Some fell among thorns…
ETV’s Children’s program is a pain one would like to avoid going through unless one is a kid in whose house the idea of a “sattelite dish” hasn’t been introduced, or a blogger looking for ideas for posts. I, being of the later category, watch it from time to time: feeling for the unfortunate buggers who don’t have any other interest to divert their attentions to, and going through the same feeling the Holy Ghost is said to go when praying to the Saints: “groaning in spirit”.
It’s not just the baby-talk and “Ayachu lijochiye?!” that turns the stomach. The men and women who prepare and present it don’t seem to have ever been kids themselves. There is no softness about them. Neither spontaneity. Nor imagination. Which is why “deBDaBewochachu” (in which the same poems on country or family are read), the song ‘a.b.c.’ by the Jackson 5 and an interview are always part and parcel of the program.
The later is usually conducted with kids who came 1st in their respective classes, which they would say was achieved by listening to what their teachers say, by asking what they didn’t understand and studying “BeProgram”. At the conclusion of the interview, these kids are always given a chance to say what they would like to their peers. And they tell their peers, with the same monotony as the men and women doing the interview, to:
1. study hard
2. help their parents
3. stop playing in the streets
An advice I found myself being amused with the other day, wondering on what type of ears it would fall if it were given in America, instead of Ethiopia.
When advices are given, they are generally taken in good will in Ethiopia. Not because they are always right or because the person giving them knows what he’s talking about. He may be a blabbering fool shooting way off the marks for all we know. But advices are considered as “good for you”, because they are given “for your own benefit”, by those who want to see your good. So you shake your head in agreement, plead imperfection and look humbled when you are being advised. Especially when those advices are true!
Barack Obama gave advices to his Afro-American audience a few weeks ago. Now, I know more should be taken into consideration [than being right] when you are a presidential candidate giving speeches in America. And I’m not even sure if those statements of Obama’s were right. They seem right as far as my Ethiopian sisters in America, who are always being accused of not wanting to date afro-Americans (most of whom, they confided to the sister, impress them as “irresponsible” and “no good Playas”), go. They seem right as far as Bill Cosby and Chris Rock, black celebrities with a more humble background and less white pigment in the skin than the Senator from Illinois, go. But I’m ready to give the benefit of the doubt where benefits of doubts are due. Atleast until I’m in america and can judge for myself 😉 . However, if black fathers weren’t doing as much as they needed in their lives and not providing guidance to their children in need, and generally appear not to want to take enough responbility for their actions, isn’t it about time somebody they respect and believe to bring change to their lives told them? Or is Obama’s role only one of representing the dark-skinned half of America, so they could feel good about ‘how far they have come’?!
Talking down to blacks…
That’s one expression I, along with every Ethiopian child whose family owned a television and atleast one member who has self-assigned himself as the-liberator-of-down-trodden-people-all-around-the-world, has & will be hearing all his/her life. I’ve been hearing it every time a movie with a black actor playing either a gangster or a thief came on tv. Every time a black soccer player scored a goal and his white colleague came running as if about to kiss the brother but leaves with a simple rub on the head. And I hear it everytime my favorite Sitcom, “Everybody Hates Chris”, comes on Arab Sat. I used to ask, too, when I still believed I could make my dad change his mind by presenting facts, if that indeed was what the reality in America looked like, should it be misrepresented for his pleasure?!
I’m not sure if the same question could be applied here. But I think I know what Jesus meant when he said “Truly, I say to you, If you do not have a change of heart and become like little children, you will not go into the kingdom of heaven.” in Matthew 18:3. He was talking about those who lacked the innocence and naiveté of little children (Ethiopia’s little children to be exact) of listening to advices from their elders – no matter what, thereby missing out on their piece of “heaven” (in this case a dream another black celebrity talked about as having)!!