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Ethiopia: Genuine Negotiation or How to Share the blood- Stained Power?

by T.Goshu

Vladimir Tismaneanu , the author of Reinventing Politics in Eastern Europe from Stalin to Havel (1992) describes the totalitarian ruling elites as those who “…annihilate the sources of human creativity, separate individuals from one another while making them mutually inimical , and to replace collective bonds of solidarity and support with the supremacy of party-state , acclaimed as omnipotent and omniscient.

This is exactly what the people of Ethiopia have gone through a quarter of a century and still going through with no certainty when and how this horrible totalitarian regime would come to an end. Self-evidently, TPLF/EPRDF has made Ethiopia the communist Albania of Africa of the 21st century.  It (TPLF) also made the situation in Ethiopia much worse by making ethnic identity politics the base of its supremacy. As the world is not practicing ideologies of the two camps any more, it is not surprising to see TPLF/EPRDF trying to disguise its ideology of “worship my party only” as a democratic capitalism. But the day-to-day experiences of the people powerfully speaks for themselves. I do not think I need to go deep and far in search of evidence to show how the political madness of TPLF/EPRDF is at its critical episode of the murderous political drama than ever.

As the politics of minority ethnic –dominance and its devastating consequences have been the order of the day for the past quarter of a century, I did not find it necessary to dwell a lot on it. I am one of those who strongly believe that dwelling too much on TPLF/EPPRDF’s nature and behavior and the magnitude of the devastation it has caused instead of focusing on what went wrong with the struggle of the people against political suppression and socio-economic enslavement and how we should break this very disturbing vicious cycle is not helpful.

We need to ask ourselves how we can explain and justify our failure to stop the politically motivated massacre in Beshoftu (Oromia reginal state) and the rampant persecution in the Amhara regional state and in southern part of the country particularly the Konso people.

Is it not deeply painful for those political parties and movements both inside and outside the county not be able to create a society which could defend itself in a well-organized manner for more than two decades? I believe it is regrettably painful. Now some of those opposition politicians who have gone through all those horrible devastation are talking about negotiating with a ruling force which has never accepted and will never accept any dialogue and negotiation short of its supremacy. I wish I could be dead wrong. But I have to underscore that the reality is that TPLF/EPRDF will never surrender its ethnic based political hegemony and its economic monopoly unless it is challenged with a significant balance of power. I am well aware that there may be some fellow Ethiopians who may argue that it is wrong to argue that people cannot change their minds and course of actions as well. I agree that it is good to give the benefit of the doubt those individuals who may change their minds and courses of actions. But I strongly argue that as a system, it is foolish to expect TPLF/EPRDF to show a significant change of mind and course of action.  It is with this kind of situation that those opposition politicians seem optimistic about a negotiation of give and take or win –win or appropriate compromise.

Was the killings of hundreds of innocent Ethiopians twelve years ago (2005 election) in the streets of Addis Ababa, not to mention other parts of the country a bitter lesson not to see it repeated?

How did we not only as genuinely concerned Ethiopians but also as human beings find it bearable or tolerable when TPLF/EPRDF declared state of emergency (state terrorism) after incarcerating, torturing, killing innocent citizens not only at the scale of political crime as usual but also at the scale of massacre?

Don’t we as Ethiopians who claim proud to be so find it unbearably painful when TPLF/EPRDF deployed its ruthless hunting squads door to door to hunt hundreds and thousands of citizens and put them in military camps and expose them to inhumane treatment including torture?

How we not only as Ethiopians but as human beings who deserve the right to live with dignity did find it outrageously disgraceful when TPLF congratulated us on the “graduation” of those tens and thousands of innocent citizens after they “successfully completed” the dirty propaganda of revolutionary democracy?  I wonder if an Ethiopian with his or her right mind is not painfully offended.

What and how did we feel when we saw those innocent citizens from all walks of life wearing “graduation gowns” declaring, IYIDEGEMIM (NEVER AGIN)? I deeply wonder if any genuinely concerned Ethiopian did not feel being dragged away not only from her or his sense of Ethiopian proudness but also from the very essence of being human.

It is in the midst of all these horrifying situations that TPLF /EPRDF is beating its propaganda dram much noisier than ever; the so-called deep and serious internal reform being the most notorious aspect of the propaganda. We are witnessing that this “great reform” includes fighting corruption, dealing with lack of good governance, lack of public relation works, unemployment, and so on and so forth. It is obviously clear that these elements of   the “great reform” are nothing but the very serious symptoms of a chronic illness of a society caused by systemic illness, the minority ethno-centric tyranny –TPLF/EPRDF.  I remember artist and activist Tamagn Beyene on one occasion saying that Ethiopian politics of these days is just like “keep changing diaper.” I remember a story I came across my readings which sounds ordinary but the message it carries is big and powerful. It is about whether one acknowledges why and how something happened and makes sincere apology or not. It says, “… a two-year old child passed gas and then blamed it on his diaper – my diaper burped.” This is exactly what TPLF/EPRDF is saying. It blames its diapers (its cadres and cronies) which are badly dirtied by horrible stuff coming from its own main body system, the inner circle of TPLF/EPRDF.  It goes without saying that the story of great internal reform and negotiation with opposition political parties is nothing but blaming the performance of its diapers, not trying to cure the main body system which the awful dirty stuff comes or originates from.

I understand the argument that those victim citizens had no choice but accept and wear gowns of dehumanization and spare themselves from an inhumane treatment of TPLF/EPRDF’s brutal squads. I have no any moral high ground to question this line of argument. But I strongly argue that we have to be cautiously concerned whether this political culture of fear and state terrorism couldn’t have any undesirable impact on this younger generation which has its own problems emanating from the very nature and practice of ethnic and crony political economy in the country. I sincerely believe that as this generation is a victim of so many highly tempting psychological, physical and biological, financial and material interests; kind of self-comforting and mere political correctness (uncritical way of thinking) approach is something to be taken seriously.   We cannot and should not afford not to be rationally critical whether the way this generation doing politics is at its standard of expectation or not.

Professor George B.N Ayittey in his book, Africa Betrayed (1992) describes some African opposition leaders as those who “…have been eager to abandon the democratic struggle and join despots. In this way, African tyrants …coopted and neutralized the opposition.”  He further argues that in many places of Arica oppositions are characterized by fragmentation, disintegration and   squabbling. And he concludes, “There is no word which describes all this- idiocy.”  

Let’s genuinely face it that this disturbingly sad situation is not only because of TPLF/EPRD’s deadly politics as usual. It is also because of those “peaceful/legal/loyal opposition” politicians who have never been capable of defending their own very survival in the real sense of the term let alone delivering a leadership of leading the people toward a result-oriented way of doing politics. I wish I could say it otherwise. But that is what it is unless we want to remain victims of self-deception.

It is true that “peaceful/legal/loyal” opposition politicians in Addis Ababa who have been considered relatively popular could survive the total elimination by TPLF’s eliminating machineries. I do not think this survival is mainly because opposition leaders are exceptionally courageous, smart and capable enough to defend themselves and show that they could not be intimidated by TTPLF/EPRDF’s politics of terror. Unless we want to keep playing the politics of political correctness with ourselves, it is also because TPLF/EPRDF let them survive nominally as long as those leaders and members who have been considered as serious threats to the continuation of its bloody political power are either incarcerated or eliminated. In other words, as long as  those opposition politicians who could never give up or give in their principled and well- founded political beliefs are either contained or  eliminated , it would be easy to keep the rest disintegrated and making their existence the “beautifying” ingredients of TPLF/EPRDF’s blood-stained politics.

I hate to say but I have to say that though we may use seemingly legitimate excuses for the very disgraceful failure of opposition politicians in Addis, I strongly argue that those not-incarcerated ones do not have any credible and viable political posture to engage in negotiation with the inner circle of ethno-centric tyranny. This is because the very survival of TPLF is not dependent on serious and consequential dialogue and negotiation and reconciliation, but on the very continuation of the politics of divide and conquer as well as using those good for nothing opposition political groupings to pretend that it is for multi-party and participatory political system.

Do those opposition politicians really believe that it is possible and viable for them to seriously and consequentially challenge TPLF/EPRDF by engaging in a dialogue and negotiation under the declaration of state terrorism (state of emergency)   which has absolutely ripped off not only political  but  also God –given (natural) rights of the people?

How the very notion of   negotiation make sense in a political environment of state of terrorism which has not only ripped off basic human rights as such but has also put the very life of each and every citizen under absolute danger?

How an opposition party whose leaders and members and supporters are under a state terrorism which has forced citizens to think twice before they go somewhere, before they get together and talk with anyone or with one another, before putting their ideas in black and white (in written forms), before they let their words get out of their mouths can justify the very idea of the possibility of having meaningful negotiation?

How any opposition politician who claims standing for freedom and justice can have genuine and productive dialogue let alone negotiation without the courage at least to speak out about the need to dismantle TPLF/EPRDF’s political drama of anti-terrorism law which is aimed at silencing innocent citizens?

Is it too much to expect from an opposition leader who declares that his patriotism is founded on unshakable values and principles to have the courage to straightforwardly let the tyrannical ruling elites know that if they are thinking of playing politics as usual, they should expect that the ongoing legitimate resistance movement will transform itself to a full-fledged movement including armed uprising?

Do we have really opposition leaders who are courageous enough to let TPLF/EPRDF know that the opposition politics of being harassed/intimidated, incarcerated, persecuted and killed turn by turn is now over?

Is it not high time for opposition politicians to unequivocally reaffirm to the people of Ethiopia that negotiation in a situation where hundreds and thousands of members and supporters of opposition parties are paying huge sacrifices in the hands of brutal “law enforcement” is a big mockery of peoples’ demand, democratic freedom and justice of all? What about innocent journalists and activists who are paying huge price?  How many families of those politicians, journalists and activists live with great fear and serious uncertainty?

Is it not quite rationally and legitimately right for those opposition politicians to straightforwardly ask TPLF/EPRDF to end its supremacy of ethnic-based tyranny and become equal partner of building a genuine democratic society? Is it too much or too scary for those opposition politicians to firmly demand the birth of a true democratic system, not a change of some elements of a chronically ill system?

Are they courageous and capable enough to tell TPLF rationally and straightforwardly that they cannot and should not sacrifice principled, legitimate, and fundamentally critical demands of the people for a negotiation which cannot address the pivotal issue – a change of system, not substitute one official or cadre with another?

Are they courageous enough not be tempted by their own individual and group ambitions for becoming honorable members of the disgraceful parliament and be “bad guys” of TPLF/EPRDF?

Are they decisively ready how they should deal with ruling elites who deeply thanked their killing machineries for massacring hundreds if not thousands of innocent citizens in Oromia and Amhara reginal states?

We currently hear and read reports from varies media outlets  that the ruling elites are happy to announce that they have already talked with 22 “peaceful/legal/loyal” opposition parties and “persuaded” them to prepare for transparent and historic negotiation thanks to the deep and genuine reform” going on within TPLF/EPRDF.   Among those opposition groupings; EDP of Ato Lidetu Ayalew, Medrek of Professor Beyene Petros, and Semayawi of Ato Yeshwas Asefa (Ato Yilkal is out) are mentioned by name. I think the reason why these names appeared make sense.  Though these groupings are not this much better than the rest (‘smart’ puppets of TPLF/EPRDF) in a real practical terms, they could be good political play cards. They are good for TPLF/EPRDF’s propaganda because of their relatively popular background, their vocal political rhetoric, and their noticeability by external media, political as well as non-political actors.

The people of Ethiopia have practically tested Ato Lidetu Ayalew not only with his outrageous betrayal of his colleagues during and after the 2005 election but also with his notoriously wicked political personality then after. His appearance at Fana Broadcasting (TPLF’s deadly propaganda machine) to deliver his “research “on how to work with the ruling party of his godfather, Bereket Simon clearly showed that he is nothing but a person who is totally consumed by his dangerously voracious self-centered ambition .  Ato Lidetu clearly told the people during his ridiculous presentation that TPLF/EPRDF deserves admiration for its miraculous accomplishments and it would be great for him to become part of the making of this “great history.” Now, it is this man and his colleagues who have gone to the extent of lobbying others to surrender together to the deadly political drama of TPLF/EPRDF in the name of negotiation.  And that is why it is strongly fair to say that Lidteu, the Judas of this 21st century has nothing to do with negotiation for democratic and just. Forget it!

Professor Beyene Petros is another member of the leadership of Medrek of which Ato Gebru Asrat of Arena Tigray is a member too. This grouping which has never been as effective as it claims to be even in the presence of Dr. Merera Gudina who recently became victim of the deadly political drama. Now, Medrek looks moving toward surrendering to TPLF/EPRDF’s “deep and genuine reform partnership” thanks to those opposition politicians who are terribly opportunists such as Professor Beyene Petros.  I hate to say but I have to say that neither Professor Beyene nor Ato Gebru have well-principled political personalities. Rather, they are in love with ethnic identity politics because it is easy for them to manipulate for their own personal political ambitions.

It is fair to say that although there may be members of this grouping somehow with a good sense of rationality and morality, it is difficult to take them seriously because they could not challenge and influence their leadership.   What was kind of secret meeting between Ato Hailemarim Desalegn, the puppet head of government and a badly opportunist Professor Beyene   Petros all about? Have we heard the voice of Ato Gebru either during the political massacre or since the declaration of state terrorism (state of emergency) expressing his genuine concern as a human being? Taking this and other very undesirable behaviors into consideration, it is quite fair to say that Dr. Beyene Petros and his colleagues will be willing to “negotiate “with TPLF if he(they) find it a good deal to get “their fair share” which the “deep and genuine reform” within  TPLF/EPRDF has brought about.  Need les to say, TPLF has already prepared itself not to engage in a real sense of negotiation, but what kind of tips/incentives it could offer to those opposition politicians so as to get them on the ship of “deep and great reform of revolutionary democracy.”

How about Semayawi of Yeshwas Asefa (Yilkal?)? I was one of millions of ordinary Ethiopians who perceived the very energetic and passionate beginning of this youth –dominated political opposition entity. Although its notorious complain about Andinet ( killed by TPLF) which some of its leaders came from as dissenters , the way it got itself well organized and the manner it involved in a very difficult Ethiopian politics was impressive. Unfortunately enough, this party of young generation could not go far before it became a victim of political incivility which is of course a very serious challenge of our political culture.  It has been hit hard both by internal power struggle or conflict of interest, and external forces of destruction (the dirty game of TPLF/EPRDF). These two painfully damaging factors have forced the party to split which showed the very success of TPLF. We read and heard that the Yilkal faction is pushed out from the beginning of the “negotiation process” until the so-called Election Board complete its job of whether the Yeshwas faction is worthy to keep in or not. Given this and other nasty things, it is not difficult to understand that it is totally absurd to expect the role of “Semayawi” in the so-called negotiation to be meaningful.

I do not believe discussing about the role of the rest of the negotiating “parties” is worthwhile. This is because they are just groupings of friends and acquaintances which have no any other aspiration other than getting their voracious self-centered interests satisfied regardless of  wrong or right, just or unjust, moral or immoral, humane or inhumane, …. It is these behavioral and actual characteristics of these so-called opposition parties which makes the said negotiation absolutely bogus; but very important for the perpetuation of the ethno-centric tyranny.

Needless to say, if those opposition politicians in Addis fail to test themselves with those and many other challenging questions and take appropriate and firm stand, they must be hold responsible for becoming additional actors of the blood-stained political power. That is why it is absolutely necessary for each and every genuinely concerned Ethiopian to unequivocally tell them that to take any part in a cold-blooded ethno-centric political system and prolonging the untold sufferings of the people will be the gravest mistakes of all. Yes, they must straightforwardly be told that “there is no any other way to describe it; but idiocy.”  

 Abe Gubegna makes his main character (Aliwoledim, 1962) challenge those religious leaders and their subordinates who superficially believe in God, the heavenly Father but practically worship the earthly devilish authorities. He questions, “If the one whom you believe as the creator of the universe is the one who lives in the feelings/minds of ruthless people, you made your devil greater than your God.”

This is exactly what the religious leaders and their subordinates of our time in our country are behaving and practicing. I am not intended to go back and reflect in detail how  religious institutions more particularly the Ethiopian Christian Orthodox Church became victims of a political hijack and have been made parts of the dirty politics of minority ethno-centric tyranny a quarter of a century ago.

As an ordinary follower (not conservative) of the Ethiopian Christian Orthodox Church with very basic grasp than other Christian denominations or other religions, I would like to note that the focus of my viewpoint should be seen accordingly.

Let me express my points of view in brief.

TPLF/EPRDF had to make sure first that the E.O.C should be controlled by those so-called patriarchs (fathers/heads of the church) who strongly adhered themselves to the politics of minority ethnic-dominance to the extent of losing the very essence of their religious mission.

The outrageously wicked behavior and practice of the late Aba Pawlos throughout his “patriarchal authority” is not a distant history yet.  I do not think  not only a follower of the Church but also  any genuinely concerned Ethiopian will forget what Aba Pawols did to those university students who desperately run way from the ruthless forces of TPL/EPRDF and took the church as their sanctuary. He kicked them out and exposed them to those merciless forces of TPLF/EPRDF.   What the late “patriarch” did when hundreds of innocent Ethiopians who legitimately protested against the terribly rigged election of 2005 were gunned down in the streets of Addis Ababa with the direct order of his godchild, the late Ato Meles Zenawi remains a very disturbing part of our political and religious history. He and his subordinates not only kept silent but they also disgracefully and mercilessly praised TPLF/EPRDF for “maintaining peace and security” so that the “miraculous development agenda” could continue.

Now, history is repeating itself in a much more horrible manner under his successor, Aba Mathias. He, his close cronies and all most all terribly opportunist members of his cabinet (calling it the Holy Synod is an insult to God Himself) have once again played politics over their religious (spiritual) mission. They could not go beyond their drama -like or bogus prayers for “peace and security”.

It is deeply shocking not to hear or see them as religious leaders at least expressing genuine and courageous concerns more particularly about the massacre of Bishoftu (Oromia regional state), the horrible persecution in the Amhara reginal sate and in Konso in the south.   They kept their lips tight and their sharp tongues folded when the God-given (natural) and all other fundamental liberties and dignities of about nine + million citizens are declared totally ripped off and any slight attempt to question this state of emergency (state terrorism) would entail severe consequences. They kept “offering” their very cynical and hypocritical prayers and other services.  By doing so, they somehow could make many followers of the Church ignorant about their rights and responsibilities.

Now, they are working hard to carry out the assignment given to them by their very frustrated godchildren of TPLF/EPRDF. To this end, they had to get together and work out how to help to rescue the ruthless tyranny from the popular resistance movement which is tending to embrace inclusive (all-round) method of struggle for genuine freedom and justice. The mechanism they have come up with is a collective forum called “Interfaith Conference” aimed at “restoring peace and security.”  I do not know what other kind and magnitude of sinfulness can make God terribly disappointed than this kind of highly cynical and hypocritical politico- religious drama.

I am well aware that there may be some fellow followers of the Church who may get this comment of mine as intervening in the work and authority of God because He is the only one who judges and punishes those religious leaders and other members of clergies.  My answer would be yes, He is the supreme judge and punisher. However, I strongly argue and believe that this has nothing to do with criticizing and even condemning any one or any group regardless of the area of involvement (spiritual/religious or otherwise) and the status as long as the criticism is rational, objective, and issue oriented. God who created us with a complete mental and physical power never get disappointed and punish us for the reason we rationally and objectively criticize and even condemn those wrong doers including religious leaders and their subordinates who fail to discharge their God- given mission and responsibility.

Needless to say, the very notion and resolution of the so-called Interfaith Conference of which the Orthodox Church looks playing the leading role is just the story of the diaper.  Because what they proposed after wasting time, energy and money for a couple of days is kind of copy and paste of TPLF/EPRDF’s script of political drama. What they basically telling the people has nothing to do with the necessity of cleansing the very nasty stuff in the main body (the inner circle of TPLF/EPRDF) as a system). Simply put, what they are talking about is changing the diaper with some sort of cosmetic application. Is this not terribly ridiculous and conspiratorial? Absolutely it is!

I think it is not fair not to say any critical viewpoint about religious leaders and those with their respective titles in the diaspora.

My focus is not about those in the diaspora who categorically still fall in love with those politico-religious ones back home than they do fall in love with God, the creator. I wish I could describe what they are for otherwise. Unfortunately enough, how they behave and what they practically do does not tell otherwise. If these words of calling spade a spade is a sin as our preachers preach excessively, I would say so be it! But I strongly believe God of truth is not the one who blesses or punishes the way those who unintentionally or otherwise make innocent followers ignorant as if God did create us with no sophisticated brain to think and well-structured physical ability to act.  As their “great spiritual bosses” are doing back home, I am sure they notoriously ask the followers of the Church to pray hard for the success of the dirty political agenda of  TPLF/EPRDF in the name “negotiation” with opposition politicians of which it (the ruling party) already smashed hard and put them under state terrorism.

Forget about those who cynically consider themselves independent as if they have their own independent God. Yes, as I discussed earlier, the Synod back home which consists of those who have lost not only a very huge spiritual obligation but even the very sense morality to speak out about the untold dehumanization of the people are trying hard to rescue TPLF/EPRDF. Those in the diaspora who claim to be independent declare that they do accept the Synod in Addis. To my understanding, this is an insult not only to peoples’ intelligence but to God Himself. Well,   it is the right thing to openly declare one’s intendance and worship God, the creator of all. But it is disingenuous or insane or opportunism to recognize/accept those who are siding with the ruthless ethno-centric tyranny. How one expect these people of “independent believers” to play their own positive role to get the wrong notion and move of negotiation right? Forget it!

Observing those who claim to be under the Holy Synod in exile to what extent the role they have played for the last many years in bringing the followers of the E.O.C together and help them to firmly stand in unison and do something visibly good for the general will, I have to say that it is not encouraging at all. They are victims of emotionally reactive responses such as conducting prayers; providing memorial prayers and services; preaching about peace, love, truthfulness, sacrificing one’s personal ambitions/interest for the sake the general will, holding regular and special meetings/conferences, issuing statements and press releases which are so abundant thanks to the day-to-day horrible news and happenings in our country and so on and so forth. And it is not difficult to observe for any curiously/genuinely concerned person that except very few ones, those leaders, preachers, and members of clergies are comfortable with life in the diaspora or exile. Now, the question is: How one can expect this kind of highly undesirable behavior or attitude to play meaningful role in a situation where TPLF/EPRDF is making a mockery of negotiation and reconciliation? I would say this question would be answered when change of behavior and attitude comes from within, hearts and minds of each of us.

Carne Ross, the author of Leaderless Revolution; … (2011). It must be noted here that leaderless does not mean no need of leadership. Rather, it means the self-motivated and self-organized popular movement plays a decisive role toward success. 

Ask people what they want. They are usually more than willing to tell you.”

As a matter of fact, this is a deep-rooted challenge throughout our political history and no doubt it would remain to be until we will be able to set up a governing body and all other necessary institutions which operates under the sovereign power of the people.

Has TPLF/EPRDF ever asked the people what they want, and let them speak freely and independently about what they want and whom they do want to lead them? It goes without saying that what TPLF/EPRDF has done throughout a quarter of a century is quite the contrary. The politics of harassing, intimidating, persecuting, jailing, torturing and massacring the people who have tried to speak out about what they really wanted has been the order of the day.

Is TPLF/EPRDF showing any real sense of willingness and courage to listen to the people even after the latest political massacre in Oromia and Amhara regional states and Konso in the southern part of the country? I do not think any citizen with his or her right mind (conscience) would answer this question in positive terms. It is from this perspective of hard facts that I strongly argue that it would be a total stupidity for us to expect the minority ethno-centric tyranny which has practically proven itself to be a force of  savagery for a quarter of a century would dialogue and negotiate in good and genuine faith. It absolutely wouldn’t be the case!

On the other side of the story, though it is fair to say that the legally registered political opposition parties have tried to listen what the people want, they have badly suffered from the politics of going nowhere. This is because of their failure to properly and wisely deal with two aspects of the struggle: One is the very ugly internal power struggle or conflict of interest. The second one is the systematic intervention of TPLF/EPRDF using not only its infiltrates but also using those opposition members who are disappointed because they could not satisfy their personal egos.

We may agree or not, but let’s face it that nowadays people are desperately looking for other opposition forces who rationally and legitimately believe that as TPLF/EPRDF is not a party of peaceful and reconciliatory politics, the choice for all-round method of political struggle is inevitable . This is because the people cannot afford to let TPLF/EPRDF continue its bloody politics of the past quarter of a century. Now, it is not a matter of just self-defense but a matter of attack and defeat tyrants who are not willing and able to learn from what terribly went wrong with their style of ruling and to correct it accordingly.

Are there opposition forces of well-determined not just in theory but in practical terms to make this path of the struggle effective and successful? Unless we have difficulties of recognizing the facts because of our own ulterior reasons, there are truly patriotic freedom fighters who put themselves right at the very forefront of all-round method of struggle for freedom and justice. To be clear, Arbegnoch-Ginbot 7 and other self –organized citizens are not only listening to what the people want but also practically showing how to achieve what is good for the people. The recently formed Ethiopian Democratic National Movement clearly shows that those opposition forces are carefully listening to peoples’ critical issues and interests.

Yes, those truly patriotic Ethiopians have chosen an inclusive or all-round method of struggle to defeat the most ruthless minority ethno-centric tyranny and replace it with a democratic system. I do not think that any Ethiopian with his or her mind of assessment for the past quarter of a century can still have illusion about why and how those patriotic Ethiopians were and are forced to do so. Needless to say, as any one of us who aspire peaceful transfer of power (truly democratic election), those patriotic Ethiopians have also strong aspiration to see the end of the political history of the taking of power by hook or crook. Unfortunately enough, TPLF/EPRDF is not willing to change its way of doing politics which has caused a huge devastation for a quarter of a century.  What we are witnessing at this very critical moment is that the people are courageously showing what they want by responding to the call from those freedom fighters in practical terms. Yes, the people are asked what they really want, and they are not only telling what they want but are also responding in actions.

I am not saying that all other efforts being made at individual and groups level are less important. What I am talking about is who are relatively more aware of the situation and responding accordingly. There is no way to make the overdue dreams of the people of Ethiopia a reality by being crooked and inimical toward each other. There is no way to make things happen the way we want  if we are not willing and able to see each other’s shortcomings with healthy and open minds , and deal with them in such a way that it  is for the sake of common good . I am saying this because we are witnessing the politics of disarray even at this very critical time which desperately requires a real sense of mutual understanding and advancing our big and common issues which are absolutely necessary to determine our common destiny. Moving into TPLF/EPRDF initiated and orchestrated “negotiation” without taking what the people really want at this time into serious consideration, trying to breed more and more ethnic –based nationalism in the diaspora and make them not parts of the solution but notorious parts of the problem, enjoying politics of insult  and mockery with each other, blaming and condemning those who are trying to advance what they stand for, using religion and religious authorities to rescue the deadly ethno-centric tyranny, and prolonging the suffering of the people and the like are the most notorious challenges we are facing.

With all these and many other serious challenges, there is no any other better way than dealing with them and make things happen the way we aspire if we want to see our country a homeland of freedom, justice, equal opportunity, and human dignity.


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