November 28, 2010
Less than a decade ago, I drove to a hospital about 20 miles away from where I live to congratulate a best friend and his wife—welcoming their daughter to a life in the open. Curious me and hoping to get a precise answer from a witty best friend, I asked, how does it feel to be a father? My friend replied, “I have no words; Adal, you just have to experience it.” I knew then that the affinity with your child and your country as well may not be that easy to describe even in words of your own mother tongue. Your affinity with your child and your country conjures images and sensations with words you know and words you don’t. Love; affection; fondness; infatuation; devotion; passion; ardor; fire; zeal; commitment; obligation; duty; responsibility and sacrifice.
We the beneficiaries of the great sacrifice that recreated Ethiopia into what it’s today should know this: The sacrifice paid by our martyrs is a promise to be revered and a duty to be vigilant for perpetually. Our great many martyrs never made it to have their own family per se; Dilie didn’t make it to live and experience what it feels to be a mother. Kobelew didn’t make it to live and experience what it feels to be a father. But they both lived and labored hard to give birth to a new child that we call Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. Yes; the new Ethiopia is now the child that we have adopted from our martyrs—with adamantine promise and a commitment to raise it with care, compassion, and love that we normally set aside for our own children. This is what you should sacrifice to let your country live a better life. You should think of Ethiopia as your own child that you have the full responsibility of raising beyond the five years plan and set yourself to clean and cleanse its dirt, to keep it healthy, young and vibrant for the rest of time. And in contrast to what our martyrs paid, this simply is a privilege to seek for and not at all a sacrifice to forgo.
Of course, many have sought the privilege to sacrifice something very personal and familial in order to give Ethiopia a better life to live. I know a comrade who continued his arduous one-man revolutionary work even when his child was under a serious life threatening emergency. There is another who stood and walked strut unflinchingly, even after the proclamation of a threat to harm her lovely family became a public knowledge. I also know another comrade who gives his time by borrowing some of it from his own son with special need—to care for his people and country. I know many comrades who have made it a habit to care for their country and people, without even realizing how secondary a “quality time” with their children has become. There should be a reason for this. I am convinced that these comrades with children clearly understand how much is paid by our martyrs and ask not what they get from what is being achieved, but would like to contribute anyways without any string attached—neither to support their own personal aspirations in life nor to satiate the immediate need of their own children. These comrades know that our martyrs went homeless, hungry, thirsty, and lived itching day and night on an empty stomach till they gasped their last air, caring for our own common child—Ethiopia.