It saddens me to write this about my birthland Ethiopia; I am holding back tears in between paragraphs as I contemplate the heat-rending developments taking place in a country I once called home. After enduring 27 years of excruciating persecution purveyed by the ruthless TPLF regime, Ethiopians are now being treated to woeful strife that is pitting neighbor against neighbor and tearing families apart.
A country that remained intact for more than 3,000 years is slowly unraveling at the seams thanks in large part to a viral form of ethnocentrism that has infected the populous. Ethiopia, a land that has enough resources and natural wealth to feed the entire continent of Africa, has been reduced to a beggar nation because too many would rather fight over ethnicity instead of honoring our common humanity. In a harrowing twist, the mother that is Ethiopia is being aborted by her children through a mix of indifference for the suffering of other tribes and selective outrage when it comes to one’s own community.
When empathy is determined by ethnicity, when compassion is driven by identity, when outrage is selective based on tribe, we lose our humanity & shortly thereafter we gain unending tribulation for the foreseeable & pass on the inheritance of indifference to our children #Ethiopia
— Teodrose Fikremariam (@Teodrose_Fikre) March 13, 2021
A tumor of sectarianism that was embedded in Ethiopia thirty years ago by Meles Zenawi and his Herman Cohen backed junta during the London Conference in 1991 has metastasized into a full-blown cancer that is threatening to turn Ethiopia into Rwanda 2.0. After failing to colonize us thanks to the sacrifices of our forefathers at the Battle of Adwa and during the second war of Italian aggression in the 1930s, Western imperialists turned to chicanery in order to quell our fighting spirits and shatter our unity that enabled us to overcome countless rounds of invasions dating back to Biblical times.
Where fascisms could not defeat us, division is demolishing us. We abandoned Ethiopiawinet—the essence of collectivism that was the source of our strength—and adopted American style individuality and bought into grievance politics. The end result is a war between the Ethiopian government and TPLF that is witnessing a foreign country attacking our fellow citizens and mothers, fathers and children becoming refugees in order to evade the targets that have been placed on their backs by an incompetent Prime Minister and a malicious terror organization that is fighting to regain power by using Tigrayans as human shields.
This war that is raging in Tigray is but one facet of wider battles that are raging throughout Ethiopia and amongst expatriates living abroad. In Ethiopia, the battles are hand-to-hand combat as brothers turn on brothers and sisters bash sisters over injustices that happened centuries ago but live on in the minds and hearts of most Ethiopians. It’s a tragedy that is a manifestation of a prophecy foretold a long time ago; people who have multiple ethnicities in their veins are forced to choose sides and cast stones at other tribes that land right at their own homes. The sheer volume of rage and the lust for vengeance is spilling over into open hostilities as Amharas, Oromos, Tigrayans and other communities throughout Ethiopia take turns killing each other’s children only to wail when their offspring are murdered.
Those of us who are fortunate enough to be far away from genocide zones have chosen enmity over empathy. Instead of trying to calm frayed nerves and leading with love as we are advised by Holy Books, too many opt for acrimony and retribution. All you have to do is search “Ethiopia” on social media and you will witness a level of vitriol between fellow countrymen and women that rivals the hatred witnessed at Klu Klux Klan rallies. No need to pull punches and be coy, now is the time for harsh truths. We are turning Ethiopia into a failed state driven by pride and prejudices.
The temperature of antagonism between Ethiopians has gotten so heated that I thought twice about using the feature picture at the top of this article for fear of upsetting one group or another. But I ask my fellow Ethiopians, just look at that picture of a mother struggling to provide for her ailing child and meditate on it before you answer the next set of questions. Think if that was your son or daughter withering in a refugee camp and hoping against hope for deliverance. I have a son who is almost two, he is the light of my life. I can’t fathom a situation where he is fighting to stay alive as I weep over the fear of losing him. If I was caught in this maelstorm, God forbid, would you ask me what ethnicity I am or what tribe my son belongs to?
Where we once ate together, we now burn each other from a distance. Where we once prayed, cried and laughed as a community, we now taunt, demonize and bludgeon each other in ways that would make Mussolini proud. We can no longer brag that Ethiopia has never been colonized; we are more colonized than ant farms and the sad reality is that we have colonized ourselves. Adwa is no more, we are now entrenched in the era of esat (fire), if we don’t course correct and turn our hands quickly back to God, what comes next is a final implosion that could take the lives of millions. Martin Luther King once said 'hatred can't drive out hate', we must reflect on the wisdom of MLK, walk away from rage and embrace the healing power of love for the sake of #Ethiopia and her children. #HealEthiopiaTogether Click To Tweet
“For the nation to live, the tribe must die.” ~ Samora Machel
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