In an interview that he once gave on TV, the renowned late Ethiopian author Sibhat Gebregziabeher was asked if he feared death. He answered that he did not believe in the existence of death and won’t believe so until death comes for him. So, for death to be real, he must die himself. Sadly, as a dead man, he won’t be able to confirm death’s existence. His interview reminds me of how much a sad occurrence such as death does not have much importance until it happens to us or someone who is very near to us. How many of us are reminded everyday that we will also be dead one day?
Some people with blood pressure choose to ignore their condition and the sad fates of acquaintances with similar condition, and opt for a lifestyle that only adds more blood pressure to their health. I think some people consider themselves to be special. They believe that misery, sufferings and death are for others and not for them. Take car accidents for instance. Ethiopia, and Addis in particular, has been named as one of the top countries with serious car accidents in spite of its very small number of cars per capita. The media is constantly warning drivers to be careful, to limit speed and to respect safety rules. For some reason, drivers continue to speed, and to ignore safety rules. Why do you think that is? In my opinion, it has to do with the fact that these people do not believe that accidents can also happen to them. Deep down, they think that they are good drivers, and accidents and death are for other “weak” drivers. Corona virus is yet another example that shows that seeing is not necessarily believing. The fact that the number of deaths from the virus has exceeded a million does not seem to shake people to their core. Again, for some reason, many people believe that they are too special to get infected, and if they do, they are too special to suffer from it and die. So many people just go about their normal lives with little regard to the virus. Apparently, believing in what we see is as difficult as believing in what we do not see!
Recently, we have seen the leaders of the TPLF being killed and detained. This was further confirmation to me that seeing is not necessarily believing. The last Ethiopian Emperor and his ministers were killed by the successor Derg. The leader of the Derg is now in Zimbabwe, which granted him asylum and he has been sentenced to death in absentia by the EPRDF. And now, under the ruling Prosperity Party, the founders and leaders of the EPRDF are killed and made to face charges. So, is seeing really believing? If it was, history would not have repeated its mistakes time and time again. Like I said, some people consider themselves to be special and believe that whatever detriment had happened to others will not repeat itself on them.
I wonder if our current politicians have taken a bit of lesson from the fates of the EPRDF and TPLF, and its leaders. I wonder if they have finally come to realize that, after all, nobody is special and whoever repeats the same mistakes will also be subject to the same detriments. I wonder if they have finally come to realize that, simply because years have passed by without punishment, it does not mean that it will never happen. I hope for current politicians to believe in what they see!