Good news is always welcome. Then there is the extraordinarily good news that jars you from your slumber. And when the good news happens right around Christmas there is nothing one can do other than put more log in the fire place, take a generous helping of the twelve year old scotch light up a fat Cohibas and sit back with Cheshire cat smile imprinted on ones face. That is what I wanted to do yesterday if only I had a fireplace, aged scotch or a fat cigar. Not to worry I had the good news and it brought a wide smile.
The good news is the exit of Susan Rice from the idea of becoming the Secretary of State. Poor Susan she did not even get nominated but they dangled her name out there to be trashed and mangled. They found out she is toxic. It looks like contemplating Susan Rice as foreign policy maker brought queasiness and nausea to some king makers.
Susan’s demise woke me up. The last few weeks I was in ‘Ground hog day’ land. Have you watched the movie ‘Ground Hog Day’? That was what I felt like. In that story the main character finds himself repeating the same day again and again. That is our country Ethiopia in a nutshell. The same crap story told over and over again until we become numb to it.
In the movie Phil the main character comes to face with his shallow and indifferent existence and is compelled to make amends. He was able to break the loop of indifference, apathy and selfishness. You know what my ultimate fear is? As an Ethiopian, it is to think that we are unable to get out of this loser loop we are wallowing for the last few decades.
We pride ourselves as being the oldest Nation State in history. We are quick to point out that we were never colonized. Both are commendable feats. The issue facing us now is what has that got to do with today. Those past accomplishments though daring have no relevance to the situation we are in now. Where exactly are we at today? We are with all due respect technologically backward, quality of life at the bottom any human achievement, a very inadequate educational and health system, an oppressive and lawless political arrangement and the epicenter of famine and starvation.
No need to deny that, no need to cringe and totally useless not to face realty. Unless one comes face to face with one’s ailment solution cannot be found. The first step towards recovery is realizing we have a problem and it is the cause of the many difficulties faced by our country and people. The best approach to bring about change is to look at the specific problems our behavior is causing and tackle that. For example being a coward makes us bow to authority, lack of character makes us lie and cheat to each other, our problem with low self-esteem makes us indifferent to the plight of fellow countrymen, our selfish attitude works against our own self-interest in the long run and we play the blame game to distance ourselves from the problem at hand and avoid responsibility.
The last few months have been trying times extraordinaire. It was like we were caught in a vortex, meaning a whirling mass of nothingness coming at us from all sides. I am of course talking about the US presidential elections and my Ethiopian brethren’s behavior here in good old America. I am sure glad it is over. The unbridled enthusiasm of my fellow Ethiopians escapes any and all explanations. Some were consumed by it, a few were stressed out plenty were hating on the Republican Party while lost souls like myself were diving for cover. It was not easy. There was no place to hide.
It was an impossible mission trying to get a response why my friends were gung ho about Barrack Obamas reelection. To tell you the truth I had nothing against it. At the same time I did not find any reason to be frenzied or extremely emotional either. Of course I will vote for him if given the chance but I wouldn’t be twisted out of shape or lose any sleep regarding the outcome if different.
Please note here that I am speaking as an Ethiopian since choosing someone is based on purely selfish needs. What is he gona do for me is the only question the average person asks of a candidate unless of course one is altruistic and I am afraid that is not what most people are. Most Americans voted for candidate Obama because he promised to lower taxes for the middle class, bring immigration reform, set a dead line regarding the country’s involvement in Afghanistan, killed Osama and seemed to have a functional family. Mr. Romney’s constant foot in the mouth situation and show of absolute detachment from reality was a great help towards Mr. Obama’s reelection attempt.
The crucial question to an Ethiopian is of course what is he going to do for my country Ethiopia? That was what I wanted to be addressed when conversing with my Ethiopian-American family and friends. If their support is due to the fact that he is the son of Africa or he shows empathy towards the middle class I completely agree. My problem was when a few want to drag poor Ethiopia into the equation and claim his reelection will help our country. As they say the devil is in the details and here is one situation where the truth does not jive with reality.
Four years ago Mr. Obama appeared on the scene as the messenger of change. In all his speeches he made it clear that the US under his leadership will stand with the down trodden and the oppressed in a new kind of way. Upon being elected that was his message when he toured the Middle East and that was his message to his African family when he made a brief stopover in Ghana. We were overjoyed when he put dictators everywhere on notice that their days of horror is over. Here is a long excerpt from President Obama’s speech to Africans from Accra, Ghana in July of 2009.
“We must start from the simple premise that Africa’s future is up to Africans…..First, we must support strong and sustainable democratic governments……
As I said in Cairo, each nation gives life to democracy in its own way, and in line with its own traditions. But history offers a clear verdict: governments that respect the will of their own people are more prosperous, more stable, and more successful than governments that do not.
This is about more than holding elections – it’s also about what happens between them. Repression takes many forms, and too many nations are plagued by problems that condemn their people to poverty. No country is going to create wealth if its leaders exploit the economy to enrich themselves, or police can be bought off by drug traffickers. No business wants to invest in a place where the government skims 20 percent off the top, or the head of the Port Authority is corrupt. No person wants to live in a society where the rule of law gives way to the rule of brutality and bribery. That is not democracy, that is tyranny, and now is the time for it to end…. But I can promise you this: America will be with you. As a partner. As a friend.”
Beautifully said don’t you think so? No one could have said it better. I distinctly remember the time and place when I read that speech, would it be too much to reveal that it gave me mental orgasm? If mere words can intoxicate this was it. I cried. At last, I said a friend in a place of power, my prayers have been answered.
I waited and waited and waited some more. I told myself may be next week, next month you think next year? Unfortunately what Mr. Obama says and what President Obama does is not the same thing. There is a dis-connect between words and deeds. “Barack Obama became a less ideological but more effective version of George W Bush,” said Professor Aaron Miller, a vice-president at the Woodrow Wilson Centre. How true.
Thus the coddling of dictators continued unabated, the use of drones to kill from afar got accelerated and the marginalization of Africa did not cease. My country Ethiopia became a pawn in America’s war with its enemies. My dictator was invited to sit alongside his masters, the enablers that choose not to see what he was doing to my country as long as he served their purpose.
President Obama’s State department never stopped detailing the crimes of the dictator against his people while President Obama’s Pentagon was generous in furnishing weapons, transportation and training to those who use it against the same people and commit the crimes to be recited by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the victims themselves. And most of all Mr. Obama’s rhetoric against dictators, deniers of freedom and human right abusers never stopped.
Thus when my Ethiopian American friends were moving heaven and earth to get their candidate reelected I wondered why? What would the other guy running for the office do different than what is being done to us now? If they are supporting the President as an American citizen I understand but why are they throwing the word Ethiopian in front of their designation. That is not fair. To show them that they actually do not matter the newly re-elected President threw Susan Rice at us as a thank you prize. Take that my Ethiopian-American constituent.
Wait a minute isn’t this the same Susan Rice that insulted Meles Zenawi’s victims as fools? Is it the Susan Rice that travelled all the way to Addis to vouch the humanity of the butcher and mad man? Yes the one and only Susan Rice that went to Harlem to preach at the war lord’s memorial. Of course there is more to her than that. During the second term of Bill Clinton’s Presidency our Susan Rice was Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs and how do you think she showed her love to Africa? It was by friending characters such as Rwanda’s Kagame, Uganda’s Museveni, Ethiopia’s Zenawi, and Congo’s Kabila. Could you think of any loathsome characters as these? The five dysfunctional sycophants are responsible for the death of hundreds of thousands of Africans and Susan Rice shares the credit and blame.
Rumor had it Mr. Obama might nominate Susan Rice to be the next Secretary of State. Shall we say the response has been heartwarming to a marginalized Ethiopian? I have been sitting back and enjoying the dictator lover twist in the wind. Her recent problem started when Obama’s White House used her as a ‘fall guy’ for the Benghazi attack. She was paraded out with false intelligence to keep Mr. Obama out the headlines for the debacle during the election. Our intelligent and highly educated friend went on national TV distorting the truth and reality since making shit up is nothing new to her. I very much enjoy our ‘idiotic and foolish’ friend travelling from one Senator’s office to another with her tail between her legs begging for love. Watching her swatted like a pesky fly is as far as I am concerned a priceless sight.
The one thing I find curious is that when recounting her shortcomings no one seems to mention her love of dictators and mad Africans as worthwhile failing. They talk about her miserable performance at the UN, her Benghazi disinformation campaign and even her investment in the oil pipe line deal but nothing about her involvement in the Rwanda massacre, not a whisper regarding her friendship with the Ethiopian criminal PM and her love for African dictators. It shows you how much we matter.
So a few of my Ethiopian friends started a petition to let Mr. Obama know what they think of the lady. I mean she insulted our struggle for freedom, she mocked us and she did it all in public. It is like one of us calling Martin Luther king a fool or Malcolm X an idiot. How many Ethiopians do you think signed the petition? A minuscule amount did.
Why do you think that is so? You think it is due to that little sickness I mentioned earlier? The matter of low self-esteem, Cowardice, selfishness and ignorance all rolled in one? Thus we campaigned for Mr. Obama so he can look after our interest and when he acts against it we are afraid to say wait a minute that is not why we elected you! I don’t see labor unions, women’s organizations, Hispanic groups playing dead when their interest is threatened. What is it about us that is willing to make excuse when stepped on?
You see that same trait is displayed in our National politics. We are willing to dance with the criminals in powers as long as they throw a piece of land, cheap hotels and brothels to frequent when we visit home. When exactly did we become a nation of lemmings? Watch the YouTube video link at the end and you can see what I mean. Guess what there must be some kind of power that looks after us. The fact that every Christmas the giving to our nation and people never stops is one clue. Three years ago ESAT was established, a year ago OLF denounced the separate trail and joined the mother fold and this year the giving has been a little overwhelming. The sudden death of Dictator Meles Zenawi and the faux patriarch and now Susan Rice’s humiliation begs for an answer. Despite our cheap character and betrayal of our motherland those that harm or conspire to hurt good old Ethiopia live to regret their transgressions. It looks like harming our mother comes with ugly consequences.
It has been two weeks now since our conversation has been revolving around the dictator. We know for sure he is not well but beyond that no one has come up with any credible explanation for his absence. Rumors, counter rumors, news updates, breaking news have become so ubiquitous Meles Ashebari Zenawi has taken over all the news. His illness has managed to show our psychological make up and our current level of interpreting the news and how we act on it.
As usual what we present in public and what we say in private are two aspects of our forever split personality. Privately we are filled with glee and can’t wait to show our unsurpassed pleasure at his demise while officially we are pictures of reserved behavior and civilized pleasantries. Our reporters did not fare any better. Their updates are based on rumors; unvetted news and personal wishes bundled as current information. We have plenty of work to do.
It is a shame that our media can’t even send someone to St. Luc University Hospital in Brussels and report the news. They might not be able to get his charts but I am sure it is possible to confirm he is there and is receiving medical care. I am also sure there are sympathetic Ethiopians, fellow refugees and well meaning Belgians who work there and that are willing and forthcoming with his condition anonymously. It is the job of the reporter to search and look under the stone to uncover news of interest. I am also sure with a little legwork it is possible to confirm the comings and goings of the dictator from Bole airport with all the details that make the story credible. This idea of using the ‘National inquirer’ method of reporting is not what we deserve.
The failure of our media has become the cause of this tsunami of mis information, dis information and Woyane lies that has made our understanding of the situation very shameful and ugly. It has added unnecessary aspect to the event and made us digress from the point at hand that is discussing the repercussions of the incapacitation or death of the dictator.
It is very disconcerting to see that we have become uninvolved spectators of our own story. Instead of the foreign media coming to us for explanation and analysis we the subjects are reduced to quoting AFP and Bloomberg to tell us about our own affair. I would have found it a lot better and interesting if our reporters paid attention to the people that would be affected by the unfolding event and given us different perspective from our own point of view. Plastering our websites with what some ferenji said sitting in his London, New York or Nairobi office does not make the news any credible. Interviewing people in Ethiopia, Washington DC, Cape Town or Beirut on how they feel about the news, how it will affect them and what their worries are is a better way of gauging the pulse of the public. As usual we validate ourselves by what others say about us.
As it stands now this unhealthy emphasis on the health or illness of an individual has managed to dominate the conversation instead of using the opportunity to blaze new trails and focus on what should be done to bring freedom and democracy to our suffering ancient land. That is where I want to gear this conversation since our ever-loving God has presented us with a good opportunity to bring a new dawn and a bright future to mother Ethiopia.
We have to stop reading the tealeaves or in our case the coffee cup and telling our people who is up, who is in or who is out. In the scheme of the on going situation it really don’t matter and this obsession with idiot personalities does not do our situation any good. What we got here is as follows. Meles Ashebari Zenawi is not well. What ailment he is suffering from is not really important. If we know whether he will make it or not will be good to know, but even that is not that important to the conversation we should be having. We know there are no rules of succession in cases like we are confronted with now. He was the person in charge and he determines who comes after him due to the fact that he controls the economy thru control of the Banks and Party affiliated businesses. He controls the military thru appointment of all high-ranking officials from his Tigreans ethnic group; He controls the Security, Federal Police and the Judiciary. He controls body politics by the creation of all the satellite ethnic parties and the Parliament. Control of all these vital organs of government enables him to control the civil service and bureaucracies thus achieving a total strangle hold on our country.
This is the situation in a nutshell. His incapacitation or sudden death leaves a big void. That is the void we should be discussing on how to fill so we avoid the situation that created the problem we find our selves in at the moment. Spending our time and energy on gossip, Mamo kilo stories and idiotic fantasies is not going to help. What are the forces that are arrayed in front of us to sabotage transforming our nation on the path of democracy and freedom? The one and only stumbling block facing us no other than the TPLF party. It is the only entity that will work overtime and pay any sacrifice to keep the status quo. The current arrangement of forces has been very kind to TPLF and the Tigrai ethnic group asscociated with it. Denying this fact is willful ignorance. This does not mean others have not benefited from the way things are today but the fact of the matter is that like little puppies they are satisfied by sniffing and picking up crumbs thrown their way. I doubt any one will claim to have sat on the same table as the TPLF and gotten a fair share of the Injera on the Meseob. Claiming otherwise is denial of reality.
Our job is to find a way to use the current confusion in the ruling junta and confronting them, intensifying contradiction among them and creating the conditions for inheritors of this broken system to think twice before embarking on costly repair of a rotten system that is currently on life support. This is not done thru talk or this current love affair of peaceful revolution. This fantasy has to be laid to rest. It is a smoke screen and utterly useless scenario advocated by none other than TPLF and the educated but ignorant among us. Talk unless transformed into action is nothing other than a complete waste of time. I am not even going to dignify such concept by giving a rational answer. You can keep talking but please leave me out of it.
‘Non violent resistance’ or ‘Peaceful resistance’ is one of those terms that is being bastardized by us brave Ethiopians. It has become the answer by those who are afraid to get their fingers dirty by actually doing something unpleasant as following talk with action. The truth of the matter is peaceful resistance by the oppressed does not mean their plea for freedom will not be answered by violence by the regime that feels threatened by any kind of change. That is how the situation in Syria started by ordinary people demanding a breathing room. The regime has not stopped the killing but at least now they are getting their own medicine back. I am sure all sane Syrians would prefer for the violence to stop but that is not going to happen. Assad and his Alawit tribesmen are not willing to share power and the people are not willing to be treated like second-class citizens in their own country. Check counter check is in play.
In Ethiopia the regime is in the process of trying to buy time to resolve the contradiction created by the dictator in deathbed. The system worked when one person was in charge but now they have to come to some kind of understanding to be able to keep their criminally gotten power and wealth. As is the case always thieves find themselves in a state of contradiction not during the robbery but during the sharing of the loot. It is important we stop being spectators in this drama but find a way to force ourselves on the stage so we can be part of the play. The Ethiopian people and all opposition have to dig deep into their resources and devise ways to sabotage this deal-making going on. You can call it anything you want whether non-violent resistance, civil disobedience, sabotage or anything as long as it is geared to create havoc on the current illegal structure that has been destabilizing the health and well being of our people. It can assume the South African way where they burned tires and apartheid dogs and closed the streets, the Libyan way of taking one village at a time, the Syrian way we saw today of vaporizing those that conspire together to kill their own people, the Egyptian way of convincing the Military to refuse illegal orders to shoot or the EPRP way of dealing with enemies of the people to set example to others waiting in line.
I can see the empty cry from well meaning people, the condemnation by pretentious friends and the crocodile tears by the peaceful resistance advocates. Please spare me your civilized ways. Some will say ‘hey, you are not over there so it is easy to advocate all this’ my response is where have you been the last twenty years when Woyane has been carrying out violence against our people. Where were you 2005 when Meles murdered all those young people and imprisoned over forty thousand of our citizens? I live in good old USA. The violence done against me is mental the violence done against my people is physical. Unless they decide to rise up and confront Woyane the violence will continue unabated. With or without Meles the TPLF violent rule will continue. Our people will live in misery and our children will die in the jungles of Africa, the seas of Arabia and our daughters will be slaves of unsympathetic and degenerate Arabs. Like the brave Egyptians, the resourceful Libyans the gallant Syrians our people have to find that ‘enough’ moment and take the struggle to a higher level. Pleading has not worked. Relying on ethnic identity has not born fruits. Silence is not the answer. Resolute confrontation of evil is the only way. Like the road charted by our Muslim brothers and sisters the only thing that evil is afraid of is unity and resolve.
Let us stop creating useless news and headlines that does not move our struggle forward. Let us not dwell on the machinations of the evil system and its inheritors but focus on our strength and our dreams for our future. Let us stop quoting every ferenji to tell us about ourselves but make our own news and our own analysis. Let us try to do the job ourselves instead of waiting or blaming those that have a completely different vision for our beautiful homeland. Who else can do the job better than us?
The origins of the Internet can be traced to ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network) that was funded by the US Department of Defense (DARPA) for use by its research labs in the 1960’s. The Internet as we know moved from connecting research institutions and Universities into commercial use in the middle of the 1980’s.
Today the Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks. The beauty of the Internet is nobody really owns it. Every computer that is connected to the Internet is part of the network. Your laptop or desktop together with millions of private, public, academic, business, government networks forms part of this vast system of interconnected computers.
The Internet has revolutionized human communication like nothing before. It is the most outstanding innovation in human history regarding communication capability. Our lives have changed dramatically due to the Internet. The great economic boom of the 90’s all over the world can be traced to innovation that accompanied the Internet. Where does our Ethiopia fit in this human advancement story?
I am afraid we are absent or unaccounted for! We are not even in the periphery. Our participation in this humongous, game changer event is nothing to write home about. It is so embarrassing the best option is not to talk about it, discuss it or raise the issue. If our country was a computer it will be considered to be in hibernation mode, not on not off barely alive. The Meles regime and his TPLF party can get all the credit for condemning eighty million people to live in darkness. That is exactly where we find ourselves-in complete darkness and no chance of light at the end of the tunnel either. You think I am exaggerating and being so negative because I am filled with hate. I am afraid that is not so. Look at the table below and you be the judge my friend.
Country Internet users % Of Population Internet providers
Ethiopia 666,101 0.75 1
Ghana 2,081,056 8.55 12
Uganda 4,174,835 12.5 9
Kenya 8,568,890 20.98 15
Tanzania 4,608,218 11.0 17
See what I mean? Out of eighty million plus people only half a million Internet users. That leaves seventy nine million five hundred thousand in the dark. Why do you think this is so? Is it because we are poor? We are stupid? Uneducated? Unable to figure how it works? Not interested? Didn’t think it is important? Felt investment in such technology is a waste of time and resources? Or too busy developing other technology? Or you think it could it be due to lack of leadership? As people we are no different than Americans Europeans or our African neighbors. The only thing we see here is the quality of leadership that differentiates our country from others. The leaders set the pace, define the priorities and the people follow.
When it comes to the Internet our leader felt that is not a priority and that is not where our budget should be invested on. Why do you think Ato Meles and company felt the Internet not to be the place to invest and grow? The simple but obvious answer is the word ‘communication’. Communication is knowledge and knowledge is the first causality of a tyrannical regime. Keeping people in the dark is the main goal of a dictatorship. Illiterate people are docile. It is easy to manipulate a damned down population. Internet is the number one enemy of the Ethiopian government. Instead of laying fiber optic to speed up the wiring of our country the Meles regime invests the limited budget in blocking, censoring and spying on the citizen. The last two weeks have been a busy time to the TPLF regime. It has rolled out one draconian law after another to bully, intimidate and ride rough on our people. Here is the evidence.
Skype is a voice- over-Internet Protocol service and software application. Skype allows users to communicate over the Internet using voice, video and instant messaging. As of September of 2011 Skype has over six hundred million users worldwide. The Ethiopian government has made using Skype a crime punishable up to fifteen years in prison.
Tor (short for The onion router) is a system intended to enable online anonymity. The Tor project a 501(c) research/education nonprofit organization distributes the software free of charge. According to the wonderful people of Tor network their ‘client software routes Internet traffic through a worldwide volunteer network of servers to conceal a user’s location or usage from anyone conducting network surveillance or traffic analysis.’ The Ethiopian government is actively blocking Tor network.
There are over eighty million Ethiopians. As of 2012 there are about a million fixed line service users and close to three million mobile users in Ethiopia. It is the lowest teledensity in Africa. There are less than half a million Internet users in Ethiopia and that is in the bottom even for Africa. That number constitutes .06% of the Ethiopian population.
Why is the Ethiopian government enacting such draconian law when you can clearly see Internet does not play any major role in the life of the citizen? Why is the government becoming the laughing stock of the planet by equating phone usage to committing murder? All indications are the issue is not about Skype or Tor but it is all about control and bullying into submission. It is all about instilling fear. Fear is the main currency of a dictator. They are not worried about the .06% but they are very much interested in showing the ninety nine percent who exactly is in charge. In your face is how they like to operate. They are saying we can do anything we want and tough luck there is nothing you can do about it!
Do you think they are crazy? I am afraid not. They have been getting away with that kind of attitude the last twenty years what makes you think it will be different this time? We will talk about it, we will gossip, we will condemn silently ( yechelema gelmecha) and life will go on as usual. Actually that is not true about all of us. There are a few working hard to circumvent this tragedy. Groups such as Ginbot7, OLF, ONLF, ALF, Andenet Party, our independent Web sites, ESAT among others are working day and night to teach, organize and help our people stand up to Woyane abuse.
There are different avenues to fight injustice. There are hundreds of ways to resist oppression. I will paraphrase two Chinese educators on this subject. According to Sun Tzu the ‘best defense is a good offense’ and Mao Zedong followed it with ‘the only real defense is active defense.’ meaning for the purpose of counter attacking and taking offense. I believe the current aggression against our people begs for a robust counter offense. Here I am speaking about cyber warfare.
It is about time our people developed this type of self-defense to protect our freedom. It is within our capability and it is our moral duty to protect our country and people. According to a recent Time magazine article that is what the US is helping the Syrian opposition with. Developing a cyber warfare capability. They are training the freedom fighters to resist the Assad regime in the art of circumvention technology. The use of encryption, SIM card in cheap burner phones that can easily be discarded and developing ‘Internet in a suitcase’ to provide Web access when Assad shuts it down is being explored. Apps are being developed that download a panic button that will instantly wipe out contacts and documents from smart phones and computers. They are experimenting with Apps that present a false screen when the wrong security code is entered and Apps that blur the faces of dissidents when posting videos and photos on line. Today the camera is as powerful as the AK47.
It is also important our highly educated lawyers and Human Rights advocates explore the concept of ‘I am just following order’ defense that is sure to be used by those that are doing the dirty work for the minority based illegal regime. Whereas the current Ethiopian Constitution is full of guarantees of rights and freedom to the citizen those that are killing, imprisoning, torturing, spying and using their know how to block and jam should be warned about accountability. They should be made aware of their oath to uphold the Constitution not the rule of one man or a single party. ‘I am just following order’ did not hold water in the Nuremberg trials of Nazi criminals.
Those educated Ethiopians that are enabling the regime to spy on fellow citizens, block Web sites, target emails and social media postings should be warned about the consequences of their actions. They are following illegal and immoral orders given by those that are using force and coercion to stay in power. Sooner or later this house of cards will come tumbling down and it will be time to answer for all those that used their technical know how to hurt their people. Blind allegiance is not a wining strategy or ignorance a valid defense. It is a shame some sell their soul to the devil for fame and fortune.
The Ethiopian government was peddling its ponzi scheme of selling bonds for the pie in the sky project named The Grand Renaissance Dam’ on the Abbay river here in the Bay Area. It was not as lavish as the event that took place in their embassy in Washington DC. That ‘event was graced by the presence of a high- level Ethiopian delegation led by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister and Chairman of the National Renaissance Council, Haile Mariam Desalegn’ according to Aiga. Since he has such a long title they have shortened to D/PM, FM to go along with his curtailed duty that only includes reading written notes, greeting visitors and presiding at Renaissance meetings.
Ours event was shall I say ‘graced’ by their Conciliate from Los Angles and a political science professor from Addis Abeba University. Considering I was marching in front their office in Los Angles just a week ago regarding their current attempt at destroying our cherished heritage of Waldeba monastery it was a little confusing to see his honor involved in building a dam. They invited all Ethiopians and I just couldn’t refuse. My curiosity overcame my rationality. I am glad I went, If the Ethiopian people are subjected to such farcical presentation day in day out I felt sitting for a two hours presentation was the least I can do to understand the daily stress of my people.
The first speaker that described herself as the Chairperson of the project in the Bay Area mentioned that her group has been active for less than three months. What knocked me off my seat was her declaration that in this short time they have been able to sell $138,000 US dollars worth of bonds. That is 2.4 million Bir. I was impressed. Then I turned around and all I could see was about twenty-five people in the room. I thought people who paid all that money will defiantly attend a meeting to see how their money was spent but for some reason they just did not bother to show up. Is it possible that they are just a figment of someone’s imagination?
Well with all things Woyane the imagination is always greater than the reality and this was an indication of better things to happen as the meeting progressed. One thing I notice about Woyane lectures is that they have this unhealthy fascination with power point presentation. It is futile attempts to sugar coat the lie and empty rhetoric by sharp looking graphs and larger than life pictures. Facts are glossed over while the listener is trying to figure out all the confusing information being displayed at a random fashion.
The Ambassador has the most difficult task of the two speakers. It is not easy being a snake oil salesman. The regular joke about us not being smart or dedicated enough to use the mighty Abbay was of course mentioned. We are supposed to thank the far-reaching leadership of Meles Zenawi to have come up with such a fantastic and brilliant idea of building a dam on Abbay. I am sure we will be told soon it came to him during his sleep showing us even in bed that sharp mind is still working. The Ambassador used a short documentary to show us the progress since the start of the project. Shall we say the presentation was a little lacking for a task that is projected to cost us billions?
The short video was made either to insult or mock anybody with an ounce of intelligence. There was one excavator and one dump truck and a few cement mixer trucks. Yes I said one lonely excavator. For a country with eighty million people where over half of the adult population is unemployed you would think human labor would be the preferred choice if one really wants to use the resources under his nose. Unfortunately that will require the enthusiastic participation of the nation in the project but when your government is unpopular and viewed with suspicion that is not an option. Plus it would require transporting people from one kilil to another and that is not allowed.
What we saw was may be fifty or so guys dressed in orange uniform. What was fascinating was to see the skinny flag of Salini the Italian construction company flying from a bowed tree pole. If you remember Salini was the same company that was in charge of Gibe II project where the tunnel collapsed exactly a month after inauguration. That was a no bid project and you can imagine where most of the money borrowed in then name of Ethiopia went. I thought this project was by us and for us and what the heck is Salini doing there? May be Salini is paying us for what Minilk did to his grand pa a while back. Lets us all remind our children to get back the money stolen with the modern day Askaris including interest as soon as we reclaim our land.
The official spoke at length about the many successful projects accomplished the last twenty years. That is well and good but twenty years is a long time and showing no progress would have been a little strange. The issue here is here is how much progress and under what circumstances. When you consider President Obama is fighting like hell for his reelection bid and he only had four years to correct a colossal economic melt down I would say twenty years is quite generous amount of time to do miracles. So our question to our rulers becomes what you got to show for twenty years of being in complete charge? Knocking down the old cannot be a perpetual excuse, at a certain point one has to stand on his own record. Unfortunately like a broken record our rulers never tire talking about yesterday to cover up today’s shortcoming.
I have to admit the professor gave a very intelligent presentation regarding the role water or river plays in international dealings between nations. He was very knowledgeable on the subject and his power point presentation was flawless. The problem reared its head when it comes to his conclusion. It is one thing to explain water intellectually but to bring it home and try to make it relate to woddase dam is a lit bit tricky, and it showed. He was left floundering unable to commit and say this project is what is needed and this regime can bring it to life. He cannot say that with conviction. As a political scientist he knows theory in one thing but implementation requires a whole host of other factors that have to be present to achieve success. The current organization that is operating in our country is not conducive to attain that goal and a first year college freshman can tell you that. It would be considered intellectual dishonesty to trust one of the most corrupt regimes to carry out such a colossal task.
You see scheming the surface no one is against building a dam, a highway or a factory. The truth of the matter is that most Ethiopians will give the shirt of their back if it will help our country. The problem lies with that qualifier ‘if’ it just leaves an uncertain feeling doesn’t it? That is the problem with our renaissance dam project. It is a very uncertain proposal that is difficult to explain and not easy to digest.
It is not easy because based on reality, as we have known it the last twenty years the people in power cannot be trusted to do anything that will bring honor or pride to our country. No one in his right mind will trust the folks in charge to be able to bring any project to a successful conclusion. If there is anything we can be sure of is that they will find a hundred different ways to screw us up. Here is the real Ethiopia in nutshell:
1) Social harmony: None. Our country is divided into Kilils and we are made to view each other with suspicion and hate. We are in fact deporting our own citizens within the country. Today the regime is attempting to create conflict among our old religions throughout the land. Both Christians and Moslems are resisting mightily but it is an uphill struggle.
2) Economy: Bankrupt. Inflation is double digits and unemployment is beyond imagination. Over eight million people are on food aid and famine is real. The government is in the process of leasing land to foreigners so they can grow crops for export. The economy is controlled by EFFORT a one ethnic based conglomerate.
3) War: Plenty. Since coming to power the TPLF regime has fought with Eritrea and sacrificed over eighty thousand lives. It has invaded Somalia and no one knows the sacrifice in human lives and money. Inside the country it has sent its solders to kill in Gambella, Ogaden, Hawasa, Gondar, Afar, etc.
4) Politics: Waging relentless disruption against opposition parties and groups is second nature to the regime. In the aftermath of the 2005 elections the regime murdered over two hundred eighty citizens, imprisoned all the opposition and hauled over forty thousand people to concentration camps. (We thank the heroic act of Judge Woldemariam and his associates in smuggling out the evidence) The Parliament is the playground of the Prime Minster.
5) Media: Government monopoly. Television. Radio, print media, Internet and telecommunications are all controlled by the regime. Independent voice is not allowed. Our friends Eskinder Nega, Reyot Alemu and Webeshet Taye among many others are today in prison because they spoke and wrote the truth.
There is no need to recount further atrocity the question becomes how could you trust such a ruthless bunch of sycophants to carry out a noble task as building a dam? One has to be plenty gullible or certified moron to go along with such Ponzi scheme. How could you hand your hard earned money where there is no accountability, no consultation or any outside independent audit?
This is what Ambassador Girma Birru, Special Envoy and Ambassador Extra-ordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia to the US and non-resident envoy to Mexico – another long title don’t you think? Any way here is how Aiga reported it ‘In his revealing statement the Ethiopian Special Envoy recounted the propitious political climate which is prevalent in present day Ethiopia that allows the free participation of the citizenry in matters ranging from the right to assembly, association, expression and faith up to and including the basic right to vote in elections that are held regularly @ the county, district, state and federal levels.’ Do you think he actually believes that? He must have said what was reported, the question becomes who is crazy them or us? You be the judge.
In our presentation here in Oakland both speakers were adamant in saying the renaissance dam site is sparsely populated and no one was moved or relocated. Isn’t it always surprising all their projects are so pure and picked for locations where no Ethiopian resides? But at the same time why do we come across a whole bunch of our citizens that have been made homeless when their land is leased to forsaken foreigners? Then why do we hear our brother Ato Ojulu from Gambella who has been forced from his ancestral land pleading from Kenya? Their lie seems never to stop.
In conclusion I would like to say something. It is true but a sad statement. The assembly in our city was a reflection of what is taking place in our country. It has to be pointed out because it has to be discussed openly and corrected in a timely manner. As I said there were less than thirty people present and over ninety percent were from one ethnic group. Pretending otherwise is not healthy. The question to ask is why? Why would only Tigreans show up to support the construction of a dam on Abbay? Abbay is far from Tigrai Kilil so why are they feeling this special affinity to this project? It is a valid question. I am sure we all have all seen this kind of weird and strange situation on every question raised in our homeland.
I will give my answer and it is definitely not the final statement on the issue. It is what I think right or wrong. My response is to help us openly analyze the dilemma faced by all of us and devise a healthy and lasting solution instead of whispering from behind and muddying the situation further. First of all this virus was brought upon us by no other than Meles Zenawi and his accomplices. It was in the late seventies while all were trying to form a united front and fight the Derg that his group insisted in this separate non-inclusive way of struggle. Their first causality was the brave patriotic EPRP that sacrificed beautiful children of Ethiopia in their prime. Meles Zenawi did as much damage as Mengistu Hailemariam when it comes to our educated and dedicated brothers and sisters that stood for real freedom and unity of our nation. We will never forget.
Since 1992 TPLF has inoculated our nation with this deadly virus more dangerous than HIV aids. They have set us up against each other. Our meeting is the result of this disease that even follows us into a free land. Tigreans have become hostages of this disease and the rest of us have allowed it to simmer while a few have bought into this crap. It is true a few Tigreans are riding this wave and accumulating wealth and riding rough on the rest of us. Meles and company are always pointing out our differences and making sure the few they have chosen are displayed. What is true in today’s Ethiopia is that all real power is in the hands of this ethnic group starting from the security, military, banking, commerce and key organizations. On the other hand the average Tigrai living in the rural areas of his kilil is as much the victim as rest of our own peasants. No matter how some put it the Tigrai Kilil is not the paradise it is portrayed to be. The TPLF tugs in charge are the same everywhere.
Do we buy into this negative scenario as painted by Meles and company or see it as the self-serving philosophy by a few friends and family to extend their evil rule over all of us? Has this kind of mind set ever shown to work or has it at certain point exploded on the makers and taken all into the abyss? Isn’t that what we see in history when we study totalitarian systems and their implosion from inside? Isn’t that what happened in Libya? Are we witnessing it in Syria with Assad and his Alawit tribe fighting for dear life from house to house? What do you think is going to happen in Syria once Assad and his little army are wiped away? Syria is not going anywhere but what kind of Syria would it be? Can they just forget the hate and animosity that has been cultivated and put their energy on building a new society? Or would it take a long time to wash away the negative energy, mistrust and hate that have been systematically planted in every Syrian brain?
When we see our Ethiopia these are the things we should contemplate instead of trying to out perform each other on the level of our hate. We should be very careful on how we view the situation and search deep into our heart and soul before we judge others due to their ethnic affiliation or religion. None of us choose where we are conceived. We should be judged on what kind of human being we have become. Sometimes in times of scarcity and fear buying into the evil design of a few we all go astray. The only thing that will bring us back to the right path is show of love and tolerances not more hate and further attempt at marginalizing. Remember both the perpetrator and victim are connected and the attempt should be to save both if possible without doing further damage.
I am sure all those that gathered in our meeting love Ethiopia. I am sure in their own way they all think they are doing the right thing. Unfortunately both sides cannot be right. The road taken by the current government has only shown that this sort of exclusive journey is not lasting nor will it bear good fruit. Our job is to patiently explain the futility of traveling on this dead end street and bring our people back to our fold. That is not done thru condemnation, name-calling or threat but show of love, understanding and showing by example. It is a shame educated and conscious Ethiopians have fallen pray to this narrow ethnic divide and some by cooperation a few by their silence have emboldened the sick and worthless students of TPLF garage and nihilist philosophy. I believe in every one of us our kind side outweighs the evil and bad and our challenge is to bring out the good and infect our people with this sweet medicine God has built into us. We pray for our country.
I am sure you do not have time to read my letter nonetheless it gives me a certain amount of release from the pain I am feeling and the little chance of this letter getting to you fills my soul with great amount of joy and hope. I am an Ethiopian immigrant currently living in California. I came to your country to go to college. I am always grateful to the American people in general and the citizens of the State of Oregon in particular that supported me in fulfilling my dream. Their graciousness in welcoming me and their generosity in helping me with financial aid to finish my education will stay in my heart forever.
Upon finishing my education I have become a productive member of society and hopefully contributed my share in making your nation a beacon of light for all of mankind. I have been blessed enough to get married to a beautiful person and raise a family. I am glad to claim I am the personification of the American dream come true. I am not writing you to ask a favor for myself but I want to tell you about the dire situation regarding the homeland I left behind a long time ago. I want to give you an idea about my country Ethiopia and the horror faced by my people in the year two thousand twelve as the rest of humanity thrives.
The source of this unbearable pain forced on my country is none other than the individual that shows up in every meeting the heads of the advanced industrialized countries attend to solve problems and plan the future. I am sure you have noticed him during picture sessions and dinner parties. He is the one who claims to represent Africa and is usually given the corner seat in the back to keep quiet and observe.
His name is Meles Zenawi and his title is chairman of TPLF party and Prime Minster of Ethiopia. He has been in power for the last twenty years. It is not that he was elected to that position since free democratic elections are not allowed but he has managed to organize sham election and rigged voting not once but five times in a row. I will tell you a few things to give you an idea of how he manages to do that.
1) Press: There is no free press in Ethiopia. There is only one local TV controlled by his party. The only radio-broadcasting unit is under his communications department. There are no independent newspapers in the country. The few that are allowed to exist are routinely harassed and their publishers and editors spend most of their time in his rubberstamp court. Today a few are in his dungeon accused of fabricated charges and plenty are forced out of the country. There is only one Internet provider and his outfit controls that. He uses Chinese technology to block any foreign TV or Radio broadcast and Internet sites. Your Voice of America broadcast is routinely jammed. Today there are more journalists and Independent Web sites outside the country than in our homeland. The Ethiopian people are kept in the dark by design.
2) Political Party and Civic organizations: The dictator does not allow real independent political parties. On paper there are over eighty political parties in the country, but they are all the creations of the dictator. The few that dare to organize independently are subjected to harassment, imprisonment and even murder. His claim that there are no worthy opposition parties is a cruel joke. In Ethiopia being an opposition party leader is a death wish. We have lost many worthy leaders in the last twenty years. Independent labor unions, civic organizations and non-government affiliated associations are not allowed. If they dare to organize they are brought under government control within a short time.
3) Administration: He has divided the country into what is known as Kilil. Kilil is a black version of Apartheid; the system the White South African set up to control black citizens. The individual appoints all Kilil administrators usually local lackeys for show purpose. His party and ethnic group controls the Army and Security service with all commanders’ hand picked from his ethnic group. Ninety nine percent of high-ranking military officials belong to the dictators ethnic group. The individual and his party inherited the dreaded Kebele system set up by the departing military dictatorship to control neighborhoods and enhanced its capability using modern means. Today the Kebele system is the eyes and ears of the TPLF party and is present in every household to terrorize and control.
4) Economy: All land belongs to the state. The Ethiopian people are sharecroppers. When he took power twenty years ago facilitated by your State Department he created a congramolate called EFFORT controlled by his ethnic group. All major confiscated business and property were given to EFFORT and today it is the premier corporation in the country involved in banking, transportation, manufacturing, import export and the hospitality business. EFFORT is bigger than Ethiopia. Unable to grow the economy, ill prepared to unleash the creative potential of his people the dictator is currently selling our fertile and virgin land to foreign investors. This is despite the billions of aid dollars given by your country and Western Europe and the billions more written off the book from the IMF and World Bank. His sole purpose is to stay in power by bullying and enrich his ethnic group, family and friends.
Dear Mr. President, you might think what a coward people we are to allow such and individual to do us so much harm and accept it with silence. That is not so. We were not always that docile. The simple explanation I can offer you is that he came on the scene at a very unfortunate time for us. The twenty years of military dictatorship has sapped our strength to fight back. We were caught at a time when in the name of socialism our people and country had gone thru a very traumatic process. Our moral compass was left in disarray. No one was willing to continue the self-inflicted agony we experienced. The current dictator also showed up carrying an olive branch that promised to form an all-inclusive government. Your State Department was the premier facilitator of such transfer of power from the Military to the new liberators.
Unfortunate for Ethiopia your country still is coddling and enabling the dictator. He is considered the front line in the fight against terrorism The Pentagon is pouring money and resources to train his army. He is given the green light to interfere in Somalia in the so-called war against terror. We pay the price. The US is not made safer with all the support given to the regime but the Ethiopian people are made insecure and hopeless. Today the Ethiopian people are migrating out of their homeland at an alarming rate. The young and able and the educated are leaving their country in search of a better tomorrow. Washington DC your capital is living proof of the flight of our people outwards.
We ask you to intervene and stop this human catastrophe. We believe it is the right thing to do. It is the moral thing to do. Ethiopian Americans were in the forefront of your campaign for the presidency. We were filled with hope that you will intercede and help our motherland enter the twenty first century with dignity. It has not happened. Your State Department never fails to record and publish the crimes of the Ethiopian regime. The annual report is a very alarming detailed testimony of the nature of the illegal regime and the crimes it commits against its own people. Thanks to Wikileaks we are made conscious of the terrorist acts of the security department’s involvement in setting up explosives on its own citizens and blaming the opposition. Your Ambassador was part of the cover up of this crime. It is wrong.
We would like to call your attention to the policy the US followed in the aftermath of the Second World War when it came to Europe. The US was instrumental in encouraging democratic forms of government. US aid was based on the rule of law. Sixty years later Europe enjoys the fruits of such progressive and forward-looking policy. We ask your administration follow the same principle when it comes to Africa. We deserve nothing less. We ask your administration stop coddling and enabling dictators, misfits and loathsome individuals from terrorizing their own people.
The Ethiopian people are faced with a sad dilemma. How could they fight back against a terrorist regime armed and supported by a big power like your country? It is not a fair fight by any stretch of imagination. They find it confusing that on one hand you preach democracy and human rights while on the other hand you furnish the weapons and facilitate loans from World Bank and the IMF to the their tormentor. Wouldn’t you say the US would have a lasting and worthy relationship with a strong and democratic Ethiopia rather than a country always on the verge of civil war and a pitiful hand stretched begging for food and medicine?
The Prime Minster is showing up at your dinner table next week. We all know he has nothing to contribute to such discussion. The country he has been leading for the last twenty years is beset with famine, double digit unemployment, runaway inflation and human misery in a large scale. He has no record to be proud of. He has no opposition to shame him. His presence at this gathering is unexplainable and undeserved. His single TV station and his sole Radio broadcast will present a different picture. They will use the occasion to bully the Ethiopian people. There is no other voice to set the record straight.
We wish you would UN invitee or dis invite him. We know that will not happen. On the other hand we ask you use the occasion to make it clear to him that your constituents are not happy with his actions. We wish that you explain to him US aid goes hand in hand with the existence of the rule of law and respect for human rights. The American people are blessed to have such a caring and honorable person as a leader. You lead a very honorable and generous nation that has stood with Ethiopia in its time of need. We ask you to step forward and do the right thing at this critical moment in our history. We ask you to think of the eighty million Ethiopians that are made to suffer because on man and his ethnic based party is enabled by your country and others to run amok and brutalize. History will not look kindly at such abdication of responsibility.
Dear Mr. President, we are aware of what happened to dictator Gaddafi. We are witnessing the unfolding human misery in Syria. That is what is waiting Ethiopia if the regime continues its maltreatment of its won citizens. That is what we are trying to avoid from happening in Ethiopia. You can help us.
Finally we are not asking you to fight our war. We are perfectly capable of doing the job ourselves. We are simply petitioning you not to stand with the dictator. Not to give him lethal aid and training to turn his fire on us. We know it is in your power to make a stop to this enabling activity. The children of Ezana, Tewodros, Yohanes, Minilik, Aba Jifar, Tona and many others are up to the task given the opportunity. We have taken care of our business for over three thousand years and there is no reason to think we will not rise up to the occasion now. Just give us a level playing field and Green Yellow and Red will fly high on our ancient mountains and fields.
P.S. We have a petition on line to be presented to your office along this letter. The Web address is as follows: http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/obama-stop-monster-zenawi-invitation.html
Most locations are just bland places. There is not much variation in the topography. Look at Google satellite map of Africa and you will see what I mean. Endless flat land, a stretch of desert, an occasional river or a few hills is the norm. Our Ethiopia is different. In the North we have the Semen Mountains rearing high as if trying to reach heaven. With their rugged nature and sharp escarpments they kept us safe for centuries. They were our natural defense. The North is keeper of our old history. With its exotic monasteries, ancient obelisks it is here Jesus walked and Mohamed (may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him) sent his family for safety.
In the East our low lands are as fierce as the warriors they give birth to. There is no place lower than Afar depression on mother Earth. Loo and behold today it is considered the birthplace of the Human race. It is here mankind is thought to have become bipedal.
The West is where the mighty Nile flows with our water and soil to nurture that other civilization in the land of the Pharos and the great pyramids. It is also home to the famous tropical forests of Gambella and every animal life one can think of. With its lush landscape and colorful people this is where man feels one with nature.
The South is where God took his sweet time to create paradise. Who would deny that after visiting the Rift Valley? The lakes of Langano, Shala and Hawasa, the caves of Wolayeta, the natural splendor of Arba Minch, the hot springs of Wondo Genet make a grownup cry with joy. Our creator blessed us with beauty and wealth when he made our home.
The South is also where God’s curse has befallen us for all our sins. He sent us Meles Zenawi to teach us the price of vanity. I am really sorry to write in such a way in this week of Easter. But truth has to be told. Meles Zenawi is a curse on the land of the Habeshas. Such venomous hate one might say. I believe I am entitled to that. For twenty years the regime has rained death and destruction on our land and people. I am not imaging it. All what I say is verifiable fact and recorded history. Spare me your tolerance and indignation please. You wouldn’t think that if you stand in the shoes of the discarded and displaced.
You see my friend our TPLF leaders grew up isolated and alone in their little hamlets up north. There was no diversity. To Adwa and vicinity as Gertrude Stein will say ‘there is no there, there.’ That is why when they conquered our country they did not know what to do with the South. The diversity confounded our warriors. They know that they hated the Amhara, they loathed the Oromo, they were not really concerned about the Afar, the Gambellan, or the Somali but the South was a foreign land to our northern warriors. That is why when they created the Bantustans they lumped all the Southerners into one big bowl and named it ‘Southern Nations, Nationalities and People’s Region.’ What a defangled name is what comes to mind when you hear this twisted designation.
The South is where TPLF asserted total control unlike in the other Bantustans. The South is where Meles Zenawi exercises his renowned divide and rule principles as an art. TPLF arrived with ready-made political Parties for every Bantustan they created. Local faces were chosen from the prisoners of war they have acquired during their struggle. The puppets were already versed in accepting their TPLF masters as the final word on any and all issues. Thus all the local boys were assigned a baby sitter or a minder from Adwa. The South has Abate Kisho a Sidama with Bitew Belay as the real power. Corporal Kuma Demeksa of Oromia was taken under the wing of Solomon Tsimo and Hilawi Yesuf lorded it over Addisu Legesse in the Amhara Bantustan.
Abate Kisho was a simple sports teacher from the town of Leku near Yirgalem. He was not at all ready for prime time and it showed. He even has the audacity to side with one faction over the other during the TPLF drama. It was pathetic to see Meles haul his ass to jail with some trumped up charge. The current Foreign Minster replaced him as the new toy. By 2001 the Sidama people were becoming hip to this patronizing practice and demanded a certain amount of autonomy or self-administration as granted by the Constitution. Meles replied with tough love and sent his Agazi forces to teach them a lesson. Even the US State Department noted this wanton murder of unarmed protesters in Hawasa. Melese Marimo the vice president and perpetrator of this crime was rewarded for his ordering of the massacre by being sent to South Africa as an Ambassador, of course with the First Secretary a TPLF cadre in charge. That is the normal operating procedure in all the Embassies.
The issue percolated and during the election of 2005 the Southerners answered by siding with CUD (Kinijit) and were able to trounce the regime’s candidates. In 2006 Meles convened a meeting in Hawasa and was able to mollify the locals with some bizarre actions. The renaming of ‘Southern University’ to ‘Hawasa University’ was seen as a triumph of Sidama assertiveness. The current puppet Shiferaw Shigute was crowned as the new face of Southern independence. Abate Kisho was released from Federal prison and sent back home poor but alive and a good symbol of what could happen when natives fill their head with funny notion of being equal.
Of course the raping and pillage of the south continued unabated. There was no stone left unturned to cultivate animosity between the different tribes and keep them at each others throat. The Sidamas were made to compete with the Wolaitas, the Siltes were divorced from the Gurages, and the Konsos were made to envy the Derasas etc. etc. The cadres encouraged turmoil and civil war. As in the rest of our country Southern Ethiopia was full of drama with the TPLF active in every village fanning the hate flame.
Ethiopianess was discouraged while allegiance to tribe was glorified. Meles and company have done their homework in how to create havoc on our country while in their caves. They did not dream of building hospitals, schools or factories but were busy drawing maps, creating language barriers and perfecting the Kilil concept. The South was their dream come true. Our common language was their first casualty. It was deemed inappropriate. Trained teachers were sent away to their respective Bantustans and the English alphabet became the language of the schools in Sidama. Without adequate preparation, without trained teachers, without books available the Southern children were left to fend for themselves. It was sad to witness a simple application that has to be written in one language to be translated to another when it reaches Hawasa the capital city. The South was made unable to communicate within its own Bantustan. It was a crime. The TPLF party was the orchestrator of such tragedy.
Shiferaw Shigute is the Frankenstein monster Meles created. He is the son of Meles Zenawi. Like his parent he is devoid of empathy and proud of his betrayal of his people. Look at him closely and you will see Meles – indifferent, arrogant and know it all. From his expensive Savile raw suit with matching ties to his air of superiority he is the kind that makes his maker proud. When his own Party found him guilty of abuse of power and voted to oust him, our fearless step child thumbed his nose at the assembly and said “I did not do this alone, we shared the money with the wife of the Prime Minister, Mrs. Azeb Mesfin. If we are going to be accountable, we should both judged by the law. If we have to return the Birr, we both have to return it” and stormed out of the meeting. His stepfather reversed the decision of the assembly. Like father like son! It is Shiferaw Shigute practicing ethnic cleansing today or rather it is Meles Zenawi using his toy boy that is displacing our people. It is the concept of Kilil coming home to roost.
Why am I going thru all this recounting our ugly history is a valid question? It is because the past is important to avoid making the same mistakes again. We learn so we don’t repeat that which has not worked. I am not obsessing about the things that we cannot control but rather I am hoping we learn from it so we can focus on tomorrow where we have the power to build a better Ethiopia. The do’s and don’ts of today are based on the lesson from the success and failures of yesterday.
Thus we learn from human history to see what works and what to avoid. The quest for liberation and a building a better Ethiopia for all will be accomplished if based on that principle. Each and every one of us is the building stone for it to succeed. Some folks were upset because I criticized a few physicians for their enabling activity regarding building a ‘referral hospital’ in our country. People feel upset when asked to boycott Ethiopian Airlines or avoid drinking Woyane beer. We advocate such action not out of hate but precisely because such form of ‘peaceful resistance’ have proven to work. There was a time when the West led by Britain and the US tried to justify their investment in South Africa by claiming they were creating jobs for the poor African masses. It was not true. They were realizing huge profit from slave labor.
What did Black South African say about that? Steven Biko, the charismatic young leader wrote ‘those who professed to worry over Blacks suffering if the economy deteriorated had missed the point. We’re already suffering’ He often reminded us ‘those who live in constant fear of being shot, beaten, or detained without charge, for those whose children already live in abject poverty and near starvation, an economic downturn is not the major area of concern.’ Nobel Laureate Albert Lutuli, president of the African National Congress in one of his speeches said:
“The economic boycott of South Africa will entail undoubted hardship for African. We do not doubt that. But if it is a method which shortens the day of bloodshed, the suffering to us will be a price we are willing to pay.”
We are not saying anything different. Your investment in Meles’s land scheme, your patronizing Meles’s Airlines, your partying in Alamudi’s hotels, your support of the so-called hospital is hurting our people. No need to qualify it with good and bad investment, it all goes to the same pot.
As some of us are preparing to celebrate Easter let us not forget what it really means. Easter is Jesus Christ’s victory over death. It is a time of renewal and rebirth. Let us work for the rebirth of our glorious history. Let us resurrect the spirit of our forefathers that stood united and were able to hand us a proud history. Our love for each other our tolerance of the little imperfections in each of us is what our country needs in this time of hopelessness and apathy. Happy Easter.