November 9th, 2014 Print Print Email Email

“የእውነተኛ ሰዉ ጥላ በጨለማ እንኩዋን ይታያል።”

[The shadow of a true believer can be discerned even in the dark.]

In General

This is a very short statement meant to be a brief response to an inquiry on my chat response to an article by Yilma Bekele, by a certain Dawi, a prolific and astute chat blogger throughout the Ethiopian web discourses. I have attached a part of my response in that format, but also decided to post this longer version, which I believe is highly speculative and I beg your indulgence. The sole purpose of starting a dialogue on certain issues I raised here is distinct from the issues discussed by Yilma Bekele, which is the starting essay for all that follows. This is my sincere effort to understand our future. “የእውነተኛ ሰዉ ጥላ በጨለማ እንኩዋን ይታያል።” Dawi asked of me the following:
[Prof. Tecola said:

[[.. Is it not mind bending to think that one can get benefit or help from a party that has rejected a historic family and has divorced violently that relationship would turn around and help some members of that same rejected and divorced family?,,]]

- Prof. Tecola – Can you please elaborate on this:

Over the years, starting from Cohen and others we have learned that Isayas was indifferent in going it alone after the overthrow of the Derg; he talked about confederation etc. however, TPLF leadership (Meles in the forefront with his book on Eritrea] had a stronger commitment to Eritrean independence with all its associated Ports; to this day, Ato Sebhat vows to defend Eritrean independence while some known Eritrean separatist intellectuals have moderated their stance on that subject. There were times where Isayas was accused by some TPLF leadership as a sell out and known to compromise Eritrean Independence any time therefore, why can’t we assume that he was practically pushed out of the Ethiopian fold by TPLF? Now Demhit protecting him indicate his indifference to the Eritrean identity and may not even be afraid of his Ethiopian one? Why shouldn’t we consider that he is not against Greater Ethiopia then?
If that is the case both the moderate EPRDF and the opposition you condemned shouldn’t be afraid to pursue working with the man because after the defeat of the Derg, he didn’t forcefully “reject” or “divorce” the Ethiopian family on his own free will but, others somewhat helped pushing him out of the fold??]

I thank you Dawi for engaging me and other readers on a subject matter that is profoundly complex. Even though we really must not discuss issues outside of the subject matter covered by Yilma’s article where our discourse started, I am making an exception this time in responding to your request for me to elaborate on certain issues you highlighted. I need to start by stating the obvious that there are several intriguing questions one can ask in relation to the current stand-off between Ethiopia and Eritrea, wherein the following are the most important in my mind:

1) How MUST the Ethiopian Government deal with Isayas Afeworki in his changed circumstances?
2) What should be done for the future of Ethiopia with a hostile Eritrea being an independent state?
3) What would be the modality and form of relationships between Ethiopia and Eritrea in the aftermath when none of the present political leaders of either country are in power?

At any rate, these issues cannot be handled in this format of discourse. My suggestion is to find some credible independent individual or organization to start the discourse in a town-hall type meeting inviting representatives from all concerned parties. Nothing would please me more than to see some mature resolution of the unnecessary division and emasculation of a people, for these people if left to their own devices are capable of transforming the whole of Africa into a power house of economic wealth and technological advancement. However, for that to happen we must first put our house in order.

2. Ethiopia Vs Eritrea

Whether Isayas Afeworki is now under pressure for change, the fact remains that he consistently tried his very best for scores of years to undermine and disrupt Ethiopia’s sovereignty and its legitimate interest to develop its resources. For example, his latest anti-Ethiopia endorsement and support of Egypt against Ethiopia on the construction of the Grand Renaissance Dam is a serious point to remember. He tried to use Somali Jihadists to create civil unrest and conflict in the Somali population of Ethiopia. I mean the list of hostile activities is very long. It is foolhardy to make compact with the Eritrean Government at the moment whose leader is still smarting from some mythological grievance against the Ethiopian government of the Imperial days. At any rate, what is there to offer as an incentive to an ambitious man who is already a head of state, commander of an army, et cetera, et cetera and fabulously wealthy? It seems to me we have to wait nature taking its course a couple of decades from now to think out a much realistic modality for reintegration of Eritrea with Ethiopia.

First, we must ignore the endless boastings in the media of the likes of Sebhat Nega who is still “proud” of fracturing Ethiopia using that single incident of our history of an Emperor seceding Ethiopian territory to some foreign power a century ago. In no way that would justify the current divisive process that is hurting everyone in the region especially Ethiopia that has to expend for fees and transit expenses of almost a billion and a half dollars annually, most of that in fees paid to Djibouti to use its port facilities. Most of that money ends up in the pocket of Dubai, the Gulf Country, which runs the Djibouti Port facilities, through its DP World pursuant to an agreement for a 30-year concession signed in 2005. Because of a recent dispute, the Government of Djibouti is trying to control the Port now under the authority of Djibouti Ports & Free Zones Authority (DPFZA) directly answerable to the President of the Country.

In order to get the Ethiopia-Eritrea issue started with the right perspective, we must begin the negotiation and/or discourse with political issues and not with issues dealing with economic cooperation. Ethiopia must not be used to bail out Eritrea’s economic problems. Economic cooperation is the goal and the incentive for political realignment and recreation of a unitary state of Ethiopia where self-administration of regions is to be seen as purely a matter of expediency and efficiency not aimed at the promotion of ethnic or linguistic goals. On the other hand, if we start with economic concessions and cooperation, what would be the incentive for full-fledged national integration. Instead, what would emerge from that form of setup is the replay of the situation of 1991 to the end of that decade of Eritreans in close protection by their government end up monopolizing and overwhelming the rest of the Ethiopian citizens in all areas of economic advancement and entrenchment.

3. Current Winners in the Skirmish within the TPLF

The faction of the EPRDF leadership that you seem to identify as “moderates” that are arguably willing to have relationship with Eritrea are not true moderates, rather they are protecting the interest of Eritrea in an around-about-way and their own grasp on power; they would not care for Ethiopia’s national security or interest in real controversies. I will not trust the fate of Ethiopia in their hands. It seems to me the die-hard leaders such as Sebhat that want to keep Eritrea separated from Ethiopia and the so called moderates are not just two sides of the same coin but are the single side of that political coin. Ultimately I will not trust any of them with the future of Ethiopia. There is also the fact that people seem to overlook about the limited abilities and stunted creative capacities of the leaders in power in Ethiopia. Even more alarming to me right now is the fact that the faction within the leadership of TPLF/EPRDF that wants to keep the divisive and anti-Ethiopia legacy of Meles Zenawi seems to be gaining grounds over the reform minded leaders within the TPLF/EPRDF.

Sebhat has done his job extremely well camouflaging himself as an aggrieved victim of Meles Zenawi and that of former First Lady Azeb Mesfin; he had effectively turned the table on the reformists as he did over a decade ago on the nationalists who fought the war of repulsion of the Eritrean incursion into Ethiopia in 2000. Sebhat seems to achieve such monumental task without any portfolio and with no formal state power base or even without any power derived from leading a political party. His special art is in his ability to create connections with existing power treads and helping thereby create a net of power that could easily overcome anyone foolish enough to challenge the existing order.

Be prepared for more repressive governmental policies and alienations of Ethiopians in our immediate future. Once more we are witnessing a repeat of Meles Zenawi’s modus operandi whereby the reality of sitting in the state’s throne of power trumps anytime any political party hegemony. It seems to me political expedient for both leaderships of OPDO and ANDM to have joined the bandwagon of PM Hailemariam Desalegn and the winning faction. Soon Ethiopia would end up with a single Prime Minister liquidating his current Deputies. If you have watched Hailemariam’s demeanor in recent video recordings, he seems to be a changed person oozing confidence, even bordering arrogance. The same is true with Dr. Teodros Adhanome who had disappeared or receded in the last few months and is now booming out with solid presence.

This consolidation of power by those that are in the State’s executive, Legislative, and military power structure will have far reaching and a decade long implications, at least. Those TPLF leaders, such as Aregawi, Giday et cetera that were expelled from power long ago before EPRDF demolished the Derg Regime and took power in 1991, and those expelled since, at different times, especially those TPLF leaders Meles Zenawi dismissed from the TPLF and finally from the EPRDF, such as Adanech, Gebru, Seye et cetera better head to the nearest monastery, for their hoped for comeback effort of excruciating dedication seems to have been quashed irreversibly for the near future. Do not misread me here, for I believe the inclusion of former TPLF members within the current Ethiopian Government structure would have been a great political incubator for Ethiopians to use in order to recover from the excess of the two consecutive revolutionary governments. Hopefully that form of inclusiveness would have led to the emergence of the democratic process ending the endless rat-race of human rights activism. This kind of “baby steps” would have empowered all Ethiopians in the long run with minimal bloodshed and threat to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ethiopia.

I will end my speculative analysis with a note on the Ethiopian military. It seems to me that the Ethiopian military has been mobilized and stratified against the reformists who would have reconciled with most of those former TPLF leaders expelled from the EPRDF/TPLF. The coming election is another element that must have been used against reformists, for it can be argued such rocking of the boat would only be disruptive and would sink the boat that is the EPRDF. At any rate, Ethiopia is worse off with this faction of the TPLF getting the upper hand and we are heading into more repression and political disaffection.


There is not much by way of a conclusionary remark at this point, but a number of unresolved issues still remain out there in no man’s land. In Ethiopia history not only repeats itself but also highlights that uniquely Ethiopian reality with blazing colors. Despite such obvious debacle, I still believe peaceful engagement of dissention and mobilization of forces must be done before violent form of confrontation with the Ethiopian Government. Especially no Ethiopian should be involved in protest activities that undermines the deeper interest of the Motherland.

The storming of the Ethiopian Embassy, the desecration of the official Ethiopian Flag or insignia is beyond any protesters legitimate reach. No matter what symbol is attached to our Ethiopian colors, I am extremely offended by the juvenile behavior of a few protesters who tore down our colors/flag at our Ethiopian Embassy grounds; I repeat “our Ethiopian Embassy grounds.” After all many of our relations including our Fathers and Grandparents fought for that Flag to maintain our independence fighting off the colonial aspiration and invasion of Italy, and tens of thousands died in battle and others by firing squads of Fascist Italian soldiers and Askaris. Our Ethiopian Colors/Flag no matter what symbol or emblem is added to it that is transitory, still deserves our respect. We ought to respect even the flags of our enemies. My blood boiled over when I saw videos of such gross vulgarity of a handful of men tearing and stomping on our physical representation of Sovereignty. I draw the line at that, and I will not allow anyone to cross that line in my presence. “እውነተኛ ጥላ በጨለማ እንኩዋን ይታያል።” Long Live Ethiopia!

Tecola W. Hagos

November 10, 2014

  1. Dawi
    | #1

    Itto Abo Farda said:

    [[.. the referendum?”... I posed the question in the hope that I and the readers would be provided with names of individuals or groups who picked that question and where they did it. The dear professor has not answered the question yet...]]

    May be only the “senile” Ato Sebhat (per former minister Ermias) can answer such rhetorical question if the Prof. can’t. :)

    Seriously though, it is not who controlled what because that can change as you saw it in the later war when Isu did “a strategical withdrawal?” from all disputed border territories he captured.

    I don’t think there is a doubt that TPLF cooperation is what made Eritrea’s independence; without that they would have still been playing “Somaliland”.

    Isayas working with Ethiopia’s enemies is documented as the Prof. pointed out. I have read in the past where he made a speech in a Cairo University that he has personal knowledge that Woyane plans to use the Nile (dam) as an atomic bomb against Egypt. Off course now some including “nationalist opposition” have lined up with Isayas and Egyptian chauvinists to stop the GERD.

    So some times I wonder what the difference is between Yelma, Robele & Isayas as far as Ethiopians are concerned? :-)

    That is why I asked if we can work with one can we work with the other one?

    Be that as it may, the Prof. has mentioned our digression from the topic and it may be worthwhile for someone to stir us back. You seem to be the one who is sticking to the topic.

  2. Ittu Aba Farda
    | #2

    Obbo Dawi:

    Your answer is based on hearsay ‘record’. I myself had seen some articles back in mid and early 1990′s where it was alleged that someone doctored the referendum question on the ballot to mean a question of ‘freedom yes or no’. I don’t know how old you are. You might have been very young then to remember what happened and what was the desire of people who claim to be from Eritrea. Every one I knew and talked to then were very explicit about they wanted then. They all wanted a separate and sovereign state. Why not? They had fought for it. They have lost tens of thousands of their loved ones fighting for it. They had the consensus of a lot of nations in the UN and on top of that brute Al-Toweel Isaias was already in full control of the entire Eritrea with his tens of thousands of fighters with sky high morale. To me the referendum was just a formality. I have known people who were in both ELF and EPLF beginning from my student days in the Middle East in the 1960′s. They never chopped and minced words to describe what they wanted. That was nothing less, nothing short of an independent Eritrea. So to think Isaias all of sudden had a change of heart in 1993 and was kicked out Ethiopia by Sebhat Nega and one or two members of the TPLF is just a wish, a woolgather and above all an insult to others’ intelligence. Like I said before Eritreans should be left alone and in return they should keep their noses clean by leaving us alone. They should refrain from trying to drive a wedge among us. When I say ‘they’ I mean those close and around the ruthless Isaias.

    You also seem not able to find Sebhat Nega’s entire comment in which he said that he will fight again to protect the independence of Eritrea. I am standing in front of you peacefully waving a placard that reads ‘I need the whole comment!!! We need the whole comment!!!’

    Once again, I would like to thank you for being civil in conducting the discourse we are having. I am sure we are learning from each other. Blessings!!!!

  3. Dawi
    | #3

    Itto Abo Farda said:

    [[..Every one I knew and talked to then were very explicit about they wanted then. They all wanted a separate and sovereign state. Why not? They had fought for it. They have lost tens of thousands of their loved ones fighting for it..[[

    I hope you're not still asking the "why not" question.

    Ya - man! "They" (ethnic pimps) all wanted to separate not to end inequality but hoping to enrich themselves at the expense of condemning the average Eritrean livelihood to misery by displacing him/her out of mother Ethiopia for nuttin'!!

    [[..You also seem not able to find Sebhat Nega’s entire comment in which he said that he will fight again to protect the independence of Eritrea...]]

    Oh! Here it is! I don’t know how you missed that one, it was widely read.

    This is a quote from what Ato Sebhat said in 2007; you can read the full report on Ethiomedia.


    “Suppose let’s say Eritrea comes under invasion by an outside force. I’ve no doubt the EPRDF government would, along with the Eritrean people, fight against the enemy of Eritrea,” Sebhat concluded.

    “….TPLF was an organization that had an excellent understanding of the Eritrean question, the conditions of the Eritrean people. TPLF didn’t take the Eritrean demand as an ordinary question of independence alone. Eritrean groups, on the other hand, took the Eritrean question as the question of independence alone. They focused only on how to achieve independence. They never thought about post-independence Eritrea. Therefore, their program was only of ‘independence.’ On the other hand, TPLF was worrying about whether the Eritrean rebel groups – ELF (Jebha) and EPLF (Shaebia) – had any thoughts about post- independence Eritrean conditions. They had nothing. For this reason, TPLF was reminding them of the challenges awaiting them after they break-away. To persuade such a group with a fragmented view of independence was difficult. In fact, we never believed that the Eritrean group would – beyond its mercenary program – go and fight for independence to the end. And apparently, ELF gave in; knelt down. Close to the final hours, they had started talking to the Derg, before it abandoned the struggle wholly.

    Shaebia (EPLF) was also showing signs of compromising on the independence of the Eritrean people. The power-sharing deal EPLF held with the Derg in an East German city and under the mediation of the East German government was evidence of Shaebia kneeling down to Derg. There were also other EPLF-Derg talks after the defection of Dawit Wolde-Giorgis.* Shaebia was also trying to give in to Derg during the foiled 1989 army generals coup led by General Bulti in Asmara and Generals Fanta [Belai] and Merid Negussie in Addis Ababa. The plan was to replace Mengistu with somebody else, and Shaebia would get its share. After the coup, Shaebia sent a message to us [TPLF]. Shaebia told us to make a swift decision and welcome a delegate of the coup leaders that was coming to meet with us via Adi Quala, Eritrea.

    Our response was clear: TPLF knows no compromise with the Derg. The goal of our struggle is to bring about a total change of the system. TPLF might have considered negotiation had the coup been led by soldiers other than high-ranking army officers. Even at that level, we never believed a coup would change the system. Therefore, we turned down Shaebia’s request to accept the plea of the coup. Our decision was – much to the dismay of Shaebia – announced on our Radio. Therefore, that was another occasion Shaebia had also considered a power-sharing arrangement with the Derg. The danger of this deal was not only aimed at sabotaging the interest of the Eritrean people for independence. It was also a move aimed at destroying the aspirations of the Ethiopian people for a democratic governance.

    Based on these facts, we had written that Shaebia is a treasonous group and can betray the struggle of the Eritrean people any time….”

  4. Ittu Aba Farda
    | #4

    Obbo Dawi:

    Ok I got it. Thanks a lot.

    Now let’s you and I have a private conversation and I want to ask you the following questions. I am asking you pointed, numbered questions and I will appreciate if your answers are also numbered, straight and pointed also.

    1) Do you really believe that if Sebhat Nega and his cabals stood against the independence of Eritrea, Isaias and his army would have accepted that?

    2) Would the Eritrean people accept anything short of an independent and a sovereign Eritrea separated from the rest of Ethiopia?

    3) Do you really believe in Isaias’ overture to negotiate a new union with the rest of Ethiopia when he sat down with Mengistu in East Germany or reps of the 1989 attempted coup?

    Please try yes or no for these question my countryman.

    I doing so I would like you to the speech made by Al-Toweel Isaias himself at a forum, if I am not wrong, in San Francisco, I believe in 1989 or 1990. I heard him live on PBS that day.

  5. aha!
    | #5

    Dawi @#3 in response to Itu Aba Ferda, in reference to EPLF seeking independence of their own initiative or at the behest of TPLF to respect the will of the people of the Province of Eritrea, which brought in under the Ethiopian confluence from the British Protectorate with the effort of the Foreighn Minister Aklilu Habtewold, I presume. That being the starting point for Eritrean Province to be integrated with the rest of its original Provinces, I wander what went wrong to induce the EPLF and ELF to initiate liberation fronts to fight to secede from Ethiopia, DURING HIM’s Government and continued into the Derg’s regime? All for a long time they were fighting the Derg regime, which engaged with liberation fronts to maintain the unity, territorial integrity, sovereignty of Ethiopia is undeniable fact from what the current TPLF/eprdf regime is in war skirmishes with the newly created liberation fronts OLF for the major part, a part and parcel of the EX-liberation front in the TPLF/eprdf regime on the basis of Article 39 (1), an ethnic homelands created under ethnic federalism, a prelude to ethnic secessionism, future boundary conflicts and an on going ethnic cleansing, to which Sibhat Nega proclaims in an interview with VOA radio by saying “yehe yeandinetahinina yeithiopiawinetachen milikit yehonewin hige mengist yemitsarer binor torinet ingetmawalen”, is he also referring to foreign invasion with respect to the above, in the same way, Itu Aba Fereda’s interpretation of Sibhat Nega’s assertion on defending the independence of Eritrea from foreign invasion. I take Itu Aba Ferda’s response as being one the TPLF members, from his own statement: “After the coup the aborted military coup on Derg regime) shaebia sent a message to us (TPLF).”

  6. Ittu Aba Farda
    | #6

    Please read that as ‘In doing so I would like you to refer to the speech made by Al-Toweel Isaias himself at a forum….’.

  7. Dawi
    | #7

    Ittu Aba Farda said:

    [[1) Do you really believe that if Sebhat Nega and his cabals stood against the independence of Eritrea, Isaias and his army would have accepted that? ]]

    TPLF could have stood against independence in principal and let him do what ever but, when you have “Sebhat & his cabals” writing a book on Eritrea, acting holier than the pope by accusing “Shaebia is a treasonous group and can betray the struggle of the Eritrean people”.

    What else can Isayas do? As a “mercenary” he took what was given to him.

    [[2) Would the Eritrean people accept anything short of an independent and a sovereign Eritrea separated from the rest of Ethiopia?]]

    Don’t forget, this is a place Zeray Deres,Lorenzo Taezaz, general Andom and other great Ethiopians were born; so TPLF could have offered the going back to the Federation status with article 39 guaranteeing their option to separate and wait & see what they do with it.

    As Sebhat pointed out on the quote Isayas was going to sell out and compromise Eritrea’s “independence” several times to Derg/Ethiopia anyway; so this would have given him another great opportunity to “sell out” Eritrea for good to her mother land.

    [[3) Do you really believe in Isaias’ overture to negotiate a new union with the rest of Ethiopia when he sat down with Mengistu in East Germany or reps of the 1989 attempted coup?]]

    As Sebhat said, he had sleepless nights worrying the mercenary would have accepted a federation and gone all the way to the Bank.

  8. Ittu Aba Farda
    | #8

    Thank you for your answers to me 3 questions. I have understood where you are coming from your response. Can you summarize your answers by saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’?
    In the meantime, in my current retirement life I have been reading more dealing with the history of that country we all left behind. I found some of the books online using key searching wood. I was always curious how past and current governments run from an insider’s account and point of view. One of the books I found was written by a close adviser of the late Emperor Haile Selassie, John H Spencer. I found it to be a very narrative book. Some of the stories accounted by the author are very funny. The other one I finished reading was ‘Documenting the Ethiopian Student Movement. An Exercise in Oral History’. I found this one to be a very well edited and put together book. The accounts told by various individuals from various ethnic and religious backgrounds are astonishing as some of the stories confirmed my suspicions as to what might have been the reasons behind the mayhem in the 1970′s. I happened to meet some of the story tellers during my student days in the Middle East in the 1960′s and here in the USA in the very early 1970′s. I just wanted to share something I found interesting with you, my countryman.

  9. Ittu Aba Farda
    | #9

    Obbo Dawi:

    Please pardon me for some of my typo’s.

    In the meantime, I want to remind you and others who read my comment about the professor’s wonderful article why I did so. One of the impressions I was getting was that there happened to be one Superman and the only Superman who decided who can go and who can stay in the union. His article is trying to tell a story that the Superman Sebhat was the one who decided single-handed the separation of Eritrea. There must one demonic Superman and he is from Tigray. I don’t know the professor’s ethnic background and I care less about that. He may harbor a deep seated ethnic animosity towards the henchman Sebhat Nega and that made me upset. I hate bigotry and I will never march along those who hop around about the regime back home because they hate people from Tigray. Today they may exhibit hatred towards the good folks of Tigray but they will come after me before the day is over. That is why I have been asking the editors of various websites among us to not allow comments that include incendiary bigoted words such as the ‘A’ word to describe folks from Tigray and the ‘G’ word to call Oromo people like me. That is not repressive censorship of others but rather beneficial self censorship. That was the reason why I decided to comment on the article. I may be wrong with my impression and I am not afraid to learn from my mistake, if any. All this is with my opinion about the current regime back home is a despotic one in tact. And it must be done away with peacefully.

  10. Dawi
    | #10

    aha said:

    [[.. All for a long time they were fighting the Derg regime, which engaged with liberation fronts to maintain the unity, territorial integrity, sovereignty of Ethiopia is undeniable fact from what the current TPLF/eprdf regime is in war skirmishes with the newly created liberation fronts OLF for the major part, a part and parcel of the EX-liberation front in the TPLF/eprdf regime on the basis of Article 39 (1)..]]

    EPRDF’s pragmatic approach of adapting other groups slogans when they find it helpful is reflected on OPDO’s embracing of most of OLF’s issues. So you find diaspora Oromo opposition sometimes defending OPDO/OLF in the same manner. I take that as the strength of EPRDF that counters the secessionists and helps maintain unity with some differences. So article 39 is a double sword; it is like having a good marriage with a right to divorce. If you have a good marriage you wouldn’t lose sleep of getting a divorce; would you? At least that is a good way to look at it. That is why I don’t lose sleep over the “secession” clause however, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t look at other alternative to Stalin’s “right to secession” to adapt in our constitution to avoid future conflicts as you pointed out.

    [[.. “After the coup the aborted military coup on Derg regime) shaebia sent a message to us (TPLF).”..]]

    [[..“yehe yeandinetahinina yeithiopiawinetachen milikit yehonewin hige mengist yemitsarer binor torinet ingetmawalen”,..]]

    The first was a quote from Ato Sebhat not Itu Aba Ferda’s. I believe he is talking to mostly local opposition on the second. One thing I noticed listening him talk about Eritrea the second time is that even though he champions Eritrea’s independence, he also considers Eritrean Liberation movements as mercenaries; that stand seems to be the same with Prof. Tecola’s.

    What is interesting is if EPLF/ELF are mercenaries, what else is there for Eritreans than to embrace the champion Sebhat/EPRDF? It seems to me Sebhat wants Eritrea back in his own terms.

  11. Alem
    | #11

    The “opposition” never seems to learn a lesson about tactics Tplf and its paid/unpaid agents employ. Tecola [the consummate insider] writes a hodgepodge of distraction and the herd is once again running in all direction. And not a few make sure the machine keeps going. Dr. Messay writes about how to engage the current politics [eliciting 14 responses in contrast to Tecola's 60 and going]. Solomon G/S writes about Growing Inequalities and few take it seriously or want to engage in the dialogue.

    I have said this before and repeat here. A sane and serious “opposition” has no business or the time to aimlessly discuss issues that have little and immediate bearing on current situation in our country. [I am not objecting to exercising own freedom of expression but to relevance of what is discussed on effecting change.]

    And Tedla Asfaw comes up with Afar-Issa crisis [important but distracting as Tplf continues to jail and terrorize with another election approaching]. Or Tecola about Eritrea or someone about Ginbot 7 and so on.

    Those living outside our homeland should limit themselves to advocacy as voices of those in the front-line is stifled by a terrorizing regime [with US and UK funding].

    Now anyone has the right to discuss what they want all they want. To make an impact, however, demands a different way of doing things. Go back twenty years you find to our shame the same old stuff. Tplf succeeded to remain in power this long only because it is better organized [has PR outfits hailing from Somalia, Kenya, Washington, Seattle, London and all consulates and individuals like Tecola, etc].
    I have challenged Tecola to allow the public access to a website bearing his name so we know what he has been doing and not covering up; that takes a special kind of courage and patriotism.

    In the end, the fact remains that the “opposition” is no opposition and NOT a match for Tplf. You can wish all you want but you won’t bring about the desired result; that is, public participation and rule of law. The battle is to be joined not in the hills [as Ginbot 7 plans to do with the help of Eritrea] but in the public square of ideas. PR, PR, PR. Don’t buy bullets, buy air time. Parading on the streets of Europe is good but effective strategy requires much more than that. Where are Ethiopians who could write sensible articles [with the exception of Prof. Alemayehu and I am wondering who else of his calibre]. Drs. Teshome, Seid, etc [any with proficiency in the language and domain expertise] should be writing in major N.American and European journals/papers, not in Ethiomedia. When for Ethiopians write mostly in Amharic for maximum impact; those who can’t read Amharic could read the same article in NYT, WSJ, etc.

    Here are issues of immediate relevance [add your own]. Terror laws to terrorize the public, corruption, widening inequalities, revenues off maids in the Middle East, the internally displaced, politicized courts [recently Tecola advised they are doing fine], consulates spying on citizens, crisis in education [robbing a whole generation of the right to information and its future], regionalization [a good idea] being ab/used to disenfranchise and literally to isolate one from interacting with the other on the grounds of common citizenship, and especially in view of approaching elections and its aftermath.

    Let me repeat one more time. There is no need to discuss Eritrea, Ginbot 7 [touting an army is silly and non-existent so long as Eritrea runs the show; remember a truce was reached between G7/Dr. Birhanu and ER not to spill the beans more than likely with Eritrea threatening to punish those who refuse to conform [Oromo, Amhara groups, and individuals associated with them]. I am of the opinion that G7 has exactly one person in its ranks. Oromo opposition in Eritrea exactly the number held hostage plus Tesfaye Gebreab their prophet of doom.

    No need discussing the hydro-dam on Abbay; rather search for documents Meles signed with Mubarak [with Isaias, Secretary Boutros] and currently the World Bank and European and N.American investors]. No need discussing Orthodox church politics because both groups [inside and outside our homeland] are exactly the same; that is, each is worsening ethnic hatred to achieve an ever-receding political end].

    Next time you read from Tecola and such, ask this, Is this really relevant? Is he/she being truthful or simply wanting to distract? And not least, do not allow website managers make money off our continuing misery!!

    Are you a lawyer? Are you a PR guy? Are you web technologist? Are a journalist? Use your talent to advance the cause of justice. Tplf is using all its resources to advance tyranny. Surely we can do better because we believe justice is on our side. It is the height of injustice for any ethnic tyranny disguised as equality of “nations and nationalities.” The reality on the ground simply flies in the face of reason. To do what I have been suggesting you need not join G7 or form some “alliance” that falls apart the next moment. All you need is facts [do your homework], a laptop, and a strategic place to post it. Don’t try to impress the reader of your knowledge or be foreign to your own constituency [by not writing in Amharic for max impact]. Good luck.

  12. Tecola W Hagos
    | #12

    Alem #11 wrote “I have challenged Tecola to allow the public access to a website bearing his name so we know what he has been doing and not covering up; that takes a special kind of courage and patriotism.” This is utter nonsense. Alem, you are not in a position to write about courage when you are in hiding and writing without disclosing your name fully. My Website is not online because of technical problems. I lost a dear friend and my volunteer Webmaster who had done superb work running that Website for years. I leave it to him to explain to you what exactly happened for the Website to be closed and not intrude on his privacy.

    There is nothing I am hiding from the public, for the articles that were controversial dealing with King Sahle Selassie and slavery, Emperor Yohannes IV, Emperor Minilik II and his pedigree, on Mengistu Hailemariam and his atrocities, on ethnic movements, on Ethiopian culture, on prostitution et cetera are posted all over other Websites. Would you like to run the Website if we can revive it? Do not forget there is also the matter of payment, financing, to run the Website that I carried for years without you helping me pay for all that expense. You are a typical freeloader, who wants free service without any real contribution to maintain such a system.

    The individuals you mentioned with their academic titles are all respectable people; at times I have disagreed with them, and at other times I have supported their views. The discourse we have may not be to your individual esoteric taste, but is of interest to many. You want people to have similar ideas, and that they write about the current Ethiopian politics and you framing the issues? You call people who discuss Ginbot-7, or Eritrea, or the Grand Dam distracting the public from the national issues? You have the gall to set our national agenda and that we have no right to choose what is important for our Motherland in our individual judgment?

    Almost every issue you raised are old issues that I have discussed in numerous articles to this day. So, do not pass yourself as innovative or more concerned about Ethiopia. You are just one among many many Ethiopians who are at the very least as concerned as you are.

    Alem, you seem to me a person much impressed with academic credentials of individuals rather than the wisdom and knowledge that is hitting you in the face from all around you. You are not dealing here with chopped liver in both my academic life and in my life achievement. Let me post for you here what great men far superior to you in every way have written about me.

    “Dear Professor Hagos (Tecola): Very many thanks for sending me a copy of your extremely interesting book Democratization? Ethiopia (1991-1994). …written by you with an international perspective, combined with your very extensive expertise and scholarship. The issues are both disturbing and remarkably important.”
    Dr. Amartya Sen, Harvard University Professor, Nobel Laureate, Economics 1998. [Letter, February 14, 1996]

    “Tecola Hagos: I am most impressed with your point of view. It is so close to mine on almost every major issue.… I admire your passionate commitment to democratic society. Your final chapter “A case for Permanent Revolution” is an eloquent expression of so many things I believe in. You are courageous in being willing to criticize Ethiopia’s political leadership. You understand the importance of women in society. And I agree most emphatically with your final point about not being bound by history… Congratulation for a fine and outstanding book.”
    Professor Howard Zinn, Professor Emeritus, Boston University. Distinguished American activist, philosopher, political scientist, ethicist, and author of several great books on American history and current American politics. [Letter, August 3, 1995]

    “Dear Tecola: I want to acknowledge the timely and valuable addition of your book, Democratization? Ethiopia (1991-1994). To the list of required reading for my course at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government:STM-710 ‘Comparative Executive Government’ this Fall (1997)…Your book on democratization in Ethiopia speaks intelligently and with idealistic intensity to these issues. Grounded in your own experience and a current publication, the book is relevant for anyone concerned with the process of democratization that has become primary to the agendas of so many countries.”
    Dr. Thomas A. Axworthy, Former Cabinet Secretary of Pierre Trudeau, Canadian Government, Adjunct Professor, Harvard Kennedy School of Government. [Letter, December 12, 1997]

    “Dear Mr. Hagos (Tecola): I am writing to convey my deep gratitude and that of the Human Rights Program [of Harvard Law School] for sending us a copy of your magnificent and path-breaking work, Democratization?: Ethiopia (1991-1994), a soul-searching, deeply moving, and analytical study of the reconstruction of the Ethiopian state by the current Ethiopian Government. I am more than convinced that the voluminous work, which is the first by an Ethiopian academic/policy-maker, will stand the test of time as an authentic and original account of the difficulties, many of them apparently intractable, of instating democracy without the requisite leadership.”
    Dr. Makau Mutua, Associate Director, Human Rights Program, Harvard Law School. [Current Dean of SUNY Buffalo Law School] [Letter, June 2, 1995]

    Alem, I offer you a brotherly advice, do not be the crow that borrowed peacock feathers (you may have to return them to the true owner), or gloat over the achievements of others, or insult individuals, like me, who have done you personally any harm. You are not the only “Ethiopian” with courage and devotion to the cause of Ethiopia. I am telling you to stop vomiting allover me, right now.

    Tecola W. Hagos

Comment pages
Comments are closed.