Horn of Africa Conference – Triumph of hope. By Yilma Bekele

April 8th, 2010 Print Print Email Email

There is a three days conference on Ethiopia to be held in Virginia. There are plenty of notables involved in this dialogue regarding our neighborhood. (more…)

There is a three days conference on Ethiopia to be held in Virginia. There are plenty of notables involved in this dialogue regarding our neighborhood. All are peoples of stature that have been involved in trying to make life tolerable for their fellow human beings.

If we have to drop a few names here we are tempted to mention Senator Russ Feingold, Congressman Donald Payne, Congressman Chris Smith, the Honorable Ana Gomez, Dr. Berhanu Nega and plenty more sitting around a circular table and discussing the dreams and hopes of creating a better future in our neighborhood.

The horn of Africa is a major trouble spot. No one can deny that. Our country Ethiopia is not in good condition. Our nation is epicenter of chaos in the region. Seventeen years after the TPLF assumed power we still find our selves exactly where we started. Famine is still with us, migration of the best and ablest is common and we always show up at the bottom of any and all statistics regarding human accomplishment. No matter how we interpret the statistics today’s Ethiopia is not famous for science, engineering and contribution to human knowledge base. We are famous for civil war, famine and un-relentless migration outwards.

The conference in Virginia is to discuss how to bring about a positive change and build a better future for our people. The participants are people that are working hard to bring about a positive change in the lives of eighty million people. They are not getting paid to attend. There is not any net gain in their private lives for attending the conference. I am sure they spent plenty of their time to prepare for the conference to make their personal contribution a success.

Dialogue and discussion is a preferable method to resolve conflict over fighting. Human experience has proven that approach to be correct and durable. I am sure the organizers are following that footstep pioneered by our ancestors. Thus they have taken the time and resources to apply this proven method to solve the problem facing our old country. We are lucky to have such well-meaning people to take the time and resources to try to find a solution for our shortcoming.

The question is why are some working over time to derail such a noble cause? Why are a few disparaging such an attempt to find a solution for an old age problem that is evident in our life? Why are a few trading on hate and division to derail our train loaded with hope and goodwill? The short answer is because they don’t know any better. It has become second nature to their existence to put down others worthy contribution.

A friend of mine suggested I visit the web site of the nay Sayers to see the negative and hate filled venom expressed by our brethren. It was not a pleasant experience. It is a sad sight. It begs the question why? Why in the world would anybody oppose an open forum dedicated to find a solution for a problem spot that is affecting over a hundred million humans? There is no rational reason one can think of. May be they have been so comfortable bullying and ignoring the genuine demands of their population that they feel threatened by the mere attempt of others to find a solution to our common problem. Yes the saying ‘like father like son’ comes to mind. It perfectly fits the pattern.

A few weeks back the Prime Minister of Ethiopia was in Mekele, Tigrai celebrating his triumphant anniversary. Instead of using the occasion to celebrate his party’s accomplishment he used the venue to insult, demean and degrade those who do not agree with his views. He painted a dark and sinister picture of those who dare to differ with his blueprint for the future of our country. Their subjects do not view statements by leaders as an empty rhetoric. Words have ramifications. A few days after that hate instigating speech a candidate running for parliament was slayed by the Prime Minster’s supporter. That speech opened the floodgates of hate and negativity. Several candidates running for office have been killed, beaten and threatened through out the country for daring to dream of public service.

It is following that footstep that supporters of the regime have portrayed the ‘horn of Africa’ conference as a negative assembly of anti Ethiopians. The few websites they run has been dedicated to saw discord and ill feeling among people. They have used vile language to describe the participants and organizers of forum. They have resorted to defaming and insulting such worthy public servants because they took the time and showed concern for our country.

Their uttering is far from the truth. Their vain attempt to condemn and vilify is nothing but an attempt to cover their eighteen years of neglect and crime against their own people. Their hate filled diatribe is an attempt to deflect their failure to solve the problems facing the region. On the other hand the conference is an attempt to find a lasting solution rather than blame and finger point. Dialogue is superior form of forging a common path to find a lasting solution. When there is an open and transparent discussion, the outcome is always better and acceptable. It is with that in mind the Virginia conference is set in motion. That is why many East Africans welcome such a positive event knowing the good is definitely far better than the silence and indifference we got on the ground.

Guess what the organizers have decided to involve all of us and judge the event for ourselves. The Conference on the Horn of Africa events will be live-streamed, meaning that you could watch Live Video on your computer with your Internet access where you live in the world. The following is link for the Live streaming of the event on Saturday & Sunday. http://www.ethiov.com/events

We are indebted to the organizers for arranging such a worthy conference. We thank our foreign friends for taking time from their busy schedule and showing concern for our people and country. We are proud of our Ethiopian participants for their relentless work on behalf of their people. Our old nation is better off when her friends and children sit around a table and brainstorm to find a solution and build a better country for all of us. We hope and pray the Ethiopian government will involve itself in building a bridge to find a common ground that will include all the people in finding a solution for our problem. The attempt to bully the participants and vilify the organizers is not worthy of a national government. We hope hate is replaced with love.

  1. Tazabie
    | #1

    It is very sad, when the ferenji calls for conference a bunch of you just gather like an animal. If it is in concern of the Horn of Africa, where are the Somali’s, Eritreans, Djiboutians etc….Or is it a conference by kilil of Ethiopia that is the new name for Ethiopia! Bunch of doctors and professors are meeting to destroy Ethiopia and it is financed by the ferenji. You are all BANDAS. God will punish you at the end of the day.

  2. Assta B. Gettu
    | #2

    The gathering of some distinguished scholars may give us great hope to solve our differences and see ourselves as brothers and sisters.

    The Horn of Africa Conference may bring a lasting peace to Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, and Djibouti in particular and to all other African states in general.

    All Africans always look to Ethiopia as if Ethiopia is the mother of all African states, and their moral and political dependency on this country of 80 million people shows their strong allegiance to Ethiopia when they unanimously elected its oppressive leader, Meles Zenawi twice as their undisputable leader to represent them in the Global Climate Conference.

    The Horn of Africa Conference should carefully examine the main factors why the African leaders nominated a dictator to represent them in big conferences. One can simply say that the reason they re-elected him twice is he is like them a dictator, a criminal, a thief, and a friend of the West but a formidable enemy of his own people by selling their most fertile lands and their young children to foreigners.

    I hope the Horn of Africa Conference will have a serious discussion about the land deal, the illegal selling of orphan children and the travesty of justice which is going on in the continent of Africa, especially in Ethiopia which is held hostage for almost two decays by a tribal leader, Meles Seitanawi (Zenawi).

    The Horn of Africa Conference should come up with some solutions to the problems the Ethiopian military gang squad has been disseminating throughout Ethiopia and its neighbor countries.

    For example, what is the main reason that Ethiopia invaded Somalia in 2006, and which country of the African states gave Ethiopia the green light to invade a sovereign and a neighboring country, and its unprovoked invasion has rendered millions of Somalis homeless and thousands dead or wounded? The Horn of Africa Conference must address such regional and national issues and determine to condemn the belligerent country and its dictator who is the cause of destabilization and border conflicts in our continent.

    For how long Africans have to suffer under undemocratically elected dictators such as Ethiopia’s, Sudan’s, and Somalia’s unofficially elected leaders? I wish the Horn of Africa Conference will bring the Ethiopian leadership problems to the discussion table first, because if the leadership problem in Ethiopia is solved, there will be no other big problems to talk about except the minor ones.

    For instance, if the Palestinian problem is solved, it is believed the whole Middle East problem can be solved; therefore, the Horn of Africa Conference should focus on the Ethiopian problem only since Ethiopia is on the verge of collapsing and ready to disintegrate into smaller states like the former Balkan country – Yugoslavia. If Ethiopia is broken apart, we will see endless political, religious, ethnic, and border conflicts in the entire Horn regions for a long time to come. Such conflicts, of course, will benefit the Islamist terrorists, and in order to stop the spread of terrorism in Africa, the Western nations with their economic and military might may occupy some Horn regions or incite a particular region in the Horn of Africa to rise up against the other region as the United States did with Ethiopia against Somalia.

    This time, however, the United States will be heavily involved in the Horn affairs, and its involvement may not be mostly beneficial to the Horn states except to divide them and allow them to be its new customers in buying new weapons from the American companies. The involvement of America in the Horn of Africa will never bring economic development, democracy and the rule of law, except confusions, divisions, and, finally, cultural and political capitulations to the Western powers. One has to ask oneself: Has America’s involvement in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan brought political stability and economic development? Not at all, except, perhaps, in South Korea.

    To avoid foreign meddling in our Horn states, the Horn of Africa Conference must spend energy, time, and money to deal with the Ethiopian dictator and to bring him down from power he has been holding for almost 20 years without the will of the people of Ethiopia.

    Few months from now, there will be an undemocratic election in Ethiopia where the person who has the guns and the bullets will certainly win, and before such degrading event takes place, the Horn of Africa Conference must have a plan to help Ethiopia conduct a democratic election for the first time in its history. I firmly believe a democratic Ethiopia will bring peace, stability, and prosperity, not only to the Horn of Africa but to the rest of the African continent.

  3. mateos
    | #3


  4. AFDist
    | #4

    Ethiopian Freedom Journey: From Unitary through Federation and Liberation to Political Union

    Ethiopia (Cushland) with its “glorious” history of more than 5,000 years is now in its deep political crises. Its futurity seems to be uncertain. Its people of different nations and nationalities are suffering from the sequel of both economical and political crises. The present incumbent regime is on taking different measures out of desperation. It marginalizes and persecutes specially the biggest nation of the region, Oromo nation; it oppresses and tyrannizes almost all citizens and nationalities, who do demand and struggle for their individual and collective freedom. All the hitherto regimes in the region called Ethiopia used to rule with force by suppressing any dissent voice at gun point. It seems the current regime is the worst and the fascist one, which the empire ever had.

    Now almost all pro-freedom and pro-democracy forces in the empire are trying to get rid of this fascist regime. What is lacking above all is the appropriate cooperation and coordination of the opposition groups (both “peaceful” and armed groups) to bring together their resources and use them effectively and efficiently against the tyrants. The main hindrance for such cooperation is the lack of a common purpose and common view they need to have for the freedom journey. To my understanding till now, only AFD and G-7 seem to comprehend the route of the journey to freedom and democracy. Both of them put the journey to be accomplished in two phases: first the fight for freedom from Weyane’ fascists, and then secondly to forge the basic essential democratic institutions necessary to realize democracy in which all parties and their programs can be judged by public verdict.

    Here, I will try to help in making the freedom journey clear and plausible for all the stakeholders, who want to yet consolidate the necessary only ONE and all inclusive alliance against the fascists and their ethnic-apartheid. Leaving the hitherto move of all Cush nations during their last political evolution for historians, I would like to concentrate only on the recent past political conditions, on the present status quo and on the future possibilities. My choice of this topic now is inspired by the currently published collection of articles on the website Gadaa.com under the title: “The Bergen Meeting Revisited“, just to re-stimulate a political discourse among the Oromo polity and with Ethiopian politicians to further “explore a new political alternative for Oromo Ethiopians”. The collection can be read under: http://www.cmi.no/publications/file/3360-exploring-new-political-alternatives-for-the-oromo.pdf

    In the article written by Obbo Daawud Ibsaa in that collection, the following assertion of him attracted my attention:

    “… The new World Order has made sovereignty and territorial integrity less absolute. We saw nations determining their affair and forming new states. The right to self-determination, which used to apply only to countries under colonial rule, is now recognized as a universal right of all nations and peoples. Consequently the map of the world is being redrawn. On the contrary, with the formation of unions like the EU, state sovereignty has become more symbolic than real. Countries joining such Unions voluntarily sign treaties that undermine their sovereignty to avail their people of social and economic benefits from a large pie. We are encouraged by both trends. The increased recognition of the right of nations to self-determination gives us hope that if our genuine appeal for peace is rejected and met with violence rather than being reciprocated, as has been many times in the past, we have the right and the will to decide our fate. The trend towards cooperation is also encouraging to us because it opens new doors and creates more opportunities for our people to work with others to build a more prosperous, harmonious, stable and peaceful region…”

    I think taking these two trends in to consideration, we all nations in the region called Ethiopia or Horn or Cushland should try to have one common cause and common route of journey towards the END goal of the common cause. I personally can drive from the above assertion that the common cause is to build a more prosperous, harmonious, stable and peaceful region. The feasible route to this common cause is moving from the status quo (from the unitary and very oppressive “revolutionary centralism” of Weyane), first to a true Kilil federation in which all nations in the region can have their genuine autonomy or self-administration, then secondly to achieve the necessary INDEPENDENCE of each nation to give their public verdict per referendum in a sense of self-determination so that all nations will consciously decide for the Union of Liberated Nations of the region to realize the beneficial common vision mentioned above.

    In short, this will be a move from the hitherto unitary of the empire through self-administarion of nations (a kilil federation) and through self-determination of nations (a national liberation) to the END, i.e to a Union of Liberated Nations. When we look at the East African Community (EAC) member states (Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda) struggling to forge a custom union, a common market and a monetary union to forge at the end a political union for common benefit, then we can only ask ourselves logically that, why should we not use the advantage of the already present custom union, common market and monetary union in the region called Ethiopia just to build a similar and optimal political union of our region on the grave of the enslaving hitherto political Ethiopian empire system.

    Nowadays, even the “multi-national” parties like G-7 and UDJ have started to stress the importance of fighting first for freedom from Weyane fascism and tyranny as a precondition for the lasting multi-national democracy. The only thing such parties still need to digest is the very importance of national freedom parallel to the citizens’ individual freedom they do seem to fight for. If they do this, then they are almost on the same track and with the similar wave length to the opinion of Obbo Daawud, which I quoted above, i.e there will be no discord between the pro-democracy “multi-national” parties like G-7 and the national freedom fighters like OLF. I also don’t see any reason why other factions of OLF and other Oromo liberation movements should oppose such a move of Obbo Daawud’s group. This will be the very good base for building the very essential all inclusive TIBIBIR (alliance) against fascist Weyane. Then, it will not be difficult to coordinate overtly or covertly the opposition democratic federalists like MEDREK at home with such new TIBIBIR in Diaspora and with those moving underground to fight against the fascist regime in Ethiopia.

    So I would like to recommend that all pro-freedom and pro-democracy forces do agree on the political route, i.e from the hitherto imperial unitary through a true federation and through a national liberation to a union of liberated nations as described above. This innovative move can even attract in the future nations like Eritrea, Djibouti, Somaliland, Puntland and Somalia to join the regional union. Let’s have this common vision and common route as we now start a new European year, and I wish good luck and victory for all of us in this journey for our national freedom, regional union and multi-national democracy in our common home, the Horn.

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