Where is our culture of ‘each other’s keeper’?

BY: Mabel Faith Tannor

 Since the beginning of this year, the issue of kidnapping has remained one of the most talked about subjects in our media.

This follows the police’s inability to rescue the three young girls who were abducted by some kidnappers in Takoradi in the Western Region last year.

The incident has brought a lot of grief to the affected families while many concerned citizens have questioned the country’s emergency security response, particularly how police handle security issues.

From the various discussions I have heard so far, it appears that the perpetrators of these kidnapping acts are already in town, waiting for any opportunity to grab their next victim.

Our elders have a saying that when you see fire in someone’s beard, you don’t just look on, instead, you fetch water and dip yours into it. The import of this saying is that we must be interested in what takes place in our surroundings as well as taking our personal security into our own hands.

This is because our security agencies alone cannot give us the maximum security we desire, hence the need to be interested in our own security and that of our immediate surroundings. Knowing this, it is necessary we become responsible for those around us in order to help fight these kidnappers, who are gradually gaining notoriety in our communities and save our children from being kidnapped.

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In the past, children were not seen as belonging to an individual family but they were seen as belonging to the entire community. In those days, everyone had a responsibility in the upbringing of children in their communities. But the story has changed.

Unlike today, many people are minding their own business. Nobody seems to be interested in what affects others. Only a few people will take the bold step to correct a child who is going wayward on the streets. Many people fear that by carrying this communal responsibility might put one trouble, either from the child’s parents or from the law enforcement agencies.

Though we are developing and we have moved on from the era where we used to know everyone in our society, we cannot abandon our culture of collective responsibility in serving as each other’s keeper. Our very root as Ghanaians, and for that matter Africans, was built on the culture of togetherness.

The culture of ignoring those around us because they are not our relatives must be avoided. Kidnappers are dangerous people and must be fought collectively in order for us to win this act of violence against humanity.