I recently engaged in a discussion about Ethiopians being mentally colonized. Ethiopia has never been colonized by any European nation. Ethiopia was occupied by the Italians, however Italy was never successful in colonizing Ethiopia. Ethiopia is proud to be the only African nation to never be colonized. But has Ethiopia been psychologically/ mentally colonized?
Consider this: Whenever a family member visits Ethiopia, he or she packs a luggage (shanta) full of American goods to take to Ethiopia for family and friends that live there. There is nothing wrong with this. Of course it is customary to take a gift or two to someone when you visit. However, what is the need for all the shoes, clothes, lotions, and other products that are being sent back home? There are industries and local businesses that provide many of these same products within Ethiopia. Purchasing from the businesses within the country would benefit the economy, and our family members would probably get a better product. However, if it isn’t sent from America, there is a presumption that it is not “good.”
Ethiopia’s economy is suffering greatly. Food products made within the country are exported with great demand because we in America want all of our spices to come directly from the motherland. We crave to maintain our authenticity in the western world. However, on the flip side, it seems as though our brothers and sisters back home are craving to rid themselves from such authenticity by longing for western products searching for things that reflect “modernism” and westernization. I think this is an interesting premise to try and understand. It goes with the old saying “the grass is greener on the other side”; but honestly is it really greener?
How do we learn to love ourselves, and not become like the people of another country? Is it considered mental colonization when we desire to take on the appearance, dress, style and language of a foreign nation. Has the western world culturally colonized Ethiopia, although it hasn’t physically colonized Ethiopia? I would argue the answer to that is Yes. Ethiopia has modernized, developed and made great advances- but at what expense? Have we lost sight of our culture. Does modernization mean that we must let go of our cultural roots or is there a way to maintain both? I think that there is. However, I don’t know how exactly the proper balance can be reached.
I don’t know all the answers, however I look forward to the discussion that will come from this post. Feel free to post your comments, and I intend on doing a follow up post after doing some further research and analysis on the issue.
4 thoughts on “Are we mentally conolized?”
I think you raise an interesting point of view and questionnaire. Sorry, I don’t have answers but more perspectives and questions. I partly share you point of view but the problem may be bigger than colonization or self love. I think it is the effect of globalization and capitalism. Clearly, these are affecting developing and undeveloped countries (like Ethiopia). Patriotism and nationalism is fading. Differences are discouraged. In short, it is mental slavery of world people. Who is good or bad is a religious discussion because of looping causes and effects. It’s like a dog chasing its tail.
On the flip side, I don’t think it because we lack self love but may be, may be, we love ourselves too much. We love ourselves too much we want to have it all. We lost focus of what we have but what we want. We never lost our right by colony so we never understood our rights. No self awareness.
Hi,I really enjoyed reading all your posts. Your posts are very relatable for Ethiopians living in America especially young women .Well written. I do have some questions for you and wanted to know if you have an email address I could send my questions too. Mine is email@example.com. If you prefer you can send your details there. Hope to hear from you soon. Thanks
feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I really like how you pointed out that people visiting Ethiopia bring things from the U.S. that can easily be bought in Ethiopia. If they’re going to spend the money anyways, why not spend it revitalizing Ethiopia’s economy rather than the U.S. economy. I think that’s a change we can all implement effective immediately.
As far as mental colonization through “modernization” and developing, I think it’s become the natural progression of countries all over the world that are developing. There’s no doubt that the western world has set the standard, but is that such a bad thing? That doesn’t mean that Ethiopia cannot become better than the west. Look at economies like Japan and China which have surpassed Western nations, I think those are positive examples that countries like Ethiopia should aspire to.
However, I do think that there should be more of an effort to preserve Ethiopian cultural values and those should not be lost during the effort to modernize and develop the country.
Nice topic sissy!