Simply untrue that foreigners are under threat in Ethiopia;by Chris Turnbull


Over the last weeks, I’ve been getting a lot of messages asking how I’m doing as people see the news from Ethiopia. I will first say that I really appreciate that people care and want to make sure I’m okay. I know I haven’t responded to everyone, but I want you to know that we are safe here in Addis Ababa. Life continues as normal, though we of course remain vigilent of a situation that could change.

But here’s the thing: much of what you hear in the news in the West is at best incomplete and at worst maliciously paternalistic.

You’ll hear that Addis is about to be overrun. It isn’t and it hasn’t been under threat at all.

You’ll hear that Ethiopia is about to be Balkanized. It’s not.

You’ll hear that foreigners are being targeted and that’s why so many diplomats have evacuated. I have never once felt in danger here – it is simply untrue that foreigners are under threat; it is just a ploy to justify hazard pay for diplomats who are already overpaid and ineffective. The difference between Ethiopians and westerners is that Ethiopians can disassociate people and their governments. While there will always be bad people out there, I want you to know that Ethiopians are some of the kindest people that I have met from across the world.

Is everything peachy and carefree? Of course not. There are real dangers out there and this war must end soon, but if I have learned anything over the last year, it’s just HOW wrong western media understands countries other than their own. I grew up taking all the international news I heard in the US as truth. I wish I had known better. And before I hear accusations of certain outlets being worse than others, I’ll say that the worst I’ve heard is NPR (mainly because it’s my main American news source). Seriously NPR, you should fire Eyder Peralta.

I won’t comment on my political leanings because it’s not my place to publicly state such things. Even after living here for six and a half years, I’m no expert and I have my own biases. Message me if you want to actually talk about it.

All I can really say is that we are safe. Let’s hope wars will end, but in the meantime, question the incomplete narratives you hear about places and people you’re not familiar with. A single story will kill us all eventually.