By Yilma Bekele
On November 11, 2011 Yenesew Gebre was driven to kill himself on behalf of all suffering Ethiopians. He killed himself out of love for his people and country. He made the ultimate sacrifice to wake us up so we can see what it means to be humiliated in your own home. Love can be expressed in so many different ways. Yenesew’s method was that of a teacher. That is what he was in real life. Yenesew was a shepherd and an example setter to his people.
On March 24, 2012 Ethiopian Review reported about exiled Ethiopian physicians holding a meeting in Virginia, US to raise money to invest in a referral hospital in Ethiopia. A very laudable act you might say. They must love their country and people so much that even after being kicked out, exiled or driven off from their homeland they were willing to help. Isn’t that a sign of generosity and love? I agree. There is nothing like giving. Aren’t we such a blessed people to have caring individuals among us?
Wait a minute, let us not put the cart in front of the horse please. Everything has a context otherwise it is meaningless. Our physicians ‘love’ for country has to be put in its context so we can really understand and appreciate their ‘selfless’ act. This is where the problem rears its head. They say the devil is in the details and it is nowhere true than in this instance. Our physician’s act is nothing more than a cheap trick to pad their bank account while looking selfless and honorable. Their act is that of a charlatan. They are trying to get advantage using deception. It is petty theft and nothing more than the act of a common criminal.
How sad coming from people of such high knowledge that have taken the oath to do good. Well they are Ethiopians aren’t they; the rules don’t work in the land of TPLF Ethiopia. Being a physician is a sign of high achievement. It requires sacrifice, dedication and plenty of work. It is an honorable profession. Doctors are held in high esteem and it is every mother’s dream for her baby. They teach you how to cure the sick in medical school. They make you a technician of the human body. The engineer build bridges, the architect designs house, the mechanic fixes engines, the chauffer drives a car, the physician cures people, the politician leads and the shoeshine cleans shoes. All are expert in their field. It is the contribution of each that makes a society work in harmony.
We put physicians on a pedestal. We ascribe a certain amount of higher intelligence to the doctor. That is more so in a backward society like ours. It is not healthy. We confuse education with common sense. One might be trained to be nuclear scientist but the possibility is there that the individual might be void of common sense or social grace. Those that have spent a major portion of their life pursuing a single goal can sometimes loose sight of the bigger picture.
When it comes to our learned compatriots we are dealing with two aspects of this myopic situation. There are some that are truly attracted to do good and help their people. At he same time there are those that will betray their people for thirty pieces. Isn’t that the situation we got here?
That is what I believe. In a country where one man surrounded with his ethnic group and lords it over eighty million others, in a place where one is judged by his blood line instead of his deeds, in a location where no one is allowed to speak or associate freely and in a land where the young and able are forced to leave due to lack of opportunity our esteemed doctors are collecting money to enable the evil doer.
None other than Ato Girma Birru – our Oromo Ambassador, called them into a meeting. I know it is rude to identify an individual by his ethnic affiliation on the other hand Ato Girma owes his position due to his ethnic identity. He was the token OPDO Minster in the TPLF cabinet and today he is the token representative in the US. Before his assignment to his new job he was Minster of Industry and Commerce in emerging democratic Ethiopia. Makes you wonder what he did all day doesn’t it? When you consider that he was a simple student like the rest of us before the arrival of TPLF and today he counts as one of the richest individuals in the country you know what he was busy at in his position. The well-dressed and manicured Ambassador is a picture of well-fed and modern Ethiopian.
Our physicians are the symptom of the disease afflicting our country. We focus on them because they are an easy target to identify. But this disease of discounting Ethiopia is nothing new. It has been going on for so long that it has become part of us. We all have become numb to being humiliated, trampled upon and discarded. No need to point our fingers at the greedy doctors when every house is a source of this virus of selfishness and greed. I do not mean to insult you my dear Ethiopian but isn’t time we reflect on our actions?
Tell me who buys stolen plots of land? Who flies Ethiopian Airlines? Who party’s in Addis among the starving? Who invests in hotels and brothels from Mekele to Moyale? Who turns a blind eye when the Anuaks are massacred in Gambella, the Amharas displaced from Benji Maji, the Oromos imprisoned in mass, the little girls sold into slavery in the Middle East? Don’t tell me you did not know. You knew but you choose to keep silent.
We choose to be upset because Hillary Clinton sat with the monster in Arat Kilo. We seethed with anger because the little dictator inserts himself in every international meeting, we blow our tops when Gambella is leased to grow rice, Professor Asrat was murdered, teacher Assefa Maru is gunned down, Kinijit is imprisoned and elections are stolen. It took all five minutes to cool us down. Our anger was not real. It did not come from deep. Surface anger is so pathetic don’t you think so?
Our esteemed physicians came to the west because they could not serve the people that paid for their training while working under the existing regime. Unfortunately they forget why they were driven away. They are just showing us how self-centered and idiots they are. Doctors without borders are in Ogaden tending to the deliberately starved, they are in the rift valley helping the intentionally marginalized and our doctors were assembled in Virginia to serve the less than one percent. Shame is an understatement. When did we loose our moral compass is a valid question?
You know what it took me along time to push send after I wrote this piece. I was worried offending you. I felt like I am not a good ‘chewa’ Ethiopian, being rude and confrontational is not our style. Then the picture of the displaced came to me. I saw the children from Benji Maji left to be homeless. I remembered my sister Alem Dechasa alone and helpless in Lebanon. I thought of my people in the jungles of Central Africa to be eaten by wild animals or drawn into harms way in other peoples’ conflict or imprisoned in Yemen and I said enough is enough. I have no reason to please no one.
I have bad news for you my people. Freedom cannot be outsourced. The Americans, the British nor the Norwegians are going to liberate you. Liberation comes from deep inside. It comes from being true to your self. It comes from caring for other as you care for yourself. How could you save others when you are sinking your self? As for our physicians that are deluding themselves about helping our people I have one message for them-kindly shove your PhD’s where the sun does not shine and take two aspirins for the pain. The physical pain will go away but the mental anguish caused by your betrayal will never leave you, ever.
As for me my friends, I am working overtime to bring this nightmare to an end. I support Ginbot 7, I am energized by the new OLF, I help ESAT and I am always there to expose Woyane atrocity every chance I get. I teach people on the goings in my homeland. I write my Congress representative to remind them of the plight of my people and I will never rest until this cancer is wiped out from my body politic. Sometimes the going gets rough, the road seems impassable but no one promised me a jolly ride. The fact that some individuals or groups betray our trust is no reason to resign and go home. I just reengineer and thrust on because the liberation of my country and people cannot be dumped onto others. What about you are you just complaining insistently, blaming others or are you becoming part of the problem like our educated but reality challenged physicians? It is a choice you have to make.
The writer can be reached at [email protected]