Posted by / Thursday 16 August 2018 / No comments

Forrest Gordon Clark arrested for allegedly starting Holy Fire in California – did he live up to his name?

Forest Fire Wildfire Blaze Smoke Trees Hea

By Divine Sewornu Dzokoto
A few days ago, on 9th August, 2018, reported that Mr. Forrest Gordon Clark was arrested for allegedly starting a fire that had destroyed 9600 acres of vegetation, burnt down 12 buildings and caused the evacuation of about 20,000 people. The Orange County Supervisor, Todd Spitzer is reported to have said, in reference to Forrest Clark, “This is a monster” – reports

If the charges being leveled against Forrest are proven to be true, then in faraway Africa, Mr. Forrest Gordon Clark would have been seen as an individual who has not lived up to the virtues of his name.
In many African societies, names have very deep meanings. Some names are related to the circumstances surrounding the birth of the individual. Others are related to the day of birth, still others are related to who died just before the child was born or who traveled and was not at home when the child was born.  

Mainly, names are to serve as a form of identity, to legitimize the child that was born and determine the status of the child in the society, among other reasons. Africans believe that the names given to their children would positively impact on their life and behaviour throughout their adult life and even translate into the generation after.

Fire Fighter, Forest Fire, Wildfire

In Swahili, Barrack means ‘blessing’. Parents of such a child would expect or foresee the child to be a blessing to himself, his community, the country at large or even the world, as in the case of the 44th President of the United States of America, the former president Barrack Obama. Yeboah in the Akan language of Ghana literally means “we help” so a man named Yeboah is expected to be helpful, be a philanthropist or just a good person. What about a person called Forrest or maybe Forest? If this was Africa, he would have been expected to be a protector of the forests, be interested in the conservation of vegetation, and anything that can save the forests. In fact, fire would have been a taboo to Forrest for his entire life if he were living in any traditional African setting. The Gods would have decreed that from his childhood. 

Having been arrested and charged with the offence of deliberately starting a fire that has caused such an extensive damage to property and displacing people, Forrest would be a great disappointment to his immediate family, his friends and his community if he were living in Africa for the simple reason that he did not live up to his name, Forrest. Instead of protecting the forest, he is rather alleged to have destroyed a large chunk of it.

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