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Revival of politicisation of ethnicity

August 5, 2011

This made me search for Dr. Getachew’s email address to send a polite note why I do not agree and asking him why he thinks that the Ethiopian flag does not represent the Oromos and Ogandens to rally around.

To be honest, I didn’t expect a reply. In fact I feared a defensive or antagonistic reply we often see from Ethiopian politicians but Dr. Getachew understood my anxiety and sent me a reply explaining what he meant and in what ways his approach may not lead to my conclusion.

This put the ball in my quarter and I had to scratch my head and articulate my points. What took me by surprise is that rather than being antagonistic which we often see in Ethiopian politics, Dr Getachew came back with generous reply and even encouraged me to publish what I wrote to start the debate on the public forum.

I found Dr Getachew rational and open minded to discuss any issues. He also promised to come-up with an article to explain his points.

So it is on this basis and Dr Getachew’s suggestion that I am posting my concern for the benefit of the wider public. My concern is about the further politicisation of ethnicity, in what ways it could be dangerous for the survival of the country, whether it can bring about a democratic governance and prosperity in the country.

Below is my reply with a few editions.

Selam Dr. Getahew,

Thank you for your explanation and understanding of my worries. It gave me an opportunity to think and reflect. In my view this is a serious issue that we all need to worry; just in case our action becomes a catalyst for revival of ethnic parties and a contributing factor for the demise of our country.

If Ethiopia is led in to the direction of breakup, ethnic cleansing and an endless war, we cannot escape from judgement of history by pointing our fingers on others.

Even if we do not have a role to play, the future generation would look back at the time where the country comes to an end to ask where these idiots came from to inherit a proud country and reduce her into piles of rubbles and extinction.

History teaches us that while some generations are nation builders, some are nation destroyers engaging in pity squabbles to pass slavery to their children.

Roland Regan is not Abraham Lincoln or Thomas Jefferson but he was a charming cowboy, but he had made one important observation that best describes our situation.

He said: “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them…”

We should not forget that it took only one Indian generation to sell their country to a British East India Trading Company and let many subsequent generations of Indians suffer and humiliated over the span of 400 years.

Already this generation is not going to be remembered for the monuments and Obelisks it erected, the poetry and artistic creations or for inventing iPhone or cracking of human Genome. Its place in history is assured as missionary of destruction through waging mindless civil wars, ideological fanaticism, starvation, ethnic cleansing, terror and making Ethiopians maids to the Middle East.

Millions of people have perished in the last 40 years through ideological driven “uncivil war” and political persecutions and the end is not yet in sight.

The destructive journey that was started over 40 years ago has been eating the country away and has not yet stopped. And yet, there seems to be a lack of intellectual capability and unwillingness to stop and reflect. We are engaged in doing the same thing again and again and expect different results. It is from this perspective that I see the momentum being built for the formation of EPRDF version-2 as the last nail in Ethiopia’s coffin.

Of course, I fully understand your points and motives but I want to bring my worries to your attention. This is to help you think about it from different perspective but not criticise your approach.

Allow me to elaborate in what ways your attempt to bring back the ethnic organisations would have the opposite effect. First, these are self-appointed organisations which represent themselves and we should not assume that they are representative of the ethnic groups.

If we take the logic of first-formed-first-representative, then we may end up making TPLF, OLF, ANDM, etc the only legitimate representatives of the people of Tigray, Oromo, Amhara, Ogaden, Gambela etc.

Appeasing self-appointed ethnic organisations will surely leads to ostracization and silencing of the members of ethnic groups who want to celebrate their Ethiopian identity. If you praise the OLF flag, where does it leave an Oromo person who opposes the views and goals of OLF and want to fly the Ethiopian flag?

Let me give you a good example by telling you what one Eritrean friend who always maintained his Ethiopian identity told me before the Eritrean independence.

He said, at the start, there were many Eritreans who opposed ELF/EPLF arguing Eritrean strong link with Ethiopian. However, he said, it was when the so called the Ethiopian ‘progressives’ came to endorse the views of the secessionist movements that we were reduced to backward individuals who are instruments of the monarchy.

This politician and academic has always opposed EPLF all his life by arguing that the interest of the Eritrean people would not be served by secession of Eritrea except installing two dictators and two flags but the others felt intimidated by the so called Ethiopian Student Movement & “progressive” forces to toe in line with Shabia.

The Eritrean populous and some of the critics of secession had better chance of influencing the course of history for good had it not been, in his word, the “Ethiopian progressives” advocating the views of Shabia and Jebeha.

Since then those who are arguing for democratisation rather than separation are considered traitors not to be given a chance at all. They were intimidated, killed and silenced.

So, endorsing self-appointed secessionist groups as a legitimate representatives of those groups is nothing but knifing of those who still celebrate their Ethiopian identity. It is these groups that should be encouraged, supported and protected.

Our experience with Eritrea should have been a good lesson. ESM and others who call themselves elites of the society thought EPLF and ELF were progressive forces that the Ethiopian left movement can create alliances to fight the monarchy. Once you start nationalism, you cannot put it back on a leash. Nationalism is about “us” and “them”. 
No matter how apologetic and sympathetic one can be, the “them” will never be allowed to have a say in “us” affairs.

An Indian academic who did extensive work on ethnic nationalism define ethnic nationalism to have three features (Kancan Chandra, 2004). 

Ethnic nationalism is ascriptive. First, it has to define “us” and “them”, “insiders” and “outsiders”.

It is exclusionist. It has to block the view of anyone considered an “outsider” no matter what the view of the so called outsider is beneficial. For example, no matter one has a concern for Tigray, Oromia, Ogaden unless one is a Tigrean, an Oromo, or Somali, i.e. an  “insider”, he would not be considered to have the best interest of  the people in the eyes of liberators to be allowed to contribute for the political process.

By definition and birth mark, he/she cannot join TPLF/OLF/OPDO/ONLF etc. It is the same with EPLF and it will be the same with ONLF. No matter how hard Berhanu and Andargachew promote the cause of ONLF, they are outsiders and they will never ever be allowed to influence the course of ONLF.

A good example to look is the relationship between EPRP and TPLF. EPRP had all the sympathy for ethnic rights but it was chased out of Tigray in the 1970s using the same exclusionist strategy. You mentioned that you quoted the Aregawi of 2011 but it is the same Aregawi of the 1970s who had used this exclusionist strategy to lead an army and chase EPRP out of Tigray.

The third thing is that ethnic parties have patronage structure. Ethnic organisations are a cheaper and simpler imitation of the monarchy. There could be only one ethnic representative. It is only one group; one leader has the best interest of the group and can speak for the ethnic or nationalist group. There can be only one TPLF, OLF, and ONLF etc. There cannot be diversity of opinions or choices.  It is for this reason that TPLF fought first the other Tigrean liberation front “Tehat” from the start and EPLF has to fight ELF.

Still, for example, TPLF may tolerate multi-ethnic parties to have a  small stake in Tigray but it will not let another TPLF to emerge. OLF assumes that there won’t be OPDO by the time it reaches for power. But if it exists as an organisation, there is no doubt that it will fight it until it is eliminated. That is why I think the Ethiopian student movement terribly failed to understand nationalism.

Of course, there were no libraries, access to internet, books or media to pick all these basic concepts in the 1970s. Most of the students’ knowledge was based on hearsays rather than material researches. As a result, the students failed to foresee and understand the very nature and potential of nationalism to become an instrument of division.

In a way it may be difficult to blame the likes of Walellegne and co. for indulging in a subject which they didn’t understand. Nevertheless, there can not be a sound and logical excuse for politicians who spent all their life in politics and academics to claim ignorance of the danger.

We should not also forget the cultural settings. The 1970s students were deacons who were serving in churches and who came from deeply traditional religious society. Thus, they took everything not through critical thinking and reflection but through dogmatic view of religion. Put simply politics became their new faith.

As you know, faith is believing in a thing that you could not see, understand or verify. If you can test it and prove it, it will be called science.

They simply abandoned their religious faith to be born again in a new religion, where Stalin becomes the new Jesus Christ. Of course, you know what happened next. Questioning the virtues of the Stalinists view of the world became blasphemy.

This blind faith in Stalin led to righteous indignation and outrage against whoever does not buy the Stalin’s theory of nations and nationalities.

In the beauty of hindsight, one can see a parallel between ESM and modern day Taliban’s of Afghanistan. Both couldn’t possibly think that they could be wrong or there could be an alternative truth to that of theirs. Being brought up during the revolution, I see the same righteousness of their beliefs.

Since then, the world has changed. Marxism has gone bankrupt. The Berlin Wall had come down. The self appointed vanguard of the mass (the new age monarchies of the East) have been swept out of power.  Socialism as ideology was put on trial. And yet, Stalinism is still a governing principle and the mind-set of the revolutionary generation. It is mind boggling to note that many couldn’t think out of this mind-set!

You well know that the government in power is an ethnic based organisation that struggled under the banner of the Stalin theory – nations and nationalities. It claims to fight and die defending the nations and nationalities right to self-determination up to and including secession  And the alternative presented in Washington conference is exactly the same.

The opposition, the likes of ONLF and OLF, are carbon copies of the ruling party in power. They went back in 1991 to set up the transitional government, banned pan-Ethiopian political parties from taking part in the transitional government, drafted the controversial constitution and declared that Ethiopia’s 3000 years ills have been resolved with endorsement of nations and nationalities rights to self-determinations (Article 39).

The other guys, like Dr Berhanu and Ato Andargachew, were also the ones who accompanied TPLF to power, took part in partitioning of the Ethiopian society under imaginary ethnic boundaries, dismantled the national institutions like the army, trade-unions, and pan-Ethiopian institutions, wrote pamphlets why the Amharas need to organise along the “ethnic” line.

Then we were told that the vision of Ato Walelegne has been implemented to start and enjoy the golden 1000 years of peace. We were also told that the old imperial Ethiopia has been dismantled for good in exact manner prescribed by the student movement to be re-created on wilful association of the nations and nationalities.

Now 20 years fast forward, the same guys are working to recreate the failed June 1991 conference. Why? Certainly, not because they have ideological differences with the ruling party but because of the power and privilege they have lost during the power struggle. They are angry because they are pushed out into the cold and back to 9-5 work.

Rather than pausing and reflecting to rectify the mistakes they have made in the last 40 years, they are back again into their comfort zone with the creation of EPRDF Version 2.

Now two ethno-centric political forces are dominating the political arena. One is led by TPLF and the Other by OLF. Out of these two groups, I expected some sort of pan-Ethiopian political forces to have a say, why both cannot bring about democracy, tolerance and prosperity.

What makes me feel sad is that the independent minds appear to shift their goal post to appease/endorse rather than standing firm to present/advocate the Ethiopian cause.

As a long standing political advocate and no member of any ethnic parties, I expected the likes of you to present a compelling case why Ethiopia belongs to all of us, and why we need to rally together under Ethiopian flag, just like united Egyptians, Tunisians and others to bring about a democratic change, equality and prosperity to all.

If you could not speak about Ethiopia passionately and eloquently, who should then? I didn’t write to Ato Andargachew or Dr Berhanu because I believe they are happy to accompany another ethnic political party to power and have few years honeymoon and get a kick on the teeth. But I thought you are different and I expected more.

Any Ethiopian who feels strongly about survival of Ethiopia should not encourage or flirt with flying ethnic flags. Engagement is important. Debate is even better. But appeasement is naivety and making the same mistake again and again. OLF and ONLF were weakened organisations. Now thanks to G7, they are given a new lease of life.

The OLF nationalism, like the EPLF, needs a symbolic enemy and has to invent distinct identity to advance its own distinct and separate national feeling. The same goes to ONLF. As you have seen in the political programme, ONLF doesn’t give a damn to its words to express its feeling towards Ethiopia.

And yet there was no one at the Washington conference to say, hang on a minute, Ethiopia belongs to all of you and please let us not destroy her.

I expected that was your natural role. That is why I felt I have to write to you. I hope when you get the chance next time, you would stand up to make a cause for need for united and democratic Ethiopia for the benefit of all of us. No one lose from a democratic and united Ethiopia.

I didn’t expect a reply and I really appreciate that. Thank you again for taking your time and thought provoking idea. Hope you take my views in good faith.

Regards,

Yared

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51 comments on “Revival of politicisation of ethnicity

  1. Ato Yared,
    What a captivating article. Really excellent and a `must-read`not only for the up and coming generation as a short historical introduction to the present fiasco, but also to any concerned social anthropologist who would be incilned to figure how ethniocentric feaudalism was born and another replicant seems in its pregnancy, about to deliver yet again another resultant baby proto-dictators who want to dance on our heads! I ,for one will oppose these modern day vagabonds by any means necessary,including and upto with the same calibre and instrument they deem necessary to bring to the table.Do they think our country is a guinea-pig?A lab-rat for experiments?
    Ato Yared,Sometimes, good arguments and reasoned debates are the marks of civilised discourse and the preffered option….but it can only take you that far.In the current case of Ethiopia,not only is the incumbent government still wallowing in a twisted version of “democracy” unheard of on this planet,it is also the foremost culprit for the existence and emergence of these merchants of genocide masquerading as represantatves of one ethnic group or another.Who knows though,no one expected the miraculous fallout between Shabia and weyane,where neither seem to have recovered fully…and for it to happen again in a scenario this time these both negatives will cancel each other out! Miracles do happen in Ethiopia.As far as the good Dr. is concerned,i d`nt think he can come up with a plausible answer to your question,he has re-arranged his prejudices to another zero lot,as it will be an irrelevant and an aspirationally opportunistic gush to seek power..Shameful.

  2. I did not know that berhanu nega was responsible for the ethnic balkanization of Ethiopia. Please correct me.

  3. I think the writer is trying to enter unchartered territory when he attempts to take issue with berhanu nega. As far as I know berhanu has never been part of eprdf, be it at its establishment nor afterwards. Of course he had contact with the leadership including meles zenawi. Part of it was personal, with his former campus mates, and part of it professional, as an economist. Before he joined kinijit, he had tried his best to influence public policy in ethiopia by organizing debates, publishing magazines, and commissioning and disseminating research studies from the ethiopian economic association. None of this can be construed as creating or appeasing or promoting narrow nationalism. If berhanu was tribalist he would have created his own gurage liberation front and meles zenawi would be very happy about that.

  4. Now I do not know how the writer can convince us that berhanu could be held responsible for the ethnic balkanization of ethiopia. In fact he, along side with the then kinijit guys, should be applauded for reviving pan ethiopianism through that superbly innovative political art: jolting eprdf from its foundation through peaceful method of struggle. berhanu did not want to hold onto the peaceful way. That is a different issue. If you like his method, you can support him. If you do not like it, you can do nothing. But associating berhanu nega with anything ethnic division and its promotion would be self-defeating for the writer.

  5. the writer has chosen to interpret berhanu’s (G7’s) engagement with olf and onlf in a very unacceptable way. He puts it as if they are hell bent on destroying ethiopia as a nation, which is a deliberate manipulation of the truth. I closely follow G7’s public pronouncements and have read their programmes very carefully. and in every forum and gathering its leaders have made their intensions clear beyond reasonable doubt: they have unambiguously stated that they do not want to work with anti ethiopian elements and in fact the first priority for them to engage any dissident group is recognition of the ethiopian state and consensus on the need to accommodate our political and economic problems through democratic means.

  6. May be olf and onlf are exploiting berhanu’s reputation to get wider political support to hasten eprdf’s demise and achieve their goal of secession amidst chaotic conflict and violence. This is no wild speculation. Olf and onlf have never been seen waving Ethiopian flags. Their official websites still refer to us as ‘Abyssinian colonisers’ and their goal is no different than that of Shaebia. They have entry in English and Arabic but not in the working language of Ethiopia, which testifies to their treacherous mentality that Arabs are closer to them than we Ethiopians.

  7. It is easy to find flaws while others are venturing something. But if we disagree with those who are trying to bring secessionist groups within the Ethiopian circle, what is the alternative? the pro-unity camp is very disappointing. They are multiplying in numbers instead of getting together. Edp has chosen to demonize any opposition and its leaders have thrown themselves into the armpit of eprdf (it is no coincidence that edp is the only party that gets good coverage on aigaforum!). aeup is undergoing its cleavage phases reproducing itself through binary fission and fragmentation. Medrek is a do-nothing collection with no serious organizational and reach out efforts.

    mr. writer, i just want to ask you one question: what is the way out of the current quagmire?

  8. In conclusion, regarding olf and onlf, I think the writer is absolutely right and I share his concern 100%. So far I have never seen olf and onlf renouncing their secessionist agenda. berhanu nega should not waste his energy and time and effort trying to work out a coalition with groups who are too shy to call themselves ethiopians.

    But berhanu nega (or G7) deserves our respect and admiration for trying to bring olf and onlf into the mainstream ethiopian politics by urging them to give up on their secessionist programmes. at one point in the past, tplf was anti-ethiopian and secessionist. it changed. olf and onlf may also change. but even if they donot change, which is most likely, all this characterization of berhanu nega by this writer is a bit off the mark.

  9. DEAR YARED!! Thank you very much for your very deep and important article. Ethiopia has a son like you!!!!!!

    Solac, (if you are not Biranu self).The writer is very clear. If you have problem in understanding read it once more.
    Birhanu is a person searching for a readymade power. He is not a person to be trusted. If you want to confirm,1) read his book ‘written from kaliti prison ‘about his commitment and view of peaceful struggle and changed himself 100 % within a year or less. 2) he promised poor Ethiopians in Diaspora that he can overthrow woyane within 6 months or one year and collected millions of dollars ( 500 us from each in two and more rounds ) but still he is dancing and drinking Whisky in big towns .
    It is very easy to him to call himself a Gurage president tomorrow. Believe me. His interest is only power. He changed his idea now and then Even he don´t remember what he said yesterday and says the opposite tomorrow.
    The writer’s deep concern is Democratic Ethiopia. The article makes clear the fate of Ethiopia with many tangible examples and how a person like you and Birhanu did serious mistakes. It is wise to try to learn from previous mistakes. Birhanu is always searching for readymade power . He want to make an advantage of OLF and ONLF. Because he don’t have a single army. If he is serious and concerned let him go to tekeze valley and show his commitment at least for some time. He made advantage od EDP and MEAD in 2005 to grasp power now running after OLF and ONLF tomorrow some other. It is Shame
    If you are not birhanu, such Blind supporters like you are the ones who cultivate dictators. I am sorry for you.
    You a proud of Ethiopia
    IT IS A MUST READ ARTICLE TO EVERY ONE WHO IS REALY CONCERNED ABOUT ETHIOPIA.
    GOD BLESS YOU!!!!

  10. Dear Yared you are a proud of Ethiopia!!!!

    I missed to write your name at the end of my comment and sorry.
    Keep on teaching persons like solac.( if they can understand)

  11. solac ;you are a blind supporter of Birhanu Nega.Miskin !
    Genzebihin endatatefa waga yelelw bado wore new yemikebatrew.Birhanu feri betam feri new.
    Jib bemayakut hager endemibalew new ye birhanu titk tigil.

  12. solac Minew bibekachehu ?Yemibelt hasab simeta yamachal. beshitengoch. hlum afun yizga Enga yefelegnewn enzelabid kalhone. Beka 5 amet washachu
    Birhanu malet egzern yemaifera( minalbatm emnet yelelew) le siltan filagotu sil ntsuhanin yemiwongil balege new.
    Bewshet sim matfatna machenef yepoletica silt new yemil , yal yelele sim yemiset sew new.Amlak gena yiferdal.
    Esuna yesu budin sintun ntsuh tagay ketigil endirk adergu .Yigaletal hulum begizew.Ewnetn yeyazat bicha yachenifal.

  13. solac ,Roha remined me a many sily doings bout Birhanu. let tell howbirhanu meets Meles.It was after the election and Kinijt called a national dmonstartion and woyanes were afraid that things will be out of control and wanted to discuss with Kinijit leaders if they cut stop the demonstration that time was very critical (there was a chance to overthrow woyane)in any way Birhanu ,his groups and viky(us ambasador) agreed to stop the demonstration at midnight (24.00) . excluding EDP representatives .the CC discussed and come up with discussion points . Most fo the issued were prepared and wel formulated by Ato Lidetu. A day after 3 persons were assigned to meet Meles.Birhanu was not included because he was not excutive committe member.But he just assigned him self and we read it on newspappers that he was there. Is it not shame?: I am with Roha at Birhanu wants power.He has never been a vice chair of Kinijit but he wrote that he was .Birhanu has no disipiline at all. He can´t be a leade.He can only divide and dismantle.like what happend in Kinijit.He is better symoble for division. Birhanu and his grups are good in dividing organised ethiopans back home and abroad(they divided EDP MEAD;.KINIJIT, KIL,KIS,The support grups in Europe and America,Andnet,American sport festival ,OLF and they will continue. But still fall in dividing woyane. Who is realy working for woyane ask your self solac. G7 can´t split because the ´´leader´´ is only Birhanu. the others are simply followers .

  14. Hi All,

    Please make a note that this is not an article about Dr. Berhanu Nega. It is about politicisation of ethnicity, i.e using ethnic identity and differences for political end. The issue is are we in the right direction to bring about unity, democracy and prosperity to our country or a direction that may lead to break-up of the country. We need to take ourselves 20 years forward to look back whether our contribution had helped Ethiopia to survive and become a democratic and prosperous country or a country engaged in endless wars and destruction to re-draw national boundaries to create many banana states, while the people are kept under bondage of poverty.
    Regards,
    Yared

  15. Yared,
    Are you sure it’s not about Berhanu and Andargachew? it sure sounds like it. Is Yared Lidetu Ayalew?

  16. Yared,

    have ever asked yourself why the ethnic organisations came into being? talking about flags is not the issue, the crux of the matter is, why we have TPLF, OLF,ONLF etc. the last two came into existence well before the TPLF i.e before ethnic federalism was introduced in Ethiopia.

  17. Thomas, WRONG!! As far as the OLF is concerned,although it existed in name,it was a negligible outfit as recently as even one year before the collapse of the Derg. Infact,it was blatantly embarrasing that during the struggle against Derg,they were not in capable capacity to be even able to run an office,except in Germany because of the Protestant patronage, that they had to wholly rely on EPLF`s fax and telephone facilities all over in Europe.The case of ONLF is a different kettle of fish,as its true genesis and subsequent morphoses was created by the Somali government. The article is clear,its about the symmetry of the:”Enablers”like the good Dr.on one, the “power at all costs” group of Berhanu & co on another,and most dangerously these self proclaimed mini-warlords. It is about the rebirth(EPRDF:Version 2)of Ethnic Politics. By the way, it was and is Berhanu who has a “closed fundraising events”,soliciting money from his own ethnic group in the States. He cannot come out of this latest venture untarnished,possibly might even finally expose this man,an `honest burglar`-a contradiction that he is: without an iota of principle.

  18. ” soliciting money from his own ethnic group in the states” who are his ethnic group? is it the oromos, ogadenis,amharas,gurages???? Did you have any problem when Professor Asrat or Hailu Shawel solicited money from their Amharas in the states in the 90’s or in 2007, everybody knows they did, i didn’t believe there was any thing wrong with it then. Berhanu haters seem to be fixated on his ethnicity. I know for sure he is not an Amhara or a Tigray, and i think that’s why you hate him.( you are born in to your ethnicity) You are hate mongers. You supported blindly Hailu Shawel just because he was the leader of an all Amhara people party even when he was at his worst. the same goes for Lidetu Ayalew except for at least he has a speaking ability. Berhanu is liked,accepted and admired by all ethnic background not just by gurages like you would like us to believe. You guys are so so jealous of him, it’s not even funny any more. some say most of his haters come from the Amhara wing of EPRP, I don’t know that for certain because that would make my uncle to be one of them but he is not. I know one thing, which is you have a problem with his ethnicity and it shows big time. The funny part is you are trying to teach us to be just Ethiopians while you are fixated on Ethnicity.

  19. Berhanu haters,

    G7 has radio programmes that airs three times a week to ethiopia. radio is not free lunch. salaries for employees, rent to the broadcasting agency and expenses for information collection and edition all need money. G7 has been on the forefront in exposing eprdf crimes. all the data you quote on the senior command positions of the ethiopian defense forces controlled by people from the same ethnic group is what G7 compiled and published for you. G7 has been an alternative voice for ethiopians back home.

  20. Berhanu haters,

    as i said before you will remain victims of your own wickedness and depravity. you hate open-minded people like berhanu, no wonder God has sent you ruthless butcher Meles zenawi.

  21. Berhanu haters,

    as NUNU pointed out above you seem to hate him just because he is not amhara. you narrow minded blokes. you should be ashamed of people like lidetu and hailu shawul who have embarrassed themselves through their treacherous deals with eprdf. berhanu is no lowly man. he does not stoop so low to lick meles zenawi’s boots. if berhanu is the problem, why cant lidetu and hailu shawul show us their leadership genius right now when the people of ethiopia are perishing from famine and endless oppression?

    edp and eprdf foot soldiers: shave your head and weep. there is no future for you in ethiopian politics. your betrayal and wickedness will always haunt you wherever you might go. the people of ethiopia have vomitted you. lidetu leading ethiopia in the future?? on his grave.

  22. berhanu haters,

    deception and cheap lies did not even help eprdf. value the truth. appreciate where you have to appreciate. and criticize where you should criticize. if you start your hateful campaign by piling up lies after lies, saying berhanu is responsible for the ethnic balkanization of ethiopia, you are simply making a light weight out of yourselves. as ethiopians would love to say, ewnetna nigat eyader yigeltal. and rightly so. hailu shawul is sliding down the degenerative spiral as we are witnessing and lidetu has been kept on a life boat through eprdf frifari.

  23. Solac,

    show some decorum. people are entitled to their views and no need to use unwise words. to come to my main point, why are you saying—no future for edp and eprdf foot soldiers in ethiopian politics ? shouldn’t we leave this to the ethiopia people ? you are infatuated with berhanu and not healthy at all. the reason most people don’t like him, not because he not an amhara but because he is an opportunist of the worst kind. for your information during the 2005 election, it was lidetu who had the ‘pulling’ power. leaders of the opposition are jealous of him because he is back to his old self.

  24. Solace, Yared has raised important issues about the nature of ethnic politics and in what ways promotion of liberation fronts could lead to the demise of the country. If we love our country, we have to stop and listen to the appeal letter of Yared to Prof. Begashaw. I do not agree with everything he said but he has raised imporant point that I was concerned about. We should not put the country in danger way to express our loyalty to political parties or individuals.

    Solac, read and research what ONLF stands for then ask yourself, is this liberation front can be influenced? If you say, yes, go and promote them, defend them or join them.

    If they cannot then let’s discuss the danger it pause to our country and in what way the engagment should be managed. I have not yet read from G7 what concessions it managed to exteract from these groups. No body say they should not close their doors and debate to narrow their differences. We are are uncomfortable with free PR work of G7 to ONLF.

    As Yared put it clearly, it is impossible to influence parties believe in “exclusion” of the other on the basis of their ethnic origin.

    If Andargachew and Berhanu can influence anyone, they could have influenced TPLF to change the course of action at list on the issue of Eritrea, Aseb, democracy, multi-party, human rights etc. When the Addis Ababa students marching against Eritrean independence and get battered, Andrargachew was a senior guy in EPRDF, deputy mayor of Addis Ababa, Berhanu was the mentor and close confident of Tamerat Layne, the Prime Minster of Ethiopia. Andargachew father was in the transitional government parliament, his sister was married to the third or fourth influential person, the then defence minister of EPRDF, Ato Tefera Walewa, his brother-in-law was Attorney general of the transitional government who was persecuting Prof. Asrat. With all these power and connection did he managed to influence anything? No. He was used and thrown out.

    It is exactly the something he is trying again. He must be reminded from making the same mistake. He never influenced TPLF and he will not influence ONLF except being their PR man. G7 must be told to be an instrument of Ethiopia’s destruction. G7 refused to work with pan-ethiopian organisation like EPRP, while dancing with ONLF. Ask yourself why G7 found it difficult to work with Arbegnoch Ginbar, a pan-ethiopian organisation. Where did you see these organisation appearing on G7 meetings. Because, G7 does not be seen as a pan-ethiopian forces as its natural partners not to annoy Issayas and OLF. Even UDJ wasn’t spaired from malicious propoganda.

    Read the program ONLF and let me know your feelings.

    http://www.onlf.org/viewpage.php?page_id=4

    The Ogaden Somali territory lies between Oromia to the west, Afar to the north-west, the Republic of Djibouti to the north, Kenya to the south and the Somali Republic to the east. Somali agro-pastoral people have a single language, culture, and socio-economic structure inhabiting the Ogaden territory.

    The Ogaden Somali people were independent and powerful until colonial powers from overseas came to Africa and started arming the Abyssinian chiefs in the north, the present-day Ethiopia. Using the arms and expertise provided by the colonialists, the Abyssinians captured Harar in 1884 and started raiding Ogaden Somali villages in that area, killing men and selling women and children as slaves. The Ogaden Somalis vehemently resisted the encroachment of the Abyssinian expansionists and succeeded in halting their advance. Even though the Abyssinian military campaign to conquer the rest of the Somali territory failed, the colonial powers recognised its claim over the Ogaden Somali-land and signed treaties with them.

    From 1896 to 1948 Abyssinia (renaming itself Ethiopia) waged a constant war of conquest against the Somalis but failed in gaining any further foothold in the Ogaden. In 1935, Italy invaded Abyssinia and captured it along with the Ogaden and the territories of other nations in the area. Then the British defeated Italy in the Horn of Africa in 1941, and it administered the Ogaden for eight years until it transferred part of the Ogaden (Jigjiga area) to Ethiopia for the first time. The other parts were transferred in 1954 and 1956. Thus Ethiopia gained control over the Ogaden without the knowledge or the consent of the Ogaden Somali people. From then onwards, successive Ethiopian regimes mercilessly suppressed the Ogaden people and whenever the liberation movements seriously weakened and threatened Ethiopian colonialism, a foreign power directly intervened to re-establish the colonial rule over the Ogaden.
    —-

  25. The person who is called Solac above is Andargachew or Birhanu himself. One supporter cannot give all these comments. It sounded like children’s crying for milk bottle. He was the person who published an Article recently glamorising G7′ activities too, on ECADF under the pen name Elon Samson. Therefore, better you all ignore him and express your opinions about the subject.

  26. Taye and co,

    I already said, “In conclusion, regarding olf and onlf, I think the writer is absolutely right and I share his concern 100%. So far I have never seen olf and onlf renouncing their secessionist agenda. berhanu nega should not waste his energy and time and effort trying to work out a coalition with groups who are too shy to call themselves ethiopians. ”

    please read all my previous comments ABOVE very carefully before questioning my intentions.

  27. Ethiopian,

    i think you are very naive. if you believe berhanu and andargachew have such plenty of time to write profusely in response to every Fikru and Yared, you are completely wrong. they are as busy as bee. they have no time to respond to every misplaced accusation. i am on vacation and am dedicating this summer to spreading the truth by neutralizing misinformation and misrepresentation of facts.

  28. Thomas,

    thank you for your suggestion to show decorum. but you must do the same to all edp and eprdf foot soldiers. i am a passionate believer in the principle of reciprocity. if you have read my comments to Fikru Ayele Belay and Yared, they are not the same. for the former i have nothing but sheer disdain. Fikru is the text book example of yemender woregna who prefers to attack people behind hidden identity.

    But for Yared i have some degree of respect because he is not like the kings of darkness. he has tried his best to present his argument as convincing as possible. there are points where i agreed with him 100% and there are also points where i begged to differ.

  29. Hi all,

    I have read Yared’s article with admiration and interest that he has great concern for democratic Ethiopia. He is entitled for his opinion and our part should be as concerned Ethiopian to criticize his point and put our disagreements with respect for the writer and for all of us the readers.

    I agree with Yared on his analysis of OLF, ONLF and generally on ethnocentric political organizations. Now instead of discussing the real issue that the writer presented, we are arguing the ethnicity of Dr. Berhanu and others. This is the real distraction from the real point in my opinion. It doesn’t help anyone but if we follow spending our time in this distractive issues it helps only those who doesn’t want to see a democratic Ethiopia that all people enjoy democratic governance and live in harmony and in respect to each other. Let’s have a gentleman’s discussion.

    Long Live Ethiopia.

  30. Solac,

    Have I touched your weak nerve? You must be Birhanu and or Andargachew as I rightly suspected. I did not know you took a holiday to defend the likes of G7, OLF, and ONLF too? What a bloody fool? So, Birhanu and Andargachew are too busy to defend themselves ha? Hahahahaha! Qqqqqqqq! They must be busy of course, because as most of us know them well for years, they spend most of their times drinking whisky and eating kitfo. And we paid for that too? Hence keep on defending them but please know that you are only help others buying more amunitions to be used against those power hungry bastards Ethiopia has ever seen. Good bye Solac, Elon, Birhanu or Andargachew? It was a good try on your part to try to fool the public but not all people are fools. By the way too, although you dedicated your holiday for G7 folks, please take time to go to a toilet otherwise, you may stink to the hell down. You must have a break to have food too, not to die for them.

    Good Bye weirdo?

  31. I read Yared’s appeal to Dr. Getachew and I do not see a problem with it. First, I congratulate him for appealing to the conscious of the good doctor than condemn him. This is a paradigm shift in Ethiopian politics. Second, he backed his argument with theories and practical observations. Some of us were in politics for too long but we haven’t yet solved our national problems or be able to talk to each other in civil ways. That is why I feel the appeal is not only to Dr.Getachew but to all of us. The following line sums up his article.

    “Rather than pausing and reflecting to rectify the mistakes they have made in the last 40 years, they are back again into their comfort zone with the creation of EPRDF Version 2”.

    It is time for all of us stop and think the way we deal with each other and try to solve the Ethiopia politics. We must stop treating each other as enemies. I see a lot of defensive party politics but we must start to think out of this narrow boundary to come up with new solutions to create a credable opposition forces that treat and respect all citizens equaly.

    At list we need to discuss the merit and dimities of the issue at hand. It is a well argued article against secessionist movements. If we are opposing Weyane for the same reason, I do not see the logic for supporting ONLF.

  32. Thomas
    I think you hve missed a point here. I dont think Yared is questioning the wisdom of talking to OLF or ONLF. (Yared may correcct me) He also accepts the fact Dr Berhanu and Andargachew playing their role as he belives what their role is. That is looking after their interest as they have always done at the expence of many.

    What he is questioning is the role of Dr. Getachew Begashaw. Knowing his track record any one would expect him to point out the inapropretness of flying the OLF and ONLF flag along side the Ethipian flag. According to Yared that hurts because Ethiopianess is loosing it’s defenders. Or it’s defenders has not learned from our own history of apeasment. EPRP vs TPLF/EPLF. Yareds fear seems to me (which I think is well fonded) that if respected and ratonal people like Dr Getachew stop raising the cause of Ethiopia to not alarm the OLFs and ONLFs then it signals that defending Ethiopia is irrational.

    Dr Berhanu serves here only as a refrence point to difrntiate between those who stand their ground and those who shift their postions at will. He is not the point of discussion.

  33. Ethiopian,

    i really feel very humbled when you equate me with berhanu and andargachew, two of the very few eloquent politicians in ethiopia. i have a long way to go to be counted as one. this may create some heart-related problems for you, but i will reiterate what i said before: berhanu is the light of ethiopia.

  34. beles,

    examples are used to give graphic illustration of the case you are making. if you say, “thief, example berhanu,” then you are saying berhanu is a thief. do not probe outside the house when you have lost your stuff from inside. everything divisive and tribal has been brought in, introduced, promoted and celebrated by the narrow-minded meles zenawi and his vassals. it is very pitiful that people who are not known for criticizing meles zenawi sharpen their pens to muddy innocent brothers who have little or nothing to do with ethiopia’s problems.

  35. you can disagree with berhanu’s method of struggle. but to accuse him of ploting to dismantle ethiopia would be very disingenuous. if you and Yared are genuinely concerned about the future of ethiopia, her real enemies are in Arat Kilo, not in DC or Brussels.

  36. The topic of the article is not about Birhanu/Andargachew; I don’t understand why some people moan here. Their foot soldiers can light candles and worship them if they want to, that is their right, but accusing others as ‘haters’ etc is not necessary. I personally don’t give a toss about power seeker opportunists; they are the least of my concerns.

    Regarding the article, I would like to thank Ato Yared and Dr Getachew Begashaw for their candid discussion. I hope they will let us read their subsequent discussion.

  37. gudina,

    what is your problem? the writer has made just explicit what he wanted to say about berhanu and andargachew. not once but twice. please read the article twice before you vomit your useless comments

    1. “The other guys, like Dr Berhanu and Ato Andargachew, were also the ones who accompanied TPLF to power, took part in partitioning of the Ethiopian society under imaginary ethnic boundaries, dismantled the national institutions like the army, trade-unions, and pan-Ethiopian institutions, wrote pamphlets why the Amharas need to organise along the “ethnic” line.

    2. “I didn’t write to Ato Andargachew or Dr Berhanu because I believe they are happy to accompany another ethnic political party to power and have few years honeymoon and get a kick on the teeth. But I thought you are different and I expected more.”

    3. Moreover, the writer mentioned G7 many times.

  38. Dear all,

    Your distaste for ethnic politics is palpable, and I haven’t got the faintest why this is so. Make no mistake, ethnicity is here to stay and will be with us for many many years to come. EPLF, ELF,TPLF,OLF and ONLF came into existence due to years of Amhara misrule. Eritrea would be still have been part of Ethiopia, and there would not have been any need for ethnic federalism. Now we have it, and make the most of it ,otherwise you would be whining for the rest of your lives. There are various flags in Ethiopia so what . What is this obsession? There is British flag, English flag, Welsh flag and Scottish flag in one country. Leaving side by side happily. Not only this, there are parties based on ethnicity such Scottish National Party and Plaid Cymru of Wales who have been participating in British politics for years. The same in Belgium–the French and Dutch speaking and canton system in Switzerland. French and English speaking in Canada is another example.

    We tried the Amhara way for many years, and it nearly led to the disintegration of the country. The current system in Ethiopia is not perfect, but most of the ethnic groups are perfectly content with it. Anything better I and others would well come it. In the meantime, let us not waste time counting flags and get on with it. Ginbot 7 tried it going alone but wasn’t making head ways. Now we see G7 has saddled on the backs of OLF , ONLF and AFF just to get power. Your guess is as good as mine what would happen in Ethiopia if these were to come to power. No need to panic as we have a very strong party in power. But we need an ethnic party that is even better than current one. There are millions of people for the taking, but what you guys shouldn’t do is look down on ethnic politics and vilify those who are attracted to it. It is their natural right to adhere to it, and the notation that mine or nothing mentality won’t work.

    The reason the TPLF is strong in Tigray is partly due to the relentless abuse the Tigrians are receiving mostly from the toxic Amhara Diaspora. The more they are abused the more closer they get to the TPLF. Even ex-EPRP members are jostling to get in. I am sure the TPLF would say keep on with the abuse. This remind of what happened in Eritrea. Before the Derg came to power, the Eritrean liberation movements were going no where with their struggle. Derg came to power and started harassing the youth, and in no time the ELF/EPLF members swelled and the rest is history as they say. Bye bye. waiting for the abuse from the ‘democrats’.

  39. Ato Belay I assume your are from Tigray. But your great grand father might be oromo or Amhara. That is why TPLF’s tribalism did not work and will never work in Ethiopia because people find it very odd.

  40. Belai,

    yesterday wasabout the dominance of amhara, today it is about the dominace of a tiny minority tigre.

  41. Belai,

    but the amhara had never monopolized the economic and military control of ethiopia the way the minority tigre do these days. do not try to defy this truth. i will once again post all those files i flooded you with last time.

    i have come to believe that amhara is the only nightmare that you experience in your sleep.

  42. Whay are Dr Birhanu and supporters so concerned of Lidetu?
    Why do they like to call the name of “politically killed” genius:My hero!!

  43. Solac:( Getachew )
    Why do you avoid the issue by bringing Brihanu into this. post your communication with Yared or authorise him to do so.
    Yared you are not alone. The looming danger that G7/Birhanu is ushering is vivid. Thanks for sheding light on it.IThis is not a petty crime , It is a treasonous act punishable by death.
    Solac ,do you want your eyes covered ?

  44. Thank you Kk for sharing Ibsa Gutemas article. The guy must be a throw back from theMiddle ages. In theory it is easy to make Tigregna speaking Ethiopians as colonisers to moblise against Meles but it is wrong and destroy the fabric of the country. Why the likes of Ibsa find it difficult to live with others in democratic Ethiopia. Is the wishes and aspiration of Oromos is different from that of Gurages, Afars, benshangol, Somalis, amharas, Tigreans. Why preach hatread while we can work towards equality, democracy and peace.

  45. Ethiofact,

    why did you remove my last comment.

    topsy turvy=upside down. i was saying the Wondimagegn-Getachaw linkage was not clear to me.

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