Date: Fri Jun 26 2009 - 01:52:52 EDT
Selam Berhani & Elsa Kiflom,
I read your responses in this thread originated by Mike Suim. Frankly, your response sounded like "you want to have your cake, and eat it too."
Where does patriotism and self respect start when one identifies him/herself as another being? If it were me, the least I could have named my restaurant is non other than an Eritrean name. However, you are not alone in this trend which I notice in many restaurant owners. They write their menus in Amharic. They put Ethiopian decorations. They play Amharic music. To make matters worse, they label themselves as "Ethiopian and Eritrean Cuisine."
What would happen if it was identified as "Eritrean Cuisine?" Would the sky fall? Would the market dwindle? Why not earn customers by making your contents as competitive and delightful as the market demands? The name wouldn't matter then. Only your product would attract every type of a customer; among which will also be Ethiopians. And still the self-worth and identity is intact.
Even sadder is, the very people whose attitude seek to please others are not well respected by most Ethiopians. "Easy come, easy go!" You may want to hear the 6 part interview of President Issayas Afewerki with Ethiopian Review. If Eritreans did not maintain their honor and dignity, do you think the Ethiopian journalists would be interested in traveling to Asmara? Just think about what maintaining dignity brings. However, that didn't come real cheap. It is with this sense one should portray his/her courageous stance.
Now the saddest part is, when in fact something bad or death happens in such families, it is the Eritrean community and public whom they expect to nurture and support them through their ordeals. Well, where did all the Ethiopian customers go? You mean they only come to eat "Habesha" food? Is it not simultaneously sad and laughable?
If the last ten years didn't teach us anything, then either we are burying our heads in the sand, or we are promoting ourselves before our priceless identity and country. Not to mention, the identity that we paid our youth brothers/sisters for. Now that is not patriotic. Is it?
Along this line, I for one don't like the nomenclature "HABESHA" as applied by Eritreans. Because, if I am "HABESHA" then I can not be Nara, Hidareb, Tigre, Kunama, Rashayda, Saho, Bilen, Tigrinya and Afar. And from this point of stance, I simply don't have enough respect for people who don't shine their own cultural identity. Just be who you are, and your deeds and hard-work will attract the right thing.
To get back to the points Mike Sium raised, I think we should really look at his experience and statements carefully.
I do not condone hatred or violating other peoples' rights by citing Eritrean identity as a weapon. However, to honor and identify yourself as an Eritrean is only a feather on your hat. Patriotism is not only bearing the name your parents bestowed upon you. Nor does it mean the donations you contribute. The actions you take also have to reflect self confidence in your own identity - thus patriotism.
That is where Mike Suim's point arises. No identity, no self worth! As simple as that.
While I am in this thread, with regards to the Soccer Federation, I constantly hear a lot of complaints from other participants. So, if Mike Suim blurted out what everyone gossips about, then it is only sheer bravery. It is the issues that need to be sifted and discussed. On this occasion, calm heads within the Federation should see all the points he raised, and deal with them with honesty.
One of the grave concerns I openly hear is the path our youth take during the tournament. If they are not cultivated as valuable civic Eritreans, then the price awaiting for us to pay will be costly. We will not have as many doctors, lawyers, engineers, singers, soccer players ... etc as we intend. We should be careful that we do not remain with enough substance dependencies, out-of wedlock children, single motherhood, economic suffering, academic hindrances and the likes. Hopefully, the Federation will have enough vision to encourage more civic growth and cultural values in future tournaments.
Someone in this thread also stated that the Eritrean Embassy should not be invited. That is amazing! Really! For starters, why not invite the Eritrean Embassy? There is nothing political about it. Does the Federation raise an Eritrean flag during the tournament? Whom does that flag represent? And how did that flag came to exist? What is wrong with honoring Eritrea's institutions? The Federation is not being asked to abide under the auspice of the Eritrean Embassy. That is not what is being asked! However, not to invite the very office that represents you is very very surprising. The very office neglected to be invited is the very one representing the flag that our brothers/sisters fell for. And disputing an honorary gesture to your own representatives would seem to mean anything else, but patriotic.
God/Allah Bless Eritrea!
Eternal Glory to Our Martyrs!
Araia G. Ephrem