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Nothing trumps national interest, unity!

Nothing trumps national interest, unity!

The wave of nationalism currently sweeping through Ethiopia is a testament to the fact that the unshakeable patriotism of its people can never be eroded by radical ethno-centrism or of other centrifugal forces. Aside from showing support for and honoring the national defense forces—an emblem of Ethiopia— Ethiopians have unequivocally demonstrated that they do not countenance any form of attack against their nation’s vital interests and unity. Though Ethiopia is a potpourri of diverse identities, religions, cultures and ideologies, its citizens have coexisted in harmony throughout their thanks to a set of shared social values. And because they always put first what unites rather than divides them, they have rebuffed the advances of aggressors and expansionists on countless occasions. The Great Adwa Victory, the unprecedented defeat of a colonial European power that inspired the independence struggle of black people all over the world, is one such feat. It’s heartwarming to see the present generation emulate the undying patriotism and sacrifice of our forefathers.

The widespread support for the federal government’s law enforcement operation in the Tigray Region in response to the recent cowardly attack on the Northern Command of the national defence forces that was orchestrated by the leadership of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and calls for the architects to be brought to justice demonstrates that Ethiopians’ love of country is deep-seated. So is the anger and disbelief they evinced in the wake of the horrendous attack on soldiers at the hand of forces that fought with and protected them for decades. Though the slew of attempts to divide Ethiopians had exacted a heavy toll before, the remarkable patriotism they are displaying is heartening and bodes well for the future. Regardless of which party they hail from politicians need to keep this fervor alive and harness it for the development endeavors awaiting them after the conclusion of the law enforcement operation. It’s high time that the trauma caused by the killing, maiming and displacement of innocent civilians due to their ethnicity heals.

Ethiopians have for long demanded solutions for the plethora of problems they have been living under. The fate of the country troubles them more than the hardship and misery they had been enduring though. Sadly, self-serving elements that do not care an iota about Ethiopia have for ages been making a mockery of the proud history of the nation, fleecing it and generally perpetrating heinous crimes with impunity. Even after they were deposed they and, paradoxically, the radical ethno-centrists they used to hound, have joined hands in committing a raft of egregious crimes that are destabilizing the country. Coming on the heels of the poisonous rhetoric the TPLF and other extremists have been peddling, these atrocities finally culminated in the traitorous attack on the Northern Command, an act that history will never forgive. Be that as it may the primary obligation of the federal government now is to protect the safety of the public as well as to preserve the territorial integrity of Ethiopia by undertaking measures that neutralize national security risks. It’s imperative to show in no uncertain terms that Ethiopia’s very survival cannot be compromised.  

Ethiopian politicians need to stop viewing the proud and wise people of Ethiopia as pawns in their chess game and begin treating them with respect. They should be under no illusions that the primary reason for their existence is to play a constructive role in the nation building process. As such it’s incumbent on them to forge a consensus on issues of nationwide significance regardless of differences in policy or strategy. Furthermore, they must abandon the politics of division and hatred that jeopardizes national unity if the aspirations of Ethiopians for peace, democracy and prosperity are to be realized. They also bear in mind that engaging in a dialogue underpinned by the principle of give-and-take is a mark of civilized politics. Extremism, bellicosity, greed, conniving and visionlessness must be eradicated from Ethiopian politics once and for all.

The law enforcement operation Ethiopia has been dragged into has to be concluded within the shortest possible time in order that all Ethiopians, particularly compatriots that had been subjected to untold suffering, can breathe a collective sigh of relief. The operation should serve as an object lesson to everyone that no one has license to do whatever he pleases in the country.  As Ethiopians start to live in peace, freedom and equality they can extricate themselves from the clutches of abject poverty; hiding behind one’s ethnicity to rob the country blind will become a thing of the past; the youth of Ethiopia will no longer be incited to violence by sinister elements; law and order will prevail; the will of the public will be respected; citizens will be able to freely exercise their rights; repressive status apparatus will give way to strong institutions epitomizing transparency and accountability; and Ethiopia will be led by sons and daughters possessing integrity, knowledge and experience. Needless to say this requires putting the national interest front and center.

As Ethiopians from all corners of the country forcefully assert that they will never compromise their beloved nation’s very survival. Ethiopian elite and politicians must always bear in mind one fundamental fact—from now on Ethiopians will no more tolerate threats endangering national security or anyone gambling with their lives. Trying to subdue Ethiopians at the barrel of the gun or sow distrust and division among them through false narratives is an exercise in futility doomed to fail. As they have demonstrated amply during their vehement condemnation of the treasonous attack on the defense forces they have no patience with political forces intent on getting their way through force or other destabilizing actions. Although peace and stability are indispensable to ensure Ethiopia’s development and prosperity, its people are very much desirous to see the campaign underway to preserve its integrity succeed. If tyranny and impunity are come to an end once and for all in Ethiopia its people have to stand as one in building a nation founded on the rule of law. Nothing trumps the national interest and unity of Ethiopia!