Leveling the playing field in Ethiopia
By Yilma Bekele
The press release was short and to the point. It was only six paragraphs long and was written in a matter of fact way. There were no trumpets blaring, no press conference with TV lights and no lavish dinner to commemorate the event. The announcement reminded me of the proverb ‘best things come in small packages.’ So it was without much fanfare I read the most important announcement on Abbay Media and Quatero. Tucked among the news was the announcement regarding the formation of Ginbot 7 Popular Force (GPF)
It is vintage G7. Doing what needs to be done in a deliberate and intelligent manner. Since their inception the folks of G7 have gone about building their organization, finding common ground with others and laying a firm and solid foundation to move our quest for freedom and dignity in a purposeful manner. Their accomplishment the last four years speaks volumes to their ability as leaders of a new style of struggle that is beginning to bear fruit.
As the establishment of ESAT was a game changer, as the successful meeting of mind with the OLF was a ground shaking event this announcement regarding the formation of Ginbot 7 Popular Forces is a monumental achievement in the annals of our struggle. It is a milestone in the evolution of our struggle to be free and democratic.
It is a brand new day in Ethiopia. Our struggle is entering a new phase. It is a necessary phase imposed upon our people by the belligerent and lawless regime. It was not an easy decision for the Front to make. No one relishes the idea of an armed confrontation especially with one’s own brothers and sisters but there comes a time when self-preservation becomes a vital issue. The short announcement makes that fact clear.
The TPLF regime has been in power for over twenty years now. The last twenty years have been a period of destabilization, conflict and agony for our people. No one can deny that. The result of this chaotic and illegal system is laid in front of us. Despite the much heralded so called ‘economic miracle’ thrown on our face our country is mired in famine and poverty, our children are scattered all over the world, our daughters are enslaved in the Middle East by the thousands, our people are denied the simple luxury of reading a free paper or listening to independent news and our jails are filled by innocent victims of a mad system.
This is what makes the formation of GPF a must and important component of our struggle. The Ethiopian people have tried every avenue open to let the regime know that the monopoly of power is not conducive to a just and harmonious system. Our people have bent backwards to accommodate the regime to change its aggressive ways. International organizations such as the European Union and others have tried to mediate. The arrogant and petty government has shown complete disregard to our needs and concerns.
That is why I wrote ‘leveling the playing field’ in the title. Violence is a two way street. Up until now the TPLF regime has the monopoly of violence. It has used it with impunity. The late dictator even used to taunt as to try fighting back. We are patient people. But despite the failings of the last few years we are also brave people. At long last we have decided to stand our ground and defend our people from evil. Self-defense is a God given right to every human being. It is time we in Ethiopia exercise that right.
We celebrate those that are still trying to let the TPLF regime know their peaceful intentions to bring change. It is to no one’s interest to shed blood in anger. The death of a single Ethiopian should be avoided at all cost. That can only happen when there is the rule of law in the country we call Ethiopia. It could not come about by a government based on a single ethnic group, by a government hell bent on monopolizing army, commerce, communications and politics by a chosen few.
GPF is our shield. GPF will prove to the arrogant TPLF army and security there will be consequences to aggression. As anything started by the seasoned leaders of Ginbot 7 there is no question GPF will prove itself to be a worthy child of Tewodros, Yohanes, Minilik, Aba Jifar, Tona and many other patriots. There is no question in my mind that the Ethiopian people will take GPF into their fold, love and nurture it. Our wish has been fulfilled and TPLF nightmare has just started.
There will be those that will try to belittle our effort and mock our resolve. Some will accuse the Diaspora of fanning the flames of war. No matter the die has been cast and the long journey has started. It is sad that in this day and age we have to pick up arms instead of the ballot to bring change. But one cannot choose his battle. This has been forced upon us. We have waited too long to respond in kind. Once we have started the process our job is to try to make it a short and less costly endeavor. Our responsibility is to encourage, support in any way possible and push our family, friends and the international community to stand with us at this time of great need.
We salute the combatants of GPF for their sacrifice on our behalf. We want them to know they are in our hearts and minds every waking moment of our life. We promise we will do all that we could in our part to help them achieve the goal of liberating our mother land from the clutches of darkness. Forward with the brave sons and daughters of Ethiopia, we your people in exile raise our hands in salute and shout so all can hear ‘Ethiopia is rising and a new day has begun!!!’ May you march in triumph as your ancestors did thru the millennium.