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Ethiopia badly needs selfless citizens like Adwa heroes!

Ethiopia badly needs selfless citizens like Adwa heroes!

Ethiopia is arguably a nation held in high esteem by the world. One of the remarkable historical feats that attests to its greatness is the defeat it handed to the colonial Italy at this very day some 123 years ago at the Battle of Adwa. Achieved in a war to defend the country’s sovereignty the victory not only gave birth to the Pan-Africanism movement, but also inspired black people all over the world to proudly hold their heads high. History shall remember for posterity these heroes for the selfless sacrifice they paid in routing a superiorly armed invading army.  This unprecedented victory was accomplished by brave Ethiopians with an undying love for their nation. Their love was grounded more in sensibleness than zeal though. As the great Adwa victory is commemorated it’s imperative to bear in mind that each and every Ethiopian owes the obligation to serve his/her country with a similar display of rationality.

Ethiopia presently finds itself at a critical juncture in its history. If this period is to be successfully navigated with wisdom and a sense of responsibility what is needed is more of rationality than zeal. The ongoing comprehensive reform needs to be sustained with the active participation of all citizens. This requires a common vision that is accommodative of ethnic, linguistic, religious and ideological differences. It’s of the essence to stand united to prevent the stated goals of the reform—freedom, equality and justice—from being defeated by greed-blinded self-serving elements. The right thing to do whenever events that cause the public to lose heart in the change underway is to seek together the appropriate solutions,  not to wash one’s hand off like Pilate or points one’s fingers at somebody else. It’s a no brainer that doing everything possible to overcome the myriad of grim challenges facing the country and its people earns one respect, not spewing divisive rhetoric. What Ethiopia badly needs now are citizens who, like the Adwa heroes, sacrifice themselves selflessly; it certainly has no use for rumor mongers sowing discord.

Even as Ethiopia continues to be synonymous with poverty, chronic joblessness, backwardness, aid-dependence and illiteracy, inciting the public to violence over trivial matters only serves to exacerbate these age-old scourges. If Ethiopia is to turn into a democratic and prosperous it first needs to extricate itself from the quagmire it has been trapped in for centuries. Unless peace and stability, essential prerequisites for growth, are guaranteed, it would be impossible to breathe a new life into the flagging economy of a country of 100-plus million people and enable the masses to equitably share the national cake. This is bound to precipitate a crisis posing a grave threat to national security. In a country where unemployment is rife, lawlessness is liable to prevail over the rule of law. It’s incumbent on all stakeholders to safeguard defenseless citizens from the proclivity of merchants of violence to manufacture conflicts. All Ethiopians who genuinely love their country must always keep uppermost in their mind that nothing comes before Ethiopia’s very survival. The ultimate price paid by the Adwa heroes demonstrates that this love goes as far as giving one’s life for the nation.   

Every Ethiopian yearning for a democratic order anchored in the rule of law is duty-bound to ensure that the interests of individual citizens or groups are not above the country. Compatriots that do not care an iota about the honor and history of Ethiopia are stooping as low as low as belittling the Adwa Victory, which made Ethiopia a beacon of hope for black people all over the world living under oppression. And they have no qualms about undermining the nation’s vision at any cost. As Ethiopia attempts to transition from eons of dictatorship to democracy it’s witnessing the outbreak of widespread conflicts instigated by self-serving elements that have led to the death of thousands and the displacement of millions more. Ethiopia should be restored to its former greatness by bringing these elements. This requires of Ethiopians from all corners of the country to stand hand in hand. If there is on lesson the Adwa heroes taught us it’s the importance of unity in the face of adversity.

Though Ethiopians and foreigners alike closely observing the developments unfolding in Ethiopia believe that it’s one African state with a bright future, they are apprehensive about its prospects as well. Inasmuch as they assert that its renaissance is nigh should its people work extra hard as one, they caution that the challenges confronting it constitute a grave security threat. The major risk areas identified are the persistent eruption of conflicts in different parts of the country, the impending 2020 elections and the weakening economy. If the root causes of the conflicts are decisively dealt with, the rest will be relatively easier to address. Politicians and the supporters and activists around them would do better to uplift their country than wreak havoc by fomenting unrest. Then history can be made by conducting free and fair elections as well as lifting millions out of poverty by resuscitating the economy. As the democratic space is broadened through a civilized discourse the actors that do an effective job of appealing to the public with superior ideas will get elected and assume office. This demands a demonstration of love of nation not only at the emotional level, but also in deeds. It’s only then that the feat of the Adwa heroes can be emulated. That’s why Ethiopia badly needs selfless citizens who are prepared to pay the necessary sacrifice.