By Yilma Bekele
It has been two weeks now since our conversation has been revolving around the dictator. We know for sure he is not well but beyond that no one has come up with any credible explanation for his absence. Rumors, counter rumors, news updates, breaking news have become so ubiquitous Meles Ashebari Zenawi has taken over all the news. His illness has managed to show our psychological make up and our current level of interpreting the news and how we act on it.
As usual what we present in public and what we say in private are two aspects of our forever split personality. Privately we are filled with glee and can’t wait to show our unsurpassed pleasure at his demise while officially we are pictures of reserved behavior and civilized pleasantries. Our reporters did not fare any better. Their updates are based on rumors; unvetted news and personal wishes bundled as current information. We have plenty of work to do.
It is a shame that our media can’t even send someone to St. Luc University Hospital in Brussels and report the news. They might not be able to get his charts but I am sure it is possible to confirm he is there and is receiving medical care. I am also sure there are sympathetic Ethiopians, fellow refugees and well meaning Belgians who work there and that are willing and forthcoming with his condition anonymously. It is the job of the reporter to search and look under the stone to uncover news of interest. I am also sure with a little legwork it is possible to confirm the comings and goings of the dictator from Bole airport with all the details that make the story credible. This idea of using the ‘National inquirer’ method of reporting is not what we deserve.
The failure of our media has become the cause of this tsunami of mis information, dis information and Woyane lies that has made our understanding of the situation very shameful and ugly. It has added unnecessary aspect to the event and made us digress from the point at hand that is discussing the repercussions of the incapacitation or death of the dictator.
It is very disconcerting to see that we have become uninvolved spectators of our own story. Instead of the foreign media coming to us for explanation and analysis we the subjects are reduced to quoting AFP and Bloomberg to tell us about our own affair. I would have found it a lot better and interesting if our reporters paid attention to the people that would be affected by the unfolding event and given us different perspective from our own point of view. Plastering our websites with what some ferenji said sitting in his London, New York or Nairobi office does not make the news any credible. Interviewing people in Ethiopia, Washington DC, Cape Town or Beirut on how they feel about the news, how it will affect them and what their worries are is a better way of gauging the pulse of the public. As usual we validate ourselves by what others say about us.
As it stands now this unhealthy emphasis on the health or illness of an individual has managed to dominate the conversation instead of using the opportunity to blaze new trails and focus on what should be done to bring freedom and democracy to our suffering ancient land. That is where I want to gear this conversation since our ever-loving God has presented us with a good opportunity to bring a new dawn and a bright future to mother Ethiopia.
We have to stop reading the tealeaves or in our case the coffee cup and telling our people who is up, who is in or who is out. In the scheme of the on going situation it really don’t matter and this obsession with idiot personalities does not do our situation any good. What we got here is as follows. Meles Ashebari Zenawi is not well. What ailment he is suffering from is not really important. If we know whether he will make it or not will be good to know, but even that is not that important to the conversation we should be having. We know there are no rules of succession in cases like we are confronted with now. He was the person in charge and he determines who comes after him due to the fact that he controls the economy thru control of the Banks and Party affiliated businesses. He controls the military thru appointment of all high-ranking officials from his Tigreans ethnic group; He controls the Security, Federal Police and the Judiciary. He controls body politics by the creation of all the satellite ethnic parties and the Parliament. Control of all these vital organs of government enables him to control the civil service and bureaucracies thus achieving a total strangle hold on our country.
This is the situation in a nutshell. His incapacitation or sudden death leaves a big void. That is the void we should be discussing on how to fill so we avoid the situation that created the problem we find our selves in at the moment. Spending our time and energy on gossip, Mamo kilo stories and idiotic fantasies is not going to help. What are the forces that are arrayed in front of us to sabotage transforming our nation on the path of democracy and freedom? The one and only stumbling block facing us no other than the TPLF party. It is the only entity that will work overtime and pay any sacrifice to keep the status quo. The current arrangement of forces has been very kind to TPLF and the Tigrai ethnic group asscociated with it. Denying this fact is willful ignorance. This does not mean others have not benefited from the way things are today but the fact of the matter is that like little puppies they are satisfied by sniffing and picking up crumbs thrown their way. I doubt any one will claim to have sat on the same table as the TPLF and gotten a fair share of the Injera on the Meseob. Claiming otherwise is denial of reality.
Our job is to find a way to use the current confusion in the ruling junta and confronting them, intensifying contradiction among them and creating the conditions for inheritors of this broken system to think twice before embarking on costly repair of a rotten system that is currently on life support. This is not done thru talk or this current love affair of peaceful revolution. This fantasy has to be laid to rest. It is a smoke screen and utterly useless scenario advocated by none other than TPLF and the educated but ignorant among us. Talk unless transformed into action is nothing other than a complete waste of time. I am not even going to dignify such concept by giving a rational answer. You can keep talking but please leave me out of it.
‘Non violent resistance’ or ‘Peaceful resistance’ is one of those terms that is being bastardized by us brave Ethiopians. It has become the answer by those who are afraid to get their fingers dirty by actually doing something unpleasant as following talk with action. The truth of the matter is peaceful resistance by the oppressed does not mean their plea for freedom will not be answered by violence by the regime that feels threatened by any kind of change. That is how the situation in Syria started by ordinary people demanding a breathing room. The regime has not stopped the killing but at least now they are getting their own medicine back. I am sure all sane Syrians would prefer for the violence to stop but that is not going to happen. Assad and his Alawit tribesmen are not willing to share power and the people are not willing to be treated like second-class citizens in their own country. Check counter check is in play.
In Ethiopia the regime is in the process of trying to buy time to resolve the contradiction created by the dictator in deathbed. The system worked when one person was in charge but now they have to come to some kind of understanding to be able to keep their criminally gotten power and wealth. As is the case always thieves find themselves in a state of contradiction not during the robbery but during the sharing of the loot. It is important we stop being spectators in this drama but find a way to force ourselves on the stage so we can be part of the play. The Ethiopian people and all opposition have to dig deep into their resources and devise ways to sabotage this deal-making going on. You can call it anything you want whether non-violent resistance, civil disobedience, sabotage or anything as long as it is geared to create havoc on the current illegal structure that has been destabilizing the health and well being of our people. It can assume the South African way where they burned tires and apartheid dogs and closed the streets, the Libyan way of taking one village at a time, the Syrian way we saw today of vaporizing those that conspire together to kill their own people, the Egyptian way of convincing the Military to refuse illegal orders to shoot or the EPRP way of dealing with enemies of the people to set example to others waiting in line.
I can see the empty cry from well meaning people, the condemnation by pretentious friends and the crocodile tears by the peaceful resistance advocates. Please spare me your civilized ways. Some will say ‘hey, you are not over there so it is easy to advocate all this’ my response is where have you been the last twenty years when Woyane has been carrying out violence against our people. Where were you 2005 when Meles murdered all those young people and imprisoned over forty thousand of our citizens? I live in good old USA. The violence done against me is mental the violence done against my people is physical. Unless they decide to rise up and confront Woyane the violence will continue unabated. With or without Meles the TPLF violent rule will continue. Our people will live in misery and our children will die in the jungles of Africa, the seas of Arabia and our daughters will be slaves of unsympathetic and degenerate Arabs. Like the brave Egyptians, the resourceful Libyans the gallant Syrians our people have to find that ‘enough’ moment and take the struggle to a higher level. Pleading has not worked. Relying on ethnic identity has not born fruits. Silence is not the answer. Resolute confrontation of evil is the only way. Like the road charted by our Muslim brothers and sisters the only thing that evil is afraid of is unity and resolve.
Let us stop creating useless news and headlines that does not move our struggle forward. Let us not dwell on the machinations of the evil system and its inheritors but focus on our strength and our dreams for our future. Let us stop quoting every ferenji to tell us about ourselves but make our own news and our own analysis. Let us try to do the job ourselves instead of waiting or blaming those that have a completely different vision for our beautiful homeland. Who else can do the job better than us?