Legitimacy to tyranny ensues from negotiations with a tyrant

What the oppressed people of Ethiopia seek from the civilized world is an unconditional rejection of tyranny, a respect for the votes of Ethiopians, the majority of whom opposed the TPLF/EPRDF government. Ethiopians do not seek conditions of providing legitimacy to tyrant Meles. Tremendous hope was placed on the proposition that the democratic traditions of the civilized world east of the Atlantic would force it to forge solidarity with the oppressed peoples of Ethiopia. We still keep hope alive.

Legitimacy to tyranny ensues from negotiations with a tyrant, particularly when the negotiations are made between the tyrant and those whom he had placed in jail. The legitimacy is heightened when foreign governments are involved in making the negotiations.

Recently, Prime Minster Blair gave a boost to the stature of tyrant Meles by sitting with him in the February 2006 conference of "progressive leaders" in South Africa. According to Peter Biles BBC southern Africa Correspondent, Prime Minister Bair said.  "The government won the election, there was then a reaction to it, there was then, perhaps, if I can say this without being too undiplomatic, an over reaction to that, which often happens." [1] Evidently, Mr. Blair considered the murder of over 80 and the imprisonment of thousands of Ethiopians as a mere case of "over reaction". Of course, some assure us that Mr. Blair's body language clearly was unfriendly to Mr. Meles. The important issue, however, is that the body of Mr. Meles was at the conference of the "progressives", and the utterances of Mr. Blair at a press conference were pro-Meles and against the interest of the people of Ethiopia who suffer under the tyranny of Meles. Mr. Blair's disregard of the interests of the oppressed people of Ethiopia is matched by his unwarranted and unsupported assertion that Mr. Meles had won the elections, when the EU-EOM has not so declared. A number of seats, 299 seats to be exact, have not been agreed upon by the opposition as having been settled in a transparent and just way. Remarkably, and in the interest of furthering a democratic and nonviolent struggle, the Kinijit leaders had offered the now famous “eight point principles” [2] as a way of working through parliamentary democracy, which tyrant Meles did not accept.  A desire to live by democratic principles as provided in the eight point principles proposed by Kinijit is unfortunately dismissed by Mr. Blair as a "reaction".

We are now treated by an EU representative who visited Ethiopia, and who is working on " a negotiated settlement" between the tyrant and his imprisoned opponents. Before sharing the negotiation story by Mr. Louis Michel, it is instructive to remind ourselves of the role of nonviolent movements extracted from a book by Gene Sharp.

Click Gene Sharp [3] to read this short and quite easy to read book, entitled “From Dictatorship to Democracy”, 2002.

Below are some quotations from the book.

p.5. Dictators are not in the business of allowing elections that could remove them from their thrones.

p. 6. Usually, no foreign saviors are coming, and if a foreign state does intervene, it probably should not be trusted. With respect to this issue one of four points made includes:

Foreign states also may be willing to sell out an oppressed people instead of keeping pledges to assist their liberation at the cost of another objective.

P.11. When the issues at stake are fundamental,..., issues of human freedom, or the whole future development of the society, negotiations do not provide a way of reaching a mutually satisfactory solution. On some basic issues there should be no compromise.

p. 13. Resistance, not negotiations, is essential for change where fundamental issues are at stake.

Further, democratic negotiators, or foreign negotiation specialists accepted to assist in negotiations , may in a single stroke provide the dictators with the domestic and international legitimacy that they have been previously denied because of their seizure of the state, human rights violations, and brutalities. "

Reference to a  story regarding  Mr. Louis Michel's visit to Ethiopia is given below..

"ADDIS ABABA - EU Development Commissioner Louis Michel said a negotiated settlement to the crisis was crucial in efforts to let democracy take root in this Horn of Africa nation of an estimated 77 million people. The European Union pressed Ethiopia's ruling and opposition parties Friday to negotiate an end to the political crisis triggered by disputed results of last year's elections and a subsequent crackdown on government's critics. Political and civil unrest have shaken the country since the May general elections "..http://www.ethiomedia.com/


1 [UK PM targets Ethiopia at summit, Sunday, 12 February 2006,, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/4707232.stm

2. Eight point principles


3. A Book by Gene Sharp.