A Time for a “mother call” (Araya G. Tekleabib)

A Time for a “mother call”

Araya G. Tekleabib, June 2019

I was a kid while the Derg government declared “mother call” to get the support of the people to fight against Somalia. Now, we don’t need war to declare “mother call”. Our country is found in a state of conundrum. It’s the time where peace and conflict, hope and desperation, love and hate, forgiveness and revenge, trust and mistrust … all sorts of contradictory assumptions are evident contemporaneously. This is the worst of all the time than ever for our people.

I am one of Ethiopians who was absolutely happy with Dr. Abiy’s inaugural speech. It was a kind of speech that won the hearts of millions. That day may be marked as the renaissance. It was the day that even the words like “Ethiopia”, “Ethiopians” and “our country” were given the proper respect after twenty seven years of suppression. Apart from his oratory, his patriotism, humility, expression of love, forgiveness … etc have driven millions to stand with him.

Dr. Abiy’s government has done a lot of marvelous jobs since he came to power. There are lots of positive changes in the sphere of politics, a step toward democracy and human right respect. The government doesn’t not treat its people, living inside or outside, as an enemy like its predecessor did. For the first time, we develop a sense of belongingness to the resource of the country. Right after his appointment, I was invited to attend a conference organized by a non-governmental organization at the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington, D.C. It was for the first time for most of us to get into that building and shared similar feelings of sense of belongingness.

These are the one side of the coin. There is also a flip side. Whatever we support the existing government, we shouldn’t be blindfolded against the downsides. I am not a fault finder or hair-splitter or expect a government to be immaculate. I feel that leading a government isn’t as simple as leafing through a book. Our country was led into a desperate political, social and economic crises. Hatred politics was intentionally propagated among the people. This is what has been reflected today. So, it may be unwise to expect all the problems to be resolved overnight. It needs time, tolerance and the support of the people. However, though the beginning is good, there are certain things that should be given immediate attention.

Basically, the government is immensely blamed for abdicating in keeping peace and stability in the country. Gruesome murder is becoming a fashion. Lawlessness and lack of accountability become rampant. Trivial issues may simply end up with the loss of many lives. Displacement is reduced to a question of number other than becoming a huge humanitarian issue. We can keep mentioning a lot of events caused by bestial cruelty. Anyways, the government seems to be dilatory or, to the worst, condoning, to reverse these burning issues.

In addition, the government seems to be lenient to take action against those who are indulged in making invidious speeches and interviews. Such people are free to do whatever they want in spite of the fact that the result is devastating. On the other hand, the renowned journalist Eskinder Nega is being deprived of equal treatment in promoting his ideas in a peaceful manner with no possible danger in hindsight.

After such being said, currently ESAT’s ‘disintegration’ becomes the center of news. Dumping blames one on the other appears to be common. However, we don’t know exactly who is right or the real cause of the friction. I personally don’t have that inside information. However, I sense that there are political differences towards Dr. Abiy’s government.
Political or other differences are not strange among members of a certain media. I think, what is expected from media professionals is to be objective. So, political or other differences couldn’t result in disintegration. In the Ethiopian context, I always wonder how things are changed in a lightning speed, from differences into disagreement, from disagreement into conflict and finally from conflict into hostility. Anyways, is has already happened. It’s not that easy to turn the clock back to their heyday.

I am not personally that much interested in dealing with who is at fault or measuring the gravity of the fault committed by any of them. However, I would have been happy if they had come to a state of togetherness or, if not possible, peacefully resolve the existing crises. I believe that blaming or incriminating each other should be stopped and investigations should follow by an independent body or individuals who earn trust by both sides. Then, it’s better to reveal the truth from its inception. Otherwise, hearing individual version before such an independent inquiry is nothing other than leading us into confusion, bias and being sidetracked.

Beyond what has been accused today of its association with Ginbot 7 or its current policy, I believe ESAT has made a success and popularity that should not be attached to individuals. Its role of fighting the TPLF by creating awareness, unveiling the sabotages and crimes shouldn’t be forgotten or given little attention. Rest assured, individuals play a great role in the image of an institution be it in the negative or positive sense. Taking the positive aspect only, no one should brag or consider himself as an indispensable animal. It is the synergy that makes what ESAT now looks like. The point is not undermining the role of individuals. However, none of them are discrete but they are successful in creating such an image while working as a group.

The struggle is not completed. We should not be satisfied with TPLF’s destiny as being turned into bogeyman to satisfy ones urge of retribution. On top of that, the acronym ‘TPLF’ itself is serving as a synonym for corruption, theft, torture and what have you. Anyways, that is not an issue. The removal of TPLF from the scene of political and economic domination may be one important phase. However, we have a long journey ahead, i.e., to save the country from potential anarchism and disintegration.

It’s the time that the federal government becomes toothless. It’s the time that confidence is lost in the security forces. It’s the time that peaceful movement from place to place is becoming fortuitous. It’s the time that losing one’s life and life-time asset appear to be normal. For any one, it is relatively safe to live in any African countries than living outside his/her ‘kilil’. This is absolutely backwardness.

We are on the verge of disintegration. We know that most of the things have been orchestrated (directly or indirectly) by the so-called politician or “activists” whom I believe imprudent to call their names. For them, bigotry is regarded as being adamant or an expression of firmness at th expense of innocent lives.

It’s only unity that would be our strength. We are proud of our history and culture. But, this is only when we are one. No one can benefit out of disintegration. Even those “politicians” or “activists” need a country at least to disseminate their hatred politics and thereby earning populism or other material benefits. I believe that no one can win by being crafty and cranky. At the end of day, the truth shall win. Our country is in the hands of God. However, until that day comes, precious human lives may be sacrificed. Personal property may be damaged/lost.
Thus, we need an independent and trustworthy media that helps the struggle to reverse the prevailing situation and lead the country towards democracy. We need a media that unveils and analyzes the mischievous acts and strives for the people to get fair treatment, equal opportunity, and finally get united. We need a media that honestly pinpoints problems and shows a positive direction for the wellbeing of the society. We need a media that reasonably supports the government when needed. We need a media that preaches tolerance and fairness than being controversial and incendiary.

In conclusion, we need to accommodate our differences and make a positive contribution to save our country. It is not the time to undermine the prevailing situation. We need to get united to reverse the situation before it is too late. However, once taken out of our hands, it is not an easy task to put things in order. So, it is time to declare a mother call.

For comments and suggestions, the writer can be reached by: mekonnen_ashagre@yahoo.com

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