- This is a collection of observations and meditations by Professor Emeritus (York University, Toronto) and philosopher Ato Sekyi-Otu on events, issues, people and ideas culled from recent history and the world, from the US and Canada to Ghana. If there is a persistent thread in these entries, it is this: Virtually all of them testify to the ironic truth of the saying that there is no place like home, no place, that is to say, which looks like the lodestar called home or comes close to approximating its promise of being a just space of human flourishing. Most of the entries are, therefore, harsh, particularly those on the USA. That is because that nation, in his view, has, in recent history, made a major contribution to rendering the world and every homestead we inhabit unhomely and sabotaging attempts to better it. But no one or place is spared, certainly not the author’s native land, Ghana. Canada appears intermittently in these pages in rather fragmentary and contrastive observations. That paucity of comments may be taken to be the complement the author pays to Canada as a place of relative civility and glimmers of decency in a mad and cruel world. It is a short work of predominantly gloomy pictures. But there are a few countervailing images and invocations of hope here and there. There are 166 entries of unequal lengths arranged around 14 headings. These epigrams are contrapuntal variations on the philosopher’s searing imprecation and visionary invocation: unfinished ode, resounding with intermittent fury, to the dawn of human existence set free from all tyrannizing enclosures.
The echoes of Fanon pervade this incisive analysis that spares no one, refuses any postulation of idyllic longings, and interrogates our responsibilities in every aspect of the histories that live within us. This work offers a powerful and incisive reflection on human freedom and responsibility in an affirmation of dignity that can only fully emerge upon recognition of the cruelty of the inhumanities that pervades our histories and their geographies. It is an existential call to lay bare so that we might understand the biting complexity of indignity and reach through its morass to discover the depths of our humanity no matter how deeply that humanity is assaulted. Homestead, Homeland, Home charts this journey with biting clarity and takes irony as a “vital organ of truth and justice” to the apogee of its power.
Jacqueline M Martinez, Professor of Communication⏐ Faculty Head, Faculty of Languages and Cultures ⏐College of Integrative Sciences and Arts Arizona State University; Vice-President, Caribbean Philosophical Association
More precious, untimely observations from the most important black political philosopher writing in English. Read, learn, savor, be provoked, read again, repeat.— Paul Gilroy
Homestead Homeland Home: Critical Reflections is political-philosophic tour de force by Ghana’s leading public intellectual Ato Sekyi-Otu. Each chapter brims with insight, irony (humorous and often indecent, like the George W. Bush highway in Accra), and analytical precision as he subjects the homesteads, Canada and the USA and the homeland, Ghana, to his partisan universalist critique. He weaves his reflections with the thoughts of philosophers, thinkers, and sages of the human condition and the poets, songwriters, and dreamers of human liberation. – Nigel C Gibson – author of Fanon: The Postcolonial Imagination; Fanonian Practices in South Africa: From Steve Biko to Abahlali baseMjondolo ; Fanon Today: Reason and Revolt of the Wretched of the Earth; editor of the Journal of Asian and African Studies