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A generation devoid of principles is a danger to nation!

A generation devoid of principles is a danger to nation!

Navigating trying times as a nation with wisdom requires forging a consensus on matters of common interest. Though it’s impossible to agree on everything, there is no reason why trying to resolve fundamental differences cannot be deferred for a later date while negotiating with a spirit of give-and-take on other issues. The secret behind the ability of businesspersons to consummate transactions is the fact that they are better at negotiating. If people engaged in other pursuits do not talk to and negotiate with each other as well, they cannot come up with a mutually beneficial solution. Ethiopia’s current political environment leaves a lot to be desired when it’s viewed in this context.  It’s becoming increasingly commonplace to adopt extreme positions on mundane matters. In particular the elite are alarmingly loath to undertake a civilized dialogue leave alone listen to one another. Even debates on topics which are not necessarily politically charged are accompanied by nauseating insults and outright threats. Advocates of freedom who had been very critical of the pervasive oppression in Ethiopia are in turn now emulating the very oppressors they saw fit to excoriate. And charlatans who have managed to accumulate fame without doing anything to speak of for the nation and its people are taking the oxygen out of the room. Meanwhile, compatriots capable of generating useful ideas and improving the lot of fellow citizens are either ignored or discouraged from contributing their share. This is the upshot of being devoid of principles.

Rational people are not overcome by emotion. Their actions are grounded in reason. It’s a disgrace to see “rights activists” champion repression, “defenders” of freedom of expression actively muzzle ideas they do not subscribe to, and “guardians” of justice openly promote injustice. It’s the height of hypocrisy to perpetrate the same misdeeds one has been accusing of the government. People of principle have a reason for every position they take. It’s not obligatory to take to the streets to express every grievance. Nevertheless, this does not mean that no one is immune from criticism. Needless to say show of disapproval must not go overboard. The absence of opportunities allowing the public to give vent to dissatisfaction in a civilized manner has exacted a heavy toll on Ethiopia and its people over the years. The imperative to lay the basis for the protection of diverse ideas and interests lies in the exigency to deter rabble-rousers as well. As the public gets more opportunity to interact with thinkers they will be open to discussions and negotiations; they will refrain from committing acts they are bound regret.

If the youth are to be rational as opposed to being driven by emotions they have to gain knowledge from the boundless reach of education. Aside from broadening their understanding of the world around them, knowledge also enables them to resist the venomous rhetoric of destructive elements and challenge them firmly for they have the ability to make informed decisions. Parents, the community, schools as well as the relevant government agencies and civil society organizations must all work hard towards empowering the youth. Otherwise, they will become cannon fodders for vile characters bent on instigating bloody conflicts. The havoc these forces have wreaked and are capable of inflicting using various platforms but social media particularly has become all too clear. Failure to make the necessary preparations in the absence of sustainable peace in Ethiopia will have grim consequences. The difficult times the country presently finds itself in call for leaders of principle.

Ethiopia has prevailed over the challenges that came its way at different times thanks to the selfless effort of its wise sons and daughters. These hard-working citizens, who had the development and prosperity of their beloved country uppermost in mind, have bequeathed the nation with honor to succeeding generations. The current generation owes the obligation to shoulder the solemn responsibility entrusted to it by its ancestors. However, the responsibility may be successfully discharged insofar as Ethiopians co-exist with civility, mutual respect and in abidance with the principle of give-and-take. Inasmuch as there are upstanding folks who lose sleep over how to make Ethiopia great, forces intent on engineering a state collapse also abound. For all far-sighted Ethiopian nothing is above the unity of the country. And they will never compromise on its sovereignty and very survival. What matters most is how to build a democratic nation where its people live in freedom, equality and prosperity. Any action aimed at thwarting this goal is not the hallmark of people of principle.

The fast-paced world of today demands superior ideas. These ideas may come to the fore by fostering an environment in which they are freely disseminated and compete for attention. Such an environment can come about through a peaceful and democratic discourse. There is no use lamenting after the present generation’s inability to fulfill its obligation to properly shape the new generation leads the country down a slippery slope. As a nation one task of paramount importance requiring the concerted effort of all stakeholders is steeping the youth in knowledge. It’s then that it can become inquisitive, thereby shrinking the pool of extreme partisans and swelling the rank of critical thinkers. Ethiopia is at a momentous chapter in its history. If its children stand as one the opportunities before it are limitless. The impediments standing in the way of exploiting these opportunities must be overcome with wisdom. Unless the most pressing of them—the mounting external debt, acute foreign exchange shortage, and chronic unemployment— are dealt with immediately the consequences will be dire. Kicking the can down the road is a manifestation of lack of principle. A generation devoid of principles is a danger to the nation!