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Birtukan’s release in perspective

By Yilma Bekele

Opposition leader Bertukan Mideksa has been released from Kaliti jail after spending six hundred forty four days, one hundred forty of it in {www:solitary confinement}. We are happy she is reunited with her family and loved ones.

She was thrown into a rat infested jail not because she committed some dastardly crime but for the simple reason of demanding justice and the rule of law in her homeland. Bertukan was what is called a ‘political prisoner.’

The fact that she was the leader of the largest political party and the country was in the process of holding general elections was a {www:factor} in her imprisonment. Her determination to participate in the election process and her {www:overwhelming} popularity with the public was a cause of concern for those in power.

They solved their {www:dilemma} by the only way they know. Bribe, blackmail, jail, exile or kill are the options the TPLF regime brings to the table. They choose jailing in Birtukan’s case.

That it was the wrong choice has been made clear during her two years stay. Her imprisonment became a ‘cause celebre’ for the Ethiopian people. Her {www:incarceration} highlighted the absence of rule of law in Ethiopia. Chairman Birtukan became a rallying point. Her plight was discussed in the US Congress, European Parliament, Noble Prize Committee, Sakharov Prize and many other international awards. What the regime did to her became the {www:symbol} of what is wrong in Ethiopia.

Her freedom should be seen as a beginning of what is to come. Birtukan is but one of the many Ethiopian citizens languishing in Woyane jail because they were deemed to be a ‘threat’ to the ethnic regime. There are thousands of nameless Ethiopians still in jail. Today, as we celebrate the release of Birtukan let us not forget those thousands left behind.

We are not thankful to the regime nor do we see it in a different light. The release of one individual does not wash off the crimes against eighty million people. We know she was released because her country people would not stop invoking her name and her cause in every gathering.

If those in power think that her release would stop the struggle for freedom they are sadly mistaken. If they think releasing one of many will change how we look at our jailers they need to go back and study history. We assure them that the quest for freedom cannot be satisfied by some symbolic act or public relations {www:gimmick}.

Welcome home Chairman Birtukan; we have a lot of unfinished business awaiting us.

ET-409 and the surplus Ethiopians

By Yilma Bekele

It took an article on LA Times to help me gather my thoughts together. I knew there was some thing missing in the story unfolding in front of me. The article by Alexandra Sandels and Borzou Daragahi of Los Angles Times brought it all in focus.

ET409 is a tragic story. We all felt the pain. Although death is a natural occurrence, an accident like ET409 has unpleasant effect on all of us. It is death magnified. ET409 was death in the family. Sudden unexpected death.

Then the passenger manifest started to come out. There were eighty passengers and seven crewmembers. Twenty-two of the passengers were Ethiopians returning home from Lebanon. As far as the foreign press is concerned they were ordinary passengers. Business people or vacationers returning home. But we Ethiopians know better. It was no surprise to us that they were all women. No one has to tell us they will all be young. We have close relatives like that all over the Middle East. They are the surplus Ethiopians.

This group of Ethiopians returned home in a body bag. Some will stay in the Mediterranean. All will have a special place in our hearts. On the other hand talk to any Ethiopian Airlines employee and they will tell you the horror stories of the returnees from the Middle East. The trip back home should be renamed the ‘horror express’. Some return with deep psychological scars, some with visible body scars and some in a casket. Some sit there like zombies unable to talk, afraid to move unsure of themselves. Some come back home to die. They will never recover from the deep humiliation and abuse.

They all go there to better themselves and their family. There used to be a long line stretching all the way to the street and sidewalk in front of the old courthouse in Ledeta. It was a line of girls registering a name change to go to the Middle East. Having a Muslim name was a plus. Then came Woyane and institutionalized the process. They called it employment opportunity and started to charge for the service. Woyane makes a lot of money selling citizens. It is a very lucrative business. It is true they started selling maids to the Middle East before they graduated to selling children to the West in the so-called ‘adoption’ scam.

So our sisters flock to the Middle East to make something of their life. In Lebanon, Dubai, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia etc. they join others like them from the Far East in perpetual servitude. They enter a region with no laws, minimal view of human right and total absence of justice. The plight of our people in the Middle East is an open secret. The suffering and humiliation have been told and retold plenty of times. They jump from high-rise building and kill themselves. They kill their tormentors in self-defense. Unable to understand their agony their brain shuts off.

So the ones that died in the accident are the carriers of this horror. Despite all this happening to them our sisters are on of the highest contributors to Woyane’s 10% growth that is told and retold again and again. Let us take Lebanon by itself. They say there are over twenty five thousand Ethiopians working there. Let us assume each one sends US $100.00 per month. That is US$ 2.5 Million per month and US $30 Million a year. In Ethiopia that will be $390 Million Bir. A lot of money if you ask me. That is what you would call a cash cow.

How does the Ethiopian government appreciate the contribution of these citizens that cling to their motherland despite the threat to their well-being. Silence and indifference is their response. So it was a surprise to see the Woyane Foreign Minster in Beirut after the accident. There he was sitting with the Lebanese Prime Minister. Why did he go there is a good question? Did he go there to gather his people around him and console them in this time of grief? Did he go to meet with friend and family of the victims and tell them their government’s commitment to help in the search and rescue effort? Did he go there to give them moral strength? Did he go there to hold their hands and be with them? I am afraid the answer is none of the above. In Woyane’s Ethiopia those who rule don’t mingle with those ordinary Ethiopians. His Excellency does not have time for uneducated simple maids.

Then why did he go? Well he went as his capacity as Board Chairman of Ethiopian Airlines. Yes he is the Chairman of the Board. Don’t ask what his qualifications are for such a high post. Does his resume shows his talent in managing a little kiosk? Does it show his education and capacity for such a demanding job? Does he have a track record of growing a business? The answer is none of the above. His qualification is his membership in TPLF. Thus he went there because some Lebanese officials used to degrading our Ethiopian sisters upgraded their contempt and questioned the skill of the pilots and crew. The Foreign Minster went there to calm the nerves of the Lebanese officials. He went there to protect the integrity of his cash cow called Ethiopian Airlines. Why they don’t change the name to ‘Woyane Airlines’ is a mystery. The only thing Ethiopian is the name. In America they call it truth in advertising.

Thus it was no surprise to see my Diaspora friends decrying the racism of the Lebanese in the ill treatment of those in grief. Despite the fact that the horrible condition of the Ethiopian guest workers is known to all of us some of us choose to vent our rage on the people of Lebanon. I agree with Fekade, it is totally ‘a misplaced rage’. Our rage should be directed at those that allow such conditions to exist. Our indignations should be directed at the root of the problem. We should be careful in our wholesale condemnation of the Lebanese people. We should be aware that there still are over twenty five thousand of our people working there. We don’t want to contribute for their further ill treatment. Our quarrel is with the TPLF regime that considers the rest of us as trespassers in our own land. We fix our house first and the world will shower us with respect and love. As Henry Thoreau said ‘there are thousands hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the roots…’ don’t tell me you are still hacking at the branches! That is so yesterday my friend. Rage against Lebanon is hacking the branch.

Melkam Gena Weizero Birtukan

By Yilma Bekele

I grew up during the reign of the Emperor. Everybody was afraid of HIM. Then came the Colonel and we had nothing but contempt for him. He was an impostor of no consequence. A rude chapter in our glorious past. Now we are stuck with yet another dictator of questionable deeds. He kills to gain respect. We neither respect him nor are we afraid of him. Our contempt has runnth over.

Chairman Bertukan, you are different. Thinking about you is a very confusing process. Sadness is the first emotion that grips you. The sadness is not for you. The sadness is for all of us. The living dead. The bystanders. The big liars. We pretend to care but we avoid to act. አስመሳዮች፣እግዚኦ ይባል፣

What do you think of us? I know you love us. Isn’t that why they locked you up? That is not such a crazy notion is it? Not really. They jailed you because they are threatened by the love and respect showed to you by the Ethiopian people. You managed to put the cadres in a big quandary. They can’t leave you alone but they can’t lock you up either. That is what you call a problem of Talmudic proportion. Cadre brain is overloaded and shows signs of overheating hence the pungent smoke. That is too much work for collective pea brain. We are talking milliwatts here. It is obvious. The odor of fear has gripped Arat Kilo.

There is a flurry of activity around the world regarding you. You have managed to stay current. You will be surprised by the amount of interest you have raised regarding the lack of freedom in Ethiopia. Your cause has been heard by non other than the US Congress. Your supporters in the US thank Congressman Donald Payne for championing the cause of freedom in the land of his ancestors. Congressman Chris Smith is another friend of Ethiopia. They fought hard for you. I am sure you remember the Hon. Ana Gomez member of the European Parliament. She is still committed to our cause. They have locked you in a dark room but as Abebe said you are a ‘Super Nova”. They say a super nova outshines an entire galaxy. That is what you have done. Amnesty International has declared you to be an important person to fight for. Human Right Watch has issued an alert regarding your condition. You are the Aung San Suu Kyi of Ethiopia.

I saved it for last. The most important people in this equation, your fellow citizens, they are in the fore front of keeping your name, your spirit, and your strong as iron principles in the lime light. There were memorials held in all six continents. Your scattered brethren rejoiced in your memory. It is never a sad event; rather it was a celebration of your leadership. Your resolve in the face of injustice, your cool demeanor under testing circumstances filled all of us with hope.

Your party and old friends informed the city of Addis Ababa their intentions to hold a candle light ceremony to commemorate your illegal incardination. Guess what, the City of Addis Ababa has sold the right to Meskel Square to a different entity. No one knows who the current owner of Meskel square is, thus the memorial was left in limbo. May be EFFORT owns it now. We will know when we see a tool booth to go to Bole. But the memorial was held. It was held in the hearts of Ethiopians all over. No one can stop that can they? The more they try the stronger our resistance.

I read the story on Ethiopia Zare web site ( it was an insight into the complete brutality of the regime. It confirms the lawless nature of society under TPLF. It is nothing to shrug off. Your family, friends and supporters showed up Saturday morning to see you. They were told by the police/prison guard/ TPLF cadre that your allotted visiting hours was from 6PM to 7PM. When they showed up at 6 they were told you were not allowed visitors. Somehow they were granted a favor by allowing you to see your mother and daughter. Forty minutes was what you were allowed to be with your daughter and mother. Your four years old daughter was allowed 40 minutes to hold, kiss and talk to you. This is the enemy we are dealing with. Irrational, cruel inhuman and very petty.

The report said ሓሌ Hale cried on the way out. Actually she wailed like ‘an adult’ is what it said. She is surounded by loving family and a praying nation. Out of the four years of her life she has only spent one year with you. It must be hard on her. We all feel your family’s pain. Your strength is what keeps us going. I told you we are the weakest link. We feed of your resolve. We hear you are on hunger strike. The guards say you return the food sent to you. We worry but we understand.

This is the second time the dictator has jailed you. It looks like you have threatened him to the core. His emotions betray him when it come to you and Dr. Berhanu. His alpha male status is what he got going for him. You guys seem to ratlle that. His utterings regarding you betrays his deep emotions.There was a time when he refferd to you as ‘gelesbua’ ግለስቫ It was the perioed of denial. Nowdays he calls you by your first name. No Chairman Bertukan, no Judge Bertukan not even Weizero Bertukan. You are just plain Bertukan. Is that good? Does he think of you as a friend? Well I am sure that is not a good thing. He is considered highly toxic when it comes to friendship. The highway is litered with the dead and decapitated remains of his former friends. I have noticed you always refer to him as the PM but he does not seem to recogonize your title. I wonder why? Specially since you earned that title democratically.

Do you guys know each other? The Seye affair was classic Bertukan. Defiant! You forced him to show his dictatorial card. Changing the law to fit the crime is classic. And to do it in one weekend is just an increadable feat. That couldl easly qualify him for the dictators hall of fame.
I know he is familiar with Dr. Berhanu. I am sure he does not like him. He can’t silence him. He can’t even jail him but he wants to excuite him. Who said he lacks a sense of humor.

So you are in jail, Dr. Berhanu is awaiting the firing squad and Hailu Shawel is in Mekele campaigning. I saw Hailu’s video and I just sat there. All I could think is Meles got a new pet to play with. That must be his X-Mas present from Azeb. I guess he got tired of Ledetu. Use and discard, that is the Woyane way. Who needs recycling when you have so many hodams. I also noticed it was an orderly crowed wheras the attempt by your party to hold a meeting in Nazret was nothing but embarrassaing. I guess it is ok to speak Amharic in Mekele but not in Nazret. Poor Hailu was let loose in a sea of cadres. At long last he is with his kind. They must have have been laughing their ass off. The new freak is in town. The show will be screened for the ferenjis you can be sure of that.

The ferenjis are another matter. The US, Britain and Germany are at their old game again. The Chinese and even the Indians are enablers too. It has nothing to do with color, it is all about national interest. The only problem here is who is looking after our interest? I have some bad news for you. A few of our own people are part of the problem. They are anti woyane in public and investors at night. This holiday season while you are in kaliti they are dancing with the Sheik at the Shearton. Feeble minds are dangerous. Hodams are a curse. I am sure they present all sorts of theories and justifications for their betrayal. No matter, it is shameful, disgusting and short lived.

Do you think the regime is threatened a little less because you are in jail? Or do you think you guys are a shot across the bow. It is meant to be a warning. አባይን በጭልፋ( Nile with a spoon) is what comes to mind. It wouldn’t work. The contempt of the Ethiopian people twards TPLF/EPDRF and other garbage is such that nothing will stop the coming tsunami of rage. Since the dawn of time dictators have tried every immaginable method to rule by force. None have worked. That need of the human soul to be free is woven in our DNA. When we are free we thrive. Look at all the Ethiopians building a successful life where ever they have settled. We are no different from our cousins back home. We are just free to soar like an eagle.

We wish you a happy holiday. Your sacrifice is not in vain. Your people are waking up. The woyane game has run its course. There is no turning back. Your courageous stand is not about winning but it is all about doing what is right and moral. Winning will come. There is no question about that. Our wish and our prayer is to give all of us the strength to withstand this time of trial so our people and country will survive woyane madness.

መልካም ገናውድ እህታችን፣መሪአችን፣

Ethiopia under siege

By Yilma Bekele

Siege is a strong term. It is normally used to describe a war situation. The invading army resorts to siege when it encounters a fortress or robust defense it cannot overcome easily. When a siege occurs the enemy surrounds the city or fortification and does not allow reinforcements to come in or permit those inside to escape.

The most famous modern day siege is that of the ‘Siege of Leningrad’ by Nazi troops during World War II. It lasted twenty-nine months. The Soviet Union lost over a million and half people. We are witnessing ‘Gaza under siege’ by Israel as you are reading this article. Human history is full of atrocities as such.

Our country Ethiopia is under siege. We are not under invasion by a foreign force. Who needs enemies when you have friends so they say. We are under siege by a homegrown enemy. We find ourselves in the most unenviable situation of crying wolf but the wolf is us. We are in a strange predicament and it is very confusing to outsiders and ourselves.

You can rally people around a foreign enemy. The enemy is identifiable. The enemy is easy to target. The brain is more willing to accept the definition of ‘enemy’. What we got in Ethiopia is blurred vision. The enemy has watered down the definition. The enemy is also relentless. The whole country is one battleground. No one is immune from being incorporated or made into a subsidiary.

Why would anybody want to destroy Ethiopia is a good question. What a diabolical thing to say or think is a rational reaction. Are you sure Ethiopia is the target is a common response. On the other hand we could be victims of what is known as the ‘law of unintended consequences’. This is how Wikipedia defines the law.

The “law of unintended consequences” (also called the “law of unforeseen consequences”) states that any purposeful action will produce some unintended consequences…

Stated in other words, each cause more than one effect and these effects will invariably include at least one unforeseen side effect. The unintended side effect can potentially be more significant than any of the intended effects.

This is a good point as any trying to understand our current crisis. What exactly was Ato Meles fighting for? How did he go about to attain that goal?

He started as an ethnic study group and formed an ethnic liberation organization. Although all those before him and around him were organized as a multi-national he choose the ethnic road.

There lies the fork on the road. His organization took the easy path. They choose to fight injustice by rallying around primitive ethnicity rather than nationality. It was a short cut.

Our current dilemma has been brewing for eighteen years or so but the seeds were planted over forty years ago. The late sixties and seventies were a time of turmoil. There were two super powers and two contending ideologies. The West was vilified due to its history of colonialism and the then war in Vietnam. Marxism was getting acceptance in the new emerging nations. Our country’s intellectuals were drawn into this philosophy to solve the many problems facing our country. The two questions of land ownership and good governance were the main issues.

We gave birth to the military junta. It was a miscarriage. Despite the Derge lasting seventeen years it was an utter failure in bringing about a positive change. We were caught between the East and the West and we were not ready or able to play that game. Everything our forefathers taught us was turned upside down. All that we learned in thousands of years were discarded in a matter of days. All that which made us Ethiopian was declared old, backward, reactionary and other not favorable adjectives. We know for a fact that most of our core beliefs were challenged and ruled unfit for the new Ethiopia.

Our current leaders are the children of that era. Meles and company built their new psudo ideology on that premise. They also took the then ascending theory of socialism as a dogma instead of a scientific philosophy to be interpreted and reinterpreted as situations change. As Lenin bastardized scientific Marxism to suit his notion of the petty bourgeois seizing power in the name of the proletariat, as Mao Tse Tung reinterpreted Lenin and substituted the peasantry for the petty bourgeois our own TPLF came up with the notion of ethnic based organization to seize and hold power.

We are all products of our environment despite what some US Senators tried to claim otherwise during the recent hearing during Judge Sotomayor’s confirmation. Ato Meles and his mentor Aboy Sebhat are perfect specimens of this assertion. Ato Meles and his comrade’s tunnel vision came from their insular upbringing in the little Village of Adwa. For Meles and company someone born in Hawzen down street from Adwa is an outsider. The rest of Ethiopia is a foreign land. It will not be farfetched to claim that it was during his trip to Addis to attend high school that Ato Meles even met an Oromo, a Gurage or a Sidama.

The many years they spent fighting the Derge was not spent in devising solutions to bring about change but rather sharpening the skills necessary to control and subjugate others. The many writings by ex TPLF members show that disproportionate amount of resources were allocated to eliminating internal dissent rather than building a democratic institution. It is not far fetched to assert that TPLF killed or exiled more Tigrean than the Derge.

What exactly did they bring with them when they marched into Addis as victors on that fateful day in 1991? They brought with them the concept of Kilil, a new revised ethnic map and a new flag. All these years fighting and this is all they have to show for it? Unfortunately this is it! No new agenda to improve agriculture, no new program to encourage rebuilding of industries or learning centers or no new idea to return our old nation on the path of reclaiming our eminence place in Africa.

It was the Derge dressed up in civilian uniform. They were happy to inherit all Derge institutions that were set up for coercion. They took ‘Kebele’ organizations and replaced the heads not the function, they appropriated internal security intact and installed their trained killers and psychos as people in charge. They inherited all land and property as state asset. They transferred state owned industries to EFFORT and called it privatization. They changed the name of their ideology from Marxism-Leninism and Enver Hoxha thought to Revolutionary Democracy.

The last eighteen years they went about looting everything that is of any value. In the words of Aboy Sebhat they built EFFORT as the premier corporation in the country. That claim is incorrect. They robed from Ethiopia. To think TPLF leaders who have never worked for a living, never paid bills from their hard earned income, never even have a simple bank account in their name but were able to build such an enterprise is absurd. It is not an exaggeration to claim EFFORT is bigger than Ethiopia. TPLF is one gigantic wealth sucking vacuum devise with tentacles in all aspect of the life of our people.

Transportation is owned by the Foreign Minister, Sugar is owned by the Military Generals, Brewery is owned by advisors, building and engineering is owned by party hacks, telecommunications and media is owned by the first lady, banking is owned by the party, coffee and other commodities are under the new exchange (TPLF subsidiary) and so on so forth. There isn’t a single aspect of movement of capital in the country without the involvement of TPLF or its subsidiaries.

This is where the ‘law of unintended consequences come in.’ Ato Meles and company organized this huge machine to loot and pillage. Think of TPLF as the parasite and Ethiopia the host. The parasite has been feeding wantonly for the last eighteen years. The host is dying. The well being of the parasite has the exact opposite effect on the host. The parasite is fat and flabby. The host is just skin and bones. The natural outcome is for both host and parasite to perish. It is possible the parasite can move on and find another host. But the host is too weak to survive. Other parasites are hovering to devour what is left of it.

On the other hand the host can wake up from its long slumber and develop an anti biotic to save it self. In this scenario the host did develop a vaccine to protect itself. Kinijit was the vaccine. It was not a fully developed vaccine. The parasite was able to adapt. It was mimicking the HIV virus. It became a moving target. What is required is what is known as a ‘cocktail’ drug. Scientists found out that HIV develops resistance to every antiviral drug and once one drug fails the whole combination is not effective anymore. The trick was finding the right combination of drugs. Kinijit was stuck on the concept of working within the system. A single drug solution. But TPLF was like our HIV lentivirus. One drug alone is not enough. Like the HIV scientists we have to come up with a ‘cocktail’ of resistance combinations. Some call it ‘hulegeb tigil’.

Now TPLF have come to another crossroads. This unquenchable thirst they have to amass wealth is creating its own contradictions. The well is in the process of drying up. What to do? Of course there is always the option of skipping town in the cover of darkness. But that will be admitting guilt thus hunting them down becomes a simple process. There is always the possibility of fanning civil war. But the ensuing chaos might consume them too. Except for a few million stashed away in foreign banks most of the wealth is still sitting in Ethiopia. With modern forensic accounting every penny deposited outside can be traced and any way what is the point of having it if you can’t enjoy it. Their unabashed greed is becoming their undoing.

In an attempt to understand their destructive polices we ascribe such explanations as their hate towards our country, being Eritrean (good old Eritrea always there) their vow to destroy our old kingdom or their grand plan to liberate Tigre as a nation. I have never been comfortable looking into people’s motives. I am more interested in their action. The action of the TPLF mafia group is that of a petty thief but on a national scale.

The issue in front of us is that the cadres are in the process of destroying our homeland. The question put to each and every one of us is what are you going to do about it? Yes, you what is your next move. You can sit in a coffee house or a family gathering and recount the many horror stories of TPLF and company. You can even blame the opposition for not uniting or for splitting into factions at a drop of a hat. Unfortunately that would not absolve you of your responsibilities. Why you want to shift responsibility unto others is strange. You still have not answered the question what are you doing about it? Fighting injustice takes many forms. We all are not cut out to be solders. What is asked of us is to contribute positively to liberate our homeland so we have some place to go at the end of the day.
What is universally clear is no masters have voluntarily let his slaves go, no colonialist have granted freedom without a fight, no dictator have vacated power without struggle. Ato Meles and his inner group have to be forced to see the dead end road they are traveling. It is not about rational discussion with irrational people. Their greed is their Achilles heel. Their perceived economic strength is their vulnerability. That is where we should concentrate our fire. We don’t have to bring them down. We just have to make them stagger and they will fall.

As Henry Thoreau said ‘there are thousands hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the roots…’ don’t tell me you are still hacking at the branches!


Ato Meles and his interviews – reading between the lines

By Yilma Bekele

Dear Ato Meles, I have been following your interviews with the foreign media the last few months. I have no idea why you prefer to discuss matters regarding our country with the foreign press. One would think that it would be better to discuss your plans, dreams and musings with the Ethiopian people rather than blabber with foreign journalists who a) are not well informed about the country b) do not give a figs leaf what you a Prime Minister of one of the poorest country have to say and bury the story on page ten beside the obituaries forcing us to dig deep so we the concerned can publish it on page one.

To say I am always baffled after reading or listening to your interviews is putting it mildly. You always seem to have a different take on the situation in the country. The facts on the ground do not seem to support the conclusions you reach. Have you thought of any reason why that is so?

I know it is presumptuous of me to comment on the matter and I humbly ask your Excellency to indulge me in this little exercise to set the record straight. First and foremost I want you to know that I wholly understand that when one is isolated from normal everyday human contact one develops certain ideas and beliefs not grounded in fact or truth. From what I understand you have been residing at your current address since 1991. Shall we just say Arat Kilo is an awe-inspiring location?

I did not have the privilege of visiting the inside but I am sure it is very luxurious. It must have beautiful hardwood floors in the dining rooms, Italian tiles in bath bathrooms, thick Persian or Afghan rugs and carpets in the bed rooms, long Mahogany dining room tables with beautiful chandlers and real crystal lights everywhere, oh let us just say opulent. I hope the previous tenant did not remove some of the expensive items. He left in a little bit of a hurry so may be he did not have time to loot. I know for a fact that you have turned the place into a modern fortress since you moved in. It is highly possible the so-called Green Zone in Iraq was a copy of Arat Kilo.

The move from ‘meda’ to palace must have been most jarring to say the least. Unless handled carefully such a move can cause a lot of anxiety and delusion. Believe me it is normal. Here in the US we witness that all the time. Most athletes from the inner cities are prone to that. The idea of jumping from public housing one bedroom apartment to signing a multi-million-dollar contract has been blamed for plenty of meltdowns.

It is fair to say it has been over eighteen years since you have found yourself in the company of ordinary people discussing ordinary issues as an equal. You have managed to get rid of a majority of the people who know you as Legesse. Some have died under peculiar circumstances, you have jailed quite a few, some have been exiled to far away places and some have resigned before you got to them. That leaves the few that have accepted their location on the bottom of the totem pole. Those are the sycophants. The yes men, the flatters. There is no one in the vicinity that is able to correct you when you are wrong, advise you when you err or set you straight when you digress.

I believe that explains the many false statements you seem to utter to the complete disbelief of your country’s people. As I said before this little note is to help you see the other side of the story. It is an attempt to show you a different perspective so you know that there is another reality outside of Arat Kilo.
I will start with your recent interview with the Financial Times of London on June 23. A lot of UN true stuff was said. I will not bother with most of your answers except the one dealing with the free press.
FT: All these events have contributed to an atmosphere where people do not feel free to speak.
MZ: Have you read the local newspapers? Do they mince their words about government …
You see my problem here? What local newspaper are you talking about? Isn’t it true that after the 2005 elections you have managed to destroy the free press? Didn’t your government enact new legislation to strangle the press? For your information you own the single television transmitter, you won the single short wave radio transmitter and you own the telecommunication department. There is no free press in Ethiopia. There are a few that are struggling with a loaded gun held to their temple. Somehow they manage to publish. You really do not think that we consider ‘The Ethiopian Reporter’ as an example of free press do you? We know it is there to give legitimacy to your regime. Nothing more.

In August of 2008 you told your Parliament “In general, we don’t expect drastic effects on our economy, our financial structure is not as liberalized as those of affected countries and the economy is not intertwined to Western economies to face a crisis” Do you want to revise that assertion? Do you see now that our country is not an island? Why were you unable to see that the single crop Ethiopia has been peddling before you were born is going to be affected by world economy slow down? How come you did not know the double digit economic growth you have been shouting about is the result of misguided and selfish Ethiopians in the Diaspora investing in your real estate ponzi scheme and remittances are going to dry up?

Since the debacle of the 2005 election your National Bank has been printing Bir as if it is going out of style. What made you think this kind of irresponsible economic scheme will not result in inflation? I know you have to increase the money supply to keep up with the ever-increasing demand of the military, Kebele officials, public security personnel and various Kilil dogs you have to appease. Your government is the number one employer in the country. So now we are faced with both devaluation and inflation. Are you aware that you have to devalue the Bir by another 20%? Are we going to do five percent here nine percent there or are we going to swallow the bitter medicine all at once and get it over with? Inflation dipping to single digit…when pigs fly.

You have been titillating us with this talk of quitting why is that? This is what you told Financial Times:

FT: Why is it that Ethiopians don’t really believe you could go?

MZ: Because it has not been done in the past in Ethiopia.

FT: But this is a precedent you would like to set?

MZ: This is a precedent that I would almost kill to set.

Very dramatic indeed. Believe me you can purchase a ticket from your local TPLF kiosk and fly away and no one will care. Killing, beating and maiming is an obsession with you TPLF folks. There is no need to kill anybody, but if you have to kill may we suggest one of your comrades. On the other hand there are a few unsettled businesses between the Ethiopian people in general and you and your TPLF cadres in particular. The massacre in the aftermath of the 2005 elections is in the forefront. I believe Judge Wolde Michael Meshesha would like to interview you about that without the presence of your armed goons. There are also a lot of families that want closure and justice done. There is also the murder of Professor Asrat, Assefa Maru and god knows how many more to be dealt with. You really do not think all will be swept under the rug do you? We don’t care what Ledetu have promised you but it will not work.
When you say your party have to agree what exactly does that mean? Are they asking for blanket forgiveness for all crimes committed the last eighteen years? Are they demanding Parliamentary resolution to that effect? Are they threatening you in anyway, something like we all go together or we stay put? Most of you in the politburo are exposed to criminal charges whereas the rank and file is afraid of economic meltdown. It must be difficult to explain how one becomes a multi millionaire in a mere fifteen years. Is this the discussion inside the TPLF? We know for a fact that those ‘teletafis’ or pretend party’s are unsettled about this talk of you leaving them high and dry to face the music. They never thought the end was coming. Do you stay awake all night thinking about all these unpleasant matters? Do you think you are clever and you will manage to squeeze out of this predicament you find yourself in?
They say hindsight is one hundred percent, do you look back and think may be you should have exited peacefully in 2005? What did all that killing bring you except a few million more and universal condemnation? Are you improvising as you go along or do you really have a plan for what is about to happen tomorrow?

The world has changed a lot since 2005. The hate level of the Ethiopian people against your TPLF cadres has skyrocketed, the economy has tanked and there is no light at the end of the tunnel. Creating ethnic tension has become too obvious, terrorism is so yesterday it has been devalued more than your Bir and your loyal dogs are lined up by the exit door (check out your Communications Minister who is getting ready to spill his guts on Addis Voice, VOA or DW radio) If I were you I will assign loyal cadres to watch Addisu, Dula, Kumsa, Azeb and Kasu Ilala. Betrayal is second nature in your sorry outfit.

So you said you want to retire in peace and rest. Well let me tell you what the opposition have in store for the future of our country upon your departure to Kaliti. Here are the top ten:

· Truth and reconciliation committee will be set up. Citizens will be encouraged to file grievances.
· New Constitution will be written after extensive discussion and debate.
· Kilils will be abolished.
· Land belongs to the individual not the government will be the law.
· All confiscated property will be returned to the lawful owners.
· Television, radio, newspaper, Internet and telephone service will be in private hands.
· All bank account, property and assets of former officials will be frozen awaiting certification of how it was amassed.
· All international agreements and deals made by the TPLF government will be subject to review.
· The millions of Ethiopians in the Diaspora will be encouraged to return home and participate in building the motherland. When we say contribute it is not bars or nightclubs but farming, industry and other productive enterprises.
· That ugly symbol you affixed will be removed from our flag never ever to be seen again.
I know all the foreign press has been asking you about the increasing repression, your hasty departure from Somalia, the drying up of foreign reserve and now the lack of electricity in 2009. No one seems to have any thing good to say about your regime. Judge Bertukan’s star is shining bright from behind bars. Your feeble attempts to rub shoulders with democratically elected leaders have only brought you further humiliation. Brave leaders face the consequences of their actions head on and either apologize to their people or take the Japanese way out you know what I mean. Which one would it be? Riding peacefully into the sunset is out of the question!

Ghana fixation

By Yilma Bekele

I was listening to National Public Radio and they were reporting about President Obama’s coming visit to Ghana. Of course I turned the volume up. I did not want to miss anything. My Ghanaian cousins were delirious. The reporter was interviewing a hotel owner that has named his establishment Hotel Obama. He was describing the big portraits of Mr. and Mrs. Obama in the corridor near the special suite named for them. They even spared a wall for VP Bidden. Let us just say the Ghanaians are gloating.

May be they do have every right to gloat. It is not every day that a US president drops by Africa. And when the US President is a fellow African it makes the visit extra special. Just because they were able to hold three consecutive elections without bloodshed and turmoil do they think they are God’s gift to Africa? The fact that the visit by President Obama will give them the opportunity to showcase democracy working on the African continent is no reason to be filled with pride.

They claim this is not just a visit by Mr. Obama but an investment that will pay dividends for a long time to come. It is true that investors are going to look at Ghana in a different light. We know that the self-esteem of the Ghanaian people is entering a new phase.

I don’t mean to rain on their parade but excuse me how about us Ethiopians? Hello we are still around. Thank you very much for asking but we are not just sitting idle either. We have a few accomplishments to crow about.

First thing first, where is the President flying from to visit Ghana? That is right he was attending the G8 meeting in Italy (richest industrialized countries that include USA, UK, Japan, Germany, France, Italy and Canada) Officially invited were China, Brazil, India, Mexico and South Africa. It is a very important conference. Who do you think was claiming to represent Africa? That is right it was no other than the King sorry Prime Minter of Ethiopia. Don’t ask me what Ethiopia was doing there. We were invited by no other than our friend Senor Berlusconi ok? Let us just leave it at that.

This year G8 meeting was primarily concerning the global warming trend and reduction of green house gas emissions. I know for a fact the Ghanaians are not cooperating. From what I hear they are marching fast to industrialize their country. Their power consumption is one of the highest in Africa and they are in the process of developing their offshore oil deposits. Due to their ridiculous insistence on development and raising the standard of living of their people they were not invited to the meeting. That should serve them right.

On the other hand look at Ethiopia. A true citizen of this planet. A country that should be held in high regard by humanity. We are on the forefront of those that are concerned about the fate of planet earth. With no probing by anybody our country has decreased its carbon emission by more than eighty percent. We want the world to know that electricity is something you can do with out. We have voluntarily curtailed our generating capacity. Three days a week is more than adequate.

The few industries that were generating some pollution have been idle. The net reward is less commute for our people so they spend more time with their families huddled around kerosene lamps. We have also realized savings by abolishing the Ministry of Industry. As it was just a drain on our budget but the new policy of no electricity has made it obsolete.

Ethiopia has also been the pioneer in population control. We have elevated the science of food shortage crisis into a higher level. The current government is building on the important far-reaching work laid by the military regime. We are happy to say that food begging has been made into an art form. In accordance with our commitment to reduce world population Ethiopia has been sacrificing between ten to fifteen million citizens yearly. We are in the process of clearing more virgin forest to use it for subsistence level farming. We assure the world that the yield is so low that it will have no impact on our goal of creating further famine.

Our education policy is the envy of the continent. The whole planet is a net beneficiary. In the 1970 we dabbled in what is referred to as the ‘red’ and ‘white’ terror. The policy was able to eliminate most of the educated community. In the last twenty years we have perfected the system. Simply put we practice what is known as the ‘educate, train and exile’ principle. To attain that goal we have exported most of our university teachers and doctors. The government is in the process of abandoning the field of education to be filled by unscrupulous individuals and organizations with profit as the main motive. We believe an ignorant population will help us meet our self-imposed goal of one hundred percent green house gas reduction. We will also realize gains by less expenditure on munitions since an ignorant population is a docile population.

We have a lot to crow about. You don’t see us gloating about all this, may be except the folks at Aiga. You know how they are. It don’t take much to excite them. I mean they put up a computer generated freeway system on top of a picture of Addis and get super delirious. Reality challenged is their other name. It would have been a lot better if Mr. Obama would have come to Addis and experienced total darkness. No light. No TV. No Internet. No cold soda. No hot water. If he is so lucky he can also enjoy the double whammy of no electricity and no water. Give us two more months and we can foresee the possibility of triple a hit. With the country’s foreign reserve dwindling there will be no petrol for civilian use. Need I add no Automobile. In your face Ghana!