Archive for April, 2012
April 22, 2012 (Durame) – Addis Ababa was rocked with the largest protest in the city’s history last Friday afternoon when hundreds of thousands of Ethiopian Muslims gathered after Friday prayers to demand an end to oppression and interference in their religious affairs.
The protesters came together after Zenawi’s autocratic administration had put an Ahbas in charge of the religious affairs of Ethiopin Muslims with the aim of spreading Ahbash ideology.
“Meles Zenawi must go, the dictator has declared war on Ethiopian Muslims. Our solidarity last Friday shows we are fed up with him and backing down is no longer an option for us,” said 24-year-old Mohammed by phone.
“Right now, Addis Ababa is tense. You can feel a revolution being formulated. No one fears the tyrant anymore. God willing, the humiliation and oppression our people have suffered will have a quick ending,” Mohammed added.
Over the past few weeks, tension have been on the rise between Ethiopian Muslim communities and the government after thousands of Ethiopian Muslims were apprehended and tortured on suspicion of trying to topple Zenawi’s administration.
As Ethiopian Muslims promise more demonstrations, thousands of Ethiopian security agents have been called on from the Ogaden, Gambela and Northern Tigray regions to Addis Ababa to clampdown on further demonstrations.
It is to be recalled, in 2005, a total of 193 Ethiopian protesters were shot and killed by Zenawi security forces after demonstrators took to the streets to dispute election results that were widely criticized by independent observers for failing to meet international standards.
April 3, 2010
By Yelfiwos Wonda
One wonders why some quarters continue to avoid the name that says Ethiopia . If the intention is to extract our patriotic memories we hold on firm for Ethiopia , the intention will not go any further than it already did. However, I leave that for the groups to elaborate on the notion of name changing trail and beyond, and yet as any loyal citizens, I remain firm in using my shield, a symbolic image that is associated with Ethiopians’ defense system against foreign aggression. Defending is what I know and defending is what I do to shield my identity. And also, whether or not the intention is to wipe out our memory of which we are or that of our national feelings often prevails over enemies, I also leave that for the groups to respond as well. Patriotism lives on and performing national duties in a faithful manner is what patriotic act is all about. Be just that or be not. Back to the name changing trail; CUD was a coalition next to so-called KESTE-DAMENA one of the integral parts of CUD itself then without the name Ethiopia attached to it, then, all splinter groups came out of it with the exception of MEAD called themselves the same exact way CUD has done in terms of avoiding the name Ethiopia, G7, UDJ, and MEDREK are the cases in point here and then noticeably AFD was formed by carefully avoiding the name Ethiopia too, then, comes the so-called Ethio-Eritrean conference that took place twice in San Jose, CA, and here we go again the so-called Conference on the Horn of Africa is another occasion for another group gaming its way to the top of its profession. Well done, whether or not the entire groups mentioned here have something in common, or done by accident or by design, I for one would like to ask all of them to answer the same question I asked above. Altogether, what are your sentiments on the matter? The matter in this trail is name changing. And the other thing I would like to comment on is that that it is pathetic for a self-appointed Think Thank to think of an institution formed in a far away land by few is a remedy for Ethiopia. At any rate, such notion of settlement is morally wrong and politically incorrect and cannot correspond in part with our belief system back home in Ethiopia . Does any given group be it political or civic or both have a right to pass any motions on behalf of our great nation without getting a mandate from the people of that very nation? I believe not! Isn’t that the reason why we are opposing to Meles of TPLF to begin with? I like to say yes for the answer.
First of all, both the guests and participants in this so-called Horn of Africa are Ethiopians. If that is so, why bothered to call it “A Conference on the Horn of Africa instead of putting the Ethiopian agenda first and then about the Horn of Africa in general? And yet the privileged minorities believed to have more power, social standing, wealth and talent than the rest of us in Diaspora cannot represent us much less representing the interest of Ethiopians living in Ethiopia .
Once again a fear of backdoor dealings dominating Ethiopian thinking both at home and abroad for sometime must come to a close now. Ethiopians are no longer interested in a group that carries out an indirect sort of dealings with anyone other than our own to settle our national affairs. To begin with, one would say without fear of contradiction that an initiative that comes from outside into a place where it does not belong is bound to fail. In all honesty, though coordinating the various aspects of our activities, organizing the potential candidates of our future government and applying efficient working methods in order to make the entire arrangement work effectively must be our business. And also organizing a new platform that creates an environment in which the influence of the majority is welcomed to abate our misery is our goal. For we are at Liberty , we must remain free to take any measure necessary to attain our liberty and freedom on our own. Isn’t that common for any human society to defend its liberty and freedom on its own? So fighting against any sort of interventions that limit our freedom and sovereignty is something that any responsible citizen is obliged to accomplish. To that end, one has to admonish Ethiopians of all persuasions to stay alert and not to get duped by any backdoor dealings that breach our sovereignty ever again. And most important of all, if and when Ethiopia ’s fate is determined must be determined not by outside influence but by Ethiopians themselves. Of course, we the people of Ethiopia knew full well that Meles is a bridge to no where; but does not mean though that an agreement reached by unknown and private individuals on a foreign land without including the greater majority of us is acceptable. So in principle imposing one’s regime upon the same people is what Meles of TPLF has done, which is why we opposed it, and we continue to oppose such practices no matter who does it. So, as an alternative, Ethiopians deserve to have a representative government led by a statesman who is widely respected for integrity and impartial concern for the public good or a broadly based coalition government consisted of all Ethiopian political and civic organizations. I personally believe that this sentiment is deeply rooted in the concept of the Ethiopian sociopolitical culture and tradition which can be described as a set of attitudes and ideas common to all Ethiopians as well. To that end, holding a conference that avoids the name Ethiopia itself and many other Ethiopian political and civic organizations would not be acceptable at all. If need to be, a national conference that includes all Ethiopians of all persuasions would be commendable.
Secondly, strange enough though that this very conference involved only the unknown and the private persons. If known most of them are known as notorious persons in Ethiopia or as defectors or both. Of course, some of whom I know were our comrades in arms but defected for other camps. Nothing is further from the truth, that this conference was not fairly selected to represent Ethiopians much less be all inclusive and all-embracing. With all due respect, though where is the moral-bound we Ethiopians are familiar with? How on earth a group living abroad believes in imposing its borrowed ideology against the will of our people and yet continues to enforce an argument Ethiopians are not interested in to engage in at all. I believe it is a belief of elite groups and what these groups hold to be true is not necessarily true to Ethiopians both inside and abroad. Especially, when they avoid the name Ethiopia , a country we supposed to be proud of.
Likewise, Ethiopians deserve a time and space of their own to choose their own government freely rather than having it imposed from outside. To me, a bad decision done willingly is much better than a good decision done by compulsion. Whether or not such institution formed outside of our country shall have a free ride to use the name that says Horn of Africa in exchange for Ethiopia is yet to be seen. But one thing is for sure; to the best of my understanding, even deciding on discussing, endorsing and imposing the choices of privileged minorities and foreign powers upon the fate of our nation is not acceptable by any measure. Don’t change my name against my will, a name on which my identity is driven, and my essential self that constitutes my individual personality for life.
In a joint public address with the Ginbot 7 group, an official from Kemal Gelchu’s wing of the OLF, made an interesting remark. He said, his group, if need be, is ready to lead the coming Ethiopian revolution. Though thinly veiled, it is a clever move, to win the hearts of the gullible. No matter, he is not alone in this. We have been amused by those who sabotaged the May 2005 peoples’ uprising and saved the Meles regime from its doom, tripping over each other to pay homage to the North African and Arab revolutions.
The issue here of course, is the absurdity of the claim, given that it is against tribal and religious instincts that revolutions direct their assault. Ethno-centric views and practices do not reconcile with revolutionary ideas and movements. To assume they do is to go against logic and history.
Ethno-centric thinking looks at cultures in their primordial forms-static, and stationary, isolated and pure. It builds impenetrable tribal and ethnic boundaries, locking people into groups, so they become unresponsive to each other’s histories, values, metaphors and imaginations. It unleashes mistrust and hatred amongst them, preparing the ground for the kinds of carnage we have seen in places like Somalia, Rwanda, and the former Yugoslavia.
When we talk about revolutions we are not talking about tribal instincts. There are no tribal revolutions and there are no tribalist revolutionaries. So, the notion of the OLF/Timret joining the coming Ethiopian revolution, let alone leading it cannot be taken seriously. In fact, it would not be in their best interest.
By now, it should be evident that there is no ideological wedge between the anti-Meles tribal elites and the Meles regime. They are extensions of each other. They share the same values The conflict between them is just a family affair.
OLF’s beef with the Meles regime came after the latter violated its own constitution and denied the OLF its share of the loot, which is Ethiopia. The deal (Article 39) was for the OLF to claim and rule an independent Oromia. Meles broke it. As far as the Timret/ Ginbot 7 group is concerned, its leaders have in the past, under different names ( Horn of Africa, Keste-Demena, EPDM, Kinijit…) have served the TPLF for a considerable amount of time in different capacities. If the event of May 2005 ended their tenure, it was not because of their awakening or because, there was a dramatic change in the regime’s behavior and practices. What ended their tenure was the anti-Meles uprising that followed the election, and revealed the shallowness of their claim as opposition leaders. Their image of legitimacy crumbled, and their true picture became clear to the people. This provided Meles the reason to spit them out. After all, what good are they if their cover is blown?
Though revolutions are unpredictable, they are predictable in one sense. They are made by revolutionaries. In turn, revolutionaries, in particular, post-colonial African revolutionaries are made to shatter the myth of tribal boundaries and forge solidarity of everyday Africans against the tribal elites. Post-colonial African revolutionaries are nationalists to the core. This was true in Yekatit. It was also true in Egypt and Tunisia. It will not be different in today’s Ethiopia.