A Covenant with your Motherland! – By Golto Aila
If you are a 30 years old Ethiopian or younger, you have only heard about Emperor Haile Silasie’s rein! You may have lived under dictatorial rules for your entire life, or you may have run away from your Motherland to live in the physical tranquility and the psychological turmoil in your adoptive country. Even in the far away land where you live, you cannot have peace because of the terrible miserable lives of your loved ones, whom you left behind, go through day in day out. So you are physically in a free country, yet remain a prisoner of a monstrous dictatorship you left behind, after making a perilous trek out of your home into the unknown world! (more…)
If you are a 30 years old Ethiopian or younger, you have only heard about Emperor Haile Silasie’s rein! You may have lived under dictatorial rules for your entire life, or you may have run away from your Motherland to live in the physical tranquility and the psychological turmoil in your adoptive country. Even in the far away land where you live, you cannot have peace because of the terrible miserable lives of your loved ones, whom you left behind, go through day in day out. So you are physically in a free country, yet remain a prisoner of a monstrous dictatorship you left behind, after making a perilous trek out of your home into the unknown world!
If you are 16 years of age living in Ethiopia, you are most likely preoccupied with strategies to avoid falling into the ever expanding net of an oppressive regime, which has been cast to trap a youth like you. A trap set by a government which is supposed to protect you against harm. No it’s not a foreigner hunting for people to take to foreign lands and sell you into slavery; it’s your own homegrown government, which considers your very presence a threat to its existence. Instead of nurturing you, protecting you, and strengthening you, your government is eliminating you, lest you prove to be a threat to them. Some of you have lost parents, siblings, friends – loved ones who have been shot and killed in your presence. You were afraid even to mourn because of the mortal threat to yourself. This was an action not by an alien but an agent of your own government! As a young person you are afraid to seek protection and help from your parents, for seeking their help may jeopardize their own lives!
History books tell you wonderful stories about your country’s glorious past, its old civilization, the fact that it has been the cradle of Christianity for about 1500 years, and the fact that the earliest members of our species may have originated in today’s Ethiopia and migrated to the rest of the world. While all this knowledge fills you with pride, the very air you breathe is filled with the stench of oppression emanating from your current rulers. You repeatedly ask why God has forsaken you! You live in a country that is blessed with natural resources. Your country is the source one of the longest rivers in the world that flow through four countries and gives livelihood to millions, yet your country is perennially begging for food from the international community because it cannot even feed its population. You wonder how you deserved such a curse. Well, you don’t deserve it! Your God has not forsaken you either!
The reason Ethiopia is in such a dire strait today is because of man’s primitive desire to dominate others by impoverishing them and by subjugating themm. This morbid and incorrigible desire to dominate has led to:
1. Ethnic based regionalism which the powers to be used to divide people against each other under the guise of providing regional autonomy. So, diversity which in a healthy society is a sign of strength, has been used to weaken Ethiopia, for a selfish, myopic, and short- lived objectives.
2. Inequitable distribution of resources with the home region of the ruling party taking the lion’s share of developments in the field of industry, education, health, infrastructure development and financial institutions. This is done to bribe the citizens of the region so that they will get the ethnic group’s support. The ethnic group is threatened like all other Ethiopian citizens to toe the line and have no choice but to do as ordered. The rest of the nation sees this ethnic group as the beneficiaries of the current administration and basically see them as an accomplice in the crime against Ethiopia. Hence, our compatriots, the Tigreans today are damned whatever they do and wherever they go! In today’s Ethiopia they, probably have the worst life of all Ethiopians, irrespective of the outward appearance of satisfaction!
3. Breakup of Ethiopia, purportedly to give freedom to the people of Eritrea! Today the population is experiencing untold suffering on either side of that border. If anybody has any questions regarding the objectives of Tigrean Peoples LIBERATION Front, just look at what Eritrean People’s LIBERATION Front has brought for Eritrean and the entire region of the Horn of Africa!
4. Failure to develop the natural resources of the country with the billions of dollars flowing into the country to make it independent of foreign aid, because of the fear by the government that such an empowerment will spell their own demise.
Our youth is the main pillar of our society! Even if you’ve taken yourself out of Ethiopia so many years ago and are now a citizen of another country, you cannot take Ethiopia out of yourself! The society in which you were born and raised is your reference point in life. Ethiopia defines you! Just look at, say, Irish-Americans. Their ancestors came to the USA some 200+ years ago, but today’s generation still go back to Ireland, their forbearers’ home as if they themselves were born there.
The current generation has messed your heritage for you! Like drunkards, and insatiable gllutons, those who usurped people’s power have squandered the wealth and the dignity of your Motherland. Today Ethiopia is slowly but surely approaching the edge of a precipice! That same state of affairs also presents a unique opportunity to reverse this catastrophic trend, and you, the pillar of our society, though it is not your fault that we are where we are, must play a full role to reverse this trend and preserve your heritage! YOU MUST MAKE A COVENANT WITH ETHIOPIA FOR YOU ARE A PART OF ETHIOPIA AND ETHIOPIA IS PART OF YOU!
For those of us who are fathers of children born outside of Ethiopia, and cherish our Ethiopian heritage, it is our duty to put behind our political differences and rescue Ethiopia for generations to follow. WE, ALSO, MUST MAKE A COVENTANT WITH ETHIOPIA!
In your efforts to salvage your motherland I urge you to avoid the pitfalls that led to the failures of the generations before you, these include but not limited to:
1. Ethnocentric jingoism:
2. Intolerance for political dissent
3. Cultural insensitivity
4. Disrespect for those who disagree with you
5. Undemocratic behavior
6. Lack of ethical behavior
7. Lack of honesty
8. Lack of political transparency
9. Arrogance that tells you that you are superior than those around you
10. And above all the selfishness that puts your personal interest ahead of the interest of the nation we call our Motherland
One of the most difficult problems Ethiopians face today, even in facing a common enemy is the emphasis on ethnic differences. Just like the current administration in Ethiopia has used ethnicity as a tool to divide Ethiopians against each other, the politicians of different ethnic groups have embraced the idea of exploiting ethnicity to advance narrow political agendas which, they very well know, will only hurt the constituencies they purport to represent and Ethiopia in general. Take pride in your diversity, in the many languages spoken in your motherland, in the many cultures and subcultures which are unique to your Motherland and which others lack. Be boastful of your diversity but don’t use it to bludgeon each other!
The most pernicious problem in Ethiopian politics, as indeed it is a problem of African politics, is the fact that opposition is not tolerated. Expressions of opposing views are viewed as insult to one’s intellect. Differences of political opinions are taken personally and interpreted as a commentary on the person rather than a repudiation of an idea. Expression of opposing view- points is the strength of civilized and progressive people! The western world is what it is today because of the freedom to express one’s views. It is the height of ignorance that leads to rejection of this ingredient of social and political advancement.
Democracy represents a cultural norm. Democracy is not about just one man/woman one vote. It represents a code of behavior. A democratic way of life is reflected in how one deals with one’s children at home, and in everyday life, and is the reason why we don’t see conflicts in the West like we see in the developing world. Democracy is expressed by our actions and not by our utterances only!
For the sake of your generation and the generations to follow, I urge you to stand up and be counted. You must change the paradigm of Ethiopian Politics and personal conduct! You must create something today, while you have your youth, your vitality, your prodigious imagination and daring, so that you can look back with pride at what you have accomplished for posterity. Today’s generation is looking at a waste-land which looks uglier and uglier by the day. It’s unbearable to watch what is unfolding. Promise yourself not to let this be your fate in the coming years. There are many things you can do to achieve this goal:
1. My Solidarity Forum of Ethiopia Youth League: This will be a forum of exchange of ideas about your history and current affairs in Ethiopia. It is an excellent forum in which projects can be initiated and progress followed. It will be an important and necessary complement to “My Solidarity Forum” in your communities!
2. Reach out to each other and be ethnic-blind for the sake of yourself and your Ethiopia. While you’re at it don’t forget your Eritrean brethren who are victims like yourself. You’ll ignore them at your peril! You cannot to divide and weaken your people, while the rest of the world is stretching across oceans to join hands for strength!
3. Be active politically and support the organizations which are committed to a unitary Ethiopia. You must demand civility between the different political organizations – remember you are all the children of Ethiopia! Above all remember Ethiopia first, political parties next –GET YOUR PRIORITIES RIGHT!
4. Avoid personalizing Ethiopian problem and ask yourself what you can do to bring about a positive change!
5. Establish communications with those in and out of the country and share ideas, projects etc.