Ethiopia celebrated New Year (2012) on Thursday of this week. The Ethiopian calendar has 13 months and the last month – Pagume – has only five days except during Leap year which will be six days.
This year pagume month was rather packed with events of civic holidays including “National Pride day” which triggered a considerable level of skepticism.
The culmination government organized events was on Pagume 6 (September 11); the Federal government organized “National Unity Day” at the National Palace.
Many of the speakers on that day have fairly captured the attention of the dignitaries. Ethiopia’s legendary athlete Derartu Tulu has made a very patriotic speech but her speech was nowhere near Hilina Desalegne’s speech, which she presented in the form of a poem, in terms of the magnitude of reactions it created from radical ethnic Oromo nationalists.
Her poem, Yemajet sir wongel, was not in fact new. It has been in platforms like YouTube at least since February of this year. What is new about it this time around is that it was presented at Ethiopia’s Grand Palace in the presence of politicians like Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. The content not only captures multiples of challenges that Ethiopia is facing due to radical ethnic nationalists – apparently she referred to them as “flocks.” She said, beautifully, that groups like that mistook patience for fear.
Just like radical ethnic nationalists say that they would never put ethnic governance structure on the table for negotiation, she said that Ethiopians do not put Ethiopia for negotiation and that death is nothing if it is meant for the cause of Ethiopia.
Radical ethnic nationalists are outraged by the poem and they took to social media to vent their anger.
Illustrated by Borkena