Ethiopians must Rise: Which way Ethiopia? By Teodros kiros

February 13th, 2011 Print Print Email Email

The churches of Lalibela cry at me, and ask me to restore Ethiopian greatness; the churches of Aksum beg me to put Ethiopia on the path of justice; the Greek thinkers remind me that a great nation, the giver of the Alphabets and the originator of gold coins, must have a people who could speak for themselves; the priests of Adwa advise me to sculpt a nation of free people.

All around me the forces of history send me letters in my dream, and the dreams say Ethiopia must rise now. A great people must not be dissuaded from acting because of the fear of death.

Day and night, the Transcendent tells me that I must tell my people to act. That they must act now. Now is the time. Now is the time to provoke tyranny to let the Ethiopian people go. Now is the time is to invite the Ethiopian people to march on Meskel Square in millions and camp there with tea, coffee and bread and challenge the regime to step down peacefully without bloodshed.

Death is a blessing. Revolutionary death is an obligation. Freedom cannot be given. We must fight for it. The sovereignty that our ancestsors preserved must be defended.

Sovereignty is as an essential quality of citizenship. It is not an accidental quality that we can do without. Sovereignty is to citizenship as thought is to the mind. We cannot think of a mind, which does not think, or a heart, which does not pump blood, and feel, so we cannot think of a citizen who is not sovereign.When we loose sovereignty, it ought to feel as if we have lost our minds and hearts.

Sovereignty is an existential right. It makes citizenship a precious practice of the self. When the citizen is denuded of this quality, she looses an essential component of the soul or the mind. Regimes do not merely kill citizens physically. They also kill us by denying us of our sovereignty. When we are kept in abject poverty, through years of neglect; when we are intimidated by guns and bayonets if we dare to question power; when we floods streets with peaceful marches in defense of sovereignty
and we are hunted by dogs; when we are spied on; when we are passed over promotions at work because we think-during these moments, we are being deprived of sovereignty.

Actional beings resort to uprisings to preserve their sovereignties. The sovereign citizen then is not a mindless terrorist. She is a mindful citizen fighting for her rights. This mindfulness is the practice of enlightened citizens who activate their souls to preserve their humanity and existential right and they refuse to be denied of the sovereignty, which makes them morally civilized actional beings.

Ethiopian citizens will soon protest against tyranny and oligarchy because both political forms are violations of sovereignty.
The Egyptian revolution which is unraveling in front of our eyes is a living practice of sovereignty. Twenty years of docility, poverty, corruption, decadence, must push us moral subjects to fight for our rights through a disciplined, sustained and courageous practice of sovereignty.

What are we waiting for? It is not enough to simply say, we have done this before. That was before. Now is now.

The time is now. Ethiopia must rise. If asked, I will be the spark for the people’s revolution. I will give myself to my people.

Teodros Kiros
Professor of Philosophy and English (Liberal Arts)
Berklee College of Music

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