A Rejoinder to Professor Teshome’s Rejoinder

By Mezgebe Gebrekiristos, November 27, 2013

Winston Churchill once said, “Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.”

It was with this optimistic spirit in mind that I dare criticize Dr. Teshome’s initial paper posted on aigaforum  It would have been an utter disservice to the professor’s stature in our society, had I not brought the “unhealthy state of things” in his article to his attention. Hence, I applaud him for taking my criticism of his shortcomings, for the most part, with grace, and responded to my article with reasonable points of rebuttal. For that reason, I will return the favor in kind in the subsequent few sentences.  

Even though I still firmly stand with my initial statements that Teshome’s advice to the current leaders of Ethiopia to take a lesson or two on good leadership from our past two emperors was misplaced and uncalled for, I realize that he is free to love and cherish the ‘dogs’ (to use his metaphor) of his choice, as long as he doesn’t let his ‘dogs’ bite the already patience-compromised Ethiopian public! But if he chooses to let his dogs stray in the street, without any supervision, he shouldn’t be surprised if he is unfavorably “judged” by the passerby for his careless handling of his animals and trespassing. But, still, I assure him that no one will prevent him from secretly praising his lovely ‘dogs’, because, for some people, love is unconditional as expressed here am I to judge that?

As I mentioned in my previous article, it is true that during the reign of both emperor Menelik and Haileselassie, the majority of Ethiopians were excluded by design, not due to the lack of resources per se, from getting access to modern education and destitution was rampant. For most people, Ethiopia was a big prison where the emperor was the judge and the prosecutor. That is why I responded to the professor’s unqualified mention of the emperors with, as it were, strong condemnation. Let’s not pretend here, and admit the dark side of our history, and move on.

However, whether we are dog lovers or not, I realize there is room for the professor and I to work together in advancing the plight of immigrant Ethiopians in Saudi Arabia, rather than engaging ourselves in perpetual rebuttal on the internet. An old African adage has it, “When elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers most.” We shouldn’t waste our precious time blaming the current or past governments for the current quagmire our citizens in Saudi find themselves in, because it doesn’t help their cause. From what has been broadcast on the news outlets, the Saudis didn’t order only Ethiopian immigrants to leave their country, even though Ethiopians were the ones who suffered the most. Indians, Philippines, Bangladesh, Eritreans, and Yemenis were also expelled from Saudi Arabia. So, why don’t we make this an international cause by galvanizing able people from the countries whose citizens were directly affected by the actions of the Saudis?  

So here is a simple message from a student to a professor: after all, there is life after a constructive criticism, and the proof is in the pudding.

I wish him a happy Thanksgiving Day.


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