I read an article (a commentary) titled “Abebe Gellaw Vs Guesh Abera – Amharic version” by Wosenseged Gebrekidan posted on Awramba Times 26 January 2013.
Let me first say that in general I appreciate the writer for expressing his observation, feelings, criticism, and forwarding suggestive ideas about the necessity of staying focused on the bigger picture (the survival of the country), not on particular cases such as the alleged conspiracy by one of the worshiper of the late Ato Meles Zenawi to attack/kill Abebe Gellaw. I also appreciate his “genuine” concern about our poverty of civility, tolerance, rationality, accommodativeness, and etc.
However, when I read most of the expressions /statements between lines very attentively, I have to say that his overall way of argument is over -dominated with a kind of “smart and systematic “way of ‘defending “not only Guesh but also the mastermind of the tyrannical ruling circle (the late Ato Meles Zenwai) and those ruling elites who have no any other better agenda and policy but to carry on the “great legacy” of their “brain father”. Let me be more specific:
1) He quoted his poem “Gedai ena Muach” (“the killer and the victim”) to substantiate his argument. And I have to say that I listened to this poem fairly a long time ago on a media which I do not remember and I found it very meaningful as far as our culture of taking political power by any illegitimate means including killing and staying in power using that same if not much more horrible means is concerned. I hope Wosenseged does know very well the continuation of this very sad political history for a quarter of a century by the incumbent ruling circle unless he wants to see the reality quite the contrary. But, when he uses his poem to support this particular case, he did not want to tell us why and how brothers and sisters kill each other, and most importantly, he is not courageous and honest enough to tell the innocent people of Ethiopia who is or are behind those deadly killings. Well, rhetoric (be it in the form of poem or otherwise) is something but being courageous enough to call all spades spades is another thing. Unfortunately enough, Wosenseged is “courageous” for blaming the diaspora in a very general and conclusive fashion instead of forwarding his criticism in a constructive and forward –looking manner. His very intention of showing a kind sympathy to those who are very active parts of the dirty political drama is not difficult to understand and that is cyinical.
2) He makes not only very crude generalization but also a very ridiculous conclusion by simply taking some bad and nasty expressions/words of those who appear in pal -talks, web pages, and electronic media. I strongly agree that we need to minimize if not avoid these kinds of extremely undesirable behaviors and practices. I am saying minimize because it is very naïve or unrealistic to expect something unwanted or harmful to go away because we want to or with some sort of ‘miraculous “change. This kind of perfection or near perfection is not attributable to the very nature of human behavior and the process of human interaction. Yes, we have to work hard to get out of a very backward and harmful behaviors and practices. But, over exaggerating our lack of culture of civility, tolerance, rationality, far-sightedness, forward-looking as if we are not the product and members of it, and inundating this challenge of ours with all kinds of complaining and counter –complaining, blaming and counter –blaming, attacking or defending and counter-attacking or defending with no forwarding constructive solutions does not take us anywhere.
3) I strongly believe that we have not only the problems of which Wosensegd is talking about but also all kinds of backwardness in all walks of our lives. Now, the question is what and who is one of the major contributors of the very age-old and serious problems that keep going worse and worse? Needless to say it was and is our rulers: monarchies ,princes, military dictators and now the formers “ freedom fighters” who turned to be not only dictators but who put the very survival of the country at risk and exposed millions of innocent Ethiopians to a general crisis: political. Socio-economic, human rights, moral and even religious. I wonder why and how commentator Wosenseged did not want to make the case of Abebe Gellaw and Guesh Abera (the very parasitic cadre of the inner circle of TPLF) relevant to the very dirty political culture being played by the party/front in political power. Believe or not, going around the bush (the symptoms of illness) will never make sense leave alone contributing to making a difference. I wish it could. But that is not the way it works!
4) Wosenseged tries to argue that it is wrong to amplify only the right/justified cause of one side .I think he wants to mean that one has to be fair and balanced. As a matter of principle and playing a fair and balanced game in the existence of a relatively fair, free and equal political environment, this argument is absolutely fantastic. But I do not know how this argument can hold water when it comes to dealing with two not only diametrically opposite but unfortunately one side is going after another to the extent of destroying him or her. I do not know how the ‘diaspora and some media” are to be blamed for not being fair and sympathetic to a guy who allegedly conspired to attack an innocent fellow patriotic Ethiopian because he got sad and mad about the death of his “earthly god. “ Well, this hard fact might not make sense to Wosenseged, and that is up to him. But, as I always argue, I remain with my strong argument that advocating/supporting/sympathizing a government or ruling party that is determined to use any deadly means and highly parasitic political cadres has nothing to do with the right of exercising democratic rights or civil rights. I have never come across any democratic principle or doctrine that has something to do with the policy of “the end justifies the means” (yetim fichew duqetun amchew). That is putting a real sense democracy upside down!
5) Wosensegd tries to make a point of ‘strength’ by saying that “As Abebe is a hero, so has the other side.” In the first place, nobody has said Abebe is the only hero. What genuinely concerned Ethiopians were and are saying is that Abebe has done a heroic /patriotic job by challenging the late dictatorial leader (Ato Meles Zenawi) right in front of so many dignitaries and the world at large. Abebe had put the “great leader of the century “in a very self-confidence crisis and made him uncover his true nature of dictatorial behavior, that is “the attitude of nobody dares to challenge me!” Abebe did act absolutely legally /lawfully or politically and morally right! I do not know what Wosensegd wanted to tell us when he said “the other side has its own hero too.” Did he mean the side of the guy who allegedly conspired to attack Abebe is a hero? I really do not get it. If that is the case, I am sorry to say but I have to say that some of our fellow compatriots are in a state of serious confusion or a wrong and dangerous state of mind.
6) Yes, nobody with his or her right mind argues that Abebe and Guesh are not Ethiopians. Yes, it is right both have the right to worry about their country. However, it is totally different when it comes to the question of what does to be a good citizen mean? What does thinking big about Ethiopia mean? Dear Wosenseged, I strongly beg to differ if you are trying to convince me that innocent citizens who have been and continue to be forced to flee their beloved country by a tyrannical ruling circle like Abebe Gellaw, and those who were sent abroad with the blessing of the ruling party to do the dirty job they are assigned are equally good and valuable assets of Ethiopia. Absolutely not!! Well, if you are saying those guys such as Guesh and other parasitic cadres are your heroes that are up to you. But, one thing must be crystal clear .And that is siding with a deadly political machine has nothing to with building democratic, peaceful and prosperous Ethiopia!!
7) I wish I could go further. But let me add one more point. And that is you tried to honor the late dictator, Ato Mels Zenawi by telling us that “he passed away, and so did others who made history. Abebe will pass away too, and so will I others.” Yes it is an ABC of fact that nobody is created to be immortal. Yes, it is a very simple fact that the country will continue to exist. I want to argue that the life time of individuals and their passing away is not as simple as you wanted to mystify it. I do not think it is a rocket science to know what did dictators do and how they passed away and how they will be remembered is absolutely different from the life history and the remembrance of those who used to fight for political freedom, socio-economic, justice, respect for human dignity. I am sorry to say but I have to say that trying to put those two diametrically different sides in one scale is an inexcusable insult to the very patriotic and genuine fellow compatriots.
Anyway, whatever we may argue, the very reality on the ground, the unbearable sufferings of the people and the very sign of zero-tolerance to the continuation of the two decade dirty political game will change the course of our political history!