On Superstition and Tyranny by Wondemhunegn Ezezew
Note: this is a response to Fiker Yibeltal’s recent article which appeared on your website about Meles and his comrades’ alleged use of witchcraft/sorcery to rule over us without facing challenges.
I am not sure if such stories are true but there is no doubt that some people would submit to the devil in their passionate pursuit for money and status. As a person who grew up in a region where people devote much attention to sorcery and witchcraft, I cannot dismiss your approach as “unscientific” and “superstitious.” For one thing, my Sabbath Congregation preachers have taught me that devil comes in many forms and shapes and it won’t be surprising that confused people would submit to the devil and his kingdom for whatsoever reason. But what makes me even more curious is that many of the sorcerers and “debteras” who are said to be helping the business people to prosper and amass much wealth are dirty poor and many of them barefooted. Why cannot they make themselves rich, powerful and wealthy if they have the very wisdom and key for fortune?
As for your mention about the Sudanese sorcerer who gave Meles a blind donkey (!), how come s/he cannot help Al Bashir to rule over the black South without the threat of secession or help the South for an easy, a cakewalk victory over the Arab North? Though I understand that witchcraft, sorcery or whatever may cause some good and bad miracles at individual, family level, I do not believe that Meles’ donkey would condemn the whole nation for eternal slavery and subjugation. The problems are elsewhere. Otherwise Haile Selassie’s alleged “qorit” would not be overwhelmed with a mere vociferous collection of students.
The problems are us. Meles’ divisive ethnic politics has worked very well than the supposed magic or sorcery you claimed in your piece. This divisive policy has gone well beyond the ethnic line and is now working even at province level with in the same ethnic group. Don’t you know that even the so called EPPF is being messed up by stupid people who claim that the Front is being dominated by this or that province (Gondar, Gojjam block etc)? How can we defeat our enemy when we cannot stand even as a single ethnic group, let alone as a single oppressed nation? Moreover, I do not blame the few TPLF traitors alone for our malaise and misery. They would never be able to rule a single district inside or outside Tigray if it were not for the opportunist yes-men and women who have been doing the dirty job for the TPLF-led regime.
What about the opposition? Have you ever asked yourself why AEUP, EDP or UDJ cannot agree on how to define TPLF/EPRDF and on how they should craft the strategy of their struggle? Or returning to the Diaspora, do you find any sensible reason for why the old guard EPRP/EHAPA zombies spend so much time and effort in bashing G7 and other democratic forces instead of diverting their energy towards collective actions aimed at removing the TPLF regime? We must be aware of the fact that not everyone shouting in the name of Ethiopia is really concerned for Ethiopia and its people. Personally, I believe that many guys in EDP, MEDREK, AEUP, EPRP, etc. would be as bad as, if not worse than, the TPLF leaders if they ever have the opportunity to capture state power. Our leaders have failed us on many occasions. Either they are indecisive and cowards (like the ones who aborted the already-started people’s movement in 2005) or they are too optimistic and oversell the possibility of peaceful transition (like Prof. Mesfin Wolde Mariam) or they are simply undercover TPLF agents (the minions running EDP).
Leaders are not the only ones to blame. What about us hypocrites? We leave no stone unturned in vilifying TPLF agents by magnifying their real or perceived sins and mistakes. But how many of us really concerned about democracy and freedom in Ethiopia raise our sharp pens to make blunt points about those leaders who failed us time and again? Which of the so called private press, which claim being intimidated for criticizing the TPLF leaders, have dared to inform the public that EDP and AEUP and their likes are really useless, at least at leadership level.
I wish I was wrong but am quite sure that except few people (some of them being in G7), most opposition leaders or reporters have no genuine concern and bright vision for the country. They trade in the name of Ethiopia and if they ever assume political power, they will continue to bleed the poor people of Ethiopia, though they might institute a few cosmetic changes after TPLF. Change for the sake of change is possible. If Addis Ababans rise tomorrow, it will be the end of the TPLF rule. I am very confident about that. But I have immense fear that both as in 1974 and 1991, the revolution might be hijacked by demagogic people like Meles and Mengistu, unless and until the opposition force stands as one soul and body.
Ask this simple question: if our opposition leaders cannot agree while they are in the opposition, will they ever agree when TPLF is gone and when they are about to control political power? If all of them stand for freedom, equality, and democracy in Ethiopia, why can’t they unite for the sake of the people of Ethiopia?
I know many of my friends will be happy if I impress them by inserting quotes and paragraphs from “important books” authored by the likes of Chomsky or Cobden. But in my opinion such books are important if they are based on “trivial issues” such as ‘what caused the split between ECADF and Qale paltalk rooms?’ than those which devote too much time on dissecting and analyzing abstract themes like revolutionary democracy. I think it is important to focus on such issues which examine our human nature, our inherent selfishness, and our tendencies to lie, to cheat, to conspire etc.
The truth is in us. We should not search for it in our neighbour’s backyard. We are being oppressed, exploited and discriminated against because our leaders (both at local and national level) are ruthless, dishonest, self-serving, opportunist and cruel. We are losing our dignity as human beings because we have left the holy issue of politics to crazy people. We are living in tyranny because we in the rank and file do not speak the truth. In our fervent hatred against TPLF and our wish for its immediate downfall, we do not criticize the opposition leaders, who in their misguided and wishy-washy stands are prolonging our misery along side with TPLF.
So the bottom line of my argument is that, please I beg you in the name of God, ignore this sorcery and witchcraft thing and concentrate on real issues such as poor leadership, disadvantageous contemporary geopolitical issues (unreliable Shaebia, terrorism, the West’s dilemma and their support for the status quo) and above all the role of opportunist stooges in each Amhara, Oromo, Gambella region etc.
How can the people rise up against tyranny when the elite who emerged from among us downplay or ignore our problems, most often to advance their personal or group interests sugar-coated with many lame excuses? Look at Gambella. Hopefully you have watched the recent heart-wrenching documentary which narrates about the brutal eviction of farmers and the massive land grab spree going on in the region and elsewhere in the country. I hope you have also noted what the TPLF stooges and “experts” remarked in the video.
My point is that what the elite say and do matter in mustering formidable forces on either side of the political spectrum. When our political elite stand together and say “no!” to TPLF, am sure people will rise like the recent tsunami in Japan and TPLF will have no where to hide. It is us not their sorcery which has debilitated our struggle.
Sorry if I have been very harsh with my words in my comments but it is out of my concern that we should not lose hope subscribing to some “superstitious” stuff.