Onset of uprising inspired by Ethiopian youth movement By Robele Ababya,

June 23rd, 2011 Print Print Email Email

The purpose of this article is to briefly highlight that the Ethiopian youths have borne the brunt of the setbacks in the past revolutions and that they are duty bound for the sake of their future to play a central role in the inevitable uprising in Ethiopia and succeed in engendering a strong, democratic and prosperous country that is equal to all its citizens under the rule of law. Burning issues to bear in mind during the march for freedom are highlighted in the following paragraphs written in the hope that they will be of some use in refining strategies developed for the ongoing national youth movement.

Ending human sufferings under tyranny

The habitual liars in the top echelon of the TPLF leadership may brag of their so-called double-digit economic growth achieved in the last seven years consecutively. But their claim is contrary to overwhelming evidence in terms of gruesome human rights records of the regime and worsening abject poverty prevailing in Ethiopia.

Nothing at all can erase: the excruciating memory of the mostly young martyrs slaughtered by the agazi security forces under the direct command of tyrant Zenawi in the aftermath of election 2005; the agony of the bereaved families exemplified by the weeping lady in the photograph below telling the gruesome story of inhumane atrocities of the ruling regime; and the incarceration of tens of thousands of innocent mostly young protestors with their heads shaven with unsterilized razor blades ignoring the spread of aids.

The heart-rending grief devastating this lady should send a powerful message to the women and mothers of Ethiopia and indeed all people regardless of sex, ethnic origin or creed who love and respect their mothers, wives and daughters to rise in unison to uproot the unprecedented tyranny perpetrated by the thuggish woyane regime under the leadership of the psychopathic killer, Meles Zenawi,

Nothing at all can eclipse the fact that the TPLF regime had committed acts of genocide against the Anuaks, Amhara, Oromo, Ogadene and Sidama ethnic origin; nothing can change the fact that Zenawi is a ruthless dictator at the helm of a totalitarian regime holding monopoly over the social, political and economical life of the Ethiopian people living under occupation. So, it is the moment to say enough to the agony of wailing mothers in grief and the abuse of our fundamental assets perpetrated by the TPLF regime in the last 20 years of its misrule. The only option is to force Zenawi and his henchmen out of power and bring them to justice. (Note: The logo to the left of the lady in grief underscores the message of “enough is enough” of the despotic criminal misrule of TPLF in eight Ethiopian languages. The logo to the right is self-explanatory).

Lesson from previous setbacks to peaceful change

In 1974 the Derg reneged on its promise of staying in power only as a provisional military government to be replaced by civilian government. The bloodless change was overwhelmingly accepted by the people. Sadly, however, the 17 years of misrule of the military junta was marred by bloodshed and the political arena was dominated by vultures competing for power even though they professed leftist ideologies. Thus the failure of the 1974 left the door wide open for the anti-Ethiopia TPLF regime to enter Addis Ababa.

TPLF showed its true colour of an invader from the time it entered Addis Ababa. The colossal damage, far exceeding that of the Derg, wrought by the brutal Zenawi’s regime in the last 20 years is clearly highlighted under the caption “On the issue of development in Ethiopia”.

Therefore, it is the moral duty and legal obligation of Ethiopian citizens to draw lessons from the past in order to ensure success of the impending popular uprising invigorated by youth movement.

Global call for change by the young generation

The present generation is rightly worried about the inherited draconian problems in terms of climate change, economic crisis, intolerable level of unemployment, mounting cost of living including acute food shortage, acts of terrorism destabilizing regions et al caused by gross disrespect for fundamental human rights, greed, lack of vision, and incompetence on the part of world leaders, who still do not seem to accept their failures amid worsening crisis. So, it is within their right that young people everywhere are calling for change by taking active part in shaping their future.

No need to stress the quintessential truth that the young generation is the most important national asset in that it provides the bulk of labor force, leadership and creative ideas required for economic development and national security. However in the absence of enlightened national leaders capable of directing the energy and creativity of the youths, the latter have to take their fair share of political power to determine their destiny.

It is gratifying to witness the resolve of Ethiopian youths to say NO to the incessant brainwashing by the brutal TPLF party; to utterly oppose their being fed as raw inputs to the political process hell bent on creating a personality cult in the names of Meles Zenawi already dubbed by his greedy cronies as “The Statesman Leading Africa”. The youths are declaring that they are categorically refusing to remain ensnared in the TPLF schools of old communist ideology particularly in the 21st century inundated by abundant information that can be accessed and enjoyed only by a free democratic society; they are saying Zenawi must not be allowed to shut them out from free flow of information from independent sources in our global village.

On the other hand, the Ethiopian youths in the Diaspora are relatively in a better position to access independent sources of information. Some surf the internet from their living rooms; and for others Internet Cafés are easily available in their neighborhoods. For a brief overview of ancient Ethiopian history, even teen agers known to me search in Google and find that there was Kusite Kingdom of Ethiopia before it was replaced by the Axumite Kingdom, which was in turn decimated by Yodit (Gudit) forcing what was left of the leadership to flee to the South of Ethiopia. They demonstrate remarkably keen interest in the entirely home-made ancient history, culture and civilization of Ethiopia. They take pride in that ancient civilization originated in Ethiopia and exported beyond her boarders and not the other way round. The youth is blessed to live in this age of abundant information.

On the issue of development in Ethiopia

Genuine citizens want a strong, prosperous and democratic Ethiopia at peace internally and with her neighbors within the ambit of respect for international conventions, treaties, laws and protocols to which she is a signatory party. But the contentious issue over the Nile has yet to be resolved to the complete satisfaction of both parties – Ethiopia and Egypt.

Development projects based on urgent priorities are essential to overcome abject poverty and engender prosperity. However arbitrary implementation of projects, without conducting extensive cost/benefit analysis in-depth for the sake of short-term cheap political gains is bound to end in disastrous results in the long-run. Return on investment must be an imperative consideration; involving all political institutions, relevant civil societies as a matter of right as stakeholders in mega projects is necessary.

On the subject of mega projects, this writer gratefully expresses his complete agreement with the analysis and concluding remarks of Getachew Begashaw (Ph.D) in his brilliant paper titled The Mega Nile Dam and the Millennium Bond: Redemption or Deception of the TPLF Government? – posted on ecadforum website on 04 May 2011. In his paper Under the caption “Socio-Economic Consequences of Large Dams” Dr.Getachew, refers to the study by International Rivers group titled “Big Dams: Bringing Poverty, Not Power to Africa” and provides this very interesting quotation: Quote In a separate study, the International Rivers group reports that Africa’s large dams have consistently been built at the expense of rural communities, who have been forced to sacrifice their lands and livelihoods to them and yet have reaped few benefits. Large dams in Sudan, Senegal, Kenya, Zambia/Zimbabwe and Ghana have brought considerable social, environmental and economic damage to Africa, and have left a trail of “development–induced poverty” in their wake. Project benefits have been consistently overstated and inequitably shared. Large hydropower dams also reinforce centralized power grids, which disproportionately benefit industry and higher income groups, and widen income disparities (and energy inequities) between Africa’s poor and Africa’s elite. Unquote
I would like to draw the attention of readers committed to youth movement in particular to carefully note the following excerpt from Dr. Getachew’s paper:

Quote Ethiopia does not need a huge hydroelectric dam that is proven to cause untold human, economic, social, environmental, and natural resource destructions. Many small dams with a mix of various uses, including agricultural irrigation, power generation, fisheries, tourism, and recreation could be built around the country at a much lower cost and guaranteed success. Ethiopians should not allow a government that has continued to embezzle and squander their hard earned money to put its hands on their meager resources again. They should not be fooled by fake nationalism and patriotism of a government that:

• made the country landlocked, without any access to the sea and maritime trade,
• parcels out the fertile agricultural lands to foreigners at almost no cost, and puts out anything Ethiopian for sale,
• cedes fertile farmlands of western Ethiopia, all the way from Gondar to Gambella, to Sudan,
• has no respect or regard for the country’s history or heritage, including its flag,
• is known for corruption, nepotism and lack of transparency,
• divides the people along ethnic lines and homelands, and
• denies its people basic human rights and freedoms

The ethno-centric government of Meles Zenawi has repeatedly demonstrated that it has no interest in promoting the long-term interest of the country. The affront on Abbay (Nile), which is very close to the hearts of many Ethiopians as a symbol of national pride, is another attempt by Zenawi to reassert his authoritarian control over the people in the guise of patriotism. Ethiopians cannot and should not fall for this manufactured nationalism of a dictator, who has much to account for crimes he has committed during his 20 years of authoritarian rule.

Many scholars believe that if there is another world war, it will be a war over waters. Therefore, the Nile issue requires a sober and deliberated approach where all Ethiopians are consulted and heard through a democratically elected government.

By all accounts, the TPLF government has initiated this mega dam project, not out of its goodwill to catapult Ethiopia out of poverty, but out of its sinister schemes to divert the attention of the people from the revolutionary. Unquote

My concluding remarks

1. Concerted effort should be made as a matter of top priority to stop the reign of terror unleashed on the Ethiopian people for the last 20 years by racist TPLF regime. The kind of grief and agony felt by the lady shown the above photograph must stop forthwith and forever. To that effect, top leaders of the brutal regime must be removed from power and brought to justice.

2. As pundits would say, “the power of diplomatic software” should be applied to protect, preserve and defend vital interests of Ethiopia noting the enormity of peace dividend accruing from normal relations with Egypt, neighboring states in the Horn of Africa region, and democracies in the Arab world. That said, I would be quick to add that Ethiopia must become strong (politically, economically and militarily) to deter aggression as well as to contribute her share to peace and stability as a regional power.

3. A child born during the brutal reign of Zenawi is claimed as state property. All the way from nursery, kindergarten, primary, secondary and tertiary schools, it is nurtured with the ideology of the totalitarian TPLF party. Tertiary institutions are reserved for those most likely to become party members upon graduation. The child has no choice. Brainwashing of our children by the kleptocratic government of Zenawi must stop
4. The march to victory may not be easy but certainly achievable with the might of united and coordinated opposition involving the youth. It is a shame that we in the opposition are not yet united in a more clearer and meaningful way to confront the brutal TPLF regime. However there is still a golden chance now to join the impending uprising with a positive mind irrespective of which group gets the credit. To that end this quote: “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit”, attributed to the late President Harry S Truman (1884 – 1972), would help us rethink our respective diverse positions to narrow differences in the run up to the inevitable uprising.

Release all political prisoners in Ethiopia!

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