Ethiopia is a multi‐ethnic nation with diverse culture, language, religion and ethnicity. The country has also centuries old culture, norms and practices of living in tolerance, mutual respect and in peace among peoples of different sects of culture, religion and ethnicity. Beyond being an asset of coexistence and mutual understanding for the country, this firmly entrenched culture has made the nation unique and symbol of tolerance for the rest of the world.
However, in some parts of the country this sole quality of the nation is currently being eroded and ruined due to ethnic-based violence. The strife has been causing loss of life, injury and displacement on thousands of innocent people. These groups of people had been settling in the area for long, intermarried and established families and properties. However, due to ethnic-based animosity, they are forced to run away; leaving behind the life they had built for years.
Ethiopia's Constitution clearly stipulates that every Ethiopian has the right to move throughout the country, live and work unreservedly. It further promotes respect, protection of property rights and guarantees greater opportunities to accumulate wealth and prosper. This right, apart from being a right which is in no way violated or compromised; it is also the longstanding culture of Ethiopians - accepting and valuing diversity; living in harmony and peacefully.
Unluckily, what is happening currently in some parts of the country, particularly in Southern Nation, Nationalities and Peoples, (SNNPs), Oromia and Ethio-Somali States is entirely contrary to this. People considered as expatriate within their own homeland have been forced to evacuate from the place they had lived and co-existed peacefully for years. Their houses are burnt down and damaged, their properties are looted. As a result, they are compelled to flee and settle in adjacent places and camps seeking out for humanitarian aids.
How a country which welcomed foreign immigrants with open hands and warm hospitality be a hell to its own fellow citizen? How come people are expelled from their own home by their own people? It is entirely horrendous, and as the new Prime Minister stated, it is a tragedy that should never have taken place.
Ethiopians, regardless of cultural, religious, language and ethnic differences, have a lot of things that bind them as one. Sharing same misfortunes, they had gone together through several ups and downs at different times and places. And this togetherness is not something that can be broken easily and cease to exist.
Irrefutably, as a diverse society, disagreement can occur. However, it should not destruct the harmony and blemish nation's longstanding culture of tolerance. Most importantly, diversity, which is source of our beauty, cannot be a reason for division.
We, as a nation, do not have to allow this to happen, because it mars our peaceful coexistence, destabilizes communities and put the country in a situation of chaos. Those who are behind this political game of whipping-up ethnic based hatred within the community for their own sinister agenda should also stop such evil deeds.
Equally important, all federal and state bodies have to make speedy move to curb the situation thereby halt citizens' death, harm and displacement. They should put a stop to the misery and plight these people are forced to go through.