Vacillate Only with Principles


January 22 , 2022
By Kidist Yidnekachew ( Kidist Yidnekachew has degrees in psychology and journalism and communications. She can be reached at kidyyidnekachew@gmail.com. )


There is a popular saying in Ethiopia. It goes, “esuma aquam yelewim,” referring to a person without a firm stance on a given issue. These people are often portrayed as standing for nothing and falling for everything. It is considered a shortcoming as people are expected to live and die with their principles since they are old enough to have one.

There are many people who want to change their opinions but are afraid to because they do not want to be called w’laway, or a person who changes their minds too often. On the flip side, there are people who do not change their views no matter the circumstance. These people obtain respect from society as it shows that they are firm in their beliefs, whether wrong or outdated.

The only constant in life is change, and only someone no longer alive is unable to update their views. Still, there is a certain truth to the saying that some change their minds as often as the seasons do.

Did they even know what they were talking about?

Not long ago, I was talking with a friend about this very issue. She put the case at hand best.

“It’s funny how people are swift to judge you over a single mistake even though prior to that you did most things right. They advocate for you one minute and put you down the next,” she said.

It is true. It is not hard to come by such people in a time of such political division. People are swaying from diehard fans to critics then back to fans. I understand things that made them change their minds might have happened but they do not have to exaggerate and polarise.

Why can they not be modest about expressing their opinions?

When they disagree, they hate and express their hatred immediately without even thinking about it. When they agree, they express their admiration and adoration by blowing things out of proportion.

The other day, I found myself in a heated political discussion. One of the guys in the debate was not a supporter of certain decisions and groups. He often used words such as indecisive, incompetent and pretentious in describing them. Now, all of a sudden, he is praising the group, saying nice things about them.

I was surprised, especially since the same person was, within less than a week, back to saying negative things.

“Wait, didn’t you say your feelings have changed towards the group?” I asked.

“Yes,” replied. “I did change my mind and now I changed it back. I can change my mind as much as I want as long as I am alive.”

He is right. We can change our opinions or even principles. But there needs to be a process to doing this. It cannot be posting on social media based on sentiments only to post yet another conflicting statement a few days or even hours later. It is like wearing a different hat each day and pretending to be someone else. We can be blind sometimes. We praise without really knowing a person or a group and then demolish the tower of admiration we built when they have made a mistake.

How about taking the middle ground and refraining from saying anything? How about getting to know someone or something all the way through? What about giving someone the benefit of the doubt before judging them?

We might love and respect someone, but we are not expected to agree to everything they do; likewise, we might not like certain individuals, but we should acknowledge it when they do something right. Let us not be hasty to make conclusions about anything or anyone. And when we are not sure about where we stand, let us hold our peace until we have something worthwhile to say.



PUBLISHED ON Jan 22,2022 [ VOL 22 , NO 1134]



Kidist Yidnekachew has degrees in psychology and journalism and communications. She can be reached at kidyyidnekachew@gmail.com.





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