An Open Letter to PM Abiy Ahmed Ali

The following open letter addressed to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali, winner of the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize, is written by Lydia A. Gorfu, a second year medical student in the United States. (Photo by Aron simeneh)


By Lydia A. Gorfu

Dear Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali,

As a leader of an uncolonised African nation, you have tasted the pride that is within freedom. As a fighter at Badme, you have tasted the cost of peace. Your selection from a massive pool of billions, as a symbol, is indicative of your knowledge in fostering peace and promoting noble change worthy of recognition. Yet, we are still waiting for words of wisdom, waiting to hear you will stand with black people in the fight against racism in and beyond our border. I believe that there comes a huge responsibility with the Nobel Peace Prize, and I’m afraid that you are limiting your obligations by not expanding your influence globally. I understand that there are national matters that need your undivided attention and I am not by any means lowering the magnitude of that. However, during the fight against Fascist Italy, African Americans came to fight for our freedom, a freedom that you, myself and every Ethiopian have been privileged with. When we were in the midst of our own battles, our African American brothers and sisters selflessly gave aid to our cause, despite being in the midst of their own revolutions. Undoubtedly, because they understood that in order to defend themselves against the violence and abuse of segregation and slavery, that in uplifting and supporting fellow black men/women/nations, that they were ultimately uplifting themselves.

In our freedoms in an uncolonized African nation we have come a long way but still have further ways to go. You preach an ideology Medemer, in which you talk about unity and peaceful coexistence. Such unity and peace cannot coexist in a nation that separates itself from the world by ignoring current events. Your failure to unite with our fellow black people in a war against racism and terror is one in which we cannot accept. It is not only customary to practice what one preaches, but morally required as a public servant. “Does the Medemer philosophy only apply to your service to Ethiopia?”, “Do you not see yourself as a global citizen?”, “Will you continue to ignore current events?” These are all questions that I hope that you can look in your mirror and ask yourself, because the answer is quite simple — NO. I hope your reflection sparks your call to action. Your duty to be A VOICE. Your right to SPEAK UP and speak LOUDLY, against racism but most importantly in SYMBOL of peace for a country in flames. A county where thousands of our own live.

On December 10, 2019, you accepted your Nobel Peace Prize “in the name of those who stand for peace,” so I am not only reminding you, but charging you to put action to what you have been preaching since your inauguration. This charge to act, is one that I am confident that you can and will execute. Because, I have witnessed the strength of your leadership, when you successfully united the Ethiopian Diasporas for the cause of improving the lives of our Ethiopian people. You called and we responded by creating the Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund. When you needed the diaspora, the diaspora was there for your cause. We made home in a land that is foreign to us to overcome the burden of life. We are being lynched in broad daylight because of the color of our skin. Yet, our leader that some said resembles Moses, has left us astray. In the time when we need you to speak the most you have chosen to stay quiet. In a time when you need to be on the side of peace you have decided to stay neutral. The Abiy I know would have marched with us. The Abiy I know would have spoken against white supremacy. The Abiy I know would have harvested the hope in my heart.

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