By: Mulata Gudata
Once I start writing, it simply becomes a runaway job leaving me unable to make it as short as I wish. But I believe each line is worth reading, this one is a never miss. If I may share my own tricks, the best way of reading a long article is by having a print out of it. There is a lot in here including a few words in defence of the man of the time – Dr. Zelealem Eshete, and a little say on what feeds and sustains our conflict, the usual before-the-finishing-line on the famous, the rich and the hungry. The church and the mosque also have a place in here as part of a reflection on the smell of our soul. Have a look and come out aspiring to smell like a rose from your soul. Find out!
This bit is a private business, Busy at business.
To my friends, I should exalt you,
Who are in business. Whilst you are at it.
I saw you in my dreams, Folks go!
I could sniff and smell you, Go get it! Go get it!!!
To begin with, let me pose a question: folks how do you cope with the traumatic experience of ‘the network is fizzing out?’ Or is it only me who comes against the impermeable wall for some reason unknown to me? Few days ago I tried, for hours on end, to call back home to no avail before I decided to forget succumbing to the challenge I faced as it comes alternatively in the form of either ‘tinish qoyitew yidewullu’ (1) = call after a while or ‘the network is fizzing out.’ The following night I found myself with the same experience in my dreams before I woke up to the relief of finding out that it was really a dream, though it had to cost me a good night’s sleep and few droplets of sweat.
Whenever I thought of calling back home, the first thing I often worried was not about the money I needed to buy the call-card but the tiresome ‘the-network-is-fizzing-out’ challenge that always awaited me. Thanks to the Ethiopian Telephone Service, ‘fizzing-out’ is a new word in my vocabulary though I cannot tell its exact meaning. The fizzing-out doodad is probably one single thing among others which stands out showing off to the wider world the Woyane’s inefficiency and irrelevance as a government very much unknown to them. Such despicable joke on citizens in 21st century must be the only one of its kind anywhere in the world.
Worse for me it is a sort of a double trouble because in spite of all that my brother tends to blame me for not calling regularly enough as he likes to tell me how our government is good. I only remained wishing I had a means of showing him my frustrations. During one of my occasional calls back home last year which I rarely managed with persistent effort, I was surprised to hear from my brother how this government is good because of fighting corruption and building roads. He said this after telling me the fact that one of our cousins had to do time in jail for one year because of corruption. If we all choose to think tribally as our government wants us to do, anyone would expect my brother to hate this government for jailing his cousin. To the contrary, he says this government does the right job by fighting corruption. I simply said to myself the Woyane’s anti-corruption gimmick is working.
When it comes to me, thank God, I differ with both my brother and my cousin because I say we don’t have to do anything with this unpatriotic, undemocratic and divisive groups of people in our government unless they change course and listen to the will of the people. By taking that position, I share the same views with brave men and women from Tigrai – the likes of Abrha Desta and Asegede G/Silassie among many others who are fiercely opposing this government under very difficult circumstances. They do so not because they are Oromos or Amharas but because of the wrong things they see about the government we have today. By that we are simply practicing one of the unalienable rights of citizens to oppose or support their government whichever way they consider appropriate.
By thinking and acting in such different ways we simply prove to be normal citizens with our divergent views and opinions of the same government. And that is natural and human – an understandable behaviour of a healthy society with diverse out looks and opinions. What we lack is a healthy government that should appreciate and value our views in order to provide it with a conducive environment for the free competition of ideas and opinions in a truly democratic space, far from a show business, as it happens anywhere in the modern world of today.
It is not uncommon to hear the Woyane apologists telling us to leave them alone by focusing on the development they have brought to our country. If any development has happened it is a job well done since it is their duty as a government. For that we should show our appreciation as good citizens by re-electing them over and over again when they give us the chance to do so in a free and fair democratic space not when they force us to praise them as we are muzzled for every other thing. Yet, they fail to appreciate the fact that it is human nature to revolt against a muzzle and suppressed freedom which makes our opposition to it right and appropriate. For God’s sake, can anything on earth be worth enough to replace the love that is suffering if not vanished from our midst?
With or without development, widening our political space to accommodate all stakeholders has no alternative. In the interest of embracing each other as fellow citizens we must learn to move away from the political mentality of my life should exclude yours. Any individual or group with that kind of mind set needs to realise that such approach leads to nowhere. In life if we aim to have everything exclusively, we should expect to end up having nothing. When we work for our fair share in an all inclusive deal, we stand to have everything with love and security as a bonus. This is a natural law of human life which works elsewhere and I believe it should also work in our case.
No country is any body’s private vegetable garden. The country belongs to all its citizens, so does the political power and that is where it should remain with the help of an exhaustive social reform and a thoroughly decentralized political dispensation. To achieve that first and foremost we have to accept to stop behaving with political power as the greedy cheetah does with his kill which he exclusively carries to the tree top oblivious to the risk of falling down with it.
The only time the citizens of any country are called upon to have their say about their government or the way they should be governed is at ballot box. If citizens are ever denied the right to the free exercise of this crucial right or if their vote is stolen after they cast their ballot and they are forced not to say anything about it by being beaten into absolute silence and submission, how different are they from the animals they keep or the commodities they trade vis-a-avis the government that looms large on all aspects of their life? We should work towards making this kind of archaic and backward looking political behaviour a thing of the past at the mention of which we should cringe with extreme shame. And the key towards that is accepting a meaningful reform that enables the government to overcome the fear of its citizens and rather work towards empowering them.
Talking of democracy as we aim to lord on a beaten and cowering society is an irresponsible lip service at its best and an incurable self deception at its worst which cannot promise any meaningful development and sustainable future stability. Less free people are less productive with a likelihood and propensity of tipping over into uncontrollable revolution in quest for freedom. We should accept to move away from the political system fraught with control craze since it will keep the country in a state of perpetual vulnerability as any group with a sinister motive will always see the advantage of exploiting the discordance between the rulers and the ruled to its own selfish end. Derg as an example is in our recent memory and its painful legacy is alive and kicking on our hand. Furthermore, our country has attracted foreign interests for myriads of reasons against which we cannot hope to successfully stand as we lord on disgruntled lots of citizens. It is the highest standard of wisdom to remain alive to this crucial fact.
Our politics of today can be summed up by one single sentence: It is dominated by individuals with extreme views and outlooks across the board, and needs to be brought back to a moderate middle ground in the spirit of peace and reconciliation. We need to move away from a system in which an individual or a clique of few individuals think for the entire nation in the name of a government or a political party, by going to a truly representative government which plays the role of implementing what people think for themselves with the help of freely and fairly elected local and national representatives. There cannot be any acceptable excuse for resisting civilisation. Our final goal should always be a big and empowered society with a small government that is committed to the service of the citizens not the other way round which has been tried and failed many times over.
The benefits of real democracy should not be under estimated seen only in simple terms such as election, parliament and presidency. It is far reaching and immeasurable in that democratic process and its results will enable a country to instil value and integrity in the society making the young generation to aspire for higher goals on the model of elected representatives. With democratic process a country will always stand the chance of being lead by men and women of virtue, character and vision, leadership quality and personal integrity from the local level to the highest office in the land as sense of patriotism and dedication to the service of the nation is gradually cultivated and entrenched. Democratic dispensation and process will not only play the role of decentralising political power it will also help to take pressure away from the centre by distributing competitive interest to all administrative levels and electoral offices.
Such processes will ensure that deserving citizens with the quality of leadership will be identified and promoted thru the vote and verdict of the electorate. This in turn means individuals of outstanding quality will reach the highest levels of leadership having gone thru water and fire as they pass tests thrown at them by the people gradually earning the trust of the public and the reward it entails. In light of these facts and benefits, if you like to see a strong, prosperous, secure and stable country that enjoys quality leadership, please work towards ensuring a real democracy in our country, nothing less or more.
Given this approach we will no longer have to live with individuals of spurious and bogus personalities in the name of leaders who earn their reward for openly and brazenly working against the people and undermining national interest far from standing up for its defence with dedication it takes. What else can be expected from a generation that grew up under the Derg regime witnessing the humiliation of citizens by being reduced to mere by sanders in matters of direct interest to them and their national life as citizens? Unfortunately, the same thing has continued under the Woyanes’ rule in its worst form as foreigners are being favoured over citizens. What aspirational models do citizens who lived under the leadership style of Derg and TPLF/EPRDF would ever have?
We don’t have to look for democracy to Europe or America but to our next door neighbours like Tanzania and Ghana. I would not say Kenya because Kenya’s democracy is the most unimpressive since they have it more on paper than in real application of it though their press freedom remains second to none, at least in relative terms. This comparison should make us seriously look inward to our self vis-à-vis our pride and the fact of our claim to being un-colonised.
What feeds and sustains our chaotic political atmosphere?
I would like to start this part with the next paragraphs taken from Dr Zelalem Eshete’s article at this linkhttp://www.ethiofamily.com/ (the italics, bold highlight and under-line are all mine): “We have a long history: good and bad, as it is with everything. But since we are not dealing with our past reality, our history is doing us more harm than good. Whenever we reach out to our history to define our identity, we end up with more confusion than clarity. Unless we abandon using history to define our identity, it will continue to sabotage our chance to be a symbol of unity on the face of the earth. We only need to use our history to make us wise about reformulating our new identity together.
It is time for history to stop dictating what should be our identity one way or another. When we let go what we think is the old good/bad memory of Ethiopia, we will be surprised by the possibilities of the new Ethiopia that is awaiting us. We need to let go of the attempt to hold onto the identity passed to us (interpreted as good or bad) and define a new identity for ourselves altogether.”
Though it could be due to my unimpressive knowledge of history, I get a feeling that the repetition of our history has long become more of a platitude and less helpful cliché than a way of helping or generating solutions to our troubled situations. Although history remains helpful to learn from the past and chart a better future, doweling on history becomes as good us flogging a dead horse in situations like ours. It neither can come to life to be of any help to those who wish it back nor does it feel the pain for those who like to keep working at it with vengeance. What we have is a complicated socio-political questions that are begging for answers/resolutions. Deliberating on a better way of answering those questions based on the facts on the ground makes all the fuss about history less relevant.
After reading Dr, Zelalem’s articles, I said to myself we are suffering not due to lack of men and women with the light to lead our ways as we do due to our unwillingness to follow their lead. In his articles the doctor calls up on the Amharas for acceptance of past wrongs and repentance as a way of making peace and reconciliation possible. While his approach, in my view is highly commendable, I believe that the other communities who stand with grievances about our past would not go as far as holding the entire Amhara community responsible any farther than the ruling class. Furthermore, I don’t believe they would go as far as demanding a ‘complete-kill’ beyond asking for a show of humility and a mere gesture of acknowledgement of our past wrongs with a readiness to redress it in a meaningful way. I also believe this is the simplest thing anyone should accept to do if it can help us to amicably work together towards a better future for all of us and that is why I salute Dr. Zelalem’s reconciliatory approach.
Very simple things like saying: I feel your pain, sorry! coupled with tuning down issues to do with our controversial past goes a long way to put us in the reconciliatory mood we crave before we even think of anything of real substance. Obviously, at the heart of our troubled situation lies the life and legacy of Emperor Minlik. Furthermore, the unfortunate coincidence for us is the fact that the anniversaries of Minilik’s death keep coming at an importune time for us while we are tearing at each other on his legacy.
Personally I have no objection to commemorating the life and legacy of men and women who gave their time and life to leave us in the pride of liberty by defeating one of the European colonizers at the battle of Adwa with far inferior firearms compared to that of the adversary at the time. What a shame, our pride had to live under the shadows of our failure to fix our system in a civilised manner. Though we know and agree that our past is not squeaky clean beyond reproach, I believe that it remains a collective responsibility no matter what it is, good or bad.
Yet, I hold the view that we would do an unsullied and impeccable job of commemorating the heroes of our past when all our citizens would be able to joyfully go for it with a universal sense of pride that is inclusive of us all. At this point in time when we need to reach out to each other and join hands more than ever, the challenge for us remains to be how to reconcile our acknowledgement of the short-comes in our past and celebrating anything to do with it exclusively as if all is well, at the same time expect to get on board those who stand with questions about it. This is why I often say there is hardly a compelling reason for us not to go slow on such torrid issues in the interest of overcoming the trials and tribulations we are in.
In light of this fact, to those of us who insist on celebrating the occasion with gusto and fanfare, my challenge remains: where is the moral about doing so instead of feeling very sad when the significant majority of our people stand with questions about our past, before we put all those questions to rest with a national reconciliation, both the past and the present? Folks, ‘where do we get the appetite to feast while a good number of our people remain around loudly calling our food all sorts of names?’
Our desire for peace and reconciliation is beyond question. But if we are honest to our self, with a closer look we can easily see how we become part of the problem by contributing to our differences in one way or another. This renders it beyond reason and logic for us to expect one result at the same time we are busy working at what yields the opposite. The point is simple: can we slow down the tempo of things to do with our past and make it a low key affair until such time when all of us will be able to go chanting the ‘halleluiah’ in unison? Personally I don’t see any harm, what so ever, in going slow on such controversial issues whereas its benefit is quite obvious and immense.
Here is some more excerpt from the doctor’s article: “If you don’t like my approach, then answer this: what did you benefit in majoring on others and forfeiting self-reflection? What do you choose: in humility find peace and healing or keep on marching to the same old tune and perpetuate the antagonism forever? To say there is no grave humiliating discrimination against other ethnic group is to insult the hurting people once more. It is like telling them that they are liars for crying out. No wonder the saga continues. What good this denial has gotten us so far? Why are we so obsessed to be right to the point that we are losing our brothers and sisters? How can we speak of loving Ethiopia and such absurd denial using the same mouth?”
Obviously some of our elites in the unity group need to smart up a little bit. Simply because, we cannot hope to succeed by swimming against the tide but by going along with it and helping to moderate it thru love and affection but above all by accepting an acceptable reform. We do a disservice to our self and our country if we hope to be part of any solution while we remain frozen in time long gone when everything around us has gone very far and very fast.
If one is so much used to ‘living in the steam of a pressure cooker with high voltage energy,’ it would be very hard for one to imagine the peace and relief of living outside of it until one musters the courage it takes to step out and test the relief and respite that exists outside of it. Similarly, if we are so much used to looking at things from one angle and view point, it would really be very hard for us to imagine the benefit of looking at it differently until we are able to overcome the fear of the unknown and change our views only to be fascinated by the incredible benefit of our action. So no wonder the good doctor has to receive a barrage of challenge and criticism instead of due applause and appreciation.
I often like to repeat why it is helpful to always remember that the key towards the harmonious relationship we desire among us remains to be accepting a meaningful reform to a maximum level possible. In a normal circumstance socio-political reform in a country should be done piecemeal during peace time. Unlucky enough for us, the callousness and insensitivity of the ruling class in our country to the questions for reform had forced different groups to raise arms leading to what we have today for a country.
As a result, the extreme level to which our politics has been opened is such that we are much closer to going our own separate ways than coming together with ever increasing number of young generation on the extreme fringe when it comes to tribal loyalties. The past has gone never to come back under any circumstance. Oh my God, how I miss it! It is wise to accept the reality of what we have on the ground with the view to making the best out of it.
The focus should be not on whether the rebelling segments of our society will stand to achieve what they call for such as independence, rather it should be on the fact that by their mere protest against unity they are effectively making a forward-move impossible for all of us. Besides that any possible move in our divided ways leaves us with the threat of throwing our land ‘Samalia’s way’ hanging very close on our head. To break the impasse, offering an acceptable incentive in reform is a mandatory requirement. This glaring truth is what some of our elites in the unity group should grasp in order to see the importance of stepping back from their hard-line positions with the aim of accommodating everyone in a loose federal arrangement.
Failure to put our tribal issues to rest through reform would always mean oppressive-guardians would remain a necessity to keep in-check the unanswered questions. In other words, moving from one oppressive regime to another would remain the norm which is not worth any struggle. Human beings are different from dumb animals in that they are created to speak their mind. And this natural capability of self expression should not be made a crime but a democratic right through enabling reform.
I grew up witnessing how my father lived his life alternating between the local police station and home under Derg regime all for speaking his mind. He despised Derg and socialism on all counts by saying people should not be banned from doing any work they wanted but should be asked for tax on anything they choose to do so long as the work was free from crime. I remember his words as if he said it just yesterday. Though people are ‘allowed’ to do any work of their choice today, a long way remains to go to make it complete with unlimited democratic rights. When as the second generation I find myself opposing the government that replaced the one my father was opposing, I cannot help but ask myself whether our government is jinxed to always go wrong one way or the other.
At this juncture, I don’t believe there is anyone of us today who can reasonably stand to resist the recognition of Oromos’ rights, or the rights of anybody else, to an acceptable level to make real democracy possible in our troubled land. If there is one out there with that kind of mentality, I should say, please look at how Genzebe Dibaba was making us all proud just recently, with no mention of all the rest with her and before her, to help you overcome your mean mentality. Oromos are asking the right question which should have been addressed at the very foundation of our nation. Please say your apologies to them for addressing it so late and be ready to accept their right un-begrudgingly. Then you would start witnessing things falling into place like jigsaw puzzle in no time for all of us.
We don’t have to belong to a particular community or tribe to advocate for the recognition of their rights thru reform, given where our situation stands today and how we are at the cross road to the unknown. I look at Dr. Zelalem’s approach in this spirit. We are in search of a common solution to our troubles and that can only be arrived at by talking for each other and to each other not at each other or against each other. We need to look for a durable solution that will enable ours to be a country and people that stands to police crime far from that lives with the shame of policing ideas. The simple fact of being Ethiopians leaves that responsibility on our shoulder to objectively look at the best way forward which can be possible thru accepting a meaningful reform within our country’s broader union to make unity in diversity a possibility.
Don’t forget that whatever we recognise for each other within our country’s unity is never taken away. As it will be there for all of us to help us become ever stronger vibrant rainbow nation which will be a magnate for tourism and an ideal destination for holiday makers given our unadulterated and refreshing unique cultural assets. Tourists need fun and new things under a blue sky. Ours has it in abundance if we will be able to harness, develop and package it for sale in its assorted colours and contents. Of course, all in a country that could have its house in order enough to be at peace and stability with itself.
In the same breath, we the Oromos should also remain alive to the presence of elements in our midst who do not go for anything less than independence in order to quench their hunger for power. Yet, if you earnestly ask them, they cannot tell you in black and white how to go about it. They simply do not have a clear cut strategy and a way forward except harping on about their disguised power dreams in public. Though understandably being unable to come up with a clear cut strategy is not their fault as it is our geographical location at the heart of our country which makes that impossible but their fault is their failure to see and acknowledge this very fact. We are not at the extreme fringe of our country to comfortably opt for secession. We are the root, the stem and leafs of our country which makes it mandatory for us to work towards democratically ensuring our right is implemented and upheld within the broader union of our country.
Those who push for secession are unable or unwilling to recognise this fact even if we are to get everything within our country’s unity today. This is chief among many factors that keep leading Oromos’ politics to failure unable to make any meaningful headways for as long as we can remember. It is true, when we look at our history book we will come across ugly scenes almost at every turn of the page. But if we can set things right today to an acceptable level, living in the past or making our feature impossible because of it is not in the interest of any of us. For this we only need to borrow a leaf from Nelson Mandela’s books. As they say you forgive your worst of enemies not your friends. Kan darbe hindarbatan,jedhu worri-keeyna. There is wisdom in aiming for what is feasible and achieving it in abundance.
In terms of reform and the way forward, I can see a vast ‘multi-lane avenue’ along which we can all march foreword to the promised land – a truly democratic stable country that can stand the test of time when everybody’s right is recognised to a maximum level possible with citizens granted the right to live and make a living anywhere in the country under the supreme rule of the law (please click on the links below). What I cannot see is the will and readiness from most of us to ‘ride’ on it forward as we are firmly held back by our past – some of us with unconditional love for it and the rest of us with unforgiving hatred of it, all of which is not acceptable in a normal situation. I know that sometimes I am harsh in my writing styles with my words less minced in some cases. But I do that with no offence intended and rather with the hope of shocking us into doing the right thing for our self. If I have disappointed anyone by that, I should simply say sorry.
Finally, it is congratulations to the Oromos for coming up with the Ethsat version of our own which was unveiled on March 1st, 2014 in Minneapolis, USA as Oromo Media Network (OMN). Anything that can help us reach the people by all means and language is always welcome. Though as citizens of one country we should not have gone to that length to have such expensive broadcast media in two separate stations when we could have shared one station with its cost sharing benefit and symbolic effect of togetherness and sense of solidarity. For that we cannot blame anyone but our self for our failure to work enough towards accommodating each other beforehand. Yet, there remains a catch: do we have the expertise and dollar power it takes to stand up to the Woyanes’ merciless broadcast and transmission jamming mania as well as cyber espionage against us?
However, in terms of our inability to reach out to each other, I like to look at this one as a source of good lesson for all of us to see the benefit of moving ahead of things and doing the right thing in good time towards accommodating each other by going out of our ways in order to effectively avoid living behind in the world of regret or overwhelming disbelief. So the question is, are we all ready for that? The answer is, we should be if we are to save our land from being ‘Somalised’!
Mentioning of Ethsat, I cannot go without saying my gratitude to them for the sterling job they are doing in tracing our unsung heroes, the likes of Ali Barke. I listened to his first part interview with awe and great sense of admiration as he narrated his heroic feats with captivating details. What strikes me most from his narratives is the sense of patriotism and will-power that propelled him to lay his life on the line in defence of his country without any one forcing him to do so. Such was the remarkable sacrifices made by our people to keep our country in the shape and size we know today.
Yet, it is sad to say the least when we find some of us today wanting to walk away from it, only to kill our country in the process with none of us standing to benefit out of that move, as if we never had any role in its defence and up keep. To me it feels like irresponsibly walking on the sacred bones of all those heroes and heroines who gave their life to defend us against foreign aggressions and leave us in liberty and pride.
Oromos made Ethiopia what it is for a significant part of any aspect of it. Oromos have been athletes, pilots, generals (sadly not today), doctors, outstanding and adored teachers, accomplished farmers, distinguished laureates and artists for Ethiopia. We cannot walk away from what we worked for and built, but rectify the down side of it to make it better as we feel proud. Truly speaking, there is a lot of sense in reconsidering that position as the rest of us are also expected to go to a great length in offering the inceptive it takes to acceptable level.
Before the finishing line, Famous, rich and hungry, this was the title of a documentary I watched recently on one of the BBC TV channels in which an Ethiopian lady who is working part time, with her eight year old daughter featured among others. It was about voluntary stay-in-homes visit in UK undertaken by some known personalities and celebrities to different homes of people unable to feed themselves well following the economic down turn and budget-cut that came with it forcing people to live on a bare minimum or turn to the charity of food banks for support.
Though the Ethiopian lady happened to be in the documentary as a matter of chance, I took the title as perfectly describing us literally in all sense of it. Because we are rich with all things that a land can offer to support the people of a country but we have been unable to utilise it in a fair-for-all and meaningful way all due to artificial problems to do with our successive governments.
We are famous for all the wrong and right things. At the heart of the good ones rest our track-crashing athletes who do it year after year keeping us in the lime light of fame doing more than their fair share for a country whose governments of the modern day, one after the other, seem to enjoy keeping the nation in perpetual infamy.
Another less lauded fame comes for us from the Ethiopian Air Line which one of its pilots recently flew it to unprecedented fame globally described as ‘a pilot hijacking his own plane.’ What better way is there to bring the infamy of self-obsessed and clueless greedy dictators to world attention?! I met an Asian man in UK who does not have much idea concerning Ethiopia apart from his knowledge of the Ethiopian Air Lines as ranking among the best in the world which he came across on the internet. When he asked me the reason behind that I could not give him any better reason than mentioning the good safety record and management our air line enjoys.
Even for me that came as a surprise because though I knew our Air Line is among the best in Africa, I had no idea that it ranks so high in the world. Anyone, myself included, would expect people in the outer world to know and recognise us for the victory of Adwa and all the other wars that graced/disgraced our land. But modern day humanity tends to forget issues to do with war very fast and rather recognise and remember any other human success and achievement for much longer. So no wonder our warmongering leaders have done little or nothing to add to our fame as did the effect of their life-cutting and resource-guzzling wars which is the hunger we are infamous for despite our immense resource which is more than enough to enable us to avoid hunger beforehand and remain famous for being rich.
In olden days church served our Christian community and the mosque served our Muslim community as places of refuge from the scathing heats of politics under any former governments. In matters related to church people had nothing to gossip about apart from the hypocrisies of wayward priests who preached water and gulped wine. As a result people used to crack common jokes like follow the priest’s words not his deeds. Very much unlike the past these days, unfortunately, we have to live with the government that lives very much in the church and mosque as anywhere else and the result is that our places of worship are no better than a chaotic noisy market place very much unlike God’s shrine which should be exclusively dedicated to the peace and harmony of believers.
As they say, old habits die hard! So it does not come as a surprise for many of us to see our government meddling in the places of worship when we know how the people at the helm of our government today were running their guerrilla business by hiding in churches disguised as priests when they were leading the fight against Derg. They were using churches as a hideout exploiting the fact that our churches were out of bound for politics before Woyanes took charge of government and the role of commanders-in-chief of churches in disguise they honed and mastered as rebels. Whoever doubts the hand of Woyanes in the unrest of our churches and mosques also doubts the hand of Russia in the unrest in Eastern Ukraine though both cases are beyond doubt. God or no God as human beings we are created to do good to the best of our knowledge and ability. In the same token striving to make peace among believers doesn’t need the knowledge of a space scientist. Yet, if any individual or group sees a benefit in chaotic situations here and there, it is a different matter all together.
Of course, at the bottom of all these lies the worship of money and material things instead of God or in His name. The moment we begin promoting money beyond limit and start getting obsessed with ephemeral worldly things in our life, we accept to demote our self in the process. Money up – self down, money up – self down becomes the silent rhythm and sadly some of our priests appear to lead everybody else in dancing to that tune gleefully. God’s promise takes patience and time, and above all it is defined by moral and dignity in life and the reward of heaven in the afterlife. Whereas the promise of the government comes very handy and very fast with no moral issues to worry about; so no wonder the wayward priests have chosen to let go of God and stick with the government for its immediate lavish rewards.
The men of cloth (or men of dubious background in the cloth) openly choosing to let down God in exchange for material reward with no qualms about throwing their parishioners into turmoil around the world. Woyanes have not replaced only Derg, they seem to have replaced also God. When the people who used to run to a priest for Godly council and spiritual peace have openly chosen to run away from him, where is left to run to? Thank God all is not lost since there are priests who are true to their name. Zaarre kegenzeb ena mengist beqer keqeesse belay minalle?! Qeesse hullu sayqer yabelaashe mengist laay deresne!(2)
Though God has been central to the concept of human moral from time immemorial, He is not the only essence of man’s commitment to doing good. In order for us to aspire to the highest standard of moral, as human beings our conscience is innately endowed to us to do the trick. With or without God, I believe, there is a lot to be gained from self talk not in the church or mosque neither during day time nor in a yoga session but late in the night after we put off the light and go into bed under the cavern darkness of our blanket. That is the ideal place to talk to our self and reflect on our soul, our thoughts and actions as we smell our breath that comes forth at that moment of reflection deep down from our ‘heart’ and high up from our ‘conscience.’
We often go to extra length to physically smell good to our self and to others by regularly cleaning our self and wearing cologne or any best quality perfume the market can offer. While that is good enough, there is a different smell of our self which we often fail to notice and that is the ‘smell of our soul’ which we share only with God and our self. It is the smell that cannot be embellished by anything other than our good intentions and actions. It is also a smell that cannot stand only on one’s own justification unless it is justified by God, for one’s soul could wrongfully earn one’s own justification while it remains highly stinking to high heavens.
The reflection on that true smell of inner self gives us the opportunity to evaluate and rediscover our real self as we experience in our though how the really good human beings with moral and dignity live an enviable life of clean and free conscience feeling proud and happy, full of praise for themselves with little or nothing to prick their conscience which matters more to them than any other possession on earth. How happy and blessed are those who exude and enjoy a genuinely good smell of their soul with a clean and free conscience to boot!!!
The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.
I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to carry.
Martin Luther King, Jr.