“Conference on the Horn of Africa ”

By Yelfiwos Wondaya

One wonders why some quarters continue to avoid the name that says Ethiopia . If the intention is to extract our patriotic memories we hold on firm for Ethiopia , the intention will not go any further than it already did. However, I leave that for the groups to elaborate on the notion of name changing trail and beyond, and yet as any loyal citizens, I remain firm in using my shield, a symbolic image that is associated with Ethiopians’ defense system against foreign aggression. Defending is what I know and defending is what I do to shield my identity. And also, whether or not the intention is to wipe out our memory of which we are or that of our national feelings often prevails over enemies, I also leave that for the groups to respond as well. Patriotism lives on and performing national duties in a faithful manner is what patriotic act is all about. Be just that or be not. Back to the name changing trail; CUD was a coalition next to so-called KESTE-DAMENA one of the integral parts of CUD itself then without the name Ethiopia attached to it, then, all splinter groups came out of it with the exception of MEAD called themselves the same exact way CUD has done in terms of avoiding the name Ethiopia, G7, UDJ, and MEDREK are the cases in point here and then noticeably AFD was formed by carefully avoiding the name Ethiopia too, then, comes the so-called Ethio-Eritrean conference that took place twice in San Jose, CA, and here we go again the so-called Conference on the Horn of Africa is another occasion for another group gaming its way to the top of its profession. Well done, whether or not the entire groups mentioned here have something in common, or done by accident or by design, I for one would like to ask all of them to answer the same question I asked above. Altogether, what are your sentiments on the matter? The matter in this trail is name changing. And the other thing I would like to comment on is that that it is pathetic for a self-appointed Think Thank to think of an institution formed in a far away land by few is a remedy for Ethiopia. At any rate, such notion of settlement is morally wrong and politically incorrect and cannot correspond in part with our belief system back home in Ethiopia . Does any given group be it political or civic or both have a right to pass any motions on behalf of our great nation without getting a mandate from the people of that very nation? I believe not! Isn’t that the reason why we are opposing to Meles of TPLF to begin with? I like to say yes for the answer.

First of all, both the guests and participants in this so-called Horn of Africa are Ethiopians. If that is so, why bothered to call it “A Conference on the Horn of Africa instead of putting the Ethiopian agenda first and then about the Horn of Africa in general? And yet the privileged minorities believed to have more power, social standing, wealth and talent than the rest of us in Diaspora cannot represent us much less representing the interest of Ethiopians living in Ethiopia .

Once again a fear of backdoor dealings dominating Ethiopian thinking both at home and abroad for sometime must come to a close now. Ethiopians are no longer interested in a group that carries out an indirect sort of dealings with anyone other than our own to settle our national affairs. To begin with, one would say without fear of contradiction that an initiative that comes from outside into a place where it does not belong is bound to fail. In all honesty, though coordinating the various aspects of our activities, organizing the potential candidates of our future government and applying efficient working methods in order to make the entire arrangement work effectively must be our business. And also organizing a new platform that creates an environment in which the influence of the majority is welcomed to abate our misery is our goal. For we are at Liberty , we must remain free to take any measure necessary to attain our liberty and freedom on our own. Isn’t that common for any human society to defend its liberty and freedom on its own? So fighting against any sort of interventions that limit our freedom and sovereignty is something that any responsible citizen is obliged to accomplish. To that end, one has to admonish Ethiopians of all persuasions to stay alert and not to get duped by any backdoor dealings that breach our sovereignty ever again. And most important of all, if and when Ethiopia ’s fate is determined must be determined not by outside influence but by Ethiopians themselves. Of course, we the people of Ethiopia knew full well that Meles is a bridge to no where; but does not mean though that an agreement reached by unknown and private individuals on a foreign land without including the greater majority of us is acceptable. So in principle imposing one’s regime upon the same people is what Meles of TPLF has done, which is why we opposed it, and we continue to oppose such practices no matter who does it. So, as an alternative, Ethiopians deserve to have a representative government led by a statesman who is widely respected for integrity and impartial concern for the public good or a broadly based coalition government consisted of all Ethiopian political and civic organizations. I personally believe that this sentiment is deeply rooted in the concept of the Ethiopian sociopolitical culture and tradition which can be described as a set of attitudes and ideas common to all Ethiopians as well. To that end, holding a conference that avoids the name Ethiopia itself and many other Ethiopian political and civic organizations would not be acceptable at all. If need to be, a national conference that includes all Ethiopians of all persuasions would be commendable.

Secondly, strange enough though that this very conference involved only the unknown and the private persons. If known most of them are known as notorious persons in Ethiopia or as defectors or both. Of course, some of whom I know were our comrades in arms but defected for other camps. Nothing is further from the truth, that this conference was not fairly selected to represent Ethiopians much less be all inclusive and all-embracing. With all due respect, though where is the moral-bound we Ethiopians are familiar with? How on earth a group living abroad believes in imposing its borrowed ideology against the will of our people and yet continues to enforce an argument Ethiopians are not interested in to engage in at all. I believe it is a belief of elite groups and what these groups hold to be true is not necessarily true to Ethiopians both inside and abroad. Especially, when they avoid the name Ethiopia , a country we supposed to be proud of.

Likewise, Ethiopians deserve a time and space of their own to choose their own government freely rather than having it imposed from outside. To me, a bad decision done willingly is much better than a good decision done by compulsion. Whether or not such institution formed outside of our country shall have a free ride to use the name that says Horn of Africa in exchange for Ethiopia is yet to be seen. But one thing is for sure; to the best of my understanding, even deciding on discussing, endorsing and imposing the choices of privileged minorities and foreign powers upon the fate of our nation is not acceptable by any measure. Don’t change my name against my will, a name on which my identity is driven, and my essential self that constitutes my individual personality for life.


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