By Ephrem Madebo
In one of his vibrant songs, the late Jamaican Reggae star Bob Marley told to all tyrants of the world - “You can full some people some time, but you can’t full all the people all the time”. Yes, yesterday’s verdict might have fooled some innocent people, but it has never fooled the majority of Ethiopians. Yesterday’s premeditated political decision or “Verdict” on the CUDP leaders was not a surprise to Ethiopians who have been following the fate of their elected leaders for the past two years. Personally, I was at both ends of a cliff for almost two years over the suspense of knowing how long I should wait before I hear the verdict. Since I always knew the anatomy of Meles Zenawi, to me, the verdict itself was clear from the get–go. To all peace loving people of Ethiopia, yesterday June 11, 2007 was both a day of sorrow and a day of jubilation. It was a day of sorrow because, at least temporally, freedom itself was on trial in the Ethiopian justice system. Yet it is a day of joy because we have heroes who gave us their yesterday so that we all can live for today.
PM Meles and his gangs might think that their sham verdict has alienated the Ethiopian heroes from the Ethiopian people. Make no mistake! If you imprison them, the truth shall set them free like Nelson Mandela. If you carry a death sentence on them, their spirit of freedom shall be renewed and shall rise from the ashes like Phoenix. Your unclean hands can kill our clean leaders; yes, you can kill them physically, but you can never kill their sprit; for their sprit is with me, with him, with her, with them and with us!
The TPLF regime has repeatedly preached to have been the first government of Ethiopia to grant freedom. To the TPLF gangs, freedom is a mere opportunity to do as one pleases, or a mere opportunity to choose between set of alternatives (seceding, not seceding). This is not freedom. Freedom is the chance to formulate choices, to argue over them -- and then, the opportunity to choose. The Ethiopian people have never been given the opportunity to formulate their choices. PM Meles, if you really like the Ethiopian people (as you claim), please wish us to be free, free to be free from your freedom. “Him that I love, I wish to be free -- even from me” Anne Morrow Lindbergh A.
Thanks to God, I consider myself educated, affluent, and successful in life. Most of the factors that made me who I am today were implanted in me by some of the people who were found guilty yesterday. Dr. Befekadu Degefe was my role model who positively shaped my life in Addis Ababa University. Next to my father, professor Mesfin was my source of wisdom whom I followed from lounge to lounge in AAU campus. Dr.Yacob was a man who taught me patience and walked me through the ‘ABC’ of Ethiopian politics. These three battle seasoned intellectuals and all of the other “candles” around them were on a mission of transforming the socio-economic reality of Ethiopia. How can my conscious mind accept a verdict that condemns the very people that lived to make me a better citizen? How can I live in peace with myself without doing to others what Professor Mesfin, Dr. Befekadu and Dr. Yacob did to me? As to me, I will renew my covenant with the Ethiopian people to live every second of my life for their freedom, and die if death comes along the path. What about you?
Dear fellow Ethiopians, our leaders have labored in freedom and have given birth to a favorable environment in which we should get on to free our people. All in all, they labored in freedom and gave birth to freedom. June 11 will be remembered as the birth day of freedom in Ethiopia. Nurturing and raising this newly born freedom is our resposnibity. We should never entrust the care of freedom to the weak or to the timid. The month of June is the mother of good and bad. June 1 2005 was a dark day in our struggle to freedom and justice. June 11 2007 is the start of a new milestone; a milestone that takes us to the last lap before the finish line. The title of Marley’s song in my opening statement was “Get up- Stand up…don’t give up the fight”. Let’s stand up and fight, and never flinch an inch before making sure that power is at the hands of its true owner.