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                    Sure Indeed "learned men" lost sight of Ethiopia's new paradigm Part I

Shashu H., Seattle , WA

I was prompted and could not help but respond to an article titled “Citizens’ charter for a democratic Ethiopia ” that was posted by www.ethiolion.com.  I would like to thank this group of men for their transparency and candid gesture to share their clear stand regarding our country’s situation.

How could a group that declares and propagates nonpartisanship call on the dissolution of the Ethiopian government?   A nonpartisan according to the English Webster dictionary is one that is “free from party affiliation, bias, or designation”.  Our “learned men” however, contradict themselves and show us that they are giving lip service to nonpartisanship.  Their own statements reveal their partisanship to a certain small number of Diaspora opposition.

Their charter is filled with bias and stipulates that Ethiopia has no constitution and no government.  It tries to make us believe that the country and its people are living in the most chaotic environment.  They disguise themselves as democratic but all they are feeding us is their own personal discontent which has nothing to do on whether the country is thriving or not.  If that was the case why are millions of Ethiopians going back and forth to Ethiopia to visit their relatives, invest, educate and help the country in every secto r?  According to our “learned men” when they think of Ethiopia they only think of doom and gloom but the light is shining bright in Ethiopia and has already lit the genuine minds and hearts of Ethiopians in all walks of life.  I wonder if our “learned men” are depicting and reflecting the disgruntled spirit of middle age crisis.   They cannot fathom to see the country going forward with development.  They seem to be delusional to the unflinching commitment of the Ethiopian people to eradicate poverty from the face of Ethiopia .

Our “learned men” are entitled to express their point of view.  It is also their prerogative to oppose any political organization.  However, it is insulting when they are undermining the objective reality.  To them Ethiopia in the past did not create a problem to any of the diverse nationalities that live in the country.  They say nothing of the inequities that existed and give a deaf ear to acknowledging the disparity that existed prior to the EPRDF government.  They try to persuade us to go back to our old way of life as if th e previous regimes left us a legacy of peace and prosperity.  It is the legacy of the “ancien regimes” that has left us with poverty and inequity and they decline from accepting that truth.   

How could our “learned men” forget what Ethiopia and Ethiopians had to endure?  It is the very nature of divide and rule of the Imperial era and the divisive rule of fascist Mengistu that our “learned men” fail to mention or refuse to accept.  They attribute everything and anything to the current government.  They are quick to discredit the EPRDF and swallow the progress the country has enjoyed under the new vision of EPRDF.  You would expect to see tolerance and exemplary stature of magnanimity from one that calls itself nonpartisan.  But on the contrary we see pompous men who give lip service to empowering women and yet fail to include a single woman in their formation of a group of so called nonpartisanship.  Are there not any women that espouse their construed charter?  Way to go sisters!

I am reminded of a story that “Joel Barker”, a futurist talked about in his book “The future of paradigms”.  I will summarize and tell the story.  It is my hope the analogy will trigger our “learned men” to be willing to question their paradigm.  It was a story he told about the Swiss watch makers.  The story goes like this.  The engineers of the Swiss watch makers came up with a new innovation, the digital watch.  They showed their management the digital watches so that it would be manufactured.  However, the top management of the Swiss watch makers was complacent and could not see the digital watch replace their old technology.  It was on the occasion of an annual convention that the engineers displayed their work.  Upon seeing the innovation of the digital watch “Seiko” of Japan and “Texas Instruments” of USA picked the technology and digital watch became the new paradigm.  Why were the Swiss watch makers not able to see this new innovation that was soon to engulf the world?  Joel Barker asserts that they were blinded by their old paradigm.  Indeed they were held by their old paradigm and lost the opportunity to gain 80% of the global market.

Our “learned men” are so blinded by their old paradigm that they have refused to see the flourishing of Ethiopia with its diverse group.  It is no more the domination of one ethnic group over the other but the equal access and equal participation of each ethnic group that Ethiopia is leading to the new millennium. 

Whether our “learned men” recognize the new paradigm or not Ethiopia is resolutely moving forward to tackle its problems.  The nationalities of Ethiopia are working hand in hand to do away with poverty to eradicate backwardness once and for all.  Whether our “learned men” want to indulge themselves in intellectual gymnastics as arm chaired revolutionaries or not, the young Ethiopians are acquiring positions of leadership, assuming their generational responsibility to maintain the health of our nation.  Whether our “learned men” fail to see the progress or not Ethiopia will be opening up 13 Universities in January of 2007.  Whether our “learned men” want to deceive their audience by camouflaging themselves as democratic or not Ethiopia and all Ethiopians of every nationality are looking to a bright future as potential productive players in the global market.  Whether our “learned men” want to nag us in the name of NES or their charter Ethiopia is celebrating its diversity and strengthening its unity. 

Our “learned men” are so full of themselves that they cannot swallow the existence of a constitution that respects the right of all ethnic groups and individuals in Ethiopia .  They talk about reinstating the hollow spirit of the by gone “Ethiopaiwinet” that never recognized the many disadvantaged ethnic groups.  It is precisely because there was disparity and oppression of our many ethnic groups that dictated the emergence of the right of each and every nationality to benefit.  Ethiopia ’s ethnic groups are diligently working to reflect the true tapestry of Ethiopia , its different ethnic groups. 

The light is being illumined because today each of the Ethiopian nationalities with its heritage as Oromo, Somali, Walita, Gambella, Amhara, Kembata, Tigrai, Sidama, Adere etc. is exercising its right to speak, teach and learn in its own language and celebrate its culture.  These nationalities today have actually established the true spirit of Ethiopiawinet by forging ahead as one and simultaneously embracing each others diversity.  This fellow “learned men” is Ethiopiawinet.  Ethiopiawinet today is not just a word we whimsically use but it has actually become a material force where each of the Ethiopian nationalities has forged a conscious union.  To the dismay of our “learned men” these diverse ethnic groups agreed to make Amharic the official language.  They did that not to please any one but because they understood the viability of having an official language to work collectively. 

Our “learned men” seem to ignore the painstaking journey that one has to take to bring any kind of change.  Change has its process, and moves in a quantitative manner until it reaches its destined summit to make a qualitative change.  It is the culmination of several processes that gives birth to a new phenomenon.   Life is dynamic and if one accepts its dynamism then the secret is to be able to come up to speed with change.  Those that are disoriented will cry foul and the “learned men” are not only crying but they are now sobbing because they cannot move with the change.   They have fallen behind and now they have resorted to pleading to reinstate the old order.  They are not only deceiving us but they are first and foremost deceiving themselves. 

To be continued