Bringing to heel vile characters eroding shared values
Ethiopia has endured scores of atrocities over the past year resulting in the death of thousands and the destruction of both private and public properties. Exploiting ethnic tensions to spillover into religious conflicts is to say the least extremely dangerous. Carrying out attacks against places of worship is tantamount to eviscerating common values that had been forged over millennia. A couple of mosques were torched this week following incidences of throwing rocks at tabots (replicas of the Ark of Covenant) at processions held during the celebration of the Ethiopian Epiphany a fortnight ago. Such acts are not simple crimes; they constitute vile and grievous attempts aimed at undermining the very foundation of the nation. Ethiopians from all corner of the country must join in condemning the perpetrators and calling for them to be brought to justice. They understand well that any violence against places of worship is an attack against all and that they owe the duty to expose the villains so that they face the music. Discharging this obligation goes a long way to ensuring that the truth sees the light of day. Thugs should never be tolerated.
Ethiopia has been in the throes of an epoch-making change that has been unfolding for over ten months now. Although rafts of measures which have absolutely delighted the world have been taken in this short time, the country has been racked by widespread violence as well during this period. A country undergoing a rapid-paced transition is bound to be buffeted with calamitous storms inasmuch as it enjoys positive tidings. Nevertheless, it’s morally reprehensible to carry out or aid and abet in destabilizing acts while the right thing to do is to learn from past mistakes and steer along the correct path. It’s particularly sad to see some political parties live in the past instead of endeavoring to secure a bright future for Ethiopia and its people. As if inflaming deadly intercommunal conflicts is not enough exacerbating the problem by stoking religious clashes is liable to land the country in a hole from which it cannot extricate itself. Engaging in deleterious activities at a time politicians who detest each other are holding constructive and civilized deliberations face to face is a self-defeating strategy that can never yield a political windfall.
The legacies of Ethiopian politics for centuries—hatred, rancor, bigotry and backstabbing, among others— have only beget mayhem and destruction. Killing, torturing, incarcerating and exiling anyone who actually challenges the political establishment or is perceived to pose a threat have been the favored modus operandi of tyrants who have ruled Ethiopia throughout history. Myopic individuals and groups are neither capable nor desirous to think outside the confines of their narrow universe are causing turmoil spurning calls to ditch this backward and bankrupt brand of politics and embark on a shared journey to put in place a level playing field. These elements are bent on wreaking havoc by instigating a murderous ethnic strife and religious war. It should be abundantly clear that no political dividend can be derived from undermining the shared values Ethiopians have developed over eons. Though this tactic may work for a limited time, it is destined to fail when their true color is laid bare. As such it’ incumbent on the public to play a vigilant role in quashing any and all menace they pose; it must never let them play a dice with its livelihood and the nation.
The congregation last week of the country’s political parties under one roof to deliberate on various topical issues is a laudable step in the right direction. The rules of the game as they pertain to peaceful political struggle require civility and a strong discipline. As the market place of ideas thrives political parties will be subjected to the intense scrutiny of the people. Those with a superior platform and organizational capability will win the hearts and minds of the masses motivating the runners-up to work harder next time. Parties lacking a viable alternative will take it up on themselves to emerge stronger either by drawing lessons from or joining forces which are a cut above them. Anyone deviating from this path to democracy is more likely than not to resort to violence. The peaceful pursuit of political objectives is a hallmark of modern-day democracy wherein veteran political leaders team up with young politicans possessing boundless energy to create an environment in which the adage “politics is the art of the impossible, made possible” comes true. This lays the foundation for a democratic order which frees Ethiopia from the legacy of famine, ignorance and backwardness may be laid on a sure footing. Then Ethiopians will be able to enjoy the freedom, justice and equality they have craved for long.
For Ethiopians their beloved nation is a cherished gift; it’s a home where its citizens have such a strong sense of unity and solidarity that ethnic, linguistic, cultural, religious, and lifestyle differences largely do not matter. They have built a country that represents a kaleidoscope of diverse interests given there is much more that unites than divides them. The ownership of such shared values that have survived centuries is the basis of the Adowa Victory, a great inspiration for the anti-colonial struggle of oppressed black people all over the world. The vanquishing of a European colonialist force by an African nation also enabled Ethiopia to sow the seeds of Pan-Africanism and be chosen by Africans as the seat of the African Union. It’s because the tie that binds them is stronger than the differences setting them apart that Ethiopians have a proud history of having never been colonized. They rise as one when their nation is messed with. And they are pained by attacks against fellow citizens. A heroic people who have paid sacrifices for their African brothers and sisters, Ethiopians abhor a whiff of division among themselves let alone descend into internecine strife. Characters sowing hatred and fueling conflicts should know that their vile strategy, which is anchored in eroding shared values, is unviable. Though they may succeed in the short-term, they will be brought to heel by the peace-loving people of Ethiopia!