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Saturday, March 11, 2006

Will Tegbar's call be a success?
The arrest of almost all important CUD leaders has created a huge leadership void in the peaceful struggle against EPRDF's totalitarianism. As events have worked out, the Ethiopian Diaspora in the west has, collectively, stepped up to fill this vacuum. Ethiopians generally appreciate the role of their fellow country men abroad. Although a relentless smear campaign had been waged by the Likes of The Reporter against the Diaspora, it was largely ignored. We, at home, still think that our brothers and sisters in the west have as equal a right as ourselves. In these days when news travel faster and gets a way to be published easier, we don't believe in the myth that the Diaspora is distant to the reality here. If anyone is out of touch with wishes and aspirations of most Ethiopians, it is the members and supporters of the EPRDF who are living amidst us.
Tegbar's call for civil disobedience, I believe, demonstrates that the Diaspora is taking its leadership role seriously. So will the call be successful? The success can only be measured in terms of its stated goal. As clearly put in the flyers being circulated in Addis, the goal of the civil disobedience is ensuring the release of political prisoners. So to rephrase the question asked...will the call achieve the release of political prisoners?
I think if the call is properly executed, it will cause a major earth quake on the country's political landscape. A five days labor strike, withdrawal of resources from state banks etc will surely have other collateral effects nationally and internationally. EPRDF members and supporters are told that the struggle is reversed. A successful implementation of civil disobedience will force them to question such statements and doubt the government's capacity to ride the storm out. The same questions are going to be raised in the military. Civil servants who are working with the government because they think that it will last long will have second thoughts. Internationally, the legitimacy of the government will continue being questioned. Once they realize that the government is unable to control the people, vacillating donors will know which side not to support.
If Tegbar's call for civil disobedience is to be effectively executed, the organizers have to learn lessons from the near past. I know most Ethiopians in the Diaspora feel that the October civil disobedience called and led by Kinijit was a success. In terms of mass support and donor reaction, it was. Yet it didn't bring about the goal of the call - forcing the gov't accept CUD's eight preconditions. The kinijit call wasn't properly executed. The stay at home strike began before the date it was supposed to start. The boycott of goods and services hurt only very few companies as the crack down began before the names of many companies were publicized. A lot of people continue watching and listening to the state media despite the call to boycott.
So what went wrong? First, Kinijit miscalculated the destructive capacity of EPRDF. Kinijit leaders announced that they might call for civil disobedience way before october. The methods of disobedience were published on the free press. Mean while, EPRDF was making a thorough preparation on how to destroy the plan. Kinijit set the 14th of November as a date of the strike for two reasons. It didn't want to destabilize the holy month of Ramadan and it wanted workers to collect their salary before the strike. EPRDF came with a plan to obliterate both reasons by bringing the date forward. It lit a street violence. Members of the public were sucked into the violence unknowingly. People were forced to stay at home two weeks before the stated time. Most didn't receive their salary and were unable to sustain the lives of themselves and their families. So they returned back to work when the violence stopped. Young men and women who were committed to go on with the strike, despite the difficulties, were forced to go outside when door-to-door arrests began. By the time it started, Kinijit 's call had lost all its surprise element and the EPRDF was prepared to destroy it.
Second, in practice, most Ethiopians were unfamiliar with conducting civil disobedience. Two days after the boycott of state media was announced, for example, I met a lot of pro-kinijit people listening to Ethiopian Radio. When I asked them why they weren't heeding the call, some answered that they didn't think it was serious. Others said they were either listening to sports or music.
Tegbar's call is afflicted with the same problems and more. Many people aren't aware of the call. It lacked the surprise element. It was better if Tegbar had worked with different groups, trade unions, students etc, wrap up the organizational aspect and made the call through the mass media only days before the start. The clandestine organization would also have helped people learn the reasons for conducting civil disobedience.
I am convinced that Tegbar's call will be acted upon by some people. A prepared EPRDF will make its move. Violence may erupt here and there. Can we call that a success?

8 comments:

Geja said...

Selam E Zagol

You just did an excellent job of putting the past, the present and the future in a very perspective way. This is going to be a long journey, we all know that. We will get it done by learning from our mistakes, gaining on our opportunities and going to the next round a little more prepared and a little more smart. If Tegbar's call for CD manages to do that, then I consider it a win. If the next call by Tegbar or any other group fails to capitalize on past opportunities, then I consider it Ye Ethiopia Tinsae degmo zegeye. Please keep on doing your blog. You would not believe how much I learned from you just now as you have the home advantage.

Anonymous said...

Zagol,

In order to bring meles down the
people have to rise up and take
action. Why is it the school children who are fighting woyane day in and day out? Where is every
body else? The Diaspora is not
directly affected by the actions
of the woyane thugs, but the Ethiopian people are.... the million dollar question is what are they going to do about it? How much killing, how much looting, how much beating are they willing to stomach?

Gelila said...

I will not be surprisez by the inevitable failure of the so called Tegbar"s call. First and foremost, I don't think it is a well planned and well prepared in such a way that it is going to be in a succussive manner. Its' failure also will have a negative impact on the psychology of the resistance. Woyane would be happy by this. This kind of calls atleast should include the major opposition parties and civic organizations.

Anonymous said...

Hey!

CUD's leaders who are still at liberty to enjoy sunrise and sunset have a lot to answer for.

They have failed to step up and fill the vaccuum left by their imprisoned compatriots. They justify their inaction by the most absurd excuse that the party's leadership is still in Ethiopia( yes, in Ethiopia but behind bars in-comminicado - Hello!), that it would look like a coup- de-tat "Newir" if a care taker CUD is designated. Somebody give me antiacid!

The rise of Tegbar and probably many more to follow, is a natural phenomenon. Nature fills vaccuums, leadership emerges, the weak link will be relegated to the dust bin of history. I for one is full of regrets that CUD leadership survivors did not meet the demands of the time but I have no problem with Tegbar and its folllowers carrying the torch foreward!

ye filwiha said...

this is yet another impressive new blog -- I hope you keep blogging.
anonymous, I think you're right and the blog is not so much against what Tegbar is trying to do - it's only saying whatever we do from now on, whoever does it should learn from the past to be more effective and accomplish our goals -- 'cos TPLF/EPRDF will always do their level best and use all of their resources to make sure that we fail.

Anonymous said...

with out military action....no real change will come!

Geja said...

I agree to a very little degree to the last anon, but history is full of non-violent uprisings that toppled governments or made lasting and dramatic systematic changes within. Our problem is not lack of armed soldiers with guns, but armed soldiers, us, with our decisive move to remove tyranny. Tegbar may not get 100% of its plan, but to me it is 100% better than those at the helm of the CUD-NA leadership who are doing nothing in spite of an overwhelming uproar to get something moving. Some how they have so far managed to play it paralyzed. If we are not sure about the success of Tegbar's new move, then get involved so that the next move is better organized to assure some level of success. Could you commit yourself to that?

Anonymous said...

The civil disobedience is going to be a long struggle. Has it succeeded so far I say yes. 1 year after the election Meles has not been successful calming things. They are still killing kids and pretending that everything is ok. Internationally they have been isolated and here we are the movement evolved with a formation of leadership based abroad with cells in every part of the country.