Quotes, who doesn’t love them? It is their ability to capture our thoughts and moods on a particular day in just few words, and make us feel good about ourselves. They are motivational, inspirational, uplifting, and we like to refer to them to keep ourselves going in the battles that life presents to us. There is one thing that I have learned about quotes though. And that is the fact that people who like to display quotes as their profile pictures be it on Facebook or WhatsApp or on their computer screens, or those who like to post quotes on the walls of their offices or the windows of their cars are generally those people who find it too hard to put into practice whatever the quotes are preaching. So the quotes are used like a means of a constant and desperate reminder that they should stick to the preaching of the quotes. For example, consider a person who likes to post quotes about happiness. I usually find that such a person is a person who has found happiness to be hard to reach.
The last few days of Pagumen, the 13th month of Ethiopia, have been used to commemorate the most important values we all would like to be applied and realized in our country, Pride day, peace day, justice day, you name it. These days that are nicely named are to me like quotes that we are very much unable to realize. I do not want to sound too negative, but I have to say that whatever government budget is spent to celebrate these values is money that is wastefully spent. When watching on the news reports on how these values were celebrated, I wonder if these celebrations were successful in instilling the values in people’s hearts. Who as a result of these celebrations became more convinced that we indeed need peace in this country? What was really the purpose of spending money to celebrate these values?
Celebrating peace day will in no way bring peace to this country. The same goes for justice and pride. And the celebration of pride is even more intriguing. It was unclear to me what exactly we were celebrating during pride day. And I bet many people were confused at that too. Were we celebrating the victory of the Battle of Adwa? I thought we had a day consecrated for that sole purpose. Related to pride day, I saw on TV people being randomly asked about whether they have heard about the celebration of pride day in Pagumen, and surprisingly (or unsurprisingly, rather), probably less than 10 percent heard about it and understood the purpose of the celebrations. This is just another example of just how much the government can be disconnected from its own people.
Peace, pride and justice are values that all of us Ethiopians would like to see being realized in this country. But a one celebratory day will bring us nowhere, to tell the truth. The government should do its homework behind the scene before coming to its people with the offer of naming the days of the year after values that we rarely see being implemented in this country. Spending much needed budget on the celebration of peace day, pride day and justice day is to me like investing on and filling your bedroom walls with colorful quotes that are full of inspirations but without lifting a finger towards the implementation of the quotes. Action should come before celebration, and not the other way around. Let us first see in our own eyes the value of peace before we celebrate it!