Let Us Stand Tall in Face of Adversity

The tragic passing of Simegnew Bekele, chief engineer of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), has left many heartbroken and shell shocked. Such an incident having taken place in one of the most popular places in the city, Mesqel Square, has led to all sorts of speculations and assumptions about his death.

It has led many to believe that the engineer was a victim of a particular plot, even if the police have yet to rule on the cause of death. But this is not without reason. Despite the general feeling of optimism that has come with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s  (PhD) assumption of office, we have been witnessing unrest and violence across the country.

The fact that there are elements within the public that want to create confusion, division and hatred was evident after the grenade attack in Mesqel Square back in June. It has not helped either that the use of violence as a means to advance  political goals has become normalised over the past three years.

What we need to be reminded of as citizens is that violence merely makes matters worse. It creates a further deterioration of the cracks within society. More importantly, it galvanises the other side to take up arms and attempt to reach their political objectives through the use of force. It creates a vicious circle of hostility and division that can end up in the fracturing of a state.

We should take care not to worsen the security situation of the nation by refusing to listen to the other side and arguing unconstructively. We also need not participate in episodes of violence. Although it is a right to demonstrate, we should not fall to the level of having to burn cars and vandalise buildings. That does not help the narrative move forward.

At the same time, we should not let violence halt our courage in seeing a democratic Ethiopia where civil liberties are respected and democratic institutions are autonomous. It is in the face of this adversity that we need to stand tall and refuse to become hopeless. We should neither fall to the level of those that choose to employ violence, nor be fearful of them.

It should not be surprising that there would always be groups that will refuse to see reform, or want to make gains at the expense of others. It should be understood that disagreements are not bad by themselves. Everyone must be allowed to entertain an idea or opinion as long as they do not resort to the use of force to persuade the other side.

And it is such a nation that we have to be able to create, where people are not afraid to express themselves. In the same token, individuals or groups that break the law must be made accountable. It has to be understood that the use of violence cannot be condoned under any circumstance, no matter the current emotional state of the people.

We have been handed down another crucial time in history where we can start over and prove ourselves. This is a chance that cannot be wasted, and thus we cannot go backwards. We should stand together and uphold our basic principles for peace and stability. We have to contribute to the reforms we would like to see and prove ourselves worthy of the democratic Ethiopia we want to be a part of.

By resorting to violence, we should beware not to prove wrong those that claim that we are not yet mature enough for democracy. The ultimate effect of violence is that it incites more of itself. We should not be given to what seems like the inevitabile.

There are also those that claim that diverse agendas and opinions cannot coexist within a nation. They are yet another group that we need to prove wrong.

Such coexistence can become a reality if we are determined enough to ensure that all groups will be democratically represented and democratic institutions will be able to function independently. It only requires our courage, and our leaders’ conviction.


By Hintsa Andebrhan
Hintsa Andebrhan is interested in politics and history. He can be reached at hintsa1974@gmail.com.

Published on Aug 04,2018 [ Vol 19 ,No 953]



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