A new Chapter – forgiveness and reconciliation
“It is to be recalled that national elders have been making concerted effort to have us released from prison and to extricate the Ethiopian peaceful political process from the aggressive and in transient state in which it finds itself. Their effort is not focused not only on having us released but also on restoring the derailed democratic process to its proper course. Based on this understanding we have agreed to resolve the conflict through a reconciliation process as initiated by the elders. We have further agreed to forgive those who have done us wrong, to seek ways by which those who have been harmed could be healed, but above all to look for the future and concentrate on the positive conditions that would be created after the reconciliation.
Our common effort is aimed at protecting our country from plunging into a quagmire of problems. Because of this aim, we have endeavored from the start not to be guided by hatred and to bear with patience the wrongs inflicted upon us.”
This is an excerpt from the statement released by ‘CUDP’ leaders after their detention in Kaliti. It is the voice of peace and forward looking. Despite the horrific injustice done to them and their supporters, they are willing to forgive and move forward. As individuals their freedom was taken away from them without justice and they were punished without being found guilty. The government also murdered a number of their supporters. At one point there were over 30,000.00 Ethiopians who were hauled away to prison camps far from their home because the CUDP won. These events will always be an ugly moment in our history.
Their press release (http://www.kinijitethiopia.org/docs/Press%20Release/english_CUDP.pdf) is proof that our country is moving forward. It is a testimony to the fact that we have learned a lesson from our recent past. Our history is full of conflict and bloodshed. We have a long and proud history because we were isolated from others. We mistrust others. It helped us survive and be free. This mistrust we developed for others is now turning into a liability. We have been victimizing each other for the last thirty years or so. We are grateful that the CUDP leaders are working towards breaking this cycle of self-destruction.
As Ethiopians we are happy that our problems have been resolved using our own resources. For our esteemed ‘elders’ it must be gratifying to be a peacemaker of such magnitude. When our planet is of full of conflicts lasting generations, it is good to see that we are able to avoid such fate. Our elders should be proud of such a feat. This agreement has given us hope. It has enabled the whole nation to see a bright new future. We must acknowledge that being an elder is a very difficult balancing act. It is also important to stay true to the spirit of the agreement. Both parties believe in the integrity of the peacemaker.
It is also equally gratifying to see that those in power agreed to a truce. Governing is not an easy task. Only a few nations have achieved long periods of peace and tranquility. If they are not invading others, most weak and poor nations are in a state of civil war. It is sad that most Human History is about war and conflict. The prime Minister has shown good faith in agreeing to their unconditional release. Despite the unnecessary posturing by the government in the aftermath of their release we hope to see the peace process moves forward in a positive manner. Our people believe that the elders will diligently follow up the reconciliation process. Being fair and evenhanded with a wide-angle view of the big picture will ensure greater success and our heart-felt thanks.
We have arrived at another cross roads in our nations long history. We can continue on the road of belligerency and destruction. It is a road proven to be a dead end. We have either to exit or make a uturn from this highway of doom. Our history shows that when we unite and act together we achieve greater good for our country. We have repelled all those who came to subjugate us. That is why we stayed free and unique.
We have a new challenge in front of us. This generation must do its duty and leave the country intact, peaceful and forward looking. Both the EPDRF and CUDP have a golden opportunity to achieve such goal. Everything is in place. For over forty years we have killed each other based on ideology, class, ethnic origin, religion, and as proxy for others. We have been fighting for so long that our people are tired of conflict and the culture of hatred. This is the second opportunity for the Prime Minister to rise above and do what is right and unifying. He has the power. He can lead our country on a path of peaceful coexistence, tolerance and freedom. The CUDP leaders are willing to forgive and start new the process of building a prosperous Ethiopia. We hope those in power will sense the aspiration of our people to live a better life and step forward and lead the march. Its is our collective wish that the Prime Minster and his administration will earnestly work towards this task of reconciliation. The State has to understand being feared is not being loved nor respected.
The release of the detainees was facilitated by the momentous struggle waged by the Diaspora, Friends of Ethiopia and by the wonderful Human Right Advocacy organizations all over the world. They are all hoping that this reconciliation process will lead to a free and peaceful Ethiopia. All eyes are on those in power to see if they will keep their word and move on a positive direction of rebuilding a genuine democracy and the rule of law. We hope that the desire for forgiveness by the CUDP will not be seen as a weakness. It is an act of love for the Ethiopian people and a show of strength knowing that the majority will always stand on the side of freedom and justice. We are waiting for the EPDRF government to publicly show its adherence to the wonderful agreement and work towards peace, love and respect the aspiration of the Ethiopian people for the rule of law.