The last Ethiopian standing. By Yilma Bekele
That is exactly what I feel like now. Who died and left me with this burden is not clear to me but believe me I feel like I am all alone and it is up to me to carry the flag and sing the national anthem. This business of being an Ethiopian has never been easy but you would think with experience and practice I have gotten the hang of it. I am afraid I am hopeless in that department. I still feel the burden.
They say the environment shapes our behavior. I am not here to argue whether ‘nature’ or ‘nurture’ is the defining role in our development I will leave that to the scientists. Speaking for myself I believe the environment has played a big role in shaping who I am today. I am a transplanted Ethiopian who has been culturally shocked, mentally molded, philosophically tampered and forced to question realty on a daily basis. I have no idea how that central theme of being Ethiopian has managed to survive in all the thousands of ways my central core has been violently breached.
I have survived it all thanks to my family and that little town in Southern Ethiopia that imbued me with respect for elders, love for your neighbor and the beauty of leaving with different cultures in a mutually beneficial way. Those values are what differentiate the beast from the human. I believe that upbringing gave me an advantage when later on in life I found myself in circumstances that I have never thought I would find myself in. I have confronted moving to Addis from my small town, crossing an ocean to come to America, being the object of curiosity in small town in Oregon and coming to terms in growing old in the US with that wisdom I learnt while growing up that says ‘it is not really that bad just deal with it.’
As I said I have dealt with most things in a calm collected manner. The one thing that is really causing me pain and agony is this business of defending my country Ethiopia. It feels to me, mind you I might be mistaken, or a little touchy but it feels to me that every Hagos, Ketema, Kuma, Abdella, Betiso etc. is dumping on me for crimes I have no idea I committed.
Well you my Ethiopian reader, can I call you that without offending you, any way you must be thinking why the heck am I telling you all this in the middle of summer? It is because a few things happened the last few days and I felt they were directed at me. Not personally you know but since I feel I am the last one standing it felt personal in a roundabout way.
The big momentous event was my dear friend Jawar declaring he is Oromo first and his Ethiopianess was imposed on him. I have no problem with that. In fact I believe Jawar is Oromo, Ethiopian and American. He has got choices. Which one he puts primary is all up to him. I also don’t know if being an American was imposed on him or he voluntarily filled up a form and swore allegiance to the star spangled banner. With this speech he seems to dig the hole a little deeper. He was heard equating Ethiopian Oromo Moslems with those in Somalia and Djibouti claiming it to be one and the same struggle. I am afraid his next Al Jazeera appearance he is going to have to answer the question are you Muslim first or Oromo first. Good luck my friend.
The only thing I have problem is his assumption of the role of a spokesman ship for the Oromo people of Ethiopia. As far as I know he has never been elected to any office. He has never been sent as a delegate by any group in present day Ethiopia to speak for them. He has not articulated their demands in a coherent manner, written books about their glorious history, interpreted the nuances of their culture or educated the rest of us about the Oromo condition. In other words other than others declaring him an up and coming young intellectual and him playing that role to the hilt he has not bothered to study, interpret, add on the history and role of the Oromo people in what we call Ethiopia. Of course I stand to be corrected if someone could present me with a proof showing Obbo Jawar’s vast contribution to the knowledge base of Oromo history, Oromo culture and Oromo Psychology.
In the You tube video being distributed he is addressing a gathering of Oromo Muslims. I am assuming he was invited as an analyst regarding the Ethiopian Moslem confrontation with the dictatorial regime taking place in our country.
How did our political analyst approach the challenge is a good question to ask. All I could say is he did not respect the sensibilities of his audience. He was confrontational. He was dismissive, he was arrogant and he was an extremist of the highest order. That is the impression I got after watching this Duche like sermon. From what I understand the Ethiopian Moslem issue is regarding state interference in their religion. It is not about political power, it is not about demonizing the rest that don’t have the same belief. Then why is the speaker turning this peaceful issue of respect into one of violent confrontation? Our Ethiopian Moslem leaders have done a splendid job of making friends with all Ethiopians regardless of religion and gone the extra mile not to antagonize anyone and succeeded beyond expectations. The rest of Ethiopia has embraced their quest for fair treatment and stood side by side with them. Why is our young intellectual turning this simple request for respect into a jihad?
Is it possible our dear friend Jawar grew up in Woyane Ethiopia thus his understanding of our common history derives from that perspective. It looks like he never bothered to scratch below the surface and learn if there is more. What is education for if not to answer vital questions in a rational and measured manner? What is the point of learning if not to pinpoint problems and look for answers that would bring not only lasting solutions but harmony? Why would anyone boast about cutting peoples necks off because they follow a different god? Caught in the heat of the moment my young friend said that.
That was a week ago. Many people wrote their opinions about that. That is the beauty of democracy. It is all about the individual’s right to speak and write what he thinks and others to respond. We all learn from the diverse views and the give and take. Some we reject off hand, some gives us a pause and a some really say what we believe and we go ‘I am not alone.’ So that is what I was doing when I came across this audio by Ato Abdi Fite on Ze Habesha.com. It is presented in a rational manner but misses the point by a mile. It just does not seem to answer a very simple question that it itself asks. Who is us against them?
As far as I am concerned Ato Abdi Fite has locked himself into this small room and anybody outside is the enemy. Is that the way it is? What is the difference between the Oromo farmer, the Amhara peasant, the Tigrai laborer, the Adal pastoralist, the Ogaden herder, the Gambellan fisherman, the Dorze weaver etc.? Aren’t they all victims of the system? Isn’t this what the struggle is all about? Can one be free while the rest stay in bondage? Shouldn’t we all work together to liberate them all so they could grow and prosper?
Ato Abdi was repeating himself so much I thought we were on a never ending loop. Just because something is said many times over does not make it turn out to be a factual statement. It is just false hood but told in twenty minutes instead of two. The central theme in his audio essay is to accuse the rest of Ethiopians ignoring the plight of his Oromo people. Does he have a leg to stand on?
Not really. When in the sixties the Ethiopian students confronted the Imperial regime their number one slogan was ‘land to the tiller.’ They did not specify Amhara, Oromo, Sidama, Tigrai etc. land but their demand was all inclusive. When they went out and established EPRP and other anti-dictatorship associations they did not think in terms of ethnic affiliation but a nationwide movement. Today the Diaspora which Ato Abdi is addressing, I don’t see any ethnic based successful movement working to get rid of the ethnic based TPLF that is tormenting our country and people. We have one voice that abhors ethnic division, avoids ethnic/religion divide and concentrates in uniting the many to get rid of the few troublemaker woyanes.
It is true we popularize some of the victims of the TPLF but that is a political move. We are aware there are thousands of Eskinders, Reyots, Wubshets, Bekeles, Abubakers but we mention those victims as a symbol for the many. We don’t even ask what ethnic group they belong to nor do we care.
Instead of telling us where we failed him I wish he would tell us where he called on us and we ignored his cry. Instead of accusing us of not paying attention to the Oromo question I wish he would tell us what he did to popularize the Oromo issue. In today’s Ethiopia the system is the problem. The solution is to unite all the victims in a democratic and equal association to smash the system and build a new one that respects their aspiration to be free, to be seen as equal and form a lasting union. Being a polarizing figure like the road taken by Meles Zenawi is not the way to go. Uniting people to work for a common solution they could all live with is the Mandela way and it is much preferable and lasting.
What I find troubling about our two Oromo operatives is their failure to see the futility of the treatment they are prescribing to resolve the ethnic divide in our country. The medicine they are ranting about has been administered by the OLF for the last forty years. What exactly has it achieved other than give a false sense of cure while the disease is causing untold damage to our people? With wisdom born from experience the present day OLF is in the process of revising their failed policy and searching for ways of working with others like them that are feeling the brunt of TPLF fire. That is what leadership is about.
Our young intellectuals seem to be gung ho about opening old wounds and reviving past mistakes. What is also surprising is their suicidal drive to offend the one friend they always have on their corner. I am referring to the progressive forces in the Diaspora that are working hard to expose the TPLF regime. The Diaspora is the most important and natural ally of the oppressed people of Ethiopia. There is not one Diaspora organization that opposes the right of the Oromo people to determine their future without undue interference from outsiders. We feel the liberation of the Oromo is the liberation of the Amhara, the Gurage, the Tigrai and all Ethiopians.
Timing is very important in political struggle. Today our country seems to be entering a new stage with the death of the dictator. The political parties are making good progress in wiping out fear from their constituents. We have broken the regimes strangle on mass media thanks to ESAT. It is a shame the ranting and a childish tantrum of a few is taking our eyes away from the prize. All I can say is grow up, coming up with bizarre talk trying to garner attention lasts a few days but in the end you have to live with yourself. .
The Oromo issue on Al Jazeera. By Yilma Bekele
There was a half hour discussion on the Oromo issue in Ethiopia on Al Jazeera Television Network. It was one of those situations where you go ‘what just happened’ after an experience that leaves you confused and dumbfounded when it is over. As an Ethiopian I am familiar with the issue and as someone who was born and raised in Sidama I certainly have enough real experience to have a handle on the matter. Furthermore as an Ethiopian that has been exposed to the opinions presented by the OLF and other Oromo groups I thought this program will give me further insight to the grievances by the party’s concerned.
I am sad to say the discussion did not shine any new light on the issue, was not able to define the problem in a coherent manner and failed to present a solution that is well thought of and acceptable to all the parties involved. What is the point of appearing on a discussion program if the net result is to not being able to teach some, respond to difficult questions with rational and verifiable argument and show the world why your position is just and convince all peace loving people to support your cause.
I would like to say that the hosts of ‘The Stream’ show were very gracious and asked very important and probing questions and gave the participants plenty of opportunity to state their case. You can tell the interviewers were as confused as we the viewers based on the trend of their questions which was asking for specifics and some kind of solution as the program was coming to an end. In fact one of the hosts brought out her own experience belonging to a majority tribe in Nigeria trying to make sense of the confusing analysis made by the guests.
One thing for sure is that the subject is not an easy one to define and explain. What exactly is the Oromo question in our country is a good place to start. Some see it as a question of democracy and human right within the Ethiopian context. Others define it as a self-determination issue up to and including secession. We are talking about a new country with international boundary a flag and a seat in the UN.
I am not really well equipped to discuss the historical question as I have not versed myself in the issue to be able to give an in-depth analysis. I will leave that to historians. As a layman I am just interested by the arguments presented on this show and the end result achieved by the participation of my esteemed Ethiopian brethren whether they accept me as such or not.
What troubled me most was the wanton way statistics was thrown around, facts distorted to fit the argument and reality on the ground completely and absolutely ignored to make a feeble point. I am familiar with the way we Ethiopians use statistics. No one equals our current government with absolute disregard and unrivaled contempt to the science of statistics. It is with a straight face and somber look that they tell the whole world our economy is growing double digits and is the envy of every developing country. It is their cooked number and they are proud of it.
I was a little appalled when the same argument was brought out on ‘The Stream’ presentation. Here are some examples of the plethora of statistics thrown during the discussion – ‘there are twenty five thousand to thirty thousand Oromo political prisoners, nine out of ten political prisoners are Oromos jailed for speaking their language, in 2012 ninety thousand out of one hundred ten thousand (82%) refugees into Yemen were Oromos, Oromos contribute sixty to sixty five percent of Ethiopia’s GDP’ All I ask is credible citations for this pronouncements.
I am afraid I do not have direct experience under Meles/TPLF administration but most of the stuff that was said about our country during the Imperial era and the Derg regime does not seem to reflect the facts on the ground. We all agree there was national oppression in our country. We all understand the vast majority were marginalized and did not participate fully in the governance of their nation. On the other hand what we had was an old fashioned Imperial Kingdom that drew its legitimacy from tradition and the ‘will of God’. Logic says democracy and rule of law cannot be expected from such arrangement.
The military regime that followed with all credit due tried to right what was wrong in its own way. But due to its nature it did not succeed. Remember the Imperial regime failed by the sheer will and determination of the masses of people. The Derg circumvented the will of the people. Both systems failed because they did not fulfill the aspirations of their people. But we got to admit things did not stay the same as they were before. Claiming otherwise is a futile attempt to deny reality. The change brought about has not yet fulfilled our hopes. That is exactly why there is so much dissatisfaction in our country today. Our people deserve better is our general sentiment.
That is exactly why the host asked a very intelligent and deep question. She said ‘How do you see Ethiopia, how do you see Oromos reconciling so you all want Ethiopia rather than this major group, major ethnic group felling they have a lot of grievances –where do you go to now, what is the way forward? This was the perfect opportunity for the guests to shine. To rise above the rhetoric, the blame game, the victim syndrome and use the program to be a teachable moment for their Oromo constituents and for the rest of Ethiopians. They failed miserably. Their purpose was to insistently talk about the past instead of what could be achieved in the future together with the rest of the oppressed masses of Ethiopia. They failed to recognize their dream is our dream, their liberation is our liberation and the future belongs to all of us together. It was a missed opportunity to help our people see beyond victimhood and paint a bright future in bold colors.
Our Ethiopian/Oromo guests were reluctant or unable to state what exactly they want but instead deluded the hosts with horror stories by traveling back in time and drawing a nightmarish Ethiopia of conquests, slavery and dark moments. You see the problem with that analysis is no country or nation on planet earth can claim immune from the untold horror stories that accompany nation building. China, Russia, France, England, USA, Brazil, Bolivia, South Africa, Ghana, Ethiopia, Canada etc. etc. were all the outcome of conquest. It is not unique to our country. Just because the current Woyane regime intensifies the contradiction for its own narrow aims, just because they preach hate, just because they feed on our ignorance there is no reason we should repeat after them and take our country to hell.
Except for our northern cousins most of us in the south, center, east and west of our country are a very mixed blood people. We have lived together for eons, intermarried, and lived in harmony for a very long time. I remember when discussing lineage was frowned upon. The TPLF came and said everybody to your Kilil and a lot were unable to define themselves. Our Woyane masters were totally confused with this phenomenon. Twenty years into this game it is sad to see people singing the same old song.
Our guests seem to conveniently forget a certain part of history where the OLF leadership partnered with TPLF. The OLF was used by TPLF thugs to commit untold atrocity in certain parts of Ethiopia. The OLF leadership disarmed and abandoned their troops to be humiliated and massacred. We understand. We are the victims of TPLF policy too. We are familiar with ANDM that is betraying our people. We certainly recognize Bene Shangul Gumuz and SNNP that is carrying out ethnic cleansing fueled by TPLF, we are familiar with Afar and Gambela hired puppets that are displacing our brethren from their ancestral lands, we feel the pain of our Somali Ethiopians that are going thru hell on earth. All atrocities are committed by TPLF using local people as a front.
Well my friends, the Amhara and Tigrai peasant, the Oromo herder, the Afar pastoralist, the Sidama farmer, the Gambelan fisherman have one thing in common, they are all victims of a policy by the Tigrai based so called Ethiopian regime. It is only when these dispersed groups unite and challenge the heavily armed minority regime that real change can happen. This idea of confronting the enemy as bands of warriors is not going to work. This idea of going on a television program and reciting atrocities from hundred years back is a no brainer. It gives the speaker some tiny ego massage but it does the cause they stand for no good. It is a disservice to our people and a complete joke on our intelligence. We have come a long way, we have seen so much, we have experienced a lot and we should be treated with a little bit more respect.
On a recent lecture on crisis leadership, Nancy Koehn a Harvard Business school historian said what we need is wisdom, because ‘information …does not equal knowledge, and knowledge does not equal understanding, and understanding does not equal wisdom.’ It is not a good thing when some of our learned friends prey on the ignorance and weakness of our people to reduce grave problems into simplistic formulas of us against them. That road has been tried and it has not taken us anywhere. Leadership requires making the hard choices no mater unpopular. In the same lecture Professor Koehn quoted the novelist David Foster Wallace and his definition of leadership-‘effective leaders are individuals who help us overcome the limitations of our own selfishness and weakness and fears and get us to do harder, better, and more important things than we can get ourselves to do on our own’.
It is a beautiful definition and that is what is needed of those that aspire to be future leaders. Work hard to enhance our strength rather than magnify our weakness, strive to bring the best in us instead of catering to our worst instinct, show us the road to the Promised Land not dwell on what we left behind. It is never too late to change. We pray for change.
By Yilma Bekele
The news that the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) has decided to struggle for freedom in consort with all Democratic forces in Ethiopia is the best Christmas present the Ethiopian people gave themselves. There is no question we are entering a new chapter in our struggle to be free like any other human being. The decision by the leadership of the OLF is a very significant development that has a potential to tip the balance of power. If you ask me, two hands are always better than one.
As reported by Abebe Gelaw of ESAT the OLF at its Plenary National Council meeting held in Minnesota on December 30 and 31 “announced its historic decision to drop its long-held secessionist agenda and to embrace the unity of Ethiopia under a genuine federal arrangement that must guarantee the rights, equality and liberty of all Ethiopians.” What more can one ask for?
The OLF led by Brigadier General Kemal Gelchu made a very tough decision. All Ethiopians owe him a debt of gratitude for his farsighted leadership. The position he reversed is not an easy one. It took courage by him and the other leaders to take such undertaking. Generations of our Oromo people have grown with that aim as a call of duty. It will take a lot of work to change that.
Change is something that is difficult to accept. It is natural that most of us resist change. We all have our comfort zone and any thing different is disconcerting. The OLF and Brigadier General Gulchu’s decision is bound to disturb our comfort zone. That is what leadership is all about. This is not the first tough choice made by the Brigadier General. On August 8, 2008 he defected from the Ethiopian National Defense Forces with two hundred solders and officers with him.
As a person sworn to protect Ethiopia he did not look kindly at becoming an errand boy for TPLF. Upon defection he joined the OLF and rose to position of leadership. Today under his leadership the OLF is entering a new chapter. The Oromo people have paid a heavy price under different administrations. The rest of the Ethiopian people have suffered as well. The realization by the OLF that the bond that ties us together is so strong and deep that decoupling is not a worthy endeavor is a breath of fresh air. If this bold decision will shorten the suffering of our people even by a day we welcome it.
The new situation does not sit well with some people. It is understandable. Separation, secession, self-determination have been a mantra of the liberation movements in Ethiopia for the last fifty years. It is like all other liberation movements that emerged in the sixties. You know us we Ethiopians once we got hold of something we don’t let go. ELF, EPLF, OLF, TPLF stayed true to that religion of unending struggle. It has not brought us peace or prosperity. A new OLF is emerging from the old. A smarter and mature OLF that will satisfy the real needs of the Oromo people.
The lack of competent leadership has been the Achilles heel of the movement. Many so called ‘educated’ leaders have caused a lot of agony and hardship to the Oromo people. There is no need to pretend otherwise. Over fifty years of sacrifice and nothing much to show for it is a loud statement. The TPLF mafia group acerbated the problem by stocking hatred and animosity while ruling with an iron fist from the background. The OLF was reduced to peddling hate to collect revenue while exposing its constituents to abuse and shame. In today’s Democratic Ethiopia every prison, jail, detention center is filled by Oromo political prisoners.
Ginbot 7 Movement and Dr. Berhanu should be given credit for patiently working without much fanfare and prepare the ground necessary for such decision. It shows maturity by both organizations to put differences aside and work for the common good. There are only winners and no losers in this situation. The OLF press release states “The OLF National Council also focused on the timely demand of working with other democratic forces in forming the new Ethiopia that will guarantee and protect the fundamental rights of all peoples in Ethiopia. The new social contract will and should be based on the free will and consent of all peoples in Ethiopia.”
The job is half done. It is a very promising beginning. The real work starts now. Changing people’s hearts and minds is not an easy task. On the other hand if it were easy we would not be where we are now. The TPLF regime will do all it could to throw cold water at this news. It will go out of its way to dismiss it as useless. It will create bogus news and opinions to discredit the participants. The regime fears unity more than any army. It was the unity of all those organizations under the umbrella of Kinijit that exposed the hollowness of the TPLF regime. The unity of OLF with any other organization is their nightmare come true.
The news will also get its share of criticism from the opposition. It is understandable. After all separation was the only demand on the table. The leadership of the Fronts saw it as the magic cure. The central highlanders saw it as the final disintegration of Ethiopia. Most Ethiopian political leaders used the issue to further their own agenda. Some used it a recruiting tool regardless of the consequences. At the end it came to loose its meaning except to the people on the ground that are still paying the price for failed leadership and unholy alliances.
Some in the opposition are crying foul before they even saw the press release. That is nothing new either. We love to jump the gun and dive into condemnation and mudslinging. It is a shame when it comes from those that should know better. Reasoned and well research thesis that will enhance the discussion to higher level is what is expected. I am not against opposition to the new position as articulated by the OLF but I am only asking for a seasoned discussion that will take the aspirations of our people into consideration.
It is not a good idea to scratch the bottom of the barrel and emerge with such prize as “Oromo nationalism was built by successfully deconstructing the Ethiopian nationalism. Since 1991, the former has effectively displaced the later in Oromia and as a result an entire generation has been brought up with that narrative. Furthermore, despite its limits, self-rule has allowed the rise of millions of bureaucratic elites who have vested material and political interest in preserving the gains of the Oromo struggle and maintaining the nationalist narrative.”
What exactly does that mean? Has OPDO satisfied the aspirations of the Oromo masses? Are we praising it for raising a new generation that is programmed to hate Ethiopia? Is that Good? When did being mildly screwed pass as a fair reward or a fair exchange, is that what is meant by limited self-rule? Furthermore when did Bandas that serve the occupying force get elevated to future leaders? I hope we are not thinking of rewarding TPLF controlled Oromo thugs that have amassed huge fortune robbing the Oromo people and build the new Oromia on their shoulders? It is a wobbly foundation if you ask me.
I am assuming the so called ‘bureaucratic elites’ are the same ones that for example are selling and leasing fertile Oromo land to such as Flower growers that suck every drop of water from the rivers and streams, discharge carcinogen chemicals that will stay in the soil poisoning the drinking water for the next hundred years, that hire our Oromo girls of fifteen years old to spray the flowers with chemicals without adequate protection not even lousy gloves and increase the chances of respiratory and other disease with no health insurance and no compensation and no retirement – I will say these folks are not good material for a solid foundation.
Name-calling and cynical dismissal of our leaders efforts is not a winning strategy. The OLF and Ginbot 7 are not some garden-variety organizations to be dismissed lightly. They are doing what they believe is the right thing to relive the hardship of eighty million Ethiopians that are faced with hunger, disease and ignorance as we speak. We give our leaders the respect that is due. We respect them for their vision of a better future, intelligent leadership, and their sacrifice of family and profession while working on our behalf. That is not much to ask.
Both Dr. Berhanu and Brigadier General Kemal are successful in their own right. That is why they have attained such a high level in our society and the profession they choose. They did not kill, bribe, threaten or bully to reach where they are now. We should encourage such behavior in our leaders. They are just like us and they should act like one of us. I do not have the pleasure of meeting the brigadier General but I have the honor of meeting Dr. Berhanu. I found him to be both humble and real in the way he looks at himself and his surrounding. I like it when my leader is just like me not someone that sits on my shoulder constantly telling me how better and different he is from me. If we don’t show them respect who would?
We welcome our Oromo brothers and sisters. It will not be an exaggeration to suggest that it will be very rare to find an Ethiopian with out a trace of Oromo in him. That was one of the reasons the concept of separation of Oromia from the rest of Ethiopia did not get traction. It was not because there was no national oppression, it was not because there was no injustice but rather the prescription being suggested for the disease did not feel right.
It is very unfortunate for our country and people that we are a witness to such malpractice by TPLF Doctors regarding Eritrea. Separation was the medicine administered to the illness we had. It did not take long to see how wrong it was. Today both people are paying the price. Mistake was made. People’s lives were ruined. We hope future generation will set this right and bring children of the same mother together again. It will happen. Take my word for it.
What makes every Ethiopian happy is this single step taken by the OLF leaders. A single bold step in the right direction is what I thought. Our role will be to sing ‘wefe komech, wefe komech’ stretch our arms and make sure no one fails. We are not into looking back at what happened yesterday. Why do that when tomorrow is a brand new day and we can create a new reality. We are going to get rid of our old baggage. We do not obsess about our past failings but look forward to what can be achieved when we work together. That is the message of OLF to the rest of us. It is smart to hit the reset button and start new and fresh.
It is a good beginning for 2012. We can build a lasting union on solid foundation starting now. We urge the leaders to involve as many people as possible in this national dialogue. This is our school in building a brand new Ethiopia. No one has failed like us so we really can turn that negative experience into a valuable lesson. Our association with the TPLF virus and the Derg germ though depilating hopefully have given us a good dose of anti body for a long and bitter struggle.
Our vow for the New Year should be ‘I have heard, listened, experienced the atrocities of the TPLF regime now it is time to do what is necessary to liberate myself.’ It is true you cannot liberate others while you are still a slave. We are slaves to old ideas, old biases and old-fashioned way of thinking. Starting 2012 we are going to think different. We are going to judge others as we judge ourselves. We are not going to wait for others to liberate us while we sit on the side watching. That does not work. That has never worked. To own your freedom you have to work for it.
I am not being a blind cheerleader. There will be bumps on the road. In order to minimize unfortunate misunderstandings I believe the best remedy is to stay vigilant and be part of the struggle. It is a lot better to contribute sincerely and positively to enhance the quality of the struggle. Nitpicking and negative comments will only help those that are working overtime to protect their ill-gotten power and wealth and that is exactly what we claim not to want.
Let me say something before some of you raise it. I am qualified to say all I said because I am an Ethiopian. If you want more I am an Amhara, a Gurage, and an Oromo born in Sidama. I share blood with all the first three groups and due to birth I have a strong affinity with my Sidama brothers and sisters. I am a rainbow Ethiopian. Melkam Gena.