Ethiopia: Back to the Future


The drastic alteration of our life style witnessed following the newly introduced political ideology in the aftermath of the downfall of the military regime reminds me of the movie -'the gods must be crazy'.

The movie begins with a depiction of how the Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert lived in peace and love. They were happy, united and their cultural norms were not disturbed by any intrusion of the modern world. They were free from hatred, jealousy, envy and socio-cultural ordeal has remained intact; until a pilot who was crossing over their village in a helicopter dropped an empty bottle of coca cola. A child found it.

That simple bottle, the kind of which no one in the village has ever seen before was amusing. But in a short a while, children began fighting to own it. For the first time in their lives, one of the children hit the other with that bottle and the kid started to cry. Parents began to quarrel among themselves because of it. One began to insult the other. They stopped to eat together and the evil spirit of enmity started to lurk around the village. It ends with a funny scene; with a man trying to take that bottle to the end of earth and throw it away; realizing that it was the root cause of social chaos in the community.

From 1991-2018

What happened to us before the coming into power of the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) has had serious impact on our social and cultural norms. True, we owe the party for bringing a new political change and era of democratization-at least in principle. Expectations hurt. The new ideology turned out to be a toxic ethnocentric federal structure.

The multiparty system became symbolic was primarily dominated by the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF). Our unity started to deteriorate and each and every of our precious value systems began to fall apart. Words like Amhara, Gurage, Oromo, inter alia, were made to inculcate in the minds of the society. TPLF brainwashed our long established national integrity from many of the people under a pretext of ethnic freedom.

Our communal way of existence had been hijacked by ethnicity, religion and other denominations. Trust we had developed through years of peaceful coexistence withered and a new dubious life style started to flourish. In essence, what has been witnessed was like a torturing nightmare; which couldn't wake up from.

National integrity and unity were replaced by secession and disintegration; the latter gained recognition even by the country's constitution. People were grouped under religion and ethnicity in a way they should never mix. A divided house will never stay still; and people were made to focus on framed ethnic and religious matters. They will never have the chance to look at the bigger picture. The mischievousness of their 'divide and rule' trickery did in fact serve its purpose and TPLF remained in power for 27 years. But the fate of this country was, in fact, in the hand of almighty God; and days of redemption came in His time.

Before 1991 back to the days we remember

Don't expect me to take you that far; as the farthest time I vividly remember is forty years ago; during tender age of nine. In those days of political atrocity, the social bondage of the people everywhere in the country was highly intact. Everything was quite fine and all the Ethiopians stood in unison to relinquish the brutality of the military rule.

There are no any constructed abstractions which might lead to societal chaos and everything was quite fine and peaceful like a still water and a green valley. Everything; you could even cherish the blessing of God with the morning sun that was truly nourished with vitamin D. Farmers harvested a healthy and organic grains. Sad to say, the bloodiest war that lasted 17 years and politics in the aftermath of victory destroyed them all.

Learned communal ethics served as important guidelines that controlled how you eat your food, how you greet people, how to respect elders and how to stay loyal to your parents, teachers in school and to yourself as well. The task of controlling each and every move of children was the responsibility of the community; not just by parents. All parents in the village are equally responsible to nurture children of the village. We were punished by the elderly for any misconduct or trespass of the unwritten ethical codes of the society.

There prevailed a high standard of normative values and the majority of the youth lived purpose driven kind of life. Addictions and societal disorders were hardly visible among the youth and hence had high level of moral standards to fight for achieve their goals. The youth were not spoiled by detrimental habits like smoking cigarette and Hookahs, and chewing khat. Children and the youth obeyed their parents under any circumstance. Education was the highest virtue the youth could have.

No social discriminating or disturbance based on religion or ethnic back ground ever existed. People were living in peace, love and harmony with a simple common ground of being Ethiopian; and paying greater tribute to unity of their country. It was only brutality of the military regime that was unbearable to them. Otherwise, society was united under the big umbrella called Ethiopianism.

The future

The coming into power of Dr. Abiy Ahmed signaled restoration of our long lost social values. True, we are entertaining one of the gloomiest days of ethnic orchestrated mayhems in the last couple of years. We are harvesting what has been sawn by TPLF. But the promise of the future is overwhelming to Ethiopia. There comes a moment in time when people become united for a common purpose of building the country.

The toxic substance of ethnocentrism would cease to exist; along with the perpetrators who infused it into our blood. Amhara, Oromo, Sidama, Tigre or Somali, among others, would have meaning nothing more than people of some culture; and free from any political connotations.

A united Ethiopia that is stronger in the region and influential in African politics would start to evolve once again. I have a strong conviction on the Abiy's government; which is established on fundamental norms of equality, unity and unity. He is laying the egg today. The future generation will hatch it when the right time comes.

More From: Ethiopian Herald

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