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?

1 comment:

Tedy said...

Mr Madebo/Enset,

I have heard the "pure menzea" phrase live unlike you who heard it on the internet. i wander what kept you from publishing the link. The "i am a pure menzea" is said not to describe for ethnic purity as you described it here, but rather to tell the audience about an alleged ancestory that doesn't have any thing to do with the person. I suggest you stay away from such gossip and alubalta. we are all grown up people and we should not twist words for the sake of our inferiority feeling or political goal. Anyways, here is the account of the eye witness who happen to be right on the meeting when that phrase is thrown.

Kibur ato Kifle, the father of ethiopian review publisher Elias Kifle has said "I am pure Menzea" in response to people who accuse his son elias being Eritrean. some say elias is Eritrean due to his political view and teasingly call him Elias Kiflom.

The elderly Kifle has responded to assure the public that he is not eritrean and what else is best to tell it in a short way like "I am pure Menzea" than counting ancestory?

please act responsibly. i know you are very sensitive and a deep routed insecurity towards that people but twisting words to fit your insecurity is a little bit odd.

thank you

but here is the real story from an eye witness