BY DR. BEKELE GESSESSE
Cessationist groups and their foreign supporters have been distorting Ethiopian history for quite a long time, for their own selfish interests. Ethiopia is a Country that existed before most of the other countries in the world, including Europe and America. That distortion has brought about untold sufferings to our people. It became an obstacle for sustainable economic progress. At the end of the day, no one became a winner. We all lost together. The problem is getting worse. Let us understand the whole issues, learn from past mistakes and bring democracy and harmony that will be conducive for peace and sustainable development. I am not pretending that I have all the answers but I took it as a personal duty to make a small contribution, based on knowledge, experience and concern for all. Currently Ethiopia is on fire. The reports we receive on daily basis are quite alarming, indeed, in terms of damages inflicted on human lives (including the elderly and pregnant women) as well as properties, based on their ethnic background and religion. Therefore, I beg everyone to look at it in good faith and add their own contribution to peace and stability for all. I chose to write in English to reach as many people as possible, including those innocent Ethiopians who are denied opportunities to speak the Amharic National Language.
Some of the Major Distorted Facts
- Shameless and cheap political groups try to tell us that Ethiopia is not more than 100-200 years old. The existence of Ethiopia goes back to thousands of years. Ethiopia existed before the Era of the Princes (Zemene Mesafint) of the mid 18th and 19th The Era of the Princes was known for lack of effective central government as the Country was divided within itself into various regions. Even then, the Palace of the King of Kings existed mainly in Gondar. Sustainable economic progress could not be made due to lack of peace and stability. Thus, the efforts to re-unify the Country started with Emperor Theodros II and completed by Emperor Menelik.
- In the process of re-unification, there have been casualties (heavy in some places) in terms of lives. This is very sad, indeed. This however, is absolutely different from the historical fabrications of EPLF/TPLF/EPRDF and their cadres such as Tesfaye Gebreab with reference to places such as Anole (and women’s breasts).
- Those casualties have been noticed during the similar moves in the other countries of the world, especially Europe, even with worse incidences.
- On the other hand, the re-formation of a strong central government has protected our entire people from the invading forces from such countries as Turkey, Portugal, England, France, Italy and even Egypt.
- It also facilitated introduction of services especially in education, health, transport and communication, albeit to a limited extent.
- The most serious crimes committed by the TPLF and cadres such as Tesfay Gebreab include the distortion of the Ethiopian history and feeding of venom to the youth. They did not do this for the sake of the Oromo or other Ethiopian people but for the purpose of divide and rule that will allow them to loot the national treasury. The current acts of genocide in many places are the direct consequences of such poisons.
- The facts of the matter are completely different. The Amhara people have never been the enemies of other people. They have never enjoyed more material benefits than the rests of the Ethiopian people under any of the past or present regimes. Please go to Northern Shoa, Gojjam, Wollo or Gondar to see the most severe social and economic hardships faced by those innocent citizens.
- The same is true for the Ethiopian Orthodox religion. Ethiopia accepted the Muslims when they were sent by Prophet Mohammed for safety. Christians and Muslims lived side by side in perfect harmony and peaceful coexistence, sharing everything. The Amhara youth paid one of the highest sacrifices during the protracted struggles for changes in land tenureship, equality and democracy, as witnessed by political scientists such as Dr. Merera Gudina (Ph.D. Thesis).
- Similar nasty and costly historical distortion was committed by the ELF (Eritrean Liberation Front) and EPLF (the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front. The area currently called Eritrea used to be an integral part of Ethiopia until the Battle of Adwa in 1896. Italy lost the war. Everybody thought she was leaving our country. However, she lingered around until she lost again during the Second World War. After the War, the UN facilitated a referendum in which the overwhelming majority voted for federation with Ethiopia. However, the Federation was unfortunately dissolved after about ten years that led to political movements to restore that referendum, first led by the ELF, and eventually by the EPLF. The struggle finally turned into a cessation movement for independence that brought the EPLF into fierce conflicts with Ethiopia forces such as the EPRP (Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Party) that refused to accept the false colonial question. The movement received heavy backing from the Ethiopian external historical enemies in the West as well as the Arab countries such as Syria, Iraq and Egypt.
- In addition, the EPLF played a major role in the formation and development of the TPLF until they came to political power in 1991. As soon as it came to power, the TPLF-led regime in Ethiopia facilitated the fast independence of Eritrea for its own reasons – sole control of political and economic power in Ethiopia.
- Be it the Westerners or the Arab countries, they did not support the cessation movements for the sake of the Eritrean or other people. They did it for their own malicious reasons: to break up and weaken Ethiopia.
- The manifestation of the dirty games is the fates of Eritrean and Ethiopian people who are left with conflicts, poverty and displacements. I strongly believe that our Eritrean people could have benefited better through the restoration of the referendum and peaceful co-existence. The current tension between the Eritrean regime (and its ageing dictator) and the TPLF (Tigray People’s Liberation Front) is also an absolute worry for the stability of those grossly endangered regions who always beat war drums rather than peace. It would have been much better if they worked on regional peace and cooperation on a golden principle of win-win rather than loose – loose. Sadly, they are still there today.
- The TPLF came to political power in Ethiopia due to combined internal and external factors. Internally, it enjoyed the full support from the EPLF while the Derg regime was collapsing due to the series of crimes it committed against the Ethiopian people, especially the youth (and later, highly qualified and experienced Generals) that emanated from its initial utter arrogance of refusing the formation of all-inclusive transitional government and leadership incompetence. Externally, it enjoyed the full backing of the Ethiopian external historical enemies as mentioned above that terminated in the one-sided shameful declaration of the ‘peace’ summit led by the American Representative, Herman Cohen.
- As mentioned above, Ethiopia is currently on worsening fire. The reports we receive on daily basis are quite alarming, indeed, in terms of human life as well as damages to properties. There are forces that are advocating for the break-up of the Nation. Following the retreat of the TPLF political domination, so many people had great hope for the better. We all thought that the EPRDF has learnt from its past mistakes. We hoped for peace and smooth transition through improved Constitution, strengthened institutions and national reconciliation relevant for lasting peace and prosperity.
- The EPLF and TPLF came to power in great harmony. Soon after, we saw an unimaginable degree of animosity that cost lives of hundreds of thousands. The tension is still very high. They need to come to their senses and develop peace, cooperation and mutual development.
- We have been living together and sharing everything in that beautiful Country, Ethiopia for such a very long time. We are thus duty-bound to care for each other. In any society, there are myriads of natural, logical and legal obligations that force people to fulfil their basic individual and group responsibilities. There are obligations to develop shared values to create healthy environment for all.
- Our internal conflicts create fertile grounds for the historical enemies of our Country. Those who came for the scramble for Africa failed in Ethiopia due to our fierce resistances. They felt shame and disgrace. Thus, they always have historical grunge against us, always working on their insane wishes of our disintegration.
- The required task at hand is clear and simple. Victimisation of innocent citizens on the grounds of race and religion should stop. We need to strengthen the Transitional Government. We shall revise and make the required changes to the National Constitution to safeguard our sovereignty, equitable utilisation of our national wealth and protection of our resources, including the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. There is the need to form and strengthening independent institutions. Let us bring national reconciliation and develop law-abiding good citizenship.
- Democratic Ethiopia is better for everybody than a broken country of lasting internal wars on borders and resources. If we have peace and democracy, the country has more than enough to feed its people. Given peace and stability, we have great potentials to develop our nation on a sustainable basis, including higher education, international experiences and dedications.
- With the help of our Almighty God.