December 3rd, 2009 Print Print Email Email

“What do we mean by patriotism in the context of our times? I venture to suggest that what we really mean is a sense of national responsibility: a patriotism, which is not too short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil & steady dedication of a lifetime for us all”. – (Adlai Stevenson).

Dear readers, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others” said Mahatma Gandhi? “We are not building this country of ours for a day, it is to last through the ages” remarked Theodore Roosevelt too? Why? To be patriotic is to be inspired by the love for one’s Motherland, love of one’s Birthplace and complete devotion to its safety and protection. Life is born, sustained upon and from the land on which we lived. We were brought into life by birth and keep on going by the land on which most of us deprive to live in since the Derg and Woyane came in and ruled the country by brute forces. One of life’s essential support systems is water, sustained and held on land and housed within land’s cavities on which we live. Life is sustained by Air, which rises from the sea waters housed on the land on which we live. Therefore, I ask you Fellow Ethiopians, is it not really an act of Patriotism, to love and protect our Motherland and/or our environment for that matter too? Freedom and Living Free have a direct coalition with health and healthy environment. The alliance between being Patriotic and being an Environmentalist is one of the secret bonds, which ensures freedom and prosperity for all in any country. The very honest and good patriotic people are those who think globally and act locally, with the goal of a clean Planet Earth for all. We are a family of the world but first and foremost we are obliged to save ETH.

Hence to be patriotic is not to wear an Ethiopian flag or scream symbolic hollow gestures like Long Live Ethiopia on the streets and on political podiums all the time. We have very corrupt, criminal and unpatriotic individuals who selfishly and purposely destroyed our environment by driving gas-guzzling SUV trucks and dumping chemical, biological and nuclear wastes into the land, water and air, all of which are essential life sustaining ingredients that we need for survival. Based on the above definition of patriotism, it won’t be that difficult to find one’s place in today’s world and define oneself as a true patriot. Are you a patriot? President Lyndon B. Johnson, upon signing The Wilderness Act of 1964 said, “If future generations are to remember us with gratitude rather than contempt, we must leave them something more than the miracles of our technology. We must leave them a glimpse of the world as it was in the beginning, not just after we got through with it”. That in a sense is true patriotism, which is expected of us too? So, are we going to leave a good legacy for the next generation of Ethiopians or only fighting each other to fill our bid, greedy (Hodam) bellies as the late Professor Asrat rightly put it and all our other very selfish and greedy desires while robbing the poor Ethiopian taxpayers, farmers and looting the nation’s wealth? As Kahlil Gibran once said too, are you a politician or an individual really, who says to himself or herself, “I will use my country for my own benefit” or die for it if and when necessary?

Or are you a devoted patriot, who whispers in your inner self and says, “I love to serve my country as a faithful servant?” C’mon, stop telling me utter lies: you could not even sign a petition that others created, let alone serve mother Ethiopia? Each Ethiopian must for himself and she alone decide what is right and what is wrong in life, which course is really true patriotism and which isn’t. You cannot shirk this and be a man or a woman. And of course, an Ethiopian too? Oh, no you can’t. “A thoughtful mind, when it sees a Nation’s flag, sees not the flag only, but the Nation itself; and whatever may be its symbols, its insignia, he reads chiefly in the flag the Government, the principles, the truths, the history which belongs to the Nation that sets it forth” said, Henry Ward Beecher from The American Flag. But when Meles Zenawi seized power and saw an Ethiopian Nation’s flag, he said to the entire nation and the world, this is “Ye-Chew Mequateria Cherq” and wanted to change it to TPLF’s flag. That was when we were all humiliated. But did we do anything about it? No!

Do not say you do not have enough time like some who called us Bozene and other names for working hard to inform, educate, unite and mobilize the public against murderers and traitors. Yes, I too write these things not only when I am sitting in front of my PC at work and or at home but also while travelling and even having my meals. I only sleep 3/4 hours in 24 hours most of which spent for my country too. Hence no matter what, you too, if you are real patriots, have exactly the same number of working hours per day that were given by God to me, and Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Nelson Mandela, Thomas Jefferson & Albert Einstein. Yes, Kelib Kaleqesu Enba Ayigedm therefore, cut down watching rubbish and brainwashing foreign videos, dirty movies, gallivanting around Mesheta Bet and give five minutes to pray or work for your country. Also, Enqilf Atwudedu … Lewusham Minim Alteqematimna? “We have the power to change our world. It is not an issue of whether or not can we make a difference. The truth is that we do make a difference. Everything we do, say, and think shapes our reality. It is time that we join our bodies, minds, hearts, spirits, and voices and call for peace on the Earth and peace with the Earth. Please get involved in whatever ways you can, but please, do it now. The legacy of all life depends on it”. That good remark was by Julia “Butterfly” Hill. Ethiopians need it too now than before.

Hence patriotism is a complex and sometimes controversial subject. People have different ideas about what it is and how to express it. My own concept of patriotism used to be rather narrow: Love of my country Ethiopia, be a good citizen, enjoy our culture, food, and traditional patriotic music. But patriotism is much broader than that. Therefore, most people think that patriotism is a virtue. Or at least, that’s what’s suggested by a quick glance at the political world and the popular media in very many countries around the world. Most politicians too are particularly keen to be regarded as patriotic. Never the less, I think that many politicians would rather be called cowardly, selfish or corrupt than patriotic or unpatriotic. And in everyday life, it seems as though you’re usually offering a compliment when you call someone a patriot, and as though patriotism is usually thought of as something that we should wholeheartedly foster in our children and ourselves all the time.

Patriotism, in the popular imagination, may not quite rank alongside kindness, justice, temperance and the like, but in a true sense, it’s a virtue nonetheless; it’s a character trait that the ideal person would possess. Unfortunately, all too many Ethiopians these days, continued to put their blind faith in the political parties, believing that their officials, like pagan Gods, know what’s best for the Ethiopian people and are only acting in their best interests. Hence what we need in our country is a great awakening, in which the Ethiopian people realize the fake, false, and destructive goods they’ve been fed by these selfish & flirting politicians. That will be the day when Ethiopians cause our nation to change course away from backwardness, division & perpetual conflicts and move in the direction of liberty, peace, democracy, prosperity, and harmony. If that can be done, our country does have a unique place in human history. We have done a lot of harm, but when we have done that harm we have betrayed the vision of the nation. We have also done a lot of good, because the visions that our forefathers and ancestors had for men and women and children are still inspiring the Ethiopian people all over the world, and they should be inspiring us now in our time of crisis too? We have a right and obligation as patriotic Ethiopians to defend our vision of Ethiopia, not as a strategic or expedient vision, but as our vision. And consider the example of the United States of America. What makes it this big nation remarkably united in spite of being composed of such diverse peoples? So, are we patriots or nationalists? They are two different things.

But be careful too all Ethiopian brothers & sisters, because people resent feeling pressured to conform to someone else’s brand of patriotism. Yes, people are hurt by the wrong and or boasting kind of judgmental finger pointing: If your ways are not like my ways, or your political views are not like mine too, you are unpatriotic. As Robert F. Kennedy once said, “What we need in Ethiopia too, is not division; what we need in Ethiopia is not hatred; what we need in Ethiopia is not violence or lawlessness; but love and wisdom, peace and compassion toward one another, patriotism and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country”. That is it. As they say, true patriotism hates injustice in its own land more than anywhere else. A patriot is proud of his country in a benign sense in that he respects it. Patriots are devoted to causes greater than themselves. For the patriot, love of his or her country is like love of family-involving caring, devotion and affection. An Ethiopian nationalist may claim to love his country primarily because it is the best country in the world. Each patriotic leader was passionate about helping to save his country, especially from captivity and destruction. Jesus Christ, too, was a Patriot. He said, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:13). That was exactly what Jesus did. True Ethiopian patriotism and even nationalism includes “tough and true love”, a willingness to warn people of the disastrous consequences of continuing in their evil ways. Patriotism is love of and devotion to your country Ethiopia and willingness to sacrifice for it too. Otherwise, contempt for one’s own country is sin and treason. “A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free”. said Abraham Lincoln. Therefore, let’s fight our enemies’ cadres as patriots. Let us expose all the wolves in sheep’s skins and confront them.

Capt. Woldemikael Dagnachew. The author can be reached at

  1. ደምስ
    | #1

    Finally you got the message Mr. Capt. No disruction this time. To the point very sweet and short. Either some one agree or disagree is beside the point. Some people do listen, it nice to see you apply your commensense.

    As long as you put your article on line, every body has the right to read it. If they do not like Ethiopia, let them burn by your message. There is nothing you could do to stop them reading your article, Mr. Capt.

  2. Getahun
    | #2

    It is a nice article calling on to the people of Ethiopia to come together and reclaim their country . The problem is who will be the first the sacrifice ?! Big question seeking an immediate answer . If the Oromos rise , the rest of the nation keeps quite . If the Amhara rise the rest of us will remain silent , and so on . This has given the weyane a special courage and opportunity to ride upon us freely . Trust me ,unless we come together and forget our differences(for the sake of unity) , the evil guys will be on power for unlimited time .

  3. Mr. G
    | #3

    I havent read the whole essay but from the way it begins i figured where it was going. it starts by saying the injustices and brutality against people’s liberty, freedom and diginity had started since derg through weyane. By implication i assume that you have considered the days of the hypocrite emperor Hailessellasie was better, just, free and livable. This is where we depart in ideas, speaking of Ethiopians in general:granted weyane isn’t all that, but better that any of our past leaders. Not supporting is one thing charging one with false accusation is another thing. So, be realistic; i dont like the imprisonment of honored Birtukan Mideksa and i hope she will be freed. But sometimes i dnt like the way they pursue their politics…..

  4. Anonymous
    | #4

    I can feel your positive energy! Most of the observation you made in your essay is true and correct. On the other hand, you are talking about “Patriotism”, yet, you failed to qoute some of our brilliant fathers and mothers in this regard. Please judge for yourself, all the famouse personalities you mentioned have no relation to Ethiopia, and the kind of patriotism we in Ethiopia need.

    Besides, I am convinced that if an Ethiopian has decided to change his/her Ethiopian religion, he/she will never convince me and many other Ethiopians that he/she could be good Ethiopian patriots. I guess, that’s the case with Woizero Birtukan! Thanks, anyways, for sharing your beautiful thought!

  5. Abram
    | #5

    I can feel your positive energy! Most of the observation you made in your essay is correct. On the other hand, you are talking about “Patriotism”, yet you failed to qoute some of our brilliant fathers and mothers in this regard. Please be your own judge, all the famouse personalities you mentioned in your writing have no relation to Ethiopia, and the kind of patriotism we in Ethiopia need.

    Besides, I am convinced that if an Ethiopian has decided to change his/her unique Ethiopian religion, he/she will never convince me and many other Ethiopians that he/she could be good Ethiopian patriots. I guess, that’s the case with Woizero Birtukan! Thanks, anyways, for sharing your beautiful thought!

  6. Shiferaw
    | #6

    Thank you for a lot of nonsense. Patriotism??? Is there a war on??? Is this war about goat’s milk versus camel’s milk? Captain, my captain, wake up to the 21 century. Time is up for nation states. You better find something else to believe in. Your American Jesus, that you can also keep for yourself.

  7. love
    | #7

    Why isn’t this article posted on all Ethiopian websites? People send emails to other Ethiopian websites please! It is time such criticism about us comes out because as Capt. put it, we are part of the problem. In fact we are the problem. Our country would not have been in turmoil if we did not accept it. Thank you for describing us very well. I think it is time we really look at ourselves. When Italy occupied Ethiopia so many “True Ethiopian heroes” died because for the love of our country and for “true patriotism”.

    What caused our numbness I believe is several things: The generation of late 70s, 80s, 90s, had the opportunity in one way or the other left the country. Most of us lived in the West, learning the way of life of “individualism, capitalism, free market”. Today, such words are being questioned all around the world. With the Western economy crumbling, it was found out although the practice in some way is positive, because wealth and well being is acquired through the three words above, the negative part that was neglected, was these three beliefs were never regulated, monitored to be true. Meaning, these three beliefs although boost and encourage one’s confidence and self esteem to become successful in life, they impose on others, they made the individual intoxicated with power and greed in fact leads to the psychological problem of not having enough until destruction. This is what happened in America. The addiction of consumerism. Fortunately, the West its nation is protected by its people because of their laws and constitution respected by each individuals and politicians. In other words Westerners have something they fear above anything indeed that is the law and constitution. So Western nations will keep on thriving no mater what their economy is. However the three beliefs that has been exercised in the West, today have shed some light that, after all the three beliefs are indeed damaging until distraction. Why did I brought this up? I believe we Ethiopians abroad have been injected by this individualism, capitalism and free market which has made us selfish. What is more, leaders like Meles after being Albanian Marxist, changed his attitude towards the three beliefs? I am not saying Communism was good either. We have seen what went wrong with nations, including ours that exercised it. Going back to what I say, Meles saw the opportunity where he adapted the three beliefs from the West. What is the problem? The problem is that as a leader he can exercise the beliefs while controlling the laws and constitution that protects other individuals like in the West. Make no mistake also, Western nations, are not allowed by the law and constitution to impose the beliefs within their nations but can impose these with weak nation such as Ethiopia by controlling the leader. What is worse, such beliefs is also injected within our country making individuals that used to be loving, compassion and caring selfish, greedy, will do anything to be successful by imposing themselves on others. This is typical the character of Western capitalism, free market and individualism. Meles has learned well from the West how to control the people and acquire wealth. Don’t get me wrong, these beliefs as I said MAY work if implemented and regulated the right way. So, we are not patriotic because we have been brainwashed by it for the wrong reasons.

    So we have really look at ourselves first and see what are the good things we can learn from the West, indeed there are many and what are the bad things we should not adapt because it is damaging for ourselves and our people. The other problem is also our culture is really laid back and we grew in a way not to exercise our freedom as well as not expressing ourselves. We rather believe in not making waves and work for ourselves to be somebody. I do agree everything starts from individualism but it should not be for selfish reason. Once the individual frees himself or herself from mental, physical debilitation only then can they help others.

    Therefore, thank you for bringing this up Capt. we really need to look ourselves in the mirror that is thriving people like Meles.

    Love, Peace and Well being for Ethiopia!

  8. love
    | #8

    Advice to Capt,

    Please post more things about this all over. I am sure it will encourage others and do the same.

  9. love
    | #9

    Mr. G,

    Please stand for what you believe in! You keep saying you don’t like Birtukan’s imprisonment and their politics, but what? You are supporting them because you are selfish and greedy somehow you are benefiting from this government period. You are one of the people who are thriving this injection of selfishness. The indifference is amazing! You still want to cry wolf about past leaders and want to bring all negativity by Haile Selassie, which is it? If you keep counting all leaders of Ethiopia trust me you will find floss everywhere. You also remember to make a distinction old age rule that was exercised by everyone in this universe not just by Haile Selassie, but the question is, as our brain is developing today, in the 21st century, with technology, tremendous knowledge, and development you can’t help but to expect such nation’s leader should be far sighted, wisdom, that leads to the wellbeing of the people. So, please tell me and compare how the people are today vs Haile Selassie? If you do a poll today, I bet you Ethiopians will have a quick reaction against Mengistu and Meles compared to Haile Selassie. Trust me.

  10. Aba Jaffar Aba Gobbu
    | #10

    Fellow Ethiopians, words most of the time never save a nation. If you are serious to save Ethiopia, you have to learn from Al Shabab of Somalia, great and brave people. Beggars and cowards never go anywhere. Freedom does not grow on tgrees.

    Ethiopia prevails.

  11. aha!
    | #11

    Well said to a Diaspora which in disarray due ehnisizationa, and radicalization of Ethnic politics by TPLF and EPLF as the brain child of the political and economic crises in Ethiopia, and the Ethiopians in the Diaspora are folding in under the wings of the deciples of this dogma and others that infected with ethnic and seccessionist politics. Where does patriotism for the love of the country, Unity, Teritorial Integrity, Sovereignty of Ethiopia and Ethiopians come from? Not from those with Ethnic agenda and their supporters or those those that are implicated with the current regime, nor from those who are looking for lesser of two evils, or those who put their welbeing ahead of the national interest or those who put their ethnic identiy ahead of their national identity geared up and fired up to stand for the above objectives. Nevertheless you have a large audience of the silent majority of Ethiopians at home.

    Nevertheless, I would have liked to see this narative from his historical perspectives, where Ethiopa was then fighting for freedom then and where it is now, to give an insight to the generation of the 70′s, 80′s and 90′s.

    | #12

    TO MR G:

    If you did not read the article in its entirlty as posted above, how you dare to be critical in which you did not grasp its conclusion. What a psychotic person of the century. As to Derg and Weyane, most people are witness to the crime those two governments had comitted against their own people. Neverthless, to think Haile Selassie as the same as the two regims is not fair to history if not to thosee who do not care for history. How is it possible to compare a government that killed 200 people in the street (Weyane) and the regime it executed his own generals and the entire cabinet of Haile Selassie (Derg) in one hand and H.S.I. who used water cannon to dispressed students movement can be put in the same standard??

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