By Oash Tewolde
December 3, 2012
A quarter of a century ago, an Ethiopian scientist asked me “to sum up” the Eathiopian Student Movement. He asked me this question because at the time, I had written an article on how the Ethiopian college student movement was initiated. My writing was based on college presidential campaign speech entitled “Right is Might versus Might is Right?” As we now know, Asmara’s call for struggle has emanated from the premise of “might is right” while in Addis Ababa, the Word was “right is might.”
Readers can take their own conclusions. As to my friend, the scientist, he moved to Ethiopia for good, right after the joint forces of EPLF and TPLF entered Asmara and Addis Ababa respectively. However, currently, I am told that he is back to the United States for resettlement. I intend to meet him and find his “sum up” on the ground.
Another quarter century is passing by without any conclusion of movement. The EPLF has changed its name to Eritrean Front for Democracy and Justice (EPDJ) and the TPLF incorporated itself as Ethiopian People Democratic Front (EPRDF). The EPLF prides itself that it is serving the Truth. What ‘truth’ is in today’s world? The leadership of EPDJ needs to tell how and when truth will be served as opposed to claiming that they are serving truth. After all, truth hardly dwells in vacuum. The correct way is to tell and show for whom the bell tolls.
The TPLF also laurels itself on transforming poverty. What is poverty? Does poverty depend on food, consumer or durable goods? The concept of poverty envisaged by the TPLF leaders is incompatible with the Ethiopian peasants. It is a common knowledge that Ethiopians live historically on Dega, Weina or Kola regions. Of course, the majority of them inhabit the Weina Dega climatic zone. By Ethiopian standard, these are not considered poverty stricken. Those who live on the Dega are naturally healthy and happy until the pursuers of Truth and Poverty came to their habitation.
Those who inhabit the lowlands of Eathiopia traditionally were nomadic. It is also true that these people suffer from malaria and their cattle from tse tse fly which is deadly. But nowadays, their land has become desirable thanks for the innovation of technology.
So the question of Truth and Poverty are not the real obstacles to the Eathiopian populace. It lies somewhere else. In this and in subsequent articles especially during the 2013, I want to deal with the issues and ideas that became hindrance to our moving forward.
The Student Movement be it in Eritrea or Ethiopia has played a major role in the political, social and cultural matters. The “might versus right“debate that was initiated in the 1960’s would have been a clear solution had it not been hijacked by the TPLF and EPLF adherents.
The simple and immediate issue that comes to one’s mind and heart is the fact that the Ethiopian Revolution and the Eritrean War was obscure. War is not the same thing with that of Revolution.
The Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF) had a clear agenda for war. It was based on a colonial theory of liberation. According to ELF leaders, Eritrea should be independent from colonial masters of Italy or Imperialism however, we define it and were to achieve Independence (mind you not Harnet & Nazanet); the Front was destined to carry war on colonialism before the issues of freedom and liberty. It was a question of prioritizing for them.
Revolution for the ELF leaders was secondary issue despite many denials by some writers on the subject. The EPLF on the other hand, had no clarity on its objectives. The EPLF leaders did not separate the colonial theory of liberation from the true nature of the Ethiopian Revolution which I call the Eway Revolution. It took some forty years for someone like Tesfai Temnewo to come out and to testify the path of EPLF Revolution. Mr. Temnewo forcefully narrates the innuendoes, lies and rumors that abound among EPLF members and fighters.
According to Tesfai, only less than a dozen people died for their beliefs and convictions of Ideology. The rest were either succumb to fear or slaughtered like mute sheep as a result of lies and conspiracy. For what? It was purported for Independence and not for freedom and liberty as the truth seekers wanted us to believe. Thanks for Tesfai Temnewo for having to disclose to us that Essais was elected one time and as such he has continued to exercise his elected power. And we all have read Essais’s declared objective in “WE and Our Objective” although frankly it was very hard to understand even for an educated let alone for the uninitiated labeled as Hafash. I think the author knows what he wrote. If it is Essais’s dogma as was claimed by many that he wrote it, and then I believe he is carrying his mission in order to accomplish his vision in accordance to his own strategy and understanding and we should not blame him for that. The opposition did not get it and we did not get it. Period. It is like my scientist friend who did not understand the Eway Revolution. The Ethiopian Revolution cannot be arrested and sum it up. It is a continuum process.
What we get from Tesfai is the fact that Essais is still an elected leader since day one. I believe Eritreans especially his comrades in arms are incapable to impeach him for he is faring in terms of corruption better than his colleagues. My own understanding is that opposition groups can bring alternative to his dogma of power based on Chinese PLA. Can we learn from the current 18th Congress of Peoples’ China? I believe we can at least to sum up their way of doing business and politics.
What about the TPLF’s war on poverty? Do we believe it? The people of Tigrai were told that they will be liberated from the Amhara domination. What domination? The Amhara populace was poverty stricken themselves. The people of Tigrai did not struggle only for liberation but also for honor, value and purity. The leadership not only lied to their own people but also to all Ethiopians and Eritreans alike. They said they believed in Eritrean Colonialism but they participated in the elimination of ELF, the true holder of Colonial Theory. The TPLF claimed to believe in the true Ethiopian Revolution and yet, they have killed the Ethiopian Revolution. They lied and lied to the bitter end until grabbing power as in the Melese case. And now they will continue to lie and cheat until the name Ethiopia is erased from the map of the Earth and that the majority of Eathiopians will become a minority in their land if not in their country.
So what is the solution? My own opinion is that the Student Movement has to finish or ‘sum up’ what was started by its predecessor. The student members of the time have now matured and have become professionals, diplomats and politicians. The next generation of student movement should focus on education, training and voting (ETV).
It is imperative to ask what the objective of the Eritrean/Ethiopian youth organization in North America also known as EYONA. This student youth organization will continue to pursue the true nature of Ethiopian Revolution a.k.a. Eway Revolution.
This Youth will understand the difference among all three successful Revolutions. The Russian Revolution led by the Bolsheviks, the Chinese Revolution led by PLA and the American Revolution that was led by the 13 colonial states of America. In my own opinion, these three Revolutions are the only ones to be emulated by the Eathiopian youths worth in the annals of history. Of course, the fourth one which I am very much interested to impart to Eritrean and Ethiopian youth is the Eway Revolution which started in the 1960 and still continues to the present day Ethiopia and Eritrea.
What is this Eway Revolution? Is it one way ticket? Is it backward, downward, upward or forward as in President Obama’s slogan? Time will show in which direction the Eway Revolution will head. A preliminary sense of direction will be revealed in year 2013. There is an early indication that it will take the format of the American Revolution. Let the old generation of Student Movement pass the baton to the new ones for the new ones have access to all information and knowledge. We can only give them wisdom without strings attached. The history of Eway Revolution although fifty years old has an added advantage of a prominent wars – the war of Aduwa. Revolution and War should be separated. We should not be confused by the elites and Ph.D. of Eritrea and Ethiopia as we are being confused by the patrons of the current Orthodox churches. We had enough of confusion. The tools of communication should be carefully chosen. One of our instruments of communication is to comprehend culture – not the Eword, the Written, the Mword or 3rd word but the real way of life of the alliterate and the illiterate of Latin alphabet and the literate of Geez.
Truth will prevail.
For questions and answers