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Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Why can't we be Ethiopian first?

Samuel Gebru
For the past months I have mentioned on my blog and other venues that the Ethiopian community in the diaspora is seemingly more divided than it is united. I also mentioned how our divisions are over superficial things that have over-occupied the lives of our self-appointed theorists and human rights activists, who, by the way, tend to do more damage than repair.

Lately, I have been following up on various Ethiopian organizations established in the diaspora that are led the youth and adults. What I have noticed is quite interesting—although not surprising. Ethiopian organizations in the diaspora that are led by youth are usually much freer from the disgusting and harmful divisions that apparently divide our diaspora community. The adult-led organizations tend to focus heavily on ethno-regional matters and refuse to look at the bigger picture.

To our diaspora youth community, being Ethiopian is something to be really proud of. Its no secret that a lot of us when asked to fill out our race check the “Other” box and write “Ethiopian” instead of check the “Black/African American” box. When asked in school if we are black, most of us respond: “I’m Ethiopian.” Regardless of whether I think this is a good thing or not, I don’t notice this attitude from adults and the adult-run Ethiopian organizations.

A lot of Ethiopian adults in our diaspora community associate more of a bond with their ethnicity than being Ethiopian. It is very good—and important—to know and celebrate one’s ethnic heritage. As a Tigrayan myself I have always encouraged other Tigrayan youth to learn about the open-air museum we come from. However, what I have not and will not encourage is the separation of a particular history or culture from the multicultural mosaic we call Ethiopia. The way most adults in our community have been using ethnicity is to enclose ourselves into small cabinets without realizing we live in a kitchen.

Ethnic community organizations and community centers have sprouted all over the United States, Canada and Europe doing more harm than good. Many youth wonder why we don’t see each other on regular occasions and why it is that Ethiopians only get together when someone dies or is married. For instance, recently I went to a wonderful wedding that saw a cross-section of Ethiopians—politically, religiously and ethnically. It was an amazing occasion, far better than any exclusive ethnic event.

Surely there is no straightforward answer to solving this problem of building ethnic enclaves in the diaspora. Nonetheless, just like a government has different departments and agencies all working in coordination with a same statement of being (i.e. Constitution), Ethiopians in the diaspora should work to simply create ethnically, politically and religiously inclusive Ethiopian Community Associations that service the direct needs of people. As for charitable activities in the homeland, these Ethiopian Community Associations could be able to create concurrent projects in different regions of Ethiopia based off the demographics and interests of their members.

Ethiopian youth in the diaspora have bypassed waiting for the adults to act. Organizations and student campus groups are popping up regularly all over the world with Ethiopian students eagerly ready to help any region. You even have Ethiopian students fundraising in collaboration with Eritrean students for each other’s homeland—ironic? There’s a joke that Ethiopian and Eritrean youth create “Habesha” student clubs in their schools so their parents wouldn’t object working with “the enemy.”

Saturday, 24 July 2010

ESAT: What is in Name ?

Tedla Asfaw

I read a piece by Wondem Hindessa Abdu, "ESAT: What is in Name ? , July 24 " posted on Ethiopian websites about the "Baby" called ESAT that was struggling to be born in last May and after few days of its "birth" it ended in "hospital". Early June when I heard its serious "illness" I wrote a piece and posted on many websites, "Meles Zenawis' Information Terror". On that piece I coined "fire", "esat" for ESAT. I am not surprised according to your finding that back home Ethiopians called it "esat", fire too.

Our people are forward looking people and they want to get their information other than TPLF 24/7 propaganda. The challenge for ESAT is huge as you said. I wish you provided us with the cost of running such program. I wonder why Eri-TV Amharic and Oromoffia were allowed to run smoothly for almost ix years while the baby ESAT was attacked at its young age ? If ESAT is Esaias Afeworki Television according to TPLF wise men what do they call Eri-TV ?

Is Esaias a boggy man TPLF would like to have to keep its Tribal supporters on line ? Long Live Eri-TV and Death for ESAT, it seems. We know what is good for us !!!

Friday, 23 July 2010

Blessing or curse?

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Tewdros Andhanom, Minister of Health, told Awramba Times that it is a blessing to work with Meles. Of course it is! If you are one of his hand-picked lieutenants expected to heap accolade on one of Africa's most reviled tyrants, no doubt it is a blessing. Ask the ordinary people in Ethiopia. They can tell you the curse that has befallen on the poor nation since the tyrant came to power. They know the curse as they live it everyday.

Tewdros also says that he has neither the qualities nor the talent to replace his boss. In fact, that is the very reason he was selected to be a minister. Tyrants always employ negative selection to make sure that they are surrounded by incompetent and talentless people who will say yes to anything to please their boss.

That is a blessing...being a butler to a ruthless tyrant. After all, Tewdros can't have his own opinion as long as he lives in the pocket of a dictator.
Dictators favour those who come out and say they are nowhere near the talents of the boss. In other words, serving the boss is the very pupose of their existence How pathetic is the life of talentless people like the servants of the despot!

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Failure is not an option

The Ethiopian Satellite Service is back again with its rallying call: Failure is not option. That is exactly what the heroine leader Birtukan Mideksa had said.

Despite the fact that transmissions to Ethiopia have been off air for nearly a month due to unidentified electronic interference beamed on the frequencies of ESAT, the management and the international advisory board have been looking into ways of bypassing the jamming. Now the effort has been successful.

It may be an understatement to claim that we are living in an information age. One of the measures of development has now been access to information. Unfortunately, in countries like Ethiopia where tyrants make every effort to block the free flow of information, and thereby muffle some inconvenient truth, is making progress more difficult.

No matter how hard tyrants try to stop Ethiopians from accessing, sharing and communicating information, there are innovative solutions for almost every kind of man-made problems. Unlike the dark ages, one of the manifestations of the information age is enlightenment. Ethiopians will have to catch up with the rest of the world.

As any efforts to hinder our unfettered access to information is illegal, evil, backward and antithesis to human progress, the Meles regime has to desist from jamming radio broadcasts, blocking websites, closing newspapers and jailing the journalists. All of these crimes are being well registered with local and international human rights groups that will continue to expose the stupidity, criminality and backwardness of the tyrannical regime, which doesn’t still accept the rights of citizens to live in freedom without any fear of being the victims of all sorts of bandits and tyrants in power.

Those of us who have been making efforts to facilitate and promote the free flow of information should take our motto more seriously. Addis Voice also believes that FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION…