By Aberra Paulos. 07-04-18
Ethiopia is one of the oldest civilizations of the world, yet it’sdiverse and rich socio-religious and traditional cultural valueswere less known. This means, the richness of its diverse cultural; linguistic; religious;social structural; political; ethnic make-ups; and economic resources had been mismanaged, misused, unexplored, silenced, and made-hostage by past self-proclaimed rulers and “butcher” of military junta’s dysfunctional political system and mismanaged socio-economic, and political leadership. Due to the socio-political, cultural, and economic imbalances, misuse, suppression, and oppression, Ethiopians paid a heavy price (i.e. human and economic sacrifices) to liberate themselves.Until the 1991 Ethiopian peoples’ revolution that brought downhe communist regime, commonly known as Derg, military junta to its knees, only Ethiopians know how much sacrifices have been made to reach where they are today.
Today Ethiopia’s political platform is all about redefining Ethiopia in terms of the nation that acknowledges, welcomes, respects, and guarantees co-existence as well as the nation where all feel at home and promote equal opportunities and establish representative government. Thus, all nationalities could explore and express their respective cultural, linguistic, moral, religious, traditional, and political values. The current Ethiopian political leadership deserves due respect and honor for the very fact that the country is on the right direction in terms of initiating, introducing, setting goals, and implementing the socio-economic advancement and representative political agenda. The country is brought to a radical-democratic and contextual change. I am talking about the change;
1. In perception (i.e. redirecting the focus, attention, objective, visions, and dreams of Ethiopian to fight the number #1 enemy, poverty,as the late Ethiopian PM, Melese Zenawi used to say; "our #1 enemy is poverty";
2. In breaking through the taboo (i.e. fear to expose, discuss, and deal with the issues of ethnic diversity);
3. In disengaging Ethiopians from the culture of comfort zone;
4. In breaking through with sense of political entitlement/ownership;
5. In bringing equal opportunities to every Ethiopian;
6. In expanding education opportunities to all, specifically to those neglected and thought not deserve to be educatedand promoting the importance of work ethics;
7. In promoting moral integrity in political culture and breaking and cutting the cord and culture of dependence onforeign aid;
8. In defining Ethiopia, “Unity in Diversity” and introducing the cost/price of building greater Ethiopia and;
9. Introducing golden rule of success through honoring the value of work ethics and moral integrity in social life.
It is crystal clear that until 1991;
Ø No leadership in Ethiopia (at least to the best of my knowledge) had a clear mind of national interest by empowering Ethiopians and exploring ways and means of the use of its natural resources.
Ø No political leadership in the history of Ethiopia had such a dynamic, unique, daring, and extraordinary brain in creating and engaging Ethiopians to be makers of their own stories.
Ø No political leadership in the history of Ethiopia had guts to clearly point out what Ethiopians need to do to eradicate poverty and compete in global economy. The late PM of Ethiopia, Melese was a daring leader when he introduced the notion of "Ethiopian Renaissance – Hidas Dam", by promoting self-confidence and assurance that nothing can hinder and stop Ethiopians to develop their nation by using their natural resources, for example, Nile river.
The current Ethiopian political leadership’s economic, social, political, educational, cultural, moral, ethical, and religious conceptual framework and convictions will remain as a guiding principle of our commitment in making Ethiopia a greater nation and enhancing our unity in diversity, the nation that embraces, recognizes, acknowledges, and welcomes values the social, cultural, structural, political, traditional,and religious diversity. It has to be clearly understood that;
Ø Ethiopians must be convinced and let the world know that they are busy in investing their time, energy, and resources in addressing the issue of poverty. No more time for “teret, teret chat”. No more room for destructive, violent, and aggressive political culture.
Ø Ethiopians said; no more room for sense of entitlement because the destiny of Ethiopia is in the hands of Ethiopians not in the hands of few propagandists, trumpet blowers in diaspora.
Ø Ethiopians said; no room for political opportunism and cast system.
I cannot dare to say that Ethiopia is fully democratic nation; yet I can confidently say that after the 1991 revolution, the most historic year in the lives of Ethiopians of all ethnic communities (except remnants of butcher regime of Derg) people started investing much of its time, energy, resources (human and material) in fighting poverty and building democratic values. Today, Ethiopia is much better, well-off than any other time in the history. This is what domestic and diaspora political fugitives as well as their western patrons hate to hear. Enemies of Ethiopia hate Ethiopia’s daring confidence and determination to succeed in self-sustainable economic development.
Even though, the Ethiopian government’s primary goal is to fight and eradicate poverty and Ethiopia’s dependency on foreign aid, there arenumber of challenges that need to be closely looked into;
Ø Dealing with the so-called incompetent, disillusioned, disoriented, visionless, and short sighted opposition political parties who are heavily funded and backed by diaspora political fugitives.
Ø Dealing with the remnants of Derg regime who seemed committed to continue playing a destructive role. The remnants of the Derg regime are primarily concerned about their lost privileges of power, thus they are fully engaged in character assassination, chronically spreading rumors, and promoting hate politics because they don’t want to hear success stories to be told.
Ø Dealing with fake news and baseless propaganda transmitted via social media like Facebook and ESAT, the arch-enemy of Ethiopian national interest and national security. These and other social media seemed to have strong network and use social media as an effective weapon to reach out as many Ethiopiansas possible and pass their ill-motivated message; character assassination, blackmail, spread rumors, and lobbying western politicians. On the Ethiopian government side; though seem strong in diplomacy, but weak in terms of using social media to tell the world Ethiopia’s success stories in the areas of economic advancement, education expansion, fighting against terrorism, corruption and human rights protection.
Ø Enemies of Ethiopia use information war as the best tool to attack and distort the image of Ethiopia and the current political leadership. ESAT radio and TV plays a major part in spreading rumors and fake propaganda. For those who don’t know, ESAT is managed by the remnants of Derg regime and propaganda machine.
Past socio-political atrocities
In any society, political atrocities are violations against the values of social structures, moral/ethical, cultural, linguistic, traditional, and religious integrity of a given society. During the past political systems, in Ethiopia the majority of the ethnic communities have been negatively affected and impacted by socio-political, religious, and economic dictatorship of the self-proclaimed political elites claiming to represent one culture; one religion; one language; one nation under one flag, yet suppressing, silencing, oppressing, and destroying values of diversity. Today, the need and demand of the majority of Ethiopian people is loudly pronounced and represented. However, such atrocities against the Ethiopian people cannot or/and will not or would not be buried or eliminated unless the existence of such atrocities are acknowledged without any pre-condition.Denying or/and trying to rationalize or even trying to justify these atrocities will not bring or/and resolve the problem. The wounds caused by these atrocities have been exercised, inflicted upon, and applied in Ethiopia cannot be easily healed unless the aggressor recognizes and accepts the responsibility. Atrocities of this nature, went to the extent of destroying and dismantling human lives; exploiting local economies and socio-cultural/religious values. The motives, intentions, and actions of the aggressor were inhuman and antisocial, thus intolerable and unacceptable.
Today the stories of the past atrocities are being told and pronounced not around the coffee table but in action, by reshaping the course Ethiopia’s history where all peoples enjoy the rights of life, respect, and human dignity,by managing their affairs based on their needs and demands of their respective settings. However, the challenging part of the story-telling is that the aggressor is on the run, not on the level of change-mode instead continued resisting and have shown no remorse and willingness to take the responsibility, thus attempting to bury the past or to silence it or trying to be indifferent. The key for establishing the healing process is confessing those atrocities as they occurred/happened and why they happened. We cannot kill and bury atrocities by denying to tell them.
It is common wisdom that the pre-conditions and requirements to restore productive and inclusive Ethiopian socio-political order is by telling the terrible atrocitiesthat were implanted, introduced, and implemented until the 1991 Ethiopian peoples’ revolution. To this date, the actors of these atrocities in Ethiopia remained at large and on denial-mode in terms of justifying their criminal behaviors, motives, and actions with the good of the country, to keep the country united. The country they talk about is Ethiopia composed of hills, mountains, rivers and forests, but with no or minimal interest in its people.
The motivating factors to committing socio-political, economic, educational, religious, and cultural atrocities have been unity of the nation, Ethiopia and for the honor of the flag but peoples, nations, and nationalities sacrificed their lives; their languages; their economic resources; their moral/ethical; and traditional and popular religious values. The aggressors defined the nation, Ethiopia in terms of geographicintegrity without giving an absolute respect to its people and cultures.
Until the 1991, Ethiopian history has been well characterized by political manipulation with exclusion of the majority from political arena. Our recent past Derg regime has been well known for its “butcher”, political systems that destroyed lives and economy; Ethiopians were owned, managed, controlled, ruled by elites and their associates. The majority of the people were to serve the system and elites’ ego.
Socio-political problems that Ethiopia faces today is primarily the conflict between those whodeny past atrocities and those who undergone/experienced, victims of those atrocities. Today, Ethiopians who experienced, victimized due to intentionally perpetuated socio-political atrocities telling their stories while engaged in rehabilitating their respective localities. The way these stories are told depended on the gravity; frequencies; level of impacts, which varies from one ethnic community to another; from locality to locality. It is imperative that atrocity story telling should and must serve the truth-telling. It is only when atrocities are recognized, acknowledged, and not denied, and stories are told as they happenedthus Ethiopian social integration, national unity, and co-existence would be preserved.
Story telling of the Socio-political, economic, educational, structural, cultural, and religious atrocities in Ethiopia making progresses namely; such atrocities that occurred, affected, and made us hostages of political cruelty are no more just symptoms but also verbally expressed and pronounced. During the past political systems Ethiopians were prisoners of poverty, man-made famine, and wars. Healing comes with truth-telling, rather than indifferences, avoidance, negative reactions and so on. In Ethiopia dissociation from truth-telling, verbalization of our past political misery that dehumanized and demonized the majority of peoples seems taboo and suppression of which would bring more social disintegration.
The 1991 Ethiopian peoples’ revolution, born in the birth place of Ethiopian history and socio-religious and artistic civilization brought to light the values of unity in diversity. The transition from mono-linguistic; mono-cultural; mono-religious; mono-political thinking to culture of inclusive and representative thinking encountered resistance and opposition from political and ethno-elitism. The remnants of the past political regimes, both from Emperors’ and Derg regimes continued with information-war, spreading fake propaganda with an attempt of reversing the course of our history to dark age. The matter of fact is that Ethiopia’s socio-political, economic, and expansion of academic opportunities to all has shown tremendous progresses and made positive impacts in the world stage. Ethiopia is more engaged in the peace-keeping, diplomatic, and conflict mitigation and transformation roles in the continent of Africa.
Regardless of opposition from incompetent domestic political unions and diaspora political fugitives barriers of atrocities are broken, imprisoned, social, cultural, traditional, religious, and local structural values are released; sanctioned on self-expressions are lifted; connections between public and private sector is restored; claim culture and sense of entitlement gave way to fact-telling; equal educational opportunities for men and women promoted; sense of socio-political and economic entitlement gave way to public engagement and dictatorship gave way to representative democracy. Ethiopia entered into the era of public discussion by eliminating little gods. Ethiopians are productively harvesting the outcomes of 17 or more years of bitter war of liberation from butchers. Socio-political atrocities in Ethiopia were human design and are dismantled by individuals with vision, guts, big dreams, and conviction of people’s success and equal opportunity.
During the past 26 years, the current Ethiopian government created a politicalmovement that gave voice to the disempowered, voiceless, and oppressed. The political philosophy of the current government was/is to defend the cause of justice for all Ethiopians. In Ethiopian, for the first time in the history the cult and love for war collapsed and the focus became fight against poverty; productivity and community engagement; national unity is explained; the nation, Ethiopia is defined in term of people not just geographic integrity; education system and opportunities expanded in such a way all have access; all nations, peoples, and nationalities have representation and voice to determine and respond the needs and demands of their respective communities. Their names, traditions, languages, cultures, stories, popular religiosity, and moral/ethical values are equally respected. This is what the US congress should be informed about; learn about; and know about. Thus, no to H. Res 128.