What is in the name?

By Gemencho

An ex-leader of the EPRP, who had left the organization a while ago, was asked by one of the diasporic magazines, how he sees himself with regards to the party that he helped build, now he is out of it. The interview was made in part to inaugurate his book on the history of the party. Since then, other accounts that contradict his understanding of that history have appeared, particularly by those who had worked with him and knew him in person. But that was not my issue at the time I was reading the interview. What caught my attention then was the way by which he confronted the question. He told the interviewer that he sees himself in “EPRP’s state of mind”. I took this to the heart and attempted to reconcile it with the political stance that he had taken at the time. At the time, the man did not just leave the organization. He left, because he could no more resist of being at peace with the regime in Addis Abeba, of being in Weyanne’s state of mind. Unless the ex-leader assumes EPRP is like a spirit thing that is everywhere, once in it always in it kind of phenomenon, I was not sure how he had found himself, in two parallel states of minds that were at war with each other. There are others who have applied his doctrine of wishing EPRP’s death while claiming to be one.

This is what the current anja, after rupturing itself, at its own convenience, from the ideals (which it calls the status-quo) of the organization, did. In the tradition of outright opportunism, it took advantage of the weight the name EPRP holds, to use it as a tool for its own group interest. It refuses to see the conflict it finds itself in, that is, waving its name, swearing in its name, while simultaneously attacking the very ideals which the name bears witness to. The group stands vehemently opposed to those ideals and still dares to call itself EPRP.

But what is in this name, EPRP? What does it tell, and who does it speak for? In his eloquent commentary about the political and cultural life of Debteraw, Obo Arada Shawel raises the significance of the name EPRP which he looks at, through this sacrificial life of an Ethiopian revolutionary. So, the name has cultural, social and ideological loci. It is not a phenomenon that is outside of history. It is not for everyone It speaks to a particular constituent and thinking. It is Ethiopian, multi-ethnic, multi-religious, fiercely independent, and uncompromising in its ideals. It is partisan and non transferable.

One hopes the anja would consider this and come to its senses and stop being a fake duplicate of the real one. One hopes it would avoid its own confusion by having the conscience and courage to leave the name to where it belongs. . . .

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