These are the things we don’t talk about, the confounding issues we treat like bad company and refuse to address. The taboos I’m referring to are the schisms that were created 44 years ago when the Derg government overthrew Haile Selassie and went on spread a red terror that took the lives of more than 500,000 Ethiopians.
The people they targeted were the elders, the respected teachers and the people who had institutional knowledge. They started with the nobility and then went on to exterminate land owners, the educated and the keepers of our heritage and history. The Derg justified this mass killing by calling their victims “elites” and dehumanizing people who were fathers, mothers, sons and daughters of Ethiopia.
It was not only the next of kin of these victims who suffered for Ethiopia entered an era of tribulation that is still going on to this day. The elders were removed and children took over. In the quest to become nobility by way of communism, the Derg turned a biblical nation into a beggar country.
The repercussions are being felt to this day. The children who took over in the 70’s aged and are now seen as leaders. Sadly, they never grew up, senior citizens acting like teenagers, they raised a generation behind them who have no respect for their elders. And who can blame the youth; when those who know better act like juveniles, lead with insults and insist on competing with the youth instead of guiding them with wisdom, a whole nation dives head first into nihilism.
Professors who don’t teach, doctors who don’t heal and politicians who don’t have solutions; we are a country bereft of leaders. In turn the younger generation are left to their own devices. Conditioned to compete, chase modernity by disrespecting our heritage and seek self enrichment at the cost of collective prosperity, we have become a nation of hustlers instead of entrepreneurs. In a land that has enough natural resources and intellectual capital to feed the entire continent, we have become charity cases to the world.
We are a country of seed eaters, instead of planting corn to eat tomorrow, we would rather eat the kernel now and not worry about the future. The future is upon us and it is bleak to the point of disintegration. The seeds we are eating are not only the type you plant but the kind you raise for the seeds we are aborting are future generations who can transform Ethiopia into a land of milk and honey.Instead we are turning into a land of mud and hunger, this is what tigab (pride) and zeregnenet (tribalism) have wrought us. #Ethiopia Click To Tweet
Denial is not a river in Ethiopia for that river is called the Ghion, denial is the state we are in because we refuse to truthfully address the past and face ourselves in the mirror. Instead we lash out at others and bicker among ourselves. When we realize the folly of this approach and instead quickly turn our hands to God by forgiving each other, Ethiopia will once again be a nation among nations. Until then, the woe continues ad infinitum::
Lij Teodrose Fikremariam is the Chair of Ethiopians for Constitutional Monarchy. He is the direct descendant of Atse Tewodros II, the once Emperor of Ethiopia who united a fractured nation during Zemene Mesafint (age of princes) and imbued Ethiopia with a sense of togetherness that enabled them to eventually defeat Italy at the battle of Adwa. Lij Teodrose was born in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia but grew up in America. He has a Bachelor of Arts from George Mason University and an Masters of Business Administration from Johns Hopkins University. Lij Teodrose believes in one Ethiopia and that a nation can only be judged by the wellness of the least among us.