July 15, 2011

ETV Documentary Discusses Ethiopia’s Past, Highlights Current Progress

Filed under: Ethiopia — ethiopiantimes @ 8:14 am

Addis Ababa, July 15, 2011 ( – Last week, unlike any other time, ETV dealt with the country’s current reality emphasizing on the desperate need to change things for the better. In a documentary produced and hosted by ETV journalist Meskerem Getachew, the state-owned channel that mostly tries to propagate Ethiopia is in a state of prosperity, took some time to realize that our country has been moving backward for centuries.

The documentary titled “Endegena” or “Again”, starts by narrating the remarkable history of Ethiopia. Through centuries, Ethiopian built Laliebla, Axum, The Great Harare Jgole Walls, King Fasil Palace and many other landmarks that testify to the greatness of the past generations. Ethiopia was a pioneer in architecture, religion and history. The main question for the documentary was how we got from the top of the world to the bottom of it. A country with such an impressive history, culture, independence, political strength and courageous people, at the minimum, it should have been able to feed its own people. Government officials and celebrities, including Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, Athlete Haile Gebresellasie, Professor Enderias Eshete, Author Mamo Wedenhe, Ethiopian Orthodox Church Historian Daniel Kibret, and many others gave their own opinion how the country became where it is today.

“Unlike any other African country, we have our own language, alphabet, calendar and culture,” said the Prime Minister Meles Zenawi explaining what the remaining of ancient Ethiopia is.

“Building Laliebela and Axum requires a strong scientific, architecture and engineering knowledge,” said Haile Gebresellasie. “If you remember it was very difficult for us to bring Axum monument from Rome to Ethiopia. We had to cut it in three places. I can’t imagine how those Ethiopians built it and put it in its place in the first place.”

The documentary recognizes history was not always kind for Ethiopia. Wars, internals conflicts, horrible and unbelievably cruel famines and many other natural and manmade disasters made Ethiopia the dismay of the entire world. The Oxford Dictionary that explains the word famine by exemplifying Ethiopia is what the past brought us in addition to the glory of being independent and historical.

It also praises and at the same time criticizes the disorganized student revolution of the 1960s, which only went after change and did not realize what will come after that. “That revolution was not organized,” said Meles Zenawi. It was at that era that the horror of the 1974 famine broke out to the world. The famine, possibly worst than any manmade or natural disaster that anyone could imagine was the darkest point for Ethiopia that still defines the country’s identity at the international level. The documentary shows the footage of that time, which explains why the world could never forget what happened. The horror of it is still shocking and hugely disturbing. However, that was not the end of it for Ethiopia. Again, in 1985 Ethiopia, and its people were hit with yet another round of starvation, which renforced the memory of the 60s to the entire world.

“A people who were able to build Laliebla about a thousand years a go couldn’t feed themselves in the modern 20th century; that disturbs me the most. More than anything, begging as a nation for a daily meal is shameful and sub-human. I feel ashamed when I remember that time,” Meles said.

“Countless farmers came to towns hoping to get some aid. The towns were crowded with people who are tired from the long walk and obviously malnourished. You see people on the street who obviously wouldn’t survive the night.” Mamo Wedenhe said remembering that time.

“No one remembers Ethiopia for its victory over Italians or its amazing history. I have been in many parts of the world and the first thing anyone would picture when you say I am from Ethiopia is hunger,” Denial Kibret said. “People remember the concert “we are the world” and think that we are still in that state,” he added. The documentary sounds planned to motivate the present generation to work hard.

“At some point we were at the top of the world. This is not a fairy tale. We have substantial historical evidence for that. Now we are at the other end,” the PM said. “Ethiopia will not be a developed nation based on the infrastructures she might build. It is on the capacity of its citizens that we can realize and ensure development. The current problem our country has is not our predetermined fate. For that we have our history to testify for us,” he added.

“It is always a question to me when I think about what really happened to us. Other countries with historical background like us and even with no history are in a better place than we are today.” Daniel Kibret said with emotion.

Proffers Enderias Eshete also commented that having a history and being number one in several sectors does not guarantee development. At the end, the documentary concluded saying that we have a better situation than ever before to work and ensure development for the country. “The democratic process and federalism that guarantees the rights of nation and nationalists is in progress. I am not saying we are where we need to be, but its true we are in better circumstance,” the professor explained.

“The renaissance for Ethiopia has officially began with our millennium celebration three years ago,” Meles Zenawi said.

The documentary, while concluding, could not resist making another propaganda exercise asserting that the contemporary political and economic setup is taking the country to development. It appreciated the plan to build the Millennium Dam on Abay River and considered it proof of the commitment of the government and its people to change the country for good. While all of previous Ethiopian political systems and leaders took the blame and were condemned for creating the miseries the country is in, the host Meskerem could not dare to mention the loopholes of the current administration.

However, unlike its previous trend, ETV seemed to realize the exact state of the country at this time and the desperation of its people for change. For that, the responsibilities of the present generation were bold in the documentary.


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