By Anko Zuta , Blogger of De Birhan Blogspot
06 June 2011
There is a pejorative term in our country : ”achebacabi” (Clapper).It is a negative term for those who actually clap for the powerful selling their dignity and gravitating moral threshold.In everyday lingo, they are as* Kissers. That was what i saw in today’s live discussion and show at the Ethiopian Prime Minister”s office. The live transmission,which had started with a drama show and followed by discussion between Prime Minister,Meles Zenawi and over 1800 Ethiopian artists as was hosted Artist Serawite Fikre. They discussed that artists wanted to be recognized,valued and be included in the Growth and Transformation Plan of the Government.One good question that Film Director asked the Prime Minister was that the artists needed an ”artists fund” so that they work at image building of the country.He opines that the Nation’s image has been branded by the ”Live Aid” artistic works and that artists need to revert that ” hunger brand”.
Not to bad though.There were some with ”cool” moral,questions.One veteran photographer, loudly sounded his complaints ”I was arrested over 40times in my life time for taking pictures, why is that so ?Why are the local photographers and videographers persecuted while the foreigners come shoot as they like?”.
But the majority were clappers , all they did was clap on everything that seemed to satisfy the Prime Minister’s usual mantra and rhetorics.Clap, clap , clap on what wasn’t funny and on what shouldn’t have been worth a clap.
In a Nation, where over 90% percent of the population (that is my estimation), is going under the absolute poverty threshold, mind you not even the relative , and everyone that you talk to knows only one thing i.e. (high cost of living), and where the most underpaid and neglected are artists,what do you call such a standing ovation for everything that the Prime Minister utters.
These are my assumptions : people are either terrified,despaired or are hopeful that talking to the prime minister would change things. What I don’t think they know is that Meles has an agenda, he knows that the artists are the ones that are feeding and elongating the life of the hungered Ethiopians: so he wants them to indulge his “developmental and democratic art” theory.This socialist theory in essence and practice also in some cases,aspires to bring about ”change” by using art and artists. This theory has many disadvantages: it pulls all artistic creativities towards one direction i.e. development, artists can”t think of a music,drama or movie that is not developmental cause that is the regime’s policy and pays back,and that kills art. Even if it might be used for change, it won’t be very fulfilling as it would gradually push away the audience.
In a country where, Ethiopians are migrating in Biblic proportions of exodus ; I can”t really see the value of talking to artists or so as if the nation was being run properly.
Sources close to immigration have revealed that every fortnight around 15,000 Ethiopians are receiving Sudanese visa to find work and a better life . Sudan is our neighbour which has not yet fully skipped from crisis and poverty but see, lack of opportunity and hopelessness leads your legs even to the homes of the ”lesser evils”.
With the possible separation of Southern Sudan from the North and the booming oil business in the North , many citizens of the Horn of Africa;Somalia, Djibouti, Eritrea, and Ethiopia are immigrating in search of job, opportunity and hope.
Ethiopians are the runner ups so far. The record I had some five months ago for Ethiopians officially migrating to the Sudan was 5000 in two weeks but this figure has tripled now and reached 15,000.
What do you call such discussions,complaints about copyright, association, funding, when 15,000 Ethiopians are migrating to just the Sudan let alone those who fly out to the West,Arab countries and Asia?In a nation at peril .