by Yilma Bekele
Can the winds of change in Ethiopia qualify for the ‘spring’ designation? The world has witnessed ‘Prague spring’ in former Czechoslovakia, ‘Orange Revolution’ in Ukraine, ‘Rose revolution in Georgia’ and the ongoing ‘Arab Spring’ that should be named ‘Arab Winter’.
The old Soviet Union crushed Prague Spring (1968), Ukraine is still in turmoil and lost part of its territory, Georgia is barely functioning and Arab spring has turned into Arab nightmare. The First Ethiopian Spring some of us predicted back in 2011 did not happen. A lot paid plenty because Meles Zenawi panicked. He blamed it on my brother Eskinder. A strongman’s panic causes untold suffering.
Is this our second attempt to be engulfed by spring fever? The Czech’s were given a second chance (1989) and they used it like magic. You know what they called their do over? ‘The Velvet Revolution.’ They said that is not soft enough and it was renamed ‘The Gentle Revolution.’ “የ ደ ላ ው ሙ ቅ ያ ኝ ካ ል)
Well my Ethiopian friend this is your chance to shine. We are displaying all the necessary signs to qualify as experiencing an ‘Ethiopian spring’. The gulags are being emptied, the media has sort of flipped and we got a charismatic leader in Dr. Abiy. Only Czechoslovakia has a popular leader in Alexander Dubcek. He is their Abiy. This is where I stop the comparison. It tock Dubcek two tries to get rid of the puppet government. I am sure our Abiy will do a lot better.
Now if we do not want to end up like the ‘springs’ that imploded, it is good to learn from their failure and try to come up with ways to tip the balance in our favor. We have a few advantages over the others. They faced formidable opponents. The Czechs, Ukrainians and Georgians were going against the Soviet Union while the Arabs were fair game to both the West and the East that created private militia, spread fake news and employed economic aggression.
Our situation is a little different. The Tigrai Woyane clique farcical philosophy of ‘Revolutionary Democracy’ was so absurd the dead dictator could not define it. Needless to say he did not leave a ‘how to’ manual for his blind followers to finish his dark vision. It is fair to say Woyane way of thinking did not take roots. All available evidence shows the ill-fated thinking did not get traction even in Tigrai its birthplace. The election of Mr. Donald Trump with his constant quibble with the Europeans and the ascendancy of China both economically and militarily have given us a respite from their benevolent interventions. We have a window of opportunity to try to do something good for ourselves.
So how are we using this God given opportunity to move the cause of Freedom and Democracy forward? How are we translating twenty-seven years of abuse into something positive that will start the process of rebuilding our country? The last two months have been a time of ‘breaking news’ by the hour. Due to proliferation of Mass Media even in its infancy no one group can dictate the tone and delivery of the news.
Our discussion has moved to a higher level. I am not presumptuous enough to think that we are building a Nation. Our illustrious ancestors have done that. I say that because our country has survived a cancerous tumor called Woyane that tried to undo centuries of work.
I was one of those that were fanning the flames of impending dissolution of Ethiopia. I apologize for my lack of faith in the strong bond that has been forged between our people through hundreds of years that cannot be broken so easily. I misjudged the paper tiger called Woyane for a real one. But still the strength and tenacity of all Ethiopians in protecting their country from those that tried to dismantle it is a colossal achievement that will be told for generations to come. Daddy/Mommy where were you when the twenty-seven years war with Woyane was being waged by brave Ethiopians is the question of the future.
The real work has begun. We are starting from scratch here. Woyane has infected all sectors of life. They did not leave anything to chance but organized, planned and executed a nefarious plan to control us and change us in their image. All our top military people have been forced out, the judiciary was made an arm of the TPLF Party, and the Parliament was a playground of the Woyane Politburo to the extent of being forced to amend the Constitution in one weekend. Their family quarrel was settled by tinkering with Ethiopia’s Constitution. Their current crocodile tears regarding the danger to the Constitutional order sounds hollow. Kindly shut up and sit in the corner.
We have more than a responsibility to fix what is broken under our watch. This is the time when cool heads prevail and lead the dialogue based on experience, expertise and wisdom. They do not decide for us but they present the choices in a coherent manner so we all decide intelligently. Building from scratch requires painstaking attention to details.
The piece by caring Ethiopian educators titled ‘Rethinking the Ethiopian Transition: Identifying the sticky issues and prospects for reform’ is a good place to start. The issue of ‘peaceful political transition’ from dictatorship to democracy requires some careful thinking. Important points are raised and they require answers. The conclusion is always better if a all stakeholders participate to discuss the best way to go forward. This is where experts are required to untangle the many solutions and present it in a way most of us understand.
Many questions are being raised because the old order has imploded without so much as a two weeks notice. Well not that fast but sooner than most of us expected. Do we need a transition government or the two years before the next election could be considered one? If so what are the rules that govern the country regarding the press, human rights, freedom of expression, assembly etc. you know basic stuff denied by Woyane.
There is also the question of how to deal with the twenty-seven years of abuse. There is the South African model of Truth and Reconciliation. That creative approach to resolving a national problem has been studied and improved upon. Can we adapt that to our situation and build on it? They call it ‘restorative justice’. It is different than what was employed during de-nazification of Germany. The Nuremberg trials employed the retributive method that was based on punishment proportional to the offense. I doubt Woyane will be receptive to that.
Fight or flight is on the agenda in Tigrai Kilil. The Ethiopian side is talking of peace and looking at the bright future. The PM Dr. Abiy has shown good faith and spoken emotionally about the need for coming together in the spirit of peace. His charisma and common sense approach to grave situations has managed to reduce our anxiety level and fear for the future of our country. That means a lot to Ethiopians. The last two decades have not been good to us. Of course we thank Dr. Abiy and his team for creating a positive atmosphere where everything and anything is possible.
Reconciliation is a two way street. The civilized way is to know when one has lost and save honor by fighting no more. The second and destructive way is to fight it out until one is knocked out motionless. In today’s Ethiopia it is plain and clear that Dr. Abiy Ahmed leads EPRDF. The satellite organizations created for effect have come of age. That’s is political loss. Free Media is operating inside the country and Internet blocking is old news. The press has been liberated. Key Military and political Woyane appointees are let go and the internal security is being restructured. What’s left one might ask. Money is the answer. A lot has been stolen and stashed away and the question is would that be used to bring the old order back?
We are entertaining new ideas and looking for solutions to fix what Woyane has broken. We are trying to safeguard our spring. Ethiopians are carefully managing the wonderful seed that has sprouted out a Freedom tree. Ethiopians are carrying water from the river, applying fertilizer and carefully pruning our Freedom tree with PM Abiy in charge.
Guess what? Woyane is doing everything to kill our Freedom tree. They attempted to assassinate the caretaker, they have tried to poison our water contaminate the fertilizer and disrupt our farmhands. As usual they are sending boys to do a man’s job. The recent outburst by Comrade, Dr., General ……… shows they have not learnt a lesson. The speech by Debretsion the warlord of their Kilil is disheartening. Both supposedly highly educated people with the highest title as a PhDs. are unable to see the storm that has gathered against their zero sum ideology. They are actually sitting in their little enclave and asking the people of Tigrai to circle the wagon to protect their criminal ass. Today they are saying we Ethiopians are mad at our brothers and sister in Tigrai and are threatening to do harm to them.
They have not come up with any proof of organized group that has come up with such vile idea. They cannot tell, one instance of such crime being committed. It is because there is no such conspiracy or would it find good reception among Ethiopians. They are transferring their fears into us. So today they are declaring Tigrai means Woyane and Woyane is Tigrai. It is not a winning tactic. So where were the people of Tigrai when a few TPLF Politburo members and their families were living it up. Where is the twenty-seven years of development you kept alluding to that was especially done for Tigrai. Tigrai Kilil is as destitute as the rest of Ethiopia. Tigrai children are not going to pay again for the greed of a few.
It is time for Tigrai people to reject Woyane. The toxic collection of criminals, misfits and soulless individuals has done enough damage. They managed to stifle the dreams of aspirations of one hundred million people. The managed to fight with all our neighbors and got us encircled by hostility. Do you notice they have managed to do the same to Tigrai kilil. They grabbed land, pushed people of their ancestral land to create a buffer and for themselves but instead elevated the anxiety of their people. Wolkite is on fire, Raya is not happy and Eritreans are watching closely all because Woyane mad dog managed to create animosity. We urge the beautiful people of Tigrai to encircle Woyane and sit them down for a few question answer session.
The truth of the matter is we have a long way to go to feel that we are out of the woods. The toxic philosophy of narrow ethnic based thinking will take time to correct. The culture of greed, lawlessness and mistrust was not built in a day. The ruined economy with its fake double-digit growth has left the vast majority of our youth in dire situation. That will take time to address. Developing respect for knowledge and listening to experts in their field is not going to be easy. With their bought degrees and fake credentials Woyanes have made a mockery of the learning system.
The bright side is we have a people that are waking up from deep sleep. We had brave souls that paid the price so today we can think of a beautiful day to come. We have a good leader that has emerged from the womb of Woyane and he speaks like us, he listens like us and he has a killer smile that will melt even Woyane’s heart. Not really Woyane is heartless.
by Yilma Bekele