ALL ETHIOPIAN OPPOSITIONS NEEDS GOOD STRATEGIES, RATHER THAN STRATEGY TO BRING DOWN ETHIOPIAN DICTATORS & TO SECURE CHANGE – Capt. Woldemikael Dagnachew
In my previous publications, I wrote about the three forces that represent change in today’s condition. They are the political parties who are fully composed of the laboring masses (the workers, farmers, the urban poor and rural poor etc…), the nationalist soldiers (a.k.a. ‘military rebels’), and the sections of the middle classes, which have been sliding down the pyramid of the class structure and the youth. The opposition mainly the Amharas and Oromos are not marginalized in terms of number; in fact, they constitute the majority of the entire population. Despite this, they are the politically and economically marginalized and disadvantaged sectors of the Ethiopian society under the TPLF rule. The three forces, if become together and united, hanker for change in our society. Their most politicized representatives have advanced different types of strategies to pursue changes in Ethiopian society but the fruits are yet to be seen. To realize these changes, they have to wrestle with the practical, but difficult, issue of capturing power from the hands of the dominating sectors namely TPLF: a minority group that kept them in perpetual misery and subjugation. For the laboring masses, the struggle means forming unions and associations to defend their rights and advanced their welfare in society. During political convulsions, these oppressed groups can resort to earth-shaking actions, such as industrial strike, wildcat strikes, transport paralysis, demonstrations, street barricades and even people’s power mobilizations to bring down this dictatorial and corrupt government. Historically at its peak, the resistance of the laboring masses takes the form of widespread people’s uprisings that develop into armed resistance. This is what is usually pictured in our mind as the sweep of the struggle. The radicalized masses of students and teachers have also used specific forms of struggle to air grievances and to protest against the system through boycotts, street marchers, and at different junctures, takeover of the school institutions.
During the height of the resistance against the Marcos dictatorship, apart from the guerrilla war in the rural areas, the struggle in the urban areas had taken the form of what activists called as “welgang bayan”. This is a combination of workers’ and jeepney drivers’ strikes, barricades and massive mobilization of people in the streets. The Edsa people’s power uprisings, which were characterized by people trooping to the Edsa camps (Edsa 1) and the Edsa shrine (Edsa 2 & 3), would pale in comparison with the welgang-bayan type of actions had the latter fully developed as a strategy of resistance. Given that the two Edsas have failed to deliver meaningful changes in society, the agenda for social change have again taken the front seat. More and more people are realizing that a regime change, or the mere prospect of changing the president by another trapo, does not mean change at all. I am confident that the next street eruption will not be like the Edsa-type, but will be more likely to be a widespread welgang-bayan type of militant actions. The military rebels, on the other hand, have used the strategy of military rebellion or mutiny to overthrow their superiors in the military and in the civilian government. These rebellions have swept a number of countries in Latin America, leading to the formation of military-led governments. These types of actions have not been successful in the Philippines the army rebellion during Edsa 1 had to be buttressed by people’s power to survive; the succeeding series of rebellion (against the Edsa regimes of Cory Aquino and Fidel Ramos) had all failed. However, some military rebels’ groups still put forward the strategy of coup d’etat cum uprising to draw in the entire military forces in the revolutionary project that will have the support of the masses. But while a coup d’etat might be the easiest way to break away from the present regime, the experiences of the military rebels themselves have shown them that a coup merely plays into the hands of the military hierarchy. Ultimately, the only recourse left for the nationalist soldiers (as opposed to the anti-nationalist elite) would be to break away from the hierarchy and the chain of commands and develop their groups as alternative centers of military force that merge with the rebelling masses. The middle classes have not been seen as a revolutionary force. They are at most composed of forces that want to institute reforms in society. In this sense, they are the ones opening to the strategy of elections as the way to seek reforms in society. No wonder the emerging organizations of the middle classes today are spearheading the fight for “good government” and “good governance”. However, we can orient ourselves to the lower sections of the middle classes who are also becoming radicalized by their continuing slide to the laboring sections. Their participation in the 2010 election can be turned into non-traditional forms, which means not only voting for non-TPLF candidates during the election, but joining the mobilization in the streets and assisting the struggles of the basic sectors and the radicalized soldiers. It is in this sense that it is hard to talk about a single strategy and especially too, a divided unity of purpose strategy for change in today’s Ethiopian situation. Even the three major forces, which aspire for systemic change and radical reforms in society, are brandishing different variants of strategy that fit their class formation and political orientation of welgang bayan, mutiny and non-traditional elections. I believe, however, that the three forces can come together to share each other’s struggles in order to develop a potent force that will have more chances of success in the immediate future. What is needed, however, is a political center that can combine all these strategies into a coherent plan that will advance the desired objective of dismantling TPLF rule and installing MEDREK Coalition and their likes in power.
FIGHTING AIMS & ETHIOPIANS’ STRUGGLE AGAINST TPLF’S MURDER SQUADS
It’s a good thing that at least the mood is good. Unfortunately, the end won’t be very cheerful unless the mood is supported by drastic & strong action. This struggle may become historic or tragic if you like, but certainly sad unless otherwise victory is achieved in 2010. We are the very last battalions but not a particularly pleasant feeling to be the last: it involves a special responsibility. We must decide today what to do tomorrow. There is no sense in sitting together neither in a warm atmosphere of memories, nor in waiting together, collectively, for cruel death. Then what? We can do two things: decide that when the first civil disobedient is taken away from the street or home we should start our counter-action. Then nobody should go to work thereafter, that none of us is allowed to hide when the action starts to defend ourselves. No more throwing un-harmful bricks and running away from savage Agaazie’s cruel and ruthless child murderers but fight back tooth & nail. Everybody should be mobilized for the job. We must not allow one TPLF leaves Woyane’s secret Ghettos, that not one office, factory and or be able to hide in Menelik palace bunkers, toilets or storerooms too. They must be drugged out of their holes, chased and haunted until they give in and beg for mercy. It is not impossible that after we have completed our task someone may by chance still be alive on his or her side to confess all the crimes and on our side to celebrate a victory that the next generation would cherish for the rest of their lives. Yes, we must fight to the last, till we all fall than fart. We can also decide to get out into the forest call for lawless Guerrilla war or Ye-Tor-Zemecha-Wugia like our gallant ancestors. The possibilities must be considered realistically.
Some of our people in the military along side other officials in key positions in the government including few disappointed TPLFites are in the process of preparing winning strategies secretly and places to execute them from now on, but also in any future event disciplined and forceful military action will be in force to challenge any government resistance. Therefore, we must decide for ourselves now, when and where to stand and with whom too, if and when the crucial or do or die time arrives sooner than one expected. But there would be one condition: our approach must be ideological, the ideas of the struggle must be our good guide. Anyone who wishes, or believes or hopes that he has a real chance of staying alive and wants to make use of it well and good to liberate our country and free our nation from the TPLF killer diseases and viruses that poisoned the Ethiopian land and air can do so too? Hence let everyone decide for himself and his parents, friends and relatives whether all should live on their feet freely or die on their knees. But together we must find a collective answer to our common question. As I do not at all want to impose my views on anybody, I will not come out with my one answer in the open for the time being.
But as a reputable Fighter Pilot and an experienced Air Force Captain too, I would like to tell the public that there are two ways of dying in today’s Ethiopia: To move out into attack means certain death for the public who daringly refuse to be more harassed, intimidated, terrorized and resist illegal imprisonment that has no mercy whether you are a child, an old man or an old woman as long as you are an opposition from another tribe other than a Tigre or an Eritrean cousin. The second way means death two or three days later by TPLF thugs or at best, imprisonment for life. Hence we must examine both ways; perhaps there is something that could be done. I can’t reveal the full details for the preparation that you all would like to hear for safety and security of the comrades in our country who are engaged in action. If some comrades believe that they could stay alive indefinitely for not executing what has been carefully planed for years, then we should think about it as well. Here in the Diasporas, I noticed that many have stopped helping the poor, the oppressed and also supporting those activists and opposition parties who work for us all, and furthermore, we are fated to live out the last act of this blood-stained regime’s tragedy up on our helpless, hopeless and terrorized people. Most don’t even care to ask, what can we do and what should we do to make a difference for our suffering people and the motherland?
Therefore, the way I now see it, the situation really is that the great majority in the opposition and or the different group are sentenced themselves to die without any resistance or without giving values to their well-being or their precious lives and showing their dignity. Our fate is sealed. We have never looked on the forest as a place in which to hide, we have looked on it as a base for battle and vengeance. But the many thousands of our young people who have been and would be going into the streets and forests to liberate our country and free our people no longer seek a battlefield there, most of them will lead beggars lives there and most likely will find a beggars death as none of us showed any care. In our present situation our fate will be the same, beggars all. Only one thing remains for us: to organize collective resistance in Ethiopia, at any cost to be able to write a proud chapter on Ethiopians’ struggle in the future Ethiopian history just like our forefathers and ancestors did. For your information too, I have lost everything, all those close to me; and yet, subconsciously, one wants to live. But there is no choice. If I thought that there might be escape, not just for individuals, but also for 50 or 60% of the 80 million Ethiopian people to survive, I would say that the way of the Movement should be to stay alive at all costs. But we Ethiopians are condemned to death by TPLF for just being Ethiopians of the nationalist or patriotic kinds hence they are intent to wipe out Amharas and Oromos from the face of the earth. Comrades, if it is a question of honour, that we have already long since lost it. In most of the Ethiopian communities the atrocities were carried out smoothly without a counter-action. It is more important to stay alive humiliated, degraded, belittled and demonised than to kill one mercenary who created all the misfortunes of our country. In a counter-action, most of us without any doubt would be killed. But in the forest, on the other hand, perhaps 40 or 50% of our people may be saved. That will be our honour and that will be our history. We are still needed; we will yet be of use. As we no longer have honour in any case, let it be our task to remain alive at least until we are united to get rid of the TPLF diseases and killer viruses. We can expect nothing but death down to the last Ethiopian. We have before us two possibilities of death. The forest will not save us, and the counter-action will certainly not save us too?
The choice that is left us is to die with our dignities. Period! The outlook for our resistance is poor. I don’t know whether we have the necessary means for combat. It is the fault of all of us that our means are so small, but that is in the past, we must make or do with what we have. Even if the TPLF offices, the regime’s private media outlets, bunkers and factories are exempt, their manpower (Agaazie-like-thugs are left untouched in the first action, nobody can assume that they will be spared from total humiliation and defeat this time. Obviously, the forest offers greater possibilities of revenge, but we must not go there to live on the mercy of the peasants, to buy food and our lives for money but do it on the streets. To go to the forest means to become active partisans, and for that one needs the proper weapons. The arms that we have are not suitable or enough for the forest. If there is still time we should try to get more arms and go to the forest, towns and cities to protect the nation from foreign hired mercenaries and child killers. If the action starts first, then we must respond when the first innocent or Ethiopian fighter is taken away or brutally killed. There are no many educated and brave Ethiopians left in Ethiopia; only a few remnants have remained hence those in the Diasporas must help those in our countries who are in action, on the streets including Bozenes or Beggars as Meles called them and those who are fighting in the forests to defeat the TPLF soldiers. There is no sense speaking about honour, as everyone must save himself as best he can. It does not matter how they will judge us. We must go to the forest and attack Ethiopian enemies at every corner of the land. We must force them to step down. If we want it sufficiently, and make it our aim, we could protect the lives of our people to the end, as long as the majority of Ethiopians remain co-operative. I want to ask you lot a question. Do those members who favours going to the “forest” think we should go and hide and not react during the coming action so as to escape into the forest later? I hope not. One thing is certain; we wont go off to the TPLF offices and factories and pray to their God there, that they should take away the people in the streets as they did in the past 19 years, especially during the 2005 General Election and thereafter in order that some of us and our beloved souls may be saved from their merciless wrath and tortures. Nor will we watch from the apartment and office windows when our comrades from another offices are taken away. This is the first time in my life that I have taken part in a discussion on dignified death. We are planning the counter-action not in order to write history but to die a honourable death. Now, let me say few things about the action. All our experience teaches us that we can have no more confidence in most Ethiopian opposition parties & so-called supporters despite their promises Only with the aid of deception and confusion did TPLF succeeded for the past 19 years, in taking thousands of innocent Ethiopians to slaughter houses.
But despite all that, we will have a great chance of surviving the action alive and safely if we do it with courage, dedication and strong unity. Man’s instinct to live is so great that we must consider our self-interest first here. We have a much better claim to life than others, and by right. We have an aim in life: to stay alive to the end at all costs. We were brought here to the Diasporas from Ethiopia because there was a threat of total liquidation there and some witnesses must stay alive. For that reason, if there is not to be total liquidation here, we must wait and try to gain time. But if there is to be liquidation let all join in the counter-action and let me die with the Ethiopian patriots with my Ethiopian dignity. Practically speaking too, if an action should take place within the next few months, then there is only one way left open to us, to start the counter-action right now against TPLF cadres, lawyers, arm-suppliers, foreign journalists who have become the regime’s mouth pieces, websites like the so-called Ethiopiafirst, AigaForum and all those who used pen or fake names all the time, not to be identified by us democrats on their TPLF’s fully subsidized websites to brainwash, confuse and divide the general public and TPLF Embassies and those foreign Governments who appease our home-grown Mafia and nasty regime leaders, disgraced and chauvinist cadres like Dr Teketel Hailemariam (THM) and Yared Hailemeskel who are relentlessly spreading divisive and false TPLF and EDP propagandas on so-called Ethiopians Forum controlled by them and Dawit Kebede of EMF. Hence if you all are shy or afraid of confronting all these enemies, consider yourselves as totally hopeless and unpatriotic. But if we should have more time at our disposition though the suffering of our people have gone worse, then we should think in the direction of the long term getting away to the forest for all our battle against our enemies who failed to understand their humiliating defeat in 2005 General Election and the peaceful transition of power. I hope we all will be able to carry out the duties that will be imposed on us. Perhaps, in the course of events, I will find myself stronger if only I get your acceptance and full co-operation for the struggle too. I am determined to do everything that needs to be done to save Ethiopia from further destruction and liberate the suffering nation. Yes, we are starting out on a desperate move. Whether we want it or not, our fate is already sealed. It only remains for us to decide between one kind of death and or another. I am calm and cool to face death and leave a good legacy behind for future generation. My motto is clear. I was saying that we should do everything to get out as many people as possible to join the street fight and battle in the forests if and when necessary too. Every one of us who is in the big battle when the action begins must move as soon as the first Ethiopian is taken for execution or at best imprisonment. There can be no bargaining with us over our precious lives. We must die fighting the very nasty and evil TPLF.
Dear Ethiopian patriots, in 1935 Italy invaded Ethiopia. Like many patriotic Ethiopians, Belay Zeleke felt the need to defend his country and led an insurgency movement against the occupation in Gojam. Soon, he became known for being remorseless among Italian generals and they fought him as hard as they could. Not only did he defeat the Italian army that was sent to destroy him, he also took into custody the army’s general and executed him by hanging. After driving the Italian army out of Gojam and some parts of Wollo, he put himself in charge of these particular regions much to the gladness of the population. His courageous heroism inspired thousands of Ethiopians to resist the occupation and many wanted to be like him. Belay Zeleke felt the need to defend his country and led an insurgency movement against the occupation in Gojam. In a heartbreaking error of judgment, an Ethiopian hero who gave the country freedom was given death in return. And it will always be remembered as an act of giving a national hero a grave injustice. Sad! Standing well over 6 feet and known by his Horse Name – Aba-Bora, this remarkable Ras too, led a guerrilla army of as much as 52,000 men during the Italian occupation of 1928-1933. Among his notable achievements was his liberation of the town of Jimma in 1933 overseeing the biggest surrender of more than 8,000 Italians. Who was this unforgettable Ethiopian hero? For sure, he was not like Ludetu Kihdetu, Hailu Jilu or Ahyaw Chamisso and none of the TPLF village bandits either. He was Ras Geresu Dukki a relative of mine. Indeed, the key challenge in the years ahead will be to find the proper balance between these two objectives. Given the prospect of further leadership changes and increasing instability, meeting that challenge has never been more important. As the repression escalates, so does the civil resistance. Take Action & bring down dictators!
Capt. Woldemikael Dagnachew. (15/12/09)
The author can be reached at: email@example.com.
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