Don't Worry, Be Happy
Secondly, here is another call to all of you back home to start blogging. History is unfolding and some first hand information for posterity would be helpful.
Thirdly, a few words from guest blogger Chraq.
Small victories: the new prescription for Ethiopian happiness.
I read something pretty amazing from a ferenjie blogger in Addis. Titled, ‘Small Ball’ in a blog called Addis Calling, Ethiopians are called upon to be… happy, to appreciate the small victories they’ve achieved.
The staggering part is that this comes from someone who seems to be against the Bush administration’s
The writer cites the DailyKos as an example of being thankful for small victories.
A great disservice is done when we ignore small victories or ignore their potential. When you become fixated on overall, total victory, you actually enable the very power you are so vehemently against.
If anything, it is the bloggers in
Hm. I am taking a leap in assumption that the writer is American, making the disservice of the “small ball” analogy even sadder. The writer either doesn’t understand, or even worse, doesn’t care that the atmosphere DailyKos operates under is diametrically opposed to the one the Ethiopian opposition has to live under. Imagine if the Bush administration jailed
Hundred of people have been killed or are in jail in
When African Americans were finally allowed to vote in this country, would the writer have said, “be happy to be a small-baller” if the 1965 Voting Rights Act came with a clause that an African American vote would be counted as 1/4th a white vote. Or Brown vs. the Board of Education came with the stipulation that 10 African Americans a year would be allowed to cross the barrier of segregation.
Celebrating small victories is only possible in an atmosphere that allows it. When you know there is a remote possibility of a second chance at doing something better is when you lick your wounds and move on. When you know you will not end up in exile, in jail or dead if you express your views is when you can celebrate small victories. When you have confidence your opponent will play by the rules and not make it an “all or nothing” game is when you happily celebrate your small-baller status.
When the EPRDF knew it had lost Addis Abeba it immediately transferred the AA police jurisdiction under the federal government. All the major income-generating institutes that fall under city municipality were co-opted under the federal machinery. And then, when the EPRDF realized it has lost the elections, it changed the rules of the parliament. Perhaps the writer can point out to Ethiopians which part of all of this they should be celebrating.
Imagine if the democrats win back control of the Senate this November. And then imagine if President Bush declared it would now take 88 votes to override his veto. Certainly the democrats would be happy for the “small victory” of gaining back the Senate? Certainly, some measure of celebration of a ‘small victory’ can be extracted if Pelosi was thrown in jail because she called for a peaceful protest?
What the Ethiopian opposition achieved was no small victory. People died protecting ballots. Even more people were tortured because they supported the opposition. Even after all of this, the opposition agreed to join parliament if a measly eight point condition was accepted. What were those conditions?
1. The Election Board needs to be restructured and be able to operate independently
2. All forms of media should be free and available to all political parties.
3. The legal system must be able to operate independently without any coercion from the ruling party.
4. An independent commission to be established to investigate the
5. Ensure the police and armed forces do not get involved in politics and take sides.
6. Recent laws that have been passed at the concluding sessions of the last Parliament that deal with parliamentary procedures and governance of the City of
7. All political prisoners should be released, and opposition party offices that had been closed should be opened.
8. Establish an independent commission, that is acceptable to all parties, to follow up that the above mentioned issues are resolved on a timely manner.
This is what makes the opposition intractable and unaware of how to celebrate small victories?
That an American, who from birth is taught above everything else to love liberty and zealously protect it, wrote this piece pains me. That it came from the left is not surprising. After all, it was Jimmy Carter who was one of the first people to condone the ban on post-election demonstrations imposed by the EPRDF.
In a previous post, the writer is anguished by the Bush policy in
Somehow, Ethiopians yearning for the same freedom that has made this country great is still seen as a luxury. We have, after all, the American ambassador lecturing people who are dying and in prison about the virtue of patience.
It would be funny if it were not so colossally tragic.
It further highlights the importance of having Dr. Birhanu Nega’s book translated into English because he, more than I ever could, explains why people who have seen the rays of freedom, will never again settle for crumbs.
We can no more ask Ethiopians to settle for a third-rate democarcy than we can of ourselves.
From the land of Live free or die,