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Our struggle and the elephant in the room.  By Yilma Bekele

woyane-satenaw-news-9Ethiopia has been in turmoil for over a year and half now. What makes the recent turmoil different is that the character of the protest and the demands by the citizens that is radically forceful than ever before. It is not your usual skirmish in a localized area that is put down before we even digest the cause. It is also true due to the frequent recurrence of outrage by the people and the harsh response by the regime we have sort of became desensitized to all kinds of atrocities.

The Gambelans are removed from their land, the Sidamas are beaten and killed in Loke, the Amharas are forcefully removed from Gura Ferda and Benishangul, the Somalis are massacred and the Oromos were made refugees in their own land and we all saw it, got angry and went back to business as usual. Those that said no were killed, imprisoned or exiled while those on the outside were seen as town criers without a cause.

Thus for twenty four years The Tigrai based party was given permission to do what it wants when it wants with immunity. Our people at home were completely demoralized, beaten and left flailing. They were made to feel like a fish out of water. The Diaspora that managed to escape the clutches of the Woyane regime did not fair any better. It became a reflection of the part dead and semi alive Ethiopian.

It was eleven years ago in 2005 that saw the resurgence of that old Ethiopian spirit of ‘I have had enough and will not take it any more ‘ phenomena showed its face. Kinijit was our coming out party. Ethiopians learnt to fight back. Ethiopians saw the true nature of the Tigrai group in power. This is our story since our second awakening and it took us eleven years to be exact to start the slow process of dismantling forty years of highly destructive behavior we have been wallowing in.

Those that stayed at home decided to try ‘the peaceful’ path and came up with plenty of formulations to organize their people without unduly alarming Woyane leaders. It did not work. Their leaders were arrested (Birtukan, Andualem), their offices were raided, officials were exiled and with the media monopoly TPLF constantly made them out to be incompetent and untrustworthy thus subject to any and all abuse. Our people tried to accommodate by creating different parties and associations. Kinijit gave way to Andenet that inspired Medrek and finally Semayawi (Blue) Party but none met TPLF’s exacting standard that requires all to be subsidiary to the mafia group.

Our independent media did not fair any better. Like the political parties TPLF did not appreciate freelancing and independent thought. One by one all were destroyed and their owners sent to jail (Eskinder, Temesgen, Wubeshet) or exiled (Abebe, Sisay, Derege, Reyot).

The situation in the Diaspora was also affected by the resurgence of ‘can do’ attitude enabled by Kinijit and the victory in the semi democratic election. Many that were forced to forget Ethiopia came back into the fold. The struggle was put on reset and new avenues emerged to challenge the ethnic regime. The Diaspora has always been a natural ally of Ethiopian Nationalism. Woyanes attempt to export its problems created the reverse of what was intended. The Diaspora gained seasoned leaders that started the process of building a movement fit to withstand Woyane machinations.  We have given birth two exemplary organizations. I am of course speaking of Ginbot 7 and ESAT. They were both designed to be able not only defend against Woyane but when necessary to be able to take the battle to its front yard. We have been served well by both.

ESAT as a media has shown such maturity and professionalism in just six years it is another Ethiopian miracle story.  Woyane has tried to infiltrate the organization like they do in any Ethiopian gathering. They failed. Woyane has paid millions to Finfisher and the Italian Hacking Team to derail our precious media. They were caught red handed. ESAT has been tossed around from one Satellite provider to another all because Woyane TPLF spends millions to buy jamming devices (twenty attempts the last six years) from East Europe or China to shield our people from independent news. They send their Federal troops to go on rooftops to dismantle satellite dishes.

The more Woyane dissed ESAT the bigger the love and adoration of our people for the young media outfit. ESAT has handled itself with dignity and professionalism unheard of for an African Media. Today we can truly say without ESAT the plight of our people would have been an empty cry. ESAT changed all that. We have a media that tells our story as it is without any shade. What more can we ask for.

Yesterday October 1st. ESAT had it sixth Birthday celebrated all over the world. It was a beautiful show of force by our beloved ESAT that boasted the width breadth of its reach. From North America to Europe Middle East, Oceania and Africa ESAT brought out the best in us. It is one of a few organizations that is mostly run by volunteers that work tirelessly. ESAT is showing us what we can accomplish when left to our own devices without some idiot Woyane attempting to supervise, disorganized and dismantle as they are doing to our country.

There was only one distressing aspect to the celebration. With the millions of Ethiopians relying on ESAT for news, education and entertainment only five thousand actually are registered contributors. That is a shame. That has to change. If we value ESAT and that is obvious based on the traffic it is our responsibility to nurture it and make it reach its potential. Twenty dollars a month is a cheap bargain and it should not be any burden to those of us in the west. It was heartening to see the contributions that were raised in Ethiopia. For ESAT to do all that it has planed like adding more Ethiopian languages, better smart phone presence, backup satellite channel requires and money. The return on our investment is thousand fold. Here is a link to support ESAT.

What makes ESAT special in our heart is that it is one of the few outfits Woyane tried to destroy with the late criminal boss vowing to shut it down it has managed to thumb its nose on the mafia outfit and lived to sing about it. What more do you want?

Arbegnoch Ginbot7 is another thorn on the side of Woyane. It has lost a leader to modern day international piracy. Woyane only harvested bad will and more anger from that pitiful adventure. They never fail to display their ugly side even on the international arena. The gunfight at the DC Embassy and Ato Andargachew kidnapping are a perfect examples of Woyane jungle mentality. Ginbot7 has thrived even after the loss of such a tireless and able Ethiopian.

The Movement is designed not to allow Woyane virus to enter the group and infect. It has succeeded so far. There no hurry and there is no rush but things are moving along as anticipated. Militarily it has graduated many groups and some already operate in Ethiopia. Politically the Movement has gone the extra mile to accommodate all like-minded groups and form a working relationship.

The merger with Arbegnoch Ginbar was a huge success. The two organizations complement each other. The recent alliance with Oromo Democratic Front (ODF)  is a game changer. It has raised the struggle to a new level. Chairman Berhanu’s testimony at the European Union is the result of hard work by the diplomatic wing and another success story. The little set back with TPDM has been corrected and they are today a formidable ally in the backyard of the enemy.

From its inception the Movement has defined its fight with Woyane as ‘all encompassing.’ Meaning no stone will remain unturned looking for ways to inflict pain on the enemy. It has followed through with the plan. Today it is said the Military is well infiltrated and there is no question the civil service is the best ally of all of the progressive forces in our country. Woyane does not know where the next attack is coming from.

There are those that want to see robust response from the group and its allies. We all want to see that. Wanting is not good enough reason. Passion is great but results are what matters. We are witnessing the unhinged response Woyane has to any and all challenges and exposing its beastly nature everyday for the international community to see its true nature. That is what matters today. We are as a people getting to know our Woyane better and the outside enablers are made to pay attention regarding their association with a regime built on sand foundation. Our worth and value is going up while TPLF Woyane is losing friends and gaining enemies.

We do not hear bombastic declarations and frivolous press release announcing the many important work being done on the ground. The Movement operates stealthily and would rather continue the capacity building than wave and scream to be noticed. That is not the way it is designed. Chairman’s Berhanu’s leadership is defined as ‘steady as she goes and no drama please.’

The TPLF Woyane regime has killed over fifteen hundred Ethiopians including Oromos, Amharas, Konsos the last year alone. Just yesterday the ‘erecha’ celebration that has been held as far back as we remember was a scene of untold crime. The fascist regime used attack helicopters to drop tear gas on gathering numbering over 2 million people and mowed them with guns as they dispersed running for their life. Their crime was for singing, holding their arms in a defiant gesture and flying OLF flag. That is the nature of Tigrai Woyane, cowards that shoot to kill where the old and the frail, toddlers and tiny children were enjoying the holiday. Death rained from the sky and we have no idea how many died.

It is becoming obvious we need a protector from these wild savages. It is becoming clear self defense is taking front row seat at this time of our struggle to be free. We need our own defense force but it is not something to be organized at the spur of the moment. Raising a disciplined and professional force is a painstaking process and requires time and energy. Arbegnoch Ginbot 7 has anticipated such need and worked the last six years doing just that.

There are many things that can be said about our shield AG7 but this is not the time. There are forces that are trying to blame all that has gone wrong in Ethiopia on AG7, Eritrea, OLF, Egypt and others to shift responsibility from the melt down they caused. Why give them ammunition. The job is being done and we are not really interested in pointing out the owner of such beautiful work that is unraveling Woyane.

Thus we have managed to create two formidable organizations that are serving us better than our wildest expectations. They both are the fruits of our smart Ethiopian way of operating when we allow the best in us to rise to the top. Millions of our people are basking in the free, unbiased information ESAT is gracing our life everyday. The current people’s insurrection would still take place without ESAT but the presence of our free media has assured we fight the enemy based on facts and smart analysis.

The eight hundred pound elephant in the room is AG7 that some are shy to talk about and recognize. It is not a good idea. Our struggle has reached such a point that the need for a ‘guardian’ is a burning question. As we have nurtured and raised ESAT it is time we start to pay attention to the next level of the struggle where an armed force is a must. It is time we recognize isolated confrontation, unorganized style of work and empty huffing and puffing is not going to take us one-inch forward. We have been doing that for twenty-four years and have nothing to show for it. It is time we support that works, we build the one that is resting on solid foundation and celebrate our heroes without abandon. There is no turning back with the journey we have started. Victory is assured when we unite and present the regime with an offer it cannot refuse. We can only do that if we have an enforcer of our will standing with us. You really do not think you can overthrow a fascist regime armed to the teeth and not shy about using helicopter gunships and tanks against peaceful people with marches and signature gathering do you?


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