In defense of “National Reconciliation and National Development in Ethiopia”

By Bereket Kiros November
Nov. 08 2010

I am not trying to stifle criticism and freedom of expression but, rather aimed at writing critically appraise the activities of few individuals who try to make a political career by insulting and name calling. I believe personally in the free flow of ideas that individuals can write articles or essays in defense of their own fundamental rights and their own aspirations at any rate, out of respect I hope my suggestions or criticism will be constructive, and dignified. Two weeks ago Ghelawdewos Araia, PhD posted an article in various websites titled National Reconciliation and National Development in Ethiopia. The author’s intention was to open a dialog between the Ethiopian government and the opposition to usher a new beginning and forge a cohesive approach. The author’s message was lost in the sea of ignorant political discourse. The level of discussion on web is degenerating too low some step must be taken to avoid; it’s becoming another gossip forum.

Feyissa Woyessa, wrote the following response “The Tigrayan elite including Dr. Araya do not have any sense of fairness and justice when it comes to the victims of their ethno-fascist leader Meles Zenawi. Tigray has a special status in Ethiopia and is a de facto state receiving preferential treatment at the expense of the rich parts of the country. As the member and supporter, you know that the TPLF is an ethno-fascistic organization with no Ethiopian agenda.” The author spills filthy reasons to the reader as angry man leaving the targeted message. He has many inconsistency and jargons that are not well thought and articulated ideas.

I am not going to belittle his intelligence understanding the content of the article but I will assume he is probably blinded and misguided to know in depth the suggestions put forward by the author that it was to commence a dialog. I have to respond and condemn the racial bias sentiment towards Tigreans. It is the persistent bashing stand taken by the chauvinist who claimed to be in opposition camp manifested their ugly venom towards Tigreans is a subject that should be talked about. Who defines who, is the question that we ought to answer. Why Tigreans decent have to prove their allegiance based on their ethnic origin? The dilemma for most Tigrean intellectuals is, they are always characterized by their ethnic origin rather than the ideology or philosophy they adhere. Many of us are faced with character assassinations; fabrication and labeling as if we are foot soldiers of the regime because we share the same identity. One needs to differentiate the problem of identity and ideology from the situation in the heads of the spin-doctors and the propagandist. This remains much ignorance among those who claimed to posses’ special insight and knowledge about Ethiopia. Most of them are affiliated by wishful thinking, conditioned by previous status quo and have an ax to grind.

As the old saying goes the more things change, the more they remain the same. I am not surprised at all to read such highly charged racial tone and demented idea to evolve to such petty low level standard. What has changed since the collapse of Derg has less to do with the basic structure of our society than the language we use to justify it. All of is easier said than done, of course in the self proclaimed bashers change will not come easy for them. What we hear is rage. And we should not be surprised. The failure to acknowledge the humanity and dignity of all Ethiopians has lurked at the root of racial system. If we can agree what is needed now, at this critical juncture, it is no need tinkering on racial background. Change through in the era of “National Reconciliation and National Development in Ethiopia is no longer socially permissible if filthy words like Feyissa are left unchallenged. Those of who have viewed Ethiopia from a comfortable distance and throw stones in every direction to create rift have no love of Ethiopia. Discussion on important issues remains to be difficult.

We are faced with this scrupulous silly obstinacy political culture bushing on our ethnic identity. The same people who claimed to oppose a racial bigotry are perpetuators of such bias tone. Regardless of our ethnic background it is necessary to focus what has been said, written or ideas that are entertained. So far such pattern of name calling with unsubstantial rumors has been trademarks in some self appointed camps, who like to make a name bushing Tigreans as their platform. This has been the stated positions by many called themselves opposition in Diaspora politics who just want to steer trouble. It is better that we see danger and rectify now when we have the opportunity to do so. Unless the bigots and their sympathizers are stupid enough to follow the path of destruction by disfranchise the very people to help empower.

The Tigrean youths paid so much sacrifice at their tender age so that we live in peace and tranquility regardless the path of the leadership is currently pursuing. Such resentment towards Tigreans we not help to advance their political move. You cannot talk about Ethiopia degrading with derogatory remarks to those brave people who have shattered to dust the brutal regime in the history of Ethiopia. We know well most of us who have survived such ugly episode of our Ethiopia. It was paid in blood and lives of our brothers/sisters to create a system where each of us can vent on some issues of our country destiny and future. How is possible to start nation building by denying the existing reality. Unmistakable evidence of this capitulation to blackmail is mind boggling experience for many Tigreans. Enough is enough and let’s work together for the common good and open a dialog on things that matter the most for Ethiopia.

As 'African-Americans we have a special responsibility to acknowledge the dilemma of Tigreans in order to help move the debate forward. In the Diaspora politics there is little willingness to face the fact that bushing the Tigreans on their ethnic background rather what the stand for. Whatever one may think of the problem, until it is recognized, discussion of the reconciliation cannot even begin. Only then can the centuries-old Ethiopian tradition of being a people of high moral character be restored. And only in this way can security, peace and justice come to this ancient land we love so much dearly. As you know I do not claim to be as spokesperson to anyone except judging at the merits of the critics. I can’t be any clearer than that.