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Ethiopia: The Algorithm of Blood for Freedom
The situation in Ethiopia is moving along predictable lines. The algorithm emerges: blood for freedom. At least 140 people had to die before Oromo voices were heard and their input taken seriously. The ERPDF has announced that the plan to expropriate farms surrounding Addis Ababa in order to expand the city has been scrapped. The government has stated that it has “huge respect” for the Oromo people who had opposed the master plan. This respect was not in evidence, however, when live ammunition was being fired into the ranks of peaceful demonstrators. But, we are assured, it was all a simple misunderstanding created by a “lack of transparency.”
Disingenuity compounded by duplicity. Otherwise, lies.
The United States has belatedly called for press freedom and the release of political prisoners. This is a pious wish, of course, no more than that.
The demonstrations against the so-called “master plan” for Addis Ababa are only the latest in a long line of grievances against the ruling TPLF. Protests by members of the majority Oromo community, as well as by many other ethnic groups, continue to focus on the illegitimate distribution of wealth and power which favors to an immense degree, the Tygrian rulers from the north. Representation from other groups in the Federation set up by the TPLF has always been a sham, just as representation of the Muslim community in government agencies has been a sham. Those who are chosen are co-opted and passive. Those who represent the vital interests of the communities involved, and who wish to engage in meaningful dialogue about the issues, are frequently in jail or in exile.
Voices throughout the Diaspora have denounced the latest government protestations of innocent bumbling. Within Ethiopia, one can expect the demonstrations to continue until the economic rights of groups like the Oromo are recognized, the right to the land which is their birthright, the right to decide on their own development, and the right to decide how to use their own resources. The much touted economic “development” in Ethiopia continues to be based on the expropriation of the people’s property and wealth, which is then either leased or sold to foreign agents and the Tygrian comprador establishment. A substantial amount finds its way into the offshore accounts of the government elite.
One would like to think that the present system can be reformed. History tells us, unfortunately that this is a vain hope. The power of the TPLF is nearly absolute. All the centers of power are under their control. They have made clear in the present situation, and in various events going back to the 2005 elections, that they will murder and incarcerate innocent people to maintain this power. They control the media and will tolerate no opposition to their kleptocracy. Leopards do not change their spots.
At present, it appears as if there is only one route to change, blood for freedom.