Ethiopia needs to set its sight on becoming the leader of the black world, i.e., the black people of the world, argues Zekaria Ali.
If we call England "Great Britain," I don't know what we have to call Ethiopia. Undeniably, England has a rich history and dominance that covers culture and language. I'd argue that Ethiopia has a far richer history than England.
As an Ethiopian living in Europe, I've witnessed the surprised looks of Europeans when they learned that the temperature in Ethiopia rarely exceeds 30 degree Celsius in most of the country, Ethiopians have their own calendar and time, or even an indigenous democratic system. Most Europeans don't know these and other historical facts about us. They know about our coffee, Haile Selassie, Abebe Bikila, our poverty and sometimes Haile Gebreselassie.
They don't know we were a civilized nation when they were hunters and gatherers. They don't know that we were aspiring to take control of the then known world when the West was a wasteland. They don't know that we were the inspiration behind the freedom movement of African countries and black people living in the Caribbean islands and the Americas. They don't even know we were the muse behind Bob Marley's hit songs.
Atheists in the West who believe in evolution should call Ethiopia "Motherland," because the oldest fossils were found here. Creationists (Believers) should acknowledge Ethiopia's role in the preservation and promotion of the two largest religions of the world- Christianity and Islam. Obviously, I might be biased but these are facts.
My point is there is no other black nation on the face of the earth that can claim this type of rich historical heritage other than Ethiopia.
Do we need a leader in the black world?
The West is predominantly white with European origin living in Europe, North America, New Zealand and Australia. This segment of the world is known for sticking together and promoting similar political, economic and social policies that is in their favor and is markedly different from the rest of the world. For the last 100 years the West has been led by USA. The reason for this is America's advancement in technology, strong economy as well as military might.
When compared to the West, the black world, which includes all of Africa, the Caribbean islands and the Americans with African descent, is divided and too far apart. Not only we don't have similar ideologies, unlike the West, but also often we find it hard to agree on policies, to trade with each other as well as to freely travel within our boundaries. In my opinion, the reason for this is that we don't have a strong country like the USA that can lead and unite us.
Ethiopia is the only qualified country on earth to fill this position of leadership in the black world. The reasons are: the historical reasons mentioned above, the military strength of Ethiopia, the fact that Ethiopia is the seat of AU, we are host to one of the largest refugee groups in the world, the key roles we played to bring peace to war torn countries, the fact that we have one of the fastest growing economies in the world, and so on. We are also a nation of people who don't feel inferior to the West.
The benefits of adopting this vision
If Ethiopia adopts leading the black world as its strategic vision, it will benefit immensely. Here are some of the most important benefits:
Internally, this becomes the unifying factor for all ethnic groups.
As Ethiopia works aggressively to become the leader of the black world, it solves most of its own internal economic and social problems.
As no other black nation is working to this end, Ethiopia will be central in the diplomatic world both with the West and other black nations.
As the government teaches this vision at all levels, Ethiopians will be people with loft goals and hence lead their lives accordingly.
In the journey to become the oasis of unity to the black world, we become internally united.
In order to become the political leader of the black world, we will work aggressively to be leaders in economy, military, technology, science and culture.
In conclusion, as long as we try to define ourselves by our ethnic group and language, we will forever be divided and full of conflicts. Unless we find a higher and compelling vision that transcends our basic differences, it will be impossible to be united as one nation that is powerful and prosperous. We need to adopt a grand, national strategic vision that can inspire every citizen to be the best version of themselves. To me that vision is to aspire to become the leader of the black world. I argue that if we work as a nation towards that end, we will be strong, united, prosperous and respected globally.
Ed.'s Note: The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of The Reporter. The writer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Contributed by Zekaria Ali