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!

  1. aheye ashal aheye (I am what I am)
    | #1

    Mr. Roble Ababya:
    With due respect I object to your call for the Ethiopian People to uprise against the Meles regime since the first attempt after the 2005 election proved otherwise. Moreover, who will be up-front in the uprising movement? Remember in the past NONE of the opposition leaders’ sons or daughtors were participated at the Meskel Square short-lived uprising and only the poors were killed. Other methods are preferable and there are many experts who are willing to assemble some device to blow Meles either in the air or on the ground. The second choice should be a complete labor strike all over the nation and that may avoid possible death as is seen in Libya.

  2. Compromise
    | #2

    I hope all including Aite Robele, who do advocate the REVOLUTION, will live what they do preach! Actually the Oromo people do have nothing to lose, if the expected revolution comes! One thing, beside many, in favour of the Oromo liberation movement is the fact that Weyane will leave Finfinne palace, only after securing its goal, i.e after securing an independence of Tigrai. Of course together with such move of Weyane, Oromia’s chance to get its independence is high. For this reason, both the Amhara conservative feudal lords and the Western protectors of the Ethiopian empire don’t want to see Weyane being cornered. They surely know that cornering Weyane is almost tantamount to disintegrating the empire. That is why, it is not the Oromo people, but firstly the Weyane itself, secondly the colonial minded Amhara conservative elites and thirdly their Western handlers, who do fear the coming of the revolution to Ethiopia. Thus, the democratic Amhara forces pushing for the revolution are not as such dangerous for the Oromo. If not Oromian independence per REFERENDUM, we can achieve Oromian autonomy through FEDERALISM within an Ethiopian union (FREEDOM of the Oromo people) as a result of the possible revolution.

    That is why Weyane cadres are nowadays very busy to hinder the revolution from taking place in the Ethiopian empire by using the fact that the peoples of the empire are not homogeneous, but different (the colonized and the colonizer), as an instrument of division and polarization. If the scare tactics, which they try to use, hinder the revolution, the only option we the colonized people do have is the anti-colonial armed struggle, on which we have to concentrate and invest most, even though it is a very difficult job, given the little support we do have from the international community. For the revolution possibilly not to take place, unfortunately also the pro-independence freedom fighters (the Oromo, Ogaden, Sidama… liberation forces) and the pro-unity freedom fighters (the Amhara, Gurage, Harari… patriotic forces) are still mistrusting each other. Both want to secure the direction of the move after the FREEDOM from Weyane (to secure the result after the revolution). The first bloc wants no reversal of the already achieved victory of a limited cultural autonomy on the way towards national independence (self-determination), whereas the second bloc wants to be sure that the empire stays intact and possiblly the process will be reversed back to the unitary country.

    But, why should these people worry too much about the situation after the revolution? Is the caution regarding the unity of the empire, which is lamented by the pro-unity freedom fighters, different from the scare tactics used by the Weyane cadres? The cadres go to Oromo forums and tell us the “worse will come = Amhara will take over and there will never be the reality of Aayyo Oromia, if you push for the revolution”; and then they go to Amhara forums and tell them “take care, the worse will come = OLF can take over and it will be the end of Imiyee Ethiopia, if you make a revolution”. Both Aayyo Oromia and Imiye Ethiopia are actually taken hostage by the Weyane. Whenever Oromo force is stronger, Weyanes threaten with the possibility of dismantling Oromia; and whenever Amhara force is stronger, they threaten with dismembering Ethiopia!

    Weyanes use the opportunity of such division among the opposition to threaten both camps of the freedom fighters. If the revolution should happen, the two camps of the freedom fighters need to be bold enough to take risk of losing their ideals after the revolution and live with a possible compromise solution: the first bloc should be ready to lose for instance Oromia, Ogadenia… and the second camp should be ready to risk Ethiopia! Otherwise, in short, Weyane is really lucky, there will never be any revolution; and getting rid of Weyane through election is of course minimal, that is why armed struggle then will be the only option left. If both the public uprising and the armed struggle are not effective, shouldn’t we then be ready to be ruled by Weyane for the next one century? In short the scare tactics, which the Weyane cadres nowadays are using in forums and paltalks are:

    - “if revolution happens, Amharas can take over and dismantle Oromia”
    - “if revolution happens, Oromos will be in power and dismember Ethiopia”
    - “if revolution happens, Weyane army is not like Tunisia’s army, but will massacre the civillians and take over power”
    - “if revolution happens, there can be a mayhem against the Tigreans, like that of Ruanda”
    - “if revolution happens, there will be absolute chaos and civil war among different ethnies”

    Are the freedom fighters from both blocs (pro-independence freedom fighters and pro-unity freedom fightrers) ready to tacle this scare tactics of Weyane? Can they agree on the middle ground: FREEDOM and REFERENDUM (on self-determination of citizens and nations)? Those freedom fighters, who just sing about the UNCONDITIONAL independence of nations must cool down and accept the public verdict, as well as those freedom fighters who now cry for UNCONDITIONAL unity also should learn to be moderates and accept the public verdict. That means both camps must agree on first to get FREEDOM from Weyane fascists and racists, and then democratically decide for either Independence or Unity per REFERENDUM. That means, only democratic independence or democratric unity (independence or unity based on public verdict) can be a lasting solution. We like it or not, all peoples in that region are interdependent, be it they decide for political Independence or for political Union. The political WILL of the peoples in the empire/region is what matters at the end!

    Unfortunately, there are still blind nationalists in both the Amhara and the Oromo camp, who yet couldn’t see the common CONVERGENT short term goal of the two BIG nations, i.e. the ‘FREEDOM from Weyane’s fascism’. Such blind nationalists concentrate on only their divergent long term goals: independent Oromia (Oromo’s goal) vs united Ethiopia (Amhara’s goal)! But the smart nationalists from both the Amhara and the Oromo camps are trying to forge an alliance to achieve together their convergent common short term goal and then to decide on their respective long term goals per public verdict (by REFERENDUM). The blind ones are too far from accepting and respecting the WILL of their respective public as a final verdict. That means, in short, the blind nationalists do preach democracy, which includes the referendum, but they are not yet ready to practice what they do preach! We hope the few smart and genuinely democratic nationalists in both camps, who try to practice what they do preach, will prevail to cooperate and make Weyane’s fascism be history! Here we also can call the blind nationalists as dictatorial nationalists. Those who want to achieve either ‘Independent Oromia’ or ‘United Ethiopia’ per public referendum are democratic Oromo nationalists and Amhara nationalists respectively. The others who just want to achieve their long term goal without a public verdict are purely dictators, who can talk about freedom and democracy, but know nothing what freedom and democracy really mean!

    Those of us, who do have a cognitive ability to imagine something in abstract way, let’s just try to imagine a very big letter ‘Y’ and try to distinguish four points on the letter (the bottom tip, the middle junction, the left top tip, and the right top tip). Then let’s imagine that the bottom tip is the status-quo of Ethiopian politics, where both the Amhara and the Oromo are under the TYRANNY of Weyane; the middle junction is a point for FREEDOM of both nations from the tyranny; the left top tip is the point of Oromian INDEPENDENCE; and the right top tip is the point for Ethiopian UNITY. Then let’s imagine that this letter ‘Y’ is a route of the liberation journy for both the Amhara and the Oromo from the tyranny, from their present common situation, towards their short term and long term goals. Can we imagine that these two oppressed nations do have a possibility to move from the bottom tip (point of tyranny) to the middle junction (point of freedom) together? This is our common route of the journey towards the common CONVERGING short term goal (kaayyoo). Then after will come the two DIVERGING routes towards two different and diverging long term goals of the two nations: the left top tip = Oromian Independence (long term goal of Oromo) and right top tip = Ethiopian Unity (long term goal of Amhara).

    Now if we could imagine this well, it is not hard to comprehend that we need the Amhara-Oromo alliance (the all-inclusive alliance) to move from the status-quo of tyranny to the point of Freedom, not to move together to the right top tip (together to the Ethiopian Unity goal of the Amhara) or together to the left top tip (together to the Oromian Independence goal of the Oromo people). After achieving our Freedom together, it is upto the Oromo public to decide per REFERENDUM which direction to move further: to the left top tip of Oromian Independence or to the right top tip of Ethiopian Unity. If the Oromo majority will choose to move to the right top tip, then our long term Kaayyoo will be similar to that of the Amhara. Otherwise, if the Oromo majority will choose to move to the left top tip, no Amhara can hinder the Oromo nation from achieving this Oromian Independence. May Waaqa/Igzabiher help us all to understand this move!!

  3. Oda Tulu
    | #3

    The writer suggested to call for peaceful demonstration demanding to open the political space and release of all political prisoners. This would be a sensible starting point leading to labor unrest and eventually an uprising.

Comments are closed.