Ethiopia: Nomenclatural Comedy in politics and Religion

By IndepthAfrica
In Article
Sep 26th, 2013

Fikir Yibeltal

Hezbollah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah said yesterday that his group would never acquire chemical weapons on religious ground (Emphasis mine). I don’t think the Holy Quran prescribes which weapon to use when. I could be proved wrong. But I believe that our conventional religious books such as the Christians’ Bible and the Jews’ Torah or Talmud and the Muslims’ Quran recommend the best weapons to kill each other. I hope, they rather preach love and peace to prevail among their followers. In light of this, the fact that Hezbollah’s army is currently engaged in Syria’s civil war to help Assad the ‘butcher’ and presumably the fact that they both are said to have been employing any means to defeat the rebels and thereby stifle the popular revolution of the majority belies what this man reprobates the acquisition of chemical weapons “on religious ground”. So funny!
Here I begin my arguments about the nomenclature I observed ridiculous. Hezbollah can serve as a steppingstone. The meaning of this name is ‘People of Allah’. I personally admire this resistance group in its determination to defend its existence and its country, Lebanon, from foreign aggression. But I sometimes oppose its moves with regard to alleged killings and kidnappings, which, I believe, are against the pillars of the Islamic religion; we all know that ‘Islam’ means ‘peace’. Recently, this group is involved in a foreign war to support dictatorship and suppress the thirst for freedom of the oppressed majority of Syria. This malicious and politically motivated intervention doesn’t bear any respect to an organization whose name is implicated with God or Allah, for Allah or God is presumed to be directly related to love and peace. Therefore, to me, this name is a bit far from the meaning or reality it wants to designate. Whether you kill a person by nuclear weapon or chemical gas or an ordinary rifle, death remains to be death and hence there is no blessed killing as there is no cursed rescuing. Therefore, be it Iran or Hezbollah or anyone else, it is my belief that they cannot refrain from having any sort of WMD due to religious grounds, for the religion doesn’t give them any list of armaments to own or disown; if they say so, they must be trying to fool the ‘international community’.
I have come to North Africa. Let’s assume we are in Egypt now. Muslim Brotherhood. I always sneeringly laugh whenever I hear of this name. What does it mean? I don’t really understand. How can a group dare to call itself ‘Muslim Brotherhood’ or ‘Buddhist Sisterhood’ or ‘Christian Unclehood’ and come to the political arena of the nation in question? It is too… myopic, to say the least. This name, Muslim Brotherhood, a name coined from only two words, automatically rejects the involvement in it of two great entities in the society: they are women and non-Muslim citizens. Frankly speaking, any party or group or organization that wants to engage in politics should by no means build a fence to avoid people on the bases of sex and religion. It must be archaic or a matter of ignorance if people come ahead to establish a political party based on such trivial dichotomies. That is why the Muslim Brotherhood is suffering the blow of its naivety or foolishness at most.
If you want to come to politics, you have to put aside your religious dogmas and doctrines; go to monasteries or covenants and suffer you flesh there in order to save your soul. Why should people blend the flesh, the physical world, with the soul, the spiritual world? Why? Why should Allah or God come to the earthly governments and impose their tough ruling through the Sharia or the strictest doctrines some churches want to apply? You have to know that there are people of different religions including, of course, irreligiousness and atheism that do not require one to obey any superstitious or super natural deity. Politics is related to citizenship and communal national identity irrespective of who believes in whom or what; politics is not a matter of heaven and hell; it is not a matter of righteousness and condemnation, either. It is absurd to bring personal preferences into politics. Egypt has a population of about 90 million. Out of this enormous population, about 10 percent are Christians. If any group dares to establish, say, Christian Brotherhood or Muslim Brotherhood, it is setting up a scarecrow as a result of which others out of its domain could develop fear. Christian values and principles work, or are expected to work, among Christians; Islamic values work, or are expected to work, among Muslims. We cannot and should not force people to choose the way we follow; it must be a sin. If you kill or harm a person due to his or her refusal to follow your religion, that must be the very cause of your eternal condemnation; who are you to choose his choosing? In light of this, how can we force others, others who are entitled to have equal rights of citizenship, to abide by this or that religious dogmas? Who is Muslim Brotherhood to force all Egyptians to observe Sharia law? What do religion and democracy have in common? What could the source of all such stupidity be? Irritating!
As a matter of fact, any religious party cannot be democrat; religion is all about submission of interests and carnal ambitions to certain visible or invisible entity. It has nothing to do with elections, ballot boxes, and polls. People must know what they say and in what they believe; we don’t have to intermingle things for the sake of our hidden agendas. Muslim Brotherhood (of any country, for that matter) cannot be an apostle of democracy; if people are heard of such claims, it is ridiculous. Now, at this very moment, some members of Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt are participating in discussion arranged by the Al Jazeera. I hear them about the ‘unfair coup’ that had toppled Mohammad Mursi some months back. I suppose, they are not shouting for the sake of maintaining democracy; they are rather shouting for the failure of the hidden intention Mursi began to achieve. That intention was, according to some commentators, gradually changing Egypt to an Islamic State. But, look what they say now:- “The democratically elected president is deposed by a military coup.” I am not arguing whether or not the so called coup is a coup or anything else. That is none of my business. But I want to emphasize that, names and deeds are self-contradictingly different. In any case, we don’t have to expect Muslim Brotherhood to use the term ‘democracy’, for they are alien to each other.
Let’s go to Germany. I guess there is a party called ‘Christian Democrats’. All my explanations given to Muslim Brotherhood are applicable here too, except the difference that the latter officially entertains the membership of females. I say this because, the name ‘Christian Democrats’ doesn’t say ‘Democrats of Christian Brotherhood’. I wonder how some namings such as the ones we are discussing here are not considered and reconsidered well before, while and after their formation and the necessary amendment is not made thereof before they become bone of contention in due course of time. And I wonder how such groups prefer to be willing to be a laughing stuff before the so called civilized world. On my behalf, they make me laugh. I can’t imagine Muslim Brotherhood decrying the stifling of democracy in Egypt.
Now to Ethiopia. TPLF – Tigray People’s Liberation Front. This name was coined some 39 years back before proper Tigray was ‘liberated’ from the rest of Ethiopia. This name could have been appropriate if TPLF used it until 1991. But it is ridiculously laughable to use this name after that year. With all-round assistance from the historical enemies of Ethiopia, TPLF liberated the whole Tigray in 1991. Then after, it should either control independent Tigray and limit itself to that newly created ‘nation’ or abandon its former name and create another one that suits the entire Ethiopia; genuine another one, not like the so called EPRDF which was and still is utterly nominal tailored to fit Ethiopia as a make-believe when the name TPLF was not found to be advisable use in ‘liberating’ the rest of the country. Instead of choosing either of the two, TPLF preferred to maintain its outdated name and continued its banditry usurping the political power of the country which was held by a relatively benign nationalist dictator (ሰው ካልሄደ ወይ ካልሞተ አይመሰገንምና መንግሥቱም የሚመሰገንበት ጊዜ መጣ፡፡). TPLF with its odd name has been acting like a shifta since the time it ousted Ethiopian undemocratic authorities. Well, it is better to have cruel of your own than to have both cruel and traitors of the ‘alien’ who deprive you of all human and citizenship rights.
OLF. Oromo Liberation Front. This is one of the liberation fronts in Ethiopia. It doesn’t give any room for any other Ethiopians who want to fight for their freedom. The same is true with TPDM, Tigray People’s Democratic Movement and many others which are fond of sticking some regional or linguistic epithets in their names for any short or long term advantage.
To sum up, I would like to say that names of groups or parties are self-expressive and we can understand many things. And I would like also to stress that groups should not try to cheat people by saying something what their names do not allow them to say so. For example, if I say “My party ‘Young Christian Men of Qimbibit – YCMQ’ believes that democracy is the basis of any societal development and our party is committed to this notion with respect to creating prosperous Ethiopia,” this assertion is completely false. In the first place, this party, YCMQ, has uncompromising fences that are used to shun important sections of the society; no women, no adults and elders, no other religions, and no people out of Qimbibit. Democracy is a matter of ballot box not of frightening fences such as religion and sex or the like. We cannot live with two opposing things; we have to love darkness and live according to the rule of the game darkness entertains or we have to love light and live accordingly – darkness and light could be likened as undemocratic and democratic setups respectively, though in some instances democracy may lead into darkness when and if it is abused or manipulated by the undeserving cunning people. You may remember George W. Bush Jr. Most people tend to relate democratically elected dictatorship with this guy. Mursi does too. When options are narrowed down to an ugly state of affairs, you may be obligated to elect the unelectable. As a result of that you may be immersed into a democratically elected dictatorship. Such scenarios in turn may result in societal desperation and hopelessness wherein millions fail to participate in elections thinking their voice wouldn’t bring about a change. Life goes on like this … in Ethiopia as well as in Fiji. And beyond. But I don’t think things won’t change; they will.

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