‘Zeraf’ the Good -A Short Note
Smeneh April 4, 2014
Zeraf is one Ethiopian word that I hold accountable
for the stubborn and uncompromising mentality that we Ethiopians suffer when it
comes to resolving our internal political differences. Win or lose are choices
we seem to recognize as best outcomes. A win-win solution eludes us. This is
one great void that we Ethiopians have to fill if we want a smooth
transformation of our country to progress and development in all its forms –social-political-
economic. However, this is a topic for another time.
But, and this is a big but, the word zeraf has
another important social and political meaning in Ethiopia. In fact it
is one of the most important concepts of mobilizing Ethiopians in protecting
the country from outside invaders.
Ethiopians invoke the true meaning and concept of the word
‘zeraf’ when it is a matter of survival. And whenever they say Zeraf, they have
always ended in triumph even when attacked by the world’s modern and strong
armies. That is why Ethiopians, when they are certain that truth is on their
side, always confide in their triumph. In Zeraf we became triumphant against
foreign invaders in Dogali, Metema, and Adwa- a battleground that has become a
symbol of pride to all Africans and justice loving people of the world.
The New Enemy and its cure: Abay (Nile)
But there is one cruel enemy that has has been bleeding us
Ethiopians declared new enemy, as coined by their late Prime
Minister, is now poverty. Eradicating poverty has become the mainstay of the
Ethiopian psych at this moment in time.
Ethiopians have embraced this concept to the heart that no
one considers it a mere slogan. It is a call to action; a call that has found
an eternal meaning in the grand Abay scheme – the Great Ethiopian Renaissance
Everyone that claims a drop of an Ethiopian ‘blood’ – for
lack of a better term – has put all its eggs in one basket. Building the dam
is not a matter choice. It is something that has to be done if we are to continue
to keep the Ethiopian nation for future generations. Ethiopia can only continue
and become a respected nation if it can get rid of poverty and pave the way for
its citizens to be proud and stand tall among the nations of the world.
Even more, the renaissance of Ethiopia is intrinsically
co-joined with the interest of black Africa. It has been Africa’s symbol of
resistance and a struggle for independence. Ethiopia has contributed to the
emancipation of fellow Africans than any other nation in the world. But mere
independence is not enough. Africans can only be free if they can rid
themselves of poverty, build their own generic democratic governance system,
keep their economic independence and stand for justice.
It is then not surprising that Ethiopians, and black Africans
in general, are invoking the ‘Zeraf’ battle-cry against poverty with an equal
zeal and force they employ against foreign invaders. Building, protecting, and
promoting the GERD is one sure way to permanently cripple if not eliminate
poverty in Ethiopia, By extension this will create a renewed energy, vigor and
hope in Africa paving the way for more development and political as well as
economic independence from outside powers.
Many have written on the benefits of the GERD to all
riparian countries. Egypt seems not to be convinced of the benefits. Internal
political upheavals, old politics of antagonism sprinkled with a little bit of
jealousy could the reasons behind Egypt’s intransigent stance. But with time
it will be forced to accept realities of the equitable use of resources where
the interest of no one is compromised.
In the meantime, Ethiopians have to increase their velocity,
maintain their acceleration and do what they can to finish this project in the
shortest possible time. This is the decade that shows the world that Ethiopia
is on the verge of lifting itself from poverty. It is an Ethiopian ‘lift-off’
History attests that there will be people who will stand
with the enemy for personal gains. They will do no measurable harm and we
should not waste our time talking about them. There will also be negative
forces a la Alemayehu Mariam who who maybe irritants for many. But having
negative voices is not bad: they will help us identify our week points. In
short our efforts and resources should be put where they matter most. And
these people may come to their senses after all.
As a last reminder, it is important that the GERD officials
step up their campaign to sell bonds and solicit help of every kind from the
Diaspora Ethiopians. While acknowledging that it is Ethiopians at the home
front that will ultimately do the great bulk of the financing, the support of
Diaspora Ethiopians is crucial. Hence, the need for a more active official
Ethiopia is aiming high and it shall be great.