I am an Ethiopian from head to toe!! In this blog, I would try to explain what it is like to be an Ethiopian, not that any body wants to be one, but to the particular ones who get offended by us or are in love with us!! You should understand that what I write here, can never represent the 100+ million Ethiopians around the world, but almost all of us share a common trait and I will try to underline that.
Imagine yourself being overly confident and yet shy! Imagine living in absolute poverty but would share your dinner with your guest/friend. Imagine having it all and living in a shanty and imagine having nothing and living like a “Rock Feller”. Imagine being very friendly and yet can stab you in the back. Imagine an absolute contrary to whatever you see right in front of you. I can go on and on but understanding an Ethiopian takes an Ethiopian.
Ethiopians are generous in nature, I think its the religion that can be given credit for this. As God fearing as we Ethiopians are, we could be ruthless in our aims. We were on a que one day and a friend of mine asked me once, you Ethiopians really consider your self proud and do not shy for a white guy. I asked him what makes you say that? He then told me that a white guy just skipped lines and was served first! I got the whole notion on where he was going and really felt that he had such a child’s understanding and explained to him, if the same people on the line see you skip them tomorrow, you just wait and see! Some foreigners try to mellow me down by telling that “Ethiopians aint Proud, I have a lot of Ethiopians telling me yes sir, no sir, will do sir, please sir”. I told him that he was right, never wrong, but what he missed out was it also happens to the Ethiopian who is well off, and also happens all over the world to people who are rich. So elucidated it to him that should the Ethiopian see that the white is never going to give him what he wants, well he will get a fuck you sir or maybe could even go further, for the Ethiopian would feel that he has been cheated and eluded by his white friend. Makes sure you will pay for it!!!
Personally, I come from a middle income family, raised in a private school and have worked in the various NGOs and private companies. I my self am a middle income person, who has ventured into potentially lucrative deals in the future or could be my demise. But right now right now, I am just a middle income person and thats my perspective. I have travelled a lot, from Thailand, Dubai etc to the East up to the various states in the US, So I have some perspective of the world. I have even seen how its spent by the big boys. I am not talking about the average rich person spending money on his friends and guests over champagne. I am talking about the top 50 billionaires in the Fortune 500 listing, who is half Ethiopian. I have seen it all from the hotels that you get booked into in the middle of Dubai, Sheikh Zaid Road to the meanest clubs spending close to US 12,000- per club. On the down side, I have slept in sleeping bags, where I remember finding a Scorpion inside my bag. I have camped in the middle of a lions triangle only to find out later from the locals that it was okay…shit. I have crossed borders into Somalia region guarded by warlords to buy an Oxyacetylene, for we were far away from Ethiopian civilization, the closest item was only available in the next country. I have traveled all around Ethiopia and camped in the most remotest places here, where should anything happens to you, it would take another two days for your relatives to hear about you!! Yes, that’s me, and that’s what my life is like….crazy and I like it that way!!!
Now back to reality, Ethiopia, its a country of obscene polarities where you would expect anything to be out of control anytime…that is for the outsiders view. One thing we have deep in our soul is hope, a very strong desire and hope that tomorrow will be a better day. This gives us perseverance and the desire to continue life without causing a havoc.
Ethiopians are racist people! Yes We are! There are more than 100 different kinds of tribes within Ethiopia. Some will tell you that, this racism came during the current regime, but I say it was there, we just didnt say it out loud. I say we are racist for it doesnt stop within our borders. We categorize the worlds population. First off, considering Ethiopia its self, we dissect it into different tribes. If the perspective of conversation is Ethiopia vs the world, then we automatically refers to ourselves as Abesha, our second name then the rest of Africa is “Africans”. All white man is not white for an Ethiopian. More prestige is given to the French, Spaniards, Germans etc the western parts. English are identified as the most crooked people of all, infact there is a saying that if an Ethiopian thinks in a crooked way, we say “He is English”. The American are considered the best ones, they are giving for the most part, so Ethiopians mostly love them. The East Europeans are considered the inferior white peoples and when people refer to them as white, they are corrected as no they are Russians, meaning less white! All people with narrow eye lids are Chinese and all foreigners living in cheap houses and teach school are Indians, thats the way it is for the general Ethiopian. An Ethiopian feels sorry for all Africans and sometimes is mad to why the Africans treat the “General White” as a king. They even go like that “Bariya” African, why does he give so much respect for the white guy, he made me loose face! Ethiopians despise people who sell them selves to win others. We do it too to get something specific from the white guy and definitely do not lower our grades after a specific point. Yes, its not because he is White that an Ethiopian kisses ass, its because there is something that he wants from him, could be a job, money…something. Petty is, when the so called white guy is found to be of the East European origin, there is a saying, “I am even better than this dude”. An Indian is captured as the one who lives close to a beggars life. They dont dress well, they are seen taking taxis/bus with the general public and they don’t like to spend money. Ethiopians dont like people who are not flamboyant and who dont like to spend money.
Above all though, there is this thing about land and an Ethiopian. We just love to have land. The biggest gift that can be ever given to you in Ethiopia since time memorial is land and gold. I think that is one of the reasons we have not been invaded by the Italians. I mean, to date we have this incredible attachment to our land and always wanted to expand it. Okay, for the Europeans, they knew the value of land, I mean its linked to Oil, Gold, Diamonds etc etc. For most of African they never cared about their land and hence it was easy it take it away from them. Imagine you came to a country where the mere ideology of the people is expansion of their holdings. We have names for it, I mean actual treacherous names given to children to date such as Asfawosen, literally translated to “Expand your Borders”, Belachew “Hit them”, Mirachew “Rule Them”, Astatkachew “Enable them”. Its written some where in history that Ethiopians are the only black people with the mentality of capturing land and enslaving people inorder to get their land. Our nation used to stretch as far as Yemen and Egypt. And with this mentality in mind, the poor Italians came with all their modern weapons to take away their land, now imagine what happened to them. Our love for land is shown by building tall fences all around the property and even adding some green inorder to claim the nearby land. Any chance that an Ethiopian gets, he is all over to grab a land…including me! Now I know the value of land, I dont know how our fore fathers saw it.
How an Ethiopian see him/her self is beyond your imagination. First off, its the women who almost always defines her husband. Ohhh Ethiopian Women, you cant live with them, you cant live without them. There are these fearless Ethiopian women who push her husband to fight off even kill a person, a mother who pushes her child to avenge he loved ones death. These are typical Ethiopian women who by no means any foreigner would not dare come close to them. Infact the male Ethiopians are tamed ones, be ware of the females, they are the strength of the whole Ethiopian society. They are like the ones who pull the strings in the show, but you never see them. Then you have these pathetic Ethiopian women, who shy off from any kind of argument and are generally submissive. Yes, they are there, and life has made them even more subtle. These are the ones from whom you get to have no opinions and who would almost always agree to whatever you have to say and their type could not be found in any role as a leader, for she cannot handle it. Ethiopian Women are more than any one can handle. They are just too complex and they get frustrated to be with an Ethiopian man. But at the end of the day, the love for her music which has deep intrinsic meanings which could only be defined in the language, the Ethiopian humor and value of the Ethiopian culture. At the end of the day, as adamant and super egoed an Ethiopian male could be, she knows how to contain that ego and gear it in the right way hence her love for the challenge lures her back to love Ethiopian men.
This is almost a very generalized picture which where I tried to share our core values. There could be a lot of spelling mistakes, unnecessary usage of words and so forth… I just felt like it and posted it, will read it later and will amend it if need be!!! Cheers to all the haters and the lovers!!!
Cheers, Hope you enjoyed it.