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BY DR. BEKELE GESSESSE ([email protected])

  1. Preamble

Ethiopia and the neighbouring countries such as Sudan and Somalia are on fire. Hundreds of thousands are dying frequently. Tens of millions are being displaced internally and externally. This is leading to an untold level of mass exodus. The root causes are political instabilities, inter-ethnic conflicts and even genocide.  On top of that, even European countries are facing sweltering heat waves caused by the expansion of a high pressure weather system from the Sahara Desert. They are also extremely worried by the mass refugee arrivals on a daily basis. The combination of these effects will be extremely damaging world-wide unless remedial measures are taken as a matter of urgency, to bring about peace and stability, locally, regionally and internationally.

  1. Internal factors and solutions

2.1 Governmental

It is extremely sad to see innocent people being tortured, murdered and displaced, both internally and externally, along ethnic and religious lines. The most victims in Ethiopia at the moment are the Amhara people.  Regions and even religious establishments are being drawn along ethnic lines. People do not have safety to go out and farm or move from place to place to trade to support their families. This is subjecting millions of people to starvation, misery and displacements. Children and young people are not receiving education and training that will shape their future and their country.

In my beloved Country, Ethiopia, Amharas have never been enemies of the Tigray or Oromo people.  What is affecting our people is the propagation of distorted history for the purpose of divide and rule. There have never been animosities among different ethnic groups who lived together in harmony for quite a long time. Ethiopia is also a best example where different religious groups lived together side by side in peace and great harmony. The current attempt to divide our people along ethnic and religious lines is unfair and extremely dangerous for all. I ask responsible bodies to come back to their senses and stop it. Otherwise, sooner or later, they will pay for it, in the hands of God and international courts of justice.

Similar crisis is taking place in neighbouring countries, especially in Sudan and Somalia, putting the Horn of Africa in a very fragile state, subjecting millions of people to unnecessary sufferings, death and displacements.

We have enough natural resources to feed our people. All responsible bodies must come to their senses as a matter of utmost urgency and stop those acts of genocide, crimes against humanity and the disintegration of the great Country. Otherwise there can never be winners and it will lead to an unfortunate collective failure as people and as a nation. Rights of survival should never be denied. People should be able to go out and farm or trade to feed themselves. Children and young people should not be denied opportunities to live, learn, graduate and work to support themselves, their families and their nation.

2.2 The non-governmental bodies

Much is expected from all concerned bodies, including religious leaders, the elders and the youth, to witness the truth, remove distortions, bring about harmony among the people and stop the on-going genocides, crimes against humanity and mass displacements. Much is expected especially from the religious leaders to tell the truth, save churches, monasteries and mosques and stop the ongoing crimes against humanities. Otherwise they will never be forgiven by our Almighty Creator.

  1. External factors and solutions

3.1 General

Almost all African countries have suffered a lot from the barbaric acts of slavery, colonialism and neo-colonialism. Ethiopia was an exception. Emperor Theodros refused to succumb to Queen Victoria at the Battle of Maqdalla in 1868 by sacrificing his life. Our treasures and artefacts, however, were looted en mass. Italy tried at the Battle of Adwa in 1896 and left in an utter shame, defeated by the united forces of heroic Ethiopian people. She came back in 1935 to invade Ethiopia. Italy was a founding member of the League of Nations in 1920. Ethiopia joined the League in 1923. Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia appeared at the Assembly of the League of Nations on 30 June 1936 and asked for Italy to be stopped from breaking the doctrine that says that an attack on one member of the League should be considered as an attack on all members. Most of the League members broke their own doctrine and refused to support Ethiopia. The Great Emperor found it to hard to believe and asked them: “What answer shall I take back to my people?”. He also mentioned a prophecy that “the illegal mistreatment of Ethiopia today by a member state will knock at your doors tomorrow”.  That prophecy came true: Italy joined Hitler and it turned out to be a tragic blow to human race in Europe and beyond. Britain then came to side by Ethiopians to jointly kick out the common enemy, Italy from Africa.

Egypt does not have any river of her own. She depends on Ethiopian Blue Nile and the fertile soil it carries from the Ethiopian Highlands for her survival. She has never said thank you to Ethiopia for providing her with a life line. Instead, she threatens Ethiopia for attempting to construct a dam to take her people out of poverty and darkness. She even receives a tacit support from some foreign powers to sabotage the Ethiopian good and rightful efforts.

People, especially the youth are running away from their countries in millions to save their lives. Countries like the UK are attempting to send asylum seekers to places like Rwanda. This is in breach of the UN 1951 Refugee Convention (which was also supplemented by 1967 Protocol). These provide the legal protection of the rights of refugees, including an agreement that “A refugee should not be returned to a country where they face serious threats to their life or freedom …”, reiterating the legal obligation of member states.

Under the ongoing political turmoil and great threat of climate change, the way out should have been regional and international cooperation to bring about peace and stability rather than unnecessary conflicts and displacements.

3.2 “What answer shall I take back to my people?”

I am trying to borrow the words of my father and the father of Africa, Emperor Haile Selassie, to pose a question to the international communities. Why don’t we save the lives of innocent people – women, children, and the elderly?;  save schools, properties, churches, monasteries and mosques? Otherwise, what is the purpose of living?

Can we learn from all those crimes that were committed against humanities from the days of slavery and move forward with the help of the positive sides of the 21st century technologies? I will leave these questions to the consciousness of humanity.


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