(Yosef Worku Degefe)
Two top stories to talk about Tewodros Kasahun (a.k.a Teddy Afro). He is standing top in the world’s music album Billboard. Great news in changing the country’s image. And with his very powerful and treasured motto, “Love Wins” the Ethiopian super star have made a huge impact on the strengthening of the fading-out Ethiopian nationalism or national unity. Particularly, this time around where there are no spiritual and political leaders who can stand up against the deep hatred and potential tribal/racial conflict in the country, Teddy has done great by chanting and cheering with his nationalistic songs. He is counseling citizens to keeping in a harmony of spirit. When the spiritual leaders are not preaching about loving one another, worse comes to the worst. Also, when there are no wise politicians who can stand up together for the national unity of the country, worse comes to the worst. It’s only few individuals like Evangelist Yared Tilahun, and Pastor Dr. Tolosa Gudina that preaches/warns about potential tribal/racial conflict in the country. But, it is Artist Tewodros Kasahun who chants about Loving one another and National Unity like no others singers before.
I want the readers know first that because of my faith affiliation, I have no interest or intending to listening to any secular songs. But, whether I like it or not, I am exposed to listening to Teddy Afro’s songs that consulate about Loving one another and National unity. I cannot shy away to express my feeling that his songs have played a great role in the enhancement of the fading-out nationalism or national unity in Ethiopian. Some of the lyrics, except it has no spiritual context, it is chanting about love and national unity. Thus, great number of people have been engaged, mobilized by these nationalistic songs across the country and all over the world. It’s a paradox when Teddy Afro (which spirituals call him a secular singer) is preaching about love and unity, while spiritual leaders are doing nothing.
Tewodros Kasahun is constructing a bridge between generations. He proofs that he is not only a singer, but also he is versatile person who can act like the Good Samaritan in the Bible. He expresses his feeling and thoughts vividly with convincing power. He is highly influential figure both in his songs and speech. He always talks and walks with good intention, for the love of the people, the country. I haven’t known any songwriter who assess our thousands long history and make it songs. Thus, wide-ranging Teddy is a great asset to the country. In addition, one of his humanistic qualities is, he has good heart. Uncorrupted personality comes not from education, wealth etc., but only from good heart. He generosity also comes from his good heart. Overall, Teddy’s best quality is that the choice he made. He chooses Love over hatred. And that is what God want us to do. When we value Love over Hatred, unity over falling apart, our differences including languages, political and religious affiliation do not affect our national unity. The greatest challenge now in Ethiopia is not how to eradicating poverty, but how to prevent hatred and potential tribal/racial conflict.
On the other hand, the government shouldn’t be freaking out when Teddy Afro and other people are chanting out for National unity. We are living like one for all and all for one. Citizens have rights and duties both individually and collectively. What is wrong with chanting and cheering for nationalism, unless there is a hidden agenda. Instead, if I were the government, I would use Teddy and other influential public figures for the good, for the greater outcomes. It is a baloney when government is banning Teddy’s concert if his works are not divisive at all. Who get benefited, and who loses by banning concerts? Teddy or the government? It’s clear that the government is losing because of its unwise move. Yet, Teddy Afro is gaining, because of his wise move. His wise move is, he is prudent in loving his people, his country. The other actual smart move by Teddy’s is, he is following after people’ heart. The more the government is banning Teddy’s concerts, the more the government is doing off beam. Teddy even seems very wiser than opposition party politicians. The other great attribution by teddy is towards building human capital. With his great messages in his songs Teddy tries to collect the intangible human assets/capital and use it to the nation building, to the national unity.
The other ill-advised trading by the government is that overlooking or undermining, if not harassing, many million citizens, including Teddy Afro’s fans, people who cannot identify themselves from a single tribal group (people born from two or three tribes/races) and opposition party members/supporters, etc. Nevertheless, these people are left out by the government, they have great input and impact on the country, including politic. The government is supposed to stand for all citizens, not for some interest groups only. This type of move hurts everyone including the ruling party itself. Thus, the government need to do something for its own survival. First and foremost, the government need to change its attitude. Attitude matter most. The government attitude its motto, termed “if you are not with me, you are against me”. This motto is very dangerously biased and excluding policy. In the recent crisis, we all see the outcome of this motto. There was firing back and there will be firing back, if the TPLF/EPRDF ruling party is not changing its attitude. The other government attitude is that its ideology and policies. The régime need to changes its ideology and policies for the good of all citizens, not for few opportunistic publics. In Ethiopia, today people is not only demanding for economic equality, but it’s also for democratic and human rights. The quest for Economic, democratic and human rights in Ethiopia is not a question of nonessential, but it’s a question of essential or survival. Thus, let citizens exercise their rights by the rules of the law, not by the authoritarian leadership. Let’s there be justice for all citizens. Before everything else, let there be national forgiveness and reconciliation event that may lead to the national consensus.
All in all, Teddy is giving priority in his songs to loving one another and building national unity. Let every citizen also choose Love over Hatred. Let’s all have good heart over hateful heart. Bad thoughts come only out of wicked Heart. And it is impossible to compromise over our common interests with wicked heart. Also, it’s impossible to getting along if we are living with bad hearts which is good only for revenge. If it is very hard to love people, still we can manage not-to-hate people. Either we choose Love or hatred, but we cannot choose both. If we want national unity over failed/fragment nation, let’s choose love. Finally, let’s be thankful to God who loves us unconditionally. Who also can give us wisdom. Wisdom is the source of good heart. Teddy deserves to be the Man of the People for his doing great with his motto, “Love Wins!” Let God bless him in many dimensions.
Shalom, Selam, Peace for all!
(Yosef Worku Degefe)