By Daniel Teferra (PhD)*

“Might Is Not Right. Right Is Might.” These powerful words are engraved on the statue of Abraham Lincoln, standing on Bascom Hill at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, overlooking the State Capitol.

Contrary to this noble ideal, a State Department official at a Congressional Hearing in 1991 said, “Peace finally came to Ethiopia because one side won decisively.”

Likewise, TPLF bragged about its military might. It said that it took state power by defeating the most powerful army in Africa.

Just, last year, during his visit to Ethiopia, the President of the United States sent the wrong message to the youth of Ethiopia.  He said Ethiopians are tough fighters. That is not a compliment.

Such remarks should not come as a surprise to anyone. Unfortunately, U. S. officials have always favored dictatorship as long as it is for others.

Relaying on their military might, TPLF leaders have forced their will on the people of Ethiopia for the last twenty five years. They have taunted the people using fighting words:

“If you do not like our policy,” said the Late Prime Minister, “you should go to the bushes and fight as we did.” That is not  how peace and prosperity come to Ethiopia however.

“Peace will finally come” to Ethiopia when people learn how to settle their disputes through peaceful means rather than violence. The people of Gondar are just trying to do that.

The government, on the other hand, is responding by shooting innocent civilians. If the video accounts are accurate, snipers were spotted at roof tops to shoot demonstrators. Press accounts showed security forces beating people with cruelty.

Despite all these, the people of Gondar are not afraid. They are still pressing their demands: They would like to see an end to ethnic division and a one-party rule.

They would like to see Ethiopia as one people, one country, under one flag: Green-Yellow-Red.

They would like to have equal citizenship, own their own land, and live together with their neighbors in harmony.

“We are Amhara. We are Gondares. We are Ethiopians,” they said. “We speak Amharinya. We speak Tigrinya. We speak Arabinya. We are all one!”

However, the government is trying to evade addressing the people’s demands by blaming the whole thing on “outside agitators.” It has not so far presented any evidence to support its claims though.

Whether outsiders are involved or not, these are democratic rights that deserve to be addressed by the government. The people of Gondar have continued to press their demands.They could eventually win. Patience is a virtue as they say.

*Emeritus Professor of Economics at FSU; UW-Whitewater, teferrad@uww.edu.