New Kabral book launched, Friday, March 26, 2010 (spread)

A new book entitled “Between The Lion And The Elephant-Memories Of An African Diplomat” authored by Ambassador Kabral Blay-Amihere, the chairman of the National Media Commission, has been launched in Accra.
The ceremony, which was under the distinguished patronage of former President John Agyekum Kufuor and the current Vice-President, John Dramani Mahama, also had some of the bigwigs in the country’s political circles including Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo, Mr Alan Kyerematen, the Foreign Minister, Mr Mohammed Mumuni, members of the academia, members of the diplomatic corps, heads of media institutions and traditional rulers in attendance.
The book is a collection of Ambassador Kabral’s memories and impressions of his seven years’ ambassadorship to Sierra Leone and Cote d’Ivoire.
It also offers rich perspectives on Ghana's foreign service, peacekeeping, economic diplomacy and diplomacy in conflict situations and also focuses on how Sierra Leone emerged out of its crisis. It also offers insight into the dynamics of Ivorian politics.
Launching the book, ex-President Kufuor said Ambassador Kabral had been known for many years as a seasoned journalist whose writings contributed to shaping the destiny of Ghana.
“In the days in Ghana when freedom of speech was curtailed, when it was almost suicidal for one to laugh at the wrong side of one’s mouth, it was people like Kabral who through their writing like a breath of fresh air gave voice to the people’s resolve to fight for their right,” he noted.
Former President Kufuor said the book was a double of two professions blended together to get a rendition of events that unfolded in the two countries, adding that it was fate that placed Ambassador Kabral in a position to witness and participate in some of the diplomatic manoeuvres that helped restore peace in Sierra Leone.
“Between The Lion And The Elephant-Memories Of An African Diplomat is a rich mix of diplomacy and journalistic expertise and a must-read for the academia, journalists and all interested in international politics.”
He said the book captured the heartbeat of ordinary citizens of both countries as they waited with baited breath as some of the big players in the international community grappled with seemingly difficult challenge confronting those two countries, adding that the book would also serve as a caution for those who foment trouble in their own country.
He described Ambassador Kabral as a hardworking and versatile diplomat who carved a niche for himself in both countries even without any diplomatic experience.
Former President Kufuor urged Ghanaians to contribute to the development of the country and history by documenting their achievements and challenges.
"The challenges is on all of us to record our history and achievement. This is one handicap the country suffers."
The Vice-President, Mr John Dramani Mahama, added his voice to the call on Ghanaians especially persons who had contributed to the country's history to put such experiences into books.
Mr Mahama described Ambassador Kabral as a prolific writer and expressed the hope that his latest book would be a trigger for the country's politicians to publish their contribution to the country's history, adding that the book was a contribution to intellectual knowledge and also to history.
Ambassador Kabral in his remark said as a historian and writer, he saw his posting to the two countries as golden rendezvous in spite of the challenges and exploited the opportunities that came with it to serve Ghana.
He noted that it was his hope that the book would enrich the intricacies of the world of diplomacy and also contribute to literature on the dynamics of conflict situations.
He expressed gratitude to former President Kufuor for giving him the opportunity to serve the country, which had culminated in the writing of the book.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni, for his part, urged the country's envoys to emulate the shining example of Ambassador Kabral especially his innovation in economic diplomacy.
Sharing his thought on the book, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) flag bearer in the 2008 elections, Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo, said the book was a delightful one which should be read by people from all endeavours, especially those in the conduct of international affairs.
A former member of the Council of State, Mrs Gifty Affenyi-Dadzie, who chaired the function, urged officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration to study the content of the book carefully and reflect on how to use it as a material to reshape their thoughts on some of the issues raised in the book.
Ambassador Blay-Amihere had previously authored two books, Tears For a Continent — An American Diary and Fighting For Freedom and The Autobiography of an African Journalist.
He has also co-edited two books on the media and written hundreds of articles for several publications in Ghana and abroad.

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