What do our Leaders Really Serve – Their People or Their Self-Interests?

14th January 2016  By Daniel G. Areri

When two elephants fight each other, the first victims are the bushes and the small animals that accidently get in their way. Similarly, when two or more superpowers, or ”elephants”, fight with their own self-interest in mind, it is the innocent people who are the first victims.

Powerful hands sometimes violate human rights by using the name of “democracy” as an entrance card to its hall of self-interests. Thousands have died and millions have fled their homes due to the actions of these powers, actions taken in the name of “good governance and democracy”. Where there are violations of human rights, people flee from the danger in order to save their lives, and many countries are affected. After Iraq was invaded by America in 2003, a very heavy burden of assignment was created, as other countries were struggling to find a way of accepting the refugees. European countries have supported repressive regimes and governments led by dictators. Now, they do not know how to handle the large number of asylum seekers.

Using guns to create peace is paradoxical; becoming family and friends with guns means becoming family and friends of human rights violations.

Some developed countries produce and sell weapons to childish dictator governments who then play with fire by inviting multi-ethnic groups to use the guns. Yet peace cannot coexist with this “mind of the gun”. Some claim that they use their guns to bring back democracy and good governance. But what they in fact are doing is destroying democracy. Soldiers are trained in how to kill humans while doctors are desperately learning how to heal them. Why can we not have more experts of peace and healing instead of experts of death? I strongly believe that when it comes to ruling a country, human rights cannot have any true meaning in the presence of this “mind of the gun”. Using guns to create peace is paradoxical; becoming family and friends with guns means becoming family and friends of human rights violations.

All governments, big and small, sing about democracy in their daily speeches. They are, however, all being selfish and salivate for their own interests. How many of us look on with critical eyes when conflicts occur between democracy and self-interests? Why do we allow inequality and injustice to be sown in our yard? What will the harvest be from sowing seeds of revenge? What is our future grain after planting hatred in the minds of nations? The refugees are dying by the thousands in the Mediterranean Sea. Fish feed on their flesh. Fishermen then catch the fish, and the humans eat the fish. Therefore, humans are eating humans. Lions eat monkeys, monkeys eat kudus. Let the animals eat each other; they do not have a sense of morality. But we are humans! Where is our humanity?

We are all both human and animal, one family of nature. The world should care about the games of anti-human rights politics and interests. There is an Oromo proverb that says Kan babaa gubbaa fudhadha jettee kan bobaa gattee, which means “when reaching for something from the upper shelf, she dropped what she was holding under her arm”. In the fight and longing for more power, leaders will lose the trust of the people, and when that trust is lost, the leaders will lose their power.


Daniel G. Areri
Daniel G. Areri was born in 1984, in the Oromia State of Ethiopia. He followed primary and elementary school at Me’e Bokko and Adola Secondary and Preparatory School. He joined Mekelle University in 2005 and studied Journalism and Communication. Daniel graduated with a B.A. degree in 2007. One month after his graduation, Daniel was immediately hired by the Oromia Radio and Television Organization (ORTO) to work as a journalist. He worked as a reporter for the media station in Adama for four years, both in the radio as well as the TV desk. In 2011, Daniel was fired from the media station together with many of his colleagues. This without any committing any fault. The only reason was because of practicing of journalism and being Oromo. He went back to the rural area of his birth place and tried to work within agriculture for one year, as his parent often did. The local government however made his work challenging. At the end of 2012, Daniel was enforced by cadres to the government to leave the area. Daniel came to Addis Ababa and applied for a Master’s Degree. He started post graduate studies in the School of Journalism and Communication, in the Addis Ababa University. Daniel was not lucky to finish his master. He had to drop the school and start a life in exile – because being a journalist and belonging to the Oromo ethic group is a risky business in the eyes of the Ethiopian regime. Daniel is the author of the book Freedom Letter.

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