I almost missed Teddy Afro's concert last week when he threw a magnificent one here in Oslo. Some thought it was their commitment to lobby for people's boycotting of the event because Teddy was doing business with an EPRDF sympathizer of Tigrean ethnic background. Save all the strong naming of the individual, including his alleged indifference to Teddy's imprisonment, he was by no chance a choice for some diaspora politicians. I did not want to boycott it for that lobby but for fear that some uncivilized dispute may emerge to kill my excitement of dancing to the tune of one of my favourite pop artists.
The situation reminded me of what one artist said. The people to people show during the Derg regime, he remembered, was aggressively lobbied against by our anti-Derg politicians in the West. Overcoming the challenges, that show promoted Ethiopian culture arguably in an unprecedented way.
I imagined myself boycotting a concert for such unyielding reasons which, if one looks deeper, is no better than the ethnic based politics I do not stand for,, and which in fact, many of the accusers of the individual who paid Teddy would also argue they denounce. I then thought I should face whatever disruption people might have created and suffer the consequence in stead of missing the show.
Luckily for everybody, the concert was just great with a lot of people filling the atmosphere with warmth and a climate of joy. I was glad to be there against all odds.