Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Whose Nile?

I am the first Earth Mother of all fertility
I am the Source I am the Nile I am the African I am the beginning
O Arabia, how could you so conveniently have forgotten
While your breath still hangs upon the threads of my springs
O Egypt, you prodigal daughter born from my first love
I am your Queen of the endless fresh waters
Who rested my head upon the arms of Narmer Ka Menes
When we joined in one our Upper and Lower Lands to create you
bosom of my being
How could you so conveniently count down
In miserable billions of petty cubic yards
The eternal drops of my life giving Nile to you
Beginning long before the earth fell from the eye ball of heaven,
O Nile, that gush out from my breath of life
Upon the throats of the billions of the Earth's thirsty multitudes,
O World, how could you so conveniently have forgotten
That I, your first fountain, I your ever Ethiopia
I your first life still survive for you?
I rise like the sun from the deepest core of the globe … “
Laureate Tsegaye Gebre-Medhin

For my generation, that grew up in the dergu regime, Blue Nile ( ‘Abay’) was like a famous uncle we never met who lives in a far far land. We sang songs about it, along with Luci, Axum, Lalibella - it was our pride moment. But, Abay has always been mysterious to me. The relationship it has to my beloved land and its people is a strange one. We love Abay, but it takes the richness of our land away to un-friendly neighbors - who pray for our dismay. We marvel its magnificence, but it gushes to beautify the desert resorts of Egypt and Sudan.

Tourist’s camera clinks to capture its sacred smokes of water, but its youthful strength leaves our arid land behind and flows hurrying to the luxury of estranged places. An inquiry mind asked and curiosity has reached its cap. Now we want to redefine our relationship to our water, which takes our resources, our rich soil, and our rich heritage to an uncharted territory. And we are being threatened not to dare? Just because the Brits, in a colonial mindset, has an agreement with Egypt and Sudan how the water was supposed to be utilized; because they had made pacts over our resource with other nations, excluding us – the source of it all.

It is so ironic to blatantly tell us not a single drop can be touched of Nile. It is a new era, a new generation – so get a new paradigm neighbors. It is true that we Ethiopians are profound guest receptors; we are the good mannered people who love to share what they have with whoever is lacking. Yes, despite the famine, despite the poverty. Yes, we love to share! That being said, we don’t like others to take advantage of us our generosity. We don’t like to be taken as ignorant fools. We never gave in to colonization. We don’t like to be ridden as damn donkeys!

So, we will allow you to use our resource, our soil, our Nile – only at our terms and conditions. So, let’s negotiate! That is a civil way resolving the Nile issue.