Medemer is a covenant of peace that seeks unity in our common humanity. It pursues peace by practicing the values of love, forgiveness, reconciliation, and inclusion. It takes a few to make war, but it takes a village and a nation to build peace. For me, nurturing peace is like planting and growing trees. Just like trees need water and good soil to grow, peace requires unwavering commitment, infinite patience, and goodwill to cultivate and harvest its dividends. Peace requires good faith to blossom into prosperity, security, and opportunity. PM Abiy Ahmed, Nobel Peace Prize Lecture (2019)
The war the TPLF waged in Ethiopia over the past two years was an “unholy war” which sought to usher an Armageddon in Ethiopia.
The TPLF unleashed its Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse – conquest, war, famine and death. The TPLF war caused over one million deaths in its foolish and demented pursuit of conquest and power, exposed millions more to famine, suffering and sorrow and caused destruction of property and infrastructure which will require a minimum of $25 billion to replace.
Ethiopia emerged victorious by exchanging olive branches for guns, tanks and artillery pieces.
Ethiopia won peace and her enemies were left in pieces.
Ethiopia won confident in the victory of good over evil!
War, war / Rumors of war
And until that day / The African continent
Will not know peace/ We Africans will fight, we find it necessary
And we know we shall win/ As we are confident
In the victory/ Of good over evil
Bob Marley, GOAT (Greatest of All Time)
Ethiopia has made African history!
Ethiopians have proven to the world, and especially to their African brothers and sisters, they can start a war, end it and make peace!
Starting wars is easy.
One or a few damned fools driven by ambition and hunger for power can start a war. But any war is hard to end.
The greatest African “post-independence” tragedy has been the inability of African countries to end conflicts and wars on their own.
Western governments, their press-titute media and intelligence agents donning academic garb have fanned the flames of ethnic division and hate to keep Africans at each other’s throats.
Nary a single instance in Africa’s modern history when the West has not sought to create peace in Africa while fanning the flames of war.
During the Cold War, the West fought its proxy wars in Africa resulting in unspeakable death and destruction.
Since the “end” of colonialism, Western military installations and bases were planted all over Africa.
Western intelligence agents have instigated military coups and arranged for regime change by systematic interference in African domestic affairs and manipulation of its civil and military institutions and leaders.
Whenever there is conflict and war, Western countries have showed up uninvited (keep showing up like a bad penny even when openly rejected) dressed as peacemakers, mediators and negotiators.
The old mold that the West can only bring peace to Africa was shattered once and for all by Ethiopia on November 2, 2022.
On that date, the Ethiopian Federal Government and an insurrectionist group known as the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) signed a permanent ceasefire agreement and made peace.
Truth be told, the Ethiopians did not do it entirely by themselves. They had a little help from their African friends.
It is a new day, a new dawn in Africa.
Across the African skies is written, “African solutions to African problems.”
Henceforth, there shall be no issue or problem that is of Africa, created by Africans that cannot be solved by Africans, and BY AFRICANS ALONE!
Ethiopia’s “homegrown” Odyssey to Peace and Prosperity
For the past 5 years, Ethiopia has been on a “homegrown” odyssey (journey) of self-discovery, self-reliance, self-sufficiency, self-governance, self-defense, self-assurance, self-healing, self-pride, self-knowledge, self-sufficiency and self-improvement.
Ethiopia’s massive reform odyssey has been guided by the eternal principle, “Ethiopian solutions to Ethiopia’s problems.”
Ethiopia’s odyssey of structural reform has been powered by determined efforts to create accountable public institutions, democratization of the political process, institutionalization of the rule of law, and transformation of the economy from the so-called “developmental state”-led growth to private sector-led growth.
Ethiopia’s Homegrown Economic Reform Agenda is transitioning Ethiopia from an Asian Tiger wannabe to a proud, self-sufficient, self-feeding and self-reliant African lion.
The equivalent homegrown political reform agenda has produced a democratically elected government in Ethiopia certified by the African Union.
Ethiopia’s homegrown foreign policy agenda has transformed regional peace in the Horn of Africa. The no peace, no war two-decade status quo between Ethiopia and Eritrea has been transformed into peace, amity and comity between the two countries.
Ethiopia has been a fulcrum and driver of peace in the Sudan as well as in South Sudan.
Ethiopia has leveraged its unique role in the Horn to improve peaceful relations between Eritrea and Djibouti.
As part of a broader regional peace initiative and engagement, Ethiopia has played a key role in restoration of diplomatic relations between Somalia and Kenya.
Ethiopia’s homegrown environmental and conservation agenda has resulted in a massive Green Legacy program and planting of billions of seedlings as of 2022. It has been Ethiopia’s homegrown tourism and quality of life enhancement agenda has transformed Africa’s diplomatic capital, Addis Ababa, to live out the true meaning of its name (Addis Ababa means New Flower).
PM Abiy Ahmed was the recipient of the American Academy of Achievement and Global Hope Coalition’s “Outstanding African Leadership Award” for his Green Legacy initiative to reforest Ethiopia.
Ethiopia’s odyssey over the past 5 years has been challenging, grueling and formidable.
Ethiopia faced a bloody terrorist war over the past 2 years resulting in the deaths of over six hundred thousand innocent Ethiopians, displacement of millions more and suffered losses of infrastructure and private property worth in tens of billions of birr.
The Covid 19 pandemic, coordinated Western sanctions and insidious interference in the internal affairs of Ethiopia and related economic problems manifesting themselves in inflation have made life for ordinary Ethiopians extremely difficult.
War and rumors of war denied Ethiopians peace of mind.
Structural corruption continues to be an existential threat to Ethiopia.
But Ethiopia has been fighting tooth and nail against domestic insurrection and external oppression.
Ethiopia is likely to be an exporter of wheat next year. No more wheat begging to feed Ethiopians!
How sweet and glorious the sound of shattering begging bowls!
Millions of hectares are under development for cash crops– coffee, bananas, avocadoes, oranges and rice.
The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is rising higher and higher and its turbines are coming online one by one.
Such glorious sound, the hum of spinning GERD hydro turbines!
Somebody ought to invent a dance, “The GERD Turbine Boogie.”
Through war, plague, inflation, corruption and the bludgeoning of Western powers, Ethiopia’s head indeed has been bloodied but remains unbowed.
Paraphrasing the words of the great Maya Angelou:
They wanted to see Ethiopia broken
Bowed head and lowered eyes
Shoulders falling down like teardrops
Weakened by her soulful cries.
Just like moons and like suns
With the certainty of tides
Just like hopes springing high
Still Ethiopia did rise.
Indeed, Ethiopia shall rise and rise and rise… for the sky is not her limit.
What a tangled web we weave when we practice to unmake peace
“O, what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive!”
What a tangled web we weave when we practice to unmake peace.
For the past week, I have declined to give interviews on the “peace process” to various outlets, including a well-known service broadcasting for an Ethiopian audience.
I have also received numerous messages from friends and readers asking me to “explain my stand on the ceasefire agreement and the peace process.”
The messages resonate common themes:
The peace with TPLF is a Pyrrhic victory for Ethiopia. It is a victory which cost millions in lives and billions in treasury.
The agreement denied Ethiopia a much-needed decisive victory over the evil TPLF. Ethiopia missed an opportunity to eradicate the TPLF once and for all.
The agreement only affirmed TPLF leaders’ credo that “they never lose. They fall, lick the ground and rise up, fight again and win.”
It is an insult to the millions dead and displaced to allow the TPLF to sign a peace agreement. It dishonors the dead. Minimally, the TPLF should have been required to publicly apologize to the people of Ethiopia and Tigray for its crimes and treasonous deeds.
TPLF leaders have literally gotten away with murder, murder of a million people, and the agreement provides no accountability for the horrendous crimes they have committed over the past two years.
There should be a truth and reconciliation process before the TPLF is given a chance to become part of the political process again.
The TPLF leaders have publicly declared war is their ethnic tradition, in their blood. By definition, they do not believe in “peace.” It is foolish to talk about having “peace” with the TPLF.
There can be no “peace” without justice. Real peace will come only when the criminals who instigated and led the war and caused the destruction are brought to justice.
The agreement is a get-out-of-jail card for TPLF leaders.
TPLF leaders signed the agreement so they can get their bank accounts unfrozen and ill-gotten gains returned to them.
TPLF leaders are appearing in public as if they are the bosses and will continue in power contrary to the terms of the agreement which requires the Ethiopian federal government to set the transitional government and hold elections.
The devil is in the details of the peace agreement. TPLF leaders will never implement the agreement in good faith and in goodwill.
The TPLF leaders who are responsible for the war should be held accountable just like the Nazi war criminals after WW II.
The agreement legitimizes a group that is still classified as a terrorist group under Ethiopian law and who leaders are fugitives from justice with outstanding warrants.
The agreement sets a bad precedent because other terrorists and groups that seek to overthrow government by force will do so with a sense of impunity.
The peace agreement has left the TPLF leaders in power and nothing has changed. It is meaningless.
The TPLF leaders were rewarded with “peace” so they can buy time to wage another war.
The TPLF leaders have not transferred all the weapons as required by the peace agreement and are secretly organizing to launch a fourth attack.
The peace agreement is a trick used by the US and European Union to get Ethiopia to drop its guard so that the TPLF and Egypt can coordinate another attack on Ethiopia.
It is not peace but appeasement of the TPLF in order to reduce pressure by the US and European Union.
It is not real peace but a calculated strategy to deal with a devil you know than an angel you don’t know.
The TPLF could not get into power by war, now it is trying to do it playing a game of “peace.”
Peace will not come to Ethiopia with just the annihilation of the TPLF military structure, but only if the TPLF organization is obliterated from the Ethiopian political landscape.
The agreement is not worth the paper it is written on because the TPLF will walk away from it the minute it feels the federal government is weak or the country unstable.
The agreement is for an illusionary peace for the TPLF has not been truly defeated.
TPLF is a cancer that will come back stronger and more deadly after it metastasizes in the Ethiopia body politics.
Price of peace: Did Ethiopia win the war to secure a lasting peace?
An old African proverb teaches, “Do not try to fight a lion if you are not one yourself.”
That is true even if the lion is weak, wounded or old.
The TPLF is no lion, and that is why it was defeated by the coordinated operations of the Ethiopian National Defense Force, Amhara and Afar Special Forces and militia and Fano Fighters.
In my analysis, both Clausewitz and Sun Tzu would declare Ethiopia achieved a decisive and total victory over the TPLF.
Clausewitz in his volume “On War” explained, “defeat of the enemy” means
simply the destruction of his forces, whether by death, injury, or any other means—either completely or enough to make him stop fighting. . . . The complete or partial destruction of the enemy must be regarded as the sole object of all engagements. . . . Direct annihilation of the enemy’s forces must always be the dominant consideration.
When the TPLF agreed to turn over all weapons and allow Ethiopian troops to take control of Tigray, there is no question of TPLF’s defeat, its total annihilation.
By the time the TPLF agreed to a ceasefire agreement, it had lost over 70 percent of the territory it controlled, had racked up 600 thousand dead in Tigray region, lost the support of the vast majority of the population which had undergone two years of unspeakable suffering, the infrastructure in Tigray region had suffered catastrophic collapse and its leadership and command and control militarily, physically and morally exhausted.
Further resistance by the TPLF was futile, suicidal!
The TPLF was totally annihilated when it signed the ceasefire agreement after it launched its third “Hail Mary” attack in August 2022.
The TPLF had to sign on the dotted line, no question asked!
Should the TPLF have been humiliated in defeat?
In the “Art of War”, Sun Tzu advised, “When you surround an army, leave an outlet free. Do not press a desperate foe too hard.”
Mandela also advised, “If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.“
The fact of the matter is that the TPLF leaders who boasted and blustered for years that they are invincible, untouchable and indomitable — those who bragged the mountains shook on their approach, that they will capture Addis Ababa in two weeks in a “Mebreqawi” (Blitzkrieg) attack — made a bee line in Johannesburg to sign on the dotted line of the ceasefire agreement with their tails between their legs!
For those who want to see the TPLF humiliated, what can possibly be more humiliating than having the world witness the TPLF leaders signing the agreement with their heads bowed and their tails between their legs?
What kind of TPLF surrender will make happy those calling for its humiliation?
Nothing can be gained from punishing a defeated enemy to extremities, to humiliate and degrade him in victory.
I find nothing redeeming in the total humiliation of the TPLF.
The complete disintegration of the TPLF fighting force is good enough for me!
There are those who insist all TPLF combatants and leaders should be brought to justice before “PEACE” can be declared. “No peace, no justice” they say.
I have no objection in principle to hauling before the bar of justice all who have committed crimes.
How many TPLF leaders and combatants should be brought trial on war crimes, treason, genocide, etc. charges?
How high/low in the chain of command should we look for suspects to prosecute?
From what I have been able to determine, the vast majority of the top TPLF leaders have departed for the next world. I should like to believe they have already faced divine justice.
The ones alive and signing agreements and babbling are the dregs of the once mighty TPLF.
Thousands of TPLF fighters have committed war crimes. How many decades are Ethiopians prepared to take to prosecute all of them? Will there be enough prisons to accommodate all convicts?
Will prosecuting and jailing all TPLF leaders and combatants bring peace and reconciliation to Ethiopia?
The people of Tigray– who lost their children, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, relatives, neighbors, etc.– will pass judgement on those who plunged them into a hellish war where they lost everything!
Those who believe the TPLF leaders have gotten away with murder should remember, “The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.”
Justice may be delayed just like a train that has missed its schedule, but it always arrives with its bells tolling.
The people of Tigray were not asked or given a chance to vote on whether to go to war.
What percentage of the Tigray population voluntarily joined the TPLF terrorist army?
How many children were forced to become child soldiers?
I can state with certainty no less than 95 percent of the people of Tigray would have voted down any proposal for war with their mother country if given a chance. Isn’t Axum, Tigray, an original source of Ethiopian civilization?
No child will ever volunteer to go to war. But tens of thousands of children, barely ten years old, were dragooned to serve in the TPLF terrorist army.
The TPLF leaders launched three separate and massive attacks to impose their will on the Ethiopia people by military conquest.
They proved to be three-time losers.
The price of peace is forgiveness, tolerance and reconciliation.
The wages of war are death and destruction.
Could it be that those who oppose the peace agreement with the TPLF do so because they want a “pound of flesh”, REVENGE?
In Shakespeare’s “Merchant of Venice,” Salerio asks Shylock why he wants a pound of Antonio’s flesh who did not pay his debt on time as Shylock does not understand what it is “good for”.
Shylock explains the pound of flesh he wants will ‘feed’ his ‘revenge’. Revenge for having himself and his people sorely wronged in the past.
So, is it about revenge against the TPLF after all, and not peace?
Ethiopia made peace with its neighbor Eritrea. Did Ethiopia or Eritrea lose anything by making peace?
But they lost precious lives, time and resources by engaging in war and maintaining a no war, no peace situation for two decades.
What will Ethiopia lose by having peace in Tigray with a toothless, armless, weaponless, shiftless, brainless, valueless, visionless, futureless and useless TPLF playacting power?
But Ethiopia gains everything. Above all, the unity, safety, security of its people and its sovereignty and territorial integrity!
I wonder on what planet those who oppose the permanent ceasefire agreement spend their time when they are not hanging out in Ethiopia, Planet Earth.
Magnanimity is expected of the victor.
Momentary pleasure should not leave a generational scar of humiliation and yearning for revenge.
Ethiopia on a homegrown peace odyssey
Homer wrote his epic poem the The Odyssey circa 800 BCE:
Now Neptune had gone off to the Ethiopians, who are at the world’s end, and lie in two halves, the one looking West and the other East. [In Neptune’s absence] the other gods met in the house of Olympian Jove… who said to the other gods: ‘See now, how men lay blame upon us gods for what is after all nothing but their own folly…”
Ethiopia has been at war of one kind or another for at least the past one-half century.
Ethiopia has been at war with its neighbors. War was thrust upon Ethiopia by Somalia and Eritrea.
Ethiopia has been wracked by internal strife and terrorism.
But war was not preordained on Ethiopia or on the Horn of Africa.
War in Ethiopia was the work of men, not of the gods.
The Olympian Jove was right: “See now, how men lay blame upon us gods for what is after all nothing but their own folly…”
War is the ultimate human folly.
Peace is the ultimate triumph over the ultimate human folly.
In June 2018, I was overjoyed by the announcement of the Ethiopian and Eritrean Governments to fully implement the 2002 “Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission DECISION Regarding Delimitation of the Border.”
That agreement ended a two-decades-long “no war-no peace” status quo between the two countries.
At the time, I reflected:
The guns silenced, the suffering people of Ethiopia and Eritrea may now speak, shout out, that the two countries hereafter “shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.” Witnessing swords beaten into plowshares is a source of great joy for me.
There were no winners in the Ethio-Eritrean conflict or during the 20-year long stalemate.
Many times over the years I pondered what could have been achieved if both countries had been able to expend their efforts waging a united war on poverty.
Today, they would be drinking from the victory cup of peace and prosperity.
To the credit of both countries, they quickly began tearing down the border wall and started building bridges after their agreement.
The peace dividends from the agreement to fully implement the Commission Decision were immediate.
They agreed to have airlines services, ports to start working, open embassies, allow free travel for family reunification.
When peace became a fact between Ethiopia and Eritrea, I was a witness.
No greater honor have I received in my life than joining H.E. Prime Minster Abiy Ahmed and H.E. President Isaias when the border between the two countries were opened after 20 years.
Wrote Robert Burns,
The best laid schemes of mice and men
Go often awry,
And leave us nothing but grief and pain,
For promised joy.”
Little did I expect that two years after the promised joy of the Ethio-Eritrea agreement, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) would learn war and raise its sword to slice and dice the Ethiopian nation.
On November 4, 2020, the TPLF launched a “blitzkrieg” attack on Ethiopian federal garrisons in various locations in Tigray region.
On November 2, 2022, a ceasefire agreement was signed in Johannesburg bringing the 2-year war to an end.
In the Ethio-Eritrean War (1998-2002), the estimates on casualties range from 40,000 to 100,000.
In the TPLF war on Ethiopia, the casualty guesstimates in Tigray, Amhara and Afar regions exceed one million people.
In an op-ed piece, Olesegun Obasanjo, former Nigerian President and the African Union’s Envoy to the Horn of Africa which facilitated the ceasefire talks concluded:
The destruction caused in the Tigray region which was the main theater of the war was very high in human and material losses. It has been estimated that no fewer than 600,000 people died directly in battle or as a result of disease and the lack of access to humanitarian aid.
If destruction of lives caused directly and indirectly in other parts of Ethiopia particularly in Amhara, Afar, and Oromia is added, the estimated total lives lost in Ethiopia civil war would be close to one million. The cost of the reconstruction and rehabilitation of private and public properties and institutions has been estimated at about $25 billion. (Italics added.)
The number of displaced persons runs into the millions.
What losing peace means to those whose lips drip with the word “peace”
Nothing is more important to Ethiopians than peace.
After all, the words “peace” rolls off the tongue of every Ethiopian – all 115 million of them – every day, dozens of times.
All Ethiopians greet each other by asking, “Selam neh/nesh”? “Are you at peace?”
They bid each other farewell by saying, “Selam hun” (“Be at peace.”); “Beselam enegenagne” (“Let’s meet in peace next time.”)
They invoke peace for Ethiopia and themselves. Selam Le Ethiopia! (Peace be upon Ethiopia.) Selam lehulachinm! (Peace to all of us.)
They express their wish for their country by saying, “Selamun yistegn (May the Almighty grant us peace.)
Ethiopians have a long-lived reputation of being a peaceful “unwarlike people”.
When America declared independence in 1776, and eleven years before the United States was created with the ratification of the Constitution in 1787, Edward Gibbon, author of the epochal six-volume “The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire” wrote of the need to defend the Ethiopians, then called “Abyssinians, an unwarlike people from the Barbarians who ravaged the inland country and the Turks and Arabs who advanced from the sea-coast in more formidable array.”
Gibbon wrote the Abyssinians were peaceful people interested in a
rational project of importing the arts and ingenuity of Europe; and their ambassadors at Rome and Lisbon were instructed to solicit a colony of smiths, carpenters, tilers, masons, printers, surgeons, and physicians, for the use of their country.
Gibbon further observed:
Encompassed on all sides by the enemies of their religion, the Aethiopians slept near a thousand years, forgetful of the world, by whom they were forgotten. They were awakened by the Portuguese, who, turning the southern promontory of Africa, appeared in India and the Red Sea, as if they had descended through the air from a distant planet.
So, why has peace been so elusive, so fleeting to Ethiopians?
Could it be because Ethiopia is encompassed by enemies of her unity, sovereignty, territorial integrity and dignity?
Peace and the diaspora armchair/social media warriors
Many in the Ethiopian diaspora, particularly among TPLF supporters and other extremist groups, stand on the sidelines cheering for the war to continue.
For the past two years, these diasporans and Western lackeys (rent-a-intellectuals, press-titute media, think tankers, certain members of Congress and Biden officials) have waged epic media campaigns to demonize Ethiopia and proselytize the TPLF cause proclaiming Apocalypse, Armageddon and Genocide in Ethiopia.
It is so easy to wage war using the chatter of the computer keyboard as an AK-47 and YouTube as a weapon of mass distraction.
I came to understand the futility and absurdity of war after I started participating in the antiwar movement in the US in 1971, my second year of college.
It was also in the same year that my college classmate, a brilliant and fearless conscientious objector, was charged with draft evasion for refusing to fight in Vietnam.
He was tried in US Federal Court in Augusta, Georgia and acquitted due to his belief in nonviolence.
He was represented by the only black lawyer in town (to my knowledge). (Watching that trial convinced me that I should also become a lawyer and fight for the underdog.)
Several of my college classmates were wounded veterans in the Vietnam War. One of my closest friends was a helicopter pilot who was shot down and became disabled. The other served in a field artillery battalion.
Others in my circle were “jarheads” and “grunts.” We were all in the antiwar movement, none of us over 22 years of age.
In 1971, the trials for the My Lai massacre of 1968 took place. “More than 500 people were slaughtered, including young girls and women who were raped and mutilated before being killed.”
Lt. William Calley was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for his role in the My Lai Massacre.
Calley served three years of house arrest for 22 cold-blooded murders he committed during the My Lai massacre!
Today, Ethiopia is lectured and hectored to prosecute war criminals and alleged genociders.
The hubris and hypocrisy of power!
While on the subject of war and genocide, I learned about the “Trail of Tears” and the forced brutal removal of tens of thousands of Cherokee, Creek, Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Seminole peoples from Southeastern United States. Some of their descendants were my pupils.
I have never been to war but I have heard horrifying stories from my classmates who lived the hell of war and barely lived to tell about it.
My journey into Ethiopian human rights advocacy began with a 2006 two-part essay on civil disobedience and nonviolence.
I hate war, the lords of war and warmongers.
Is war ever necessary?
Is there a “just war” as Augustine and Aquinas argued? War that is rooted in morality (holy war)?
I think not.
I share the words of Robert Graves, who wrote verse as he fought behind the lines in WW I,
To you who’d read my songs of War
And only hear of blood and fame,
I’ll say (you’ve heard it said before)
Sartre wrote, “Hell is—other people!” in his play, “No Exit.”
I wonder if there is ever an exit out of the hell of war.
I am always for peace.
In my July 22, 2012 commentary, “My Dreams of Ethiopia at Peace”, I made my case for peace with eerie prophetic vision:
Truth be told, we should be concerned about a nation that has been in intensive care and on life support for the past 21 years and beyond. We should pray for the healing, speedy recovery and well-being of Ethiopia. We should be searching high and low in our hearts, minds and souls for the best medication to heal Ethiopia from the cancer of tyranny and dictatorship and the pathology of hate and narrow-mindedness. We should work tirelessly to detoxify the Ethiopian body politic from the poison of ethnic domination, sectarianism and bigotry.
To restore Ethiopia to good health, we must begin national dialogue, not only in the halls of power, the corridors of the bureaucracy and the military barracks but also in the remotest villages, the church and masjid meeting halls and other places of worship, the schools and colleges, the neighborhood associations and in the taverns, the streets and markets and wherever two or more people congregate. We have no choice but to begin talking to each other with goodwill and in good faith.
“Man is wolf to man.” (homo homini lupus): Learning from a Cherokee fable of the good and bad wolf
Humans regard the wolf as a predatory, rapacious, marauding, vicious, merciless and ravening.
The Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma is one of the largest native American nations in the United States.
The Cherokee people, along with many other indigenous nations, who have been subjected to unspeakable suffering and whose woeful history is partially remembered in the ‘Trail of Tears’ have wonderful folktales and traditional stories.
One of my favorites is the folktale of a grandfather teaching his grandson about good and evil. I used this instructive folktale in my April 2013 commentary.
‘A fight is going on inside me’, the grandfather told his grandson.
‘It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves.
One is an evil wolf who is full of anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.
The other is a good wolf. He loves joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.’
The grandfather added, ‘The same fight is going on inside you and every other person, too.’
The grandson thought about what his grandfather said and asked, ‘Which wolf will win?’
The grandfather replied, ‘The one you feed.’
There are good and bad wolves trekking the Ethiopian highlands, lowlands and diaspora-lands. They desire no peace. They want a continuation of war so they can profit from it churning the YouTube money machine and monetizing social media.
There are many others who wish to see the war continue so that they can continue to ply their trade of corruption and graft in Ethiopia.
Peace written on a piece of paper will not quell the vampiric lust for blood of the bad wolves.
It is up to the good wolves to ensure lasting and durable peace.
Peace flourishes where there is trust, faith, hope, love and charity.
I have good friends with ancestral links to Tigray but consider themselves Ethiopians, second to none.
They lament the fact that they are found guilty by ethnic association. They feel condemned to pay for the sins of the TPLF.
They have one paramount question: After all the crimes and atrocities the TPLF has committed in the last two years and the abuse and corruption of its quarter of a century rule, how can anyone of Tigrean ancestry live in peace and prosper in other parts of Ethiopia?
In other words, they tell me that their ethnicity will become a Scarlet letter on their forehead stigmatizing them forever.
I fully acknowledge their concerns but I tell them the power of love, tolerance and compassion will overcome the power of hate, division and blind ambition for power.
I advise them never to underestimate the intelligence and wisdom of their Ethiopian brothers and sisters.
I tell them not to worry about the bad wolves but strive to become part of the good wolf pack.
I say to them, “Peace comes when Ethiopians learn to feed the good wolf who loves joy, peace, hope, kindness… and starve the bad one who is full of hate, anger, greed…”
The African Union’s Monitoring, Verification and Compliance Mission (AU-MVCM)
The principle, “African solutions to African problems,” means Africans (and only Africans, if you don’t mind) negotiate, mediate, monitor, verify and ensure compliance with peace solutions.
There are some who argue that the African Union is not strong enough nor does it have the resources to do a good job with monitoring, verification and compliance of the Ethiopian peace agreement.
I disagree very strongly!
The permanent ceasefire agreement is the African Union’s moment to rise and shine.
Failure is not an option!
The AU team consists of highly experienced African military and civilians leaders who are already in Tigray ready to do their duties.
I do not believe the AU team will have a difficult time performing its duties as the Ethiopian government is discharging its obligations under the agreement without a hitch.
There is unimpeded humanitarian access.
Essential service including power, banking and internet connectivity are available in most parts of Tigray.
The Ethiopian federal police have entered Mekele and other parts of Tigray, and civilians no longer face widespread organized violence.
There is no issue of Eritrean troops in Tigray, and no one has ever presented clear and convincing proof such troops are currently stationed or are operating in any part of Ethiopia.
The issue of transitional justice will follow once the other elements of the agreement are implemented.
War crimes, atrocities, massacres, killings, rapes, disappearances, human rights abuses, displacement and various other crimes have been committed during the two-year war.
Those who oppose the peace agreement thinking the TPLF leaders will get away with murder, millions of murders, should welcome and support a transitional justice process.
BUT ANY TRANSITIONAL JUSTICE SYSTEM MUST BE ADMISNTERED BY ETHIOPIANS AND ETHIOPIANS ALONE. IF THEY CANNOT HANDLE IT, BY THE AFRICAN UNION. AND NO ONE ELSE!!!
Hiccups are to be expected in any complex monitoring, verification and compliance process.
Whatever challenges come to the AU team, its experienced military and civilian members can deal with it. By themselves, ALONE!
My gut feeling is that foreign forces will secretly work to sabotage and undermine implementation of the peace agreement.
But that goes without saying.
As long as Africans stick firm to their credo, “African solutions to African problems,” they can never be defeated!
Anyone else is IRRELEVANT!
“War is the epitome of hell… I know because I have been there and back. ”
As PM Abiy Ahmed’s supporters and detractors speak of his efforts to resolve the Tigray conflict, they should pause and reflect on the reasons for which he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and his unique methodology for peace.
Why did PM Abiy choose peace over war in Ethiopia’s relations with Eritrea?
Why did he choose a humble peace over a magnificent military victory in the TPLF war in Ethiopia?
Why did he choose dialogue and negotiations when he could have achieved crushing and glorious military victory over the TPLF?
Why did he choose not to inflict total humiliation on the criminal TPLF and consign them to the trash heap of history?
There are many who criticize PM Abiy for choosing peace, dialogue and negotiations over decisive and crushing victory over the TPLF.
There are many who would prefer he had chosen the road well-travelled and insisted, “An eye for an eye.”
I wonder if they have seriously pondered the obvious that “an eye for an eye makes a whole nation blind.”
Nelson Mandela said, “If there are dreams about a beautiful South Africa, there are also roads that lead to their goal. Two of these roads could be named Goodness and Forgiveness.”
Could it be that if there are dreams about a beautiful Ethiopia, there are also roads that lead to their goal. Two of these roads could also be named Goodness and Forgiveness.
In his Nobel Lecture, PM Abiy Ahmed ruminated the horrors of war, reflected on the road he had to travel to secure peace with Eritrea and the necessity of forgiveness and goodness if Ethiopia is to achieve peace, progress and prosperity:
I crawled my way to peace through the dusty trenches of war years ago.
I was a young soldier when war broke out between Ethiopia and Eritrea.
I witnessed firsthand the ugliness of war in frontline battles.
There are those who have never seen war but glorify and romanticize it.
They have not seen the fear.
They have not seen the fatigue.
They have not seen the destruction or heartbreak.
Nor have they felt the mournful emptiness of war after the carnage.
War is the epitome of hell for all involved. I know because I have been there and back.
Then he shared his vision and hope for peace in Ethiopia.
Allow me to share with you a little about the beliefs that guide my actions for peace.
I believe that peace is an affair of the heart. Peace is a labor of love.
Sustaining peace is hard work.
Yet, we must cherish and nurture it.
It takes a few to make war, but it takes a village and a nation to build peace.
For me, nurturing peace is like planting and growing trees.
Just like trees need water and good soil to grow, peace requires unwavering commitment, infinite patience, and goodwill to cultivate and harvest its dividends.
Peace requires good faith to blossom into prosperity, security, and opportunity.
In the same manner that trees absorb carbon dioxide to give us life and oxygen, peace has the capacity to absorb the suspicion and doubt that may cloud our relationships.
In return, it gives back hope for the future, confidence in ourselves, and faith in humanity.
This humanity I speak of, is within all of us.
We can cultivate and share it with others if we choose to remove our masks of pride and arrogance.
When our love for humanity outgrows our appreciation of human vanity then the world will know peace.
Ultimately, peace requires an enduring vision. And my vision of peace is rooted in the philosophy of Medemer.
Medemer, an Amharic word, signifies synergy, convergence, and teamwork for a common destiny.
Medemer is a homegrown idea that is reflected in our political, social, and economic life.
I like to think of “Medemer” as a social compact for Ethiopians to build a just, egalitarian, democratic, and humane society by pulling together our resources for our collective survival and prosperity.
In practice, Medemer is about using the best of our past to build a new society and a new civic culture that thrives on tolerance, understanding, and civility.
At its core, Medemer is a covenant of peace that seeks unity in our common humanity.
It pursues peace by practicing the values of love, forgiveness, reconciliation, and inclusion.
We have laid the groundwork for genuine multiparty democracy, and we will soon hold a free and fair election.
I truly believe peace is a way of life. War, a form of death and destruction.
Peacemakers must teach peace breakers to choose the way of life.
To that end, we must help build a world culture of peace.
But before there is peace in the world, there must be peace in the heart and mind.
There must be peace in the family, in the neighborhood, in the village, and the towns and cities. There must be peace in and among nations.
There is a big price for enduring peace.
A famous protest slogan that proclaims, “No justice, no peace,” calls to mind that peace thrives and bears fruit when planted in the soil of justice.
Standing on this world stage today, I would like to call upon all my fellow Ethiopians to join hands and help build a country that offers equal justice, equal rights, and equal opportunities for all its citizens.
I would like to especially express that we should avoid the path of extremism and division, powered by politics of exclusion.
Our accord hangs in the balance of inclusive politics.
The evangelists of hate and division are wreaking havoc in our society using social media.
They are preaching the gospel of revenge and retribution on the airwaves.
Together, we must neutralize the toxin of hatred by creating a civic culture of consensus-based democracy, inclusivity, civility, and tolerance based on Medemer principles.
The art of building peace is a synergistic process to change hearts, minds, beliefs and attitudes, that never ceases.
It is like the work of struggling farmers in my beloved Ethiopia. Each season they prepare the soil, sow seeds, pull weeds, and control pests.
They work the fields from dawn to dusk in good and bad weather.
The seasons change, but their work never ends. In the end, they harvest the abundance of their fields.
Before we can harvest peace dividends, we must plant seeds of love, forgiveness, and reconciliation in the hearts and minds of our citizens.
We must pull out the weeds of discord, hate, and misunderstanding and toil every day during good and bad days too.
I am inspired by a Biblical Scripture which reads: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.”
Equally I am also inspired by a Holy Quran verse which reads: “Humanity is but a single Brotherhood. So, make peace with your Brethren.”
I am committed to toil for peace every single day and in all seasons.
I am my brother’s keeper. I am my sister’s keeper too.
I have promises to keep before I sleep. I have miles to go on the road of peace.
As I conclude, I call upon the international community to join me and my fellow Ethiopians in our Medemer inspired efforts of building enduring peace and prosperity in the Horn of Africa.
On December 26, 2022, visiting a banana plantation, PM Abiy said:
As I think of it of now, on the road we have started, if we Ethiopians put our hearts together (noses to the grindstone and shoulder to the wheel), the era of Ethiopian Aid (giving assistance to other countries) will be soon at hand. Our opportunity to change our history from an aid-recipient country to an aid- benefactor country is very near. We shall soon transcend our history of poverty and begging.
But overcoming the burden of history (of impoverishment) requires struggle and hard work. It does not come easy (willy-nilly).
When we reinvent our history it will be that we used to beg for wheat, now we give out wheat as aid. We used to import bananas, oranges and avocados, now we export them for sale. When we are able to do this, Ethiopia’s place (in the world) will be assured.
All who love Ethiopia should work together in good faith and goodwill with wisdom and forgiveness.
I ask all to join in this effort.
May love and peace be upon Ethiopia.
May compassion and understanding flourish in Ethiopia.
May prosperity be upon Ethiopia.
These are our hopes and desires.
Dona Nobis Pacem! Grant Us Peace!
Sing it Brother! Sing it Sister!
Grant us Peace in 2023!
A HAPPY AND PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR 2023 TO ALL OF MY CONSTANT AND STEADFAST READERS AND FOLLOWERS WORLDWIDE! THANK YOU!!