The terms “arts and crafts” are catch-all categories that include the more expansive arts, including theater, painting, music, film, sculpture, etc. The benefits of each can be divided into categories since they are communicated in various ways, and the most crucial artistic activity is advocating for peace, and Ethiopian artists and art specialists need to determine their positions in light of the current state of our nation.
This kind of artistic activity and the things that are considered “art” can be interesting to many people.
The artist’s ideology and the significance of his or her artwork might reflect anything. But artists are expected to contribute to themes of peace, reconciliation, love, harmony, coexistence, etc. at a time when the nation is in such a difficult condition.
The artist’s weapon is his or her creativity!
Particularly at a trying time when the nation is stretched thin, when Ethiopians started to take light to brutal killings, in an era when people have lost touch with their humanity and have turned to tribe, race, and nation as training grounds for heinous acts, and when our most important value of sharing happiness and sorrow with one another has been forgotten and prejudice has taken its place.
Where is the person who has such a strong artistic skill in the arts?
The ability to construct a bridge between the arts and the mind is a quality of the arts. It is imperative to build societal ideals and bring peace to Ethiopia by utilizing the special power of art.
Artworks that give individuals the courage and vigor to cling to love and peace are crucial in treating the psychological wounds of surviving famine and conflict. In this place, man finds peace with his conscience and separation from his destructive self.
Every citizen under the protection of a nation should contribute resources in accordance with his or her skill and competence. It goes without saying that there are traditional approaches to resolving disputes and fostering peace in the world.
However, by examining the methods that various facets of our society and our nation utilize for resolving disputes and fostering peace, the arts can act as a platform for the reinforcement of ideals like accountability, responsibility, and excellence.
They can support activities that are sustainable. The basis of a nation built on love and respect will then be their legacy.
Recent studies that have a particular focus on the subject have been conducted. “The Genre of Peace Literature: Its Nature and Purpose” was a study on the detrimental and benefic effects of literature for peace undertaken by Tilahun Bejtew (PhD), a lecturer at Bahir Dar University.
“Literature is compassion, thinking about oneself in another’s place; it has the content of universalism and humanity. Literature is a means of achieving peace. Similarly, in both Christianity and Islam, we employ the word peace in our everyday greetings and prayers,” he said.
In the paper, he also discusses the cost of literature for peace and the route it has taken from the time of Emperor Haile Selassie I to the EPRDF.
The scholar writes, “During the invasion of Italy, Yoftahe Nigussie’s art work for the patriots in Sudan and his poems to hoist the flag made it a symbol that guided the society.”
Art acted as a spark for the revolution throughout the Derg regime.
The EPRDF’s steps concerning ethnicity have incited conflict. Literature has since been employed as a propaganda tool.
Our country’s wisdom has been corrupted by the ideologies of the different regimes that have come and gone without endorsing peace, in addition to the lessons it gained from the Italian invasion, according to their writings.
In March 2014, Debre Markos University’s College of Social Sciences and Humanities hosted a national workshop where Anteneh Akowa, a Ph.D. candidate, presented a research paper on “Literature for Peace.” A few years ago, several literary works were the subject of an essay.
The researcher discovered that “sarcastic political writings concentrated on anti-nationalism and anti-racist politics.”
It was said that there are more works of literature that promote peace and harmony without saying so directly. These works do this by criticizing ideas that cause conflict and divide people.
There are artists taking the initiative. Frew Hailu, the vocalist for the Hager Fikir Theater, made reference to the several states of Ethiopia in a popular song. The poet, composer, and singer Neway Debebe recently created what can only be referred to as a work of art, deserving of attention for the force and usefulness of the message it conveys.
There are a lot of other works of art that changed society for the better when they were made.
When we look at what other countries have actually gone through, we see that many of them have had conflicts, such as violence between or within religions, violence motivated by identity, conflicts between the government and certain groups, weak governance systems, loss of culture, rights, or access to justice, etc.
In places where violence has happened, art and cultural activities are used to build trust between different groups and encourage kindness, tolerance, and diversity.
Contributed by Ephrem Lemma Belayneh