January 27, 2014
It is an ABC of modern politics that a state is a state with three basic criteria: with permanent population, defined territory, and a government that protects its self-preservation or independence as an alienable political entity. This does not however, mean that there has never been or would never be disputes between or among states which may arise either from wrongly perceived or actual threats. This is particularly true to states that share common borders that could lead to serious disputes which in its turn could cause deadly conflicts. Although these kinds of problems and deadly confrontations are not uncommon in Africa of which her boundaries were drawn arbitrarily by the former colonial powers, the Eastern and the Horn of Africa are the most vulnerable not only because of the arbitrarily drawn boundaries but also the very geopolitics of the sub region. And I think this has made us (Ethiopia) one of the countries with the history of instability and war. What happened to us from the east (directly from Somalia or via Somalia) , the west (directly from Sudan or via Sudan) and recently from the north (from Eritrea or via Eritrea) are very vivid and typical examples.
The very purpose of my view point is not to discuss the very historical background of arbitrarily drawn boundaries and their negatively lingering consequences. I rather want to express my view points on one of the most criteria of a state, a government (the legislative, the executive and the judicial) not only for mere survival but most importantly for moving forward with great achievements in all aspects of national interests. Needless to say, without the existence of a government that governs with the consent of the people who are the ultimate of sources of the sovereign power and consequently the beneficiaries of that power, its territorial integrity and Sovergniety remain vulnerable leave alone registering great achievements. And that is exactly what is happening in our country at this moment in time.
I am well aware about arguments that emanate from our being of nostalgic for the past because of the worst we face at present. For example, because of the brutality of the military regime, we had become victims of the very unhelpful nostalgia for the monarchy. And because of a very hypocritically designed ethnic politics , the continuation of applying the political killing machine of the former military regime ,and most terribly the danger of losing territorial integrity and national Sovergniety for the last two decades, we have once again become victims of nostalgia for the miserable past ( the Derg time). What is extremely clumsy about our excuses for being helplessly nostalgic is when we try to argue as if those past despotic and dictatorial regimes did not contribute to the present general crises we are facing. We simply try to praise those regimes that had stayed in power by not only treating their own people as their simple subjects but also with ruthless oppression, if not with the use of the very dehumanizing political machines. I understand these kinds of paradoxically puzzling arguments go to the extent of praising those past rulers as patriotically heroic for the simple reason that they had tried to keep the territorial integrity of (mere survival) of the state while they grossly violated the basic rights of citizens by employing a very hypocritical and ruthless state machineries. I do not know how a regime that dehumanizes its own people who are the very source of the sovereign power of a state can genuinely be considered as patriotically heroic. Yes, if the people (citizens) are one of the most critical pillars of a state to be a state, the idea of preserving the integrity and Sovergniety of a state by crashing the rights of the people does not make sense in a real sense of the term, especially in this 21st century.