Kinjit in Cambridge: Rendezvous with victory – By Dr. Teodros Kiros

September 25th, 2007 Print Print Email Email

On a beautiful Saturday night, September 22, 2007, Kinjit and its delegates arrived at an Armenian Church in Cambridge, MA. (more…)

On a beautiful Saturday night, September 22, 2007, Kinjit and its delegates arrived at an Armenian Church in Cambridge, MA. At this defining moment, the delegates gave a landmark performance to a calm crowd of over two hundred people. This was Kinjit’s rendezvous with victory, fated to announce itself in the next election, if the party disciplines itself and is guided by intelligent visionaries with democratic sensibilities.

The balanced Ms Birtukan Mideska, a model of reason and style; the polished statesman Dr. Hailu Araya; the brainy economist, Dr. Birhanu Nega; the consummate politician, Engineer Gizachew Shiferaw; and the shrewd strategist, Mr. Biruk Kebede; were there as founders of a potentially major party, thinking, strategizing, and resolving their internal differences to a very civilized Ethiopian crowd.

Mr. Samuel Belehu, the master of ceremony, did succeed in organizing a major event elegantly and smartly, considering the tension in the room.

Consistent with her loving personality, Ms. Birtukan read a public letter to Engineer Shaul, the Official chairman of the party, who was conspicuously absent from the Boston event as a function of a widely rumored split of Kinjit into the so called Nega/ Birtukan and Shawel faction. She graciously invited the chairman to lead the party and to return to the table of reconciliation and dialogue. She addressed him affectionately as Gashe, the highest honor given to an Ethiopian elder. She stressed again and again that she admires and respects him, and wants him to lead the emerging party, the party of tolerance, the party of dialogue without domination. Her public letter was a model of love with dignity, of admiration of a job well done, of a legacy of service and sacrifice for an ideal, attributes that she so ably recognized in Engineer Hailu Shawel work for Kinjit. The crowd in return heralded her name, and sung her praises, and she gratefully responded with a generous heart and an inviting smile.

She brought the crowd to its feet with her contagious affection and her human goodness. The letter visibly calmed the crowd, and diffused the tension, and warmed the hearts and smiles of the would be detractors in the crowd.

The major speech of the night was “Development and Freedom. Dr. Hailu Araya delivered that speech coolly and systematically to a very serious crowd. Following Amrtya Sen, an internationally acclaimed noble Laureate, Dr. Araya convincingly argued that true development must be grounded on freedom and the human self cannot produce its material necessities (food, shelter and clothing) under the condition of non-freedom. He noted that freedom is to development as love is to a functional relationship. Where there is coercion, there is no development. You cannot fool people by handing them condominiums and other commodities to exact their obligations to government. A lasting development must be founded on freedom- freedom of thought, of speech and assembly. Given these freedoms, he argued, the creativeness and energies of the people will flow and propel the engine of development. For him, Kinjit aspires to be the party of freedom, the party that will devote itself to the preservation of the dignity of the Ethiopian person. He credited the existing regime forsaking to spread this freedom, but not adequately. His party will translate some of the ideals of the existing regimes into practicable ideas.

Freedom, for the mighty doctor, is the pillar of the open society that his party seeks to give those Ethiopians who will choose Kinjit as their new party.

Engineer Shiferaw’s carefully crafted speech thanked the crowd for their relentless support of the party. He wisely addressed the sensitive topic of the non-attendance of Engineer Shaul as an act of a misunderstanding and a matter of different manners of work. He also expressed his gratitude to the Ethiopians who voted for the party in the recent elections, a point that he underscored, when he briefly joined the guests at a dinner table and he sat next to two highly respected Ethiopian personalities in Boston, Mr. Getachew Selassie and Lieutenant Colonel Shemeles Gelaye and his wife, Fesesework Cheirent while effusively socializing with them,
He said, “The kindness of our supporters far exceeded the sacrifices that we tried to make. Our supporters were too kind to us.”

His interactive abilities with the guests was a symbol of the type of collective leadership guided by respect for the masses that the party wishes to give the Ethiopian people when it comes to power. This particular leader was open, humble and unafraid to speak his mind.
The voices of Dr. Nega and Mr. Kebede emerge in response to important questions on Tolerance and the prospects of a fair and free election in the next round of Ethiopian politics.

While reflecting on the theme of tolerance, a major topic in Dr. Nega’s recent book (The Dawn of Freedom) written from prison, he joined forces with Dr. Araya’s project, and presented tolerance as the second foundation of an open society. He impressively argued that tolerance is the pivot to the preservation of an open society, and that the mental development of the human being cannot occur, if the individual’s freedom to speak, to think, and therefore to grow, is seriously curtailed. For Dr. Nega, the dignity of the human person requires the necessary and sufficient condition of the tolerance of opinions, views, and needs of the individual person. A major feature of tolerance is practicing of resolution of internal differences through dialogue and debates and not through guns. A repeated practice of these virtues will eventually produce the corresponding moral/ political democratic virtues. An open society must procure toleration with freedom as the foundation of an ideal democratic regime.

Ms. Birtukan’s public letter was an example of an appeal to the chair to return to the table of tolerance where differences can be resolved through reasoned dialogue.

Mr. Kebede’s strategic abilities were evident in his carefully thought out counsel to members of his party. He teaches that building a party is hard work and that the ultimate forces are the people and not the leaders, and that the mobilization of the people for the success of the party is the key. For Mr. Kebede, important political virtues such as the loyalty of the followers can be secured only if the people actively participate in shaping their destiny.

Before the night ended at 12:30 AM, all the delegates agreed that the next election can take place freely and fairly only and only if Kinjit, as the emerging party, organizes itself effectively as the party of the people, not a party above the people. Expanding its base, and hence a function of its fundraising plans, must be given a top priority.

Ms. Birtukan, the accomplished lawyer summed up the event by synthesizing the themes of the delegates, and stressing that a peaceful strategy of winning the next election is the singular purpose of Kinjit, the major Ethiopian party of the future.

The festive night graced itself when the gifted poet, Ms. Deberitu Negash, who is affectionately called Debere, hailed the gorgeous Ms. Birtukan. Debere’s finest words of adulation were when she acknowledged how Ms. Birtukan managed to sustain herself behind the bars of the prison with such poise and dignity. “We are committed to you, our heroine- and we shall never leave you,”
The poet heralded Ms. Birtukan name and the crowd joined the poet and sung the queen’s praises, and thus ended a night that will go in the annals of modern Ethiopian history as one great democratic party of hearts.

  1. | #1

    Let me start my opinion by recalling the release of Kinjit leaders from Kality prison.When the government of Ethiopia release Kinjit leaders, the government assured the prisonners that they have every right.And that seems a group of Kinjit leaders who are released were already agreed to participate the next election behind the door with the government.And What bather me at back of my head are:will people feel safe to come out and elect their true leaders. You may ask why not.The answer is simple and easy they are traumatized by last election, so Kinjit leaders have to bring confidence that nothing will happen when they come to elect their would be leader.How Kinjit leaders bring that confidence?I think they are many reasons.I can mention one reason.The ruling regime has to bring to justice people who are responsible for killing and wounding of enocent people.Then after that people feel safe to come out from their home and make their voice herd or elect.All in all,before you,Kinjit leaders, talk about partispating the next election,demand the killers come to justice.Thank you!

  2. abesku
    | #2

    Dear brothers and sisters watch out the CUD deligation carefully, most of them. Some have a real desire to see a democratic Ethiopian (they feel the feeling of the poeple who is straving…), some are eager to get recognitions and siltan, some also have religious agenda (though it seems invisible but evident in how the pentecostal websites decribed Birtukan and Muluneh Eyuel). Although I believe that every body has the right to choose his/her own religin, I also do not take forgranted those who are trying to destroy the well established church of Ethiopian Orthodox.

    So, tose of you who are really curious about the Ethiopian orthodox church, be conciouse in what is going on.

    I really understand the meaning of “kinjit menfes new” uttered by Birtukan Midekisa recently, let us examine what kind of spirit (“menfes”) it is.

    God bless Ethiopia and Ethiopia raise her hunds to God

    | #3

    Abesku; To abusku:-
    Nothing you have to abusku any way
    Your silly saying irritates me. I am quite sure you are an adult or old enough to distinguish the bad from the good. When beautiful, graceful, honor W/T Birtukan said KINIJIT MENFESE NEW, exactly I refer you to go and listen what D.R Berhanu said what the same people like you defined it and what the exact meaning of the saying. It has nothing with an Orthodox and Pentecostal doctrine. Please teach yourself, learn even how the orthodox are doing now. Religion is not nationality or “HAGER” any more. Ethiopia has an Orthodox, Pentecostal, protestant, Adventist, Muslim, Cult followers and even atheist children so don’t take it as a big deal

  4. Chaltu D. U.
    | #4

    “Engineer Shaul, the Official chairman of the party, who was conspicuously absent from the Boston event”.

    Tedroes Kiros should have known that it was known that the Chairman was not going to be attending so when he uses the word conspicous what is he trying to isinuate? As to Wzt/Wzo. Birtukane plea it was an oblivious play to the gallery and at that a C act.

    Folks lets stop the Charad and get down to the nintty gritty and build the organization. This crap of collective leadership a concept that poped up two month before their release is a concept that is and was nowhere to be found in the past What’s up with that?? could one at least explain what the hell it is and where it has worked in the past and how this concept works how and who chooses to be in this collective and how this collective is constructed? Please stop snow balling us. It is nice to hear such speeches. We already know that most of the OLD FOLKS are the creme de la creme of Ethiopian intellectuals, that is not a problem and I would not expect anything less. What we do expect however is for the eleders in the group to pull their sanity and decency and stop playing second fiddle in an organization that they have built.

Comments are closed.