Bahr Dar and the wonderful art of silence. By Yilma Bekele
Last Sunday May 12 a Federal police officer opened fire and murdered twelve or eighteen people depending on who is doing the counting in the City of Bahr Dar by the shores of Lake Tana. It was a random killing and the only reason he stooped shooting was because he run out of bullets. What makes this crime unique is that it was committed by some one that is trained to protect and serve. At least in most places that is what we think of the armed officers that move around with loaded guns amongst us. I said in most places, our Ethiopia is not such a place.
The Federal Police serve the TPLF party that is in charge of our country. Meles Zenawi set up the Federal Police to be accountable to him and his party and used this force to quell down any kind of native unrest against his group. The Federal Police is the most fearsome weapon of the TPLF party. Like everything else concocted by the late criminal the Federal Police is a uniquely Ethiopian force supposedly created to resemble other Federal institutions in the developed West. The name is the same but the purpose and mission is different.
In Ethiopia the TPLF party’s Federal Police is an instrument of terror. Their motto is shoot first, ask questions later. You will not find a single Ethiopian that would not be engulfed with fear when the Federal Police is mentioned. The force was purposely designed to instill fear. From what I know of the Federal system here in the US the FBI does not involve itself in local matters. The local Police that are answerable to the Mayor or elected official is the first line of response. The State Police is under the elected Governor who is accountable to the citizen. There is a clear line of jurisdiction built into the system.
Meles Zenawi’s Ethiopia is different. The Federal Police force under him is the ultimate arbitrator of justice or injustice in this case. The Different Kililis or Bantustans have no power or authority on this rogue force. No sane Kilil head will challenge the power of the Federal Police. I can safely say that regarding all Killis except the Sovereign State of Tigrai. Abay Woldu would not allow a Kenbata, Oromo, Amhara or Somali Federal Police to roam around in his State with immunity.
When the late dictator copied the Kilil system from Mussolini with upgrades from the South African Bantustan system he made a few improvements of his own. Bahr Dar is the capital city of the Amhara Kilil. What in the world is a Federal Police doing in the streets of Bahr Dar with a loaded is gun is one of the peculiarities of the Ethiopian scene. That practice is one copied from Apartheid system. Why the local Police are not enough to keep the citizens of Bahr Dar safe is not clear at all.
Thus on the evening May 12 a certain Federal Police officer opened fire and killed all he can find in his aim of fire. No one confronted the individual and once he run out of bullets in his high capacity gun he left the area. Things got more interesting after that. First there was a lot of argument regarding the numbers killed. Apparently counting dead bodies lying on the street is not an easy task. Before the blood was dry on the highway Awramba a new and obscure Website here in the US that seems to be on the know felt it was important to label the ethnic origin of the killer as if that will make the heinous act more palatable or clear.
This childish attempt to misinform was followed by the TPLF party in a more bizarre press release that defiantly can only happen in a country where there is no independent press to raise questions and demand answers or by a government that does not have an iota of respect for its citizens.
According to the Ethiopian government the above is the picture of individual that committed the crime. His dead body was fished out of a river. They did not bother to name the river. A body left in the water for a day or two will show all the symptoms of death by drowning. Our killer shows none of the effects of being in the water dead. His shoes are polished, his uniform is crisp and the blood on his face is not of someone left in water for any length of time. Do you think the rope tied around his feet is how he was dragged out? It is just curious he did not get dirty and with all that blood on his face no fish bothered to nibble. It is a miracle.
The story did not end there. While the Federal Police was displaying his dead body the Kilil administrator was issuing press release regarding the ongoing search to look for the criminal. It is just two versions of the same lie. The newly minted Prime Minter whose force murdered fourteen people did not even bother to go to the scene and console the victims’ families. He choose to send a high sounding message promising further investigation. What is the death of fourteen citizens when you can stay in the palace and play host to some Arab delegation? To add insult to injury several high ranking officers of the Federal Police in full uniform showed up at the funeral location the next day. I can see the whole drama from here with the officers arriving in their four wheel Range Rovers accompanied by zillions of security while descending on the poor folks sitting in a tent trying to console each other.
A week later the Federal Police put out a press release that they have detained ten members of their force for ‘neglecting and failing to act’. Do you mean to tell us there were armed police around while he was shooting randomly and they just watched, or did they know he was intending to do just that and they kept quiet which one is it my dear Workeneh?
No matter how you look at it the whole story is bizarre. Starting with the action of the insane individual to the conflicting press reports by the officials and the reporting by ETV that doesn’t even ask why the criminal’s clothes don’t show any signs of being in the water – it is vintage Woyane drama.
The report by the Diaspora press was something to behold too. We were told the citizens of Bahr Dar were fuming. They were showing signs of anger and were seating ready to let of steam. No adjective was spared to describe the mental and physical anguish of Bahr Darians. Thus I waited to see how this criminal act of an invading force was going to manifest itself by the citizen reacting back. Pictures of Palestinian citizens under the watchful eyes of the Israeli Army burying their dead clad in their beloved flag and defiant in their tone passed thru my head. I remembered the scene from Cairo where the citizens carried the dead bodies of their martyrs shot by the Mubarak’s police during the Arab spring as it flashed vividly in front of my eyes.
Nothing like that happened. Someone once said we Ethiopians have even lost our capacity to be angry. The best explanation that comes to mind is what was said by our Holy Father Abune Melkesedek explaining the silence of his people a while back as ‘Bechelema Gelmecha’. That is what took place in the city of Bahr Dar ‘Bechelema Gelmecha’. It must be very satisfying to the individuals but no one saw it. What is the point is a good question to ask. How is the evil doer going to understand the hurt inflicted on those families and the entire city? Is a simple defiant procession to protest and let the regime know the citizens feeling much to expect? Isn’t there one brave soul in the whole of Bahr Dar that is not afraid to respond in kind?
Well to settle the matter once and for all the Woyane government brought in ‘Special Forces’ unit to Bahr Dar to even control the thought of defiance let alone the act. I still do not understand the presence of all this armed groups in such an idyllic location. Bahr Dar is far from any border and currently there is no one threating the peace and harmony of the city. I just don’t understand why our cities are military camps during a peaceful time. I also don’t understand why we have so many people serving the military while so many of our schools are starving for teachers and books, our hospitals and clinics are poorly stocked and our children and grandparents are fed once a day if lucky. I guess it is all about priorities. The regimes first order is to protect itself from the people and it is perfectly understandable budget allocation favors security over anything else. As for the citizens of Bahr Dar I say to you no one can save you from yourself you just have to figure a way out of the current dilemma of occupation by an outside force of course in collaboration with you present day bandas. It has been done before and I have no reason to think you will not rise up to the challenge. We can echo your scream from afar but there is just no one like you to do the job. Good Luck!
Posts Tagged ‘yilma bekele’
Bahr Dar and the wonderful art of silence. By Yilma Bekele
Keep your eyes on the prize. By Yilma Bekele
We are witnessing a flurry of news from the TPLF party that calls itself the Ethiopian government. Why is the Woyane party so busy and why is the party pushing its cadres to be super active is a good question. That is what piqued my interest and I was forced to look around to figure out what exactly is happening both in Ethiopia and the Diaspora community to make the illegal regime work overtime.
I did not have to look far to see why the government is acting very nervous. It looks like for a change the progressive forces are on the attack and the reactionary regime is on the defense. Believe me this is a rare occurrence and shows the realignment of forces in our country. I will try to explain why later on but let us look at what is causing this shift. A few weeks back the regime carried out its ‘ethnic cleansing’ activity in the Beneshangul Gumuz Kilil. It was not the first time the TPLF led regime has done this criminal act but what was different this time around was our collective indignation. We were able to carry out a sustained and well organized push back from around the world. The opposition in Ethiopia cooperated by boldly demanding action and tried to collect evidence from the affected areas.
First the hapless regime paraded its toy PM and made him give some half ass explanation and dumped the crimes on their Kilil dog. The fact that the previous ‘ethnic cleansing’ activity was carried out in the South Kilil where the PM originated from was not lost on us. This rehearsed mea culpa did not impress anyone. It was back to the drawing board for the regime. Next In the clueless regime tried to divert our attention by planting rumors about the death of that other tyrant in Zimbabwe. We did not bite. After the failure of that story they again tried to engage us by removing the monument dedicated to our Holy Father Abune Petros. Again we showed our unhappiness but did not take our eyes of the ‘ethnic cleansing’ crime. We were focused and relentless. We were just simply not crying but talking about taking the matter to the International Court of Justice and the UN.
After lots and lots of postponements and dragging the regime brought our political prisoners and decided to hand down their useless justice. We were supposed to drop all other activity and concentrate on Eskinder Nega and Andulalem’s miscarriage of justice. Something odd happened here. We did not follow the script. For the first time we were able to connect the dots and see the whole picture. The progressive forces decided to link ethnic cleansing, Abune Petros and our Political prisoners’ situation as one.
I was waiting for the next drama with heightened anticipation. What would they try now was a common question asked by students of Woyane theatre. Invading Somalia was out of the question since they have already learned their lesson. The demonization of Eritrea was becoming stale. Playing the ethnic card is what brought about the problem in the first place so that was a no go zone. What would the ‘great visionary’ leader do under the circumstances was in the mind of all TPLF cadres in leadership position. They dug deep, traveled back in their criminally ladened history and came up with ‘cannibalism’ as the way out.
So with great fanfare they went about arresting anything anybody they could find. The injustice Minister was hauled away. The guy with dark glasses that sat behind the tyrant in Parliament was arrested. The Revenue and Customs guys were escorted to their won prison with a few selected business people to add flavor to the drama.
I guess all this activity is supposed to impress us. A criminal arresting another criminal is meant to fill our soul with hope for the future. They are so clueless they don’t even know that the news is taken with such amusement that a soccer game between Buna and Giorgis garners more anticipation than their cheap drama. Why would anyone think that Melaku Fenta that spineless individual sitting under Gebrewhaid Giorgis is capable of making any decision let alone steal big? Like most sycophants that are serving as the face of their departments Melaku was just another mannequin for show while the TPLF boss under him runs the outfit. That game is played all over Ethiopia and in the Embassy’s outside. I bet you cannot find any worthwhile governmental body without a TPLF deputy in charge.
This new drama is meant to keep us guessing what in the world is going on inside the TPLF party. We are supposed to guess which faction is up and who is down. The disinformation campaign by Debretsion keeps manufacturing different versions of their supposedly internal turmoil and some of us love nothing more than being instant experts in the inner workings of the mafia group. To hear some of our people go on the minute details of the party is mind boggling and a testimonial to the hopelessness of a few of our family and friends. They might have their own differences but do you really think that will stop them from their common goal of staying in power no matter what? Do you for second think they will not close ranks when threatened? Then why in the world are you wasting time and energy whether Azeb is fighting with Berket and if Sebhat is is not in good terms with Seyoum? Now if they really want our attention the best way to do it will be arrest Azeb or Abay Woldu not Sebhat or Seyoum since they already are near death.
The biggest joke of all is the claim that Hailemariam Desalgne was cleaning house. Let us see the PM that was handpicked by the dead tyrant and schooled in the art of servitude to TPLF, the PM that does not have a power base, the same PM that cannot even pick the guards outside his office is exercising authority on TPLF officials? Who would swallow such Mamo Kilo bed time story is a good question. Yes there are a few especially here in the Diaspora that are trying to put some lipstick on this pig of a story.
Some opined ‘EPDRF supporters speaking out’ while others declared ‘EPDRF undergoing profound changes.’ Well, well let see us what is giving these Woyane coddlers new life? What is different today that was not there yesterday is a good question. I read their writings very closely and tried to see what they were basing their new found euphoria on. I wanted to know what arguments they were bringing to the table to see if there was any validity to their conclusions. I couldn’t find any. It is all wishful thinking, self fulfilling prophesy and confused theories that is trying hard to fit a square peg in a round hole. The ones that are trying to see light at the end of the tunnel are the same people that advised wait and see attitude when Woyane conquered our capital and were willing and ready to serve the criminal organization. Their last miscalculation caused twenty years of misery to our people and country and here they are again advising us the presence of a non entity called EPDRF that is supposed to usher a new era of peace and prosperity. Give it a rest gentlemen and do not waste our time with your unfounded optimism. Why peddle a worn out theory this late in the game?
I am emboldened by three factors that have been added to the equation of fighting injustice in our dear country. The first and very significant addition to our arsenal of fighting for freedom and democracy is no other than our beloved ESAT. It has given voice to the voice less and opened our eyes to the reality that is what is ailing us. ESAT is the main reason Woyane misinformation campaign is falling on deaf ears. ESAT is the main reason the cry of our people in Ethiopia is getting a hearing. No matter what no sane Ethiopian can ignore the voice of our people coming thru the airwaves loud and clear. The tenacity and diligent reporting by ESAT that refused to fall for Woyane diversion kept the ‘ethnic cleansing’ criminal act in focus and thwarted their attempt to derail us.
The second factor is the gallantry of our Moslem citizens that have against all odds persevered for over a year their quest for freedom and independence. The many attempts to divide and splinter them by the illegal Woyane regime has been repulsed and the Moslem community is still standing together with one voice and one aim of protecting their right to run their religion free of government interference. It is a lesson to the rest of us to keep our eyes on the prize and not to let our organizations be the play ground of Woyane operatives.
The third factor that is emerging from Ethiopia is the beautiful new voice of Semayawi Party that is clear, clean and void of any clutter of the past that has been hindering our forward movement. From what I can observe from afar Semayawi is not encumbered by our past failures, weighed down by unnecessary dogma and geared to act and try newer stuff. That is what the doctor ordered. Why use beige and gray to paint when you can use bright blue and bring warmth to the canvas. The call by Semayawi Party to dress in black and show the discontent of our people during African Unions 50th anniversary is a bold and timely call. That is all peaceful resistance is about. It is our duty to follow the advice of the Party and tell our family and friends to cooperate in showing their grief by dressing in black. Those of us that believe in peaceful resistance this is our chance to practice what we preach.
As times go by it is becoming clear that the regime is feeling the loss of the evil person in charge. For over thirty years the prince of darkness Meles Ashebari Zenawi has been the brain and body of the mafia outfit that has been masquerading as a political party. I am willing to give him the credit as the personification of Satan on earth. He has earned the title. His death has left the TPLF party void of someone to fill his shoes no matter how small it is. It is not the absence of idiots or sycophants that is lacking in their midst but they just seem to suffer from the mistrust the evil one has left them with. That deficiency coupled with the emergence of new and daring Ethiopians schooled in the art of confronting the regime head on is what is causing headaches to the downgraded TPLF.
Life is beautiful. Our new found unity and purposeful march to the future is a hard won victory. The fact that it is Woyane in disarray and we are becoming hip to their many attempts to distract us is testimonial to our ability to learn and apply the lesson. There are still many voices that are constantly trying to derail our movement but the fact that we have matured and are able to separate the chaff from the wheat is our new found strength. We are not there yet but with all those strong and tested groups and individuals joining our movement there is no reason to doubt we are bringing the dark days to an end and new bright sun will rise up over our mountains and valleys. A luta continua-the struggle continues.
Abune Petros in our heart. By Yilma Bekele
On July 29th. 1936 Abune Petros was executed by the Italian fascist that were trying to colonize our country for his refusal to submit. On May 2nd. 2013 the monument that was built to commemorate our Holy Father was removed by the order of the TPLF party that is currently ruling our country. Our Holy Father died for the first time. The murder by a firing squad was an honor and showed his deep love for his people and country. The fascist killed his body but he made his home in every Ethiopian soul for ever and ever. We all carry Abune Petros in our heart. ‘Abune Petros Adebabaye’, ‘Abune Petros Hawelt’ is not just a location but the symbol of our pride and the true meaning of sacrifice for a higher cause.
The order to Kill Abune Petros was given by the fascist Viceroy Graziani but the trigger was pulled by solders from the North that were faithfully serving the fascist invader. The order to remove our monument to our beloved father was given by the TPLF party but the backhoe and flatbed truck was driven by modern day Banda’s.
They claim the removal is temporary. That is not the issue. Was it necessary is our question. Could it have been avoided is our point. Aren’t there some things considered priceless is our contention. The same people that moved heaven and earth to bring back our stolen Obelisk and erect it in its rightful place felt no qualms about dispatching daily laborers to bring our hero down and place him in a warehouse. We rejoiced when our obelisk was returned because it is the symbol of our glorious past. Although their leader dismissed our joy and happiness and tried to claim it as his peoples private history we bit our tongue and dismissed his rudeness for immaturity.
I agree it is difficult to personally relate to a stone like an obelisk. Nevertheless it is the product of our ancestors and a symbol of their ingenuity for that period in our past. But Abune Petros is a living symbol every one of us would have no problem claiming, admiring and silently thinking ‘would I have courage to act like him?’
Abune Petros is what I always thought we Ethiopians were like. I was raised at a time when being an Ethiopian was something special. There was not enough adjective to describe our country and people. Yes I am aware that we had lots of problems to resolve after all forging a nation is not a cake walk. There were many that were left behind and quite a few that did not get a fair share of what was on the table. We are still trying to come to terms with that.
That still should not dampen our glorious past. Abune Petros was one of those bigger than life Ethiopians that added a positive value to our experience. He defined patriotism, resolve, love, spiritual guidance and commitment to the truth. He accompanied our Emperor and the civilian army to Maichew and confronted the fascist army. He witnessed the gallantry of his people and the savageness of the European invaders. They came with modern weapons and poison gas to scare us to submission. We lost the battle but it only made us realize defeat was not an option. Surrender was not the language of the Ethiopian at that time. Yes times do change. A visitor would have a hard time believing the current generation descended from those that even washed the shoes of the foreigners least they take our soil with them.
Abune Petros continued to fight the way he knew. His religion and his love for his country were his weapons. From the monastery of Debre Libanos to far away churches he continued to rally his people to stand up straight and took the cry ‘By any means necessary!’ to drive the invader out of our cherished land. During his interrogation this is what he told the fascist authority when asked to accept Italy’s sovereignty over Ethiopia or face death.
“The cry of my countrymen who died due to your nerve-gas and terror machinery will never allow my conscious to accept your ultimatum. How can I see my God if I give a blind eye to such a crime?”
His last words before the bullets tore our bishop and Holy Father were:
“My fellow Ethiopians, do not believe the Fascists if they tell you that the patriots are bandits, the patriots are people who yearn for freedom from the terrors of fascism. Bandits are the soldiers who are standing in front of me and you, who came from far away to violently occupy a weak and peaceful country. May God give the people of Ethiopia the strength to resist and never bow to the Fascist army and its violence. May the Ethiopian earth never accept the invading army’s rule.”
His defiance and heroism became the battle cry of our patriotic army thru out the land and it echoed in our valleys and mountains from north to south east to west and the invader never saw a day of peace until they were driven out.
This was the man and his memory our new Bandas were trying to extinguish that day a week ago. They thought removing a statue would erase history. They tried to cover their mis-deeds with talk of progress. We are not against progress. We in the Diaspora contribute more than our share to help our country and people. As a matter of fact there would be no tall buildings, no dinner on the table and no profitable Ethiopian Airlines and no TPLF millionaire without remittance from the Diaspora. We just know that there are some things more important than others and our heritage, our history and our patriots cannot be kicked around wantonly. We are also well aware of TPLF’s habit of using wedge issues to divide us and hiding behind nation building while using a wrecking ball to destroy our history.
It is a sad sign of the times that our dear father’s memorial statue was removed without much protest. Those that preach about waging a ‘peaceful struggle’ against the new Bandas were nowhere to be seen holding a vigil. They were given an opportunity to unite and galvanize their people and use this Woyane insult against our history as a ‘teachable’ moment. Yes a little sacrifice is what is required to fight injustice. Yes there is imprisonment, injury even death in the struggle for freedom and dignity. People like Eskinder, Reyot, Andualem, Bekele Gerba , Abubeker and Woubeshet are behind bars because they choose not to submit to injustice and heed Abune Petros’s call to stand their ground. I am sure what gives them such determination is his everlasting pray “May God give the people of Ethiopia the strength to resist and never bow to the Fascist army and its violence.” We shall overcome.
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Mengistu Hailemariam and our moral compass. By Yilma Bekele.
Today I felt like crawling under the blanket and just hide. I know that is what children do. They think hiding under the blanket makes them invisible. It give them a feeling of security and that what I was looking for. Some place to hide and feel secure from my clueless people. Clueless is what we are and I guess I just have to live with it. Predictable like the season is how we function and I have to accept it.
What has gotten me down is the talk of the dead not yet dead news regarding the former dictator of my country. It looks like the despicable individual is not going to disappear from our radar no matter how far removed and how long ago we have parted company. Like a nightmare he keeps showing up in the most awkward and inopportune moments. His appearance this time around was not his doing but nevertheless he was used as weapon to clobber us with.
I am not really concerned about the hapless dictator it is us I worry about. You would think that after over twenty years of contemplating the total ramifications of what his involvement in our country’s history has meant to us that we have come to a few conclusions. We have looked at the situation and drawn a few lessons so we can keep it in the back of our brain for future reference good and bad. That is all experience is all about isn’t it?
Life is a learning experience. We succeed some fail a few but we draw conclusion so we know what works and what to avoid. That is how we move forward. Those that learn from past experience, analyze then adapt what works avoid that did not produce the intended result get to reap the benefits. Those that ignore the lessons of history end up digging their own grave.
That is what we are doing today, digging our own grave. The fact that we have not put the criminal dictator in perspective is very alarming and not so good news regarding our future. How could we be trusted with the future when we do not have a clear picture of our past? How do we know what we want tomorrow when we have not really sat down and looked at yesterday to see what went right and what exactly went wrong and why?
Two things happened simultaneously this last week. The ethnic based regime’s blunder aroused the ire of our people and exposed them to charges of criminal activity. To divert attention and blunt the impact they were able to concoct a ruse pointing away from their evil deeds. It was a simple ploy one plays on children and it worked. It worked because we did not take the last twenty years to learn, analyze and grow. It looks like we did not take the idea of raising a conscious, smart and morally upright citizen to heart in order to be able to lay a solid foundation to build the future Ethiopia. We did not invest time and energy to produce an intelligent, motivated and smart generation that is able to avoid the mistakes done by the past generation.
The last two weeks the major news coming out of our country was the plight of our Amara citizens being uprooted from their homes. It was not a pleasant sight. Simple farmers that make their living by sheer determination and constant struggle against nature using primitive tools were deemed to be unworthy of basic human respect and dignity and were ordered to move from their villages at a moment’s notice. It was very distressing to see fellow humans being treated like that in their own country. It became the focus of attention and revealed the nature of the illegal and corrupt regime in Ethiopia. It was not a welcome attention and the government rightly felt the heat.
There was attempt made by the opposition to investigate and gather evidence to bring the matter to the attention of all that are empowered to look at situations like this. It was not easy but they tried under the difficult circumstances presented by the regional Bantustans and the Federal government. Their representatives were jailed, abused and given a few hours to leave the region. Thanks to technology the whole world in general and the Diaspora Ethiopians were able to follow the news and keep in touch with their people.
The government first tried to deny that ‘ethnic cleansing’ is being carried out. They also attempted to blame the regional administration for the problem and finally were compelled to admit there was some truth to the allegations and were forced to ask the deportees to return. In a matter of a week the news was bringing clarity regarding the illegal and criminal nature of the regime in power. It was opening the eyes of many individuals to see the regime in a different light. The news was gathering momentum and the regime was entering a state of panic. The opposition and the Diaspora activists were even talking about appealing to the International Court of Justice and the United Nations.
Someone somewhere figured the weakness and clueless nature of the Ethiopian. They figured give them another bone to chew and they will drop everything and jump at the opportunity. They did not have to look far. They found an old discarded bone and tossed it in the middle of the unruly pack. Thus they put out a press release announcing the death of the tyrant that has been holed in Zimbabwe for the last twenty years. That is all it took for the frenzy to start, the earth to move and the heavens to open.
Are we that transparent? Are we that easy to fool? Fifty four percent of the Ethiopian population is under twenty five years of age. They have not witnessed the madness of the Derge era. To them Mengistu is a distant history. The history of Ethiopia including the Derg period is a self-serving tale as told by Woyane and their apologists. Neftegna, Monarchist, Dergist is an interchangeable term Woyane uses to ruin people’s lives. The fifty four percent cannot be relied upon regarding their knowledge of our past. Meles and his disciples’ main agenda was to discredit our past so they could build their distorted vision on a shaky ground. According to Woyane and their followers there is nothing good or redeemable about Ethiopia before their appearance.
It is a very difficult story to take to heart. Especially when life under Woyane is nothing but hell on hearth for the vast majority of our people. That is why the fifty four percent are all waiting their turn to leave by foot, boat, plane and any which way out. What got me a little concerned and a lot despondent is the failure of those aged 25-54 years and compromise twenty nine percent of the population. The ones that are politically involved and run our independent media outlets. They picked this disinformation campaign and run with it. I am not saying we should have ignored the story on the other hand it is our responsibility to tell the story with a certain amount of perspective thrown in to give the listener and reader some point of reference. Every time we mention the criminal dictator we should remind our people the role he played in the destruction of our country and people. That is the legacy he left behind and that is how he should be remembered. This idiotic idea of misplaced ‘Ethiopian chewanet’ is what works against us and blinds us from standing up against abusers and ill-mannered individuals. The kind of ways the news was reported was both embarrassing and self-defeating to say the least.
Dear editors of our independent media what are we supposed to make of your screaming headline announcing the ‘good health’ of a tyrant in exile that has not even acknowledged his criminal role and responsibility when he was the de facto head of state? Some of you even went the extra mile and called his house and talked to his wife while others relied on their reporters to find out the latest ‘breaking news’. Did you really think the sympathetic, feel good close to the heart story was appropriate regarding a criminal in exile? One of the headlines screamed “Former Ethiopian President Colonel Mengistu is alive and well…” I dove for cover.
Mengistu Hailemariam was a ruthless dictator, a cruel and horrible individual that will be remembered as a black mark in our country’s history. The fact that the one who came after him was a ruthless psychopath does not make the former any less of a criminal. Our independent medias’ reporting was journalism at its worst and an affront to truth and insensitive to the victims.
Where exactly did we go wrong? What exactly happened to our moral compass? It looks like we got a long way to go to differentiate bad from evil, truth from fiction and show some empathy towards those that were victimized by Mengistu and his accomplices. Mengistu which even writing his name brings pain and agony to my soul was the cause of much anguish to our country and people. This is not even past history but it happened yesterday in our life time. Many of those fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters that lost their beloved ones are still among us. The memory has not even faded from our collective mind.
To refresh your memory the ongoing exodus out of mother Ethiopia started under Mengistu. The first time in our countries history her children started running away from home. Ethiopia began losing its youngest and brightest and has not recovered ever since. The whole country became a killing field. The lawlessness nature of the regime brought about the degeneration of societal norms and the gradual destruction of culture. His regime rode rough on all that we hold dear and that has taken us long to build. His lack of basic leadership skills and ruthless evil nature decimated all that were educated, able and showed potential. He exposed our country to dangerous minds that used the opportunity to wrestle power cunningly. He is a military leader that left his troops in battle to save his dirty ass. He is wanted by the Ethiopian military to be court marshaled and is definitely a candidate for a firing squad. This is the individual you so zealously displayed and published letters written by Woyane and their sympathizers lauding his good side. Shame on you all!!!
Every one of us got something good and commendable within us. Something positive could even be said about evil individuals. I am sure Hitler was a German Nationalist that loved his country, Meles Zenawi was probably a good family man, Mussolini was probably a devout Catholic but that does not define the totality of the person. All three of them have their dark side that outweighs their positive nature. The evil one lurking behind the smiling face is what affects us.
Dear country people please remember choosing one abuser over another is not a virtue. Demanding no abuse is the way to go. Why in the world do we compare and contrast the crimes of our leaders instead of resolving for such never to happen to us again? Isn’t that the lesson to draw from the experience of the last forty years? How could I trust you with my future when some of you think of life as a pissing match and are busy picking the lessor of two evils instead on no evil? Is that where we find ourselves today that we are willing to accept a little less criminal than Meles instead of someone that respects the rule of law, the sanctity of life especially human life and love for mother Ethiopia?
ESAT and messengers of peace in Jose, Ca. By Yilma Bekele
Tamagne was here. I wrote that and felt I have said enough. Well since you asked I guess I will tell you the rest of the story. I thought by now you would know If Tamagne was here something big and important regarding Ethiopia happened. You know Tamagne; he does not do things little. He does not think of neighborhood, not even a region Tamagne goes the whole nine yards and dreams of a nation. Tamagne does not fly to Atlanta or Houstinn from his base in DC, our Tamagne crosses a continent all the way to California to spend an evening with his people. I am afraid he is outgrowing even that. Now we see Tamagne in New Zealand or Norway. I don’t need a fortune teller to predict we might hear from Tamagne from outer space. I will just sigh and mumble he must have found a lost Habesha that just don’t know when to stop and settle.
He has developed a new habit too. He does not travel light no more. As if the one man army is not enough he is accompanied by some heavy guns all around him. I am not talking about a bazooka or tank. No Tamagne has found the ultimate weapon disarm his enemies. He is accompanied with the messengers of love, brotherhood and tolerance. How I envy Weizero Mamita and Grazmach Beyene because they have given us such a precious gift. May God bless them.
I am sorry about my sloppy writing but you can’t blame me. Right now I am levitating and I am afraid it will take a while to bring me down to earth. I am floating with joy, happiness and hope and it is all due to Tamagne and his associates. I also noticed most of the folks I spent the evening with were a little delirious and as the evening went on the love and peace was infectious with Ethiopians spontaneously clapping, laughing and hugging without abandon. I told you, you should have been there.
Messengers of peace and unity.
What were all these people doing on a beautiful Saturday afternoon is a good question? The only explanation I could give you is to say they are committed, they care and they just acted on it. Lots of people worked hard to make the event a success it was. They all have one thing in common, they were all Ethiopians. What brought them together is their love and concern for their homeland.
First were the organizers of the event. It took time and effort to find a good safe location. They have to arrange transportation and accommodation for their guests. Flyers and pamphlets have to be printed to advertise the event. The posters have to be distributed in the community, published on our Web sites and the tickets have to be sold door to door. Without them there is no event. Thank you my beautiful young friends. I am happy your effort was gladly embraced by your community.
Then there were our guests that have to travel far and close to spend a precious day with their people. They are all busy and successful people that are willing to share their views and stick their neck out for all of us to dissect and parse. They were chosen to sit on the podium because they have earned the respect of their community by their work and deeds and we all want to hear from them, meet them and share our views with them.
The most crucial element in this gathering are the guests. Their presence is what makes all that effort worthwhile. I always think it is beautiful to have plenty of people but even the attendance of a single individual to me is a success. We have to show respect and do what has to be done. Coming to an event is not easy. It requires planning commitment and energy. We have to juggle so many responsibilities in our daily life and spending a whole afternoon and evening attending an event is not an easy matter. There is work, family responsibility and other commitments to take into consideration, not to mention paying for the ticket, arranging transportation etc. etc.
All three actors in this important function have something in common that makes them special. They all love their country in a positive way. They value the importance of getting together and trying to find a common solution to make their ancient country a better place. They are not just talkers but doers that go the extra mile to make things happen. It is what is called a symbiotic relationship. One cannot survive without the other. One needs the other to grow and thrive.
Our guests made all of us proud. They said many important things and it is beyond this little presentation to do it justice. There were so many standing ovations, plenty of laughter and the evening went so fast our poor organizers were forced to rearrange their program to fit the occasion. The two young people assigned to lead the ceremony were consummate professionals that made it look so easy I even thought I could do that. Dressed in the splendor of our national colors they set the tone in a positive manner. The sound and video was perfect showing the organizers commitment to excellence.
Abatachen his Holiness Abune Melkesedek General Secretary of the Holy Synod-in Exile, Archbishop of Medhane Alem Cathedral in Oakland was sitting in the middle. That sight by itself was enough to make ones heart swell with pride and joy. He started the assembly with a prayer. I don’t know about you but I knew things were going to get better and better. How could anything go wrong when Abatachen gives his blessings?
I hope you don’t mind me paraphrase and put their speech in my own words. Abatachen spoke about the importance of faith and responsibility in our daily life. He gave us perspective regarding our ancient history and the crucial role religion has played in the making of our country. He thought us how respect for each other’s religion and tolerance of our differences has played an important role in forming the Ethiopia we know now. Then he looked at us and asked a crucial question. What makes us different from animals? He said we are born, we grow up we have family and we all die. He explained we humans are different because we determine road we travel. If you take an animal far from where he was born and give it the comfort he/she needs they will not leave but stay put. It will form a family take care of its offspring and die. But we humans are different. There should be more. We think about the future. What we leave behind for our offspring is a very important consideration of being a human. Life is not about a simple comfort for oneself and one’s family but thinking of the greater family is a crucial aspect of living a successful and whole life. Something to think about, what do you think?
My dear brother Sheik Imam Khalid is not a complicated person. He speaks clearly, forcefully and in sharp short sentences. He does not leave much for ambiguity. In this time of misinformation, propaganda and rumors it is a relief to listen to someone that does not beat around the bush and states his case in a clear manner. His love for his country and religion just oozes out of him. He laid to rest the fact that our Muslim brothers struggle is for the rights of their religious independence despite the many insane ideas being thrown around by the illegal regime in power. In simple words he wants the government to stop meddling in his religion. I loved the way he started his speech. His observation was regarding the duality of our personality. There is the family you, the work place you, the you that is routinely presented among friends and the Mosque or Church you. Why so many faces? That he said is the central problem. We have to resolve that issue within ourselves and come out clean. It is not complicated is it?
We also heard from our local Mosque religious leader and he spoke about the importance of working together, the culture of unity of purpose our people have developed thru out the years and that spirit that is still leading our struggle forward. Shamble was the person that gave color to the event. With his Masinko and beautiful voice he took us back and you can see the audience mesmerized with everyone going home in a mental trip. Thank you Shambel may be next year we will meet in Addis. As the Jewish saying goes “Lashanah haba’ah biy’rushalem’ I say to you ‘ ýememetaw amet biáddis abeba’
Our hosts had a surprise guest for us too. I told you they were firing with all eight cylinders. They brought us none other than the dragon slayer himself. My friend Abebe Gelaw in person. The assembly went wild. Who else to elevate our spirit and remind us of the importance of sticking out for our people when the time requires it. He defines the meaning of seize the time.
It was time for Tamagne to come to the podium. You can hear a pin drop. The anticipation was overwhelming. As I have said before Tamagne don’t have to do anything to paint smile and joy on our faces. He has this ability to channel our energy and magnify it back at us. Some shout, some clap the men whistle and the women ululate. Pandemonium in the house is what it felt like. The fire alarm was triggered by the noise, the earth shook and the security showed up in force. I am exaggerating a little aren’t I? Well I don’t have a video and this is the best I can do. You get my meaning.
I will not even try to tell you what Tamagne presented. I don’t really know for how long but whatever it was it was short. Time has a tendency to flee when he is on stage. His simplicity is what makes the situation complicated. He disarms you with the strength of his presentation. It is audio, video and god knows what else. My suggestion is do not at all challenge Tamagne, he carries this thumb drives full of facts and figures. For a person with a death sentence hanging around his neck he seems to be relaxed. If only Ato Meles has allowed him to present his defense when accused of being a terrorist I am sure the court would have thrown the dictator into Kality. Poor Meles he died knowing Tamagne has another date to clear his name in a real court of law. You know me I will be in that jury.
So what did we accomplish? A lot my friend. We showed we cared. We proved Abatachen right by working together to leave something behind for our country and children. We rose up to the occasion when called for. The idea of the gathering was to raise money so ESAT can continue the job of being the independent ‘eyes and ears’ of our people. From something like three hundred people we raised over thirty thousand dollars. The investment we made was not to realize profit. Our reward comes when ESAT uses the fund to do the job we have entrusted them with-faithfully and truthfully inform our people. I am absolutely sure they will do that with determination professionalism and purpose. If not we all are here to watch and speak out when both things go right or wrong.
As I said it was a festive afternoon and evening. It was nice to see Ethiopians gathered to show concern and love for country and each other. I said many good things about our guests. I put them up on a pedestal. It is not about hero worship or excessive adulation of individuals. To me it is all about giving credit where credit is due. The tone set by the late dictator was constant put down of our country, people and culture. He wanted to shine all by himself. That is not good. We have plenty of good things going for us. We are blessed with ancient culture that is built on love and tolerance as a foundation. We have lived for eons as a nation state due to that. To me our guests were building on that tradition. If we don’t put them up on a pedestal who would? If we don’t celebrate their accomplishments , if we don’t appreciate their sacrifice who then? None were paid to be there, no one made a penny of the event and no one was compelled to come. That is all commitment is about. May God and Allah bless them all and protect them and shield them from harm for they are our national treasure.
I am sure my cousin Fekreye will ask me “why do you make it so long’ I thought I should be faithful to such an important gathering of honorable people and it just kept coming out. Take your time and read it please, won’t you I worked hard on it.
By the way the next day Tamagne presided on another gathering in Seattle and you know folks of Seattle are a show off and they collected close to sixty thousand dollars. Seattle congratulations, we will meet again and we will be ready. We accept the challenge, we got work to do. Finally look at the picture below and see Tamagne at work-the power of love!
I am an Amara. “ene Amara negne.”- By Yilma Bekele
“Ich bin ein Berliner.” – “I am a Berliner” Those words were spoken by President John F. Kennedy on June 26, 1963 in West Berlin. He said that to show solidarity with the people of Berlin after the East Germans with the approval of the Soviet Union erected the Berlin Wall to prevent their captive citizens from fleeing to the west.
The passage I like the most is when he said “Two thousand years ago, the proudest boast was civis romanus sum ["I am a Roman citizen"]. Today, in the world of freedom, the proudest boast is “Ich bin ein Berliner!”… All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin, and therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words “Ich bin ein Berliner!”
Today it feels me with so much pride to say all Ethiopians where ever we live say in unison “ene Amara negene” Injustice against any of Ethiopia’s children is injustice to all of her children. We feel each other’s pain. When one Ethiopian is marginalized, when a single Ethiopian is put in harm’s way it is an affront to each one of us and we all suffer. It was none other than Martin Luther King Jr. who took injustice to heart when he declared “he who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”
Tell me my fellow Ethiopian. What do you see in the picture above? It is a picture of people huddled together. It must be night time, what are they doing outside in the cold? Why are they sad? There is no mistaking that they are our people. I can tell that Ethiopian face from a mile away. Look at that slender chiseled face, kind eyes and welcome demeanor. They are our sisters, brothers, mothers or fathers sitting on bare soil, with no chairs and it is difficult to tell whether it is outdoors or inside. There is no question they seem to be confused, tired, and sad. Notices the young girl on the left with barefoot and looking resigned and observe the father on top right holding his chin and just seeming to wonder about the dire situation. I want you to see the child on his mother’s lap looking sad and his mother looking straight at the photographer not for pity but seems to be saying ‘take a good look, don’t forget my ace!’ I cried because I am human, I hurt because I cannot be there to hold their hand, rub their shoulders and ‘whisper it is ok, I am here to help.’ Oh my God the pain is killing me; it is tearing my soul apart. Why is this happening to my people? Why am I witnessing this suffering?
They are not just numbers. They are not statistics we refer to from some paper. They are living, breathing human beings. There is no Ethiopia without them. A house cannot stand without a foundation and a country does not exist without people. The people you see above are Amaras from the region referred to as Beneshangul/Gumuzl Kilil in Western Ethiopian that were deported from their own land to places they don’t even know. They are the homeless Ethiopians. They are stateless people within a country called Ethiopia. They are the surplus Ethiopians. How does such calamity happen? Was there an invasion by a foreign forcer? Was there some kind of natural disaster? Was there a civil war?
No they are the victims of a policy carried out by a rogue regime gone wild. Their plight is a calculated and thought out policy put in place by the regime in power. They are the recipient of a plan drawn by Meles Zenawi and his friends to keep our country in perpetual conflict and destroy Ethiopia from within. This is not an isolated event or an opportunistic move on the spur of the moment. No this is a plan drawn over thirty years ago same as Adolf Hitler’s plan of what he called to as the ‘Final Solution’ to annihilate the Jewish people. This is Meles Zenawi, Sebhat Nega, Seyoum Mesfin, and Abbay Tshaye’s and company nefarious plan directed at a single ethnic group. The ‘Final Solution’ against the Amara people.
Fascist Mussolini in his own evil ways knew that he cannot conquer Ethiopia without partitioning us. Thus he divided our country into six units as follows: 1) Eritrea to include Tigrai – capital Asmara 2) Amhara to include Begemeder, Gojjam, Wello and northern Shoa – capital Gonder 3) Galla and Sidamo –capital Jimma 4) Addis Abeba 5) Harar 6) Somalia-capital Mogadishu. Meles Zenawi and his Woyane party went further and created what we today call nine Kilils. He called it Federalism but in actuality it was South Africa’s Apartheid system in East Africa.
Musoloni and the Italians were in charge of the six units they created. The white minority government in South Africa was the boss of all the Bantustans. In Ethiopia Meles Zenawi with his Tigrai ethnic based Woyane party ushered a new era of abuse, conflict, civil war and the beginning of the destruction of our ancient land.
All Tigray’s are not Woyane. On the other hand there is no reason to shy away from stating the obvious-most Tigrais are the beneficiary of the system set up by Woyane warlords. They are the number one Ethiopians standing heads high above all others. This is not hate. This is not a figment of my imagination. Nothing happens in Ethiopia without the knowledge and consent of the Woyane party. This is a very painful statement to write down but why hide from the truth.
It is also true that Woyane agents and provocateurs planted among us are posing as Amara/Oromo among others and making ugly and hateful statements directed at our brothers and sisters from Tigrai ethnic group. This is the Way Woyane operates and we are all familiar with that mentality. We should also be aware of the fact that Woyane has been systematically attacking Ethiopian history, Ethiopian heritage and the concept of being an Ethiopian in order to carry out their goal of setting us against each other. They have convinced a few gullible people, uneducated and lumpen individuals that our country is not worth saving and separation and going your own way is an option.
We should all try harder not to allow any kind of hateful speech; any put down of each other based on ethnicity and should at no time and place tolerate such ugly and backward behavior. It is commendable to be proud of one’s ethnicity and heritage but it is not a license to attack and degenerate someone from another group. We do not have choice what ethnic group to belong to when born, we are what we are. No one decide ahead to be white or black, to be Chinese or Indian, to be short of tall or be female or male. That is all in the hands of a higher authority. Ignorance and pettiness is what makes us stressed and lash out against those we are not familiar with.
Then some evil people like our Woyane warlords use our weakness to divide us, to be suspicious of each other and plant the seeds of hatred in our society. It is a struggle not to be taken by such propaganda that is intended to make us feel better even with an empty stomach. Let alone our old and poor backward country even the industrialized and educated countries have not been able to tackle this cancer in their body politic.
But we Ethiopians are resilient people. The fact of the matter is over twenty years of hate filled propaganda by Woyane has not been able to accomplish their goal of setting us against each other. Proof in point being during Woyanes deportation of our Eritrean citizens it was heartwarming to see our ordinary people crying and being distressed following the buses that was hauling our brethren, it was a display of true Ethiopian love to see the citizens of Gurafereda washing their hands of Shiferaw Shigute’s ugly deed and today we are sure that our citizens of Bena Shangul do not agree with this current nightmare visited on them by the new Woyane warlords in Arat Kilo.
Do you really think puppet Shiferaw Shigute of Southern Region, do you for a second believe puppet Ahmed Naser Ahmed Of Beneshangul/Gumuz Kilil will carry out such ugly deed without the approval and consent of Meles Zenawi then and Debretsion Gebremichael today? No sir, this kind activity is carried out with the direction of the highest body of the party that is run by Debretsion and company.
It does not do us any good to speculate why they are doing this criminal act. Why would a government declare war on its own people is a question history always tries to answer. It is nothing new. It has happened before we have witnessed it unfold all around us. Rwanda was yesterday, Bosnia is still fresh in our mind and Gurafereda and Beneshangul are close to our heart. No matter how you put it in Ethiopia under the leadership of the Woyane Tigrai based TPLF party our country is turning into hell on Earth. Our Gambellan citizens are uprooted from their ancestral land, Sidama citizens are hunted like wild animals and the Amaras are the favorite target of these disturbed and sick individuals in charge.
Of course we can fight their hatred based criminal act with more hate. I believe MLK Jr. said it better when he wrote ‘Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.’ I do not hate Woyane. I do not want to be like them. Again I will quote you MLK when he said “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too much a burden to bear.” My heart aches when I think of the dead Meles Zenawi, I cringe when I see the picture of Bereket Semeone, Debretsion Gebremichael, Sebhat Nega or Abbay Tshaye’s. They must carry such a burden with them how do they ever sleep at night? How do they function among the company of people with such overwhelming evilness engulfing the depth of their soul?
We all have responsibilities in our daily life. We are fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, cousins, neighbors and workers interacting with other fellow human beings. Sometimes our duties and expectations from those around us is a source of stress and uneasiness. Fathers and mothers worry about the welfare of their family, children are under constant pressure to perform better and our work place puts up so much demand on us we are driven to the edge. It is all because we all want to be loved, needed and do better for those around us. The ultimate satisfaction is when a job done comes out perfect and those around us appreciate the effort. That is the reward that feeds the ego.
Our leaders do not seem to understand that. Given the chance to lead and make a better world for their fellow citizens that put so much trust and faith in them they callously throw away the opportunity to excel. They choose the path of hate, divide and rule and the road of destruction. Instead of sharing the bounty that comes from all working together and lift everybody higher they choose to hoard little crumbs for themselves and those around them. They play with words to fool themselves. They try to manipulate reality to fit their myopic vision. They think calling famine nutrition deficiency changes the pain, naming their terror squad internal security wipes the blood of their hands or doctoring the book balances the account for real. It is a sickness with no cure.
I wrote down I cried and felt broken heart when I saw the picture of my people from Beneshangul then I thought about it. Yes it is human to feel their pain but that is not the answer to our problem. I went back to MLK to see what he tells me about mending a broken heart. How did the great leader deal with such ugliness in the world. This is what he said “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” It is true my response should be what am I going to do about this situation that is keep me up all night?
I am going to be proactive. I will not sit down and observe and take this abuse silently. I am in the USA. I will do my best to discuss with my people so we can find a solution that is sustainable. I will write and talk every chance I get to develop a culture of inclusiveness based on equality, respect and justice. I will support all those forces that are struggling to overcome this force of darkness by any means necessary. I will strive harder to learn from this negative experience and turn it into a positive experience so we can together build a better and just society. I will organize my fellow exiles to contact their Senators, Representatives, locally elected officials so they can pressure the US government to stop coddling such a criminal enterprise masquerading as a government.
I am also heartened by political parties, civic organizations and groups that are currently working under harsh conditions in Ethiopia to gather information, proof and documents regarding the ethnic cleansing situation. I also believe upon getting our documents in order we could be able to do a citizen’s arrest of all the mentioned criminals when they show up outside the country. We can as victims of government atrocity hold these despicable individuals and hand them to our local police. Armed with our documents we have every right as human beings to ask that they be brought to justice since they are breaking international law which our country is signatory of. It is just but another arsenal in our fight against injustice. Finally since information is power I give my word of honor that I do my at most best to strengthen and make ESAT the most powerful media in my beautiful homeland. I ask my fellow Ethiopians to sit down and think hard because indifference has not brought us any amount of measurable respite from this from this never ending atrocity by a regime one wild.
Welcome to the whipped nation- FDRE. By Yilma Bekele
Animal trainers use a whip with a stiff handle to show who the boss is. A whip is used to gain control and achieve compliance using pain. During slavery in the US whipping was a powerful weapon used by the white master. Whipping to humiliate was the hallmark of the Apartheid regime in South Africa. Whipping is an old fashioned tool and really not that effective. Today psychological form of mental whipping is what is practiced by totalitarian regimes.
This cruel art was perfected by the old Soviet Union and taken to new heights by regimes such as East Germany. The Woyane regime in Ethiopia and the dictatorship in North Korean are the new practitioners of this inhuman method of turning a whole nation into one big concentration camp. How do they do that?
The North Koreans use communism in tandem with a home grown philosophy called Juche to reengineer the human brain. Individualism is substituted by collectivism, self- reliance and independence is not tolerated thus vertical collectivism meaning hierarchical form of structure is deemed to be the norm. With the old Soviet and China using it as a buffer for their own interest N. Korea has managed to survive for over fifty years as a pitiful example of man’s inhumanity to man. The demise of the Soviet Union and the slow pace of China’s crawl towards freedom is what is unnerving the N. Korean dictatorship.
The Ethiopian situation is a little different. Our old tradition steeled in isolation is a fertile ground for any and all usurpers’ that want to use our good nature for ulterior means. The fall of the benevolent Imperial regime opened the flood gates to all sorts of undesirable and unhinged individuals to come to power. The Mengistu regime was a perfect example of an experiment gone wrong. The little Colonel was obviously out of his depth as a leader of a nation when he was not even experienced or competent enough to lead a unit. His motto was kill’em all before they kill you and it worked.
Meles Zenawi and his rag tag TPLF army was served our country on a silver platter and inherited a demoralized and confused nation on the verge of total melt down. The coward Mengistu’s only interest was to save his criminal behind and left our country in the middle of the night with the door wide open. That is what we have been dealing with the last twenty years or so, another experiment gone totally wrong.
Meles Zenawi was a street smart, definitely a mentally deranged individual with enough intelligence to hide his antisocial behavior. Here is a definition of psychopathic type in Cleckley’s book the ‘Mask of sanity’
‘Primary symptoms of the antisocial personality are amorality (lack of ethical standards and consistent moral judgment) and impulsiveness. They typically have a hunger for stimulation and a lack of responsiveness to social controls. The sociopath will commit the same crimes or antisocial behavior repeatedly, even if caught and punished. When caught red-handed, a sociopath makes charming apologies and talks of how life will be different from now on. But he or she is likely to slide back into the same bad patterns. There is little effort to conceal wrongdoing; if caught, the sociopath freely confesses and tries to make everything all right with personal charm. But a sociopath has no real regrets over hurting people or breaking rules; the apologies come almost too readily because they are totally insincere, a means of minimizing the consequences of being caught rather than expressing true regrets.’
What do you think? Doesn’t this personality trait describe our recently departed bully? This was the person that was left in charge upon the other sociopath’s departure. This is what our poor nation has been dealing with the last forty years. The next question is what is it about us that attracts such abusers and mentally disturbed individuals to positions of power and authority? To answer that question we have to look at our rankings in such fields as education, health, technology and general quality of life of our homeland. How we interact with each other, how we interact with our leaders and how we view life in general is based on how much knowledge and sophistication we have achieved in our everyday life. It is not based on wish but on existing reality that is definable, measurable and real. Here is a general description of where we stand as a nation and people on important qualities that makes us who we are.
What this chart shows us is that we are mostly rural, we have a very low life expectancy, we don’t have clean water to drink, we lack basic sanitation facility, our children are semi starved a condition that will affect them thru their adult life, more than half of our population is illiterate, we spend minuscule amount on education and health care and we owe our creditors more money that our grandchildren are left with to pay. We are a failed state. When we discuss changing our country, when we talk about bringing freedom and democracy to our ancient land, when we contemplate what we should do tomorrow it is always good to know what exactly we have on the table so we can make smart and real plans based on reality.
Thus when we despair about what the TPLF mafia is doing to our people and country it is always good to understand why they are succeeding with such bizarre acts and behavior when we look at it from afar. What is it that we in the Diaspora have that the Ethiopian people lack? It is true the diaspora in general is a little bit educated than those at home, we are a more exposed to newer ways of doing things and most of us have managed to conquer fear. All true but the most important factor in this equation is that we have more information to work with that our brethren at home. Information is power. Information gives the individual choice. Information opens the eye and creates that eureka moment we all dream about.
The power of TPLF comes from denying information to our people. That is why they work over time; spend millions of Bir to deny information from reaching our people. That is why in most library’s’ what is written prominently in bold is ‘ýe shall know the truth and the truth can make ye free.’ The truth is what our government is most afraid of. That is why my tile says whipped nation. They keep our people in the dark and whip them psychologically with falsehood, make believe stories and fairy tales that no one can contest. I will give you some examples from news that took place the last few days all beyond logic but told on Eth TV and media as rational and true.
1) I will start with the dead PM’s wife Azeb Gola Mesfin’s declaration that her husband used to make US $240 a month on government payroll. It is said ‘nothing else shows lack of conscience better than bold face lying.’ I guess the lady learnt from the best. We know that Ato Meles never worked for wages before he became PM, never have a bank account, never even paid rent, never paid bills of any kind and according to her didn’t even know how to drive a car. On the other hand the same Meles used to wear suit that cost close to ten thousand dollars- now how did that happen? There is no such thing as national medical insurance but Ato Meles used to travel to Brussels for regular checkup and died there after a lengthy and expensive treatment in a private room-do tell us how that was paid? Did we pay for that? Is that part of his employment package? How much did it cost the Ethiopian tax payer?
Furthermore a Spanish newspaper a while back reported that Weizero Azeb spent 1.2 Million Euros shopping for cloth. Is that money she earned all by herself or was it their combined money as husband and wife? You know why this is not known to our people? It is because there is no independent media to report is the reason. No one to call out her bold lie.
2) It was declared by the current guy who claims to be the PM that the regime has established Meles Zenawi Foundation (MZF) According to Walta ‘The Foundation would serve as a living center of ideas and programs to further advance the works and legacy of the great leader Meles Zenawi.’ Only in Ethiopia could such farce take place. I am sure you have heard of the Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation or the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. What makes the MZF different from the above? Those Foundations were established by the individuals so they could share their good fortune with the rest of humanity instead of just willing it to their family. They wanted to share the success they earned by their hard work and use their wealth to good use.
On the other hand the MZF puts that concept on its head. The MZF is established in a ‘proclamation passed by the House of Peoples Representatives’ thus making the tax payer funder of the tyrant’s legacy. To add insult to injury the dictator’s family is in charge of the foundation with his wife and relatives assigned the majority of the board seats. Dictator Meles has all of Ethiopian public media at his beck and call since he assumed power to share his half-baked ideas and infantile musings and now we gona get more of that even from afterlife. Alive he was always quick to dismiss our green, yellow and red symbol therefore it is odd to see his foundation symbol wrapped with our colors minus his silly star in the middle. That is why I said whipped nation. No one to call out their dishonest plans played on our people.
3) The ethnic cleansing against the Amhara people shows no sign of slowing down. It was only last year that with the blessing of the late dictator his agents such as Shiferaw Shigute felt free to drive our people from their homes to faraway places. We protested a little but forgot about it within a short time. It is déjà vu time again. This time the TPLF appointed folks of BeneShangul region felt no shame when they decided to deport the Amhars from their homes. As usual this bizarre behavior of displacing people within their own country has become an Ethiopian past time. Of course some of us show indignation but unfortunately refuse to connect the dots that connect such behavior with our practice. Let me ask you when you buy your beautiful condominium how do you think Azeb Kuma, Arkebe and other TPLF folks acquired the property? Where do you think the peasants of Sebeta and Akai went after being uprooted from their family land and home? The acts of Gura fereda and bena Sahngul is just the same immoral and ugly deed but in a bigger scale.
All are clear signs of a regime gone rogue. How exactly are we responding to this blatant abuse of power and unimaginable atrocity against our people? What new ways have we devised to overcome this debilitating sickness that is slowly but surely killing our country? What exactly have we prescribed to ourselves so we can overcome this disease that is destroying our country, people and the Ethiopia we know?
I am afraid we excel at talking, condemning and always waiting for the next abuse so we could do more of our talking and condemning in a new spirit. Nothing more, nothing less is what I have witnessed if asked to testify. Why do you think that is so? In my humble opinion what we lack is a leader to inspire us, to take us to new heights and gather our people to believe. I am afraid that is not something one can buy from a supermarket order on Amazon.com. What we lack is an organization that will respond in kind to the actions and deeds of the TPLF mafia in power. In our country Sir Isaac Newton’s third law of motion that states ‘for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction’ doesn’t seem to work. Woyane kills we play dead. Woyane abuses we cry like a baby. Woyane ‘ethnic cleanse’ we talk about it and move on. Where is the equal and opposite reaction?
Fortunate for us I am happy to point out we have one area of responding in kind covered. Of course I am talking about ESAT. It is the first and glorious response we have devised to level the playing field. ESAT is an empowerment tool we have at our disposal. ESAT is the expression of our collective will born from amongst us, nurtured by us and serving the ordinary Ethiopian in a new kind of way. ESAT is fair, ESAT is balanced and ESAT don’t need to lie, tell tall stories and ESAT self corrects when wrong. ESAT is the proto type of the new Ethiopia we are capable of building when given the chance. It is the duty of all patriotic Ethiopians to support ESAT, to protect ESAT, to promote ESAT and safeguard ESAT from all and any naysayers that try to nick pick and slander our baby.
I also propose we start a new equal and opposite reaction’ to the current idiotic idea of white washing the legacy of the Woyane warlord. We have to nip this farce in the bud. They have established the Meles Zenawi Foundation and it is fitting we establish The Meles Zenawi Criminal Enterprise Data Base. I call all Ethiopians educated in the field of Library science, data base compilation, achieving, and media to help us preserve the twenty years of atrocity by the architect and his TPLF comrades. We have enough material to fill the library of Congress. We don’t even need a government proclamation nor a handout from dictators. Let us get to work!
So what did you think when you saw the title of my article. I am sure you most of us know what being whipped means but where the hell is FDRE? That is the official name of your country. Not only did TPLF folks come up with a new flag and the Kilil system which they copied from good old Mussolini but they changed our name too. I bet most of us don’t even know our national anthem, do you?
Graziani and the TPLF, an Ethiopian saga. By Yilma Bekele
‘The Duce will have Ethiopia, with or without the Ethiopians’. Rodolfo Graziani
I am writing this as a proud Ethiopian because Graziani’s promise to the Fascist dictator was thwarted by my gallant ancestors. If it was not for the bravery and sacrifice of our grandparents, to day our country will be referred to as ex Italian Colony, we will be conversing in Italian, our national dish would be spaghetti and my name will probably be Mario. Please don’t knock it because my country being referred to as the only independent country in Africa, having my own national language, dining on Injera and answering to an original name is what defines me as unique member of the human race.
The Ethiopian and Italian entanglement goes very far back in history. The period known as ’the scramble for Africa’ from 1870 to 1914 is a good place to start. It was a time the European powers were invading, colonizing, occupying and abusing Africans all over the continent. After the scrooge of slavery this was another century where being black was not a desirable existence, not that it is any different now. To avoid warring each other the Europeans decided to sit around a table and carve out the continent into outright ownership of people and country and spheres of influence. Italy already had Libya and decided to include Ethiopia in its portfolio.
Unfortunate for the Italians the Ethiopians found the idea absurd to say the least. The battle of Adwa settled the matter and dealt the Europeans their one and only defeat in Africa. The victory at Adwa will forever define what it means to be an Ethiopian. Generations will use this colossal event to shape and mold their children to grow up with pride and determination to guard what is their own and not to covet what belongs to others.
The Italians never forgave us for the humiliation at Adwa. After waiting for forty years they came back in 1935 to avenge their defeat. They came back better prepared. They used superior weapons including poison gas trying to overwhelm our barefoot army on horseback. They occupied most of our sacred land. They won a few battles but were unable to win the war. Our grandparents never gave the invading army a single day of respite. The concept of guerilla warfare that has become the mainstay of all oppressed peoples response to overwhelming force was brilliantly utilized by our ancestors. You can say they wrote the book on mobile war using a few to harass and demoralize the enemy while recovering national strength.
This brings us to the infamous General Rodolfo Graziani Governor of Italian East Africa. His ghost is what is waking us up from where we having been lying down comfortably numb for over forty years. Graziani tried to do what Meles Zenawi was able to accomplish. I know harsh words but deservingly so. Let me tell you what Graziani did to us in 1936. The day was Friday February nineteenth. Viceroy Graziani decided to celebrate the birth of the Prince of Naples in Addis Abeba at the ‘Genete Leul palace.’ Abreha Deboch and Moges Asgedom two of the most beautiful Ethiopians our country has ever produced threw ten grenades at the fascist pig and his accomplices during the celebration.
What happened next will forever live in our heart and mind as the price paid when sovereignty is lost. The Federal Secretary Guido Cortese gave the following order to his solders:
“Comrades, today is the day when we should show our devotion to our Viceroy by reacting and destroying the Ethiopians for three days. For three days I give you carte blanche to destroy and kill and do what you want to the Ethiopians.”
Ethiopians were hunted down like pray animals and killed. Over thirty thousand (30,000) of our people died in revenge. No one was spared. They burnt the town down and murdered everything that moved. Graziani earned the name “butcher of Ethiopia.” I doubt there is anyone amongst that has not lost a distant relative in this bloodbath. Darkness fell on our country and we were given a taste of what it means to be under the mercy of an occupying force.
On the other hand Graziani’s animalistic and criminal behavior aroused the righteous anger of any and all red blooded Ethiopians. The fascist pigs never knew peace in the land of the habeshas until they were driven out the second time hopefully never to return again. This little note is by no means an adequate exposition of our fearless and gallant ancestors but it would be unforgivable not to mention Lij Haile Mariam Mamo-the first árbegna’, Dejazmacj Abarra Kasa from the north-west, Dejazmach balcha Aba Nebso from the south-west, Ras Abebe Argay leader of the band, Shaleka Mesfin Seleshi, Ras Desta Damtew from the south, Ato Belay Zeleke and host of other notables that stood a head above others and gave the enemy a taste of Ethiopian indignation.
As I said before the ghost of this evil specimen of a human being is with us again. In 2012 the town of Affile built a mausoleum in memory the fascist pig. Yes the same Graziani that ordered the killing of over thirty thousand people in a three days period, the same criminal that used mustard gas throughout our homeland killing in the hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians was honored as a patriot and a hero by his people. They felt they could do that because they knew there would be no one to stop them. What they saw was a country divided into nine Bantustans, a country in the process of degrading its past, a country willing to sacrifice its youth pushing, encouraging them to go where harm awaits them. Yes the citizens of Affile felt no shame because they knew no one will call them out.
We might be down but we are not dead yet. As there were ‘wust arebenoch’ during the occupation, there are still plenty of patriots that keep the flame of freedom alive. The shameful act of the people of Affile was too much to take. Patriotic Ethiopians decided to protest this fascist spit on our honor and insult to the memory of our people by marching and showing their righteous indignation in our homeland. You would think any government that is the recipient of this unjust provocation will lead the charge on behalf of its citizens. That it will use its moral power to unite its citizens and humanity at large and put the unrepentant Italians on notice that this kind of act is not acceptable, is counterproductive and unnecessarily brings buried memories to the forefront.
This is not unique to us. The Germans were made to accept responsibility for the crimes of Hitler, the Japanese were held liable for their atrocities in China and South East Asia, and the US showed its profound sorrow for slavery and so on. In the scheme of human history some shameful acts were committed and since no one can turn time back the responsibility of the current generation is to look back at the horror and shame and take responsibility and do what is necessary to teach its citizens so there would be no chance today or in the future for history to repeat itself.
No need to travel to Germany or Japan when we can just walk over to our neighbor in the south. The Kenyans have sued the British government for imprisonment and torture during the Mau Mau uprising for independence and their case is being heard in London. As far as I know the Kenyan government has not jailed any of its citizens for requesting accountability. Needless to say we do not have a legitimate government that reflects the aspirations of the citizen. Thus our patriotic protesters that dared express their views on the matter were beaten by Woyane police and hauled to prison. Their protest was seen as a criminal act. The odd situation here is that a few Italians that felt this miscarriage of justice did protest in Italy but no one beat them up and none were imprisoned for peacefully making their objections known.
We are one unique people aren’t we? No one will believe this unfolding story taking place in our ancient land. No one with a fertile imagination will come up with this kind of scenario even for as fiction. When we think we have seen enough our Woyane masters idiocy they seem to have this bottomless pit and pull out a new and more bizarre behavior to confound our senses.
At the beginning I compared Graziani to the recently departed Meles Zenawi the Woyane warlord. Some of you probably thought I have gone too far. Some of you judged me unfair and filled with hate. I understand. I felt the same way when I wrote it down. I almost took it out. Then I slept on it. Further reflection made me realize I am not really off the mark. I will state my point, you my brethren be the judge.
Graziani was avenging his people’s humiliation at Adwa. He came back with a purpose. What exactly did he do to make sure Ethiopia will never rise again? Wanton killing was one. Selective murder was another. The use of mustard gas, burning of villages and the Addis massacre are examples of wanton killing. The May 19th murder of 297 monks and 23 laymen of Debre Libanos Monastery is a calculated act of terror to discredit our ancient religion. Furthermore the liquidation of the young Ethiopian intellectuals and their organization ‘The Black Lions’ was another assault on what is dear to us. Other than those that left the country with the Emperor and the lucky ones that found their way to Sudan and Kenya all were executed. This I will file under selective murder.
The Italians also redrew the map of our country to create separate Bantustans. They divided our country into six units as follows: 1) Eritrea to include Tigrai – capital Asmara 2) Amhara to include Begemeder, Gojjam, Wello and northern Shoa – capital Gonder 3) Galla and Sidamo –capital Jimma 4) Addis Abeba 5) Harar 6) Somalia-capital Mogadishu.
Well, well, well, where do you think the great mind of Meles came up with his kilil solution? Now you know what he has been reading while holed down in his cave in the mountains of Tigrai. History will also show that his first target was none other than Haile Selassie University in search of intellectuals to liquidate, imprison or exile.
The period from 1935 to 1941 is referred to as the time of Italian ‘occupation.’ It is not known as Italian ‘colonization.’ That is so because our resistance did not give the Italians the legitimacy they so desired. Our patriots never allowed the Italian flag to fly unchallenged. Our Emperor was gallantly going to every capital in Europe and the League of Nations keeping the flame of freedom alive while our patriots at home were waging a successful guerrilla war keeping the fascist army in a state of fear and uncertainty.
We their children have failed our forefathers. We are unable to resist a home grown fascist dominating us using an old user’s manual. There are groups fighting the regime but unfortunately no one has managed to break out and claim the vanguard role. We are working on that. Where there is oppression there is resistance and we are not different. It is obvious we’re fighting an uphill battle. Our people are not educated, our communication system is rudimentary and our enemy is very cunning with plenty of resource. The young and able that are open to new ideas are being systematically marginalized using cheap drug to numb the mind and encouraged to leave the homeland. No matter, the planes and advanced weapons did not deter our ancestors and surely illiterate and not more than a thousand Woyane diehards are not going to make us flinch from our destiny of making sure our country take its deserved place as the leader of all Black people.
Finally here is a beautiful and timely poem from a play written by Ato Yoftahe Negus while in exile in the Sudan as quoted by Ato Berhanu Zewde. You will find information on Ato Berhanu’s book at the end of this article.
Bahru Zewde-The Ethiopian Intelegencia and the Italio Ethiopian War, 1935-1941 (The International journal of African Historical Studious, vol. 26, No. 2(1993.)
Richard Pankhurst –The Ethiopians- A History. (Blackwell Publishers USA 1998, pp238-239)
The selling of Ethiopia to the highest bidder. By Yilma Bekele
Actually that statement might not be true. We do know our country is being sold but we have no idea if the bidding has been open or closed. We have sold almost all of Gambella, we have leased half of Afar and Oromia has been parceled out bit by bit. Our Beer factories are under new owners, our gold mines belong to the fake Ethiopian sheik, Telephone is under the Chinese and our Airlines is looking for a suitor. Have we always looked for outsiders to own us?
Not really when you consider that we celebrated the victory at the battle of Adwa a few weeks back and that was the mother of all wars that made it clear this African country is not for sale. We might not have contributed much to the industrial revolution but we did manage to rely on our own ingenuity to follow along and do things our own way. You might not believe this but there was a time when Ethiopians actually used to be involved in making stuff from scratch. You think I am making things up don’t you? I don’t blame you because today you cannot even come up with one name that stands out as an Ethiopian entrepreneur, go getter or someone that shines like the north star based solely on his own sweat and blood.
The things that were accomplished by earlier Ethiopians are all around us but we don’t see them. All the things the current government brags about have their roots in the yester years they so much condemn and brush off. I don’t know where to start but here we go. Let us start with hospitals. Bella Haile Selassie (Bella), Leelt Tshay (armed Forces), Paulos, Haile Selassie Hospital (Yekati 12), Balcha, Ghandi, Tikur Anbessa, Ras Desta, Minilik etc. The vast majority of the doctors were Ethiopians, the hospitals were clean, well equipped and you don’t even have to take your own sheets and blankets.
How about Hotels? Ethiopia, Ghion, Wabi Shebele, Ras, Bekele Molla were the premier destinations. They were owned and operated by Ethiopians. When it comes to Ethiopian Airlines the Pilots were proud Ethiopians and the technicians were the envy of Africa. The Imperial government built the Airlines from scratch. Trans World Airlines (TWA) was a partner until we were able to train and staff our own and we did manage to do that.
If we talk about agriculture we did manage to establish the Sugar estates of Metehara and Wonji not to mention Setit Humera, the wheat and corn fields of Arsi, the fiber plants of Sidama and the cotton fields of Awash Valley are testimonial to our ingenuity. The sixties saw the emergence of the new educated Ethiopians that raised the bar of excellence.
The establishment of Africa Hall was how Africans showed respect to our Emperor and our old history when they choose Addis Abeba as the head quarter for the continent. The University at sadist Kilo was a gift to his people by the Emperor and it was a spectacular success. All the teachers were highly educated Ethiopians and the graduates were the pride of our country.
Why am I discussing such subject today? It is because two items reported by the media caught my eye a few days back. Both are an assault on our sovereignty and our ability to grow our own economy by Ethiopians for Ethiopians. Heineken a Dutch conglomerate is building the biggest brewery in Ethiopia and Guangdong Chuan Hui Group from China is given 41,000 Sq. meter of land to construct hotel and industrial complex. The way the story is being reported we should be jumping with joy. What could be better than those two benevolent multi nationals investing so much in our poor destitute country?
Is that how we should look at it? Is there another aspect to this story? In order to see the pros and con of the question posed In front of us it would have been nice if there has been a nationwide discussion to see if the plan makes sense when it comes to our homeland. That is how smart decisions are made. Open and vibrant nationwide discussion regarding such important issues that impact our national economy and our people’s well-being assures a better outcome.
That usually is not the case in our country. There are no checks and balances. There is no independent legislative body and the judiciary is a government tool. A single party the TPLF controls all and everything in the country. Our political leaders have no faith in the ability of the people to know what is good for them. That is why they approach their job as being a ‘baby sitter’ and are constantly fretting about what the people hear and read. Decisions are made by a few TPLF politburo members to be approved by the rubber stamp Parliament. Anyone that questions such a decision is branded as enemy of the people and dealt with.
Let us start with our beer story. You know beer is nothing but European Tella. It is bottled fancy and costs a little bit more. How long ago do you think we acquired the idea of brewing for a larger crowd? Eighty years ago my friend! St George brewery was started in 1922. Meta Abo Brewery was founded in 1963. Meta Abo was a partnership between government and private capital and started with a base capital of 2million Birr. The military junta nationalized both and the current TPLF Woyane regime inherited them with the rest of Ethiopia. What do you think these successive regimes did with our own old industry and land? Did they build on what was started? Did they reinvest the profit to make the enterprises bigger and better? Did they run our industries, enterprises and farms in a responsible and judicious manner?
Both St. George and Meta Abo are no more Ethiopian enterprises. BGI (an internationally acclaimed Brewing Company that operates in many countries.??) bought St George in 1998 for US 10 million ‘through foreign direct investment’(??) Meta Ambo was sold to Diego Industries-a British congalmorate for US 225 million. Heineken a Dutch multi-national acquired 18% of Bedele and Harar breweries for US 163 million in 2011. Raya Brewery an idea that has not materialized yet but promoted by Lt. General Tsadkan W.Tensai and investors such as Yemane (Jamaica) Kidane and other TPLF officials sold 25% interest to BGI for 650 million Br and invited Brewtech a German company as a partner.
As you can see the TPLF regime collected close to US 400 million from the sale of our home grown breweries. By all imagination that is chump change when you consider the ownership is lost and the profit for eternity belongs to the foreigners. Is this a good way to grow a national economy? Has it been done before or is this another of that failed ‘revolutionary democracy’ pipe dream?
BGI, Diego or Heineken are investing in our country to realize profit for their shareholders. What is our country getting out of this? The beer manufacturing business is a highly automated enterprise so it is not about job creation. Most if not all of the high paying managerial jobs will be occupied by the parent company. The malt, barley and other ingredients are imported and are considered a trade secret. We all know about creative accounting thus I am sure our country does not even benefit from the profit because the bookkeeping is rigged to minimize taxes.
Let us not even think of technology transfer since we cannot learn what we have already mastered. Remember we have been brewing beer since 1922. I will tell you what we got out of this unequal relationship. We as a people got royally screwed. The TPLF party officials got paid plenty for their pimping effort. The regime in its insatiable appetite for foreign currency bought a few months of respite to purchase oil, wheat, cooking oil etc. to postpone its inevitable collapse.
There are certain things we know how a growing economy with a nationalist government operates. We have seen how China, India, Malaysia, Brazil and other emerging economies handled their growth potential. They use what is known as subsidy to protect their infant industries from foreign predators. They allowed investment where technology transfer will bring benefit to their people but shielded their home grown industries from foreign competition.
Why do you think the TPLF bosses are interested in selling our sovereignty? I doubt it is because they are anti-Ethiopian even though the late evil PM used to suffer from inferiority complex when it comes to central highlanders. I believe it is because of their ‘get rich quick’ philosophy. They are in a hurry to accumulate before their Ponzi scheme comes crashing down. According to the UN billions of dollars are leaving our country. They are buying properties in the US and Europe, sending their children to expensive schools abroad and vacationing in exotic places with the money they steal from our country.
What are we the victims doing about this rape and pillage of our resources and the degradation of our national pride? I am afraid other than insistently talking there is nothing more most of us are doing about it. Why do you think that is so? I could think of a few things but ignorance comes to mind first and foremost. Our ignorance prevents us from connecting the dots and looking at the bigger picture. Our misplaced pride does not allow us to listen to others and learn to be able to formulate better solutions to our problems.
Today we have a population that is not familiar with its history. Sixty four percent (64%) of our people are under twenty five years old while twenty nine percent (29%) are under the age of 54 years. We have a toxic population on our hands. Those under twenty five grew up under the Woyane regime where being an Ethiopian is taken as a liability. While those under fifty four are the result of the Derge era of undermining religion, family, and stability. Ninety three (93%) of our population is a fertile ground for evil Woyane to plant shame, doubt and insecurity about being Ethiopian.
It is this population that is sitting on the side and cheering the selling of their country. For most people what bothers them is not what is lost but they spend endless energy to get a piece of the action. In Ethiopia stealing, lying, being part of a criminal enterprise is encouraged by the regime. When the recently dead Meles Zenawi said ‘even being a thief requires being smart’ he was giving a green light to his cadres and the population at large. The so called Diaspora is the number one enabler of the criminal Woyane machine. They use their new found riches to bribe Woyane so they could acquire stolen land to build their flimsy unsustainable condominiums and spend endless nights worrying if the next highest bidder will in turn take it away in broad day light.
This is exactly the reason we are having a problem forming a united front to get rid of this cancerous body in our midst. This is the reason even in exile we are unable to form a democratic, inclusive and worthy association that will benefit the many. The ninety three percent are in need of education in civic affairs and a dose of what it means to love your neighbor as you would love yourself.
May be it is the lords way of teaching us little humility and humbleness as he did with the children of Israel when he left them to wonder for forty years in the wilderness so they know what is in their heart. It is a choice we have-to be humble or perish due to pride.
By Yilma Bekele
This is Debretsion Ethiopian Orthodox Church in London England. The picture seems to have been taken on a cold winter day. It is such a beautiful church. Doesn’t it look so serene and peaceful? I am sure it is that most of the time. But according to this video it was nothing but serene a few weeks back. The best way to express the twenty one minute video is it felt like was watching a scene where the mental patients have taken over the asylum.
I agree it is totally depressing to see all classic Ethiopian behavior on display in a controlled environment. The location being a church gives it that special quality of raising the bar to show how low we have sunk. Such a brawl in some obscure hall, how ugly it is, normally is not worth a mention. I guess we get so consumed with the righteousness of our cause that we toss out all civilized behavior out of the window regardless of the place or the time.
The video is not intended to be a work of art. It is not fiction that jumped out of some ones imagination. This play does not have a director, a producer or a lead actor. This video is real unrehearsed presentation of Ethiopians and their social interaction. The setting adds to the drama of the moment. We thank the individual who had the patience to record reality in that hallow ground.
If you care to dig deep deeper into the story you will find out the reason to the madness you are subjected to watch but that is another story all by itself. Unfortunately having an excuse does not justify bad and shameful behavior. Wrong or right does matter but with this short presentation that we are left with all we can do is watch and marvel at the utter stupidity our situation at home and abroad. I am interested in parsing out what fate has presented us- a way to watch ourselves from afar. It is priceless.
As I said before the setting is Debretsion Church in London, England and all those present are immigrant Ethiopians. All come to Debretsion by their own free will. We assume they are followers of Christ AKA Christians. For Christians a church is a most hallowed place. It is God’s home. Christians go to church to pray, praise the lord and cleanse their soul of evil thought and bad feelings. We expect love, understanding, forgiveness and chartable acts to flourish in such a location. Is that too much to ask?
It looks like Debretsion is not such place. The fathers and mothers the sons and daughters of Debretsion are not one happy family. Obviously they got a problem. The twenty one minute video is a general example of how the unhappy group went about cooling tempers and looking for solution. It speaks plenty on how we go about resolving differences in a civilized manner. I think it is safe to conclude this gathering to be a microcosm of the bigger Ethiopian society both at home and in the Diaspora. We take pride in our dysfunctional behavior. Look at the combatants of Debretsion. They make us all proud.
After watching twenty one minutes of the meeting do you think there is a lesson to be learnt? I know it looks totally hopeless doesn’t it? How could all those adults act in such a lawless manner? How do they justify such shameless behavior in front of the young people? How do you think their kids are going to act in a social gathering when they have seen their parents foaming at the mouth inside a holy church? What kind of anger forces a sane human being to be so hating and threating with all sorts of nasty acts?
The last forty years have been a time of upheaval in our country. It has affected our culture in a profound manner. The last two dictators although lacking in the art of leadership were richly endowed with mental deficiency, mental illness and were given to delusion of grandeur. Our old culture has experienced disruption in a major way. We are the result of an aborted development.
The biography for Debretsion London church give nineteen seventy six as day one making it about thirty seven years in the making. It also says it is paid for. My first reaction is how fortunate they have such a united and generous community and are able to worship in such a beautiful church. I am sure some people worked hard thru the years to make it happen. Not all of us can put time, effort and money to achieve such goal. Because of the hard work of the few now they have a place of their own to enjoy and grow. They make their congregation and all of us in the Diaspora proud.
You would think the Board of governors and the clergy deserve a heartfelt thank you. You would think the members will strive to build on that success and plan bigger and better things to come. You would think even if there is a problem it will be dealt with in a careful manner so as not to destroy what has already been achieved.
That scenario works among civilized people. By civilized I don’t mean high rise buildings, airplanes, factories, highways and stuff. I mean people with culture and pride. People that don’t have to shout to be heard. People that know their place in history. People that have already lost so much by being displaced from their homeland that a little compassion and caring for each other in a strange land will be the norm.
We are unable to do that. Debretsion is just one example of the disfunctionality that has taken over our social interaction. Debretsion has been repeated in every Diaspora assembly no matter the cause we are trying to create a common ground. This sickness of demeaning each other, belittling our efforts, slandering those who work on our behalf and routinely dismissing any and all ideas has become something to be proud of.
Debretsion Church is an example of a confused and rudderless crowed easily whipped into frenzy by a few anti-social elements. Why do you think that is so? Yes I am asking you the reader why do you think a few can disturb the peace of the many? My simple answer is because we let them! We know something has gone wrong, we know things are not right but our first response is to sit quiet and watch. We seethe inside, our stomach turns, we are very much disgusted but we keep quiet. We don’t dare tell the rowdy ones they have gone too far, we are not familiar with the word NO!
I am also sure after the assembly and meeting we will find plenty that will show disgust and alarm with the noise makers. They will even become animated explaining how offended they felt. There is a saying in our country ‘jib kehede wusha chohe.’ That is the story of our existence.
I can see all this because our Church was a victim of the same ruffian type behavior. Those who felt change is necessary were too lazy to work within the system. They felt a short cut was acceptable since their position was such that ‘by any means necessary’ was an acceptable method. They packed the assembly, they registered new members and they brought their loud mouth to silence anybody that stood on their way. Winning was the only outcome acceptable to them and the price did not matter. Destroying the church to save the church seemed to be a good idea.
Out of the millions of options in front of us we seem to choose the one that hurt ourselves and those around us. We can leave an association if we don’t agree with the direction it is heading. We can relocate to a new neighborhood if we don’t like the location we are in. We can quit a job if it does not meet our monetary and social needs. One is free to change a church if the current one does not satisfy one’s spiritual need. We Ethiopians do not exit with grace. Most of us will wreak havoc on the association, burn our home, badmouth our employer and destroy our house of worship before we leave. We are not programed to accept a simple amicable divorce. In the end we all lose.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. How about a video in living color? This video is priceless. It says many things about us in the Diaspora. There is no reason to assume we are any different over there either. By over there I mean Áger Bet, Ethiopia. In fact we are a duplicate, warts and all.
It is definitely a surreal scene to watch some taking a video of this madness as if to preserve it for future reference while a few were sitting in silence seeming un affected by the chaos. I knew I was entering a new dimension when I saw the Metropolitan Police walking among the combatants. He was not asking for silence, not demanding attention or clearing the scene but quietly showing his presence but allowing the play to go forward.
So the question in front of us is- are we going to learn from this madness and change? Are we going to be responsible for our actions not to be led by the crazy and idiots among us? Are we going to judge matters on their merit or base our stand on ethnicity, marriage and friendship? Are we going to sit and listen to each other as adults or pace around like a wounded animal? Are we going to work thru the system we ourselves set up or improvise as needed and change the rules to suit an individual? Are we going to give respect to those that work hard to create something and give them credit or demean their efforts and slander their work?
I will give you an example you can try. The next assembly of Ethiopians you meet weather in a coffee shop, Lekso bet or Eder mention any of the organizations working on our behalf like Ginbot 7, Andenet, ESFNA and see the reaction. The first thing that comes out is a barrage of insults, demeaning language and put down. Most probably the individual has never attempted to know, read and find out the goals and plans of the organization. Has never contributed monetary and other help to help them achieve. It does not stop them from being rude. They are always willing to vent out insult and defamation no matter what. Our community needs help. God help Debretsion and God help our country. Now watch the video below and see Debretsion in all its splendor.
By Yilma Bekele
We always think of our people to be so loving that welcome a stranger into their homes and share what little they have. Our language is full of sayings about being a good host, a great neighbor and a kind human. Sharing what you have, helping those in need and putting others ahead play a central theme in all our folklores. At least that is what we try to believe and that is what we tell ourselves and each other every opportunity we get. What a kind and loving people we are is a common mantra.
Do you think that is a true picture of our country? I don’t know about you but I knew such Ethiopia in my life time. Here we go again, I did not say we were a perfect paradise but definitely we were not the Wild West either. But I know for sure we used to care for each other and we were a once proud nation.
Then where did all this violent act and talk of perpetual violence came from is a good question? It is a timely question too. Today violence both the act and the talk is permeating our society. The specter of violence is everywhere. Our country has become one big cesspool of violence and you can’t even escape it from any point on earth.
According to the World Health organization (WHO) violence is defined ‘as the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against a person, or group or community, that either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment or deprivation.’
The dergue started the ball rolling with the class warfare crap. The TPLF took over with ethnic cleansing mantra. It looks like the last forty years have been a time of violence, threat of violence and absence of peace era. The Mengistu and Meles generation has been schooled in the exercise of violence as a normal day to day activity.
What got me look at these phenomena is the current behavior of our masters in Addis Abeba and their children here in the US. The Berket/Debretsion government is going out of its way to bully our Muslim citizens, intimidate our journalists and frighten our people. They are using the monopoly they exercise on our communication media to produce second rate movies, badly written essays and moronic broadcasts to confuse their captive audience.
War is waged on our Muslim brothers and sisters thru out the country. Their leaders have been incarcerated, their worship places have been desecrated and their religion has been equated with terror. The TPLF is trying to do to the Muslims what they have been doing to the Orthodox Christians the last twenty years. They were able to divide and set the Christians against each other. Bishops and priests have been beaten, exiled and insulted in broad day light. Due to lack of spine by the Christian followers the Orthodox Church of Ethiopia today has lost all its moral compass and made into a leaderless association no different than those ‘teletafis’ clustered around the mighty TPLF.
Not content on terrorizing our people at home it looks like TPLF has branched out to reach into the Diaspora community and practice its form of violence. For some of us it is not a new revelation. We have been pointing out the presence of TPLF agents amongst us for quite a while. Their activates in the various opposition party support groups we have been forming was visible and hard to miss. Their sabotage of our houses of worship is legendary. Their presence in our football organization took a valiant effort by some to unmask. No one escapes the sinister act of Woyane spies and saboteurs in any outfit that dares to organize as an Ethiopian entity. I don’t think I need to prove any of my assertions. I beg the reader to look around him/her in any city USA. I dare you to find a peaceful association untouched by Woyane virus wherever you reside.
Now their underground activity is made visible by no other than our dragon slayer, dictator buster, honor restorer and champion of freedom, my friend Abebe Gelaw. No need to elaborate more but our country and people are always grateful for the epic grand stand that was made in Washington DC on behalf of mother Ethiopia. Her children rejoiced while her enemies wept. It looks like they did not learn a lesson. They reverted back to form.
They are trying to do here in the US what they do to our people back home. They are trying to intimidate, bully and scare us from exercising our free will. A few months back an individual registered by the name of Guesh Abera on Facebook was investigated by the FBI for threatening Ato Abebe. His normal TPLF animal behavior was taken as a subject of concern by the FBI that sent agents to his work place to interview the individual and put him on alert. I am sure they felt it was better to nip this ugly idea in its bud rather than wait. Whether in jest or for real the issue is Goush threatened and the FBI investigated.
A few of our Woyane friends tried to make fun of the situation and ridicule the assertion. They went to the extent of accusing ESAT and our independent Web sites of misinformation. They tried to turn the story on its head and attempted to make the victim the aggressor. Awramba Times unmasked itself as nothing but a shameless Woyane sympathizer while some in the venerable Voice of America tried a clumsy investigative journalism that missed its mark.
Some organizations and a few people are so dense they are unable to see what is in front of them and change to avoid calamity. TPLF and its operatives are one such outfit. Despite the unmasking and public humiliation of Guesh Abera, guess who shows up to accept the medal of stupidity? None other than another ethnic hero by the name of Mulugeta Kahsay, a proud immigrant residing in Britain. This individual doing his job as assigned by TPLF was caught red handed attempting to intimidate and frighten Ato Abebe. He made repeated cals threatening not only Ato Abebe but his whole family both in the US and back in Ethiopia.
According to Wiki ‘A death threat is a threat, often made anonymously, by one person or a group of people to kill another person or groups of people. These threats are usually designed to intimidate victims in order to manipulate their behavior, thus a death threat is a form of coercion.’ Here in the US death threat is considered a criminal act. Mulugeta Khassay’s action is deplorable and will land him in jail if it was made in the US.
Why do you think these two individuals felt such behavior is both acceptable and something to be proud of? The simple answer is where they came from it is considered lawful and practiced with abandon. The TPLF Woyane regime uses violence and the threat of violence to silence its opponents and anybody it feels stands on its way. The late TPLF chieftain Meles Zenawi used to threaten cutting hands of the citizen routinely. Like father like son is the situation here. What is not surprising is the fact that so many Woyanes and their admirers cheered such behavior and they are not ashamed to check out the ‘Like’ button on Facebook. So much for peaceful coexistence, wouldn’t you say?
In a civilized setting such behavior back fires and results in exactly the opposite of what is intended. We are all appalled by such naked brutal attempt by the two individuals and their organization or are we all? This is a difficult question to answer. When we see how we Ethiopians relate to each other and how we try to resolve differences, the behavior of Goush and Mulugeta are not that much of an anomaly. The system set up by Woyane encourages such criminal mind set and illegal activity. In today’s Ethiopia breaking the law, getting ahead at the expense of fellow citizens is a celebrated act. Lying, cheating, bribing is not frowned upon and expected practice to finalize any and all transaction. It is so routine that it has become second nature to some of us.
It is not enough to condemn these two gangsters. What is needed is to see how low we have sunk as a people that such action was carried out amongst us. It is not enough to sneer at the workings of Woyane but to reflect on our society that has allowed such evil doers to prosper and grow. When we allow a few to disturb our associations, when we turn a blind eye to those that disrespect our religious leaders and create chaos in our church, when we let an insult and rogue behavior go unchallenged we end up reaping what we planted. As long as we allow ethnic based organization such as the TPLF set the agenda in our country these kind of abhorrent behavior and criminal acts will continue to be the norm. The fight against injustice starts with each one of us. We are grateful to those that have risen to get rid of the body cancer called TPLF from our land. Helping them is a duty to our mother land and to one self.
See Mulugeta Kahsay tie himself in knots:
The role of higher education and Ethiopia. By Yilma Bekele
My beautiful and brilliant niece graduated from college a few days ago. We are all proud and happy with her accomplishment. It gave the whole family an opportunity to get together. Believe me the festival was preserved on video and camera, posted on Facebook, published on Instagram and micro blogged on tumblr. That is how important it was. No question it was a proud moment for her parents and an early Christmas present to the whole clan. We were lucky and our daughter was strong and focused and it all worked out pretty good.
Here in the US Universities, Colleges and institutes of higher education are held in high reverence. The vast majority are public institutions funded by the citizen. There also exists plenty of private non-profit and commercial places of learning. They are all designed with two purposes in mind. Knowledge and Utility.
They are places of socialization where the individual learns the democratic process such as tolerance, respect for others and the value of freedom. It is here where change is the norm innovation, curiosity and looking into the future is encouraged and the human mind is left to soar like an eagle in a storm.
The speeches during the graduation ceremony reflected these learned values. The rainbow nature of the graduating class speaks plenty to the capacity of the US system to absorb the best from the planet and toss it into what they call the melting pot. The graduate school representative’s speech was a perfect example of using education as a tool to help create a positive environment where society as a whole thrives.
The graduating class representative from the International Studies program gave a very forceful speech based on his experience as a young man in Tanzania. This is the way he started his long journey ‘… my first visit to Africa was five years ago …..i had never been to a developing country before and I went to Tanzania mostly because the idea of travelling outside my comfort zone scared me and I didn’t want not to do something potentially meaningful just because it scared me clearly I had brain development issues. I was also eager to make a difference the Africa I thought knew was the Africa of save the children brochures poor and in need of help I was comparatively reach and looking to help surely this will work out.’
His visit to Africa opened his eyes to the many problems facing mankind. His stay at the University gave him ‘some clarity’ not only how to view the situation but the knowledge on how to interpret them and be part of the solution. In his own eloquent words this is what he said.
‘USF helps us to fill in those gaps and it also helps us to recognize them understanding what we don’t understand made us more likely to question and more likely to dig deeper to find the root of problems.
Therein lays the beauty of our education. The world after all does have problems and the problems do have solutions. USF help us to figure out what they might be and what we can do to help. It is inspiring to feel that you’ve a better understanding of the world than you did just a year ago and you can attribute that improvement to something other than brain development.’
The President of the University spoke last. He joked about the most expensive Christmas gift they were receiving paid by themselves or their family and went on to remind them of the huge responsibility of living a meaningful life. He used a passage from a book ‘Tuesday’s with Maury’ to drive his point home. He choose a section which he referred to as ‘probing even disturbing’ where in the book Maury asks his middle aged friend ‘have you found someone to share your heart with, are you giving to your community, are you at peace with yourself and are you trying to be as human as can be?’
It is a perfect illustration of how the University was able to nurture and produce young minds skilled both in knowledge and utility. It has fulfilled its promise to society and the tax payer’s money and the tuition paid by the students is a worthy investment.
It is with sadness we hear the disturbances at Addis Abeba University the last few days. It would have been understandable if the students were protesting about the quality of education, the lack of freedom, the dismal state the library or internet, the issue of press freedom in the country or the non-existence of opportunity upon graduation. It is none of the above. The Ethiopian institution of higher education is not geared to equip the young minds to ask such probing even dangerous questions. Addis Abeba University is the reflection of the TPLF mentality of dumbing down the population and keeping them at each other’s throat.
From what we hear the upheaval was based on ethnic grounds. There is no question like the rest of the country the University is the playground of the TPLF mafia group. The administration and faculty is chosen based on loyalty to the regime and the once proud and independent student union has been demolished to be replaced by ‘Teletafi’ created in the face of TPLF. From experience we know Woyanes are good at starting conflict whenever they want to divert attention away from their criminal acts. The fact that they were successful in the University is what I find troubling here.
The very same place where students sacrificed asking ‘Land to the Tiller’, the very hallowed ground where they marched against the illegal regimes in Rhodesia and South Africa, today they are supposedly confronting each other arrayed in their own Kilil. What a shame is an understatement. It points to few facts about our country and the new society the TPLF regime has been constructing the last twenty years. In the particular case of the University it is obvious it has become a cadre training institute rather than a place of knowledge and utility. It is an absolute failure on both fronts.
This is made obvious by the recent report that stated the abysmal state of Medical school graduates from the so called medical schools. According to the newly minted proud TPLF windbag Dr. Tedros Adhanom ‘This year, for the first time, we enrolled 3,100 medical students, which is almost tenfold compared to what we used to enroll five, six years ago.’ Dear reader, this is a typical TPLF statement void of value and substance.
The report by PRI based on site interviews with teachers, students and aid workers makes it clear that the so called medical schools lack such rudimentary accessories as skilled teachers, half way equipped laboratories and decent libraries. Our brave Foreign Minster’s take on the dismal situation is ‘I don’t think we will change this country by waiting until we get something perfect to start to start something…it cannot be perfect. We have to start with what we have.’
On the surface one might be sympathetic to such talk. You would think a poor country doing its best to relieve a major problem by using its meager resources. But that is not a true statement. The actual situation is a country with plenty of human and material resources hell bent on mismanaging its god given asset. The TPLF regime sole interest is holding onto power regardless of the consequences.
The regime is interested in inflating the numbers for propaganda purpose rather than being concerned with quality. Like every one of their pie in the sky schemes they use numbers to show how much more they are achieving. The economy is showing double digit growth but the number of those starving is in the millions, the Federal system is working wonders but there is conflict in every region, the number of Doctors is increasing by tenfold except they are not real and according to foreign observers ‘they could do more harm than good.’
I would like to see Dr. Tedros and Dr. Debretsion take one of their medical school graduates as their family doctor. Would they take prescription drugs from those clinics and would they allow one of the surgeons to operate on their son or daughter? I doubt that. Medical practice is not an experimental science. Good enough does not work when it comes to human life.
Training excellent doctors, having great centers of education is not an out of reach dream for our country. It is a question of resources management and defining priorities. The regime spends millions on Chinese technology to jam and block Internet and other media to keep information from our people. Do you think that money could be used for education? The regime employees millions to spy on their family and neighbors can that budget be allocated for good purpose? The regime has one of the highest numbers of troops in Africa, is that necessary? It is all about priorities isn’t it?
Education is not taken seriously in today’s Ethiopia. The regime is not interested in producing an educated and motivated generation. They cannot afford a smart and questioning youth. There are not enough trained teachers, the class rooms are crowded, books and supplies are non-existent and the facilities are mostly from the Imperial era somehow still standing by the grace of God. Why do you think this is so?
The TPLF regime is not into education. Let alone as a national policy the regime does not even allow private individuals to donate books, computers and other learning tools without their permission. One has to get a written stamped document from the zone, Kilil, Ministry, Foreign office just to bring a computer. Internet is a government monopoly and communication is a regulated enterprise. Why do you think they do this?
Control is the key word here. The TPLF regime must control all aspects of the individual’s existence. They control where you live, what you own, where you work, what you read, what you watch and if possible what you think. They instill fear, they trade with fear, and they are peddlers of fear. You the reader of this article are terrified of the TPLF machine even from thousands of miles away. You wouldn’t dare criticize the regime without looking around you. You would not sign a petition afraid who might see it. You dare not go out on protest afraid of cameras. Fear is engrained into our very existence.
Have you heard the saying ‘I’m like a mushroom, keep me in the dark and feed me bullshit.’ They falsify statistics and claim double digit growth, they graduate a bunch of dressers and call them doctors, they open high schools and call them colleges and universities and we go along with that. Because the TPLF leaders are not educated they show absolute disdain to the expert or the educated. Being a medical doctor is not a simple matter. The title is conferred upon someone after a rigorous training and it carries a lot of both privilege and responsibility. Being a university or college professor is achieved after a lengthy process of learning and publishing and peer review.
When out TPLF bosses play around with such titles it is not a simple matter. It demeans the professions and the efforts of the people that sacrifice to achieve such noble goals. This is another continuation of their cynical view of our country our people and our future. The late criminal Meles used to reveal in insulting our past and mocking our achievement. His children are continuing the legacy of making our country and people not worthy of any pride. Even becoming a doctor has become a joke. I do not mean to dis respect my brothers and sisters working hard to learn under the difficult condition imposed by the regime. I share their frustration when asked to do the impossible without adequate training and necessary tools. My sincere apology since we are both victims of a nefarious system. We shall overcome.
By Yilma Bekele
The press release was short and to the point. It was only six paragraphs long and was written in a matter of fact way. There were no trumpets blaring, no press conference with TV lights and no lavish dinner to commemorate the event. The announcement reminded me of the proverb ‘best things come in small packages.’ So it was without much fanfare I read the most important announcement on Abbay Media and Quatero. Tucked among the news was the announcement regarding the formation of Ginbot 7 Popular Force (GPF).
It is vintage G7. Doing what needs to be done in a deliberate and intelligent manner. Since their inception the folks of G7 have gone about building their organization, finding common ground with others and laying a firm and solid foundation to move our quest for freedom and dignity in a purposeful manner. Their accomplishment the last four years speaks volumes to their ability as leaders of a new style of struggle that is beginning to bear fruit.
As the establishment of ESAT was a game changer, as the successful meeting of mind with the OLF was a ground shaking event this announcement regarding the formation of Ginbot 7 Popular Forces is a monumental achievement in the annals of our struggle. It is a milestone in the evolution of our struggle to be free and democratic.
It is a brand new day in Ethiopia. Our struggle is entering a new phase. It is a necessary phase imposed upon our people by the belligerent and lawless regime. It was not an easy decision for the Front to make. No one relishes the idea of an armed confrontation especially with one’s own brothers and sisters but there comes a time when self-preservation becomes a vital issue. The short announcement makes that fact clear.
The TPLF regime has been in power for over twenty years now. The last twenty years have been a period of destabilization, conflict and agony for our people. No one can deny that. The result of this chaotic and illegal system is laid in front of us. Despite the much heralded so called ‘economic miracle’ thrown on our face our country is mired in famine and poverty, our children are scattered all over the world, our daughters are enslaved in the Middle East by the thousands, our people are denied the simple luxury of reading a free paper or listening to independent news and our jails are filled by innocent victims of a mad system.
This is what makes the formation of GPF a must and important component of our struggle. The Ethiopian people have tried every avenue open to let the regime know that the monopoly of power is not conducive to a just and harmonious system. Our people have bent backwards to accommodate the regime to change its aggressive ways. International organizations such as the European Union and others have tried to mediate. The arrogant and petty government has shown complete disregard to our needs and concerns.
That is why I wrote ‘leveling the playing field’ in the title. Violence is a two way street. Up until now the TPLF regime has the monopoly of violence. It has used it with impunity. The late dictator even used to taunt as to try fighting back. We are patient people. But despite the failings of the last few years we are also brave people. At long last we have decided to stand our ground and defend our people from evil. Self-defense is a God given right to every human being. It is time we in Ethiopia exercise that right.
We celebrate those that are still trying to let the TPLF regime know their peaceful intentions to bring change. It is to no one’s interest to shed blood in anger. The death of a single Ethiopian should be avoided at all cost. That can only happen when there is the rule of law in the country we call Ethiopia. It could not come about by a government based on a single ethnic group, by a government hell bent on monopolizing army, commerce, communications and politics by a chosen few.
GPF is our shield. GPF will prove to the arrogant TPLF army and security there will be consequences to aggression. As anything started by the seasoned leaders of Ginbot 7 there is no question GPF will prove itself to be a worthy child of Tewodros, Yohanes, Minilik, Aba Jifar, Tona and many other patriots. There is no question in my mind that the Ethiopian people will take GPF into their fold, love and nurture it. Our wish has been fulfilled and TPLF nightmare has just started.
There will be those that will try to belittle our effort and mock our resolve. Some will accuse the Diaspora of fanning the flames of war. No matter the die has been cast and the long journey has started. It is sad that in this day and age we have to pick up arms instead of the ballot to bring change. But one cannot choose his battle. This has been forced upon us. We have waited too long to respond in kind. Once we have started the process our job is to try to make it a short and less costly endeavor. Our responsibility is to encourage, support in any way possible and push our family, friends and the international community to stand with us at this time of great need.
We salute the combatants of GPF for their sacrifice on our behalf. We want them to know they are in our hearts and minds every waking moment of our life. We promise we will do all that we could in our part to help them achieve the goal of liberating our mother land from the clutches of darkness. Forward with the brave sons and daughters of Ethiopia, we your people in exile raise our hands in salute and shout so all can hear ‘Ethiopia is rising and a new day has begun!!!’ May you march in triumph as your ancestors did thru the millennium.
By Yilma Bekele
Good news is always welcome. Then there is the extraordinarily good news that jars you from your slumber. And when the good news happens right around Christmas there is nothing one can do other than put more log in the fire place, take a generous helping of the twelve year old scotch light up a fat Cohibas and sit back with Cheshire cat smile imprinted on ones face. That is what I wanted to do yesterday if only I had a fireplace, aged scotch or a fat cigar. Not to worry I had the good news and it brought a wide smile.
The good news is the exit of Susan Rice from the idea of becoming the Secretary of State. Poor Susan she did not even get nominated but they dangled her name out there to be trashed and mangled. They found out she is toxic. It looks like contemplating Susan Rice as foreign policy maker brought queasiness and nausea to some king makers.
Susan’s demise woke me up. The last few weeks I was in ‘Ground hog day’ land. Have you watched the movie ‘Ground Hog Day’? That was what I felt like. In that story the main character finds himself repeating the same day again and again. That is our country Ethiopia in a nutshell. The same crap story told over and over again until we become numb to it.
In the movie Phil the main character comes to face with his shallow and indifferent existence and is compelled to make amends. He was able to break the loop of indifference, apathy and selfishness. You know what my ultimate fear is? As an Ethiopian, it is to think that we are unable to get out of this loser loop we are wallowing for the last few decades.
We pride ourselves as being the oldest Nation State in history. We are quick to point out that we were never colonized. Both are commendable feats. The issue facing us now is what has that got to do with today. Those past accomplishments though daring have no relevance to the situation we are in now. Where exactly are we at today? We are with all due respect technologically backward, quality of life at the bottom any human achievement, a very inadequate educational and health system, an oppressive and lawless political arrangement and the epicenter of famine and starvation.
No need to deny that, no need to cringe and totally useless not to face realty. Unless one comes face to face with one’s ailment solution cannot be found. The first step towards recovery is realizing we have a problem and it is the cause of the many difficulties faced by our country and people. The best approach to bring about change is to look at the specific problems our behavior is causing and tackle that. For example being a coward makes us bow to authority, lack of character makes us lie and cheat to each other, our problem with low self-esteem makes us indifferent to the plight of fellow countrymen, our selfish attitude works against our own self-interest in the long run and we play the blame game to distance ourselves from the problem at hand and avoid responsibility.
The last few months have been trying times extraordinaire. It was like we were caught in a vortex, meaning a whirling mass of nothingness coming at us from all sides. I am of course talking about the US presidential elections and my Ethiopian brethren’s behavior here in good old America. I am sure glad it is over. The unbridled enthusiasm of my fellow Ethiopians escapes any and all explanations. Some were consumed by it, a few were stressed out plenty were hating on the Republican Party while lost souls like myself were diving for cover. It was not easy. There was no place to hide.
It was an impossible mission trying to get a response why my friends were gung ho about Barrack Obamas reelection. To tell you the truth I had nothing against it. At the same time I did not find any reason to be frenzied or extremely emotional either. Of course I will vote for him if given the chance but I wouldn’t be twisted out of shape or lose any sleep regarding the outcome if different.
Please note here that I am speaking as an Ethiopian since choosing someone is based on purely selfish needs. What is he gona do for me is the only question the average person asks of a candidate unless of course one is altruistic and I am afraid that is not what most people are. Most Americans voted for candidate Obama because he promised to lower taxes for the middle class, bring immigration reform, set a dead line regarding the country’s involvement in Afghanistan, killed Osama and seemed to have a functional family. Mr. Romney’s constant foot in the mouth situation and show of absolute detachment from reality was a great help towards Mr. Obama’s reelection attempt.
The crucial question to an Ethiopian is of course what is he going to do for my country Ethiopia? That was what I wanted to be addressed when conversing with my Ethiopian-American family and friends. If their support is due to the fact that he is the son of Africa or he shows empathy towards the middle class I completely agree. My problem was when a few want to drag poor Ethiopia into the equation and claim his reelection will help our country. As they say the devil is in the details and here is one situation where the truth does not jive with reality.
Four years ago Mr. Obama appeared on the scene as the messenger of change. In all his speeches he made it clear that the US under his leadership will stand with the down trodden and the oppressed in a new kind of way. Upon being elected that was his message when he toured the Middle East and that was his message to his African family when he made a brief stopover in Ghana. We were overjoyed when he put dictators everywhere on notice that their days of horror is over. Here is a long excerpt from President Obama’s speech to Africans from Accra, Ghana in July of 2009.
“We must start from the simple premise that Africa’s future is up to Africans…..First, we must support strong and sustainable democratic governments……
As I said in Cairo, each nation gives life to democracy in its own way, and in line with its own traditions. But history offers a clear verdict: governments that respect the will of their own people are more prosperous, more stable, and more successful than governments that do not.
This is about more than holding elections – it’s also about what happens between them. Repression takes many forms, and too many nations are plagued by problems that condemn their people to poverty. No country is going to create wealth if its leaders exploit the economy to enrich themselves, or police can be bought off by drug traffickers. No business wants to invest in a place where the government skims 20 percent off the top, or the head of the Port Authority is corrupt. No person wants to live in a society where the rule of law gives way to the rule of brutality and bribery. That is not democracy, that is tyranny, and now is the time for it to end…. But I can promise you this: America will be with you. As a partner. As a friend.”
Beautifully said don’t you think so? No one could have said it better. I distinctly remember the time and place when I read that speech, would it be too much to reveal that it gave me mental orgasm? If mere words can intoxicate this was it. I cried. At last, I said a friend in a place of power, my prayers have been answered.
I waited and waited and waited some more. I told myself may be next week, next month you think next year? Unfortunately what Mr. Obama says and what President Obama does is not the same thing. There is a dis-connect between words and deeds. “Barack Obama became a less ideological but more effective version of George W Bush,” said Professor Aaron Miller, a vice-president at the Woodrow Wilson Centre. How true.
Thus the coddling of dictators continued unabated, the use of drones to kill from afar got accelerated and the marginalization of Africa did not cease. My country Ethiopia became a pawn in America’s war with its enemies. My dictator was invited to sit alongside his masters, the enablers that choose not to see what he was doing to my country as long as he served their purpose.
President Obama’s State department never stopped detailing the crimes of the dictator against his people while President Obama’s Pentagon was generous in furnishing weapons, transportation and training to those who use it against the same people and commit the crimes to be recited by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the victims themselves. And most of all Mr. Obama’s rhetoric against dictators, deniers of freedom and human right abusers never stopped.
Thus when my Ethiopian American friends were moving heaven and earth to get their candidate reelected I wondered why? What would the other guy running for the office do different than what is being done to us now? If they are supporting the President as an American citizen I understand but why are they throwing the word Ethiopian in front of their designation. That is not fair. To show them that they actually do not matter the newly re-elected President threw Susan Rice at us as a thank you prize. Take that my Ethiopian-American constituent.
Wait a minute isn’t this the same Susan Rice that insulted Meles Zenawi’s victims as fools? Is it the Susan Rice that travelled all the way to Addis to vouch the humanity of the butcher and mad man? Yes the one and only Susan Rice that went to Harlem to preach at the war lord’s memorial. Of course there is more to her than that. During the second term of Bill Clinton’s Presidency our Susan Rice was Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs and how do you think she showed her love to Africa? It was by friending characters such as Rwanda’s Kagame, Uganda’s Museveni, Ethiopia’s Zenawi, and Congo’s Kabila. Could you think of any loathsome characters as these? The five dysfunctional sycophants are responsible for the death of hundreds of thousands of Africans and Susan Rice shares the credit and blame.
Rumor had it Mr. Obama might nominate Susan Rice to be the next Secretary of State. Shall we say the response has been heartwarming to a marginalized Ethiopian? I have been sitting back and enjoying the dictator lover twist in the wind. Her recent problem started when Obama’s White House used her as a ‘fall guy’ for the Benghazi attack. She was paraded out with false intelligence to keep Mr. Obama out the headlines for the debacle during the election. Our intelligent and highly educated friend went on national TV distorting the truth and reality since making shit up is nothing new to her. I very much enjoy our ‘idiotic and foolish’ friend travelling from one Senator’s office to another with her tail between her legs begging for love. Watching her swatted like a pesky fly is as far as I am concerned a priceless sight.
The one thing I find curious is that when recounting her shortcomings no one seems to mention her love of dictators and mad Africans as worthwhile failing. They talk about her miserable performance at the UN, her Benghazi disinformation campaign and even her investment in the oil pipe line deal but nothing about her involvement in the Rwanda massacre, not a whisper regarding her friendship with the Ethiopian criminal PM and her love for African dictators. It shows you how much we matter.
So a few of my Ethiopian friends started a petition to let Mr. Obama know what they think of the lady. I mean she insulted our struggle for freedom, she mocked us and she did it all in public. It is like one of us calling Martin Luther king a fool or Malcolm X an idiot. How many Ethiopians do you think signed the petition? A minuscule amount did.
Why do you think that is so? You think it is due to that little sickness I mentioned earlier? The matter of low self-esteem, Cowardice, selfishness and ignorance all rolled in one? Thus we campaigned for Mr. Obama so he can look after our interest and when he acts against it we are afraid to say wait a minute that is not why we elected you! I don’t see labor unions, women’s organizations, Hispanic groups playing dead when their interest is threatened. What is it about us that is willing to make excuse when stepped on?
You see that same trait is displayed in our National politics. We are willing to dance with the criminals in powers as long as they throw a piece of land, cheap hotels and brothels to frequent when we visit home. When exactly did we become a nation of lemmings? Watch the YouTube video link at the end and you can see what I mean. Guess what there must be some kind of power that looks after us. The fact that every Christmas the giving to our nation and people never stops is one clue. Three years ago ESAT was established, a year ago OLF denounced the separate trail and joined the mother fold and this year the giving has been a little overwhelming. The sudden death of Dictator Meles Zenawi and the faux patriarch and now Susan Rice’s humiliation begs for an answer. Despite our cheap character and betrayal of our motherland those that harm or conspire to hurt good old Ethiopia live to regret their transgressions. It looks like harming our mother comes with ugly consequences.
By Yilma Bekele
I dreamt about my uncle. He has been dead for over ten years so I was wondering what brought him to my conscious now. It was a vivid dream and I awoke both sad and happy. So all day long I kept wondering what is it that made me dream about him. I really think I was able to come up with a reasonable explanation why this memory was triggered in my brain. I believe it is due to what I have been reading lately that awaken this memory about service, integrity and today’s Ethiopia.
The night before the dream I read a very revealing article on goolgule.com about the land grab in Oromia region. It is a depressing tale of what those in position of power and authority do to our people. The story was told to give us perspective about Ato Junedin Sado, who seems to find himself in a very precarious position lately. His problem that started before the death of the tyrant has escalated to his being dismissed from that TPLF satellite organization OPDO. It looks like this puppet who has been serving his TPLF masters faithfully betraying the Oromo people is now paying the price for his sins.
I also have been reading about the Deputy Mayor of Addis Abeba Ato Kefyale Azeze defecting and moving to the US as a fellow refugee. I have also been informed about Ato Getachew Belay, a high ranking TPLF official, who decided to stay in the US abandoning his post. Ato Getachew has served his party as head of the Privatization Agency and head of EFFORT. Both are posts normally reserved for party loyalists.
The defections must have been what got me to think about service to people and country. That must be what triggered this deeply held memory to surface in the middle of the night. My uncle is one of the few people that have left a mark in my brain. I always think of him in a very pleasant manner. The earliest I remember of him from is the picture hanging on our living room wall. It was taken before he left for Korea as part of the United Nations peace keeping force. He was dresses in a greenish uniform sitting on a chair with medals on his chest. It was a serious picture but his boyish face betrayed the stern garish looking uniform and made him look like a kind solder unlike a warrior he was supposed to be. No question that picture impressed all of us growing children.
Upon his return from Korea he was recruited to work at our embassy in Egypt. He must have stayed there a long time because when we met next I was already in high school. He was working as administrator at Paulos Hospital in Addis Abeba. He got married and built a beautiful bungalow in Gulele. My brother and I used to love going over to visit him in the weekends and spend the day listening to him talk and observe the disciplined and meticulous way he lived.
He built the house himself and for us it was like a Ferenji place. It has a beautiful bathroom with toilet, bathtub and bidet with working plumbing system including hot water. The house has a beautiful dining area and a living room for entertainment with couches and a radio. His flower garden was a marvel to look at. We sat and ate in the dining room and washed our hands in the bathroom without a maid fetching water and towel to our table.
A few years later he built an addition on his land to rent for income and help raise his three beautiful daughters. He was making an honest living and looking forward to enjoying his retirement. I finished High school and came to America.
The appearance of the Derg changed everything. The turmoil that followed affected my uncle and his contemporaries in a negative manner. The Derg expropriated all wealth created regardless of how it was achieved. My uncle became the victim of this haphazard and meaningless policy. The Derg became the landlord of his property and his tenant started paying rent to the government. My uncle was forced to retire due to the turmoil in the country.
When I visited him next I couldn’t help but notice how fast he has aged. He was still living in his house but there was no incentive to do any repair or make his house into his own castle. It was shocking to see the deterioration of both man and property. Such a vibrant and go getter of a person was reduced to spending his days on trifle affairs and mundane subjects. It was odd to see his previous tenant subleasing the house and making money. The coming of Woyane did not make things any better. They took over where the Derg left off. That is how much things have turned topsy turvy.
May be I am grasping for straws, maybe I am letting my imagination go wild but the truth is I saw a connection between my dreaming of yester year and the current news coming out of Ethiopia. My uncle’s life was a simple straight line of service and hard work with rewards of stable and fulfilling end until it was rudely interrupted. His achievement was on merit and his honest service is what makes the wheels of society turn in predictable manner. His honorable way of life was an example to all our family. We all learn by example and he was a proud mentor.
Why am I writing about my uncle is a good question. I wanted to tell you we have not always been the way we are now. Lawless, corrupt, shifty, no roots and void of faith, this is what has become of us. I believe this describes the new Ethiopia. Not long ago our country and people were different. Yes there was inequality, there was injustice and we were definitely backward. But we were not degraded, self-loathing and hopeless.
What do we have today? There is no sense of public service but public robbery, there is no sense of do the right thing but a sense of what can I get away with, there is no sense of pride in workmanship but cheap labor for fast money, there is no sense of us but it is all about me. That is what the TPLF regime cultivates. That is why they could do all kinds of damage to our people and at the end of the day abandon all and move out of the country.
When I read about the likes of Junedin, Kefyalew and Getachew I start to wonder about the future of my country and people. What do our people learn from such disgraceful action? What kind of society produces such individuals? How did our country find itself putting such people in charge?
Let us take Ato Junedin. Let us also remember the entire OPDO leadership was rejected by the Oromo people during the 2005 elections. They were restored to their position after Ato Meles ordered recount of the ballots. It was in the aftermath of this event that the OPDO leadership decided to teach the people a lesson. Land is the only wealth the Ethiopian peasant owns. He has no bank account, no capital in machinery and no stocks and bonds. People like Junedin robed the land from the simple peasant. The stolen land was leased to grow flower for the export market while some was used to build condominiums and town houses.
The same peasant that lost his land was recruited to work as a day laborer while his children were let loose in the green houses where they grew flowers. Fifteen and sixteen year old Oromo girls were exposed to chemicals and fertilizers without adequate or no protection. The land given to the developers with fancy names puts the children’s fable Alice in wonderland to shame. In a country where the per capita income is less than $700 a year our developers are constructing housing that costs five million to twenty million. That is what a company called Country Club Developers is building in Legetafo, Oromia. It is also true that over 95% of the residents of Oromia cannot afford to purchase their dream house in Legetafo. Ato Junedin made all this possible.
Folks like Kefyalew and Getachew are the engines that facilitated the working of the TPLF anti Ethiopian machine. Today they come to America as victims. They followed high officials of the Derg regime that left before the fall of Mengistu. Derg era criminals today are respected members of our community. I assure you in a few years Kefyalew and Getachew will join our Church, Mosque and Eder as ordinary fellows in exile. How could a lesson be learnt if yesterday’s criminals are today’s freedom fighters?
Do you think the problem is with them or with us? Do you think people like Junedin, Kefyalew and Getachew can exist with us? There is no ying without yang, there is no smoke without fire and there is no criminal without a victim. Our indifference, our apathy makes people like the above flourish. When we keep quiet while observing injustice we encourage such evil act to continue. When we participate in buying stolen land, building on stolen land we facilitate the coming to death of our homeland. We mock our people’s plight because we ventured out and collected a fist full of dollars.
It does not require a fortune teller to predict sooner or later the injustice, the famine; the hopelessness will force our people to resort to force as they have done before. Today’s Ethiopia is reaching that boiling point. This is not because it is written but it is so because her children failed her, because her children refused to act because her children looked the other way. The solution lies in each one of us. We all know what is right and what is wrong. We all know we cannot judge the Junedins and the Kefyalews and the Getachews if we would act like them given the chance. The question to ask ourselves is would I be different? Am I a better human being aware, conscious, and keeper of my brother?
By Yilma Bekele
President Obama and his challenger Mitt Romney had their first debate this evening. Watching this debate for the highest office in the land was a learning moment. This is not the first debate I have viewed or the first election I am experiencing. But no matter what, for an election starved Ethiopian like me every time it happens it is a like being hit by a lightning bolt experience. It literally gives me a jolt.
It is not really difficult to figure out why this is so. No one has asked for my consent to be my leader. Furthermore those that have assumed the position have always abused me to no end. When I see candidates presenting their best side and begging for votes I literally find myself on the verge of mind melt. This evening was no different. I stayed tuned, I worried for my candidate, I was elated at times fretted often and sweated a lot. I watched the big event with my American friends. That by itself was most revealing on how I interpret reality and act on it.
I am an Ethiopian. I look at things black and white. Who cares about grey is my motto. The debate was an insight into my soul. Here I was with an elevated heart beat, a hyper ventilating state of being and I was supposed to sit cool and collected. Being detached and above it all was the norm. How in the world did I find myself in this company was my first question.
What I needed was some passion here. I wanted someone to push me further on this rollercoaster of emotion. I longed for an Ethiopian beside me. I wanted Obama to jab, push and humiliate Romney. What is with this idea of mentioning where you agree when the thing to do was point out the negatives of the other dude? I want my candidate to come our firing and mock his opponent. I wanted Obama to be aggressive. I wanted him to be dismissive and cute.
That is what I know. That is what I am used to. My leaders are supposed to be dismissive and and above it all. They are all knowing, expert in every field, feared and uncompromising. My last leader was like that. He will never bring himself down to debate with mere mortals about the art of leadership. You send your minions for a task like that.
Do you remember once upon a time we had a debate in good old Ethiopia? It was not that long ago. Don’t tell me you forgot, it has only been seven years. It was 2005 to be precise. That event will go down in history as the golden year of elections in Ethiopia. Woyane thought they were ready for prime time. After lengthy and silly negotiations debates were allowed. Our ‘new leader from behind’ Ato Berket was the negotiator on behalf of the clueless regime. He brought out so many do’s and don’ts to get an advantage but the opposition agreed to all his demands. Kinijit was willing to humor Woyanne because they knew they were smarter and were sure that they were selling a better product to the Ethiopian people. They just wanted that TV time to talk directly to the Ethiopian people.
Shall we say that history will judge Woyanne to have been humiliated beyond repair? For the first time our people saw their leaders without their clothes. It was an ugly sight. Woyanne sent their best and Kinijit exposed them for what they are to the Ethiopian public, a bunch of illiterate idiots that cannot finish an idea in a coherent manner. I remember the then Foreign Minster with his shrill voice trying to explain the loss of Assab. To see that he was considered crème de la crème, one of Woyane top guns was a reality check. All Dr. Yacob could do was stare at him with amusement and watch him try to explain the impossible.
I also remember the now dead tyrant panicking as usual. He can not show up at the debates due to the fact that he was the ‘leader’ and it was beneath him. He knew that he will be exposed for the empty suit he was if forced to play by the same rules as others. The only alternative was to bring the camera to the palace so he can shine all by himself. A candle inside a barrel (ye gan mebrat) at its best.
The reason Obama/Romney debate got me twisted out of shape was due to my unfamiliarity with this concept of being shown respect as a citizen. As far back as I can remember in my country no one has come to power by the will of the people. Anybody that assumes leadership without the consent of the people is not accountable to the public. Where I came from leaders don’t compete to get elected, they take it the old fashioned way, by force or a very underhanded manner.
In Ethiopia we had a change of leadership a few weeks back. It was not done by election. It was all back room dealings and we were told someone emerged as the leader. Thus the non- elected individuals somehow decided to appoint the new guy as the leader. There was no debate. There was no competition and we don’t even know who else was running for the position.
Now you know why this debate in North America was a little disorienting to my Ethiopian brain. When you consider the new guy who was presented to us insults my intelligence by claiming he was going to continue following the bankrupt polices of his predecessor you don’t fault me for assuming the fetal position and crawling back into bed. If only there was a debate I wouldn’t be in this hopeless mood.
President Obama and Mr. Romney were most respectful of their fellow citizens. They did not mock or put anybody down. They were uplifting and went out of their way to praise their people’s determination to forge ahead when faced with dire economic problem. They acknowledged that they needed everyone’s help to bring back peace and prosperity.
This I found to be in stark contrast to how things are done in my home land. The leader tells our people but does not bother to listen. The leader is not interested in being respected and loved but cultivates being feared. The leader makes sure that he is not one of the people but better and above them all. The last leader was never seen in public mixing with ordinary people but always surrounded by his bodyguards and with pre-selected fans. The leader leaves in a palace with more comfort than his people and travels in convoys with streets closed and people told to stay inside.
Our new leader was in New York to attend the UN opening ceremony. Don’t ask me why a poor country will spend thousands of dollars to transport him and his entourage to make a speech no one will care to listen to. The amount of money spent for this silly purpose is not supposed to be the concern of the citizen. That is why the leader did not bother to sit with his fellow citizens in exile and discuss common issues and encourage their participation in helping the country. When you consider the Ethiopian Diaspora is such a rich and important resource that can be harvested to move our nation in a new direction like the way it was done by India, Singapore, China and others our leaders do not see that. They would rather pick our pockets for spare change to build condominiums, bars and hotels.
Accountability is the hallmark of a successful system. Without accountability, checks and balances it is doubtful a system will work in a healthy manner. That is the reason our country is always on the verge of crisis and perpetually holding its hands out for alms. The leaders we produce have no respect for us and do not feel they have to answer or explain their policies. They come out of our midst but as soon as they assume that office they start to believe they are God’s gift to us. We elevate them so high no wonder they lose all semblance of respect to those they are empowered to care. The fault goes both ways. As they say you reap what you sow. We really can’t force the leader to change but the least we can do is change ourselves. The leader will follow our footsteps and change his ways.
By Yilma Bekele
There is no place on planet earth that begs for change like our country Ethiopia. There is no need to itemize all the areas where we stand at the tail end of human achievement. That is the bad news. The good news is we can’t get any lower than where we are at now thus the only way for us is up.
It is obvious that we have all what it takes to improve and make life better for our people. We are blessed with a vibrant population; we possess a beautiful land with plenty of water and untapped resources waiting to be exploited. The ugly and troubling political situation that has engulfed our ancient land the last forty years has forced us to migrate outwards. It is true it has caused plenty of pain and misery to the vast majority of our people. On the other hand it has created its own dynamic too. Today we have managed to acquire real practical knowledge that can be harvested to help our country transition from agricultural to industrial society within a short period of time.
In short there seems to be no reason why our beautiful nation is known for famine, poverty and always on the verge of civil war. The reason we are stuck in this never ending cycle of non-achievement is lack of a political system that enhances our positive aspect. The political condition is our Achilles heel. Our Political system is what is dragging our country down.
The death of Meles Zenawi has opened a new chapter for our country to move forward. I do not need to itemize the many negative qualities of the late tyrant here. The economic, social and psychological state our country finds itself after twenty years of misrule is proof enough. Our new year has brought us a new Prime Minster.
I, with the vast majority of our people wish nothing more than Ato Hailemariam Desalegn to succeed in his new role. Success means a peaceful, prosperous Ethiopia where the citizen is not afraid of his government and is free to pursue happiness. Success means an Ethiopia where equality of all reigns, Human Right is assured and our children are free to achieve their potential.
Is it possible Hailemariam could be the agent of change we so dream and desire? Is this a realistic dream or some kind of delusion our mind is trying to conjure so as to force current circumstances fit reality. I am aware that it usually is not good to be a naysayer. I also understand blaming the messenger of bad news is a common human condition. Blindly going along to preserve peace when the situation does not warrant is also a disservice even between friends let alone a country.
During the Wild West days of the US economic boom of the 1990’s Federal Reserve Chairman Greenspan talked about the dangers of what he called ‘irrational exuberance’ that was permeating Wall Street. His frank talk was seen as unnecessary caution. His fear was realized in one of the worst economic downturn the US has seen.
Is the current tendency to blindly wish Ato Hailemariam success despite circumstances not under his control a good idea or is it a recipe for failure due to ‘irrational exuberance’? Is this business of predicting the future based on the past a reasonable idea? If we believe that is a rational assumption I believe looking at the individual’s practices in the recent past could give us clues to how he will deal with his new position of power and authority.
Ever since his election to the position of Prime Minister we have been able to have a glimpse of his style of work while climbing the ladder of leadership. The fact that he has gained his past positions due to appointment rather than being elected makes it a little difficult to know him close and personal. The fact that he was elected to the Presidency of his Kilil is not an indication of real democracy at work. Elections in Ethiopia are mostly affairs of coronation. It is enough to mention the 99.6 landslide by Tigrai People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) the dominant party and its affiliates in the 2010 elections to see the farce. He did not have to share his views with the citizen but only satisfy the requirements of those that anointed him making our job a little harder.
He has served as assistant Dean and Dean of Arba Minch Water Technology Institute (Now Arba Minch University) until he became Vice President then President of Southern Nations, Nationalities and People’s Region (SNNPR) which was followed by Membership to the House of people’s Representatives, advisor to Meles Zenawi and Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister. From his autobiography I was able to gather he has never worked in the private sector either as wage earner or entrepreneur.
Ato Hailemariam still is Chairman of Southern Ethiopian people’s Democratic Movement (SEPDM). It should be noted here that SEPDM like its counter parts such as Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM), Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO) among others is the creation of TPLF. As a matter of fact the TPLF under Meles Zenawi choose the leaders and run the party’s as a wholly owned subsidiary. (Please read Jawar Mohammed’s article about the growing pains OPDO has faced since the death of dictator Meles).
Ato Hailemariam came into leadership of SNNPR upon the fall of Ato Abate Kisho that made the mistake of siding with Seye Abrha’s splinter group during the TPLF internal struggle. It is fair to conclude that his elevation to the Presidency of SNNPR from 2002-2005 was a show of gratitude by Meles and his TPLF. The following paragraph is taken from Wikipedia entry about our new PM.
‘After his tenure as President of the SNNPR, Hailemariam worked in the Prime Minister’s Office as the advisor on Social Affairs and Civic Organizations and Partnerships for two years. He led the team that drafted the Charities and Societies Proclamation law (CSO law) that limits the interference of international NGO’s in local political activities. The law was adopted by Ethiopian Parliament in 2009. He is also credited in pushing EPRDF re-organize its structure after 2005 elections in ’1-to-5′ model (one member recruits five new people – አንድ ለአምስት አደረጃጀት) that boosted the number of party membership from 400,000 to 5 million by 2010 elections.’ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hailemariam_Desalegn
Please note this law that went into effect in 2009 was denounced by Amnesty International, CIVICUS, East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project and Human Rights Watch as ‘stifling human rights work’ in Ethiopia. Thanks to the work of Ato Hailemariam the courts were able to freeze bank assets of Human Rights Council (HRCO) the oldest human rights organization in the country and had crippling effect on such organizations as Ethiopian women Lawyers Association (EWLA) including Save the Children Sweden among many others. It is safe to conclude he has served TPLF admiringly.
It is fair to say Ato Hailemariam Desalegn was again elected into the current position he holds by TPLF and its affiliates. It is also fair to say none of the leaders of these parties or organization were elected by the Ethiopian people in a fair and open contest. Regardless of this irrefutable fact in front of us the reality of the matter is we are stuck with him at his point in our history.
There are discussions on how to deal with this new reality in front of us. There are some that are advocating giving the new PM ‘time’. Some are saying what is there to expect from someone that came to power not by the will of the people? Quite a few are convinced what we are witnessing is reshuffle not change- it is expressed in Amharic as ‘Gulitcha bilewawetu’ situation. As usual our country has entered a very confusing and uncertain future. Accepting something knowing the chances it will succeed to be nil is cowardice while pointing out the futility of the situation and trying to change it is seen as being a naysayer even narrow.
To those who say ‘let us give him time’ the simple question would be to do what? If he was willing to serve a leader (Meles) and a party (TPLF) that ruled with an iron hand, if he was willing to be used as a tool in the degradation of his own southern region and people, and if he was willing and enthusiastic in formulating such a draconian policy (Charities law among others) that restricted independent Human Rights work, why in the world do we hold any hope that he will change his tune once in position of authority?
Furthermore there is this little issue of who actually is in charge here? Chairman Mao said ‘power comes from the barrel of the gun.’ George Washington, Nelson Mandela, Jomo Kenyatta among others that gained their freedom by the barrel all agree with this proposition. It seems like the saying is still valid today. In our country the TPLF party is in charge of the military, state security service, the Federal Police, the Bank, major business entities, all media including television, radio, newspaper, Internet, telecommunications and Foreign affairs. What in the world can a Prime Minster do without the control of these key organizations even if he wanted to?
As I wrote earlier the past is a powerful tool to look at the future. It looks like Prime Minister’s Hailemariam résumé does not bode well for our country. We are hoping he will change his mode of operation even though we have no data to indicate that to be possible. On the other hand his meek service the last fifteen years to those that held power in complete disregard to the wishes of our people shows the individual to lack independent initiative and a tendency to be used against his people’s interest.
I realize this to be un-pleasant conclusion that has a disturbing effect on our morale. I also believe one should follow the facts where ever that might lead to. It was not long ago when a rag tag army deposed of a hated military regime and we all cheered. We all wanted change and ascribed our wishes and dreams on the new leaders. ‘’Give them time’’ was the cry of the many. Time proved us all wrong. We paid a heavy price. After twenty long years we find ourselves where we started. My simple question is shouldn’t we learn from the past and prescribe a new medicine this time around? As Lincoln said “you can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.
By Yilma Bekele
Someone broke into our house. They forced the backdoor open and went through every square inch of the house. They turned our mattress over, pilfered through our drawers and left the closet in a mess. It was done in the middle of the day and it looks like they took their time. They stole laptops, I pod, tablet computer, flat screen TV’s and my wife’s gold jewelry.
We have lived in the same neighborhood for over twenty years now. Nothing like this has happened before. We felt safe and secure. We did not have a burglar alarm. There were no metal guards on our doors and windows. When we moved to the area most of our neighbors were elderly people enjoying their retirement. They were always outside sitting on their porch and remising and watching. It is true there were one or two houses where the young kids were dealing drugs but the presence of the grandfathers made their business low-key.
Burglary is an ugly and very personal crime. Most of the stuff they took is replaceable. What is disturbing and creepy is the fact that a stranger went thru your stuff. I just keep visualizing their ugly dirty hands in my drawer and all over my home. They stole expensive stuff like computers but what bothered me most was the loss of quarters I was saving for my son. They took the flat screen televisions and Google tablet but the loss of little gold crosses from my mom to my wife is what keeps me awake at night. The thought of a burglar never crossed my mind but now I am convinced burglars are the scums of the earth. I better not be called for a jury duty where the crime is burglary. Off with his/her head is what first comes to mind.
I was seething with anger regarding my home invasion when I read Ambassador Susan Rice eulogy at the funeral of you know who in my homeland. My depression was compounded. Et tu Susan? When Bush was the President Ambassador Rice opined on the Washington Post “We Saved Europeans. Why Not Africans?” regarding the administration’s refusal to use force in Darfur and her praise of President Clinton’s military intervention in Kosovo. Compare that to her statement at the funeral of an African tyrant. Our fearless Ambassador was very generous with her praises of the dictator and was nice enough to include the human side of him inquiring about her family. She went out of her way to heap accolades like a smitten teen ager and elevate the dictator to new heights. I have no problem with her ignorance but what got my goat was her statement “He [Meles] was tough, unsentimental and sometimes unyielding. And, of course, he had little patience for fools, or “idiots,” as he liked to call them” That to me is too personal. Shame on you Susan Rice! Those of us that fight injustice are not fools or idiots. My dear Ambassador it looks like you have things reversed.
Those that deny freedom to others, those that deny democracy, those that deny the rule of law are considered fools and idiots. On the other hand those that fight back to secure their God given right to live in peace and dignity are normally referred to as freedom fighters. As a black person that find yourself in such a high and powerful position representing your country I would have thought you would be the perfect candidate to identify with the cause of our people and be able to articulate our wishes and dreams better than your Wasp predecessors. Mrs. Ambassador it is a little disconcerting to think a poor immigrant like me is constantly fighting with rednecks and conservatives that judge you negatively based on the color of your skin and declare you unfit to represent America and here you are paying my favor by dancing with criminals and unsavory characters. Too bad you are not a student of MLK. Where did you miss the bus?
Anyway I gave your transgressions and insulting behavior some thought and was able to put things in perspective. I decided there is no reason I should spend an ounce of energy on what you think and say. I got bigger problems to solve. Thus I went back to my home burglary issue and viewed the two items and marveled at the linkage of the situation.
I did not leave my home open. Someone forced the door open. What I have done since then is install security doors and windows, install cameras and use cloud storage to back up my documents. It is impossible to stop a determined criminal the least I could do is make the bum work to earn his pay. It is said you know who your friends are in times of difficulty. I was humbled by two of my friends that gave me a lap top computer and a flat screen television to ease my pain. My friends Getachew and Dr. Tesfaye made me realize I am not alone. We are each other’s keeper.
When it came to my homeland the situation is a little different. The burglars did not have to break a door or climb thru a window. They just bought their way in to our precious country. They used collaborators to open the door and let them in. We left our door open. No need to blame the burglar for our being indifferent regarding our treasure. Ambassador Rice was praising an individual we allowed to dictate to us for over twenty years. I know some fought back. Plenty paid with their life. The use of ethnic loyalty was his calling card. I am also sure that his harsh and intrusive system have something to do with his longevity. No matter the reason, our door was left open, and our security was compromised.
The solution to safeguard a country is a little different than securing a home. Walls, cameras, border guards on the ground and drones in the sky are not a solution. The best full proof system is a population that is empowered to safeguard its own freedom. The citizen has to feel that they are in charge and they own their country. Those in charge have to understand that they serve by the will of the people. That is what is meant by ‘for the people by the people.’ As they are hired by the citizen they must know that the possibility of being fired for misconduct is real.
This kind of arrangement assures the leader entrusted with the key will not open the door and let strangers in to take advantage of a poor nation. Strangers will not try using underhanded means to get in and and act like king makers knowing it will be rejected. The recent death of the dictator is proof that our door was left wide open. The situation has favored the outsiders at the expense of the citizen. He was loved, respected, held in high esteem, considered a visionary and a person of extraordinary super natural gift. Unfortunately the sky high phrases are uttered by no other than those that enabled him to stay in power.
The issue is not Susan Rice, European Union or any outside party. We are that are the legitimate owners of this Nation called Ethiopia that allows misfits, megalomaniacs and unsavory individuals to hold the key to our door. We refuse to stand for fair play and justice. Recently when talking about an issue that tested the American people President Obama said ‘As Americans let us never, ever forget that our freedom is only sustained because there are people who are willing to fight for it, to stand up for it, and in some cases lay down their lives for it. Our country is only as strong as the character of our people and the service of those, both civilian and military, who represent us around the globe.’ It is when we can say those words regarding our motherland that we can stand straight look each other in the eye and utter the words ‘I love Ethiopia.’ Anything else is hot air and bluster.
By Yilma Bekele
The US is getting ready for presidential elections. 2012 will be the 57th time elections have taken place. The first election was held in 1788 and there were five contestants and it was won by George Washington. Barack Obama is the 44th President. The Republican Party held its convention a week ago and the Democrats started their nomination process yesterday. The candidates are thinned down by the grueling primary campaign. The conventions are more or less a coronation event and come November one of the nominees wins and everybody goes home and wait for another four years. This routine has not changed for over 224 years. If the American citizen is so jaded about the event you can see why. It is nothing to write home about.
Non-American citizens are not allowed to participate in the process. It is unthinkable any government will try to influence the election in any covert manner. The American people determine their own future without help or interference from any outside body.
As you know our Prime Minster died a few months back and we have been operating without a leader for quite a while. Either the Ethiopian people are extremely low abiding or phenomenally docile because nothing has happened that is alarming under the circumstances of operating without central power. The PM was buried last Sunday, or at least a casket was laid to rest and still no decision has been made regarding a leader.
We in Ethiopia have not developed a system regarding how we would like to be governed. Until about forty years ago our regional warlords duked it out among themselves and the one standing at the end crowned himself or herself king, Queen or Emperor. Haile Selassie was the last Emperor. Colonel Mengistu was the next warlord disguised as head of the Military Junta or the Derge. He was in the process of legitimizing his rule by forming a party when he was overthrown by the TPLF guerrilla army.
The next chapter of our history is a little bit murky and sort of opaque. We have held four elections since the demise of Mengistu. All four have been won by the ruling TPLF party. As a matter of fact the 2005 election is the only one that will be considered partially free and fair. It was won by the opposition. Today that election is looked upon with nostalgia by the majority of our people.
In 2005 the recently departed PM miscalculated his and his party’s popularity big time. It is what happens when one is locked in a palace for too long and is surrounded by yes men and sycophants. The TPLF party learned a negative lesson from this debacle and the last election held in 2010 was a travesty of what election is all about. As they lost big time in 2005 they won the whole enchilada in 2010. We have a broken system with warlordism disguised as democracy.
This is why we are having this hiccup replacing the tyrant. He left a mess behind and cleaning it up is no small matter. There are so many rumors, theories and explanations’ twirling around the situation makes a Spanish novella look like a children’s bedtime story.
First and foremost to note in this tragic affair is that the Ethiopian people are not involved in this drama in any form or shape. We the people are ring side spectators waiting to be told the outcome of this three ring circus. We are keeping score.
Star of the show is no other than the Tigrayan people TPLF Party. It is rumored the party have different factions. The internal bickering is not expected to reach a boiling point. Others playing minor parts are the Amhara Party (ANDM), the Oromo Party (OPDO) and the Southern people’s Party (SEPDM). There are others like the Gambellan, Benishangel-Gumuz etc. but they are for all practical purposes as observers as the Ethiopian people. Everyone is organized under the umbrella known as the EPRDF.
The Executive Committee of EPRDF held its first meeting since the death of warlord numero uno and you would think their first agenda will be filling the void. No such luck in revolutionary Ethiopia. According to Woyane TV “The executive committee passed decision to strive towards success of the Growth and Transformation Plan and further strengthen efforts towards renaissance of the country.” As to the most important issue at hand the “The meeting passed decision to name chairperson and vice chairperson for the Front in its meeting to be held in mid September 2012. It called on the Ethiopian people to rally behind the Front in the efforts to reduce poverty and realize renaissance of the country.”
The only conclusion to reach after reading such a press release is that the EPRDF cannot agree regarding giving the position of PM to the person who was designated as the vice. Why do you think that is? Is it because the number one position has always been reserved to the TPLF Party? It looks like they have found themselves in a very difficult situation at the moment. Appointing a TPLF person would not be looked at kindly by all involved especially the foreign enablers. It is not that they have any objection to the TPLF but they are not willing to chance anything that would destabilize the current cozy situation they have gotten used to. Why rock the boat now must be what they are asking the ruling mafia.
It is said the EPRDF Executive Committee has thirty five members. Since the country is divided on the basis of ethnicity the EC is composed of representatives from four regions. What is peculiar about this situation is the number of participants in the EC. It is said that each Party sends eight people but how they arrived at this number is not clear. The Oromos’ constitute 34.5%, the Amaras’ 26.9% and the Tigrais’ 6.1% of the population. The disparity in representation does beg for an answer.
At the moment the situation the Vice/Acting Prime Minster finds himself is not enviable at all. It looks like he is going up a creek without a paddle. The military is in the hands of the TPLF Party. The Security service is beholden to the TPLF Party. The Media is under the control of the TPLF Party. Major industries such as banking, telecommunications etc. are under the TPLF Party. The Vice/Acting PM does not have a party he controls. He does not have a constituent to fall back on. Up a creek with no paddle seems to describe the situation.
Most of Ethiopians find themselves in a quandary. They want peace and stability. The problem is this situation of being governed by unelected individuals is getting a little too old to accept. The last time this happened it has taken us over twenty years to even replace one person. We find ourselves where we were in 1991. We were told to give the new government time, to be patient and not be so negative. I believe twenty one years is long enough to learn that those that assume power without the consent of the people are not in any position to let it go without hassle.
I started by reciting the news regarding the election in the US. It is clear to see that having a tradition of fair, open contest for the highest office in the land has resulted in the construction of a stable and prosperous country. Campaigns help the people to see what the candidates have in mind and how they intend to fulfill the wishes of the citizen. The elected leader is given a limited amount of time to show what he can accomplish. The citizen is given the power to remove him if he does not perform to expectations.
That is what we need in our ancient homeland. Our people are smart enough to know what is good for them. You do not need a PhD from Harvard to know your interest. This concept of discussing our business behind closed doors is not a winning strategy. Sooner or later it is bound to create problems and contradictions. A leader not answerable to the citizen is a recipe for disaster. A leader with no mandate from his people but beholden to a few with guns will in end harvest contempt and disrespect by all. We hope the EPRDF EC will quit deluding themselves into thinking fear will solve everything. We hope they will learn the lesson of what happened to the occupier of the office not long ago. Twenty one years behind barbed wire fence, with no love, no respect from those he was supposed to serve is not a life style to emulate. In the end we all lost. There was no winner in this game. Our country is still backward, our people are dispersed all over the planet and our future does not look bright if we continue this road of rule by force.
By Yilma Bekele
I am hoping this is the last discussion about our emotional response regarding the disappearance then death of Ato Meles Zenawi. As controversial and in your face individual he was alive his death has brought drama, division and ugliness to our life. The person is refusing to go away in silence and dignity. I am very much conflicted about his going away. First and foremost I want to make it clear that I am definitely not sad at all. It is not because I am inhuman or lack empathy. Far from that, I consider myself caring and always concerned about others.
When it comes to Meles Zenawi my blood turns ice cold. It is not because of any of his physical traits but rather it is all about his record as the Prime Minter of my motherland. How he used his office and the power it comes with it is how I judge the individual. By all accounts he was not a pleasant human being and for over twenty years he rode rough on our poor nation and seemed to enjoy the wanton destruction he visited on his people. When I think of him what I visualize in my head are memories that bring negativity, sadness and rage.
I remember his constant put down of anyone that dares to ask a question not to his liking, the display of that stupid smirk on his face knowing the individual dare not confront him or else. I will not forget his cold blooded response after murdering over two hundred fellow citizens because they marched in peace because he cheated. His non-challant response to a reporter regarding the health of Judge Bertukan Mideksa whom he threw in jail for no reason by joking she is fine except she might have gained a few kilos and the display of that same smirk on his face is etched in my brain forever. Meles Zenawi was a despicable human being, a mad person that should not be trusted with authority over a family let alone a nation.
The current cry fest sponsored by his fellow criminals even after his demise is what worries me. In Ethiopia they are using the power they accumulated the last twenty years to assert their authority. The citizen is at the mercy of the TPLF mafia. Land belongs to the government, the regime is the number one employer in the country and such essential items as flour, sugar, oil and others are regulated by the dreaded kebeles. The average Ethiopian is a prisoner in his own land. There should be no surprise if they cry when told, march when ordered and ask how high when instructed to jump. It is sad but true. The fact they are obeying the instructions of the TPLF cadres does not mean they agree or are convinced. No deep inside they are laughing and bidding for time. Our people are not stupid nor cowards but they are not into suicide either. They are like mount Zukala volcano, dormant but not extinct.
The Ethiopians in the Diaspora are a different matter. There are those from the regime’s ethnic group that will support the regime due to commonality of interest. Most have vested interest in the survival of the TPLF regime. Then there are those that have used their dollar power to buy stolen land, stolen property and are intricately connected to the ruling party. They are the ones that are easily coopted or blackmailed into obedience. A vast majority have their head in the sand and refuse to hear or see no evil. They wait for the most opportune time to see who will come ahead and join the parade. They are sometimes called the silent majority. Unfortunately their silence works against themselves and the loved ones they left behind.
It is the combination of the TPLF party sympathizers and their puppies they keep on a leash that are making noise regarding holding a cry fest in the Diaspora community. A few of them rent a hall or a community center get their video or picture taken to be beamed by Woyane media at home. The purpose is to show the Ethiopian people that their power and hold extends in the Diaspora community. It is another form of bullying. We saw that during their campaign to raise money in the so called dam on Abbay river. In the Ponzi scheme meeting held in our city over ninety five percent of the participants were from the ruling ethnic group. The cry fest is the same crap in a different guise.
The problem for us is this drama they concoct takes us away from the job at hand. It is vintage Woyane tactic to send us on a wild goose chase while they do their homework. If you notice they took a month to declare the tyrant dead. They used the month to call meetings of their party, the Kebeles and underlings to prepare the ground for country wide mourning. We used that time to speculate whether he is dead or alive, what hospital he is in, where his wife is spotted and discuss the many ramblings of Sebhat Nega. It was a useless digression.
We are at it again. The discussion is on the drama beamed by Woyane TV regarding who has been taken prisoner and made to cry or swear allegiance. We get worked over when we see Haile sobbing, Neway bending some other idiot in designer black silk cloth taken hostage and putting a show. We are programed to follow.
While we are wasting valuable time and energy on side issues Woyane’s are working in the background to shore up support and hold the structure from falling. Speculation is rife with Obama calling Hailemariam, Azeb snubbing Hailemariam, Sebhat under house arrest, Samora dying and Seyoum weak. I still have not seen any of our so called opposition calling for a country wide discussion where we should be heading and some kind of list of points we should be thinking about. Leadership is all about putting your preferences, your thoughts and your plans so the citizen can mull over the possibilities and make an informed decision. Always pointing out Woyane’s atrocities, wrong doings and Woyane’s plans is not a winning strategy.
The question facing our Woyane warriors is what comes next Monday. The drama is done and over and poor Meles is six foot under, what comes next. We just can’t continue with no one in charge. For the last two months Ethiopia and Somalia have been the only two countries operating without a known leadership in charge. We are on what is known as auto pilot. I don’t know if this is good and healthy. One thing is for sure it has not been tried before. In most previous situation the void is normally filled by regional warlords. Are we reverting to that?
Right now the foreign reserve has been depleted; commerce has been on hold for over a month and the two weeks mourning period has brought the poor economy to standstill. The noveau capitalists have been either hording dollars or transferring it outside the country.
How does the new regime afford buying fuel, buying wheat and oil and still pay all the millions borrowed by Meles? What happens to all the contracts signed by Meles selling different parts of the country? Do the new Kilil heads accept the one sided agreements dictated by the then strong TPLF or demand a new form of contract? Are the American and European enablers willing to allow more borrowing from IMF and World bank for a regime that does not show promise of staying stable? What kind of demands are they going to present now knowing they have a weak and divided central authority? Last time their solution caused us agony for twenty years are they going to screw us again?
Issues like this is what we should be discussing about instead of inner fighting and speculation regarding the health of dying Woyanes. We seem to fall into a trap set by the mafia group and waste time and money. We need to grow up and stick to issues that will help our country and people and mind our own business instead of being led astray by others that have their selfish needs.
It is time we bury Meles and his toxic ideas and move forward. It is time we decide the agenda instead of following one drawn by TPLF. It is time we completely ignore Woyane drama do what we got to do to define our issues and stick with the plan. My wish, my plan is that I do not mention you know who for ever and ever and completely wipe his face and memory from my brain. No need to dwell on a history that is only twenty years old while my country has over three thousand years of glory. He was a stain but a very tiny and insignificant one.
By Yilma Bekele
The Ethiopian people have been told to show grief regarding the death of Meles Zenawi. This is sadness by government decree and it is not unique to us. We just witnessed it happen in North Korea but it always is a little strange when what you feared happen to you. There is no question the regime under the control of the TPLF party is orchestrating this drama. They are not even trying to hide it. The truth of the matter is they are going the extra mile to make sure the citizen understands it is official government policy.
It took the regime over four weeks to announce the death of the dictator. It looks like they took their time time to plan what to do and how to do it. They are perfectly aware that the individual is not liked let alone loved by the Ethiopian people. Since his illness was hidden from the public his sudden death would have unjarred the population. They know the situation has to be dealt delicately. Their main goal was how to use the unfortunate situation to garner sympathy and good will while at the same time show who the boss is. The fact the citizen loathed the little tyrant was a big hurdle to overcome.
The only way the party can get benefit out of this disastrous situation was to go back into their bag of tricks and revert back to the proven method of bullying by using force and coercion. It has worked since their inception forty years ago and they have become really good at it. The system of bending people’s wills to to fit the tyrants way is the hallmark of all totalitarian societies. The TPLF did not invent it but they are very good students of everything that is bad and toxic to society.
The question in front of us is how and why they do that? I believe this has eloquently been answered by Mr. Anthony Daniels in his book ‘The wilder further shores of Marx’.
‘…..with an established totalitarian regime the purpose of propaganda is not to persuade, much less to inform, but to humiliate. From this point of view propaganda should not approximate to the truth as closely as possible: on the contrary it should do as much violence to it as possible. For by endlessly asserting what is patently untrue, by making such untruth ubiquitous and unavoidable, and finally by insisting by everyone publicly acquiesce in it, the regime displays its power and reduces individuals to nullities. Who can retain his self respect when, far from defending what he knows to be true, he has to applaud what he knows to be false- not occasionally, as we all do, but for the whole of his adult life.’
This is a nut shell describes Woyane kind of mind set. You would think Mr. Daniels has been to Ethiopia. Mr. Daniels’s book is based on his experience of such failed states as East Germany, the former Soviet Union, North Vietnam and North Korea among others. The TPLF controlled Ethiopian government is copying the loathsome practices of the Stasi in East Germany and the KGB of the Soviet Union. Folks like Berket Semeon, Workrneh Gebeyehu, Getachew Assefa are excellent students of such inhuman system that has managed to hurt so many but was at last discredited by the citizen. Our country is back ward, our people are kept illiterate by design our culture still is based on fear of authority, fear of elder and our Woyane warriors found a fertile ground to practice this craft of crime against a nation.
I would like to take one statement from the quotation above and look at it in the context of Ethiopia.
‘…..with an established totalitarian regime the purpose of propaganda is not to persuade, much less to inform, but to humiliate. From this point of view propaganda should not approximate to the truth as closely as possible: on the contrary it should do as much violence to it as possible.’
In life Meles Zenawi was a recluse that disparaged even the word Ethiopia. He lived in a palace surrounded by robust security and never left his compound to mix or associate with ordinary people. The only contact the citizen has with the PM was thru the window of Ethiopian TV. We all know he never allowed open discussion and surrounded himself with people that worshiped him, agreed with him and swore allegiance to him. He is known to be very vindictive, ill tempered and unforgiving. The Ethiopian people, his close associates and his Party feared him. There was no respect or love for the individual. This is the man we all know.
Today Berket Semeon and company are telling us a different story. Mind you not a little different, not an innocent white lie but as outrageous as possible and beyond the truth as much as possible. They just do not want the citizen to cry a little, grief some but they expect some genuine wailing to be recorded and beamed all over the world. Why do you think they do that? It is all about show of power. By forcing us to do what we all know to be false they make us loose self respect and individual will. When you see your family, your neighbor, your coworker being forced to act in such manner when you find yourself doing something you know deep inside to be untrue you die some. The person is reduced to nothingness with no self respect, no spine and no free will. Haile Gebreselassie comes to mind.
It has the same effect on those that watch such spectacle from afar. I have noticed my friends to be confused, unable to understand and finally choosing silence to hide the shame. We all try to explain the phenomena by mentioning culture, being human or religion. It is an attempt to make sense. We are trying to make the irrational situation palatable by injecting some logic into it. It is perfectly understandable. Our brain rejects such dissonance. We get angry, feel confused, embarrassed and helpless.
This disturbing situation in our society is not a natural occurrence or an accident. It is engineered by the TPLF party. In their futile attempt to stay in power they have declared psychological form of warfare on their own people. It is relentless, unmerciful and very lethal. It does not kill you but it reduces you into a state of sub human, void of free will and easy to control. That is what the criminals are doing to us. That is what they have been doing to us with Meles Zenawi as the ring leader. Today he has left his underlings to continue from where he left off. They show no shame, no what is called ‘yelunta’ when they declare black is white, wrong is right and force us to repeat it after them.
How do you fight such form of warfare? There is no need to panic. No shame to being forced to go against our will. A government is a very powerful organization. When a state puts all its efforts to do evil no one is immune. The Russians, the East Europeans went thru over fifty years of hell. The North Koreans are in worse of shape than us. Our tormentors are amateurs compared to the Stasi. The fact that our country is backward and our people kept ignorant is what is giving them the power. On the other hand the world is a different place now. The advent of the Internet, the ubiquitous nature of Social media has given us a slight advantage. The founding of ESAT as I said before is a game changer. The Woyane goons monopoly on the media is no more.
We stop the complaining and work harder to expose, undermine and attack our tormentors aggressively. We encourage those that are trying to organize and work for us instead of second guessing, undermining their effort and splitting hair. We hope those that have been organizing for some time show us sign that they are here and active. There is no need to wait for the most opportune moment rather the job of the activist is to seize the time and make history. My friend Abebe Gelaw did not wait for the stars to line up but rather he forced the issue and made history. The time is now and the place is Ethiopia. We shall win, history is on our side. Stay strong don’t let them break you.
By Yilma Bekele
The Ethiopian TPLF Prime Minister Meles Zenawi died three weeks ago. He died at St-Luke University Hospital in Brussels, Belgium. His Party kept him in the freezer while trying to determine what to do regarding the rules of succession, which the leader deliberately kept vague. For three weeks his Party made a mockery of the Ethiopian people by issuing conflicting press releases and unconfirmed reports. The death of the TPLF patriarch Aba Gebremedhin seems to have given them the opportunity to unthaw or defreeze his stiff body and prepare for a state burial in tandem with the wayward priest.
De mortuis nihil nisi bonum (“Of the dead, nothing unless good”). Is this maxim appropriate under the circumstances? I would say normally yes. The dead are not able to defend themselves. Is this always true? Not really, a few speak for many years after they are gone. They leave a legacy of evil behind. The living uses the negative experience to avoid future mistakes.
The same Ethiopian TPLF regime that was lying to us regarding the health of the tyrant has already began revising history and started the manufacture of fairy tales and Holly Wood style fiction. No adjective will be spared to build the resume of Legese Zenawi. Our airwaves will be inundated by lies, false testimonials and Mamo kilo stories. No one will be allowed to breath any truth in the land of the Abeshas. The TPLF controlled TV, Radio, Internet will be playing 24/7 how lucky we were to have such a visionary lead us and how difficult it would be to replace a giant of a leader that ever existed in human history.
It is important we the victims set this story in proper context and use this occasion as a teachable moment. No one relishes speaking ill of the dead. But the situation goes beyond saying a few bad words about the dead when the dead is still speaking thru the work he left behind. That is the work we would like to talk about because the death of the evil gives us the opportunity to undo the harm. We learn from the history of those that were confronted by that kind of situation and see how they dealt with it.
The best example I can think of the ill famous Adolph Hitler and the legacy he left behind. If you notice no one dares speak good of the Furher. He has become the personification of evil. It is possible to say a few good things about the Furher but the problem is his negatives outweigh his good deeds. One can speak of the economic miracles of Germany under the Nazis. At the end of World War I and the imposition of the Versailles treaty on Germany the country was in ruins. One can say Hitler and his Nazi Party united the Germans and built an economic juggernaut the dominated all of Europe. Germany’s prosperity was the envy of the world.
You don’t judge a book by the cover alone. There was the dark side of Hitler. That is all that is left of his legacy today. Today the German people use that period to teach their children the danger of demagoguery and blind allegiance to a person or a cause. They cannot undo the crime but they will keep reminding their people and the world the danger of what a single individual with a false vision can do to a people.
That is how Ethiopia can learn from the crimes of Legese/Meles Zenawi. He came into the picture with our country weakened from years of civil war, our economy in shambles and our moral compass out of balance. He used our confusion and lack of direction to take us on a road that has brought us nothing but misery. No matter how much some try to build the non-existent accomplishment of the TPLF party the reality will never confirm any of that assertion.
The World Bank, The Economist Magazine, the IMF, the US State Department and all foreign who is who will be telling us the double digit growth under the leadership of Ashebari. They will bring out pictures and graphs to prove to us how well off we are. The TPLF lie machine will repeat this to our people using all available media. Even a few of our own will be echoing the good virtue of Ashebari and the wonderful Ethiopia under his tutelage.
But we know better. We the victims tell a different story. There are over eighty five million Ethiopians. Why are they telling us about less than a hundred thousand of us? Does eating more than three times a day by the few substitute for the not eating of the three to four million who live on less than a 100 calories a day? They tell us double-digit growth but why are our children dying in Tanzania, Malawi, Uganda and the coast of Yemen? Why are our daughters committing suicide all over the Gulf and Lebanon? Why are more standing in line to change their names and go to where they know danger awaits them? Isn’t it hopelessness, the feeling of dejection and no tomorrow that is permeating our society?
Ato Meles Zenawi ruled our country for over twenty years. How do you think he will answer if asked what do you have to show for twenty years of absolute rule? It is a fair question that requires a real answer not some made up excuse. There was starvation when he came he left with starvation still the norm. He came in times of civil war he left with his people watching each other with suspicion and his Federal Police everywhere abusing, killing and feared. He came with the economy in ruins he left with his country loaded with debt, our land leased to foreigners and our central bank printing money like there is no tomorrow. He came when there was no political order and no rules of governance and he left with a Constitution not worth the paper it is written on, a parliament that can not read and write, a judiciary that is the laughing stock of the nation and a country serving one ethnic group.
Those that are in the process of inheriting his style of leadership seem to have learned no lesson from his debacle. They still lie, still show no respect and still play the same old game of fear, divide and rule and behind the scene deal making. They have written a new amendment to Constitution that they will make the Parliament approve and put the hapless Deputy in charge. He does not have a party, he does not have a constituent to fall back on and he does not have authority over the military or security services. He is what is called a figurehead. He cannot even give order to the TPLF guard outside his office. That is the reality of the situation no matter how we deny it.
It is time we start assessing the legacy of Meles Zenawi based on reality. It is time we stop repeating made up statistics by foreigners that tell a story based on their self-interest. There is no denying he sold land to the highest bidder and the facilitated the construction of condominiums. There is no denying he borrowed money in our name and built shoddy roads while scamming most of the money. There is no denying he established Universities in every Kilil but forgot to train competent teachers or well-equipped libraries. It is fair to say Meles was into appearance but not into essence. Let us use this occasion to repair what is broken, change what is not working and open a new chapter of building a fair society that embraces all the children of Ethiopia. We are given another chance to right what is wrong. Let us seize the opportunity and start anew.
By Yilma Bekele
The TPLF regime is the kind that believes in a proactive stance in their approach to ward off unwanted happenings. They learned that during the war with the Derg. It is said that upon taking over a village their first act was to gather the village heads and kill those that don’t agree with them, humiliate a few to teach the rest a lesson and recruit the weak to use and abuse. That system sharpened and enhanced has served them to stay in power.
If you notice closely the main task of their propaganda department has been to use any and all means to saw dissent in the opposition by looking for little faults, weaknesses or minor contradictions and maximizing that until the unit disintegrates. It is a very difficult task to guard against such consorted attempt by a government body with unlimited resources hell bent on destruction. Sooner or later the targeted party or association will end up finishing up the dirty work started by the TPLF. No one can survive such scientifically designed attack.
The TPLF uses agents planted within the associations, the power of their vast media empire, their agents in neighborhoods and their hired sycophants among the Diaspora to carry out their mission. They never come out as members or admirers of the ethnic based regime but always qualify their poisonous message with well meaning words. They might utter such garbage as the regime is not tolerant and undemocratic but you have to admire the buildings and roads. Freedom and honor is exchanged for condominiums and paved road.
How the multitude responds to such abuse by the single ethnic based regime is a fascinating subject of study. Our reaction is based on our ancient culture of viewing all with suspicion, accepting authority without question and our capacity to suffer in silence. All this traits work against us. Today we have gone a step further and added educational title as another layer of what should be viewed as final authority. If you notice some of our intellectuals or learned brethren use their degrees as a calling card to be heard over others. The TPLF regime is aware of all this weakness in our psychological makeup. Ato Meles and company’s first order of business was to enroll in correspondence school to secure a title for their letterhead. They did not find being Prime Minster or heads of department as a proud achievement without the piece of paper to give them added legitimacy.
Today the Apartheid party TPLF is using all weapons in its arsenal to divide us, undermine us, create suspicion between us, or turn some off from the political arena. This is nowhere visible as in the current struggle of our Muslim citizens to assert their independence and ward off the government thus the TPLF party in getting involved in their religion. The party in power is trying to define the question of independence in its own distorted vision and accusing the victims of wrongdoing.
First of all the issue is not as complicated and as conspiratorial in nature as presented to our citizens by the ruling party. It is by no means connected to any Jihadist international organization or ideology or led and supported by outsiders. The regime has not presented any compelling evidence to prove its accusations. What is presented until now is wild theories and the usual disinformation that tries to fit a square peg in a round hole al la TPLF style. They want us to believe it because they said so. Sometimes it is necessary to state the obvious to refute their bombastic lie that is told over and over again.
Let us start by the simple statement that our country is populated by Christians, Muslims and people that worship their own indigenous creator. No one group should be seen as having any more legitimacy over others. The issue raised by the Muslim community is to be left alone to choose their leaders without interference by any outside body be it government or other authority. The problem reared its head when the ongoing Arab Spring movement in our vicinity unnerved the TPLF regime. The regime decided to be proactive and in its usual way and attempted to put its operatives as leaders. This did not go well with our Muslim citizens. The TPLF party of course escalated this very simple issue into the political arena in order to draw others into a fight it started.
How exactly is the regime using this movement for freedom of religion? The government is doing all it can to tell us that the Muslims are trying to take over and make our country into an Islamic republic. They have paraded many elderly Muslim leaders, elderly cadres pretending to be Muslim leaders and ordinary citizens to condemn the movement as sinister attempt by outsiders to stir trouble. They are using their mass media to plant doubt in out head, to destroy the legitimacy of elected and beloved Muslim leaders and scare the rest of us into supporting them out of fear and ignorance.
How do the rest of us view the situation? Most of us go along with the theory as presented by the regime. Some of us are unable to erase the doubt they carefully planted in our conscience regarding the motive of the Muslim community. I agree it is a very difficult situation when religion is used as weapon to confuse and undermine. It is more so when it is applied in a very conservative and not really educated society as ours. The issue of looking at others with different religion, thinking or looks than us with suspicion plays into the hands of the regime that knows how to exploit such cultural bias. Of course amnesia is our number one enemy.
What the TPLF party is trying to do to the Muslim community is what they have successfully accomplished in the Christian Church. TPLF has managed to politicize the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo church and shape it in its own image. The reigning Abune was illegally pushed out of the way and a new one was chosen based on his ethnic affiliation. The last twenty years has been a time of trial and tribulations for the Church and there is no question it has weakened it considerably.
The current Abune is not viewed favorably by the vast number of the Christian community and like the political system the church has managed to divide and saw dissent. The Christian community has relied on silent prayer to fight this cancer in their body religion. They have not shown a concerted effort to fight and assert their right to be independent and run their Church. Prayer without action is faith without sacrifice. God help those who help themselves has never been truer than in our case. The TPLF party has been successful in creating confusion; cultivating hatred and using divide and rule tactics. Even in the Diaspora there is no Church that has not seen splits and fights among the parishioners.
The current stand taken by the Muslim community is to avoid the same fate that has befallen the Orthodox Church. They have taken the lesson to heart. It is a gallant fight that should inspire all Ethiopians and a call to resist servitude to any outside power. It is not an attempt to take state power but a legitimate fight to protect their house of worship and religion from outside influence. It is a question of independence in its purest form.
The issue raised by the Muslim community is our issue as well. Injustice to one is injustice to all. We as a nation cannot be free if any of our citizens are targeted to be harmed or undermined. Despite what the TPLF says we should raise our voice and stand in solidarity with our Muslim brothers and sisters and echo their call to be left to decide their affairs by themselves. Standing with them is a selfless act because we cannot be free while they are oppressed. The leadership Our Orthodox Church in exile is correct when it supported the cry of the Muslim community in their fight against the illegal regime. It is the right and honorable thing to do. This attempt by the TPLF ethnic based minority regime to divide us using religion, ethnicity and regional differences is toxic and not good for building a strong and united Ethiopia. Recognizing that fact is laudable. Getting involved to stop those that preach and practice such act is loving Ethiopia in a practical way.
By Yilma Bekele
It has been forty-eight days since we saw or heard from Meles Zenawi. Some are convinced the tyrant is dead while the regime insists he is recovering, on vacation or just hanging out, depending on Ato Bereket’s mood of the day. Whatever the reason his absence has stirred different responses from his subjects.
The whole idea of a leader of a country disappearing into thin air is a purely Ethiopian phenomenon. The head of state just don’t leave his post without notice. In most countries he can’t even catch cold without informing the press. The position is too important to be left vacant even for a few hours. Who is supposed to give guidance and leadership if a crisis happens. A crisis normally does not occur with adequate notice that is why it is called an emergency. For someone to give orders he/she better have the necessary authority invested in them.
All countries anticipate such scenario and have the solution built into the system to avoid unnecessary power grab contention between the different branches of government. The current uncertainty regarding the order of succession in Ethiopia shows the issue was not addressed during the design of the current Constitution. It is obvious this is not a matter of simple oversight by the architects of the system. They are definitely not that stupid. It is left unanswered due to the nature of the system that was put in place. Ato Meles and partners deliberately left the issue open because resolving such question would have made their life miserable.
Ato Meles used the issue of succession as a brilliant reward to tangle to who ever he favored at that particular moment. At one time the position belonged to the Amharas or was rumored to favor the Oromos then offered to any of the minority group currently in vogue. Committing such post on paper would have been a death sentence to the occupier of that position. All others close to the throne would have given up any hope of upward mobility and intensified either building up their own faction or doubled on the looting. Ato Meles would have lost a huge leverage to keep all sycophants in line.
It looks like Ato Meles was taken ill without adequate notice. He never thought the end was close. He was only in his late fifties and the brain tumor situation was a cause for concern but not an emergency. I believe his humiliation in Washington DC pushed him over the edge. His whole system was jarred causing a cascading effect that he was unable to recover from. He has always been shielded from confrontational situation due to the fact that he made sure he dealt with adversaries from overwhelming power arrayed behind him. He did not even take a walk in his garden without a phalanx of security around him. He did not even trust his own shadow. He was a very fearful person or a coward to be precise and he used fear and terror as a tool. He understood the power of fear from personal experience.
Forty-eight days into his disappearing act and what are the Ethiopians doing? As docile as ever, the subjects are very quiet. The Ethiopian capacity to self-police is legendary. In fact they are so proud of it they chastise all those that try to rock the boat. The regime without its head understands this state of mind. How in the world can you respect someone that has no self-respect so to speak of?
The regime has been trotting out officials, those close to officials and self-declared spokes persons and puppet talking heads to fill the air with trash talk. All you got to give an Ethiopian is a few intelligent sounding lines and they are happy to fill the rest. Here in the Diaspora every coffee house is full of talking heads getting drunk listening to their own voice. Ask them to be part of the solution silence is their response.
Ato Meles’s contempt to his subjects is legendary. His lieutenants currently working on his behalf seems to have inherited this useful trait. They have no qualms even in not announcing the whereabouts of the dictator. The reason for his absence is not even felt to be important enough to be disclosed. Ato Bereket is heard to speculate different reasons depending what day of the week it is. He is resting due to job fatigue, he is recovering from illness, he is on vacation or it is none of any body’s business has been the explanation given to his docile subjects.
Who is in charge is a good question. According to Aboy Sebhat, a non elected person but rumored to be mentor and close fatherly figure of the tyrant there is no need to have a leader present and accounted for. The system in place is adequate enough to function like a well-oiled machine. I love this explanation. It is a break through in human politics and system of governance. The same people that came up with Revolutionary Democracy have now presented us with a system that requires no leader or head of state. Brilliant is all that comes to mind. It has been working like a charm for forty-eight days now and at the moment there is no reason to think why it should not go on for a little longer.
In the absence of the head of state the Parliament has managed to pass a budget, the security has dealt with the question of freedom by the Moslem community in its usual harsh manner, the international agencies have continued to grant loans and aid in the usual manner and the citizen has accepted the status quo.
So far so good but is there any danger of this life without a head of state coming to a point where Aboy Sehat’s theory might not be able to address a situation? For our sake let us hope not but I feel it is always good to prepare for all eventualities. We are in this situation due to the fact that Ato Meles forgot he was human and being taken ill or dying is part of our programming. He put all his eggs in one basket. Of course we should have known better since we knew Ato Meles never has the interest of our country in mind and to be fair never pretended to care for anything else other than himself. As I write this I am sure where ever he is either sitting for a game of chess with Gadaffi or Kim Jung or laying on beach in beautiful Puerto Rico with a glass of Pena Colada, he must be grinning from ear to ear satisfied with what he left behind.
So what could go wrong? A national emergency is one. Let us say for the sake of argument President Isaiyas decides to take over Zele Ambesa, who is going to give the order to the military to march north? You can’t have a committee declare war. A spokes man is not really the person to come on television and mobilize the population. The Ethiopian people will laugh if Ato Bereket or Shimeles Kemal show up TV and declare war. They just don’t have that look of a belligerent dictator. Would the Generals take order from Council of Ministers? Would the population rally around nameless individuals?
How about another kind of emergency? Let us say the Moslem and Christian community coordinates their quest for freedom and march in all the big cities? Who is going to authorize the riot police to confront the freedom seekers? The last time this happened Ato Meles as the head of state declared state of emergency and sent his Agazi force and gave the order to shoot. Who is authorized to declare state of emergency and would the solder have to obey such order? Can a committee give the order to shoot?
In both emergency scenarios the military seems to play a central role to bring stability and order, what is to prevent the Generals from taking matters into their hands and moving into the palace? Why serve a few un-elected pompous usurpers? Why share the power pie when you can keep the whole thing to yourself? In fact they might even reap some credit by throwing all the TPLF politburo members into Kaliti. That is what is called killing two birds with one stone.
How about if this situation of no head of state goes for a few more months, would those who are governing at the moment get used to this situation and try to make it permanent? We have no idea if Ato Meles is dead or alive, how about if he is alive? Would the committee decide to kill him since his return would destabilize the comfortable situation they have created? Is Ato Meles willing to go into the sunset quietly or does he have a backup plan of his own?
All this questions are currently unanswered and I am sure a few more are bound to rear their ugly head. The question to ask at the moment is are we so docile that the ninety four percent are going to sit on the side while the six percent are trying to figure out how best to screw us for another twenty years?
The current situation is not sustainable. What is going to happen is not really clear to all concerned. The TPLF or the new TPLF that has been rebuilt by Ato Meles since he expelled his buddies is not something that is resting on solid ground. It is an amalgamation of sycophants and weak individuals that were willing to serve the dictator as long as there was enough to loot. His absence changes the equation. We have to admit he was good at reading the international situation and securing all kinds of handouts, loans and grants. Foreign donors are going to sit on the sidelines and wait till the dust settles. The greedy Diaspora that has been financing the regime is not able to continue at the old pace due to the economic situation in the west.
Already inflation is spiraling and dollar reserve is getting very low. The TPLF new millionaires and their supporters are entering a panic stage which means that they will sell all assets, hoard all cash and trip each other while trying to exit. The slowing of the economy will bring what is known as social unrest. The committee of heads of state is not familiar on how to deal with such situation. The only blue print left by Ato Meles is use of force at any and all situations. Compromise, give and take, negotiation is not part of the vocabulary for the last twenty years. One man can do that. He is the face of the regime and an old culture like ours is familiar with ‘strong man’ rule. But a committee is different. No one listens to a committee. A committee does not have one voice. Looking at the current members of that committee no one stands out that exudes leadership. Starting with Aboy Sebaht, Abay Woldu, Berket Semeon, Arkebe, Mesfin Seyoum, Berhane or Queen Azeb do not have the making of a leader. Background workers yes but definitely not leadership material.
As for the ninety-four percent this is the best time to present our demands so the committee can entertain some of our questions. The need for a new Constitution, the formation of a care taker government, the freezing of all EFFORT assets, the prohibition of moving money out of the country, the release of all prisoners that are in jail using the so called terrorism charge, the immediate abolition of the Communication department, lifting the prohibition of the free press should be in the forefront of our demands. If we do not ask how would they know? If we do not protect our interest who would?
By Yilma Bekele
I knew something was missing. It kept nagging at me, the little voice in side kept saying ‘you know you have been here before.’ I was driving south on the 580 Freeway when it hit me. It was 2005 deja vu. How could I forget? I ask for forgiveness, I am an Ethiopian and memory is an option. Our long-term memory is intact and is usually retrieved at a drop of a hat. Now short term is a different matter. We are very selective about that. Why do you think I keep writing about the crimes of the regime? It is my humble attempt to act as a reminder, to help us visualize and store for easy recall.
This is what I wrote in 2009 during the Kinijit debacle “Psychologist Ellen McGrath calls it ‘the rumination rut’…. a style of thinking in which, like a hamster in a cage, you run in tight circles on a treadmill in your brain. It means obsessing about a problem, about a loss, about any kind of setback or ambiguity without moving past thought into the realm of action.’ This in turn makes us loose our focus. While our problem stays constant our focus wonders aimlessly. It is like trying to hit a moving target.”
See what I mean, what we got here is mirror image of our situation then. I am not that much of a religious person. But I am beginning to see what we commonly refer to as the Ethiopian God or Allah. What ever the force is it looks like we got some body, someone looking after our ancient land. It is too much of a coincidence to be dismissed lightly. The force is with us again. Despite our weakness it always shows up to salvage all that we mange to squander. This time it came in full glory with trumpets, whistle and drums.
There was the time when the TPLF regime in consort with Shabia declared us superfluous and discarded us as old shoes. We lost use of a port, we let our army march in shame, we opened our border as a one way highway, shared a common National bank, contemplated changing the name of our Airlines and even took a second fiddle to exporting the mighty coffee. Then the force showed up. Need I say more? No.
There was a time when Somalia and Ogaden were quiet. Poor Somalia was going thru growing pains. The whole world was dumping on our brothers. Literally dumping toxic waste on their coast and fishing their resources out of existence. The brave and fierce Somalis said enough. The arrogant west decided to practiced target shooting on live humans. Well, well, well guess who decided to be part of this game. Thus we marched into Mogadishu dressed, armed and driven with foreign sponsors. It was not long before we left in the middle of the night whipped, demoralized and in a hurry. The force showed up.
In 1993, during the conclusion of an interview, a reporter asked the lately departed Ashebari on his views of Ethiopian history and he replied, “ Ethiopia is only 100 years old. Those who claim otherwise are indulging themselves in a fairy tale.” The arrogance, the hubris boggles the mind on the other hand it leads one to do reckless stuff. Thus Waldeba Monastery was condemned to be a sugar plantation. Over fifteen hundred years of treasure was to be replaced by a farm so we can sweeten our coffee. The mighty force was not amused. Shall we say the Christian God and the Muslim Allah got together and decided to declare a recall of a defective specimen. I am not being presumptuous but some things have to be explained in a manner we can all understand. This is my take on this situation.
I believe we have been cashing our credit once too often. There should come a time when we should help our selves instead of relying on an outside power to straighten our never-ending screwups. What better than now to acquire some stiff spine or an extra pair of balls if you don’t mind my expression. Is it possible to trade in timidity with bold action? I know it is a tall order but you know what it is actually possible. May I be allowed to whisper Arab Spring in your ear please? I really don’t want to startle you, so I will try to jog that short-term memory into the front for easy recall.
I associate Arab Spring with rage. Our cup has runneth over and it is time, don’t you think? That is what happened with our Arab neighbors, their cup runneth over and they exploded.
Who would have thought forty years of Gadaffi, thirty years of Mubarak, thirty years of the Assad’s and whatever year of Ben Ali will be such a push over? It is all about rage my friend. Did the Arabs have elaborate plans of what comes next when they decided to do away with the garbage? I am afraid not. There was no user manual. There was no formula and there was no divine guidance. Just your everyday dream of hope and optimism is all they needed. There were no leaders showing the way, there were no grand coalitions, there were no Fronts and no organized Parties. It was just your average ordinary citizen taking matters into their own hands and drawing and redrawing the future one-day at a time.
The few scattered voices turned into a tsunami of screams. Some took long while a few were done is a short time. As I said there was no blueprint. What they got in common was rage. What runs thru their story is the common theme of a relentless confidence that tomorrow whatever it is cannot be as bad as today. Yesterday stank, today is more of the same thus the only thing left is to try to change tomorrow so it would be a better day. There was nothing to lose. If we can call the happenings in the last few months’ as history, no question it will be judged a success. A few hiccups but it is work in progress and no one promised a rose garden.
It could be said it is a pivotal moment in our long history. We got a choice to go forward in good faith, unsurpassed optimism or march on the same spot till we fall due exhaustion. No one can make that choice for us. As psychologist McGrath said ‘we can run that tight little circle in our brain obsessing about our problems’ or go past that rumination stage and commit our selves to act.
What we got today is a very peculiar situation that can only happen in Ethiopia. We are always different, aren’t we? Looks like our dictator is gone. The evil that has polluting our very existence has been removed by the grace of God. He was the center around which eighty million people revolved. The center has collapsed on itself. When the Sun dies an about five billion years or so all the planets revolving around it will disappear too. That is the law of physics. The death of evil Meles will result in the withering away of his evil TPLF party and those hodam teletafis revolving around him. No one can stop that.
What should our response be like? You know us; it is as muddled as anytime before. Right now we are on a freeze mode. We are unable to go beyond the ‘talk’ stage. Looks like we jabber so much we substitute that for action. I have been the beneficiary of so many incredible responses by my friends and acquaintances I consider myself immune to farce, idiocy, ignorance not to mention comedy. I had people admonishing me for celebrating the death of an evil tyrant, folks lecturing me about my giddy disposition regarding the demise of the cancerous cell in our body politic or rebuking me for falling on my knees and thanking God almighty. As you can see I am one confused Abesha. How exactly I am supposed to view the death of my countries and people enemy is not clear to me.
Our Amharic saying goes ‘helm teferto kuch belo aytaderm’ A very simple and beautiful statement. Should we have prayed to God to allow the idiot to live a little longer since we are afraid what would come next? No one seems to have told this Ethiopian insight to the Tunisians, Libyans or Egyptians. Aren’t you glad? I believe since we screwed twice before in this business of trying to bring change we area little gun shy now. It is understandable but definitely not rational. Life does not work like that. How many times have each one of us made mistakes in our everyday life? It has not stopped us from trying again has it? Of course there is no guarantee of success now but that should not deter us from trying, should it?
We also have this issue of a leader. It is associated to a simple lack of self-esteem. Following comes natural to us due to our old culture of fear of family, fear of elders and fear of authority. Thus we are always looking for a leader, a redeemer or a fall guy. We expect Dr. Berhanu, Ato Bulcha, Professor Mesfin, Judge Bertukan or others to lead us to the Promised Land. We also insist they form a Front, unite or be one for us to approve. Why do you think that is so? Is it possible that we want to avoid responsibility in case things do not work out? Is it because we always seem to prefer that others stick their neck out for our benefit? Or could it be that we can always have someone to assign blame to? Again I wonder how this philosophy would have translated in the land of the Arabs.
Fear of failure is our number one enemy. Fear of assuming responsibility is our Achilles heel. Lack of self-esteem is our undoing. I love Judge Bertukan. I respect Dr. Berhanu. I miss Eskinder. They all stood up for what they believe and paid a price. The net effect on me is that they inspire me. I pay them compliments by emulating their unselfish act. My resolve to be free makes them a better leader. By fighting for their freedom and dignity they inspire me to demand for mine too. We complement each other. We are equal human beings; they just have the added responsibility of standing in the front with my consent. It is true we are all leaders it is a matter of degrees. The difference is some of us lack faith in our good judgment.
Today same old Woyane bastards are toying with us. The evil man is dead but his evil system is still functioning by remote. Absolute idiot like Berket Semeon, a high school graduate that won his last election by cheating is giving out incoherent press conferences. A senile fatherly figure like Sebhat Nega with mind stuck in the ‘70s, and no authority from anyone we know of is trying to explain to us how things work. There is no such thing as a legitimate Ethiopian Constitution, there is no such thing as a freely elected Ethiopian Parliament and here we are trying to interpret and split hair of a non-existent phantom situation. All ado about nothing.
All I see in my head is Arab Spring. All I think about is the power of rage. I remember the brave Egyptians burning Mubarak’s headquarters to smitten and I grin from ear to ear. I dream of my brave fearless people smashing the walls of Maekelawi and letting my brothers and sisters out. I lounge for the day when the doors of Kaliti are flung open and my people march singing and dancing all the way to Merkato and Kebena and Gulele. I smile when I see in my head Meskel Square full of my people celebrating their freedom and hugging, kissing shouting “Free at last, thanks God almighty we are free at last!!” I jump with joy when Ethiopian Airlines lands at Bole with the scattered children of Ethiopia from the four corners of the world bring her future back to build and make our ancient land the center of African freedom and dignity. Yes you can make that happen but you first have to have faith in yourself, respect for your fellow human and a heart full of love and tolerance the rest will take care of itself. It is all about you talking personal responsibility and rising up to the occasion. Hate of dictatorship is acceptable. Celebration of the demise of evil is a human duty. Wanting to be free and live in dignity is as important as breathing and eating.
Meles died in Europe. Meles should be buried in Europe. Alive he did not care for Ethiopia. Dead there is no place for him in Ethiopia. We want to be free of his body and spirit. This is not about hate but a perfectly normal closure for the pain and agony he inflicted on our country and people. TPLF should be warned regarding this notion of a state burial for a tyrant. Do not thread on our sensibilities and bring the ugly in all of us. Let us open a new chapter in peace and harmony.
Abune Melketsedik will be honored by the Ethiopian Heritage Society in North America this weekend at the annual Ethiopian festival for his life time contribution for the betterment of Ethiopia.
By Yilma Bekele
I have the good fortune of residing in Oakland, California where His Holiness Abune Melketsedek, Secretary of Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church in exile and head of Mekane Selam Medhane Alem Cathedral resides. Writing about his Eminence is not easy. Most famous people are attracted to the limelight. Being the story is part of their psychological makeup. Their motto ‘It is all about me’ is what attracts people towards them. Politicians, actors, athletes are perfect examples of the self-centered among us. Here in the US even religious leaders are not immune from this disease of me first philosophy.
Our Orthodox Tewahedo experience is different. Pictures of our church leaders are not the main attraction. Their name is not written in big letters outside the church or lit in neon for all passers by to see. The emphasis is where it should be, mans relationship to his/her God. Our father dearly refereed to as Abatachen by all exemplifies that doctrine. His holiness is no more than a simple servant of God doing his work to serve his beloved Church and his dear country. There is nothing complicated about him. For such a giant of a person in the life of our Church and Country, for a person with decades of unsurpassed service to both he surprises us all by the simplicity in his interactions with all and his sunny disposition under all circumstances.
These values did not just happen. They are the result of his devotion and strong belief that has sustained him ever since he embarked on the road of serving God. He has traveled many happy and not so happy roads. He has reached the apex of his Tewahedo Church as well us being imprisoned like a common criminal. He has humbly advised Emperor Haile Selassie on spiritual matters, as well as the Deanship of Trinity Cathedral the largest Orthodox Church In Addis Abeba. He has also experienced the life of an exile, a common refugee in a place he never dreamt he would find himself. When you see Abatachen you will never read all the trials and tribulation he has gone thru. What you see is a kind smiling face always worried about the comfort and well being of others. When you meet him personally his eyes twinkle with all the love and his face brightens like the mid day sun to welcome you.
Our holy father has this ability to make you feel safe and comfortable around him. He speaks simply and clearly. He listens intensely and makes his points direct and easy to understand. As a young one he has fulfilled the requirements of his church as deacon, priest, and studied Zema, Quine among others. Abatachen was one of the first chosen to go abroad and study the modern workings of religion, philosophy and how the outside world functions. He received his degree in theology from Halky Greek Theological College in Istanbul, Turkey. He speaks Geez, Amharic, Greek, and English fluently and understands Tigregna, Arabic, Hebrew, Turkish and Italian. He has found the time to write several books both in Amharic and English on spiritual matters to help his people understand this ancient religion he is a leader of.
Upon exile from his beloved homeland he did not land into an established Church and a functioning congregation. He started from scratch and was able to build a home away from home for all his children. When he came to Oakland he found a congregation that was being tossed around from Greek Orthodox to Serbian Orthodox Churches with no place of its won. In 1993 at long last an old abandoned Catholic Church was acquired and the process of rebuilding started with earnest. The inside was filled with stray animals and discarded items while the outside has turned into a weed garden. Here is a story as told to me by my friend Asrat one of the founders of the church. Abatachen ordered ten brooms and gathered all the young people in the Church. When they got there Abatachen after blessing the place got the brooms to the side of the room while all eyes were looking to see what was going to happen. Most were assuming locals would be hired to do the cleaning while they supervise. To their surprise Abatachen picked one broom fore himself at which point everybody run towards him to take the broom away to stop him from such menial labor. To their surprise he handed them each their own individual broom and started to clean without wasting a second. How could anyone walk away from this act of leadership by example?
The fact that his room did not have adequate heating, even had broken glass in the window did not deter Abatachen from making the Church a place where all felt welcome and proud. It was a lesson in humility to see Abatachen prepare meals for the young deacons that have to go to adult school. Today Oakland Medhane Alem Tewahedo Cathedral is located in a modern building with a large Kitchen, meeting facility that also serves as a school for the young ones, office space and a parking lot. That is not all Abatachen helped increase the number of Churches in North America from five to over forty with the number of members estimated over fifty thousand. The modernizing influence he started in Ethiopia has continued in attracting and promoting a bigger role for women in church matters. There is no question his vision has resulted in strengthening the church beyond anyone’s expectations. If Oakland is a clue to that assertion it is easy to see the important and key role our mothers, sisters and daughters are playing in making the congregation strong and vibrant.
At the ripe age of ninety his Holiness has become a globetrotting ambassador traveling as far away as Australia and South Africa not counting all of North America his home base. Abatachen is both a peacemaker and a combatant. He was forced to flee his homeland because he would not accept wrong deeds no matter where they come from. Exile has not been easy. The illegal regime that has circumvented our Tewahedo Church at home is always waging a relentless war abroad too. Abatachen due to the central role he plays in keeping his flock together has been the target they would like to destroy. Our Holy father has dealt with this unequal struggle against a State with patience, wisdom from long experience and guidance from God and been able to steer his flock in the path of steadfastness, focused and unyielding to being bullied by cowards.
It is with deep satisfaction we witnessed the resolution by the Holy Synod in Exile standing on the side of our Moslem brethren in their bitter conflict with the dictatorial regime currently in power in Ethiopia. That is what love for country and religion is all about. Our two religions have lived side by side since time immemorial and the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church’s firm stand on this matter is in the tradition of our ancient religion and its adherence to preserving peace and tranquility in our country. This act alone is proof that our Holy Father’s presence in North America at this critical time in our history our God is always looking after our ancient land, that he will not abandon his children where ever they might be scattered.
This year it is a proud and joyous moment in North America. His spiritual children are celebrating and honoring Abatachen at the annual Ethiopian Heritage Society celebration in Washington DC on July 27th. His Holiness is the guest of honor and what a deserving leader they picked. No one exemplifies lifetime dedication and service to country and people. Ethiopians in Oakland are blessed to have such a shepherd who has managed to keep his flock together in peace and love in this time of turbulence in our homeland and places of exile. We are proud that our people in North America are cognizant of his tireless work on behalf of his people and country and are paying due respect for decades of service. We all wish him a long life; we pray that our God allows him to return to his native land in peace and health. God be with Abatachen.
If you live in the DC Metro area please go to Ethiopian Heritage Society festival at George Town University, Harbin field Multi sports facility from July 27 to 29th. As we made our country proud during the recent ESFNA event in Dallas let us show our unity in diversity to all those that preach our demise. Our love for each other and our ancient land is what keeps us going when all else seem to fail.
By Yilma Bekele
Is Meles Zenawi dead or alive has become the burning question of the day. It is sad even in death or near death the tyrant does not get any respect. You would think after dominating the Ethiopian scene for over twenty years the individual is entitled to some love. I am afraid all he has harvested in this short life is a lot of hate and loathing. He lived a violent life and his current condition whatever it is has turned up to be more violent than most of us dreamt of. Tumor in the brain is not a simple matter. Blood cancer is terminal. Chemotherapy treatment is a painful process. He came suddenly into our life and he is leaving us before sundown afraid of what the night might bring. It would have been better if he was made to answer for his crimes. That would have brought closure. As usual the coward is trying to slip away without accountability. Good riddance!
It is a sad ending and we all feel the pain. The situation creates all kinds of conflict in each of us. No one relishes pain and suffering on a fellow human being. But Meles Zenawi is not an ordinary human being. I have been reading all kinds of obituaries written both by foreigners and fellow Ethiopians the last few days. The analysis written by our foreign experts verges on the border of incoherence, are mostly disjointed and full of what I consider to be a sloppy cocktail of cultural bigotries.
The article by The Atlantic magazine and the attempt by AFP to do analysis are both poorly researched shameful works that will never be presented regarding events in any European country. It is Africa and all westerners are considered experts. What is surprising in both instances is their constant use of the term ‘intellectual, technocrat, sharp witted’ to explain Meles. If you notice no one calls Mr. Obama an intellectual or explain any of the Western leaders by the number of degrees they hold. In fact leaders like Mr. Obama or David Cameron go out of their way to present themselves as ordinary citizens. African leaders on the other hand are judged by the diplomas they hold and the size of their library rather than their work in the service of their people. It seems to shout ‘see he has a degree from one of our Universities thus he is not just another African savage, but an educated baboon’
The best Obituary is written on Aiga by someone named Aesop. Of course after the customary lauding of Meles as an intellectual, voracious reader etc. Aesop wrote the following: “Some of the “past leaders” managed to identify “some” problems but failed in action. But most have failed to even identify the problem and waited until the problem (or natural causes) consume them. Haile Selassie knew what the youth wanted and what the military was conspiring upon. However, he failed to reform- hence, was toppled. Tewodros identified “backwardness” but failed in action. Mengistu’s failures were in both fronts-a schizophrenic “little Tewodros” who left for Zimbabwe when reality hit on May 1991.” See what I mean, they have to knock all others down to lift their midget. I have no idea why he is not judged by his own deeds with out making those who came before him bad and unworthy?
This is the beginning of Woyane style of revision of history. Good try but that won’t happen. This time all his victims are present and accounted for. Today we write our own history. Twenty-one years ago most of Ethiopia was not aware of Meles Zenawi. We knew more about his mentor Isaiyas Afewerki. Meles and his TPLF group were a footnote. An after thought in the separatist war that has been going on forever in the northern part of our country. The emergence of the ill prepared junta leader Shaleka Mengistu created an opportune moment for the northern warriors to flourish. The demise of the Soviet Union, enabler of the Derg assured even for Meles to shine.
With the help of the US Woyane marched into Addis victorious. Some could consider that day the start of the degradation of our motherland. Woyane did not come to build but to destroy, not to plant the seeds of love and harmony but ready to harvest hate and animosity. During the dark days of living in caves and tunnels Meles and company were not dreaming of building a prosperous Ethiopia upon victory but rather were burning the midnight oil designing maps of separation and drawing flags of a different kind. For over twenty years they have been implementing the destruction of the country that nurtured them.
Meles Zenawi and his Woyane accomplices are responsible for the death and destruction of over one hundred thousand Ethiopians. I did not weave that figure from thin air or imagined it to hate on a dying or dead person but my assertion can be proved without much digging. In fact I believe I erred on the conservative side. The figure is much, much higher. I did not include those dead during the war with the Derg. I believe that was a legitimate form of uprising against a ruthless regime. I hold Meles and his Woyane friends responsible on what they did after they assumed power. Gambella, Hawasa and the Ogaden are the places we are aware of where Meles sent his Agazi forces to massacre citizens that were only asking for their god given right to live free. I am not going to argue the numbers but I believe the death of one Ethiopian is one too many. A sane and responsible government does not resort to using lethal force to silence its critics. Our Somali citizens in Ogaden have paid and are paying a heavy price for no other reason other than Meles’s desire to curry favor with the US.
The unnecessary war with Eritrea brought about by the behind the scene dealings between the two mad leaders has resulted in the death of over eighty thousand Ethiopians and Eritreans. Meles Zenawi and his Woyane party were not even respectful of the death of our solders to give them a decent burial nor gave recognition for their sacrifices. They were left to be eaten by wild animals and rot in the mountain and valleys of the Semen plateau. In early 2001, a concerned Ethiopian woman asked Meles as to the whereabouts of her son who did not return from his war with Eritrea. Irritated by the tone of her question, he said: “Lady, if your son does not return in 6 months time, then you’ll have your answer!”
We are not even told how many of our people died in the desert of Somalia fighting a phantom army conjured up by the US and Meles Zenawi. In addition to the death of our young people our country harvested hate and animosity with our brothers across the border for generations to come and money that could have been used to build schools, hospitals and infrastructure was wasted by Meles and his Woyane enablers.
I am not even going to mention what the mad criminal did when he lost the election in 2005. The whole world was a witness to that naked use of force to murder, intimidate and bully eighty million people to submission. Meles Zenawi was not a good human being. He was curse on our country and people. Building shoddy roads using borrowed money that we have to pay, building useless condominiums that look good on the outside but liable to deteriorate before the year is up using hard earned Diaspora money is not a sustainable economic development to crow about. Meles Zenawi spends more money on his personal security than all budget allocated to two of his Kilils.
The title of this article came from the Holy Bible. It goes “can the Ethiopian change his skin or the Leopard its spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil.” Jeremiah 13:27
It struck me as the best lesson to describe our current situation. So the prince of evil is on his way to receive the ultimate judgment. Who do you think is scrambling to inherit the crown? It is no other than the same Woyane thugs that have been part of the criminal empire as lieutenants or enablers. It should be obvious that they are going to continue the process of marginalizing, bullying, exiling and killing of those that do not see eye to eye with them.
Again I am not just making this up. Why you doubt me in the first place is not clear to me but I will give you evidence. The tyrant has not been seen or heard the last four weeks and nothing has changed in the land of the Habeshas. The rubber stamp Parliament was called into session and dutifully approved what was explained to them as the budget. The Moslems cry for justice was answered by jailing of their leaders and harsh beating of all those that dared not to disperse when told do so. The one and only independent newspaper Feteh’s edition dealing with matters not approved by the Communication department was confiscated. It looks like things are going to stay the same. This is what is known as ‘meet the new boss same as the old boss’ situation.
I believe it as about time we stop this game of good Woyane and bad Woyane, Woyane with an ounce of Eritrean blood and pure Woyane nonsense. We have to stop this insane discussion of the Constitution and the rules of succession of the mafia outfit. It is imperative that we define exactly what we want and stick to our demands until all are addressed. Compromise on certain principled issues is not the way to achieve success. Key issues are not open to negotiation and give and take. There is nothing wrong with standing firm on issues that are vital for survival and are the foundation stone for building a strong, free and democratic society. This half baked idea of accepting a piece of the pie has not taken us anywhere except see our country sink lower and lower in any index that measures human achievement. What exactly do we want? I am glad you asked.
First thing that is key and vital is a Constitution that is drawn by all Ethiopians and that reflects our dream and wishes for a united, strong and prosperous Ethiopia. A house without a solid foundation how pretty it looks is not a viable structure. A foundation with cracks, fissures and sub-par concrete mix or recycled metal will not be able to carry the weight of the building for long. The current Constitution was drawn by the dictator and his friends to serve the needs of the TPLF Party and his ethnic group. It has been revised time and again to serve particular situations that arose during his reign. Case in point is the amendment during his tiff with Ato Seye Abreha, his paranoia of Ginbot 7 that brought us terrorism and his attempt to outlaw the free press with the communication amendment.
The demise of the current Constitution is not a negotiable item. The new Constitution to be drawn after a lengthy discussion in the absence of coercion and open transparent debate will go along way to correct the many imperfection built in to Meles’s evil scheme. True Federalism that respects our diversity without creating a Chinese wall between us will put the concept of Kilil on the right path. As the concept of Apartheid as conceived by the White South African was smashed by Nelson Mandela our new document will place Kilil in the trash bin of history.
Again learning from the experience of South Africa under Mandela that prohibited establishment of political parties based on ethnicity, we in Ethiopia will put this toxic idea to rest once and for all. The TPLF party that has been one of the most evil organizations that has caused so much misery to all Ethiopians including the Tigrai people will not be allowed to ever raise its head in our ancient land. As the Germans got rid of the Nazi Party, as the South Africans marginalized the National Party so would Ethiopians will the TPLF out of existence. Doing away with Kilil and ethnic based parties is non-negotiable item.
I believe the opposition has to clearly present its wishes for the future Ethiopia to be built on the ashes of the current rotten system. There is no room for equivocation, sophistry and dead end short cuts. There is no room for generalized statements and debate on peripheral issues. Any opposition worthy of its organization has to tell the current legitimate wanna bees that are trying to build a new structure on the old, cracked foundation in no uncertain terms that the fate of Mubarak, Gadaffi, Ben Ali awaits them around the corner. No one predicted Meles would be faced with terminal illness at the young age of fifty-seven. No one can predict what the Ethiopian people will do when their anger boils over. No amount of arms, sharp shooters on every corner, spies in every household will contain the wrath of the people when they declare ‘Beka’ ‘Gaye’ ‘Bass’ ‘Yiakel’!
By Yilma Bekele
It has been two weeks now since our conversation has been revolving around the dictator. We know for sure he is not well but beyond that no one has come up with any credible explanation for his absence. Rumors, counter rumors, news updates, breaking news have become so ubiquitous Meles Ashebari Zenawi has taken over all the news. His illness has managed to show our psychological make up and our current level of interpreting the news and how we act on it.
As usual what we present in public and what we say in private are two aspects of our forever split personality. Privately we are filled with glee and can’t wait to show our unsurpassed pleasure at his demise while officially we are pictures of reserved behavior and civilized pleasantries. Our reporters did not fare any better. Their updates are based on rumors; unvetted news and personal wishes bundled as current information. We have plenty of work to do.
It is a shame that our media can’t even send someone to St. Luc University Hospital in Brussels and report the news. They might not be able to get his charts but I am sure it is possible to confirm he is there and is receiving medical care. I am also sure there are sympathetic Ethiopians, fellow refugees and well meaning Belgians who work there and that are willing and forthcoming with his condition anonymously. It is the job of the reporter to search and look under the stone to uncover news of interest. I am also sure with a little legwork it is possible to confirm the comings and goings of the dictator from Bole airport with all the details that make the story credible. This idea of using the ‘National inquirer’ method of reporting is not what we deserve.
The failure of our media has become the cause of this tsunami of mis information, dis information and Woyane lies that has made our understanding of the situation very shameful and ugly. It has added unnecessary aspect to the event and made us digress from the point at hand that is discussing the repercussions of the incapacitation or death of the dictator.
It is very disconcerting to see that we have become uninvolved spectators of our own story. Instead of the foreign media coming to us for explanation and analysis we the subjects are reduced to quoting AFP and Bloomberg to tell us about our own affair. I would have found it a lot better and interesting if our reporters paid attention to the people that would be affected by the unfolding event and given us different perspective from our own point of view. Plastering our websites with what some ferenji said sitting in his London, New York or Nairobi office does not make the news any credible. Interviewing people in Ethiopia, Washington DC, Cape Town or Beirut on how they feel about the news, how it will affect them and what their worries are is a better way of gauging the pulse of the public. As usual we validate ourselves by what others say about us.
As it stands now this unhealthy emphasis on the health or illness of an individual has managed to dominate the conversation instead of using the opportunity to blaze new trails and focus on what should be done to bring freedom and democracy to our suffering ancient land. That is where I want to gear this conversation since our ever-loving God has presented us with a good opportunity to bring a new dawn and a bright future to mother Ethiopia.
We have to stop reading the tealeaves or in our case the coffee cup and telling our people who is up, who is in or who is out. In the scheme of the on going situation it really don’t matter and this obsession with idiot personalities does not do our situation any good. What we got here is as follows. Meles Ashebari Zenawi is not well. What ailment he is suffering from is not really important. If we know whether he will make it or not will be good to know, but even that is not that important to the conversation we should be having. We know there are no rules of succession in cases like we are confronted with now. He was the person in charge and he determines who comes after him due to the fact that he controls the economy thru control of the Banks and Party affiliated businesses. He controls the military thru appointment of all high-ranking officials from his Tigreans ethnic group; He controls the Security, Federal Police and the Judiciary. He controls body politics by the creation of all the satellite ethnic parties and the Parliament. Control of all these vital organs of government enables him to control the civil service and bureaucracies thus achieving a total strangle hold on our country.
This is the situation in a nutshell. His incapacitation or sudden death leaves a big void. That is the void we should be discussing on how to fill so we avoid the situation that created the problem we find our selves in at the moment. Spending our time and energy on gossip, Mamo kilo stories and idiotic fantasies is not going to help. What are the forces that are arrayed in front of us to sabotage transforming our nation on the path of democracy and freedom? The one and only stumbling block facing us no other than the TPLF party. It is the only entity that will work overtime and pay any sacrifice to keep the status quo. The current arrangement of forces has been very kind to TPLF and the Tigrai ethnic group asscociated with it. Denying this fact is willful ignorance. This does not mean others have not benefited from the way things are today but the fact of the matter is that like little puppies they are satisfied by sniffing and picking up crumbs thrown their way. I doubt any one will claim to have sat on the same table as the TPLF and gotten a fair share of the Injera on the Meseob. Claiming otherwise is denial of reality.
Our job is to find a way to use the current confusion in the ruling junta and confronting them, intensifying contradiction among them and creating the conditions for inheritors of this broken system to think twice before embarking on costly repair of a rotten system that is currently on life support. This is not done thru talk or this current love affair of peaceful revolution. This fantasy has to be laid to rest. It is a smoke screen and utterly useless scenario advocated by none other than TPLF and the educated but ignorant among us. Talk unless transformed into action is nothing other than a complete waste of time. I am not even going to dignify such concept by giving a rational answer. You can keep talking but please leave me out of it.
‘Non violent resistance’ or ‘Peaceful resistance’ is one of those terms that is being bastardized by us brave Ethiopians. It has become the answer by those who are afraid to get their fingers dirty by actually doing something unpleasant as following talk with action. The truth of the matter is peaceful resistance by the oppressed does not mean their plea for freedom will not be answered by violence by the regime that feels threatened by any kind of change. That is how the situation in Syria started by ordinary people demanding a breathing room. The regime has not stopped the killing but at least now they are getting their own medicine back. I am sure all sane Syrians would prefer for the violence to stop but that is not going to happen. Assad and his Alawit tribesmen are not willing to share power and the people are not willing to be treated like second-class citizens in their own country. Check counter check is in play.
In Ethiopia the regime is in the process of trying to buy time to resolve the contradiction created by the dictator in deathbed. The system worked when one person was in charge but now they have to come to some kind of understanding to be able to keep their criminally gotten power and wealth. As is the case always thieves find themselves in a state of contradiction not during the robbery but during the sharing of the loot. It is important we stop being spectators in this drama but find a way to force ourselves on the stage so we can be part of the play. The Ethiopian people and all opposition have to dig deep into their resources and devise ways to sabotage this deal-making going on. You can call it anything you want whether non-violent resistance, civil disobedience, sabotage or anything as long as it is geared to create havoc on the current illegal structure that has been destabilizing the health and well being of our people. It can assume the South African way where they burned tires and apartheid dogs and closed the streets, the Libyan way of taking one village at a time, the Syrian way we saw today of vaporizing those that conspire together to kill their own people, the Egyptian way of convincing the Military to refuse illegal orders to shoot or the EPRP way of dealing with enemies of the people to set example to others waiting in line.
I can see the empty cry from well meaning people, the condemnation by pretentious friends and the crocodile tears by the peaceful resistance advocates. Please spare me your civilized ways. Some will say ‘hey, you are not over there so it is easy to advocate all this’ my response is where have you been the last twenty years when Woyane has been carrying out violence against our people. Where were you 2005 when Meles murdered all those young people and imprisoned over forty thousand of our citizens? I live in good old USA. The violence done against me is mental the violence done against my people is physical. Unless they decide to rise up and confront Woyane the violence will continue unabated. With or without Meles the TPLF violent rule will continue. Our people will live in misery and our children will die in the jungles of Africa, the seas of Arabia and our daughters will be slaves of unsympathetic and degenerate Arabs. Like the brave Egyptians, the resourceful Libyans the gallant Syrians our people have to find that ‘enough’ moment and take the struggle to a higher level. Pleading has not worked. Relying on ethnic identity has not born fruits. Silence is not the answer. Resolute confrontation of evil is the only way. Like the road charted by our Muslim brothers and sisters the only thing that evil is afraid of is unity and resolve.
Let us stop creating useless news and headlines that does not move our struggle forward. Let us not dwell on the machinations of the evil system and its inheritors but focus on our strength and our dreams for our future. Let us stop quoting every ferenji to tell us about ourselves but make our own news and our own analysis. Let us try to do the job ourselves instead of waiting or blaming those that have a completely different vision for our beautiful homeland. Who else can do the job better than us?
By Yilma Bekele Dictator Meles Zenawi has not been seen for over three weeks or so. We know he is not in good health after we saw his picture with the Chinese Prime Minister in Mexico. Some are claiming we did Photoshop on his picture to make him look sicker than what he was. As [...]
Ethiopia, Ato Meles and his health. By Yilma Bekele Ato Meles Zenawi, Chairman of Tigrai People Liberation Front (TPLF) and Prime Minster of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia is not in good health. I became aware of that fact after watching the video of a news clip made during his meeting with the President [...]
By Yilma Bekele The headlines screamed ‘Ethiopian court convicts 24 of terrorism charges’. As usual it was a misleading and incorrect statement. There is no such animal called Ethiopian court. There is a TPLF controlled judicial arrangement in Ethiopia. Prime Minster Meles and his politburo are the directors behind the scene of this farce. For [...]
By Yilma Bekele The origins of the Internet can be traced to ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network) that was funded by the US Department of Defense (DARPA) for use by its research labs in the 1960’s. The Internet as we know moved from connecting research institutions and Universities into commercial use in the middle [...]
By Yilma Bekele The Ethiopian government was peddling its ponzi scheme of selling bonds for the pie in the sky project named The Grand Renaissance Dam’ on the Abbay river here in the Bay Area. It was not as lavish as the event that took place in their embassy in Washington DC. That ‘event was [...]
Waldeba in my heart. By Yilma Bekele Truth be told I was not aware of Waldeba Monastery until quite recently. Today I live Waldeba, I breathe Waldeba, and I believe Waldeba has taken over my soul. Mind you I am not protesting rather I am being thankful for this ancient place for bringing focus into [...]
By Yilma Bekele I am always harking back to the pleasant years of our past. Believe me it not being nostalgic rather it is the lack of good news that makes me reach deep to salvage a little bit of dignity how ever fleeting that might be. One can also make an argument for the [...]
By Yilma Bekele The Washington DC incident with Ato Meles is the talk of all Ethiopians in the Diaspora. I found out there is no reason for me to raise the issue, every one I met sooner or later will say something about it. I have made it a point to notice the different reaction [...]
By Yilma Bekele I doubt there is an Ethiopian in the Diaspora not familiar with what happened last Friday. As they say the video has gone viral. The act has brought deep satisfaction to the psych of the oppressed and left the evildoers in disarray. Abebe took less than one minute to do what has [...]
By Yilma Bekele Two important meetings were held a week ago. One was in Addis Abeba and the other in Washington DC. Both were concerning our motherland and the future. That is where the similarities end. One was intended to continue the path of destruction chartered by the current regime while the other was trying [...]
By Yilma Bekele Dear President Obama, I am sure you do not have time to read my letter nonetheless it gives me a certain amount of release from the pain I am feeling and the little chance of this letter getting to you fills my soul with great amount of joy and hope. I am [...]
By Yilma Bekele I feel energized. Our freedom tree is bearing fruits. It is the result of the tireless effort of thousands if not millions of us working together in harmony. Due to the miracle of the Internet such as our independent Web sites and Social Media such as Facebook and Twitter and our potent [...]
By Yilma Bekele Most locations are just bland places. There is not much variation in the topography. Look at Google satellite map of Africa and you will see what I mean. Endless flat land, a stretch of desert, an occasional river or a few hills is the norm. Our Ethiopia is different. In the North [...]
By yilma Bekele On November 11, 2011, Yenesew Gebre was driven to kill himself on behalf of all suffering Ethiopians. He killed himself out of love for his people and country. He made the ultimate sacrifice to wake us up so we can see what it means to be humiliated in your own home. Love [...]
By Yilma Bekele
I am sure most of you have heard or read that the leaders of Medrek are on a tour of North America. They have held town hall meetings in Seattle, San Jose, Las Vegas, Washington DC and Atlanta and are coming to Los Angles this coming weekend. The delegation consists of Ato Seye Abreha, Ato Gebru Asrat, Dr. Negasso Gidada and Ato (engineer) Gezachew Shiferaw. All four gentlemen were ex members of TPLF, OPDO or AEUP.
For those not familiar with the alphabet soup, TPLF stands for Tigrai Peoples Liberation Front and OPDO is Oromo Peoples Democratic Union. OPDO is the brainchild of TPLF. That is neither paranoia nor a figment of my imagination. Other TPLF subsidiaries include ANDM (Amhara National Democratic Movement) SEPDM (Southern Ethiopia Peoples’ Democratic Movement) and other minor parties. They call them Teletafi (ተለጣፊ) They are organized as EPDRF (Ethiopian peoples’ Democratic Revolutionary Front).
The current Ethiopian Parliament is composed of 526 members and EPDRF controls 326 seats. That is actually not a true statement. TPLF Party control extends to all the so-called political parties organized as an independent for ‘Ferenjis’ consumption. Thus in reality the Parliament is TPLF’ Party’s’ private playing field. As the Chilean dictator Pinochet said ‘”Not a leaf moves in Chile if I don’t know about it”, nothing in Ethiopian Parliament happens without the permission of the one party state.
If you will forgive me I will start our current story with the 2005 general election as a background. To a majority of Ethiopians May 2005 is day one in the hope of our people for democracy and a better future. May 2005 left the Meles regime physically naked mentally dead and spiritually void of values. The total rejection of ethnic politics and cadre rule unnerved the regime. Meles and company panicked. They communicated with the Ethiopian people with snipers on every roof and concentration camps in every Kilil. The aftermath of 2005 election ushered the quest for a new understanding of the struggle for liberation under a totalitarian state.
Kinijit leaders were forced to forge a new path based on the experience of the 2005 debacle. Kinijit the dragon slayer was an amalgamation of different organization united for the purpose of elections. The two years in Kaliti jail dealt a heavy blow on the young party. The TPLF machine used every evil means at its disposal to create mistrust, mis-information resulting in disarray. Kaliti did a favor to the movement. It differentiated the men from the boys. Ledetu was officially recognized as a subsidiary. Hailu was exposed as spoiler. Merera and Petros became inconsequential. Berhanu reloaded and Bertukan decided to re-calibrate.
Our story revolves around Bertukan Mideksa. Upon her return to Ethiopia from her North American tour, she embarked on the formation of a new political party modeled after Kinijit. If you remember Ato Meles’s court have already handed Kinijit to some obscure individual named Ayele Chamiso. Thus Weizero Bertukan labored tirelessly to form Andenet Party. Despite the many hurdles thrown on her path she was able to dot the I’s and cross the t’s and form Andenet. It was a proud accomplishment that will be told and retold for a long time. Birtukan’s Andenet is a multi national party based on equality and resting on a strong bedrock of Democracy as its foundation.
Weizero Bertukan criss crossed the country forming headquarters in every region and managed to win the trust and respect of the Ethiopian People. Her rising star was eclipsing the faint candlelight of the TPLF cadres. That did not go well with TPLF. Chairman Bertukan was re-hauled back to Kaliti on some funky charge to be kept away until the 2010 election is over.
Her imprisonment created a void in the new party. It was not long before factions were formed and an all out war was declared. The young party was left without a rudder to steer the party in the TPLF shark infested ocean. The battle tested TPLF leaders exploited the weakness of the rookie leaders to the maximum. TPLF was not interested in killing the Party. It just wanted to deliver a crippling blow. It was not long before things degenerated to the extent that Andenet was forced to appeal to the TPLF regime for protection from its own members. Shame is an understatement. It was under these strange circumstances that Andenet joined what is known as Medrek. What exactly is Medrek?
Medrek is a coalition of different parties that include UEDF (United Ethiopian Democratic Forces led by Dr. Beyene Petros and Dr. Merera Gudina) OFDM (Oromo Federalist Democratic Movement led by Ato Bulcha Demeksa) A.R.E.N.A. Tigrai led by Ato Gebru Asrat, and Andenet led by Ato Gezachew Shiferaw. Please note Andenet is the only multi national party in the group. Andenet under the leadership of Chairman Bertukan is the only party with representation in all parts of the country and support organizations in the Diaspora.
The two independent individuals Ato Seye Abraha and Dr. Negasso Gidada joined the weak and wounded Andenet at this critical time. The void felt in the party due to the expulsion of some founding members created a fertile ground for the two ex-officials to assume positions of leadership upon arrival.
Thus, this is the Medrek that is currently touring North America. Some of my esteemed friends have used such expressions as ‘the rebirth of Ethiopia’ and ‘a new political culture in Ethiopia’ to explain the tour. Is this really a Hallelujah or Alhamdulillah moment? It is possible that both declarations are heavy on the cheerleading side but lacking in the friendly but critical assessment option.
The American expression ‘friends don’t allow friends drive drunk’ comes to mind, especially when one is a passenger in the vehicle. We are all passengers in this ship called Ethiopia. The action of the pilot affects the welfare of the passengers. The current tour leaves many questions unanswered and the timing is a puzzle to all well-wishers. The question of raising money is out of the question. The Diaspora is fighting a life and death battle to retain jobs, pay mortgages and raise expensive children. The Diaspora does not vote. Is it possible the expenditure of thousands of hard earned dollars in transporting, lodging and feeding the delegation is not a smart investment?
What exactly is Medrek trying to accomplish in the current election? The short answer is of course win. The next question will be is that possible? The simple answer is a resounding no. That leads us back to the first question, why participate in an impossible, rigged game where the outcome is pre determined? That the TPLF started the preparations for this election way back in May of 2005 is obvious to all. Meles and company vowed not to be caught with their pants down again. Thus the vibrant independent media was destroyed, capable leaders were killed, exiled or jailed, the Constitution was amended to include curbs on NGO activities, a law defining any opposition as terrorism and a new code of conduct was put in place.
In Election Ethiopian style the opposition cannot hold unauthorized meeting, cannot hold a rally, and cannot raise money from outside sources including the Diaspora. It is enough for you to say what a cockamamie idea? Wait there is more; according to the PM candidates cannot criticize the regime under threat of being charged with incitement or sedation. In emerging democratic Ethiopia the opposition cannot campaign except in a few large cities like Addis Abeba and Bahir Dar. Being a candidate or supporter of the opposition is a hazardous duty in most of the Kilils. The only exception seems to be Tigrai where the ex TPLF members can campaign in a limited areas.
Medrek has sacrificed plenty of candidates in this election. Human right activists, foreign correspondents such as VOA, Bloomberg and many others, have recorded party members being prosecuted, hounded in their villages, denied government controlled necessities and even murdered. Ethiopian politics is not for the fain hearted.
The 2005 election was proof that the minority-based regime is a paper tiger. It was resoundingly defeated where the ballot boxes were opened under the watchful eyes of the people and international observers. Thus the lesson learnt was it is not about the campaign but it is all about the counting of the ballots. What we see today is that the regime still controls the election board, recruited trained and is ready to deploy its own cadre observers and have drawn up a strict code of conduct for the Ferenji observers. It is like meet the new situation same as the old situation.
The simple question to Medrek is why do you exactly expect a different outcome when nothing has changed? The truth of the matter is actually things have change in a negative way as far as the opposition is concerned. With its star leader behind bars and its candidates and supporters terrorized by government goons how is it possible to contemplate winning when even trying has become a crime?
Why is Medrek giving legitimacy to a dictatorial regime by its involvement in a rigged game? Some will say half a loaf is better than no loaf, is that Medrek’s philosophy too? Is the idea to win a hundred or so seats in Parliament? Is that considered good whereas the regime with its majority control will continue the abuse of the few opposition members seated for show?
These are the questions Medrek have not addressed both at home and abroad. It was only last October that Ato Gezachew declared ‘The release of Birtukan Mideksa and all Political Prisoners is the main agenda for joining the 2010 Election’. What ever happened to that bravado? How come the political prisoner population of Kaliti and the Kilils has gone up let alone secure the release of our leader?
The lessons of 2005 should not be forgotten. Repeating the same mistake is definitely not a winning strategy. The Ethiopian people have paid a heavy price for an inferior and ugly outcome. We worry that what was done to us five years ago is in the process of being repeated. We ask Medrek to consider the ramifications of kowtowing to a totalitarian state that is hell bent in winning at all cost. We urge Medrek to listen to its constituents that wish it well and include their concerns in its deliberations. We have a very sick regime that considers politics as a game where winning is the only acceptable outcome. They have shown that they will kill to secure their ill-gotten power and wealth.
We feel the pain of the opposition candidates that have sacrificed trying to get involved in the affairs of their nation. We are horrified to witness the death of Ato Aregawi Gebre Yohanes, Ato Beyanza Deba and many other nameless Ethiopians whose crime was wanting to be free. We hope Medrek will take its role seriously and observe the Hippocratic oath like doctors that states ‘do no harm’. Our hope is that they contemplate if their actions bring good or harm on our people.
It is a good possibility the regime will orchestrate an election worthy of an African standard. It is also true that the US and the Europeans will declare ‘a few irregularities’ but ‘an essential first step’. Just like what happened five years ago Ato Meles and company will continue the rape and pillage of our country and sell what is left of it to the highest bidder. We hope Medrek will not be one of those parties that will sit silently in the kangaroo parliament and preach the gospel of ‘working together’ and such crap while dining with killers, psychos and future guests of the International Criminal Court.