Is this yet another cause that is doomed to not change anything at all?
Recently, a petition page which demands the removal of Ethiopia’s reference to famine from Oxford Dictionary is being circulated amongst Ethiopians facebook community. I was eager to see how different it would be from the ones I see every now and then on facebook.
With growing excitement, I clicked on the link. There is a page which reads “I am an Ethiopian and am not starving” with a distressing story of how Ethiopia is analogous with famine.
As time went by and people started to become a member of this petition group, I realized it is typical Ethiopian campaigns on facebook where you see mob yelling by saying do not identify me as a starved. People click on the page some might like it at their own convenience, voiced their opinions on the available space. It is just like a signing petition; but nobody knows to whom the letters will be addressed to.
Now the petition group grows around 5,248 members for the cause I guess these people are full of energy and they are screaming online, excitedly by saying I am an Ethiopian and not starving
But I think not a single one of them seemed to care about many Ethiopians who are really starving. It is all about being online and using facebook, holding the best ideology free issues, putting slogans on facebook, and most importantly, getting coverage from the media specifically the western media.
On my first glance apart from the annoyances of countless invitation of Ethiopian causes on my facebook page, I admit I thought it was fantastic initiative. I felt these people are most responsible Ethiopian citizens on earth; folks who care for the good image of Ethiopia, folks who would stand against the stereotype of western media to make a difference.
But I was wrong.
I soon realized that the petition page which demands the removal of Ethiopia’s reference to famine from Oxford Dictionary don’t bring any change at all. They are really just groups of people on social media networks who are trying to represent the other image of Ethiopia or showing that they have a ‘voice’.
Watching from the sidelines
Although it may be the best way of showing the western media has stereotyped Ethiopians with a single story of famine and starvation that every Ethiopian wants to end these stereotypes, I strongly believe it certainly cannot make a difference. And since what I hope do is bring real change, I refused to join this facebook petition group.
Unlike the middle-eastern ground breaking social transformations or say it revolutions, this petition pages don’t have the power to bring about change. This is because the western media that helped a lot in creating the stereotype are not ready to be a part of the change this facebook pages are seeking. On top of this I believe facebook petitions are easy, participation and bringing the actual change is difficult.
Can these people change the image of Ethiopia by removing Ethiopia’s reference to famine from Oxford Dictionary? Will Ethiopia emerge with a new image amongst the west?
Will the likes of BBC,CNN, or Hollywood stop producing films or making news which frames Ethiopia with famine or starvation? Above all to some extent are we not starved? Are we really committed to defy the stereotype of starvation of famine and starvation? If this is how things stand, I refuse to sign this petition. What do you think?
6 thoughts on “Facebook citizens of hypocrisy: Can a petition page on facebook change Ethiopia’s image of western media?”
I haven’t yet signed the petition. But I stopped using Oxford dictionary because of this reason. It is totally stupid to give define famine with Ethiopia. It is about respect for the people. Note that, they never define, racism, stupidity, …etc associated with countries. IT IS TOTALLY UNPROFESSIONAL!! Famine was also recorded in the bible. People of Israel were starved until they eat their own children. But i agree with you that people are giving empty shouts and don’t do anything about it anyway!!!
This is really what I feel when I got the request from a friend…the main thing in z ground is so d/t ..this facebookers may have a feeling of patriotism ..but I think it is in a wrong way..Bravo Endalke ..
Nice and bold critique but the page now has about more than 14,500 members and more Ethiopians seem to disagree with you. You may probably have a point when u said we can’t change history of famine or deny the fact that people are still starving in some parts of Ethiopia. Guess what, they are saying that too. Unless for a reason of cynicism or pessimissim ,I didn’t see any reason why I shouldn’t join them and raise my voice with them. So I joined. Sorry for disappointing you.
I gladly joined the group because I am sick and tierd of the western media showing Ethiopians as weak and poor and hungry with no voice they have taken adavantage of our chritian values and of sitting on the sidelines and letting others define us. I know there was a famine and there currently is a famine somehweher in Ethiopia howvever I disgaree these ghastly corrupt charties that are pocketing millions of pounds of money using images of straving Ethiopians to get their fat share of the funds while giving them a tap. Ok a tap is better than nothing however do models and actors get paid? why not skinny hungry uneducated farmers. These charities need to admit what they are doing is a buisness a very good business indeed and cut the human sympathy crap and be honest hunger sells and makes them rich howver they have no right to destroy Ethipias tourist industry because the image of Ethiopia being posiive might make people less willing to part with their donations. So I am for this facebook group ay it keep rising and rising till our sad pathetic hopeless deha Ethiopian voices get heard
It is nice to have 2000 peoples in Ethiopia who are not starving! I like the request but i like more practical, tangible, concrete examples, i guess Ethiopia is an ideal fit for the famine definition, no other country can take that away from us. i am not proud! neither the author of this article is! the oxford could keep that!. we can’t re-write history. we have to struggle to change this misery of ours, at this time still millions of people are dying of famine! may be after some time when famine become history in Ethiopia, i will sign the petition not to remove it from the dictionary rather to request time/year to be included. i guess the year would be 2020.may God help us!
‘ …..I strongly believe it certainly cannot make a difference. And since what I hope do is bring real change, I refused to join this facebook petition group’-.I some where wrote the same reason and for this same reason I said I would not sign it.I also suggested Oxford dictionary,to consider Ethiopia as example of for a place for prevalent famine in democracy in its future publications.