Ethiopians should say no to mayhem and destruction
It’s becoming clearer by the day that there are sinister forces behind the June 29 assassination of the Oromiffa singing sensation Hachalu Hundessa and the ensuing violence that led to the death of hundreds of defenseless citizens as well as the destruction of both private and public property across Addis Ababa and some cities in the Oromia regional state. At this juncture it is not wise to go into details given the imperative not to complicate things further and let justice run its course. Nevertheless, it should be noted here that just like similar incidents in the past couple of years thousands of clueless youth were bused from faraway places to wreak havoc in urban centers. In a nation where it’s possible to resolve differences peacefully, it’s disheartening to see the proliferation of forces which subscribe to the notion that violence is the preferred means to achieve one’s political objectives. Even as it endeavors to usher in democracy and prosperity it’s incumbent on the government to discharge its primary duty of upholding the rule of law and stop the killing, displacement and traumatization of the innocent.
Ethiopia has passed through several ups and downs to get to where it is now. Most of its history though is synonymous with war and famine. Following the end of the Era of Princes in the latter half of the 19th century the country was preoccupied with fending off foreign aggression for decades. The advent of a modern system of government and nation-building efforts that began then was attended by numerous conflicts that caused a lot of suffering for the nation and its people. Ethiopia expanded to its present size on the back of a determined effort to mark out and defend its territory. It underwent the same nation-building process as other countries did in North America, Europe, Asia and elsewhere. Contrary to the false narrative some peddle this success was made possible through the heroic sacrifice of Ethiopians from all walks of life, not the oppression of certain ethnic groups by another. True, there were tyrannical rulers from all communities. However, the narrative depicting a certain community as a subjugator and another as a victim has no truth to it. Similarly, extolling the contribution of some to the nation-building endeavor while belittling the role of others is entirely unacceptable.
History shows that nations were constructed either through force or consensually. A nation’s territory and security may be secured if it builds defense capabilities that equal or exceed that of regional rivals. But this requires the forging of unity that respects diversity and a broad consensus on issues of national importance. Advocating agendas that are adverse to the dignity and honor of the nation or sow division and hatred between its people imperils the national interest. Using differences in opinion as an excuse to collaborate with strategic enemies as opposed to advancing domestic political objectives constitutes a grave crime that ought to be punishable accordingly. If government officials, party leaders and other influential individuals are not held to account for harming the national interest by putting themselves above the law the resulting anarchy is bound to have dire consequences.
Presently, the forces of destruction are hard at work to dismantle Ethiopia at the behest of its historical enemies. Paradoxically some of these forces are sworn enemies that have formed an unholy alliance, rallying around the principle “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”. Their marriage of convenience only serves to inflict misery on Ethiopia and Ethiopians. The mayhem and destruction wrought by the force swept from power by a popular uprising in collaboration with the very group it used to bash not only tests one’s patience, but is also liable to inflame intercommunal conflicts. Because two wrongs don’t make a right, however, it’s of the essence to exhaust all legal options to see to it that justice is served. Meanwhile, the government is duty-bound to use proportional force to quell those bent on furthering their own agenda through violence. This said the suspects arrested in connection with the recent unrest must be treated in a manner respecting their due process rights seen to be; justice must be seen to be done.
Ethiopians from all corners of the country should be able to coexist in peace. Their inalienable right to live, work, acquire property and move from place to place anywhere within the national territory needs to be demonstrated in deeds, not just words. Aside from exacting a heavy humanitarian toll, the properties of both local and foreign investors that had created job opportunities for many were burned to the ground in the spate of violence in Ethiopia over the past few years; the internet was shut down frequently in the wake of violent protests, disrupting the operation of continental and international organizations; and the country’s international standing was tarnished. The intention of the architects of the conflicts, namely Ethiopia’s strategic enemies, is to destabilize Ethiopia by inciting the youth to wreak havoc through proxies claiming to be liberation forces.
Ethiopians must stand together as one at a time it’s confronted with a perfect storm of crisis. Difficult as they may be these challenges can be overcome if Ethiopians do not allow themselves to fall prey to archaic and vitriolic narratives that have no place in the 21st century. They should realize that these narratives are intended to stoke ethnic and religious clashes. As such they have to say no in no uncertain terms to elements that are toiling day and night to undermine the unity they have forged with blood, sweat and tears. Moreover, they must wise up to the trap that enemies which wish them ill have set up and neutralize their sophisticated disinformation campaign. It’s high time that they demonstrate in action that they are united when it comes to defending the national interest and emulate the heroism of their ancestors at the Great Adwa Victory by completing the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam no matter what. If the evil designs of Ethiopia’s enemies are to be defeated Ethiopians should say no to mayhem and destruction!