Which Way Ethiopia?
By Teodros Kiros (PH.D)
It has been a year since the new regime came to power with much promise and hurried decisions. At first, the nation was thrilled that change is coming, without knowing what the changes would entail. The media had prepared the nation to turn its back over the last twenty-seven years, a blend of the good and bad, achievements and losses, opportunities missed, and dreamy goals. The last twenty-seven years were thrown into the dustbin of history, as years of darkness, as if the schools, the universities, the paved streets, the tall buildings, the condominiums, the highways did not put this impoverished nation of 100 million people on the world map, as a nation on the move, a nation on the meandering ravines and mountains of development.
Development is a perpetual project and not a fixed journey. Nothing is fixed in life, least of all, we the humans inherently incomplete but perfectible, when we embark on the long journey of development led by the Rational Heart and processed by the logical brain, both of which are now dormant in the regime in power.
The regime in power must wake up and stimulate the sleepy giant of Pragmatic Ethiopianity – a blend of the mosaic of Ethiopian ethnicities born out of Ethiopian history, a history of rivalry among ethnic lords and divisive emperors and nationalists, who played the ethnic card when it fit their hunger for power.
The obstacles are many, among which are:
massive poverty environed by tall buildings and shopping centers for the rich and powerful;
rampant corruption and love of money and status by a
few but powerful, immoral and deplorable
pseudo leaders who are neither charismatic nor competent, hiding behind sweet but empty words, which appeal to the masses in times of desperation;
playing ethnics against one another, displacing ethnics from their homelands where they grew and developed their intimate selfhood; inauthentic leaders who lie, who promise, who wear many hats which fit the cultural climate and the ethnic flavors without a vision of the Common good, the nerve center of Political being;
unemployed youth who squander their lives in search of missions, because there are none, and embrace protest as a way of life, because no leader is listening; finally, the absence of a National Leader who wears the garment of authentic Ethiopianity.
These are the times and the languages of Ethiopian tragedy.
(1) Articulate a vision of a Common Ethiopian Good premised on the belief and thought that human needs are food, health, shelter, clothing, reasonable comfort, and that these needs must be unconditionally provided to Ethiopians and be mandated in the constitution as categorical imperatives. That the leader of the regime ought to create a safe and secure environment, suitable for the realization of this unnegotiable categorical imperative, an indispensable aspect of Development as a pragmatic goal of a functional Ethiopian state.
(2) The Ethiopian Common Good itself is a sovereign force composed of the needs, interests and passions of ethnic groups, who must be recognized and invited as the living voices of the idea of Ethiopianity, that Ethiopianity is not an abstraction, but a living reality, which must mature in the womb of time, patiently, sensitively and tactfully, as part of perpetual development, materially, psychically and spiritually. The idea of Ethiopianity itself is only a latent possibility. We must first see its full development before we can use it to replace Ethnos.
(3) There is no Ethiopianity without these running streams of ethnic styles, languages, norms and values. Ethiopianity cannot be realized by the annihilation of Ethnicities, but their full flowering as living parts of the Ethiopian common Good, which has yet to be articulated fully.
The rise of a genuine and consistent leader of a people’s party, who
is simultaneously an authentic visionary, brave and principled. Ethiopia is
awaiting such a leader, since we do not have one. Such a leader
must look at Ethiopia through the lens of Ethiopianity which magnifies
the presence of all Ethiopians and the ethnic