Saturday, June 04, 2005

Democracy Celebrated - "Ethiopian Style"

By Member of Solidarity

No to ethnocentrism
Ethnocentrism is a grave illness
Ethnocentric politics is a defeatist platform
Build coalitions
Continue seeking a democratic nation
Ethiopia is a symbol of freedom, decency and dignity
Ethiopia is greater than life, regimes come, regimes go
Ethiopia will continue to be
Exercise reason and self-control
Use clout for greater good
Play only constructive role
Think unity for a change, for God’s sake
Use manpower to win in the democratic process
Reject secessionist defeatism
Secession is weakness, unity is power
Work to win at the ballot booths
Be positively creative, challenge yourselves
Ethiopia is for all Ethiopians
Unity is in your hands; it is a key to prosperity
Consider unity as a viable and achievable option
Envision a united Ethiopia
Terminate being tools to your arch enemies
A weakened Ethiopia is their victory
Take the stage, it is your country
Love it, cherish it, quit taking it for granted
Give Ethiopia a chance to be the Ethiopia it ought to be
The beacon of freedom, tolerance, the land of faith, dignity and plenty
Don’t push Ethiopia around, it is not fair, it is not right, it is regrettable
Enjoy all the goodness in Ethiopia the beautiful, it is all yours
Get along and rip the fruits of Ethiopia’s bounty, beauty and grace
You know this is true, be brave and give unity a chance
You can do it, only if you wanted to, come on!! Why not?

Cautious acknowledgement of national effort

The most notable thing about the latest war of aggression waged on Ethiopia during the period of 1998 to 2000 is the unprecedented and uninterrupted flow of energy and zeal it unleashed across the population, not just inside the country, but also among those living all over the world. It sent shockwaves all over the land. The unthinkable had happened - the giant was caught off guard!! It was a very bad joke! The giant had had it, and once and for all, it took on its enemies on all fronts, all at once - those at its doorsteps and the cross-regional ones as well.

For the first time, thanks to the cyberspace media, people, wherever they may be, engaged in thorough, in-depth, continuous, cumulative and protracted deliberation. Issues were hammered out seriously and vigorously. Constructive criticism abounded, sometimes causing tempers to flare up. Nothing was out of control, thank God to the dignified Ethiopian mannerism. All was contained within limits and everyone, overwhelmingly maintained professional-grade behavior in the process of unrelenting exchange, admirably focusing on what was at stake – on critical issues important to Ethiopia’s national interest and to its very existence as a nation.

Needless to say, these have been tough and trying times for all. Ethiopian unity was seriously tested once again. To its advantage, however, people were aware of the grossly adverse impact of tempering with Ethiopian unity and therefore, irrespective of their impatience with one another, they managed to remain composed and to continue working on rough edges, always leaning towards unity and narrowing down differences, fully cognizant of the sour reality that Ethiopia’s enemies dread united Ethiopia. If united, the sky is the limit to what Ethiopia can achieve, given the resilience of its vast, dynamic and diverse manpower. This is not a myth, as Ethiopia’s ardent adversaries would love it to be, but an absolute reality as has always been, manifested by the trademark of Ethiopian unity, highlighted at wartimes, when the gallant heroes of all the centuries, time and again, have registered unparalleled records as to the power of united Ethiopia crashing enemies, both far and near, teaching them lessons they never forget.

The result of this historic national movement gave birth to a new trend in Ethiopian political state of mind. For the first time in Ethiopian history, people demonstrated serious desire and exerted concerted efforts seeking a democratic political process. Demonstrations were held worldwide addressing issues of great concern and voices were heard loudly pronouncing urgent matters. Organizations were formed around national platforms and as much as possible, staying away from narrow alliances based on diminishing aspects revolving around ethnocentrism. Love for Ethiopia became the motto for all. People understood that Ethiopia does not belong to any one ethnic group and should not and cannot be dominated by any ethnic group. The country is simply too large, too good and too important of an entity which cannot and should not be undermined by ethnocentric mentality. The country is too good for that type of low-grade mentality. Hats off for all those who labored without tiring during the last several years to imprint in the minds of Ethiopians that loving Ethiopia means, loving all its people in the east, those in the west, in the north and in the south, emphasizing on their characteristics as one people and integral part of the country, while at the same time fully acknowledging and respecting their individual community characteristics. It is finally a relief to sense that people have come to terms with the fact that Ethiopia has always been and always will be a multi-ethnic united country with great potential to set an example for others. It is important to remember that succumbing to ethnic buckles is a “dream come true” to all Ethiopia’s enemies, whose manifesto remains to be – do everything possible to cause ethnic havoc in Ethiopia in order to see it weakened thereby to have a free hand to dish Ethiopia’s resources to build their own barren lands. Now that Ethiopia has tasted the flavor of democracy, the next stage is to build on what has been achieved and to fight anything to do with ethnic divisiveness so as to avoid belittling Ethiopian nationalism and national interest.

It is equally important for all Ethiopia to realize that justice has to prevail. If anyone group or groups, be it based on ethnic grounds, political affiliations or other criteria, has unfairly, illegally and inappropriately exploited the rest of the country, in any way or form, the people should genuinely, constructively, collaboratively and cooperatively, take matters into their own hands to undertake a thorough, systematic, transparent and objective investigation, no matter how long and what it takes in order to exact justice, as and when necessary and as and when possible, again without tempering with Ethiopia’s unity and broader national interest. It should be clear to all that a democratic society prevails only when it upholds justice. If Ethiopia is to prevail as a democracy, it has to be willing and able to uphold justice in a genuine sense with intention to build and construct and not to destroy and divide.

Never ever forget your enemies

The latest war of aggression of 1998 to 2000 alerted Ethiopians to focus on the issue of identifying who their real enemies have always been.

- The Nile issue was hammered on as never before and was articulated as one of the root causes of repeated assaults on the country in order to weaken her so that Egypt alone can continue to exploit the rich waters of the Blue Nile. Ethiopians finally have identified Egypt as enemy number one, who in fact was one of the central architects (along with Sadam’s and Assad’s regimes) of the proxy war of mercenaries in the northern region of Ethiopia culminating in the loss of the entire Red Sea coast in 1993.

- Ethiopians also learned of another dangerous enemy, namely ethnocentrism. The time is now for all to come to grips that Ethiopia is not synonymous with an ethnic group. Ethiopia is the integral part of all its components. Ethiopia is all its ethnic groups taken together as one nation. A nationalist Ethiopian cannot be one until (s)he is able of loving Ethiopia as a whole. Anything less is defeatist danger.

- The third destructive enemy clearly identified was overt or covert ambition for power and thus looking at the country’s affairs from one’s own personal or group agenda, rather than from the angle of greater good. Public figures have emerged in the process of the recent national movement, and that is a good thing. At the same time, it is heartening that numerous genuine nationalists have flourished and they continue to contribute greatly in the building of a strong ground hold for broad-based nationalist movement for the good of the nation. Such people see Ethiopia not from what they can get out of her for personal advantage, but what they can give back to see the country stand on her feet so that she can take her place in the world stage.

Give Ethiopia a chance, love her, cherish her, stop taking her for granted, be united!


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