Ethiopia: Protest and “danger of Military Government” by Eskinder Nega

March 11th, 2011 Print Print Email Email

The announcement of Mubarak’s fall was greeted with the loudest cheer in Egyptian history. People power had come and triumphed in the Arab world’s most important country. There was every reason to celebrate. And with their live images broadcast around the world, (more…)

The announcement of Mubarak’s fall was greeted with the loudest cheer in Egyptian history. People power had come and triumphed in the Arab world’s most important country. There was every reason to celebrate. And with their live images broadcast around the world, celebrate they did for a whole night. Only the next day, a Saturday, did people take time to reflect on the people who had succeeded him.

Public opinion immediately diverged sharply on whether Egypt’s new rulers bode well for the nation’s democratic aspiration. And no where were these differences more pointed than in Tharir square, where tens of thousands of youthful protesters had camped for eighteen days to bring democracy to their country.

“Time to go home,” thousands chanted passionately in compliance with the new regime’s appeal for protesters to decamp from the square in a symbolic gesture to a return to normalcy. “No! The revolution has only begun,” roared back thousands of others. There is more to our cause than the departure of Mubarak, they argued.

To understand their wariness, meet Egypt’s new rulers: Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, the defense Minister; Lt. General Sami Hafez Enan, the military chief of staff; Vice Admiral Mohab Mamish, Commander of the navy; Air Marshal Rada Mahomed Hafez Mohame, Commander of the Air force; and Lt. General Abd El Aziziz Seif-Eideen, Commander of the Air Defense.

As Chairperson of the council, Field Marshal Tantawi is now head of state. Trained by the Soviets when Gamal Abdul Nasser was in power in the mid 50s, Tantawi was commissioned as an officer in 1956; the year in which Egypt and Israel waged the second of the four wars they fought between the late 40s and early 70s.

Neither his role as a sub-lieutenant in this war, nor in the next two, in 1967 and 1973, have earned him the particular respect of peers. And that most probably is what had made him an ideal Defense Minister for two thirds of Mubarak’s 30 years reign. A leaked wikileaks 2008 US embassy cable described Tantawi as “focused on regime stability and maintenance of the status-quo, who simply does not have the energy, inclination (for change)”

Both Tantawi’s and the council’s establishment credentials were evident in their first post-revolution statement in which they praised Mubarak for “resigning in the interests of the nation.” ( In actual fact, it took a revolution to dislodge him.) Not exactly the sentiment of the young revolutionaries who had made history in the streets of Egypt’s cities.

So does this mean that the celebrations were premature? Should we conclude that people power has , after all, been subverted as it once was in Ethiopia in the mid-70s? Or,perhaps, should we at least suspect that the outcome of the Egyptian revolution is hanging in the balance ?

And most importantly, is the specter of a disingenuous military government the most likely outcome of a successful people power revolution in Ethiopia, as is privately, persistently and disparagingly predicted by senior EPRDF officials?

But consider that the Egyptian military council has already dissolved parliament, which is widely ridiculed as illegitimate; suspended the Constitution, which broadly restricts Presidential candidates; and promised to hold Egypt’s first real multi-party elections within six months, despite, to put it somewhat mildly, its less than revolutionary roots, and it becomes all to evident that the military brass are not dictating the pace or course of change.

By contrast, Ethiopia’s military council, the Derg, which assumed power in September 1974, had boldly outlawed all opposition to its policies, deeming it a capital punishment offense, on the very day it dethroned Haile-Sellasie. Right or wrong, the Derg had moral clarity; a sense of mission. This afforded it with the critical will to rule, even if only by brute force.

Not so Egypt’s new military rulers. Unlike the Derg, they have to contend with an assertive Council of Trustees, a broad coalition of protest organizers, which has been entrusted with the defense of the revolution. The moral clarity lies with the youthful Trustees not the old men of the military. And with the absence of clarity of purpose, any chance of the military emerging as a coherent political force is at best minimal.

The Egyptian revolution is in no danger of being subverted, at least not yet. The military will not pose real danger as long as it is incapable of tendering a credible alternative to the broad tenets of the people power revolution. This would have been possible in the bipolar world of the past, but we now live in an age of diminished ideological ambiguities, where, in light of recent events in the Arab world, even Samuel Huntington’s well argued “clash of civilizations” is losing relevance. Democracy, as it is generally understood in the West, is really becoming the only way.

In the event that Ethiopian protests break out and eventuate in a temporary military takeover, as has happened in Egypt, the Ethiopian military will be in no different position than its Egyptian counterpart.

Unlike the Derg, whose suicidal exclusion of senior officers mostly explains its blunders and cataclysmic end, a new military government in Ethiopia will most probably be led by its most senior officers. This suggests that it will most probably be instinctively conservative not wildly radical, less prone to impulsiveness, and thus more predisposed to the sentiments and visions of the center.

Significantly, whether led by senior, middle or lower ranking officers, it will be in no position to offer a compelling raison d’être to explain a sustained presence in politics let alone a monopoly. Absent this crucial world-view, it will be devoid of the internal consensus and political momentum which had once made military governments possible not only in Africa, Latin America and Asia, but also in Europe—Spain, Portugal and Greece. It will really be a transitional government.

No people power revolution has been possible without co-opting the military. Only the confidence that its welfare will not be damaged drastically will convince it to tip the balance of power in favor of change. This has been the dominant experience in other countries so far, and if things move in similar direction in Ethiopia, it is highly unlikely that a new precedent will be set at the expense of the military.

Nor is it desirable. In context of the dangerous neighborhood that the horn of Africa is, the carry-over of the military with its command structure largely intact is an imperative that the nation cannot do without, even if only briefly. The experience of the late 70s militates against it. And this time, the nation may not be able to return from the abyss.

The interests of the military coincides more with the public than it does with the EPRDF. Nothing, including the top brass’ thoroughly EPRDF origins, precludes the presence of a pragmatic leadership capable of recognizing where its real interests rest. And this is exactly where hope for both the people and the military lie.

The end
///////////////////////////////////////////////////

Memo to the Diaspora.

Thanks to your relentless efforts social media is fast emerging as a potent political medium in Ethiopia. Posting of articles on your facebook pages is energizing thousands and demoralizing authoritarians.

Keep posting them. You are making a difference!

Fight tyranny from your PC !!!

The writer could be reached at serk27@gamil.com

  1. Aba Mela
    | #1

    EPRDF is good at making heroes out of ordinary opposition talkers by imprisoning them for this and that reason. I hope this will not be the case for Eskinder Nega. They should let him vent just like the Al Mariam of the U.S.

  2. tewbel
    | #2

    As usual Eskender at his best !!

  3. ethio
    | #3

    Eskinder your just great ……I proud to be ethiopian wenn i see great ETHIOPIAN like you …Thank you ..and GODBLESS you and yor FAMILY….

    BELEW

  4. WENE BIS DERGOCH
    | #4

    no POWER no “BETEMENGIST” TO DERG CRIMINALS AGAIN.IF YOU HAVE THE COURAGE START ARMED STRUGGLE AND TAKE POWER BY FORCE THAT’S WHAT EPRDF DOES.DON’T CRY
    “MORALE BIS’
    “FERIWOCH’
    “WONDOCH KEHONACHU YEWENDINET SIRU’
    ‘LEBA CRIMINAL HULA”

  5. Des
    | #5

    Well written opinion. Eskinder, you’re brave to stand up to the thugs leeching on Ethiopians.

    The lessons learned from the past couple of months are that the military’s interest is the same as the people since the root of the military lies in the people. Only the few regime servants that wouldn’t hesitate to massacre the people need to worry and it is the military’s responsibility to isolate these thugs from itself and be on the side of the Ethiopian people.

  6. Anonymous
    | #6

    Dear ESKR, I would like to bilieve what you are saying but I love to see some flesh on your article not to believe otherwise.
    Thank you God bless you and keep you safe.

  7. ፈረደ
    | #7

    ኑ አብረን እንዋጋ::

  8. ፈረደ
    | #8

    it is true.

  9. Oda Tulu
    | #9

    Coopting the military without any Tigrean officers is good.

  10. zera yakob
    | #10

    Eskinder . It is interesting to read such optimistic analysis from an individual. I was expecting this from organized groups parties who have responsibilty of clearing the air from doubts regarding any poletical issue. That is what a party is for. Yes I agree in most of your comments regarding the military. But what I dont expect is the senior military officials in EPRDF are a strong and stubborn supporters of EPRDF policy.
    particularly ethnic poletics have blinded them in the past. I hope there might be some who have opened their eyes and will be with the people if any popular uprising occurs. Siye was one of the top leader of weyane . Time and conditions will change a human out look, that is what poletics is . “Goverened by the environment” I hope that is what has to be done. bring back those who are influenced by the wrong ideology and out look. that is what popular uprising requires at most. Thanks eskinder

  11. Anon
    | #11

    Ethiopians need to break loose from treating political events hypotetically; instead, all activists need to put in place a plan of action before it is too late. The Ethiopian political condition suffers too much from political speculaters, who like to draw a parallel between unrelated events.

  12. tewderos 3
    | #12

    Wayana 20 years is enough is enough we need our freedom.

  13. Sheger
    | #13

    Long live Ethiopia. And where are we going ? But how ever I love Ethiopia.

  14. Sam
    | #14

    Eskinder writes “right or wrong, the Derg had moral clarity; a sense of mission. This afforded [the Derg] with the critical will to rule, even if only by brute force.” Eskinder you got it wrong this time. First, what you mean by moral clarity is not clear. Is moral clarity, whatever it is, the overriding factor in judging a government’s performance? I think not. The mission you are talking about the Derg was having what was then called ” Ethiopia Tikdem” probably illustrates the 120 military personnel, just the informed ones among them, had the nation interest when they took power. But one thing has to be clarified. Not all Derg members entertained the same political outlook. They had to fight among themselves. The Mengistu group prevailed because they used the “MESON” intellectuals to outsmart the others. The Derg members who were EPRP members and sympathisers were silenced from the outset. Eskinder if you agree with what I wrote above, how come you say the Derg had a mission as one entity? Well, you might say after those I mentioned being got the Stalin “Beter,” that was the massacre named, the Derg got a mission. Well, I disagree with you. In fact, after the final solution were given to those mentioned, the Derg became a one man show supported by the intellectual who flew from Europe to Addis. The Derg then lost mission, meaning the national interest being a priority. In fact, at that time one of the party was asking to have a provicinal government that represented the whole segment of the Ethiopian society. Had the Derg had a mission, that slogan would have been embraced whole heartedly. No, it did not. This new love affair about Derg I read about nowadays always makes me livid: such as the Derg is a nationalist. I disagree. The Derg was a one man show. The show performer “believed” in himself to be right always,and those who questioned his “wisdom” were massacred. Ther is no mission I see here. A guy who killed everyone with a different sentence than his cannot have a mission. If he had it was promoting himself.

  15. የ ቆራው
    | #15

    @Aba Mela Comment#1

    Aba Mela
    The idiot TPLF Cadre who has made a modest income by spying on Diaspora activities, in case you didn’t realise this is Abugidainfo.com and Eskinder Nega’s article is not written for you or the likes who have decided to fill your fat belly at the expense of your countrymen. This article is for visionary Ethiopians who dare to get rid of your master TPLF.

    Aba Mela- The day is near for all TPLF servants to be unemployed and there is no unemployment checks to be handed

  16. derebew
    | #16

    Eskinder has good command of the English language and most of you gulibles are mesmerised by his authorship than the content and logic of what he is writing. Yes where there is a popular revolt the well organized and power wilding army is better positioned to take charge as has happened in Egypt,and that is not a concidence but a natural out come of such precipitus popular revolution in the absence of a well organised leading party. Our recent history of the comming of to power of the Derg in 1974 was not any different than what happened in Egypt. The Ethioopian student intiated revolt instigated more revolt by teachers, trade unions, taxi and bus drivers etc ..
    created a hiatus of scrutiny of the army who were for most of the time whatched and spied upon by the military security, to organise them selves into mutiny. The Emperor who was over whelmed by the extent of the unremiting revolt was incapacitated into no action when the army started to organise it self into a more cohesive group and finally hijack the popular revolution. The army after assuming power used absolute brute force to silence the people….the rest is a dark history of Ethiopia that, I will not delve into as I wouldn’t be able to discribe the monstrisity of the injustice commited on the people of Ethiopia.
    I found Eskinder’s intigrity dubious after I read the following stament “Right or wrong, the Derg had moral clarity; a sense of mission”. What kind of hounorable mission may that be? Is it the RED TERROR? The hmiliation of the country as a vassal of the Soviet Union? or is there any other mission that the Derg had acomplished besides distruction of the country that Eskindr would like to elaborate?
    So if we were to assume that Eskinder’s dream of a revolution was to happen in Ethiopia, is he comfortable if the comander in chief Gen. Samora is to take power…… until when he demostrates he is a son of the people and relinqish power, like Gen. Tantawi of Egypt is expected to do?

    Another statment just written for argument with out due thought by Eskindr is the following, ” And with the absence of clarity of purpose, any chance of the military emerging as a coherent political force is at best minimal”. This is rubish as any one who lived thru the reigh of the Derg will remember there was no clarity of purpose on the part of the Derg and despite the derg ruled and terrorised the people for 17 years. Is it because every African military junta has clarity of purpose thet were able to rule formany decades such as Gadafy for 42 years.

    And last but not least how is it that Eskinder is an expert or knowledgable to tell us …..”Unlike the Derg, whose suicidal exclusion of senior officers mostly explains its blunders and cataclysmic end, a new military government in Ethiopia will most probably be led by its most senior officers. This suggests that it will most probably be instinctively conservative not wildly radical, less prone to impulsiveness, and thus more predisposed to the sentiments and visions of the center.
    Does he mean in general sinior officers are less brutal and more democratic? Please tell him General Pinochet was (a sinior officer) an impulsive brute dictator with only few like Mengistu of Ethiopia can only match.

    I admire Eskinder not for his arguments but for his litrary skill.

  17. Abiy Ethiopiawe Segawi-Wee-Menfesawi
    | #17

    Ethiopian people RISE UP against tplf faggots.
    Ethiopian people RISE UP against tplf faggots.
    Ethiopian people RISE UP against tplf faggots.
    Ethiopian people RISE UP against tplf faggots.
    Ethiopian people RISE UP against tplf faggots.
    Ethiopian people RISE UP against tplf faggots.
    Ethiopian people RISE UP against tplf faggots.
    Ethiopian people RISE UP against tplf faggots.
    Ethiopian people RISE UP against tplf faggots.
    Ethiopian people RISE UP against tplf faggots.
    Ethiopian people RISE UP against tplf faggots.
    Ethiopian people RISE UP against tplf faggots.
    Ethiopian people RISE UP against tplf faggots.
    Ethiopian people RISE UP against tplf faggots.
    Ethiopian people RISE UP against tplf faggots.
    Ethiopian people RISE UP against tplf faggots.

    Bless true Ethiopians!!!

  18. Gash Polisu
    | #18

    Eskinder,

    berta! yante difretena wone woder yelewm!

  19. Zerayakob Yared
    | #19

    የፈለገው የትም ቢንቀዠቀዥ ምንም የሚያመጣው ፋይዳ የለውም! ምናልባት ትንሽም ቢሆን የሁናቴዎች ከረጂም ጊዜም በውሃላ ቢሆን የተስፋ ጭላንጭል ለማየት የ’De Klark’ን ምሳሌነት መከተል ወይንም ደግሞ የማሌሊት ጉዋዙን ጠቅልሎ መጥፋት ብቻ ነው!!

    በማሸማቀቅ ለዘወትሬ እኖራለሁኝ ብሎ የተለመ ሃይል እሱው ራሱው የተሸማቀቀ መንፈስን የተሸከመ ቢሆን ነው:: ስለሆነም መጀመርያ የመሸማቀቁ መነሾ ምን እንደሆነና ከመሸማቀቅስ እንዴት መፈወስ ይቻላል ብሎ ማሰላሰልን በውጭም ይሁን በውስጥ ያለው ኢትዮጵያዊ ሁሉ ያውጠንጥነው!!

    Until then looters are going to loot as usaul. በነገራችን ላይ በእርሱ ስም የተመዘገበውን ገንዘብ ወዴት ቢያሸጋግረው ነው, ያ damn …. aka ሁለተኛው ዓይጋ, አላሙዲን ተቀዳሚነቱን ለቆ “ሁለተኛው የጥቁር ሃብታም ሆነ” ብሎ ያስተጋባለት ? ገንዘቡ ወደ ቻይና (ስዩም መስፍን) ተሸጋገረ እንዴ!? ከሰሞኑ የጋዳፊ የሃብት መወረስ ሁናቴዎች ትምህርት በበለጠ እየወሰድን ይሆንን ?

  20. Nega
    | #20

    @Aba Mela
    You are suffering from a psychological problem called ‘the Stockholm syndrome’. Get some more information about it and try to heal yourself. May God help you!!!

  21. Weyanes go to Hell
    | #21

    derebew;

    Don’t take the sentence out of its context. One can easily understand what Eskinder is tring to convey to his readers. Eskinder never denied Derg was ruling the country by brute force as he stated clearly here …

    “By contrast, Ethiopia’s military council, the Derg, which assumed power in September 1974, had boldly outlawed all opposition to its policies, deeming it a capital punishment offense, on the very day it dethroned Haile-Sellasie. Right or wrong, the Derg had moral clarity; a sense of mission. This afforded it with the critical will to rule, even if only by brute force.”

    We all know Derg was brutal and ruling the country by brute force just like Weyane (save the fake election that weyane claimed it won by 99.6%.)

    In contrast what we see in Egypt today is completely different, as Eskinder is explaining it here why…

    “The Egyptian revolution is in no danger of being subverted, at least not yet. The military will not pose real danger as long as it is incapable of tendering a credible alternative to the broad tenets of the people power revolution. This would have been possible in the bipolar world of the past, but we now live in an age of diminished ideological ambiguities, where, in light of recent events in the Arab world, even Samuel Huntington’s well argued “clash of civilizations” is losing relevance. Democracy, as it is generally understood in the West, is really becoming the only way.”

    The military in Egypt pretty much is following the demand that is put forward by the Egyptian people. So stop trying to take the statement out of its context. If your target was to somehow insinuate that Eskinder is a Dergy, your attempt is miserably failed. And don’t be arrogant and don’t underestimate people just like you we can also read between the lines and what we read was a beautiful inspiring message.

  22. Gash Polisu
    | #22

    Sam,

    you also got it wrong this time round. Derg had a mission, clearly articulated in its ideaological mouth pieces of the time, including that bulky annual Magazine, if you remember. in its first manifesto published immediately after taking power, Derg had announced that it would, among others, (i) redistribute land to the peasantry (ii) create a New Ethiopia in which the cultural and democratic rights of all tribes in it are respected (iii) allow the right to self determination for all cultural communities in the country (iv) protect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the nation, both from external and internal foes alike.

    The land to the tiller issue was achieved in 1975 when a proclamation that authorised the land redistribution was passed by the then Shengo/parliament. Like the TPLF drama carefully staged these days, the Derg also used to organise and showcase cultural and music shows representative of the various nations and nationalities of Ethiopia. The names Gala, Wolamo and other derogatory references to certain ethnic groups were officially sanctioned and any one who dared using these references in public was appropriately censured or punished. Above all, any promotion or educational opportunities for both domestic and foreign travel were granted based on merits. The composition of the military at all levels as we knew it truly reflected the ethnic diversity of the country. In short, Derg had a clear mission to mould a new, vibrant, and harmonious Ethiopia which entertained its multicultural and multireligious heritages.

    Now an inquisitive mind should ask, would the fate of Ethiopia be any different if the various liberation fronts did not choose armed struggle to dissolve the country like a melting ice? Would Derg be as brutal as it was if TPLF, EPLF, WSLF, SLF, ALF and other LFs did not spring up like ants and termites in every corner of the country? Derg initiated the right to self determination, but TPLF, OLF, EPLF, etc. insisted and hardened their stance on secession. As the single most organised entity responsible for safeguarding the national sovereignty of Ethiopia, was it not a logical follow up that the military-minded leaders would crush any insurgent faction? The Red Terror and the subsequent atrocities were not single-handedly committed by the Derg regime. As you know Derg captured state power ‘yaleminim dem’ and the first bullet was shot from arrogant EPRP members, not from Derg junior officiers. No matter how our benchmark, Derg did the right thing to ‘cool down’ all ‘tegentay wonbedes’ of the time. If Derg officials sat their hands folded and their legs crossed, Ethiopia would have been the worst Somalia ever with its various ethnic groups feuding over the control of adjacent territories.

    Anyone who judges Derg as brutal and irresponsible without fairly assessing the contemporary political conditions and the catalytic role played by the LFs and arrogant EPRP puppets is simply committing a serious mistake.

  23. Aba Mela
    | #23

    EPRDF , Derg etc are dots in our long history. Whether it is for or against EPRDF people should speak freely wherever they are. That was my point. I care less whatever label that is given to it but I still believe EPRDF creats heroes out of opposition by imprisoning them sometimes using most of the time kind of amateurish charges.

  24. Saba
    | #24

    If you ever doubted who Gash Polisu was then his deep knowledge about the Derg’s program (Manifesto) should shed light for everyone to see. The nostalgia for the old good times, Derg, is killing him. Poor guy. Derg is a sorry history as you are. Weyanes go to Hell, he’s at it reading tea leaf. As much you try to put words in Eskinder’s mouth, that remains a spin on your part. A word semantics is no substitution for content. In unrelated news here is what Scott Eisner of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said after his to the Ethiopia: “Ethiopia, he says, U.S. investors are attracted to low corruption and an attractive investment climate, which includes a potential market of 90 million customers. U.S. firms are taking a long-term view of the potential of the Ethiopian market from [the top to the bottom of] the supply chain and agribusiness. So [opportunities range] from infrastructure, [like building] roads, to the value added that the companies can provide…all the way up to the top tier of the supply chain, with big horticultural facilities.” Ouch, this got to hurt. Let your hatred pour towards me. Go ahead and make my day.

  25. Sheger
    | #25

    I think all of the opposition should join the global civic movement and all of us should join them to change peacefully.

    And if A revolution arrives which I think is going on in south, we have to stand with the people and help them and and the whole nation to rise together or ask the south to stop it and organize our selves first and do it all together.

    Just my opinion.

  26. Sheger
    | #26

    I think all of the opposition should join the global civic movement and all of us should join them to change peacefully.

    And if A revolution arrives which I think is going on in south, we have to stand with the people and help them and ask the whole nation to rise together or ask the south to stop it and organize our selves first and do it all together.

    Just my opinion.

  27. derebew
    | #27

    To woyanes go to hell.
    I didn’t take it out of context, I quted him right out from his scrible and the carnel of the issue is how can there be a moral context to mass exicution / genocide in the like of RED TERROR. Lack in ideal democracy and out right fascism, nazizm and genocide are day and night and it is immoral and disengenous to try to compare them. If you complain about the election not being the way you like it or you have a true or percieved feeling of being cheated of the election doesn’t in any way entitel you or for that matter any just person distort facts and fuel with fire.
    LOOK FROM YOUR ASSUMED NAME. I can deduce you are angry and wishing the woyane to go to hell and I think this is the dilema the ethiopian opposition is facing. The fact that you are a hater and would like to compare the evil and inhuman deeds of the Derge with the relative lack of democracy in the infant phase of, the process of building a just and democratic federal state is out rageous and that is why it will always fail.
    You seem to be educated from your discourse and your attempt on vailing the issue of Eskindr’s folly or your attempt on explaining it away is less than honest. I want to ask you this question, as I am sure you are smart and you can give it a half hearted effort to answer it if you don’t like it. Why do you think the Woyane defited the most powerful army in Sub Sahar? And why do they continue to out smart every opposition that tried to fight or undermine them?
    Do you think they may be more sober, deliberate and act in priciple than you would like to give them credit for?
    Isn’t it time for the hateful to sit and account of thier gain and loss and come up with a workable solution? The old and tired tactic of trying to undermine a governemnt by writing false and corrupted political diatribe is out through the window because the government has also the resource,the midium that it can utilize and if it wants can mobilize milions of its followers when the tire hits the road. At this juncture however, I suspect the government/party is chosing to be silent on some issues, as usual, because it hasn’t given it weight.
    I find it funny some in diaspora think the EPRDF is scared bluh, bluh….You think a scared government will go after this and that creating enemies when they are afraid and occuipied to safeguard them selvs. Far beyoned it the EPRDF seem to be oblivious of the diaspors and Eskindr’s half cooked theory because they know how to feasil it.
    IF WE WANT A BETTER ETHIOPIA WE SHOULD BE HONESTLY ORGANISED TO BRING A JUST AND DEMOCRATIC ALTERNATIVE TO EPRDF WHERE ALL OF US WILL HAVE A CHOICE TO VOTE FOR THE BEST PERFORMER (PARTY) BASED ON ITS PROGRAMS (MANIFESTO IF YOU LIKE) RATHER THAN EACH OF US BEING FIXATED ON DEFENDING OR HATING ONE OR THE OTHER PARTY. Keep in mind if we are democrats and we belive in true democracy it should not be any one’s business to dictate or attack another for following a party of their choice. For example I don’t have a problem if Eskinder is a Dergist except I will oppose his views and I will assure I don’t have an ill will to wards him. Actually I like his writing style and I wish him good health and life as he will continue to spiece our discourse and hopefuly with more honesty.

  28. Anonymous
    | #28

    Where in the world is Professor Tecola Worq Hagos on BEKKA movement?

  29. Treaty
    | #29

    This well written article argues that, in the event of popular uprising in Ethiopia, military take over can be the likely hood scenario, just as it did in Egypt. However, for this position to hold true there needs to be point by point corresponding comparable events, that can be demonstrated, between Egypt and Ethiopia .Let us see this holds true; The Egyptian uprising begins Spontaneously, one may say, as a result of Tunisian influences.
    Prior to this event there is no history f any organized political party to assume leading role in Egypt. The Military being the only organized institution in the country, it becomes natural to delegate power to the military as care taker government until the next election. In Ethiopia the situation is quite different; Ethiopia has organized political parties that Egypt lacks. For instance, if need be, the Ethiopian opposition is in a position to establish representative government in absentia at this very moment provided this is the will of the people. This is not to say the establishment of pro
    Visional government in absentia will be true representative of the people. It will be, however,
    In all likely hood preferable approach than a military take over. Here, Eskinder fails to demonstrate confidence on the Ethiopian opposition to play such role. I object his view, not only, on the ground that the analogy of the subjective condition of the two countries is dissimilar, but also on the fact that his view is purely speculative.

    The fact
    is no one knows in advance the likely hood of the outcome of the peaceful protest-the peaceful protest must put in to action before any accurate knowledge is gained. The only way to find out the likely hood of the out come of the event is to call a national protest and see the events unfolding. Once the protest is underway, it will generate its own dynamics; even then we can only know partially through reading of day to day events.Beside,the object of any political debate need to lead us to reach a co sensuous for a
    United action. Political debate for debate sakes will be a mere academic exercise for leasure.However, on a needy greedy basis this is not how humans live their life, nor is this the way how the human mind ordinarily functions. Most often, out of possible options, the mind selects one item and gives direction for the individual to exercise its volitional power to a definite course of action. Often the mind weigh issues on a case by case basis, prioretize according to the urgency of needs, and exercise its executive will upon the object of the choice to bring the required event. Why should it be seen differently to the issue of popular uprising in Ethiopia?

  30. Sam
    | #30

    Gash Polisu you presented your version of what happened in Ethiopian politics. Well, our past political history would be differently interpreted because as individuals we were suceptible to different poltical orientations. I do not want to debate with you about the past with this medium because exchanging a few feedbacks might not serve well to convince each other. You argued your case very well, but it might be prudent to think about the theory you seemed to believe in: had not been EPRP fired the first shot to kill Dr. Fikre the Derg would not have become merciless. First, the first shot being fired by EPRP is debatable. Second, even if we believe that to be the case killing hundreds for asking a representative government was not the way to go. Derg was a government besides the bullet which had other resources to quell the opposition. And one more thing and I am done. Your theory that had not been for armed struggle by various liberation fronts the Derg might be humane seems to me that you believed the Derg had to have had the monopoly of truth in Ethiopian politics. The reason you came to this conclusion might have stemmed for the world having no have stomach for any armed struggle now. But to the judge the past by the current understanding is not fair, furthermore, not a convincing argument.

  31. TAMRAT
    | #31

    First, I would like to say thank you Ato Eskinder Nega.We need more people heros like this man because the country is going down this small minded people of the regime. Ethiopia is not one ethic group seat, so this regime did not really care 80 Millions people. just want to live their life comfort for themselves. In deed, Melse regime is need to be game over, we want change. we as Ethiopians we can do this.We need to hold hands and say enough is enough. We have to write new History.

  32. kentu
    | #32

    You mention different ways how overthrow the current regime. But still we are leaving in illusion. Don’t expect like egypt or other north African countries. We have different culture first and for most when we are a kid we have no right wwwwhich school to attend , friend, cloth, food even wife So it looks a joke this affect us we are abused we should raise our kids with respect we raise like a dog that is why we don’t have definite destination. It is not to blame derg or weyane blame you parents that is why we govern by 2 grade. takes time to make change even in personal life.

  33. Anonymous
    | #33

    I read Eskinder’s article with patience and some of the trash comment by irresponsible persons . By having said this let me say the following to the writer : If a revolution breaks, you want the military take over power . We have the worest military rulers experience and they were all the same whether they were in Egypt, Nigeria, Liberia, or Algeria . It is a shame that you are telling to your readers that the DERG that massacered, maimed, tortured and imprisoned the Ethiopian youth, Trade Union members,Teachers, Farmers and Intellectuals has clarity? A military is a military and rule by the barrel of the gun . The DERG as I clearly remember came to power by snatching and highjacking the people’s movement and at that particular time there was no organized party . You also praised the the Egyptian high ranking military officers who assumed power . Dear, Mr writer do not rush and the Egyptian people are fooled the second time one in 1952 and the second one in 2011 . General Mubarek was replaced by general Thahir and the same crooks who were responsible for the brutal opression of the people . Mr writer as you wished you want to dethrone the TPLF/EPLF tribalist regime and replace it by General Zeberga, General Wakeyo, general Habthom, General Guangule and general Dagnew . So let me assume the way you want it and these five generals seize power from the TPLF/EPLF regime and do you think the people of our 14 provinces benefit any thing? These generals like their counter part the DERG will preach about Ethiopian nationalism and they will show their true color that is killing and terrorizing . Last not the least you said the new military council in Egypt is a “Broad Coalition of protest organizers . ” That is NOMINAL coaltion . In any given time the military will throw out the organizers in jail may be with no trace of them . So the real power is in the hands of the military . In the end, I strongly oppose the military take over in our home land Ethiopia . Instead we should organize ourselves around parties and and establish a transitional government . This is the best choice and let us argue and debate what is good for the people of the 14 provinces of ETHIOPIA . SElam Tena Yesteligne .

  34. Weyanes go to Hell
    | #34

    To derebew;

    I beg to differ actually you did it again. Eskinder never denied Derg was brutal. Having a moral clarity does not necessarily mean Derg had a good moral whatever good moral means. What he is trying to communicate with all of us is Derg had a clear objective to rule the country by brute force even if that means red terror, mass execution etc. As far as Derg is concerned they had a clear plan how they were going to rule the country and that is what Eskinder is trying to convey to his readers.

    What is going on in Ethiopia is not just lack of democracy. And here, it is you who is being disingenuous. Weyane is as brutal as Derg, the only difference is Weyane is a little more smart about it. You know, It was not just an accident when people were killed in Gambella, Awassa, in several part of Oromia or in Addis. Weyane ordered to kill these people. You may argue Weyane did not kill as many as Derg but my friend losing a single life is one life too many for having simply a different ideological out look.

    You also said, I didn’t like the turn out of the election result. Dude, it’s not simply me not liking the election result and I am just hoping you are not that naïve either that you expect people actually would believe the election drama. You are accusing me that I am distorting fact, would you care explaining to me what fact that am I distorting? I hope you are not claiming there is a democracy in Ethiopia or your really believe Weyane actually won the election by 99.6%. If that is your fact, then there is nothing for you and me to discuss further. This is the kind of disrespect people are tired of. And please for God sake, stop telling people Ethiopia’s democracy is in its infancy stage bla bla… First there is no democracy in Ethiopia be it infancy or any other phase to begin with. Second, actually what weyane is doing is closing any chance of having a free media, free election, free judicial system or an independent military system in the country. So like I told you before stop being arrogant and give people a little credit, people are not stupid, they see and they are living it. You may fool some people some of the time but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.

    And you asked me to answer why TPLF defeating all of its opponents; and here you see you are being disingenuous again. The main reason for the collapse of Derg was the people had had enough of Derg. People would have chosen the devil himself let alone TPLF. Wining by eliminating or sabotaging all your opponents shouldn’t be actually seen as strength. If weyane as you trying to suggest have the people’s interest, then why not have a free election without intimdating and sabotaging. Otherwise, anyone who owns the weapon can do what TPLF is doing in Ethiopia right now. That is actually the more reasons why I hate weyane. They sabotage the opposition so that no formidable opposition flourishes in the country. They don’t hesitate to kill if they think anyone is a threat to their power. So If I were you I wouldn’t be too quick to give credit to TPLF. Actually any mafia group with a gun pretty much can do what TPLF is doing in Ethiopia today. They are controlling the economy and they have all the weapons for now.

    I agree people should have the right to support any political group they choose to. it shouldn’t be anyone’s business.. But I think you should give that advice to the weyane mafias in Ethiopia who harasses, intimidates, or kills Ethiopians for not supporting EPRDF aka TPLF. Here you are complaining because I am using this pen name, but have you ever complained to TPLFites to stop harassing opposition members? Have you ever asked why people such as Birtukan Mediksa had to go to prison for speaking her mind?

    On last note, even Mubark with all that weapons and power, western support, more than 2 million party members etc, it took only 18 days for all that to disappear. So don’t be too confident and arrogant. You have no idea what tomorrow is awaiting you.

  35. Werner2010
    | #35

    I have never imagined that anyone could stoop so low, that he advocates military rule in our motherland Ethiopia. “Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.”

  36. Dameraw
    | #36

    Oh well, you Abugida’s are heeding the intimidation of the loud minority extremists in your corner hence you stopped posting my comments. It’s a shame. If your underlying purpose was the best for Ethiopia, you wouldn’t choose winners and losers. Shame on you.

  37. Dan
    | #37

    [[..Right or wrong, the Derg had moral clarity; a sense of mission. This afforded it with the critical will to rule, even if only by brute force...]]

    Main point being concentrating power in one person or small clique of people. We can say the same of TPLF/EPRDF.

    Maybe it was a mistake for TPLF to replace DERG. There is no guarantee we can do better in the next military coup replacement either.

    Would it be better if we leave such dictatorships run their coarse or until the country reaches middle income? Running a Developing nation in crises seems to require and justify that kind of concentrated power to benefit from quick and effective decision making. Who ever takes that kind of leadership will want to bring swift changes. We know such methods are used in Democracies during “state of emergencies”. Not being developed is a “state of emergency”.

    Services such as education and health to improve quality of life of the people. To modernize in general dictatorship seems to out perform democracies.

    I have mentioned Cuba in the past where their health system rivals the West and send Doctors to other developing nations. Comparing China and India with similar population with one having a one party system the other multi party democracy. China performs better management of allocation of resources and services than India. India have a better private sector and have political freedoms. Such things are ideal but they are not great concepts of development; actually have the potential to undermine developments (health, education and welfare etc) by the endless democratic decision making. Because of lack of development people get to the point of being incapable of managing democracy in a fruitful way. Good examples are Yugoslavia and USSR. If only they have tried to liberalize the economy instead of democratize? Seeing how China out performs India while its neighbor USSR collapsed all together, dictatorship seems to have the advantage.

  38. Weynes go to Hell
    | #38

    Dan well we can also cite other successful democracy that have flourished because of democracy. Yea, one may want to keep the statuesque. if one is benefiting under the current regime.

    Otherwise, don’t just choose only the rosy scenario to proof your point. Well if we had a democracy we wouldn’t be just witnesses when the land is being sold for pennies for Chinese and Indians. We wouldn’t be just witnesses when land is given out as a token of appreciation to Sudan so that Meles can stay in power, we wouldn’t be just witnesses when corruption and mismanagement of the country’s resources destroying the country etc etc ….

  39. Samuel
    | #39

    It is sad to engage in the discussion of comparisons between the Derg and Woyane. In my view that comparison always emanates from those who are inclined to suuport the Woyane regime. Unfortunately Tigrean elites fall into this category. No matter how much you dice it the Derg’s administartion and its totalitarian rule can never and should never be compared to TPLF. For the Derg human rights violation was wholesome, non-ethnic. Except for the 3 years hell of Red and White terror, the rest of their dictatorial rule was not what the TPLF’s and their EPRP cohorts tell us. It was dictatorial and, sure enough with severe human rights violations was not involved as extensively as the TPLF in gross human rights violations that does not seem to be limited, occurs through out the country (except Tigray) and invariably across ethnic lines. Their cadres would like to paint an excellent picture of the benevolent TPLF. The story on the ground, however, tell a different story. Visit Ethiopia and talk to the common people even in rural areas and you will truly feel the disgust of the population at the current government. By the way do we have any tally of how many people “disappeared” through out the country since TPLF came to power 20 years ago. In Oromia, you will hardly find any body who has not been affected or does not know somebody who diasappeared, incarcerated or tortured. TPLF gangs and their mercenaries are busy building their businesses while others do not have the access or the permit to engage and compete with Tigrean businesses. The call them EFFORT, but all are related. We did not witness such kind of callous disregard for all Ethiopians during the Derg Era and we have yet to find any organization during the Derg era that was similar in function as EFFORT. Yes, the Derg fought a cessationist organizations TPLF/EPLF and in a war that involved civilians. The TPLF did the same thing and, even worse in Ogaden and Gambella, in addirion to slow progressive neutralization of all the populus in othe areas. The disruptive behaviour of TPLF will be exposed even further. For a keen observer, the Derg and TPLF cannot be compared. As a minority regime, the TPLF government knew early on that they were occupying power illegitimately and drew out plans as to how to hide evidences that would incrimnate them when the people rise aginst injustice. That is what is happening.

  40. kentu
    | #40

    Sometimes when i read some comments i was shocking and surprise still they are not in Ethiopia only their body is there not their soul I read one gay the only option we have is through military coup. Shame on you even you don’t have Ethiopian national army. it is a tplf army in Ethiopian uniform you stupid. even 2 years old knows it.Next time time don’t mention such kind stupid. people they are frustrated

  41. Thank you Eskinder!
    | #41

    Thank you our hero Eskinder! You’re remarkable! I’ve no doubt that millions and millions of Ethiopians like me love you and admire your tenacity. Ethiopia is in bad need of brave and courageous children like you. God bless you, your wife and precious child.
    #`1 and the likes of you are heartless individuals that support the Hitler of Ethiopia that has the blood of countless number of Ethiopians. You Woyanes have no room to talk about the late Haile Selassie and even the other butcher Mengestul. As brutal as Mengestu was, at least we know he loved and protected Ethiopia and was millions times better than your two vicious and looter masters–Azeb and Meles.

  42. Dan
    | #42

    Weynes go to Hell:

    I know the “land grab” is controversial but attracting foreign direct investment by itself is very competitive among developing countries. Listening to Zemedeneh Negatu from Ernst & Young Ethiopia, it is not easy to attract mega investors, a lot of work is involved within a limited time frame. Otherwise some other hungry country will grab the investor. It is a cut throat business and off course, it has to be give and take.

    If the TPLF Dictatorship was able to attract few, it’s because dictatorship in general define and establish a pro-investment legal framework insuring economic liberties without dealing with issues a Democracy encounters. Meaning no opposition parties to deal with. China’s command in this arena was able to attract Foreign Investment that turned 400 million citizens from poverty to middle income.

    It may surprise you but the Lion’s share of economic miracles happened under dictatorship.

    The economic Tigers of the 1980′s were the dictatorship of S Korea, Singapore and Taiwan. In the 1970′Th was the military government of Brazil. Another is Pinochet of Chile. You know it’s funny but Taiwan was equal to Kenya in 1950.

  43. Samuel
    | #43

    Dan,

    Yes, the countries you mentioned (S. Korea, Singapore, Taiwan) were led by dictatorship. But their progressive development was after they threw out their dictatorship. Moreover, no where in those countries did dictatorship spearheaded by a minority7 ethnic group unlike Ethiopia whose primary objective is the growth of their corporations (EFFORT) taking all the shares of economic development. According to your logic we should have given Mengistu Hailemariam more time to let him bring economic development. The underlying governerance in Ethiopia that tramps everything is the fact that the country is under the dictatorial rule of Tigreans and that fact can be witnessed across the country. When over 90% of the population is not with you and is niot interested in what you claim to accomplish nobody believes you.

  44. Dan
    | #44

    Samuel,

    ((..S. Korea, Singapore, Taiwan) were led by dictatorship. But their progressive development was after they threw out their dictatorship. ..))

    Singapore is still questionable; be that as it may, because People’s basic need was met, they started quenching political liberty over further developments. In other words, the fastest path to liberal democracy must be a dictatorship. :-)

    Definition of a dictatorship is ” form of government where absolute power is concentrated in a dictator or a small clique”. Minority or not, Meles and his clique qualify. EFFORT is in the name of Tigrai but the dictatorship shall re-invest and put back the money where ever is necessary to avoid the risk of INSURRECTION.

    Yes I wish TPLF left Mengestu alone and demanded political reforms. They would have probably settled a federation instead of separation with Eritrea. If it makes any difference to you, Prof. Tecola Hagos on his blog, tells us that Dictator Meles is part Raya Oromo, Kunama and other.

    “dictatorial rule of Tigreans”? It is just not credible.

  45. Weynes go to Hell
    | #45

    ” If it makes any difference to you, Prof. Tecola Hagos on his blog, tells us that Dictator Meles is part Raya Oromo, Kunama and other.”

    Please dude, get real :) this wouldn’t have mattered, had it not TPLF made ethnicity the center of everything.

    Most of us know EFFORT is for Tigryans in name only already.

    dude, yes it’s a dictatorial rule by a few Tigryans clique. Otherwise, how do you justify in a country where 6% of the population controls the rest? where all the high level military personnel are from Tigryans except one or two? please don’t try to insult our intelligence.

    Anyhow, what development are you talking about? the majority of the people are actually poorer than before. Ethiopia is still one of the poorest country in the world. Even middle income families are unable to afford three meals a day. So what development are you talking about? It’s been 20 years since TPLF came to power using force but they have nothing to show for except corruption, mismanagement of the country’s resource, ethnic apartheid etc.

  46. tREATY
    | #46

    Gash Polisu] you wrote,

    ” As you know Derg captured state power ‘yaleminim dem’ and the first bullet was shot from arrogant EPRP members, not from Derg”.This shows how you are knowledgeable about the issue of the time. Your assertion that “Dreg seized power in blood less coup” is absolutely rubbish your claim is erroneous. Long before EPRP adapted urban self defense the derg has executed the previous cabinet ministers, including that of General Amman Amdom with out trail. These historical accounts are in our disposal. Perhaps, your confusion about facts , explains much about your past and the relationship you hade with that regime.The long blood trail that Mengistu was to lead the nation begins here. Had it succeeded, the 1976, EPRP coup against the murderous regime could have changed the course of events in Ethiopia, in the positive direction. I miss the whole point in your message as you seem to be wrapped up in the past. There is no any valid reason to defend one of the most fascistic and authoritarian regime in this forum at any moment. It is even more alarming to see you introducing this ugly past at this critical moment. You guys, that is previous derg cadres and care taker, are quiet similar with the cadres of TPLF.There is nothing that will lead me to believe you two are different. Both of you have inordinate desire for your Owen bellies than any concern for Ethiopia. If that was not the case you wouldn’t have been haunted by the ghost of Mengistu. But again, one can see through your writing that ,you as I said above, your nostalgia and revisionism about Derg are based on self interest. The young generation will never permit your types to shape the course of public opinion in future Ethiopia. Try as you will, but it will never happen, you, and the likes of Negede Gobeze owe Ethiopia repentance. There is no doubt in my mind that you used to be one of government armed tugs. Chances are you might have been member of the fierce NEBELBAL, SEDED, ECHIAT, WEZ-LEAGUE, or MEISON. It is sad that Abugida will permit the revisionist Dergists to propogate their poison in its forum. Comments such as by Gash Polic, the name itself reminiscent of armed killers of the past, is fomenting his diatribe against EPRP members. We should never permit \Bandas from NEBELBAL, SEDED, and any of so called socialist organizations that make up the ESEPAKO to cloud our vision about current events. What does INATUN GEDAY YENGIDE-LIGE BANDA HAS IN COMMON with EPRP members?

  47. Kush-Kush
    | #47

    To Treaty
    You may not know who Negede Gobeze is . He is the last line in the Zaguwee dynasty from Wello who lost his power to the Solomonic dynasty brokered by Saint Tekle Haimanot . Negede Gobeze was the architect of All Ethiopian Movement in Amharic MESON . When the time passed by, he and his criminal members are speaking about the movement . The MESON crime in Agaro, Kefa, Asebe Tefere, Diredawa, Harrer,Assela,and of course Nazeret and Addies Ababa is a fresh memory to the people who fought the derg valiantely . What I believe is may be Eskinder was to young who did not witness the derg crime insitigated and orchestrated by MESON . Dear Treaty, those criminals must be exposed to the fullest extent and they have to get lost . Those criminals are not only nostalgic, they are also naives . #32 is my comment and you may read it if you do not mind . Slam Tena Yesteligne !

  48. Give me a break!
    | #48

    Kush-Kush,
    Only you and the likes of you who support the most evil dictator in Ethiopian history, talk about Derg and ignore and dismiss the brutality of Meles and Co. No one denies the crimes the Mengestu regime had committed, but there is no comparison with the most evil, immoral, malicious, looters and killers of TPLF regime, that have also given the most fertile land and our ports to outsiders. Currently, Ethiopians don’t have the luxury like you to go back hundreds of years history to put blames what happened or not happened in the past in Ethiopia, while they are being brutalized by evil Meles regime as we speak. Meles, Azeb and their buddies are in Ethiopia to loot and destroy Ethiopia by every means they see fit and Ethiopians have seen the proof in the last 20 years that TPLF hate Ethiopia and Ethiopians and they are in the process of dismantling and destroying Ethiopia.
    When you say: “Selam Tena Yestelegine”— it is as you are peeing on Ethiopians and telling them it is raining.

  49. Girazmach
    | #49

    Abiet abugida,
    You might as well have email based discussion of those who sing same song as yours and not open your site to the public.
    Why do you delete my comment exposing Ato Iskindir’s opportunism and illusions?

  50. Below
    | #50

    Guys, to admare derge as this time as this century, I only catagorace u with those immature People toward poletices.
    and totally u were not in that country -Ethiopia.

Comments are closed.