By Bilal Mohammed
By now most of you have most probably heard of the peaceful questions that we Ethiopian Muslims are raising. In simple terms we are asking for independent religious representatives (known us Mejlis) to be elect by us in the mosques . The seventeen committee members elected as representatives in this quest have tried to persuade the government to solve this easy problem. In the process, we have strongly supported them by signing petitions from cities and villages from all over Ethiopia and abroad.
The committee and the protestors have made it clear that our questions are religious and religious only. We never asked anything that can threaten or even can be in the disadvantage of the Ethiopian non-Muslims. In fact, our wise committee members and the protestors at large have made sure that even in the very outrageous situation, we keep peaceful methods as our only means of struggle. Like any other citizens, we are citizens, hence no other group, including the government itself has a basis to claim that they are better concerned about our country’s peace and stability.
Despite this, the protestors had to endure deliberate false accusations from the unelected Mejlis and the government. They call the protestors “a few terrorist individuals who want to overthrow the constitution by force”. The imaginary “terrorist” word does not need explanation, we have recently witnessed journalists being called “terrorists”. As you might have seen the videos of last Friday, the more than a million protestors cannot be considered “a few”. And at this moment who is unconstitutional: the people who are going to the mosque and showing their disapproval of the Mejlis in a peaceful manner or the people in power who authorize brutal means including using teargas and lethal weapons against innocent citizens in the mosque? How do you feel if your young child, helpless old mother or father was a victim of such an attack?
No political party taught us Ethiopian Muslims and Christians how to be tolerant amongst one another. Our parents and grand parents did not have ETV and Federal police as a peace-keeping force. What they had was the beautiful culture that we inherited, exercise today and proudly talk about.
The divide and rule method is an old strategy that colonial powers applied against the citizens of their colonies. Sadly, we see this method being applied by people who claim to protect the constitution against their people. There is no need to explain the damage of the divide and rule strategy if we were not the people we are. But they seem relentless and they keep on trying.
No one is immune from being part of history, it is only a matter of how good or bad. The question is: are we going to persist in our unity, or fall for the lies of politicians and disintegrate. We have the opportunity to make a shiny history, to join hands and root out dictatorship once and for all.
Dear Christian Ethiopians,
I would like to call upon you to independently seek for information on the matter. It is my strong belief that you will easily understand our peaceful question and can contribute to change it from an Ethiopian Muslims only question to an Ethiopian question. After all, we are part of the motherland who share its joy and pain.
At this historic moment, please let us discuss the manners and the means to express support. An example is to create awareness to strengthen unity, influence relatives who are part of security forces not to cooperate in illegal and brutal suppression, spread the word so that the outside world hears it.
(The writer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)