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The sins of distorting history

The sins of distorting history

History is an embodiment of the heritage of a nation’s people that is passed down from generation to generation. It is manifested in nation building, the defence of national sovereignty, the expansion and demarcation of territory and numerous other forms of interactions at various levels. History is instructive in understanding and interpreting past events with a view to not only predict the future, but also avert the commission or repetition of mistakes. A fact-based presentation of history is instrumental in the all-encompassing development and transformation of a society while distorting it only beats the path to downfall. Ethiopia has had a chequered history that has shed both positive and negative lights on it. Successive generations of Ethiopians defended their country with passion and heroism thanks to the virtues that have been handed down for eons. Sharing successes and ordeals as one they have remained a cohesive polity through a display of harmony and solidarity. One of the values that the sagacity and decency of Ethiopians finds expression is their unshakeable love of country. Their glorious history bears testimony to this undeniable fact.

Nowadays forces in conflict with history are working hard at warping the history of Ethiopia and Ethiopians. Some deny the very existence of certain sections of the population and render them stateless while others reject the notion that throughout their history Ethiopians were one in maintaining the sovereignty of their beloved nation. Political merchants bent on assuming power via extra constitutional routes are brazenly disseminating lies to further their evil agenda. They have no qualms about perverting history to glorify like-minded souls and demonize those who do not subscribe to their beliefs. Such elements are incapable of making history but leave no stone unturned to tarnish it. These proponents of zero-sum politics are endeavoring to engineer a break down in law and order. Unless it’s nipped in the bud this is bound to result in the demise of all sides concerned.

Exalting previous generations as being blemishless or condemning their actions on the basis of contemporary thinking or standards cannot take Ethiopia forward. Sowing the seeds of conflict rather than learning from past mistakes and consolidating successes is not befitting for the 21st century. The Ethiopia of today and the past vastly differ as do the present and earlier generations. It would be an embarrassment for the current generation if is unwilling or unable to do the country proud on the word stage by surpassing the accomplishments of its predecessors and instead descend into conflicts that dismember it into small fiefdoms as in the era the central government was weak. What’s more humiliating than enfeebling a nation at a time the world is becoming more integrated and inextricably aligning its interest? It’s scandalous to weaponize disagreements over territorial claims or questions of identity for the purpose of fueling intercommunal clashes which spill the blood of innocent people when the turbulent times the country is in demands every effort to be exerted to guarantee durable peace, democracy and prosperity. Such conduct is harmful to the national interest and shall be judged harshly in the annals of history.

It’s deplorable to capitalize on rows over ethnic identity or regional borders to engender mutual destruction when the right thing to do is to resolve differences within an overarching framework that advances the national interest. There is no way that a civilized discourse amenable to the principle of give-and-take can take place where a politics of provocation and intolerance is the norm. Reopening centuries-old wounds and threatening to use violence only rend a country apart, not build it. If politicians eschew negotiation and compromising to reach a middle ground and persist with the undemocratic habit of scheming and conniving it will have dire implications for the continued existence of Ethiopia as a nation. It’s perplexing why disputes regarding administrative boundaries and ethnic identity cannot be amicably and have to lead to bloodletting. Parallel to legally constituted mechanisms all Ethiopia communities have well-developed and morally coercive dispute resolution traditions. So why is it proving to be impossible in this day and age to address lawfully and democratically the demands of the public? What is driving the rush to undermine the values that Ethiopians have maintained for millennia as well as to distort history with intent to induce instability? No time should be wasted in thwarting any and all attempts to impose one’s will on others.

If any citizen cannot build on the history that our forefathers have bequeathed us, he should at least desist from destroying it. It’s odious and indeed cowardly to stab the public in the back while professing to have its interest at heart. In particular those who shed crocodile tears while sacrificing innocent lives on the altar of their ego behind the safety of social media are morally reprehensible. Ethiopians have never been synonymous with such dastardly behavior throughout their history. Sadly these days elements determined to break up Ethiopia are losing sleep over how to exploit society’s fault lines and wreak havoc. They are consumed with supplanting the bigger identity that Ethiopianness represents with narrow and antagonistic identities whose ultimate goal is to bring on the disintegration of the country. And they are salivating to whip up the poverty-stricken people of Ethiopia into a frenzy of deadly conflict and make them the laughingstock of the world. The length they are going to stir up sectarian clashes goes against the essence of Ethiopianness. Ethiopians are renowned for standing in unison to defend their cherished nation to the bitter end, not internecine strife. Their history is a testament to this feat.

History is not made by instigating conflicts precipitating a political crisis. Making history means elevating Ethiopia to its rightful place in the community of nations. The country may reap the dividends of peace, democracy and prosperity insofar as its children are able to accommodate their differences in a civilized manner and forge a broad consensus on shared issues of national importance. Any individual or party found wanting in this regard cannot be a politician in the proper sense of the word. A politician knows when to exercise prudence like a diplomat, when to attack or defend like a military strategist and how to make the most of changing circumstances like a shrewd businessman. Leadership is an inborn skill which is perfected through continues education and hands-on experience. Any politician lacking one of these qualities better try their hand at something else. They have no business disparaging or violence the proud history of Ethiopians to advance their wicked agenda while they have no history to speak of. Distorting history is an egregious sin that cannot and must not be tolerated.