The Signs of the Time: A Call for Reconciliation
Obo Arada Shawl
August 13, 2011
ድር ቢያብር፤ አንበሳ ያስር the unity of webs can tie a lion
Books on EPRP
• የደም ዘመን Yedem Zemen (the era of blood) by Taklo Teshome
• Yankee, Go home, the life of an Ethiopian Revolutionary and the fall of Assimba, EPRP’s Red base, by Ayalew Yimer
• ይድረስ ለባለ ታሪኩ Yidres Lebale Tariku by Tesfaye Makonnen
• The Generation by Kiflu Tadesse
• ኢሕአሠ EPRA by Asmamaw Hailu
• ምርኮኛ (conquered by conviction) by Konjit Berhanu
• To kill a generation, by Babile Tola
• Negotiating with lion’s share of freedom by Makonnen Araya
• History of Ethiopian Student Movement in Ethiopia and North America : Its impact on Internal Social Change (1960-74) by Alem Asres
• የሚያነቡ እግሮች (bleeding legs) by Girmaye Abraha
• የደርግ የእስር በት ዘመን (prison during DERG’s time) by Berhanu Tsertsu
• Novels, Essays and Poems by Hama Tuma
What is the central theme of the above listed books? Honestly, there is none. The above books mostly dwell on the side of EPRP insinuating to tell the struggle against power of the state in terms of secrecy and conspiracy. It is also true that those who oppose EPRP have written hundreds of books belittling the party primarily on market forces in terms of money and blood.
I have come across books written by opponents of EPRP on its organizational structural, behavioral politics and on its individual leaders but none of them would display a visual impact more than the two books recently published listed above in line one and two. Not that these two books contain accurate facts and figures (such as Professor Tesfatsion Medhane hijacked plane p. 27) but the way the book covers are designed and titled. Personally, both books’ cover designs and titles seem to portray far superior motives or ignorance than opponents had portrayed. I have yet to examine in detail the contents of the books for evaluation but to the naked eye; both cover books depict complete distortion of the truth about EPRP means of struggle and achievements.
Nowadays, I have my doubts too that many genuine members, associates and supporters of the party have gone astray from the basic tenets and goals of EPRP. In fact, most may have resorted to join with the guilty sections of the Eathiopian society. I am of the opinion that those who joined the EPLF are in denial, those who supported the TPLF are on lying cascade, and those who stood with the Military Junta feel guilty. For the sake of the nations of Ethiopia and Eritrea (Eathiopian state) and for the young generation, this state of mind has to be halted. Denial, lying and guilt which are rampant in today’s world are devastating conditions for all humanity.
The above essential points namely motives or ignorance (mi) compelled me to call for an immediate reconciliation between the Revolutionaries of EPRP also known as Republicans and the EPRP (d) a.k.a. Democrats.
As if the letters of d and D are not enough for confusion, the pictures displayed on the covers of these two books will definitely undermine the credibility of the party. Tagging the party with a small d or capital d, for a lack of proper terms, could be considered as blasphemy or a crime. The same will go for these two books by presenting EPRP as the party of “terror and defeat”.
Mersha & Iyasu, in compliance with my readings of alphaGeezNumeric (AGN) would be advised to look upwards and forwards respectively as in WE (decipher my name, what is my name?). Both members of collective leaders should come together to dispute or to confirm the depiction of the books. Both individuals should come out and confront head-on the image of EPRP for image is far more important than words. I am asking them to defend the image of the party. They have done this before on VOA airtime. It is not only their duty but their responsibility to come with clear thinking for reconciliation. This is the beginning of the end for all Eathiopians to be reconciled. The recognition of the correct Ethiopian Revolution is the way forward.
I have my doubts that other members of the collective leaders of EPRP may have the same understanding as depicted by the covers of these two books, i.e. defeat and terror.
Nowadays, there are considerable books being written by individuals on EPRP’s history and political culture. Most of the books can contribute confusion rather than clarification to EPRP’s political and ideological history. Most of them do not dwell on the central theme of the struggle which was freedom not liberation. EPRP has embarked on a difficult path to liberate the minds and hearts of all Eathiopians by injecting the words of struggle and freedom (democracy as opposed to fear).
EPRP on a continuous basis – for 4 decades – has been attempting to inculcate concepts, theories by introducing Struggle – ትግል, Revolution – አብዮት and collective Leadership- የጋራ አመራር. Of course, the connecting dots for SRL were DEMOCRACIA.
However, opponents of the party which were mostly the governments of the day vehemently distorted the principles for which EPRP stands. I can understand why the enemy of EPRP who were/are holding the war machinery determines to eliminate or defame EPRP but I cannot understand why EPRP’s satellite organizations, associations and individuals negate the contributions of EPRP. May be it is sociological fear for which EPRP strives to dispel, I do not know.
The Ultimate attack on EPRP by Ayalew and Taklo
A picture is worth a thousand words
No one can write a comprehensive political or cultural history of the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Party (EPRP). It should be commissioned to be comprehensive and authentic. Why is that? First and foremost EPRP was an umbrella political party. By that I mean there were workers, teachers, students, youths and other professional organizations and associations. Unlike most organizations of the time, EPRP was a vanguard party with core ideological, political and economic values and beliefs. What has happened to each organization of EPRP’s satellite associations and organizations? That is the million questions that is anybody’s guess.
The Books of Taklo and Ayalew
I can understand the various attacks coming from the opponents of EPRP for whatever gains but it’s hard for me to take it from within the organization to take it personal for revenge purposes. It is very uncharacteristic of the majority of EPRPeans.
What are most disturbing are the cover designs and titles of the books more than the contents.
Taklo’s cover is about surrender of “EPRA”. No revolutionary army had surrendered in such a manner. EPRP has surrendered to the cause of the Eathiopian people. EPRA in turn has surrendered to EPRP. When the reactionary armies of EPLF, TPLF came to attack them, for the sake of the people, they had to retreat. The understanding was that the nationalist TPLF and the colonized EPLF was considered as friendly ally fighting against a fascist regime.
EPRP/EPRA went to Assimba convinced that it is not only their country but also those operating in the mountains and valleys of the area if not their comrades but their allies. That means automatically, they cannot confront them let alone ask them to surrender their weapons. Mind you, EPRA was an army of conscience. It was created to defend the party and the people not to fight as soldiers of fortune. They never thought that they were among gangsters. Deep at heart, they were internationalist and humanist. In their mind and heart they were true revolutionaries. Those who surrender to Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF) did the right thing. It was not about survival, it was about consciousness and conscience working together. On the part of ELF, it was about Trust. ELF was about Eritrean Independence unlike EPLF and TPLF whose leaders disguised themselves in sheep’s wolf. ELF and EPRP were compassionate and open while TPLF and EPLF were conspiratorial and secretive. The result is obvious for all to see.
Although all three had similar visions on matters of economic system, EPRP was opposed to EPLF on ideological basis of Ethiopian colonialism, while politically opposed to TPLF on Nationalism.
EPRP was also opposed to DERG and its allies such as Mieson, Echat, Wez League and others merely based on the instruments of struggle, i.e. DEMOCRACIA.
Because EPRP is an umbrella organization for workers, teachers, professionals, youths and students in that order, it had the power to influence and to pressurize the Monarchy as well as the Military rules. Both MM (Monarchy and Military) were unpopular among Eathiopians. That was why the majority of Eathiopians participated to topple the two MM. But the TPLF took credit for the victory in the same way Ayalew and Taklo attempt to deny EPRP’s sacrifices and achievements.
On the basis of the above account, EPRP’s stand on Ethiopian colonialism, Nationalism, politics, true Revolution and DEMOCRACIA – as a process has had to pay a heavy price in terms of lives, and intellectual resources.
My readings on Ayalew’s book cover design are about EPRP’ tools of terrorism. I have met a friend who was so excited to read the book but couldn’t read while traveling by bus or any other mass transit. The cover book scares him lest some people sitting next to him would take him for a terrorist. I don’t understand why the author had to show us variety of automatic machine guns on the cover. I don’t believe that EPRA had such weapons at its disposal.
What is more, the first page begins with those executed judicially by the party. He even did not seem to have a clue how they were related to the red terror in Addis Ababa. He did not even attempt to document their proper names. That is an indication that he did not do any research about the killings and counter killings. Probably that is why he used, the cover page for lack of proper documentation. I don’t want to speculate about the author’s intentions and agenda. I am waiting translations and interpretations for those leaders of We and Me. Obviously, the author has been searching to join the true multinational party i.e. EPRP. In the process, he was lost and became desperate. It was right there where he was born, in Amara Seynt. If he had carefully, understood, the discussion raised by WM (Walelign Makononn), before becoming congressman of a student union, now, he would not complain and charge and counter charge. He is going back to square one, which I believe he is an agent of the current regime or an agent of confusion.
Leadership, Struggle and Revolution
The single most important concept that EPRP has had to face and implement is the concept of leadership. I hope my readers do differentiate between leadership and management. For EPRP there was/is no management style. EPRP deals with people and people need no management but leadership. Other than people, EPRP has no resources to manage or to mismanage.
So what is leadership in the context of EPRP? Why did EPRP choose to oppose the leadership style of Shaebia, Woyane and the Military (DERG)? Was EPRP’s collective style of leadership better or worst than others? The answer lies in the then objective Eathiopian condition and the goals of the Revolution.
On the other hand, the leadership of EPRP believed that the position of a Secretary General of any organization or Front was a venue to dictatorship style of leadership. While on the other hand, there was no way for democracy to work and thrive unless and otherwise all Eathiopians were encouraged to participate in the process of democratization.
I don’t think that I have to explain having seen the results of leadership in Eathiopia. The elections in Ethiopia and the non-election in Eritrea are self-explanatory. Neither the leadership style allows democracy to thrive.
What about EPRP’s leadership style? By many criteria, the leadership style of EPRP was correct and desirable. No one denies that the human and the social costs were high. But it was envisaged that freedom for Eritrean nationals, opportunity for nationalities and justice for all citizens of Ethiopia would be materialized.
When do the end of poverty (both in terms of philosophy and material) stops and the beginning of prosperity begins in Eathiopia?
For sure, philosophy in poverty is gone. The age of NOW has arrived in Eathiopia. There is no past or tomorrow. There is only now or never. There seems no way to convince the youth to slow down and we should not even attempt to tell them.
So what’s our role to participate in this digital age? Ethics, Economics and Market or IT – Information Technology or in our Eathiopian way Interpretation & Translation equivalent to IT – with nine languages in Eritrea and over eighty ethnicity in Ethiopia to deal with.
Due to the credit of Taklo Teshome, he poses relevant issues on Revolution, Red Terror and Leadership on the back of his cover book. The mishap on that sectional writing is putting ኞ instead of comradeship – ጛዶች Maybe it is misspelling or change of heart.
Transformative political alliance and agenda or Reconciliation
What is reconciliation any way? There are different kinds of reconciliation. The first time I learnt was in the bank, i.e. bank reconciliation is a summary of expense and income in order to know the balance at the end of a given date. It was a long time ago. By the way, the person who was assigned to orient me about reconciliation department was Teshager Berhane, who later became the V. president of the Labor Union of the Commercial Bank of Addis Ababa. He is still fearlessly fighting for Eathiopian Freedom on EPRP’s platform.
There is Sacrament of Reconciliation which is practiced by the Roman traditional Catholicism and it has three elements of CCC (Conversion-Confession-Celebration). All three CCC must be given by a priest at least once in a year.
Another is the Biblical idea of reconciliation which suggests that a conflict does exist between two or more personalities. The need for reconciliation exists at different times, when two people need to overcome their differences, when he/she needs to be reunited with the community or when human kind itself needs to be reunited with God, is all in the Bible and Q’uoran. According to these books, reconciliation or harmony can be achieved by humiliation which is difficult for a lot of people.
EPRP’s reconciliation is achieved according to the principles of Revolutionary doctrine? One must give up his/her own identity in order to make reconciliation work. The struggle within EPRP was/is not personal matter; it was/is public or professional. The following factors are at work in all discussions and confrontations within the party and its allies.
• The Assimba Factor
• The Debteraw Factor and
• The Wallelign Factor
EPRP’s Reconciliation is reconciled in terms of Republicans and Democrats. They have the same name with similar concepts of Flag, Freedom and Fidel (FFF).
EPRP’s main points of contention – on the positive side – were Revolution, Democracy, and Internationalism while on the negative side; they included concepts of anti Imperialism, Feudalism and Colonialism. In order to neutralize the three pluses and minuses EPRP had introduced two powerful words of politics and proletariat. For these two words, EPRP members, associates and supporters have been persecuted to the fullest extent by its foes and allies just because of misunderstanding and propaganda machines.
Back to the present and future aspects of EPRP, Assimba is the symbol of working together between leaders and members, Debteraw represents consistency of struggle and Wallelign have come to symbolize initial discussion and debate.
If we link these three factors, it is anybody’s guess; problems will be solved, at least in the short run. The synchronization of individual liberty, global democracy, economic opportunity, and national pride will rein in Eathiopia, provided all concerned Eathiopians take time and energy to read and reread the books of the “era of blood and the “terrorist leadership.”
My readings on Taklo are such that EPRA and ELF have lost victory but to the contrary, both have scored victories among their respective people. Even their arch enemies of EPLF leadershp claim that they are rooted in ELF’s camp and the TPLF are still pretending day and night that they were once members of EPRP. What a country and what an imitation of life? And so, my honorable men, Taklo and Ayalew, what is your motive? With due respect to both of the authors of the books, as a reader, I want to know the relevance of the pictures and titles on your cover books? I don’t care you could write anything factual or fictional, it is your right and freedom but we need explanation of the relevance of the pictures? They do not seem to resonate with your writings. We demand answers.
As to the present leaders of EPRP, it is time to come together and compromise for the sake of citizens of Eathiopia and not nations/nationalities alone.
TRUTH WILL PREVAIL
For questions and answers