Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Ethiopianism - Part II

“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

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am so glad to hear someone talk about this! It seems that almost every Habesha I have met is so PROUD of being an Ethiopian. There is nothing wrong with that as long as it is placed in the right context. What are people so proud of? The fact that Ethiopia is one of the most poorest countries in the world? That Ethiopia is ruled by one of the worst dictators of all time? The life expectancy of 55 years? or the fact that over half of Ethiopia's population live in poverty? Pride in country is not necessarily a negative thing. But it becomes dangerous when it gets in the way of us as people openly discussing about things that are wrong with our country. It becomes dangerous when it prevents us from coming together to seek reform, to demand more from each other and those who are supposed to serve the people. Blind nationalism is a dangerous thing when left unchecked.