By Andualem Tefera
In present day Ethiopia there are two political schools of thought. These schools lead to the political struggle and the actions taking place on our land today. They are diametrically opposed to each other. The first one states that all problems that existed and still exists in Ethiopia emanate from the rulers oppressing Ethiopians at large. This leads to the struggle of Ethiopians to have a say in the political sphere of the country. The oppression of the rulers of the country has many forms and shape but it is all the rulers against the ruled. There is one ruling group and then there is the rest. The rulers own power through the state apparatus and the means of production.
The other school of thought states that what went on in Ethiopia and still goes on today is the oppression of other nations and nationalities by one nation in Ethiopia – stated Amhara. It is the Amharas who rules, it is the Amharas that oppressed, it is the Amharas as a unit that are the problems and the causes of all problems in Ethiopia.
These two schools of thought correspond to the political organizations that exist in Ethiopia today. Those in power in Ethiopia today come from the second school of thought. Those that formed their own liberation fronts and are struggling to “decolonize themselves” from Ethiopia or “secede from Ethiopia” belong to this second school of thought.
On the other hand those that are in the countrywide political organizations and want to get rid of those in power today belong to the first school of thought. Let me make one thing very clear.
If we are serious to change the political system in Ethiopia, we must have an explicitly different vision from the rulers on the land. If we do not have this, then we better stop being dishonest to ourselves and to all Ethiopians at large. There should be a clear distinction between the two political philosophies. This is where I come from. No matter who rules and no matter where the rulers count their ancestral heritage from, it has been the rulers against the ruled. Here I want to add that, no matter how bad TPLF is today, I cannot blame all Tigrayans wherever they are for the action of TPLF. It is the ruling group of TPLF that is responsible for the ills of Ethiopia today. Tigrayans are not ruling us today. It is TPLF and TPLF alone that is ruling us. Now let me focus on why I wrote this article.
Where Is Dr. Zelalem Eshete (PhD) Going With this?
Rulers were not Ethiopians but Amharas? What was perpetuated on the other ethnic groups was done by the ethnic Amharas and not by the ruling class? Were all the ethnic Amharas privileged lot? Are you saying there was no class struggle but ethnic dominance? Here, I am trying to read Dr Zelalem Eshete.
A political thinking has objective. The objective lends the thinking philosophy to the political mind. There is a reason behind each and every political move, every political proposal and every political action. When TPLF blamed the Amhara for all things wrong under the SUN, they have a political agenda of disuniting Ethiopians. And thanks to people like Alemnew Mekonnen and Dr. Zelalem Eshete, even those from Amhara origins are dancing to the tune of TPLF.
It was Alemnew Mekonnen who lectures that the Amharas are poison. And now what is Dr. Zelalem Eshete telling us? Dr. Zelalem Eshete wrote on March 10, 2014 and posted on a number of Ethiopian websites an article: Ethiopia Anew: A Call to Amhara Ethnic People. I read it and reread it. Understanding the fact that this kind of article is draped with a political agenda sent our way. Some may ignore it and give it no attention. Some may call it rubbish and not deal with it. This is a reference for future propaganda work and I felt I need to respond to it. I observed Dr. Zelalem Eshete has written other articles and posted them too.
On this particular article, Dr. Zelalem Eshete calls on the Amharas “. . . to be accountable to the ills of our forefathers.” Does he know what our forefathers did? In short, does he know Ethiopian history?
He started with: “This is a call to Amhara ethnic people from an Amhara ethnic individual.” OK, I have no problem with that but, I would like to make a remark that you do not have to be an Amhara to state what is wrong and what is right, unless you have an objective behind stating that. In reference to the non-Russian Stalin’s extravagant exercise of power of the central government against a minor nation, Lenin stated that if you scratch some communists you will find Great Russian chauvinists. It may not be word for word but it is close and the message is clear. This is to say that you do not have to be from a certain nation to be a mouth piece and a chauvinist of that nation for good or bad.
The good doctor prescribes three-pronged solutions.
A) Confession: deal with the past
Here he meant the Amhara have a unique responsibility of dealing with the past per his description. The Amhara have responsibility for what the rulers of the past have done, be it good or bad. The past is not Ethiopia but Amhara. This emanates from the fact that the Amhara, not the rulers have done terrible things to others and thus need to look back and confess. WOW! I understand someone from the second school of thought promoting this. That is logical since it is the bases for their political philosophy and administrative policy. I can also accept if the good doctor is coming on behalf of that school of thought. Where does his past start and where does his past end? Does the good doctor know the condition of the Amhara right now? Are they still responsible for what is going on in Ethiopia today? Do they still hold the power and need to learn how to behave so everything will be fine? What is the purpose of this confession where the good doctor wants the ARSOADER from MERHABETIE goes to Prime Minister HAILEMARIAM DESALEGN and confesses about what his forefathers did to his forefathers? Does this make sense?
B) Repentance: deal with the present
Unless my understanding of morality lets me down, you repent for what you did and promise not to do it again. The Amhara are not responsible for what Atse Theodros, Atse Yohannes, Atse Minilik, Aste Haile Sellassie or Dictator Mengistu Hailemariam did. On the contrary, those who lived in Megezez, in Wereylu, in MoTa, in Beyeda suffered in those years, under those rulers equally or more than people in the rest of the country. Does the good doctor know the condition of the Amhara right now? Are they still responsible for what is going on in Ethiopia today? Do they still hold the power and need to learn how to behave so everything will be fine? What is the purpose of this repentance? The good doctor wants the Amhara to give back to others what the Amha owes them. The reality is the Amhara are driven away from the land they cultivated for decades and are being killed there. Do you want them to repent for believing they are Ethiopians who can live anywhere in Ethiopia?
C) Discover: deal with the future
Last I checked TPLF is making sure that there will not be an Amhara alive by the end of its term. What future is there for the Amhara? Do you still fear that the Amhara are going to make the future very bad for the others? I cannot say the Amhara think like this or do like this, or behave like this or something like that. The Amhara like any other ethnic in Ethiopia are all over the political space. Some are close to our good doctor – like Alemnew Mekonnen, who has something to gain by promoting the political philosophy of TPLF. This is his ticket to survive. For others like me, it is a reality where Ethiopians that are thrown under the bus. Many are thrown over cliffs. Many are dismembered. Many are displaced. Many have lost all they owned. This is not hair splitting practice of academicians. It is the life of millions of people, be it in the “Amara Zone” or the rest of Ethiopia. You want the Amhara to deal with the future where their future is in the hands of TPLF. Show your true self!
Dr Zelalem Eshete has this to say at the end of his article.
“When we right the wrongs of the past through confession and repentance, then only we are free from the shackle of the past to envision the future together as a family of one. . . In conclusion, fulfilling our responsibility would pave the way for the healing process to begin.”
This in a nutshell is the central message of the article. It is the Amhara’s refusal to fulfill our responsibility by not righting the wrong of the past that our country is in its present predicament. The path to move forward is hampered by the Amhara not accepting its fault. TPLF do not worry, you are not at fault. The good doctor has testified on your behalf, like your paid agent Alemnew Mekonnen.