History is replete with examples that there isn’t much anyone can do to stop people who have had enough of being marginalized and decided to fightback, and determined to get rid of the force they deem behind of all their ills.
This weekend we watched brave Ethiopians marching all over the country, young and old, men and women, farmers and city dwellers, in large and small towns, all calling for an END to the ethno-centric TPLF or Woyane regime in Addis Ababa.
This countrywide mass uprising against the regime has been a long time coming. Ethiopian activists – human rights and political – have been chronicling the growth in civil disobedience in the country for the better part of this decade, with an increasing number of demonstrations in small towns, but ever-larger, mostly lead by vibrant youthful groups such as students and farmers. The list of complaints against the regime may vary from one region to another, but the common thread connecting them all is “regime change”.
Undoubtedly, Ethiopians have had enough and are no longer afraid of the regime. Despite of the recent news of deadly crackdown on protesters in the Oromia and Gondar regions led by the regime’s elite and mobile killing-military-machine “AgAzi”, the national call to protest over the weekend spread like wildfire to other regions in a very short period of time.
As they say, “seeing and hearing is believing”. Thanks to the mobile phone technology and access to social media outlets, individual Ethiopians are able to tell their stories without delay, by capturing images and posting them on the internet for the world to watch.
— 125 (@Mpengwe) August 5, 2016
All Ethiopians (inside and abroad) are closely following this uprising with regular updates on trusted media outlets such as the Ethiopian Satellite Television (ESAT). They know better than to wait for the New York Times and/or the Guardian to release President Obama Administration’s version of this uprising.
Moreover, regional news outlets such as this one are playing an important role in getting the information getting out quickly. Countless of photos and videos of peaceful demonstrators marching in town squares are already out there for the world to see.
Throughout this past week, we heard thousands of Ethiopians in Gondar expressing their demands in their own words. The most common image that I have seen thus far are photos of youth with crossed-arms above their heads indicating “they are done” with the regime.
We also watched in horror and bear witness to the regime’s brutal response to peaceful protests, including videos of young men dying from gunshot wounds. By and large, some of these atrocities that are being reported by protesters may be of the Syrian caliber – carefully managed killings by the regime’s elite military junta.
In the midst of last week’s uprising, it’s also easy to sense that regime propagandists and apologists abroad are in full panic mode, as they are demanding for a quick solution to these uprisings, especially in Gondar.
The regime’s mass media is already engaged in extremely negative propaganda and scare tactics, such as spreading alarming rumors that protesters in Gondar are engaging in “ethnic violence”.
— Mauri-region (@Mauriregion) July 31, 2016
Much to my surprise, the Prime Minister Haile Mariam Desalen doubled down on this false rumor by saying the country is “sliding to ethnic conflict”. This is a desperate attempt by diehard minority to hang onto the threads of power.
Clearly, the Gondar area uprisings have hit a little too close to home for the regime’s liking. The regime and its supporters are worried that the Tigray region (its old power base) may soon joining this countrywide uprising and put an end to their stranglehold on the Ethiopian government a lot sooner.
The world now knows there is broad consensus among almost all ethnic groups in Ethiopia today that the TPLF or Woyane regime in Addis Ababa is the source of what ails the country and Ethiopians are determined to remove it from power.