For months now, I have been in constant dilemma on writing on this troubling issue of national security or acting as if the problem I think of never existed. Ignoring the issue in thought was fueled by fears, the fear of questioning the legitimacy of national security. There is a way by which those on top there in our nation’s security shut down people who grow the audacity to question everything about them. They label you a threat to national security and may accuse you of treason which is punishable by death. But National security cannot be exempted from the spectacles of questioning all scenes of doubt, especially in a new world with the fast growing youth who thrive more on logic rather than religion. I remember a very close friend with whom I shared this idea with, advice that I dare not write on the topic if I valued existence. But what is existence if you are not living life to make your sphere of influence better.
Now, National Security Services (NSS) have helped our respective countries in varying ways if we merely try in ultimacy to pass over the numerous varying abuse of power they ensured throughout the history of humanity from the limelight of revolutions to illegal acts of bribery and corruption. Police services are the closest to us, they are considered friends. Their duty is found in enforcing laws passed by legislative bodies. They are obligated to maintain law and order internally, as the military go out across the country’s frontiers to protect the nation from external threats. Government officials receive immunity from the wrath of their citizens in times where economic tribulations incite violence because of the existence of National Security Services. By law, the people cannot even organize demonstrations against government without giving the police prior notice. Notwithstanding, we need to answer this, who does the police answer to? In most jurisdictions, its the Inspector General of Police (IGP) who was selected through the opium of politics. By the opium of politics, I mean the government, with corrupt officials embraced.
Be that as it may, there is unquestionably great importance with NSS. Imagine a country without NSS. Guess the picture might be the most horrific scene in your thoughts even surpassing the monstrous environment for the Jew in Germany during Holocaust. That imagination recreates a great awareness on what Charles Darwin, Thomas Hobbes, Herbert Spencer and many other naturalists realized during their path into studying the mechanism of natural selection and human nature. Thus, the Survival of the Fittest. The physically strong but economically lazy in society will thrive on envying wealth amassed by the oligarchy through the influence of anarchy (a system without NSS). It is probable, such envy will grow in an averment that those properties were accumulated by taking advantage of sweating glands from the poor. Through this inspiration, they may climb up the mansions of the rich with any tool of violence they come by, attack and confiscate wealth as much as their lazy strenghts may provide. The highly rich will only survive this nature of anarchy, when they choose to adapt to change, thus move along in favor of the status quo. By complying, these men of wealthy substance will probably hire stronger sentinels to protect them. I call some “economically lazy” because not every rich person gained wealth through wrongful means. In a state of anarchy, whether or not plutocrats are protected by their Rottweilers, violence will be the normality. Violence will seem to be oxygen to ensure human survival when in reality, it stands a tool to make us modern day dinosaurs. When a man dies out of violence, the human race suffers the risk of going extinct. This is simply because, violence is fair. It takes no one into consideration, it forgoes the stratification of age, life and attacks all. We have to take note though that survivors of a brutish environment may not necessarily be strongest or most intelligent but rather those who are able to forsee the effects of change therefore accepting it for their good.
NSS deserves respect, I need not say that because, this is evinced when civil servants meet them by the walkway. Pistols kill but on the other side can prevent killings in the hands of an NSS man just for the killer’s fear of the trigger’s ability to kill. But NSS especially the police and military are spearheaded by humans and humans in their nature are imperfect due to variations in shrewdness and selfish interests. Man’s corrupt nature has an unpredictable trend. To swallow this problem, laws are made, unmade or modified to check the demands of his unpredictability, especially as time flies into its prospective future. This should make us aware of the fact that, it is inalienably possible to see cracks in institutions as big as the office of the president as these establishments are headed by imperfect man. The NSS cannot be exempted. It has a strong link with heights. Let us have a look at the general requirements of the Ghana Armed Forces after which I will give a personal experience and reasons as to why the height feature is no longer needed.
GENERAL ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS OF THE GHANA ARMED FORCES according to the Official Website of the Ghana Armed Forces
● Ghanaian Citizen by birth.
● Of Good Character
● For Regular Commission, one must be between the ages of 20 and 25 years before a specific deadline to be set by the military. And for Short Service Commission, applicant should not exceed age 30 by a date stipulated by the military’s requisitory team.
● Be medically fit by Ghana Armed Forces standard.
● Be not bonded.
● For Regular Officer Candidates only, be not married.
● Minumum height for males and females are respectively 1.68m (5’6”) and 1.57m (5’2”). For the military police only, minimum height for males must be 1.75m (5’9”) and 1.70m (5’7”) for females.
● Education, For BECE, must have 6 passes with Maths and English. WASSCE, must have 6 credits (not less than C6)including the core of English, Math and Science. SSCE, must have 6 credits (not less than D) including the core of English, Math and Science. Finally for GCE ‘O’ Level, 5 credits (not less than 6) including Math, English and Science. Not less than D in the 3 subjects of GCE ‘A’ Level.
Before giving reasons as to why I think the height feature of the requirement procedure is not needed, I will like to share a brief encounter I had with a long lived man with my audience.
The Old Man At The Bank
I am not less than 6’2 ft in height and this inalterable hallmark has always been common trouble for me. Strangers, people who know nothing about me apart from my physical stature have the tendency to dictate to me a profession. I went to the bank weeks ago only to find an old man looking at me without setting his eyes off. At first, I thought his eyes were just hovering round the room but after several minutes, all I saw was an analytical eye exclusively set on me. He looked at me as if he was investigating every part of my body. Finally, I had the chance to escape his cameras after withrawing what I needed. But this man called me. I approached him immediately and to my displeasure, all he said was “you have to, in fact, you must be a soldier or policeman“. Pretending to be happy with the statement, I gave a hurting fake smile and asked without knowing my approach into a lecture “why do you say that, dad?” With a sigh of relief, he started with a sad story.
“In the 40s, I was born and raised in Wia-Faransa, thus a village in the Upper Eastern part of Ghana. Subsistence mixed and pastoral farming, hunting were all we were destined for as the young boys of that time, considering the setting we found ourselves in. Environmental Determinism was prime at that time, I guess. As a young boy, I was privileged to meet an amputee veteran who was decapacitated by the World War. He shared the horrors of the war but also made me aware of the other side of the story. It was BRAVERY. From that moment on, I developed an inquenchable inner inferno to be a military man. I was perfectly sure of a passion and possible martyrdom just to serve my nation. But I couldn’t make it through the requirements. I was SHORT. That was my mistake, emerging short! In the 70s, I gave up on the military and tried policing, the same curse of height prevented me. Since then, I have been agonizing over this failure and anytime I see a young man with the height I needed, I try to make him aware of the opportunities he has to bring into play in his favour.”
The point is, this old man was strongly passionate about being an old soldier and probably thought every other young guy deserved that passion. No wonder, he shared his story to a tall stranger. Below, we will come into a more cognisance as to why the stressing on the height feature should be stopped.
☆Employment Eligibilities Should Not Be Based On Ascribable Status Of Nature
In the study of human societies, status can be grouped into two forms. The Achieved and Ascribed status. Man has much control over whether or not his achieved status or nature will be enviable, admired by many. Hardwork, relentless determination and a strong/positive belief system are more likely to be determinants of an admirably acheived status. An example can be a billonaire who gained his money through his own efforts. Ascribed status on the other side, is different. It deals with inheritance usually through bloodlines. Monarchy is an example. One does not necessarily have to put in any effort to win an ascribed position, its an already laid down policy that is followed strictly irrespective of the next receiver. The determinant is usually blood. Another example will be the only son of the billonaire mentioned in the path of acheived status. While his dad gained his wealth through personal effort, he stands a high chance of inheriting his dad’s estate just for being a son. Now, we can relate this to the ills of political institutions were people are selected for ministerial positions not because of their competence but rather because of the political party or tribe they belong to. It can also be related to the security recruitment procedure. Heights are determined by genes, something the individual has no power over. One can hardly control his height. There are also instances where applicants receive invalidation just because of scars. Scars that may have been retrieved during childhood accidents. But I will not delve into that since it is not found in the eligibility notice. It recently got to a point where I started thinking, well maybe these restrictions are just excuses officers use to disqualify applicants so their people may get in.
☆Security Needs Dedication In Mind Too
It appears many eyes turn to the physical involuntarily when selection of people for the army comes in thought. We forget the actuality that everything revolves around the focal point of thinking. Rather than focusing on heights and muscles, lets give pundits and savants a chance. Strenght makes the snake harmful but wisdom through camouflage usually prevents the snake’s harm from affecting the laggard chameleon. Through Prison Break (a popular series which aired on FOX television), we are shown how the ability to think escapes the might of Fox River State Penitentiary (a maximum security prison). Michael Schofield unlike his brother, Lincoln Burrows is not physically strong but with the ability to think, out-thinks the entire US criminal justice system. If there is reason for Tyrion Lannister‘s survival in the Game of Thrones to this point, it can never be fleshy power but rather his ability to think and talk. In Ghana, NSS officials hardly go on strike for salary payments, they are paid well. Government never messes with the man who has the gun for through outrage a coup d’etat might erupt. Due to the curses of our present-past economic depressions, people are more likely to aim at getting into any of the security forces owing to effective payments of salaries. This signals an absolute possibility for one to apply to work with NSS with priority of money ignoring whether or not capability to do the work required is involved. One’s height basically doesn’t guarantee strenght, it just guarantees and actualisation of how tall one is. I am definitely taller than Floyd Mayweather but I will not need an appearance in a wrestling ring to tell that he will whoop my ass in case there is a bout as far as strenghts are concerned. Aside heights, we should find people with the conviction to serve. People with the conviction of patriotism can be either tall or short. Those in charge of recruiting people for NSS need to give answers to the following.
1. What is the correlation between tall people and the willingness, conviction and ability to protect a nation?
2. Is it not possible for one to join a security force just for the benefits attached to the job and as a result forsake sacrifices and occupational hazards to be taken into consideration?
Speaking on conviction, one may ask, how will a recruitment officer know one’s intention for the job? This is no problem at all. Strict/friendly interviews depending on the answers needed, lie detecting tests, swift questioning and mere observations with the help of beneficial tricks played on the applicant in an unknown normal situation will give a picture on the applicant’s intention. In the discourse of tricks, the institution may stage events. They may falsely inform applicants of their selection, keep them in a room enhanced with an unremarked surveillance. Recruitment officers themselves can be allowed to stay with “supposed recruits” in disguise and a day to day evaluation can be processed on who those applicants are. This no work, the money that goes into corrupt pockets can sponsor such investigations. Issues related to national security are perilous and could be more dangerous if efforts into selecting those to be in charge are jeopardized. Security just doesn’t need anybody to be in charge, it needs those who find passion in duties enshrined by the job. These people are not found in the restrictions of 6’2″ but through a fair scan of the entire union of all applicants. Its sad to know that there are numerous people willing and able to serve their countries but can not execute that because of being short.
☆Things Have Changed, Security Has Advanced
In ancient times, tall people may have been needed for up-close battles usually with the sword and spear. We no longer live in the medieval era of Rome. Technology and man’s advancement has altered everything. With just a nuclear missile, devastation may whisk away plant and animal life. Collateral damages will be the conformist of the world for decades. A short man with an AK-47 from afar may assasinate a public figure with ease. John F. Kennedy was a victim. Lee Harvey Oswald(5 feet 8 inches) , his alleged assasinator was not outrageously tall. According to the Warren Commission’s report which was aimed at convincing the public that Oswald could’ve acted alone, Oswald shot JFK from the easternmost south–facing window on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository. The distance from Oswald’s supposed location to JFK’s car could not be more than about 90 yards (82 metres) according to site, 22 November 1963. If there is something clear about the assasination, it’ll be the certainty that Oswald’s stature wasn’t responsible for the work, rather the rifle and height of the book depository building. We cannot thrive on outdated methods and models in a fast developing and mutable cosmos. A new era means new method. We need to be honest. Peaceful countries like Ghana, Malawi and Mauritius can be used for analogies for the case I am about to present. They have military men alright but how many of these men find themselves on the battlefield? If these men are bound to fight, UN and AU peacekeeping assignments stand a high cause to be reasons because war is almost an alien to those nations. It doesn’t happen consistently as it used to. A man is allowed into the military just because of his height for combat reasons. Fine! Just for the sake of argument, lets assume this man furthers his education to obtain a degree and is promoted afterwards. He becomes a senior officer, this means he is more likely to be situated in an office, appending signatures, giving remarks and orders to his subordinates. What now happens to the importance of his height? How useful will his height be to office work? These are analogies and questions we need to jog the memory on. Everyone, whether short or tall has a place in there.
☆Inequality Becomes Negative
“All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.” This was manipulated law designed to suit selfish desires of Napoleon and his men in George Orwelle‘s “Animal Farm“. That scenario still exists in currency. I decide to transmute that into “All applicants are tall but some applicants are taller than the others.” In here, multifariousness goes against a section and looks unfair. But that is not the case basically. The human race is made up of varieties consequently creating social differentiation which ends up in a natural state of Inequality. Reality is, man cannot escape inequality or an integrated society. Truthfully, he cannot survive without it. Lets take society or the criminal justice system for instance. Different people/bodies (FBI, Police, the District Attorney, legislature, Jury) are needed to serve different purposes (Investigate crime, find and arrest suspects, defend or prosecute defendants, judge criminal cases, etc) so as to get society stable. The larger the population, the more specialised units of the population become. The human anatomy can be exemplified for further explication. There are varying organ systems (circulatory, digestive, neurological, excretory) which have their seperate functions in ensuring the viability of the human organism. Despite dissimilarities, the malfunction of an organ jeopardizes the entire system and may cause serious illness and/or death progressively. So is the nature of every institution as long as it entails humans. There is nothing like a planet for the short, white, black, tall, gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual, straight, fat, slim, leader, follower, good, bad, hardworking, lazy, handicapped, handicapable etc. All there is is a planet for the human race. With certain restrictions, where do we expect special people to go? Denying one something because of their unadjustable physical features defies the fairness in treatment we all crave when we escape our zones of comfortability. Competence is not found in the outside. It is found in the inside. As long as one’s inability or ability to do something does not abuse another in a way or the other, discrimination and special treatment must go. One’s height is not a threat to national security. Before the terrorists picks a bomb, he masters that in thought and not height.
☆Psychological Issues for failed applicants
Every human can relate to this. When someone or something we passionately crave for fails to come by or dies, this is coupled with pain and stress. For those applicants who could not make it (especially the old man I met earlier), there is a choice to either fight or let psychology and its issues win. One’s craving intensity may however make ignoring the pain a tough decision to take. Stress may lead to insanity. It might cause hypertension. Ignoring one what he needs to be has numerous consequences. Most of which lie in health.
The aim of this post is not to seek Special treatment for the short, all it needs is a system of fairness for the differences found in humanity.