July 6th, 2007 Print Print Email Email

In this world we are living in, human beings are dying in hundreds and thousands in man made wars and atrocities. The lack of peace and good governance is destroying cities, villages and countries. (more…)

In this world we are living in, human beings are dying in hundreds and thousands in man made wars and atrocities. The lack of peace and good governance is destroying cities, villages and countries.

Ethiopia is a country who has lost millions of its children with man made and natural disasters for the last one thousand years. Its history is a history of war and bloodshed. The politics of hate, mistrust, corruption and violence has crippled it to deep misery.

As we celebrate the new millennium Ethiopia has some clear choices to make.

• It can either be like Iraq where one group of the population is going after the other, where its citizens are fleeing all over the place, attacks and counterattacks are basically destroying the social fabrics of the society or it can be like South Africa where mercy and reconciliation has brought the country from its ugly past.

• It can either continue being a country at the peripheries of the peripheries, the poorest of the poor; entirely dependent on outsiders to feed its people or it can be a country which is self-sufficient and the “bread- basket of Africa.”

• It can either be a country where its government continues ruling its people with an iron fist and by the barrel of the gun or it can be a country where a forward looking and civilized system of government by the people, for the people and of the people is established.

• It can either choose to be divided by ethnic groups and immerse itself into ethnic tensions and ethnic cleansings like Bosnia or it can live together as a multi-ethnic society where all Ethiopians are respected regardless of their gender, ethnic or religious affiliation.

• It can either allow itself to disintegrate and vanish from the face of the Earth or re-emerge as a proud and historic nation and a major power in the African continent.

• It can either allow full political freedoms, and unconditionally release all political prisoners (Kinijit Leaders, free press journalists, human right activists, and ex-TPLF leaders) and respect individuals’ rights or it can choose to digress backward and lead the country into medieval barbarism.

• It can either be a country where its children are incessantly fighting each other or it can be a model society where its children come together, forgive one another, reconcile their differences through civil discourse and make peace with each other.

Peace is not something that can be imposed and exported from the outside. It is not a gift from the Americans and Europeans or a product of the United Nations. It is something that comes from within.

“Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.”
Dr Martin Luther King

Unless, we Ethiopians solve our problems ourselves, it is being naïve to expect peace from foreign governments.

Foreigners may have a hidden agenda. They might seem our allies when, in fact, they are our adversaries. They may not want us to have peace to use our natural resources like the waters of the mighty Blue Nile. They may not want to see a stable, democratic and prosperous Ethiopia. They may systematically be holding our neck to drag us down.

For many western governments the life of poor Ethiopians are cheap. They do not care for black Africans. What they care is only their interest. Haven’t we read what had happened in Rwanda? Aren’t we listening about the genocides in Darfur? What have western governments or for that matter the United Nations done to save the life of million black Africans? Foreigners cannot give us solutions. We are our own solution to our own problems. Only, we can turn around the fate of our country. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said,” nothing can bring us peace but ourselves.”

Peace is neither stability nor the absence of war. It is freedom, joy and a life lived without fear and torment. There is no peace where there is fear. “You can’t separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom” said Malcolm-X. There is no peace where there is no freedom. There is no peace where there is no joy.

We have been consistently calling for peace and reconciliation in Ethiopia. In my September 8 2006 letter to the Prime Minister I wrote:

“Though the TPLF seems to be the winner for now it will be the ultimate and permanent looser at the end unless it takes some concrete, positive and reconciliatory steps as soon as possible”.

I then called for a new beginning in a new year of 1999 Ethiopian Calendar, the unconditional release of prisoner of conscious who are unjustly convicted by “judges” who are anything but judges.

The only crimes the “convicted” prisoners committed are: winning elections, informing the public the unfolding events, and being human right and anti-poverty advocates. They should have been appreciated for their efforts and contributions to the country. They should not have been jailed in the first place, let alone to be convicted.

Therefore, I respectfully call again the EPRDF officials to make the right and godly choices and:

• Unconditionally release all political prisoners. (Kinijit leaders, OLF and ONC members, reporters, human right activist, former TPLF members like Siye Abraham …)

• Then form a negotiation team that immediately starts a dialog for a political solution with Kinijit (with leaders in Kaliti being at the negotiating table) and other political groups.

Failure to release prisoners will be a monumental political blunder of a historic proportion that no Ethiopian will look at it lightly. It will definitively take us to a point of no return, where armed resistance, insurrections, killings and bloodshed will take the stage.

EPRDF officials must know that, failure to act positively now may lead us to an irreversible chaos in Ethiopia that will surely consume all of us like wild fire, including rulers in Arat Kilo themselves (wherever they may escape), their children, their relatives. Unless we come together and reconcile our differences today no-one will be safe tomorrow. As Frederick Douglas said:

“ Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is in an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob, and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.”

It is my hope and prayer that the leadership of the EPRDF will look beyond the horizon, and above their individual prides, stop their deceptive and arrogant behaviors, act in good faith and take historic steps at this historic moment in this historic country of ours.

“How could you expect good thing from weyane?” some may say. I do not expect good thing from the EPRDF leaders for they have repeatedly disappointed many of us. However, one should never close the door for peace.

Does anyone expect water to come out from a desert? Or expect rainfall where there is no cloud? I only expect good thing from the Almighty God. Who knows maybe this time the Lord may speak to them with love as he did to Soul on the road to Damascus or with judgment as he did to King Herod who was stricken down by angels while seating on his throne.

Oh Dear God,

You are our only Hope. What we want is bread, water, peace and the chance to live with dignity in our great country ETHIOPIA that you gave us. Please speak a word and let the demons of bloodshed, war, arrogance, racism, mistrusts, hate, bitterness and poverty be casted out from our land once and for all. May your Spirit of love, peace, joy, reconciliation and forgiveness cover the skies of Ethiopia from Moyalle to Ras Kassar, from Welwel to Assossa.

“The name of the Lord is a strong tower. The righteous run into it and they are saved” says the book of psalms. May your Name be glorified across all regions in Ethiopia from generations to generations.


“We must learn lo Live together as brothers or perish together as fools”
Dr Martin Luther King

Girma Kassa (Chicago)

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