Dwelling in the past is dangerous for the future By Bahir Kemal

September 11th, 2011 Print Print Email Email

One can remember the slogans of the Derg era, if the slogan can accomplish any Ethiopia at that time could be paradise. Unfortunately that was not the case. Our old generation members of opposition parties/organizations are not changed themselves to fit in present and ready for the future, stacked on ideological slogan which never been seen in practice. No one argue the importance of unity of any kind let alone unity of purpose, unity for equality, for justice, for human right, for territorial integrity and for economic prosperity of the whole nation. However this can’t be realized only by wishful thinking, rather by planning how it can be achieved in practice. We have to change the way we think if we want positive change, if we can’t let those who can try their best especially the younger generation do their job the change will be only a dream than reality.

Most of us collectively are responsible for devastating situation of our country including ethnic inequality of the past and present by collaborating or keeping silence, this includes some members of the ethnic groups suffered from unfair treatment, albeit the past or present administrations take lion share of the blame. The suffering of our people will continue if we do not take some action right now. Responsibility of solving the problem also lays on us as a collective not only on those organized based on ethnicity or on of particular groups of the society.

The problems we are facing now as a country can be resolved by being unite, engaging in dialogue with all stakeholders including ethnic organization rather than avoiding their names as a taboo which was not a solution in the past since the creation of deferent ”Liberation fronts”. Indirectly we are legitimizing their idea of “being colonized” by saying you’re not Ethiopians, while they are; people they tend to represent are Ethiopians. Using force didn’t work in the past, not working now & will not working in the future either. We missed a lot of opportunities to solve ethnic issue peacefully in the past, begging with the monarchy in Eritrean case. During the Derg this way of resolving the conflict continued and resulted of mushrooming of more LFs. One cannot forget the opportunity missed during the Derg administration when EPLF in 1981 offered referendum to determine whether Eritrean wanted independence, a regional autonomy or federation with Ethiopia & was rejected by Derg due to that at the time Derg had upper hand in military operation & also regarded as a sign of weakness and as a public relations ploy. The same goes to current TPLF government which extend it massacre of innocent citizens of the country to burning of the whole village which angered the citizen and embolden the liberation front of that area. We need deferent approach to resolve our issue taking the past as a reference, the present as evidence to build the future. There are arguments that those being approached (OLF, ONLF) still have their “secession & colonization” idea on their respective websites. Here there is no any coalition yet; it is just dialogue there is not any change of stand yet. It can’t be done overnight. Of course the provocative letter of Obbo Daud Ibsa to UN is not helpful either. It is really annoying and offensive for all of us in general & for the negotiating parties in particular in the eyes of any observer to read such kind of letter in the middle of talking. One can call seas fire when he talks with warring enemy let alone with his future partners of straggle for the same goal, to build inclusive democratic Ethiopia.

Sincerity is vital from both side, it is Ethiopian people interest at stake here. The approach for dialogue from both side is deferent than previous one. No one has state power yet, no one has upper hand for influence, and it is just beginning of building trust between organizations which leads to coalition for the benefit of all Ethiopians.

Those who opposed this approach argued that before engaging ethnic based organization, particularly those believe or advocate that the ultimate solution is secession; we have to make strong coalition with multi-national parties (unity forces) and then they, ethnic based organization, will join the coalition because they have no options. It is important argument; however one can ask how it is possible when in the past two decade or so instead of coming together those unity forces going apart even within the same parties. We have to depend on fact on the ground, listen to the Ethiopian people and prioritize their interest than ours. We have to halt accusing other for our division & weakness. We consumed a generation without a progress need from us by Ethiopian people while the country became one party and one man police state.

It is encouraging as always to see fellow Ethiopians come out express their concern of the future of the country, where she is heading, what politicians have for her future and to correct any mistake in advance before it is too late to do so. As the same time the way we address our concern should follow civility. Name calling is not helpful either while hiding our own identity, instead of personal attack to criticize the idea and offering solution for the problem.

We do not see as much as we would like to see a person coming from the supporters of this approach to defend their initiative as an individual or organization with the evidence & analyses which depends on the evidence. In addition to the town hall meetings we need heat debate on the issue to clear the cloud of ambiguity in any means of communication in our possession and let the mass to be the judge.

As dwelling in the past is dangerous for proper plan of the future, rushing into conclusion without clear evidences and proper analyse is more dangerous. It needs careful planning and execution which depends on the fact on the ground.

You can never plan the future by the past. ~ Edmund Burke
Happy New Year.
God the Almighty bless Ethiopia.
The writer can be reached at: bahirk@hotmail.com

  1. Ewnetu Taye
    | #1

    Selam Dear Bahir
    Eid almabruk and happy Ethiopian new year.

    With all due respect, those who are dwelling in the past are the ONF and ONLF. They are talking about things that have happened before most of the people who are now alive in Ethiopia were born.

    You attempt to blame other Ethiopians for not standing up when crime is committed in Ogden. You are absolutely wrong; Ethiopians have spoken about such injustice yesterday and today too. And regardless of what ONLF may say they will also continue to do so tomorrow.

    But let us be honest, has the ONLF or any of its affiliated HR or research wings said a word when the Amharas in Norther Showa, Gonder etc were massacred by TPLF, what about the killings in Arsi , Water etc, did ONLF and OLF said any thing when all those “amharas etc” were thrown out of welega (15 thousand in the 1990’s)

    The other thing is, of course Ethiopians do not want to strengthen “liberation fronts “that want to destroy Ethiopia. Why should we. No country or government on Earth would do so except TPLF.

    This does not men we should wage a war and fight the separatist groups by force. There are a number of things that could be done short of guns.

    You said what is happening between ONLF, OLF and G& is “just discussion”. No that is no the case. Both the OLF rep and Dr Getachew have told us there is a tentative agreement between the three to hold referendum for Oromya and Ogaden after the fall of TPLF.this is the truth. If you are genuine, I challenge you to come clean on this one. Do you agree that such referendum should be held in OGaden or Oromya after the fall of TPLF?. Simple and straight forward answer would be sufficient. The position you take on this will tell us what you really want to achieve in Ethiopia.

    We are all aware of what happened to Ethiopia in 1991/1994 with the collaboration of OLF, TPLF and EPLF. Ethiopians can not be fooled twice. I assure you they will not repeat the same mistake twice.

    The solution is to come together under united Ethiopia and address all issues in light of equality, social justice and mutual benefit. Any agreement with a trace of separation will not cut it any more.
    With respect

  2. Sheger
    | #2

    Thank you Ewunetua and you Bahir.

    The past wether wrong or write needs to be assessed to be able to go forward positively. You can not deny what happened yesterday and what is happening today and look forward for a positive tomorrow. It can’t happen besides
    We have a choice as people all of as including Meles Zenawei to change our thoughts and minds and do what is right
    To us all right now. But we all have to stay united and one heart one love and do what is best to all of us.

    If it was up to me it might be wrong or wright but to my thinking we should unite not just among our selves but even
    With all our nehboring countries like Somalia Kenya Jebuti Eritiria Sudan and so on if not as one country at least create
    Some kind of UN east African union or some thing that can be some problem solver and great for ever one. You know what I mean, like the Europian union and staff. We have a lot in common and we share our rivers and history and so on.

    But it is just my thinking we can work all for the best of our interests and united means power and stability. If we can keep it democratized and fair to all.

    Happy holy days!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. true
    | #3

    Are you kidding me? We Ethiopians are constantly being reminded of All Liberation Fronts, Minilik did this, Haile Selassie did that, Amara did this, bla bla. We all agree that there was past oppression yet, LFs don’t see that Amaras were marginalized too. If you claim that Amaras were favored then we should be able to see Wollo not expereincing starvation in 70 and 80s. It is all bullock. As a non Amaran, coming to think of it, we would have beeen better off under Haile Selassie and maybe the same status quo after Mengistu, it is big mistake to allow the power under Liberation Fronts. Their idelogy is tainted. First of all, the idea of secession did not come to them in the first place, it was the outsiders to push the agenda of breaking Ethiopia, and they came in brainwashed Liberation Fronts of course the best groups to brainwash are those who are not in power. So, Liberation Fronts with brainwashing, arms got emboldened and started to over exaggerate, manipulate stories to cliam their justification. It was the muslims supported by Iran and Egypt then who rose against the annexation of Eritrea, the christians were fine with it. Now when they are asked they said they decided to fight as well why? the OLF formed its party because the CIA/MI6, and Egypt acting like missionaries Egypt for Nile brainwahsed them. TPLF was brainwashed well by Shaebia because the only way to win is by getting support from both OLF and TPLF. That is why, there is no winning I think even after TPLF, they will all pursue their goal I hope G7 is not being fooled. They are just being used, because right now Britain and U. S are supporting secretly ONLF and OLF. Look at what happened to Sri Lanka, 30 year of war with Tamel Taigers, the economy of Sri lanka was shrinking due to war with these groups, their sovereignty was constantly being threatened,they have been baby sitting the Tamil Taigers because they are the same people and they don’t want to hurt civilians despite the continuous war shelled civilians and Sril lanka doesn’t want the full scale war because of this for many years because they had the upper hand. The outsiders were tricking them so that the Tamil Taigers will have the upper hand. Sri Lanka finally decided the only way to get peace is to completely destroy full scale war against Tamil Taigers and rehabilitate the people after that. As one Sri Lankan said, if not through Tamil Taigers enemies from outside was threatening Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka declared full war against Tamil Taigers, many said they had to do it, because the “Cancer” need to be cut out before it spread. They won the war by killing the main head of the Tamil Taigers and rehabilitate the people. Now, there is developemnt in Tamil Taiger where the rebels hold the people hostage. They are now on the move developing their country without constant threat. So, either you lose with Liberation Fronts or completely destroy them. In our case, they won. They had the upper hand when stupid Mengistu left, the war is not actually between Ethiopians and liberation Fronts. We Ethiopians of all ethnic groups and nothing to do with their claim of Amara, that have lost! The war is now among the LIberation Fronts themselves who has the most power and how to disintegrate Ethiopia. You can’t negotiate with an idelogy it is like terrorism.

    With all due respect, author, there are many who are Oromos, Somalis and tigray who don’t want to be part of Liberation fronts. Claiming that all Oromos, Somalis, Tigrayans have the same idelogoy as Liberation Fronts therefroe give them legitimacy is farce and in fact yes, it is giving them more legitimacy. So do not make Oromos, Somalis and Tigrayans as if they are all part of Liberation Fronts. Therefore, Liberation Fronts need to be called as they are just Liberation Fronts.

  4. beya
    | #4

    I can guess where the writer of this article is coming from. G7 have started the ball rolling by engaging ethno-nationalist groups in a dialogue to unite the struggle against the monstrous evil woyane junta.

    The sad reality is that these groups are hard to please. They are like a spoilt child putting demands only but not ready to accept responsibility. Unless the word ‘colonisation ‘ has a different meaning in their minds, no body in their healthy state of mind could say that the oromo or somali or tigre etc was colonised by abbysinia/ethiopia.

    They want us to accept that ‘colonialism’ is the issue when it comes to their cause. how are going to get over this hurdle. this is a major barrier by itself before we get to the discussion table with the ethno-nationalists.

    The pre-condition for them to join any united struggle is that their demand for recognition as colonised people should be accepted. it is on this premise that the are demanding for secession. If they lose on this point then their cause is dead; it was dead from the day they came up with such rediculous idea any way.

    Do you expect the OLf, Onlf, gplf etc coming round a discussion table with a proposal saying that they have dropped the idae of colonialism. Every body would think they are lunatics and wind bags who have no direction.

    There is a serious issue of ego and pride which these groups are protecting to save. Deep in their own hearts they realise they have no acceptance on their theory of colonialism. they were misled by the Shabia etal and were hoping that they would repeat what the shabia did in ethiopia.

    G7 SHOULD HELP THEM TO COME UP WITH A FACE SAVING FORMULA. They have started it but it is going to be hard.

  5. Ewnetu
    | #5

    Whether it is the libration fronts or the G7 leadership, we need to keep their feet to the fire if we want them to stand for we the people. many would say it is G7 not the separetists that has chnaged. G7 has lot of explanation to do. They will not be allowed to recycle weyanes referendom and article 39 after 20 years .never again

  6. true
    | #6

    I think the Liberation Fronts should go back and read history of the world. How, one group over the other have thrived in the past and even in current situation. Their imported idelodgy is pleasing outsiders while their people even as we speak are being “neoclonized” by outsiers , their land is grabbled while their people are displaced. Yet, in the past they had their land and they lived independently their complaint continues. One group domination over the other is not colonization and please go do your study of what colonization means. What would Spain say, despite there is still resentments, they don’t considers the Spaniards as colonialists but a group who is dominant over the other. Either they economically, politically and socially bring equality or their alternative is secession. That makes sense doesn’t it? Where as in Liberation Fronts case, there has never been such demands and to please Shaebia they jump the gun and like a little kid, we want secession. That is childish first of all, second, they must take their own repsonsibility in bringing equality, etc. by enforcing on leaders, etc. because they are very much in bred and parts and pieces of Ethiopia whether they like it. By the way it is not only Shaeiba they follow, they follow Egypt and most Liberation Fronts 80% are muslims, surpirse, surprise. That explains why they want to give away the Nile for Egypt by betraying Ethiopia. TPLF is another stooge for shaeiba and has also been supported by Egypt and other outsiders.

  7. Sheger
    | #7

    Dear Kemal if we want to include Arabia Israel and Egypt, we can call it the EASTERN UNION. Isn’t that cool. It is beyond cool, good and nice for all. It is a peace engine. After all I think it is the plan of the almighty God. If not, I think it is a good thing to do.

    Long live man kind and London live Ethiopia!!!!!!!!!!!

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