An Accidental Hero or a Child of Prophecy in Waiting?
Samuel Estefanous April 10, 2018
For confirmed movie buffs with marked inclination towards the ‘comedy-drama’ genre, Accidental Hero needs no introduction. It must have secured ‘cult’ following status or something, I mean after all it is an all-star ensemble with Geena Davis, Dustin Hoffman and Andy Garcia in starring roles.
Here is what I would very much like to know. Is our new Premier an accidental hero or a child of prophecy? I think both ways plausible persuasive arguments could be forwarded.
What I remember vividly about the movie is, when it was ‘premiered’ in Addis half a dozen years after the official release; we had the chance to watch it at Cinema Ethiopia ‘cos it was cheaper to watch movies at Cinema Ethiopia in those days, may be still is. God, time is indeed ‘a winged chariot’ as a good friend of mine tends to quote every now and then! Whew, we all are aging fast except for the blessed few.
You see, in the movie, the true ‘Hero’ is actually a screwed up father, a lousy husband and worse still a con man in his everyday life. The ‘Accidental Hero’ who usurps the limelight on the contrary is a goodie- goodie sort in actual life. The theme is quite unlike the simplistic ‘hero and anti-hero’ kind where the good guy suffers while the bad guy gets all the kudos at the former expense and how later justice is done and stuff. Incidentally, it makes me wonder how folks get the patience to watch through such predictable simplistic movies from end to end.
From bit and pieces being thrown around, in a way Dr. Abiy impresses me as your quintessential accidental hero who has ably risen to the occasion. Indeed in most instances than not, it is circumstances that make a leader not premeditated enduring schemes.
And there is Joan of Arc and the undying prophecy as of old that a young humble peasant girl would rise to save France from British hegemony that preceded her actual appearance in French history. The fact of the matter is a young peasant maiden in her late teens did come to the rescue of France and she did change the course of French and European history.
Dr.Abiy’s mother-a native of Burrayu-who had settled in a garrison looking town in the South-Western pocket of the country had instilled the spirit of perseverance and faith in endless possibilities in her son and had prophesied he would assume the throne of Menelik someday. He did, too!
How does the current topical political fever of Ethiopian politics relate to these two anecdotes?
Let us see.
1-Ethiopia-God’s own Dominion.
God does watch over us, my fellow Ethiopians. We all were worried sick. We offered silent and not so silent prayers to God to spare us what looked like a text book road to the ultimate perdition of a Nation in the African political context. I mean some of our own folks were on the verge of losing their God given, divine, rational and unique individual traits. Gradually they were gathering deadly force like a twister and set to become a menacing faceless crowd.
For the first time in our collective living memory, gross incidents of lynching were recounted under Abyssinian sky. Lynching in Ethiopia? In the third decade of the 21C? On my part, I stuffed my ears and refused to believe the gory stories.
But God didn’t forsake us. Yet for the first time since the war against Eritrea, Ethiopians have come together to celebrate and honor the election of Abiy Ahmed as the Prime Minister of the FDRE. The other day I was reading Eyesuswork Zafu’s interview and I kinda teared up- for the record I am quite unsentimental. You know what he’d said? He’d said that the minute the outgoing Premier tendered his resignation, he had symbolically chosen the next PM, sealed the envelop and wrote at the back-the seal is only to be broken in the presence of friends on the date and event of the election of the new PM. The seal was broken as dictated and the name was read loud-Abiy Ahmed!
What made my eyes itchy was…it kinda occurred to me how beautiful we could become when circumstances allow us to. How generous we could be for the good of the Nation and how we are ever ready to give ‘second chances’.
See, successive governments had taken this magnanimity as feeble mindedness on the part of the public and had recklessly abused it. Some uncouth startup army Colonels had actually likened us to jaundiced pack animals on account of our magnanimity. The fact of the matter is the magnanimity of the Ethiopian people is tremendous but it isn’t bottomless. In this regard, EPRDF isn’t a good student but it is kinda trudging…to catch up.
2-The Making of the Prime Minister.
If you ask me the dull looking uncharismatic and accidental President Harry .S Truman is a stronger greater and more decisive President than the three terms President F.D. Roosevelt he had come to succeed. God knows he was a hilarious no nonsense President who wouldn’t hesitate to threaten-in print- to break the jaws of a veteran music critique for bashing his daughter’s musical skills. The atomic bomb, NATO, the Korean War, the Civil Rights-you name it- are all his legacies- not to mention the way he had fired General MacArthur.
You see hadn’t F.D.R. died in office; America wouldn’t have had a President Truman and it wouldn’t have become the unipolar world power it is today. Here, too, Dr. Abiy’s life and career ladder might not be ideally the kind that would have bridged and propelled him to Menelik’s palace, had it not been for circumstances. Ironically the fact that he hasn’t been groomed for the role is his strongest point and quality. The fact that he is an accidental PM has made him ‘THE PEOPLE’S PRIME MINISTER’.
The simple fact that he didn’t dwell on the ‘mesmerina haylina’ had endeared him to us all. Instead he’d talked about his mom and the mother of his children. Something we all could easily relate to. That doesn’t mean he had betrayed the ‘mesmer’, it only proves that he is a PM not just for the EPRDFites but for us common folks as well.
3-New Beginnings-Unveiling the façade that is EPRDF.
The beginning of our disillusionment with EPRDF was heralded the day it told us in no uncertain terms that-though it could selectively and sparingly hold its individual members accountable, the ‘Person’ of the Front is divine, untouchable and above the law of the land. Did you have the chance to tune in to a debate among Zayid of the PM office, Dr. Getahun of AAU and Dr. Beyene featured on ETV?
Dr. Getahun Kassa (if I am not mistaken he used to be a Supreme Court Judge in Tigray Region) tabled a simple but phenomenally detrimental question to EPRDF-do you assume the fact that you have built highways and high rises gives you the license to hold us in perpetual bondage?
See, that is what we all are saying. Few deny the fact that the government of EPRDF has done a fairly good job in terms of-health, infrastructure and education. But that is its regular every day job. It cannot use these records as rags to gag us up with.
Dr. Getahun lucidly listed studies after studies that have unequivocally established that
-The judiciary under EPRDF has become the worst of its kind
-The executive by and large functions through ‘Networks’
-Naked intimidation is rampant
Guess who had commissioned or conducted the said studies? EPRDF! And it has chosen to stay in power after all these scandals perpetrated by it.
The new Premier is expected to endure, weather and entertain the combined weights of all these expectations of the general public to steer EPRDF back to reason, law and order. Fortunately or otherwise, the outpouring love and endearments are committed to the individual person of Ahmed not to his party per se. So Dr.Abiy has to tear the old façade that is EPRDF and dial up the people directly.
Buckle up, Sir. We all are here to help. I would like to remind you the widely quoted words of Harry S. Truman delivered when he’d learnt the fact that he was fated to become the next President of the United States of America.
"Boys, if you ever pray, pray for me now. I don't know if you fellas ever had a load of hay fall on you, but when they told me what happened yesterday, I felt like the moon, the stars, and all the planets had fallen on me."(courtesy of Wikipedia)
4 God Bless.