Experimenting on the Living Flesh of Ethiopia-(2)theBurden of History
By Samuel Estefanous 10 April 2019
I will never forget the impression (yet enduring and conflicting) I had of EPRDF (Woyane), after seeing the first batch of the Tegadala is in flesh. It was almost like sighting an ET in broad day light. True, we were kids living the impression prone sensitive teen years to the full. All the same the undiluted truth was they appeared morelike an object of great curiosity than a gallant army of liberation. It was indeed a surreal experience to feel ‘liberated’when onegot zero clue of being under siege in the first place. Perhaps that is why the memory is indeed enduring and I might have repeated it a couple of times.
In those days, the one impression none of us kids dared to voice was-‘they are human alright.’ You see, Dergue didn’t care to sparethe mental sanity of the kids when it depicted Woyane as some kinda hydra headed monster. As a matter of fact that was what they actually used to say on prime time TV and Radio. I know it hurts. It did hurt big time and it still does hurt ‘cos the suspicion is dragging on and lingering to date.
But, God knows counter to the propaganda, what we actually got was the total opposite of what we’d expected. The Tegadala is were emaciated, scantily dressed like the Bushmen of the Kalahari, humble, ever smiling, a littletoo ready to make friends and for the most part- functionally illiterate.We didn’t understand the politics but we were totally disarmed by the gentle smiles, particularly those of the jungle femme fatale…however as we grew older, we realized that the politics didn’t suit us.We protested itwas damn too primitive to demand folks to ‘fall in’ by tribe in a country where the school masters used to categorize students only by age, grade, heightor academic excellence.
But that didn’t mean our parents didn’t care about ‘race’. I always remembered my folks cared extra more for natives of ‘the ancestral village’. It is healthy, natural and poetic if you really want to know the truth. What turned us off was the political meaning attached to it, worse still the fact that race was made the founding principle of the Nation Building. We were like- whatever happened to the ‘self-evident truth that all men are created equal…’ Whatever was wrong with the ever living dictum-liberte, equalite et egalite?’ How could Racial Profiling become the one singular founding principle of a Nation, when it actually presupposes inequality? I mean it was just fine as a Cause Celebre for a liberation organization like the TPLF, EPLF or OLF but it is a self-defeating self-evident truth to try to build a Nation on such shifting foundation of absolute mistrust. No wonder the Nation almost came apart at the slightest rocking of the boat.
Any way among other things it was the reasonwe kept drifting apart instead of dissolving in to one melting pot of a common Nation.Even when we loved and respected each other, we havealways maintained that suspicious twinkling in our eyes.It is a creepy disgusting thing to do, I know…
Decades later( the other week) when I heard a reputed Mekelle University Professor and researcher of Political Science summarily denouncing ‘yemehal hager sewoch’ as ‘chemilaka’ on Awrambatimes…I was like ‘Goodness Gracious…it is indeed true all these years we have ABSOLUTETLY stayed apart and little seems to have changed from that first sighting of the ER!’ Believe me I was only half joking when I said that.
How did we end up being yemehal and yelay bethsewoch?
Some factors to consider...
1-In acivil war-there is no Winner.
I have no reason to assume TPLF had waged a causeless war. Without any legitimatesolid Causeit wouldn’t sacrifice the priceless lives of 60,000 Tigrean youth. I will never hesitate to honor the fallen. I will never defile their memory by intimating that they had died in vain.
Question is- was the Cause equally shared by all Ethiopians from the four corners of the Country? Without TPLF would there have ever beenan ANDM or an OPDOor a SNNDM? We all know until very recently those were satellite ‘sister’ parties made in the image of TPLF to advance the latter’s causes.
In such circumstance, it would be an absolute willful ignorance to expect us to celebrate the Causes of TPLF with gusto and fanfare…after all the 500,000 strong army it had wiped out was composed of every single Nation and Nationality of Ethiopia and in the very least those soldiers got countless kith and kin…and here is another question I would very much like to forward to TPLF-did those soldiers die in vain?
2-The Naked Disrespect that had embittered the Nation
Lemma Megersa was absolutely right when he declared at Gelma Aba Geda that they had staked theirs and their family’s lives to break loose from the vice like grip of EPRDF’s democratic centralism and join the ranks of the common people. He used the irreverent spooky word ‘telalakinet’ to characterize the state of utter subjugation they had been subjected to in the name of democratic centralism.
Incidentally, I have always wondered how they had survived the inferno and how they had come out of it in one piece.I wouldn’t last a day, nah, I couldn’t last one extended meeting in that kind of sickening and humiliating barn politics.
But why? Why did the system introduce such barbaric system of guardian administration on fellow Ethiopians? I mean to appoint an all-powerful TPLF Guardian to run each Region behind a designated ‘Governor-General’ with no actual executive power independently of the true Chief in actual command is demeaning, disrespectful and uncharacteristic of any organization with any semblance of respect to any Nation, Nationality or People.
How come they had missed the simple fact that such injustice is counterproductive gazillion times multiplied? Makes me wonder…
3-‘Blood is thicker than Water’
The one thing I like about ‘Team Lemma’ is their absolute trust that eventually truth will set us free. To wit, Dr.Abiy had boldly and without mincing words told us that every politician is attached to some kind of racial filiation, more so those with the presumed one single Ethiopiawnet agenda. I concur with a little explanation annexed. There is benign filiation and there is evil filiation. I kinda assume the Ethiopiawnet camp is a little on the benign side…I know in some cases it is a loosely attached façade that peels off instantly. Remember how much enraged and furious Tewodros Tsegaye had become? Suddenly he lost that phony poetic universal aura and started bashing Team Lemma like one possessed. Who would blame him? I wouldn’t….
See, that is why the ancestors passed on the proverb- ‘zer ke lugam yisbal’.
To be continued….
Back to Front Page