“...It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness...” Eleanor Roosevelt
"...I am a citizen of humanity ..." Montesquieu
“... humanity comes before ethnicity ... no one is free until all are free...” Obang Metho
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Ethiopianism - Part III
My attempt to untie the knots that are looped around the myths and commonly accepted definitions of what truly means to be an Ethiopian led me to embark in to a whole new avenue. To my amazement most of the ‘thinking points’ I brought up in my last two writings, Ethiopianism Part I and Part II, and the many other questions that are lingering in my mind seem to take a whole new dimension in this outlook I have been meditating.
This outlook is the best way (if not the only way) to make sense of what Ethiopianism is all about; it states being a real Ethiopian comes after holding a solid grip of being a human being. First and foremost, I was born a human being. Then by sheer luck or heavenly design I am of Ethiopian origin – a person that has a strong tie to the land and its ancestral positioning.
Many, leaders and writers, echoed the notion of “... humanity before ethnicity and everything else...” And a message of acceptance and reconciliation at the very root of humanity resonates with me very well (including the convincing messages of Obang Metho).
This outlook helps explain how some traits are inherent and others voluntarily adapted. Traits like; being born black, from Amharic and Oromigna speaking Christian family and being born in Addis were endowed to me and I had no saying towards them. Understanding how some of these inherent behaviors (language, religion and tribal/ethnic affiliation) are common to all humanity enables me to embrace every person with respect and compassion.
Hence, it is the foundation block to establishing a harmonious society that values humanity and human dignity above all else (like ethnicity, language, village, religion and even political party). As professor Al-Mariam noted “...“humunity” and “younity”... is unity based not on ethnicity or nationality but on the core universal values of human dignity...”
When we uphold humanity above all else, we will make room to accept our fellow men and women despite their uniqueness. There will be no room for bigotry, tribal bias and looking down on others. Jesse Jackson once said “...Don’t look down on people unless you want to help them up...”
We will choose to do away with narrow and localized tribal mindset. We will do away with an exaggerated pride in the past and willing engaged to create the new Ethiopian; that is rooted in mutually agreed on common vision, the new Ethiopia where every citizen feels free and safe to experience his/her basic human right (the right to exist as a dignified human being).
A vision that is committed to building the “New Ethiopia” where humanity thrives is a vision strong enough to make me and my seed live and die for!!!
Pazion - 2011
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
“A simple way to take measure of a country is to look at how many want in.. And how many want out.”
― Tony Blair
I had a great dialogue with a friend of mine about this obsession of the meaning of being an Ethiopian, which seems to sprawl its roots in me. We consciously attempted to flip every historical footprint that is ever declared on behalf of our birthplace.
We gazed at the chronicles; from the tribe of Kush to Queen Sheba, from the Axumites to the era of the Kings, from the fables to the controversial declaration of what being an Ethiopian mean for a native of the land.
Our upbringing was filled with the mystical and heroic stories of Ethiopia and Ethiopians that the feeling of greatness hovers above our head like a piece of blessed cloud. It is almost impossible to assert one’s Ethiopian identity outside this prideful curtain that is most deeply rooted in the historic “past”.
But then reality hits; why in the world, how in the world, these glamorous and prideful existence led many, Ethiopians, go astray like flock of sheep without a shepherd. Tony Blair once quoted “A simple way to take measure of a country is to look at how many want in.. And how many want out.” As we Ethiopians jokingly say, almost every person would like to leave the land – if given a chance. Our self dismantling way of life is not a sign of a great nation and its people!
So, I wonder, and then what does being an Ethiopian really mean? If the historical account is put aside, if the arrogant curtain of “...I’m better than you, we are better than everybody, we are greater than everybody ...” bluff rolled up, what is the real meaning of being an Ethiopia to each native?
I’m still digging!
Pazion - 2011
Friday, September 09, 2011
If you are ashamed to stand by your country, you had better seek another flag. ~Author Unknown
Reading the above quote made me ponder, puzzle, gaze, stare and wonder. Like millions of my fellow Ethiopian, I left the land for betterment of myself and (possibly my family and my fellow country man). But, it never occurred to me that my journey was rooted on shame of the state of my native land Ethiopia or that I sought for another flag.
The quote almost forced me reflect on an article I read on abugidainfo website, where the writer, named Yared Ayicheh, described how the behavior of some Ethiopian he encountered in the paltalk platform ( what he called “Paltopians”) caused him feel so shameful that he concluded with a lamentation “ I wish I’m an American”.
I don’t deny or betray my Ethiopian upbringing; neither I lament wishing what I could’ve never been. But, I am yet to find an Ethiopian that is not perplexed by the continuous impoverished state of our existence. I am yet to meet this individual, who, with boldness and confidence confesses what Ethiopia really is.
The type of exaggerated picture of Ethiopia; that the 3 thousand year old history, a gift from God, a nation with unprecedented natural wealth, and a nation that is a role model to the human race... the type hyper inflate picture of Ethiopia hasn’t stopped millions of us from fleeing the nation as if running away from a disease infested rat hole.
As for me - there is only one condition that will enable me to lift my head up with an Ethiopian pride – when my nation’s beggar hands that have stretched for generation are folded down and begin carrying our own head; that is the only beginning of the end to our shameful placement in the face of the world.
What does Ethiopianism mean to me? I’m still digging!
Pazion - 2011