The Political Liabilities of radical Diaspora opposition and their Media Hosts
By Selam Yiheyis, PhD (Canada)
Tigrai Online, Ethiopian News, Sept. Oct. 10, 2016
Political participation is a right contingent upon citizenship. Having this principle in mind, we have to strictly question the grounds for the opposition Diaspora to participate in Ethiopian politics. The vocal Diaspora is becoming more of a liability than an asset for Ethiopia. That reminds me of the Amharic proverb: “tebyalesh kedabo.” Ethiopia has overcome the worst draught in its recorded history. Ethiopia has inaugurated the first modern electrified railway in Africa, the Ethio-Djibouti Railway. Ethiopia is rushing to finalize another mega project-the Great Renaissance Dam-the first of its kind in Africa and one of the top in the World. Regrettably, the radical Diaspora Ethiopians are becoming the agents of Ethiopian historical enemies and are working day and night to obstruct Ethiopian growth and development. The same elements of the Diaspora are bound in un-holly alliance with each other and with Ethiopian enemies to instigate the worst civil war in our modern history. Some of their media outlets are openly espousing hate and violence to destroy Ethiopian independence and territorial integrity. Regrettably, they have partly succeeded in raising lynch-mobs that induced death tolls of compatriots, destruction of investments and utter displacements of Tigrayans and the Kemant ethnic groups from Amhara region. They still beat war drums to add salt to our wounds in the Erretcha tragedy-Bishoftu, in the webs of mob and the resultant tragedies in Oromia and Amhara regions.
The Liabilities of Radical Diaspora involvement in Ethiopian Politics
It becomes rather puzzling that many compatriots in the Diaspora are playing traitors’ dirty roles for Ethiopia’s near and far enemies. They are working hard to tear apart Ethiopia and Ethiopians along sensational ethnic, cultural regional and linguistic fault lines that used to be more of a beauty than a liability for so long. These agent provocateurs have an insatiable appetite for violence, mayhem and destruction, and they pray and act so that our people get engulfed in perpetual bloodshed. And all their malicious acts are done in the name of “emiye Ethiopia”. They have anointed themselves as king makers and holders of the ultimate truth that daren’t be challenged by anyone, as whoever tries to challenge their duplicity would be met with a barrage of insults and character assassination. The super -radical ones have even gone as far as likening the Tigrayans involvement in national politics to colonization. They are spreading poisonous agitation that 6% minority are ruling 94% majority Ethiopian simply to create a wedge of mutual distrust and discord to destroy our sovereignty. Ethiopians are watching! Our youth should carefully rethink where their better future holds.
Wait a minute! What are the radical diasporas’ moral and citizenship premises to engage us from far off? What are their underlying motives? Are they working for us or for our enemies? If the radical diasporas have aggressively begun to label poor Ethiopians, then what are they doing as citizens of North America from far off the Atlantic Ocean?
This writer appreciates many Diaspora Ethiopian working day and night to pull their country of origin out of poverty trap. I don’t holistically condemn the diasporas. Many are resolute partners in the country’s socio-economic and technological transformation. I salute to all those sincere and genuine Ethiopians whose love for their country of origin is filled with fire. I salute to those patriotic Ethiopians who place their interest way below the country’s and people’s interests. I salute those who are so humble and sacrificed their ego for their country’s political stability and development. I salute those who despise power and have little selfish ambition as long as their mother land Ethiopia moves on in the right direction, despite many problems that needs to be fixed in the process. All those who are working in the best interest of their country of orging in so many fronts deserve sincere thanks and appreciation. I see their voices are hijacked by the violent and noisy radical Diaspora. It is high time for them to come out the their hideouts to resist the selfish and violence Diaspora working for 25 years to derail the country out of its right direction.
Nevertheless, with due respect to my detractors and against risks of hasty generalization, I wanted to pose one argument. Since American Diaspora politicians and scholars have clearly made a choice and earned American citizenship, they should have left Ethiopian citizens alone to their fate in defining and sticking to the course of politics and governance. Otherwise, their intervention is even closer to colonial relationship with the Ethiopian people. How would they be different from the rest of American immigrants who came from across the world and are now bound by a shared identity-American citizenship? Diaspora politicians are not essentially accountable to Ethiopians and the Ethiopian government. They have no the required citizenship rights to lecture Ethiopians and the Ethiopian government about human rights, democracy, laws, election, or policies, practices? What are their mandates?
I strongly believe the most vocal elements of the Ethiopian Diaspora are more of liability than asset for the development of Ethiopian politics, economics and society. I don’t understand their hypocrisy to engage in campaigns of human rights, political activism, and democracy when they themselves have no the slightest elements of these practices. They are increasingly growing into lawless hooligans terrorizing fellow Ethiopians in the Diaspora as much as they are terrorizing Ethiopian in their warmer home land, through their long arms, the Arab-Eritrean sponsored satellite TVs and the reckless social media. If they are real leaders, why not they physically appear in the midst of Ethiopians and lead the youth? Why would they hibernate in the most peaceful places in the west and preaching civil war, chaos, murders and violence for poor Ethiopian youth and civilians? The worst is their indoctrinating the Ethiopian youth with their cheap ethnic incitement, hate and violence. They have exploited the void left within the Ethiopian government media, the extremist private press and the corrupted fellows within the government civil service and the predatory mentality in the private sector operation.
If the radical politicians are competent enough, why would not they play significant roles in American election supporting or objecting the democrats or Republicans? They should mind about their respective country of citizenship and leave Ethiopia alone where they are the least stakeholders in practice. They should leave alone the Ethiopian government (whether democratic or not), society and economy. It is up to Ethiopian citizens to organize or reconstitute their own government or amend their own constitution. The country could fare better in terms of peace, development and security without direct Diaspora participation, as it did over the last two decades. And, thanks to the current media technology, social interaction and personal mobility, we all know the political economy of the Diaspora community and the underlying complex social frustrations, especially in our times of great economic turn down and oil stress in North America. Let the diasporas do to Ethiopia the greatest favour by not externalizing their internal and structural frustrations to Ethiopia.
There are worst structural discriminations haunting the visible minorities in northern America than the ethnic discriminations they are criticizing about in Ethiopia. Let the noisy Ethiopian Diaspora politicians spur the “Black Lives matter movements” in the USA, which lends to growing activists support. They are badly needed there to reinforce the simmering movement for equality, social justice and the rule of law. If they would like to sincerely help Ethiopia out of passion, then they are welcome to do so mainly by supporting their own respective families. Ethiopia has declared poverty as its worst enemy and it would welcome Diaspora in helping their families how to be self-reliant, not by extending aid indefinitely. Can’t the Diasporas learn a little how the Chinese, Indians, Philippines and other Asians are helping their respective communities to come out of poverty? Interestingly, I bet an overwhelming majority of the Asian Diaspora are playing constructive roles in their national developments, peace and stability. It does not mean that they were all happy with their respective government policies and action. Neither does it mean that their countries are being led by a party of angels.
Leaving Asians aside, what do we learn from Eritreans, who were with us up to 1991, in terms of their fiery love for their nation? They are now envying Ethiopian developments. And yet, now how dare the Diaspora politicians slide into stocking violence by allying with one of the worst government on earth, that of Shabiya that terrorizes its own people and Ethiopians indefinitely? Can you expect a chicken out of a serpent’s egg? Why are we allowing the Diaspora politicians to thrive with the bloods of poor young Ethiopians? How long are we going to sleep when they actually coming into the fore-front as Trojan horses of Shaqebiya, Egypt and other theocratic Gulf countries who hardly spared their people the taste of democracy. Ironically, such unholy forces of evil are so determined to divide our society based on religious, political, ethnic and territorial fault lines. There are limits to what we can be lenient. We have to say and stand in one voice: Enough is enough! We have the gut, the means and the wisdom to reorganize our government based on our constitutional provisions. We can amend, reform or change the constitution or if need be to reconstitute a government that works for us. We have no any other alternative country like the Diaspora? Leave us alone..We can leave you to your respective cocoons! No for your hypocritical help, thank you. We Ethiopians are capable of organizing our internal political, economic, cultural and social affairs. Please hands off. Democracy is not a commodity to be imported. Nor is it a faith to be preached by fundamentalists, ultra nationalists and power thirsty Diaspora elites. It cannot be implemented by conspiring against one or another component of the Ethiopian cultural and ethnic groups. Ethiopian democracy is a work in progress that cannot be holistically imported from Europe or USA. Ethiopia had enough of being a political laboratory that slacken her development path over the past century. Democracy has to be customized to our needs and culturally contextualized. It is a value that can be adopted, groomed, institutionalized and internalized by grassroots through an incremental process.
The toxic elements of the Ethiopian Diaspora and their affiliated foreign media are conspiring to export utopian individualist values and norms. They are working hard to introduce their own version of colour revolution that proved far more disastrous in the Middle East and former Soviet republics. Colour revolution has so far ended up in dismantling societies, countries and cultural values. Worst of all the euro-centric prescriptions of democracy have created unprecedented exodus of migrants which shook the European Union; while individual governments are increasingly closing their borders for the victims of the color revolution. Beware that the ideas of liberal democracy and liberal institutions have never blossomed over night in North America. Democracy is not a commodity to be exported but a culturally contextualized value that can be adopted, groomed, institutionalized and internalized by grassroots through a natural process. If the ruling party has serious limitations with regard to exercising democratic rights, so does the opposition shares the same deficits too. The opposition shares the same political culture with leaders in the ruling party. And beware, the Horn of Africa is still a rough neighborhood; until rogue states are checked or obtain responsible governments, poisonous religious politics exported from Middle East is checked, and democracy takes deeper roots, the stick prevails over the carrot for a long time. Any villain can get away with murder if justice does not move around with stick to enforce law and order. Governments have public accountability to preserve peace, prosperity and defend the fundamental rights of all nation and nationalities. They have the right not to be threatened directly or indirectly by bullying forces from afar and home, elites or commoners, party members or opposition parties.
The dissolute Diaspora opposition and their noisy outlets have no legitimacy and have been detached from Ethiopian culture. They don’t even have the requisite citizenship to qualify and lecture Ethiopians about democracy, human rights, and governance. They are suffering from identity crisis where as they failed to take neither part in American politics. Neither are they eligible to advocate, promote and represent Ethiopian cultural values. Ethiopia has enough loyal citizens who could outfit the irresponsible Diasporas bargaining with its historical enemies!
I Call upon Ethiopians to resist the confused millenarian Diaspora politics and advocate peace and stability