By Robele Ababya (7 September 2009) Eighty million Ethiopians in the larger prison in their own country are preparing to usher in the Year 2002 on the 1st of Meskerem (11 September 2009). This date is a reminder that we have our own calendar comprising 13 months – a significant achievement bearing evidence that Ethiopia is one of the oldest civilizations.
Millions of us fervently pray and ardently hope for the unconditional release of the icon Judge Birtukan Mideksa and indeed all political prisoners so that they can join their loved ones in the New Year.
Birtukan is an extraordinary person of impeccable integrity. She has captured our hearts and souls and engaged our conscience as she is languishing in the infamous Kaliti filthy jail infested with rodents. She is not only a leader of a popular political party but is also a stateswoman standing on high moral ground. Writings by fellow Ethiopians about Birtukan Mideksa such as the ones by the author of “Yedres Le Birtuwa” bring tears to my eyes as I am sure it does as well to other readers. This charismatic leader, her innocence, principle, indomitable spirit and above all her stand in defence of Truth has humbled millions. Her five year daughter, Haale Mideksa, is a victim of irretrievable loss of critically needed love of her mother for the second time; grandmother is bearing the burden of catering for her daughter and granddaughter.
I for one owe a debt of gratitude to these marvellous ladies I regard as priceless national assets; I wish them a Happy New Year in which they will harvest the reward for their boundless sacrifice!
Bracing to weather political storms in 2002
The New Year is going to be tough due to already stolen election by the TPLF, gloomy political situation foreseen by the international community and lack of united strong opposition forces to effectively stop the deteriorating situation. Snapshots of familiar players in the complicated political arena are given below:
Brutal dictators: TPLF, Shaebia and Al Shabab are trios bound by common interest for survival. They need each other. They operate according to the adage “keep your tents apart but your hearts or strategy together”. Meles is a barking dog on our side of the boarder to the provocation of Al Shabab on the other side in Somalia. The sufferers are the ordinary people on both sides. Isaias is the actor in proxy supplying fuel to the inferno. The trio will continue with their inhumane that has destabilized the region.
Tyrant Meles is the smartest of the despotic leaders in the Horn of Africa in seizing opportunities for survival, to wit: partnership on the war on terror; promise to reclaim the past glory of Ethiopia to appear a nationalist hero just before the celebration of Ethiopian millennium; threat to walk out from the Conference on Climate on change vowing that Africa will not be raped for the second time. When he is in domestic political trouble, the tyrant becomes a surrogate, a nationalist and an Africanist as it suits him. Ethiopians do not of course trust the traitor who has sold vital national interests. It would be naïve to trust him he would care for vital interests of African continent. For anything is for sale as far as the misruling thugs in Addis Ababa are concerned .
Inflexible liberation fighters: Separatist liberation movements will continue soliciting for resources from former colonizers by tarnishing the image of Ethiopia as if she is the last ‘empire’ remaining on the globe. But the truth is that Meles gets tanks, fighter airplanes, helicopter gun-ships and flow of funds and political support not only from ex-colonial masters but also from other quarters vying for influence in the African continent.
The challenge to the young generation in the separatist liberation movements is to discard, if they have not done so already, old mindset petrified in parochial views confined to ones ethnicity and elevate themselves to the new political outlook of compassion, inclusiveness, creativity and contribution to the common good of society as a matter of civic duty. Subscribe to the truth that Ethiopia was never an empire; pay tribute to our forebears for defending the Ethiopian freedom and territorial integrity with Spear and Gasha. We cannot run away from the victory of Adwa achieved by all ethnic groups of Ethiopia. “Self-determination up to cessation+ was not allowed even by its author Stalin; he ruthlessly crushed those who sought separation; needless to elaborate his admirers the Chinese do not allow it either.
Ethnic–labelled parties: These will prove themselves a formidable force of positive change provided they reconsider ethnic-based federalism in a united Ethiopia. Mederek will need to redefine itself better. Dr. Bulcha has said his own party and others in Mederek have agreed to amend article 39 of the TPLF constitution if they win in the forthcoming ‘election’. Mere removal of the “up to cessation” phrase from the article is not sufficient incentive to attract voters. Another question is whether there would be cohesion in Mederek where its constituent parties and personalities may vie for positions of influence.
Winners: Proponents of common humanity shall triumph in the end for their cause is just. Their appeal for support is directed to the advocates of new political order in the 21st century based on the tenets of respect for human rights, morality and ethics. In this age of information or knowledge the winning strategy is mutual respect and freedom of the individual under the rule of law.
Reconciliation and unity will in the end prove a winning strategy. If we refuse to fight each other the inferno that is fuelled by the immoral flow of firearms and funds shall be extinguished. We shall focus on compassionate development and become a shinning example of internal strength and regional stability.
Wasting valuable time associating individuals with Amhara elites or Oromo elite will not take us far in the face of deteriorating suffering of the people of Ethiopia. Ascribing “Big Two” to these ethnic groups is counter productive. The rule of the game should be free and fair election of individuals on merit irrespective of their creed or ethnic origin.
Vote of thanks
I would like to close by extending my sincere wishes for a Happy and Prosperous Ethiopian New Year to:
Let us renew our resolve in the New Year that our martyrs of all times shall never be forgotten. That the Voice of the Ethiopian people expressed at the historic election of 15 May 2005 shall be our guiding beacon in our march for freedom.
Release icon Judge Birtukan Mideksa & all political prisoners!
Long Live Ethiopia!!!
Robele Ababya can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org