PEACE IS PRECIOUS AND MUST BE KEPT UNDAMAGED
By Yohannes Gebresellasie (Ph.d) Addis Ababa
Among many other things, there are things such as fresh air, clean water and peace that God gave his people freely and what a gift they are! Peace is not a luxury; therefore it must be protected very carefully. Peace can be interpreted differently by different people alike. We perceive peace within the context of our thorough commitment of safeguarding and our love for it. Peace is “peace” and peace is health and with health, there is life thus peace is life. When there is peace and when people are healthy, they can live, work and contribute to the national welfare. Therefore peace, health and work are intermingled; they reinforce and complement each other. The question of peace is an economic, political, cultural and democratic issue. It is also a question of religious leaders because every religion advocates and preaches the importance of peace. As a result, every individual must work hard to preserve peace as peace is the most precious and fundamental factor for human development.
When one talks of peace, one should think of the internal as well as the external personality. People must be peaceful both internally and externally. When people become full of hatred and become racists, bigots and ethno-centrists etc., they will not possess peace internally and consequently, they will be dominated by fear, hate, mischief, sorrow and many other wrongful acts. These negative deeds revolve around them and they become internally and mentally sick. Further, when people are not peaceful externally, they become less tolerant and develop aggressive behavior and aggressive act such as violence both verbal and physical. As a result, they not only become major instigators for both human as well as material damages and destruction but they also become causes for instability, lawlessness and anarchy. Therefore, human beings must not only be peaceful both internally and externally, but also work hard in order to fight poverty, irradiate conflicts and wars, guarantee prosperity and most importantly to preserve and retain peace in a country.
Generally, Peace is an umbrella of everything; peace is life and where there is peace, people live freely and do whatever they want to do and move wherever they want to move freely without any obstruction. People will also be able to work and improve their living standard and eventually contribute to the economic development of their country. Therefore, when there is peace, there is economic, cultural as well as political progress. When there is peace, democracy and good governance flourishes and when there is peace, there is no room for human as well as material obliteration.
Historically, nations have been overwhelmed with catastrophic conflicts and wars and the result of those conflicts and wars based among other things on ethnic, religious, political and ideological differences and inequalities have been disturbing. Those conflicts and wars were major obstacles to human progress and development. History also tells us that these wrongful activities brought annihilation and anguish to human progress. Thus, the world came up with certain mechanisms in order to avoid those human as well as material disasters and in order to preserve peace. As a result, international organizations such as the UN, AU, and the EU etc. were created with a view of safeguarding this precious gift of God: Peace. However, these mechanisms can only survive and work if human behavior changes for the better and starts to think and act positively and when human beings are ready to comprehend the value of peace to the world at large. Although people are naturally born peaceful, history tells us that there have been many people who are anti-peace, stand at the opposite side of peace and who think and act against peace. These people are naturally destructive to human dignity and human survival.
Just like many African nations, Ethiopia’s history has unfortunately been dominated by the history of conflicts and wars caused both from within and abroad. Our man-made conflicts and wars that could have been avoided drove us to human as well as material catastrophes. Few years ago, during the previous dictatorial military regime the Derg, people were denied of their basic and fundamental rights. They were not able to express themselves peacefully; there was no freedom of movement. Generally there was anarchy and lawlessness in the country; thus, there was no peace. Instead, people lived in a country with fear and without peace and others fled anywhere and everywhere in search of peace. Generally speaking, during the Derg regime, Ethiopians not only were they denied of their basic and fundamental rights, but also their natural or God’s gift peace i.e. they could not live in their own country in peace. As a result, many Ethiopians did not want to see their people denied of their natural rights and therefore, they fought against the Dergue and after a long struggle and enormous sacrifices, they were able to undo the injustice by paying heavily and that included giving their precious lives. These heavy sacrifices ultimately paid off and Ethiopian people have been enjoying the fruits of peace and stability for the last tewnty years now. Ultimately, Ethiopians were able to enjoy their basic and fundamental rights here and abroad.
After many years in exile elsewhere, Ethiopians were able to come back home, visit their family, friends and love ones. Others came back home for good to live, invest and contribute to the economic development of their country of origin and yet others come and go whenever they want with no restriction what so ever. One may remember that it was only few years back that Ethiopians in the Diaspora could not communicate with their family and friends. They could not even write letters to their family and friends back home for fear of exposing their love ones to danger. It was simply unthinkable to do the normal thing such as those mentioned during the Derg’s regime. Thanks to the immense sacrifices of our heroes and heroines that Ethiopians any were and everywhere are now able to do whatever they want. What Ethiopians experiencing presently in terms of freedom is unprecedented in the history of this nation. This is so because there is peace in this country and the people and the government of Ethiopia has maintained that peace carefully. Whereas it is very clear that peace is extremely momentous for everything positive, it can also slip away if people are not careful and if they become too much reluctant. Peace as precious as it is can easily be disturbed by peace-hating people and the result of this could be catastrophic and dangerous.
Different people could easily emerge at different times with different personal agendas and can distort what has been achieved through the hard work and massive sacrifices of peace loving people. When such incidences happen, their consequence and their outcome can be negative and damaging to the prevalence of peace and the interest of the public at large. It is important therefore, that people give their utmost value and significance for peace because without peace nothing can be achieved.
Currently we have witness disturbances here and there within our nation. Few people spearheaded by enemies of our people engaging in violent activities. These people are becoming causes for the unfortunate human as well as material losses in different cities of our nation. These recent actions by few people have put a test on the peaceful environment that prevailed in our country for over twenty years now. It is also putting a negative mark on the good image and hard work of our people. Also these few people who always work against peace and who have maintained the same agenda time and again still continue to work very hard against peace because they pretty well know that the only way for them to jump to power is by creating confusion and annoyance thereby the public at large can be mislead and be confused and opt for violence. Consequently, in the absence of peace, they think they could accomplish their sinister objectives. However, the Ethiopian people will never take peace for granted because they know very well that peace is precious and it was because of peace that they are enjoying stability in this nation. They know very well that if they want to fight against poverty, underdevelopment, illiteracy, diseases and other disabilities, they need to live in peace. They know by now the fruits of peace and they can’t afford to let it slip and let it go. It simply is too precious to ignore and it is simply not to their advantage to play game with peace.
So why are those few people inside and abroad working very hard to deny the Ethiopian people of their very precious gift-Peace? The answer should primary come from them-the anti-peace, anti-assistance to the country, anti-development and anti-Ethiopian. One thing is clear however; their number one agenda is to jump to power by any means necessary. The Ethiopian people are sick and tired of red, rose or orange revolution. Those ideologies and dogmas are a game of the past and they are now obsolete. There is no turning back for the Ethiopian people. They are moving forward and they are on the right track. They want stability and sustainable development. For that, they need peace; therefore they always want to keep this precious thing undamaged. As for those individuals and so called political organizations who work against peace, it is not too late and that is if they are ready to be sincere and honest with themselves to understand and comprehend the value of peace to our people and our country. It will be useful for all if they turn towards the right way, think positive and do the right things i.e. contribute to the economic and political process undertaken within this country. If they are that much anxious to come to power, they have to use the only right option there is-the only way and the right way of coming to power-through a democratic process and under the law of the land i.e. the electoral process. That is the only way and not through confusion and violence and certainly not through rose or violet or green dogmas because these are things of the past: archaic just like their leaders.