Reconciliation and Change are the languages of ANDENET

March 8th, 2008 Print Print Email Email

By Teodros Kiros(PHD)/March 9,2008

In “Unity and The Political Imaginary at Adwa,” I promised my readers that I will attend to the third level of the meaning of Adwa, as I attempt to do now.

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By Teodros Kiros(PHD)/March 9,2008

In “Unity and The Political Imaginary at Adwa,” I promised my readers that I will attend to the third level of the meaning of Adwa, as I attempt to do now.


A group of Ethiopian friends are sitting at a café, and conducting a passionate debate on The Ethiopian millennium. One of them says,

“The millennium! when we have more pressing problems rocking our souls. The shanty town around the Sheraton, the deadly dust eating Addis, the resentful eyes looking at the rich and powerful dancing away with their bloated stomachs. We have all these to worry about man… He sighs and adds,

“Give me a break. What a millennium? when the nation is soaking in poverty.” The young woman says,

“Come on, face it, you are really resentful that the leaders are purportedly Tigrean. You have never accepted the fact Tigreans are in power. You would never lament, if your wogenochu (your ethnic group) were running the show. All this bickering is really racist. “

The guy stomps the table in anger, and storms out of the café.

At the far end of the café, two older gentlemen are discussing the case of Seeye Abraha, and the fact that some writers are presenting him as a reborn unifier. Both gentlemen concluded that this could not be, that Seeye was once a murderer and that he will always be a murderer.

Conversations and scenes like the above are signs of a nation with traumatized and angry Ethiopians, for whom any talk of ANDENET is a pipe dream, and a political trick by a few Tigrean Intellectuals, the double agents of the prevailing regime. Yet, ANDENET as a political program is meant to be an answer, to what Mikael Deribe recently pointed out in an eye-catching article, when he pointed out that ethnicity is a tool that the regime is using to prevent the possibility of an open discussion of perennial issues, for which Ethiopians should not be ethnically labeled when they express outrage and disappointment with the handling of certain matters. In his own words,

My dear Ethiopians: there is a misconception of power within our society. The current regime has successfully tied power or leadership of the country with a privilege that comes with one’s ethnicity. For a long time, Amharic and Tigrigna speaking people of Ethiopia have been portrayed as elites who govern the country. In fact the current regime has successfully blamed the oppression and atrocities of the past regimes on Amharic speaking people in general. This illusion has brainwashed some Tigreans, who have been led to believe that Amharas are indeed the privileged enemies of all other Ethiopians.

Through their ethnic federalism, the few elites in EPRDF have convinced Ethiopians that the people of Tigray are now in power. Addressing a TPLF rally in Tigray, speaking in Tigrigna, Mr. Meles Zenawi told the gathering people: “I am glad I was born among you gold people, and I am glad I was not born among your cousins.” The “cousins” of the Tigrayans Mr.Zenawi was referring to are the rest of the Ethiopian people. Listening to Mr.Zenawi’s speech, naïve people at the rally may not have understood Mr.Zenawi’s witty way of psychologically shaping the mentally of the Tigrayan society, but it is a deliberate and successive attempt to systematically alienate the people of Tigray from the rest of Ethiopia. Once again Mr. Zenawi gave the Tigreans the illusion and preserved the reality of the misery of the majority of the Tigreans marred in squalor and poverty. (Demystifying EPRDF’s source of power, February 21, 2008)

Mr. Deribe is right; we must learn the difficult task of separating myth from reality. Why Ethiopians should be shredded if they take a stance against hot button issues such as the Millennium, or the invocation of Seeye Abraha, to mention just these two topics, in which Unity and Ethnicity are being pitied against each other.

Genuine reconciliation is premised on the possibility of forgiving mistakes without ever forgetting the meaning of the event in ones life. Remembering is a responsibility and forgiving the hurt and trauma that remembrance triggers is a moral obligation of the thinking self. We must learn how to forgive without ever, ever forgetting.

We Ethiopians should embrace ANDENET not because we must forget the ethnic based politics of the past sixteen years; we should embrace ANDENET in order to save the motherland from hate and ultimate destruction.

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