Ethiopia is at a hinge moment in the course of national survival. The current intensification of incitement to violence represents how extremists overlook legal, social, and personal boundaries. Besides, the ongoing social unrest and lawlessness have brought additional challenges to the country’s ethnic-oriented political space. The observed irreverence of national sovereignty also stirred up outrage among Ethiopians in Ethiopia and across the world.
All Ethiopians must be engaged in enhancing a modern Ethiopia that fosters an inclusive concept of nationalism. Yet, one segment of radical ethnonationalism is fixated in the country’s past, and officially bolsters the idea of Ethiopia’s dismemberment. From time to time, the group’s assertive move grows into overt resistance to the established status quo. As many would like to see an Ethiopia as a united polity, it is also a fact that others opt-out for fractured entities. Manifestations of shocking collective violence and atrocities upon innocent civilians have been branded as a struggle for ethnic self-determination. Does the contest for ethnic equity mean dehumanizing fellow Ethiopians? If the answer is yes, then the fundamental objective of radical ethnonationalism is to codify a political domain in which Ethiopians are granted less honor, significance, value, and human rights.
The toxic political environment might lead to more discords and affects the country’s national fiber. Besides, the spontaneous violence sheds light on the national character of the unsettling surge in ethnic-based conflicts. Critics are justified in asking whether the eruption of violence and hostilities were parts of the political conversations. The normalization of hate speech and fatalities in various areas constitute the staple ingredients of twenty-first-century Ethiopia.
Ethnonationalist activists stand at the forefront of changing the discourse for their end and have grown from hardened proponents for justice into behemoth veiled with a political threat. Under the guise of ethnic struggles, they make their bread and butter disparaging their opponents, inciting violence, and spreading hatred between people groups. By maintaining strategies that promptly target disunity, they cherish the upsurge of political unrest by declaring that Ethiopia’s future is hanging in the balance.
Ethiopians presently yearn for political stability and security. They deserve engaging debates between the old and the new, the present and the future, the unionist, and the ethnonationalist. Rhetoric and vitriol do not get us far, but a redemptive movement of national unity does. The approach to conveying ethnic discussions in the country must involve rectitude. Likewise, the measure consists of examining the nature of the nation’s cohesion. How far should Ethiopians refer to their past to deal with their present and future?
Millennium, centuries, or decades later, it’s an Ethiopia that still exists for all its citizens. Sustaining Ethiopia is best enhanced by addressing at least the major contested territories that have blocked for long multi-dimensional and multi-directional discourses. Dialogues create a reasonable transition of ideas between incoherent ideological groups: When the contested terrains are open for discussion, adversaries would at least draw a common consensus to agree or differ. The inevitable question, at last, is: Can Ethiopians agree to disagree on some issues and unite in matters that benefit national interests?
The idea of Ethiopia has allowed trans-ethnic positions to infuse the meaning and interpretation of Ethiopia. There’s a need for systematic instructive support to assist Ethiopians with contextualizing contested history.
Martin Luther King once said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
Long Live Ethiopia!