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Mar-21-2013 15:16printcomments

Getting Our Perspective Right on Our Fellow Africans

It’s high time that we Ethiopians get our perspective right on our fellow Africans by working aggressively against our bigots.

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(UGANDA) - “A man belongs to his fatherland when things are good and life is sweet. But when there is sorrow and bitterness he finds refuge in his motherland. Your mother is there to protect you. She is buried there. And that is why we say mother is supreme. Is that right that you, Okonkwo, should bring to your mother a heavy face and refuse to be comforted? Be careful or you may displease the dead. Your duty is to comfort your wives and children and take them back to your fatherland after seven years. But if you allow sorrow to weigh you down and kill you, they will all die in exile.”

Excerpt from “Things Fall Apart” pg 94

Chinua Achebe put my perspective right by reminding me that I am still in Mother Africa. That’s the beauty of re-reading a great book.

Speaking of Mother Africa, how many of us Ethiopians make our fellow Africans at home whenever they come to our turf?

A couple of days ago, I heard, with a great sense of shame, that a Ugandan who lives in Addis was spat upon and insulted by a beggar and a homeless Ethiopian because of her skin color!

Unlike most of us Ethiopians who flee in a desperate voyage to many African nations, this Ugandan who was discriminated against in a city that prides itself for hosting AU is an expat with a diplomatic status.

In the last six years of my exile life, I learned that there is no desperation to leave one’s home in most African nations like there is in Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia and DR Congo.

Although, our ultimate goal is the “Greener Pastures,” life dictates us to sojourn indefinitely in our neighboring countries.

While, I didn’t see any bigotry from the Congolese community that propels them to look down on fellow Africans, unfortunately, I cannot say the same about members of the other three communities.

In fact, as evidenced by that beggar and homeless Ethiopian, it’s still a bigotry that we can’t get rid of, even after decades of Mengistu Lemma’s BASHA ASHEBIR IN AMERICA. It was a poem about an Ethiopian who considers himself a nobleman.

Thus, being discriminated against on the basis of his skin color like other “Africans” was unthinkable to this Ethiopian “nobleman.” Yet, he learned the hard way in America that he is no different from the other people of African heritage.

Of course, a considerable number of my fellow Ethiopians may try to deny the undeniable by arguing that the vulgar homeless Ethiopian is no reflection of the Ethiopian society known for its “hospitality.”

But I stick to the old adage, no matter how cliché it sounds, and say “society prepares the crime and criminals commit it.”

It’s high time that we Ethiopians get our perspective right on our fellow Africans by working aggressively against our bigots.

Ethiopian social and political commentator


Kiflu Hussain is an attorney based in Uganda. He says his passion for writing came from reading, and that it’s inevitable that the more one reads, the more one develops the urge to write. Kiflu has published articles in Ethiopia on the English Reporter, then a weekly newspaper along with a few Amharic articles on the defunct Addis Zena. It was after he and his family found refuge in Uganda, that he began contributing writings to the local papers and various websites such as Daily Monitor, Uganda Record, The New Vision, Ethioquestnews, Garowe Online, WardheerNews etc.

The reason for this is clear. Ethiopia, despite being a seat of the African Union had never produced a regime that allows even the minimum space for dialogue that other people in Africa enjoy so naturally. So Kiflu's ending up as a refugee in Uganda is a blessing in disguise for it accorded him with the opportunity to write. He says at the same time he learned, unfortunately, that his refugee status would be what showed how deep the hypocrisy of the “international community” goes. We at are honored to carry this gentleman's work and we hope that in the process, western people may come to appreciate the struggle of refugees throughout the world.

You can write to Kiflu at this address: E-mail;


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