What has become of us?

By Natnael F. Alemayehu / January 4, 2011
What has become of us? I ask you. I grew up believing, and due to this day, that Ethiopia should be honored and cherished.  We are a people descended from generations who not only defended but died for their nation, passing on the true meaning of national pride and “Ethiopianism” for generations to follow. My dearest country today has become the embodiment of everything wrong with a nation.  I am not arguing that our forefathers are with out blame, but they had one secret, which always brought them together in times of chaos, and which has been forgotten by today’s Ethiopians. Sadly, today we have chosen to do the exact opposite.  They knew that unity is an element of social change. Our ancestor’s from coast to coast stood up when Ethiopia was in danger. They knew that united we can stand up against anyone. Regardless of their differences Ethiopia came first. Our biggest problem today is our inability to learn from the mistakes of our forefathers. They did their due, and passed on in peace. What have we done lately for Ethiopia, for ourselves?

A global enslavement trap has been set by those behind the WorldBank, IMF and UN and Ethiopia is a direct victim. This is not a conspiracy Theory; it is factual truth.  It is unrealistic and foolish, to think we can borrow and use foreign resources to build the nation, without leaving a mountain of debt for generations to come, aside from our return for accepting everything thrown our direction.

  • At a time when the world is trying to improve domestic production, we sell land to foreigners.
  • While other nations are working hard to combat global warming, we sellout to the ideals and agendas of those who negatively impact our living conditions.
  • Whereas citizens off other nations seek freedom and self-expressionism, and national prosperity, we have headed towards totalitarianism.
  • While other nations are in pursuit of unity and internal reconciliation, we proactively dispute the idea of coming together.
  • Where others build from within for prosperity, we keep our hands out, begging at the feet of those who keep us in debt, hungry, poor, and uneducated.

Simply stated, a parliamentary philosophy of “we are a growing nation; therefore, we will take everything offered to us” is not a long-term solution or a sustainable form of governance. If this road has not taken us where we wish to be by now, why do we continue to follow it? Why?

WAKE UP! Ethiopia has not changed in over 50 years.  We have not been able to evolve or grow as a nation. As a people we have lost our identity; we are blindly in search of a solution, when the first step is directly in front of our eyes, if only we would open them. We must come together. We must come together and come to a solution—now! Since we are quick to point out our differences and the reasons we don’t like one another, we don’t often take the time to think these things through. Ask yourself, “What, if anything, has another Ethiopian from a different tribe done to me personally?” Odds are, nothing. If you do have an answer, follow it up with, “Should I hate everyone from that tribe because of what one person has done to me or to someone close to me?” Truly, the answer is “No.” A whole tribe cannot be held responsible for the actions of a single person.

As Ethiopians, it is time we asked ourselves “What is it we are all mad about?” “Who has truly done our people wrong?” It is time we took a hard look at ourselves and at where Ethiopia is today compared to the world. It is time we ask ourselves “What is my part? What have I done to help this catastrophe?” We are all guilty. Yesterday’s mistakes were made by our forefathers, but we let them happen again, and unless we change things now, tomorrow is not going to be better, I assure you.

If you have read, everything above and feel like this article is not for you or you are unable to come up with answers for the questions, please keep reading—this is for you!

We are coasting on the achievements of generations long gone; their bodies shiver in their graves ashamed at us for calling our selves Ethiopian. From monarchs who ruled form Axum to Kemet, to those who believed, fought for, and earned the right to be called keepers of the faith.  From king who said “my people”, “my country” and took his own life, rather than  see his people enslaved, to his protégé, a leader and visionary, who modernized our nation, and a fierce leader who sent back those who came to conquer his land, alongside a courageous woman who envisioned progress and empowered women for generations. And, the king of kings, a visionary thinker ahead of his time and a symbol of African Unity; [Yeja Enat] Dearest Ethiopia, has given us men and woman of incredible courage and love, not only for the land but for the people who call her home, regardless of language or sub-origin. Again I ask you, What has become of us today?

After reading the preceding paragraphs, if you are saying to your self, “Our past is not as rosy, or even simply  a great achievement of Ethiopian leaders”, then you are absolutely right. My argument for our current demise comes from the basic point of “the past was ours”.  “It was our history”, written and dictated by our people. Which I cannot dare say the same for the path we are currently charting. Our biggest problem is we don’t learn. If we walk the same path as our forefathers and continue to bicker and divide along ethnic lines; It is we who should be ashamed, since it is we who have not learned from their wrong doings to better our selves as a community and  a people. The reason why they died for the land is not for us to sit back and admire, it is because they defended their being. Not to long a go [Ethiopia her self was Ethiopian]. Ethiopia was one of the few countries to proclaim her individual identity and culture, not only in Africa but across the globe. Today, we have become the poster-nation for famine, aid, corruption, dictatorship, and most off all, self-inflicted demise. The educated few leave the country at first chance, the poor starve, and our leaders have sold off everything but the right to the name “Ethiopia”, which I am sure they would also sell if the right offer came along.

We have lost the basic element of being Ethiopian: respect and compassion for one another.  What happened to “it takes a village to raise a child”? What has happened to the time, when we were punished by our neighbor, as if we were their own child? We couldn’t tell our parents because they did it out of care and compassion for our wellbeing.  We used to call on one another and come together to celebrate and share burden during the hard times.  To a degree there is undeniable love and respect evident in Ethiopia today, but it is quickly dying out to the western influenced self-conceded ideology rapidly infecting our youth.

Now, don’t mistake me, I am not against growth or development.  I am against slavery, theft, colonization, and most of all, tribalism. They are all symptoms of the disease weakening our country today.  A community or a country has to evolve and grow from within, propelled by the thinkers, scientists, philosophers, artists, creators, inventors, visionaries, social leaders, and politicians. Ask yourself, “For the various foreign new businesses and the buildings from which they operate in Addis Ababa, how much thought was put into their creation to make them “Ethiopian”—productions from which Ethiopians would benefit and prosper. We are obsessed with trying to make Ethiopia look like North America and Europe; we have forgotten to look to our own roots for developmental foundations. Ask yourself, “What are the things that make me Ethiopian?”

Those of us stranded abroad, whether by choice or not, no longer truly mean Ethiopia when we explain our origin. The word “Ethiopia” has become a convenience, a simple explanation. To another Ethiopian, we are anything but. When speaking to each other, we are Tigray or Oromo or Amhara, etc. I am not against the expression of love for one’s people, but in this illusion of tribal freedom lies doom. One group cannot exist without the others, in the current realities of Ethiopia; we fail to realize this simple truth.

We have become enslaved by outsiders by our own choosing. The same people our forefathers fought to keep from colonizing us we have today become willingly beholden to. Do we Ethiopians not believe in our country, people, or identity anymore? Or is it just easier to look and complain from afar? “Ask yourself, “What have I done for my country?” We have essentially said, “Fight for me and I will be there to celebrate the victory.” But it is we who need to fight. You fight for your country. You protest for your country; you make the decisions. If your primary motive is Ethiopia, your views and opinions should not change, regardless of who is in front of a political movement. The well-being and future growth of our country and her people, along with internal sustainable development of the nation, should unite us in discussion. Why can’t we work together?

Dearest Ethiopians, time is of the essence; let us not lose our identity while we stand in fe ar and confusion. Look to the past; ask yourself, “How can I improve myself and learn from my forefathers?” Reawaken your love and passion for your country. Think of the Ethiopia you would like your kids to grow up in.  If you’re thinking only of short-term gain, the end results will not be to your favor.

Internally were no different, when our brother rises to destroy, the land we call home we watch and fight one another, helping to destroy the country.  Why are we walking backwards when our forefathers made progress to leave us a country that was feared and revered by those who wished to destroy her? There is something we have failed for far too long to understand: The West does not care whether Ethiopians destroy themselves or fight internally to the point of extinction. Currently, Ethiopia happens to be the only fertile country in Africa; her natural resources remain unconquered by the West. This is “Race for Africa 2”, and we are in the heart of the grand scheme. There are no secrets to their strategy: “Let them kill each other while we play peacemaker”. Western nations suitably describe this barbaric act as the “interests of the nation”. There is only one-way out of this bleak fate, and it begins, “We the people”.  We need to declare, “We will succeed or fail together as a nation.” Do not forget, we are only as strong as the millions of our people starving.

I ask, What do you say to yourself every time you see an image of at twelve-year-old child raising her infant brother? When you see hundreds of people using the public dump as a home where they eat and sleep? To those who argue the current suffering of our people is the cost of development, I say, You’re blinded by money. You cannot see the failings of this money-powered stratocracy called a government. I reserve the blame and hope you find internal piece and a sense of worth before it’s too late.

What is it that pushes a logical man to sell his soul and pretend all is calm in the midst of chaos, self-demise, and distraction? We as a community worsen a self-inflicted wound. Every step, every direction taken by those with power is for now, without the slightest consideration for tomorrow, for their children or the long-term well-being of the nation. Why do we ignore the truth: Tomorrow does not belong to you, so why destroy your children’s future? We are the only ones who can help us. All aid money is debt. No country helps another without getting something in return, and more goes to repaying this debt than goes back into our country.  If we continue on this path, the Ethiopia we are leaving behind will be financially owned by the U.S.A., the farming lands owned by China and India. The infrastructure undisputedly will belong to China, while the European Union will control what remains if the Sudanese government is satisfied with the land it already claimed.

My Brothers and Sisters, it is not for me to say how you should invest your money, but do you ask yourself the simple questions? Do you ask, “Why isn’t everyone excited at the opportunity of investing in his or her homeland?”  Or, “Why the more we’re told Ethiopia has developed does the number of people who are poor increase?”  Or maybe, “Why is it that everything being built in our country is for foreign companies with foreign personnel?” Where have you hidden the thought in everyone’s mind which says “maybe I need to think about the future”?

There should be no questions or discussion. Development should not come at a cost of 500,000 people being left homeless and without food. Thousands of women should not be forced into prostitution, and children shouldn’t live on garbage dumps or in sewages. When we are talking about the lives of innocent victims, there should not be debate of wrong and right. (There is a huge difference between self-sacrifice for the betterment of one’s country and being evicted by your government.)  How many people investing in Ethiopia today have asked themselves, “What happens when this regime is over?” Let me remind you, nothing is forever.

We have lost our faith, our belief in Ethiopia. We must go back to thinking about “we the people” of Ethiopia. Some might believe this is a joke to be ridiculed, but I ask you to look at the nations in which you reside. You learn their language, their way of living and their mannerisms. They don’t accept you as you are. They accept you as an immigrant. This might be different for your kids, but they are also raised to believe in the idea and philosophy of the nation. These nations, like Ethiopia, have both good and bad in their pasts. They are not ashamed of their pasts, though; they learn and move forward. So why can’t we?

Only when we start thinking “we” can we go forward. Ethiopia’s cry is louder than ever before. We don’t need the Chinese to build our buildings; we have architects. We don’t need European doctors; we have Ethiopian doctors in Europe. We don’t need American schools; we have professors teaching in America. Those of us who love Ethiopia have everything but unity.  That element has eluded us for too long, and as a consequence, we have suffered for decades.

We don’t have to travel too far into history to find inspiration. Fifty years ago, our great fathers had a vision, which spread beyond our borders to inspire other leaders. Their calling, imprinted in every speech and literary work, was unity. One visionary Ethiopian cried, “ We Africans”, and together, these visionaries preached unity and growth dictated by the conditions of Africa. We were in the forefront of the movement, full of hope and prosperity.  That has been long forgotten, though. Today, we find ourselves trailing countries we helped liberate from colonialism. We have seen the outcome of an Ethiopia divided. Let us raise the call and try building an Ethiopia united.

It is all right to have differing opinions. It is okay to be wrong at times. Having individual flaws does not make us weaker. To the contrary, it makes us stronger. We must self-reflect to identify the true source of hate and anger towards one another.  Ask yourself, “What have I done to fuel the hate?” Most off all, ask yourself, “What have I done to work with and share with my people?” Ask yourself, “Are my actions affecting my people?” Ask yourself, “Is this the Ethiopia I received from my grandparents and will leave behind for my grandchildren?” If it is our forefathers you’re still blaming, I beg you to move forward. We cannot continue in the same path of destruction. Let us make a pledge to stop placing blame on everyone but ourselves. We must take back our country; we must not fall prey to the faults of our past. Ethiopia is calling, and we must answer that call. I am sure about one thing:

If history ever forgives us for what we have done to this country, God will not.

You can email Natanel- mail@eskemeche.com