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The Great Renaissance Dam as a wedge issue

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 graced by the presence of a high- level Ethiopian delegation led by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister and Chairman of the National Renaissance Council, Haile Mariam Desalegn’ according to Aiga. Since he has such a long title they have shortened to D/PM, FM to go along with his curtailed duty that only includes reading written notes, greeting visitors and presiding at Renaissance meetings.

Ours event was shall I say ‘graced’ by their Conciliate from Los Angles and a political science professor from Addis Abeba University. Considering I was marching in front their office in Los Angles just a week ago regarding their current attempt at destroying our cherished heritage of Waldeba monastery it was a little confusing to see his honor involved in building a dam. They invited all Ethiopians and I just couldn’t refuse. My curiosity overcame my rationality. I am glad I went, If the Ethiopian people are subjected to such farcical presentation day in day out I felt sitting for a two hours presentation was the least I can do to understand the daily stress of my people.

The first speaker that described herself as the Chairperson of the project in the Bay Area mentioned that her group has been active for less than three months. What knocked me off my seat was her declaration that in this short time they have been able to sell $138,000 US dollars worth of bonds. That is 2.4 million Bir. I was impressed. Then I turned around and all I could see was about twenty-five people in the room. I thought people who paid all that money will defiantly attend a meeting to see how their money was spent but for some reason they just did not bother to show up. Is it possible that they are just a figment of someone’s imagination?

Well with all things Woyane the imagination is always greater than the reality and this was an indication of better things to happen as the meeting progressed. One thing I notice about Woyane lectures is that they have this unhealthy fascination with power point presentation. It is futile attempts to sugar coat the lie and empty rhetoric by sharp looking graphs and larger than life pictures. Facts are glossed over while the listener is trying to figure out all the confusing information being displayed at a random fashion.

The Ambassador has the most difficult task of the two speakers. It is not easy being a snake oil salesman. The regular joke about us not being smart or dedicated enough to use the mighty Abbay was of course mentioned. We are supposed to thank the far-reaching leadership of Meles Zenawi to have come up with such a fantastic and brilliant idea of building a dam on Abbay. I am sure we will be told soon it came to him during his sleep showing us even in bed that sharp mind is still working. The Ambassador used a short documentary to show us the progress since the start of the project. Shall we say the presentation was a little lacking for a task that is projected to cost us billions?

The short video was made either to insult or mock anybody with an ounce of intelligence. There was one excavator and one dump truck and a few cement mixer trucks. Yes I said one lonely excavator. For a country with eighty million people where over half of the adult population is unemployed you would think human labor would be the preferred choice if one really wants to use the resources under his nose. Unfortunately that will require the enthusiastic participation of the nation in the project but when your government is unpopular and viewed with suspicion that is not an option. Plus it would require transporting people from one kilil to another and that is not allowed.

What we saw was may be fifty or so guys dressed in orange uniform. What was fascinating was to see the skinny flag of Salini the Italian construction company flying from a bowed tree pole. If you remember Salini was the same company that was in charge of Gibe II project where the tunnel collapsed exactly a month after inauguration. That was a no bid project and you can imagine where most of the money borrowed in then name of Ethiopia went. I thought this project was by us and for us and what the heck is Salini doing there? May be Salini is paying us for what Minilk did to his grand pa a while back. Lets us all remind our children to get back the money stolen with the modern day Askaris including interest as soon as we reclaim our land.

The official spoke at length about the many successful projects accomplished the last twenty years. That is well and good but twenty years is a long time and showing no progress would have been a little strange. The issue here is here is how much progress and under what circumstances. When you consider President Obama is fighting like hell for his reelection bid and he only had four years to correct a colossal economic melt down I would say twenty years is quite generous amount of time to do miracles. So our question to our rulers becomes what you got to show for twenty years of being in complete charge? Knocking down the old cannot be a perpetual excuse, at a certain point one has to stand on his own record. Unfortunately like a broken record our rulers never tire talking about yesterday to cover up today’s shortcoming.

I have to admit the professor gave a very intelligent presentation regarding the role water or river plays in international dealings between nations. He was very knowledgeable on the subject and his power point presentation was flawless. The problem reared its head when it comes to his conclusion. It is one thing to explain water intellectually but to bring it home and try to make it relate to woddase dam is a lit bit tricky, and it showed. He was left floundering unable to commit and say this project is what is needed and this regime can bring it to life. He cannot say that with conviction. As a political scientist he knows theory in one thing but implementation requires a whole host of other factors that have to be present to achieve success. The current organization that is operating in our country is not conducive to attain that goal and a first year college freshman can tell you that. It would be considered intellectual dishonesty to trust one of the most corrupt regimes to carry out such a colossal task.

You see scheming the surface no one is against building a dam, a highway or a factory. The truth of the matter is that most Ethiopians will give the shirt of their back if it will help our country. The problem lies with that qualifier ‘if’ it just leaves an uncertain feeling doesn’t it? That is the problem with our renaissance dam project. It is a very uncertain proposal that is difficult to explain and not easy to digest.

It is not easy because based on reality, as we have known it the last twenty years the people in power cannot be trusted to do anything that will bring honor or pride to our country. No one in his right mind will trust the folks in charge to be able to bring any project to a successful conclusion. If there is anything we can be sure of is that they will find a hundred different ways to screw us up. Here is the real Ethiopia in nutshell:

1) Social harmony: None. Our country is divided into Kilils and we are made to view each other with suspicion and hate. We are in fact deporting our own citizens within the country. Today the regime is attempting to create conflict among our old religions throughout the land. Both Christians and Moslems are resisting mightily but it is an uphill struggle.
2) Economy: Bankrupt. Inflation is double digits and unemployment is beyond imagination. Over eight million people are on food aid and famine is real. The government is in the process of leasing land to foreigners so they can grow crops for export. The economy is controlled by EFFORT a one ethnic based conglomerate.
3) War: Plenty. Since coming to power the TPLF regime has fought with Eritrea and sacrificed over eighty thousand lives. It has invaded Somalia and no one knows the sacrifice in human lives and money. Inside the country it has sent its solders to kill in Gambella, Ogaden, Hawasa, Gondar, Afar, etc.
4) Politics: Waging relentless disruption against opposition parties and groups is second nature to the regime. In the aftermath of the 2005 elections the regime murdered over two hundred eighty citizens, imprisoned all the opposition and hauled over forty thousand people to concentration camps. (We thank the heroic act of Judge Woldemariam and his associates in smuggling out the evidence) The Parliament is the playground of the Prime Minster.
5) Media: Government monopoly. Television. Radio, print media, Internet and telecommunications are all controlled by the regime. Independent voice is not allowed. Our friends Eskinder Nega, Reyot Alemu and Webeshet Taye among many others are today in prison because they spoke and wrote the truth.

There is no need to recount further atrocity the question becomes how could you trust such a ruthless bunch of sycophants to carry out a noble task as building a dam? One has to be plenty gullible or certified moron to go along with such Ponzi scheme. How could you hand your hard earned money where there is no accountability, no consultation or any outside independent audit?

This is what Ambassador Girma Birru, Special Envoy and Ambassador Extra-ordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia to the US and non-resident envoy to Mexico – another long title don’t you think? Any way here is how Aiga reported it ‘In his revealing statement the Ethiopian Special Envoy recounted the propitious political climate which is prevalent in present day Ethiopia that allows the free participation of the citizenry in matters ranging from the right to assembly, association, expression and faith up to and including the basic right to vote in elections that are held regularly @ the county, district, state and federal levels.’ Do you think he actually believes that? He must have said what was reported, the question becomes who is crazy them or us? You be the judge.

In our presentation here in Oakland both speakers were adamant in saying the renaissance dam site is sparsely populated and no one was moved or relocated. Isn’t it always surprising all their projects are so pure and picked for locations where no Ethiopian resides? But at the same time why do we come across a whole bunch of our citizens that have been made homeless when their land is leased to forsaken foreigners? Then why do we hear our brother Ato Ojulu from Gambella who has been forced from his ancestral land pleading from Kenya? Their lie seems never to stop.

In conclusion I would like to say something. It is true but a sad statement. The assembly in our city was a reflection of what is taking place in our country. It has to be pointed out because it has to be discussed openly and corrected in a timely manner. As I said there were less than thirty people present and over ninety percent were from one ethnic group. Pretending otherwise is not healthy. The question to ask is why? Why would only Tigreans show up to support the construction of a dam on Abbay? Abbay is far from Tigrai Kilil so why are they feeling this special affinity to this project? It is a valid question. I am sure we all have all seen this kind of weird and strange situation on every question raised in our homeland.

I will give my answer and it is definitely not the final statement on the issue. It is what I think right or wrong. My response is to help us openly analyze the dilemma faced by all of us and devise a healthy and lasting solution instead of whispering from behind and muddying the situation further. First of all this virus was brought upon us by no other than Meles Zenawi and his accomplices. It was in the late seventies while all were trying to form a united front and fight the Derg that his group insisted in this separate non-inclusive way of struggle. Their first causality was the brave patriotic EPRP that sacrificed beautiful children of Ethiopia in their prime. Meles Zenawi did as much damage as Mengistu Hailemariam when it comes to our educated and dedicated brothers and sisters that stood for real freedom and unity of our nation. We will never forget.

Since 1992 TPLF has inoculated our nation with this deadly virus more dangerous than HIV aids. They have set us up against each other. Our meeting is the result of this disease that even follows us into a free land. Tigreans have become hostages of this disease and the rest of us have allowed it to simmer while a few have bought into this crap. It is true a few Tigreans are riding this wave and accumulating wealth and riding rough on the rest of us. Meles and company are always pointing out our differences and making sure the few they have chosen are displayed. What is true in today’s Ethiopia is that all real power is in the hands of this ethnic group starting from the security, military, banking, commerce and key organizations. On the other hand the average Tigrai living in the rural areas of his kilil is as much the victim as rest of our own peasants. No matter how some put it the Tigrai Kilil is not the paradise it is portrayed to be. The TPLF tugs in charge are the same everywhere.

Do we buy into this negative scenario as painted by Meles and company or see it as the self-serving philosophy by a few friends and family to extend their evil rule over all of us? Has this kind of mind set ever shown to work or has it at certain point exploded on the makers and taken all into the abyss? Isn’t that what we see in history when we study totalitarian systems and their implosion from inside? Isn’t that what happened in Libya? Are we witnessing it in Syria with Assad and his Alawit tribe fighting for dear life from house to house? What do you think is going to happen in Syria once Assad and his little army are wiped away? Syria is not going anywhere but what kind of Syria would it be? Can they just forget the hate and animosity that has been cultivated and put their energy on building a new society? Or would it take a long time to wash away the negative energy, mistrust and hate that have been systematically planted in every Syrian brain?

When we see our Ethiopia these are the things we should contemplate instead of trying to out perform each other on the level of our hate. We should be very careful on how we view the situation and search deep into our heart and soul before we judge others due to their ethnic affiliation or religion. None of us choose where we are conceived. We should be judged on what kind of human being we have become. Sometimes in times of scarcity and fear buying into the evil design of a few we all go astray. The only thing that will bring us back to the right path is show of love and tolerances not more hate and further attempt at marginalizing. Remember both the perpetrator and victim are connected and the attempt should be to save both if possible without doing further damage.

I am sure all those that gathered in our meeting love Ethiopia. I am sure in their own way they all think they are doing the right thing. Unfortunately both sides cannot be right. The road taken by the current government has only shown that this sort of exclusive journey is not lasting nor will it bear good fruit. Our job is to patiently explain the futility of traveling on this dead end street and bring our people back to our fold. That is not done thru condemnation, name-calling or threat but show of love, understanding and showing by example. It is a shame educated and conscious Ethiopians have fallen pray to this narrow ethnic divide and some by cooperation a few by their silence have emboldened the sick and worthless students of TPLF garage and nihilist philosophy. I believe in every one of us our kind side outweighs the evil and bad and our challenge is to bring out the good and infect our people with this sweet medicine God has built into us. We pray for our country.

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13 thoughts on “The Great Renaissance Dam as a wedge issue

  1. would the Nazi would have stopped murdering the Jews and the Gypsy if the have loved Hitler? or Hitler was so hateful will never have stopped from murdering 6 million Jews cos he was evil. to me WOYANNE/TPLF are modern day Hitler hill bent in destroying Ethiopia and dismantling any thing Ethiopia,be it the land or in-slaving Ethiopian. therefor you can not reason with evil they have to be defeated in every way possible period.

  2. Woyanes are incredibly good at deceiving people by invoking the emotional sentiments Ethiopians attach to the rivers. They’re using the Gibe Dam as a marketing tool for mass deception by exploiting the genuine feelings Ethiopians have for their life-giving Abbay river water, all in an effort to cover up the real motives behind the building of such dam: the irrigation of vast foreign-owned plantation built along the banks of the Abbay river.

    For example, every time Indian business commentators talk about investment in agricultural lands in Ethiopia, they always mention the irrigation canals being built to draw water from the Abbay river and supply to the plantations covering millions of hectares of land. It would be naive to think that the Indians would settle for a rain-fed agriculture.

    All the talk about building the dams to generate electricity is nothing but a sales pitch by the regime to promote its bond sales to unsuspecting victims. It’s all about land-grabbing. Woyanes are damming the river to create large reservoir for irrigation, because they can’t sell agricultural land without the water the crops need to grow. It’s a package deal. It’s land-grab and water-grab: both for one price, $1 per hectare of land, and water included.

    Think about this for a second. According to a June 8, 2012 CNN News report, “Some economists believe the country has only raised 10% of the project’s total cost.” So, lets assume that the regime will soon halt the project for lack of sufficient funds and agrees to refund all the bond it sold to unsuspecting victims. Although it can’t produce electricity, the regime has already built a HUGE reservoir covering 210 square kilometres (80 square miles)that can hold up to 67 billion cubic meters of water that the Indians can use to irrigate their plantations.

    A Ponzi scheme has nothing on Woyane scheme!

  3. It’s a shame to say the least, while the law abidding silent majority are unfortunately seem shiftless, the corrupt elite minority are conducting slick businesses as usual on our names and expenses. No shame even diverting donated aids to fill up thier opportunist supporters/puppets’ huge bellies stealing from the downtrodden mouthes in order to divide and exploit our sweet homes. This is a just small version of playing kick backs like they deal with the new in town land grabbers.
    Having said that, i’m wondering how did ato Yilma came up with the 90% stastical percentage of the tgrean atendees. Could the esteemed author greased, the woyane style, to the foriegn minister, a man of many decorated titles (like his highness Janhoy/col.Mengstu) for access of the audiences, or he was just busy the whole time counting the Tgreans traditional sexy eye marks? Just curious:)

    Jegnaw replies:

    I think you should ask your Owen conscious about the 90% or 70% is this not true wright now in Ethiopia most of the business are run by Tigres who are affiliated with the this not true most of benefactors in Ethiopian Economy are this not true all the big conglomerate business are run by EFORT?
    pleas tel us if that is not true..

    United We Stand replies:

    Do u know wat ato Jegnaw, actually i was meant to add that it’s not surprising reaching the good author with 90% acuracy of the tgrean participants but carried away & totally forgot about it.
    However, with all due respect, i refuse to stand correct, tikur brother Yilma terribly bored with the deceptive so-called Dam music that he helped himself observing the tgreans eye marks to kill his unrecoverable 2 miserable hrs!
    By the way, the eyemark, unique in the entire unfair world, signifies that they are the current unchallenged chosen tribles which comes with 100% full package perks, unfortunately in the equality loving ancientland.

  4. “The Great Renaissance Dam” is a project that is close to the very heart Meles Zenawi. Most of the political basis for this project comes from Zenawi’s analysis that this dam will PERMANENTLY disown the Gojam people of their most important resource and keep them poor and at his mercy for years to come.

    This is at the heart of the project and Meles Zenawi’s obsession with it.

    I know my above statement straddles the borders of cynicism but most thing Zenawi does will start to make sense only if you understand how hateful he is. Otherwise you will have trouble understanding his motive and why he does what he does.

    Simon replies:

    Don’t tell the Beni Shangulis about Article 39. They may want to exercise their rights under this article once the Dam is built. There will be a new African State called Nile-Shanguli formed out of part of what will be remaining as Western Sudan and what is now Beni Shangul with the help of International Investors.

    Mamo replies:

    I gurantee you once the dam is built, all the profit will go to the TPLF mafioso who supposedly “bought the bonds for the dam (rackeetring anyone?).” Not one cent will go to the Banu Shangul.

    I also enjoy how you Weyanes have little respect for people. For you, they are a means to your end. Unfortunately for you, no people want to be used as a bait in the hateful game of the tyrant. It will be made clear to you soon. Meanwhile enjoy the game.

  5. ዝም ብሎ ወሬ ማውራት እርካሽ ያስኛል። ምን አይነት ዳም ነው? ለምን አስፈለገን ?ጥቅሙስ ምንይያህል ነው ሳትል ወያኔ እንዲህ ነው እንድያ ነው ብትል ግን ንጥረነገር ጎደለው ሃተታና ቀደዳ ነው የሚሆን።

  6. This preaching of love and tolerance to the ethnical fascist rule of Meles Zenawi and his fascist and racist followers,is the main hindrerance to the struggle. It has damaged the struggle and emboldened the Tigrayan fascists and racists to think that they will commit their crimes with impunity. The lack of resolve and determination on the part of many Ethiopians including ato Yilma Bekeles in the struggle against fascism in Ethiopia,is disappointing.
    Fascists and racists consider love and tolerance as weakness or submission to their rule and will continue on their destructive path.

  7. The dam is important. Power is required for any development. For instance, if we want fast telecom system, industries, lighting the entire nation needs power generation. I do believe Ethiopians are capable of building even a dam much bigger than this dam. Opposing the dam is not justifiable. About Salini, there is alot of conspiracy that prevents building any dam along the Nile. This conspiracy prevented Haileslassie from building a similar dam. There are many parties who does not like any good work in Ethiopia. I do believe Salini is chosen to over-ride the obstacle put infront of our country by international financial instutions and archy Ethiopians countries.

    If the regime is genuine, I personally suffer not because of the dam building, but because of mistrust of Meles as betrayer. I do not trust anything he does. I have come to believe he does things perhaps for his own hidden agenda not for Ethiopia. All his actions so far tells me Meles is an evil human being. However this does not mean everyone in the regime is like him. I am sure there are alot of them. My point, why the TPLF or EPRDF not remove this sinister man from the top; and at least give to someone who can reconcile the country and we can all lend our hands to build anything? Why they do not remove him for the sake of the country? We hate him because of his endless betrayal and the number of lives he assassinated. Meles Zenawi, we hate you so much because your are evil human being. You killed Hayelom the man who fought derg with listless bravery? You killed Agazi? you killed qaukah? why Meles? why were born evil? why Meles born selfish? killer? why Meles born traitor? Meles? why you destoryed the spirit of Tigreans who hoped and struggled for an ultimate freedom and who gave thier precious lives for freedom?

    Yes, we can build the dams, but is it possible for this man to retire and give the leadership to someone who is loved and elected bythe people? Some of has rejected him because we know him he is brutal, selfish, greedy and he has assasinated his own comrades. TPLF stands the most barbaric organisation in that ate all its finest generals and fighters. Is Meles born to assassinate Tigreans and to betray the 91 million people? Meles we do not want you to be honest. Can you at least leave power now peacefully? is it possible for you to do that? You have soiled the struggle of Tigreans for freedom? You have done alot of damage to the country. Now you are selling the country to Indians, Arabs, Chinese,… etc. Is it possible for Mr. Meles to resign before he assassinates more. two years ago he assassinated Iyasu, who is next? who are on the queue to be assassinated by food poisoning or by bar assassination like Hayelom? Hayelom was sold for power. Prof. Endirias killed Hayelom to become the adviser of Meles?

    I want to kill Prof. Endrias if I can get a chance. I hope God brings one day that both Meles and Prof. Endrias will be hanged at Mesquel square. It is an insult our country is lead by murders. Truth will cry by itself and will see the light of truth one day. There is no one who escaped crime in human history. I hope Mengistu, Meles, Prof. Endrias will be hanged at mesquel square when the time comes.

    People, I am tired of Meles. I hate this man to my bones. I did ask a Prof. of anthropology if there are human being who are evil? the reason is that I did not believe the are evil human being. But the Prof. responded and said,” oh, yea, there are human beings who are evil.”I was surprised that it is proved scientifically there are evil human being. This means there are human who kill others humans because they are evil. Mengistu, Meles, Prof. Endirias Eshete,… are evil human being. Shame on us we allowed our country to lead by evil self-destructiv power leaders like Meles. It does not matter whether they build dam, or bring gold from another planet. Evil are evils. But do not worry there is a pay back time. All evils pay for their actions although they think the world revolves around them.

  8. The IMF threw away Meles’s bogus statistics of GDP growth for this year. The IMF told Meles again not to destroy the lives of the Ethiopian people by printing bogus money through the central bank he firmly controls. Printing paper money without creating the wealth to support it is tantamount to stealing money from the pockets of each person. In the IMF statement released yesterday, it reads, “…., the policy of no central bank financing of the budget should remain in place to send a strong signal of the government’s commitment to fight inflation.” Alas, Meles has been told over and over again but refused to heed the advice. There is no reason to believe that he would do it this time around. Meles has deliberately embarked on destroying the lives and livelihoods of the Ethiopian people by printing paper money to finance his bogus projects in order to use the latter as smokescreens to cover up his terrorism against the Ethiopian people. These reckless, criminal and heinous policies of Meles are wreaking havoc on the lives of the Ethiopian people and transformed them from living to bare survival. What is the use of constructing asphalt roads and buildings at the cost of completely destroying the quality of life of the people through printing paper money and causing huge inflation? By any account, this is not worth the sacrifice the Ethiopian people are paying today in their daily lives. No sane and responsible person would deliberately cause such havoc on the lives of the people in the name of ‘development’. Meles is doing this at least for two sinister motives. One is to use ‘development’ as a smokescreen for his brutal dictatorship and to also justify his long overstay in power. Second it is for wealth redistribution in absolute favor of his cronies and minions. There is no wealth creation in Ethiopia. What we see is the crime of wealth redistribution in favor of Meles’s cronies with the evil intent of controlling the economy and people’s lives. The Ethiopian people are victims of this organized and systematic heinous ponzi scheme crimes spearheaded by the ringleader Meles and are paying for it literally in their daily lives. By printing bogus paper money, Meles is transferring the existing wealth to his cronies and accessories.

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