6 mins read

Girma Kassa

An excellent “art work” in the, once caught my attention. [1]The art work displays multiple hands holding one another and showing solidarity to the flag of Ethiopia.

I remember, I was a little kid around Arategna Kifle Tor (an area in Central Addis Ababa); exchange of intense fires took place. Few minutes later, bodies of young Ethiopians were all over the place. There were about half dozen possibly EPRP activists who were slained by the then Derg (The Mengistu Haile Mariam) Security officers.

I do not know the names of these students. I do not know their parents or where they came from. Maybe they could have been the only child of their parents. What I know is this ….they were killed at their early age with the hand of another Ethiopian.

I remember, it was around 1988. I saw a picture of assembled dead bodies on an Asmara newspaper. The then rebel groups EPLF captured the small strategic town of Afabet from the nadew command of the then Ethiopian forces. Encouraged with their victories in Afabet, they unsuccessfully launched an attack on Keren few months later. In the attempt to advance into Keren thousands of EPLF fighters died.

The bodies on the Asmara newspaper were of some who died during the attack against Keren. These dead EPLF fighters, though we didn’t agree on their ideology and goal to secede Eritrea from its motherland, were also our brothers killed with the hand of another Ethiopian.

I remember, it was a day after the EPRDF entered Addis Ababa, there was shot guns by EPRDF security forces on civilians who were demonstrating against the Anti-Ethiopia policies of the EPRDF. In this demonstration more than 29 unarmed civilians were killed again with the hand of another Ethiopian.

I remember it was the morning of June 8, 2007, the image of a 16 years old young girl was at the front page of some of Amharic newspapers I bought that morning. Shiberre Dessalegn was her name. She was shot dead, around Kotobe (western part of Addis Ababa) with the hand of another Ethiopian.

If we hear more stories from Gambella, Gode, Hausen, Assossa, Bedeno, Ambo, Ginchi, Borena, Azezo, Nakfa, Badme, Massawa ..time will not suffice to list down all the horrors and atrocities committed on Ethiopians by Ethiopians. If we count the number of Ethiopians killed by another Ethiopia, I believe it may be 5 to 10 times larger that the number of Ethiopians killed by foreign invaders (Italians, Siad Barre forces, Egyptians, Turks ..).

Isn’t enough?

For how long, will we be using our fingers to pull a trigger on our fellow brothers and sister? For how long will we use our hands to write hate and division articles against one another? For how long will we use our fist to beat down and torture another Ethiopian? For how long will we be unwilling to embrace one another? When do we put a break on the cycle of bloodshed and violence? As is displayed in the abugidainfo art work, when do we focus on empowering one another, holding hands together and working with big commitment to build a united, democratic and prosperous Ethiopia, where all its children are equal regardless of their age, class, ethnic group, religion and political ideology?

My Dear fellow Ethiopians,

If we want to be a country of the 21st century, we have to change. I think it is time to spell out the demons of hate and division. It is time to stop looking at one another with the “grudgy look”; instead we must learn to hold the hand of our fellow Ethiopians. We must learn from our past mistakes and instead of the blame-game and the recrimination politics. We must be free from our old (sometimes century old) grudges and open our heart to forgiveness and reconciliation. We must change our character and culture of being quickly filled with rage and surely SAY ENOUGH IS ENOUGH to the culture of violence.

There might be some people, group of people or individuals we hate. However we must all remember: we are all Ethiopians, created by the Almighty God to live in a great country of ours Ethiopia as a family. The tent is enough for all of us. There are enough fertile lands in the tent that can rpovide grains to feed all of us. There are enough big rivers in the tent, that can quicnh the thirst of all of us. Let us stop burning down the tent on each one of us and our children for with the tent in ashes we will have no place to go

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