July 28, 2013
“Fear can break the ice jam and open us up to feel such emotions as hope, relief, and gratitude.”
Harold Kushner, Conquering Fear, 2009
That is exactly what we are currently witnessing in our country after eight- years of fear and silence. Yes, the fear and silence imposed by the late mastermind of the ruling party, Ato Meles Zenawi was challenged by Semayawi Party on June 2nd, 2013. And the very peaceful and legitimate demonstrations in Gonder and Dessie organized by Andint (UDJ) on July 7th, 2013 are very clear evidences of how our real and legitimate fear is paving the way for “hope, relief and gratitude.” Yes, it is beyond any doubt that the ongoing preparations by various opposition political forces such as UDJ, Semayawi, Medrek and all other genuinely concerned groups is to use the fear we fear as a great opportunity to prevent the gravely dangerous fear, the fear of getting the country’s survival at risk, and the fear of not continuing as a people who have lived together for thousands of years. Yes, we presently are witnessing the very encouraging movement of reawakening; the movement that is determined to deal with the fear we fear in an appropriate manner, not running away from the fear we fear. Are we late compared to the huge and serious problem that hit us hard for the last two decades? Yes, we have to admit that we are late. Was and is our pace of moving forward unacceptably slow? Absolutely yes! Now, the question is: Have we learnt a great deal of lesson and decisively ready to move forward and make a difference, or step back and continue suffering from the fear/terror imposed by the ruling circle? I hope the reawakening we are witnessing will move forward irreversibly until the political system we genuinely aspire is met!!
My intention is not either to talk about the fear that is part and parcel of our nature, or the fear we normally have to deal with any given situation we live in. The very purpose of this piece of writing of mine is to reflect the view that the fear we fear as part of our nature or otherwise should serve our legitimate cause; to fight the fear that is caused by a bunch of ruling elites who use fear as their political weapon. It is this kind of fear that should be fought and defeated before it totally and dangerously enslaves us. There is no doubt that one of the most notorious means used by all dictatorial regimes is nothing, but reign of fear and terror.
That is exactly what the ruling circle of TPLF/EPRDF draws its notorious fear/terror card whenever it faces the challenge from the people who have come across the devastating experience for the last two decades. It goes without saying that the tyrannical ruling elites have told and keep telling the people that they (mindless ruling elites) have a well-crafted political agenda as well as plan to perpetuate their power by making the state machine much more brutal and deadly. That should be the gravest fear we really have to deal with.
Yes, there is no doubt that we as human beings are fearful of being intimidated, harassed, arrested/detained, tortured, convicted of being anti-constitution and being punished based on fake and dramatized witnesses, sentenced to life-time/prolonged imprisonment, and being killed/executed because of our demand for political freedom, rule of law, human dignity and socio-economic justice. Yes, we as human beings are fearful of being starved, getting ill and no help, facing man-made or natural disaster, being victims of ignorance. What we have to fear most is not of symptoms; but the root cause of all the untold sufferings we are experiencing, the dirty and deadly political game.
Yes, the people of Ethiopia are fearful of that a bunch of politicians who want to stay in power and satisfy their wildly voracious self-interests at the very expense of their (people’s) lives. The seriousness of the fear and damage the ruling party (TPLF/EPRDF) did to Ethiopia as a country and her people for the last two decades is beyond the magnitude of acceptability.
Let us reiterate some of the gravest fears we have gone through and we continue going through:
- The territorial integrity of the country has been and is being severely compromised. Think about what happened to her (Ethiopian) sea outlet, Asab. Adding salt to the severe injury , the Ethiopian people were both deceived and forced to pay a huge sacrifice (material, finance and lives) for the war that ended up with not only nothing but giving away part of their territory (Badme and other large tract of lands ) . What was more disturbing was when the Ethiopian people were badly fooled, and told to get to the streets of Addis and dance with those ruling elites who had and still have no any sense of honesty.
- I am sure all concerned Ethiopians remember what the late Ato Melses Zenawi responded to the question of the territorial integrity of our country bordering the Sudan. It was extremely outrageous to see and hear the late ato Meles Zenawi presenting himself as a negotiator of the Sudanese government to the extent of saying that the Ethiopian people cannot claim the wide and long tract of land that belonged to the Sudanese. He defended the Sudanese government by referring the arbitrary boarder line proposed by a military officer (general) of the colonial power, the Great Britain.
- We had to be extremely fearful when the late Ato Meles Zenawi responded to the question posed by the then MP of the opposition party about the number of Ethiopian daughters and sons (soldiers) killed in Somalia in the 2006 incursion. He unleashed his arrogance and contempt to the parliament by saying that he did not believe that he is obliged to be answerable to these kinds of questions from any MP. I do not think it would be a mere judgment to say that what Ato Meles wanted to tell us was that soldiers perished in Somalia belonged to his party , not to the people of Ethiopia. Was that not extremely scary and shocking, not simply fearful?
- What happened to the Agnuwak ethnic group in the Gambella region with the full knowledge and order of the ruling party (led by Ato Meles) was a horrible politically motivated genocide. What was and is extremely disturbing to witness the ruling party’s effort to justify the genocide it committed. It is this and many other similar devastating political games we have to fear and decisively fight against.
- How many innocent Oromos have become victims of a deadly political agenda and practice under the pretext of supporting the OLF? How many innocent Ethiopian Somalis have suffered and continue suffering under the pretext of supporting ONLF? How many innocent Ethiopians from various ethnic groups have gone through and continue going through an incredible level of misery for the simple reason they have tried to exercise their basic political freedom and human dignity? It is all these and so many other extremely fearful situations we need to deal with seriously.
- How many innocent citizens who tried to express their concerns about getting their votes stolen by the ruling party in the 2005 election had been intimidated, harassed, and beaten up/tortured, jailed and killed? The people have been forced to live under a state-terror that was declared by the late Ato Meles Zenawi on the same day of the election. It is this kind of political madness that made the people to live under horrible fear for the last eight years. And that is why the current reawakening movements by genuinely concerned opposition political parties and human rights groups are signs of “hope, relief and gratitude” that emanated from a reasonable fear.
- Think about the untold sufferings of thousands of innocent Ethiopians including journalists, opposition political party members and supporters, people who represent the people who cried out for religious freedom (particularly Muslim Ethiopians) in the hands of the suppressing machines of the ruling party. I do not know what else we have to fear if all these and other evil-driven political dramas do not make us worried and fearful.
- Imagine how the inner ruling elites of TPLF/EPRDF who declare day and night that they are determined to continue the legacy of their late “great leader”,Ato Meles Zenawi do keep making a very dangerous political madness. They wrote and made a very stupid film/drama of “Jihadi Harakat” on those members of the committee whose cases have been said to be court cases. Now, they are working hard to come up with another senseless and idiotic drama on the peaceful demand for religious freedom by Ethiopian Muslims that has already entered its second year. Is this not a very dangerous fear that has to be defeated with a well-coordinated and determined struggle? I strongly believe it has to be defeated!
- Those brain- children of the late Ato Meles Zenawi have shown their determination of carrying on his legacy by forcing (horrible deportation) thousands of innocent Ethiopians from regions they lived for so many years as responsible citizens. What is deeply troubling about this very ugly and criminal step is evicting Ethiopians from their own country based on the language either they speak or they used to speak. Is this not a tragedy to the people who are truly pride of their country? Is this not a very dreadful fear that has to be dealt with a very powerful popular protest and civil disobediences? Absolutely it has to be tackled and defeated before it goes out of control!
- The “great legacy” of the dirty political drama has now opened a new campaign against the very encouraging movement of reawakening since June 2nd 2013. Of course, the methods being applied in this nasty campaign are neither surprising nor unusual. The only thing that sounds different is the absence of the most notorious mastermind of those ugly games, and consequently the serious state of desperation of the ruling circle. It must be underlined that this state of madness of the ruling party is the most dangerous fear that we need to encounter and defeate it before it is too late.
- The tyrannical ruling circle tries hard to fool the people with their cheap propaganda of “developmental state/government” as if their self- enrichment through their corrupt political game is good for the people whose life styles are becoming unbearably miserable day-out and day-in. Carne Ross ( The Leaderless Revolution –How Ordinary People Will Take Power and Change Politics in the 21st century,2011) is absolutely right when he argues, “The issue of political rights segues into whether economic rights have any vitality in Africa South of the Sahara. The fundamental question raised, however, is whether the question of human rights is even a consideration in Africa. The answer is exceedingly disturbing.”
Let me sum up my point of view by saying that unless we move forward with a well- thought, well- planned, well-coordinated, and firm political action ; there is no doubt that we will be defeated by the fear we fear and there is a danger to be enslaved by the evil- driven political agenda of the ruling party. I am reasonably optimistic that we will fight and defeat the gravest fear before it is too late!