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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.