Public mourning and its redemption power |
By Waltenegus Dargie | July 25, 2012
Following my last public assertion regarding the death of Prime Minster Meles Zenawi on Sunday, July 15, 2012, in Saint-Luc Hospital, Brussels, Belgium, almost no substantial evidence emerged to persuade me to reconsider my assertion. It is, therefore, reasonable to ask why his death (if, indeed, he has died) has not yet been made known to the nation. While it is understandable if those close to Ato Meles feel a sense of defeat to publicly admit his death, I maintain that there can be two additional reasons why the public is kept in the dark.
But an extended postponement of the announcement of the death of the Prime Minster (assuming he has died) will have a long term negative impact on the countryís unity. To begin with, Ethiopians are extrovert when it comes to expressing their loss. Unlike most western nations, sorrow for Ethiopians is both public and social. This precious attitude on loss and bereavement has enabled Ethiopians to cope with inexpressible tragedies in the past, public and private alike. Delaying the mourning of the Prime Minster deprives those who wish to mourn him the vital emotional channel to come to terms with their bereavement. It also provokes deep and lasting disappointment and creates a hideous gulf between his opponents and friends.
Secondly, our mourning culture has a power to bring healing and reconciliation. Helplessness and despair bring us more strongly together than our successes and victories; more than our holidays and weddings. In contrast, delaying the unfortunate news reveals the existence of a profound mistrust of the publicís goodwill and its forgiving capability. It is, therefore, for the benefit of the nation that the truth about the Prime Minster should be told. This may require that some TPLF practices (secrecy and mistrust) should be given up (oh, just for once!) to uphold courage and honour and to establish unity and reconciliation.
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