SOLIDARITY OF ETHIOPIANS – HOLDING HANDS TOGETHER – By Girma Kassa (Chicago), muziky68@yahoo.com

March 25th, 2008 Print Print Email Email

An excellent “art work” once caught my attention in the abugidainfo.com website. [1] The art work displays multiple hands holding one another at the center of the Ethiopia Green-Yellow-Red flag.

I was a little kid around Arategna Kifle Tor (an area in Central Addis Ababa); I remember exchange of intense fires that took place. Few minutes later, bodies of young Ethiopians were all over the place. There were about half dozen possibly EPRP-Ethiopian People revolutionary Party- activists who were slained by the then Mengistu Haile Mariam regime Security officers. (more…)

An excellent “art work” once caught my attention in the abugidainfo.com website. [1] The art work displays multiple hands holding one another at the center of the Ethiopia Green-Yellow-Red flag.

I was a little kid around Arategna Kifle Tor (an area in Central Addis Ababa); I remember exchange of intense fires that took place. Few minutes later, bodies of young Ethiopians were all over the place. There were about half dozen possibly EPRP-Ethiopian People revolutionary Party- activists who were slained by the then Mengistu Haile Mariam regime Security officers.

I do not know the names of these young people. I do not know their parents or where they came from. Maybe they could have been the only child of their parents. What I know is this ….they were killed at their early age with the hand of Ethiopians.

It was around 1988. I remember a picture of assembled dead bodies I saw on a newspaper published in Asmara. The then rebel groups EPLF captured the small strategic town of Afabet from the “nadew ez” command of the then Ethiopian Defense Forces. Encouraged with their victories in Afabet, few months later, the EPLF unsuccessfully launched an attack on Keren. As a result of this attack thousands of EPLF fighters died.

The bodies shown on the Asmara newspaper were the bodies of some who died during the attack against Keren. Though we did not agree on their ideology and goal to secede Eritrea from its motherland, the EPLF fighters were also our brothers who are killed with the hand of Ethiopians.

It was a day after the EPRDF entered Addis Ababa; I remember there was shot guns by EPRDF security forces, on civilians who were demonstrating against the Anti-Ethiopia policies of the EPRDF. In this demonstration more than 29 unarmed civilians were killed, again with the hand of Ethiopians.

It was the morning of June 8, 2007; I remember the image of a 16 years old young girl at the front pages of some of Amharic newspapers I bought that morning. Shiberre Dessalegn was her name. She was shot dead, around Kotobe (western part of Addis Ababa) with the hand of an Ethiopian.

If we hear more stories from Gambella, Gode, Hausen, Assossa, Bedeno, Ambo, Ginchi, Borena, Azezo, Nakfa, Badme, Massawa ..time will not suffice to list down all the horrors and atrocities committed on Ethiopians by Ethiopians for the last thirty years. If we count the number of Ethiopians killed by another Ethiopian, I believe it may be 5 to 10 times larger that the number of Ethiopians killed by foreign invaders (Italians, the Siad Barre Somali expansionist forces, Egyptians, Turks …).

Isn’t enough?

For how long, will we use our fingers to pull a trigger on our fellow brothers and sisters? For how long will we use our hands to write hateful and divisive articles against one another? For how long will we use our fist to beat down and torture another Ethiopian? For how long will we be unwilling to embrace one another? When do we put a break on the cycle of bloodshed and violence that has made Ethiopia the poorest of the poor and at the periphery of the peripheries? When do we focus on empowering one another, holding hands together and working with big commitment to build a united, democratic and prosperous Ethiopia, where all its children are equal regardless of their ages, classes, and ethnic groups, religious or political affiliations?

My Dear fellow Ethiopians,

If we want to be a country of the 21st century, we have to dramatically change the way we think, behave, act and treat one another. I think it is time to spell out the demons of hate and division from within us. Instead of looking at one another with the “grudgy look” we must learn to hold the hand of our fellow Ethiopians. Instead of the blame-game and the recrimination politics we must learn from our mistakes. Instead of being filled with our old (sometimes century old) grudges, we must open our heart to forgiveness and reconciliation. We must change our character of being quickly filled with rage and surely SAY ENOUGH IS ENOUGH to the culture of violence.

There might be some people, groups of people or individuals we hate. However we must all remember: we are all Ethiopians, created by the Almighty God to live in a great country of ours Ethiopia as a family. The tent is enough for all of us. There are enough fertile lands in the tent that can provide grains to feed all of us. There are enough big rivers in the tent that can quench the thirst of all of us. Let us stop burning down the tent on each one of us and our children for with the tent in ashes we will have no place to go.

In views of our so many problems, one may think our call for peace, reconciliation and spiritual renewal, as a journey towards the impossibility. Some may consider our message of hope and brotherhood as “cheap talk” that is not based on practicality.

However I would like to stress that our effort is to touch the root cause of our problem, which is spiritual and moral in its nature. HATE, DIVISION, EMPTY PRIDE, UNSENSITIVITY TOWARDS THOSE WHO ARE SUFFERING, SELFISHNESS, DESPAIR, CORRUPTION, CRUELTY, BLOODSHED …all are results of our spiritual sickness as a Nation.

A spiritual sickness requires a spiritual solution that is more focused on renewing the mind and changing the heart so that we can have compassion for others, stand for justice and for those who are oppressed, lift up one another and put behind our selfishness, empty pride, revenge ….

May the Almighty God open our Mind for his Understanding and Our heart for His love and Kindness.

[1] http://www.abugidainfo.com/?p=3509

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