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Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Ethiopia, unity with diversity.

Tedla Asfaw

The celebration of nations and nationalities day under TPLF/EPRDF for the fourth time went as usual back home and here in government organized celebration. "Nations and nationalities are using their constitutional right, developing their kilil/region as it fits their need. Colleges, universities, schools, clinics etc. are mushrooming everywhere thanks to the right of nations and nationalities for self determination including secession enshrined on the article 39 of the Constitution".

At the same time there are nationalistic movements like OLF and ONLF who are battling the regime in Ethiopia who they accused for renegading article 39 and involving on their affairs and  regions not benefiting their people but TPLF and its affiliated nationalities.

What I am commenting following here is about the scenario when the above all pro nations and nationalities forces were united and the only people left alone according to Andargatchew Tsige's book "Ye Amaraw Tigel Keyete Wedete"," The Amharas people struggle from where to where" that was written in Amharic seventeen years ago when TPLF and its collaborating nationalist forces, including OLF and ONLF, were enjoying the fruit of their struggle after toppling Derg in 1991.

Ato Andargachew was crying for fellow Amharas who were left on cold, no one to take care of them. He went back on time to Emperor Tewodros who had a good chance to "unite Amharas" and build a foundation for Amhara Nationalism but failed because of Tewodros adventure to extend his power to other nations and nationalities in Ethiopia. Ato Andargatcehew ignored the patriotic death of Tewodros as immaterial. What he forgot was Tewodros died fighting the British Empire and his death robbed the British any dream they had to  subjugate our people. Such disregard from the person who cried for united Amhara organization like that of Andargatchew Tsige and accused Emperor Tewodros for missing the opportunity, using the British industrial revolution to develop Amhara region and bring a strong Amhara Nationalism is indeed suspicious to the very least.

King Menelik who followed Tewodros also failed to bring the Amhara Nationalism. In fact according to Andargatchew, Menelik succeeded in his  campaign to expand his control deep in to south by war and conquer. Menelik brought with him other nations and nationalities to join and brought Ethiopian Nationalism in the process destroying the Amhara Nationalism according to Andargatchew, Amharic name meaning Unite Them.

Ato Andargatchew is not denying the Ethiopia people shining history of dying for Ethiopia in the Adwa battle nor on the five year armed struggle to eject the fascist forces from Ethiopia. Members of all nationalities died on all the battle fronts to defend Ethiopia and that is what I call Ethiopian Nationalism we all share.

The argument that there is no Ethiopian Nationalism because we do not share common language or culture is absurd. Ethiopian Nationalism is deep in Ethiopia which has thousands of years of history and that is the reason why our country remain the only few countries in the world never colonized by foreigners.

We should not feel sad like the writer for people identifying  with Ethiopian Nationalism and consider them  out of touch of the reality in Ethiopia according to Ato Andargatchew piece. As he mentioned on his writings there were Ethiopian People Democratic Movement (EPDM) and All Amhara People Organization (AAPO) led by late professor Asrat Wodleyeses who accepted the reality of nations and nationalities in Ethiopia and started forming an Amhara movement.

Professor Asrat led AAPO was formed not answering Andargatchw's cry for Amhara Nationalism rather to save lives. There is no line written on Andagrgatchew piece on the numbers of Amharas who were murdered viciously in many parts of Ethiopia by the armed nationalities for being on the wrong place and primarily for being Amharas. How could a man who claim deeply caring for Amharas forgetting  such barbarism carried out by armed nationalities to start ethnic war while Andargatchew was going back in time to tell us the wrongs of our Emperors and kings who robbed us Amhara Nationalism ?

Leaders who care for Amharas formed AAPO and saved lives while many elites accused them for submitting to the doctrine of nations and nationalities by forgetting the cause of Ethiopia. For the late Asrat Woldeyese saving lives was his priority and indeed succeeded by establishing AAPO.

The armed nations and nationalities leaders knew very well that some one is watching their ethnic cleansing and many of us rally behind AAPO to save lives while Andargatchew is looking the other way having good time with the new nations and nationalities dictate on poor Amharas, deliberately avoided on his writing. His call for all Amharas  to reject Ethiopian Nationalism, come and develop Amhara kilil created by TPLF/EPRDF by taking away former Gonder and Wello regions into larger Tigrai Kilil.

Ato Andargatchew accused the Derg dictatorship for keeping the Haile Selasaes' time provincial regions, fourteen of them. The Gonder, Gojam, Wello and Shoa division he said has hurt the cause of united Amhara. From this statement it seems that Andrgatchew accepts the former provinces should come as an Amhara Kilil to develop strong Amhara Nationalism why then kept quiet when these provinces were redrawn ?  The philosophy of Derg was based on class, it does not differentiate between nations and nationalities, unrealistic to establish an Amhara nation as a foundation of Amhara nationalism. To its credit however Derg formed the Institutes of Nations and Nationalities chaired by Yugoslavia educated Ashargere Yegletu to establish autonomous regions for the people to develop their languages and cultures and there was not a single line commenting on this project for what it was.

The Badme war ten years ago have shuttered the propaganda of there is no Ethiopian Nationalism by TPLF/EPRDF. Our people rose under one flag speaking their own languages to defend their common home, Ethiopia from Shabia's aggression. The multi ethnic Addis Ababeans rejected TPLF/EPRDF five years ago on national election rallying under Kinijit.

Andargatchew a man who cried for Amhara Nationalism seventeen years ago have written another book "Nestaneten Yemayeawek Nesta Aweche", "Liberator who does not know freedom" in Amharic which I did not read. I am sure on this writing he might have accepted that Ethiopian Nationalism is superior to all types of nationalism in Ethiopia.

As one of the founders of Ginbot7, Andargatchew Tsaige, it is natural for us to read what he wrote in the past that concern us. I read the "Amharaw Tigel Keyete Wedete" after seventeen years it was written  to know if the current thinking of Ginbot7 towards armed liberation movements like OLF and ONLF  is different from what one of its founders wrote seventeen years ago.

The ONLF and OLF supporters in the diaspora who are calling for "colonial" Ethiopia to go to hell are still taking some line from Andargtatcew Tsige , there is no Ethiopian Nationalism. There has not any organization fighting to bring Amhara Nationalism, however, Ethiopian Nationalism is still here with no common language but one mission to keep Ethiopia as one country empowering her nations and nationalities, seventy of them.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Eighty Seven Minutes with AEUP leader

Tedla Asfaw

Eng. Hailu Shawel on Civility Room, eighty seven minutes interview on Dec. 5 , came to my attention this week and I had a chance to follow it thanks to the link forwarded to us here on EEDN.

Last weekend moreover I heard on a pal-talk room that Eng. Hailu accepted Article 39 of the TPLF Constitution but no one wrote any piece about it and I understand now that the source of the "acceptance" of Article 39 was the interview I heard on the Civility Room.

A Somali friend asked what Eng. Hailu and his party's stand regarding Article 39  on the last minutes and there was a brief and pointed answer given by Eng. Hailu. He said, he views Article 39 as a combination of two parts and his answer is based on that distinction.

The part of the Article 39 which empowers nations and nationalities in all  rights political,economical and cultural is the right he and his party fully support. However, the right for nations and nationalities to go and declare their own independence whenever they choose is not acceptable to his party.

He also said such right has negative repercussion for present nationalities relationship in building trust taken into account our diversified people. He also brought the cost of forming new boundaries by instigating unending conflicts and such right will bring only disaster for the whole people.

For those who accuse AEUP as force to bring the Mengistu days of Unity by all means or the recent Article 39 accusation all are wrong and  I commend the Somali friend for bringing this question which is now trying to resolve itself on battle field and for which lot of blood is spilled as we speak by ONLF and TPLF in all out war to control Ogaden.

I am not surprised why this interview was not an issue here in the diaspora  like the recent hand shake of Hailu with Meles on many of opposition websites because they could not find tabloid type news to slander Eng. Hailu. One plain truth I heard from Eng. Hailu is that there are many doubters in Addis Ababa for his position similar to the Diaspora opposition against him. He believes as things settle down and the hand shake circus ends people will see all for what it is. Here in diaspora too we are now calm and seeing all our alternatives beyond insulting each other.

However, the rural masses except Somalia and Gambella region are being  mobilized by initiative from people and the march to repeat the May 2005 Kinijit victory is on way according to him.

The next months are not smooth and may be deadly too but there is no alternative to it. Let us organize our people and lead them by courage. As Derege Demissie told us on his recent book about his late hero dad, "Ye Meri Feri Enji Ye Hizeb Feri Yeleweme", Leaders can be coward but not the followers. We witnessed that five years ago in our own eye. We can repeat that if brave leaders come to the plate.



Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Opinion that is formed by misinformation !!

Tedla Asfaw

I read an Amharic piece based on the written survey done to find out what Ethiopians think of the current political situation in their country. There were questions about the ruling regime TPLF/EPRDF, its leader Meles Zenawi and selected opposition groups, OLF  Medrek, EPPF, Ginbot7 and surprisingly the biggest tested opposition party, AEUP is absent from the list of opposition parties on this survey.

The query should have to put the AEUP as one of the opposition groups and however it did not and this shows the bias nature of those who claim to be an independent  survey. However, putting it might not make a difference as we see what the 281 people who gave their opinion on Eng. Hailu Shawel, the AEUP leader.

Two hundred twenty four consider him as a traitor while eight support him for his  bold move to sign a Code of Conduct with the ruling regime while forty nine have no opinion. On the paper it was suggested that out of these, forty nine  people, many are against him too. We might reach to same conclusion if we follow the opinion of many Ethiopians from Ethiopian opposition websites and paltalk rooms, the majority of whom are denouncing AEUP leader as a sale out.

On recent article in Amharic on, Aemero Dagnechaew wrote something new without many not giving much attention to his piece. He claims that Eng. Hailu agreed with TPLF/EPRDF on list of campaign/election issues not to be raised during the election campaign or debates. The land deal Meles signed with Sudan, the investment deal Meles signed with foreigners to give our land on long lease and the government monopoly of all businesses under EFFORT are the untouchable issues for the coming election. This is the mother of all liesto isolate the biggest opposition party, AEUP,  here in the diaspora. I want to tell the writer that not only the above issues are central rallying cry for our people, without them there is no AEUP different  from TPLF/EPRDF.

AEUP leader Eng. Hailu's interview wth Andenet Raido host Yoseph last Sunday however could have changed the opinion of most of those who have negative opinion about him. I encourage those who made the survey to make a follow up interview if hey can. Opinion can be formed with misinformation and the Seattle might be such a case.

We have seen here in America on the health debate how twisted information can anger many people. The government is going to pick your doctor, there is a socialist system of health care, quality of health care is the things of past were some among many that confused the real issue behind the health crisis in America. After all this false propaganda,however, the real debate has now begun.

AEUP is  peoples party and I can agree with Eng. Hailu Shawel that this is the biggest opposition party in Ethiopia which has wide popular support. Its supporters are reorganizing themselves using the window of opportunity opened with the signing of the Code of Conduct and the negotiation is still going on until all the hurdles are removed  in the coming months to make our people voice once again heard like that of  May 2005.

Eng. Hailu also said that participating on the coming election is conditional. AEUP's priority now is to open its zone offices and give support for locals who are taking the initiative using their scare resources to organize and recruit their representatives. AEUP has long experience of working with the people and those of us in diaspora who have close family members at least should ask our family members on what is going on in their communities.

Empowering our people in the coming months and put them in a strong position to be heard once again is another test AEUP willing to take. Yes, the outcome might be another killing and imprisonment, let it be as long as you believe in peaceful struggle that is a price they have to pay.

Here in diaspora  many of us who are wishing good things for our people and country should stand with our people at their  difficult time. We do not ask Ethiopians back home  like Meles Zenawi said recently on his interview of "Keenkelfu Yeneka Hizeb" people who wake up from long hibernation, to do things from distance which we will not do if  we were there, rather do their best to live in freedom and in a free country,to be able to choose their leaders and make them accountable. Above all there is no one above law and no one either will go to jail for expressing his or her views in any form.

Those in Seattle who gave their opinion are not our enemies even if some of us do not agree with them. We all will work together to make sure that we will have a strong and democratic Ethiopia to be  developed using our huge natural and human resources rather than auction our country for foreign profiteers and foreign expertise under the cover of tyranny.