CALL ME BY MY NAME: Solutions with Debteraw, XXVIII

Obo Arada Shawl alias Wolde Tewolde

June 3, 2008

About nine months ago, I wrote an article about Dignity and Pride in relation to EPRP. (See call me by my name: XVIII). Now it seems to me that Ethiopians are giving up hope of restoring dignity and pride by not paying a simple price known as RESPECT to oneself and other. For there is not Me without You in our community.

Why do Ethiopians campaign for Obama? Is it because he is from a neighboring country of Kenya? Why do the Eritreans do not campaign for Clinton for I know the majority of them are campaigning for Obama? Mrs. Clinton has at least visited their country, Eritrea. I believe most Eritreans are male chauvinists. What ever the reason is, I do not see why their hopes is being shattered. The following examples will illustrate my points of departure.

Long time ago, while Blacks were allowed to sit in the back of the buses, it is said that an Ethiopian boarded the bus and the driver told him to take a seat in the in the back. The Ethiopian passenger told the driver that he is an Ethiopian. The driver asked the passengers where Ethiopia is. The passengers suggested that Ethiopia may be somewhere in the state of Florida. The driver said to the Ethiopian passenger, “ You see, move and sit in the back.”

My daughter while she was in elementary school, all her friends were African-American, while walking in the streets of Washington, many Ethiopian passersby ask her whether she was an Ethiopian and were curious why she was going with Black girls? And her friends used to ask her what they were asking and she simply told them “are you an Ethiopian?” and her friends quipped “what a stupid question!” One day she confronted me with the question of whether we are black or white. I told her to visualize her uncles and aunts who came from the same womb but some of whom physically black and some look like white and so to make things better for her, I emphatically told her we are neither white nor black. She said to me at the time “it made a lot of sense”. I do not know about now. She is grown up. She has her own explanations and preferences. I think she is campaigning for Obama following the Ethiopian crowd.

It is a common knowledge that Emperor Haile Sellassies while visiting the United States of America in the 1960s, a journalist asked him, “are you the first Negro to come to the White House?” And the Emperor said, “ I am not Negro.” And the journalist continued, by saying then you are white, and the Emperor said, “No I am not white.” But the propagandists continued to inculcate hatred among Ethiopians and African-Americans by harping on one section of the Emperor’s i.e. “I am not black.”

So what now? Have we learned our lessons? How do we learn and from whom?

There are two ways of learning, one by reading books and the other by experience. Experience is the best but it is inconceivable and so the easiest and convenient is learning through books. Today, I want to quote two individuals who were supposed to have learned through reading books. These are Professor Mesfin Wolde Mariam and Robele Ababya. Professor Mesfin in ‘Ethiopia from where to where’ as quoted in defined “ETHIOPIAWINET” in seventeen red written words all of which do not explain any concrete things. They are all abstract terminology. As a geographer, he should at least define it in terms of location if not in politics. Does the professor understand what politics is? Does he understand what science is or for that matter does he has some grasps of technology? I am still puzzled what he knows or where he is from? No Arts, No Science and No Technology. It is a disaster not only for him and his students (if he is still teaching?) but also for many of his followers.

The other quotable person is also from posted on March 26th, 2008. Mr. Robele attempts to discredit the Ethiopian Revolution in direct contradiction with the Professor Mesfin. “The copycats made a mess of applying the works of Marx to the socio-economic conditions of technologically, scientifically and industrially backward Ethiopia.” Mr. Robele seem to tease Ethiopians that “Land to the tiller” was a passion. According to him it was an empty slogan. Shouldn’t he recognize the DERG’s proclamation of land to the tiller, 10 hectares was enough for Mr. Robele!!!

In addition Mr. Robele misunderstood the nature of the Eway Revolution. He thinks like most ordinary people that the Revolution was a one-day event. He continued to argue, “In the aftermath of the revolution, various political orientations emerged including copycats of the works of Marx, Engel, Lenin, Stalin, Mao et al.” What about EPRP? Was it a copycat? Did you know anything about EPRP at the time of the so-called revolution? If the revolution of the Derg was real and beneficial to all Ethiopians including you, why do you think EPRP had opposed? I am sure you do not know the answer. I have no doubt that your knowledge of Revolution is limited. You have repeated what was said as is (in written form at that), all the wrong allegations labeled against EPRP by the Dergists and their cronies. Here is what you repeated like a parrot “ The onset of white terror led to red terror. That was a horrendous political mistake of the EPRP (old) leadership in firing the first bullet to kill their opponents. The other blunder is that they argued that the Eritrean problem is a colonial question and should be resolved in that context. During the invasion by Siad Barre, their cadres in the battlefield actively opposed Ethiopian forces fighting to repulse the aggressor in the Ogaden. It was heart-breaking to see the exodus of Ethiopians in the Ogaden for safety in the north of Ethiopia.” What a Papa Gallo person you are! After thirty something, you do not know. Where are you now? What is your name? Do you live by your name? Why do you mud slug the name of Ababya?

What is worst, you seem to be joyous about the split of EPRP. It is about a split beyond your comprehension. It is not about make it or break it like you think. It is about process of Democracia’w way of struggle. In EPRP, there is no old or new, it was the same and it is the same EPRP. Give up hope of splitting the Party for it was founded on solid grounder like the obelisk of Axum which stood for three thousand years, or like that Fassil Ginb, the Lalibela church or the Wall of Harrar which stood hundred of years. EPRP, whether you like it or not, it is psychologically, physiologically, philosophically and politically is grounded. Robele conclude by saying “ they are now politically bankrupt. The split is welcome. Good luck to EPRP (d)!” What a wishful thinking!!!

In conclusion, what I wrote on call me by my name , XVIII is a good outlook for Ethiopians and EPRP opponents. The article explains the relationships of EPRP Party-Army-Community. An Ethiopian Integrity, Trust and Dignity are illustrated through the eyes of an observer. Call this Ethiopiawinet if you like.

Finally, I would like to remind the professor and the Robele that Debteraw Tsegaye was not and is not a phony man. He is held against his will in INCOMMINCADO in Woyene’s hidden Prison. As a person, Debteraw was not a bad person for both of you. I do not think you have a quarrel with that assessment but I am of the opinion that both of you are coward towards ‘learned Ethiopian men’. Debtera’s and his colleagues are not copycat men but creative, bold and generous in every aspect. Please, be advised that you do not have to be a parrot and arrogant individuals. The professor wants to cover up his weakness through the Ethiopian flag of red, yellow and green, and Mr. Robele has written his article under a map of the Horn of Africa. What is this? Have they switched professions? A Flag and a Map, the very beginning of a scout boy.

Let it be clear to everybody and everyone that Debteraw was not hiding either under the guise of flag like the professor or fighting under the map just like Mr. Robele in order to explain what Ethiopiawinet meant. Debteraw and his party of EPRP have lived in Integrity, Trust and Dignity since the 1970s so as to demonstrate the value of ETHIOPIAWINET or call it by any other name.

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