This piece is not packed with humor, nor does it bear the hallmark of wit. It is as "sd" "nibab" as they come. This piece is written by an angry Ethiopian, who in typical considerate fashion has decided to spill some ink on paper, instead of throwing expensive china. You will forgive me if I come across as boorish, insulting, inconsiderate, an out-and out balegE . (but please leave my parents alone - inesu yebedeluN mnm neger yelem). This piece is not written so you can have your monthly fix of Seleda humor and walk away with a smile. If this piece leaves you with a smile, then I have utterly failed, and will gladly take your prescribed punishment. This piece is meant to make you angry.
This piece is written to proclaim an ugly truth. And that truth is that Ethiopians do not believe in themselves. They do not believe in God. They do not believe in being human. They do not believe in looking in the mirror and seeing a miracle. They do not believe in the infinite possibilities that radiate out of their extended palm. They do not believe that the ancestral minds that have created and maintained a millennial Ethiopia also courses through the million billion neurons firing within their skull. Ethiopians do not believe that they, the beautiful people a mirror is so fortunate to be graced by, hold their destinies within them.
qoy isti tinish bunna fut libel...."fuuuttt - ah!!"
So where was I?
Ah yes. So what do Ethiopians believe in?
They believe in not being successful. They believe that they will not ultimately be happy. They believe that there is no point in stretching for an impossible dream because it will never be reached. They believe that some other entity/person/deity holds ultimate sway over the outcome of their lives.
And so, they believe - why bother? We Ethiopians are a fatalistic people, (an English word that so elegantly captures what I want to say).
We romanticize it as "yarba qen idl ". But there is no romance in it. And it certainly is not revealed to us on the fortieth day of our existence. That may have worked for Noah and his wooden ark, but trust me when I tell you that "it" - whatever it is - is not approved, boxed and packed away when you are still an uncomprehending bundle of joy to adoring parents.
Speaking of yarba qen idl , do any of you join me in wondering about the person who receives theirs as a selasa-zeTeN qen idl , or the 41 day variety? Do you think one is still raw, while the other is overdone? How about you engineer types who wonder about the poor fellow whose fate falls at the plus three sigma extreme on the arba qen idl bell curve?
isti qoyu iTanEn labunew....qETEmayEn lnesis...keberoyEn ldelq....
Ok, I'm back.
This is the thing about fatalism. It is not just you who is hobbled by it, but the other Ethiopian who has a dream that needs nurturing by your help and encouragement. You know them - the engineer who agonizes what to call the first Ethiopian Space Station, the artist who senses greatness just a brushstroke away, the doctor who dreams of the day when "moN bageN " is just a cool name for a fairy tale, and yes, even the irrepressible idealist who dreams of the day when our people are at peace with themselves.
No, your demon takes hold, and says, "Why trust some other Ethiopian when he or she is seized by a vision of something that is not yet real? After all, they are nothing but agents of a tragedy that is bound to happen."
Editorial comment here: I remember Ato Haddis Alemayehu writing an article about his vision, or "ra'Iy ". The response, from a disbelieving reader started by saying "ye ato Haddis ra'Iy qZet honebN " What a sublime Ethiopian moment!!
Back to the story...
But you see, your fatalism takes pleasure in ripping apart somebody else's dream for a simple existential reason. If someone can show the possibility that life without perpetual self-doubt is possible, then adios to "yarba qen idl". "Ato desta newot? Tena ysTlN! Woizerit mNot? Nu ygbu!"
So where did this come from - the iron belief that we do not control our own destiny? The historian in me wants to quote you millenia of control by omnipotent institutions like the church and nobility, and a not too pleasant recent history. The part in me interested in spiritual matters wants to lead you to the deeply ingrained beliefs in spirits beings that choose to live among us and extract harsh allegiance. The sociologist in me wants to say that it is part of our parent-child relationship. The economist in me wants to tell you it is a function of unrelenting poverty. I can put on many hats, wear many masks, dice using the finest of scalpels, gaze with the best microscope and deconstruct to the n-th degree.
The point is not why, but this.
It is nothing. It is only an illusion that slinks in through many subtle life experiences and gets reinforced through our language and behavior. But in the end, it is nothing. It is cast away as easily as one, hulet, selestu ...
One is for saying I have a dream, a destination, an ideal of fulfillment and happiness...
Hulet is for making a decision that it WILL come true (I did not say it may, might, could, should or any other shodadawanna be asmesay qal...)
Selestu is for knowing that there is a way and you, yes irsuwo tewezfew yhEn yemiyanebut , will find it.
And now, you cannot say you have not read birabiro's sellasie.
gudayun salCers yemedhanit se'at indayders, slezih tolo tolo lbel...
I am not a religious person, but let me leave you with a couple of thoughts. The Christian and Jewish bible says that we, humans, are created in the image of God (I take that as being a "spiritual" likeness if only because every time I look in the mirror, I cannot imagine God looking like goofy-ass me). The mystical wing of Islam, known as Sufism, tells you that every human being has an army of angels going ahead of him, and proclaiming "Make Way! Make Way." Those religions that have multiple gods have these "omnipotent" beings so in need of human devotion that they wage war among themselves for your "soul". The newsflash from SNN (Spiritual News Services) is that You matter. A great deal.
Of course, if your cup of tea is defined more by financial success and babes galore, then that too is in your reach.
After all, the word pre-destination means just that - having a destination in mind before starting the journey. And no one starts off on a journey without deciding that they will get there.
Now please go and spread some happiness around...you are destined for it.
AbEt doktor, beqa Ceresku...
YhE amanuEl yemtlut hospitalacihu....