Ethiopia: The Hazards of Restraining Free- Will Beyond Violation of Rights
By Belayneh Abate
I suppose readers would not mind if I start my message with part of a conversation I had with one of my friends. Indeed I had a discourse with my longtime friend (also considered as a family member because he takes our families matter as his own). My friend is a professor at a higher education institution in Ethiopia. As usual, our conversation started about family and friends. Unusually, though, my friend who was known for attention to details tried to avoid questions such as why? how? where? when? and so on. At one point he, in fact, told me that he and others have stopped entertaining such kinds of questions. Even more unusual was the tone and the way he expressed his and others’ metamorphosis from investigator like persons to do- not -ask sorts of individuals. It sounded to me that he and others are proud of accomplishing this transmutation. I could be wrong but I further assumed that he and others may consider people who could not proceed with this metamorphosis or those who ask these kinds of fundamental questions as unwise and fools.
I have encountered similar conversations with other African professors from different countries as well. The extrapolation form this informal observation is that educated people living in tyrannical rules not only have lost their God given free- will but they also do not recognize how dreadfully they have lost it. The hallmark of higher education should be curiosity and curiosity is solved by first asking question such as what, why, how, where, when and so on. People in higher education are expected to be inquisitive about the earth, the sea, the sun, the moon, stars, planets, diseases, health, social organization, human or animal rights, religion, virtue, wisdom, and literally anything below and above the sky. Higher education institutions are supposed to be the oceans, the seas, the rivers and the streams of tomorrows’ innovators, scientists, educators, healers and leaders. But how could educational institutions run by people who have lost their free-will produce better citizens that could solve complicated national and international problems?
Intuition, common sense and reason dictate that no one should meddle in another sane man’s free- will. However, defying or lacking these three faculties of mind, some have dedicated their lives in confining free- will and harming the body that tries to exercise its free-will. With regard to these types of evil people, Socrates taught “no one desires evil but many have evil goals and are bad themselves. This happens because those who pursue evil do not know what they are doing is evil.” He further stressed that “unlike evil actors, the virtuous men prefer to be the victims of injustice rather than perpetrator of injustice”. If I understood him correctly, what he meant is the source of evil is ignorance and evil actors are ignorant of their actions. And, by the way, academical achievement by no means is a vaccine for the virulent disease called ignorance.
Restraining the sane man’s free- will is definitely an evil act. In order to block free-will, evil actors build ethnic, clan, language, and other barbaric fences, even in the educational institutions. Furthermore, they ignite and promote conflicts and carnage around these fences. Curbing the free-will prohibits people from moving, working, communicating, and expressing themselves. More hazardously, holding back free-will impairs brain development and disables mind enrichment. Confining free- will for long has the potential to freeze the brain and turn a thinking- man in to a tamed- animal that simply follows commands. A locked- up free- will does not stir up the brain to engage in any form innovations. A detained free- will would not wake up the mind to ask and solve important concepts such as life, soul, beauty, conscience, autonomy, virtue, ethics, moral, wisdom, justice and so on.
As many of you may know Pythagoras laid the basis of Geometry before 500 BC and Democrates invented the idea of atom around 350 BC in Greece. The wisest man ever, Socrates, defended the truth around the same era in Greece. Aristotle and Hippocrates shaped biology and Medicine respectively, again in Greece. All these were accomplished in Greece about three thousand years ago not just by historical accident or because the Greeks that time did have special genome or brain. They established the foundation of the current technology, and civilized social structure because they let free- will to go free unlike many other countries of the world in that era. Learning from the Greeks’ civilization, the rest of Europeans freed free- will and developed in Geometric Progression. Similarly, the current immense innovations in the technologically advanced countries such as the United States of America, Germany, Japan and others are not the results of distinctive and genetically gifted people but the products of unbounded- free will.
On the contrary, the origin of human race, Africa is currently living in Stone Age Technology. Even in this very 21s t century, majority of Africans use sharpened stones and pieces of wood to till the land. African infants cry of starvation and toddlers die of preventable diseases. African mothers die of delivery and men die of ethnic conflicts. Africa is in this abysmal state not because its people are cursed or carry the idiot genes. It is precisely because Africans’ free-will has been locked up by internal and external evil actors. And by categorization evil actors are ignorant characters. Please do not tell me they have diplomas and degrees. Knowledge does not manifest itself in graduation gowns and hats.
The enemy of light is dark. Whereas, the foe of knowledge (I do not mean PhDs, MDs, etc) is ignorance (I do not mean illiteracy). When darkness reigns, light completely disappears. With the same token, when ignorant people take the chair, knowledgeable people sit on the floor. Ignorant African dictators do not want to see their opposites. As a result, these tyrants chase away intellectuals and turned educational institutions to political cadre training campuses. The trained cadres sweep away the free- will of the people and make society idle to the point that it could not feed itself. As we speak, some people advocate that China’s voracious interest for natural resources would liberate Africa from poverty. What a fallacy! If someone wants to cure an infectious disease, he has to target the causative agent. The cause of African poverty was not and is not china’s lack of voracious interest to African minerals. Instead, one of the major root causes of poverty in Africa is the confinement of the free -will. Therefore, any remedy designed to cure African’s poverty and wretchedness should contain ingredients that release free-will and foster independent and group thinking. Any people well equipped with knowledge and state-of-the art technology can produce water from rocks let alone utilize running rivers to defeat poverty and communicable diseases. Thank you.
The writer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Famine of Morality and Superfluity of Hypocrisy: http://addisvoice.com/2011/12/famine-of-morality-and-superfluity-of-hypocrisy/
- The Other Kinds of Children killers: http://addisvoice.com/2012/02/the-sino-african-dictators-corporation-headquarters/
- The Sino-African Dictators Corporation Headquarter: http://addisvoice.com/2012/02/the-sino-african-dictators-corporation-headquarters/
- African Rulers; Spiders Portia spiders: http://abbaymedia.com/News/?p=2770
- African Union: A Shameful Misnomer http://www.addisvoice.com/article/african_leaders.htm
- Addressing African Dictators; http://addisvoice.com/article/african_rulers.htm