Ethiopian Review extends condolences to the family of President Mills and the people of Ghana.
President John Atta Mills was seating next to Meles Zenawi last May in Washington DC when Ethiopian journalist Abebe Gelaw gave Meles a heart attack. The difference between President Mills and Dictator Zenawi is that Mills is a democratically elected leader while Zenawi is a brutal tyrant whose hands are soaked with the blood of tens of thousands of Ethiopians.
(RT) — Ghanaian President John Atta Mills has died at the age of 68, a statement from the president’s office says. He has been serving as the west African nation’s president since 2009.
“It is with a heavy heart…that we announce the sudden and untimely death of the president of the Republic of Ghana,” the statement reads, as quoted by Reuters.
The statement also said the president passed away at a military hospital in the country’s capital Accra, within a few hours of being taken ill.
Chief of Staff John Henry Martey Newman addressed the nation in a televised broadcast, confirming news of the president’s death. State-run television channels GTV and TV3 broke into regular programing for the announcement.
Meanwhile, a presidential aide said Mills died on Tuesday afternoon after complaining of pains on Monday.
Vice President John Dramani Mahama is to be sworn as the country’s new president at 1800 GMT, a parliament official said.
Mills celebrated his 68th birthday on Saturday.
Last month, Mills visited the United States for what he described as a “routine medical check-up.” He, [along with Ethiopia’s dictator Meles Zenawi,] also met with US President Barack Obama. Prior to his trip, he dismissed rumors regarding the state of his health.
A Western-educated university professor specializing in taxation, Mills served as the country’s vice president from 1996 to 2000. He was the leftist National Democratic Congress nominee for the presidency on three occasions: in 2000, 2004 and 2008.
In 2008, Mills won a closely contested election on a platform of change and greater economic equality.
As president, Mills oversaw the start of oil production in the country. He was planning to run for a second term in December.
By all indications, these are desperate times for Zenawi and his corrupt and crumbling regime. An evil dictatorship that is founded upon an ideology of ethnic hatred, cronyism, repression, lies, and corruption is unraveling faster than even the most positive predictions have hoped for. For pro-democracy forces, there has never been a more favorable moment than now to polish off the cancerous appendage of the Ethiopian society by forging democratic alliances, formulating innovative strategies, and laser focusing all available resources on the weakest links of the tremulous regime at this junction in history. The consequences of failure to learn from past missed opportunities and to seize this golden prospect to free our people from the shackles of tyranny would be immeasurable.
What are the tell-tale signs signaling the imminent collapse of this accidental phenomenon of history?
The signals include the increasingly apparent infirmity and psychological instability of the despot; the ongoing onslaught by the desperate regime on the independent press, journalists and other democratic forces on trumped up charges; the frenzied pillage of the country’s wealth through misguided and egotistic economic and fiscal policies; the bizarre ideological and propaganda campaigns the despot and his shameless cadres are waging; the spontaneous uprisings by various sectors of the society; and the intensifying corruption and nepotism manifested at every-level of the illegitimate government.
Zenawi’s Infirmity and Delusional Behavior
There are rumors galore, both back home and in the Diaspora, that the dictator is terminally ill and under intensive care in a foreign country. Although there have always been such rumors about the mental and physical frailty of the dictator, the most conclusive evidence about the terminal nature of his illnesses had not been officially available until the recent release of the U.S. State Department documents by WeakiLeaks. Most lately, the Associated Press gave credibility to the ongoing rumors on the conspicuous absence of the dictator quoting the Senegalese President Macky Sall who reportedly told participants of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) meeting that Meles was unable to be present due “to health conditions.”
There is a general consensus now that the dictator has been suffering from cardiovascular and other complications, which in part are attributed to his appalling lifestyle. His infirmity and mental instability became even more apparent to the world when he literally broke down following a confrontation by the audacious Abebe Gelaw at the World Economic Forum in May of 2012. His infirmity was further confirmed when he was observed as a ghost-like figure in a video clip of his meeting with Chinese officials following the G20 meeting in Mexico. Many observers believe that the lack of credible explanation about the conspicuous absence of the dictator from official appearances or about severity of his mental and physical condition by the state-controlled media is an attempt by the Woyanne public relations office to thwart the abrupt disintegration of his jittery power base and to calm down his increasingly edgy followers.
The relationship between mental and physical diseases and tyrannical personality has been a subject of considerable research. In their book entitled A Brotherhood of Tyrants: Manic Depression and Absolute Power, D. Jablow Hershman and Julian Lieb give a persuasive account of this phenomenon with reference to the three tyrants: Napoleon Bonaparte, Adolf Hitler, and Joseph Stalin. In that remarkable study, it is argued that certain psychiatric disorders can be explanatory factors for such bizarre behaviors as those that characterize tyrants, including mass killings, grandiosity and megalomania. Further, it is well documented that tyrants manifest fantastic and delusional behavior patterns as they sense their imminent demise. The most glaring example is Hitler’s delusions of racial purity and his contempt for democracy, which he considered a sign of weakness. It was this delusional behavior that led him to profess the concept of a “Third Way” as a compromise between socialism and democracy. Similarly, Zenawi’s increasingly delusional behavior became apparent when he recently stunned even his most ardent foreign supporters with his new theory that he hopelessly formulated to justify tyranny as a sine quo non for development. According to published reports, he insolently asserted: “There is no direct relationship between economic growth and democracy, historically or theoretically. I don’t believe in bedtime stories, contrived arguments linking economic growth with democracy.”
While the death of the dictator may or may not be imminent, the current state of his health and his delusional behaviors have considerable import for the next stage of the ongoing struggle for democracy and justice in Ethiopia. Unlike most dictatorships where the cult of personality is principally built on a projection of nationalism, Zenawi’s totalitarian rule has in large measures been constructed on anti-Ethiopianism and inter-ethnic animosity. The army, whose leadership is dominated by a single minority ethnic-group, is unlikely to be in a position to prop up the continued dominance of the totalitarian rule perfected by Zenawi. In essence, the vast majority of the military leaders have either failed to shed their guerilla mentality or have completely been absorbed in the ongoing pillage of the country’s resources, thereby making them insensitive to the democratic aspirations of the people. As such, the allegiance of these officers, who have not been properly integrated into the Ethiopian society, is to the dictator or to their narrow self interests. Further, since the immense network of internal security apparatus and others in the civil service are basically sustained by the power of money rather than by ideological convictions or love of country, their loyalty to the tyrannical regime is predicted to evaporate as soon as favorable conditions are created in the country for a democratic alternative. Therefore, the continued survival of the TPLF under an ailing dictator is extremely precarious.
Increasing Repression of the Free Press and Journalists
Faced with the beginning of the end, Zenawi’s regime has predictably resorted to heavy-handed measures to silence dissenting voices. A case in point is the recent draconian measures taken against Eskinder Nega and several other journalists and political activists using vague anti-terrorism laws that have made the regime an embarrassment even to those in the West who have thus far turned blind eyes to the crimes committed by the dictator.
In desperate times, dictators do demonstrate frantic behaviors to project an image of strength, as was the case with Iraq’s Saddam Hussein and Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi in their final hours. As lucidly stated by the PEN American Center President Peter Godwin: “By sentencing Eskinder Nega to 18 years in prison, the Ethiopian government clearly means to send a signal to its people: speak against us, and you, too, could be jailed as a terrorist. But is that a signal of strength or of weakness?”
Of course, dictators never act completely alone. Hitler was able to come to power and maintain his grip over Germany, thanks in part to such ardent supporters as Rommel, Von Manstein, Himmler, and most importantly, his propagandist Goebbels. It was Joseph Goebbels who justified the delusional aspirations of the Führer declaring: “If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth.” It was also this same miscreant who promulgated: “Think of the press as a great keyboard on which the government can play.” Unsurprisingly, Gobbels’ sentiment about the free press was echoed recently by Zenawi’s despicable propagandist, the contemptible Bereket Simon. In justifying the draconian press rule that sent journalists like Eskender Nega to prison, the shameless scoundrel ignorantly proclaimed to the world: “I don’t think that type of media [i.e., the free press] will help the developing world.”
The Moslem Factor
There is no better predictor of the looming demise of a dictatorship than the occurrence of spontaneous uprisings by the various sectors of an oppressed society. The ferocious and determined resistance demonstrated by the Moslem community in Addis and other parts of the nation has shaken the oppressive machinery of the totalitarian regime to its core. A remarkable feature of the Moselm uprising in Ethiopia today is that it is in total contradiction to the divide-and-rule policy that Zenawi has futilely implemented to foment inter-ethnic and inter-religious animosity. To this day, despite the brutal attacks by the regime against their faith and religious institutions, Moslem Ethiopians have unswervingly expressed their determination to stand hand in hand with their Christian compatriots, as they have estimably done so for centuries, to deracinate the evils of totalitarianism once and for all.
In the absence of a credible alternative to the collapsing TPLF regime, democratic forces inside and outside of Ethiopia should now formulate a cohesive transition plan to avoid a scenario akin to the one that replaced Mengistu Haile-Mariam’s dictatorship by Zenawi’s style of totalitarianism. With the army leadership in the hands of a minority ethnic group, and immeasurable resources at the disposal of Zenawi’s cronies, the potential for chaos and re-emergence of tyranny are within the realm of possibilities. It is therefore critical that the pro-democratic forces immediately join forces to accelerate the collapse of the tyrannical regime and to ensure the formation of a government of national salvation. At a minimum, the immediate focus of attention should include:
Agreement on a platform for the creation of a unity government that guarantees individual freedom, equality, and justice for all citizens of Ethiopia, without regard to ethnicity, race, religion, party affiliation or other prejudices.
Formulation of short and long-term plans to influence donor countries and foreign backers of the dictator to immediately discontinue support and aid of any kind to the totalitarian regime. Those in the United States with voting rights should particularly take advantage of the current electoral process to influence Congress and the Obama administration, including the State Department and the Pentagon, to desist from aiding the dictator and to censure his tyrannical policies.
In this regard, we trust that pro-democracy journalists and Websites will play a more proactive and aggressive role to bring together the fragmented opposition groups and to enlighten the wider freedom-loving community about the significance of this historic opportunity.
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 of China at the G8 meeting in Mexico. The last time we saw Ato Meles was during President Obama’s food conference and he was in perfect health. In fact he looked jovial with a new haircut and was dressed in his customary five to ten thousand dollars Italian or English suit. That was until Ato Abebe Gelaw of Ethiopian Satellite Television (ESAT) gave him the scare of his life and he was forced to flee the continent. Things have not been the same ever since.
When he surfaced in Mexico it was obvious he had some medical issues in the interim period. His expensive clothes did not fit him right, his face was ashen and hollow and it was clear he has lost plenty of weight. I was forced to conclude we got a problem. Normally the fate of one individual should not be such a source of drama or wild speculations. But Ato Meles is not just another Ethiopian. He is the Country, Nation and people all rolled in one. The state of his health and well-being is not just idle speculation. His friends, Party or those close to him are not forthcoming with the cause of his illness. We are left to speculate, guess or are being forced to search for a fortuneteller and reduced to read the remains of his coffee cup or consult a palm reader.
We do that because whatever happens to him affects all of us in one-way or another. In the Western countries the health of the leader is an official record. If the leader dies or is incapacitated there are rules and systems set in place to assure smooth transition. Most African countries including ours lack that. In our case there has not been a natural and predictable manner of passing the mantle of leadership. In fact the last four instances have been a source of agony for the unfortunate leader in power and our poor Nation. That is why Ato Meles’s health is an issue we should all fret and worry about. We definitely do not want a surprise.
I am sure his family is worried. His friends are concerned. His Party is alarmed. The Ethiopian people are watching this drama with keen interest. No one wishes him ill but I doubt any body in Ethiopia is praying for his recovery either. It is fair to say the whole Nation is trying to figure out what his untimely demise will bring to our poor old country. What ever ails him is not a simple disease. That is why he is being cared for in Europe with top-notch specialists in an expensive private hospital. No amount of money will be spared to keep the green reaper at arms length.
Sooner or later we all die. We just do all we can to make it later than sooner. Our state of health and longevity is affected by all kinds of factors including a few we have no control on. Genetics, style of life and pure luck plays a big role. We try to eat right, exercise and avoid stress to increase our odds of a long happy life. There are a few things we know about the ‘Leaders’ life style to be able to make an educated guess on what is ailing him.
We know that he smokes, that is cigarettes. We are told that he enjoys chewing Kat with his buddies. His politburo friends are known to enjoy expensive liquor thus we can safely assume that he probably joins them in this past time. All three habits are considered forms of substance abuse and have ramifications on vital organs such as lung, heart and liver. It is fair to say that the last few years, palace living has resulted in weight gain resulting in added girth.
Most leaders keep a busy schedule and have no time for exercise. We know that Ato Meles is studying for his PhD in addition to his duties as the Prime Minster and that leaves him with no time for the gym. We have heard antidotes about his tennis matches but judging from the way he came down the airplane steps during his trip to Philadelphia to one of his meetings one can tell he is not in good shape. He was laboring to walk down while his agile wife descended swiftly even in her high heels.
There is no proof that Ato Meles is suffering from a terminal illness. On the other hand there is no information to say that he just caught the common cold either. As I said due to the nature of the totalitarian system that values secrecy we are left to speculate. We worry and stress because history teaches us that the demise of a dictator, which Ato Meles is, brings all sorts of unforeseen complications on the Nation they leave behind.
Whether they commit suicide like Hitler, are hanged like Mussolini, die in their sleep like Stalin, face a firing squad like Ceausescu and wife, hunted down, sodomized, pistol whipped and shot like Gadaffi or face the International court of justice like Charles Taylor dictators all leave a trail of destruction behind them. That is why Ato Meles’s illness becomes our concern and worry. We think about it to try to figure out how to avoid chaos due to a power vacuum.
This sort of power vacuum attracts all kinds of good and bad characters that would want to capitalize on the empty space created and might be tempted to fill it with something other than people’s power. We do not want that. So what are the forces arrayed to replace the one man, one party rule currently dis-functioning in the land of the Abeshas?
The TPLF party is the premier center of power. Ato Meles and his associates control the Military, security service, the mass media and the economy. What is there left is a good and valid question. Technically Ato Meles is the de-facto head of all these powerful organizations. He is a hand on manager. The different entities are foreign to each other but all report to him. That is how one-man dictatorship works. Some countries like China practice group dictatorship. The Central committee of the ruling Communist Party functions as a group. While others like North Korea or Ethiopia rely on the benevolence of a single individual. The question arise is the TPLF Party capable of functioning as a single entity without the head? Or would the different departments that were designed to look at each other with suspicion coalesce to form a united front? It is highly doubtful.
There are various centers of power within the organization. Queen Azeb the wife is in charge of the economic section. Due to her high visibility and negative press any one group is willing to sacrifice her to save their skin. The internal security is a force to recon with. Would the Generals trust this hi tech mercenaries is a question to consider. The original TPLF functionaries like Sebhat or Abbay are rendered toothless but still operate behind the scene. Why any self respecting Woyane will ally with these old fashioned kitchen conspirators is something to think about. The new upstarts like Tewodros Adhanom or launderer Gebre Kristos have their feet on both camps always ready to abandon ship if the situation heats up. No one trusts the duo. The likes of Seyoum will not come back for all the tea in China.
The military is the most logical center of power that is capable of using force to usurp power. In the current situation of Ethiopia that scenario is a little complicated. Due to the nature of the use of ethnic affiliation used by Ato Meles the military is not a cohesive force. All the top leaders and commanders are from one ethnic group while the rank and file is a reflection of the country. It is fair to say both OLF and G7 are present and functioning creating further uncertainty. Uncertainty is not good for conspiracy. The role played by the top Generals in the economy has isolated them from the average solder. Is it a professional army or peasants in uniform is a valid question. Does one fight to attain power or save his investment creates split personality.
I don’t mean to forget those organized as EPRDF. There are plenty but the Amhara and Oromo stand out at least on paper as the most likely group that will refuse to die quietly. Their puppet leaders are faced with a real dilemma. Divorced from their people they have no base to appeal to. Rendered powerless by design they have no army or security to fall back on. The TPLF mafia that is running them now does not harbor any respect towards their outfit or intends to include them in the deliberations. They are left between a rock and a hard place. For all practical purposes it is easier to ignore and discard them.
Where does the opposition fit in this picture is a good question. The major opposition, the nightmare of the ruling group is of course Ginbot7. G7 is the enemy they know is around but are unable to touch and feel. It is the cause of their blind fury. I will take their word for it G7 is everywhere. Of course G7 could be the figment of their imagination, the result of their paranoia then again why would they allocate so much resource to hunt down a ghost? In my humble opinion G7 is EPRP and Kinijit on testosterone! We all know what those two groups are capable of.
There is also the on and off legal opposition. That is a tricky animal to deal with. At the moment Andenet is the only one with any amount of dignity and respect. The Ledetus and the Chammisos are rendered useless and will most probably hide out the chaotic period and pray for dear life since all opposition groups will be hunting them down for the stray dogs they have become. That leaves us with the Beyenes the Meraras and the Hailus, the darlings of the civilized West. Those are the people our benefactors will try to parade out and use. They will become pictures of civil society. Believe me they will play their choreographed part to the hilt. They cooperated and served Ato Meles, no reason to think they will be allergic to the West for a promise of visibility and fist full of dollars.
The West led by the US is the wild card in this scenario. They very much like stability and the status quo under their guidance. Their interest at the moment is having a strong foothold in the Horn of Africa to prepare for the coming war for resources. Governments like the TPLF mafia are their preferred arrangement. A weak and divided country is their choice. I do not think they go out of their way to create those conditions but on the other hand they do not discourage such reality. Our neighborhood is a fertile ground for contention by the big powers. Except for Kenya and Tanzania we are surrounded by weak, divided and civil war prone countries that exist from day to day with no guarantee of tomorrow. The US, the Europeans or the Chinese are not about to discover their moral compass and save us from our selves. Expecting them to do so is the height of foolishness or a result of extreme poverty of self-esteem.
As I write this Ato Meles is in Europe being healed and the factions he left behind are shell shocked and in a daze. A few will have some reliable information but the vast majority will be operating in the dark trying to figure out this brand new reality in the midst of dis information, mis information and foggy information. Plenty will be sending their family to far away places and moving vast amount of money out of the country. Some will lock their doors and hunker down until the storm settles while a few will search for new alignments and future partners. The kilils will take the opportunity to assert their newfound power and create further complications to the beleaguered party. It is possible organized criminal elements will take advantage of the uncertainty and intensify such activities as bank robbery and hijackings. The Amharic saying ‘ye wedke zaf mesar yebezabetal.’ Is being played live in our country. It is highly possible the different factions will begin to duke it out prematurely. It is conceivable they will end up doing the dirty part of the job for the rest of us. As I see it not matter what this down ward spiral will continue for the forcible future.
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 been tried for over twenty years. His heroic act will be remembered in the history books like that other important event in the annals of our glorious past.
Of course I am talking about the daring act of none other Abraha Deboch, Moges Asgedom and Simeyon Adefres on February 19, 1937. The Fascist Italian Viceroy Rodolfo Graziani was set to celebrate the second anniversary of the occupation of our homeland and the birth of an Italian royal baby at Addis Abeba Palace now Addis Abeba University. That did not sit well with our freedom fighters.
Simeyon who has learned to drive befriended a soldier from the household of the patriot leader Dejazmach Fikre Mariam and was able to secure hand grenades. Abraha and Moges hurled their grenades at the Viceroy during the celebration but the balcony saved the Fascist pig. Their job was done. Honor was restored. The attempt on the Viceroy was followed by the massacre of the citizens of Addis from February 19-21. Their heroism was able to fill the hearts of their people with pride and joy and the number of the patriotic forces swelled until victory was achieved.
What my friend and brother Abebe Gelaw did was no less. It was a different time and place but the generous act on behalf of country and people is noted by all patriotic forces that stand against tyranny by a single individual. The setting was perfect and the delivery was laser guided. The event was a very shameful attempt to humiliate Ethiopia and its people. There was no other way of looking at this act of abdication of responsibility by the President of the US other than to bully our people into submission by affirming this unholy alliance that does not have lasting value to both our Nations. We pleaded, we warned and we tried to teach the administration the folly of this enabling act of a tyrant. It fell on deaf ears. We are aware of the fact Mr. Obama will not be seen with Ahmadinejed. He will not invite Assad for dinner. But he felt no qualms sitting with this criminal leader and place him on the same dais as elected heads of State. Our people and country were insulted. This election Ethiopian Americans should pay attention to this fact.
It was wrong. But our brother Abebe was there to set the record straight. Abebe used the art of ‘political heckling’ in its purest form. Citizens heckle out of anger and frustration. Heckling done right subverts the proceedings and knock the powerful and famous from their stride. In less than a minute Abebe accomplished all that and more. The lion roared and the mouse scurried away. There was no hole to hide no place to take shelter. The intense light showed the paper tiger from Arat kilo for what he is, underneath all that TPLF bravado there sits a little scared soul trying to get out. A bully met his match. The Prime Mister preys on the weak. In Washington DC the playing field was leveled in favor of the silenced and oppressed.
Since Friday all the talk has been about the patriotism, unselfish act and bravery of one individual. Yes it is true some people find the inner strength to rise up for the occasion. Somehow they dig deep inside their soul and come up with earth shaking feat that defies the law of nature and gravity. Do you think I am laying it on heavy? I very much doubt that. Can you think of any setting on that fateful Friday where the eyes of the planet were focused on? A meeting with the President of the US, the most powerful person in the world attended by the major News networks definitely counts as the premier event of the week. One individual put everything else aside and decided to be the voice of eighty million silenced souls. OH did he speak!!
Meles Zenawi is a dictator! Meles Zenawi is a dictator! Free Eskinder and all political prisoners! You are a dictator! You are committing crimes against humanity! You do not talk about food without freedom! We need freedom more than food! We need Freedom! Freedom! Freedom!
It was short, precise and to the point. It is all choice words that conveyed our hopes and wishes. The delivery was forceful and the face was that of an angry lion roaring. Where did Abebe get all that energy is a good question? He got it from us! At that moment eighty million souls converged in the body of my friend and he was transformed into human missile of untold force. I was there. You were there. We were all there. Then it came to me. The message was not really directed at President Obama or anyone else. The message was for his people. Abebe was showing us the power of the individual and the enabling act of taking personal responsibility for you fate.
That is why I compared it to Abraha, Moges and Simeyon. Their heroic act was not just about killing Graziani. Mussolini can always send another Viceroy. They were more focused in teaching us what can be accomplished when individuals set their focus and energy in search of freedom. The fact of the matter was it worked. The patriots were inundated by new recruits. The spirit of “Yes I can” became contagious. Apathy was replaced by action. Darkness was gone and the light shone high and bright. That is what I saw the last three days. Ethiopians walking tall. Ethiopians high Fiving each other. Ethiopians understanding the power of the individual to rise up for the occasion.
What was revealing from this incident was the reaction of two individual. The Prime Minster was left speech less. He was left with his mouth wide open and his brain on freeze mode. He entered uncharted territory and he was on a free fall. Abebe’s timing was perfect. The PM was replying about food. That by itself is a very cruel joke being played on our people by the hapless moderator. The question gave the impression the moderator was chosen for his looks and his talking head not his journalistic credentials. He is the kind who would ask the pilot of the Titanic on the procedure of glacier avoidance or Colonel Gadaffi on the art of confronting a hostile mob.
The PM who is celebrating over twenty years in power is the last person to be asked such question. His ill planned policy is the cause of recurring famine and disaster on our ancient land and people. In a sane setting he should be chided for failure of leadership. But in this Disney land environment we were witnessing he was pontificating how the agriculture system should be set to avoid food insecurity. Even the words they choose are not to expose but hide and play cute games at the expense of our people. They call it food insecurity, mal nutrition, calorie deficiency whereas to our people it is pure famine or the absence of food. Nothing more nothing less.
The PM locked side ways with a look of surprise. How could this happen is his first thought. Then he saw the Lion roaring. Relentless, focused, and imbued with the energy of eighty millions and this was one mighty Lion. The dictator looked down. The dictator shrank. The wrath of the oppressed, the spirit of Eskinder, Andualem, Reeyot and all those ghosts he left behind in his dungeon came screaming to haunt him right there on stage. Evil does not pay. The price of bad deeds is mental anguish.
The reaction of his bodyguard is another revealing moment in this high stake drama. He threatened violence against my brother. He responded the only way he knows. ‘We will kill you’ he uttered! What a weak statement. What an empty threat. What a solution to propose for the problem he found himself in. What would have been accomplished by the killing of my brother? They say you cannot teach an old dog a new trick. Killing is the only language the PM and his associates speak. That is the sort of people President Obama invited to his table. We are saddened by this act. We expected better from the son of Africa. We hoped for better things. What the white leaders have done for their brethren in Europe we thought a black president will bring us respite from this agony our continent finds itself in. Not today. We are on our own. Our destiny is in our won hands. It has always been, but the last few years we have shown the tendency to drop the ball. But when you think the future looks bleak the problems pile up and darkness attempts to engulf our soul there rises a beam of bright light like the star of Bethlehem that led the three wise men to where Jesus was born.
That is what we shall do. We shall follow the spirit of our young friend and take matters into our own hands. We will redouble our efforts to free our country and people by any means necessary. One does not make appointment to be free. We start now. We each vow in our homes, our work place wherever we are to start the day of defiance of the evil system starting now. It is the result of our collective effort that can usher the era of peace, democracy and freedom. We do not act due to hate. We do not act to hurt others. But we have God given right to protect ourselves, our family and our country and people from evil.
Live, I wanna live inspired
Die, I wanna die for something
Facing towards the heavens
I fell into pitch a black
I’m moments from landing and I’m shaking like a heart attack
Is there time, can I turn back
I’ve made mistakes in the past
Need a chance, can’t take it back
Wish I could set things right tonight
Live, I wanna live inspired
Die, I wanna die for something higher than myself
Live and die for anyone else
The more I live I see this life’s not about me
All I know spins out of control
Wonder what’s next for the heart and soul
Nothing I earned can save me now
Hear in what may be my final hour
Don’t want to leave this world, knowing I’ve lived in vain
No time for myself, so sorry, so ashamed
Don’t wanna livee this life, knowing I’ve barely tried
Chase down all my dreams that I’ve hid away on the inside
Live I wanna live on fire
Die, I wanna burn out brighter
Brighter than the Northern Lights
Wanna live to feel the daylight
The more I live
I see, this life is not about me
Note: Ethiopian Politics- Richard Pankhurst
Lyrics: Anberlin- Burn Out Brighter (Northern Lights) lyrics
VOA’s Alula Kebede hosts a discussion on the role and responsibilities of journalists as agents of change with Esayas Lisanu of Netsanet Le Ethiopia Radio, Dereje Desta of Zethiopia Newspaper, Abebe Gelaw of ESAT, and Elias Kifle of Ethiopian Review. Listen here.
Ethiopian Review held a highly successful town hall meeting in Washington DC Saturday afternoon, overcoming Woyanne scare tactics, boycott campaigns, and so many difficulties. I was pleasantly surprised by the high attendance after the Woyanne junta in Ethiopia and its cadres abroad did every thing it could to intimidate Ethiopians to not show up at such meetings. The 4-hour town hall meeting was a show of defiance against the fascist junta in Ethiopia and an expression of solidarity by Ethiopian patriots in the Washington DC area.
The participants at the meeting were happy to see representatives of 5 major independent Ethiopian media organizations coming together to share their views about the media’s role in bringing change to Ethiopia. There seems to be a growing appreciation and understanding that the media can play a leading role for positive change. However, as one of the panelists, Dereje Desta of ZEthiopia, said, the change must start from us. The problem is not just Meles Zenawi’s Woyanne junta. There are a number of things we Ethiopians must change if we are to free ourselves — and the most prominent among them is conquering our fear of, and obedience to dictatorships. There are many Ethiopian journalists who reside in free countries such as the United States and yet they are afraid of freely expressing their ideas.
The other panelists, Esayas Lisanu of Netsanet Le Ethiopia Radio, Abebe Belew of Addis Dimts Radio, and Abebe Gelaw of ESAT, all took turn to share their views and answer questions from the audience. There was a persistent call from the audience for the media to cooperate on common issues if they want to get stronger support from the community. One of the suggestions from the audience that has received the loudest applause is for the 5 media organizations that were represented on the stage to hold a joint fund raising event.
Following the Woyanne junta’s all out campaign to dismantle and eliminate any opposition to its rule, hundreds of Ethiopian journalists and political leaders are forced to either go into exile or underground. Currently in Ethiopia it is impossible to operate an independent newspaper, hold opposition party meetings, and organize protest demonstrations. Woyanne’s campaign extends beyond Ethiopia’s borders. It is pouring millions of dollars into a campaign to infiltrate and control every Ethiopian institution in the Diaspora, including places of worship, sports and cultural groups, and the media. It recently allocated $2 million to regain control of the Ethiopian Sports Federation in North America (ESFNA) after the board kicked out the Woyanne hoodlums from the executive committee.
There are a lot of Ethiopians who have fallen prey to the Woyanne campaign. But yesterday’s meeting in Washington DC shows that there is a resurgent opposition that is led by not just political parties alone, but coordinated and facilitated by civic groups, youth groups, the media, political parties, religious leaders and others. The Ethiopian media in particular is playing an increasingly leading role in opposition to the Woyanne rule.
Woyanne acknowledges the power of the media, and has been relentless in its attack against us. Even those of us who are 20,000 kms away from Ethiopia are not spared. But since there is no single target Woyanne can come after, it will be impossible to defeat us. And the growing recognition of the importance of the media in the struggle will hopefully prompt the public to help us build our capacity.
Ethiopian Review will hold similar events in Atlanta, Las Vegas, San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles and others cities in the coming few weeks as part of our 2012 program to build our information infrastructure inside Ethiopia and around the world. We have also launched a sponsorship program where we ask supporters of Ethiopian Review to contribute $5 per month. Please read the details here. Additionally, we are in consultation with the other media to organize a joint fund raising event in the near future.
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