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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!

15 thoughts on “Ato Meles and his interviews – reading between the lines

  1. Not badly written but proof read before publishing to avoid sentences like “…Green Zone in Iran.”

    Green Zone is in Iraq not Iran.

    Other wise ppl will doubt your article.

  2. Ato Yilma Bekele…

    I have nothing more to add on this article…
    You really touch my core believes on what will going to happen to Ethiopia soon.
    For that GOD bless you!
    Keep it up my Brother!!!!

  3. Interesting, but you are preparing him to steal more money and hide it somewhere outside the country. If he reads your article, then he would say: “O have I been that much bad or careless; so let me be ready and leave without any one’s knowledge.”

    We want to catch him before he is ready to flee the country and send him to Qaliti Jail.

  4. Who cares where the green zone located? It’s a very good article and we should concentrate on the message not on such minor mistakes. Thank you for writing! you put our thoughts in a nice way.


  5. Job well done, Mr. Bekele. I wonder if the “Somalia Tera” Prime Minister will take the time to read your article?

    My gut feeling is: he will! Another sleepless night is what is waiting for him after he finished reading it.

  6. I have been in the USA almost for 20 years and follow every thing from politics to comedy about Ethiopia. I must say, this is the first time I read an uplifting idea ever! Who ever you are, you touched my inner emotion and I can only say it is TO GOOD TO BE TRUE. I consider myself a person with good intention and intellect when it comes to Ethiopia, I dream every single day for a time when I go back and do just what said we should do after the storm. My advice to you is: Be true to your words if you happen to be one of the politicians who are on the launching board to become he new tenant of Minilik’s place. Good job!!!!!

  7. Yilma Bekele,

    The reason why TPLF is still mocking at you and US is for the sole reason of your conclusions. You have opined that regions will be dissolved. Aren’t you tired of rewriting new constitutions every btime government is changed? Don’t you think that there are other, more civilized methods of dealing with contentious issues? Who are you reperesenting in a country of multitudes? You blame others, but you are repeating the same thing as Woyane does. Shame!!!!

  8. it seems like you are talking to Meles in his palace. the points you mentioned that we are going to do to the ppl of Ethiopia and to Meles and his supporters after we sent Meles to Kaliti are very well understood. the other thing is; in my opinion, unles you have won lottery, it is realy hard to be a milioner in 15 years. as we all know the Woyanes are rich because they have stolen lots of properties from the innocent ppl. just like those ppl in the past who controled the high posts and let the ppl starved; and as Meles punished them for doing that, i don’t think it is a good idea to punish him and his supporters for what they did. instead, let’s teach the ppl forgiveness and love. let’s follow Teddy Afro’s way. we won’t benefit nothing from punishing them. i know we will accomplish our goals that we set if we work together. imagine how many ppl have been punished infront of other ppl starting from way back in history upto now, but the question is how did that change to the growth of our country? nothing, nothing, nothing, but it created hatred between us, so that has to be changed. “EGNA SINWADED YESEMASHAL GETA” lehulachinem YASTESERYAL yemilewn yetedin gabjalehu> AMEN!!!

  9. Proof Read,

    You yourself should pay attention while reading and please do not rush to critics; the writer wrot it correct,it is you read it incorrect.Any hows , go appologize.

    Otherwise, it is a wonderful and brotherly advise, Joro yalew Yisma new negeru.

  10. a very well written articulation of what’s in the hearts and minds of the hungry-for-change ethiopians.

    Ethiopia shall rise again from the ashes and shine bright
    as a beacon of freedom, development, and ethnic harmony.

  11. Yilma Bekele is one of the best sons of Ethiopia, who writes the truth on behalf of his people. The article that he wrote like any other articles of his own are based on truth and well researched. All Ethiopians suffering by this brutal regime, appreciates what he does. In the contrary, a few woyane cadres that are not happy with the truth, are reading Iraq as Iran and try to throw anything aimlessly. Yilama Bekele is a highly regarded person by most Ethiopians abroad and at home.

  12. Well written article.

    What amazes me about this man is how he was able to fool Ethiopians and Westerners in general.

    Here is a man limited academically but with a voracious appetite for books that was able to fool diplomats in Addis. He would call them for regular sessions in his office and would vomit what he had learned the previous night. The diplomats would be awed by this African that could recite verses from economic development books like they wre his own. Heck, even Sacks him alled a very brilliant man.
    Well now we now, despite paid advise from ex-BBC journalists and RAND corporation officials, this man has reached a point of no-return. His star in the West has dimmed big time after 2005 ; his popularity within the country is at a very low level ; he wants to go but do not know where he could go; his is shunned by Blair (Blair is actually a non-paid advisor to Kagame ) ; by Bush and now by Obama.
    He is left with giving endless incoherent and inconsistent interviews that no one listens anymore.

    Well he had a good run …and now What?

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