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Who is Ethiopian?

 

By Sisay G.

 

Letís talk the hard talk

With no simile or metaphor

Letís talk the candid talk

Without sarcasm, satire or anecdote.

 

Who is Ethiopian who is foreign?

Who is the child in this house who is alien?

Could you say youíre more Ethiopian than me,

Though weíve grown up on the same motherís knee?

 

I say Iím Ethiopian, but I see you say ĎnoíÖ

 

Is my skin color sufficient,

To claim that Iím as Ethiopian as my litigant?

Am I dark enough or suitably light,

To maintain my birthright?

 

What should I show to my Ethiopianness?

 

Is it my accent when I speak Amharic?

Is it my tone when I do the rhetoric?

Is it my choice of words or the topic

That determine if my Ethiopianness is authentic?

 

Is it my Amharic name or my persona?

What if Iím tolosa, or zeberga, tewelde, or tona?

Should I be smart or idiot, tall or short?

To convince you that Iím as Ethiopian as you assert.

 

To prove that Iím Ethiopian,

Do Iíve to sing Tizita

Or do Iíve to dance esksta

What if I dance ebo lala, or shegoye?

Or sing Kuname and Gumaye

 

Is my Ethiopianness put in suspicion?

If I have a different opinion or estimation

If I discuss the bad side of our history?

Or if I believe truly to the contrary?

Is it my contribution to my nation?

or is it the empty love words that count,

Or do I need a DNA test?

Or should I swear at a court?

Was not the blood my forefathers shed thick enough?

Or was it less red in color

Or less complex in its structure.

 

Where should I come from?

Should I be from north or south or the middle?

From the highland or low land?

What ethnicity should I belong to

For my Ethiopianess to be count-to

 

What should I do to be an Ethiopian when Iím told

My birth is not enough?

 

Will I be disqualified if Iím a little bit different?

Will all my good intentions put in distrust and doubt?

If I negate century old delusion

Dare to face long held misconception?

 

Is it not suffice that I love my country?

That I sincerely care for all the citizenry

And do what it takes to improve our lives

Making sacrifices of my youth, my success or my life.

 

Do I need necessarily to do the ĎI love youí talk?

But youíll never mind if I walk the talk?

What if my expression is in deeds, not in words?

With no offence to my siblings

Who do it that way or otherwise?

 

But, no matter what you say

You can never take my spirit away.

I donít say Iím more Ethiopian than you,

And commit the same mistake of Ďholier-than-thouí

But I am as Ethiopian as you allege

Just different in my ways and approach.

 

January, 2012


Powering Africa: Ethiopia

 


 


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