Tuesday, May 23, 2023

The Lobby

It's one thing to avert the eye and go for benign neglect
It's another when the chairman of the board is affected
I recall that when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait
A furious response was simply not up for debate

With Kuwaiti elites, whether oligarchs or royal family, over a barrel
These major stockholders, the world over, were in mortal peril
Forget matters of sovereignty, it didn't need to be said
That it wouldn't be good for business, let alone US interests

Even today, western media, who would not normally exercise restraint about strangers
Suddenly become coy and sensitive about their coverage, and hew to their better angels
As India became a new epicenter, they initially started showing makeshift crematoriums
And the telegenic, albeit burning, funeral pyres; the utter collapse and dysfunction

But the tone quickly changed, even as things were getting worse
The reality is that Indians hold the power of the purse
It really comes down, in these things, to who pays the piper
Who has the loudest voice when it comes to the diaspora

For when, say, Google's CEO's close and extended family is affected,
You'd best believe there'll be outrage, and an almighty scramble
Suddenly those who would never otherwise spare a thought
Are seen to be urging solidarity for this catastrophe

And so I've been thinking about the power of the lobby
I wonder who, in extremis, would ever be coming for me
I have long studied the successful ones even if I disapprove of their sleaze
The Israeli, the Saudi and those others; smooth operators, well versed at advocacy

For when my countrymen were stranded in Libya, Lebanon, or what have you
Or even those unfortunate souls who were being trained by Nicolae Ceaușescu
When calamity struck, the lesson they quickly learned was rather sobering
Namely that not a scintilla of help was on the way, no one was coming

In the past, to hold a Ghana passport was to be a down-on-your-luck kind of person
Radioactive really, the kind of thing that attracts the worst sort of attention
The immigration agent would break out a broad smile as you made your arrival
Your ovaries or gonads, foreseeing their inspection, would start to shrivel

We always wished for a different passport, Liechtenstein, or, say, Luxembourg
Let's be frank here, of a Luxembourgian held for hostage, I have never heard
But it stands to reason, there is something quite apt, even if it's inequitable
To read a headline: "White contractors airlifted to safety before local Black people"

There is a great sorting hat at work, perhaps the gods have always played favorites
But it is rather tiresome for those of us who have to content ourselves with miseries
"The fellow with the fufu usually moves over to the man with the soup,
Never the other way around", goes that saying, and well known Nigerian truth

And so as I write my own stories, I realize that I too need a posse
That I need to build bridges, and help those on the lower rungs than me
In this liminal life in the glue layer, making connections is what matters
The head nod of appreciation, building up the lobby for my fellow travelers

ghana must go mission

The Loud Minority, a playlist

A soundtrack for this note, meditating on a lobby (spotify version)

Timing is everything
Observers are worried

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Writing log: May 14, 2021

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