Neutral Views

On may 23rd, the upcoming Ethiopian national election will be held. Political parties are posting posters and announce the nominees. This election is not as a hot issue as it was five years ago. It is recalled that shortly after the election the police fired on demonstrators and 200 were killed. This has a substantial influence on upcoming election as well. Instead of waiting for the election enthusiastically, many people captivated by fear and wishing for the time when the election passes. The Ethiopian politics certainly have problems.

Like many African countries, many neutral organizations highly influenced by the government and by leading parties. On the other hand, most neutral organizations are too weak and incapable of handling the pressure which comes towards them. They cannot stand for the people and regulate the politics and the economy.

Many people agree, the upcoming election will be suffered by representation of weak parties, unmotivated voters and too many controls which will create lots of pressure on voters.

As long as the neutral organizations are free and represent the people, political activities can only be half successful. It is everyone’s responsibility to make these organizations free. Political parties and government should work with the people and give in the power to people back. At the end of the day, controlling and regulating of the nation would be the main task. And it is only the community itself that can control and regulate.

Whoever wins in the upcoming election, the role of these politically and economically free organizations are high. Courts should be a place where people get justice – both on the election time or not. The military and police need to protect the people, if necessary from the government itself. Election coordinators should stand aside and count the bails. The commodity exchanges controls the market and protect the people from ripping off and the market from high prices and low quality products. The transport organization should control the routes to make sure people can move from one place to the other freely. All together, in one or in another way, the neutral organizations role should be extremely important. The press should be free and reflect only the truth. Universities, religious bodies, governmental offices and all the neutral bodies should reflect their identity towards the general public. Unless this becomes reality in Ethiopia, talking about politics doesn’t help much.

Fear of Fresh Air

It is cold and Wet.

Many people hate rain in here because the road will be filled with mud and it will make their shoes dirty. It is a rainy season. It rains. People afraid of getting cold so they wear warm cloths. I put on a jacket. I closed the windows of my office to write without my fingers shaking.

Basically, people always wear warm cloths. Most people afraid of getting cold all the time.

It was 35 degrees. There were about 50 passengers in the bus. It was hot and uncomfortable. All windows were closed. I was in need of fresh air. I stretched my hand to open dirt covered glass. I burnt enough amount of calories. It is really hard to open windows of buses these days. I think these windows were opened in the test phase of manufacturing.

Was it for 2 minutes? I don’t remember.

But I got an instant objection to my humble activity of getting fresh air. Everyone went cruel to me that I should closed the window. Lots of objection signs came along. I already got used to it. So I usually ignore these signs. It started with a woman sitting next to me. She covered her head with her ‘Netela’ [a traditional scarf]. The person sitting in front of me turned around and see the windows first and then me and then the woman – in case if there was someone who was also disturbed by the coming ‘fresh’ air.

The guy behind me talked to me – after he pocked me to get my attention – if I needed the windows open.

Well, duh!

Later I figured out that he literally thought I was sick and wanted to throw up. Hell yeah!

This time the woman next to me had enough fresh air. In her own terms, the hot and cold air clashed on her head and body. She told me all the ‘scientific’ truth behind clashing of cold and hot weather. I was afraid of hitting by a lighting; after it got in with this half-opened window and hit me. My lung would filled by cold air and burst out – that was my second thought.

After all, it was just another bus ride. I already knew I would close the window before I opened it. The same question I used to ask myself while I was inside the bus. I asked myself again. Do they seriously think they might get cold while it is fairly hot and sunny?

‘Weraje ale’. Please!