By Dilwenberu Nega
Tigrai Online - June 01, 2013
In his rebuttal to Professor Hagos’ “banishment prescription” for prisoners with long prison terms www.ethiomedia.com (30th May 2013), Dr. Messay Dejene observes: “Beware also of the following realities. Unfortunately, people with Tigre names or with Woyane affiliations are socially shunned. That is a sad reality in Woyane’s Ethiopia.”
My aim, here, is neither to bail out the Professor, nor is it to commend/censure his prescription for those whom the opposition-at-large regard as ‘celebrity prisoners’, but it is to highlight the flaws in Dr. Messay Dejene’s seemingly erudite observation.
Is Messay then right to conclude that Tigreans are ostracised in Ethiopia, or is ostracism of Tigreans and EPRDFites a figment of his imagination as well as the imagination of equally reckless and desperate opposition politicians who reside outside Ethiopia? Or is - as many think he is - Messay attempting to rear the ugly face of Tigreanophobia eight years after it got scuppered by the will and determination of the people of Ethiopia who knew that Tigreanophobia – like any other ethnophobia - will turn Ethiopia into an inferno.
That’s why I simply refuse to buy Messay’s line of thinking, and I am, in no doubt too that his discernment will not have a leg to stand on in the court of public opinion. For a start, if Messay had any faith in his wayward line of thinking, would he not have avoided like a plague www.ethiomedia.com, for the owner/admin of the website is a through-and-through Tigrean with both a Tigrean first name and surname? This is proof, if proof were needed, that one’s ethnic background and one’s political belief are as different as door and doormat.
This ‘hate sermon’ by one of Ethiopia’s literati abroad, therefore, spurs me to conclude that Messay has fallen prey to the 22 year old contagion which has prevented the ‘discerning classes’ of opposition politicians from contributing their due share in broadening the horizon of democracy in Ethiopia.
Hate turns you blind, and in hate politics you can’t see the woods for the trees.
What are the great majority of Ethiopians meant to make of Messay’s abstruse reasoning and absurdly dangerous conclusion is anyone’s guess, but it doesn’t alter the reality on the ground. Much to the indignation and chagrin of the likes of Messay, Ethiopians with the exception of the toxic Diaspora are not apostles of the politics of greed and tribal arrogance. In other words their support for opposition to TPLF emanates from the merit and demerit of its work, and not from the ethnic background of those valiant sons and daughters who delivered Ethiopians from the iron-fist rule while the likes of me and Messay were living comfortably in Europe and America. Hence, hating Tigreans because of one’s opposition to TPLF is as wrong and as absurd as hating Amharas because of one’s opposition to the former Amhara monarchical rule.
Commonsense must be seen to prevail over hate and greed.
On the other hand, the very proposition of shunning “those with Tigrean names and supporters of EPRDF” is an anachronism in an age of pluralistic democracy. In point of fact, it has all the hallmarks of neo-Dergism. Kindly offer me then an answer: Is it democracy or stratocracy (government by the military) that bestows on Dr. Messay Dejene the inalienable right to oppose EPRDF, but denies to me the equally inalienable right to support EPRDF?
May God deliver us from the grip of befogged literati!