Ethiopia’s Sputnik Moment and the Moribund Diaspora
By Hindeya Mebrahtu
April. 25 2011
On the Millennium Dam
It is common place these days to observe the few Ethiopian elites in the west doing all their level best to undermine all the efforts of the Ethiopian government to haul the country from the quagmire of poverty. Many people have written extensively over this fact. Now, I will only try to reflect my understanding why these delusional individual members of the diasporas engage in a crusade to undermine the interest of their country and why they will not succeed in achieving their ill begotten dreams.
Criticizing the government for its failures and striving to consolidate on its achievements is what at the bare minimum we expect from our intellectuals. What we witness in the character of these “know all” individuals is, however, only trying to stymie all the undertakings taken by EPRDF as a government. The mendacity and virulent nature of their campaign and opposition is reflected when they blatantly oppose the effort of the government to build the Millennium Dam on the course of the Nile. The interesting part of their actions is that it betrays all rational explanations. Even no esoteric interests confined solely to the families and friends of these extreme diasporas is served by their ill conceived plans. In fact, by doing so they are trying to deny their own children and grand children a nation to proudly call home.
Well, I surmise one asking me that these individuals well educated and intelligent as they are, how I dare say they are on the wrong side of history? My answer is education is not necessarily a guarantee to enlightenment. I would then add the horrors of the 20th century such as the ll world war were committed by the most intelligent people. I would not discuss the importance of education as it would mean insulting the intelligence of my readers.
In their perverted calculation and logic, they seem to opt for Ethiopia to remain with out the Millennium Dam than having one as long as the current leadership is in power. In other words, our peoples experience of hunger that could be alleviated by harnessing our dams, lack of factories that impacts employment and poor infrastructure is much better than EPRDF leadership plus food self sufficiency, bustling factories and advanced infrastructure. So all the clamors of these disgruntled individuals about democracy and economy is window dressing.
Building the Millennium Dam for Ethiopians has remained a dream deferred for more than a century. This time, however, the will, commitment and potential of our government to turn that dream in to reality is no longer farfetched. It is History in the Making.
In October 14, 1957 the Soviet Union successfully launched Sputnik I in to the space. The launch was huge and monumental moment as it ushered in new technological advancement. The world changed forever.
As such, launching of the Five Year GTP and the building of the Millennium Dam is a SPUTNIK MOMENT for Ethiopians. The successful completion of the GTP and the Dam will transform the country like never before. Halcyon days are in sight!
So, why are these self styled professors and intellectuals of the diasporas opposing building of the Millennium Dam?
Looking at what I said earlier as their perverted logic and calculation, I couldn’t find any other explanation other than blind hatred towards the leadership of the EPRDF, particularly PMMZ. Unlike the people who have almost completed the metamorphoses of ethnic and religious tolerance, these die hard Diaspora elements are suffering from a disease called racism. And racism is blind. It denies you all the advantages of exercising a reasoned and moral judgment.
The Farce about their Revolution
I know stating that any movement or revolution starts with an idea of citizens being wrongly treated by the system is stating the obvious. The grievances that lead to revolution are economic and political. But this does not mean the existence of any economic problems and an inchoate democracy necessarily results in revolution. I believe the political and economic grievances of any people bring about revolutions only when the threshold for forbearance on the part of the people is over stepped by harsh conditions.
The EPRDF government had bequeathed Ethiopia with its long list of deeper malaises. The backlogs of the country’s problems were too many.
A closer examination at the country now and looking at it in retrospect the last twenty years, a reasonable person would give a verdict of the performance of the EPRDF, specially in the last seven years as magnificent. That is what the World Bank and The IMF have witnessed unless you call these organizations as weyane.
I am not oblivious to the economic problems of the large section of our society. Albeit improvements in the economy, we have a long way to go to get out of the shackles of poverty. But one thing is certain. Things are not going from bad to worse.
The question is, if poverty and authoritarian government was the only experience Ethiopians know and if both the economy and the nascent democracy is growing now, how is it the toxic diasporas are imagining revolution?
Bearing in mind what I mentioned above with respect of the threshold of forbearance as key element for revolution, can we say the people’s expectation of the government in its delivery of the public goods elapse the achievement of the EPRDF government? The answer is in the negative. I say negative because since the advent of EPRDF to power, the economic and political opportunities are becoming more accessible to the public from year to year. The diasporas expectation of revolution in Ethiopia while things are changing for the better is imagination out of context. So toxic diasporas, you are living in a dream with in a dream. Too many layers and the awakening will not be easy so long as you do not believe the sun has risen.
Happy Easter to Ethiopians
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