The essence of peaceful struggle is compromise – By Mikael Deribe

January 28th, 2008 Print Print Email Email

In recent days, our political society was put to the test when the former defense minister Mr.Seeye Abraha came to the United States to consult all Ethiopians about building an Ethiopia that is free of injustice and a “land of righteousness” as described by prophet Mohamed. Surfing through the pro-government and the opposition websites, it was interesting to read comments and articles written in support of and against Mr. Seeye Abreha’s prospect of participating in Ethiopian politics, as a weathered opposition leader. (more…)

In recent days, our political society was put to the test when the former defense minister Mr.Seeye Abraha came to the United States to consult all Ethiopians about building an Ethiopia that is free of injustice and a “land of righteousness” as described by prophet Mohamed. Surfing through the pro-government and the opposition websites, it was interesting to read comments and articles written in support of and against Mr. Seeye Abreha’s prospect of participating in Ethiopian politics, as a weathered opposition leader. Some articles expressed hope in Mr.Seeye’s potential to bring us out of our internal political crisis while others revisited Mr. Seeye’s political resume and out rightly rejected him. The pro-government websites, notably AIGA, have tried to isolate Mr.Seeye as only a Tigrayan fighter by using misleading phrases such as “Tegadalay Seeye” and warning him that he will never be accepted neither by the opposition nor by the people of Ethiopia and that the only option he has is to “come back” to his mother party, while the government this website supports is currently working hard in Tigray trying to convince people that Mr. Seeye is a traitor of the Tigrayan people.

I commend Ethiopians who wrote articles that were forward-looking and have highlighted the potential of Mr. Seeye to bring inclusive change in our political society and in our country in general. However, I was personally more disappointed with articles that were written by oppositions that focused mainly on the past and gave no alternative or hope for the future than the grammatically incorrect and disgusting ethnic-centered commentaries written by AIGA’s editor. One would think that an opposition would not attack Mr.Seeye if not for his principles of working together, but for strategic interests aiming at putting an end to the continued existence of an oppressive regime,

Many oppositionists, in their speeches, commentaries, and writings, have eloquently expressed national reconciliation as the only solution to take Ethiopia out of this vicious cycle of winner-loser hateful politics; and there is no better time to put that to action than at the present time- when Seeye Abraha, the co-founder of TPLF, a former defense minister, comes to talk to all Ethiopians about building an Ethiopia that our people live together in unity, peace and harmony. Whether we believe Mr. Seeye would be fruitful or not, given this opportunity, are we to back off and push Mr. Seeye away when he approaches us? Just like EPRDF’s government soldiers killed 196 protesters in our capital, 424 Ethiopians in Gambela, thousands in the Oromia and the Ogaden region and still have the guts to tell us we live under a democratic state, are we telling Mr. Seeye that “you were part of TPLF, therefore, you are not a man to work with” and still claim to hold our reforming, inclusive, forward looking and peaceful revolutionary ideas?

It is high time that we realize that the regime is insulting our intelligence and bamboozooling us into involuntary tameness. We must stimulate our political sense and think strategically.

Our history tells us that the most destructive powers in Ethiopia are those extremists in and not negotiators by nature. Extremists such as Colonel Mengistu Hailemariam had so many times refused to negotiate and reconcile with ONLF, OLF, EPRP, EPLF, TPLF and many other rebel groups fighting his government and had instead pursued military action as the only solution in an attempt “to kill them all.” Yes, it was as foolish and destructive as it sounds and has proven to be. Even worse, the current TPLF dominated EPRDF government is now trying to destroy the same forces that were in the coalition that overthrew the dergue. Therefore it is needless to say EPRDF will soon or later be overthrown, because our prophetic history shows us the destiny of powers that have failed to negotiate. We must learn to compromise for the sake of advancing our common good, the good for the Ethiopian people.

But the most important question is: are we the oppositionists able to negotiate and reconcile? In many occasions, I have asked myself this question and did not want to answer it! When Kinijit’s high level delegation came to the United States, in their first public meeting, Dr. Birhanu Nega expressed the importance of the participation of the EPRDF party in the imminent change that is to take place in our country. We did not heed to Dr. Nega’s advice, and the result is the current impasse in the politics of the rigid opposition. We must know, however, that compromise is the life line of politics.

We, the supporters of Kinijit and other opposition groups need to realize the significance of a care-taking and inclusive change and nurture that sort of political atmosphere in our meetings and discussions. If we believe TPLF/EPRDF ought to be destroyed, although I don’t doubt we can bring change in Ethiopia, I am uncertain that we can avoid destructive internal conflicts in the future as we will not get out of the winner-loser vicious cycle of hateful politics.

In his speech in Washington DC, Kinijit’s North America Support Chapters’ chairman Mr. Aklog Limeneh said that Ethiopians need to seek not a regime change but a democratic system that makes every political group relevant and functional. We must realize that we are all prisoners of our hateful political culture and if we are to free Ethiopia, it means liberating not only the oppressed but also the oppressors. We must practice what we preach and by no means should we become the same hypocrites that have misruled us for a long time!

We must realize that the obstacles to solve our conflicts are fostered by extremist elements both in the oppressive government and in the opposition. These radicals criminalize compromise, dialogue, and reconciliation leaving us with no arena, in Mr. Seeye’s words, “to heal our wounds” by attempting to make us forget that we are, after all, a people of one nation.

  1. alem
    | #1


    Is it you the one who was elected to serve the kinjitn youth league? any way you have stated very well and such type of action is crtical in need for ethiopian poltical society we need to bring a new transformation to the ethiopian poltical system it is a wonderfull article i will provide anything i can

  2. | #2

    I am so inspired by such a wonderful piece, resonating with smart politics and integrity.
    Bravo. Please writer more, as you are so gifted with it.

  3. Tamiru
    | #3

    mr mikael no body said he cant join our struggle .we just said he own us appology ,reconicilation means he has to admit what he did and confese then ask forgiveness ,with clean hand he can join our struggle that is it .why realy so hard to ask an appology for mr eseye why ? please ask mr siye thise q for me ?

  4. Tamiru
    | #4

    sorry i have one more thing to say mr mikael berta the young fireeeeeeeee

  5. Okach O. Kwot
    | #5

    There is lack of political maturity among Ethiopians or else we are desperate enough to accept any garvage. We have to ask ourselves critical questions about the motives of former defense minister. Why Seye now oppose the government he crated? When did Seye stood up when he was still in the TPLF government and said you know what there is a problem here. He should have stayed in and struggle from inside so he could be more effective. My problem is why after he was jaild and released wanted inclusive system, reconcilation and peace, the values he opposed when he was in power. The way I see this is Seye has a deal with his organization so when Meles step down he would take over as if he is the critique of the crime minister. So folks if you want to go for it do it but remember this, we are giving the TPLF government another round to rule for ever. For us the victims of Seye, forget about us we are for real change,TPLF and all its elements must go or else we are out.

  6. mohaaz
    | #6

    Those who ask apology from Seye as a pre-conditon to accept him in coaliton politics are making tow mistakes. One, they are putting the cart before the horse. Apology emplies that all out standing issues regarding some one’s injury are settled. In Seye’s case, the situation we are in now is that he acknoledges that he has made some mistakes in the past, but he is also saying he has also done some good. I suspect, he probably thinks that we, at the opposition have also made mistakes. it means there is a sorting out to be done. However, we don’t have to eait until every thing is sorted out to start talking and collaborating in real and concrete terms. Sorting out such thing require a quite deliberation by independent bodies. That comes later. Please let us not be too self rightous: demand apoloagy is a very strong stand. What we need is ask him clearly if we agrees TPLF must be replaced by a democratic order, we mus t also ask him what concrete plans he has to play a role towards this goal. he has already answered the first one in the affirmative. let us explore the answer for the second question and then modulate our response in action. Let us have confidence in ourselves. we can collaborate with anybocy at any level. My take: getting Seye to join our struggle in any form or shape should be something we have to work hard on.

  7. Girma Kassa
    | #7

    Selam Ato Derebe:

    Very well explained and thank you.


  8. dildil
    | #8

    Selam Ato Deribe,

    Well thought out article but whatever Seye says, we have to take it with a pinch of salt.
    I attended one of his non-publicized meeting in Boston, MA….I have mixed feelings with whatever he said there.
    When he was asked apologizing to the public about his past wrong doings, he kept on talking about how the Ethiopian People had already forgiven him and bla blah blah….

    At times, he raises his voice and acts as if he is still in the jungle. He also boasts about TPLF’s military strength. He kept on talking how he was close to Meles, How he saved him three times from being killed and so on.

    In my opinion, he should publicly apologize. The magnitude of crime, Seye and Meles Zenawi committed is not something the Ethiopian People simply forget.

    My simple advice to him:

    Come out of your jungle fever!
    When you speak, Speak in terms of Ethiopia, Not Tigrai!
    Come out of your ethnically intoxicated ideologies!
    Apologize to the Ethiopian People, Publicly!

    Dil Dil

  9. Anbessa
    | #9

    Mr Michael,

    You quoted: “…the most important question is: are we, the [opposition], able to negotiate and reconcile?”

    The answer to your question is a resounding YES!

    However, the truth of the matter is thus: the ability to reconcile with TPLF/EPRDF is habitually (deliberately) impeded by the TPLF. The process of negotiation is futile when there exists (contorted) preconceived notions of power sharing.

    You also stated “…compromise is the life line of politics”. This is accurate—IN THEORY.

    We have waited for 60 plus years to see a REAL compromise. Because they refused to accept the realities of their respective times of reign, Kings and Despots have only created the necessary conditions for armed movements.

    The TPLF has demonstrated, quite effectively, they are unwilling to negotiate! They make war in the East; make veiled threats of war to the North; award land to foreigners in the Northwest…the list goes on! As far as I’m concerned, “destructive internal conflicts in the future” is what we stand to gain by negotiating with TPLF.


    Ethiopians who love Ethiopia, even as she is, should not feel ashamed about being suspicious of Side Abraham’s intentions. The man IS a co-founder of the TPLF.

    Ethiopians who love Ethiopia, even as she is, should ask is vengeance, against former comrades, the motivating factor why Side makes these overtures. If so, this is hardly a noble cause and any acknowledgements he makes are disingenuous.


  10. | #10

    A twenty page manifesto was issued by the Agaazi leader last year.The main trust of the essay was on how best to facilitate the emergence of the Abbay Tigrai Republic and becomes a reality.The Republic is being biult by the blood,sweat and Ethiopian riches.The Woyanne godfather,Al Amoudi, has increased his investment in Tigrai ten fold and the word is that Tigrai is destined to be the financial and industrial center in twenty years. Now, this being the master plan,the Woyannes are in a desperate need of a face lift.This part of the plan was supposed to be implemented by the much heralded Mellenium fiasco, the release of the broken Kinigit leaders,the Gebru Asrat bringing Assab back drama and now the Siye Abrahas reconciliation mantra are all part and parcel of the elaborate disinformation campaign.Those who are talking about the high ideals of democracy, dialouge and reconciliation are to be comended.But,first thing is first, knowing what kind of oponent or in this case enemy is first order of bussiness.For the Adwa mafia to see a united Ethiopia at peace with itself and its neighbours is not in their best interest.

  11. Belaye Zeleke
    | #11

    Dear Mikael Deribe

    I read you article titled “The essence of peaceful struggle is compromise” with great interest. Here is my take and feedback as an Ethiopian.

    Certainly we Ethiopians need to a more civilized and openness to resolve the current political crisis if we want to coexist as a Nation namely Ethiopia and as a people Ethiopians. However, the continued animosity between different opposition groups specially the ugliest internal conflict within the Kinijit leadership, as opened a backdoor for rehabilitating politicians from former TPLF members.

    I…..! As an Ethiopian refuse to honor or trust Seye Abreha, Gebru Asrat and Co. After all these are the core enemies who crafted the destruction of our mother land by handing Eritrea and Assab port to Shabya (then their beloved cousins). We should boldly ask that who on earth is Seye Abreha to preach for Ethiopians on Peaceful struggle and National Reconciliation? Isn’t he the key mastermind behind:
    a)70,000 innocent civilians dead during the so called Ethio-Eritrea war
    b)Insulted Professor Asrat Woldeyes when he opposed the Eritrean sovereignty as a nation when Seye and Meles were eager to hand
    c)The mastermind behind the killing of true EPRP leaders in Tigray and Gonder while there guerilla fighters.
    d)The architect behind the TPLF ethnical politics and divide and concur method.
    e)TPLF thugs trained by Seye killed 193 peaceful citizens post election violence
    So on what ground can Seye preach for Ethiopians about peaceful struggle or forgiveness.

    Dear Mikael Deribe
    On your first paragraph you had stated “ …….Mr.Seye Abreha came to the United States to consult all Ethiopians about building an Ethiopia that is free of injustice and a “land of righteousness” as described by prophet Mohamed. Though I am a Christian I have the duty to defending my Muslim brothers and sisters hence “Tegadalay Seye” is not worthy of mentioning the prophet Mohamed. Further, you have also stated “extremists groups such as Colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam had so many times refused to negotiate and reconcile with ONLF, OLF, EPRP, EPLF, and TPLF” Well knowing what I know now about TPLF wolves, I must say Mengistu was correct after all there is no need in negotiating with TPLF thugs whose ultimate goal is the destruction of Ethiopian as a nation for the seek of Great Tigray

    Dear Mikael Deribe
    In your article you have mentioned one individual worth mentioning beyond Seye or any other useless carrier politician; that man Mr. Aklog Limeneh. This brave young man has more integrity, character and decency that surpass the entire TPLF clan and the entire Hailu Shawl feudal clan.

    Long Live Ethiopia & True Ethiopians

    | #12

    Siyee by him self he was a killer.he is one of the big enemy of the country.his problem is with Legesse Zenawi..he has personal problem.we dont need him any more.we will not trust him.that country may not want tigreans again.he canot talk about ethio but he can blow about his country TIGRAY.

    no more siye,no more siye ya no more!!

  13. Habte
    | #13

    I want people to notice that there Government lunatics out there who want to speak as oppositions and insult Ato Siye!!

    Dear Siye:
    The genuin opposition welcome you to work with us!! You are a man who fought with Meles for the interest of the Ethiopian people! As the author said, the comments above comes from extremist elements who believe in no constructive advancement of our political situation, therefore, they are the problems we need to overcome.

    With same mouth they used to express their hate for you, they will go out there and talk about a peaceful struggle! That tells me that they don’t even have a clear understanding of themselves and the principles they stand for!! Lets stand up together and fight our common enemy…that is the culture of tyranical mentality and way of governance!!

  14. Danni
    | #14

    Gemoraw, ante woyanne!! What is the purpose of you insulting Seeye?? I can’t figure you out!!!! These TPLF supporters cannot be figured out at all!!

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