Ethiopia rising from the ashes of ethnic apartheid
BY Prof. AL MARIAM
The political transformation that has taken place in Ethiopia over the past 19 months can best be described as miraculous. I use the word in both its original Latin root meaning “miraculum” (“object of wonder”) and common understanding suggesting divine intervention in human affairs creating an object of wonder.
In January 2018, all indications were the Tigrean People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) was hunkering down to defend its ethnic apartheid system.
The TPLF leaders always bragged without them at the helm of power, there will be no Ethiopia. Everyone feared the TPLF leaders will not hesitate to blow up the country into smithereens if they felt they were going to lose power.
In February 2018, I had given up all hope of a peaceful democratic transition. I was convinced Ethiopia was on the precipice of a civil war.
I wrote in The Hill, “To save Ethiopia from civil war, solutions must work from the ground up.” I concluded, “Time is running out for Ethiopia and the point of no return nears.”
By April 2018, the game had changed. It was clear the TPLF was in the throes of its final battle to remain in power.
On April 1, 2018, the day before Abiy Ahmed officially became prime minister, I wrote, “After 27 years nearly to the month, there is no doubt that TPLF wounded beast is in retreat but not in defeat.”
On April 2, 2018 when Abiy Ahmed was named prime minister, the TPLF and Ethiopia had crossed the point of no return.
The TPLF was going down, down, down into the dustbin of history!
Ethiopia was going up, up, up from ethnic apartheid into multiparty democracy.
On November 24, 2019, the TPLF bit the dust. More poetically, the TPLF was dumped into the dust bin, garbage heap, of history.
That was surely miraculous!
Since the TPLF took power in 1991, its leaders had bragged and boasted about how mighty, invincible and untouchable they are.
They used to brag about how the mountains would shake, rattle and tremble at their mere presence.
The late Meles Zenawi used to taunt the opposition with contempt. “We got power by shedding our blood. If you want to get power, you must fight your way to power just like we did. The TPLF will remain in power for a hundred years.”
The tragedy is Meles Zenawi and his gang came to power by shedding their blood and stayed in power for 27 years by shedding the blood of others.
Then came Abiy Ahmed and declared, “To kill is to be defeated. Victory must be achieved only in the battlefield of ideas.”
He proclaimed we “shall beat our swords into plowshares, and our spears into pruning hooks.”
No more lifting sword against one another nor against neighbor.
In less than a month, Abiy Ahmed and Isaias Afewerki removed the dark clouds of war and made peace. Abiy Ahmed was named the Nobel Peace Laureate for 2019.
In 2010, Meles Zenawi told American diplomats how he will teach a lesson the opposition will not forget: “We will crush them with our full force… and they will vegetate like Birtukan (Midekssa) in jail forever.”
In 2019, Birtukan Midekssa is the Election Commissioner of Ethiopia and Meles Zenawi and the TPLF are dead, forever.
The little big man Meles Zenawi did not understand the greatest men and the empires they forge are nothing more than sands in the hourglass. Nor did he understand, “The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.”
The evil Meles Zenawi and his TPLF gang have done will live after them. But there is a major cleanup of evil underway today.
The TPLF and its 27-year rule of oppression, corruption, human right violation came to an end suddenly, not with a bang but a whimper.
In December 2015, I had wondered what the “end of the story will be for the TPLF in Ethiopia.”
I argued the only outstanding question was whether the TPLF story will end with a bang or a whimper.
Two months later in February 2016, I knew the TPLF’s end would come with a whimper.
I knew the TPLF was an evil beast with feet of clay. When gazed upon, the TPLF appears awesome, formidable and infinitely powerful. It has guns, tanks, rockets, planes and bombs. Though the TPLF has legs of iron, its feet are made of clay.
In May 2016 when the TPLF celebrated its silver jubilee (25th anniversary) extravaganza, I prophetically warned them their end is near but they cannot see it because they are blinded by arrogance and ignorance. “There is no doubt about it. The day of reckoning for the TPLF will come ‘unexpectedly, like a thief in the night.’”
On November 20, 2019, the end came like a thief in the night for the TPLF Alibabas and the Forty Thieves.
What poetic justice!
The TPLF whimpered in a public statement and a letter, delivered it and then put its tail between its legs and moped into the sunset, beckoned by the garbage heap of history, hanging their heads low and blustering, “We will create a de facto state.”
How strange these TPLF blokes (or is it blockheads) are?
Are the TPLF Schrödinger’s cat saying they are legally dead but are alive in fact?
They will soon realize, if they have not already, the true meaning of Napoleon Bonaparte’s regrets. “Death is nothing, but to live defeated is to die every day.”
“Parting is such sweet sorrow” TPLF. We hope to never to see you on the morrow.
R.I.P. (Rest in Pain) TPLF!
NB: This piece was extracted from an article “Ethiopia: An African Political Miracle in the Making?“