By Dr. Tsegaye Ararasa*
* Constitutional Expert, resides in Melbourne, Australia
For genuine solidarity to occur, trust is necessary. For trust to emerge, honest conversation is key. For an honest conversation to exist speaking truth to each other is a must. Truth is essential.When we stand in solidarity with others, we keep truth central. From our part, definitely from our perspective (for we all see partially/ perspectivally), we offer the whole truth.
We won’t settle for anything less just for the sake of an empty rhetoric of peace. Yes, we want a just peace, not an imperial peace built on hierarchic relations of primacy and subordination. But we can’t have just peace without truth. We can’t get to just peace without the truth, our truth, the truth about our pains of the past and our aspirations for the future.
We refuse to accept fake gestures of solidarity. We reject false unity. We oppose empty political platitudes. We welcome a genuine dialogue based on truth–historic or contemporary.
We reject convenience and expediency that are called forth at all costs. We welcome unconditional mutual recognition, ethical and painful listening, and an agonistic engagement with each other that points us towards a genuine transformation. Anything less is a TPLF-style instrumentalism . It’s cheap pragmatism that wants to address the issue of power (perhaps) but not of justice. And we have seen it fail many times, and that’s as it should be.
Our peoples’ shared demand — as expressed clearly in their protest demonstrations from North to South, from West to East–at a very basic level, is a demand for a hearing. It’s a demand for voice. They sought a space where they can speak as valued political subjects.
In the last ten months, passing through blood and fire, they have created their own space, their own site of resistance. Through sacrifice, they have done the work of democratic self-empowerment. Now, they have assumed their political subjectivity. Now they have resumed their speaking positions. Now they have wrested their right to political action. Now they have reasserted their sovereignty. Now they have created their own space, if only a space of resistance, in an environment where the regime has closed down every possible avenue of meaningful political engagement.
This space of resistance needs to be preserved, expanded, and invigorated. The work of solidarity can start with expanding this space of popular democratic self-empowerment. This is the beginning of mutual recognition of each other’s sovereign act while under lethal oppression. This mutual recognition is, and must continue to be, unconditional.
While still in this space of mutual recognition, we need to chisel out the basic values [e.g. dignity, equality, democracy, (social) justice, human rights, compassion, etc.] that will ensure a lasting solidarity that will lead to a future of just peace, socio-political reconciliation, and total, perhaps rupturous, transformation.
For now, though, we need to remind ourselves of the supreme importance of TRUTH, JUSTICE, PEACE, and RESPONSIBILITY at the center of any political discourse, especially if we want a genuine solidarity that will last.