My Take on Tecola’s Article Messay Kebede
Let me begin by saying that my comments do not diminish my friendship for you or my high regard for your commitment to Ethiopian unity and prosperity. Still, I find myself compelled to state publicly that the article you posted under the title “We (Ethiopians) Get the Government We Deserve?” is based on faulty information about the conference, exclusively gathered from video clips. In no way do these clips give even an approximate picture of the content of the papers and the subsequent discussions. They present only highlights taken out of their context and, as such, little able to convey the general spirit of each paper. The purpose of the clips is not so much to narrate the conference as to give you the appetite to watch the complete video. I wish your article was written after you had a more thorough knowledge of the conference.
Above all, I would like to dismiss your shocking affirmation according to which the participants “projected as a whole hate of Tygreans, not just the individuals in Power in Ethiopia.” An affirmation of this nature coming from you is disconcerting, to say the least. I, for one, would have never participated in a conference conspiring against an ethnic group, still less against Tigreans, who by all account are one of the pillars of Ethiopian history and culture. I hope you know this. The reality, however, is that no one paper reflecting or advocating hatred toward Tigreans was read at the conference. On the contrary, the contributors clearly separated the Tigrean people from those who rule in their name and from those individual Tigreans as well as Amhara or Oromo, etc., who support the ruling clique and profit from the regime. Moreover, the conference did not talk only about violence and war: peace and reconciliation were also largely debated in many papers as well as during the discussions.
Another disconcerting feature is the way you describe the participants. You speak of “power hungry fantasy ridden, hateful bunch of over-educated, and over-experienced, deteriorating and ageing politicians represented arrogantly.” I don’t know what to make of this statement or what you intend to achieve. What is more, you always complain that many Ethiopians hurry to insult you instead of reading what you wrote. I catch you doing the same thing, since you were neither present in the conference nor had read any of the presented papers. Likewise, I do not see how your description of the participants does not apply to you. Notably, it seems to me that you belong to the same age group and that your advocacy of age discrimination seems of poor taste. And if talking about politics and the future of Ethiopia is to be power hungry and fantasy ridden, I do not see how this statement is not an echo of the position of the present regime accusing people of terrorism each time they voice a dissenting view. You cannot deprive me of the right to have a say in the affairs of my country without siding with the existing regime.
Yet, you too are not happy with the regime. Better still, you propose a solution, which calls, to my utter dismay, for some kind of coup d’état by senior military officers. My intention here is not discuss the feasibility of this idea; rather, I want to underline its main implication. It seems to me that you have reached the conclusion that the TPLF is no longer able to reform itself, even less to come up with a policy capable of dealing with the mounting problems of Ethiopia. However, for some reason, the existing opposition parties, be they peaceful or armed, do not appear to you as viable alternatives. You are equally adamant to the prospect of a popular uprising. What, then, is left but the military?
What would be the outcome of your proposal? You know that the senior level of the army is completely dominated by generals, who in addition to being of Tigrean origin, wholly embrace the ethnic ideology of the TPLF. You want to get rid of the upper civilian command of the TPLF while maintaining its military component. In this way, true power will still remain in the hands of the TPLF. You want to reform the government but without changing the political elite. This is your dilemma! It is also baffling to me how you can seriously expect reforms from army generals who are notorious for their embedded corruption and invested interests in the business ventures of the TPLF. If this is the best idea you have for the future of Ethiopia, then I strongly advise you to ask ESAT for the complete video of the conference and watch it attentively. You may find there better, much better ideas.