8 May 2007


LETTER FROM GHANA (with acknowlegments to the drafters of the "Letter from Sydney") 


Dear OM Friends


This is Wilna QUARMYNE from the Ghana Community Radio Network.  I start out with this introduction not out of a desire for self-promotion but because my surname has been entered in some OM "dispatches" as "Quagmyre" – apt perhaps, as in a play on the word "quagmire"J, but not quite accurate.  [Whoever entered the name first in "dispatches", hey, no need for apologies; thought it was rather cute.]


It was exactly a month today that we met at OM6.  I didn't quite know what to expect – a "worthy" conference, but fairly ho-hum perhaps.  Struggling with others for years to widen the space for Community Radio in Ghana, I was rather battle-weary when I came.  What a joy then to find a gathering where, to use Clemencia's words, "finally we do not need to convince anybody. Where the conversation can start beyond the convincing." 


And what a conversation it was!  A word that was used several times sums up the conference for me – "imaginary".  It had been buried so deep inside me – so obfuscated (!) with terminology (see what I mean) – that I didn't grasp its meaning at first.  At the end of one session - the absolutely, joyously, self-tumbling workshop by Clemencia and Amparo on memory and evaluation - I had to ask Alfonso:  "This use of the word 'imaginary'?  Is it being used for 'concept'?  'mind-set'?"  "No," Alfonso said, "more like world view."  But, of course!  In the Land of the Dreaming, what could be more resonant than "imaginary"?  Reflecting later, I thought, this is what we are about: reclaiming/reawakening/reigniting the imaginary, the spirit-world, of the forgotten, the overlooked – and our own forgotten and overlooked imaginaries. 


Though not really a conference-hopper, I join myself with those who say OM6 was the best conference I have ever, ever been to.  A month later, I still tingle from it.   


Many Thanks, Muchas Gracias.  To the Maestro – our master organizer and hombre bueno, Juan.  To Alfonso, for encouraging me to come and to Jethro for making it possible.  To Clemencia and John and the rest of the founders, for bringing OM about and continuing to make it happen/vibrate/radiate.  To the rest of the organizing committee.  To Lena and ICE.  And because it is impossible to detail the imprints you left - To All.


Finally - the Council of the Ghana Community Radio Network met on 30 April and the AGM on 5 May.  Hosting OM7 was placed on the agenda at both meetings.  They caught the spirit at once.  Various potential co-hosts have also registered their excitement…. 


People, we're on!  If you want it, the Imaginary moves next to Africa – to Ghana.



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