Translation of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's message for the Ethiopian New Year
Happy New Year
We are celebrating this new year at a time of crucial national challenges but also hope. This is not the first time Ethiopia is inaugurating a New Year while beset by both challenges and hopes. It's possible it will not be the last either. Yet, the entire world can testify that we Ethiopians are a people never phased by challenges nor ever drunk by victories. We have both the strength and determination to go down in history as one among a few countries that transformed their challenges into an opportunity.
Those that are testing Ethiopia do not understand Ethiopia. They don't understand the depth of what it means for Ethiopia to continue to be a free country for thousands of years. It's not for a lack of enemies that Ethiopia has been free for thousands of years; it's also not for a lack of challenges that it has continued to remain a free country. And it's certainly not due to the pity or goodwill of super powers that Ethiopia hasn't fallen from its perch of freedom. It's only because Ethiopia has defeated every single one of her challenges regardless of where they came from.
Those that confront us without understanding our history will be met by those of us who understand our own history. We know how to give milk to our friends, and bitter Aloe to our enemies. The name Ethiopia is synonymous with victory and never mentioned in the same sentence with defeat. She has only a relationship with freedom and not slavery. Ethiopia has been tested before, but she has never been defeated. She has been slimmed down before, but never dismembered. She has appeared sluggish at times, but never fallen.
I believe this new year will be a period in which Ethiopia will finally be freed from those that sucked her dry for 30 years; one in which we form a new government; and one in which we'll shift our focus from our current challenges towards Ethiopia's prosperity. This new year will be one in which our national unity will flourish, our path to democracy strenghtened, and one that I hope will begin to give a clearer image of the reform we started.
Our challenges are behind us, and our hope right in front of us. A new generation is blooming that is burning with love for its country; one that's proud of its history; whose local identity is in harmony with its national identity; an inventive generation; a courageous and trailblazing generation and a generation that is striving to regreen its country. Ethiopia is loaded with the hope of its children.
Whether it's for our country or in our personal lives, a new year brings new blessings in direct proportion to our preparation and the effort we apply to see through the goals we set. If we don't begin with a change in ourselves and yet hope for a change in our country, the year will indeed change, but we'll remain the same. Rather than finger-pointing on matters of national concern, we should start asking "what is expected of me?". Otherwise, even if the year is new, we'll be left behind standing in the past.
As a country, we have to move into the new year by tossing aside old identities that are harmful to our transition and take up new useful identities. Rather than optimizing for our personal goals, if we strive for a collective vision; if we determine to stop tugging at each other; if we reject our shadows and elevate our love instead, then we'll usher in a new era for our country.
A new year is an inevitable natural occurrence. The way to make this new year ours is by marching on a new path together. The past is our starting point, today our journey, and tomorrow our destination. We will not erase completely our past journey. And like the horns of a goat, we will not live by staring at what's behind us. Today is our biggest treasure. The only way its possible to make a year new is by making use of today. The last page of 2013, Pagume 5, is now complete. It will never return. The page will soon be turned to the first day of 2014, Meskerem 1. No one has written anything on this page yet. This new year is ready to receive two things: a courageous person to write on the blank page and a history to be written. If we don't write ourselves, others will write our history in whatever way they please. If we don't write, they will write a history that is not ours.
Now this is the key question: for this new year, entirely filled with blank pages, will we Ethiopians write our own destiny? Or will we give others the opportunity to write the book? When our forefathers invented our own unique calendar, I believe they wanted us to write our own books and chart our own destiny.
They did this, I believe, so that we ourselves will plan, we ourselves will work, we ourselves will solve our problems, we ourselves will communicate, we ourselves will discuss, we ourselves will march, we ourselves will win, we ourselves will dream, we ourselves will be resourceful, we ourselves will produce, we ourselves will defeat hunger, and so that we ourselves solely determine the solutions to our own issues.
We are a people that invented our own calendar, and there is no reason why we shouldn't be able to chart our own destiny, in our own way. Our obstacles are being eliminated; we are seeing victory in every direction. This is the time for Ethiopia. This new year is for the new Ethiopia. Ethiopia will write in the pages and book of this new year, a new journey and story of prosperity. She will write about her victories. She will write about her honor and greatness.
When our country is rising to write about her prosperity and victories, we ourselves have to be the pen. And the ink for the pen will come from our sweat and blood. When her people rise to support each other and grow together, the pen that Ethiopia is holding will begin to work. When her citizens start thinking about each other, the pen will begin to write meaningful sentences. When her country's children respect their differences, and yet stand together in unity, then the pen will write about our great victories.
Again Happy New Year. Let this be a new year of new blessings.
Ethiopia, because of her children's effort, will be fruitful and respected forever.
May The Creator bless Ethiopia and her people. Pagumé 5 2013.