Statement: Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie after brutal terrorist attack in Ethiopia

Statement by His Imperial Highness Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile-Selassie President of the Crown Council of Ethiopia

His Imperial Highness Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile-Selassie, President of the Crown Council of Ethiopia, on recent violent attacks in Ethiopia:

On behalf of the Crown Council of Ethiopia, I extend my deepest and heartfelt condolences to all the families who, because of the violence of recent days in our homeland, have had to bury their relatives and loved ones. We grieve with those who must continue mourning as the brutal murderers have yet to be arrested. We are disheartened to know so many innocent lives are being taken and our beloved country has now declared war with itself.

We have read, seen, and heard the cries of our people who have been targeted for their ethnic identity and religion; for being Amhara, Oromo, Tigrayan, Wolayta, Afar, or any other ethnic group has been Ethiopia’s cultural magnificence. Identifying as Christian Orthodox, Catholic, Pentecostal, Muslim, or Animist is what makes Ethiopia’s historical majesty. Many seem to have forgotten our history, as Ethiopia was the country which preserved Islam with pride and dignity. The First Hijrah was the first migration of Prophet Muhammed followers as they fled from the persecution and took refuge in the Christian Kingdom of Aksum, today’s Ethiopia and Eritrea.

It is important to remember that Ethiopia was also formed on the communal harmony of nations striving together to protect their combined territory and peoples, all the while toiling to develop a diverse society, greater with each generation of Ethiopians.

We often refer to the great Battle of Adwa as the African Victory. This is because history was never gracious to Africa, and Ethiopia was the only country able to fight its enemies and gain victory. Adwa was a reminder of the power of solidarity and unity. Remembering Atse Menelik’s vision to bring warriors such as Ras Alula, Ras Darge Sahle Selassie, Ras Tekle Haymanot, Ras Mikael, Fitawrari Habte Giorgis Dinagde, Ras Yohannas Mengesha; with Dejeazmach Balcha Aba Nefso by his side to win a war. It was a war which was a testimony to the leadership by all in this noble endeavor. These dignified leaders from the many great Peoples of Ethiopia saw the importance of unity. They did not dwell on their separate ethnicities or religious beliefs. The vision of each was one of a collective freedom and the agreement to have one overarching government body to preserve territorial diversity, dignity, and union.

When the Prime Minister of Ethiopia came to power in 2018, Ethiopians at home and in the Diaspora were elated that change had finally arrived in a country which had been struggling to find its footing since the dethroning of the Emperor Haile Selassie. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed made rapid changes in terms of appointing women to positions of leadership; in reviving Ethiopia’s cultural sites; and in establishing a new political party, the Prosperity Party.

Unfortunately, in the past year, we have been witnessing growing hate, disdain, and vengeful actions which have led to many deaths and much wanton destruction. We have seen the lack of action to calm the tensions which had galvanized along religious and ethnic lines. We have seen the reactions of the youth, the opposition, and now one specific region standing against the status quo.

Where did we go from here?

The Crown Council knows the pain of betrayal; understands the challenges of rising opposition; and comprehends the power of unity to safeguard a diverse nation. The Prime Minister was led to the necessity of declaring war with the proclaimed leaders of the Tigray region in what seems to be a point of no return for Ethiopia, a country which has been suffering for more than 40 years to show some economic growth.

We know about insurgency from within our ranks. But we also know, at this stage in our history, that peace can be achieved through peaceful dialogue, and thus Ethiopia’s greatness can be achieved. We need to pay more attention to the sensibilities of diversity, and work to build consensus on the way forward. We have to work towards reconciliation in order to integrate Ethiopia into the global economy. Let us rely on our teachings, our history, our traditions, and our cultures to resolve our conflicts rather than taking arms against our own people. Enough blood has been shed on all sides.

We call on Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to seek peaceful means to resolve the gridlock with the TPLF or any other entities challenging the stability of the country and safety of Ethiopian people. We call on the elders and religious leaders to stand as a bridge for a nation to move ahead as one. We call on the women and men of Ethiopia to promote peaceful dialogue and reconciliation.

The Crown Council continues to stand ready to help arbitrate, mediate, and reconcile.

The path to reconciliation can only be achieved through mediation by a willing committee of elders, community and religious leaders, and women, as well as our youth who have been seeking basic human rights and economic opportunities. As we seek to be facilitators of peace, with the support of various stakeholders, we aim to organize an International Conference on Peace in Ethiopia.

Let us find it in our hearts to forgive our aggressors and seek justice within the judicial framework of Ethiopia.A nation at home and abroad mourns the loss of innocent Amhara and Orthodox Christian lives. We have to accept that our beloved Ethiopia is in turmoil when our people see cultural identity as divisive rather than as our richest asset. We pray for an inclusive nation recognizing and valuing our culture, history, and traditions.

God Bless You, and God Bless Ethiopia.

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