Zeraf’ the Good -A Short Note


                                                                Zeraf’ the Good -A Short Note

                                                                                    Kelemu 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 for centuries.

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 Dam.

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’ moment.

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 facilitation abroad.

Ethiopia is aiming high and it shall be great.




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