Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Real Rant

For anybody who’s bothered to read my posts from over a year ago, it’s pretty clear that I take my CUD with a grain of salt and Tena’Adam. Then I gave it all up and switched onto other issues some time after the elections because … all sides became nauseating.

I have been trying to write an article on CUD for over a month, but every time I start to write it, I keep thinking about all those people in jail and I have to let go of the idea. Poletikam be yilugnta – gud ikno new!

But then came the story of Alliance for Freedom and Democracy (AFD) which jolted me back to reality. In fact, it sent me running to my copy of Nelson Mandela’s “Long Walk to Freedom”. Time to question my South African history.

Ok. So the South African struggle was at some point backed by a military branch. In fact, when Umkonto we Sizwe, the military branch, was formed in 1961, its commander in chief was Nelson Mandela himself. During the next 30 years of the guerrilla army’s existence, the organization attempted to sabotage capabilities of the Apartheid government, and the government returned the favor by labeling the freedom movement as a ‘terrorist organization’. Initially Umkonto we Sizwe started` off with attacks on government/infrastructural targets, but eventually it moved onto urban warfare and inevitably civilian casualties.

So why did news of AFD send me running to this piece of history? Because AFD didn’t make sense. And I had to verify that, despite my vehement opposition to armed struggle, the South African resistance actually had some semblance of sense. In South Africa the army branch was ideologically on the same grounds as ANC, and therefore a logical extension to ANC. It was not attempting a revolution, it was not drawing out a civil war, it was not exterminating whites nor fighting to evict them. It was destabilizing an exclusive white South African government and the structures that enabled its existence. It was inflicting an economical wake up call to make white south Africa realize that the country’s future will have black written all over it, whether Afrikaners liked it or not.

In an enduring statement at one of his trials, Nelson Mandela once said,

I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

The point is that it is his cause that he is willing to die for. When ANC wants to fight it gets ANC people to fight for it.

So what is CUD(P) doing? It realizes that it can’t motivate the exhausted we-love-one-Ethiopia yuppies to fight for its cause. Instead it aligns itself with LFs who’re willing to die for another cause, like OLF and ONLF. Lovely! Just lovely! If CUD’s not willing to die for a cause, then they’re not worth the cause and the cause is not worth it, so they should quit and desist before they send that poor country off on another half a century loop. Personally I would not lift half a finger to pull no god dammed trigger to fight EPRDF, nor will I encourage even a willing member at the farthest end of my extended family. Obviously, neither would CUDistas

Besides, what exactly will AFD be fighting? Is it going to go for a civil war? Like the ones we had been fighting since 1950s? Like the ones that brought us a lovely government called EPRDF?

A year ago, on the wake of elections when EPRDF banned demonstrations my thoughts on the matter were conflicted. In theory, it was wrong. You can’t ban dissent in the name of maintaining democracy. However, in practice we don’t have democracy because we have not developed the democratic culture. By ‘we’ I don’t mean our government, I mean we, the Ethiopian people. Whatever is lacking in our leadership is lacking in us as a society. My thoughts then were that Ethiopians forget that the very symptoms they fear in others are the symptoms others fear in them.

On the same note, I don’t think another civil war in Ethiopia will bring us leaders any less jaded, bitter and myopic than the ones we already have. We produced this government, and we’re fully capable of repeating history. Just like EPRDF has spent too many years out in the bushes disconnecting from civility, ability to discuss and compromise, so will this era of freedom fighters. In the end, we can’t ask nor expect the new breed of ‘liberators’ to be any better … when we have not put enough effort to be any better ourselves.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Has anyone seen Pres. Mandela's thesis for his law degree titled "How to be a good communist", very interesting and contradictory to his later comments. take a look at this website; Rhodesian and South African Military History.
Also, who cries for all the innocent victims of the random mines and bombs exploded in public places during the struggle?

Tobian said...

I haven't read nor was aware of the topic of Mandela's thesis. But I am aware that Mandela had and has communist tendencies. Don't all great afrian leaders of that generation ? :-)

The bombs - last I heard ,according to the EPRDF, CUD is to blame. I think CUD had better grounds for proclaiming innocence before it came up with this AFD nonsense. By that I am not implying that CUD will ever plot to bomb Addis Ababans (of all people, why would it bomb its staunchest of supporters?) , but it was on a higher ground of innocence when it used to denounce violence as an alternative to bring change.

I wonder how long the talks of AFD had been going on with the LF's. I also wonder how much of it EPRDF was aware of, or if there was any connection with the timing of the bombs and the creation of AFD.