In a calm sea every man is a pilot

By Dilwenberu Nega
Jan. 28 2011

No sooner had Tunisia’ jasmine revolution brought about the abrupt end of the 23 year authoritarian rule of Ben Ali than arm-chair politicians within Ethiopia’s expat communities in Europe and America started displaying their gushing enthusiasm for the jasmine’s germinal idea to take root on Ethiopian soil. The manifestation of such fallacious hopes is not a new phenomenon to strike the Diaspora’s ‘vuvuzzela politics’. We had lived through it all as grasping power-hungry CUDites attempted to mount a Ukrainian-style colour revolution in the aftermath of the 2005 Elections.

One glaring impropriety of opponents of EPDRF has been their penchant for hasty generalizations and erroneous assumptions. While one may tolerate the opposition’s dread for any sort of good and positive news to come out from Ethiopia, what would be utterly unacceptable for EPDRF supporters, on the other hand, would be to stand and stare as the opposition runs amok sowing wind of utter confusion within our respective communities.

Over the last two weeks then a number of know-it-alls have been busy as a bee churning out doleful forebodings in a futile attempt to make us believe that Ethiopia will be next in line for a Tunisia-style uprising. If only these pipe-dreamers knew what homeland Ethiopians really think of those who churn out prescriptions for change from the comfort of their homes in America and Europe, they would not be spending their precious time offering advice where advice would be least heeded. It may have taken Ethiopia’s youth longer than necessary to realize, but the sinister designs of arm-chair politicians is now an open secret: for the youth to be the sacrificial lamb for politicians in the Diaspora.

If all that the bigwigs of the politics of the Ethiopian Diaspora are good at is to remain in a state of intellectual hibernation by relying on a foreign incident to fire them up into action, then EPDRF can sit back and relax secure in the knowledge that it will remain in office for at least a further 25 years. A visionless opposition; an opposition that only believes in aping an uprising in a foreign land where the objective conditions are the very antithesis of those in Ethiopia, is not fit to be an alternative government.

Today Ethiopia has no rhyme or reason for being ‘jasmine-phobic’ (fear of Tunisia-style uprising). This is because of the work done over the last 19 years by EPDRF government. Pressing issues had been solved promptly and amicably. The unity of the country – at risk of being balkanized in 1991 – has been solidified with its nations, nationalities and peoples basking in a new union of the equal and the willing. Ethiopian farmers are emancipated from grovelling servility, and pluralistic democracy while still is work in progress is very much ensconced the length and breadth of society. With a listening EPDRF at the helm effective measures have been undertaken to bring down the prices of essential food items, while a multi-faceted policy initiatives are now in place offering real jobs to unemployed youth in towns and cities.

So why then are the Al Mariams of our world offering us their ‘fructifying’ thoughts on ‘importing’ the jasmine revolution at a time when Ethiopians are fired-up to realise growth and transformation over the next five years? What else do you expect from hopelessly befogged individuals but a whole load of hot air?