The role of the media in …….”Unity in diversity”

Recently, I wrote an article on Mr. Gebru’s book to contribute in the ongoing discussion on Ethiopia’s unity.  Gebru is a courageous fighter who came forward with proposed solution for the country he loves against all odds.  I heard Mr. Gebru’s interview in various media outlets and I salute the behavior he presented and the way he approached the questions. He is outspoken, well-behaved individual I have ever seen.  This is in a contrast to Aboy Sbihat’s fierce reaction to the publication of book. Even though, Sbihat was known for his controversial comments in the past, the interview he made commenting on this book was full of inconsistency and untrustworthy. He warned Gebru a consequence for publishing the book. It did not come as a surprise to me why Sbihat is mad or angry for the publication of the book. However, what surprised me were activities of some web sites to support one side or the other in this valuable debate to our country.  I sent my article to several Ethiopian web sites for posting so that we can have healthy debate on important issues our country is facing right now. I appreciated Ethiomedia’s editor for posting the article with editorial note; even though he is not full agreed with the viewpoint on the article.   I also appreciate others, Ethioobserver, Zhabesha, for posting the article. But, aigaforum refused to post the article for the reason I did not know. Perhaps, the article may not tally the view point they are aggressively promoting.
The importance of media cannot be underestimated in strengthening unity and harmony of people who have diverse opinions. A web site is a forum that entertains different opinions so that citizens can resolve their difference through discussion. We (Ethiopians) need a forum which can bridge our difference. Whether we are at extreme right, extreme left or somewhat at the center, we love our country.  Fortunately or unfortunately we are in the fast changing world. We live in fast moving technologically advanced century and era of evolving ideas.  We are in the era of accountability and tolerance not in era of communism or dictatorship. In the era of diverse ideas not in single imposed idea. Surprisingly, some folks are still supporting and promoting an obsolete ideology. There is no doubt in my mind every Ethiopian is trying to contribute a better thing to his/her country though we are following various ways to realize it. It is only through discussion and debate, among us; we can build and see a strong country. Discussion can be enhanced through Ethiopian web sites, like Aigaforum, Ethiomedia.  My brothers, in Aigforum, this is not the time to stick to single idea or to say my highway is the only way to prosperity. We must and must recognize the existence of other equal or better ideas over there to build a country, like us.   Whether we like or not a better idea will prevail and the country will forward.
I have been living in this great country since 2002 and I changed my self academically to cope with new environment I am in. However, the big achievement I scored is the willingness to read and listen to ideas I hate.  Ethiopian diaspora is an intellectual elite group that can influence any political activity in the country. There is an enormous potential for change in these group and genius individuals to lead the country in the future. Nevertheless, Ethiopian diaspora is not united and in some case we emphasize in our difference instead of our common issues.  We all wants to, whether those who choose to carry a gun to fight the regime or those who wants to struggle peaceful way or those of us waiting for the miracle, bring a better country to our children.
Do not get me wrong, Aigaforum carried several articles of different opinion on Gebru;s book. Even, they presented us live discussion with the book’s writer. This was a great job and I applauded the editor in that case.  However, they posted round table discussion with some individuals to discuss the issue. These folks are claimed they were participants during the armed struggle but they also admitted they did not have firsthand information on the matter.  These individuals do not help to verify the fact instead it is desperate attempt to discredit the writer. In my opinion, the tendency on the part of the editor is posting articles and audios opposing the book while rejecting a moderate article like mine.  I beg you for heaven sake, brothers, to take a moment and think when and how we came out stronger as a country in this difficult time.  Gebru gave us all the facts we need to start the discussion and have dialogue for a better country.
 
By Hayet Gomida
Washington DC.
 
media

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