A literary marvel crafted over four centuries ago has whisked me away into the fantastical realm of a noble hero last week. The character, Don Quixote, draws inspiration from the countless tomes that line his shelves, each recounting the valorous deeds of knights from across Europe. He adopts the gallant persona of a knight, adorned with chivalry in his fervent pursuit of justice.

Spanning nearly a thousand pages, Miguel de Cervantes' masterpiece unfolds with whimsical and absurd characters. But beneath the laughter rests a profound meditation on the enduring human quest for a just world. The outlandish antics and the motley crew that surrounds him serve as a reminder of the unanswered questions that stir the depths of the human imagination.

In literary history, "Don Quixote" stands as a timeless classic, rivalled in popularity by J.K. Rowling's monumental "Harry Potter" series. The juxtaposition of these two works, separated by centuries, is a testament to their relevance and universal appeal. Intrigued by the meteoric rise of Rowling, a latecomer whose literary prowess has left an indelible mark on the cultural arena, I embarked on a journey through the pages of an exclusive documentary chronicling her life.

I was astounded to find out that humble beginnings and daunting trials preceded her veneer of success. Rowling weathered the storms of financial hardship and personal strife while going through single parenthood before building a billion-dollar franchise. However, from the ashes of despair emerged a resolute spirit, forging a path forward from the depths of adversity.

It is tempting to seek solace in excuses while casting blame on external forces. Upon closer examination, the obstacles may be self-imposed barriers constructed from false beliefs and comfort zones. It is human nature to lament the enormity of life's misfortunes, finding refuge in the familiar embrace of our limitations. However, when we dare to scrutinise our excuses under the microscope of introspection, we uncover that procrastination serves only to perpetuate a skewed worldview.

In a competitive world clouded by economic uncertainty, the pursuit of success can seem like an uphill battle. The voices clamouring for attention—be it the relentless chatter of social media or the grim depictions of reality—we must remain steadfast in pursuit of our dreams. It is easy to be swayed by the pessimism of naysayers or become ensnared in irrelevant information. But opportunities abound for those willing to seize them.

We need to embrace the discomfort of change and chart a new course. It is by confronting our fears that we can break free from the shackles of mediocrity. Existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre once remarked that mankind is condemned to be free, but it is through the embrace of this freedom that we discover our true potential. To succumb to conformity is to relinquish our agency, while to embrace the unknown is to embark on a journey of self-discovery.

I forged a friendship with a European acquaintance who revealed immigrants from my homeland had the highest rate of overstaying tourist and educational visas, settling in the host country against the terms of their entry. I sought to demonstrate through personal photos that not all immigrants could be painted with the same brush but realised that while my gesture may offer some consolation, it would not fundamentally alter his justified concerns.

While his words struck a disheartening chord, there was a kernel of truth in his observation. Indeed, many Ethiopians had breached the trust placed in them, tarnishing the reputation of their fellow countrymen seeking to travel abroad.

Many have ventured to the Middle East, Europe, and North America in search of better opportunities. The allure of a higher financial reward leads individuals to pursue professional roles below their qualifications, with the belief that emigration is the panacea for life's difficulties.

While it is true that some may find improved material conditions in host countries, there are also instances where the reality falls short of expectations, and individuals may find themselves worse off than in their homeland. The destabilising effects of emigration can disrupt lives and fracture communities, prompting some to return to familiar shores in search of stability.

Residents in developed countries suffer from economic woes too. J.K. Rowling's journey serves as a reminder of this reality, as she endured dire circumstances for a substantial portion of her life. Economic factors undoubtedly play a significant role in driving individuals to seek opportunities abroad. However, it is imperative to recognise that economic woes cannot be solely resolved through emigration but by creative solutions, thrift, and hard work.

It is not the destination that defines us, but the journey itself – marked by courage and determination. We should cast aside the shadows of doubt and fear, for it is only by embracing the unknown that we truly come alive. As I continue to follow the exploits of Don Quixote, I am reminded of the indomitable spirit that propels him forward, undeterred by the laughter of sceptics or the difficulties that lie ahead. In his quest for truth and justice, he serves as a beacon of hope, inspiring us to follow our hearts wherever they may lead.

PUBLISHED ON Apr 13,2024 [ VOL 25 , NO 1250]

Bereket Balcha works in the aviation industry and is passionate about fiction writing and can be reached at (bbalcha5@yahoo.com)

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