TIME OUT By Imru Zelleke
The above title is not for me I am way past my time out, having lived through three generation, with a fourth beginning its journey. Hence, sharing some reflections on the past and the present may be timely. For the past eight decades our country has gone through a traumatic journey whose end is still to come. At this point in time I believe that we have reached a critical point, where the future of the nation is in question. Particularly, when external forces, including a large Ethiopian Diaspora, have assumed a major role in our national life. Globalization and rapid communications have shrunk the overall environment in which we exist transforming radically all previous paradigms.
For Ethiopia all these changes have not come peacefully and without pain; they occurred with extremely violent quakes and upheavals. First was the brutal Italian invasion that disaffected Ethiopia from its quasi pastoral middle age existence. The occupation of the country with a huge army equipped with modern arms, airplanes, thanks and poison gas; Italy’s large scale massacre of the people and of the burgeoning educated class, brought profound changes in all aspects of the country’s life. The post liberation period dedicated to re-establish the state on modern foundations had also its own problems, it required a radical transformation of thought and behavior of the leadership. Although the reconstruction and modernization of the governing system was successfully achieved, it failed to satisfy the overall developmental level the country had reached. Moreover, the changes that occurred in the last four decades during the revolutionary era, and that of the following Ethnocentric regime, have brought the country into the most virulent and vicious internal crisis in its history.
Governed subsequently by two predatory regimes, a. the first introducing an ill digested political ideology, b. the second adopting an ethnic based federal structure, with a monopolized central power in the hands of an ethnic cabal. Consequently the country has been reduced to the lowest standard of Human Development, in spite an enormous infusion of foreign financial and technical aid. The opposition to this lamentable and corrupt governance has been numerous but ineffective. Not for lack of good intentions or lack of heroic sacrifice, even though a whole generation lost its life and went into exile in the process. It is said “that the way to hell is paved with good intentions”, this might be the case with our country were many trials for good governance have failed, and we have fallen into such disgraceful conditions.
Traumatized by these tragic events our political revival has been hampered by lack of clear direction and lack of a popular leadership that has public confidence and inspires courage, sacrifice and unity of purpose from all. Two generations later, a new spirit is arising especially amongst the younger generation, a worldwide phenomena that is also coming to life in Ethiopia. Therefore, it is incumbent for the elder generation to step back, and help the young assume the leading role of salvaging Ethiopia out of the quagmire created by ineffectual politics.
From their part the youth must unequivocally realize that politics means dealing with the real life and survival of the people and the country. It is a very heavy and complex responsibility that must be assumed with gravity and diligence. There is no room for political shenanigans and self centered ambitions, it requires an altruistic spirit and absolute moral integrity. A short glance at ours and other’s history suffice to learn of past successes and failures of many regimes and empires. The pain and suffering, the degradation and humiliation we suffer today are home grown. If some foreign elements play havoc with our national destiny it is because of our weakness, a rich land rendered poor and helpless by the doings of its own children.
Ethiopia is a great country and its People are great with tremendous potentials. Inheritors of great religions Judeo-Christian and Islam our moral and ethical standards are second to none. Throughout our long history our people have created a unique way of life that reflects the multiple blends of diverse ethnics and cultures. Our geographical position has been a pathway between the great civilization of the Middle East and the Asia. It is the totality of this atavistic past that gives a distinct character to our identity as Ethiopians. I advise the young not to fall into the ethnic trap, fore there is no such thing as a pure ethnic group, throughout the centuries there have been a long process of miscegenation which still continues in our time. I trace my own family from Amara, Tigre and Oromo origins, and even of some Islamic descent. When an Ethiopian asks me from where I am I say from Addis Ababa because I was born there from parents born in Gondar and Harrar, but when a foreigner asks I say I am Ethiopian. If we have remained excluded from the modern European influence, it is because our forefathers fought relentlessly against all invaders to maintain our independence and national integrity.
That is why is say “time out” for the generation of politicians whose time has run out, failure cannot be worn as a combat badge, it can only serve as a lesson learned from past mistakes and a spring board for the future. A new generation of achievers is coming to be, let’s give them all the help they need on the long and strenuous journey to rebuild Ethiopia. I hope that you will forgive me if I quote a comment made by a young person in one of the Sodere social blogs. As you have all observed a subject of great debate beside the Abay issue was Betty’s indiscretion, after all the indignant comments a person called “Lastaw” said quote:
” Welcome to the new, global Ethiopia and Ethiopian-ism!
You can be “a skinny guy with a funny name” with 3.99 CGPA, or
You can be in the Forbes 100 powerful women list, or
You can be the Latin commencement speaker at Harvard, or
You can be the honorary doctorate recipient and commencement speaker at Holy Names University, or
You can be one with three of the six degrees that your family collected in a week, or
You can be an IBM scientist and be named innovator of the year, or
You can be the Chief of Spacecraft and Satellite Systems Engineer at NASA, or
You can be the Chief Engineer at AirBus and design the A380, or
You can be appointed as the new Under-Secretary-General of DGACM by the UN Secretary-General,
Or You ………………………………………………………………..!!!
Your passion, your dream and your choice – shaping the new face of Ethiopia. Unquote”
I ask Sodere to forgive me for copying one of the comments.
Well this is the spirit of the New Ethiopia, let’s help the young to achieve it. Bravo Semayawi Party !!!!!!