Posts Tagged ‘Ethiopia News’

The Green Green Gold of Ethiopia: Graham Peebles

Friday, March 8th, 2013

By Graham Peebles | Counterpunch.com

March 8, 2013

landlease2

 

Ancestral land that for generations has served as home and livelihood for hundreds of thousands of indigenous people in Ethiopia is being leased out, on 99-year renewable contracts at nominal sums to foreign corporations. The land giveaway or agrarian reforms as the government would prefer to present them began in 2008 when the Ethiopian government, under the brutal suppressive Premiership of Meles Zenawi invited foreign countries/corporation to take up highly attractive deals and turn large areas of land over to industrial farming for the export of crops. India, China and Saudi Arabia were all courted and along with wealthy Ethiopians have eagerly grabbed large pieces of land at basement prices; rates vary from $1.10 to $6.05 per hectare (HA), comparable land in India would set you back $600 per ha.

A total of 3,619,509 ha, the Oakland Institute (OI), a US based think tank, estimate has been leased out. Land made available by the forced re-location of hundreds of thousands of indigenous people under the government’s universally condemned Villagization progamme, which aims to forcibly re-locate over 1.5 million people from their homes.

India corporations have taken the lion’s share, acquiring around 600,000 ha concentrated in Gambella and Afar, split between 10 investing companies. The term ‘investing’ implies benefits for Ethiopia, which is misleading; ‘profiteering’, or ‘exploiting’ sits closer to the truth of these land deals, as the OI make clear, “taking over land and natural resources from rural Ethiopians, is resulting in a massive destruction of livelihoods and making millions of locals [farmers and pastoralist communities] dependent on food handouts”. With small scale farmers being evicted from their land, prices of staples such as Teff, used by millions throughout Ethiopia to make Injera (bread), has rocketed in price, according to Ethiotribune 22/5/2012, increasing fourfold since 2008.

Corporate expansionism: small change big profits

In line with its ambitions of diversity and world food dominance – Karuturi Global, the world’s largest grower of roses, leads the Indian charge, leasing 311,700 ha in Gambella. Not satisfied with this, GRAIN (an international NGO, working to support small farmers) report Mr.Karuturi “wants to set up farming operations [throughout Eastern and Southern Africa] on more than 1 million [ha]” – too much never enough in corporate expansionism.

Almost a quarter of Gambella’s 25 million ha has been earmarked by the federal government for agricultural ‘development’. Karuturi, whose profits “rose 55.13% to Rs 1.21 crore [10 million] in the quarter ended June 2012”, took their chunk without even seeing it, paying only $1.10 per ha. For the Indian giant it is, John Vidal in ‘Land Grab Ethiopia (LGE)’ says, “the sale of the century”. ‘Green Gold’ is how Mr. Karuturi in GRAIN (‘Who’s Behind the Land Deals’), describes his 300,000 ha of Ethiopian soil, “for which he pays $46 per ha per year including water and labour and expects at least $660 [per ha] in profit per year”. (Ibid)

In addition to paddy, Indian farmers are being sub-contracted to grow maize, cereals, palm oil and sugarcane amongst others. All of which are destined for export, either to India or Europe, where companies farming in Ethiopia (and other Sub-Saharan African nations), benefit from lower import duties applied to developing countries, notwithstanding the fact that the land is leased to, and the crops produced and sold by, multi million-rupee rich companies.

Another major Indian company leasing land in Gambella is the decidedly green sounding BHO Bioproducts. Following the corporate rhetoric, BHO Chief Operating Officer Sunny Maker told Bloomberg in 2010 that, they have “plans to invest more than $120 million in rice and cotton production”, which, by 2017, should “generate about $135 million a year from sales divided equally between domestic [Indian] and international markets.” He added that the “incredibly rich fertile land”, will all be “cleared within the next three years”. Cleared yes, violently, indiscriminately and totally; villages, people, forests, woodland, all destroyed, burnt, relocated, displaced, desecrated. The governments promise to such prized investors is that the land is handed over stripped of everything and everyone. Dissent is not allowed and dealt with brutally should it occur, as Anuradha Mittal, Executive Director of OI makes clear. “The repression of social resistance to land investments is even stipulated in land lease contracts, [it is the] state’s obligation to ‘deliver and hand over the vacant possession of leased land free of impediments’ and to provide free security ‘against any riot, disturbance or any turbulent time.”

The ‘rich fertile land’, lovingly cultivated at the hands of the men and women who have farmed it for generations, is unlikely to be nurtured so carefully by Indian (or indeed Chinese or Saudi Arabian) corporations with their thirsty ‘GM seeds’ (Ibid). For as Oxfam in their detailed report ‘Land and Power’ diplomatically point out, “investors short time scales may tempt them into unsustainable cultivation, undermining agricultural production.”

The devolution of development

Land is a prime cut asset in the commercialisation of everything, everywhere, and the “rich fertile land” in Ethiopia is cheap, even by Sub-Saharan African standards. Along with long-term leases, the government offers a neat bundle of carrots, including tax incentives and unrestricted export clauses, incentives that the OI state “deny African countries economic benefits” from land deals that the Ethiopian regime wraps up neatly in its complete disregard for the human rights of the indigenous people. Government indifference encouraging corporate irresponsibility – and they need little encouragement. Businesses hardly seem to be grabbing the land, so much as accepting it as a gift, parceled up and ready to be torn open.

In exchange for such attractive deals, the Ethiopian government has been extended, the OI reports “a $640 million line of credit… over five years to boost sugar production in the country’s Lower Omo region”. Not a philanthropic gesture, more a sales trap by India’s EXIM (export and import) Bank, who stipulate, “Ethiopia must import 75% of the value of the credit line in the form of Indian goods and services.”

The government-owned sugar plantations in the Lower Omo are themselves attracting a great deal of concern and criticism from human rights groups, who highlight the environmental and human damage being perpetrated. Government acts of violence and abuse, in the various land deal regions, are justified under the overused and misleading title of ‘development’; a term appropriated by the international monetary machine – the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) primarily – misunderstood and distorted by government development agencies, acting in line with foreign affairs policies by promoting national self interest and perverted by the corrupt ideologically-blinkered governments of developing nations.

An undeveloped ideological trinity whose actions have drained the 21st century sacred cow and its stable mate ‘growth’ – dry of any true and relevant meaning. Far from supporting human and or social development the “unfair terms and near give-away prices [of land deals]… are hindering development…. Foreign corporations and the World Bank are pressuring African leaders to give them exemptions from taxes, import and export duties, and local labor laws – not to mention water and mineral rights that could be worth billions”, the OI confirm.

More concerned with sitting at the top table and cultivating the right international allies than with doing their constitutional duty and serving the needs of the people, the Ethiopian government is in danger of giving away, and for peanuts, it’s ‘rich and fertile’ land to overseas companies who have no interest in Ethiopia, it’s environment, its culture and even less in its people.

Increasing hunger

Hunger and poverty stalk the land of both Ethiopia and India. 12 – 15 million people survive on food aid in Ethiopia, which ranks bottom of the World Hunger Index at 76. India, with the highest rate of malnourished children in the world, where 25% (around 270 million) of the world’s hungry live, despite the fact that, according to the World Food Programme (WFP), “the country grows enough food for its people”, it comes in 65th of the hungriest nations, below Niger and the Sudan – neither of which, to my knowledge, boast 61 billionaires and 200,000 dollar millionaires unlike India. And whereas “most countries have made consistent progress in reducing hunger, India has seen hunger rise over the last decade compared with the late 1990s.”(Ibid) This so-called economic miracle nation refuses to feed it’s own people.

Food insecurity, the WFP makes clear is caused not by lack of produce, but by an unwillingness to share the Earths bounty equitably. The states in India with the greatest numbers suffering from hunger and malnutrition, WFP records “include Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh”; these are the states where the poorest (Adivasi – indigenous and Dalit) people in the country and quite possibly in the World happen to live. The poor are dying of hunger not because India cannot feeed everyone, as the United Nations report on regional cooperation makes crystal clear, “the root cause of hunger across the sub-region and the world today is not a lack of food. It is the economic and social distribution of that food which leaves populations undernourished and hungry.”

Men women and children living in dire poverty starve to death, in India, Ethiopia and throughout the world. They starve and die for want of the food that is rotting in warehouses, food served up to rats or destroyed by the Indian government, because it is cheaper to burn it than to distribute it to those in need. As Graziano da Silva, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (26/01/13) said, “globally, a third of all food produced is wasted, and… if one could avoid this waste it would be possible to feed all the hungry people [in the world] and have food to spare.” Food to spare!Such is the inhumane ethos that underpins market fundamentalism, that allows men women and children, young and old to starve – simply because the do not have the financial means to feed themselves. Shame on governments Indian and the rest, that allow such inhumane injustice to prevail, as a wise teacher said, “throughout the world there are men, women and little children who have not even the essentials to stay alive; they crowd the cities of many of the poorest countries in the world… My brothers, how can you watch these people die before your eyes and call yourselves men”.

The commercialization of the countryside in India and Ethiopia, which is displacing large numbers of small-scale farmers and concentrating crop production in the hands of multi-nationals, is intensifying existing levels of hunger. Substantive agricultural reform and real development would see the army of skilled small scale producers, with generations of local knowledge and love of the land, supported with the needed capital and technology, given access to markets that corporations bring. Such an agrarian revolution, ethically founded, environmentally healthy and socially sustained, would build long-term food security and feed the hungry.

Soft targets easy profits

India as the WFP makes clear, has no domestic need for food produced by the overseas industrial farms that are causing such far-reaching damage, to the hundreds of thousands of displaced people of Ethiopia as well as the natural environment. The movement in Ethiopia mirrors what is taking place to a much greater degree in India. The government has shifted all support away from Indian farmers and is supporting the transfer of land from the rural poor to large companies – wealthy government benefactors, causing the displacement of millions (60 million to date, according to Arundhati Roy) of indigenous people.

Corporations are targeting countries Oxfam 7/02/2013 makes clear, with “poor governance”, that “allow investors to secure land quickly and cheaply…. [They] “Seem to be cherry picking countries with weak rules and regulations”. Needy nations like hungry people make easy targets for multi-national man, whose pockets governments are desperate to nestle inside. The driving force behind such destructive land developments, undertaken by corporations obsessed by an insatiable desire for growth and world leading economic development, is, as Oxfam suggests, profit and profit alone.

Graham Peebles is director of the Create Trust. He can be reached at: graham@thecreatetrust.org

Ethiopia’s ‘jihadi’ film and its boomerang effects

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

The film seeks to transform the “demands for freedom of religion” into a joint criminal enterprise with terror groups.

Awol K Allo | Aljazeera
March 4, 2013

The government's uncanny response to "basic demands of religious freedom" has created a rare opportunity for a decisive break with a docile political past and for the "formation of a new collective consciousness" [AP]

The government’s uncanny response to “basic demands of religious freedom” has created a rare opportunity for a decisive break with a docile political past and for the “formation of a new collective consciousness” [AP]


On February 5, 2013, Ethiopia’s only and publicly funded Television Station, ETV, aired a controversial documentary during prime time in violation of an outstanding court injunction. Oddly subtitled “Boko Haram in Ethiopia”, Jihadawi Harekat – Arabic for “jihadi movement” – ­denounces leaders of Ethiopia’s year-long protest movement for alleged links to foreign terrorists.

Muslims in Ethiopia have been protesting the government’s control of the Supreme Islamic Council and its imposition of al-Ahbash, an unknown Islamic sect across mosques in Ethiopia. In a press statement last year, the bipartisan US Commission on International Religious Freedom said: “The Ethiopian government has sought to force a change in the sect of Islam practiced nationwide and has punished clergy and laity who have resisted.” Elected to represent the movement, the accused Muslim leaders were arrested and charged under Ethiopia’s anti-terrorism law when negotiations with the government failed last July.

A joint production of the Ethiopian National Security Agency, the Federal Police and ETV, the film draws a parallel between a local protest movement recognised for its peaceful acts of resistance with Africa’s most notorious terrorist groups such as Nigeria’s Boko Haram, Mali’s Ansar Din and Somalia’s al-Shabaab.

With dozens of journalists, politicians and activists already charged or convicted under its vague and broad anti-terrorism law that criminalises all forms of dissent, the fight against terrorism has become the primary juridical framework within which to legitimise and justify war against political foes. It is the new legal ideology in which these political motives are institutionalised to provide long-standing relationships of domination some legal pretext. In Ethiopia today, America’s “war on terror” is used to short-circuit both the constitution and international criticism.

Making fiction intelligible

Made to portray the Muslim community’s struggle for religious freedom as a terrorist ploy designed to “establish an Islamic state”, Jihadawi Harekat is less about what it describes so much as the alternative reality that it depicts and crystallises. By drawing politically explosive parallels between groups with radically different political presuppositions, the film dramatises and escalates the gravity of the threat. It replays deeply held narratives of the past and accentuates the “evil” embodied by the committee in its attempts to frame them as “public enemies” working towards a common goal with groups that inhabit an entirely different political universe.

To amplify this new reality, that is, the cinematic production of new subjects of terrorism, the film appropriates pre-existing frames of reference that sociologists call “processes of signification”. To augment the parallel, it situates the protest movement in the context of terrorism – a discourse whose antecedent is always Islamic and “whose stereotypical characteristics are already part of socially available knowledge”.

“The film is designed to portray the Muslim community’s struggle for religious freedom as a terrorist ploy to ‘establish an Islamic state’.”

Just because the protest movement shares the antecedent “Islam” with al-Shabaab and Boko Haram, the signification equates a peaceful movement that operates within the framework of Ethiopia’s own constitution with violent groups on the sole basis of their imputed common denominator. The exemplar images of violence embodied by al-Shabaab and Boko Haram are situated within the geopolitical context and cultural idiosyncrasies of Ethiopia to essentialise the association and ultimately render its absurd collocation socially intelligible.

There are temporal, spatial, material and editorial questions that the film cannot account for. By connecting events that took place from East Africa to West Africa, from North Africa to the Middle East, by gathering actors of differing ideological persuasions into unity, by reducing complex and contingent historic and political issues into self-evident mathematical varieties, Jihadawi Harekat inadvertently slips into a crisis it cannot contain or suppress.

One excellent example is a hinge the film uses to connect the leaders of the protest movement to the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt. In an unedited interrogation clip wrongly broadcasted after the film, the interrogators coerce Abubakar Ahmed – the chairman of the committee chosen to be representative of the Muslim community – into accepting their conclusion that the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafis have the ultimate goal of establishing an Islamic world under Sharia law.

While the reduction of such complex and contingent issues of historical and theoretical specificity into an either-or binary is emblematic of the logic through which the film establishes its central thesis, I am interested in the logic used to connect the ideologies of the Brotherhood in the Middle East to the protest leaders in Ethiopia. This pivot is a distinguished Qatari public intellectual, Jassim Sultan whose teachings two members of the protest leaders were said to have attended.

In an article that examined the increasing role of Qatar in the politics of the Middle East, The Economist holds up Sultan as an exemplary figure known for his “middle-of-the road” politics, not the extremism depicted in Jihadawi Harekat. Sultan, whom the film accuses of being a middle man between the “extreme ideological orientations” of the Brotherhood and Ethiopia’s “jihadists”, was praised by The Economist as, “a renowned Qatari intellectual, [who] strikes a chord by rejecting the Brotherhood’s demand for strict obedience… derides its slogan, ‘Islam is the solution’, as facile”.

By editing conversations about conversations, copy-pasting interrogations about different spatial, temporal and material co-ordinates into a coherent Ethiopian story, the film seeks to transform the most basic demands for freedom of religion into a joint criminal enterprise with terror groups near and far. Nowhere else is the conjuncture between words and images, facts and fictions, times and spaces, persons and events manifestly absurd as in Jihadawi Harekat.

Instead of generating a moral panic that serves as the material fabric for social control, the film generated consequences that are destabilising the regime. In a statement to the press, a coalition of 33 political parties emphatically denounced the film as yet another spectacle that epitomises the ruling party’s contempt for the constitution and the rule of law.

Boomerang effects

The film, along with the ongoing trial, offers an important window into the cleavage that divides the old Ethiopian Muslim subjectivity from the new. Thanks to the government that never ceases to generate crisis and mobilise the law and its court system to cement this crisis, these events have opened up a space for critical cultural-political awareness.

Muslims in Ethiopia, who conceive their religious subjectivity as apolitical and go about their lives, have begun to realise that their religious identity can be a potent site of subjectification and domination. As one of 20th century’s prescient political thinkers, Hannah Arendt formulates this point; an attack against a specific identity creates spontaneous moment of political self-awareness. “If one is attacked as a Jew,” Arendt said, “One must defend oneself as a Jew. Not as a German, not as a world-citizen, not as an upholder of the Rights of Man.”

Because of the events of last year, there emerged a critical space in which a society that rarely, if at all, engages in questions of law and politics, protested the usurpation of its constitutional guarantees. In their struggle, Muslims in Ethiopia began to see unfair closures and systematic subjections taking place at sites and moments they could not have seen before. The government’s uncanny response to basic demands of religious freedom has created a rare opportunity for a decisive break with a docile political past and for the formation of a new collective consciousness.

Awol K Allo, is the Lord Kelvin Adam Smith scholar at the University of Glasgow Law School, UK. Previously, he was a lecturer in law at St Mary’s University College, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial policy.

The Moral Equivalent of an Anti-Apartheid Movement in Ethiopia?

Sunday, March 3rd, 2013

MPEthiopian Muslims engaged in the moral equivalent of an anti-Apartheid movement?

In her recent commentary in the New York Review of Books, “Obama: Failing the African Spring?”, Dr. Helen Epstein questioned the Obama Administration for turning a blind eye to human rights violations in Africa, and particularly the persecution of Muslims in Ethiopia. She argued that “After more than four years in office… Obama has done little to advance the idealistic goals of his Ghana speech.” In fact, she finds the Administration playing peekaboo with Paul Kagame, the Rwandan dictator and puppet master of M23 (the rebel group led by Bosco Ntganda under indictment by the International Criminal Court) which has been wreaking havoc in Goma, (city in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo) and Youweri Museveni, the overlord of the corruptocracy in Uganda.  Dr. Epstein is perplexed by President Obama’s lofty rhetoric and his paralysis when it comes to walking the talk in Ethiopia:

Perhaps most worrying of all is the unwillingness of Obama and other Western leaders to say or do anything to support the hundreds of thousands of Muslim Ethiopians who have been demonstrating peacefully against government interference in their religious affairs for more than a year. (The Ethiopian government claims the country has a Christian majority, but Muslims may account for up to one half of the population.) You’d think a nonviolent Islamic movement would be just the kind of thing the Obama administration would want to showcase to the world. It has no hint of terrorist influence, and its leaders are calling for a secular government under the slogan ‘We have a cause worth dying for, but not worth killing for.’ Indeed, the Ethiopian protesters may be leading Africa’s most promising and important nonviolent human rights campaign since the anti-apartheid struggle.

Is Dr. Epstein correct in her profound observation that the Ethiopian Muslim “protesters may be leading Africa’s most promising and important nonviolent human rights campaign since the anti-apartheid struggle.” Are the Muslim protests that have been going on for nearly two years the moral equivalent of an anti-Apartheid movement in Ethiopia? Is Obama failing an Ethiopian Spring?

The importance of religious freedom to Americans and in U.S. foreign policy

Religious freedom is arguably the most important cornerstone of all American liberties. Promoting religious freedom worldwide is so important that the U.S. Congress passed the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (IRFA)affirming religious freedom enshrined in the U.S. Constitution and in various international instruments, including Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The Obama Administration’s record on international religious freedom in general has been deplorable. In 2010, Leonard Leo, chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom Commission openly complained that the Administration is ignoring religious persecution throughout the world to the potential detriment of U.S. national security. “We’re completely neglecting religious freedom in countries that tend to be Petri dishes for extremism. This invariably leads to trouble for us… Regrettably, this point seems to shrink year after year for the White House and State Department.”

The Obama Administration’s disregard for religious freedom and tolerance of religious intolerance and persecution throughout the world is incomprehensible given the centrality of religious freedom and separation of religion and government in the scheme of American liberties. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the foundation of all American liberties, first and foremost prohibits government involvement in religion in sweeping and uncompromising language: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” The “establishment” clause guarantees government neutrality by preventing government establishment of religious institutions or support for religion in general. The “free exercise” clause protects against religious persecution by government.

In the 1796 “Treaty of Peace and Friendship between the United States of America and the Bey and Subjects of Tripoli of Barbary”, the U.S. formally affirmed to the world the sanctity of religious freedom in America without regard to doctrine or denomination: “As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion, —  as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen, — and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.” (Art. 11.)

Many of the American Founding Fathers including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin were deeply suspicious of government involvement in religion, which they  believed corrupted religion itself. George Washington championed separation of religion and state when he wrote, “I beg you be persuaded that no one would be more zealous than myself to establish effectual barriers against the horrors of spiritual tyranny, and every species of religious persecution.” Thomas Jefferson believed religion was a personal matter which invited no government involvement and argued for the “building a wall of separation between Church & State”. Jefferson wrote, “Among the most inestimable of our blessings is that … of liberty to worship our Creator… a liberty deemed in other countries incompatible with good government and yet proved by our experience to be its best support.” James Madison, the “father of the U.S. Constitution” was a staunch defender of religious diversity: “Freedom arises from the multiplicity of sects, which pervades America and which is the best and only security for religious liberty in any society.” President John Adams minced no words when he wrote, “Nothing is more dreaded than the national government meddling with religion.”

President Barack Obama himself made it crystal clear that he personally disapproves of government’s involvement in religion or government imposition of religious orthodoxy on citizens. “I am suspicious of using government to impose anybody’s religious beliefs -including my own- on nonbelievers.” In his first inauguration speech, President Obama declared, “Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake.”

The right of freedom of religion is the quintessential “rights of man” and an “ideal that still lights the world”. Yet, neither President Obama personally nor his Administration collectively have made any statements or taken any action concerning religious persecution in Ethiopia. It seems President Obama has given up the “ideal” of religious freedom for “expedience’s sake”. Such facile expedience is difficult to comprehend because President Obama was a constitutional lawyer before he became president.

It seems the President Obama now prefers a foreign policy based not on principle and the ideals of the Constitution but rather one based on expediency. It is more expedient for President Obama to have drone bases in Ethiopia than to have bastions of religious freedom. It is more expedient to sacrifice human rights at the altar of realpolitik than to uphold the right of Ethiopians to worship at the altar of their faiths. It is more expedient to chase after terrorists in the name of counterterrorism while sharing a bed with state terrorists. It is more expedient to tolerate dictatorship than to uphold the fundamental rights of citizenship. It is more expedient to support a benighted police state that to use American “ideals that still light the world” to enlighten it.

Why is the Obama Administration tone-deaf and bat-blind about religious freedom in Ethiopia given the established fact that the ruling regime in that country has engaged in egregious religious persecution with reckless abandon. The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, an independent body constituted by the Congress and the President of the United States to monitor religious freedom worldwide, recently reported:

Since July 2011, the Ethiopian government has sought to impose the al-Ahbash Islamic sect on the country’s Muslim community, a community that traditionally has practiced the Sufi form of Islam. The government also has manipulated the election of the new leaders of the Ethiopia Islamic Affairs Supreme Council (EIASC).  Previously viewed as an independent body, EIASC is now viewed as a government-controlled institution.  The arrests, terrorism charges and takeover of EIASC signify a troubling escalation in the government’s attempts to control Ethiopia’s Muslim community and provide further evidence of a decline in religious freedom in Ethiopia. Muslims throughout Ethiopia have been arrested during peaceful protests: On October 29, the Ethiopia government charged 29 protestors with terrorism and attempting to establish an Islamic state.

U.S. foreign policy of expediency in Africa

Expediency has been a  guiding principle in American foreign policy in Africa for quite a while. “Expediency” emphasizes “pragmatism” or “realpolitik” over principles and ideals. It is an approach that dictates consideration of each case in light of prevailing circumstances. Expediency subordinates values, ideals and principles to particular political or strategic objectives. Expediency justifies full support for blood thirsty African thugs just to advance the national interest in global “war on terror”. Expediency sacrifices principles and ideals on the altar of hypocrisy. Expediency has allowed the Obama Administration to pump billions of America taxpayer dollars to strengthen the iron fist of Meles Zenawi and his cronies in the name of fighting the so-called war on terror while preaching a hollow sermon of human rights to ordinary Africans.

What is most disconcerting is the fact that President Obama speaks with forked tongue. In Accra and Cairo, he hectored African dictators and made promises and affirmations to the people of Africa: “Development depends on good governance… We must support strong and sustainable democratic governments… Repression can take many forms, and too many nations, even those that have elections, are plagued by problems that condemn their people to poverty… That is not democracy, that is tyranny, even if occasionally you sprinkle an election in there…” He spoke of a  “new partnership” with Africa, but his Watusi dance partners were Kagame, Museveni, Zenawi and their ilk.

As a strong supporter of President Obama and one who sought to exhort and mobilize Ethiopian Americans to support his election and re-election, I feel pangs of conscience when I say the President has been a poor advocate of American ideals in U.S. foreign policy in Africa. He has hectored ordinary Africans and African dictators about the need to be “on the right side of history”. For four years, President Obama has talked a good talk to Africans that America symbolizes freedom, liberty and democracy. But when it comes to walking the talk, we see him sitting in a wooden wheel chair that ain’t going nowhere fast. This paralysis has created a monumental crises of credibility for the President personally. Few Africans believe he is on their side and even fewer believe he is on the right side of history. But they do see him standing side by side with African dictators.

But could there really be expediency in dealing with blood thirsty African dictators?  President Obama knows Ethiopia is a virtual police state. He knows elections are stolen there in broad daylight as those in power claim victory by a margin of 99.6 percent. He knows thousands of political prisoners languish in Ethiopian jails considered by international human rights organizations to be among the most inhumane in the world. He knows civil society institutions in that country have been wiped out of existence. He knows opposition parties, the press and dissidents have been crushed. He knows of the crimes against humanity that have been and continue to be committed in the Ogaden region, in Gambella, the Omo region and many other parts of the country. He knows about religious persecution. President Obama personally knows that 193 unarmed protesters were massacred and 763 wounded following the 2005 elections and that no one has been brought to justice for those crimes against humanity. That crime against humanity is on par with the Sharpeville Massacre of March 21, 1960 in South Africa in which South African police slaughtered 69 unarmed black protesters in the township of Sharpeville and wounded 180.

It is said that politics makes for strange bedfellows. But must the Obama Administration get in bed with those who have committed the most heinous crimes against humanity in the 21st Century? Is it worth sacrificing  American ideals to coddle and consort with brutal African dictators just to get drone bases?

Can Ethiopian Americans hold the Obama Administration accountable?

Yes, we can! The International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (Public Law 105-292) [IRFA] was enacted to promote religious freedom as a foreign policy of the United States, and to advocate on behalf of persons and groups facing religious persecution throughout the world. Very few people are aware that IFRA came into being as a result of the religious persecution of a Christian Ethiopian man named Getanah Metafriah who was “imprisoned and tortured by the Communist rulers of Ethiopia for talking about Jesus.” Getanah’s cause “manage[d] to help start a grassroots movement to publicize religious persecution abroad” eventually leading to the passage of IRFA.

IFRA requires that the United States designate as “country of particular concern” (CPC) those countries whose governments have engaged in or tolerated systematic and egregious and “particularly severe violations of religious freedom” and prescribes sanctions against such countries. IRFA provides the President 15 options ( 22 U.S.C. § 6445(a)(1)-(15)) to consider against states violating religious freedom including demarches (diplomatic protest) , private or public condemnation, denial, delay or cancellation of scientific or cultural exchanges, cancellation of a state visit, withdrawal or limitation of humanitarian or security assistance, restriction of credit or loans from United States and multilateral organizations, denial of licenses to export goods or technologies, prohibition against the U.S. government entering into any agreement to procure goods or services from that country, or “any other action authorized by law” so long as it “is commensurate in effect to the action substituted.” Once a state is designated a CPC, the President is required by law to conduct an annual review, no later than September 1 of each year, and to take one or more of the actions specified in IRFA.

Based on the USCRIF (a body auhtorized by IFRA)  report cited above, there is no question that the regime in Ethiopia meets the IRFA criteria of engaging in “systematic, ongoing, and egregious” violations of the religious liberty of Ethiopian Muslims. It is noteworthy that the 2012 Annual Report of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom March 2012  (covering April 1, 2011 – February 29, 2012)) documenting serious abuses of freedom of thought, conscience, religion, and belief around the world does not include religious persecution of Muslims in Ethiopia (which was reported by USCRIF in Novemeber 2012).

The first action Ethiopian Americans who believe in religious freedom in Ethiopia should take in an organized and collective manner is to file a request, (and if necessary a demand) that USCRIF amend or append to its 2012 report religious persecution and government interference in the profession and practice of the Islamic and Christian faiths in Ethiopia and make recommendations to the Secretary of State (SoS) for sanctions or alternative actions. In the alternative, they should insure that the violation is reported in the 2012-2013 USCRIF report with recommendations to the SoS for appropriate action.  The SoS is required by IRFA to take “into consideration the recommendations of the Commission [USCRIF]” in formulating subsequent action.

By having USCRIF amend or append to its report and submit appropriate recommendations, Ethiopian Americans concerned about religious freedom in Ethiopia will have a legal basis to demand that the President “take all appropriate and feasible actions authorized by law to obtain the cessation of violations” (22 U.S.C. § 6445(a)(1)-(15)) or make Presidential certification and issue a waiver. In other words, the President would be in a position to take action or not to take action because taking action would be against U.S. “national security”. Either way, the Obama Administration could be held accountable under IFRA.  No doubt, any such organized effort by Ethiopian Americans will stir the hornet’s nest of the K Street lobbyists who will rub their palms with glee and grin ear to ear as they come to feast at the trough of poor Ethiopian taxpayers.

The second action Ethiopian Americans who believe in religious freedom in Ethiopia should take is to establish an interfaith council to work on broader issues of religious freedom in Ethiopia. In my July 2012 commentary “Unity in Divinity”, I argued that a threat to the religious liberty of Muslims is a threat to the religious freedom of Christians. I urged Ethiopian “Christian and Muslim religious leaders [to] play a critical role in preventing conflict and in building bridges of understanding, mutual respect and collaborative working relations…” I suggested the establishment of “interfaith councils” patterned after those in the U.S. “These [interfaith] councils bring diverse faith communities to work together to foster greater understanding and respect among people of different faiths and to address basic needs in the community. Many such councils go beyond dialogue and reflection to cooperative work in social services and implementing projects to meet community needs. They stand together to protect religious freedom by opposing discrimination and condemning debasement of religious institutions and faiths. There is no reason why Ethiopians could not establish interfaith councils of their own.”

I reiterate my call for interfaith councils to bring together members of the two faith communities in the United States, and possibly elsewhere,  for collective action. Religious freedom in Ethiopia is not an issue that concerns only Muslims. It is of equal concern and importance for Christian Ethiopians who have undergone similar egregious interference in the selection of their religious leadership just recently.

What is needed is sincere and open dialogue and interaction between Ethiopian Americans who are Christians and Muslims to advance the cause of religious liberty and equality for all in unity. Members of these two faith communities must come together in a historic meeting and develop a joint agenda to guarantee and safeguard their religious freedom, overcome any traces of sectarianism and reaffirm their  long coexistence, diversity and harmony in a unified country based on the rule of law. They must jointly develop principles of cooperation and coordination. They must develop solidarity which can withstand narrow sectarian interests and the whims and personalities of those in leadership positions. They must relate with each other in the spirit of mutual respect, trust and co-operation and find ways to deepen and strengthen their relations.

Perhaps such dialogue may not come so easily in the absence of existing institutions. It may be necessary for leaders of both faiths to join together and establish a task force to study the issues and make recommendations for the broadest possible dialogue between Ethiopian American Muslims and Christians in America. Christian and Islamic spiritual authorities and laymen should be encouraged to work together not only to defend each other on matters of religious liberty but also to propose long term solutions to reduce the dangers of sectarianism, fanaticism, conflict and misunderstanding and institute a permanent dialogue between members of both faiths. There is no reason why an interfaith council  cannot organize joint conferences, meetings, workshops, seminars, press conferences and informational campaigns in the media in both faith communities. The Ethiopia of tomorrow can be built on a strong foundation of dialogue of Muslims and Christians today. Dialogue is a precursor to national reconciliation.

From expediency to consistency

The Obama Administration must do a lot more to improve human rights in Africa. President Obama must not only talk a good talk, he must also walk the talk. But with religious liberty, he must walk the talk and follow the letter and spirit of IFRA. If he does not, he would have betrayed not only the ideals of the Founding Fathers and the Constitution but also disregarded the law he is sworn to uphold. There is no reason why the Obama Administration cannot find a harmonious convergence of national security and human rights in Africa. When America cannot lead by ideals it will be forced to follow up by exacting ordeals.

Are the Ethiopian Muslim protesters leading Africa’s most promising and important nonviolent human rights campaign since the anti-apartheid struggle? Yes, they are!!!

Professor Alemayehu G. Mariam teaches political science at California State University, San Bernardino and is a practicing defense lawyer.

Previous commentaries by the author are available at:

http://open.salon.com/blog/almariam/

www.huffingtonpost.com/alemayehu-g-mariam/

Amharic translations of recent commentaries by the author may be found at:

http://www.ecadforum.com/Amharic/archives/category/al-mariam-amharic

http://ethioforum.org/?cat=24

Displacement, Intimidation and Abuse: Land Loyalties in Ethiopia

Sunday, March 3rd, 2013

By Graham Peebles | counterpunch.org

March 1, 2013

With the coming of industrial-size farms in Ethiopia, local people, villagers and pastoralists (deemed irrelevant to the Government’s, economically-driven development plans) are being threatened, and intimidated by the military; forcibly displaced and herded into camps, their homes destroyed. Along with vast agricultural complexes, dams are planned and constructed, water supplies re-directed to irrigate crops, forests burnt, natural habitats destroyed. Dissenting voices are brutally silenced – men beaten, children frightened, women raped, so too the land.

Over 80% of the 85 million population of Ethiopia live in rural areas, in settlements and villages, and work in agriculture. Many are small-scale farmers who, according to government figures, farm “eight percent (about 10,000,000 ha) of the national land area”, and traditional pastoralists who have, for generations, lived simple lives, culture, nature and livelihood entwined.

Huge tracts of agricultural land with water supplies are being leased to foreign companies for food export. The Oakland Institute (OI), a US- based policy think-tank and leader in the field, have produced in-depth reports on worldwide land sales stating that, between 2008 and 2011, “3,619,509 hectares (ha) were transferred to domestic investors, state-owned enterprises and foreign companies”. Amounting to a third, if government figures are correct, of the land farmed by Ethiopians themselves, an area the size of a small country, e.g. Holland.

Government Genocide

Land grab (and associated water appropriation), Oxfam states, occurs when “governments, banks or private investors buy up huge plots of land to make equally huge profits”. Since 2008 such speculation has vastly expanded; in 2009 alone the OI recorded that “foreign investors acquired 60 million ha of land [worldwide] – the size of France – through purchases or leases of land for commercial farming,” up from an annual average, pre-2008, of 4 million ha. Three quarters of all land deals take place in sub-Saharan Africa, in some of the most food-insecure, economically vulnerable, politically repressive countries in the world; precisely, some say, because of such advantageous commercial factors.

In Ethiopia, land sales are occurring in six key areas. Oromia and Gambella in the south, Amhara, Beneshangul, Gumuz, the Sidaama zone, or SNNP and the Lower Omo Valley – an area of outstanding natural beauty with acclaimed UNESCO World heritage status. The Ethiopian government’s conduct in Omo and Oromia, Genocide Watch (GW) considers “to have already reached stage 7 [of 8], genocidal massacres”. A statement that shocks us all, and casts shame upon the government and indeed slumbering donor nations, who act not, who speak not, but know well the cruel methods, which violate a plethora of human rights laws, employed by the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). A regime whose loyalties, it seems, rest firmly with investors, corporations, multi-nationals and the like, and who cares little for the people living upon the land, or indeed in the cities.

Forced from Home

Conditional within land lease agreements is the requirement that the government will clear the area of ‘encumbrances’, meaning indigenous people – families, children, pastoralists, cattle, wildlife, forests, anything in fact that will interfere with the leveling of the land, building of [foreign] workers’ accommodation, roads and the eventual sowing of crops.

The national three-year Villagisation program, initiated in 1985, aims to move 1.5 million people from their ancestral homes, over four states, into large settlements. The process is well under way, as these 2010 figures from Cultural Survival show, “by February 1987, 5.7 million people (15 percent of the rural population) had been moved into 11,000 new villages. By the end of this year, 10 million rural inhabitants (25 percent of the population) are expected to be villagized in 12 of Ethiopia’s 13 provinces.” Government propaganda justifying the policy states these new village centers will, “facilitate the provision of human social services by concentrating scattered homesteaders into central communities”, and facilitate ‘agrarian socialism’ – hence the leasing of mega chunks of land to multi-national corporations, without the participation of local people, whose land is being taken from them: a totalitarian version of socialism then.

Contrary to federal and international law, which requires the free, informed and prior consent of the people, this mass movement is being carried out without consultation or compensation, no matter the official claims to the contrary. Human Rights Watch (HRW) (28/08/12) reports how “Villagers who have been unwilling to move, or who refuse to mobilise others to do so, have been arrested and mistreated by the soldiers.” Once forcibly emptied, villages are destroyed and cattle killed or confiscated, the OI state, by government troops. Along with pastoralists, who number around 300,000 in Gambella alone, villagers are herded, sometimes literally, always metaphorically at the end of rifle, into Villagisation camps. And these, despite Government promises to, “provide basic resources and infrastructure, the new villages”, HRW found “have inadequate food, agricultural support, and health and education facilities”.

Resistance to moving is met with abuse and violence. HRW’s detailed report “Waiting for Death”, found that in Gambella, where the government plans to ‘relocate’ 225,000 people, “soldiers frequently beat or arrested individuals who questioned the motives of the program or refuse to move to the new villages [Villagisations]. Community leaders and young men are targeted [scores are arrested without due process]. There have also been credible allegations of rape and sexual assault by government soldiers. Fear and intimidation was widespread.” In a disturbing account of life within and without the Villagisation centers, the OI discovered, most disturbingly, that pastoralists (whose lifestyle and nature is to wander) if “encountered [by the military] outside of villages are told to relocate to the villages immediately”. Such restrictions conjure images of prison life rather than a peaceful, communal village, and contradict the government’s message of willing relocation, good community relations, participation and social harmony.

A Culture of Fear

Such abuse is not limited to Gambella – in the Lower Omo region, where huge, state-owned sugar plantations and the massive Gibe III Dam project are being developed, dissenting voices are, the OI report, subjected to “beatings, abuse and general intimidation”, in addition to extra-judicial prison sentencing.

“Fear and intimidation” is endemic, not just in areas associated with land sales, but throughout the country; suppression is common and freedom of expression greatly restricted. The media – TV, radio, press as well as print companies, are state-owned, so too the sole telecommunication company, restricting access to the internet, which is monitored. The judiciary is simply an extension of government, lacking credible independence, the political opposition marginalised and completely ineffective. International media are frowned upon and, in some areas (e.g. Ogaden) completely banned, such are the paranoid actions of the ruling EPRDF, which, it would seem, has much to hide.

Resentment and anger simmers amongst many displaced oppressed villagers. In April 2012 a group of men attacked the Saudi Star compound in Gambella and killed four employees. The men were quickly labeled ‘rebels’ and a military manhunt was instigated. The criminal act should be treated as such and the men brought to justice, however government forces have reacted with unwarranted unjustifiable violence and aggression to innocent civilians, as HRW (28/08/12) reported: “Ethiopian soldiers went house to house… arbitrarily arresting and beating young men and raping female relatives of suspects”. Any excuse, it seems, to unleash state violence, perpetrated by a regime that mistrusts even it’s own people. After the attack on Saudi Star, a company that has leased some 10,000 ha of prime Gambella land, the Ethiopian military accused four Anuak guards on duty at the time, of involvement in the attack and carried out extra- judicial killings (murder) on them all. Local villagers “alleged they were tortured”, and “women and girls raped either in their homes or in detention” (ibid). Illegal acts by the Ethiopian State that by any reasonable reading fits the definition of terrorism stated by the US military as, “the calculated use of unlawful violence or threat of unlawful violence to inculcate fear; intended to coerce or to intimidate governments or societies in the pursuit of goals that are generally political, religious, or ideological.” Terrifying tactics employed by the military in the search for information about ‘the rebels’ – a meaningless term evoking negative stereotypes, used alongside the ‘T’ word (terrorist) to demonise anyone who disagrees with disagreeable government policies and justify all violent measures by the benevolent regime – such is the perverse and dangerous use of language, facilitated by the international mainstream media that has infiltrated our imaginations.

The Myth of Development

The government proclaims land sales are part of a strategic, long-term approach to agriculture reforms and economic development, that foreign investment will fund infrastructure projects, create employment opportunities, help to eradicate hunger and poverty and benefit the community, local and national. The term development is itself an interesting one; distorted, linked and commonly limited almost exclusively to economic targets, meaning growth of GDP, established principally by the World Bank, whose policies and practices in relation to land sales, the OI discovered, “have glossed over critical issues such as human rights, food security and human dignity for local populations”, and its philanthropic sister, the International Monetary Fund; market fundamentalism driving the exported (one size fits all) policies, of both ideologically entrenched organisations, that promote models of development that seek to fulfill corporate interests first middle and last.

Defined in such limited ways, Ethiopia, having somehow achieved impressive GDP growth figures since 2004, (with a dizzy 9.8%, average, similar to that of India) would seem to be in the premiership of development. Inflation, though, sits at 30% and, whilst unemployment in urban areas has dropped to around 20%, over a quarter of young people aged 18-24 remain out of work; high unemployment in urban areas means young women are often forced into commercial sex work or domestic servitude.

Statistics compiled by The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), provide a broader, less GDP-rosy picture of the country. They place Ethiopia 174th (from 187 nations) on the Human development index (HDI), with average life expectancy of 59 years and 40% of people living in poverty (on less than $1.25 a day). The 2012 Global Hunger Index makes Ethiopia the 5th hungriest country in the world (IFPRI), with between 12 and 15 million people a year relying on food aid to keep them alive. What growth there is benefits the rich, privileged minority. There is a growing divide between the 99.9% and the small number of wealthy Ethiopians – who, coincidentally, are mainly members of the ruling party trickle down, gushing up’, concentrating wealth with the wealthy; as the Inter Press Service (IPS) 22/08/12 reports, “development has yet to reach the vast majority of the country’s population. Instead, much of this wealth – and political power – has been retained by the ruling party and, particularly, by the tiny Tigrayan minority community to which [former Prime Minister] Meles belonged.”

“Protect, Respect and Remedy”

Protagonists laying claim to the all-inclusive healing powers of agriculture and agro-industrial projects, contradict, the OI states, “the basic facts and evidence showing growing impoverishment experienced on the ground”. What about the bumper benefits promised, particularly the numerous employment opportunities? It turns out industrialised farming is highly mechanised and offers few jobs; overseas companies are not concerned with providing employment for local people and care little for their well-being, making good bedmates for the ruling party. They bring the workers they need, and are allowed to do so by the Ethiopian government, which places no constraints on their operations.

Such shameful indifference contravenes the letter and spirit of the United Nations (UN) “Protect, Respect and Remedy” Framework. Endorsed by the UN Human Rights Council on 16th June 2011, the guiding principles outlined, “provide an authoritative global standard for preventing and addressing the risk of adverse impacts on human rights linked to business activity.” Corporations have a duty under the framework to “prevent or mitigate adverse human rights impacts that are directly linked to their operations… even if they have not contributed to their impacts”i Although not legally enforceable, these principles of decency offer recourse to human rights organisations and community groups, and should be morally binding for multinationals, whose profit-driven activities in Ethiopia, facilitated by a brutal regime that ignores fundamental human rights, are causing intense suffering to hundreds of thousands of indigenous people.

Graham Peebles is director of the Create Trust. He can be reached at: graham@thecreatetrust.org

የፍርሃትና ስም ማጥፋት ፖለቲካ በኢትዮጵያ

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

ፕሮፌሰር ዓለማየሁ ገብረማርያም

ትርጉም ከነጻነት ለሃገሬ

2011፡ የሙስና አገዛዝ፤ ፍርሃትና ሰም ማጥፋት

በዲሴምበር 2011 ‹‹ኢትዮጵያ የደም ሃገር ወይም የንቅዘት (ሙስና) ሃገር›› በሚል ርእስ የኢትዮጵያን ሁለት ገጽታ በማመዛዘን አንድ ጦማር አስነብቤ ነበር፡፡ በዚያን ወቅት ትራንስፓረንሲ ኢንተርናሽናል በተባለው ተቋም ተቀምጦ የነበረው ገጽታ ያሳየው ኢትዮጵያ ለም መሬቶች በተንኮል በተጠቀለለ ስውር ደባ እየተቸበቸቡ እንደነበር ነው፡፡በዘገባው ላይ ተቋሙ ለኢትዮጵያ ያሰፈረው ነጥብ (10 ከሙስና የፀዳ ማለት ሲሆን 0 ደግም በሙስና ንቅዘት ያጨማለቀው ማለት ነው) ኢትዮጵያ 2.7 ነበር ያገኘቸው፡፡ በሙሰና ከታወቁት የኣለም ሃገሮች ዋነኛዋ ኢትዮጵያ ናት ይል ነበር::  የግሎባል ፊናንሻል አንተግሪት ድርጅት ደግሞ ባለፉት ፲ ኣመታት ከኢትዮጵያ 11.7 ብልዖን  ያሜርካን ብር በሀገወጥ መንገድ ከኣገሪቷ ወጥቶአል ብሎ ዘገቦ ነበር::

ባልፈው ኣመት: አሁንም በስላጣን ላይ ያለው ገዢ ኣስተዳደር ኢትዮጵያን በሽብርተኞች ማነቆ ውስጥ ተወጥራ እንዳለች ሃገር አድርጎ ለማቅረብ ባወጣው የልመናና የገንዘብ መቧገቻ እቅዱ ባለሶስት ክፍል የፕሮፓጋንዳ የቅጥፈት ታሪክ ‹‹አኬልዳማ›› በማለት (ወይም የደም መሬት በማለት ከአክትስ 1፡19 በመዋስ፤ የአስቆሮቱ ይሁዳ ክርስቶስን ክዶ በመሸጥ ባገኘው ገንዘብ የተገዛ መሬት) ከልብ ወለድ የማይሪቅ ትርኢት ለሕዝብ ኣቅርቦ ነበር፡፡ ይህም ትርኢት በአትዮጵያና በኢትዮጵያ ዲያስፖራ ሰዎች በሚታገዝና በሃገርም ውስጥ ባሉት የሚደገፍ የሽብር ተግባር አምባ አድርጎ ለማሳመን የተሰራ ነው፡፡ አኬልዳማ ሲጀምር በኢትዮጵያ ውስጥ ሊከሰት የሚችል በማለት የደም ጎርፍ መምጣት እንደሚችልና፤ ሸብር ዓለምን በማጥፋት ላይ ነው፡፡ ‹‹አኬልዳማ›› ሲተረት: “ሽብርተኝነት የቆምንበትን መሬት እያነቃነቀ፤ ዕለታዊ እንቅስቃሴያችንንም እየገታ መሆኑን በቅጥፈታዊ ፈጠራ ለማሳየት የቀረበ ትርኢት፡፡ አሁን እየተናገርኩ ያለሁት ስለዓለም አቀፉ ሥብርተኝነት አይደለም፡፡ እኔ እያልኩ ያለሁት በገዢው መንግስት ለኢትዮጵያ የተቀመጠውን የቅጥፈት ፕሮፓጋንዳና በዚያም ውስጥ ስለተካተተው አኬልዳማ ተብሎ ስለተቀፈቀፈው፤ ሸብርተኝነት ለኢትዮጵያ አስጊና አሳሳቢ ችግር ነው…… ስለተባለው ነው፡፡”

በአኬልዳማ ውስጥ ተቀነጫጭቦና ተቆርጦ የተቀጣጣለ የቪዲዮ ቅንጥብጣቢ፤የአልቃይዳና የአል ሸባቢ ተከታዮች የመለስ ዜናዊን መንግስት ለማፍረስና ሃገሪቱንም ለማመሰቃቀል ተነስተዋል በማለት የሕጻናት የአዛውንቶች፤ እሬሳ በመንገድ ላይ ወድቀውና በደም ተጨማልቀው በዝንቦች የተወረሩ እሬሳዎች፤ የተቆራረጡ እግሮች፤ የነደዱ ተሸከርካሪዎች፤ በቦምብ የፈራሱ ሕንጻዎች፤ የህክምና ባለሙያዎችም የተጎዱትን ሲያክሙና በኒው ዮርክ በሽብርተኞች የፈረሱት የትዊን ታወር ምስሎች በማገጣጠም የገዢውን መንግስት ስጋት አሳማኝ ለማድረግ ምስሉን አቀነባብሮ አቀረበ፡፡ በዚህም የሕብረተሰቡ ሕሊና ውስጥ የፈጠረው ስጋት ቢኖር የገዚዎች ውሸትና ተራ ፕሮፓጋንደ እንጂ ከዚያ ያለፈ ለማሳመን የቻለው የለም፡፡ ማስረጃውን እንመልከት ብሎም ያቀረበው ዘጋቢ ቁጭት በውስጡ እየነደደ የሃሰት ስሜቱን ታግሎ በማውጣት በጥፈሩ እየቆመና ቃላትን እየረገጠ በሚያስፈራና ቀፋፊ በሆነው ድምጹ ህጻናትን እያሰበረ አርጉዝ ሊያጨነግፍ በሚችል ስሜት አቀረበው፡፡ እስቲ እውነተኛውን ማስረጃ እንመልከት፤  ይላል ‹‹አኬልዳማ››: “ባለፉት ጥቂት ዓመታት፤ 131 የሽብርተኞች ጥቃት ተካሂዶ 339 ተገድለዋል 363 ቆስለዋል፤ 25 ደግሞ በሽብርተኞች ታፈነው ተገድለዋል፡፡” ቅጥፈት የተሞላበት፤ ማጭበርበሪያ የሆነ፤የተዛባ ትረካ የተካተተበት አኬልዳማ በተቃዋሚዎች ላይ ሕዝባዊ ጥላጫና ጥርጣሬ ለመንዛት ሆን ተብሎ የተዘጋጀ ነበር፡፡ውጤቱ ግን እንደታሰበውና እንደታሰበው ሳይሆን መክኖ ቀረ፡፡

2013 የሙስና አገዛዝ፤ ፍርሃትና ሰም ማጥፋት

ወደ ፌብሪዋሪ 2013 ፈጠን ብለን እንሂድ::  በቅርቡ ተጣርቶ በወጣው ባለ 448 ገጾች የዓለም ባንክ ዘገባ እንደሚያሳየው ኢትዮጵያ በዓለም ላይ ካሉት ሀገራት ሁሉ ከአናት እስከ ታች ድረስ በባለስልጣናቱና በአጃቢ አገልጋዮቻቸው ንቅዘትና ሙስና የተዘፈቀች ሃገር ናት ይላል፡፡ በዘገባው መሰረት የኢትዮጵያ ቴሌኮሙኒኬሽን ድርጅት የንቅዘቱ መፈልፈያ ማህጸን ነው፡፡  ገዢው ኣስተዳደር በጣሙን የገዘፈ መዋእለ ንዋይ በማፍሰስ በቴሌ ላይ ኢንቬስት ቢያደርግም፤በአፍሪካ ሁለተኛው የቴሌፎን ስርጭት ዝቅተኛ የሆነበት ሃገር ከመሆን አላዳነውም፡፡ በጣም አናሳ አግልግሎት ሰጪ ድርጅት ከመሆንም አልፎ፤ከተጠያቂነት ነጻ የሆነ የዘረፋ ማእከል ነው፡፡በሃገርም ውስጥ ሆነ በውጭ ታዛቢዎች ድርጅቱ በሙስናና በንቅዘት የተገነባ ለምዝበራ የተጋለጠ መሆኑን ያረጋግጣሉ፡፡ በየትኛውም የአገልግሎት አሰጣጥ መመዘኛ ተጎታችና እርካታ ይሉት አገልግሎት የሌለው በየጊዜው በሚነደፈው የሙስና እቅድ ውስጥ ተውተፍትፎ አገልግሎቱ እርባና ቢስ ነው፡፡ የፍትህ ስርአቱም ቢሆን ሕብረተሰቡን በነጻ እንዳያገለግልና የፖለቲካ መሳሪያ እንዲሆን ተደርጎ በገዢው ኣስተዳደር ንጹሃንን በመወንጀል ፖለቲካዊ እንቅስቃሴን በመግታት አገዛዙ ከመንበሩ ሳይለቅ የሚቀጥልበትን ሁኔታ የሚተገብር የፍትህን ስርአት የጣሰ ነው፡፡ ይህም በህጋዊ ኢፍትሃዊነት ብቻ ጉዳት ከማድረሱም ባሻገር ለጉቦና ለንቅዘት ተጋልጦ ያለ አንድ የገዢው መንግስት የጦር መሳርያ ነው፡፡ ገዢው መንግስት በስልጣን መቆየቱን እንጂ ለሃገርና ለህዝብ እድገትና ልማት ጨርሶ ደንታ የሌለው በመሆኑ ከጉቦ ውጪ አንዳችም ጉዳይ በስርአት አይከናወንም:: የዚህም ሂደት ዋናው አስፈጻሚ ሞተር ገዢው ፓርቲና ጀሌዎቹ ናቸው፡፡

በፌብሪዋሪ 5/2013 ላይ በአዲስ አበባ ያለው ገዢው ኣስተዳደር ‹‹ጂሃዳዊ ሃራካት›› (የቅዱስ ጦርነት እንቅስቃሴ) በሚል ርዕስ አንድ ዘጋቢ (ዶኩሜንታሪ) ፊልም በእኩይ አስተሳሰብና ዲያብሎሳዊ ግንዛቤው የኢትዮጵያ ሰላማዊ ሙስሊሞች ያነሱትን ሃይማኖታችንን ለኛ ተዉልን፤ ሰብአዊ መብት ይከበር፤ በማለቱና በሰላማዊ መንገድ እንሰማ በማለታቸው፤ በየቦታው ካሉና የኢትዮጵያ ሙስሊም ሕብረተሰብ ከማያውቃቸው፤ ተግባራቸውን ከማይቀበለውና ግንኙነትም ከሌለው ጋር ገዢው ኣስተዳደር በተካነበት የቅጥፈት ዘመቻው ጥያቄ  እንዳሰኘው በሚያዝበት ቴሌቪዥን ጣቢያው ላይ አሰራጭቶ ነበር፡፡

‹‹ጂሃዳዊ ሃረካት›› በሁለንተናዊ መልኩ የ‹‹አኬልዳማ›› ግልባጭ ነው፡፡ መሰረታዊ ልዩነቱ የሙስሊሙን ማሕበረሰብ ለይቶ ለማስፈራሪያነትና ለስም ማጥፊያ ተብሎ በአንድ የሃይሞነት ተከታዮች ተነጣጥሮ መተግበሩ ነው፡፡ በአጠቃላይ ዘጋቢው ፊልም ኢትዮጵያዊያን ሙስሊሞች ሰብአዊ መብት እንዲከበር፤ ኣስተዳደሩ በእምነታቸው ጣልቃ መግባቱን እንዲያቆም በመጠየቃቸው፤ ያላለሙትንና ጨርሶ ያላሰቡትን ሕዝቡ ናቸው ብሎ እንዲቀበል፤ እነዚህ ደም የጠማቸው የናይጄሪያው ቦኮ ሃራም፤የማሊው አንሳር ዲን፤ አልቃይዳ አልሻባብ ሃማስ ቅርንጫፍ ተከታዮች  በማለት ያልሆኑትን ናቸው በማለት በተለመደው የፍርሃትና የመደናገጥ ዜማው ታርጋ በመለጠፍ ላይ ያተኮረ ነው፡፡  ዶኩሜንታሪው ተቆቋሪ በመምሰልና አዛኝ ቅቤ አንጓችነቱን በማጠናከር በሙስሊሙ መሃል የተሸሸጉ ጥቂት ሽብርተኞች በማለት ይኮንናል፡፡ ዘጋቢው ፊልም በየትም የአፍሪካ ያልታየ የቂመኝነትና የትእግስት ማጣት እኔ ካልኩት ውጪና ከምፈቅደው ባለፈ ንክች ያባ ቢላ ልጅ ይሉት ዓይነት ድንፋታ ብቻ ነው፡፡

ውሸት ሞልቷል፤ እርቃኑን የቆመ ውሸት አለ፤የጎደፈ ውሸት አለ፤የሆዳሞች ውሸት አለ፤የመልቲዎች ቅጥፈት አለ:: ‹‹ጂሃዳዊ ሃረካት›› ደሞ እነዚህ ሁሉ ውሸቶች የተጠናወቱት ነው፡፡ ይህን የሚያቀለሸልሽ ዶኩሜንታሪ ከተመለከትኩት በኋላ፤ በቅርቡ ያለፈው መለስ ዜናዊ የሜይ 2010ን ምርጫ 99.6 በሌብነት የተገኘ ድል አስመልከተው የአውሮፓ ዩኒየን የምርጫ ታዛቢዎች ስለተከናወነው የድምጽ ሌብነቱ  ፊት ለፊት ሲጋፈጡት የሰጠው ምላሽ ታወሰኝ፡፡ መለስ እጅ ከፍንጅ በመያዙ የአውሮፓ ዩኒየነን የምርጫ ዘገባ በመኮነን ከአንድ መሪ በማይጠበቅ መልኩ ማፈሪያ የሆነውን ‹‹ዘገባው ቆሻሻ ስለሆነ ንብረቱ  ወደሆነው ወደ ቆሻሻ መጣያ ሊወረወር ይገባዋል›› ነበር መልሱ፡፡ ‹‹ጂሃዳዊ ሃረካት›› ደካማ፤ አስቂኝ፤ማሰብ ከተሳነው ህሊና የወጣ፤ማስመሰያ፤ መርዘኛ፤ በጉራ ያበጠ፤ ድንፋታ ነው፡፡ ይህን መሰሉ የመለስ አባባልም የቅራ ቅንቦ ክምር ነውና ‹‹ጂሃዳዊ ሃረካት›› ወደ ቆሻሻ ቱቦ ተደፍቶ ከእጥብጣቢውና ከቆሻሻው ፍሳሽ ጋር ሊቀላቀል ይገባዋል፡፡

ፈጽሙ የተባሉትን ያለ ጥያቄና ስስብእናቸውን ለጥቃቅን ጥቅም በመሸጥ ታዛዥነታቸውን የሚያረጋግጡትን አሰባስቦ ተመረጡ ብሏል፡፡ ቀድሞ ለዘመናት ከመንግስት ተጽእኖና ቁጥጥር ነጻ የነበረው አስልምና ካዉንስል አሁን በገዚዎቹ  የሚታዘዝና የገዚዎቹን ትእዛዝ በመቀበል የሚያስፈጸም የካድሬዎች መጠራቀሚያ ሰፈር ሆኗል፡፡ መያዙ፤በሽብርተኝነት ወንጅላ ካውንስሉን የመቆጣጠር ህልሙን ተግባራዊ ማድረጉ በኢትዮጵያ ውስጥ ገዚዎቹ ሃይማኖቶቹን መጠቀሚያ የማድረጉ ሂደት እየባሰ መሄዱን የሚያረጋግጥ ነው፡፡ በሰላማዊ እንቅስቃሴያቸው ጊዜ በርካታ ሙስሊሞች በመላ ሃገሪቱ ለእስራት እየተዳረጉ ነው፡፡ በኦክቶበር 29 ገዢው የኢትዮጵያ መንግስት 29 ሰላማዊ እንቅስቃሴ ላይ የነበሩ ሰዎችን በሽብርተኝነትና የሙስሊም መንግስት ለማቋቋም ተንቀሳቅሰዋል በሚል ለእስር ዳርጓል፡፡

ጂሃዲስቶች ተመልሰው እየመጡ ነው?!

‹‹ጂሃዳዊ ሃራካት›› የኢትዮጵያ መንግስት ጂሃዲስቶችን ከጓዳው እያወጣ የኢትዮጵያን ሕዝብ ሲያስፈረራ የመጀመሪያው አይደለም፡፡በ2006 ዓም የመለስ ዜናዊ ታንኮች መንገዳቸውን ወደ ሞቃሾ ከማምረታቸውና በሺህ የሚቆጠሩ ንጹሃን የሱማሌ ህዝቦችን ከመጨፍጨፋቸው በፊት፤ በሚሊዮን የሚቆጠሩት ከቤት ንብረታቸው ከመፈናቀላቸውና ከመልቀቃቸው አስቀድሞ መለስ ዜናዊ የሶማልያን ጂሃዲስቶች፤ ሽብርን ፈጥሮ፤ በሚገዛው ሃገር ውስጥ የሚፈጽመውን ሽብር፤ ጭቆና፤ ግፍ፤ መጠን ያጣ በደል፤ የሰብአዊ መብት ገፈፋ፤ የፍትህን መዛባት ከዓለም ገጽታ ለመሰወርና አዲስ ባወጣው የሶማሌ ጂሃዲስቶችና ……… በመተካት በተለይም የአሜሪካንን መንግስት ትኩረት ከኢትዮጵያ የግፍ አመጽ በማሸሽና ወደ ሶማሊያ ላይ በማስተኮር የአሜሪካንን  መንግስት የዲፕሎማቲክ ድጋፍ ሙሉ ፈቃድ ተጎናጸፈ፡፡

‹‹ጂሃዳዊ ሃራካት›› ወይም እስልምናን ማስፈራሪያ ማድረግ ጥበብ

‹‹ጂሃዳዊ ሃረካት›› የሚያስጠላ የሙያ አልባዎች ቅጥ የሌለው ፕሮፐጋንዳ ሲሆን ማንም ቢሆን ከተመለከተው በኋላ የዘገምተኛ መሃይም አስተሳሰብ ከማለት ቀልድ ሌላ ትርጉም አያገኝለትም፡፡  ለአዘጋጂዎቹ ግን ቁም ነገር የሌለው ተብሎ ብቻ የማይተው ሳይሆን ጠቅላላውን የሙስሊም ማሕበረሰብ ዝቅ አድርጎ የመመልከትና እንደ መሪም ሃላፊነት የጎደለው ጋጠ ወጣዊ ተግባር ሊባል ብቻ ነው የሚቻለው፡፡ ለማስተላለፍ የተፈለገውም በጥላቻ የተሞላና በሰላም የኖሩትን የአንድ ሃገር ሰዎች በማከፋፈልና ጠብ እንዲጫርና ጣልቃ ገብቶ የተለመደ የመግደል የማቁሰል ሱሱን ለመወጣት ተብሎ ‹‹ጥሩ ክርስቲያኖች›› ላይ ‹‹መጥፎ ሙስሊሞች››  ሊፈጽሙ ያሰቡት ደባ›› በማለት፤ ሁለቱ እንዲጋጩ፤ አለመግባባት ጨርሶ ሳይኖራቸው አንዱ የሌላው ችግር ደራሽ፤ አሳቢ፤ በሃዘንም ሆነ በደስታ አብረው በመቆም ዘመናት ባሳለፉት ወንድማማቾች መሃል አለመግባባት በመፍጠር በድንገት የሙስሊም ሽብርተኞች መጡብህ በሚል ስር የሰደደና የተካኑትን የማናቆር ተግባር በመተግበር የእስልምና መንግስት ለማቋቋም እየተንቀሳቀሱብህ ነው በማለት ክርስቲያኑ እንዲነሳሳ በመጨረሻም ግጭቱ እንዲሰምርላቸው ነበር ቅዠታዊ ስልት ነበር፡፡ ቀደም ሲል‹‹አኬልዳማ›› ብለው የፈጠሩት  የቆርጦ ቀጥል የማፍያ ተግባራቸው፤ ሙስሊሙን ክርስቲያኖች ሊያጠፉህ መጡብህ ለማለት ተብሎ ቢተላለፍም፤ አቅራቢውም ትንፋሽ እስኪያጥረው ቃላቱን እየረገጠና በዘጋቢው ፊልም ውስጥ የነበሩትን ንጹሃን ዜጎች፤ ከአለቆቹ በበለጠ ጥላቻው ከሮበት እስኪታይ ድረስ ቢንደፋደፍም ውጤቱና ሕዝባዊ መልሱ ግን ከ ‹‹ዶሮን ሲያታልሏት………›› አላለፈም፡፡ እንዲጠሉ የታቀደላቸው ጭርሱን የፍቅር አድባራት ሆኑ፡፡ በእዝ ማስጠላትና ማራቅ ባለመቻሉ ግለሰቦችን ከእገሌ ጋር ቢቀርብህ ይሻላል በሚል ከንቱ ተራ ማስፈራርያ መጠቀሙም ቢሆን ብዙም አልሰመረም፡፡

ገዢው መንግስት በዚህ ዱክትርናው በርከት ያሉ የፕሮፓጋንዳ ግቦችን ለመፈጸም ሞክሯል  1) የማን አለብኙ መንግስት ሰብአዊ መብታቸው እንዲከበር፤በሃይሞኖቶች መሃል ጣልቃ ገብነቱን እንዲያቆምና የማይመጥናቸውን የራሱን ፍላጎት ለሟሟላት ሲል ብቻ ሽብርተኞች፤አክራሪ ጂሃዲስቶች፤ የመግደል አባዜ የተጠናወታቸው በማለት የራሱን መታወቂያ  በሙስሊማኑ ላይ ለመለጠፍ መሞከር: 2)የክርሰትና እምነት ተከታዮችን በማነሳሳትና ነገር በመቆስቆስ ጥላቻና በመዝራት በሙስሊም ወንድሞቹ ላይ ጥርጣሬና እምነት እንዲያጣ ለማድረግ መሞከር፤ 3)ሙስሊሞችን ለይቶ በማወቅና ስማቸውን በእኩይነት በማቅለም ፍርሃት እንዲያድርባቸው ማድረግ፤ ከሌሎች ሃይማኖቶች ጋር ማጋጨት፤ ሁሉንም የሕብረተሰብ አባል እንደሚጠሉና ለራሳቸው የሚሆን ዓለም ለመፍጠር የሚጥሩ በማስመሰል ሌላውን የሕብረተሰብ አካል በጥላቻ እንዲነሳሳባቸው ማድረግ፤እንዲሁም ለመወንጀል ለመያዝ በግፍ ለማሰርና ለማሰቃየት በመጨረሻም የሚመኘውን የሰውን ልጅ ክብር በማዋረድ ለመከራ መዳረግ፡፡ 4)መላው ሕብረተሰብ ላይ ያጠላበትን የመከራ የርሃብ የችግር የድህነት የኤኮኖሚና የፖለቲካ እጦቱን፤ሙስሊሙን ጂሃዲስቶች ናቸው በሚል ከንቱ የጉሮ ወሸባዬ ያልተቃኘ ዜማው በማደናቆር ሃሳብንና ቁጭትን ለማስለወጥ የተዘረጋ የኢህአዴግ ዲያብሎሳዊ አካሄድ ነው፡፡ 5) ጨርሶ ሙስሊሙ ሕብረተሰብ አስቦትና አንስቶት የማያውቀውን አስተሳሰብ የሙስሊም መንግስት ለማቋቋም፤ ቦምብና ሌሎች መሳርያዎች ለማንሳት እንዳቀዱ በማስመሰል ፕሮፓጋንዳውን እንደ የእድር የቀብር ጥሪ ቢያናፋም ቀብሩ የማን እንደሆነ ሕብረተሰቡ ጠንቅቆ ስለሚያውቅ አልተቀበለው፡፡ እርግጥ ገዢው መንግስት የሕዝብን ቁጣና የበቃህ ስሜት በሚገባ ስለተረዳው በማድረግ ላይ ያለው አስተሳሰብንና አመለካከትን በማስቀየር ጊዜ መግዛትን ነው፡፡ የዓለም ባንክ ጥርት ያለው የ448 ገጽ ዘገባ፡፡

ይህንን የበሬ ክምር እበት በመመልከት ጊዜያቸውን ማጥፋት ለማይፈልጉ (ማየት ካለባቸህ ደግሞ አፍንጫችሁን ጠቅጥቁት) እንደዘጋቢ ፊልም ለማለፍ ቅንጫቢው እነሆ፡፡ የዶኪመንተሪ ቅልመዳ ትርኢት ሲከፈት መክፈቻውንና ማስረጃውን በጸሁፍ በማስቀደም ይጀምራል ‹‹ጥቂት ግለሰቦች የእስልምና ሃይማኖትን ከለላ በማድረግ፤የሥብር ተግባራቸውን ለመፈጸም ሲሉ ባደረጉት እንቅስቃሴ ላይ የቀረበ ማስረጃ፡፡ ከብሔራዊ ደህንነት አግልግሎት፤ ከፌዴራል ፖሊስ፤እና ከኢትዮጵያ ሬዲዮና ቴሌቪዥን ጋር በመተባበር የተቀነባበረ፡፡ ፊልሙ ማስረጃዎችን በመቅረብ እያንዳንዱ ተጠርጣሪ የእስልምና ሃይማኖትን መጋረጃ በማድረግ የአልቃይዳንና የአልሸባብን እቅድ በኢትዮጵያ ለመተግበር ያደረገውን እንቅስቃሴ ያስረዳል›› ይላል፡፡

ለ13 ሴኮንዶች ቀስ እያለ በጽሁፉ ምስል ይተካና ያለአንዳች ቅድሚያ ማስጠንቀቂያ የአንድ ‹‹ሽብርተኛ›› ተብሎ የተፈረጀ ዜጋ ገጽታ በጥቁር ግድግዳ ፊት ለፊት ቀስ እያለ ተመለካቹን በሚያስደነግጥና በሚያስፈራራ መልኩ ለ8 ሴኮንዶች ብቅ ይልና እያዘገመ ወደ ቀኝ ይሄዳል፡፡ይህ በፎቶሾፕ ምስሉ የተቀነባበረውና ቆርጦ የተቀጠለው ሰው አውሬ፤በረኸኛን እንዲመስል ቃሉን በለሰለሰና በረጋ  መንፈስ ሙስሊም በሆኑና ባልሆኑ መሃል ‹‹ጂሃዲ›› ያለ ልዩነትና በሕብረተሰቡ ውስጥ የሌለ አመለካከት ለማስያዝ ሆን ተብሎ የተቀነባበረ ድራማ ነው፡፡ ይህን ዘጋቢ ያሉትን ማስረጃ ያዘጋጁት እርባና የለሾች እራሳቸውና የናጣቸውን የፍርሃት ድባብ በማቅረብ ለምን ሕብረተሰቡን የማይፈራውን ፍርሃት እንዲፈራ ያደርጉታል፡፡

‹‹ማስረጃ›› ተብሎ የሚደመጠው የያዘው ‹‹ኑዛዜ›› (በአብዛኛውከሁለት አለያም ከ3 አረፍ ተነገር ያልዘለለ፤ወንጀለኞች እንዲመስሉ ሆን ተብሎ የተቀነባበረባቸው ሆኖ ተከሳሦቹ የጥፋተኝነት እምነታቸውን ያረጋገጡበት ቢባልም በመርማሪው በኩል ምን እንዳለም ሆነ እንደጠየቀ አንዳችም ቃል አይሰማም) በአሜሪካን መንግስት የዓለም አቀፍ ሃይማኖቶች ነጻነት ኮሚሽን የተጠቀሱት 29 ተከሳሾች ዘገባ ግን ከተባለው አንዱንም አላካተተም፡፡ (እነዚህ ቃላቸውን ሰጡ የተባሉት ሰዎች ጉዳያቸው በፍርድ ቤት እየታየ ያለ ሲሆን ፍርድ ቤቱ ይኼው ፊልም ለሕዝብ እንዳይቀርብ ትእዛዝ ቢሰጥም ሰሚአጥቶ አባቱ ዳኛ ልጁ ቀማኛ አይነት እየተላለፈ ነው፡፡ ከዚህ የበለጠ አሳፋሪ መንግስታዊ የፍትህ ጥሰት የት ይታያል? ከቃል አሰጣጡ የሙስሊም የሆኑና ሙስሊም ያልሆኑ ጂሃዲስቶች የኢ ቲ ቪ  ትርኢት ተከትሎ፤የቪዲዮ ቁራጭ ትእይንት ይከተላል፤ ወጣቶች (ሙስሊም አሸባሪዎች እንዲመስሉ ከሌላ ቪዲዮ ላይ የተቀነጨበ) ከአንድ ነገር ለማምለጥ ሲሸሽ ይታያል፡፡ ከኢንተርኔት የተለቃቀሙ ሌሎች ምስሎችም ተቆርጠው በመቀጠል፤በጭንቅላታቸው ላይ ስካርፍ ያሰሩና መሰወሪያ ፊታቸው ላይ ያከናነቡ በዓለም ላይ በተለያየ ወቅት ሽብርተኞች የተነሱትን ቪዲዮ መጠቀሚያ በማድረግ ቦታውና ጊዜው የማይታወቅ ፊልም ቀርቧል፡፡

የጽሁፍ መግለጫው ተከትሎ ይመጣና በድምጽም ‹‹ቦኮ ሃራም በኢትዮጵያ›› በሚለው ይታጀባል፡፡ ወጣት ኢትዮጵያዊያን በሰላማዊ መንገድ ለመብታቸው ተሰልፈው ይታያሉ፡፡ አንድ ወጣት ሙስሊምም በአንድ ቦታ ቆሞ ለተሰበሰቡት ‹‹ሙስሊሞች አሸባሪ፤ ወንጀለኞች፤ እና የሙስሊም መንግስት ለማቋቋም ይፈልጋሉ ተብለን ተወንጅለናል›› ይላል:: በርካታ ሰዎች ጥምጣም ያደረጉና መሳርያ ያነገቡ ሰዎች መልክና ሁለንተናቸው ጨርሶ ኢትዮጵያዊያን የማይመስሉ፤ አንድ ጢሙን ያጎፈረ ሰው ሲናገር ሌሎች ጉድጓድ ሲቆፍሩና መሳርያ ከተቀበረበት ሲያወጡ፤ ዓላማችን የሙስሊም መንግስት ለማቋቋም ነው በማለት ሲነጋገሩ ይደመጣል፡፡ ከዚሁ ጋር በመንግስት ‹‹ሽብርተኞች የሚል የማደናገሪያ ስም የተለጠፈባቸው የ29ኙ ተከሳሾች ምስል በቴሌቪዥኑ መስኮት ላይ ይመላለሳል፡፡ ይህም የሚነገረው ጉዳይ አባሎች ናቸው ብለን እኛ ተመልካቾች እንድናምን ሆን ተብሎ የተደረገ ቢሆንም ተመልካቹ ግን ከማመን ይልቅ በስህተት ልጆች ለጨዋታ ያቀነባበሩትን ፊልም መሰል ዝብርቅርቅ መጨረሻና መጀመርያ የሌለው በማለት በሚገዘው መንግስት ተራ ወንበዴነት አዝኖ ታዝቧል፡፡ በቃላትና ግድ የምታምኑትን እመኑ በሚል የማስገደጃ አካሄድ ቀረበ እንጂ ማስረጃ ተብሎ በምንም መልኩ ተቀባይነት አያገኝም፡፡ የግፍ ተከሳሾቹ ምስል ከየቦታው ተለቃቅሞ ሽብርተኞች፤ የሽብርተኞች ጥፋት በሚለው ቃል ብቻ በመታጀቡ ንጹሃኑ ያልሆኑትን ያደርጋቸዋል ብሎ የሚያምን ገዢ ዲክታተራዊ የቃዠ መንግስት ብቻ ነው፡፡

 

የሕግ የበላይነት ወይስ የመሃይሞችና የሕግ የበላይነት

የገዢው ፓርቲ ሰዎች በተደጋጋሚና አፋቸው በተከፈተ ቁጥር ምን ያህል ሕገመንግስቱን እንደሚያከብሩትና ለሕግጋቱም የቱን ያህል ታማኞችና ተገዢዎች እንደሆኑ ይቦተልካሉ፡፡ ባለፈው ሴፕቴምበር የፕሮፐጋንዳው ሂትለራዊው ሚኒስቴር በረክት ስምኦን ስለ መለስ መታመምና መሞት በየቀኑ ታላቁን የወቅቱን ውሸት ሲዋሽ ሲዋሽ ደሞ ሲቀላምድ ደሞ ሲቀላምድ፤ ችግር የሌላ መሆኑንና በሕገመንግስቱ መሰረት መተካካቱ እንዳለ ነው የሚለውን ያልተቃኘ ቱልቱላውን ሲነዛ ከረመ፡፡ እንደ መገናኛ  ሚኒስትርነቱ ስምኦን የ‹‹ጂሃዳዊ ሃረካት››ን መተላለፍ ያዘዘው እሱ ነው፡፡ ማንንም ሰው የሚያስገርመው ግን እነዚህ ለሕገ መንግስቱ መከበርና ልዕልና ቆመናል በማለት በየጊዜው ከበሮ የሚደልቁት ማን አለብን ባይ ዲክታተሮች እነዚህን የፈጠራ ክሳቸው በፍርድ ቤት በመታየት ላይ ያሉትን ንጹሃን ዜጎች ከችሎቱ አስቀድሞ እንዲህ አይነቱን ፓርቲያዊ የስልጣን ማክረሚያ ፍርዳቸውን ማስተላለፋቸው መብት መጣሳቸው መሆኑን አንገታቸው ላይ የተሰካው ቅል አያስታውሳቸው ይሆን? ድርጊታቸው የሼክስፒርን አባባል አስታወሰኝ፡፡ ‹‹ዲያቢሎስም ለራሱ መጠቀሚያ መጽሃፍ ቅዱስን ይጠቅሳል›› ያለውን፡፡ እነዚህ ሰዎች ያላዋቂ ሳሚ ናቸው ወይስ የሰይጣን ቁራጮች? ላለፉት በርካታ ዓመታት በተደጋጋሚ እንዳልኩት በኢትዮጵያ ላለው አረመኔ መንግስት ስለ ሕግ የበላይነት ማውራት ለዲያቢሎስ መጽሃፍ ቅዱስን እንደማንሳት ነው፡፡ አይግባቡምና፡፡  ሕገመንግስቱ እግር አውጥቶ እየዳመጣቸው እንዲገባቸው ሊያደርግ ቢሞክር እንኳን ጨርሶ ድንጋያማ ሕሊናቸው ተፈረካክሶ ያልቃል እንጂ አይገባቸውም፡፡

በ‹‹ሽብርተኘነት የተጠረጠሩት›› ሙስሊሞች ጉዳይ እና ‹‹ጂሃዳዊ ሃረካት›› ላይ ቃላቸውን ሰጡ የተባሉት ጉዳይ ሊተኮርበት የሚገባው 3 ነጥብ አለ፡፡ 1) እነዚህ ተከሳሾ ቅድም ችሎት ታሳሪዎች ስለሆኑ በሕገመንግስቱ ላይ በተደነገገውና በሌሎችም ሃገሪቱ ከገባችባቸው ፍትሃዊ ዓለም አቀፍ ድንጋጌዎች አኳያ መብታቸው ሊከበርላቸው ግድ ነው፡፡ 2) እነዚህ ተጠርጣሪዎች ቃላቸውን በፈቃደኝነትና በነጻ አለመስጠታቸውን የሚያረጋግጠው በካቴና ቀርቦ የነበረው ተጠርጣሪ ሲሆን ሌሎችም ቢሆኑ አያያዛቸውና ያሉበት ሁኔታ ሕጋዊ ስርአትን የተከተለ አለመሆኑ ይታወቃል፡፡ 3) ሁሉም 29 ታሳሪዎች የፖለቲካ እስረኞች ናቸው፡፡ ሕገመንህስቱን ለማክበር በሱም ለመመራት ጨርሶ ፈቃድ የሌላቸው መሪዎች፤የጣሳሪዎቹን ሰብአዊ መብት ያከብራሉ ማለት የማይሞከር ነው፡፡የሃገሪቱ መሪዎች ባላቸውና በሚያሳዩት ተግባራቸው ምን ያህል ከእውቀትና ከሰለጠነው ፖለተካ ጋር እንደማይተዋወቁ ነው በማሳየት ላይ ያሉት፡፡ እነዚህ ገዢዎች ከመሰረቱ ጀምሮ ከተንኮልና ከግፍ በደል በስተቀር አንዳችም ተግባር አለመፈጸማቸውንና ማንኛቸውንም ጉዳይ ይተገብር የነበረው የሞተው አለቃቸው እንደሆነ ሳያፍሩ በመናገር የራሳቸውን ብቃት የለሽ መሆን አውጀዋል፡፡ ማንም ተከሳሽ በፍርድ ሂደት ወንጀለኛ እስካለተባለና እስካልተፈረደበት ጊዜ ድረስ ነጻና ንጹህ ነው፡፡ በምንም መልኩ በግዳጅ የተገኘ ቃል ለማስረጃነት ሊቀርብ አይችልም፤ ድርጊቱም ዓለማቀፋዊ ድንጋጌዎችን ያልተከተለ ነው፡፡ ሰብአዊ መብትን ይገረስሳል፤ የፍትህን የበላይነት ይቃረናል:: 4) በጣም የሚያሳዝነው ቀልድ ደግሞ ፍርድ ቤቱ በኢቲቪ እና በሬዲዮ ድርጅቶች ላይ ያን የተቀነባበረና ቆርጦ የተቀጠለ የማፍያ አካሄድ ጨርሶ እንዳይተላለፍ ያስተላለፈውን ትዕዛዝ፤ እነማን አለብን ‹‹እኛው የፈጠርነው ዳኛም ሆነ ችሎት ሊከለክለን አይችልም›› በማለት ትእዛዙን ጥሰው ሲያስተላልፉት፤ በፍርድ ቤቱ ትእዛዝ መሰረት ባለመፈጸሙና አግባብም ስላልሆነ የቀረቡትን ማስረጃ የተባሉትን ሁሉ አመኔታ ስለማንሰጣቸው ተቀባይነት አይኖራቸውም›› በማለት እንኳን ዋጋ ቢስ በማድረግ ፈንታ ችሎቱና በችሎቱ ወንበሮች ላይ የተጎለቱት እራሳቸው እርባና ቢስ ሆነዋል፡፡

ተስፋ የቆረጠ አምባገነንነት እና የዕጣቢ መውረጃ ቱቦ ፖለቲካ በዚህ ዶኩመንታሪ በኢትዮጵያ ያሉት ጨቋኝና ርህራሄ ቢስ ገዢዎች ከምንም በታች አዘቅዝቀው ወርደው ውረደታሞች መሆናቸውን ገሃድ ከማውጣታቸውም አልፎ የዝቃጭ መፈሰሻ  ቱቦ ፖለቲከኛነታቸውንም ይፋ አድርገዋል፡፡ አንድ ብቸኛ ሆኖ ሊታይና ሊረጋገጥ የሚችለው በኢትዮጵያ ውስጥ ያለው ሽብርተኛ እነሱ ገዢዎቹ ብቻ መሆናቸው ነው፡፡በ‹‹አኬልዳማ ገዢው መንግስት ሆነ››ባለው መሰረት በአሸባሪዎች 131 ጥቃት ተፈጽሟል፤339 ዜጎች ተገድለዋል፤363 ቆስለዋል፤25 ደግሚ ተጠልፈው ለሞት ተዳርገዋል:፡ ይሁንና በራሱ በመለስ ዜናዊ ይሁንታ የተቋቋመው አጣሪ ኮሚሽን እንዳጣራው  ምርጫ 2005ን ተከትሎ በጥቂት ቀናት ውስጥ በመለስ ዜናዊ አመራርና ትዕዛዝ መሰረት፤ 193 ሰላማዊ ዜጎች አንዳችም መሳርያ ያልነበራቸው 193 ሲገደሉ፤763ቱ ደግሞ ለከፍተኛ ቁስለት ተዳርገዋል፡፡ ኮሚሽኑ ባረጋገጠው መሰረት የስለላ ሰራተኞችና የመንግስት ጦር አባላት አተኳኮሳቸው ሰልፉን ለመበተን ሳይሆን ለመግደል በመሆኑ ሁሉም አናታቸውንና ደረታቸውን እየተመቱ ነው የሞቱት፡፡ በሴፕቴምበር 2011 ዓለም በሙሉ የኢትዮጵያ የደህንነት ሰዎች፤ በሴፕቴምበር 16 2006 በአዲስ አበባ ከተማ 3 ቦምቦች አጥምደው ካፈነዱ በኋላ ፍንዳታውን የፈጸሙት ኤርትራዊያንና የኦሮሞ ነጻ አውጪ ድርጅት አባላት ናቸው በማለት ሰበብ አድረጓቸዋል:: በዚህም ፍንዳታው የአፍሪካ ሕብረት መሪዎች ለስብሰባ በመጡበት ወቅት መከናወኑ የጉዳዩን ተአማኒነት አጣጥሎታል፡፡  አዲስ አበባ የሚገኘው የአሜሪካን ኤምባሲ ጉዳዩን በራሱ ባለሙያዎች ካስመረመረውና ካጣራ በኋላ ጣቱ የጠቆመው ወደ ኢትዮጵያ መንግስት ሆኗል፡፡ ገዢዎቹ ስልጣን ወንበር ላይ ከተፈናጠጡ ጀምሮ የተካሄዱት ግድያዎች ቢቆጠሩ ከብዙ ሺሆች በላይ እንደሚሆኑ ጥርጥር የለውም፡፡ መንግስት ነኝ ባዩ በራሱ አፈንድቶ፤ አጥምዶ፤ ደብቆ፤ አግኝቶ ያፈነዳውን አድራጊዎቹ ሌሎች ናቸው ብሎ አመልካች ጣቱን ወደ ሌሎች ሰዎች ሲዘረጋ ሌሎቹ ሶስቱ ያቶች ወደ ራሱ ማመልታቸውን መገንዘብ አልቻለም፡፡

ጂሃዳዊ ሃረካት የኢትዮጵያን ሙስሊሞች ስም ለማጥፋት፤ለመኮነን፤ለማዋረድ፤ለመከፋፈል፤ ሆን ተብሎ የተፈበረከ ነው፡፡ ለዘመናት ጸንቶ በፍቅርና በመተሳሰብ የኖረውን የሁለቱን ሃይሞኖቶች ሂደት ለመበጥበጥ የተቀመመ መርዝ ነው፡፡ እዚህ ግባ የማይባል ፕሮፓጋንዳ ነው፡፡ በዚህም ሊፈጠር የተሞከረው በሙስሊሙና በእስልምና ሃይሞኖት ተከታዮች መሀላ መለያያት ለማስረጽ ነው፡፡ ከዚህም ሙስሊሙን ዳግም ወደ ፖለቲካና መብት ጥየቃ እንዳይነሳ፤ በፍርሃት ለማሰር፤ለመወንጀልና ለማሰር መንገድ ለመክፈት ከኤኮኖሚ፤ ህብረተሰባዊ ግንኙነት፤ፖለቲካዊ እንቅስቃሴ ለመለየት የታቀደ ማስደንበሪያ ነው፡፡‹‹ጂሃዳዊ ሃረካት እስልምናን የመፍራትና ደንብሮ የማስደንበር፤ ፈርቶ የመስፈራራት፤ ያለቀንና የበቃውን የገዢነት ስልጣን የማቆያ ዘይቤ ነው፡፡ አይሆንም አልሆነም ይልቅስ ሁሉንም ያስተባበረ የገዢዎች ግፍ ሆኗል!

በኢትዮጵያ ያሉ የፖለቲካ እስረኞች ሁሉ ያለምንም ቅድመ ሁኔታ ይፈቱ!

*የተቶረገመው ጽሁፍ (translated from):

http://open.salon.com/blog/almariam/2013/02/15/ethiopia_the_politics_of_fear_and_smear

(ይህን ጦማር ለሌሎችም ያካፍሉ::) ካሁን በፊት የቀረቡ የጸሃፊው ጦማሮችን  ለማግኘት እዚህ ይጫኑ::

http://www.ecadforum.com/Amharic/archives/category/al-mariam-amharic

http://ethioforum.org/?cat=24

Indian National TV presents debate on Ethiopia land grab

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

Click here to watch the debate

indian-tv

The London Debretsion Church and the Ethiopians

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

By Yilma Bekele

Please follow the link above and watch the YouTube video before reading this article.
London Debretsion

This is Debretsion Ethiopian Orthodox Church in London England. The picture seems to have been taken on a cold winter day. It is such a beautiful church. Doesn’t it look so serene and peaceful? I am sure it is that most of the time. But according to this video it was nothing but serene a few weeks back. The best way to express the twenty one minute video is it felt like was watching a scene where the mental patients have taken over the asylum.

I agree it is totally depressing to see all classic Ethiopian behavior on display in a controlled environment. The location being a church gives it that special quality of raising the bar to show how low we have sunk. Such a brawl in some obscure hall, how ugly it is, normally is not worth a mention. I guess we get so consumed with the righteousness of our cause that we toss out all civilized behavior out of the window regardless of the place or the time.

The video is not intended to be a work of art. It is not fiction that jumped out of some ones imagination. This play does not have a director, a producer or a lead actor. This video is real unrehearsed presentation of Ethiopians and their social interaction. The setting adds to the drama of the moment. We thank the individual who had the patience to record reality in that hallow ground.
If you care to dig deep deeper into the story you will find out the reason to the madness you are subjected to watch but that is another story all by itself. Unfortunately having an excuse does not justify bad and shameful behavior. Wrong or right does matter but with this short presentation that we are left with all we can do is watch and marvel at the utter stupidity our situation at home and abroad. I am interested in parsing out what fate has presented us- a way to watch ourselves from afar. It is priceless.
As I said before the setting is Debretsion Church in London, England and all those present are immigrant Ethiopians. All come to Debretsion by their own free will. We assume they are followers of Christ AKA Christians. For Christians a church is a most hallowed place. It is God’s home. Christians go to church to pray, praise the lord and cleanse their soul of evil thought and bad feelings. We expect love, understanding, forgiveness and chartable acts to flourish in such a location. Is that too much to ask?

It looks like Debretsion is not such place. The fathers and mothers the sons and daughters of Debretsion are not one happy family. Obviously they got a problem. The twenty one minute video is a general example of how the unhappy group went about cooling tempers and looking for solution. It speaks plenty on how we go about resolving differences in a civilized manner. I think it is safe to conclude this gathering to be a microcosm of the bigger Ethiopian society both at home and in the Diaspora. We take pride in our dysfunctional behavior. Look at the combatants of Debretsion. They make us all proud.

After watching twenty one minutes of the meeting do you think there is a lesson to be learnt? I know it looks totally hopeless doesn’t it? How could all those adults act in such a lawless manner? How do they justify such shameless behavior in front of the young people? How do you think their kids are going to act in a social gathering when they have seen their parents foaming at the mouth inside a holy church? What kind of anger forces a sane human being to be so hating and threating with all sorts of nasty acts?
The last forty years have been a time of upheaval in our country. It has affected our culture in a profound manner. The last two dictators although lacking in the art of leadership were richly endowed with mental deficiency, mental illness and were given to delusion of grandeur. Our old culture has experienced disruption in a major way. We are the result of an aborted development.
The biography for Debretsion London church give nineteen seventy six as day one making it about thirty seven years in the making. It also says it is paid for. My first reaction is how fortunate they have such a united and generous community and are able to worship in such a beautiful church. I am sure some people worked hard thru the years to make it happen. Not all of us can put time, effort and money to achieve such goal. Because of the hard work of the few now they have a place of their own to enjoy and grow. They make their congregation and all of us in the Diaspora proud.

You would think the Board of governors and the clergy deserve a heartfelt thank you. You would think the members will strive to build on that success and plan bigger and better things to come. You would think even if there is a problem it will be dealt with in a careful manner so as not to destroy what has already been achieved.

That scenario works among civilized people. By civilized I don’t mean high rise buildings, airplanes, factories, highways and stuff. I mean people with culture and pride. People that don’t have to shout to be heard. People that know their place in history. People that have already lost so much by being displaced from their homeland that a little compassion and caring for each other in a strange land will be the norm.

We are unable to do that. Debretsion is just one example of the disfunctionality that has taken over our social interaction. Debretsion has been repeated in every Diaspora assembly no matter the cause we are trying to create a common ground. This sickness of demeaning each other, belittling our efforts, slandering those who work on our behalf and routinely dismissing any and all ideas has become something to be proud of.

Debretsion Church is an example of a confused and rudderless crowed easily whipped into frenzy by a few anti-social elements. Why do you think that is so? Yes I am asking you the reader why do you think a few can disturb the peace of the many? My simple answer is because we let them! We know something has gone wrong, we know things are not right but our first response is to sit quiet and watch. We seethe inside, our stomach turns, we are very much disgusted but we keep quiet. We don’t dare tell the rowdy ones they have gone too far, we are not familiar with the word NO!

I am also sure after the assembly and meeting we will find plenty that will show disgust and alarm with the noise makers. They will even become animated explaining how offended they felt. There is a saying in our country ‘jib kehede wusha chohe.’ That is the story of our existence.

I can see all this because our Church was a victim of the same ruffian type behavior. Those who felt change is necessary were too lazy to work within the system. They felt a short cut was acceptable since their position was such that ‘by any means necessary’ was an acceptable method. They packed the assembly, they registered new members and they brought their loud mouth to silence anybody that stood on their way. Winning was the only outcome acceptable to them and the price did not matter. Destroying the church to save the church seemed to be a good idea.

Out of the millions of options in front of us we seem to choose the one that hurt ourselves and those around us. We can leave an association if we don’t agree with the direction it is heading. We can relocate to a new neighborhood if we don’t like the location we are in. We can quit a job if it does not meet our monetary and social needs. One is free to change a church if the current one does not satisfy one’s spiritual need. We Ethiopians do not exit with grace. Most of us will wreak havoc on the association, burn our home, badmouth our employer and destroy our house of worship before we leave. We are not programed to accept a simple amicable divorce. In the end we all lose.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. How about a video in living color? This video is priceless. It says many things about us in the Diaspora. There is no reason to assume we are any different over there either. By over there I mean Áger Bet, Ethiopia. In fact we are a duplicate, warts and all.

It is definitely a surreal scene to watch some taking a video of this madness as if to preserve it for future reference while a few were sitting in silence seeming un affected by the chaos. I knew I was entering a new dimension when I saw the Metropolitan Police walking among the combatants. He was not asking for silence, not demanding attention or clearing the scene but quietly showing his presence but allowing the play to go forward.

So the question in front of us is- are we going to learn from this madness and change? Are we going to be responsible for our actions not to be led by the crazy and idiots among us? Are we going to judge matters on their merit or base our stand on ethnicity, marriage and friendship? Are we going to sit and listen to each other as adults or pace around like a wounded animal? Are we going to work thru the system we ourselves set up or improvise as needed and change the rules to suit an individual? Are we going to give respect to those that work hard to create something and give them credit or demean their efforts and slander their work?

I will give you an example you can try. The next assembly of Ethiopians you meet weather in a coffee shop, Lekso bet or Eder mention any of the organizations working on our behalf like Ginbot 7, Andenet, ESFNA and see the reaction. The first thing that comes out is a barrage of insults, demeaning language and put down. Most probably the individual has never attempted to know, read and find out the goals and plans of the organization. Has never contributed monetary and other help to help them achieve. It does not stop them from being rude. They are always willing to vent out insult and defamation no matter what. Our community needs help. God help Debretsion and God help our country. Now watch the video below and see Debretsion in all its splendor.

Indian land grabs in Ethiopia show dark side of south-south co-operation

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

By Anuradha Mittal | Guardian

February 25, 2013

Farm workers remove weeds from young plants at the palm oil plantation owned by Karuturi Global, near the town of Bako, in Ethiopia.

Farm workers remove weeds from young plants at the palm oil plantation owned by Karuturi Global, near the town of Bako, in Ethiopia.

The idea of south-south co-operation evokes a positive image of solidarity between developing countries through the exchange of resources, technology, and knowledge. It’s an attractive proposition, intended to shift the international balance of power and help developing nations break away from aid dependence and achieve true emancipation from former colonial powers. However, the discourse of south-south co-operation has become a cover for human rights violations involving southern governments and companies.

A case in point is the land grab by Indian corporations in Ethiopia, facilitated by the governments of both countries, which use development rhetoric while further marginalising the indigenous communities that bear the pain of the resulting social, economic and environmental devastation. It is against this scenario that international solidarity between communities affected by the insanity of a development model that prefers profits over people is reclaiming the principles of south-south co-operation.

Ethiopia’s late prime minister, Meles Zenawi, welcomed India‘s expanding footprint in Africa as essential for his country’s wellbeing, a vision shared by his successor, Hailemariam Desalegn. The Export-Import Bank, India’s premier export finance institution, gave the Ethiopian government a $640m (£412m) line of credit to develop the controversial sugar sector in lower Omo. Indian companies are the largest investors in the country, having acquired more than 600,000 hectares (1.5m acres) of land for agro-industrial projects.

With 80% of its population engaged in agriculture, Ethiopia is home to more than 34 million chronically hungry people. Every year, millions depend on aid (pdf) for their survival. Amid such hunger, large-scale land deals with Indian investors are portrayed as a win-win situation, modernising agriculture, bringing new technologies and creating employment.

Research by the Oakland Institute, however, contradicts such claims. Most of what is produced is non-food export crops while tax incentives offered to foreign investors deprive Ethiopia of valuable earnings. The promises of job creation remain unfulfilled as plantation work at best offers menial low-paid jobs.

Worse still, the Ethiopian government is using its villagisation programme to forcibly relocate (pdf) about 1.5 million indigenous people from their homes, farms and grazing lands to make way for agricultural plantations. Those who refuse face intimidation, beatings, rapes, arbitrary detention and imprisonment, and even death. The repression of social resistance to land investments is even stipulated in some land lease contracts: “[it is the] state’s obligation to ‘deliver and hand over the vacant possession of leased land free of impediments’ and to provide free security ‘against any riot, disturbance or any turbulent time.’”

It was to challenge this form of south-south co-operation that the Oakland Institute, in partnership with Indian civil society groups the Indian Social Action Forum (Insaf), Kalpavriksh and Peace, organised an Indian-Ethiopian summit on land investments in New Delhi in February. Obang Metho of the Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia and Nyikaw Ochalla from the Anywaa Survival Organisation, members of the Anuak community of Gambela, Ethiopia, travelled to India with shocking testimonies of how their community has been dispossessed of livelihoods, ill-treated and subjected to misery while the Ethiopian government leases land to Indian corporations at giveaway prices.

This coming together of Indian and Ethiopian civil society groups marks a turning point in the struggle for land rights and livelihoods in the two countries and beyond. For the first time, the agony of communities who face human rights abuses as their lands are taken over has reached the investors’ doorstep, sending a powerful message to the investors and governments of Ethiopia and India. At the same time, it initiated a rewriting of south-south co-operation where the takeover of communal lands that have been homes, grazing grounds and water sources for generations, by corporations – even if they are from the global south – is being recognised as a new form of colonisation. It was a starting point, and plans for further collaboration are under way.

Unlike the Ethiopian leaders who met the Indian business delegations in person, Metho and Ochalla did not get a hearing with Indian government officials, despite several requests. Instead, it was activists who are challenging land grabs across India who travelled to New Delhi to meet them. They told how control over land and natural resources is spurring violent clashes in nearly 130 districts of India. Meanwhile, reports came in that 12 platoons of police had moved in on villagers in Govindpur and Nuagaon in Odisha, to forcibly clear lands for the Korean Steel Posco project. Women and children were beaten indiscriminately and people were arrested as they tried to prevent the demolition of their betel vineyards – one of the most viable local livelihoods.

We need to challenge the paradigm of development that trivialises and ignores the human consequences of these land acquisitions by corporate investors and governments. The idea that “some have to be sacrificed” for the “larger national good”, which is nothing more than the double-digit economic growth that benefits a few, must be rejected – even if the deals are between developing countries and framed by the rhetoric of south-south co-operation.

Anuradha Mittal is founder and executive director of the Oakland Institute, an independent policy thinktank based in Oakland, California

Ethiopia: The Prototype African Police State

Monday, February 25th, 2013

ps2The sights and sounds of an African police state

When Erin Burnett of CNN visited Ethiopia in July 2012, she came face-to-face with the ugly face of an African police state:

We saw what an African police state looked like when I was in Ethiopia last month… At the airport, it took an hour to clear customs – not because of lines, but because of checks and questioning. Officials tried multiple times to take us to government cars so they’d know where we went. They only relented after forcing us to leave hundreds of thousands of dollars of TV gear in the airport…

Last week, reporter Solomon Kifle of the Voice of America (VOA-Amharic) heard the terrifying voice of an  African police state from thousands of miles away. The veteran reporter was investigating widespread allegations of targeted night time warrantless searches of homes belonging to Ethiopian Muslims in the capital Addis Ababa. Solomon interviewed victims  who effectively alleged home invasion robberies by “federal police” who illegally searched their homes and took away cash, gold jewelry, cell phones, laptops, religious books and other items of personal property.

One of the police officials Solomon interviewed to get reaction and clarification was police chief Zemedkun of  Bole (an area close to the international airport in the capital).

VOA: Are you in the area of Bole. The reason I called…

Police Chief Zemedkun: Yes. You are correct.

VOA: There are allegation that homes belonging to Muslim Ethiopians have been targeted for illegal search and seizure. I am calling to get clarification.

Police Chief Zemedkun: Yes (continue).

VOA: Is it true that you are conducting such a search?

Police Chief Zemedkun: No, sir. I don’t know about this. Who told you that?

VOA: Individuals who say they are victims of such searches; Muslims who live in the area.

Police Chief Zemedkun: If they said that, you should ask them.

VOA: I can tell you what they said.

Police Chief Zemedkun: What did they say?

VOA: They said “the search is conducted by police officers; they [the police] threaten us without a court order; they take our property, particularly they focus on taking our Holy Qurans and mobile phones. Such are the allegations and I am calling to get clarification.

Police Chief Zemedkun: Wouldn’t it be better to talk to the people who told you that? I don’t know anything about that.

VOA: I just told you about the allegations the people are making.

Police Chief Zemedkun: Enough! There is nothing I know about       this.

VOA: I will mention (to our listeners) what you said Chief Zemedkun. Are you the police chief of the sub-district ( of Bole)?

Police Chief Zemedkun: Yes. I am something like that.

VOA: Chief Zemedkun, may I have your last name?

Police Chief Zemedkun: Excuse me!! I  don’t want to talk to anyone on this type of [issue] phone call. I am going to hang up. If you call again, I will come and get you from your address. I want you to know that!! From now on, you should not call this number again. If you do, I will come to wherever you are and arrest you. I mean right now!!

VOA: But I am in Washington (D.C)?

Police Chief Zemedkun: I don’t care if you live in Washington or in Heaven. I don’t give a damn! But I will arrest you and take you. You should know that!!

VOA: Are you going to come and arrest me?

End of  interview.

Meles’ legacy: mini Me-leses, Meles wannabes and a police state

Flying off the handle, exploding in anger and igniting into spontaneous self-combustion is the hallmark of the leaders of the dictatorial regime in Ethiopia. The late Meles Zenawi was the icon of spontaneous self- combustion. Anytime Meles was challenged on facts or policy, he would explode in anger and have a complete meltdown.

Just before Meles jailed virtually the entire opposition leadership, civil society leaders and human rights advocates following the 2005 elections for nearly two years, he did exactly what police chief Zemedkun threatened to do to VOA reporter Solomon. Congressman Christopher Smith, Chairman of the House Africa Subcommitte in 2005 could not believe his ears as Meles’ arrogantly threatened to arrest and jail opposition leaders and let them rot in jail. Smith reported:

Finally, when I asked the Prime Minister to work with the opposition and show respect and tolerance for those with differing views on the challenges facing Ethiopia he said, ‘I have a file on all of them; they are all guilty of treason.’ I was struck by his all-knowing tone. Guilty! They’re all guilty simply because Meles says so?  No trial? Not even a Kangaroo court?  I urged Prime Minister Meles not to take that route.

In 2010, Meles erupted at a press conference by comparing the Voice of America (Amharic) radio broadcasts to Ethiopia with broadcasts of Radio Mille Collines which directed some of the genocide in Rwanda in 1994. Pointing an accusatory finger at the VOA, Meles charged: “We have been convinced for many years that in many respects, the VOA Amharic Service has copied the worst practices of radio stations such as Radio Mille Collines of Rwanda in its wanton disregard of minimum ethics of journalism and engaging in destabilizing propaganda.” (It seems one of Meles’ surviving police chiefs is ready to make good on Meles’ threat by travelling to Washington, D.C. and arresting a VOA reporter.)

Meles routinely called his opponents “dirty”, “mud dwellers”, “pompous egotists” and good-for-nothing “chaff” and “husk.” He took sadistic pleasure in humiliating and demeaning parliamentarians who challenged him with probing questions or merely disagreed with him. His put-downs were so humiliating, few parliamentarians dared to stand up to his bullying.

When the European Union Election Observer Group confronted Meles with the truth about his theft of the May 2010 election by 99.6 percent, Meles had another public meltdown. He condemned the EU Group for preparing a “trash report that deserves to be thrown in the garbage.”

When Ken Ohashi, the former country director for the World Bank debunked Meles’ voodoo economics in July 2011, Meles went ballistic: “The individual [Ohashi) is used to giving directions along his neo-liberal views. The individual was on his way to retirement. He has no accountability in distorting the institutions positions and in settling his accounts. The Ethiopian government has its own view that is different from the individual.” (Meles talking about accountability is like the devil quoting Scripture.)

In a meeting with high level U.S. officials in advance of the May 2010 election, Meles went apoplectic telling the diplomats that “If opposition groups resort to violence in an attempt to discredit the election, we will crush them with our full force; they will all vegetate like Birtukan (Midekssa) in jail forever.”

Meles’ hatred for Birtukan Midekssa (a former judge and the first woman political party leader in Ethiopian history), a woman of extraordinary intelligence and unrivalled courage, was as incomprehensible as it was bottomless. After throwing Birtukan in prison in 2008 without trial or any form of judicial proceeding, Meles added insult to injury by publicly calling her a “chicken”. When asked how Birtukan was doing in prison, Meles, with sarcastic derision replied, “Birtukan Midiksa is fine but she may have gained weight due to lack of exercise.” (When Meles made the statement, Birtukan was actually in solitary confinement in Kality prison on the ridiculous charge that she “had denied receiving a pardon” when she was released in July 2007.) When asked if he might consider releasing her, Meles said emphatically and sadistically, “there will never be an agreement with anybody to release Birtukan. Ever. Full stop. That's a dead issue.”

Internationally acclaimed journalists Eskinder Nega, Reeyot Alemu, Woubshet Taye are all victims of arbitrary arrests and detentions. So are opposition party leaders and dissidents Andualem Arage, Nathnael Mekonnen, Mitiku Damte, Yeshiwas Yehunalem, Kinfemichael Debebe, Andualem Ayalew, Nathnael Mekonnen, Yohannes Terefe, Zerihun Gebre-Egziabher and many others.

Police chief Zemedkun is a mini-Me-les, a Meles wannabe. He is a mini tin pot tyrant. Like Meles, Zemedkun not only lost his cool but also all commonsense, rationality and proportionality. Like Meles, Zemedkun is filled with hubris (extreme arrogance which causes the person to lose contact with reality and feel invincible, unaccountable and above and beyond the law). Zemedkun, like Meles, is so full of himself that no one dare ask him a question: “I am the omnipotent police chief Zemedkun, the Absolute Master of Bole; the demigod with the power of arrest and detention.  I am Police Chief Zemedkun created in the divine likeness of Meles Zenawi!”

What a crock of …!

When Meles massacred 193 unarmed protesters and wounded 763 others following the elections in 2005, he set the standard for official accountability, which happens to be lower than a snake’s knee. For over two decades, Meles created and nurtured a pervasive and ubiquitous culture of  official impunity, criminality, untouchability, unaccountablity, brutality, incivility, illegality and immorality in Ethiopia.

The frightening fact of the matter is that today there are tens of thousands of mini-Me-leses and Meles wannabes in Ethiopia. What police chief Zemedkun did during the VOA interview is a simple case of monkey see, monkey do. Zemedkun could confidently threaten VOA reporter Solomon because he has seen Meles and his disciples do the same thing for over two decades with impunity. Zemedkun is not alone in trashing the human rights of Ethiopian citizens.  He is not some rogue or witless policeman doing his thing on the fringe. Zemedkun is merely one clone of his Master. There are more wicked and depraved versions of Zemedkun masquerading as ministers of state.  There are thousands of faceless and nameless “Zemedkunesque” bureaucrats, generals, judges and prosecutors abusing their powers with impunity. There are even soulless and heartless Zemedkuns pretending to be “holy men” of faith. But they are all petty tyrants who believe that they are not only above the law, but also  that they are the personification of the law.

Article 12 and constitutional accountability

Article 12 of the Ethiopian Constitution requires accountability of all public officials: “The activities of government shall be undertaken in a manner which is open and transparent to the public… Any public official or elected representative shall be made accountable for breach of his official duties.”

Meles when he was alive, and his surviving disciples, police chiefs, generals and bureaucrats today are in a state of willful denial of the fact of constitutional accountability. (Meles believed accountability applied only to Ken Ohashi, the former World Bank country director.) The doltish police chief Zemedkun is clueless not only about constitutional standards of accountability for police search and seizure in private homes but also his affirmative constitutional obligation to perform his duties with transparency. This ignoramus-cum-police chief believes he is the Constitution, the law of the land, at least of Bole’s. He has the gall to verbally terrorize the VOA reporter, “I don’t care if you live in Washington or in Heaven. I don’t give a damn! But I will arrest you and take you. You should know that!!”

Freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention, unbeknown to police chief Zemedkun, is guaranteed by Article 17 (Liberty) of the Ethiopian Constitution: “No one shall be deprived of his liberty except in accordance with such procedures as are laid down by law. No one shall be arrested or detained without being charged or convicted of a crime except in accordance with such procedures as are laid down by law.” Article 19 (Rights of Persons under Arrest) provides, “Anyone arrested on criminal charges shall have the right to be informed promptly and in detail… the nature and cause of the charge against him... Everyone shall have the right to be… specifically informed that there is sufficient cause for his arrest as soon as he appears in court. Zemedkun is ready to arrest the VOA reporter simply because the reporter asked him for his last name. What arrogance! What chutzpah!

It is a mystery to police chief Zemedkun that arbitrary deprivation of liberty is also a crime against humanity. Article 9 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights decrees that “no one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.” Article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights similarly provides: “no one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.” The deprivation of physical liberty (arbitrary arrest) constitutes a crime against humanity under Art. 7 (e) and (g) of the Rome Statute if there is evidence to show that the deprivation occurred as  a result of systematic attack on a civilian population and in violation of international fair trial guarantees. The statements of the victims interviewed by VOA reporter Solomon appear to provide prima facie evidence sufficient to trigger an Article 7 investigation since there appears to be an official policy of systematic targeting of  Muslims for arbitrary arrest and detention as part of a widespread campaign of religious persecution. The new prosecutor for the International Criminal Court, Fatou B. Bensouda, should launch such an investigation in proprio motu (on her own motion).

Meles has left an Orwellian legacy in Ethiopia. Police chief Zemedkun is only one policeman in a vast police state. He reaffirms the daily fact of life for the vast majority of Ethiopians that anyone who opposes, criticizes or disagrees with members of the post-Meles officialdom, however low or petty,  will be picked up and jailed, and even tortured and killed. In “Mel-welliana” (the Orwellian police state legacy of Meles) Ethiopia, asking the name of a public official is a crime subject to immediate arrest and detention!  In “Mel-welliana”, thinking is a crime. Dissent is a crime. Speaking the truth is a crime. Having a conscience is a crime. Peaceful protest is a crime. Refusing to sell out one’s soul is a crime. Standing up for democracy and human rights is a crime. Defending the rule of law is a crime. Peaceful resistance of state terrorism is a crime.

A police chief, a police thug  and a police thug state

It seems police chief Zemedkun is more of a police thug than a police chief. But listening to Zemedkun go into full meltdown mode, one cannot help but imagine him to be a cartoonish thug. As comical as it may sound, police chief Zemedkun reminded me of Yosemite Sam, that Looney Tunes cartoon character known for his grouchiness, hair-trigger temper and readiness to “blast anyone to smithereens”. The not-so-comical part of this farce is that police chief Zemedkun manifests no professionalism, civility or ethical awareness.  He is obviously clueless about media decorum. Listening to him, it is apparent that Zemedkun has the personality of a porcupine,  the temper of a Tasmanian Devil,  the charm of an African badger, the intelligence of an Afghan Hound and the social graces of a dung beetle. But the rest of the high and mighty flouting the Constitution and abusing their powers like Zemedkun are no different.

The singular hallmark -- the trademark -- of a police thug state is the pervasiveness and ubiquity of arbitrary arrests, searches and detentions of citizens. If any person can be arrested on the whim of a state official, however high or petty, that is a police state. If the rights of citizens can be taken or disregarded without due process of law, that is a dreadful police state. Where the rule of law is substituted by the rule of a police chief, that is a police thug state.

For well over a decade, international human rights organizations and others have been reporting on large scale  arbitrary arrests and detentions in Ethiopia. The 2011 U.S. State Department Country Reports on Human Rights Practices (issued on May 24, 2012) reported:

Although the constitution and law prohibit arbitrary arrest and detention, the government often ignored these provisions in practice… The government rarely publicly disclosed the results of investigations into abuses by local security forces, such as arbitrary detention and beatings of civilians… Authorities regularly detained persons without warrants and denied access to counsel and in some cases to family members, particularly in outlying regions… Other human rights problems included torture, beating, abuse, and mistreatment of detainees by security forces; harsh and at times life-threatening prison conditions; arbitrary arrest and detention; detention without charge and lengthy pretrial detention; infringement on citizens’ privacy rights, including illegal searches

In its 2013 World Report, Human Rights Watch reported: “Ethiopian authorities continued to severely restrict basic rights of freedom of expression, association, and assembly in 2012… The security forces responded to protests by the Muslim community in Oromia and Addis Ababa, the capital, with arbitrary arrests, detentions, and beatings.”

Rarely does one hear human rights abusers publicly showing their true faces and confirming their victims' allegations in such breathtakingly dramatic form. Police chief Zemedkun gave all Ethiopians a glimpse of the arrogant and lawless officialdom of Post-Meles Ethiopia. It is a glimpse of a police state in which an ignorant local police chief could feel so comfortable in his abuse of power that he believes he can travel to the United States of America and arrest and detain a journalist working for an independent agency of the United States Government. If this ill-mannered, ill-bred, cantankerous and boorish policeman could speak and act with such impunity, is it that difficult to imagine how the ministers, generals, prosecutors, judges and bureaucrats higher up the food chain feel about their abuses of power?

But one has to listen to and read the words of those whose heads are being crushed by the police in a police state. When it comes to crushing heads, themodus operandi is always the same. Use “robocops”.  In 2005,  Meles brought in hundreds of police and security men from different parts of the country who have limited proficiency in the country’s official language and used them to massacre 193 unarmed protesters and wound another 763. These “robocops” are pre-programmed killing machines, arresting machines and torture machines. They do what they are told. They ask no questions. They shoot and ask questions later. Hadid Shafi Ousman, a victim of illegal search and seizure, who spoke to VOA reporter Solomon,  recounted in chilling detail what it meant to have one’s home searched by “robocop” thugs and goons who do not speak or have extremely limited understanding the official language of the country:

These are federal police. There are also civilian cadres. Sometimes they come in groups of 5-10. They are dressed in federal police uniform…. They are armed and carry clubs. They don’t have court orders. There  are instances where they jump over fences  and bust down doors… When they come, people are terrified. They come at night. You can’t say anything. They take mobile phones, laptops, the Koran and other things… They cover their faces so they can’t be identified. We try to explain to them. Isn’t this our country? If you are here to take anything, go ahead and take it…. They beat you up with clubs. If you ask questions, they beat you up and call you terrorists… First of all, these policemen do not speak Amharic well. So it is hard to understand them. When you ask them what we did wrong, they threaten to beat us. I told them I am a university student, so what is the problem? As a citizen, as a human being…Even they struggled and paid high sacrifices [fighting in the bush] to bring about good governance [to the people]. They did not do it so that some petty official could harass the people. When you say this to them, they beat you up…

Let there be no mistake. Zemedkun is not some isolated freakish rogue police chief  in the Ethiopian police state. He is the gold standard for post-Meles governance. There are thousands of Zemedkuns that have infested the state apparatus and metastasized through the body politics of that country. For these Meles wannabes, constitutional accountability means personal impunity; illegal official activity means prosecutorial immunity; moral depravity means moral probity and crimes against humanity means legal  impunity.

Cry, the beloved country

In 1948, the same year Apartheid became law in South Africa, Alan Paton wrote in “Cry, the Beloved Country”, his feeling of despair over the fate of South Africa:

Cry for the broken tribe, for the law and the custom that is gone. Aye, and cry aloud for the man who is dead, for the woman and children bereaved. Cry, the beloved country, these things are not yet at an end. The sun pours down on the earth, on the lovely land that man cannot enjoy. He knows only the fear of his heart.”

Cry for our beloved Ethiopia!!

Professor Alemayehu G. Mariam teaches political science at California State University, San Bernardino and is a practicing defense lawyer.

Previous commentaries by the author are available at:

http://open.salon.com/blog/almariam/

www.huffingtonpost.com/alemayehu-g-mariam/

Amharic translations of recent commentaries by the author may be found at:

http://www.ecadforum.com/Amharic/archives/category/al-mariam-amharic

http://ethioforum.org/?cat=24

TPLF agents wreak havoc in London’s Debretsion Ethiopian Orthodox Church (video)

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

Agents of The Tigray People’s People Liberation Front (TPLF) routinely generate conflict within Diaspora Ethiopian communities. They spy on, harass and intimidate those associations and organizations they are unable to infiltrate. The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church (EOTC), in particular, and now the Ethiopian Muslim communities, are their prime target. As the video below shows, the TPLF venom is spreading through out the fabric of Ethiopian community across the glob, and places of worship are not spared.

Saudi Arabia: 53 Ethiopian Christians arrested for praying in a private home

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

Forty-six detainees are women, and most likely face deportation. The authorities have accused them of converting Muslims to Christianity. There is no religious freedom in the country: the monarchy allows private worship of other faiths, but the religious police carry out indiscriminate arrests.

Source:  Asianews.it

February 20, 2013

Damman (AsiaNews / Agencies) -

Saudi Arabia has arrested 53 Ethiopian Christians – 46 women and six men – for holding a prayer meeting in a private home. Police officials have sealed the house and taken the faithful away, accusing the three religious leaders present of attempting to convert Muslims to Christianity. The incident occurred at Dammam, the capital of the Eastern Province of the Kingdom, and dates to February 8, but local sources, linked to the World Evangelical Alliance’s Religious Liberty Commission (WEA-Rlc) recently reported the news.

According to the WEA-RLC, Saudi authorities should release two of the Christians who hold residency permits. In all likelihood, all the others will be deported.

Saudi Arabia does not recognize, or protect, any religious expression other than Islam. The religious police (muttawa) carries out controls to eliminate the presence of Bibles, rosaries, Crosses  and Christian assemblies. And even if the royal family allows religious practices other than Islam, at least in private, muttawa agents tend not to differentiate.

This is not the first episode of religious persecution against the Ethiopian community. In December 2011, the Saudi authorities arrested 35 Ethiopian Christians, 29 of them women, charging them with “illegal socialization.” In this case, the faithful were detained in the middle of a prayer meeting in a private home in Jeddah. According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), the imprisoned women were subjected to arbitrary “medical inspections”.

The city of Dammam, where the accident occurred on February 8, is a major industrial center and port, rich in oil and natural gas.

ENTC conference in DC – Local media coverage

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

 

Ato Abebayehu Alula, ENTC leadership and Ato Ashebir Tadesse, ENTC-Washington DC metro local council chair urge the Ethiopian community to come and exchange ideas on how we move forward in the struggle for freedom and democracy in Ethiopia.

 

Listen to the short interview with Netsanet le Ethiopia radio

 

ENTC will hold a public meeting on February 24th

Monday, February 18th, 2013

The Ethiopian National Transitional Council (ENTC) is organizing a town hall in Washington DC on Sunday, February 24, 2013, following its 2-day general assembly.

Local representatives from several cities and countries around the world are heading to Washington DC starting Feb. 20 to participate in the ENTC general assembly.

At the end of the two-day conference, ENTC will hold a town hall meeting to discuss the public the organization’s vision, plans and activities.

Town Hall meeting address: 85 South Bragg Street, Alexandria, VA 22312, USA
Date: February 24, 2013 Time: 2:00pm

Read More

 

 

Ethiopia: The Politics of Fear and Smear

Sunday, February 17th, 2013

fs2011: Dictatorship, corruption and the politics of fear and smear

In December 2011, I wrote a commentary entitled, “Ethiopia: Land of Blood or Land of Corruption?” contrasting two portraits of Ethiopia. At the time, the portrait painted by Transparency International (TI) (Corruption Index) and Global Financial Integrity (GFI) showed Ethiopia as a land blighted by  systemic corruption. GFI reported that “Ethiopia, which has a per-capita GDP of just US$365, lost US$11.7 billion to illicit financial outflows between 2000 and 2009. In 2009, illicit money leaving the economy totaled US$3.26 billion, which is double the amount in each of the two previous years.” TI gave Ethiopia a score of  2.7 on the Corruption Index (on a scale of 0 – 10, where 0 means “highly corrupt” and 10 means “very clean”).

At that time, the dictatorial regime, which is still in power today, sought to portray Ethiopia as a country under siege by traitorous terrorists. In a fear-mongering three-part propaganda “documentary” entitled “Akeldama” (or Land [field] of Blood, taken from  Acts 1:19 referring to a field said  to have been bought by Judas Iscariot with the thirty pieces of silver he got for betraying Jesus)  shown on ruling party-owned television service, the regime sought to depict Ethiopia as a country under withering terrorist attack by Ethiopian Diaspora opposition elements and their co-conspirators inside the country and other “terrorist” groups. “Akeldama” began with a proclamation on the arrival of a bloodbath doomsday in Ethiopia: “Terrorism is destroying the world. Terrorism is wrecking our daily lives, obstructing it. What I am telling you now is not about international terrorism. It is about a scheme that has been hatched against our country Ethiopia to turn her into Akeldama or land of blood. For us Ethiopians, terrorism has become a bitter problem….”

“Akeldama” stitched revolting and gruesome video clips and photomontage of terrorist carnage and destruction throughout the world to tar and feather all opponents of the late Meles Zenawi as stooges of Al-Qaeda and Al-Shabaab in Somalia. Gratuitously horrific images of dead bodies of babies and little children lying on the ground, fly-infested corpses of adults oozing blood on the asphalt, severed limbs scattered in the streets, burned vehicles, bombed buildings, doctors treating injured victims and footage of the imploding Twin Towers in New York City on September 11, 2011 were blended in a toxic video presentation to hypnotize and paralyze the population with fear and loathing. Following an orgiastic presentation of carnage and destruction, that “documentary”  pointed an accusatory finger at “ruthless terrorists” who are “destroying our peace” and “massacring our loved ones”. In a haunting voice, the narrator exhorts, “Let’s look at the evidence. In the past several years, there have been 131 terrorist attacks; 339 citizens killed; 363 injured and 25 kidnapped and killed by terrorists.”

By weaving deceitful, deceptive and distorted narratives between grisly spectacles of alleged terrorist atrocity, cruelty, brutality, bestiality and inhumanity from the world over, “Akeldama” hoped to create rabid public hysteria against Ethiopia’s opposition elements and justify the regime’s violent crackdowns on opposition elements. That propaganda hogwash gained little traction in the public mind.

2013: Dictatorship, corruption and the politics of fear and smear

Fast forward to February 2013. A recent exhaustive 448-page World Bank report revealed that Ethiopia has one of  the most corrupt-to-the-core regimes in the world.  According to this report, Ethiopia’s “Telecommunications Sector” is Corruption Central, the Ground Zero of Corruption: “Despite the country’s exceptionally heavy recent investment in its telecoms infrastructure, it has the second lowest telephone penetration rate in Africa. Amid its low service delivery, an apparent lack of accountability, and multiple court cases, some aspects of the sector are perceived by both domestic and international observers to be deeply affected by corruption.” Ethiopia’s “Construction Sector exhibits most of the classic warning signs of corruption risk, including instances of poor-quality construction, inflated unit output costs, and delays in implementation.” Corruption in the “Justice Sector” rears its ugly head in the form of “political interference with the independent actions of courts or other sector agencies, or payment or solicitation of bribes or other considerations to alter a decision or action.” Corruption in the “Land Sector” is built into the law itself: “The capture of state assets by the elite can occur through the formulation of policy that favors the elite.”

On February 5, 2013, the ruling regime in Ethiopia broadcasted a one hour “documentary” entitled “Jihadawi Harakat” (“Holy War Movement”) purportedly aimed at exposing Islamic extremists and terrorists preparing for a “holy war” to establish an Islamic government in Ethiopia. This “documentary” is nothing less than a declaration of an unholy war against Ethiopian Muslims. “Jihadawi Harakat” is a maliciously conceived and executed propaganda campaign right down to the diabolical title which seeks to portray Ethiopian Muslims peacefully demanding respect for their human rights as the handmaidens of such jihadist terrorist movements as Hamas (Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiyya), Harakat al-Jihad al-Islami al-Filastini and the Abu Sayyaf (terror group in the southern Philippines) group’s Al Harakat al-Islamiyya.

“Jihadawi Harakat” is very similar in tone and content to “Akeldama”. The principal difference is that “Jihadawi Harakat” targets Ethiopian Muslims for persecution and vilification. The “documentary” as a whole argues that Ethiopian Muslims who asked for  nothing more than respect for their basic human rights and non-government interference in their religious affairs are merely local chapters of  blood thirsty terrorist groups such Boko Haram (Nigeria), Ansar al Din (Mali),  Al Qaeda, Al Shabaab, Hamas… Despite the lip service disclaimer that the “documentary” is about a “few terrorists taking cover behind the Islamic faith to commit terrorism” in Ethiopia, this “documentary” stands as an ugly testament to official state religious intolerance and persecution rarely seen anywhere in Africa.

There are lies, naked lies, damned lies and sleazy lies. “Jihadawi Harakat” is all four. After viewing this revolting  “documentary”,  I recalled the furious words of the late Meles Zenawi when the European Union Election Observer Group confronted him with the truth about his theft of the May 2010 election by 99.6 percent. Meles was so angry that he got caught, he condemned the EU election report as “trash that deserves to be thrown in the garbage.” This phony, vile, shallow, pretentious, noxious and histrionic docutrash is such a pile of crap that it deserves to be flushed into the sewer.

First, let us establish the facts on the demands of Ethiopian Muslims. According to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, an independent body constituted by the Congress and the President of the United States to monitor religious freedom worldwide:

Since July 2011, the Ethiopian government has sought to impose the al-Ahbash Islamic sect on the country’s Muslim community, a community that traditionally has practiced the Sufi form of Islam. The government also has manipulated the election of the new leaders of the Ethiopia Islamic Affairs Supreme Council (EIASC).  Previously viewed as an independent body, EIASC is now viewed as a government-controlled institution.  The arrests, terrorism charges and takeover of EIASC signify a troubling escalation in the government’s attempts to control Ethiopia’s Muslim community and provide further evidence of a decline in religious freedom in Ethiopia. Muslims throughout Ethiopia have been arrested during peaceful protests: On October 29, the Ethiopia government charged 29 protestors with terrorism and attempting to establish an Islamic state.

The jihadists are coming, again?!

“Jihadawi Harakat” is not the first time the regime in power in Ethiopia has pulled the jihadist bogeyman out of their back pockets to scare the people of Ethiopia. Back in November 2006, a month before Meles Zenawi’s tanks “blitzkrieged” their way into Mogadishu killing tens of thousands of innocent Somali civilians and displacing over a million, I wrote a commentary  entitled, “The Jihadists are Coming!” I argued that Meles Zenawi had fabricated the Somali jihadist terrorist threat out of whole cloth to deflect attention from his dismal human rights record and repression and to buy the good will and diplomatic support of the U.S.:

Here we go again! Trot out the Somali jihadist bogeyman (aya jibo). Get out the smoke machine and mirrors. Show time! Act I. Narrator Zenawi: “Somalia is becoming a haven for terrorist. The sheiks of terror have declared an unholy war on Ethiopia, and the U.S. of A. They are on the outskirts. Patriots and countrymen, defend the homeland!…

But the whole jihadist business smacks of political fantasy. It’s surreal. Mr. Zenawi says the Somali jihadists and their Al Qaeda partners should be opposed and defeated because they are undemocratic, anti-democratic, oppressive and authoritarian. The jihadists don’t believe in human rights and do not allow political or social dissent. They are fanatics who want to impose one-party rule… Duh!!! Has Mr. Zenawi looked at the mirror lately?…

… Mr. Zenawi says the Somali jihadists are lurking behind every desert rock and boulder. He wants Ethiopians to come out and fight them in every hamlet, town and city. We want Ethiopians to come out of the jails and prisons and rejoin their families. We want them to come out into the streets and peacefully express themselves, show their opposition to government policies and actions, engage in constructive dialogue with their fellow citizens and enjoy basic human rights… Now, we have a choice to make. We can follow along the Zenawi Road Show and entertain ourselves with stories of the Somali jihadist bogeyman, Mickey Mouse and the Easter Bunny. Or we can stay focused on the real issues of human rights, civil liberties, the rule of law and democracy in Ethiopia.

Meles used the jihadist bogeyman in 2006 to plunge Ethiopia into the civil war in Somalia. In 2013, his disciples hope to use same jihadist bogeyman to plunge Ethiopia into internecine sectarian civil war.

“Jihadawi Harakat” or the art of Islamophobia

“Jihadawi Harakat” is such a revoltingly amateurish piece of propaganda  that one could easily dismiss it as dimwitted cartoonish gibberish and sophomoric fear mongering melodrama. But that would be a serious mistake because this vicious docutrash scandalizes, villiainizes, slanders and vilifies Ethiopia’s Muslim community. As lame and as cynical as this docutrash is, its tacit propaganda aim is to present a “morality play” of “evil” Muslims against “good” Christians. It is intended to scare Christians into believing that the same Muslims with whom they have coexisted peacefully for a millennia have now suddenly been transformed into “Islamic terrorists” and are secretly planning to wage a jihadist war on them to establish an Islamic government. Just as “Akeldama” sought to demonize, dehumanize, anathematize, demoralize and barbarize all of Ethiopia’s dissidents and opposition groups as a confederation of blood thirsty terrorists, “Jihad Harekat” seeks to do exactly the same thing to Ethiopian Muslims by creating Islamophobic hysteria in Ethiopia.

Careful review and analysis shows the ruling regime sought to accomplish a number of propaganda objectives with this docutrash: 1) tar and feather all Muslims who demand respect for their basic human rights and regime non-interference in their religious affairs as blood thirsty terrorists, fanatical jihadists and homicidal maniacs, 2) inflame Christian passions to incite hatred and spread distrust and suspicion against Muslims; 3) vilify Muslims and create a climate of fear, loathing and intolerance which the regime hopes will trigger mass hysteria, persecution and discrimination against Muslims; 4) divert the attention of the population from the desperate  economic, social and political issues of the day by feeding them ugly fantasies of jihadists Ethiopian Muslims planting bombs and planning terrorist acts to create an Islamic state, and 5) establish the moral justification for ruthlessly cracking down and clamping down on Muslims who have asked for nothing more than respect for their religious liberties and official non-interference in the administration of their religious affairs. Of course, the regime desperately wants to divert public attention from its massive corruption documented in the World Bank’s exhaustive 448-page report.

Anatomy of a Docutrash

For those who do not wish to waste their time viewing this pile of bull manure (make sure to hold your nose if you must watch it) passing off as a “documentary”, here is a summary. The docutrash opens with a text-image insert announcing, “An evidence-based documentary on a few individuals who have used the Islamic faith as a cover to conduct terrorist activities. A documentary prepared in collaboration with the national intelligence service, federal police and Ethiopian television and radio organization. It presents evidence on how a few  individuals have taken cover behind the Islamic faith and tried to implement the terrorist plans of Al Qaeda and Al Shabaab in Ethiopia.”

For 13 seconds, the text image insert slowly recedes on the screen; and without warning the face of a menacing “terrorist” set against a pitch black background emerges and scrolls to the right on the screen for 8 seconds to inspire a foreboding sense of fear and panic in the viewer. The same man whose picture has been photoshopped to make him look wild-eyed and sinister appears  and gives the first “evidence” by “confessing” in a soft voice and gentle demeanor, “The jihad is between Muslims and those who are not Muslims.”

The “evidence” presented consists of  “confessions” (mostly 2 0r 3 sentence incriminating admissions by the “suspects” unaccompanied by the questions of the interrogators) of some of the 29 terror suspects mentioned in the report of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom referenced above. (The terror suspects giving “confessions” are currently on trial and the regime broadcasted  the “documentary” in flagrant violation of a court order not to do so.)

Following the “confession” of the man admitting to a jihad between Muslims and non-Muslims, a video clip of riotous young men (insinuating that they are Muslim rioters) running away  from something is shown. Video clips likely scarfed from the internet immediately follow showing turbaned and disguised jihadists from all over the world wreaking havoc in unnamed places.  A text-image follows announcing, “Boko Haram in Ethiopia.” Young Ethiopian Muslim men are briefly shown at a peaceful gathering protesting. A  young Muslim leader is shown speaking to a group and claiming that Muslims are being “accused of being terrorists, criminals and seeking power.” More photos of turbaned and armed terrorists are shown followed by a video clip of Muslim terrorists digging up a cache of arms from a hole in the ground. A bearded Muslim man appears and states, “We have prepared the weapons and the manpower needed for the war against the government and our aim is to establish an Islamic government.” Photomontage of terrorists from other parts of the world brandishing AK47s and RPGs  follow along with more video clips of terrorists blowing up buildings. Civilians are shown running away from scenes of terrorists attacks. Unnamed terrorists are shown marching in the bushes. Photoshopped pictures of the same bearded suspects shown at the very beginning of the video are scrolled time and again across the screen to give the creepy impression that the “confessing” suspects are stalking the viewer like beasts  of prey. For another 58 minutes, the same theme is repeated over and over again with snippets of “confessions” sandwiched between scenes of armed terrorists and terrorist devastation.

Rule of Law or Rule of Ignoramuses

Leaders of the ruling regime often trumpet their allegiance to and defense of their Constitution. Last September propaganda meister Bereket Simon, after telling and retelling the world the Big Lie about Meles’ health and death, waxed eloquent day after day about constitutional succession and the game of official musical chairs to be played in the post-Meles period. As “communications minister”, Simon authorized the broadcasting of the “Jihadawi Harekat” docutrash. One really wonders how these “champions of the Ethiopian Constitution” seem to be enlightened only about those provisions they like but are willfully benighted about the parts they don’t like such as the rights of the accused.  It reminds one of a line from Shakespeare, “The devil can cite Scripture for his purposes.” Are they cunningly malicious or just plain ignorant? For years, I have been saying that preaching constitutional law (the rule of law) to the regime in Ethiopia is like preaching Scripture to a gathering of heathen. These vacuous imposters  would not recognize the Constitution if it ran them over like a Mac truck.

What needs to be doubly underscored in the case against the 29 Muslim “terror suspects”, including those who allegedly confessed in “Jihadawi Harakat”  are three important facts: 1) All of the “suspects” are pretrial detainees entitled to full procedural due process protections provided in the Ethiopian Constitution and various other binding international human rights conventions. 2) There is substantial evidence to show that the “suspects” who allegedly confessed did so under coercion. In the case of one “suspect”, for instance, a video of the interrogation and “confession” shows him  handcuffed.  3)  All  of the 29 “terrorism suspects” in custody are political  prisoners.

In terms of the flagrant disregard for the constitutional and human rights of the suspects, one cannot be unimpressed by the abysmal depth of ignorance and depraved indifference of the regime leaders. The  Ethiopian Constitution under Art. 20 (3) provides: “During proceedings accused persons have the right to be presumed innocent.” They seem to be totally clueless (or don’t give a damn) of their obligation under international human rights conventions which are incorporated expressly into the Ethiopian Constitution under Article 13. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) provides under Art. 11: “Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which they have had all the guarantees necessary for their defence.” The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) under Art. 14 (2): “Everyone charged with a criminal offence shall have the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law.” The African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) provides under Art. 7 (b): “The right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty by a competent court or tribunal.” The presumption of innocence requires that there be no pronouncement of guilt of the defendant by responsible public officials prior to a finding of guilt by a court of law.  Moreover, the “confessions” obtained in this docutrash are in flagrant violation of the prohibition on coerced  admissions and confessions and the exclusionary rule in Article 19 (5) which provides that  the accused “shall not be compelled to make confessions or admissions which could be used in evidence or against them. Any evidence obtained under coercion shall not be admissible.”

The sad irony in the case against the Muslim “terror suspects” is that the kangaroo court which issued the injunction against the broadcasting of the docutrash will not have the integrity or the guts to throw out all of the “confessions” or impose  other sanctions including criminal contempt citations against those who willfully disobeyed its order and/or dismiss with prejudice the case against the defendants for such an egregious and outrageous violation of their fair trial rights.

Frankly, I must confess that I take a bit of perverse pleasure in being fully vindicated. For years, I have been saying that there is no rule of law in Ethiopia and the courts are kangaroo courts puppet-mastered by the political bosses. Is there any doubt now that the miscarriage of justice has become justice in Ethiopia?

A desperate dictatorship and the art of sewage politics

With this docutrash, the dictators in Ethiopia have proven not only that they can get lower than a snake’s belly in a wagon rut but also that they are the grandmasters of  sewage politics. The fact of the matter is that the only proven cases of terrorist carnage in Ethiopia were committed by the regime. In “Akeldama”, the regime claimed “131 terrorist attacks; 339 citizens killed; 363 injured and 25 kidnapped and killed by terrorists” over the preceding decade. However, the official Inquiry Commission established by Meles Zenawi determined that in just a few days following the election in May 2005, security troops under the personal control and command of Meles Zenawi  massacred 193 unarmed protesters in the streets and severely wounded another 763. The Commission concluded the “shots fired by government forces [which were intended] not to disperse the crowd of protesters but to kill by targeting the head and chest of the protesters.” In September 2011, the world  learned “Ethiopian security forces (had) planted 3 bombs that went off in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on September 16, 2006  and then blamed Eritrea and the Oromo resistance for the blasts in a case that raised serious questions about the claims made about the bombing attempt against the African Union summit earlier this year in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.” It was the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa which conducted its own “clandestine reporting” and fingered “GoE (Government of Ethiopia) security forces” for this criminal act. If all other acts of state terrorism committed against Ethiopian civilians were to be included, the body count would be in the hundreds of thousands. Those who point an accusatory index finger to tar and feather others with charges of terrorism  should be careful to see which way the other three fingers are pointing.

“Jihadawi Harekat” is a smear campaign designed to vilify, malign, demean and marginalize Ethiopian Muslims. It is a vicious propaganda effort aimed at poisoning the centuries-old peaceful relations between adherents of the Islamic and Christian faiths in Ethiopia. It is an outrageous piece of propaganda designed to promote irrational fears of Muslims and Islam in Ethiopian society and facilitate the creation of conditions that will eventually lead to the  persecution, discrimination and exclusion of Muslims  from the political, social, economic and  public life of the nation. “Jihadawi Harekat” is out-and-out Islamophobia.

We should never tolerate or yield to Islamophobia in Ethiopia!

Release all political prisoners in Ethiopia!

Professor Alemayehu G. Mariam teaches political science at California State University, San Bernardino and is a practicing defense lawyer.

Previous commentaries by the author are available at:

http://open.salon.com/blog/almariam/

www.huffingtonpost.com/alemayehu-g-mariam/

Amharic translations of recent commentaries by the author may be found at:

http://www.ecadforum.com/Amharic/archives/category/al-mariam-amharic

http://ethioforum.org/?cat=24 

    

  

TPLF operative launches vicious attack against Ethiopian church in exile

Saturday, February 16th, 2013

A semi-literate TPLF operative by the name of Entehabu Berhe lobs poisonous charges against the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Church (EOTC) in the Diaspora.  The EOTC’s opposition to government interference is disingenuously presented as an attack on the people of Tigrai.  Ethiopia’s ruling party appears ready to defame and destroy both Christian and Muslim leaders who refuse to march to its orders.

 

“An Unorthodox Idea for the Tewahedo”

By Entehabu Berhe  | Aigaforum

Feb 13, 2013

Ethiopian’s take pride in their faith, tradition and history as the custodians of the Holy Ark and as a people who continue to believe that the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Church (EOTC) was inspired, preached, guided and consolidated by the revealing power of the Holy Spirit! ……..

A quick pick into the crevices in the body politic of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Church in exile (EOTCE) indicates an unhealthy dynamic between competing political groups within the church resulting in conflicts, rancour, disillusionment and disenfranchisement of many parishners (sic!).

A concerned elder of the church decried the lingering ethnic naratives in the politics of the EOTC in the diaspora. He was surprised that twenty years later church pulpits in the diaspora continue to be used to dispense partisan politics or condemn, disparage and denigrate rivals and perceived enemies. He said, I wish the clergy would focus more on their pastoral duties and show their congregants the way to the ‘truth and the light’. He is dismayed that he had to drive a long distance to find an accomodating (sic!) church. He resents the fact that he was forced to leave the closest parish despite his advancing age and desire to encourage his grandchildren to remain connected to their religeous (sic) tradition and culture. Many others are also unimpressed or do not feel comfortable with all the extra excelestiatic (sic!) happenings at their churches. It is not unusual for liturgy and Sunday mass to be followed by partisan sermons that leave many church regulars buffled (sic!), disappointed and dispirited. Many are openly asking what went wrong?

What happened to the calling many of the exiled religious fathers signed up for?

It is apparent that some way ward opposition politicians (sic!) in the diaspora (diasposition) have taken over the EOTCE. It is an open secret that some exiled men of the cloak have directly and/or indirectly encouraged unwarranted collective attack on the people of Tigray, the people who have anchored the core identity and character of Ethiopia and Ethiopianism in general and the EOTC in particular.

It boggles the mind to hear that some among the exiled clergy have proudly declared a non cause, i.e., the cause of a, supposedly disenfranchised and disrespected, nation, the Amhara people as their cause celebre. Oh brother! Whoever said the historic and proud Amhara, who continue to heroically defend their nation and the traditions of the EOTC needed a saviour! It seems to me this dangerous act of desperation may be a last act by some misguided clergy men who of late have been running high on emotions and displaying some swagger and puffery of righteousness.

It is difficult to fathom that our religious (sic!) leaders, the decendants (sic!) of a deeply religious people and a sanctified and ancient church, would adopt an image of God that doesn’t deeply and compassionately consider others. Weren’t we all created in the image of God? or as some prominent modern theologians have asserted, does our image of God create us?

One thing is clear, no man or group is bigger than the church. It is time to examine the fruits that our beliefs and the sermons of our clergy bear and challenge ourselves for more humility. We can’t let disgruntled individuals drive bigger wedges among the people and exploit old sentiments and perceived (sic!) fault lines to advance their political ambitions. A clear delineation between spritual (sic!) and worldly issues can be a good start. Enough already!

Some in the exiled church have been dragging the EOTC into smallness. It reminds me of the supposed encounter between Emperor Theodros and the fabled Aba Gebrehana. The story goes like this: the Emperor, during his inaugural visit of a Church, admired the workmanship and archtecture of the building and exclaimed, this is big! While everyone present nodded in agreement, the Emperor noticed that the Aba didn’t seem to be impressed . The Emperor then wanted to know what was on Aba Gebrehana’s mind and asked this is a big church, isn’t it? The Aba retorted, yes indeed; it can definitely accommodate (sic!) two priests and three deacons! At the time Emperor Theodros was working hard to reform some of the excesses of the church. So he did not remain in good stead with many of the church leaders and the clergy who made much of his reign difficult.

A historical parallel can be drawn between the delegitimizing efforts by some of the exiled church leaders and their supporters, both towards the reign of his Holiness Abune Paulos and the leaders of the ruling party and/or the government of Ethiopia and that of the relationship between the Emperor Theodros and the Aba Gebrehana’s of his time. The impact of the soured relationships and accompanying vicereal reactions, between the church and the government of the day, however, invariably distract, detract and diminish all involed (sic!) ; but not equally. Some observers believe the internecine conflict between the mother church and the exiled church leadership has disproportionately diminished the stature of the exiled fathers.

As a matter of fact, people who have no brief for the late patriarch, his Holiness Abune Paulos, think he had served the EOTC with grace and dignity and was a rare scholar who understood the deep history and traditions of his ancient church, used his knowledge and credibility to shepherd the church in a righteous path and worked tirelessly to restore it to prominence and glory.

Many observers also believe despite being unfairly demonized by his detractors since the early days of his enthronment (sic!) , he remained open to peaceful resolution of differences and any outstanding contentious ecclesiastical (sic!) issues in the hope of reconciling and unifying the church. Unfortunately, his wish and efforts couldn’t be realized within his life time. May the almighty keep him in his favour!

So in the parlance of Aba Gebrehana, do the exiled Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Church (EOTCE) leaders think they are content with a church that can barely accomodate two priests and three deacons?

Close observers of the exiled church point that the inscesant (sic!) rancour, political manoevering (sic!) and rivalry among the disparate political backers of the exiled church has become a constant source of discord among the laity and has dragged the church to smallness and is forcing it to titer on the edge of irrelevance.

Many have now started to write off the ability of the exiled church and its leaders to influence the Holy Synode (sic!) and the majority of the faithful as marginal and temporally limited. Infact (sic!), some have gone as far as stating that it is highly unlikely that the exiled church will be able to justify its existence beyond the life time of Abune Merkorious and the few elderly ex-officio fathers. It will simply die off along with its founders or possibly return to the fold of the mother church out of necessity. It is now evident that time is not on the side of the exiled fathers and their bag holders. So far, some of the most concerted efforts at reconciling the exiled church leadership with the Holy Synode (sic!) and the patriarchate in Addis have been twarted because of behind the scenes political machinechines (sic!) of the political backers of the exiled church and some exiled church fathers who have failed to recognize that:
disputes related to any historical, traditional, legal and procedural matters can be resolved by utilizing the wealth of the recieved (sic!) wisdom within and among members of the Holy Synode (sic!) or when necessary by tasking an independent research commission which can be composed, from among the church scholars within and without, to clarify the issues and provide facts and impartial opinions.
their primary interest lies in not leaving a legacy of a weak and divided church in the diaspora
since their departure two decades ago the demographic, social, cultural, religious (sic!), political and economic landscape has significantly changed which necessitates the reexamination of the practicality and relevance of some of their preconditions and demands
their power and legitimacy derives from the church and the faithful; and over the last two decades some of the influence, sympathy, support and loyality (sic!) they garnered within the EOTC may have waned and that they may have very limited leverage on the Holy Synode (sic!) and the EOTC.
The window of opportunity created by the early depature (sic!) of the late patriarch, Abune Paulos, could have better been utilized to negotiate a return to the fold of the mother church in order to participate and/or attempt to influence in the selection of the new leadership of the EOTC. Furthermore, the possibility that the exiled leaders may not be presented with a similar opportunity due to their advanced ages and the likelihood that any of their exiled successors may not be afforded a simmilar (sic!) opportunity by the Holy Synode (sic!).
The church’s and the leadership’s interest is better served by a negotiated settlement, i.e., if the church fathers wish to restore the sanctity of the Church and their good names and standing within the EOTC.
Political agendas are best left for the many career politicians that attempt to spin any percieved religious (sic!) cleavages and issues to raly (sic!)  political support and simply want to use the church as a cover.
Pronouncements and condemnations, where warranted, should be used with extreme care and due diligence.

All may not however be lost. Despite the premature failure of recent mediation efforts and an increasingly narrowing window of opportunity, many are hoping for restoration and glorification of the EOTC and the resolution of the wedge issues that have caused so much acrimony and disunity within the ranks of the family of the church.

So at this moment of reflection , when Orthodox Tewahdo Christians in Ethiopia and other members of the Ethiopian Tewahdo Orthodox Church (EOTC) family are once again praying for a righteous shepherd who can confidently and competently lead his flock; guide and show the way and the light; and protect and shepherd his flock  in purity and righteousness, consider the following unorthodox thought:

The precedent setting resignation of Pop Benedict XVI and the alleged abdication of the seat of Abune Tekle Haimanot by his Holinnes Abune Markorious can be a blessing in disguise. It means no absolutes are violated when the head of a church for one reason or another abdicates his seat and is replaced before he departs to meet his maker. In fact many theologians are now of the opinion that the life-long reign is fraught with problems. Some are asking what would happen if a pontif or a patriarch suffers from dementia or another deblitating (sic!)  illness? It is not clear how the EOTC would deal with such eventuality. What is clear is the EOTC won’t be beholden to a tradition that may have outlived its usefulness. A progressive church requires an ability to choose dynamic and effective leaders.

It would also allow the church to reconcile with the leaders of the exiled church by allowing the dethroned patriarch, his Holiness Abune Merkarious, to segue to a life of pope passim with his dignity intact and a latitude to continue with a modified duty within the church hierarchy . The role can be negotiated between the ex-officio patriarch and the Holy Synode (sic!). However, the church can’t have dual seats of power; so the outgoing patriarch should pledge to go to the sunset by surrendering all power to the incoming patriarch and possibly into a life of prayer and contemplation. Once out of office, he can’t be allowed to meddle or contradict the edicts of the presiding patriarch.

Another caveat offcourse (sic!)  would be that any decision (sic!)  for vacating the throne would be left to the patriarch and can only be exacted with his full consent and autonomy. The separation of church and state enshrined within the constitution provides a legal shield and can be used to protect the institution of the EOTC and the Patriarchate from external and involuntary push.

So as all concerned somberly consider the merit of the above proposal, in the spirit of peace and reconciliation, may the almighty give them courage and wisdom. Amen!

Entehabu Berhe, Ph.D. (really?) (Can) – is a Principal Analyst and Consultant in emerging trends, opportunities and options.

ኢህአዴግ አንገቱን ታንቋል

Saturday, February 16th, 2013

ዓለም ባንክ ርምጃ ለመውሰድ ጫፍ ደርሷል

Source:  Goolgule.com

February 16, 2013

world bank

 

/ዜና ጎልጉል/ ኢህአዴግ ላይ ቀደም ሲል ሲቀርቡበት ከነበሩት ሪፖርቶች በተለየ ጥቅሞቹ ላይ ያነጣጠሩ አስደንጋጭ መረጃዎች እንደወጡበት ተሰማ። መረጃው የኢህአዴግን አንገት የማነቅ ያህል እንደሚቆጠርና ለተግባራዊነቱ የተንቀሳቀሱትን አካላት “የአስተዋይነት” ትግል ውጤት እንደሆነ ተጠቁሟል።

ኢህአዴግ በህዝብ ስም በብድርና በርዳታ የሚያገኘውን ከፍተኛ መጠን ያለው ገንዘብ ለፖለቲካ ስራ እንደሚያውለውና ለአፈና ተቋማቱ ማጠናከሪያ እንደሚጠቀምበት የተከሰሰበት ሪፖርት መጠናቀቁን የገለጹት የጎልጉል ታማኝ ምንጮች ናቸው። ምንጮቹ እንዳሉት ሪፖርቱ የቀረበለት የዓለም ባንክ በቅርቡ መረጃውን ተቀብሎ ርምጃ ይወስዳል ተብሎ ይጠበቃል። ኢህአዴግ ርምጃው ተግባራዊ ከመሆኑ በፊት ለማክሸፍ የተለመደውን ሩጫ መጀመሩ ተሰምቷል።

በኢህአዴግ ላይ የቀረበው ሪፖርት የመፍትሄ ሃሳብም ያካተተ እንደሆነ የተናገሩት የጎልጉል ምንጮች፣ የዓለም ባንክ የሥራ አስፈጻሚ ቦርድ ሪፖርቱን ሙሉ በሙሉ እንደሚቀበለውና ይፋ እንደሚያደርገው አስረድተዋል። የምርመራ ዘገባውን ስላጠናውና ስላቀረበው የኢንስፔክሽን ተቋምና የስራ ተሞክሮ በቂ ግንዛቤ ያላቸው እነዚህ ክፍሎች እንደሚሉት የዓለም ባንክ ቦርድ ይህ ተቋም ከዚህ ቀደም በተመሳሳይ ያቀረባቸውን ሪፖርቶች ላለመቀበል አንገራግሮ እንደማያውቅ ያስረዳሉ።

በሚመሩት ህዝብ ላይ ግፍ የሚፈጽሙ መንግስታትና በልማት ስም የሰብዓዊ መብት ጥሰት የሚያካሂዱ አገራት የሚፈጸሙ ወንጀሎችን በስፍራው በመገኘትና መረጃዎችን ከመሠረታቸው ዘልቆ በመመርመር  አጥንቶ ተጠያቂ የሚያደርገው ኢንክሉሲቭ ዴቨሎፕመንት ኢንተርናሽናል Inclusive Development International (IDI) የሚባለው ተቋም ከኢትዮጵያውያኑ ሰለባዎች ውክልና በመውሰድ ስራውን ለማከናወን እንቅስቃሴ መጀመሩን ጎልጉል ምንጮቹን በመጥቀስ መዘገቡ ይታወሳል። ተቋሙም በውክልናው መሰረት ለኢንስፔክሽን ፓናል በዝርዝር የሰለባዎቹን በደል በማተት አሳውቆ ነበር።

ኢህአዴግ በርዳታና በብድር የሚያገኘውን ከፍተኛ መጠን ያለው ገንዘብ ለፖለቲካ ስራ፣ ለአፈና፣ ለወታደራዊ አቅም ግንባታ፣ ለተለያዩ የአፈና ተቋም ሰራተኞቹ ደሞዝና ህዝብን በመርገጥ ስርዓቱን ለሚንከባከቡ የተለያዩ ጥቅማጥቅሞችን በመክፈል ገንዘቡን ለመጠቀም ከታለመለት ዓላማ ውጪ እንደሚያውለው በበርካታ መረጃዎች ያረጋገጠው የኢንስፔክሽን ቡድን ለዚሁ ስራው ኬንያ፣ ደቡብ ሱዳንና ኢትዮጵያ በቅርቡ አቅንቶ ነበር።

ምርመራው ያስደነገጠው ኢህአዴግ በተለያየ መልኩ ሰለባዎች በደላቸውን እንዳይናገሩ፣ በጥቅም የተደለሉ ሰዎችን በየቦታዎቹ በማዘጋጀትና በማስፈራራት አፈና ማካሄዱን የጎልጉል የመረጃ ምንጮች በወቅቱ ቢያስታውቁም ጎልጉል መረጃውን ለስራው መሳካት ሲባል ይፋ ከማድረግ ተቆጥቧል።

ከቀናት በፊት ሪፖርቱን አጠናቆ ለዓለም ባንክ ቦርድ ያቀረበው የኢንስፔክሽን ቡድን (ፓናል) በማያወላዳ መንገድ ተጽኖ ፈጣሪ ተቋም መሆኑንን ያስረዱት ለስራውና ለተቋሙ ቅርበት ያላቸው ክፍሎች፣ ሪፖርቱን ከቦርዱ አባላት አንዱ እንኳ አልቀበልም ቢሉ ምን ሊከሰት እንደሚችልም አብራርተዋል።

“አንድ ወይም ከአንድ በላይ የቦርድ አባላት የፓናሉን ሪፖርት ውይይት እንዲደረግበት እስካልጠየቁ ድረስ ፓናሉ ባቀረበው መሠረት እንዳለ ይጸድቃል። ከጸደቀም በኋላ ሪፖርቱ በዓለም ባንክ ስም ይፋ ይሆናል። ሪፖርቱ ታምኖበት ይፋ ከሆነ በሪፖርቱ የቀረቡት የመፍትሄ ጭብጦች ተግባራዊ ከማድረግ ውጪ ሌላ አማራጭ የለም። እስካሁን ባለው አሰራር የፓናሉ ሪፖርት ተቃውሞ አጋጥሞት አያውቅም” ሲሉ መልስ ሰጥተዋል።

“ይህ ታላቅ ውጤት የተገኘው በእቅድና አስተውሎ በመራመድ ነው። ወደፊትም በቀጣይ የሚከናወኑ ተግባራቶች አሉ። የአገዛዙን ትምክህትና ማን አለብኝነት የሚያረግቡ፣ ብሎም የሚያተኑ ስራዎች ለመስራት ለተጀመረው ስራ ይህ ውጤት ከፍተኛ መነቃቃት ይሆናል” ሲሉ ጉዳዩን በቅርበት በመከታተል እዚህ ያበቁት ክፍሎች አስረድተዋል።

ጉዳዩ እንዴት እዚህ ደረጃ ደረሰ? ለሚሉት ጥያቄዎችና ኢህአዴግ ስለተከሰሰባቸው ዝርዝር ጉዳዮች ጎልጉል የድረገጽ ጋዜጣ October 12, 2012 አስቀድሞ የዘገበውን ማጣቀስ አግባብ ሆኖ በመገኘቱ ከዚህ በታች እንዳለ አቅርበነዋል።

ኢህአዴግ በ600 ሚሊዮን ዶላር አጣብቂኝ ውስጥ ገባ!!

ብያኔው ከጸና ኪሣራው በቢሊዮን ዶላር ሊደርስም ይችላል!

ኢህአዴግ ከዓለም ባንክ ያገኘውን 600 ሚሊዮን ዶላርና በተመሳሳይ ፕሮጀክት ወደፊት ሊያገኝ የሚችለውን ከፍተኛ ገንዘብ በተመለከተ አደጋ ውስጥ መውደቁ ተሰማ። ኢንስፔክሽን ፓናል (Inspection Panel – IP) የተሰኘ ተቋም ይፋ ያደረገው መረጃ እንደሚያመለክተው ኢህአዴግ የቀረበበት ውንጀላ ከተረጋገጠ የሚያጣው ገንዘብ በቢሊዮን ዶላር እንደሚደርስ ታውቋል። ይፋ የሆነውን መረጃ አስመልክቶ ከኢህአዴግ ወገን እስካሁን በይፋ የተሰጠ ምላሽ የለም።

ግፍ የሚፈጽሙ መንግስታትን፣ በልማት ስም የሰብዓዊ መብት ጥሰት የሚፈጽሙ ወንጀሎችን መረጃዎችን በስፍራው በመገኘትና ከመሠረቱ ዘልቆ በመግባት አደራጅቶ ተጠያቂ የሚያደርገው ኢንክሉሲቭ ዴቨሎፕመንት ኢንተርናሽናል Inclusive Development International (IDI) ከሰለባዎቹ ውክልና ተሰጥቶታል። ተቋሙም በውክልናው መሰረት ለኢንስፔክሽን ፓናል በዝርዝር የሰለባዎቹን በደል በማተት አሳውቋል።

የኢህአዴግ መከላከያ ሠራዊት የሚያደርሰውን እስራት፣ ግርፋት፣ አስገድዶ መድፈር፣ ከመኖሪያ ቦታ ማፈናቀል፣ የግዳጅ ሰፈራ ወዘተ በማምለጥ ወደ ኬንያ የተሰደዱ የጋምቤላ ነዋሪዎች ይህ ሁሉ ግፍ የሚፈጽምባቸው የኢትዮጵያ መንግሥት በልማት ስም ከዓለም ባንክ በሚያገኘው የዕርዳታ ገንዘብ በመሆኑ ለባንኩ በላኩት የአቤቱታ ደብዳቤ አመልክተዋል።

አቤቱታውን መሠረት በማድረግ የሚደረገው ምርመራ ውጤት ይፋ ሲሆን፣ በሌሎች አገሮች እንደተደረገው በዕርዳታ ስም የሚገኝን ገንዘብ ኢህአዴግ ለፖለቲካ ተግባር መጠቀሙ ሲረጋገጥ፣ በመስከረም ወር መጀመሪያ አካባቢ ከዓለም ባንክ ተፈቅዶ የነበረው 600ሚሊዮን ዶላር ሊከለከል ይችላል፡፡

የዛሬ ዘጠኝ ዓመት አካባቢ በሟቹ ጠ/ሚ/ርና የጦር ኃይሎች ጠቅላይ አዛዥ መለስ ዜናዊ ቀጥተኛ ትዕዛዝ በጋምቤላ ክልል በተለይ የተማሩ ወንዶች ላይ በማተኮር 424 ንጹሐን የአኙዋክ ተወላጆች በተገደሉበት ወቅት በሺዎች የሚቆጠሩት ወደ ጎረቤት አገር ኬንያ መሰደዳቸው ይታወሳል፡፡ ከዚያን ጊዜ ጀምሮ ክልሉ ሰላም የለም፡፡ በየጊዜውም የሰብዓዊ መብት ጥሰቶች ሲካሄዱበት ቆይቷል፡፡ በተለይም ለም የሆነውን እጅግ ሰፋፊ መሬት ለውጪ ባለሃብቶች በሳንቲም በመሸጥ ላይ የሚገኘው የኢህአዴግ አገዛዝ ከቅርብ ጊዜ ወዲህ በቀድሞው የደርግ ዘመን ሲካሄድ ከነበረው ባለፈ መልኩ እጅግ በሚያሰቅቅ ሁኔታ በመንደር ምስረታና አስገድዶ የማስፈር ፖሊሲ ከመኖሪያ ቀዬ የማፈናቀል ተግባራትን እያከናወነ መሆኑን የኦክላንድ ተቋም፣ ሂውማን ራይትስ ዎች፣ … የመሳሰሉ ድርጅቶች ያወጧቸው ዘገባዎች ይጠቁማሉ፡፡

ከ1998ዓም ጀምሮ የመሠረታዊ አገልግሎት ጥበቃ ፕሮግራም (Protection of Basic Services “PBS Program”) በሚል በአራት ተከታታይና ሁለት ተጨማሪ የገንዘብ ድጎማ የሚደረግባቸውን ፕሮግራሞች የዓለም ባንክ በኢትዮጵያ ሲያካሂድ ቆይቷል፡፡ ይህ መሠረታዊ የሆኑ አገልግሎቶችን ለማሟላት ተወጥኖ የሚካሄድ ፕሮጀክት በትምህርት፣ በጤና፣ በእርሻ፣ በንጹህ ውሃ አቅርቦት፣ በገጠር መንገድ ሥራ፣ ወዘተ መስኮች ላይ እንዲውል (PBS I, PBS I-AF (Additional Financing), PBS II, PBS 11-AF, PBS-Social Accountability Program and PBS III) በማለት በተለያዩ ደረጃዎች ለተከፋፈለው ኦፐሬሽን ማስፈጸሚያ የሚውለው ገንዘብ ከ13ቢሊዮን ዶላር የሚበልጥ ነው፡፡ ከዚህ ውስጥ ከፍተኛው የዓለም ባንክ ድርሻ 2ቢሊዮን ዶላር ሲሆን የተቀረው በሌሎች ለጋሽ መንግሥታት እና ድርጅቶች የሚሸፈን ነው፡፡ PBS III የተሰኘውን በሦስት ንዑሳን ፕሮግራሞች የተከፋፈለውን ፕሮጀክት ለማስፈጸም በአጠቃላይ የሚፈጀው 6.3ቢሊዮን ዶላር በላይ ነው፡፡ ከዚህ ውስጥ የባንኩ ድርሻ የሆነውን 600ሚሊዮን ዶላር ቦርዱ መስከረም 5ቀን 2005ዓም አጽድቋል፡፡

በአስገድዶ ማስፈር፣ መንደር ምስረታና ሌሎች በርካታ የሰብዓዊ መብቶቻቸው የተጣሱባቸው በኬንያ የሚገኙ ሦስት የአኙዋክ ስደተኞች ተወካይ ድርጅቶች በሰሜን አሜሪካ ከሚገኙ ሌሎች የሰብዓዊ ድርጅቶች ጋር በመሆን ባንኩ ሊሰጥ የወሰነውን ገንዘብ ለኢትዮጵያ ሕዝብ ጥቅም ከመዋል ይልቅ ለኢህአዴግ የፖለቲካ ዓላማ ማስፈጸሚያ እየዋለ መሆኑን በመጥቀስ ለባንኩ ፕሬዚዳንት ዶ/ር ጂም ዮንግ ኪም መስከረም 6፤ 2005ዓም ደብዳቤ ልከዋል፡፡ በጥያቄያቸውም መሠረት በዓለም ባንክ በኩል ወደ ኢትዮጵያ የሚፈሰው ገንዘብ “በልማት ስም የኢትዮጵያ መንግሥት በጋምቤላ ክልል ለሚያካሂደው የመንደር ምስረታ እየዋለ ነው” በማለት ይከሳል፡፡ ሲቀጥልም የአኙዋክ ሕዝብ ለዘመናት ከኖረበት መንደር በማፈናቀል “የተሻለ አገልግሎት ይሰጣችኋል” በማለት በግድ የማስፈር ተግባር እየተፈጸመ ሲሆን “የተባለው አገልግሎትም ሆነ ለእርሻ የሚሆን በቂ ቦታ እንዲሁም ለከብቶች የሚበቃ የግጦሽና የውሃ ቦታ የላቸውም” በማለት ሰፈራውን የተቃወሙ ሁሉ እጅግ ከፍተኛ የሆነ የሰብዓዊ መብት ረገጣ እየደረሰባቸው እንደሚገኝ ጠቁሟል፡፡ ይህንን ግፍ የሚፈጽሙት ደግሞ የዓለም ባንክ ለመሠረታዊ አገልግሎት ጥበቃ ፕሮግራም (Protection of Basic Services “PBS Program”) ስም ለልማት እንዲውል ከሚሰጠው የዕርዳታ ገንዘብ በመንግሥት ተቀጥረው ደመወዝ የሚከፈላቸው ሠራተኞች መሆናቸውን ገልጾዋል፡፡

ይህንን ጉዳይ ከዓለም ባንክ ጋር እንዲነጋገሩላቸው Inclusive Development International (IDI) የተባለውን ድርጅት መወከላቸውን አስታውቀዋል፡፡(የደብዳቤው ሙሉ ቃል እዚህ ላይ ይገኛል)
ተመሳሳይ ጉዳዮችን በዓለምአቀፍ ደረጃ በመከታተልና በማስፈጸም የታወቀው IDI በመስከረም ወር አጋማሽ ላይ ጉዳዩ በቀጥታ ለሚመለከተው የመልሶ ማቋቋምና ልማት ዓለምአቀፍ ባንክና (International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD)) የዓለምአቀፍ ልማት ማኅበር (International Development Association (IDA)) ሥር ለሚገኘው የኢንስፔክተር ፓናል ባለ 18ገጽ ደብዳቤ ጽፏል፡፡ (የደብዳቤው ሙሉ ቃል እዚህ ላይ ይገኛል) ይህ የኢንስፔክተር ቡድን ከፍተኛ ሥልጣን ያለው መ/ቤት ሲሆን የዓለም ባንክ የሚሰጠውን ገንዘብ በትክክለኛ ቦታ ላይ አለመዋሉን በመጥቀስ ክስ የሚያቀርቡ ወገኖችን ጉዳይ በመከታተልና ቦታው ድረስ የራሱን ምርመራ በማካሄድ ውጤቱ ተግባራዊ እንዲሆን የባንኩን እጅ የማስጠምዘዝ ዓቅም ያለው እንደሆነ ከዚህ በፊት ያካሄዳቸው የምርመራ ውጤቶች ይጠቁማሉ፡፡

ይህ የመርማሪ ቡድን የቀረበለትን አቤቱታ መቀበሉንና በጉዳዩ ላይ የማንም ተጽዕኖ የማይደረግበትን የራሱን ምርመራ እንደሚያደርግ ከትላንት በስቲያ ባወጣው ባለ 8ገጽ መግለጫ ላይ አሳውቋል፡፡ ይህ የአቤቱታ ፋይል ቁጥር የተሰጠው ጉዳይ በግልባጭ ለባንኩ ፕሬዚዳንትና ለከሳሽ ተወካይ ድርጅት (IDI) እንዲደርስ ተደርጓል፡፡(የደብዳቤው ሙሉ ቃል እዚህ ላይ ይገኛል)
የጎልጉል የሰሜን አሜሪካ ዘጋቢ ባጠናከረው መረጃ መሠረት ቡድኑ ከያዝነው ዓመት የጥቅምት አጋማሽ በኋላ ወደ ምስራቅ አፍሪካ ያቀናል።

ቡድኑ ስደተኞቹ የሚገኙባቸውን፣ እንዲሁም ጉዳዩን በሚመለከት አስፈላጊ የሚላቸውን ቦታዎችና ግለሰቦች ሙሉ በሙሉ ያነጋግራል። ለስራው መሳካት የሚሆነውን ሁሉ በሚፈለግበት ቦታ በመገኘት በግንባር እንደሚያከናውን ለማወቅ ተችሏል።
በተለያየ ጊዜ ኢህአዴግ የሚፈጽመውን ግፍና በደል በማደራጀት ሥርዓቱ ላይ ከትጥቅ የጠነከረ ትግል ማካሄድ እንደሚቻል አስተያየት ሰጪዎች ተናግረዋል:: አያይዘውም በመላው አገሪቱ የሚፈጸመውን የሰብአዊ መብት ረገጣና የመብት ጥሰት በማሰባሰብ የኢህአዴግን የገንዘብ ምንጭ የማድረቅ፣ ብሎም በእርዳታ ገንዘብ የሚገነባቸውን የአፈና ተቋማት ማስለል እንደሚቻል አስታውቀዋል። ይህንን ታላቅ ስራ የሰሩትን አካላት ልምዳቸውን ለሌሎች በማካፈል አስፈላጊውን ስራ ሊሰሩ እንደሚገባም አሳስበዋል።

Salavation in worshiping Meles? His successors hope so — Economist

Friday, February 15th, 2013

Ruling Ethiopia

Long live the king

Ethiopia’s new leadership is practising hero-worship

The Economist

February 16, 2013

Meles_worship

DURING his two decades running Ethiopia, Meles Zenawi almost single-handedly engineered its rise from lost cause to model pupil. Even his enemies admit he was both popular and competent. Often working around the clock, he could make complex policy choices and then explain them to ordinary people. He planned meticulously for everything—from road building to oppressing the opposition—except, that is, for his own demise.

It came six months ago on August 20th, following illness at the age of 57, and left the state reeling. Meles, as he is known, had grabbed so much power that many feared his death would spark political chaos and an economic downturn. He alone had the trust of the soldiers, the financiers, the Ethiopian people and the West.

Instead of chaos, an eerie calm now hangs over the country. The old guard that once surrounded Meles, who hailed from the northern region of Tigray, remains in power. Winners of a 1980s civil war that toppled the dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam, the Tigrayans have held on to top security jobs. Meles’s widow, Azeb Mesfin, who for a few months refused to move out of the prime ministerial palace, still controls a state-affiliated conglomerate, EFFORT. The number of Tigrayans in the cabinet has shrunk but key posts remain in the hands of ageing loyalists, many of whom fought alongside Meles. Talk of “generational change” over the past few years was seemingly a charade.

One of the few exceptions is the relatively young prime minister, Mr Desalegn. The 47-year-old is an articulate and experienced administrator as well as a former water engineer who studied in Finland. But he lacks his predecessor’s charisma and shrewd policy instincts. Though a former deputy prime minister (and former foreign minister) he is not an insider. He is a Protestant in a predominantly Orthodox Christian nation (his first name means “the power of Mary”). He is also an ethnic Wolaytan in a government dominated by Tigrayans. Meles, his mentor, may have chosen him for that reason, either to weaken ethnic divisions or perhaps to guarantee that ultimate power remains with his northern brothers-in-arms.

As the new chairman of the EPRDF, Mr Desalegn may eventually attain sufficient control to reshape the ruling party, but only if he survives long enough. For the moment he seems to have little room to manoeuvre, lacking his own power base in the security forces. He has publicly pledged to continue his predecessor’s work “without any changes”.

Those who know him say he is more comfortable with capitalism than many of the leftists around him. He was never a Marxist, but nor does he have an alternative vision for the country. Few Ethiopians know his name, though he does well internationally; he was recently elected chairman of the African Union. “We want him to be a leader not a follower,” says a progressive Ethiopian who occasionally meets him, but doubts his authority.

In his first six months in power, the prime minister has announced few new policies. Reform efforts are frozen. Economic liberalisation has been postponed at least until after elections in 2015. Party leaders seem unsure how to survive without Meles. They govern on autopilot, following the blueprints he left behind. Conformity of thought is common and new ideas are seemingly unwelcome.

Meles was so central to the Ethiopian state that his followers are trying to keep him alive with a Mao-style cult of personality. Even months after his death, Addis Ababa is still plastered with bereavement posters. They cover entire sides of buildings and run for hundreds of metres along fences. Banners declare “we will continue your work” and “we will never forget you”. The body of the former prime minister is buried under a tall granite arch next to Holy Trinity Cathedral where Haile Selassie, the last Ethiopian emperor, is entombed. New propaganda tracts depict Meles as a selfless leader who sacrificed his life for his country. His party is trying to wring as much legitimacy as possible from his legacy. It may be too early to speak of a post-Meles era—even in death he is the country’s most visible politician.

The future could yet be difficult. Without the former prime minister’s zeal, authority and attention to detail, the system he created could founder. Vested interests once kept at bay may reassert themselves. Reform projects could not just stall but break down irreparably. The fight against corruption and for economic progress will slow. Officialdom is already adrift, unsure of which way to turn. Only when the grizzled Tigrayan bosses at last step down might a new generation of leaders return to the ambitious experimentation that was an essential ingredient in Meles’s success. A move to genuine democracy, which he talked about but never dared to try, remains far off.

Ethiopia’s leaders are confused. They hail Meles as their country’s uniquely brilliant leader but act as if they can govern just as he did.

ኢትዮጵያ፡ ከዚህ በኋላ ቀጣዩ ጉዟችን (ወይም መቆሚያችን) ወዴት ነው?

Friday, February 15th, 2013

ፕሮፌሰር ዓለማየሁ ገብረማርያም

ትርጉም ከነጻነት ለሃገሬ

በዴሞክራሲ የአንድነት ጎዳና ላይ?

በጁን 2012 ‹‹ኢትዮጵያ፡ በሕገ መንግስታዊ ዴሞክራሲ ጎዳና ላይ›› የሚል ጦማር አቅርቤ ነበር፡፡ ‹‹በርካታማ ሕበረሰቦች ከጭቆና ወደ ዴሞክራሲ ሽግግርን ሲያስቡና ሲንቀሳቀሱ፤ እንቅስቃሴያቸውን የሚገቱ በርካታ ፈተናዎች›› እንደገጠሟቸው በማስረጃ የተደገፉ ታሪካዊ እውነታዎችን ጠቅሼ ነበር:-

ከአረብ ‹‹መነሳሳት››ከታየው ልምድ በመነሳት ሕገ መንግስታዊ ቅድመ ውይይት እንደሚያስፈልግ ጠቁሜ አንዳንድ ሃሳቦችም ሰንዝሬ ነበር፡፡ በኢትዮጵያ የዴሞክራሲያዊ ሕገ መንግስት ፍለጋና የዴሞክራሲያዊ ሕገ መንግስት ግቡ ዙርያ ጥምጥም መንገድ፤ አድካሚና ተስፋ ሞጋች ይሆናል፡፡ይም ሆኖ የማይቻል አይደለም………..ግጭትን አስወግዶ ሰላማዊ ሽግግርን ተግባራዊ ለማድረግ፤ተፎካካሪ አለያም በተናጠል ያሉት ሁሉ በአንድ ላይ መስራት ይኖርባቸዋል፡፡ ይሄ ደግሞ በዋናው ግብ ላይስምምነትንና መቻቻልን መግባባትን ይጠይቃል፡፡ በዚህ የሽግግር ወቅት ሕዝባዊ የሲቪክ ማሕበረሰብን በአዲሱ ሕገ መንግስት ዙርያ ማስተማርን ያካትታል፡፡ የኢትዮጵያ ፖለቲካ ፓርቲዎች፤ ድርጅቶች፤ አመራሮች፤ ምሁራን፤ ሰብአዊመብት ተሟጋቾች፤ እና ሌሎችም የጉዳዩ አካላት፤ ስርአት ባለው ፕሮግራም ተካተው ትምህርትና አስተባብሮ ማሰለፍን መውሰድና ማዳረስ በዚህም ለዴሞክራሲ ሽግግር የሚጠቅመውን ሁሉ ተግባራዊ ማድረግ  ይኖርባቸዋል፡፡ ከጭቆና ስርአት ወደ ዴሞክራሲያዊ ስርአት ስኬታማ የሆነ ሂደት ለማድረግ ኢትዮጵያዊያን የመነጋገርንና የመመደራደርን ጥበብ ሊማሩ ይገባል…….››

እነሱ በታችኛው የጭቆና ጎዳና ላይ የኋሊት እየተዘወሩ ነው፤ እኛስ በዴሞክራሲ አውራጎዳና ላይ ወደፊት እየተጓዝን ነው?

ለአንዳንድ ሰዎች ለገዢዎች ባለስልጣኖች ወይንም ለመጪው እውነቱን መንገር ቀላል ነው፡፡ ያለምንም ችግር እነዚህን ስልጣንን አላግባብ የሚጠቀሙትን ጥፋት መስራታቸውንና ልክ አለመሆናቸውን ማሳወቅ፤ ጥፋታቸው ምን እንደሆነ፤ጥፋታቸውን እንዴት ማረም እንደሚችሉና ጥፋት ለፈጸሙባቸውም ትክክል በማደረግ ማሳረም አንደሚችሉ፡፡ ነገር ግን ‹‹ማንነታቸውን›› መለየት በማይቻልበት “ተቃዋሚዎች” እውነትን ማሳወቁ ቀላል አይደለም፡፡ ስለዚህም ላልታወቁት “ተቃዋሚዎች” ለማስረዳት ከሞመከር ይልቅ: “እነሱ በታችኛው  የጭቆና ጎዳና ላይ የኋሊት እየተዘወሩ ነው፤ እኛስ በዴሞክራሲ አውራጎዳና ላይ ወደፊት እየተጓዝን ነው? ከዚህ በኋላ ቀጣዩ ጉዟችን (ወይም መቆሚያችን) ወዴት ነው? የሚል ጥያቄ ማንሳት እመርጣለሁ፡፡ ይህን መሰሉ ጥያቄ መሰንዘር ያለበት ‹‹ለተቃዋሚ አመራሮች ነው››:: ግን ለጥቂትጊዜያትም እነዚህ አመራሮች እንማንናቸው እንማንስ አይደሉም በሚል ግራ መጋባት ውስጥ ነበርኩ፡፡

ባለፈው ሴፕቴምበር ‹‹የኢትዮጵያ ተቃዋሚዎች በዴሞክራሲ ማለዳ ወቅት?››  በሚል ርእስ አንድ ጦማር አቅርቤ ነበር፡፡ ድምጼን ከፍ አድርጌ (እስካሁን መልስ ባላገኝም) ‹‹በኢትዮጵያ ተቃዋሚው ማነው?›› ብዬ ጠይቄ ነበር፡፡ አሁንም ሆነ ያንጊዜ ግራ እንደተጋባሁ መሆኔን መናዘዝ እወዳለሁ፡፡ ‹‹በአግባቡ የተደራጀና የማያወላውል አስተማማኝ ተቃዋሚ ፓርቲ እንደሌለ እረዳለሁ:: አንድም ጠንካራና ግንባር የፈጠረ የህብረት ፓርቲ  የገዢውንመንግስት ፖለቲካም ሆነ ፍልስፍና የሚሞግት የለም፡፡ በምሑራን ግንባር ቀደምትነት የተቀናጀና የተጠናከረ አንድም ፓርቲ ያለ አይመስልም፡፡ ሁሉንም ሙያዎችና ማሕበራት፤ሃይማኖቶችን ያቀፈ የሲቪል ማሕበረሰብ ስብስብም የለም፡፡ ለወጥ ባለ አባባል፤ ‹‹ተቃዋሚው ያው ከዚህ በፊት እንደሚታወቀው ደካማ፤ ልፍስፍስ፤ ቅርጽ ያልወጣለት፤ ተጣምሮ አሁንም ከነድክመቱ፤ተከፋፍሎ፤ እርስ በርስ ለመናቆር የሚሽቀዳደሙትና ለገዢውፓርቲ የመጠናከርያና የግዛት ማራዘም አስተዋጽኦ የሚያደርጉት ናቸው? ያው አሁንም በማጉረምረም ብቻ ሰብአዊ መብትን ለማስከበር የሚጥሩት፤ የሲቪክ ማሕበረሰቡን የሚያደራጁት፤ጋዤጠኞች ተብዬዎቹ አገልጋዮች፤ እና ፈራ ተባ የሚሉት ምሁራን ናቸው? በመሳርያ ገዢውን ሃይል ገርስሰው የሚጥሉት ናቸው ተቃዋሚዎች? እራሱን በተቃዋሚነት ፈርጆና ሰይሞ ያስቀመጠችው/ው ሁሉ ናቸው ተቃዋሚዎች:  ወይስ ከላይ የተዘረዘሩት አንዳቸውም አይደሉም?

የመጨረሻዋን እንጥፍጣፊ ብሬን ለውርርድ የማቀርብበት ጉዳይ ግን የመለስ ዜናዊ አምላኪ ደቀመዝሙራን ከዚህ በኋላ ወዴት ወዴት ነው የምትሄዱት ቢባሉ ለማስረዳት አንዳችም ችግር የለባቸውም፡፡ በእርግጠኛነትም: ሰማይና መሬት ቢደበላለቁም፤ በመለስ ‹‹ዘልዓለማዊ አሸብራቂ ኮቴ ፈለግ›› እየተመራን አሸሸ ገዳሜያችንን እያስነካን፤ ጮቤ አየረገጥን የሀደሰና ግድብ ሥር የተቀበረልንን ወርቅ ለማፈስና በየዓመቱም 10. 12. 15 በመቶ የኤኮኖሚ እድገት እያልን ከፍ ከፍ ብለን በመብረር መንገዳችንን እንቀጥላለን ይሉናል……….›› እኔም የጉዞ አውራ ጎዳና ቀይሶ ወደ የህልም  መንገድ መሄዱ  ክእጅና እግርን አጣጥፎ ማፋጨት ለእናት ሃገር ከመቆዘሙይሻላል ባይ ነኝ፡፡

ለመሆኑ ጥያቄው ተቃዋሚ መሆን ወይም አለመሆን ነው እንዴ? በተቃዋሚ ጎራስ መሆን ማለት ምን ማለት ነው? በተቃዋሚ ጎራ ውስጥስ ለመካተት አንድ ሰው ምን ሊያከናውን ወይም ሊያደርግ ይገባዋል? ተቃዋሚ መሆንስ ገዢውን ፓርቲና በውስጡ የተካተቱትን በመሳደብ በማጥላላት፤ በመፎከር፤ጥርስ በመንከስ፤ ስልጣንን አለአግባብ የሚጠቀሙትን በመውቀስና በመተቸት በስድብ ላይ ስድብ መከመር ነው? ስልጣንን አለአግባብ የሚጠቀሙበትንስ በመቃወም በተቃውሟችን የሞራል የበላይነትስ ማግኘት? እነዚህን አለአግባብ ማንኛውንም ጉዳይ የሚጠቀሙበትን ያለ እቅድ ያለግብ መቃወምስ ተቃዋሚነት ነው?

በተደጋጋሚ እንዳስቀመጥኩት የመለስ እምነቱ ‹‹ተቃዋሚዎች እራሳቸውን ከሚያውቁት በላይ መለስ ተቃዋሚዎችን ማወቁ ነው››::

መለስ በተቃዋሚዎቹ ከምር የስቅባቸው ነበር፡፡ የተቃዋሚዎችን አመራሮች የእውቀታቸው ደረጃ ከሱ ታች አድርጎ ነበር የሚገምተው፡፡ባስፈለገው ወቅትና ጊዜ፤ ሊያፌዝባቸው፤ሃሳባቸውን ሊያጣጥል፤ ሊበልጣቸው፤ማንም ከማንማ ሳይል ሊያላግጥባቸው እንደሚችል ያምን ነበር፡፡እርባና ቢስ ብሎ ስለሚያስባቸው፤ ለስልጣኑ አስጊና ተቀናቃኝ ይሆናሉ የሚል ስጋት አልነበረውም፡፡ በሚያደርጋቸው ሕዝባዊ ዲስኩሮቹ ሁሉ እንዳፌዘባቸው፤ እንዳዋረዳቸው፤መሳቂያ መሳለቂያ ሊደርጋቸው እንደሞከር ነበር፡፡ ተቃዋሚዎቹን የዕለት ተዕለት ክትትልና ቁጥጥር  ከጥፋታቸው እንዲመለሱም ቁንጥጫና ትንሽም በሳማ ለብ ለብ እንደሚያስፈልጋቸው ጨቅላ ሕጻናት ነበር የሚያያቸው፡፡ እንደእውነቱ ከሆነም ባለፉት የግዛት ዘመኑ መለስ ተቃዋሚዎቹን እንዳለውም በሁሉም መልኩ ቀድሟቸው በልጧቸው፤ ቀልዶባቸው፤ መሳቂያ አድረጓቸው ነበር፡፡አሁንም የመለስ ደቀመዝሙሮችና እሱ የፈጠራቸው በፈጠረላቸው ብቻ የሚመሩት የራሳቸው የሆነ አንዳችም ነገር የሌላቸው ‹‹ሰብ ግዑዛን›› በመራቸው መንገድ የውርየድንብራቸውን ለመጓዝ ነው እቅዳቸው፡፡

‹‹ተቃዋሚዎች›› አሁን የት ናቸው? 

ምናልባት በኢትዮጵያ ያሉትን ‹‹ተቃዋሚዎች›› ከእንግዲህ ጉዟችን ወዴት ነው የሚለውን ጥያቄ ማንሻ ጊዜው አማካኝ ላይሆን ይችላል፡፡ይልቁንስ አሁን ተቃዋሚዎች የት አሉ (የትም የሉም) የሚለውን መጠየቁ አግባብ ሊሆን ይችላል፡፡ ለኔ አመቺው ነጥብ፤‹‹ተቃዋሚው በአሁኑ ጊዜ፤ ወደ በቃኝ፤ አጉራህ ጠኛኝ፤ ወደ ተስፋ መቁረጡ፤ ወደ መሳቀቁ፤  ገለል ወደ ማለቱ ነው፡፡ ‹‹ተቃዋሚውን›› እንደተደገመበት አይነት ፈዝዞ ስልጣንን አለአግባብ ተከተለ ነው ማለት እችላለሁ፡፡ ‹‹ተቃዋሚው›› ደህንነት ያጣ፤ አጀንዳ ቢስ፤ አቅመ ቢስ፤ አቅጣጫ ቢስ፤ ራዕይ የሌሌለው ሆኖ ነው የሚታየኝ፡፡ ‹‹ተቃዋሚው›› ግራ የተጋባ፤ ተሸመድምዶ ያለ ነው፡፡ በአንድ ወቅት ‹‹ተቃዋሚው›› አንድ ላይ የሆነበት፤ በአንድ የቆመበት፤ጠላትን በአንድ ላይ የተጋፈጠበት፤እና በአንድ ላይ ለወህኒ የበቃበትም ጊዜ ነበር፡፡ የ2005 ምልሰት! ያኔ ‹‹ተቃዋሚው›› የዘርን፤ የጎሳን፤ የሃይማኖትን፤ የቋንቋን፤ የዓላማን እና ሌሎችንም ልዩነቶች ወደ ጎን አሽቀንጥሮ ጥሎ ለነጻነትና ለዴሞክራሲ በአንድነት የቆመበት ወቅት ነበር፡፡ ያ ራዕይ ደግሞ ተቃዋሚዎችን በወንድማማችነትና እህትማማችነት መንፈስ አስተሳሰራቸው፡፡ ‹‹ተቃዋሚው›› አንድ ሆኖ መለያየትን ትቶ በቅንጅት፤ ውስጣዊ መቆራቆስን በመተው ሊከፋፍሉትና ሊያለያዩትበሚጥሩት ላይ በአንድነት ቆሞ አሸነፋቸው፡፡

ባለፉት ሰባት ዓመታት፤ ‹‹የተቃዋሚዎች›› የነጻነትና የዴሞክራሲ ራዕይ ቀስ በቀስ ባለመግባባትና በመወነጃጀል እየከሰመ ሄዷል፡፡በተቃዋሚው ጎራ መወያየት በመነታረክ ተተክቷል፤ ተግባርም ወደ ባዶነት፤ ሕብረት ወደመለያየት፤ መቀናጀት ወደ ግላዊነት፤ መሰባሰብ ወደ መለያየት፤ መፈቃቀር ወደ መጠላላት፤ መቻቻል ወደ አለመግባባት ተለውጧል፡፡ ‹‹ተቃዋሚው›› ለውጥን ይፈልጋል:: በለውጡም ኢትዮጵያን ከጭቆና በማላቀቅ የዴሞክራሲ ባለቤት ሊያደርጋትይመኛል፡፡ ግን ዶክተር ማርቲን ሉተር ኪንግ ጁንየር እንዳሉት፤ ‹‹ለውጥ በመንኮራኩር ተጭኖ የማይቀር ነገር አይደለም: ሊገኝ አይችልም፤በማያቋርጥ የነጻነት ትግል እንጂ፡፡ ወገባችንን ጠበቅ አድርገን ለነጻነታችን መጣር አለብን፡፡ ወገብህ ለመጥ ካላለ ጠላትህ ሊጋልብህ አይችልም… ከልምድ እንዳየነው ጨቋኝ ገዢ ነጻነትን በፍቃደኛነት አይሰጥምበተጨቋኞች መገደድ ይኖርበታል››

የኢትዮጵያ ‹‹ተቃዋሚ›› ሃይሎች፤ ወገቡን ጠበቅ አድርጎና ጥርሱን ነክሶ ፍላጎቱን ማሳወቅና ማግኘት አለበት፡፡ ወገብን ማጥበቂያዎች በርካታ መንገዶች አሉ፡፡ስለሰብአዊ መብት መከበር መናገርና፤ ገዢዎች የሚያደርሱትን በደል ግፍና ጭቆና መናገርም ወገብን ማጠንከር ነው፡፡ ጥፋቶች መስተካከል እንዳለባቸው መሞገትም ቀበቶን ማጥበቅ ነው፡፡ በእኩዮች ፊት ዓይን መግለጥና የተደፈነ ጆሮን እንዲሰማ ማድረግ ጠንክሮ መቆም ነው፡፡ ለማንም ቢሆን አግባብነት ከሌለው አሻፈረኝ ማለት መቻል ብርታት ነው፡፡ ለገዢ ባለስልጣናት ስህተታቸውን ማሳወቅ ጥንካሬ ነው፡፡ ዶ/ር ኪንግ እንዳሉት ‹‹የፍፁምነት ሕግ አለያም ምሉዕ ሕግ ከሰው ሰራሽ ደንብ ጋር የሚጣጣም የሞራል ሕግ ወይም የፈጣሪ ሕግ ነው፡፡ ሕጋዊነት ያጣ ሕግ ደሞ ከሞራላዊ ሕግ ጋር የማይጣጣም ነው::››  በጃንዋሪ 2011 ሳምንታዊ የሆነ ጦማር ‹‹ከአፍሪካ ጨቋኝና ግፈኛ ገዢዎች ውድቀት በኋላ›› አቅርቤ የሚከተሉትን ጥያቄዎች አንስቼ ነበር፡፡‹‹በአሸዋ የተገነባው የፈላጭ ቆራጭ ገዢዎች ግንብ ሲደረመስና የቅዠት ቤተ መንግስታቸው ፍርስረሱ ሲወጣ አፍሪካ ምን ትሆናለች? አፍሪካ መላቅጡ የጠፋ ትሆንና መልሶ ለመገንባት የምታስቸግር ፍርስራሽ ትሆናለች? የፈላጭ ቆራጮቹስ መጨረሻስ ምን ይሆናል?

ባለፈው በጋ ወራት ያለፈው የጨቋኞች ስርአት ገንቢው መለስ ዜናዊ ካለፈ በኋላ በኢትዮጵያ ያለው የጭቃ ግንብ መስፋፋትን እያስመሰከረ ነው:: የታሪክ ሚስጥራዊነት ግን አሁን ያለው ጥያቄ እኩይ ገዢዎች ላለፉት ሁለት አሰርት ዓመታት ሊያደርጓት እንደሞከሩትና ኢትዮጵያ ትፈራርሳለች ወይስ ትጠነክራለች የሚለው አይደለም፡፡ እነዚያ ለኢትዮጵያና ኢትዮጵያዊያን ቀና ማሰብ የሚጎመዝዛቸው የእርኩስ መናፍስት ስሪቶች ከሚያመልኩትና አንቀጥቅጦ ሲያምሳቸው ከነበረው የቅዠት ሳጥን ሞት በኋላ እርስ በርሳቸው ወደ ፍርስራሽነት በመንደርደር ላይ

ናቸው፡፡ ባለሕልም እንጀራቸው ሲሞት የነሱም እንጀራቸው እያረረና እየሻገተ ነው፡፡ አባባሉ እንደሚያስረዳው‹‹በዕውራን አምባ አንድ አይና ብርቅ ነው›› አሁን እንግዲህ አይነ ብርሃናቸው የለም ከዚሁ ጋርም በራሳቸው ጥፋት፤ ተንኮል፤ ድክመትና መሰሪነት የሚይዙት የሚጨብጡት ጠፍቷቸው በመደነባበር ላይ ናቸው፡፡

አሁን ‹‹አጣዳፊው ጉዳይ›› ኢትዮጵያዊያን ተቃዋሚ መሪዎች ለዴሞክራሲ ያላቸውን እቅዳቸውንና ራዕያቸውን በአስቸኳይ ማዘጋጀት ነው፡፡ኢትዮጵያዊያን የሰብአዊ መብት ተሟጋቾች በሕግ የበላይነት የሚመራ ሕብረተሰብ ለመፍጠር ራዕያቸውን ማቀድ ያለባቸው አሁን ነው፡፡ኢትዮጵያዊያን የተቃዋሚ መሪዎችም የመገናኛ መረቦቻቸውን በጥንቃቄና በእርጋታ በመዘርጋት ከየአቅጣጫው ያለውን የሕብረተሰብ ክፍል በማሰባሰብና በመረቡ ግለሰቦችንም ሆነ ማሕበረሰቡን፤ በአንድ የማሰለፉ ወቅት አሁን ነው፡፡ ከጭቆና አገዛዝ ወደ ዴሞክራሲያዊ ስርአት የሚደረገውን ሽግግር ምሁራን ማመቻቸት ያለባቸው አሁን ነው፡፡ ሁሉም ነጻነትና ዴሞክራሲን የሕግ የበላይነትን የሚፈልግ ሁሉ አሁን ነው በአንድ ላይ ለመቆም ስምምነታቸውን ይፋ በማድረግ መንቀሳቀስ ያለባቸው፡፡ ካለፈው የግፍ ሰንሰለት ማነቆ እራሳችንን ማለቀቂያው ጊዜ አሁን ነው፡፡ ለሁሉም የኢትዮጵያ ልጆች ስንል የተጫነብንን የዘርና የጎሳ ፖለቲካ አሽቀንጥረን መጣያው ወቅት አሁን ነው፡፡ ለብሔራዊ አንድነት መቆሚያና መሰባሰቢያችን አሁን ነው፡፡ ለሃቅና ለይቅር ባይነት መወሰኛችን አሁን ነው፡፡ እራሳችንን ከጭቆና እኩይ ምግባርተኞች አላቀን፤ሰብአዊ ክብራችንን የምናረጋግጥበት ጊዜ አሁን ነው፡፡ አሁን እርስ በርስ የመወነጃጀያና የመለያያ የጣት መቀሰርያ የእልህ መወጫና የእርስ በርስ መናቆሪያ ወቅት አይደለም፡፡ አሁን እስቲ ይሁና በማለት አፋችንን የምንለጉምበት ጊዜ አይደለም፡፡ አሁን አይናችን እያየ አላይም የሚልበት ጊዜ አይደለም:: ጆሯችን አሁን አይደለም አልሰማም ማለት ያለበት ሊከፈት ሊያዳምጥ ሊሰማ የግድ ወቅቱ ነውና፡፡

ከዚህስ በኋላ ጉዟችን ወዴት ነው? ከዚህ በኋላ የራሴን ጥያቄ እኔ አጠር አጠር እያደረግሁ ለመመለስ እሞክራለሁ፡፡ ተቃዋሚው ሃይል ዴሞክራሲያዊ አስተዳደርን ለመምራት በጎዳናው ላይ መሆን አለበት፡፡ በቅድመ ዴሞክራሲ ጭቆና የነበረችውን ኢትዮጵያን ለመገንባት

ተቃዋሚው ሃይል የዴሞክራሲ ድርጊት እቅዱን በአግባቡ መንደፍ አለበት፡፡ ዋነኛው ካለፉት ሰባት ዓመታት ልንማርና መስወገድ ያለብን ለመቃወም በሚል ብቻ ዝም ብሎ መቃወም መቃወም መቃወም ያለግብና ዓላማ ሊሆን አይችልም፡፡ የተቃዋሚዎች ሚና በስልጣናቸው የሚባልጉትን መቃወም ከሚለው ባለፈ ሊሆን ይገባል፡፡ የተቃዋሚዎች ድርሻ በሃገሪቱ ላይ በሚመሰረተው ዴሞክራሲያዊ ስርአት እቅድና ራዕይ ላይ መሆን ይኖርበታል፡፡ የጨቋኞች የተጠያቂነትን ጉዳይ ሰምተው እንዳልሰሙ ሊያስመስሉ ይጥራሉ::  ያ ምንም ማለት አይደለም፡፡ ዋናው ነገር ተጠያቂነትን መቼ አምነውይቀበላሉ ነው፡፡ ለተቃዋሚዎች ጨቋኞች ያደረሱትን ግፍና በደል መቁጠርና በዚያ ላይ ማላዘኑ በቂ አይደለም፡፡ ተግባራዊ እንቅስቃሴ በአግባቡ በጥንቃቄ ታስበበትና ተመክሮበት ሊወጣ የግድ ነው፡፡

እንደ መግቢያ ተቃዋሚው ስለተጠያቂነትና ግልጽነት ጥርት ያለ አቋሙን ለሕዝቡ በማያዳግምና በማያወላዉል መልኩ ማስቀመጥ አለበት፡፡ለምሳሌ ስር ሰዶ ኢትዮጵያንና ሕዘቦቿን እየቦረቦረ በማጥፋት ላይ ያለውን የጨቋኞች ስሪት የሆነውን ሙስና ለማጥፋት ተቃዋሚዎች ምን ለማድረግ ነው ያቀዱት፡፡ የዓለም ባንክ በጥንቃቄ የተዳሰሰ 448 ገጽ ያለው ዘገባ ኢትዮጵያ በዓለም አሉ ከሚባሉት በሙስና የዘቀጡ ሃገሮች አንዷ እንደሆነች አስነብቧል፡፡ ከተቃዋሚ ድርጅቶች መሪዎችም አለያም ከአባሎቻቸው ይህን ዘገባ ምን ያህሉ እንዳነበቡት አለያም በሙስናና በብክነት ላይ የራሳቸውን ዳሰሳ እንዳደረጉ መናገር ባልችልም፤ ይህን ዘገባ ያነበበ ማንም ቢሆን በኢትዮጵያ ውስጥ ስላለው ስር የሰደደ የሙስና ነቀርሳ ጥርጣሬ ሊኖረው አይችልም፡፡

ለሥልጣን ለሚበቃው እውነትን ማሳወቅ 

ይህ የጻፍኩት አንዳንዶቹን ሊያበሳጫቸው ሌሎቹን ደሞ ሊያንድዳቸው ይችላል፡፡ ብዙዎችን ደግሞ የሚያበረታታቸውና ጠንካራና ደፋር እርምጃ ነው እንደሚሉ እርግጠኛ ነኝ፡፡ አንዳንድ አቃቂር አውጪዎች እኔ በምቾት ፈረሴ ላይ ተኮፍሼ ‹‹ተቃዋሚውን እንደተሳደብኩ አድርገው በመውሰድ ምላሳቸውን ሊሰብቁ ይቃጣታቸው ይችላል፡፡ ተቃዋሚውን እያዳከምኩና ዝቅ አድርጌ እየተመለከትክ ነው ሊሉኝ ይችላሉ፡፡ሌሎችም የተቃዋሚውን ሚና አጋነንክ ሊሉ ይችላሉ፡፡ ከዚህ ባለፈም ለ‹‹ተቃዋሚዎች›› ባደረጉት መስዋእትነትና እኔ ከማደርገው በበለጠ ለሰብአዊ መብት መሟገታቸውን በማሳነስ የሚገባቸውን ከበሬታ አልሰጠሃቸውም ነፍገሃቸዋል ሊሉኝም ይችላሉ፡፡ እኔ የማደርገው ጨቋኝ የሆኑት አምባገነን ገዢዎች ከሚያደርጉት ጋር ተመሳሳይ ነው ሊሉም ይዳዳቸዋል፡፡ እኔ በተመቻቸ የምሁር ወንበሬ ላይ ተቀምጬ ያለሁ የተቃዋሚዎች ተግባርና አካሄድ ሊገባህ አይችልም ብለው ሊወቅሱኝ ይችላሉ፡፡ የሆነውይሁን!

ምንም እንኳን እነዚህ አባባሎች አቅጣጫ ማስለወጫ ቢሆኑም ሁላችንም ‹‹በተቃዋሚ›› ጎራ ነን የምንል ሁሉ ልንመልሳቸው የሚያስፈልጉን ሁለት ጥያቄዎች አሉ፡፡ ጨቋኞችና አምባገነን እኩዮች በጨቋኞች ጎዳና ላይ እንደግመልሽንት የኋሊት እየተዘወሩ ነው እኛስ በዴሞክራሲ አውራ ጎዳና ላይ ወደፊት አየገሰገስን ነው? የተቃዋሚው ጎራ ከ2005ቱ ከነበረበት ሁኔታ ዛሬ በተሸለ ደራጃ ላይ ነው?

*የተቶረገመው ጽሁፍ (translated from):

http://open.salon.com/blog/almariam/2013/02/10/ethiopia_where_do_we_go_or_not_go_from_here

(ይህን ጦማር ለሌሎችም ያካፍሉ::) ካሁን በፊት የቀረቡ የጸሃፊው ጦማሮችን  ለማግኘት እዚህ ይጫኑ::

http://www.ecadforum.com/Amharic/archives/category/al-mariam-amharic

http://ethioforum.org/?cat=24

 

Eruk Misraq – Hanna Girma

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

The incredible Hanna Girma

የወያኔ ሀረካት

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

የ አቤ ቶኪቻው መልስ ለወያኔ ፕሮፓጋንዳ

Abe Tkoichaw’s response to Woyane theatrics in defaming Ethiopian Muslims

Doing business with dictators is high risk — a warning to Indian investors

Monday, February 11th, 2013

Obang Metho’s presentation to the National Press Club of India

February 5, 2013

Press Club

 

I would like to give a special thank you to the Centre For Social Development (CSD) in association with Indian Social Action Forum (INSAF), Popular Education and Action Centre (PEACE), and The Oakland Institute for inviting me to this important discussion on “Indian Agriculture Investments in Ethiopia: A Boon or a Bane—the reality on the ground and its human rights implications.”

To start with, you may not realize but this open discussion would never take place in Ethiopia for it is a country where speaking the truth can land you in prison alongside some of the most courageous voices for freedom in the country. Ethiopia and its neighbor, Eritrea, are the worst jailers of journalists on the African continent so if you wonder why much of the debate on land investments in Ethiopia is being carried on in New Delhi and other countries in the world, it is for fear of becoming another casualty to this repressive regime.

Few dare speak out within Ethiopia. However, we on the outside have many direct pipelines of communication to our people within Ethiopia—they are our family members, our former classmates, colleagues and community members. On-the-ground investigations have gathered the evidence, testimony and documentation of the truth that would otherwise be covered up by a regime expert in duplicity and propaganda.

For your information, my name is Obang Metho and I am the executive director of the Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia (SMNE). I am coming here to speak to you as a person, as a fellow human being first, as an African and as an Ethiopian. I am representing the people of my country who just want to live like everyone else; having their basic needs met, like for food and shelter. This can apply to every human being in any part of the world, but in Africa, the struggle for the basics is not just about weather, floods or famine, it is about freedom.

According to the 2012 Index of Freedom[i], a study completed yearly by Freedom House, 88% of all Africans are not free or are only partially free.[ii] Food insecurity is more about freedom than any other factor. According to the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), one out of three persons in sub-Saharan Africa is undernourished and according to the African Human Development Report of 2012,[iii] hunger in Africa is the highest in the world; yet, it is said to possess some of the most fertile agricultural land in the world.

It is also one of the richest and most untapped continents in terms of natural resources; but yet it is at the bottom of every index of human development[iv] and overall wellbeing. These are the concerns of the SMNE.

The SMNE is a grassroots social justice movement of the people who are seeking freedom, an end to the widespread perpetration of human rights abuses, the restoration of justice and the reconciliation of its people. Africa is a rich continent, capable of becoming a source of prosperity not only for its own people, but also for others in our global society. It does not have to remain malnourished, chronically hungry, in chaos and victimized by its own African strongmen and their cronies.

Instead, the rights of the people must be respected and the wellbeing of all Ethiopians promoted, regardless of ethnicity, religion, political view, gender, or other distinctions. The SMNE’s core goals are not only to advocate for the rights of the people, but to also empower the people through embracing principles which can build a freer, more just, healthier, more caring and more productive society.

One of these core principles is putting “humanity before ethnicity” or any other differences because of the God-given value of every human being. A second core principle is that “no one will be free until all are free”, meaning that freedom, justice, equality, opportunity or peace cannot come only to a few and be sustainable; it must be enjoyed by all if we are to have a harmonious and well-functioning global society.

This applies directly to today’s topic of Indian agricultural investments in Ethiopia. How these principles are upheld will make all the difference as to whether such investments are a “boon or a bane” to the stakeholders—the people, the investors, the countries involved and our world. I want to be clear; with the right protections, most Ethiopians are pro-development, pro-investment and pro-foreign partnerships in Ethiopia. The only ones leaving themselves behind in this fast-moving world—where there are smart-phones, new technologies constantly emerging and where with the click of a mouse you can do business with partners on the other side of the globe—are countries where dictators try to cut off their people from the rest of the world. 

The same thing is true of the economy where autocrats want to hijack all business opportunities for their own interests while blocking their own citizens from entering the global market for fear their people will become too powerful and turn against them. There is no better example of this than in Ethiopia where the media and technology are so tightly controlled by the government that it has made Ethiopia one of the least “connected” countries in all of Africa and the world.

In Ethiopia, Internet usage is 0.5%, is seven times behind the African average with the government being the only provider; limiting access and monitoring use. Internet sites have been blocked like our own until only recently.[v] The rate of mobile phone usage (5%) is 20 times less than leading African countries and even lower than war-torn Somalia. The government is the only provider. The rate of fixed land phones is 1%.

The single radio station and TV station are owned and operated by the government. They have admitted jamming broadcasts from other countries, like the Voice of America. It is not me, or others who are speaking about social justice, who want the people left behind, but it is the government and its cronies who use foreign investment to capture the economic benefits and to shore up their power while excluding the people.

As a result, the economy might grow, but income disparities are exponentially increasing, something that could be reversed with private land ownership, the rule of law and a free market; instead, Ethiopian land grabs may worsen hunger and poverty.

Right now, Ethiopia is one of the most unlivable and backward places on earth, depending on significant amounts of food aid from other countries for millions of its people to survive. Instead of empowering their own people, the Ethiopian regime, in power for over 21 years, maintains its hegemony—domination of a minority over the majority—by using strategies to divide and conquer the people based on ethnicity, tribalism, religion, politics and regional background.

This is what has gone wrong in Africa and is being practiced in Ethiopia. Now, allow me to give some historical background to today’s topic by sharing with you the current Ethiopian government’s own strategic plan from 1993, which has not been seen by most people, in order to better describe what has been going on for the 21 years of their rule and continues to be in play. It may help to explain how it all came about and how investors in these land grabs are simply pawns to be used in TPLF/EPRDF’s plan to control Ethiopia and all of its resources rather than empowering the people.

The current regime devised a master plan when they first came to power. It was allegedly an 86-page strategic plan, written in June of 1993, which laid out the TPLF/EPRDF’s strategies of Marxist-Leninist influenced “revolutionary democracy” to gain and maintain perpetual power and control of all of Ethiopia giving them full reign to pillage the country of its resources with impunity. That plan, “TPLF/EPRDF’s Strategies for Establishing its Hegemony & Perpetuating Its Rule,” has been closely followed, with alarming success, since that time and is a central “how-to” manual for all its cadres up until today. The document in a condensed form is available online. Here is the link to that document:   http://www.enufforethiopia.net/pdf/Revolutionary_Democracy_EthRev_96.pdf[vi]

For clarity, the word hegemony, coming from Marxist-Leninist philosophy, is the concept where the ruling class imposes or forces upon the population the regime’s values or ideology so that what the people believe they are agreeing to—as a result of their own beliefs—is in reality in the interest of the ruling class. It is all about brain-washing, propaganda and a system of rewards for the cooperative and punitive consequences for those who dare to challenge them.  Words are redefined to mean something completely different.  Illustrations are rampant in regards to today’s land grabs.  For example, the forced eviction of the people from their land is denied, instead calling it “voluntary resettlement” in order to access better services. Land grabbing is called “development” and those against it are called “anti-development.”

To better understand who is running Ethiopia today and the nature of those signing these land deals with Indian investors, let me back up a bit. In June 1991, the Tigrayan Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF) and the Eritrean Peoples’ Liberation Front (EPLF) with the help of other ethnic-based armed groups in Ethiopia overthrew the dictatorship of pro-Soviet Mengistu Hailemariam. Shortly thereafter, the EPLF broke off from Ethiopia, becoming an independent country. The agreement left Ethiopia landlocked, but it gave the TPLF unchallenged control of Ethiopia.

The TPLF was an armed rebel group that emerged as a result of the harsh treatment of the Mengistu regime towards Tigrayans as well as towards other Ethiopians. They were Marxist-Leninist in ideology and had been classified as a terrorist group by the US State Department; however, early on they realized in order to succeed they had to align with the west in order to achieve their goals in a post-Cold War society.

To gain the support of the U.S. and other democratic countries, the TPLF superficially adopted the language, institutions and structures of a democracy but it was only a thin veneer meant to dupe the west into providing them legitimacy and financial aid. Underneath, the TPLF never changed its colors.

The same Marxist-Leninist ideology they had ruthlessly followed in the bush remained their modus operandi on the ground. The only real difference was the level of deception they practiced to maintain their democratic pretenses. The former Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi, who just died in August of 2012, was called “a new breed of African leader” by the west while earning the nickname of the “silent killer” within Ethiopia due to the two-sided nature of this regime. It was all very calculated from the beginning.  Here are some of their major goals as per their strategic plan:

  1. To gain hegemony: This goal continues today and includes staying in power by any means; preferring secretive measures to avoid the risk of losing international supports from west. Elections have been fixed. In 2005, more political space was given but when the opposition rose up, it shocked the regime and they quickly claimed victory. When people protested, the regime killed 194 peaceful protestors. Tens of thousands were detained. Since then, the regime has closed all political space. In 2010, the elections were rigged. The TPLF/EPRDF declared themselves a 99.6% electoral victory; winning all but one of the 547 seats in parliament.

 

Here is a quote from their 1993 plan: “We can attain our objectives and goals only if Revolutionary Democracy becomes the governing outlook in our society, and only by winning the elections successively and holding power without let up can we securely establish the hegemony of Revolutionary Democracy. If we lose in the elections even once, we will encounter a great danger. So in order to permanently establish this hegemony, we should win in the initial elections and then create a conducive situation that will ensure the establishment of this hegemony. In the subsequent elections, too, we should be able to win without interruption.”[vii]

 

  1. Assess strategic regions for resources:

Part of the strategic plan to shore up its power was to build up its financial resources by identifying “strategic places” within the country with potential. They stated: “They [the TPLF/EPRDF regime] should make it their primary objective to monopolize rural credit services throughout Ethiopia and mobilize their resources to this end. They should also select strategic places and, in accordance with local conditions, be highly involved in rural transport, wholesale trade, import/export, rural banking services, production of agricultural raw materials, manufacture of fertilizer and other modern agricultural inputs. Some of these, such as wholesale trade and transport, should be extended to urban areas, too. They should establish banks, insurance companies, small-scale industries and service cooperatives in the urban areas.  They should also invest in mining.”[viii]

In 1995-1996, studies of strategic resources were initiated in twelve regions of Ethiopia.  I was able to gain access to a copy of the study completed on the Gambella [southwestern] region called: “Baro-Akobo River Basin Integrated Development Master Plan Project.[ix] It is thousands of pages in length. In its Executive Summary it describes its purpose and breadth: “…the findings of the Baro-Akobo River Basin Integrated Development Master Plan Project in south-western Ethiopia, [was] one of twelve such Master Plans commissioned by the Government of Ethiopia to assess the development potential of water, natural, and social resources over the entire country.”

The study was undertaken by two consulting firms,[x] one from the US and the other from the UK. This comprehensive study “…presents a recommended Master Plan for development and a series of pre-feasibility studies of high-priority water resources projects.”

Within the report, the consultants suggest nearly the opposite of what is going on today, which only gives further evidence that from the very beginning, the TPLF/EPRDF never meant to follow their recommendations as to how to include the people.  They suggested:

  • Replacing the command economy with a free market economy
  • Enhancing popular participation
  • Transforming the existing economic structure
  • Prioritizing farming
  • Strengthening links between agriculture and industry
  • Increasing the availability of foreign exchange

The reasons they state for selecting this agriculture-led industrialization strategy is that it would:

  • Have, as its focus, the bulk of the population
  • Constitute a basis for the task of structural transformation; and
  • Lay the foundation for self sufficiency.

The region was identified as a region with great agricultural promise and the study gave detailed recommendations for what kinds of crops would be best suited for which areas of southwestern Ethiopia and how they might be irrigated. Two other earlier studies by others contributed to their findings. Other studies, some done later, identified the availability of oil, gold and other minerals.

Within the TPLF plan for hegemony included the objectives that they should create a favorable working environment which would facilitate the participation of those individuals [cronies] with “a strong revolutionary democratic outlook [who would] play a crucial role in facilitating development; and that [these proponents of revolutionary democracy] should control these [spheres of economic activity] although outside the direct influence or control of the State and hold an upper hand in their processes.” In other words, control of the resources and economy were to be given to the TPLF/ERPDF and their supporters even while appearing to be independent of them.

Needless to say, the opportunities for resource and economic development were never opened up to the people in the Gambella region as well as in other regions in Ethiopia. Instead, the people of the region, particularly the leaders who demanded local involvement, as per the Ethiopian Constitution and international indigenous land laws, became the “obstacles” to TPLF hegemony over the resources.

  1. 3.     Reduce Resistance to Hegemony by the TPLF by Disempowering the People: Methods
    1. The TPLF/EPRDF started early on to marginalize and disenfranchise the people of Ethiopia. One of the primary tactics was not allowing private ownership of the land, which was kept under the control of the TPLF/ERPDF.
    2. b.     A second tactic was to prevent the people from knowing their political rights and by keeping them in “survival mode.”

 

  1. Thirdly, the TPLF/EPRDF, in its plan, commits to using propaganda, infiltration and “filling the bellies and pockets” of its supporters and conversely “emptying the bellies and pockets of those in opposition to us.[xi] Today, the regime has taken control over all institutions, the military, the justice system and developed laws to criminalize dissent—Charities and Societies Proclamation[xii] and Anti-Terrorism[xiii] laws to punish dissenters.
  2. Impede education, development, health, clean water, technology, modernization, telecommunications, etc. In the Gambella region, with a population of over a half a million people, no investment was made in almost any area. This includes no agricultural investment despite its potential. Additionally, Gambella has no university, no hospital except one with no running water and few schools. Clean water is unavailable in most areas.
  3. The TPLF/EPRDF made certain to control the regional government and local groups in all the decision-making (by controlling elections, establishing regional/local puppets, control of civil society, religious groups, use of propaganda, manipulating the justice system, using punitive measures or perks/bribes to their advantage—this includes promoting or denying jobs, educational opportunities and business opportunities. This applies to all regions of Ethiopia except the Tigray region.
  4. f.      Promote division between groups through infiltration and manipulation to disempower groups of people. Use of force, intimidation, arrests, detention, prison, and even withholding food aid, access to seed, fertilizers, and other kinds of aid has been used to maintain control and force party membership.
  5. In September of 2003, a high-level meeting took place in the office of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi where plans called, “Operation Sunny Mountain” were made that later were carried out in the genocide of the Anuak that began on December 13, 2003.  It was proceeded by the disarmament of the Anuak months earlier. Four-hundred twenty-four Anuak were massacred in three days, followed by over 1500 more over the next few years, all related to the drilling for oil on indigenous Anuak land. Both wells drilled by a Chinese oil company, under contract to Petronas of Malaysia, were dry. A secretive contract allegedly incurred a million dollar penalty on the TPLF/EPRDF if any of its employees were killed.  The regime used brutal oppression to suppress the population. Ethiopian troops and militia groups burned homes and crops.  Equipment, machinery and cars were confiscated.  Health clinics were destroyed. Supplies were pilfered. Desks in schools were used for firewood. Wells were destroyed. The intent was to make life so unbearable for the people that they would die, leave as refugees and expend all their energy to simply survive rather than to demand their rights.
  6. US Ambassador to Ethiopia, Aurelia Brazeal, called for an investigation of the massacre and human rights abuses perpetrated in Gambella and the increasing threat to indigenous people like the Anuak. She said that Gambella was one of the regions that was “the conscience of Ethiopia, being the potential breadbasket of Ethiopia in addition to all its other vast resources.” She inferred that this was the reason behind the killing and human rights violations against the Anuak.

 

  1. 4.     Allure foreign investors: as per the TPLF/EPRDF Strategic Plan [xiv]
    1. a.     “Create a situation in which the foreign investor will be induced to invest in joint ventures with the State.”
    2. b.     Never allow foreign investors access to involvement in basic services such as financial services, banking, insurance, telephone, electricity, train transport, etc.
    3. c.      “Use fiscal instruments to deny or provide incentives and create the necessary investment conditions”

i.     For example, promise financial incentives like tax breaks, low rents, no rent for first years, supports like providing security free of charge, etc.

                                    ii.     “Pile up tax burdens on those TPLF does not support” or “pressure them with legal instruments to toe the line.”

  1. d.     Use foreign investors to develop local capacity, unachievable without foreign direct investment capital
  2. e.      When achieved goals, replace them [investor}: “If they, however, adhere to our policies and invest, they will serve us as a means of access to the international market in areas in which we wouldn’t have such an opportunity on our own, and enable us to locally build the capacity to replace them eventually.”

 

  1. 5.     Forced Villagization/resettlement program of the people to make their land available for investors also known as “removing the impediments” – the people—from the land:

 

  1. Examples from existing current contracts: Within most contracts, which are all vague in many respects, the following provision is given to the foreign investor regarding removing the people—impediments—from the land. The following is a contract between the Government of Ethiopia and Saudi Star and also addresses what the TPLF/EPRDF will do if resistance, conflict or violence: “The lessor (the Government of Ethiopia) shall be obliged to deliver and handover [to the investor] the vacant possession of leased land free of impediments…” [inhabitants]. It promises that the “Lessee shall enjoy peaceful and trouble free possession of the premises and it shall be provided adequate security, free of cost, for carrying out its entire activities in the said premises, against any riot, disturbance or any other turbulent time other than force majeure, as and when requested by the Lessee.”

 

  1. b.     Displacement or eviction from ancestral land is redefined as voluntary resettlement—villagization—of any inhabitants of land to be leased to foreign or domestic investors. The government denies that it is forced, but resistance to being moved has been met with beatings, torture, rape, disappearances, arrests and extra-judicial killing. Many have been forced to flee to Kenya or South Sudan. Some have been left to live under trees with no homes, no services, more difficult access to clean water, uncleared land, less fertile land and greater hunger. The official wording of the current contracts with foreign investors uses this term in most its contracts.

 

  1. c.      Similar situation in other regions of Ethiopia where people being displaced to make way for resource development. The majority of the people who have suffered are the most marginalized people; however, it is a problem in most every region where there are resources. This same plan is being applied to displace people in the Afar region, the Omo Valley, the Benishangul-Gumuz, Walkite in the Amhara region, other parts of Southern Nations, and Oromia.
  2. Corruption and profit:  The TPLF/ERPDF and their domestic or foreign partners are now in a position to capitalize on the economic opportunity which includes transacting secret deals, with a serious lack of accountability and transparency. Corruption is rampant with kickbacks, bribes, illicit capital leakage, shadow companies, etc.

The non-compliant investor may become the target of the regime through losing perks, being assessed additional taxes, be charged with fines, lose the contract on vague grounds or find themselves charged with some crime, using the legal system—controlled by the TPLF/EPRDF—to punish any non-cooperative players. Any foreign investors operating illegally may have short-lived impunity, but it may not last. 

 

In a comment highlighting Ethiopia made by Global Financial Integrity on December 5, 2011 preceding the release of their study on Illicit Financial Outflows from Developing Countries Over the Decade Ending in 2009, they said:

  • “The people of Ethiopia are being bled dry. No matter how hard they try to fight their way out of absolute destitution and poverty, they will be swimming upstream against the current of illicit capital leakage.”

 

  • Ethiopia lost US11.7 billion in illegal capital flight from 2000-2009 and illicit financial outflows from Ethiopia nearly doubled in 2009 to US$3.26 billion—double the amount in the two preceding years—with the vast majority of that increase coming from corruption, kickbacks and bribery.[xv]

 

  • Ethiopia has been previously listed by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) as being among the worst five countries in the world—along with Iran, North Korea, Ecuador and Angola—for failure to correct strategic deficiencies in their financial system that can put the international financial system at risk due to increasing the likelihood of money laundering and the financing of terrorism.[xvi]

 

  1. 7.     Risks:
    1. To people: They may be worse off than ever before.  This is a life grab, not just land grab for most of the people being affected depend on the land to live and are both unprepared and without resources for adapting to life without land.  Jobs are few and they are poorly paid.
    2. To investors: Investments are risky and may fail due to weather, floods, not knowing local conditions, insecurity, conflict, lack of cooperation of locals for jobs, legal action; and if the regime goes, their futures become uncertain if operating unethically.  Some may face charges for bribery, human rights crimes, etc
    3. To regime: People will not continue to tolerate this large-scale displacement and the exploitation of the country’s resources by a few that has required the forceful suppression of the people.  It  may implode or under pressure, not hold up to internal or external pressures.
    4. Other supporters: Two legal cases are being pursued, one in the US and one in the UK in connection to the forced displacement and human rights violations where aid money may have been wrongly used to undergird the resettlement program.
    5. Increased insecurity. One investor’s farm, Saudi Star, has been attacked with some employees killed. A perception exists among some in Ethiopia that the only way to deter land leasing is to attack investors. Given the amount of remote “bush,” increased security protocols may not matter.
    6. Water insecurity: There is no assessment of the carrying capacity of hydrological systems. Big concerns exist that there is not enough water to go around for the leases that are already there, in particular for water intensive crops like sugar and cotton.
    7. Deforestation and environmental degradation: Compliance is mostly on the honor system and lacks accountability and oversight; a dangerous potential problem in this area of virgin forests, abundant wildlife, at the headwaters of the Nile.

The same problems exist in the Omo Valley, Oromia, the Afar region—where rivers are being polluted causing sickness among the indigenous people—and in other areas.

  1. Regional insecurity. Whether legal/moral or not, the fact that local people are not supportive and the fact that food insecurity is increasing—combined with other forms of ethnic marginalization and discrimination—means that there will be more and more conflict within Ethiopia. This has security implications for investor’s workers and staff but also means that there is an increased likelihood of large scale conflict in an area that is critical for global security.
  2. Serious infrastructure deficit. Cheap land sounds good, but you have no way to get that product to market. There is very little infrastructure investors so they have to provide it themselves for the most part.  This is one possible advantage of this investment for Ethiopians, but it means an extra significant up-front cost to the investor who must be able to profit at the same time. The government has no money or technical capacity to carry out this infrastructure development.
  3. Villagization: This is a very repressive program, moving smallholder farmers and pastoralists into concentrated villages that leaves behind land to be given to the investor. It is involuntary and is associated with arbitrary arrests, beatings, rape and torture. There are legal processed underway in the UK and US to deal with this. Investors may be found to be complicit in this program and the rights violations if you lease land from Ethiopia. If it happening in all the lowland areas where land leasing is happening, investors cannot deny it or escape it. The Government of Ethiopia will deny it is happening, but reputable human rights organizations around the world have been reporting on it.

Conclusion: Does power and greed mean so much that an entire country is destroyed? Ethiopia and other countries like it in Africa are being divvied up by their colonizers who this time come from their own people. Co-conspiring with a dictator who wants to bleed the people dry because the peoples’ rights have been taken away is wrong.  Nothing is for free and if it is “too good of a deal” it will not come without eventual consequences. 

In Ethiopia, you are working with a government that ruthlessly terrorizes its own people. After 21 years in power, Ethiopia is still run by a liberation group who wants all the spoils, forever, according to their plans to continue their rule without interruption. It is not a government that can be depended on to operate fairly, justly and in the interests of the people.

Ethiopia is reaching tipping point. The International Crisis Group warns of the danger of an eruption of ethnic-based violence in Ethiopia that could destabilize the country. Dictators sometimes forget the costs.

In places like Iraq and Libya; for awhile, dictators may want to please the people.  During this time, services may improve, but there comes a time when they must suppress the people in order to stay in power. This is the beginning of the end of their regimes. Now in Ethiopia, the TPLF/EPRDF may be talking about double-digit economic growth, new buildings in Addis Ababa, new roads connecting ports and resources, a Transformation Plan for the country and land leasing to foreigners for development—all in order to give the image of good government; but in reality, people know differently. Because there is no investment in the people, their lives fail to improve. What appeared to be investment eventually reveals itself to be deception. On the outside, things may look good, but inside, it is rotting and will eventually disintegrate.

No country will survive based on division as the means to maintain control. Not even a family could survive with such division let alone a country of more than 80 different ethnic groups. In many places like India there are many groups but greater progress in democracy holds it together. 

We believe Ethiopians can survive together by reviving the respect for the shared humanity among its people. The biggest problem in Africa is the tribalism fanned by the elite in order to gain control of the resources.

The only way to counter this is to empower the people through valuing others as they value themselves; putting humanity before ethnicity or any other differences and understanding that none of us will be free until all are free.  Through these basic core principles, Ethiopia could not only be revived and survive but it could actually thrive for the first time in its 3000 year history.

It can only be done by the Ethiopian people, for the Ethiopian people with the support of Ethiopians and other peace-loving people throughout the world. This includes not only the people at this conference but the people of India. 

This is why I emphasized at the beginning that I have come here as a fellow human being, seeking what is good for all of us. The struggle against colonialism in Africa was a struggle against minority control of people.  Africans fought so that the peoples’ voices could be heard as they spoke out against the exploitation and control of the land, resources and lives of the people by a small minority who were not even African. 

Fifty years ago, the idea of the African Union was envisioned by forward-thinking Africans. It was to be established to speak on behalf of Africans. At this time they first conceived the vision for the United States of Africa. The AU’s founders were laying the foundation for a more prosperous, democratic and peaceful Africa, but what we are seeing today is the failure, not of their vision, but of our leaders who failed in implementing the plan. 

Today you see the continent still being ravaged by a few. Just like under colonialism—it is a small minority who control most countries on the continent, but today, these are not outsiders.  This time it is our own African people. Africa was colonized by outsiders but now it is Africa’s own doing it.  This is going on all over Africa and one of the best examples is Ethiopia, where the headquarters of the African union is based. Now, the AU is based in a place that is dominating its own people based on ethnicity, using ethnicity in the same way the dominating outsiders of colonialism used to maintain their power over the majority.

In reality, the majority of our African leaders who have taken over leadership following colonialism have never brought anything to us Africans but disgrace to the continent. For Africans to end the second colonialization of Africa—this time at the hands of African leaders—we Africans must embrace a bigger vision of humanity. Africa must be reformed by God-given principles of putting humanity before ethnicity and caring about the freedom, justice and well being of others outside our own groups. 

Had the Africans who took over after colonialism put the value of humanity above tribe and put people above personal profit, the celebration of the 50th anniversary this year of the formation of the African Union and the end of foreign colonialism could have been a time of real joy and thanksgiving.

The life of Africans would have improved over the last fifty years ago, like it has in India, Malaysia and China. Now, it is up to the African people to carry on with these goals in mind.  For those outside our borders; we welcome you to be our partners, but not a roadblock to our freedom. 

May God bring sustaining life back to Africa and may we become a blessing to the people of India and beyond! Thank you!! ========================

Please do not hesitate to e-mail your comments to Mr. Obang Metho, Executive Director of the SMNE, at: Obang@solidaritymovement.org



[iv] http://www.prosperity.com/country.aspx?id=ET; The 2011 Legatum Prosperity Index among 110 countries in the world places Ethiopia at the very bottom for freedom and 108th overall in prosperity.

http://hdrstats.undp.org/en/countries/profiles/ETH.html; The Human Development Index scale places Ethiopia’s HDI at 0.363, which gives the country a rank of 174 out of 187 countries with comparable data. The HDI of Sub-Saharan Africa as a region increased from 0.365 in 1980 to 0.463 today, placing Ethiopia below the regional average. The HDI trends tell an important story both at the national and regional level and highlight the very large gaps in well-being and life chances that continue to divide our interconnected world.

[vi] “TPLF/EPRDF’s Strategies for Establishing its Hegemony & Perpetuating Its Rule,” June 1993; condensed form; http://www.enufforethiopia.net/pdf/Revolutionary_Democracy_EthRev_96.pdf[vi]

[vii] Ibid, Section V; “Political Strategies of Our revolutionary Democracy : Ensuring the hegemony of revolutionary democratic outlook”

[viii] Ibid, Section IV; “Economic Strategies of Our revolutionary Democracy”

[ix]  “Baro-Akobo River Basin Integrated Development Master Plan Project

[x]  The study was completed by two firms: TAMS Consultants, Inc of New York and ULG Consultants, Ltd of Great Britain.  They also drew from a Russian study completed by Selkhozpromexport in 1990 and another 1995 study by ARDCO-GEOSERV.

[xi] Ibid: TPLF/EPRDF Strategies…Section V

[xii] http://www.civicus.org/csw_files/CIVICUSAnalysisEthiopiaCharitiesProc160908.pdf; A repressive 2009 law against civil society, the Charities and Societies Proclamation now prohibits any organization that receives more than 10% of its budget from foreign sources from (a) advancing human and democratic rights, (b) promoting equality of nations, nationalities, peoples, gender and religion, (c) promoting the rights of the disabled and children, (d) promoting conflict resolution or reconciliation and, (e) promoting the efficiency of justice and law enforcement services.[xii]  This has meant the closure of most every independent civic organization.  In their place, the regime has created pseudo-organizations controlled by the regime. At the last tally this included over 2,600 organizations. The law carries harsh criminal penalties for violators. It is used for political purposes and has paralyzed civil society. In its place, look-alike pseudo-institutions have sprung up, all created and controlled by the government, oftentimes appearing legitimate to outsiders.

[xiii] http://www.voanews.com/english/news/africa/Rights-Groups-Ethiopia-Using-Anti-Terror-Law-To-Stifle-Dissent-134274558.html; November 21, 2011, Rights Groups: Ethiopia Using Anti-Terror Law To Stifle Dissent, Peter Heinlein, Addis Ababa :  A new vague anti-terrorism law has been highly criticized by the UN, international human rights organization and western countries as it has been applied to silence voices of democracy, freedom and truth; targeting journalists, human rights activists and opposition leaders.  Amnesty International[xiii] reports that 100 journalists, opposition political leaders or activists have been jailed last year by using this anti-terrorism law,[xiii] many receiving long sentences.  Since 2001, more journalists have gone into exile from Ethiopia than from any other country in the world.[xiii]

[xiv] Ibid; Section III of the TPLF/EPRDF Strategic Plan: “Our Economic Goals” under the subcategory, “Role of the Foreign Investor

Ethiopia: Where Do We Go (or not go) From Here?

Sunday, February 10th, 2013

On the road to democracy and unity?

For some time now, I have been heralding Ethiopia’s irreversible march from dictatorship to democracy. In April 2011, I wrote a commentary entitled, “The Bridge on the Road(map) to Democracy”. I suggested,

We can conceive of the transition from dictatorship to democracy as a metaphorical journey on the road to progress, freedom and human enlightenment (democracy) or a regression to tyranny, subjugation and bondage (dictatorship). Societies and nations move along this road in either direction. Dictatorships can be transformed into democracies and vice versa. But the transition takes place on a bridge that connects the road from dictatorship to democracy. It is on this bridge that the destinies of nations and societies, great and small, are made and unmade. If the transition on the bridge is orderly, purposeful and skillfully managed, then democracy could become a reality. If it is chaotic, contentious and combative, there will be no crossing the bridge, only pedaling backwards to dictatorship. My concern is what could happen on the bridge linking dictatorship to democracy in Ethiopia when that time comes to pass.

In June 2012, I wrote a commentary entitled, “Ethiopia: On the Road to Constitutional Democracy”.  I argued with supporting historical evidence that “Most societies that have sought to make a transition from tyranny and dictatorship to democracy have faced challenging and complex roadblocks.” Focusing on the practical lessons of the “Arab Spring”, I proposed a constitutional pre-dialogue and offered some suggestions:

The search for a democratic constitution and the goal of a constitutional democracy in Ethiopia will be a circuitous, arduous and challenging task. But it can be done… To overcome conflict and effect a peaceful transition, competing factions must work together, which requires the development of consensus on core values. Public civic education on a new constitution must be provided in the transitional period.  Ethiopian political parties, organizations, leaders, scholars, human rights advocates and others should undertake a systematic program of public education and mobilization for democratization and transition to a genuine constitutional democracy. To have a successful transition from dictatorship to constitutional democracy, Ethiopians need to practice the arts of civil discourse and negotiations….”

They are pedaling backwards on the low road of dictatorship, but are we marching forward on the highway to democracy?

It is easy for some people to speak truth to power, or the powers that be. Without great difficulty, they can preach to abusers of power why they are wrong, what they are doing wrong, why they should right their wrong and do right by those they have wronged. But it is not so easy to speak truth to  powers that could be, particularly when one does not know who “they” are. Instead of speaking truth to the powers that could be, I will simply ask: They are pedaling backwards on the low road of dictatorship, but are we marching forward on the highway to democracy?  Where do we go (or not go) from here?

Ordinarily, this question would be put to Ethiopia’s “opposition leaders”. For some time now, I have been wondering who those leaders are and are not. In my commentary last September entitled, “Ethiopia’s Opposition at the Dawn of Democracy?”, I asked out loud (but never got answer), “Who is the Ethiopian ‘opposition’?”  I confessed my bewilderment then as I do now:  “There is certainly not a monolithic opposition in the form of a well-organized party. There is no strong and functional coalition of political parties that could effectively challenge both the power and ideology of the ruling party. There is not an opposition in the form of an organized vanguard of intellectuals.  There is not an opposition composed of an aggregation of civil society institutions including unions and religious institutions, rights advocates and dissident groups. There is not an opposition in the form of popular mass based political or social movements. There is not…”

Stated differently, is the “opposition that amorphous aggregation of weak, divided, squabbling, factionalized and fragmented parties and groups that are constantly at each other’s throats? The grumbling aggregation of human rights advocates, civic society organizers, journalists and other media professionals and academics? The groups committed to armed struggle and toppling the dictatorship by force the opposition? Anyone who thinks or self-proclaims s/he is the opposition?” All or none of the above?

I am willing to bet my bottom dollar that the disciples of the late Meles Zenawi would have no problems explaining where they are going from here. They would state with certainty, “Come hell or high water, we’ll pedal backwards lockstep in Meles’ ‘eternally glorious’ footsteps to the end of the rainbow singing Kumbaya to grab the pot of gold he has left for us under the Grand Renaissance Dam. We will fly high in the sky on the wings of a 10, 12, 15 percent annual economic growth and keep flying higher and higher…”  I say it is still better to have a road map to La-La Land than sitting idly by twiddling one’s thumbs about the motherland.

Is the question to be or not be in the opposition? What does it mean to be in the “opposition”? What must one do to be in the “opposition”? Is heaping insults, bellyaching, gnashing teeth and criticizing those abusing power the distinctive mark of being in the opposition? Is frothing at the mouth with words of anger and frustration proof of being the opposition? How about opposing the abusers of power for the sake of opposing them and proclaiming moral victory?  Is opposing the abusers of power without a vision plan, a plan of action or a strategic plan really opposition?

I have often said that Meles believed he “knew the opposition better than the opposition knew itself.”  Meles literally laughed at his opposition.  He considered the leaders of his opposition to be his intellectual inferiors. He believed he could outwit, outthink, outsmart, outplay, outfox and outmaneuver them all, save none, any day of the week. He believed them to be dysfunctional, shiftless and inconsequential; he never believed they could pose a challenge to his power. In his speeches and public comments, he ridiculed, scorned and sneered at them. He treated his opposition like wayward children who needed constant supervision, discipline and well-timed spanking to keep them in line. Truth be told, during his two decades in power, Meles was able to outwit, outthink, outsmart, outplay, outfox and outmaneuver, and neutralize his opposition at will. Meles’ disciples today trumpet their determination to walk in his footsteps and do exactly the same thing.

Where is the “opposition” now?

Perhaps it is premature to pose the question, “Where do we go from here?” to Ethiopia’s “opposition”.  It may be more appropriate to ask where the “opposition” is (is not) now. From my vantage point, the “opposition” is in a state of resignation, stagnation, negation, frustration and alienation. I see the “opposition” watching with hypnotic fascination the abusers of power chasing after their tails. The “opposition” seems anchorless, agenda less, aimless, directionless, dreamless and feckless. The “opposition”, it seems to me, is in a state of slumber, in crises and in a state of paralysis.

Time was when the “opposition” got together, stood together, put heads together, worked together, campaigned together, negotiated together, compromised together, met the enemy together and even went to jail together. Flashback 2005! The “opposition” set aside ethnic, religious, linguistic, ideological and other differences and came together to pursue a dream of freedom and democracy. That dream bound the opposition and strengthened the bonds of their brotherhood and sisterhood. The “opposition” mobilized together against factionalism and internal conflicts and closed ranks against those who sought to divide and split it. By doing so, the opposition thumped the ruling party in the polls.

In the past seven years, the dream of democracy and freedom among the “opposition” seems to have slowly faded away and the strength of its champions sapped away in mutual distrust and recrimination. Dialogue in the “opposition” has been replaced with monologue and deafening silence; action with inaction; cooperation with obstruction; coalition with partisanship; unity with division; amity with enmity and civility with intolerance.

The “opposition” wants change and rid Ethiopia of tyranny and dictatorship.  But as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can’t ride you unless your back is bent. … We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.”  The Ethiopian “opposition” needs to stand up erect and make demands with steely  backbone and stiff upper lip.

There are many ways to stand up and show some backbone. To speak up for human rights and against government wrongs is to stand up. To demand that wrongs be righted is to stand up. To open up one’s eyes and unplug one’s ears in the face of evil is standing up. To simply say “No!” even under one’s breath is standing up. Speaking truth to power is standing up.  Dr. King said, “A just law is a manmade code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law.” Standing up against an unjust law is standing up for justice.

In January 2011, I wrote a weekly column entitled, “After the Fall of African Dictatorships” and posed three questions: “What happens to Africa after the mud walls of dictatorship come tumbling down and the palaces of illusion behind those walls vanish? Will Africa be like Humpty Dumpty (a proverbial egg) who “had a great fall” and could not be put back together by “all the king’s horses and all the king’s men”? What happens to the dictators?”

The mud walls of dictatorship in Ethiopia have been exhibiting ever expanding cracks since the death of the arch architect of dictatorship Meles Zenawi sometime last summer. The irony of history is that the question is no longer whether Ethiopia will be like Humpty Dumpty as the “king” and “king’s men” have toiled to make her for two decades. The tables are turned. Despite a wall of impregnable secrecy, the “king’s men and their horses” are in a state of disarray and dissolution. They lost their vision when they lost their visionary. The old saying goes, “in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.” Well, the king is no more; and the “king’s men and horses” are lost in the wilderness of their own wickedness, intrigue and deception.

The “fierce urgency of now” is upon Ethiopia’s opposition leaders to roll out their plans and visions of democracy. Now is the time for Ethiopia’s human rights advocates to bring forth their vision of a society governed by the rule of law. Now is the time for Ethiopia’s civil society leaders to build networks to connect individuals and communities across ethnic, religious, linguistic, gender and regional lines. Now is the time for Ethiopia’s intellectuals to put forth practical solutions to facilitate the transition from dictatorship to democracy.  Now is the time for all freedom loving Ethiopians to come forward and declare and pledge their allegiance to a democracy, human rights and the rule of law. Now is the time to unchain ourselves from the burdens of the past. Now is the time to abandon the politics of identity and ethnicity and come together in unity for the sake of all of Ethiopia’s children. Now is the time to organize and mobilize for national unity. Now is the time for truth and reconciliation. Now is the time to assert our human dignity against tyrannical barbarity.

Now is not the time to for division, accusation and recrimination. Now is not the time for finger pointing, bellyaching and teeth gnashing. Now is not the time to remain silent. Now is not the time to turn a blind eye. Now is not the time to turn a deaf ear.

Where should we go from here?  

I will try to answer my own question in brief form for now. The opposition should get on the highway that leads to democratic governance. The opposition should roll out its action plan for a democratic, post-dictatorship Ethiopia. The principal lesson to be learned from the experiences of the past seven years is that the opposition’s role is not simply to “oppose, oppose and oppose” for the sake of opposing. The opposition’s role and duty goes well beyond simply proclaiming opposition to the abusers of power. The opposition’s role goes to the heart of the future democratic evolution and governance of the country. In that role, the opposition must  relentlessly demand accountability and transparency of those absuing power. The fact that the abusers of power will pretend to ignore demands of accountability and transparency is of no consequence. The question is not if they will be held to account but when. The opposition should always question and challenge the actions and omissions of those abusing their powers in a principled and honest manner. The opposition must analyze, criticize, dice and slice the policies, ideas and programs of those in power and offer better, different and stronger alternatives. It is not sufficient for the opposition to publicize the failures and  of the ruling party and make broad claims that they can do better.

For starters, the opposition should make crystal clear its position on accountability and transparency  to the people. For instance, what concrete ideas does the opposition have about ending, or at least effectively controlling, endemic corruption in Ethiopia.  In an exhaustive 448-page report, the World Bank recently concluded that the Ethiopian state is among the handful of the most corrupt in the world. I cannot say for sure how many opposition leaders or anyone in the opposition has taken the time to study this exquisitely detailed study of corruption in Ethiopia; but anyone who has read the report will have no illusions about the metastasizing terminal cancer of corruption in the Ethiopia body politics. The opposition should issue a white paper on what it would do to deal with the problem of corruption in Ethiopia.

 Speaking truth to the powers that could be

I know that what I have written here will offend some and anger others. Still many could find it refreshing and provocatively audacious. Some critics will wag their tongues and froth at the mouth claiming that I am attacking the “opposition” sitting atop my usual high horse. They will claim that I am weakening and undermining the “opposition” preaching from my soapbox. Others will say I am overdramatizing the situation in the “opposition”.  Still others will claim I am not giving enough credit or am discrediting those in the “opposition” who have been in the trenches far longer than I have been involved in human rights advocacy. They will say I am doing to the opposition what the power abusers have done to them. They will say I don’t understand because I have been sitting comfortably in my academic armchair and have not been on the front lines suffering the slings and arrows of an outrageous dictatorship.  Be that as it may!

Though I acknowledge such claims could be convenient diversions, there are two essetnial questions all of us who consider ourselves to be  in the “opposition” can no longer ignore and must be held to answer: They are pedaling backwards on the low road of dictatorship, are we marching forward on the highway to democracy? Is the “opposition” better off today than it was in 2005?

Professor Alemayehu G. Mariam teaches political science at California State University, San Bernardino and is a practicing defense lawyer.

Previous commentaries by the author are available at:

http://open.salon.com/blog/almariam/

www.huffingtonpost.com/alemayehu-g-mariam/

Amharic translations of recent commentaries by the author may be found at:

http://www.ecadforum.com/Amharic/archives/category/al-mariam-amharic

http://ethioforum.org/?cat=24

 

 

30,000 made homeless as TPLF demolishes homes, confiscates land

Sunday, February 10th, 2013

By Betre Yacob | Assaman.info (Italy)

February 7, 2013

The Ethiopia’s tyrannical government demolished more than 7 thousand houses in Addis Ababa in the districts named Bole and Nifas Silk, and left more than 30 thousand poor people without a roof over their heads. In addition to the houses, a mosque and a school were demolished, and the security officials involved also kicked and beat the residents who tried to refuse. The demolition was taking place without notice to the inhabitants and compensation.

demolished reside

After this noxious demolition, the government officials repeatedly claimed in different state owned and government-loyal private medias that the houses had been built on illegally occupied land and had no certificate. According to them all such kinds of illegal settlements and buildings should not be supported by any means. However, many of the evacuated families said that although they had no certificate of ownership, they had been paying land-tax. According to victims, as a result of this sudden demolition of houses many families are broken up and children have dropped out of school and forced to live on the streets. Old enough people and pregnant women are also forced to live in open, and the dynamic weather of the city is causing them to different health problems.

Mr. Hailu, 55, lives with his wife and 5 children. Since he became physically disable because of a nerve problem, he has managed only domestic income generating activities like poultry production and sheep fattening to subsidise the family. When I met him last week, he was crying looking at an inclined wall which had been escaped from the bulldozers which turned the rest part of the house in to dust. He had built the house at a cost of 20,000 ETB or 1,111$ three years ago.

“I built the house having received a financial support from my daughter working as a housemaid in a middle east country”, Mr. Hailu said while wiping away his tear. “The house was everything for me. Besides being home for my family, it was my ‘business’ as well.” Mr. Hailu is now living in temporary huts on the same place where his demolished house lays. “Where can I go?”, he said. “I can’t afford the price of a renting room; I don’t have a person who can host me.”

Many argue that the houses have been demolished just because the government can make more money by leasing the land to investors. “Land has become the main source of income for the regime”, Markose Woldue, a dwelling of Addis Ababa, said. “It earns a huge amount of money from this busness. This is why it is taking back the land owned by the poor by the name of legality.”

Etaferahu, 45, is a mother of 2. She raises her children without a father. She had bought the land from a farmer and built the house 6 years ago. She is now living in temporary huts on the same place where her demolished house lays. “Throwing citizens into the street is not expected from a government”, Etaferahu said. “The government have the responsibility of protecting its citizens. At least the government had to give us compensation with temporary sheltering.”

Human right activists say that what the Ethiopia’s government done is illegal and unconstitutional, and is against all international conventions and agreements to which Ethiopia is a party. They say that all of the legal conditions and requirements for the forceful evictions of these families have not been met.

The Ethiopian Human Right Council claims that the absence of legal certificate of ownership is not a right criteria to say a house “illegal”. “Otherwise”, it says, “this leads to the conclusion that all houses belonging to Ethiopian farmers are illegal.” “The individuals evicted from their homes are the legal owners of the land they bought from farmers. Thus, the demolishing action is illegal and the owners have the constitutional right to receive compensation.”

The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural rights (ICESCR) states that everyone has a right to an existence worthy of human dignity for himself and his family including adequate food, clothing and shelter. The Covenant also states governments have an obligation to ensure this basic right. The FDRE constitution also provides “every Ethiopian has the right to liberty of movement and freedom to choose his residence…” Article 40 of the Constitution on the other hand state that every Ethiopian has the full right to the immovable property he builds and the government may expropriate private property for public purposes upon payment in advance of compensation commensurate to the value of the property.

According to the data obtained from the Addis Ababa City Administration, there are more than 50,000 houses identified to have been illegal by the Administration across the city. And the city Administration has a plan to demolish all these houses. This is likely to affect hundered thousands of other families. Here, many advice the government that instead of demolishing the houses it should concentrate on legalizing them, and use them as part of the solution to the housing problem of the city. Studies under the City Administration show that there is a deficit of almost 700,000 houses in the city. Otherwise, according to these people, the housing problem of the city would be aggravated. Mr. Worku Tesfa, an economist and a residence of Addis Abeba, also says that the outcome of the demolition would not be only housing problem to the city but also more complicated socio-economic problems that could be challenging for the government to overcome.

Ethiopian Lutheran church breaks with foreign affiliates over homosexuality

Sunday, February 10th, 2013

Lutheran church in Ethiopia severs relationship with ELCA

ELCA NEWS SERVICE
February 7, 2013

CHICAGO (ELCA) — The Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus is severing its relationship with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), the Church of Sweden and “those churches who have openly accepted same-sex marriage.”

The action for “all Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus departments and institutions (at every level) to implement this decision” was ratified at the denomination’s general assembly, which met Jan. 27-Feb. 2 in Addis Ababa. The denomination’s church council took action at its July 2012 meeting to initially sever these relationships.

“The ELCA is very saddened by this decision,” said the Rev. Rafael Malpica Padilla, executive director for ELCA Global Mission. “The ELCA and its predecessor church bodies have been walking with the people of Ethiopia for more than 50 years, and our sister church, the Church of Sweden, for more than 150 years. In this journey, we have learned from one another, we have deepened and extended the bonds of fellowship and partnership in the gospel.” Malpica Padilla was in Addis Ababa for meetings with program and ministry partners of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus.

To ensure that the decisions by the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus are implemented, members of the denomination “will not receive Holy Communion from the leadership and pastors of the (ELCA and the Church of Sweden). The Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus will not distribute communion to these churches,” as stated in the minutes of the denomination’s July 2012 council meeting.

“Representatives of these churches at national level or leaders at every level would not be invited to preach or speak at the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus congregations or other gatherings. They should not be invited for any spiritual ministries of this church,” stated the minutes, which also reflects that leaders and pastors of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus “at every level will not visit the synods, dioceses, congregations and national offices of churches that have accepted this practice without proper permission from the head office of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus.”

While the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus is “closing the door to this partnership,” Malpica Padilla said that the ELCA and the Church of Sweden “are not locking the doors from our side. It is open for when you decide it is time to resume this journey together. It is my hope that in the near future, we will again walk together in Christian love. We will do this not because of doctrinal agreements or consensus, but because the gospel compels us to do so.”

The ELCA has consistently kept its Lutheran companion churches informed about the ELCA’s process that led to the 2009 ELCA Churchwide Assembly decisions, which included the adoption of a social statement on human sexuality, said Malpica Padilla.

“We shared the study documents and invited their input,” he said. “When decisions were made, we wrote to (leaders of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus) expressing our commitment to not impose our actions and to respect the policy and practice of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus in the assignment of mission personnel,” he said.

The Rev. Mark S. Hanson, ELCA presiding bishop, said the actions of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus are “deeply troubling.”

“Our own statement on human sexuality acknowledges that the position held by the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus is also held by members of the ELCA. We are not of one mind, but we are one in Christ, in faith and in baptism,” said Hanson, adding that the relationships between Lutherans in North America and in Ethiopia “has been sustained through periods of oppression, divisions within the Ethiopian church and in times of turmoil among Lutherans in North America. The action of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus church diminishes our capacity together to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ, to serve our neighbors and to care for the creation.

“As the ELCA, we are always standing ready to open the door of conversation for the sake of reconciliation and our shared commitment to proclamation and service,” Hanson said. “Reconciliation is not an option. It is given in Christ, and we stand ready to engage with the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus on what this gift of reconciliation might mean for us now.”
- – -
About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with more than 4 million members in nearly 10,000 congregations across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of “God’s work. Our hands,” the ELCA emphasizes the saving grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, unity among Christians and service in the world. The ELCA’s roots are in the writings of the German church reformer, Martin Luther.

For information contact:
Melissa Ramirez Cooper
773-380-2956 or Melissa.RamirezCooper@ELCA.org
http://www.ELCA.org/news
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Lutherans
Living Lutheran: http://www.livinglutheran.com

Violence and the Ethiopians.

Saturday, February 9th, 2013

Violence and the Ethiopians. By Yilma Bekele
We always think of our people to be so loving that welcome a stranger into their homes and share what little they have. Our language is full of sayings about being a good host, a great neighbor and a kind human. Sharing what you have, helping those in need and putting others ahead play a central theme in all our folklores. At least that is what we try to believe and that is what we tell ourselves and each other every opportunity we get. What a kind and loving people we are is a common mantra.
Do you think that is a true picture of our country? I don’t know about you but I knew such Ethiopia in my life time. Here we go again, I did not say we were a perfect paradise but definitely we were not the Wild West either. But I know for sure we used to care for each other and we were a once proud nation.
Then where did all this violent act and talk of perpetual violence came from is a good question? It is a timely question too. Today violence both the act and the talk is permeating our society. The specter of violence is everywhere. Our country has become one big cesspool of violence and you can’t even escape it from any point on earth.
According to the World Health organization (WHO) violence is defined ‘as the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against a person, or group or community, that either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment or deprivation.’
The dergue started the ball rolling with the class warfare crap. The TPLF took over with ethnic cleansing mantra. It looks like the last forty years have been a time of violence, threat of violence and absence of peace era. The Mengistu and Meles generation has been schooled in the exercise of violence as a normal day to day activity.
What got me look at these phenomena is the current behavior of our masters in Addis Abeba and their children here in the US. The Berket/Debretsion government is going out of its way to bully our Muslim citizens, intimidate our journalists and frighten our people. They are using the monopoly they exercise on our communication media to produce second rate movies, badly written essays and moronic broadcasts to confuse their captive audience.
War is waged on our Muslim brothers and sisters thru out the country. Their leaders have been incarcerated, their worship places have been desecrated and their religion has been equated with terror. The TPLF is trying to do to the Muslims what they have been doing to the Orthodox Christians the last twenty years. They were able to divide and set the Christians against each other. Bishops and priests have been beaten, exiled and insulted in broad day light. Due to lack of spine by the Christian followers the Orthodox Church of Ethiopia today has lost all its moral compass and made into a leaderless association no different than those ‘teletafis’ clustered around the mighty TPLF.
Not content on terrorizing our people at home it looks like TPLF has branched out to reach into the Diaspora community and practice its form of violence. For some of us it is not a new revelation. We have been pointing out the presence of TPLF agents amongst us for quite a while. Their activates in the various opposition party support groups we have been forming was visible and hard to miss. Their sabotage of our houses of worship is legendary. Their presence in our football organization took a valiant effort by some to unmask. No one escapes the sinister act of Woyane spies and saboteurs in any outfit that dares to organize as an Ethiopian entity. I don’t think I need to prove any of my assertions. I beg the reader to look around him/her in any city USA. I dare you to find a peaceful association untouched by Woyane virus wherever you reside.
Now their underground activity is made visible by no other than our dragon slayer, dictator buster, honor restorer and champion of freedom, my friend Abebe Gelaw. No need to elaborate more but our country and people are always grateful for the epic grand stand that was made in Washington DC on behalf of mother Ethiopia. Her children rejoiced while her enemies wept. It looks like they did not learn a lesson. They reverted back to form.
They are trying to do here in the US what they do to our people back home. They are trying to intimidate, bully and scare us from exercising our free will. A few months back an individual registered by the name of Guesh Abera on Facebook was investigated by the FBI for threatening Ato Abebe. His normal TPLF animal behavior was taken as a subject of concern by the FBI that sent agents to his work place to interview the individual and put him on alert. I am sure they felt it was better to nip this ugly idea in its bud rather than wait. Whether in jest or for real the issue is Goush threatened and the FBI investigated.
A few of our Woyane friends tried to make fun of the situation and ridicule the assertion. They went to the extent of accusing ESAT and our independent Web sites of misinformation. They tried to turn the story on its head and attempted to make the victim the aggressor. Awramba Times unmasked itself as nothing but a shameless Woyane sympathizer while some in the venerable Voice of America tried a clumsy investigative journalism that missed its mark.
Some organizations and a few people are so dense they are unable to see what is in front of them and change to avoid calamity. TPLF and its operatives are one such outfit. Despite the unmasking and public humiliation of Guesh Abera, guess who shows up to accept the medal of stupidity? None other than another ethnic hero by the name of Mulugeta Kahsay, a proud immigrant residing in Britain. This individual doing his job as assigned by TPLF was caught red handed attempting to intimidate and frighten Ato Abebe. He made repeated cals threatening not only Ato Abebe but his whole family both in the US and back in Ethiopia.
According to Wiki ‘A death threat is a threat, often made anonymously, by one person or a group of people to kill another person or groups of people. These threats are usually designed to intimidate victims in order to manipulate their behavior, thus a death threat is a form of coercion.’ Here in the US death threat is considered a criminal act. Mulugeta Khassay’s action is deplorable and will land him in jail if it was made in the US.
Why do you think these two individuals felt such behavior is both acceptable and something to be proud of? The simple answer is where they came from it is considered lawful and practiced with abandon. The TPLF Woyane regime uses violence and the threat of violence to silence its opponents and anybody it feels stands on its way. The late TPLF chieftain Meles Zenawi used to threaten cutting hands of the citizen routinely. Like father like son is the situation here. What is not surprising is the fact that so many Woyanes and their admirers cheered such behavior and they are not ashamed to check out the ‘Like’ button on Facebook. So much for peaceful coexistence, wouldn’t you say?
In a civilized setting such behavior back fires and results in exactly the opposite of what is intended. We are all appalled by such naked brutal attempt by the two individuals and their organization or are we all? This is a difficult question to answer. When we see how we Ethiopians relate to each other and how we try to resolve differences, the behavior of Goush and Mulugeta are not that much of an anomaly. The system set up by Woyane encourages such criminal mind set and illegal activity. In today’s Ethiopia breaking the law, getting ahead at the expense of fellow citizens is a celebrated act. Lying, cheating, bribing is not frowned upon and expected practice to finalize any and all transaction. It is so routine that it has become second nature to some of us.
It is not enough to condemn these two gangsters. What is needed is to see how low we have sunk as a people that such action was carried out amongst us. It is not enough to sneer at the workings of Woyane but to reflect on our society that has allowed such evil doers to prosper and grow. When we allow a few to disturb our associations, when we turn a blind eye to those that disrespect our religious leaders and create chaos in our church, when we let an insult and rogue behavior go unchallenged we end up reaping what we planted. As long as we allow ethnic based organization such as the TPLF set the agenda in our country these kind of abhorrent behavior and criminal acts will continue to be the norm. The fight against injustice starts with each one of us. We are grateful to those that have risen to get rid of the body cancer called TPLF from our land. Helping them is a duty to our mother land and to one self.
See Mulugeta Kahsay tie himself in knots:

http://addisvoice.com/2013/02/mulugeta-kahsay-the-failed-tplf-terrorist-video/

የኢትዮጵያ አምባገነኖች ጉም ይጨብጣሉ አውሎ ነፋስን ይዎርሳሉ!

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

ፕሮፌሰር ዓለማየሁ ገብረማርያም

ትርጉም ከነጻነት ለሃገሬ

የአፍሪካ አምባገነኖች የዉሃ ላይ ቤተመንግስተና የዉሃ ገደብ: ለዘላለም  ለስማቸው መጠሪያ ይሆናል ብለው ሲገነቡና ሲያስገነቡ ኖረዋል:: ትተው ያለፉት በሕያውነት ጀግነውና ሲወደሱ መኖርን ነበር፡፡ ውጤቱ ግን ጉምን መጨበጥ ነፋስን መውረስ ሆኗል፡፡

የጋናው  ክዋሚ ንክሩማ በ1957 ዓም የመጀመሪያዋን የጥቁር  አፍሪካ ሃገር ከቅኝ ገዢዎች በማላቀቅ፤ወደ ነጻነት መራት፡፡ በመንግስት በሚመራ ንኩርማኒዝም በተባለ ፀንሰ ሃሳብ  ኢንዱስትሪ በማዳበር ዘመናዊ ሶሻሊስት ሃገር ለመገንባት አሰበ፡፡ በቮልታ ወንዝም ላይ አኮሶምቦ ግድብን ገነባ:: ያም በወቅቱ ‹‹ታላቁ የጋና የኤኮኖሚ ግንባታ›› ተብሎ ተወደሰ፡፡ የግልን ዝናም በማሰራጨት በሃገሩ ‹‹መሲህ››፤ ‹‹የጋናና የፓን አፍሪካኒዝም አባት›› “የአፍሪካ ብሔርተኝነት አባት›› አያስባለ አራሱን ሰየመ ፡፡ ነጻ ማሕበራትንና የተቃዋሚዎችን ጎራ አፈራረሰ፤ ዳኞችን ለወህኒ ዳረገ፤ የአንድ ሰው አንድ ፓርቲ ስርአትን በመፍጠር እራሱን ‹‹የዕድሜ ልክ ፕሬዜዳንት›› አደረገ፡፡ በ1966 የወታደራዊውን ሃይል እርግጫ ቀመሰ፡፡ እስካሁን ድረስም በሥራ ላይ ያለውን የአፍሪካን አምባገነኖች መመርያ የሆነውን የአንድ ሰው አንድ ፓርቲ ስርአት አዋቅሮላቸው አለፈ፡፡ በዚህም ንከሩማ ባዶ አየር ወርሶ፤ ጉም ዘግኖ በግዞት ዓለም ሞተ፡፡

የግብፅ ጋማል አብድል ናስርም ራሱ ያተረፈው የአረብ ሶሻሊዝምና ብሔርተኝነትን የተቀደሰ “የፓን አረብ” (መላው አረብ) ፍልስፍና በማለት እያስተጋባ አስተዋወቀ፡፡ በርካታ የደህንነት መረቦችና  የፕሮፓጋንዳ ጦር አሰማርቶ እራሱን የ‹‹ሕዝብ ሰው›› በሚል እራሰ አምልኮ ገንባ፡፡ በሶቭየቶች እርዳታም የአሰዋንን ግድብ ገደበ፡፡ በሃገሪቱ ላይ የአንድ ሰው አንድ ፖርቲ ስርአትን ለማቅቆቃም የስለላ መረቡን ዘርግቶ፤ ከሱ ፓርቲ ጋር ስምምነት የሌላቸውን በተለይም የሙስሊም ብራዘር ሁድ አባላትን አጠፋ፡፡ አሁን ባለንበት ዘመንም እንደምናየው የሙስሊም ብራዘርሁድ (የስላም ወንደማማቾች ፓርቲ)  በሥላጥኑ ወንበር ላይ ሲፈናጠጥ “ናሲሪዝም” የቆሻሻ መጣያ  ዉስጥ ወድቁአል፡፡ ናስር ለግብጽ ወታደራዊ አምባገነንትን ትቶ ሲያልፍ፤እራሱም ባዶ አየር ወርሶ፤ ጉም ዘግኖ አልፏል፡፡

ሞአመር ጋዳፊ ‹‹የሊቢያ ሶሻሊስት አረብ ጃምሂሪያ››ን በማወጅ፤የብዙሃን መንግሥት ዘመን (ጃምሂሪያ) ደረሰ አለ፡፡ የሊቢያን ሕብረተሰብ  ‹‹ሕዝባዊ ኮሚቴ›› በሚባል ስብስብ አቀናጅቶ ለጭቆናው አደራጀ፡፡ ከመሰረተው እርባና ቢስ አደረጃጀት ጋር ያልተስማሙትን ሁሉ በግፍ ጭቆና ውስጥ ከትቶ፤ የሃገሪቱን ብሔራዊ ሃብት እንዳሻው አዘዘበት በከንቱ አባከነው፡፡ ታላቁን ሰውሰራሽ ወንዝ በመቀየስ፤በዓለም ታላቁ የመስኖ ፕሮጄክት ‹‹የዓለም ስምንተኛው አስደናቂ ነገር›› በማለት ሰየመው፡፡ ከኣራት አሰርት ዓመታት አገዛዝ በኋላ ‹‹ወንድም መሪው››  ‹‹የአረንጓዴው መጽሃፍ ደራሲ›› ለፉካ አይጥ ሞት ተዳርጎ አለፈ፡፡ የመከፋፈልና የጥፋት ውርስ ትቶ ሲያልፍ፤ለራሱ ግን ባዶ አየር ወርሶ፤ ጉም ዘገነ፡፡

ኢዲ አሚን ዳዳ ከሁሉም አፍሪካውያን ግፈኛ ገዢዎች የከፋው ‹‹የኡጋንዳው ሰው በላ››  በኡኡጋንዳ ሕዝብ ላይ የሽብር ዘመን በመጫን፤ በጭካኔያዊ ስሜት ለዓለም መገናኛ ብዙሃን አምባገነናዊ ስልጣኑን በይፋ አሳየ፡፡ ጉራ በተመላበት ድንፋታም እራሱን ‹‹የተከበሩ የዘልዓለም ፕሬዜዳንት፤ ፊልድ ማርሻል፤አል ሃጂ ዶክተር  ኢዲ አሚን ዳዳ  VC, DSO, MC,  የምድር አራዊትና የባህር አሳዎች ጌታ ፤ በአጠቃላይ የአፍሪካ የብሪቲሽ (አንግሊዝ )ግዛት ድል አድራጊ፤ በተለይም የኡጋንዳ ነኝ አለ::‹‹ ግድብ አልገነባም ግን የኡጋንዳን ሕዝብ ለ8 ዓመታት ለኩነኔ በመዳረግ በመጨረሻው ተባሮ ለስደት ተዳርጓል፡፡ የሞት ውርስ ካወረሰ በኋላ ለራሱ ግን፤ ባዶ አየር ወርሶ፤ ጉም ዘገነ፡፡

ያ ‹‹ታላቁ መሪ››?

እንደማንኛቸውም የአፍሪካ ግፈኛ ገዢዎች በቅርቡ ያለፈው መለስ ዜናዊም፤ እራሱን ከሕይወት ባሻገር አድርጎ በማግዘፍ አስቀምጦ ነበር፡፡ የኢትዮጵያ መዳኛ  (መድሃኔ ዓለም) ብቻ ሳይሆን የአፍሪካም ጭምር ነኝ እያለ ያስፎከር ነበር፡፡ እራሱን ‹‹ሕልመኛ መሪ፤ የአፍሪካ መኩሪያ አፈ ጉባኤ፤ እና የአብዮታዊ ዴሞክራሲ ከፍተኛው ተግባሪ›› አድርጎ አስቀምጦም ነበር፡፡ ባለፈው  በጋ ወቅት ህልፈቱን ተከትሎ መነዛት የጀመረው ቅጥፈተ ፕሮፓጋንዳ፤ ጥንታዊነትን፤ ውዳሴን፤ አይረሳነትን፤ ተመላኪነት፤ የዘበት ተውኔት (የቀልድ ትያትር) ሆኖ አየታየ ነው፡፡ በመለስ ዜናዊ ፍቃድና ምርጫ የተሰየመው፤ የይስሙላው ጠቅላይ ሚኒስቴር ሃይለማርያም ደሳለኝ፤ ታማኞች በተሰገሰጉበት ፓርላማ ባደረገው ንግግር መለስን ከክርስቶስ በታች ብቸኛ በማድረግ ምርቃቱንና የራሱንም ታማኝነት መግለጫ መካቢያ ንግግሩን ሲያደርግ: ‹‹ዘልዓለማዊ ክብር ለታላቁ መሪያችን›› በማለት ነበር፡፡ ዋነኛው ታላቁ መሪ የሚባለው የሰሜን ኮርያው ኪም ኢልሱንግ እንኳ፤ ‹‹የሕዝብ ልጅ›› ከመባል ያለፈ ከበሬታ አልተቸረውም ነበር፡፡ ሃይለማርያም የተጣለበትን የፍጥምጥሞሽ መለኮታዊ ውክልና ተልእኮ እንደሃይማኖት ሰባኪ ለመወጣት ከፍተኛ ጉጉት እንዳለው በንግግሩ ቃለ መሃላ ሰጥቷል፡፡ ‹‹ አሁን ያለብኝ ሃላፊነት፤ ……. የማይረሳውን ታላቁን መሪያችንን ዓላማ፤ ምኞት፤ በተሳካ ሁኔታ መፈጸም ነው፡፡……….የታላቁ መሪያችን የእግር ኮቴ በመከተል፤ በአህጉር፤በዓለም አቀፍ ደረጃ ያን ተደማጭነት ያለውን ድምጽ ቀጣይ ማድረግ ነው፡፡ ታላቁ መሪያችን ተደናቂ የሃሳብ አፍላቂያችን ሞተር ብቻ ሳይሆን  እራሱን በመሰዋት አርአያነትን ያስተማረም መሪ ነበር…….››

ታዲያ ሃይለማርያም ደሳለኝ ይሀን ሲናገር የተናገረው ስለመለስ ነበር ወይስ ስለ ገሊላው ሰው?

‹‹የሕልመኛው ታላቅ መሪ›› ሕልምና ውርስ

ከሱ በፊት እንደነበሩት የአፍሪካ አምባገነን ጨቋኝ ገዢዎች መለስም ቅዠት ነበረው፡፡ ከንቱ ስሜት፤ምስጠትም ነበረው፡፡ ታላቅ ሕልም ግን አልነበረውም:: የነበረው፤እራስን የማግዘፍ ራዕይ ነበር፡፡ ከሱ ቀደም ብሎ እንደነበረው ሞቡቱ ሴ ሴ ሴኮ በአፍሪካ ትልቁን ግድብ የመገንባት ሕልም ነበረው፡፡ ታላቁ የተሃድሶ ግድብ የሚባለው፤በአባይ ላይ በቀዳሚ ባጀት ሂሳብ (ላልተጠበቁ አጋጣሚዎች በጀት ሳይቀመጥለት) በ 5 ቢሊዮን የአሜሪካ ዶላር የመገንባት (ላም አለኝ  በሰማይ) ሕልም ነበረው፡፡ ባለሙያዎች እንዳስቀመጡት፤ይህን መሰሉ ግድብ ከተገነባ፤ ‹‹በሰሜናዊ ምአራብ ኢትዮጵያ ላይ ያለውን  1680 ካሬ ኪሎሜትር ደን፤ በሱዳን ድንበር የሚገኘውን ቦታ ከአባይ ሁለት ጊዜ በሚበልጥ መጠን ሰው ሰራሽ ሀይቅ ይፈጥራል፡፡ ከዚህ ባሸገርም ‹‹ግድቡ፤ወደ ግብጽ የሚፈሰውን የውሃ መጠን በግድቡ ሙሌት ጊዜ በ25 በመቶ በመቀነስ የአስዋን ግድብን የውሃ ማከማቸት አቅም ያዳክመዋል፡፡ ሱዳኑ መሪ ኦማር አል በሺር ለግብጽ የዓየር ማረፊያ ጣቢያ በሃገራቸው ደቡብ ግዛት ለመገንባት  ተስማምተዋል፡፡የግድቡ ሁኔታ በዲፕሎማቲክ ንግግሩ ደረጃ የማይፈታ ሆኖ ከተገኘ ግድቡን ባየር ጦር ሃይል ላማጥቃት የሚያስችል ጣቢያ ይሆናል::››  የመለስ ችሮታ ከጎረቤት አገር ሁከትና ጦርነት?

መለስ የዕድገት ትራንስፎረሜሽን እቅድ አልነበረውም:: ይልቅስ ከንቱና ስሜታዊ የሆነ የማይጨበጥ የኤኮኖሚ እድገትና ትራንስፎርሜሽን ቅዠት ነበረው፡፡ ቀደም ሲል፤ ‹‹የመለስ ዜናዊ የጥንቆላ ኤኮኖሚ›› በሚል ጦማሬ ላይ እንዳስገነዘብኩት፡ መለስ በኢትዮጵያ ስላለው የኤኮኖሚ እድገት ሆን ብሎ በተጋነነ መልኩ በተፈጠረና፤ በታገመ እምነት ያወራ ነበር፡፡ በሃገሪቱ ያለውን የኑሮ ውድነት ለማጥፋትና በመካከለኛ ኤኮኖሚ ውስጥ ያሉትን ሃገራት በመቅደም ሕዝቡም ኑሮውን በማሻሻል ደረጃ ሃገሪቱ ከችግር ለመላቀቅ ክፍተኛ ጉዞ ላይ ነች በማለት ያውጅ ነበር፡፡ (የመለስ ሙት ዓመት ገና ሳይከበር የመለስ ስሪት የሆነው አዲሱ ሰም ብቻ ጠቅላይ ሚኒስትር ሃይለማርያም እድገቱን ወደ ታች አዘቅዝቆ መግለጫ መስጠት ጀምሯል:: አይገርምም!) የአሜሪካን መንግስት አማካይ የዋጋ ግሽበትን አስመልክቶ 36 በመቶ ሆነ ሲል፤ መለስ በ2009/10 በጥንቆላው የኤኮኖሚ ስሌቱ 3.9 በመቶ ብቻ ነው ብሏል፡፡ የዕድገትና ትራንስፎረሜሽን እቅዱ (እኔ ዜናዊኖሚክስ የምለው) በ ጁን 2011 አስተያቴ እንደገለጽኩት ‹‹የመለስ ዜናዊ ቅጥፈኮኖሚክስ›› የይሁንልኝ ምኞት ዝባዝንኬ ነው፡፡  ‹‹በረጂም ወቅት ማይጨበጥ ተስፋ ላይ የተገነባ ኢትዮጵያን የዴሞክራሲ፤ የመልካም አስተዳደር፤ የህግ የበላይነት የተከበረባት ሃገር የማድረግ የማስመሰያና የማወናበጅያ ሃሳብ ነው፡፡ የመለስ የኤኮኖሚ ተረት: ‹‹ዘመናዊና ውጤታማ ኤኮኖሚ በመገንባት የእርሻውን የኤኮኖሚ ዘርፍ፤በአዲስ ቴክኖሎጂ በማገዝ ልማቱን አፋጥኖ የሕዝቡን የኑሮ ደራጃ ከፍተኛ ቦታ ላይ ለማድረስ የሚል የማይጨበጥ ሕልም››  ‹‹የእርሻውን ክፍለ ኤኮኖሚ መሰረት ያደረገ›› የኢንዱስትሪውን ክፍል ለማጎልበት አመቺ ሁኔታ በመፍጠር፤በኢኮኖሚው ላይ ወሳኝ ሚና እንዲኖረው ማድረግ: የአቅም ግንባታን በማሳደግ፤ ወጣቱን፤ ሴቶችን፤ በማሳተፍና ተጠቃሚ በማድረግ መልካም አስተዳደርን መገንባት ነው፡፡ የትራንስፎርሜሽን እቅዱ ‹‹ማስመሰያ ኤኮኖሚክስ›› (sham-o-nomics) ብቻ ነው፡፡  የመለስ ችሮታው የዋጋ ግሽበት፤የኤኮኖሚ ብልሹ አስተዳደር፤የውጭ እዳን መከመርና አካባባዊ ጥፋት?

መለስ ብሔራዊ ራዕይ ጨርሶ አልነበረውም፡፡ ሕልሙና ቅዠቱ የጎሳ መከፋፈልና ማበጣበጥ ነበር፡፡‹‹የብሔር ፌዴራሊዝም›› በሚል የመርዝ መጠቅለያ የተዋጠው ሃሳቡ የሞተውን የአፓርታይድ ስርአት አለሳልሶ በኢትዮጵያ ትንሳኤውን ለማምጣት የታቀደ ቅዠቱ ነበር፡፡ ላለፉት ዓመታት የመለስ ጭንቀትና ጥበት፤ እንቅልፍ አልባው ጥረቱ ወጥ የሆነውን የኢትዮጵያን የአንድነት አቋም አፈራርሶ፤በብሔር፤ዘር፤ ጎሳ የመከፋፈያ ቅርጽ መሰረት ለማደራጀት ነበር፡፡ በሕገ መንግስቱ አንቀጽ 46 (2) ላይ ‹‹ክልሎች የሚገነቡት እንደአቀማመጣቸው ሁኔታ በቋንቋቸው፤ በማንነታቸው፤ በተመሳሳይነታቸው፤ እና በሕዝቡ ፈቃደኛነት ላይ በመመስረት›› ይላል፡፡ ማለትም ‹‹ክልሎች›› (በውስጡ የሚኖሩት ሕዝቦች) ልክ በደቡብ አፍሪካ በአፓርታይድ ዘመን እንደነበረው ስርአት በባንቱስታን ላይ ያደርግ እንነበረው፤ ከከብት ባልተለየ ሁኔታ በአይነታቸው ለይቶ በጋጣ ውስጥ እንደማጎር ያለ ስርአት መፍጠር ነው፡፡ እነዚህ የጎሳዎች መኖርያዎች በአፓርታይድ አጠራር ባንቱስታን ወይም በኢትዮጵያ ደግሞ ክልል  (ክልእስታን) ይባላሉ፡፡ በአጠቃላይ የመለስ ምኞት አንድ የነበረውን ሕዝብ በዘር፤ በብሔር፤ በጎሳ፤ በቋንቋ በማለይየት በባብሎንያውያን በቋንቋ ባለመግባባት እንደፈራረሱት አይነት ለመበታተንና ሰላምና አንድነት በማጥፋት እርስ በእርስ በማቆራቆስ ኢትዮጵያ የምትባለውን መሰረቷ የጸናውን ሃገር እንዳልነበረች ለማድረግና ታሪኳን ሕዝቧን የመከራ ገፊት ቀማሾች አድርጎ ማጠፋፋት ነበር፡፡ የመለስ ችሮታ በፖለቲካ፤በተጻራሪ ቡድን፤በጭካኔና  በወገንተኝነት በመበታተን የሁከት አምባ መፍጠር?

በመለስ ሥር ኢትዮጵያ የዓለም አቀፍ ምጽዋትና ችሮታ ጠባቂ የለማኝ ለማኝ ሃገር ሆነች፡፡ በሁለቱ አሰርት ዓመታት ኢትዮጵያዊያኖች ቁጥር አንድ የዓለም አቀፍ የኤኮኖሚ እርደታ፤ የልማት እርዳታ፤ የወታደራዊ እርዳታ፤ ኤድስ መከላከያ እርዳታ፤በዓለም ቀዳሚ ተመጽዋች ሆነች፡፡ ‹‹ የኢትዮጵያ ቦንድአይድ›› በሚለው ጦማሬ ላይ እንዳስቀመጥኩት: መለስ በተሳካለት መልኩ የዓለም አቀፉን ችሮታና ምጽዋት፤ብድር በተለይም የአሜሪካንን መንግስት እርዳታ፤የራሱን የጭቆናና  የግፍ አገዛዝ መረብ ለማጠናከሪያነት በተሳካ ስልት አውሎታል፡፡ የዓለም አቀፍ እርዳታ ሱሰኝነት እና የልመና ባህል የመለስ ችሮታ?

በመለስ ዜናዊ አገዛዝ ዘመን ሙስና ኢትዮጵያን በሞት አፋፍ ላይ ጥሏታል፡፡ በቅርቡ የዓለም ባንክ 448 ገጽ ያለው የኢትዮጵያን የሙስና ሁኔታ  መመርመር (“የኢትዮጵያን የሙሴና ህመም  ምርመራ”) በሚል ርእስ ዘገባ አውጥቷል፡፡ የዓለም ባንክ አንደሚለው: ሙስና የኢትዮጵያ የቴሌኮሙኒኬሽን አገልገሎት ቦርቡሮ በልቶታል:: “በቅርቡ በሰፊው ከተደረገው የቴሌኮሙኒኬሽን ማጠናከሪያ ወጪ ፍሰት አኳያ ሲታይም በአፍሪካ በጣም ዝቀተኛ የቴሌፎን አገልግሎት ፍሰት ያለባት ሀገር ነች፡፡ አንድ ወቅት ላይ ዘመነኛውን የፋይበር ኦብቲክ ገመዶች በማስገባቱ ረገድ ቀደምት ለመሆን በቅታ የነበረች ቢሆንም በአነስተኛና ደካማ ባንድ ዊድዝ፤ አስተማማኝነት ማጣት ችግር ውስጥ ኢትዮጵያ ተዘፍቃለች፡፡ ተጠያቂነት የሌለበት ሁኔታ በመደርጀቱና መንግስትም ጥቅሙን እንጂ ግልጋሎቱ ላይ እጅግም አይኑን ስለጋረደ፤ በሃገርም ውስጥ ሆነ በዓለም አቀፍ ደረጃ በሙስና የተዘፈቀ ድርጅት ሆኗል፡፡”

በግንባታውም (ኮንስትረክሽን) ዘርፍ፤ ያለው ሙስና ‹‹ኢትዮጵያ በሙስና ችግር፤ ደረጃው ዝቅ ባለ ግንባታ፤የተጋነነ የግንባታ ዋጋ ተመን፤ ተግባራዊ ማድረጊያው ዘመን የተጓተተ›› ነው ብሏል ያለም ባንክ፡፡

በፍርድ ስርአቱም ዘርፍ ሙስና “(ሀ) በፍርዱ ሂደትና በተጓዳኝ ዘርፎቹ የፖለቲካው ጣልቃ ገብነት (ለ) ውሳኔዎችን ለማስገልበጥ የጉቦ መቀባበል አጠያየቁ መናር›› ከሁለቱ በአንደኛው ሳቢያ ይመራል፡፡ በማንኛውም ዘረፍ ቢሆን ስለ እድገት፤ ስለልማት፤ ስለ ጤና ስለትምህርት ለፖለቲካ መጠቀሚያ ሲባል ይታወጃል ይለፈፋል እንጂ ማናኛቸውም ተግባር ለሃገርና ለሕዝብ ሊያገኝ ከሚችለው ጠቀሜታ ይልቅ ለስልጣን፤ ለግል መጠቀሚያነት፤ አገልጋዮች ለመግዣ እንዲሆን ተብሎ የሚተገበር ብቻ ነው፡፡  መቋጫ የሌለው የመለስ የሙስና በሽታ ችሮታና ልግስና ?

የመለስ ‹‹አብዮታዊ ዴሞክራሲ›› ከመፈክርነትና ከቃላት ማጭበርበሪያነት ያለፈ አይደለም፡፡ ምንግዜም የአብዮተኛነት ዛሩ ሲነሳበት የሚያውጠነጥነውና የሚደሰኩረው ብቻ ነው፡፡ በቦርዶ ፈረንሳይ ነዋሪ የሆነው ምሁር ጃን-ኒኮላስ ባህ ሲጥፍ: ‹‹አብዮታዊ ዴሞክራሲ አብዮታዊም ያልሆነ አለያም ዴሞክራሲያዊም ለመሆን የማይችል የሌኒኒስት፤ የማርክሲስት፤ ማኦኢስት፤ እና የሊብራሊዝም ቅንጭብጫቢ በመለስ ዙርያ በሚገኙ የፓርቲ ፖለቲካ ዘይቤኞች እና በጥቂት ኤጀንሲዎች የተፈጠረ ‹‹ዝባዝንኬና ትርኪምርኪ›› ብሎታል፡፡ አብዮታዊ ዴሞክራሲ እንደ የፖለቲካ ዘይቤ አገልጋይነቱ በኢህአዴግ በሚመራው የአገዛዝ ስርአት ውስጥ የሚከናወነውን ሕገ ወጥነት፤ ስርአት አልበኝነት፤የኤኮኖሚ ሃይlን ማጠናከሪያነትን ሕጋዊ ለማድረጊያነት መገልገያ ብቻ ነው፡፡ የተለያዩ ፓርቲዎች ልሳኖችና በራሪ ወረቀቶች አብዮታዊ ዴሞክራሲን የሊበራሊዝም  አሻሚ ሕግ በመሆኑ የውስጥንም የውጭንም ተቃዋሚዎች ከጨዋታው ውጪ ለማድረጊያ በመሳሪያነት የሚያገለግል ነው፡፡” በአንድ ወቅት  አንድ አስተያየት ሰጪ አብዮታዊ ዴሞክራሲን ከኮሚኒዝምና ፋሺዝም ጋር የተቆራኝ ብሎታል::

አብዮታዊ ዴሞክራሲ በ2010 በተካሄደው ምርጫ ወቅት 99.6 በመቶ ድል ለመለስ ለማስረከብ ያገለገለ ነው፡፡ ለተጭበረበረና፤ ለተሰረቀ ሕገወጥ ምርጫና መጥፎ አስተዳደር የመለስ  ልግስና?

መለሲዝሞ (መለሳዊነት) ፡ የመለስ ታላቁ ውርስ

የመለስ ዋናው ውርስ ቅርስ መለሳዊነት ብቻ ነው፡፡ ጥሬው የጉልበት ትምክህተኝነት በሚለው በዲሴምበር 2009 ባቀረብኩት ጽሁፌ ላይ እንዳስቀመጥኩት ነው፡፡ መለስ መለሳዊነትን በሚገባ ተክኖታል አስልቶ ተግብሮታል፡፡ የሱም የፖለቲካ ቅያሱና አካሄዱ፤ ‹‹የኔ መንገድ፤ የአውራ ጎዳና፤ መንገድ አልባ……አለያም ወህኒ!” ነው::

መለስ የሚያረጋግጠው ጀብደኝነት ትክክለኛ ያደርጋል የሚለውን አካሄዱን ነው፡፡ ልክ የገሊላው ሰው ደቀ መዝሙሮች እንደሚሉት ሁሉ የመለስም ተከታይ አገልጋዮች አምላኪዎቹ፤ በመለስ የእግር ኮቴ  ላይ እንደሚረማመዱና ያን ብቻ እንደሚከተሉ ይደሰኩራሉ፡፡  የመለስን መለኮታዊ ሃይል ጉልበታቸውን ለማጠናከር ያልማሉ ይሰግዳሉ፡፡ ከነገሥታት መለኮታዊ ሃይል ልግስና ወደ አነስተኛ አምላክነት መለኮታዊ አመራር! ሆኗል የኢትዮጵያ ዕድል (አያሳዝንም!)::

የመለስ አምላኪዎች ማምለኪያ ጣኦት ሙት ማወደሻነት፤ ፈጣሪነት ሊያሳድጉትና ሊያሳልሙን ይዳዳቸዋል፡፡ የሆነው ቢሆን ያሻቸውን ያህል ቢደነባበሩና ቢፍጨረጨሩ መለስን መመለስ አይቻልም፡፡ እንኳን መለስ ታላቁ ኔልሰን ማንዴላም ለእርገትና ሞቶ ለመነሳት ምኞትም ሃሳብም የላቸው፡፡ ማንዴላ ስለራሳቸው ሲናገሩ ‹‹እኔ እናንተ ደጋግሞ ሃጢአተኛዉን  መልአክ ማደረግ ካልፈለጋችሁ በስተቀር እኔ መልአክ አይደለሁም››  ነው ያሉት፡፡ ጻድቃንም ሆኑ  ዲያቢሎሶች ‹‹ዘልአለማዊ ሕይወት›› አይገባቸውም፡፡  መለስም በስተመጨረሻው እንደማንኛውም የአፍሪካ ከንቱ  አምባገነን መቀመጫው የቆሻሻ መጣያ ነው የሚሆነው፡፡   የመለስ ታላቁ ልግስናው ሊሆን ይችል የነበረው፤ ልግስናዬ ብሎ የሚመኘው ነበር፡፡ በ2007 መለስ ሲናገር ‹‹ተስፋዬና ፍላጎቴ፤ የኔ ችሮታ የተስተካከለና የተረጋጋ የልማት አድገት ኢትዮጵያን ከድህነት የሚያላቅቅና ኢትዮጵያውያንን ከተዘፈቁበት የችጋር አረንቋ ማውጣት ብቻ ሳይሆን፤ በሃገሪቱ ላይ አፋጣኝ መልካም አስተዳደርና ዴሞክራሲን በአውን ማስፈን ነው›› ብሎ ነበር፡፡ በመለስ አምላኪዎች አፋጣኝ የዴሞክራሲ ግንባታ ካልተጣለ በስተቀር መለስ ለወደፊቱ በታሪክ የሚታወሰው እንደ መላ ቢስ የአፍሪካ ግፈኛ የለውጥና የእድገት ተቃዋሚ ሰው ብቻ ነው፡፡ ከመለስስ በኋላ መለሳዊያኖች መቆሚያቸው መሰረት ያለው ይሆናል? መለሳውያንስ መለስን ሊተኩት ይችላሉ?

ዛሬ በኢትዮጵያ ያለው የፕሬስ ነጻነት መመልከቻ ተምሳሌት የሆነውና  በመለስ ለወህኒ የተዳረገው ወዳጄ እስክንድር ነጋ የኢህአዴግን ክስረት ሲተነብይ አንደዚህ ብሎ ነበር:: ‹‹ ከሚታየው በስተጀርባ ያለውን ፋቅ ፋቅ አድርገን መመልከት ብንችል ኢህአዴግ እንደሚተረክለትና የማይለወጥ ሃሳብ ያለውና ትልቁ “ዳይናሶርም” (ከድንጋይ ጊዜ በፊት የኖረ አራዊት) አይደለም:: ተዋቅረዋል ከሚባሉት አራቱ አንጃዎች ጋርም ቢሆን የሕወሃት የበላይ ገዢነት ግራ መጋባትና መደነባበር ቅሬታ እንዳቋጠረ ነው፡፡ የአማራ ብሔራዊ ዴሞክራሲያዊ ንቅናቄ አስቸጋሪና ስር የሰደደ ጥርጣሬ፤ የኦሮሞ ሕዝቦች ዴሞክራሲያዊ ንቅናቄ አፍራሽ ባህሪ፤  ያዘለ ስብስብ ነው::››

መለስ ራዕይን ከተልእኮ ጋር ግራ ያጋባ ተልእኮ ነበረው፡፡ ያን ተልእኮውንም ጨርሷል፡፡ ታሪክም ልግስናውን ከሰብአዊ መብት ገፈፋ ጋር፤ የፕሬስ ነጻነትን ከማፈን ጋር፤ የዘር መከፋፈልን፤ የማይድን የሙስና በሽታን፤ ከማሰራጭት ጋር አዛምዶ፤ በደሙ ውስጥ በተሰራጨው የተጠያቂነት ሽሽት፤ግልጽነትን በመፍራቱ ያስታውሳዋል፡፡ ሼክስፒር እንዳለው ‹‹ሰዎች የሚፈጽሙት ጥፋት ተንኮላቸው  ከመቃብር  በላይ ይኖራል: መልካሙስራቸው ከአጥንታቸው ጋር ይቀበራል::››  ጸሃፍት እንደሚያስተምሩትም ‹‹የራሱን ቤት ሰላም የነሳ፤ በምልሰቱ ነፋስን ከመጨበጥ አያልፍም፡ ሞኝ ለልበ ብልሁ አገልጋይ ይሆናል::›› መለስና አምላኪዎቹ የኢትዮጵያን ቤቶች ሁላ በጥብጠዋልና ጉም ይጨብጣሉ አውሎ ነፋስን ይዎርሳሉ!

*የተቶረገመው ጽሁፍ (translated from):

http://open.salon.com/blog/almariam/2013/02/03/ethiopia_they_shall_inherit_the_wind

(ይህን ጦማር ለሌሎችም ያካፍሉ::) ካሁን በፊት የቀረቡ የጸሃፊው ጦማሮችን  ለማግኘት እዚህ ይጫኑ::

http://www.ecadforum.com/Amharic/archives/category/al-mariam-amharic

http://ethioforum.org/?cat=24

Indian investors are forcing Ethiopians off their land – Guardian

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

Thousands of Ethiopians are being relocated or have already fled as their land is sold off to foreign investors without their consent

By John Vidal | The Guradian

Farm workers remove weeds from young plants at the palm oil plantation owned by Karuturi Global, near the town of Bako, in Ethiopia

Farm workers remove weeds from young plants at the palm oil plantation owned by Karuturi Global, near the town of Bako, in Ethiopia

February 6, 2013

Ethiopia‘s leasing of 600,000 hectares (1.5 acres) of prime farmland to Indian companies has led to intimidation, repression, detentions, rapes, beatings, environmental destruction, and the imprisonment of journalists and political objectors, according to a new report.

Research by the US-based Oakland Institute suggests many thousands of Ethiopians are in the process of being relocated or have fled to neighbouring countries after their traditional land has been handed to foreign investors without their consent. The situation is likely to deteriorate further as companies start to gear up their operations and the government persues plans to lease as much as 15% of the land in some regions, says Oakland.

In a flurry of new reports about global “landgrabbing” this week, Oxfam said on Thursday that investors were deliberately targeting the weakest-governed countries to buy cheap land. The 23 least-developed countries of the world account for more than half the thousands of recorded deals completed between 2000 and 2011, it said. Deals involving approximately 200m ha of land are believed to have been negotiated, mostly to the advantage of speculators and often to the detriment of communities, in the last few years.

In what is thought to be one of the first “south-south” demonstrations of concern over land deals, this week Ethiopian activists came to Delhi to urge Indian investors and corporations to stop buying land and to actively prevent human rights abuses being committed by the Ethiopian authorities.

“The Indian government and corporations cannot hide behind the Ethiopian government, which is clearly in violation of human rights laws,” said Anuradha Mittal, director of the Oakland Institute. “Foreign investors must conduct impact assessments to avoid the adverse impacts of their activities.”

Ethiopian activists based in UK and Canada warned Indian investors that their money was at risk. “Foreign investors cannot close their eyes. When people are pushed to the edge they will fight back. No group knows this better than the Indians”, said Obang Metho, head of grassroots social justice movement Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia (SMNE), which claims 130,000 supporters in Ethiopia and elsewhere.

Speaking in Delhi, Metho said: “Working with African dictators who are stealing from the people is risky, unsustainable and wrong. We welcome Indian investment but not [this] daylight robbery. These companies should be accountable under Indian law.”

Nyikaw Ochalla, director of the London-based Anywaa Survival Organisation, said: “People are being turned into day labourers doing backbreaking work while living in extreme poverty. The government’s plans … depend on tactics of displacement, increased food insecurity, destitution and destruction of the environment.”

Ochall, who said he was in daily direct contact with communities affected by “landgrabbing” across Ethiopia, said that the relocations would only add to hunger and conflict.

“Communities that have survived by fishing and moving to higher ground to grow maize are being relocated and say they are now becoming dependent on government for food aid. They are saying they will never leave and that the government will have to kill them. I call on the Indian authorities and the public to stop this pillage.”

Karuturi Global, the Indian farm conglomerate and one of the world’s largest rose growers, which has leased 350,000 ha in Gambella province to grow palm oil, cereals maize and biofuel crops for under $1.10 per hectare a year, declined to comment. A spokesman said: “This has nothing to do with us.”

Ethiopia has leased an area the size of France to foreign investors since 2008. Of this, 600,000 ha has been handed on 99-year leases to 10 large Indian companoes. Many smaller companies are believed to have also taken long leases. Indian companies are said to be investing about $5bn in Ethiopian farmland, but little is expected to benefit Ethiopia directly. According to Oakland, the companies have been handed generous tax breaks and incentives as well as some of the cheapest land in the world.

The Ethiopian government defended its policies. “Ethiopia needs to develop to fight poverty, increase food supplies and improve livelihoods and is doing so in a sustainable way,” said a spokeswoman for the government in london. She pointed out that 45% of Ethiopia’s 1.14m sq miles of land is arable and only 15% is in use.

The phenomenon of Indian companies “grabbing” land in Africa is an extension of what has happened in the last 30 years in India itself, said Ashish Kothari, author of a new book on the growing reach of Indian businesses.

“In recent years the country has seen a massive transfer of land and natural resources from the rural poor to the wealthy. Around 60m people have been displaced in India by large scale industrial developments. Around 40% of the people affected have been indigenous peoples“, he said.

These include dams, mines, tourist developments, ports, steel plants and massive irrigation schemes.

According to Oakland, the Ethiopian “land rush” is part of a global phenomenon that has seen around 200m ha of land leased or sold to foreign investors in the last three years.

The sales in Africa, Latin America and Asia have been led by farm conglomerates, but are backed by western hedge and pension funds, speculators and universities. Many Middle Eastern governments have backed them with loans and guarantees.

Barbara Stocking, the chief executive of Oxfam, which is holding a day of action against landgrabs on Thursday, called on the World Bank to temporarily freeze all land investments in large scale agriculture to ensure its policies did not encourage landgrabs.

“Poor governance allows investors to secure land quickly and cheaply for profit. Investors seem to be cherry-picking countries with weak rules and regulations because they are easy targets. This can spell disaster for communities if these deals result in their homes and livelihoods being grabbed.”

Oxfam will be placing huge “Sold” signs on the Sydney harbour bridge, the Lincoln memorial in Washington and the Colosseum in Rome to mark its action day.

Obang addresses land grab conference in India

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

Statement by Mr. Obang Metho, Executive Director of the SMNE

smne logo

Understanding Land Investment in East Africa

Seminar Hall II, India International Centre, Max Muller Marg, New Delhi

 

A Day Light Robbery in Ethiopia: “Doing Business” With African dictators
“

 

 Organized by

Centre For Social Development (CSD) in association with Indian Social Action Forum (INSAF), New Delhi; Kalpavriksh, Pune; Popular Education and Action Centre (PEACE), New Delhi and The Oakland Institute, Oakland, USA

 

February 5, 2013

========================================

Africa has emerged as the premiere frontier market in the world for vast agricultural land acquisitions, often called “land grabs” due to widespread evidence that the land being acquired is not “free and clear” of inhabitants. Instead, repressive African governments, like in Ethiopia, are forcing some of the poorest people in the world from their homes and land without consultation or compensation, leaving most of them more destitute than before. Those who resist have faced arbitrary arrests, beatings, rape, torture, and death.

In Ethiopia, huge swathes of fertile, well-watered agricultural land are being leased for up to 99 years and for negligible amounts to foreign countries, foreign multinational companies and private investors. At the forefront of these mostly secretive deals are investors from India, China and Saudi Arabia.

Africa has a history of being abused, whether through the trafficking of human beings during slavery, during the centuries of colonialism or through the more modern-day exploitation of its diamonds, oil, gold or some other natural resource; however, the expropriation of land in a country where nearly 80% of the people depend on subsistence farming may threaten African life at its roots. 

Mr. Obang Metho, the Executive Director of the Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia (SMNE), a grassroots social justice movement advocating for the rights and freedom of the Ethiopian people, will be speaking at the Understanding Land Investment in East Africa.

 

The SMNE partnered with the Oakland Institute in completing an in-depth study on Understanding Land Investment Deals in Africa. Mr. Metho originates from Gambella, Ethiopia, said to be at the epicenter of land-grabs on the continent and the location of the largest Indian agricultural enterprise in the country—a potentially 300,000 hectare farm being leased to Karuturi—as well as the location of many other Indian business ventures.

 

Mr. Metho will voice concerns regarding the lack of transparency and accountability surrounding these land acquisitions in a country known for its authoritarian, one-party, ethnic-based government, which has been in power for 21 years.  Elections have not met international standards with the current regime “winning” the election in 2010 with a purported 99.6% victory. Only 1 out of 547 members of the Ethiopian parliament is a member of the opposition. The government controls all the media. Journalists and dissidents are charged as terrorists under vague anti-terrorism laws.

Restrictive laws on civil society have essentially closed down all independent institutions, replacing them with government-controlled look-alike organizations. These are the facts about Ethiopia and so if any think that these land acquisitions have the input, let alone support of the people, they are mistaken. Even though it is required under the law, no one can anyone assume that this has been followed.

Even though India may be struggling with its own land issues, Ethiopia and India are very different countries. In India, there may be a debate between peasant groups, landowners, developers and the government; however, in Ethiopia, such a debate would be outlawed. In India, the media can discuss the issues and write about it in newspapers, but in Ethiopia, those involved may end up in jail if they oppose the government position. When normal avenues for public discussion or legal action are blocked, conflict, including violent conflict, will sometimes erupt, particularly where government security forces have abused the people. 

When Ethiopia promotes land investments to prospective foreign partners, they emphasize the immense opportunity, while minimizing the rising risk of insecurity that will be inevitable as more and more people are evicted from their homes and land, as they become hungry, no longer being able to feed themselves or as water is diverted from local use to instead irrigate new farms.

In 2012, one farm was attacked by insurgents resulting in the deaths of a number of employees as some believe the only way to deter land leasing is to attack investors. What the government has not explained is how they are pitting the people against the investors rather than helping to create mutually-beneficial partnerships between investors and the local people. It can be done, but not in this way.

Currently, there are legal processes underway in the UK and the US to deal with the very repressive program of moving smallholder farmers and pastoralists into concentrated villages, devoid of services, fertile land and water, in order to free up the land for foreign investors. Human rights organizations have exposed the widespread human rights abuses associated with this resettlement process. It may be that those who support and collude with such programs will be found complicit.

Foreign investors cannot close their eyes to these risks. Nor can anyone count on the current government for protection as this regime has always looked after its own self-interests first, which may be self-preservation as it suffers internal power struggles that could unpredictably change its direction or cause it to implode, a greater risk now that the mastermind dictator, the former prime minister, Meles Zenawi, has died after ruling the country for twenty-one years.

Foreign investors should instead align with the interests of the people against what has become not just a “land grab” but a “life grab” because the land which has sustained them is no longer there. Their voices have been silenced by their own government. If this is wrong in India it should be wrong in Ethiopia.

When people are pushed to the edge, the people will fight back. No group knows this better than the Indian. When it happened in India, Ghandi led the people as they fought for justice.  The same thing will happen in Ethiopia or in other parts of Africa.

Working with African dictators who are stealing from the people for their own benefit is not only risky, unsustainable and wrong, it is unconscionable. When decisions are made without morality, honesty and integrity, the consequences to human life are devastating and long-lasting. An example of this is the Berlin Conference in the late 1800’s when Africa was divvied up among colonialist powers without an African being included at the table. That decision is still affecting Africa, enflaming conflict on the continent that has enveloped others throughout the world.

The same thing could happen with land grabs that now threaten food security and water resources on the continent. This time, the decision may not be made at the table in Berlin, but it could be in Addis Ababa or in New Delhi.  The one thing of which you can be sure is that there are no indigenous people at this table. Instead some Ethiopian officials are making these decisions with Indian investors without considering the impact on the people or the country in the long term. Ethiopia and Africa need investment and welcome Indian investment but what we stand against is the daylight robbery of the people. If it is not allowed in New Delhi or other parts of India, it should never be allowed in Gambella, the Omo Valley or anywhere else in Ethiopia.

Let us follow our consciences, respecting the value of the human life of others rather than exploitive investment that breaks all the values Ghandi revered to the point of losing his life. Those who have experienced colonialism should not trade places with the colonialists either at home or in a foreign land.

Only when we see the God-given value in our global brothers and sisters, putting our shared humanity before our ethnicity, nationality, or other identity distinctions will we truly be free. Only then will we be building a more peaceful, respectful and harmonious global society. Let our conscience give us the guidance we need at such a time as this.

=========================

For media enquiries, including interview requests, contact Mr. Obang Metho, Executive Director of the SMNE. Phone 202 725-1616 or Email: Obang@solidaritymovement.org

The SMNE is a non-violent, non-political, grassroots social justice movement of diverse Ethiopians; committed to bringing truth, justice, freedom, equality, reconciliation, accountability and respect for human and civil rights to the people of Ethiopia and beyond. The SMNE has branches in the United States, Canada and United Kingdom and chapters in various cities and countries throughout the world, including within Ethiopia.

Preparation for ENTC general assembly and public meeting is being finalized

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

The Ethiopian National Transitional Council (ENTC) is organizing a town hall in Washington DC on Sunday, February 24, 2013, following its 2-day general assembly.

Local representatives from several cities and countries around the world are heading to Washington DC starting Feb. 20 to participate in the ENTC general assembly.

At the end of the two-day conference, ENTC will hold a town hall meeting to discuss the public the organization’s vision, plans and activities.

Town Hall meeting address: 85 South Bragg Street, Alexandria, VA 22312, USA
Date: February 24, 2013 Time: 2:00pm

For more info write to: contact@etntc.org

Ethiopia: They Shall Inherit the Wind

Sunday, February 3rd, 2013
windThe Sandcastles and Dams of African Dictators

All dictators on the African continent have sought immortality by leaving a legacy that will outlive them and endure for the ages. But all have inherited the wind.

Kwame Nkrumah led the first sub-Saharan African country to gain independence from colonialism in  1957. Nkrumaism sought to transform Ghana into a modern socialist state through state-driven industrialization. He built the Akosombo Dam on the Volta River, at the time considered the “largest single investment in the economic development plans of Ghana”. He promoted the cult of personality and was hailed as the “Messiah”, “Father of Ghana and Pan Africanism” and “Father of African nationalism”.  He crushed the unions and the opposition, jailed the judges, created a one-man, one-party state and tried to make himself “President for life”. He got the military boot in 1966. He left a bitter legacy of one-man, one-party rule which to this day serves as a model of dictatorship for all of Africa. Nkrumah died in exile and inherited the wind.

Gamal Abdel Nasser sought to create his own brand of Arab socialism and nationalism and propagated it as a secular Pan-Arab ideology. Using an extensive intelligence apparatus and an elaborate propaganda machine, he promoted a cult of personality projecting himself as the “Man of the People.”  He built the Aswan High Dam with Soviet aid. He ruled Egypt in a one-man, one-party dictatorship and crushed all dissent, particularly the Muslim Brotherhood. Today the Muslim Brotherhood is in power and Nasserism is in the dustbin of history.  Nasser left a legacy of military dictatorship in Egypt and inherited the wind.

Mobutu Sese Seko proclaimed himself “Father of the Nation” of Zaire (The Democratic Republic of the Congo), and became dictator for life. He declared, “In our African tradition there are never two chiefs….That is why we Congolese, in the desire to conform to the traditions of our continent, have resolved to group all the energies of the citizens of our country under the banner of a single national party.” Mobutuism consisted of the delusional thoughts of Mobutu and his program of “Zairianization”. He promoted a cult of personality describing himself as the “the all-powerful warrior who, because of his endurance and inflexible will to win, will go from conquest to conquest leaving fire in his wake”. Mobutu built the Inga Dams over the Congo River hoping to create the largest hydroelectric facility in the world. He left a legacy of kleptocracy and inherited the wind.

Moamar Gadhafi proclaimed the “Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya” and ushered the era of the state of the masses (Jamahiriya). He sought to elevate Libyan society by reducing it to a massive collection of “people’s committees”. He brutally suppressed dissent and squandered the national resources of that country. He launched the Great Man-Made River, the world’s largest irrigation project and proclaimed it the “Eighth Wonder of the World.” After four decades in power, the “Brother Leader” and author of the Green Book literally suffered the death of a sewer rat. He left a legacy of division and destruction in Libya and inherited the wind.

Idi Amin Dada, the “Butcher of Uganda” and the most notorious of all African dictators, imposed a reign of terror on the Ugandan people and sadistically displayed his tyrannical power to the international press. He pompously described himself as “His Excellency President for Life, Field Marshal Al Hadji Doctor Idi Amin, VC, DSO, MC, Lord of All the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Sea, and Conqueror of the British Empire in Africa in General and Uganda in Particular.” He built no dams by damned the Ugandan people for 8 years until he was forced into exile. He left a legacy of death, destruction and ethnic division in Uganda and inherited the wind.

The “Great Leader”?

The late Meles Zenawi, like all African dictators, sought to make himself larger than life. He was not only Ethiopia’s savior but Africa’s as well. He sought to project himself as a “visionary leader”, “inspirational spokesman for Africa” and supreme practitioner of “revolutionary democracy.” Following his death sometime in late Summer 2012, the propaganda to deify, mythologize, exalt, immortalize and idolize him became a theatre of the absurd. Hailemariam Desalegn, Meles’ handpicked titular prime minster, in his speech to the party faithful in parliament virtually made Meles a lesser god offering blessings of “Eternal Glory to Our Great Leader.” Even the original “Great Leader” Kim Il-sung of North Korea achieved no more glory than being “The Sun of the Nation”. Desalegn promised to consummate his own divinely delegated mission with missionary zeal: “My responsibility now… is to successfully carry out the aims and ambitions of a great and notable leader… Following in the footsteps of our great leader, we will strive to maintain and develop the influential voice in regional, continental and international forums” and “successfully implement the aims and vision of our great leader. He was not just a brilliant generator of ideas: he was, par excellence, the embodiment of selflessness and self-sacrifice…”

Was Desalegn talking about Meles or the Man of Galilee?

The Vision and Legacy of the “Visionary Great Leader”

Like all African dictators before him, Meles had illusions, delusions and obsessions. He did not have a grand vision; he had illusions of grandeur. Like Mobutu before him, Meles had the illusion of building Africa’s largest dam, the so-called Grand Renaissance Dam, on the Blue Nile at a cost preliminarily estimated (unadjusted for cost overruns) at nearly USD$5 billion. Experts believe such a dam if built will “flood 1,680 square kilometers of forest in northwest Ethiopia, near the Sudan border, and create a reservoir that is nearly twice as large as Lake Tana, Ethiopia’s largest natural lake…. The current cost estimate [for the dam] equals the country’s entire annual budget…” Moreover, the dam “could cut the Nile flow into Egypt by 25% during the reservoir filling period” and substantially reduce the reservoir capacity of the Aswan High Dam. According to a document obtained by Wikileaks from the private intelligence group Stratfor, “Sudan’s president Omer Al-Bashir had agreed to build an Egyptian airbase in his country’s western region of Darfur to be used for assaults on The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) should diplomatic efforts fail to resolve the dispute between Egypt and Ethiopia over Nile water-sharing.”  A legacy of regional war and strife?

Meles did not have a growth and transformation plan; he had delusional plans of economic growth and transformation. As I have demonstrated in “The Voodoo Economics  of Meles Zenawi”, Meles “has been making hyperbolic claims of economic growth in Ethiopia based on fabricated and massaged GDP (gross domestic product) numbers, implying that the country is in a state of runaway economic development and the people’s standard of living is fast outstripping those living in the middle income countries.” When the U.S. State Department reported an average inflation rate (FY 2008-2009) of 36 percent, Meles predicted a decline in inflation to 3.9 percent in 2009/10. His Growth and Transformation Plan (or what I called “Zenawinomics”) which I reviewed in  my June  2011 commentary “The Fakeonomics of Meles Zenawi”, “is a make-a-wish list of stuff. It purports to be based on a ‘long-term vision’ of making Ethiopia ‘a country where democratic rule, good-governance and social justice reigns.’ It aims to ‘build an economy which has a modern and productive agricultural sector with enhanced technology and an industrial sector’ and ‘increase per capita income of citizens so that it reaches at the level of those in middle-income countries.’ It boasts of ‘pillar strategies’ to ‘sustain faster and equitable economic growth’, ‘maintain agriculture as a major source of economic growth,’ ‘create favorable conditions for the industry to play key role in the economy,’ ‘expand infrastructure and social development,’ ‘build capacity and deepen good governance’ and ‘promote women and youth empowerment and equitable benefit.’ Stripped of its collection of hollow economic slogans, clichés, buzzwords and catchphrases, Meles’ growth and growth and transformation plan is plain sham-o-nomics.  A legacy of inflation, economic mismanagement, crushing foreign debt and environmental destruction?

Meles had no national vision; he only had a vision of ethnic division. His warped idea of “ethnic federalism” is merely a kinder and gentler reincarnation of Apartheid in Ethiopia. For nearly two decades, Meles toiled ceaselessly to shred the very fabric of Ethiopian society, and sculpt a landscape balkanized into tribal, ethnic, linguistic and regional enclaves. He crafted a constitution based entirely on ethnicity and tribal affiliation as the basis for political organization. He wrote in Article 46 (2) of the constitution: “States shall be structured on the basis of settlement patterns, language, identity and consent of the people.” In other words, “states”, (and the people who live in them) shall be corralled like cattle in tribal homelands in much the same way as the 10 Bantustans (black homelands) of Apartheid South Africa.  These tribal homelands are officially called “kilils” (enclaves or distinct enclosed and effectively isolated geographic areas within a seemingly integrated national territory). Like the Bantustans, the Killilistans ultimately aim to create homogeneous and autonomous ethnic states in Ethiopia, effectively scrubbing out any meaningful notion of Ethiopian national citizenship. Meles’ completely fictitious theory of “ethnic (tribal) federalism)”, unknown in the annals of political science or political theory, has been used to justify and glorify these Kililistans and impose an atrocious policy of divide and rule against 90 million people. A legacy of ethnic balkanization, political  polarization, brutalization, and sectarian strife?

Under Meles, Ethiopia became the poster country for international alms and charity and crushing international debt. During his two decades plus tenure, Ethiopia has been among the largest recipients of  “economic aid”, “development aid”, “military aid”, “technical aid”, “emergency aid”, “relief aid”, “humanitarian aid” and aid against AIDS in the world. As I  argued in my commentary “Ethiopia in BondAid?”, Meles has successfully subverted international aid and loans, particularly U.S. aid, to strengthen his tyrannical rule.  A legacy of international aid addiction and beggary?

Corruption under Meles Zenawi has put Ethiopia on life-support. The World Bank recently issued a 448-page report entitled, “Diagnosing Corruption in Ethiopia” . The cancer of corruption has metastasized in the Ethiopian body politics.  The Telecommunications Sector of Ethiopia is in terminal stage:

Despite the country’s exceptionally heavy recent investment in its telecoms infrastructure, it has the second lowest telephone penetration rate in Africa. It once led the regional field in the laying of fiber-optic cable, yet suffers from severe bandwidth and reliability problems. Amid its low service delivery, an apparent lack of accountability, and multiple court cases, some aspects of the sector are perceived by both domestic and international observers to be deeply affected by corruption.

In the Construction Sector, “Ethiopia exhibits most of the classic warning signs of corruption risk, including instances of poor-quality construction, inflated unit output costs, and delays in implementation.” Corruption in the Justice Sector “takes one of two forms: (a) political interference with the independent actions of courts or other sector agencies, or (b) payment or solicitation of bribes or other considerations to alter a decision or action.” Corruption in the Land Sector is inherent in the law. “The level of corruption is influenced strongly by the way policy and legislation are formulated and enforced. For example, the capture of state assets by the elite can occur through the formulation of policy that favors the elite.” In other words, the laws are written to rig the bidding process to give Meles’ cronies, buddies and supporters a significant advantage so that they can pick up state assets at fire sale prices. A legacy of endemic corruption?

Meles’ “revolutionary democracy” as an ideology or policy guide never quite transcended the sloganeering and phrase-mongering stage, but he indulged in its rhetoric whenever he was overcome by revolutionary fervor.  In a seminal analysis of “revolutionary democracy” and arguably the “first paper to seriously examine the political programme and political philosophy of EPRDF based on a review of its major policy”, Jean-Nicolas Bach of the Institute of Political Studies (Bordeaux, France) in 2011 described “Abyotawi democracy (revolutionary democracy) [as] neither revolutionary nor democratic.” Bach argued that revolutionary democracy is a ‘‘bricolage’’ (hodgepodge) of “Leninism, Marxism, Maoism, and also liberalism” concocted by a “small group of party ideologists around Meles, and a few agencies.” As an ideology, “revolutionary democracy”  “provides justification for fusing political and economic power in the party-state run by EPRDF.” A critical “review of party pamphlets and official party/state discourses reveals the degree to which revolutionary democracy has become an ambiguous doctrine vis-a`-vis ‘liberalism’” and “remains a powerful fighting tool to exclude internal and external ‘enemies’.”  One commentator recently likened revolutionary democracy to communism and fascism.  Revolutionary democracy is responsible for delivering a 99.6 percent parliamentary victory to Meles’ party in 2010. A legacy of rigged and stolen elections and bad governance?

Melesismo: Meles’ Greatest Legacy

Meles’ singular legacy is Melesismo, a political legacy I foretold in my December 2009 commentary entitled “The Raw Machismo of Power”. Meles perfected Melesismo– the political art of  “My way, the highway, no way… or jail!” Melesismo reaffirms the ignoble principle that might makes right.

Meles’ worshippers proclaim they are marching in his footsteps with the same reverence of those who claim to walk in the footsteps of the  Man of Galilee. They ostentatiously display raw machismo invoking the divine power Meles. How little things have changed? From a legacy of the divine right of kings to a legacy of the divine rule of a lesser god!

Meles’ worshippers seek to mythologize, canonize and idolize him. But they cannot reincarnate Meles as the “Messiah”. Even the great Nelson Mandela is undeserving of “eternal glory”. He said so himself, “I am not a saint, unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.” Neither saints nor demons deserve “eternal glory”. Meles will eventually be consigned to the dustbin of history as nothing more than another  petty African tyrant.

Meles’ greatest legacy would have been what he said his legacy would be. In 2007, Meles said his “hope is that [his] legacy” would be not only “sustained and accelerated development that would pull Ethiopia out of the massive deep poverty” but also “radical improvements in terms of good governance and democracy.”  Without radical democratic improvements by Meles’ worshippers, Meles will be remembered in history as a reactionary petty African tyrant.

Is it possible for Meleismo to hold the center after Meles? Will Melesismo survive Meles?

My friend Eskinder Nega, the personification of press freedom in Ethiopia today, who was jailed by Meles, was likely right in foretelling the inevitable implosion of the “EPDRF”. Eskinder wrote, “Scratch beyond the surface and the EPRDF is really not the monolithic dinosaur as it is most commonly stereotyped. [It has become] a coalition of four distinct phenomenon: the increasing confusion of the dominant TPLF [Tigrayan People's Liberation Front], the acute cynicism of the ANDM [Amhara National Democratic Movement], the desperate nihilism of the OPDO [Oromo People's Democratic Organization] and the inevitable irrelevance of the incongruent SEPM [South Ethiopian People's Movement] (a grab bag of some 40 ethnic groups from the southern part of the country).”

Meles was a man with a mission who confused mission with vision. He has completed his mission. History will record his legacy to be human rights violation, press suppression, ethnic division, endemic corruption,  obsessive secrecy and a political culture whose lifeblood is impunity, lack of accountability and transparency. Shakespeare wrote, “The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones…” Scripture teaches that “He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind: and the fool shall be servant to the wise of heart.”  Meles and his worshippers have profoundly troubled the Ethiopian house and they shall inherit the wind!

Professor Alemayehu G. Mariam teaches political science at California State University, San Bernardino and is a practicing defense lawyer.

Previous commentaries by the author are available at:

http://open.salon.com/blog/almariam/

www.huffingtonpost.com/alemayehu-g-mariam/

Amharic translations of recent commentaries by the author may be found at:

http://www.ecadforum.com/Amharic/archives/category/al-mariam-amharic

http://ethioforum.org/?cat=24

Africans In India: From Slaves to Generals and Rulers

Sunday, February 3rd, 2013

An exhibit at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York

Ethiopian were warriors and traders, trading directly with ports in the Indian Ocean, as far away as Malacca in Malaysia

Ethiopian were warriors and traders, trading directly with ports in the Indian Ocean, as far away as Malacca in Malaysia

Over the centuries, East Africans have greatly distinguished themselves in India as generals, commanders, admirals, architects, prime ministers, and rulers. They have written a story unparalleled in the rest of the world: that of enslaved Africans attaining the pinnacle of military and political authority.

Known as Habshis (Abyssinians) and Sidis, they have left an impressive historical and architectural legacy that attest to their determination, skills, and intellectual, cultural, military and political savvy.

Open to the pubic, Monday through Saturday, 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM; through July 6, 2013

Curated by Dr. Sylviane A. Diouf and Dr. Kenneth X. Robbins.

Those of you who can’t make it to New York, please go to url below to see online exhibit.

http://exhibitions.nypl.org/africansindianocean/

 

CPJ protests arrest of Ethiopian journalist for covering Muslim protest

Friday, February 1st, 2013

Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)

Nairobi, February 1, 2013

Muslim demonstrators gather outside Addis Ababa's Anwar Mosque

Muslim demonstrators gather outside Addis Ababa’s Anwar Mosque

Ethiopian security forces have detained for two weeks without charge the editor of a newsmagazine and accused him of incitement to terrorism, according to local journalists. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on authorities to release Solomon Kebede immediately and halt their harassment of journalists affiliated with the weekly Ye Muslimoch Guday.

Police in Addis Ababa, the capital, on January 17 arrested Kebede, managing editor of the now-defunct paper Ye Muslimoch Guday (“Muslim Affairs”), and took him to the Maekelawi federal detention center. Solomon’s health is in poor condition and he has been held without access to a lawyer, the journalists said. A court date has been set for February 13.

Local journalists told CPJ they believed the arrest was linked to Solomon’s columns that had criticized perceived government intrusion in religious affairs. Solomon had covered demonstrations staged last year by Muslims protesting alleged interference in Islamic Council elections. The protests were a highly sensitive issue for the government, which feared a hardline Islamist influence within the predominantly Christian country, news reports said.

In an effort to suppress coverage of the protests, authorities began to crack down on Muslim-oriented publications. At least three papers, including Ye Muslimoch Guday, were forced to stop publishing, and police detained at least two reporters of the U.S. government-funded Voice of America. Authorities also arrested Yusuf Getachew, editor-in-chief of Ye Muslimoch Guday,in July, news reports said. Yusuf is awaiting trial in Kality Prison on vague anti-state and terrorism charges. In June, police raided the Addis Ababa offices of the private Horizon printing press and ordered the publisher to stop printing Ye Muslimoch Guday. The paper has not published since July 2012.

Local journalists also told CPJ that they suspected police may have arrested Solomon so they could question him on the whereabouts of two of his colleagues from Ye Muslimoch Guday. Senior Editor Akemel Negash and Copy Editor Isaac Eshetu fled into hiding in August after police kept their homes under surveillance for weeks, local journalists said.

“We are troubled by the arrest of Solomon Kebede and the government’s ongoing crackdown against the staff of Ye Muslimoch Guday,” said CPJ East Africa Consultant, Tom Rhodes. “We are also concerned about Solomon’s well-being in the Maekelawi federal detention center, where numerous detainees have reported being tortured. Authorities should release Solomon immediately.”

የኢትዮጵያ አቦሸማኔዎችና አባ ዝምታዎች ትንሣኤ

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

ከፕሮፌሰር ዓለማየሁ ገብረማርያም

ትርጉም ከነጻነት ለሃገሬ

በአቦሸማኔዎች ምድር የጉማሬዎች (አባ ዝምታዎች) ዓለም

በአዲስ ዓት መግቢያ ጦማሬ ላይ 2013ን ‹‹የኢትዮጵያ የአቦሸማኔ ዓመት››(የወጣቶቹ)  ብዬው ነበር፡፡ በዚህ ዓመትም የኢትዮጵያን ወጣቶች ለማስተማር፤ባሉበት ለመድረስ፤ለማሳሰብም ቃል ገብቼ ነበር:: የኢትዮጵያም የምሁራን አምባ ይህንኑ ለማድረግ ጥረት እንዲያደርጉ ተማጽኜ ነበር (በተለይም በከፍተኛው ጣርያ ላይ ያለነውን ምሁራን)፡፡ በተመሳሳይ ወጣቱን እንዲደርሱት አሳስቤም ነበር፡፡ ከዚህ ባለፈም ተማጽኖዬ ከሰፊው የጉማሬ ትውልድ ጋር (መንገዱ የጠፋው ትውልድ) እራሱን በማግኘት መስመሩን አስተካክሎ ጉዞውን እንዲያሳምርና ወጣቱን እንዲረዳ  ምኞቴን አስታዉቄ  ነበር ፡፡

በጁን 2010 በግልጽ ባሰማሁት (የኢትዮጵያን ምሁራን ምን በላቸው?) የእንዳዳን ጥሪ (S.O.S)  እና አሁን ደሞ ‹‹የተሳካላቸውን ግድ የለሽ ምሁራን›› ጥሪው ጥሩ አቀባበል አላገኘም:: በተለይም በ‹‹ጉማሬያዊያን›› ላይ ያቀረብኩት ጥያቄ: በጨካኞች ሰው አጥፊዎች ላይ በሰብአዊ መብት ግፍ ፈጻሚዎች ላይ፤የአብረን እንሁን  እንስራ ተማጽኖዬ  በጣሙን የከረረ እምቢታና ጆሮ ዳባ ልበስ መልስ ነው የተሰጠው፡፡ ከአንዳንድ ጉማሬዎች ተረት መሰል አባባል እንደተረዳሁት እራሳቸውን በማመጻደቅ ከጳጳሱ ቄሱ እንዲሉ አይነት፤‹‹እከሳለሁ›› በሚል መልኩ ጣታቸውን ወደ ሌላው መቀሰርንነው፡፡ አንዳንዶች ሲተቹ እንዲያውም እራሴን በከፍተኛው ቦታ ላይ በማስቀመጥ፤ ለታይታ ብቻ በመጻፍ፤ እራሴን ለማስተዋወቅና ተወዳጅነትን ለማግኘት እንደምንቀሳቀስ አይነት ሃሳብ ሰንዘረዋል፡፡ በጉማሬዎች መሃል የተፈጠረው ድንጋጤና ስጋት፤እኔ ጉዳዩን ማንሳት እንዳልነበረብኝና ያደረግሁትም ሕዝባዊ ጥረቱን ክህደት፤ ስም ማጥፋትና የሚያሳፍር በመሆኑ፤ በራሳቸው የፈጠሩትን ሽባነትና ፍርሃት ጨርሶ ማንሳት እንዳልነበረብኝ አትተዋል፡፡ አንዳንዶችም ይህን አቦሸማኔና ጉማሬ የሚለውን  ዘይቤያዊ አነጋገር በመጠቀም፤ በወጣቱን በባለዕድሜው መሃል ልዩነትን ፈጠርክ ብለው ይኮንኑኛል፡፡ በኔ እምነት ግን ከሼክስፒር አባባል ልዋስና ‹‹ሁለቱም ወገኖች የምሬታቸው ሚዛን እኩልነው››::

የኔ እምነትና ፍላጎት ያንን ጥንታዊ የዝምታ ባህል ሽፋን ለመግለጥና አውነትን ብቻ ለገዢዎች ተብሎ ሳይወሰን፤እራሳቸውንም ለዝምታ መዳረግን ለመረጡትም ጭምር ነው፡፡ በዝምታ፤ ትክክለኛውን በስህተቱ መተካትም ትክክል አይደለም ብዬ አበክሬ አምናለሁ፡፡ በጸጥታ እኩይ ደባን እንደ ድል ማመንም፤በራሱ እኩይ ደባ መፈጸም ነው፡፡ ግፍን በዝምታ መመልከትም የለየለት የሞራል ሕገወጥነት ነው፡፡ ጥላቻን ተግባራቸው ካደረጉም ጋር መወገን በራሱ የጥላቻውአካል መሆን ነው፡፡ የሕግ ምሳሌያዊ አባባልም ‹‹ዝምታ ፈቃድ አለያም መስማማት ነው››፡፡ በይሉኝታ ብቻ በዝምተኞች የሚረጨው ውሃ በተጨቋኞች ልብና ሕሊና ውስጥ የሚፈላውን መከራና ቁጣ የሚያቀዘቅዝ አይሆንም፡፡ ሊዮናርዶ ዳ ቪንቺ እንዳለው፤ ‹‹እንደ ዝምታ የባለስልጣናትን ጉልበት የሚያጠናክር ምንም የለም››፡፡ እኔ ደግሞ‹‹አምባገነናዊ አስተዳደርን እንደ ዝምታ የሚያጠናክረው የለም እላለሁ፡፡ ማንም ቢሆን ጨቋኞችን በዝምታ ቋንቋ ሊያነጋግራቸው አይሆንለትምና፤  እውነት በሆነ የእምቢተኛነት ቋንቋ ሊያነጋግራቸው ይገባል፡፡ ዝምታ በምንም መልኩ የግብዞችና የአጭበርባሪዎች የመጨረሻው መሸሸጊያ ሊሆን አይገባም፡፡

አንዳንድ አበረታች የእድገት አዝማሚያዎች ይታያሉ፡፡ ባለፉት ሳምንታት በርካታ የነጻነት ብርሃን የፈነጠቁ አስተዋጽኦዎች በኢትዮጵያ ውስጥ ባለው ጨቋኝ ሥርአት ላይ እየታዩ ናቸው፡፡ ሙክታር ኦማር ‹‹አብዮታዊ ዴሞክራሲ›› በሚለው የሃሰት ጽነሰ ሃሳብ ላይ፤ አውዳሚ ወይም አጥፊ የሆነ ግን እውነት ሂስ አስነብቦን ነበር፡፡ ‹‹በወቅቱ በኢትዮጵያ ውስጥ አለ የሚባለው እድገት በተገቢው አስተሳሰብ ሲመዘን ከውጭ መንግሥታት በሚቸር ዳረጎት እንጂ በአብዮታዊ ዴሞክራሲ በሚጮኸው የመፈክር ጋጋት አይደለም::በትክክለኛው አስተሳሰብ የማርክሲዝም ኮሚኒዝምን ግንኙነት እና የአብዮታዊ ዴሞክራሲን ትስስር በሚገባ ያሳየናል፡፡” ሙክታር ሲያጠቃልል፤ “ከመለስ ዜናዊ  አስተሳሰብ ጋር ፍቅር ያላቸው ምሁራን ምክንያታዊ በማድረግ አስደንጋጫ የሆነውን የሰብአዊ መብት ሬኮርዱን ለመዘንጋት ካሰቡ እነሱም በፈቃደኝነት አለማወቅ ወንጀለኞች ናቸው፤ አለያም ከፕሮፌሰር ጆን ግሬይ ‹‹መሰራታዊ እኩይነት ከእድገት ክትትል ይወለዳል›› ከሚለው ምሁራዊ ማሳሰቢያ ጋር አይስማሙም፡፡

የኢትዮ ፎረም ድሕረ ገፅ  ዋና አዘጋጅ ‹‹ልማታዊው ኪስ አውላቂ ›› በሚል የአማርኛ ፅሁፍ፤ የአባይን ግድብ ለመጨረሻ ተብሎ በቢሊዮን ዶላር የሚሰበሰብለት፤በከንቱነት የሚነገርለት የሬኔሳንስ ቦንድ ግልባጭ መሆኑን በማስረጃ ያቀርብልናል፡፡ ሕዝቡ በችጋር እየተቆላና በጨቋኞች አለ አግባብ  እየተኮነነ የልማት ግድብ አለ ማለት ከንቱ ነው፡፡

ከእኔ በበለጠ ብልሆች የሆኑት የምከተለው ፍሬ ቢስ አቅጣጫ እንደሆነ ይነግሩኛል፡፡ ፊትህ ደም እስኪመስል መጮህ፤ማሳሰብ ትችላለህ፤ያም ሆኖም ግን ከኢትዮጵያ ጉማሬዎች ሰፋ ያለ ፖለቲካዊ ተሳትፎ ፤ ጥብቅና፤ እንቅስቃሴ ያደርጋሉ ብለህ ማመን ግን፤ ከቀይ ስር ደም አንደመጭመቅ የሚቆጠር ነው፡፡ ብልሆቹ እንደሚሉኝም፤ እነ አባ ዝምታን የዝምታ ዓለም ዝም ብሎ በአቦሸማኔዎች መሬት መጻፍ ይሻላል ነው::  እነሱን ከመጨቅጨቅ ዝም ብሎ ፤ እኩይነትን ላለመስማት ክፋትን ላለማየት፤ክፉ ላለመናገር በፈጠሩት የማስመሰያ አስደሳች መኖሪያቸው ዓለም እንዲኖሩ መተው ይሻላል ይሉኛል፡፡

እና እንደዚያ ላድርግ?

ከአቦሸማኔዎች ጋር ዕምንትን መልሶ መገንባት

ትልቅ ችግር አለን! በጣም ትልቅ፡፡ ‹‹እኛ›› ሁላችንም አቦሸማኔዎችና ጉማሬዎች ነን፡፡ እውነት እውነቱን እንነጋገር፡፡ ጉማሬዎች ከአቦ ሸማኔዎች ጋር የነበራቸውን እምነት አፍርሰዋል፡፡ አቦሸማኔዎች በጉማሬዎች ክህደትተፈጽሞብናል ይላሉ፡፡ አቦሸማኔዎች ተገፍተናል ጫና ተደርጎብናል ይላሉ፡፡ አቦሸማኔዎች ታማኝነታቸውና መስዋእትነታቸውበጉማሬዎች ተንኮል ተተክቶብናል ይላሉ፡፡ የአክብሮታችንና የታዛዥነታችን መልሱ ማንቋሸሽና ድፍረት ሆኗል ይላሉ፡፡ አቦሸማኔዎች፤ ጉማሬዎች ትህትናቸውን በአድርባይነት፤ ሃሳብ ተቀባይነታቸውን በግትርነት፤ ሰብአዊነታቸውን በክብረነክነት መልሰውልናል ይላሉ፡፡ አቦሸማኔዎች፤ ክህደት፤ ለእስራት ፤ተንኮል፤ውሸት፤መደናገር በጉማሬዎችተፈጸመብን ይላሉ፡፡ አቦሸማኔዎች የጉማሬዎችን ተጠያቂነት በማንሳታችን ተኮንነናል ይላሉ፡፡ እራሳቸውን በነጻ በመግለጻቸው ሰበብ በጉማሬዎች ዝምታ ለግፍ ስራ ተዳርገናል ይላሉ፡፡ አቦሸማኔዎች በጉማሬዎች ላይ እምነታቸውን አጥተዋል፡፡ ከበርካታ ኢትዮጵያዊያን አቦሸማኔዎች የምሰማው የስሞታ መግለጫ ይህን የመሰለ ነው፡፡ አቦሸማኔዎችይህን ማንሳታቸው፤ ቅሬታቸው፤ ስሜታቸው ትክክል ነው? ጉማሬዎችስ ይህን ያህል ደባ ፈጽመዋል?

ስለ መተማመን መልሶ ግንባታ ከመነጋገራችን በፊት በቅድሚያ ወጣቱ ከባለእድሜዎቹ ጋር ስላለው አለመግባባት ትንሽ እናንሳ፡፡ የኢትዮጵያ ወጣቶች በየቀኑ በግዴታ የንስሃ ጸሎት በሚሰሙበትና የሚመዘኑትም በተፈጥሮ ስብእናቸው ሳይሆን በዘራቸው እንዲሆን በሚገደዱበት ቦታ ነው፡፡ ግላዊነት፤ዜግነት፤ሰብአዊነት የሌላቸው ዘረኝነት ብቻ የነገሰበትነው፡፡ ለዚህም ነው ‹‹የዘር ፌዴራሊዝም›› የሚባል መኖርያ የፈጠሩላቸው፡፡ ወጣቶቹ በሕይወት የመኖርያቸው ጣቢያ የተወሰነው በአእምሮ ብስለታቸው ችሎታ ሳይሆን፤ በነዚያ ማሰብ በተሳናቸው የግፍ አምባ ገዢዎች ፈቃድ መሆኑን በሚገባ ተረድተዋል፡፡ከአጋሮቻቸው ጋር በእኩል ከሚያስተሳስራቸው ሁኔታ ጋር ሳይሆን በሚያለያያቸው ላይ በይበልጥ እንዲያተኩሩ ተገድደዋል፡፡በዚህ እጅጉን እኩይ በሆነ ሰይጣናዊ አስተሳሰብና አካሄድ የሚያዳምጡት ነገር ቢኖር በዝምታ ከታገዱት የሚወጣውን የዝምታ ዱለታ ብቻ ነው፡፡ ከኢትዮጵያዊያን ወጣቶች ጋር አመኔታን መልሶ ለመገንባት በቅድሚያ ዝምታችንን በአምቢተኛነት በመለወጥ፤ እራሳችንን ከተለጎመበት በማላቀቅ፤ በማያወላውል ቆራጥ አቋም ላይ ማሰለፍ አለብን፡፡

ከወጣቶቹ ጋር እምንት ከመገንባታችን በፊት ከራሳችን ጋር መተማመን መቻል ይኖርብናል፡፡ ማለትም ወጣቱን ወገናችንን ከማዳናችን አስቀድሞ እራሳችንን ማዳን መቻል፡፡ ከራሳችን ጋር መተማመን ከመገንባታችን በፊት፤ ስለፈፀምነው ስህተትና ቸል ስላልነው ጉዳይ እራሳችንን ይቅር ማለት መቻል፡፡ በራሳችንና ትክክለኛነት በመተማመን፤ የነጻነትንና የሰብአዊ መብትን አስፈላጊነት አምነን መቀበል፡፡ ወጣቱ ወኔውን እንዲያጠናክር ከመንገራችን በፊት እኛ እራሳችንከፍርሃታችን መላቀቅ፡፡ ወጣቶቻችን እንደ አንድ እናት ኢትዮጵያ ልጆች መዋደድ እንዳለባቸው ከመንገራችን በፊትከውስጣችን ጥላቻን ማጥፋት፡፡ ከራሳችን ጋር መተማመን ለመፍጠር መቻል እንድንበቃ አስቀድመን ከምቾት ከልላችን፤ከምቾት ስብስባችን፤ ከምቾት አምባችንና ጎሳችን መላቀቅ፤ ቀደም ሲል ልናደርገው ሲገባን በችልታ ሳናደርገውየቀረውን ተግባር ለመፈጸም ዝግጁ መሆን አለብን፡፡  ማንኛቸውንም ጉዳይ ማድረግና መፈጸም የሚኖርብን እውነትና ትክክል ስለሆነ ብቻ እንጂ ከሌሎች ስለተፈቀደልን ወይም ስለተከለከልን ሊሆን ጨርሶ አይገባም፡፡ ጆርጅ ኦረዌል እንዳለው ‹‹በዓለም አቀፍ ማታለል ወቅት፤ እውነትን ገልጦ መናገር የእምቢታ ተግባር ተደርጎ ይታያል›› እንዲያ ከሆነም፤ ሁላችንም እምቢተኞች ሆነን ስልጣን ላይ ለተኮፈሱት፤ አቅመቢስ ለሆኑት፤ጉልበታቸውንና ሃይላቸውን ለተነጠቁት፤ ለየእራሳችንም እውነቱን ልንናገር ይገባል፡፡

ለአቻ ጉማሬ ወገኖቼ ሚዛናዊ ለመሆን፤ ለግፈኞች እውነቱን መናገር አንዳችም ለውጥ አያስገኝም በሚል እምነት ዝምለማለት መምረጣቸውን ይናገራሉ፡፡ ለግፈኞች እውነትን መናገር ጊዜ ማጥፋት ነው ይላሉ፡፡ ግፈኞች የሚያዳምጡትምሆነ ለመስማት ፈቃደኛ የሚሆኑት የመሳርያ ጩኸትን ብቻ በመሆኑ፤ ከነሱ ጋር ስለእውነት መናገር መመከሩ ከንቱድካም ነው ይላሉ፡፡

በዚህ ጉዳይ ላይ እኔ ልዩነት አለኝ፡፡ ለነጻነት፤ ለዴሞክራሲ፤ለሰብአዊ መብት በሚደረግ ትግል፤ መናገር የሰዎችን ሕሊናና ልብ ከጠመንጃ፤ ከመድፍ፤ ከጦር አውሮፕላን በበለጠ ያሸንፋል፡፡ ለዚህም ታሪክ እራሱ ምስክር ነው፡፡አሜሪካ በቪየትናም ለሽንፈት የተዳረገው የጦር አውሮፕላን፤የጦር መሳርያ፤ ቴክኒካዊ ብቃት፤ ወይም የገንዘብ አቅም በማጣቱ አልነበረም፡፡ አሜሪካ በጦርነቱ ለሽንፈት የተዳረገው የቪየትናማዊያንን ልብን ሕሊና ለማሸነፍ ባለመብቃቱ ነው፡፡

ሕሊናንና ልብን ለማሸነፍ በሚካሄድ ጦርነት ቃላት በጣሙን የጠነከሩ መሳርያዎች ናቸው፡፡ቃላት እንደምንፈጥራቸውና ገጣጥመን እንደምንጠቀምባቸው ቀላል አይደሉም፡፡ቃላት እጅጉን ሃያል ናቸው፡፡ቃላት ጨለማውን ያበራሉ፤የተጨፈነን አይን፤ የታሸጉ ዓይኖችን፤የተደፈኑ ጆሮዎችን፤ የተለጎሙ አፎችን ይከፍታሉ፡፡ ቃላትያነሳሳሉ፤ያሳውቃሉ፤ ሕይወት ይዘራሉ፡፡ በታሪክ ከፍተኛ ቦታዎች ከተሰጡት አንዱ የሆነው የጦር መሪ ናፖሊዮን ቦናፓርቴ፤ከጠብመንጃ ይልቅ ቃላቶችን አምርሮ ይፈራ ነበር፡፡ ለዚህ ነው ‹‹ከአንድሺህ ጦር መሳርያዎች፤አራት የጠላት ጋዜጦች ሊፈሩ ይገባል›› (ወይም ከሺ ጦረኛ አንድ ጋዜጠኛ ይፈራል) ያለው፡፡ ለዚህ ነው እኔም፤ ውድ የተሳካላችሁ ምሁራን ወዳጆቼም ሆኑ ሌሎችምበምር የዴሞክራሲ፤ የነጻነት፤ የሰብአዊ መብት፤ የሕግ የበላይነት መከበር፤ ደጋፊዎች ነን የሚሉት ሁሉ መነጋር፤ደግሞም መናገር፤ መናገር አሁንም መናገር ያለባቸውና ከዝምታ መጋረጃ ጀርባ ተጠቅልለው መሸሸግ የለባቸውም የምለው፡፡ እኔ የምለው፤ ዕውነትን ለግፈኞች ተናገሩ ነው::   እምነትን በሰብአዊ  መብት መለኮትነት፤ በዘር አክራሪነት ክፉነት ላይ አሳምኑ፤በግፊት፤በወንጀል ድርጊት ፊት፤ስልጣናቸውን አላግባብ በሚጠቀሙና ሕዝባዊ መብቶችን በመግፈፍ ለእኩይ ምግባር በተሰለፉ ፊት ጨርሶ ለዝምታ ቦታ አትስጡ፡፡

ከአቦሸማኔዎች ጋር መተማመንን መገንባት በጣሙን አስፈላጊ ነው፡፡ በጉማሬዎችና በአቦሸማኔዎች መሃል ያለው የትውልድ ክፍተት ጉዳይ አይደለም፡፡ያለው የመተማመን ክፍተት ነው፡፡የግምት ክፍተት፤የመግባባት ክፍተት፤ ከፍ ያለ የርህራሄ ክፍተት አለ፡፡ አቦሸማኔዎችንና ጉማሬዎችን የሚከፋፍላቸውን ክፍተት ለመዝጋት በርካታ ድልድዮች መሰራትአለባቸው፡፡

የ ”አቦጉማሬ” ትውልድ ትንሳኤ

‹‹አዲስ›› የ “አቦጉማሬ” ትውልድ አየመጣ ነው:: “አቦጉማሬ” አስተሳሰቡን፤ድርጊቱን፤ ጸባዩን ሁሉ እንደ አቦሸማኔ ለማድረግ የሚጥር  ማናቸዉም ሰው ነው፡፡ የጉማሬዎችን ገደብ እያወቀ ግን ለአንድ ግብ በአንድ ዓላማ አብሮ ለመስራት ፈቃደኛ የሆነ አቦሸማኔም: አቦጉማሬ ነው፡፡ “አቦጉማሬዎች” ድልድይ ሰሪዎች ናቸው፡፡ትውልድን ለማቀላቀል ወጣቱን ከባለእድሜው ጋር ለማድረግ ድልድይ ይሰራሉ፡፡ዴሞክራሲን፤ነጻነትን፤ ሰብአዊ መብትን ለማስከበር የሚጥሩ ሰዎችን ለማገናኘት ድልድይ ይሰራሉ፡፡ በዘር ገደል  የተከፋፈሉትን ለማገናኘት አግድመት ድልድይ በመስራት ከታሰሩበት የዘር ወህኒ ቤት ደሴት ያሸጋገራሉ ያገናኛሉ፡፡ የቋንቋ ሰርጥን  ሃይማኖትን እና ክልልንን ያቀራርባሉ፡፡ ድሃውን ከሃብታሙ ለማቀራረብ ጥራሉ፡፡ የብሔራዊ አንድነትን ድልድይ በመገንባት ሁሉንም ያስማማሉ፡፡ በሃገር ውስጥ ያለውን ወጣት በዲያስፖራ ካለው ወጣት ጋር ለማስተሳሰር ድልድይ ይሰራሉ፡፡ “አቦጉማሬዎች” ማህበራዊና ፖለቲካዊ  አውታር በመፍጠር ለወጣቱ የፈረጠመ ጉልበት ይሰጡታል፡፡

አንተስ አቦጉማሬ ነህ ወይስ ጉማሬ?

አቦጉማሬ የምትሆነው እምንትህ፡-

ወጣቱ ትውልድ የሃገሪቱ የወደፊት ተስፋ መሆኑንና ባለእድሜዎች ደግሞ የሃገሪቱ ያለፈ ጊዜ መሆናቸውን ካመንክ፤

መጪው ትውልድም ጊዜም በጣም የተሻለና እጅጉንም አስፈላጊነቱን ካመንክ፤

የሰው ዋጋው የሚወሰነው ከስሙ/ስሟ ጋር በሚለጠፈው ተቀጥላ ሳይሆን ወገኑ ለሆነው ሰብአዊ ፍጡር ስለ ሰብአዊ

መብቱ መከበር ለመቆም ባለው ቆራጥ ወገናዊነት ፤ጥሩ ባህሪ፤ትህትና፤ ህዝባዊ ተግባር፤ ትብብር፤ የሰው ችግር

የሚገባው፤ይቅር ባይ፤ ታማኝነት፤ክብር፤ ሃሳባዊነት፤ተጣማሪነት፤ እና ግልጽነት ያለው በመሆኑ ሊሆን ይገባል የሚል

ከሆነ ነው::

አቦጉማሬ የምትሆነው ሁኔታህ

ግልጽ አእምሮ፤ተለዋጭ፤እና ትሁት ስትሆን፤

ከተለያዩ እድሜ ካላቸው፤ ከተለያዩ ዘር፤ ሃይማኖት፤ ጾታ፤ እና ቋንቋ ተናጋሪዎች ጋር አዲስ ሃሳቦችን

የምትቀበልና ለመግባባት የምትችል ከሆነ፤

ከምቾት አምባህ ወጥተህ አስቸጋሪ ምርጫ ውስጥ ለመቀላቀል ፈቃደኛ ከሆንክ፤

ያልከውን የምትሆንና የምትለውን ለመሆን በቆራጥነት የምትቆም እንጂ በመዘላበድና በአሉባልታ፤ በአገም ጠቀም ጊዜ የማታጠፋ ከሆንክ፤

ከነገ ይልቅ በዛሬው ለመጠቀም ፈቃደኛና ዝግጁ ከሆንክ፤

ወጣቱንም ሆነ ሌሎችን በጥፋታቸው ከመውቀስህ በፊት በፈጸምከው ድክመት እራስህን ለመውቀስ ዝግጁ ከሆንክ፤

ያለፈውን አጉል ትምህርት በመርሳት አዲስ ትምህርት ለመማር ጉጉ ከሆንክ፤

ምቹ ጊዜ በማጣት ከማማረር ምቹውን ጊዜ ለማግኘት የምትጥር ከሆንክ፤

ሁኔታዎችንና እምንት ለማዳበር የሚችለውን ለማንጸበራቅ እንጂ የማይቻለወን የማታማርር ከሆንክ፤

ዓለም በማያቋርጥና በፈጣን ለውጥ ላይ መሆኗን በመገንዘብ ለመለወጥ ባለመቻልህ ተወቃሹ አንተው ብቻ እንጂ ሌላ

አለመኖሩን ከተገነዘብክ ነው፡፡

*የተቶረገመው ጽሁፍ (translated from):

http://open.salon.com/blog/almariam/2013/01/27/ethiopia_rise_of_the_chee-hippo_generation

(ይህን ጦማር ለሌሎችም ያካፍሉ::) ካሁን በፊት የቀረቡ የጸሃፊው ጦማሮችን  ለማግኘት እዚህ ይጫኑ::

http://www.ecadforum.com/Amharic/archives/category/al-mariam-amharic

http://ethioforum.org/?cat=24

Ethiopia: Rise of the Chee-Hippo Generation

Sunday, January 27th, 2013

The Silent World of Hippos on Planet Cheetah

In my first weekly commentary of the new year, I “proclaimed” 2013 “Year of Ethiopia’s Cheetah Generation” (young people). I also promised to reach, teach and preach to Ethiopia’s youth this year and exhorted members of the Ethiopian intellectual class (particularly the privileged “professorati”) to do the same. I have also been pleading with (some say badgering) the wider Ethiopian Hippo Generation (the lost generation) to find itself, get in gear and help the youth.

The SOS I put out in June 2012 (Where have Ethiopia’s Intellectuals Gone?) and now (The Irresponsibility of the Privileged) has been unwelcomed by tone deaf and deaf mute “Hippogenarians”. My plea for standing up and with the victims of tyranny and human rights abuses has been received with stony and deafening silence. I have gathered anecdotally that some Hippos are offended by what they perceive to be my self-righteous and holier-than-thou finger wagging and audacious, “J’accuse!”.  Some have claimed that I am sitting atop my high horse crusading, pontificating, showboating, grandstanding and self-promoting.

There seems to be palpable consternation and anxiety among some (perhaps many) Hippos over the fact that I dared to betray them in a public campaign of name and shame and called unwelcome attention to their self-inflicted paralysis and faintheartedness. Some have even suggested that by using the seductively oversimplified metaphor of cheetahs and hippos, I have invented a new and dangerous division in society between the young and old in a land already fractured and fragmented by ethnic, religious and regional divisions. “Methinks they doth protest too much”, to invoke Shakespeare.

My concern and mission is to lift the veil that shrouds a pernicious culture and conspiracy of silence in the face of evil. My sole objective is to speak truth not only to power but also to those who have calculatedly chosen to disempower themselves by self-imposed silence. I unapologetically insist that silently tolerating wrong over right is dead wrong. Silently conceding the triumph of evil over good is itself evil. Silently watching atrocity is unmitigated moral depravity. Complicity with the champions of hate is partnership with haters.

The maxim of the law is “Silence gives consent” (qui tacet consentiret). Silence is complicity.  Silence for the sake of insincere and hollow social harmony (yilugnta) is tantamount to dousing water on the quiet riot that rages in the hearts and minds of the oppressed. Leonardo da Vinci said, “Nothing strengthens authority so much as silence.” I say nothing strengthens tyranny as much as silence —  the silence of the privileged, the silence of those who could speak up but choose to take a vow of silence.  One cannot speak to tyrants in the language of silence; one must speak to tyrants in the language of defiant truth. Silence must never be allowed to become the last refuge of the hypocritical scoundrel.

There have been encouraging developments over the past week in the crescendo of voices speaking truth to power. Several enlightening contributions that shed light on the life and times of tyranny in Ethiopia have been made in “Ethiopian cyber hager”, to borrow Prof. Donald Levine’s metaphor. A couple of insightful analysis readily come to mind. Muktar Omer offered a devastating critique of the bogus theory of “revolutionary democracy.” He argued convincingly  “that recent economic development in Ethiopia has more to do with the injection of foreign aid into the economy and less with revolutionary democracy sloganeering.” He demonstrated the core ideological nexus between fascism, communism and revolutionary democracy. Muktar concluded, “Intellectuals who are enamored with the ‘good intellect and intentions’ of Meles Zenawi and rationalize his appalling human rights records are guilty of either willful ignorance or disagree with Professor John Gray’s dauntingly erudite reminder: ‘radical evil can come from the pursuit of progress’”. My view is that revolutionary democracy is to democracy as ethic federalism is to federalism. Both are figments of a warped and twisted imagination.

An Amharic piece by Kinfu Asefa (managing editor of ethioforum.org) entitled “Development Thieves” made a compelling case demonstrating the futility and duplicity of the so-called “Renaissance Bond” calculated to raise billions of dollars to dam the Blue Nile. Kinfu argued persuasively that there could be no development dam when the people themselves are damned by the damned dam developers.

I am told by those much wiser than myself that I am pursuing a futile course trying to coax Hippos to renounce their vows of silence and speak up. I am told it would be easier for me to squeeze blood out of turnip than to expect broad-gauged political activism and engaged advocacy from the members of Ethiopia’s inert Hippo Generation. The wise ones tell me I should write off (and not write about) the Hippos living on Planet Cheetah. I should stop pestering them and leave them alone in their blissful world where they see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil!

Should I?

Restoring Faith With the Cheetahs

We have a problem! A big one. “We” are both Cheetahs and Hippos. Truth must be told: Hippos have broken faith with Cheetahs. Cheetahs feel betrayed by Hippos. Cheetahs feel marginalized and sidelined. Cheetahs say their loyalty and dedication has been countered by the treachery and underhandedness of Hippos. The respect and obedience Cheetahs have shown Hippos have been greeted with  disdain and effrontery. Cheetahs say Hippos have misconstrued their humility as servility; their flexibility and adaptability have been countered by rigidity and their humanity abused by cruel indignity.  Cheetahs feel double-crossed, jilted, tricked, lied to, bamboozled, used and abused by Hippos. Cheetahs say they have been demonized for questioning Hippos and for demanding accountability. For expressing themselves freely, Cheetahs have been sentenced to hard labor in silence. Cheetahs have been silenced by silent Hippos! Cheetahs have lost faith in Hippos. Such is the compendium of complaints I hear from many Ethiopian Cheetahs. Are the Cheetahs right in their perceptions and feelings? Are they justified in their accusations? Are Hippos behaving so badly?

A word or two about the youths’ loss of faith in their elders before talking about restoring faith with them.  Ethiopia’s youth live in a world where they are forced to hear every day the litany that their innate value is determined not by the content of their character, individuality or humanity but the random chance of their ethnicity. They have no personality, nationality or humanity, only ethnicity. They are no more than the expression of their ethnic identity.

To enforce this wicked ideology, Apartheid-style homelands have been created in the name of “ethnic federalism”. The youth have come to realize that their station in life is determined not by the power of their intellect but by the power of those who lack intellect. They are shown by example that how high they rise in society depends upon how low they can bring themselves on the yardstick of self-dignity and how deeply they can wallow in the sewage of the politics of identity and ethnicity. They live in a world where they are taught the things that make them different from their compatriots are more than the things they have in common with them. Against this inexorable message of dehumanization, they hear only the sound of silence from those quietly professing allegiance to freedom, democracy and human rights. To restore faith with Ethiopia’s youth, we must trade silence with the joyful noise of protest; we must unmute ourselves and stand resolute against tyranny. We must cast off the silence of quiet desperation.

But before we restore faith with the young people, we must restore faith with ourselves. In other words, we must save ourselves before we save our young people. To restore faith with ourselves, we must learn to forgive ourselves for our sins of commission and omission. We must believe in ourselves and the righteousness of our cause. Before we urge the youth to be courageous, we must first shed our own timidity and fearfulness. Before we teach young people to love each other as children of Mother Ethiopia, we must unlearn to hate each other because we belong to different ethnic groups or worship the same God with different names. To restore faith with ourselves, we must be willing to step out of our comfort zones, comfort groups, comfort communities and comfort ethnicities and muster the courage to say and do things we know are right. We should say and do things because they are right and true, and not because we seek approval or fear disapproval from anyone or group. George Orwell said, “In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act.”  We live in times of national deceit and must become revolutionaries by speaking  truth to abusers of power, to the powerless, to the self-disempowered and to each other.

To be fair to my fellow Hippos, they defend their silence on the grounds that speaking up will not make a difference to tyrants. They say speaking truth to tyranny is a waste of time, an exercise in futility.  Some even say that it is impossible to communicate with the tyrants in power with reasoned words because these tyrants only understand the language of crashing guns, rattling musketry and booming artillery.

I take exception to this view. I believe at the heart of the struggle for freedom, democracy and human rights in Ethiopia is an unending battle for the hearts and minds of the people. In the battlefield of hearts and minds, guns, tanks and warplanes are useless. History bears witness. The US lost the war in Vietnam not because it lacked firepower, airpower, nuclear power, financial power, scientific or technical power.  The U.S. lost the war because it lacked the power to win the hearts and minds of the Vietnamese and American peoples.

Words are the most potent weapon in the battle for hearts and minds. Words can enlighten the benighted, open closed eyes, sealed mouths and plugged ears. Words can awaken consciences. Words can inspire, inform, stimulate and animate. Napoleon Bonaparte, one of the greatest military leaders in history, feared words more than arms. That is why he said, “Four hostile newspapers are more to be feared than a thousand bayonets.”  That why I insist my fellow privileged intellectuals and all who claim or aspire to be supporters of democracy, freedom, human rights and the rule of law to speak up and speak out and not hide behind a shield of silence. I say speak truth to tyranny. Preach faith in the divinity of humanity and against the bigotry of the politics of identity and ethnicity; champion loudly the causes of unity in diversity and practice the virtues of civility, accountability, amity and cordiality. Never stand silent in the face of atrocity, criminality, contrived ethnic animosity and the immorality of those who abuse of power.

It is necessary to restore faith with the Cheetahs. The gap between Cheetahs and Hippos is not generational. There is a trust gap, not generational gap. There is a credibility gap. There is an expectation gap, an understanding gap and a compassion gap. Many bridges need to be built to close the gaps that divide the Cheetah and Hippo Generations.

Rise of the Chee-Hippo Generation

There is a need to “invent” a new generation, the Chee-Hippo Generation. A Chee-Hippo is a hippo who thinks, behaves and acts like a Cheetah.  A Chee-Hippo is also a cheetah who understands the limitations of Hippos yet is willing to work with them in common cause for a common purpose.

Chee-Hippos are bridge builders. They build strong intergenerational bridges that connect the young with the old. They build bridges to connect people seeking democracy, freedom and human rights. They build bridges across ethnic canyons and connect people stranded on islands of homelands. They bridge the gulf of language, religion and region. They build bridges to link up the rich with the poor. They build bridges of national unity to harmonize diversity. They build bridges to connect the youth at home with the youth in the Diaspora. Chee-Hippos build social and political networks to empower youth.

Are You a Chee-Hippo or a Hippo?

You are a Chee-Hippo if you believe

young people are the future of the country and the older people are the country’s past.

the future is infinitely more important than the past.

a person’s value is determined not by the collection of degrees listed after his/her name but by the   person’s commitment and stand on the protection of the basic human rights of a fellow human being.

and practice the virtues of tolerance, civility, civic duty, cooperation, empathy, forgiveness, honesty, honor, idealism, inclusivity and openness.

You are a Chee-Hippo if you are

open-minded, flexible, and humble.

open to new ideas and ways of communicating with people across age groups, ethnic, religious, gender and linguistic lines.

unafraid to step out of your comfort zone into the zone of hard moral choices.

courageous enough to mean what you say and say what you mean instead of wasting your time  babbling in ambiguity and double-talk.

prepared to act now instead of tomorrow (eshi nege or yes, tomorrow).

prepared to blame yourself first for your own deficits before blaming the youth or others for theirs.

eager to learn new things today and unlearn the bad lessons of the past.

committed to finding opportunity than complaining about the lack of one.

able to develop attitudes and beliefs that reflect what is possible and not wallow in self-pity about what is impossible.

fully aware that the world is in constant and rapid change and by not changing you have no one to blame for the consequences except yourself.

Any Hippo can be reinvented into a Chee-Hippo. Ultimately, being a Chee-Hippo is a state of mind. One need only think, behave and act like Cheetahs. The credo of a true Chee-Hippo living on Planet Cheetah is, “We must not give only what we have; we must give what we are.”

Damn proud to be a Chee-Hippo!

Professor Alemayehu G. Mariam teaches political science at California State University, San Bernardino and is a practicing defense lawyer.

Previous commentaries by the author are available at:

http://open.salon.com/blog/almariam/

www.huffingtonpost.com/alemayehu-g-mariam/

Amharic translations of recent commentaries by the author may be found at:

http://www.ecadforum.com/Amharic/archives/category/al-mariam-amharic

http://ethioforum.org/?cat=24

 

Ethiopia’s resettlement scheme leaves lives shattered and UK facing questions

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

January 22, 2013

A ‘villagisation’ programme has left many people from Ethiopia’s Gambella region bereft of land and loved ones, casting donor support in an unflattering light

A family in Kir, Gambella. Ethiopia's controversial resettlement programme has forced people to leave their villages.

A family in Kir, Gambella. Ethiopia’s controversial resettlement programme has forced people to leave their villages.

 

Mr O twists his beaded keyring between his long fingers as he explains why he started legal action against Britain’s international development department over its aid funding to Ethiopia. Three other refugees from the Gambella region listen as he speaks in a stifling room in north-eastern Kenya. All have a story to tell.

The accounts are broadly similar, but the details reveal the individual tragedies that have shattered their lives: they say they were forced to leave their villages, beaten by soldiers, and sent to remote areas lacking all basic services under a controversial “villagisation” programme.

Eventually, they fled to Kenya, joining nearly half a million displaced people living in the world’s biggest refugee complex, a sprawling expanse of tents and rudimentary houses set in the sun-hammered scrub and sand outside Dadaab.

“We don’t have any means of retrieving our land. We decided to find an organisation that could be our lawyer and stand up for us so that those who are funding these organisations to displace us will be stopped,” Mr O said. He spoke through a translator in the language of the Anuak, an indigenous people who live in Ethiopia’s western Gambella region.

“Britain is a very big power in the world. Britain is Ethiopia’s top donor,” says Mr O, whose identity is being protected for his safety. The 32-year-old wears a stained white shirt, white trousers and a blue-beaded bracelet on his left hand.

London-based law firm Leigh Day & Co has taken the case for Mr O, arguing that money from the UK’s Department for International Development (DfID) is funding the villagisation programme.

Ethiopia is one of the biggest recipients of UK aid and Britain, alongside other international donors, contributes significant funding for the Protection of Basic Services (PBS) programme. Lawyers for Mr O say that, by contributing to this programme, DfID contributes to villagisation, be it by financing infrastructure in new settlements or paying the salaries of officials overseeing the relocations.

DfID says it does not fund any commune projects in Ethiopia. A spokesman said the agency was aware of allegations of abuses and would raise any concerns at the highest levels of the Ethiopian government. Leigh Day is waiting for a response to its letter to the UK government in December.

The three-year villagisation programme aims to move 1.5 million rural families to new “model” villages in four regions, including approximately 45,000 households in Gambella. Official plans say the movements are voluntary, and infrastructure and alternative livelihoods will be provided in the new villages.

In January 2012, a Human Rights Watch report said the Ethiopian government was forcibly relocating thousands of people in Gambella, with villagers being told the resettlement was linked to the leasing of large tracts of land for commercial agriculture.

For the four Anuak in Dadaab, relocation has been a catastrophe: Mr O has not seen his wife and six children since he left, Peter’s wife was raped by soldiers, widow Chan and her eldest son were beaten, and Ongew was detained 11 times on charges of inciting villagers. The four did not want to give their full names for fear of retribution.

There is a desperate sense of powerlessness among the refugees, who link the recent abuses to years of alleged targeting of their ethnic group, including a 2003 massacre of Anuak in the town of Gambella. “I feel so very bad because I have been separated from my family, which shows we do not have the power to protect ourselves … Unless you decide to leave that area there will not be hope for you,” Mr O says.

Powerlessness

Peter, a 40-year-old who lost his sight 20 years ago, bows his head as he tells how he was beaten when he asked the soldiers to take his disability into account before moving him in October 2011. Then, his wife was taken away and raped.

“I’m powerless. There was nothing I could do to stop that. Also, my cousin was taken by the soldiers and is still missing today,” Peter says. He left through South Sudan and arrived in Kenya with his wife and five children in March last year.

When soldiers came almost two years ago to move Chan, a 37-year-old farmer and mother of four, they beat her on the arm and face with a stick. The skin on the right side of her face, just below her ear, is uneven and marked. The soldiers also beat her then 18-year-old son on the head with a gun. Nobody could fight back.

“Because we don’t have power,” she says, her hands upturned helplessly on her lap. “Whenever these soldiers come to a village, there are very many. How will you fight? If you try to beat even one soldier, they will attack the whole village.”

Chan, whose husband was killed during the 2003 massacre, moved to the new village. “There was no water, no school, no clinic, not even good farm land because it is dry land,” she says. People were still being abused, so she decided to leave with her children. She arrived in Kenya last February. Despite the creeping insecurity in the Dadaab refugee camps, she says life is better “because nobody is coming to beat you in your home”.

Mr O, then a farmer and student at agricultural college, was forced from his village in November 2011. At first he would not leave, so soldiers from the Ethiopian National Defence Force beat him with guns. He lifts the faded black baseball hat he is wearing, marked with the words “Stop violence against women”, and shows a thin, long scar on his head. Strong men were forced to lie down and then beaten while women were also beaten, and those who resisted were taken and raped in a military camp, he says.

He was forced to a “new place” which did not have water, food or productive land. He was told to build a house for his family, but when work didn’t progress as quickly as expected, he was taken to a military camp and beaten again. After one month he left, sneaking past village leaders and “local militias” who controlled the area, refusing to let people leave. He arrived in Kenya in mid-December 2011.

Ongew, a 35-year-old wearing a red baseball cap and blue jeans, believes the international community can stop the alleged abuses. “There are powerful countries that control the world. So we are requesting those international communities … to stand firm and force Ethiopia to leave our land and stop this villagisation,” he says.

Ongew used to distribute food to the new villages for the government but when villagers began to complain about the absence of services, he was blamed for inciting them. The father of four was beaten many times. He gets news of his family sometimes from a relative in Britain. He has heard that police have repeatedly questioned his wife about his whereabouts.

Mr O’s wife and children are now in a new village. He has not seen them since he left but news of them reaches him through new arrivals.

The four Anuak say the relocations are continuing, with new refugees still arriving in Kenya.

Mr O says he is not taking legal action in order to get money. “Money will not bring any change for me and my family … What we want from the court is our land back. We will go there, produce what we like, and we will support our lives as before.”

ኢትዮጵያ፡- ሃለፊነታቸውን የዘነጉት ግድ የለሽ ምሁራን

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

ከፕሮፌሰር ዓለማየሁ ገብረማርያም

ትርጉም ከነጻነት ለሃገሬ

በቅርቡ ናኦም ቺሞስኪ: የኤም አይ ቲ (M.I.T.) ዩኒቨርሲቲ የስነ ቋንቋ ፕሮፌሰርና የአሜሪካ ቀደምት ምሁር፤ ለአልጀዚራ ስለአሜሪካ የቀለም ሰዎችና ምሁራን በሰጡት ቃለ መጠይቅ ላይ ምሁሮቹ ሃላፊነት ጉድለትና ግድ የለሽነት አንደሚያሳዩ መግለጫ ሰጥተው ነበር፡፡ ላለፉት 4 አሰርት ዓመታት የ84 ዓመቱ ቺሞስኪ ተጋፍጠው ፤ ሃይላነ ጉልበተኞች ነን የሚሉትንም በሃቅ አለንጋ ሲሸነቁጣቸው ነበር፡፡ በቅርቡም የፕሬዜዳንት ኦባማን ደካማ ጎን አስመልክቶ ትችቱን ሲያሰሙ ፤ ፕሬዜዳንቱ ‹‹የዓለም አቀፍ የግድያ ዘመቻ ለመፈጸም›› የድሮን (ሰው አልባ አሮፕላን )ጦርነት አካሂደዋል›› በብለወ ነበር:: በሃቅኝነታቸው  ምክንያት ቺሞስኪ ‹‹ግራ ክንፈኛ›› ‹‹አክራሪ ፖለቲከኛ›› ከዚያም አልፎ ‹‹ኮሚኒስት›› በመባል ተኮንኗል፡፡ በርካታ ዋጋ ቢስ ቅጽል ስሞችም ተለጥፎባቸዋል፡፡ ያሻውን ቢባሉም  ተናጋሪው የዕድሜ ባለጸጋ ከቆሙበት ዓላማ ዝንፍ ሳይሉ፤ ያነሱትን ነጥብ ሳይለቁ ሳይስቱ  ተጠናክሮ እንደቀጠሉ ነው፡፡አሁንም ካታሊዝምን፤ ኒዎ ሊቤራሊዝምን፤ግሎባላይዜሽንን፤ጦር ሰባቂነትን፤ ሙስናን፤ ጭቆናን፤ ስልጣንን አለአግባብ መጠቀምንና በስልጣን መባለግን፤የሰብአዊ መብት መደፈርን፤በአሜሪካና በሌሎችም ሃገሮች ያለውን ሁኔታ ይተቻሉ፡፡ ከዚያ ባሻገር ደሞ የስነ ቋንቋ ምሁራዊ ተግባራቸዉን ከማከናወን ዝንፍ አላሉም ፡፡

‹‹ኖአም ቾምስኪ፡ የተሳካላቸው ሃላፊነት››፤ በሚል ለአልጄዚራ በሰጡትው ቃለ መጠይቅ፤ ቾምስኪ የአሜሪካንን ምሁራን ስልጣናቸውን መከታ በማድረግ  የዜጎችን ስልጣን ለመግፈፍና ግራ በማጋባት ወደ ግዑዝነት በመለወጥ፤ተለማማጭ በማድረግና መከታ በማሳጣት ረገድ ማሕበራዊ ሃላፊነት ማጣት፤ንፉግነት፤ዘራፊነታቸውን አስመልክቶ ተችቷል፡፡

አል ጀዚራ፡-በፖለቲካ ውስጥ መካተት የምሁራንና የሌሎችም አዋቂዎች ሃላፊነት ነው?

ቾምስኪ፡- ሰብአዊ ፍጡሮችን ሁሉ ያካትታል፡፡ ሃላፊነት እኮ በምቹ ጊዜ ላይ ነው የሚለካው፡፡ ድሃ ሰው ከሆንክና በዝቅተኛ ቦታዎች የምትኖር ከሆነ፤ ምግብህን ለማግኘት ብቻ በሳምንት 60 ሰአታት የምትለፋ ቢሆን፤የሃላፊነት ደረጃህ ከምታገኘው ጥቅም አኳያ የሚለካ ይሆናል፡፡

አልጀዚራ፡- የተሻሻለ ጠቀሜታ ካለህ በምላሹ የበለጠ እንድትሰጥ ትገደዳለህ?

ቾምሰኪ፡- ነውና፡፡ የበለጠ ተጠቃሚ ከሆንክ፤ የበለጠ ስለሚመችህ ያንኑ ያህል ማበርከት ይኖርብሃል፡፡ የበለጠ ተጠቃሚ ስትሆን ሃላፊነትህም ያንኑ ያህል ነው፡፡ ይህ እኮ በጣም ተራ ግልፀ ነገር ነው፡፡

አልጀዚራ፡- ይህን ሁኔታ ታዲያ ለምን በአሜሪካ አናየውም? ስለሰዎች በሃብት እየደረጁ መሄድ ብዙ ይሰማል፤ በርካቶችም ወደ ድህነቱ እየወረዱ ነው፤ያም ሆኖ በሃብት የደረጁትና ያካበቱት ጊዜያቸውን፤ከሃብታቸው፤ ከችሎታቸው ከጥቅማቸው አኳያ ሲያውሉ አይታዩም?

ቾምስኪ፡- እንደእውነቱ ከሆነ ሃባታሞች የሆኑት እኮ ለዚህ ነው፡፡ህይወትህን የምትመራው እራስህን ብቻ ለማበልጸግ ከሆነና ጥቅምህና ሃሳብህ ያ ከሆነና የሌሎች ችግር ካልታየህና ግድ የለሽ ከሆንክ፤ ስለሌሎች ማሰቢያ ሕሊናም አይኖርህም፡፡ ይህ ‹‹እራስ ወዳድነት ነው›› እንደሙት አካል መሆን ነው፡፡ ይሄ የአያን ራንድ ፍልስፍና ነው:- ‹‹ስለማንም ግድ የለንም፡፡ እኔ እራሴን ለማደርጀት ብቻ ነው የማስበው፤ያ ደሞ ክቡርና የተቀደሰ ተግባር ነው፡፡”

ዕውቁ ጋናዊ ኢኮኖሚስት እና በአፍሪካ ግንባር ቀደሙ ምሁር፤ ጆርጅ አይቴ በአፍሪካውያን ምሁራንና ዕውቀት የዘለቃቸው ታዋቂዎች ስላጡት የሃላፊነት ብቃት ቅሬታውን ከማሰማት አልቦዘነም፡፡ የአፍሪካ የምሁራን ክፍል ‹‹ከአፍሪካ ደም መጣጭ መሪዎች›› ጋር አንሶላ በመጋፈፍ ከመናጢውና ምስኪኑ ሕዝብ ላይ በመግፈፍ ኪሳቸውን ለመሙላት አሸሼ ገዳሜ ላይ ናቸው፡፡ በ1996 ለአፍሪካ ምሁራን ስለምንነታቸው ከምር የሚያምንበትን ነግሯቸዋል፡፡ “የፖለቲካ ሰዎች፤ የበቁ መምህራን፤ጠበቆች እና ሃኪሞች እራሳቸውን እንደሴተኛ አዳሪ በችሎታ ከነሱ አናሳ የሆኑትን ወታደራዊ ወሮበሎችን ፈላጭ  ቆራቾችን ላመገልገል እራሳቸውን አቅርበዋል፡፡ ደግመው ደጋግመው መልሰው መላልሰው እየተደፈሩ፤ ክብራቸው እየተገፈፈ፤ እየተሰደቡ፤ተሰልፈው ካገለገሉ በኋላ እንደቆሻሻ ጥራጊ ይጣላሉ—የባሰም ሊሆን ይችላል፡፡ እነዚህኞቹ ሲጠረጉና ሲጣሉ፤የበለጠ ክህሎት ያላቸው ምሁራን ሴተኛ አዳሪዎች በቦታቸው ለመተካት አንዱ በአንዱ ላይ በመጨፈላለቅ ይሽቀዳደማሉ›› ነበር ያሉት  አይቴ፡፡

የታደሉትና የተሟላላቸው ኢትዮጵያዊ  ምሁራን ሃላፊነት ማጣት

እና ታዲያ ለምንድንነው የኢትዮጵያን ምሁራን በፖለቲካው መስክ የማናያቸው? ምናልባት በአሜሪካን አቻዎቻቸው እግር በመተካት ላይ ይሆኑ? ወይስ የአያን ራንድ ፍልስፍና ተከታዮች ሆነው ይሆን? ‹‹ስለማንም ደንታ የለኝም፡፡ እኔ ስለራሴ ብቻ ነው ጭንቀቴ፤ያ ደሞ  የተቀደሰና ክቡር ምግባር ነው::›› የአይቴ ነቃፊ ትችት ለኢትዮጵያ ምሁራንም ይሰራ ይሆን?

በጁን 2010 አንድ ጥያቄ አንስቼ ነበር፡- ‹‹የኢትዮጵያን ምሁራን ምን በላቸው የት ገቡ?›› የሚል፡፡ በዚያን ወቅት መልስ አላገኘሁም ነበር::  አሁንም ምላሽ ባላገኝም ቀድሞም ሆነ አሁንም፤  ጉልህ በሆነው ከሕዝባዊ መድረኩ መጥፋታቸው ለረጅም ጊዜ ግራ ተጋብቻለሁ፡፡ ድርጊታቸው የጥንቱን ‹‹የግሪክ ፈላስፋ ዲዎጋንን፤ በጠራራ ጸሃይ ፋኖስ ይዞ ታማኝ ሰው ፍለጋ›› በአቴንስ ጎዳናዎች ላይ  የወጣውን አስታወሰኝ፡፡  ልክ እንደዲዎጋን፤ ዓለም አቀፎቹን የምእራቡን የምሁራን አምባ፤ የስነጥበብን የሳይንስ ሙያ ሰፈሮችን ገዳም መሰል መሸሸጊያዎችን፤ችቦ በመያዝ የኢትዮጵያን ምሁራን በየጉዳንጉዱ ሁሉ መፈለግ ያስፈልግ ይሆናል::›› ሆኖም  የትም ቢዳከር አልተገኙም፡፡ምናልባትም በማያሳይ ልዩ መጠቅለያ ተጀቧቡነው ተሰውረው ይሆን?

እውነቱን ለመናገር እኔም ለረጅም ጊዜ በዚያ የኢትዮጵያዊያን ምሁራን በተሸጎጡበት ያልታወቀ መደበቂያ ውስጥ ምንም ላለመተንፈስ፤ መስማት የተሳነኝ ድምጽ አልባም የሆንኩ ነበርኩ፡፡ ከዚህ የተሸፈንኩበት ዋሻ ለመውጣት ያበቃኝ የመለስ ዜናዊ ጦረኞች 196 ንጹሃን ዜጎችን እያነጣጠሩ ለሞት ሲዳርጓቸውና ከ800 በላይ የሚሆኑትን ሲያቆስሉ ማወቄ ነው፡፡ መቸም በሴቷም ሆነ በወንዱ ሕይወት ውስጥ አንድ ወሰኝ ወቅት አለን::  ከታፈንበት ማነቆና ዝምታን በመስበር በሰው ልጆች ላይ የሚፈጸመውን ኢሰብአዊነት፤ግድያ፤ ለማውገዝና ከተጎጂዎች ጋር ቆመን ለመጮህ የምንቆርጥበት፤ ክፉ ዘመንን አስወግደን ነጻነትን የምናመጣበትን ጊዜ የምናመቻች የምንሆንበት ወቅት ይመጣል፡፡ ላንዳንዶቻች  አንደዝዚህ ይሆናል::

ነገር ግን ትንፍሽ ላለማለት ለእራሳቸው ቃል ገብተው መኖርን፤ ምርጫቸው፤ የነቃ ሕሊናቸው፤ የወሰነላቸው በማድረግ የተሸሸጉ አሉ፡፡ምርጫ በጠራራ ጸሃይ ሲሰረቅ እያዩ በውቅታዊ መታወር መኖርን ምርጫቸው ለምን  አደረጉ? ለምንስ ንጹሃን ዜጎች በዘፈቀድ በደህንነት አባላት ሲያዙ፤ በእርባና ቢሱና ፍትሕ አልባ በሆነው ‹‹ችሎት›› ሲፈረድባቸው፤እየሰሙ ጆሮ ዳባ ልበስ ማለታቸውስ ለምን?  የዕምነት ነጻነት ሲደፈርና ሕብረተሰቡ ነጻነትን ሲማጸን እየመሰከሩ ለምንስ አብረው አልቆሙም አልወገኑም? ሕሊናቸውን በማጽናናትና በዝምታ በማማረር በማላዘን፤ በሰሙኝ አልሰሙኝ መቆጨት ምርጫቸው ለምን አደረጉ? በዝምታ ተሰውረው መኖር ነው ሕይወታቸው፡፡

ይህን መገንዘብ በጣም አስቸጋሪ ነው፡፡ ምናልባት ዝምታ ወርቅ ነው የተባለውን በማመን ይሆን? ወርቅ ከፈለግህ ዝም በል ማለት ነው? ጭቆናን የምያራዘመው ዝምታ አንደሆነ ዘነጉትን? ምናልባት ምናልባት፤ ዝምታቸው መሃይምናን እና ኋላቀር ብለው ለሚገምቷቸው፤ ስለሚያሰሙት ጩኸት ተቃውሟቸው ሆኖ ይሆን? ‹‹አረመኔያዊ የሆነው ውሸት በጸጥታ መገለጹን›› ቸል ብለውት ይሆን?  አረመኔያዊ ድርጊቶች በጸጥታ መታለፋቸውንስ? ይህ ስሜትን የሚነካ ተግባራቸው ‹‹ለማንም ደንታ የለኝም፡፡ እኔ ስለራሴ ብቻ ነው ጭንቀቴ፤ያ ደሞ  የተቀደሰና ክቡር ምግባር ነው›› የሚለውን የአያን ራንድን ፍልስፍና ተቀብለውት ይሆን?

ነገር ግን ዝምታ ወርቅ አይደለም፤ ዝምታ ገዳይ ነው፡፡ የጅርመን ምሁራን ናዚ ወደስልጣን መወጣታቱን በተመለከተ በዝምታ ሲዋጡ የታዘበው ናይሞለር ምሬቱን ሲገልጽ፡-

በቅድሚያ ኮሚኒስቶች ላይ አነጣጠሩ፤

የዚያን ጊዜ ኮሚኒስት ስላልነበርኩ ዝም አልኩ፤

ቀጥለው በሶሻሊስቶች ላይ አነጣጠሩ፤

የዚያን ጊዜ ሶሻሊስት ስላለነበርኩ ዝም አልኩ፤

ለጥቀው ወደ ሠራተኝው ማሕበር አነጣጠሩ፤

የዚያን ጊዜ የሠራተኛው ማሕበር አበል ስላለነበርኩ ዝም አልኩ፤

መጨረሻ ላይ ወደኔ መጡ፤

በዚያን ጊዜ ለኔ የሚጮህልኝ አንድም አልተረፈም ነበር፡፡

ዶክተር ማርቲን ሉተር ኪንግ ጁኒየር እንዳስጠነቀቁት፤ ‹‹በመጨረሻው የምናስታውሰው የጠላቶቻችንን ቃላትና ድርጊት ሳይሆን የወዳጆቻችንን ዝምታ ነው::››

የኢትዮጵያዊያንምሁራንማሕበራዊሃላፊነት?

የሕዝብ ድምጽ የዓምላክ ድምጽ ነው (vox populi, vox dei) ይባላል፡፡ ሆኖም ጸጥታ ከተጨቆኑ ጋር መነጋገርያ  መገናኛ ሊሆን አይችልም፡፡ ምሁሩ ለመናገር፤ለማሰብ፤ ለማወቅ፤ ለመፍጠር፤ በሃሳቡ ለማየት የታደለ ነው፡፡ ጸጥታ ዝምታ የተጨቋኞች፤ የተወነጀሉት፤ የተፈረደባቸው ከታደሉት አነስተኛው ሁኔታ ነው፡፡ ዝምታ የምስኪኖች፤ የአቅመቢሶች፤ መከላከያ አልባ ለሆኑት የመጨረሻው የችግርና የአማራጭ ማጣት የመኖራቸው ምርጫ ነው፡፡

ምሁራን በዝምታ ለታገዱት የመናገር የሞራል ግዴታና ሃላፊነት አለባቸው፡፡ በዝምታ ቆሞ ምንም ሳያደርጉ በችግር ጨኸት ስር ማጉረምረም ጨርሶ ምርጫቸው ሊሆን አይገባም፡፡ ለመማር፤ ለማሰብ፤ ለመጻፍ፤ ለመፍጠር የታደሉት፤ በቁሳቁስ እጦት ለተጎዱት ብቻ ሳይሆን ሰብአዊ ክብራቸው ለተገፈፈባቸውም ሕዝቦችም መልሰው መስጠት፤ መክፈል  መቻል አለባቸው፡፡

በዝምታ የተዋጡት የኢትዮጵያ ምሁራን የሳቱት አንድ ነገር አለ፡፡ ዝቅ ተደርገው ለሚታዩት፤ ለተናቁት፤ ድምጻቸው ለታፈነባቸው መናገር ጫና ሳይሆን መታደል ነው፡፡ ድምጽ አልባ ለሆኑት ድምጽ ለመሆን መብቃት የተለየ ክብርና ሞገስ ነው፡፡ ለገዢዎችና ለጉልበተኞች፤ ኃይል ያጡትን ወክሎ ዕውነትን ማሳወቅ፤ዋጋ የማይተለምለት ታላቅ ስጦታ ነው፡፡

ዝምተኛው ምሁር፡- የሞራል ግዴታውን በመርሳት፤ደስታውን ከማሳደድ ባሻገር፤ ከራስ ለማትረፍ ከመሯሯጥ ባለፈ፤ በፕሮግራም ታስሮና ተለጉሞ ከዚያ ውጪ የማይንቀሳቀስ የከፍተኛ ትምህርት ምሩቅ ግኡዝ ሮቦት ከመባል ውጪ ሊሆን አይችልም፡፡ በአንድ ወቅት ኒትዝኪ እንዳለው፤ ሁሉም ከፍተኛ የትምህርት ተቋማት ‹‹ሰዎችን ወደ ማሺንነት የሚቀይሩ ተቋማት ናቸው›› በሱ ዘመን ሮቦት (በራሱ የሚንቀሳቀስ ተሽከርካሪ)አልተፈጠረም  ነበርና፡፡

በኔ እምነት ምሁራን የሞራል ዝግጁነት ሃላፊነት ሊኖራቸው ብቻ ሳይሆን፤ በተግባርም ሊወጡት ተገቢ ነው፡፡ ማለትም አንድ ሰው ለአንድ ዓላማ ሲቆም፤ ይህ ውሳኔው ከራሱ ጥቅምና ፍላጎት ባለፈ በርካታ መስዋእቶችን እንደሚያስከፍለው መረዳት አለበት፡፡ በርካታ ምሁራን ስለሰብአዊ መብት መደፈር የመቃወም ግዴታ እንዳለባቸው አበክረው ቃል ይገባሉ፤ በዚያ ጉዳይ ላይ ለመናገር ግን ዝግጁ አለያም ፍቃደኝነቱ በተግባር የላቸውም፡፡ በስልጣን የሚካሄድን ብልግና ለማጋለጥ አፋቸው አይደፍርም፡፡ ለመጻፍም ብዕራቸው ይዶለድማል፡፡ እርሳሳቸውም መቅረጫው ተሰብሯል፡፡ አንዳንዶች አይናፋር ናቸው፤ሌሎች ደሞ ድንበር የለሽ ፈሪዎች ናቸው፡፡ስለዚህም የሚናገሩት ድምጻ አልባ በሆነው ዝምታቸው ነው::

በ1967 ቾምስኪ ሲጽፉ  ‹‹የገዢዎችን ቅጥፈት ማጋለጥና እውነቱን ማሳወቅ የምሁራን ግዴታ ነው:: ተግባራቸውን  በመመርመር፤ ዓላማቸውንና ድብቅ እቅዳቸውን ይፋ ማድረግ…ለዕውነት መቆም የምሁራን ድርሻ ነው እንጂ ተከታዩን የነጻነትን ጥያቄ ለማጭበርበሪያነት እንዲጠቀሙበት መፍቀድ አይደለም::›› እንደኔ  እምነት የኢትዮጵያ ምሁራን ሊሸከሙት የሚገባቸውም ይህንኑ ነው፡፡ ሙግት መግጠም ያለባቸው በስልጣን ላይ ያሉት ጨቋኞች ጋር ብቻ ሳይሆን እርስ በርሳቸውም ነው፡፡ የኢትዮጵያን ሕብረተሰብ ስለገጠመው ሁኔታና ችግሮች የተሻለ አማራጭ ብርታትና አለኝታነታቸውን፤ የጠነከረ ተስፋ ማቅረብ ይገባቸዋል፡፡ አምባገነኖችን በአዳዲስና ጠንካራ አስተሳሰቦች  መዋጋት ከፍተኛ ግዴታቸው ነው፡፡ ታሪክ እንደሚያረጋግጠው ጊዜው የደረሰ ጠቃሚ ሃሳብ ጨርሶ ሊሸነፍ አይችልም፤ ሊገታም አይሞከረም፡፡

ኢንተርኔት በጭቆና ተግባሪዎችና በነጻነት ድል አድራጊዎች መሃል ያለውን ትግል አኩል ለማድረግ ችሏል፡፡ኢንተርኔት የቅሬታን ክረምት በመግፈፍ በመካከለኛው ምስራቅ ላሉ በሚሊዮን ለሚቆጥሩ የችግርና የመከራ ሰለባዎች፤ በጋውን የበለጸገ የነጻነት ወቅት በማድረግ እስካሁንም ሳይጠወልግ እንደቀጠለ ነው፡፡ ሙባረክ፤ ቤን አሊ፤ ጋዳፊ፤ ባግቦ፤ እና በርካታ  ሌሎችም በሕዘቦቻቸው ውስጥ ዘልቆ የገባውን የጭቆና ስርአት በነጸነት የመተካቱ ሃሳብ ጨርሶ በህልማቸውም ታይቷቸው አያውቅም፤ የሚታሰብም አልነበረም፡፡ የኢትዮጵያም ዲካታተር ጨቋኝ ማን አለብኝ ገዢዎች፤ ምንም እንኳን ጋዜጦችን፤ ቴሌቪዥንን፤ ኢንተርኔትን እንደገል ንብረታቸው ይዘው፤ በርካታ ለሕዝብና ለሃገር የሚጠቅም ተግባር ሊከናወንበት የሚችለውን ከሕዝቡ በታክስና በተለያየ መነሾ የሚሰበሰበውን ገንዘብ በማውጣት ከውጭ ዕውነት የሚያጋልጡትን መገናኛ ብዙሃን ለማፈን ቢያውሉም፤ዕውነትን ሳንሱር በማድረግ ሕዝቡ መስማት የሚፈልገውን እንዳይሰማ ለማገድ ቢፍጨረጨሩም፤ ሕዝቡ የሚፈልገውን ከማድመጥና ከማወቅ ሊያቆሙት አልሆነላቸውም፡፡ ይህ በገሃድ የሚታይ አዉንታ ነው:: በዚህም ኢትዮጵያዊያን ምርጫቸውን እያዳመጡና እየተገነዘቡ ናቸው፡፡ የኢትዮጵያ ምሁራን በዚህ የትም ባለው መገናኛ ላይ ድርሻቸውን ለመወጣት አልተቻላቸውም፡፡የዚህም ውጤት ወጣቱ ትውልድ ኢንተርኔትን ለርካሽ መዝናኛዎችና ለግሳንግስ ተረብ ሚዲያውን መጠቀሚያ ሊያደርገው ተገዷል፡፡

የኢትዮጵያ ምሁራን የሶሻል፤ፖለቲካዊና የሳይንሳዊ ለውጥ ግንባር ቀደም ሃላፊ መሆን አለባቸው፡፡ ይህን እያቆጠቀጠ ያለውን ሚዲያ፤ ለወጣቱ ትውልድ ትክክለኛውን እውቀት ለማስጨበጥና ሃገራቸው ላይ የተከመረውን መከራ መግፈፊያነት እንዲውል ማድረግ ገዴታቸው ነው፡፡ ወሳኙ ትንቅንቅ የወጣቱን አስተሳሰብና ልብ ለመያዝ መቻሉ ላይ ነው፡፡ ለዚህ ከዲክታተሮችና ከጨቋኞች ጋር ያለውን ግብግብ በድል ለመወጣት አስፈላጊውና ወሳኙ፤ ጠመንጃና ታንክ ሳይሆን አዲስና ሃሳብና ፈጠራ ነው፡፡ ለኢትዮጵያ ከዚህ በማነቆ ከያዛት አስከፊ ስርአትና እርባና ቢሶች የስርአቱ አጎብዳጆችና ባለስልጣናት ማነቆ ለመላቀቅ ያለው ወሳኝ አማራጭ፤ የኢትዮጵያ ፖለቲካ፤ኢኮኖሚ፤ ዕውቀት እስካልሆነና ምሁራኑም የመሪነት ሚናቸውን ለመወጣት እስክልተንቀሳቀሱ ድረስ፤ ከዚህ እራሱን በራሱ በመኮፈስ በዙፋኑ ላይ ከተከመረው ጨቋኝ ገዢ መላቀቂያው አስቸጋሪ ነው፡፡

የኢትዮጵያ ምሁራን መላ ችሎታቸውን ጉልበታቸውን ጊዜያቸውን በኢትዮጵያዊያን ወጣቶች ላይ ነው ማዋል ያለባቸው (በአቦሸማኔው ትውልድ ላይ):: አዳዲስ ጥልቅ ሃሳቦችን ለወጣቱ ትውልድ ነው መወርወር ያለባቸው፡፡ አዳዲስ ሃሳብን እንዲሞክሩትና በውጤቱ ሃይል ላይ እንዲጨምሩት፤ ሂሳዊ አስተሳሰቦችን በመዝራት እንዲያለሙት፤ ነጻ አስተሳሰብንና መጠያየቅን በውስጣቸው እንዲያስተላልፉ፤ ዘወትር በባለስልጣናት ገዢዎች ላይ ብቻ ሳይሆን፤ በምሁራኑም በራሳቸው ላይ ተጠራጣሪ እንዲሆኑ ማበረታታት፤ ጥላቻን፤ቡድናዊ ስሜትን፤መንጋ አስተሳሰብን መዋጋት ማስተማር፤እራሳቸውንና አስተሳሳባቸውን የሚመዝኑበት መሳሪያ አስታጥቋቸው፤ተጻራሪ አስተሳሰቦች በማስረጃ ተደግፈው አሳማኝ ከሆኑ፤ሃሳባቸውን እንዲቀይሩ አስተምሯቸው፤የቆዩ ችግሮችን በአዲስ አስተሳሰብና መፍትሔ እንዲያርሙት አመላክቷቸው፡፡ስህተት ሲሰሩ ስህተታቸውን አምነውና ተቀብለው ለመታረምና በስህተታቸውም ይቅርታ እንዲጠይቁ ዝግጁ አድርጓቸው፡፡ ለዕውነት እንዲቆሙ፤ለሰብአዊ መብት መከበር ጥብቅና እንዲቆሙ በማስተማር መሆን ያለባቸውን ትክክለኛ ሆኔታ ለመሆን እንዲችሉ መንገዱን ምሯቸው፡፡

በጁን 2010 ባቀረብኩት ጦማሬ ላይ የኢትዮጵያን ምሁራን ከተጨቆኑት ጋር እንዲወግኑ አሳስቤም ተማጥኘም ነበር፡፡ያን ከጻፍኩ በኋላ፤የኢትዮጵያ ምሁራን ዝምታ አደናቋሪ ነበር፡፡ ይህን መልዕክት ልብን በሚያደፋፍሩ ቃላቶች ብዘጋው ደስ ባለኝ ነበር፡፡ ግን የዚያን ጦማር የመዝግያ አስተሳሰቤን አሁንም የቅሬታ ስሜቴንና የጨለመ ተስፋዬን  እንደያዘ ሰለሆነ ደግመዋለሁ፡፡

አመልካች ጣቴ ወደሌሎች በጠቆመ ቁጥር፤ ቀሪዎቹ ሶስት ጣቶቼ ወደኔ እንደሚያመላክቱ ቢጨንቀኝም አውቀዋለሁ፡፡ ሁሉም ኢትዮጵያዊያን ምሁራን ወዴት እንደደረሱ አውቃለሁ:: በዓለም ማእዘናት ገሚሶች ያልተዘጉት ዓይኖቻቸው ሳይጨፈኑ፤በዝምታ ውስጥ ታግተዋል፡፡ የትም ይሁኑ የትም፤ ደጋገሜ በድፍረት ላስጠነቅቃቸው የምሻው፤ በመጨረሻው ወቅት የ‹አይቴ አጣብቂኝ› ጥያቄ ጋር መጋፈጥ አይቀሬ ነው፡፡ ወይ ለኢትዮጵያ መወገንን ምረጥ፤ አለያም ከጨቋኞችና ከአምባገነን አውሬ መሪዎች፤ አስገድደው ከሚደፍሩ፤ ስልጣናቸውን አለአግባብ ከሚጠቀሙ፤ እና ሃገሪቱን ከሚያረክሱት ጋር አልጋ ተካፈል ፡፡

*የተቶረገመው ጽሁፍ (translated from):

http://open.salon.com/blog/almariam/2013/01/20/ethiopia_the_irresponsibility_of_the_privileged

(ይህን ጦማር ለሌሎችም ያካፍሉ::) ካሁን በፊት የቀረቡ የጸሃፊው ጦማሮችን  ለማግኘት እዚህ ይጫኑ::

http://www.ecadforum.com/Amharic/archives/category/al-mariam-amharic

http://ethioforum.org/?cat=24

 

 

Coup Attempt by Rebel Soldiers Is Said to Fail in Eritrea: NYT

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

By Jeffrey Gettleman | New York Times
January 22, 2013

GARSEN, Kenya — Eritrea, a sliver of a nation in the Horn of Africa that is one of the most secretive and repressive countries in the world, was cast into confusion on Monday after mutinous soldiers stormed the Ministry of Information and took over the state-run television service, apparently in a coup attempt.

President Isaias Afewerki

President Isaias Afewerki

According to several people with close contacts inside Eritrea, the coup attempt failed, with government troops quelling the would-be rebellion and no one rising up in the streets. But many analysts said it was only a matter of time before President Isaias Afwerki, Eritrea’s brash and steely leader for the past 20 years, is confronted again — and most likely from within.

“There’s a lot of dissatisfaction within the armed forces,” said Dan Connell, a professor at Simmons College in Boston and the author of several books on Eritrea. “If this is suppressed, it won’t be the end.”

Eritrea is often called the North Korea of Africa because it is so isolated and authoritarian, with few friends and thousands of defectors in recent years as Mr. Isaias tightens his grip and the economy teeters on the brink of ruin.

In the early 1990s, when Mr. Isaias first took power, Eritrea was hailed as a beacon of hope in Africa, a country of low crime, ethnic harmony and can-do spirit along the Red Sea. The Eritreans fought for years in trenches and from craggy mountaintops to defeat a Soviet-backed Ethiopian government and win their independence.

But the euphoria did not last. In the late 1990s, Eritrea and Ethiopia waged a costly war over their shared border, in which tens of thousands of people died. Shortly afterward, Mr. Isaias rounded up political dissidents and journalists, dooming them to years in prison, often in sweltering, underground shipping containers.

Thousands of young Eritreans have been drafted into the army and then required to work indefinitely for the government for pittance wages in what is called “national service.” Each year, many young people risk their lives to escape. Eritrea has waged war with just about all of its neighbors, and the United Nations has imposed sanctions on Eritrea over what is suspected to be its support of Somali militants.

By nightfall on Monday, it seemed that the government had beaten back the mutineers, with some analysts saying that the government broadcaster, Eri-TV, was back on the air.

The rebel soldiers, believed to number around 100, made it as far as the director’s office in the Ministry of Information, forcing him to read a statement on air calling for the release of political prisoners. Then the broadcast abruptly cut out. They also may have briefly taken hostage Mr. Isaias’s daughter, Elsa, who is said to work in the ministry.

It was not clear what happened to the renegade soldiers; analysts said that troops loyal to the government had surrounded the Ministry of Information and that the mutineers would most likely be captured and imprisoned.

The State Department said that the situation remained fluid, and the small embassy in Asmara, Eritrea’s capital, sent out a warning on Monday to the few American citizens living there. “The U.S. Embassy has been made aware of increased military presence in some sections of Asmara,” the warning said. “Employees of the U.S. government have been advised to limit their movements within the city, avoid large gatherings and exercise caution. We strongly recommend that private U.S. citizens do likewise.”

Reflecting on our past and fighting for our future

Monday, January 21st, 2013

By:  Belay Berhanu W. Mariam

New York, N.Y.

01/21/2013

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, and hope for tomorrow” (Albert Einstein).

Let me start by introducing myself. I immigrated to U.S. in 1988 for political reasons and I have been living in New York City for several years. Repression, imprisonment, and forced exile-this is a common story of my generation and others after that in Ethiopia. Ethiopia is always in my mind and I have been through a lot due to my involvement in the struggle for freedom in my country. I have a sporadic education for many years, but recently completed my BA degree in Sociology and I am a student at Hunter College-School of Social Work, Masters in Social Work Program. I am also a hardworking man who at times holds two jobs; until recently I worked for non-for-profit organization as Assistant Director and I want to contribute to my people and country as a professional Social Worker. My areas of interests are sustainable development of Africa in general and Ethiopia in particular, Social Justice, and Social Change. Currently, I work as Students’ Adviser at Bank Street College’s Liberty Leads Program.

Our country Ethiopia is one of ancient and very divers countries in the world. It is called a “cradle of humanity” and “Mosaic of peoples.” However, the Ethiopian people have been ruled brutally for centuries by Monarchs and Dictators. I was born in the time of the last monarch of Ethiopia, Heileselasse I (1945-1974) and lived in Ethiopia at the time of the consecutive military junta known as Derg. I throw my first rock of protest against the feudal regime as elementary student, I was also a member of EPRP which fought against Derg, and I was the youngest prisoner of conscious in southern city of Ethiopia called Bedela, in 1970s.  I joined the Medhin Party since its inception in early 1990s and served for two consecutive terms as a council member. Now, I am a part of ENTC leadership council.

In 2012, I sat down to reflect and reminisce on our common past, to think about the future of our country Ethiopia, and wrote this piece in my message to a group of Ethiopian friends around New York. Nothing much changed in Ethiopia since last year and I decided to update it and share with you all. In last 40 years, especially in last 20 years, there were repeated discussions among Ethiopians at home and abroad about missed opportunities and mistakes we have made in the past and lessons we should learn for the future. First in my memory is the 1974 Ethiopian Revolution which meant to solve the old problems, end the misery of the people, and build a foundation for a new Ethiopia. However, our good intentions and efforts failed by misguided Socialist ideology and our dream has been hijacked through use of force, by the then military Government. It was a time where a progressive and forward thinking was not a favorable approach and any bright idea other than Marxism and Leninism is condemned as “tesfena” or wishful thinker. What follows after the infighting between the only two leftist opposition parties at that time, the Ethiopian People Revolutionary Party (EPRP) and All Ethiopian Socialist Movement (MESON) and the subsequent suppression and a joint military assault on the armed wing of EPRP, by TPLF and EPLF, and the Red terror by DERG was a long pose of direct action by Unity and Democratic Forces in Ethiopia. On the other hand, the ethnic based organizations lead by TPLF and EPLF marched to power in Addis Ababa and Asmara, in 1991. We Ethiopians regretted our support for those secessionist groups and we talked about the importance of unity and persistence in the struggle against dictatorship. However, a few us dared to look for a new alternative and continue our struggle after CODUFE failed.

In the end of 1980s, the wind of change was blowing through Eastern Europe and Gorbachov paved the way for change and the good news of “Perestroika” or “openness” spread in Russia and other communist countries around the world. The popular music by one of exiled young Russian  rock band “Rego Park” from Queens, New York, called “Winds of Change” raised to number one on the music charts and appropriately captured what happened in East Europe and around the world at that time. While we Ethiopians were happy about the fall of the Derg regime, our hopes were dashed again by the fabrications of ethnic based organizations and exclusion of Multi-ethnic parties from the Transitional Government.

Moreover,  in the year 2000, I was sitting at home in New York, when Boris Yeltsin of Russia came on live television and gave a new year’s gift speech to the next generations of Russians by ending the very long history of tyranny in Russia, when he became the first Russian president to resign from office. I remember thinking why Melese Zenawi of Ethiopia will not do the same, and many Ethiopians ask themselves: “When will be this kind of democratic change will take place in our country?” I also remember sitting in front of TV screen in Washington DC, and seeing the celebration of the Ethiopian New Millennium, were by Melese Zenawi danced to Tigrean and Sudanese songs, which seems to me a celebration of the assurance of TPLF’s military victory and willingness to stay in power as long as it could. By then it was clear why Boris Yeltsin chose the democratic path and a better future for his people, while Melese Zenawi chose one ethnic party hegemony, wanted to rule Ethiopia forever, and another era of misery for next generation of Ethiopians. It is because, Boris Yeltsin is a Russian democrat, but Melese is a mercenary, an ethno-centric traitor (Banda) and a root-less dictator.

Then, came the election of 2005 which for the first time in our  history, we Ethiopians held a democratic election and  CUD won, but its leaders, supporters and journalists who reported the truth ware jailed. It was another missed opportunity to fulfill our dream for democratic government of Ethiopians, by Ethiopians, and for Ethiopians. The years of post-2005 Ethiopian election turn out to be the continuation of another Ethiopian sad story of misrule by one individual, and one party ethno-fascistic dictatorship. In August of this year, dictator Meles Zenawi died and many Ethiopians felt relived, even though our people forced to hold a North Korean style funeral. The newly “appointed” prime minister, Ato Hailemariam Desalegn had a chance to take measures to the right direction and the country to democratic path, but he turn out to be a servant of the Woyanes and promised to carry on the vision of Meles. The vision of Meles, as we witnessed it in last 21 years is to assure the dominance of one party and one ethnic-group and to strengthen the gripe on power by the ruling Tigrean elite and to continue robbing the resources of other Ethiopians and to make the Tigray region an industrial zone.

Now, we are celebrating second year of “The Arab Spring” of freedom which a self-immolation in Tunisia led to weeks of protests and the fall of the government. Also, a man has set himself on fire in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, in an apparent protest over poor living conditions. The action echoes that of a Tunisian student whose self-immolation sparked a wave of protest in the country that brought down the government. We Ethiopians talked about how the living and political conditions lead to the Egyptian revolution is existing in Ethiopia even in worst form and magnitude, but was not much action yet. On the other hand, the tribal junta is taking measures everyday resulted from fear of losing power and the life of our people is sinking below inhumane condition of degrading extreme poverty, humiliation, and repression. Since EPRDF took power in 1991, the situation in Ethiopia is getting from bad to worse every day. After the split of Kinijit that severely demoralized our people, Ethiopia seemed to me like a “Zombie land” and Woyane turn our country to a land of a living dead. One elderly women in Southern Ethiopia described the situation as “We {Ethiopians} are dead alive – Enna bekumachen motenal.”

On 11/11/11, Yenesew Gebre, a 29 year-old Ethiopian school teacher and human rights activist set himself ablaze outside a public meeting hall in the town of Tarcha located in Dawro Zone in Southern Ethiopia. He died three days later from his injuries. According to eye witnesses, he said: “In a country where there is no justice and no fair administration, where human rights are not respected, I will sacrifice myself so that these young people will be set free.” Since then, I ask myself every day, why Yenesew’s action could not bring the instant results of nationwide revolutions that has been witnessed in Tunisia and Egypt?  How long do we live like this? And, when is it that we say enough is enough-BEKA?

Currently, there is a creditable report that TPLF is continuously divided and fractured. The Muslim protest has been going strong for over a year. The TPLF appointed bishop of Ethiopian Orthodox Church died soon after Meles and Woyane is trying to appoint another agent against fierce opposition by all Christians. Another action of Woyane turning the ancient Waldeba monastery into a sugar cane plantation is also generating many different forms of protest from members of Orthodox church and I believe more is to come soon. There has been a sporadic protest against the Woyane regime at Addis Ababa in the center, Deradewa in the East, Jima in the south, and other Universities all over Ethiopia. Beyond the recent ethnic clashes in Addis Ababa University, there is a good news that the youth is determined to be united and organized. Moreover, the Woyane army is disintegrating. In addition, there is a fresh fire from Ginbot 7 Peoples Force and other armed groups that include a non-Wayne Tigrian group. In general, an all-round civil disobedience and armed straggle that can’t be stopped by the Woyanes is underway. I believe, the “African spring” that will be lead by the new generation of Ethiopian freedom fighters will start in Ethiopia soon. Recall that as it is made clear above in this writing, our nation had missed several opportunities of transition to democracy. ENTC wants us to get prepared this time and make sure that we will not miss another chance. Our mission is to “Facilitate conditions for an all inclusive transition process where the territorial integrity of Ethiopia and human rights of its citizens are protected.”

Wake up Ethiopians! This is our future and we have to fight for it. If we want to see a democratic, united, and strong Ethiopia and we envision freedom, equality, respect for human rights, and fair treatment for all ethnic groups in our country, we have to fight for it. We have to march to Meskel Square and protest as Tunisians and Egyptians did. We have to also fight the tribal junta like Libyans did against Gadhafi and his deadly forces, like Yemenies against Saleh government, and like Syrians are doing against the brutal Assad’s regime. Then, and only then slowly but surely victory will come. I want to remind all of you that the Ethiopian people staged their peaceful protest, in front of American Embassy, the very first day EPRDF touched the ground of Addis Ababa. Moreover, too many sacrifices have been made by young and old, men and women, even children for freedom in Ethiopia. Just think the students of Addis Ababa University and other Colleges who paid the ultimate sacrifices since 1960s to 1992, to 2005, and present.

I agree with the intellectual analysis of many Ethiopian scholars that our major problem is being victimized by divisive policies and ethnic politics of TPLF. It is repeatedly said that TPLF is on power today because of disunity among opposition groups, but not by its own strength. However, I have seen and witnessed many Ethiopians here in New York and other major cities of North America and around the world united for collective action against the tyrannical Wayne regime. Moreover, Ethiopians turn out in great number to polling booths around the country, stood on line up to 10 hours, and voted EPRDF out of office, in 2005. The question for me is:  what more could we had done?  Probably the more fitting question will be: what needs to be done now? I conclude that there is lack of collaborative and ethical leadership among us, opposition groups, which hindered us from achieving our dreams for our beloved country in the past. Thus, there is a need to build a new generation of emerging, effective, and ethical leaders. So, lets talk how!

I believe that leaders are made, not born. To begin with, consider this statement: “I suggest in the strongest terms possible that those of us who wish the new generation of Ethiopians a better life, and for the survival of a unified and democratic country have a moral obligation and duty to come together and arrive at a shared understanding of the nature, and origin of the problem that emanates from ethnic minority elite political and economic capture.”  (Ethiopians Can Indeed Unite if they are Willing, Part Six (c) of Six. Aklog Birara, PhD). Thus, can fostering Ethiopian unity, assuring it’s territorial integrity, respect for Human rights, and an all-inclusive transitional processes to democracy be our minimal agenda for the way forward together?

Dear, Ethiopian brothers and sisters, Ethiopia is at cross-roads again. The ruling TPLF strategy is to use EPRDF as cover and increase its repressive capacity of spying and military assault on our people. The secret meetings among top TPLF leaders reveals, their plan to turn Ethiopia to the China-like rigid state by strengthening more the power of the Tigrian elite to the level of the  central committee of the Chinese Communist Party.  If we are not actively participate in the struggle and save our country, EPRDF will succeed turning our people to human machines or slaves of the Woyanes  in the name of economic development. However, if TPLF felt it could not stay in power, they will instigate  a civil war along tribal and ethnic lines and our country will disintegrate. The current report from National Intelligence, an umbrella organization of US intelligence agencies, conforms this fact and justifies the fear and argument of many Ethiopians that the illegal secession of Eritrea sets a dangerous precedent in Africa. Thus, please come to ENTC and participate actively to save our people and country. This is an organization where everyone is a leader in many different ways and capacities. Come with your families and friends, and come with free spirit. It does not matter if you are a member of any political or civic organizations. Expect the worst which is to gain something positive but little, and hope for the best that our efforts will be successful in removing the Woyane regime and replacing it with an all-inclusive democratic transitional government that leads to a democratically elected government in Ethiopia.

Victory to the Ethiopian people!

We Ethiopians shall overcome and we shall win!!

Enashenefalen!!!

Conflicting reports about coup attemp in Eritrea: CBS

Monday, January 21st, 2013

Possible failed coup attempt in Eritrea

CBS News (January 21, 2013)

More than 100 dissident soldiers stormed the Ministry of Information in the small East African nation of Eritrea on Monday and read a statement on state TV saying the country’s 1997 constitution would be put into force, two Eritrea experts said.

The soldiers held all of the ministry workers – including the daughter of the president – in a single room, said Leonard Vincent, author of the book “The Eritreans” and co-founder of a Paris-based Eritrean radio station. The soldiers’ broadcast on state TV said the country’s 1997 constitution would be reinstated and all political prisoners freed, but the broadcast was cut off after only two sentences were read and the signal has been off air the rest of the day, Vincent said.

By late afternoon there were indications the soldiers’ attempt would fail. A military tank sat in front of the Ministry of Information but the streets of the capital, Asmara, were quiet, and no shots had been fired, said a Western diplomat in Eritrea who wasn’t authorized to be identified by name.

Vincent stopped short of calling it a coup d’etat and said it wasn’t immediately clear if the action was a well-organized coup attempt or what he called a “kamikaze crash.”

Later Monday government soldiers surrounded the ministry, an indication the action by the dissident soldiers had failed, said Martin Plaut, a fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies in Britain.

“It looks like it’s an isolated attempt by some soldiers who are completely frustrated by what is going on. But it wasn’t done in a coordinated manner,” Plaut said. “They did seize the television station, they did manage to put this broadcast out, but the government is still functioning calmly. There is nothing on the streets.”

Eritrea is an oppressive and politically isolated neighbor of Ethiopia and Sudan situated on the Red Sea that broke off from Ethiopia in the 1990s. The U.S. government’s relations with Eritrea became strained in 2001 as a result of a government crackdown against political dissidents, the closing of the independent press and limits on civil liberties, conditions that the State Department says have “persisted to this day.”

U.N. slams Eritrea for Islamic militant support
Isaias Afworki has ruled the country as president and head of the military since 1993.

If the power grab attempt by the dissident soldiers fails, they are likely in for severe punishments, Vincent and Plaut said.

“People call it the North Korea of Africa and that is accurate, so you either win or you’re dead, and I think these people are dead,” Plaut said. “One can’t be absolutely sure but that’s what it looks like.”

© 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Coup in Eritrea? TV off air; soldiers surround Ministry of Information

Monday, January 21st, 2013

Eritrea: ‘Troops deployed’ in Asmara

BBC (January 21, 2013)

Reports from Eritrea say a group of around 100 soldiers have surrounded the ministry of information in the capital, Asmara.

State TV has also reportedly been taken off air in what some have described as a coup attempt.

The city is said to be calm with no shots having been fired.

Eritrea’s government has been criticised by human rights activists as one of the world’s most repressive and closed countries.

The websites of key Eritrean state and ruling party media are currently operating erratically, with the site for the ruling People’s Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ) party inaccessible.

A statement has reportedly been read out on state radio and television calling for the implementation of the country’s 1997 constitution.

President Isaias Afewerki has ruled the country as a one-party state since independence from neighbouring Ethiopia in 1993.

Ethiopia: The Irresponsibility of the Privileged?

Monday, January 21st, 2013

Recently, Naom Chomsky, MIT Professor of Linguistics and arguably America’s foremost public intellectual, gave an interview to Al Jazeera on the social (ir)responsibility of American academics and intellectuals. Chomsky, 84, has been raising hell for over four decades, getting into the faces of the powerful and mighty and whipping them with the truth. He recently excoriated President Obama as lacking a “moral center” for using drone warfare to “run a global assassination campaign”. Chomsky has been called a “left winger”, a “radical activist” and even a “communist”, and has been on the receiving end of a few distasteful epithets. But the firebrand octogenarian is undeterred and as strong, as plain-spoken and outspoken as ever. He remains a relentless critic of capitalism, neoliberalism, globalization, warfare, corruption, repression, abuse and misuse of power and human rights violations in America and abroad. Along the way, he has continued his scholarly pursuits in linguistics.

In his Al Jazeera interview, “Noam Chomsky: The Responsibility of Privilege”, Chomsky chafed at the social irresponsibility of American intellectuals and denounced the greedy and rapacious elites for using their power to disempower ordinary people, confuse and render them intellectually inert, servile and defenseless.

Al Jazeera: Is it the responsibility of academics and other  intellectuals to be engaged politically?

Chomsky: Or every other human being. Responsibility is basically measured  by opportunity. If you are a poor person living in the slums and have to work 60 hours a week to put bread on the table, your degree of responsibility is less than if you have a degree of privilege.

Al Jazeera: If you have privilege, are you more obligated  to give back?

Chomsky: Yes. The more privilege you have, the more opportunity you have. The more opportunity you have, the more responsibility you have. It is elementary.

Al Jazeera: So why don’t we see that in the U.S.? There has been so much talk about people getting richer, many, many more people are getting poorer, and yet the rich are seemingly resistant to giving more of their time, more of their wealth and talent?

Chomsky: For the most part, that’s why they are rich. If you dedicate your life to enriching yourself and those are your values and you don’t care what happens to anyone else, then you won’t care what happens to anyone else. It is self-selecting. It is also institutional. In its extreme pathological form, it’s Ayn Rand’s ideology: “I don’t care about anybody else. I am just interested in benefitting myself and that is just and noble.”

George Ayittey, the noted Ghanaian economist and one of Africa’s foremost public intellectuals, has long been chagrined by the social irresponsibility of Africa’s best and brightest. He argued that Africa’s intellectual class is in bed with those who have built “vampire states” to suck billions of dollars out of the pockets of their impoverished people to line their own pockets. In 1996, he told African intellectuals exactly what he thought of them: “Hordes of politicians, lecturers, professionals, lawyers, and doctors sell themselves off into prostitution and voluntary bondage to serve the dictates of military vagabonds with half their intelligence. And time and time again, after being raped, abused, and defiled, they are tossed out like rubbish — or worse. Yet more intellectual prostitutes stampede to take their places…” Ouch! Ouch!

So why don’t we see more Ethiopian intellectuals engaged in politics? Are they merely following in the footsteps of their American counterparts? Could they be followers of Ayn Rand’s ideology: “I don’t care about anybody else. I am just interested in benefitting myself and that is just and noble.” Could Ayittey’s mordant criticism apply to Ethiopian intellectuals?

In a June 2010 commentary, I asked: “Where have the Ethiopian intellectuals gone?” I had no answer at the time, nor do I have one now; but I was, and still am, bewildered and puzzled by their conspicuous absence from the public square and the cyber square. Their absence reminded me of “the Greek philosopher Diogenes who used to walk the streets of ancient Athens carrying a lamp in broad daylight. When amused bystanders asked him about his apparently strange behavior, he would tell them that he was looking for an honest man. Like Diogenes, one may be tempted to walk the hallowed grounds of Western academia, search the cloistered spaces of the arts and scientific professions worldwide and even traverse the untamed frontiers of cyberspace with torchlight in hand looking for Ethiopian intellectuals.” They are nowhere to be found. They seem to be shrouded in a cloak of  invisibility.

Truth be told, I was once a member of that invisible empire of Ethiopian intelligentsia– disengaged, silent and deaf-mute. I was forced to uncloak myself when Meles Zenawi’s troops slaughtered 196 unarmed demonstrators, and shot and wounded nearly 800 more in the streets after the 2005 election in Ethiopia. I suppose there comes a time in a man’s or a woman’s life when s/he has to step out of the shadows of sheltered anonymity and silence, remove the veil of smug indifference and proclaim outrage at tyranny and crimes against humanity.

But there are tens of thousands of Ethiopian intellectuals who have chosen, made a conscious decision, to take a vow of silence and inhabit the subterranean recesses of anonymity. When they see elections stolen in broad daylight, they become afflicted by temporary blindness. When they hear innocent people being arrested and convicted in kangaroo courts, they become stone deaf. When they witness religious liberties trashed and the people crying out for freedom, they don’t try to stand with them or by them; they assuage their own consciences through a ritual of private grumbling, moaning and groaning. Above all, they have made a virtue of silence. They live a life of silent anonymity.

It is rather difficult to understand. Could it be that they are silent because they believe silence is golden? That is to say, if you want to be given the gold, stay silent? Do they not know “oppression can only survive through silence”? Could they be thinking that their silence is a manifestation of their contempt against those they consider ignorant and barbaric? Is it not true that “the cruelest lies are often told in silence” and the cruelest acts overlooked in silence?  Is their silence a practical expression of Ayn Rand’s ideology: “I don’t care about anybody else. I am just interested in benefitting myself and that is just and noble.”

But silence is not golden; silence is a silent killer. Pastor Martin Niemöller expressed his silent outrage over the silence of German intellectuals following the Nazi rise to power:

First they came for the communists,

and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

Then they came for the socialists,

and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,

and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for me,

and there was no one left to speak for me.

As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. admonished, “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

The Social Responsibility of Ethiopian Intellectuals?

It is said that the voice of the people is the voice of God (vox populi, vox dei). But silence is no way to  communicate with oppressed people. The intellectual is to privileged to think, to speak, to imagine, to create, to understand and to envision. But silence is never the privilege of the intellectual. Silence is one of the few  privileges of the oppressed, the persecuted and the victimized. Silence is the ultimate survival technique of the weak, the powerless and defenseless.

The intellectual has the moral responsibility to speak up for the silenced. S/he does not have the privilege to stand by idly and shake her head in dismay or mumble complaints under one’s breath. Those who have been  privileged to study, to think, to write, to innovate and to create have the duty to give back to the people, particularly those people who have been dispossessed not only of material things but also their human dignity.

The silent Ethiopian intellectuals are missing the point. It is a privilege, not a burden, to be a voice for the downtrodden. It is a distinct honor to be the voice of the voiceless. It is a priceless gift to speak truth to power on behalf of the powerless.

The silent intellectual — without a sense of moral commitment or obligation to something other than the pursuit of happiness through greed or without some sacrifice of personal interest — is merely a well programmed robot of higher education.  Nietzsche once remarked that all higher education is “to turn men into machines”; they did not have robots in his day.

I believe the intellectual has the responsibility not only to make a moral commitment but also to act on them. In other words, when one commits oneself to a cause, one must accept the fact that the pursuit and fulfillment of that cause will involve a measure of sacrifice of one’s self-interest. Many Ethiopian intellectuals have professed moral commitment to human rights but they are not willing to speak, write or do anything meaningful about exposing human rights abuses or defending against abuses of power. Some are timid, others are downright fearful. So they speak and sing in the language of silence.

In 1967, Chomsky wrote, “It is the responsibility of intellectuals to speak the truth and to expose the lies of governments, to analyze actions according to their causes and motives and often hidden intentions… It is the responsibility of  the intellectual to insist upon the truth” and not to “tolerate the deceptions that will be used to justify the next defense of freedom.” It seems to me that Ethiopian intellectuals must shoulder the same burden. It is their responsibility to challenge not only those in power but also each other. It is their responsibility to critically think about issues and problems facing Ethiopian society and to offer and imagine better alternatives and braver futures. It is their highest moral duty to fight tyranny with the power of ideas. History shows that an idea whose time has come cannot be defeated; it cannot be stopped.

The Internet has been the great equalizer in the struggle between the practitioners of tyranny and champions of liberty. The Internet helped end the winter of discontent for millions of disenfranchised peoples in the Middle East and ushered in a glorious summer which continues to simmer. Mubarak, Ben Ali, Gadhaffi, Gbagbo and many others were simply no match for the ideas of freedom that had penetrated deep into the psyches of their citizens. Despite the complete monopoly over the press, telecommunication services and electronic radio and satellite jamming technology obtained at great cost, the tyrants in Ethiopia have not been able to censor the truth or filter out ideas they do not like from wafting into the ears, heart and mind of any Ethiopian interested in alternative perspectives.  But Ethiopian intellectuals have not been able to take full advantage of this ubiquitous medium. As a result, the Internet is used by the younger generation mostly to seek cheap thrills and entertainment and conduct mindless chatter on social media.

Ethiopian intellectuals have the responsibility to be the vanguard of social, political and scientific change. They must use this burgeoning medium to provide real education to the young people and as a forum for serious discussion of the major issues facing the country. The real struggle against tyranny is for the hearts and minds of the young people (70 percent of Ethiopia’s population), and the irresistible weapons in this struggle are not guns and tanks but new and creative ideas. Until Ethiopian society, its economy and politics become knowledge- and ideas-based and its intellectuals play a guiding role in the process, that country will have great difficulty escaping from the clutches of a benighted dictatorship.

Ethiopia’s intellectuals should focus their energies and invest their efforts on Ethiopia’s young people (the Cheetah Generation). They should pitch new ideas to the younger generation; plant and cultivate the seeds of critical thinking in thier minds; promote free thinking and inquiry; encourage them to always be skeptical of not just authority but also themselves; preach against hatred, herd mentality and groupthink; give young people the intellectual tools they need to examine themselves and their beliefs; encourage them to change their minds when confronted by contradictory evidence; help them look at old problems in a new way; teach them (after learning it themselves) to admit mistakes when they are wrong, apologize and ask forgiveness; urge them to speak the truth, defend what is right and stand for human rights. They should inspire them to be all they can be.

The examples the intellectuals are setting today are disappointing and discouraging, to put it charitably. The message they telegraph to the younger generation is unmistakable: When confronted by abusers of power, be a conformist and remain silent. When faced with the arrogance of power, be submissive and obedient. When you can ask questions, seal your lips. When faced with the truth, turn a blind eye and deaf ears. When the opportunity for free thinking is available, be dogmatic, doctrinaire and obdurate. When you can speak truth to power, forever hold your peace.

In my June 2010 commentary, I urged Ethiopian intellectuals to act in solidarity with the oppressed. Since I wrote that piece, the silence of Ethiopian intellectuals has been deafening. I wish I could close this commentary with a more heartening message; but restating the last paragraph of that commentary still captures my disappointments and hopes:

As intellectuals, we are often disconnected from the reality of ordinary life just like the dictators who live in a bubble. But we will remain on the right track if we follow Gandhi’s teaching: ‘Recall the face of the poorest and the most helpless man you have seen and ask yourself whether the step you contemplate is going to be of any use to him. Will he be able to gain anything by it? Will it restore to him a control over his own life and destiny? In other words, will it lead to Swaraj (independence) or self-rule for the hungry and spiritually starved millions of your countrymen? Then you will find your doubts and yourself melting away.’ Let us always ask ourselves whether our actions (and words) will help restore to the poorest and most helpless Ethiopians a control over their own life and destiny.

As I point an index finger at others, I am painfully aware that three fingers are pointing at me. So be it. I believe I know ‘where all the Ethiopian intellectuals have gone’. Most of them are standing silently with eyes wide shut in every corner of the globe. But wherever they may be, I hasten to warn them that they will eventually have to face the ‘Ayittey Dilemma’ alone: Choose to stand up for Ethiopia, or lie down with the dictators who rape, abuse and defile her.

To whom much is given, much is expected.

Professor Alemayehu G. Mariam teaches political science at California State University, San Bernardino and is a practicing defense lawyer.

Previous commentaries by the author are available at:

http://open.salon.com/blog/almariam/

www.huffingtonpost.com/alemayehu-g-mariam/

Amharic translations of recent commentaries by the author may be found at:

http://www.ecadforum.com/Amharic/archives/category/al-mariam-amharic

http://ethioforum.org/?cat=24

TPLF military tigthens grip on Ethiopian economy

Saturday, January 19th, 2013

Meet MetEC – the misleadingly named Ethiopian Metal and Engineering Corporation that has come to dominate the Ethiopian economy in less than one year.

Headed by Brigadier General Kinfu Dagnew, MetEC now controls 15 industries and 100 factories. It has its fingers in everything from the so-called Grand Renaissance Dam to arms factories, to a spanking new fertilizer factory, to ten sugar factories, one of which presumably requires the tearing down of Waldiba Monastery.

MetEC is the latest creative move by TPLF to tighten its grip and to control every aspect of the life of Ethiopians.  It entrenches a patronage system that gives a larger stake to the military while guaranteeing the survival of the regime. 

Disguised as economic development, the move is also further evidence of unabashed wealth transfer from a much-suffering population held hostage to an unrepresentative ethnic minority that has created a police state with the blessing of foreign powers.  Many of the foreign backers also benefit from various illicit deals with the secretive regime.

The bigger fish gulp the smaller ones

By Yonas Abiye  | Ethiopian Reporter

Recently, a flock of Ethiopian celebrities were fighting to voice their experiences on their visit to one of the government owned military industrial complexes.

Some were even tight-lipped regarding their surprise to what they witnessed for the first time. Leaving aside most of the things they said, they were heard talking in an almost common utterance, which nowadays is being considered by many to be a cliché: “I didn’t ever think such projects were being undertaken in this country…”

All were saying after these artists of the capital were invited visit to the country’s emerging biggest industry complex, the Ethiopian Metal and Engineering Corporation (MetEC).

MetEC, of course, has been on top of the country’s agenda. That is the case when one wants to trace the hottest talk among politicians, media and pundits in the past few years especially before and since the commencement of Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP), the nation’s current five-year development.

Established a year ago and entrusted with several government projects worth billions of Birr, MetEC, run by a high ranking military officer, General Kinfu Dagnew, involves several projects including the electromechanical work of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and the erection of a turnkey fertilizer and 10 sugar plants in various parts of the country.

MetEC is engaged in the design, manufacturing, upgrading and maintenance of different products and services of the defense industry including upgrading combat aircraft and helicopters, tanks, vehicles and weapons.

It is believed to be playing a pivotal role in helping the country’s ambitious development plan of transforming itself into a middle income country by making contributions to the industrial development sector.

The corporation was originally mandated to undertake the design, manufacturing, development, and supply for projects for both state-owned enterprises and the private sectors seeing to ease the burden of steering the nation’s drive to an industrial economy, including subcontracting various projects to domestic construction firms.

However, it is now being said that it is swelling too much by amassing every development sector while undermining local and private companies.

The fatter it gets the less able it is at running projects properly, say observers.

“The very idea of the corporation’s establishment and it’s vision is good for foreseeing the country’s prosperity. The problem is to assure how its management capacity is reliable to run such huge commitments,” observes say.

Some also believe the actual trend of the corporations and wide engagement in multi-sectors is undermining other local companies, leaving them frustrated and incompetent.

“The huge fish are swallowing the smaller and tiny fish.”

In the past five months alone, MetEC has inaugurated over three factories. Corporation Board Chairperson and Minister of Defense Siraj Fagessa said the Corporation is “spearheading the realization of the Ethiopian Renaissance.”

The Corporation is a sub-contractor of the electro-mechanical work of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam Project. This work is mainly undertaken by the Ethiopian Power Engineering Industry, which is one of the industries under the Corporation.

The Ethiopian Power Engineering Industry inaugurated a wire and cable factory which is one of its eight factories built in the Modjo town at a cost of 200 million Birr to produce electric cables that can carry 400 and 500 KV, especially for the power transmission of the Grand Renaissance and Gibe III dams.

Similarly, the Corporation also inaugurated a heavy truck assembly factory, which is operating under the Bishoftu Automotive Industry.

Siraj once said the Corporation is facilitating the industrialization process. It works by bringing together local micro and small enterprises as well as medium industries with foreign companies facilitating the transfer of knowledge and technology.

There is also a new armament factory that was the third factory inaugurated a few months ago.

Currently, MetEC runs 15 industries and about 100 factories.

As part of its expansion, the Corporation has also agreed to replace the electric meters operated by the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation. The project is valued at nine billion birr and is expected to replace electric meters with new ‘smart’ meters.

The new ‘smart’ digital meters are expected to automatically register electric consumption and report back to EEPCo without requiring manual reading like the analog meters currently being used.

However, MetEC has failed to deliver the commitment it owes to EEPCo. As a result, the latter had to make an urgent and alternative deal with an Indian company. This also cost EEPCo more than USD 27 million.

Critics claim that these transformers could have been done by other local companies if MetEC hadn’t weakened them.

It is to be remembered that the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation is requiring all factories in Ethiopia to install devices that guarantee efficient use of power.

The Metal and Engineering Corporation has snatched the responsibility to produce the devices known as power factor correctors. The efficiency devices will be made available to all factories eventually on a one-year interest-free credit arrangement, according to EEPCo Officials.

The efficiency devices are expected to adjust the difference between real power and apparent power in the use of electricity to a ratio of one.

However, still, private companies face a setback from the device being manufactured by MetEC, which forces them to pay the electric bill, including the power leakage due to inefficient power meter.

MetEC is also building Yayu Coal Phosphate Fertilizer Complex project, 600km west of the capital in the Illubabor Zone, Oromia Regional State. It is one of the two fertilizer factories that the federal government wants built at a total cost of 2.8 billion Birr.

A consortium of public manufacturing enterprises, which are under the control of MetEC, include Dejen Aviation, Bishoftu Automotive and Locomotive, Hibret Machine Tools Engineering Complex, Homicho Ammunition Engineering Complex, Gafat Armament Engineering Complex, Power Engineering, Hitech Industry, Metal and Fabrication Industry, Adama Garment Industry, Ethiopia Plastic SC, and Nazareth Tractor Assembly Plant.

Ethiopia marching toward a failed state – US Intelligence

Friday, January 18th, 2013

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Ethiopia will be among the top failed states, according to a report by the Director of National Intelligence, an umbrella organization of US intelligence agencies. 

Entitled “Global Trends 2030: Alternative Trends”, Ethiopia is among the top 15 states expected to disintegrate and become ungovernable in the next fifteen years.

The separation of Eritrea from Ethiopia is said to have ushered in the era of disintegration of African states along tribal and ethnic lines.  “The secessions of Eritrea from Ethiopia and South Sudan from Sudan are seen in retrospect as precursors of this era in which the boundaries across the Sahel are redrawn. States fragment along sectarian, tribal, and ethnic lines. “

Click on link below for the full report.
GlobalTrends_2030

አዲስ አበባ ረክሳለች!

Thursday, January 17th, 2013

ለጋ ህጻናትን ለባለስልጣናትና ባለሃብቶች ማቅረብ “ትርፋማ” ሆኗል

Source:  Goolgule.com

January 14, 20013

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ትውልድ አምካኝ ቤቶችን፣ ትውልድ አምካኝ ደላሎችን፣ በህጻናት የወሲብ ንግድ ገንዘብ የሚሰበስቡትን፣ ማጥፋት ቀላል ነው። ግን ተጠቃሚዎቹ ህግ አስከባሪዎቹ፣ ህግ አወጪዎቹና ዋናዎቹ “የአገሪቱ ህዳሴ ባለቤቶች” የሚባሉት በመሆናቸው አይታሰብም። አንዳንድ ዝግ ቤቶች በሲቪል ጠባቂዎች የሚጠበቁ ናቸው። አንዳንዴ ቤተመንግስቱንና ሟቹን የቤተመንግስት ነዋሪ ይጠብቁ የነበሩት በፈረቃ ይታደሙባቸዋል።

ሃኪሞች፣ የህግ ባለሙያዎች፣ አገር የሚመሩት፣ ህግ የሚያስከብሩት፣ የመከላከያ ከፍተኛ መኮንኖች፣ አውራ ባለስልጣናት፣ ህዝብ ፊት ቀርበው በልማት ስም የሚምሉት ሃብታም ተብዬዎች፣ የፖሊስ የበላይ አመራሮች፣ የስለላ አውራ ሰዎች፣ አጫፋሪዎች፣ የአቻ ፓርቲ አመራሮችና መካከል ጥቂት የማይባሉ ከዳር እስከዳር መመሸጊያቸው ዝግ ቤቶች ናቸው። አንዳንዴም ከዝግ ቤቶች ፍራሽ ላይ ሆነው የፖለቲካ መመሪያ የሚሰጥበት አጋጣሚ አለ። ይህን አስደንጋጭ እውነት “መርከስ” ነው። አዲስ አበባ ይፋ አደረገችው እንጂ በየክልሉ ከተሞች የሚደረገው ተመሳሳይ ነው።

የሺሻና የጫት በጀት የሚመድቡ ባለስልጣናት አሉ። አስቤዛ ሲደረግ “ሙአሰል” ከህጻናት ዳይፐርና የዱቄት ወተት እኩል የሚመድቡ አሉ። ህጻናትን በመመልመል ሳውና በማስገባት፣ በማሰልጠን፣ ዘመናዊ ልብስ በማልበስ ለገበያ የሚያቀርቡ ብዙ ናቸው። እገሌ ለሚባል አየር መንገድ አስተናጋጅ እንቀጥራለን በሚል ታዳጊዎችን እያንጋጉ በወሲብ የሚነዱና የሚያነዱ ይህን ተግባራቸውን የሚፈጽሙት ማስታወቂያ እያስነገሩ ነው።

ግብረሰዶም የሚያስፋፉ በየሆቴሉ ድሆችን በማደን ማበላሸት ከጀመሩ ቆይተዋል። አሁን አሁን በየጎዳናው ታዳጊዎችን በማታለል ህሊና የሚያስት ኬሚካልና እጽ በመጠቀም ህሊናቸውንና አካላቸውን መስበር ተለምዷል። ከሁሉም በላይ የሚያሳዝነው በዚህ የግብረሰዶም ወረራ ውስጥ ተጠቃሚ በመሆን ወንድሞቻቸውን የሚደልሉ መበራከታቸው ነው።

ህጻናትን ለወሲብ የሚያቀርቡ ነፍሰ በላዎች ኢኮኖሚያቸው አድጎ ባለ ዘመናዊ መኪናና ህንጻ መሆናቸው ነው። አዲስ አበባ ባሉ ዝግ ቤቶች ወሲብንና ግብረ ሰዶምን የሚያሻቅጡ ህሊና ቢሶች ጉዳይ ያሳሰበው ቀጭኑ ዘ-ቄራ የሚባለው የአዲስ አበባው አምደኛችን ከወራት በፊት “የሚዘጋባቸው ህጻናት” በሚል ርዕስ የጉዳዩን አሳሳቢነት ጠቁሞ ነበር። (ዕድሜ ለኢንሳና አፈናው ብዕሩ ማዕቀብ ተደርጎበት በተከታታይ ጽሁፎችን ሳያስነብብ ቢቆይም እንዲሁ እንደጠፋ ግን አይቀርም፡፡)

የከበረውን ትዳራቸውንና ያብራካቸውን ፍሬዎች ቤት ጥለው፤ ባይወልዷቸውም ልጆቻቸው ከሚሆኑት ጋር የሚዳሩትና፣ የውሽሞች ቀን እያከበሩ አረቄ የሚራጩት ሃብታሞች ጠለቅ ያለ ምርመራ ቢደረግባቸው እስከ ዱባይ የዘለቀው የግፍ ገመናቸው ይገለጥ ነበር። ዳሩ የወንጀሉ ዋና ተባባሪዎች ተቆጣጣሪዎቹና ህግ አስከባሪዎቹ በመሆናቸው አስቀድሞ እንደተባለው አይታሰብም።

አዲስ አበባ መርከሷን ጥር 11 ቀን 2013 በአዲስ አበባ አስተዳደር ይፋ የተደረገው ጥናት፤ የቀንና የማታ ጭፈራ ቤቶችን፣ የእርቃን ዳንስ ቤቶችን፣ የማሳጅ፣ የቪዲዮ፣ የአደንዛዥ ዕጽ መጠቀሚያ፣ የግብረሰዶማውያን ማዘውተሪያ ቤቶችንና የመኪና ላይ ወሲብ መፈፀሚያና ጫት መቃሚያ ቦታዎችን በሚገባ በመቃኘት ተሰብስቦ በተሰራው ጥናት መረጋገጡን መረጃውን ይፋ ባደረገው አዲስ አድማስ ጋዜጣ በኩል ሰምተናል። ዘገባው ትኩረት የሚያሻውና በሚሊዮን በሚቆጠሩት ታዳጊዎች ህይወት ላይ ያነጣጠረ ስለሆነ እንዳለ አትመነዋል።

ESAT interview with Elias Kifle (video)

Thursday, January 17th, 2013

ESAT’s Dereje Desta interviews Ethiopian Review editor Elias Kifle

ENTC has formed a new chapter in Sudan

Thursday, January 17th, 2013

Ethiopian National Transitional Council (ENTC) has continued to work on expanding its organizational reach throughout the world. This effort includes strengthening the chapters that are already established as well as forming new ones. In line with this effort, the leadership has announced the successful completion of the formation of ENTC Sudan chapter with dedicated Ethiopians.

email: entcsudan2013@gmail.com

ኢትዮጵያ፤ የመዳኛ ወቅትና፤ የዕረቀሰላምጊዜ

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

ከፕሮፌሰር ዓለማየሁ ገብረማርያም

ትርጉም ከነጻነት ለሃገሬ

የረፖርተር ድሕረ ገፅ ሲዘግብ:

‹‹በጎሳ ላይ የተመሰረተ ግጭት በአዲስ አበባ ዩኒቨርሲቲ ተማሪዎች መሃል በመጸዳጃ ቤቶች፤ በቤተመጻህፍትና በመኝታ ቤት  ግድግዳ ላይ፤የተጻፉ አስፀያፊ ክብረነክ ጸሁፎች ከስድስት በላይ የሆኑ ተማሪዎችን ለከፍተኛ የመቁሰል አደጋ ተጠቂ ዳርጓቸዋል:: በርካታዎችንም ለእስር አብቅቷል፡፡ ለላለፉት አሰርት ዓመታት፤በዩኒቨርሲቲ ተማሪዎች መሃል ግጭቶችን ሲያስነሱ ከርመዋል፡፡ ይህም መሰረታዊ ችግሩና መንስኤው አስተዳደራዊ ድክመት ነው፡፡ ከዚሁ ጋር በተመሳሳይ ባለፈው በእለተ ዕረቡ ጃንዋሪ 2 2013 የተቀሰቀሰው ግጭትም በተለይ በሁለት ጎሳዎች በኦሮሞና በትግራይ ተማሪዎች መሃል የተከሰተ ነበር፡፡ ምስክሮች እንደሚሉት፤ግጭቱ የተቀሰቀሰው የትግራይ ተወላጅ የሆነው ተማሪ፤ በመጸዳጃ ቤት፤ በቤተመጻህፍትና በተማሪዎች መኝታ ቤቶች  ግድግዳዎች ላይ የጎሳን ክብር የሚነካ ጽሁፍ በመጻፉ ነበር፡፡››

እንደ የአዲስ አበባ ዩኒቨርሲቲ ባለስልጣን አባባል ‹‹ግጭቱ የተቀሰቀሰው ያንን የጎሣ ክብር የሚነካ ክብረነክ ጽሁፍ በተመለከቱት ተማሪዎች  መሆኑን ነው::›› በዚህም የተነሳ 20 ተማሪዎች መቁሰላችውንና 3ቱ የጠናባቸው ወደ ሆስፒታ፤ል መወሰዳቸውን በተጨማሪ ሁለቱ የቀዶ ጥገና እንደተደረገላቸው ታውቋል፡፡ ሌሎች 20ዎችም በፖሊስ ባልለየለት ውንጀላ ለእስር ተዳርገዋል፡፡

ስለኢትዮጵያ ‹‹የብልሆች መፍለቂያ ከነበረው ዩኒቨርሲቲ›› ይህን ሁኔታ ሳነበው ያደረብኝ ግብታዊ አስተያየት፤ ማመን እስኪያቅተኝ ነበር፡፡ ሳስበዉም ‹‹ይህ ፈጽሞ ሊታመን የሚችል ጉዳይ አይደልም፡፡ ይህ ከኢትዮጵያ አነሮች ትውልድ (ወጣቱ ትውልድ) በዚህ ፈሪነትና የማያስፈራራ አስከፊ ሁኔታ ውስጥ መግባት ተግባራቸው አይደለም፡፡ የኢትዮጵያ ዩኒቨርሲቲ ተማሪዎች በዚህ ቆሻሻ እና እጣቢ አተላ የጎሳ ፖለቲካ ውስጥ ከመንደፋደፍ የተሸለና የበለጠ ተግባር ማከናውን ይችላሉ›› አልኩኝ :: ይህን የመሰለ የረከሰ የጥላቻ ምግባር፤የወዲፊቶቹ ኢትዮጵያዊያን ምሁራን፤የቀጣዩ ትውልድ መምህራን፤ ሳይንቲስቶች፤ እና የፈጠራ ሰዎች ምግባር እንዳልሆነ ነበር እራሴን ማሳመን የሞከርኩት፡፡

ነገሩን የበለጠ ሳጤነው አምአሮ የሚነካና የሚአስቀፍፍ ሆኖ አገኘሁት፡፡ እራሴንም ጠየቅሁ፡፡ ምናልባትስ ይህ የጎሳ ክብር የሚነካ ጽሁፍ በሌሎች የአ አ ዩኒቨርሲቲ ተማሪዎች  የተፈጠረ ቢሆንስ? ይህን የመሰለው ዝቃጭ፤ወኔቢስ፤ባለጌ ተግባር ስለነዚህ ተማሪዎች ምን ይላል? ስለአዲስ አበባ ዩኒቨርሲቲ ተማሪዎችስ? ስለአጠቃላዮቹ የኢትዮጵያ ዩኒቨርሲቲ ተማሪዎችስ? ስለ መላው የኢትዮጵያ ወጣቶችስ?

ከዚህ ጥየቄ ጋር በመታገል ላይ እንዳለሁ፤ ሊገታ የማይችል ሃፍረትና ውርደት ሰሜት ወረረኝ፡፡ እራሴን ደጋግሜ መረመርኩት፡፡ ‹‹የኢትዮጵያ ምርጥና ብሩህ አእምሮ ያለቸው ተማሪዎች—- የኢዮጵያ አነሮች —- ይህን በመሰል ኋላ ቀር፤ አረመኔያዊ፤ ጨካኝና አሰቃቂ፤ ተናካሽ፤ ተንኮል የተመላበት፤ተግባር አንዴት ሊሰሩ ይችላሉ?  በምን መንስኤ ነው፤ አንድ የኢትዮጵያ ተማሪዎች ስብስብ ሌላውን ወገን ስብእና ለመድፈር፤ የጋኔን ተግባር ለመፈጸም፤ ዝቅ አድርጎ ለመመልከት፤ አውሬ በማስመሰል፤ አካሄድና ተግባር የሚሰማሩት? ለምን? እኮ ለምን? ለነዚህ ጥያቄዎች አንዳችም ምክንያታዊ ምላሽ ላገኝ አልቻልኩም፡፡

ይህ የ ጎሳ  ጥላቻ ወንጀል የተፈጸመው ባለፈው ሳምንት ሰለ አትዮጴያ ወጣቶች ክብርና ወደፊት ላገራቸው ሰለምተበቀባቸው ግዴታ በመፅፈበት ወቅት ነበር :: ሆነ በተባለው የጎሳ ጥላቻ ወንጀል የበለጠ ግራ እየተጋባሁ ሄድኩ፡፡ ይህን አስጠያፊና አስፈሪ፤ ቀፋፊ ሁኔታ በምክንያታዊነት በጥልቀት ለመረዳትና በዚህ አስገራሚ ትርኢት ውስጥ አንዳንድ የኢትዮጵያ አነሮች እንደ ጉማሬዎቹ በመንቀሳቀስ እንደጅቦቹ ለመሆን መከጀላቸው አስገረመኝ፡፡ አሳፈረኝ፡፡ አሳዘነኝ፡፡

ያን ግልብ ስሜቴን ወደ ጎን አልኩና ረጋ ብዬ ማሰብ ጀመርኩ:: ከምር ጠንክሬ አሰብኩ፡፡ ይህ በዩኒቨርሲቲው የተከናወነው ‹‹በጎሳ ላይ የተመሰረተውን አልመግባባት›› ድርጊት ከጥሩ እምነት ካላቸው ሁነኛ መደበኛ ተማሪዎች ተጠንስሶ በስራ ላይ የዋለ ነው  ለማለት ምን ማስረጃ ሊቀርብ ይችላል? በእውነትስ  የተባለውና በዚህ በየግድግዳው ላይ የሰፈሩትን ክብረ ነክ ጽሁፎች የጻፈው ‹‹ተማሪ›› ማነው?  በዚህ ዩኒቨርሲቲ የሙዚቃ ሸክላ አጫዋች መሰል የህዝብ ግንኙነት ጽህፈት ቤት ተቀምሞ የተበተነውን መሸንገያ አባባል ማመን አለብን? እንዴት ነው የዩኒቨርሲቲ አስተዳዳሪዎች  ‹‹ለአሰርት ዓመታት በዩኒቨርሲቲዎች ሲከናወኑ የነበሩትን የጎሳ ግጭቶች” ያሳለፏቸውና አሁንም ሲቀጥሉ  አጃቸዉን አጣጥፈው  መመልከት የቻሉት? በዩኒቨርሲቲውስ ውስጥ ምራቃቸውን የዋጡና የበሰሉ፤ችግሮችን ለማክሸፍና ለማግባባት ፈቃደኛ የሆኑ አመራሮች የሉም?

ጥርጣሬ ቀስ እያለ፤ድንጋጤዬንና ሃፍረቴ  መተካት ስለጀመረ፤ የዚህ ‹‹በጎሳ ላይ የተመሰረተ ብጥብጥ›› በገዢው መንግስት ጀብደኛ ባለማዕረግ የተዋቀረና፤ የተተለመ እንደሆነስ የሚለው ጥያቄ አያፈጠጠ ያየኝ ጀመር፡፡ በኋላም የወንጀል መመርመርያ ማስረጃ ማፈላለጊያ “መነጽሬን” ሳደርገው፤ እንደገና በመሹለክለክ ድምጽዋን አጥፍታ ጨለማና ወቅትን መከለያ በማድረግ አንዲት መናጢና ቆሻሻ አይጥ ተንኮሏን ከፈጸመችና ተልእኮዋን ከፈጸመች በኋላ ሳትታይ ጥላው  የሄደችውን የእጇንና የእግሯን አሸራ በግድገዳ ላይ ከተጻፈው አስጠያፊ ጥሁፍ አግርጌ ታትሞ አየሁት፡፡

በሜይ 2010 ጃዋር ሲራጅ ሞሃመድ ወጣቱ ኢትዮጵያዊ የፖለቲካ ሐተታ ሰጪ እንዲሁም የኮሎምቢያ ዩኒቨርሲቲ ተመራቂ ተማሪ እንደዘገበው  በዩኒ ቨርሲቲው ግቢ ውስጥ ከተማሪዎች ጋር በርካታ ውይይት ካካሄደ በኋላ እንዲሁም በሁለት ክፍል በሃራማያና፤በአዳማ  ዩኒ ቨርሲቲ በ2006 የተከናወነውን ድርጊት  ሰበቡን የአካዳሚክ ነጻነት ማጣትና በኢትዮጵያ የደህንነት ሚስጥራዊ ተቀጣሪዎች ተማሪ በመምሰል ሰርገው በመግባት የግጭቱ መሰሪ ጠንሳሾች መሆናቸውን ለማመን በቅቷል፡፡

ደግሞም በሴፕቴምበር 2011 ላይ በይፋ የዎጣው ማስረጃ አንዳሳየው በሴፕቴምበር 16 2006 “ የኢትዮጵያ የደህንነት ሃይሎች በኢትዮጵያ ዋና ከተማ አዲስ አበባ 3 ፈንጂዎች መቅበራቸውንና በመፈንዳቱና፤ በወቅቱም የአፍሪካ ሕብረት ስብሰባ የሚካሄድበት ስለነበረ ከረር ያለ ጥያቄ ያስነሳውን  ፍንዳታም ኤርትራንና የኦሮሞ ነጻ አውጪ ግንባርን ተጠያቂ እንዳደረጉ ነበር::” በአዲስ አበባ የሚገኘው የአሜሪካን መንግስት ኤምባሲ ባካሄደው ‹‹የሚስጢር ዘገባ›› በጉዳዩ ላይ የመርማሪዎቹ ጣት  ወደ ኢትዮጵያ ገዢ መንግስት የደህንነት አባላትን በመጠቆም ለዚህ የወንጀል ድርጊት ተጠያቂ አድርጓቸዋል፡፡

በሌላም በኩል በ2006 የተገኘው ሚስጥራዊው ባለ 52 ገጽ በውጭ ጉዳይ ሚኒስትር የተዘጋጀው ሰነድ፤ የዲያስፖራው ዳይሬክቶሬት በዲያስፖራው ያሉትን የተቃዋሚ ሃይላትና አባሎቻቸውን የሚነዘንዝ፤ በሃይማኖት፤ በዘር፤ በፖለቲካ ጥላቻ የሚከፋፍልና ማንኛቸውንም ገዢውን ፓርቲ የሚቃወሙትን ለመከፋፈልና በመሃላቸው መግባባት እንዲጠፋ ያደረገው ጥረትና ዝግጅት ተጋልጦ ነበር ፡፡ ስለ አዲስ አበባ ዩኒቨርሲቲ ተማሪዎች አጋጣሚ በይበልጥ ባሰብኩ ቁጥር፤የገዢው መንግስት ተቃዋሚዎችን ለማስጠላት ለመከፋፈል ለመበታተን ለማክሸፍ ብሎ የሚዘራውን ቆሻሻና የብልግና ባህሪ ያጋልጡት ጀምረዋል፡፡

በተጨባጭ ምርምሬ አንደተርዳሁት ‹‹በጎሳ ላይ ለተመሰረተው ግጭት›› ወንጀል በአዲስ አበባ ዩኒቨርሲቲ  ተጠያቂው ማን እንደሆነ ግልጽ የሆነው ማስረጃ  የሚጠቆመው ወደ ተለመዱት ወንጀል ፈጻሚ የገዢው መንገስት ወንጀለኞች ነው፡፡

ሊታለፍ የማይችለው መደምደሚያም፤ (ሌላ ተቃራኒ  ማስረጃ  እስካልቀረበ ድረስ) በጃንዋሪ 2 በአዲስ አበባ ዩኒቨርሲቲ ለተፈጸመው ወንጀላዊ  ተግባር ተጠያቂዎቹ፤ በግቢው ውስጥ በድብቅ የተቀመጡት መዘዝ ፈጣሪዎችና ምግባረ ብልሹ ሕሊና ቢስ  ወኪል ተንኳሾችና ደባ ፈጻሚዎች እንጂ ጨርሶ ለጥሩ ዕምነት የተፈጠሩት ወጣት አቦሸማኔዎቹ የነገ የሃገር አለኝተ ዎች ሊሆኑ አይችሉም፡፡

የማጠቃለያው ግምገማም ይህንን መደምደሚያ የማያጠያይቅ ማስረጃ በመሆን ያረጋግጠዋል፡፡ ያለዉን ማስረጃ በጥቂቱ ብንመለከተው: በመጀመርያ እንድ ብቸኛ “ተማሪ”ብቻ ነው ድርጊቱን በመተንኮሱ  የተወነጀለው፡፡ ይህ ደግሞ ተማሪዎች በአንድ ጎሳ ስር ተቧድነው ለዚህ ድርጊት መንቀሳቀሳቸውንና በዩኒቨርሲቲው ቅጥር ግቢ ውስጥ ሰላም ለማጥፋት ወንጀል ለመፈጸም፤ መደራጀታቸውን ተአማኒነት ያሳጣዋል፡፡  ይህን እንቅሳቃሴ ለመጀመርና መነሻ ሆነ የተባለውም ብቸኛ “ተማሪ” የየት ጎሳ አባል እንደሆነ በግልጽ አልተረጋገጠም፡፡ የዩኒቨርሲቲው ባለስልጣናት: ስምና መለያው ያልታወቀ፤ አንድ ተማሪ በማለት ወንጀለኛ ብለውታል፡፡ ይሁንና ይህ ‹‹ተማሪ›› ዓላማ ያለው እርገግጠኛ  መደበኛ “ተማሪስ” ነው? ወይስ ተቀጣሪ ነገር ቆስቋሽ የስለላ ድርጅት ወኪል ግን እንደተማሪ ተመሳስሎ ተወሻቂ አባል (የቀበሮ መንኩሴ በግ መሃል ይጸለያል አንደሚባለው ሁሉ ) ነው? ይህስ ተማሪ በዘር ላይ የተመሰረተ የጥላቻ ባሕሪ ግለ ታሪክስ ያለው ነው?

ሶስተኛ፤ በሶስት ቦታዎች ማለትም በላይብረሪ፤ በመጻሕፍት ቤትና በተማሪ  መኝታ ቤት ይህን መሰሉን የጎሳን ክብር የሚያዋርድና የሚያንቋሽሽ ጽሁፍ ለመጻፉ ምንም የተጠቀሰ ማስረጃ የለም፡፡ በጥላቻ ወንጀል ድርጊት፤ እንዲህ መሰሎች የጥላቻና የማዋረድ ተግባር ያለባቸው ጽሁፎች ሲጻፉ ዓላማቸው አንድን የጎሳ አባል የሚመለከቱ ሲሆኑ፤ ኢላማ የተደረጉት ግለሰብም ይሁን ቡድኖች ሊደርሱበትና ሊያዩት በሚችሉት ስፍራ ይሆናል እንጂ የግል ጥላቻውንና ብሶት ጣውን  ከተለያዩ ብዙ ጎሳዎች የመጡ በሚገኙበት ግቢ ውስጥ የማይመለከታቸውም እንዲመለከቱት ለምን ይደረጋል?

አራተኛ፤ ከዚህ አስቀያሚ  የግድግዳ ጽሁፍ ሌላ ማስረጃ ሊሆን የሚችል አንዳችም ነገር ከዚህ የችግሩ ጠንሳሽ በተባለው ‹‹ተማሪ›› ላይ አልተገኘም፡፡

አምስተኛ፤ በጃንዋሪ 2 በአዲስ አበባ ዩኒቨርሲቲ የተፈጸመው ደባ የተለየ ሁኔታ ሆኖ ሊታይ አይችልም፡፡ ላለፉት በርካታ አሰርት ዓመታት ይህን መሰል በጎሳ ላይ ተመሰረተ አምባጓሮ ይነሳ እንደነበር የማያጠያይቅ ነው፡፡ ለምንስ የዩኒቨርሲቲው ባለስልጣናት ጉዳዩ ሲያቆጠቁጥ አፋጣኝ እርምጃ በመውሰድ ለዚህ ከመብቃቱ ቀደም ብለው አላከሸፉትም፡፡ ድርጊቱ በአስከፊና ሊቀለበስ ወደማይችልበት ሁኔታ ከደረሰና አዳገው ሁሉ ከተከናወነም በኋላ በሌሎች ተማሪዎች ላይ አመጹ ተስፋፍቶ እንዳይቀጥልም ባለስላጣናቱ የወሰዱት እርምጃ የለም፡፡

ስድስተኛ፤ በነጻ አካላት ጉዳዩ ሙሉ በሙሉ ከመጣራቱስ አስቀድመው የዩኒቨርሲቲው ባለስልጣናት “አመጹ የተጀመረው በግድግዳዎች ላይ የተጻፈውን ምግባረ ብልሹና ጎሳን የሚያንኳስስ ጥሁፍ ያዩት ተማሪዎች ነው በማለት ለምነስ መግለጫ አወጡ? ጉዳዩን ከመሰረቱ አንስተው የሚያጣሩ ገለልተኛ ወገኖች በማዋቀርና በመመርመር ለወዲቱ ይህን መሰል ድርጊት በድጋሚ እንዳይከሰት ማድረግ የሚቻልበትን ዘዴ ለምን አልቀያሱም? የዩኒቬርሲቲው ባለስልጣናት ጉዳዩን እራሳቸውን ከተጠያቂነትና ከሃላፊነት በማግለል ለፖሊስ ሙሉ በሙሉ ለምን አስረከቡት? ምናልባት በዩኒቨርሲቲው የሚከሰተውን የጎሳ ጥላቻ ወንጀል ቸል ያሉት አይታችሁ እንዳላየ ሁኑ የሚል መመርያ ስለተሰጣቸው ይሆን?

ሰባተኛ፤ የዚህ የጥላቻ ብጥብጥ ወንጀል ተጠቂ የሆኑትስ በፖሊስ ለመደብደብ ለመያዝና ለመታሰር ለጉዳት ለምን ተዳረጉ?

በአጭሩ በአዲስ አበባ ዩኒቨርሲቲ በተፈጸመው የጥላቻ ወንጀል የቀረበው ሁኔታና ማስረጃ ጨርሶ ወደ ተከሳሾቹ ተማሪዎች ጣት አያመላክትም፡፡ ይልቁንስ ያአመልካች ጣት በወንጀለከኝነት የሚጠቁመው ወደ ከሳሾቹ ነው፡፡ የዚህን የጥላቻ ወንጀል ፈጻሚዎች ለማጣራትና ለመያዝ የሚያስፈልገው፤ ያንን የግድግዳ ላይ ጽሁፍ የከተቡትን የማይታዩ ጣቶች ብቻ ሳይሆን  እነዚያን ተማሪዎቹን እስኪጠወልጉ ድረስ የቀጠቀጡና ያሰቃዩ፤ ከዚያም በረጩት የአመጽ ነዳጅ ላይ እንዳይጠፋና የበለጥ እንዲቀጣጠል ንዳድ የረጩበትንና የጎሳ ግጭቱን ያቀጣጠሉትን፤በተማሪዎች መሃል ጥላቻ  ንትረክና ዉዝግብ አንድፈጠር የሚዶልቱ ወንጀል ጠንሳሶች ነው፡፡

ያም እንዳለ ሆኖ፤አሁን ወቅቱ ነው፤ አስፈላጊው ወቅት ነው፤ትክክለኛው ጊዜ ……..

የማገገሚያጊዜ፤የመቀበያውየመተቃቀፊያ  የእርቀሠላምጊዜ አሁን ነው

በክዱስ ጽሁፍ እንደሰፈረው፤ ‹‹ለማንኛውም ሁኔታ ወቅት አለው፤ከሰማይ በታች ላሉት ነገሮች ሁሉ  ለየምክንያቱ ጊዜ አለው::›› ለማልቀስ ጊዜ አለው፤ ለሃዘንም ወቅት አለው፤ ድንጋይ ለመወርወርም ጊዜ አለው፡፡ ለመገንባትም ጊዜ አለው፤ ለመናገርም ጊዜ አለው፡፡ እንዲሁም ለመተቃቀፍም ጊዜ አለው ለሠላምና ለማገገምም ጊዜ አለው፡፡ ለእርቀሰላምም  የራሱ ጊዜ አለው፡፡

አሁን ነው ጊዜው፤ — ትክለኛው ጊዜ– ለኢትዮጵያውያን ወጣቶች በትምህርት ቤቶች፤ በዩኒቬርስቲዎች፤ በስራ ቦታዎች፤ በአጎራባች መንደሮችና በመንገድም ላይ  የማገገሚያው ወቅት፡፡ ጊዜው—– ትክክለኛው ጊዜ—- የኢትዮጵያ ወጣቶች በወንድማማችነት በአህትማማችነት ስሜት መተቃቀፍ  መተሳሰብ እጅ ለእጅ በመያያዝና አንድ በመሆን ብዛታቸውን  ለቅድመአያቶቻቸው ክብርና ለታሪካቸው መከበርያ ማድረግ የሚገባቸው፡፡

ለሁሉም ኢትዮጵያዊያን ወጣቶች የጎሳ ጥላቻን  የብጥብጥን አዙሪት የመበጠሻ ጊዜው አሁንነው:: አላስፈላጊውን የቅሬታ ልምድ የማክተሚያ፤ የፍርሃትን ባህል፤ ጥላቻን፤ አውልቆ የመጣያው ትክክለኛው ጊዜው አሁን ነው፡፡

ለኢትዮጵያውያን ወጣቶች ጣቶቻቸውን በማቆላለፍ እጅ ለእጅ በመያያዝ የፍርሃትን እከክ ማራገፊያቸው፤ ጥላቻን፤ግጭትን፤ከልባቸው ፤ ከሕሊናቸው፤ ከመንፈሳቸው አውጥተው መጣያ ጊዜያቸው አሁን ነው፡፡ ጓደኞቻቸውንና የትምህርት ባልደረቦቻቸውን እንደጠላትና  ባላጋራ መመልከትን ማቆሚያቸው ጊዜ አሁን ነው፡፡

ሰላም ፈጥረው እርስ በርሳቸው እንደወንድምና እህት የሚተቃቀፉበት ጊዜ አሁን ነው፡፡ የኢትዮጵያ ብልህና ምርጦች አንድ ላይ በመስራትና በመተጋገዝ የተሸለን ነገ ለመፍጠር የሚችሉበት፤በረጋና ጠንካራ በሆነ የሕግ የበላይነት ላይ፤ ሰብአዊ መብትና ዴሞክራሲ የተከበሩበት አማራጭ ሂደቶች ያሉበት መትለሚያው ጊዜ አሁን ነው፡፡ ኔልሰን ማንዴላ እንዳስተማሩት ‹‹ከጠላት ጋር ሠላምን መፍጠር ካስፈለገህ፤ከጠላትህ ጋር ተጓድነህ መስራት አለብህ፤ ያን ጊዜ ጠላትህ ወዳጅህ ይሆናል::›› እነዚያን ጠላት የምንላቸውን ወንድምና አህት አብሮ ተማሪዎች  ና ወዳጅ ማድረጊያ ጊዜው አሁን ነው፡፡

በዩኒቨርሲቲ ግቢያችን ውስጥና ከግቢያችንም ውጪ ጥላቻንና የጥላቻ ወንጀልን ለማጥፋት መተባበርያው ጊዜ አሁን ነው፡፡

ከሕሊናችንና ከመንፈሳችን ውስጥ የጥላቻ ቋጠሯችንን ማጥፊያው፤ የፍርሃትን ሰንሰለትና ካቴና መበጠሸውጊዜ አሁን ነው፡፡ የኢትዮጵያ አቦሸማኔዎች ካለፈው ጫና እራሳቸውን ለማላቀቅና ነጻ ለማድረግ ጊዜው አሁን ነው፡፡

ለሁሉም ኢትዮጵያዊያን ወጣቶች ቆንጨራውን በመቅበር ለአንድዬና ለመጨረሻው ጊዜ ‹‹አሻፈረን! አንዳችን ሌላውን የዚህ ወይም የዚያ ጎሳ ስለሆንን ለመጠላላት አሻፈረን፤ እምቢ! መባያችን ጊዜው አሁን ነው፡፡ አሻፈረን! ምክንያቱም ሁላችንም በተለያየ ስም በምንጠራው የጋራችን በሆነው አምላክ ስር አለያም የሁላችን በሆነችው ሀጋራችን የተለያየ ማእዘን ነዋሪዎች ነንና፡፡ እምቢ! በምንም መልኩ ለመጠቀሚያነትና እንደ አሻንጉሊትነት ሆነን በሚጠቀሙብን ለጥላቻ ለእርስ በርስ መቆራቆስ መጠቀሚያ አንሆንም፤ እምቢኝ! የሠለጠንን ነንና ለጥላቻ አንሰለፍም፡፡ አዳኝ እንደሚያሳድደው የሚታደን አውሬ ለመሆን እምቢኝ!

ከአንድጉማሬጥቂትቃላትለበርካታዎቹአቦሸማኔዎች

በርካታ አቦሸማኔዎች ምናልባትም ጉማሬውን ትውልድ ማዳመጡ ያስገርማቸው ይሆናል፡፡

እኛ ጉማሬዎች ‹‹በዕውቀት የተጋረድን›› ‹‹ራዕይ የጎደለን››  ‹‹የራሳችን ምንጭ እስካልደረቀብን ድረስ ጠቅላላው ሃገር ቢደረማመስ ደንታ የሌለን ›› ነን ተበለን አነታወቃለን:: ያም ሆኖ ወጣቱን ትውልድ  በአክብሮት እባካችሁ ጆሯችሁን አውሱኝና ለመደመጥ እድል ስጡኝ እላለሁ፡፡

ጀግኑ!

የመጀመርያው የኢትዮጵያ ትውልድ በመሆን፤ እራሳችሁን ከሰንሰለቱ ነጻ በማድረግ ካለፈው የጫና ሰቆቃ እኛንም አራሳችህሁንም ለማላቀቅ ብቁ፡፡

የመጀመርያው የኢትዮጵያ ትውልድ በመሆን፤ ታሪካዊ ጥላቻን፤ ቅሬታን በማጥፋት፤ መግባባትንና መቻቻልን በማምጣት አዲስ እርቀሰላም በኢትዮጵያ ታሪክ ጀምሩ፡፡

የጥላቻን ቁስል ለማዳን የመጀመርያዎቹ ትውልዶች በመሆን ለዘመናት ያመረቀዘውን በማጥፋት ለመጪው ትውልድ ያለፈው ትውልድ ስህተትና ጥፋት እስረኞች እንደማይሆኑ አረጋግጡላቸው፡፡

የመጀመርያዎቹ ትውልዶች በመሆን ሁላችንም በእኩልነት የሰው ዘር አባላት በመሆናችን ይህንንም በጎሰኝነት ለማቀደም ብለን አዘቅት አንውረድ ::

የመጀመርያዎቹ ትውልዶች በመሆን አንደኛችን ለሌላው ይቅርታን በመቸር ለአንድዬና ለመጨረሻ ጊዜ ቆንጨራውን በመቅበር፤ ጣቶቻችንም የጠመንጃ  ቃታና ምላጭ ለመሳብ፤ጣቶቻችን የጥላቻ መነሾ የሆኑ ቃላትን በየግድግዳው ላይ ለመለቅለቅ ሳይሆን እጆቻችን የሚዘረጉት የመግባባት የመተሳሰብ ሰላምታ ለመለዋወጥና ለችግርም ይሁን ለደስታ እጅ ለመዋዋስ ብቻ አንድሆን ማረግ ያሻል፡፡

የመጀመርያዎቹ ትውልዶች በመሆን የተለያዩት እምነቶቻችን መለኮታዊነታቸውን ማረጋገጥ እንቻል::

የመጀመርያዎቹ ትውልዶች በመሆን አሻፈረኝ! አምቢ! በማለት ውስጥ ውስጡን ከሚበላን የጎሳ የሃይሞነት የጻታ ልዩነት በተቃርኖ እንቁም::

የመጀመርያዎቹ ትውልዶች በመሆን በመኝታ ቤቶች፤ በቤተመጻህፍት፤በመጸዳጃ ቤቶችም ያሉትን አስነዋሪና በታታኝ፤ ጎሰኝነትን የሚያቅራሩ ቃላታን በእርቀሰላም፤ በመግባባት፤ በውህደት፤ በፍቅር አሰባሳቢ ቃላቶች እንሸፍናቸው፡፡

የመጀመርያዎቹ ትውልዶች በመሆን የወደፊቷ ሃገራችን መሪ ሻምበሎች እናንት ኩሩ አቦሸማኔዎችእንጂ፤ የደከሙት፤ሙሰኞቹ፤ ምግባረብልሹዎቹ፤ እራሳቸውን የሚያስተናግዱ ጉማሬዎች ሊሆኑ አይችሉም፡፡

የመጀመርያዎቹ ትውልዶች በመሆን  ለመሆን የምትመኘውን ሁሉ በመሆን፤ለመሆንም ለማሰብ ቀደምት አንሁን፡፡

የመጀመርያዎቹ ትውልዶች በመሆን  የትላንቱን የመረረ ስሜት በዛሬውና በነገው ጣፋጭ እርቀሰላም፤ መግባባት፤ አንድነት፤ መሰረት ላይ መልሳችሁ አዋቅሩት፡፡

የሃቅ ወቅቱ ደርሷል፡ አቦሸማኔዎቹ እራሳቸውን በማዳን ለእኛም መድህን ይሆኑን ይሆን ?

ለኢትዮጵያ ምርጡና ብሩሁ የሃቅ ወቅት ደርሷል!

የኢትዮጵያ ምርጥና ብሩህ አቦሸማኔዎች ካለፈው ጫናና መከራ እራሳቸውን በማዳንና የጎሳ መጎጃጃ፤ የሃይሞነት አክራሪነትን  የጨቋኝ ስጦታ በመጣል እራሳቸውን ማዳን ይችሉ ይሆን?

እነዚህ አቦሸማኔዎች ተጠራጣሪዎቹን፤ የመሸጉትን ምስኪን ጉማሬዎች ከራሳቸው ነጻ ያወጧቸው ይሆን?

ከጎሳ መቆራቆስ ወደ ጎሳ ፍቅር፤መቻቻል አንድነት፤ መግባባትን ያበቁን ይሆን?

አቦሸማኔዎቹ ስብእናችንን ከጎግፍ ማነቆና ከአውሬ አስተሳሰብ ያላቅቁን ይሆን?

አቦሸማኔዎች የእርቀ ሰላምን ጥበብ ያስተምሩን ይሆን? በእርቀሰላም ቋንቋ ያናግሩን ይሆን?

የኢትዮጵያ ብልህና ብሩሆች አንድ የወጣት ግብረሃይል በመሆን 2013ን የአቦሸማኔዎች ዓመት ያደርጉት ይሆን? አንድ ላይ በመቆም የጎሳ ጥላቻን ቆንጨራ በመስበር የወገንተኛነትን ጎራዴ በማቅለጥ የእርቀሰላምን ሙሉነት ያስመርቱን ይሆን?

የአላንዳች ጥርጥር አዎን ይቻላቸዋል!

ባለፈው ሳምንት 2013 የኢትዮጵያ አቦሸማኔዎች ዓመት ብዬ ስተነብይ፤  የኢትዮጵያን ወጣቶች ለማስተማር፤ ለማዳረስ፤ለማሳመን ቃል ገብቼ ነበር፡፡ አኛ ጉማሬዎች አቦሸማነዎችን አናስተመራለን የሚል አምነትም ነበረኝ:: ጉማሬዎችን አቦሸማኔዎችን ያስተምራሉ ብዬ አልገመትኩም ነበር::  ለዚህ ነው እኛ ጉማሬዎች ግራ የተጋባ ሸውራራ (የተዛባ አመለካከት) ቅርብ አዳሪነት፤ጠባብ አስተሳሰብ፤ የምያጠቃን::  ለአቦሸማኔዎች የማስተማርያ ወቅት ሊኖር ስለመቻሉ ጥርጣሬዬ የመጣው::

ስለዚህም የኢትዮጵያ አቦሸማኔዎችና ጉማሬዎች በርካታ ግብግቦች የሚገጥሟቸው፡፡ የአቦሸማኔዎቹ ፈታና ጉማሬዎቹን የእርቀሰላምን ጥበብ ማስተማሩ ላይ ነው፡፡ የጉማሬዎቹ ፈተና ደግሞ ከአቦሸማኔዎች የእርቀሰላምን ጥበብ መማሩ ላይ ነው፡፡

አቦሸማኔዎች ታሪካዊ ገድል የመፈጸም እድል ቀርቦላቸዋል፡- ይሄዉም በምሳሌነት ማስተማር፡፡

በአዲስ አበባው ዩኒቨርሲቲ አጋጣሚ የተሳተፉትን፤ ወዳዳጆቻቸውንና ሌሎቹም ጭምር በግቢያቸው የተፈጸመውን አስጸያፊ የግጭት ሁኔታና ሁከት አስመልክቼ የማቀርበው ጥሪ ሁኔታውን ወደ ውብና ያማረ ፍቅርና ሰላም የሞላበት ፍሬያማ ውጤት ለማምጣት የአንድነት አውድማ ላይ እንዲሰባሰቡ ነው፡፡ እያንዳንዳቸው ወደ ሌላው በመቅረብ ይቅርታን እንዲጠይቁና እንዲቀባበሉ እጠይቃለሁ፡፡ አንዲት በጣም ትንሽ የሆነችውን ‹‹ይቅርታ›› የምትለውን ቃል ለመተንፈስ ወኔ ይጠይቃል፡፡

በራሳቸው ውህደት እንዲፈጥሩ እጠይቃለሁ—-አንድ ለአንድ፤ በትንሹና በበርካታው ስብስብ—–ልዩነታቸውን ይወያዩበት ይነጋገሩበት ይምከሩበት፡፡ አንደኛቸው የሌላው ጉዳትና ግፍ ይሰማው፡፡ አንዱ የሌላው ፍርሃትና ጥርጣሬ ይሰማው:: አንዱ ለሌላው እንባ ንቀት አይኑረው፡፡

 

በብሩህ ህሊና፤ በንጹህ ልቦና፤ አእምሮና መንፈስ ሊነጋገሩ ግድ ነውና ይህንንም እጠይቃለሁ፡፡

እያንዳንዳቸው የሌላውን ስሜትና ጥርጣሬ እንዲረዱ እጠይቃለሁ፡፡ በጓደኞቻቸው ጫማ ውስጥ ሆነው ለኪሎሜትር  እንዲራመዱ እጠይቃለሁ:: በመጫሚያም ይሁን በባዶ እግራቸው ፈገግ ሊያሰኛቸው የሚችል ሁኔታ ያጋጥማቸዋል፡፡

የኢትጵያ አቦሸማኔዎችን 2013ን የእርቀሰላምና የሰላም ዓመት እንዲያደርጉት እጠይቃለሁ፡፡

ጃንዋሪ 2 1013 በታሪክ የኢትዮጵያ ዩኒቨርሲቲ ተማሪዎች  የጎሳ ጥላቻን ቆንጨራ፤የሃይሞነት ወገንተኝነት፤ የጾታ ልዩነት የተቀበሩበት ዕለት ሆኖ ዘወትር አንድታሰብ ይሁን፡፡ በአዲስ አበባ ዩኒቨርሲቲ የተከሰተው አስጸያፊ ሁኔታ ለሕዝብ ማስተማሪያነት ያገልግል፡፡

ጥንካሬን ከችግር ወልዳችሁ፤ አንድነትን ከከፋፋይ ተምራችሁ፤ ከጓደኞቻችሁ ተማሪዎች ጋር ለመደማመጥና የመግባባትን፤ የመቻቻልን፤ የውህደትን ዘር ለማፈስ እንድትበቁ እማጸናችኋለሁ፡፡

የኢትዮጵያ አቦሸማኔዎች ጉማሬዎችን እንደመሩ እጠይቃለሁ፡፡ እኛን አትከተሉን፤መሄጃችንን አናውቀውምና፡፡እኛ የጠፋው የጉማሬ ትውልዶች ነን፡፡

ይህን ግብግብ በመቀበል፤ትክክለኛውን እንደትክክል፤ስህተቱንም ወደ ትክክለኛነት ካልለወጣችሁት፤ አቦሸማኔዎች በስልጠና ላይ ያሉ ደካማ ጉማሬዎች ናቸው የሚል ትችት ላይ መውደቅ ይመጣል::

ለሁሉም ጊዜ አለው::   ለኢትዮጵያ አቦሸማኔዎች፤ ለማገገምና ለእርቀሰላም ሰዓቱ አሁን ነው፡፡

የኔ ጥያቄ ለእዮጵያ ወጣቶች  ይህ ነው:-  አሁን ስንት ሰአት ነው!?!

የተባበሩት የኢትዮጵያ አቦሸማኔዎች ፈጽሞ ለውድቀትና ለሽንፈት አይዳረጉም!

*የተቶረገመው ጽሁፍ (translated from):

http://open.salon.com/blog/almariam/2013/01/13/ethiopia_a_time_to_heal_a_time_to_reconcile

(ይህን ጦማር ለሌሎችም ያካፍሉ::) ካሁን በፊት የቀረቡ የጸሃፊው ጦማሮችን  ለማግኘት እዚህ ይጫኑ::

http://www.ecadforum.com/Amharic/archives/category/al-mariam-amharic

http://ethioforum.org/?cat=24

 

 

 

ENTC denounces assassination attempt on Abebe Gelaw

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

It has been reported in the news that TPLF/EPRDF hatched plot had been foiled by the US FBI office and the suspects are under investigation. ENTC strongly denounces this shameful act. It is a recent memory that following the 2005 election, the fascist TPLF foreign ministry drafted and disseminated a 52 page document to all its embassies around the world. This document, aimed in targeting and weakening the opposition forces has been leaked to the public.

The regime has continued its terrorist acts of killing and kidnapping individuals from neighboring Sudan, Kenya, Djibouti, Uganda and other refugee camps and submit them to the inhumane tortures in the Ethiopian prisons. Now it has expanded its terrorist operations to the United States unashamed.

Not only this shows the true nature of this regime, but also the disregard and total disrespect for the laws of the United States, whose government is shedding billions of US tax payer’s dollars with the disguise of ‘fighting terrorism’. Nothing different is expected from a mafia group that has been recorded as terrorist in the US state department books for multiple killings and genocides from 1975 to 1991. Not much is expected from a regime that jails journalists, vilifies millions of Muslims fighting for their freedom as terrorists, commits genocides on its own people (Angwak, Oromo, Amhara), kills innocent civilians and children. We believe this blatant action of the TPLF/EPRDF should prompt the United States government to re-assess its relationships with the regime.

ENTC urges all opposition groups and country loving Ethiopians in the diaspora to exert continuous pressure in making sure that he United States government investigates and takes swift actions. We need to expose the TPLF agents and spies that are serving as the instruments of the terrorist regime to the proper authorities around the world.

We would like to express our respect and admiration to our hero Abebe Gelaw and clearly say to the junta government that we will be committed to create thousands of Abebes and eradicate this mercilessly brutal rule.

ENTC leadership

Read the Amharic Version

 

Ethiopia: A Time to Heal, A Time to Reconcile

Monday, January 14th, 2013
aauLast week, The Reporter reported:

An ethnic-based conflict between Addis Ababa University (AAU) students following derogatory graffiti posted on toilet-walls and library walls has left half a dozen students with severe injuries while others had faced arrest. For decades, the clash between students at universities has witnessed many ethnic-based conflicts which many observers claim it to be the weakness of the administering body. Likewise, the Wednesday [January 2] conflict was particularly between those from the ethnic lines of Oromo and Tigre. Reports indicate that the conflict was instigated when member (sic) of the latter ethnic group scrawled derogatory remarks on the walls of toilets and the library and in his own dormitory as well.

An official of Addis Ababa University alleged the “conflict was instigated by students who found derogatory statements posted on the wall”. Some 20 students were reportedly injured in the incident and three hospitalized including two who underwent surgery. Police reportedly arrested 20 students on unspecified charges.

My initial reaction reading this report about Ethiopia’s “best and brightest” was sheer disbelief.  “This just can’t be true. It is beneath the dignity of Ethiopia’s Cheetah Generation (young people) to engage in such a cowardly and dastardly act. Ethiopia’s university students know better than to wrestle in the filth and sewage of ethnic politics.” I kept on reassuring myself that such wicked hatemongering could not possibly  be the work of Ethiopia’s budding intellectuals, future scholars, scientists and literary men and women.

My certitude slowly gave way to gnawing disquietude. I asked myself, “Supposing the inflammatory graffiti and “derogatory statements” were written by bona fide AAU students? What would such a vile, gutless and vulgar act say about these students? About the injured students who reacted with righteous indignation? About the AAU student body? About all Ethiopian university students? About all of Ethiopia’s young people?”

As I wrestled with these questions, I was overcome by an irrepressible feeling of shame and ignominy.  I kept interrogating myself, “How is it even possible for Ethiopia’s best and brightest — Ethiopia’s Cheetahs — to engage in such backward, barbaric, cruel, vicious and villainous act? Why would one group of young Ethiopian university students deliberately plan and scheme to dehumanize, demoralize, demonize, degrade and brutalize  another? Why? Why? I could not come up with a rational answer.

I became even more bewildered trying to answer these questions as I was drafting my “proclamation” to make  2013 the Year of the Ethiopian Cheetahs.  I could not logically fathom the occurrence of this disgusting and horrifying  drama in which some Ethiopian Cheetahs were acting like Hippos and behaving like hyenas.

I put aside my roiled emotions and paused to think, and think really hard. What evidence is there to factually establish the “ethnic-based conflict” was the work of a bona fide AAU “student”? Who really is the alleged “student” who put up the offensive “graffiti and derogatory statements”? Must we believe the story line about the incident concocted by a wily university public relations desk jokey?  How is it that Ethiopian “universities have witnessed many ethnic-based conflicts for decades” and continue to witness them with predictable regularity?  Are there no adults in charge at the universities ready, able and willing to take preemptive and preventive action?

Doubt slowly began to displace my disappointment, shock and shame as I pondered the real possibility of this so-called “ethnic-based conflict” being stage-managed by the invisible knights of the empire.

When I finally put on my forensic lenses, I could clearly see the fingerprints and footprints of a dirty rat lurking on campus once again undetected.

In May 2010, Jawar Siraj Mohammed, a young Ethiopian political commentator and graduate student at Columbia University reported, “After interviewing several students involved in these [campus] conflicts and witnessing two violent episodes in Haramaya and Adama universities in 2006, I have come to the conclusion that lack of academic freedom at the universities and infiltration by agents of Ethiopia’s secret police and security services are the major sources of conflict.”

It also dawned on me that in September 2011 we learned  “Ethiopian security forces (had) planted 3 bombs that went off in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on September 16, 2006  and then blamed Eritrea and the Oromo resistance for the blasts in a case that raised serious questions about the claims made about the bombing attempt against the African Union summit earlier this year in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.” It was the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa which conducted its own “clandestine reporting” and fingered “GoE (Government of Ethiopia) security forces” for this criminal act.

I also recalled a 2006 secret 52-page document written in Amharic and prepared by the so-called Directorate of the Diaspora of the Foreign Ministry in Addis Ababa detailing strategy and tactics to harass, persecute and smear critics and opponents of the ruling regime and spread ethnic strife in the Ethiopian Diaspora.  As I thought more about the AAU incident, the anecdotal evidence of regime dirty tricks used to undermine, neutralize and destroy opposition parties, harass and persecute dissidents and others kept popping out.

My preliminary analysis of the circumstantial evidence on who is responsible for the “ethnic-based conflict” at the AAU campus points exclusively at the usual suspects. The inescapable conclusion (until substantial counterfactual evidence is presented) is that the hate crime that took place on the AAU campus on January 2 is likely the work of anagent provocateur (s) (one or few individuals placed on campus to act as agitators and instigators) and not a bona fide student(s).

A summary review of the uncontroverted evidence supports this conclusion. First, a single “student” is officially blamed for causing the incident. This factually negates the existence of an organized hate group of students of one ethnic group engaged in the persecution of another and intent on causing ethnic strife, dissension and discord on campus.  Second, the identity, background and affiliation (ethnic and otherwise) of the “student” who is said to be responsible for the criminal act has not been factually established. University officials fingered an unidentified student as being responsible. But is this “student”  a bona fide student or a regime undercoveragent provocateur masquerading as a student? Does this “student” have a history of ethnic animus against students of other ethnic groups?

Third, no motive has been established for the “student” who put up the graffiti and derogatory statements in multiple locations including the “walls of toilets, the library and in his own dormitory as well.”  In hate crime situations, when derogatory graffiti are directed toward a group, they are usually displayed in locations likely to be seen by the target group and intended to spark random expressions of outrage. Why would the “student” fingered for this crime target all students of an entire ethnic group as the object of his personal fury?

Fourth, other than the graffiti depicting the offensive statements, no additional evidence of hate crime was found in the possession of the “student” who committed the hate crime.

Fifth, the January 2 hate crime incident on the AAU campus cannot be seen as an isolated incident. The fact that periodic and recurrent campus hate crimes have been occurring “for decades” on Ethiopian university campuses is  uncontro- verted.  Why haven’t university officials taken swift and decisive action to prevent campus hate crimes with full foreknowledge of the occurrence of such incidents? Is the lack of action and intervention by university officials evidence of official tolerance, complicity, indifference and/or gross incompetence in the investigation and prevention of the occurrence of campus hate crimes? The evidence further shows that in the aftermath of the hate crime, university officials took no decisive action or implemented no preventive measures to ensure the safety of other students who could be targets of ethnic harassment on campus from a potential flare up of violence.

Sixth, why did AAU officials publicly announce, without a full and independent fact finding investigation, that the “conflict was instigated by students who found derogatory statements posted on the wall”? Why haven’t AAU officials empaneled an internal and/or outside independent investigation to thoroughly examine  the causes and participants in the hate crime and make recommendations to prevent such incidents in the future? Why have university officials left this incident entirely to the police?  Could it be that university officials turn a blind eye to campus hate crimes because they are directed to do so?

Seventh, why are the victims of this hate crime also the targets of arrest and detention by police?

In short, the totality of the circumstantial evidence on the hate crime committed on the AAU campus does not point an accusatory finger at students. The evidence points an accusatory finger at an invisible hand. To identify and apprehend the perpetrators of this hate crime, one must look not only for the invisible fingers that wrote the graffiti and derogatory statements on library and dormitory walls but also the hands that beat up the students to a pulp and ceaselessly bellow blasts of  hot air to spread and ignite ethnic strife, fear, hate and loathing among university students.

Be that as it may, it is now time, high time, the right time…

A Time to Heal, A Time to Embrace and a Time to Reconcile

It is written that “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” There is a time to weep, a time to mourn, a time to cast away stones. There is a time to build up and a time to speak up. Then there is a time to embrace, a time for peace and a time to heal. There is a time to reconcile.

This is the time — the right time — for Ethiopia’s young people to heal in the schools, universities, the work places, the neighborhoods and in the streets. This is the time — the right time — for Ethiopia’s young people to embrace each other in the spirit of brotherhood and sisterhood; to hold hands and celebrate their diversity and honor their common ancestry and history.

This is the right time for all of Ethiopia’s young people  to break the cycle of ethnic hatred and violence; the right time to end the futile tradition of grievance and victimhood; the right time to abandon the culture of fear, hatred and loathing.

This is the right time for Ethiopia’s youth to lock fingers and join hands to heal the open wounds of fear, loathing and antagonism in their hearts, minds and souls. This the right time to stop seeing fellow students as enemies and adversaries. It is the right time to make peace and embrace each other as brothers, sisters and partners. This is the time for Ethiopia’s  best and brightest to work together for a better future, to dream of  alternative futures built on a solid foundation of the rule of law, respect for human rights and democracy. As Nelson Mandela taught, “If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.”  It is time to make those we perceive to be enemies our partners.

This is the right time to unite against hate and hate crimes on and off campus. It is the right time to purge hatred from our minds and hearts; the right time to break the chains of fear that shackle and cripple young minds and hearts. It is time for Ethiopia’s Cheetahs to liberate themselves from the burdens of the past.

This is the right time for all of Ethiopia’s young people  to bury the hatchet, to declare once and for all, “No! We refuse to hate each other because we belong to one ethnic group or another. No! we refuse to hate each other  because we worship the same God by a different name or live in different corners of the land. No! We WILL NOT be manipulated or puppet-mastered to hate each other. We will not hate because we are civilized humans. We will not behave like predatory beasts who prey.”

This is also the right time not to do the wrong thing. This is the wrong time to engage in finger-pointing, teeth-gnashing, bellyaching or revenge planning. This is the wrong time to demonize and scapegoat one group of students as predatory beasts and disempower another group as helpless and hopeless prey. Both groups of students are the prey of those who write words of hate on library and dorm room walls.

A Word or Two from One Hippo to Many Cheetahs

Many young Cheetahs may find it amusing to listen to a member of the Hippo Generation. After all, we Hippos are known for being “intellectually astigmatic”, “lacking in vision”  and “not caring if the whole country collapses around us as long as our pond is secure.”  But I respectfully ask the youth to lend me your ears and hear me out.

Be courageous!

Be the first generation of Ethiopians to unchain yourselves and the rest of us from the burdens of the past.

Be the first generation to put an end to historic hatreds and resentments, sow the seeds of understanding and tolerance and open a new chapter of truth and reconciliation in Ethiopia’s history.

Be the first generation to close the wounds of hatred that have festered for generations and declare to future generations that they will not be prisoners of the mistakes and blunders of the past generations.

Be the first generation to accept the fact that we are all equal members of the human race and will not race to the bottom to affirm our ethnicity over our common humanity.

Be the first generation to make a peace offering to each other; to bury the hatchet once and for all; to use your fingers not to pull triggers and write hateful graffiti but stretch out your fingers to shake hands, to hold hands and to lend hands.

Be the first generation to affirm the divinity in our religious diversity.

Be the first generation to say No! to insidious ethnic, religious and gender divisions.

Be the first generation to cover the walls of the libraries, dorm rooms and even toilets with graffiti of  reconciliation, understanding, harmony and love.

Be the first generation to declare that you, the proud Cheetahs, are the captains of your country’s destiny and not the tired, corrupt, scheming, unprincipled and self-serving Hippos.

Be the first generation to be all you can be and to think what you will.

Be the first generation to win the war declared on our human dignity and common humanity, on our civility, morality, cordiality, integrity, and national unity by winning the struggle for the hearts and minds of your fellow youths.

Be the first generation to end the bitterness of yesterday and restore it with the sweetness of reconciliation today and tomorrow.

The Moment of Truth Has Arrived: Can the Cheetahs Save Themselves and Us? 

The moment of truth for Ethiopia’s best and brightest has arrived!

Can Ethiopia’s best and brightest Cheetahs rescue themselves from the burden of the past and the legacy of ethnic prejudice and religious bigotry?

Can these Cheetahs save the cynical, wretched and laggard Hippos from themselves?

Can they teach us to create ethnic harmony out of ethnic strife, understanding out of intolerance? Can they transform sectarian discord into spiritual concord for themselves and the people of Ethiopia?

Can the Cheetahs rescue our humanity from clutches of ethnic and sectarian inhumanity and bestiality?

Can Ethiopia’s Cheetah teach us the art of reconciliation? Can they enlighten us on the science of reconciliation?  Can they show us the path to reconciliation? Can they speak to us in words of reconciliation?

Can Ethiopia’s best and brightest come together as one Youth Force and make 2013 the Year of Ethiopian Cheetahs? Come together and bury the hatchet of ethnic strife and beat the swords of sectarianism into  ploughshares and harvest a plenitude of reconciliation?

Yes, indeed they can!

When I “proclaimed” 2013 as the Year of Ethiopia’s Cheetah Generation last week, I promised to reach, teach and preach to Ethiopia’s youth. Little did I think about the possibility of Cheetahs reaching, teaching and preaching to  me and my fellow Hippos. (That is why we Hippos are astigmatic (have distorted view) and myopic (near-sighted and narrow-minded; natural hazards of being a Hippo). Little did I think of a teachable moment coming for Cheetah’s and Hippos so soon.

So Ethiopia’s Cheetahs  and Hippos face an enormous challenge. The challenge for the Cheetah’s is they must now teach the Hippos the art of reconciliation. The challenge for the Hippos is that they must learn the art of reconciliation from the Cheetahs.

The Cheetahs now have a chance to play a historic role: Teach by example.

So I call upon the young men who were involved in the incident at Addis Ababa University and their friends and all of the other students to transform this ugly moment of conflict and strife on their campus into a beautiful moment of reconciliation. I ask them to reach out to each other and ask forgiveness. It takes great courage to say something as simple as, “I am sorry.”

I call on them to come together on their own –  one-on-one, in small and large groups — and discuss their  differences. Try to feel each other’s pain and anguish. Be sensitive to each other’s fears and never scorn each other’s tears.

I ask them to talk to each other with open minds, open hearts and open spirits. I ask them to listen to each other’s concerns, fears, hopes and despair. I ask them to walk a mile in the shoes of their fellow students. If their fellow students do not have shoes, I ask them to walk a mile bare feet and feel the sharp-edged rocks. I believe if  they walk hand in hand for a mile, with shoes or bare feet, they will have reasons to smile.

I ask Ethiopia’s Cheetahs to make 2013 the Year of Reconciliation and Peace.

Let January 2, 2013 be remembered in all history as the day Ethiopia’s university students  buried the hatchets of ethnic division, religious sectarianism and gender inequality.  Let the ugly incident at AAU serve as a teachable moment for the nation.

Take up the challenge to talk and listen to your fellow students and sow the seeds of understanding, tolerance and harmony.

I ask Ethiopia’s Cheetah Generation to lead the Hippo Generation. Do not follow us, for we know not where we are going. We are the Hippo Generation, the lost generation.

If you don’t accept the challenge and do what is right and right what is wrong, then you would have proved to the world that Ethiopia’s Cheetahs are only Hippos in training.

To everything there is a season, a time. This is the time for Ethiopia’s Cheetahs to heal and to reconcile.

Ethiopia’s Cheetahs! What time is it?

Ethiopia’s Cheetahs united can never be defeated!

 

Professor Alemayehu G. Mariam teaches political science at California State University, San Bernardino and is a practicing defense lawyer.

Previous commentaries by the author are available at:

http://open.salon.com/blog/almariam/

www.huffingtonpost.com/alemayehu-g-mariam/ 

Amharic translations of recent commentaries by the author may be found at:

http://www.ecadforum.com/Amharic/archives/category/al-mariam-amharic

http://ethioforum.org/?cat=24

 

ENTC requests diplomatic recognition from South Africa

Monday, January 14th, 2013

PRESS RELEASE
January 14, 2013

The Ethiopian National Transitional Council (ENTC) has sent a communiqué to the South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, the Honorable Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, requesting a diplomatic recognition. The letter was submitted to the Ministry by Ato Israel Wondimu Negash, ENTC’s diplomatic representative in South Africa.

The letter explains ENTC’s mission, and discusses the worsening political, economic and security crises in Ethiopia, as well as the need for the South African government to help with a peaceful transition to democracy.

The Transitional Council was founded at a 3-day conference in Dallas, Texas, that was convened from July 1 – 3, 2012, with the participation of representatives from all over the world.

Diplomacy is one of the primary tasks that the ENTC general assembly assigned to the leadership at the July 2012 conference in Dallas.

For more info:
ENTC Foreign Relations Committee
85 S. Bragg St. Alexandria VA, 22312 USA
Tel: 202-735-4262
Email: entc.pr@gmail.com
Website: etntc.org

ENTC denounces the assassination attempt on Abebe Gelaw

Saturday, January 12th, 2013

ENTC issued a Press Release strongly condemning the Woyane regime in its blatant assassination attempt on journalist and activist Abebe Gelaw.

Read here full text

2013 የኢትዮጵያ የአቦሸማኔ ትውልድ ዓመት ይሁን!

Saturday, January 12th, 2013

ከፕሮፌሰር ዓለማየሁ ገብረማርያም

ትርጉም ከነጻነት ለሃገሬ

የአቦሸማኔዎች ዓመት

2013 የኢትዮጵያዊያን አቦሸማኔዎች (የወጣቱ ትውልድ) ዓመት መሆን አለበት፡፡

‹‹የአቦሸማኔው ዘመን የሚያመላክተው የአፍሪካን ጉዳይና ችግር በአዲስ መንገድና አመለካከት ማየት የሚችለውን አዲሱንና ቁጡውን ወጣት፤ አዲስ ተመራቂዎችንና ብቁ ባለሙያዎችን የሚመለከት ነው፡፡ ምናልባትም ‹‹ቁንጥንጥ ትውልድ›› ተብለው ሊጠቀሱ ይችላል:: ያም ሆኖ ግን የአፍሪካ አዲሶቹ ተስፋ ወጣቶቹ ናቸው፡፡ ግልጽነትን፤ ተጠያቂነትን፤ሰብአዊ መብትን፤ መልካም አስተዳደርን የቀለጠፈና ፈጣን አስተሳሰብን፤የሚረዱና ተግባራዊ እውነታንም የሚያስቀድሙ ናቸው›› የታወቀውና የተከበሩት ጋናዊው ኤኮኖሚስት ጆርጅ አይቴ አስረድተዋል:: ቀጥለዉም ሲናገሩ  ‹‹ አብዛኛዎቹ አሁን በአፍሪካ  በስልጣን ላይ ያሉት መሪዎቻቸው ከመጠን ባለፈ ምግባረ ብልሹ እንደሆኑና፤ የሚመሩትም መንገስት በስድብ የተካነ ግን በተግባራዊ መልካም ሀገርና ሕዝብን በሚጠቅም ጉዳይ እርባና ቢስ የሆኑ፤ ማለቂያ የሌለው የሰብአዊ መብት ድፍረትን የፈጸሙ መሆናቸውን ወጣቶቹ ጠንቅቀው ያውቃሉ››::

በኔ አመለካከት የኢትዮጵያ አቦሸማኔዎች ትውልድ፤የሚያካትተው ወጣት ተመራቂዎችንና ባለሙያዎችን፤ምርጥና ብቃት ያላቸው ምሁራንን ብቻ ሳይሆን፤ በነጻ ለማሰብ ለመወያየት፤ ለመመካከር ለመተንፈስ ፍላጎታቸው ያቆበቆበውንና በወገንተኝነት፤አድሎአዊነት፤በምግባረ ብልሹዎች  ቦታቸውና ሁለንተናቸው የተያዘባቸውን፤ፍርድ አልባ ለሆነ  ለእስርና እንግልት ስለሰብአዊ መብት መከበር በጮሁ  ቢያንስ አምናችሁ በስራ ላይ የዋለው  ሕገ መንግስት ተከብሮ ይተግበር ባሉና ለመከራና ስቃይ የተዳረጉትን የኢትዮጵያ ወጣቶችን በሙሉ ያካትትታል፡፡የኢትዮጵያ አቦ ሸማኔ ትውልድ የእስክንድር ነጋና የሰርካለም ፋሲል ትውልድ ነው፡፡ የአንዱዓለም አራጌ፤ውብሸት ታዬ፤ የርዕዮት ዓለሙ፤የበቀለ ገርባ፤ የኦልባና ሌሊሳ፤ እና የሌሎችም መሰሎቻቸው ትውልደ ዘመን ነው፡፡ የኢትዮጵያው አቦ ሸማኔ ትውልድ ብቻ ነው ኢትዮጵያን ከብረት ጥፍራሞች የግፍ አገዛዝ ቡጥጫና ከዲክታተር ሺፕ ማነቆ የሚያላቅቃት፡፡ ከእባብ ጥርስ፤ ከዕብድ ውሻ ክራንቻ፤ ከዋጣት የጨለማ ፈላጭ ቆራጭ አገዛዝ፤ በማላቀቅ ወደ ብሔራዊ ዕርቀ ሰላም በማምጣት የበሰበሰና የአለቀለት ተስፋ ቢስ  በሃሰት መሰረት ላይ የተንሳፈፈውን ገዢ መንግስት በመለወጥ የሕዝብ አመኔታ ያለውና በሕዝቡ ፍላጎት ላይ በጠንካራ ሕዝባዊ መሰረት ላይ የተገነባ ስርዓት ለማቆም የሚችለው፡፡

አሁን ያለው ገዢ መንግስትና ከስሩ ኩስ ኩስ ባዮቹ የኢትዮጵያው የጉማሬ ትውልድ (ወይም አበው ነን ባይ ትውልድ) ወደ ጎን እልፍ በማለትና  በቃን በመቀበል ለአቦሸማኔዎቹ መንገዱን ማስተካከልና መልቀቅ አለበት፡፡ አይቴ እንዳለው ‹‹የጉማሬው ትውልድ ምሁራዊ አመለካከቱ ከዘመናት አገልግሎቱ የተነሳ ሞራ ሸፍኖታልና አስተሳሰቡ አሁንም በቅኝ ገዢዎች  መምህርነት ላይ እንደተጣበቀ ነው›› ጠጣር ድንጋይማ ከባድ  በመሆን የአሮጌው ኮሎኒያሊዝም ኢምፔሪያሊዝም አርአያን ከሃገር ሃይልና እምነት ጋር ጉማሬዎቹ አስተሳስረውታል፡፡ማንኛቸውንም የአፍሪካን ችግርና መከራ አገዛዙ ሊለውጠው ይገባል በሚል ባዶ ተስፋ ብቻ በመመኘት ራዕይ አልባ ሆነው፤ በምቹ መንበራቸው ላይ ተሰይመዋል፡፡ አገዛዙ ስልጣኑን የምያራዘመዉና የበለጠ ሥላጣንና ሃይል፤   የሚየዘው የበዛ የውጭ ዕርዳታና ችሮታ ሰለሚያገኝ ብቻ ነው፡፡ የጥቅም መፍሰሻ ቧንቧው እስካልደረቀ ድረስ፤ አገዛዙ ሃገሪቱ እንዳለች ብትጠፋ፤ ሕዝቡ ጨርሶ ቢያልቅ ደንታቸው አይደለም፡፡

የኢትዮጵያ ጉማሬ ትውልድ በተጠናበረ አመለካከት ኢላማውን የሳተ ብቻ ሳይሆን፤ ቅርብ አላሚና አስተሳሰበ ጥቂት፤ ለራሱ ብቻ እርባና ቢስ አጀንዳ የሚያወጣ ጭፍን ትውልድ ነው፡፡ በስልጣን ላይ ያለው የጉማሬ ገዢው መንግስት በረግረግ የሚሰጥም አሸዋ ላይ ባለ የከፋፋይ የዘር ፖለቲካና ክፉኛ በተጠናወተው ብቀላ ላይ ተጠምዷል፡፡ ምንም የማይሳነው ነው የሚሉት የግዛት መንግስታቸው ዐመጸኛ እንጂ  ሌላ ሊሆን የማይችል ነው፡፡ ከንፈሮቻቸው በተላቀቁ ቁጥር ምላሳቸው ለሆዳቸውና ለኪሳቸው መሙያ የሚገለገሉበትንና መመሪያችን በማለት በየአደባባዩ የሚያሞካሹትን ‹‹ኒዎሊቤራሊዝምን›› ለማውገዝና ለመንቀፍ ታጥቀው ተነስተዋል፡፡ ስልጣንም ላይ የሰመጠ መርከብ ላይ እንደሚጣበቁበት ሐዋሳት ሰፍረውበት ለመኖር ነው እቅዳቸው፡፡ ከውጭ መንሥታት የሚቸራቸውን ዳረጎት እንደከፍተኛ የእድገታቸው ግብ አድርገው ይቆጠሩታል ጉራቸዉንም ይነሰነሱበታል፡፡ ለነዚህ ጉማሬዎች ደግሞ ወጣቱ  ዋነኛ መገልገያ መሳርያቸው ነው፡፡ የአፍ ዳረጎት ይቸሩታል፡፡ መለስ ዜናዊ በዚያ ዝነኛው የ99.6 የምርጫ ሃፍረተ ድሉ ወቅት ባደረገው ዲስኩር፤ ወጣቱን በማይጨበጥ ባዶ ቃላት ሸረደደው፡፡ ‹‹በመካሄድ ላይ ባለው የሃገሪቱ ልማትና እድገት ላይ የሃገራችን ወጣት ትውልድ ተሳታፊ መሆን በመጀመሩና በተሰማራበትም (የኮብል ስቶን ባለሙያነት) መስክ ውጤታማ በመሆኑ ወጣቱን ላመሰግን እወዳለሁ፡፡ ወጣቱ ላሳየውና ላረጋገጠው ድጋፉ ለማይታጠፍ አቋሙ ምስጋናችን ይድረሰው፡፡›› በማለት ማሞካሻና በንብረትንት ማሰባሰቢያ ዲስኩር ነበር ያደረገው፡፡

ከስልጣን የገተገለሉትም ጉማሬዎች ወጣቱንና ሴቶችን በፓርቲያቸው መዋቅር ውስጥ አመራር ላይ ለማካተትና ተግባራዊ ተሳትፎ እንዲያደርግ  ለማሰባሰብ አልቻሉም፡፡ በዚህም ምክንያት እራሳቸውን  ባልተረጋጋ ፖለቲካ ሂደት ውስጥ በማስገባት ፖለቲካውንም አሽመድምደውታል፡፡ ስለዚህም እንደገና ለማንሰራራትና ለመታደስ፤ በአዲስ ሃይልና ዘዴ ለመደራጀትና ብቃትም ለማግኘት፤ ለማገገም ወጣቱ ያስፈልጋቸዋል፡፡ ወጣቱን ያላቀፈና ስልጣን የተነፈገው የጉማሬ ትውልድ፤ በስልጣን ላይ ላለው የጉማሬ ስብስብ መቀለጃ፤ መተረቻ መዘባበቻ መሆን ብቻ ነው ትርፋቸው፡፡

የታገተው አቦሸማኔ

አሳፋሪው አሉባልታ መሰል ባዶ ቃል ደግሞ ‹‹በመካሄድ ላይ ካለው ልማት ወጣቱ ትውልድ ተጠቃሚ ሆኗል›› መባሉ ነው፡፡ ሃቁ የሚያሳየው ደግሞ ፈጽሞ ከአባባሉ ጋር የማይገናኝ ተቃራኒ ነው፡፡ ከ18 ዓመት በታች የሆነው የኢትዮጵያ ሕዝብ ብዛት 41 ሚሊዮን አለያም  ከአጠቃላይ የሕዝቡ ቁጥር ገሚስ ነው ተብሎ ቢገመትም፤ የ ዩኒሴፍ ዘገባ እንደሚያመለክተው ደግሞ፤  ዕድሜያቸው ከአምስት ዓመት በታች ለሆኑት ሕጻነት በሞት መቀጠፍ ዋነኛ መንስኤው የተመጣጠነ የምግብ እጥረት መሆኑን ያረጋግጣል፡፡ ኢትዮጵያ በ5 ሚሊዮን የሚገመቱ ወላጅ አልባ ሕጻናት አሏት ወይም 15 በመቶ ይሆናሉ፡፡ ከኒህ ውስጥ 800,000 የሚሆኑት ለዚህ የተዳረጉት በኤይድስ ሳቢያ ነው፡፡ የገጠሩ ስራአጥ ቁጥር ሰባ በመቶ ደርሷል፡፡ በ2011 በተካሄደው የተባበሩት መንግስታት ካፒታል ዴቬሎፕመንት ፈንድ  ሪፖርት መሰረት ኢትዮጵያ በአፍሪካ ካሉት ሃገራት ሁሉ አነስተኛው መጻፍና ማንበብ የሚችሉ ወጣቶች ያሉባት ሃገር ናት ብሎአል፡፡ በ15-24 የዕድሜ ክልል ውስጥ ያለው የትምህርት ሁኔታ በአሳፋሪ 43 በመቶ ነው:: በሁለተኛ ደረጃ ትምህርት ምዝገባው  ዘገምተኛ 30.9 በመቶ፤ ሲሆን: በሚያሳዝን መልኩ 77.8 በመቶው የኢትዮጵያ ወጣት ኑሮውን ከ2 የአሜሪካን ዶላር እጅግ ባነሰ ሂሳብ ነው የሚኖረው፡፡

ወጣት ኢትዮጵያውያን ሥራ ለማግኘት ሕልውናቸውን ለመሸጥ እየተገደዱ ነው፡፡ የአሜሪካን ስቴት ዲፓርትመነት የሰብአዊ መብት 2010 ዘገባ መሰረት፤ “ታማኝ ምንጮች እንዳስታወቁት፤ ስራ አጥ ወጣት ዜጎች የገዢው ፓርቲ አባል መሆናቸውን ካላረጋገጡ ፎርሙን ሞልተው ታማኝነታቸውን ካላረጋገጡ በስተቀር  የዜግነት መብታቸው የሆነውን የስራ ማፈላለጊያ የቀበሌ ማስረጃ ጨርሶ ማግኘት አይችሉም” ሲል አትቶዋል፡፡ በመንግስት መስሪያ ቤትም ለመቀጠር የገዢው ፓርቲ አባልነት ዋነኛው መሟላት ያለበት ግዴት ነው፡፡ የፖሊስ አስተዳደር ባለባት ሃገር ኢትዮጵያ ለመኖር ዋስትና፤ ለመማር ዋስትና፤ ለመቀጠር ዋስትናው የገዢው ፓርቲ አባልነት ብቻ ነው፡፡ የአሜሪካን ስቴት ዲፓርትመነት የሰብአዊ መብት 2010 ዘገባውን ሲያጠቃልል ብቸኛና ለስራ መቀጠርም ተቀባይነት ወዳለውና የውጭ ትምህርትም ለማግኘት ዋነኛ ማሟያ ነጥብ የሆነው የአዲስ አበባ ዩኒቬርሲቲም ገብቶ ትምህርት ለመከታተል የሚመኝ ወጣት በቅድሚያ የገዢው ፓርቲ አባል በመሆን ፎርሙን ሞልቶ፤ ቃለ መሃላ ፈጽሞ፤ ታማኝነቱን አረጋግጦ፤ በዩኒቨርሲቲው የሚታሰበውን አድማ ላለመሳተፍና ለማክሸፍም ለሚመለከተው በማሳበቅ ማገልገሎ እንዳለባቸው ቃል ገብተው ነው ተቀባይነት የሚያገኙት፡፡

ተስፋ በመቁረጥና እርካታ በማጣት፤በርካታ ወጣቶች ትምህርታቸውን በማቋረጥ በጣም አሳፋሪና ሕሊናን አድካሚ፤ ስብዕናን ገፋፊ  ወደ ሆኑ ተግባር በመሰማራት ወደ አደንዛዥ እጽ፤ መጠጥ፤ ትምባሆ፤  ሱሰኝነት እና እንዲሁም ወደ ወንጀልና ልቅ የግብረስጋ ግንኙነት በመሰማራት በወሲብ ለሚመጡ በሽታዎች፤ ኤይድስን ጭምር በሽተኞች በመሆን ላይ ናቸው፡፡ ችግረኞች የሆኑት ወጣቶች (ሰፊውን ቁጥር የሚይዙት ወጣቶች) ከትምህርትና ከስራ ማግኘት እድል የተነፈጉ ናቸውና በራሳቸውም በሃገራቸውም ላይ ተስፋ ቆርጠዋል፡፡ የተከበሩት የሙስሊሙ ሕብረተሰብ የሃይሞነት አባትና መሪ ሃጂ ሞሃመድ ሰኢድ ያነሱት ጥያቄ እንቅልፍ ነስቶ በሃሳብ ያዋዥቀኛል፡- ‹‹ለመሆኑ አሁን የተረፈ የኢትዮጵያ ትውልድ አለ? ወደ ዩኒቨርሲቲው የገቡት ወጣቶች እኮ ሕሊናቸው በጫት ሱስና በሲጋራ የተጠመደ ነው፤ ይሄ ገዢው ፓርቲ እኮ ትውልዱን አጥፍቶታል” ሲሉ አኝህ የተከበሩ  የሃይማኖት አባት ተናግረዋል ፡፡

አቦሸማኔዎቹን ፍታ

በርካታ የጦማሬ አንባቢዎች ለሃገራቸው ነጻነትና ለውጥ ስለሚናፍቁት ግን በገዢው ማነቆ ተጠፍረው ስላሉት  ወጣት ኢትዮጵያዊያን ግንዛቤ እንዳለቸው አማናለሁ፡፡ በተጨማሪም አንባቢዎቼ ለኩሩዎቹ አቦሸማኔዎች ለእስክንድር ነጋ፤ ሰርክዓለም ፋሲል፤ አንዱዓለም አራጌ፤ ውብሸት ታዬ፤ ርዕዮት ዓለሙ፤ በቀለ ገርባ፤ ኦልባና ሌሊሳና ለሌሎችም በርካታ ቆራጥና አልበገር ባይ አቦሸማኔዎች  ሕገመንግስታዊ መብታቸውንለማስጠበቅ፤ የስልጣንን እውነተኛ ገጽታና ምንነት ለገዢዎች በማሳወቃቸውና ድምጻቸውን በማሳማታቸው ለእስር ስለተዳረጉ አኔም የማያቋርጠውንና ወደፊትም የሚቀጥለዉም ጥብቅናዬን አይዘነጉትም፡፡ በዚህ በአቦሸማኔዎቹ ዓመት፤ ወሳኝና አጣዳፊ ለሆነው የኢትዮጵያ ወጣቶች ስለተጋፈጡት ከፍተኛና ወሳኝ ግጥሚያ ከፍተኛ የትኩረት ጥሪ እያደረግሁ እንዲሁም ለጉማሬዎቹ፤ በተለይም በዲያስፖራው ላሉት ምሁራን አቦሸማኔዎች  የስነምግባር አስተዋጽኦና ትብብር በማድረግና ከወጣቱ ጋር ውህደት በመፍጠር፤ የአመራር ድጋፍ፤ማነሳሳት ድጋፍ፤ ማበረታቻ ምክርና ድጋፍ በማድረግ ከወጣቱ ጋር አንድነት እንዲፈጥሩ ነው፡፡

በጁን 2010 ሊካዱ በማይችሉ እውነቶች ላይ ተመስርቼ ጥሪ አቅርቤ ነበር፡- ለማስታወስ ያህል ‹‹ወጣቱ እንደፈንጂ ቦምብ ነው›› በማለት አቅርቤው የነበረውን ጦማር መመልከት ይቻላል፡፡ በዚህ ጦማሬ ላይ ወጣቱ ስለተጫነበት መከራና እራሱን እንዳይሆን ስለሚሸረብበት ደባ በሰፊው አቅርቤያለሁ፡፡ የኢትዮጵያ ወጣት በመላው ዓለም ከአጽናፍ እስከ አጽናፍ በችግር፤ በመከራ ሽሽት፤ ከገዢው የእስራት ማነቆ ለማምለጥ እንደተበተነም አሳሰቤያለሁ፡፡

በዚህ በኢትዮጵያዊያን የአቦሸማኔ ዓመት፤ እኛ በጉማሬ ትውልድ ሕሊና ውስጥ ያለነው፤ ለፈጠምነው ስህተትና ጥፋት ንስሃ በመግባት፤ከወጣቱ የአቦሸማኔ ትውልድ ጋር እርቅና መግባባት ማድረግ ይገባናል፡፡ ምንም እንኳን ትግበራው እስከዚህም ባይሆን፤ ፕሬዜዳንት ኦባማ በአፍሪካ ስለሚከሰተው መጥፎና አስቸጋሪ ሁኔታ ያላቸው ግምትና አስተሳሰብ ትክክል ነው፡፡ አንዳሉትም ‹‹ በአፍሪካ ለውጥ የሚያመጡት እንደ ንክሩማና ኬንያታ ያሉት ታላላቅ ግዙፎች እንዳልሆኑ ለመገንዘብ ችለናል፡፡ ባለፉት ትውልዶች ሳይታወቅ የቀረው፤ ይሀን ለውጥ በአፍሪካ ውስጥ እውን ለማድረግ ብቃቱ ችሎታውና እውቀቱ፤ ፈቃደኝነቱና የጸና አቋም ያላቸው ወጣተቶች ናቸው::›› እኛ  ጉማሬዎች የኢትዮጵያ እጣ ፈንታ ለሕልፈት በተዳረጉ ዲክታተሮች፤ በጣዕረሞታቸው አለያም በሙት መንፈስ አምላኪዎቻቸው የሚወሰን አለመሆኑን አጢነን ልንረዳው ይገባናል፡፡የኢትዮጵያ እጣ ፈንታ ሃገሪቱን እንደግል ንብረታቸው ለመያዝ በሚፍጨረጨሩት፤ የቁማር መጫወቻ ሜዳቸው ሊያደርጓት በሚያልሙት፤ ወይም በስልጣናቸው ላይ ለመቆየት የላቸውን ሊዛዊ ዘመን ለማራዘም በመዳክሩ፤ የጎሳ ልዩነት ፖለቲካ በሚረጩት፤ ፈጥሞ አይወሰንም፡፡ የኢትዮጵያ ዕጣ ፈንታ የሚወሰነው ጠንካራና ጤናማ በሆነው የአቦሸማኔዎች ጥምረትና አንድነት በአንድ ድምጽ በመናገር፤በተጨበጠ መዳፍ ውስጥ እንዳሉ ጣቶች የተባበረና የተጣመረ አካሄድ፤በመመራት ለአንድ ወሳኝ ግብ በተሰለፉት አቦሸማኔዎች ብቻ ነው፡፡

ከስልጣን ውጪ ለሆኑት ጉማሬዎችና፤ በጎን ሆነው የሚሆነውን ለሚጠብቁት አንድ መልእክት አርቅቄያለሁ፡፡ በቃችሁ፤ ተነሱ፤ ንቁ፤ በትክከለኛው ጎዳና መራመድ በመጀመር  ቁጥራችሁን ከወጣቱ ጋር አስተካክሉ፡፡ ከተጣለብን የራሳችን የጥላቻ ጎሳ ፖለቲካ ሊያላቅቁንና በትክክለኛው መንገድ ሊያራምዱን የሚችሉት እነዚህ ወጣቶች ብቻ ናቸው፡፡ ከተጫነብን የሃይማኖት ወገንታዊነት፤ ሊያገላግሉን የሚችሉት እነዚህ ወጣቶች ብቻ ናቸው፡፡ ካደረብን የፖለቲካ ዘይቤ ግጭት ነጻ የሚያደርጉንም እነሱው ወጣቶቹ ናቸው፡፡ ከዲክታተርሺፕ ማነቆና ጫና፤ የሚያድንኑም እነዚሁ ወጣቶቹ ናቸው፡፡ ወደ አቦሸማኔዎቹ ወጣቶች በመቅረብ፤ ደግ ደጉን ማስተማር፤ ማሳሰብ፤ ማሳመንና ከሕሊና ባርነት ነጻ በማድረግ ፈጠራቸውን በስራ ላይ ለማዋል እንዲችሉ መንገዱን ልናጠራላቸውና ልንደግፋቸው ግዴታችን ነው፡፡

በየአቅጣጫው መደራረስ አለብን፡: አቦሸማኔዎቹ ባሉበት የዘመኑን ቴክኒዎሎጂ በመጠቀም፤ያለንን እውቀትና የስራ ልምዳችንን ሁሉ በሁሉም መስክ ማካፈል አለብን፡፡ ሊሉ የሚፈልጉትን ማዳመጥ አለብን፡፡ እነሱ በጉልህ የነደፉትን እቅድና አስፈላጊ ነው በማለት የሚያነሷቸውን ነጥቦች መቀበልና መርዳት አለብን፡፡ ለረጂም ጊዜ ወጣቱን ከጉዳዩ፤ ከውይየቱ፤ ከድርድሩ አግልለን አርቀን አቆይተነዋል፡: ማድረግ ያለባቸውን በድፍረትና በፍጥነት እየነገርናቸው፤ እነሱ ለሚሉት ግን ጆሮ ዳባ ልበስ ብለናል፡፡ ከችልታ መለስ ባልን ቁጥር ብቻ መግለጫ እንሰጣቸዋለን፡፡ የሚገባቸውን ከበሬታ የምንቸራቸው ግን አልፎ አልፎ ነው፡፡ የነሱን ብቃትና ችሎታ እያሳነስን የራሳችንን ችሎታ በማምጠቅ የራሳችንን ዓላማና እቅድ አስፈጣሚ እናደርጋቸዋለን፡፡ በአቦሸማኔዎቹ ዓመት ከጉማሬዎቹ ምሁራን መሰሎቼ ጋር ወጣቱን አቦሸማኔ እንድንቀርበውና እንድናውቀው እማጸናለሁ፡፡

ወጣቱን ማስተማር አለብን:: ለሁላችንም አስፈላጊ የሆነውን ሁሉ እንዲያውቅ ማድረግ አለብን፡፡ ሃጂ ሞሃመድ ሰኢድ አንደተናገሩት ከአንድነት ውጪ ምንም ሊኖረን አይችልም በማለት አስጠንቅቀውናል፡፡ ‹‹ሃገር ከሌለን ሃይማኖት አይኖረንም፤ ሃገር ሲኖረን ብቻ ነው ማንኛውም ነገር የሚኖረን::›› ለዚህም ነው ወጣቶቹ ሁሉ በአንድ ላይ የእማማ ኢትዮጵያ ልጆች በመሆን ሊተባበሩና ፤በዘር፤በሃይማኖት፤በጎሳ፤ በጾታና በሌላም ሰበብ የሚከፋፍላቸውን ማንኛውንም የፖለቲካ ዘይቤ በማራቅ ወደ ጎን በማለት፤ በመሰባሰብ ፤አንድ መሆን  የሚገባቸው፡፡ ዲክታተሮችና አምባገነኖች ምንም ከማያውቁት ወጣቶች ላይ መብታቸውን መስረቅ አያስቸግራቸውም፡፡ ‹‹ምንገዜም ያለማወቅ ለአምባገነኖችና ጨካኝ ገዢዎች ትልቁ የማሰመሰያና የማጭበርበሪያ የመሳርያ ፋብሪካቸው ነው::›› ኔልሰን ማንዴላ ሲያስተምሩን፤ ‹‹ዓለምን ለመለወጥ የምንጠቀምበት ታላቁ መሳርያ የምንገበየው እውቀት ነው›› ብለዋል፡፡ ከጨቋኞችና ከፈላጭ ቆራጭ ገዢዎች የመከራ ጫና ለመላቀቅ ዋናው መሳሪያችን ወጣቱን በትምህርት በማነጽ እውቀትን ማስገብየት ነው፡፡  በአቦሸማኔዎቹ ዓመት፤ከጉማሬዎቹ ምሁራን መሰሎቼ ጋር አቦሸማኔዎቹን ማሃይምነትንና መሃይሞችህን እንዲዋጉ፤አላዋቂነትን በችሎታ፤ በማስረዳትና በበሰለና በዳበረ አእምሮ እንዲተኩት ማስተማር ይኖርብናል፡፡

ማሳመንም አለብን:፡ የሰላምን፤ የዴሞክራሲን፤የሰብአዊ መብትን፤ የሕግ የበላይነትን፤የተጠያቂነትንና የግልጽነትን መንገድ፤ ወጣቶቹን ማሳየት አለብን፡፡ ማንም ቢሆን እራሱን እንደሕግ ማድረግ አይችልም፡፡ ሰብአዊ መብትን የደፈሩና በዘር ማጥፋት ወንጀል የተሰማሩ ሊጠየቁ ይገባል፡፡በመንግስት ውስጥ መንግስት፤ በብሔር ውስጥ ብሔር፤ በሃገር ውስጥ ሃገር ሊኖር አይችልም፡፡ በዲያስፖራው ያሉትን ወጣቶች በዓላማ ሰንሰለት፤ በእጣ ፈንታ ሰንሰለት ከኢትዮጵያ ካለው ወጣት ጋር የምናስተሳስርበትን መንገድ መቀየስ አለብን፡፡ በከፊል እርግጥ የተሰራ ካርታ አለ፤ መደብ አለ፡፡ ያ መጥበብ አለበት፡፡ በኢትዮጵያ ያሉትም ወጣቶች ከሌሎች በኢትዮጵያ ካሉ ወጣቶች ጋር ሊገናኙ የሚችሉበትን እቅድ በመትለም፤ውጤታማ ውይይትና ምክክር በማካሄድ፤ ሃሳብ በመለዋወጥ፤ አብረው በመስራት ዴሞክራሲያዊ ተስፋን የሚያረጋግጡበትንና ተግባራዊ የሚያደርጉበትን እቅድ እንዲያወጡ ልንረዳቸው ይገባል፡፡ የኢትዮጵያን አቦሸማኔዎች ትውልድ የሚያጋጥሟቸው ፈተናዎች በርካታ ቢሆንም፤ የቻልነውን በማድረግ ወጣቱ የወደፊቱን የመሪነት ቦታ እንዲረከብ ማዘጋጀት አለብን፡፡ በርካታ ችግሮችን ሊፈታ የሚችል ጠንካራ አጀንዳ ለመቅረጽ እንዲችሉ መርዳት አለብን፡፡ ማደረግ ያለብን መንገዱን ማመላከት ነው፡፡ ጉማሬዎቹ ውሃ ለማቀበል ፈቃደኞች እስከሆኑ ድረስ አቦሸማኔዎቹ ከባዱን ጫና ለመሸከም ፈቃደኛ ናቸው፡፡

የኢትዮጵያ ወጣቶች ለሠላማዊ ለውጥ መንገድ ለመክፈት፤ ብሔራዊ  የድርድር ሂደት ማመቻቸት አለባቸው፡፡

ቀደም ሲል ያልኩት ጉዳይ ቢሆንም አሁንም ደግሜ ደጋግሜ አነሳዋለሁ፡፡ ባለፉት ዓመታት በኢትዮጵያ ውስጥ አይቀሬ ስለሆነው ከፈላጭ ቆራጭ የጭቆና አገዛዝ ወደ ዴሞክራሲ ሽግግሩ  አበክሬ ጽፌያለሁ፡፡ ሽግግሩንም ለማመቻቸት እንዲቻል ብሔራዊ  ውይይት እንዲካሄድ ድምጼን ደጋግሜ አሰምቻለሁ፡፡ ይህንንም ወጣቱ ተቀብሎ ከሥር መሰረቱ አንስቶ የአንድ ለአንድ በየብሄሮቹ ሁሉ በሃይማኖቶቹም፤ መንገድ ተልሞ እንዲያካሂድ ጠይቄአለሁ፡፡ ይህንንም ጥሪ ሳሰማ እምነቴ የኢትዮጵያ እጣ ፈንታ ያለው ጊዜው ባለፈበት የጉማሬ መንጋጋ የስልጣን ጥመኞች ሳይሆን፤ ለስላሳና ስስ በሆነው የአቦሸማኔዎቹ መዳፍ ውስጥ እንደሆነ እርግጠኛ በመሆኔ ነው፡፡ በዚህ የአቦሸማኔዎቹ ዓመት በሃገር ውስጥ ያሉትን ወጣቶችና በዲያስፖራው ያሉትንም ወጣቶች  ዕርቀ ሰላም የሚደረገበትን አስቸጋሪ ሁኔታ በማላላት መፍትሄ እንዲያስገኙ አሁንም ተማጽኖዬ ይቀጥላል፡፡ ጉማሬዎቹ ለዚህ ዕርቀሰላም መንገዱን ሁሉ የዘጉትና  ፈቃደኝነታቸውንም የነፈጉ ይመስለኛል፡፡ ጉማሬዎች ዕርቀሰላሙን በተደጋጋሚ ቢካሂዱም የተጠቀሙበት መንገድ ግን እርስ በርስ በመጠቋቆም ነው፡፡ አንዱ ሌላውን በመወንጀል እራሱን ነጻ ለማድረግ በመሟገት ነው፡፡ ወጣቶቹ  ግን፤ ይህን በሰላማዊና መግባባት በሚቻልበት፤ የተጣመመውን በማቅናት የጠበበውን በማስፋት፤ ትእግስትንና ቻይነት ባነገበ የሰለጠነ መንገድ ከመጓዝ ባሻገር ምርጫ የላቸውም፡፡ ይህን ሳያደርጉ ቢቀሩ ደግሞ የጎሳና የሃይማኖት ነፋስን ወራሽ መሆን አይቀርላቸውም፡፡

ተማጽኖዬን ለኢትዮጵያዊያን አቦሸማኔዎች ሳቀርብ፤እርስ በርሳቸው የሚመስላቸዉን ውይይት እንዲጀምሩ ነው፡፡ እንደሚታያቸው ብሄራዊ እርቀሰላምን ይተርጉሙት፡፡ የራሳቸውን ፖለቲካዊ መንገድ በመፍጠር አንድዮሽ ውይይት በሀይማኖት፤ በቋንቋ፤በጾታ፤ በክልልና በመደብ ያካሂዱ፡፡ የጦታውን ተሳትፎ ትኩረት በመስጠት የወጣት ሴቶችን በብሄራዊ እርቅ ላየ ተሳትፎ ማበራከት አስፈላጊነት አንዳለው አሰምርበታለሁ፡፡ እርቀ ሰላምን ውጤታማ ማድረግ፤ ድርድር ማካሄድን በተመለከተ፤ በሳይነሳዊ አመለካከትም እንደተረጋገጠው፤ ሴቶች ከወንዶች የበለጠ እርቀሰላምን ውጤታማ የማድረግ ብቃቱ አላቸው፡፡

ውይይት እርስ በርስ መነጋገርን ማካተት ብቻ ሳይሆን መደማመጥንም ይጥይቃል፡፡ የኢትዮጵያ አቦሸማኔዎች የስብጥር፤ የዓይነት ብዛታቸውን እንደጥንካሬ በመቁጠር ይሄው ብዛታቸው ለመበታተኛነት፤ በመከፋፈል ለሽንፈታቸው እንዳይውል እንዳይዳረግም መጠንቀቅ አለባቸው፡፡

ብድግ አንበል ከኢትዮጵያዊያን አቦሸማኔዎች ጋር!

አፍሪካውያን ጉማሬዎች (ለሰብአዊ ፍጡራን የተመደበውን ተምሳሌታዊነት ጨምሮ) አንሰሳት ድንበራቸውን በማስከበር ረገድ አደገኛ አውሬዎች እንደሆኑና ያንን ድንበር አልፎ የመጣባቸውንም ለጥቃት እንደሚዳርጉ ጠንቅቀው ያውቃሉ፡ በየዓመቱ በአፍሪካ ውስጥ ከአንበሳና ከዝሆኖች ሰላባ ግድያ በበለጠ በጉማሬዎች አንደሚፈጸሙ (ለሰብአዊ ፍጡራን የተመደበውን ተምሳሌታዊነት ጨምሮ) የታወቀ ነው፡፡ አቦሸማኔዎችን በፍጥነት የሚያህላቸው የለም፤ድክመታቸው ግን ሌሎች አዳኝ አውሬዎች ሲያግጥሟቸው ጅብ ቢገጥማቸው እንኳን፤ ፈጥነው አደናቸውን መተዋቸው ነው፡፡ የጉማሬ መንጋዎች ግጭት፤ ውድቀት፤ ይባላል፡፡ የአቦሸማኔዎች መንጋ ደግሞ ኅብረት በመባል ይተወቃል፡፡ በጎሳ፤በሃይማኖት፤ በቋንቋ፤በክልል አወቃቀር መስመር የሚደረግ የአቦሸማኔዎች ኅብረት፤ የጉማሬዎችን ግጭት ገጭቶ ለመጣልና የጅቦችን ማስካካት በማሸነፍ ኢትዮጵያን ማዳን ይችህላል፡፡

በዚህ የኢትዮጵያዊያኖች የአቦሸማኔ ዓመት፤የኢትዮጵያን ወጣቶች ለመርዳትና በበለጠ ጥንካሬያቸውን በማጎልበትና አስተዋጽኦዬን በማጠናከር ወደ ከፍተኛው አመርታቸው እንዲሸጋገሩ ሙግቴንና ክርከሬን አቀጠላለሁ፡፡ ሁሉንም ጉማሬዎች እህቶቼንና ወንድሞቼን በዚህ ሂደት እንዲተባበሩኝና አብረውኝ እንዲወግኑ እጠይቃለሁ፡፡ ምንግዜም ጨለማ ለብርሃን መንገዱን ይለቃል፡፡ ‹‹በጨፈገገው ሰማይ ላይ ነው አንጸባራቂ ከዋክብትን የምናያቸው›› የኢትዮጵያ አቦሸማኔዎች በመንፈስና በፈቃደኝነታቸው ሊጠነክሩ ይገባል፡፡ ጋንዲ እንዳለው፡– ‹‹ጥንካሬ ከአካል ግንባታ የሚገኝ አይደለም›› ወይም ከጠብመንጃ፤ ከታንክና ከጦር አውሮፕላኖችም አይገኝም:: ‹‹የሚገኘው ከማይበገር ፈቃደኝነት ነው::›› ዊንስተን ቸርችል ከጋንዲ የተማረ መሆኑን የምናውቀው ‹‹ ለማንኛውም ነገር ትልቅም ይሁን አነስተኛ፤ ፈጽሞ- ፈጽሞ- ፈጽሞ- በጭራሽ ፈጽሞ አታሸብርክ፤ ማሸብረክ የሚገባህ ለክብርህ ከሚኖረው የጸና እምነት ውጪ ለሌላ አታሸብርክ››  ለሃይል አታጎብድድ፤ ከጠላት በኩል ለሚታየው ግዙፍ ለሚመስል የጠላት ድንፋታ አታሸብርክ›› ሲል ተነግሯል፡፡ የኢትዮጵያ አቦሸማኔዎች ጨርሶ ሊያሸበርኩ አይገባም:: በምንም አይነት! ጨርሶ ጨርሶ!

ፕሮፌስር ዓለማየሁ ገብረማርያም በካሊፎርኒያ ስቴት ዩኒቨርሲቲ ሳን በርናርዲኆ የፖሊቲካ ሳይንስ መምሀርና የህግ ጠበቃ ናችው።

*የተቶረገመው ጽሁፍ (translated from):   http://open.salon.com/blog/almariam/2013/01/06/ethiopia_2013_year_of_the_cheetah_generation

(ይህን ጦማር ለሌሎችም ያካፍሉ::) ካሁን በፊት የቀረቡ የጸሃፊው ጦማሮችን  ለማግኘት እዚህ ይጫኑ::

http://www.ecadforum.com/Amharic/archives/category/al-mariam-amharic

http://ethioforum.org/?cat=24

TPLF and the culture of violence

Friday, January 11th, 2013

TPLF and the culture of violence. By Yilma Bekele.
According to ESAT the FBI has foiled an attempt by the Ethiopian government to assassinate Ato Abebe Gelaw. Goosh Abera and his accomplices are under custody. Please note here I said the Ethiopian government since there seems to be no thin line between the TPLF party and the government. Why am I not surprised? I am not surprised because for the TPLF violence is sanctioned by the party leaders as a legitimate tool to achieve political, economic and military dominance.
The following weeks as we look closely at Goosh Abera and his criminal friends and the FBI presents a psychological profile of the alleged conspirators we are sure to find out certain telltale signs about TPLF and their bizarre psychopathic behavior. Individuals like Goosh are most probably equipped with basic rudimentary education if any and survive by their wit and ethnic fueled bravado. In Ethiopia they are known for carrying weapons conspicuously, brandishing them at will and revealing in their thuggish behavior. They are the kind that administers summary judgment on street corners, bars and clubs.
How was TPLF Chairman, the recently departed Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi able to achieve this goal in Ethiopia? The simple truth is by using violence to silence, intimidate, and eliminate his and the party’s actual or perceived enemies using any means necessary. You do not need to be a Sherlock Holmes to detect this pungent smell of gun powder around most Woyanes.
Mengistu Hailemariam prepared the perfect ground for TPLF to flourish. He has already disarmed the population, delegitimized the family system and used the lowest denominators to be in charge of the Kebeles. TPLF inherited a demoralized, confused and tired population to mold in its own image.
The first target of this terrorist organization was the educated citizen. The University was stripped of its most experienced and independent thinkers. By ’94 the University was a former ghost of itself. The political system was dealt in a harsh way. Professor Asrat was murdered in the most inhumane way possible. Teachers President Assefa Maru was shot against a wall execution style. Masses of independent publication owners, editors and reporters were brutally beaten, murdered, bankrupted, intimidated, exiled or killed even in exile. Bank employees were fired in masse, telecommunication workers were discarded teachers and their unions were digested even Chamber of Commerce was not immune from TPLF take over. One thread common to all is that none of them were acquired peacefully. Violence was the main calling card of the TPLF.
Every opportunity he got the sick dictator used to trash our country and our history and every opportunity they got his security department used to bully, intimidate and made to cower with fear. My dear fellow citizens, you know there is nothing new in what I am telling you. Some have witnessed it, plenty have experienced it and a vast majority would try not to think about it. The shame is unbearable.
One thing about TPLF is it is not a behind the curtain type of organization. It practically advertises every hit and all illegal acts. They use their criminal action to send a clear message to the citizen. That is why they insist that all are aware and versed on their mode of operation. They use their Television news, their newspapers and radio to send warning messages before they take action. When the unthinkable happens some are heard to say ‘he/she was warned but refused to listen-they deserve it!” You see the victim assumes the blame.
They have been systematically killing any and all emerging Ethiopians. They have goon squads that go around intimidating anybody they perceive to be a challenge. They use beating and flogging opponents to shame them in front of family, friends and a whole village. They use blackmail as a tool. They use the law to break the law. Meles used to amend the Constitution in a weekend. Even the Constitution is not worth any respect. Once you trash the Constitution what is on your way?
That is what the FBI s telling us. Their dirty deeds have arrived in America. Under Meles they were content in infiltrating our organizations such as Political Party support groups, Eders, Churches, Sport organization and disrupting from the inside. There is no Organization in North America that has not been a victim of TPLF insider disruption. They are crafty, relentless and completely understand our frame of mind. They exploit our ignorance, selfishness and greed to keep us in a daze.
The new TPLF leaders are a little bit reckless. I understand that too. It comes out of desperation. The group is under tremendous pressure. The late dictator I am afraid was a very selfish person. The sun revolved around him. When he left the light went dim. I do not think any social or military organization can take credit for the current upheaval. In my humble opinion the stink is coming from inside. I agree things are getting ripe on the outside and that could intensify the pressure inside the TPLF bowl. I am afraid the last CEO did not really care to what came after him. He was too busy surviving from day to day in this shark infested pond that he did not have the time and luxury to bother with outcome. He left an army with too many generals. Here in America there is a saying ‘all chiefs and no Indians.’ Debretsion, Bereket, Sebhat, Gebru, Abbay and a bunch of tin pot Generals are on their own trying to carve the biggest pie for themselves.
This desperate act of attempt to assassinate Ato Abebe here in the US is the work of a mad man. If the group was trying to send a message about the long arm of TPLF it is a very stupid and crazy gesture. We have been complaining about their disruptive activities in our midst but this mission of trying to kill is a little concerning. There is no question the FBI will get to the bottom of this incident. It should be treated as act of terrorism by a government and investigated to the full extent of the law and let the chips fall where they may.
I am sure the alleged conspirator will name names and tell us who gave the order for such criminal act. I doubt one individual will take it upon himself to take such mission. The Ethiopian Government under Dictator Meles routinely used to kill, rough up and intimidate its opponents in the African countries they are exiled to. The new guys are a little daring. Prime Minister Debretsion and security chief Workeneh Gebehu Should be interviewed about the work of their agents and made to take responsibility for their actions. We hope the US government will take the necessary action of baring all Ethiopian Government officials and family members from entering the country before everything is known about this conspiracy to commit crime in the US. We should demand the US government protect us from the monsters they have been coddling.
This definitely is not their first time committing crime here in the US. They have been using every legal and illegal means to harass, bankrupt and shut down Ethiopian Review Web site. They have employed what is known as denial of service attacks (DDoS Attack) to block ER and various Web sites, they have hired attorneys to intimidate ER publisher and are present in every of our Churches sawing dissent and negativity.
As Ethiopians in exile we should take the actions of these criminals seriously. It is true there is no criminal without the victim. Sometimes it is unfortunate things happen but you really can’t leave your door open and cry about being robbed do you? It is time we accept responsibility. The Ethiopian people that are facing the brunt of TPLF abuse should wake up and face their coward enemies. By now it should be clear silence is not the answer. The one year anniversary by our Muslim citizens is clear indication the regime does not listen to reason. The steadfastness of our Muslim brethren should be applauded and emulated by the rest of us. The call by our Orthodox church in exile for every one of us to safeguard our religion and our country is a timely reminder.
The fact that we have muscle now is a very empowering feeling. The cooperation between Ginbot7, Afar Front, anti Woyane activists in Tigrai, OLF, Patriotic Front and the formation of Ginbo7 Forces is the right direction considering the nature of TPLF. As I said before leveling the playing field is called for. That is one small step for our Fronts and one giant step for Ethiopia.
As for the Diaspora it is time we stop enriching the coffers of the evil regime. Any kind of involvement in their Ponzi scheme adds one day more to their life. As there is no little pregnancy there is no such thing as a little investment. It has to be a clean and complete break. This Abesha way of qualifying our illegal act is not good for our future. Your selfish action is hurting us and we ask you stop it. It is like MLK said ‘In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.’ It is something to think about.
We feel the pain and hurt of our friend Abebe and his family. He has never threatened those that have hounded him and his family from his beloved homeland. His only weapon is his pen and pencil and the power of reason to resolve contradictions. Exiling him was not enough. Now they want to kill him in cold blood. That is the only language they speak. They have killed so many but they are unable to understand their violence has not resolved any of the outstanding issues. Don’t they see it? Don’t they know there are a lot more Abebebes as there were plenty of Asrats, Assefas, Eskindirs, Reyots? When is this madness going to stop? When is our country going to be a citadel of peace and harmony instead of a poster child for famine and civil war?
You know what no one gives you your freedom. You have to snatch it from those that want to make you their slave. No oppressor has ever said enough, I am going to leave you alone here go in peace. No, every oppressor faced by human kind was compelled to relinquish power by force. Not reason but force. The French revolution, the American revolution, the Russian revolution, the Chinese revolution, the South African revolution are all examples of the citizens taking matters into his hands and forcing the oppressor to step aside. Woyane dogs are not going to wake up one morning and pack and leave. You and I have to push them out. That is the only proven way. Anything else invites more abuse.

The role of higher education and Ethiopia

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

The role of higher education and Ethiopia. By Yilma Bekele
My beautiful and brilliant niece graduated from college a few days ago. We are all proud and happy with her accomplishment. It gave the whole family an opportunity to get together. Believe me the festival was preserved on video and camera, posted on Facebook, published on Instagram and micro blogged on tumblr. That is how important it was. No question it was a proud moment for her parents and an early Christmas present to the whole clan. We were lucky and our daughter was strong and focused and it all worked out pretty good.
Here in the US Universities, Colleges and institutes of higher education are held in high reverence. The vast majority are public institutions funded by the citizen. There also exists plenty of private non-profit and commercial places of learning. They are all designed with two purposes in mind. Knowledge and Utility.
They are places of socialization where the individual learns the democratic process such as tolerance, respect for others and the value of freedom. It is here where change is the norm innovation, curiosity and looking into the future is encouraged and the human mind is left to soar like an eagle in a storm.
The speeches during the graduation ceremony reflected these learned values. The rainbow nature of the graduating class speaks plenty to the capacity of the US system to absorb the best from the planet and toss it into what they call the melting pot. The graduate school representative’s speech was a perfect example of using education as a tool to help create a positive environment where society as a whole thrives.
The graduating class representative from the International Studies program gave a very forceful speech based on his experience as a young man in Tanzania. This is the way he started his long journey ‘… my first visit to Africa was five years ago …..i had never been to a developing country before and I went to Tanzania mostly because the idea of travelling outside my comfort zone scared me and I didn’t want not to do something potentially meaningful just because it scared me clearly I had brain development issues. I was also eager to make a difference the Africa I thought knew was the Africa of save the children brochures poor and in need of help I was comparatively reach and looking to help surely this will work out.’
His visit to Africa opened his eyes to the many problems facing mankind. His stay at the University gave him ‘some clarity’ not only how to view the situation but the knowledge on how to interpret them and be part of the solution. In his own eloquent words this is what he said.
‘USF helps us to fill in those gaps and it also helps us to recognize them understanding what we don’t understand made us more likely to question and more likely to dig deeper to find the root of problems.
Therein lays the beauty of our education. The world after all does have problems and the problems do have solutions. USF help us to figure out what they might be and what we can do to help. It is inspiring to feel that you’ve a better understanding of the world than you did just a year ago and you can attribute that improvement to something other than brain development.’
The President of the University spoke last. He joked about the most expensive Christmas gift they were receiving paid by themselves or their family and went on to remind them of the huge responsibility of living a meaningful life. He used a passage from a book ‘Tuesday’s with Maury’ to drive his point home. He choose a section which he referred to as ‘probing even disturbing’ where in the book Maury asks his middle aged friend ‘have you found someone to share your heart with, are you giving to your community, are you at peace with yourself and are you trying to be as human as can be?’
It is a perfect illustration of how the University was able to nurture and produce young minds skilled both in knowledge and utility. It has fulfilled its promise to society and the tax payer’s money and the tuition paid by the students is a worthy investment.
It is with sadness we hear the disturbances at Addis Abeba University the last few days. It would have been understandable if the students were protesting about the quality of education, the lack of freedom, the dismal state the library or internet, the issue of press freedom in the country or the non-existence of opportunity upon graduation. It is none of the above. The Ethiopian institution of higher education is not geared to equip the young minds to ask such probing even dangerous questions. Addis Abeba University is the reflection of the TPLF mentality of dumbing down the population and keeping them at each other’s throat.
From what we hear the upheaval was based on ethnic grounds. There is no question like the rest of the country the University is the playground of the TPLF mafia group. The administration and faculty is chosen based on loyalty to the regime and the once proud and independent student union has been demolished to be replaced by ‘Teletafi’ created in the face of TPLF. From experience we know Woyanes are good at starting conflict whenever they want to divert attention away from their criminal acts. The fact that they were successful in the University is what I find troubling here.
The very same place where students sacrificed asking ‘Land to the Tiller’, the very hallowed ground where they marched against the illegal regimes in Rhodesia and South Africa, today they are supposedly confronting each other arrayed in their own Kilil. What a shame is an understatement. It points to few facts about our country and the new society the TPLF regime has been constructing the last twenty years. In the particular case of the University it is obvious it has become a cadre training institute rather than a place of knowledge and utility. It is an absolute failure on both fronts.
This is made obvious by the recent report that stated the abysmal state of Medical school graduates from the so called medical schools. According to the newly minted proud TPLF windbag Dr. Tedros Adhanom ‘This year, for the first time, we enrolled 3,100 medical students, which is almost tenfold compared to what we used to enroll five, six years ago.’ Dear reader, this is a typical TPLF statement void of value and substance.
The report by PRI based on site interviews with teachers, students and aid workers makes it clear that the so called medical schools lack such rudimentary accessories as skilled teachers, half way equipped laboratories and decent libraries. Our brave Foreign Minster’s take on the dismal situation is ‘I don’t think we will change this country by waiting until we get something perfect to start to start something…it cannot be perfect. We have to start with what we have.’
On the surface one might be sympathetic to such talk. You would think a poor country doing its best to relieve a major problem by using its meager resources. But that is not a true statement. The actual situation is a country with plenty of human and material resources hell bent on mismanaging its god given asset. The TPLF regime sole interest is holding onto power regardless of the consequences.
The regime is interested in inflating the numbers for propaganda purpose rather than being concerned with quality. Like every one of their pie in the sky schemes they use numbers to show how much more they are achieving. The economy is showing double digit growth but the number of those starving is in the millions, the Federal system is working wonders but there is conflict in every region, the number of Doctors is increasing by tenfold except they are not real and according to foreign observers ‘they could do more harm than good.’
I would like to see Dr. Tedros and Dr. Debretsion take one of their medical school graduates as their family doctor. Would they take prescription drugs from those clinics and would they allow one of the surgeons to operate on their son or daughter? I doubt that. Medical practice is not an experimental science. Good enough does not work when it comes to human life.
Training excellent doctors, having great centers of education is not an out of reach dream for our country. It is a question of resources management and defining priorities. The regime spends millions on Chinese technology to jam and block Internet and other media to keep information from our people. Do you think that money could be used for education? The regime employees millions to spy on their family and neighbors can that budget be allocated for good purpose? The regime has one of the highest numbers of troops in Africa, is that necessary? It is all about priorities isn’t it?
Education is not taken seriously in today’s Ethiopia. The regime is not interested in producing an educated and motivated generation. They cannot afford a smart and questioning youth. There are not enough trained teachers, the class rooms are crowded, books and supplies are non-existent and the facilities are mostly from the Imperial era somehow still standing by the grace of God. Why do you think this is so?
The TPLF regime is not into education. Let alone as a national policy the regime does not even allow private individuals to donate books, computers and other learning tools without their permission. One has to get a written stamped document from the zone, Kilil, Ministry, Foreign office just to bring a computer. Internet is a government monopoly and communication is a regulated enterprise. Why do you think they do this?
Control is the key word here. The TPLF regime must control all aspects of the individual’s existence. They control where you live, what you own, where you work, what you read, what you watch and if possible what you think. They instill fear, they trade with fear, and they are peddlers of fear. You the reader of this article are terrified of the TPLF machine even from thousands of miles away. You wouldn’t dare criticize the regime without looking around you. You would not sign a petition afraid who might see it. You dare not go out on protest afraid of cameras. Fear is engrained into our very existence.
Have you heard the saying ‘I’m like a mushroom, keep me in the dark and feed me bullshit.’ They falsify statistics and claim double digit growth, they graduate a bunch of dressers and call them doctors, they open high schools and call them colleges and universities and we go along with that. Because the TPLF leaders are not educated they show absolute disdain to the expert or the educated. Being a medical doctor is not a simple matter. The title is conferred upon someone after a rigorous training and it carries a lot of both privilege and responsibility. Being a university or college professor is achieved after a lengthy process of learning and publishing and peer review.
When out TPLF bosses play around with such titles it is not a simple matter. It demeans the professions and the efforts of the people that sacrifice to achieve such noble goals. This is another continuation of their cynical view of our country our people and our future. The late criminal Meles used to reveal in insulting our past and mocking our achievement. His children are continuing the legacy of making our country and people not worthy of any pride. Even becoming a doctor has become a joke. I do not mean to dis respect my brothers and sisters working hard to learn under the difficult condition imposed by the regime. I share their frustration when asked to do the impossible without adequate training and necessary tools. My sincere apology since we are both victims of a nefarious system. We shall overcome.

አዉራ የሌለዉ ትግል፤ እረኛ የሌለዉ መንጋ ነዉ – እኔ መሪዬን መርጫለሁ እናንተስ?

Monday, January 7th, 2013

ከፍስሃ እሸቱ (ዶ/ር)

በቅርቡ ከዳር ቆሞ ለዉጥን መጠበቅ የህልም እንጀራ በሚል በትግሉ ጎራ ላይ ያለኝን የግሌን አመለካከት የሚገልፅ ፅሁፍ ለወገኖቼ ማቅረቤ ይታወሳል። ይንንኑም ተከትሎ የተለያዩ አስተያቶች ከበርካታ አንባብያን ደርሰዉኛል። ወገኖቼም በቀረበዉ ሀሳብ ላይ ተነስታችሁ ለሰጣችሁኝ ገንቢ አስተያቶች የከበረ ምስጋናዬን አቀርባለሁኝ። ከበርካታ ወገኖችም በፅሁፉ የተዘረዘሩትን ችግሮችና የመፍትሄ ሀሳቦች በመገምገም በቀጣይነት ምን ማድረግ አለብን ትላለህ የሚሉ በርካታ ጥያቄዎችም ቀርበዉልኛል። በበኩሌም ለጥያቄዉ ከፍተኛ ትኩረትን በመስጠት የላይና የታቹን በማሰላሰል፤ የግራና የቀኙን በማመዛዘን፤ በልቤ የሚሰማኝን ከህሊናዩ ጋር በመሟገት ለዉይይትና ለተግባራዊነቱ በጋራ እንድንቀሳቀስ አዲስ ሀሳብ (thesis) አቀርባለሁኝ።
ባለፈዉ አንድ አመት ጨቅላ የትግል ተመክሮዬ፤ በነፃነት ትግሉ ጎራ ዉስጥ ከበርካታ ወገኖች ደግሞ ደጋግሞ የሚነሳዉና አብዛኛዉ ህብረተሰብ የሚስማማበት ጉዳይ የህወሃት/ኢህአዴግ ስርአት ለሃያ አንድ አመታት በላያችን ላይ እንደፈለገዉ እየጨፈረብን፤ ህዝባችንንና አገራችንን እያመሰ፤ ወገኖቻችንን እያሰቃየ፤ ከሃገር እያሰደደ፤ እያሰረ ሲሻዉም እየገደለ፤ ተንሰራፍቶ አገራችንና የኢትዮጵያዊነትን ስሜት እያጠፋ ያለዉ በስርዓቱ ጥንካሬ ሳይሆን ባንፃሩ በተቃወሚ ጎራዉ አንድነት መጥፋትና መዳከም ነዉ። የህዙቡንም ስሜት ባጭር ቃላት ስናስቀምጠዉ አሰባሳቢ መሪ ወይንም አዉራ መታጣቱ ነዉ።

በትግሉ ጎራ ሁሉም ስርዓቱን የመለወጥ በምትኩም ፍትህ የሰፈነባት፤ ህዝቦቿ በእኩልነት፤ በነጻነት፤ በክብርና፤ በአንድነት የሚኖሩናት፤ በፍፁም ዲሞክራሲያዊ መንገድ ተመርጦ ህዝቡን የሚገዛ ሳይሆን የሚያገለግል መንግሥት የሚመሰረትባት ኢትዮጵያን መመስረት አንድ ቋንቋ ይናገራሉ። ሆኖም ይህንን አንድ ቋንቋ እየተናገሩ፤ እንደ ባቢሎን ቋንቋ ተቃዋሚዉ መደማመጥ፤ መከባበር፤ መተባበር፤ መቻቻል፤ አቅቶት፤ ህብረተሰቡም ማንን መደገፍ እንዳለበት ግራ ተጋብቶ ሁሉም ዉጥንቅጡ ባለበት ሁኔታ ዉስጥ እንገኛለን። ጉዳዩ ባጭሩ ሲጠቃለል የሚያስተባብረን፤ ምክር የሚሰጠን፤ አቅጣጫ የሚያሲዘን፤ ስንጣላ የሚያስታርቀን፤ ስንደክም ሚያበረታታን፤ የአንድነታችን፤ የጥንካሬያችን የተስፋችን ምልክት መሪ ማጣታችን ትልቅ ኪሳራ ላይ ጥሎናል። እኛ ለፍትህ፤ ለነጻነት፤ ለእኩልነት፤ ለዲሞክራሲ፤ ለአንድነት፤ ለኢትዮጵያና ለኢትዮጵያዊነት ክብር ከምንም በላይ ሁላችንንም የሚያኮራ የትግል አላማ ይዘን መሪ አጥተን እየተንከራተትን ሳለን፤ ባንፃሩ ገዳዮች፤ ጨቋኞች፤ ዘረኞች፤ ከፋፋዮች፤ ኢትዮጵያንና ኢትዮጵያዊነትን በእርኩስ ተግባራቸዉ እያጠፉ ያሉች የስርዓቱ አቀንቀኞች ግን በህይወት ብቻም ሳይሆን ሞቶም እንኳን አንድ አድርጎ እስተባብሮ የሚመራቸዉ ማግኘታቸዉ ብርታትንና ጥንካሬን ሰጥቷቸዉ የመሪን፤ የመተባበርንና ያንድነትን አስፈላጊነት በተግባር እያስተማሩን ይገኛሉ።

የእራኤል ልጆች በፈርኦኖች አገር ሲማቅቁ መሪያቸዉ ሙሴ ነፃ አወጣቸዉ፤ አርባ አመትም በበረሃ ሲንከራተቱ የብርታታቸዉ፤ የጥንካሬያቸዉ፤ የአንድነትና የተስፋቸዉ ምሰሶ ሆናቸዉ፤ ጥቁሮች በነጮች ጭቆና ሲዳክሩ ማርቲን ሉተር ኪንግ የአንድነታቸዉና አቅጣጫ ጠቋሚያቸዉ ሆኖ በእርሱ ራእይ ጥቁሮች ነፃ መዉጣት ብቻ ሳይሆን ዛሬ ታላቋ ሀገር አሜሪካ በጥቁር መመራት ጀምራለች፤ በደቡብ አፍሪካ ጥቁሮች አገራቸዉን ተነጥቀዉ እንደ እንስሳ ሲገዙ ማንዴላ የትግላቸዉ ምልከትና አስተባባሪያቸዉ በመሆን ነፃ እንዲወጡና በአለም ላይ የነፃነት ተምሳሌት ለመሆን በቅቷል። ሌሎችም እንደ ጋንዲ፤ አን ሳን ሱቺ፤ የመሳሰሉ የነፃነት አዉራዎችን በዚሁ አጋጣሚ መጥቀስ ይቻላል። አኛ የነፃነት ትግል እያከናወንን የመገኘታችን ያክል ከነዚህ አገሮች የመሪን አስፈላጊነት የምንማር ይመስለኛል።

ጊዜዉና ትግላችን የራሳችን ማንዴላ፤ የራሳችን ማርቲን ሉተር ኪንግ፤ የራሳችን ጋንዲ እንዲሁም የራሳችን አን ሳን ሱቺን የመሰለ የሚያስተባብረን፤ ያንድነታችን፤ የነፃነታችን፤ የአልሸነፍ ባይነታችን፤ ምልክት የሚሆን መሪን እየጠየቀ ይገኛል። ብዙዎቻችን የአሰባሳቢም ሆነ የመሪ አስፈላጊነት ላይ የምንስማማ ቢሆንም ዋናዉ ጥያቄ ግን ለመሆኑ እንዲህ አይነት መሪ በሀገራችን ይገኛል ወይ የሚለዉ ሆኗል። ለጥያቄዉ ያለኝ አጭር ምላሽ ያለመጠራጠር በትክክል ይገኛል ነዉ። ከዚህ አንጻር ሌላዉ የሚነሳዉ ጥያቄ የምንፈልገዉ መሪ ምን ምን መስፈርቶችንና ባህሪዎችን መላበስ ይኖርበታል የሚለዉ ይሆናል። በኔ እምነት መሪዬ ብዬ የምከተለዉ ፍፁም የአገር ፍቅር ያለዉ፤ ለሀገሩና ለቆመለት መርህና አላማ ለመሰዋት ወደሗላ የማይል፤ አርቆ አሳቢ፤ በሚያወራዉ ሳይሆን በተግባር የተፈተነ፤ በትግሉ ሳያሰልስ ለአመታት በመታገል መስዕዋትነትን እየከፈለ የሚገኝ፤ እንደወርቅ በእሳት የተፈተነ፤ ለማንም የፖለቲካ ቡድን የማይወግን፤ ለሰዉ ልጆች ክብር ያለዉ፤ መልካም ስብእና ያለዉና፤ ሀገራዊና አለማቀፋዊ እዉቅናና ተቀባይነት ያለዉ እንዲሆን እመርጣለሁ።

መቼም ነብይ በሀገሩ አይከበርም ሆኖብን ነዉና ኢትዮጵያ በታሪኳ የእንደዚህ አይነት ጀግኖች መካን ሆና አታዉቅም። ሀገራችን ታሪካቸዉንና ገድላቸዉን በኩራት የምንዘክርላቸዉ በርካታ ብርቅዬ ልጆች ያፈራች ስትሆን በዘመናችንም ከላይ የተዘረዘሩትን መስፈርቶች የሚያሟሉ ልንኮራባቸዉና ሊመሩን የሚችሉ የጊዜአችን ጀግኖች አሉን። ከነዚህ ብርቅዬ የሀገራችን ልጆች መካከል አንዱን መርጠን በማክበርና ልንሰጠዉ የሚገባንን ድጋፍ በመስጠት ከልባችን የምንከተለዉ መሪያችን በማድረግ አሁን በየአቅጣጫዉ የተበታተነዉን ትግል ማሰባሰብ ይጠበቅብናል። ትግሉ ከተሰባበሰ፤ ከተቀነባበረና፤ አቅጣጫና ግብ ኖሮት ከተከናወነ ጥንካሬ በማግኘት ዉጤታማ መሆኑ አይቀርም። ስለዚህ ምርጫዉ የሁላችንም ነዉ። በዘመነ መሳፍንት በታሪካችን እንዳሳለፍነዉና በወቅቱም ትግል እንደምናደርገዉ ሁላችንም የየራሳችንን ትንንሽ ዘዉዶች ደፍተን እርስ በእርሳችን እየተናቆርን ትናንሽ የሃሳብ ጉልቶችን ይዘን መቀመጥ። ወይም ፈረንጆቹ እንደሚሉት ከጊዜዉ ጥያቄ ጋር አድገን፤ ከራሳችን በላይ ሀገራችንና ህዝባችንን አስቀድመን በአንድ መሪ ዙርያ በግልም ሆነ በድርጅት ተሰባስበን ትግላችንን ማከናወን።

የኔ፤ የግሌ ምርጫ ግልፅ ነዉ። መሪ እፈልጋለሁ። የራሴን ኢትዮጵያዊ ማንዴላ እፈልጋለሁ። አስተባባሪ፤ መካሪ፤ አቅጣጫ ጠቋሚ፤ አስታራቂ፤ የተስፋ፤ የአላማና የኢትዮጵያዊነት ምልክት። ወያኔ ሟቹን መሪያቸዉን ታላቁ መሪ ብለዉ እንዳመለኩት፤ እኔም የኔ የምለዉ መሪ እፈልጋለሁ። ለመሪዬም የሚገባዉን ክብርና፤ ድጋፍ፤ ለመስጠት እሻለሁ። በመሪና በኢትዮጵአዊነት ካምፕ ዙርያ ተሰባስበን ዘላቂ፤ መሰረታዊና እዉነተኛ ለዉጥ እንዲመጣ እሻለሁ ለተግባራዊነቱም እታገላለሁ። በዚሁም የልባዊ ፍላጎትና ጽናት በመነሳት መሪዬን ከጀግኖች መካከል መምረጥ ጀመርኩኝ። የህሊና ምርጫዉም እጅግ አስቸጋሪ ነበር። ሁሉም ጀግኖቻች በተለያ ደረጃ የራሳቸዉ የሚከበር ባህሪና የከፈሉት መስእዋትነት ቢኖርም የግድ አንድ መምረጥ ስለሚኖርብኝ ሁሉምን ሚገባቸዉን ክብር በመስጠት ምርጫዬ ግን አንዱ ላይ አመዘነ።

የኔ ኢትዮጵያዊ ማንዴላ ማነዉ በምንስ መመዘኛ ተመረጠ? ለሚለዉ የኔ ኢትዮጵዊዉ ማንዴላ
1. በትግሉ ከሃያ አመታት በላይ ተፈትኖ እስካሁን ያለማመንታት በፅናት እየታገለ ያለ፤
2. ለኛ ነፃነት፤ ለፍትህ፤ ለመናገር መብት ለእኩልነት በመቆሙ ከዘጠኝ ጊዜ በላይ በፋሽሽቱ ስርዓት ለእስር የተዳረገና አሁንም ለበርካታ አመታት ተፈርዶበት ወህኒ እየማቀቀ ያለ፤
3. ሀብትና ንብረቱን ለሀገሩና ለወገኑ ክብር አሳልፎ የሰጠ፤
4. ለሀገሩና ለወገኑ ነፃነት እስከ መሞት ለመታገል በቃልኪዳኑ የፀና፤
5. እንደሌላዉ ከሀገር ተሰዶ መኖር ሲችል ባርነትንና ጭቆናን ለመታገል ሀገር ቤት በመቅረት እየታገለ ያለ፤
6. በበሳል አንደበቱና በሰላ ፅሁፎቹ ስርዓቱን በፍፁም ጀግንነት ያንገዳገደ፤
7. በፀባዩ፤ በበሳልነቱ፤ ባጠቃላይ በስብእናዉና ለሰዉ ልጆች ባለዉ አመለካከት ፈፅሞ የተከበረ፤
8. የተከበረ የቤተሰብ አስተዳዳሪ፤
9. የሀገሩን ፍቅር ከልጁ ያስበለጠ፤
10. እኛ የሚገባዉን ድጋፍና እዉቅና ባንሰጠዉም በአለም አቀፍ ደረጃ እዉቅናና በርካታ ሽልማቶችን ያገኘ፤
11. በርካታ ፅሁፎችን የፃፈና ለኛ የታገለ እንዲሁም ትምህርቶችን ያስተማረ ሲሆን ሌሎችም እጅግ በርካታ ነጥቦች ማስቀመጥ ቢቻልም በኔ እምነት እንደወርቅ አንድ የሰዉ ልጅ ሊቀበለዉ የሚችለዉን ፈተና በእሳት የተፈተነና አሁንም ድረስ እየተፈተነ ያለ ነዉ።

ከዚህ አንጻር በኔ ፍፁም የማያወላዉል እምነትም ተበታትኖ ያለዉን የትግል ጎራ አሰባሳቢ ሊሆን የሚችል መሪ ከጀግናዉ እስክንድር ነጋ የተሻለ የኛ የዘመናችንና የራሳችን ማንዴላ ይኖራል ብዬ አላምንም። በኔ አመለካከትም እንደ እስክንድር ያለ አለም አቀፍ እዉቅና ያለዉ ጀግና በመካከላችን ማግኘታችን እድለኞች ነን። ጊዜዉ ያለፈበትን በእጅ ያለ ወርቅ፤ ወይም ነብይ ባገሩ የሚለዉን ሗላ ቀር ብሂልና አለመካከት ጥለን በወርቃችን በመኩራት፤ በሱ ዙርያ መሰባሰብ እንጀምር ብዬ ጥሪዬን አቀርባለሁኝ። ስምን መላዕክት ያወጡታል እንዲሉ በታላቁ በእስክንድር ትግላችን መሪ፤ አሰባሳቢ፤ ክብር ያግኝ። የኛ የምንለዉ፤ የምናከብረዉ፡ የምንኮራበት መሪ ይኑረን። በሱ ዙርያ ሰላምን፤ ተስፋን፤ አንድነትን፤ ጥንካሬንና፤ ዉጤትን እናግኝ። ይህንንም ካደረግን በኔ እምነት የምንመኘዉን ለዉጥ እንጎናጸፋለን።

በእስር ላይ ያለና ፖለቲከኛ ያልሆነ ጋዜጠኛ ባለሙያ እንዴት ይህንን እልህ አስጨራሽ ትግል ይመራዋል የሚል ጥያቄ ሊቀርብ ይችላል። ለዚህም በአጭሩ በአለም ላይ የነበሩትና አሁንም ያሉትን የታላላቅ ለዉጥ መሪዎች ማንነትን መለስ ብለን ስናጤን፤ ስንቶቹ ፖለቲከኞች ነበሩ የሚለዉ አፀፋዊ ጥያቄ ምላሹን ይሰጣል ብዬ አምናለሁኝ። ብዙዎቹ ለእዉነት የቆሙና በአርአያነትና በቁርጠኝነት የታገሉ ምሁራን፤ የህግ፡ የሀይማኖት፤ አልፎም ተራ ሰዎች ሆነዉ እናገኛቸዋለን። መሪ በሚያሳየዉ የአላማ ፅናት፤ በመርሁ፤ በተግባር መፈተኑና ሌሎችን ለትግል ለማነሳሳት ባለዉ ፋና ወጊነት ስለሚመረጥ እንዲህ አይነት ጥያቄ እስክንድርን በተመለከተ ሚዛን አይደፋም።

እኔ ምርጫዬን አደረኩኝ። እናንተስ? መሪ አሰባሳቢ ፈላጊዎች ከሆናችሁና እርሱ ምርጫችሁ ከሆነ እንሰባሰብ። በሱ ዙርያ የኢትዮጵያዊነት አንድነት መድረክ እንፍጠርና ተሰባስበን በጋራ እንዲመራን እንጠይቀዉ። ከእስር እንዲፈታም ታላቅ አለም አቀፋዊ ዘመቻ እንጀምር። በዘመቻዉና በሱም አመራር ለትግላችን አለም አቀፋዊ ድጋፍን እናሰባስብ። በዚህም ጥንካሬን በማግኘት አገራችንና ህዝባችንን እንታደግ። ያለዉን የሰጠ እንደሚባለዉ ይህ ለኔ የተሻለዉ አማራጭ ይመስለኛል። ከዚህ በፊትም ደጋግሜ እንዳቀረብኩት ትግል ያለ አቅም አይታሰብምና ተበታትነን ከምንጓዝ አዉራችንን በመምረጥ እንሰባሰብ። በመሰባሰባችንም አቅምን አጎልብተን የኢትዮጵያ ልጆች ይሰባሰባሉ፤ ሀገራችንም አጆቿን ወደ አምላኳ ትዘረጋለች፤ ታላቅም ሀገር ትሆናለች የተባለዉን ትንቢት በኛ ግዜ አዉን እናድርገዉ። እንደ ምናደርገዉም ጥርጣሬ የለኝም!

አምላክ ኢትዮጵያን ይባርክ!

A film in memory of Alem Dechasa

Monday, January 7th, 2013

By Rebecca Whiting

(Al-Akhbar) — The situation of migrant domestic workers in Lebanon, structured by a lack of protective labor laws and a culture of racial inequality, marks a huge failure in the country’s human rights record. Documentary filmmaker Vanessa Bowles chose to explore this cultural phenomenon and her personal relationship with it, having grown up constantly tended to by migrant domestic workers. Alem & Asrat was first screened in Lebanon January 4, a look at the realities of two women’s experiences.

In February 2012 a video captured on a mobile phone showed Ethiopian domestic worker Alem Dechasa being dragged by her hair and violently forced into a car in front of the Ethiopian embassy. It went viral. Lebanese society and the wider world were shocked by the public scene of abuse.

Days after the video was aired on LBCI, Dechasa, who had been put in a psychiatric hospital, hung herself. Despite the outcry and widespread nature of the video, the murmur soon died away. Though the most public case, Dechasa’s was tragically one of many. Human Rights Watch documented an average of one death a week due to unnatural causes during 2008, which included suicides and falls from buildings. No official count has taken place since.

Bowles began her project at the exact time of Dechasa’s death and wanted to tell her story. Concurrently, she wanted to delve into her own proximity to the lives of domestic workers. She talks openly about the bonds she formed with the women who have passed through her life and introduces Asrat, the young woman who has been with the Bowles’ family for the past five years. As she works, she talks about her reasons for leaving Ethiopia; a voice too rarely heard.

Bowles’ journey took her to Ethiopia to meet the families of Dechasa and Asrat. She is met by a group of young activists called the Good Ethiopians, who have been campaigning for Dechasa’s family. One of the activists says that if he had one message for Lebanese people, it would be that “Ethiopians are humans, too.”

The group take Bowles to meet Lemesa Ejeta, Dechasa’s partner and father of their two young children. In the small settlement of mud houses and lean-tos in Buraya outside Addis Ababa, Ejeta talks of the six years spent planning and the money borrowed for Dechasa’s move to Lebanon. It had seemed like their only hope of providing for their children.

Recruiting agents often tour the villages of Ethiopia, looking for women to traffic to Lebanon. The women have to pay a hefty charge of 10,000 Ethiopian Birr ($547) for their tickets and agent’s fees. Bowles meets other people from Dechasa’s village who have family members in Lebanon who speak out about their fears for their loved ones in such a hostile environment.

The Good Ethiopians organized a fundraising event and successfully secured the money to ensure that Dechasa’s children will have full educations. At the time of filming, Ejeta had still not told them of their mother’s death. The shots of their faces during the fundraising event where they see a large projected video of their mother being beaten are devastating.

At the end of Bowles’ film she goes to meet Ali Mahfouz, the brother of the head of Dechasa’s recruiting agency and the man who beat her. She described him as very eager to tell his version of the story. He talks, with little pity, of Dechasa’s being moved from one house to another when her employers would change their minds about wanting her. According to him she broke down and tried to harm herself after being sent to a third home within one month of arriving and receiving no wages for her work.

He wanted to send her back to Ethiopia as mentally unwell but said that she resisted, insisting that she could not return as she had not succeeded in sending money back to her family. The infamous scene in front of the embassy he describes as him trying to protect her from herself.

Activist Wissam al-Saliby has kept the blog Ethiopian suicides since 2009 in an effort to document the abuses and deaths of domestic workers. He explained that the there is no official incident tally as the only bodies that have the information are the individual embassies of the countries where the women come from. The vacuum in the reporting on these deaths is shocking, with only the severe cases being mentioned in the media. “So many deaths go unnoticed,” said Saliby.

Domestic workers are not covered by Lebanese labor laws, meaning that they have no minimum wage and no social security. Many of the women working here come from countries that have banned their nationals from working in Lebanon, including Ethiopia, the Philippines, and Madagascar, because of the lack of labor rights. Desperate for work, women are often trafficked into the country and have scant or no protection against abuse. Lebanon’s immigration system does not respect these bans from other countries and once out of their homelands, women are not discouraged from coming to work.

After years of pressure to reform labor laws, on 10 December 2012, International Human Rights Day, parliament announced a national human rights action plan, drawn in conjunction with the UN. The plan as yet is a draft that will be submitted to the government for approval and amendment. After eventually being passed through parliament it will be an annex to the constitution and is expected to take five years to implement.

Point 19 on the action plan concerns the rights of migrant workers. Several NGOs and experts were consulted in the drafting process, including Dima Haddad, senior social worker at Caritas Lebanon Migrant Worker Center, an organization that has long championed the rights of vulnerable workers, Dechasa included.

Haddad explained the framework of the plan put forward to the government concerning migrant workers. The plan recommends that Lebanon signs the two international conventions pertaining to the rights of migrant workers. Also, the labor law must be amended to include domestic workers.

Haddad further explained that, importantly, the sponsorship system must be abolished or replaced with one that respects workers’ rights. The plan calls for the regularizing of domestic workers recruitment agencies as well as working on agreements between Lebanon and the countries migrant workers originate from.

It is also suggested that the Ministry of Labor creates a national committee dedicated to developing a strategy for improving the situation of migrant workers on different levels. There is a further suggestion that social workers might take on the role of inspecting and monitoring homes as places of work.

On January 3, attorney at Caritas, Joyce Geha, finally received a date for a hearing of the case against Ali Mahfouz, which will take place February 11. The process took an exceedingly long time as she had to wait to be granted power of attorney by Dechasa’s parents and the Ethiopian embassy before she could represent her case and submit a request to the court against Mahfouz.

Should Mahfouz be charged with assaulting Dechasa and be implemented as a cause in her suicide, the case would be a precedent, Geha explains. According to Human Rights Watch, Lebanon has a very poor record of punishing those who abuse domestic workers.

Ethiopia 2013: Year of the Cheetah Generation

Monday, January 7th, 2013
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Year of the Cheetahs

2013 shall be the Year of Ethiopia’s Cheetah Generation.

“The Cheetah Generation refers to the new and angry generation of young African graduates and professionals, who look at African issues and problems from a totally different and unique perspective. They are dynamic, intellectually agile, and pragmatic. They may be the ‘restless generation’ but they are Africa’s new hope. They understand and stress transparency, accountability, human rights, and good governance. They also know that many of their current leaders are hopelessly corrupt and that their governments are contumaciously dysfunctional and commit flagitious human rights violations”, explained George Ayittey, the distingushed Ghanaian economist.

Ethiopia’s Cheetah Generation includes not only graduates and professionals — the “best and the brightest” — but also the huddled masses of youth yearning to breathe free; the millions of youth victimized by nepotism, cronyism and corruption and those who face brutal suppression and those who have been subjected to illegal incarceration for protesting human rights violations. Ethiopia’s Cheetah Generation is Eskinder Nega’s and Serkalem Fasil’s Generation. It is the generation of  Andualem Aragie, Woubshet Alemu, Reeyot Alemu, Bekele Gerba, Olbana Lelisa and so many others like them. Ethiopia’s Cheetah Generation is the only generation that could rescue Ethiopia from the steel  claws of tyranny and dictatorship. It is the only generation that can deliver Ethiopia from the fangs of a benighted dictatorship and transform a decaying and decomposing garrison state built on a foundation of lies into one that is deeply rooted in the consent and sovereignty of the people.

Ethiopia’s Hippo Generation should move over and make way for the Cheetahs. As Ayittey said, Africa’s “Hippo Generation is intellectually astigmatic and stuck in their muddy colonialist pedagogical patch. They are stodgy, pudgy, and wedded to the old ‘colonialism-imperialism’ paradigm with an abiding faith in the potency of the state. They lack vision and sit comfortable in their belief that the state can solve all of Africa’s problems. All the state needs is more power and more foreign aid. They care less if the whole country collapses around them, but are content as long as their pond is secure…”

Ethiopia’s Hippo Generation is not only astigmatic with distorted vision, it is also myopic and narrow- minded preoccupied with mindless self-aggrandizement. The Hippos in power are stuck in the quicksand of divisive ethnic politics and the bog of revenge politics. They proclaim the omnipotence of their state, which is nothing more than a thugtatorship.  Their lips drip with condemnation of  “neoliberalism”, the very system they shamelessly panhandle for their daily bread and ensures that they cling to power like barnacles on a sunken ship. They try to palm off foreign project handouts as real economic growth and development.  To these Hippos, the youth are of peripheral importance. They give them lip service. In his “victory” speech celebrating his 99.6 percent win in the May 2010 “election”, Meles Zenawi showered the youth with hollow gratitude: “We are also proud of the youth of our country who have started to benefit from the ongoing development and also those who are in the process of applying efforts to be productively employed! We offer our thanks and salute the youth of Ethiopia for their unwavering support and enthusiasm!”

The Hippos out of power have failed to effectively integrate and mobilize the youth and women in their party leadership structure and organizational activities. As a result, they find themselves in a state of political stagnation and paralysis. They need youth power to rejuvenate themselves and to become dynamic, resilient and irrepressible. Unpowered by youth, the Hippos out of power have become the object of ridicule, contempt and insolence for the Hippos in power.

Ethiopia’s intellectual Hippos by and large have chosen to stand on the sidelines with arms folded, ears plugged, mouths  sealed shut and eyes blindfolded. They have chosen to remain silent fearful that anything they say can and will be used against them as they obsequiously  curry favor with the Hippos in power. They have broken faith with the youth.  Instead of becoming  transformational and visionary thinkers capable of inspiring the youth with creative ideas, the majority of the intellectual Hippos have chosen to dissociate themselves from the youth or have joined the service of the dictators to advance their own self-interests.

Chained Cheetahs

The shameless canard is that Ethiopia’s youth “have started to benefit from the ongoing development.” The facts tell a completely different story. Though the Ethiopian population under the age of 18 is estimated to be 41 million or just over half of Ethiopia’s  population, UNICEF estimates that malnutrition is responsible for more than half of all deaths among children under age five. Ethiopia has an estimated 5 million orphans; or approximately 15 per cent of all children are orphans! Some 800,000 children are estimated to be orphaned as a result of AIDS. Urban youth unemployment is estimated at over 70 per cent. Ethiopia has one of the lowest youth literacy rate in Africa according to a 2011 report of the United Nations Capital Development Fund. Literacy in the 15-24 age group is a dismal 43 percent; gross enrollment at the secondary level is a mere 30.9 percent! A shocking 77.8 per cent of the Ethiopian youth population lives on less than USD$2 per day! Young people have to sell their souls to get a job.  According to  the 2010 U.S. State Department Human Rights Report, “Reliable reports establish that unemployed youth who were not affiliated with the ruling coalition sometimes had trouble receiving the ‘support letters’ from their kebeles necessary to get jobs.” Party memberships is the sine qua non for government employment, educational and business opportunity and the key to survival in a police state. The 2011 U.S. State Department Human Rights Report concluded, “According to credible sources, the ruling party ‘stacks’ student enrollment at Addis Ababa University, which is the nation’s largest and most influential university, with students loyal to the party to ensure further adherence to the party’s principles and to forestall any student protest.”

Frustrated and in despair, many youths drop out of school and engage in a fatalistic pattern of risky behaviors including drug, alcohol and tobacco abuse, crime and delinquency and sexual activity which exposes them to a risk of acquiring sexually transmitted diseases including HIV.  Poor  youths (the overwhelming majority of youth population) deprived of educational and employment opportunity, have lost faith in their own and their country’s future. When I contemplate the situation of Ethiopia’s youth, I am haunted by the penetrating question recently posed by Hajj Mohamed Seid, the prominent Ethiopian Muslim leader in exile in Toronto: “Is there an Ethiopian generation left now? The students who enrolled in the universities are demoralized; their minds are afflicted chewing khat (a mild drug) and smoking cigarettes. They [the ruling regime] have destroyed a generation.”

Unchain the Cheetahs

Many of my readers are familiar with my numerous commentaries on Ethiopia’s chained youth yearning for freedom and change. My readers will also remember my fierce and unremitting defense of Ethiopia’s Proudest  Cheetahs — Eskinder Nega, Serkalem Faisl, Andualem Aragie, Woubshet Alemu, Reeyot Alemu, Bekele Gerba, Olbana Lelisa and so many others — jailed for exercising their constitutional rights and for speaking truth to power. But in the Year of the Cheetahs, I aim to call attention to the extreme challenges faced by Ethiopia’s youth and make a moral appeal to all Hippos, particularly the intellectual Hippos in the Diaspora, to stand up and be counted with the youth by providing support, guidance and inspiration. In June 2010, I called attention to some undeniable facts:

The wretched conditions of Ethiopia’s youth point to the fact that they are a ticking demographic time bomb. The evidence of youth frustration, discontent, disillusionment and discouragement by the protracted economic crisis, lack of economic opportunities and political repression is manifest, overwhelming and irrefutable. The yearning of youth for freedom and change is self-evident. The only question is whether the country’s youth will seek change through increased militancy or by other peaceful means. On the other hand, many thousands gripped by despair and hopelessness and convinced they have no future in Ethiopia continue to vote with their feet. Today, young Ethiopian refugees can be found in large numbers from South Africa to North America and the Middle East to the Far East.

In this Year of the Ethiopian Cheetahs, those of us with a conscience in the Hippo Generation must do a few things to atone for our failures and make amends to our youth. President Obama, though short on action, is nearly always right in his analysis of Africa’s plight: “We’ve learned that it will not be giants like Nkrumah and Kenyatta who will determine Africa’s future. It will be the young people brimming with talent and energy and hope who can claim the future that so many in previous generations never realized.” We, learned Hippos, must learn that Ethiopia’s destiny will not be determined by the specter of dead dictators or their dopplegangers. It will not be determined by those who use the state as their private fiefdom and playground, or those who spread  the poison of ethnic politics to prolong their lease on power. Ethiopia’s destiny will be determined by a robust coalition of Cheetahs who must unite, speak in one voice and act like fingers in a clenched fist to achieve a common destiny.

I craft my message here to the Hippos out of power and the intellectual Hippos standing on the sidelines. I say step up, stand up and be counted with the youth. Know that they are the only ones who can unchain us from the cages of our own hateful ethnic politics. Only they can liberate us from the curse of religious sectarianism. They are the ones who can free us from our destructive ideological conflicts. They are the ones who can emancipate us from the despair and misery of dictatorship. We need to reach, teach and preach to the Cheetahs to free their minds from mental slavery and help them develop their creative powers.

We must reach out to the Cheetahs using all available technology and share with them our knowledge and expertise in all fields. We must listen to what they have to say. We need to understand their views and perspectives on the issues and problems that are vital to them. It is a fact that we have for far too long marginalized the youth in our discussions and debates. We are quick to tell them what to do but turn a deaf ear to what they have to say. We lecture them when we are not ignoring them. Rarely do we show our young people the respect they deserve. We tend to underestimate their intelligence and overestimate our abilities and craftiness to manipulate and use them for our own cynical ends. In the Year of the Cheetah, I plead with my fellow intellectual Hippos to reach out and touch the youth.

We must teach the youth the values that are vital to all of us. Hajj Mohamed Seid has warned us that without unity, we have nothing.   “If there is no country, there is no religion. It is only when we have a country that we find everything.” That is why we must teach the youth they must unite as the children of Mother Ethiopia, and reject any ideology, scheme or effort that seeks to divide them on the basis of ethnicity, religion, gender, language, region or class. We must teach to enlighten, to uncover and illuminate the lies and proclaim the truth. It is easier for tyrants and dictators to rob the rights of youth who are ignorant and fearful. “Ignorance has always been the most powerful weapon in the arsenal of tyrants.” Nelson Mandela has taught us that “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Educating and teaching the youth is the most powerful weapon in the fight against tyranny and dictatorship. In the Year of the Cheetah, I plead with my fellow intellectual Hippos to teach the Cheetahs to fight ignorance and ignoramuses with knowledge, enlightenment and intelligence.

We must also preach the way of peace, democracy, human rights, the rule of law, accountability and transparency. No man shall make himself the law. Those who have committed crimes against humanity and genocide must be held to account. There shall be no state within the state. Exercise of one’s constitutional rights should not be criminalized. Might does not make right! In the Year of the Cheetah, I plead with my fellow intellectual Hippos to preach till kingdom come.

We need to find ways to link Ethiopian Diaspora youth with youth in Ethiopia in a Chain of Destiny. Today, we see a big disconnect and a huge gulf between young Ethiopians in the Diaspora and those in Ethiopia. That is partly a function of geography, but also class. It needs to be bridged. We need to help organize and provide support to Ethiopian Diaspora youth to link up with their counterparts in Ethiopia so that they could have meaningful dialogue and interaction and work together to ensure a common democratic future.

The challenges facing Ethiopia’s Cheetah Generation are enormous, but we must do all we can to prepare the youth to take leadership roles in their future. We need to help them develop a formal youth agenda that addresses the wide range of problems, challenges and issues facing them. All we need to do is provide them guidance, counsel and  advice. The Cheetahs are fully capable of doing the heavy lifting if the Hippos are willing to carry water to them.

Ethiopian Youth Must Lead a National Dialogue in Search of a Path to Peaceful Change

I have said it before and I will say is again and again. For the past year, I have been talking and writing about Ethiopia’s inevitable transition from dictatorship to democracy. I have also called for a national dialogue to facilitate the transition  and appealed to Ethiopia’s youth to lead a grassroots and one-on-one dialogue across  ethnic, religious, linguistic and religious lines. I made the appeal because I believe Ethiopia’s salvation and destiny rests not in the fossilized jaws of power-hungry Hippos but in the soft and delicate paws of the Cheetahs. In the Year of the Cheetahs, I plead with Ethiopia’s youth inside the country and in the Diaspora to take upon the challenge and begin a process of reconciliation. I have come to the regrettable conclusion that most Hippos are hardwired not to reconcile. Hippos have been “reconciling” for decades using the language of finger pointing, fear and smear, mudslinging and grudge holding. But Cheetahs have no choice but to genuinely reconcile because if they do not, they will inherit the winds of ethnic and sectarian strife.

In making my plea to Ethiopia’s Cheetahs, I only ask them to begin an informal dialogue among themselves. Let them define national reconciliation as they see it. They should empower themselves to create their own political space and to talk one-on-one across ethnic, religious, linguistic, gender, regional and class lines. I underscore the importance of closing the gender gap and maximizing the participation of young women in the national reconciliation conversations. It is an established social scientific fact that women do a far superior job than men when it comes to conciliation, reconciliation  and mediation. Dialogue involves not only talking to each other but also listening to one another. Ethiopia’s Cheetahs should use their diversity as a strength and must never allow their diversity to be used to divide and conquer them.

Up With Ethiopian Cheetahs!

Africans know all too well that hippos (including their metaphorical human counterparts) are dangerous animals that are fiercely territorial and attack anything that comes into their turf. Every year more people are killed by hippos (both the real and metaphorical ones) in Africa than lions or elephants. Cheetahs are known to be the fastest animals, but their weakness is that they give up the chase easily or surrender their prey when challenged by other predators including hyenas. A group of hippos is known as a crash. A group of cheetahs is called a “coalition”. Only a coalition of cheetahs organized across ethnic, religious, linguistic and regional lines can crash a crash of hippos and a cackle of hyenas and save Ethiopia.

In this Year of Ethiopian Cheetahs, I expect to make my full contribution to uplift and support Ethiopia’s youth and to challenge them to rise up to newer heights. I appeal to all of my brother and sister Hippos to join me in this effort.  As for the Cheetahs, I say, darkness always give way to light. “It is often in the darkest skies that we see the brightest stars.” Ethiopia’s Cheetahs must be strong in spirit and in will. As Gandhi said, “Strength does not come from physical capacity”, nor does it come from guns, tanks and war planes. “It comes from an indomitable will.” Winston Churchill must have learned something from Gandhi when he said, “Never give in–never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.” Ethiopian Cheetahs must never give in!

Professor Alemayehu G. Mariam teaches political science at California State University, San Bernardino and is a practicing defense lawyer.

Previous commentaries by the author are available at:

http://open.salon.com/blog/almariam/

www.huffingtonpost.com/alemayehu-g-mariam/ 

Amharic translations of recent commentaries by the author may be found at:

http://www.ecadforum.com/Amharic/archives/category/al-mariam-amharic

http://ethioforum.org/?cat=24

 

 

“I am a journalist” – Reeyot Alemu

Sunday, January 6th, 2013

(IWMF) — It was only a matter of time before Ethiopian journalist Reeyot Alemu was sent to prison. Her country has become one of the most oppressive in the world for press freedom, with numbers of jailed journalists rising steadily each year.

Alemu was arrested on June 21, 2011, and accused of conspiracy to commit terrorist acts and participation in a terrorist organization under the controversial 2009 Anti-Terrorism Proclamation. Based on no evidence other than her articles criticizing the Ethiopian government, Alemu was sentenced to 14 years in Ethiopia’s notoriously ill-maintained Kaliti prison.

Although the U.S. government has expressed concerns about “the extent to which Ethiopians can rely upon their constitutionally guaranteed rights to afford the protection that is a fundamental element of a democratic society”, Ethiopia remains a key U.S. ally in its battle against al-Shabaab, al-Qaeda’s Somalia affiliate, which some believe has resulted in an unduly lenient attitude towards Ethiopia’s human rights violations.

The arrest of Martin Schibbye and Johan Persson, two Swedish journalists, made evident the damage to its reputation the Ethiopian government was willing to accept in its effort to silence independent reporters. They were picked up after crossing the Somali-Ethiopian border illegally while reporting on ONLF rebels and the humanitarian situation in the closed Ogaden region. The 14-month-long diplomatic tug of war under the watchful eye of the international media ended when Schibbye and Persson were pardoned and released in September 2012 after they admitted guilt and were sentenced to eleven years in prison.

Reeyot Alemu refused to admit guilt in exchange for clemency and has, instead, appealed the verdict. In August 2012, to the surprise of many experts in the diplomatic community, and in part due to the international attention Alemu has received, including winning the 2012 IWMF Courage in Journalism Award, two charges against her were dropped and her sentence was reduced to five years. Alemu hasn’t given up – her court dates have been postponed numerous times but there is still a chance that the appeals court will decide to drop the remaining terrorism charges against her on Tuesday, January 8th.

“Reeyot is young and well-educated. She could have easily left her country or chosen a different career – but she loves Ethiopia and her profession. She always held her head high and she gave me strength”, Martin Schibbye said in an interview with the IWMF.

The first time he met Reeyot Alemu was on a prison bus from Makelawi, the central police investigation headquarters in Addis Ababa, to the Magistrate’s Court where the prosecution repeatedly filed 28-day extensions to keep political prisoners in custody without charge. “What do you do?”, Schibbye remembered asking Alemu on their first encounter. “I am a journalist”, she replied. They quickly realized that everyone on that bus was a journalist or a politician from the opposition and that they were all charged with a crime they hadn’t committed: terrorism. “That was the moment when we realized that we had ended up in a major crackdown against free speech in Ethiopia”, Schibbye told the IWMF.

Despite being separated from each other for the majority of their time in prison, the journalists in Kaliti felt a strong bond and built an emotional support network to help each other through their long days of confinement and uncertainty. “Even locked up in a dark room without shoelaces, deprived of your freedom of expression as well as your physical freedom, you can still keep the most valuable thing that nobody can take from you: the right to determine who you are. Every morning we woke up and said to each other: We are journalists, not terrorists … this is just another day at the office”, Schibbye said.

After spending 438 days in the custody of Ethiopian authorities and closely monitoring the cases of his Ethiopian journalistic colleagues, Schibbye delivers a damning verdict on the state of democracy in Ethiopia. “There is no such thing as an independent justice system, it’s completely politicized. If the order comes from the federal level that Reeyot is to let go, she will be free. But if they feel that they gain more from keeping her in prison, for example to scare other independent journalists, they will keep her locked up. This decision lies entirely in the hands of the Ethiopian government.”

Schibbye suspects that intimidation of independent journalists played a substantial role in Ethiopia’s motivation to jail European journalists like himself and Johan Persson. “Reeyot and some of the other jailed journalists were brought to Johan’s and my sentencing hearing”, Schibbye recalled. “The Ethiopian authorities forced them to witness the rendering of our verdict as if to say: ‘Look what we can do to these European guys … imagine what we can do to you!’”

While organizations such as the IWMF may not have the political clout to provide direct protection or effect instant change in situations like Alemu’s, the value of international attention should not be underestimated. “When you’re locked up as a prisoner of conscience, the greatest fear is to be forgotten,” Schibbye explained. “The support from the outside is what keeps you going, it’s more important than food and medicine. And international recognition such as the IWMF Courage in Journalism Award does in fact provide a certain level of protection. Prison guards and administrators will think twice because they know the world is watching”, he said.

Even though their interactions were very limited due to a strict communication ban in Kaliti prison, Schibbye was deeply impressed with Alemu’s strong moral beliefs. She hasn’t grown tired of pointing out that she is a journalist, not a terrorist. “During the interrogation in Makelawi, Reeyot never broke down. She kept explaining to the police interrogators, some of them younger than her, why she was fighting for freedom of speech and democracy”, Schibbye remembers.

The last time Schibbye saw Alemu was in August 2012, not long before he and Persson were released from prison. They passed each other outside the prison administration offices, being escorted to and from their cells, Schibbye recalled. “She looked fragile but she is a survivor!”

ENTC to convene its general assembly on Feb. 22 in Washington DC

Sunday, January 6th, 2013

The Ethiopian National Transitional Council (ENTC) announced that it will hold its mid-term general assembly in Washington DC from Feb. 22 – 24, 2013. The meeting will evaluate ENTC’s activities of the past six months and will make necessary adjustments, its news release said.

Representatives of ENTC chapters and local councils from several cities and countries around the world are expected to participate in the 3-day meeting that will be held inside its headquarters in Washington DC.

የኢትዮጵያ ብሄራዊ ሽግግር ም/ቤት ጠቅላላ ጉባኤ በዋሽንግተን ዲሲ በፊታችን የካቲት (ፌብሪዋሪ) ወር ይከናወናል

የኢትዮጵያ ብሄራዊ የሽግግር ም/ቤት ላለፉት ስድስት ወራት የተለያዩ እንቅስቃሴዎችን ሲያከናዉን ቆይቷል። ከም/ቤቱ ምስረታ በኋላ የአካባቢ ምክር ቤቶችን (ቻፕተሮችን) በተለያዩ አገሮች በማቋቋም፤ ድርጅታዊ አቅምን በማጎልበት፤ የትግል ሂደት አቅጣጫን በመቀየስ፤ ከሌሎች ድርጅቶች ጋረ ትብብር በመፍጠርና እንዲሁም አቅሙንና የትኩረት አቅጣጫውን ኢትዮጵያ ውስጥ በማድረግ በርካታ ስራዎችን አከናውኗል። የም/ቤቱ ጠቅላላ ጉባኤ በዳላስ ቴክሳስ የምስረታ ስብሰባው ላይ በወሰነው መሰረት የስድስት ወራቱን የስራ እንቅስቃሴ ለመገምገምና ለሚቀጥሉት ስድስት ወራት ቀጣይ እቅዶችን ለመንደፍ በአሜሪካን ዋና ከተማ በዋሽንግተን ዲሲ በሚገኘው ጽ/ቤቱ ከፌብርዋሪ 22 እስከ 24 ቀን 2013 እኤአ ያካሂዳል። በተለያዩ ሀገሮችና ከተማዎች ቀደም ብለው የተቋቋሙና በመቋቋም ላይ ያሉ የአካባቢ ምክርቤቶች (ቻፕተሮች) ተወካዮች በጠቅላላ ጉባኤው ላይ ይሳተፋሉ። ስብሰባውም በስድስት ወራቱ ውስጥ የታዩትን ጠንካራና ደካማ ጎኖች በመገምገም የሚቀጥሉት ስድስት ወራት አካሄድን በተመለከተ የተለያዩ የፖሊሲና የተግባር ውሳኔዎችን ያስተላልፋል። በስብሰባውም መዝጊያ ዕለት በፌብርዋሪ 24 ቀን 2013 (እኤአ) ህዝባዊ ስብሰባ በማዘጋጀት በሀገራችን ወቅታዊ ሁኔታ ላይና መወሰድ ስለሚገባቸው ፈጣን እርምጃዎች ህዝባዊ ውይይት ያደርጋል። በዚህ ህዝባዊ ስብሰባ ላይ መላው ሀገር ወዳድ ኢትዮጵያዊ ወገኖቻችን ሁሉ እንዲገኙ እየጋበዝን ወደፊት ስለስብሰባው ቦታና ፕሮግራም ዝርዝር መረጃዎችን የምናወጣ መሆኑን እንገልጻለን።

የሽግግር ም/ቤቱ አመራር

Hailemariam Desalegn answers questions in Parliament

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn at a Q&A session in Parliament – January 1, 2013

Ethiopian woman in Kuwait died after falling from a building

Tuesday, January 1st, 2013

KUWAIT CITY (Arabtimes) — An Ethiopian woman died when she fell from the window of a domestic employment agency in Hawally.

According to security sources, when the Operations Room of Ministry of Interior received information from the building guard about a woman lying on the ground and bleeding, police and paramedics rushed to the location and found the woman bleeding profusely from the head.

Paramedics examined her and discovered she had succumbed to severe head injury.

Officers from General Department for Criminal Evidences rushed to the location and referred the corpse to the Forensics Department.

Preliminary investigations by authorities revealed that the victim fell from the window of a domestic employment agency in the building. They also noticed that the victim was wearing ‘abaya’ without any underclothes. They were informed that the woman was at the agency with three other Ethiopian women.

Police summoned the three women and the owner of the agency to the police station where they said that they were sleeping at the time of the incident and were not aware of her death until the police notified them about it.

A case was registered for further investigations.

Ethiopian Review’s 2012 Person of the Year

Tuesday, January 1st, 2013

Ethiopian Review’s 2012 Person of the Year is Julian Paul Assange.

The people of Ethiopia continued to wallow in misery in 2012 and the main cause is lack of freedom. The level of prosperity and quality of life in most countries are in direct parallel to the freedom their people enjoy. The most affluent people with the highest quality of life in the word are those who enjoy the greatest level of freedom. Over 95% of Ethiopians live in abject poverty not because Ethiopia lacks natural resources, or its citizens are lazy. The root cause of Ethiopia’s misery is lack of freedom. Ethiopia is being governed by one of the most brutal and stupid dictatorships in the world. We Ethiopians are unable, so far, to wage a successful struggle to remove the tyrannical regime that is tormenting and brutalizing us partly because of the billions of dollars that the regime is receiving from the United States and European Union. For our struggle to succeed, every bit of support we get from friends of freedom helps a great deal and we have to show our appreciation by giving due recognition. Julian Assange is one of the most important friends of freedom, and as he is currently being persecuted by the U.S. Government (read here), we need to stand with him and show our support and appreciation.

Because of Julian Assange’s effort, the world knows that heroic Ethiopians such as Andualem Aragie, Eskindir Nega, Reeyot Alemu, Woubshet Taye, Olbana Lelisa, Bekele Gerba and countless others are languishing in jail after being falsely accused of terrorism by a regime that is bankrolled by the U.S. Government and the European Union, and assisted by China.

U.S. diplomatic cables from Addis Ababa confirmed that the U.S. Government is fully aware that the TPLF junta’s terrorism charges against human rights advocates, journalists and political opponents have been fabricated, thanks to Julian Assange (read here). The U.S. cannot deny any more the atrocities that are being perpetrated against the people of Ethiopia by the regime it is financing.

Brave and creative individuals like Julian Assange are playing an important role in shaming the U.S. Government and forcing it to change its anti-human rights foreign policy using the power of information. The U.S. Government’s hypocrisy in regards to human rights is a well established fact before Julian Assange’s Wikileaks came into existence. But when it is confirmed by U.S. officials themselves through leaked documents, the U.S. foreign policy — which has produced more terrorists than the madrasas in Pakistan — will hopefully get heightened scrutiny by the American people.

Julian Assange is now a hunted man by none other than the Obama Administration. He is currently hiding inside the Ecuadorean embassy in London. The U.S. Government, that we all looked up to as a beacon of freedom, is trying to silence a website editor for exposing the crimes that are being perpetrated around the world in the name of the American people.

We understand that the U.S. Government has a legitimate need to keep its secrets, but that is not the job of journalists or website editors. The persecution of Julian Assange by U.K. and U.S. is a setback for press freedom in the world. It’s already giving some governments an excuse to pass laws that would make it a crime for the independent press to publish state secret.

In choosing Julian Assange as “Ethiopian Review’s Person of the Year for 2012,” we say thank you and appreciate his creativity and courage. We also want to add our voice to the calls being made by freedom loving people around the world for Obama to respect America’s most cherished liberty that is enshrined in the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits the government from abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.

Ring in Redress to All Humankind

Monday, December 31st, 2012

HR 2012 is gone. 2013 is on the way. Let us ring in redress to all humankind.

I wish a happy and prosperous new year to all of my readers throughout the world. To those who have unwearyingly followed my columns for nearly three hundred uninterrupted weeks, I wish to express my deep gratitude and appreciation. I am thankful for all of the support and encouragement I have received from my readers in Ethiopia and the Ethiopian Diaspora and others throughout the world.

I ask my readers to ring in the new year with a firm resolution to seek redress for human rights violations in Ethiopia, other parts of Africa and throughout the world. As Dr. Martin Luther King taught, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly…”

Let us bid farewell to the old year and greet the new one with the poetic words of Lord Alfred  Tennyson:

Ring out the old, ring in the new,…

Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind,…

Ring out the feud of rich and poor,

Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,

And ancient forms of party strife;

Ring in the nobler modes of life,

With sweeter manners, purer laws…

Ring out false pride in place and blood,

The civic slander and the spite;

Ring in the love of truth and right,

Ring in the common love of good…

Ring out the thousand wars of old,

Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,

The larger heart, the kindlier hand;

Ring out the darkness of the land,…

Ringing Out 2012

I thought I would ring out 2012 by extracting snippets from selected weekly commentaries I wrote during the year.

In January 2012, I wondered aloud if there will be an “African Spring” or “Ethiopian Tsedey (Spring)” in 2012.  I cryptically answered my own question taking cover in Albert Camus’ book “The Rebel”.  “What is a rebel?”, asked Camus. “A man who says no… A slave who has taken orders all his life suddenly decides that he cannot obey some new command. What does he mean by saying ‘no’? He means, for example, that ‘this has been going on too long,’ ‘up to this point yes, beyond it no’, ‘you are going too far,’ or, again, ‘there is a limit beyond which you shall not go.’ But from the moment that the rebel finds his voice — even though he says nothing but ‘no’ — he begins to desire and to judge. The rebel confronts an order of things which oppresses him with the insistence on a kind of right not to be oppressed beyond the limit that he can tolerate.”

Africa’s Spring will arrive when enough Africans including Ethiopians collectively resolve to rise up from the winter of their discontent and make glorious spring and summer by declaring, “No! Enough is Enough!”

In February 2012,  I pointed out the shame and humiliation in receiving a Chinese handout (“gift”) in the form of  a gleaming “African Union Hall” to 50 plus African countries who could not afford the measly $200 million needed to  build such a quintessentially symbolic continental edifice.  I christened it “African Beggars Union Hall”.

The Chinese Dragon is dancing the Watusi shuffle with African Hyenas. Things could not be better for the Dragon in Africa. In the middle of what once used to be the African Pride Land now stands a brand-spanking new hyenas’ den called the African Union Hall (AU). Every penny of the USD$200 million stately pleasure dome was paid for by China. It is said to be “China’s gift to Africa.” Sooner or later China has to come to terms with three simple questions: Can it afford to fasten its destiny to Africa’s dictators, genociders and despots? How long can China pretend to turn a blind eye to the misery of the African people suffering under ruthless dictatorships? Will there be a price to pay once the African dictators that China supported are forced out of power in a popular uprising? To update the old saying, “Beware of Chinese who bear gifts.”

In March 2012, I boldly predicted that Ethiopia will transition from dictatorship to democracy. But I also cautiously suggested that dissolution of the dictatorship in Ethiopia does not guarantee the birth of democracy. There is no phoenix of democracy that will rise gloriously from the trash heap of dictatorship. Birthing democracy will require a lot of collaborative hard work, massive amounts of creative problem solving and plenty of good luck and good will. A lot of heavy lifting needs to be done to propel Ethiopia from the abyss of dictatorship to the heights of democracy. It will be necessary to undertake a collective effort now to chart a clear course on how that long-suffering country will emerge from decades of dictatorship, without the benefit of any viable democratic political institutions, a functional political party system, a system of civil society institutions and an independent press to kindle a democratic renaissance.

In April 2012 , I paid a special tribute to my personal hero Eskinder Nega, winner of the 2012 PEN Freedom to Write Award. Eskinder Nega (to me Eskinder Invictus) has been jailed as a “terrorist” by the powers that be in Ethiopia. But Eskinder is a hero’s hero. His cause was taken up by an army of world renowned journalists who have themselves suffered at the hands of dictatorships including Kenneth Best, founder of the Daily Observer (Liberia’s first independent daily); Lydia Cacho, arguably the most famous Mexican journalist; Akbar Ganji Faraj Sarkohi Iran’s foremost dissidents; Arun Shourie, one of India’s most renowned and controversial journalists and many others. Recently,  Carl Bernstein (one of the two journalists who exposed the Watergate scandal leading to the resignation of President Richard Nixon) and Liev Schreiber paid extraordinary homage to Eskinder Nega.  Bernstein said, “No honor can be greater than to read Eskinder Nega’s words. He is more than a symbol. He is the embodiment of the greatness of truth, of writing and reporting real truth, of persisting in truth and resisting the oppression of untruths,…”

Eskinder Nega is my special hero because he fought tyranny with nothing more than ideas and the truth. He slew falsehoods with the sword of truth. Armed only with a pen, Eskinder fought despair with hope; fear with courage; anger with reason; arrogance with humility; ignorance with knowledge; intolerance with forbearance; oppression with perseverance; doubt with trust and cruelty with compassion. I lack the words to express my deep pride and gratitude to Eskinder and his wife, journalist Serkalem Fasil (winner of the 2007 International Women’s Media Foundation “Courage in Journalism Award”), for their boundless courage and extraordinary sacrifices in the cause of press freedom in Ethiopia. It is said that history is written by the victor. When truth becomes the victor in Ethiopia, the names Eskinder Nega and Serkalem Fasil will be inscribed in the Hall of Fame for unfaltering courage and steadfast endurance in the face of Evil.

In May 2012, Abebe Gelaw, a young Ethiopian journalist stood up in the audience at the Food Security 2012  G8 Summit in Washington, D.C. and cried freedom. The late Meles Zenawi sat in catatonic silence as the young journalist shouted out: “Meles Zenawi is a dictator! Meles Zenawi is a dictator! Free Eskinder Nega! Free Political Prisoners! You are a dictator. You are committing crimes against humanity. Food is nothing without freedom! Meles has committed crimes against humanity! We Need Freedom! Freedom! Freedom!”

The “heckler’s veto” is one of the most precious rights of American citizens. The idea is really simple. It is always governments who abuse their power to silence their critics and those who disagree with them. With the “heckler’s veto”, the individual silences the government and the powerful. The tables are turned. Zenawi was silenced by Abebe! In that moment, Abebe gloriously realized the true meaning of the tagline of his website addisvoice.com – “A Voice of the Voiceless”. Ironically, the voice of the voiceless rendered speechless the man who had rendered millions voiceless!

In June 2012, I joyously witnessed the unity of Christian and Muslim religious leaders against those seeking to divide them. Hajj Mohamed Seid, a prominent Ethiopian Muslim leader in exile in Toronto, made an extraordinary statement that should be a lesson to all Ethiopians: “As you know Ethiopia is a country that has different religions. Ethiopia is a country where Muslims and followers of the Orthodox faith have lived and loved each other throughout recorded history.  Even in our lifetimes — 50 to 60 years — we have not seen Ethiopia in so much suffering and tribulation. Religion is a private choice, but country is a collective responsibility. If there is no country, there is no religion. It is only when we have a country that we find everything… They [the rulers in Ethiopia] have sold the land [to foreigners] and have kept the most arable land to themselves. The money from the sale is not in our country. It is in their pockets… Is there an Ethiopian generation left now? The students who enrolled in the universities are demoralized; their minds are afflicted chewing khat (a mild drug) and smoking cigarettes. They [the ruling regime] have destroyed a generation…

In July 2012, I held a private celebration on the occasion of the ninety-fourth birthday of  President Nelson Mandela. May he live long with gladness and good health! Madiba has been a great inspiration for me very much like Gandhi. Madiba and Gandhi were lawyers who spoke truth to power fearlessly. For Madiba, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, true human rights advocacy was devoid of all political ambition. The politics of human rights is the politics of human dignity, not ideology, political partisanship or the pursuit of political office. The committed human rights advocate thrives on hopes and dreams of a better future, not the lust for political power or craving for status, position or privilege. I have been relentlessly “sermonizing” (as some affectionately refer to my weekly commentaries) on human rights in Ethiopia and against dictatorship for many years now. I have done so not because I believed my efforts will produce immediate political results or expected structural changes overnight. I stayed in for the long haul because I believe defending, advocating and writing about human rights and righting government wrongs is right, good and the moral thing to do.

In August 2012, I bade farewell to Meles Zenawi who passed away from an undisclosed illness. It was a difficult farewell to write. For over two hundred seventy five weeks, without missing a single week, I wrote long expository commentaries on the deeds and misdeeds of the man who was at the helm of power in Ethiopia for over two decades. Meles and I would have never crossed paths but for the massacres of 2005 in which some 200 unarmed protesters were shot dead in the streets and another 800 wounded by police and security officials under Meles’ personal command and control.

Meles was a man who had an appointment with destiny. Fate had chosen him to play a historic role in Ethiopia and beyond. He was one of the leaders of a rebel group that fought and defeated a brutal military dictatorship that had been in power for 17 years. In victory, Meles promised democracy, respect for democratic liberties and development. But as the years wore on, Meles became increasingly repressive, intolerant of criticism and in the end became as tyrannical as the tyrant he had replaced. In his last years, he created a police state reinforced by a massive security network of spies and surveillance technology. He criminalized press freedom and civil society institutions. He crushed dissent and all opposition. He spread fear and loathing that penetrated the remotest parts of the countryside.  For over 21 years, Meles clutched the scepter of power in his hands and cast away the sword of justice he held when he marched into the capital from the bush in 1991. Meles was feared, disliked and demonized by his adversaries. He was loved, admired, idealized and idolized by his supporters. In the end, Meles died a man who had absolute power which had corrupted him absolutely. In his relentless pursuit of absolute power, Meles missed his appointment with destiny to become a peerless and exemplary Ethiopian leader.

In September 2012, I explained why I supported President Obama’s re-election. I tried to make an honest case for supporting the President’s re-election despite deep disappointments over his human rights records in Africa in his first term.   Did President Obama deliver on the promises he made for Africa to promote good governance, democracy and human rights? Did he deliver on human rights in Ethiopia? No. Are Ethiopian Americans disappointed over the unfulfilled promises President Obama made in Accra, Ghana in 2009 and his Administration’s support for a dictatorship in Ethiopia? Yes. We remember when President Obama talked about the need to develop robust democratic institutions, uphold the rule of law and the necessity of maintaining open political space and protecting human rights in Africa. We all remember what he said:  “Africa does not need strong men but strong institutions.”  “Development depends on good governance.” “No nation will create wealth if its leaders exploit the economy.” Was he just saying these words or did he truly believe them? Truth be told,  what the President has done or not done to promote good governance, democracy and human rights in Ethiopia is no different than what we, the vast majority of Ethiopian Americans, have done or not done  to promote the same values in Ethiopia. That is the painful truth we must face.

In October 2012, I wrote about breast cancer awareness for Ethiopian women and men. There is a strange and confounding culture of secrecy and silence about certain kinds of illnesses among many Ethiopians in the country and those in the Diaspora. Among the two taboo diseases are cancer and HIV/AIDS. The rule seems to be hide the illness until death, even after death. We saw this regrettable practice in the recent passing of Meles Zenawi. Meles’ illness and cause of death remain a closely guarded state secret. It is widely believed that he died from brain cancer. This culture of secrecy and silence has contributed significantly to the needless deaths of thousands of Ethiopians. There is substantial anecdotal evidence that far too many Ethiopian women living in the U.S. have needlessly died from breast cancer because they failed or avoided to get regular breast cancer screening fearing a positive diagnosis. Secrecy and silence when it comes to breast cancer is a self-imposed death warrant!

In November 2012, I remembered. I remembered the hundreds of unarmed citizens murdered in the streets by police and security officials under the personal command and control of Meles Zenawi in Ethiopia on June 6-8 and November 1-4, 2005, following the Ethiopian parliamentary elections in May of that year. According to an official Inquiry Commission, “There was not a single protester who was armed with a gun or a hand grenade as reported by the government-controlled media that some of the protesters were armed with guns and bombs. [The shots fired by government forces] were not intended to disperse the crowd but to kill by targeting the head and chest of the protesters.” I also remembered Yenesew Gebre, a 29 year-old Ethiopian school teacher and human rights activist set himself ablaze outside a public meeting hall in the town of Tarcha located in Dawro Zone in Southern Ethiopia on 11/11/11. He died three days later from his injuries.  Before torching himself, Yenesew told a gathered  crowd outside of a meeting hall,  “In a country where there is no justice and no fair administration, where human rights are not respected, I will sacrifice myself so that these young people will be set free.”  I remembered why I was transformed from a cloistered armchair academic and hardboiled defense lawyer to a (com)passionate human rights advocate and defender.

In December 2012, I fiercely opposed the potential nomination of Susan Rice, the current U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. I argued that Rice has been waltzing (or should I say do-se-do-ing) with Africa’s slyest, slickest and meanest dictators for nearly two decades. Rice and other top U.S. officials knew or should have known a genocide was underway or in the making once RAF and interahamwe militia began killing people in the streets and neighborhoods on April 6, the day Rwandan President Juvenal Habyiarimana was assassinated. They were receiving reports from the U.N. mission in Rwanda; and their own intelligence pointed to unspeakable massacres taking place in Kigali and elsewhere in the country. Rice feigned ignorance of the ongoing genocide, but the irrefutable documentary evidence showed that Rice, her boss Anthony Lake and other high level U.S. officials knew from the very beginning (April 6, 1994)  that genocide was in the making in Rwanda. On September 2, 2012 at the funeral of Meles Zenawi in Addis Ababa and at a memorial service for Meles in New York City on October 27, 2012,  Rice delivered a eulogy that virtually canonized Meles. In her blind eulogy, Rice turned a blind eye to the thousands of Ethiopians who were victimized, imprisoned and killed by Meles Zenawi. Rice could not see the police state Meles had created. To literally add insult to injury, Rice called Meles’ opponents and critics “fools and idiots”. Truth be told, I was deeply offended by Rice’s hubristic remarks and her audacity, pomposity, nerve and insolence to insult and humiliate Ethiopians in their own country in such callous and contemptuious manner.  Ethiopians have been robbed of their dignity for 21 years. But I will be damned if any foreigner, however high or exalted, should feel free to demean, dehumanize and demonize my people as “fools and idoits”.  Recently, Rice explained: “I know I’m vilified for having said anything other than, ‘He [Meles] was a tyrant,’ … which would’ve been a little awkward, on behalf of the U.S. government and in front of all the mourning Ethiopians.” Rice has no qualms calling Ethiopians “fools and idiots” but she writhes in agony just thinking about calling Meles a tyrant?!? Some people just don’t get it!!!

In 1994, Rice was willfully blind to the genocide in Rwanda. In 2012, she was willfully blind to the long train of human rights abuses and atrocities in Ethiopia.

America does not need a friend and a buddy to African dictators as its Secretary of State. America does not need a Secretary of State with a heart of stone and tears of a crocodile. America does not need a “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” Secretary of State.  America needs a Secretary of State who can tell the difference between human rights and  government wrongs!

Let us join hands to ring in redress to all mankind in 2013. Let us all work together for human rights for all and against all government wrongs!

Professor Alemayehu G. Mariam teaches political science at California State University, San Bernardino and is a practicing defense lawyer.

Previous commentaries by the author are available at:

http://open.salon.com/blog/almariam/

www.huffingtonpost.com/alemayehu-g-mariam/ 

Amharic translations of recent commentaries by the author may be found at:

http://www.ecadforum.com/Amharic/archives/category/al-mariam-amharic

http://ethioforum.org/?cat=24

ሰብአዊ መብት ለሰብአዊያን

Monday, December 31st, 2012

ከፕሮፌሰር ዓለማየሁ ገብረማርያም
ትርጉም ከነጻነት ለሃገሬ

በዓለም ዙርያ ያሉትን አንባቢዎቼን 2013 የደስታና የብልጽጋና ዓመት ይሁንላችሁ በማለት መልካም ምኞቴን እገልጻለሁ፡፡

ላለፉት ያልተቋረጡ 300 ሳምንታት ያህል ጦማሮቼን ለተከታተሉ ሁሉ፤ከልብ የመነጨ አክብሮቴንና ምስጋናዬን እገልጻለሁ፡፡ ከኢትዮጵያና ከዲያስፖራ ኢትዮጵያዊያን ለተቸረኝ ማበረታታት ምስጋናዬ ይድረስልኝ፡፡

አንባቢዎቼን፤ በኢትዮጵያና በዓለም ላይ ሁሉ የተደፈሩ ሰብአዊ መብቶችን ለሁሉም ሰብአዊ ፍጡራን እንዲዳረሱና እንዲከበሩ የመጠራሪያና የማንቂያ ደወል በአፍሪካና በዓለማቱ ሁሉ እንደውል እላለሁ፡፡ ዶክተር ማርቲን ሉተር ኪንግ አንዳሉት “በማይበጠስ የአንድነት ሰባዊ ሰንሰለት ተሳስረናል፡፡ በአንድ አይነት እጣ ፈንታ ተያይዘናል:: አንዱን በቀጥታ የሚያጠቃው ሌላውንም በተዘዋዋሪ ደግሞ አይተወውም፡፡

አንባቢዎቼን፤ በሎርድ አልፍሬድ ቴኒሰን የረቀቀ ለዛ ባለው ግጥም (“እንጠራራ፤ ለሰብአዊ ፍጡር ሁሉ”) አሮጌውን ዓመት በመሰናበት አዲሱን እንቀበል በማለት አጠይቃለሁ::

እንጠራራ፤ አሮጌውን አመት ለመሸኘት አዲሱን ለመቀበል

እንጠራራ፤ ሃሰትን ተገላግለን አውነትን ለማስገባት

እንጠራራ፤ ሃዘንና ትካዜን ከሕሊናችንን ለማስወገድ

እንጠራራ፤ በደሃና በሃብታም መሃል ያለዉን ቅራኔ ለመፍታት::

እንጠራራ፤ ለሰብአዊፍጡርሁሉአዲስስብእናእንተካለት::

እንጠራራ፤ የወደቀ ስራትን ለመሸኘት

ለመለወጥ ዘመን የሻረውን የፓርቲዎችን መናቆር

እንጠራራ የሕይወትን  ክቡርነት እናስመስክር

በጣፋጭ ባህል በንጹህ ሕግጋት::

እንጠራራ፤  አጉል ትምክህትን ለማጥፋት

በዜግነት ላይ ሀሜት ክፋትና እልህ እንዲወገድ

እንጠራራ፤  ፍቅርን ሃቅና እውነትን ለማስገባት

እንጠራራ፤ መልክምን ለመተግበር ለሁሉም በሚሆን መንገድ::

እንጠራራ፤ ያለፉትን ሺህ እልቂቶች ላለመድገም

እንጠራራ፤ ለቀጣዮቹ ሺህ ዓመታት ሰላም አንዲሰፍን

እንጠራራ፤ለነጻነት ወደሚያበቃን ጀግንነት

ለሩህሩህ ልብ፤ ለለጋሽ እጆች

እንጠራራ ጨለማ የዋጣትን ምድር ለማዳን::

2012ን ስንሸኘው: ባለፈው አመት ካቀረብክዋቸው ሳሚንታዊ  ጽሁፎቼ  ትንሽ  ቅንጣቢ በመውሰድ ነው::

በጃንዋሪ 2012 የአፍሪካ ስፕሪንግ አለያም ‹‹የኢትዮጵያ ጸደይ›› ይመጣ እንደሆነ በማለት አግራሞቴን ጎላ አድርጌ አሰምቼ ነበር፡፡

የራሴን ጥያቄ በአልበርት ካሙስ ‹‹ዘ ሪቤል›› (ተቃዋሚ) በተባለው መጽሃፍ ሚስጥራዊ ትርጉም ውስጥ ሆኜ  መልሼ ነበር፡፡ ተቃዋሚ ምንድን ነው? ሲል ጠየቀ ካሙስ………… ‹‹እምቢ የሚል ሰው ………ዕድሜውን ሙል እሺ ጌቶቼ፤ እሺ እመቤቶቼ ሲል የኖረ ሰው በድንገት ያንገሸግሸውና ዳግም ትእዛዝ አልቀበልም ብሎ እምቢ ይላል፡፡ እምቢ ሲልስ ምን ማለቱ ነው? የሚለውማ፤ ለምሳሌ ‹‹ይሄ ትእዛዝ በዛ፤ እስካሁን ድረስ እሺ ከእንግዲህ ግን አሻፈረኝ፤ መጠናችሁን አጣችሁ፤›› ወይም  ‹‹እሺ ለማለትና ለመቀበል በቃ ለማለትም ገደብ አለው:: እምቢተኛው የራሱን ድምጸ ውሳኔ ካገኘበት ጊዜ አንስቶ……. ከአሻፈረኝ ሌላ ቃል ባይወጣውም፤ መመኘትና መዳኘት ይጀምራል፡፡ እምቢተኛው የሚሰጠውን ትእዛዝ በመጋተር ሊቋቋመው ከሚችለው በላይ የሚጫንበትን ትእዛዝ ላለመቀበል ይወስናል፡፡›› የአፍሪካ ስፐሪንግ አፍሪካውያን ኢትዮጵያንም ጨምሮ፤ከተጫነባቸው የግፍ ጫና እንቅልፋቸው ነቅተው በብሩሁ ጸደይ  ተነቃቅተው ‹‹አሻፈረኝ! በቃ ማለት በቃ ነው!›› ማለት ሲችሉ ነው፡፡

በማርች 2012 ኢትዮጵያ ከዲክታተርሺፕ አገዛዝ ወደ ዴሞክራሲያዊ አስተዳደር ትሸጋገራለች ብዬ በድፍረት ተንብዬ ነበር፡፡. ከዚሁ ጋርም   የዲክተተርሺፕ ማብቃት፤ በኢትዮጵያ የዴሞክራሲን መወለድ አያረጋግጥም ብዬም ነበር፡፡ከሚገረሰሰው የበሰበሰ ዲክታተርሺፕ ሊፈለፈል የሚችል የዴሞክራሲ ዕውነታ ሊኖር አይችልም፡፡ ዴሞክራሲን ለማምጣት በርካታ የሕብረት አድካሚ ስራዎች ያስፈልጉታል፡፡ኢትዮጵያን ከተጫነባት የፈላጭ ቆራጭ ዲክታተርሺፕ አገዛዝ ለማላቀቅና ከግፈኞችን በደል ከማይጠግቡ የዓመጻ ልጆች ለማላቀቅ ብዙ ጉልበትና አንድነት መስማማት ይጠይቃል፡፡ይህን ለማድረግ ደግሞ ዴሞክራሲያዊ የፖለቲካ ተቋማት፤ተግባራዊነትን የሚያረጋግጥ የፖለቲካ ድርጅት፤የሲቪል ማሕበረሰብ ስርአት እና የብራሀን ፋና ወጊ የሆነ የነጻው ዴሞክራቲክ ፕሬስ ትንሳኤ የግድ አስፈላጊ ነው፡፡

በኤፕሪል 2012 ለጀግናዬና አልበገር ባዩ የፔን በነጻነት የመጻፍ ሽልማት አሸናፊ ለሆነው እስክንድር ነጋ አንድ ልዩ አክብሮት መግለጫ ጽፌ ነበር፡፡ እስክንድር ነጋ (ለኔ አይበገሬው እስክንድር ነጋ)ሽብርተኛ ተብሎ በኢትዮጵያ አለሁ በሚለው ገዢ መንግስት ለእስር ተዳርጓል፡፡ እስክንድር ግን የጀግኖች ጀግና ነው፡፡ የእስክንድር ለእስር መዳረግ በበርካታ ያገባናል በሚሉ ታዋቂ ጋዜጠኞች፤ በተመሳሳይ ስቃዩ በያሉበት የደረሰባቸው ኬነዝ ቤስት፤(የላይቤርያው ኢንድፔንዳንት ዴይሊ ጋዜጣ መስራች) ሊዲያ ካቾ፤ዝነኛው የሜክሲኮ ጋዜጠኛ፤ የኢራኩ እውቅ ተቃዋሚ፤አክባር ጋንጂ: ፋራጂ ሳርኮሂ፤በሕንዱ ታዋቂ አሩን ሹውሪ፤እና በበርካታ ሌሎች የእስሩ ተቃዋሚዎች ትኩረት ተሰጥቶታል፡፡ለኔ እስክንድር ልዩ ጀግናዬ ነው፤ ምክንያቱም፤ከሃሳብና ከእውነት ውጪ መሳርያ የሌለው ተሟጋች ነውና፡፡ ቅጥፈትን: በእውነት ስለት ብዕሩ ብቻ ሰየፈው:: ተስፋ መቁረጥን በተስፋ፤ፍርሃትን በድፍረት፤ ቁጣን በምክንያታዊነት፤ዕብሪትን በትህትና፤መሃይምነትን በዕውቀት፤አለመቻቻልን በትዕግስት፤ጥርጣሬን በዕምነት፤ ጭካኔን ደግሞ በርህራሄ እስክንድር ተዋጋው›፡፡ እስክንድር አልበገሬው!

በሜይ 2012  ላይ የጂ 8 የምግብ ዋስትና ስብሰባ በሚካሄድበት በዋሽንግቶን ዲ ሲ ወጣቱ ኢትዮጵያዊ ጋዜጠኛ አበበ ገላው ድምጹን ከፍ አድርጎ ነጻነት! እስክንድር ነጋ ይፈታ!  በማለት ድምጹን ከፍ አድርጎ ተናገረ!  ያለፈው መለስ ዜናዊ በዚያ በነበረበት ቦታ ላይ እንደተደገመባት ድመት አንገቱን ሰብሮ በዝምታ ወጣቱ ጋዜጠኛ፤ መለስ ዜናዊ ዲክታተር ነው ሲል ሰማው!  እስክንድር ነጋ ይፈታ! የፖለቲካ እስረኞች ይፈቱ! አንተ ዲክታተር ነህ መለስ! በማለት አበበ የተቃውሞ ጥሪውን አሰማ፡፡ አንተ በሰብአዊ ፍጡሮች ላይ ወንጀል ፈጽመሃል፤ ያለ ነጻነት ምግብ ዋጋ ቢስ ነው፤ የፖለቲካ እስረኞችን ልቀቅ! ነጻነት! ነጻነት! ነጻነት ያስፈልገናል! አለው፡፡ ለአሜሪካን ሕብረተሰብ የ‹‹ሄክለር ቬቶ›› በእጅጉ ክብር የሚያስገኝ መብት ነው፡፡ ሃሳቡ በጣም ቀላል ነው፡፡ምንግዜም መንግስታት ናቸው በሃሳባቸው የማይስማሙትንና ተቃዋሚዎቻቸውን ዝም ለማሰኘት ማፈኛ የሚያበጁ፡፡ ‹‹በሄክለር ቬቶ›› ደግሞ ግለሰቦች ጉልበተኛንና መንገስትን ዝም ጸጥ ማሰኘት ይችላሉ፡፡ ጠረጴዛው የግልብጥ ሆነ፡፡ መለስ ዜናዊ በአበበ ገላው ተለጉሞ ጸጥ እንዲል ተደረገ፡፡ አበበ ድሕረ  ገጽ መጠርያ ስሙ አዲስ ድምጽ ትርጉሙን በአግባቡ  አሳወቀበት ‹‹ድምጻቸው የታፈነባቸው ድምጽ››::

በጁን 2012 በሙስሊሙና በክርስቲያኑ የሃይሞነት መሪዎች ሊከፋፍሏቸው ባለሙት ላይ ባሳዩት ሕብረት ተገርሜ ነበር፡፡ በቶሮንቶ በስደት ላይ የሚገኙት፤ታዋቂው የሙስሊሙ እምነት ተከታዮች መሪ፤ ለሁሉም ኢትዮጵያዊ ትምህርት የሚሆን መልዕክት አስተላለፉ፡፡‹‹ እንደምታውቁት ኢትዮጵያ ብዙ እምነቶች የሚከበሩባት ሃገር ናት፡፡ኢትዮጵያ ፣ሙሊሙና የኦርቶዶክስ እምነት ተከታይ ክርስቲያኖች በፍቅር ተከባብረው የኖሩባት ሃገር ለመሆኗ ታሪክ ይመሰክራል፡፡ አሁን እንኳነ 50ና 60 ዓመታት ጊዜ ውስጥ በኛው ዘመን፤አንዳችም ሁከትና አለመግባባት በመሃላቸው አይተን አናውቅም፡፡ ማንኛውንም ነገር የምናገኘው ሃገር ሲኖረን ነው፡፡ ሃይመኖት የግል ምርጫ ነው፡፡ ሃገር ደግሞ የጋራችን ነው:: ሃገር ከሌለ ሃይማኖትም አይኖርም፡፡……..እነሱ…ገዢዎቹ የገሃሪቱን መሬት ለውጭ ሰዎች ለባዕዳን እየሸጡት ነው፡፡ ተራፊውን ለም መሬትም ለራሳቸው ይዘውታል፡፡ ከሽያጩም የተገኘው ገንዘብ በሃገራችን አይቀመጥም፤ በግል ኪሳቸውና በሌላም ቦታ ባላቸው ኪሳቸው ነው፡፡ለመሆኑ አሁን የተረፈ ኢትዮጵያዊ ትውልድ አለ? በዩኒቬርሲቲ ለመማር የሚመዘገቡትም ቢሆኑ ሞራላቸው በተስፋ ማጣት ተዳክሟል፤በጫት ተለክፏል፤በሲጋራ ሱስ ተበክለዋል፤፡ ገዢው መንግስት ትውልዱን አጥፍተውታል፡፡

በጁላይ 2012 የፕሬዜዳንት ማንዴላን 94ኛ ዓመት የልደት በዓላቸውን በግሌ የአከባበር ስርአት አድርጌ ነበር፡፡ በጤንነትና በደስታ ረጂም ተጨማሪ ዓመታት እመኝላቸዋለሁ፡፡ ማዲባ ልክ እንደጋንዲ ለኔ ዋነኛ መኩሪያ የመንፈሴ አነሳሥ ናቸው፡፡ ማዲባና ጋንዲ ካለአንዳች ፍርሃት ዕውነትን ለባለስልጣናት ሲያውጁ ነበር፡፡ ለማዲባ፤ ጋንዲ፤ ማርቲን ሉተር ኪነግ: እውነተኛ የሰብአዊ መብት ተሟጋች፤ የፖለቲካ ፍላጎት ጨርሶ የሌለበት ነው:: የሰብአዊ መብት ፖለቲካ የሰብአዊ ክብር ነው እንጂ የፖለቲካ ዘይቤ፤የፖለቲካ መጎዳኘትም፤አለያም የፖለቲካ ስልጣን ፍቅር አይደለም፡፡ ቁርጠኛ የሆነ የሰብአዊ መብት ጠበቃ፤ለተሸለ ተስፋና ሕልም እውነታ የቆመ ነው፡፡እኔ ለብዙ ዓመታት በኢትዮጵያ ሰብአዊ መብት ጉዳይና በፈላጭ ቆራጭ ገዢዎች ላይ በርካታ መሟገቻ ጦማሮች አቅርቤያለሁ:: ይህ ጥረቴ ደግሞ አፋጣኝ ፖለቲካዊ ለውጥ ወይም አፋጣኝ መዋቅራዊ ለውጥ እንደሚያስገኙ እገምተለሁ፡፡ ይህንንም ለረጂም ጊዜ በማድረግ የቆየሁበት ሰበብ፤ስለሰብአዊ መብት መሟገት፤ መከራከር፤ ጥብቅና መቆም የገዢዎችን ድክመት ይፋ ማውጣት ልክ ስለሆነና ጥሩና የሞርል ጉዳይም ስለሆነ ነው፡፡

በኦገስት 2012 ይፋ ባልሆነና ባልታወቀ ሕመም በሞት ለተለየን መለስ ዜናዊ ስንብት አደረኩ፡፡ ስንብት ለመፃፍ በጣም አስቸጋሪ ነበር፡፡ ለሁለት መቶ ሰባ አምስት ሳምንታት፤አንድም ሳምንት ሳይታለፍ፤ለሁለት አሰርት ዓመታት ኢትዮጵያን ሲገዛ በነበረው ሰው ላይ ያደረሰውን በደልና የፈጸመውን ግፍ በተመለከተ በማጋለጥ በርካታ ጦማሮች አቅርቤያለሁ፡፡ በ2005 ያ ሁሉ የዜጎች ጭፍጨፋ ባይፈጸምና 200 ንጹሃን ዜጎች በጠራራ ጠሃይ በጎዳና ላይ ለሞት ባይዳረጉ፤ ከ800 በላይ ቁስለኛ ባይደረጉ፤መለስ ዜናዊንና እኔን የሚያገናኘን ጉዳይ አይኖረም ነበር::  ዕጣ ፈንታ መለስ በኢትዮጵያ ውስጥ ታሪካዊ ሚና እንዲጫወት መርጦት ነበር፡፡ ለ17 ዓመታት ኢትዮጵያ ውስጥ ዲክቴተር ሆኖ ሲገዛ የነበረ ውን ወታደራዊ ጁንታ አሸንፎ ከገቡት የቡድኑ መሪዎች አንዱ ነበር፡፡ በድል ወቅት መለስ ስለ ዴሞክራሲያዊ ተግባራዊነት ምሎ ተገዝቶ፤ ልማትን ለማፋጠንምና ሃገርን ለመገንባት ቃሉን ሰጥቶ ነበር፡፡ ግና ዓመታቱ እየጨመሩና እያለፉ ሲሄዱ ቁጥር መለስ ጨቋኝ እየሆነ፤ትዕግስቱ ቅጥ እያጣ፤ አምባገነናዊ ትምከተኛ እየሆነ፤ከተካው ገዢ የበለጠ ጨካኝና ጨቁአኝ እየሆነ መጣ፡፡ በመጨረሻዎቹ ዘመኑ ላይ ብዙ የደህንነት አባላት ካድሬዎች የሚታገዝ የፖለስ ስርአተ መንግስት ፈጠረ፡፡ ዜጎች እንዳይነቃነቁና በነጻ እንዳያስቡ ቁጥጥሩን አጠናከረ፡፡ የሲቪሉን ማህበረሰብ ተቋማትንና የነጻውን ፕሬስ አባላት መወንጀል ያዘ፡፡ በሃገሪቱ የሩቅ ገጠር ሳይቀር ዘልቀው በመግባት ሕዘቡ ላይ  የግፍ ጫናቸውን አራገፉበት፡፡ ከ21 ዓመታት በላይ መለስ ስልጣኑን የሙጢኝ ብሎ ከጫካው ይዞት የመጣውን የፍትሕን ሰይፍ በግሉና ለራሱ ብቻ ጨብጦ፤ለመበታተኛነት እያዋለው፤ ሃሳቡን የሚሞግቱትንና ተቃዋሚዎችን በማስፈራራትና በደጋፊዎቻቸው ላይ ውንጀላና መጉላላትን እያካሄደ ፍጹም አምባገነናዊ በመሆነ ኖረ፡፡ ስልጣንን ከምንም በላይ አድርጎ በማየት ዕድል ሰጥቶት የነበረውን ቀጠሮ ስቶ በኢትዮጵያ አቻ የሌለው መሪ ሊባል የሚችልበትን ቀጠሮ አፋለሰ፡፡

በሴፕቴምበር 2012 የፕሬዜዳንት ኦባማን ዳግም ምርጫ ለምን እንደደገፍኩት አስረዳሁ፡፡ በመጀመርያ የምርጫ ዐመታቸው በአፍሪክ ውስጥ ስለነበራቸው አመለካከትና እንቅስቃሴ የሰብአዊ መብት መደፈር ቅሬታ ቢኖረኝም፤የፕሬዜዳንቱን ድጋሚ ምርጫ የመደገፌን መነሾ በሚገባ ገልጫለሁ፡፡ ፕሬዜዳንት ኦባማ በገቡት ቃል መሰረት ለአፍሪካ መልካም አስተዳደር የሰብአዊ መብት መከበርን፤ ዴሞክራሲያዊ ሁኔታን አስገኝተዋል? በኢትዮጵያ የሰብአዊ መብት መከበርን አረጋግጠዋል? በጭራሽ! ፕሬዜዳንት ኦባማ በአክራ ጋና በገቡት ቃል መሰረት ምንም ባለማድረጋቸውና ቃላቸውን ባለመጠበቃቸው ኢትዮጵያዊያን አሜርካዊያን ቅር ተሰኝተዋል:: አስተዳደራቸውስ በኢትዮጵያ ላለው ዲክታተራዊ ገዢዎች ስለሚያደርገው ድጋፍስ፤ አዎን እናስታውሳለን ፕሬዜዳንት ኦባማ ያን የመሰለ ንግግር በማድረግ በአፍሪካ ውስጥ ጠንካራና ጤናማ አስተዳደር እንደሚያስፈልግ አድርገው እንደነበር፡፡ ሁላችንም ይህን አስመልክተው ምን እንዳሉ የምናስታውሰው ነው፡፡ ‹‹አፍሪካ ጡንቻማ መሪዎች አይደሉም የሚያስፈልጓት፤ የፈረጠመና መልካም አስተዳደራዊ ተቋም እንጂ›› ‹‹ልማት መሰረቱ መልካም አስተዳደር ነው›› ገዢዎች ኤኮኖሚውን የሚበዘብዙት ሃገር ጨርሶ ሊለማ አይችልም›› እነዚህን ቃላቶች ለይስሙላ ያሉዋቸው ናቸው ወይስ ከምር አምነውባቸው? ዕውነቱ መውጣት አለበት፤ ፕሬዜዳንቱ ያደረጉት አለያም ያላደረጉት መልካም አስተዳደርን፤ዴሞክራሲያዊ ስርአትን፤የሰብአዊ መብት መከበርን በኢትዮጵያ አለማስገኘቱ፤ እኛ እራሳችን ባለጉዳዮቹ በርካታ ቁጥር ያለን ኢትዮጵያዊያን አሜሪካውያን ያደረግነው አለያም ያላደረግነው ጋር የተለያየ አይደለም፡፡ ይሄ ነው የሚጎመዝዘው እውነትና መቀበልና ማመን ያለብን፡፡

በኦክቶበር 2012 ስለሴቶችና ጡት ካንሰር ጥንቃቄ በኢትዮጵያ አንድ ጦማር አቅርቤ ነበር፡፡ በሃገር ውስጥም ሆነ በዲያስፖራው ኢትዮጵያዊያን መሃል ስለ አንዳንድ በሽታዎች ሚስጥራዊነት ጎጂ ባሕል አለን፡፡ ሁለቱ በድብቅ የተከተቱ በሽታዎች ካንሰርና ኤች አይ ቪ ኤይድስ ናቸው፡፡ባህሉም በሽታዎቹን እስከመጨረሻው ድረስ: ከሞትም በኋላ ደመደብቅ ነው፡፡ ይህን አስከፊና አሳዛኝ ባህል በቅርቡ በመለስ ዜናዊ ሞት መስክረነዋል፡፡ የመለስ በሽታና የሞቱ መንስኤ ሚስጥራዊነቱ በጥብቅ የሚጠበቅ የሃገር ሚስጢር ሆኗል፡፡ በስፋት እንደሚታመነው የሞተው በአእምሮ ካንሰር ነው ይባላል፡፡ ይህ በሚስጢር የመያዝ ባህላችን በርካታ ኢትዮጵያዊያኖችን ለሕልፈተ ሞት ዳርጓል፡፡ ለምሳሌ በአሜሪካን ሃገር በጉልህ የሚታወቅና የታይ የሕመም መደበቅ ባህላችን በርካታ ወገኖቻችንን ለሞት ዳርጓል፤ በዚህም ሳቢያ ብዙዎች ቅድመ ምርመራ በማድረግ በጊዜው ሊደርሱበት የሚችሉትን በሽታቸውን በሚስጢር በመያዝና ቅድመ ምርመራውም የሚያስከትለውን ውጤት ለማወቅ ካለመፈለግና በመፈራት በርካቶች ለሞት ተዳርገዋል፡፡ ካንሰርን በተመለከተ ሚስጥር ማድረግን ቅድመ ምርመራን አለማድረግ በራስ ላይ የሞት ደረሰኝ እንደመቁረጥ ያለ ነው፡፡

በኖቬምበር 2012 ማስታወሻዬ፡፡ በጁን 6-8 እና በኖቬምበር 1-4 በመለስ ዜናዊ ቀጥተኛ ትእዛዝና ቁጥጥር በዚያው ዓመት በሜይ የተካሄደውን ፓርላማዊ ምርጫ አስመልክቶ መብትና ሕገመንግስት ይከበርልን በማለት ባዶ እጃቸውን አደባባይ የወጡትን ንጹሃን ዜጎች ጭፍጨፋና ግፋዊ ግድያ አስታወስኩ፡፡ ሕጋዊ ሆኖ የተመረጠው አጣሪ ኮሚሽን ይፋ ባደረገው ዘገባ ባቀረበው መሰረት ከሰላማዊ ሰልፈኞቹ መሃል የመንግስት ሚዲያ እንዳለው አንድም ሰው ጠመንጃም/ሽጉጥ አለያም የእጅ ቦንብ የያዘ አልነበረም፡፡ በመንግስት ወታደሮችና የደህንነት ሰዎች የተተኮሱት ጥይቶች ሰልፈኛውን ለመበተን ተብለው የታለሙ ሳይሆኑ ደረትና ጭንቅላት ላይ ለመግደል ተብለው የተተኮሱ ነበሩ፡፡ ‹‹በወቅቱ የ29 ዓመቱን ኢትዮጵያዊ መምህርና የሰብአዊ መብት ተሟጋችና በደቡብ ኢትዮጵያ በ11/11/11 እራሱን በእሳት አቃጥሎ የተሰዋውን የዳውሮ ዞን ነዋሪውን የኔሰው ገብሬንም አስታውሻለሁ፡፡ የኔ ሰው በደረሰበት ቃጠሎ ከሶስት ቀናት በኋላ በሆስፒታል ሕይወቱ አልፏል፡፡ በስብሰባው አዳራሽ በራፍ ላይ ለነበሩትም ያስተላለፈው መልዕክት ‹‹መልካም አስተዳደርና ፍትሕ በሌለበት ሃገር፤ ሰብአዊ መብት በማይከበርበት ሃገር፤ እነዚህ ወጣቶች ነጻ እንዲሆኑ እኔ እራሴን አቃጥላለሁ›› ነበር፡፡

በዲሴምበር 2012 የሱዛን ራይስን የአሜሪካ የዉጭ ጉዳይ ሚኒስቴር ሹመትን በጥብቅ ተቃዉሜ ነበር፡፡ የወቅቱ የአሜሪካ የተባበሩት መንግስታት አምባሳደር፤ ከዘመነኞቹ የአፍሪካ ፈላጭ ቆራጭ ገዢዎች ጋር በሚፈጥሙት ግፍና በደል ሙዚቃ አብራቸው እስክስታዋን ሱዛን ራይስ ታቀልጠው ነበር፡፡ በኤፕሪል 6 በሩዋንዳ ተቀስቅሶ ያለውንና በሚሊሺያዎች የተነሳሳውን ኢንተርሃምዌ: ራይስና ሌሎችም የአሜሪካን ባለስልጣናት አስቀድመው አውቀውት ነበር፡፡ በሩዋንዳ ከሚገኘው የተባበሩት መንግስታት ቢሮ ስለ ጉዳዩ የእለት ተእለት መግለጫ ይደርሳቸው ነበር፡፡ በዚህም ባለስልጣኖቹ የዘር ማጥፋት ሂደት መጸነሱን አውቀውታል፡፡ በአዲስ አበባ በሴፕቴምበር 2 እና በኒውዮርክ በተካሄደው የመለስ ዜናዊ ሞት መታሰቢያ ስንብት ያቀረበችው  ከንቱ ውደሴ በእጅጉ አሳፋሪና ከአንድ የመንግስት ተወካይ ከፍተኛ ባለስልጣን የማይጠበቅ ነበር፡፡ ራይስ በመለስ ዜናዊ ቀጥተኛ ትእዛዝ ለሞት የተዳረጉትን ንጹሃን ዜጎች ከምንም አልቆጠረቻቸውም፡፡ በመለስ ትእዛዝ በወህኒ ሃሳባቸውን ስለገለጹና ሕዝብ ማወቅ ያለበትን ስላሳወቁ፤ የመንግስትን ሕጸጽ ይፋ ስላወጡ ብቻ ሕገመንግስታዊና ሰብአዊ መብታቸው ተገፎ ለወህኒ የተዳረጉትን ሁሉ ችላ ከማለት ባለፈ ትታቸዋለች፡፡ራይስ በሩዋንዳ የተፈጸመውን ግድያና ጭፍጨፋ ሆን ብላ ላለማየት አሁንም ካለፈ በኋላ ላለማስታወስ አይኗን ጨፍናለች፡፡ በኢትዮጵያም የተካሄደውንና እሁንም በመካሄድ ላይ ያለውን ጭፍጨፋ ግፍና በደል ግድያ እስራት እያወቀችና እየተረዳች አይኔን ግንባር ያድርገው ብላ ክዳለች፡፡ አሜሪካ ‹‹እያየሁ አላየሁም;; ‹‹እየሰማሁ አልሰማሁም›› ‹‹ብናገርም አልተነፈስኩም›› የሚል የዉጭ ጉዳይ ሚኒስቴር አያስፈልጋትም፡፡ አሜሪካ የሚያስፈልጋት የሃገር እስተዳዳር፤ በሰብአዊ መብትና በመንግስት ሕገወጥነት መሃል ያለውን ልዩነት የሚመለከትና የሚያውቅ የዉጭ ጉዳይ አስተዳዳሪ ነው የሚያስፈልጋት፡፡

እንጠራራ! ለሁሉም ሰብአዊ ፍጡራን ሰላምና ደህንነት በ2013፡፡ ሁላችንም ስለሰብአዊ መብት መከበርና የመንግስታትን እኩይ ተግባር በማጋለጥ ረገድ አብረን እንንቀሳቀስ!

ፕሮፌስር ዓለማየሁ ገብረማርያም በካሊፎርኒያ ስቴት ዩኒቨርሲቲ ሳን በርናርዲኆ የፖሊቲካ ሳይንስ መምሀርና የህግ ጠበቃ ናችው።

*የተቶረገመው ጽሁፍ (translated from):  http://open.salon.com/blog/almariam/2012/12/29/ring_in_redress_to_all_humankind

(ይህን ጦማር ለሌሎችም ያካፍሉ::) ካሁን በፊት የቀረቡ የጸሃፊው ጦማሮችን  ለማግኘት እዚህ ይጫኑ::

http://www.ecadforum.com/Amharic/archives/category/al-mariam-amharic 

http://ethioforum.org/?cat=24

 

 

DLA Piper, a hired gun for rogue nations

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

DLA Piper chief executive Nigel Knowles poses with Obama

A Newsweek article by Joshua Kurlantzick points out the shameful activities of some law/lobbying firms in Washington DC that are hired guns for criminal regimes around the world who are terrorizing their people. The most notorious among them is DLA Piper that receives over $50,000 per month from the genocidal junta in Ethiopia for lobbying U.S. Government officials to play down the brutal repression in the country. DLA Piper has also been trying to shut down Ethiopian Review on behalf of the Meles regime’s moneyman Al Amoudi. The effects of DLA Piper’s lobbying has been disastrous to Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa region. Its client, the regime in Ethiopia, has been committing unspeakable atrocities through out Ethiopia and the region with impunity while getting billions of dollar in assistance from the US. In Ogaden and Gambella regions of Ethiopia, the regime’s troops wiped out entire villages, as documented by international human rights groups. The U.S. Government, which is quick to point out human rights violations around the world, has said little about Ethiopian regime’s crimes, due in large part to DLA Piper’s lobbying effort.

The Hired Guns: When leaders of rogue nations hire Washington lobbyists, opposition voices get crowded out.

By Joshua Kurlantzick | Newsweek

Once the province of a few fringe players operating on the margins of Washington, lobbying for foreign countries has become big business for the most prestigious firms in D.C. According to data from the Department of Justice, the number of registrants—forms submitted by people registered to represent foreign countries—grew from about 1,800 in the first half of 2005 to 1,900 in the first half of 2009, the most recent data available. Human-rights activists say there has been a steeper rise, particularly in terms of dollars spent, among some of the most brutal regimes on earth, including several sanctioned by the U.S. for their human-rights abuses.

The Republic of the Congo spent $1.5 million on lobbying and PR firms and other representation in the first half of 2009 alone, according to reports compiled by the Justice Department. Angola, one of the most corrupt nations in the world, spent more than $3 million in that period. Teodoro Nguema Obiang, the brutal dictator of African petrostate Equatorial Guinea, who took power more than three decades ago in a coup, has hired the law firm of former Bill Clinton aide Lanny Davis to lobby on his behalf, for the annual sum of $1 million. (Davis says the arrangement is contingent on Obiang’s progress on human-rights issues.) Chris Walker, of the NGO Freedom House, says this is all a reflection of the fact that “authoritarian regimes recognize there is a greater payoff in participating in and influencing the decision-making process, rather than sitting it out.”

In the past, foreign lobbying by rogues in Washington was a relatively small game. Nazi agents lobbying in Washington before World War II had tainted the whole enterprise, a stain that would take decades to erase. Though allies like Japan or Britain could find representation, the task of shilling for the nastiest governments fell to those like Edward von Kloberg III. Wearing a cape and calling himself “Baron,” a made-up honor, he represented Saddam Hussein and Nicolae Ceausescu, among others. Many developing nations, including China, meanwhile, had little idea how to win influence in Washington through lobbying. China has built a lobby since its harsh experience in 2005, when Congress, playing upon a strong anti-China sentiment among constituents, scuttled an attempt by China National Offshore Oil Corp. to purchase American petroleum firm Unocal. Now even new regimes waste no time finding their men in Washington. After seizing power in a coup last summer, and facing immediate criticism from the Obama administration, Honduras’s new military rulers quickly spent at least $400,000 to hire powerful American firms to lobby for them.

One result is that lobbying has become less transparent. U.S. law requires lobbyists to disclose all contracts with foreign clients, but the reality is that filings about foreign clients offer little information, and some lobbyists simply don’t file. “I was so careful to document every phone call, every meeting, and then I found that some other people, they don’t file at all,” says one lobbyist who works extensively with foreign clients. “Does anything happen to them? Not really.” Since the mid-1960s, in fact, the U.S. government has never successfully prosecuted anyone for violating the disclosure rules.

The rise in foreign lobbying may have also compromised the policymaking of current and future U.S. government officials. With little oversight, lobbyists can represent the most repressive regimes and then turn around and work in government. According to John Newhouse, author of a forthcoming book on the influence of foreign lobbies on American policies, one of John McCain’s senior foreign-policy advisers during his 2008 campaign, Randy Scheunemann, simultaneously worked for McCain and as a paid adviser to the government of Georgia, which had been accused of human-rights violations. Despite McCain’s reputation as a leading champion of human rights, Scheunemann largely escaped questions about whether his lobbying might have affected his foreign-policy advice to the powerful senator. Similarly, while at Cassidy & Associates, lobbyist Amos Hochstein oversaw the Equatorial Guinea account, which required him to argue the merits of one of the most repressive regimes on earth. Still, after leaving Cassidy, Hochstein landed a prominent job on the (ill-fated) 2008 presidential campaign of Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd, a politician also known for his longstanding human-rights advocacy. Now Hochstein says he helped “move the ball forward on human rights” in the country.

Lobbying can turn down the pressure on authoritarian regimes. After years of intense lobbying, Equatorial Guinea’s Obiang managed to transform his image in Washington from a venal autocrat into a solid American ally and buddy of U.S. business. In 2006 he strode out of a meeting at Foggy Bottom with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who declared him “a good friend.” Last year Obiang met with Obama for a public photo op, which is coveted by foreign leaders. Similarly, according to several congressional staffers, the authoritarian regime in Kazakhstan won support for its chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe by hiring lobbyists to help quiet congressional critics of Kazakhstan’s human-rights record. Ethiopia’s lobbying, meanwhile, has helped to defuse charges that the government has turned increasingly authoritarian. In a memo sent to congressional offices, DLA Piper, representing Ethiopia, argued, “The terms ‘political prisoners’ and ‘prisoners of conscience’ are undefined and mischaracterize the situation in Ethiopia,” and should be removed from a bill that condemned the Ethiopian regime for detaining opposition activists.

All this has taken a toll. Many democratic countries retain lobbyists in Washington to handle issues like trade disputes or intellectual-property challenges. But in those free countries, human-rights activists or opponents of the government could hire their own lobbyists in Washington and make their cases to the American government. Not so in the world’s most repressive countries. Though there are rare exceptions, like the Tibetan government in exile, most human-rights activists in authoritarian countries cannot make the close connections in Washington, or come up with the funds needed to match the lobbying of leaders like Obiang. The result: while thugs get heard in Washington, the voices of their opponents remain silent.

(With R. M. Schneiderman in New York. Kurlantzick is a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.)

Gen. Samora Yenus in a German hospital – update

Friday, December 28th, 2012

UPDATE – December 28, 2012: Ethiopian Review sources are reporting that armed forces chief of staff Gen. Samora Yenus is back in a Germany hospital. In August, we reported that Samora, looking frail, returned to Addis Ababa to attend dictator Meles Zenawi’s funeral, and that he will return to the hospital.

UPDATE – August 21, 2012: Samora Yenus has been observed at Bole Airport today along with other TPLF junta officials receiving Meles Zenawi’s body. Our sources have verified that he returned to Addis Ababa two days ago from Germany, but he will return to continue his medical treatment.

Samora YenusThe late Ethiopian dictator Meles Zenawi’s military chief of staff, Gen. Samora Yenus, is currently in Essen, Germany, receiving medical treatment.

Doctors at Essen University Hospital have diagnosed Samora with Pneumocystis Carinii Pneumonia, which is a symptom of AIDS, according to Ethiopian Review Intelligence Unit sources.

Samora was taken to Bole Airport by ambulance after he collapsed following a TPLF meeting last week, and flown to Germany.

Lt. General Seare Mekonnen is now in charge of the armed forces in Ethiopia, Ethiopian Review sources in Addis Ababa reported.

In Ethiopia, a daily struggle for clean water (video)

Thursday, December 27th, 2012

In the first in a series of collaborative reports about water problems around the world, Fred de Sam Lazaro of PBS reports on the shortage of potable water in Ethiopia and how the effort required to maintain existing watering points affects millions of people every day.

Transcript

WOMAN (through translator): We have no choice, this is the only option we have. We’re really desperate. We don’t have strength and we don’t have donkeys. Yes, my children are always getting ill, stomach aches, stomach aches, stomach aches.

FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Keria Salo must balance concerns about her kids health against the perils of walking miles to what is called a community water point, or sometimes to an open pond or a river.

WOMAN (through translator): We usually go to the town to get water, but, even there, we always have to fight for a place in line. If you’re not from that area, you don’t get first preference. When you go further out, you always run into conflicts. The people with access to water are stronger.

FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Perhaps three quarters of Ethiopia’s population do not have easy access to clean drinking water.

FRED DE SAM LAZARO: It causes ripples throughout society. At a nearby school, the principal says water chores fall mostly to girls, who often come late or not at all.

ZERIHUN TEKLE, principal (through translator): It causes severe problems like dropouts, coming late, repeating classes, just regressing in terms of education. Plus, when they go further in the summer, when there’s less water, they get beaten up or abducted for marriages, which is another problem.

FRED DE SAM LAZARO: For years, development experts thought, if they just put in enough water points, the problem would be solved. It didn’t take long for many they did install to stop functioning, says Meselich Seyoum, who works for a Britain-based non-government organization called Water Aid.

MESELICH SEYOUM, Water Aid: In most cases, those failures happened because there was no involvement of community from the beginning. There was this feeling of, we know what’s good for the people, and then we just go in, put the system, and leave. There was — there was no ownership, and there was no capacity of the community, not knowing how to even manage the system, so that it can last for a longer period of time.

FRED DE SAM LAZARO: She says her agency now works in partnership with groups based in the country and with local communities.

In the village of Falka, this well-used facility was designed by an Ethiopian non-government group, Water Action. Because it’s arid here, the well is more than 1,000 feet deep and the water pumped up has to be treated for excessive fluoride.

Under the new approach, the aid groups provide engineering and scientific expertise, but it’s the villagers who must chip in, at least with their labor. In Falka, the community was given ownership and responsibility to maintain this facility. Every household pays about 50 cents a week, a rate set by local leaders. So far, the user fees have generated a fund balance of more than $1,000.

ABARRASH MUNATI, committee member (through translator): We have seven committee members who collect the money. They also educate on health issues. They bring it in once a week. So far, we have not had any complaints.

FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Abarrash Munati is on a committee set up by community leaders to manage the water point. She lacks much formal education, but she knows about her community’s system and what it has accomplished.

ABARRASH MUNATI (through translator): The white tank takes water from down below. The blue one treats this thing fluoride, which we hear is bad for people. Our kids used to suffer from diarrhea, stomach aches, typhoid. It was also difficult for us to keep clean because we couldn’t get water and we couldn’t afford it. Plus, also, pregnant women would have to go a long way to get water. We had a lot of miscarriages.

FRED DE SAM LAZARO: The fact that Abarrash Munati does not have to spend hours every day fetching water allows her time to be productive in other ways. And her family’s relative affluence is immediately visible in this home when you see these bags, stockpiles of cereals good for months for her family.

Her husband, Muhammad Hajji Siraj, agrees life is a lot easier for him and their five children.

MUHAMMAD HAJJI SIRAJ, Ethiopia (through translator): When she was away, we had to tend the farm, as well as the household. When the kids want their mommy, we have to tend them. Also, when they are late, we have to leave home and go in search of them. Now, with water closer by, we don’t have to worry about such things.

FRED DE SAM LAZARO: They also don’t have to worry about interruptions in their water supply. Several local residents have been trained to maintain it. Some day, they plan to install another water point.

The key question, why are villages like Falka so rare? Experts say there isn’t enough money to cover all of rural Ethiopia. Yet, at the same time, only a fraction of funds the government has set aside have been spent.

Adane Kassa heads the group Water Action.

ADANE KASSA, Water Action: Fund scarcity, on one hand, is a problem, but, in reality, fund absorption is also a problem. This is because of the lack of — of capacity, capacity in terms of manpower, absorption, capacity in terms manpower and skills.

FRED DE SAM LAZARO: That shows up in the report card from regions like Alaba, where the village of Falka is located, says Nuredin Hassan Lamacho, a regional government executive

NUREDIN HASSAN LAMACHO, regional government executive (through translator): So far, we have 16 dug wells. In addition, with help of governments and donors and our administration, we have dug a total of 34 boreholes. But this only reaches a third of the population. Two-thirds remain without clean water access.

FRED DE SAM LAZARO: At the rate they’re going, he says, it will take 40 years to get a source of clean water to every village in his jurisdiction. So, mud puddles and risky treks will continue to be a way of life.

SMNE Message for Christmas

Tuesday, December 25th, 2012

Ethiopia can be transformed but the change we seek should start from within our own souls and hearts

Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia (SMNE)

smne logo

 

December 25, 2012

Dear Colleagues and Friends;

As many of our fellow Ethiopians of Christian faith gather with family and friends over the next days to celebrate one of the most important of Christian holidays, we in the SMNE (the Board Members, Task Force Leaders, Volunteers and Interns) want to extend our warmest greetings. Whether you are Christian, Muslim, Jewish or of another belief, this can be a time to reflect on how we might bring good will, encouragement and help to others we know or meet as well as to those—some of whom are loved ones—who are struggling back home in Ethiopia or in another foreign country throughout the world where they may have sought refuge. The real stories of these people tell us of the great effort it takes to just survive. All of the problems we Ethiopians are facing within the country or outside of it are because we lack freedom, justice, security and prosperity in our homeland.

If we had a government which cared about all the people and gave them equal opportunity, we may not be hearing the heartbreaking stories of Ethiopians suffering throughout the world as they seek a better life outside their country that boasts of double-digit economic growth. Please open this links below to view the sad and shocking details of the numbers New Arrivals in Yemen Comparison 2009-2012 and difficulties being faced by these Ethiopians and others from the Horn of Africa. http://www.solidaritymovement.org/downloads/121221-New-Arrivals-in-Yemen-Comparison-2009-Nov-2012.pdf Those remaining in Ethiopia have a daily struggle to just provide for themselves and their families.

 

Ethiopia has become a country where the poor have been neglected while those with power go after the most vulnerable for the little they have. Land is confiscated in the rural areas and homes are bulldozed down in the cities. The people are displaced and forgotten. The disparity of power, voice and control has created an impenetrable ceiling which obstructs the majority from ever rising above it despite hard work, perseverance and talent. 

 

The message of Christmas is that Christ came for all—that there is no obstruction or favoritism. This same principle of serving all people as equally valuable and worthy of justice and opportunity—rather than just ethnic group or elitist group—should also apply to the Ethiopian government if a society is going to be healthy, successful and prosperous. In fact, Christianity teaches that those who push others aside and trample on their rights will be last, at best, while the meek and poor of the world will be first.

Those of us of Abrahamic faith backgrounds—Jews, Muslims and Christians—can embrace the rightness of this kind of justice, liberty and dignity for all people. It is also a universal value. Look at the struggle of Ethiopian Muslims right now as many rise up to seek freedom to worship without government interference—a right enshrined in the Ethiopian Constitution—but also a God-given principle. God has always wanted hearts freely and wholly given to Him—not forced or manipulated. Nothing short of that really means anything to Him. This is why no genuine religious group wants the government to appoint their leaders. Now, many Muslim leaders are locked up in jail for demanding such freedom as well as dignity, truth and the respect for human rights. 

Countless other courageous and principled Ethiopians share their plight. Just this week, Eskinder Nega, Reeyot Alemu, Woubshet Taye and Mesfin Negash were honored with awards from Human Rights Watch for their brave efforts to freely express themselves in one of the most repressive countries for journalists in all of Africa. The first three are imprisoned but Mesfin Negash was forced to leave the country. He is one of many Ethiopians who have left the country to escape imprisonment or other harsh consequences for speaking the truth.

We grieve as we hear repeated reports of the young Ethiopian women and men who are so desperate to support their families and to find a future for themselves that they become easy prey for human traffickers, unscrupulous maid recruiters or exploitive employers; often ending up living under such deplorable circumstances in some Middle Eastern countries that they have been driven to take desperate actions; sometimes against others, sometimes against themselves.

As you can see from the map of the Mixed Migration in Horne of Africa and Yemen linked below http://www.solidaritymovement.org/downloads/121221-November-2012-Map.pdf. At great risk of harm, over the last year, tens or hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians have embarked to places unknown only to end up in dire, if not deadly, situations. You can also see the link to learn more about the Regional mixed migration summary for November 2012 covering mixed migration events, trends and data for Djibouti, Eritrea/Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Puntland, Somalia, Somaliland and Yemen. http://www.solidaritymovement.org/downloads/121221-RMMS-Monthly-Summary-November-2012.pdf

Just reading the news over the last few months will tell of Ethiopians detained in Yemen, Tanzania, Malawi, Kenya, South Africa, Egypt, Malta, Libya, Israel, Norway, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates. We in the SMNE try to do our best to help where there are problems but the need is overwhelming and is impossible to adequately address.

As Ethiopians gather together here in the Diaspora, many worry about family members at home or are feeling a loss because some of their loved ones are missing from their tables. They may not know their whereabouts or may not know about the conditions of these family and friends because they are imprisoned or have left the country. Some may have died.

Even though the situation appears grim, we can still be hopeful. When we first look, we may miss the light at the end of the tunnel, but look again. God has not abandoned us, Ethiopians. He is still sovereign over the earth. With God’s help, Ethiopia can be transformed but the change we seek should start from within our own souls and hearts, changing us and then leading us to educate those who have taken the property, opportunity, freedom, justice and dignity from others and think it is okay.

There is a penalty within the person who commits these crimes—it is a lost soul. When we lose our souls, we have nothing but darkness and emptiness, regardless of our material possessions. We should not be blinded by short-term pleasures so we lose our way in this life. Part of losing our way is turning away from the pain and misery of our fellow Ethiopian brothers and sisters when we can help do something about it. They are us—part of the body of Ethiopians, part of our family. 

On the other hand, not a single Ethiopian leader or organization can plant freedom in the minds of Ethiopians where the people have cooperated in their own enslavement to fear, passivity and inaction. That flawed image of ourselves does not come from God but is grounded in the feudalism of Haile Selassie, the communism of Mengistu and the dehumanizing ethnic tribalism of Meles Zenawi—all dictatorial regimes that sought to control the people through fear, terror, division and the devaluing of others. These lies about ourselves have made us forget our God-given human worth, dignity and potential, endowed to each of us through our Creator.

Fear is a powerful but well-used tactic of any repressive regime and freedom can only emerge in Ethiopia as people begin to reclaim their God-given dignity. This includes reclaiming the God-given dignity for others; putting humanity before ethnicity or any other distinctions and caring about each and every human being for no one will be free until all are free. Hope alone cannot do the work. Neither can it be done by the SMNE or other groups alone. Instead, with God’s help, each of us can contribute our share to transform Ethiopia into a hospitable home for its people. May God remind us to see others as we see ourselves and may we listen closely to God’s call to stand up for righteousness as the best path to a New Ethiopia.

Dear Colleagues, Friends and Esteem Supporters;

At this time will you please consider making a donation to the SMNE. Part of working together to reach this goal of making Ethiopia a real home for our people is by doing our share. No matter how much you believe in this effort, we in the SMNE must raise a significant amount of support to cover the expenses of this work. Can you consider giving a regular monthly gift of $20 or more or an end-of-the-year donation to cover a budget short-fall and to launch new efforts in 2013? You may use a bank/credit card for this transaction. This is the best option for international donors. Here is the link: http://www.solidaritymovement.org/donate.php for those who choose to donation/recurrent donation and enter an amount. Please encourage others to contribute $20 a month or more. We have been trying to find 120 people who can contribute $20 a month. Is there any way you can help us spread the world? We cannot do it without you. Whatever you can do to help will be greatly appreciated. Please see our website for instructions for online giving or send a check or money order to: SMNE, P.O. Box 857, Stillwater, MN 55082.

May the light of Christmas encourage and empower us to never give up and to never lose hope like the powerful lyrics in the recent inspiring song sung by Jamaican-born and Bronx-raised Garrison Hawk, two of the most brilliant musicians of our time, Gigi and Teddy Afro, “Survival 2013!”. Here is the link to the Survive lyrics: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SUAGXnUX2Wo.

Another song beautifully sung by a talented Ethiopian vocalist, Hanisha Solomon, calls us to come together not only as Ethiopians but as Africans. Here is the link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tLOpZfJrOdo That song, “Africa Unite,” reminds us that what binds us together is stronger than what separates us. Music is a powerful weapon if used to reach our hearts and souls for what is right and good. May you have a blessed season.

Sincerely your severance,

 

Obang Metho,

Executive Director of the SMNE,

Email: Obang@solidaritymovement.org

Website: www.solidaritymovement.org

ሰብአዊ መብትና: መንግሥታዊ ግፊት በኢትዮጵያ (2012)

Tuesday, December 25th, 2012

ከፕሮፌሰር ዓለማየሁ ገብረማርያም                                                                                                                     ትርጉም ከነጻነት ለሃገሬ

በዲሴምበር 2008 ላይ በኢትዮጵያ የ‹‹ለውጥ የሌሽ ዓመት›› በማለት እንጉርጉሮ መሰል መልእክት ጽፌ ነበር፡፡

2008 የ2007፤2006፤2005፤2004 ቅጂ ነበር… በየቀኑ ኢትዮጵያዊያን ሲነቁ ልክ እንደተሰበረ የሙዚቃ ሸክላ ባለፈው የሕይወት ስቃያቸው ድግግሞሽ መከራ ውስጥ በመዳከር ነበር የሚገኙት፡፡ እያንዳንዱ አዲስ ቀን ካለፈው የወረሰውን ይዞ ነበር የሚመጣው፡፡ ጫና፤ ማስፈራራት፤ ንቅዘት፤እስራት፤ ማጭበርበር… ጭካኔና የሰብአዊ መብት ገፈፋ… ከዚህ ክፉ ከሆነው የስቃይ፤ የጣረሞት ግርዶሽ፤ አዙሪት፤ የተስፋ እጦት፤ ውጣ ውረድ መከራ እንዴት እንደሚገላገሉ መንገዱን አያውቁትም፡፡ ስለዚህም ከዚህ መዓት ለመገላገል ያላቸው አንድ ተስፋ መጸለይ፤ መጸለይ፤ ደሞ መጸለይ ብቻ ነበር::

አሁን 2012 ዲሴምበር ነው::

ኢትዮጵያዊያኖች በ 2008፤ 2009፤ 2010፤ 2011፤ ከነበሩበት ሁኔታ አሁን የተሸለ ላይ ናቸው?

የጤፍ ዋጋ በ2008 ከነበረው ዋጋ ቀነሳል? አምና ከነበረው?

የምግብ ዘይት፤ የምርት ውጤቶች፤መሰረታዊ የምግብ አቅርቦት፤ ሥጋ፤ ዶሮ፤ እንቁላል፤ ቤት፤ ውሃ፤ መብራት፤ የምድጃ ጋዝ፤ ናፍጣ…..?

ዛሬ በኢትዮጵያ በ2008 ከነበሩት ድሆች ቁጥራቸው ጨምሯል? የባሰ ችጋር፤ ቤት አልባነት፤ ሥራ አጥነት፤ የጤና ችግር፤ አንስተኛ የትምህርት እድል ለወጣቶቹስ?

በ2008 ከነበረው ያነሰ ሙስና  አለ? ድብቅነት: ያነሰ ግልጽነት ተጠያቂነት በ2012 አለ?

በ2008 ከታየው የምርጫ ነጻነትና ፍትሃዊነት በ2012 አለ?

በ2008 ከነበሩት የፖለቲካ እስረኞች ቁጥር አሁን ቁጥራቸው የበዛ ይገኛሉ?

በ2008 ከነበረው የፕሬስ ነጻነት ያነሰ እና ካለፈው በጣም የበዙ ጋዜጠኞች በወህኒ ቤት በ2012 ይገኛሉ?

በ2012 ኢትዮጵያ ለዜጎቿ ምግብ አቅርቦት ከውጭ በሚቸር ምጽዋት ላይ በ2008 ከለመነችው የበለጠ ትጠይቃለች?

ኢትዮጵያ አሁንም በሰብአዊ መብት መድፈር  በተባበሩት መንግስታት የሰብአዊ መብት መዝገብ ላይ በመጨረሻው ደረጃ ላይ ነች? 

በ2012 የኢትዮጵያ መንግሥት የስርአት ግፊቶች ማስረጃዎች

አሁንም በተባባሰ ሁኔታ በኢትዮጵያ የሰብአዊ መብት ደፈራ ሁኔታ፤ በማያቋርጥ መልኩ በዋናነት ከሚጠቀሱ የሰብአዊ መብት ተሟጋቾችና እና ከሌሎች ከሚመለከታቸውና ከሚያሳስባቸው፤ አካላት ያለው አገዛዝ ውግዘቱ እየደረሰበት ነው፡፡ በ2012 ገዢው ፓርቲ፤ በባሰ ሁኔታ ከማይስማሙትና ከተቃዋሚዎች ጋር በመግባባትና መቻቻል ፈንታ በመታበት  ጨቋኝና አዳዲስ አመለካከቶችን ለመቀበል የማይሻ ሆኗል፡፡ ይሄ አገዛዝ የራሱን ሕገ መንግሥት መናድ፤ ውል የገባበትን ዓለም አቀፍ ድንጋጌዎች መጣስ እና ነቃፊዎቹ ላይ ተጸኖ ማድረጉን አላቆመም:: አንዳንድ ሰዎች መለስ ካለፈ በሆላ የተሻለ ሊሆን ይችላል ብለው ቢያስቡም፤ የተቃዋሚዎችን አንዳንድ ሃሳቦች መቀበል፤የሰብአዊ መብት ወንጀሉንም በመጠኑም ቢሆን ለማስመሰልና በማለባበስ፤ የመሻሻል ቀን ቢጠበቅም ከራስ ጸጉራቸው እስከ እግር ጥፍራቸው ድረስ ስብእናቸውን ወደ መለስ ግልባጭነት ለመለወጥ በሚጣጣሩት በኩል ያለው ሁኔታ፤ ‹‹ወይ ፍንክች ያባ ቢላ ልጅ›› ከመለስ መርህ ሌላ ብለዋል፡፡ በእውር ድንብራችንም ቢሆን የመለስን ራእይ  እንከተላለን፤ ማለትም 2013፤ 2014፤ 2015… ከ20012 ወይም ከ2008 አንዳችም ለውጥ አይኖርም ባይ ናቸው፡፡

በኢትዮጵያ የሚታየው ሥልጣንን መከታ ያደረገ ግፋዊ የሰብአዊ መብት መደፈር እንደሚያረጋግጠው እጅጉን የከፋ ለመሆኑ ማስረጃው በራሱ ይመሰክራል፡፡

የዩ ኤስ ስቴት ዲፓርትመንት የሰብአዊ መብት እንቅስቃሴ መንግስታዊ ድፍረት በኢትዮጵያ (ሜይ 2012) ድምዳሜ፡-

በኢትዮጵያ ጉልሁ የዜጎች ሰብአዊ መብት መደፈር 100 የፐለቲካ ተቃዋሚ አባላት፤ ንቁ የፖለቲካ ተሳታፊዎች፤ ጋዜጠኞች፤ ብሎግ አድራጊዎች በመንግስት ለእስር መዳረጋቸው ነው፡፡……. መንግሥት የፕሬስ ነጻነትን ገድቧል፤የእስርና የእንልት ፍርሃት ጋዜጠኞችን እራሳቸውን ሳንሱር እንዲያደርጉ አድርጓቸዋል፡፡ የችሮታና የማሕበረሰቦች አዋጅ (ሲ ኤስ ኦ ሕግ) መንግስታዊ ያለሆኑ ድርጅቶች እንቅስቃሴና ተግባርና ሌሎችም የሰብአዊ መብት መደፈር ድርጊቶች፤ስቃይን፤ድብደባን፤ጉስቁልናንና ማዋረድን፤በደህንነት ሰዎች መንገላታትን፤ሕይወትን የሚፈታተንና ለሞትም ሊያደርስ በሚችል የወህኒ ቤት ሁኔታ መታሰርን፤ ያለ ፍርድ ቤት ትእዛዝ መያዝንና ከእስርም በኋላ በማያልቅ ቀጠሮ መቸገርን፤ ሕገ ወጥና ማስረጃ ያለቀረበበት በሶማሌ ግዛት በሚካሄደው ግጭት ላይ በሚመሰረት መሰረተ ቢስ ክስ ለስቃይ መዳረግ፤የመሰብሰብ ነጻነትን፤ የማሕበራት መደራጀትን፤ ማገድ፤ የፖሊስ አባላትና አመራሩ፤የመስተዳድሮች፤ የፍትህ አካላት በሙስና መዘፈቅ…

ላይ ይገኛል ሲል  አተቶል:: 

የሁማን ራይትስ ዎች ድምዳሜ

የኢትዮጵያ መንግስት ሃሳብን በነጻ የመግለጽን የማህበራትን በነጻ የመደራጀትን፤የመሰብሰብን፤መከልከልን በባሰ ሁኔታ ቀጥሎበታል፡፡በ2011 በመቶ የሚቆጠሩ ኢትዮጵያዊያን ከሕግ ውጪ ተይዘው በወህኒ ይገኛሉ፤እስካሁንም ድረስ በስቃይና በሚጎዳ እስር ውስጥ ስቃያቸው እንዳለ ነው፡፡ሴፕቴምበር 2011 ድረስና ከዚያም በኋላ፤ የኦሮሞ ተወላጆችን በገፍ ማሰር፤የተቃዋሚውን የኦሮሞ ነጻ አውጪ ድርጅትን አባላት ጨምሮ በማርች ጋዜጠኞችን፤የተቃዋሚ ፓርቲ አባላትን፤ከጁን እስከ ሴፕቴምበር ድረስ አፈናውን በማጠናከር የጸረ ሽብርተኛ አዋጅን መሳርያ በማድረግ ብዙዎች ለግፍ ወህኒ ተዳርገዋል፡፡

የፍሪደም ሃውስ ድምዳሜ:

የፖለቲካ መብትንና የሲቪል ማሕበረሰቡን መብት በመድፈር ረገድ አሁን ኢትዮጵያ በ2012 በዓለም አሁንም ዝቅ ብላ 6ትገኛለች:: በኢትዮጵያ ያለው የፖለቲካ ሕይወት አሁንም በአቶ መለስ ዜናዊ ከ1995 ጀምሮ እስከ ህልፈታቸው ድረስ ይመራ በነበረው በገዢው ፓርቲ ኢ ፒ አር ዲ ኤፍ መዳፍ ስር ነው፡፡ የሜይ 2011 የፌዴራልና የክልል ምርጫዎች፤በጥብቅ በኢ ፒ አር ዲ ኤፍ ቁጥጥር ስር ነበረ:: ገዢውን ፓርቲ ያልደገፉ መራጮች ዛቻና ማስፈራሪያ ይደረግባቸውና ገዢውን ፓርቲ እንዲመርጡ ይገደዱ ነበር፡፡ የተቃዋሚ ፓርቲዎች ስብሰባ በደህነነቶችና በፖሊስ ሃይል ይበተኑና መሪዎችም በቁጥጥር ስር ይውሉ ነበር፡፡ ኢ ፒ አር ዲ ኤፍ የጸረ ሽብርተኝነት አዋጁን፤ተቃዋሚዎችንና የነጻው ፕሬስ አባላትን ለማሰርና ለማንገላታት የሚጠቀምበት መሳርያ ነው፡፡ ፓርላማው በርካታ ተቃዋሚዎችን ሽብርተኞች በማለት የተቃዋሚዎችንም ዘገባ የሚያትሙትን የነጻው ፕሬስ አባላት በሽብርተኝነት ፈርጇል፡፡ ለእስር ዳርጓል፤ ለስደት አብቅቷል፡፡ ሚዲያው የተያዘው በመንግስትና መበንግስት ቁጥጥር በሚንቀሳቀሱ ጣቢያዎችና ሰራተኞቻቸው ሕትመቶችና የመንግስት ተቀጣሪ ሰራተኞች ነው፡፡ በ2009 የወጣው የመንግስታዊ ያልሆኑ መጽዋች ድርጅቶች ሕግ ድርጅቶቹ በሰብአዊ መብት ጉዳይና በፖለቲካ የፋይናንስ አርድታ ላይ እንዳይንቀሳቀሱ አግዷቸዋል፡፡ ማንኛውም ሃገራዊ ድርጅትም ከውጪ ለጋሽ ድርጅቶች ሊያገኝ የሚገባውን መጠን ገድቦታል፡፡ ይህም ሕግ መንግስታዊ ያልሆኑ ድርጅቶችን እንዳይንቀሳቀሱ ግዑዝ አድርጓቸዋል፡፡ የፍትሕ አካሉ ለይስሙላ ነጻ ነው ይባላል፤ ውሳኔውም በአብዛኛው መንግስታዊ ሃሳብን ብቻ የሚደግፍ ነው፡፡

አምነስቲ ኢንተርናሽናል ‹‹የኢትዮጵያ መንግሥት የመለስን መተካት እንደ አለፈው ማረሚያና ማስተካከያ በመውሰድ ካለፈው በተለየ ሁኔታ፤በመንቀሳቀስ ተቃዋሚ የሆነን ማንንም ከመያዝና ማንም ለእስር እንዳይደረግ›› መሆን አንዳለበት ገልጻል፡፡ 

የማጣራያ ባለሙያዎች የሆኑትና በተባበሩት መንግስታት የሰብአዊ መብት ካውንስል እውቅናና ይሁንታ የተሰጣቸው ልዩ ራፖርተ ማዕና ኪያይ በ2012 ይፋ የውግዘት መግለጫ በማውጣት ገዢው ፓርቲ የጅምላ ክስ በጸረ ሽብርተኝነት አዋጁ በመታገዝና አዋጁን ለራሱ በሚጠቅም መልኩ መጠቀሚያ በማድረግ፤ ነጻነትን በመግፈፍ፤ በሚያሳዝንና  በዓይነ ደረቅነት፤ቀጣይ እንዲሆን እያደረገ፤ የሰብአዊ መብትን መድፈሩን ቀጥሎበታል፡፡ በሰላማዊ መንገድ የመሰብሰብና የሙያ ማሕበራት መደራጀት ልዩ የተባበሩት መንግስታት ባለሙያ ራፖርተር፤ ሲደመድም፡-

በአሁኑ ወቅት በኢትዮጵያ ባሉ ማሕበራት ላይ ታላቅ ችግር በመፍጠር እንቅስቃሴያቸውን እያገደ ያለው፤ በሃገሪቱ ላይ የተጫነው የጸረሽብር አዋጅ ነው፡፡ ገዢው መንግስት በሁሉም ዘርፍ ያሉትን በተለይም የሰብአዊ መብት ተሟጋቾችን እንቅስቃሴ የነጻነት ዋስትና ሊሰጥ የግድ ነው፡፡

የተባበሩት መንግሥታት በጸረሽብርና ሰብአዊ መብት ድንጋጌ ልዩ ራፖርተር ቤን ኤመርሰን፤  ሲናገሩ የጸረሽብርተኝነቱ አዋጅ ለመጉጃነት ሊውል ስለማይገባ በኢትዮጵያ የወንጀለኛ መቅጫ ሕግ ላይ የዓለም አቀፉን የሰብአዊ መብት ድንጋጌ የማይጥስና በተቃርኖ የማይጓዝ መሆኑ ሊረጋገጥ ተገቢ ነው ብለዋል፡፡

ማርግሬት ስካግያ፤ የተባበሩት መንግስታት የሰብአዊ መብት ድፍረት መከላከያ ራፖርተር  ጋዜጠኞች፤ ብሎገርስ፤እና ሌሎችም ስለሰብአዊ መብት መከበር የሚሟገቱ ገና ለገና ሃሳባቸው ከኢትዮጵያ መንግስት አስተሳሰብና አካሄድ ጋር ስለማይስማማ ብቻ ጫና ሊፈጠርባቸው አይገባም ብለዋል፡፡

ገብሪየላ ናውል የተባበሩት መንግስታት በዳኞችና በጠበቆች ነጻነት ልዩ ራፐርቱዋር በወንጀል ፍርድ ሂደት ተከሳሾች ማስረጃ በማያጠራጥር መልኩ እስካልቀረበባቸውና ወንጀለኛነታቸው እስክላተረጋገጠባቸው ድረስ በኢትዮጵያ ሕገ መንግስት ላይ በሰፈረው አይነት ንጽህናቸው በተግባር ሊረጋገጥላቸው ተገቢ ነው::  እንዲሁም ተከሳሾች የሕግ ጠበቃቸውን ከችሎት ቀጠሯቸው አስቀድሞ የማነጋገር መብታቸው ሊጠበቅና የመከላከያ ሃሳባቸውን ለማቅረብ እንዲችሉ ሊመቻችላቸው ይገባል:: 

16 የአውሮፓ ፓርላማ አባላት በዲሴምበር 18/2012 አንድ ግልጽ ደብዳቤ ለጠቅላይ ሚኒስትር ኃይለማርያም ደሳለኝ አቅርበዋል፡፡ ደብዳቤውም ጋዜጠኛና ብሎገር እስክንድር ነጋ በእስር መንገላታቱን የሚያሳስብ ነበር›› በደብዳቤያቸው ላይ ሲፅፉ የፓርላማ አባላቱ አንዳሉት የአቶ ሃእለማርአም መንግስት ኢትዮጵያ በፈረመችውና ልታከብረውም ቃል በገባችው በዓለም አቀፍ ድንጋጌው እንደሰፈረው በአርቲክል 19 ላይ በተቀመጠው መሰረት፤ኢትዮጵያ ቃሏን ማክበርና ለሕጉም ተገዢ የመሆን የአባልነት ግዴታ አስገንዝበዋል፡፡ 

ገዢው መንግሥት በሃይማኖት ተቋማት ላይ የሚያካሂደውን ሕገ ወጥ ጣልቃ ገብነት መተው፤ ጉዳዩን ለባለቤቶቹ መልቀቅ አለበት

የኢትዮጵያ ሕገመንግስት አንቀፅ 11 ‹‹የሃይሞኖትንና የመንግስትን ልዩነት›› በሚገባ አስቀምጧል፡፡ የኢትዮጵያ መንግሥት ዓለማዊ መንግሥት ለመሆኑ ዋስትና ስለሚሰጠው ‹‹ሃይማኖታዊ መንግሥት የለም››:: አርቲክል 27 ማንም ሰው በፍላጎቱና በምርጫው ያሻውንና ይሆነኛል ያለውን ሃይሞነት የመከተል መብቱ በራሱ ፈቃድ ላይ የተመሰረተና ማንም በጫናና በእዝ ሊያሳምነው እንደማይችል በግልጽ ሰፍሯል፡፡ በግልጽ የተቀመጠውን የሃይሞነት ተቋማትንና አማኞቹን የዜግነት ነጻነት  በኢትዮጵያ ያለው ገዢ መንግሥት በሙስሊም አማኞች ላይ ሕጉን በሚጥስ መልኩ የራሳቸውን የሃይሞኖት መሪዎች በነጻ እንዳይመርጡ ጣልቃ በመግባት ችግር ፈጥሮባቸዋል፡፡ የራሱን ሕገመንግስትም እያፈረሰው ነው፡፡ እንደ አሜሪካው የሃይሞኖት ነጻነት ኮሚሽን በኮንግሬስና በአሜሪካ ፕሬዜዳንት የተዋቀረ ነጻ አካል በዓለም አቀፍ ደረጃ የሃይሞኖትን ነጻነት የሚቆጣጠር ሲገመግም: -

ከጁላይ 2011 ጀምሮ የኢትዮጵያ መንግሥት በሙስሊም አማኝ ዜጎች ላይ በተለምዶ ለዘመናት ሲከተሉት የነበረውን ሱፊ የእስልምና እምነት አል-አባሽ በተባለው የአስልምና እምነት ሊተካባቸው እያስገደደ ነው፡፡ መንግስት በሌላ በኩልም የእስልምና ጉዳዮች ከፍተኛ ካውንስል ምርጫ በራሱ ሰዎች ለመሙላት ምርጫ አካሂዷል፡፡ ቀደም ሲል እንደነጻ አካል ሆኖ ሲያገለግል የነበረው  አሁን እንደመንግስት ተቋም ሆኖ በመንቀሳቀስ ላይ ነው፡፡ አሁን ሽብርተኛ ተብሎ መፈረጅ መያዝ ለእስርም መዳረጉ መንግስት የኢትዮጵያን ሙስሊም አማኞች ለመቆጣጠር ያደረገው ሲሆን፤ ድርጊቱ በሃገሪቱ ላይ ያለውን የሃይማኖት ነጻነት መገደብ በግልጽ ያሳያል፡፡ በሃገሪቱ በመላ የሙስሊም አማኞች ሰላማዊ ተቃውሟቸውን በሚያሰሙበት ጊዜ በመያዝ ላይ ናቸው:: በኦክቶበር 29 የኢትዮጵያ መንግስት 29 ተሟጋቾች በሽብርተኝነት ስምና የእስልምና መንግስት ለማቋቋም በሚል ማስረጃ ያለተሰጠበት ሰበብ አስሯል፡፡

ገዢው አስተዳደር የራሱን ሕገመንግሥትና ዓለምአቀፋዊ ሕጋዊ ግዴታዎችን በማክበሩና በመተግበሩ ረገድ መታመን መቻልና የሙስሊሙን ሕብረተሰብ እምነታቸውን በነጻነት እንዲከተሉ ጣልቃ ገብነቱን ሊያቆም ይገባል፡፡ ከተቃውሞው ሰላማዊ እንቅስቃሴ ጋር በተያያዘ በሕገወጥ መንገድ የተያዙትና የሃይሞነት እምነታዊ ነጻነታቸው ተገፎ ለእስር የተዳረጉት ሁሉም በነጻ መለቀቅ አለባቸው፡፡ 

ሁሉም የፖለቲካ እስረኞች ይፈቱ

ሰፋ ባለ አመለካከት በአሁኑ ጊዜ በኢትዮጵያ ሁለት አይነት የፖለቲካ እስረኞች ይገኛሉ፡፡ የሕሊና እስረኞች አሉ፤ በገዛ ሕሊናቸው  የታሰሩ ደሞ አሉ፡፡ የሕሊና እሰረኞቹ የታሰሩበት ሰበብ የተቃዋሚ ፓርቲ መሪዎች እና ጋዜጠኞች በመሆናቸው የነው፡፡ ምንም አይነት ሕግ አልጣሱም ደንብ አላፈረሱም፡፡ የፈጸሙት ነገር ቢኖር ለሕሊናም ሆነ ለደንቡ ትክክል የሆነውን ብቻ ነው፡፡ ስለዕውነት መስክረዋል ዕውነትን ተናግረዋል፡፡ ለባለስልጣናትም እውነቱን ተናግረዋል፡፡ ፍትሕ ሲጓደል ተሟግተዋል፡፡ ስለነጻነት፤ ስለዴሞክራሲ፤ ስለሰብአዊ መብት መከበር፤የሕይወታቸውን ከፍተኛ ዋጋ በመሰዋት፤በነፍሳቸውና በነጻነታቸው ተሟግተው ጠብቀዋል፡፡ በአንዲት የብዕር ጠብታ ነጻ ሊሆኑ ይችላሉ፡፡

በገዛ ሕሊናቸው የታሰሩት ደግሞ በሰብአዊ ፍጡር ላይ ከፍተኛውን ወንጀል በመፈጸማቸው፤ ይህንንም ሲያከናውኑ በመሃይምነት በመመራት የራሳቸውን ሕሊና ስተው ነው፡፡ እነዚህ እስረኞች በስልጣን የእ ንቅልፍ ኪኒን ደንዝዘውና ራሳቸውን ስተው ነው የሚገኙት፡፡ በአንድ ዕለት ለፍርድና በሕግ  የበላይነት ተጠያቂ መሆናቸው እያባነናቸው ከራሳቸው ጋር በሙግትና ፍርሃት ላይ ናቸው፡፡ አንድ ቀን ሌሎችን በዳኙበት ሁኔታ ለፍርድ ቀርበው እንደሚፈረድባቸው ያውቃሉ፡፡ በሰፈሩት ቁና አንድ ቀን መሰፈር አይቀሬ ነው::

በራሳቸው ሕሊና የታሰሩት የሕሊና እስረኞችን ቢለቁና ነጻነታቸውን ቢመልሱላቸው እነሱም ይፈታል ነጻም ይወጣሉ፡፡ አንድ ብቸኛ መዳኛቸው ይሄው ብቻ ነው፡፡ በተቃራኒው ደግሞ የጋንዲን አደገኛውን ማስጠንቀቂያ መቀበል ነው፡፡ ‹‹ገዳዮችና ጨካኝ አምባገነኖች ነበሩ፤ ለጊዜውም የማይደፈሩ መስለው ነበር፤ በመጨረሻው ግን ዕጣ ፈንታቸው መውደቅ ነው፡፡—ምንግዜም መውደቃቸው አይቀሬ ነው:: ስለዚህ አስቡ!›› 

የሕትመት ውጤቶችን ማፈኑ ይብቃ

ናፖሊዮን ቦናባርት ‹‹ከሺ ጥይቶች ይበልጥ የሚያስፈሩት አራት የተቃዋሚ ጋዜጠኞት ናቸው ይል ነበር:: (ወይም ከሺ ጦረኛ 4 ጋዜጠኛ ይፈራል::) ይህ አባባል በኢትዮጵያ ላለው ገዢ ቡድን ትክክለኛ መልእክት ነው፡፡ ባለፈው ሳምንት 3 በእስር ወህኒ ቤት ያሉና አንድ ተገፍቶ ከሃገሩ የተሰደደ አራት ጋዜጠኞች፤ የ2012 ን እጅጉን የተከበረውን ሄልማን/ሄሜት የሚባለውን ሽልማት ተሸላሚ ሆነዋል፡፡ ‹‹በዓለም እጅጉን በከፋ ሁኔታ ታፍኖ ያለውን  የመናገር ነጻነትን እውን ለማድረግ ያደረጉትን ጥረት እውቅና በመስጠት ነው የተከበሩት፡፡ ተሸላሚዎቹም፤ እስክንድር ነጋ በግል የሚታገል ጋዜጠኛ ብሎገርና የ2012 የኢንተርናሽናል ፔን ተሸላሚ፤ በሃገሪቱ ካሉት ጥቂት እንስት ጋዜጠኞች አንዷ የሆነችውና በጥንካሬና በአልበገር በይነት  የዓለም አቀፍ የሴቶች ሚዲያ ተሸላሚዋ ርዕዮት ዓለሙ፤ ውብሸት ታዬ በመንግስት ጫና የፈረሰው የሳምንታዊው የአውራምባ ታይምስ ጋዜጣ ኤዲተር፤ በመንግስት ጫና የፈረሰውና አሁን በኢንተር ኔት ስራውን የቀጠለው የአዲስ ነገር ጋዜጣው መስፍን ነጋሽ ናቸው፡፡ እነዚህ የሚዲያ ጀግኖች ለዚህ ታላቅ ሽልማት የበቁት ከተለያየ ሃገር ከቀረቡ 41 ጸሃፊዎች፤ ጋዜጠኞች ጋር ነው በማለት ሁማን ራይትስ ዎች ሲዘግብ:-

የእነዚህ 4 የታሰሩና ለስደት የተዳረጉ ጋዜጠኞች አርአያነት በኢትዮጵያ ውስጥ ያለውን የነጻ ጋዜጠኝነት አልበገር ባይነትና  አደጋውን ያሳያል፡፡ በነጻ ሃሳብን መግለጽ እንደ ክፉ ደዌ በሚቆጠርበት ዕውቀትና ነጻነት እንደጦር በሚፈሩ አምባገነኖች በምትመራ ሃገር ውስጥ አደጋውና ስቃዩ የሚያሳየው ለነጻነት በቆሙና መስዋዕት ለመሆን በቆረጡ ላይ የሚያስከፍለውን መራር አበሳና ዋጋ ነው፡፡ ገዢው መንግስት በነዚህ በተሸላሚዎቹ ለስራቸውና ለቆሙለት ዓላማቸው ተግባራዊ አለመሆን ምን ያህል ጫና እንደተደረገባቸውና ነጻ እስትንፋስ ሳይቀር ሊታገድ በሚሞከርበት የማያዛልቅ ጀብደኝነት የተቃጣባቸውን እንግልት እስራትና መከራ የሚያሳይ ነው፡፡እነዚህ ተሸላሚዎች በኢትዮጵያ እየኖሩ እራሳቸውን ሳንሱር በማድረግ የቻሉትን ያህል ለመተንፈስ የሚሞክሩትንና ግፍና መከራው ሲበዛባቸው ሃገርን ጥሎ በመሰደድ በእስራት የተንገላቱትን  ሁሉ የሚወክሉ ናቸው፡፡

ሁሉም ዲክታተሮችና ፈላጭ ቆራጭ ገዢዎች የነጻውን ፕሬስ የማስተማርና የማንቃት የማደራጀትና ለፍትሕ ለነጻነት መቆም ለዴሞክራሲ መታገልን እጅጉን ይፈሩታል፡፡ የሚዲያዎቹን ንብረትነት በግላቸው በመቆጣጠርና የነሱን ቱልቱላ ብቻ እንዲያስተላልፉ ሕሊናቸውን ለጊዜያዊ ጥቅምና ለራስ ወዳድነት ባሳደሩ ፓሮት ጋዜጠኞች ስለሚታገዙና የሃሳብን በነጻ መንሸራሸር ስላገዱ በዚህ ልክፍታቸው የሕዝቡን ልብና ህሊና ያሸነፉ ይመስላቸዋል፡፡ ይሄ ደሞ የቅዠት ምኞት ነው፡፡ ናፖሊዮን እንዳለው ‹‹ጋዜጠኛ ቁማርተኛ ነው፡፡ ገሳጭ ነው፡፡መካሪና የሃሳብ አጋሪ ነው፡፡ የነገስታት እንደራሴ ነው፡፡ የሕዝብ መምህር ነው›› ልክ እንደናፖሊዮን ፍርሃት የኢትዮጵያ እውቀት አልባ ዲካታተር ገዢዎችም ፍርሃት፤ የነጻው ፕሬስ የማስተማር ሃይል ነው፡፡—-ማስተማር፤ ኢንፎርሜሽን ባለቤት ማድረግ፤ማስረዳት፤ ማሳወቅ፤ ሕዝቡን የዕውቀት ባለቤት ማድረግን፡፡….. የነጻው ፕሬስ፤ ገዢዎች የሚፈጽሙትን ደባና ቅጥ ያጣ ድርጊታቸውን፤ በሕዝቡ ላይ የሚያሳድሩትና መከራ፤ በማጋለጥ ተጠያቂ እንደሚያደርጋቸውና የሕዝብ አጋርነቱን በሚገባ ስለሚረዱ ነው ፍርሃታቸው፡፡ ገዢዎቹ የኢትዮጵያ ባለስልጣናትም  እንደ ናፖሊዮን ነጻ የፕሬስ ሰዎችን፤ ማሰቃየት፤ ማሰር፤ ሳንሱር ማድረግ፤በመሳርያ ማስጨነቅን ስራዬ ብለው ተያይዘውታል፡፡ ሕዝቡን ማለቂያ የሌላቸው በሚመስሉ በሆዳቸው በሚያስቡ ሕሊና ቢስ የደህንነት አባላት በመክበብ፤በመግደል በማሰር የፖለቲካ ተቃዋሚዎቻቸውን ለእስር በመዳረግ፤ በሰላማዊ መንገድ መብታቸውን ለማስከበር በባዶ እጃቸው የወጡ ዜጎችን ኢላማ እያደረጉ በመግደል ዘለአለማዊ መሆን የሚቻል ይመስላቸዋል፡፡ የነጻው ፕሬስ አባላት የሚያስተምሩት የሚያሳውቁት፤ የነጻነትን ጥቅም የሚገልጡት ለተወሰነ ማሕበረሰብ ሳይሆን ለገዢው መንግስትና በገዢው መንግስት ቁጥጥር ስር ለዋሉትም ጭምር ነው፡፡ እሱም ገዢው ፓርቲ ጥፋቱን ሲረዳውና የሚያስከትልበትን ተጠያቂነት፤ የኔ በሚላቸውም አገልጋዮቹ ሳይቀር ለምን? ማለት እንደሚጀመር ሲረዳው ከፍርሃቱ የተነሳ የነጻውን ፕሬስ አባላት ለግፍና መከራ መዳረጉን ያጠናክራል፡፡ እነዚህ ተሸላሚዎችም የዚህ መከራና ጫና ፍትህ እጦት ሰለባ ናቸው፡፡

ሁሉም ለእስር የተዳረጉ የነጻው ፕሬስ አባላት አሁኑኑ ሊፈቱ ይገባል::

“ሠላማዊ ለውጥን  የሚያግዱ በቁጣ የሚቀሰቀስ አመጽን ያስነሳሉ::” ጆን ኤፍ ኬነዲ

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ፕሮፌስር ዓለማየሁ ገብረማርያም በካሊፎርኒያ ስቴት ዩኒቨርሲቲ ሳን በርናርዲኆ የፖሊቲካ ሳይንስ መምሀርና የህግ ጠበቃ ናችው።

*የተቶረገመው ጽሁፍ (translated from):   http://open.salon.com/blog/almariam/2012/12/23/ethiopia_2012_human_rights_and_government_wrongs

(ይህን ጦማር ለሌሎችም ያካፍሉ::) ካሁን በፊት የቀረቡ የጸሃፊው ጦማሮችን  ለማግኘት እዚህ ይጫኑ:: http://www.ecadforum.com/Amharic/archives/category/al-mariam-amharic

http://ethioforum.org/?cat=24

TPLF Inc. as a ‘silent killer’

Monday, December 24th, 2012

Aklog Birara, PhD

Have you ever wondered, as I have, why Ethiopia and the Ethiopian people are caught in a vicious cycle of disillusionment, dispossession and disempowerment? Have you pondered, as I have, the simple truth that the vast majority of the Ethiopian people have less say and thus less power over their political and economic affairs in their own country compared to a few ethnic elites and foreign investors such as Saudi Star and Karuturi? Have reflected on the implications for this and the coming generation of the virtual control of the pillars of the Ethiopian economy by foreign entities, and a few ethnic elites allied to TPLF Inc.? Have you taken one second of your time to ponder the destruction of the environment by unscrupulous investors and the regime that encourages them? Have you taken a few minutes of your time to reflect why Ethiopian Christians working in Saudi Arabia find themselves in a predicament for praying in a Muslim State while Saudis are free to build mosques and to pray as they wish anywhere in Ethiopia?

Anywhere one looks, Ethiopians within and outside the country cry for a government leadership to protect theirs and their country’s national interests. These and other core policy related questions on Ethiopia and Ethiopians suggest an enormous gap in organization and leadership that is purpose-driven. What we see in every global indicator is a country where there is growth without improvement in wellbeing for the majority. In fact, data shows that the poor are getting poorer; and the no of those in absolute poverty is growing at or above the rate of economic growth that benefits only a few. This is the reason why I suggest consistently that Ethiopia and all Ethiopians are crying for a caring and inclusive alternative in governance.

I would argue that the urgent gap in responsive governance is ethnicity, religious and demography neutral. All Ethiopians feel it in some form or another. So, division makes no sense. Only a strong and prosperous multiethnic state that responds to all stakeholders can survive and thrive. Accordingly, we need to recognize that all Ethiopians have a stake; and are thus responsible in filling the vacuum. In light of this, it is time that we expand and embrace the definition and action steps that will lead the entire society to a better and more promising alternative than the current one. We cannot do this as long as we are guided by the ethnic and divisive script imposed on us by TPLF Inc. This system survives and gains from growth that does not improve the lives of people.

We need to consider the higher moral ground that the same way “families and friends need leaders who model purpose-driven lives,” Ethiopian society and communities anywhere and everywhere should expect to defend their human rights; improve their lot; and chart a more promising future for their children. Can this really be done? Can Ethiopian political, civic and faith leaders and intellectuals surmount their own narrow interests and prejudices for the sake of the country and its diverse population? The simple answer is that there is no other choice. If those who oppose the current system are genuine, they must discard old animosities and forge ahead with renewed optimism and cooperate with one another. Otherwise, we should stop the entire business of protest politics and politics as a business enterprise: the model TPLF Inc. has imposed on each of us.

I suggest in this piece that Ethiopians who wish to be treated with respect and dignity anywhere in the world and who wish a better future for this and the coming generation stop the none sense of ethnic and religious or demographic divisions. What TPLF Inc. has and is doing is enough as it is. They can start with baby steps: stop demeaning and undermining one another. Stop the culture of revenge and innuendos. Reach-out to and talk to one another as adults. Work with and collaborate with one another. Campaign against all forms of injustice collaboratively. Treat individual dissenters as Ethiopians and not as members of this or that tribe. Accept our diversity as a source of strength and celebrate one another. Demand and promote innovative, inclusive, smart and wiser alternative organization and leadership–with demonstrated capability of grasping what is at stake (the bigger picture of the country and its people; and committing self to set aside minor differences; and practicing the discipline and consistency of forging a unity of purpose among all ethnic, religious and demographic groups. Here, it is commitment to the common good that matters most. If we fail to do this fast, we have no one to blame but ourselves. These baby steps will not be easy; but can be done.

In the Ethiopian context, a unity of purpose must affirm failures of the past without being trapped in it. It must affirm commitment to justice, the rule of law, passion for unfettered and equitable access to economic and social opportunities, and representative governance based on free and fair elections. A child in Gambella must believe that he/she is an Ethiopian and deserves the same rights as a child in Tigray or Oromia or Addis Ababa and so on. We must decide and work day and night to create favorable conditions that embrace each child regardless of ethnic or religious affiliation. This has the best chance of safeguarding past gains while advancing a more promising future for the vast majority of Ethiopians that the current system is unable to deliver. This will not happen unless adults show commitment that transcends ethnicity and partisanship. This is not a world for the weak, timid and partisan. A strong, just, inclusive, fair and prosperous Ethiopia will be good for everyone. This is why I suggest that it is not just the so-called “unity crowd” that will benefit from a just, fair and inclusive system. It is all Ethiopians.

The acid test of alternative organization and leadership is readiness and ability of political, civic, religious and other elites to mobilize the country’s mosaic and establish a brighter and more inclusive alternative that restores faith and confidence in the political process of the future. This will not be as easy as it seems. If it were; it would have been achieved by now. Take a look back at political history that is still fresh. MEISONE and EPRPP decided to fight one another rather than to advance the common goals of the Ethiopian people and the sacred interests of the country. I do not have to tell you what happened and who paid a huge price. Division for the sake of power and narrow ideology or ego or tribe is disastrous. Hypocrisy is the mantra of those who are afraid to take a principled stand for a bigger and larger cause.

How does one explain divisions among Ethiopian Orthodox Church leaders and followers? I believe that, within the Ethiopian Orthodox faith, we need one creed and leadership as we need one country. I reject factionalism and tribalism within the Ethiopian Orthodox faith as much as I reject narrow nationalism and big nation chauvinism in political doctrine. Divisions reinforce hypocrisy and cynicism. I will give you a simple example on hypocrisy of faith. A group of activists tried to mobilize the Ethiopian Diaspora in the Washington Metropolitan Area for a protest against Saudi Government mistreatment and human rights violations of Ethiopian Christians. Religious leaders failed to participate and give moral support. How do they explain this to their followers?

Given the formidable forces we face as people , any alternative organization and leadership would have little chance of success unless and until we unlearn the debilitating impacts of divisive ethnic politics: the ‘silent killer.’ How can we do this? Why not embrace and practice such fundamental principles as integrity, purity of heart, spirit of cooperation with one another, commitment to serve the entire population and the country in our day to day lives? Why not show capacity to reject all forms of ethnic, religious, gender and age based bigotry, prejudice, corruption, nepotism and discrimination ourselves? Why not subordinate narrow, personal and group agendas to the common good of saving the country and serving the Ethiopian people as a whole? How difficult are these to do? How would we triumph over TPLF Inc. without dramatic changes in our own mindset, values and how we treat one another as Ethiopians? What form of coalition or transition are we after if we do not answer these and other fundamental questions? I suggest that discussing alternatives without demonstrating real change in our own mindsets and in our dealings with one another will not be credible in the eyes of the Ethiopian people or the global community. The London Conference of 1991 took place without sober analysis and discussion of similar questions. This is a real challenge for all activists and opponents to TPLF Inc.
Seventy Five to Eighty percent reject TPLF Inc.

At the risk of repeating, those of us who wish to pursue a more promising future for all Ethiopians must appreciate that our own bickering and division are the most constraining contributors to the strength of TPLF Inc. By all accounts, less than a quarter of Ethiopians accept the legitimacy of the current governing party (Gallop). It is thus an understatement to say that regardless of ethnic, religious or demographic affiliation, close to 80 percent of the Ethiopian people reject TPLF Inc. and want change. Western powers would want an alternative that would serve their interests best as was the case in London in 1991. The root causes of disillusionment, disempowerment, dispossession, abject poverty, hunger and intellectual and financial capital flight out of Ethiopia is deliberate ethnicization of politics and economics by TPLF Inc., a monopoly.

Almost everyone is reduced to subservient status. If you cannot count in your own homeland; you cannot expect to count anywhere else in the world. This is why nation states that are strong and defend your interests overseas have a voice. Almost everyone anywhere in the world is forced to fear the system that keeps them entrapped and powerless. People know this but cannot contest that the primary motive of ethnicization is to run the country purely as a business monopoly. The formation of political parties on the basis of ethnic affiliation serves the ultimate purpose of command and control over local, regional and national politics, resources and markets. Your rights mean nothing at all. This is by no means to suggest that there are no second class type beneficiaries. Some prefer second class status because they have not experienced a better system; and are suspicious of change. TPLF Inc. is smart enough to remind secondary beneficiaries that they should guard against restoration of the old system. The hidden message is specific to one so called dominant ethnic group. The tragedy is not so much that this camouflage persists; but that the rest of us fall into the trap. The result is a reinforcement of ethnic division and disempowerment that serve TPLF Inc.

Duality of ‘silent violence or killing’

Ethnicization of politics and economics serves two strategic objectives: divide and rule and extract as much rent as possible from the national economy. Please note that division serves TPLF Inc. most. The greater the division among Ethiopians; the larger is the opportunity to extract rents in different forms; and to make people believe that they are beneficiaries. Where have you seen growth that expands poverty? Extraction is hard to do in a multiethnic society unless some of the benefits go to supporters and ethnic elites who serve as intermediaries. If you want to justify a system, hire small beneficiaries who believe that the sky is blue. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) operates within this environment and serves TPLF Inc. best. Whether we accept it or not, it is, largely intermediaries (middle management) who facilitate the policy and decision-making authority of TPLF Inc. When you are a subordinate, the likelihood of dissenting against the dictates of the merged state is negligible. The Constitution, laws and regulations are bendable and changeable in accordance with the demands of TPLF Inc. Anyone who threatens TPLF Inc. risks the possibility of losing his or her private property or citizenship at any time. There is nowhere to hide except fleeing the country. More intellectual flight, especially those who are national leaning means more domestic vacuum that can compete and safeguard national resources and markets. Ethiopia is void of this asset.

What do regulations and laws do?

Under this system, regulations, laws, banks and other financial intermediaries serve political purposes: the staying power of TPLF Inc. They are therefore not value neutral. How else would you explain the phenomenon that generals and high officers–paid modest salaries to defend the country–are among the wealthiest and most powerful people in the country? Their powerful and wealth status resembles corrupt governance in Egypt and Pakistan than Ghana, Mauritius or Brazil. These generals and high officials are coopted through financial and economic incentives the same way as ethnic elites who belong to the EPRDF and who serve as intermediaries (middle men). Both are among the lead proponents of TPLF Inc. This phenomenon leads me to assert that the business of ethnic politics in Ethiopia today is financial and economic reward. It is the notion of “what is in it for me” that seems to prevail throughout the entire system. Some in the Diaspora reflect the same values. This is why the Diaspora’s role in prolonging the system that divides and disempowers is coming under increasing scrutiny by activists. In any case, it is fair to conclude that the system does not encourage commitment to and service to ordinary citizens, communities and the country.

In this sense, the Ethiopian Prime Minister is absolutely right when he said to business leaders last year that if people are not careful they will more or less lose their country. Why did he say this? Increasingly, foreign firms are assuming the pillars of the economy while Ethiopians with wealth are either investing in consumption oriented ventures or taking their monies out of the country at an alarming rate. They have no confidence in the government or the future of the country. How sad? Contrast this with Indonesian corruption that emphasized growing the economy and benefitting Indonesians as a commitment.

The Prime Minister is right and wrong. The problem is that it is the system he set up that created selfishness, greed, capital flight and unbelievable income inequality. His extended family and ethnic elites are the lead beneficiaries. This phenomenon does not surprise me a bit. It takes an enabling social, economic and political environment to encourage saving and investment in productive sectors that will change the system radically. It takes national leadership to motivate the private sector to do what is right for the country and its diverse population. Some of the most corrupt nations in the world, Indonesia for one, were and are still led by nationalist groups. At least, what is stolen is invested domestically in factories that generate jobs; raise incomes; and expand the middle class. This is not the case in Ethiopia. It seems that the system has created a culture of greed, fear of the future and total disregard for this and the coming generation and the overall development of the country. The current motto is “What is in it for me?” and not “what am I doing for the country and its people while enriching myself?” There is a huge difference between the two.

In this reward and punishment type of arrangement that serves TPLF Inc. and its allies well, the real and potential losses for communities, the society and the country are self-evident. They are everywhere for anyone willing to see. Sad but true, some in the Diaspora who run back and forth on a visit to the country as tourists or to manage their assets or to access opportunities fail to reflect on how the vast majority of the population lives. It is glitz of villas, apartments, eating places, hotels, roads and other physical infrastructure– that needs to be maintained and paid for—that catch their fancy and immediate attention. I often wonder whether Diaspora tourists ask the prudent question of how road infrastructure that lasts an average of five years will be maintained. Who will pay the maintenance costs? Dig deep into the artificial economy; and you will find that most Ethiopians are poorer today than they were 21 years ago. They barely eat one meal a day.

A properly and well integrated and planned economy stimulates productivity and raises individual incomes from large numbers of people. Investments in industry, agro-industry, agriculture and so on trigger structural changes in dramatic and sustainable ways. Infrastructure alone will not do that. The Ethiopian economy is import dependent. Industry accounts for about 4 percent of exports. By structural changes I have in mind factories that offer job opportunities to millions. Factories that produce fertilizers that feed agriculture. I have in mind a smallholder farming revolution that is supported by low cost inputs such as fertilizers, better seeds, access to credits and markets and so on. A smallholder farming revolution would do wonders for the country and the rural and urban population than land giveaways to Saudi Star to feed rich consumers in the Gulf or to Karuturi to supply cheap foods to Indian consumers. For citizens to benefit, Ethiopian smallholders deserve tenure security and freedom to produce and market and gain higher incomes so that they can send their children to school and so on. In short, I suggest that glitz alone does not contribute to sustainable and equitable growth and development regardless of the number of high-rises, condominiums, hotels, eating places for the few well-to-do, including Diaspora tourists, villas etc. Ask a simple question. Who, among the Ethiopian poor or low level civil servants or soldiers or factory workers or Saudi Star employee can afford to live in a condo in Addis Ababa, Mekele or Gondar? Who can afford food that Diaspora visitors or donors or high level government officials can afford? This is among the reasons why the system is a ‘silent killer.”

Portrayal of ‘silent violence or killing’

The Socialist military dictatorship killed innocent people in public and boasted about it. It triggered domestic and global outrage. In contrast, TPLF Inc. learned from this mistake and ‘kills quietly or silently’ than its predecessor. This makes it more dangerous and sinister. We see this vividly in the brutal beating of Andualem Aragie in jail. Given this most recent example, dissidents and reasonable people in the Diaspora cannot afford to forget and neglect enormous losses for the society and the country under TPLF Inc. Loses occur on a recurring basis. The concern I have is that we seem to be in a mode of just accepting loses as normal; and go on as if nothing has happened. Here are clear and harmful examples with devastating impacts. Ethiopia lost its sea ports for which the society pays billions of dollars for services. This loss took place without the consent of the Ethiopian people. No voice.

In a secret deal with the now northern Sudanese government led by President Bashir, Prime Minister Meles’ government granted substantial pieces of Ethiopian territory to Bashir’s regime. During the initial period if TPLF Inc. lands from Gondar, Wollo and other regions, were carved out and reconfigured for the benefit of what is commonly known as “Greater Tigray,” a condition that will not serve the greater good. This ethnic based reconfiguration and incorporation will create animosity among the population for generations to come. The regime will no doubt go; but the animosity will persist for generations.

TPLF Inc. granted millions of ha of the most fertile farmlands and water basins to businesses and individuals from 36 countries and to Tigrean elites. Oakland Institute reported that 75 percent of domestic owners in Gambella are Tigrean. This comes across as internal ‘land colonization.’ Tigreans should not blame other Ethiopians why they perceive that they are part of the problem. The medicine is to contest this outright; and to join others in rejecting TPLF Inc. Like the reset, they should accept the notion that Ethiopians suffer silently from a double whammy: foreign large-scale commercial farm colonization by invitation and real natural resource transfers to ethnic allies. Karuturi, Saudi Star and other foreign owned large-scale commercial farms are the new landlords in the country. These new land lords gain profits by dispossessing Ethiopians. How would an Anuak child feel about a condition that displaces and dispossess her/him? What are the rest of us doing about it? Transparency International, Global Financial Integrity and UNDP all confirm that billions of dollars of scarce foreign exchange is stolen from Ethiopian society each year. Corruption is a net cost to this and the coming generation in multiple ways. It is the current and future generations who will pay a huge price for this.

Ironically, foreign owned large-scale commercial farms are protected by branches of Ethiopia’s police, security and defense forces. In Central America and Pakistan, Special Forces paid for by investors protected such establishment against the population. Those who struggle for alternative organization and leadership ought to ask, “Whose interests do police, security and armed forces protect in Gambella or the Ogaden or anywhere?” It certainly is not the interests of the people who are forced out of their lands or the long-term interests of the country.

Opponents have a moral responsibility to educate ordinary soldiers, police and others that their repressive roles on behalf of TPLF Inc. or foreign investors will alienate them from their own extended families and communities. We cannot do this in meaningful ways if we are detached from the Ethiopian reality on the ground.

‘Silent violence or killing’ does not discriminate

Regardless of ethnic or religious affiliation, those who dissent against the above and other social, political and economic injustices are subjected to cruel and inhumane treatment without any let up. Andualem Aragie, an individual who hails from Gondar, was beaten up in his cell by an inmate because he stood for justice, democratic freedom and the rule of law. He did not dare to challenge the system because of his ethnic affiliation. He did this as an Ethiopian. His is a prime example of ‘silent killing’ by TPLF Inc. I do not have any proof to suggest that the inmate who assaulted him was planted by the governing party. However, I challenge the notion that anyone imprisoned by the one party state cannot and should not expect safety and security even in jail. It is a travesty that says more about the cruel and unjust system than about the inmate. The system does not tolerate dissent or symbols of dissent whether in jail, in the Diaspora or within the country. It does its job silently and methodically.

This takes me back to the formation and acceptability of ethnic-based political parties under TPLF Inc. I argue that this is part of the strategy of divide and rule; and a clever mechanism to coopt and subordinate the majority by using ethnic elite and other self-serving intermediaries. The more division there is; the less challenge to and dissent against TPLF Inc. Aspiring elites are recruited to the club on the basis of their submission, commitment to defend and serve the system while advancing self-interest. The business of ethnic politics is therefore to ensure that narrow band of-largely ethnic elites- are well served. Those of us who want a better future for all Ethiopians need to accept the truth that ethnic division and narrow self-interest entail enormous costs for the majority of people; and for the long-term viability and security of the country. The economic and financial incentives that accrue from this system are so critical for the beneficiaries that they become both pawns and the most avid supporters of ethnicization of politics and economics. At one level, it is hard to blame secondary beneficiaries. It is a matter of survival. What other option do they have? Those of us who oppose the system do not show consistent commitment to come to the aid of those who suffer within the country. We just react or protest for a day and stop. Secondary beneficiaries who may resent the system know our weakness, namely, our inability to mobilize resources and aid those who advance justice and fair treatment. The challenge for us is to make distinctions between the top leadership of TPLF Inc. and the rest and determine to expose this cruel and repressive system consistently. We can plant seeds of separation among constituent parts that sustain TPLF Inc.

Focus on the system that sustains ‘silent violence and killing’

I suggest that our singular focus should be less on our division and more on the system that sustains repression through division; and breeds social and economic inequality. I further suggest that the real political and social foundation of the struggle for a better and more inclusive society is in Ethiopia and not overseas. TPLF Inc. created the EPRDF to mobilize dissatisfied ethnic-based political elites in order to enlarge the party’s narrow political power base. To some, this strategy gave ethnic politics a democratic façade. This façade has no human face. However, it is, ultimately, the Ethiopian people who should judge in a free and fair election. The system now uses this ethnic architecture against those it perceives inimical to its well-designed political, social, financial and economic goals and interests. This is why Andualem and others are paying with their lives. Like other patriotic and nationalist individuals who stand for justice, the rule of law and political pluralism, he represents the hopes and aspirations we all share. He is thus a symbol of a brighter future for all Ethiopians and must be treated as such. TPLF Inc. applies the same methodology of punishing him, his family and friends and his community by making life totally intolerable. The intent is to make sure that others fear the brutality of the regime. This happens to Anuak, Somali, Amhara, Oromo, Gurage, and Tigray alike. Why can’t we recognize this and collaborate?

Given this recurring history of gross human rights violations against the innocent and the dispossession of the Ethiopian people as a whole, and acknowledging those who stand firm for justice and freedom, I am saddened to note that even Andualem’s dire and deplorable condition does not move and revolt those of us in the Diaspora in meaningful and sustainable ways. We seem to possess souls that do not move; hearts that do not empathize; minds that do not distinguish; and actions that do not make a dent. These are not Ethiopians values. I opine that we can no longer see people such as Andualem or others like him just as another individual activist individual in trouble. Rather, we must see him as a symbol of resistance and defiance from a new generation of potential leaders who represent hope and promise: “purpose-driven lives.”

It is time that we wake up and reject ‘silent violence and killing’ against any Ethiopian such as Andualem who stands for justice and freedom.
2/21/2012

PM Hailemariam Desalegn expresses frustration to close confidants

Sunday, December 23rd, 2012

Ethiopia’s new prime minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, has expressed frustration with the Tigrean People Liberation Front (TPLF) to a group of close friends he recently met. One long time friend of the prime minister (who wants to remain anonymous) told Ethiopian Review today that Hailemariam is finding it impossible to get cooperation from the TPLF members who are dominating the bureaucracy and military on a number of issues, most particularly making personnel decisions. TPLF officials also keep him in the dark on national security matters and he doesn’t get timely reports as a commander-in-chief.

Ethiopian Review’s source also said Hailemariam wants to give amnesty to all political prisoners, but hardliners in the TPLF-dominated state security are dead set against it.

Asked if Hailemariam is concerned about his security, the source said that all his family and friends are extremely worried, but Hailemariam himself doesn’t seem to be concerned.

Hailemariam wants to mend relations with the Eritrean government and he was furious that the Ethiopian football federation requested change of venue for the scheduled soccer match with Eritrea. Hailemariam believes that peaceful relations with Eritrea will solve most of the security issues in the region. However, TPLF leaders believe that Eritrea policy is their domain and they don’t want Hailemariam to come near it, Ethiopian Review source said.

The Nile river dam project is another area where Hailemariam feels that he is being sabotaged. Ever since the late dictator Meles Zenawi died last July, the TPLF has almost completely withdrawn support for the project, which is currently facing a crippling shortage of funds. Construction workers are not being paid on time, and critical supplies and equipments are not arriving. Much of the funds that have been collected so far have also been unaccounted for, the source said.

Ethiopia 2012: Human Rights and Government Wrongs

Sunday, December 23rd, 2012

Another Groundhog Year

In December 2008, I wrote a weekly commentary lamenting the fact that 2008 was “Groundhog Year” in Ethiopia:

It was a repetition of 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004… Everyday millions of Ethiopians woke up only to find themselves trapped in a time loop where their lives replayed like a broken record. Each “new” day is the same as the one before it: Repression, intimidation, corruption, incarceration, deception, brutalization and human rights violation… They have no idea how to get out of this awful cycle of misery, agony, despair and tribulation. So, they pray and pray and pray and pray… for deliverance from Evil!

It is December 2012. Are Ethiopians better off today than they were in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011? 

Does bread (teff) cost more today than it did in 2008…, a year ago? Cooking oil, produce, basic staples, beef, poultry, housing, water, electricity, household fuel, gasoline…?

Are there more poor people in Ethiopia today than there were in 2008? More hunger, homelessness, unemployment, less health care, fewer educational opportunities for young people?

Is there more corruption and secrecy and less transparency and accountability in December 2012 than in December 2008?

Are elections more free and fair in 2012 than in 2008?

Are there more political prisoners today than in 2008?

Is there less press freedom and are more journalists in prison today than in 2008?

Is Ethiopia more dependent on international handouts for its daily bread today than it was in 2008?

Is there more environmental pollution, habitat destruction, forced human displacement and land grabbing in Ethiopia today than 2008?

Is Ethiopia today still at the very bottom of the U.N. Human Development Index?

The Evidence on Government Wrongs in Ethiopia in 2012

Human rights violations in Ethiopia continue to draw sharp and sustained condemnation from all of the major international human rights organizations and other legal bodies. In 2012, the ruling regime in that country has become intensely repressive and arrogantly intolerant of all dissent and opposition. The regime continues to trash its own Constitution, sneer at its international legal obligations and thumb its nose at its critics. Though some incorrigible optimists hoped a post-Meles regime would open up the political space, reach out to opposition elements and at least engage in human rights window dressing, the nauseating litany of those who are falling head over heels to fit into Meles’ shoes has been “there will be no change. We will (blindly) follow Meles’ vision…” In other words, 2013, 2014, 2015… will be no better than 2012 or 2008.

The evidence of sustained and massive official human rights violations in Ethiopia is overwhelming and irrefutable. Let the evidence speak for itself.

The U.S. State Department Country Reports on Human Rights Practices in Ethiopia (May 2012) concluded:

The most significant human rights problems [in Ethiopia] included the government’s arrest of more than 100 opposition political figures, activists, journalists, and bloggers… The government restricted freedom of the press, and fear of harassment and arrest led journalists to practice self-censorship. The Charities and Societies Proclamation (CSO law) continued to impose severe restrictions on civil society and nongovernmental organization (NGO) activities… Other human rights problems included torture, beating, abuse, and mistreatment of detainees by security forces; harsh and at times life-threatening prison conditions; arbitrary arrest and detention; detention without charge and lengthy pretrial detention; infringement on citizens’ privacy rights, including illegal searches; allegations of abuses in connection with the continued low-level conflict in parts of the Somali region; restrictions on freedom of assembly, association, and movement; police, administrative, and judicial corruption…

Human Rights Watch concluded: 

Ethiopian authorities continued to severely restrict basic rights of freedom of expression, association, and assembly. Hundreds of Ethiopians in 2011 were arbitrarily arrested and detained and remain at risk of torture and ill-treatment. Attacks on political opposition and dissent persisted throughout 2011, with mass arrests of ethnic Oromo, including members of the Oromo political opposition in March, and a wider crackdown with arrests of journalists and opposition politicians from June to September 2011. The restrictive Anti-Terrorism Proclamation (adopted in 2009) has been used to justify arrests of both journalists and members of the political opposition…

Freedom House concluded:

Ethiopia is ranked Not Free in Freedom in the World 2012, with a score of 6 for both political rights and civil liberties.  Political life in Ethiopia is dominated by the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), which was led by Prime Minister Meles Zenawi from 1995 until his death in August 2012. May 2011 federal and regional elections were tightly controlled by the EPRDF; voters were threatened if they did not support the ruling party, and opposition meetings were broken up while leaders were threatened or detained.  The EPRDF routinely utilizes the country’s anti-terrorism laws to target opposition leaders and the media.  Parliament has declared much of the opposition to be terrorist groups and has targeted journalists who cover any opposition activity.  Media is dominated by state-owned broadcasters and government-oriented newspapers.  A 2009 law greatly restricts NGO activity in the country by prohibiting work in the area of human and political rights and limiting the amount of international funding any organization may receive.  This law has neutered the NGO sector in the country.  The judiciary is independent in name only, with judgments that rarely deviate from government policy.

Amnesty International urged that the “government of Ethiopia should see the succession of Meles as an opportunity to break with the past and end the practice of arresting anyone and everyone who criticizes the government.”

A group of U.N. Special Rapporteurs (an independent group of investigating experts authorized by the United Nations Human Rights Council) in 2012 issued public statements condemning the ruling regime for its indiscriminate use of the so-called anti-terrorism law to suppress a broad range of freedoms and for flagrantly perpetuating and sanctioning human rights violations.

Maina Kiai, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, concluded, “The resort to anti-terrorism legislation is one of the many obstacles faced by associations today in Ethiopia. The Government must ensure protection across all areas involving the work of associations, especially in relation to human rights issues.”

Ben Emmerson, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on counter-terrorism and human rights warned that “the anti-terrorism provisions should not be abused and need to be clearly defined in Ethiopian criminal law to ensure that they do not go counter to internationally guaranteed human rights.”

Frank La Rue, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression stated that “Journalists play a crucial role in promoting accountability of public officials by investigating and informing the public about human rights violations. They should not face criminal proceedings for carrying out their legitimate work, let alone be severely punished.”

Margaret Sekaggya, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders criticized that “journalists, bloggers and others advocating for increased respect for human rights should not be subject to pressure for the mere fact that their views are not in alignment with those of the Government [of Ethiopia].”

Gabriela Knaul, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers argued that  “Defendants in a criminal process should be considered as innocent until proven guilty as enshrined in the Constitution of Ethiopia… And it is crucial that defendants have access to a lawyer during the pre-trial stage to safeguard their right to prepare their legal defence.”

On December 18, 2012, 16 members of the European Parliament issued a public letter to Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn “expressing grave concern over the continued detention of journalist and blogger Eskinder Nega”. In the letter, the members reminded Desalegn to comply with his “government’s obligation to respect the right to freedom of expression as established under customary international law and codified in Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Ethiopia is a party.”

The Regime Must Cease and Desist All Unlawful Interference in the Exercise of Religious Freedom

Article 11 of the Ethiopian Constitution  mandates “separation of state and religion” to ensure that the “Ethiopian State is a secular state” and that “no state religion” is established. Article 27 prohibits “coercion by force or any other means, which would impair his freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice.”

Despite clear legal obligations to respect the religious liberties of citizens, the ruling regime in Ethiopia has played fast and loose with the rights of Muslim citizens to select their own religious and spiritual leaders. According to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, an independent body constituted by the Congress and the President of the United States to monitor religious freedom worldwide:

Since July 2011, the Ethiopian government has sought to impose the al-Ahbash Islamic sect on the country’s Muslim community, a community that traditionally has practiced the Sufi form of Islam.   The government also has manipulated the election of the new leaders of the Ethiopia Islamic Affairs Supreme Council (EIASC).  Previously viewed as an independent body, EIASC is now viewed as a government-controlled institution.  The arrests, terrorism charges and takeover of EIASC signify a troubling escalation in the government’s attempts to control Ethiopia’s Muslim community and provide further evidence of a decline in religious freedom in Ethiopia. Muslims throughout Ethiopia have been arrested during peaceful protests: On October 29, the Ethiopia government charged 29 protestors with terrorism and attempting to establish an Islamic state.

The regime must conform its conduct to the requirements of its Constitution and international legal obligations and cease and desist interference in the free exercise of religion of Muslim citizens. All citizens unlawfully arrested and detained in connection with the peaceful protest of unlawful deprivation of religious liberty must be released forthwith.

All Political Prisoners Must be Released

The number of political prisoners has yet to be fully documented in Ethiopia today. While human rights organizations have focused on multiple dozens of high profile political prisoners, there are in fact tens of thousands of ordinary Ethiopians who are held in detention because of their beliefs, open opposition or refusal to support the ruling regime. All political prisoners must be released immediately.

In a broader sense, there are two types of political prisoners in Ethiopia today. There are prisoners of conscience  and prisoners-of-their-own-consciences. The prisoners of conscience are imprisoned because they are dissidents, opposition party leaders and journalists. They have done no legal or moral wrong. In fact, they have done what is morally and legally right. They have told the truth. They have spoken truth to power. They have stood up to injustice. They have defended freedom, democracy and human rights by paying the ultimate price with their lives and liberties. They can be set free by the stroke of the pen.

The prisoners-of-their-own-consciences became prisoners by committing crimes against humanity in the first degree with the lesser included offenses of the crimes of ignorance, arrogance and  petulance. These prisoners are numbed by the opiate of power. They live in fear and anxiety of being held accountable any given day. They dread the day the wrath of the people will be visited upon them. They know with certainty that they will one day be judged by the very scales they have used to judge others.

The prisoners-in-their-own-conscience can free the prisoners of conscience and thereby free themselves. That is their only salvation. In the alternative, let them heed Gandhi’s dire warning: “There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time they seem invincible, but in the end they always fall—think of it always.”

Stop Repressing the Press

Napoleon Bonaparte said, “Four hostile newspapers are more to be feared than a thousand bayonets.” That rings true for the ruling regime in Ethiopia. Last week three imprisoned and one exiled Ethiopian journalists received the prestigious Hellman/Hammett Award for 2012 “in recognition of their efforts to promote free expression in Ethiopia, one of the world’s most restricted media environments”. The recipients included Eskinder Nega, an independent journalist and blogger and recipient of the 2012 PEN International freedom to Write Award;  Reeyot Alemu, one of the few Ethiopian female journalists associated with the officially shuttered weekly newspaper Feteh and recipient of the 2012 International Women’s Media Courage in Journalism Award; Woubshet Taye, editor of the officially shuttered weekly newspaper Awramba Times and Mesfin Negash of Addis Neger Online, another weekly officially shuttered before going online. The four were among a diverse group of 41 writers and journalists from 19 countries to receive the Hellman/Hammett Award.According to Human Rights Watch:

The four jailed and exiled journalists exemplify the courage and dire situation of independent journalism in Ethiopia today. Their ordeals illustrate the price of speaking freely in a country where free speech is no longer tolerated.  The journalistic work and liberty of the four Ethiopian award-winners has been suppressed by the Ethiopian government in its efforts to restrict free speech and peaceful dissent, clamp down on independent media, and limit access to and use of the internet. They represent a much larger group of journalists in Ethiopia forced to self-censor, face prosecution, or flee the country.

All dictators and tyrants in history have feared the enlightening powers of the independent press. Total control of the media remains the wicked obsession of all modern day dictators who believe that by controlling the flow of information, they can control the hearts and minds of their citizens.  But that is only wishful thinking. As Napoleon realized, “a journalist is a grumbler, a censurer, a giver of advice, a regent of sovereigns and a tutor of nations.” Like Napoleon, the greatest fear of the dictators in Ethiopia is the “tutoring” aspect of the press — teaching, informing, enlightening and empowering the people with knowledge. They understand the power of the independent press to effectively countercheck their tyrannical rule and hold him accountable before the people. Like Napoleon, they have spared no effort to harass, jail, censor and muzzle journalists for criticizing and exposing their criminality, use of a vast network of spies to terrorize Ethiopian society, shining the light of truth on their military and policy failures, condemning their indiscriminate massacres of unarmed citizen protesters in the streets and for killing, jailing and persecuting their  political opponents.

All imprisoned journalists must be released immediately.

“Those who make peaceful change impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” JFK

Professor Alemayehu G. Mariam teaches political science at California State University, San Bernardino and is a practicing defense lawyer.

Previous commentaries by the author are available at:

http://open.salon.com/blog/almariam/

www.huffingtonpost.com/alemayehu-g-mariam/ 

Amharic translations of recent commentaries by the author may be found at:

http://www.ecadforum.com/Amharic/archives/category/al-mariam-amharic

http://ethioforum.org/?cat=24

 

Leveling the playing field in Ethiopia

Saturday, December 22nd, 2012

By Yilma Bekele

The press release was short and to the point. It was only six paragraphs long and was written in a matter of fact way. There were no trumpets blaring, no press conference with TV lights and no lavish dinner to commemorate the event. The announcement reminded me of the proverb ‘best things come in small packages.’ So it was without much fanfare I read the most important announcement on Abbay Media and Quatero. Tucked among the news was the announcement regarding the formation of Ginbot 7 Popular Force (GPF).

It is vintage G7. Doing what needs to be done in a deliberate and intelligent manner. Since their inception the folks of G7 have gone about building their organization, finding common ground with others and laying a firm and solid foundation to move our quest for freedom and dignity in a purposeful manner. Their accomplishment the last four years speaks volumes to their ability as leaders of a new style of struggle that is beginning to bear fruit.
As the establishment of ESAT was a game changer, as the successful meeting of mind with the OLF was a ground shaking event this announcement regarding the formation of Ginbot 7 Popular Forces is a monumental achievement in the annals of our struggle. It is a milestone in the evolution of our struggle to be free and democratic.

It is a brand new day in Ethiopia. Our struggle is entering a new phase. It is a necessary phase imposed upon our people by the belligerent and lawless regime. It was not an easy decision for the Front to make. No one relishes the idea of an armed confrontation especially with one’s own brothers and sisters but there comes a time when self-preservation becomes a vital issue. The short announcement makes that fact clear.
The TPLF regime has been in power for over twenty years now. The last twenty years have been a period of destabilization, conflict and agony for our people. No one can deny that. The result of this chaotic and illegal system is laid in front of us. Despite the much heralded so called ‘economic miracle’ thrown on our face our country is mired in famine and poverty, our children are scattered all over the world, our daughters are enslaved in the Middle East by the thousands, our people are denied the simple luxury of reading a free paper or listening to independent news and our jails are filled by innocent victims of a mad system.

This is what makes the formation of GPF a must and important component of our struggle. The Ethiopian people have tried every avenue open to let the regime know that the monopoly of power is not conducive to a just and harmonious system. Our people have bent backwards to accommodate the regime to change its aggressive ways. International organizations such as the European Union and others have tried to mediate. The arrogant and petty government has shown complete disregard to our needs and concerns.

That is why I wrote ‘leveling the playing field’ in the title. Violence is a two way street. Up until now the TPLF regime has the monopoly of violence. It has used it with impunity. The late dictator even used to taunt as to try fighting back. We are patient people. But despite the failings of the last few years we are also brave people. At long last we have decided to stand our ground and defend our people from evil. Self-defense is a God given right to every human being. It is time we in Ethiopia exercise that right.

We celebrate those that are still trying to let the TPLF regime know their peaceful intentions to bring change. It is to no one’s interest to shed blood in anger. The death of a single Ethiopian should be avoided at all cost. That can only happen when there is the rule of law in the country we call Ethiopia. It could not come about by a government based on a single ethnic group, by a government hell bent on monopolizing army, commerce, communications and politics by a chosen few.

GPF is our shield. GPF will prove to the arrogant TPLF army and security there will be consequences to aggression. As anything started by the seasoned leaders of Ginbot 7 there is no question GPF will prove itself to be a worthy child of Tewodros, Yohanes, Minilik, Aba Jifar, Tona and many other patriots. There is no question in my mind that the Ethiopian people will take GPF into their fold, love and nurture it. Our wish has been fulfilled and TPLF nightmare has just started.

There will be those that will try to belittle our effort and mock our resolve. Some will accuse the Diaspora of fanning the flames of war. No matter the die has been cast and the long journey has started. It is sad that in this day and age we have to pick up arms instead of the ballot to bring change. But one cannot choose his battle. This has been forced upon us. We have waited too long to respond in kind. Once we have started the process our job is to try to make it a short and less costly endeavor. Our responsibility is to encourage, support in any way possible and push our family, friends and the international community to stand with us at this time of great need.

We salute the combatants of GPF for their sacrifice on our behalf. We want them to know they are in our hearts and minds every waking moment of our life. We promise we will do all that we could in our part to help them achieve the goal of liberating our mother land from the clutches of darkness. Forward with the brave sons and daughters of Ethiopia, we your people in exile raise our hands in salute and shout so all can hear ‘Ethiopia is rising and a new day has begun!!!’ May you march in triumph as your ancestors did thru the millennium.

Will the World End Today? – U.S. Geological Survey says ‘Be Prepared, Every Day’

Friday, December 21st, 2012

(USGS) — Based on interpretations of the ancient Mayan calendar, some people are predicting the world will end on December 21, 2012, Others believe that instead of doomsday and destruction, the day will mark a new era for humanity and will be a time for celebration.

Such beliefs aside, what we know with certainty is that Earth has a tremendous capacity to generate natural disasters on any day of any year. For this reason, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists continue to look for ways to better forecast a wide range of natural hazards and protect our communities.

Let’s take a closer look at the state of the science – what we know and what we don’t know – about our ability to forecast natural disasters.

Can We Predict Earthquakes?

Despite claims to the contrary, no reliable short-term earthquake prediction method has ever been developed. Nor do scientists expect to develop a method in the foreseeable future.

However, based on scientific data, probabilities can be calculated for future earthquakes. For example, comprehensive assessments of long-term earthquake rates in California tell us there is roughly a 2-in-3 chance that a magnitude 6.7 or larger earthquake will strike in the next 30 years in the greater San Francisco Bay Area. Within the state of California as a whole, earthquakes this large are virtually certain (a 99% probability) in that same time frame.

USGS scientists are also working with university colleagues to gather objective and quantitative information on which to base shorter-term earthquake forecasts. This work includes developing better methods to quantify changes in probability based on recent earthquake activity. For example, scientists are looking at the probability for a larger earthquake after an initial earthquake. They are also developing approaches to communicate these probabilities that will be most effective at supporting appropriate decision making.

Signs of Volcanic Unrest
The United States is home to 169 active volcanoes, many of which could erupt at any time. Fortunately, volcanoes generally show signs of unrest hours, weeks and months before they erupt. Changes in gas emissions, swelling of a volcano, and swarms of small earthquakes are signs that a volcano is awakening. All of these changes can be detected with proper monitoring equipment.

The USGS National Volcano Early Warning System is designed to detect these signs of unrest at the earliest stages. The USGS issues warnings and alerts of potential volcanic hazards—including imminent or ongoing eruptions, ash fall forecasts, and when eruptions have ended—to responsible emergency-management authorities and those potentially affected. These warnings prevent episodes of volcanic unrest from becoming volcanic disasters.

Learn more and see current alerts and status for volcanoes in the United States by visiting the USGS Volcano Hazards website.

Landslide Hazard Potential

Landslides occur in all 50 states and pose a significant risk in many areas. Scientists know landslides are likely on the west coast during its rainy season from November to March, during spring and summer thunderstorms in the western mountain states, and during hurricane season along the east coast. People at especially high risk for landslide damage are those living on or below steep hill slopes.

Wildfires can lead to flash flooding and debris flow, as vegetation is removed that would have served as a stabilizing factor and the remaining burned soil is less able to absorb rainwater. Landslides can also occur from earthquakes, volcanic activity, changes in groundwater, or disturbance and change of a slope by man-made construction activities.

USGS scientists produce maps of areas susceptible to landslides and identify what sort of rainfall conditions will lead to such events. The USGS is working with the National Weather Service on a prototype Debris Flow Warning System to help provide forecasts and warnings about what areas are at imminent risk of having a debris flow or mudslide when rainfall thresholds are met.

Tracking Wildfires

Wildfires are a great concern when there is a lack of precipitation, particularly during the summer months when the weather becomes hot and dry. When there is no water, wildfires can spread very quickly and can be hard to control. Climate change and the resulting hotter and arid conditions are expected to significantly increase wildfire frequency and severity.

The USGS plays an integral role in preparing for and responding to wildfires. The USGS provides tools and information before, during and after fire disasters to identify wildfire risks and reduce subsequent hazards. By looking at previous wildfires, scientists can learn more about ignition sources, burn severity, patterns, season of burning, and fire size. The USGS also provides real-time geospatial support for firefighters during the events. This includes up-to-the minute maps and satellite imagery about current wildfire extent and behavior.

Hurricanes, Storms, Floods and More

Hurricane season runs from June 1 through November, with September as the peak time when they are most likely to strike. But hurricanes and tropical storms can hit at other times as well.

NOAA is responsible for monitoring and issuing warnings for hurricanes and tropical storms. The USGS works with NOAA and provides information on associated coastal vulnerability and change. Before, during and after these events, the USGS assesses the likelihood of beach erosion, overwash, or inundation. Scientists also measure storm surge and monitor water levels of inland rivers and streams.

Flooding from storms is another concern, as is drought from lack of rainfall. The USGS conducts real-time monitoring of the nation’s rivers and streams, and you can visit USGS WaterWatch to see whether river levels are higher or lower than normal. You can also use USGS WaterAlert to receive texts or emails when water levels at a specific streamgage exceed certain thresholds. The National Weather Service relies on timely and accurate USGS data to issue flood warnings, and the partnership between the two agencies runs deep. Together, the USGS, the National Weather Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are also developing flood inundation maps that show, street by street, block by block, and hour by hour exactly where the flood waters will be.

Monitoring Magnetic Storms

What is a magnetic storm? The sun is always emitting a wind of electrically charged particles that flows outward into space. If these concentrations of solar wind are directed towards the Earth, then the magnetic field of the Earth in space (the magnetosphere) can be disturbed, sometimes for days.

Large magnetic storms can cause loss of radio communication, affect global-positioning systems, damage satellite electronics and cause electrical blackouts. Damaging storms occur about 4 times a decade, with smaller events occurring more frequently. Magnetic storms can be detected up to 2 days in advance by monitoring the sun. They come in all sizes, but the largest storms tend to occur when sunspots (concentrations of magnetic energy on the surface of the sun) are most numerous.

The monitoring of “space weather” conditions is a responsibility of several U.S. government agencies, including NOAA, NASA, and the U.S. Air Force. The USGS has the unique responsibility of monitoring geomagnetic activity at the Earth’s surface, close to where most of the effects of magnetic storms are actually realized. Learn more and view near-real time conditions of the magnetic field.

Be Prepared, Every Day

The question to consider on December 21, 2012, and every day is: Have I done everything I can to ensure that my family and I are prepared, should a disaster strike? This includes preparing and practicing your emergency plan and building a disaster supplies kit with food, water and basic needs. Natural disasters will continue to occur, on any given day, but a more informed scientific understanding can lead to better preparedness and safer communities.

Genes reveal grain of truth to Queen of Sheba story

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

By Hannah Krakauer  |  New Scientist

The genomes of Ethiopian people hold echoes of the meeting between a legendary king and queen.

queen of sheba

 

About 3000 years ago, the Queen of Sheba purportedly travelled from what is now Ethiopia to meet King Solomon in Israel. Ethiopian folklore even tells of a child between the pair. But that’s just a story, right?

Perhaps not entirely. Luca Pagani of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Hinxton, UK, examined samples of Ethiopian genomes and noticed that some individuals had components of both African and non-African lineages. Delving deeper, Pagani and his colleagues discovered that the non-African genetic components had much more in common with people living in Syria and around the eastern Mediterranean than in the nearer Arabian peninsula. What’s more, the gene flow probably took place around 3000 years ago.

The finding is backed by linguistic research, which shows that one of the four language families of Ethiopia migrated from the same region about 3000 years ago. “Middle Eastern language came to Ethiopia along with Middle Eastern genes,” Pagani says. “And that is when the Queen of Sheba legend is supposed to have happened.”

The meeting between the queen and Solomon remains a story, but the populations they came from did meet around that time, says Pagani.

Lorenzo Taezaz And The Italo-Ethiopian War (1935-1941)

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

By Daniel Kindie

Lorenzo Taezaz could be considered as one of the legendary heroes of the Italo-Ethiopian war of 1935-1941. From the day he left his homeland in 1925, until his untimely death in Sweden in 1946, he had an unusual life. Few Ethiopians of his generation have enjoyed a life so intense and so productive over a period of 21 years. He contributed more than his share to the liberation of Ethiopia from Italian fascism. Yet, the young generation of Ethiopians, which has grown up after the war, are almost entirely ignorant about him. The reason of his consignment to oblivion, for instance, has never been fully known. Similarly, the manner of his death which invites more questions than answers is passed over in complete silence.

The purpose of this study is limited in scope. First, it is to introduce Lorenzo Taezaz to the general reader, and possibly, to stimulate more discussion about him among scholars who study Ethiopia. Second, to investigate the actual role he played in the 1935-1941 period of Ethiopia’s struggle against fascism. This requires some information about the man’s early life, and the circumstances for his departure from Eritrea. Who was he? And what was his background? I will treat the essentials of his early life and discuss the reasons why he left his homeland, how he met Ras Teferi Mekonnen [the future Emperor Haile Selassie I], and how he started his career with the Ethiopian government.

I have reviewed the existing literature. As will be noticed, it gives him scant coverage. Most of the literature refers to him only in passing. Even important events in which he was involved appear in snippets rather than as a whole, so that their overall impact is diffused, preventing one from ever knowing his full story. For this reason, I had to interview a number of people. These include: his daughter, Mrs. Woizerit Lorenzo, the late Ambassador Ephreim Tewolde Medhin, his lifelong friend, Dr. John Spencer, a war time colleague who knew him from 1936-1946, and Mebratu Taezaz, his brother. Three of them were interviewed in Asmara in 1983, and Dr. Spencer, on 30 August 1987 in New Haven, Connecticut.

There is some controversy about the circumstances of his departure from Eritrea. The controversy has something to do with Italian war plans to invade Ethiopia, and Lorenzo’s alleged understanding of that plan as related to me by his daughter. Before coming to grips with his actual role in the fascist Italy period, therefore, I have found it important to evaluate his daughter’s version of Lorenzo’s immigration to Ethiopia. For this reason, I had also to provide some sketchy information about the historical background of the Italian occupation of Eritrea and the subsequent threat to the rest of Ethiopia.

Brief Background

Lorenzo Taezaz was born on 30 June 1900 in the Akele Guzaie province of Eritrea, then an Italian colony. He received his first education in Italian schools in Asmara and Keren and started his career with the Italian colonial administration when he was still very young. Because of his intelligence and hard work, Lorenzo rose to the rank of Secretary to the Governor of Asmara, the highest position that an Eritrean could reach in the colonial administration.

In 1924, while on vacation in Aden, he met Ras Teferi Mekonnen, the future Haile Selassie, who was there on an official visit, and who encouraged him to go to Ethiopia. A year later, Lorenzo went to Addis Ababa. Subsequently, Ras Teferi Mekonnen arranged for his education, and along with other Ethiopians, he sent him to France on a government scholarship. Lorenzo spent the next eight years at the University of Montpelier where he completed his studies in Law and Philosophy. Apart from his native Tigrigna, he already spoke Amharic, Arabic and Italian, but Montpelier also provided him with an opportunity to master French and English.

He returned to Ethiopia in 1933 and began to serve the Ethiopian government in several capacities: Secretary, Ministry of Justice (1933); member of the Anglo-Ethiopian Boundary Commission which demarcated Ethiopia’s borders with former British Somaliland (1933-34); member of the same Commission which was charged with the duty of surveying the grazing grounds of the Ogaden, and investigating the causes of the Wal-Wal incident of 1934, which led to the Italo-Ethiopian War of 1935-1941; appointed private secretary of Haile Selassie, and in addition he served as liaison officer to the international press (1935-1936). He even saw action at the Battle of Maichew (1936) that culminated in the defeat of the Ethiopians by the Italians.

Lorenzo had presented a plan to Haile Selassie to transfer the government center to Gore (1) – a remote and inaccessible town in western Ethiopia from where the counter-offensive could be prosecuted. However, the costs and risks of fighting the mechanized Italian army was debated and measured against the risks and costs of not fighting. When the Council of Ministers agreed by twenty one to three vote(2), that the risks were too grave and the costs too high, it was decided that Haile Selassie should go and personally present Ethiopia’s case to the League of Nations. In May 1936, therefore, Lorenzo left Ethiopia and accompanied Emperor Haile Selassie in his exile to Europe. There, he was appointed Ethiopia’s Permanent Delegate to the League of Nations and subsequently took an active role in the struggle against Italian fascism. During the occupation, Lorenzo secretly entered Ethiopia on several occasions. After Ethiopia’s liberation in 1941, he was appointed Minister for Foreign Affairs (1941-1943), Minister for Posts, Telephones and Telegrams (1943), President of the Chamber of Deputies (1943-1944), Minister to Moscow, USSR (1944-1946), and Delegate to the Paris Peace Conference (May 1946). A month later, he died in a hospital in Stockholm, Sweden.(3)

When I visited the late Ambassador Ephreim Tewolde Medhin at his residence in Asmara, he was ninety years of age. The following is a summary of what I was able to gather from him:

Interview I. Ambassador Ephreim Tewolde Medhin:

Lorenzo was my life long friend. Ever since we left Eritrea, we shared adversity and happiness together. There was no future for both of us in Eritrea. In 1925 we escaped to Aden. It should be recalled that Lorenzo had met Ras Teferi Mekonnen in Aden a year earlier and had thus invited him to go to Addis Ababa. I took the boat and waited for him in Djibouti. When we met in Djibouti, both of us were in tears. From there, we took the train and went to Addis Ababa. Ras Teferi Mekonnen asked us what we wanted to do. Both of us requested him to send us abroad to school, which he did. I went to Beirut. Lorenzo went to France… What we did for Ethiopia during the war, is for history to judge. We stayed in Europe to help intensify the diplomatic struggle, but Lorenzo was exceptional. He even traveled inside Italian occupied Ethiopia on secret missions. I can assure you that he was a selfless patriot. At a time when an entire generation of educated Ethiopians was simply wiped out by fascism, he was Ethiopia’s eyes and ears. The British only talked to him.(4)

Dr. John Spencer knew Lorenzo for some ten years. The following provides what he could recall from memory:

Interview II: John Spencer:

I met Lorenzo on 15 January 1936 in Dessie at the headquarters of His Majesty the Emperor Haile Selassie. I remember everything very well. Even the place where we met was kept dark for fear of Italian air raids. In general, he gave me the impression of an extremely reserved man. Perhaps his inner nature needed privacy and solitude for reflection. He had a quick mind and a sharp tongue. He impressed me as being an intellectual. He spoke excellent French and English. We collaborated on the war bulletins for some months in Addis Ababa. We met again in London in June 1936 where we worked together. He was very meticulous. It was easy to work out a sentence with him. He helped draft Haile Selassie’s 1936 address to the League of Nations, translated his speeches and led the Ethiopian delegation to Geneva. In 1938, Haile Selassie wanted to return to Ethiopia to lead the resistance, and so, he sent Lorenzo to Ethiopia to assess the situation and to help organize the Arbegnoch (the patriots). He did a thorough job. As a result, the Emperor decided to move. However, the British strongly objected to the plan, contending that it was premature. But the truth is, since they were negotiating with the Italians over the Mediterranean, they did not want the talks to be prejudiced. Lorenzo again spent some months inside Ethiopia in 1939 and re-organized the resistance. He did a marvelous job. The Italians left Ethiopia in 1941, and I met Lorenzo in Addis Ababa in 1943. This time, he was the foreign minister. He performed very well. It was not an easy task to evict the British from Ethiopia. He had a terrible time as they were toying with the idea of establishing a protectorate over Ethiopia. But, nevertheless, he came out with flying colors. The last time I met him was at the Paris Peace Conference in May 1946. A month later, he died in Sweden.(5)

Source Review

There is an enormous literature on Italian fascism and Ethiopia. But as pointed out earlier, however, the coverage on Lorenzo is scanty, and where it is not, disconnected details are not united.

Kebede Tesema, an important Ethiopian intelligence officer of the time, who was later to occupy several ministerial posts in Haile Selassie’s government, published Historical Notes (Addis Ababa, 1955). Among other things, his book contains invaluable information on how the Ethiopians managed to sustain effective guerrilla warfare against the mechanized Italian Army. Although he fully recognizes Lorenzo’s vital contribution to the prosecution of the war, strangely enough, he does not say much about his role in making that operation effective. Similarly, the Italian journalist, Del Boca, in his illuminating book, The Ethiopian War 1935-1941, (London, 1965), mentions Lorenzo three times. Even then, this is done in the context of his exile to Europe along with Haile Selassie, the speech he made at the League of Nations in 1938, and how he distributed arms to the insurgents in Western Ethiopia in 1939.

In the same way, Richard Greenfield, in his Ethiopia, A new Political History, (New York, 1965), provides some insight into the valuable information Lorenzo brought out of Ethiopia describing the extent of guerrilla operations and the poor morale of the Italians.

John Spencer, who served the Ethiopian government for many years as advisor in foreign affairs, as has already been pointed out, knew Lorenzo from 1936-1946. In his informative book, Ethiopia At Bay (Algonac, Michigan 1984), he writes of Lorenzo’s French education, the information he used to collect from the war fronts (1934-35) for the publication of war bulletins, his translation of Haile Selassie’s speeches into French in Geneva, and the detailed information he brought out of Ethiopia in 1939 regarding the status and operations of the patriotic forces. He also mentions the invaluable contributions Lorenzo made to the military campaigns through which the emperor returned to Ethiopia in 1941, and Haile Selassie’s praise of the significant role played by Lorenzo in the liberation campaign of Ethiopia.

In his recent book on the Italo-Ethiopian War, Haile Selassie’s war: The Italian-Ethiopian Campaign, 1934-1941 (New York, 1984), Anthony Mockler provides Lorenzo’s biographical sketch in just six lines and dismisses his activities with the Ethiopian refugees in the Sudan and Kenya, in just a couple of paragraphs. Beyond that, there is nothing. There is also the autobiography of Haile Selassie, My Life and Ethiopia’s Progress, 1892-1937 (London, 1976). In this book, Haile Selassie praises Lorenzo’s diplomatic skill and the outstanding services he rendered to the country.

Let us then begin with a brief survey of Italy’s involvement in the affairs of the area – an involvement which probably caused Lorenzo’s departure from his place of birth.

Background to the Italian Occupation of Eritrea and the Threat Against Ethiopia

The Eritrea of the 1920s that Lorenzo left, was a sad place. Eritreans were constantly reminded of their inferiority in their own country by their colonial masters, the Italians. The Asmara municipality excluded them from all participation. In the central government hierarchy, they had no part. Eritreans could at best aspire to be low-paid clerks or orderlies. There was no trace when they could advance towards participation in government, or of administration scheme which could lead to it. There was to be, in perpetuity, only rulers and the passive ruled.(6) The combined effect of the policy of colonial oppression, social humiliation and material deprivation had several results in Eritrea. Of immediate concern to us during this particular period is the immigration of some 200,000 Eritreans to Ethiopia. One such Eritrean was Lorenzo Taezaz.

Why did he escape from Colonial Eritrea? Was his immigration to Ethiopia largely inspired by personal feelings of hopelessness in his future in colonial Eritrea, or by some other purpose? Was he conscious of a specific threat against Ethiopia at the time? How was it possible for him to play an outstanding role in the resistance movement against fascism, and eventually to become Ethiopia’s Foreign Minister? These questions are pertinent. It is useful to consider them in the context of the historical background that led to Italy’s involvement in the affairs of the people of the region.

As far as Italy was concerned, Asmara was merely a stepping-stone to bigger designs: Eritrea was acquired with the larger objective of the whole Ethiopia in mind.(7) The fact that between 1890 and 1896 Italy launched a series of assaults against Ethiopia from Eritrea is a sufficient testimony to that design. In any event, the series of intolerable military encroachments on Ethiopia’s sovereignty culminated in the Battle of Adowa of 1896, in which the Italians were routed.

As The Spectator of March 7, 1896 observed regretfully:

The Italians have suffered a great disaster – greater than has ever occurred in modern times to white men in Africa. Adowa was the bloodiest of all colonial battles. (8)

Italy’s pride was wounded. If ever Rome was to occupy a respectable place in the councils of Europe, that national humiliation and disgrace had to be avenged. Thereafter, propelled by Mussolini’s 1922 dictum, that “Italy must either expand or explode,”(9) fascism came to power. In such a situation, the first policy declaration el Duce made was to settle once and for all, the great account which has been left open since 1896.(10) “If only Italy had 6,000 more soldiers in Adwa, the result would have been different,” he was to say later.

To that end, he gave the necessary directives for building up Eritrea’s economic infrastructure in order to facilitate military mobility for the conquest of Ethiopia. Such a direction can be discerned from a letter Mussolini wrote in 1925 to the Prince of Scala, the Minister of the Colonies, in which Mussolini called his attention to the poor defensive conditions of Eritrea, and to correct such deficiencies as might exist.(11) Since nobody was threatening Eritrea, one can only interpret that message to mean preparations for committing aggression against Ethiopia.

Similarly, Pietro Badoglio, the Chief of Staff of the Italian Armed Forces, had instructed General Malladra in 1926 to carry out a thorough study of Eritrea’s defenses (read preparations for war), including the possible use of poison gas, either through aerial bombing or through artillery shelling.(12) Ten years later, Badoglio, who directed Italy’s invasion of Ethiopia from Colonial Eritrea and Somaliland, did precisely that.

Lorenzo’s Departure from Eritrea

I had heard contradictory accounts about Lorenzo’s departure from Eritrea. Since the evidence provided by anyone of the people I talked to was insufficient to prove any point, I decided to interview Woizerit Lorenzo, his daughter. In response to my question why her father, who was privileged by the standards of many Eritreans, because he was working at the Civil and Political Affairs Department of the colonial administration, left Colonial Eritrea and went to Ethiopia, Woizerit Lorenzo explained her father’s immigration in the following way:

Interview III:

One day, while he was filing papers, he read a secret military document which spelt out Italian war plans against Ethiopia, including the intention to use poison gas. Taken by shock and horror, while he was weeping, his tears dropped on the papers and spoiled the document. No sooner had this taken place than his Italian boss discovered what had happened and asked him why he was sprinkling water on vital government document? Being naive and innocent, he confessed that it was not water that spoilt the pages, but his tears. “Why did you have to weep”? asked the Italian. “Because I read the secret document which tells a lot about what you intend to do against Ethiopia,” he replied. “Yes, but that has nothing to do with you Eritreans. You are worried about a different people and society, which should not be of concern to you,” retorted the Italian. Three days later, Lorenzo told Ephreim Tewolde Medhin about what he had read. After that, both discussed the matter and escaped to Aden and from there they went to Addis Ababa where they met Haile Selassie.(13)

How much reliance could be attached to the information, especially that provided by his daughter? Did he really escape from Eritrea because of what he had read? And did such information ever exist? The 1925 letter of Mussolini to the Minister of the Colonies may provide a clue. There is also Badoglio’s handwritten instruction to General Malladra regarding the use of poison gas. These clues, when considered along with the fact that mustard gas that had been shipped into Massawa was utilized to substitute for the mountain warfare in which Italians lacked training (14), may lend considerable weight to what Woizerit Lorenzo contends. However, when Italy launched its unprovoked aggression against Ethiopia in 1935, the country was not prepared to resist the aggression. In fact, the primary cause of Ethiopia’s defeat was that it had no arms, and was allowed none. The secondary cause of its defeat was that it had no aviation.(15) It therefore appears very unlikely that Lorenzo had access to secret war plans. For, if he did, he would have made it available to Hale Selassie, and that would have given Ethiopia a span of ten years with which to strengthen its defenses.

One is inclined to think that his daughter has read back into the past on the basis of the actual use of poison gas, the likely Italian preparations to do something against Ethiopia and Lorenzo’s patriotic role against fascism. In such a set-up, it becomes easy within the family to make Lorenzo into an even more prescient hero. While one does not deny the utility of oral sources, perhaps the most one can say in this particular case is that her information cannot be used to supply adequate answers to the type of questions we raised earlier.

That Lorenzo served the Italian authorities from 1920-1925, is not debatable, and that he met Haile Selassie in Aden in 1924 is not also in dispute. But what cannot be sustained is the contention that he escaped from Eritrea because of the “secret document” he had read. Available evidence does in fact support the view that his escape from his home land was likely motivated by his daily exposure to constant humiliation, provocation and racial discrimination.

In this regard, let us consider the views of the London Times correspondent George Steer, who was expelled from Addis Ababa by the Italians in 1936, and who later participated in the liberation campaign of Ethiopia in the capacity of a British Intelligence Officer in charge of Offensive Propaganda. Steer who knew Lorenzo both in Europe and in Africa has this to say:

He rose to be Secretary to the Governor in Asmara when he was still very young, for Lorenzo is quick as lightening. It was the highest position that he could reach: Lorenzo is not a white man. Embittered by his servile condition, he could bear it no longer after a scene in a small cinema to which Italian friends had invited him. Other Italians hissed them for bringing in a colored man. Lorenzo was already miserable enough. With his savings he fled to Aden and waited there in poverty until [Haile Selassie] picked him up.(16)

One is inclined to accept this version of Lorenzo’s escape from Colonial Eritrea. It is also likely that Steer heard it from the man himself. Since impressions of youth are more lasting that those of the immediate past, it seems that such an experience had a chilling effect on his outlook. It made him resent the Italians very deeply. In expecting him to treat them not as an equal, but with a submissiveness demanded of a subject, the Italians succeeded in converting him into an envenomed and resolute enemy for all time.

Thereafter, and as mentioned earlier, Lorenzo went to school in France, and having returned to Ethiopia in 1933, he began to serve the government in several capacities until he was forced into exile again by the Italians, this time to Europe along with Haile Selassie.

Lorenzo’s Role Against Italian Fascism

Haile Selassie’s moving address to the League of Nations that stirred the conscience of the world and which was drafted by Lorenzo in part reads:

I am here to give Europe warning of the doom that awaits it, if it bows before force. I ask the fifty-two nations assembled here to give my country the support they promised her. There is not on this earth any nation that is higher than any other, apart from the kingdom of God. God and History will remember your judgment.(17)

It should be noted here that after delivering this historic address to the League of Nations, the Emperor Haile Selassie settled in Bath, England. As far as the League was concerned, therefore, it was Lorenzo, who in his capacity as Permanent Delegate of Ethiopia accredited to that world body, who continued the diplomatic struggle in Geneva. To that end, he even carried his credentials signed and sealed in his pocket. If any motion prejudicial to Ethiopia were to be tabled at the Council, he had all the intention of walking into the Assembly Hall and occupying the vacant post.(18) However, he was also impatient with the obstacles that loomed on all sides. As was to be expected, when Ethiopia was sacrificed by the League at the altar of political expediency, Lorenzo could not but agree with those few Ethiopian ministers who saw the virtues of guerrilla warfare.

With regard to the situation inside Italian occupied Ethiopia, it should be noted that Italian atrocities that were regarded by many as the apogee of fascist barbarity had reached a climax. The Ethiopian nationalist movement was gaining ground. There was continuous rebellion, even if it was uncoordinated, bedeviled as it was by factions which adhered to personalities rather than programs. Italian censorship was so strict that little information reached the outside world. It was therefore assumed that the fascists were making good their occupation of the country. Hence, in February 1938, Haile Selassie decided to dispatch Lorenzo to make a secret visit to Ethiopia and to explore the possibilities of his return to lead the resistance. Lorenzo had to succeed in this mission, if only because the prospect of failure was too grim to contemplate. Accordingly, he went to Ethiopia and spent several months inside the country. He delivered Haile Selassie’s messages to the various leaders of the resistance, assessed their strength and weakness, mediated their disputes, distributed arms at strategic points, helped to integrate them into a cohesive fighting force, and left the country.(19) Three months later, Lorenzo was back in Europe. Haile Selassie was so impressed by what he had to tell him, that he decided to report the whole situation to the League of Nations, some of whose members had started recognizing Italian occupation of Ethiopia. But since the emperor was ill, Lorenzo had to read the speech for him, which in any case, he had drafted:

Is the League, the appointed guardian of the principles of international justice, about to sign its own death warrant by tearing up with its own hands the covenant which is the sole justification of its being? Is right to triumph over Might, or Might over Right? [Let me reiterate to you here and now] that an implacable guerrilla warfare is being waged and will continue to be waged until either the [country] is evacuated by the Italians, or the Ethiopian people have been exterminated.

… The Italian government exercises no control over the greater part of Ethiopia… Its troops merely control the towns (where) garrisons can only be supplied with provisions and munitions by means of aircraft. (I am annexing to this statement) the petitions presented by the Ethiopian warrior chiefs setting forth the situation and asking for the assistance of the League of Nations.(20)

The petitions, no doubt, were written by warrior chiefs, at Lorenzo’s suggestion. He took the petitions with him and annexed them to Haile Selassie’s speech. And from the point of view of those States that were hesitating to recognize Ethiopia’s occupation by Italy, the speech and the petitions mush have had a restraining influence. Countries like Sweden, Mexico, the USA, USSR and others never recognized Italian occupation of Ethiopia.

In 1939, Lorenzo went back to Ethiopia on a similar mission. According to George Steer, who seems to have closely following his activities:

Lorenzo, a lively man who used to worry where to get the next stamp to send a letter to the Secretariat of the League of Nations, came to Paris by arrangement. His timing was good. The League of Nations did not meet that year. He went off dressed in a tarboosh, saying that he was a Sudanese of the Eritrean frontier tribe of the Habab.(21) The volcano (the Ethiopian resistance movement) permanently simmered, and Lorenzo’s coming gave it a poke. He poked it all around – north and south, east and west, skillfully exploiting the resentment that had been simmering. Among other things, he composed the quarrels of the resistance leaders in Gojjam after three days of negotiation. Elsewhere, he promised the people that the end is not far off.(22)

Similarly, Christopher Sykes, who describes Lorenzo as “an Ethiopian of high character and distinguished record,” reports that he was known at this time as Wolde Michael, elsewhere as Thompson and correctly as Lorenzo Taezaz.(23) The French intelligence officer, Colonel Robert Monnier, who had also made a clandestine journey in the interior of Ethiopia in July 1938, taught Lorenzo how to use a compass in his arduous travels. Lorenzo therefore extensively traveled inside Ethiopia. He constantly disguised himself in order to elude the Italians.

But in areas where he felt secure, he appeared in an Ethiopian army officer’s uniform with a considerable escort of Ethiopian soldiers. The fact that Lorenzo was able to wonder about Ethiopia in uniform and with an escort, it was said, is an indication of the state of affairs prevalent inside the country.(24) At other times, he traveled disguised as a priest or as a peasant.(25) After several months in the country, and after having established an Ethiopian Intelligence Bureau in Khartoum Lorenzo proceeded to Cairo to give full account of his discoveries to the skeptical British Middle East Headquarters.(27)

By the winter of 1939, he was back in England with news to gladden and inspire. Again Haile Selassie wanted to move, but this time, the British were not convinced that he had a large following in the country. In 1938, if Britain did not act in support of Haile Selassie, it must have been certainly acting, when it argued that the emperor’s wish to move to Ethiopia and to lead the resistance was premature. But the truth is, as Spencer remarked, since Britain was negotiating with the Italians over the Mediterranean, it did not want the talks to be prejudiced. However, British reluctance a year later had some merit worthy of note. At a meeting of some 900 patriotic commanders which took place in Gondar, the need to abolish the monarchy and declare Ethiopia a republic was discussed. To that end, even a document was prepared for the League of Nations touching on the form which a future government of the country might take.(28) Since Britain was aware of that, London did not want to end up by backing a man whose leadership was challenged. To dispel their doubts, however, Lorenzo was sent back to Ethiopia. This time, he was to provide evidence that important members of the resistance affirmed their allegiance to the emperor. He collected 10,000 signatures in a matter of weeks and helped to persuade the British to support Haile Selassie’s claim to the throne.

On June 10, 1940, Italy declared war on France and Britain. As a result, Haile Selassie was allowed to go to Khartoum to organize and lead a liberation army. He immediately asked for the battalion of trained Eritreans which had deserted from the Italian army in 1937, but which was kept in internment in Kenya.(29) Who else but Lorenzo could go to Kenya? He went there and read them Haile Selassie’s invitation requesting them to join the resistance. They responded with wild cries of delight,(30) and they did. Back in Khartoum, more work was waiting for Lorenzo, and more duties that needed his attention. He wrote the decrees and the military mobilization orders of Haile Selassie, which the British Royal Air Force effectively utilized in the propaganda warfare against the Italians. Eritreans in Kassala, for instance, were seen to kiss the seal, press it to their foreheads and weep.(31) At long last, as the British army moved to evict the Italians from Ethiopia, it entered the country along the tracks blazed by Lorenzo Taezaz.(32)

Conclusion

It was pointed out earlier that because the existing literature gives scant coverage to Lorenzo’s background in general, and to the actual role he played in the Italo-Ethiopian war of 1935-1941 in particular, this study would attempt to rectify that limitation. From the discussion we have already had, we can therefore make the following conclusions.

Although Lorenzo’s escape from Eritrea was largely motivated by the reality of an empty future in his homeland, his uncompromising position against fascism seems to have been largely inspired by his early experience of constant humiliation and racial discrimination. Those painful memories have lived with him for very many years. In those days, Haile Selassie needed educated young Ethiopians to help him in his modernization program. He sent several of them to Europe to study European methods of administration, science and technology. As fate would have it, in sending Lorenzo to France, he did make a wise decision. It paid off.

Lorenzo, who lacked neither ideals nor insight, successfully played several roles as a pressman, diplomat, intelligence officer, agitator, and counselor, and discharged his responsibilities with great distinction. In the process, he displayed great fortitude and endurance. For no one can dispute the key role he played in Ethiopia’s liberation. But more than most, Lorenzo’s commitment to duty must have strengthened Haile Selassie’s faith in education.

By delivering the Emperor’s messages to the various leaders of the resistance, Lorenzo provided the movement with a sense of direction and helped co-ordinate the internal and external struggle against Italian fascism. Whenever disputes arose among the leaders, by appealing to their sense of patriotism and by mediating their conflicts, he helped in the emergence of a cohesive and formidable fighting force that carried out devastating guerrilla operations against a mechanized army considered invincible at the time.

If thousands of peasants could turn into soldiers overnight, fight with limitless courage, and turn the tide of the war, they owe it to Lorenzo’s organizational and agitation ability and to the arms he distributed to them at critical times and places. If Eritrean soldiers, who were in the service of fascism, could desert the Italian army and join the Ethiopian forces of resistance, it was in part because of the knowledge that Lorenzo was around.

As a lawyer, and fluent in several European languages, Lorenzo effectively argued Ethiopia’s case in Geneva, and gained for his country considerable sympathy and support.

When the British government hesitated in supporting Haile Selassie’s return to Ethiopia, contending that the emperor had no power base inside the country, Lorenzo was instrumental in changing London’s mind. He went to Italian occupied Ethiopia, collected the signatures of 10,000 important members of the resistance who affirmed their allegiance to the emperor, and convinced the British to go along with Haile Selassie. Is there any wonder then, if the late Prime Minister Endalkachew Mekonnen could immortalize Lorenzo’s name in the funeral oration by paying tribute to his memory in words that are both fitting and deserving?(33)

Bibliography and Endnotes

1. Steer, G. L. Caesar in Abyssinia, Hodden and Stoughton Ltd., London 1936, p. 356.

2. Ibid, p. 364.

3. The rumor mills in Ethiopia have been grinding out conflicting stories about his death. It is strongly alleged by many Ethiopians that Lorenzo was poisoned by Wolde Giorgis Wolde Yohannes, Haile Selassie’s powerful Minister of the Pen, who deeply resented Lorenzo’s wide popularity with Haile Selassie. Spencer for one is convinced that he died a natural death. He claims that Lorenzo suffered from intestinal adhesions.

4. Interview I, December 10, 1983, Asmara. The Ambassador was very sick, but still he was kind enough to talk to me for some minutes. While trying to recall the circumstances of their departure

from Eritrea, tears were constantly in his eyes.

5. Interview II was conducted on August 30, 1987, New Haven, Connecticut.

6. Longrigg, H. Stephen: A Short History of Eritrea, the Claredon Press, 1945, p. 135.

7. Marcus, Harold: Haile Selassie I, the Formative Years, 1892-1936, University of California Press, 1987, p.84.

8. The Spectator, March 7, 1896.

9. Coffey, M. Thomas: The Lion by Tail, the Story of the Italo- Ethiopian War, Viking Press, New York. 1970, p.7.

10. Kirkpatrick, Ivor: Mussolini, A Study in Power, Hawthorn Books, New York, 1964.

11. de Bono, Emilio: The Conquest of the Empire, London 1937, p.2.

12 Instructions for General Malladra, Rome, 10 July, 1926, IFM/MAI, 50/24/64, ibid., Marcus, p.76.

13. Interview III, July 15, 1983, Asmara.

14. Barker, A.J.; The Civilizing Mission: A History of the Italo-Ethiopian War of 1935-1936, the Dial Press, New York, 1968, p.242.

15. Ibid, Caesar in Abyssinia, p.8.

16. Ibid, p.73.

17. The Autobiography of Emperor Haile Selassie I, translated by Edward Ullendorff, Oxford University Press, 1976, pp.299-312.

18. Sanford, Christine: Ethiopia Under Haile Selassie, J.M. Dent and Sons Ltd. London, 1946, p.100. His brother, Mebratu Taezaz whom I interviewed in Asmara on August 15, 1983, informed me: “Between 1937 and 1941, Lorenzo entered Ethiopia several times. He had to disguise himself sometimes as a woman, sometimes as a peasant, and sometimes as a priest. The Italians could not tolerate his activities and had to issue an award for anyone who could catch him.”

19. An important Italian source that provides interesting reading about Lorenzo especially from the Italian point of view is Angelo del Boca’s Gli italiani in Africa Orientale, Vol. I: Dall’Unita alla marcia su Roma, Bari, Laterza, 1976, pp.97, 189, 246, 691; Vol. II: La conquista dell Impero: (1979); pp. 336-339, Vol. III (1982), La caduta dell’ impero, pp.27-28.

20. League of Nations, Provisional Agenda of the 101st Session of the Council, May 9th, 1938, Geneva: Document C. 193. M. 104. 1938. VII.

* Why Paris? Britain also was not making much progress in its negotiations with Mussolini. Haile Selassie was still in England and he could be used against Italy. Since Steer was working for the British Intelligence Service, he must have been instructed to contact Lorenzo.

21. Steer, G.L.: Sealed and Delivered, Hodden and Stoughton Ltd. London, 1942, pp. 8-41.

22. Ibid.

23. Sykes, Christopher: Orde Wingate, A Biography, The world Publishing Co., 1959, New York, pp. 240-244. Wingate commanded the British army in the liberation campaign of Ethiopia.

24. Ibid, Sanford, p. 104.

25. Ibid, Baker, p. 309.

26. Gabre Meskel Habtemariam was from Seraie, Eritrea. He completed his studies in engineering, University of Paris in 1928. In the 1940s he was editor of the Voice of Eritrea, which demanded Eritrea’s unification with Ethiopia.

27. Sanford, Christine: The Lion of Judah Hath Prevailed, J. M. Dent & Sons Ltd., London, 1955, p.86.

28. Greenfield, Richard: Ethiopia, a New Political History, Frederick A. Praeger Publishers, New York, 1965, pp. 247-48.

29. Ibid, Sykes, p. 244.

30. Ibid, Sealed and Delivered, p. 103.

31. Ibid, The Lion of Judah, p. 33.

32. Ibid, p.26.

33. Lorenzo! You are no more with us. But history will remember you as a great patriot. You stand head and shoulders above us all. The outstanding services you rendered to the cause of Ethiopia’s liberation have already occupied a prominent place in the history of Ethiopia. Your tenacity, bravery and single mindedness of purpose, will, forever, inspire millions of Ethiopians. For more of the oration, see Sendick Alamatchin, Amharic Weekly, June 25, 1946.

World-renowned journalists speak up about Eskinder Nega

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

“Who among us could write what I’m about to read,” asked Carl Bernstein, “spirit unbowed, faith in freedom and the power of the written word untrammeled?” That is how Bernstein, a legend of American journalism, paid tribute to one of Ethiopia’s most improbable convicted “terrorist,” Eskinder Nega, a brave fellow journalist who sits in jail for speaking truth to power at the  Public Forum program about imprisoned writers and artists presented by The Public Theater and PEN American Center on December 3, 2012. Bernstein was reading an article Eskinder published just five days before his arrest. The article criticized the government’s arrest of a 72-old-year actor on terrorism charges and discussed the improbability of critical journalists and dissidents as terror suspects.

Ethiopian migrants abused and unwelcome in Yemen

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

Desperately seeking a future

By Graham Peebles | mwcnews.net

December 18, 2012

Year on year the numbers of men women and children leaving Ethiopia in search of work and freedom from repression in one of the Gulf States and beyond is increasing. Lured by the often hollow prospect of earning enough money to support their family, United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) estimate around 85,000 men women and children, desperate and naïve, have this year, no matter the severe risks, made their way to Yemen, the hub of migration out of the Horn of Africa.

In the last six years around 250,000 Ethiopians have made the dangerous journey into this very poor, deeply divided country besieged with internal problems, which has limited resources, the second highest rate of chronic child malnutrition in the world and where 45% of the populations live in poverty.

Into this chaos step the Ethiopian migrants, who, unlike Somali’s have no refugee status, suffer from poor consular support and are seen by most Yemenis as an unwelcome burden. They sit low on the domestic workers hierarchy and, along with other African nationals are discriminated against throughout the Gulf region where xenophobia and racism has found expression in the region’s politics and government policies.

The majority of migrants leave the security of their home, the love and comfort of their families, not because they want to, but because they have, they believe, no alternative. Overwhelmingly young, 18–30 years of age, from rural or semi-rural environments, poorly educated with many lacking basic literacy, driven by poverty the majority go in search of work, whist around 25% are estimated to be from political opposition parties.  The Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) who make up almost 50% of all registered migrants arriving in Yemen, and the Ogoden National Liberation Front (ONLF). Legitimate groups persecuted and branded terrorists, by the EPRDF government that in all but name, rules over a single party state and allows no form of political dissent or opposition, no matter the constitutional content to the contrary.

The influence of smugglers, masquerading under the acceptable guise of ‘broker’ on many vulnerable individuals living in rural areas, with no knowledge of the wider world, is great. Imbedded within the community they paint a picture of migration coloured by wealth and prosperity, opportunity and excitement. Accounts of horrific migration experiences are known, but all too often ignored,’ smoking kills’ deterring nobody. Arguments of self-persuasion and denial reinforced by brokers who see another victim, another human commodity, to be wrung dry. Migrants and smugglers alike are pushed to extremes, desperately trying to survive in a ‘dog eat dog’ world, dominated by an unjust, corrupt market economy, that persecutes the poor and concentrates unlimited wealth and power in the hands of the few; causing extreme inequality, hardship and unbridled human and environmental destruction. A system In which huge corporations, banks and financial institutions of the developed nations along with their allied governments condition and define developing countries as they try against all odds to haul themselves out of poverty.

Hopeless journeys made in hope

Djibouti city is the first major stage in the harrowing journey to Yemen, here or at sea all possessions, including mobile phones, cash and clothes are stolen, by smugglers, corrupt police or border guards. The journey to Djibouti’s capital is harsh and dangerous, in which many Ethiopian migrants die of starvation, dehydration or are killed by bandits. Trafficking is also serious a danger, Djibouti the US state department  say is “a transit, source, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking… [Migrant] women and girls may fall victim to domestic servitude or forced prostitution after reaching Djibouti City, the Ethiopia-Djibouti trucking corridor, or Obock – the preferred crossing point into Yemen,” and gateway to the Gulf. Here migrants “have no access to food, safe drinking water or shelter from the sun,” the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) report, ‘Desperate Choices’,  states, and wait for days or weeks for favourable conditions to cross the perilous waters of the Gulf of Aden, in flimsy boats manned by vicious criminal gangs. They have usually come from Ethiopia by truck, although occasionally the entire journey is made on foot, over weeks through one of the hottest, most inhospitable areas in the world. Some aren’t lucky enough to get to the port, in September last year, IRIN 15/11/11  report, 60 Ethiopian migrants were found dead about 120 km west of Djibouti’s capital.

Abduction murder and rape

More shocking even than the numbers of people is the violent treatment they face. Murder, abduction and ransom demands, torture, rape, sexual abuse and more rape, are the nightmares many are subjected to by criminal gangs and smugglers. And all in the pursuit, not of happiness, which they left behind, but $100 a month, to feed and clothe their families 1000 kilometers or more away.

On arrival in Yemen men and women are separated, wives taken from husbands, daughters from Fathers brothers from sisters. Trafficking and multiple rape of women is widespread, IRIN 12/03/12 state “the majority of the approximately 3,000 women held by smugglers in Haradh [on the border with Saudi Arabia] over the past year were raped, many of them repeatedly.”DRC relate this account from a 15-year-old boy, who “was captured by Abd al-Qawi’s gang. They tied a rope round my legs and hung me upside down and beat me almost to death for three days. I was made to watch an Ethiopian woman being raped and an Ethiopian baby about one year old being killed.”Cases of male rape, punishment for trying to stop the rape of a wife or sister, have also been documented.

On a positive note, deaths at the hands of smugglers have dramatically decreased, only to be replaced by another atrocity – abduction, the terrifying experience of the majority. With $100 – 300 being demanded from family members who can barely feed themselves, let alone pay a ransom. Torture and violence at the hands of hostage takers is brutal; pulling teeth, gouging eyes, driving nails through hands and feet, cigarette burns are all reported, and if ransoms are not paid, migrants, after this hell are often beaten to death. In March this year 70 Ethiopian men and women were discovered in Yemen’s Hajjah Governorate, again near the border with Saudi Arabia, the UN humanitarian news and analysis,  reports, “their captors, they said, had beaten them with pipes, burned them with cigarettes and poured liniment in their eyes making them scream in pain.” This horrific incident indicative of many follows close on the heels of the killing of three Ethiopian men in January, shot while trying to escape from smugglers. They had made the arduous journey from rural Ethiopia to Yemen, full of hope, only to be tortured and finally murdered.

The ordeal of women begins in Djibouti, DRC report an Ethiopian man recounting the sea passage when “four Yemeni smugglers were on board the boat. They raped the girls in front of us, we were not able to move or to speak, and those girls were already sold to Yemeni traffickers.” Many are abducted and held captive, sometimes for months on end, their experiences are harrowing in the extreme, DRC tell of a 16 year old girl from Wollo who was imprisoned for six months and repeatedly rap