Ethiopia : Deafening propaganda annoying ; damning propaganda outrageous

Image posted on Etege Betty Facebook page
Image posted on Etege Betty Facebook page

(borkena)Deafening propaganda is annoying. Worse, damning propaganda is outrageous. When a propaganda otherwise meant to damn audience is obnoxious partly because of its amateurish presentation and partly because the content is so irrelevant to the audience, it can fire back in a negative way. Of course, the unintended consequence could be quite opposite; awakening as opposed to damning.

Propaganda about alleged double digit economic growth has been over-inflated for years now. Repression of free press coupled with flowering commentaries by expatriates who seem to have a business affair with regime in Ethiopia, one way or another, helped the ethno-supremacist regime in Ethiopia virtually to get away with unquestioned narrative of economic growth and “transformation.”

Yet, the politicized youth is not deceived. On the contrary, the “transformation” met with something more than skepticism; criticism for which many are thrown to jail or brutally silenced on grounds of trumped up charges.

The story of unprecedented corruption in the history of Ethiopia and lack of redistribution of even the alleged “economic growth” can not be concealed with photographic propaganda.

This week, a picture supposedly with propaganda value is circulating in social media ( mainly twitter and Facebook). As seen above, the picture shows a graduate of Aviation School of Ethiopian Airlines with his parents, who clearly appear to be from rural Ethiopia, along with CEO of Ethiopian airlines.

It seem to be the case that the purpose was meant to demonstrate redistribution of growth and “transformation” of Ethiopia – a narrative of “new Ethiopia” where people from a humble and impoverished family succeed.

They did not even notice how derogatory and insulting the message is to the intellect of Ethiopians. It’s outrageous.

Historically or in contemporary Ethiopia “success” for individuals from a humble and poor beginning has never been an exception. It is more of a norm rather. This was the case in politics, art, military, commerce, education and what have you.

The truism resonates through the ages. From the most visionary Ethiopian emperor of the 19th century,Tewoderos II, to the very people we know in arts, sport, politics in contemporary Ethiopia represent same story.

Most of Ethiopia’s world class long distance athletes represent same story. Famous singers like Tilahun Gessese represent same story. Stories of families in the prosperous parts of Addis, Bole, is considerable related to a humble beginning somewhere from rural Ethiopia.

Ethiopia used to send bright students from poor family background to overseas for a higher education with fully paid scholarships! As Taffara Deguefe recounts in his book ,”Minutes of an Ethiopian Century,” at one point Ethiopia was even sending cultural Ethiopian food (berbere, shiro, quanta, and what have you) to Ethiopian scholarship students in Europe and America. Taffara Deguefe’s own story, who was later to be governor of Bank of Ethiopia,represent the same story.

When Students finished their studies in the 50’s and 60’s,many served in Ethiopian diplomatic mission and in different government departments in Ethiopia too. In fact, some of the then students have contributed a lot in the bid to establish Ethiopian Airlines itself as the most respected carrier in Africa.

So the move to propagate with a picture of a graduating pilot is totally disingenuous. Yet, many seem to hail it as an epitome of “transformation” of Ethiopia, what a joke! A success story for a student from poor family is never ever a story of “New Ethiopia.” The story of “New Ethiopia” is the flourishing of millionaires who happen to be related to former guerrilla fighters and current leadership.

For that matter, who is going to forget the narrative co-pilot Hailemedhin Abera told us through his action of diverting Rome bound Ethiopian Airlines flight to Geneva?


Tilahun Gessesse paying tribute to Ethiopia in his songs!

By Dimetros Birku

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