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Man’s Inhumanity: Hole in The Head

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 20, 2015 by Marian Toure

Today, we remember Vertus Wellborn Hardiman (March 9, 1922 – June 1, 2007), who was a victim of a US government human radiation experiment at the age of 5 that left him with a painful skull deformity that forced him to cover his head for 80 years.

Vertus Welborn Hardiman (March 9, 1922 - June 1, 2007)

Vertus Welborn Hardiman (March 9, 1922 – June 1, 2007)

Hardiman was born in Lyles Station, Indiana. Lyles Station began in 1927, is known as one of the earliest Black settlements in the United States, and the Hardiman family was among the first to migrate to the area. In 1928, Vertus attended the local elementary school, Lyles Consolidated School. The parents of 10 children at school were approached by county hospital officials. The parents were told that there was a new treatment for dermatophytosis, a fungal infection commonly known as “ringworm.” What the parents didn’t know was that the children were actually part of a human experiment on extreme radiation, probably chosen because they lived in such an isolated location, and probably because they were all Black. The children were exposed to high levels and many were left with disfiguring scalp scars and head trauma. The effects of the experiments were mostly hidden from the townspeople of Lyles Station. Many of the children wore wigs and hats to cover up the results of the experiments.

Vertus Hardiman, one of the children, who was five years old at the time, finally broke his silence more than 70 years later, to a friend, Wilbert Smith, who partnered with Brett Leonard to produce the documentary, “Hole in the Head: A Life Revealed.” The 2011 film is the amazing story of Hardiman and the nine other children who were affected by the horrible experiment in Lyles Station.

Hardiman was physically affected the worst by the radiation. As a result he experienced a slow dissolving of the bone matter of his skull for the rest of his life. The ensuing deformed head and gaping hole at its top were disguised by a succession of hats, toupees, and wigs. Every day of his life he spent an hour changing bandages and dressing the wound.

Despite his circumstance, he had lived life on his own terms and refrained from complaining about his affliction. Vertus’ life was an example to others of the triumph of the human spirit. He insisted that education is the foundation for creating a heaven while here on earth. He never borrowed money and subsequently was able to accumulate astonishing amounts of wealth by investing his savings in real estate.

He died at age 85. Upon his death, Vertus bequeathed eight million dollars to his church and favourite educational scholarship fund. Vertus harboured no anger and was known to say frequently, “If I am angry, my prayers will not be answered because my heart’s not right.”

*For the documentary visit http://www.holeinthehead.com/

He has lived his life and departed this world. Should his suffering and those of the others not count? The heart of man is indeed desperately wicked as the good book puts it. Good thing is, he made peace with himself and the world before he passed. May we all find the will to let go and let God.

Source:
http://www.holeinthehead.com/vertus-hardiman-biography/

Chale Wote: Taking art to the streets

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 18, 2015 by Marian Toure

chale 2

The CHALE WOTE [literally means, Chale let’s go in the Ga dialect] street art festival is in its 5th year i believe and i have sat back and enjoyed snippets of the street painting, graffiti murals, photography, theatre, spoken word, interactive art installations, live street performances, extreme sports, film shows, fashion parades, music block party, recyclable design workshops and much more from my social media feed from friends like Anny Osabutey, who is going to miss this year’s event because he is in grad school in the U.S., Nehemiah Attigah and the clan.  This year however, I’m tempted to step out there with my camera and capture the sights and sounds of this beautiful showcase and have a feel of it for myself.

This event has actually put Ghana on the map. Its proof of what passion can do. Here’s the little i picked up about the 2015 event.

Samba in the street

Samba in the street


Life on the street
Jamestown district in Accra welcomes everyone to live right on the streets where the showcase will be taking place. For four days, various artists and art enthusiasts will take to the streets to display their creativity and break new grounds.

The district in itself is significant for its part in the colonial history of the city. Chale Wote brilliantly turns the streets to an open gallery while highlighting the history and culture of the people of this area.

All about alternative art

Chale Wote is designed as a platform to create a unique interaction between arts, performance, music and fashion before a live audience on the streets. The festival is a properly baked cultural outlet that features varying forms of art. This is one of such events that give you that genuine art experience – you just want to reach out and touch it.

The streets of Jamestown, Accra come alive to offer everyone around the opportunity to be one with art. Chale Wote features graffiti murals, interactive installations, street art and performances, fashion parade, street boxing, cultural dance, spoken word and many more creative art forms. It is incredible the efforts put in by the various artists to deliver such highly artistic experience.

Lights... Camera... ACTION!

Lights… Camera… ACTION!

Open Runway
Feel free to make a fashion statement when you attend the festival; you will be in good company. The street fashion game is top-notch at the festival. Also, there will be fashion designers at the festival showcasing their creative designs on the Open Runway.

Food marketplace
In the legendary words/lyrics of the Nigerian superstar, Wizkid “Shey you go chop Banku?” The delicacy has crossed the border and now sits comfortably in a top Nigerian song. If your answer to Wizkid is a definite yes, there is no better time to try Banku and other delicacies in Accra than in the festive mood.

Unlimited Fun for Free!
The festival is a proof that the best things in life don’t necessarily need to cost you a dime. There is no gate fee whatsoever. All you have to do is be on the streets of Jamestown, Accra to experience the amazing showcase that will be taking place.

Apart from the arts and music, you can check out other features like the fascinating extreme sports, skating and motorcycle stunts. By now you already know the festival is a complete package. The fun is unlimited.

This year’s edition is tagged the African Electronics and will be happening from August 20 – 23. See you there!!

I CHOOSE PEACE

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on November 30, 2012 by Marian Toure
Thousands March for peace in Ghana

Thousands March for peace in Ghana

If you slap me and I turn the other cheek rather than retaliate; I choose peace.
If you speak ill of me and rather than confront you I walk away; I choose peace.
If you curse me and I bless you instead; I choose peace.
If you break me and I pick up the pieces and rebuild; I choose peace.
As the saying goes you can break my skin but not my spirit.
Everything I do; I do by choice.

Peace or war is a matter of choice.
I choose peace for myself and the generations yet unborn.
A week to the crucial December 7th Ghana general elections and I pledge to be an instrument of peace rather than hate or war.

I have just one home.
Though I have been all around the world, Ghana is where I call home.
And if I desire anything this Christmas, it is the gift of peace.

Let’s give peace a chance in Ghana; Let’s choose peace.

May the peace of God that passes all understanding be with Ghana and all who dwell in her now and forever.

CAPITAL CRISIS

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on February 1, 2010 by Marian Toure

Some 5years ago when I was in Ghana, I took a walk almost every night and didn’t feel afraid for my safety but that has completely changed. Two months ago a friend of mine was robbed with a machete and a loaded gun by a gang whilst driving home after 11pm by some Nigerian and Ghanaian armed robbers. He tried to escape but wasn’t lucky – as he backed up, his rear tire got caught in a pot hole [more like a death trap] which shut the engine off and he was left at their mercy. They managed to flee with an obscene amount of money which he had received earlier that day to clear a car from the Tema Harbour. But for the mercies of God, Ebo [surname withheld] wouldn’t have lived to tell his tale. These armed robbers use guns which according to reliable sources can be traced back to the National police service and armed force. How desperate can one get that he will betray his country and oath of office. Does it ever occur to these people, that the robbers could turn on them and their own families in the future??? Selling AK 47s registered to the Government of Ghana to people who intend to wreak havoc on its citizens? Unthinkable!

NO MERCY FOR THE MERCILESS?
In a very twisted way most Ghanaians feel justified when they kill a thief or armed robber. I live on the other side of town—towards McCarthy Hills in Accra, where a thief was left for dead on the streets for stealing a car battery just a few days before Christmas. I must say the news saddened me because I felt the punishment he received was rather harsh and no one deserved to be beaten to death irrespective of the nature of their crime. But my 70-something year old grandmother put it into perspective for me, “he will kill you to rob you or escape if he has to so it’s his life or yours, you choose”, she said. “God forbid something like that ever happens to us grandma”, I exclaimed. I guess she is right but life is a precious gift and I don’t believe anyone should take it but the maker – armed robber or otherwise.

FUNNY THING
Fulani nomads are destroying farms and raping woman at gun point in broad daylight with AK47s and cutlasses in the Ashanti Akim district of the Ashanti region of Ghana. Who is responsible for tackling crime in Ghana??? How can freaking Nomads ride camels into Ghana and take over a spot and rule it? I have never heard any group of Ghanaians going to Europe or American or even a neighbouring African country to disrespect its citizens like that. Even Nick Thatcher, a British and son of former Prime Minister of Great Britain Margaret Thatcher and his co-ops decide to take over Guinea-Bissau because it had resources they needed? I still haven’t fully wrapped my head around that and how the court case started and ended. I always thought borders and boundaries were there for a reason.
Wake up people! Wake up Ghana!!! Wake up Africa!!!

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