By Samuel Estefanous 4 September 2018
Let us make no mistake-this is an existential question. Are we going to help this Country float or are we going to let it capsize?
A couple of weeks before Ato Hailemariam tendered his resignation, the utter sense of despondency was such that, we all were on tenterhooks so to speak.I remember I’d felt like it was incumbent on all of us- private citizens- to do all we could to save the Union. Now it makes me smile…I was totally convinced that since the government had failed the Nation, it is up to us common folks to come to the rescue. I never ever despised the politico big wigs the way I did in those tense weeks. God knows the very sight of their pics used to make me want to puke or something.
We were slipping in to that infamous circle of failed statesand no clinical doze of Revolutionary Democracy or the right of Nation and Nationalities up to and including secession was going to save us. Suddenly everything was transformed in to slow moving wave of desert mirage. There was nothing solid to hold on to… except perhaps the good constant old grannie…Ethiopia.
Ethiopia is indeed the only constant. You see, we should have counted our blessings before demonizing our own heritage and country. Counting our blessings? You may wonder…and I am telling ya we sure could.
Let us see.
1-Hacking at the old Grannie from all Sides.
My friends tell me I am a hair width far from being an out and out rabid Russophile. May be I am. I don’t know but what I know for certain is how much Russians love their country for what it really is-wild, uncouth, as much Mongol as it is Viking as much Slavic as it is Germanic as much poor as it is rich as much enlightened as it is ignoramus… all in all a shaggy grizzly-scary, fascinating, a titanic force of nature all in all.
There is this part in FMD’s the Karamazov Brother’s I love to read and reread where Grushenka- a wild woman like her own country- asks to have her glass filled, too…at long last the company she was keeping was toasting for Russia and she wanted to drink for her dear old ‘Rodina’. A presumably wanton woman of questionable reputation who had been living life on the edges loves her country as much-may be even more than-the Princes and Counts of old did. Looks like to me, it is common folks who are living life on the edges that love their country un stingily.
Here until very recently we are most at ease when we are bashing our own country and shredding it to pieces. We are not so forth coming to prop it up. I am not inclined to repeat that JFK cliché about asking what we should do for our country and not asking what it has done for us but it is God’s honest truth that we are a little too ready to hack at our own country with vengeance. Particularly ever since that bloody adventurous revolution of the 70s had ushered in a new era of vilifying one’s own country as a vampire of sorts.We were actively dismembering a country that had been built over a stretch of three millennia.
For the past three decades we have been “country shamed” for speaking in defense of an integrated wholesome Ethiopian identity. As characteristically becomes such emotionally charged diatribe, we failed to pause in our mad track to ask-where does this lead us to?We all are guilty of the offence to a varying degree.
Guess what? Team Lemma didn’t just ask the question but came up with a reasonably patriotic answer that made us all tear up a little.
2-The Insulated Youth.
Like almost all Addis folks I used to be a sucker for that brunette mistress-beer! But increasingly beer halls have become such poisoned politicized and ‘wired’battle fields of the races that, we have quitted frequenting them and given up on one of the pleasures of life Addis has to offer.
Boy! When we were younger Friday was such a holiday, hard nut cases were cracked around beer hall tables. Books were ‘reviewed’ and experiences were shared and high grade on job trainings were offered. Even our bosses used to join us. But these days the youth hardly mix. They happen to be in the same hall but oceans apart. They don’t even say ‘hi’ to one another. You could easily tell who hails from which tribe…except perhaps for a bunch of wary city folks who have increasingly become lonelier, few in number and alienated.
Last Week’s edition of Addis Admass had featured one of the leaders of the new Amhara Salvation Movement which is making a decisive headway from the fringe well in to the main stream of Ethiopian politics. ‘Growing up in the province,’ he’ said, ‘the one and only identity I had known was Ethiopianwnet…but thanks in great measure to the virtues of enlightened tertiary education at Djimma University, I became one ‘unapologetic’ Amhara to the core.’
I have neither the right nor courage to blame him…only the interview reminded me the movie I had seen when I was attending College myself-Higher Education-with Tyra Banks and Omar Epps in the starring roles. Basically the movie portrays American Universities as places where the youth is radicalized along racial lines. Indeed our contemporary higher education has become some crowded conducive venues for ‘lessons in tribalism’ from the basics all the way to advanced courses.
Looks like, we have long drifted apart.We are leading a much insulated life and hardly get along. Without realizing it we have created a confounded clueless youth that is blindly ‘fumbling’ in the dark alleys thirsting for good guidance and we couldn’t just offer any except taking advantage of the gullibility and naivety of the youth.
By ably rising to the occasion and effectively stepping in, Dr. Abiy and Co have rescued the youth from degenerating in to theotherwise inevitable decadent force of destruction.
3-Demystfying the Old Guard.
Just like its predecessor,EPRDF was feared but not respected. Through its complex party structure and ideology it has created a virtual impregnable wall that has kept it at bay from the general public. Being originally an exclusively mountainous guerrilla force that had hailed from a few frontier counties in the north, it was feared, respected may be even admired but hardly taken as a native son. So the multitude has been bidding it’s time to show the Front the door for it to make a graceful exit.
Without realizing the dire consequences, EPRDF has been extremely busy self-glorifying itself in an unmitigated fashion. It has depicted itself like an infallible elite special force with rare acumen to which the multitude wouldn’t be able to hold a candle. See? On the contrary, nine out of ten Ethiopians don’t identify themselves with this exceptional exploit of EPRDF and naturally keep their distance from the Front.
Do you remember that Constitutional ‘magic phrase’ that characterizes our collective identity? You will find it at the end of the fourth paragraph to the Preamble of the FDRE Constitution-the emergence of a common outlook.
If anything that common outlook is conspicuous by its absence.
All these and other factors contributed to the mystification of EPRDF. Team Lemma took the courageous bold step to demystify EPRDF and to align it behind the multitude.
4-Curbing the Reigning Culture of Decadence Perfected by EPRDF
Under EPRDF the rule of law and Constitutionalism were condemned to succumb to a cruel slow death. You have only to read selected paragraphs from the writings of the likes of Simon Bereket, Melaku, Tamrat, Siye, Gebru, Tsadikan and Abebe to get the full picture. It gives you the ultimate creep to realize on whose whims the fate of this great Nation had been balanced all along…a bunch of selfish, cruel, merciless, lying bigots.
EPRDF’S contempt for the law knows no parallel. Perhaps it is the hang over ideology from the hitherto Leninist inclinations but one thing is for certain- the law was chosen to be enforced. The law and the judiciary are preferred only and only when they serve the interests of the Front.Such selective rule of law is so deceptive that even the West was totally duped.
This decadent culture of governance by the jungle rulehas got to be stopped. Team Lemma is toiling to do something about it….
5-By way of signing out…
Whatever the presumed offences committed… for the love of God respect the honor and dignity of the human person….
6-God Bless and a Happy New Year