Wednesday, April 18

Against Arms

I have been closely following the forums and comments on other sites in addition to those received in my inbox. I hesitate to write this, as I wield no moral authority on the subject whatsoever (and will, no doubt, be criticized because I am ferenj). But I will write anyway, as it is a cause of great concern.

The renewed calls for armed struggle and violent liberation are increasingly alarming. I understand, at least to a small degree, the frustration and helplessness felt in the wake of last week’s ruling but nonetheless I simply cannot embrace violence as an acceptable response.

Not yet. And certainly not now.

It seems to me, that violence in the name of ‘liberating our leaders’ in fact dishonors the immense sacrifices they are making at this very moment. Had they found such means acceptable, they would not be in prison today. Simple. They have left nothing unclear in that respect and have insistesd time and time again on the process of peaceful reconciliation and political transition. How then can we ignore this request and demand or commit ourselves to acts of violence in their names?

(Fight if you must, but call it what it is. Say that you are angry and out of patience, but don’t pretend to do it for their sake. And don’t pretend that it is the only option that remains.)

Secondly, despite all the turmoil and devastating loss of life over the past two years in this county, the truth is that all other means have not yet been exhausted. Leadership, commitment, manpower and funds to the degree necessary have been lacking, and thus on-the-ground organization and results. Too few funds have come in to support too few people here and diaspora bickering has served to cripple even the best intentions of those abroad; as a result, more lives have been lost than necessary and little accomplished.

It is unacceptable to resort to violence simply because we have failed (especially in the name of a party whose core principles deplore such course—if so, how can we condemn the EPRDF for the very same violence so many within our ranks are now actively seeking?

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well said Mengedena!
We can bring woyane down to its knees thru civil disobedience,
all it takes is to shut down the whole stinking corrupt system.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you that the leaders would not be in jail today if they chose violence. That didn't stop the EPRDF, however, did it?

To be honest, I am not even sure what it takes to bring down this regime by force, but peaceful transition of power will just not happen.

50 more years Meles said. He didn't mean by winning fair elections; because he CAN'T win fair elections. Not after 2005, at least.

BTW, you are a great blogger, who wish the best for Ethiopia. You should be praised for that, not criticized.

Anonymous said...

Great point. The struggle of the jailed opposition leaders did not require an armed struggle to mobilize millions of Ethiopians in 2005. Whenever the opportunity avails itself, people across the country still consistently express their support despite the killings and arrests they are subjected to. The so called support groups outside the country need to put their acts together in civilized manner instead of erecting a $4 website every other day and butchering each other up. I want to say to them, the struggle is not about you – it is about millions and millions of Ethiopians who suffer day-in day-out to make ends meet.

Anonymous said...

CUD preaches peaceful struggle which is a modern way of struggle which can help to achieve a sustainable peace, development and democracy in Ethiopia. The leaders of CUD advocated a peaceful struggle. They have a firm commitment to it. They have also demonstrated a great skill to teach us that the only way to pull our country out of poverty is through peaceful struggle, reconcilation. We have to follow their teachings. As to the diaspora support group I would like to refer to one of Nelson Mandela's letter written in 1976, he said "Our struggle is growing sharper. This is not the time for the luxury of division and disunity. At all levels and in every walk of life we must close ranks" Source: Nelson Mandela, The struggle is my life.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Menghedegna,

This is the most important statement of both principle and prgmatism that I could make. To those who say peaceful struggle does not work, I say, what do you know?

Best wishes
Don Quixote

Anonymous said...

I your mode of thinking to bring about democracy is a dream born out of good intentions. When Nelson Mandela got caught it was for violent actions. He was part of an underground movement that took part in violent actions against the state. Your way of fighting for freedom can only be accomplished in a civilized and mature democracy. Ethiopia does not have that, you can't even peacefully advocate for what you want because we now know what will happen. It is my belief that a certain degree of armed resistance along with other modes of fighting is needed to bring down this dictatorship. People always think that what works some to bring about change in their home countries can be exported to other places to achieve the same. Ethiopia's political climate is very different than where ever you are from. Ethiopians in Ethiopia should not expect anything from the diasphora because time and again they proved their incapability in doing so. So please when you speak of a peaceful movement to bring about change you have to also bring up the fate of the CUD leaders in jail, it did not work for them and it won't work for anyone else because any time people take certain actions against the government they are dead no matter if it was peaceful or violent so please explain how it can work in this enviornment (Ethiopia) ?

mao said...

i liked the way you present your article.it is true rthat leaders of CDU are there because they were fighting peacfuly.and there is still a way to democracy peacfully.hi brotheres dont think war is the option remained to over throgh EPRDF.the governmt is cracking so we can make that crack wide.frenji thanks for your supportive comments

Anonymous said...

Well said ferenj, thanks.

Anonymous said...

Kinjit manifesto clearly and boldly stated that peaceful struggle is the right way to bring about a sustainable peace and development in Ethiopia. This is an ideology of the party if you will. We have to respect the party's fundamental princples. No one has the right to wage armed struggle in the NAME of Kinijt. As to the diaspora support group of Kinijt and other opposition parties and movements I would say the following. Please please please listen to ordinary Ethiopians that it is a crucial time to co_ordinate your efforts by establishing common action fronts where necessary so as to strengthen the effectiveness of your peaceful struggle and the rational use of the concerted moral and material sssistance given to you by the wider diaspora Ethiopian community. The role of the diaspora Ethiopian community should not be underestimated!!!!. They did a termendous job for the last two years which should be appreciated!! God bless
Ethiopia.

tiru said...

I am really ready to dialogueand argue with all paitience with all whom oppose armed struggle as a means of libration, if they are really saying it by taking into consideration the nature of TPLF.
First and formst means of the struggle is the direct function of your oppnent.
If in any given country peoples have a right to speech, a right to write, a right to demonstrate, a right to gather and a right to take active political participation in any political organization with out any types of repression and intimidation,peacefull means of struggle is sounding.
Wherase, in a government like what we ethiopian at home testing its brutality,is madness to think peace full struggle unless some one intended to make weaken the sentment of the people toward libration by inviting so irresponsible sacrification.
Regarding civile disobdiance, onething our economic inistituion and types of owneship is not convinient for civile disobdiance.the owner of the economic inistituion is the government. When they suspect that some one is against them, they will purge him or her from their job.
The same is true in the buisness community.the ownner of the shop is the government in the forms of kebele or KIRAYBETOCH.what happened during the kinijit stay at home call?they sealed the shop of the merchants?
Why we advocate to be librate throug gun?
It is because the system we are living is a sorts of ethnic aphartyide.
In order to belibrated from such system, we must apply all the means of the struggle.
Wrong conception on armed struggle
some intellectual assumes that tyranny comes from gun.absolutely wrong tyranny originates fromsocial,cultural, political,phylosophycal and personnal reasons.
Dictatorship comes when some group avoids the political participation of others.
There are some members of kinijit that assume to accept means of struggle is to break the promissed of our jailed leaders.you guy you should understand means of struggle is changeable according to the situation.the situation befor and after the cudp leader imprisment is different .our leader declare peacefull means of struggle before woyanne breaks its promisse.

Anonymous said...

I read the comment written by number 10. You are entitled to your opinion. I do respect your position. There is one clear line of struggle that CUD prefer to wage in Ethiopia. This is based on the long term strategic significance of nonviolence struggle to solve the complex century long problems of Ethiopia. It is too deep if you look and think at it. It is based on historical examples of peaceful struggles and their ultimate long term benefts in the whole world. It is chosen by CUD because it will benefit the coming generation to come. It is not only to beneft this generation only. CUD and its leaders in Kaliti were fully aware that the next phase of peaceful struggle is by far the most important and laborious one. They knew it before hand that it will be tough and rough!!!!.We have witnessed that for the last 18 months. It is upto us to further strength the peaceful struggle. If you look at the history of peaceful struggle very seriously it needs great patience and sometime it may even mean failures at times. This is almost the test of our resolve to build a true democratic Ethiopia. I do not ignore your concern of the more facated problems of peaceful struggle in the Ethiopian situation, but we do have no another option other than peaceful struggle. If some people want armed struggle it is their personal choice BUT NOT IN THE NAME OF KINIJT a party that waged a civilized way of struggle in the entire history of Ethiopia. Our history is a history of war, it is not that we are war mined people by nature it is because we had not have people who can show us and teach us that there is another way resolving differences. I am a staunch supporter of peaceful struggle.The emergence of CUD and its policy of nonviolence struggle in Ethiopia set the majority of Ethiopians peoples minds thinking along new lines i.e if we want a long lasting peace and prosperity in this land for the coming generation to come the only well tested way of strggle is nonviolence. Finally i would say something important. It is not a matter of fear of breaking promises of the will of CUD leaders in Kality. They are all peaceful people in their nature. Some of them like professor Mesfin dedicated their entire life for peaceful struggle, for dialogue and understanding. Please read the book of Dr. Birhanu Nega you can understand his unshakable position for peaceful struggle and his strong belief in the long term benefit of peaceful struggle. CUD is a party of peace, a modern party with a unique approach to solve the complex problems of Ethiopia. The leaders of CUD in kaliti are always believed in dialogue and understanding. They are all men of peace, love and understanding. They do have no hatred even to theirs jailers. Peace to our beloved Ethiopia!! Let the Almighty God help us to solve Ethiopia's problems peacefully!!