Ethiopia: Generation In Action – Join It!

Which generation in your country do you belong to?

The overlap of generations by age – natural as it is – diffuses the lines of demarcations. Rather, the turning point of history better marks a generation wholly as a driver of change regardless of age differences among its constituency. Under a major crushing change-process, the status quo, still creeping with rotting roots and spines is usually cleared of its “golden” history, to a point of no return. If one has to try tracking the old establishment, one will find it in the form of a snake its head crushed – as man’s blow always rests heavily on the latter part – and the rest of its body lay twirling on the ground until it gives in to silence.

The forces for the turning point of history are usually merciless on decadence that had reigned for long and its attendant darkness. Not everybody in society does understand, on time, the direction of the new forces undoing the traditional, obsolete shrines built “for eternity” as monuments of the status quo. To come up with the new and get rid of obsolescence is the mission in action voiced by a change-generation.

As to which generation you belong to, you may be asking yourself the same question – whether you are in the direction of the turning point of history or still locked in the past. The easiest way to understand your location is to find your presence or absence in the multitude restlessly fighting the past in substance and form. It is then you will have a good grasp of the generation you are part of. From your daily experience, you might have not missed people who still psychologically, politically and economically live satisfied in darkness they had shared with the mass, a mass otherwise now rolling the wheels of renaissance.

One problem with a situation so changed is that it does not get immediately free of touch of the old system, and its culture – all that is for a long time stuffed with shared beliefs and “values”, shared attitudes and practices difficult to dislodge fast at one’s will. It’s worse for one who has deeply worshipped, and prayed for the aged culture, born and adapted for eternal existence. If it has served the past, it has value neither for the present nor for the future. It can only be an obstacle until time clears it off the road. Regardless of all that effort to sustain it, devastated in a dynamic hostile environment, crumbles irreparably.Image - ballot being cast

There is a good example to show how an aging culture stands as an impediment for progress and for a call for change.

It is said people at primitive stage were, for a good part of human history, fishing for food with bare hands. Even if not enough, only the lowest proportion among the people was able to catch some fish. In spite of sweating morning-to-evening, the rest returned home desperate, nothing in their hands for food. It was all hunger and misery.

After so long, under that very old, staunch culture, a young man among them the people innovated, from that natural environment, a device that enabled him to grab many more fish than anyone in the society. But the people arose against him and challenged his innovation. The rage from the people was bitter for socially accepted reasons. He had gone off the way – browsing for fish bare hand in the rivers – they had celebrated for thousands of years, with hunger and its consequences. He had committed sin by playing surf in search of fish under water, for minimum success or to no avail. He was condemned for evading the culture that rested on their fishing economy. Even in isolation from the “culture” so valued and worshipped for so long, the man was determined to his benefits from his new fishing device that enabled him acquire a lot of fish beyond any memorable individual-production in the history of the society.

Very few among his age, who fished bare handed about him in the streams, rivers and ponds felt the pain, catching much lesser h than he did, and most of them returning home nothing in their hands. Through time though, one of those fishermen went nearer to the innovator, at the cost of a potential isolation from the people, and asked him if he was willing to show him how to make a similar device and how to operate it. The innovator happily helped his friend to have a similar device and catch more fish. But the latter had to try it away from the people’s eye, though he too could not escape from cultural segregation.

Very few within the people nearer to this second beneficiary asked him about his better fishing than they did. He clandestinely helped them copy his device and benefit from it. The fishing-standard abundantly changed in the life of the whole population.

Through time that fishing device so condemned at inception became part and parcel of the fishing economy. The change in the fishing process gave rise to major changes in the structure of the economy, the life of the people and their culture.

Even as beneficiaries of a developed economy and a new culture, a minority from the past held to the old tradition and remained an obstacle to total elimination of obsolescence. They represented the mores set far behind in the society, celebrated what had reigned way back in the past. They stacked to memories of their “good days,” of their history they remembered as beneficiaries they forcefully grabbed undue proportion of fish from the multitude who suffered from scarcity of their catch.

This is just a question for the young girl or boy. Where do you place your self, on the carriage of change or carriage of obsolescence, in your daily encounters at work, in school, at home, or probably nowhere to eye, to smell, to see, or sense the breath bustling you all round? You can’t help being hustled, whether you like it or not, in an unstoppable intemperate wind of change.

In a raining season, the water from above, from the sky, falls on different landscapes – rivers, valleys, mountains, farm lands, and rocks.

If farmlands are ready for the rain, the dams are constructed in due time across valleys and rivers, and for what purpose, that is where the book of the generation is read. If one curses the rainy season for it offers, the land for being ready to enjoy the rain for fertility, and the dams for guarding valleys and rivers from unchecked flow, the change-machine would push away one to his or her destination in isolation, off the changing circumstances, to mourn the spirit of darkness alone. It is then one is pressed hard on the sieve of change, shrieking for the “better” of the past.

Loneliness: It may be group loneliness or individual loneliness. When one as a group or an individual is unsettled against generational change, it is there isolation becomes a way of life difficult to define. But that doesn’t mean one is idle of “duties” other than that one should have been on the rail of real history. In spite of change hauling society high up the steps of developmental ladder, there is always human slug of some kind or another. It is alien to what is new within the racing society, and that is as a consequence of culture molded for “eternity.”

Culture is driven by decadence or change. Any generation is in either of the two. As touched elsewhere above, you are still at the tail of decadence cut off from the main body now in its graveyard, or you are somewhere comfortably rolling along the trail of change; there is no third option. It is understandable where one can locate oneself in the chain of events discernible in one’s daily encounters of his/her choice.

Shall we go from the general to the particular in the making of history through the routes of change?

The last 23 years of our country had a mix of both – renewal of its history and an inability to up-to-date the views in some citizens left behind the march of time. There is some reading in the mismatch between the outlook of the leftovers for and the call of their country. They’ve all the way missed their learning from experience – from their own, and from the wealth of real experience of their country. They have wasted about half of what nature grants an Ethiopian -– half of his/her 50 years lifespan. They cannot recover it with regret. Once they missed the learning curve, they were in the wilderness, many of them in search of enemies to destabilize their country, others waiting for manna from those elsewhere flattering them, all along the two decades and more. No doubt, they must have been pressed hard between the jaws of an obscene outdated cultural framework. The consequences are visible; many of them prevail “politically,” others “philosophically” in some form – written or spoken. There are china walls between those outlooks on one side and what is going on in the country on the other.

The country is now on the road to its fifth parliamentary elections – more than twenty years under a new constitution in full recognition from all citizens. Twenty years of democratic practices tasted with economic policies, strategies and tangible developments changing the scene of the country to the world. What is to learn from one’s country save its heading to a bright future, for those who could sense the trend and development of events in the last twenty years and more?

Except those who have grasped the constitution of their country as an icon for their representation anywhere any time, there are those who have traversed the two decades and half as an opposition to everything going on in their country. Some are organized as political parties; others are individuals including, and mainly from the aged. The latter may not be many, for age-lot limits their number. They like to see the worst of their country before their death. They are active at contaminating all generations in age after them. Others are younger, though they are a year older every year. They have no sign joining them to the generation of change on line. As molded as they are to fit the obsolete cultural setup now only at its tail end, they are nowhere along the new path of a whole generation heading for the sunny future its crescent soaring with time.

What would citizens expect from a platform now more than two decades coming up in cycles of political elections?

No doubt, political maturity of politicians would be one. It can be expressed variously. Appreciating all Ethiopians for sustaining peace and prosperity of their country would be one expression. Protecting the platform as free as it is for any citizens to air their political views and programs to the people for contest, and expectations of culturally acceptable behavior in the eyes of citizens as the gate to addressing political material for the race, as is judged by all Ethiopians is another.

The worst, and never to be expected is insanity perpetrated behind the prevailing stage, and crude, offensive behavior in the eyes of respected Ethiopians in millions in their country and outside throughout the world. There are signs of some assignees elsewhere trying to provoke irritation from the police for action elsewhere. The brawl within party and parties on stage, in the opposition, has signaled two aspects of their future. It is a power struggle for their aspirations for the top position or positions in party and in “their government” after elections. That signals their behavior in government. They have reflected coup d’états among themselves early on before they are certain with legality of their participation in the coming elections.

Where would you be, if you had been nowhere, in the spectrum of generations now on the race for YES from the voting cards of the electorate in the upcoming nationwide democratic elections?

Unless one, somehow in good manners, joins the generation stirring the wheels of change in the country, he/she will decay with unusable age and blasphemy. Don’t hesitate. Join the generation – an army in pursuit of change of its country sweating in the construction of Hdase and Gilgel Gibe dams, more than ten huge sugar factories, highways and railroads in thousands of kilometers, and airports, and the various engineering practices in assembly of machinery and tools for industry, transport, construction and more! Just a flash of what is going on in your country. If you have been lost to that generation, clean your spirit with regret, and be daring enough to extricate yourself from the marsh. Have the gut to connect with real history in challenge against the odds, for success.

Be aware of this: Democracy, when in a mould for economic plunder, propaganda and crime, is the worst in history. But democracy, when real, comes up with genuine choices. It is, nevertheless, also exposed to evil in good attire of politics. Have a checklist of the political, economic and social life of the country in the last decades as measures of your choice for the ballot. Don’t forget; a wrong choice is a liability. Join a generation in action and accept a strategic reward, forward, from your choice. Your election card is a weapon that commands the politics, the agriculture, the industry, the security of the country, health and education, the services you expect from government, and foreign relations of your country. It guarantees the spectrum of cultures, languages and all the scenes of differences and unity.

Join The Generation In Action! Viva The 2015 Ethiopian Nationwidewide Elections! Join The Generation In Action!


Asteway Beyene

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