By Berhane Kahsay
April 15, 2012
Watching Qeshi Gebru’s documentary on ETV recently was very moving indeed. Her comrades, who knew her from close quarters, including her husband, could not contain their emotions and wept openly and unashamedly on a global TV. Rarely do we observe TPLF combatants reduce to such an intense and deep feeling of sorrow for a young fighter brutally murdered by the fascist junta. The participants were so sad by what happened to Qeshi Gebru, they were literally unable to keep their composure resulting in several filming takes to complete the documentary.
Qeshi Gebru was a dedicated and fearless fighter who paid her precious life for the establishment of a free, just and democratic Ethiopia; she went as far as aborting her own child to ensure that the organisation she was part of succeeded in its mission to liberate the mother land from a merciless dictator. One would be hard pressed to find a resolute and determined person that would match the dedication, valour and single mindedness of this brave Tigraweti. TPLF succeed where numerous others failed because it had hundreds of committed fighters who remained loyal even after falling into the hands of a ruthless enemy that routinely left corpses of young people to decompose in the streets of various parts of the country.
Qeshi Gebru stared the enemy in the eye and made her stand abundantly clear without a tinge of fear; never had a formal education but the interview she gave to Derg’s TV robustly defending the TPLF was highly intelligent. Betrayal of the organisation which she held dearly never crossed her mind. She could have cooperated with Derg to save her life; the reason she didn’t capitulate and request clemency was because of her strongly held beliefs that helping the enemy could have an undesirable impact on the struggle to liberate Ethiopia from the military government. Amora, her comrade-in –arms, didn’t cave in either; remaining steadfast in the midst of enormous adversity appeared to be a unique trait among the rank and file fighters of the TPLF.
The fringe Diaspora opposition should draw an important lesson from this timely documentary. They ought to know that attacking Woyane for all sorts of reasons under the sun is tantamount to desecrating the graves of the revered Qeshi Gebru, Amora and others who have the highest regard and respect among millions of Tigrayans. It is hardly surprising that insignificant numbers of sell-outs have joined the camp of the toxic Diaspora led by Derg riffraffs. Not only have the Tigrayans shunned the Diaspora camp, but also the loyal opposition at home because of their reprehensible views on Qeshi Gebru’s TPLF. Shabayia, which was saved from the verge of a total defeat by comrades of Qeshi Gebru during the Derg’s Red Star campaign, is also in a free fall for holding demeaning attitudes, among others, towards the organisation so cherished by millions of Tigrayans. Not long ago, we were repeatedly told that Eritrea would be the dominant economy of Eastern Africa, but what are witnessing now is that Ato Esayas is blackmailing his own people in the Diaspora for much needed hard currency as the country he is leading is literally broke. Esayas is paying a heavy price for crossing the TPLF and for treating the Tigrayan people with contempt.
Thanks to the likes of Amora and Qeshi Gebru, Ethiopia is now among the five fastest growing economies in the entire world. We must protect this phenomenal achievement not only from the toxic Diaspora but from certain TPLF politicians who are jeopardising its existence. We owe it to our martyrs to ensure that the TPLF evolves into a dynamic entity ready to face fresh and complex challenges ahead with renewed vigour. For a start, some of the old guards, who served their people for many years in an exemplary manner, should quit and make way for a new generation capable of moving the TPLF to the apex where it belongs. It is wholly and utterly unacceptable to invariably re- shuffle the same old and tired faces from one portfolio into another. Those that have been in power for a while should be brave enough to retire voluntarily and give a chance to others with new energy, enthusiasm and fresh ideas. Promotion and assignment into new position should exclusively be on the ability to execute the job to the highest possible standard and nothing else. Regular reshuffling is paramount as hanging on to power for a considerable time always breeds arrogance, contempt and ostracism of supporters for speaking out. To circumvent the dire pitfalls ahead, the political side of the equation must be given due attention in order to ensure uninterrupted double digit growth for many years to come. Failure to do so could bring the miraculous achievements of the last decade to an abrupt halt possibly leading to serious social upheavals.
By and in large, the wishes of Qeshi Gebru have been fulfilled, but we could say with absolute certainty that, if she were alive today, she would have given an arm and a leg for the TPLF she fought and died for to be here today, tomorrow and day after tomorrow. It is worrying indeed that succession of the leadership of the TPLF is not yet in place although this ought to have been done long ago. The current executive members of the TPLF are not there on merit; they secured their places because they played a significant part in ousting the ‘Tewelde Group’ that attempted in vain to humiliate and discard the present Prime Minister of Ethiopia. The failed coup d’état took place over a decade ago and during this period the PM has completely changed the face of Ethiopia. Not only has he made the country economically prosperous, but he has also become the first Ethiopian leader to stand up to the Egyptians and commence the construction of the Grand Millennium Dam expected to generate electricity for the entire Horn Region.
The PM, having consolidated his position after the ‘Tewelde Group’ abandoned the TPLF, should have taken the initiative to reform the TPLF in order to make it capable of competing and winning future elections against new and upcoming political parties. The TPLF is in perilous situation at this juncture and a swift action is needed to arrest its decline; a major overhaul is required not tinkering. An obvious successor is not on the horizon once the current leader Hands over power. It is looking increasingly likely that the TPLF will become clout less and irrelevant, and in a short space of time, it will relinquish the position it held for a long time as a desisive big time player in Ethiopian politics. Even at this late hour, a recruitment drive to bring in young professional Tigrayans from outside the ranks of the TPLF ought to be given serious consideration. The choice for the current leader of the TPLF who has transformed Ethiopia beyond recognition is starkly clear—reform it soon or be responsible for its inevitable demise. We should all say in unison that the PM must not let Qeshi Gebru and her aborted baby turn in their unmarked graves.
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