Neither splitting history into different episodes based on age bracket nor comparing those myriad generations with each other is a new phenomenon in social life. History has ample demonstrations in this regard. A case in point is the generational confrontation between the self proclaimed generation Yearn (The ‘ME’ ‘ME’ ‘ME’ Generation) of America and their predecessors, the ‘baby boomers’. In this famous debate the older calls the younger ‘lazy, entitled, selfish and shallow’, while the younger labels itself as the generation of “out-of-the-box thinkers” among other things.
On the other hand, there is also a disagreement among those that belong to the same generation but with different outlooks. Dr. George Ayittey, a distinguished Ghanaian economist, has popularized the concept of the ‘Cheetah’ Vs ‘hippo’ generation of African’s. For him, the ‘Cheetah generation’ is “the new and angry generation of young African graduates and professionals who look at African issues and problems from a totally different and unique perspective”. While the ‘Hippo generation’ is about those with “…the 1960s-era mentality – stodgy, pudgy and wedded to the old ‘colonialism-imperialism’ paradigm with an abiding faith in the potency of the state. They are near-sighted, comfortable in their belief that the state can solve all of Africa’s problems”.
But the point I would like to make in this piece is not the disciple of the generation Yearn. It is about my generation-the renaissance generation. Generation R is neither about praising ‘us’ or critiquing ‘them’. It is not about ‘cheetah-ing’ ‘us’ and ‘Hippo-ing’ ‘them’. But, it is just about a generation, which is not divided by age group and cannot be judged as a single cluster. Not divided by age group, because Generation R is considerate of the role being played by both the aged and kids for the renaissance of this nation. And it can not be judged as a single cluster for there are still some who are doing the exact opposite of what members of generation R are doing-‘traitors’ so to name them.
Though I never lived a single day of oppression, I know many who did. From family members to closest friends and from movies to different history books tell me that the same country, in which I am dreaming to have a better life, was a country where the dreams of many were abruptly shattered. So the past melancholy is no hush-hush to me, neither is the current renaissance. I am lucky enough to compare two generations, but I will never do because I am quite convinced that my generation’s success depends on its predecessor’s effort in part. It is those who, unfortunately, are not among us today that taught us the fact that success is with in our reach and our commitment is the only thing that can take us back to where we belong. They will indeed continue to be the metaphor of their country’s development.
Until not too long ago, naming Ethiopia as synonym for poverty was not a misnomer for many. The poverty factor was and probably still is overshadowing the country’s previous proud history as the civilized and independent nation of the world. Whatever the case may be, after looking back to the country’s history, calling it both ways seems acceptable. Indeed, Ethiopia was once at the apex of civilizations while at other times, a poster child of poverty. The later being the most recent case.
The renaissance generation includes every one who is toiling from dawn to dust so as to reclaim the country’s proper place in history. It also encompasses those who have already started writing a bold history of their own. It is a generation of those who make their living between the twin mountains of ‘Guba’ and ‘sirbaba’, a generation of experts and daily laborers who are engaged in implementing mega projects for their country’s ambitious plan, a generation of teachers, doctors, diplomats and the likes who have committed their future to serve their society at home at any cost. And above all, it is about a generation from politicians to street vendors, who concur on matters concerning their nation’s best interest despite holding divergent views on the way forward. In the words of Anne Goddard, president and CEO of ChildFund International, this generation is “…transforming its country with the new spirit and with that spirit has come a new mindset – not just an optimistic one, but one focused on ideas and innovation.”
Luckily enough, fate and fortune seem to be siding with generation R allowing it to be rightly called the harbinger of Ethiopian renaissance. As a testimony to this notion the generation R has embarked on erasing an old despair and writing instead a bold history on the same sheet. Eager to make the phrase ‘I am an Ethiopian’ a source of much pride, this generation is steadily moving towards reclaiming Ethiopia’s rightful place in history.
Unfortunately, as there were brigands at other times of writing a bold history, generation R is not immune from them too. In the age bracket of generation R is the likes of the ‘traitors’ at the time of Adwa victory who sided with a foreign aggressor. To the dismay of Generation R, those ‘traitors’, working tirelessly to erase the history being written by the bravest members of their generation are now engulfed with much more shameful deeds than their predecessors. ESAT’s recent Congratulatory message for Al-Shabaab’s alleged killing of Ethiopian soldiers in Somalia is only the tip of an iceberg. Those who are working to block the enthusiasm of generation R are, of course, innumerable with the same countless features with no hyperbole.
Now that the history in the making and my personal optimism have allowed me to conclude that the ‘traitors’ of our time will face the fate of their predecessors and failing to make up their minds early enough would mean that they will end up regretting their deeds severely.
Let me therefore; end this commentary by extending my humble advice to the ‘traitors’ to get to the right side of history before it is too late.