Today’s problem yesterday’s solution

By Yilma Bekele

Barack Obama told the American people that you couldn’t solve a 21st. century problem using a 19th. Century mind set. The old prescription by Bush and company weren’t working. He promised that he would look at the issues from a different perspective and introduce new rules and regulations appropriate to the times. He is doing just that. That is what is called leadership.

Our country Ethiopia is faced with the same old problems. Absence of participatory democracy is number one. The lack of democracy and the absence of respect for human rights have a cascading effect on all other national affairs. If the foundation is shaky the house will fall. A nation built on the whim of one man is no different. It is constantly teetering on the verge of catastrophe.

It is obvious that we do have lots of problems in Ethiopia. It is out there for all to see. There is no hiding it. The treasury is empty. The famine is relentless. Unemployment among the youth is double digits. The migration of the young and able goes unabated.

What are we doing about it? That is the shame of it all. The government in power is doing nothing or rather doing the wrong thing to solve the problems. The regime spends more time explaining why things went wrong instead of making things right. Famine is blamed on the weather, unemployment is blamed on international economy and lack of democracy is blamed on the opposition.

Hardly a week goes by without the regime uncovering some kind of nefarious plan to overthrow the ‘constitutional order’ what ever that means. You would think seventeen years is long enough for the cadre’s government to take roots. Seventeen years is time enough for a baby to be born, finish primary and secondary education and enter college. Seventeen years, and one is considered an adult. TPLF suffers from mental deficiency of the highest magnitude.

Judging from the activities of the regime it is easy to conclude that staying in power consumes more time than growing the economy and working for the welfare of the nation. The police state spends more resources in trying to root out perceived enemies. It is like so many enemies so little time.

Because we are constantly inundated by new charges, accusations and drama that we are forced to shrug it off. What now! is our question in unison? What now indeed? Just think of the last four or five months in the life of the TPLF regime.

· The Ethiopian Army was unceremoniously kicked out of Somalia.
· Somali Ethiopians were rounded up and thrown in jail.
· Judge Birtukan was taken back to Kaliti.
· Moneychangers were declared national enemy.
· Coffee merchants were accused of sabotage.
· Indicted criminal Bashir was thrown on our face.
· Ginbot 7 was charged with attempted coup.

Where do they find the time to govern? Managing the affairs of eighty million people is not a part time job. Managing a sick and backward nation is a very serious task. It seems like the TPLF regime has vowed not to let a week go by without finding new enemies. It looks like the flavor of the week is Ginbot 7.

It was with great fanfare that the regime displayed a few guns, explosive devices and an old computer that was allegedly seized by the security forces. Thirty-five people were hauled in front of good old Judge Adil or some one like him and thrown in jail. As usual the police asked for additional time to manufacture more evidence. Ato andargachew Tsgie’s father who is eighty years old is one of the alleged conspirators. Ato Muluneh Eyoel reminds us that this is the second encounter Ato Tsgie Hatemariam had with the Ethiopian government. Thirty years ago the Derge gunned down his young son and he was made to search for the body in a pile of victims and was charged $100 for the bullet. But soon after Derg cadres removed the body from the casket claiming the government is unwilling to release it to the family ( It is so sad we have to witness such inhuman act against our father.

It is also an indication of the mindset of those in charge. It is a sure sign that their brain how ever small has frozen in time. It is unable, unwilling or refusing to move to a higher level of looking at the big picture. It is still set to function as a liberation front bent on fighting to liberate a village instead of governing a country. The fact that the war is over and now it is time to build and grow is refusing to sink in. TPLF is still fighting EPRP.

Using yesterday’s method to tackle today’s problem. That is TPLF in a nutshell. They are preparing for one of their show trials just like their mentor Stalin. They of course assume that those opposed to them are operating using the same old principle. How wrong they are. The Ginbot7 and Andenet we know seem to approach the problem from a completely different angle. They do not subscribe to palace coup, conspiracy, backroom deals or power at all cost. They believe in the slow deliberative process of teaching the people, working with the people and trusting the people. They are not into shortcuts. They do not convince the population by pointing out how rotten Woyane is but rather by what good they have to offer. They are not into setting out one tribe against the other but they are into including all under one tent. They are not about selling our sovereignty to the highest bidder but safeguarding our national integrity. They are the future Ethiopia.

The new way we fight oppression is completely different. It is not all about going into the bush and raising an army. It is not about coming from the countryside alone. That is an old and tired method. It is but a small component of the re liberation of our country. The new weapon of choice is empowering the people. It is about making people realize their collective power. It is about waking up that old Ethiopian spirit of pride and fierce nationalism. The Derge did a lot of damage to our national psych. Woyane has been trying to extinguish the flame of Ethiopiawenet.

The 2005 general elections woke up the sleeping giant. We in the Diaspora like our brethren at home have been infected with democratic fever. You cannot put the genie back in the bottle. We have built a lethal force that is growing by the day. There are patriotic groups organized in all continents. The new US Congress is getting ready to pick up the Ethiopian Human Rights bill, there are groups working on classifying Ethiopian coffee as ‘blood coffee’ just like ‘blood diamond’, there are Ethiopians working to teach World Bank and IMF about Woyane’s habit of confiscation of private property and there are citizens gathering evidence for International Court of Justice. We have become good at rallying our forces to petition your bankers to see the monster they have created. Sooner or later we will force them to do what is right. We mean to cut Woyane’s oxygen supply and suffocate the varmint. We can do it. We will do it. London was a show of force. There will be many London’s to come.

We understand all this noise coming out of Arat Kilo is to confuse the issue and cover up the utter failure of seventeen years of mismanagement. It is an attempt to get us out of focus. Do we fight for Judge Birtukan’s release; do we concentrate on the coffee debacle, publicize the lack of basic freedom before the coming elections or wonder about the so-called coup? TPLF is throwing all kinds of issues to distract us. TPLF would like to be a moving target. Too bad we are familiar with that game. We know the regime is the ultimate drama queen. The quintessential cry baby always blaming others for its own failures. The OLF is trying to destabilize me, the Eritreans are invading me, the jihadists are threatening me, Andenet does not exist and now Ginbot7 is using the army to overthrow the constitutional order.

Unfortunate for TPLF it is not just thirty-five people but more like thirty five million. It should be clear by now that there is no jail big enough to hold the opposition. We are all Ginbot7.