In celebration of Ethiopian Youth: Work in Progress – By Teodros Kiros (PhD)

November 24th, 2008 Print Print Email Email

There is a significant element of the Ethiopian population, whose vitality, verve and imagination has yet to be given the recognition it deserves. (more…)

There is a significant element of the Ethiopian population, whose vitality, verve and imagination has yet to be given the recognition it deserves. This population is composed of the Ethiopian Youth, the unsung voices of the power of change.

The services of these youth are evident everywhere in the Diaspora as well in Ethiopia itself.

It is the fearless youth who environed the musical genius to Teddy Afro, at the infamous Ethiopian millennium. Blessed by the billions of stars that graced the night at the people’s stadium, where Teddy refused to take orders from the rich and powerful who wanted to sing for them at the Sheraton, and chose the stadium instead, Ethiopian youth risked their lives and came to listen to the justly famous, song, “Altseralegnem”, in which the prevailing regime was indicted and found guilty for not delivering, for not changing, for not saying, “We can”.

All recent heroic efforts within and outside of Ethiopia, ranging from the brilliant writings of Obang Mehto and Michael Deribe, to the inventive Abugida, and moving on to the rising singers, investors and scientists of the future, are flooding the media landscape.

The efforts and shining achievements of Ethiopian youth have yet to be heralded. I for one would like to make a modest effort of singing the names of Ethiopian youth and document their living contributions.

Most of these youth grew in tumultuous times. Some have lived the death of their friends, their beloved and even their parents during the reigns of the derg. Worse still, they had witnessed famines, which took the lives of humans and cattle.

Brief was the respite they received in the hands of the prevailing regime, during its golden beginnings. Short was their educational joy, in the few universities and colleges, which were closed most of the time, and when open, did not deliver much.

Yet, this resilient youth survived it all. Those who stayed behind protested when they can and some were brutally killed for wanting change, and standing behind the party of their hearts and put their faith in the hands of Kinjit, which was not meant to be. Those who left for the Diaspora, continue to work from dusk to dawn, and help those who are fighting poverty in their beloved Ethiopia and changing lives and realizing dreams.

Who can blame this youth for their just disillusion with a future they yearned and the miserable political reality with which they are now saddled. The regime continues to imprison their heroes and icons. Their leaders however continue to write and imagine new permutations of strategies, and new solidarities for the future of a new Ethiopia.

Salute to the Ethiopian youth, and may God continue to stir their imagination and enrich their intelligence to bring a new Ethiopia, in which I would like to serve as their committed servant.

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