Violence is not the answer
By Yohannes Gebresellasie (Ph.d) Addis Ababa:
In any nation where democratic process is the norm, different parties contest for political power is held only through peaceful and democratic ways and means and not through violence.
Countries such as Canada, India, Britain, etc. are well known for advancing issues such as democracy, good governance and the rule of law and their population benefits as a result of those democratic values and norms. In countries such as those mentioned where democracy, good governance, and adherence for the rule of law is the norm, political power is contested through peaceful and democratic ways and means. In countries such as those mentioned where democracy, good governance, and respect for the rule of law is the norm, political power is contested only through peaceful and democratic means. Political parties in those democratic nations have the tendency of conducting excruciating and rigorous debates during elections. However, all that process is guided by the constitution of the land and strictly following the law of the land.
Those grueling campaigns and debates are conducted peacefully and in a civilized manner. At the end of the day, all contesting parties realize that everything is done to advance democracy, the rule of law and mainly to benefit the society at large. At the end of the day, when ballots are counted and a party is declared a winner, all contesting parties congratulate each other and all parties take their respective seats for a common goal to start the business of the nation and serve the public at large.
A lesson or two can be drawn from such a civilized political culture where democracy, good governance and the rule of law have evolved have been functional for many years and where these values are strictly adhered and respected by the public at large. Recent election in Ethiopia has among other things demonstrated that the Ethiopian people despite the fact that they were deprived of all those democratic values and norms for many years, they have shown their dedication and commitment to advance the above mentioned civilized values. last five electionsshowed the whole world that despite their limited experience in those civilized norms and values, Ethiopians came out in millions, waited long hours and peacefully voted for the parties they choose.
Further, Ethiopian in an unpredicted number and that from every corner of the nation showed the whole world that they too can exercise their democratic right and peacefully and democratically cast their votes just like those democratically advanced nations. The whole world witnessed this unpredicted experience and what an experience it was!
Commended by many international and national observers, Ethiopia for the fifth time exercised democratic values and norms and with that the rule of law took precedence to anti democratic and uncivilized norms and values. It also showed that Ethiopia after many years of autocratic and dictatorial regimes is highly determined not to turn back but to go forward through on right track of democracy, good governance and sustainable development. Lastelections further demonstrated that the Ethiopian people are determined and committed to carry on with those fundamental democratic values and maintain that civilized culture of mutual coexistence. They have clearly demonstrated that there is no turning back or giving up to obsolete and backward mentality.
They have given a clear message in that regard to those who aspire to bring back their detrimental and destructive beliefs. The electionsfurther demonstrated that political power is achieved not through confusion, economic sabotage or any other illegal and unconstitutional means but through legal, democratic, free and fair ways and means. Majority of Ethiopians realized this fact and in an unprecedented manner, they elected the party of their choice. Further, the Ethiopian people knew way in advance that their priorities and made sure that the party that is well connected with them, that puts their priorities forward and the party that better represents their interest and fulfills their demand gets more votes in the parliament.
On the other hand, majority of Ethiopians rejected the parties that represents old thinking, old beliefs and the parties that are out of touch with the society at large. As a result, they made it crystal clear that the EPRDF is the party that represents their future. They voted for the party that stands for poverty reduction, democratization, good governance and sustainable development their number one priority. Generally, they voted for EPRDF because they believe that it will fulfill their wishes and aspirations. On the other hand, they rejected the others because they did not come-up with any viable alternatives. Instead, they continued with their original activity that is to try to grasp power by any means including through violence, This was again demonstrated by violent activities such as burning public buses, private houses, public institutions and targeting individuals and groups on ethnic and racial bases. This racist and backward attitude has become a source of their downfall as parties or organizations operating here at home and abroad. Consequently, majority of Ethiopians lost confidence on these extremist leadership.
The Ethiopian people said rather loudly that enough is enough and that they do not need any violence and that they will not accept those who aspire for the beliefs and ideas of the past. These opposition leaderships are by and large remnants of the former dictatorial regime and extremists and chauvinists who try to create anarchy and lawlessness will be gone with the wind and gone forever. Since the Ethiopian people overwhelmingly made their choices clear, these extremist group from within and few disillusioned confused Diasporas have continued with their destructive and undemocratic activities damaging the image of the nation at least for some time. Now that theiragenda is clear and totally exposed, Ethiopians from coast to coast must be vigilant not to repeat the same mistake.
In our era of 21st century, destructive illegal and violent activities are giving their unpleasant time to legal and constitutional activities. As a result, people are becoming more and more sophisticated and are adopting peaceful and democratic means to solve any problems they might be confronted with. Dialogue and tolerance are thus becoming the order of the day. These peaceful and democratic means are helping people to get closer and closer every day and as a result, our world is becoming a global community of a civilized world. Despite this trend, few exceptions who like to re-invent the wheel continue to confuse and disturb society through their obsolete and detrimental values and beliefs. Instead of using legal, democratic and peaceful ways and means, they are optingfor destructive violence and undemocratic ways and means in order to fulfill their personal as well as group interests consequently putting the society at large in jeopardy. They are creating anarchy and lawlessness that cause detrimental and destructive consequences upon the society at large. Recent action by the few extremists and chauvinists is no different from this. They were well organized with bombs, exposures, guns and other violent arms and munitions to fulfill their interest through violence. As a result, these extremist forces caused the loss of lives of many innocent citizens. Police men were killed, some police men and security are severely wounded, public buses were put to flames and burned to ashes, privatecitizens have been targeted and attacked on racial bases. Few cities lost millions of birr due to the economic sabotage that these extremists and chauvinists planned.
Civil unrest and tension in few cities continued for a while. They continued to tarnish the image of Ethiopia by knocking at every governmental and non-governmentaloffice in Europe, North America, Australia and elsewhere. They continue to raise funds for a bad cause; at times to fatten the wallet of their extremist leaders. During all that time, these extremist forces say they are conducting peaceful demonstrations to advance their cause. Provoking unemployed people for violent action is not peaceful; blazing public basis, destroying government as well as private property is not peaceful, causing innocent people to die in a course of conformation with the police is not peaceful; killing police with bombs and bullets is not peaceful So what is their justification for their violent activities?.
There are also those media outlets that serve and advocate their sinister agenda. Whereas their ESATand other media outlets remain their main outlets. ESATand other destructive websites have also contributed to such destructive and provocative activities. They publicly acknowledged that ESAT and their other media outlets aretheir closer allies and asked their followers to listen only to these stations and not to any government media such as the radio, television or newspaper. They want to impose all these to the public at large in the 21st century.
These infamous, foreign based media continue to play with fire. Based in foreign and having no base and without touch, they continue to poison the society with their fabricated and provocative mendacity. They too must face justice because they are misusing those countries tax pays money on the one hand and destabilizing the uniting fabric of the Ethiopian people. International governmental and non-governmental institutions alike must not be drawn into the crocodile tears of these self-appointed organizationsbecause they have continued to conduct organized violent activities.
This sinister strategy cannot and must not be tolerated by peace loving community of the world. Diaspora Ethiopians and the public at large should always remain well informed and be realist. They must say enough is enough to these destructive forces and like other African Diasporas, they must focus on helping their country of origin to defeat poverty and under development: the number one priority of the people at large. Further, the Ethiopian community should be vigilant and stand on guard to defeat these extremists who carry racist propaganda.
Ethiopians must work very hard day and night because the country cannot afford economic sabotage from within and abroad. People must work hard to help themselves, their family and their country. Generally, violence and any other illegal activities are issues of the past and with no fruits to bear. Therefore, violence cannot and will not be the answer. Legal, constitutional and civilized dialogue is.