By Obang Metho
My Beloved Fellow Ethiopians, our past is holding us hostage. As painful as it is, let us prove we can be better than ethnic hatred policy of the TPLF and the short-sighted views of the ethnocentric individuals who judge other groups relative to their own ethnic group or culture, especially with concern for language, behaviour, customs, religion and region.
This idea that because of our past, we have to separate Ethiopia into tribal countries is not going to bring the solution. Look at Eritrea and how despicably they treat their people. Look at South Sudan, as a country, they are fighting. It is not the land, it is the people. We are the people and we can change.
This idea that because of past grievances we cannot find a way to live with each other is absurd. Do we believe we are better off if we build a fence around our land and let no one in but those who are from our tribe?
This is crazy-making when we consider that many of us, like our ancestors, are mixes of different things. We have succeeded here in America where we live in the land of someone else’s ancestors, but yet we have found peace and opportunity.
If we fail to see the humanity of each other, we will pass on the curse to others. If we fail to do this in the right way now, we may be choosing to follow the path of other countries like Rwanda.
Do we want to end up being the people that others, especially our descendants, condemn tomorrow? Or, can we do it correctly this time and become an example for the world?
The first step to climb to the mountain top of greater harmony is to talk to each other. Because of our fallen natures as people, this is not easy to do. Some will say it cannot be done; however, we know it can improve and that gross violations could be minimized by an effective and fairly enforced rule of law.
For anyone who hopes for a better Ethiopia for their children, they must stop judging other Ethiopians relative to their own ethnic group and start talking to each other rather than talking to each other.
Once we have a stronger, people-based government in a NEW Ethiopia of all, such a system would be better able to deal with the past by making sure it never happened again.
If an apology for the past was required, the elected leader, who might be from Afar, the South or from any part of the country, even from among the most marginalized, could apologize on behalf of a responsible government, evaluate the need for reparations and decide how to restore justice rather than one ethnic group.
Let the Ethiopian people establish a court justice system trusted by the people. Let the court of law make these decisions so the next generation can start afresh in a New Ethiopia.
May God help us to overcome our past grievances to become reconcilers to a new future in a New Ethiopia.
By Obang Metho