The virtue of solidarity with the Egyptian people

By Robele Ababya / February 2, 2011
“The absence of alternatives clears the mind marvelously”. The quotation is attributed to Henry A. Kissinger, former US Secretary of State and National Security Adviser – Nobel laureate in 1973.

Tunisians believed they had only one alternative, which was regime change and they succeeded; Egyptians are emulating that example to that end. Experience spanning over the last forty years clearly shows that Ethiopians have only one alternative left to secure freedom and dignity in a liberated country.

Irreversible uprisings

The last Pharaoh of Egypt is desperate to quell the wrath of the people, but that is impossible for no might can stop the popular movements whose time has come to overthrow reactionary regimes in the Arab world. It is time for them to go. Tunisians and now Egyptians, Jordanians, Yemenis et al have very rightly put freedom and human dignity at the center of their values in their spectacular struggle for democracy reverberating across North Africa and the politically volatile Middle East.

In the last 25 years, six hundred billion Great Britain Pounds were excessively spent on infrastructures like roads, high rise buildings and telecommunications-typical of corrupt despotic regimes grossly neglecting basic economic needs of the masses – jobs, food and health among others. The popular uprising is against corruption, lack of freedom and living under martial law for the last 30 years. No cosmetic reshuffle of the Cabinet by appointing ex-Generals will save the Mubarak regime.

Let the new march start afresh "Let the incoherent activities end. Let the petty bickering stop. And let Ethiopians unite against poverty, hunger, corruption, injustice, discrimination, humiliation…in their own country. Let the new march start afresh"Abebe Gellaw
Stake for Ethiopia

This is a good omen for Ethiopia because what was so far a bastion of Ethiopia’s woes is vying for democracy as a matter of necessity. Democratic Arab world would pose no danger to Ethiopia and a mutually beneficial relation would evolve once we get rid of our own genocidal despot, Meles Zenawi and his brutal security apparatus under his direct command.

The revolution in the Arab world is also good for the volatile region in the Middle East to do away with extremism and foster democracy and durable stability. Democratic Arab world would be trusted trading partners for a democratic Ethiopia for doing lucrative business in a free market.

Ethiopia is strategically located in close proximity to the Middle East. Eighty five (85%) of the waters of the Blue Nile is a lifeblood to Egypt which is the strongest nation in the Arab world in terms of military strength and techno-scientific advancement. A democratic Egypt and a democratic Ethiopia could be a formidable force for regional cooperation. This is a nightmare to right wing racist elements and neo-colonizers adamant on maintaining the status quo.

So, solidarity of Ethiopians with popular uprising in Egypt has moral, political and economic values for Ethiopia and Egypt.

Western powers caught unprepared

It is not business as usual for the Western powers. One can say with confidence that the old practice double standard of the West of replacing one corrupt dictator by another is gone for good, thanks to the exemplary independent decision of Tunisians to shun foreign interference and go it alone to secure their freedom and dignity.

As the revolution spreads, forces with particular interests including heavy investments are nervously working openly and behind the scenes to save the last Pharaoh Mubarak’s regime to enable it to come out of the political quagmire it is in; they are advising it to make some cosmetic or innocuous reforms to buy time, which advice would serve no purpose other than providing the regime the opportunity to come back to the status quo ante under various excuses.

Those powers who had heavily invested in the Arab world in terms of huge business corporations, military equipment, and training of defense and security personnel should heed the old adage: “As you sow, so shall you reap” and make a real paradigm shift to stem their longstanding bond with dictators. President W. Bush reneged on his pledge to end alliance of the last 30 years with dictators. The current US administration has the golden chance to end such alliance. The leaders of US, UK, Germany and France (ex-colonial powers in the 19th and 20th centuries) are reportedly urging Mubarak to enact laws to effect reforms. But the people of Egypt want him to step down; they demand regime change.

President Obama has a golden chance to make history in the best long-term interest of the United States; he should make the world believe he is dedicated to uphold the immortal words of Adam Smith: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

Lesson for Ethiopian opposition forces

In the run up to the Ethiopian Election 2010 there were fierce debates between supporters of peaceful change, armed struggle, and all-inclusive struggle to unseat Meles Zenawi. However, the recent events of relatively peaceful popular uprisings in the Arab world add a new dimension to the successful endings of the Civil Rights movement led by Martin Luther King in the USA and the liberation struggle by Mahatma Gandhi. The 1974 Ethiopian Revolution dethroned the Emperor without a single shot being fired. But the Derg betrayed the popular revolution by killing people and freedom of expression. Therefore, civil disobedience on the scale seen in the Arab world has merits equivalent to all=inclusive struggle.


The success of the popular uprising in Egypt is in the best interest of Ethiopia. Therefore Ethiopians everywhere should express solidarity with demonstrators gathering at Cairo’s Tahrir Square, Alexandria, Suez and other cities in Egypt; and contemplate on a speedy start of a well organized and coordinated civil disobedience in their homeland to depose Meles Zenawi who has lost all trust of the Ethiopian people despite his attempt to improve his image by excessive expenditure on infrastructures.

All Ethiopians in varying degrees are to blame for where the country is now. The struggle is morally justified for Ethiopia and the world would be a better place without dictators like Melees that terrorize peaceful people.

Regime change is the only alternative to save Ethiopia.


Release all political prisoners in Ethiopia!