Golden Rule, Antidote to Our Instincts for Violence

Jul 10 , 2020
By Eden Sahle

It is heartbreaking to witness the distressing developments within the Ethiopian state. Human lives are being cheapened by the day, with communitarian responsibilities being disregarded and a whole nation allowed to live under an atmosphere of fear and anxiety.

The past week’s tragic death of the young artist Hachalu Hundessa is yet another terrifying example of what Ethiopians have had to live through. The passing of an artist and activist at such a young age was unfortunate beyond measure and so was the loss of life in the following days when demonstrations and unrest were taking place across the country.

No cause or circumstance justifies the killing of a person. It is in such times that the justice system should prove the supremacy of the rule of law, and make those responsible for such a heinous act accountable. The cruelty and violence, underwritten by deeply partisan politics, should not be allowed to pass without accountability through the due process of law.

We should always remember that it takes upstanding political leaders to assume responsibility. But when anger and unhealthy emotions are substituted for rationality and careful introspection, it becomes hard to step back and consider the consequences of our actions and how they will affect people.  It is only unfortunate that people are suckered into the same mentality and fail to consider the dangerous paths that they are being led into until it is too late.

We are mortal, and the knowledge of this should inspire us to consider the Golden Rule - a principle that holds just as good in secular arguments for what is good for society. If only we can put ourselves in others’ shoes, we can begin to imagine how our words and actions could affect others to a devastating effect. It is the only way that we can be able to see the political and economic disadvantages that many suffer from.

It does not require a genius to do this, but it requires the willingness to be open-minded. We need to activate our natural ability to be kind to others and see the humanity within them. We must work hard to avoid being badly judged by history, learning from the mistakes of the previous generation and attempt to rise above our worst instincts.

One of the bad habits that is incapacitating our progress as a society is the constant blame game. Every bad thing that happens seems to many a fault of those that they are against. It rarely occurs to people that what they believe to be right may at times be wrong, and that there are things they can learn if only they opened their minds to opposing perspectives.

Violence within a society is a sign of loss of the foundations of what holds individuals together. It is a sign that something is deeply wrong and that it is incumbent upon every individual to pause and reconsider how society conducts itself.

The cruelty we are hearing about on a daily basis is a message. It is telling us that we need to change our tactics. It is a missive we should respond to with careful deliberation. If we instead become numb to the loss of life and injustice of others, our condition will deteriorate further.

The ever greater threat of violence we carry now will be our burden to carry as long as we fail to rise to the challenge to address it. To continue as we have done before would be to pour fuel on an already smoldering fire. Left unaddressed, such problems will eat away at the social infrastructure and lead to the perpetuation of violence.

We must instead strive to create a conducive environment for reflection and understanding. We must prepare for a common ground.

PUBLISHED ON Jul 10,2020 [ VOL 21 , NO 1054]

Eden Sahle is founder and CEO of Yada Technology Plc. She has studied law with a focus on international economic law. She can be reached at

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