Unreality, Heart of Political, Social Delusion




I am not a fan of radio programmes. Although sometimes I get exposed to it for my family listens to the radio once in a while, which is when I recently heard a slogan on an Amharic broadcasting station that translated into “Ethiopians known for changing the world.”

The audacious claim utterly dumbfounded me. Having studied world history, I never came across anything of that sort. It is rare to find something that Ethiopia has contributed to the world, let alone changed it.

Looking for explanations, I contacted the station – which further confused me. They explained that the statement was meant to refer to a country that has never been colonised – a nation that built the Lalibela Rock-hewn churches and the Aksum Obelisks.

That is nice and well, but what is our record in inventing cures for diseases, being disrupters, or a model of democracy or even unity? Why are we deceiving ourselves?

For an observer, Ethiopia is a country which prides its history, past generations and heritage. For what it is worth, this very thinking is the core factor that is burying the country deep into poverty and never-ending political and social delusion. This to me is the giant monster the nation needs to get rid of for good. Accepting reality is the first step to change.

The moment we acknowledge what we mean to the world should be the first stride for change. While travelling to Europe, my recurrent struggle was to explain what Ethiopia can be identified with. And if there were those somewhat knowledgeable about the nation, all they knew was that country is poverty-stricken and has some good track-and-field athletes.

It is great that Ethiopia sometimes bluntly recognises the poverty that is prevalent. This is until the double-digit gross domestic product (GDP) rate Ethiopia is experiencing is mentioned. It paints a pretty picture that utterly confuses the types of conversations we need to be having.

It is vital to know what our obstacles as a country are. Then we may finally achieve the development we preach about in the media. The situation is only fair for the nation and the media to speak the truth. With globalisation, and information at the fingertips, deceiving statements allow the public to be intolerant of the government and the media.

Our society can get better by merely seeing the reality of Ethiopia and by trying the best to do something at the individual and country level. Nationalism should not mean regurgitating the past and fabricating untruth. No country has prospered through merely that. For it has never been too late to come to terms with reality, working for the better should be the goal. It is entirely okay to admit who we mean to the world, and create a better one which we can honestly and confidently talk about everywhere.

Enough centuries have been wasted. Now, in all fairness and honesty, damage control should be the next best option. It is not our fault to have been born in a developing country and that does not determine how much we should mean to the world.

But our reaction to our reality and what we do about it has a significant influence on our very existence as a society. We can always choose to be either a victim or a difference maker. This fundamental choice makes all the difference in how much transformation we bring about in ourselves and the world.

We are in a perfect position to be a society that makes a difference in the world. Just fifty years ago, Singapore used to relate to Ethiopia as a developing country with a GDP per capita of less than 320 dollars. To our encouragement, today Singapore is one of the globe’s fastest-growing economies. Its GDP per capita has risen to a staggering 60,000 dollars, making it the sixth highest in the world based on the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) figures.

For a country that lacks natural resources and total area, Singapore’s economic mounting is extraordinary, making them an influential nation and citizenry. Through embracing globalisation, free trade, education and practical policies, the country has been able to overcome its geographic drawbacks and become a front runner in global commerce and tourism. To get out of the forgotten list, Singapore had to create an environment that was non-violent, corruption-free and low in taxation.

We can similarly be thriving as a country.

How in the world would we be able to do that?

By not losing touch with essential reality. When we can correctly understand where we stand, we will consciously decide what we can do about it. This will not be an abstract concept but an actual realisation. Of course, this may not remedy the massive setbacks, but it is a significant step to pursue. The gifts of awareness are immeasurable. Let us choose which serves us the best – which is not to remain in a fib but to admit reality and move forward.

 



By Eden Sahle
She is founder and CEO of Yada Technology Plc. She has studied Law and International Economic Law. She can be reached at edensah2000@gmail.com.

Published on Feb 18,2018 [ Vol 18 ,No 930]


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