By Kidest Abera
I came to know Mr. Andargachew through his extraordinary book that he wrote some years ago. I read it with great interest and found the book extremely fascinating and important. His book was the center of discussion among at least my colleagues while I was at Addis Ababa University. Even though ethnically Andargachew is from both Amhara and Oromo he always sees the larger picture. He has never been narrow. Since the 1960s he has been fighting for the rein of justice, democracy and promotion and protection of human rights in his country, Ethiopia. So clam and a little bit shy is Andargachew that he does not want to be seen as important or influential figure in the country, even if his influence is growing slowly but surely at alarming rate throughout the country. It is very rare to find such a humble and charismatic political leader in the country. His family should always be proud because he has paid the ultimate that he can to salvage his country from hell, dictatorship, lack of rule of law and justice. He made indelible history for the flourish of democracy and human rights in his country.
I believe robustly that he has already sown the seeds of democracy and human rights to grow not only in Ethiopia but also the Horn of Africa at large. He is the only successful person that narrowed the gulf between the extremist parties on both sides of the Amhara and the Oromo groups over their common country. In my view if the difference between the Amhara and the Oromo people is truly addressed I believe that the lingering problem of the Horn of Africa is half solved. In that regard the commitment and dedication that Andargachew has shown us is incredible. For me Andargachew is a glittering candle. He is burnt for me and for the majority of justice longing people of Ethiopia to be a light. Today his pains are my pain. All his pains under the hands of the apartheid regime run through my mind. Andargachew is a symbol of justice. He transcends all the hurdles that we confronted. Tens and thousands of Ethiopians in and outside the country are today appreciating and proudly commanding his unparallel role in the fight against the anti-Ethiopianist group in Addis palace. Today more than ever his ideas of inclusive system for all Ethiopians have got great deal of acceptance in different corners of the country. Even if he may not see the fruits that he has sown his immense contribution shall never be forgotten by the present and forthcoming generations alike.
The rest of us need to take seriously the onus that he left us. The little assignment that is not done yet should be finished as promptly as possible by toppling the apartheid regime in Addis. As he rightly pointed out much of the burden has been on his shoulder. That was indeed true. The only individual in Ethiopian history who refused to live a sumptuous life in Europe and went to fight for the equality of all Ethiopians is Andargachew Tsege. He sacrificed his personal interest for the interest of the public. He is for me a public portrait of citizen. As far as I know no one has ever done such stoical decision at least in Ethiopian context. Now he has shown that path. All the rocky and bumpy roads are already paved by him. It is up to us to travel on that paved road, the road to democracy, equality, respect, dignity and justice. I was pondering for awhile what role I can play in making sure that Andargachew’s agenda of justice and rule of law can be really realized in our country without any discrimination based on region, religion, ethnicity, gender, political opinion and other backgrounds. I found the answer. The simple answer is that cultivating or capitalizing what is already sawn by him: seeds of love, dignity, respect, mutual understanding and fighting up to the end for the prevalence of rule of law and justice. He was fighting not to revenge the minority regime but to make sure that they are also part of the solution to the country. However these guys refused and adamantly rejected his flourishing ideas. History is a testimony. Tomorrow our present killers and our persecutors will themselves testify the noble ideas of Andagachew. Andargachew is pretty lucky because he made history that transcend all the generations. We are all mortal but very few such as Andargachew make history by their blood and upholding truth. He is now in the minds and hearts of millions of Ethiopians. Many cowards will die unceremoniously and disgracefully though. The time has come for us to choose. Those with healthy mind will undoubtedly opt Andargachew’s path.
Andargachew, without any slight of doubt, has overcome hatred by making peace with himself and by respecting and dignifying others. That is why he says he has no any single or individual foe. That is why he says “I am at peace with myself”. This is indeed true. Only those who knew him intimately understand the depth and magnitude of the truth. This has been shown in his stay with different people in and outside Ethiopia. Even while he was in the jungle he was at peace with everybody. He has an uncanny willingness and ability to listen the position or opinions of others. Two of my courageous friends who are members of G7 forces and who are now in the forefront fighting against the apartheid regime in Addis told me just straight that story. They say Andargachew has untold and marvelous history. When the dust is settled his mesmerizing story and gallant deeds will be told. My friends in the jungle are enamored of him. They say candidly that Andargachew had never disappointed any single individual. He never allowed anyone caught fighting against his forces to be punished. He always believed that those Weyane forces captured fighting can be changed into positive force. He went directly and talked to them the agenda of G7 forces and without any exaggeration he has been convincing them to join the G7 fighting forces. He used to do that not through intimidation or forceful means but through a direct and frank talk. A great deal of forces did join the G7 forces after having a frank and honest discussion with the future fate of our common country, Ethiopia. Many ex-Weyane forces are today fighting along our side thanks to the dedication and the extraordinary leadership role he has shown us. They joined us because of Andargachew’s humble and really genuine attitude towards them. Many are in love and respect to his disposition. They shall never forget him. He shall continue to be our spiritual leader. We always uphold his target of liberating our country from the apartheid system put in place by the minority regime in Addis. Of course, the system that we will put in place shall never exclude our oppressors. As he preached us honestly they shall be part of the solution. As he underscores in many forums and discussion G7 forces alone or for that matter OLF or TPLF/EPRDF cannot alone fix the problems that we have. Ethiopians from all walks of life need to come together and find a settlement for our country’s problem. We know that for the time being they will never accept this idea. But when the time comes they would swallow this bitter hard fact. We are saying this not to get acceptance by the few apartheid system advocators but because we believe that that is the only path that will take us to a sustainable solution for the kinds of the problem that we have in our country. Andargachew is a shining star that shines in Ethiopia sky and beyond. No matter what the apartheid system in Ethiopia may say about Andargachew after now on. He is the pearl of Ethiopia and he will always be remembered in history.
May the God of Ethiopia be with you!!
By Kidest Abera