When the ‘Titans” (the oppositions) clash, it is the Ethiopian people who get hurt. By Allelign Sisay

August 18th, 2011 Print Print Email Email

I watched the one hour and thirty minutes passionate debate between Ayalsew Dessie and Andargachews Tsege on ESAT TV. The debate was on the principles and strategies for the alliance of political forces with the liberation fronts to fight the current government. A copy of the debate is also posted on Ethiomedia, titled, “A Clash of Titans.” Both personalities are veterans in Ethiopian politics and have big time name recognitions in their protracted struggle for equality, justice, democracy and national sovereignty. Both have the same goal: to overthrow the current dictatorial government and establish a better Ethiopia where its citizens of multiple nationalities (ethics) and creeds enjoy equally under the law of the land. However, their clashes on modus operandi (tactics and strategies) plus their doggedness to their respective stances left many concerned Ethiopians anxious on what would happen next. But the titans have many major issues that unite them than their factors of division. I believe, through sincere public and private discussion and negotiation, they can stand together and be a nightmare for Meles Zenawi.

The interview was timely, informative, educational, and thought provoking. The guests are persons of high probity, eloquent, engaging and adept in their respective political stances. They exhibited appropriate decorum and respect for each other when addressing opposing views. What mired this dynamic and aptly discussion was the moderator’s tautological paraphrasing and frequent interruptions. His audiences would have benefited the most if he had asked challenging and succinct questions, and give each interviewee a limited time to explain his responses and position without the needless reiterating and intermission.

Divergence of political views and clashes of ideas on the goals and strategies of political struggle have been as old as the formation of Ethiopian political parties since the early 70s. In hindsight, there were no, as such, fundamental differences between the goals of EPRP and MEISON; but because of the party leaders’ personalities and self-aggrandizement, their tactical clash was upgraded to the highest level of struggle and ended up in attrition and elimination of both parties members by the DERG. No one questions the motives, sincerity and commitment of EPRP or MEISON members or their objectives in their struggles for the betterment of Ethiopia. However, because of their dismal failure to negotiate, compromise, and forge a united struggle against the politically suffocated DERG, they intensified their differences and supplied the DERG with some oxygen to resuscitate. Consequently, the Ethiopian people hurt and suffered under the dictatorial rule of Mengistu Hailemariam for seventeen years.

We have to be vigilant now, not to create a fertile ground for that kind of history to repeat itself. The current Ethiopian government is hated by all Ethiopians for the obvious reasons mentioned by many writers and exhibited in the daily living conditions of Ethiopians at home. What Meles Zenawi dreads the most, at this juncture, is the unity of the oppositions in the Diaspora and at home against his tyranny.

In the debate of the “titans”, Ayal-sew Dessye, representing “unity or Hibret”, affirms to negotiate with any opposition party or liberation front with the precondition to resolve all political problems and differences within a united Ethiopia. The geographical unity and territorial integrity of Ethiopia is not negotiable; asserted Ayal-sew.

I don’t believe Ginbot-7, or any sensible Ethiopian for that matter, disagrees with Ayalsew’s assertion. The question to be asked is, how can we maintain the geographical integrity of Ethiopia in a peaceful arrangement that satisfies all nationalities?

Andargachew Tsege, representing Ginbot-7, has gone extra miles to reach the OLF & ONLF and initiated negotiation, without preconditions, about the strategic alliance of the struggle in Ethiopia. For that, the leaders of Ginbot-7 should not be criticized; rather be appreciated and encouraged to continue their bold effort wisely.

It is a good political acumen to break the barriers, understand the issues of the liberation fronts from their perspectives, comprehend their major questions for their struggle, and work out a mutually acceptable means of struggle and goal. It has been written and spoken on multiple occasions that there are good and bad sides to our history; there is no point to shun it; we just have to confront it and need to work on it.

Ginbot-7 has engaged negotiation with OLF and ONLF but has not yet officially declared to the public on what issues they agree or disagree and what their final objective would be. We have to wait patiently for the outcome of their negotiations and final declarations on what strategic plan of actions they agree/disagree, and most impotently, their position on the most controversial question of self-determination.

All political leaders, at different times in history, have been engaged in negotiations, diplomacy, alliances and counter alliances; usually without preconditions, for the national interest of their countries. Miracles had happened with negotiation and diplomacy in history. Negotiation could bring better results than armed struggle. We see daily, here in the US Congress, how the Democrats and Republicans negotiate on diametrically opposite issues to each others political positions but finally agree on a common ground for the benefit of their country. Great Briton and USA had negotiated with their communist archenemy, Joseph Stalin, and made alliance with him to defeat Hitler. By doing so, they saved not only their countries but also the whole world from the Hitler’s invasion and devastation. As the political saying goes, there is no permanent enemy or permanent friendship but permanent national interest. And achieving that national interest through negotiation is preferred to all other methods combined.

What the Ethiopian people expect from Ginbot-7 or from all other opposition leaders is honesty, clear talk, trust and due respect for each other in the process of their struggle and negotiation to save our country from the current political quagmire. In the ‘titans” debate, I heard Andargachew Tsege saying, “We are not running for political power…” That is either a slip of the tongue or a disingenuous statement. The ultimate goal of any political movement or party is to seize political power; this is just ABC in politics, not only to any politician but even to an ordinary citizen. Ginbot-7 is not running a nonprofit organization or leading a get-together association. There is nothing wrong to state honestly about their goal: to overthrow the dictatorial rule of Meles Zenawi, hold political power, and establish democracy; equality, justice, the rule of law, one man one vote; and work for the prosperity of the Ethiopian people. The people need genuine and unambiguous messages from their political leaders.

Allow me to digress for a minute here. I also read Dr. Getachew Begashaw’s recent article in Amharic, Why we need to talk with OLF and ONF? posted on Ethiomedia. I was surprised about his accusative statements on the opposition parties, who call themselves Unity or Hibert. Dr. Getachew said that he has retired from politics and has no political affiliation or ambition for power. That could be partially true; but I have never seen him being actively involved in politics now than the past few years while he was a member of a political party; albeit what he is doing now is good for him and good for our country. Dr. Getachew is not new to Ethiopian politics. He was one of the student activists and was elected as president of AA University students in 1975/76, (I voted for him at that time). He paid more than his fair share participating in the struggle against the Mengistu fascist regime; and after he came to the US, he worked hard on his academics and made himself an international stature in his profession. That is admirable.

He reiterates the need to negotiate with OLF & ONLF with respect and appropriate etiquette. Because he is human like the rest of us, he may have some flows in his political approaches or strategies, but no one stands on a higher moral ground to question his motives and intentions as well as his struggle for the betterment of the Ethiopian people. By the same token, we expect him to apply the same standard of respect and etiquettes to those opposition groups who expressed their concern about his promotion of negotiation with OLF and ONLF. In the aforementioned Amharic article, he wrote, “… the failure for the creation and continues success of unity among different organizations is because of those opposition leaders’ squabbles for their personal advantage and livelihood…” Page 4, paragraph 4 & 5. What kind of personal advantage do they get, besides devoting their precious time and spending their own money? If Dr. Getachew questions the motives of all other opposition groups who fret about Ginbot-7 initiative; then, he is not sacrosanct and will be questioned about his own motive and ambition. If he is not offering the same respect and understanding to the other opposition groups that he provided for the OLF and ONLF, how is he going to forge another alliance with them? Disrespect, condescending, arrogance, and questioning motives in negotiation are destructive and polarizing; it neither addresses the real issue nor provides an iota of solution.

Leaving aside the political wrangling and rhetoric of the politicians; let me cut the cheese in the middle and make it clear to my readers the main concern for most Ethiopians about the ongoing negotiation of Ginbot-7 with OLF & ONL.

It is not the initiative of G-7 negotiations with the OLF and ONLF that worried a lot of Ethiopians; it is the apprehension of what kind of agreement they would make with the liberation fronts on the question of self-determination.

The OLF and ONLF made it very clear about the nature of their problems and the objective of their struggles in their respective websites.

The OLF wrote in its program or mission statement: “The OLF is a political organization established in 1973 by Oromo nationalities to lead the national liberation struggle of the Oromo people against the Abyssinian colonial rule…The fundamental objective of the Oromo liberation movement is to exercise the Oromo people’s inalienable right to national self-determination…and to form, where possible, a political union with other nations.”

The ONLF political program or objective is stated as follows: “Recognizing that our country has been colonized against our will and without our consent by Ethiopia…The struggle of the people of Ogaden and the aim of their movement is to obtain the right of self-determination, rather than a struggle aimed at realizing the identity of a nationality. This is because Ogaden has never been historically or politically part of Ethiopia.”

Is the OLF and ONLF question really a colonial question? Is separation the solution? And what is the position of Ginbot-7 on these fundamental questions?

What is the meaning of self-determination in the context of national or colonial question? According to the online Wikipedia encyclopedia, “Self-determination is the principle in international law that nations have the right to freely choose their sovereignty (independent authority over a geographical area) and international political status with no external compulsion or external interference.”

Self-determination includes cessation or separation from the main country (in this case from Ethiopia) to establish another country. The OLF and ONLF made this objective apparent in their program and they have been fighting for over 30 years to be independent from “colonialism.” However, separation is not the only option in self-determination. The other options of self-determinations include: federation, protection, some form of independence or autonomy within Ethiopia.

Dr. Getachew quoted Eskinder Nega, the known journalist in Ethiopia, and said that the majority of the Oromo population supports the OLF struggle against the Meles tyranny. I agree with him; but I don’t believe that the majority of the Oromo populations consider that their question is a colonial question and their solution is separation from Ethiopia.

Therefore, what kind of strategic agreement is Ginbot-7 pursuing to achieve with OLF and ONLF that could catapult the struggle of the Ethiopian people, overthrow the dictatorship of Meles Zenawi, and establish a united democratic Ethiopia?

It will not be only unwise but also unfair to speculate on the possible strategic agreements of Ginbot-7 with OLF & ONLF and comment on it now. We have to support their endeavor and wait patiently for the announcement of their agreement. There is no magic wand to resolve this complex and complicated question, besides understanding and engaging in earnest negotiation.

The writer can be reached at allelign@aol.com

  1. Ali
    | #1

    Dear Allelign Sisay,

    The wisdom of collaborating with nationalistic organisations adequately addressed by Ato Yared Article, . Please see blow and try to Evaluate both arguments.



    This commentary is the edited version of an offline discussion with Dr. Getachew Begashaw. It was triggered when G7 and OLF had a meeting in Arlington, VA, on July 10, 2011. The speakers of the meeting were Dr. Berhanu Nega of G7, Dr Nuro Dedefo of OLF and Dr. Getachew Begashaw (as an independent).

    I watched this meeting on YouTube and felt uncomfortable by Dr. Getachew Begashaw’s appreciation of OLF and ONLF flying flags together with that of Ethiopia.
    This made me search for Dr. Getachew’s email address to send a polite note why I do not agree and asking him why he thinks that the Ethiopian flag does not represent the Oromos and Ogandens to rally around.

    To be honest, I didn’t expect a reply. In fact I feared a defensive or antagonistic reply we often see from Ethiopian politicians but Dr. Getachew understood my anxiety and sent me a reply explaining what he meant and in what ways his approach may not lead to my conclusion.

    This put the ball in my quarter and I had to scratch my head and articulate my points. What took me by surprise is that rather than being antagonistic which we often see in Ethiopian politics, Dr Getachew came back with generous reply and even encouraged me to publish what I wrote to start the debate on the public forum.

    I found Dr Getachew rational and open minded to discuss any issues. He also promised to come-up with an article to explain his points.

    So it is on this basis and Dr Getachew’s suggestion that I am posting my concern for the benefit of the wider public. My concern is about the further politicisation of ethnicity, in what ways it could be dangerous for the survival of the country, whether it can bring about a democratic governance and prosperity in the country.

    Below is my reply with a few editions.

    Selam Dr. Getahew,

    Thank you for your explanation and understanding of my worries. It gave me an opportunity to think and reflect. In my view this is a serious issue that we all need to worry; just in case our action becomes a catalyst for revival of ethnic parties and a contributing factor for the demise of our country.

    If Ethiopia is led in to the direction of breakup, ethnic cleansing and an endless war, we cannot escape from judgement of history by pointing our fingers on others.
    Even if we do not have a role to play, the future generation would look back at the time where the country comes to an end to ask where these idiots came from to inherit a proud country and reduce her into piles of rubbles and extinction.

    History teaches us that while some generations are nation builders, some are nation destroyers engaging in pity squabbles to pass slavery to their children.]]

    Roland Regan is not Abraham Lincoln or Thomas Jefferson; he was a charming cowboy, but he had made one important observation that best describes our situation.

    He said: “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them…”
    We should not forget that it took only one Indian generation to sell their country to a British East India Trading Company and let many subsequent generations of Indians suffer and humiliated over the span of 400 years.

    Already this generation is not going to be remembered for the monuments and Obelisks it erected, the poetry and artistic creations or for inventing iPhone or cracking of human Genome. Its place in history is assured as missionary of destruction through waging mindless civil wars, ideological fanaticism, starvation, ethnic cleansing, terror and making Ethiopians maids to the Middle East.

    Millions of people have perished in the last 40 years through ideological driven “uncivil war” and political persecutions and the end is not yet in sight.

    The destructive journey that was started over 40 years ago has been eating the country away and has not yet stopped. And yet, there seems to be a lack of intellectual capability and unwillingness to stop and reflect. We are engaged in doing the same thing again and again and expect different results. It is from this perspective that I see the momentum being built for the formation of EPRDF version-2 as the last nail in Ethiopia’s coffin.
    Of course, I fully understand your points and motives but I want to bring my worries to your attention. This is to help you think about it from different perspective but not criticise your approach.

    Allow me to elaborate in what ways your attempt to bring back the ethnic organisations would have the opposite effect. First, these are self-appointed organisations which represent themselves and we should not assume that they are representative of the ethnic groups.

    If we take the logic of first-formed-first-representative, then we may end up making TPLF, OLF, ANDM, etc the only legitimate representatives of the people of Tigray, Oromo, Amhara, Ogaden, Gambela etc.

    Appeasing self-appointed ethnic organisations will surely leads to ostracization and silencing of the members of ethnic groups who want to celebrate their Ethiopian identity. If you praise the OLF flag, where does it leave an Oromo person who opposes the views and goals of OLF and want to fly the Ethiopian flag?

    Let me give you a good example by telling you what one Eritrean friend who always maintained his Ethiopian identity told me before the Eritrean independence.
    He said, at the start, there were many Eritreans who opposed ELF/EPLF arguing Eritrean strong link with Ethiopian. However, he said, it was when the so called the Ethiopian ‘progressives’ came to endorse the views of the secessionist movements that we were reduced to backward individuals who are instruments of the monarchy.

    This politician and academic has always opposed EPLF all his life by arguing that the interest of the Eritrean people would not be served by secession of Eritrea except installing two dictators and two flags but the others felt intimidated by the so called Ethiopian Student Movement & “progressive” forces to toe in line with Shabia.

    The Eritrean populous and some of the critics of secession had better chance of influencing the course of history for good had it not been, in his word, the “Ethiopian progressives” advocating the views of Shabia and Jebeha.

    Since then those who are arguing for democratisation rather than separation are considered traitors not to be given a chance at all. They were intimidated, killed and silenced.
    So, endorsing self-appointed secessionist groups as a legitimate representatives of those groups is nothing but knifing of those who still celebrate their Ethiopian identity. It is these groups that should be encouraged, supported and protected.

    Our experience with Eritrea should have been a good lesson. ESM and others who call themselves elites of the society thought EPLF and ELF were progressive forces that the Ethiopian left movement can create alliances to fight the monarchy. Once you start nationalism, you cannot put it back on a leash. Nationalism is about “us” and “them”.
    No matter how apologetic and sympathetic one can be, the “them” will never be allowed to have a say in “us” affairs.

    An Indian academic who did extensive work on ethnic nationalism define ethnic nationalism to have three features (Kancan Chandra, 2004).
    Ethnic nationalism is ascriptive. First, it has to define “us” and “them”, “insiders” and “outsiders”.

    It is exclusionist. It has to block the view of anyone considered an “outsider” no matter what the view of the so called outsider is beneficial. For example, no matter one has a concern for Tigray, Oromia, Ogaden unless one is a Tigrean, an Oromo, or Somali, i.e. an “insider”, he would not be considered to have the best interest of the people in the eyes of liberators to be allowed to contribute for the political process.

    By definition and birth mark, he/she cannot join TPLF/OLF/OPDO/ONLF etc. It is the same with EPLF and it will be the same with ONLF. No matter how hard Berhanu and Andargachew promote the cause of ONLF, they are outsiders and they will never ever be allowed to influence the course of ONLF.

    A good example to look is the relationship between EPRP and TPLF. EPRP had all the sympathy for ethnic rights but it was chased out of Tigray in the 1970s using the same exclusionist strategy. You mentioned that you quoted the Aregawi of 2011 but it is the same Aregawi of the 1970s who had used this exclusionist strategy to lead an army and chase EPRP out of Tigray.

    The third thing is that ethnic parties have patronage structure. Ethnic organisations are a cheaper and simpler imitation of the monarchy. There could be only one ethnic representative. It is only one group; one leader has the best interest of the group and can speak for the ethnic or nationalist group. There can be only one TPLF, OLF, and ONLF etc. There cannot be diversity of opinions or choices. It is for this reason that TPLF fought first the other Tigrean liberation front “Tehat” from the start and EPLF has to fight ELF.

    Still, for example, TPLF may tolerate multi-ethnic parties to have a small stake in Tigray but it will not let another TPLF to emerge. OLF assumes that there won’t be OPDO by the time it reaches for power. But if it exists as an organisation, there is no doubt that it will fight it until it is eliminated. That is why I think the Ethiopian student movement terribly failed to understand nationalism.

    Of course, there were no libraries, access to internet, books or media to pick all these basic concepts in the 1970s. Most of the students’ knowledge was based on hearsays rather than material researches. As a result, the students failed to foresee and understand the very nature and potential of nationalism to become an instrument of division.
    In a way it may be difficult to blame the likes of Walellegne and co. for indulging in a subject which they didn’t understand. Nevertheless, there can not be a sound and logical excuse for politicians who spent all their life in politics and academics to claim ignorance of the danger.

    We should not also forget the cultural settings. The 1970s students were deacons who were serving in churches and who came from deeply traditional religious society. Thus, they took everything not through critical thinking and reflection but through dogmatic view of religion. Put simply politics became their new faith.

    As you know, faith is believing in a thing that you could not see, understand or verify. If you can test it and prove it, it will be called science.
    They simply abandoned their religious faith to be born again in a new religion, where Stalin becomes the new Jesus Christ. Of course, you know what happened next. Questioning the virtues of the Stalinists view of the world became blasphemy.

    This blind faith in Stalin led to righteous indignation and outrage against whoever does not buy the Stalin’s theory of nations and nationalities.

    In the beauty of hindsight, one can see a parallel between ESM and modern day Taliban’s of Afghanistan. Both couldn’t possibly think that they could be wrong or there could be an alternative truth to that of theirs. Being brought up during the revolution, I see the same righteousness of their beliefs.

    Since then, the world has changed. Marxism has gone bankrupt. The Berlin Wall had come down. The self appointed vanguard of the mass (the new age monarchies of the East) have been swept out of power. Socialism as ideology was put on trial. And yet, Stalinism is still a governing principle and the mind-set of the revolutionary generation. It is mind boggling to note that many couldn’t think out of this mind-set!

    You well know that the government in power is an ethnic based organisation that struggled under the banner of the Stalin theory – nations and nationalities. It claims to fight and die defending the nations and nationalities right to self-determination up to and including secession And the alternative presented in Washington conference is exactly the same.
    The opposition, the likes of ONLF and OLF, are carbon copies of the ruling party in power. They went back in 1991 to set up the transitional government, banned pan-Ethiopian political parties from taking part in the transitional government, drafted the controversial constitution and declared that Ethiopia’s 3000 years ills have been resolved with endorsement of nations and nationalities rights to self-determinations (Article 39).

    The other guys, like Dr Berhanu and Ato Andargachew, were also the ones who accompanied TPLF to power, took part in partitioning of the Ethiopian society under imaginary ethnic boundaries, dismantled the national institutions like the army, trade-unions, and pan-Ethiopian institutions, wrote pamphlets why the Amharas need to organise along the “ethnic” line.

    Then we were told that the vision of Ato Walelegne has been implemented to start and enjoy the golden 1000 years of peace. We were also told that the old imperial Ethiopia has been dismantled for good in exact manner prescribed by the student movement to be re-created on wilful association of the nations and nationalities.

    Now 20 years fast forward, the same guys are working to recreate the failed June 1991 conference. Why? Certainly, not because they have ideological differences with the ruling party but because of the power and privilege they have lost during the power struggle. They are angry because they are pushed out into the cold and back to 9-5 work.

    Rather than pausing and reflecting to rectify the mistakes they have made in the last 40 years, they are back again into their comfort zone with the creation of EPRDF Version 2.
    Now two ethno-centric political forces are dominating the political arena. One is led by TPLF and the Other by OLF. Out of these two groups, I expected some sort of pan-Ethiopian political forces to have a say, why both cannot bring about democracy, tolerance and prosperity.

    What makes me feel sad is that the independent minds appear to shift their goal post to appease/endorse rather than standing firm to present/advocate the Ethiopian cause.
    As a long standing political advocate and no member of any ethnic parties, I expected the likes of you to present a compelling case why Ethiopia belongs to all of us, and why we need to rally together under Ethiopian flag, just like united Egyptians, Tunisians and others to bring about a democratic change, equality and prosperity to all.

    If you could not speak about Ethiopia passionately and eloquently, who should then? I didn’t write to Ato Andargachew or Dr Berhanu because I believe they are happy to accompany another ethnic political party to power and have few years honeymoon and get a kick on the teeth. But I thought you are different and I expected more.

    Any Ethiopian who feels strongly about survival of Ethiopia should not encourage or flirt with flying ethnic flags. Engagement is important. Debate is even better. But appeasement is naivety and making the same mistake again and again. OLF and ONLF were weakened organisations. Now thanks to G7, they are given a new lease of life.

    The OLF nationalism, like the EPLF, needs a symbolic enemy and has to invent distinct identity to advance its own distinct and separate national feeling. The same goes to ONLF. As you have seen in the political programme, ONLF doesn’t give a damn to its words to express its feeling towards Ethiopia.

    And yet there was no one at the Washington conference to say, hang on a minute, Ethiopia belongs to all of you and please let us not destroy her.

    I expected that was your natural role. That is why I felt I have to write to you. I hope when you get the chance next time, you would stand up to make a cause for need for united and democratic Ethiopia for the benefit of all of us. No one lose from a democratic and united Ethiopia.

    I didn’t expect a reply and I really appreciate that. Thank you again for taking your time and thought provoking idea. Hope you take my views in good faith.


  2. wonde
    | #2

    thank God these days i am reading many reasonable minds.
    keep it up

  3. tewbel
    | #3

    A lot of words tu say let’s wait and see.

  4. Hiwot taye
    | #4

    Ethiopia would reconstructed to fit all its inhabitants, the way they idividually choose. Otherwise, the one that is chosen by one to fit or not is another rounds of slavery, isolationisms. Stop re-erecting the lost refuted paths. Come up with new inclusive, tolerant, equitable Ethiopia or get ready to come apart at seems.

  5. Sam
    | #5

    The writer quoted Getachew who quoted Eskinder saying “the majority of the Oromo population supports the OLF struggle against Tyranny.” Does the majority of the Oromo population denounces any opposition party which is struggling to replace EPDRF because the party is run by Amharas, Gurages, Dorzes etc. I do not think so. Getachew has no point. Either Eskinder on this issue.

  6. Asdf
    | #6

    “I don’t believe that the majority of the Oromo populations consider that their question is a colonial question and their solution is separation from Ethiopia”

    While that might be the situation is Oromia, it is definitely not the same in Ogaden. A majority of the population in Ogaden understand that it’s colonialism that is the problem and all except the corrupt agree that secession is the only solution.

  7. Bovril
    | #7

    This is the manifesto of the secessionist movements who see their cause as a struggle against colonialism

    ,,,,,,,,,The OLF wrote in its program or mission statement: “The OLF is a political organization established in 1973 by Oromo nationalities to lead the national liberation struggle of the Oromo people against the Abyssinian colonial rule,,,,,,

    ,,,,,,,The ONLF political program or objective is stated as follows: “Recognizing that our country has been colonized against our will and without our consent by Ethiopia…The struggle of the people of Ogaden and the aim of their movement is to obtain the right of self-determination, rather than a struggle aimed at realizing the identity of a nationality. This is because Ogaden has never been historically or politically part of Ethiopia.”………..

    These guys are not mincing their words. they are as clear in their stand as day light.

    by the same token there are lots of people from all tribes and ethnic groups who do not want to see the disintegration of ethiopia into ethnic enclaves.

    These are two diametrically opposed views. IF THE SECESSIONISTS WIN, then there will only be perpetual war in the region as people try to grab as much land as possible from each other. there will also be outside interference supporting each group and these forces will add fuel to the situation.

    look at eritra, shabia is trying to grab more land from yemen, sudan and ethiopia, and is supported by many arab nations to disrupt and destablise the region.

    -TPLF has already annexed large areas of land in the north to tigrai, stretching from afar in the east to humera in the west.

    -no doubt the Olf , Onlf, Ddrf, euff, etc will do the same when and if they get the chance.

    the whole region will be thrown into a ball of fire.

    what can we do to stop this happening? that is the question.

  8. Sheger
    | #8

    You mean don’t fight? We don’t want too. Except some that we need to fight.

  9. mushe
    | #9

    Thanks Ali for your constructive suggestion for Mr. Sisay to read Ato Yared’s excellent analysis. I think Mr. Sisay confuses a lot of things in his statements when he implies that all negotiations are productive. He doesn’t seem to understand the mindset of extemist rightists and leftists. Such groups use negotiations as a forum for recruiting their followers and propagate their idiologies.

  10. Finally woke up
    | #10

    The current bura kereyeu of certain segment of Ethiopians in diaspora reminded me of how naive I had been in believing my place in Ethiopia. I am not a Tegre or Amhara. Nevertheless I believed I was Ethiopian. Finally, I woke up and came to comprehend the ethnic theory tplf has been trying to tell me in the last 2 decades. I will survive in that country only if I protect my rights as a people, not as an individual as many “I know it for you” have been trying to tell me. Finally, I am joining Woyane camp. I know you are not publishing this comment, but I will have it as a deductible from your false claim of working for democratic Ethiopia. Well, thank you for opening my eyes. Certain groups want to subjugate my people in the name of “Andenet.” Not again. TPLF was right.

  11. Dessalegn
    | #11

    Good article!

    1. You’re right to criticize Dr. Getachew for those particular personal attacks. One big lesson we’ve all learned from years of opposition infighting is that personal attacks are a big no-no. We should point this out any opportunity we get.

    2. Yes, this is clearly a question of strategy, not tactics. Ginbot7 are engaging in dialogue with the OLF and ONLF. Dialogue in and of itself is unquestionably good. It nurtures trust and mutual empathy, something sorely lacking between us nationalists and ‘secessionists’ or ‘ethnic nationalists’. This can only help in the future. What formal agreements this dialogue may lead to we don’t know. I agree entirely that this is the time to wait and see, not draw lines in the sand. We’re good at impatiently drawing lines in the sand – that’s been the opposition’s killer disease for decades.

    3. I actually don’t agree that the ‘majority’ of those who consider themselves Oromos support the OLF. I think we simply don’t know – it’s a difficult question to answer. What is the OLF? What does supporting the OLF mean? Does it mean supporting all its statutes? Or not, as you imply. But anyway, I do believe, and I think there’s no doubt about it – a significant number of people support the OLF. These people cannot be ignored – they are enough to make a difference. And Ginbot7 is doing a good job addressing them instead of ignoring them.

    By the way, I actually thought the moderator did a good job getting the two of them to stick to the line of argument.

  12. Treaty
    | #12

    Mr.Allelign, Thank you for reporting about the debate between Ato Ayalew and Dr.Andargachew.I also like to thank Mr.Ayalsew for his position over this issue. On the one hand, I sense your concern and doubts about the engagement between G-7 ,and the other organizations. On the other hand ,you seem to insist G-7 needed to be encouraged to have debate with Olf, ONLF.In the final analysis you seem to be inclined to support the move by G-7 even though you have no any sort of control over the outcome of events. In other words you want to go ahead and support the event; because you hope and seem to have faith the G-7 leadership will do the right decision. I don’t know about you, but for me I can’t say yes for this move and then rest on hope to take care the matter for me. What control will one have over the unknown?
    O my friend, I will not bank on this assumption. Nowhere in the BIBLE
    Are we asked to TRUST in any person? We are commanded to love, to live in peace with every one,
    “Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep” Ro.12:15.
    “Trust the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding”Pr.3:5
    In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths”Pr. 3:6

    Look by no means I am saying these men are untrustworthy; What I am saying is this man ,I am saying in his fallen state man is fallible and is not immune from committing blunder.
    After my experience with EPRP I very much come to disdain any ethnic based armed struggle in particular, and armed struggle in general as a means to solve social problem. No doubt, to the candid observer the purpose of the lifts is obvious. We have seen both in weyane and Shabia they have made the life of their own citizens a living hell. Then why does anyone in his right mind want to follow a path of elf destruction?
    My hope is that Ethiopia can be saved by people who have big heart not so much by those who profess they have big intellect.
    We need people like Robele Ababya, Mr.Yared, and others to check the subtle inclination and innate depravity or the beast within that wants to push us over the cliff.

  13. aha!
    | #13

    I had commented on Yared’s article, this debate between Ayal-sew Dessiye of “Unity/Andenet Hailoch” and Andargachew Tisgue of Ginbot 7, assuming that the basis of their debate was on the strategy for the armed struggle against TPLF/eprdf regime, where the objectives for Ginbot 7 and “Andinet hailoch/unity/Hibret”, as it is defined in this article, have both have the same objectives: that of freedom and democracy for all Ethiopians, while the objectives of the OLF, ONLF, etc. is ethnic rights to secessionism, upto self determination, but not yet fulfilled, but the ill defined ethnic boundries have already been defined by the constitution in Article 46, by the TPLF/eprdf regime, whch is direcly supported by the teletafi and loyalist opposition parties. If they do not aleast adhere to the position of ethnic federalism by the ethnic federalists of the teletafi and loyalist parties with ethnic agenda administered under ethnicfedralism, rather than fedrated states of the original provinces, they are at logger head with ethnicfedralists of their own faction, let alone their own ethnic goups that are inclined to Ethiopian Nationalism and Ethiopian National Interests, where individual right supercedes ethnic rights, where the free individual the unit of democratic and capitalistic society free of ethnic and secessionist politcs and/or policies with underlying totalirianism. To that end, apart from the ones present in the conference, the liberation movements as indicated by the authors and other commetators are not anywhere close to those with national agenda for unity, territorial integrity sovereignity of Ethiopia and Ethiopians, as in this case in this case neither Ginbot 7 nor Andinet Hailoch/Hibret to even form an alliance, let alone a merger, where the same same scenario holds true for the lyalist opposition parties with ethnic agenda and those parties with national agenda. The norm is with any business or political organizations, businesses and political organisation merge with the same objectives and strategies with the same business model. In the the AFD like approach of Dr. Berhanu Nega and Ato Andargachew Tisigue, the outcome is a rpeat of ethnic and secessionist politics and/or policies, keeping alive the right to secede upto self-determination.

  14. Yohannes
    | #14

    Here is the big question for everyone? Can the opposition group stand as unison to fight and tackle the country problem? In my opinion, no because they never had that kind of culture, never learn to negotiate to come to the table and discuss and compromise and work together for the common goal? Or at least if they gave a priority for the well being of Ethiopia and Ethiopians, they could be able to compromise and work together for common good and for the nation.
    But all political parties are unbelievably different and they have such a stubborn outlook on their view. If they can compromise, it was great but I doubt it, they have to kill each other first in order to convey their message, and the smartest one will triumph.
    To me that is Ethiopian opposition curse, too proud to be humble and work for the well being of the country and people. That makes Ethiopia and Ethiopian in a great danger and create vacuum and expose us for dictator ship.
    I have a problem with the current Ethiopian government with their human right issues however if the Ethiopian opposition can discuss and compromise with OLF and other liberations fronts why not with Ethiopian government? That can be done when everyone put Ethiopia first.
    But the Ethiopian oppositions and also the Ethiopian government tangled with such a weird policies, they think it cannot be resolve, cannot talk, I am not sure why all the group including the government of Ethiopia cannot come together on the table and discus and resolve their issues, I see arrogance on both sides, misguided unprincipled policies, they do not put Ethiopia first at all.
    Here is my point, everyone lives in the world one time, why not making history and create and transfer a great nation to the next generation?
    why not learning from Gandafi and mubark and other world leaders???

  15. kentu
    | #15

    for so many years i told you that even while i walching my kids at home in usa i can lead ethiopia. this is true but no one leason me what about now are you trust me if your answer is yes then it is orayeat if not i have another story i am starting with former derg rejim forighn ninister tekeda alemu now representative of weyane in un look this guy was with derg wihen a week change his position and he became weyan it is not his foult it how he raise we need to chang our culture we need to raise our kids with love so they now thier right if you pass the boundry they can defende them selves 2 birtukan demeksa she was a leader of oppositionand she become imprison by weyane after she release she got aportunty to come in free land usa a lot of peaple abround and inside they pay a lot of sacrise but on her speace make me angry and frastrated even she didnt mention by her mouse and thing what weyane dong in side the prison shame on you. i am happy i raise my kids with love and respect if i told them to not right they never did i gave them a creadit even they didnt my orers they defende them selves at age ahe 4 i proud of them col goshu was right 20 years ago people are not ready takes century to bring chang that why we never heard in ethiopian poletics just he leave peacefully like ordinay usa people

  16. kentu
    | #16

    a friend of mine ask me that you are blaime allways about our weakenes why didnt mention our streangz i told he we have no hero, then he mention look zeray deres from eritrea tderos from amhara yohanis from tigray i told him thos are not ethiopian they are european like washington fought the british . the first setllers foutht the second settlers looke all your heros look like ethiopian no absolutly not. what about their name 1 youhans 2 yohanis 3 yohans we dont have such kind of names we have name like kebed bekle gebremariam or feyisa they look europeans zeray deres his grand father was the first settlers from italy so right now even before we dont have heros

  17. Zelelew
    | #17

    This is the only balanced article that address the core issue of the debate.
    Thank you so much

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