Freedom is one of the fundamental rights accorded to humans. People should have the freedom to speak, act and think. But how does one acquire true freedom? I believe that behind freedom, there is power. Power to speak, act and think on one’s own will. And power comes with resourcefulness. Resource can be financial or non-financial. What I would like to talk about today is about the freedom that one is endowed through financial resourcefulness. Financial freedom is what many of us seek in life. After all, we want money to have the freedom to expend on whatever we choose to expend on.
As a woman, I believe that the key behind a woman’s freedom to speak, act and think greatly depends on the power she derives from her resourcefulness in general, and her financial resourcefulness in particular. In matrimony, a woman with financial independence is very unlikely to be subject to domestic abuses. Back in the old days where men mostly used to be the main bread winners in the household, women were subject to various forms of abuses, physical or non-physical. Women were pressured to speak, act and think as fits best to the man. Today, where women are increasingly getting educated and earning as much as men, marriages are becoming less of a union where the husband is the mastermind of everything, and more of union where men and women have equal voices on all matters of the household. I personally believe that there is nothing humiliating and demeaning than being dependent on another’s financial means to support own existence.
I believe that the household where the financially dependent wife is abused by her husband is analogous to a country that is dependent on aid for its existence. It deeply hurts me that Ethiopia as a nation is threatened with a reduction of aid money whenever the country refuses to abide by the rules of its donors. I am not blaming the donors, of course. They do what they have to do for their own benefits or ours. But just the fact that we are so extremely poor that we agree to subject ourselves to foreign rules to maintain our existence saddens me a lot. Who is to be blamed for this? I truly believe that we and we only should be blamed for our weaknesses. It saddens me that, because of our poverty, we are not free to rule our country as we deem best to ourselves. I read that the EU claimed openly that the aid coming from them will be used as instrument to put policy pressures on Ethiopia. When are we finally going to free ourselves from such pressures?
When are we finally going to free ourselves from the business of aid? A country cannot be truly sovereign if it depends for its existence on foreign financial aid. I believe that Ethiopia is not a sovereign country so long as it continues to fill its budget gaps with begged money. Hearing on the news that so and so international institution or so and so western country has extended its charitable hands to Ethiopia is becoming the kind of news that pains me.
I truly believe that one or two generations will need to bear the price and be hard hit to free the country from begged money. So long as there is aid money, we will not decide that the best option for a sustainable growth is hard earned money. If aid money leads to economic growth, we would have witnessed that long ago. But we haven’t. With resourcefulness comes power, and with power comes freedom. We cannot consider ourselves a free country while dependent on others’ resources for our survival. We need to work towards freeing ourselves from the business of aid!