Dwelling in the past is dangerous for the future By Bahir Kemal

September 11th, 2011 Print Print Email Email

One can remember the slogans of the Derg era, if the slogan can accomplish any Ethiopia at that time could be paradise. Unfortunately that was not the case. Our old generation members of opposition parties/organizations are not changed themselves to fit in present and ready for the future, stacked on ideological slogan which never been seen in practice. No one argue the importance of unity of any kind let alone unity of purpose, unity for equality, for justice, for human right, for territorial integrity and for economic prosperity of the whole nation. However this can’t be realized only by wishful thinking, rather by planning how it can be achieved in practice. We have to change the way we think if we want positive change, if we can’t let those who can try their best especially the younger generation do their job the change will be only a dream than reality.

Most of us collectively are responsible for devastating situation of our country including ethnic inequality of the past and present by collaborating or keeping silence, this includes some members of the ethnic groups suffered from unfair treatment, albeit the past or present administrations take lion share of the blame. The suffering of our people will continue if we do not take some action right now. Responsibility of solving the problem also lays on us as a collective not only on those organized based on ethnicity or on of particular groups of the society.

The problems we are facing now as a country can be resolved by being unite, engaging in dialogue with all stakeholders including ethnic organization rather than avoiding their names as a taboo which was not a solution in the past since the creation of deferent ”Liberation fronts”. Indirectly we are legitimizing their idea of “being colonized” by saying you’re not Ethiopians, while they are; people they tend to represent are Ethiopians. Using force didn’t work in the past, not working now & will not working in the future either. We missed a lot of opportunities to solve ethnic issue peacefully in the past, begging with the monarchy in Eritrean case. During the Derg this way of resolving the conflict continued and resulted of mushrooming of more LFs. One cannot forget the opportunity missed during the Derg administration when EPLF in 1981 offered referendum to determine whether Eritrean wanted independence, a regional autonomy or federation with Ethiopia & was rejected by Derg due to that at the time Derg had upper hand in military operation & also regarded as a sign of weakness and as a public relations ploy. The same goes to current TPLF government which extend it massacre of innocent citizens of the country to burning of the whole village which angered the citizen and embolden the liberation front of that area. We need deferent approach to resolve our issue taking the past as a reference, the present as evidence to build the future. There are arguments that those being approached (OLF, ONLF) still have their “secession & colonization” idea on their respective websites. Here there is no any coalition yet; it is just dialogue there is not any change of stand yet. It can’t be done overnight. Of course the provocative letter of Obbo Daud Ibsa to UN is not helpful either. It is really annoying and offensive for all of us in general & for the negotiating parties in particular in the eyes of any observer to read such kind of letter in the middle of talking. One can call seas fire when he talks with warring enemy let alone with his future partners of straggle for the same goal, to build inclusive democratic Ethiopia.

Sincerity is vital from both side, it is Ethiopian people interest at stake here. The approach for dialogue from both side is deferent than previous one. No one has state power yet, no one has upper hand for influence, and it is just beginning of building trust between organizations which leads to coalition for the benefit of all Ethiopians.

Those who opposed this approach argued that before engaging ethnic based organization, particularly those believe or advocate that the ultimate solution is secession; we have to make strong coalition with multi-national parties (unity forces) and then they, ethnic based organization, will join the coalition because they have no options. It is important argument; however one can ask how it is possible when in the past two decade or so instead of coming together those unity forces going apart even within the same parties. We have to depend on fact on the ground, listen to the Ethiopian people and prioritize their interest than ours. We have to halt accusing other for our division & weakness. We consumed a generation without a progress need from us by Ethiopian people while the country became one party and one man police state.

It is encouraging as always to see fellow Ethiopians come out express their concern of the future of the country, where she is heading, what politicians have for her future and to correct any mistake in advance before it is too late to do so. As the same time the way we address our concern should follow civility. Name calling is not helpful either while hiding our own identity, instead of personal attack to criticize the idea and offering solution for the problem.

We do not see as much as we would like to see a person coming from the supporters of this approach to defend their initiative as an individual or organization with the evidence & analyses which depends on the evidence. In addition to the town hall meetings we need heat debate on the issue to clear the cloud of ambiguity in any means of communication in our possession and let the mass to be the judge.

As dwelling in the past is dangerous for proper plan of the future, rushing into conclusion without clear evidences and proper analyse is more dangerous. It needs careful planning and execution which depends on the fact on the ground.

You can never plan the future by the past. ~ Edmund Burke
Happy New Year.
God the Almighty bless Ethiopia.
The writer can be reached at: bahirk@hotmail.com

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