By Dilwenberu Nega
Tigrai Online - June 03, 2013
The big turnout (10.000 according to Reuters) at Semayawi Party’s demonstration in Addis Ababa yesterday has nudged a good number of opposition activists to indulge into a binge of triumphalism in the blogosphere. These people are neither at fault, nor are they the only ones on planet Earth to assume that just because one good thing has happened to their cause, many good things will follow suit. One can relate their actions to children who relish the thought that every day is Christmas, because it was for Christmas that they receive presents from friends and family. Or better still, we can relate it to the British, who assume that simply because one summer bird, the swallow, has appeared over Britain’s air space, they become elated at the prospect of a sizzling summer. Hence, the popular English saying, “one swallow doesn’t make a summer!”
By the same token, just because 10,000 Ethiopians took part in a peaceful protest in Addis Ababa, doesn’t mean that opposition parties have won a general election. So why are we witnessing scripts of jollification in the blogosphere?
In his latest online sermon to the toxic Diaspora – a Diaspora that has refused to pay heed to his weekly call that they should turn radioactive - Professor Al Mariam is seen committing a lapse of judgment which, I must state, are wholly unbecoming of a man with glittering credentials. In his attempt to make a mountain out of a molehill, therefore, he portrays the peaceful protest as a milestone occasion in the annals of Ethiopia by equating it with Ethiopia’s awakening. His long-drawn-out “Ethiopia has risen” is, therefore, nothing more than a chilly reminder that popinjays, like Al Mariam, not only have a clue about the reality on the ground, but worse of all, they are at loggerheads with the will and aspirations of ordinary Ethiopians. Like always, this fugleman of the politics of hate has ‘sexed-up’ his sermon with a dollop of hyperboles. Contrary to the account of Reuters’ on the spot correspondence, Al Mariam, the sensationalist, has raised the number of people who took part in the demonstration from ten thousand to one hundred thousand.
On a more serious note, however, what the granting of permission for a demonstration to take place - especially at a time when critics of EPRDF are making preposterous claim of Ethiopia has turned into a bon-fire waiting to happen following the death of its visionary leader, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, - signifies is a state of supreme confidence on the part of Prime Minister Haile Mariam Desalegn’s administration. Viewed from the point of view of a much vaunted demonstration, however, what you see is not what you get. For a start, though the protest was called and organised by Semayawi Party the great majority of demonstrators where from other parties carrying out collateral duties. Secondly, the fact that the most the hugely publicised demo can draw is a mere ten thousand - in a city of over 4 million - is proof, if proof were required, that support for EPRDF in what is believed to be a stronghold of Ethiopia’s mongrelised opposition remains solid.