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Ghanaian President: Pope’s tiny Fiat a “powerful lesson” to all

Pope Francis waves to the crowds from his Fiat 500L down Fifth avenue on his way to Saint Patrick's Cathedral - EPA

Pope Francis waves to the crowds from his Fiat 500L down Fifth avenue on his way to Saint Patrick's Cathedral - EPA

02/10/2015 19:38

Ghana’s President John Dramani Mahama has told the world it can learn a “powerful lesson” from Pope Francis’ simplicity when he opted to ride in a “tiny Fiat 500L” on the streets of New York, Washington and Philadelphia on his visit to the US.

The Pontiff became the toast of the world after leaving the airplane in Maryland in a tiny Black Fiat to embark on a trip in the US. His simple lifestyle despite the office he holds has caught the attention of Ghanaian President, John Dramani Mahama.

Speaking at the 70th UN General Assembly Wednesday, Mahama said the Pope’s modesty left a “remarkable image” on him.

“This year we have had a fruitful General Assembly. We adopted the Sustainable Development Goals, we discussed how to establish resilient health systems, we held a summit on peacekeeping, and also strategised on how to deal with religious extremism. We will take many memories back with us, but for me one remarkable image that made a huge impression on me in the early days of this gathering- was the Pope’s car.

“It was breathtaking to watch the pontiff as he greeted massive crowds and moved even government officials to tears in an open gallery; but nothing was more breathtaking than watching him entering and being driven through the streets of New York in a tiny Fiat 500L. It was a great metaphor for the times in which we are living, and a powerful lesson about the certain changes we must make to confront our rapidly changing future,” the Ghanaian leader said.

He added: “There was a strange sense of solidarity that I felt with this small vehicle as I watched it cruise down the street, surrounded—and dwarfed—by such humongous sport utility vehicles. It reminded me of the plight of so-called developing nations in our relationships with the wealthier, larger, more established nations of the world. There is the sense of being protected yet also of being overpowered; of being guided yet also of being intimidated to stay the course that they are navigating.

“More than any of that, though, what struck me was the modernity of the moment. The survival of our planet depends on us coming to terms with such modernity. It requires us to redefine our relationship with nature and to realise that we are just one part of a larger ecosystem. We must finally realise that it is we who are dependent upon nature, and not the other way around.

“In recent years signs of emergence in Africa has generated great hope and high expectations. Many African nations have embraced democracy and free and fair elections have become a regular occurrence on the continent’s calendar. Several African nations are seeing an acceleration in economic growth and a more than reasonable measure of success is being achieved in reducing hunger and poverty on the continent.”

According to Mahama, “Ghana, has benefitted greatly in achieving the MDG targets. Ghana is considered one of the bright lights of Africa, a place that was once derisively referred to as the dark continent. The nation boasts a strong stable democracy, with an economy that has been growing positively for more than two decades.

(Source: Ghana Starrfmonline.com/103.5FM)

02/10/2015 19:38