For the Love of Double Standards

Mar 12 , 2022
By Kidist Yidnekachew ( Kidist Yidnekachew has degrees in psychology and journalism and communications. She can be reached at )

It is no secret that systems and structures are biased. Hypocrisy is not only reserved for people but rules as well.

Start with face mask mandates on public transport. If one of the passengers fails to wear a mask, the driver will be fined. After this mandate, I have been in minibus taxis and told to wear a mask wherever traffic police are believed to be around the corner. The driver and taxi assistant never fail to remind their passengers to do this, although I have never heard or seen the rule enforced.

Of course, some people, either from defiance or negligence, fail to put their face masks on; they usually do this by wearing their masks in the wrong way without covering their noses or even mouths. These people might as well call it a "chin mask" instead of a face mask. It is their way of proving that no one can tell them what to do. It is hilarious how we wear a mask only for the sake of it and do not even bother to put it on properly.

But what about buses? Why is the mandate not enforced in the same way in the much more crowded buses by assistants?

The last time I used the bus, it started empty then later filled to the brim. At that time, only a few people wore masks. Most of the windows were closed and the bus was so packed there was not even space to turn. It is only logical that buses transport a greater number of people, with more ease of transmission if somebody on the bus contracted COVID-19. Not only that, but most buses travel long distances picking passengers on top of passengers but somehow the mandate is rarely enforced.

But the double standards and biases are not only applied to mask mandates. It is also in other facets of daily life.

Recently, banks have required their clients to fill in identifying information for their accounts by visiting a branch. To do that, possessing a renewed and valid resident card or ID is necessary. And the qebele where I am a resident had for some time suspended renewing IDs. So I went to the bank and gave them a copy of my expired ID in addition to my valid work ID.

“We can’t accept this as we don’t know how long the work ID is valid for,” the bank teller said.

I argued that there is no protocol for them to issue me an ID specifying how long it will be valid. He replied that I should get a letter from my workplace instead. I had to respect his decision even though I was not happy about it. It is not like I had a choice.

However, the second similar incident my relative experienced made me think twice if some banks enjoy making people’s lives harder. She was told to get a letter from theqebeleto the bank but they sent her back saying she had to get a letter from the bank first. This causes a great deal of headaches for people.

Why are the banks being given a deadline when it is well known that services have been interrupted at qebeles, including ID renewal? Why do we have to waste our time running between banks and qebelesjust to end up nowhere?

Such processes should be smooth. The bank should only send a customer to a   after ensuring that the administrative office will cooperate. The same problem also applies to our roads. Sometimes we see numerous roads either being constructed or dug up all at the same time, including some of the alternative routes, creating traffic havoc and inconvenience.

How about waiting until an alternative road is opened before closing the main road?

It is just a thought.

PUBLISHED ON Mar 12,2022 [ VOL 22 , NO 1141]

Kidist Yidnekachew has degrees in psychology and journalism and communications. She can be reached at

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