Friday, February 17, 2006

Delusions of grandeur

"Passion lives here" they tell us! HA! Been sick as a dog, people. A very ominous start to a long-planned vacation ... um. But here come The Gooch, The Goochmeister, The Goochinator to save the day. Sorry it took me a bit to put it up. Send more, Gooch. Really appreciate, etc, etc. p.s. A couple of people asked what "Ato" means.... means "Mr." in Amharic. That's all the energy I have. Take it away, Gooch.

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The other day, I was talking with my father, as usual, about politics, when he, as usual, brought up the issue of how 'the Americans' have it in for Ethiopia.

I'm sure many of you have experienced endless discussions on this topic. I don't know how many dinner occasions I've been to where this theme has dominated the conversation. Ethiopians love to talk about being victims of big, powerful, America.

I must admit - I hate it! I can't stand it. The reason I hate it is that combined with our sense of fatalism, it makes for a deadly combination. Faced with as formidable an enemy as the USA, what can you do? Nothing. Just sit and complain. It justifies our inaction. And I hate inaction.

What is it with Ethiopians and their 'America complex'?

Well, I figure part of it is scapegoating, Ethiopian-style. I mean, it feels good to blame our problems on someone else. And who better to blame them on than the greatest power in the world. After all, only the great America could stop proud Ethiopia from achieving its potential. Not the slimy Egyptians or tiny Britain, but it has to be the biggest of them all - the USA. This is the only way we can hang on to our empty pride. Emasculated in every other sense, it is the only thing some of us think we have left.

You know whom I blame for all this - those Tigrean monks who gave us the Kibre Negest! Telling us that Ethiopians are the real 'chosen people'! Well, obviously it didn't start with them - but you can see our penchant for delusions of grandeur even way back then.

What's funny is that today, while Ethiopians blame America joining with Eritrea to persecute Ethiopia, the Eritreans moan and complain the same way. We're all the same, really, full of empty pride.

Anyway, you may have surmised that the idea of the 'Great Satan' as the source of all evil just does not quite resonate with me.

Don't get me wrong now, I read Chomsky way back in the 1980's, when getting one's hands on his material was extremely difficult. I understand that real US foreign policy is nothing like the principled, ethical policy the government and, to a large extent, media, make it out to be.

Yes, the US does look out for its own interests, as does every other nation. But outside of that, it does not run around trying to especially persecute certain nations for no good reason. And no, being a 'nationalist' government does not make one a US 'target', as evidenced by the plentitude of nationalist governments, from Japan to Chile, who get on very well with or without the US.

Now, it's true, there is a lot of anti-Americanism throughout the world. Much of it deserved. But I find that the most radical anti-Americanism occurs in countries where the population has the ability, if harnessed, to stand up for itself.

Consider the Arab countries, where people are in a fit because of one, tiny, American-supported country planted amongst them. Can this be an excuse for having oppressive dictatorships all the way from Morocco through, until recently, Iraq? Surely not!

What these Arab countries have been unable to do, unlike Japan and Chile, for example, is develop democratic societies with accountable leadership that could stand up to whatever foreign interference may exist. So the US just props up the leading tyrant/traitor to his people, and life goes on.

You see, small-d democracy is, among other things, inoculation against foreign interference. Any foreign interference. In a country where there is accountability and people have a sense of collective consciousness, there will be no traitor available to be manipulated into a dictator.

Unfortunately, in Ethiopia, we have no such inoculation. Our society has been good at producing traitors, and it continues to be. You see, our dictators, finding themselves stretched at the seams in trying to maintain power at home, look for support from abroad.

Emperor Yohannes, in his quest to maneuver power away from Emperor Tewodros, solicited and got British support. Emperor Menelik, in competition with Tewodros and the Yohannes, had his little tryst with the Italians, until he didn't need them any more. The genius Emperor Haile Sellasie performed brilliantly in the foreign diplomatic arena, unlike his pre-predecessor, the hapless Emperor Iyasu.

Mengistu, of course, had the Soviets, and now we have Meles being backed, to some extent, by the US and the West in general. And by China, Iran, and India.

You see, all these foreigners do what is best for themselves. That is a constant. Like the sun and the rain, as surely as the earth rotates around the sun, nations will continue to look after their own interests.

The variable that Ethiopians can manipulate is themselves. If we are able to evolve and cultivate the behaviours and discipline necessary for developing a strong collective consciousness, we will, like many of the nations in this world, become more immune to external manipulations. We will also be able to generate some development and growth for a change.

So what about the 'Great Satan'. Like the real Satan, he cannot gain control of us unless we let him!

41 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's about time we start talking about US policies. And I might add it's also high time to re-read Chomsky. Do you guys know that the American Embassy is currently busy passing out registration forms for kinijit members inorder that they could administer Addis.
I have never seen the Emperor or president mengistu giving to that type of outside interference.

11:55 AM, February 17, 2006  
Anonymous dube said...

Great analysis. I was chatting with a friend the other day what we can do from the west to help in this situation. Here was our conclusion: The only real way Ethiopians in the Diaspora can help is by being Ethiopians in Ethiopia. Change, if it comes from the outside, be it by foreigners or hyphenated natives is really motivated by self interest. Let us be frank, we all want what's good for everyone but at the end of the day, the interests of the Ethiopian masses and ours are not perfectly aligned. If you lived there, that would be a somewhat different, if not perfect, alignment.

12:14 PM, February 17, 2006  
Anonymous not anonymous said...

Gooch, a quietly elegant post. Refreshing!

But, “America-Complex . . to justify our inaction?” How about Negro-Complex to justify American Inaction? That not-so-subtle hint in American foreign poilcy that “this is as good as it gets” on a continent where the Negroes roam? Turning a blind eye to extra-judicial killings, unlawful imprisonment and violation of every other constitutional right, all in the name of Realpolitik? A Realpolitk born of self-interest and an implicit view, cockeyed and contemptuous, that low expecations are the rule of the game where we Africans are concerened?

As you would have it, Gooch, I’d have to accept that there is an evolutionary disadvantage to being born an African and stop blabbering about America this, America that! As you would have it, I, uppity Negro me, would know my place and stop hankering after something I’m not entitled to, like good governance in the same vein as, say, some Europeans are BORN to have.

But, of course, I’ll whine about “big, powerful America!” For failing us, indeed, for failing to live up to its own ideals! I’ll whine about America for its reluctance to act and act decisively on our behalf in the spirit of the President’s words: “All who live in tyranny and hopeless ness . . .” Yes, Gooch, for all the good it will do, I’ll whine about America.

If that’s what you call an “America Complex,” so be it. But, think about it, there couldn’t be a “Botswana Complex,” could there be? Because ain’t no damn Botswana have no damn leverage (economic, political, diplomatic) over Meles to safeguard the rights of terrorized Ethiopians like big, powerful America has!

What Ethiopians are asking of America is that it join the rest of the world in acknowledging our plight in no uncertain terms, and through its influences, to help bring some semblance of peace and freedom to our land. That is all!

America is not and has never been a “formidable enemy” as you have it. Formidable? Yes, but “enenmy” no! It is the formidable part that interests us. America is formidable enough to reverse the tyrannical rule imposed on our people. America is formidable enough to restore, at least, some elementary sense of humanity to our existence.

Delusions of grandeur? Not so quick, Gooch! There is no denying our glorious past, and we shouldn’t have to apologize or beat ourselves for it, as long as we have an accurate perception of who we are and what our role is in today’s world, which is not very flattering, as we all know. Isn’t that the reason we are reduced to begging America to help us secure our freedom? That we are fully aware that the cries of our people would be totally silenced without the intervention of outsiders? Sad, but true! So much for delusions of grandeur!

3:35 PM, February 17, 2006  
Anonymous Inde Hewan said...

So ... when did Wonk-ET say she was going to be back from her vacation? (nothin' personal, Gooch)

3:55 PM, February 17, 2006  
Blogger zegabi said...

An interesting post but it seems to me it has a good dose of misread history. Having a sense of identity (via the Kibre –Negast) is a delusion of grandeur? So what if people articulate today’s support of the world’s super power and its client state [Britain] as a manifestation of ill-will toward Ethiopia - frankly there is a considerable amount of evidence accumulated over the years [especially toward Britain in a longer time horizon] to support this thesis than to support a thesis of mass delusion in the Ethiopian psyche.

As far as Japan and Chile being left alone, in fact it was Japan’s nationalism that American (‘”allied”) occupation tried to break and did so in the years of its occupation under McArthur from 1946 to 1952. One of the ways in which Japanese nationalism was broken was that its constitution (which it didn’t write it self, but was written to ‘guide’ the Japanese people) prohibited it from having a military. I remember a recent article (3 or so years ago) in Foreign Affairs (the same journal Chomsky argues is quasi-official) that Japan’s nationalism is rising and needed to be tempered somehow. And in the case of Chile, who was it that orchestrated and supported the downfall of Allende and the rise of Pinochet? I don’t see how one can argue these were countries that were “left alone” with their nationalism?

There is no question that different Ethiopian leaders have at one point or another flirted with Europeans for their own power gains. But it was never at a loss of internal legitimacy. The value system that ensured that one was sustained as a ruler required that one is more than a mercenary for hire. Each of the Emperor’s you cite had a considerable local base that they could motivate on grounds other than narrow ethnic allegiance and their survival did not solely hinge on the support of outsiders. Today “partnerships” are between much stronger external states and a much weakened state where sovereignty probably means very little except when you have disputes with your weaker neighbors. The nature of the relationships has evolved dramatically. Just 120 years ago, Alula (who was only a Ras) was able to punish the Italians for what he considered was a challenge to sovereignty at Dogali. Today’s leader is completely subservient to outside interests and is completely dependent on their good will for survival. Though they are sometimes accused of being autocratic, the previous rulers [before Mengistu] expected their descendants to be Kings and therefore had enough of a stake to ensure they actually work for what they conceived to be in the best interests of the State. The same can not be said of Meles.

I completely agree with you that there is room for us all to be doing something beyond whining, but that is exactly what was happening in Ethiopia. Unfortunately, the western backing and marketing of Meles over the years was enough to sustain him so far. But now I hope even he understands how precarious his position is, solely depending on foreign powers to keep him going. If he is to sustain himself somehow, he needs to allow people to feel empowered in their own country. But then again maybe it is too late for him to change course.

4:47 PM, February 17, 2006  
Anonymous phiqr said...

Gooch,

I've really admired some of your blog comments but not this posting. sorry. I am sad to say but you are manifested a clear syndrome of political correctness, no disrespect. Hard on balancing where need not be. I have seen this in every liberal media outlet in US, can't say about EU. That's clearly why they are loosing their audiences. I believe, one can't please everyone without offending everyone. To tell you the truth I'm tired of it, political correctness that is, especially in the middle of turmoil our country in, where decent - Gooch, I believe you're one - brothers and sisters are paying the ultimate prize for standing up for an ideal we all wish for a country we love dearly.

You may wonder why I came down on you like that... I felt you went far back to Yohannes and other great leaders just to find a balance for your point of the extra ordinary sellout of the current government in order to stay on power, so that you don't offend some segment of the socity. You even called them "traitors", I hope you did not lump them all in that, I really hope so. And then, it's not enough that they-Woyanes- try to destroy every fiber of what makes us people, you add to it by calling us "empty pride". Nothing wrong being proud when you don't have everything else. I think Melese will be very happy to use your phrase "empty pride" to describe us whenever he can... think about that.

In no history a great country built without a society who know who they are and proud of it. That is what a great leaders build first. "Pride" is the base. Probably that is only thing we inherited from our former leaders. That what keep us one as a people even today. We should be thankful for that. But today it is that "pride", that "Ethiopiawinet" being assaulted. Gooch, where is the outrage. You can't be nice forever. The liberal democracy we live in and admire wouldn't be existed had they being politically correct with British colonies.

I hope I miss understood you, we can't afford a smart guy like you be enigmatic.

lol.

7:14 PM, February 17, 2006  
Blogger enaseb said...

weyne goocheye......you stepped on a major nerve with this one hode. it's enough to spawn a counter-post gen i won't go there. response by not anonymous(excluding the 5th and 6th paragraph) and zegabi said all i was thinkin.

geeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeen...at the risk of being labeled an iconoclast(hehe)tinish leleflef bakuh.

america is one of two settler nations on the globe. the other being what you called "one, tiny, American-supported country planted amongst them". it is written in HIStory and experienced by many that these nations are indeed self serving (as all nations perhaps are). however, their ummmm pragmatism is much more (dare i, uppidy negro, say?) well...evil. their existence as nations presupposes the attempted decimation of WHOLE indigenous and sovereign populations. you know, the same thing we are now asking big, bad-ass america to condemn whenever it creaps up elsewhere?

the thing that gets me is that we always fail to see this very important point: the small "d" in democracy is fought for and upheld by those concidered the riffraff by those manning the american ship - namely the natives, the slaves, and whatever wave of ethnicly procecuted immigrants there might be at whatever given time. so this tactic of going to those manning the american ship is lost on me.

the kidnappers of aristide? the ones who attempted to oust chavez TWICE? the key holders of gwantanamo? the instillers of the shah? the degafees (with an iron fist no less)of the "leaders"/monarchs of syria, saudi, and egypt - despite the majority population in those countries? the ones who tried to kill castro over ten times? the same ones who tried to annihilate the sandanistas? the ones who were practicing "isolationism" and therefore justified turning away the boats full of jews attempting to escape gas chambers? (btw the palestinians recieved them with open arms) the ones who reign from ocean to ocean and having no equals to the north or south and therefore know not the true meaning (nor ever have to practice the art) of attempting or maintaining peace with their neighbors? these are the ones we are trying to ... how did you put it not anoneye..."join the rest of the world in acknowledging our plight in no uncertain terms, and through its influences, to help bring some semblance of peace and freedom to our land."??? ene yemilew, does anyone have examples of true "humanitarianism" practiced by america in the international arena? if so please englighten me.

for me...the diligent work of exposing the craziness of meles is aimed at a very specific target - the bearers of that small "d".

11:25 PM, February 17, 2006  
Anonymous ye filwiha said...

"inde hewan" - mean you - your mom told me to give you a good kunticha -- Gooch, I'm not sure if this is a complement, but you're fine with me albeit I'm with not anonymous on the issues.
my dear not anonymous - you almost wrote a wonderful post without making it look like what Wonki might call an "internet pissing contest"? (I refuse to spell it with a 'q' - why did she become a wonqette all of a sudden by the way? is it because her lawyerish mind made her think of a potential copy right issue with the red hair or what?). So, not anonymous, how about picking up the baton for a lap and write one until the "sick dog" gets better?
Gooch, just as a regular reader of Wonki's blog, thank you again for a great post!

11:37 AM, February 18, 2006  
Anonymous Inde Hewan said...

Ye Filwha,

Actually, my mom is right upstairs, and when I asked her, she said she sent no such qunticha. I guess my shorty comment summarises the longy ones that followed: Gooch, I wonder if those history course grades back in high school badly dragged down your GPA. But apart from that, my vacation question was prompted less by history knowledge and more by the wide gulf on the literary and the humour dimension between WonQy and Gooch. But like Phiqr said, all ths doesn't mean that he's not a decent brother.

...

So, when again was she back you said, Filwha?

12:57 PM, February 18, 2006  
Anonymous safiya said...

Hey! Easy on "Hapless" Lij Eyasu! Some of us are from Wello.

Anyways, democracy is extremely difficult to develop in a country that is poor and with a people lacking a strong national consciousness. I read this excelent article once (I think on Ethiopundit) that talked about tribal and ethnic divisions standing in the way of democracy. This point is I think something we all really know deep inside..

It is really no accident that the one country in Africa that is democratic-Botswana-is filled with diamonds and has a homogeneous population.

No, our problem is not us. What you might think of empty pride is actually what my shrink calls "self-esteem". We think highly of ourselves, and why the heck not? The japanese and israelis think they are gods gift to the world, and look where they are.
The arabs do too, and Egypt has ten times our economy and all they have is one lousy river.


You are right, the US basically looking out for numero #1, It would be nice if every now and than, they could stand for what they preach....

Cheers

2:46 PM, February 18, 2006  
Anonymous not anonymous said...

ye filwiha,

Thanks for inviting me to “pick up the baton” and run away with it. But, have you heard of a runaway train? That’s what you’d have if I did. I must admit, however, that it does wonders for my “empty pride” to be thought of as worthy of the honor.

At the risk of disappointing you, my dear ye filwiha, I respectfully decline. For one thing, I’ve never been to “many dinner occasions where Ethiopians love to talk about being victims of big, powerful, America.” So what would I talk about in my post? The Kibre Negest? Nah! Not if we “are to evolve and cultivate the behaviours and discipline necessary for developing a strong collective consciousness!”

So, there you have it. My limitations in a nut-shell. That’s why I would not DARE think I have what it takes to blog here. Knock on wood, no delusions of grandeur with me YET despite what them Tigrean Monks did to me centuries ago!

So, Gooch it is! He may not be what “God meant fabulous to be,” but he’s doing better than holding his own. It was in keeping with customary practices of a traditional Halfway House that he, the most lettered amongst us Ingrates, sorry, INMATES was selected to hold the fort while the wonq is out. He may be “emasculated in every other sense,” but he remains the most sensible of the “chosen people.”

Now, the real reason I’m declining? I don’t like being at the receiving end of the kind of abuse wise guys like me dish out. ;)

3:14 PM, February 18, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Man! leave the guy alone. Why not focus on the subject matter of the post? Why the cheap-shots? Why the need to compare him with wonq? He promissed he will fill in for her while she is gone and he kept his promise. After reading a single post some of you already started to measure his "literary dimension"...pathetic. Why do Abeshas worship people with seemingly good english? Bunch of hindsight geniouses! Goochyea great post. Please don't mind this haters who don't have the balls to come up with an original idea and articulate it as you did.

4:09 PM, February 18, 2006  
Anonymous yessir said...

Gooch my man “you had me at hello!”…….we have all been Whining like a kid in the backseat: “but you promised, America”…..”Its not fair!”.

America dose not owe us (Ethiopia) Jack! They are perfectly entitled to protect their interests by whatever means they prefer.

The current U.S administration is under the assumption that a strong Meles is in their best interest. It is up to us to change their mind. We have to make it so it is politically impossible for them to justify supporting a dictator. Not only do we have to make a lot of noise, but also the right kind of noise. The kind that gets the publics attention.

I am highly critical of the opposition leadership in DC. They are not playing the game the way it should be played. It is a failure in their part Ethiopians story has not managed (after all this time) to get the medias attention.

4:51 PM, February 18, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gooch
Exhilarating, great post.
FirTit ne'w haqun. You unmasked our false pride, intrigue and deception.
Nothing like real and fact. thx

5:33 PM, February 18, 2006  
Blogger kuchiye said...

"Our society has been good at producing traitors, and it continues to be. "

"Ethiopians love to talk about being victims of big, powerful, America. "

"The reason I hate it is that combined with our sense of fatalism...."

"Faced with as formidable an enemy as the USA, what can you do? Nothing. Just sit and complain. It justifies our inaction. And I hate inaction. "

"What is it with Ethiopians and their 'America complex'? "

"After all, only the great America could stop proud Ethiopia from achieving its potential."

I have not come across as many sweeeping and hasty generalizations as in Gooch's short article. Ye Ethiopia Amlak, deliver us from self-bashers and the likes!

1:07 AM, February 19, 2006  
Anonymous ye filwiha said...

inde hewan,

if you ask about Wonki's return one more time, your thighs are gonna get bruised from the kunticha - geeeee!

not anonymous,

you let me down brother - big time! since you confessed the real reason (basically about you being wimpy at taking criticisms ;-), let me say why I wanted to read what you have to say, which was, for two reasons: first, I thought you would give Gooch a break for one post then he'll come back with yet another great one until Wonki "recuperates" from her vacation and gets back into the swing... second, I agree with almost all of what you have been saying on several issues and wanted to read more of it -- wait a minute, is there a wimp in me as well who doesn't want to read those I disagree with? may be! there are a wide variety of topics that you had commented on before - off the top of my head, Ana Gomez report and the prime minister's "letter to the editor", on Wonki's dismissal of Wegesha's comments on the possiblity of armed struggle against TPLF/EPRDF, about Lidetu and his ego bigger than our planet etc. Surely you have a lot to say -- having said that, I also love reading what Gooch writes despite my disagreement with most of what he has to say and I'm grateful that he fills in for the blogger whose blogs I've been addicted to for several months now.

10:47 AM, February 19, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gooch...I like you more in the comments section than in the front pages!

Where is Wonk-ET? You said she is coming back, right?

2:48 PM, February 19, 2006  
Anonymous Gooch said...

I'm just back from a couple of days away from the 'net... Wow, what a reaction! Great conversation and great comments.

I'd just like to say right off the top that I wanted to get people talking, that's why my post has more than its share of hyperbole and generalization, as many of you have quite rightly pointed out! I just wanted to make a couple of comments and answer a couple of questions.

I really like not anon's point about 1) holding America to the standards it claims to uphold, as opposed to, say, China; and 2) giving America its due attention as it exerts great influence over Ethiopia, as opposed to Botswana! I agree completely. It goes without being said that Ethiopian-Americans ought to take the example of other ethnic groups in the US, strengthen their lobby, and pressure their government - the US government - into changing its policy towards the EPRDF.

I also agree entirely with zegabi and phiqr's point, if I've got it correctly, that national pride is an important thing and part of the foundation of nation-building. Chucking away past great leaders and institutions is no way to build a country. You must build on what you have, reforming if necessary. Saying that Menelik or Ahmed Gragn or Aba Jiffar were slaveowners is a historical fact, but saying that they shouldn't be considered great leaders, as EPRDF'ers say about Menelik, is an attempt to falsify history for political ends. Yes, I think Ethiopians should be allowed their heroes, just as anybody else.

But, it's just that, is there a point where pride becomes blind and actually hinders our cause? Or comforts us in our impotence? '3000 years of history' is, in the right context, a good slogan. But do we feel as good about saying it today as we did thirty years ago? Food for thought, that's all!

7:28 PM, February 19, 2006  
Anonymous Ahuns merreregn said...

you said food for thought? I just heard from Addis that one kuntal teff is about sidist meto bir and one kilo skuar is about selasa bir and so forth. Apparently those folks who kept it up for three thousand years are not here any more. We may have their nose and their eyes, but their spirit and courage? forget it, we ain't inherited nothin, but talk, yilugnta and inaction. A colonizer comes from the north and has been kicking our ass to kingdom come for the last fifteen years, and all we can do is march in DC and sing in Seattle. Do we want to extend on that sost shi zemen weg? then we need to get ready to pay for it in our money, our time and even our limbs. Goosh, please continue to raise the temprature one notch at a time. If we still have it in us and feel your challenge then the next item on our agenda may be action.

10:50 PM, February 19, 2006  
Blogger kuchiye said...

Gooch!

Pheeeew!..I thought I lost one of my favorite "techiwoch" in the "Weichgud Chilot". I'm completely satisfied with your explanation and even more thrilled by your call for action.

Gooch!..do you have what it takes for a little palace coup? While you are at the helm of power can we just go ahead and form a looby group under the umbrella of the W-ET organization?

Might be too late once Wonq returns for I know we will go back to our usual talk, talk, talk mode.

What da ya say gooch?

8:08 AM, February 20, 2006  
Anonymous phiqr said...

Gooch,

What would you do if you are Meles to "weather political storms" today? Well, you force yourself to power again, you killed and incarcerated every political opposition, free press and anybody with a gut to say or even sing about something you disagree with.

Oh, how about who owns slaves more than a century ago. Gooch, I would love to talk about the slave-owners, but first you answer only one question. Is it appropriate time to even discuss this?

love to here from you.

ps. I hope you got it correctly this time.

3:02 PM, February 20, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our biggest problem- our heads are way too big for what they are really worth - Possible explanation - We in the Diaspora were dispersed very young - before we were weaned from our 'revo' states. Now we are in a permanent state of 'burning belly' ready to opine on any thing with 'confidence'. I mean walk to a bar where ethiopians hang around - you will notice modesty and humility are rare commodities. In reality we are no different from everybody else. Our pride is good.. But it spoils the fun when one realizes it is mostly due to ignorance.. the blissful poison!

4:09 PM, February 20, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

...and your point is?

5:15 PM, February 20, 2006  
Anonymous not anonymous said...

Gooch, my main man!

I think you are a likable fellow, but likable to a fault! For the life of me, I don’t understand how you could be so meek as to renounce your convictions so readily just because we toyed with you a little bit. You mean to say that all that thought-provoking, well-articulated, albeit misguided stuff you offered in your post was nothing more than dress-rehearsal for what was to come, namely your comment?

A comment about how you went to great trouble to string together “more than your share of hyperbole and generalization in order to get people to talk?” Awww, Gooch, you shouldn’t have! But, you know what, you’d have been better off sticking with your first account, because it was an honest account even if people disagreed with you. Sure, your subsequent comment might get you a collective AMEN, but because it was designed to do just that, it is a dishonest account and, therefore, a disagreeable account.

I’m surprised kuchiye fell for your little song-and-dance, but I don’t buy it for a minute. Gooch, you can’t be all things to all people! You say you agree with zegabi, agree with phiqr, and agree with kuchiye! That’s a whole lot of agreeing you’re doing there for someone who, not so long ago, sounded so disarmingly authoritative about the same stuff all these good people had vehemently disagreed with you over! Inde? Demmo, you agree with ME too? Gudekonew, anyone who agrees with me is automatically suspect!

Anyway, Gooch, all these folks out here who offered a comment on your blog deserve better. You can’t go after one them easy and lazy lines like “I agree with you” and think all is well. Next time, if you have to talk about our “empty pride and our penchant for delusions of grandeur” without really meaning it, as you would have us believe, please add a disclaimer to your blog. It might read like this: “The thoughts expressed in this here blog are NOT real and do not represent the thoughts of the author. They are meant purely for purposes of eliciting response.”

With such disclaimer, Gooch, you’ll be free to do all the about-facing you like. As you just did in your comment about national pride being soooo important, and some such other newfound wisdom.

Other than that, Gooch, you’re de man!

And then came Anonymous, a genius, who would belly up to a bar to gauge the level of “modesty and humility” in Ethiopians so he could make brilliant observations about the our Character. Ayyy firja!

I see what you mean kuchiye, there’s nothing as distasteful as self-bashing, especially when it’s done for its own sake. Gratitutous self-abasement!

I guess we’ve done it to ourselves often enough, routinely and instinctively, that momentum seems to have taken over here. Every time you look up, every Bekele and Bekelech drunk or sober is at it, musing about the Ethiopian Character.

It seems to be the one thing we’ve managed to cling to tenaciously, the one thing we work at diligently even at a bar, where Willie-Mae’s rowdiness is perfectly tolerated given the nature of the place, but our relatively subdued demeanor even with a few under our belts is seen as something out of the dark secrets of the psychoanalytic theory. How come we can’t simply be DRUNK like everybody else? Like Willie-Mae? Why I gotta be lacking humility and modesty and all that kinda expensive words when both Willie-Mae and I are making equal fools of ourselves equally?

I mean, even where there ain’t no distinctive pattern of ET-behavior, we have no qualms about ascribing one to ourselves as long as it is sufficiently unflattering. I suppose it’s easier to shrug off a certain behavior with a resigned “oh, yabesha neger” than to consider the possibility that IT could be an all-human trait.

Anonymous, I regret that you think our pride is born of ignorance. I have no quarrel with your remark. As long as you're speaking for yourself.

6:39 PM, February 20, 2006  
Anonymous qq said...

Mr. Negative,

Starting with your choice of handle (not anonymous), you don't seem to have anything positive to say. Dude! Do you just lurk around the comment section merely for the sake of criticizing and negating every little piece?

On a positive note, I am impressed with your command of the language for sarcasm (albeit towards making no point at all!)

Please behave...we waste too much time as it is!

8:31 PM, February 20, 2006  
Anonymous not anonymous said...

Geez, qq, and all this time, I thought I was nice!
yes, I “lurk” here in the comments section quite a bit, because here’s where I get my daily dose of the good, the bad and the ugly. don’t always comment, though, for fear that I might be labeled negative! no sarcasm intended, q!

9:23 PM, February 20, 2006  
Anonymous Gooch said...

Phiqr,

If you are asking why I felt it necessary to mention 'slaveowners', it was to show that we do understand that our great historical figures were not necessarily saints. They had their faults, but just because they did, it does not mean that they are any less than George Washington is to Americans, Horatio Nelson to the English, ... I hope that's clear.

not anonymous,

I used generalizations to make a point. I think it's a common enough practice in opinion columns. Or take Cosby's rant about Blacks, for example. Though perhaps in your judgement I did not do it well. Next time, I'll consult William Safire.

I think "...we have no qualms about ascribing one to ourselves as long as it is sufficiently unflattering" should be clearly recognized as hyperbole, and as such properly interpreted to mean something like, "Ethiopians tend to be too harsh on themselves or their culture..." See what I mean?

My points, in a nutshell, are that I think many Ethiopians have an exaggerated sense of US antipathy towards Ethiopia, that we spend an inordinate amount of time talking about it than doing something about current US policy towards Ethiopia, and that our pride gets in the way of assessing reality truthfully and getting to work.

If my original post was not successful at getting this message across, well, let the readers decide. I think it did the job.

There are times when a softer or different touch is required - it's a matter of judgement. I didn't think this was such a time.

And oh, not anonymous, sorry if I offended you!!

9:59 PM, February 20, 2006  
Anonymous Yonas said...

Not anonymous,

Ante dereq! As our official troll on this site, all YOUR comments should be riding that disclaimer: "The thoughts expressed in this here [comment] are NOT real and do not represent the thoughts of the author. They are meant purely for purposes of eliciting response."

Ok ok, I confess I do find your comments amusing, but their constant divisive and argumentative nature is starting to grate. Please stop trolling, instead why don't you guest blog here and let us know your real opinions. Don't worry, you're in a circle of trust here, noone will tease you willy-nilly on it. Unless you intend to comment against yourself.

6:27 AM, February 21, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

not anonymous is a comment gegna. I think he has wonk complex :-) lol. not anonymous, we dare you to take the baton and lets see what you are going to come up with other than playing the devils advocate.

Gooch, your post was successful at getting your message across.

8:43 AM, February 21, 2006  
Anonymous not anonymous said...

Ok, Gooch, so you got me on that hyberbole. Damn!
Eshi, can we now move on to your next blog, please? I’m thinking we’ve milked this one to the hilt. You and I (you, by provoking thought, and me by trolling).

I say, you’re still the best bargain in town, Gooch. If nothing else you DID get a nice discussion going here. I like! This place was fast acquiring a disturbing quality before you came. So, blog away, Gooch, blog on!

9:58 AM, February 21, 2006  
Anonymous Ye Sidamo Lij said...

"My points, in a nutshell, are that I think many Ethiopians have an exaggerated sense of US antipathy towards Ethiopia"

You mean Ethiopians in the diaspora?

The 85% to 90% of Ethiopians (poor and proud but not ignorant) are toiling on their land to make a living, and probably never heard of USA. So, all this fuss about diaspora's perception (right or wrong) of US role in our country's situation doesn't deserve our precious time in such critical time.

BTW Gooch, I would have used "we" instead of "Ethiopians" when writing such generalised comments about ourselves.

1:54 PM, February 21, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Talk about hyberbole,here is an excerpt form one of not anonymous's coments taken from Un-Super Sunday post:

Anonymous, you're right! Conceit is one of our sins, along with misplaced interests, appalling sense of priorities, inflated vanity, and a tendency to take as much pleasure from our own achievemnts as we do from Schadenfreude!

3:18 PM, February 21, 2006  
Anonymous not anonymous said...

Anonymous, I wrote that to get a discussion started! Hey, if it's good enough for Gooch, it’s good enough for me! (The excuse, that is.) So, since I've succeded in getting you to read and reread stuff and respond like you did, I've done better than I had any right to expect!

One thing though, please note that I clearly included MYSELF among those given to engaging in hyperbolic self-bashing when I wrote this in an earlier comment here:

“I guess WE’VE done it to ourselves often enough, routinely and instinctively, that momentum seems to have taken over here. (Self-bashing) seems to be the one thing WE’VE managed to cling to tenaciously, the one thing WE work at diligently . .!”

Gooch, where are you when a brother is cornered?

4:26 PM, February 21, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As long as we are in the self bashing phase, inen migermegne neger ale; nobody ever gives a shit about other countries in our neighbourhood or elsewhere. When was the last time you were up in arms about Somali being a basket case for decades? When was the last time you cared about any failed state in Africa? When was the last time you cared about North Korea?

Now imagine America and its tax payers, why should they give a rat's ass about our problems?

How can we expect from them something we are not willing to do?

6:21 PM, February 21, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sorry not anon', I don't mean to corner you. I just wanted you see how hard it is to be consistent? Anything if taken out of context could be labled hyperbole...don't you think?. Dear not anonymous, I know you are one of the smart dudes in wonkville and I enjoy your writing.Could please take the baton and enlighten us for a change :-)

go! not anonymous
go! not anonymous
go! not anonymous

6:33 PM, February 21, 2006  
Anonymous Ahuns merreregn said...

Hi y'll

People who gave us the real reason why we are exchanging niceties on this blogg are in stinking jail. Even worse, they are considered too dangerous and are now reduced to even more misery and restriction, and why? Because instead of just exchanging intellectual gibberish back and forth till their ears fall out they chose to practice it in deeds. I could be wrong and I hope I am wrong, as the last thing I want to do is accuse any one of you nice and smart people without any substantive proof, as an accomplice to barbarism - but it looks like someone in our midst is being nice and friendly, with the whole purpose of preventing us from getting and concentrating on the real stuff. If I am wrong, then stop this blubbering and do the right thing - stand by your heroes and heroines, make them proud that they may be going blind, they may be dying knowing we are with them and we will continue what they started. If you share my view, then call your nearest CUD office and pledge your alliance with them.

7:33 PM, February 21, 2006  
Blogger enaseb said...

it's always a good time to talk about "how they owned slaves". cause the aftermath is always here. there are very many present day consequences so why not deal with it?

11:45 PM, February 21, 2006  
Blogger enaseb said...

not anonymous,
i just read your response to my questions in the previous post.
snubbed? mts pulllleeeeeese...you only did it to yourself. your buncha vehement comments without the desire to...how didya put it...."attaches (the right) interpretation" is pathetic. of course "the right interpretation" which you are not willing to share is the only interpretation worth having regarding these "matter of public record(s)" aydel?

ho yemaneh benateh? gen sema...i am entertained by the way you dress it up. you givin "Jean Paul Gaultier with a tweed gun and animal print gowns with green at the bottom that looks like someone threw up on it" some real competition! hehe

12:09 AM, February 22, 2006  
Anonymous qq said...

Lets focus please,

There is too much personal attack here... Can we focus on dicussing/disagreeing on issues? Let's not turn this into another medrek or some forum for throwing garbage at each other.

Civilized discourse please!

10:14 AM, February 22, 2006  
Anonymous Sara said...

Gooch



i see nothing but u blaming the tigrays and the kings etc ....??....um i right?? ...YAPE

hw about this blame ur self for posting shyt ......!!

1:18 AM, May 11, 2008  
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4:31 AM, November 29, 2009  

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