By Prof. Alemayehu G. Mariam
“No heroes in Ethiopia at present.”
Final week, on International Ladies’s Day, H.E. Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed made a shocking assertion: “Ethiopia has no heroes right now.”
The truth that he made the bold statement before a gathering of girls leaders was even more searing and sarcastically begged the query, “If Ethiopia doesn’t have heroes, does that mean or suggest Ethiopia has solely heroines?”
His concluding remarks left no doubts in my thoughts that he sees Ethiopia’s future within the arms of its heroines.
Right here is my translation of what he stated (forward clip to six:35-9:00):
Although Ethiopia has been referred to as the land of jegnoch (house of heroes), immediately she has an enormous scarcity of heroes (jegnoch). In Ethiopia there are not any heroes. Solely mob (herd) followers. In Ethiopia, there are those who will interact in the regular customary apply of mudslinging (insults), the standard customary follow of killing, the standard customary follow of stealing and the standard customary apply of oppressing. But there are few who will oppose this mob mentality and declare it’s an absolute shame to steal; it’s an absolute disgrace to harm your brother; brother hating his brother is disgraceful. Ethiopia does not have heroes (jegnoch) who say it is a disgrace for the Tigrean to mistreat the Amharan, the Amharan to mistreat the Oromo, the Oromo to mistreat the one from Debub (South).
What Ethiopia has individuals who say, “Prepare. Arm your self. Kill. These are individuals who inherit and repeat previous mistakes. They cannot be referred to as heroes (jegnoch). Real heroes are those that get up amidst turmoil and conflict and bear the reality.
To fill this hero hole (deficit) as you have fun March 8th, we should always have heroines from Tigray go heroically to Bahr Dar and ask, “Is it not a disgrace for brother to kill brother?”. That is what known as the heroism of girls. When heroes journey from Bahir Dar to Mekele, when heroes travel from to Jijiga and to Afar and challenge and cease the confused considering, despite the fact that chances are you’ll not have any cheer leaders to help you, and heroically confront them, then Ethiopia deserves to be referred to as land (residence) of jegnoch (heroes).
Following the mob (herd) does not a hero make. What makes a hero is standing for the truth. This activity is acceptable for ladies as a result of they are pillars, towers and givers. As you think of today (Ladies’s Day), and so that others might keep in mind their obligations and converse of their nation’s honor and unity, I ask you with deep humility, as you continue together with your work, to give attention to peace and unity, love and reconciliation. (Applause)
The Greek phrase “hero” means “protector” or “defender”.
To the traditional Greeks, the hero was a mortal who performed a superhuman act which left an immortal memory elevating him to the standing of the gods.
The “hero” in the Western custom got here to symbolize the vast prospects human endeavors and achievements. At the moment, we regard those that stand for justice, equality and equity as heroes. Those that sacrifice their lives for his or her nation and put their lives in danger for the security of others are additionally lionized as heroes.
For my part, anybody can turn out to be a hero so long as they carry out heroic acts and deeds within the higher interest of the general public good or humankind.
No heroes in Ethiopia…
Ouch, ouch, ouch…! Wechew gud!
PM Abiy’s assertion stung a few of us like a bee, and others like a wasp.
What did he really imply by his challenging and provocative assertion?
Right off the bat, my reply to PM Abiy’s assertion is that Ethiopia has heroes.
Just not the type heroes and sheros is talking about.
I know of tens of hundreds of heroes and sheros in every category.
They’re referred to as “ye dil atbiya jegnoch” (heroes and sheros who show up on the eve of victory and take credit score for the battle gained.)
I wrote about one group of ye dil atbiya jegnoch in December 2017 once I referred to as for an
end to the misleading mental culture of being a hero on the eve of victory (ye dil atbiya arbegna). The struggling Ethiopian individuals are not looking for fair-weather intellectuals who show up when the coast is obvious, and the enemy has left the shores. They need intellectuals who’re prepared, in a position and able to be the tip of the mental spear in preventing and defeating the ethnic apartheid T-TPLF regime immediately.
But what’s an Ethiopian jegna (hero, shero)?
In accordance with one writer,
Jegna [hero] (Jegnoch, plural type) is an Amharic phrase describing those particular people who have (1) been tested in wrestle or battle (2) demonstrated extraordinary and weird fearlessness, (three) shown willpower and courage in protecting her/her peoples, land and culture, (four) proven diligence and dedication to our individuals, (5) produced an exceptionally top quality of work, and (6) have devoted themselves to the protection, protection, nurturance and improvement of our younger by advancing our individuals, place, and tradition.
PM Abiy conception of a hero (jegna) appears to evolve to the foregoing definition.
PM Abiy says a real hero doesn’t kill his brother. A real hero isn’t a hater. A real hero stands on precept and has integrity. A true hero speaks the truth. A true hero brings individuals collectively, builds consensus and achieves reconciliation. A real hero works for peace, unity, love and reconciliation.
By these requirements, I’m afraid PM Abiy is true.
There are mighty, mighty few jegnoch in Ethiopia.
I can solely imagine how much PM Abiy needed to seek for jegnoch in Ethiopia before making a press release that would ruffle the feathers of some make-believe hero and sheros.
Maybe he did a search like the traditional Greek philosopher Diogenes, who walked in a crowded market at excessive noon with a torchlight in hand trying to find an trustworthy man.
Did PM Abiy have a Diogen-esque second in Ethiopia in search of a jegna?
Did he scour the 9 Ethiopian “kilils” (just like apartheid Bantustans) and three chartered cities before he declared, “Ethiopia has no heroes”?
Did he got down to interview the leaders and members of the Oromo Democratic Celebration, Amhara Democratic Get together, Tigray Individuals’s Liberation Front, Southern Ethiopian Individuals’s Democratic Social gathering, Ethiopian Somali Individuals’s Democratic Celebration, Area Get together, Oromo Liberation Entrance, Amhara Democratic Movement, Afar Nationwide Democratic, Harari Individuals’s Democratic Get together, Benishagul-Gumuz Democratic Celebration, Arbegnoch Ginbot 7 Motion…?
I have no idea.
However PM Abiy is for certain that in contrast to us immediately, the Ethiopia of our forefathers and foremothers had true heroes.
Seeking… The place have all of Ethiopia’s heroes (jegnoch) gone?
If there are not any heroes in Ethiopia as we speak, then where have they all gone? Who has taken their place?
Are Ethiopia’s heroes lifeless and gone by no means to return?
Did they abandon the hero stage for Ethiopia’s sheros because they will’t handle the heat of being heros?
For years, I too have searched for Ethiopian heroes and sheros (jegnoch).
It was a futile search. “Might they be hiding, ready just for the suitable moment to disclose themselves?”, I questioned every now and then.
My view on “heroes”, “sheros” and “heroism” is simple: Those who have favored positions in society have a moral obligation to perform heroic acts and serve the larger widespread good. To whom much is given, a lot is predicted.
I consider the educated members of Ethiopian society are the tip of the spear in leading social change and arising with new ideas to make things higher. However where have Ethiopia’s intellectual heroes and sheros gone right now and why are they silent as a church mouse?
I consider Ethiopia’s enterprise wo/males and entrepreneurs have the duty to steer Ethiopia into an period of prosperity. But where have Ethiopia’s enterprise and entrepreneurial heroes and sheros gone immediately and why are they draining the country’s assets for self-aggrandizement?
I consider Ethiopia’s political leaders have an obligation to work in widespread cause to convey peace, reconciliation and good governance. But the place have Ethiopia’s political heroes sheros gone immediately and why are they not working with good will and in good religion to deliver peace and reconciliation to a society riven by ethnic and sectarian antagonisms?
I consider Ethiopia’s faith and non secular leaders ought to elevate the religious life of the nation by preaching, educating and working towards fact, forgiveness and reconciliation. But the place have Ethiopia’s faith heroes and sheros gone right now and why are they not working day and night time to deliver reconciliation and harmony to a society beset by violence, hatred, mistrust and animosity?
I consider Ethiopia’s journalists must be the eyes and ears of the society and supply correct and factual info. But the place have Ethiopia’s journalists heroes and sheros at this time and why are they not informing and elevating the general public’s capability to critically perceive issues? Why are they fanning the flames of discord and strife? Why do they do tabloid journalism, spread pretend information and disinformation?
I consider Ethiopia’s heroes and sheros in literature, music, art and sport command the cultural lifetime of the nation. But the place have Ethiopia’s cultural heroes and sheros gonetoday and why are they not working collectively to convey the range of traditions, customs and practices of the Ethiopian individuals to promote higher understanding and unity?
Ethiopia’s young individuals are indeed Ethiopia’s way forward for any country. But where have Ethiopia’s younger heroes and sheros who suffered and died to result in nonnviolent change gone at this time and why are they not working to chart a new future for their nation?
Where have Ethiopia’s human rights defenders and activists gone? They protested and fought for nonviolent change and the rule of regulation for many years. Shouldn’t they be the vanguard in defending the nonviolent revolution they assist result in?
I don’t know the place all of Ethiopia’s heroes gone!!
But I do know what’s left behind!
Ethiopia’s heroes at the moment are crybabies and villains
I like telling it like it is. I’ve executed so all my life, however especially over the past 13 years.
I don’t mince words. I don’t beat around the bush.
I’ve made it a career to converse fact to energy, to the powerless and to those hungry and thirsty for power. My website proclaims, “Defend Human Rights, Converse Fact to Power”.
I know some individuals will be unable to deal with the reality I am about to tell!
The truth is instead of heroes and sheros, at this time we’ve got crybabies and villains in Ethiopia.
The truth is we now have crybabies and villains who thrive in a culture of victimhood.
The reality is we now have crybabies and villains who concentrate on finger-pointing, bellyaching, teeth-gnashing and heart-aching.
The reality is we’ve crybabies and villains who thrive on accusation and recrimination and self absolution.
The truth is we’ve got crybabies and villains who wish to complain and whine about how they have been victimized and woe is them.
The truth is we’ve crybabies and villains who converse with forked tongue, and in doublespeak and doublethink.
The truth is we have now crybabies and villains who spread fatalism (it’ll never work) and defeatism (settle for defeat with out wrestle) among the inhabitants.
The truth is we have now crybabies and villains who are hungry and thirst for power and couldn’t care less what occurs to the struggling inhabitants.
The reality is we’ve got crybabies and villains who would hold silent when hundreds of thousands are displaced however will make noise when displacement fits their slender political ambitions.
The truth is we’ve crybabies and villains who assume freedom comes with out duty and subsequently converse of wars and unfold rumors of wars.
The truth is we’ve got crybabies and villains who are so clueless they are incapable of arising with any artistic concepts of their very own.
The reality is we’ve crybabies and villains who anticipate others to make sacrifices for them so that they will take pleasure in the benefits.
The reality is we have now crybabies and villains who want others to do the heavy lifting in order that they will take credit score.
The truth is we’ve got crybabies and villains who’re truthful climate buddies. They may vanish like the morning dew on the signal of the first problem.
The reality is we now have crybabies and villains who…
Ahhh! How Ethiopia wants true heroes and she or he has only one!
Each culture and society has a hero in its personal picture.
Again in my undergraduate days many moons in the past, I learn Prof. Joseph Campbell’s 1949 guide, “The Hero with a Thousand Faces”. Prof. Campbell is one among my personal heroes.
Having surveyed myths and traditions of heroism in many cultures, Prof. Campbell sought to create a common profile of the “hero”.
Prof. Campbell concluded that in most cultures a hero/heroine doesn’t fall from the sky but turns into one after happening a “journey”. That journey takes the hero/heroine from the peculiar world right into a supernatural journey where the hero/heroine faces excessive hardship, perils and challenges and ultimately emerges victorious. The hero/heroine finally returns to mankind to bestow his boon.
There’s much those that need to be Ethiopian heroes and sheros can study from Campbell’s “monomyth” (hero’s journey).
To turn out to be a hero, one should take an extended day’s journey into the night time of the unknown, the unfamiliar and the perilous. The hero have to be prepared to face alone and aside from the herd, not worry condemnation or seek reward. “It is straightforward to face with the gang. It takes courage to face alone.”
Campbell factors out that coming by means of such struggles allows the hero/shero to develop a imaginative and prescient of greatness and a lifetime of braveness and fortitude.
Heroes and Zeroes
In June 2009, I wrote a commentary entitled, “Hero v. Zero”.
It was a defense of my shero Birtukan Midekssa.
The evaluation targeted on the doublethink, doublespeak, zerothink, zerospeak and the zero sum video games of the late chief of the previous regime in Ethiopia.
I concluded, “Fact be advised, even in a zero sum recreation, zero plus zeros equal to zero, not hero!”
All the crybabies and villains won’t quantity to a single hero.
However fact be advised there’s one true hero in Ethiopia.
In less than a yr, that hero has emptied Ethiopia’s prisons of all political prisoners.
He ushered in an era of unfettered democratic freedoms.
He invited opposition political parties and urged to return together and help rework Ethiopia into a multiparty democracy.
He brought peace and stability within the Horn area.
He brought peace and reconciliation amongst religion leaders.
He secured the discharge of prisoners within the Middle East.
I might go on and on.
But the Financial Occasions, a British newspaper founded in 1888, greatest described our Ethiopian hero:
Abi Ahmed has overseen the swiftest political liberalisation in Ethiopia’s greater than 2,000-year historical past.
That’s the hero all of us wannabe heroes, sheros, imposters, crybabies and villains ought to emulate and help!