By Yilma Adamu
Shakspeare’s Macbeth has fascinated me since grade 11, may God bless Mr Jones, our literature teacher of flares. Even with an expected faltering memory, I can still recite many of the acts.
1st Witch: “When shall we three meet again? In thunder, lightning, or in rain?”
2nd Witch: “When the hurly-burly’s done, when the battle’s lost and won.”
On the surface, it appears somebody’s victory is somebody else’s loss. Not exactly the case. It’s grief, hunger, revenge and vulnerability that follows. That environment opens doors for vultures, local and otherwise. It’s when the messengers of mayhem, the witches, get hard at work, poking wounds, arousing grudge, eroding trust, breeding opportunistic individuals and encouraging unholy alliances.
The aftermath is probably uglier than the actual battle. Worst still, its effect lingers for a long, long time. We need wise leaders to navigate the testing period ahead. All of us need to be more wise than brave.
It troubles me deeply that many, myself included, equate the Tigray debacle to a Premier League soccer match between a Manchester United and an Arsenal team. The time has come to step out of our primordial emotion and think hard and fast. Let’s think of the staggering cost the war brought to our fragile economy. Let’s think of the national debt as we contemplate to revamp a thinly spread defense force with a depleted arsenal. Let’s think of an economy that is, in addition, victimized by the global COVID crisis.
It gives me shivers trying to put myself in Abiy Ahmed’s shoe as he ploughs through sleepless nights juggling the multi-faceted challenges of our country.
On the diplomatic front, we are witnessing unfavorable headwind coming our way. As much as the world was sympathetic towards Abiy as he confronted renegade TPLF, it’s apparent concern about humanitarian crisis has taken priority over justification for war. As a result, there is global coming together of sorts to put pressure on our government to bring the conflict to an end. The confirmation hearing of the new Secretary of State has made America’s position quite apparent.
I believe Abiy needs to work with sense of urgency and prepare blueprint that addresses the concerns of allies. It’s important to understand launching of an effective and preemptive diplomatic initiative requires the competence of proven lobby firms without which no power corridors open in the US.
Ethiopian origins living abroad need to step up to the plate, meet the cost and contribute in the diplomatic initiative. I am a firm believer in setting up state level fundraising committees, here in the USA, for example. They will be more productive than the pompous ones of past. My wife and I are ready to do our part. Let’s ask ourselves, “If not now, then when?”.
A better Ethiopia doesn’t happen by accident, by empty rhetoric or by the power of prayer. It happens by the power of material contribution.
The writer can be reached via Yadamu@hotmail.com