With the topic, “The apathy of the intelligentsia in public scholarship who is to blame?” Dr. Taye Nigusie from Addis Ababa University gave a public seminar focusing on the decline of the morale of the educated. On 27 February 2018 at the Aluminum hall located in Maraki’s campus those who study sociology and other related fields sat and listened to the approximately 60 minute presentation.
His power point presentation had cultural, political, traditional and philosophical tones which resonated with his main topic and contemporary Ethiopia as we know it. But the Dr. of Sociology was not shy in expressing his concerns about where the country is headed. According to Dr. Nigusie the country’s intelligentsia has become ‘nonexistent’, ‘puppets’ and ‘unthinking’ individuals because of external forces.
With this connection, according to Dr. Nigusie, the external apparatus ‘consistently’ strives to ‘paralyze such fundamental institutions’ such as the free-press and autonomous civic organizations like professional associations. By discrediting such notions the Dr. of social sciences concluded this inadvertently provides some sham ground for an excuse to ‘cover up individual weaknesses’ and thereby absolve duty of ‘self-responsibility’.
When finalizing his presentation he summed up by stating, “Thus for the sake of fairness and completeness we must recognize the complementary roles of the micro and macro forces which misdirected individual choices.” He continued by saying, “this has resulted in the current rather worrisome irresponsible, passive and apathetic behavior that characterizes a sizable number of the intelligentsia.”
It is clear that there may be many factors that have initiated the fall of public scholarship and intellectuals. It may even be due to technological advancements, outside cultures or even poor work ethic but one thing is for certain and it is that the problems of Ethiopia, according to Dr. Niguise, are caused by Ethiopians themselves.
Living in a state of such uncertainty and submissiveness can only lead to tense encounters with reality. People must make their own decisions and ultimately create a future where people are passionate about what they do. The University of Gondar in its effort to graduate countless students is also trying to do its part in creating intelligent individuals who will sustain the freedom to express ideological and progressive thoughts without constraint. And from the looks of its constant deeds in community service and research UoG will not stop any time soon.
By Samuel Malede| Public and International Relations Directorate