Ethiopia: The attack on Dr. Tsegaye Ararssa must stop, and must stop now! By Dr. Berhaneneskel Abebe S.

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The organized political hooligans attacking Dr. Tsegaye Ararsa must stop their failed vicious character assassination and silencing campaign now.

I know Tsegaye since Law School at Addis Ababa University. Tsegaye is an outstanding and smart student. After law school, he turned smart lawyer and capable educator of the law who used to teach and advice Ethiopian Parliamentarians constitutional law in addition to teaching thousands of law students at Addis Ababa University and the Civil Service College. Politically, he is centrist. He has never been left-wing or right-wing extremist now his distractors try to paint him.

But, as all able and capable lawyers do, Tsegaye argues for the group he represents not from where he stands as a lawyer but from where the victim he represents stands, in this case, the Oromo people. All the arguments Tsegaye makes should have been understood this way. But, the group who were used to attacking the Oromo people failed to make this distinction and started attacking the lawyer with his client. Now, the lawyer is being attacked with the victim he is defending. And he has no options but to defend himself as best as he could have defended his client- the Oromo people.

I made this slight distinction for a reason. Had Tsegaye just lived for his belly as most lawyers did instead of his values, Tsegaye would have been one of the millionaire lawyers in Addis Ababa basking in its best hotels with international diplomats and the few elites of that city either in Sheraton Addis or any other best hotels and power corridors. I am not bragging here. Those who know Tsegaye knows that he could have been easily one of the top lawyers in that city.

I made the same decision as Tsegaye. I could have just been one of the well-to-do wealthy Ethiopian Diplomats or Ethiopian Ministers or Ambassadors had I opted to live for my belly and to earn money. But, I decided to speak up for the Oromo people and forgone those rotten privileges in the courts of the TPLF that most still enjoy.

We did not forgo the opportunity to make money and live for our belly only in Ethiopia. We made the same decision in our respective adopted countries here. It is not a joke or a hobby to write lengthy and tedious articles on Facebook and other media outlets or give an interview to numerous media outlets uninterrupted for five years representing the Oromo and other Ethiopian victims of the repressive regime.

We both sacrificed the time to earn money and invest in our family to earn respect and dignity for the Oromo and the rest of the Ethiopian people. Our sacrifices might not be liked, valued and recognized either by our distractors or even organized Oromo political groups. Some even started asking me why we are not in the spotlights now that change comes to Ethiopia. Well, I am not in it to be in the spotlight but to put the cause of the Oromo and other Ethiopian people in the spotlight. And I will continue to do so.

To conclude this, I will not regret speaking up for the Oromo and other Ethiopian people. I bet, neither will Tsegaye regret his roles. We believe we made a difference in small measures in the life of the Oromo and other Ethiopian people in our own small way. The Oromo and other Ethiopians are not under the yoke of the TPLF anymore.

Neither will the Oromo and other Ethiopian people be re-yoked again under any similar oppressive regimes. The Oromo and other Ethiopians will fight it tooth and nail, in part because of what we did. Not only because of our effort, but also because of thousands of Oromos and others who made similar decisions of forgoing material wealth, physical and emotional comfort and stood up for the just cause of the Oromo and other Ethiopians including scarifying their life.

On the worldly material wellbeing, for sure, we may not be as rich as the master-minders behind the hooligans deployed against us or their taxi drivers. We may not even have enough to live on, but we have enough cause to live for. We may not have money but we have millions of Oromo and other Ethiopians who stand with us and for us. And best of all, we choose to stand for the Oromo and other ETHIOPIANS without anyone asking OR paying us to stand for this people. And nothing is fulfilling more than to stand for a cause of tens of millions of people.

The Oromo and other Ethiopian might not yet be where they should be in establishing a just, equitable and democratic system in Ethiopia and the greater Horn of Africa, and become an anchor of peace and stability in that region that they are predestined by nature. But, we are on the right trajectory and will be there. There is a countless rising generation of Oromo and other Ethiopian youth who will fulfill this dream. Our part is to keep the faith and fight the good fight of faith. And we are doing it.

Going back to the attack on Tsegaye, the organized hooligans will neither silence nor character assassinates Tsegaye just as they miserably failed to silence and character assassinate the good culture, language, and values of the Oromo people.

The political strategy of using organized hooligans to silence and character assassinate political opponents instead of confronting the issues the political opponents raises, in this case, Dr. Tsegaye Arrarsa, will neither silence him nor solve the political issues Tsegaye raises. Instead, more Tsegaye’s will be born, not in thousands but in millions, every day they attack him to promote and defend the same political cause.

This outlawed group that now attack Tsegaye should have learned one or two things from the TPLF. The TPLF attacked and blamed all educated Oromos, including myself, as OLF. At the end of the day, they made us all become OLF, not in organizational structure and membership but in spirit. The same attack on the Oromo people turned the entire Oromo people into OLF supporters leading to its eventual demises even when the TPLF was detaining and killing tens of thousands of Oromos.

Those who use political hooliganism as a strategy of silencing and character assassinating political opponents must stop their dogs now before they will be consumed by the fire they themselves are now setting.

This week’s trend of harassing Oromos in Addis Ababa has the hallmark of these hooligans we all know too well. The days of silencing educated Oromos because they don’t have political constituency is gone. Now we have tens of millions of political constituencies that will rise up and stand up for their cause.

The best course of action moving forward is not political hooliganism but to dismantle the horizontal economic, political and social inequality the master-minders of these hooligans built to marginalize and exclude the Oromo people from the commonwealth of that country. Or else, these issues will be addressed on the terms and conditions of the Oromo people, not their dying system! Therefore, stop the fake and manufactured outrage and attacks against Tsegaye and other Oromo activists and address the issues.

Note:

Tsegaye did not ask me to write this. We did not even talk about it. We may not even share the same political point of views. And we are not expected too. But, the unfair attack on him stands against all the fairness and equity anyone with good conscious stands for and the civilized political discourse Ethiopia needs at this particular moment in time.

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