By: Mulata Gudata
Happy New Year to all – the brand new 2014! To begin with, though this article is a bit long as usual, it is packed with juicy ideas simply too sweet to ignore. I urge everyone to read to the last line and get back to me if I have not been up to the promise. I don’t mean to disappoint in the New Year but never again a long article from me.
Though with each passing year we see another one coming as we remain in the menacing grip of dictatorship, we are grateful that we start the New Year better informed and more focused than we were in the one just gone. The more we are focused the more the dictators are worried and frustrated for it is at least the Diaspora’s victory whenever we manage to score against our rulers by turning their fund raising attempts into their nightmares in all corners of the globe, it is our victory when we stand against them in our colours and creeds very much to their chagrin for our unity portends their downfall as we promise to do all it takes to support and empower our people back home for the final push against the Woyanes’ divisive rule.
Thanks to the strong sense of patriotism and selfless act of solidarity towards fellow citizens from our Diaspora, the misfortunes and tragedies of our people in the Middle East last year did not pass unnoticed by us and by the wider world but we need to build on that gesture of unity and take it to a different level for the original source of all those tragedies remains in 4kilo while it should not have even for a single day. The tragedy in Lampedusa and all those coffins of poor brothers and sisters of ours remains a painful mark in our memory of last year.
Thanks to ESAT the menacing voice of our former dictator had been refreshed in our memory in the year just gone though it was the last thing we ever wanted. We have also heard about a book authored by one of his old buddies who unlike him had to do some time in jail at least. As we face the worst of dictators ever, we seem to be okey with anything that comes from the former ones symbolic of how our memories of the past simply fades away very fast as we are naturally prone to forgiveness. When it comes to a choice there is some wisdom in going for the lesser of two evils, anyway the dead is not as biting as the living one.
Last year, Mandela had left us and gone but his selfless sacrifice for humanity and freedom, his resilience, his devotion and determination, his wisdom and magnanimity always remain to inspire and motivate us for a higher goal in our struggle for freedom, our quest for justice and our endeavour towards the service of human race and fellow citizens. Mandela knew when to stand firm in the struggle and also knew when and how to make a principled compromise when it was time. By that he achieved freedom, equality and most of all reconciliation and peace for his people and country. He left a fulfilled man with nothing to regret.
As in any other thing in life, the way of regret is not the way to go about politics because by the time you regret the entire job is done and dusted against you. Especially in African politics in general and ours in particular, where politics is unfortunately a game of exclusion and a vehicle for getting ahead for a bunch of people at the expense of the majority, when you are at the level of regret everything is too late for the entire trust in you with the cause you stand to advance is in disaster, the life and livelihoods of many in danger and your political life in tatters.
Politics is an expensive business in its own right that involves not lifeless commodities but precious human life and the ever scarce means of life and that is why the ways of politics have little or no room for regret. In spite of this very fact it is not unusual to see politicians trying to bounce back with little or no soul searching and no significant change of tact. Here is where the people need to step in and take charge of their own future and destiny by putting pressure on the leadership to change course rather than pushing along the same failed ways by irresponsibly disregarding different factors and facts that have come to work against the politics of two decades ago, just the way it was without any significant change in approach.
I want all of us to open our eyes to these facts to help us open our minds and get focused, which I have itemised out for ease of understanding
1) I strongly believe that we resist the call for unity at our own peril for which both history and posterity will never forgive us as we are making a choice of eternal failure. When we are divided as Oromos and divided as Ethiopians the only option we have to overcome the challenge we are facing today is by being united. What I want fellow Oromos, who unfortunately seem to say let’s wait until the Woyanes have enough and leave our land to us, is to realise what our choice means and how it is destroying our society both in the short and long run rendering our dream for freedom a pipe dream even for the future generations. They will curse us for eternity if we fail them today. See how Woyanes are set to rule for ever, if we fail to do something today:
a) Some of us, out of frustration, have surrendered to our fate and given up on everything by burying our heads deep in the Bible the only thing in our country we are not only allowed to do with absolute abandon but also encouraged, motivated and supported by the government of the day for its effect of making us accept through our belief that our land is in heaven not on earth. Simply imagine the devastating impact of this on a poorly educated society with a low conscious level.
b) Our children go to schools with a system of education that cannot instil knowledge any better than one can get by going to church or Madrasa, because with a highly discriminative education policies the hope of a meaningful education has been effectively taken away from our young people with the aim of preparing them for slavery at this time and age. This is the most unfortunate fact that has been acknowledged even by the World Bank asking for change if our country is ever to have any hope for a meaningful development. Sadly this fact in the face of Woyanes’ children being educated in China and the West, complete with military trainings back at home. Yes, we have universities almost in every village but it is not the building and the label of name on it that matters – the quality standard of the education it imparts and how and whether children of all backgrounds are competitive enough in it or not. The comparison between the education of the Woyane eras and the ones before it is simply like comparing our donkeys’ labour to the long distance haulage high capacity modern lorries.
c) The fact that we have chosen to learn everything in our language to the higher level has not helped our situation either, for in it we made our young generation helpless locals far removed from the exposure to international concepts and outlooks making them not any better than their uneducated parents. This is what you can call complete and effective disempowerment.
d) The young generation have been deliberately denied hope and opportunities widely opened to immigration into Middle East, drug addiction, alcohol, chewing Khat (Jimaa) and all sorts of social evils that can degrade and destroy self-worth and the moral of the generation with a disorientating effect and readiness to surrender as passive recipients to anything the government brings up as a policy which can devastate the future of the society and the country.
e) Another two decades down the road you will see our generations, who know how unity is possible if we bring in the will it takes, are all gone and the only ones who come up will only be able to talk and act in their divide camps which is effectively what the Woyanes not only want to happen but are hard at work day and night to ensure it happens. Alas, forget freedom even for the generations to come leave alone independence. This is what we are myopically wishing for our future generation by resisting unity when we can come together, deliberate amicably and strike a deal today not tomorrow to move forward with certainty to bring change to our country and leave the future generation with hope and equality not in eternal servitude.
2) The political dynamics of our region have moved far away from what we knew 20 years ago making any struggle that does not bring all of us in one camp a thing of the past for it is likely either to remain utterly unproductive or result in regional instability by destabilizing a huge and socially diverse country like ours which the wider world stands against.
3) Our country has been purposefully opened to foreign hands and interests and this renders our effort for freedom very challenging and our national life highly complicated even after our freedom and this fact on its own is enough reason to make a collective effort mandatory. We face a collective challenge that requires collective effort to overcome
4) Our people have been through over four decades of traumatic political experience that makes them yearn for respite and a period of stability far from another endless conflict. With this in mind it is a must that any move be a united and inclusive one that can be successful in a measured period of time which I believe is possible and easily achievable when we stand together.
5) Ethiopians are more than willing and ready to recognise, accept and implement Oromos’ rights to the maximum level possible within the broader union and this very fact alone is enough for us to drop the option of ‘Somalising’ our land in the name of a struggle for independence.
6) The divergent views, ideas and divisions we see today on the Oromos’ political landscape should serve as a clarion call for us to get focused on the common ground that can easily unite all of us which is working within the Ethiopian broader union with the single aim of ensuring the thoroughly reforming of our system of government to make democracy the only way of governance and law the supreme rule of the land after the Woyanes regime. We need to be able to look things in the eye and act accordingly in order to manage it well to our benefit before it is too late.
7) Given the way we stand divided today, our situation is more likely and highly inclined to tip off towards the unpredictable negative outcome that can easily get out of control for any of us when we go about it in our divided ways making the united effort the only safety net that can ensure stability for all. To see and understand this fact one does not need to be a space scientist but simply open one’s eyes to the social division on the ground be it tribal or faith related.
8) All our neighbouring countries are quite averse to entertaining any idea of divided Ethiopia into ethnic based petty countries partly because they consider that as setting a bad example for their own countries in the long run and partly for they all either as individuals of influence in their respective governments or as a country are closely tied by their own economic interest with those who rule us today since our country is open for cheap sale in exchange for any help towards keeping TPLF/EPRDF in power for ever. We need to be realistic and accept to be governed by reason and the glaring facts of the time not by our wishes and emotions.
9) The strong will and determination of our people to bring change to our country is the best weapon we have against the Woyanes’ tyranny which we must effectively use to our advantage by standing together not to divide, weaken and squander it making it play into the Woyanes’ hand. We got to step out of our comfort zones to face the fact as it is and be able to say no to the ‘recommendation’ of the dictators, that is aimed at keeping us divided, by doing the opposite.
10) By remaining divided, we divide our resource, our man power and most of all our psychology which I consider the most important element because we were united physically for over a century but our psychological division was one main factor that resulted in the near disintegration of our country. This being the case it is important that we make conscious efforts to contain and control particularly the psychological aspect of our division by avoiding the unnecessary focus on our past which is controversial with a highly divisive effect.
11) It is the highest standard of wisdom to leave the controversial and thorny issues of our past aside and focus on the present and the future for we can neither hide from history nor undo the past. It is practically in the interest of us all to stop living in the past and amicably deliberate on the present and the future that has a direct bearing on our life much more than the past which unfortunately seems to make us unable to move forward. The world is a better place only because as natural requirement humanity puts more value on the present and the future than the past for it is natural law that we move forward not back ward. We got to build on the model of Nelson Mandela’s South Africa!!!
12) It helps to take into account the nature of the government we are facing that can stop at nothing to use our division against us in a deadliest of fashions when we allow them the chance by not standing together, simply we need to build on the model of our Muslim and Christian communities in resisting the pressure on us to go against each other, by standing together with tolerance.
13) Look at Syria, look at South Sudan and get lessons to be warned against any move that fails to be inclusive of all stakeholders in our quest for freedom. We need to work hard to avoid the situation like that of Somalia which is one state, one people, one language, one religion but a failed state for nearly a quarter of a century.
14) Last but not least, our leaders should know that the more they keep the people in confusion by dragging on the whole process without providing a clear and acceptable direction the more they risk being left alone in the cold as the people will be forced to look for different options and move forward either as a group or individually, since there are different opposition political parties that have emerged with very attractive policies for all the people in our country. In a nut shell, people need change and that makes the status quo unsustainable.
When we have practically and effectively failed our self it would be unacceptable for us to keep on accusing the TPLF/EPRDF or anybody else for failing us and our country. The Woyanes have cleverly ensured our division by drawing red lines on the sand among us before they mounted to a watchtower from where they enforce the continuity of our division. One best example here is an elected member of parliament from Arsi province who was killed soon after the national election of 2005 and his funeral ceremony was covered by some international media among them CNN. As he was the only MP to have been killed, his killing had to happen for one and only one reason, he crossed the red line by standing for election on CDU ticket and managed to win enough to raffle the Woyanes’ feather by breaking their code for all ethnic groups particularly the code referring to Oromos and the unity groups (the Amharas as the TPLF likes to refer to them) who are not supposed to ‘mix’ by Woyanes’ codes of conduct.
One thing we naively bought from Woyanes is the fact that they make us focus on the group called Amharas. Though by the name Amhara they simply refer to all Ethiopians who are not in their narrow circles far and wide beyond that particular group of our society as they enjoy using that name only to make us easily jump on board and help them in our own destruction by our division. This is a fact, though it is true that there are trouble-makers in the Amhara community as in all others. So if you are one of the trouble-makers reading this, please decide now to turn to the middle ground by realizing the fact that your ways will only help to keep us under Woyanes’ rule and does not augur well for our country’s future.
When wise individuals like the aforementioned MP come up with different ideas, that deviate from what the majority of us hold dear, and pay for it by their life we are doomed if we ignore their smart vision for few of us rarely manage such highly qualified visions and wisdoms. If we dismiss the visions of such men and women and the entire group of people who accept to elect them as ignorant we not only do it at our own peril but also we should know that it is not a healthy way of looking at our situation. The only way of successfully standing up to Woyanes’ tyranny that thrives on our division is to be united with the sole purpose of shaking and wrecking the foundation of Woyanes’ blood-sucking regime once and for all.
I have been around them long enough and known them as much as any Ethiopian can claim to know them. So long as we keep to our petty tribal village, we are allowed to make our noises no matter how loud it can be but the time we make a successful move out of our tribal enclaves to score a meaningful gain against their grip on our life by standing together, we are the target for elimination either individually or as a group. This being the case the question remains: should we keep to our villages and help the Woyanes or move across the red line to mix and help our self with tolerance and due understanding of each other’s concerns? I leave the answer to our political leaders of all calibre and backgrounds.
We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light. By: Plato
God may give us the light that enables us to see light, Amen!!