By Yilma Bekele
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.