Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Pure Menzie, Mootchoor Hadiya

I heard of these repugnant phrases recently. They were used to describe an Ethiopian ethnic identity. I heard the first one on the internet and the second one in a personal conversation. Both mean the same thing -- mootchoor means 'pure' in the Hadiyissa language.

What does it mean when a person says I am a 'pure' this or that ethnic group? I suppose it means that all of one's known ancestors belong to the same ethnic group.

What then does an ethnic purity constitute? Let's suppose that all of my eight great-grandparents are Menzie. Does that make me a pure (netsooh) Menzie? Or, let's say that all of my 16 great-great-grandparents are Hadiya. Would this be good enough to make me a pure (mootchoor) Hadiya? Why stop at 16? Why not push the ancestor count further out to 32 or 64 or even 128 of my ancestors?

As you can see, sooner or later, this exercise will turn out to be a futile exercise. In fact, it is a foolish exercise, and it is farcical to think of one's ethnicity as pure for there is no such thing. If you go back enough in historical time, it is clear that an overwhelming majority of Ethiopians (for that matter East and Northeast Africans) share the same ancestors. In fact, all humans on the face of the Earth share the same ancestors if you push the time period beyond 60 thousand years.

It is true that Ethiopia's ethnic problems did not start with the current regime. But it is an incontrovertible fact that this regime has used ethnic differences as the linchpin of its divide-and-rule policy over the past 20 years. The results of this policy (economic disintegration, social immobility, etc...) are out there for everyone to see. Isn't it time that Ethiopians put an end to this absurdity once and for all?

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Being Birtukan

It is good to see Birtukan in good spirit. Hopefully, there are more exciting and uplifting chapters to her story in the years to come. Stay well.

Monday, July 04, 2011

All come to look for America

Josh Groban did a lame version of this classic Simon and Garfunkel song at the 4th of July concert at the Capitol today and I had to get over my disappointment by listening to the original. Enjoy!