"Wïï paa owïl enø?" ("Don't you realize?") - by Wenraya Aballa, "Baby W"
"Wïï paa owïl enø" is a song written and sung by young up-and-coming artist Wenraya Aballa (artist name Baby W). 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 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."
Øøna köö ni øøno jäälö, ba marø bölöö ocägö gaalø
We think we are being punished, but we are just confused
Øøna ngäädhö ni øøno jäälö, ba marø teek wic ka ataa ocägö gaalø
We believe that we are being punished, but we are just not paying attention
Tiere odhäthö kwany
It is hard to know what the reason for our difficulties really is
Jiy odhäthö kan
It’s hard to hide our difficulties
Wïï paa owïl enø, o rangi dëëri
Don’t you realize, when you look at yourself?
Wïï paa owïl enø, o rangi piny
Don’t you realize, when you look around you?
Wïï paa owïl enø, nëëna mette wic owïl
Don’t you realize? You are only concerned with immediate gratification. You’re ignoring it.
Wïï paa owïl enø? ni bunga adïma
Don't you realize? There is no subjugation
Wïï paa owïl enø? caan adïma poodi
Don't you realize? The time of subjugation is not yet [but it will happen if you don't change something]
Wïï paa owïl enø? caan adïma poodi?
Don't you realize?
Wïth jiy acungö
People are confused,
Jø døøngø wïth gi o cungngö
Elders are confused,
Wøpe jiy athøw ki ngwäädö
The youth are copying from others [what they see in the media]
Jiy odhäthö böödö
[When we copy others], we cannot win
Man atïmö ni ngwäädö
This becomes an imitation
Jøøa athibel ni do ngäädhö wïth gi okäl apaar muudhö; møøa doo theem ki nyigadha oraanya na mäyya
Our politicians, who should be trustworthy, are corrupt; those entrepreneurs, who are trying to improve their lot by doing business, are being destroyed when asked for loans [and not being paid back by us]
Jø døøngø agalø
Elders are confused
Moa therø acännö
The little ones are in poverty
Øøna tïmö ni ø meeta can ki öölö
We are already in poverty, and we are adding still more problems
Wøpe, acarø ngø, kiper moa therø?
Ok, what are we thinking for the little ones?
Ki beenhnhe mo ööy køøtø bëët?
And for all the generations who will come after us?
Bee cääth nyïm ki bëëtö gø?
Can we go forward with such a life?
Ni ø bëëdö thääth juurë?
Being dependent on others [those who are not Anywaa]?
Ni ø ngeewa røø ki juurë?
Selling ourselves to others?
Ni ø møøtha røø ki ge?
Seeing ourselves as less than others?
Ni ø jäppa røø ki ge?
Mixing ourselves with them? [pretending we are someone we’re not just to get ahead]?
Na anguudï marø tïme ni bee päth tiet juurë
If we continue this way, we will end up dependent on others
No dïïm ka adïma mo kaala man
We will be oppressed even more than this
Jappo nyengngo, päyyu
Open your eyes, wake up
Wïï paa owïl enø
Don’t you realize? (2x)
Ø doo theem ni bëëdë, ø boop thøw ni bëëdë,
We could be better, we could be more
Ba aginë tïïc? Kwänynyö ngää cään bung gin wiile
But what are we going to do? Knowing something too late won’t change anything
Kwänynyö ngää cään bung gin wiile
Knowing something too late won’t change anything
Deena mo øøno kwäänynyo møn
I wish we could be literate
Deena mo øøno theemo møn
I wish we could be better
Ba dëël kär kønyø gø
But we don’t use it
Øøna tïmö ni ø cwötha gø
We are just making it worse
Wøppe atïmö ni ngäyya ruyyö
Youths are only paying attention to style,
Ni tumë thuunhnha miërö
Only caring about beauty
Ni tumë ni ngaappa jöör twørri
Thinking about money as a shortcut to what they want
Ki jïëdhï mo aballi
The path of senseless things
Göör owiiø manya atöör
Leaving education, looking for style
Ba patha mïëro jaak, patha ruyyö jaak
Looking good for nothing [while your mind is empty], putting on nice clothes for nothing
Kwøng ngedhi tïïc ni tøng ni waany, ni patha dëëri wøk jaak, nii ba nøøn ni jööt jaak
First make your mind clean, then think about the outside, so that people cannot easily trick you
Ni patha døøn dëël mar luudhi
Don’t be like the lot, fighting each other*
Kiper thööth atïmö ni ngäänya maath ki dhööl kwöri, kwöri
Because most of us pay attention to drinking and making trouble, trouble
Mään mähnha wøk, dëël pwodha wøk
Ladies have abortions and bleach their skin
Cwøw døøa dëët ge,
Men fight each other
Bung mo mak kar ge jiy athum wøk
They have no successors while people are leaving [through emigration, death]
Bung mo lämö, bung mo ngwäädo, bung moa theem, bung mo bëëdo jaak, ngatti man jööre odhäthö mak, jïrë bärë.
Those in the church, those who are copying others, those who are better, those who are living for nothing: everyone is getting lost.
Ngatti man ngewwa ree bärë, ngatti man thuuhnha ree bärë
Everyone is selling out, everyone is thinking only of themselves
Ba ø pööthö kaa ni näk mo ø poot bëëdö ka ageem ka ajeeny
Where are we going, if we are so good at rebellion and discrimination?**
Ni patha mëër, kiper øønø gaalø
If it is not love, we are confused
Ø tøør raa akuma
We are not in the government
Ø tøør ri ngäädhë ki lam
We are not in faith or prayer
Ø teek ka ageem ka ajeeny
We are only good at rebellion and discrimination
Nø jiera moa reyyø ni bee moa theem
We choose the bad things, thinking those are the good things
Ni näk ma yi cenø, øøna päth piny mar duut
If it is like this, we are going to end up like a song***
Beeye ni wära gø jïïu ni duut
That’s why I sing this to you as a song
Caa poot da(gø), caa poot dagø
There’s still time, there’s still time
Kørø gaalø, kørø böölö
Let’s not get confused, let’s not get tired
Jappo nyengngo, pää
Let’s open our eyes and wake up
Keec doo wïïø, tööt doo wïïø
We better stop being jealous, we better stop lying
Ageem ka ajeeny doo wïïø
We better stop rebellion and discrimination
Kiper moa gø bëët bee dwøk dëël piny ka ataa
Because all these things are keeping us down and making us failures
Kare møn Anywaa raanya bëët ataa
It’s true that jealousy and ignorance is why the Anywaa are kept down
Töötë doo wïïø nee wäägi jaak
It’s better to leave liars to talk
Jø keec doo wïïø nee këëgi jaak
It’s better to leave jealous people to their jealousy
Jø waac doo wïïø nee wäägi jaak
It’s better to leave gossipers to gossip
Kiper twöt bøøl jaak, gïn tïïe kwuë
Because liars are foolish, they don’t know what to do
Miing mo bøøl jaak, dëëre kwuë ba köö ni di gïn ngääë
They are deaf, foolish, they don’t know about themselves
Wïï kare ki di ngeenye
Leave them to their temper tantrums
Bung gin wïïe pot mwöc oböölë
Let’s just leave them with their madness
No ojøøme abøøle
They are going to burn and be foolish
Wïïe no olëënye ajïïe
When they get better, they’ll be back
Ker dëërï gaali twöt
Don’t busy yourself with liars
Ker dëërï gaali ki ngatto kwer tïïc
Don’t busy yourself with those who don’t want to work
Kärï lwïththö bang jø keec
Don’t look back towards the jealous people
Tïïc tïïc mari, cääth nyïmë gø
Do what you got to do, and go on doing it
Moa bayyø øøno pwønyë, ni bëët dhaanhø man ni gin tïïë ngääë
Let’s learn from the past and know what we’re doing
Kuuttö naa aciel ni tïïo tïï mëër, ni patha wëër
Be united together and be loving, don’t fight
Ani mara ki mëër
I only deal with love
* 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