamonds, a project which is on-going in the USA and other advanced countries, ought to be debated in more circles to extract what may be useful, rather than cling to anything steered into one direction, with the usual emotions that it may or may not be African. Aren’t African women today wearing hair-aggregates extracted from Chinese nationals? Is there anything wrong with that? An organ may be explanted from a Caucasian and implanted into an African, and would work for a long time. The very first successful human heart-transplant was from a black South African into a white South African, and it made history. Many a time, “money changes hands too.”
Kofi Dankyi Beeko, MD. E-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org
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