We all know that the survival of Ethiopia as a nation is in jeopardy. To avert such destruction from following its present downward spiral will require each of us to “be a voice” for an Ethiopia where truth, justice, freedom, reconciliation, equality and civility can bring sustainable peace, lifting us up to new possibilities as a nation “beyond what we could ask or imagine!”
The moral courage of individual people who are willing to stand up for their convictions, along with making sacrifices of their time, energy and resources, has always been what has led to overcoming wrongs in society and in the world. Are you willing to be such an agent for change in your families, communities and organizations? Take action in reaching out to others—raising awareness, creating new partnerships and building a healthier society. Start a friendship group of diverse Ethiopians and include some non-Ethiopians or start or join a SMNE chapter in your area and begin to plan strategies that will utilize the skills, connections and resources available.
The foundation for change will begin at the grassroots level, person-to-person, family-to-family, community-to-community, group-to-group or organization-to-organization. Each of us has responsibility to become an activist in promoting healing, reconciliation and friendships among Ethiopians, starting closest to home and expanding efforts outward. As we Ethiopians create a healthier, more united community of Ethiopians, we will produce a climate conducive to sustainable positive change in our country. The lack of such an atmosphere and of such solidarity around shared principles has prevented us from becoming a viable alternative to our present tyrannical government. It is time to change. We are standing as obstacles to our own dreams unless you and I respond to the call to “be the voice!”
As each of us speaks, one by one, the silence is broken. I am reminded of a vast dark room filled with countless people holding unlit candles; like in some of the services people of faith hold. The room remains in darkness until one person finds a spark to light their candle, showing the faces of those nearby. That one person then passes on that light to the ones closest and those then pass it on to others until the combined light of countless candles illuminates the entire space. It is a quiet transference of light that begins slowly, but once it starts, its speed accelerates exponentially.
It begins in the mind that has been darkened by hatred, division and despair; but, as minds are freed to see the value of putting “humanity before ethnicity” and caring about others because “no one will be free until we all are free,” a different kind of Ethiopia can emerge.
As you speak out, your spark; if combined together in solidarity with others, can break through the darkness hovering over our land and continent. We must remember that those who benefit from maintaining the darkness may resist the light, but when it starts changing a society from the bottom up, there may be nothing they can do to resist it until it is too late. When that happens, many more may join together with this movement as they start to find their way—even those who are part of this government who have been, for far too long, blinded by the darkness.
As we build a society out of wounds and failures of the past, we will need to grasp the power of forgiveness in changing us into a people able to reconcile our past with our future dreams. The following are not only quotations, but come from people who have seen the actual power of forgiveness and reconciliation applied in the healing of fractured relationships and societies. As you read them, may they inspire you, helping to free you to effectively apply them in word and in deed to others around you.
Quotes on Forgiveness:
"To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you." - Lewis Smedes, Forgiveness: The Power To Change The Past
“We differ from all animals. It is not our capacity to think that makes us different, but our capacity to repent, and to forgive."- Alexander Solzhenitsyn
“Let us forgive each other - only then will we live in peace." - Leo Tolstoy
“Without forgiveness there is no future." - Desmond Tutu
“Forgiving does not erase the bitter past. A healed memory is not a deleted memory. Instead, forgiving what we cannot forget creates a new way to remember. We change the memory of our past into a hope for our future." - Lewis B. Smedes - The Art of Forgiving: When You Need To Forgive And Don't Know How
“Forgiveness is a rebirth of hope, a reorganization of thought, and a reconstruction of dreams. Once forgiving begins, dreams can be rebuilt. When forgiving is complete, meaning has been extracted from the worst of experiences and used to create a new set of moral rules and a new interpretation of life's events." - Beverly Flanigan - Forgiving The Unforgivable: Overcoming the Legacy of Intimate Wounds