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Call me by my name & address


Call me by my name & address

By Obo Arada Shawl

November 13, 2008


10 days ago an ordinary name Obama became not only an historical event but as well as a household word. It is the only name that ends with a vowel “A” in the American Presidential names. Arusi or Arsi, the smallest state of AEthiopia begins with the letter “A”. What’s is in a name? Call me by my name.

In AEthiopia ኤትዮጵያ as opposed to ኢትዮጵያ there are thousands of people with the name of Obama. They live in the borderline of Sidamo, Gemu Gofa, Wollega and elsewhere. The point is what does Obama stand for? For me, it is deciphered in the following: -

O = 10

B = 13


M = 13

A = 111

Deciphering OBM will result in 36 years of Struggle by EPRP. Is it a coincidence or Divine? What about the letter “A”? According to the teaching of DEBTERAW the letter “A” as in Latin is deciphered and stands in upside form for Volunteerism-Vote-Victory.

Who is the Obama of Ethiopia?

This kind of question has been asked by million of AEthiopians in million times especially at the beginning of the onset of the Eway Revolution. What is interesting and a dumb question at the same time, people like Getachew Garedaw from Germany asks the same question (see Artist Tesfaye Lemma in his book entitled “Confessions of the DERG (የደርግ ኑዛዜ ) has displayed as a cover book of Haile Sellasie’s picture that was taken just six weeks before his downfall and Mengistu’s clenched left lined up for history. On the cover of the book, there is also a big question mark invoking the unknown next leader for Ethiopia. Many educated AEthiopians were predicting the blood bath after Haile Sellassie’s departure. On the contrary though, nothing has happened. The killings and imprisonment that ensued following the downfall of the Emperor was not for the lack of new leaders but for an idea far greater than free speech, free self-expression and free assembly as put foreword as DEMOCRACIA.

Many people misunderstood the Eway Revolution, a revolution for a political system dubbed as የፖለቲካ ስርዓት

On the one hand, after Menghistu, people were worried as to what will happen to Ethiopia as a country as opposed to leadership? The question if and when Menghistu leaves was not about who will replace him, for Menghistu has gone from the minds and hearts of all Ethiopians long time before he was gone. AEthiopians were worried what kind of system of government they will get. For the ordinary people the question of DEMOCRACIA was paramount. All throughout their lives, AEthiopians have been fighting for their liberties and social justice.

On the other hand, foreign experts who proposed the London Conference for the transferee of power were sure that nothing bloody will happen if the guerrilla fighters were to take power and if Menghistu leaves peacefully, but on the contrary, two years of bloody war as opposed to revolutionary war were ensued and too many killings and imprisonment is taking place even to this day both in Ethiopia and Eritrea. Why one may ask? The answer lies not in leaders but in leadership, i.e. political party leadership.

What is Political leadership?

Campaign for election or legislation has more than two sides while a politician’s analysis is the same. And it does not matter whether the issues are local, state or national, they all work the same way. Elected officials are likely to behave given the same vote or money.

When the Woyane’s came to power, they pretended as if they were operating in a la DEMOCRACIA by pretending as if people were free. We have seen this with Ginbot election result. The Woyane are still in the mentality of appointment not election. Most opposition groups are doing the same. Such is why EPRP has diagnosed as feudal system of political mentality. Most of our educated and non-educated seem to desire for appointment and not election. I can see why EPRP has failed in promoting the leadership style that is desired. I know many people from EPRP members will complain about this failure. But everyone and everybody should fail once in a while, as not failing will only show that we have not been trying. But EPRP has been in the struggle for many decades.

What EPRP wants to differentiate is the part between a politician and a stateman in as much as it has spent 3 decades of differentiating between a Revolutionary and a Nationalist.

What is a statesman, anyway? According to Harry Truman a statesman is “A politician that has been dead 10 or 15 years.” How true! AEthiopia had hundreds of statesmen.

A statesman is someone who acts to do what is right regardless of the political risk. It’s someone who puts the public good ahead of partisan politics. A statesman is one who makes decisions based on what is right, not on what is popular.

DEBTERAW’s contribution to election

First of all politics involve money and votes. In AEthiopia, we do have neither of these two factors. Secondly, we do not know whether we were politicking locally (at woreda level), statewide (at awraja level) or nationally (Kifle Hager). Let us remember that Ethiopia was divided into ጠቅላይ ግዛቶች፤ አስተዳደሮች፤ እና ክፍለ ሀገሮች

This was a step forward in thinking of changes – colonizing-administering-regionalizing had to mean something for aspirant people.

But the TPLF came with a different mode of thinking, backward thinking. Without understanding the nature/use of money and the tools for democracy, the EPRDF embarked on the road of capitalism. There are many mysteries of Capital none of them easy to grasp for the EPRDF parliamentarians. The hour of capitalism’s greatest triumph is in its hour of crisis. The fall of the Berlin Wall and the present financial crisis are good examples for the triumph of Capitalism. The fall of the DERG was an opportune time for the triumph of political system in Ethiopia. The TPLF and the EPLF blew it. In actual fact, the TPLF has doubled their crime by attempting to destroy DEBTERAW and his EPRP. That was not an opportunity for triumph but a crisis for their downfall. Ethiopia cannot be a Capitalist nation without the tools of Capitalism.

EPRP, on the other hand, unlike TPLF and EPLF, has followed the right path from voluntarism – vote – victory. DEBTERAW is leading us to voting system and then declare victory. The victory of EPLF, TPLF and the Kinjit is short-lived because victory is only meant for them. It is the reverse in the case of EPRP.

In my earlier article, (See call me by my address, III) I have indicated that the federal state of Sidamo will be a state for diplomatic mission whereby the crisis around the Horn of Africa will be resolved diplomatically. The Boranas, who are the true source of democratic culture and Oromifa language with no bias for any type of religion and class, will be a source of diplomatic relations for what the so-called Abyssinians are lacking for. Let EPRP search and appoint capable and honest Sidamonians to join the Mission, Vision and value of EPRP. By definition, the Sidamas, the Wolaytas, the Gurages, the Gurjis, the Derassas the Oromos, the Amharas the S’me T’ru Hamasien and even the Ras Tefferians are settlers in the state of Sidamo.

Obama vs. Debteraw: lessons to be learned

History is made in two ways. By dramatic occurrences often surprising such as the fall of Berlin Wall in 1989 and by slow accretion of small changes over long periods. These are harder to notice while they are happening but often more significant than the isolated, surprising events such as the coming to power by the DERG, the assumption of power by EPRDF and the election of Ginbot. These two are usually are interrelated only in geographically and politically stable societies such as the USA.

Obama made history in the way DEBTERAW has embarked to make history. Power concedes without a fight or demand. In the case of DEBTERAW, it is a fight but in the case of Obama it is a case of demand. We all have collective memories but one moment is the American experience. Notice the crying of Jackson and of Oprah. Both cried for different reasons. EPRP members and supporters are crying for Debteraw as why is still ... ተስወረ

Notwithstanding the above memories, comparing DEBTERAW and OBAMA

Both men are educated

Both men are humble

Both men are articulate

Both men are likeable and

Both individuals have a lot of heart and are very passionate about issues facing their respective countries. They both saw the problems and the possibilities and did not bother for confrontation and a list of grievances.

Above all both men campaign for change except DEBTERAW call his አብዮት (አበየ) Revolution. And the commonality is change via education. It is to be recalled that DEBTERAW became more radicalized after the ‘Educational Sector Review for Ethiopia’. In fact, education (not of East or West) but have AEthiopian became the core value for EPRP’s struggle.

For Obama it is change + transformation = Hope

For DEBTERAW it is revolution + hope = social justice

Why did the change of Obama worked and not for DEBTERAW’s EPRP? Is it because of the word change instead of revolution? Would it make a difference had AEthiopians use change instead of revolution?

Absolutely not. A revolution should have to take place in Ethiopia just like in America or elsewhere before election to take place. The Ethiopian Revolution was correct to have taken place. The only problem that people cannot see up to the present time is that the true Revolution that was envisaged by DEBTERAW’s EPRP has been hijacked by the DERG, sabotaged by the EPLF and aborted by the TPLF.

Veteran EPRP members and associate members recount battles both past and ongoing. Thanks to DEBTERAW’s existence, EPRP continues to survive and thrive. As many opponents seem to charge DEBTERAW and his EPRP as “concealed communist”, it was not true as his party affiliation and political position was clear and untainted.

If you want to understand the Eway Revolution, Obama is for pop culture and DEBTERAW was not. (See call me by my address: A commentary on Marathon and Sprint that was posted at on August 23, 2008.

Concluding remarks

DEBTERAW lived and operated in a society of WE whereas Obama lived and operated in a society of ME. Given the present time, what lessons do we have to learn about the shift from ME to WE?

DEBTERAW is still with us, not alone. He fought for social justice and for his personal freedom and yet he is denied his personal freedom let alone social justice.

Le us fight to free him as he is considered as the “father of AEthiopia” or at least, let us witness his death in the manner the “mother of Africa”, Miriam Makeba who died this week while doing her passion on stage. Makeba was the voice for liberation when she staged at the Haile Sellassie I university in 1963. DEBTERAW is our voice.

To be an obstructionist or confrontational to EPRP’s vision, mission and values is futile and unnecessary especially once we have discovered the truth about DEBTERAW who is sacrificing his life to the betterment of all AEthiopians. Let us build on the accomplishments of DEBTERAW’S voluntarism, vote and victory. That is how Obama did it.

Thanks for Barack Obama for showing to all AEthiopians who could not see the ideal democracy and the method of struggle DEMOCRACIA by DEBTERAW and his EPRP. Literate AEthiopians in Latin Alphabet have to start with the letter ‘A’ as in ARUSI which includes ALSO ‘5’.

Literate AEthiopians in GE’EZ have to start with the FIDEL of ሀ = U which is equivalent to UNITY, for STRUGGLE OR for CAMPAIGN.


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