By Belay Zeleke
As I write this letter I started remembering interviews with Professor Ephriam shortly after the 2005 stolen election of Ethiopia. I listened over and over again and his answers to the questions of the interviewer were cloaked in riddles. He would not answer the question about what exactly happened during his efforts as he negotiated between TPLF/Meles Zenawi and the leaders of Kinijt. It was very odd and bizarre to me that this so-called elder was not able to transparently explain what occurred as he was shuttling between the prison where the democratically elected leaders were being held and Arat Kilo palace. I concluded that perhaps I did not fully appreciate the “shimgelena”protocols of my culture. However as time went on and some information started to leak out about the situation it was clear that something nefarious was at play.
Leaving this aside I just read the open letter penned by Professor Ephraim Isaac in the Reporter magazine, an Open Letter to Ethiopians and Abroad . I must say that I had to make sure that I read it twice before reacting. There are so many platitudes and obvious historical references to tug at the hearts of Ethiopians that I actually found it condescending and distasteful. My first reaction was outrage that Professor Ephraim would dare come at this time. Where was he for the past 13 years and more so the past 3 years when hundreds of young Ethiopian children, youth, fathers, mothers… have been murdered and thousands jailed by EPRDF/TPLF merely for peacefully wanting their voices to be heard. What moral high ground does the professor have and how dare he think that Ethiopians will listen to anything he says. Where was he when the Ireecha massacre happened? Where was he when the youth were gunned down in Gonder and Bahir Dar by snipers? Where was he when Agazi/TPLF killed the youth in Chelenko? Where was he when TPLF soldiers started raining bullets on the religious procession of Kana Zegelela during Timket in Woldiya? Hamaresa, Moyale…. Where was he? And how dare he?
However my second reaction was relief because it is better to fight an enemy you know. Let the enemy show themselves. This tired and old TPLF/EPRDF is out of ideas and strategies. They are looking into their bag of old tricks.
1) Come out on TV and say there is a leadership problem, we in EPRDF/TPLF will look inward and fix it….. That didn’t work!!!
2) Send out cadres and intellectuals to preach that it is an economic issue and that due to the rapid growth of the economy the government is not able to quickly provide relief by creating new job etc…… Well that went down like a ton of bricks!!
3) Throw out some flares and give good lip service that the 27 year EPRDF/TPLF is a young a burgeoning democracy in transition…. Strike out.
4) Preach that the economy is one of the fastest growing in Africa. Oh wait the currency was devalued in October 2017 ahead of the Managing Director of IMF visiting Addis in December. This visit was during the midst of this current unrest which some say was to advice the Ethiopian government to take heed of foreign loans. And by the way, the inflation rate for consumer good has gone up to 18 percent just in December. The unemployment rate in the country is about 14 percent officially however some experts say that it is likely above 20%.
and oh yes there is a drastic shortage of foreign currency. It can take up to a year to open an LC…. Next please!!!!!!
5) Go back to the State of Emergency play book to choke the people of Ethiopia and force the people to cower in fear. Surprisingly and to their credit the parliament controlled by EPRDF/TPLF did not pass the resolution by 2/3 as seen on video and printed articles right after the vote. So the EPRDF/TPLF cooked the books and changed the numbers hours later to report that it was a mistake…… Really ????
6) Bring out famous people like Haile G/Selassie that TPLF thinks are going to be heard, and have them read from the book of Bereket Simon. Have them say that there is no real political problem but rather an economic question as well as potential foreign elements trying to cause distrust in the country…. Big Fail!!!!!!
7) Elders… yes Elders that the regime has used in the past that have no significance. Parade them out and have the talk about reconciliation and togetherness, when for the past years these same people have stayed silent…… Not Going to Work!!!!!
I will say that as a youth I would run in my living room whenever I watched videos of Abebe Bikila thinking that I actually ran a marathon. I get goose bumps when I watch clips of Miruts Yifter “The Shifter”. I get butterflies when I watch Kenenisa or Yomif or Genzebe, or Meseret, or Almaz Ayana etc… running. I run with them, my spirit is with them, I am on the edge of my seat until they win because they need us and we need them. I am no different than most Ethiopians in the way we revere our athletes.
Moreover as an Ethiopian I have the utmost respect for elders. We are taught at a young age that elders are not only to be respected but no matter what the situation they know through experience the correct resolution. They have wisdom, so even if you do not agree, their intuition and spiritual guidance will win the day.
However in this time of great trial for our country we must all see clearly and not be disillusioned by our emotions. Ethiopia comes first always.
The TPLF/EPRDF cannot ever be trusted that much is a given. However the motivations of people like Haile G/Selassie and Professor Ephraim is clearly not in the interest of the Ethiopian people. It is my opinion that these celebrities are trying to buy time for this vicious regime that kills it’s own citizens. It is not that these celebrities don’t know, I feel that they are deliberately collaborating with this fascist EPRDF/TPLF regime to further their own interests, which may amount to their properties or businesses. So they have chosen material things over the lives of 13 and 14 yr olds being gunned down by snipers, mothers forced to sit on the dead body of their child, father and son killed in their house. They have sold their morality and conscious and more importantly they have sold the Ethiopian people and Ethiopia to the unelected killer regime known as EPRDF/TPLF. No one will listen so please respect yourselves and stay out of the fray.
What we see here is what the west calls “throwing everything and the kitchen sink”. This is an act of extreme desperation by the TPLF and they are trying to see which one will work. The people of Ethiopia are awake; they know these tricks and will not fall for them. This is a movement of the people by the people and they are all chanting the same slogan…”DOWN DOWN WOYANE”….”WOYANE LEBA”…… “WE WANT CHANGE”
In other words your time is up EPRDF/TPLF and the only way this will end is when you give up your power to the people.
The struggle continues…..