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In defense of Tsehai Publishers – Fikre Tolossa

By Fikre Tolossa

I am writing this note as a matter of principle. I have seen the anti-Tsehai Publishers campaign and Colonel Mengistu Hailemariam’s unbound book that is circulating around in the internet. The origin of this campaign indicates that it has connection with EPRP. However, Ato Eyasu Alemayehu’s name is not attached to it. Therefore, I cannot assert that it was he who did it, as Ato Elias Kifle, Editor of Ethiopian Review suggests. Whoever did this, is wrong in this case. First and foremost, whoever did it, is contradicting themselves. On the one hand, they are unhappy that Col. Mengistu’s book is out. In other words, they are for its suppression. On the other hand, they are circulating it themselves big time by making it available for free for the world at large, thus spreading it far more than Tsehai Publishers.

My stand of such matters is that, instead of suppressing ideas, let them roam about freely and target them openly. Fight some ideas with other ideas. By doing so, you will achieve two things. One, you will fight openly wrong and poisonous ideas. Two, you will encourage freedom of expression.

In this particular case, once Colonel Mengistu Hailemariam’s book is out, it could be scrutinized whether the author is presenting the truth, and the whole truth. Technically, we know that it is impossible for the Colonel to tell the truth, and the whole truth after what he has said and done in Ethiopia during his 17 years of reign of terror. Nevertheless, those who know the “whole truth”, if there are any that know “the whole truth”, could expose it refuting the assertions of the Colonel. In other words, we can use his book as a tool to find out the truth, the relative truth, since it is impossible to find out the absolute or whole truth of anything.

Imagine the Colonel dying without revealing anything about that turbulent period of Ethiopian history without leaving a trace of it after his full participation in it. That would have been tragic. It is a blessing in disguise that this book saw the light of the day. It is better to know his perspective rather than not know it totally. It is up to the reader to agree or disagree with it. Now that the book is out, the best thing to do is review it and criticize it thoroughly. Let all those people who endured through the revolution come out of their shells and challenge the author and educate us using his book as a means.

Pertaining to the director of Tsehai Publishers, Ato Elias Wondimu, I think he should be commended for publishing the Colonel’s book. I have known and worked with him for the past 15 years. He is a descent and competent Ethiopian who cares about the well-being of his country. He has been toiling 24/7 without any external financial assistance to publish about 50 books on Ethiopia within a short period of time, an outstanding performance by any standard of publication. It is obvious that he has spent tons of money to publish the Colonel’s book. To sabotage him in such a way is unfair, inconsiderate and unjust. It is he and not the Colonel that would be hurt most by the free dissemination of the book. It seems that the Colonel is comfortable in Zimbabwe. Besides, it didn’t cost him a penny to publish the book. Like I said, it is Ato Elias Wondimu who incurs a financial loss if people read the book freely. If I choose not to buy the book, I can do so, because I have the free circulation in my computer. However, it is ethically wrong for me to read it not paying for it. I don’t want to encourage such a dangerous trend either. Therefore, I won’t read the free circulation. I will buy one from the local store and read it. I advise those who have received it over the internet freely to do the same.

(Dr Fikre Tolossa can be reached at [email protected])

36 thoughts on “In defense of Tsehai Publishers – Fikre Tolossa

  1. Outstanding article ; Thanks Ato Fikre Tolossa. EPRP is just to bankrupt the publisher. I don`t have the intention of buying the book or reading it freely, because I have a lot of other things to read than a history book. I am not up for it; but shame on Iyasu or someone who did this, s/he or they will pay for it one day.

  2. I don’t see why Tsehay should not publish it. It is history. As to the content I have tried to read the book, it is full of lies and false
    version of the nefarious governance under ignorant and criminal gangs of the Derg,
    It is not worth reading, it is real trash. But if they want people should be free to read it.

  3. I am not surprised if EPRP or Eyasu Alemayehu did this dirty thing, that is how they are. They were trying to stop Kiflu Tadesse to publish “ya-tewled” which gave us a light about EPRP which lead us in the dark. Eyasu and his cronies told us that EPRP is writing it history. But it is more than 20 years, they did not publish. Instead they are busy on dividing opositions and democratic Ethiopians. Let us see Eyasu writing about the history of EPRP which is killed by him and his friends.

  4. Dear Dr. don’t spend your time to stand against EPRP (Afrash Gibrehail) act, now, we are smarter than them. Please, Dr. advise other political organizations to unite and stand together. We need elders like you to be mediators among we diverse Ethiopians. Let me tell you the solution for Afrash Gibrehail, the young people, like Gojam, Adet’s you will find the solution, alright!

    This poem is for Afrash Gibrehail;

    Atwred silut werdo begid
    Gudegadubut bejorogind

  5. I think Iaysu Alemayehu is capable of defending himself.After all he is the leader of EPRP and there was no need for Dr.Fikre Tolosa’s intervention.
    EPRP must apologize the publisher and compensate his financial loses, short of any compensatoy measures,I am afried that Eprp will be dragged into an American court of justice.

  6. You people are saying that the EPRP have been talking or planning for the last 20 long years to write and publish a history book. Why are you people seem to be demanding the actual writing in practice as if talking about the writing for 20 long years is not enough hard and demanding job by itself alone.

    How can they be compared with colonel Mengistu who took the entire gold bars(24 karat) and cash loads from the national bank and landed them in Zimbabwe while his top officials who were suppose to share in the loot landed in Meles Zenawi’s medieval jail.

    This also means that it is as easy as eating wholesome Teff soft porridge, spiced with aromatic cottage cheese(Baadu/Aib) and filtered butter produced from my beautiful village’s farmland and healthy cows. Nam, nam,nam, nam… :)

    Helmi replies:


    How can they be compared with colonel Mengistu who took the entire gold bars(24 karat) and cash loads from the national bank and landed them in Zimbabwe while his top officials who were suppose to share in the loot landed in Meles Zenawi’s medieval jail.

    kkkkkkkkkkkkkkk jock of thje week

    I am sure you get this information either from the koshsha woyanne or from another koshasha Eyassu eprp that both of them are good for nothing

  7. The old dude by the name Eyasu is long out of his mind and at the same time this guy is about 70+ who is only busy in his distractive job as he was since the begining the death of all young peoples be it his party members and for the other Ethiopians should be taken responsible and long over due for the Et intellectuals to dig this individuals past recorg that would enable to bring him to justice.

  8. I was once a member of EPRP long time ago as a teenage. We all believed in it nad thought that they were struggling for the emancipation of the poor. However, it did not take long to find out that most of them were hungry for power. During it’s demise, most of the inspectors were former EPRP members. Much to my surprise, I read on the book that the CC members massacared the army officers of EPRP in Asymba before they exiled into the Sudan and the west. Can anybody tell me as to why they killed the army officers? During a struggle it is very normal to win or lose, however, killing yoiur own after you know for fact that your organization is on life supprot is beyond me. The same thing with General Mengistu Neway and his brother Germame, why do they have to kill notable patriots like Ras Abebe Aregay, when they knew for fact that their plot was not working. That is why I don’t care about EPRP or Mengistu anymore. They all betrayed the Ethiopian people big time. From then on, I have never registered with any political party. Thanks EPRP for draining my trust. I really believed in the organization.

  9. ena yemilew why don’t the tseha publisher sue these old farts for breaching copy right material? is it not illegal to freely distribute a published material with out holding the ownership right? i have not seen any one mentioning it.

    Anonymous replies:

    good question may be in Ethiopia- you can do that.

  10. Instead of blaming Mengistu Hailemariam, Meles Zenawi, HIM and other blameless individuas, why not blame the entire Ethiopian people for what Ethiopia is today. After all, these individuals did all what they can for the country they loved so much within their capacity and ability. I can tell you it is the people who allowed this thugs rule their animal kingdom.

    There is one exceptional blameless lady who song as follows some 100 yrs ago: “aend igir berberE meqTef aqtuwachu, andido, angebgibo, leblibo, aqaTlo, fejito yicherisachu”. I say amen to this lady a.k.a. the ethiopian/woman Albert Einestein.



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  12. Tigist

    You said “…How can they be compared with colonel Mengistu who took the entire gold bars(24 karat) and cash loads from the national bank and landed them in Zimbabwe…”

    You are funny woyane cadre. The Ethiopian people and the whole wold know that Mengistu and his officials did not steal from their country. Mengistu was hungry for power not for money. May be you were talking about the looting that has been going on for decades by woyane .When they came to Addis the first thing they did was steeal and carry everything to Tigray Time will tell all the atrocities committed by woyane. All the evil shall see day light soon Teqebro ayiqerim They stole the Gold at the National Bank of Ethiopia even after they were in power for over 15 Years Do we call this a government.

  13. It amazing as to why a group like EPRP )will post unauthorized any content of the book let alone the whole book. The Publisher should report it to authorities and the responsible party must be persecuted.
    Shame on you EPRP!!

  14. Bereket Simon did this to Tesfaye Gebre Ab’s first book ” Ye GazeTegnaw Mastawesha. ” He made it available online to sabotage Tesfaye. Isn’t it curious that Weyane and EPRP always use the same tactics in order to stay afloat? Hmmm…small minds think alike.

  15. #17.Zemene,

    1.s a Derg leader I did not demand that you must come public and confess out of your own free will and deep christian/atheist gilt feeling and kindly hand over to the Ethiopian people the cashes, the gold bars and the grand farming corporation in Zimbabwe.

    2. I have never argued contending that Wayane elites did not empty the cashes and other material and immaterial resources and transported them up north while Mengistu on his part transported the wealth down south .

    The only difference is that one transported to south while the other transported to the north while the Ethiopian people suffered and keep suffering from the effects of both exploiters and you keep singing the same old as well as arguing whether a half glass of water is in fact half full or half empty. That is also why mamma Ethiopia is what it is! :)

  16. Eyasu Alemayehu has always been a coward and a thief who never worked all his miserable life. As far as killing people is concerned, he has as much blood on his hands as Mengistu.

  17. Elias,I see you are publishing only what suits you.I left a comment wich was anti-Mengistu. I didn’t see it published. So now I understand. I will stop reading Ethiopian review. I need a website which is open to everyone. I don’t need to agree with you on everything. This should be a forum to expresse diffrent opinions.

  18. Our enemey are Woyane today not Col Mengust Hailemariam.I couldn’t defened his crim what he did in Ethiopia or in other corner but the quiestion is EPRP also doing such mistak in that past time in 70s.
    Our goel must should foces in to our day problem and it is Woyane.I will buy and read the book.Mengust was also nationalist and I like him for that.

  19. I thought the publisher has a moral responsibility in considering materials for publishing. It seems you are insinuating that money should be the only motive. Where is the moral into becoming a party to spreading the words of a tyrant and ruthless murderers of the century like Mengistu. What good word or lesson do you think will come out of Mengistu, although you may argue of free speech. I think the publisher has done a dis-service to himself and his fellow Ethiopians for becoming a mouth-piece to Mengistu and deserve to learn ethics the hard way.

    Anonymous replies:

    I totally disagree with you, and understand it is lack of education on your part. But never to late to learn—– stop blaming the publisher. He has done his job and an outstanding job. He published a book for your kids to learn what happened in the 70’s in Ethiopia. I wish we have / had more of Tsehaipublishers for long time; we would have heard from many of our leaders. Now what we know is what we have been told, since we never got to hear it from them (horse’s mouth). So don’t get tangled up with our drama appreciate what we have now didn’t have before. GO TSEHAIPUBLISHERS , Keep on doing the great job you have been doing.God bless.

    Borgarii replies:

    Yes my friend, I do not claim to have known all books published by the publisher. I believe he is a good man. But this goes with an example of a decent person who never had a problem with the law but one day takes a risk of committing a crime swayed by money and stand to face the law. I think this is not a good judjment on the part of the publisher.

    Anonymous replies:

    Are your serious? What part of what i said above is not clear to you or are you proving my point that there is a luck of understanding on your side? What risk and gamble r u referring to? The Publisher has published this book out of his pocket to make sure the book is available to all ETHIOPIANS, given the issue behind it. To shed light on “What really is Mengistu’s side of the story” which by the way —-you don’t have to agree with. It is for people who are interested in reading their country history. Weather u like it or not Mengistu and his regime is part of History.

    Let’s pray………
    God please bless people like Borgarii a little bit of space in their head so they can take in POSITIVE lesson.

    Borgarii replies:

    Hi Anon,
    Let me be bold enough. The publisher published the book out of his pocket to make money/profit. He is not distributing the book to all ETHIOPIANS for free as he tries to imply. If his intention was to disseminate the info we would not have been in this discussion, because EPRP has helped him and he should have thanked them for doing that. Let me also be clear that Mengistu’s side of the story is not history. It is the publisher’s way of giving Mengistu the opportunity to tell his lies on top of lies in an effort to defend himself as to why he committed that heinous crime against humanity to his fellow Ethiopians. To me, this person belongs to the Hauge, ICC. The fact that Woyane is our utmost enemy at this very moment does not mean Derg is our friend.

    Anonymous replies:

    I am afraid you missed a huge point here!!!! why can’t you see the value of having the book available for readers if and when they need it. we don’t have to agree or like all the books published, but the ability and to have the books avaialable is priceless. I haven’t said the publisher is running a non-profit campaigne, he has to make up his expense to make the book available to the readers. Which Which which by the way….is great step he has taken. Not only he willingly spent the money but knew the risk of not getting his expense back–since he is dealing with people like you. Who would NEVER EVER open your eyes to see positive in life. NEVER!!!! your utmost enemy is Woyanne, what have you done about it? just give me one thing you have done since you got victimized by DV Lottory and dropped to this civilized society???!!!!

    NOTHING you have done NOTHING but sat back and hated!

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