To Award or not to Award


If you do not know how to swim never take to the springboard and plunge into the middle.  For if you do there might not be another day for a swim. Likewise if you do not understand politics or/and you do not practise politics it is wise not to take to the podium and expose your weaknesses. Better stay behind and hope others who would hoist themselves on their own petards and then they open up for you a chance that need not be missed.


For over a week now, among other things so many individuals and web sites have been trying in vain to explain and at same time ridiculed an event that took place – A World Peace Award Prize given to the prime Minister of Ethiopia.


Some were so impatient or did not want to spent time researching and finding out information regarding the award. They were quick to dismiss it as a practical joke - intimating that someone had slept through or had suffered from amnesia that April the Fool which was nearly four month ago is played upon now – only latter to mince and swallow their words – an award has indeed be given to the PM.


We seemed to spend most of our time reactive rather than proactive. We spin our heads in rage trying to express what others have done onto us rather than be ahead of and beat them in their own the games.


A case in point, some petitioned the Awarding body that it was ill informed and ill advised to do so because they can point to mountain of testimonies that the Peace Award was given to the wrong person they should have known better.


Yet, most recently everyone seems to be relieved, thank God that the award did not come from the most highly respected organization – World Peace Council. The award came as it did from some kind of right wing reactionary organization which is precisely set up to shore up dictators of the third world in service of western interests. Some still argued that it came from a shabby and a shoddy organization that is in business for making filthy lucre. That the Prime Minster and Co, like they had done before in securing M.B.A s from so called extension colleges, they have now found an organization that would award prestigious peace prize to boost their flagging carriers for a price the organization could not refuse.


The last point shows the mind set of the Ethiopian opposition to the rule of the EPRDF and of course the EPRDF itself. It   seems all of them are more interested in convincing the west that they and not the other group is much more in tune to what is expect from them by the superpowers and their satellites. In a nut shall all seem to vying to winning the attention of the western powers rather than the bases of their power – the Ethiopian people.


However, mark my word, tomorrow the PM may win yet another prize, possibly the Novel Prize or even better, for securing peace, and those who ridiculed this award because they purported it came from a right wing shoddy organization will be in for a shock and as usual bury their heads in an oversized sand hole. No, they will not do the honourable thing and apologize to their readers, they will continue to bamboozle them and take off from where they left and tell more inaccurate tales and analysis.


No, it was not for lack of accurate information this award was given. Some of the information about Ethiopia Ethiopians themselves gets through Ethiopian information outlets come from western sources. The western powers do know what they wanted to know about Ethiopia and they are not groping in the dark, we are about them it appears. Nor the awarding body is insignificant. No awarding body that gives an honorary doctorate degree is insignificant. But even if it is, it does not really matter. The point is this: this is an award soon to be followed by another award or not but an indication to the intention of the west on how to deal with us Ethiopians.


Whether it is a light feather weigh or heavy weight an award, putting aside, people ought to have spent more of their time discussing the implication and how best we can fend off the country’s interest rather than trivia.


Does anyone in his/her right mind think that telling the awarding body and the backers how wrong they were in doing so will cause a change of heart and they will then take away ignominiously what they gave of their own volition. In a market orientated system not only competing and win but burying the products/ideas of a competitors is a rule of the game. Anyone who has gone through western educational institutions (universities) would confer this: in spite of the so-called democratic traditions, lecturers resent any student who publicly challenges their views in class. They will however tolerate differing views if presented in written essays and in confidence but not in front of full class. Over all they would wish all students to be conformists. If a student steps out of conformism that student would be rewarded with lower grades in the end. Coming to western university from Ethiopia’s where open challenge was practised and cherished in the early late 60’s & 70’s, I know what I am talking about. There were few cases where I had to pay heavy prices for my outspoken views. The same would be the case with the award and awarding organization. They would show their resentment to anyone who objects their sapient decision with yet more awards and adulations. Then they would tell you in their own way to find a tree and go hang yourself!



Diverting from this view, then one might argue that the petition and the rest are done merely to register grievances and anger so next time they would take things seriously and different than they did this time round. Well, difficult to say. At the back of any action taken there is always self interest and as along as there is self interest at stake they can always say too hell with everyone else.


Some may continue to argue that a stand taken vis-à-vis the award given, is educational to the Ethiopian people of what is going on so in the world in their names – thus everything done is not a west of time. Again, if on one hand you say the award came from a shoddy organization, and at that an ill informed one, etc. It appears one is not educating the Ethiopians. In fact one is confusing the Ethiopians. Because it sends conflicting messages that if the award had come from a respected organization such as the WPC by implication it means everything done to merit the award was right. But the award came not from the WPC. It implies that the WPC, a do goody international body, it is implied, is more identified and therefore would sympathize with those in opposition – which again is not the case. The whole attempt is geared towards winning the respect of the west, and western backed international organizations, when in fact the west would remain having the same position regarding Ethiopian and Ethiopian interests whether it is represented by EPRDF or by others.


The politics of hatred and ignorance, in both, right and left, ruling and oppositions groups, appear to be riding high in Ethiopian politics. Some people would use each and every opportunity to score a point guided by self-interest at the country’s expenses. They cannot see beyond the tip of their noses and if one hints that they are agents of the unfortunate dark tomorrow they probably are trying very hard to help dawn, tomorrow is too remote a distant to be bothered about its consequences. They have a personal need and ego to satiate today come what may the following day. Everybody has to be in charge of the realm, nothing positive can be done from the margins to mend and ensure the survival and progress of the bleeding country.


All said, Well, I may not offer a comfortable boat to sail away from the trouble water, but on my part I will not jump on nor will I advice others to jump on board boat/s to salvation – there won’t be one unless the present trend is reversed. In Ethiopia everyone calls others ethicists when in fact they themselves are deeply immersed in the morass they project others are afflicted with, to mention one curse.


 Likewise, in the face of denigration of the award by oppositions and concerned citizens the PM may succumb to the adulations of foreigner powers - who may have evil design for, or are noncchalant about whatever happens to, the nation - and may fall under the influence yet to give in more of the country’s vital interest in the name of peace. What if anything as long as the PM is in charge ought to done is in fact use this award as leverage to forcing and extracting more in the country’s interest against international and local power sand thereby helping redress some of the disastrous measures taken in the formulations of the Algiers and the Hague assemblies.