Get out of a vicious cycle: Stop repeating the same mistakes

By D_Befekadu 

In the late 1980s, the then decaying regime of Dergue army was defecting and surrendering to woyanne and shaabia in mass.  Those who dared to fight woyanne/shaabia were slaughtered in mass too.  Due to the level of brutality and oppression by the Dergue regime every citizens of Ethiopia wanted to see its collapse sooner than later and denied it support.   

Meanwhile, on the one hand, woyanne and shaabia formed many ethnic organizations (libration fronts) by using those defecting/surrendering Dergue soldiers and on the other hand Isayas and Meles realized that the independence of Eritrea could not be realized without the support of Ethiopian political party and eventual pro-Eritrean independence Ethiopian government.  So, to give an Ethiopian face to their planned “”Ethiopian front”, they were growing an organization called Ethiopian People’s Democratic Movement (EPDM) led by Tamrat Layene in their anti-Ethiopian laboratory.  By using this organization they formed the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF).  Despite giving the front Ethiopian tag, members of EPRDF kept their political programmes and objectives unchanged.  However, by including EPDM and including Ethiopia in their front’s name, they managed to gain diplomatic support as well as deceive the Ethiopian people.  The Ethiopian people, who have been languishing in the hands of Dergue cadres and those who lost their children to the regime’s fascistic repression, felt that EPRDF would deliver democracy and wouldn’t be a threat to the Ethiopian sovereignty.  It was assumed that their ethnic liberationist approach was a political and military tactic only to weaken Dergue.   

Some Ethiopian political parties such as Ethiopian People’s Democratic Alliance (EPDA), which was financed by the USA, propagated that the defection of the Dergue army was great news.  It even broadcasted how many Ethiopian army was killed by and surrendered to shaabia and woyanne.  Most of Ethiopian political parties with exception of EPRP, gave a tacit approval (passive support) to TPLF/EPLF (EPRDF) offensive against Dergue.  The EPRP was attacked by both Dergue as well as woyanne/shaabia militarily and by EPDA politically.  Regardless of support from political parties to its offensive against Dergue, EPRDF excluded all pro-Ethiopian unity political parties from London peace/mediation conference that paved the way for woyanne/EPRDF/EPLF to enter Addis Ababa and shaabia exclusively to enter Asmara.  Despite all the positive thoughts about EPRDF, soon the people found loss of access to seaport.  The EPRDF converted the TPLF political program into Ethiopian constitution.  Soon after that, EPRDF government wrote a letter urging the UN to recognize Eritrea as an independent state.  Anyone advocating Ethiopian unity and sovereignty was chauvinist, neftegna and thrown into jail or killed.  It was a deadly miscalculation both by the Ethiopian political parties and the people to assume that EPRDF wouldn’t aim to disintegrate Ethiopia.   

The 15 years rule of woyanne/EPRDF proved to be no difference from the Dergue’s repression and brutality, and posed a serious challenge to the very existence of Ethiopia as a country.  Meanwhile, shaabia’s boasting of giving 100 years of homework to Ethiopians failed and it has come up what it thinks more effective and hard homework to Ethiopians.  Shaabia started its old strategy, organizing pro-Eritrean forces.  For this activities the ground was so fertile, OLF, ONLF, SLF, etc are available to fulfil its long-term agenda of weakening Ethiopia.  Shaabia also knows that Woyanne/EPRDF is hated by the Ethiopian people.  So, finding some Ethiopian political parties to back its agenda was easy.  The most important development was willingness of Ethiopian People’s Patriotic Front (EPPF) to work from Eritrea.  However, shaabia/woyanne were disturbed to see the re-emergence of Ethiopian nationalism that flooded the country in pre- and post- May 2005 election.  The OLF too was shocked to see the pro-Ethiopian Oromo political parties gain a commanding support from the people of Oromia region.   

All anti-Ethiopian forces, shaabia, woyanne and other ethnic liberation fronts started panicking.  TPLF/EPRDF already infiltrated kinijit and assigned its agents within Ethiopia and in Diaspora and jailed committed leaders of the party.  In far north, shaabia was busy crafting some sort of front by using Ethiopian political parties and liberation fronts.  Here it comes; the Ethiopian saying: “ye-telate telat wodaje newu”.  For all shaabia, woyanne, and liberation fronts, the targeted enemy is Ethiopia.  So, all liberation fronts formed an alliance with participation of some Ethiopian organization, again in an attempt to deceive the Ethiopian people.  Woyanne is represented by its agents assigned to destabilize the Diaspora movements and divide and kill kinijit.  Now we have AFD in the same way we had EPRDF over 15 years ago.  The same as formation of EPRDF 15 years ago, there is an organization that carries Ethiopia in it’s party name and once popular Ethiopian party, kinijit, currently led by woyanne agents is a member.  

Now the woyanne regime is crumbling and its army is defecting in the same way Dergue’s army did 15 years ago.  Good news to all of us who want to see the removal of woyanne sooner than later.  The question is are we going to have an Ethiopian democratic government or another anti-Ethiopian government?  Are we going to get out of the vicious cycle of replacing a dictator with another dictator?    

The architect of the whole drama, Shaabia, is experienced user of Ethiopian organizations to achieve its ultimate goal, creating a state of Eritrea.  To legalize this, shaabia was a chief consultant and took part in the conversion of the woyanne political program into Ethiopian “Constitution.”  This process armed OLF with a substantial experience how to manipulate the game.  Especially, observing the way Isayas manipulated (creating pro-Eritrean government in Ethiopia) to realize the dream of Eritrean independence provided OLF with important political skills.   

The OLF thinks that an independent state of oromia cannot be realized without pro-oromia government in Ethiopia.  So, it decided to play the same game that was played 15 years ago by shaabia.  In May 2006, with help of shaabia, OLF formed the so-called AFD to use it as a political means to create an independent ethnic states, oromia and possibly others.  This time again the membership of the alliance was largely separatist movements, liberation fronts, and included parties with Ethiopian names.  The latter are only to give the alliance an Ethiopian face.   In the same way TPLF changed EPDM to ANDM, these AFD members with non-Ethnic party name would be asked to identify themselves with ethnicity after AFD overthrows TPLF/EPRDF.  Due to a shared value, it is believed that TPLF too would realize its goal, creation of an independent republic of Tigray.    

The defection of woyanne army to ethnic liberation fronts is alarming as the rule of woyanne itself.  Ethiopia is trapped by anti-Ethiopian fascist regime in hand and anti-Ethiopian coalition of liberation fronts backed by shaabia on the other hand.  Woyanne structured its army in ethnic lines.  When this army crumbles it is likely to become ethnic militia, and result in collapse of TPLF regime.  This is in line with woyanne’s mission and objectives.  Woyanne has moved most of air force to Tigray and allotted most of senior defence positions hardline TPLF members.  Woyanne has induced enough fear in the people of Tigray and it will move with well-organized and mechanized army in the name of “defending Tigray”.   

 I believe that TPLF/EPRDF is a pack of poison and must be removed and buried safely, so its poison cannot affect Ethiopia and the Ethiopian people. A force capable of removing and burring TPLF/EPRDF safely with its poison is all-inclusive united front that accepts the UNITY OF ETHIOPIA. TPLF/EPRDF is a poison against Ethiopian unity and cannot be removed by another anti-Ethiopian poisonous pack, AFD, which is alliance of separatist movements that refuse to call themselves Ethiopian. The defection of woyanne army is good news. However, it is bad news when one looks at the end result, where they (the defecting woyanne officers) are ending up, ethnic army. This is a warning sign that ethnic militia is taking shape and it is in line with TPLF/EPRDF ultimate goal, disintegration of Ethiopia. With its naivety, kinijit appears too excited about bourgeoning of ethnic militia. If kinijit continuous in its current position, it is letting woyanne’s poison to spill all over and destroy Ethiopia. This is simply because kinijit does not have the capacity and expertise to handle this pack of poison, TPLF/EPRDF.  This danger can be avoided by a united Ethiopian front that is committed to the sovereignty of Ethiopia and democratic principles.  

Fortunately, the refusal of major political parties to join the shaabia and woyanne sponsored AFD offers some hope.  Alongside this position, the recently leaked charter of citizens strengthens this hope.  I believe if the charter is backed and adapted by all pro-Ethiopian political forces, it would bring political parties together and force them to commit to those universal principles of human rights and justice listed in the charter.  It will also expose those forces with a hidden agenda against the Ethiopian sovereignty.  The charter is a test case for AFD to make its position clear in regards to Ethiopian sovereignty.  Accepting the charter would make AFD stronger and truly Ethiopian people political party. 

God bless Ethiopia!     

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Published in: on September 29, 2006 at 7:41 am  Comments (4)  

For those I love

By Leoul Mekonen

 

Oh! God! Almighty God!

The creator of earth and sky

The author of the universe!

Do not abandon me when I cry

I need your help, open your ears!

 

The father of Adam, the Almighty

Who gave your only Son For those you love!

Embolden me to fight the dragon

For the innocent stand helpless

The beast devours them one by one!

 

  Breathing fire through his mouth

The dragon flamed many homes

Many women become widows

And children lost care-givers

Wandering alone as orphans!

 

  Fathers are no longer fathers

To protect their families

Mothers are no longer mothers

The youth are locked up in dungeons!

Men are not men any more

To protect their wives!  

Like Lucifer his father

It spits fire everywhere

Protest is our death-warrant

Ethiopians are drowned in fear!

 

Ruling with a rod of iron

He spits fire on everyone!

He is tyrannical by nature

Spreading terror is his weapon! 
 

Then,

For how long you tolerate, God?

For how long they bear humiliation?

Tears turned to blood when they call

The tide of terror hits them all!

   

To neutralise the terror

To lift the yoke of misery

Allow me to offer myself

For the oppressed to be free! 

 

I plead to you God, I cry loud

Give me the courage, the Almighty!

For those I love to be free!

Let me be selfless to offer

To give back the breath, that once you gave me!

 

 

Like St. George the martyr

 God-fearing, brave  warrior

Who rid on horse of faith,

Let me use your word as spear

Let me pierce the beast face to face!

   

 

This poem is dedicated to freedom fighters who tirelessly struggle to alleviate a tyrannical rule with faith, hope, love and above all with the sense of duty to be “the keepers of  brothers and sisters”.

 

 

Published in: on September 26, 2006 at 6:07 pm  Leave a Comment  

For those I love

By Leoul Mekonen

 

Oh! God! Almighty God!

The creator of earth and sky

The author of the universe!

Do not abandon me when I cry

I need your help, open your ears!

 

The father of Adam, the Almighty

Who gave your only Son

For those you love!

Embolden me to fight the dragon

For the innocent stand helpless

The beast devours them one by one!

 

 

Breathing fire through his mouth

The dragon flamed many homes

Many women become widows

And children lost care-givers

Wandering alone as orphans!

 

 

Fathers are no longer fathers

To protect their families

Mothers are no longer mothers

The youth are locked up in dungeons!

Men are not men any more

To protect their wives!

 

Like Lucifer his father

It spits fire everywhere

Protest is our death-warrant

Ethiopians are drowned in fear!

 

Ruling with a rod of iron

He spits fire on everyone!

He is tyrannical by nature

Spreading terror is his weapon!

 

Then,

For how long you tolerate, God?

For how long they bear humiliation?

Tears turned to blood when they call

The tide of terror hits them all!

 

 

To neutralise the terror

To lift the yoke of misery

Allow me to offer myself

For the oppressed to be free!

 

 

I plead to you God, I cry loud

Give me the courage, the Almighty!

For those I love to be free!

Let me be selfless to offer

To give back the breath, that once you gave me!

 

 

Like St. George the martyr

 God-fearing, brave  warrior

Who rid on horse of faith,

Let me use your word as spear

Let me pierce the beast face to face!

 

 

 

 

This poem is dedicated to freedom fighters who tirelessly struggle to alleviate a tyrannical rule with faith, hope, love and above all with the sense of duty to be “the keepers of  brothers and sisters”.

 

 


Published in: on September 26, 2006 at 6:05 pm  Comments (1)  

For how long USA will be taken hostage in the Horn of Africa?

Aklilu Demissie

 

The escalating political turmoil is getting out of hand for the Meles regime. And a power transfer is surging at a faster pace than everyone’s expectation.The dawn of freedom has begun shinning on the horizon. Those who looked invincible and ridiculed the very existence of humanity are shivering and cold sweat running down their spines. Their dooms day has found them earlier than their expectation.

 

They know that flying out is neither a solution nor staying and fighting in a country which never belonged to them accordingly, the fable country, being not worth fighting once they lose grip of their wholesale ransacking.

 

 

Once they are thrown to the broom, their fate is similar or even far worse than Augusto Pinochet, Charles Taylor and Saddam Hussein. These dictators are being paraded in tribunal courts by the very same people who once supported them.

 

And once Robert Mugabe is gone, Ethiopian will be a single country in the world where two successive despots will be facing the international tribunal court for crimes against humanity standing side by side.

 

The people of Ethiopia have already liberated themselves from the yoke of neo slavery of Meles as their ancestors had never capitulated to.

 

Now, army Generals, Colonels, officers and diplomats have abandoned the sinking boat Meles and are liberating themselves from the blood soaked regime by the minute.

 

What may Donald Levin and Jeffery Sachs say as their favored despot dies a shameful death under their own very eyes despite an opulent cushion from them?


 
Donald Levin is a spent shell. He has no influence whatsoever over the overheating and fiery destination of the Ethiopian politics. But it is unfortunate to see him once in a while coming uninvited telling Ethiopians what to do by his own authority as a spinner of
Ethiopia’s course. Ethiopians know where he has dug his feet. Whether he is on Meles side or Ethiopia’s side is immaterial and irrelevant.

 

At one time he tried to establish himself as a sphere of influence being thrown in a tug of war between the government and the Diaspora.

 

 

For the unwitting when Herman Cohen blabbered his disapproval of  Meles it might have been taken as a positive development while in fact he was pretentiously endorsing the despot’s candidacy to rule Ethiopia and for State Department officials to keep him.

 

 

It was also disheartening to see Donald Payne give only few lines to the plight of  Ethiopia at the 36th Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) annual legislative conference. He was content with what he thought he had a constructive dialogue with the butcher of Addis. Probably, he didn’t know how repulsive this word has become to Ethiopians since it has become a mediocre phrase for crippled diplomats of no consequence who have no influence over the regime.

 

 

He was hailing at the end Jendayi Frazier and Jeffery Sachs as the best icons of development and democracy for the African continent while as a matter fact being the ones who impaled democracy in the heart in  Ethiopia. He was bitterly talking about what happened in
Rwanda while tangibly doing nothing about the Ethiopian Rwanda on his hand.

 

 

The ominous and resented Yamamoto is packing up all his worldly tools to fix the crumbling life support system machines of the regime. Demonstrably he has reneged on democracy in Ethiopia. He beats the record of traveling to Ethiopia, God knows for what!

 

 

To all intense and purposes there is no difference between the regimes in  Rangoon and Addis with regard to stark massive human rights abuses and transgression against humanity. While the regime in Addis is left aside, the US government is feverishly trying to pass a UN resolution against Burma after years and years of complacency. Obviously human rights violation in one form or another is a threat to global peace and security as the US identifies now.

 

 

The chapter of, often the disgusting pampering of a despot by Western diplomats and foreign lawmakers has now been ushered the way to the tomb once and forever by the patriotic Ethiopian people.

 

 

Well, Ethiopia is winning and prevailing; and the question is, will the country be the same to the outside forces who kept a deaf ear and blind eyes to her ordeals at the hands of a brute?

 

For all those State Department officials and regional think tanks of politics, they have become dumbfounded as they witness what is going on contrary to their analysis and beliefs and conjectures.  But they had been warned, Ethiopia being a unique case.

 

 

Naturally, as they have failed in their time tamed and told inferences, it would be desirable and high time for them to go back to school to study cases unique like Ethiopia.

 

 

Meles’s debacle in Somalia is a sought after scenario by him. The continued unstable situation in the region is a life line for his regime. United States and the people of Ethiopia are committed to bringing about an everlasting stability to the region by waging war against terror.  But as long as Meles is on the scene, every thing is doomed to fail. Meles knows that maintaining the status quo is the very card he would not give up at all coast.

 

 

There had been a well known and established fact. Once the USA awakens and librates itself from the spell of this elusive and capricious despot, her sword is vicious and merciless, even to her devout allies let alone to a miniscule who lives by subterfuge.

 

 

The hostage drama for Ethiopia has melted away from Meles’s grip; and when will be the time for the US foreign policy in the Horn? Shouldn’t it have been long ago?

Published in: on September 19, 2006 at 7:47 pm  Leave a Comment  

Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Party (EPRP) Congratulations on the 34th Anniversary of the Party

From Yilma Begashaw

 

1.                  Why Congratulations?

1.1              EPRP is the only Ethiopian Political Party that has never sided with any of those successive repressive Ethiopian regimes since its formation 34 years ago.

1.2              EPRP is the Party that has never surrendered the Ethiopian sovereignty  and our people’s interest to foreign powers for short term self interest.

1.3              EPRP is the only Party that never perished since its formation despite combined excessive internal and external pressures from the enemies of our people.

1.4              EPRP is a Party that has never changed as far as the lasting long-term democratic interests of our people are concerned.

1.5              That is why I am obliged to forward these congratulatory remarks, for the sake of fairness, honesty and true testimony.

2.                  Who is EPRP? What is EPRP?

2.1              Introduction:

It may look patronising to ponder these types of questions to those who know the EPRP since its formation. But 34 years is nearly the average life

expectancy of our people in the contemporary Ethiopia.  During those good years, over a million innocent citizens have lost their precious lives in the hands of successive brutal dictatorial regimes, during their genuine struggle for democracy. There is also the youth group that is born since, some of whom is being poisoned by the venom of the repressive regimes and their cadres with distorted and biased accounts of the truth. Thus, please allow me to air few personal comments about the question of the EPRP.

2.2             Before the formation of the EPRP, there were lots of repressions arising from the policies of the Feudal regime headed by an Absolute narchy, grossly affecting the lives of the Peasants and the Working Class. The economy of the country and our people’s welfare could not advance due to the rigidity and failure of those aristocratic Feudal Systems. Famine, displacement and mass death became rampant. Experience from such countries as the Soviet Union, Canada, Vietnam and Cuba showed that protracted struggle of the oppressed masses can bring down oppressive regimes.Ethiopia could not be an exception to sit idle in the face of gross repressions.

The 1953 attempted coup d’état ,  led by General Mengistu Neway, who was the Head of the Emperor’s Royal Guard (Kibr Zebegna) was a testimony.  General Mengistu was one of the few most privileged top Officials of the time. His brother, Germame was highly educated in the USA and was in the ranks of Presidents John F. Kennedy and Kwame Nkrumah.  Workneh Gebeyehu and the other members who joined the struggle were all privileged members. However, their conscience did not allow them to drive luxurious cars on the corpses of the starving fellow citizens. Starving people were harrased to pay tributes to the land lords. There was a saying: ‘diha yemibelawn yita enji yemikeflewn ayatam’., meaning, the poor may starve but will still have some thing to pay. They rebelled and paid heavy life sacrifices. Dead corpses were brought to Addis and were hung (notably those of Germame and Workneh) and those that were captured alive, notably General Mengistu, received a death penalty from the Emperor’s regime. The 1953 appraisal was a turning point as far as a protracted struggle was concerned, to liberate our people from the repressive absolute Aristocracy. It set a very good example.  University and high school students soon started ferocious struggle against the regime. In the following years, teachers and workers joined the struggle for democracy and justice. It was out of this objective reality that the EPRP finally emerged to lead that protracted struggle. It is perhaps worth mentioning that this Party called the EPRP was supported by almost all most distinguished and self-less members of the society, including Professors, Doctors, Engineers, Managers, Teachers, Nurses, students, workers, farmers, etc. without the barriers of age, gender, nationality or class. This, I think, is who the EPRP is and what it has been up to.

3.                  Consistency in the Main Principles of the EPRP

Based on past lessons, the EPRP has made a number of changes to its policies and strategies. Few of its members have abandoned their Party and joined enemy camps. However, the EPRP as a Party has always maintained its independence. As mentioned above, it has never sided with repressive regimes for its self interest. Compared to those organisations that sided with the brutal military dictatorship or the ethnic based Woyane Fascism and extended the sufferings of our people, the EPRP has an undeniable perfect record of consistency in its struggle for peace, democracy and prosperity of our people.

4.                  What do we Learn from the EPRP?

4.1              Those who struggle for the betterment of their people can die, but the struggle will continue until the inevitable eventual victory for our people.

4.2              One can make few financial and material gains by siding with repressive regimes. But they will always live with guilt. Their children will feel

ashamed through out their lives. The Almighty God will give them their due punishments

4.3              On the other hand, those who care for their people, those who struggle for the oppressed people and those who genuinely pray for such people will live and die happily, with grace, dignity and good history.

4.4              EPRP is not fighting for political power. EPRP always admits that it is beyond the isolated struggle of single parties to defeat the combined internal and external enemies of our people and the sovereignty of our nation. It always calls for the united struggle.

4.5              Our beloved country at the moment is in a grave problem. Our future is uncertain. Our enemies will never sleep.

4.6              Let us forgive each other for the past mistakes and join hands to free our people before the Dawn of this endangered Millennium.

4.7              Our people have suffered enough and let us contribute to making the coming Millennium a better era to live in, with democracy, peace and prosperity.

May Our Almighty God be with Us and guide us through our good objectives.

 

Published in: on September 5, 2006 at 11:44 pm  Comments (2)  

Holding Back Sobbing Children at their Mother’s Untimely Death and Not Explaining what Happened is both Wrong and Unfair

By Maru Gubena

4 September 2006

As in any society, a good number of Ethiopians residing throughout the international community feel we are carrying a heavy load of responsibilities on our heads concerning the well being of our country –Ethiopia – and its people. This is true even though we work and live far from the land of our birth and from the majority of the people from whom we are an inseparable part. Because of these undeniable facts of belonging and of responsibility, the Ethiopian Diaspora has always been actively involved, engaged with the politics of Ethiopia and with the many other complex issues and problems that have faced our people for many decades now. Regrettably, however, even though many of us are entirely convinced about the indispensability of professional coordination and an effectively operating organization, whether political or non political, and despite having the required knowledge, skills and money, we have not been so lucky as to come up with the desired organizations – organizations that would represent and coordinate our collective needs, voices and contributions to peace, development and the possible process of democratization of our country. This is partly because we quite often choose to disagree with each other, and often prefer to be confrontational towards each other rather than collectively going in search of ways to operate that will be conducive to strengthening the common factors and grounds that are in our hands, and which can serve as sources of harmony and unity – and which could undeniably be helpful in furthering our common goals and desires. 

It would not be wrong to argue that it is the absence of such coordinating professional organizations, with unfailing leaders – together with our persistent internal disagreements and conflicts – that have made our own activities ineffective, so that we have continued to be entirely dependent upon the initiatives and actions of other actors, on events and crisis taking place within our country or elsewhere in the region. We often seem unwilling to listen to each other, tending to choose the path of “go it alone.” As the experience of the past two or more decades plainly illustrates, the Ethiopian Diaspora often appears to be willing to come together or at least to show signs of temporary togetherness and unity only when one or more enemy guerrilla or rebel groups are approaching to invade our villages or our cities, or when we feel that members of our own family are at risk. Or when the unelected TPLF leadership ruthlessly murders our Ethiopian compatriots, the youth, women and children, in the clear light of day. In other words, we have been and still are exclusively dependent upon our emotions, which in turn depend on being awakened by the initiatives and actions undertaken by our enemies back home. The May 2005 general election is a case in point

So far as I recall, we did not have a single organization in any western major city either before the election or immediately thereafter. It is also undeniably true that a disproportionately high number of us in the Ethiopian Diaspora did not even know that an election was to be held in Ethiopia on 15 May 2005 – a day that has now been registered in books of world history as an historical event. And since we were not organized and didn’t have a professional organization of our own, the practical and meaningful contributions on the part of the Ethiopian Diaspora community were uncoordinated, individualistic in character and quite limited, to the extent that anything at all happened. Subsequently, the Ethiopian Diaspora community has become paralyzed, unable neither to create a professionally organized platform of its own, with a collective voice – an organization capable of directly or indirectly challenging and confronting the criminal activities of the tyrant regime of the TPLF leadership both diplomatically and legally – nor to actively and effectively channel the required and most essential material and non-material support to the opposition political parties at home. It is further true that well meant, serious and wisely fashioned suggestions and recommendations provided by concerned Ethiopians to political leaders and to those with a close links and connections to them to organize the Diaspora community as an essential organ of the opposition parties and as a single and coordinated voice in timely fashion, have been put aside as irrelevant, without a response to those worried, concerned Ethiopians.  

Looking in retrospect at the events and developments both before and after the 15 May 2005 parliamentary election, one could argue convincingly that the lack of understanding and underestimation of the strong determination and desire of Ethiopians to rid the land of Ethiopia of the TPLF regime, the increasing desire on the part of the TPLF leadership to improve its image internationally, the growing need of this leadership for improved relations and more economic and military assistance from industrialized nations – alongside the falsity of TPLF’s stated intention to fulfill the formal conditions and demands of donor nations for relatively free election and democratization – a narrow window of opportunity to further cultivate the process of peace, freedom and bring to an end the repressive tyranny of the TPLF leadership was opened. Regrettably, however, for the reasons stated in earlier paragraphs, including our failure to have internationally organized political and diplomatic networks in place long before the election, the lack of nationally and internationally functioning support and work groups prior to the election and the absence of written arrangements, clarity and openness among the political parties that shaped and formed Kinijit, and no doubt for other many reasons that are beyond my capacity to explain, these opportunities, though slim, slipped from the hands of the entire Ethiopian people. And the TPLF leadership, whose power structures were shaking, has managed to somehow revive and reconsider or review its position both in the land of Ethiopia and on the world political stage, at least for the time being; and has succeeded in jailing the most important, well known and highly respected Kinijit leaders, using creatively invented charges – charges that were to gradually, gravely force them to choose between relinquishing their political roles as leaders or following in the footsteps of Professor Asrat Woldeyes – to die slowly in TPLF’s most cruel and most primitive confinement. 

Assessing the Outcome of Long Periods of Silence from Kinijit’s Diaspora Leadership  

As can be heard and observed in every town and city where we work and live, anger, confusion and frustration about what precisely has gone wrong with Ethiopian opposition political parties, and especially with the dying mother – Kinijit, which most of us had considered as our symbol of resistance and hope of freedom – have in recent times become a source of a new Cold War and battlefield among Kinijit members and supporters themselves, thereby inflicting irreparable damages on Kinijit and tearing it into untold pieces. The unwillingness and/or incapability of the Kinijit International Political Leadership Committee (KIL), to which I will refer as the Kinijit Diaspora leadership, to effectively explain what precisely has gone wrong with Kinijit worldwide have been adding undesired fuel to the increasing number of Paltalk rooms whose participants are against, or are radical militants of the newly founded “Alliance for Freedom and Democracy” (AFD), whose objectives seem to be exclusively focused on outsmarting and annihilating each other, as well as assailing the personal reputations of the so called “Admins” or dominant figures in each Paltalk room, as well as their family members and colleagues. Anyone who disagrees with the generally held views in a Paltalk room and raises rational questions is automatically declared a potential enemy of that room, and will be “bounced” or kicked out of the room for 24 or 48 hours, or perhaps for an unspecified period of time. Also, individuals who disagree with the formation of the AFD and have differing views from AFD founders and supporters but are willing to be interviewed by one of those rooms, will be automatically castigated and associated with the unelected TPLF leadership, and will be called “Woyane.” Others who are reserved or unwilling to criticize the AFD are accused of being a “puppet of OLF and Shabiya.” What a world of differences!

One thing we should all be glad about is that we are not living in Ethiopia, and that such radical militants, engaged day and night in waging their war of words against each other and against many other innocent Ethiopians, have empty hands – no guns and no bombs, nor any other tools to harm any of us directly. What is undeniably true, however, is that the sounds of this war of words – waged by those radical militants who consider themselves indispensable Kinijit Core Groups – apart from being a factor in damaging Kinijit itself, scaring and driving away a substantial number of Kinijit mainstream and moderate supporters and potential contributors, have become important reminders to most of us of the guardians of the painful period of the early years of the Ethiopian revolution.  

Above all else, however, the question is: how did we so suddenly and so unexpectedly come to the situation where we are today? What went wrong with us – with the Ethiopian Diaspora community; and what precisely went wrong with our mother – Kinijit – who is presently dying? What are the sources and processes that brought our dying mother to the point where the Diaspora Kinijit is today? Why is the Kinijit Diaspora leadership so reluctant and unwilling to effectively explain to us of what went wrong with Kinijit and its leadership both before and after the jailing of our leaders? Why is it that while we – the children of Kinijit – are waiting so desperately and helplessly, day and night, for the Kinijit Diaspora leadership to go all over the world and help to clear up the confusion and the disturbing dark clouds, they remain unwilling to stand in front of us? 

Indeed, since the winds of division, confusion and frustration have managed to penetrate deep inside the Kinijit Diaspora community, and especially since the formation of AFD, both moderate and radical Kinijit militants have been waiting for a very long time. And we are still waiting, in hopes that the Kinijit Diaspora leadership will come out of its bed to actively engage in cleaning and clearing up the heavy, dark clouds surrounding the entire body of Kinijit itself, and help explain what went wrong with the Diaspora Kinijit leadership, pointing up the essential points, if there are any, and the future fruits to be expected from the agreements recently reached and signed with the OLF and other rebel groups. Regrettably, however, no one among the Kinijit Diaspora leadership seems to be bold enough to face the challenging questions and concerns currently smoldering in the hearts and minds of the entire body of Kinijit Diaspora Support Groups (which I will also refer in this paper as Chapter or Chapters), the members and sympathizers. 

It is because of these lengthy periods of silence and the persistent unwillingness of the Diaspora leadership to come out from its fortresses and share with us the good, the bad and the ugly, including the increasing uncertainties involving the future face of Kinijit, our beloved dying mother, that I thought an attempt to chronologically record what seem to me the cardinal sources responsible for the divisions that currently exist among us, based purely on my own personal involvements, observations and experiences, might be some help to those concerned and worried compatriots and others involved with the issues of our country.  

Looking retrospectively at the dying mother and what has led to her illness 

Despite many early warnings given by many concerned Ethiopians, including myself, about the future direction of the Kinijit Diaspora, remarkable mistakes have been made; these have now become difficult if not impossible to reverse or repair. Although not as remarkable as the irresponsible, reckless errors that have occurred between the beginning of January 2006 and the present day, sounds of complaint and resentment were to be heard among deeply and enthusiastically involved Kinijit supporters even as early as June and July of 2005.  

To begin with, it is to be remembered that whenever one or more of the now jailed leaders was invited by the Ethiopian community or Kinijit supporters in any given country to be a guest speaker and help to explain the current events and developments in our country, including the political bargaining position of Kinijit itself, it was the habit of some irresponsible, self-centered individual Ethiopian compatriots who see themselves as personal friends or family members of the invited guest speakers, or feel more important for Kinijit and its leaders than other Ethiopian community members, to make their own private arrangements with the invited guest speakers prior to their arrival, without informing the organizers of the planned gathering. Consequently, instead of being received by the organizers of the event – who paid their flight and hotel expenses – or going directly to the conference hotel rooms the organizers of the conference have booked for them, invited guest speakers were often taken – or hijacked – by those irresponsible individuals to their private houses. Such unacceptable behaviour on the part of these individuals has often left demonstration or conference organizers confused, not knowing whether their guest speakers had arrived at their intended destination or not. In most cases, the organizers of the event or gathering are eventually informed, though not in a timely fashion, of the arrival of the invited guest speaker by the very individuals who have snatched them, promising that they themselves will bring the invited speaker to the place where the event will be held. It has, however, always been the case that the invited guest arrives two or more hours later than they were expected, causing enormous irritation and disappointment among participants and forcing the conference or demonstration organizers to reschedule the entire programme. In most cases, we have even been able to observe that invited guest speakers have been taken away again by the same individuals immediately after they have finished the specific topic or topics assigned to them, without attending the rest of the conference programme and interacting with the participants. What is most surprising and unfortunate is that these reckless, irresponsible compatriots never seem to understand the huge irritation and disappointment they have caused participants, and never apologize for the chaos they have created in the conference programme. Such unacceptable behaviours need to be seriously discussed and corrected. 

The second important problem within the Kinijit Diaspora began to surface immediately after the arrest of the Kinijit leaders by the tyrannical TPLF leadership, when the idea of the need to establish Chapters in support of Kinijit and its jailed leaders in every country began to spread throughout the Ethiopian Diaspora community. While the need to establish Chapters was widely and enthusiastically accepted, disagreements and conflicts emerged within each Ethiopian community because of the methods and processes used to establish the Chapters. This was due to the absence of leadership, a common and clear policy, and strategy. Because of the absence of leadership and a common policy for Kinijit, a small section of the Ethiopian Diaspora community was given a free hand to establish Chapters, simply on the basis of their own views, desires and wishes and those of their family members, friends or groups that joined them as committee members. Consequently, a number of Chapters were established secretly, or without convening the kind of gatherings or meetings with the community members in the area, as would have been required by a proper process. Despite this, the majority of the community members did make every possible effort to convince the founders of these Chapters, demanding reorganization of the Chapters and election of an inclusive committee of members elected by all of the concerned and involved Ethiopians upon whom the Chapters are supposed to be entirely dependent, both financially and morally. Regrettably, however, the arguments of the majority never did succeed in reaching the ears and minds of the members of the so-called Committees of the Chapters that had already been established. The most dominant figures among the establishers of these Chapters argued that others in the Ethiopian community should simply be registered as members and contributors to the activities of Kinijit Chapters, but should not have the right to vote or decide which individuals would be allowed to join, or who would be the chairperson of the Chapter. Some individuals among the establishers of Chapters went even further, insisting that they themselves were and are more concerned about the current and future face of
Ethiopia, and have much closer connections and relations with the jailed leaders. And therefore, that they alone know what will promote the well-being of our jailed leaders and their families. Further, the founders of each Chapter were also allowed to employ and use the official Kinijit logo. Although it is difficult to provide a precise number or frequency of events, the founders of the various Chapters were also able to organize a few fundraising events. These took place whenever and wherever they wished, and apparently the organizers also assumed the right to channel the money collected to those they defined as being in need on the basis of their own personal information, connections, networks and judgments. Such activities, however, were short-lived. Due to the stubbornness and self-centeredness of the self-nominated Chapter leaders themselves, they were not able to win the hearts and minds of the community members in their own areas, so that the established Chapters abruptly became paralyzed and gradually ceased to operate. Regrettably, however, as will be seen in the following paragraphs, apart from the absence of leadership and a common policy, it is in part the initial committee members of these Chapters who contributed greatly to the creation and expansion of the current crisis within Kinijit, and in adding more fuel to the already long-existing divisions among Ethiopians and within the Diaspora community in particular – to the point that a good number of them have been forced to cease communicating with each other. 

The third historical error that coincided with the formation of the various Kinijit Chapters, and which can be seen as an extremely unnecessary and disappointing mistake, was the measure undertaken by the Kinijit Diaspora leadership and the Chapters themselves in an attempt to isolate one part of Ethiopian society from the rest of the Ethiopian Diaspora community, based simply on their origin or ethnicity. I am not going to further specify the part of Ethiopian society I am talking about, since my readers already know this perfectly well. But this was a very bad measure, entirely unacceptable and harmful to the Diaspora community as a whole. It is additionally important to note that the measure, though unwritten and officially undeclared, was received by those Ethiopians with independent and democratic minds who are spending their time and energy in an attempt to contribute to the process of peace, development and the unity of our country, as not only disturbing but also damaging to the reputation of Kinijit itself – a political organization that we all see as a party whose leaders have achieved the highest educational background, to be fighting for the equality of all Ethiopians, and to be peace makers and respectful of their people in all of the regions of Ethiopia. The unsuccessful attempt made with the intention of separating certain groups from the Ethiopian community was not only irresponsible and harsh, but was also totally out of the spirit, political programme and policy framework of Kinijit and our jailed leaders.  

The mistakes of the Kinijit Diaspora leadership and the various Chapters outlined above were not the end of the matter. The fourth and the worst of these remarkable, distracting mistakes was still to come. As many will recall, the most disastrous and destructive action undertaken by the Kinijit Diaspora leadership and its Chapters has been the abrupt disbanding of the Ethiopian Task Force immediately after the jailing of our leaders. The Task Force, established in the early summer of 2005, was serving the entire Ethiopian community. It incorporated all opposition political parties, pro-democracy media outlets, the Women’s Association, Teachers Association, Youth Association and others, serving as an indispensable link and bridge among those residing throughout the world and organizing multiple activities, including staging demonstrations, engaging in diplomatic wars, organizing seminars and conferences, staging candlelight vigils and so on, until around November 2005. This Task Force was acting as a force for unity and a collective voice to demand the release of our jailed leaders and press our resistance against the untold repression of our people by the tyrannical leadership of Meles Zenawi. No one among the Kinijit supporters, members and sympathizers or the Ethiopian Diaspora at large knows the background, the reasons that the Kijnijit Diaspora leadership and its Chapters reached such a destructive decision. In my recollection, the Diaspora Kinijit leadership never put out a single press release or held the sort of conference or meeting where they could elaborate the reasons that forced them to disband the Ethiopian resistance Task Force and help us to understand this decision. The only thing we have been told – very recently – is that there are major differences between political parties and civil society, something everyone already knew from the time the Task Force was founded. The fact is, however, that the Ethiopian opposition parties and Ethiopian civil society have more in common and reasons to work together within an Ethiopian resistance Task Force that are broader than their existing differences. Most Ethiopians who are neutral on this issue believe though that the reason that the Kinijit Diaspora leadership and the Chapters decided to destroy the entire Ethiopian resistance Task Force was something else, which they did not wish to share with us. That is a bad choice for a political party that desperately needs our support. The repercussions of this irresponsible measure have been huge, including a cessation of Kinijit’s activities, an increase in tension, a feeling of powerlessness within the Kinijit community and persistent conflicts within the Kinijit Diaspora leadership and among its Chapters. The most tragic aspect of all is that no one of us knows when the dark clouds that surround the poor house of the Kinijit Diaspora leadership will clear.  

The fifth divisive mistake, which has continued to smolder in the hearts and minds of a disproportionately high number of Ethiopians, is the way the Kinijit Diaspora leadership was nominated. Here it must be made abundantly clear that disagreeing with or opposing the manner in which the Kinijit Diaspora leadership was put in place does not mean at all that we don’t respect and love our jailed leaders. We certainly respect and love them. With all due respect, however, we should also be allowed, at least in my opinion, to agree or disagree. On these grounds I would simply like to state my arguments and disagreements plainly.  

To start with, it is not only wrong and unfair to say – and make all possible efforts to convince us – that the Kinijit Diaspora leadership residing permanently in the United States and Europe has been nominated by our jailed leaders, who are heavily guarded, forced to sleep on the cold stony floors of Kaliti prison, with their communications monitored every single minute. It is also unacceptable and undemocratic, and, as we have seen, the methods being employed by the Kinijit Diaspora leadership do not seem to be functional. It is indeed sad and most unfortunate that, while most of us have lived for decades in western society, in our own organization we still seem unable to work with the systems and the transparency that we all want and are fighting to see implemented in our country. Again, it is saddening that instead of doing our best to be sincere with one another and work together, we tend to choose to engage each other with fabulously formulated stories, sweet, joyful dreams that are entirely impossible either to test or to verify – for example, the validity of the entire process of the nomination. And while we have lived here in the west for decades, mysteriously enough, we are not even allowed to ask and to come to understand how our jailed leaders were able to nominate these individuals and how were the Ethiopian Kinijit Diaspora leaders then elected? Who were the independently chosen members of the election commission or committee? 

Apart from that – the question of a democratic or undemocratic process – my Ethiopian compatriots seem to have neglected or completely forgotten some essential differences between the political positions, rights and responsibilities of the jailed Kinijit leaders in Ethiopia and those of the Ethiopian Diaspora. It is clear that it is our jailed leaders who are living in Ethiopia, who participated in the May 2005 general election, and that they are the ones in the disease-infected prison of the TPLF. We, the Ethiopian Diaspora, are living outside Ethiopia and most of us have been nationals of other countries for decades. It is on the other hand undeniably true, that since we are part of the backbone and an inseparable part of Ethiopian society; further, since the politics and dictatorial regimes of Ethiopia have been and remain the causes that keep most of us apart from our loved ones and the land of Ethiopia, we remain involved and active; we wish to play an active and meaningful role and contribute to a process that leads to a final resolution of the current turmoil, which began with the 15 May 2005 Ethiopian election, by supporting the voice of the Ethiopian people and those who have been elected by the people.

Before anything else, it is then we, the Ethiopian Diaspora, who should come together to discuss the best ways we can help the Ethiopian people and our elected leaders. We need to fashion strategies and instruments conducive to realizing our goals and desires, and an important part of this will be to elect our own leaders among us – among the members of the Ethiopian Diaspora community. But despite the huge respect and love we have for our jailed leaders, they cannot, in any way, nominate or elect someone for us, even if that person is associated with and good to them. Since it is undeniably true that we are the ones who must be responsible for providing the materials and financial assistance the Kinijit Diaspora and its leadership will require, and who must initiate, develop and carry out the strategies and activities related to our jailed leaders and our resistance against the tyrannical TPLF regime, it is indeed extremely strange and totally out of place in terms of democratic standards and principles that we should not have the right to decide who will lead us and the policies and strategies we are supposed to implement. Most shocking of all, in my view, is that the so-called leaders of the Ethiopian Diaspora have not even attempted to measure and fundamentally understand the attitudes and overall reactions of the Ethiopian Diaspora in general related to their nomination, and to think over and over about this before even conceiving the idea about the need of Kinijit Diaspora leadership, much less declaring themselves elected. Again, it is because of this reckless, carelessness way of doing things that to the present day the majority of the Ethiopian Diaspora and all of the Ethiopian pro-democracy outlets remained engaged in wrangling and confronting each other with issues and questions related to the Kinijit Diaspora leadership. What a sad, bad situation!  

The sixth and most critical mistake, which created enormous chaos and hopelessness among a large number of Ethiopians and has been directly responsible for the serious illness, that has led to the untimely death of the authority of the Kinijit Diaspora leadership, is the hasty and unwise decision of two or three individuals among the Kinijit Diaspora leadership to join with OLF and three other guerrilla movements that are operating in Ethiopia in the formation of the recently founded political organization that they have carefully and strategically called the ”Alliance for Freedom and Democracy,” abbreviated using the three initial letters – AFD. It is probably appropriate and may even be healthy to point out that the opposition and disagreement of most Ethiopians, including myself, is not  necessarily with the formation of the AFD. On the contrary, it is peace, unity, development and economic prosperity with political stability that the struggle and dreams of the entire Ethiopian people are about. I in fact can dare to boldly state that a good number of Ethiopian compatriots who view the formation of AFD critically are probably more concerned about the future face of Ethiopia and its territorial integrity than those so-called Diaspora leaders of Kinijit who put their signatures on the Memorandum of Understanding and the Statutes of the AFD.  

The critical concerns and most worrisome issues regarding the formation of the AFD, apart from the complete secrecy of all of the meetings and other exchanges that eventually led to the agreement and its signing by the parties involved, are the total  agueness of objectives, the absence of a common agenda, and the lack of instruments that could serve as a bridge to those involved to help realize the intended goals, if there are any. It is additionally true that one cannot find the sort of points that could be conducive to producing the future progress envisioned by AFD. What is more hurtful is that there is not even a single word or statement in any of the documents signed by the parties that speaks to the future territorial integrity of Ethiopia. Also, given that all four of Kinijit’s partners in this undertaking are armed groupings or parties, their immediate and future contribution to peaceful resistance by Kinijit are not clear at all. It is also entirely unclear what precisely Kinijit’s direct role and contribution would be with respect to those engaged in battling the tyrannical TPLF regime militarily. What a tragic partnership! 

The questions that have become most bothersome to a good number of Ethiopians – and which appear to be extremely difficult to answer – are: what might have been or are the factors and forces that led the individual members of the Kinijit Diaspora leadership to a conviction that they should enter into such a short-sighted partnership, with immense repercussions and damage to the well-being of Kinijit itself. Why form such a partnership with OLF, as well as other small, relatively new armed groups? Why? Why didn’t the Kinijit Diaspora leadership quietly discuss this with some concerned Ethiopians, say some twenty to forty elderly, wise mothers and fathers of our community, for five to seven days in one of the world’s many conference hotels prior to signing the documents? Failing that, and assuming that the Kinijit Diaspora leadership agreed and signed the prepared AFD documents in good faith – believing that the AFD has a future for Ethiopia – why on earth didn’t they then organize a mission to travel around the world to explain and convince Kinijit’s potential supporters and members? Why instead has there been such a lengthy period of silence? Why are the Kinijit Diaspora leaders still reluctant to directly test their decision and face the opposing views of those deeply disappointed and weeping children of Kinijit who feel that Kinijit has been seriously wounded but is lying in bed with no specialized doctors and nurses?

 In conclusion, I would strongly argue that it is this series of mistakes by the self-installed Kinijit Diaspora leaders, along with their internal conflicts for power and domination, that have created incalculable confusion and hopelessness among Kinijit supporters and members; that have caused the slowing or ceasing of the entire range of Kinijit activities, including our concerted efforts towards the release of our jailed leaders, and our resistance against our common enemy – the TPLF leadership – and accelerated the untimely death of our mother, Kinijit itself – a political organization that was and may be still highly respected and loved by the majority of Ethiopians. It is also vitally important to note that the turmoil following the internal wrangling among the Kinijit Diaspora leaders and Chapters, the persistent secrecy, the flow of contradictory statements and unreliable press releases from these leaders and associated Chapters – including the improper organization and administration of Kinijit’s website, www.kinijit.org – and other many issues, and our failure to object to them, unmistakably suggest that it is not just the irresponsible behaviour of these specific individuals, but it is rather our own ardent desire to see democracy implemented in our country, though without first democratizing ourselves – without attending courses that might be helpful in changing our undemocratic thoughts and attitudes, without tasting and facing up to the difficult aspects of democracy – indeed without understanding the complex, entangled patterns and meanings of democracy itself. To put these issues more straightforwardly, the overwhelming crises facing the Ethiopian community as a whole, and those committed to the well-being of Kinijit and its activities more particularly, are due to the fervent desire among a good number of us to secure certain socio-political and economic positions and to undemocratically dominate and rule the majority of our people – and to do this on the basis of our poor and selfish cultural patterns, that is, without even any previous discussion, as well as without the consent of those who are ruled. It is also due to their strong desire to be our undemocratic leaders that the Kinijit Diaspora leaders have continuously refused to accept the substantial differences between Kinijit at home – in Ethiopia – and Kinijit in the Diaspora. For example, whenever we express our critical views and talk explicitly about the specific and multiple problems facing the Kinijit Diaspora today, such as the undemocratic nature of the leadership and the way the Chapters have been established, including the limited or no general skill, communication and management experience among the disproportionately high number of Chapter members, the self-installed Kinijit Diaspora leaders and Chapter members speak tirelessly and with no shame only about Kinijit in Ethiopia – the Kinijit that was under the leadership of our jailed leaders in Ethiopia, that received the votes of millions of Ethiopians and that it is the spirit of all Ethiopians. This is unfair, undesirable and even counterproductive to our efforts.

What is more unfortunate and disturbing above everything else is that despite the pain, division and frustration they have caused among the entire Kinijit community, and the huge damage they have inflicted on Kinijit itself, individual Kinijit Diaspora leadership members often speak shamelessly, as if nothing has happened to Kinijit – as if everything is all right, and that under the Kinijit Diaspora leadership the democratic process is in safe hands – as if everything is in progress and on the right track This and other statements made by the Kinijit Diaspora leaders and activists are often reminiscent of similar statements made by the former dictator, Mengistu Hailemariam in May 1991: for example, that “our army will never disintegrate. We will crush the treasonous Meles Zenawi and his followers,” as he boarded his plane to Zimbabwe for good, while the forces of Meles Zenawi were on the verge of entering the capital city, Addis Ababa. It is also due to their wrong and unwarranted strong convictions and personal arrogance that the Kinijit Diaspora leaders are making all possible efforts to quiet or hold back the crying children of Kinijit – the children who are despondent, weeping day and night due their mother’s untimely death. Holding back sobbing children, and at the same time persistently refusing to explain about what exactly happened to our mother Kinijit, is indeed both wrong and unfair. Finally, I would add that, given the current turmoil, and the reduction of the hopes, expectations and dreams Ethiopians once had for peaceful political and leadership change to a point where these will be difficult to recover for even if the crisis could be resolved and repaired, the moods, motivation and devotions of Ethiopians will never be the same as they were before 2006 the only option that now remains in the hands of Ethiopians if we are to free themselves from the yoke of a prolonged TPLF political repression, permanent economic impoverishment and an increasing dependence on foreign charity, is to engage directly and collectively in armed confrontation with our principal enemy – the unelected ruler of our country and its people, even though the result may be the rule of another system of dictatorship.

Dr. Maru Gubena, from
Ethiopia, is a political economist, writer and publisher. Readers who wish to contact the author can reach me at info@pada.nl 

Published in: on September 5, 2006 at 10:48 pm  Leave a Comment