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Africa Should Seize its Moment in Ethiopia

Two factors should be raising alarm bells about the current situation. One is paralysis in intervening to end the conflict – both internationally and from within Africa. The other is the rhetoric of genocide that has crept into the public discourse. Both factors are all too reminiscent of the prelude to the Rwanda genocide in 1994. Ethiopia imploding would put the entire East African region in peril. It would threaten the seat of the African Union, which is currently Addis Ababa. It would tarnish the image of Africa as well as that of a nation that has a unique historical connection to international law. Ethiopia was the first nation to sign the UN Genocide Convention and associate itself with the ideals of peace and genocide-prevention. It is not too late for Ethiopia’s leaders and all Ethiopians to reflect on the promise of Ethiopia’s moral past and the obligations of its present: an obligation to prevent the current situation in Tigray from descending into a genocide. But Ethiopia can’t avoid disaster on its own. It needs the community of African countries to put their energies to the task of avoiding an implosion in the country.