National Values To Bind Divided Nation

Jul 13 , 2019
By Eden Sahle

If there is one thing that is a must when it comes to what drives us as a nation, it is the need to have national values. Something socially and economically constructive. A countrywide mission that illustrates where we are going and where we want to see ourselves as a nation.

We lack the vision, determination and mission that would allow us to have a remarkable life investment that lasts beyond our time in this world. A collective undertaking that inspires us to mind our business, to work with our hands and be there for one another. Unfortunately, gossip is becoming the norm these days. Why is inventing stories about people, hatred and blaming everyone and everything becoming acceptable?

The fact that we seem to forget we have values that we should be prioritising above everything else is one of the biggest hurdles we face as Ethiopians. It has become an accepted part of our culture today to believe that our country, parents, leaders, friends or peer pressure are to blame for whatever problems we have as individuals or a society.

Our lives today are filled with blame and shifting responsibilities and mistakes. We are convinced that because others got it wrong, we cannot get it right by dwelling on endless devastation. We impose distorted attitudes and get upset when everyone is not aligning with that idea. The vast majority of our problems as a nation are reflected in tribalism that is not willing to listen to any other perspective.

These days most people in Ethiopia have become fixated on knowing it all, while the rest are getting it wrong. It is common to see people feeling good about themselves, because they manage to delude themselves into believing that they know better, even when they do not.

People believe they are promoting their culture and language while condescending to others. They think they are better than others because they happen to come from this place and that family. They ridicule others for trying to do something in their life while they have not accomplished anything substantial in their lives. A lot of people in Ethiopia are afraid to accept reality because they fear that facing reality and being honest with themselves will expose the brutal truth that they never achieved anything, will never improve and that their life won’t matter to anyone.

This sort of thinking at every level is what is dragging the nation downward. Once we conclude that we do not need national values and we stick to the attitude that we are doing good, our problems persist. The developed nations did not just become developed. They first had visions and determination to stick to their values even when the going got tough. They seem to be gripped with the belief in improvement, which took them from one advancement to the next.

Such kinds of commendable attitudes stem from having a short and long-term practical vision and values to uphold for generations to come. Countries do not just become prosperous. They become one by working hard until mediocrity, corruption, evil and poor leadership and elusive societal attitudes are eradicated.

As Ethiopians, what we need to fight against the most is the delusion of achievement. This attitude can be alluring, but reality always proves it wrong. Not facing reality will only leave us stuck in an endless bubble that is not helping us in any way.

We all should understand that the lack of national values is a threat to our existence. Random living is a failed strategy. Progress starts with having vision, strategy and civic values to follow as a nation and working hard to bring them into reality. Hiding from our realities has never taken us anywhere. We should face our problems head-on and do something practical about them.

Whether we like it or not, it is those nations who faced their realities at some point which are in a much better position today. Countries which identified their irresponsibility and their failures early on and acted upon them having substantial practical strategies are the ones who made it out of massive poverty.

We need to change the mindset which is making us incapable of acknowledging our national problems openly and honestly if we are to improve in any lasting or meaningful way.

We need to get out of our delusional world when our reality is something else entirely. It is strange that in an era when the world is entering the fourth industrial revolution, we are more concerned about trivial things than ever. Irresponsibility at all levels seems to be at an all-time high. Something about people’s and leadership's obsession with tribalism and mediocrity appears to allow their insecurities to turn awful like never before.

Politicians and society seem to believe that the more viewpoints that are out there, there is more reason to hate anyone who may disagree. It is not clear how it came to be, but our politics and society despise being exposed to opposing viewpoints. The nation is stuck in the belief that my way is the only right way.

Having national values is vital. In many ways, this is the best time in history to have and uphold them. Perhaps it could be the solution for our divisions and poor leadership, which is creating so much unintended social and political side effects. Maybe having national values to pursue and pass on to the next generation can liberate so many who are captive to negative mindsets. It might educate so many, enabling people’s sense of rationality to kick in.

Country value is an important aspect where everyone learns to work hard for the best in the country. This will make our relationship as a society and leadership better and more collaborative.

PUBLISHED ON Jul 13,2019 [ VOL 20 , NO 1002]

Eden Sahle is founder and CEO of Yada Technology Plc. She has studied law with a focus on international economic law. She can be reached at

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