After emerging from 27 years of TPLF repression in Ethiopia, the best way forward would have been for all aggrieved parties to work together towards inclusive justice. Alas, this is not the case in Ethiopia and Africa as a whole; we have been so conditioned to view human rights through the lens of ethnicity that we keep reverting back to the same trap that imprisons us. A new day is no different than the old era, the only discrepancy is the new tribe in power.

There are many reasons why Africa continues to flounder when we have enough resources to flourish. At the top of the list are vested interests who have everything to gain by keeping the continent divided and destabilized through planned strife. However, we can only blame outsides for so long before we start realizing that the issue is staring at us in the mirror.

The truth is that no weapon formed against us could prosper if we could only be united as a people. Yet, far from coming together, we keep splintering apart. If the key to wealth was found through separatism, Africa would be the richest destination in the world. The opposite is true, the more we partition ourselves behind the ghettos of identity and the Bantustans of tribes, the more we are mobbed by poverty and hopelessness.

We are led to believe that colonization ended in the 1960’s, if that was only the case. Colonization did not die, it just took on a new face. Instead of suppressing Africans with brute force, colonial powers just made the cunning decision to condition us to subjugate ourselves. Why waste money on bullets when they can empower tribal leaders to do their dirty work. This insidious ploy has worked perfectly; for the past 50 years almost every corner of Africa has been swindled by tyrants who are backed by foreign interlopers.

The Berlin Conference that nefariously segregated Africa into enclaves of the West remains intact to this day. You see, it’s all about the economy. As long as we keep fighting over tribe, we will never focus on the fact that Africa has become the supplier of cheap resources to the world. Materials like rubber, oil, diamonds, gold and an endless array of commodities are shipped off to developed nations only to be turned into finished goods.

Coffee beans that cost less than a dollar a pound is sold for $5.00 per cup at Starbucks. Do you know how many cups of coffee you can make with one pound? 48 cups! $1.00 worth of coffee beans exported from a country like Ethiopia is worth $240 by the time it is sold as a product to customers. To add insult to injury, the same raw resources we export for pennies on the dollar is sold back to us at a premium, what we effectively give away for free is given back to us at king’s ransom. This same scenario plays out time and time again throughout Africa. We get pillaged economically only to be given cups of rice as charity.

Sadly, instead of rallying together as a people and standing up for our collective rights, too many would rather fight each other. While the rest of the world is forming unions and free trade zones, Africa is the one place on earth that continues to create new countries. The dream of an African Union slips by the day as demagogues, funded by the outsiders, continue to brainwash their followers into seeking their own nation. The end result is always the same, a new country forms only for the people to become poorer in the process.

What is true of the situation taking place in Africa is true of all marginalized people around the world. Though the cards might be stacked against us and the injustices are real, the reality is that we hold ourselves back as much as we are held back by others. All too frequently, we refuse to work together and we don’t reinvest our resources where we live. As we drive the economy of the world, we keep driving ourselves into the poorhouse because we lack the will to support one another.

We don't need a handout from anyone, we just need to extend a hand of friendship to our fellow brothers, sisters and neighbors and build ourselves up instead of tearing one another down. #Ethiopia #Africa Click To Tweet

One day we will wise up and realize that the only way we can compete on the global stage is not by competing with one another but through collaboration. “If you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far work with others”. There are countless proverbs like this that advise us to work together and to value partnerships over selfishness. Eventually we will listen to our ancestors instead of heeding tribal extremists. Until then, “this is Africa” will continue to be said out of dismay instead of being stated out of pride.

“The rich rob the poor, and the poor rob one another.” ~ Sojourner Truth