Meles Zenawi’s Threats will not intimidate Us. By Teodros Kiros
In a nationally televised session of parliament, Mr. Meles had harsh words for the domestic opposition and for external forces he said are trying to destabilize Ethiopia. He served notice that his government would not tolerate anyone plotting demonstrations or terrorist attacks.
The legislative session had been called to hear the government’s six-month progress report. But when the only opposition lawmaker in the 547-seat legislature asked why supporters of the Medrek coalition are being arrested in the Oromia region, Mr. Meles responded that those in custody are suspected of being members of the outlawed Oromo Liberation Front.
Speaking in Amharic, Mr. Meles suggested that his government is aware of attempts to incite a people’s revolution. He blamed Medrek and its main component, the Unity and Justice for Democracy Party.
He said, “I would like to pass a message to Medrek, and particularly members of [the] Unity [for Justice and Democracy Party]. The Ethiopian leader said his government is not blind and deaf, and warned that anyone who takes part in what he called “the plot being hatched to incite protests and terror” would “pay a price.” ( Abugida, March 6, 2011)
Tyrants are notorious in their ability of manufacturing lies so that they can carry out heinous crimes against the governed.
This is exactly the case with respect to the prime minister’s extortions and threats of the opposition. The peaceful struggle for regimes change by the spectacular form of resistance, namely the people’s peaceful uprisings-in millions will not stop. It will take place at the right time, the right place, for the right reason, with the right measure and in the right way.
The harsh words that the tyrant used to intimidate the opposition should not and will not be tolerated by the Ethiopian people. Infact Medrek and UDJ must be commended for the civilized, quiet and disciplined environment that they have created in Ethiopia, inspite of the humiliation of their leaders.
As if this in not enough the tyrant has the audacity to dare them and threaten with the usual whip of his pseudo rule of Law. If there was a rule of law the regime should have first and foremost measured its progress by the law as a yardstick and discipline itself and give up power peacefully to the people.
The Ethiopian people are now saying enough is enough. Their leaders should not be threatened or silenced. They must speak, think, protest and challenge the regime freely.
The tyrant is now trying our patience, savaging our civility, abusing our religiosity and undermining our courage to stand up and fight for our rights. The silent Ethiopian majority says to the prime minister to stop his threats and let the opposition freely voice its rights thorough deliberation and participation –the qualities of a free people and the essential expressions of sovereignty.
The prime minister’s extortions and threats are pushing the Ethiopian people to congregate in Meskel Square and stage an Uprising that the world had never seen. Tyrannical pressures are making the people’s peaceful uprising a moral imperative and a political duty of genuine citizenship.
Professor of Philosophy and English (Liberal Arts)
Berklee College of Music