CALL ME BY NAME: A small talk with Debteraw, VIII

Wolde Tewolde, alias Obo Arada Shawl

April 13, 2007

A glimpse in Ethiopian Politics, Religion and Culture

Revolutionary phrase has killed the Russian Revolution, Lenin used to complain. Local fascism will definitely kill the Ethiopian Revolution was the prediction of Debteraw. How true, violence by the Military, Demagogue by some Ethiopian elites and untenable nationalism by the Nationalists have indeed killed the true Eway Revolution in Ethiopia and Eritrea.

In my article of Part VII, I have attempted to account the Revolutionary journey of EPRP’s eventful years in its historical context. In the process, I have included the name of Christ and his Resurrection. My idea was to celebrate the survival of a Selfless Generation who survived for 33 years in ordeal, and in the end to hope for EPRP’s Resurrection. But some readers took me for a fool or lunatic. I appreciate for their expressed opinions. As for name-calling it is similar to how Debteraw was labeled in the 1960-70. Debteraw was not allowed to teach above grade 3 even with his college degree. Why because the officials believed he was poisonous and dangerous. Call me by my name; I was not called Debteraw without a reason.

Debteraw’s Christian belief coincides with that of Juan Aries. Man’s or women most precious possession is Freedom. What exactly do we mean by freedom? Are we, as the people of E-countriere free? It is not the concept –it is the terminology. The issue in Ethiopia is not the relationship between church & state but the relationship between dogma and rationality. The truth will make you free (John 8:32). Debteraw is a genuine hero whomever was anti-communists including those of Ethiopian Communist Party known as E’K’OPA, against populists, nationalists and puritans in that order. Debteraw’s courage, principle and perseverance (CPP) were not against democratic principles but against dogmatic teachings. Christ stood for the underdog so also Debteraw. Christ taught by parable and Debteraw is still teaching by example. So it goes.

Juan Aries in his book entitled the “the God I don’t believe in” has commonality with that of Debteraw’s. Here are some of the laws of freedom that might induce readers of Debteraw’s Website concerning religion and freedom.

  1. I am free when I believe in a God who has created everything in freedom
  2.  I am free when I accept the freedom of others
  3. I am free when my freedom is worth more to me than money
  4. I am free when I succeed in being a person
  5. I am free when I accept the fact that my life should be ruled by conscience
  6. I am free when my freedom is not for sale at any price
  7. I am free when my voice contributes to shaping the course of history
  8. I am free when I continue to proclaim my right to freedom even from behind prison bars.
  9. I am free when I go on saying “No” to oppression even with a gun at my head
  10. I am freed when I am able to say “No” even to God
  11. I am free if I am able to give my life for a man rather for an idea
  12. I am free when I believe in a God who will not respect of having created me free
  13. I am free when, although I failed in something, I still believe that God and the sun and I are new each day and that there is always time to begin again.

Freedom for many Ethiopians comes either by Reason or Grace, but in the case of Debteraw, it is both, a Balancing Act. According to Debteraw, EPRP will set Ethiopians free in the political sense. God has created and set Ethiopia free in the religious sense. It is to be recalled that Adam is from Eritrea and Eve from Ethiopia (See Article Part I)

Culturally speaking, there is a silver lining between Ethiopia and Ethiopians. Because of fear from speaking the truth, too much damage has been done to all nationalities and nations of Ethiopia. The following is an example of confusion, which led to destruction and havoc of people and resources. The current hollow slogan Ethiopiawinet, Ethiopiannes or Hager Fikr or by any other name cannot bring a panacea for Ethiopians. It has to be synchronized Ethiopians with Ethiopia. How many Amara, Muslim, Oromo, Agame, Gurage Somali or Hamasien or Afar should be harassed, insulted or die before we all become Ethiopians. The way of Debteraw and the Eway Revolution is the salvation or the resolution to all our real and perceived conflicts. Let us take heed of the AAGMELAGO concept for solutions.

It should be noted that Debteraw is not a scientist or a philosopher. He is a scholar and a mentor for all Ethiopians, by being a revolutionary, an educator, an artist and a democrat (READ, see Part VI).

Theology, as a science, draws conclusions from principles that are given by God in revelation and are accepted on faith by man. Ethics is the study of human happiness and how to achieve it. Both areas of studies are within the domain of Debteraw. Friday the 13th and Sene Ena Segno are outside of Debteraw’s realm of belief system.

It is time to change our attitude on cultural biases. The following misnomer in quotation is long overdue for serious consideration.

“Oromo is the name by which this large ethnic group refers to itself. Oromo pertains both to race and to language, Afan Oromo, whereas Galla, like the terms Amara and Muslim refers to faith and not to race. Therefore, an Ethiopian is traditionally called Amara if he is a Christian, Muslim if he is of the Islamic faith, and Galla if he practices the traditional Oromo faith or is an animist.”(See ch. I, p.29, in Evangelical Pioneer in Ethiopia)

For comments and criticism

Published in: on April 13, 2007 at 10:40 pm  Comments (5)