By Assegid Habtewold 1
I’m proud as an Habesha to witness history in the making. The two sisterly countries’ leaders (PM Abiy and President Isaias) have exchanged encouraging words laced with reconciliatory tone. It’s not rocket science to know that the two people have a common destiny entangled with deep-rooted historical and socio-cultural ties no one person or group could be able to unravel forever.
This is my hope that the two leaders may finally reach an agreement to settle their differences allowing friendly government-to-government relationship soon. In the meantime, I’m encouraged to hear President Isaias recommitting himself, in his speech today, the need for strengthening the people-to-people relationship between the two Habesha people.
When I had the time and the opportunity, while I was producing an English show at ESAT (2013 – 2015) and one of the organizers of Vision Ethiopia’s conferences in 2015 and 2016, I was part of the effort that attempted to promote the people-to-people relationship. The effort didn’t bear fruit as we anticipated. Back then, the Eritrean government was willing to strengthen the people-to-people relationship regardless of the two governments being at odds because of the border dispute. Retrospectively, the time wasn’t right from Ethiopia’s government side.
Now, we have a leader who is trustworthy and principled. I strongly believe that there is a good chance that Eritrea’s President may strike a deal with PM Abiy not only to end hostility between the two nations but also to chart a new dawn era for their respective people, and the Horn. I’m hopeful that the time isn’t that far to see a close tie partnership between the two people leading to socio-economic, and military integration for mutual gain based on win-win deals.
We have what it takes, in the 21st C, to take the relationship to the next level. We have so many things in common, and there are many common challenges and opportunities we can tap into if we come close to strengthen the people-to-people relationship. As Dr. Abiy loves to say, ‘if we add up’ (BENEDEMER), we can beat all odds and chart a new chapter for the two people. It’s doable though it may take time until trust is built, especially between the two governments.
If the two leaders strike a deal and begin promoting people-to-people relationship, the two sisterly people can turn the tide. They have the potential and ability to team up not only to address their own challenges but also to have a positive impact in the region. The two sisterly people, together, can ultimately lead the Horn into a stable, peaceful, and prosperous region.
Hope is on the horizon! The season for the Habeshas to come together to shape their destiny for good is NOW. This is the hour and this is the generation! They can rewrite the past and project a new future not only this but also generations to come will benefit and celebrate! Let’s do it, Habeshas!