Democracy, Tolerance, and G7’s position towards Eritrea

16 mins read

September 25, 2013

By Kirubeal Bekele


Andargachew & BirhanuOn Sunday September 22, 2013, the Ginbot 7 leadership had a very revealing and open discussion in Washington DC meeting like it has never had before. As you know, the issue of working with Eritrea has been a bone in the throat for G7 as well as for its supporters around the world. Many have argued against using Eritrea as a spring board to wage an armed struggle against TPLF.

Opponents claim that Eritrea cannot be trusted based on their experience with Isayas Afeworki so far and his public rhetoric as it relates to Ethiopia. They may have a point. But the problem is that they don’t practice the position they defend or argue for. They don’t provide an alternative and actually implement that alternative. For example, they don’t answer to the question of where to wage an armed struggle and show us the way by an example.  They don’t. Why don’t they find a place within Ethiopia and wage an armed struggle and show us the way? Why don’t they go and practice what they preach like G7 Popular Force instead of simply analyzing and arguing from the comfort of their homes in the West? What they do is simply disagree and sometimes with bitterness and even animosity against G7’s position towards Eritrea.

Instead of making an honest and logical attempt to convince and win  support, those who oppose G7’s position in Eritrea use intimidation, name callings, insults, put downs and innuendos to impose their opinion on G7 and its supporters. But the irony is that these forces claim to believe and fight for democracy in Ethiopia and yet they forcefully impose their position on others. G7 has repeatedly expressed the right of any political entity to follow a path it believes in without imposing its policy or belief on any one else except asking their support. G7 has often made clear that it does not oppose other political parties who pursue a political path different than its own. It is interesting whether we know how to win support with a clean and convincing argument backed by results on the ground instead of using endless spurious arguments and worse innuendos and name callings.

Those who oppose G7 are not all in the same wave length. One group is of course the enemy. Pro-TPLF mercenaries like Awramba Times editor and TPLF dogs are barking against G7 simply to accomplish their paid assignments. It is their duty. There is no surprise there. They are part of the package. There is a second group that questions and suspects a multi-national political force like G7 for fear of revenge by TPLF victims in the form of genocide or a lesser nationwide violence. This group has a legitimate fear.

But opposing such a political force like G7, or any other multi-national force for that matter, is not a solution to their fear. On the contrary, a force such as G7 that has created an alliance with Tigray People Democratic Movement (TPDM), if strengthened, may help stabilize the country by preventing a possible chaos and ethnic violence in Ethiopia when TPLF collapses. But there are some in this group who may have their own ax to grind who dream to preserve the ethnic hegemony of the status quo by reforming TPLF one way or another. And they strongly oppose the emergence of a formidable multi-national party or organization like G7 or any other multi-national party or group. They support and are comfortable working with a passive resistance movement(s) and if possible lead it (them) or high jack its (their) leadership. They infiltrate these types of do-nothing organizations and use them as their handy tool to wage their smear campaign and propaganda against G7 and anything related to it.

There is a third group. These are political organizations that are contemplating and competing for power in Ethiopia after TPLF. They believe that if they don’t cook the dish, it will never taste good. They want power at any cost and by any means. They are ego-driven and uncompromising, full of intrigues and back stabbing. Nothing satisfies them until they are in charge. They oppose everything any opponent does. They deliberately or honestly believe that truth is on their side. Compromise or giving a chance to others wounds their ego. If something is successful and they are not a part of it, by chance or by design, they want no part of it. And they will oppose it. That is why we see people and even organizations that have the audacity to oppose ESAT some openly and a few in silence. This hurts their ambitions and their life long political journey for fame and fortune extinguishing their chances to positions of power in Ethiopia. And they don’t like it a bit.

There is one final group which I consider innocent but suspicious. This is the vast majority that is mostly patriotic that should be handled with care. They have no ax to grind except to see Ethiopia free. It is critical that they should be convinced to make a difference. Our story with Eritrea is full of suspicions and actual heart-breaking experiences due to the war waged between Ethiopia and Eritrea for over 40 years now. This group doesn’t trust anything related to Eritrea no matter who said what including God. It has a legitimate concern but suspicion should not tie our hands and prevent us from doing what needs to be done. Our situation today is desperate. TPLF has done and still doing all it can to destroy our people and country.

This suspicious group should know that there are times in life when you have to do what you got to do to get out of a rock and hard place by swallowing our pride and controlling our suspicion. There is a saying in our country,”?? ???????? ????? ??? ????” that sums it up. This group has to be convinced that there is no alternative except to give the policy of using Eritrea as staging platform to deal with TPLF. This is the group Ato Andargachew Tsige specifically addressed asking them to give G7 a chance while holding its suspicions.

We have been spinning our wheels for over 22 years while TPLF is in power. We have left no stone unturned in this struggle for freedom and democracy in Ethiopia. We have been there and we have done that all we can. Nothing happened. Zilch. Twenty two years is too long for doing the same thing for the same problem over and over again. It is time to take a risk or two and test a different path.  TPLF has been working hard to negotiate with Eritrea for years. It has tried 37 times to get a deal from Isayas. And not so long ago, TPLF has even offered free electricity to Eritrea when the ‘dream’ Dam is completed. Three weeks ago, Ethiopia’s outgoing president said he wants to go to Eritrea and negotiate on an individual bases without representing his government. All these furious activities by TPLF should ring a bell in our brains. They know Eritrea is the only option left for the opposition to launch a meaningful offensive against it. Not exploring to use the Eritrean option, despite its problems, is very troublesome to say the least, especially when no alternative has been found for the last 22 years.

At this point, all of us have one universal enemy. And we have to focus on it. And that is TPLF. And it is wise to postpone and talk about our differences after we free Ethiopia from TPLF at any cost and by any means necessary. Now, we don’t have the privilege or the time to go against each other’s throat. We simply can’t afford it.

The G7 leadership has directly presented the question in a ‘take it or leave it’ manner to the audience and to the Diaspora watching on ESAT. Ato Andargachew Tsige, secretary of G7, has explained in detail about the Eritrean question during the meeting. It may be hard to tell if everybody is convinced. With all their suspicions remaining, there is no doubt many may be considering to give G7’s policy on Eritrea a chance, if it has any possibility of working, given the dire and critical circumstances Ethiopia has found itself at this time.

There is no sure thing in life as well as in struggle. You take chances and you take risks. Not a blind risk but a pragmatic one based on the circumstances you found yourself boxed in. Not taking that risk, no matter how difficult, is committing suicide. You put all your options on the table. And you pick the one with the least risk. And then you move on. And if not, the choice is to get stuck in some meaningless and fruitless activity and continue to waste time, money and even lives for nothing and finally give up and be forgotten. G7 seems to have made a decision to take the least risky option, according to Ato Andargachew Tsige, and is pursuing it with resolve.

We should permit and even provide whatever support we can to G7 while we are trying our own. If we can’t do this, then the easiest and smartest thing to do is to get the hell out of the way. G7 or any other organization doesn’t need the approval or the blessing of others to pursue its objective. Every organization has its own organizational independence. Unless we are supporting it financially as well as in other ways, we are in no position to force it change its policy.  Let G7 pay for its own destiny even if the result along the way confirms our suspicions. Democracy includes the right of an individual or any organizational entity to make its own mistakes and hopefully learn from them. G7 has that right. So does every other organization.

And for those of us with an opposing view, let us do what we believe in without encroaching our position on G7 and its policy towards Eritrea. According to Ato Andargachew Tsige, G7 is not forcing its position upon any person or political entity. He said they don’t oppose the positions other political organizations are taking when it comes to Eritrea.

The take home message is that, we in the opposition camp should all follow our individual political choices in our quest to remove TPLF from power. There is no need to vehemently be involved in slash and burn campaign against a position we don’t agree on. No one party or person has the monopoly on the truth of what works best to bring TPLF down. The only way to establish that truth will be based on the results of a given policy on the ground. And let us all give G7 a chance, with patience and a grain of salt, to see what works with our suspicions still intact. As long as G7 is an anti-TPLF force, we should tolerate the alternative path it is taking at its own risk even if we don’t agree to it. In the final analysis, the vast majority of Ethiopians are patriotic at heart and are dreaming day and night for TPLF to go away, once and for all, out of their lives and out of their beloved country at any cost and by any means necessary. Now!

The author can be reached at




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  1. @Kurabeal,
    Sorry to read this this type of illogical defense for age long tested and failed way of struggle called armed struggle to bring democracy. Ginbot 7 is worse than that on two fronts (1) it again used another failed idea that prescibes “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”, (2) that elected friend for bringing about democracy is Essayas – laughable. I go further, Ginbot 7 has become a criminal too.

    You said that no one has the monopoly on the truth. Again it is laughable. You are using gymics for deception purpose. Ginbot 7 is known for that. the usual Yes, there are proven facts.

    Further more Andargachew was first (1) advisor of TPLF then (2) Employee of TPLF then (3) became Kingit and want to start war from Kenya then (4) became friend of OLF, and ONLF then now (5) Essayas-Ginbot 7 front to bring Democracy to Ethiopia. Look the number of changes he made. He must be mentally unstable.

    Finally, Ginbot 7 will soon be demanded to return our money for cheating us.

  2. @Kirubeal
    When I review Andargachew’s history from the days he was TPLF’s advisor, he seems to me a mentally unstable person

  3. Ginbot 7 you say any one who opposes you not to be Eartrias Isayas dog are weyanes dog is showing as that you are undemocratic and nothing but mercenary of one man Isayas.

  4. From linguistic point of view your piece was eloquent. The analysis could have been much better and it has blemish to say the least. Eritrea is investing heavily which does not reflect in your analysis hence I personally as an Eritrean have tremendious reservation to wards Eritrea´s move despite the fact I know very well TPLF is the cancer of the Horn and should be eliminated sooner than later. I strongly support the analysis of Ato Andargachew regarding future political and economic developments of our region if Ethiopians keep their promises. But can they keep their promises after the demise of TPLF? I doubt so much.

  5. @the writer,
    Thank u for writing peopl’s mind. Ethiopia is not free. The free, democratic Ethiopia where all ethiopians will live, work, particiapate in all aspects of life including politics, business… has not yet started dawning [except for the ruling minority and its associates]. For sure woyane/TPLF will continue imprison and kill as much as it can and will never never negotiate to cede power unless by its natural course is de-rooted.
    Its leaders have croocked world and Ethiopian outlook. They are the ones who said “try it in war front if u can! Mengedu cherk yadirgilachuh”-remember the ex-PM?
    The concept of a nation or a country where few elite group take the lead in all aspects of life, specially the politics and resources is no more tenable.

    It is amazing that some people want to try to show that other Ethiopians can’t assue responsibility in relation to national issues. As far as I am concerned, I believe that people in the opposition group G7 included have mature enough people to be trusted to behave in responsible way when it comes to national interest. Discussing issues with them is one thing. But trying to battter people in discussion furms or calling them names is immoral and irrisponsible.
    It is high time, to move on. It is not time to argue on forums which principle works or which one will not work against woyane. It is not wise to discuss some ones policise and programs on cyberspace. It is important that oppositions keep their private or important stuff for themselves as neceassary.
    How does some one know which one policy/program works if he/she doesnot go out, implement, reassess redirect the objectives?

  6. I think as a citizen of Ethiopia, people do have a legitimate concern about working with the most dictatorial regime in the world. No one in the world provide any kind help for free. The question is, what is the Eritrean regime need in exchange? Or is this just providing help to make Egypt happy? We need to know the truth. To be honest, I will never trust any party that work with the help of Isayas Afeworki. There is a price we will pay and I don’t really like that. We need to be more creative and find an alternative way. You said we need to come up with an alternative. However, because we don’t have an alternative now doesn’t mean that we should work with our mortal enemies. If the condition for armed struggle does not exist then we should find another way. I don’t think that armed struggle is the only way to oust a repressive regime. We can learn from many countries and people who followed a different method and we should come up with our own unique method. The problem we have is not choosing between armed or non-armed struggle but UNITY. Even after the defeat of TPLF by armed forces if we don’t unity how are we going to sustain the victory? Let us think a little bit harder!

  7. Shabia is the main beneficiary if some kind of link is formed with Ethiopia. Ethiopia is a huge market for anyting that shabia would produce. It is therefore in their interest to help and support groups like G7F to get rid of the fascist woyane.

  8. Lij Kirubel,

    You could have said all this in a single sentence: “We work with Shabiya because we do not have any better alternative”.

    Do I but you claim – an emphatic NO! Because there is a better alternative and that is called peaceful struggle!!!

  9. G7 has the right to choose in whatever way it conducts its struggle against the TPLF regime. The way things are nobody will argue that an armed struggle is a legitimate action to dislodge the Woyane from power. The question is if Eritrea is the best ally to achieve such goal. The relation between Ethiopia are complexe and can be handled only on eqwual basis, which is not the case with G7. Eritreans have their own national interests, beside the fact that whatever assistance they provide besides some trainning and physical facilities cannot be much for an armed struggle against the Woyane. There is also a matter of qui-proquo, what do the Eritreans want in exchange? There is always a price to pay in exhange.
    So far it is all talk and nothing of consequence has happened.
    The future will tell !!!
    Otherwise G7 is the most organized and active political group in the Diaspora for which they should be complimented

  10. 7 reason G7 will never will EPRDF forever
    1.Ethiopian people are not able to afford any war anymore
    2. it is a nightmare to fight and to win wayane
    3.any group who is backed by Esayas is not acceptable by the regional states or internationally
    4 EPRDF has been sysetmatically forcing every opposition for a gorilla fighting since 1995 so this moment is the best for EPRDF
    5.G7 does not represent ethiopian people it only for Amhars
    6.the public relation for G7 is unprofessional he even does not know what he is talking he is still a child
    7.endargashew is a bit sick what is talking is disgusting well i do not blame him he lives with esayas (ke aheya gar yewalech ….fes temera temetalech) al yagere sew

  11. Who havent watched Khalid’s journey to Yemen & what he passed through? how many Khalid’s do we want to see suffering, loosing their dear children, beloved spouses etc? if we stay for 5 more years without change in Ethiopia,I would doubt if we will have Ethiopia at all. … GO HEAD G7! GO HEAD G7!

  12. Menen, Tselote, Hailu … የሚባሉ አስተያየት ሰጮች ‘ቦጋለ ካሳየ ‘ በሚል ስም ባማርኛ G7ን ወርፎ የፃፈውን ሰው ሆነው ወይም ተመስለው በኪሩቤል ፅሁፍ ላይ አስተያየት የሰጡ ይመስለኛል:: በG7 ላይ እንዲህ የሚቅበዘበዙ ወገኖች ያሳዝኑኝ ይዘዋል:: ችግራቸዉ ግን ይገባኛል _ it is a sense of insecurity that made them unashamedly aggressive; in the first place such people could be woyanes themselves or, if not, they could be power_mongering people who are afraid of losing ስልጣን after the fall of tplf. watvr the case, they’re bullshits and toooo selfish who prioritize their belly than the death of our country. ‘ካነጋገር ይፈረዳል ካያያዝ ይቀደዳል’ እንደሚባል ከብእር አጣጣላቸውና ድንበር ከሳተ ንዴታቸው መገንዘብ የሚቻለው ነገር እነዚህ ሰዎች አምርረዋልና G7 የሚቻለውን ሁሉ አድርጎ በህዝባዊ አመፅም ይሁን በሌላ ዘዴ ወያኔ በቶሎ ካልተወገደ እንደግስላዋ በንዴት ተንጨርጭረው ሊሞቱም ይችላሉ:: ‘ቅና ያለው በእናቱ እንትን ይቀናል’ አሉ! ትዝብትን የማይፈሩ ጉደኞች ናቸው _ ለነገሩ ሆዳም ሰዉና ወያኔ ምንም ነገር አይፈሩም::

  13. Thank you Zehabesha for this article and the general stand you have taken in relation to our struggle against Woyane. We have to stand with G7 and make it go from strength to strength and that will take care of all the fears we have for what so ever reason. G7 approach is the best we cane ever have in our situation.

    The best stratagey for us is to srow all our weight behind G7 to make it a player with strength. By standing in our tribal camps we simply work hard to wards our doom. OLF, Moresh et la are all horses to our doom, we must get off these monsters and rally around G7. Stop listening to the distractive side voices that are either paid to do Woyanes job or living in their own respective dream world as they do unpaid job for Woyanes’ malicious plot of divide and destroy against our country. Eritrea has no opetion apart from working with Ethiopians to bring an end the suffering of Eritreans to an end within and out side Eritrea itself.

  14. The leaderships of Ginbot 7 are not trusty worthy enough to lead 80 million people cause,also Asmera’s ‘erratic dictator willingness to live with peaceful and stable Ethiopa.The reason Ginbot 7 leadership’s anemic support generate from 97 election fiasco.

  15. I could not fully comprehend what the Professor was saying. But if he is one of those individuals or a member of any group that advocates or condones violence as a means to bring about a political change back home, then he or his group will not muster any of my support. As I said before many times our people has seen enough violence and went through unconscionable hardships as a result of such political violence. Violence begot violence; Violence begot pitching harmonious people against each other; Violence begot societies getting ripped off their sensible values. I can’t start to comprehend what a society would our country turn out to be if for every political change, violence is the only means to end it. Just look at the next door. Name any of them. Somalia, Sudan, Southern Sudan. Now Kenya is tittering on the edge. It gives me chills in my spine and nightmarish nights if violence is imbued in the psyche of our youth as the only tool to bring about a regime change. I personally hold all those who advocate violence as the only form of struggle responsible for the youth who will lose their lives or well-beings. History will hold them responsible for wanton bloodshed that will uselessly flow. They will not get any of my support and not even one red cent. In my advanced age, I have seen many and many young individuals losing their priceless lives for just causes but being driven into senseless forms of violent struggle. They shed their sacred blood in vain. I still remember faces of those bright individuals from back in the early to mid 1970′s who marched into smoldering flames bare-handed to their deaths. They were told by leaders of their group that their individual sacrifice will produce thousands of more replacements. They could have been one of me with families and grown up children. I have asked some individuals back home in the 1990′s if they can find the names of those well educated persons are on the list of victims of the Red Terror. A lot of them were indeed there on the list. I sobbed and did so bitterly. Quite a few of them were Summa cum laude, magna cum laude graduates of famous universities here in the West. They took the writings of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Mao so literally that they surged ahead to their deaths. Just imagine if they were all still alive. Just imagine!!! It brings tears to my eyes still remembering them. I hate violence. I despise it!!! No more violence!!!

  16. I understood that the author and the g7 leadership didn’t know ethiopia very well. If this struggle continue till doomsday, it will not be successful. The only option the party has to do is coming in a peaceful manner with a better alternative. The party has spent more than 7 years in armed struggle.But it couldn’t liberate a single village from the regime. It seems that the struggle only exist on facebook and twitter only.The party’s preference to stick itself with eritrea is the act of mercenary.

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