Blessing in Disguise By Fikir Yibeltal
Thanks to my sleeplessness. I had a long nap this day. So I couldn’t sleep now, I was just turning around like a maize in a dying fire of charcoal. An idea of browsing the net sparked in my mind. I went on skimming over our websites. Started reading Yilma Bekele’s captivating article about the Diaspora’s teaching role on ecadforum. I recommend everyone to read it. It is full of quite important points if we want to make use of our past history which is again full of negativity that could take us nowhere hitherto. I share all Yilma’s view and I believe we can learn much from our misdeeds. There is a saying which goes like this: Better late than never.
As a matter of fact, every darkness has its own light, though barely visible for the time being. On the other hand, every light has its own darkness, albeit it would hardly be seeable for the time being again. It is natural that a person gets birth along with their death. Where there is a coming with it there is also a going. Where there is beauty, with it there is also ugliness. It is a matter of binary opposition. One cannot live or survive without its dialectical opponent. Birth pangs are replaced by happiness; marriages are followed by divorce; prosperity is nothing without the presence of poverty; gladness is attractive only if there is sorrow; birth is nothing without its friend Mr. Death; white is white when there are other colors; speaking is valueless without listening; love is meaningless without the existence of hatred; love would have been unknown had there not been hatred; nights go and days come; it has been the same in the past as it will remain the same in the future; BINARY OPPOSITION, as some philosophers say so.
Remember Melaku Tefera, for example. Had he not been tyrant to the extent of killing the husband and confiscating the wife along with their daughter, an alleged charge, of course, am not sure, could Gonder have outshined many regional towns and cities by now? Imagine, it is because of Melaku that this region is by now prospering fast, faster than even many others. But remember the fact that people in Gonder in the time of Dergue were crying like Rachel of the Holy Bible due to the massacre under Melaku’s lunatic instruction. Many young people flew out of Gonder through the Sudan and joined the western world. Therefore, it was mixed blessing, though it is not morally viable to expect something good out of the suffering of people. Every misfortune has its own trace of advantage, if we seriously look into it and follow the law of nature.
Now, as Yilma said, we are abundantly spread all over the world. I am one among those who are proud of this scenario for various reasons most of which are mentioned in Yilma’s article. I don’t want to wail much considering the migration as a curse. There are many countries which share the same fate with that of our country. India, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Indonesia, and even China are just few examples of brain drain.
Immigration to the best of my knowledge is a recent phenomenon to our country. I Know, for example, only one dissident, Ato Getachew Garedew, who left Ethiopia during the time of Emperor Haile Silasie in the name of political asylum. As we all know, it is during the Dergue regime and the EPRDF that followed that immigration and migration have become the fad of these two roguish ruling systems. Nowadays, we can say that Ethiopia is living outside of her territorial boundaries in a manner not less than she could live at homeland. Wherever we go, we see Ethiopians. Ethiopians living in the Diaspora could definitely make up a sizable populations of some independent nations like Trinidad and Tobago or Kuwait which have over a million and about two and half million people respectively.
So far so good. The question is how can we make use of our misfortune that has been inflicted upon us through our arrogant ruling systems which usurped the reins without the will of the people? Well, it all depends on our skillful approach to the problems. If we keep on doing what we have been doing, we are likely to remain the same as ever, leading atrocious life in and out of our homeland. If we give time to examine the past and rectify the present so that we can create better future at least to the next generation, all the vicissitude we are wading through will gradually but surely wither away in the nearest future. This action of ours needs stamina and new personality which is free of the negative traits we had. We have to confess earnestly that we have been lacking some major ingredients which could consolidate us into oneness, especially in the past two decades. It is when people tend to think differently that they become preys of their common enemies. Enemies are always astute and can manipulate any trick to carry out their devious schemes. The people of Ethiopia seem to be unaware of their common historical enemies. And it is due to that that they are doomed to lead substandard earthly life, being unable even to feed themselves adequately and millions worrying about their next meal while looters lead undeservingly luxurious mode of life.
I personally hope that Ethiopia is under making outside of her regular residence while her enemies are inebriated with the notion that they had destroyed her at home. Here around the idea of that so called binary opposition comes; Meles thinks he has achieved his goal of belittling and defaming the history of Ethiopia by downsizing and downgrading to the extent of 100 years and as if it is a history of so called Amhara ruling class which is ridiculously over exaggerated and out of the contextual reality. Whatsoever has been said or done by the Machiavelli TPLF junta to destroy the country, the fact that they or any body else cannot hide is that Ethiopia is alive at least outside of the shrine she deserves to exist. You can never destroy a reality; when you try to kill it here, it comes out alive there. When you speak untrue here, the truth will be spoken there. It is a matter of changing the setting. I hope I am clear. Matter is indestructible, as people of matter believe so. The more you try to abolish something, the more it flourishes in another manifestation; Hitler tried to eliminate the Jews, but look now they are ruling the world through their strong personnel, needless to go deeper into the detail.
Israelis benefited from their dispersion. It was a blessing in disguise. They now enjoy the fruits of their suffering for millennia. We Ethiopians too can change our ill-luck into good fortune. Migration and immigration can teach us how to live with other people of various backgrounds. The situation we are in now in the Diaspora can be exploited to the maximum; we learn how to co-exist, we acquire resilience, we develop endurance and tolerance, we get knowledge and skills through formal and informal education, we obtain wealth, we gain all the things what have you. An Ethiopian who can co-exist with an Aryan can easily live with his Ethiopian counterpart on his own land; an Ethiopian who has learnt much about how to co-exist with a Gypsy or Hispanic or Anglo-Saxon or Francophone can easily live with his/her Ethiopian compatriot of varied background; be it ethnic or religious or otherwise. In a manner gold is tested with fire, according to our saying, likewise, Ethiopians are severely tested with different problems in the past good number of decades. If we are aware of the resultant of hard times, we can make use of them to bring about brightest dawn which won’t be diverted to the advantage of the few.
Thanks to Ethiopians in the Diaspora, Ethiopia shall remain alive until she gets proper medication by her real children. We people in Ethiopia have no mouths to speak the truth. Have no right to express what we feel; some of us are simply allowed to fill our paunch with whatever is available as long as we don’t see upwards in a wish to share any size of the political pie the Woyanes have controlled forcibly. We are considered as speaking animals, no less no more than that. Our natural and man made resources are sold to the outside world while we at home are dying of hunger and suffering from lack of commercial goods and commodities mainly including meat, coffee, cereals and grains[by the way, meat and teff injera are becoming ‘items of a museum’ to millions of people due to their ever increasing price]. No one is accountable when we are experiencing untold suffering due to the skyrocketing living cost. No body seems to be in charge of ruling the country unless steering a compass-less ship on disturbed water headed by unsympathetically uncaring captain is said to be good governance.
To sum up, I say that let’s all remember the matrix in which our embedded traits and identities can equally be treated as human beings and as equal citizens under one golden umbrella. Let’s forget some part of the past for the sake of building a better future. Let’s go forward to the past by trimming the evils of the future so that we can situate ourselves at an equilibrium that will best fit to all of us. To this end, we shall love each other with no precondition. We have suffered a lot. The people of Ethiopia in this era have tremendously suffered in a manner no people in the world has been so. To undo what has been done upon us, the antidote is easy and simple; it is loving each other, forgiving each other, having light hearts, coming to the epicenter of our commonalities instead of repelling and unnecessarily antagonizing each other based on natural but futile dissimilarities such as ethnic group. Difference is inescapably natural. For instance, I myself am different in the mornings and evenings leave alone you and me who might have a number of variations. Abusing differences is the major job of insincere people who represent evil spirits in this world. It is the quality of good people to neutralize malicious differentiations and change them into advantages. Let’s all decide enough is enough and stand up for our rights now. It is then that we can regain our dignity as an individual Ethiopian and as a proud people of Ethiopia. It is then that we can give due respect to our individualizing identities under one matrix, under one umbrella; before that umbrella is maintained, one can surely say that what we do will remain wishful and nonentity. Let’s know first how we can prioritize things to be done on our list of itinerary. Then let’s do what we should do first. Of all the sayings in Amharic, let’s remember what the ape (monk?) said when she got herself infested by thorns: “መጀመሪያ የመቀመጫየን” to mean, roughly, ‘First let’s remove the thorns around my bottoms.” Yes, we too, let’s first have a country, then after; we can have better options.