Why go into politics?

By Ankober

Peter Gill in his just published book ‘Famine and Foreigners: Ethiopia Since Live Aid” said often in my discussions with him, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi took me by surprise. When I asked him about the western image of his country, I expected a politician’s defensiveness.

The answer I received was this: “Humiliation can be a very powerful motivation for action and therefore I don’t hate the fact that we get humiliated every day provided it’s based on facts … if we feel we deserve to be treated like honourable citizens of the world, then we have to remove the source of that shame. There is no way round it.”

I will be doing a review of Gill’s book in my coming issues.The answer that the self acclaimed prime minster gave bears two meanings.One is an undeniable philosophical conception and reality that humility becomes a source of action and motivation.True that. Accepting this fact as it is,let’s delve on the other part of his sentence , he says ‘ if we feel we deserve to be treated like honourable citizens of the world, then we have to remove the source of that shame’.We Ethiopians as human beings and fellows of the world need to be treated and respected as a human being of whatsoever, economic,historical,cultural or any deficiency we have as a legacy.

Your Lowness, Meles unlike your farcical statements, without even removing whatever ‘shame” we have ,the citizens of that that super country,Ethiopia deserve equal and honorable treatments; God approves it,the UN approves it,human morality and virtue approve it but your mind.And for some it could be.But poverty as to me is a phenomena that happens in the our life cycles.Human beings in their biological life cycle pass this interesting step of poverty;so do nations.Never been a country that has not been poor or has gone through relative or chronic poverty.Nonetheless,what makes poverty shameful is when the poor and poverty itself is being used or abused by interested groups.One of these groups being Meles.The young revolutionary democrat in his ever changing statements of the reason why he got into politics was quoted once saying ” poverty of my people triggered me”.Leaving aside the whoness of ”my people” , his ‘wish of eradicating poverty and lifting his people out of poverty ” has never come into fruition.His once popular motto of ” enabling Ethiopians to eat three times a day” also perished.He rather now applied the most dubious strategy of accepting impoverishments.Meles in the advancement of this policy of accepting our poverty,has now promoted and glorified Ethiopia’s signature of attraction as ‘poverty’ by being a member of any high level international beggary of money for climate change,fighting hunger,poverty and what have you.

My understanding, as most of Ethiopians would also, i suppose, is that albeit Ethiopia is economically poor, that is not our signature of attraction or symbolic value.We detest this fact.What prompted me to write down this memoir is a recent clip (one of the millions done ) published on twenty5ethiopia.org.


”The Twenty5 campaign is aimed at ensuring Ethiopian people never again experience the devastating effects of widespread famine and in the 25 year anniversary have released a video. In the touching video, people recount the harsh experiences they faced during the famine and how 25 years later, they are still impacted by those who reached out and helped.” the producers claim about the movie.

The producers of the film St Matthew’s Children’s Fund Ethiopia,twenty5ethiopia proudly assert that positive changes have been seen since the 1984 famine partly due to their work.Good for them.

This clip is one of the numerous clips,articles,posters, campaigns produced and are still being duplicated on Ethiopia’s last famine,poverty, and starvation.I was burning and seeing the dark, hopeless looking and manipulated fellows.

Likewise a promo by another ”aid” organisations called ethiopianfoodappeal.org has this in the middle of its website as a form of collecting donation -‘Ethiopian Food Appeal — Empty Stomachs, Hungry Minds ‘. How in the world could your soul tolerate and live such dehumanizing, degrading and immoral statements?

Permitted by Meles,ambitious Westerners are still engulfed 25 years after the famine in a new form of poverty based businesses.I feel pained to see Ethiopians being showed as helpless,poor, hungry, starved, innocent and so by these people and their media.

Ethiopia and the current leadership has served as good models and hubs for poverty oriented researches,business,NGOs and etc. Countries like Sudan and Bangladesh have both gone through poverty and famine with same level of consequences around similar times, however neither of them have allowed the portrayal of their nations as poor,starving and helpless.

After all what did the likes of St Matthew’s Children’s Fund and many other ”Saintly”’NGOs do for us? Did they stop our food dependency,did they change our image,or what good did they do?No any macro change have they brought.

So,how,when,where,and possibly with whom can we change these concocter’s, sluggers,and appallingly complex problems of virtue and essence ? I have one answer going into politics.Westerner’s with negative agenda or our own looters can only be combated if you and me enter into any form of political circle making our main mission: ‘the return of ourness‘ .

As Meles himself said it ”if we feel we deserve to be treated like honourable citizens of the world, then we have to remove the source of that shame.” Evidnetly, the source of our shame is You and your failed leadership that failed to take us out of poverty.There is noway round it.Period.