The protest rallies are dying down. Ethiopians in the Diaspora as well as back home may be getting back to their everyday lives and concerns. The EPRDF government claims that all is calm as it continues arresting and prosecuting citizens for no other reason than exercising their rights. The EPRDF government has clearly shown itself to be a bona fide brutal dictatorship. This is not news to many but it may be news to some who have not paid enough attention to the two-faced (one for foreigners and one for the Ethiopian people) nature of the EPRDF beast. As I mentioned in my earlier post, we need to continue to communicate the plight of all Ethiopians with our elected representatives and other people and organizations of influence. All is not well with Ethiopia yet and we need to do more so that the sacrifices made by so many would not be in vain.
So, what more can we do? How do we move beyond dealing with the crisis of the day to forging a lasting solution to the long-suffering people of Ethiopia? I will share what is on my mind. Useful and constructive comments are appreciated as I don’t claim to have found the solution to what ails us.
I believe it is in the best interest of those who call Ethiopia as their home and/or their heritage to discuss ideas openly in order to lay a foundation that endures. There are various political and civic groups operating in and outside of Ethiopia. And there are people, like myself, who have not been active in the political dialogue until recently but now want to play a constructive role for the future of Ethiopia. We need to refocus the anger and sadness of the current crisis into an energetic campaign for freedom and justice for the people of Ethiopia. How do we do that?
- We need to bring all who have a stake in Ethiopia's future together.
- We need to hear from all voices even ones we prefer not to with the goal of finding a common ground on which to continue the struggle for a society based on liberty and justice for all.
- We need to remove or at least lower the barriers we have built between each other over time so we can build trust and work together for the common good.
- We need to accept and respect one another as Ethiopians who have concerns for the well being of all Ethiopians despite our disagreements.
- We need to work on a set of principles that will form the basis upon which a new Ethiopia will be founded. These principles shoul apply to all Ethiopians , should address most pressing concerns of the people and should be acceptable to the majority who have a stake in the future of Ethiopia. ( I say majority as it may be impossible to find something that every single stakeholder can agree on.)
- We need to articulate a vision for a united, just and strong Ethiopia that derives its strength from the diversity of its peoples.
- We need to work until the people, of their own free will, take ownership of the vision and establish a new and just union.
Such things may have been tried before but we need to continue until we find a way that has broad support and can capture the imagination of the people. I understand it is not as easy as putting a few bullet points together. But we have to start sharing our ideas, who knows how far we can go. Failure should not be an option if a dream of a society based on liberty and justice for all Ethiopians is to be fulfilled.
Some hard questions to ponder:
- what does a united Ethiopia look like?
- On what basis does this unity rest?
- How do we deal with the issues of past inequities and oppression while maintaining a united vision for Ethiopia?
These are some of the real questions we all have to struggle with in earnest if we are to get anywhere.