We’re All Author’s of Ethiopia’s Destiny

We have the challenge of realising positive-sum, Medemer. The past half century has been a loss for creating a national identity and creating the sort of social cohesion that could have helped us avoid the violence and conflicts we are witnessing across the country today.

At long last, a moment to shape a better future, where the rule of law is upheld, has come. But the rhetoric that is being forwarded from different groups is not helpful. It will not benefit the nation to move forward but may, in fact, help it spiral into chaos.

There is the theory that the various lingo-cultural groups in the country should embrace Ethiopia once equality and democracy are ensured. Such an argument unfairly implies that there are groups organised along lingo-cultural lines actively trying to undermine this process. It also suggests that democracy is some sort of gift that can be handed around.

But democracy and equality are elements that we should aspire to by standing together and working as a people of a single nation. It cannot be denied that there have been past injustices, but the future is yet to be written, and it should be authored jointly.

Putting pre-conditions to work together creates an unnecessary and unhealthy environment for competition instead of finding that common goal. It will come at the expense of minority groups. It sustains the social ills that already exist and forsake us to a never ending cycle of conflicts.

We need to begin our journey with the belief that democracy and equality are not options to which an “if” clause can be attached. People should safeguard this vision of creating a country where, despite the slew of ideas and opinions that people have, they can coexist. There should be no ultimatums given but rather responsibilities to be taken.

When Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) coined the slogan, positive-sum, and rose to the highest office of the land, many expressed their support through social media and by coming out on the streets.

Many people from all walks of life see him as the knight in shining armour that would play a significant part in delivering us the justice and equality that we deserve. He was able to give us proof that there exists a substantial portion of the populace, here and abroad, that wants to see a united nation.

It should be understood that unity does not imply uniformity, where each and everyone morphs into a single lingo-cultural, religious or political group. There is no beauty in that. Instead, we need to appreciate and celebrate our distinctiveness, while holding on to the principle of inclusiveness.

We should be a family united in purpose on the road toward becoming free, prosperous and secure in a country that we share. No one should be left behind, for we should rise together.

The administration, in alliance with the opposition parties, is working to construct a nation we are all willing to be a part of. They are not faultless, but neither is there enough evidence to believe that they are acting in bad faith. We should aspire to be part of the project where all choose to be Ethiopians while also being proud of the separate and unique identities we are glad to uphold.

We can choose to grow in our identifications, but there is no legitimate reason that it should be exclusive. We can choose to be who we truly are – humans. We can define the mystery of Ethiopia as a nation of a people with rich diversity and indivisible unity. That is the miracle that has yet to manifest itself, choosing to be known as one Ethiopian family.

If we cannot accept each other based on a common denominator, that we are all human beings, trouble will ensue. It is in such an environment that people are dehumanised, and we commit inhumane acts against fellow citizens. We have all contributed to the current deterioration and need to take responsibility for our actions and in-actions,  akin to how only a consorted effort can bring us to the common ground.


By Zelalem Eshete (PhD)
Zelalem is an adjunct professor at George Mason University. He can be reached at z@myEthiopia.com.

Published on Aug 25,2018 [ Vol 19 ,No 956]



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