Article for ethiopiaforums.com by Binyam Aberra :
In Ethiopia we are facing national betrayal. The issue at stake is indifference in the face of social disintegration and political arrogance towards people’s coexistence. Structures that are at place are adverse, controlled by disruptive regime manifested by: the shifting patterns of governance, political disorientation leading to state collapse, severe socio-political instability, violent regime, alienation of individual or groups and alternative political entities from nation building process, creation of hostile ethnic federal states, and lack of clear and functional political institutions.
In the country where ballot power is dumped into the dust bin and where people’s power is suppressed, non-violent civil disobedience is a must in order to gain civil liberties and freedom. Ethiopia was/is victim of home born untamed wild political elites, who apparently took holiday from cultural and historical values of their people. For socio-political and economic crisis in Ethiopia, the rise and fall of the gangster political elite government have to be blamed. Both the ruling political and opposing groups married Ethiopia without loving it, by force.
The challenge of leadership is showing an absolute love and respect to its people and defending the nation’s vital interest (i.e. geo-political, social and economic) and people’s freedom. The question is how to build the political system that could “detoxifying Ethiopia” from present deep rooted political dictatorship and institutional corruption.
The two principal ways of detoxifying political misery in Ethiopia:
1. Understanding and recognizing that police and military force in Ethiopia are trained not to prevent and protect disorder but to promote it.
2. Acknowledging and recognizing that opposition political elites (even though they claim having missioned with better political vision) are not promoting alternative political agenda but rather they attached with their own “deadly ethnic box”.
Ordinary people, far wiser than their leaders for the following main reasons: a) understood the value of tolerance, of co-existence & political compromise. b) Well aware of past socio-political and economic turmoil and an on-going divisive ethnocentric ideology, which eventually can detoxify via clean political agenda.
Notwithstanding the unspeakable agony of civil war during the period of totalitarian collectivism, the current ethnocentric political confusion is in many aspects even worse, for it involves, sponsored and coordinated ethnic elitism.
The present Ethiopian rulers/elites are, consciously and deliberately inflicting deep psychological wounds on a population that has historical and traditional inter-ethnic affiliation/ties and lived together in harmony despite speaking different languages, peacefully sharing a variety of diverse cultural, traditional, historical and political values. Without underestimating instances of past ethnic profiling that have admittedly marred the political landscape in Ethiopia, which laid the ground to the well calculated ethnocentric politics prevalent today , current developments are exponentially more dangerous.
Ethiopians live by faith and will die when their faith in God and their struggle for freedom dies as well. Some people argue that Ethiopian society is sick society due to many factors-notably unending internal conflict, famine, drought, etc. regardless of the struggle to find a cure. There are many irreconcilable realities in Ethiopia today such as the struggle for freedom/democracy and dictatorship. These are very much conflicting realities from which the nation cannot escape, unless the existing self-appointed political elites opt for decent and mature human moral/ethical behavior.
Dictatorship is predicted on disloyalty to common moral codes and rule of law. The ugly reality of dictatorship continues drowning Ethiopia into misery, destroying human and economic resources. In Ethiopia, we are living at a turning-point in our history, as conflicts are generated by poverty and political instability results from politico-economic mismanagement and mounting generational problems. Blood, tears, a struggle to cope with famine and drought and corruptions, leave people hungry for freedom and democracy.
Replacing self-deceptive monarchy by politically & ideologically immature military junta in 1974 did not end existing socio-political and economic crisis that had been prevalent for many. The fall of the communist totalitarian regime in 1991 and creation of federal states along ethnic line did not lead to good governance either: rather it exacerbated the existing socio-political and economic problems, with political incompetence and lack of political-will as major factors. Instead what has happed was the transition from dictatorship to another dictatorship raising tensions to a new, far higher level. The risk-faced by the nation’s political management is the result of a total lack of will to recognize the power of people. Yet people power is what makes possible the implementation of practical answers for practical problems. Instead state sponsored corruption increased hindering creativity and ethical living.
Ethiopia is in a political crisis. It faces a social crisis. It is clearly in an economic crisis. It is experiencing academic crisis. It is living through a moral-ethical crisis. The people are facing a psychological crisis. The nation is in a management crisis & thus a leadership crisis. Therefore, Ethiopia is in a human and spiritual crisis. In another words, the country is in a total crisis.
Current crisis in Ethiopia is an expression of militarism and belief in gun-power. Thus it is an absolute dictatorship, which is savage by nature. It is sad to see in the 21st century its presumably educated political elites behaving like wild animals. We can argue that it is possible to tame wild-animals rather than taming sick-minded political elites.
Dictatorship is a concentrated evil that killed and is killing core values of people, leadership in consensus and consent of people. The question is why do individuals become dictators? What do they want to achieve? The answer is that dictatorial practice in Ethiopia is question of survival.
In Ethiopia healthy political games are never played. Most self-proclaimed politicians seemed to engage in promoting infectious politics, hate politics and politics of elimination rather than tolerance and compromise.
Ethiopians live in an arrested political environment, full of fear and intimidation by its own sons and daughters. It is equally important to note that the formation of united Ethiopia has more benefits than disintegration into small and vulnerable states.
Definition of Ethiopian geography, ethnicity and use of diverse regional languages is shifting our understanding. The challenge remains how to create a new united and greater Ethiopia, open for changes and Ethiopia that entertains and welcomes diversity. On the process democracy and rule of law are key factors to deal with.
It appears that the current political reality of Ethiopia is marked with an irreversible move and struggle towards democratic governance. No one will stop it. With no doubt Ethiopians are not for an ideological game but for a change that transforms dictatorship into democracy and assures supremacy of the rule of law. We are in political hotline, the real one.
Revolutionary spirit of dictators (particularly, in Ethiopia) is self-centered; self enriching; self-glorifying; self-gratifying, thus ethnocentric and backward at the same time. As a cover-up, revolutionary dictators use minority rights, promotion of revolutionary democracy (as they verbalized and published it), rights of self-determination as an appeal and survival methods. Dictators’ lust for power is great, thus their principal goal and mission is creating police-state in terms of prolonging their stay on power.
Today’s Ethiopian’s self-appointed revolutionary democrats(?) claim to have a vision, their own vision which is ruling people without it’s will, consent, consensus, compromise, dialogue and tolerance. This vision can be said, is a sick mind’s vision; a vision that is invented, designed, fashioned, sponsored, coordinated, promoted and transplanted into the larger society. It is an illusionary vision detached from reality. Hence it is not people’s vision. It is a poisonous vision that kills social values. Again the question is how do they plan achieve this vision?
Dictators can achieve their goals by sole means of turning one group over the other based on “divide and rule” philosophy. Other component used to achieve their goals are the following: imprisonment, torture (psychological, social, moral, economic, political and physical), creating fear in the society, using terror as an instrument of politico-economic policy as well as by killing whom they consider is a threat to their power.
Today’s Spartans of Ethiopia built strategy of, forward fortification, where their principal aim is to loot, keep professionals, students, farmers and business people away from their commitment. They use all tactics to make each group submissive and dependent. In order to achieve their ill-motivated objectives they divided ethnic communities by creating conflicts and unhealthy competition, nepotism, thus disorienting masses and interrupt social communication system. Political debates, market places, funeral services, weddings, business centers and academic halls no longer serve as a means of social communication. Journalism with untrained and half-cooked individuals lost its prestige. Mass media is controlled, social instability is on-set, bombs are blowing-up here and there, and innocent people are blamed and punished and criminals either remain on power or run away.
What option left for Ethiopians? What can we do to reverse such inhuman condition into human one? Who can be actors of change? What are the methods which can be utilized? The danger always for those “change-seekers” is falling into the same traps of dictators namely repeating the usual lies of previous regime or using their inhuman methods or opting for warfare or even spreading hatred among communities or widening fault lines. The best thing we could do is utilizing the power of information not to blackmail or for character assassination but for education and political consciousness purposes rather than mere propaganda.
In conclusion, politics arrested by few greedy elites; economic system arrested by corrupt money loving groups or individuals; culture arrested by confused secularists; social integration arrested by empty and assumed ethnic superiority complex and divisive ethnic politics; ethnicity arrested by identity crisis; rule of law arrested by law breakers and religions arrested by “half-cooked” high priests need to be liberated by people with decent moral behavior. There will not be a change in Ethiopia unless the present political elites (both those on power and those struggling to replace them) have a clear conscious to distinguish between principles; right and wrong.
Change  is possible only when we are able to recognize our wrong-doings, therefore so long as political corruption remains dominate factor in the Ethiopian soil political and economic misery will remain intact. In Ethiopia all of us need to confess for every misery that has happened and continue happening. There is nothing like, “they are devils; we are saints philosophy”. The bottom line is that we created our problems in terms of inventing them; promoting them; animating them; sponsoring them; nurturing them; executing and validating them. Ethiopia and Ethiopians should not be a means to trade-on. Ethiopian’s should stop playing “Melese’s card”. God bless Ethiopia!
. Change does not occur when the regime is at its full strength but happens only when, it looses control, when the “appetite for power” decreases, confidence and when the system cracks and when level of vulnerability (economic, political, governance and social.
. In the eyes of Ethiopian political elites everything is useless: history stupid, culture stupid and social life is stupid, corruption is ethical (though ethics commission is established) moral is immoral. They lack manners in day-to-day expressions and socialization with people of Ethiopia.
This Article writer Binyam Aberra can be reached by email firstname.lastname@example.org
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