Tuesday, April 23, 2024
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An introspective beginning of 2017

The political landscape in the world seems to be going through some sort of shift. Popular movements or shall I say populist movements, movement of the disenfranchised, student movements, all seeking “equality” or “freedom” from oppression. All of this makes me wonder, if so many of us are being “oppressed” than who is doing the oppression.

This sounds like a very simple question but the answer has so many layers that its perceived simplicity is deceiving. Let us take an example at a small level, domestic workers going from Ethiopia to the Middle East. If you look at the agencies that are recruiting them and the treatments that they get at the airport in Ethiopia and the Middle Eastern countries, the people that hired them, they all treat them a certain way. I have single handedly notice so many of them being mistreated from the security at the gate in Bole airport, to immigration officers, to hostesses. But the interesting thing is the moment we hear about these young women or men dying or being killed in the Middle Eastern countries they were taken to, we are outraged and claim “oppression” and “discrimination”, something that we have been doing to them way before they went to the Middle East.

One of the main points to these movements is that the rich keep getting rich and the poor keep getting poorer and not getting any opportunities. I saw an interview where people were discussing the cabinet selection of US President-Elect Donald Trump where the argument in favor of his selection of well to do, aka wealthy, Americans to be a member of his cabinet is that because they are rich they will not have their hands forced by lobbyists and they will truly be working for the people. A part of me understood the logic of the argument, but another part of me could not believe that this was being considered as a viable argument. Lobbying is done by some of the largest companies, how many wealthy people do we know off who have said “I have enough money now, let me just give back”. I am certain many of you would like to name a few of the bigger philanthropists from the west, but my answer would be, look closely. They are heavily invested in whatever products they are “giving out for free”. There is a money making venture behind their “philantropist acts”.

So what does all this mean? I honestly do not have an answer, but I have certainly understood that “oppression” and “discrimination” is not something that is done by just a few people. We are all oppressed as much as we are oppressors. We all discriminate against others as we are discriminated against. Why are we not looking and starting to analyze where and how we fit into these systems, how we benefit and get hurt by them before we ourselves protest against them? I have decided to make this my mission in the coming “ferenj” year.

I read a very interesting quote a few days ago that made me think real hard about how I live my life. The quote was a definition of hell, it said “On your last day on earth, the person you have became will me the person you could have become.” When you think about it, seeing the difference between the two will be the biggest blow that you can have to how you lived your life and the choices that you have made.  


Contributed by Leyou Tameru


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