Further discourse on the Washington DC undressing


By Yilma Bekele

The Washington DC incident with Ato Meles is the talk of all Ethiopians in the Diaspora. I found out there is no reason for me to raise the issue, every one I met sooner or later will say something about it. I have made it a point to notice the different reaction both live and virtual on the Internet. It has been a fascinating week to say the least. Our varied response is what got me interested.

For those that are not familiar with the incident, here is a brief description. President Obama organized ‘food security symposium’ at the Regan center in Washington DC. The Ethiopian PM Meles was one of the guests arrayed to discuss the issue. During one of his responses Ato Abebe Gellaw, a reporter in the press box stood up and shouted slogans regarding the lack of human rights in his native land Ethiopia. The program was interrupted for a few minutes due to the incident.
My analysis is regarding how Ethiopians in the Diaspora viewed this situation. Due to the absence of free media in our homeland it is a little difficult but not impossible to gauge the reaction of the Ethiopian people. Based on what we observed outside it will not be unfair to extrapolate the impression to our people in general.

The incident was caught beautifully both on video and still photography. To state it is a dramatic confrontation is an understatement. It has everything one can think of for an unrehearsed play. It was loud, full of action and priceless expressions both from the victim and the conqueror. We were all captivated by this gift from God to help poor old Ethiopia recover a semblance of pride and respect.

The protagonist Ato Abebe Gellaw is a consummate professional. He is a very successful individual that has excelled in the field he choice to fulfill his life’s calling. He has been exiled from his homeland and currently resides in Washington DC. He in charge of the Ethiopian Satellite Television (www.esat.com) that has steadily been winning hearts and minds of Ethiopians both at home when available and in the Diaspora. It is a publicly funded enterprise that is mostly stocked by highly educated professionals most of whom are victims of arbitrary and capricious actions by the Meles regime.

The victim is Ato Meles Zenawi, a dictator from Ethiopia and currently holds the title of Prime Minster and Chairman of Tigrai Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF). He has led this rogue mafia outfit for the last forty years or so and is known to be a ruthless boss with out an ounce of empathy towards his comrades or followers. He basks in his show of arrogance and is known to enjoy berating and putting his people and country down. In other words he is a serial bully of the highest magnitude. He resides in a palace and is completely isolated from the people he has put himself in charge of. He travels in a convoy, all streets are cleared of any traffic when he ventures out and his security is visible even to the blind. It is possible to conclude he lives in constant fear.

The venue was Washington DC and the discussion was food and the lack of it in Africa. Ato Meles is one of the architects of this human disaster. Theoretically the Country Ethiopia has a capability to feed all of East Africa and more. It is blessed with good weather, plenty of rivers and vast virgin land that awaits human ingenuity. In real terms the country in underdeveloped with all land and resources controlled by the government under Ato Meles. Over 80% of the population is involved in subsistence agriculture. Education is very rudimentary and health care is non-existent. The average peasant owns a plot as big as a football field and uses farming implement that has been in existence since millennia. The vast majority of the population relies on less than 300 calories a day and is a recipient of food aid donated by the West.

This is the background to our story. During a question and answer period in the proceedings the Ethiopian reporter Ato Abebe Gellaw used the occasion to interrupt the Prime Minster and speak his mind regarding the personhood of the TPLF leader and his actions against the interest of the Ethiopian people. Ato Abebe spoke loud, his expression was intense and his delivery was flawless. The incident took exactly twenty-five seconds and there was no question all-present heard every word that was said. Ato Abebe was promptly removed by the secret service and handed over to the local police for questioning.

The Prime Minster was caught off guard. This has never happened to him. When he speaks in front of his kangaroo Parliament or organizes his press conference everything is choreographed and control is the key. You can hear a pin drop in his briefings. When he heard the first shout his face jerked to the left in the direction of the noise. His eyes bulged wide open. He turned back to the front and realized there is no possibility of help coming to rescue him. In his panic all he could do was look down and avoid any eye contact. He stayed down. The color left his face. His agony was visible in High Def. and can be heard in Dolby sound.

That was the situation in the gathering place. Ato Abebe was questioned by the police and released without much fanfare. There was no crime committed other than speaking out of order but under the circumstances it is considered ‘seizing the moment’ to advocate what one holds dear to his heart. ESAT and reporter Ato Sisay Agena were waiting out side to give their audience perspective on what happened. Over all the presentation was as expected the work of professionals doing what they do best, keeping their people informed.

The response by the Ethiopian community both inside and the Diaspora is both heartwarming and beyond expectations. In my limited survey I can proudly say the vast majority were pleased by Ato Abebe’s heroic and self less act and were pleasantly surprised by the reaction of Ato Meles. The individual has made his mark in belittling people and here he was seen without his clothes and it was a painful sight. You can’t help but cringe at his cowardice. He can dish it out but it is obvious he cannot take it. Some one said he looked ‘like a deer caught in a head light’ and I agree. He was at a loss and it showed. Without his gun-totting pose around him he was just another garden-variety bully that lacks spine.

Our people have all sorts of take on the incident. As I said the vast majority were empowered by Ato Abebe’s action. The direct translation from Amharic would run like “our heart was laced with butter.” It is meant to show the highest form of satisfaction. A few questioned the appropriateness of Ato Abebe’s action. They reasoned since he was invited as a reporter he should have stuck to asking questions instead of humiliating the tyrant. They claimed he debased his profession. A few called it ‘uncivilized’ behavior. In their opinion as a reporter he should be unbiased and not taken side.

For some of our people the situation was a little confusing. Our culture dictates that we speak softly and keep differences low key. We abhor washing dirty linen in public, and felt this exposition of the tyrant’s actions should be kept behind high walls. That is why some felt the embarrassment of Ato Meles as their own. A few felt pity. It is human to feel the pain of others. A very small minority as usual brought ethnicity into the picture, but it did not get traction.

The response from the TPLF supporters was as usual as far removed from reality as possible. Without question the best take on this incident is by none other than Mimi Sebehatu, a low level TPLF functionary peddling her ‘bed time for Bozo’ stories on her FM station in Addis. It is claimed this puppy ranted like never before calling Ato Abebe every name she can think of. She compared his actions to that of Italians jeering our Emperor at the League of Nations assembly in Rome. Yes she did that. Makes you wonder about her grasp of reality or her understanding of history. On the other hand when you think both are foreign subjects to our Woyane warriors her displaced analogy is understandable. We will laugh it off.

Cadre Mimi is the owner an FM station that she uses to attack the free media and signal consorted campaign against our reporters on behalf of her party. She peddles useless music and stuff to keep the youth docile and wastes a broadband on triviality instead of in the service of our people. Ato Abebe is the perfect candidate for her moronic editorial and pedestrian analysis of realty. The positive aspect of her stupid barking is that it confirmed the heroic deed of our hero to the Ethiopian people. The formula is ‘if it upsets’ the TPLF mafia it must be good for the rest of us! Thank you Cadre Mimi. May I suggest you hold another session and invite Bereket, Shimeles and Azeb? Please note Cadre Mimi has her US passport in her purse ready to bail out when the ship starts to sink.

Last but not least there is the response by the vast majority of the rest of us. I am assuming no response to be a form of response here. A lot were happy, exited, tickled and discussed it with anybody close by. That is right, this was the extent of their involvement. Case closed, another story please, another excitement is what they requested. In this era of a twenty-four hrs news cycle we are always waiting for something new, something different to happen. We get bored easy. We find hard work and sustained involvement is not our cup of tea. We have this tendency to leave a task unfinished. This is one instance this behavior manifested itself glaringly. We are not interested in formulating a plan to channel our response so we can build on this accomplishment by Ato Abebe. That is not part of our makeup.

Seattle is one place that is showing signs of positive vibrations. Seattle has always been the lion’s den and it is leading the way with our newfound activism. In Seattle they are working on holding a public meeting to bring all of us together and take activism to higher level. That is what is called taking advantage and transforming our movement into an all-inclusive mass based venture against tyranny. That is how we show appreciation to the wonderful work by Ato Abebe and reward his sacrifice in a meaningful manner. Talk is cheap. Temporary feel good is fleeting satisfaction. Consorted effort to do what is needed to continue the fight against tyranny is what the situation calls for.

We are also emboldened by the actions of our people in South Africa. It was to Johannesburg the little tyrant slinked into after his DC public flailing. That is what he has been doing the last twenty years. He always got a bag ready to attend meetings, conferences, symposiums any place where they will give him a chair and allow him talk trash. That is how he proves to the Ethiopian people how ‘important’ and ‘respected’ he is by rubbing shoulders with democratically elected leaders. Never mind his formula in Ethiopia is to earn their love by terrorizing them. Fear is what he peddles in Ethiopia. Anyway he had the nerve to show up in South Africa. Our fifty thousand strong exiles were ready for him. He was unceremoniously booted out of his speaking slot. He was declared ‘persona non grata.’ That is a fancy way of saying ‘you are not wanted’ in Latin. Go back to your gilded cage is the message Ethiopians are sending to the killer, abuser, and tyrant. Let us all resolve to make the little chat addicted tyrant ‘persona non grata’ on plane Earth. Amen!


19 thoughts on “Further discourse on the Washington DC undressing

  1. mekuria on

    Perfect analysis but imagine if abebe’s heroic act wouldn’t have been captured by the indistinguishably gallant cameraman, obviosly it remains in the meeting hall and may not even become a flying high news .Therefore let’s equally forward our heartfelt glorification to Girma.

    • the mountain man on

      they both desreve the credit for taking the courage to expose the tyrant Meles what an embarrassing prime minister he has been all these years.

  2. Jegnaw on

    “Persona non grata on planet Ertha.”Amen to that.
    And Mimi Sebhatu is a modern day Delilah sh will be destroyed with the rest of TPLF/WOYANNE.

    we are reaching critical mass therefore no WOYANNE and the hodam can stop that.i am absolutely convinced Ethiopia will be free from this parasite WOYANNE.

  3. peace on

    What I think is going to happen, like a very good copy cat Meles/TPLF is on tactics. They will not get back at Abebe right now. They will make sure people forget about the incident, as in the short-term memory that ethio diaspora has that Elias mentioned. Give it a year one way or another they might get back at him you just watch. Obviouly if they react right now of course everyone will think it is Meles, but wait, there will be. Abebe must keep his radars up all the time. Since dictators in Africa are now being educated how to cooperate with eachother against their own people and continue to dominate as in the continue coordination between Sudan-Ethiopia-Uganad-Rwanda-Eritrea-Kenya(probably) and so on, I think it will also be dangerous for Ethios in South Africa because since these dictators have now found a way to look at eachother’s back, then these Ethio in South Africa could be in trouble. It is not like the West where you have rights even in South Africa even though it is better and more democratic than the rest of Africa. On the other hand this is really encouraging to see even in Africa they can protest and this will wake other Africans up as well. Wouldn’t it be nice if all oppressed Africans cooperate and coordinate to kick their dictators out?

  4. kidan on

    Thank you Yilma for your usual perfect and intellectual analysis. Ethiopia kuri.

  5. Saba on

    Thank you for this good article. I am surprised that Mimi Sebhatu has become such a person. I used to know her when I was back home. She is the daughter of Ato Sebhatu, the owner of Behere Tsige park and the guy was doing some landscaping contracts around Addis i am not sure if he is from Eritrea of Tigrai but i know he was a Tigrina speaker. As you all know not long ago we did not even care about who was who and from which ethnic group. At one point she was working for the Tourism Commission and was sent to the Check republic. She met some student and got pregnant after she came back to Ethiopia. I am not sure if she married that guy at that time or not. I know now she is married to some one else.
    But mimi has never been a political activist. Never other than partying, drinking and smoking she has never spoken any matured conversation with any one.She was just like any other young person at that time.
    What she is doing now is deplorable. I have not even talked to any one of her friends I don’t even know where they live now, it has been a long time.
    Why she has chosen to become an enemy of Ethiopia and Ethiopians, I have no idea. May be it is power, Money or needing attention. She does not understand that she is making a big mistake. The power she is enjoying now will be gone soon.

    • Surafel on

      Saba-

      I am not sure but I think the Mimi mentioned here could be different from your childhood friend. The Mimi that is mentioned in this article used to live here in the US and was a VOA journalist in the early/mid 90s and was fired over ‘conduct unbecoming a journalist’-from what I understood at the time it has something to do with the way she behaved when interviewing Meles on VOA.

      Her husband Zerihun Teshome I believe was one of the AAU teachers that was fired by TPLF and also used to live here in the US chewing Khat and writing immigration applications in the DC area and was believed to be opponent of Meles Zenawi.

      God knows how these to unsavory characters met, but meet they did, stumbled in love and left for Ethiopia. Back in Ethiopia, Mimi used used her TPLF connection (she used to accompany Azeb Mesfin to the Mall and Las Vegas for her famous shopping sprees when visiting the US) and was granted FM broadcasting license with a fully equipped transmission facility in Awassa, fully paid and furnished by the Southern Nations and Nationalities.

      The duo currently own and run ZAMI media (that is Zerihun and Mimi Media?). So please make sure you have the right Mimi before inquiring old friends and acquaintances.

      Respectfully,

      -Surafel

    • peace on

      Very well said. What you described is also what I see how in the past, just 20 years ago, we were not consumed by ethnic politics and what was important is making good friendship and building up communities. The coming of TPLF it seems for the right of ethnic groups but at what cost so that we see eachother as enemies? That is why many who are buying into past leadership oppression bla, bla, they are intentionally or unintentionally destroying the societies of Ethiopia thinking it is “freedom”. It is not because while they are helping TPLF undo societies, they are also undoing their own community and will never live in peace. This will never help anyone even Tigrayans, in future. Who is benefiting this is for TPLF, Eritrea and their yes men and outsiders. So TPLF is making strong campaign to those ethnic affiliates to support them because the survival of TPLF is also the survival of Tigray or Eritrea. The poison for TPLF and pro ethnic groups is unity and go back 20 years ago. When I say 20 years ago, I am saying the Ethipian people and nothing to do with past leadership. What we need to focus on is bringing our peaceful societies 20 years ago. Even at that time Eritreans were peaceful among Ethiopians. Just because ego, to want chaos over peaceful coexistance Eritreans want, beats me. You reck what you sow. The consequences they are feeling is no else’s but their own. That is why they go back 50 and 100 years blaming our Emperors because they have nothing to show today but remain stooges for outsiders and creating chaos.

      • Anonymous on

        wow u are so wrong about eritrea , eritreans are so advanced in all sector compare to south, eritrea have a lot to show.

  6. Birhanu on

    Very good analysis and well said Yilma Bekele!!!! I want to say to all of Ethiopians including my self, let us stop clapping, appreciating when some thing happen for one week and then go back to our individual box. As Yilma said let us continue fighting and make it consistent. Our behavior in this case remind me one saying in our country, which is ” Doro chilfit lijochuan siwesdibat tichhualech, taskakalech ena kutawa hailegna new. ke 5 dekika behuala lejochuwan yiza ezaw meda layi tigegnalech endegana lemebelat” let us stop a one week outrage.

  7. Jaleta on

    Thank you so very much!

    The article is so captivating empowering us against tyranny in the wake of the patriotic acts of Abebe Gellaw and the reaction of the disgraced tyrant. Speaking of the ugly “Mimi” (Doron siyatalelwat bemechangna Talwat)… We don’t forget her Tjgre (Woyane) insider role at VOA … and her outlandish disinformation campaign (or rather lies) against any Woyane opposition is well documented. So she is indeed the enemy of Ethiopian people and the defender of tyranny.

    In conclusion, Meles and the so called Mimi have something in common – they are both very UGLY – and appearance alone suggests that they are related.

    They are not only physically ugly but there deeds are evil and ugly.

  8. Ayenew Zelalem on

    በግንቦት 7 እና በኢሳት አንቀሳቃሽ ሞተርነት በሚያስገርም የዘመቻ ሴራ የሚከናወኑት የማጥላላት ተግባሮች ታስበው ያልተከናወኑ፣ ተጀምረው ያልተሳኩ አሊያም በእንጥልጥል የቀሩ እንዲሁም በቃላት ድሪቶ ተሟርተው እንደ ጉም ብን ብለው የጠፉ ናቸው፡፡ ትናንት በሃሳብ ደረጃ የነበሩ፣ ዛሬ ላይ ግን እሳቤዎቹ ከሀገራችን ነባራዊ እውነታ ጋር መጣጣም ባለመቻላቸው ጭው ባለ በረሃ ላይ እንደተዘራ እህል ፍሬ አልባ ሆነው መክነዋል፡፡

  9. Yuhun on

    I agree with you Mekuria, Girma did a good job! There were a number of mass medias in the audience and non of them broadcasted what happen there. We hear a lot of noise about democracy, free speech bla bla in the United States, but journalists are not free, mass medias do not report anything outside the likes of the current adminstration. That is why no U.S. media reported that inccident. If the inccident had been happened to Ahmedinijad of Iran, we would have been deafened by now by the mass media’s noise. Good job Girma & good job Abebe our 2012 hero. We need more of Abebes, let’s make the world know what is happening in our country wherever we are, and let’s confront the tyrant wherever he travels, in and outside Ethiopia.

    • peace on

      “There is nothing to fear except fear itself” Roosevelt. We Ethiopians or the diaspora have short attention span and move on after making drama out of the news. The issue is that, unless every indivudiual is affected by TPLF then they will not be full-time activists. Mostly it is because of fear of reprisals.

    • peace on

      We Ethiopian diaspora are the only voices that is there, we must make it even louder especially what is going on with our women in Arab countries. Our voices should louder than ever regarding Ethiopia and her oppressed women in Arab countries. Ethiopia is an odd country for the West. It is a christian nation that tends to be ally and ancient and independent nation. To come out against Ethiopia is not conventional for U.S. So they do their under cover. TPLF is the most secretive regime and that is why it has loyal people and that is why it is Tigray-only groups to keep it non transparent and secret. Being secretive is the most dangerous thing and on top of that opressive. I would rather have Mengistu than have these secret societies. I am sure there are more haeinous crimes being committed or have been committed by TPLF and not reported. Only time will tell. When a regime is this secretive, this non transparent and this Tigray only, then it has the ability to carve and do its job slowly but surely. One day we will wake up and say, “what happened, where is Ethiopia or her people?” because little is known about the plan and intention of TPLF within. That is why it is dangerous. That is why every Ethiopans must be prudent to find out what ticks TPLF.

  10. Jaleta on

    Yilma – Thank you so very much!

    The article is so captivating empowering us against tyranny in the wake of the patriotic acts of Abebe Gellaw and the reaction of the disgraced tyrant. Speaking of the ugly “Mimi” (Doron siyatalelwat bemechangna Talwat)… We don’t forget her Tjgre (Woyane) insider role at VOA … and her outlandish disinformation campaign (or rather lies) against any Woyane opposition is well documented. So she is indeed the enemy of Ethiopian people and the defender of tyranny.

    In conclusion, Meles and the so called Mimi have something in common – they are both very UGLY – and appearance alone suggests that they are related.
    T
    hey are not only physically ugly but there deeds are evil and ugly.

  11. almaze on

    I believe the ESAT camera man should be given as much credit as Abeeb gelaw. Without prompt targeted audio/video shot, we would have not seen what has transpired in the conference hall. We heard and saw all moments of Abebe, Ato Meles and the audience. Thanks again to our hero camera man.

  12. the mountain man on

    This is in response to comment # 5 made by Saba, and the response she got from Surafel. You both are correct in describing this floozy woman by the name Mimi, in your own perspective of recollection hi lighting her character with different approach. I heard from different sources lately that she used to flaunt with top Woyane tugs in Europe after her career took a nose dive at the VOA due to repeatedly violating the journalistic code of ethics on her report. At one instance when the Ethiopians were protesting the dictator in large numbers in Washington, DC, area she was assigned to do the report. Can you believe what she said in her report to take up for her dictator Meles about the protest march. She said a hand full of protesters about 80 people were making noises against the Prime minister. I may be wrong but that is the last straw that broke the camel’s back. As a journalist in a civilized , and democratic nations you ought to report the truth as you saw it. But she deviated from such a high value of journalistic code of ethics, and lied on her report in support of her prime minister . Once she got the boot on her derriere by VOA, her love escapade with Woyane officials continued un abated to resurrect her blemished, and dead career. Then after the 2005 failed national election, where the Woyane tugs lost the election, some said she was instrumental in turning her back on the VOA journalists and encouraged Meles to file law suit against the likes of Addis Abebe, Solomon Kifle, Tizita Belachew and others to get even with them. Based on such analysis , I can say you both Saba, and Surafel are correct. Finally the tramp continued her sexual promiscuity in order to land on a better job for now, but no one knows what the future might hold for disgraced woman.

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