SOLUTIONS WITH DEBTERAW, II: Call me by my name, address and task

By Obo Arada Shawl (December 13, 2008)


Background Information

Aethiopia is a beautiful country. That is the only reason why the Aethiopians have kept their Independence intact. How, why and what kind of beauty? I leave the real answer to my readers.

 

But for me and for others who think like me, Aethiopia’s beauty lies in its natural-ecological beauty expressed in 13th months of sunshine as in Ethiopia and 3 seasons in just 2 hours of vehicular travel as in Eritrea. In other words, Aethiopia is endowed with mountains for cooling purpose and it is located near the Earth’s Equator for warming purposes. Isn’t that something of value to be thankful to God or to our ancestors? Adam and Eve (A&E) ገርሂ እና ድንቅነሽ

 

According to legend, the people who have inhabited this Land are righteous, humble and God fearing people. With my own experience, these Aethiopians didn’t differentiate between names, boundaries and careers. They all lived as nomads, herders, tillers, traders, warriors, bandits or teachers (debteras included).

 

Philosophically, these Aethiopians had lived on the principle of “live and let live” regardless of name, address or career differentiation. All of them are governed by Market Place በአገር ገበያ and not by Wall Street. I have been visiting markets – from Monday to Sunday as was part of my job and they all were located and based on open market. The amazing part, most of them speak their own dialects or languages with no sense of fear or indignation for not knowing the language of neither of the merchants nor of the government in power. To classify them on language basis is pure racism. There is neither market place for ideas nor for products that govern Aethiopians as at to date.

 

Technically, though, the Aethiopians were living in 17th or 18th centuries, as 90% of the land mass is without communication and transport services.

 

Those who conceived this situation had embarked upon developing freedom of social movement and the open economic market fabrics of the Great Society into the 20th century. Not in technical terms but in philosophical, ideological and political contexts.

 

Kiflu Tadesse who authored the book on “The Generation” has this to say

This is a book about a generation of Ethiopians who embarked on an arduous struggle to transform its country. The first members of this generation were born in the early 1940’s and the youngest in the early and mid 1950’s. It was a generation of activists who came together because of altruistic aims and goals. It was a generation that was visionary, idealist and perceptive and consisted of the most enlightened and brightest citizens. Many of the members of these groups were among the privileged few who had access to modern education. Most of them were successful academically and many were honor students.”

* Emphasis is mine

 

However, a widespread ignorance of a crucial nature in politics, philosophy and economics is apparent in today’s Aethtiopia. What has happened to the Ethiopian  Eway Revolution? Was there something wrong with the stars or the Revolutionaries?  What has intervened or what has happened in between the following years? The answer should come from my readers. Decipher the letter B. You will find the answer.

 

1961 – 1974  = 13 years

1974 – 1987 = 13 years

1987 – 2000 = 13 years

2000 – 2013 = 13 years

·        Hint: Menghistu brothers; international conspiracy against Aethiopia; peace deal and the dawn of DEMOCRACIA

 

If we cannot figure out the years of the software indicators for reflection, conspiracy, peace and downfalls for 52 years, then surely all our docile educated class have reason to believe that WMD (Wallelligne Makonnen – DEBTERAW) have brought to Aethiopia real WMD (weapons of mass destruction).

 

If this is the case, we have to revisit the software path of the Eway Revolution.

 

 Again, Ato Kiflu continues writing in his preface as follows

“ An effort is made to portray events, incidents, decisions and activities realistically. Detailed analysis and interpretations of the activities are not provided, only the account of the history itself. This was done for the sake of fairness and with the intention to express the actual feeling of the fallen comrades. It is the intention of the author to tell their story the way it was made and the way they want it to be told and retold. The correctness or wrongness of events or decision is not the main focus, but an explanation of why things happened the way they did and the attenuating circumstances that influenced decision making.”

** Emphasis is mine

 

This week, I have visited the office of EPRP in Washington, DC. Although I have made several visits in the past, this is my first time to observe a special item of interest. Was it the set up of the office? No. Was it the variety of books? No. Was it the rack on which computers was place? No. Was it the radio room? It was none of the above.

 

It was a painting, hanging on a wall that attracted my attention. I have seen it a dozen of times but never figured it out the way I did it now. ልብ እንጂ ዓይን አያይም የሚሉት ትክክል ነው። The painting has been in the office for almost 2 decades, but to my amazement, I did not give the attention they (the personalities) or it (the painting) deserves.

 

Now that I have, what does this painting represent in EPRP’s office? Who were or who are these personalities? These three individuals were true comrades who honestly believed to be the pioneers in idealizing Aethiopia but only if they would be involved in the Eway Revolution. All three portray different family and education background but above all their true passion in each of the following areas of

·        Politics

·        Revolution and

·        Philosophy

Matters to all of the Great Society of past Ethiopia and the future of Aethiopia, for understanding these three departments of knowledge is a priority. I believe that without these precondition, nothing will go forward and albeit backward. For EPRP, these tasks have been carried out by many of its members and supporters and so the task of the party of EPRP will be focused on organization and leadership.

On Organization

Anyhow, let me go back to what I can decipher from the painting where I can contribute to the truth.

They are from left to right

1.     Wallelligne Makonnen  ዋለልኝ መኮነን

2.     DEBTERAW and  ፀገየ ገብረ መድህን

3.     Tilahun Gizaw ጥላሁን ግዛው

 

As widely believed to be, nameless and faceless members of EPRP and supporters are considered to be followers of Marx-Engels-Lenin. But that was and still is not true. Aethiopian Revolutionaries were not reading or following what Marx, Engles or Lenin have written or said, or as the paintings of MEL as displayed on Revolution or Meskal Square. The majority of EPRP supporters and associates were following their own national heroes of Wallelligne-Debteraw-Tilahun (WDT ሠዐፐ). Let us briefly examine what these personalities have represented and are still representing.

 

Wallelligne Mekonnen: on collectivism

Wallelligne was a person who deeply believed in independent thinking. He was an individualist who believed that collectivism in any form was wrong especially the type of Russian or the Chinese style. I am actually referring to our way of organizing principles -on the basis of nationalities – is very wrong. Organization should not be based on languages alone. Even by the standard of Stalin’s definition, language is one among many. True to Wallelligne’s nature, language be it any language including Amharic by itself is not a criterion for an identity. Wallelligne believed that language is only a tool for communication and a tool for thought processing. Nothing else. That was actually the main reason why he wrote the article on nation and nationalities in order to dispel oppression, as many believed that the culprit is the language of Amharic.

 

Since Wallelligne was a political science student as such, he was writing, thinking and acting on political level. He knew that the Amhara was a symbol of political affiliation not an economic or a cultural affirmation. He did not only address the problem of the national question but he had also attempted to redress it. It is up to us to follow his solution in the right context and in the correct way and not a¢ la Woyane’s way. Wallelligne Mokonnen Kassa did not recommend the future of Eritrea as a state of nine nationalities or as many as eighty-one something in the Ethiopian case and worst at that solely based on geography or ethnic languages.

 

As to his organizational affiliation to EPRP, he was recruited or has recruited others on an individual basis not on a group or national as it was the case with the Woyane and Shaebia’s way of recruitment. Any EPRP member was convinced to join the organization on a personal level and not by threat or cheat. Wasn’t this a wonderful way of organizing a revolutionary political party. There is no regrets whatsoever for those who has joined on this principles of organization.

 

I have no doubt that Walleligne would abhor the concept of ethnic rule. Ethnic rule with all its dogmas and rules, traditions and dialects would surely be a mental disaster. Tribes will subsist on the edge of starvation and at the mercy of natural disaster. A man of self-esteem like Walleligne would not accept the notion that the content of his mind should be determined by muscles, namely by the means of unspecified string of ancestors. Determinism by Marxism is far superior to ethnicity. Collectivism based on language should be abolished. That was not the idea of WMK. Due Consideration might be given to the article of October 23, 2008 (call me by my address: Solutions with DEBTERAW, III). The proposal was not mainly based on the three individual’s wish, but of thousands especially with mixed parentage.

Tsegey Gebre Medhin – DEBTERAW: on myth

The mystic’s doctrine that men must give credit to God for all their virtues and vices was unacceptable to DEBTERAW. Religion encompasses ancestral or cultural traditions, writings, history and mythology as well as personal faith and religious experience. Ritual myths of performance practices or patterns associated with temples or centers of worship, preliterate oral traditions that may vanish as the written word becomes the story and the literate class becomes the authority. Aethiopians must blame for all their sins upon themselves, is the mystic’s doctrine. The principle of men’s right to their own life, their liberty, to the pursuit of happiness would be the ultimate goal of all Aethiopians after the Eway Revolution as declared by DEBTERAW and his party.

 

However, social myths reinforce or defend social values or practices. On the one hand, in our cases, we have seen nationalist modern scholars such as Tecola Hagos (a Tigrian nationalist), Jordan Gebre Medhin (an Eritrean nationalist) whose works of studies was/is as exposed by Girma Bekele in his writings on ethnocentrism is distortion of the highest form.

 

DEBTERAW, on the other hand, expounded the traditional story, typically involving supernatural beings or forces of creature, which embodies and provides explanation. Justification (etiology) a religious belief or ritual or a natural phenomenon was clarified by DEBTERAW, Tsegeye G Medhin to anybody who needed at the time of the revolution.

 

Not all traditional stories are myths. For instance, a person or thing held in awe or generally referred to with near reverential admiration on the basis of popularly repeated stories be it real or fiction is not a harmful myth. Those who knew DEBTERAW personally can testify.

 

So what is wrong with being debtera? DEBTERAW has enlightened the Aethiopian population through traveling – physically, philosophically, socially, spiritually and above all via the Eway Revolution from Assimba via Tselemt, via the Abay river back to the Market Places of Aethiopia.

 

For those of us who do not know the difference between a debtera and a priest, the former is mostly responsible for education (spiritual life of community) whereas the latter has a representative function. Unlike that of the Jewish debtera, the Aethiopian debteras were part and parcel of the church hierarchy for they are poets, writers, musicians, dancers and healers. DEBTERAW has opposed the interference of the state into the affairs of the church and vice versa. By the way, the Independence of Aethiopia has been kept by the work of the debteras. The distinction between the task of the debtera and the priests is the same between personal and business matters.

Tilanhun Gizaw: on altruism

Tilahun Gizaw was the elected student president of USUAA. Tilahun was from the nobility of Tigrai state. His sister was married to Emperor Haile Sellasie’s son.

 

Tilahun has been taking courses in Sociology, which was not popular at that time in Haile Sellassie’s University.

 

However, from our class discussions and personal conversation, Tilahun had the following core beliefs

·        The right to own property over random search and seizure

·        Liberty over oppression

·        Natural right to life over the constant fear of death

 

After his failure to become a student president, he studied the true nature of Aethiopian societies condition and desire first hand. Unlike the unholy claim that he was against the fortune’s of his sister, Tilahun finally took the idea that when Aethiopians have the opportunity to choose, they will choose to be ruled by the consent of the governed not by the coercion of the Ethiopian State. This is what we globally call nowadays as the rule of law, not by the whim of the rulers. How true Tilahun was.

 

As to his altruism, I do not think, Tilahun had believed in this concept. I also think that the author Kiflu Tadesse’s statement of altruism did sink or match with the beliefs of most Revolutionaries let alone with all Aethiopians. Why? It is an appropriate question. Here is why.

 

Altruism is a condition, which refers to people who keep sacrificing themselves and their values. We have seen this state of conditions during the DERG era, the Anja era, the TPLF and the EPLF era. That is to say that altruists sacrifice their friends to enemies, their allies to their antagonists, their convictions to anyone’s wishes, the truth to lie, their strength to anyone’s weakness and the good to any evil.

 

There is a misconception about altruism in the Eway society. Altruism is confused with kindness or due consideration to others. In fact, altruism is a moral theory that preaches that man must sacrifice himself to others. In our revolutionary struggle, many people thought that the comrades should place the interest of others above their own and that they actually are required to live for the sake of others. Was this not our Aethiopian core of confusion? If it is not let us discuss and solve our problems.

 

The reason why Tilahun Gizaw participated in the Eway Revolution was simply to ameliorate the economic and the social conditions of all Aethiopians via the politics of democracy – allowing the will of the majority to prevail while protecting the rights of the minority, including the Royal Family.

Concluding remarks

Unless the term ‘generation’ has different meanings to Ato Kiflu, a generation is defined as the average time between a mother’s first offspring and her daughter’s first offspring. This makes a generation around 30 years in length. Compare this with 33 years of Jesus Christ as one generation. Sociologists mostly accept the classification of generation of Silent (1925-45); the Boom (1946-61); the Thirteen (1962-81); the Millennial (1982-2000) and the New Silent (2001-?). Ato Kiflu should rename his title of his book; otherwise, the generation he is referring to is dying out. It is time for detailed analysis and conceptual understanding of a generation. The struggle is still continuing with or without DEBTERAW. But Ato Kiflu seems to forget WDT. Let us all visit the EPRP office for a reminder of the living and the fallen comrades as Ato Kiflu has displayed a poem on the page of his book.

 

Ethnicity has a history of endless and bloody warfare. We should not wait for that to happen. Our only hope would be to be organized on a common cause and common ground. DEBTERAW has shown us the way to dispel mythology, Wallelligne has written and struggled until death to bring the solution to the problem of nations and nationalities and Tilahun has shown the courage for what was right and honorable in defiance to his social class. The painting that is hanging on the walls of EPRP office is a true reminder of Aethiopian role models for political leadership.

 

In other words, these three giant personalities have shown us

·        How to know ourselves

·        How to love our country and

·        How to differentiate one’s ally from the enemy

$ የዋለልኝ መኮነን የአገር መበተን ዘመቻ፤ የጥላሁን ግዛው የምንቀኝነት አባዜ፤ እና የደብተራው ፀገየ ገብረ መድህን መሰሪ ሥረ በተራው ሕዝብ ዘንድ ሰለተስራጨ ይህን ጽሑፍ ይነበብ።

 

TRUTH WILL PREVAIL

 

For comments and questions: woldetewolde@yahoo.com

**

$

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Panorama No. 52 From the Finote Democracy: Voice of Ethiopian Unity Radio (Amharic pdf)

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A Commentary on the approach of Ethiopian Diaspora towards the American new regime’s foreign policy

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Panaroma No.51

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OF ALPHABETS AND DISASTERS

By Hama Tuma

 

Jean Paul Sartre once said that words are loaded pistols. The same can be said of alphabets, at least where it concerns Ethiopians. Back in the late sixties and seventies, there was tendency within leftist groups and parties of the world to split, with the splitters still keeping the mother name but adding alphabets to it. CP (R), CP (ML), CP (D) and a whole parade of qualified names. The R stood for Revolutionary or Renovated, ML defined true blood Marxist- Leninist, the D stood for democratic, and so on and so forth. There were many times good reasons for the splits but the alphabet soup, as it became known, was like a poor man’s soup, short on the meat and just plain water.

 

In Ethiopia, since the nineties, the D tag has spelt disaster and betrayal, often given to pro-regime or satellite groups that existed in name only. Given the fact that the ruling front was not itself democratic its offshoots or stooges could not deserve the democratic tag. The same can apply to other groups who took up the D to be attached to names that really neither belonged to them nor defined them. That being the case D defined other things like:

·        D for disaster;

·        D for division like the ethnic politics of the regime, article 39 approving secession, being a faction to weaken the patriotic forces;

·        D as in deadly, massacring innocent people, committing genocide;

·        D as in deterioration, a catastrophic setback, a fall unto the pit of ethnicism;

·         D as in dilapidated, worn out, old, hopeless;

·        D as in destruction of a country or an organization,;

·        D as in degrading of a country’s culture and history, the valiant struggle of an organization;

·        D for dismantling of a country or a party;

·        D for dissolve, break up and liquidate;

·        D for deracinate;

·        D for demolish.

 

D has not stood for democratic, alas.  D has often stood in for dog as this is the only friend you can buy for money but then the D tag on groups signifies disloyalty and not the loyalty of even a dog.

 

And when an R has followed the D it has not been a relief at least in the Ethiopian context.  I venture to quote Alexander Pope:

        “The bookful blockhead ignorantly read

             With loads of learned lumber in his head.”

The Drs have become in many instances Disasters Refined, pedants and snobs, elitist to boot. The African intellectual or/and politician , the one castigated by Fanon for his/her black skin and white mask, disappoints as it acts as if bravery or courage are out of fashion. I agree intellectuals are “of their time”; they should be situated within the specific, country and culture, and era too. The demands on an intellectual in Africa and the one in America may not be the same. It is possible to be generous and to define the intellectuals or, as in the Ethiopian case, those who devotedly attach the Dr and PhD tag to their names, as a minority “pursuing knowledge and research”, surfing in the realm of pure art, aloof in its own ivory tower, untainted by the mundane that is the reality. There is also what Edward Said called “political trimming, a technique of not taking clear positions but surviving handsomely nonetheless”. Most intellectuals of this inclination have proved a curse for Africa, survival becoming their main preoccupation even in/and especially in/exile.

 

Given our own historical context and problems,  it is imperative for us to refer to the public or the real intellectuals, those who are friends of critical discourse, who are committed to justice, who take the side of the weak and the dispossessed, the disadvantaged.  This goes beyond sheer exaltation of the national, the identity. Those who not only champion their own culture and national heritage but go above it to “universalize the crisis” as was said, to not fall into national jingoism or narrow ethnic exclusiveness, to seek the alternatives shrouded by the priority of the so called main battle. The task of the intellectual is therefore not to organize what Julien Benda (who wrote “The Treason of the Intellectuals” in 1928) referred to as “collective passions” such as sectarianism and national belligerence. There is often a reference made to the Meji Restoration of 1868 in Japan which brought the monarchy back, abolished feudalism and charted a way towards building a new Japan but the facts show that the process led to extreme and even fascistic nationalism. Shido minzeku, the notion that Japan was a leading/special race (an ideology that justified the massacre of the Chinese and the crimes against Koreans and other peoples) was upheld by intellectuals that championed their national Japanese identity and interest as it were. During World War II, American intellectuals reciprocated with a similar debasing attitude towards the Japanese. In other words, intellectuals who are said to be in tune with their nation and time can also veer off and create havoc. Tagore of India and Jose Marti of Cuba are admired because they were nationalists whose position did not hinder them from being critical. They fought the main battle but did not lose sight of the alternatives. Fanon’s critical appraisal of the FLN of Algeria and the struggle against French colonialism is to be seen within this context. That is to say the struggle against the existing malaise (colonialism then or dictatorial regimes now) should always be accompanied with a critical appraisal of the struggle for change and a clear understanding of the substitute for which sacrifices are being paid. This is crucial because the oppressed can become oppressors before the euphoria of victory has even calmed down. The victorious FLN imposed a dictatorship on the Algerian people. The Boers who fought against British imperialism brought apartheid on the South African people. The February Revolution of 1974 in Ethiopia overthrew the feudal autocracy but the military took power to establish one of the bloodiest dictatorships in History. Those who preach liberation will not necessarily be liberators and, alas, every would-be dictator vows in the name of democracy.

 

During the prevalence of the one party system in Africa any talk of justice or any critic of the regimes was considered as treason. The “national cause and national interest” drum was beaten to silence any critical voice. Parties were not the results of existing class and interest differences but taken as creators of these conflicts. This was how the one party system was justified, through an illusory common interest and identity, with the ruling party embodying the whole nation and the dictator being its symbol. Anyone one who opposed the American war in Indochina was considered a traitor for quite a while. In such a situation and in critical times, the intellectual is called upon to rally to the flag, to be silent on the crimes being committed in the name of the nation. Leave the sixties aside and observe the present reality in which under the cover of national interest or so called national liberation, crimes are being perpetrated. The Rwandan intellectuals who broadcast Radio Mille Collines and championed genocide, the Algerian and Somali intellectuals who expounded extremism and the warlord carnage, the Ethiopian intellectuals who shamed their age old country with ethnic chauvinism, were not patriotic and loyal at all. They sought refuge in their own ethnic or national cocoon to justify their inability to be intellectuals worthy of the name.

 

The intellectuals need, in the words of Edward said, to “speak the truth to power”. This is no easy task, it requires not only transcending the narrow confines of stunted nationalism but also demands courage as the power holders are not keen to hear or heed any criticism. The intellectual must not only question authority but strive to undermine it wherever it is illegitimate. Reciprocating the evils of the system in reverse (fighting ethnic chauvinism by preaching ethnic genocide for example) is not an option. As Edward Said so aptly put it, ‘to regress into hand wringing impotence or into muscular reassertions of traditional values, as characterized by the global neo-conservative movement, will not do. I think it is true to say that the critique of objectivity and authority did perform a positive service by underlining how, in the secular world, human beings construct their truths, and that, for example, the so-called objective truth of the white man’s superiority built and maintained by the classical European colonial empires also rested on a violent subjugation of African and Asian peoples, who, it is equally true, fought that particular imposed “truth” in order to provide an independent order of their own. And so now everyone comes forward with new and often violently opposed views of the world: one hears endless talk about Judeo-Christian values, Afro centric values, Muslim truths, Eastern truths, Western truths, each providing a complete program for excluding others….   One of the shabbiest of all intellectual gambits is to pontificate about abuses in someone else’s society and excuse exactly the same practices in one’s own”. (Underlining mine –HT).

 

Aime Cesaire wrote of the need for the “invention of new souls”. Beyond the victory over a regime or system, there must be a vision of a new construction, a new society to be born from the sacrifice, new souls to be invented so to speak. It is in this realm that real intellectuals have their role. Not to reboot the same system anew but to forge an alternative. Not to regress back to traditional times (Africa had no golden age before colonialism for example and Ethiopia’s imperial past was an unmitigated disaster), nor to seek some “centrism” or ethnic ghetto that excludes others but to soar high and beyond and above mediocrity and more of the same to seek a new and brighter vision, to build the country on a democratic basis that unites the people on the basis of equality. In this the role of the intellectual is to “actively represent the truth”, to stand with the people, to look ahead and never to regress back into the pit of a nostalgia of disaster. It is said the “true intellectual is always a secular being”, that is to say very much different from the Christian or Islamic fundamentalists that are trying to drag us back to the dark ages of ignorance and intolerance. Morality is defined in the concrete, here and now, in whom it serves and benefits. And the real intellectual should thus find his/her place in the public role, in the upholding of truth, in refusing to be directed and ordered about by the authority in place. Blind obedience to power, to greed, to selfishness, to an arrogant superpower, to harmful and narrow ethnic or sectarian interests will in the end turn the intellectual into a historical coolie of shame and cowardice.

 

PhD can define knowledge and a continuing search for it or, alas quite often than not in the Ethiopian and African context, it could mean a pile of horse dung. We can struggle to invent new souls or to reboot the rotten ones. The choice is limited and gratuitously labelling oneself democratic or an intellectual is just an exercise in futility.

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Panorama No.48

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A commentary: CALL ME BY MY ADDRESS: Solutions with DEBTERAW

Obo Arada Shawl alias Wolde Tewolde

 

November 1, 2008

 

What: Intellectual gathering

Where: along the golden gate to the White House in a place called Ethical Society

Why: To celebrate 36 years of ideological and political struggle

 

There is neither ONE Ethiopia nor Ethical Society as at to date. I am of course, speaking ideologically and politically not intellectually.

 

When Walleligne Makonnen was writing about nations and nationalities, he was writing ideologically about the oppressed nations and nationalities of Ethiopia that were dominated by the elite TAGS’s political power i.e. Tigrai, Amhara, Godjam and Shewa. In other words, Walleligne was referring to the century old modes of thinking and governance namely of the kings of Yohannes of Tigrai, Tewodros of Gondar, Tekle Haimanot of Godajm and Shewa’s Minilik.

 

Nations and nationalities of Ethiopia duped by the propaganda of their own so-called liberators were fighting ideologically to become independent from what their liberators call Amhara domination (notice Amhara implies to Gonder). In Marxist terminology, however, it was referred to as the oppression and exploitation of nations and nationalities ጭቆና እና ብዝበዛ. Alternatively, the Eritreans were seeking for Employment, The Oromos were seeking for Opportunity, while the rest of nationalities including all Amharas were seeking for Equality (EOE). These concepts of equality, opportunity and gainful employment had galvanized the so-called nations and nationalities. Walleligne and his party EPRP broke with the ranks of the majority of Ethiopian elites not only ideologically but as well as politically speaking. For Walleligne and DEBTERAW both Amharas could not stand against the plea of all nations, nationalities or internationally for that matter.

 

And so with a single idea of self-determination including secession as written by Walleligne as and an impeccable Theory of Organization by DEBTERAW led us to the current state of affairs. For their principled stand both individuals were labeled as agents of either of EPLF or foreign countries. Both were agents of their own party, EPRP and conversely EPRP has supported their principled position.

 

In order to bolster EPRP’s existence and to show solidarity with the outside world, Walleligne had coordinated a group of Revolutionaries to hijack an Ethiopian plane. The objective and history of all the hijackings including that of Walleligne’s group will be known in due course and it is not the purpose of this commentary. The confusion in relation to self-determination, secession and association with Woyanes’ policy of path to separation and Shaebia’s association of struggle has blurred the real EPRP’s belief and path for an Eway Revolution via DEMOCRACIA – the antithesis for all nationalists.

 

Those who blame Walleligne and his EPRP see things through the prism of mechanical and ideological connections. Take the simple case of importing a bomb and a gun from Asmara! Take the case of the sole survivor from from Adua! Take the name of Tadeletch whoever or wherever she is! Take the case of Emmanuel who is an economist not a student of medicine as claimed by the “so-called know it all”! Take the case of the current Eritrean implementation for self-determination camouflaged in self-reliance! Take the case of Woyane’s policy on secession! These and other claims are all outside the realm of EPRP’s circle. Let us put the blame where it belongs. Call it whatever and however you like; this is an irony, a paradox or an aberration.

 

I believe it is very essential to tell the whole truth and understand of the origin and destination (O-D) of EPRP by simply reviewing the political history of (TTsW). ጥላሁን፤ ዋለልጝ፤ ፀገየ  while focusing on the current EPRP’s struggle for finishing the Marathon of struggle.

 

Having this in the background let me go back to the meeting of October 25, 2008, which is relevant for all people in the region.

 

The gathering, first of all, was a well coordinated and ethical at the same time. Coordinated because, there was no lack of attendance despite of the heavy rain. Secondly because many activities have been conducted despite limited time constraint.

·        A clip of film showing the fate of prisoners and the inhuman nature of torture applied

·        A musician, Telela Kebede has motivated the audience with the good side of the era of Monarchy and yet firmly asserting herself in the demise of it for the sake of “Mother Ethiopia”.

·        A musician, Maritu Legesse has inspired the audience with the Revolutionary music of the Derg’s time albeit with the time of the moment.

·        A youth’s call for a balanced history of the Eway Revolution

·        A powerful and value laden speech was given by Fassika Bellette. Ato Fassika’s thinking transcends beyond 21st century.

 

Besides, various support letters and poems were read to the audience and groups and organizations such as Representative from Ethiopian woman’s association

·        Representative from mass media

·        Academic and

·        Political parties

Were all represented in this eventful event.

 

The most amazing thing was the Recognition of an Ethiopian woman dubbed as the “mother of EPRP” who joined EPRP leaving her 13 children to pursue the Eway Revolution. What an amazing dedication and belief. It is a role model to be emulated by so many of us who claim that we love our country and people.

 

While on dedication, the other person many of us should respect and dignify is Ato Fassika Bellette who has been in the ups and downs of the Ethiopian struggle for change. On a personal level, his background would not allow him to aspire for Revolution but he did for the sake of all AEthiopians. Ato Fassika, true to his name, wanted everyone and everybody to have ፍስክ every week if not every day.

 

Ato Fassika Bellette, one of the Tsinhate Muhuran ጽንሐተ ምሁራን elites of Ethiopia have finally spoke up on political and intellectual terms. It is better to listen or read his speech as posted in www.Ethiox.com. He ultimately reached the peak of Ras Dashen having traveled the long march from Mercato-Assimba-Tselemt – Ras Dashen, an arduous journey እልህ አስጨራሽ ጉዞ to bring democracy (the rule of the people, by the people and for the people) by means of DEMOCRACIA – an Ethiopian version.

 

This person is a dedicated man who kept the party of EPRP intact. He was not an ideological man, he was all throughout an intellectual man and he has kept his intellectual integrity and party ideology intact for 36 years. What an amazing man.

 

Ato Fassika, however, laments in the following that “the ease with which all Ethiopians are distracted by the petty and trivial, our chronic avoidance of tough decisions, our preference for scoring cheap political points instead of rolling up our sleeves and building a working consensus to tackle the big problems of Ethiopia”.

 

His only drawback is that he is ahead of his time for F comes after E i.e. 6 > 5. Besides F has one missing leg F = E i.e. 5 < 6. In addition his father’s name as in B has yet is to be deciphered to be 13. This is part of my entertainment with Latin alphabets and Ge’ez Fidels.

 

As far as I am concerned, the letter F is ahead of me and the letter B is not my forte unless it is deciphered.

 

Concluding Remarks

Although I have met individuals who were labor leaders in Ethiopia and ESUNA (Ethiopian students in north America), none of them were represented in the event.

The role of these two organizations before and during the Revolution was highly significant. It is somewhat ironic that the labor union leaders of Ethiopia who actually led to the demise of the ancient regime and Esuna leaders who were at the forefront for the supply and provision for EPRP financial and foreign literature did not have a say in this forum. It is unimaginable that the downfall of the Monarchy, the dictatorship of the Military known as the DERG would collapse without these two giant Organizations.

 

For the surrender of Woyane or Shaebia’s leadership, these two organizations should be re-established again. For without the working class and the intellectuals, nothing will happen in either Ethiopia or Eritrea.

 

At this meeting, I have sensed a hunger for new ideas and new kind of politics that favors common sense of ideology, and one that focuses on those values and ideals that hold common as AEthiopians. The common bond between the Red and the Blue state of Ethiopia must be coordinated. It’s time for all of us to learn from the American way of Red and Blue political system of classification.

 

Lastly, I am very proud on the organizing committee whose courtesy and bond of friendship were easily discernable. Thanks to Ato Ayna Alem of Radio Finote for inviting me and thanks to Ato Bellette Yemane who constantly and relentlessly informs me about all the activities of EPRP around Washington Metropolitan Region.

 

It is all-important for all of us to cope up with the digital age for an individual person has presented the evils of Pal Talk by a means of a poem. I think the first step for democracy is free speech. Pal Talk discussions is crucial for understanding the nature of democracy. Pal Talk discussions whether online or print largely depends on the moderators like any other low – tech meetings. For this I have an admiration for the Assimba Pal Talk moderators.

Truth will prevail

 

 

For comments and any critic: Woldetewolde@yahoo.com

 

Published in: on October 31, 2008 at 11:08 am  Comments (7)  

THE RAMPAGE OF THE MORAL BRIGADE OR MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING

 

By Hama Tuma

 

 

The authorities in South Sudan have rounded up girls and women wearing trousers in what they call a vigorous campaign to “preserve our culture”. What is the dress culture of Southern Sudanese? The “jellabiya” of the Arab North? The Dinka tribal wear if it at all exists?  The main question actually is: in war torn and devastated South Sudan, is this really the most important and relevant campaign that the local government should launch? Sometime ago, in this same South Sudan idle elders ordered a man to marry a goat and gave the BBC and the West one more chance to laugh at Africa. How come African politicians and power holders get so busy on irrelevancies?

 

The moral aspect of the issue brings to mind one Algerian official of the sixties who ordered all men to grow a moustache or else. In this same country, grown up men who called themselves policemen drove black Peugeot cars and kidnapped young girls from the streets, shaved their hair, manhandled them and brought them back to their districts. These were the “brigade des moeurs”, the Moral Brigade, and the girls were punished for being “improperly dressed”, “having boy friends” and the like. The zealous policemen did not have much else to do.  Macias Nguema of Equatorial Guinea woke up one bright morning and banned Christmas and any use of the word “intellectual”. Mobutu of Zaire, the most corrupt and merciless of thieves, came up with “authenticite”, name changes and nation-wide Mao-type attire. Joseph Desiree Mobutu became Mobutu Sese Seko wa Zabanga and remained a neo colonial stooge till his death. In Iran, fanatic clerics ordered women and men to ride different mini buses and the minister in charge of transport explained it thus: “everyday 370,000 women ride minibuses and if ten males brushed against them it would mean 3.7 million accountable sins”.

 

One wonders where the politicians get the time to be so ridiculously busy. They must have turned into expert thieves of the national treasury as it seems to take not much of their time. The man who called Nigeria a continent and Africa a nation with incredible diseases, that is to say George W. Bush,  has two wars going on, a failing economy and yet finds time to make us laugh with his antics. I still prefer Vietnam’s busybody foreign Minister Nguyen co Thatch who said “we are not without accomplishments. We have managed to distribute poverty equally”.  African leaders are experts at this but this also is not taking much of their time. Take Meles Zenawi in Addis Ababa who has invaded Somalia, is denying the existence of the famine, robbing the country blind and yet has the time to give a speech on Gandhism, non violence and the rule of law. Lying takes not much time?

 

The rampage of the moral brigade is ruining the continent. The very ones who preach the respect of “our” culture are the very ones sold out to foreign powers or foreign habits. The moral high ground they seek is illusory and at best repressive. Bush would have called it the “fallacy of humans” meaning their fallibility of course. But then, this is the fellow who said of his dog Barney “he is a good man”. The Iranian president denies there are gays in his country while Mugabe vows to stamp them out and the Malawi police set up a special anti gay squad. Sexual preferences, the length of skirts, types of dresses, hairdos, and personal sins preoccupy those who are leading whole countries to the pits. The LRA rebels in Northern Uganda cut the lips and ears of those who ride bicycles: their leader Jospeh Kony hates bicycles it seems. This is why this South Sudanese preoccupation with trousers appears grotesque; a bad joke by the authorities who should have been concerned on saving that place from the stifling poverty and suffering it finds itself in. The dictator in Ethiopia invades a country and says we “were invited”, then goes to deny there is famine and turns around to argue “the numbers are wrong, only 4 million are starving”. Four million is like four people around the corner for this fellow!

 

As Bob Dole said life is very important for Americans. He may not know this, but life is very important for all peoples of the world. Yet, this is not a fair world we live in. Take the Saudi Sheik Abdul Aziz who said “the earth is flat and anyone who disputes this is an atheist who deserves to be punished”. Give him the chance and the Saudi Sheikh who has his orgy in the Riviera and Las Vegas will chop off our heads any Friday in Jeddah. As Sarah Palin said, this is “nucular”. Psychologically, the inability to focus on the relevant and the crucial is a malady. Attention Deficiency Syndrome does not cover it. African despots pay attention to all and sundry especially to non serious issues. They never forget their enemies, the dissidents. They never forget to harass us citizens by telling us how to dress, what to eat, with whom to sleep, whom to elect, etc. Actually they elect themselves come what may and they do not need the people at all. Morgan Tsavangari, the darling of the West, took a two- week course in Harvard to study good governance– he will surely be an improvement on Mugabe, no? We are now talking of creative capitalism, regulated capitalism and maybe we shall hear of humane capitalism. Wild times indeed!

 

Moral police are often suspect. The hankering to the past usually indicates a present that is troublesome. African despots hanker to the past that is at most less than idyllic. We are hungry today and they tell us we were the beginning of humanity and we introduced farming to the world. Does it really matter? The suit that Southern Sudanese men wear and the big hat that the Southern region president wears are not “native” but then again who cares? Our busy politicians are machos as are the moral brigades called Taliban, Islamic Court, mullahs, etc…They are all forces of regression, nostalgic of the dark times of ignorance and savagery. We should be glad that Southern Sudanese girls have trousers to put on unlike millions other destitute Africans who have no decent clothes at all. Alas, those in power have lost all perspective just as they have no notion of decency and democracy. They are busy chasing after irrelevancies and shaming Africa to no end.

Published in: on October 12, 2008 at 11:27 am  Comments (5)