Once Upon a Letter
Very Engineer Shawel Hailu, Chairman of the main Ethiopian opposition party-the CUD, was in the
(My translation… I very much apologize and am open to criticism here if I lost anything in translation.)
Our organization has been able to scale to these heights because we have been working though discussions, debates and consensus.
At this stage, the decision we make will require great accord. We will be accountable to history if we make this decision in haste, without the requisite debate but through sheer majority vote. For this reason, I am cutting short my medical treatment and have started the journey back home. Therefore, in deference to Ethiopian politics, development and CUD’s strengthening, I strongly ask that this final and important vote be postponed for two days. It is my hope that we go through this together.
It is a stunning letter.
Not even the most elastic of minds can imagine a scenario in which Prime Minister Meles would consider it worthy to hold his party members in such high esteem. The last time there was strife within the TPLF, Ato Meles’ opponents were either killed or are still languishing in prison.
The only way automaton TPLF/EPRDF cadres are allowed to exist is if they goosestep to every party line and squeal “how high?” when they are asked to jump. They follow edicts and raise their hands in unison to whatever prevailing bullshit shoveled their way. To Ato Meles and his messenger boys, concepts such as intellectual debate, consensus building and discussion is an anathema, a modern day heresy, punishable by being burnt at the stake. How else can you explain Ambassador Kassahun Ayele’s latest nauseatingly obsequious commentary in the
Our embrace of democracy is both principled and practical.
I find myself morbidly fascinated by how much people are willing to be humiliated in order to tow a party line. I am only comforted by the wistful hope that when Ambassador Kassahun eventually writes his memoir, he will be profoundly mortified by his paper trail.
I would be fascinated to know how the EPRDF nerfs reacted when they read Ato Hailu’s letter. Did they for one fleeting moment wonder what it would be like to be treated with respect by their leader?
Ato Hailu’s letter is historical documentation that Ethiopian politics has indeed jumped a major hurdle. A leader who sees his counterparts are equals? Who asks and not orders? Who measures his party’s success using “discussions, debates and consensus” as yardsticks instead force, guns and brutality? Wait. A political party that tolerates dissent? It is extraordinary.
But because he is blinded by power, Ato Meles does not have the wherewithal to assess how history will judge him. Whether it is three months from now or five years from now, Ato Meles will leave power, and will have to deal with the legacy he has left not just
But that’s never been important to the EPRDF. And it is not just Ato Meles who will be held accountable. His enablers and those who continue to venerate him as a messiah will also eventually be harshly judged by history… and the legacy they leave their children.
I hope Ato Hailu’s children have framed that letter. It heralded the true Ethiopian renaissance. To paraphrase ethiopundit, we Ethiopians have finally realized who we have always been, and not what we have been told we are by the barrel of the gun.