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Alliance for Peace not War

By Yared Ayicheh*
May 09 2011

After I listened to a Ginbot 7, OLF and ONLF meeting held on April 23, 2011 in Atlanta, I wanted to write my reaction but I felt it would be too early and too easy to react to the initial stages of the birth of the ‘alliance’; so I deferred my reaction until I listened to the May 7, 2011 meeting held in Toronto, attended by pro Ginbot 7, OLF and ONLF panelists.

The sense of desperateness and recklessness that I felt from the vibe of the meetings was obvious and blunt, so I asked myself, “Why the desperateness? Why the recklessness?”

Are the proponents of armed struggle so blinded by whatever is driving them that they are willing to ignore their own basic principles for the sake of forming an alliance?

These questions were raised time and again in the Paltalk discussion forums; the response to these questions was, and still is, generally this: “The meetings are only the start of a dialogue, let’s keep talking.”

Isn’t choosing peaceful struggle the wisest choice when there is the desperate and blind urge to choose violence? Isn’t working for peace of higher priority when there are threats to our country’s peace and stability?

I believe it is now time to work for peace than ever before. Ethiopians know war, and I do not believe there is any Ethiopian living in Ethiopia who wants war; it is only some of us who live in Diaspora which have lost our moral compass and are salivating for violence.

People who fought against Derg, and won, have chosen peaceful struggle; consequently no wonder those who did not experience the grim realities of war are calling for violence!

When Ato Gebru Asrat, Ato Seye Abraha, W/o Aregash Adane and others chose peaceful struggle, are they being naïve or is it not because they know the harsh destruction war brings on individuals, families and communities?

Desperateness is not the right motivation for armed struggle; instead armed struggle needs a higher minded, long lasting and time tested motivation which the ‘alliance’ totally lacks.

Ethiopia does not need an ‘alliance’ of desperados who are blinded by hopelessness and are only hell-bent on removing the tyrant Ethiopian government by-any-means-and-at-any-cost, including losing the national integrity of our country to separatist groups.

It is during this time that all peace and stability loving Ethiopians must speak up for peace in Ethiopia. The American peaceful struggle leader Dr Martin Luther King has once said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

Let us stand against conflict and war. Let us support peaceful struggle in Ethiopia. Our hopes for the development of a democratic culture may have been shattered by the ‘result’ of Ethiopia’s election 2010, but we shall stay focused and persevere with peaceful struggle, for it is now than ever before we need peaceful struggle in Ethiopia.

*Full disclosure: I am a proud advocate for peaceful and legal opposition in Ethiopia, and I stand firm on my support for peaceful and legal opposition in Ethiopia.

Yared Ayicheh can be reached at yared_to_the_point@yahoo.com