PM Abiy’s Message of Love, Forgiveness and Togetherness in Meskel Square
A historic rally in support of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed was held in Addis Ababa’s Meskel Square on 23rd June in the presence of hundreds of thousands of people from across the country and from different backgrounds.
The rally was intended to encourage and recognize the changes brought about by the Prime Minister since he assumed the Premiership post.
Addressing the rally, Prime Minister Abiy praised the people of Ethiopia for their determination and commitment to being part of the wave of radical changes that are sweeping the nation, and encouraged people to believe in the prospect of a bright future for the country.
Dr Abiy expressed “the extraordinary optimism, honour and great pleasure” he felt for “seeing so many Ethiopians gathered on this special occasion to celebrate love, forgiveness, unity and harmony as defining values of the nation.”
He said: “We have not yet served six months [his government], we have not yet lifted the shadow of overwhelming challenges ahead of us; therefore, we have yet to earn your gratitude.”
“My fellow Ethiopians, filled with hope, you commenced today with a grand gesture of appreciation, believing that hatred has ruined us and reduced our standing, but love will offer dividend and create a bridge. Armed with love and harmony, we can realize our aspirations. Today’s extraordinary occasion marks the start of a journey to the greater heights to which we aspire to reach.”
Honouring the sacrifices so many martyrs have paid to achieve the betterment of the nation, Dr Abiy said “it is imperative to express gratitude to those martyrs who did not live to witness this day, who died so that we could live, who were dishonoured so that we could walk in dignity, who were incarcerated so that we could walk free, who sacrificed their lives so that we could live ours. They could have lived without us; but we would not be here without them.”
The PM added: “On the day we stop saying ‘this region is mine! This boundary is mine! Leave our lands!’…when we stand unified from the east, west, north and south, and when our Palace and Parliament is open to the public…when you teach your children patriotism and national pride as well as the indigenous alphabets and cover them with a sheath of Ethiopianism…when you treat mothers, sisters and all women equally and with respect…then you can consider your gratitude received and the whole world would stand to witness it.”
The PM stressed that “change does not come through the involvement of a few active players with a majority being spectators but the participation of all. He emphasized the need to put in place a rich culture of professionalism at all levels of governance and underlined the irreplaceable role intellectuals and experts could play in bringing fresh ideas and finding new and innovative ways of doing things.
He encouraged religious leaders, the Ethiopian diaspora, political parties, teachers and the young, to eradicate prejudice and corruption and defend the nation and citizens suffering from mistreatment and march together in a noble quest for progress and prosperity. Ethiopia plays a critical role across the African continent, especially in the sub-region, and he said that if it was “to remain as Africa’s bastion of peace, its relations with neighbouring countries must be founded on love, shared concerns and benefits.”
Shortly after his speech, a grenade attack occurred at the rally, claiming the lives of two individuals and leaving scores injured.
The Prime Minister was unscathed and in a live broadcast on Ethiopian Television shortly afterwards, expressed his condolences to the families of those affected and said the attack had been orchestrated by anti-peace forces who wanted to undermine the rally. The perpetrators will face justice. A dozen suspects have so far been arrested and are currently under police investigation.
“All victims are martyrs of love and peace,” the Premier said.
“Love always wins.”
Experts from the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation are providing technical assistance in bringing the perpetrators to justice.
A few hours after the live broadcast, the PM visited the victims, offering his heartfelt encouragement and gave blood.
On social media, Fitsum Arega, the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff, announced that “every year Ethiopia will commemorate 23rd June as a National Day of Love, Forgiveness and Togetherness.”
A transcript of the PM’s speech is available. Requests can be sent to the Press Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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