A Response to Tecola Hagos – By Ewenetu Yeneger
I read a follow up open letter to Senator Feingold etc all…by Tecola Hagos that he was irked with his readers regarding the leadership of Meles Zenawi in Ethiopia. (more…)
I read a follow up open letter to Senator Feingold etc all…by Tecola Hagos that he was irked with his readers regarding the leadership of Meles Zenawi in Ethiopia.
Let me examine some of the points he raised in his article. My first focus is on the core issue of Sovereignty. He has pointed out that I have committed full of errors with confused understanding of the meaning of sovereignty under International law. What is the meaning of sovereignty under international law? He did not explain the meaning of sovereignty under international law. Just a sound bite doesn’t mean anything, unless he examined the concept coherently in the proper historical and legal context. As a lawyer, he should be able to convince his readers with persuasive reasons substantively. He has failed to do so, and he himself was confused about the meaning of sovereignty. Instead he insulted me with subjective assertion, “to stop hiding and face whom I oppose face to face by revealing my name rather than fake name, hence I am a fearful coward”. Such a raw passion does not serve any purpose. Frankly, revealing my name is irrelevant and does not elevate the quality of the dialogue. My criticism hinged on solid empirical ground. Sovereignty is the prerogative of the ruling elite. It is anchored within the ruling circle domain. Let me say that I am not a coward. I stood up against the Mengistu regime as well as the current one on the ground, not ten thousand miles far away from the scene. I don’t want to delve into the details, and I don’t want to brag about it. I have no ambition for power. However, I would like to contribute my share in other areas of endeavor to my country. I believe in maintaining a low profile, not for any lack of confidence, it is my mantra. Mr.Tecola arrived at the wrong conclusion; hence his irrationality has been once again reflected in incorrect judgment.
Having said that, let me further elaborate about the concept of sovereignty. I did not include territorial integrity. That is his stretch; there is no point of contention.
Sovereignty as a political concept developed by a French intellectual, John Boda to help the struggle of the Bourgeoisie against Feudalism and autocracy of a King as a means to obtain the support of the masses. Sovereignty renders power to the state for independent action in domestic and foreign policy. However, this sovereign rights can be realized only when a state has a power to institute laws and rules to confer rights and obligations for its officials and civic organizations.
Let me be clear, domestic and foreign policy is indissolubly linked, both are an expression different in form but identical in content of a given interest of the ruling elite of a given state. Thus, the concept of State sovereignty legal status gives the State a monopoly on the internal and external use of force. However, this monopoly has been and continues to be challenged, when a regime violate the human and civil rights of its people. Mr. Tecola, you are trying to shield the Meles Zenawi’s regime under the cover of sovereignty to ward off a political threat posed by the impending Bill S 3457 in the U.S. Senate.
What do you mean, when you say, “there can be no political or economy urgency, we Ethiopians would not compromise our sovereignty”? Mr. Tecola is drifting from the real focus in a naive realism that the Ethiopian State is a sovereign State. In a reality, it is a client State concretely.
Another point he mentioned is about the Red terror crimes to convince his readers to embrace the idea of the lesser of the two evils. If his intention is to tie up the Red terror issue in the context of my comparison of the two regimes in one aspect, regarding the participation of the Ethiopian people in the constitutional ratification process of a referendum, even symbolically, it is unrelated. I have no intention to whitewash the crimes of Mengistu Haile Mariam. But it should be understood in the context of revolutionary upheaval. What was the basis for the Red terror? Why it happened? His explanation that Mengistu was a bloodthirsty individual is rather simplistic and does not depict the intricate complex internal and external situation accurately. I am not saying crime was not committed under his leadership. It was committed without any doubt, but it must be understood, again in the context of a fierce struggle for political power among the contending groups within the military itself, and with other civilian groups led to that unfortunate episode. Nevertheless, Mr. Tecola highly exaggerated the number of students killed during the rein of terror and counter- terror.
Objectively speaking, the military government is largely responsible for broadening the scope of the terror, but other groups were also responsible for it, regardless of any goals and objectives.
How about the crimes of Meles Zenawi and his clique during the period of relative peace and tranquility during 1991-1998 compared to Mengistu, which was characterized by a civil war, another war with Somalia, insurrection and chaos at the center? The crimes committed against Ethiopia and its people particularly in Arsi, Bale, Harrar, Awasa, Gambela, Gojjam, Gonder and Addis Abeba has been enormous.
In spite of this, he is sounding a clarion call to all Ethiopians that “we have no true friends and we are surrounded by hostile governments” does not ring a bell to the ears of many Ethiopians, the victims of Meles Zenawi rule. Many will ignore it; it may be embraced by some gullible elements. The examples of Ras Alula Aba Nega and Dejazmatch Balcha Aba Nefso are hardly applicable currently. This is a bankrupt propaganda scheme.
It is not surprising, that his views and political stand, fully coincides with Aiga web site. This web site is a government propaganda mouthpiece with close ties to TPLF senior officials. Under the title Proxy Legislation, the article categorically stated the similarity of Bill S 3457 and HR 2005 with that of Wuchale treaty between Italy and Ethiopia, which led to war between the two countries, an epic event in international relations.
By the way,” who is trying to use foreign forces to bring change in Ethiopia”? Mr. Tecola, are you implying that the members of the U.S. Congress are engaged in a regime change in Ethioia? Or are you referring to the linkages between the Oromo Liberation front (OLF) and the Ethiopian patriotic front (EPF) with the Eritrean regime? This is xenophobic hysteria. The point is, there are many contradictions, and there are levels of contradictions, but the main contradiction as far as the majority of the Ethiopian people in general and the oppositions in particular, the main contradiction is the Meles dictatorship in Ethiopia. All other contradictions are secondary. Clarity is first and foremost. “Another point he raised is that it will take” a decade and half to remove Meles Zenawi and his clique from power”. Hence, he has suggested a two-phased approach one from within and the other a transitional transfer of power of short duration. The problem with his approach is the members of TPLF have a vested interest in the status- quo. How can we be sure that these elements really do care for the interest of the people of Ethiopia? For the most part, it is going to be the same crowd, of the same national group, a continuation of the same dent. The two phases may be crucial to determine the trend and development process. There is also the danger of the military dictatorship.
It will be uncertain, if the elements within the military could be contained by “checks and balance.” But there is another option, despite how bitter the struggle might be and how long it takes, the oppositions must be effectively organized for a long struggle in various ways, ideologically, politically and organizationally, develop a sound policy of strategy and tactics in mobilizing the people to liberate Ethiopia from the tyranny of Meles Zenawi dictatorship.
Finally this task can be achieved only with material and financial resources, skills, patience and sacrifice. We should strive to work together, so that Ethiopians will start a new political journey to attain freedom, democracy, and rule of law, peace and development.