Strike a Blow for Pride: What All Ethiopians Can Be Proud of About their Country

By The Strathink Editorial Team

 The Strathink team would like to wish all of their Ethiopian readers a Happy New Year. May 2010 (EC) bring people everywhere peace, prosperity and love.

In a country inundated with bad news, the Strathink Editorial Team would like to remind our readers that all is not bad. It is easy to cite the many challenges Ethiopia is struggling to overcome—challenges that litter the road to democracy and economic development.

However, perhaps the New Year can remind us all—across regions, religions and political ideology—that there are a number of significant achievements that should make all Ethiopians proud of their country and their people. Here are some that offer “bragging rights”.

There is universal praise for Ethiopia’s impressive strides in improving the health of its 95 million people. Some of the milestones include:

  • A dramatically expanded health infrastructure
  • An increase in overall life expectancy from 45 in 1990 to 64 today
  • A significant improvement in child health, brought on in part by expanded immunization programs
  • A decrease in morbidity and mortality from communicable diseases
  • A marked decrease in HIV and TB prevalence
  • An Increase in births at health facilities as well as an increase in access to family planning

Ethiopia holds the position of the second highest United Nations peacekeeper contributor and the top African contributor Ethiopia’s global citizenship is exemplary, contributing 8,297 troops, police and military experts to United Nations peacekeeping operations—eight percent of the total force. Ethiopia is a leading contributor of women peacekeepers to United Nations operations, demonstrating the strong representation of women in the military. In Somalia, Ethiopia has provided 4,395 uniformed personnel to the mission.

Ethiopia plays an important leadership role in the United Nations and the African Union. Today Ethiopia sits in a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council. Ethiopia’s status as a peace and security power on the global stage has won it a seat at the table. Ethiopia chairs the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), mediating in conflicts on the Horn of Africa. A founding member of the Organization of African States and home to the AU headquarters, Ethiopia has played a major role in formulating the AU’s current strategic plan. The Executive Committee has elected Ethiopia to serve on the Peace and Security Council for two years.

Ethiopia’s public health system successes and its deployment of sending its health workers to ebola-stricken countries in Africa has propelled its leadership in the continent’s global health Ethiopia has proposed setting up an African Center for Disease Control and Prevention to coordinate tackling Africa’s public health problems—leading the way of African solutions to African problems.

Ethiopian Airlines continues its reign as Africa’s Best Airline. Ethiopian Airlines, continues to win award after award naming it Africa’s best airline. Its passenger and cargo fleet boasts the newest and most modern airplanes flying to more than 95 destinations across fiver continents. Its unrivaled success in service and safety makes it Africa’s fastest growing airline. For 70 years, Ethiopian Airlines has led the way in air travel and shipping.

Ethiopia is Africa’s top registrar of world heritage sites. Ethiopia’s incredibly long and rich history. The vast number of cultural relics makes Ethiopia a “must visit” for any student of world history and the potential for global visitors in endless. Here are Ethiopia’s world heritage sites recognized by UNESCO:

  • The Simien National Park
  • Lalibela
  • Lower Valley of the Awash
  • Lower Valley of the Omo
  • Axum
  • Tiya
  • Fasil Ghibbi
  • Harar

There is a rebirth of Ethiopian jazz and its lionization abroad. Ethiopian jazz, a fusion of traditional Ethiopian music, jazz, Afro-funk, soul and Latin rhythms, was first heard in the 1950s. Performed by Nerses Nalbandian, Ethiopian jazz began its evolution by incorporating Western musical instruments to harmonize local sounds into big band arrangement. And then came Mulatu Astatke, known as “the father of Ethiopian jazz,” to abandon his studies in aeronautical engineering to study jazz at the famed Berklee School of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. Mulatu returned to Ethiopia in the 1960s where Ethiopian jazz came to life. Dead under the Derg, Ethiopian jazz was revived in the 1990s and today Ethiopian jazz is a global music form. Ethiopia’s “father of jazz” has been internationally recognized and is thriving with new artists and new listeners worldwide.

Ethiopian athletes dominate global sports competitions. Since 1960, Ethiopia has won 44 Summer Olympic medals—all in races 3,000 meters or longer, and mostly over the past 15 years. From the small town of Bekoji, Ethiopian runners have won 16 total Olympic medals—10 of them gold—and more than 30 world championships.

So there you have it—some good news out of Ethiopia that should make all Ethiopians feel proud about their country. The next time you are sitting in the bar or coffee shop decrying the bad news coming out of Ethiopia, use one these successes to balance out the conversation. Strike a blow for pride.





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