By Obo Arada Aba Shawl
Since 1974, Ethiopia was engulfed in Revolutionary War, mainly in political struggle. In its simplest form, the regime for three Millennium and plus i.e. the Monarchy along with the Ethiopian Church has collapsed. And a new era of transformation has emerged.
What kind of an era? Was it political, economic, social, religious or psychological? It may be all of the above. But the real perceived perhaps accepted to millions of Ethiopians was the Political Power. What kind of political power? That is the question that still persists to the present day of Ethiopia and Eritrea.
A question who rules, governs, or leads the people and the countries demanded some answers. Do the words of govern, rule and lead sound familiar to all peoples of Eathiopia – ኤትዬጵያ- I would say yes to the emotions, mentality and physical sociology of the people in question. But the answer was definitely no. In a country where Trade used to dominate instead of Business, Voluntarism instead of Public Policy and traditional bureaucracy instead of modern bureaucracy, it is now inevitable to emerge for Business leaders, Public servants and Government officials to operate in the open. For the Ethiopian Eway Revolution is based on deciphering F.B.I. i.e. FEUDALISM, BUREAUCRACY capitalism and IMPERIALISM.
But once the Monarchy rule system including that of Haile Selassie was abolished, the present day seem an era of confusion and fusion of cultural shock in all walks of life. The question is who is responsible for such unwanted conditions. My own assessment is those who started learning the ABC alphabets since day one of their schooling. The use of Latin alphabet promoted them to the status of authority, leadership and power. The irony though, their knowledge did not synchronize with the learner of GEEZ Alphabet. Nor did it cynic with those church educated Eathiopians. Essentially the Ethiopian Revolution was under three groups of influence both of which attempted to rule or lead the nations of Eritrea and Ethiopia. The major forces behind these elements were/are the following categories.
The Conspiratorial leadership of TPLF
Leadership is the other side of followership. In order to lead the TPLF leaders had to have some form of concept to follow. I would tend to think that the influence of Adwa-Adigrat road has contributed to the connection of leadership style. For those readers who do not know locations or communications, Adigrat is the capital of Agame Awraja whereas Adwa is the capital as well as the Awraja of Adwa province. At the time of the budding growth of would be leaders of TPLF, A & A (Adigrat and Adwa) were the only link to the main artery of roads between Addis Ababa and Asmara. In other words transport and religion have played significant roles in the formation of the TPLF leaders.
And that is the rebellious group of Christians known in Adwa as the followers of Kenisha and those who adhere to the Orthodox Christianity of Agame awraja have come to together to lead the peoples of Tigrai. As it was too difficult to conduct a unified region with one link of road and two religious group’s seemingly harmonious but in reality hostile, very hostile at times, Ethiopians were led to confusion and destruction. We can imagine how difficult it would be when a third factor such as Catholicism, Marxism and other rivals from Makalle, Shire, Maichew and Abi Adi would add to the feud.
This is in addition to the politics of ELF, EPLF and EPRP all of them not necessarily friendly. The Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF) could not go along with TPLF for their objectives and goals were not the same thing. The Eritrean People Liberation Front (EPLF) did go along with the TPLF leaders for both had common elements and beliefs. That is, both Front leaders adopt the adage of “blood is thicker than water” and “what is in there for me”. Both BB i.e. blood and benefit sink with both leaderships of TPLF and EPLF respectively. Both had no principle or ideology to adhere to. Both gambled with peoples’ lives and resources, a case in point is the war for Badme. As to the antagonism with the leaders of EPRP, the TPLF felt inferior to the giant leaders of the graduate and undergraduates from the same region. But most importantly, their differences emanated because of principles of freedom and liberty which are hard to grasp without education and knowledge. The TPLF leaders had narrow modern understanding of politics and government. Instead they were armed with half baked philosophy between the Ethiopian philosopher Zera Yacob and the French philosopher Rene Descartes. Ideologically they were mesmerized by the thoughts of Mao Zedong of China and Enver Hoxha of Albania. Their local cadres already were exposed to the conspiratorial traditional Orthodox Church education and limited experience of Catholicism and Protestantism.
It was and still because of this conditions and understanding that the peoples of Eritrea and Ethiopia are suffering and running away from their respective countries. One can understand that the TPLF leadership being cornered and at times sandwiched among major issues and events but one had expected them to come out clean with diversified experiences and experiments but instead they chose to be more cunning every day. That conspiratorial agenda is hovering all over Ethiopia. Coupled by propagandizing cultural ethnic as an achievement by itself, it is no brainer for TPLF and EPRDF. It may lead to disaster.
The Open leadership of EPRP
Long before the Ethiopian Revolution, the activists of Addis Ababa College Students were working underground for the simple reason that the Haile Selassie regime would not tolerate open discussion or debate of political nature. In order to avoid severe punishment or expulsion the activist students prefer to meet clandestinely and as a result they came to be known as the “Crocodile” Groups. Their main goal was to exercise a democratic process such as freedom of speech, assembly and press. Their activism had increased as they began to emulate the African Scholarship Students who were enrolled in the Addis Ababa College financed by the USAID. These African Students had come out of through some form of struggle for liberty and freedom in their newly gained Independence of their respective countries. The Ethiopian student body has come out boldly to demand their rights from the authorities of the College Administration. The targeted goal has changed to form an organization i.e. Student Union. Thus leaders began to emerge be it as members of student union council, editors of publications or becoming orators in an assembly.
As time pass by, the Addis Ababa College began to expand to a University Level. And also the demands of the University – known as the Haile Selassie University – had gone up in a new direction. The main issue of the day has become “land to the tiller” a reflection of the landless masses of Southern part of Ethiopia. For this high stake demand, new kinds of leadership were needed. Often open and blunt student leaders began to emerge and became to be known as “the animal group” reflecting the natural setting of rural Ethiopia. And so the leaders of EPRP to this day are operating in open democratic process despite all odds against them.
Why because, the feudal system which was entrenched for thousands of years was based on mistrust operating under conspiracy and secrecy. We can imagine how hard it was/is for the leaders of EPRP to lead such societies. This was Revolutionary of the first order, changing the Ethiopian Software, long before digital age advanced. The “animal group” aka ‘COLLECTIVE LEADERSHIP’ is still intact and functional. It is so natural that it could not be seen by the uninitiated observer.
The all-time Secretive leaders of EPLF
Without history there is neither present nor future. The Eritrean Revolutionary struggle has no history or nobody claim it as an historical fact. All we hear or read is that either Awate or Issaiyas is initiator of the Eritrean Revolution. Nobody seems to win the argument. I know most Eritreans are pioneers but not as
Revolutionary political pioneers.
Nobody seems to convince me that there was a political Revolutionary war in Eritrea; as a result I can only conclude that what has happened in Eritrea was a struggle for Independence from C.I.A. (deciphered as Colonialism-Imperialism-Apartheid). For such belief and position, Secrecy was not necessary means of struggle. That is why the current crisis is happening. In other words, the regime has now become a clandestine revolutionary government. CIA is a centralized agency established for the purpose of gathering intelligence services and it is located in Langley Park, Virginia. There is no secreting about it. The way the
Eritrean government projects CIA is quite amazingly strange. I believe that the leadership of Eritrean government equates the operation and methodology of spying on its own citizens equates with that of CIA methods of gathering data. It is wise to differentiate intelligence service from spy service. The world has changed from analogue to digital age. It will be hugely beneficial for all Eritreans to have access to data and intelligence instead of depending on human spy. The Eritrean Front for democracy and justice cannot be achieved via secrecy and conspiracy.
Conclusion and Suggestions
The letter C is half of the letter S. The TPLF leaders should stop using conspiracy and the leaders of the EPLF should abandon secrecy for all time. It is inevitable that conspiracy leads to mass killings and that secrecy on its own leads also to corruption. Both phenomena are not healthy. EPLF uses language as separator of communities and societies while the TPLF depends on ethnicity for differentiation of societies. On the one hand, Eritrea using language as a criterion for separation from Ethiopia or from its own nationalities may seem a struggle for racial epitaph. While on the other, ethnic identity based on language proposed by TPLF and adopted by EPRDF may seem harmonious on the short run but dangerous in the long run.
The other option is an open book the hallmark of EPRP (Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Party) despite some misconceptions and propaganda machinations.
In Latin alphabet, one can write the name of Ethiopia as Ithiopia, Athiopia or Eathiopia but the correct one is in GEEZ alphabet as ኢትዬጵያ. That means, we each can communicate and understand when we write in Geez/fidel/abugida but perhaps not in Latin letters. Probably that is one main reason why the Shaebias and the Woyannes despise educated people. But the fact of the matter is that education in whatever form is important for civil societies such as ours. By the way shaebias ሻዕቢያ mean people and woyannes ወያኔ mean rebellious. People cannot rebel all the time. They need stability and peace unless of course, their liberties and freedoms are curtailed.
As to my appeal to the Diaspora Ethiopian and Eritrean Communities, I suggest to carefully study the three current global political parties operating and running in the United States, in the European Union (particularly in Germany) and in China as models appropriately emulated for Ethiopia. That would be the task at hand for politicians residing abroad. A copy cat of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism as in the past did not sink in our country —ETHIOPIA— and it will not work just carbon copying China’s one party system, America’s two party system or Europe’s multi party-ism. It is time to learn from the past mistake. The Oromo democratic culture will help us move forward.
And an alternative Eathiopian model would be developed by all willing politicians.
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