An afternoon with a quiet revolutionary Yilma Bekele

I spent a Saturday afternoon in Los Angeles attending a “Thank You” tour by my hero Andargachew Tsige upon his release from TPLF Woyane Gulag. To remind you how he became a prisoner – he was abducted in broad daylight from an International airport by Woyane security in collaboration with Yemen. It is a brazen act that broke many laws and conventions and it can only be carried by a regime that believes it was answerable to no one. It took its lawlessness into the international arena. It is not the first time. Assassinating, kidnapping, roughing up is routinely practiced by security head Getachew Assefa’s goons in Nairobi, Kampala, and Southern Africa. TPLF was good at hunting Ethiopians like wild animals. The hunters are still with us.

We drove down to Los Angeles from the Bay Area to be present in this victory of one person over the combined force of a rogue Nation that tried to use him to humiliate and bully Ethiopians. It just did not work. It failed miserably. We drove down over six hours to express joy and plot the next step on this epic journey to rebuild Ethiopia.

My esteemed friends that have constantly been adding value to the struggle for justice and democracy in Southern California organized the victory celebration. I look at them and see how far we have traveled on the same path for quite a while. We have morphed from Kinijit to Andinet and to AG7 and now embarking on a new journey on the road we help pave. It is the history of Ethiopia the last eighteen years with the stolen election of 2005 as a watershed moment as reflected in the Diaspora. There is no better way to celebrate and feast in our new victory and continued quest for freedom than with friends like our patriots in Hollywood.

I always marvel at the tenacity of a few Ethiopians that have been investing so much time, money and mental capacity away from friends and family committed to a cause of liberating others with no payback whatsoever other than feeling good and satisfied by a job well done. Our activists kept the fire burning. I am mostly familiar with our west coast patriots. My Seattle heroes are young and boisterous, my LA comrades are mature, deliberative and work like a well oiled machine while my friends in the Bay Area are laid back but respond generously without fail.

Seeing Andargachew alive and free is one of the happiest moments in our life. He was doing our work when wild animals rudely interrupted him. The people that met in a church assembly hall to celebrate his release were a few of the key organizers of the international campaign to keep the focus on our friend. The attention checked the criminal urges of the degenerate regime. Our efforts kept him well and alive. His determination and strength of character must have humbled his jailers. His unbreakable spirit must have shamed and angered them.  Imprisoning Andargachew, Eskinder, Reyot, Andualem, Bertukan and many others Woyane was left holding hot charcoal unable to use it but getting burned in the process.

It is fair to expect an angry person after such an experience in Woyane jail. No, Andargachew did not turn out to be angry, cynical or vindictive. I met the same old Andargachew that is humble, soft spoken and ready to smile. It is clear that he is mighty surprised by the outpouring of love and goodwill he has received since his release. He was in the process of winding down his assigned task when he was taken prisoner. After many years of activity coordinating the resistance against Woyane he was thinking of taking time off to think. They say every catastrophe brings a small gift; the imprisonment has turned out to be a learning moment for our friend. He saw the human face of darkness. It is obvious he did not shrink or withdrew but came out swinging like the fighter he is. Andargachew is out again doing what he does best, teach by example.

Vintage Andargachew did not speak about his imprisonment at all. He thanked us for the work we did to get him released. We became the heroes. There is no question the malnutrition, physical and emotional abuse has taken its toll He is leaner and slower. He has compensated that with a keen and sharp mind. His ability to reduce problem down into its essence and explain it in a simple manner if anything, it has been enhanced. Andargachew is moving on.

I am sure he is more than happy to see the seeds he planted have sprouted into a beautiful fruit-bearing tree within a short time. Ginbot 7 has sprouted out to be Arbenoch Ginbot 7 the nightmare of Woyane warlords. His graduates today are organized as groups and operate all over Ethiopia. Over five thousand AG7 freedom fighters have made their trek since the ceasefire.

I was pleased Andargachew or his organization AG7 did not make the claim that they freed us from Woyane. They played a big role. They actually sacrificed lives. But they did not attempt to take oversized credit or puff up their role. Like most Ethiopians they did their part and where we are now is just another step on the long journey. The current state of being free we are all enjoying and trying to figure out what to do with is the product of all our efforts. My friend Andargachew did not try to tell us because he suffered more he deserves a special place and treatment. That means a lot to an Ethiopian. Up until now my liberators demanded payment.

This is my third attempt at being set free. I was ‘freed’ by the Derg led by Colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam from being a subject of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I, Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah, King of Kings and Elect of God to becoming a citizen of a country. I have to admit I was not a loyal subject. The burning issue of the time was ‘ land to the tiller’ and I was all for it.

Mengistu declared ‘Socialism’ to be the goal. Killing, jailing, torturing and confiscating private property was considered the right of passage to Socialism. I did not mind the socialism aspect but the rest was not what I thought being free is about. The Derg as Mengistu named his group started to see themselves in a different light. As our liberators they demanded to be held in high esteem and be served like the Emperor before. They used force to make society comply with their demands. It took awhile but slowly things started to fall apart. The resistance took many forms and it took its toll on my liberators. The group that calls itself Woyane assumed the upper hand and pushed the Derg over the cliff. I was liberated for the second time.

I was tired of the Derg and no one shed tears over its demise. The new group declared socialism to be dead. Well they kept the land and houses, sold the few industries to their friends and declared the advent of free enterprise. They also said as liberators they deserve special consideration. So they went about abusing their special privilege until there was no goodwill left. As usual people went back to the proven method of resisting injustice. Again the wrath of the people took its toll and my liberators were unceremoniously marginalized.

I am experiencing my third liberation. I don’t feel lucky. It would have been better to be born free if you ask me. Three is more than I can endure in one lifetime. Nevertheless I have always welcomed my liberators with open arms but with reservation about their motive. The truth of the matter is I can say with confidence that I was doing fine resisting whoever was in charge in my own way and I do not remember asking them to fight for my freedom. I did not condemn the Derg until it felt spilling blood was taken as shortcut to power nor did I sour on Woyane until Kinijit.

Both of my liberators until now have asked for payment for a job they did voluntarily. They with me and a lot of other Ethiopians made a determination the existing system was not to our liking. First the Derg and second Woyane took the lead to get rid of the oppressive system. They never said upon liberation they were entitled to more than being free. Truth be told, if our liberators have only told us the price we could have negotiated a fair amount and a short period. They preached Democracy, Freedom and the rule of Law. It was nothing but a scam. The current change does not have a sole owner. That is our blessing.

It was the combined effort of all, each contributing what it could that revealed how hollow and weak Woyane is. Woyane has been defeated in all aspects of its viability as a ruling party and a mafia group. After twenty-seven years of absolute power the ruling clique has been forced to go on self imposed internal exile and hide. The very foundation of Woyane philosophy called Kilil is what is being questioned today.

I listened to all one hour and thirteen minutes monologue by Tigrai Kilil President Dr. Debretsion. It was a surreal experience to watch him spinning tall tales about the recent past which we are all witnesses of. Is it just he or do all his Politburo members have such a distorted interpretation of reality. What he wanted to say could have been said in ten minutes but since he was not sure of what exactly he has to say he was forced to meander around from science to geography and good old militarism. He touched on different subjects in a random manner while coming back to a few to kill time. The setting itself was a little strange. It is a horseshoe type table with the Dr. in the middle and five individuals sitting on each side. He spoke for an hour and thirteen minutes and ended the session. Why the individuals were invited is not clear.

What was the purpose of this monologue is a good question to ask. I believe TPLF Woyane is worried about the loyalty of the people of Tigrai that are most probably confused about the situation in the rest of Ethiopia. It is to assure them TPLF is still alive. He took all seventeen minutes to tell us why a rally was held very late in Tigrai. For some reason he felt explanation was necessary. Of course he claimed the people demanded the march and organized it all by themselves. He said it was the best civilized and Ethiopian than all the others. I don’t know if he was lying to himself to us or the people of Tigrai. Well that was the first of his jarring revision of history as if we were never here.

Here are his fantastic claims 1) TPLF initiated the peace process with Eritrea 2) The TPLF started the change in Ethiopia and it was agreed by all that it made the best critical analysis of its inability to lead. 3) TPLF predicted the tribal conflicts that would take place without it in charge and the danger of disintegration.  4) TPLF is all for peace with Eritrea because Tigrai Kilil is the closest to the ports and would benefit the most. 5) TPLF represents all the people, organization, party, and government of Tigrai.

So what exactly is his beef? He is worried about Constitutional order but he did not specify which clause concerns him. As far as we know EPRDF is still in charge. The old PM resigned and a new one was elected by the rules and regulations that govern the so-called coalition. It is true TPLF used to boss the others around after all it controlled the military, security, banking, judiciary and the civil service. That does not leave much does it? That was neither fair nor legal. His complaint is baseless.

The Eritrean situation was resolved with one bold stroke by Dr. Abiy, no need to pretend otherwise. TPLF was trying to punish President Isaias and the Eritrean people thus refused to implement the agreement it signed. For twenty years a lot suffered due to the interagency of the stubborn party. What Dr. Abiy did is a blessing to the Horn of Africa.

The Dr. misspoke by belittling our sacrifice in the war his party started. The people of Ethiopia including the Tigrai paid a heavy price due to TPLF failed leadership and costly mistake. Foreign sources claim sixty thousand Ethiopians died. TPLF Woyane did not even inform Ethiopian mothers and fathers about the fate of their child. All what he said regarding this subject is fiction. We know because witnessed everything.

It is interesting when Woyane leaders discuss the danger of disintegration. They used that scare effectively since no one wants their country dissolving. They repeated the lie so many times we believed it. I was one of them. What a surprise to find out the danger has somehow united us more. The last three months are proof that we are one and no one can become between us. Even the Eritreans were caught in this euphoria and it felt like good times are ahead. Well here we have someone that have not received the memo regarding one Ethiopia. No Dr. Debretsion right now that is not our number one concern. Fixing what your party broke is job number one. Is there any region that has not produced some nutcase always threatening to go it alone? Anyway the good Dr. said if he wants to leave the federation all he has to do is inform the government and all will be taken care of just like that.

Does anyone really believe the people of Tigrai will agree to such harebrained idea of leaving Ethiopia brought by no other than TPLF? They will ask the gang of misfits weren’t you in charge of one hundred million people for twenty seven years and failed to feed, create jobs, balance the budget and protect the sovereignty of the county, what makes you think you will do better with us? Anyway why are you here hiding among us and threatening our family and neighbors?

It looks like the TPLF mafia group is not clear on this concept of losing power. Due to the severity of untold crimes against property and people they as a group have committed, right now they are grasping in every direction to keep their balance. The biggest asset they have is money and cadres and weapons stashed all over Ethiopia. They have been using that. Jijiga, Konso, Borena display all the markings of Woyane trickery. There will be more. Dr. Debretsion was nice enough to predict that much.

TPLF is in trouble. It is so used to dominating using force and terror and now it does not know how to operate among equals. There is no reason to think the organization is capable of reforming. It was established to function under one strong leader using an iron fist. The concept of organizing on ethnic lines is being proven wrong by the initiators themselves. In a rational world as a minority group it should be the Tigrai to oppose such restrictive arrangement. It worked earlier because brute force was used but surely we know that behavior is not sustainable. Dear Dr. Debretsion and company, the issue of Woyane philosophy and one ethnic hegemony is dead. It will not come back. The issue of Federalism is being reinterpreted to suit the majority and the Constitution will be revised to reflect the new reality. The faster you come to terms with that the better for all.

It has become clear that Dr. Abiy and his government have to find ways to close the money supply. The courts have to be used to freeze assets and recover stolen ones. They have already robbed our country twenty-seven years of progress no need to waste more on illiterate losers that refuse to show remorse. Dr. Abiy’s government was forced to accept money from the Emirates because Woyane left the safe empty. Dr. Debretsion is lecturing us about the danger of erasing TPLF achievements. What achievement is a good question? The killings, the ethnic cleansings, the exiling, the famine, the land grab, double digit inflation, lack of human rights are a few of the things Ethiopians associate with TPLF Woyane. There is no good legacy here.

yilma.bekele@gmail.com


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