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Author: Teodros Kiros

The gruesome reality Ethiopia’s regime cannot hide

By Teodros Kiros

The miserable life of Ethiopians is replete with facts such as:

Ethiopian girl looks for food at a city dump in Addis Ababa
  1. Ethiopia is ranked at 210th out of a total of 210 countries.
  2. That Ethiopia by any measure is the 2nd poorest nation in the world.
  3. That it is at the bottom of the list of the three weighed indicators of well-being.
  4. That 64.9% of school children are not enrolled.
  5. In health, child mortality, it stands at 38%.
  6. 85.7% lack electricity.
  7. 54% do not get any clean water.
  8. 89.5% do not have any cooking oil.
  9. It has one of the smallest economies in Africa inspite of its population, accounting only for the continent’s 1% National domestic product.
  10. 90% of the nation’s 77 million people live below the poverty line (Getachew Begashaw, “Acute Poverty amidst “Double Digit Economic Growth”: Contradiction in Terms, Addis Voice, 2010)

Yet the regime is daring us, when it has selected Boston and Los Angeles as cities in which to display its vacuous new five-year plan.

The gruesome facts above should have been attended to twenty years ago, and by now nine of the points above could have been reduced to at least one half and yet twenty years later Ethiopians are still saddled with this primitive existence unfit for animals. The Prime Minister is more concerned to clean his legacy in four more years and fool the Ethiopian people, again and shamelessly with false promises.

Which transformational strategy is going to make Ethiopia free of famine in five years, when the regime had twenty long years of attending to them slowly, carefully and intelligently? Instead, the reality on the ground can be changed only by a total regime change, consisting of new faces, new thoughts, and new transformational strategies.

The new plan may aim at embarrassing the Diaspora opposition but the regime forgets that it will only embarrass itself when its plans are logically attacked by those who know and by those who see through the aim of the caravan of another five year plan and will subject it to a vigorous scrutiny and demand that the regime gives a regime change a real chance for the love and respect of the Ethiopian people.

The new plan does not address the existential and political rights of the people, the violation of their dignities and economic opportunities. Only a civilized uprising can change the reality on the ground, with a new vision of the Ethiopian person, a new political party and most importantly replacing ethnocracy with Ethiopianity.

(Teodros Kiros, PhD, can be reached at [email protected])

The Beka Moment in Cambridge, Massachusetts

By Teodros Kiros

BOSTON — A supremely organized coterie of protesters rejected the mercenaries of Woyanne who came to beg for money to support a sham development without vision, without integrity.

Ethiopians celebrated resisting tyranny on March 9, 2011 in the historic city of Cambridge, home to Harvard University and MIT, the premier centers of higher education.

A mosaic of ethnic groups from metropolitan Boston and Cambridge defiantly challenged the regime. The banner of Ethiopianity united this group of Ethiopians. Tigreans, Oromos, Gurages, Amharas, Ogadenis and others chanted in unison:

No to tyranny!
No to ethnic division!
Yes to unity!
Yes to Ethiopiawinet!

There was the Eros moment at work anchored on love, on care, on friendship and caring for one another. The outcome of the protest was so successful that a substantial number of us went to a local Ethiopian restaurant and celebrated our gains and strategized about our future plans, which are bound to be huge.

Parents brought their children with them to this {www:momentous} event. I was proud to be there with my brothers and sisters who stood for hours, when the tyrannical regime shamelessly sent them the Cambridge police, who had better things to do than keep an eye on a crowd that was conspicuously civil.

Sister protests in DC, in New York, Atlanta and other major cities also exhibited the Beka Movement, a movement that is being rapidly globalized as the distinctive mark of Ethiopian Uprising.

(Teodros Kiros, Ph.D., can be reached at [email protected])

Woyanne exclusivism in glaring display

By Teodros Kiros

Old, young, men and women came to Cambridge, Massachusetts (a suburb of Boston), on a beautiful spring day to protest the stooges of Tyranny, when they dared to stage their mediocre five year plan. Tyrants are shameless beings. They speak with two ends of their mouth. On the one hand, they had a poster outside which said: “Let us resolve our differences through dialogue.”

At the same time, they converted the street into a combat zone with the unnecessary presence of armed Cambridge police and sought to criminalize the protesters outside.

Boston anti-Woyanne protest Woyannes failed on two counts. They obviously did not understand what they wrote on the poster that differences must be resolved by dialogue. Instead, consistent with Woyannes Ethnocracy, they developed a mysterious definition of Ethiopianity and decided to invite their Ethiopians to the capricious exclusion of the Ethiopians outside. Once again they proved their incompetence and miserably failed to criminalize the disciplined Ethiopians outside. Infact, they inadvertently criminalized themselves and performed their notorious obsession with ethnocracy. This is nothing new.

They failed even more at a deeper level. They thought that by criminalizing the sizable protesters outside that the protesters would be frustrated and enter into street fights. Instead the protesters remained cool and chose appropriate slogans aimed at some of the shameless participants, other than the usual cadres who are existentially rooted in the fate of the moribund tyranny, which in due time is going to be dismantled by the activities of the Ethiopian people through the spectacular model of protest- the people’s peaceful Uprising, which is being crafted patiently, smartly and appropriately at the right time, in the right place and to the right degree.

The Woyanne’s are so drunk with power that they think they will intimidate us with a military apparatus, and we the people are going to resist them with our sheer numbers, our moral intelligence and our discipline.

The protest against tyranny in Cambridge attended by an adequate number was disciplined, well organized and qualitatively impressive. For now the Ethiopian people’s yearning for freedom and dignity is not a function of numbers, as the Woyanne’s think, but a function of quality, discipline and determination.

In due time the peoples’ struggle will be expressed both in numbers and substance and will be guided by an inclusive Ethiopianity as opposed to an exclusive ethnocracy, in the spirit of Woyanne’s “ revolutionary democracy”

At Cambridge and many other places the Woyannes continue to expose their intellectual vacuity and managerial incompetence.

Their five year came as it left, preached to the usual quire but failed to attract the attention of the protesters outside, had they been invited to reflect and debate the content in the people’s agora. The ethnocratic program of tyranny is simply so incompetently organized that it did not even know how to invite opponents to a dialogue free of domination; instead of dialogue genuine Ethiopians were treated to the Cambridge police.

(Teodros Kiros, Ph.D., can be reached at [email protected])

Only an Ethiopian uprising can save the economy

By Teodros Kiros

A careful study of world uprisings has convinced George Katsiaficas, the leading expert on social movements, that uprisings empower people and unleash their hitherto untapped passions and energies that fuel dormant economies and revive them in extraordinary ways.

Uprisings create spaces of organized political actions during which time the people develop some distinctly political qualities of leadership. The world has recently witnessed these new qualities in the spectacularly new models of people’s resistance to dictatorships of pharonic Egypt, a polity that was oppressed for 5000 years of successive dominance under its own pharaohs, the Greeks, the Romans, and the Mamluks.

Tahrir square gave us a new model of political action on the enterprising streets of Cairo, Alexandria and many other Egyptian towns.

George Katsiaficas defended this thesis in African Ascent, hosted by Teodros Kiros, and the interview can be viewed in YouTube by March 25th, 2011.

When people’s passions, imaginations and intelligences are freed from the snares of dictatorship; when people discover their powers and abilities on the streets of democracy; when the people learn that their liberation is tied to the liberation of the nation, then they draw from the hidden fountain of their intelligence to revive the economy. The economy can be revived only if they participate, only if they disalienate themselves and becoming the living engine of the economy.

We recently learned from Egypt that new social movements of youth, women, workers and other professionals created new spaces of action for themselves.

It is uprisings, which disclosed the protesters of Tunisia, Egypt and now Libya as actional and erotic beings and not passive and alienated spectators.

So the dormant Ethiopian economy can be energized and revived by peaceful uprisings, which will take power from dictators and their cohorts and give power directly to the people themselves.

A new vibrant Ethiopian economy is the consequence of the people’s activities.

The current Ethiopian economic crises, which the Prime Minister refuses to see from the invisible space of the palace, can be saved only by the people themselves if they are freed from political darkness, civil boredom, ethnic narrow-mindedness, skepticism and cultural decadence, and come out in millions to Meskel square and demand regime change.

If and when this happens they will immediately embark on the long road of national development organized by the empowering principle of Ethiopianity. We can for the first time witness what the people can do, when they are trusted and coached to work for the nation-selflessly and intelligently.

Revolution and Ethiopian youth

By Teodros Kiros

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has accused a little known Muslim extremist group of staging a wave of church burnings to provoke communal tensions in the Horn of Africa country. Meles expressed concern about regional instability, but dismissed the possibility of a North African-style popular uprising in Ethiopia. Meles says he is aware of attempts to end the ruling party’s nearly 20 years in power, both from within and without. But in a meeting with reporters, he rejected suggestions of a people’s revolution similar to those confronting entrenched authoritarian governments in North Africa and the Middle East. “It’s simply not possible. The circumstances for it do not exist. That does not mean some people will not try.’ “ – Peter Heinlein (VOA)

The Prime Minister is indeed blind to the lives of most Ethiopians who are swimming in the murky waters of poverty, political darkness and civil boredom. The Ethiopian youth are marred in a vicious cycle of poverty, which the “revolutionary democracy” of EPRDF twenty years ago promised to eradicate; and ten years ago revolutionary democracy devolved in to the living nightmare of tyranny/oligarchy framed by ethnocracy. The promise of eradicating poverty is now replaced by acceptable levels of unemployment of Ethiopian youth.

The naked reality, which glares to the Prime Minister’s palace in, clearly summarized below:

Over half of Ethiopia’s population consists of young people between the ages of 15-24 years. Many of the youth face diverse problems and live with constant life challenges. Especially in urban centers of the country, the number of delinquent juveniles is increasing. In Addis Ababa alone it is believed that there are over 100,000 people living on the streets, and more than half of these are young people. This number is increasing every day due to poverty and migration of people from the rural to urban areas in search of a better life. It is also due to children losing parents to AIDS and other causes. These young people are often involved in socially undesirable practices, such as frequenting brothels and drug and alcohol abuse. Many youth commit crimes such as robbery and other offenses. According to police reports, more than half of all the arrested criminals are young people. Other available evidence also indicates that young people commit most criminal offenses including drug abuse and other harmful practices in Ethiopia.

Alcohol and drug abuse among teens is on the rise, underscoring the need for more teen rehabilitation programs and centers to deal with this growing problem.

The mushrooming of foreign videocassettes and films in the country is also believed to negatively affect the personality of today’s youth in particular. Being left with low or no access to recreational centers or to leisure time activities, a number of youths are flooding to video shows most of which are full of violent, immoral and pornographic acts. What is still worse is that these films make the youths develop negative attitude towards their own culture, country and people. These young people seem to know nothing good about their homeland except that they despise it by comparing it with that of affluent societies. As a result it is not uncommon to observe immoral acts they often emulate from the film-shows. Since they spend much of their time watching films and practicing other socially undesirable activities, they fail to regularly attend their classes and acquire proper knowledge, which determines their future.

One of the major factors that seriously aggravate the problems of the youth is the absence of sufficient employment opportunities. A lot of school dropouts and those who complete high school education but with no opportunity to join higher learning institutes could not but remain dependent on their parents or guardians’ meager resources. Unfortunately, a considerable number of them spend almost half of their time in such a state. As a result, those youths who particularly come from low income parents often become hopeless and involved in prostitution and end up contracting HIV/AIDS. Frustrated by the challenges of getting reliable means of subsistence, some young people seem to have lost faith and a vision of tomorrow’s world. The situation calls for an immediate attention to assist in curbing the present trend of the young in Ethiopia. It is with this understanding and a sense of responsibility to serve God and people that Youth Impact came to existence.” – Youth Impact Ethiopia

This is the reality in the ground, which will soon wake up the Prime Minister from the slumbers of his deep sleep. The time bomb is ticking. Is the regime is still sleeping long hours, thinking that the intimidated Ethiopian poor are going to resign to their deplorable condition?

The Voices of 2005

By Teodros Kiros

The dark days of November 2005

It was 5 years ago on “November 1, 2005, that the ruling Tigrean People Liberation Front (Woyanne) under the leadership of Meles Zenawi unleashed a new form of terror on the people of Ethiopia. The repercussion of the terror campaign is still felt throughout Ethiopia and around the world, wherever Ethiopians reside.

Following the May 5, 2005, elections, before the votes were counted, Meles declared victory and suspended his own constitution, stripping the people of Ethiopia the right to free speech, and other basic civil rights.

When Ethiopians peacefully protested the regime’s actions, Meles responded by giving a shoot-to-kill order to his death squads. Meles Zenawi’s forces gunned down hundreds of unarmed citizens, rounded up over 40,000 young Ethiopians and sent them to detention camps in remote parts of the country. Meles also ordered the shutting down of independent newspapers and the arrest of their staff. November 2005 was one of the darkest moments in Ethiopia’s history.
Ethiopians around the world remember the November 2005 massacre, the victims of the TPLF regime for the past 20 years by honoring the martyrs who paid the ultimate price and by also resolving to intensify the struggle for freedom and democracy against the anti-Ethiopia minority ethnic dictatorship of Meles Zenawi.

Birtukan Medeksa, the symbol of MAAT, characteristically modest, moderate and brilliant was one of the victims of the dark days of remember. She was among those who were imprisoned for challenging the outcomes of the November election and became a beacon of change. The regime imprisoned her twice and now Birtukan is on her way to America for psychological treatment. Most of the heroes of November are now residing in America and Europe and desperately trying to revive the sunny moments of 2005.

These were the dark days of Ethiopian politics. The darkness that hovered over the Ethiopian nation is now twilight. Silenced voices hover the cemeteries of the dead. Those who remain are profoundly dismayed. We must ask, however, where are the voices of the taxi drivers who protested.

Where are those five million Ethiopians who protested against the rigged elections, and were called hooligans, although they were classical protestors who challenged the regime and refused to be silenced by guns.

The voices of 2005 are very much like the Egyptian voices of 2011, but their heroism did not get the media attention that the Arab world is rightly getting.

History demands of us that we remember these dark days as we engage the prevailing regime to meet us on the streets of democracy for regime change.

We appeal to the regime in the name of love of country to step down peacefully and give the Ethiopian people new voices of deciding their destiny. We must trust the people to articulate dispassionately an Ethiopian voice and frame a vision of a participatory and deliberative democracy in which merit and service to country are the new criteria by which leadership is measured and distributed.

Our guiding principle ought to be the liberation of the people is the activity of the people and their activity can be organized by a genuine participatory and deliberative democracy.

A future article will examine the structure of a new political party, which will organize a disciplined people’s uprising.