"No Man is Good Enough to Govern another Man without that Otherís Consent"
July 21, 2007
Abraham Lincoln, one of the great statesmen of the United States of America, is quoted to have said the above statement. This is a statement of wisdom that reflects the depth of civility and the values of civilized cultures.
Close observers of the Ethiopian people witness their history since ancient times and their sense of hospitality that is highly valued. We can easily make connections between Abraham Lincolnís statement quoted above and the Ethiopian peopleís sense of hospitality. Consent and hospitality arenít too far apart concepts. Nonetheless, understanding the otherís consent and the sense of hospitality arenít easily achievable qualities in the evolutionary processes of humanís inherently animalistic nature.
A disconnection from the above values may lead humans to erratic behaviors. Individual members of a society affected by such values could be checked by the society when the individuals manifest such behaviors. However, when individuals with erratic behaviors take power, and more importantly, become intermediaries between societies with rich values, the confusions that they would cause to the general public becomes appalling. This appears to be what Meles Zenawi and his group in Ethiopia and Eritrea have been causing in both countries. The confusions they caused have now come to the international political stage for the world to see and judge.
Sean McCormack, a spokes person for the U.S. State Department made the following statement to the press recently: ďAs a matter of trying to bring together the Ethiopian people and bring an end to this particular chapter of political turmoil, we would urge the Ethiopian authorities to consideróhighly consider clemency for these individuals.Ē
The individuals referred to are the leadership of the Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD) political grouping that won a significant number of seats in Ethiopiaís 2005 legislative elections. Because of incriminations and recriminations related to election irregularities, and also due to last minute change in parliament rules by the outgoing parliament, members of the leadership of this coalition were put in jail, charged, and sentenced, before they were eventually pardoned after reportedly asking for clemency. Many observers argue that the cases are politically motivated.
In its January 2004 column, Voice Finfinne wrote that Melesí politicking in Ethiopia is as risky as his doctoring on a patient. In a July 18, 2007, editorial, the Wall Street Journal wrote: ďGiven the governmentís recent record, itís odd to say the least to see Prime Minister Meles Zenawi advise Tony Blairís Commission for Africa in 2005 on the future of the continent.Ē
It appears that the ďeliteĒ as Melesí group prefers to call itself doesnít seem to grasp the depth of its subconscious about the peopleís rights. By its own actions and inactions, it has put itself at the center of political turmoil that many have been calling to bring to an end for a long time. The fact that the international community is seeing more clearly what the people in Ethiopia have been suffering under is a positive development for the people of Ethiopia. As we welcome the release of the CUD leadership members, it is important to remember all the other political prisoners who have been languishing in Ethiopiaís jails for long.
Finally, the international community should not fail to distinguish the Ethiopian people from the subconscious intermediaries. The people have a potential to unleash for the benefit of all when the intermediaries come to terms.