What Do WE Want and Do NOW (that we are thinking about what we want and do?) (Part III)

By Prof. Al Mariam

October 30,2016

which-way-4Author’s Note: This is the third successive installment in a series I have called “What Do WE Want and Do NOW?”. The serialized commentaries have three aims: 1) take stock of the impact of the recent uprisings in Ethiopia against the backdrop of the extreme repression (“state of emergency”) unleashed by the Thugtatorship of the Tigrean People’s Liberation Front (T-TPLF); 2) challenge Ethiopians, particularly Ethiopian intellectuals, to think outside the box, indeed with no box at all, about going forward, and 3) propose some ideas that maybe useful in charting a future course of action given current circumstances.

George Orwell is credited for saying, “In a time of universal deceit – telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”

It is my greatest privilege as an academic and a lawyer to speak truth not only to power, power abusers and misusers, but also to the power-hungry, power-thirsty and even the powerless. We live in an age where political language is used to confuse, to intimidate, to appease and to evade the tough issues. We live in an age where political correctness masquerades as intellectual courage and intellectual cowardice and narrow-mindedness celebrated as goodwill and tolerance. I wholeheartedly agree with Orwell’s observation that, “Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.”

Pure wind and hot air permeate the current dialogues and debates about the situation in Ethiopia. I hear people talking about the “problems” and the “solutions” in an airtight echo chamber. There are few fresh and creative ideas circulating about what needs to be done and how to get it done. Most of us have become prisoners of jaded “old thinking” and continue to engage in patterns of thinking that have proven to be destructive and counterproductive. We have trapped ourselves in our own self-made ideological boxes. We are afraid to think outside the box, let alone bust out of the box and think freely. We find ourselves trapped in a “thinking bubble” because we are afraid of criticism and ostracism. The physical killil (Bantustan, homeland) created for us by the T-TPLF has now insidiously become an intellectual and psychological kilil. We are now not only prisoners of the T-TPLF in an open air prison called Ethiopia, but also T-TPLF prisoners of the mind.

One of the privileges of being an academic and lawyer with no political ambitions whatsoever is that I am unburdened by the demands of political correctness. I call it as I see it. I am sure some will find my ideas provocative, challenging, outrageous and even offensive. Others will find them inspirational, stimulating and even fresh and unorthodox. But I do not write for political effect or expediency. I write for one reason only: To speak truth to power, to power abusers and misusers, to the power-hungry and power-thirsty and to the powerless.

Yes, my TRUTH!

(Continues from Part II, available HERE; Part I available HERE.)

V. Build an “ETHIOPIAN CONSCIOUSNESS MOVEMENT” Fight with our minds!

As I have argued in Parts I and II, the T-TPLF today operates a kinder and gentler black apartheid system in Ethiopia. In its essential attributes and consequences, there is little difference between the minority white apartheid system of South Africa and the T-TPLF apartheid system in Ethiopia.

The most important and devastating weapons used in defeating the white minority apartheid system was not AK-47s and grenade launchers but the minds of Black South Africans.

For a long time, the minority whites succeeded in forcing Black South Africans to accept as a fact that being black is the same as being subhuman and inferior. The whites proclaimed that Black South Africans have no human rights and do not deserve any because it is divinely ordained that they shall be ruled by the minority whites. The Dutch Reformed Church of South Africa (the official religion of the National Party that introduced apartheid in 1948), the ideological architects of apartheid and defenders of racial segregation, decreed separation of the races and white supremacy is divinely ordained by God.

While the T-TPLF has not used religion to justify its ethnic supremacy, it has created its own equivalent mythology about its own ethnic supremacy by propagandizing that they are the only ones who are heroic, brave and powerful; only they are the smartest and the brightest; only they are the chosen to rule over the rest of the God-forsaken Ethiopians. They have a birthright to first-class citizenship, and everyone else can compete for third-class citizenship and beyond. (The T-TPLF has reserved second-class citizenship to those who serve them faithfully and loyally.) The T-TPLF teach their children that members of other ethnic groups in Ethiopia are “donkeys”, “retards”, “lowlifes” and idiots. (See my August 2016 commentary, “Rise of the “Amhara Retards” and Oromo “Criminals and Terrorists” in 2016?) The white minority used to call Black South Africans “kaffirs.”

To read the


full commentary, click here(Al Mariam's Commentaries).


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