July 21st, 2011 Print Print Email Email

A letter to the people of tomorrow (an uneducated view)

You are in your twenties and thirties, you have grown up in one of the most painful era of Ethiopian history, you have been traumatized by the violence and misery that you have endured and seen since your birth. All you have learned and viewed from your unhappy experience is the ever increasing poverty and wretched existence of your people, including you family and kin. All this spirit and physical flagellation has certainly left you with some bitter view of your country, especially that it is a home grown calamity that started with good intention and end up into a catastrophic cataclysm.

You identify yourselves mostly as Ethiopians, for better or worst, because it is the only origin, history and culture you can identify with, and for its worldwide recognition. You also enjoy Ethiopian cuisine, music, humor, manner and style, your civilization is second to none in the world. You can quote you history from ancient times, you are repository of two great religions Christianity and Islam. All this heritage, and the gifted talent of our people, should have given us a spring board to create a modern and dynamic nation. But instead of building our future on the basis of our wealth and traditions, we fell victim of ideologies and notions that had already failed their own authors.

It is true that our inherited Monarchical system of government had, even by its own reckoning, that it has seen its days. Nevertheless, in its quest for survival it had introduced many positive elements that constituted a good foundation for the future. Yes it was not democratic, yes it was oppressive, but compared to what followed it might be called almost liberal. (Dr. Minasse Haile’s monograph “Comparing Human rights in two Ethiopian Constitutions”, Cardozo Journal of International and Comparative Law, Spring 2005.) Thus, began a deconstructions and unbridle mystification of Ethiopian history and the creation of the evil “bully” the “Amara” oppressor. Accordingly to the new legend the Amaras who inhabit the regions of Gondar, Gojam, Wollo and Shoa have a higher standard of living than Americans, which they gained by exploiting the rest of the population. If you visit those area you won’t see their wealth because they make them invisible by some mysterious magic, you need special three-dimensional eye glasses. Which reminds me, some years ago there was a fashionable song in Ethiopia named “Ayn yeTfeTerew hulun lemayet new”, one day my five year old daughter asked “why is it that cannot see everything” I told her that it is because she is not yet a Ph.D.

Coming out into the light from the dark cloud of mystifications, it would be pertinent to ask of what and of whom this Amara polity is made off. As you all know a political group holding power cannot exists without allies and fellow travelers, with vested interest in the system. Even presently Meles has his own Amara, Oromo and other allies. Historically, the same paradigm stands for Ethiopia. In our part of the world Cushit and Hamitic people have been mixing for thousands of years. (Dr. Fikre Tolossa “Common Factors Uniting Ethiopians”, Ethiopian Review July 2011) Therefore, there has been a continuous population movement in the whole area, resulting in a miscegenation of races and tribes. throughout the centuries, our rulers stem from the same historical process. Few Ethiopians can claim racial purity and unique ethnic identity; all of us are of mixed origin, but for some cultural trends that differ amongst the many entities that make up the nation. As to political power the dominating group in the late one and half century has been an Amara/Oromo hegemony consisting of the Monarchy down to the lower ranks. Therefore, the claim that there was an oppressive regime composed solely of an Amara ethnic group is utter nonsense. If the Amaric language was preponderant and become the lingua franca of the nation, it is because of its age old alphabet and written religious and literary traditions, in difference to the oral vernacular. The Monarchs Minilik, Zewditu, Yassu, Haile Sellassie, Negus Mikael, and all the great leaders Gobena, Habte Giorgis, Balcha, etc. etc. where of mixed ethnic origin. Hence, if there was oppression and malfeasance by one ruling regime or another, the guilt must be shared by all and not to some fictitious character created to justify a political agenda. It is perfectly legitimate for one to espouse a particular social group and culture, but to use it as instrument for the deconstruction of a nation that has been built by the bloods and guts of millions of people from many origins is inacceptable, and neither conducive to a healthy and prosperous future.

This year when Americans are celebrating the 253rd year of their independence, we should be proud and celebrate our thousands of years of independence, despite the many crisis caused by our faulty governances. Unfortunately, we lament past misdeeds and negate our own role in the making of our disastrous fate, without devising solutions for our predicament. We are told to forget the past, as if it was not the foundation of our existence. We are advised to look to some indiscernible future where milk and honey will be plentiful and our whims and wants will be fully met. Which divine power will bestow upon us all these blessings? Is a good question to ask. In 1974 we were told to forget the past and look towards a prosperous future in a free and just society, we all know what happened after that. In 1991 we were promised the same, we all know the results. Now we are promised the same, and asked to consent a priori to the eventual ethnic breakup of the country, and accept a promissory note from political parties of doubtful consistence and popularity. Is this a promising future for a country that is barely striving to get out from abysmal poverty? Is this what the Ethiopian people aspire for their salvation?

No !! We must build our new Ethiopia on solid bases, on our common history and common heritage. We are not people sown on this Earth as some wild weed. We are civilized people of the first order, our tradition, cultures and values are universal. Our people are talented and our land fertile and rich. Let’s make the Ethiopian renaissance with a national spirit and rejuvenating outlook, instead of indulging in endless willy-nilly political deals that promise an uncertain future. In 2005 when more than two million people demonstrated openly in Addis Ababa and later when twenty six million voted peacefully without a single incident, they voted as Ethiopian and nothing else. We should stand with them and work unremittingly to liberate them from the TPLF nefarious dictatorship.

I am asking the young people that are the people of the future not to succumb to views vented by false prophets, and to inform themselves properly and judiciously about the realities in Ethiopia before acting. You must all realize that individually and collectively you are responsible for the fate of millions of people.

Reading the above some will probably say that I am an old foggy still anchored in the past. With all humility I say that I am not, I have struggled and fought for Human Rights and Democracy in Ethiopia for over half century, much before many of you were born, and I intend to do so until the end. I am a nationalist and patriotic Ethiopian, proud of my country of origin and the people of Ethiopia.

Ethiopia Lezelalem Tenur.

  1. Enkuselase
    | #1

    Ethiopia Lezelalem Tenur !!!!!

  2. ሽዋንፈራሁ ምትኩ
    | #2

    ኢትዮጵያ ለዘላለም ትኑር!

  3. Walex
    | #3

    Thanks Ambassador Imru Zeleke. It is wonderful reality and advice that all should understand and go for it. Regards

  4. Selam yihun
    | #4

    It is very historical and so positive. I think the so called Amhara elites were privileged group where as the mass Amhara are among the poorest of the poor in the countries history even now… Let’s work together to build Ethiopia where each ethnic and religious group treated equally with full respect of God given rights. To blame only the past with no proper approach cannot be a solution to make Ethiopia a better place for all.

  5. amazing
    | #5

    Thank you Amb. Imru,
    Indeed the deconstruciton of Ethiopia is happening. If someone is just observing what is going on, every patriot in the past have now fleed the country, imprisoned of killed in Ethiopia. TPLF and its narrow minded people are now systematically destroying history and bringing anti ethiopian sentiment. Take a look at the business people, every business owners in the past have now disappeared, their stores have been confiscated and given to Tigrayans and or Eritreans. Merkato is basically you don’t see the shop owners that used to be who worked hard not through inheritance but with hardship but they are being deliberately accused in order to confiscate their shops and what they owned. So in this case targeting Gurages. Against Amaras, by accusing them oppressors, against the Oromo accusing them some kind of name or OLf. Yet, the comfort life of SOME Tigryans and Eritreans within ethiopia is disproportionate. Let us speak the truth.

    So we have to do the reverse engineering as Ethiopia is being deconstructed and using tPLF malicious acts as an opportunity to unite and build our country and people especially the youth. It starts here in the diaspora. I am very impressed by action taken recently by the diaspora by forming committees, organization such as ESAT, Ethiopia’s heritage, etc. still we have to reform our thinking. The unity works only if there is inclusiveness, modernization, conflict transformation, etc. Therefore, as mainstream Ethiopians, they have to reach out to groups that are disinfranchaised, confused, those with extreme thinking when Ethiopia is concerned: Amaras who want to keep the status quo, Oromos who support some of OLF’s extreme views blindly following without prove, even Eritreans who resent Ethiopians again without basis, etc. This is just not for Ethiopia but for every one in horn of africa to stabilize our society and avoid wars. The youth or the Ethiopians should be have open thinking and carefully look at people such as the TPLF supporter youth leader Samuel Gebru in Ethioipa diasporan youth. He was given this role by tPLF to distract the youth. Development is one thing but there is no development without peace and democracy and he avoids this issue.

    Long live ethiopia

  6. yoi
    | #6

    You Hebasha ppl u have a very big problem, the first and the biggest problem you have is you do not learn from your past, The second problem is you make Ethiopian history as its only Hebasha History, U do not count other History/Somali, Oromo, Sidama/ as Ethiopian History. so how can one live with you if you do not learn from your past. and then We can build One Ethiopia with diverse Language,culture and Heritage based on Love.

  7. Eritrean1
    | #7

    Agere tenirelegn’ esuaw nech yalechign

  8. Samuel
    | #8

    Dear Ambassador,

    I hope that your call is also directed to the youth of all other ethnic groups in addition to the Amara. In that case, your call is going to fall flat to the youth of Oromo, Tigrean, Sidama, Somali, Gurage—etc. I do not expect you to admit to the faults of feudal lords of the past nor to the exterme dehumanization of all other ethnic groups in preference to the Amhara elites by the ruling regimes of the past since you were part and parcel of it.

    The rest of Ethiopians should be frustrated in trying to bring a change to Ethiopia when the Amhara elites vascillate between the belief that there is no Amhara ethnic group to that of the belief that Ethiopia was governed by “Amhara/Oromo” hegemony. History is replete with facts other than Amhara/Oromo hegemony. It seems that desperation of the dying philosophy would generate anything as long as it can distract the journey of the subjects in their effort to cast away the vestiges of the past. The Oromo people and their organizations have been asking you guys to come together and bridge our differences in the interest of the country for a long time only to be rebuffed under only pretexts. We’ve asked to show some positive sign of respect to the quest of the Oromo people only to be turned down by what you call “Ethiopian unity”. We warn again that we will not sell our god given right of excercing our language, our culture, our desire to govern ourselves to the dreams of Ethiopian unity under the subjugation of the Amharas.

    The Oromo youth is marching forward without the help of the Amhara/Oromo ethos of Ambassador Imiru. They have a differnt call that they are shaping day and night in their struggle to free themselves up from the past and the present. Even Ethiopian prisons are “speaking Oromoiffa” and I hope that you will not disregard the human soul to a willful humiliation by the ruling class.

    The effort of Oromo organizations to form an alliance of purpose has a mor realistic solution than a dream of “United Ethiopia at any cost”.

  9. Tecola W. Hagos
    | #9

    Ambassador Emiru Zeleke wrote what I think is both an admonishment and a guide. Every sentence in this extremely important message is well thought out and beautifully delivered in a language that is clear and a pleasure to read. One outstanding portion in this piece caught my attention with tremendous impact on my very soul: “In 1974 we were told to forget the past and look towards a prosperous future in a free and just society, we all know what happened after that. In 1991 we were promised the same, we all know the results. Now we are promised the same, and asked to consent a priori to the eventual ethnic breakup of the country, and accept a promissory note from political parties of doubtful consistence and popularity. Is this a promising future for a country that is barely striving to get out from abysmal poverty? Is this what the Ethiopian people aspire for their salvation?”

    In a nutshell the Ambassador rendered the history of both our ancient history and our recent tumultuous political lives punctured often with economic disasters. The wisdom in this piece should not be wasted by engaging each other in simplistic and cheap shouting matches of blame and hate. There is much to the sage advice of Ambassador Emiru—that nation building is not a gambling excursion in casinos, that it requires the sacrifices of millions, and that the foresight of brilliant and visionary leaders is absolutely necessary. We all should learn from the wisdom and from the experience of a sage. Thank you Ambassador Emiru Zeleke for sharing your wisdom and for providing a positive guide for our future. TWH

  10. S.Mamo
    | #10

    My only advice: NO VIOLENCE to innocent lives. Everyone is entitled to his opinion and interpretation. You can share your thoughts with others.But please do not preach or opt for violence. Nothing good comes out of violent revolution. History of postcolonial africa is a standing proof to this stupid, ignorant and savage strategy. Remember Rwanda: They referred to the past; They agonized over the social injustice of the past which was partly true and partly exagerated. Then they moved to action. Blood of innocent people flowed like water. Many regretted the savegery. But cannot undo what was done. A strategy that incites mob violence is bad medicine!Instead be open-minded, gain knowledge and share. The pen is mightier than the sword. Say NO to violence.

  11. Anonymous
    | #11

    Dear Amb and all,

    I think the passionate plea by Amb. Imru though genuine i truly believe, will not be able to convince the youth generation that has grown up literally not in one Ethiopia but in many ‘Ethiopias’ with little perceived commonalities and even medium for communication. in the so-called transition from modern to post-modern times, many will claim to have the inherent right to deconstruct, own their own version of the truth and indeed to delegitimize mainstream ideas and conceptions and in the case of Ethiopia, what has come to be called by some authors as the ‘Great Tradition’, where Ethiopia’s history is read solely through the spectacles of the respective monarchies that governed the part of north-east Africa that evolved eventually to present-day Ethiopia.

    I must admit it is a legitimate quest to question and deconstruct especially in a society where questioning and skepticism have always been negatively rewarded to the extent of social exclusion. Nevertheless, I think it’s equally valid to question what purpose this deconstruction serves? In a society where 64% of the people is illiterate, I can hardly imagine that a conceptual and theoretical discussion on the historical evolution of the idea of Ethiopia and the long-debated identity of its rulers serves any tangible real purpose! This debate has always been confined to a small elite that had the ‘privilege’ I would cautiously say, that many Ethiopians didn’t of being exposed to various western ideas and philosophies, and imported those to the country without necessarily critically assessing their usefulness or purpose in the country.

    Please don’t misunderstand me as saying that ‘I’ know what’s good for the country or people, not at all, on the contrary. In fact, it would be even fair to say that i do not represent Ethiopia nor its people on its diversity and cultural richness, I will go further and say that I don’t think that I represent any of the main ethnic groups either (even if ethnically I’m told I do) whether the Somalis, the Oromos, Amhara, Tigres, Gurages, etc…as each of them are complex and dynamic enough to the extent that they have historically evolved through absorbing and integrating different peoples, groups and cultures. It’s just a historical absurdity to think that these groups have always existed the way they are now. From the first Oromo, the first Amhara, the first Gurage (if they actually used these names to refer to themselves), there was a process of socialization and acculturation that allowed people to join these cultures and groups, and those processes have changed and evolved over the years and will continue to do so. The last 20 years are a breathing example from our time of how ethnic boundaries changed and evolved! Critics will be quick to point out that the process was not always voluntary but rather forced, I would simply respond in my humble opinion that 10 generations ago my ancestors may have been Amharas, Oromos, Sidamas, Tigres, Somalis, Manjos, Kembatas, Gurages, etc…does it really make any kind of difference to me this present day? I am what I am and in this post-modern age, we can always choose to define our identities at will. So let’s leave this discussion as to who did what, and whom ruled whom to the pages of history and brawls of historians. It’s been over-exhausted and I’m personally fatigue from hearing it resurfacing again and again like the poor majority of people in Ethiopia care or like it has any current relevance to that poor country!

    Friends, I don’t know more than any of you and I’m not more educated that any of you, but I think we have a sobering and shocking reality at hand in the form of the abject poverty, disease, social suffering, lack of basic freedoms, civil and political liberties all people in Ethiopia are suffering from. If each and every one of us would just put our differences behind us and start placing one stone each in our respective villages in Ethiopia, we can rebuild the country and improve life for the millions of suffering individuals. If foreigners do it, why can’t we? Human suffering is the same everywhere and nobody deserves for his basic rights and entitlements for a life free from hunger, disease, poverty and oppression to be robbed from him/her.

    We have a responsibility to act and we should start I believe by re-educating ourselves; how countries like Germany, Italy and even the US and Canada where many Ethiopians live evolve? Where did we go wrong in spite of the good faith that existed at different historical junctures in the modern history of the country? And most importantly what legacy do we want to leave for our children? It’s tragic and disempowering indeed that I envisage what kind of Ethiopian I want my young child to grow and become when in fact I myself should and am fully capable still of acting like that Ethiopian and becoming a role model for my daughter, rather than let misguiding history books inform her of what is Ethiopia and who’s an Ethiopian. We have much to be proud with in this country not as Ethiopians but primarily as Africans. The posterity of whoever was responsible to some of the greatest achievements in the country historically, may not have survived to these days. But whether we like it or not, they have passed to ‘us’ not Oromos, Tigreans, Somalis or Amharas but to ‘us’, this legacy and inheritance! It’s up to us therefore to disown it, degrade it, or cherish it as an important contribution to world civilization. This inheritance has a dark and bloody past indeed like many other, and we have to ensure our people have the free space, information and knowledge to ably discuss this history, and debate it in talk shows, history classes, etc… but by no means can we use that as an excuse and pretext to become indifferent, dismissive and idle, too many lives depend on us including our own children’s’.

  12. aha!
    | #12

    Even after Amazing made the commentary to His Excellency Ex-Ambassador Imiru shared the wisdom anecdotes of the amalgamtion of the various ethnic groups over evolutionary period of time vis avis maintainig the dignity and integrity of the Ethiopian Society as oppossed to the the deconstruction it is undergoing and the support commentary by Amazing of the realities on the ground, Yoi and Samuel seem to remain trapped in their ethnic and seccessionist with underlying totalianism handed to them by TPLF/eprdf, to declare their freedom from the past as well as the present. The freedom to be declared is from the current autocratic rule, ethnocratic rule/ethnicdictatorship and totalianism of which your you are a part of by your political affiliation of looking at Ethiopiawinet first and your ethnicity second to save Ethiopia from disintegration. This anti-Amahara hate mentality, inculcated on you by TPLF as a spearhead of the liberation movements leaning towards the oppression of nations and nationalities from the perspective of Marxist ideology is nothing but a deconstructive process to Ethiopia as sovereign nation, as country that fought against foreign agressions by all ethnic groups and served as symbol of freedom for the African Nations should not be allowed to diminish into fragmented Ethiopia.

  13. aha!
    | #13

    Correction: please replace of “lookong of Ethiopiawinet first with “not looking”Ethiopiawinet first ….

  14. Mikael
    | #14

    Thank you Ambassador Imru for the words of enlightenment. It makes me want to dig more.
    This is a call for all Ethiopians, not Amara, Oromo, Tigrayan, Somali, etc. There is nothing in the Ambassador’s writing that suggests he’s calling on Amara’s. He’s simply pointing to the fact that our past is all mixed.
    I know some of us won’t believe it until some scientist comes and analyzes the DNA of the different ethnic groups and concludes “you’re all mixed”.
    As the saying goes “Together we stand, divided we fall”.

  15. Sheger
    | #15

    I agree with you sir. Grow up burning a would or a corn stick to study at night, walk unbelievable distance to go to
    The so called schools and towns some time caring a quntal teff or what ever to take it to the market if you don’t own
    A Donkey, war all the time you loos your self or your brother or you father or some time both parents by disees and so on you have a responsibility to take care of if you have a younger brothers and sisters. You do every thing you could
    To get out of poverty and you go to university to get killed at end or at the first day not that it makes any difference.

    Just like they deny us our wrights to use our natural resources they say no to education to Ethiopians too. No body can do what they are doing to the country to advanced society. And they are avoiding every intellectual possible away from
    Power and the country it self. And it does not take a genius to figure that out. They just want our land BETIKILU.

    I am sure their is a reason why Issayas helps the Somali insergents, as they becomes unstable they have a lot of problem like hanger and Famine so where they go when that happens to Ethiopia kenya and so on and also dies
    And all so they come and buy our houses lands and create unstibility in our country and blame Ethiopia for what happened in their country and kill people as they could with poison and so on specially the christians and so on
    Until the big boss (Egypt) comes and take over the country and that includes North Sudan.

    This is what I believe we are witnessing in East Africa to day and Ethiopia is the hurt of most all. And when some body
    Comes to kill you out of no where and has been killing you, clam what is yours infecting your nation with impunity degradation, poverty, malnutrition, starvation, Famine disease, ignorance, like Ethnice politics, relgiuose divid and so on
    Where in a country the mogirity does not concern it self with it naturally and culturally. For it is mixed people with each other.

  16. Sheger
    | #16

    What do you do??????????????????????????????????? To protect what is left us from what I said at the above comment.

  17. Sheger
    | #17

    And infecting your people with poor quality moral standards. I mean I don’t think we know even half of it.

  18. Sheger
    | #18

    And speaking of poor quality moral standards, I mean like things like terrorism, thieftery, lieing and diciving and so on.

  19. amazing
    | #19

    Please, we are diverting from the main issue again and again because narrow extremists that blame other ethnic groups rather than past leaders still dwell on the past and these groups are TPLF, OLF and I will include Shabia (its core survival is by destroying Ethiopa’s society)and we continue to play along with these groups and we are staying away the main issue and that is saving Ethiopia from dictatorship, bringing democracy and moving forward to development. What do we do instead, we are indoctrinating this hate of ethnic groups as the LFs wants us to. The existence of TPLF today and its act is the prime example that these LFs claim they are standing against the oppression of other ethnic groups. Well in that case, TPLF in fact blatantly running ethnic apartheid the worst case than what LFs themselves claim “Amara oppression”. So the argument that is continuing to drum the bell of “Amara” oppression is baseless in current situation under TPLF regime. TPLF regime is actually running the ethnic cleansing of not just one ethnic groups but all ethnic groups while we are bickering about past oppression. TPLF is ethnic cleansing the Oromo and the Somali by starvation, TPLF is ethnic cleansing the Gurages, by economically depressing those who give jobs and allow the economy of Ethiopia running in the past, TPLF is ethnic cleansing by demonizing and isolating and silencing the Amara peoples, TPLF is ethnic cleansing by starving the Afar people, TPLF is ethnic cleansing by killing the Anuaks and giving the lands of Southern and Western Ethiopians to foreigners. So to claim especially by Liberation Fronts talking about the past is absolutely ridiculous even if it is true, for we must and very urgently focus on the current issue and situation that Ethiopia is facing. In fact we must avoid talking about ethnicity and rather focus on leadership and development at present. I am sure some will as usuall inject ethnic issue to distract us. We must resist this and talk about over and over about current lack of leadership and development. We are facing starvation and we still talk about the past? Resist, resist, resist!

  20. Sheger
    | #20

    Amezing, thank you!!!!!!!!

    Have you ever heard of the term, ‘teletafee party’??????? Teletafee means doesint belong about some of this ethnicly
    Gathered political groups. And if they have come this far I am sure they will do it until they are dead may be.

  21. DRAMA
    | #21


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