The Obama victory versus fake change in Ethiopia

By IndepthAfrica
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Nov 9th, 2012
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By Robele Ababya

Bravo to both rivals for the White House

I begin this piece with my sincere congratulations to President Obama on his clear victory over his rival Governor Mitt Romney. I do so despite my repeatedly expressed vehement objection to the inaction of his Administration to stop gruesome human rights violations in Ethiopia on the excuse of giving priority to the US security interest.

 

I would also like to express my admiration for the Governor for graciously conceding defeat in his moving speech underlining that country comes first and calling on congressional leaders to cooperate at this critical time. It is remarkable that the President spoke to the Governor and said “We may have battled fiercely, but it’s only because we love this country deeply and we care so strongly about its future”.

 

That was a sign of civility and responsibility at their best. The fiercely fought campaign to win the White House culminated in peace, sending a strong message to the whole world that democracy works as long as people freely participate in very large numbers in the affairs of their country as was the case in the US Election 2012.

 

Above all I congratulate the American people with admiration for the stunning progress that they have made in showing for the second time to the world at large that it is only merit and competence that matter for ascending to the highest office in the land.

 

Before I move on to the next section, I just want to emphasize that the phrase “fair and free election” is absent in the lexicon of the corrupt TPLF regime, which is still ruling by the gun in breach of its own constitution stipulating freedom of expression and rule of law.  The regime blatantly lied to the whole world in claiming 99.6% ‘victory’ in election 2010 and stole the first ever democratic election of 2005 in which it suffered convincing defeat so much so it was humiliated and angered as to send the victors to prison.

 

Obama victory speech; sham power transfer shame in Ethiopia

 

President Obama began his speech with: “Tonight, more than 200 years after a former colony won the right to determine its own destiny, the task of perfecting our union moves forward.” He went to say “It moves forward because of you. It moves forward because you reaffirmed the spirit that has triumphed over war and depression, the spirit that has lifted this country from the depths of despair to the great heights of hope, the belief that while each of us will pursue our own individual dreams, we are an American family and we rise or fall together as one nation and as one people.”

 

The Ethiopian people have crushed several external wars of aggression among which those by Italy, Turkey, and Egypt are prominent. This they did at great sacrifice in human lives and injuries not to mention colossal damage to property and enduring the scourge of famine in order to safeguard their independence. In the last 21 years however the spirit of patriotism has been weakened by the TPLF regime distorting history. The belief of which President Obama spoke for his country is dying in Ethiopia under the TPLF.

 

This is a time of political crises, economic decline and biting poverty in a divided Ethiopia along ethnic and religious lines deliberately pursued by the brutal TPLF/EPRDF ruling regime. I thought that both the opposition and the misruling regime can draw lesson from the following three excerpts from President Obama’s victory speech in order to rectify their serious weaknesses before it is too late to avert impending national catastrophe. Note: The highlights in the excerpts are mine meant to emphasis the points I wanted to make:

1.         “We believe in a generous America, in a compassionate America, in a tolerant America, open to the dreams of an immigrant’s daughter who studies in our schools and pledges to our flag. To the young boy on the south side of Chicago who sees a life beyond the nearest street corner. To the furniture worker’s child in North Carolina who wants to become a doctor or a scientist, an engineer or an entrepreneur, a diplomat or even a president – that’s the future we hope for. That’s the vision we share. That’s where we need to go – forward. That’s where we need to go.

2.         Now, we will disagree, sometimes fiercely, about how to get there. As it has for more than two centuries, progress will come in fits and starts. It’s not always a straight line. It’s not always a smooth path. By itself, the recognition that we have common hopes and dreams won’t end all the gridlock or solve all our problems or substitute for the painstaking work of building consensus and making the difficult compromises needed to move this country forward. But that common bond is where we must begin.”

My comment: The TPLF is hell-bent on breaking common bond that kept  the culturally diverse Ethiopian people together; to my utter dismay, some opposition forces with hidden agenda of secession are making it easy for the brutal regime to exploit the pernicious situation.

3.        “And when we go through tough times, when we make big decisions as a country, it necessarily stirs passions, stirs up controversy. That won’t change after tonight, and it shouldn’t. These arguments we have are a mark of our liberty. We can never forget that as we speak people in distant nations are risking their lives right now just for a chance to argue about the issues that matter, the chance to cast their ballots like we did today.”

My comment: The highlighted statement is so true and wholly applicable to the worsening dire situation of grave violation of constitutional right of protests in Ethiopia being perpetrated by the repressive ruling regime even as the President was making his victory speech.

 

All the above (1,2,3) provide a classic example of a visionary leader that seeks the consent of the people to lead them where they want to go with full understanding of present difficulties and the promise of good times to come. It is in sharp contrast to the pernicious contemptuous decree of “no change” issued by the TPLF top leaders and echoed by the EPRDF Prime Minister, Haile Mariam Desalegn, stressing that the legacy of his late “Great Leader” Zenawi shall stay intact undiminished for implementation in full!

 

The President concluded his speech by articulating the bonds or attributes that made America exceptional – holding together “the most diverse nation on earth”. These are belief in shared destiny; acceptance of “certain obligations to one another and to future generations; “the freedom which so many Americans have fought for and died for come with responsibilities as well as rights. The President said that “And among those are love and charity and duty and patriotism.”

 

I believe we can seize this future together because we are not as divided as our politics suggests. We’re not as cynical as the pundits believe. We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions, and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are and forever will be the United States of America.

And together with your help and God’s grace we will continue our journey forward and remind the world just why it is that we live in the greatest nation on Earth.

Thank you, America. God bless you. God bless the United States”.

 

President Obama positively mentioned God thrice in his speech in sharp contrast to the Christian Prime Minister Haile Mariam Desalegn in his acceptance speech of his assignment at the rubber stamp Parliament; he extolled his late “Great Leader” to the level of deity in that speech most probably prepared by the atheist secretary of the party – the avowed foe of religion hailing from Sirte where Orthodox Tewahido Orthodox Christians are victims of mockery and witch hunt in full view of the government. It is saddening that the Prime Minister overlooked the age-old tradition of mentioning God in his closing speech or therein elsewhere – for that matter in a country where 96% of the people are pious Christians or Muslims

 

Those in glass houses 

Comparing two epochs before and after 1974: Ethiopia was going through rapid economic growth before the 1974 Revolution as acclaimed by the international community. Agriculture was burgeoning and farm produce was being exported. Agro-industry was mushrooming. Ethiopia was creditworthy. This growth phenomenon inspired pundits that the country was on take-off stage to land on the first rung of the economic ladder according to the then available criteria. The principle of self-reliance was taking center-stage; entrepreneurs were migrating from cities to the country side to undertake agricultural development with a view to becoming the breadbasket of the Middle East. Educated Ethiopians at tertiary institution abroad rushed home and zealously participated in the development of their country.

Master plans were made for the development of cities during the Imperial regime. These included modernization of Addis Ababa, Awassa and Bar Dar among others. Emperor Haile Selassie was pondering taking the political capital to Awassa.

Alas, the drought of 1973/74 that hit two provinces in the north dashed progress; it became reason for the outbreak of the 1974 Revolution – from which peaceful change ensued at first until it was hijacked by the notorious military junta spearheaded by Mengistu Hailemariam.

Emperor Haile Selassie was dethroned in the aftermath of the Revolution. Somalia’s renegade tyrant Ziade Barre soon invaded Ethiopia by taking advantage of internal strife in the country and forgetting that Ethiopia fought at the United Nations for the independence of Somalia.

The period of TPLF misrule (1991 to date) stands accused, inter alia, for: leaving Ethiopia landlocked; its unprecedented sellout of vital national interests and gross violation of basic human rights documented by the international community; unaccounted capital flight to the tune of US$ 25 billion; nauseating corruption in; unprecedented level of exodus of political and economic refugees often victims of death and arrests on their journey; forced repatriation to face danger at home; sponsored migration of manpower in search of greener pasture.

So as the old adage goes those in glass houses should not throw stones. The crimes and treason of the TPLF regime by far exceed those of the Derg regime. In other words, the brutal hypocrite TPLF/EPRDF leaders lack moral authority to shift blame on what they call remnants of previous regimes for criticizing thier drastic failures.

In conclusion

I fully subscribe to this famous quotation by Thomas Jefferson “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed”.

And, based on the immortal words of Jefferson:-

  • I justify my argument that the TPLF regime did not derive its power from the consent of the Ethiopian people. Therefore all political prisoners Andualem, Eskinder, Reeyot et al must be released unconditionally without delay; that all restrictions on freedom of expression be lifted; political parties including MEDREK, AEUP et al are regarded as partners rather than enemies publicly declared as such by the late tyrant Zenawi; and
  • I sense in President Obama’s speech that he will revisit the policy of his Administration on Ethiopia. His slated visit to Burma reinforces my hope.

 

LONG LIVE ETHIOPIA!!!

rababya@gmail.com

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