Snuggle for survival

Our libraries are crammed with bestselling books about human nature, all of which including the Holy Scripture stressed and argued that humans are warmongering, greedy, transgressors and rapacious species. As a result of this one-sided and biased presentation of human nature, pessimism and cynicism celebrated victory over optimism and innocence in mind. Cynical views that demonstrate humans are inherently nasty and brutish demolishes the respectful view that humans are inherently cooperative, peaceful and reliable species.

We have been bombarded to the point that all agree to the notion of ‘survival of the fittest’. Darwin’s theory has wrongly imitated to define the social, political and economic aspects of society. But does our survival really depend on struggle and the rule is ‘survival of the fittest’? Have we ever thought that our evolution is predicated on ‘survival of the friendliest’? Do we have the sense to appreciate the knack of cooperation that we humans are endowed with? There are many thinkers who have provided alternative and relevant truth to demolish the cynical views on humans. However, due to what the psychologists called the “Negativity Bias” and “Availability Bias”; despite the greatness of their ideas they are known only by few. We are made to attune to the bad than the good. Yes.   

We are swimming in the sea of lies. All sorts of information production produce a lot of toxic harmful to the survival of truth. Societies across the world are not only being suffered from the pollution of air. The ecology of news has been polluted by the excessive production of false and disturbing information and hence the layers of truth are depleted. Our health needs fresh and organic truth the same way as we crave for fresh air and organic food. However, truth about everything including about human nature is in short supply. Majority of the media, instead of throwing light to the events so that people can see and understand they puff smoke to obscure the scene. The main stream media have acquired tremendous skills at vilifying truth, undermining success, killing hope and manufacturing fear and suspicion. 

To better understand my views let me give you practical example happened close to our experience. The people of Eritrea and Ethiopia have made spectacular progress in every single measure of their life after July 2018. With the signing of the Asmara Peace and Friendship Treaty the two countries have made a ‘great escape’ from war and mutual distrust. The border, which was tense and highly militarized for twenty years ceased. Threat removed and the cloud of hope began to condense. Aggressive and threatening voices disappeared. Official and non-official visits to the capitals which was a dream before become a reality. Competition and rivalry is changed into cooperation. All of these changes induced mental stability and brings tangible benefits to the people of the two countries. This is the reality on the ground. Despite that fact, however, many individuals and groups continue to manufacture news and stories to tell us we are back in the previous state of war, that there is nothing better. As a result of this continuous feeding of false information some people are found disillusioned and even blinded to see the change. The truth unpolluted by news can easily be found on the face of the soldiers and people on both sides of the border. However, patience and balance which are vital in digging out the truth are in short supply in the Wi-Fi society.

Peace is better than war. Cooperation is better than competition. Construction is better than destruction. Stability is better than instability. Mutual respect and equality is better than domination. Accepting and implementing treaty is better than refusal to implement agreed treaty and continue illegal occupation of territory. Healing wounds is better than scratching wounds. Sawing seeds of peace and love is better than sawing seeds of hatred and suspicion. Respecting is better than offending. Singing chorus of peace is better than beating drums of war. So, if progress is the constant increase of the better, then that is what is happening on Eritrea and Ethiopia.

The region began to cooperate and learn that cooperation can make the entire region not just richer but nicer place as well. Exchanging what you have for the thing you do not have is much cheaper and easier than looting or cheating. The warmonger, TPLF is now thrown out of the scene. The Horn of Africa has reduced to a battle field by TPLF despite the fact that the region is inhabited by peace-loving people. When the people who have chained for so long by the shackles of the warmongers are liberated they realized that the natural arrangement of things is different. The people of Eritrea and Ethiopia are now banded together to stave off the cold of propaganda and intimidation. They come to realize that in order to survive and thrive to snuggle is better than to struggle each other. They reached into consensus, without fanfare that their struggle would be coordinated and directed against a common enemy. And they are doing it. Cooperation is not new invention between the people of Eritrea and Ethiopia. It is to be recalled that, in the past, the united struggle of the two people has overthrown the feudal oppression of Haileslasie and military dictatorship of Derg.     

Last week I read Rutger Bregman’s book ‘Human kind; A Hope Full History’ and I have harvested valuable grains of knowledge to feed my hope and to open my eyes to see what is good in and around me. He expresses serious doubts about the widely accepted narrative of human beings. Bregman (2020), contradicted all we thought we knew about. For example he said among many things: “Rather than a struggle for survival, it was snuggle for survival, in which we kept each other warm”. The people of Eritrea and Ethiopia have become victims of irresponsible governments that hold power in Addis Ababa. With the coming of Dr. Abiy Ahmed to power the Hobbesian notion of ‘war of all against all’ is tamed and peace is consolidating. Although struggle and competition are important, cooperation is much more critical for development. Human beings crave togetherness and interaction. Bregman says “Our spirits yearn for connection just as our bodies hunger for food”. Fortunately, the people of Eritrea and Ethiopia led by peacemaker governments are currently replacing the competitive mindset by cooperative one. From now onwards, war can be waged only against the common enemy that disrupts the solidarity and friendliness of the two people. We have ample evidences to say that the people of the two countries are entering into the most peaceful and hopeful age ever.

The people on the ground regained their hope and expressed their satisfaction by the prevailing spirit of cooperation and understanding. It enabled us to put our focus and energy to positive and productive outcomes. The result of the nascent cooperation of the two countries tells us that there is immense power when people of similar interests get together to work toward the same goal. Therefore, we the people in the two countries, especially the youth, should raise our voice to testify the victory we have achieved yet. Youth which constitute the majority of the population in both countries should intensify their roles in consolidating the peace. Their contribution is necessary for the sustainability of peace building. We should not let a loud few to pervert the fact.        

As one hand washes the other hand to clap, the two countries are now snuggling each other to develop and recoup lost opportunities.  Today, the life of one country is so conditioned by the life of the other and hence it would be impossible, even to assume, to reverse the direction of the cooperation.


Simon Weldemichael


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