There is a wealth of knowledge within our community, enough to change the direction of our homeland and Ethiopians living abroad away from struggle and towards prosperity. All throughout Ethiopia and around the world, there are endless number of Ethiopians succeeding in a plethora of professions and thriving as individuals. Imagine then if we coalesced our talents and worked together for the common good instead of laboring separately.
Hebret. This word that was once tarnished because it became a political slogan of previous depots is nonetheless a concept we should really embrace. One can only get so far but two or more working collectively can bring about transformational change for society. Yet, for a lot of reasons spelled out in Lij Teodrose’s latest article, we are averse as to putting aside our differences and cooperating as a people.
What started with mistrust due to wounds caused by four decades of repressions has become a modus operandi. We would rather question each other’s motives than lend a hand to someone who aspires to accomplish. This trend of indifference is pervasive and detrimental; Ethiopians that could otherwise make tremendous contributions to society often get burned out and eventually withdraw given the utter lack of support that we give to one another.
The same indifference that is the default mode of too many lights up into full blown enthusiasm when someone who is not Ethiopian mentions our country. We treat outsiders like royals and dismiss each other as rubbish. Let CNN highlight an Ethiopian for their efforts and that same person who was ignored for years is all the sudden the talk of the town and everyone rushes to be associated. It’s as though we need validation from others before we value ourselves.
A couple of weeks ago, an Ethiopian restaurateur by the name of Michael Habtemariam became an overnight sensation. A tweet mentioning his restaurant called Roaming Rooster went viral and caused a rush of new customers to his establishment. For the next couple of days, there was a file of people lined up outside his restaurant to taste his free-range and antibiotic free chicken sandwiches. In the age of social media, one post or tweet can change the fortunes of an entrepreneur.
The tweet that caused such a stir and created a stampede to Michael’s restaurant was not from an Ethiopian but from an American customer. Our community did not jump fully onboard until it went viral, once the Roaming Rooster was published at the Washington Post and Michael’s story became the talk of the town, Ethiopians jumped all over the narrative and started using social media to brag about yet another Ethiopian success story.
Instead of pushing each other forward, we wait on the sidelines until someone succeeds in the eyes of others before we lend a hand of support. This is true in countless industries from restaurants, movies, music, and beyond; we refuse to be a part of the struggle only to jump on the bandwagon once the train has left the station. Our music, food and culture as a whole is loved by the outside world at first encounter, imagine the sea change it would bring to our country if we used our voices to promote our heritage and collaborate with one another.
Let us try to do just that over this weekend, instead of using social media to talk about the latest political outrage or spread divisive articles, use #Fiker4Ethiopia and share not only this article but share why you have love for Ethiopia. Hashtags are powerful, once enough people start using them, they encourage others to do the same.This is how messages and narratives go viral; let’s use our voices and our social media presence to amplify our voice and promote our culture and our community in a positive matter. #Ethiopia #Fiker4Ethiopia Click To Tweet
“A thousand lions can tie up a lion.” ~ Ethiopian Proverb
Check out the music video below, it is titled Fiker for Ethiopia for a reason, once you finish watching it, share it and spread our music and culture to the world.