a nation in the right direction
Gorse Ismail 06/09/14
This week, as I went through surfing Ethiopian web site, I
ran into an interesting article. This article, entitled Ethiopia: a nation at a crossroads and
written By Shimelis Amare, is timely because many of the oppositions in the
camp of unitary state (those who used to rule the time of Derg and Haile) are entertaining
the idea that organizing along ethnic group is curse.
The irony of this interpretation is that they, themselves,
are organizing along the line of their ethnic groups; however, they are so
blind with power thirsty and past history that they do not see properly the
reality on the ground and respect other nations and nationalities. A case in
point is ESAT, Media painting Ethiopia dark picture on all its programs, will
be daily beaming distorted information about current Ethiopia and making the
old Ethiopia the best one. The funniest part of these propaganda is that they
define Ethiopian to be the one who endorses their way of thinking, speak their
language Amharic, dressing in their fashion, have taking the name of Haile (
force ) , Asfawoyesen ( the one who pioneering to expand its frontier aka
Western wild style), Mengestu ( government ) and the list will go on and on.
Once they run into Gemecha, Aba Jefersa, Roble, Ahmed and Mursi, their eyes
brow will raising up and questioned them whether they are Ethiopian in their
myopic definition of Ethiopia.
Further, Shimelis wrote that hope or despair, a bright
future or a looming darkness, a prosperous united Ethiopia or a fragmented
tribal land—these are the choices Ethiopia and the Ethiopian people are
currently facing. As clear as these choices are, depending on the path we take,
as a people, we will rise or we will go down. At this critical political
juncture, the question is, therefore, what is to be done?
This term of tribal land is not different how the colonial
officers dubbed African people to be primitive and put themselves on the ivory
tower that they came to Africa to civilize them. Our brothers and sisters from
old regimes who lost power do not have any solution that will include all
Ethiopian on an equal footing, but to curse the current government EPRDF as if
Ethiopia will dismantle and will cease to exist.
Shimelis added ethnic based federal system established by
EPRDF government has created a fertile ground for a narrow-minded thinking to
take root, and it is coming home to roost. Indeed, Ethiopia is at a crossroads.
Unless we try to undo some of the mistakes, what was achieved will be lost,
this nation will became a fragmented tribal land, and its people will be
exposed to a devastating civil war. Before it is too late, it is the
responsibility of each and every one of us to engage in a responsible and
constructive conversation. Instead of pointing finger, this is the time to
pause and reflect on the journey we took so far.
Shimelis has to look into mirror and goes through
soul-searching to find that unitary state did not help to unify Ethiopia; on
the contrary, Ethiopia used to be the land of war, famine, drought, and exile.
The mushrooming of liberation fronts did not raise up out of the blue , but the
reality that the regimes based upon centralized state had forced people not
to allow to exercise their rights in terms of their language, culture , history
, economy and politics. They took arm and fought to gain their rights and
example, the opposition in the camp of unitary state cursed and demonized Meles
Zenawi as if he was one of the worse leaders in Ethiopia, but the reality on
ground have indicated differently that Meles zenawi created an Ethiopia
celebrated as one of the fastest economy in the world, land of peace and
tranquility, and liberation fronts substituted regional states (kilil). Alex
testified that World leaders have lauded Meles' economic achievements. He
described that Meles was a voracious consumer of information and analysis, and
a tireless questioner.
Having convinced Marxist-Leninist, and pragmatic,
Meles had a vision that the way of life of the Ethiopian peasants had to change
or die. Additionally, Meles understood the republic that Machiavelli defined and
followed its core ideas as follows: liberty or sovereignty of the people/the
citizens in a polity; non-domination and rejection of the claim of leaders to a
“natural right” to rule (because of divine election or will, class position, or
superior insight); no use of state power for personal gain or profit; and a
recognition of the pluralism of the public cause, the discussion of which is to
be open to the people, because from them ultimately power is derived.
argues that the question we need to answer is that, after twenty years
experiment of ethnic based federalism, is there a lesson learned? Did this
arrangement cause identity crises or help us to know who we are as a people? Is
this arrangement becoming a continuous treat which will eventually lead us to
civil war or is it helping us to co-exist as one nation, and as one people? Is
this arrangement helping the developmental state policy to succeed or is it
becoming a bottleneck? How can we defuse this narrow minded thinking so that we
can move forward? Regardless of our political views and affiliations, the
current political climate in the country urges us to evaluate the consequences
of ethnic based federalism.
Shimeles and the
Abebes have to acknowledge that Ethiopia is going in the right direction,
empowering its people, the nations and nationalities and striving to be one of
the middle income class countries in the world. On the contrary, Shimeles’ point
view, the majority of Ethiopian people are accepting that Ethiopia is a
diverse country where its entire people should be respected and nobody will be
forced to be assimilated as the geographical constitution inflicted on our
brother s and sisters of African American in America. The current Ethiopian
federal system integrates nations and nationalities on an equal footing. This
is the first time in Ethiopian history, Somalis, Afar, Gambelas, Oromo and
other nations are expressing their identity of Ethiopian nationalism without
force and willingly to die for it.