Ethiopianism, History and a Lesson from Nietzsche

4 min read

እንዳምናው ባለቀን፤ ያምናውን ከቀጣ፤ አዲስ ንጉስ እንጂ፤ ለውጥ መቼ መጣ? [Cover picture by @Mudot_00 on Instagram]

"Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you." 


As Ethiopians, I believe, there's some feeling that overwhelms us listening to GiGi's Adwa... something that takes over us when we are watching our athletes/football players in the international arenas... but when you deeply search our lives in accordance to our time, you'll define it merely with two words: pathetic pride. And here is why I made this rather bold statement.

It would be a fat lie if one said they are ever-present, I would say. We humans are blessed and/or cursed by the ability of retrospection. Our memories make up who we are and are tied very closely to our identity. All the nostalgic feelings one has might arguably be used to make one distinctly different. Since no one makes exactly similar observations about varied experiences, the moments we save in our brain and the interactions we make somehow make everyone unique. However, it is not healthy to ruminate the "was". I mean think about it: bartering the most expensive thing on your hand with the cheapest thing that's one thought away is a bit of a stupid move, aye? Yes, we all fall for it, but it is certainly terribly stupid and even worse—it kills our inner peace by using weapons like what if, could’ve, would’ve and should’ve.

"What does my self-destructive habit got to do under an essay titled 'Ethiopianism...'?" We are getting there. Patience, please?

As a healthy, sane person reflecting on the mistakes your past self made, you would (after having a healthy amount of time to cuss yourself out) take constructive notes to guide you to live a better life. In other words, you would use your mistakes as stepping stones to get to a beautiful destination: a better you.

The opposite of this would be wasting your rather short time as a conscious being in this vast universe tormenting yourself and dying a pathetic death by which you would regret helluva stuff on your deathbed.

This is what we are doing to Mama Ethiopia... sort of. We keep fixating on what the past holds that we have refused to look forward to anything. Yes, we do have ugly histories, but when we gaze for long at the words written on our history, we forget it's the action/idea that was ugly. We then forward the rage against someone dead and let the remaining group of people (closely linked to that someone) above the grave be the outlet of that rage. And going back to Nietzsche, we become the monsters without noticing it... we ended up burning down everything we imagined were lighting up via the torches in our palms...

A friend of mine once said, "Welcome to adulthood where mtsm is your motto." Of course, I laughed hard at that very moment. But the reality hit me and didn't know what to feel. Adulthood is a coin, and on one of its faces is carved an open eye, on the other two hands held together. "The eye" representing how vulnerable we are to news of all kinds around us regardless of our ability to do something about them. The "held hands", a representation of the opportunity of working together in order to bring positive change. And it's good to hope. It is uncomfortably comfortable to hope (especially with the current news about our Ethiopia). And I don't believe every article regarding issues with heavy unresolved crises like this should end with some cliche, "Ayzon, the future is bright". I would rather leave it without a proper conclusion because… yeah.

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