Ethiopia: Proposal for Reconciliation

April 2, 2014

Zelalem Eshete, Ph.D.

Reconciliation is hard, but if we choose to embrace it at any cost, its impact is supernatural. In this article, I discuss as to how we move from attacking each other to joining with each other so that we all can come out more united as One Family.

Considering each Problem as Our Common Problem

We should be tired of the usual accusatory attack at the ethnicity of another in self-defense. That has no place in reconciliation. We stand up on behalf of our own ethnic group and call for taking accountability by making the voice of the hurting people as our own. No room for accusations. Each ethnic group strives to take on the voices of the other and echo as its own in genuine sincerity. That way, we all voice against the ills of humanity in unison. We stand in the gap and get connected with each other to declare as a people that we all choose to feel each other’s heartbeat. There will no longer be a given ethnic group speaking of its pain alone. Now a pain of one is shared by all of us.

Framing Our Problem to Birth Our New Identity

We are handling our problems in a way that it would bring us together and not push us farther apart. The question now is how we can underline unity in the process of celebrating our diversity. Diversity in the right context is meant to move Ethiopia towards unity forged by love and wisdom that is more glorious and authentic than ever before.

We put a face on our problem by building say, for example, an Ethiopia Anew Reconciliation Museum. We even choose the name of the museum to reflect the solution and not the problem. We, the people, come together with shared values by making our problem take shape and form in the museum.

The museum is a symbol of our capacity to overcome the great divide between us for centuries. We make it a place where a new Ethiopian family emerges from the broken history of ours. We validate the pain, reframe history to its truest sense, and in the process display the decency and power of the human spirit to come together and redefine brotherhood in its purest form. We no longer live under the shadow of the past ghosts, for the truth would set us free. The museum becomes a place of conception for Ethiopia – a community of love and understanding.

Guarding the Journey from Political Abduction

I believe this government, or the opposition as a future government, has no intrinsic power to bring such reconciliation. No government by default can take charge of this endeavor. The responsibility for such healing journey falls on the people of Ethiopia alone. The hero is meant to be the Ethiopian People. That is why the people represented by independent elders from all ethnic groups should run the reconciliation journey, including overseeing the realization of the museum of hope in the midst of pain. It is high time to begin this journey soon while the elders who have a living testimony of the past century are still alive.

The government and opposition need only play supportive role by endorsing the move and by refraining from mixing politics with such sacred effort. The political landscape is divided: the government seems to major on the economy, and the opposition appears to major on democracy. However, neither group should hijack this reconciliation agenda in a divisive manner.  No exclusion whatsoever is allowed here.

Mission Impossible Requires Divine Providence

We have no other option than accepting this journey even if it seems to be mission impossible. This is a journey unlike any other in our entire history. It transforms the marginal unity of the past (3,000 years in the making) into authentic unity of the future (in a time frame of “at once generation”). Scripture declares: Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children.” (Emphasis mine, Isaiah 66:8 KJV).  We need to embrace the motto: One Family Under Our Creator for this reason: giving birth to the new Ethiopia during the time span of this lost generation of ours requires divine providence.


You may reach Dr. Zelalem Eshete at: one@EthioFamily.com