by Dimetros Birku
(borkena) Ethiopian Youth is not only a victim of minority ethnic based tyrannical regime. It is also a victim of global capitalist cultural conquest. A world view that nurture individualism, consumerism, greed, materialism and hedonism ,among other things, are being entrenched as social values in Ethiopia.
These challenges have combined to create unprecedented social malaise. Corruption is fast approaching to become a social value. Crime rate is on the rise compared to Ethiopia ‘s past. Prostitution, which is not by no means all about poverty, is on the rise. Addiction and alcoholism are on the rise. Despite stories of “economic growth,” Ethiopia is being consumed by those social malaise which obviously have economic and political implications.
The political project of the minority ethnic Tigray people’s Liberation Front (TPLF) with regard to the Youth is either to create a morally corrupted and unenlightened support base to echo propaganda related to “development,” which is supposedly a means with which the intent to build ethnic based power in all its forms is covered.
In fact, there is a narrative that some were enticed to join the ranks of the TPLF dominated ruling EPRDF not out of lack of knowledge about dictatorial nature of the regime in power but out of the conviction to struggle for democratic changes from within the ruling party, and of course with the anticipation that the party itself would evolve to an entity committed to principles of equality and democracy. It didn’t happen. The shock, seemingly, was not that there was no move along the path to democratization but that worsening,subtle and unsubtle, parochial power build up and outright repression came to be a pattern.
Account from those who left the party seem to confirm the notion that the ruling TPLF dominated EPRDF is all about ethnic supremacy and power build up with no intention to democratize Ethiopia. Folks like Ermias Legesse went into exile in the US and recounted first hand political experience within the regime in his new book, Ye Meles Trufatoch, a book which I have to read yet. Others like Habtamu Ayalew, who left the party earlier and whom the late Meles Zenawi is said to have hailed as insightful and visionary, decided to challenge undemocratic practices and apartheid like rule of TPLF at home by forming Youth Group Advocacy, Baleraey Wotatoch, which the regime began to see with a sense of enmity soon after its formation – perhaps a factor that convinced Habtamu to commence an outright political advocacy by joining Unity for Justice and Democracy (UDJ.) Now Habtamu, already tortured in Maekelawi, is in jail to face trumped up “terrorism” charges under the phony “anti-terrorism” legislation.
The anti-terrorism legislation took the level of repression to a new height. It fostered the project to repress the section of population that matters most: the Youth. Motive? To make politics, which is demanding human, constitutional and citizenship rights in the context of Ethiopia, sound like an act of terrorism. The only political involvement that is appreciated is to give a hand for repression under the cover of “developmental.”
The result of it all is not as intended. Yes, there are those who lend support to the regime either on grounds of ethnic affiliation or on grounds that they are reduced to be economically dependent on the regime in their very own country. And yes, there are those who are scared of being assertive and took refuge in pursuit of life styles that are perceived to be “cool,” those who live aspiration of hedonism and all those elements of cultural conquest projected “modern” and desirable. However, there are those who reject that and dared to stand up to resist repression.
Woyineshet the Model girl
Woyinset Molla is a model girl – obviously not model in the sense of the fashion industry. she is the new “cool.” She is a model activist who defended her conscience. She is a model girl who is not distracted by any thing else and obsessed with what matters most freedom and her country. Not naive to give hand to the enslaving cultural conquest which comes in the form of “modernity.”
Not just that. Woyinshet practically rejected the reality that politics in Ethiopia is a dangerous business, what the regime wanted to project, not just for those getting involved in it but even for families. The regime is extremely unpredictable. Yet, she seem to have understood that silence in the face of repression has irreversible long term consequence for Ethiopia.
Woyinshet Molla is a very active member of Semayawi party, Amharic for Blue Party, relatively new opposition party in the country.
For about three years now every Friday, Ethiopian Muslims stage peaceful protest after their Friday prayer demanding for their constitutional right for freedom of religion be respected and the release of their incarcerated leaders. And they have paid in life for that too.
Yesterday was one of those days. They were interrupted in the middle of their prayers in the premises of The Grand Anwar Mosque, in Merkato neighborhood of Addis Ababa – where Woyinset Molla lives. Many were brutally beaten.
Woyineshet is not a Muslim. But she believes that the demands of Ethiopian Muslims is legal and constitutional. And she was not intimidated to show up in the middle of brutal attack against Ethiopian Muslims and show her solidarity. She was not assigned to do so by her party. She did it out of her own conviction to stand up for justice.
Already known for security forces for her unflinching stance against repression, a plain cloth Security who was reportedly videotaping the incident from a nearby building spotted Woyinshet close by the scene of incident. He did not take time to get her and attack her brutally. Apparently, other security forces had to give him a hand to attack Woyinshet and they did not leave her alone even after they unleashed brutal attack on her. She is jailed.
According to reports on Social Media, Woyinshet appeared in a closed court earlier today (it is not common for courts in Addis Ababa to hear cases on weekends). It is expected that TPLF government would charge Woyinshet, who is in fact a victim of state terror, with “terrorism.”
She is reportedly seen with big stitched cut on the left side of her head and with broken and bandaged arm. Worse, ruling party cadres on social media are trying to dehumanize, by way of Scoffing, youth with a defiance spirit to repression and Woyinshet is not spared either. Ostensibly, it is meant to be part psychological component of repression. It does not seem to be productive, though.
What the regime totally forgot is that that repression could have undesired consequence. It can have the very opposite effect of silencing and depoliticizing the Youth. In fact, it is evident that the more the regime is deepening repression the more it is politicizing the youth. And there is the awareness that the intention of the regime is sinister in the long term.
For sure, they will face many millions of the likes of the model Woyinshet in the near future and in many forms actually. They still do not get it that it is unthinkable to sustain ethnic based aspiring supremacist regime.