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Monday, 22 October 2007

Passionate call for all Ethiopians at home and in exile

Tedla Asfaw
This past weekend(Oct 20/21)  for the first time I heard by the visiting Kinijit delegates important policy speeches than the usual apologetic speeches to assure us that Kinijit is one and undivided.
Judge Birtukan Medekssa on twenty minutes speech to the crowd in Minneapolis this past Sunday spoke about the spirit of the Miazia 30, May 2005 huge demonstration for a change which angered the EPRDF and accused Kinijit as anti-Tigreans who wanted to bring the rule of "Amharas".
This ethnic card has been with TPLF since its inception and became the bedrock of its policy to solve the question of nationalties and convinced movements like OLF and ONLF  to work with the regime,early in the 1990s,  until they found  that the regime is worst than the previous dictators and paying only lip service to the question of nationalities and wanted to replace them by its own  loyal wings, we call it " Gebare " in Amharic.
As Judge Birtukan clearly articulated we should oppose all who are trampling on group as well as individual rights of our citizens be it in the name of group rights by the TPLF wings of Oromo or Somali or the Diaspora Ethiopian opposition  movements who fail miserably to organize on multi-ethnic fashion and do not see eye to eye with the many Oromo and Somali exiles here in North America.
The nationalist movements should be allowed to organize and operate freely and article 39 of the Ethiopian Constitution which incorporates the right to secede should not be used as a cover to deny these movements their legal right to mobilize their people without violating the individual right of all the citizens. Here in the Diaspora we have to organize joint rallies with Amharas, Oromos, Somalis, Tigrayan  and others based on the spirit of Kinijit  we witnessed in multi-ethnic Addis Ababa two years ago.
Diaspora movements like "Hibret" and mainly EPRP had made it clear that they  would not talk with any nationalist movements before they accept to live under one Ethiopia. This Ultimatum is a failed policy and the best option is to accept both the individual and group rights of Ethiopians and give time for the suspicion among the elites to work out on their differences without ultimatum.
The argument Judge Birtukan Medekssa brought by citing the last Badme war which took the lives of seventy thousands or more people billed for us as the border war based on the treaty  made by Menelik and Italy almost two hundred years ago would make future wars to make borders be  catastrophic of unimaginable proportion if we go on and try to delineate new borders to partition Ethiopia based on the aspiration of the nationalist movements.
Judge Birtukan Medekssa's call for the nationalist movements in Minneapolis, a city where large populations of Oromos and Somalis resided out of Ethiopia is appropriate. If OLF and ONLF leaders and others who care about fellow brothers and sisters in Minneapolis,  Ogaden or Oromia they should convince all Ethiopians that they are not fighting TPLF to establish a new independent republic but rather to live as equals with  other Ethiopians .
The ethnic card of Melese as Judge Birtukan alluded on her speech had impacts in the Diaspora and many Tigreans and others see Kinijit as a party of Amhara, Gurages and Orthodox Christians and this perception partly is also encouraged by sites/ KIC who are preaching hate in the name of kinijit and  as the  protector of Ethiopian unity like that of Mengistu Haile Mariam and a lot of hard work remained in the Diaspora to fight such dangerous anti-Kinijit spirit.
OLF and ONLF haters are not known individually associating with the Oromos and Somalis for that matter and their noise is always in the name of Ethiopia and such empty rhetoric should be challenged in our everyday routine by our own exemplary character.
It is indeed was very important for Judge Birtukan Medekssa to bring the story of a young writer ninety years ago from Adwa/Tigray who wrote about government role under the multi-ethnic Ethiopia   advising Haile Selasse the" Amhara" ruler.
However, Ethiopian leaders are not learning from this young author as we witnessed in the past one hundred years of the sad story of power in Ethiopia and the current rulers are following on the foot steps of their predecessors divide and rule, ethnic as well as religious, until they are forced out from power.
I hope nationalist movements should also learn from the  EPLF/ Eritrean Nationalist movement who was not only fought more than thirty years  to liberate its people from the "Amhara" domination but kill also individual rights of its citizens in the last sixteen years after "liberation" which led to a call  "Marigne Ethiopia",  forgive me Ethiopia and for many to flee independent Eritrea.
We are all in this huge country called Ethiopia and we should reflect that here in the Diaspora as passionately articulated by Judge Birtukan Medekssa's  twenty minutes speech  and correct our antagonistic and suspicious relationship with  fellow Ethiopians based on the origin of ethnicity and let us dismantle this barrier and come together on the matters that concerned the well being of fellow Ethiopians.