A timely appeal to fellow Ethiopians


Ethiopian Americans protesting in the nation's capital - Washington DC - in 2005.
The challenges Ethiopia currently faces, from many fellow Ethiopians including me in the opposition camp point of view, is many but none is greater than the one who is the source and the main problem; EPRDF.

Yes we have the internal challenge of opposition groups not forming a united front.
Yes there is the challenge of liberation fronts that do not clearly state their stand vis-ŕ-vis the existence of a united one country.
Yes there is the challenge of Somalia’s claim.
Yes there is the challenge of Eritrea’s actions.
Yes there is a challenge of the incompetence of some of the individuals in the opposition parties.
Yes there is the challenge of lack of open mindedness in the opposition camp.
Indeed EPRDF is using the government and all its amenities – the state apparatus, the state personnel, and the people’s money to fight the fight, EPRDF vs. the Ethiopian people, individuals and political organizations of the people instead of using it to run the country as a government should.

Yes and yes and yes.

I am not belittling the challenges of drought, disease, poverty, lack of technological progress, investment, . . . and others. But the fact is the government is the leader in this sphere and if it does not take this as its primary concern then itself becomes the problem and not addressing it is the problem that this illegal group takes responsibility for. Hence there is no change in the primacy of EPRDF being the greatest problem.

The question I hear again and again is where do we go from here?

Well, let us set the ground where we are standing now:

Currently there is an outlaw group at the helm of power. The people have repeatedly stated that this group has to go. Those who were elected by the people to lead them are in prison for no other reason than standing for the people who elected them and doing what those who elected them told them to do.

There are many political entities that are fighting this illegal group in one-way or another.

There are more people outside the political organizations than there are inside them. [This is an assumption I took rather than a clear fact – so no challenge for those that have problem accepting this assumption.]

At present we all, those organized or those not organized, want a solution so that our country can start to look into the challenges of drought, disease, and technological backwardness, which it should in the first place.

Finding a solution for these challenges cannot be addressed separately from the question of EPRDF at the helm. It is clear to everyone that to address these challenges the central government is the first and the most important player. It is the policy it promotes, the government it forms, the personnel it encompasses, and the participation it invites that will give a lasting solution to these challenges. Some amongst us are looking into helping the communities we came from by organizing funds for a particular project, like school, bridge, clinic, etc. [Like the Western governments giving money to the braches of the government instead of the central government and then say they did not help the dictator!!!] Some amongst us are trying to erect a house for our family, start a business for a family member, a farming project, and projects like that. I have no objection for individuals doing that. But those we confess they want to help the people and the country should not fall for these kinds of benefits. These projects are not helping the people and each and every one of us knows that. These are individuals doing business to help themselves, their loved ones, and their relatives. They are not trying to help the people. The people do not have the luxury of refusing any help that comes; be it from fellow Ethiopians or Western governments. This is not going to be a lasting solution. Throwing away EPRDF and forming a government that represents the people of Ethiopia will be the first solution and then that government will correctly start to address the challenges the country faces.

So where do we go from here?

Here is what some of us are trying to do. I have contacted Ethiomedia.com editor, and a few individuals in the Diaspora to organize a forum where the political direction of the struggle will be looked at. They have enthusiastically accepted this proposal. The purpose is to help correct the distractions that derail the focus of the struggle. People who are not involved in the pro/against AFD, who have a clear understanding that EPRDF is the main problem, who want to contribute to the fight but are appalled by what is going on currently in the political forum, who understand that this struggle should not be left out to someone else, who are not or are organized but see no clear direction and action in the fight of the people versus EPRDF, and those we are concerned but do not know how to contribute to find a solution are invited to participate. It will not be fund-raising or collecting money, it will not be deciding to help this organization or that organization, it will not have membership, it is not going to be a political entity that does any organization work for itself or others. Its focus is to promote understanding, to create a forum where we practice the fundamentals of democratic discourse; to create a forum where different political groups can come together to discuss organizational issues; to help create an atmosphere where closely identifiable political groups can come into a working arrangement where they will coordinate their struggle against EPRDF.

This is so that the struggle will be centralized, the issues defined, the effort is concentrated, and most of all the future is clearly stated. In fact you have some suggestions as to how this should be addressed and you want to help. Good.

Thank you very much and let all of us participate in whatever capacity we can to help our people, and our country. It is time that each of us does our part. This is an academic forum and it does not cost us money.

An individual has volunteered to be a contact person and people who are interested to the above stated goal and those who have ideas please send your interest and suggestions to Yinegal Belachew via his email: yinegal@sbcglobal.net


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