Ethiopia: Needs New Thinking Doctrine
By Gezaee Hailemichael
Feb. 25 2008
Kiros Alemayo’s song Meknay Meknay Kulu Nimray, rough translation in English, it is better to stay alive in order to see and hear all things is a beautiful of art work.
As I read Kahsay Berhe’s and Tesfay Atsbeha’s letter at Ethiomedia, I just remembered Kiros Alemayo. I never knew there was another branch of Tigray Libration Front, (TLF). I have read it now for the first of ear of my life. It sounds there is more to be reveled about TPLF.
From the vantage point of the above authors, one may say, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and President Issayas Afeworki are just different Mengistu Hailemariasms with different names and who speak a different language, Tigrignea. The Amharic saying Gulcha Bikeyayere wet ayataftm, roughly translation ( cooking a gravy sauce with different pots will not make the sauce savory or tasty). Nonetheless the above two writers and Sofia Tesfamariam has piqued me to think philosophically, socially and culturally about Ethiopia and even about myself.
I think we need to think in a new way; we may blame Mengistu Hailemariam, Meles Zenawi, Issayas Afeworki, but all these grievances and ordeals will never solve our problems. We blame them, but we are forgetting the psyche of our society. I have come to the point that it is neither Mengistu Hailemariam’s , Prime Minister Meles Zenawi’s , Issayas Afeworki’s fault. It is the norms in our society that is bearing all these fruits. The above leaders are being born into our society and have been brought in our society in their respective community and neighborhood.
From my childhood preview, I remember in my community, if one is physically strong, one is being considered like a king in the community. He is respected and feared by every member of the community. One can do anything one wants. In Ethiopia, honestly Darwin’s natural selection has been at work since I knew myself. If one is physically and cynically strong, one prevails. From my experiences in Ethiopia, even the government whoever it is, gives power to those who are physically and cynically strong. There has never been justice in Ethiopia, the strong survive and rules. From the time I knew myself the law in Ethiopia serves only those who are strong and relatively rich.
I remember when I was a child when I was trying to assert myself by being aggressive. I remember when I was showing domineering behavior people talked about me and used to feel good. I used to see husband’s beating their wives and those husband’s being called real men. I remember when stronger and older Ethiopian men marrying the woman the wanted by force. This is not only at local community level. It is also common everywhere in Ethiopia.
I remember while I was in junior school, my best teacher did love a girl. He was about 40 years old and she was about 16 years old. He claimed he loved her and she has to be forced to marry him. There was no law to protect the young girl. He married by force. This war in urban Ethiopia.
I remember while I was in a University, when my own girl friend was asked for sex by her own lecturer. He asked her to sleep with him and she refused then she was given flat F for refusing. I remember the two lecturers who was doing this to the girls in my university, one was Tigrean and the other was Oromo.
In Ethiopia, injustice is integrated into our psyche. It is just we do not talk about them. We may blame the above mentioned leaders, but the truth is that our present and past leaders are the fruit of our past and present society and community. So Mengistu Hailemariam came to power by being strong. He killed many people all along the way to get to his throne. He was born and grew up in Ethiopia where physical and cynical strength rules and prevails. From my readings from the article of the above writers, Meles did the same all along the way to get to the throne and Issayas Afeworki did the same all along the way. I am asking myself now, if I would not get out of Ethiopia open my mind, eyes, ears, would not I do the same? I remember attempting to do that in my early days when I was trying to assert myself in my community.
We may say these are murderers, and give them all names. But the truth is that these guys are member of our society. They may not exactly represent the reality in our society, but they do. Their actions mirror their bringing up which has been molded by their community in particular and society at large. We can see even ourselves even if we are out of Ethiopia enjoying freedom in a just society, we still do not change at all. We can see diaspora Ethiopians more poisonous and monstrous in what they say and what they do. I do not see an Australian criminalizing an Australian, or a Canadian insulting Canadian. I actually do not see people of any country biting each other like Ethiopians do and this includes Eritreans. Our leaders are treating their people like dogs because that is what they inherited from their society.
To add Sofia Tesfamariam Haftey here, Sofia is insulting everyone, leave alone woyane, but the whole USA, UN…. Why? She says all what she is right and all what the others do is wrong. My people believe me we have a big problem in us we never discover it because it is too difficult to do self-search. Who gave Sofia all the rights to call names of almost everyone? Is it because they did not do what she wanted them to do? She wants Eritreans to be respected right? Why then she does not start also respecting others? If she is a good person and even if they are bad to her government and her people, she needs to show and tell them in a civilized manner than calling their names.
She believes UN must force Ethiopia to accept EEBC. Can they? If so, will it be tenable? We know many things have been done by our Prime Minister at his own disposal. But still what he has done is not holding water due to the fact he did them himself without involving the people. I disagree with Sofia Hailemariam that UN has to force Ethiopians to appease the Eritrean government. Ethiopians also have rights Sofia. Eritreans and Ethiopians are equally human and have equal rights. Neither Ethiopians nor Eritreans must be forced by anyone to appease either of them at the expense of either one. If so, it will be selfish of either of them.
UN has no right to force Ethiopia, not at all. The problem between Ethiopian and Eritrean must be solved by the people themselves. If the border is not accepted by Ethiopia, it will never be accepted. No one has the right to enforce it on Ethiopians since Ethiopians also has rights like you wish it for Eritreans. Ethiopians are equally entitled to their rights, okay Sofia? You also hate Woyane, but most Ethiopians hate woyane for serving the Eritrean government which I myself agree, but it seems you are blaming on them, I am not sure if you do not like woyane if you will love other opposition who are really against the Eritrean independence, leave alone about the border, if you find it hard to recognize TPLF’s softness, I do not think you will come to recognize others who will have far stronger stance on Eritrea. Despite all that, we need to see both sides and think to bring a tenable peace to both people.. Neither Eritreans nor Ethiopians must be forced by any external forces to appease either side. According to me, the solution is in the hands of the people of Ethiopia and Eritrea.
In general whether it is Kahsay Berhe, Tesfay Atsbeha, Sofia Tesfamariasm, and others who may be right. I understand your angers and grievances. Nonetheless, we cannot keep on shooting one another. We need to change the way we think and we need to think in a new way how we want to handle problems. I am not a supporter of Meles Zenawi or others. I just think now we need to start a new start somewhere. Otherwise lamenting without end and accusing each other will not get us anywhere. As I said it is not the fault of the leaders, it is the fault of the society at large and it is not their fault, it is our bring up. What they have been doing up to now is what they know. We know they have been doing crimes, but they never know justice or fairness. Because they never grow up in a just and fair society. They have never seen justice or fairness. All what they know is injustice, repression. They themselves are the by product of injustice and repression. What made the TPLF founding members to go to the bush? They were not inspired by good things they have experienced. They were angry, repressed. Did they know they will succeed? They never knew, but they were bitter and determined and decided to fight. That is how they got there. They never got to the palace by democracy. They never spend part of their lives studying overseas, they spent all the years in the bushes all those years. With all those Ethiopian bring up background and all that life in the bushes, we want them to be Angels. They do not have it because no one gave them part of it or they never experienced freedom in their lives.
When I say all these I am not condoning crime, cruelty, injustice, repression, but I am trying to underpin the root cause of the problems in our society today and in the past. But I think we need to put behind the past and move forward fresh. When I say this I do not mean we accept what Meles does, but there are many ways to correct them without reiterating the evil of the past. Love, justice, unity is the only solution for our recurring problems. If we unite, love, it is possible to remove Prime Minister Meles Zenawi even in one day. Believe me it can be done in one day without a drop of blood and without any single bullet. But we do not think that way, we think only the bloody way, and keep on bleeding each other and also waste our lives and waste the lives of our people.
It is good to talk about all the past, but we should not get stuck in them forever. If we do, we will never get anywhere and eventually we will die without doing anything to ourselves and to our people. The new thinking must include all the above grounds of our society and we must be ready to forgive even those who have committed injustice, that is the only peaceful and tenable way to bring a just and equitable living conditions to our people.
God Bless Ethiopia