The exemplary deed this week by a member of the police force of the Afar Regional State warms the heart. In a display of patriotism he refused to accept a bribe in the form of 40,000 birr (over USD 1,350) and firearms offered by arms traffickers out of a conviction that he would never compromise the national interest and promptly put them under arrest. Though such an act is par for the course for any law enforcement officer tasked with safeguarding the security of the nation, it’s praiseworthy in the backdrop of the rampant illicit arms trade in the country. If the courage demonstrated by Abdella Siraj, the young Afar policeman, had been emulated elsewhere, Ethiopia would not have been awash with all sorts of illegal weapons. It’s entirely appropriate that the Afar regional government and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) thanked and bestowed honor on Abdella given the burgeoning of elements that are induced financially or through other means into perpetrating acts endangering national security. When the government and society pay tribute to citizens who carry out laudable deeds their polar opposites will cringe in shame. As we give recognition to compatriots who have done right by the country we must also chasten those that do it harm.
History tells us that Ethiopia has always maintained its sovereignty and unity thanks to the bravery and sacrifices of its sons and daughters. Needless to say, it also gave birth to traitors who collaborated with its enemies. Sadly, nowadays there abound fifth columnists bent on peddling distorted historical narratives with intent to unravel the tie that binds Ethiopians together by sowing instability. Blinded by greed these snakes in the grass perpetrate such sacrileges as fomenting violence as well as trafficking in arms and counterfeit products at the behest of foreign adversaries and their collaborators. If the likes of the young Afar policeman, who foil the evil motives of treacherous forces owing to an undying love for their country, do not step up to the plate Ethiopia and its people would not live in peace and harmony. This makes it all the more vital to bolster the rank of citizens who stand guard day and night for the nation.
Presently, the worst scourge blighting Ethiopia is the proliferation of a narrative squarely aimed at undermining Ethiopianness. Each and every Ethiopian owes the obligation exert the utmost effort to building a strong, stable, democratic and multicultural nation. The only way the development of Ethiopia can be accelerated is to forge a broad consensus around the notion that Ethiopia belongs to all of us. This can be achieved through the adoption of a shared vision and purpose. As Ethiopia undertakes infrastructure development, harnesses its mineral resources, modernizes its agriculture, expands its industrial base, exploits its tourism potential, makes advances in science and technology and generally strives to effect a transformative change on all fronts it ought to do so in a participatory and inclusive manner. If these endeavors are to bear fruit it’s imperative to put a stop to such destructive acts as inflaming sectarian violence and economic sabotage.
These days it’s become commonplace for individuals which have not contributed anything important to the growth and prosperity of Ethiopia and actually have gained notoriety for egregious misdeeds be hailed as heroes. Paradoxically, citizens who are serving the country diligently and with integrity are vilified and hang their heads in shame. This labeling does nothing but malign the public interest. Although no sane-minded person would countenance the treachery of enemy collaborators or self-serving hustlers, turning a blind to their perfidy out of misplaced loyalty or fear is bound to exact a heavy toll. What is required is a demonstration of the same fearlessness of the policemen who disrupted arms smuggling in the Afar region. Heroes like him should be afforded protection for they are sure to incur the wrath of powerful criminals who stand to lose a lot and eventually die out. Then the rule of law can be upheld faithfully, allowing citizens to go about their business confidently.
Ethiopians need to participate meaningfully in the affairs of their country. This participation may be made through the family, social interaction, the work place and various civil society organizations. As the basic unit of society family is the fundamental source of morality and ethics. Varied best practices instrumental to improving the lot of the majority poor and deepening the culture of participating in national affairs can be learned through social interaction as well as the work place and different professional and trade associations. In particular when the youth are empowered to have a say in their fate and they are shaped by responsible educators, experienced hands and thinkers the future will bode well. If traitors conspiring with Ethiopia’s sworn enemies to destabilize it are to be exposed for who they really are, if hypocrites and evildoers are to be put in their place, and if Ethiopia is to be a land of peace, freedom, equality and justice it is imperative to uplift hardworking folks who above anyone else advance the interest of Ethiopia and its people and bring o heel betrayers that are determined to wreak havoc.