On Teddy Afro and his “Holy War” remark

(Hallelujah Lulie)

Last week witnessed an interesting turn of events surrounding an alleged comment artist Teddy Afro gave to the Enqu magazine in an exclusive interview.Enqu magazine's cover quoting Teddy Afro as saying 'For me, Menilik's unification campaign was a Holy War' - (Ethiopia)

The first soft copy version of the magazine quoted the singer saying: ‘For me, Menelik’s unification campaign was a Holy War’.

The cover carrying the above comment was distributed by the editors of magazine through their email database. That led to an uproar of anger and criticism on the already controversial Teddy .

Later on, another cover of the hard copy emerged with a completely different header – where Teddy emphasizes his trademark rhetoric of – ‘understating history and the past to create the future’ (not a direct translation).

Then some groups who kept quite or defended Teddy on the first comment started bashing the Teddy critiques. They claimed that it was a conspiracy to destroy the good name and will of the singer. Some claimed that it was a Photoshop.

Subsequently, another revelation surfaced.

The editors of the Enqu magazine sent an apology letter to their subscribers explaining that it was all a ‘technical’ error and claimed Teddy did not make the ‘Crusade’ remark.

That is where things stand so far as far as I am informed.

What do I make of the saga?

First, I have worked in the print media at least for three years and understand the basic and simple procedures of publication, especially the front page approval process.

I can claim boldly that the cover page was not distributed without the approval of the managing editor, editor-in-chief or other high ranking person in the magazine. It could not be a technical error that slipped through. That raises the possibility that the editorial team agreed to send it through but later decided to alter it.

Second, Teddy Afro is very capable of making such comments.

His unreserved love and appreciation for Menelik, his unexamined and narrow knowledge of history, and the existence of a fan base that swallows whatever comes out of him without chewing are the three most points that facilitate such a statement.

I was as usual disappointed by the people who said nothing about the ignorant and insensitive comment (even at the time it was sure that he said it) or those who even tried to defend it. Shame on You.

Teddy’s preaching on peace, love and unity is a uninformed, shallow and naive. There can’t be love without truth. And at this moment he doesn’t look like he is able or willing to face the truth and preach it.

I restrain myself from commenting on such incidents, but I am forced to do so now because of his huge following the unimaginable hypocrisy of people who preach love and unity.

It is sad that our debates and discussions are not informed and is initiated by a confused and mis/uninformed singer.

* The author Hallelujah Lulie is a researcher at Institute for Security Studies (ISS) and a guest writer on this blog. 

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