A Commentary and a Proposal on Eritreans versus Ethiopians: Choosing Sides?
SOLUTIONS WITH DEBTERAW: XIV
Call me by my name, address, or title (NAT)
By Obo Arada Shawl
September 13, 2009
Our Revolution is based on nurturing the SEEDS, whereas the revolution of MIESON groups and all other subsequent groups and fronts was bent onto the destruction of the seeds
W. Kassa M.
By way of Introduction
Many individuals representing websites, magazines, and political organizations have presented their pros and cons whether to ally with the leader of Eritrea, Isaisas Afeworki. In my previous article of Eritreans versus Ethiopians: choosing sides?, I have promised my readers that I would comment on the views and opinions of the pundits and advocates for Ecountries (Ethiopia and Eritrea). It is to be recalled though that most of them have dwelt on the relationship solely based on President Isaisas’s open statement without the wishes and value of liberty for the Eritrean and the Ethiopian people in general.
Neamin Zeleke has produced a piece of article entitled “The imperative for Ethiopians dealing with Eritrea” that became a precedent that ensued with a snowball argument and counter-argument among rivals and enemies without dealing with the issues and problems that put us all simultaneously into these messes and progresses – contrary to many activists and protesters claim, I believe that the Revolution in Ethiopia and the war in Eritrea were not a zero-sum game.
My view is based on these individuals’ opinions and views; it is not targeted against their personalities. It is rather focused on the issue of struggle of INDEPENDENCE for Eritrea, on the one hand, and on finding the “uncomfortable” TRUTH that was historically and politically based on the Eway Revolution. Eway is my way of explaining what actually took place and is taking place in both Eritrea and Ethiopia to people who once were and still are “outside the realm of change aka Revolution”.
In the early 1960’s, Ethiopian elites were fed up with the status quo. Berhane Meskel Redda (BMR), a prominent founder of EPRP who later turned against his own party used this phrase “the revolution will not be televised” as frequently as he can. It was a song written by Gil Scott-Heron in relation to the then ‘eroding democracy’ in America. That “silent revolution” spearheaded by the “Crocodile group” of the Addis Ababa College has continued to the present day albeit moving at a faster rate via the engine known as the “Animal Group” of DEBTERAW. Both groups were basically known for their covert and overt operations respectively. And their followers include ዝገብር ነዲኡ ነይነግር
(A doer does not tell even to his own mother) ሞያ በልብ ነው (action lies within the realm of the heart).
In conformity with an Orthodox method of operation, ግራ እጅህ ያደረገውን ቀጙ እጅህ አይወቀው - the Eway Revolution went underground በሕቡዕ Be’H’buEE in the initial stage but later on, many revolutionaries came out in the open defying any regime that does not stand for Eathiopian Security, liberty and Justice. (Notice that EPRP’s official slogan was unity, democracy and peace). In other words, in EPRP’s parlance
Security = Unity
Liberty = Democracy
Justice = Peace
Not dealing with these three pillars of value in the order given will tear Aethiopians apart to the core. It is time to deal with these Truths if we desire to move forward and not backward, as many activists and protesters in Eritrea and Ethiopia seem to suggest.
The Eway Revolution is a change in thinking, changing of hearts and minds of Aethiopians. EPRP did not televise the Ethiopian Revolution for it is a concept about national security, communal liberty and individual justice not readily recognizable by millions of Eritreans and Ethiopians.
In a nutshell, the confusion among the majority of Eethiopian readers arose simply because of the lack of information that took place between the years (1974-1991). This particular period was not only blurred for a lot of Ethiopians but also, to a large segment of the Eritrean elites. Currently, these “lost” Eritreans are either searching for the “Hafash’s” ሐፋሽ political power base or seeking revenge for being misdirected by “EPRP” now turned into PFDJ. For this reason, their struggle is deemed to continue by any other means necessary for democracy and justice.
As far as the sequence of Eritrean Independence is concerned, I have presented my case scenario in http://www. debteraw.com/, although it was written a decade ago, which I still believe is valid. The majority of Eritreans got what they wanted (Republic?) though the elites do not seem to embrace it for lack of DEMOCRACIA.
As to the “uncomfortable” Truth in relation to the Ethiopian Revolution, here is what I have to say.
Journalists or advocates for a cause
We all know by now why and how the “stalemate situation” between Eritrea and Ethiopia that was primarily caused by the two autocratic leaders is nearing ten years. We also know that both leaders were allies for a little over a quarter of a century. This may seem a long period of time for those individuals who did not participate in the political affairs of either Erithrea or Ethiopia. But they should be consoled by the dedication of those individuals and political groups who had waited for almost half a century in order to bring justice and respect for all Aethiopians irrespective of their nationalities.
As at today, there is neither individual justice for Eritreans nor collective respect for Ethiopians – the basis of our social history.
It is in the context of socio-political history that we should be able to delve into partnership with either leader of Eritrea or Ethiopia.
As per the current discussion and debate, two assumptions seem to prevail:
- If the government of Isaisas fails, Eritreans will automatically rejoin with Ethiopia
- And if Meles’s government collapses, Ethiopia will be able to restore Eritrea as its province.
The above arguments are not only untenable but naïve at the core.
However, I have no reason to doubt the sincerity of those who want to ally with the president of Eritrea or distance themselves from prime minister of Ethiopia. But the rationale for dialogue should not be construed as a negotiation that would be based to be a pawn in the game of the instability of the REGIONS of SEEDS (Somalia-Ethiopia-Eritrea-Djibouti-Sudan). EPRP’s motive force was and still is to nurture seeds as opposed to the destruction of SEEDS. (It is to be recalled that some circles had perpetually accused EPRP for sabotaging the wars against Somalia and Eritrea.)
Don’t we remember when the Ogadenis became victims of an experiment for T- 60 (driverless tanks) supplied by the Soviet Union and a dogfight between an American jet F-5E and a Russian MiG-21MF? Don’t we know now that the Ethiopian regime is sending troops to Somalia and that the Eritrean government in turn is shipping guns and ammunitions in retaliation? What is the purpose? I do not think it is about planting the seeds for harmony and cooperation but rather of destruction of the SEEDS.
Now, the former Italian Somali-land is again a victim of the proxy war of the “mini powers” of Eritrean and Ethiopian leaders. What a tragedy for all to see? Don’t we learn from experience? As a footnote, we should be able to have learnt from our experiences - only the bad side of things - so as not to repeat them. But it seems to me that the so-called Abyssinians strive to learn positive things from their bad experiences – there is no need to learn the “good”- there are role models and mentors to emulate. In Aethiopia, elders, academicians - ጽንሐተ ምሁራን, civilians (the honorable ones), religious (the faithful one), military (the professionals) and revolutionaries (public servants) are our role models and mentors. We follow their footprints and we learn from their mistakes. These should be our new guidelines.
We had enough of conspiracy and secrecy from the so-called “Abyssinian” community. That methodology is one good reason why the opposition groups are not succeeding to achieve their goals whatever it is. The lack of professional journalists and the lack of trusted and credible educators is hurting Aethiopians more than ever before.
Let us examine the pros and cons for cooperation or confrontation as proposed by the journalists and advocates. For convenience let me categorize the groups of discussant into the followings:
GROUP A: Includes Dawit W. Giorgis (Agent) Neamin Zelleke (publisher) Elias Kifle and Hassan Umer Abdella (journalists) and the others who support the idea of becoming an ally of President Isaisas of Eritrea. Their proposal seems to emanate from Neamin’s article as well as from Elias’s interview with president Isaisas.
In the article authored by Ato Neamin Zeleke “The imperative for Ethiopians dealing with Eritrea“ was written on June 12, 2009 and entailed these main points which is quoted as follows:
“Ethiopia’s national salvation could only be a reality if Ethiopian patriotic and democratic forces have a base, and outside support to wage their multi-pronged struggle. The requisite is for a sovereign country to become a trusted ally of Ethiopian opposition forces and provide them all around support.”
Ato Zeleke seems to argue that just because the opposition needed a base, they should sell their freedom if not their soul. His statement is ridiculous. Only cowards or foreign troops need a base. The mountains of Nakfa, Aasimba, Tulu or Dedebit bereha, Chercher, Simien mountains or the valleys of Awash, or the deserts of Afar have been used as bases for those he calls ‘patriots and democrats’. The people are the bases. Mercato was the base for EPRP. The palace of Minilik was the base for MIESON and that of Asmara was a base for ELF. First, Ato Neamin should believe in what he wants and then act upon it in order to find a long lasting solution (Ze’LLeKE!!! Call me by my name). It is high time for all of us to find other plausible excuses for our dealership and trust-ship.
While endorsing Neamin’s proposal Shaleka Dawit has said a lot of things in his article of June 29, 2009 “the way forward for Ethiopia and Eritrea. Here are some of the highlights:
- “Not relating with the Eritrean government is a misguided position”
- “Despite the fact the process of uniting Eritrea with Ethiopia was flawed with technical and strategic errors, the people of Eritrea believed sincerely and sometimes manifested in extreme ways that I have not seen anywhere else in Ethiopia”
- “I am the only one survivor from the pioneer group”
- “The flag and unity of Ethiopia” is paramount
- “I was an active part of the revolution”
- “There is some evidence to the claim that the student movement unwittingly allowed itself to be used by forces that had inimical agenda to Ethiopia’s interest.”
Shaleka Dawit is a narcissus. His own writing style says a lot about him. He writes I and my colleagues; I and I, instead he/she, they and I. All the above quotations made by Shaleka were either shallow or dishonest statements. I don’t need to go into details.
According to his personal stories, Shaleka Dawit was not involved in the interests of Aethiopians. In fact he testified that he was
- A soldier of fortune
- A foreign minister and
- A governor for a province that was claimed as “colonized”. Dawit has never considered or imagined himself as an administrator or as a public servant but only a governor (colonizer)!!!
Sheleka’s positions had nothing to do with the welfare of Aethiopians. The only time he was appointed to serve the Ethiopian refugees was the time when he runs away from the action of relief on the pretext that colonel Goshu Wolde became his immediate boss in lieu of Menghistu.
Shaleka Dawit’s claim that he had been on college campuses at home and abroad that might have qualified him to be a knowledgeable and an authoritative person. But that alone wouldn’t guarantee him to be an expert and give advice especially when he is not asked by the victims let alone by the victors. I think it is time for him and me to give way for the Eway generation of Eritrea and Ethiopia.
An article by Hassan Umer Abdalla entitled: Ethiopia and Eritrea: the imperative to be clearheaded in order to find our way forward. Here are the highlights of what Mr. Abdalla has written.
Mr. Abdalla may have written hundreds of articles on Tobiyya about እስጦጵያ but he seems to have been in the fringes of the nature of Revolution that liberated us from our social, educational and religious feudal mentality. Ours i.e. modern politics is about relationship in whatever form to bring peace, harmony and prosperity. (Concepts for politics are available within this article).
Mr. Abdella by quoting the journalist Tesfaye Gebreab “an anecdote of an Asmara lady with a koboroo dancing dazzlingly the traditional Guaylaa on occasion of Eritrea’s Independence Day in the streets of Asmara” As I used to point out repeatedly in my Tobiyya articles it is a reflection of the anomalous eccentricity of yal teTenTaqeqe Fichi Yal Tesaka Gurbtinna l“a sort of “unconsumed divorce and impossible neighborliness” will not in any way move us in the right direction between Ethiopia and Eritrea.
The story goes by a journalist who asks her “Adiye; why are you dancing so passionately?”Oh, my son, we are celebrating the glorious day of our freedom from the Ethiopian occupation” She replies. The reporter asks her further, “by the way, can I have your name” and the good old lady retorts back with apparent and unfeigned innocence “my name is Ityobiya”.
Was this anomaly in the minds of the lady or in the journalists’ vocabulary? She was perhaps liberated from her own name, I would not know. What is in a name? Call me by my name are two different things. Harnet and Nazanet though interrelated are two separate concepts.
Mixing up her name with that of a country Ethiopia does not make sense. Her given name was ኤትዮጵያ and she got what she wanted. I don’t see the reason why journalists like Tesfaye and Abdalla cajole the lady’s name with her feelings. Come on Mr. Abdalla, (call me by my name, what is my name?). The Eway Revolution was meant to decrease if not erase such petty things of belittling the common people. I don’t believe you are taking revenge on Umer or Omar. Do you?
The above journalistic approach is killing the nation of Aethiopia in as much as the DERG cadres had diminished it to nothing with revolutionary phrases.
Mr. Abdella continues to write
“There is no doubt that the Ethiopians have to deal with and engage Eritrea as state and the Eritrean people both as individuals as well as organized entities whenever the opportunity offers itself. It is inevitable that the Eritreans and Ethiopians, by simple logic of geography, if not history will live, side by side as neighbors of two states or as citizens of one state as they used to do just less than two decades ago. One need not be a futurologist to understand that. In politics both geography and history are constant variables. But the most constant and permanent seems to be geography.”
Mr. Umer Abdella again writes on
“Again, if my memory comes to my aid, the United Nations General Assembly in its 1950 deliberation on the disposal of Eritrea enumerated the following three main justifications for the resolution it adopted on the establishment of the federation between Eritrea with Ethiopia:
- The historical ties between the two peoples
- Ethiopia’s need for a sea outlet
- The peace and stability in the region
I am not so sure the whether non viability of Eritrea as an entity was also taken into consideration as a factor for affiliating Eritrea with Ethiopia in an unequal federal arrangement that ever body today, concedes was doomed to fail from the beginning”
The third choice seems to discuss and debate about Regions. That concept has had its days too. We are on a higher level of politics of cooperation or confrontation. We all have choices which way to go.
What is geography and history for Mr. Umer Abdalla? Is he referring to physical geography or political geography? What is history for Mr. Abdella? There are hundred types of history. Which history is he referring to?
Mr. Abdella’s main contention seems to rest on UN Resolutions. Even then, he is not referring to economics, social, cultural, religious or political nature. We have come a long way to where we are.
Ethiopians and Eritreans are demanding the nature of our leaders, whether they should be FEARED or LOVED. In other words or in modern terms all EE people are after the rule of law, democracy and freedom. It is not even about peace and stability in the region. It is rather a question of LEGITIMACY. Is it the power of the gun or the power of people? That is the question. Let us wait and see who will win. As a professional journalist, Mr. Abdella should have lead the other journalists in reporting what has been said or seen and not to give judgments with whom to ally or not to ally. Inasmuch as the cadres of the DERG have withered away for lack of clarity, it is also inevitable that the journalists of the current regimes will wither away for lack of integrity.
GROUP B: includes Saleh Gadi (webmaster) Mintesnot (political observer) and Ayalsew Dessie (Ex-member of EPRA), Mersha Yosef (ex-member of EPRP collective leadership)
“But, the real debate has to start in earnest. It has to also be realistic. Although the focus of the discussion is the way forward we must be forced to frequent the recent past again and again. It not only geography that we must deal with but also we must come to terms with our recent past history as well.”
The above quotation is from Hassan Umer Abdalla’ article. This quotation would have elevated Mr. Abdalla to the Group B or C if he had been sincere about the Eway Revolution. The recent past may not be well understood by Mr. Abdalla.
“More of Red Tears” written on July 2, 2009 by Saleh (Gadi) Johar and posted on Awate.com Mr. Johar responds critically to Shaleka Dawit’s proposal on relationship with Eritrea. According to Johar, Shaleka Dawit is a career soldier, a politician, a leader and an intellectual, which scares him to death. According to me Shaleka Dawit is none of the above (see my comments on Shaleka).
It is an axiom that people are afraid of the things they don’t know. Mr. Johar would like to be a history teller whereas Shaleka Dawit is a history writer. Both desires are at a loggerhead especially these eras of deception and lies. No one will win the argument. What I can say about these two individuals is that both have nothing in common as their point of reference is only religion, which is in turn a private matter. I hope in the future both individuals participate in the discussions and debates about politics of Erithrea and Ethiopia together or solo. As of now, Woyane has opened the Pandora box of ethnicity and Shaebia has closed the freedom of religious practice. Both actions are dangerous.
At this juncture, I want to point out from Saleh’s article for my readers.
“I was once talking to an elderly and respectable Amhara neighbor. In the course of our conversation, I mentioned a friend and tried to describe him to my neighbor. I told him that my friend grew up in Addis Ababa and that he is Amhara, and that his name is Omer. My neighbor wrinkled his forehead and snapped his head up in surprise: someone with a name like Omer cannot be an Amhara; he is a Muslim!”
Saleh continued to write
I don’t want to bore you with that surprise lesson I learned from my neighbor.
It was easy to remember Haile Sellassie (and his predecessor’s) policy of building a nation state: an Ethiopia centered on the Amhara nationality and the Orthodox religion. The rest, if they were not willing to assimilate and shed off their identities, would practically be relegated to second-class citizens, if not worse.”
As far as names are concerned, I have been writing why and how we got our names and further challenged my readers whether they are tuned to their names. I leave the answer to my readers and to Dawit himself whether he is living the life of king David. As far as I am concerned, he is not. There may be a change in his final part of his life, I cannot predict but I hope he does.
As to Haile Sellassie’s desire of a Christian state, I do not see any problem with that wish. Many nations were Christians let alone Ethiopia that have embraced Christianity long before Christ was born. Am I to oppose if a nation wants to be a Muslim nation? The answer is no.
The saddest part of our groups, such as Mersha and Ayalsew, is the unexpected and unwarranted reaction to the suggestion of Zelleke, Shaleka or Elias to be an ally of Eritrea. These ex-members of EPRP should have known better than the rest of the ordinary members about the relationship of EPRP with EPLF and ELF in the same way that EPRP had relationships with MIESON, at least in the initial stage. It was only when fundamental issues of value changes that EPRP had parted company. The first question that should have come to Mersha and Ayalsew was to ask what fundamental change has cropped up for EPRP to be an ally with the leaders of Shaebia or TPLF. The famous reminder of Mersha to EPRP members was በሬ ከአራጁ ይውላል ወይ? Is there any change of heart or mind that comes from president Isaias or Prime Minister Mellese towards the value and struggle of EPRP? I did not see it coming either from Ayalsew or Mersha about personal relationships and vendettas. (NB. Ayalsew versus Dawit; Mersha versus Iyassou – check their writings and listen to them on radio interviews)
GROUP C: Iyassou Alemayehu (member of EPRP collective leadership),Tsegaye Kassa “collaboration with Eritrea is betrayal of the Ethiopian nation” Fanta Zewge and many others dwell on the issues to be addressed as opposed to be simply an ally.
It is within this group that I want to elaborate, and perhaps convince that the correct position lies within this group for certainly the solution lies in here provided that we soberly and critically use our voices of reason and our common sense.
The most important piece of writing from this group is that of Fanta Zewge and so I chose to dwell on writing in the hope that it is inclusive for the other members of the group. Here is the quotation from Zewge’s article entitled ‘the liberators going north coming south’
Certain Political Figures from the wide field of Political Parties of Ethiopia are considering some sort of armed struggle. Their main objective is to remove the dictator who is reportedly preparing to step down. The armed struggle is a noble mission so long it is to free the people from an oppressive regime. However, the implications of the armed struggle are complex to be left to the actors and Engineers of the armed struggle. First, it must be realized that the armed struggle powered by EPLF that helped TPLF to grab power in 1991 is a sticky issue by it. Objections to the plan are mounting. Second, the armed struggle is seen as a back door to power, and so, a mission to replace a dictator by another. Third, the idea that a dictator of a tiny state, a province of Ethiopia for decades and centuries being consider as a liberator to the proud Ethiopians has become a shameful and humiliating experience. The author explores these issues. With or without armed struggle, the Ethiopian people will free themselves and the dictatorial regime with its “Ethnic Federal System” shall come to pass. Anticipating new era, the author has presented conceptual models by which to establish Economic and Political Administrative regions based on the natural and cultural features of the country. Ethiopians have to undo the damages and restore the nation to its original conditions. And to modernize the country, modern systems must be adopted. For that purpose, the author has presented conceptual models of Economic Regions and Political Administrative entities. These shall give an idea of the framework for establishing a new Federal System of Government.
Armed struggle: Ato Zewge on armed struggle, writes “ the armed struggle is a noble mission so long it is to free the people from an oppressive régime. However, the implications of the armed struggle are complex to be left to the actors and engineers of the armed struggle.” This is well said. (Compare and contrast between nationalists and revolutionaries.)
And I plead with Mr. Zewge to find out by the historical differences among the armed guerrilla fighters how they had been conduction their field operations. i.e. the relationships between educating-organizing-arming.
Original conditions “Anticipating new era … Ethiopians have to undo the damages and restore the nation to its original conditions”. What is the basis of origin? Physical or mental origin, there will no be original condition for a new era. That is against change or revolution.
“Modern systems must be adopted to modernize the country,” Is this not a contradiction, Ato or Mr.? How do I know with which title you would like to be addressed, the original title of Ato or the modern of MR or no title at all?
Political entities The leaders of Eritrea and Ethiopia do not distinguish physical geography from political geography, since professor MWM did not teach them. Instead Enver Hoja or Mao’s theory of isolation guided both leaders. Besides, Ato Fanta seems to have the belief system of hatred towards these leaders since he wrote, “For Ethiopians there shall be no worst insult than being ruled by hordes of High School drop-outs”
Honestly, both leaders are articulate and knowledgeable. The problem with the leaders is that they are using their talents and skills for the wrong cause. They have played hide and seek in Sahel, they have played hide and seek in Badme war and they are playing cat and mouse in Somalia. Don’t tell us they are dropouts. They are cunning and clever at the same time. Besides, there are thousands of dropouts from high school who are ready to lead the country. Graduates from High school would have been enough for a population with over 80% illiteracy.
An economic region Mr. Zewge whether out of conviction or anger believes that, and I quote, “Eritrea is not an important land by itself. What makes Eritrea important is Ethiopia. Eritrea is not a factor to Ethiopia’s progress” If that is the case, why do subsequent leaders of Ethiopia always link with Eritrea? Was it for gaining benefits or for scapegoat? Mr. Zewge not only is stuck with the old economic models based of sea transport and raw materials. Mr. Zewge and others are advised to grasp the triple resources of ‘SSS’ as economic model for the 21st century and beyond.
If Ato Fanta’s concept of importance is out of conviction, it will be a milestone for many Ethiopians not to squander their time, energy and resources on bringing Eritreans to the table. I will be one of them, as I will watch you on how you will implement your Federal States based on your conceptual model of diving the thirteen provinces roughly into two.
Let me tell you an event with how Menghistu H. Mariam decided to divide his Ethiopia for the purpose of planning. The experts came up with two alternatives for discussion in planning commission. Before the discussion commenced, the three experts showed to Menghistu alternative proposal to be presented to the Council of Ministers and their experts. Instantly, Menghistu decided on the spot that the Planning Regions should be formed into seven regions (the two alternative proposals were to divide Ethiopia into 5 or 7). And so the Dictator’s decision was done. Many of the attendees were puzzled why the Dictator decided the way he did. A joker and a thinker by the name of Osman clarified Menghistu’s calculation that dividing the fourteen provinces by two instead five was much simpler.
I wish good luck to Ato Fanta since nobody is coming a liberator either from the north or south. Ato Fanta’s ideas of economic regions and political entities may work but only in Godjam region – as model for the rest of the country.
In order to be clear with the past and move on to the future, it is proper to remind once again the long and arduous struggle of EPRP for it will not only liberate the minds of its members and supporters but also it will help others to liberate their minds and hearts so as to be free in life and in death.
I find it necessary even at the expense of repeating of my past articles. The following part should be used as a reference guide in conjunction with my commentary. It will be useful for any person who wants to know and understand the history of political revolution in both Ethiopia and Eritrea as depicted in the following pages
A little bit of Revolutionary History in Ethiopia
Independence for Eritreans
On the onset of the Ethiopian Revolution, intellectuals representing various academic domains came up with their version of what the people need and want. Apart from their wishful thinking of progress and hope, most of them were not qualified to analyze the urban problem with which they were associated let alone to assess the needs and desires of the rural population.
However, two schools of thought emerged, dominant among them were EPRP and MIESON.
To recap the history of the Ethiopian Revolution, there were three major enemies to be tackled by all progressive revolutionaries. These were
- Bureaucracy and
In order to combat these enemies of progress; the following slogans were devised,
- Land to the tiller (in relation to Feudalism) meret la’Arashu መሬት ለአራሹ ተዋጉለት አትሽሹ
- Combat the pretenders (in relation to Bureaucracy) ኣስመሳይ ምሁራን ይጋለጡ
- Imperialism: Paper tiger የወረቀት ነብር ነው (EPRP’s slogan) (Man-eater system) ሰው በላው ሥርዐት ነው (DERG’s slogan)
Although both EPRP and MIESON organizations had similar ideological background on the above issues, MIESON had a better understanding of political theory in terms of philosophy. EPRP was not only equipped with revolutionary history but it had the added advantage of spelling out clearly and simply the demands and wishes of all peoples of Ethiopia.
It is to be noted though that the nationalists of ELF/EPLF and TPLF use slogans against Feudalism and Bureaucracy in the following manner - “Amhara” in relation to Feudalism and “opportunists” for the Bureaucracy. It was and is ironic for these nationalists to claim to have fought against Imperialism of the West and East. The end result for these groups concerning capitalism and socialism (both types labeled as Imperialism) is nothing but confusion. The current governments of both counties are either scared of globalization or enamored with it. As in the past, there is neither clarity nor basis for their actions of policy in both countries.
What were the Issues that drive MIESON and EPRP apart?
The basic questions that divided the intellectuals of MIESON and EPRP were the following:
- Who will replace the Throne of Haile Sellassie I, the crown prince or a political party?
- What is the nature of the military vis-à-vis the objective condition of the nation of Ethiopia?
- When and where is the question of nation and nationalities resolved?
- And How is the question of DEMOCRACIA i.e. SEA (freedoms of speech, expression, assembly) is applied?
Legitimacy: MIESON’s choice as an answer to the question of who was the Military Junta. EPRP rejected the idea of supporting the Military known as the DERG to take over the responsibility of leading the Revolution. EPRP’s argument was based on the assumption that the DERG could not be a Revolutionary but only a Fascistic group. The DERG has ruled Ethiopia for seventeen years and MIESON, the advisor of the DERG collapsed on its own merit. As a result of the first mistake to the first question of who, the second follow-up of the nature of DERG became irrelevant. These fatal mistakes caused by the MIESON group has taken place simply because the group had no clear understanding of the conditions and facts of Ethiopia on the ground.
As to the third question of nations and nationalities, MIESON’s stand was correct in the sense that there was only one nation, politically speaking. EPRP’s stand on nations and nationalities were based on Revolutionary concept of using family as a model of explaining conflicts. EPRP used to argue that the unity of a family is not only essential to any conflict resolution but it is also necessary. EPRP continued to argue further that if either of the parents has unruly and unholy behavior towards the marriage or the family, divorce is recommended, for the sake of the children, but education (consciousness) always should precedes, argued DEMOCRACIA, the mouthpiece of EPRP.
Take for instance, the case of my first cousin who was married to a poor teacher albeit from her native village. Despite their disagreements, the couples have been making babies without interruption resulting in bearing seven children. The parents have stayed together for almost thirty something years. But as far as I remember, there was no peace in the family. Their life style was not a disagreement in content but in intent. The mother speaks vocally and upfront while the father was a silent ‘killer’. For this style of life, the outside world including me was wondering how the children were living under such conditions. In today’s parlance, both parents abused the children. It was a horrible condition for the children especially when extended families are involved. I know this was not an isolated family and that was why the culture of oppression and exploitation had to stop. When such oppression takes place even at a national level, the gifted and the humane section of Aethiopians were forced to support at least in theory the divorce of the families. EPRP was not an advocate either for divorce or separation unless it was absolutely necessary. It was in this context that the party is considered as a pioneer for disunity. Exercising unity on the one hand, while opening eyes of freedom of choices in case of dire needs, on the other should not be a basis for condemnation against EPRP. On the contrary, there should be a commendation for this political party.
Truth for Ethiopians
If we really want to distinguish between the struggle for independence and the truth of how we reach to where we are today, one has to examine and understand the following methods of struggle. For here lies why and how neither all the liberators for Ethiopia, Eritrea, Oromia or Somalia or any nationality could neither Cooperate nor Coordinate (CC) their struggle for a common cause.
STEP ONE: Know Your Enemy ንቃ፤ ወዳጅ ከጠላት ለመለየት
STEP TWO: Get organized ተደራጅ፡ ውጤት ለማስገጝት
STEP THREE: Take Arms ፍላጎትህን ለማርካት Tatek alamahn lemasakat
The only organization that has followed these three steps was EPRP. The rest started with arming the people without identifying their true class enemies. In other words, their struggles were carried out in the reverse order i.e. mastatek-maderjet-mankat. Due to its credit, MIESON did not reverse the order of struggle but isolated and categorized them, which was equally fatal to the real way of struggle for change.
In other words, for MIESON everybody and everyone should be in the same level of education, same level to be organized and the same level for being armed.
EPRP rejected this idea of first, second and third. For EPRit the people will be organized as they get conscious (educated) and they will bear arms, as they are organized እየነቃን እንደራጃለን እየተደራጀን እንታጠቃለን . This process was the last straw that killed the back of the camel so to speak that separated EPRP from all organizations. It was the correct way and it is still the right method alias known as the Eway Revolution.
Who would show us or convince us if those armed without being educated can be re-organized for a civic duty other than banditry. That is the dilemma we are in. Civic and civil societies that lasted for thousand of years have now become militarized. Aethiopia was not and should not be societies of “Uniforms.” We seem to forget the CONCEPT of ZEMETCHA!!! Mobilization for collective security for Country, God and Family as told by oral history.
Anyhow, in as much as the false statements about the reconciliation between MIESON and EPRP have bombarded us, seemingly the same argument is circulating about the reconciliation between EPLF and TPLF. As far as I can understand, the reconciliation between MIESON and EPRP was totally wrong. In politics, it is not about personal vendetta, it is rather about public issues and values. EPRP and MIESON have agreed to work together simply for the following main reasons.
- That the DERG failed to be a true Revolutionary contrary to MIESO’s conviction
- That national question of Eritrea and nationalities of Ethiopia went astray due to fault of either MIESON or EPRP
- That MIESON’s stand on limited Democracy (የተገደበ ዴሞክራሲ) has been abandoned.
- That the slogan for PEOPLE’s PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT as proposed by EPRP is still desired by many political organizations including, of course, MIESON. Is this not the burning and current issue for both sides of the aisles so to speak!!! Both organizations cooperate together on matters of issues not for reconciliation per se. And I believe the same will apply to Shaebia and Woyane.
Current State of Affairs
Eritrea: a Language based state
When we speak of history, we are not speaking of social history, cultural, economic or religious history of Ethiopia. We are referring to our political history via revolutionary path.
What is history? I would like to quote a famous slogan of history from And Ethiopia Radio “ታሪክ ምስክር ነው ኢትዮጵያ አንድ ናት!!! What kind of history, A’ND Ethiopia? That kind of slogan has helped Shaebia and Woyane to claim their base on languages and ethnic respectively. We should not use the same language that failed us while MIESON was within the power base of the DERG. Even Shaleka Dawit, a once Dergist has abandoned this slogan though with no remorse.
The stand against each other of shaleka Dawit and comrade Ayalsew is from military point of view. That of Shalleka is from the point of the DERG and that of Ayalsew is from EPRA (Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Army).
As far as military is concerned, the EPLF defeated the ELF army, the TPLF has defeated the EPRA (Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Army.) Militarily overall – the DERG has lost its military power although with all the resources of Ethiopia at his disposal, should have defeated any organization in war. Menghistu and his cronies were not aware of People’s War.
In Ethiopia or Eritrea, it is somewhat stupid to talk about military power. How can we as (Eritreans and Ethiopians) boast about military prowess, when we don’t produce bombs, guns, or tanks to talk? We manufactured no hardware to boast about. We buy them from foreign countries with hard currency – hard currency that comes from the labor and sweat of Eritreans and Ethiopians. So it is better to ask what was the motive for the people to fight or sacrifice life, money or hard labor. The soft powers of Aethiopians are much stronger than the hard ware stuff.
“Eritrean Independence: Is it worth all the sacrifice?” Written by Yosief Ghebrehiwot and posted on July 16, 2009 has stirred arguments and counter arguments. The argument of Yosief and Saleh does not seem to touch base for Yosief asks the wrong question and Saleh responds with a wrong answer. Why don’t they let the experts speak from their expertise? If Mr. Saleh and Yosief want to touch base with their readers – let us hear from them about politics of government – power base. Is there a power base in Eritrea apart from the one-man show or do you have an alternative? Readers want to listen!!! As far as answering Yosief’s question, we may soon hear or read a Cost-Benefit Analysis (quantified in figures) about Eritrean Independence.
As to the language based state of Eritrea’s formation, it is totally wrong. Eritrea with nine languages!!! This is not only untrue, but the basis for independence is totally wrong. ዓለም መሊኣ ዓሰርተ ሕጅስ ትኽይድ አላ ናብ ዓሰርተው ሐደ
Ethiopia: an Ethnic based nation
They call us Orthodox Christians for nothing. Orthodox is attached to Nature. Of course every other thing or history has origin. Having Arts developed socially, economically, politically and culturally in Aethiopia at a high end of scale, it was transformed to Europe and Asia as a science and further developed in America to become Technology – the application of science.
Now what? As human beings continue to travel to live on Mars or the Moon, it is necessary to go back and revisit the origins of Arts or Natural societies with symbols and written languages, where socially, culturally, and philosophically they can be observed “live”.
I have written articles on the problem that challenge us all and suggested some provocative alternative solutions for the leaders of Eritrea and Ethiopia.
What is the problem then? It is the land and the language problem. Or is it?
The leader of Eritrea sticks to a land question while that of Ethiopia dwells on language differences. Both are wrong, there is neither shortage of land nor desire for language differences.
Aethiopia: Political based nation-state
There is an old adage, which says “political science without history has no root; history without political science has no fruit.” To make myself clear as far as politics is concerned, politics at its best will perform the followings:
- Politics can preserve peace
- Politics can protect human rights
- Politics can advance economic well being
- Politics can encourage excellence in arts and sciences and
- Politics can change or remove the governments of Ethiopia and Eritrea
At its worst, politics can do the followings:
- Creates tyranny
- Encourages war
- Cause economic ruin
- Bring barbarism and
- Destroy or silence the losing side of the struggle for power
Politics is a civilizing activity when it is at its best. But in our case, it was not and still is not a game. If politics were a process, within or among political communities, there would have been a platform where public values would be articulated, debated and prescribed.
In EPRP’s politics the stakes involve the following five choices in the order of priorities
- Life or death
- Freedom or fear
- Peace or war
- Order or disorder
- Prosperity or poverty
The above five factors operate in reverse order for Woyane and Shaebia, life or death comes at the bottom while at the top of their agenda comes prosperity or poverty.
Another shot at coup d’etat መፈንቅለ መንግሥት or continuing the ongoing Eway Revolution?
It seems that the elections of 2010 as scheduled in Ethiopia and 2011 (as rumor has it) in Eritrea of unknown type of election gave a boost up for all the pundits and advocates participating in these seemingly unpopular elections. By the way, election is a small part of DEMOCRACIA.
Of all the nations that have passed through the three types of revolutionary path, coup d’etat, insurrection and guerrilla warfare simultaneously should not easily succumb to merely elections. (See Solutions with DEBTERAW).
We have witnessed these with COPWE, we have seen this with Ginbot 7 and we are going to see more of the same. Many developing nations dwell on Election Day and ended up in disaster. Aethiopians should expect more than mere elections.
It is in the areas of
- Land Issues in lieu of Feudalism
- Governance in lieu of Bureaucracy
- Free Market in lieu of Imperialism
That the journalists or the truth seekers update their stories about Ethiopia or Eritrea.
First things first though, we all should collaborate in order to force Shaebia and Woyane leaders to meet the following demands.
- Locating the whereabouts of prisons and prisoners
- Releasing all political prisoners
- Allowing free speech, free press and free assembly
We are basically a civilian society with no uniform. The uniformed men of the DERG destroyed us; the guerrilla military are posed to silence us. It is in this context that we should or should not ally with either the leaders of Eritrea or Ethiopia. There should not be an alliance for some individuals or groups’ convenience. We should be in the business of saving Humanity (HC) from dictatorship and tyranny. That is the weakest link of all dictatorships.
TRUTH WILL PREVAIL
Happy Meskerem for New Season and Year
For comments and questions
These are the political truth that sh