Prompt # 48 – treason

More Notes from the Canadian honey jar

On the code of conduct when it is ‘one of your own’ that you’re dealing with versus not…Are you more or less likely to misbehave when you are/not dating a fellow habesha??

August 10, 2017

we (girls, meaning habesha girls) are sometimes especially deeply hurt that “one of our own” (habesha guy) would do that to us (cheat on, break heart, abuse, etc.)

Which I think is a little bit ridiculous. People hurt each other, no matter where they are from. But we feel that we should get special treatment because we are women of their country. We think the rules of what people do to each other when relationships go sour should not apply to us. Does someone deserve worse treatment because they are from a different country? Because that’s what we’re saying, essentially. When love (or at least ‘strong liking’) has failed, patriotism should still prevail, I guess. It’s ironic that we feel this, considering that we come from such a patriarchal, misogynistic, culture. So, we come from a culture in which women are second class citizens, no question about it.  And yet we expect that our men in the diaspora will treat us more gently than they would treat women from other cultures, because we’re ‘their own’. It’s being in the diaspora that creates this kind of thinking, I think. We feel that we should stick together. In the diaspora, other differences among us (ethnic, class) that would have mattered a lot back home become irrelevant (at least they should). We feel a sense of one-ness, or try to.

There’s also the other side of this: feeling upset when one of ‘our own’ dates or marries a non-habesha. Feeling that only a non-habesha will treat us the way we want to be treated (whether male or female). This happens either because people have been ‘burned’ by ‘one of their own’ or because they expect that they will be.

Ugh I don’t know what I’m talking/writing about! I just feel like I’m writing in such huge generalizations. All I know is that I’ve heard, from a couple of girlfriends, that sentiment that being hurt by a guy hurts worse/cuts deeper when it’s ‘one of your own’. But personally, I don’t understand or relate to this, because in matters of the heart, people act/react from a place of being just…people! True, maybe the initial attraction was helped along by the fact that both are from the same culture, but the nitty gritty is pretty much the same no matter what culture you are from. Just some people think that, being in diaspora, being limited in number and having only each other, so to speak, we should treat each other with care. Yes, in theory, maybe. That would be great. But it’s not realistic to expect that.

When the reverse happens, when a non-habesha treats another badly in a relationship, we’re also quick to attribute it to that; he/she hurt/betrayed/left me because she’s [insert non-habesha nationality here].

It’s all bullshit, in my opinion. In every culture there are the good guys/girls, and bad guys/girls, the ones that have their shit together and are evolved, and the ones that don’t/aren’t.

Is it because, deep inside, we’re always (the girls) looking for that ‘ideal, perfect habesha man’? Just like the guys are doing the same? The one who doesn’t exist, or never existed, or only comes close in the figure of our mothers and fathers (or mother/father-figures?)

It’s not that we don’t expect relationships to end, it’s the brutality with which they happen that is hard to take. But I’ve heard it said that a man would do/say just about anything to avoid hurting a woman (generally speaking), including doing the very thing which is most hurtful (disappearing, for example).

I don’t know whether it’s lack of sleep or what (but I slept ok!) that’s making the juices not run so smoothly re: this topic.

Of course, there’s also the other side, in that it’s precisely because we’re ‘one of their own’ that guys sometimes feel permission to act like an asshole. The way you kind of are not on your best behaviour when you’re ‘at home’. They can get away with it better than they would around others?

There’s also that disdain, inherited from generations of patriarchal society, that I believe lies deep in just about every habesha male. It may be very deep for some, to the point where one would mistake it for not existing at all, but it’s there. It comes out when there’s a real conflict, a real situation that calls for them to treat us as equals. It’s hard to shake off that sense of male superiority that’s ingrained from generations ago, in the DNA. It’s also hard for us, the women, to shake off this sense that we should be treated well, decently and with respect, simply because it’s the right thing to do, period, not because we are of one ethnicity/nationality or another. So instead of saying I can’t believe he would do that to /it’s not right that he would do that to ‘one of his own’, we should learn to say I can’t believe/it’s not right the he would do that to me. We deserve good treatment period, no matter where we’re from/not.

I deserve good treatment, period. No matter where I’m from, which ethnicity I belong to, etc. I deserve good treatment as a human being, period. I don’t want you to pick me/treat me well because I’m habesha, or because I’m not habesha, I want you to do so because I’m me.

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