By Obo Arada Shawl – November 13, 2010
To live for one-self, as opposed to live for posterity or for predecessors, is now the prevailing passion. To live for the moment has become the fashion. Our historical Eathiopian continuity for community of unifiers, identifiers and democratizers seems to be lost fast and easy. But thanks to our sense of belonging to the succession of selfless generation of EPRP YA TWLD – originating in the past and stretching into the future, the Youth League seems to revive. It is also worthwhile to recognize the concepts of YKAELO versus WARSAI in the Eritrean case. YKAALo is about the past and WARSAI is about the future generation.
On October 23, 2010, I have witnessed an historical moment for reconnecting the missing links of a generation that was meant to become a model for a political party in Ethiopia.
Though the evening was an occasion for introducing to the public, some of the Collective Youth League leadership groups that was recently formed, it was also the 38th year anniversary of EPRPs continuum political struggle.
38 years may seem long period of time but in comparison to the tasks and mission to be accomplished by the self-less Generation of the 1960-70 it is a short time. At the time, Ethiopia was at the crossroads of a revolutionary period to be transformed from feudalism to socialism while simultaneously rejecting Communism, Fascism and Imperialism. The Ethiopian Revolution, according to DEBTERAW, was meant to be an indigenous Revolution. It was envisaged as a model for an Eway concept and methodology i.e. a change of the mindset and a belief system based on Eathiopian history and culture (HC).
The Eathiopian Youth have continued unabated to fight for change even when its members have aged. Eathiopians never age mentally; the brain is kept alive and alert. There is a reason for that, climate.
The Ethiopian Student League of EPRP was very strong psychologically as well as organizationally. Inasmuch as the EPRP collective leadership (be it in the crocodile format or animal format) it was the engine behind the Eway Revolution, ERYLG became the real shaker, if not at times, the mover of the main EPRP organization.
What has happened to all those vibrant and self-less members of the Eathiopan Youth League? It was true; it was destroyed by the Red Terror of the DERG, by the allied forces of the DERG and by the faction of EPRP aka A&B. It was decimated as it was never before. Now, after three decades, a new organization is born to replace or duplicate it.
The Youth League of EPRP hereafter to be known as WeKND is good news. So far, at least, the three members of the leadership as I have witnessed to their presentation do seem to replace the old guard of EPRP individually though collectively it is too early to tell.
A book titled Mirkogna authored by Konjit Berhan was on display for this occasion. It is a very special book in the sense that it narrates the various personalities under duress that has happened during the Red Terror and thereafter. It is a book to be read in order to understand the nature of the Red Terror in Eathiopia and its impact on the Youth in particular and among Eathiopian families in general.
I have been referring to the Automatic Teller Machine as the struggle of EPRP starting from Assimba-traveling via Tselemt region to reach Merkato in Addis Ababa. There may be questions to be raised such as, did EPRP started in Assimba, and did it only pass through Tselemt or did it or will it culminate in Merkato? Many questions could be asked. But the main thing is this. Was the struggle about holding political power in order to pick money from the nations bank of Eathiopia as if it is an ATM? Or should we expect answers from the leaders of TPLF and EPLF?.
Assimba, the red mountain is the symbol for one of the colors of our flag. The indigenous Revolution has to start from top bottom or bottom top. Assimba was the initial stage for the long march. Those who had participated in this march for the sake of Eathiopia are still alive and well. They were forced to move out, were asked to be disarmed or to surrender. Despite all these harassment and threats, they had avoided bloodshed for their Partys mission was to educate the peasants first before involving them in combat. What a noble mission!
Tselemt is symbolic not only for the harmony of two local languages but also a place where poverty and tradition survived for too long side by side. It was here where another setback for EPRAs movement has occurred. Some dissident elements have revolted though it has ended in a peaceful way.
Merkatao is a home for EPRP hideouts. The population of Mercato is full of diversity that they do not even know their personal identity let alone their ethnic background. A story was told during this gathering by a young man who claimed that he is an Ethiopian with Eritrean parentage. This was because he was born in Mercado area and that his parents never told him that such incidents would happen. He asked a question about the sincerity of the new Eathiopian Youth League in comparison with the attempted failure of organizing the Youth by EPRDF. He named names to that effect. I have asked him whether his question was answered, he told me no. I encouraged him not to be discouraged. In fact I pointed out to him that there was a professor inside the hall who has the same position like him an Eritrean by birth but an Ethiopian by nationality. When I told him that I am an Eritrean and an Ethiopian at the same time, he could not believe me. He said, I have never heard such thing. He continued to be puzzled Is there such a thing? I told him, there is such thing as DEMOCRACIA a long and an arduous struggle for UNITY.
The question of leadership be it in Eathiopia or inside EPRP has been a very critical issue. It is an issue not yet resolved whether among Ethiopians in general or among Issaias, Kinjit leadership or Melesse groups in particular. The rule of the king and the rule of the military dictator have been replaced by CC (central committee). I have written on the concept of CC a couple of times and I found is absolutely irrelevant for our societies and communities as the two words have been so much abused by the so-called revolution of Ethiopia.
What about the leadership concept in EPRPs case, one may ask? Leadership has been taken very seriously in EPRPs leadership as it was expected to bring havoc to our societies if not handled carefully.
First of all feudalism has been entrenched in Eathiopia for thousand of years and as such, it was not easy to deal with it unless dealt immediately onset of the Eway Revolution. The Animal groups believed in openness and trust while the Crocodile groups have had to depend on secrecy and clandestine system of operation. This method of communication has brought not only misunderstanding but havoc and destruction in Sahel, in Tigrai, at Assimba and in Addis Ababa. The Animal leadership has continued to live and struggle to the end. It is always good to learn from history, the animals survived longer than the crocodile. I hope the current leadership of EPRP is doing the right thing in transferring leadership in collective terms in the Animal format.
I am happy that collective leadership a la EPRP is a model to be emulated by many organizations in Eathiopia. EPRP has paid a heavy price to be modeled.
To be continued
The gathering that took place three weeks ago was probably full of experiences of knowledge and wisdom for the average attendees age seemed 50 years. By Eathiopian standard, they are all dead but thanks to science and technology, we are alive.
There was a book on display titled ምርኮና Mirkogna. It is a book about how the Youth of 1970 and 80s some of who have volunteered and others who were forced to go to the countryside by abandoning school in order to educate and to organize the peasants of Eathiopia. In the country side, they struggled to change what they perceived as backward i.e. without science and technology – country of theirs via politics and revolution In the process, they were decimated, but those who have survived the wave of Red Terror have also relived to see the ugly disease known as HIV, a dual tragedy of the THE GENERATION.
It is a wonderful book to be read for it depicts different individual characters who were dedicated to the struggle of organizing a political party to be known as EPRP even at the expense of disposing their lives, let alone torture or exile. This book is better understood to be read in conjunction with another book titled Mskrnet- a book full of facts but with little truth. Both books tell different stories for they narrate from inside and outside respectively. The author of Mskrnet tells his story from the adage that seeing is believing whereas MRkognas writer narrates from the perception of believing is seeing. What is our choice in todays world? Now you see it, now you dont see it. What a world we are in!
These two books could be solid background readings for understanding the evil event of Red Terror in Ethiopia as well as the endurance of those dedicated and integrated EPRP members.
The Eathiopian struggle will continue until we get it right. EPRP is honored to hand over its leadership quality to the Eathiopian Youth. The Struggle is to be continued with more of DEMOCRACIA and less of dictatorship.
For comments and questions