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Meles Ashebari Zenawi and death

By Yilma Bekele

It has been two weeks now since our conversation has been revolving around the dictator. We know for sure he is not well but beyond that no one has come up with any credible explanation for his absence. Rumors, counter rumors, news updates, breaking news have become so ubiquitous Meles Ashebari Zenawi has taken over all the news. His illness has managed to show our psychological make up and our current level of interpreting the news and how we act on it.

As usual what we present in public and what we say in private are two aspects of our forever split personality. Privately we are filled with glee and can’t wait to show our unsurpassed pleasure at his demise while officially we are pictures of reserved behavior and civilized pleasantries. Our reporters did not fare any better. Their updates are based on rumors; unvetted news and personal wishes bundled as current information. We have plenty of work to do.

It is a shame that our media can’t even send someone to St. Luc University Hospital in Brussels and report the news. They might not be able to get his charts but I am sure it is possible to confirm he is there and is receiving medical care. I am also sure there are sympathetic Ethiopians, fellow refugees and well meaning Belgians who work there and that are willing and forthcoming with his condition anonymously. It is the job of the reporter to search and look under the stone to uncover news of interest. I am also sure with a little legwork it is possible to confirm the comings and goings of the dictator from Bole airport with all the details that make the story credible. This idea of using the ‘National inquirer’ method of reporting is not what we deserve.

The failure of our media has become the cause of this tsunami of mis information, dis information and Woyane lies that has made our understanding of the situation very shameful and ugly. It has added unnecessary aspect to the event and made us digress from the point at hand that is discussing the repercussions of the incapacitation or death of the dictator.

It is very disconcerting to see that we have become uninvolved spectators of our own story. Instead of the foreign media coming to us for explanation and analysis we the subjects are reduced to quoting AFP and Bloomberg to tell us about our own affair. I would have found it a lot better and interesting if our reporters paid attention to the people that would be affected by the unfolding event and given us different perspective from our own point of view. Plastering our websites with what some ferenji said sitting in his London, New York or Nairobi office does not make the news any credible. Interviewing people in Ethiopia, Washington DC, Cape Town or Beirut on how they feel about the news, how it will affect them and what their worries are is a better way of gauging the pulse of the public. As usual we validate ourselves by what others say about us.

As it stands now this unhealthy emphasis on the health or illness of an individual has managed to dominate the conversation instead of using the opportunity to blaze new trails and focus on what should be done to bring freedom and democracy to our suffering ancient land. That is where I want to gear this conversation since our ever-loving God has presented us with a good opportunity to bring a new dawn and a bright future to mother Ethiopia.

We have to stop reading the tealeaves or in our case the coffee cup and telling our people who is up, who is in or who is out. In the scheme of the on going situation it really don’t matter and this obsession with idiot personalities does not do our situation any good. What we got here is as follows. Meles Ashebari Zenawi is not well. What ailment he is suffering from is not really important. If we know whether he will make it or not will be good to know, but even that is not that important to the conversation we should be having. We know there are no rules of succession in cases like we are confronted with now. He was the person in charge and he determines who comes after him due to the fact that he controls the economy thru control of the Banks and Party affiliated businesses. He controls the military thru appointment of all high-ranking officials from his Tigreans ethnic group; He controls the Security, Federal Police and the Judiciary. He controls body politics by the creation of all the satellite ethnic parties and the Parliament. Control of all these vital organs of government enables him to control the civil service and bureaucracies thus achieving a total strangle hold on our country.

This is the situation in a nutshell. His incapacitation or sudden death leaves a big void. That is the void we should be discussing on how to fill so we avoid the situation that created the problem we find our selves in at the moment. Spending our time and energy on gossip, Mamo kilo stories and idiotic fantasies is not going to help. What are the forces that are arrayed in front of us to sabotage transforming our nation on the path of democracy and freedom? The one and only stumbling block facing us no other than the TPLF party. It is the only entity that will work overtime and pay any sacrifice to keep the status quo. The current arrangement of forces has been very kind to TPLF and the Tigrai ethnic group asscociated with it. Denying this fact is willful ignorance. This does not mean others have not benefited from the way things are today but the fact of the matter is that like little puppies they are satisfied by sniffing and picking up crumbs thrown their way. I doubt any one will claim to have sat on the same table as the TPLF and gotten a fair share of the Injera on the Meseob. Claiming otherwise is denial of reality.

Our job is to find a way to use the current confusion in the ruling junta and confronting them, intensifying contradiction among them and creating the conditions for inheritors of this broken system to think twice before embarking on costly repair of a rotten system that is currently on life support. This is not done thru talk or this current love affair of peaceful revolution. This fantasy has to be laid to rest. It is a smoke screen and utterly useless scenario advocated by none other than TPLF and the educated but ignorant among us. Talk unless transformed into action is nothing other than a complete waste of time. I am not even going to dignify such concept by giving a rational answer. You can keep talking but please leave me out of it.

‘Non violent resistance’ or ‘Peaceful resistance’ is one of those terms that is being bastardized by us brave Ethiopians. It has become the answer by those who are afraid to get their fingers dirty by actually doing something unpleasant as following talk with action. The truth of the matter is peaceful resistance by the oppressed does not mean their plea for freedom will not be answered by violence by the regime that feels threatened by any kind of change. That is how the situation in Syria started by ordinary people demanding a breathing room. The regime has not stopped the killing but at least now they are getting their own medicine back. I am sure all sane Syrians would prefer for the violence to stop but that is not going to happen. Assad and his Alawit tribesmen are not willing to share power and the people are not willing to be treated like second-class citizens in their own country. Check counter check is in play.

In Ethiopia the regime is in the process of trying to buy time to resolve the contradiction created by the dictator in deathbed. The system worked when one person was in charge but now they have to come to some kind of understanding to be able to keep their criminally gotten power and wealth. As is the case always thieves find themselves in a state of contradiction not during the robbery but during the sharing of the loot. It is important we stop being spectators in this drama but find a way to force ourselves on the stage so we can be part of the play. The Ethiopian people and all opposition have to dig deep into their resources and devise ways to sabotage this deal-making going on. You can call it anything you want whether non-violent resistance, civil disobedience, sabotage or anything as long as it is geared to create havoc on the current illegal structure that has been destabilizing the health and well being of our people. It can assume the South African way where they burned tires and apartheid dogs and closed the streets, the Libyan way of taking one village at a time, the Syrian way we saw today of vaporizing those that conspire together to kill their own people, the Egyptian way of convincing the Military to refuse illegal orders to shoot or the EPRP way of dealing with enemies of the people to set example to others waiting in line.

I can see the empty cry from well meaning people, the condemnation by pretentious friends and the crocodile tears by the peaceful resistance advocates. Please spare me your civilized ways. Some will say ‘hey, you are not over there so it is easy to advocate all this’ my response is where have you been the last twenty years when Woyane has been carrying out violence against our people. Where were you 2005 when Meles murdered all those young people and imprisoned over forty thousand of our citizens? I live in good old USA. The violence done against me is mental the violence done against my people is physical. Unless they decide to rise up and confront Woyane the violence will continue unabated. With or without Meles the TPLF violent rule will continue. Our people will live in misery and our children will die in the jungles of Africa, the seas of Arabia and our daughters will be slaves of unsympathetic and degenerate Arabs. Like the brave Egyptians, the resourceful Libyans the gallant Syrians our people have to find that ‘enough’ moment and take the struggle to a higher level. Pleading has not worked. Relying on ethnic identity has not born fruits. Silence is not the answer. Resolute confrontation of evil is the only way. Like the road charted by our Muslim brothers and sisters the only thing that evil is afraid of is unity and resolve.

Let us stop creating useless news and headlines that does not move our struggle forward. Let us not dwell on the machinations of the evil system and its inheritors but focus on our strength and our dreams for our future. Let us stop quoting every ferenji to tell us about ourselves but make our own news and our own analysis. Let us try to do the job ourselves instead of waiting or blaming those that have a completely different vision for our beautiful homeland. Who else can do the job better than us?

TPLF and Addis Abeba

By Yilma Bekele

Dictator Meles Zenawi has not been seen for over three weeks or so. We know he is not in good health after we saw his picture with the Chinese Prime Minister in Mexico. Some are claiming we did Photoshop on his picture to make him look sicker than what he was. As with everything with clueless Woyane, it would have been easier to present the subject and show us with all his glory instead of blaming us for his haggard look. But that is Woyanne for you: if you can’t find the answer find a scapegoat to blame.

As is the situation when information is not readily available people make up all sorts of explanations to fill the void. Regarding Meles’s health the speculation has gone viral and right now it is difficult to keep count of the possible scenarios. One thing we know for certain Meles is holed up somewhere due to illness, vacation or even death. We just don’t know. His handlers are telling us he is in perfect health but are no forthcoming on why he is hiding from ‘his’ people. It is perfectly sane to assume there is something gone wrong in Arat Kilo.

What made the situation more alarming is his absence during the 24th. Tigray Martyr’s Day Celebration. That does not reflect well on the organizers when giving a party and the guest of honor is unable to attend. Normally when main guests do not show up due to conflict of scheduling or other problems they usually send a video greeting to start the ceremony. Ato Meles did not do that. It could be considered further proof our Woyane warrior is incapacitated and cannot even be propped up, applied make up and send his message. I will not dwell on that because the discussion is fruitless. What I want to discuss is this idea of holding a Tigray Martyr’s celebration in our capital city.

I don’t know where to start because the whole idea is loaded with so many ramifications to our country, people and our future as a Nation. Let us start from the beginning being careful not to bore my readers I am afraid including myself. As we all know the Military opposition that morphed to be the Derg and overthrew Haile Selassie is day one of our current tribulations. Different groups rose up to oppose the Derg as it became clear the trend was dictatorship not liberation of our country. EPRP was the most famous and organized force that confronted the Derg head on. The entire Nation became a war zone. There was no exception.

Human beings were dragged and killed on the streets of Addis Abeba, Gondar, Mekele, Wollamo Sodo, Dire Dawa, Debre Markos, Assela, Nazret (Adama), Lekempt, Asmara, Hawasa and many more localities. No one escaped from this nightmare. The urban area centered tactics followed by EPRP was not able to complement the goal of getting rid of the dictatorship. Due to proximity to the Sudan boarder and possibility of creating an alliance with the Eritrean fronts EPRP was forced to move its forces to Tigrai and Gondar regions.

It was at this juncture in time Meles Zenawi and his Tigrean friends formed what today is known as TPLF virus. In their opinion the task at hand was the liberation of Tigrai not the entity called Ethiopia. True to their word they waged an ugly relentless struggle against the multi national force of EPRP and succeeded in expelling it from their beloved Tigrai. It is also true as they continued their war against the Derg they were able to recruit other Ethiopians who fought along side with them. We are told such persons as Berket Semon, Addisu Leggese, Abadulla Gemeda, Kuma Demeksa, Junedene Sado among many others fought along side Woyane solders. As far as the Ethiopian people are concerned the Derg was an equal opportunity killing machine that did not discriminate on the basis of ethnicity or religion.

Yes it is true the Derg punished Tigrai more harshly than other regions and it has nothing to do about their ethnicity. It is because they were organized and fought as a force and it is natural the military will concentrate its might on those that challenged it more effectively. The Derg did the same when it came to Eritrea. It does not mean the Derg spared the rest of the nation any less. As a matter of fact so many of our young were forcefully recruited to fight a war they did not believe or understand. That is what war is about. You kill your opponent before he kills you. The Derg run out options, its enablers the Soviet Union and Cuba were on retreat and Mengistu saw the writing on the wall. The TPLF branded itself EPDRF and marched into Addis without firing one shot. It should also be noted that the people of Addis with the rest of Ethiopians were happy to see Mengistu go and were willing to give the new conquerors time to adapt and feel comfortable.

It is sad we have to rehash this story after twenty years. We are forced to do that because the new people in power have this nasty habit of revising history and distorting it to fit their version. That is what they were doing on July 24 in our Capital city. If they are celebrating their Martyr’s why aren’t they doing it in their own enclave rather than our City is a valid question? That is where the connection with the unforeseen illness of warlord number one comes into the equation.

There are two possibilities for such insane and idiotic action. Number one is pure panic. The real possibility of the demise of their one and only leader since inception threw them out of balance. Their house was built on a shaky ground around an individual. Meles Zenawi was the head, the body and soul of TPLF. His absence opens a gulf as wide as our famous Rift Valley. They decided the only way they could show their existence was by a show of force against a population that was not even aware if such theatrics was necessary. I mean we all know TPLF is in every house, every village, every work place and every association including Eder. The only place TPLF is absent is from our heart. To show the rest of us how strong he is their mini warlord President Abbay Woldu showed up with three hundred heavily armed Agazi solders and dispatched two army helicopters to circle Addis. The people of Addis took note. They saw it with total amusement and went on their business.

The second possibility is struggle for power among the TPLF cadres. Abbay Woldu is showing his muscle. The absence of Berhane GebreKristos, Tedros Adhanome and Samora Yunus is a telltale sign all is not well in the camp of Woyane. It is not said if Azeb attended but most proably her non-Tigrean status is enough to sideline her. If it means anything old horse Sebhat was not present either, draw your own conclusion.

What I find very revealing is after twenty years of absolute power TPLF is not sure of itself. It has to go thru this kind of useless exercise to validate its existence. It shows lack of self-esteem and obvious weakness. Sure sign of impotence if you ask me. If the illness of their boss is to make them unravel like this what would his death do is a good question? This is how Aiga saw the meeting ‘Organized by Tigray Martyrs Self-Help Association, the ceremony was attended by leaders and former fighters of Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF) and natives of Tigray drawn from Sub Cities in Addis Ababa’ Poor Woyane they still think in provincial terms. You would think as leaders of a multi-national empire they will try to meld in but not Woyane, they are stuck in that frame of mind. You can take the Woyane out of Tigrai but not Tigrai out of the Woyane. Remember it is only when faced with the rest of us they preach Tigrai unity when alone they go back to their village mentality of Adwa versus Axum, Tembien versus Agame or what ever ancestral village they came from. The learned folks of Aiga residing in the Silicon Valley of America where diversity is celebrated cannot help themselves but be drawn to their exclusive meeting and write about it. What is shameful is they wear it with pride.

We have variety of independent Web sites that celebrate our diversity. None are ethnic centered nor would they allow anyone to insult demean or put down any of our people based on ethnic identification. We have Ethiopian Review, Addis Voice, Ethiomedia, ECAD Forum, EMF, Nazret, Abugida, Ethio Lion, Quatero, Ethio Sun, Ethiopia Zare, Tadias, Ethiopia and plenty others including our ESAT the heart beat of Ethiopia. None are based on ethnic identification and serve all the children of Ethiopia equally. What do they got? Aiga Forum that insistently chews the same old chauvinistic policy geared to divide us, put us down and set us against each other. They have Tigrai on line dedicated to the beautiful people alone and here is a sample from its recent posting regarding our past history:

‘Menelike is adored and highly regarded by the Amahras but intensely detested by the rest of the Ethiopian people especially the Oromos. While Emperor Yohannes of Ethiopia was fighting foreign enemies in the North, Menelik was expanding his areas of influence south and eastwards. He treated the subjugated people in the most barbaric and harshest way possible; in Wollaita alone 120,000 people were massacred when they refused to submit to his rule. In their own land, the conquered were considered as second-class citizens and were forced to work as serfs for the Shoan nobility who controlled large swathes of fertile arable lands.

Menelik was not only brutal to his subjects, but he was also a traitor who connived with the Mahdists, the Egyptians and the Italians to bring about the defeat of Emperor Yohannes in order to crown himself as the king of Ethiopia. For his troubles, he received large quantities of weapons from the enemies of the country which he later used during the battle of Adwa.’ Written by a Berhane Kahsay.

This is the mindset we are fighting against. Yes there are people that think like this and actually put their disturbing thought on paper for all to see. How is brother Berhane brain wired, and why would anybody be consumed by such hate after over hundred years is something to ponder. What does it prove to come up with such ugly interpretation of history to build a new and prosperous Ethiopia? Is he telling us we are condemned by the actions of our ancestors assuming his interpretation is correct? It is disturbing to think Ato Berhane residing in the US working with all kinds of people is not capable of formulating a correct response to past injustice. Rewiring his brain is a valuable course of action.

My humble advice to mini warlord Abbay Woldu and friends, the road you are traveling is not a healthy one. Sooner or later the rubber hits the asphalt and there is no telling what it will entail. I assure you single ethnic supremacy has never worked. It shows promise for a while but in the end it explodes and explode in a very nasty way. A few of you that are benefiting from this arrangement will definitely take a whole bunch of your own people into this abyss where all our country and people will suffer for no reason. We are also aware that you think you are doing the right thing and no amount of reasoning will sway you away from your destination. But we just want to tell you fighting back did not start with you nor would it end with you. See what happened in Libya. Witness Syria that reflects your situation better. Do you think the minority Alawit with all their special forces, with all their guns are a match to the Syrian people? Now that does not require a degree in nuclear physics to figure does it? I hate to say I told you so but I have a feeling you are going to force me. Good Luck my peasant revolutionary.

Meles Zenawi and his health

Ethiopia, Ato Meles and his health. By Yilma Bekele
Ato Meles Zenawi, Chairman of Tigrai People Liberation Front (TPLF) and Prime Minster of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia is not in good health. I became aware of that fact after watching the video of a news clip made during his meeting with the President of China at the G8 meeting in Mexico. The last time we saw Ato Meles was during President Obama’s food conference and he was in perfect health. In fact he looked jovial with a new haircut and was dressed in his customary five to ten thousand dollars Italian or English suit. That was until Ato Abebe Gelaw of Ethiopian Satellite Television (ESAT) gave him the scare of his life and he was forced to flee the continent. Things have not been the same ever since.
When he surfaced in Mexico it was obvious he had some medical issues in the interim period. His expensive clothes did not fit him right, his face was ashen and hollow and it was clear he has lost plenty of weight. I was forced to conclude we got a problem. Normally the fate of one individual should not be such a source of drama or wild speculations. But Ato Meles is not just another Ethiopian. He is the Country, Nation and people all rolled in one. The state of his health and well-being is not just idle speculation. His friends, Party or those close to him are not forthcoming with the cause of his illness. We are left to speculate, guess or are being forced to search for a fortuneteller and reduced to read the remains of his coffee cup or consult a palm reader.
We do that because whatever happens to him affects all of us in one-way or another. In the Western countries the health of the leader is an official record. If the leader dies or is incapacitated there are rules and systems set in place to assure smooth transition. Most African countries including ours lack that. In our case there has not been a natural and predictable manner of passing the mantle of leadership. In fact the last four instances have been a source of agony for the unfortunate leader in power and our poor Nation. That is why Ato Meles’s health is an issue we should all fret and worry about. We definitely do not want a surprise.
I am sure his family is worried. His friends are concerned. His Party is alarmed. The Ethiopian people are watching this drama with keen interest. No one wishes him ill but I doubt any body in Ethiopia is praying for his recovery either. It is fair to say the whole Nation is trying to figure out what his untimely demise will bring to our poor old country. What ever ails him is not a simple disease. That is why he is being cared for in Europe with top-notch specialists in an expensive private hospital. No amount of money will be spared to keep the green reaper at arms length.
Sooner or later we all die. We just do all we can to make it later than sooner. Our state of health and longevity is affected by all kinds of factors including a few we have no control on. Genetics, style of life and pure luck plays a big role. We try to eat right, exercise and avoid stress to increase our odds of a long happy life. There are a few things we know about the ‘Leaders’ life style to be able to make an educated guess on what is ailing him.
We know that he smokes, that is cigarettes. We are told that he enjoys chewing Kat with his buddies. His politburo friends are known to enjoy expensive liquor thus we can safely assume that he probably joins them in this past time. All three habits are considered forms of substance abuse and have ramifications on vital organs such as lung, heart and liver. It is fair to say that the last few years, palace living has resulted in weight gain resulting in added girth.
Most leaders keep a busy schedule and have no time for exercise. We know that Ato Meles is studying for his PhD in addition to his duties as the Prime Minster and that leaves him with no time for the gym. We have heard antidotes about his tennis matches but judging from the way he came down the airplane steps during his trip to Philadelphia to one of his meetings one can tell he is not in good shape. He was laboring to walk down while his agile wife descended swiftly even in her high heels.
There is no proof that Ato Meles is suffering from a terminal illness. On the other hand there is no information to say that he just caught the common cold either. As I said due to the nature of the totalitarian system that values secrecy we are left to speculate. We worry and stress because history teaches us that the demise of a dictator, which Ato Meles is, brings all sorts of unforeseen complications on the Nation they leave behind.
Whether they commit suicide like Hitler, are hanged like Mussolini, die in their sleep like Stalin, face a firing squad like Ceausescu and wife, hunted down, sodomized, pistol whipped and shot like Gadaffi or face the International court of justice like Charles Taylor dictators all leave a trail of destruction behind them. That is why Ato Meles’s illness becomes our concern and worry. We think about it to try to figure out how to avoid chaos due to a power vacuum.
This sort of power vacuum attracts all kinds of good and bad characters that would want to capitalize on the empty space created and might be tempted to fill it with something other than people’s power. We do not want that. So what are the forces arrayed to replace the one man, one party rule currently dis-functioning in the land of the Abeshas?
The TPLF party is the premier center of power. Ato Meles and his associates control the Military, security service, the mass media and the economy. What is there left is a good and valid question. Technically Ato Meles is the de-facto head of all these powerful organizations. He is a hand on manager. The different entities are foreign to each other but all report to him. That is how one-man dictatorship works. Some countries like China practice group dictatorship. The Central committee of the ruling Communist Party functions as a group. While others like North Korea or Ethiopia rely on the benevolence of a single individual. The question arise is the TPLF Party capable of functioning as a single entity without the head? Or would the different departments that were designed to look at each other with suspicion coalesce to form a united front? It is highly doubtful.
There are various centers of power within the organization. Queen Azeb the wife is in charge of the economic section. Due to her high visibility and negative press any one group is willing to sacrifice her to save their skin. The internal security is a force to recon with. Would the Generals trust this hi tech mercenaries is a question to consider. The original TPLF functionaries like Sebhat or Abbay are rendered toothless but still operate behind the scene. Why any self respecting Woyane will ally with these old fashioned kitchen conspirators is something to think about. The new upstarts like Tewodros Adhanom or launderer Gebre Kristos have their feet on both camps always ready to abandon ship if the situation heats up. No one trusts the duo. The likes of Seyoum will not come back for all the tea in China.
The military is the most logical center of power that is capable of using force to usurp power. In the current situation of Ethiopia that scenario is a little complicated. Due to the nature of the use of ethnic affiliation used by Ato Meles the military is not a cohesive force. All the top leaders and commanders are from one ethnic group while the rank and file is a reflection of the country. It is fair to say both OLF and G7 are present and functioning creating further uncertainty. Uncertainty is not good for conspiracy. The role played by the top Generals in the economy has isolated them from the average solder. Is it a professional army or peasants in uniform is a valid question. Does one fight to attain power or save his investment creates split personality.
I don’t mean to forget those organized as EPRDF. There are plenty but the Amhara and Oromo stand out at least on paper as the most likely group that will refuse to die quietly. Their puppet leaders are faced with a real dilemma. Divorced from their people they have no base to appeal to. Rendered powerless by design they have no army or security to fall back on. The TPLF mafia that is running them now does not harbor any respect towards their outfit or intends to include them in the deliberations. They are left between a rock and a hard place. For all practical purposes it is easier to ignore and discard them.
Where does the opposition fit in this picture is a good question. The major opposition, the nightmare of the ruling group is of course Ginbot7. G7 is the enemy they know is around but are unable to touch and feel. It is the cause of their blind fury. I will take their word for it G7 is everywhere. Of course G7 could be the figment of their imagination, the result of their paranoia then again why would they allocate so much resource to hunt down a ghost? In my humble opinion G7 is EPRP and Kinijit on testosterone! We all know what those two groups are capable of.
There is also the on and off legal opposition. That is a tricky animal to deal with. At the moment Andenet is the only one with any amount of dignity and respect. The Ledetus and the Chammisos are rendered useless and will most probably hide out the chaotic period and pray for dear life since all opposition groups will be hunting them down for the stray dogs they have become. That leaves us with the Beyenes the Meraras and the Hailus, the darlings of the civilized West. Those are the people our benefactors will try to parade out and use. They will become pictures of civil society. Believe me they will play their choreographed part to the hilt. They cooperated and served Ato Meles, no reason to think they will be allergic to the West for a promise of visibility and fist full of dollars.
The West led by the US is the wild card in this scenario. They very much like stability and the status quo under their guidance. Their interest at the moment is having a strong foothold in the Horn of Africa to prepare for the coming war for resources. Governments like the TPLF mafia are their preferred arrangement. A weak and divided country is their choice. I do not think they go out of their way to create those conditions but on the other hand they do not discourage such reality. Our neighborhood is a fertile ground for contention by the big powers. Except for Kenya and Tanzania we are surrounded by weak, divided and civil war prone countries that exist from day to day with no guarantee of tomorrow. The US, the Europeans or the Chinese are not about to discover their moral compass and save us from our selves. Expecting them to do so is the height of foolishness or a result of extreme poverty of self-esteem.
As I write this Ato Meles is in Europe being healed and the factions he left behind are shell shocked and in a daze. A few will have some reliable information but the vast majority will be operating in the dark trying to figure out this brand new reality in the midst of dis information, mis information and foggy information. Plenty will be sending their family to far away places and moving vast amount of money out of the country. Some will lock their doors and hunker down until the storm settles while a few will search for new alignments and future partners. The kilils will take the opportunity to assert their newfound power and create further complications to the beleaguered party. It is possible organized criminal elements will take advantage of the uncertainty and intensify such activities as bank robbery and hijackings. The Amharic saying ‘ye wedke zaf mesar yebezabetal.’ Is being played live in our country. It is highly possible the different factions will begin to duke it out prematurely. It is conceivable they will end up doing the dirty part of the job for the rest of us. As I see it not matter what this down ward spiral will continue for the forcible future.

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.

Syria and Ethiopia–two peas in a pod.

Syria and Ethiopia–two peas in a pod. By Yilma Bekele
Tahrir Square, Misrata, Darra, Homs are becoming a household name. They are home of the brave and the bold. History will show epic battles were fought in this locations and the people won. The battles were not against foreign aggressors but rather it was the people against one of their own. Movies will be made, musicals will be composed and poetry written chronicling the taste of freedom and the average person’s sacrifice to keep it. They are locations we should all be proud of. They are places where the word ‘NO’ resonated to be heard all around the world. Some will say they are places of shame. No one likes to wash dirty linen in public. The people of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain and Syria showed us sometimes it is necessary. It has to be done to cleanse the country from of years of accumulated spiritual dirt.
We in Ethiopia have a lot of cleaning to do. Our house is filled with dirt and grime. Sweeping the dirt under the rug did not work. Painting over the dirt only aggravated the existing illness. In our case reform is not such a good idea. It can be said that we introduced the concept of remodeling a crumbling house. We did not have a prototype to test our design. Our model failed twice. Fear no more. A final design is emerging in the Arab World. We have a successful prototype to adapt to our situation.
We thank our Arab neighbors for the heavy lifting. We envy their success while we are not ashamed to bask in their reflected glory. Our self-esteem is enhanced by their success. We are ready to learn and implement the final battle. The question is not if there is going to be a war but how best to prepare for it is our issue. What better teacher than our Arab friends can one ask for?
All three countries have their own story to tell. There is a common thread running thru out their story. All three were cursed with evil men in charge. Two have overcome and one is on the verge. We have watched all three closely and here is the lesson I have grasped from this unfolding event. As I write this Gadhafi and family are on the run but by the time you read it he could be in custody either in Tripoli, Benghazi or The Hague, even dead. A sorry ending to a sorry life.
Tunisia is the spoiler. Ben Ali is not a good prototype. He loved himself too much. He was able to see the writing on the wall. He bailed out the first instance of trouble. As a dictator he was not the pride of his club. Mrs. Leila Ben Ali did not fare any better. While the mob was outside the walls she was busy hauling gold from the National Bank. At least she got her priorities right. They took the last train out of town. We noticed Tunisians don’t have the stomach for violence. Compared to what came after, theirs is the quiet revolution. Even the name given to their uprising is so laidback. What do you expect from a ‘Jasmine Revolution’ other than love? The world will never forget Mohamed Bouazizi our hero that lit the fuse which is still burning.
Egypt is a different matter. Mubarak was a formidable foe. Unfortunate for him his opponents were more formidable and savvy. He had plenty of tricks in his bag and used them all. First he was belligerent. He dismissed the whole incident as another attempt by the feeble. Then he brought the old Moslem Brotherhood into the picture with al Qaeda thrown in to please the West. That did not get traction. It was time for good old cabinet shuffle. The people of Egypt went into collective yawn. It was time to bring out the tugs on camel back. Single handedly our Mubarak ignited Tahrir Square like never before. It was a matter of time before the dominos started to fall. The Generals grabbed the last parachute and bailed out. Egypt is too educated and advanced for us. The lesson for us is dictators are paper tigers.
Now Libya is very interesting. The resemblance to our Ethiopia is borderline freaky. They are not our twin but close. The Leader is someone existing in his own zone. Why not, he has been hallucinating for the last forty years. He had the nerve to scold the Tunisians for chasing Ben Ali and Leila. That requires balls made of titanium. Too bad the brain is a mush. Gadhafi thought he has all his ducks lined up. Nothing can go wrong in Libya. What – me worry he said. Delusion was his undoing. He has his elder son berating his people, his middle son with his own battalion rearing to burn and pillage and his only daughter screaming on National TV. Libya was a family affair.
Vain, selfish, spoiled and totally mad is a few of the adjectives used to explain this dysfunctional family. The oil money helped fuel their eccentric behavior. For forty years Libya was run like a family business. For forty years ‘The Leader’ was allowed to bully his people, bully his neighbors and entertain humanity. The West accommodated him when it suits their interest. The Libyan people suffered quietly. Today it is payback time.
Gadhafi felt he was safe why? Because he thought he did his homework that is why. He had all that is needed to run a police state. No independent Parties are allowed. Check. No independent media permitted. Check. No independent civic organizations tolerated. Check. Country divided among tribal lines. Check. Secret police let loose on the population. Check. Those that can be bribed, black mailed or exiled taken care of. Check. What in heaven went wrong? Sometimes it is not all about the belly. Mental and spiritual freedom is another necessary component. That is what is lacking in oil rich Libya. That is what Senor Gadhafi is finding out as he is hiding in a cold and wet underground bunker with no light and no TV to watch himself bully his people. Today he is the rebel and they are the State. Life has a way of catching up, you think? The Leader has a date to keep with International Court of Justice or a single bullet. He brought it on himself.
Syria is a different animal. Syria is our identical twin. Ato Meles meet Dr. Assad your long lost brother. Their resemblance is uncanny. Syria is our prototype. What Assad does Meles will do, you can be sure of that. What is being done to the Syrian people will be done to us, no question about that. Because the primitive nature of our society we get double dose. What exactly is Assad and company doing to their people is a good question.
Hafez al Assad the father of the current president died in 2000 after thirty years of brutal dictatorship. The Parliament amended the constitution reducing the mandatory minimum age of the President from 40 to 34 to allow his son to succeed him. In a referendum in which he ran unopposed he was able to ‘win’ 97.29%. You can say amending the constitution and rigging elections are a common trait shared by our brave leaders.
The Assad’s belong to the Alawi tribe. The Alawi are Arabic speaking ethno-religious community. According to Daniel Pipes writing in The Middle Eastern Studies ‘Alawis were the weakest, poorest, most rural, most despised, and most backward people of Syria. In recent years, however, they have transformed themselves into the ruling elite of Damascus. Today, Alawis dominate the government, hold key military positions, enjoy a disproportionate share of the educational resources, and are becoming wealthy.’
You see what I mean. Substitute Alawi with some people we know and you got a mirror image. The Alawi constitute 12% while ours account for 14%. Assad got Maher and Rifaat his two brother and other Alawi tribesmen in key positions controlling the Army and security while we got Smora Yunus, Tadese Worde and Gebre Dela. Where their allegiance lies is not difficult to guess. The Nation or the Tribal Leader is a hard choice to make. Sometimes but not today.
Here is where we and our Syrian cousins break ranks with Tunisia and Egypt. Ben Ali and Mubarak were measured in their response. The killing was a last resort. It was not a first response. An argument can be made for the two being a peaceful revolution or change thru non-violence. Without the population resorting to picking up arms. The regime of course killed but it was a half-hearted attempt. The nature of the Army made a big difference in the regimes psychology. Cairo and Tunis have a professional army loosely chained to the dictators while in Syria and Ethiopia the Army/State Security and the political leadership are peas in a pod. One cannot exist without the other. So what has Hafze’s son been up to? Nothing good at all!
His problem started when Tunisia erupted with Ben Ali fatigue. Bashir felt the heat all the way in Syria. It has been percolating ever since. All the standard responses have been tried. Nothing seems to work. He has tried sending tanks into neighborhoods, mass arrest, snipers on every tall building, concessionary speeches on TV, promises of coming election, lifting of draconian laws, setting up meetings with selected ‘opposition’ groups and encouraging inter-ethnic strife. None worked. There is no reason to think he is capable of meeting the demands of the people. The situation he has boxed himself does not allow compromise. The two thousand people his security has killed since the onset of the uprising have completely changed the situation.
Is there a formula that allows Assad to escape from this unfortunate situation? There is always a chance, isn’t that what Doctors tell you even when the diagnosis is terminal cancer? The truth is that there are not that many instances where serial criminals such as Assad or Gadhafi have negotiated a safe exit. A few have managed to negotiate a way out. Chile and South Africa are good examples. Assad’s Syria is a little different.
Both Augusto Pinochet and F.W de Klerk agreed to free and fair elections. They also received guarantees that the new regime will be measured in its dealings regarding the past. Their organizations and most of the upper class that benefited from the current order agreed ‘democracy with guarantees’ was a better way out. Is this possible in Syria?
The answer is a guarded no. There are factors that complicate the situation. How does the minority but highly visible Alawis react? They supplied the muscle to the regime wouldn’t a new situation complicate that? The resentful Sunni majority is not going to sit idle when they see a crack on the wall. Notice the role of the Mosques in this confrontation. How about the powder keg of the young and unemployed, what do they have to lose? Assad is between a hard place and a rock.
The opposition is becoming bold and relentless. The foreigners are putting a squeeze on him by freezing his account and threatening a few of his accomplices. The economy is tanking due to the strife economic and isolation and the Arab League has turned left. His Army is stretched thin and money is running low. Inflation is here.
Due to his and his father’s iron rule there is no credible opposition he can negotiate with. The mob on the street is not going to listen to his chosen leaders of the legal opposition. Accepting free and fair election is out of the question. Why would his Alawi base accept that? What guarantee do they have the Sunni majority will be so forgiving for years of abuse? Why would the criminal elements in the Security and Army expose themselves to trial and punishment? How about those paper millionaires both Alawi and Sunni, would they sit and watch while their wealth crumbles?
As you can see the similarities between the two countries is very scary. It is clear Assad is cornered. It has not occurred to him that further resistance is futile. The least we can do in Ethiopia is watch and learn and devise ways of turning our coming disaster into a positive moment. It is no use to pretend things are hanky dory. They are not. When a single Banana costs $10 bir, a liter of cooking oil costs $130 or so a kilo of coffee costs $140 it is not all right. It is not going to be all right in the near future. We have to discuss ways of confronting the problem and have a solution ready. We buy insurance in case we have an accident. When it happens, if it happens we are ready. Let’s us look at our country the same way. In case it starts to implode from inside, like the last two times I believe it is better to anticipate situations and devise appropriate response. This knee jerk response based on hate and insufficient knowledge and expertise is not rational or winning strategy.

Ethiopia – In search of a common ground

By Yilma Bekele

How to manage and resolve conflict has always been our Achilles Heel. That is part of the reason why we stumble from one crisis to another. Last week was a perfect example of an attempt to try to find out a reasonable solution to a problem that arose in our region here in Northern California. I hope it will give us an insight into an exercise in positive behavior that will probably end up in a win-win situation. It made me realize that the scorched earth policy we seem to favor when it comes to resolving differences between us is not a winning strategy and it has not brought us any positive results.

The public transit system serving our area (BART) has been facing mounting criticism from the public due to the strong arm tactics used by the Transit Police. A few weeks ago BART police fatally shot an individual during an arrest. People were not happy about that. A public demonstration was held, a BART station was temporarily closed, and rail service disrupted. The organizers who were using social media as a tool to come together vowed to return the following Friday to continue their public demonstration.

How BART responded to the imminent gathering of angry people is what brought this important discussion into the forefront. BART management decided to meet the threat by pulling the plug on cell phone service for a portion of its stations to disrupt electronic communication. That act completely changed the nature of the problem. Folks wanted to know under whose authority those in charge are allowed to shut down a communications system. It opened a lively constitutional discussion regarding the Bill of Rights and the First Amendment.

Public discussions were held to define the problem. Experts in Constitutional Law were called to clarify the issue. BART board of Directors called a hearing to discuss the ramifications. The people demanded clarity. The core issue became how the First Amendment of the US Constitution was interpreted in action. I will present you the text of the First Amendment as well as two opinions by experts on the Constitution.

Here is the text of the First Amendment “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

According to Michael Risher of ACLU of Northern California “To be clear, the First Amendment doesn’t protect the right of people to disrupt train service, and the government may impose reasonable restrictions on protest. But they can’t simply shut down a park because they don’t want an unpopular group to come protest there; they shouldn’t be shutting down a communications network just because they don’t like what’s being said on it. That’s contrary to the First Amendment.”

Professor Eugene Volokh of University of California at Los Angles (UCLA) response was “As to the federal constitution, based on press accounts of what the facts are, it seems to be that BART was acting within its constitutional power. It doesn’t mean it’s a good idea… but the important thing is that BART was turning off cell phone hardware that was on its property that it either owned or had control over. That’s very different from the government shutting down private networks or interfering with communications on private property or for that matter on streets and parks, which are treated similar to private property in this respect under the First Amendment.”

Watching the discussion and trying to digest the information to make a reasonable assessment has been a teachable moment for me. I noticed the language that the participants used to make their respective points were measured and non-provocative. There were no good guys and bad guys, but people trying to resolve a common problem. There was no anger and none questioned the motives of their opponent. The task at hand was to try to find a lasting solution and avoid future problems. BART directors were not vilified while their decision making process was brought under public scrutiny. This type of environment creates a fertile ground for good ideas to blossom. It brings out the best in all of us and enhances possibility of a positive resolution of the problem. Might I add that the existence of a free and equal environment is what made it all this possible?
I believe that is what is lacking in our social discourse. A civilized way of handling conflicting ideas to be able to reach a reasonable and common ground. Why do I think we suffer from this disease of rigidness and lack of respect for other people’s ideas and opinions? I have two examples of the weakness of our system when it comes to dealing with ideas different than our own.

I wrote an opinion regarding the wisdom of our independent Web sites disseminating interviews with Shaleka Mengistu. I was not dealing with the individual’s right to grant an interview. I believe that is a different issue. Here in California the law does not allow a criminal to profit from his misdeeds. I understand the Shaleka has written a book and part of the interview was to market the product. My issue was the fact of our inability to say enough! That was what I questioned. On the other hand, the discussion that ensued was full of insults, hatred and unreasonable diatribe. I found out folks just don’t disagree and let it go but they take the extra step of questioning my lineage, my integrity and everything associated with me. Unfortunately, the original issue gets lost in this acrimonious festival.

Some said I should stop being angry, a few have forgiven him and they want all of us to do so while others championed his right to speak. I do not agree at all. I believe anger is a reasonable response. Remember, we are the victims. I think a certain amount of disgust is good for the psyche; otherwise, one is bound to be treated like a door mat. You know everybody stepping on you kind. ____ I almost said that is so like us, but I won’t. I will consider the possibility of forgiveness when the criminal shows remorse for his actions and confesses for his untold crimes. I also believe it is my responsibility to speak for my dead people and it is not my place to forgive on their behalf. I truly believe the Shaleka does not have any right to speak. He lost that right when he committed crimes against humanity. Justice demands that he be put on trial, and be hanged until he is dead. His death will serve as a deterrent to future tyrants. That will leave a lasting impression on how not to treat Abeshas. I also believe that asking the Shaleka to advise us in the intricate art of Nation building is the same as asking Ato Meles’s advice on economic growth and the best policy to achieve that goal. Good luck my clueless friends.
The next example is the discussion that has been going around the question of creating a united front against the common enemy and whom to include in this tent. I am assuming we all believe that our country is being mis-governed by the TPLF mafia and that we all want to change that. Please bear in mind the current abusers have been in power for twenty years and we have tried different methods to get rid of them. No one can accuse us of not trying. Failing yes, but definitely most have been doing their best to get rid of this cancer. Reasonable people will look at this situation and try to find out why a very tiny minority of criminals have succeeded in routing the many freedom seekers.

Well some are trying to find the formula that will succeed where others have failed. As the concept implies ‘United Front’ means an amalgamation of those that have a common goal and their attempt to find a way to work together. Organizations have a life of their own. They have their own peculiarities, needs, strengths, and weaknesses, and that is why it has been difficult to achieve unity. It is difficult but not impossible. It has been done before by others and they have succeeded. Why are we having this difficulty time and time again? Is our enemy that formidable or are we that dysfunctional? Is this our first instance to try to unite together, or have we done it before? Is our goal so unappealing that we have problems attracting the many, or does our recurring inability and failure turn people off? We have to mull over all of these are reasonable questions and come up with answers so we can move forward.

Some organizations are in the process of working on such issues to come up with answers that will enhance our ability to confront our abusers. It seems like the folks of Ginbot7, Oromo Liberation Front, Afar Liberation Front and Ogaden Liberation Front are in deep discussion to find a common ground. I am sure the TPLF mafia group is not happy with such a prospect. Reasonably so too! The part I find a little puzzling is the anger by those that are supposedly working to get rid of the same Woyane cancer. One would think they will be overjoyed others are getting together to help them in their common quest. It is even rational to think that they will probe ways of becoming part of such group and try to influence decisions in a democratic and equal manner.

True to our character a few organizations are contorting into knots and showing signs of hysteria beyond reason. Some claim to love Ethiopia more than others and are willing to destroy it to save it. A few are purity police and are constantly on guard to avoid pollution by others whoever they are. The Amhara super Nationalists and the Oromo steroid enhanced separatists are the two interesting groups to watch. When you consider it is these two groups that will greatly benefit from the demise of the mafia system, it is sort of difficult to rationally understand their respective hysteria.

For some of us without any ethnic identity other than being an Ethiopian the whole exercise is a little difficult to digest. For a Nation that is as old as the universe, it is a disconcerting to think today’s arrivals who are questioning the work of their forefathers. When you consider the fact that our country was there before others and by all acceptable standards have a set of internationally recognized boundary; why its own citizens are trying to tear that apart is not clear to many. When the current rulers are in the process of holding a garage sale of our fertile land, and when millions of our people are facing the scourge of famine, is this a good time to come together and avoid catastrophe or revert back into drawing imaginary lines on imaginary Oromia, Tigrai or Amhara enclave?
The lesson I learned from the BART incident in our area is that reasonable people do disagree, but reasonable people hold a quiet and balanced discussion to come up with a solution that might not satisfy all, but that has a reasonable chance of being accepted by many. The point of the exercise was not to win at any cost but find a solution that will bring peace and harmony in the community. All the parties were willing to listen to each other’s concerns and addressed the issue in an even handed manner. There were no losers or winners in this equation. Why couldn’t we do that? Why do we allow the nay Sayers and the belligerent amongst us to hijack the issue and define it in such a way that states that either I am for or against it. Can I be left alone to find a common ground where I can work with all Ethiopians to bring peace, harmony and love to all her children? That is not too much to ask, is it?

Please note that this discussion for good or bad is held on a free Diaspora Media. Here we are free to discuss any issue in a respectful and reasonable manner. Here ideas are not feared or censored. Just because I disagree with some, the sky is not going to fall. I believe we all are intelligent enough to decide what is good for ourselves without undermining others. Our people in Ethiopia cannot do that. There is a communications department that decides what people should view or hear. The Ethiopian government spends millions to block, jam or interfere with free flow of ideas. When our children are hungry the government spends money on technology to keep them dead or alive in the dark. A few decide for eighty million people. Being silent about that is acceptance of abuse. It is wrong. Encouraging our independent Web sites, giving what we could to ESAT and keeping an open mind and a positive outlook on the discussion for unity is what our country demands. That is if you care.