“Moment of Truth is an American game show, each contestant is asked more than 50 personal questions in a polygraph test. Then during the show, he or she is asked 21 of those same questions, this time in front of spouses, relatives, and friends, that increase in sensitivity with each question. Each question answered honestly (meaning the answer given during the show matches the answer given in the pre-show polygraph test) earns the contestant money.”
And I have always wondered, of all the other Tv Shows we have been copying over the years, what would happen if we bring that particular show to our realm? I think it would have brought a whole other story to our status we have been trying to build up over the generations. It would have shown the true color of the person each of us are and not of our nationality. Last night, I was watching a Tv series called “Younger” and this line caught me off guard:
“You say something loud, you say it often and when people contradict you, they sound like defensive babies ”
I think that’s what we are doing here. I am not saying our manners are forged but I am not saying they are genuine either, while the fact that our ancestors have left us with the most gratifying manners we could lead our lives with holds, a brand they have got from the world for it was well deserved as their good deeds were unmasked, that doesn’t necessarily mean we are entitled to it just because we share the same bloodline, I believe a good doing is something to witness and not a title you give yourself over the confidence your history holds a firm positive reputation.
So, whenever I read bold slogans saying “ Ethiopiawinet Melkaminet” or headlines about how Ethiopia has been labeled number one amongst the most hospitable countries, I am sorry but I find it hard to smile. why? Because I sure don’t think we deserve it. Okay, I am sure that some would stop reading at this point because they think I am a whiny little baby as the above line says so. I am not saying we are not what others say we are, I am saying that we don’t get to meet the traits just because we are Ethiopians. I think we are just selling the brand that has already been there, saying it out loud and often.
Our social trends, cultural routines are being slowly replaced by the western lifestyle, we no longer practice matters the way we have been raised to, and parenting, friendship and all that has changed. I don’t really see that much of a difference between the foreign ways and ours as we are dedicatedly trying to fit into their ways and customs. And to make one thing clear, our hospitability that we are so proud of, well, I say we are welcoming to those abroad and not to each other. Most “authorities” in institutions give trashy services depending on your status, there are lots of crimes taking place all around from the worst scenario (murder) to robbery, everything our ancestors thought us about have been put under the bed and we have unearthed foreign ways they would have condemned had it been done back in their days, we have come to be so open minded, so open that we can’t even filter out the flaws when we try to adopt the new.
Let me share a story where this question hit hard:
There was this day a friend of mine and I went to Alexandria Hotel for work, we entered the lobby and a girl directed us to a guy behind a table, we headed to the table, gave him a greeting, he didn’t even look up, we asked if we could talk to the manager of the Hotel, and he said “There is no manager”, still going through his phone. We said thanks and left, maybe if we were a bit older and a bit whiter he might have treated us differently. Another one is that, at the very recent ICT Expo, I have been walking around talking to the startups so that I could cover their stories and a lot of them have been very helpful, and this girl with the most degrading attitude told me she had no story to share and all I asked was a description of their product, and even when people came around to see, she was in her chair with the blankest face. How hospitable is that? we have tried approaching people that were entitled to have been influential people in Africa yet who weren’t willing to even talk to us and yet were free for media personalities from abroad, so yeah, hospitability definitely depends on your place on google map. I could tell so many stories I have been neglected a good service from universities to cafes. I am not being judgmental nor a criticizing, pessimist individual, you can think of all the places you have been to, the poor services you have been given, the corruption, the opportunities you have lost for another one with a better status of a different ID card.
With all that aside, we have also worked with great Individuals like Dr. Eleni Gabre Madhin, Eyob Alemayehu, Markos Lemma and Iceaddis team, Henok Mehari, Lemin Sissay to name the least, who, regardless of their busy schedules have always been really helpful whenever we needed something. And I don’t think it’s because they are simply Ethiopians they have excelled at customer management.
To conclude my point, we are what we choose to be regardless of our upbringing and experiences or what we make out of our history, we are not what our ancestors did or what our children are striving to be.