Why is it when in the time of the greatest need we are far more concerned with fighting each other?
To anyone in Ethiopia with a rudimentary understanding of politics, one can see that there are two major ideologies running about. One is in favor of a nationwide united Ethiopia with its roots in its multi-ethnic background, while the other is concerned with a smaller regional, ethnical and sometimes religious nationalism. To say that the ideological gap between the two groups has caused pain and suffering would be an understatement.
This gap rather than closing in has been widening alarmingly dividing the nation further apart. Jawar Mohammed’s latest rhetoric and its consequences are a chief example but he is far from the only one and there are those who are far more dangerous. Therefore, the question is, “is the problem only coming from one side?”
The answer is no. You see there is a kind of blindness associated with progressives where they perceive ultra-nationalists and their kind as relics from a bygone era, people with ideologies based on false, idiotic and narrow-minded approach to life. But here is where they are at fault. Regressive right wing politics exploits and twists an existing and unaddressed Socio-economical and Geo-political problems to their own purpose.
History is rife with such incidents; you need only to look at the early twentieth century and the history of Nazism and fascism. Recently the 2016 U.S. election and Brexit have also demonstrated the price of underestimating such movements. So those on the other side, who are concerned with a united Ethiopia should pay more concern as they seem to think in the same way as described before and that is very dangerous.
Of course, a historical evidence from a different time and place cannot be directly attributed here. But still the broad strokes are more than ample enough to signal a warning. The danger isn’t less and for our fledgling Democratic nation where even political parties are unable to conduct safe campaigns for fear of violence, it is of great importance.
Rather than simply branding the other side as racists, we need to rich out and try to understand them and bridge the gap, as the old saying goes “you destroy your enemies when you make peace with them”. Otherwise we are set for a long protracted civil war and in the end it’s the people who will suffer, as another saying goes” When the rich wage war, it’s the poor who die”.