Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter Discusses Security Partnership With Leaders in Ethiopia
By Cheryl Pellerin | American Forces Press Service
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, July 25, 2013 – Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter met with senior government and military leaders here to discuss the U.S.-Ethiopia security partnership and shared interests in East African security challenges, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said today in a statement.
Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter meets with Gen. Samora Yenus, chief of staff for Ethiopia’s defense forces, at the Ethiopian National Defense Force headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, July 24, 2013. DOD photo by Marine Corps Sgt. Aaron Hostutler
Carter’s July 23-24 visit to this Horn of Africa country was the final leg of a three-country trip that began in Israel and included a stop in Uganda.
The deputy secretary is the highest-ranking Defense Department official to visit Ethiopia in more than a decade, Little said.
“My visit here to Addis represents not only the increasing importance we place on our partnership with Ethiopia, but the importance we place on the role of the African Union also in addressing Africa’s security challenges, be it Somalia, Mali, the troubled Sudans, or the Central African Republic,” Carter said after a meeting last night with Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.
Carter characterized the U.S.-Ethiopia partnership as an important bilateral relationship and expressed gratitude to Hailemariam for the critical role Ethiopia has played in addressing regional challenges in Somalia and the Sudans.
“Ethiopia and the United States have shared interests in these countries and we continue to explore additional ways that we can work together to tackle East Africa’s security challenges,” the deputy secretary said.
“I’d like to note that my government recognizes Africa’s strategic importance,” he added, “and we at the Department of Defense recognize its strategic importance today and [for] the future.”
Carter and Hailemariam also discussed next steps in response to recent events in South Sudan and exchanged views on the African Peace and Security Architecture, maritime security, and conflicts in Somalia, Mali, the Central African Republic and Africa’s Great Lakes region. The African Peace and Security Architecture is an ongoing Africa-AU framework for crisis management on the African continent.
A senior defense official said that Ethiopia is not a formal partner in the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia, called AMISOM, it has forces in Somalia and was the first of Somalia’s neighbors to respond against al-Shabaab, even before the African Union pulled together what now is AMISOM. Al-Shabaab is an al-Qaida-linked militant group and U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organization fighting to create a fundamentalist Islamic state in Somalia.
“The Ethiopians are the No. 1 peacekeeping contributor in Africa at this point in terms of number of forces,” the official added. “They have substantial forces involved in South Sudan and in Sudan, and they’ve been involved diplomatically there as well.”
Carter also met with Chief of the Ethiopian National Defense Forces Gen. Samora Yenus to discuss the critical role Ethiopia has played in stabilizing Somalia and providing peacekeepers along the border between Sudan and South Sudan.
While in Addis Ababa, home of the African Union headquarters, the deputy secretary met with Erastus Mwencha, deputy chairperson of the African Union Commission, the most senior DOD leader ever to visit the AU. The African Union, made up of 54 African states, this year celebrated the 50th anniversary of its original Organization of African Unity. The AU took the place of the OAU nearly a decade ago, and one of its objectives is to promote peace, security and stability on the continent.
At the AU, Carter thanked Mwencha for the African Union’s leadership in tackling Africa’s security challenges.
The deputy secretary also met with alumni from the Africa Center for Strategic Studies in Addis, founded in 1999 and one of five DOD regional centers.
The ACSS is an agency within DOD that serves as a link between military and civilians involved in the security sector from across Africa, Europe and the United States, according to center literature. The goal is to bring people together to maintain a global network of professionals with a shared commitment to addressing security-related challenges facing Africa.
At a breakfast yesterday morning, Carter met with ACSS alumni from across the continent who offered their perspectives on Africa’s progress in addressing its security and development challenges.
“My job in the Department of Defense is to let people have the basic security that allows everything else in life to be possible — economic development, political development, personal development, community development and everything else,” he told the alumni.
None of that is possible, he said, unless people can wake up every morning and go to work and take their children to school and do all kinds of everyday activities in a safe environment. A few places in the world are blessed with such security, and after a while begin to take it for granted, he added, and people who don’t have it think of nothing else.
“So our job in part is to provide that security. Here in Africa, there are so many sources of insecurity and certainly the United States military is not the answer to them,” Carter said. “We try to make contributions where we can, where you teach us that would be a useful thing to do, and I’m very open to that.
“We in the United States are increasingly turning our thoughts to Africa,” he continued, “because we recognize that this is one of the places that is going to determine its future and our future by trade and culture and many other things.”
Proving them wrong – the Ethiopian way. By Yilma Bekele
They say all kinds of bad stuff about us. It is said so many times and so often some of us start to believe the lie. That is always the problem with being lied to. I am sure by now Woyanes are drunk with their own silly propaganda. The situation with us is that they used to own the means of communication and we were their potted plants waiting to be told, lectured and abused to no end. Thanks to ESAT that is not so anymore.
I have so many instances of this situation I just don’t know where to start. I believe 2005 is day one in recent Ethiopian history. From 1992 to 2005 were the golden years of Woyane where they could do nothing wrong. They could have declared black is white and no one would have challenged them. They held three elections before 2005 and trounced the so called opposition like a beach ball. The loyal opposition led by such luminaries as Dr. Beyene Petros were amenable in a fantastic manner and submitted without much fanfare.
It was the height of believing your own lie to hear the late dictator lament about the lack of a worthy opposition to challenge his TPLF mafia outfit. What is more our benefactor’s embassies were reporting that ‘there is no viable alternative to EPDRF.’ So our people lied low. You know how we operate. We flash that winning smile while in the back ground the brain is on overdrive to find a way out. That is what our people did in 2005.
In a closed door session with the foreigners Ato Meles was so sure of victory this is what he told them regarding his reason for allowing free discussion on his TV “That is why we were so generous in allocating airtime to the opposition. We wanted to give them a long enough rope for them to hang politically, by expressing their views in the ugliest form so that the people can see what they stand for…So as far as our rhetoric is concerned, we have said that they are the Interhamwe. Not because they will send the Tutsis back home, but the Tigrayans back home, normally on all fours.”
This is how much the TPLF was detached from reality. What did our people do? They annihilated the TPLF machine in every corner of our beautiful land. No worthy TPLF was left standing. Bereket Semon was knocked out, Aba Dulla was left for dead, Arkebe was humiliated and Meles Ashebari Zenawi was rendered mute. My best recollection is the letter to the editor to the Ethiopian Herald written by no other than the tyrant himself. Until today I believe that is the best insight into that murky criminal mind of the dear departed leader. I have a printed copy of that infamous letter hanging on my wall. In 2005 the Ethiopian people spoke loud and clear when given a chance. We proved them wrong in no uncertain ways.
Recently I read an editorial by the Ethiopian newspaper ‘The reporter’. Let me say first the Amharic version has a motto above the name and it says ‘Free press, Free thought and Free spirit.’ That motto is absent in the English version. I would think it would be easier to lie in a foreign language but I guess the Reporter thinks otherwise. They have no shame. Here is the title of the editorial ‘የኢትዮጵያ ሕዝብ ተቃዋሚዎችን እየታዘበ ነው’ According the ‘Fearless Reporter’ here in a nutshell is what the editor is preaching. The opposition claims the government is putting hurdles to keep them weak and the editor says they in good faith cannot claim the government has helped, supported or encouraged the opposition. But the Reporter opines we do not think the government is responsible for the weakness and the problems of the opposition.
In the Reporters opinion ‘the opposition lacks resolve strength and good will and is not ready to sacrifice otherwise they would have been stronger.’ We believe the opposition is responsible for their weakness. The Reporter goes on to say plenty of nasty stuff about the opposition none of it worth repeating. The Reporter that practices what is called ‘yellow journalism’ and is the unofficial mouthpiece of the TPLF is one of those weapons that insistently peddles hate, fear, hopelessness and attempts to kill the spirit of Ethiopianism. I also believe the English version is written by someone with a second grade education.
Who else in his right mind would blame the victims that cannot even rent a meeting hall, that do not have a newspaper, that are denied airtime and cannot even raise funds to operate for being weak? The Ethiopian opposition has paid and is paying a heavy price for freedom. They have been hounded from their homes, fired from their jobs, their children denied schooling some murdered and the jails are full of our brave and resolute comrades in arms. You can see the shameless Reporter that does not even have an iota of honor and that lacks the moral capacity to pass any form of judgment on those that operate under a ruthless and criminal regime using precious paper to spread ignorance.
Despite what is being done to them, despite the power of the state that belittles their efforts 24/7 on national TV, Radio and rags like the Reporter the Ethiopian opposition is alive and well. There are ups and downs in this long journey. Today the torch of freedom is burning bright. We got a few choices that are steeled in the struggle and are raising the banner of hope. Semayawi Party is the new kid on the block. They are redefining the agenda. Despite the Reporters lamentations, the TPLF’s unending threats of dire consequences and the fear mongering by the old guard on June 2nd the Ethiopians came out in droves to support their party. The young and old, men and women, Christian and Moslem regardless of ethnic affiliation all showed under the banner of freedom and democracy. They said it was impossible, cannot be done but we proved them all wrong.
The recent ESFNA’s 30th. Celebration in Maryland is another occasion where we rose up to the challenge. They say we are one combative people. The rumor is we love to fight with each other, we don’t care to unite and we are always badmouthing our own people. They claim there is nothing on earth that will bring us together and we are one selfish people. It is supposed to be common knowledge that Abeshas are envious, uncooperative and hopeless. They say it and we repeat after them. After a certain time we reach a point where we start believing it ourselves. So we thought.
It is lucky for us that those that try to put us down and demoralize us start to be swayed by their own propaganda. Our clueless bandas believed their lies and organized a tournament to compete with ESFNA. They rented the best stadium there is, they bribed youngster from all over America with free ticket and free lodgings, they brought plane load of the nouveau rich from home and waited for the party to begin. They really thought we would sell our soul for a fist full of dollars. They inadvertently gave us a stark choice. Money or country was on the table. The people spoke. You can always buy a few bandas like the Italians did but Ethiopia or death became the cry of the many. How many you asked? Over forty thousand and that was the capacity of the stadium. We might quarrel, we might have disagreements but when it comes to Ethiopia we are tight. How tight you ask? We don’t even allow a skinny Woyane to pass between us. We proved them wrong! Thank you ESFNA, thank you my brothers and sisters, I knew you will not let mother down. Prove them wrong is the battle cry. We shall overcome.
Voice from the grave. By Yilma Bekele
Meles Zenawi is dead. Meles Zenawi is alive. I am afraid in our case both statements are true. We saw the tyrant being buried or placed six foot under and the extraordinary sendoff orchestrated by his politburo in living color. The whole country was on stand still for a week or so to bury the warlord who was in the freezer for a month or so. We witnessed the bullying power of the TPLF party that forced every department, every keble and every household to send a representative and show sorrow for a person hated and reviled by all living Ethiopians.
Well he is not really gone. He is still directing the show from hell or wherever evil resides. It has been said that he vowed to leave us with the seeds of conflict, hate and chaos for a long time after he is gone. It looks like he is right. There is no escaping his presence. I don’t mean the life size posters of his ugly face in every corner of our country. I am referring to his toxic and useless ideas including his insane and childish plans that are trying to drive our politics and economy without him.
I am not talking about his ever chameleon Constitution that is still used to whip the opposition. I am not pointing out to the Kilil system that is creating a country of strangers. There is no need to mention the Keble system that is making every household an extension of the security service. Today I am focused on the use of the king of kings of all rivers, the great nurturer of ancient civilizations the one and only Abay River and its unfortunate use by the evil one to hurt our poor country.
The last week all the talk has been about Abay. We are fortunate to have so many rivers flowing out of our high escarpments that if you look at Google map of Africa you marvel and see how God has favored our ancient country. Our high mountains kept us isolated and free from invaders while nurturing our people when all around us suffered from lack of water. The great Wabishebele, the giving Awash, the beautiful Genalle, the fierce Tekeze and Mereb the homily Gibe are but just a few of our mothers milk flowing to keep us and our neighbors happy and strong.
What can be said about the great Abay? The mighty Abay is not just an Ethiopian phenomena. Good old Abay is the mother of the Pharos and the great Egyptian civilization. The wonder of the world owes its existence to the highlands of Ethiopia that made it possible for such a civilization to flourish. The Pyramids of Giza wouldn’t exist without the wealth made possible by the river Nile. Our Abay contributes two thirds of the Nile water supply.
Mount Gishe at 10,000 feet floats on a lake according to the priests that bless the spring that gives birth to the mighty Abay. It is here Abay starts its thousands of miles journey until it empties into the Mediterranean Sea. Abay with its deep gorges numerous waterfalls protected our land from European colonialists, Turkish invaders, Italian fascists and all those that wished ill to our fair land. From mount Gishe to the Sudanese border alone Abay meanders along for over 500 miles (800kM) never in a straight line like most rivers but encircling and hugging our land as if it does not want to leave. Our music and literature is full of praise for the mighty Abay and its force is recognized by all those who come near it and its power felt all over our country.
It is none other than this historic river that today is tossed around like a beach ball by Woyane bastards for their own useless dream and close your eyes lets us fool you story. This what Meles Zenawi planed before his death and this is what he is witnessing from the grave. When Woyane pulled the dam on Abay plan three years ago their leader knew it was his last goodbye wish to our nation that would seal his legacy of evil. It was never mentioned in the five year transformation blueprint they are so proud of. It was never discussed because the idea is so ridiculous any governing body will laugh it off. Thus Meles and company brought it out the last minute and claimed it was kept a secret. Why and from whom is not clear yet. But they damn well knew it was a crazy idea and no one will take it seriously.
Why do you think it is such an insane idea and not even worth refuting? Very simple, our nation is poor and living on welfare even for the food we eat we rely on alms thus no big and complex project like building a dam is possible without the help of outsiders whether the West or the East. No outside Bank or foreign government will finance such a project without adequate studies. Building a dam on a river that crosses an international border complicates the situation in a very big way.
Thus when the warlord came up with the idea that this humongous project was going to be financed by local resources it was time to appreciate the size of his balls for such bravado and empty jive. The claim is so bizarre there is no need to refute such bold face stupidity other than shaking ones’ head and keeping our collective mouth shut. People that survive on a few dollars a day, that look for outsiders to feed them and watch their young and able fleeing their home in droves facing unknown danger are going to save enough to finance a multi-million dollar project is not a good idea to put forward and wait for contributions to pour in. Logic says it ain’t going to happen even when hell freezes over.
Why do you think the dictator pulled this crap out of his hat knowing his days are numbered? He was focused on three important aspects of the future of our country after he is gone and both are shaping as he planned. One is harvesting more enemies for our poor land. Alive he has already managed to get our country entangled into two costly wars. The war with Eritrea that should not have happened has already cost us dearly in both money and lives. Over eighty thousand Ethiopians died and over twenty thousand suffered major injuries. Ethiopia emptied all its foreign reserve buying arms with cash since no weapon dealer accepts credit. For all that investment we won a barren piece of territory that today sits in no mans’ land.
The incursion into Somalia was a no win situation and it was not even in our national interest at all. The dictator to solidify his standing as a ‘terrorist fighter’ and use the situation to clobber the opposition at home had no qualms using Ethiopian lives for his selfish means in order to stay in power. Our solders committed so many war crimes in Somalia the bad felling between the two peoples will take years to wash away. Neighbors that will live for generations in close proximity do not normally engage in such activity that will create animosity and hate between our two people but our great leader was not concerned about that and he showed it by his callous decision.
The second reason for Abay dam madness is to shop for more enemies for our country. You see the idea of building a dam on Abay is not an original idea. Both the Imperial government and the Military regime have exhaustively studied the subject. There are plenty of documents to show their efforts for the project. They have reason why they did not pursue the matter. Today the Woyane regime propaganda makes it look like Meles came up with an original idea and they even coined a catchy phrase ‘Abayen ye defere jegna’ to hype the silly project. So what did he do? He came out with a dam project without asking the rest of Ethiopia or our experts to sit down and define what exactly needs to be done in our nation’s interest. We did not see Ethiopian engineers, hydrologist, geologists, economists, and environmental scientists, political and diplomatic experts being consulted before the ‘secret’ plan was presented in a take it or shut up situation.
Logically a dam on Abay river is a concern to all those upstream countries that rely on the river for survival. Of course the Egyptians did not take the news kindly. Is that a surprise? Put yourself in their shoes would you like it if someone decides to curtail your life line? Our country is not so strong and mighty that it could unilaterally take actions that would negatively affect the lives of so many millions. It was only yesterday in the news that the USA and Mexico signed a negotiated deal on the use of the Colorado river that starts in the rocky mountains of Wyoming and empties into the Baja California in Mexico. It is a shared river and the two governments consult each other on its use. That is what the Egyptians are asking us to do. That is what international treaties require us to do. This political chest thumping and arrogance behavior is not a sign of a great nation that wants to live in peace and harmony with its neighbors far and close. Meles Zenawi planted the seeds of this conflict before his exit.
The third and important reason for this hasty project is all about a Ponzi scheme to gather more money for our Woyane warriors. Where do you think the recently disclosed three billion dollars net worth of the war lord came from? In a nutshell it is all about EFFORT and its continuing quest to amass more money at the expense of our people and country. Mesfin Engineering and the privately held Italian outfit Salini Construction are the two main contractors on the Abay dam project. If you remember Salini is the same no bid winner on the Gibe dam project that had the tunnel collapse exactly one month upon completion. Salini is also the contractor that at the moment is involved building a dam on Tekeze river affecting Waldeba Gedam. Salini does not bode well for Ethiopia.
The current wild talk by the spooked Egyptian regime is creating a stressful and ugly situation to our Ethiopian citizens that are stuck in Egypt. Every ill-conceived idea by the Woyane regime always creates a backlash against our immigrants that are escaping the dire situation in their homeland. It is obvious Woyane cannot stay in power without drama. They always are creating enemy’s both at home and outside to deflect our attention away from their failure to build a sustainable economy, a peaceful nation and a just society. It is also a little depressing to see Ethiopians venting their anger at the Egyptians instead of questioning their own dictators why they are always creating havoc both at home and with our neighbors.
Our creator in his/her infinite wisdom has recalled one of his defective product to spare our country from further destruction but we in our feeble ways are refusing to bury his toxic ideas and burn the memory one and forever. We should pray for the strength to say no, leave us alone. I urge you to watch a wonderful conversation on ESAT with Dr. Getachew Bagashaw regarding the Abay dam project. You can also read a beautiful analysis by the relentless Professor Mesfin WoldeMariam on Abay.
We are witnessing a flurry of news from the TPLF party that calls itself the Ethiopian government. Why is the Woyane party so busy and why is the party pushing its cadres to be super active is a good question. That is what piqued my interest and I was forced to look around to figure out what exactly is happening both in Ethiopia and the Diaspora community to make the illegal regime work overtime.
I did not have to look far to see why the government is acting very nervous. It looks like for a change the progressive forces are on the attack and the reactionary regime is on the defense. Believe me this is a rare occurrence and shows the realignment of forces in our country. I will try to explain why later on but let us look at what is causing this shift. A few weeks back the regime carried out its ‘ethnic cleansing’ activity in the Beneshangul Gumuz Kilil. It was not the first time the TPLF led regime has done this criminal act but what was different this time around was our collective indignation. We were able to carry out a sustained and well organized push back from around the world. The opposition in Ethiopia cooperated by boldly demanding action and tried to collect evidence from the affected areas.
First the hapless regime paraded its toy PM and made him give some half ass explanation and dumped the crimes on their Kilil dog. The fact that the previous ‘ethnic cleansing’ activity was carried out in the South Kilil where the PM originated from was not lost on us. This rehearsed mea culpa did not impress anyone. It was back to the drawing board for the regime. Next In the clueless regime tried to divert our attention by planting rumors about the death of that other tyrant in Zimbabwe. We did not bite. After the failure of that story they again tried to engage us by removing the monument dedicated to our Holy Father Abune Petros. Again we showed our unhappiness but did not take our eyes of the ‘ethnic cleansing’ crime. We were focused and relentless. We were just simply not crying but talking about taking the matter to the International Court of Justice and the UN.
After lots and lots of postponements and dragging the regime brought our political prisoners and decided to hand down their useless justice. We were supposed to drop all other activity and concentrate on Eskinder Nega and Andulalem’s miscarriage of justice. Something odd happened here. We did not follow the script. For the first time we were able to connect the dots and see the whole picture. The progressive forces decided to link ethnic cleansing, Abune Petros and our Political prisoners’ situation as one.
I was waiting for the next drama with heightened anticipation. What would they try now was a common question asked by students of Woyane theatre. Invading Somalia was out of the question since they have already learned their lesson. The demonization of Eritrea was becoming stale. Playing the ethnic card is what brought about the problem in the first place so that was a no go zone. What would the ‘great visionary’ leader do under the circumstances was in the mind of all TPLF cadres in leadership position. They dug deep, traveled back in their criminally ladened history and came up with ‘cannibalism’ as the way out.
So with great fanfare they went about arresting anything anybody they could find. The injustice Minister was hauled away. The guy with dark glasses that sat behind the tyrant in Parliament was arrested. The Revenue and Customs guys were escorted to their won prison with a few selected business people to add flavor to the drama.
I guess all this activity is supposed to impress us. A criminal arresting another criminal is meant to fill our soul with hope for the future. They are so clueless they don’t even know that the news is taken with such amusement that a soccer game between Buna and Giorgis garners more anticipation than their cheap drama. Why would anyone think that Melaku Fenta that spineless individual sitting under Gebrewhaid Giorgis is capable of making any decision let alone steal big? Like most sycophants that are serving as the face of their departments Melaku was just another mannequin for show while the TPLF boss under him runs the outfit. That game is played all over Ethiopia and in the Embassy’s outside. I bet you cannot find any worthwhile governmental body without a TPLF deputy in charge.
This new drama is meant to keep us guessing what in the world is going on inside the TPLF party. We are supposed to guess which faction is up and who is down. The disinformation campaign by Debretsion keeps manufacturing different versions of their supposedly internal turmoil and some of us love nothing more than being instant experts in the inner workings of the mafia group. To hear some of our people go on the minute details of the party is mind boggling and a testimonial to the hopelessness of a few of our family and friends. They might have their own differences but do you really think that will stop them from their common goal of staying in power no matter what? Do you for second think they will not close ranks when threatened? Then why in the world are you wasting time and energy whether Azeb is fighting with Berket and if Sebhat is is not in good terms with Seyoum? Now if they really want our attention the best way to do it will be arrest Azeb or Abay Woldu not Sebhat or Seyoum since they already are near death.
The biggest joke of all is the claim that Hailemariam Desalgne was cleaning house. Let us see the PM that was handpicked by the dead tyrant and schooled in the art of servitude to TPLF, the PM that does not have a power base, the same PM that cannot even pick the guards outside his office is exercising authority on TPLF officials? Who would swallow such Mamo Kilo bed time story is a good question. Yes there are a few especially here in the Diaspora that are trying to put some lipstick on this pig of a story.
Some opined ‘EPDRF supporters speaking out’ while others declared ‘EPDRF undergoing profound changes.’ Well, well let see us what is giving these Woyane coddlers new life? What is different today that was not there yesterday is a good question. I read their writings very closely and tried to see what they were basing their new found euphoria on. I wanted to know what arguments they were bringing to the table to see if there was any validity to their conclusions. I couldn’t find any. It is all wishful thinking, self fulfilling prophesy and confused theories that is trying hard to fit a square peg in a round hole. The ones that are trying to see light at the end of the tunnel are the same people that advised wait and see attitude when Woyane conquered our capital and were willing and ready to serve the criminal organization. Their last miscalculation caused twenty years of misery to our people and country and here they are again advising us the presence of a non entity called EPDRF that is supposed to usher a new era of peace and prosperity. Give it a rest gentlemen and do not waste our time with your unfounded optimism. Why peddle a worn out theory this late in the game?
I am emboldened by three factors that have been added to the equation of fighting injustice in our dear country. The first and very significant addition to our arsenal of fighting for freedom and democracy is no other than our beloved ESAT. It has given voice to the voice less and opened our eyes to the reality that is what is ailing us. ESAT is the main reason Woyane misinformation campaign is falling on deaf ears. ESAT is the main reason the cry of our people in Ethiopia is getting a hearing. No matter what no sane Ethiopian can ignore the voice of our people coming thru the airwaves loud and clear. The tenacity and diligent reporting by ESAT that refused to fall for Woyane diversion kept the ‘ethnic cleansing’ criminal act in focus and thwarted their attempt to derail us.
The second factor is the gallantry of our Moslem citizens that have against all odds persevered for over a year their quest for freedom and independence. The many attempts to divide and splinter them by the illegal Woyane regime has been repulsed and the Moslem community is still standing together with one voice and one aim of protecting their right to run their religion free of government interference. It is a lesson to the rest of us to keep our eyes on the prize and not to let our organizations be the play ground of Woyane operatives.
The third factor that is emerging from Ethiopia is the beautiful new voice of Semayawi Party that is clear, clean and void of any clutter of the past that has been hindering our forward movement. From what I can observe from afar Semayawi is not encumbered by our past failures, weighed down by unnecessary dogma and geared to act and try newer stuff. That is what the doctor ordered. Why use beige and gray to paint when you can use bright blue and bring warmth to the canvas. The call by Semayawi Party to dress in black and show the discontent of our people during African Unions 50th anniversary is a bold and timely call. That is all peaceful resistance is about. It is our duty to follow the advice of the Party and tell our family and friends to cooperate in showing their grief by dressing in black. Those of us that believe in peaceful resistance this is our chance to practice what we preach.
As times go by it is becoming clear that the regime is feeling the loss of the evil person in charge. For over thirty years the prince of darkness Meles Ashebari Zenawi has been the brain and body of the mafia outfit that has been masquerading as a political party. I am willing to give him the credit as the personification of Satan on earth. He has earned the title. His death has left the TPLF party void of someone to fill his shoes no matter how small it is. It is not the absence of idiots or sycophants that is lacking in their midst but they just seem to suffer from the mistrust the evil one has left them with. That deficiency coupled with the emergence of new and daring Ethiopians schooled in the art of confronting the regime head on is what is causing headaches to the downgraded TPLF.
Life is beautiful. Our new found unity and purposeful march to the future is a hard won victory. The fact that it is Woyane in disarray and we are becoming hip to their many attempts to distract us is testimonial to our ability to learn and apply the lesson. There are still many voices that are constantly trying to derail our movement but the fact that we have matured and are able to separate the chaff from the wheat is our new found strength. We are not there yet but with all those strong and tested groups and individuals joining our movement there is no reason to doubt we are bringing the dark days to an end and new bright sun will rise up over our mountains and valleys. A luta continua-the struggle continues.
I am an Amara. “ene Amara negne.”- By Yilma Bekele
“Ich bin ein Berliner.” – “I am a Berliner” Those words were spoken by President John F. Kennedy on June 26, 1963 in West Berlin. He said that to show solidarity with the people of Berlin after the East Germans with the approval of the Soviet Union erected the Berlin Wall to prevent their captive citizens from fleeing to the west.
The passage I like the most is when he said “Two thousand years ago, the proudest boast was civis romanus sum [“I am a Roman citizen”]. Today, in the world of freedom, the proudest boast is “Ich bin ein Berliner!”… All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin, and therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words “Ich bin ein Berliner!”
Today it feels me with so much pride to say all Ethiopians where ever we live say in unison “ene Amara negene” Injustice against any of Ethiopia’s children is injustice to all of her children. We feel each other’s pain. When one Ethiopian is marginalized, when a single Ethiopian is put in harm’s way it is an affront to each one of us and we all suffer. It was none other than Martin Luther King Jr. who took injustice to heart when he declared “he who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”
Tell me my fellow Ethiopian. What do you see in the picture above? It is a picture of people huddled together. It must be night time, what are they doing outside in the cold? Why are they sad? There is no mistaking that they are our people. I can tell that Ethiopian face from a mile away. Look at that slender chiseled face, kind eyes and welcome demeanor. They are our sisters, brothers, mothers or fathers sitting on bare soil, with no chairs and it is difficult to tell whether it is outdoors or inside. There is no question they seem to be confused, tired, and sad. Notices the young girl on the left with barefoot and looking resigned and observe the father on top right holding his chin and just seeming to wonder about the dire situation. I want you to see the child on his mother’s lap looking sad and his mother looking straight at the photographer not for pity but seems to be saying ‘take a good look, don’t forget my ace!’ I cried because I am human, I hurt because I cannot be there to hold their hand, rub their shoulders and ‘whisper it is ok, I am here to help.’ Oh my God the pain is killing me; it is tearing my soul apart. Why is this happening to my people? Why am I witnessing this suffering?
They are not just numbers. They are not statistics we refer to from some paper. They are living, breathing human beings. There is no Ethiopia without them. A house cannot stand without a foundation and a country does not exist without people. The people you see above are Amaras from the region referred to as Beneshangul/Gumuzl Kilil in Western Ethiopian that were deported from their own land to places they don’t even know. They are the homeless Ethiopians. They are stateless people within a country called Ethiopia. They are the surplus Ethiopians. How does such calamity happen? Was there an invasion by a foreign forcer? Was there some kind of natural disaster? Was there a civil war?
No they are the victims of a policy carried out by a rogue regime gone wild. Their plight is a calculated and thought out policy put in place by the regime in power. They are the recipient of a plan drawn by Meles Zenawi and his friends to keep our country in perpetual conflict and destroy Ethiopia from within. This is not an isolated event or an opportunistic move on the spur of the moment. No this is a plan drawn over thirty years ago same as Adolf Hitler’s plan of what he called to as the ‘Final Solution’ to annihilate the Jewish people. This is Meles Zenawi, Sebhat Nega, Seyoum Mesfin, and Abbay Tshaye’s and company nefarious plan directed at a single ethnic group. The ‘Final Solution’ against the Amara people.
Fascist Mussolini in his own evil ways knew that he cannot conquer Ethiopia without partitioning us. Thus he divided our country into six units as follows: 1) Eritrea to include Tigrai – capital Asmara 2) Amhara to include Begemeder, Gojjam, Wello and northern Shoa – capital Gonder 3) Galla and Sidamo –capital Jimma 4) Addis Abeba 5) Harar 6) Somalia-capital Mogadishu. Meles Zenawi and his Woyane party went further and created what we today call nine Kilils. He called it Federalism but in actuality it was South Africa’s Apartheid system in East Africa.
Musoloni and the Italians were in charge of the six units they created. The white minority government in South Africa was the boss of all the Bantustans. In Ethiopia Meles Zenawi with his Tigrai ethnic based Woyane party ushered a new era of abuse, conflict, civil war and the beginning of the destruction of our ancient land.
All Tigray’s are not Woyane. On the other hand there is no reason to shy away from stating the obvious-most Tigrais are the beneficiary of the system set up by Woyane warlords. They are the number one Ethiopians standing heads high above all others. This is not hate. This is not a figment of my imagination. Nothing happens in Ethiopia without the knowledge and consent of the Woyane party. This is a very painful statement to write down but why hide from the truth.
It is also true that Woyane agents and provocateurs planted among us are posing as Amara/Oromo among others and making ugly and hateful statements directed at our brothers and sisters from Tigrai ethnic group. This is the Way Woyane operates and we are all familiar with that mentality. We should also be aware of the fact that Woyane has been systematically attacking Ethiopian history, Ethiopian heritage and the concept of being an Ethiopian in order to carry out their goal of setting us against each other. They have convinced a few gullible people, uneducated and lumpen individuals that our country is not worth saving and separation and going your own way is an option.
We should all try harder not to allow any kind of hateful speech; any put down of each other based on ethnicity and should at no time and place tolerate such ugly and backward behavior. It is commendable to be proud of one’s ethnicity and heritage but it is not a license to attack and degenerate someone from another group. We do not have choice what ethnic group to belong to when born, we are what we are. No one decide ahead to be white or black, to be Chinese or Indian, to be short of tall or be female or male. That is all in the hands of a higher authority. Ignorance and pettiness is what makes us stressed and lash out against those we are not familiar with.
Then some evil people like our Woyane warlords use our weakness to divide us, to be suspicious of each other and plant the seeds of hatred in our society. It is a struggle not to be taken by such propaganda that is intended to make us feel better even with an empty stomach. Let alone our old and poor backward country even the industrialized and educated countries have not been able to tackle this cancer in their body politic.
But we Ethiopians are resilient people. The fact of the matter is over twenty years of hate filled propaganda by Woyane has not been able to accomplish their goal of setting us against each other. Proof in point being during Woyanes deportation of our Eritrean citizens it was heartwarming to see our ordinary people crying and being distressed following the buses that was hauling our brethren, it was a display of true Ethiopian love to see the citizens of Gurafereda washing their hands of Shiferaw Shigute’s ugly deed and today we are sure that our citizens of Bena Shangul do not agree with this current nightmare visited on them by the new Woyane warlords in Arat Kilo.
Do you really think puppet Shiferaw Shigute of Southern Region, do you for a second believe puppet Ahmed Naser Ahmed Of Beneshangul/Gumuz Kilil will carry out such ugly deed without the approval and consent of Meles Zenawi then and Debretsion Gebremichael today? No sir, this kind activity is carried out with the direction of the highest body of the party that is run by Debretsion and company.
It does not do us any good to speculate why they are doing this criminal act. Why would a government declare war on its own people is a question history always tries to answer. It is nothing new. It has happened before we have witnessed it unfold all around us. Rwanda was yesterday, Bosnia is still fresh in our mind and Gurafereda and Beneshangul are close to our heart. No matter how you put it in Ethiopia under the leadership of the Woyane Tigrai based TPLF party our country is turning into hell on Earth. Our Gambellan citizens are uprooted from their ancestral land, Sidama citizens are hunted like wild animals and the Amaras are the favorite target of these disturbed and sick individuals in charge.
Of course we can fight their hatred based criminal act with more hate. I believe MLK Jr. said it better when he wrote ‘Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.’ I do not hate Woyane. I do not want to be like them. Again I will quote you MLK when he said “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too much a burden to bear.” My heart aches when I think of the dead Meles Zenawi, I cringe when I see the picture of Bereket Semeone, Debretsion Gebremichael, Sebhat Nega or Abbay Tshaye’s. They must carry such a burden with them how do they ever sleep at night? How do they function among the company of people with such overwhelming evilness engulfing the depth of their soul?
We all have responsibilities in our daily life. We are fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, cousins, neighbors and workers interacting with other fellow human beings. Sometimes our duties and expectations from those around us is a source of stress and uneasiness. Fathers and mothers worry about the welfare of their family, children are under constant pressure to perform better and our work place puts up so much demand on us we are driven to the edge. It is all because we all want to be loved, needed and do better for those around us. The ultimate satisfaction is when a job done comes out perfect and those around us appreciate the effort. That is the reward that feeds the ego.
Our leaders do not seem to understand that. Given the chance to lead and make a better world for their fellow citizens that put so much trust and faith in them they callously throw away the opportunity to excel. They choose the path of hate, divide and rule and the road of destruction. Instead of sharing the bounty that comes from all working together and lift everybody higher they choose to hoard little crumbs for themselves and those around them. They play with words to fool themselves. They try to manipulate reality to fit their myopic vision. They think calling famine nutrition deficiency changes the pain, naming their terror squad internal security wipes the blood of their hands or doctoring the book balances the account for real. It is a sickness with no cure.
I wrote down I cried and felt broken heart when I saw the picture of my people from Beneshangul then I thought about it. Yes it is human to feel their pain but that is not the answer to our problem. I went back to MLK to see what he tells me about mending a broken heart. How did the great leader deal with such ugliness in the world. This is what he said “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” It is true my response should be what am I going to do about this situation that is keep me up all night?
I am going to be proactive. I will not sit down and observe and take this abuse silently. I am in the USA. I will do my best to discuss with my people so we can find a solution that is sustainable. I will write and talk every chance I get to develop a culture of inclusiveness based on equality, respect and justice. I will support all those forces that are struggling to overcome this force of darkness by any means necessary. I will strive harder to learn from this negative experience and turn it into a positive experience so we can together build a better and just society. I will organize my fellow exiles to contact their Senators, Representatives, locally elected officials so they can pressure the US government to stop coddling such a criminal enterprise masquerading as a government.
I am also heartened by political parties, civic organizations and groups that are currently working under harsh conditions in Ethiopia to gather information, proof and documents regarding the ethnic cleansing situation. I also believe upon getting our documents in order we could be able to do a citizen’s arrest of all the mentioned criminals when they show up outside the country. We can as victims of government atrocity hold these despicable individuals and hand them to our local police. Armed with our documents we have every right as human beings to ask that they be brought to justice since they are breaking international law which our country is signatory of. It is just but another arsenal in our fight against injustice. Finally since information is power I give my word of honor that I do my at most best to strengthen and make ESAT the most powerful media in my beautiful homeland. I ask my fellow Ethiopians to sit down and think hard because indifference has not brought us any amount of measurable respite from this from this never ending atrocity by a regime one wild.
Welcome to the whipped nation- FDRE. By Yilma Bekele
Animal trainers use a whip with a stiff handle to show who the boss is. A whip is used to gain control and achieve compliance using pain. During slavery in the US whipping was a powerful weapon used by the white master. Whipping to humiliate was the hallmark of the Apartheid regime in South Africa. Whipping is an old fashioned tool and really not that effective. Today psychological form of mental whipping is what is practiced by totalitarian regimes.
This cruel art was perfected by the old Soviet Union and taken to new heights by regimes such as East Germany. The Woyane regime in Ethiopia and the dictatorship in North Korean are the new practitioners of this inhuman method of turning a whole nation into one big concentration camp. How do they do that?
The North Koreans use communism in tandem with a home grown philosophy called Juche to reengineer the human brain. Individualism is substituted by collectivism, self- reliance and independence is not tolerated thus vertical collectivism meaning hierarchical form of structure is deemed to be the norm. With the old Soviet and China using it as a buffer for their own interest N. Korea has managed to survive for over fifty years as a pitiful example of man’s inhumanity to man. The demise of the Soviet Union and the slow pace of China’s crawl towards freedom is what is unnerving the N. Korean dictatorship.
The Ethiopian situation is a little different. Our old tradition steeled in isolation is a fertile ground for any and all usurpers’ that want to use our good nature for ulterior means. The fall of the benevolent Imperial regime opened the flood gates to all sorts of undesirable and unhinged individuals to come to power. The Mengistu regime was a perfect example of an experiment gone wrong. The little Colonel was obviously out of his depth as a leader of a nation when he was not even experienced or competent enough to lead a unit. His motto was kill’em all before they kill you and it worked.
Meles Zenawi and his rag tag TPLF army was served our country on a silver platter and inherited a demoralized and confused nation on the verge of total melt down. The coward Mengistu’s only interest was to save his criminal behind and left our country in the middle of the night with the door wide open. That is what we have been dealing with the last twenty years or so, another experiment gone totally wrong.
Meles Zenawi was a street smart, definitely a mentally deranged individual with enough intelligence to hide his antisocial behavior. Here is a definition of psychopathic type in Cleckley’s book the ‘Mask of sanity’
‘Primary symptoms of the antisocial personality are amorality (lack of ethical standards and consistent moral judgment) and impulsiveness. They typically have a hunger for stimulation and a lack of responsiveness to social controls. The sociopath will commit the same crimes or antisocial behavior repeatedly, even if caught and punished. When caught red-handed, a sociopath makes charming apologies and talks of how life will be different from now on. But he or she is likely to slide back into the same bad patterns. There is little effort to conceal wrongdoing; if caught, the sociopath freely confesses and tries to make everything all right with personal charm. But a sociopath has no real regrets over hurting people or breaking rules; the apologies come almost too readily because they are totally insincere, a means of minimizing the consequences of being caught rather than expressing true regrets.’
What do you think? Doesn’t this personality trait describe our recently departed bully? This was the person that was left in charge upon the other sociopath’s departure. This is what our poor nation has been dealing with the last forty years. The next question is what is it about us that attracts such abusers and mentally disturbed individuals to positions of power and authority? To answer that question we have to look at our rankings in such fields as education, health, technology and general quality of life of our homeland. How we interact with each other, how we interact with our leaders and how we view life in general is based on how much knowledge and sophistication we have achieved in our everyday life. It is not based on wish but on existing reality that is definable, measurable and real. Here is a general description of where we stand as a nation and people on important qualities that makes us who we are.
What this chart shows us is that we are mostly rural, we have a very low life expectancy, we don’t have clean water to drink, we lack basic sanitation facility, our children are semi starved a condition that will affect them thru their adult life, more than half of our population is illiterate, we spend minuscule amount on education and health care and we owe our creditors more money that our grandchildren are left with to pay. We are a failed state. When we discuss changing our country, when we talk about bringing freedom and democracy to our ancient land, when we contemplate what we should do tomorrow it is always good to know what exactly we have on the table so we can make smart and real plans based on reality.
Thus when we despair about what the TPLF mafia is doing to our people and country it is always good to understand why they are succeeding with such bizarre acts and behavior when we look at it from afar. What is it that we in the Diaspora have that the Ethiopian people lack? It is true the diaspora in general is a little bit educated than those at home, we are a more exposed to newer ways of doing things and most of us have managed to conquer fear. All true but the most important factor in this equation is that we have more information to work with that our brethren at home. Information is power. Information gives the individual choice. Information opens the eye and creates that eureka moment we all dream about.
The power of TPLF comes from denying information to our people. That is why they work over time; spend millions of Bir to deny information from reaching our people. That is why in most library’s’ what is written prominently in bold is ‘ýe shall know the truth and the truth can make ye free.’ The truth is what our government is most afraid of. That is why my tile says whipped nation. They keep our people in the dark and whip them psychologically with falsehood, make believe stories and fairy tales that no one can contest. I will give you some examples from news that took place the last few days all beyond logic but told on Eth TV and media as rational and true.
1) I will start with the dead PM’s wife Azeb Gola Mesfin’s declaration that her husband used to make US $240 a month on government payroll. It is said ‘nothing else shows lack of conscience better than bold face lying.’ I guess the lady learnt from the best. We know that Ato Meles never worked for wages before he became PM, never have a bank account, never even paid rent, never paid bills of any kind and according to her didn’t even know how to drive a car. On the other hand the same Meles used to wear suit that cost close to ten thousand dollars- now how did that happen? There is no such thing as national medical insurance but Ato Meles used to travel to Brussels for regular checkup and died there after a lengthy and expensive treatment in a private room-do tell us how that was paid? Did we pay for that? Is that part of his employment package? How much did it cost the Ethiopian tax payer?
Furthermore a Spanish newspaper a while back reported that Weizero Azeb spent 1.2 Million Euros shopping for cloth. Is that money she earned all by herself or was it their combined money as husband and wife? You know why this is not known to our people? It is because there is no independent media to report is the reason. No one to call out her bold lie.
2) It was declared by the current guy who claims to be the PM that the regime has established Meles Zenawi Foundation (MZF) According to Walta ‘The Foundation would serve as a living center of ideas and programs to further advance the works and legacy of the great leader Meles Zenawi.’ Only in Ethiopia could such farce take place. I am sure you have heard of the Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation or the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. What makes the MZF different from the above? Those Foundations were established by the individuals so they could share their good fortune with the rest of humanity instead of just willing it to their family. They wanted to share the success they earned by their hard work and use their wealth to good use.
On the other hand the MZF puts that concept on its head. The MZF is established in a ‘proclamation passed by the House of Peoples Representatives’ thus making the tax payer funder of the tyrant’s legacy. To add insult to injury the dictator’s family is in charge of the foundation with his wife and relatives assigned the majority of the board seats. Dictator Meles has all of Ethiopian public media at his beck and call since he assumed power to share his half-baked ideas and infantile musings and now we gona get more of that even from afterlife. Alive he was always quick to dismiss our green, yellow and red symbol therefore it is odd to see his foundation symbol wrapped with our colors minus his silly star in the middle. That is why I said whipped nation. No one to call out their dishonest plans played on our people.
3) The ethnic cleansing against the Amhara people shows no sign of slowing down. It was only last year that with the blessing of the late dictator his agents such as Shiferaw Shigute felt free to drive our people from their homes to faraway places. We protested a little but forgot about it within a short time. It is déjà vu time again. This time the TPLF appointed folks of BeneShangul region felt no shame when they decided to deport the Amhars from their homes. As usual this bizarre behavior of displacing people within their own country has become an Ethiopian past time. Of course some of us show indignation but unfortunately refuse to connect the dots that connect such behavior with our practice. Let me ask you when you buy your beautiful condominium how do you think Azeb Kuma, Arkebe and other TPLF folks acquired the property? Where do you think the peasants of Sebeta and Akai went after being uprooted from their family land and home? The acts of Gura fereda and bena Sahngul is just the same immoral and ugly deed but in a bigger scale.
All are clear signs of a regime gone rogue. How exactly are we responding to this blatant abuse of power and unimaginable atrocity against our people? What new ways have we devised to overcome this debilitating sickness that is slowly but surely killing our country? What exactly have we prescribed to ourselves so we can overcome this disease that is destroying our country, people and the Ethiopia we know?
I am afraid we excel at talking, condemning and always waiting for the next abuse so we could do more of our talking and condemning in a new spirit. Nothing more, nothing less is what I have witnessed if asked to testify. Why do you think that is so? In my humble opinion what we lack is a leader to inspire us, to take us to new heights and gather our people to believe. I am afraid that is not something one can buy from a supermarket order on Amazon.com. What we lack is an organization that will respond in kind to the actions and deeds of the TPLF mafia in power. In our country Sir Isaac Newton’s third law of motion that states ‘for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction’ doesn’t seem to work. Woyane kills we play dead. Woyane abuses we cry like a baby. Woyane ‘ethnic cleanse’ we talk about it and move on. Where is the equal and opposite reaction?
Fortunate for us I am happy to point out we have one area of responding in kind covered. Of course I am talking about ESAT. It is the first and glorious response we have devised to level the playing field. ESAT is an empowerment tool we have at our disposal. ESAT is the expression of our collective will born from amongst us, nurtured by us and serving the ordinary Ethiopian in a new kind of way. ESAT is fair, ESAT is balanced and ESAT don’t need to lie, tell tall stories and ESAT self corrects when wrong. ESAT is the proto type of the new Ethiopia we are capable of building when given the chance. It is the duty of all patriotic Ethiopians to support ESAT, to protect ESAT, to promote ESAT and safeguard ESAT from all and any naysayers that try to nick pick and slander our baby.
I also propose we start a new equal and opposite reaction’ to the current idiotic idea of white washing the legacy of the Woyane warlord. We have to nip this farce in the bud. They have established the Meles Zenawi Foundation and it is fitting we establish The Meles Zenawi Criminal Enterprise Data Base. I call all Ethiopians educated in the field of Library science, data base compilation, achieving, and media to help us preserve the twenty years of atrocity by the architect and his TPLF comrades. We have enough material to fill the library of Congress. We don’t even need a government proclamation nor a handout from dictators. Let us get to work!
So what did you think when you saw the title of my article. I am sure you most of us know what being whipped means but where the hell is FDRE? That is the official name of your country. Not only did TPLF folks come up with a new flag and the Kilil system which they copied from good old Mussolini but they changed our name too. I bet most of us don’t even know our national anthem, do you?