Statement on the Current Situation in Our Country
By Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile-Selassie
Washington, DC — Our beloved Ethiopia is currently beset by challenges and difficulties. It is an historically important time for all Ethiopians. It is a time when we must realize that we can choose a path of unity, hope, and leadership, or we can allow ourselves to fall into mutual antagonisms and thereby choose a path which leads to the break-up of the great experiment which began more than three millennia ago. We can recommit ourselves to being the great, noble, and gracious collection known as Ethiopia, or we can succumb to becoming a mere collection of small, petty, and struggling societies.
We are at a point where we can choose our future, and whether or not we choose to overcome our difficulties and challenges to become again a unified, prosperous example to Africa and the world.
Our forefathers maintained our sovereignty, moving the Solomonic Crown — the historical identity of the peoples of our great collection of societies — to the position where its primary function was to represent and inspire the unity and nobility of our nation and peoples. We reiterate those respective positions of the Crown and the age-old traditions of Ethiopia.
The Crown takes no political role when it calls on all of us to ensure that we do not harm our great country. We understand that there are differences between individuals and between communities, but equally we understand that this is a time when these issues must be approached carefully, judiciously, and not in haste or in anger.
There are many external forces at work on our country, anxious to inflame mutual distrust within Ethiopia, and to promote the forces of secession or irredentism. It is easy to fall into the trap of reaction and indignation, a process which, while addressing short-term challenges and emotions, has long-term consequences. Above all, we must remember the special relationship which our great Ethiopia — and its peoples of several different Abrahamic paths — has with God.
Political frustrations do occur in multi-cultural societies like Ethiopia, but they are best channeled by building and strengthening democratic institutions. But in the meantime, we must remain cognizant of our shared identity, our unity as a gathering of many peoples, and our great and noble purpose as a special society which is destined once again to set an example of tolerance, hospitality, generosity, and learning.
The only beneficiaries of a disunited or dismembered Ethiopia are those who wish to see our great history rendered meaningless and our potential as a society destroyed, and those beneficiaries are not Ethiopians. We have all learned the dangers of times of inflamed emotions, and we trust in our civil society and our institutions of state to act with restraint and kindness.
My fellow Ethiopians: please pause; please offer compassion when provoked to reaction. Let us start to rebuild the greatness of Ethiopia which began with our origins three millennia ago. We pray that calm heads and tolerant hearts prevail, and that together we emphasize and build upon our shared identities and values. What differences exist between our communities must be seen as the shades which exist within a family. Nothing can be as devastating as the destruction of family; but nothing is as worthwhile or productive as the shared pride in the special differences which exist within it.