Egypt uprising ditched parochial views to succeed Robele Ababya,

March 1st, 2011 Print Print Email Email

The firebrand revolutionary, renowned feminist and human rights activist Nawal El Saadawi, cherished the fruit of her struggle spanning over half a century at Tahrir square in Cairo. She expressed her feeling as one of being born again. It was deservedly so for the 80-year old bright lady spotted as a star among millions of Egyptians packed in the Liberation Square daily for 18 days until Mubarak relinquished power on 11 February 2011 – the main demand of the people that was greeted with deafening outburst of joy. Professor Saadawi who is a doctor, a psychiatrist and writer, said that she did not feel tired; she summed up the event at the Liberation Square in the following immortal words:

“This revolution, the young people who started the revolution and who are continuing to protect it, they are not political, ordinary young men and women. They don’t belong to the right or to the left or Muslim. There was not a single Islamic slogan in the street. Not one. They were fighting for justice, equality, freedom, and that Mubarak and his regime should go and we need to change the system and bring people who are honest. Egypt is living in corruption, false elections, oppression of women, of young people, unemployment. So the revolution came, it was too late. This revolution is too late, but anyway, it came.”

“Women and girls are beside boys in the streets.”We are calling for justice, freedom and equality, and real democracy and a new constitution, no discrimination between men and women, no discrimination between Muslims and Christians, to change the system… and to have a real democracy.”

Professor Saadawi said she knew the power of the people but admitted that she “never, never felt the power of the people like those days” meaning in Tahrir Square. She cautioned that “Now Egypt is a new Egypt, independent Egypt, dignified Egypt, not accepting aid. We are going to depend on our production, agricultural production, and industrial production. We are regaining our dignity and freedom and justice.” What a striking similarity with the motto of the Ethiopian revolution of 1974!
It was shown on Al Jazeera that thousands of Muslims joined Christians praying at the Tahrir Square. This is probably unprecedented in the history of Egypt, which makes the Egyptian revolution unique and a driving force for democratic struggle on our globe.

Ditching parochial views in much the same way as done during the successful uprising in Egypt, should serve as a guiding principle by which the impending uprising in Ethiopia should be guided.

Religious tolerance

It is widely agreed that religious wars have claimed more casualties than all other wars combined. Religious wars have claimed the lives of 809 millions, a staggering number in comparison with, 209 million deaths in the name of Communism. Stalin killed 20 million. Some 62 million died during World War II, civilian and military, on all sides. Conclusively, more people have died in the name of religion than in the name of Communism or Hitler, or the two combined times two. Source: Google

The centuries old heritage of inter-faith tolerance among followers of Christianity, Islam and Judaism, is a priceless asset to Ethiopians and a wonderful example to the world.

The quotation “ሃይማኖት የእግዜብሔር የግል ገንዘቡ ነው፣ ሀገር ግን የጋራ ነው” – Religion is private property to God whereas a country belongs to all of its citizens” – is attributed to the late Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia. It is relevant to the debate of the role of religion in politics, which despots like Meles and Mubarak used it to divide and rule people as slaves.

Dictators are causes of Revolutions

More than a couple of hundreds of revolutions and revolts took place since the beginning of the first millennium. The French Revolution of 1789 is regarded as one of the most influential of all socio-political revolutions, is associated with the rise of the bourgeoisie and the downfall of the aristocracy. It was proceeded by and was no doubt influenced by the Age of Enlightenment in Europe. The Bolshevik Revolution and the Maoist Revolution are infamous for their gross violation of universal human rights and denial of freedom of expression; the former failed after 70 years on that account and the latter was on the verge of failure at the Tiananmen Square in 1989. The struggle is continuing and the Chinese Communist leaders know it too well that the quest for the freedom of expression and dignity of the individual human being is unstoppable.

Libya uprising

The entire world was caught totally unprepared for the onset of a series of revolutions sweeping the Arab world. The phenomenal string of uprisings so far in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, Libya et al has no doubt engendered a new era of irreversible democratic dispensation in which respect of universal human rights will take foremost priority by popular demand; and governments unquestionably exist as servants of the people.

Western powers have come openly in support of the uprisings in the Arab world more importantly with apologies for their past mistakes of their relations with dictators under the guise of narrow national interest that has now proved costly due to neglect of long-term benefit of siding with the masses. They are doing so realizing that the Muslim Arab world is quite capable of embracing the precepts of democratic universal values.

It is encouraging that these powers are engaged in a flurry of activities under the auspices of the United Nations to rectify the wrongs of the past with convictions that Western basic values of democracy are part and parcel of universal human rights. The assertion by Secretary Clinton that “Backing transitions in the Arab world is a strategic imperative” is logical and one hopes that Ethiopia, which has been a victim of Western double standards for the last 20 years that the genocidal tyrant Meles Zenawi has been in power, would be rewarded by supporting the impending uprising. It gives sense to support Ethiopia in view also of her strategic proximity to the Middle East.

Time for Ethiopian uprising

This is the most propitious moment of all others in the past that opposition forces have missed for an uprising. The time is propitious for Ethiopian uprising for the following main reasons:

• The heinous crimes of Zenawi including genocide, injustice, torture of peaceful political opponents, treason, corruption, nepotism, denial of freedom of expression, youth unemployment, economic mismanagement, et al are well recorded and universally confirmed; he has become a big liability to his generous donors who are now falling over themselves to reverse their double standards;
• The TPLF regime is illegitimate having stolen election or rigged elections since it came to power;
• The source of Arab dollars that was generously being funneled to the TPLF and Shabia to destabilize Ethiopia is rapidly drying because of the tsunami of uprisings spreading in the Arab world;
• The exclusion of Amharas, Oromos and Guraghes from the inner circle of the Executive Committee of the EPRDF would work to the advantage of the opposition forces;
• Chances are excellent to bring millions of crowd on the streets like the one seen during election 2005.

All that is required is for one or more of the pro-Ethiopian unity opposition parties at home to call for a peaceful mammoth demonstration demanding the opening of the political space and release all political prisoners in Ethiopia. The brutal regime will have no choice but accept the demand to appear democratic to his mentors in the Western world. All-inclusive struggle should stand in readiness to intervene with force in case security organs of the brutal regime use arms against peaceful demonstrators.

In closing, I wish to reiterate that the traditional narrow views driven by ethnic and religious differences must be ditched in order to succeed in the earnestly expected uprising in Ethiopia.

Release all political prisoners in Ethiopia!

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