"Wïï paa owïl enø?" ("Don't you realize?") - by Wenraya Aballa

"Wïï paa owïl enø" is a song written and sung by young up-and-coming artist Wenraya Aballa. This is the third song she has recorded and the first in the dha-Anywaa language (her first two are in English), since she wrote it specifically addressing issues she sees within the Anywaa community.

Wenraya
Wenraya Aballa ("Baby W")

Wenraya described the inspiration for her song at length during one of our interviews, saying, "In my song, there is a very strong message that I wrote...about life in Gambella, the life of Anywaa people...The Anywaa people, they don't feel proud of themselves, most of them...some people fight. They're not good in church, they're not good in politics, they're not good in whatever...I was like, if you go out this way, your ending is not going to be good...Especially ladies, they're not proud of themselves. You can find a lot of Anywaa girls looking nice, but inside their mind is nothing."

Gambella struggles with a history of ethnically-based and government violence, economic challenges, and underdevelopment, and many residents face limited educational and vocational opportunities. Also, despite being part of Ethiopia, Gambella has been on the Ethiopia's margins both politically and culturally. There is not only little representation of Gambella in the national sphere in the present day but also a history of cultural denigration of the Anywaa by the majority populations in central and northern Ethiopia. Allusions to this legacy is evident in Wenraya's lyrics, which refer to oppression and how the Anywaa see themselves as less than others and are trying to copy other cultures instead of empowering themselves.

The following video interview features Wenraya talking more about why she became a musician and the inspiration behind "Wïï paa owïl enø."

Wenraya was initially nervous about releasing this song because of the strength of her message. She also criticizes people in politics, which is often a dangerous thing to do in Ethiopia, where criticism of the government can mean imprisonment. "Even if they arrest me, I don't care," she said. "I'll still tell them...It's what I see and what I feel." Fortunately, however, there have been no negative repercussions so far: the song has had some positive reception, and several people have told her that she is giving good advice. "They feel the song," Wenraya said. "I think that they're going to change, little by little."

Translation (English)

Chorus
We think we are being punished, but we are just confused
We believe we are being punished, but we are not paying attention
It is hard to know what the reason for our difficulties really is
It’s hard to hide our difficulties
Don’t you realize, when you look at yourself?
Don’t you realize, when you look around you?
Don’t you realize? You are only looking for immediate gratification
Don’t you realize? There is no subjugation.
Don’t you realize? Our subjugation is not yet [but it will happen if you don’t work hard]
Don’t you realize?

Transcription (dha-Anywaa)

Chorus
Øøna köö ni øøno jäälö, ba marø bölöö ocägö gaalø
Øøna ngäädhö ni øøno jäälö, ba marø teek wic ka ataa ocägö gaalø
Tiere odhäthö kwany
Jiy odhäthö kan
Wïï paa owïl enø, o rangi dëëri
Wïï paa owïl enø, o rangi piny
Wïï paa owïl enø, nëëna mette wic owïl
Wïï paa owïl enø? ni bunga adïma
Wïï paa owïl enø? caan adïma poodi
Wïï paa owïl enø?
Wïï paa owïl enø?

Verse 1
People are confused,
Elders are confused,
The youth are copying from others [what they see in the media]
[When we copy others], we cannot win
This becomes an imitation
Our politicians, who should be trustworthy, are corrupt; those entrepreneurs, who are trying to improve their lot by doing business, are being destroyed when we ask them for loans [and do not pay them back]
Elders are confused
The little ones are in poverty
We are already in poverty, and we are adding still more problems
Ok, what are we thinking for the little ones?
Can we go forward with such a life?
Being dependent on others [those who are not Anywaa]?
Selling ourselves to others?
Seeing ourselves as less than others?
Mixing ourselves with them? [pretending we are someone we’re not just to get ahead]
If we continue this way, we will end up dependent on others
We will be oppressed even more than this
We will be oppressed even more than this
Open your eyes, wake up
Don’t you realize?

Verse 1
Wïth jiy acungö
Jø døøngø wïth gi o cungngö
Wøpe jiy athøw ki ngwäädö
Jiy odhäthö böödö
Man atïmö ni ngwäädö
Jøøa athibel ni do ngäädhö wïth gi okäl apaar muudhö; møøa doo theem ki nyigadha oraanya na mäyya
Jø døøngø agalø
Moa therø acännö
Øøna tïmö ni ø meeta can ki öölö
Wøpe, acarø ngø, kiper moa therø
Ki beenhnhe mo ööy køøtø bëët?
Bee cääth nyïm ki bëëtö gø?
Ni ø bëëdö thääth juurë?
Ni ø ngeewa røø ki juurë?
Ni ø møøtha røø ki ge?
Ni ø jäppa røø ki ge?
Na anguudï marø tïme ni bee päth tiet juurë
No dïïm ka adïma mo kaala man
No dïïm ka adïma mo kaala man
Jappo nyengngo, päyyu
Wïï paa owïl enø

Verse 2
We could be better, we could be more
What are we going to do? Knowing something too late changes nothing
Knowing something too late won’t change anything
I wish we could be literate
I wish we could be better
But we don’t use it
We are just making it worse
Youth are only paying attention to style,
Only caring about beauty
Thinking about money as a shortcut to what they want
The path of senseless things
Leaving education, looking for style
Looking good for nothing, putting on nice clothes for nothing
First make your mind clean, then think about the outside, so that people cannot easily trick you
Don’t be like the lot fish, fighting each other*
Because most of us pay attention to drinking and making trouble, trouble
Ladies have abortions and bleach their skin
Men fight each other
They have no successors, people are leaving [through death, emigration]
Those in the church, those who are copying others, those who are better, those who are living for nothing: everyone is getting lost.
Everyone is selling out, everyone is thinking only of themselves
Where are we going, if we are so good at rebellion and discrimination?**
If it is not love, we are confused
We are not in the government
We are not in faith or prayer
We are only good at rebellion and discrimination
We choose the bad things, thinking those are the good things
If it is like this, we are going to end up like a song***
That’s why I sing this to you as a song

Verse 2
Ø doo theem ni bëëdë, ø boop thøw ni bëëdë,
Ba aginë tïïc? Kwänynyö ngää cään bung gin wiile
Kwänynyö ngää cään bung gin wiile
Deena mo øøno kwäänynyo møn
Deena mo øøno theemo møn
Ba dëël kär kønyø gø
Øøna tïmö ni ø cwötha gø
Wøppe atïmö ni ngäyya ruyyö
Ni tumë thuunhnha miërö
Ni tumë ni ngaappa jöör twørri
Ki jïëdhï mo aballi
Göör owiiø manya atöör
Ba patha mïëro jaak, patha ruyyö jaak
Kwøng ngedhi tïïc ni tøng ni waany, ni patha dëëri wøk jaak, nii ba nøøn ni jööt jaak
Ni patha døøn dëël mar luudhi
Kiper thööth atïmö ni ngäänya maath ki dhööl kwöri, kwöri
Mään mähnha wøk, dëël pwodha wøk
Cwøw døøa dëët ge,
Bung mo mak kar ge jiy athum wøk
Bung mo lämö, bung mo ngwäädo, bung moa theem, bung mo bëëdo jaak, ngatti man jööre odhäthö mak, jïrë bärë.
Ngatti man ngewwa ree bärë, ngatti man thuuhnha ree bärë
Ba ø pööthö kaa ni näk mo ø poot bëëdö ka ageem ka ajeeny
Ni patha mëër, kiper øønø gaalø
Ø tøør raa akuma
Ø tøør ri ngäädhë ki lam
Ø teek ka ageem ka ajeeny
Nø jiera moa reyyø ni bee moa theem
Ni näk ma yi cenø, øøna päth piny mar duut
Beeye ni wära gø jïïu ni duut

Verse 3
There’s still time, there’s still time
Let’s not get confused, let’s not get tired
Let’s open our eyes and wake up
We better stop being jealous, we better stop lying
We better stop rebellion and discrimination
Because all these things are keeping us down and making us failures
It’s true that jealousy and ignorance is why the Anywaa are kept down
It’s better to leave liars to talk
It’s better to leave jealous people to their jealousy
It’s better to leave gossipers to gossip
Because liars are foolish, they don’t know what to do
They are deaf, foolish, they don’t know about themselves
Leave them to their temper tantrums
Let’s just leave them with their madness
They are going to burn and be foolish
When they get better, they’ll be back
Don’t busy yourself with liars
Don’t busy yourself with those who don’t want to work
Don’t look back towards the jealous people
Do what you got to do, and go on doing it
Let’s learn from the past and know what we’re doing
Be united together and be loving, don’t fight
I only deal with love, love

Verse 3
Caa poot dagø, caa poot dagø
Kørø gaalø, kørø böölö
Jappo nyengngo, pää
Keec doo wïïø, tööt doo wïïø
Ageem ka ajeeny doo wïïø
Kiper moa gø bëët bee dwøk dëël piny ka ataa
Kare møn Anywaa raanya bëët ataa
Töötë doo wïïø nee wäägi jaak
Jø keec doo wïïø nee këëgi jaak
Jø waac doo wïïø nee wäägi jaak
Kiper twöt bøøl jaak, gïn tïïe kwuë
Miing mo bøøl jaak, dëëre kwuë ba köö ni di gïn ngääë
Wïï kare ki di ngeenye
Bung gin wïïe pot mwöc oböölë
No ojøøme abøøle
Wïïe no olëënye ajïïe
Ker dëërï gaali twöt
Ker dëërï gaali ki ngatto kwer tïïc
Kärï lwïththö bang jø keec
Tïïc tïïc mari, cääth nyïmë gø
Moa bayyø øøno pwønyë, ni bëët dhaanhø man ni gin tïïë ngääë
Kuuttö naa aciel ni tïïo tïï mëër, ni patha wëër
Ani mara ki mëër

* The lot (also known as the lungfish) will eat its own tail if it gets hungry; this refers to self-destruction
** The discrimination Wenraya's referring to here is regionalism and rivalries within the Anywaa community
*** To "end up like a song" ("øøna päth piny mar duut") is an Anywaa proverb, meaning that something will be finished, over; as a song is heard and then is gone, so will those who continue to engage in harmful behavior