By Yilma Bekele
I dedicate this column to TPLF Woyane whose action of using citizenship as a weapon made some of us appreciate the value of freedom. Thank you ሕ ወ ሐ ት for making us love Ethiopia.
Ethiopians are flocking back home. It is the exodus in reverse. For forty years or so we were pouring out of our country and going far and away from our home. At the beginning it was the young and educated that dared to venture out of the hidden empire. Our country is not known for its travelers. The few that left the country during the Emperor’s time were sent out to go to school. Staying away was not considered an option. The Derg changed that. It compelled the best and the brightest to leave and they did in droves.
Meles Zenawi and the TPLF mafia mitigated the second exodus. It began with the clearing of highly respected educators and administrators from the University. The violent 2005 election proved to the young that Ethiopia is no place to live. It was like a dam broke. All of a sudden sightings of Ethiopians was reported from Africa to the Middle East and even far away Australia. We poured out with a vengeance. No one was spared. The parents followed after their children settled in the new land. The last forty years we have managed to build settlements on every continent. We have built homes and families that try to mimic our old life.
We did not turn our face or give our back to good old Ethiopia. In fact to some the fight to take back the country never stopped. How and why we left is complicated but it is mostly because home became a dangerous place. Be it political oppression, religious differences, lack of economic opportunity or a need for higher education any place looked better than home. Lately the civil war in Yemen, the slave trade in Libya or the desert of Sahara was not a hindrance our young victims that took the high risk rather than submit to Woyane. We have no clue to how many perished without trace in all these conflict zones and lawless locations.
Many never set foot back home for many decades. The reverse trip we are witnessing today is not because our country has prospered and improved the life of the citizen. Unemployment is rampant, schools including the colleges are a joke and inflation has become our companion. The only thing that has changed is the politics. Saying the politics does not explain it all but it will do for now. After all it is still EPRDF in control of state power. We have a new Prime Minister and the same Central Committee elected him. What is different here is that up until now TPLF that is just one member of the coalition has been in total control and three months ago the majority rejected the candidate they groomed to take over the position. Dr. Abiy of OPDO was elected.
The absence of TPLF Woyane in power or lurking behind a figurehead they installed is what is different today. The PM has approached his job a little differently. He seems to believe the carrot approach to be better than the stick option. He has removed the famous ‘terrorist’ law that was a favorite of Woyane dogs brought out to charge citizens from traffic violation to trying to overthrow the regime. Dr. Abiy also lifted the restrictions against the free press and stopped Internet blocking. This is what has exited the Diaspora and celebrating the New Year in Ethiopia without ugly Woyane around is what is causing a brain melt Watching tears of happiness flowing, the bright smiles mixed with uncontrolled dancing and joy when families meet after many years apart is a special moment we are fortunate enough to witness.
It is sad to see some instead of using this historical occasion as a ‘teachable moment’ attempting to throw shade and negative energy at our victory celebration. I am referring to two speeches that were made by the President and VP of Tigrai Kilil Dr. Debretsion and W/O Fetlework. There is no question the two honorable leaders are not familiar with facts on the ground or refuse to see the writing on the wall. Today Ethiopia is trying to come to terms with the many illegal, criminal, and lawbreaking activities carried out by the TPLF party that ruled for twenty-seven years.
Everyday the free media is full of horror stories committed by the mafia outfit. Torture including removing nails, electric shocks, hanging, urinating in prisoners mouth, beatings, sleep deprivation, rape, inserting blunt objects etc. etc. No need to go on. It was committed by order and full knowledge of TPLF Politburo. The victims are appearing live on television and testifying to time, place and names of Woyane individuals that are responsible. The amount of money looted from our banks and treasury is mind-boggling and it is not even the tip of the iceberg. Those hiding in Mekele are all aware of everything that is being said and exposed today. They are doing what they are used to doing for thirty years. Deny, deflect and find someone, something to blame. I told you they are not capable of learning or empathy. That is why they did what they did.
Dear Woyane misfits, we apologize for the high traffic at Bole International it is due to all those you chased away returning. And the noise you hear all the way in Mekele is the singing, dancing and tears of joy by their families and loved ones. They are coming back because you are not there, well physically you occupy space but spiritually you have been beaten to a pulp. Praise the Lord.
Both leaders evoked the term ‘Enkebaber’ (አንክከባበር) I have a feeling they are not clear on what it means. That term is even enshrined in the UN Charter that our ancient nation is founder and signatory of. The Charter “reaffirmed faith in fundamental human rights, and dignity and worth of the human person” and committed all member states to promote “universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion”.
TPLF ሕ ወ ሐ ት did not abide by the charter. The organization routinely assassinated, tortured and imprisoned citizens without charge or made up charges. All this can be proven in any court in the world. They disrespected Ethiopians. Why they think we do not respect them is not clear yet. They are the ones that caused the agony but today they are working hard to appear as the victims. They started singing that tune about a year ago. Their children passed resolutions in their ethnic organizations all over the world decrying perceived threat. That is like putting the cart in front of the horse. Acting victim before the so-called crime is something a Woyane brain will come up with. The intellectuals from the kilil have chosen not to condemn what was done in their name. All I could do is quote MLK who said, “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
Ethiopia’s children are returning home. Their absence was a dark cloud hanging over our country. No one should be kept out of his homeland. Well as usual we are flipping disaster into victory. The children are coming back smarter, calmer, tolerant, loving and most of all wealthier. It was all achieved through hard work and honest living. Woyane used to attract the ugliest and the loser amongst us to come and invest on stolen land. Today’s returnees are different. They are bringing value to our country. They could be considered lost treasure found. They are Dr. Abiy’s building block for the future Ethiopia.
I saved the best for last. The most precious of the returnees are the people of Arbenoch Ginbot 7. What makes them a head taller than the rest is the approach they took to solving the Woyane problem. They married theory and practice. They gave new life to the struggle. Led by Professor Berhanu, AG7 took a step-by-step approach towards weakening the TPLF machinery from different angles. The relationship with Eritrea was a brilliant move. The organization boldly showed its capacity for ‘realpolitik’. Practicality was chosen over idealism. It allowed the group to move beyond organization and diplomatic activities towards the military field. It gave Ethiopian activists an outlet to raise the struggle to a higher level. It increased Woyane’s insecurity. AG7 made Ethiopians stand tall.
How do you welcome such heroes? That question has been discussed throughout Ethiopia. The cells that have been organized throughout the country the last few years are today operating in the open for the most part. They are leading the discussion to welcome their comrades and leaders. I don’t envy their task.
There is not much our people have not done to express their newfound freedom, the disappearance of Woyane hyenas and share the joy in spectacular manner. Bahir Dar came up with 500 feet flag without the foreign symbol and that got Woyane twisted like a pretzel. Well Konso did one thousand feet and we were delirious. Not too fast said Arba Minch and unfurled a one thousand five hundred feet river of a flag. Woyane suffered a mental breakdown and the kilil president was rushed to a hospital. I am afraid AG7 welcome celebration will deal a deathblow to the hapless organization that is on life support and being moved to Khartoum for rehab. No one expects TPLF to survive.
The writer could be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Cover photo credit : The Atlantic
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