Ethiopia: New Year, New Idea! 2016!

By Andualem Tefera

Yesterday was 2015 and today is 2016. It is customary for individuals and organizations alike to look back at the year that is ending and visit the most important phenomena for them in the year. The purpose of this visit is to determine what worked, what did not work, what needs fix and what needs to be kept vis a vie the goals set for that year. For each Diaspora Ethiopian, there is nothing more important than the political struggle of the people against the TPLF ethnic dictators at home. The stagnant climate for the opposition in the face of an aggressive TPLF’s advance in every front needs strong scrutiny. Is there progress or no progress? Did we gain any steps forward, did we digress or are we where we were the year before?

Of course some will say we have progress and others will say no there is no progress. There lays our problem. We have now developed a new way of seeing things. Each of us has now put on our specified special organizational glasses. We see everything in terms of “What is in it for my organization!” We do not have an Ethiopian glass where we all see the same thing and give the same analysis for what has happened! Mind you, it is for what has happened. It is not for what must happen, which is logical but for what has happened!

Many have written on the need for a united front and have laid out ways to meet that need. Until it comes from the major players, until all the shareholders see the need in the same manner, and until there is a personal touch forcing each one of the majority non-committed Diaspora Ethiopians, until, without our participation, the home based organizations take over all the reigns of the revolt in unison, the ethnic dictator will stay in power. That has not been achieved in 2015. Is this going to be the same story at the end of 2016? Although there seems to be nothing to make me believe otherwise, I still hope this will change. For now, let me see what has happened in 2015. Of course as it happened in the past, the main course has been condemning TPLF, deploring its actions, writing about TPLF in webpages, cursing TPLF in Paltalk rooms, detailing its actions in radio programs and the like. Well this is not a page for TPLF so I am ignoring it and focusing on our part.

Each political organization within or outside of Ethiopia had its goals for 2015 and looking back, it sees progress or digression on its goals. Some have formed collation with one or more of their kinds and some have created alliances with others likewise. Surely, almost all have paid great sacrifices of one kind or another. Other organizations also count their own chickens and look forward for their eggs. G7 people will say “We launched our armed struggle in Eritrea!” This is a major progress for G7. True, a major progress for G7. Others who are not associated with G7 will point that as a G7 business and it has nothing to do with them or with Ethiopians at large. Will this take us to the Promised Land? Is this the way we want to continue? I do not think so.

The most important ideological difference the Ethiopian people have against TPLF is the ethnicity of Ethiopian politics. True the biggest elephant in the room is ethnic politics. In TPLF world, there is no Ethiopian politics, an Ethiopian individual, an Ethiopian issue, everything is ethnically defined. For the Ethiopian people; there is luck of food, luck of property, luck of freedom, luck of democracy, luck of air to breathe. This is the demand of all Ethiopians. The people want to be heard. They want their votes counted. They want to send their own representatives to the city council, to the zone administration, to the parliament and the like. They want to do their daily routines without the interference of the TPLF government. These all are not ethnic issues. They are issues of all Ethiopians. They want to get rid of TPLF. This is not an ethnic issue. There is no an Oromo issue, an Amara issue, a Somali issue, an Agnwak issue, an Ogadenee issue, but an Ethiopian issue. There is no Muslim or Orthodox issue but Ethiopian issue. TPLF has made them all Ethiopian issues. This is the central point of the struggle. The struggle is for representation, freedom, democracy and liberty.

Add to this our agreement on what must follow and we will have our resolution for 2016. This unites us.  If we do not agree on what must follow after the removal of TPLF, then there is no unity of purpose and the circular struggle will continue. Again, the biggest elephant in the room is ethnic politics. Some are afraid the shift from an Ethiopian identity to ethnic identity has send deep roots in Ethiopian politics and has reached a crisis stage and is irreversible. I disagree. In fact I strongly disagree with that notion. Here is why.

B6PZVp5IIAARrYpYes TPLF has made ethnic politics its modus operandi to take power and sustain itself in power but, the underlying cause of this ethnic based political identity is not just a TPLF ideology. As a matter of fact, this ethnic politicization is not only pursued by TPLF and its camp but also in the camp of the struggling crowd. Just look at the liberation fronts cluttering our political sphere! This is how I face it and make sense out of it.

Ethnic politicization is a rebellion against oppression, be it in the form of a rebellion against those in power or against the predominant ideology on the land. The revolt, as described above, is against lack of food, lack of land, lack of equality, lack of freedom. The face of the rebellion is youth that is looking for survival, food, employment, opportunity, and acceptance. This face is the future, a future based on freedom, equality, development, progress, and a democratic government. And these are not ethnic properties that are locked in ethnic enclaves. These are united universal demands of all those under dictatorial regimes. In our case they are demands against TPLF. Those under TPLF are one. Their suffering is the same. What they want is the same. They are one in their desire to get rid of TPLF and form a government that is responsible to its people. What is lacking is the leadership that puts forth forward looking vision, comes out with a uniting mission and train the future leaders of our country. This should be our 2016 goal.

On the other hand, the Diaspora Ethiopian community must understand its role in the struggle of the Ethiopian people against TPLF. The people in Ethiopia are the ones that are faced with the daily atrocities of TPLF. They are the ones that are suffering and are struggling. It is easy to say “why don’t they do this or why don’t they do that!” sitting in our comfortable living conditions outside Ethiopia. The fact is they are struggling with whatever opening is available to them. They are creating holes where there is not any. They are persistently following rules when the rules are a means to stop them from struggling. They are making it difficult for TPLF to rule as it desires. No body disputes the fact that it is only when they get up and stand up that TPLF will be destroyed. Their struggle will make TPLF come to its knees and force it to change or die with its ideology. Let those of us who want the people to succeed get together and support them! We shall make it possible for them to be together and fight together against TPLF.

Of course some amongst us are determines to the voice of the people, the organization of the people, the liberators of the people and are organized in liberating organizations, be it regional or countrywide. Some, including this writer, are committed that only the people at home, who are facing the abhorrent conditions of an ethnic dictatorial TPLF rule, are the liberators. They themselves are the leaders of the struggle and are the owners of and will do so without doubt. TPLF did not liberate Tigray or Ethiopia! It took power and displaced Mengistu! PERIOD.

What is your resolution for 2016?