Friday, June 14, 2024

Making babel out of the blue


How unlucky we are to get ensnared by another simple but deliberately orchestrated point of dispute! Yes, we have been entangled with several croaked individuals who are working from dawn to dusk hatching chaos in this poor country of ours. It seems they are working diligently searching for means that ignite agony to the nation.
This time these individuals have taken language as bone of contention. Their argument is based on the recently issued road map of education. The thing is that the Federal Ministry of Education has come up with an idea of promoting education across the nation in a better way than we are currently doing it. Part of the idea is that children will learn the official language, Amharic starting from grade one. To the best of my belief, this was planned to establish the base on firm stand so that the kids may not face social, political and economic problems during their future lives.
Language is a means of conveying or communicating ideas. Those who cannot convey their ideas through language, can undoubtedly face problems in their daily lives. For instance, they may lose the chance of getting new jobs. Without their capacity to communicate with the official language, it can hardly be possible for them to get involved in the competition for new jobs. Their chance of having every political and socio-economic interaction across the nation will be limited. Learning second language not only helps you “improve your brain health but it also increases your career prospects”. Being bilingual in today’s crowded job market can incredibly be beneficial. It gives you a competitive edge when searching for new opportunities or within your current career. “If you speak a second language over an equally qualified candidate, the hiring manager will probably choose you as you have the added bonus of speaking an additional language.”
The guys who are currently stirring the still water can speak the Amharic language fluently. But their sickness is that they are not comfortable to see others doing the politics using this same language. These individuals who are opposing the idea of teaching the Amharic language at early stage are using the language to express themselves well and to open debates with their political rivals. But they have big problems to see others using this same language. They assume themselves as the sole representatives of others. They don’t want others to enjoy the privilege they have been blessed with.
Written sources indicate that language allows us to communicate with new people. It helps us to see things from different perspectives or get a deeper understanding of another culture. When the entire nation uses a national language, there will be common understanding and national unity across the nation. If a nation is deprived of this opportunity, there will be created confusion or babel. Those, who do not want national unity in this country, try their best to create babel among the nations. That’s what they are doing now. They don’t want the people to communicate one another.
The problem with these individuals is neither the language nor the proposed idea that Amharic should be given to the children from their early grade level. What they are jealousy of is the fact that Amharic which is the basic means of communication of the Amhara nation should not be more popular. They observe with envy as Amharic flourished across the country. That’s ther sickness. So, this language of neftegna should die by hook or by crook! They are dreaming of killing it. Let’s take a look at some of the notices and advertisements being written here in the English language. This is done deliberately to abolish the national language, Amharic. For instance, one can see if there is any significance of putting down a phrase, “Public Service” on a big local public transport bus while there is a possibility of using the common and simple means of communication. Besides, how many people (particularly the young and old sections of the society) can read and understand the English language? Wouldn’t it be better to express such things in Amharic which is a common language of this land?
Basically Amharic has become the official language of the nation. It is stipulated in article five of the constitution that ‘Amharic shall be the working language of the Federal Government’. This means if anyone needs to do business across the nation, s/he will have to use the language. That’s the simplest and best way to process the business. Available sources indicate that Amharic is being taught at universities in various overseas countries. What Zenebe Wolla, an author, wrote in one of his books reminds me of a point. He quoted the renowned author, Sibhat Gebre-Egziabher as saying that “had Emperor Minilik not handed over us Ethiopia and if there had never been the Amharic language, how I from Adwa and you from Gamo would have been communicated?” Yes, thanks to our fore fathers who have made everything possible for us all. All languages across the world have been spread arbitrarily. The same is true with our Amharic. One cannot say that this was done on imposition. It is a matter of chance that Amharic has become lingua Franca of this nation.
It is our responsibility to remind all that learning second language has many advantages. It boosts brain power. When learning something new, our brains need to cope with the complexity as it absorbs and makes sense of new patterns, thus developing key communication skills (such as cognitive thinking and problem solving) that are needed to digest and remember fresh information. Learning second language also expands our chances of travelling. It encourages us to travel across the country. Apart from allowing us to experience new cultures, learning new language helps us to improve our first language. We get many other advantages if we acquire second language. Scholars also say that national language derives national unity in any country. But as some of our politicians do not need this to happen in this country, they are always there putting stumbling blocks ahead of the unity. They leave no stone unturned to make babel out of the blue.
The Ministry of Education further said that the English language should also be given to the children along with the local language, Amharic. There is no problem with learning other languages as they are used to make lives simpler. With a language you express your ideas… you can also express your feelings… If that language is a national one, you will have many advantages. You feel proud of it. You use it as an instrument to acquire knowledge, teach or impart wisdom, do businesses…. Unless you are with devil mind, you do not prevent others from learning new languages.
Suspending the Amharic language from schools will not do any harm to those who have already known the language. So long as such rigidity and cruelty are promoted by these backward politicians, compatriots residing in remote parts of the country will not get the advantages of knowing more local languages in general and Amharic in particular. We never forget the fact that many senior officials send their children to best schools where the English language is taught in a much better way than state-owned schools. While the poor kids are suffering from the poor quality of education given in government schools, the children who go to the best private schools enjoy getting better education. No need to expound how smart our officials are not to get hurt by the poor education system they establish for the down trodden… The same thing seems to be promoted this time. The croaked individuals teach their kids more than three foreign languages in overseas schools and colleges while they are here opposing the idea of teaching and learning Amharic as a second language at elementary level.
If a child in the remote part of the country learns Amharic, s/he will have better opportunity to move around the country and make her/his living much better. One can be part of the political and socio-economic interactions of the country by becoming multi lingual. But as the croaked individuals do not want this to happen, they are everywhere to come up with babel.

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