The Seattle Globalist was a daily online publication that covered the connections between local and global issues in Seattle. The Emerald is keeping alive its legacy of highlighting our city’s diverse voices by regularly publishing and re-publishing stories aligned with the Globalist’s mission.
Imagine this: You’re working 12,000 miles from home. There was a recent election in your home country, and the corrupt leadership was replaced by someone new, hailed worldwide as the one who will lead your country back to its rightful place as a world power. The losing party refuses to concede their loss, but the new leader is determined to return stability and grace to your people. To that end, the new party pursues the completion of a large infrastructure project that will revolutionize access to sustainable energy for everyone, especially those in rural communities. Your cousin, who lives there, has been excited about this new project and the new leadership. There was hope in the country for the first time in many years. But after a long visit with you, your cousin returns home to find disorder in her country.
One day your cousin texts you that a rebel force loyal to the former ruling party has launched an attack on a government installation. People are traumatized. People die. The attackers block all roads leading into the region surrounding the government installation and take hundreds of people hostage.
Sound familiar? The MAGA insurrection as seen through the eyes of Americans living abroad? No. Although the parallels are uncanny, this is the story of the last 18 months in Ethiopia, as a group of domestic terrorists have been trying to unseat a duly elected government.
Act One was the campaign. We met the players, learned their public backstories, got hints about their character, and were introduced to the context of their stories. Act Two was the primary: a much shorter period where we learned about ourselves. Through social media, on Zoom calls, and over outdoor happy hour snacks we asked, “Who are you voting for?” or “Can you believe so-and-so is voting for so-and-so?” The end of Act Two revealed who were the players representing minor, though no less important, voices but no longer primary participants in the current play. We also learned whose dramatic arcs would move forward to the next act.
Here I sit, in the lobby, looking around at my fellow voters, wondering what they were thinking.