Endangering public security unforgivable crime!
The third and final phase of the law enforcement operation the federal government is undertaking in the Tigray Regional State has commenced following the expiry of the 72-hour deadline it gave to the leadership of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) as well as the Tigray Special Forces and militia to surrender. The fate of compatriots whose lives may be in jeopardy at this nerve-racking moment is a cause for grave concern. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) has said the objective of the operation is to safeguard the security of citizens noting the national defense forces are acting with extreme caution as they launch attacks against legitimate targets in and around urban areas so that innocent individuals are not killed or injured. He added that belying the TPLF’s poisonous propaganda the people of Tigray are a living testimony to the fact that the defense forces have the public interest at heart. As the latter tighten the noose around Mekelle, the regional capital, it’s imperative to avert the specter of a humanitarian crisis in the event that the residents of the city and its environ, who are being used as human shields in a last-ditch attempt to avoid capture, get caught in the crossfire. The TPLF too must refrain from committing a crime history will never forgive.
Despite numerous calls to turn themselves in and guarantee the safety of the people they claim to stand for, the leaders of TPLF have vowed to fight to the bitter end. Such myopic and ultimately self-defeating view does not only result in prosecution with egregious crimes, but also earns them a harsh judgement in the eyes of history. Ethiopians have always yearned for a political system that delivers peace, freedom, prosperity and justice. They certainly do not deserve to be used as cannon fodders in order to advance the selfish interest of a certain clique. Given it’s at critical times like the present that the wheat can be separated from the chaff, it’s important to contribute something positive regardless of the small place it may command in the annals of history. Any entity pushing an agenda that does not put front and center the safety and security of the public cannot claim to be the defender of the masses. Countless atrocities have been perpetrated in Ethiopia by forces that held themselves out as populists. Invoking the public’s name in vain may have worked in the past but now it’s a bankrupt strategy doomed to fail.
Although the people of Ethiopia have throughout their history lived under the yoke of tyranny, they have never compromised the unity and integrity of their beloved nation. Despite the machinations of extremists intent on dividing Ethiopia to dent their patriotism, they are once again standing as one to preserve the country’s sovereignty. Moreover, in a show of solidarity for fellow Ethiopians they are extending a hand of support to ethnic Tigrayans living in the areas where the law enforcement operation is being undertaken. This is further proof of their heartfelt desire for the people of Tigray to live in peace and freedom. The humane treatment the defense forces are according to civilians in the places it has liberated from the TPLF should dissuade elements using civilians as human shields from carrying out reprehensible crimes that only serve to weaken the shared values of Ethiopians which have stood them in good stead and render Ethiopia vulnerable to the sinister motives of its historical enemies.
At this pivotal moment in Ethiopian history religious institutions, elders, the youth, intellectuals and influential citizens should take to the local and international media to urge the release of innocent civilians being held as hostages. The fighting Ethiopia has been dragged into unwillingly must come to a stop within the shortest possible time so that the country fully re-engages in development endeavors. In the meantime, it’s of the essence to minimize the humanitarian cost of the operation. It’s also paramount to resettle and afford protection to civilians who were displaced from their homes. Furthermore, the individuals who planned and carried out the massacre of citizens solely on the basis of their ethnicity have to be brought to justice. Peace and stability may prevail in Ethiopia to the extent the government discharges its cardinal obligation of upholding the rule of law. There is no arguing that the security breakdown in northern Ethiopia and other parts of the country is primarily attributable to the inability to enforce and obey the law.
If the goals of the federal government’s law enforcement operation in Tigray are to be accomplished with minimal collateral damage, the public needs to ramp up the support it has shown thus far. For its part the government must regularly provide reliable facts regarding the operation so as to dispel the steady stream of false or misleading information, particularly the kind disseminated on social media, with intent to erode public confidence and sow divisions. This goes a long way towards giving the international community, which unfortunately attaches moral equivalence between the Ethiopian government and the TPLF, a clear picture of events on the ground and who is on the wrong side of history. It would also be instrumental in holding the parties which committed horrendous crimes accountable for their misdeeds.
Once the campaign underway comes to a conclusion Ethiopia needs to stage a fast recovery and proceeds full steam ahead with extricating itself from poverty and backwardness. Given that the events unfolding on the ground since the commencement of the operation have unmistakably shown the futility of gambling with the lives of innocent folks for political end, no time should be wasted in putting place a system that lays the foundation for the fulfillment of Ethiopians’ aspiration for peace and stability. If Ethiopia is to become a land of freedom, justice, equality, dignity and prosperity, it’s incumbent on all its sons and daughters to demonstrate a genuine empathy for each other in the realization that they share a common destiny. Attempting to rule Ethiopians with an iron fist is a manifestation of a mindset belonging to a bygone era; it does not have a place in a day and age where differences in opinions can be entertained through civilized dialogues that eventually help forge a consensus on issues of national importance. Ethiopians need leaders who govern them with wisdom and humility, not bullies and tyrants that incite destructive wars but hide behind the people they vow to die for when things don’t go as planned. That is why endangering the safety and security of is a crime history shall never forgive.