By Msmaku Asrat
This is a tribute and in memoriam to the millions of Ethiopians who have been murdered; disposed; driven out of their country and refused reentry on pain of death; subjected to grinding poverty, drought, and famine by two rouge, murderous and dictatorial governments that have been the beasts that devoured Ethiopia in the last 40 years.
Ethiopia became noted around the world as a fallen country that could not take care of its own children, the most prized possessions of any country, or for that matter, humanity as a whole can have. Ethiopia has sold its children in the hundreds of thousands to rich countries through a process called ‘adoption’ to mask the harsh and cruel reality of selling them. Cry, My Beloved Country.
Many Ethiopian young women have been humiliated in their country to become prostitutes (estimated to be 300,000 in Addis Ababa alone). Those with means use their money to pay Weyane agents to leave their country with a lure of employment. These agents sell them cheap to oil rich but primitive Arab countries. There they are engaged in back breaking slave labor in a 12-14 hour day and used as sexual toys at night. They are brutally beaten, burned, murdered by the hundreds. They also commit suicide everyday throughout the Arab world. The Weyane representatives in these Arab countries never take note or care. When the war in Beirut erupted, Ethiopians were the only foreigners who did not get any sanctuary. Some were sheltered by other sympathetic maids who were being assisted by their respective embassies. The vast majority of the 60,000 or so Ethiopian maids sold as slaves were left in the rubble of bombed out buildings of Beirut until the war stopped. Their masters had earlier fled their homes with their dogs leaving the Ethiopian girls behind. Cry My Beloved Country.
Hundreds of thousands of Ethiopian refugees have funneled through southern Ethiopia and are stretched out from Nairobi to Cape Town. In the slum of Nairobi, Eastline, Ethiopian girls are dragged from the street and/or their homes by the notoriously corrupt Kenyan police and are repeatedly raped and then passed along to their bosses or any Kenyan who wants to have sex with them. The Ethiopian men in turn are continuously asked to pay bribes or bring Ethiopian girls. Similar things happen to them until they reach South Africa. By that time most have lost their sanity, or have become sterile, or had abandoned their unwanted babies, or are infected with HIV AIDS or other sexually transmitted diseases. Ethiopian men are hunted like stray dogs and killed at will all along the way. This is especially severe in South Africa where they are beaten, robbed and killed by roving savage and xenophobic South African Blacks spoiling for a fight. This happens in a country for whose independence Ethiopia has fought so persistently, and for a long time, a matter acknowledged by Nelson Mandela.
By all international standards Ethiopia remains the poorest country in the world. In Human Development Index (HDI) it is at the very bottom. If we only take the needs of children and families, the statistics is quite staggering. Ethiopia is listed in the top 10 countries for the worst human development index worldwide. Five million or 16% of all children in Ethiopia are orphans. One in every 13 children dies before his/her first birthday. One in 14 women will die from complications during pregnancy or childbirth. More than 1/3 of children under age 5 are malnourished. Four out of 5 families live on less than $2 a day. In rural areas, less than 1 in 3 families have access to a clean water source.
The phenomenon of Internet Social Networking such as: twitter, facebook, MySpace, paltalk, Skype and other instant communication is unavailable to Ethiopians. With 80 million population Ethiopia Is probably the most closed society in the world. Please look at Fig. 1 and Fig. 2.
Meanwhile, the absolute potentate and dictator-in-chief Meles Zenawi, continually berates insults and humiliates non-Tigrean Ethiopians and spews his poisonous venom on them. His speeches are filled with filth and garbage deliberately meant to shock and terrorize. Just to touch the tip of the iceberg: He says that he is proud to belong to the Golden Tribe; and glad not to be a piece of rag like the rest. He surely believes, like Hitler believed about the Aryans, that his Tigrean tribe is the “Master Race”. The entire Tigrean elite are on his side believing that “now it is our time to eat”. Even when their tribal ship is about to sink not even one የድል አጥቢያ አርበኛ (patriots on the eve of victory). He openly wonders what Axum is for the Welayta or others; he has said that he can do whatever he likes with anybody even if he does not like the color of his or her eyes. He has said that his Tigreans will not join the others in the mud and roll with them. He has recently warned hundreds of businessmen that he will cut their fingers and pull their nails. At one time while addressing his “parliament” he said that he would “cut the tongues” of whatever group he was referring to at that time. His vulgar language is inexhaustible. I have always maintained that Meles is a cross between Idi Amin and Mobutu. In kleptocracy he has surpassed Mobutu. But Idi Amin has wit and intelligence and is a paragon of virtue by comparison. Just watch the French Documentary “Idi Amin Dada” if one has doubts.
Meles surely suffers from megalomania and psychiatrists would have a field day analyzing him. He wears $7,000 tailor made suits fitted by the world renowned Savile Raw Tailors of London, who had been the dress makers of European kings and princes and present day multi-billionaires. His $300 a piece shirts are also custom made as well as his padded shoes. A tailor from Savile Raw regularly travels between London and Addis to take measurements of Meles and deliver finished ones. Even Emperor Haile Selassie with all his glory and charisma was employing the services of a local tailor. London has now begun selling single flats in an exclusive area for $220 million dollars. Russian oligarchs and Middle Eastern Billionaires are buying it fast. Maybe Meles has bought one already. With his propensity of not caring for expenses on himself he will be among the most sought after candidate.
It is said that the wife of the Tunisian dictator has raided the national bank and fled with gold bars. Our guys have upstaged her by many years. The vault of the Ethiopian National bank was raided and its gold stolen. A couple of Gurage retail traders were said to be the culprits and then the trail gets dead. Everybody, even the most loyal Tigrean supporter, knows who stole this gold. The hapless Gurages probably do not even know where the National Bank is located let alone its massive vault. While we salute the valiant youth of Tunisia who started it all and salute the youth of Egypt, Yemen, and more to follow, we say Cry My Beloved Country!
Meles has now embarked on one of his often reformulated trickster games. This time it is price control. The Derg had tried it once and failed. The people said about the Derg then: ደርግ ያስካካል እንጅ እንቁላል አይጥልም (the Derg will cuckoo but does not lay eggs). The Weyane now want EFFORT to devour the hen with her eggs. A lot has been speculated on whether the people’s victory in Tunisia could be repeated in Ethiopia. There is every likelihood that it may happen since the Weyane is sitting on top of a tinderbox which could explode any day. We have also to realize that Ethiopians are the most oppressed and the most isolated people on the face of the earth. The top brass of the military is entirely composed of Tigreans. The security forces are entirely from the Tigrean tribe as well as the majority of the police force. The police have been trained by that arch enemy of the Ethiopian people, the BRITISH. We must remember that the Master Plan of the entire Weyane governing structure down to the Kebele level was drawn up by the British. To prop up the regime they installed, they have cynically given away 600 free MBA’s from Open University of London to be distributed among illiterate Weyane cadres. They were told to frame their fake MBA’s and hung it in their offices. Meles has availed himself of two of them – so low has the prestige of British education fallen that it has been used to buttress an illegitimate dictatorship.
How about education at home. The management of the oldest and most respected higher education establishment has been given to Endreas Eshete. This quintessential “Hodam Amara” who has self –styled himself as “Professor” while in actual fact he is an assistant professor. He never had a steady job in the US, occasionally freelancing as a shoo-in a semester adjunct lecturer at a time, courtesy of some friends. A recent article by concerned professors of the A.A. University have posted their grievances on how Endreas is systematically destroying this august institution of higher learning, which I urge everyone to read. He was put there by Meles just to do that. University education in Ethiopia except in Mekele (MIT) is a joke. To humor Ethiopians Weyane says it has opened dozens of universities all over the country. These are single structure buildings with obsolete textbooks donated by Western countries, books that have been thrown away and shipped free to Ethiopia, like the familiar second hand cloth. These books form what is called libraries. The method of instruction is ተምሮ ማስተማር – the barely educated “graduates” employed as ‘professors’ to teach the new arrivals at a “university”. Beyond qualified professors, a university needs a good library; a reliable internet connection with other centers of learning throughout the world, in order to access their research data base; sophisticated photo copying facilities; and number of pages/semester must be allocated to each student for free so that they can download and print out up to date learning materials. These “universities” are now in the process of ‘the blind leading the blind’ and issuing absolutely useless degrees. And this is deliberate. Endreas knows that. BTW, he is the custodian of the “famous Weyane donkey” or its sibling. His donkey brays in the middle of the night disturbing his neighbors in the upscale neighborhood where he is given a villa by the Weyane. If in doubt, check it out.
What about the Diaspora. It is a reflection of the country. It is fragmented and works at cross purposes most of the time. But it is determined to assist the subjugated Ethiopians in every way possible. The truth of the matter is that the youth have to take the leadership. The Brave New World awaits their leadership. Nobody can give it to them, they have to snatch it just like the valiant and exemplary youth of Tunisia have done! They have to snatch it from the Old Guard. The older generation should know that their time is up. Their role, however, is useful during the transition period. That is to warn, to guide, and to advice. During the Derg time Ethiopians were called “the people who forgot to smile or laugh” – so much and so devastating was the oppression. The butcher Mengistu is singing his swan song “I never even hurt a fly” from his comfortable exile. One of his closest ideological advisors was the Eastern European educated Dr. Ashagre Yigletu, considered by those high Derg officials who have worked closely with him as the embodiment of evil. They interplay with his first name and call him አሻጥሬ (the conspirator) He was to Mengistu as Ribbentrop was to Hitler. He is hiding somewhere in Southern US. His place, like his boss, is to face the World Court in The Hague. It has always been said that people who forget their past are condemned to repeat it in the future. We have to follow the example of Chile.
What can we say about Diaspora “tourists” or euphemistically called “investors” who descend to Ethiopia every year. Most are in fact “sex tourists”. They may have been sex starved and have worked as a mule in their Western abodes. They go to Ethiopia to flout their hard earned money among poor prostitutes, have their way with the benefits that their cash give them, and return to their harsh reality, some with STD or HIV AIDS. The foreign tourists are mostly from rich Arab countries, Europe and America. They are sexual tourists. The Americans in particular are known to have destroyed the culture of countries they have dominated. Look at the sexual tourist havens in Vietnam, Cambodia, Philippines, Thailand and now Ethiopia. It is said that homosexual prostitutes have begun to emerge. An unheard abomination in the past. One of US NGO’s was running an orphanage in Wello for the sole purpose of using the orphans as sexual slaves. He was apprehended. But how many are out there. Ethiopia has 4,600 NGO’s the second largest in the world (the first is Haiti with 10,000 NGO’s and look where it is now)
The Ethiopian Orthodox Church whose followers are the absolute majority of the country has a “Patriarch” who is derelict in his duties and has eyes wandering in taboo places. When the famous pop star Beyonce went to Ethiopia, the Patriarch they say was smitten. A popular joke attributed to him. It was said that he composed this couplet:
በአምስት አቦ ናችው በሰባት ቢዮንሴ
እኔ አንቺን ስወድሽ ትወጣለች ነፍሴ
Byonce is considered the most beautiful woman in the world (and I agree). But Abba GebreMedhin is a cleric who has vowed to celibacy and to turn away from worldly things. What brought him into the business of entertaining Byonce? He was criticized by the timid Synod for this. Another strange case concerns a certain woman who is rumored to be of ill repute and of loose morals who frequents his private living quarters and rides with him in his Hummer. She was once physically forbidden by a wall of Bishops from entering the Patriarch’s private quarters!! A small statuette of him was erected at a corner of a church and the Synod wanted it dismantled. The “Patriarch” refused saying that it was “this woman” who built it for him out of “pure love”. Things are getting stranger and stranger. This is what “rolling in mud” means, Meles. And who is there in the mud, your Patriarch.
Dictators, they say, have feet of clay. Weyane has reached the tipping point and is on the verge of collapse. Its tribal structure will collapse with it. The world is changing and changing very fast. In this era of globalization even the immutable Caste System of India which has endured for thousands of years is falling apart. The Tigrean supporters of the Weyane as well as the other Hodams should abandon their sinking flagship, the Weyane Mafia, before it is too late. Otherwise they will sink with it.
In Ethiopia when the revolution occurs s it may be called the “adey Abeba Revolution”. Until freedom comes, we will continue to repeat aloud the battle cry of those valiant freedom fighters of Angola and Mozambique- who fought for so long and so hard, the most entrenched colonial power in Africa -the Portuguese – until final victory.
A Lutta Continua! -the Struggle Continues!
(Cry My Beloved Country is the title of a book written by Alan Patton, the patriotic South African lamenting about Apartheid. The book was translated into Amharic with the apt title እሪ በዪ አገሪ. The author, Msmaku Asrat, Ph.D., can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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