There are three things important in real estate: location, location, location. Agents never tire mentioning this important fact. What exactly does it mean? Simply put what matters most is not the structure of the house as much as its physical location. It is smart to buy the ugliest house in a good neighborhood than a beautiful palace in a rough area. It is much easier and cheaper to remodel a bad and decrepit structure rather than moving it to a new location.
The importance of location never played such a pivotal role as in the current situation regarding our country. Our location has become our Achilles heel. It is true there was a time when our location worked in our favor. Our mountainous terrain protected us from foreign invaders while the scorching lowlands surrounding us were our natural defense. Isolated from others we were able to enjoy undisturbed peace and our own way of life.
Those days are gone. Today our location is working against us. Our neighborhood has become the center of the so-called ‘terrorist’ incubating ground. There is Somalia the poster child of a ‘failed state’. There is Yemen competing with Somalia for this coveted prize. There is Sudan teetering into civil war and religious fanaticism all rolled into one. There is Eritrea still trying to define it self while standing on a shaky ground.
How is this madness all around us affecting our country is a good question to ponder. I am afraid the prognosis is not favorable. Well at least for the ‘law and order’ contingent amongst us while it is making the cadres deliriously happy. ግር ግር ለሌባ ያመቻል fits this situation.
Somalia was a Godsend to the minority regime. The Bush administration obsession of fighting terrorism found its bedfellow in Ethiopia. The Meles regime was able to play one clan against the other, Jihadist against warlord and enjoy the fireworks. Poor Ethiopia was a scarifical lamb. Nothing was gained for our nation but the TPLF regime was able to ward off any discussion of democratic reforms by appearing to be a pillar of stability in the midst of chaotic neighborhood. The close alliance with the US military paid two dividends. TPLF army was able to get training and surplus arms for low level warfare and the Pentagon replaced State Department in policy formulations.
Sudan was another trouble spot that brought about more misery for our people. The Sudanese tyrant’s abhorrent policy in Darfur was a good excuse for the West to fan the flames of inter-ethnic animosity. The discovery of oil was all that was need to for the Chinese to enter the fray. The Ethiopian regime saw an opportunity to cozy up with Sudan. The more rogue Sudan becomes the closer it stuck with the minority regime. The cost to our country was loss of territory. The gain for the TPLF regime was a friendly dictator that will deny base of operation for the opposition.
When we thought things were quieting down, guess who shows up to increase the stress level. It is none other than Yemen, the new preferred destination of Osama and company. This new situation does not bode well for our country. Surely the West is going to worry more about friendly areas of operation more than the rule of law and human rights. The horn of Africa is the new home of the fight against ‘extremism’. That means our quest for establishing a democratic state is going to be put on the back burner.
It is clear that the minority regime has been able to anticipate the situation correctly and seized the opportunity to endear itself to both the Americans and the Europeans. The opposition on the other hand has abandoned the initiative to the dictatorial regime. The opposition reacts to the shifting agenda set by the TPLF regime. The regime has surpassed its own benchmark due to its ability to create dissent, animosity and lack of trust in the camp of the opposition. Of course one cannot blame the enemy for one’s lack of foresight and resolve. Vacillation is the calling card of the spineless. We are blessed with plenty of spineless wana be leaders.
In spite of the efforts of a few to create confusion a certain notion is entering our everyday discourse. Despite our optimistic outlook the reality on the ground is forcing us to revise our thinking. We are beginning to accept the inevitability of the impending turmoil. The possibility of a violent eruption has become as sure as the sun rising tomorrow. There is no other conclusion. We are watching two trains speeding towards each other traveling on the same track.
Is it due to the worsening economic situation or the elevated paranoia of the police state is a tricky question. It is like who came first the chicken or the egg. Productivity does not match population increase. Unemployment, deflation, famine, and scarcity of goods are making life intolerable. Hopelessness breeds alienation. The only response possible by the police state is more repression. More repression invites more resistance. And vice versa. It is a merry go round of misery.
We are surrounded by the League of Failed states of the Horn of Africa. We are on our way to join them. On one hand, due to our location the international situation is not favorable to the democratic forces. On the other hand, the internal situation in Ethiopia is more than favorable to challenge the police state. Without going into details suffice to point out the over fourteen million on the brink of famine and the tens of thousands abandoning their country at the risk of imminent death is a testimonial to the abhorrent condition in the country. To say the Ethiopian people have reached a breaking point is not an exaggeration.
The late Kinijit was a perfect example of identifying the problem and appealing to the public in popular terms. Kinijit succeed beyond the wildest dreams of its founders. Kinijit was able to show the Ethiopian people the true nature of the dictatorial regime. Kinijit was able to expose the fallacy of ‘peaceful transition’ in a heavily armed police state. Kinijit’s success in winning the election and failure in assuming power was a revelation for the opposition to re-think the nature of the coming struggle. A redefinition of the path to attain victory was called for. The failure of the 2005 general election is a perfect example to the impossibility of rational conversation or dialogue with an armed and belligerent opponent.
It was very refreshing to hear President Obama presenting the problem and a solution to such a conundrum as faced by the Ethiopian people. In his important speech during the Noble Peace prize ceremony following is the way President Obama put the issue:
I face the world as it is, and cannot stand idle in the face of threats to the American people. For make no mistake: Evil does exist in the world. A non-violent movement could not have halted Hitler's armies. Negotiations cannot convince al Qaeda's leaders to lay down their arms. To say that force may sometimes be necessary is not a call to cynicism -- it is a recognition of history; the imperfections of man and the limits of reason.
I am glad he said it. Some in Ethiopia have been saying that since 2005. The TPLF are the personification of evil. Their contempt for the Ethiopian people knows no bounds. Their cruelty is legendary. Though they try to mask their true nature by high-sounding sophistry they are nothing but ordinary thieves and street hustlers that have found themselves in a position of power. They will not abandon this gravy train without a fight. No amount of negotiation or dialogue will convince TPLF to ‘lay down their arms’. The last seventeen years is a testimonial to this irrefutable fact.
It is very sad the TPLF tugs are forcing the citizen to resort to violence. Force is not the preferred option. It contains its own shortcomings. It corrodes the soul and damages the human spirit. The brunt of the sacrifice falls on the young. Ultimately all of society pays the price. But there are some things that are not negotiable. Freedom is one such thing. A war that is waged to attain freedom is considered a just and necessary war. The war to remove TPLF and their associates from power will be judged to be a just and necessary action by any international standard. ??
It is not easy removing such an entrenched regime from power. It requires tested leadership. The enemy is lethal. They have no qualms about killing. They have showed their ugly side on numerous occassions. On the other hand their whole organization is like a house built on sand. They project an image of fierce warriors to hide their cowadly nature and fear that manifests itself by their empty rhetoric. Their lack of self esteem and doubt leads them to irratinality. It does not take much to un nerve them and make them react without thinking it over. The loyality of their members have no depth. They are prone to abandon them at the first sign of a percieved problem.
We are emolded with the appearance of Ginbot7, EPPF and other liberation fronts that have taken the nature of the facist regime toheart. Ginbot7 is the rightful heir of Kinijit. In a matter of one year it has shown a superior form of organization. Its utterings are well thought of and timely. Its no nonsense approach towards the minority regime have managed to fill us with hope. Ginbot7 cool demanour while surounded by hysterical nay sayers have won it plenty of quiet friends. The short wave radio broadcast is unprecedented success. It is not the result of some philatrophy by a rich uncle, or donation by ‘friendly’ government. It is the rsult of Ethiopians taking care of Ethiopia.
This new year fills us with hope that at longlast we are ready to take matters into our own hands. It is a new year, It is a new day. It is a new begining. It is the time to stand up. We remeber the thousands of our children drowing in the Red Sea, disappearing in the jungles of central Africa and made to wither and die in Ogaden. The days of lametation is over. The time has come to act.
We are emolded by the courageous act of Judge Bertukan Mideksa. We are greatful to her for showing us what it means to stand up for the truth. We honor her work by continuing her example of steadfatness in the face of overwhelming force. She did not buckle down. We will not back down. Here is the lyrics from Tom Pettys ‘I will not back down.’ Rock on my friends!
Well I won't back down
No I won't back down
You can stand me up at the gates of hell
But I won't back down
No I'll stand my ground, won't be turned around
And I'll keep this world from draggin me down
gonna stand my ground
... and I won't back down
Well I know what's right, I got just one life
in a world that keeps on pushin me around
but I'll stand my ground
...and I won't back down
The writer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.