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Call me by my Name, Address and Task
Articles

SOLUTIONS WITH DEBTERAW, III

Call me by my Name, Address and Task

Obo Arada Shawl January 5, 2008

The Eway Revolution is about

  • Dealing with the failure of the Monarchy’s Constitution
  • Showing the failure of the DERG’s revolution
  • Telling the truth about TPLF’s anti-democracy and
  • Pointing out the failure of EPLF’s search for justice


    The United States of Aethiopia, which will come in 2013, should dispel the “sea of doubt” among the traders (such as TPLF), territory lovers (such as EPLF, OLF) and the ideologists (such as EPRP). The current problems of mistrust, lie and cheat will be halted when the Eway Revolution is revealed.

Education and Religion

Historically, the three wise men brought Gold, Incense and Murk to the Son of God, Jesus Christ. According to some historians, gold was obtained from Israel, murk from Persia and incense from Ethiopia. The significance of these three products is obvious in today’s world.

The Society of Jesus popularly known as the Jesuits were organized some 470 years ago. This Society branched to Ethiopia, first to Teferri Makonnen School and later on moved to Addis Ababa University. Though the Jesuit’s teaching require the promotion of justice, its member vow of poverty, chastity and obedience. On that basis, the first of the alumni Ethiopian graduates wanted to serve the State and the Church but not the public.

After graduation, it was very unfortunate that the alumni in Ethiopia were not encouraged to be organized. Instead, they were under watchful eye of the government. The alumni association was for the most part was run by one man under the name of Samuel Alemayehu not to be confused with the Revolutionary Samuel Alemayehu. The history of these two individuals’ course of action has contributed much to the current situations in Aethiopia. However, my intention is not to compare the Samuel Alemayehu’s contribution to the Great Society of ours. Instead, let me quote the following

In 1960, there were about one thousand students at the University College of Addis Ababa (UCAA), less than fifty of who were women. Political attitudes were not yet formed and student concerns were introverted and parochial, focusing mainly on conditions in the college. The major conflict concerned the Jesuit administration and their pedagogical methods based on their experience in running elementary and secondary schools in Ethiopia. These methods were applied with minimum adaptation to the university. Student indignation was fueled by many trivial and humiliating restrictions, such as the rules forbidding dancing and whistling on campus. Issues of autonomy for the student council and freedom of expression for the student publication, News and Views were of particular concern. The Dean of Students kept the student council under a tight reign. All material published by News and Views had to be approved by a faculty advisor. Kiflu Tadesse, “the generation”, P: 35

Once the students have left the schools, the outside world also views them with suspicion and jealousy. The majority of the graduates became complacent as the government was the sole employer and those who stood for principles and beliefs have been labeled as anti-Ethiopian. In addition, the majority of high school students did not have the opportunity to continue education. The students had to fail of necessity the High School Leaving Certificate (ESLC). In such a dire condition, it was obvious that the failure of the education program (championed by the Emperor) had helped in the collapse of the Monarch, Haile Sellassie I.

Suffice to say that alumni reunions or forming alumni associations were difficult during Haile Sellasie time. (An alumnus or alumna is ether someone who has attended the school, a former student of a school or someone who has graduated). Alumni reunions are popular events at many institutions organized by alumni associations and are often social occasions for fundraising. The absence of these associations, I believe is behind every problem of past and current. The absence of SEA (freedom of speech, expression and assembly) should be considered in our daily menu.

In other words, it is no wonder that the Revolution was based on the failure of the Education system and its aftermath. The hope and aspirations of graduates and high school students were dashed.

The two elements i.e. the graduates and high school students have succeeded to penetrate the Ethiopian workers to get organized on clandestine basis. According to the literature and other country experiences of Revolution, the proletariat led by CELU (Confederation of Ethiopian workers Union) was embarked to lead the Revolution with alliance of the peasants of Ethiopia.

The failure of workers to lead the peasants has changed the Ethiopian reality and turned into an ugly bloodshed and personal feuds. As this aberration for leaders and followers occurs, The Monarchy and the Church have lost their source of power. Nevertheless, the remnants are still clinging to revive their power base. How far they can go, it is anybody guesses.

My present priority is to dwell on the fate of DEBTERAW who has left the Monastery but retained his faith that would have incorporated a family, and above all he would seek social justice for all Aethiopians without learning from the Jesuits. DEBTERAW wanted to bring social justice through the secular means of politics. DEBTERAW’S personal belief of God or Devil, or both or neither, I cannot testify. But what I know, he blew thousands of minds, touched millions hearts of Aethiopians. Today, I can hear that millions want spiritual journey by calling DEBTERAW as “heal me and touch me.” After all what comes from the heart comes to the heart.

Politics and Revolution

Political changes came from two sources.

  • First, The USAID in collaboration with the government of Ethiopia has funded scholarships for countries south of the Sahara.
  • Second, the Neway brothers had carried out a coup d’etat to topple the 225 King of Ethiopia.

These two events encouraged college students to be political. The African students have come with political traditions to be open and aggressive towards their demands for campus privileges. Some conscious Ethiopian students began to meet in clandestine fashion. But the unconscious college students have noticed albeit uncritically how a powerful king with a heritage for over three thousand years (225 x 15) =3375 years of historical rule could be toppled by officers of his own bodyguard. It was an amazing phenomenon; a light at the end of the tunnel was begun to be seen.

Alternatively, which power of Influence was important to our current conditions? Was it the external factor that was brought by the Africans including the Eritreans who considered themselves as foreigners or was it an internal dynamic phenomenon that was brought and developed through these forty-nine years (1960-2009)?

The answer lies in either of us who were unborn and not interested in the past or in those who carried the internal dynamic Revolution in Ethiopia. Take your choice, the Obama way or the DEBTERAW way? That is, Politics plus Change or Politics plus Revolution. My choice is the DEBTERAW’s way.

The DEBTERAW alias the Eway Aethiopian Revolution is an internal one that recognizes, the effort of Minilik’s modernity, Yohannes’s religious belief, Tewodros’s unity of purpose, and Haile Sellasie’s education program (not system). However, this does not mean that the way these kings carried out was democratic. It was autocratic simple and clear.

The Education Sector Review was a plan designed to stop the mass based education proposed by the Ethiopian government and opposed by the Ethiopian Teachers Association (ETA). The Eway Revolution was emerged to preserve and protect the positive aspects of modernity, belief and unity by reversing the education sector review. That was the last straw that broke the back of the mule so to speak, Haile Sellasie’s system of government into history.

The methodology of bringing modernity, belief and unity via the education system as proposed by Ethiopian Teachers Association galvanized by DEBTERAW to all Ethiopians regardless of race, religion or class was and is via – DEMOCRACIA-

Once the student movement has exhausted its limit to

  • Modernize the country
  • Secularize the state
  • Unite the country and
  • To improvise the education system

The methodology applied to take political power in almost all Ethiopian Liberation Fronts was similar to each other - by armed protracted struggle. Their basis of claim, however, was radically different from one other. The end results are testimony to their objectives and operations.

  • EPLF has waged protracted war on the basis of a “colonial theory”
  • TPLF has waged and is still waging wars for power on the “theory of ethno-nationalism”
  • EPRP is struggling for political power on the “theory of multinationals”
  • OLF is waging war for democracy on the “theory of ethno-colonialism.”
  • Other recent comers are struggling on the basis on the “theory of unity.”

A discussion on the merits and demerits of these theories should be a topic for solutions.

Concluding Remarks

Basically our community is divided into two camps, those who had supported the Ethiopian Revolution and those who regret that they have joined the Revolution. To those who had regretted to join the Eway Revolution, I have nothing to say except to read the following dialogue

ልጅ፤ አባባ አብዮት ግዛልጝ

አባት፡ ምን ልታደርገው?

ልጅ፡ ላፈነዳው።

We all know what had happened in Ethiopia and among Ethiopians and hopefully what is going to happen in the future. Those who like to discredit the Eway Revolution had a kind of hope and child’s mind as indicated in the above dialogue.

The struggles that were applied for societal change in Aethiopia are the following five tenets that I believe were used in the guidelines for revolution and counter-revolution.

  • “The objective of war is to preserve oneself and annihilate the enemy” as preached by Mao Zedong and practiced by EPLF
  • “The Chinese Communist Party claimed to power through its military arm, political power grows out of the barrel of the gun” as practiced by TPLF
  • “We must emphasize politics. Our army is an army in the service of politics and politics must guide the military in its day-to-day work” as preached by Lin Piao and practiced by EPRP
  • “ A hundred victories in a hundred battles is not the best of the best; the best of the best is to subdue the enemy without having to fight,” Chinese proverb as practiced by OLF
  • “Let us demonstrate to the world and seize political power as has happened after the collapse of the Soviet Union as practiced by KINJIT

I believe our choice is clear.

Truth will prevail

For comments and questions

woldetewolde@yahoo.com


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