Do we need to do soul-searching?
A reader under the pen-name Veritas has the following challenge for those of us, ’who are not in a perpetual state of self-deception’. He is calling for a serious soul-searching.
‘After reading some of the thoughts based on Kumlachew’s piece I could not stop thinking about what we, Ethiopians, can do about the form of life, which one can easily say is a graphic and vivid portrait of tragedy of life writ large, and why we’ve embodied such a form of life for such a long period of human history.
By referring to a tragic form of life in Ethiopia and its long history, I’m not referring to something specifically political and I’m not saying that Ethiopia has undergone and embodied perpetual poverty, all other kinds of undesirable forms of human life, due only to its political history. I’m not denying that political leadership and such similar institutions contribute to some undesirable things that we Ethiopians undergo as a society. That is undeniable. But then if we keep thinking that only the government is to blame for all forms of suffering that we’ve experienced and are experiencing, I think, that way of trying to understand our own problems for what they are is wrong-headed, in some sense.
Take for example, such widely distributed, manifested, character traits among many, many Ethiopians, this is going to cause a chaos among some who want to deny the truth (!): why are so many–“many” never means all, or even most, mind you–Ethiopians characteristically untruthful; dishonest; suspicious of another fellow human being; arrogant in the sense of being unwilling to admit that they’ve made mistakes, and admit that they do not know certain things; jealous; and also want to take advantage of others’ innocence, etc, etc. These are characteristically unhealthy, undesirable things for any human society and they part and parcel of all other societies, of course. But please do not respond by saying that we’re not different, these are problems one can find everywhere etc. This way of answering simply confirms one or the other of the traits that I listed above and please be careful not to just confirm what I’ve already shared to reflect on with fellow Ethiopians. Please do not seek easy answers that only explain away the problems for in those answers we only show how much little we care to think deeper, or more carefully, and being honest and truthful about these very questions. Please let’s face it [them] and try to understand why we’re such a society and widely suffer from such vices of character.
I want to hear from fellow Ethiopians who’re not in a perpetual state of self-deception in trying to explain away a call for some rational and deeper understanding of our society’s problems as I’ve tried to share a tip of the iceberg which we can extend and expand and contemplate together to see if we can make sense of our own identity, and our own destiny as we keep being reflective on what makes us who we’re. My hope is that some will share insights from all kinds of sources such as literature by fellow Ethiopians who address some of the above questions that unfortunately define us a society.
I look forward to reading some reflections by Kumlachew and other fellow Ethiopians who’ve a much better knowledge, who know much more than I about the Ethiopian literature, art, and such sources that can help us reflect on ourselves. I’ll be happy to share my own thoughts as I continue to interact, hopefully, with those who’re courageous, honest, truthful, and open enough to face the above predicaments about our society, about us in these dark days as there have been many such in our history.’
Is this just a bravado that we shoudn’t take heed to or a bitter truth that we shouldn’t try to run away from?
Do you agree with what Veritas is saying? Do we need to do soul-searching?
You could join the conversation here.