Joe David, a community leader for Ethiopians in Korea, a migrant himself and naturalized citizen, has a background in diplomacy and studied masters at Yonsei University in Seoul. And, he has been working for a long time in legal, international relations, international law, patent, international organizations, and environmental law. Most of his countrymen and friends know that David is a free thinker, hiker, climber, and art lover, is passionate about reason, poem, justice, peace, nature, and is a utopian dreamer for a colorless, sexless, borderless, freely wondering human soul, nostalgically waiting for humanity to open its eyes and embrace the oneness of humanity, working for one greater cause for the good of all!
Despite the deep discontent and frustration we all have about our beloved country Ethiopia which has been waging a senseless war, divided by hostilities, hatreds and bad governance, David wants to share his personal reflections, as well as aspirations, with us on the dire situation of the ongoing civil war that has begun since November last year.
War ~ in Ethiopia got me thinking
If we were to think of it calmly, if we were to re-wire the brain and wash away all the dirt and dust that has built up over time with prolonged brainwashing about mother/fatherland, nationalism, heroic death and all those tantalizing labels, the blur would clear, the thick misty tainted head will be open to insight. Who and what drives wars, on whose behest, to whose profits, on whose blood are they waged?
There is no denying that there are wars labeled as ‘just’. When a nation or a group of nations, a tribe/ an ethnic group, a religious sect, etc. try to impose their will against yours and disenfranchise you. Hence, wars are triggered as a response to the greedy, power-mongering, expansionist, the strong, the developed, the religious zealots, …. trying to maintain the status quo or even upscale it by prolonging or expanding their dominance and sphere of influence. On the contrary, the weak and the victim of such aggression/ domination trying to reverse it.
Yet, the obvious truth is, wars at their very inception, if you put it on a lens and see what it is on a micro-level, be it ‘just’ or ‘unjust’, they all hatch with walking-breathing individuals, AKA elites– a few selected individuals. It all boils down to individuals or a group of few elites who are the chef de cuisine spicing, articulating, manufacturing, overseeing and even thinking for the mass, feeding it, running it, profiting from it, empowering the churning war machine to keep it going and to kill as many as, and to destroy as much until the other side kneels with total annihilation and surrender.
In the midst of all, the mass flocks like sheeple to pay the ultimate price with its blood and bone for the ultimate goal concocted by the few, with a sense of duty and heightened feverish-nationalism/territorialism/ burning ethnic allegiance/zealous religious commitment/calling upon and invoking prehistoric ancestors and their heroic sacrifice from the dead. They make it sound as if it is a meaning of all meanings, the purpose of life, a reason de’etre, a question of survival where there is none to survive from but their ego and insatiable lust to cling to power.
Behind the ‘greatest’ wars of our world, there are a few elites who are trying to change the order of the day or maintain it. Hitler wanted to avenge the shame of loss of Germany in the first world war, tried to expand and run Europe under his tutelage for the benefit of the ‘Aryan race’, and this had to be reciprocated by the Allied powers. If the people were able to turn the muzzle right to Hitler and his cliques at its budding stage …there would have been no devastating war that cost the whole of Europe, if and if and if and lots of ifs …wars would not materialize.
If the people at large does not empower the few to think for it, to run the show, to scavenge and capitalize on its ailments, discontents and harp on its sentiments only to capitalize on it for self-aggrandizement and endlessly hoarding might…maybe lots of wars would/could have been avoided. How could citizens of Germany avert the war? By reclaiming ownership of their head and running it, by not letting the few dictate the terms of morality, of who the mortal enemy and the darling friend is, and by removing it…the corrupt head, the political elite.
This might be a utopian world I am wishing to bring forth, maybe it is in the order of human fate to have the leader and the led for its sheer survival on this planet. As it is on the shoulder of the few to liberate it from darkness, the same can be said of keeping it chained in the darkness. Maybe it is possible to have a new order both in the manner we run our polity and the way we manage to arrest our insatiable hunger for power, wealth, influence, and all the psychological incentives of being a hero and dying a heroic death.
In the case of Ethiopia, I wonder, what if the people on the warring camps both turn the muzzle and silence the so-called leaders, what if they think for themselves and not let the leaders tell them who the friend and the mortal enemy is, the war would be foiled and with it the few who use the whole people as fodder to their untamed desire to be at the helm. Great destruction of property and loss of life would have been averted and with it all the animosity to be passed for generations to grow another potential war. I know there is so much conflict in what I wrote but then I am as conflicted as this piece is.
For background information about the conflict in Ethiopia:
Tigray War: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tigray_War
Ethiopia: UN Rights Body Blames All Sides For Human Rights Abuses in Tigray Conflict: https://allafrica.com/stories/202111030845.html
Ethiopia’s Tigray war: The short, medium and long story: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-54964378
Ethiopia Country Page: https://www.hrw.org/africa/ethiopia