Today: May 28, 2024

Two Nations, One Goal: Building Unity in Ethiopian and Kenyan Communities

April 7, 2024
4 mins read

My plight with our Ethiopian/Kenyan communities to come together and build unity and progress. First in 2006 and later in 2014, due to acceleration of regional conflicts.

By Said G Osman.

Dear All,

At different times in the history of mankind, different methods have been used to overcome adversity, both natural and man-made. We learn from these experiences and device methods to prevent or mitigate the effect of adversity should it recur! Incidentally all creatures, as tiny as ants, develop various strategies for the survival of their species! It becomes a self-perpetuating tragedy when mankind fails to learn from these experiences and repeat the same failed methods to overcome adversity! Human beings have developed measures to overcome the effects of severe weather, prevented and cure ravaging diseases; developed agricultural methods to prevent and/or overcome famine. Also, mankind has, in an attempt to protect against powerful enemies, developed weapons which can destroy life on the entire planet in a very short time. So the ability of mankind to do good or bad is unfathomable. We make the choice as to which way to go! As natives of Ethiopia and Kenya, we must ask ourselves – where do we stand? What have we learned from the past self-inflicted tragedies? What is our collective goal as a people? What is our contribution to the future generation, what did we inherit and what do we leave behind?

In the northern Kenya and southern Ethiopia where many of us were born and raised, many adversities continue to exist. These include draught and attendant famine, diseases ravaging communities, lack of adequate education, poor health services, lack of natural resources, and relative neglect by the successive administrations on both sides of the border! There is one vital resource that has always been in abundance – human beings! When this human resource is channeled into proper projects to benefit all, then the potential to overcome these other adversities has no boundaries. This is not just a hypothesis, all of us on this thread, in small ways, have proved it to be true! But, sadly, our communities, without exception, are suffering the consequence of underutilizing or even abusing this vital resource for survival of our communities!

Sadly, conflict, instead of peaceful co-existence, has become the order of the day. Once the culture of conflict takes hold, it becomes the way of life, and breaking out of the cycle of violence becomes difficult! But there is a simple formula to overcome this – love instead of hate! Start with loving yourself, seriously! When you love yourself you want others to love you! When you want others to love you, you do things that make them to love you back, that actually means you love them! Loving yourself means you want to succeed in life! In order to succeed in life, you do things that make others to want you to succeed. That automatically means that you do things to help others succeed. So, then an epidemic of goodwill breaks out in the community and infects everybody else! I am sure we all would want to be victims of such an affliction!

But how do we overcome the hate that prevails in the society? First, we must appreciate that hate is not necessarily the original opposite of love! Love is original – it is there from the moment we were born and ready to be expressed any time under the right stimulus! Hate is almost invariably the product of fear – fear that a person does not love you, that a person may/will hurt you, kill you, steal something from you, etc.! That fear is now the mother of hate, which breeds conflict, etc. Hence, the vicious cycle of violence, and downward spiral of society! Politics in our part of the world is often the major impediment to social harmony, especially when the political leaders use conflict to ensure their own, short term, political survival! The damage to society and social harmony, however, often leaves scar that lives on, long after the perpetrators have left the scene!

Some of us grew up in Moyale and Marsabit towards the end of the British rule in Kenya. The British divided the communities along tribal lines and reinforced inter-tribal suspicions so that the tribes trusted the British more than they trusted each other! That way, with the bare minimum of personnel from Britain, the British were able to rule Kenya for decades. The seeds of discord which they sowed during that era continue to plague the communities to this day! Today’s Ethiopia is in some ways similar to what Kenya was under colonial rule although the potential for wider conflict is even more ominous. The recent conflicts in Mega and Nageelle, God forbid, may be harbingers of more serious problems ahead.

Many of us were born and raised in Kenya and Ethiopia which were, in many respects, better places than they are today! Many of us have blood relatives resulting from intermarriages between Boran, Burji, Gabra, Guji, Garre, Somali, Sakuye, etc! Blessed were the days when one’s tribe was largely for the purpose of census and genealogy. it is sad that today, many of us who have benefited from the communal harmony, tranquility, and civility of those days are now captives of tribal hostilities and are bystanders, watching all the good we have known and cherished go up in flames of inter-ethnic conflicts!

As people who were born and raised in places such as Marsabit, Moyale, Mega, Yabello, Burji Soyama, and the surrounding areas, and today holding responsible, high positions in various professions not only in our Motherlands, but in many continents all over the world, WE HAVE UNDENIABLE AND FUNDAMENTAL RESPONSIBILITIES to our own communities! Having raised children of our own in places ranging from our ancestral homes to other continents, we have the responsibility to preserve their ancestral homes and communities.

In Moyale, Marsabit, Yabello, Burji Soyama, Guji and everywhere in between, we are moving backwards, while the rest of the world, including most places in Kenya and some in Ethiopia, are moving forward in all human endeavors, at a fast pace! Let’s stand up and be counted. Let’s act responsibly, let’s guide our communities which lack proper guidance. Let’s fight ignorance, illiteracy, diseases, poverty, tribalism, and petty politics together. Those are the existential enemies against all of us! Let’s join hands for the advancement of our all peoples in knowledge, education, health, economy, and constructive politics! Let’s go and claim our rightful place in the world, let’s believe in ourselves and each other!

We need a think-tank made of like-minded people who understand and values humanity, from all the communities in Marsabit, Moyale, Mega, Yabello, Burji Soyama, Guji, and beyond, and let us help the recently formed Peace Committee to find amicable resolutions to the existing problems and also advice on the way forward. We also need such a group to advise those of us in the Diaspora on what is happening on  the ground and how we can help to address issues from outside.



God Bless.

1 Comment

  1. Preach, brother, preach! Wherever you see bigotry, hit hard. Keep exposing and trashing the notion of one’s ethnicity needs are all unique and take precedence on other’s needs. Preach the glaring truth on the ground that there are no ethnic groups who demand black milk from a non existing green cow. Their primary existential needs are common to all and no ethnic can solve them once and for all by struggling alone. The solution does not come out of the barrels of the gun. It is also a proven fact that Africa has never been able to solve its internal problems through armed struggle. What such violent form of struggle brought upon itself has been utter destruction and deaths in millions leading to dictatorship. If someone needs proof, all I can say is look around. It shows you why I detest ethnic politics and violent form of struggle like a sickness. Keep writing, brother!

    Blessings to you and your family.

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