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Ethiopia: A Dream for Many, A Nightmare for Many More

A title card for a video that reads out a poem. The title of the poem is handwritten in white over an image of a farmer. It reads: "Ethiopia: A Dream for Many, A Nightmare for Many More by Soreti Kadir"

People are getting nervous 

Is she about to snap?

The never colonised 
Sweetheart of the continent 
Her second largest population 
Oh Ethiopia,
A dream for many 
And nightmare, for many more 

Pointing outward 
into the big wide sea
But not quite touching it 
with generations of my very blood 
yet it’s only now
That people are getting nervous 

Come! It’s time for us to fact check!
Who is dead! 
Which flag did he wave! 
How much is his name worth at the altar of extraction and give and take! 
Yellow, red, green - wear it now and save your life! 

Like my people don’t know peace talks 
Like your guns didn’t tear up the grounds of gadaa
Just for a little short change 

I’ve watched the sun rise and set from this very home 
Watched thousands climb out of pits and come back to try again 

Reading books to fourth graders under the cool of Bale’s mountain’s
With wrists marked forever by a prisons hold

Ploughing land on the outskirts of the “addis ababa” - the “new flower”
Ya Tuluma tiyyaa! 
Nobody really knows that entire bloodlines were wiped out so that Bole could hold the seat of the African union upon you 

Returning to the gaming shop in Neqemte’s quiet corner. Finally safe. But not for long. They always come back, angrier than before at their own lives and at what they know of you. I hope you survive. 

Nobody wants peace more than the drought shaken land my feet forage on the daily 
But I don’t want a peace that can be undone by another deal 
made in another house 
that comes with another plane 
that drops yet another sound from our sky onto my kitchen table 

Dead again
That will not be my fate 


Soreti Kadir is an Oromo poet, activist, and journalist based in Nairobi, Kenya.

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