Editorial | Sep 17,2022
Jun 15 , 2019
By Hintsa Andebrhan
A few weeks back, social media was awash with pictures of Tiffany Haddish draped in the Eritrean flag. The Eritrean-American comedian and actress had just been granted Eritrean citizenship in the land of her forefathers, thus becoming a dual citizen.
The comment sections below the pictures kicked up a storm of not quite civil back and forth on the topic. Some feel strongly that the famous comedian is lending her name to a repressive regime that is using her. They feel she should have used her fame to raise awareness of the human rights violations that are allegedly being committed in Eritrea. Others say she is right to own and celebrate her roots.
But on the other hand, I was actually thinking what an unlikely story this is considering how her life started and unfolded. As narrated in her book, a New York Times bestseller, The Last Black Unicorn, her father abandoned her when she was only three years old.
She openly shares her anger and frustration at being abandoned. She was understandably upset at her father for not being there for her when she needed him. However, instead of holding a grudge, she let him back into her successful life. In fact, he walked her to the altar when she first got married. That shows what a loving person the Los Angeles-born actress is.
Given this background, one would have thought that she would show little interest in her father’s birthplace. She had almost no connection to it growing up. It can hardly be said that her father cultivated a love of country in her. He could not have been the influence, as he was never there. Even though he must be the reason for her curiosity about the country.
That is why I believe that citizenship is not only just a matter of relationships, it is a matter of blood. Human beings are naturally curious about their roots. We all want to find out where we came from, where our ancestors came from. We have a need to belong. And that need is as thick as blood. That is why in some primary sense, citizenship is in our blood.
That curiosity took Tiffany Haddish all the way to Eritrea in January 2018 for her first trip to her father’s land. In fact, she went there to bury her father. She shares in her book what a deep, unforgettable and emotional experience that was for her.
That is when she connected with her relatives and her people. She says she fell in love with the country and apparently, the country also fell in love with her. The Eritrean government was quick to accept her into the fold. That acceptance has now been cemented in her being given official citizenship status.
Some people have expressed their reservation about this decision. They fear the Eritrean government is using her. I don’t agree with that.
Of course, as a big American star, her story attracts huge international media attention. That is to be expected. That attention may put the spotlight on Eritrea. However, in my opinion, this is not a political decision. This is more than anything else an emotional decision.
It is just a good daughter trying to honour the memory of her father by taking the citizenship of his country. As Tiffany herself told an interviewer from Eritrean television, her father may not have raised her, but he has given her Eritrean blood. She is just acknowledging that.
I believe there are two strands to citizenship. One is what Tiffany expressed in her interview, a matter of blood. But the other is a matter of relationships - where one is raised and acquires the values and culture of the country. That is the American side of her. The other strand of Tiffany’s dual citizenship.
That is why I believe it is time for Ethiopia to consider the issuance of dual citizenship. Because there are many Ethiopians living all over the world who, like Tiffany Haddish, have a connection with the country of their parents’ birth.
She spoke for all of them when she said, "I don’t want to have to ask permission to come and see my people. I want to come when I want to come to be with my people.”
PUBLISHED ON Jun 15,2019 [ VOL 20 , NO 998]
Editorial | Sep 17,2022
Fortune News | Jul 23,2022
News Analysis | Oct 30,2021
Viewpoints | Oct 03,2020
Fortune News | Sep 18,2022
Viewpoints | Dec 10,2018
Viewpoints | Oct 10,2020
Editorial | Jul 02,2022
View From Arada | Mar 19,2022
Fortune News | Jun 23,2019
Photo Gallery | 83145 Views | May 06,2019
Photo Gallery | 75305 Views | Apr 26,2019
Fineline | 58776 Views | Oct 03,2020
Fortune News | 58527 Views | Jul 18,2020
Commentaries | Dec 02,2023
Life Matters |
My Opinion | Dec 02,2023
Sunday with Eden | Dec 02,2023
Agenda | Dec 02,2023
Editorial | Dec 02,2023
Dec 24 , 2022
Biniam Mikru heads the department of cabinet affairs under Mayor Adanech Abiebie. But...
Jul 2 , 2022 . By RUTH TAYE
On a rainy afternoon last week, a coffee processing facility in the capital's Akaki-Qality District was abuzz with activ...
Nov 27 , 2021
Against my will, I have witnessed the most terrible defeat of reason and the most sa...
Nov 13 , 2021
Plans and reality do not always gel. They rarely do in a fast-moving world. Every act...
Leaders of the National Election Board are in a charm offensive mood, of a sort. Last week, they organised a rare tour for members of the me...
When the country's most senior diplomats and envoys return back to their posts after two-week debriefings, they leave behind a point or two...
Dec 2 , 2023
The symphony of traffic noise in Addis Abeba is not just a sign of life, but a siren...
Nov 25 , 2023
Ethiopia's quest to develop a functioning capital market is a demanding yet not unach...
Nov 18 , 2023
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) has made a fervent call for landlocked Ethiopia to ga...
Nov 11 , 2023
In November last year, a ray of hope pierced the gloomy skies of Ethiopia as the Pret...
I have a love-hate relationship with my phone. It is my go to source for information. I enjoy interacting with text messages and browsing t...
Over the weekend, I attended a wedding where my husband was one of the protocols. Despite the typical joy...
Dec 2 , 2023 . By MUNIR SHEMSU
Mamo Mihretu, the governor of the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE), has outlined a com...
Dec 2 , 2023 . By AKSAH ITALO
BGI Ethiopia, one of the largest brewing companies, is in the throes of a major trans...
Minister of Agriculture, Girma Amentie (PhD), is leading a charge to overhaul the fer...
Dec 2 , 2023 . By AKSAH ITALO
Amidst accession to a cross-regional trade, one of the oldest industries is strugglin...
Or see contact page