Yesterday two Ethiopian groups with conflicting interests held two different rallies in Washington DC. The first one was organised by tyranny lovers, those mostly associated with the ruling party with an ideology called opportunism. It is not that they never know what is going on in their country, but they have chosen to deliberately deny and distort the reality in the service of tyranny. The majority of them are in fact members and supporters of the hegemonic Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF). So what they are up to is no secret.
The tyranny lovers tell the world an amazing story, just like a fairy tale. They say that Ethiopia is on the path of democracy, peace and development. According to a press release issued by “Ethiopian American Ad Hoc for Democracy”, which claims to have organised the rallies at the White House and U.S. State Department, the pro-tyranny marchers “urged the U.S. Secretary of State to take supportive steps to have a fair and equitable resolution in the horn of Africa Nile basin Countries agreement and to continue the long-standing global security relationship with Ethiopia in fighting terrorism.” In other words, they are calling the U.S. to continue propping up tyranny at the expense of the rights and freedom of the majority. Obviously, they never worry about the Nile while they deny the existence of oppression, inequality, repressions and injustice against fellow Ethiopians.
On the opposite side, a group of vocal advocates of democracy, freedom, justice and equality chose to organise a protest rally at the Chinese embassy in Washington DC. Angered by the repressions going on in Ethiopia with the support of the Chinese government, they demanded China to stop aiding the tyrannical regime of Meles Zenawi, who is muffling and censoring the whole nation. After closing down the most popular newspapers in the aftermath of the 2005 elections, he has resorted to blocking websites, jamming radio and TV transmissions that are critical of his myopic policies. Allegedly, the Chinese have been providing the technology and technical support that has enabled Zenawi to commit criminal repressions including the jamming of the Ethiopian Satellite Television (ESAT).
A government is supposed to unify a nation at least on the basic national issues. Today, more than ever before, the nation is speeding towards another cycle of violence. The difference between the oppressors and the oppressed has proven to be irreconcilable. Those who are for freedom and those who are against it have never tolerated each other anywhere in the world.
The tension between freedom lovers and those who make every effort in their power to sustain the oppression of the masses has been a cause for wars and violence throughout history. Divide and rule has done a favour to tyranny and benefitted Meles Zenawi and his cronies more than anyone else. An oppressive minority regime, as is the Meles ethno-fascist junta, founded on deception, injustice, inequality and repressions, can only lead a nation into another cycle of tragic conflict. The reason why TPLF is trying to contain the resistance of so many political and ethnic groups, armed and unarmed, is due to the fact that it cannot survive without oppression. It sees freedom as a danger to its very survival.
It must be emphasised that an oppressive regime cannot be defeated by fragmented and inimical groups with conflicting visions. Finding a common vision and mobilizing the Ethiopian people to confront tyranny for the final showdown should be a priority for those who are leading the struggles against the brutal regime in and outside of Ethiopia. Common visions, realistic strategies and mass mobilization are extremely important in the struggle. Most importantly, unity serves as a glue to hold divided freedom fighters to march under one banner. Some groups are preoccupied with secondary agendas that can only be addressed after the freedom of the Ethiopian people is fully guaranteed. Differences aside, Ethiopians should fight for their freedom first.
The tyrannical regime has been standing on one leg since it came to power. It is last hope for survival is none other than the division of those fighting against it. It must be the priority of those who are fighting injustice to deny the regime the source of its strength. Division needs to be defeated before unity starts doing miracles. And in fact, “Unity to be real must stand the severest strain without breaking,” as Gandhi righty said.
The writer, Abebe Gelaw, is chief editor of www.addisvoice.com . He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.