Lessons from the Growth and Transformation Campaign in North America: For the Extremist, Supporters and All!
April 11, 2011(Aigaforum)-Ethiopia is on the move. Its economy on an upward trajectory and its people more hopeful than ever. The country is destined to become one of the middle income earner countries in a few years time. Many people who returned from a recent visit to the country have become a witness to today’s Ethiopia reality. It is no wonder then that the Growth and Transformation tour in North America was a very successful despite the short comings observed in organizing the campaign in some cities.
The North America tour has taught many people a lasting lesson. To the extremists who have been hiding amongst the silent majority in many North American cities it has taught them that they really are naked. Bare-Naked! Extremists in Washington DC for example were left cold dry exposed for who they are! The DC hooligans were forced to turn on fire alarms, report false security threats to the police to stop the peaceful meeting. This on top of their nauseating shouts to disrupt the huge gathering of the silent majority during and before the event day. The silent majority shun these extremists despite their campaigns of terror and intimidation.
Extremists in DC were taught a lasting lesson so much so they tried to hide behind a sham excuse for their utter failure to get an ear from the silent majority! The Word is, in one of their email campaign, they claimed, the huge turn-out in support of GTP was because- “the EPRDF has transported many people from Ethiopia to attend the meetings!” Need we say more on how much these extremists are left naked!
In short those who willfully chose ignorance and chose the road of destruction have no one to blame except themselves. Harassment and intimidation is not part of a democratic order. Siding with known terrorist and opposing any kind of development work by the government of Ethiopia is not what Ethiopians expect from their own sons and daughters. The hooligans in DC who managed to disturb a meeting half way in to the program may think they have gained something but they have not. If anything they have managed to alienate themselves and to irritate the silent majority. Ignorance hurts!
The dysfunctional Ethiopian oppositions who cajole these hooligans from behind have fooled no one! Shame to them to have encouraged such acts!
The GTP campaign has done wonders to the Diaspora community. The buzz around the millennium dam coupled by the amazing reports coming from inside the country about people supporting the GTP is resonating very well with the community. Unlike the old days today many Ethiopians from all Ethnic groups are flying the flag high and are very enthusiastic about the country’s future! The Somali-Ethiopians, the Afar-Ethiopians and the Southern Nation and Nationalities community more than ever are determined to protect the constitution. The faces of people in this meeting are unlike what we have been seeing on many Ethiopian gatherings of any kind!
The story coming from all the meeting venues is one and the same. People are ready to engage the government in a meaningful way to improve good governance and to work towards the successful completion of the Growth and Transformation Plan. People are ready to buy bonds and donate money for the millennium dam and are also ready to contribute with their know how.
Over the last couple of months the talk among the extremist camp was how to import the Arab revolution from Cairo to Addis Ababa. Today, with the GTP's successful campaign, their talk has become more of what happens to them than about Tahrir Square! They are stunned and stoned right now not knowing what has hit them!
The lesson for them may be not to undermine the silent majority power and the country’s resolve to defeat poverty but for us the lesson is how to become relevant players in the countries’ affair. The policy that will come out of this dialogue will go a long way to help the Diaspora community play its role in building the nation.
One last note, they say in democratic societies you have all the rights to exercise your right but not to call Fire! Fire! in the middle of movie goers! We thought that was true but in Washington DC that was not the case on 4/9/11. In the middle of the city, close to the White House, peaceful meeting attendees at Howard University were ordered to leave the hall because hooligans called Fire! Fire! Go figure! This we think is the lesson for all of us, black or white!