When Violence Reigns, Normalcy Goes Out Window

Jul 13 , 2020
By Eden Sahle

From the spread of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) to the slowing economy and the political unrest, Ethiopia seems to be in an uphill battle.

Among these, it seems to be the political situation that is most worrying. Mainly because it is inflected with violence, which is increasingly becoming privatised and regularised, it is leading to the destablisation of the country and worsening the relationship between peoples of the same nation.

When the public fears for its life and safety, it is being left with no choice but to take matters into its own hands. This is a terrifying development, leading to the acceptance of violence by society as a useful means to securing justice. More than anything else, the political problems we have are symptoms of the deeply rotten state society finds itself in. Unable to sit down, discuss and hammer out solutions, what we have are people who want to fight it out.

This is not healthy. We need to think prudently and support each other to effectively function as a society. This is the only way that thoughtful leaders could come to the forefront, bringing substantial progress to the community. At this moment, working to address our differences through compromise is the better option instead of waiting to reach the point of no return.

We need to accept that not all of us want the same things in life as well as in politics and need to find a framework that allows us to co-exist. The lack of respect for human lives and the failure to ensure citizens' security need to concern us all equally. Narrow mindedness destroys good judgment and compassion and makes people bitter to one another.

It will be a tragedy if we repeat the mistakes of those that came before us, who left us a country that was poor and incognisant of a national identity. Past generations, despite the best efforts of some of them, have left us bitterly divided among ourselves, and failure to right this would mean passing of this conflagration of injustice even further down the line.

Part of the solution to our current dilemma lies in ensuring the safety of citizens. People cannot work and contribute to society if they are fearing for their safety or if it is highly questionable that they will make it back home in one piece. It discourages investments and activities. It kills the entrepreneurial spirit.

The constant shifting of blame and lack of commitment to justice is another problem that needs to be addressed in our current political problems. The political elites take a large part of the blame for the lack of observance of rules and laws and civilised discussions. The my-way-or-the-highway politics terrifies the public into submission rather than being motivated to try and arrive at any kind of political understanding with the opposing side.

There is more to earning the public trust than preaching hateful rhetoric. A country built on such grounds does not lend itself to stability. Leadership is the humility and the willingness to serve others. Showing this is a great deal more important than preaching it.

“The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them,” said Albert Einstein.

Building a state where human rights and law and order are respected thus will require appealing to the same public that is impacted by them. Only its acceptance of what is better for the greater good can help us now. Anything less will spell disaster for us all. This will not be an easy task, but neither is it avoidable.

PUBLISHED ON Jul 13,2020 [ VOL 21 , NO 1055]

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 edensah2000@gmail.com.

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