Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia accepted his Nobel Prize for Peace on Tuesday, delivering a speech that was emotive in terms of the cost of war – and his own experience with it – as well as inspirational, despite criticisms Abiy has faced over whether the prize was deserved.
Abiy was quick to note his success in negotiating peace with neighboring Eritrea depended on their goodwill as well, and said he accepted the prize on behalf of President Isaias Afwerki and the wider African continent and world whose citizens have dreamed of peace instead of the nightmare of war.
He recounted his own experience as a young radio operator in the Ethiopian army, stationed in the border town of Badme some 20 years ago. He stepped outside in the hopes of getting a better radio signal and returned to find his comrades wiped out in an artillery attack. It is not a day he forgets.
Yet many other days followed, and the opportunity to make peace with Eritrea was a step toward a more secure Ethiopia and the wider Horn of Africa.
“Peace requires good faith to blossom into prosperity, security, and opportunity,” Abiy said. “In the same manner that trees absorb carbon dioxide to give us life and oxygen, peace has the capacity to absorb the suspicion and doubt that may cloud our relationships. In return, it gives back hope for the future, confidence in ourselves and faith in humanity.”
To see Abiy’s complete speech, check the Nobel Committee link here.
Image: Nobel Prize