By Teshome Debalke
Every tyrannical regime that walked the planet earth search for and find hiding places to preserve its draconian and corrupt rule. Making up enemies and beating war drums against manufactured enemies are popular hideouts. Using ethnicity and religion to divide and neutralize the power of the people has always been the easiest for all tyrants. ‘The glory days are coming’ is another popular slogan to keep the people on suspense and distracted while robbing them blind. Manufacturing propaganda to confuse the population is time tested weapon of confusion. Showing off brute force and terror network are reserved when their rules are threatened by popular demand to surrender power is common.
But, the paranoid Woyane goes where no tyranny has ever gone before; hiding behind al-Qaeda, the most intrusive non state international terrorist organization in modern history.
The disgraceful act of Woyane; associating our people of the Muslim faith with al-Qaeda is the new low. We shouldn’t take it lightly like we did when our people were attacked by Woyane for their ethnicity and political beliefs. For sure, it is another desperate attempt to prevent the unavoidable surrender of power to democratic rule. The frantic move is the regime’s way of preempting Ethiopians from coming together to end Woyane’s minority and corrupt rule.
What is even more troubling is the similarity of Woyane’s tactics with al-Qaeda. Like al-Qaeda, Woyane terrorizes the populations to instill fear by ransacking the homes of Ethiopians in public. What makes Woyane even more potent is it also runs the public institutions exclusively to legitimize terror as a means to subdue the population.
The regime atrocity on Ethiopians of the Muslim faith is a continuation of the usual desperate move to remain in power. It worth to note, the regime doesn’t like to be referred as ethnic minority, tyranny or corrupt while it rules as an ethnic minority, by way of terror and extortion. It is like wanting to have its cake and eating it too. Therefore, Ethiopians will be fools not to see Woyane for what it is; a desperate al-Qaeda like tyranny in search of hiding place to extend its rule one more year… days… hours… and by all means necessary. But, blaming Woyane alone shouldn’t be a hide out for the rest of us either. We have to come together to bring down the institution of tyranny and achieve the desired freedom and democracy soon. Looking at our own fault line is more important than blaming the small-time ethnic regime known to the world over for its brutality, corruption and misinformation.
When we deal with tyranny separately we are not demanding the rights and freedom of our people but negotiating with the ruling tyrant. Instead of pleading with the shameless regime to respect our right, we must collectively demand its surrenders for democratic rule, noting less noting more.
Instead of bargaining with a corrupt regime, we must demand it surrender the public resources stolen. Instead of protesting against its atrocity and corruption to the world we must make it stand trial in the world stage.Under no circumstances we should entertain to compromise democracy and the rights and the freedom of the people with anyone let alone the small-time Woyane tyranny. Here is where we often go wrong when we confront tyranny as ethnic and religious group or one interest group or another than Ethiopians. It opens more opportunity for Woyane or others to play the same game of division and hide behind something. Many tried they can bargain their freedom with a small-time ethnic tyranny like Woyane or outsourced it to one political group or another. The result turns out to be a disaster that did more damage than otherwise.
Why are we protesting as ethnic, religion…groups than for universal suffrage of our people? Unless we surrender our freedom to Woyane or outsource our struggle to others or unless we believe we deserve freedom more than others there is no one iota reason we struggle separately to demand freedom and democracy. Are we reducing our freedom to the liking of Woyane?
Many of us are mislead to believe our ethnic identity, religious belief, regional location is enough to get us our freedom and ended up falling victim for atrocious and corrupt regimes and groups. It is partly because of our misunderstanding of how tyranny operates. I am afraid we haven’t learned enough to understand there is no freedom for one without the whole.
It is important to recognize tyranny is a moving target like a terrorist organization. It has no identity, ideology, beliefs, principle etc. For example, one of tyranny’s effective methods of dividing the people is by bribing one group against the other. It isn’t for the benefit of the bribed against others but to create enough conflict thus division to neutralize the people’s power. Another method is giving symbolic gesture to co-apt one group against another to remain in power. It is not because it loves the co-opted over others but a tool minority regimes use to galvanize support to neutralize the majority. Therefore, bargaining with tyranny is a zero sum game. At the end of the game there is noting to gain but a self inflected wound and an empty pocket.
Our fault line is clearer than ever; we expected tyranny can have the good senses to do something right. That expectation threw us off from the important things of democracy that need our undivided attention. The same goes with our expectation of the oppositions. Simply going against tyranny is not enough to accept empty promises. We must demand surrender to democracy from oppositions as much as we do from the ruling regime to bring down tyranny on its knees once and for all.
It all boils down to what we, Ethiopians collectively want as people. We must decide whether we say no to tyranny in all forms or willing to accommodate it as long us it benefits us or doesn’t affect us personally.
WE the PEOPLE must determine our future as one people and a nation. If we value our freedom more than we despise the small time illegitimate ethnic tyranny, we must abide by the rule of democracy. Thus, the first thing to acknowledge is, it doesn’t matter how we shake it or bake it there is no good tyranny but ‘dead’ tyranny, period. Therefore, rejecting tyranny in any form and shape is the first step towards freedom. Second, the struggle is for democracy, not against tyranny or to bargain our freedom with an illegitimate regime as hyphenated Ethiopians. Therefore, there is no negotiation with tyranny; except the condition of surrender. Third, no matter what, we can’t abandon our people at the mercy of tyranny regardless of who they are. Therefore, we must struggle for rights of our people, not take advantage of the violation of tyranny on each other. Finally, no personal ego is big enough to compromise the interest of the people not to work in solidarity with any Ethiopian to put down tyranny and bring about freedom and democracy. Therefore, those that refuse to work towards democracy in freeing the people from tyranny are potential tyrants themselves and must be rejected.
The cost of barging with the devil
The last 21 years, the people of Ethiopia separately and collectively attempted everything in the book to get Woyane, the self-declared ethnic minority regime surrender power to the people’s government. Woyane unequivocally rejected every chance it is offered on the bases of ‘it has the gun and it will rule and robe for eternity’.
The one and only time Ethiopians got the opportunity to collectively and formally reject the ethnic junta at the ballot box was in May of 2005 election. Again, they gave Woyane the opportunity to surrender peacefully but, the response was a massacre of fascist proportion. Ever since, the minority regime intensified its brutality and corruption and preempt the people will as gathering danger to its rule. The latest victims are Ethiopians of the Muslim faith. The excuse this time around is ‘al-Qaeda is coming to institute Islamic government’.
The lists of Ethiopian labeled ‘terrorist’ in Woyane’s book are mounting. It includes human right advocates, journalist, political parties, democratic movements, religious leaders and liberation front. In short, the entire people of Ethiopia became terrorists to preserve the most atrocious and corrupt regime ever seen in modern history.
When Woyane fragmented Ethiopians by ethnicity, religion and region it was preciously to hit us one at time. Therefore, it is easy for Woyane to label one group or another as terrorist and get away with murder. As far as Woyane is concerned anybody that demands rights or surrender of power for the people’s government are terrorist. Thus, we shouldn’t be surprised when the latest victims are Ethiopians of the Muslim faith and more to come. After all, the illegitimate minority regime has no mandate to rule and did its homework how to sustain its brute and corrupt rule. The question is, are Ethiopians collectively ready to force the illegitimate regime surrender?
If there is one lesson Ethiopians should learn by now is the struggle to rid of tyranny is a collective struggle for democracy. There is no ethnic, religious and region divides when it comes to democracy and freedom. If anybody says otherwise they are lying through their teeth and must have motives other than freedom and democracy and should be responsible for aiding Woyane to remain in power.
As Woyane dodge the question of its illegitimacy and corrupt rule, the so called supporters are following the regime in the gutter as accessories in crimes of atrocity and corruption. Why they throw their life away in the service of ethnic tyranny against the people of Ethiopia may not be clear to an average Ethiopian yet. But, the fact they are willing to sustain an illegitimate and corrupt regime will continue to hunt them the rest of their lives.
What is important at this point of the struggle is, not to allow legitimacy for criminality; as the regime and its sorry stooges are hoping to do. In that regard, we will be better off to sort out and document the crimes of the regime’s operatives and prepare for the eventual judgment day for crime against the people and the nation as any civilized society would. What Ethiopians should never do is, reduce ourselves to Woyane level and render collective guilt and punishment as the sorry regime does. Guilt by association is a primitive tool tyrants use to survive. If we adapt it, we aren’t any better than Woyane.
The time has come to put down tyranny on its knees and build democracy once and forever. Whether the regime or anybody else likes it or not there is no way out of it.
* Woyane: The Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), known more commonly and sometimes as Woyane or Weyane (Ge’ez: ሕዝባዊ ወያኔ ሓርነት ትግራይ, Tigrinya: ḥizbāwī weyānē ḥārinet tigrāy?, “Popular revolution (for) the freedom of Tigray”) is a political party in Tigray, Ethiopia. At the last legislative elections, the party was the main part of the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front, that claimed 499 out of 547 seats. Sourse wiki