Dr Merara Gudina’s pathetic fallacy
By Dilwenberu Nega
June 01 2011
Gone are the days when the people of Ethiopia used to give pride of place to PhD holders, when they used to look upon them as paladins of virtue and when they used to regard whatever they uttered as gospel truth. Now with the employment market bubbling with genuine and bogus PhDs, outlooks started to change. Many have today rid themselves from the anachronistic view that PhD holders had automatic right to leadership. There, indeed, is much truth in this. For instance, which of the leaders of the Group of 20 (G20) most industrialised nations are PhD holders? This is not to say that Ethiopians regard academic excellence as mumbo-jumbo. On the contrary, Ethiopians attach great importance to academia, but refuse to be either hood-winked or arm-twisted by self-delusional elites. Cynicism with PhD holders emanates from a frustration of realising that in many cases the performance of PhD holders is at variance with their degrees.
Many are, then, ill disposed toward Dr Merrara Guidina – an erudite figure in the hastily cobbled together Medrek – for he is more often than not seen given to droll. While they, of course, agree for politicians, especially opposition politicians, not to be tongue-in-cheek, they nonetheless insist that a gap exists between speaking one’s mind and weighing one’s words – something like what the Brits term “mind your Ps and Qs”. The trick would then be to constantly mind the gap. It is said that the rule of thumbs governing politicians’ discourse are two. First, if you have nothing sensible to say, shut up. Secondly, if you do have something sensible to say, then say it sensitively.
Merrara Gudina’s merra (bitter) Dam gaffe
Much has been said and written about Merrara’s catalogue of gaffes, but none as bitter as his recent Grand Millennium Dam gaffe. Bitter, because it smacks on the face of the unadulterated unity and patriotism which Ethiopians have manifested following EPDRF government’s courageous decision to take the bull by the horns and give the go-ahead for the Grand Renaissance Dam. For Merara Gudina to display the Machiavelli in him on the airwaves by dividing Ethiopians into Ye Abay Lejoch and non-Abay Lejoch (please refer to clip on www.aigaforum.com) is not only a despicable act of sowing toxic seeds of discord among the society, but it goes a long way to indicate where his true allegiance and fidelity resides.
One, then, does not have to be a renowned Addis Ababa University Professor of Political Science to realise that the construction of the “by-us-and-for-us-dam” is in tune with the spirit and heart-beat of all Ethiopians. Everywhere one travels in Ethiopia one sees the sheer ecstasy of both joy and rue that Prime Minister Meles Zenawi’s famous “I know what the answer of Ethiopians would be” speech - delivered minutes before he laid the foundation stone for the hydro-electric dam on the 2nd April 2011 - has generated among Ethiopians from all walks of life, including across the political divide. Joy as they begin realize that we managed to take such a decisive step because Ethiopia is now at peace with herself, because today’s Ethiopia is pluralistically democratic, because we are diplomatically robust, economically strong and militarily a power to be reckoned with.
The children of the Nile are the children of Ethiopia
The month of May witnessed three Ethiopian PhD holders committing laughable Dam gaffes over the air waves. Dr Getachew Begashaw from the ejected and rejected EPRF made a futile attempt in his VOA interview to portray the people’s unprecedented support to build the Dam as being the result of “a coercive government action”, while Dr Said Nor on Deutche Velle insulted the intelligence of Ethiopians by equating their surge of confidence to giving in to emotionalism. And now we have waggish Dr Merara Gudina telling his interviewer “le Abay lejoch bota lekeki” which means “Leave your place for the children of the Nile.” Any fool would understand the intended pun in his statement. Many have from the start been arguing for the non-politicization of the Dam by any individual, group or party. The bottom-line here is a consensual agreement that the Dam will also dam Ethiopia’s traditional enemy number one – extreme poverty. In which planet, then, do this troika of self-delusional intellectuals reside? How can we make it clear to them that the Ethiopian Abroad is by and large hyphenated from the obtaining conditions in Ethiopia? The trouble with opponents of EPDRF has remained one of blindly opposing anything and everything EPDRF does, which explains for their current state of stupor. Nor for that matter has much changed in Medrek-city where maverick Merrara’s untamed tongue continues to widen Medrek’s rift with the public. This state of affair constitutes manna from heaven for EPDRF. May they all rest in peace! Amen!
We all are Ye Abaye Lejoch because for the water that went into Abay is the water that rained on the whole of Ethiopia. Hands off the Hedase Dam!!