Virtues of solidarity of Ethiopians with popular uprising in Egypt By Robele Ababya

February 1st, 2011 Print Print Email Email

“The absence of alternatives clears the mind marvelously”. The quotation is attributed to Henry A. Kissinger, former US Secretary of State and National Security Adviser – Nobel laureate in 1973. (more…)

“The absence of alternatives clears the mind marvelously”. The quotation is attributed to Henry A. Kissinger, former US Secretary of State and National Security Adviser – Nobel laureate in 1973.

Tunisians believed they had only one alternative, which was regime change and they succeeded; Egyptians are emulating that example to that end. Experience spanning over the last forty years clearly shows that Ethiopians have only one alternative left to secure freedom and dignity in a liberated country.

Irreversible uprisings

The last Pharaoh of Egypt is desperate to quell the wrath of the people, but that is impossible for no might can stop the popular movements whose time has come to overthrow reactionary regimes in the Arab world. It is time for them to go. Tunisians and now Egyptians, Jordanians, Yemenis et al have very rightly put freedom and human dignity at the center of their values in their spectacular struggle for democracy reverberating across North Africa and the politically volatile Middle East.

In the last 25 years, six hundred billion Great Britain Pounds were excessively spent on infrastructures like roads, high rise buildings and telecommunications-typical of corrupt despotic regimes grossly neglecting basic economic needs of the masses – jobs, food and health among others. The popular uprising is against corruption, lack of freedom and living under martial law for the last 30 years. No cosmetic reshuffle of the Cabinet by appointing ex-Generals will save the Mubarak regime.

Stake for Ethiopia

This is a good omen for Ethiopia because what was so far a bastion of Ethiopia’s woes is vying for democracy as a matter of necessity. Democratic Arab world would pose no danger to Ethiopia and a mutually beneficial relation would evolve once we get rid of our own genocidal despot, Meles Zenawi and his brutal security apparatus under his direct command.

The revolution in the Arab world is also good for the volatile region in the Middle East to do away with extremism and foster democracy and durable stability. Democratic Arab world would be trusted trading partners for a democratic Ethiopia for doing lucrative business in a free market.

Ethiopia is strategically located in close proximity to the Middle East. Eighty five (85%) of the waters of the Blue Nile is a lifeblood to Egypt which is the strongest nation in the Arab world in terms of military strength and techno-scientific advancement. A democratic Egypt and a democratic Ethiopia could be a formidable force for regional cooperation. This is a nightmare to right wing racist elements and neo-colonizers adamant on maintaining the status quo.

So, solidarity of Ethiopians with popular uprising in Egypt has moral, political and economic values for Ethiopia and Egypt.

Western powers caught unprepared

It is not business as usual for the Western powers. One can say with confidence that the old practice double standard of the West of replacing one corrupt dictator by another is gone for good, thanks to the exemplary independent decision of Tunisians to shun foreign interference and go it alone to secure their freedom and dignity.

As the revolution spreads, forces with particular interests including heavy investments are nervously working openly and behind the scenes to save the last Pharaoh Mubarak’s regime to enable it to come out of the political quagmire it is in; they are advising it to make some cosmetic or innocuous reforms to buy time, which advice would serve no purpose other than providing the regime the opportunity to come back to the status quo ante under various excuses.

Those powers who had heavily invested in the Arab world in terms of huge business corporations, military equipment, and training of defense and security personnel should heed the old adage: “As you sow, so shall you reap” and make a real paradigm shift to stem their longstanding bond with dictators. President W. Bush reneged on his pledge to end alliance of the last 30 years with dictators. The current US administration has the golden chance to end such alliance. The leaders of US, UK, Germany and France (ex-colonial powers in the 19th and 20th centuries) are reportedly urging Mubarak to enact laws to effect reforms. But the people of Egypt want him to step down; they demand regime change. President Obama has a golden chance to make history in the best long-term interest of the United States; he should make the world believe he is dedicated to uphold the immortal words of Adam Smith:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

Lesson for Ethiopian opposition forces

In the run up to the Ethiopian Election 2010 there were fierce debates between supporters of peaceful change, armed struggle, and all-inclusive struggle to unseat Meles Zenawi. However, the recent events of relatively peaceful popular uprisings in the Arab world add a new dimension to the successful endings of the Civil Rights movement led by Martin Luther King in the USA and the liberation struggle by Mahatma Gandhi. The 1974 Ethiopian Revolution dethroned the Emperor without a single shot being fired. But the Derg betrayed the popular revolution by killing people and freedom of expression. Therefore, civil disobedience on the scale seen in the Arab world has merits equivalent to all=inclusive struggle.


The success of the popular uprising in Egypt is in the best interest of Ethiopia. Therefore Ethiopians everywhere should express solidarity with demonstrators gathering at Cairo’s Tahrir Square, Alexandria, Suez and other cities in Egypt; and contemplate on a speedy start of a well organized and coordinated civil disobedience in their homeland to depose Meles Zenawi who has lost all trust of the Ethiopian people despite his attempt to improve his image by excessive expenditure on infrastructures.

All Ethiopians in varying degrees are to blame for where the country is now. The struggle is morally justified for Ethiopia and the world would be a better place without dictators like Melees that terrorize peaceful people.

Regime change is the only alternative to save Ethiopia.

Release all political prisoners in Ethiopia

  1. Anonymous
    | #1

    He who lives by the sword dies by the sword.

  2. rara
    | #2

    it is better to try insted of to cry.

  3. Birtu/can
    | #3

    I can see it now. Woyane & associates are shell-shocked and wetting their pants wherever they may be. If experts take a close look, they will see large transfer of funds out of Ethiopia this year more than ever. Children and wives of Woyane’s honchos will relocate to safe havens in Europe and America. There won’t be good nights sleep from here on at meneilk palace. No quick price fixing or kicking the can down the road is going to stop the freedom train. Change is coming alright!! Haile Selassie never dreamed of it. Mengistu Haile Mariam relied on his fire power to stop it and failed. Meles Zenawi is going to find out the hard way anytime soon. Word of caution!! Shrewd Meles will use the uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt…etc. as a blue print to slow down the inevitable change in Ethiopia. Opposition groups should be savvy of his intentions and up the tempo. If the mountain is not coming to you, then you go to the mountain. Create a condition. Find that spark. Make it happen. Be decisive. Snap out of the deep coma you are in. Retire the old leaders and replace them with young activists. Don’t be out maneuvered by Meles Zenawi ever again. I will leave with a quote that can apply to Ethiopians as far as opposition leadership is concerned:
    Ahmed Maher(Egyptian activist)
    Now that’s what i call telling it like it is!!

  4. Anonymous
    | #4

    mubarak is gone ,how about the corupt and narrow nationalist melesse zenawi? does he still think that he can take ethiopian money through his wife and run away?

  5. ROBEL>F
    | #5

    ROBELLE ABABYA You just expressed How PM meles Zenawi changed the Infrastructure of the country ,let me tell you some thing we need change but for the moment i am quit sure no body can lead this populous country Like PM Meles Zenawi I have listened such similar voices like you many times ,we do know that Leading a country for 20 years ,But you have to know to where the real democracy works as me Democracy is not changing a ruler becose he/she leads 20 or 30 years the word democracy lays on how the leader leads the country ,In the Time of Meles Zenawi we have seen remarcable and basic Democratic freedoms in this country we do know Ethiopians are not allowed in the former regimes even to speak in theier language except Amhara;s Ethiopians where not allowed to move freely after 3:00AM on nights on the former regimes ,now evry Ethiopian have a right to work to get education and to speak and lear by hes/her mother language.The former regimes do also restricted capital of a citizen not to be above $500,000 in the former regimes,The current regime is far from the formers ,but i am not saying it is perfect ,perfection comes from experience we cant compare it even what you are blaming now is since you have a freedom of expression ,So lets be patient for 4 years even Meles doesn’t want to lead the country after 4 years ,As me we should have to preserve our peace because Ethiopia’s current situation is not bad relatively .we should have to know too changes result most probably unstable and unexpected gvernment ,But i do believe peaceful opposition is vital ,

  6. fereja
    | #6

    Well said Birtu/can…you have said it all…have nothing to add

  7. Ittu Aba Farda
    | #7

    It ain’t over until the fat lady sings. In fact, it is not time yet for her to start singing in Egypt. What we should not forget is Mubarak and Sadat along with Gamal did not sustain their rule over 80 million people alone. They have had a very huge workforce on their payroll who counts on them for survival. They need an extensive intelligence and bureaucratic state machine with hundreds of thousands of paid employees to maintain their status quo. That was how they defeated the Muslim Brotherhoods and other leftist opposition groups first time in the mid 50’s and again in the 80’s. They will not surrender to an angry and potentially vindictive crowd in the uprising. They have seen what happened to their kind in Iran after the Imam settled down. Gallows were everywhere. I would rather see the ending to this stalemate as it was done in Chile, Brazil and other South American or Asian countries. The uprising should come up with a pragmatic figure(s) who will be able to lead the people to an amicable conclusion. But I am skeptical. I hope and pray that I will be deemed dead wrong. After decades of tyranny a power vacuum is a sure thing if the ruling regime is brought down all in a sudden in the middle of a chaotic uprising. There is nothing to indicate to us there is anyone who will be able to make the people understand things may become worse before they get better. And that is very important not only for the people in Egypt but also to many Sub-Saharan countries including those in the nearby Horn of Africa. Once that evil – anarchy is out of control in such mega-urbanized country like Egypt, then the bets are off. The incidence today in Alexandria is a telltale sign of what could be afoot for the people at large. It is not a good sign.

    And our so-called opposition groups whether in St. Paul, DC, LA, Asmara, Abu Dhabi or Addis should spend at least a day at school learning from the current uprising in Egypt. They will do greater good to the people they are ‘fighting’ for if they come together under one umbrella. They should stop flapping their mouths against each other but they should set their eyes on the ultimate prize – liberating our people from Mrs. Peggy Azeb and her mongoose face concubine.

  8. arbegnaw
    | #8

    We need change in Ethiopia!!! And better take lessons from Egypt. Ethiopians had their chance in 2005 and blew it because they wanted to be an easy one. Some students were killed and their leaders were sacked by Meles. The rest lost focus and started to bitch and moan instead of continuing the protest they chose to end it. 200 0r 2000 people will die and those who died did not die in vain but should be understood that they died for all Ethiopians.

    The Ethio-politicians in the US like Aklog and friends picked up the bitching and decided to take it to DC as if the Ethiopian leadership was wihin the US. The did make some noise but at the wrong place,at the wrong government.

    All that time and money should have been spent to fuel up the protest Ethiopians on the ground at home. But they failed to show leadership and take the responsibility that came with it. The protest in Egypt cannot be compared to what happened in Ethiopia. Egyptians are one in this call While Ethiopians are divided and showed how easily turn against each other in a critical time. They just proved to be weregna,weretegna,siltan felagi and most of all feri idiots!!!!

  9. jony
    | #9

    at this time for ethio good time to domenstration strugeto meles see cairo and tunsia the dictator by 21 center we dont have chance .ethio poleticial to fight by this time meles regim.BLESS GOD ETHIOPIA

  10. Anonymous
    | #10

    NO NO NO don’t even think to BRING PROBLEM TO ETHIOPIA, we Ethiopian are NOT STUPID TO LISTEN TO



  11. Tulu Oda
    | #11

    True revolution is virtue of the brave. Meles must go!

  12. KissingerIsEvil
    | #12

    Robele Ababya,
    you quoted Henry A. Kissinger,maybe one of the greatest enemies of Ethiopia and described as an evil man by many Europeans,and added to his name “Nobel laureate in 1973″ when you better have mentioned NSSM(National Security Study Memorandum) 200 that is of interest to Ethiopians if you were a responsible writer.
    If your intention was to promote that evil man that will discredit you.

  13. አዱ
    | #13

    እንደት እንደ ምንቀጣቹ ስለምናውቅ አንቸገርም!!!!!!

  14. Concerned Ethiopian
    | #14

    Let us take the emotion out of this important discussion. We have seen what can happen in Egypt when people are cornered to take a position of pro-dictator or pro-opposition side. If the people of Egypt which are much more homogeneous than Ethiopians can be split so easily in the face of such popular revolt, imagine how entrenched can be the split between the already ethnically dis-integrated Ethiopians. Instead of focusing on our common aspiration and broad similarities our short sighted current and past leaders have managed to group us along supperfial differences. So, let us try to focus on those issues that can bring us together as Ethiopians rather than indulging on them vs. us rhetoric.
    That being said; what would be the best mechanism that can get us to a fair society without blood-shed or further disintegration of the Ethiopian nation. I think we have to be willing to overlook past misdeeds by few for future well being of all. By that I mean there need to be a compromise on both sides (the ruling class & the opposition) even if some of the give and take may require them to abandon their core values. For starter the opposition needs to have a common voice to be effective on any possible negotiation with the current government. Obviously that is why the ruling party would like the world to believe they are representing 99% of the population when in fact their support is limited to much smaller groups that are benefiting from the status quo. That will be the case until there is better coordination between the multitudes of opposition groups to speak with one voice at least on those issues that are common to all. I would think free and fair election would be one of the thing most agree with.

  15. Gragn Ahmed
    | #15

    I wish you had more visitors. This is a well balanced view on the future of Ethiopia. Ethiopians should alaign themselves with the rest of the North. It will be fundamental change in our foreign policy which is based on hate and denial. Our roots are from the North and culturally we are closer to the Arabs. This is no exageration. We share values that spans thousands of years. We love families, we are hospitable, and we are social people who like to help one another in time of need and we are generous. Ethiopia will benefit immensely by opening its market and trade agreements to the Arab world. We may not share everything but we have much more in common with the North than with the south. By doing so Ethiopia will be a good bridge to the rest of South Africa. We need a government that likes to compete with fairness doctrine.

    So, I expect this to happen in a free Ethiopia.

Comments are closed.