BY: Caroline Boateng

They speak volumes, but my father in his codicil banned them. Before he passed away, “they will all tell lies!,” was the reply he gave us when we pestered him about why he detested them so much.

Being a practical and wise person, he knew that at his death, people would take the opportunity to either overly proclaim his virtues or quietly gloss over any of his vices, being human.

Being aware of all his weaknesses and strengths, he detested any mortal taking it upon him or herself to rehash or emphasise what he had done while alive.

At his death, however, we had to disobey him. He was such a good person in every sense of the word that we, his children, could not think of a funeral without extolling him.

Tributes are most often the high points of funerals.

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When one does not know the person who is dead, with a healthy dose of scepticism to sift through the praises for the dead, one can come to a good appreciation of who the dead was while alive.

When one knows the person, one can easily tell if the tribute is genuine or has been exaggerated, particularly when one was closely related to the dead person and knew some of the goings-on of the family of the deceased.

Tributes present the last opportunity to right the wrongs between the living and the dead.

For family, it is the last emotional link to the dead, thus those close to the deceased ensure they pour their hearts out.

Typically to praise the dead, or even sometimes the living, some tributes have been given that question the dead for some steps taken prior to their last breath. They also question why the dead person did not divulge his or her last moments to a loved one (spouses particularly use this diatribe), they ask the dead how the living can proceed with their demise.

Tributes also express lost hopes and wishes...wishes of how we would have behaved differently if the person lived.

Some use it to suggest, cajole the dead, reprimand, harangue the living and the dead... as if the dead could hear and respond or react.

The former Vice-President’s wife, Mrs Amissah-Arthur, chose to defend the good name of her husband in her tribute to him last Saturday.

Her tribute resonated her loss, which was great!

But she took the opportunity to right some of the wrongs suffered by her late husband.

The brave and blunt lady that she is, she held a mirror to us all, for us to see our treachery, lies and hypocrisy.

While he lived, some were uncharitable, lying to make him look bad.

Now in death, they all trooped to the Accra International Conference Centre to mourn!

What could be more hypocritical than that?

In fact, Mr Kwesi Amissah-Arthur broke the record by the tributes he garnered from the same people who maligned him when he lived. He had a whole volume of tributes - a 135-page book!

I bet some of them were from people who denigrated him, looked down on him or thought of him as not a pure-bred politician when he lived!

And, indeed, who is a pure-bred politician? Those who are loud mouthed? Those who shout the loudest? Those who lie the greatest? Those who plunder the poor the most?

Mrs Amissah-Arthur’s tribute should make us all bow our heads in shame for our hypocrisy.

It should cause a change in our attitudes to be straight-talking people and not double-tongued!

Really, I really would not cherish a tribute in death, like my late father, if it was offered by the treacherous, liars and hypocrites!

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