Revisiting Abiy’s Nobel Lecture of 2019

“It takes a few to make war, but it takes a village and a nation to build peace” (Abiy – “Forging A Durable Peace in the Horn of Africa” 10.12.2019).

It is hard to read this speech now knowing perfectly well all the people who are suffering at the carnage of war. All the families who are torn apart. All the villages burnt, and towns looted. All the factories depleted, and farms left behind. There are regions of burning land, people dying and people starving. This is all over one man’s plan to consolidate power and ensure his reign.

Today is not a good day. Neither has it been for months on end. The Republic is tarnished. The Prime Minister and his allies are conscripting untrained youth to the frontline. The battlefield has destroyed the National Army and the Amhara allies. The Tigray Defence Force is going from one victory to the next. Many lives are lost, and we don’t know the full extent of it. Still, the PM ordered this war in November 2020. He was preparing it with his Eritrean and Amhara allies. Moved troops and even tried to Commando ambush the TPLF leadership. Therefore, everything was set-in-motion for the war.

That’s why reading the speech today makes me feel pain. Makes me mentally suffer, as the besieged Tigray Region is battling for its existence. The internal conflicts in Afar and Somali (Ogaden) region is happening. The battlefields are also happening in the middle of Oromia and the state is losing ground. So many lives are lost and that all for one man to rule Supreme. The man who spoke of peace but ordered war.

“I witnessed firsthand the ugliness of war in frontline battles. There are those who have never seen war but glorify and romanticize it. They have not seen the fear, they have not seen the fatigue, they have not seen the destruction or heartbreak, nor have they felt the mournful emptiness of war after the carnage. War is the epitome of hell for all involved. I know because I have been there and back. I have seen brothers slaughtering brothers on the battlefield. I have seen older men, women, and children trembling in terror under the deadly shower of bullets and artillery shells. You see, I was not only a combatant in war. I was also a witness to its cruelty and what it can do to people. War makes for bitter men. Heartless and savage men” (Abiy – “Forging A Durable Peace in the Horn of Africa” 10.12.2019).

“The aftermath of the war also left untold numbers of families broken. It also permanently shattered communities on both sides. Massive destruction of infrastructure further amplified the post-war economic burden. Socially, the war resulted in mass displacements, loss of livelihoods, deportation and denationalization of citizens” (Abiy – “Forging A Durable Peace in the Horn of Africa” 10.12.2019).

“I truly believe peace is a way of life. War, a form of death and destruction. Peacemakers must teach peace breakers to choose the way of life. To that end, we must help build a world culture of peace. But before there is peace in the world, there must be peace in the heart and mind. There must be peace in the family, in the neighborhood, in the village, and the towns and cities. There must be peace in and among nations” (Abiy – “Forging A Durable Peace in the Horn of Africa” 10.12.2019).

This just says it all. A man who knows all of this. Still, he has had the audacity to order the war and gamble on a quick victory. Because, he had allies with armies and had the power within reach. That he could risk it all and hope for a bountiful victory, which would make him glorious.

Now, he is just delivering the same pain and suffering, which he speaks off. He is showing the savage of men, the leaders who seeks to avenge and destroy one ethnic group. The Special Regional Forces and Militias attacking civilian in the name of the PM.

Now the PM and his allies are sending youths who haven’t been well trained or equipped for the war. He is using the future of the republic to hopefully end the backfiring conflict. A war that was supposed to be easy but has been squandered by the high-ranking officials who underestimated their opponent.

It is tragic that it has come to this. We are here after months upon months with reports of massacres, civilians dying and a man-made famine. We are here with the knowledge with someone who was supposed to be a man of peace, instead he was a War-Lord. A Lord of War, a man who incites and speculate in conflict for own personal gains. That’s who he is and we can just wonder if the peace-agreement was a war-pact to end the same enemy and same people, the TPLF. Since, the Eritrean and Ethiopian government has both invested all they got into this and they are still losing grounds. It is tragic and so many people have lost their lives over this gamble by the PM.

The PM knew the consequences of war, he spoke of ill of it, but he still ordered it and has pursued it. That is tragic, but our reality in 2021. A man who knows so well, but still are willing. He never learned and he never will. Because, there are others who are paying the price and not him. Peace.

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