When Ethiopia thrives the whole neighborhood benefits


A hundred million strong Ethiopia with an inward oriented leader could change the balance in the region. Again that is what worries foreign powers. They are not in favor of that kind of development.

Ethiopia and Sudan map

by Yilma Bekele

They say the darkest hour is before dawn. Ethiopia’s dark hour lasted over half a century. The sun is rising over good old Ethiopia. It is a sight to behold. Nation building is not an easy task but we have done it before. We have stayed intact for thousands of years. This one feels like we’re determined to get it right. We keep the recipe in a locked box. We have cooked delicious plates many times before. What happened is we sort of misplaced the little book and tried to include other ingredients and failed miserably. Well someone located the old book and is attempting the old recipe as we read this. The masses are sitting and waiting to be served. The hustle and bustle we see is citizens organizing, pushing and shoving to find the best seat on the table. It is sad a few have brought weapons to the table.

We are blessed to have a fair and gracious foreman during this transition from chaos to order. The last three difficult years, Dr. Abiy Ahmed has proven he is a born leader. No one would have predicted such a beautiful flower to bloom from Woyane’s toxic garden. Our country might not perform to our expectations in many matters but we seem to have this knack to be able to produce leaders at the right time and avert failure. It has happened many times in our long history. Permit me to go a little bit back. So you ask how old is Ethiopia?

Our country is old. It goes way back to the Egyptian and the Greek civilizations. That’s over three thousand years back. Egyptians traded with us in what is called Nubia and the father of history Herodutus spoke of us. When you think this interpretation is based on what other people found out about us you know if we dig deeper there is more to the story than what they are telling us. What is true is that our country was associated with the builders of the Pyramids and is prominent in Greek history that western civilization is built on. Ethiopians brought franken incense to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem. The Prophet Mohamed (may God’s prayers and peace be with him) sent his family for safety to our country when he migrated from Mecca to Medina in what’s known as the Hijrah. When you look at the whole picture those little things add up to make who we really are, how we think and interact with each other and outsiders today.

It was in 1543 Emperor Gelawdewos at the battle of Wayna Daga that defeated and pushed the Ottoman Empire back. Hordes of Ottoman would have devoured us. It did not happen because Emperor Gelawdewos came at the right time. We remember fondly Emperor Tewodros II, a common man with a big dream and the architect of modern Ethiopia. His sacrifice rather than be captured has always filled our hearts with pride. Our Emperor Minilk II is a symbol of bravery not just for us but also for all black people that hold Adwa as a shining moment in African history. This is the Ethiopia clueless Woyane tried to cancel.

Just three years ago most Ethiopians had no idea who Dr. Abiy was. We were more interested in the demise of Woyane and weren’t that much focused on what comes after. Woyane invested heavy tamping pour expectations and cutting down anyone that might pose a threat. Who will take over is a question fanned by Woyane and their foot soldiers that repeated it like a mantra thus freezing their brain function. No question Dr. Abiy is a pleasant surprise and no lover of Ethiopia can deny that. He came at the right time to avert disaster.

It is true it took most of us a while to see it that way. Since he emerged from the camp of the ‘Hyenas’ it is natural we viewed him with suspicion. This is because we did not know what he thinks, what he wants and how he would go about reaching his goal. Normally when a leader is picked most of these questions are discussed during the process and answered in some fashion. Dr. Abiy was thrown at our face. One thing we know about our old tormentors is that they love drama. We have no reason to think that was their last show. The three years have proven the Prime Minister is focused, knows what he is doing and he is a leader in the mold of the big ones before him.

They say when it rains it pours and we are blessed with two exemplary leaders that have shown qualities that are a must to chart the new Ethiopia. Dr. Berhanu Nega stands head and shoulders above all our leaders. Dr. Berhanu is a political leader, a teacher, a liberation fighter, a husband and a father. He is living multiple lives all at the same time. His Asimba journey must have created a lasting impression on him. The years since then have shown refinement to his approach to the struggle and the sacrifice it entails. I call Dr. Berhanu the person with the Midas touch. You know who Midas is? Midas is a legendary Phrygian king who is given the power of everything he touches to gold. Need I say more?

Exile opened a whole new opportunity and he took the struggle to a higher plane. Ginbot7 laid the truth that with Woyane the gun option is on the table. The act unhinged the tribal cabal. ESAT was the nuclear option. It brought the disintegration of the warlords sooner than later. His leadership style and the people he gathered around him designed the many forms of the struggle to do the most damage with limited resources at their disposal. Let us just say his organization made Woyane spend its limited resources fighting ESAT on top of internal opposition. It was a game of attrition and it worked.

Dr. Berhanu is held in high esteem by his people and the joyous welcome he received upon his return from exile with no involvement by the government cemented his place in our history. No one can deny or duplicate that. It came from the heart. Well Lemma tried it with OLF but it was a bust. Chairman’s Berhanu’s organizational skill were once again put to test during the formation of Ethiopian Citizens for Social Justice (ECSJ) የኢትዮጵያ ዜጎች ለማህበራዊ ፍትህ that is a coalition of seven other smaller parties. Today the nationwide reach of the new party he helped establish is a prototype on how to bring different people together for a common cause. He invested all his life to bring fairness, peace and prosperity and here he is once again shepherding the process. Rest assured no one will get away breaking the rules.

This is why I said our country’s fate is in good hands. The two gentlemen have shown they do not compromise on Ethiopia and they do not need training on the job. Prime Minster Abiy and Chairman Berhanu as leaders give us the best fighting chance to escape the cycle of war, poverty and hate that has stifled our development. No question a country mostly mirrors the leaders profile. That is what the world witnesses with the recent elections in the US. Today civil conversation shows a marked difference due to the nature of the person in charge. Colonel Mengistu brought out the rage inside of us and warlord Individual one took us to the edge of hell. We survived. We are back on the saddle again. Guiding our country out of the darkness is not an easy task especially with two major hurdles we have to jump over before we begin the journey.

We have cultivated and nurtured hate and ignorance while following false prophets to never land. Healing requires closure. A South African Style ‘Truth and reconciliation commission’ among many other solutions devised by those that suffered like us can help us build a healthy society for our children. A good leader can usher a period of national healing. The catalyst Woyane’s removal from the scene has already changed the balance in our favor. The long journey has begun.

Our independent history rubs some people the wrong way. When all others collapsed around us we remained intact. Africa became a playground for Europeans but we were left alone. Ethiopia was not victimized. Believe me that is a very big deal. We never had anybody tell us how to conduct our business. We are hardcore Nationalists by our very nature. To put it in a nutshell, we lived to protect Ethiopia. There was a time they referred to Ethiopia as the ‘hidden Empire.’ As long as we are isolated behind our rugged mountains, fierce deserts and tropical jungles we were left alone. Well there were a few times some tried to bring us to the fold but we said no, thank you.

That was then, a small peculiar nation on the horn. But that is not true today. We are over one hundred million strong and our neighborhood has changed a lot. The Red Sea, Indian Ocean, Gulf of Aden and the vast interior of rich Africa are all on our doorstep. There are many that want to be the doorman. What is going to stop them is a good question.

It is the revival of Nationalism and the tele tele signs of independence being exhibited by the government and people. It is stocking fears among outsiders. They get agitated. Where is it leading to they ask? They ask because it is their job and it concerns them. Lets us admit it, Ethiopia has been a failed state for the last few years. Our country balances its book with grants by foreign donors. We live on welfare. Let us just agree due to the burden of foreign aid we failed. Please don’t pity us, it was a good fail.

We got rid of cancer from our body politic. Lives were lost protecting our unity. Kola Tembien shows thirst for Ethiopian blood and this is not the first time. The foreigners are critical of how we liberated our country. It is not whether it is good or bad but the fact they were not part of it is what hurts their feelings. They are very sensitive. What are we going to do next is what worries them. We are doing a few things that are good for our country like getting rid of tyrants, creating alliance with Eritrea, filling the dam with our water, scheduling elections and that makes some nervous. They are holding hearings and passing resolutions regarding our conduct. The Africans, Asians, Latin Americans are busy dealing with covid. The Chinese and the Russians refuse to get involved in other countries ‘internal affairs’ since they know it will be directed at them next. It is the Americans and the Europeans that are showing ‘concern’ and demanding certain actions be taken. They are posturing as defender of freedom and human rights.

They are huffing and puffing not because they don’t like us but rather it is the nature of the business of being a big super power. It is no different than the way most things happen in nature. Survival of the fittest or big fish eating small fish is how it is explained. To the Super Power the Nationalist is a virus that spreads self-reliance and independence. Nationalism has cut short the lives of plenty of African leaders. To colonialists (super powers of their time) Nationalism was a disease to be eliminated, squashed down and shamed. Apart from MLK and Malcolm X, Africa has seen many Nationalist leaders eliminated due to their revolutionary ideas. There was Ben Bela of Algeria, Patrice Lumba of Congo, Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Amil Cabral of Guinea Bissau, Steven Biko of South Africa that were oozing of Nationalism and self-determination and they were all eliminated. Leader Nelson Mandela (madiba) survived and tasted the fruits of victory.

A hundred million strong Ethiopia with an inward oriented leader could change the balance in the region. Again that is what worries foreign powers. They are not in favor of that kind of development. They prefer a weak, divided failed state they can use as errand boys or dumping ground for their guilt. They shower you with foreign aid and drown you with NGOs. They are already telling us whom to associate with and how we deploy our forces inside our country all in the name of peace and stability. Don’t worry that is just the beginning, it gets worse. What we should know for sure is that it is a dead end street and we have been there before. Time to look at an alternative way of doing things.

The saying bitter pills may have blessed effects comes to mind here. The decades of conflict waged in every manner possible is proof that peace and justice cannot be achieved through hate and war. We never tire talking about enemies both real and imagined. No matter, there are a few that think Ethiopia’s unity is a threat. Egypt is our perpetual foe not that we have given them cause to worry but they are always afraid we can shut down the Abay faucet. It is unfounded but it helps the Egyptian government rally public support with a bogus problem. They also have this nasty habit of training and arming our own children to harm us. The best we can do is don’t give our children a reason to go and invite outsiders to the family conflict or raise our dam a few inches every time they misbehave. Looks like we are our worst enemy and outsiders take advantage and insert themselves. We have a habit of leaving the front door unlocked.

Thanks to the leadership of PM Abiy, our National Ethiopian Defense Forces (ENDF), our cousins the Erirteans and the support of the Ethiopian people, the Warlords today are history. We are stronger today than yesterday. Our view should adjust to the new reality and chart a bold future. The PM described the Hyenas as ‘powder in the wind.’ Blow away evil Woyane.

When Ethiopia thrives the whole neighborhood benefits.  Let us for a change think outside the box. Let us just take a break from looking at the rich West and take a glance at South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Costa Rica, Ghana and feast our eyes and brain with the possibilities. It is obvious we have come a long way from Woyane times; we are able to dream now.


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