Clemency is a pillar of justice
Dear Tigraionline Admin
By Mulugeta Aserate Kassa
Dec. 26 2010
Former Ambassador Tesfaye Habisso’s view point “A Practicable Advocacy or Trading in Illusions” (Tigraionline, 23rd December) wrongly concludes that those of us who fully back the Religious Leaders willingness to act as intermediaries for repentant and geriatric Derg officials, are not well versed with the Constitution and Law of Ethiopia and have, therefore, made illusion the currency of our campaign.
On the issue of FDRE’s Constitution, the last thing I would dare to attempt to do is equate my humble self with my learned friend and blood relative who had proactively participated in Ethiopia’s Constituent Assembly in 1994. However, I simply fail to fathom how on earth mercy could possibly be anathema to justice. Besides, I would have thought that the mere fact that the convicted Derg officials had asked the Religious Leaders – who are not constitutionally or legally obliged – to be their intermediaries with Ethiopians was proof, if proof was ever needed, that everyone involved in the effort of reconciliation is fully aware that as far as the law was concerned the issue was a done and dusted matter.
No advocate of forgiveness has indulged in the futile exercise of absolving the Derg officials for the heinous and rebarbative crimes they had committed on all of us for 17 long years, nor are they naive enough to want to torpedo the Constitution or law of our nation by placing their trust on peoples’ sensibilities and sensitivities. On the other hand, I for one sincerely believe that the current geriatric state of the former Derg officials, the 20 year they have spent in prison, as well as their forth-coming unreserved public apology to Ethiopians, warrant that, we all, at least, give them the benefit of the doubt. Thereafter the ball would be in the Government’s court. My guess, for whatever its worth, is that the Government will then be well disposed to respond to the peoples’ consensual agreement by exhibiting a level of magnanimity hitherto not witnessed anywhere in the world. By so doing, the EPDRF Government would show case to the world that after ensuring that justice was seen to be done, it now has what it takes to out-Mandela-Mandela.
I am also in no doubt that as a supporter of the on-going Growth and Transformation and a devout Orthodox Tewahedo at that, former Ambassador Tesfaye would agree to the fact that there is no rhyme and reason for the Government to be in hock to sadistic and antediluvian sentiments. On May 28th 2011, Ethiopians will be celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the fall of the Derg. Offering clemency – brought about through national consensus - to those who used to hunt and hound Ethiopians as part of a nation-wide celebration would send out a clear message to the whole world that a “transformed Ethiopia” is determined to put her gory past behind her in a manner and style that would give added impetus to the Ethiopian Renaissance.
Sir, to me, the essence of “Practicable Advocacy” is mercy.
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Flag this messageIs it possible to make a pact with the devil?
Getachew Tadesse, (raya)
Dec. 26. 20010
People tend to think that pacts with the devil only exist in literature. They are wrong. There are individuals, groups, associations, religious institutions and governments who consciously and with full advertence, make pacts with the devil and surrender their soul as long as they get something they want in this life.
The word 'Gud' both in Amharic and Tigrigna are one of the same. In fact it goes as far as Gudegna in both languages. Calling the government in Ethiopia Gudegna is appropriate, to say the least. Why would they remind us all of the vicious time that we would very much like to forget and move on by telling us their contemplation to pardon brutal savages of the Derg and release them from prison? Don't they have better things to do other than dealing with the devil and stirring passion thereby adding insult to injury? Isn't it worthwhile for the government and the religious leaders to engage, for example, in defending those helpless Ethiopians in Arab countries who are being violated and killed because no one is looking after their rights to live and work as respected human beings? In my view, the government has absolutely no right to extend pardon on this particular case.
The idea of a formal pact with the devil appears for the first time in the 5th century, in the writings of st. Jerome. This father of the church tells how a young man wanted to gain the favor of a beautiful woman and went to a magician, who, in payment for his services, imposed upon the young man that he renounce Christ in a written document.
In the 6th century, a second occurrence of this type appears in the legend of Theophilus, who becomes the devils servant and signs a formal pact. (Fortea).
There is no doubt the government is about to pardon and release criminals of the Derg be it for political gain or any other reason not conceivable to the vast majority of the Ethiopian people. In any event, It will be a huge colossal mistake to do so however. The government is offering its soul in exchange for diabolical favors.- In this case 'power' for EPRDF at any cost.
Others made this type of pact with the devil just as a sign of recognizing the devil as their master, in exchange for nothing. I doubt this pertains to EPRDF.
Regardless, the bargain is a dangerous one, for the price of the friend's service is the wagerer's soul.