By David Steinman
Money, Blood and Conscience is a novel about Ethiopia’s democracy revolution. It tells the story of the brave Ethiopians who stood up for freedom. A lot of people have asked me why I wrote this book, and this article explains why.
I became an adviser to Ethiopia’s democracy movement soon after the TPLF took power because Meles was reneging on his promises of democratization. I saw that the TPLF was not going to lead Ethiopia in the right direction, and a lot of people would suffer and die because of it. I believed that Ethiopia’s poor must be empowered with a real vote if they’re ever going to escape the famines and poverty because accountable governments, which have to worry about being re-elected, will do a better job.
My work on behalf of the democracy movement included publicizing the atrocities being inflicted on Ethiopians by their dictatorship. I published Op-Eds in the Washington Post, Forbes, NY Times and more that exposed the regime’s human rights abuses and theft from famine victims. I also encouraged journalists to cover the story.
It was very slow going for many years. But, gradually, the media picked up on the issue, and world attention grew. That helped create international and domestic pressure on the Ethiopian government until it imploded in 2018.
The new government has made remarkable progress in the human rights field. Thousands of political prisoners have been released and restrictions on the media and opposition parties have been lifted.
But Ethiopia’s not “out of the woods,” as we say in America. The government sometimes backslides on human rights. Three million people have been ethnically cleansed due to tribal tensions in the past two years. The risk of race war, civil war or the country breaking up is real. There’s been no legitimate election yet.
Ethiopia’s fragile democratization and reconciliation process need all the international support it can get. Western public interest in this issue is needed to encourage American and European politicians to pay more attention to Ethiopia.
That challenge led me to wonder if there might be a way to bring Ethiopia’s story to a wider western audience. It occurred to me that an entertainment product could attract people to this issue who might otherwise never notice it.
That’s why I wrote Money, Blood and Conscience. It’s a political thriller and a love story. People tell me it’s a good read, and the reviews generally have been kind so far. You can see a short promotional video about the book here.
But I hope the book, which combines investigative journalism with fiction, does more than just entertain. I wrote it to educate westerners about the Ethiopian crisis. Without the world’s concern and help, the country will never meet its daunting challenges.
Hopefully, my western readers will learn the truth about Ethiopia’s problems and recent history while they enjoy the novel. If they do, and if they come away from Money, Blood and Conscience moved by the Ethiopian tragedy and wanting to see the situation improve, the book will have served its purpose.
Early reader reviews show that the book can accomplish this purpose if enough farangs read it. Here’s one such review, by a young American in Massachusetts, that’s a good example of how the book can raise western awareness and interest in Ethiopia.
If the book can change one farang’s mind, it can change millions if enough of them read it.
I therefore ask every Ethiopian with a farang friend or other western contact to encourage them to read the book and leave a review on Amazon. That will build the word of mouth needed for the book to be read by more and more westerners. They can buy the book on Amazon. The Kindle format is only $5.99.
Jack Healey, the former director of Amnesty International, compares Money, Blood and Conscience to Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which changed American public opinion about slavery in the 1850s. I hope Money, Blood and Conscience will also significantly impact western public opinion.
But that can only happen if Ethiopians help publicize it to the farangs. So please post and share this news, especially with westerners.
Thank you for your support for Money, Blood and Conscience.
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