By: Amleste Abraar
Somaliland sun -Several hundreds of Ethiopian communities residing in Rome and its surroundings celebrated on Sunday (01-November, 2015) the 8th commemoration of the Ethiopian national Flag Day at the Ethiopian Embassy’s compound in Rome. Organized in collaboration with the Ethiopian Embassy and the Ethiopian communities, the 8th round of the Flag Day celebration was held with a theme of “Ethiopia: A country that has been working hard to raise its flag and realize its renaissance with public participation.” Those in attendance also include Ethiopian religious leaders living in Rome. The event was graced by the singing of the national anthem and a salute to the national Flag as well as by a panel discussions and cultural dances of all nations, nationalities and peoples.
Opening the commemoration, Ethiopia’s Ambassador to Italy H.E. Ambassador Mulugeta Alemseged congratulated the communities on their celebration of the Flag Day which he said is the ultimate national symbol which stands above any forms of political or social differences and unites all Ethiopians with equal footing and national pride.
The Ambassador who noted the selfless sacrifices paid in generations to maintain the country’s national sovereignty and the unity of its people also reminded those in attendance of the heroic struggles seen throughout history of the Ethiopian people at different times not only against any foreign aggressions including fascism but also against unjust forms of internal governances imposed on them during previous monarchical and military eras.
There had been, the Ambassador said, little room to accommodate any expressions of differences by peaceful means and almost all of the activists who stood against the unjust governances and took firm stands for change, freedom and equality faced tragic endings as it could be seen in what had been done to the patriots such as Belay Zeleke many other politicians. The response for the untiring inquiries raised by the farmers of Tigray, Gojam, Bale and other areas for good governance, fair distribution of resources and equality had become mass prosecutions and tortures.
Such a firm and desirable quest for democratic and just governance had however been unstoppable, Ambassador Mulugeta said, as it could never be remedied by way of any coercive measure and continued. He noted that traumatic suppressions committed against the people of Ethiopia under the false pretext of living for the national Flag in those eras have resulted in numerous public revolts as well as armed struggles against the rulers of those times. The fight that has taken tens of thousands of lives and later ushers the demise of the brutal Dergue regime and the coming into existence of the new Federal Democratic structure was the most recent outcome of those endless struggles for equality, prosperity and democracy with a true spirit of unity under one national Flag.
Ambassador Mulugeta said that the current Ethiopian flag which carries a unique emblem in the middle is the Ethiopian peoples’ expressed reflection enshrined in the current Constitution which symbolizes their long fought desire for equality of all the nations, nationalities and peoples of Ethiopia and of their cultures, religions and languages and of their unity amid their diversity. The flag with its emblem, he said, is a symbolic seal marking the very expressed desire of the peoples of Ethiopia being put as moral compensation for the sacrifices and suffering due to maladministration and the subsequent economic and social underdevelopment. This can be clearly seen in the new Federal Democratic system of governance as it has addressed the peoples’ desire. Any forms of peaceful differences are now considered legitimate and healthy and are dealt with by peaceful means. Tremendous improvements in governance, economic and social development and democratization in its two decade long of inception are other manifestations. This, he said, is an open reality as the people of Ethiopia under the current system start to enjoy the taste of development and democracy. They are now beneficiaries of self governance, developmental activities, available natural resources, services, social development packages and job opportunities. The double digit growth seen for over the last ten years in row that has been maintained in the previous GTP years was manifestations for this with another ambitious plan in the second GTP.
In fact, the Ambassador said, the secret beyond such breakthrough successes has been the participatory and democratic approach that has made the Ethiopian people including those in the Diaspora to be the principal owners of their common country’s agenda and to decide on their national fate.
He congratulated the Ethiopian Diasporas especially those in Italy for the role they have played towards their country’s development and democratization process. Their participation, Ambassador Mulugeta said, was very encouraging as they were actively involved on investment opportunities at home, trade promotions for Ethiopian commodities at host markets, on image building and tourism promotions. He also commended their exemplary role towards the construction of their country’s mega development projects including the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam which is now over 50% completed. Such an active role, the Ambassador said, should continue strengthened. He also expressed his strong belief that the ambitious goals being put in the second GTP would be achievable with such broader public participation and call up on all Ethiopian Diaspora including those in Italy to be part of the effort aimed to make Ethiopia a middle income economy in the coming ten years.
The event has also seen a panel discussion where the panelists, Ato Walle Yehuala and Ato Solomon Zekie, briefed the participants on global and domestic practices pertaining to flags and imperatives of its celebration. The participants have also expressed their grave concern on few individuals in the Diaspora who deliberately engage themselves in creating confusions about the national Flag with a view to divide the Diaspora for their own personal political gains. They call up on all fellow citizens in the Diaspora to stop such individuals adding that those in any differing political views can reflect their dissent in any other way but not by making a disgrace against their national Flag.
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