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Ethiopia Dictatorship

Religion and Ethiopia

By Yilma Bekele

Two important meetings were held a week ago. One was in Addis Abeba and the other in Washington DC. Both were concerning our motherland and the future. That is where the similarities end. One was intended to continue the path of destruction chartered by the current regime while the other was trying to build on what has been achieved throughout millennia and proven to work beyond expectations. The DC conference was an affirmation of the wise and keen insight of our forefathers that laid the foundation for the place we call home.

Christianity and Islam are the two most related faiths that trace their origin in our own neighborhood. Ethiopia is one place where the two have converged in a peculiar manner and have managed to lead a mutually assured loving existence. The bond between the two is so deep no mortal man can break that and live to tell about it. A few have tried to no avail. As evil goes the meeting in Addis was another attempt to create a wedge between the two faiths and their followers. It was vintage TPLF brainchild or brain fart.

Why our country has succeed in this endeavor while most of mankind is still trying to figure out how to come to terms with religion and State issue is a wonderful subject for our historians. I am by no means a historian but I will attempt to share the little I know from my sketchy reading of our glorious past.

Exact date for the emergence of Christianity in Ethiopia is not yet settled. The earliest and reference to the introduction of Christianity to Ethiopia is in the New Testament (Acts 8:26:38) when Philip the Evangelist converted an Ethiopian court official in the 1st Century AD. Credit is given to Saint Frumentius as the first to bringing Christianity to the Axumite Kingdom. Frumentius a Syro-Phoenician Greek from Tyre along with his brother Edesius accompanied by their uncle Meropius were shipwrecked on the Red Seacoast around the year 316 AD. The two boys were taken as slaves to the King of Aksum. Upon the king’s death they were set free but at the request of the queen they stayed to help in the education the young heir Ezana. When Ezana came of age the two brothers returned to Tyre but Frumentius was able to convince the Patriarch of Alexandra, Athanasius to send a Bishop to Ethiopia. In the year 328 Frumentius was sent back as the first Bishop. He succeeded in baptizing King Ezana initiating the spread of Christianity. The Ethiopians refer to Frumentius as Kesete Birhan (Revealer of the Light) and Abbba Selama (Father of Peace) and he is the our first Abune.

Islam came to Ethiopia around 615AD. The first Muslims were immigrants from Mecca due to persecution by the ruling Quraysh tribe. The prophet Mohamed (peace and blessings be upon him) felt Ethiopia to be a safe haven for his relatives and companions. Moslem historians refer to it as the first Higra or migration and the Christian Emperor as Ashama ibn Abjar. The prophet instructed his followers to ‘respect and protect Ethiopia and as well as live in peace with Ethiopian Christians. Today Harar, Ethiopia is considered the fourth holy city of Islam with 82 Mosques three of which date from the 10th. Century.

The conference held in Washington DC by The Holy Synod of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church in Exile was an affirmation of this historical bond between the two religions and people. It was a proud moment building on the strong and unshakeable foundation laid centuries back that still endures despite the attempt by a few to break what God and Allah has willed.

On the other hand the meeting held in Addis was a flagrant attempt to saw dissent and weaken the bond between religion and people. It was an embarrassing moment and a shameful act that has brought shame and sorrow to country and people. It was the reflection of Kilil brought to the realm of religion. It was another ill hatched plan by Meles and company to bully our ancient land and a feeble attempt to divide and conquer. That it fell on deaf ears is no surprise. As I said our house is not built on sand but on sold granite that no amount of man made idiot trick will cause any harm. I would venture to say it ends up making it stronger and mightier burning the usperes to recoil with shame and horror.

Our Abun’s in Washington DC were celebrated for their forceful solidarity with our Moslem brothers and sisters while the usurper in Addis was shouted down by our Abun’s that steadfastly stood their ground despite the threat of violence including death. Our deep appreciation to the Abun’s strength in withstanding such ugly behavior by the usurper Paulo’s and his henchmen fills our heart with pride and reminds us of our beloved father Abune Petros and his unyielding faith in country and people in front of the Fascist firing squad.

The leader of the Italian Invasion of our land Gen. Rodolfo Graziani proclaimed “The Duce (Mussolini) will have Ethiopia, with or without Ethiopians.” Abune Petros replied, “The cry of my countrymen who died due to your nerve-gas and terror machinery will never allow my conscious to accept your ultimatum. How can I see my God if I give a blind eye to such a crime?’ That is the footsteps our current Abune are following. We thank them for making us proud both in Addis and Washington DC. We praise them for their leadership and their timely message to stir that strong feeling of what it means to be an Ethiopian both as a Christian and a Moslem. No one can break apart that God and Allah has joined together.

As he has done with an appointment of a cadre Patriarch the Meles regime is busy sawing dissent and animosity in the Moslem community. There is no trick left unturned. Churches have been burnt to put the blame on our Moslem citizens and Moslems have been accused of being terrorists, wahabists etc. As he has put Cadre Paulos in power today the regime is protecting the illegal Moslem leader and placing his internal security around him.

All politics is local. It is with this in mind Ethiopians in the Bay Area are traveling to Los Angles to attend a World Wide demonstration the weekend of June 4th. against the regime’s interference in religion in general and the attempt to destroy our ancient heritage, Waldeba Monastery in Northern Ethiopia. Those interested in attending this event can email Waldeba Monastery [email protected].

Ethiopia: The Bridge on the Road(map) to Democracy

Alemayehu G Mariam

Last week I had an opportunity to address a town hall meeting in Seattle sponsored by the Ethiopian Public Forum in Seattle (EPFS), a civil society organization dedicated to promoting broad dialogue, debate and discussion on Ethiopia’s future. I was asked to articulate my views on Ethiopia’s transition from dictatorships to democracy in light of my recent emphatic commentaries on the subject.

My views on Ethiopia’s transition to democracy originate in and are shaped by my own deepening concerns over the massive, sustained and gross human rights violations in that country. My active involvement in Ethiopian “affairs” and human rights advocacy dates back to 2005 when troops under the direct personal command and control of Meles Zenawi massacred 193 unarmed protesters and wounded 763 others.  Prior to 2005, my interest in Ethiopian “affairs” was academic and involved editorial work in the publication of a scholarly journal and a popular magazine on Ethiopia. The 2005 massacres presented me several stark choices: pretend the massacres did not happen; express fleeting private moral outrage and conveniently forget the whole thing; hope someone will take up the cause of these victims of crimes against humanity, or take an active advocacy role and speak truth to those who abuse and misuse power. I embraced the old saying, “The only thing necessary for the persistence of evil is for enough good people to do nothing.” I chose to become a human rights defender and advocate.

Democracy (at least in its liberal form) is a form of government based on popular sovereignty (supremacy of the people), but it is an empty  shell if it is not infused with the values of freedom (of association, expression, press), and respect for human rights and accountability (rule of law, independent judiciary, transparency and free and fair elections including  competitive political parties and civil society organizations). Article 21(3) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights forges the link between democracy and human rights: “The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections…” The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights enshrines a host of political rights and civil liberties which provide the foundation for meaningful and functioning democracies. More narrowly, I regard the struggle for human rights in Ethiopia to be a struggle for democracy and vice versa. That is why I am interested in Ethiopia’s smooth transition from dictatorship to democracy; for I believe that if there is a successful democratic transition in Ethiopia, human rights will be protected, promoted and defended.

The Bridge on the Road  to Democracy

We can conceive of the transition from dictatorship to democracy as a metaphorical journey on the road to progress, freedom and human enlightenment (democracy) or a regression to tyranny, subjugation and bondage (dictatorship). Societies and nations move along this road in either direction. Dictatorships can be transformed into democracies and vice versa. But the transition takes place on a bridge that connects the road from dictatorship to democracy. It is on this bridge that the the destinies of nations and societies, great and small, are made and unmade. If the transition on the bridge is orderly, purposeful and skillfully managed, then democracy could become a reality. If it is chaotic, contentious and combative, there will be no crossing the bridge, only pedaling back to dictatorship. My concern is what could happen on the bridge linking dictatorship to democracy in Ethiopia when that time comes to pass.

I believe Ethiopia is rapidly advancing towards that bridge on the road to democracy hastened by a wide variety of factors: The regime has no legitimacy despite its ridiculous claim that it won 99.6 percent of the parliamentary seats. The economy is in shambles. “Ethiopia had the second-highest inflation rate in [2011], when it peaked at 40.6 percent, according to Addis Ababa-based research group Access Capital SC”. Last month, the IMF reported, “Ethiopia still faces significant challenges, in particular containing still-high inflation, raising savings, and meeting enormous investment needs.” Last year, the IMF warned, “High inflation is undermining poverty reduction efforts. A highly distorted monetary policy represents a severe drag on growth and is undermining macroeconomic stability. Ethiopia’s approach to industrial development is largely ineffective given the extremely low level of manufacturing and industrial development, low productivity levels, and persistent trade deficit.”

The visceral anti-regime attitude is palpable throughout the country and magnified more conspicuously in the regime’s massive crackdown and repression. The displacement of large numbers of people in what some have called “ethnic cleansing” seems to have crystallized definite patterns of antagonism towards the regime from all sides. The complete closure of political space has spawned fear and loathing in the population. The disparity between the ruling regime and its supporters and the masses continues to fuel massive discontent. The regime is completely bereft of any new or creative ideas to overcome the complex social, political and economic  problems proliferating in the society; and the cosmetic PR about building dams and expanding investments to mask basic problems has drawn more opposition and ridicule domestically and from external sources. In sum, the evidence and signs of decay in the regime are manifest and numerous. Whether collapse comes from internal implosion, popular uprising or other factors cannot be predicted.

A Bridge Too Near

If we accept the philosophical principle that human history is essentially a struggle for freedom and against tyranny and dictatorship, then the natural human tendency is to seek freedom and avoid tyranny. Tyrants and dictators believe that they can always stifle the people’s yearning for freedom through the use of force or corruption. But the inexorable march towards freedom imposes its own immutable historical  laws on tyrants. The foremost law of dictatorships and tyrants is that they always fall. As Gandhi noted: “All through history, there have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time they seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it, always.” Just over the past year, we have seen dictators fall like dominoes in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and Yemen. The impulse for freedom and human dignity could no longer be contained by the secret police and the armed forces of the dictators in these countries.

The second law is that fallen dictatorships always leave behind chaos, conflict and strife. That has been amply demonstrated in the wake of the “Arab Spring”. The third law is that the outcome of the fall of dictatorships is unpredictable. To be sure, the fall of dictatorships does not guarantee the rise of democracy. In fact, more likely than not, it often leads to the rise of another dictatorship because, more often than not, those who seek to dethrone the dictators aim to enthrone themselves and continue to do business as usual. Stated differently, new bottle old wine.

The fourth law is that some dictators will fight to the end to avoid a fall and cling to power; others are more calculating, cunning and rational. When the jig is up, some dictators will fight and others will catch the next flight.  Ben Ali of Tunisia caught the first plane out to Saudi Arabia. Ali Saleh of Yemen fought even after he was singed and disfigured in a rocket attack on his palace. This past February Zenawi granted him asylum after Saleh was denied entry in every other country where he sought refuge. Gadhafi fought to the bitter end until he was captured in a tunnel and killed like a sewer rat. Laurent Gbagbo of Cote d’Ivoire also fought to cling to  power until he was collared like a street thug and turned over to the International Criminal Court to face charges of crimes against humanity. Bashir al-Assad continues to fight and cling to power as his security forces kill, maim and displace thousands of Syrians.

The fifth law is that the transition between the fall of dictatorships and transition to democracy can be managed to minimize the effects of the first four laws. The fifth law applies to the bridge on which the transition from dictatorship to democracy takes place and is the most critical phase in determining the destiny of Ethiopia for generations to come. The first four laws are historically predetermined, but the fifth law is entirely in our hands.

Chaos Creates Ideal Conditions for (Power) Thieves

On the bridge to democracy, there is often a collision between individuals and groups doggedly pursuing power, the common people tired of those who abuse and misuse power and the dictators who want to cling to power.  The chaos that occurs on the transitional bridge from dictatorship to democracy creates the ideal conditions for the hijacking of political power, theft of democracy and the reinstitution of dictatorship in the name of democracy. There is an instructive Ethiopian adage that helps explain this situation more clearly: “Helter-skelter creates ideal conditions for thieves (gir gir le leba yimechal)”.

On the bridge to democracy, all sorts of actors and players will crawl out of the wood work to jockey for power. All sorts of intrigues, power games and shenanigans will be played out. A probable scenario based on historical evidence in Ethiopia suggests the following: Major outside forces will attempt to control and manage the transitional bridge, the transitional period and the transition itself. They will present themselves as “mediators”, offer their resources to manage the transition by managing the stakeholders. They will likely activate their prearranged “leaders” and groups and stage a transitional drama for the general public who are only too happy to see the end of dictatorship and wishfully hopeful of a new democratic beginning. In such a situation, the “mediators” will be in the driver seat of the transitional bus. They will transport the passengers over the bridge to wherever they want.

The military (at least the leadership) will seek to grab political power with the excuse that there is a need to maintain law and order during the transitional period and with false promises of elections and accountability for corruption and human rights violations in an attempt to win public and donor support. If the military intervenes in the transitional process, there will be no transition, only consolidation of military power over civilians. Political parties will regroup and prepare for a power play. Repressed internal forces will likely resurface after the fall of dictatorship to assert their interests and take a seat at the bargaining table. They will try to take advantage of the transitional chaos to position themselves for power and flex their muscles to demonstrate their intentions. New groups will be constituted and present themselves as power contenders and stakeholders. Regional powers will seek a role in the transition to determine an outcome that is favorable to them. Supporters of the fallen dictatorship will try to regroup and reclaim power, or more likely realign themselves with any group they believe will protect their interests and shield them from accountability.

As the various groups jockey for power and influence, the people will be mere pawns in a gambling game of power theft. They will be mobilized along ethnic, linguistic, religious, regional and communal lines. Historic grievance will be unearthed, threats of secession and acts of insurgency will be undertaken, mutual recriminations, accusations and denunciations will dominate the public airwaves. In the end, the people will be left holding a bag filled with confusion, despair, misery, hardship and heartbreak.

On the chaotic (gir gir) transitional bridge, one thing will surely occur: A power vacuum. It is in the chaos and power vacuum that a few calculating and well-organized groups and individuals will execute a well-planned strategy to swiftly capture the ultimate prize of political power and thwart the transition from dictatorship to democracy.

Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail

We need to plan for the inevitable, inescapable and unstoppable transition of Ethiopia from dictatorship to democracy. Dictatorship will end in Ethiopia. It is only a matter of when. Democracy will also rise in Ethiopia. It is a matter of how and what type. Let me use another Ethiopian adage to make my point clear: “Sergena meta, berbere kentisu.” (The wedding party has arrived, let us begin to prepare the meal.) The point is that it necessary to begin a purposeful dialogue and plan ahead about the prerequisites for an effective and smooth transition to democratic governance now, not when the dictatorship falls.

I believe dialogue needs to begin now on at least four major issue areas: 1) how to engage and increase the capacity of key stakeholders in identify potential triggers of violence during political transitions and preventing them; 2) identifying and devising strategies and opportunities for reducing ethnic, religious and communal tension and conflict in anticipation of a transition; 3) enhancing the role of civil society institutions in facilitating public engagement and interaction during the transitional period, and 4) anticipating critical constitutional issues that could significantly impair the transitional process.

The failure to plan for an inevitable opportunity for democratic transition is tantamount to planning to thwart democracy and depraved indifference to the reinstitution of another dictatorship. We must learn from recent historical experience. The Libyans failed to plan for a transition and expediently (with the aid of outside “mediators’) united to bring down the Gadhafi dictatorship. Today, Libya appears to be teetering on the precipice of  tribal warfare and deeply beset by political, regional and political antagonisms. Tunisia seems to be doing much better both because Ben Ali left quickly which made the transitional period easier and also because the military was noticeably absent in the transitional process.

Egypt seems stuck on the transitional bridge. After the young demonstrators mobilized to end Mubarak’s dictatorship with great sacrifice, they were sidelined by the very military that kept Mubarak in power for decades. Civil society organizations which were the driving forces of the revolution are now facing persecution and repression by the military. Egypt’s presidential election is scheduled for May but last week an Egyptian administrative court suspended the 100-member constitutional assembly which was supposed to draft a new constitution for post-dictatorship Egypt.

The suspension has thrown things into a tizzy and tensions are growing between the various secular and Islamist groups and the ruling military council which currently holds power. Having a new president without a constitution (worse yet with the old constitution) is like putting the cart before the horse. But there are real problems with the constitutional assembly that is dominated by members of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party and the Salafist Nour party (who hold a majority in parliament). Secularist members and even Islamic and Christian representatives withdrew from the assembly reading the handwriting on the wall.  Women were grossly under-represented on the assembly as were representatives of civil society institutions. Few of the assembly members had adequate knowledge of constitutional law to participate in meaningful drafting of such an important document. Beyond fair representation of stakeholders, there are some deeply divisive issues of constitutional significance in Egypt. The major one is the role of Islamic law (Sharia) in the new constitution. What safeguards will be in place to protect individual freedoms, women’s rights and the rights of religious minorities and other groups? Ethiopians can learn a great deal from the Egyptian transitional experience.

Who Should Lead the Dialogue on the Transition from Dictatorship to Democracy?

Conventional wisdom says the important task of managing the transition from dictatorship to democracy should be left to the elites—the politicians, party leaders, bureaucrats, academics and other institutional leaders. They are believed to have the best and the brightest ideas for developing the “roadmap” and “action plans’ for a transition to democracy. But for there to be a truly a  successful transition followed by a durable democracy, the dialogue base must be expanded to broadly include civil society organizations, human rights advocacy groups, women and the youth. In fact, the likelihood of a successful transition is increased manifold if civil society organization, advocacy groups, women and youth take a leading role. The reasons are self-evident. Civil society organizations are critical to civil engagement and citizen action for participatory democracy. They are important in facilitating broad-based mobilization in a transitional period and in ensuring responsive governance in the post-transition period. They are also most effective in giving voice to the poor, the minorities and the vulnerable.

The youth are important because the future belongs to them. As George Ayittey explains, there are two generations in Africa: the Cheetah Generation and the Hippo Generation. “Cheetahs seek knowledge, innovation and look for solutions to their problems while Hippos blame others, seek handouts and generally drive our continent to the ground… The Cheetah Generation is a new breed of Africans who brook no nonsense about corruption. They understand what accountability and democracy is. They are not gonna wait for government to do things for them… Africa’s salvation rests on the backs of these cheetahs.” Ethiopia’s salvation rests in the palms of these Cheetahs.

Women need to be given a prominent role in the transitional dialogue because they have been historically ignored, discounted, overlooked and forgotten though they represent one-half of the population. There could be no true democracy where there is no gender equality, and that is one of the glaring inequalities in Ethiopia today. The evidence is incontrovertible that Ethiopian women today suffer significant sociocultural and economic discrimination and have far fewer opportunities than men for personal growth, education, and employment. But women’s involvement in the transitional dialogue is vital because they bring their own unique insights and perspectives to the problems. I believe women have special leadership qualities which are vital to democratic transition and governance. On balance, they tend to be more honest, intelligent, understanding and trusting than men. They are more compassionate than men and more likely to negotiate and compromise. But we will never know know the leadership potential of Ethiopian women because few have been given a chance to prove themselves. They must have a major role in the dialogue on Ethiopia’s transition from dictatorship to democracy.

From One Transitional Bridge to Many Permanent Bridges

All of the dialogue on Ethiopia’s transition to democracy must serve to build bridges across the ethnic divides, the religious chasms, linguistic and cultural cleavages and geographic differences. The dialogue ultimately must lead to a national consensus on a vision of democracy — which I hope will lead to the creation of a government that always fears the people and a political system where the people never fear their government – which promotes peace, understanding and reconciliation of the people of Ethiopia.

So, let the dialogue, discussions and debates continue in the town halls, in the streets, parks and public squares, the villages and hamlets, the neighborhoods, the newspapers, the offices, the youth and women’s organizations, trade and farmers’ associations, meeting halls, the stadiums, restaurants, schools and universities, courthouses and parliaments and on the radio, television, the webpages, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Skype, instant messaging, blog pages and by email…

Let’s get to work building bridges that connect people all across the Land of Thirteen Months of Sunshine!!! 

Amharic translations of recent commentaries by the author may be found at: and

Previous commentaries by the author are available at:   and


The displaced Ethiopians

By Yilma Bekele

I am sure we are all familiar with what is known as the ‘{www:melting pot}’ concept when it comes to describing how America functions. The term is a metaphor ‘for a {www:heterogeneous} society becoming more homogeneous, the different elements “melting together” into a harmonious whole with one common culture.

The concept was popularized in the 1900 with the influx of immigrants from all over. It was challenged in 1970’s with some questioning the idea of total meld and wanted to preserve cultural differences as valuable part of a civil society and proposed an alternative metaphor the ‘mosaic or salad bowl’ concept. This term has come to dominate the Canadian experience. It proposes the mix of ethnic groups, languages and cultures that can harmoniously co-exist. It advocates multiculturalism.

Both approaches have managed to build a robust and prosperous society. Over the weekend I had a medical issue and went to the hospital. I, the patient is an immigrant from Ethiopia. My admitting nurse was another Ethiopian. The nurse that took my vitals was from Nigeria. The person who took my x-ray was from Eritrea. My emergency room doctor was a white American. The individual who took me thru the discharge process was a female Hispanic immigrant. The hospital functioned like a well-oiled machine.

I was impressed. It made me see how the US has managed to become such a big powerhouse. There is plenty that needs to change but it is obvious the system is based on a solid ground of willingness to accommodate change while not losing a common vision of one country one people.

It did not take me long to come back to ground. My homeland came to jar me back to reality. The ‘ethnic cleansing’ in southern part of my country was a reminder that all is not well on the home front. The term ‘ethnic cleansing’ is a loaded term. I am not invoking it lightly. But it to so aptly describes the plight of our citizens that happen to be ‘Amhara’ and their current tribulations. The Benji Maji Zone Administration has seen it fit to expropriate their land and property and drive them out of their homes. Go back to your Kilil they said. Today they are refugees in their own country. The actual term is ‘internally displaced.’

“Internally displaced” is a strange concept to grasp. How could you be a refugee in your own land? In an emerging Democracy like Ethiopia anything is possible. The government led by TPLF (Tigrai Peoples Liberation Movement) is the Party in charge. When they took power they were not into the concept a ‘melting pot’ nor did they appreciate the idea of a ‘salad bowl.’ Our ḥizbāwī weyānē ḥārinet tigrāy ሕዝባዊ ወያኔ ሓርነት ትግራይ leaders were enamored by the concept of ‘Apartheid’. Building enclaves was their brilliant solution. The plight of the Amhara’s is Apartheid in practice. That is what Meles Zenawi is constructing in Ethiopia. Separate disjointed entities at war with each other while his single ethnic based party fans the hate flame.

Do you think I am being an alarmist? Do you think I am falling into the trap of ethnic identification? I do not think so. If people are forced to flee due to their ethnicity be it in Benji Maji, Gambella, Sarajevo or Kigali you have to call it what it is ‘ethnic cleansing.’ The Serbian Military’s attempt to drive Moslems out of Sarajevo was defined as practicing ‘ethnic cleansing.’ Hutus targeted Tutsis and the blood bath was judged as an ugly attempt at ‘ethnic cleansing.’ During the border war between Ethiopia and Eritrea both countries carried out limited form of ‘ethnic cleansing’. May I remind you some of us showed total indifference while a few cheered. Ethnic cleansing is an International crime. It is crime against humanity. What has happened to the Amhara’s of Benji Maji Zone is ‘ethnic cleansing.’ Their only crime is being an Amhara and finding them selves in the wrong Apartheid designated ‘Home Land”.

This abhorrent crime is committed by the TPLF party, which is led by Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. They set such system in place. They designed it. Some are claiming the TPLF party has gone rouge and become the party of one family. I beg to differ. The TPLF was born a monster, grew up to be a monster and will die as a monster. It has never ever done anything that could be seen as a positive contribution to the people of Tigrai in particular and the people of Ethiopia in general.

Kilil is not a new idea. It was copied from the book of the Nationalist Party of South Africa. The White people’s party. Their creation of the ‘Apartheid’ system set up ten Bantustans or homeland for Black people. It kept the Blacks apart. It made them strangers to each other. There was no Black South African but an ethnic based homeland citizen. Leaders like Chief Buthelezi of the great nation of Kwa Zulu were reduced to serving the White masters at the expense of their people. Exile some, corrupt a few and bully the rest was the hallmark of Apartheid. Kilil is the son of Apartheid. In today’s Ethiopia Kilil defines who you are and that of being an Ethiopian is secondary. Benji Maji is the outcome of Kilil at work. You area a citizen of your Kilil not your Country.

TPLF’s system is working like a charm. The folks displaced from Benji Maji are living proof. The cultivation of hate has made us mistrust each other. The insistence on separate Kilil’s has caused us plenty of civil strife. No place is immune from this sickness. Even places of higher learning such as the University and Kilil based Colleges are the hot bed of ‘ethnic’ clashes. I am writing about it. It has become our everyday experience. We are in the process of becoming strangers to each other. The meaning of being an Ethiopian is being deflated, downsized, given negative connotations and made something to hide out of shame.

Why some people in leadership do that should be left to psychologists, social scientists and historians to explain. Our problem is here and now. We are all affected by this devaluation of a beautiful proud country. We are not the first to be under this type of calamity. Look Iraq was once a proud nation. Today Iraqis avoid Iraq. Syria is entering that zone of madness on a national scale. Ethnic strife is the common thread between the two. Kilil is the breeding ground for ‘ethnic strife’. The TPLF party is the fertilizer.

Are you inoculated against this virus? What do you think when you hear of Benji Maji? Upset? Depressed? Confused? Hope less? You see the current leaders of Ethiopia are free to do what they want. The only way to stop them is by showing them there are consequences to their action. There is a price to pay for bad deeds. The people organized around Timret are building an all-inclusive Front as a solid foundation for our future Ethiopia. ESAT has managed to be our voice. Andenet is still operating under dire circumstances. All these groups and organizations are helping the people of Benji Maji by doing their share so there will be no more Benji Maji’s. Change will not happen with out involvement. We can work together as one to create a “melting Pot’ or a ‘Salad Bowl’ or continue on building Apartheid. It is up to you. Show me rather than tell me.

Ethiopia and Winds of war

By Yilma Bekele

War is upon us again. War defines the Ethiopian Government. Since it came to power it has been at war with its citizens. No region or ethnic group has been spared from this infection. The regime is always at war with opposition politicians, journalists, publishers, intellectuals, and business people to mention a few. The regime has fought in Gambella, Hawasa, Ambo, Arba Minch and other localities against its own people. The Ethiopian Government is at war with our Somali-Ethiopians in the Ogaden and has been accused of war crimes.

The Government has been at war with Somali Warlords since 2006 or so. They had a full-scale war with Eritrea. Over eighty thousand were sacrificed in this war no one can explain why. Today the Ethiopian Government is beating the war drums to start a war with Eritrea. They are admitting with pride their incursion into a Sovereign territory and carrying out an act of war. They are calling attention to their illegal acts – at least by International standards all nations adhere to.

The TPLF regime sent out Miscommunication Deputy Head Shimeles Kemal to announce in broad daylight that his Government has crossed an International border and murdered in cold blood. It is the height of stupidity or clueless Shimeles has left himself open to being an accomplice to a criminal act. Shimeles has always been an interesting character among the TPLF Cadres. He is one of my favorite Ethiopians in league with his boss Bereket. Ato Shimeles is a certified paranoid and he was the sacrificial lamb sent out by Meles to prosecute Kinijit leaders. You remember what a fiasco that was. Shimles’s witnesses were turning against him to the extent the defendants felt sorry for this clueless character.

That why it is interesting to note it was Shimeles that was sent out to huff and puff regarding TPLF’s misadventure. I am surprised he did not compare their act to other nations doing the same. The illegal regime always tries to find a comparable act others have carried out to justify its feeble attempt at legitimacy.

When there is no outside threat, the Woyane regime cannibalizes itself. They have carried multiple ‘Tehadso’ campaigns that it is highly possible no one will be left around to claim the ultimate prize of being Emperor of Ethiopia. War is the only vocabulary spoken among the comrades in the Politburo. It satisfies two constituents. Those that still lament the ‘loss’ of Eritrea and would jump on any band wagon as long as they are promised a province and the new EFFORT led single ethnic ruling class that dreads Shabia and would like the Meles regime to do the job before it ceases to exist.

The whole idea of crossing an International border and killing is not a normal or acceptable behavior. Normal Nations just do not do that. Some big powers do certain illegal acts to flex their muscle but Ethiopia is a Nation on life support and many of her citizens go to bed hungry and wake up hungry. Too bad there is only bones to flex. It will be interesting to listen to the Ethiopian UN Ambassador explain how neighbors can invade each other at will and the world finds out about it on BBC. This must be the principle of jungle diplomacy. How strange it resembles jungle Democracy as practiced in Ethiopia.

The US is in the current economic mess because of the terrible mistake of waging two wars far away from home base. Even for a Super Power the cost was too much to bear. War is not cheap. The US produces all its weapons and transportation needs. War is big profit for certain sector of the economy. But it was still a waste. When you take Ethiopia the idea of war is mind-boggling. All weapon is purchased with cash. From the boots of the Solder, to his uniform, arms, transportation cost including fuel is paid cash. The only thing Ethiopian is the peasant in uniform ready to be sacrificed. War is hell on Ethiopians and their economy.

By all UN index of Human Achievement our country always ranks in the bottom three in the world. That is because we spend our human resources warring each other. We sacrifice precious human life and also waste our hard earned money on foreign manufactured goods designed to kill. Normal countries are not run like that. Then again normal countries do not cross international borders and fire their weapons.

There will be many theories why the Meles regime will do such a criminal act. Ranging from conjuring up the Eritrean threat to the theory of forceful defense will be explored. A few Ethiopians will use the occasion to open old wounds and wave the flag. The bottom line is an illegal regime that rules using force is on the verge of wasting both human and economic resources for no valid reason. The fact that no one paid attention to this bizarre behavior is heart warming. Such act makes the Donor countries look bad. Meles was shopping for attention and he was deservingly ignored. Even the victim of this aggression was caught by surprise.

In an ideal world no country will sell weapons to this rogue regime. The people of Ethiopia and Eritrea have seen too many wars. The generation that cultivated and nurtured hatred and animosity is on its way out. This is its last gasp to save itself from its internal enemies. The Ethiopian government is using the Eritrean threat to justify its war on all Ethiopian people. The two poorest economies on planet earth are wasting their precious resource to kill each other. There is no one closer to an Ethiopian than an Eritrea. Eritreans have no one closer to heart than Ethiopians. Instead of building a great East African trade and technology Zone we are listening to those that peddle hate and violence. It is a new day. It is a new generation void of hate and violence.

We should ask those countries that donate arms to rogue Nations to be aware that those same weapons are used on peaceful people demanding their god given fundamental rights. We should demand Western countries not send military trainers other than police since our experience with this robot solders has not been pleasant. We remember the use of US donated vehicles against our people in the aftermath of the 2005 elections. It is too much to ask of us to be silent when our tax money is used to prop up a system that kills to survive. We should make our feelings known to our representatives in congress.

The ‘winds of war’ from Arat Kilo was the culmination of a very trying week for being an Ethiopian. We are being tested for sure. It started with the video of our Ethiopian woman being humiliated in broad day light in Beirut, Lebanon. It is a very agonizing scene. It was a video of a woman being forced into a car while resisting. First she was lying face down in a sidewalk bush while some guy is trying to pull her back. The next cut shows this guy shoving her into the back seat headfirst and her futile resistance. In the background you see people walking but no one seems to care. It ends with the car driving away. A day later the name and picture of the alleged criminal was posted all over. They were able to trace it from the license plate of the vehicle. It traumatized me to no end. Life is not fair.

There days later it was reported that she has died. She committed suicide. She hanged her self. She looked so small and alone. She was even crying in Ethiopian while being forced to be taken where she doesn’t want to go. It is called kidnapping. My little sister did not even have the energy to shout and scream. She was too tired and defeated. Later on I read this took place in front of the Ethiopian Consulate. What a fitting location is all I can say. Do you think this crime against Ethiopian woman is an isolated event? Not really it is so normal it does not even deserve a mention unless it is so dramatic and is caught on video. This is what a Saudi official explained his preference for Ethiopian maids.

Noor Adeen Masfa, Vice Consul for Economic Affairs in Jeddah, said his department and committees from the Ethiopian Ministry of Labor met several times to facilitate the travel of housemaids to the Kingdom after they are properly trained in Ethiopia.
“We decided to finish procedures of 1,500 housemaids due to the increasing demand for Ethiopian housemaids by Saudi families. Ethiopian housemaids are trained well on Saudi customs and traditions, besides the percentage of runaways is low,” he said.

Percentage of runaways is the key word here. We are docile people trained to heel. A proud rich people are reduced to exporting its young ones to raise Saudi children and care for Saudi old. Nothing wrong with that you might say. I disagree. It is a waste of human resource not to be able to house, feed and educate your children so they can create a better Ethiopia. Money spent on education is a better investment than money spent on having the best security force and army to protect a few. Alem Dechasa is one of the thousands of Ethiopians girls under slavery in the Middle East and the Gulf. They are all young, energetic and willing to do anything to survive and help their family at home. It is the remittances they sent that sustains millions of their relatives. It is this remittance income that gives Meles the boasting rights to the so-called double-digit growth.

Like Alem most of them are from a small village with a little or no education and the perfect candidate for abuse and humiliation by their uneducated, cruel Arab degenerates whose brain function has been compromised by too much petro dollar. The Ethiopian Government encourages exporting humans since the income is what sustains their corrupt system in place.

I am sure we are all shocked and angry by this sad news. Of course we blame it on the Arabs. It is true some Lebanese individual is responsible for the inhuman act against our daughter/sister. On the other hand it is the Ethiopian Government that is sending out these young innocent children to countries where they know no respect for human life and dignity.

We cannot change the Arab governments. As we are witnessing, the Arab people are slowly dealing with their problem in a very satisfactory manner. We Ethiopians are the only ones that can put a stop to such outrage against our people. It is our government that is actively involved in encouraging, pushing our young children into harms way. Alem is not the first nor will she be the last. Every year hundreds of our people kill themselves all over the Middle East. We choose to do nothing about it. We scream and shout the first few weeks and life goes back to normal until the next tragedy. Meles and company will probably sue and settle for some monetary compensation and the case is closed.

We suffer from famine, disease or ignorance because there is no democracy or the rule of law in our country. No Democratic and free country suffers from the above ills. All governments that deny basic human right to their people rule over a population that could never achieve its potential. That kind of society is riddled by conflict, civil war and chaos around every corner. That is why Ethiopia is at war with its neighbors, sends it’s youngest and brightest away and is consumed by talk of war and conflict. It is due to the absence of Democracy and respect for basic Human Right. Our working together to get rid of tyranny is how we want to remember the youth and hope of our little sister that went far from home so she can make her peoples life better. We salute her determination and her commitment to those that are faced with the same fate as hers. She did not want to die quietly and meekly. She wanted her death to mean something to all her sisters. Her parents should be told how their brave dignified girl carried her self in a foreign land that should fill their heart with pride. Her scream made others pay attention to the inhuman treatment they all suffer in this unequal relationship. Goodbye little girl, may you at last rest in peace.

Ethiopia as a waste disposal

By Yilma Bekele

The embattled former tyrant president of Yemen Ali Abdullah Saleh is going to settle in Ethiopia. Ethiopia will be his home in exile. Ethiopia was not his first choice. He wanted to settle in Oman his neighbor on the West. The Sultan of Oman was not receptive to the idea. Ethiopia is a refuge of last resort. We are being used as a dump. I am certainly familiar with that practice of getting rid of waste. Upon finishing a project we always have left over debris. We normally haul it to a public dump where they charge by the pound. The City makes extra effort to recycle our garbage.

That is what came to mind when I heard about good old Saleh being run out of Sanna, Yemen. They are dumping their debris and I was wondering how much The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia was charging for this waste. It is a container full I am told. Considering all the wives and the children and the nephews and the cousins and fellow partners in crime it is quiet a heavy load. It is raining dollars for EFFORT and junior associates.

You might think I am being too harsh. I am being hateful and it is wrong to vent in such a way. How rude of me to call a former President such a name you must be saying. I very much doubt you would judge me harshly after I tell you who Mr. Saleh is. I assure you he is not an ordinary refugee like most of us. None of us left on a chartered plane did we? I present you fellow refugee Ali Saleh.

Ali Saleh has less than elementary education. In 1960 he graduated from the North Yemen Military Academy with a rank of Corporal. In 1978 as a Second lieutenant he was appointed military governor of a province. Upon the assassination of the President Second lieutenant Saleh was appointed a member of the four-man Provisional Presidency Council. The date was June 24th of 1978. On July 17, 1978 Second lieutenant Saleh was ‘elected’ by the parliament to be the President of North Yemen and Chief of staff and Commander-in-chief of the armed forces.

His first act as president was execute thirty officers after charging them with conspiracy. That took place on August 10th. Of 1978. In 1979 he fought with the Peoples Democratic Republic of Yemen his southern neighbor. In 1990 the two counties merged as Republic of Yemen and the newly minted colonel Saleh became the first president. In 1994 he declared state of emergency and dismissed his Southern partners from office. Fighting ensued between the two Yemen’s. There has been no respite from civil war and civil unrest ever since he came to power. It did not matter the North or the South it was always war and conflict. In his own words he survived ‘by dancing on the heads of snakes.’ He is able to do so by manipulating tribal alliances, political intrigues and iron fisted approach to deal with real and perceived enemies. He created the situation and benefited himself and his family and other criminal friends. He lived in a palace that even got ‘gold-crested armchairs.’

By 2006 Yemen was averaging income of $5.5 billion from oil exports. In 2006 Yemen received $4.7 billion from Europeans and their rich Gulf neighbors. Yemen was not hurting for money. The problem was management of all that was pouring in from oil, donors and remittances from poor Yemenis scattered all over the Middle East.

That is what happens when one is cursed with a sick leader in charge. His political and economic policies are designed to satisfy his and his clan’s parasitic existence not the needs of the country. Coffee used to be Yemen’s main export and principal form of foreign exchange until it was replaced by the non-sustainable (qat). Instead of developing domestic industry thru better education and incentives to entrepreneurs Saleh’s policy made Yemen dependent on outsiders and forced his youngest and brightest citizens to migrate out to send him remittances that he squandered. Yemen became what is known as a ‘failed state.’

As his domestic policy revolved around the survival of his family and friends his foreign policy showed the erratic nature of his regime. Saleh’s support of Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait was so disastrous it caused the relocation of over 850,000 Yemenis. They were unceremoniously deported, kicked out, pushed away from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf. His clueless dance with Tehran isolated Yemen from its Arab neighbors.

Tyrants are peculiar animals. The same Saleh who was a friend of Saddam and ally of Iran was not shy visiting Washington in 2001 and declaring himself to be the number one fighter against ‘Islamic terrorism.’ It gave him new ammunition against domestic opponents and millions of dollars in US aid to his private army. Did I tell you that his oldest son Ahmed is the commander of the US funded Republican Guard and his nephew Amar is in charge of National Security; his other nephew Tariq is the head of the Presidential Guard while another nephew Yahya controls the Counter-terrorism unit. It is all in the family. He is still dancing on the head of snakes.

Poor Yemen that has been limping from one crisis to another saw an opening with the arrival of
‘Arab Spring’ all the way from Tunisia. January 27, 2011 is a blessed day. That was the day Yemenis got rid of fear and went out in mass demanding the ouster of Saleh and family. A cancerous tumor that has taken over thirty years to attach itself to the host cannot be excised so easy. It took exactly a year to drive this varmint out of Yemen. Human Rights Watch has documented the deaths of 270 protesters and bystanders during last year’s protests. Thousands more protesters were injured by live ammunition. The country was turning or stands a good chance of becoming another Somalia. Saleh is the owner of this debacle.

This is the toxic garbage dumped on our country. The Yemeni people will demand justice. They will hunt this criminal and his family to the end of the earth to bring him to justice. No one can blame them. Ethiopia will be exposed to their righteous anger and be caught in this family affair. Our country that has prided itself protecting freedom fighters and is the seat of African Union is fast becoming a refugee to criminals and misfits running away from their sins and International Justice. Today Saleh may be tomorrow Sudan’s Al Bashir and who is to stop Assad from pitching his tent in the rift valley.

International treaties and conventions are nothing to sneer at. It is true they serve the interest of the big powers in more ways than one. It is also the best tool at hand that usually serves the interest of the weak. Go to International Criminal Court of Justice Web site and look under ‘situation and cases’ and you will see what I mean. ( That is one scary bunch you see there. The ICCJ is a last resort of the weak and voiceless. Our country has appealed to the League of Nations and the UN when invaded. Turning against international rules and convention is not the way to garner respect or legitimacy.

What is troubling to the rest of us is the role played by the Western powers in this tragic affair. They were perfectly aware that Saleh is not a pleasant human being to be associated with. They encouraged him because he served their purpose. Wikileaks was kind enough to expose their duplicity in this criminal enterprise. In 2009 the US gave $150 million including $45 million to equip and train an aviation regiment for Yemeni Special Forces. It is sad that in order to safeguard their own security that they turn a blind eye when their gun is used against unarmed civilians.

They are the ones that forced the Yemeni people to swallow this poisonous pill of ‘immunity’. The so-called agreement brokered by the US and the Gulf states is supposed to shielded Saleh, his friends and family from all criminal act against their own people. Thus the Yemenis are expected to pretend thirty-four years of crime and destruction did not happen.

It is supposed to be civilized to forgive and let go. Civility as a principle is understandable but the danger I see is when it is practiced to mask issues such as accountability, justice and the rule of law. What the Western powers did was push international law, international treaties under the rug so some still surviving tyrants will not be unduly alarmed. The about-face action by dear allies and friends of Mubarak and Gaddafi has been duly noted by a few in the neighborhood. As recently as January 6, 2012 UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay reasserted that an amnesty cannot be granted for serious crimes under international law. Who is listening?

I was contemplating issues such as this when I heard a report regarding Gambella, Ethiopia – on public radio. Mr. Saleh is being welcomed to settle in our country and Ato Okok Ojulu is displaced from his ancestral land to roam the planet as a refugee.

Ato Ojulu’s Gambella is in Western Ethiopia. It is sparsely populated. They are settled farmers. They are blessed with a beautiful land that has sustained them for generations. Our leader has determined since he is the owner of the land he felt he is better of leasing it to outsiders. The plan consisted of moving Ato Ojulu and his village to a new area. They did not even have time to harvest when they were forcefully moved.

A peaceful villager is now a refugee in Kenya. He is not equipped to live outside of his village. His land is his identity. He was content where he was. Today his beautiful Gambella is becoming one big commercial farm. They are talking about investing billions and growing rice. They are going to use the mighty river for irrigation and dump their fertilizer waste into the water. The fishes and wild animals are going the way of Ato Ojulu. Gambella will be no more. The Anuk way of life will soon be memory.

I sat in my car. I am responsible for my brother’s plight. I let his village down. Ojulu my brother is telling his story all the way from Kenya. He was keeping the spirit of his ancestors alive. He has no control over the action of the Ethiopian Government that looked at him as insignificant. There is nothing he can do about the Saudi/Indian/Chinese investors. My brother Ojulu has control over his own response. He is fighting back the way he knows how. It was a single voice from across the planet but we heard it loud. My friend Solomon heard it and called me. I am sure lots of people heard it and felt moved. How we respond is up to each of us. I also know Ojulu is not asking for pity.

As he remembered his displaced people he is asking us to do what is in our power to help him save a way of life and a proud people. There is a lot we can do. Get involved and make a difference. All our independent sites are filled with programs to help us get informed and be intelligent citizens. Our love and can do spirit will defiantly neutralize all the negatives emanating from the palace. As my brother Ojulu did let us be in control of our response. ( )

Now I hope you will not judge me harshly regarding my indignation about the individual Ali Saleh. He has caused pain and agony to a lot of people. Why will never explain how his criminal activity has impacted real people. Due to his madness and delusion he felt that he was the only one fit to govern. He felt others lack his superior intellect and are very lucky to have him at the helm. All those that oppose him are nothing but enemy of the state to be eliminated and wiped out. This is the person parking his criminal behind on our precious land. I see a doormat.

Resources used:

Ethiopia and Syria revisited

By Yilma Bekele

The Syrian regime is killing its own people to save the country from terrorists (ashebariwoch). The world is watching and keeping score. Thanks to social media such as Twitter and Facebook we are all witnessing this display of total madness safely from our home. The missile attack on neighborhoods is televised in living color. The old Soviet tanks lined up outside towns are not defending the country from outsiders but rearing to rain death on their own people. It was only a few years back that such atrocity by dictators was not considered newsworthy. It is not because no one cared but rather because it was done behind closed borders. Things are different now. There is no place to hide.

The last year has been a very {www:tumultuous} year in our neighborhood. We have all witnessed the happenings in Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain and Syria. All these countries have imploded from inside. There was no outside interference so to speak of. There was no scapegoat. If you look closely there is one theme that is common to all. The existence of what is called a ‘strong leader’; ‘dictator’ or ‘mad person in charge’ is what is true in every instance. Change was overdue but dictatorship and change are not compatible. Dictatorship cannot be overcome by evolutionary means. Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Syria are living examples of the validity of that statement.

I am sure the citizens of all those countries would have preferred a peaceful route to bring needed change. I am also sure they for many years, have tried to convince their respective Leaders to accommodate their demands. The upheaval is the result of the inability of the system to fulfill the aspiration of the people. When the needs of the citizen and the wishes of the dictator clash the country enters a very volatile state that can only be resolved by some sort of explosion.

There are controlled explosions and spontaneous explosion. The transition from the Derg to TPLF was a good example of controlled explosion. The transition from the Emperor to the Derg was a very haphazard, creeping and tiring kind of wimpy explosion. The last one standing won. The one with balls but no brains was victorious. Result speaks louder than words.

Syria is entering or has entered that stage. This is the last show and the curtains are coming down. There will be no repeat performance. We all know how it is going to end. By ‘we’ I mean the rest of the world except of course the Syrian ruling lass. All Dictators have a tendency for getting caught by surprise. For some the denial is so strong they don’t even have an escape plan. That is what Gaddafi’s aide said in an interview. The Leader never thought his ‘people’ would be able to gather their nerves and rise up against him. Didn’t he crush their will and personhood? The Idiot was surprised!

Our current object Syria is nothing but a continuation of Arab awakening or “Arab Spring” that originated in Tunisia. But it has its own unique features. In the scheme of Dictatorships in history, it gets a grade of D- at best. It looks like it will only last a single generation. It is nothing to write home about. I do not mean no disrespect or sneer at ours that is gasping to last even a half-life but that is the nature of the business. Africa is littered with wannabe dictators that have lasted less.

The Assad’s have managed to exist by all sorts of trickery and Ponzi scheme. This includes Clannish behavior, benefactor role, blackmail, extortion, assassination and every kind of criminal activity that buys them another day. Today the fabric that has been painstakingly woven is breaking apart. It has run its course and there is no new trick left to prop up the dying system. The Assad’s know it, their Alawit Clan is aware of it and the Syrian people are doing all that they could to hurry matters along.

What exactly is arrayed against the Assad clan is a good question. The main characters all are easy to spot. We are witnessing their cajoling for the best spot after the dust settles. And there are many actors in this farce. The Israelis want a weak Syria with Assad in charge. Their motto is decapitate but not kill. The Jordanians are not thrilled by another crazy regime on the other side of their border. Iraq has already caused a lot of dislocations. The Lebanese are as usual caught between a rock and a hard place. They are keeping a low profile. Turkey is delirious by the opportunity to be seen as an emerging neighborhood bully. Turkey is flexing its muscles.

Iran is depressed. This could not have come at a most unfortunate time. Iran is under siege and it its important ally is jumping from a plane without knowing if the parachute would work. The Mullahs in Quom are not happy and the Islamic Republic will do all that is necessary to prop up the dying regime. The US is walking a tight rope. Mr. Obama does not want anything to complicate matters in this election season. The Israeli Lobby is beating war drums. Mr. Obama has no intention of picking a fight with a powerful constituent no matter what the cause is.

Russia is posturing. Mr. Putin still possess a few not sea worthy submarines prone to accident and rusting nuke Silos and for some reason the West pretends he packs a punch. Clint East Wood would say “Go ahead Vladimir make my day.” Russia’s useless posturing is tolerated because it buys the West time to figure out the volatile situation inside Syria.

The Chinese are looking after number one here. They are thinking “if these foreign devils pass a resolution regarding interference in Syria what is to stop them doing the same when it comes to Tibet?” China is still smarting over being tricked into going along with the invasion of Libya. They have concluded this not to be the time to posture but send scouts to bid on infrastructure building that will definitely follow the mayhem.

Did you notice who I left for last? Yes, good old Syrian people. I am afraid they allowed this abuse by the Assad family and his minority Alawite Clan to go for so long they have become an after thought in the search for a solution to their problem. No one takes their protestations and defiance seriously. Outsiders are looking for a ‘solution’ to impose on them with little or no regard to what they want. It is exactly like what parents say to their child ‘eat your vegetables, it is good for you!’

We Ethiopians are looking closely at the situation in Syria. We have a lot in common. We are both victims of a mad leader and minority clan rule. We both live in a very dangerous neighborhood where others use our precarious existence to wage proxy wars. My interest in writing this paper is to show you what will be done to your country and people in the next few months. I hope you will not feign surprise or pretend you were in the dark. What you see in Syria will be what you will witness in Ethiopia. It won’t be exact but it will be close enough to act as a model. I promise to be the happiest person if I am proven wrong, but that would be flying against facts.

In a very simplistic term this is what we got in Syria. Assad is a second-generation dictator. His power base is the minority Alawite Clan. They consist 12% of the population and occupy all the upper echelons of the military. Security is in the hands of close family members. The economy is used to reward or punish the rest of the population including the majority Sunnis. All media is under the control of the State.

Syria has been in turmoil since March of 2011. The official figure is over seven thousand killed. The Syrian government has killed over seven thousand of its own citizens to stay in power. Bashir and his Alawite Clan are telling the rest of the Syrians either we rule or you all die. It is that simple. He owns a formidable army. Unlike in Egypt the Army is disciplined and controlled better from above. They do not hesitate to fire even into populated areas. Assad, his family and Clan today are feeling like cornered animals. Due to situation they created their escape route is narrowing as we read this. Under the circumstances the only thing to do is pray that the Syrian people put their differences aside and finish this varmint once and for all.

When we look at Syria in the mirror why do I get this feeling that we see Ethiopia. Look at the bright side. This gives us the opportunity to avoid disaster. If we share a common problem and if one of us self-destruct trying a solution I believe the second party should lean from the mistakes and adjust accordingly. That is where we come in. Observe and study all the wrong moves taken by the Dictators and circumvent it before it takes place. I know it is easy said than done. I agree it is not easy for Prime Minster Meles and his group. It is a little naïve to think they are doing this because they are evil or lack the expertise. The simple answer is it is because that is the only way they know how. But it is very easy for us to learn and adopt.

A far as Assad or Meles are concerned the last thirty years has only proved the effectiveness of their method. I said effectiveness not correct and sustainable. Since their inception the use of brute force has been the only way they have resolved any contradiction. The chances of teaching them the value of compromise and the lasting nature of give and take is not possible and utterly a waste of time. It is not going to happen. Gaddafi did not fall for that. Assad will not even consider such farce. The TPLF party is not into committing suicide.

We know they are not capable of learning. I was talking about us. I believe we are capable of learning from the tactics of Gaddafi, Saleh and Assad. Ato Meles is not going to invent a new reality. He is going to act exactly like his friends in a predictable manner. Killing and more killing is the only solution. The assume the more they kill the less we rise up against them. That always worked. Unfortunately once the population gets rid of its fears death is not a valid threat anymore. More killing only breeds more sacrifice and primal anger. Go ask Gaddafi he will tell you what that feels like.

There isn’t much the world can do for the Syrians. Send ‘coffins’ is what a Syrian said in the town of Homs. The Syrians are on their own. May be it will be a good idea to work on our collective responses when the time comes. We Ethiopians are going to find ourselves on our own pretty soon. Thus when you hear the agony of Homs think of Addis Abeba, when they mention Daraa you might as well cry for Dire Dawa when you read the shelling in Hama remember that is what is waiting Hawasa. You might say I exaggerate but really isn’t the same Meles that killed close to three hundred unarmed kids? Isn’t it Meles and company that used their EFFORT lorries to haul any body and everybody to Zuwai, Sendafa etc? Do you think I am being an alarmist?

We have an opportunity to find a way to work together and minimize the damage that is bound to occur when this unfortunate experience implodes on itself. Sergena meta berbere kentesu is not a winning strategy.