Archive for the ‘Ethiopian News’ Category

Ethiopia: The quiet before the storm

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

By Yilma Bekele

It has been forty-eight days since we saw or heard from Meles Zenawi. Some are convinced the tyrant is dead while the regime insists he is recovering, on vacation or just hanging out, depending on Ato Bereket’s mood of the day. Whatever the reason his absence has stirred different responses from his subjects.

The whole idea of a leader of a country disappearing into thin air is a purely Ethiopian phenomenon. The head of state just don’t leave his post without notice. In most countries he can’t even catch cold without informing the press. The position is too important to be left vacant even for a few hours. Who is supposed to give guidance and leadership if a crisis happens. A crisis normally does not occur with adequate notice that is why it is called an emergency. For someone to give orders he/she better have the necessary authority invested in them.

All countries anticipate such scenario and have the solution built into the system to avoid unnecessary power grab contention between the different branches of government. The current uncertainty regarding the order of succession in Ethiopia shows the issue was not addressed during the design of the current Constitution. It is obvious this is not a matter of simple oversight by the architects of the system. They are definitely not that stupid. It is left unanswered due to the nature of the system that was put in place. Ato Meles and partners deliberately left the issue open because resolving such question would have made their life miserable.

Ato Meles used the issue of succession as a brilliant reward to tangle to who ever he favored at that particular moment. At one time the position belonged to the Amharas or was rumored to favor the Oromos then offered to any of the minority group currently in vogue. Committing such post on paper would have been a death sentence to the occupier of that position. All others close to the throne would have given up any hope of upward mobility and intensified either building up their own faction or doubled on the looting. Ato Meles would have lost a huge leverage to keep all sycophants in line.

It looks like Ato Meles was taken ill without adequate notice. He never thought the end was close. He was only in his late fifties and the brain tumor situation was a cause for concern but not an emergency. I believe his humiliation in Washington DC pushed him over the edge. His whole system was jarred causing a cascading effect that he was unable to recover from. He has always been shielded from confrontational situation due to the fact that he made sure he dealt with adversaries from overwhelming power arrayed behind him. He did not even take a walk in his garden without a phalanx of security around him. He did not even trust his own shadow. He was a very fearful person or a coward to be precise and he used fear and terror as a tool. He understood the power of fear from personal experience.

Forty-eight days into his disappearing act and what are the Ethiopians doing? As docile as ever, the subjects are very quiet. The Ethiopian capacity to self-police is legendary. In fact they are so proud of it they chastise all those that try to rock the boat. The regime without its head understands this state of mind. How in the world can you respect someone that has no self-respect so to speak of?

The regime has been trotting out officials, those close to officials and self-declared spokes persons and puppet talking heads to fill the air with trash talk. All you got to give an Ethiopian is a few intelligent sounding lines and they are happy to fill the rest. Here in the Diaspora every coffee house is full of talking heads getting drunk listening to their own voice. Ask them to be part of the solution silence is their response.

Ato Meles’s contempt to his subjects is legendary. His lieutenants currently working on his behalf seems to have inherited this useful trait. They have no qualms even in not announcing the whereabouts of the dictator. The reason for his absence is not even felt to be important enough to be disclosed. Ato Bereket is heard to speculate different reasons depending what day of the week it is. He is resting due to job fatigue, he is recovering from illness, he is on vacation or it is none of any body’s business has been the explanation given to his docile subjects.

Who is in charge is a good question. According to Aboy Sebhat, a non elected person but rumored to be mentor and close fatherly figure of the tyrant there is no need to have a leader present and accounted for. The system in place is adequate enough to function like a well-oiled machine. I love this explanation. It is a break through in human politics and system of governance. The same people that came up with Revolutionary Democracy have now presented us with a system that requires no leader or head of state. Brilliant is all that comes to mind. It has been working like a charm for forty-eight days now and at the moment there is no reason to think why it should not go on for a little longer.

In the absence of the head of state the Parliament has managed to pass a budget, the security has dealt with the question of freedom by the Moslem community in its usual harsh manner, the international agencies have continued to grant loans and aid in the usual manner and the citizen has accepted the status quo.

So far so good but is there any danger of this life without a head of state coming to a point where Aboy Sehat’s theory might not be able to address a situation? For our sake let us hope not but I feel it is always good to prepare for all eventualities. We are in this situation due to the fact that Ato Meles forgot he was human and being taken ill or dying is part of our programming. He put all his eggs in one basket. Of course we should have known better since we knew Ato Meles never has the interest of our country in mind and to be fair never pretended to care for anything else other than himself. As I write this I am sure where ever he is either sitting for a game of chess with Gadaffi or Kim Jung or laying on beach in beautiful Puerto Rico with a glass of Pena Colada, he must be grinning from ear to ear satisfied with what he left behind.

So what could go wrong? A national emergency is one. Let us say for the sake of argument President Isaiyas decides to take over Zele Ambesa, who is going to give the order to the military to march north? You can’t have a committee declare war. A spokes man is not really the person to come on television and mobilize the population. The Ethiopian people will laugh if Ato Bereket or Shimeles Kemal show up TV and declare war. They just don’t have that look of a belligerent dictator. Would the Generals take order from Council of Ministers? Would the population rally around nameless individuals?

How about another kind of emergency? Let us say the Moslem and Christian community coordinates their quest for freedom and march in all the big cities? Who is going to authorize the riot police to confront the freedom seekers? The last time this happened Ato Meles as the head of state declared state of emergency and sent his Agazi force and gave the order to shoot. Who is authorized to declare state of emergency and would the solder have to obey such order? Can a committee give the order to shoot?

In both emergency scenarios the military seems to play a central role to bring stability and order, what is to prevent the Generals from taking matters into their hands and moving into the palace? Why serve a few un-elected pompous usurpers? Why share the power pie when you can keep the whole thing to yourself? In fact they might even reap some credit by throwing all the TPLF politburo members into Kaliti. That is what is called killing two birds with one stone.

How about if this situation of no head of state goes for a few more months, would those who are governing at the moment get used to this situation and try to make it permanent? We have no idea if Ato Meles is dead or alive, how about if he is alive? Would the committee decide to kill him since his return would destabilize the comfortable situation they have created? Is Ato Meles willing to go into the sunset quietly or does he have a backup plan of his own?

All this questions are currently unanswered and I am sure a few more are bound to rear their ugly head. The question to ask at the moment is are we so docile that the ninety four percent are going to sit on the side while the six percent are trying to figure out how best to screw us for another twenty years?

The current situation is not sustainable. What is going to happen is not really clear to all concerned. The TPLF or the new TPLF that has been rebuilt by Ato Meles since he expelled his buddies is not something that is resting on solid ground. It is an amalgamation of sycophants and weak individuals that were willing to serve the dictator as long as there was enough to loot. His absence changes the equation. We have to admit he was good at reading the international situation and securing all kinds of handouts, loans and grants. Foreign donors are going to sit on the sidelines and wait till the dust settles. The greedy Diaspora that has been financing the regime is not able to continue at the old pace due to the economic situation in the west.

Already inflation is spiraling and dollar reserve is getting very low. The TPLF new millionaires and their supporters are entering a panic stage which means that they will sell all assets, hoard all cash and trip each other while trying to exit. The slowing of the economy will bring what is known as social unrest. The committee of heads of state is not familiar on how to deal with such situation. The only blue print left by Ato Meles is use of force at any and all situations. Compromise, give and take, negotiation is not part of the vocabulary for the last twenty years. One man can do that. He is the face of the regime and an old culture like ours is familiar with ‘strong man’ rule. But a committee is different. No one listens to a committee. A committee does not have one voice. Looking at the current members of that committee no one stands out that exudes leadership. Starting with Aboy Sebaht, Abay Woldu, Berket Semeon, Arkebe, Mesfin Seyoum, Berhane or Queen Azeb do not have the making of a leader. Background workers yes but definitely not leadership material.

As for the ninety-four percent this is the best time to present our demands so the committee can entertain some of our questions. The need for a new Constitution, the formation of a care taker government, the freezing of all EFFORT assets, the prohibition of moving money out of the country, the release of all prisoners that are in jail using the so called terrorism charge, the immediate abolition of the Communication department, lifting the prohibition of the free press should be in the forefront of our demands. If we do not ask how would they know? If we do not protect our interest who would?

49th day since Ethiopia’s dictator Meles Zenawi disappeared

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

It is now almost 2 months since Ethiopia’s khat-addicted dictator Meles Zenawi disappeared from public view. The country currently is being led by a secretive cabal of thugs from Adwa Awraja who are unable to decide who will replace Meles. Diplomats and other observers predict that even if Meles is alive, he will not be able to resume his job, The Gurdian reports.

Hilary Clinton’s hypocrisy on human rights

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

By Chris McGreal

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree … aid-africa

American aid to the country once called Zaire appeared to have an amazing effect. The more the US gave its ruler, Mobutu Sese Seko, the shorter Zaire’s roads seemed to get. By the time Mobutu was overthrown in 1997, after two decades of American and other western largesse, his country had just about one tenth of the paved roads it had had at independence in the early Sixties. Once US aid shrank, the roads started getting longer again.

Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, began a tour of Africa this month with a thinly veiled warning that China is out to plunder the continent and its governments would do well to huddle under the protective wing of America’s commitment to freedom. Clinton told an audience in Senegal that, unlike other countries:

"America will stand up for democracy and universal human rights even when it might be easier to look the other way and keep the resources flowing."

She didn’t mention China by name, but everyone got the message. The US secretary of state is getting at a point made by other critics of Beijing’s role in Africa: that China is so hungry for resources it does deals with authoritarian regimes and doles out aid without consideration of issues such as good governance.

That sounds an awful lot like what the US and its allies got up to for decades – with the difference that Chinese aid does sometimes deliver something tangible, such as thousands of kilometres of new roads in the former Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of Congo. Whereas US aid mostly disappeared into Mobutu’s buoyant bank accounts, or was used to buy off the army to keep him in power, China’s deal with the DRC government – trading thousands of kilometres of new roads and rehabilitated railway track for copper and other minerals – is transforming lives by linking up parts of the country cut off from each other for decades except by air.

None of this happened with US and western money. US aid to Mobutu was tied up with the cold war, his support of US-backed rebels fighting Angola’s Marxist government and his general hostility to communism. Barely a word was said – by successive US administrations – about Mobutu’s dire human rights record. Few questions were asked about how, despite the billions of dollars thrown at Kinshasa, Mobutu went on getting richer while the people he ruled got poorer and his country’s infrastructure fell apart.

Mobutu was always welcome at Ronald Reagan’s White House, where the president called him "a voice of good sense and goodwill". Only after the end of the cold war did US policy shift. Washington didn’t need Mobutu anymore. Finally, it could afford to talk about principles without much cost.

It was much the same story with western aid to Rwanda. Hundreds of millions were poured into the tiny country, with France leading the way, to support a regime that would ultimately resort to genocide in an attempt to hang on to power. Yet, it took the Chinese to lift towns such as Kibuye out of their isolation.

Kibuye is just 120km, or 75 miles, west from Rwanda’s capital, Kigali. Twenty years ago, the journey was as much as an eight-hour drive, depending on the rains and on whether, as seemed to happen most days, a bus or lorry was stuck in the deep muddy ravines that opened up on what could only be loosely described as a road. China’s road-builders changed all that, and the journey now is well under two hours – with all the benefits to trade, education and family life that brings.

The pattern across Africa was US support for ideological allies, which included Washington siding with the apartheid regime in South Africa while banning Nelson Mandela’s ANC as a terrorist organisation. It also entailed funding of wars against opponents. Human rights and democracy were too often buried under the needs of cold war realpolitik, as Washington saw them.

US officials argue that "that was then", and it’s different now. But is it? For sure, Washington will make a stand on "democracy and universal human rights" where it does not conflict in a major way with other interests. But where money or security are involved it’s another matter.

Take Equatorial Guinea. Washington had plenty of public criticism for its appalling and bloodstained dictator, Teodoro Obiang Nguema, who has ruled since 1979. The US even pulled out its ambassador, John Bennett, in 1993 after he was accused of being a witch on state radio and threatened with violence. In his departure speech, Bennett named the regime’s worst torturers and Washington closed the embassy three years later. Then, large reserves of oil were discovered in the 1990s: American companies started pumping and everything changed.

Or take Ethiopia. The US is the largest contributor of aid to Addis Ababa, which has been ruled by the same man, Meles Zenawi, for 20 years. He’s received billions of dollars in aid, since American largesse rose sharply after the 9/11 attacks (from a little more than $200m a year to close to $1bn) because Washington came to regard Ethiopia as a frontline in the "war on terror", owing to the presence of Islamist fighters in neighbouring Somalia. The CIA also used Ethiopia as a base for the secret interrogation of hundreds of detainees abducted from other countries, which was likely to have involved torture.

While some of that aid money has benefited ordinary people, a Human Rights Watch report two years ago said Zenawi was "using aid to build a single-party state". It accused the ruling Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front of exercising "total control of local and district administrators to monitor and intimidate individuals at household level" and charged that foreign governments, including the US, were colluding in this repression.

A BBC investigation last year exposed how "the Ethiopian government is using billions of dollars of development aid as a tool for political oppression." It reported that villages failing to support Zenawi are starved of food, seeds and fertiliser.

For all of Clinton’s assurances, the US still finds it easier to look the other way.


Leasing Ethiopian athletes to foreign governments

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

By Daliah Solomon

Maryam Jamal

Leaders and citizens start asking questions when the national sports team they support fails to win expected medals. If a national Olympic team repeatedly suffers unexpected defeat, patriotic citizens will begin to scrutinize the National Olympic Committee responsible for the development, care and management of their national team. Citizens of democratic nations with under-performing Olympic teams freely voice their opinions about the managers of their failing national team. They will further rely on an independent free press to air their questions and concerns and to investigate exactly who or what is causing their team’s poor performance. More importantly, the lucky citizens of such nations will have political leaders and parties concerned about protecting national dignity and committed to raising the profile of their country, particularly at the world’s largest global event — the Olympics. During the London Olympics 2012, nationalistic leaders will monitor the performance of their respective teams, ready to ask probing questions if results are poor. If they are, then everyone will demand answers from their National Olympic Committee that is responsible for the success or failure of a national team. Unfortunately, this is not the reality for Ethiopians who have no democracy, no human rights, no free press and who are ruled by a repressive regime with political leaders and leaders of the so called “Ethiopian National” Olympic Committee (ENOC) who care nothing at all for Ethiopian national pride.

For starters, Ethiopians do not have a national leader. Although presently declared by some to be a missing person, and presumed dead by others, the currently invisible Meles Zenawi has never claimed to be a national leader. He is/was in fact a tribal chief, mandated to lead by his exclusive ethnic Tigrean Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF). It’s a small wonder that Ethiopian athletes have not yet been ethnically segregated to represent their respective ethnic Bantustans at the Olympics, in accordance with TPLF’s ethnic apartheid system of ruling Ethiopia.

A closer examination of the ENOC is leading to damning emerging evidence of yet another TPLF money-making scam involving the sale of Ethiopia and Ethiopians. It is becoming clearer by the day that TPLF, not content with selling the land, rivers, genetic wealth, babies and young girls, is busy leasing and selling Ethiopian athletes to foreigners via the commodity brokerage house wrongly called the “Ethiopian National Olympic Committee.”

Before examining the scam, it is necessary to examine the scammers. Firstly, the so called “National” Olympic Committee of Ethiopia is run by individuals who are not even remotely connected to sports in Ethiopia. Whilst it will come as no surprise to learn that the head of the ENOC is Tigrean, it is shocking to discover that the President of Ethiopia’s NOC, Berhane K. Mariam, is a party member of TPLF and General Manager of the notorious lie factory Walta Information Center. Though he claims to be President of a “National Basketball Federation,” it is not clear where this institution is located and what it does. Except for a few hastily organized events just prior to the Olympics, the so- called Ethiopian Basketball Federation is an invisible, inactive entity in Ethiopia.

Alongside the General Manager of Walta Propaganda Service is another Tigrean, Ms Dagmawit Girmay Berhane, with the fancy title of Secretary General of the ENOC. Like her colleague, Ms. Dagamwit, who is a full-time employee of an international NGO, presents a fictitious connection with a national sport that no one in Ethiopia plays — badminton. So, from the outset, when we talk of the Ethiopian National Olympic Committee we are talking about liars and cheats.

How is money being made at Ethiopian NOC?

What is being discussed here is not the money that Ethiopian athletes are allegedly being forced to pay as bribes to ENOC officials in order to be allowed to participate in international competitions. We get the first clue of the ENOC’s international crime involving large amounts of money courtesy of Bahrain, where the entire national Olympic team came out in support of the ongoing political protests and were promptly thrown into jail for their involvement in politics. Suddenly in the market for trained, tried and tested athletes, the Bahrainis were pleased to meet the TPLF’s ENOC who are always ready and willing to vet refer and transfer young Ethiopian athletes to the highest bidder- for a fee.

More than half the Bahrain national Olympic team is Ethiopian. The idea that these athletes were Ethiopian “refugees” or “migrant workers” not connected to the ENOC was quickly laid to rest due to a curious event that occurred much farther away, in Sweden.

The scam of TPLF’s NOC “leasing” Ethiopian athletes to foreign governments is best confirmed and encapsulated in this still unfolding scandalous Swedish saga of Ethiopian athlete Abeba Aregawi.

Ms. Aregawi did the unthinkable by daring to defy arrangements made by her clansmen at ENOC and decided to work for herself by switching citizenship without their approval and pre-arrangement, (i.e. commission). This rebellious act by Abeba Aregawi, and the vindictive threatening action of the ENOC which followed, was not reported to the Ethiopian public by their stifled press. The party-loyal “Reporter” newspaper covered up the scandal by presenting Abeba Aregawi’s attempted escape as a minor misunderstanding. In fact, Aregawi was severely pressured, blackmailed and frightened into returning from Sweden to Ethiopia by the thugs at ENOC.

The corrupt officials at ENOC were furious that Abeba Aregawi dared an attempt to make a deal directly with the Swedes without their involvement thereby endangering their commission and kickbacks! It is these recent events that prove unequivocally that EVERY Ethiopian athlete participating in international competitions on behalf of foreign nations does so with the full knowledge, management and “brokering” of the ENOC who is paid for each transfer and transaction involving Ethiopian athletes.

We are not only talking about Aregawi in Sweden and half of the Bahrain Olympic Team but many, many Ethiopian athletes who currently compete for foreign countries after being sold or leased by the TPLF-ENOC.

At the recent launch of a book written by the unjustly imprisoned young female journalist Reeyot Alemu, Prof. Mesfin WoldeMariam noted with dismay that 50 years after the establishment of the Ethiopian National Olympic Committee, and the committed leadership in sports administration by the likes of the late Yidnekachew Tessemma, a nation of 90 million people still could not garner anything more than the same few gold medals in the same few sports. In fact, Professor Mesfin was being optimistic to suggest that sports in Ethiopian is merely treading water. The truth is TPLF has given the slogan used by defecting athletes during Derg times, “Sport le Passport”, a whole new and much darker sinister meaning.

The TPLF ENOC’s management of and profit from the “defections” of Ethiopian athletes, their purposeful encouragement and promotion of young Ethiopians to compete for other nations is something that needs to cause great alarm for Ethiopians. What TPLF effectively and systematically doing is destroying the athletic future of Ethiopia by making sure Ethiopia does not have a generation of gold medal winning athletes to replace the current one that the ENOC is literally running into the ground! NO! The current TPLF Ethiopian National Olympic Committee has NOT slept on the job like the previous military regime as Prof. Mesfin wrongly suggests. On the contrary, the ENOC has worked hard to ensure Ethiopia does badly at as many international sports events as possible, including London Olympics 2012 in order to whittle away the national pride of Ethiopians. TPLF is working very hard indeed for a future that is free of any Ethiopian flag raising and flag waving caused by Ethiopian athletic victories during international events.

On August 6th 2012, Ethiopian athlete Abeba Aregawi announced she is leaving the losing Ethiopian team and will start competing for Sweden immediately after the London Olympics 2012, according to Swedish press. It appears a profitable deal has been struck. Whatever her decision and dirty deal that has now been done, Ethiopians owe Abeba Aregawi a debt of gratitude for her bravery in resisting and exposing the thuggery and corruption going on at the ENOC.

If there is any place, activity or institution in Ethiopia where Ethiopians can feel national pride, unity, and peace; whether it is in a sports arena, concert hall, in Mosques or in a Church or monastery; TPLF will be there to destroy it and make a tidy profit in the process.

Meles is no longer in charge and never will be again – diplomats

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

Ethiopia after Meles

By RENÉ LEFORT

Does the Ethiopian state rest on the shoulders of a single man? His illness and recent disappearance from the public eye give some urgency to the question

When Meles Zenawi, the omnipotent Prime Minister of Ethiopia’ last appeared in public on 19 June, he looked pale, thin and gaunt.

It took the government a month to break the silence. Meles Zenawi is “recovering health-wise,” and, above all, “he’s not staying out of duties as Prime Minister”. On 1 August, a senior spokesman issued another statement: Meles was still in charge, “there is no change and there will be no change in the near future.” But what next? And what illness was he suffering from? Silence. Where is he? It depends whom you ask. With no sign of Meles either in person or indirectly, these statements are even less convincing as the days go by.

And the often outrageous, even delirious counter-information, especially on internet sites run by government opponents living abroad, is no more convincing either. According to some of them, Meles is already dead, and a raging battle has started for his succession.

But these hypotheses are not entirely ridiculous, given the history of Ethiopia, where secrecy is a cardinal virtue. Menelik, the founder of modern imperial Ethiopia, continued to “reign” for three years after he was incapacitated by a stroke. His successor took over once the Shakespearian internal power struggles were over inside the Palace. Haïle Selassie was deposed in 1974 by a military junta, led by Mengistu Haile Mariam, who had him suffocated to death a year later. In 1991 Mengistu fled to Zimbabwe, having been defeated by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), led by Meles Zenawi, in a civil war that ended in Addis Ababa.

So it is going to be hard to find a peaceful and orderly route to succession. And, the Ethiopian people know this, moulded as they are by their own history. On the surface, it’s “business as usual”. The government governs and people go about their daily affairs as usual. But there is an extremely heavy atmosphere, with an overwhelming feeling of calm before a storm. The widespread conviction shared by most diplomats and experts is that whether Meles is dead or alive, he is no longer in charge and never will be again. So the candidacy for his succession is open. Under this hypothesis, which is still no more than a hypothesis, it is all the more difficult to speculate on what will happen when the leadership operates under a cloak of secrecy almost unequalled anywhere else in the world. But it is hard to see how this succession could avoid a number of threats, unknowns and divisions.

The first of these is institutional. Nothing in the Constitution says what to do if the Prime Minister dies or is incapacitated. The second is economic. Inflation has reached a new high, even if it has started to come down again. And growth has come to a standstill, having been exceptional up until now (officially 11% a year for the past eight years). The third is political. The internal crisis of the TPLF in 2001 ended with the expulsion of part of the “old guard”. The opposition pulled off a triumphal surge in the 2005 elections, from which it never really recovered, since « Ethiopia has definitely fallen back into the camp of authoritarian regime’ as it is ‘de facto ruled by a ‘monolithic party-state’”. The Front is facing now a third major challenge that could prove to be particularly severe. The Muslim community – officially 34% of the population, but in reality more – which has been moderate and tolerant for centuries is now rising up against what it perceives as government manoeuvres to enlist it into an obscure branch of Islam – al-Ahbash – whose enemy number one is Wahabism, which the regime thinks is dangerously on the increase in Ethiopia. Specialists on the subject play this down and think that the regime’s actions are likely to have the opposite effect to the one they are seeking. In the meantime, the mass demonstrations and arrests continue.

In addition to this tense context, this possible succession can basically be looked at from three main points of view, which are of course not mutually exclusive, but even reinforce one another, namely: institutional, ethnic and “class”.

Up until the internal crisis of 2001, the leaders of the TPLF stood out in African politics, because, even if power was effectively confined to a very small inner circle, it nevertheless operated in an exceptionally collective manner. To the outside world, Meles was perceived as the leader, but he was more the Primus inter pares. The TPLF delegated a great deal to him, but he was requested to be accountable, and, if necessary, they would rein him in. But after 2001 the edifice of power was to undergo a complete change with Meles as its sole architect and master. He utilised three main pillars of support.

First, there was the security apparatus, in other words, the police and, if things really got out of hand, the army, one of the largest and most efficient in all of sub-Saharan Africa. Then there was what we might call his inner circle, which, for the first time, was no longer the same thing as the leadership of his party, the TPLF. He shook up the Front’s leadership (the nine-member Executive Committee) in order to remove the few remaining characters that stood out, under the guise of injecting young blood. At the same time, he promoted what the opposition calls “yes-men” – much more characterless people whose support he could count on – as well as his wife, Azeb Mesfin. The upshot was that none of the founders of the TPLF were left, Meles himself having only joined a few months after the start of the armed struggle. On top of this, his closest collaborators, and therefore those to whom he delegated most power, were his advisers, who didn’t belongto this leadership. The pre-eminence of the party, with its collegial leadership structure, are no more than a distant memory.

Mutatis mutandis, the predominance of Meles is equally apparent within the ruling coalition, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). This has four components, with equal representation in its leadership for the Tigreans (6% of the population), the Oromos (35%), Amharas (26%), and finally various ethnic groups from the South (20%). The latter three are creations of the former, when it became imperative that the TPLF’s struggle against Mengistu needed to extend beyond the Tigray alone. They remained under his control. “The EPRDF, at least outside Tigray, has never been able, or indeed has never been allowed, to develop into an effective political organisation whose regional leadership could exercise any autonomous authority, or represent the communities that they governed”. The change that Meles introduced was not so much this subjugation, which still persisted, but how it was managed. While it was once controlled by the leadership of the Front, it was henceforth completely in the hands of Meles, who changed the leaders whenever he wanted and clipped the wings of anyone who looked as though they were gaining a personal political support.

The third pillar is the economy. The government effectively controls two thirds of the “modern” economy – excluding the small holders agriculture -, via the remaining nationalised enterprises and the so-called “para-statal” enterprises, because they are effectively the economic arm of the Front. This means it controls the banks, insurance companies, telecommunications, transport, industry, etc. It is the classical process whereby the former revolutionary elite “turns into the ruling class through the primitive accumulation of capital that is possible because of the very fact of holding power.”. Political, business and even family roles are all confused, even though they now respect a strict hierarchical order. And here again, the last word goes to Meles himself, or Azeb Mesfin, whom he put in charge of the largest “para-statal” conglomerate. Outside of this inner circle of oligarch-leaders another, “private” oligarchy was formed, although it can only operate within the orbit of a political “patron”.

The second viewpoint arises from Ethiopia’s diversity, being a patchwork of “nations, nationalities and peoples”, as laid down in the Constitution. To take this situation into account, a Federal State of ethnic groups was set up, with power shared equitably between them, at least in theory. The reality is something else. The “national question” still persists – in other words, the inability of successive regimes to manage the diversity of Ethiopia in an equitable manner. Having not been resolved for centuries, this remains the major source of potential conflicts. It is the leaders from the Tigrean minority – 6% of the population – who hold the reins of political power. Both the police force and military command are entirely in their hands. Holding political power means that they can be over-represented in the state and para-statal economy, as well as in the so-called “private” economy, thanks to the favours they benefit from.

To pass this ethnic bias, along with its growing authoritarianism, the regime successfully played its only trump card – soaring economic growth. One of the premiums is that the beneficiaries end up offering the regime their political support, or at least moving from a position of opposition to one of neutrality, thus providing it with the social basis it needs to sustain its durability. The stratification of social “classes” – the third angle from which to view this possible succession – has gained pace. A middle class – those households that can provide for their own basic needs – has effectively emerged, not just in the urban areas, but also in the rural areas where a process of “kulakisation “ is patently operating.

What could happen if the cornerstone of this whole edifice were to disappear ? Would everything come tumbling down, like a house of cards, as the opposition websites predict and hope for? Or, on the contrary, as one diplomat in Addis-Ababa points out, has the “the structure” demonstrated that it does not rest on the shoulders of one single man, since it is continuing to function without any obvious hiccups or crises? But is this just a matter of its momentum? And in reality or just appearance? For the long term or just temporarily?

If Meles is out of the game, it is obviously in the best interest of the TPLF to take the initiative by putting forward a solution for his replacement as quickly as possible so as to keep its hold on power And, because Meles cleared away any possible contenders from his entourage, there is no obvious, strong candidate who could step in at short notice. “He will be leaving very big boots that cannot be filled by anyone else,” according to one of the founders of the Front, now a member of the opposition. The solution could therefore consist in entrusting formal power to the Deputy Prime Minister, Hailemariam Dessalegn, who is from the South, or somebody else with the same profile, while the effective power, at least for the time being, would be in the hands of a collective leadership at the top the Front, the army and the security services playing a key role in its composition and in decision-making. And since the Constitution stipulates that the Prime Minister has to be a member of parliament from the majority party or coalition, the Front could propose that one of the members of this collective be ultimately elected to the newly vacant post, which would give a window dressing of legality to the succession.

But the TPLF itself is anything but homogeneous. The first fissure comes from the individuals concerned. Even if the major figures excluded from power in 2001 no longer seem likely to be able to make a reappearance, regardless of their historical calibre, other leaders who were once in the forefront, only to be sidelined recently, might wish to make their come-back, notably by advocating the restoration of the pre-eminence of the Front. They would naturally meet with resistance from those who have recently been promoted. But how strong would the latter be, given that they owe their position to the whims of Meles? Those most often cited as being in control now include: Behrane Gebre-Kristos, the diplomat, and Neway Gebreab, the economist, advisers to Meles; Samora Yunus, commander in chief of the armed forces; Getachew Assefa, head of police; Abay Woldu, chief of the Tigray region. Only the latter is a member of the Executive Committee, and only two of the four others sit on the 45-members Central Committee.

The second fissure is geographical. At the last but one TPLF congress, the majority of voters outside of Tigray supported Meles, while those from Tigray itself backed Arkebe Equbay, the former mayor of Addis Ababa, who ended up winning the most votes. He withdrew spontaneously. Since then he has been relegated to the Central Committee and holds no other responsibilities at all. In addition, the over-representation of leaders hailing from Meles’ home town of Adwa, causes considerable gnashing of teeth.

Last, but not least, the TPLF itself is criss-crossed by political divisions, which is totally logical, given that simply belonging to the same ethnic group does not mean automatically sharing the same political views. These divisions are themselves centred around three points. What position should be adopted vis-à-vis Eritrea, with which Ethiopia has been neither at war nor peace since 2002? When Meles decided to put a stop to the victorious offensive of the Ethiopian army in Eritrea (2000) and signed the Alger agreements which brought the war to an end, a number of Tigrean leaders felt these decisions showed an inexcusable weakness. And which economic model should be followed, or, in other words, how far to go in creating a free market and what should be the place of the public and para-public sectors? But the main point is the Tigrean stranglehold. “Hard liners” still feel that 17 years of bloody and exhausting armed struggle against the Mengistu regime gives them an undisputed right to govern, and that this legitimacy is irrevocable, because it is more deserving than any that could be claimed by an alternative force emerging through the ballot box. At the other extreme, a “realist” wing feels that maintaining this stranglehold can only end in disaster, and that a more equitable form of power sharing, that would still allow to keep most of the acquired positions and interests, would be worth a lot more than trying to hold out indefinitely and risk losing everything.

Supposing that the TPLF reaches an agreement on a mode of succession – both a mechanism and a person – it will be obliged to get it endorsed by the three other factions within the EPRDF. Two at least should logically attempt to seize this opportunity to try to shift the balance of power in their favour. First, there are the Oromos, subjugated during the imperial conquests, then practically colonised until Haïle Selasse was overthrown, and now permeated by an increasingly marked sense of identity, that the regime has dubbed “narrow nationalism” and that poses the greatest threat to it. Then there are the Amharas. This was the dominant ethnic group during the entire imperial era. It is within this group that the most vigorous opposition to ethnic federalism is to be found, alongside the hope of re-establishing a form of “Ethiopianism” that transcends ethnic diversity. The regime made it pay a high price for its former domination and has disqualified its aspirations as “chauvinist” and “vindictive”.

But what cards do these two factions hold in the succession stakes? The intrinsic weight of the two parties representing these two ethnic groups has been reduced considerably by the hold the TPLF has over them, at least up until now, depriving them of any significant claim to be truly representative.

So the edifice of power is completely turned in on itself in all sectors. But this brings with it the risk that, if there is indeed a battle for succession, the long stifled, but well-founded demands and aspirations will bubble over if they are not taken into account. The regime was so aware of this risk that its worst fear – that the “Arab Spring” would spread – led them to crack down even further on any dissenting voices.

But the first concern of tens of millions of Ethiopians when they get up in the morning is whether or not they will have enough to eat that day. They are frightened of the disturbances and insecurity, not to say the chaos that could follow. Their very survival would be at stake. Also, after centuries of subjugation, they still see it as inconceivable that they could have any say in politics, especially at the top: “The King who rules is my King”, as the saying goes.

This alienation is attenuated and even disappears altogether as one enters the new middle class. But this class is not homogeneous and is divided by contradictory attitudes – between frustration and satisfaction, desire and fear of change. It knows that its rise is precarious, and to a great extent is dependent on economic growth that any kind of “disorder” could wipe out. Some feel proud of the country’s economic progress or Meles’ standing on the international scene. But others – and sometimes they are the same people – are hoping for radical changes. The arrogance, authoritarianism and omnipresence of the regime are increasingly being rejected, as this kind of behaviour could put a stop to their socioeconomic ascension. Particularly hard to swallow is the regime’s obsession of control, which leads to the self-appointed and permanent right to intrude on daily life, as well as the allegiance they have constantly to show, and the almost forced membership of the party – that now has some five million members – if they want to protect themselves or improve their prospects. In the eyes of their critics, these constraints are a heritage of an age-old archaic Ethiopia, that they are sorry about, whereas its democratisation would be a major proof of its entry into the modern world.

This spirit of non-compliance that is running through part of this middle class is fuelling the same kind of hitherto stifled discontent that, as we have seen in so many other countries, can be a major lever to bring down authoritarian regimes. But it is being undermined by two major handicaps. The “civil society” has absolutely no autonomy. Its only organisations are those that remain within the Party orbit, as it does not tolerate that independent organisations assert themselves. And while there are widespread hopes for a change, the barrier of fear soon begins to loom. The spectre of the repression that followed the 2005 elections – almost 200 dead, 30 000 arrested and deported – still haunts peoples’ minds. Everyone knows that the regime would not hesitate in the least to do it again, hence the question being asked by several dissenters “who will dare to be the first to go and get himself killed?

Does this mean to say that any possible succession process could only go on behind closed doors within the circles of power? This is likely, unless they move into an acute and open state of crisis, in other words acted out in public. In this case, the precedent of the 2005 elections should be borne in mind, when the regime lifted the lid off the cauldron. No one could have predicted the scale of the burst of popular reaction that this slackness would allow, leading to the opposition breakthrough.

One final remark: this analysis does not mention the parliamentary opposition or the international community. The former has been wiped out, as evidenced by the single seat it holds in a house with 537 members. It does not seem to have the wherewithal to influence the power play for succession. The latter will be kept out of the way, as the Ethiopian leaders are too haughtily nationalistic to accept the least interference in their affairs. Even so, what is at stake is no mean affair. It not only concerns the second most highly populated country in Africa – with 86 million inhabitants – but also a Horn of Africa that is in the midst of turmoil. Somalia is the archetype of the “failed state” and a battleground against one branch of Al Quaida. And Sudan and the brand new South Sudan have a very long way to go before they manage to live side by side. At the very heart of the Horn, Ethiopia is by far the dominant power, and a very reliable western ally in the fight against radical Islam. And, at least up to now, compared to its neighbours, it is a haven of stability.

The TPLF has never envisaged any form of power-sharing compromise. Not during the 1991 conference which gathered opposition forces to organize the post Mengistu regime, nor after the 2005 elections, when the opposition had nevertheless suggested it, nor at any other moment up to now. The possibility of Meles’ succession offers a new opportunity. Will the Front seize it? Many Ethiopians would like it, many also fear the risks it would involve, and few expect it to happen.

SOURCE: http://www.opendemocracy.net/ren%C3%A9- … fter-meles

Day 48: The disappearance of Ethiopia’s dictator Meles Zenawi

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

Today is the 48th day since Ethiopia’s dictator Meles Zenawi has disappeared from the public view. His wife Azeb Mesfin, the mother of corruption, has also disappeared for the past 18 days.

The silence of the international media and world leaders on Meles Zenawi’s disappearance continues. CNN and Aljazeera have yet to say a word, while BBC and a few others reported minimally. None of Meles Zenawi’s puppet-masters in the West have uttered a single word of concern about his condition and whereabouts.

Tigray region president Abay Wolde has quietly assumed the position of acting chairman of the ruling TPLF, Ethiopian Review sources in Addis Ababa reported today.

Meanwhile, the regime’s hard currency reserve has reached at a critically low level. Banks have reportedly stopped giving hard currency for most importers.

Tirunesh Dibaba advances to Women’s 5,000-meter

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

Tirunesh DibabaEthiopia’s superstar athlete Tirunesh Dibaba and teammates Meseret Defar, Gelete Burka, Tejitu Daba and Shitaye Eshete have advanced to Women’s 5,000 meters final.

Previously, Ethiopian Olympic Committee did not schedule Tirunesh to run in the 5,000-meter, but after her powerful performance in the 10,000-meter on Saturday, the committee relented and allowed her to run.

The Ethiopian Olympic Committee has been at odds with many of the athletes because of its arbitrary decisions that doesn’t take the interest and wishes of the athletes into consideration. Fortunately, the committee relented on Tirunesh’s case. “She will run, 100 percent,” said the Olympic Committee’s technical director Dube Jilo on Sunday.

Day 47: The disappearance of Ethiopia’s tin-pot dictator

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

It’s been 47 days since Ethiopia’s dictator Meles Zenawi has disappeared.

Here are the latest updates:

1. The ruling junta still claims Meles is alive and getting rest at an undisclosed location.
2. The TPLF junta’s leadership is holding a marathon meeting to decide who should replace Meles.
3. The majority of the TPLF leadership is said to be leaning toward making Hailemariam Dessalegn acting PM until the next fake “election”.
4. They are preparing to announce that Meles Zenawi has resigned because of bad health.
5. The regime’s hard currency reserve is depleting fast.

A hunger strike for free speech and free press in Ethiopia

Monday, August 6th, 2012

A group of concerned Ethiopians in the Washington DC area have created an organization named FREE MEDIA FOR ETHIOPIA and one of their first actions is to hold a hunger strike. The following is their press release.

Hunger strike for free press in Ethiopia: Washington D.C. August 17-19, 2012 — Starting from Friday 12:00 AM to Monday 12:00 AM

Free Media for Ethiopia will be giving up everything for something we care about. We will be living in the same conditions as the people we’re fighting for. Free Media for Ethiopia is willingly abstaining from the necessities of life for 72 hours. A hunger strike will be organized to take place at Lafayette Square for the right to free speech and free press for a country that so desperately needs it. This demonstration is being held to fight the government that blatantly disregards these basic human rights.

We are used to living in a world where access to information is almost instant, but Ethiopians live in a world where information is literally fabricated and fed to the people as truth. Many social media outlets that keep Ethiopian people up to date with global current events are being blocked by the government. They have come up with an incredibly effective way to oppress the people by keeping them in the dark. Journalists that try to uncover the truth and report it to the people are sent to jail because those truths are usually harmful to the image of politicians. These tyrants have resorted to increasingly excessive violent behavior to cling onto their power and they must be stopped. This government claims itself to be a federal democratic republic, but what kind of democracy imprisons people purely on the basis of being honest?

The ultimate vision of Free Media for Ethiopia is to see free flow of information and freedom of expression which is free from influence of interest groups and or political entities. The right to speak freely is something most of us take for granted, but it is a vital part of a flourishing society. Criminalizing it forces individuals to bottle up their opinions and the people that assume power go unchecked and aren’t held accountable for their actions. At this very moment free media is asking for the release of the many journalists that are suffering for speaking their minds and pointing out injustices notably Eskinder Nega and many more. We are fighting for the voices that cannot be heard.

This is a public event and anyone is welcome to participate.

More info: http://www.facebook.com/Free.Media.for.Ethiopia

VOA interviews ENTC leaders; Addisu Abebe’s conduct was shameful

Monday, August 6th, 2012

VOA’s Addisu Abebe was unfair, abusive, disrespectful, and hostile toward the ENTC leaders in this interview that was broadcast Saturday, Aug. 4. Throughout the interview, he didn’t conduct himself as a professional journalist by any standard. I hope he apologizes to the ENTC leadership and give them another interview. It is disheartening to hear VOA echo the Woyanne junta’s campaign that is being waged against the ENTC. Listen below. – Elias Kifle

VIDEO: Ethiopia’s Tiki Gelana at the London Marathon (the last 10 min.)

Monday, August 6th, 2012

The exciting finish of the London Marathon. Watch below.

Journalist jailed in Ethi­o­pia is championed in D.C., abroad

Monday, August 6th, 2012

By Pamela Constable | Washington Post

August 5, 2012

For months, Eskinder Nega’s supporters in Washington, New York and around the world have been pleading for his freedom. In petitions, blogs and speeches, they have hailed the prominent Ethio­pian journalist, detained last fall on terrorism charges, as a courageous champion of democratic rights in a country that is systematically snuffing them out.

But the government of Ethi­o­pia — a major recipient of American aid and an important U.S. military ally in a volatile region of Africa — chose to ignore the appeals. In late June, it convicted Nega, 44, of crimes against the state, which included “attempting to incite violence and overthrow the constitutional order.” On July 13, he was sentenced to 18 years in prison.

“We will continue to push for Eskinder’s unconditional release. He is one of our key, priority cases,” Ilona Kelly, a representative of Amnesty International, promised a gathering of Ethiopian exiles in the District on Thursday. She called Nega’s plight a symptom of the widening crackdown by Ethiopian authorities in which­­ “almost any act of dissent or criticism can be interpreted as terrorism.”

Nega, who graduated from American University and then returned home in the 1990s to establish several independent newspapers, was one of 20 journalists and opposition figures condemned on similar charges last month. ­­But almost all the others were already safe in exile, having fled over the past several years as pressure on dissidents mounted. Nega, who is legally a U.S. permanent resident, decided to stay and fight.

At the somber gathering in a U Street bar Thursday night, there was a feeling of uneasiness and guilt among Nega’s compatriots and colleagues. Most work at professional jobs, attend graduate school or have found other niches in the region’s large and thriving Ethio­pian community of about 200,000, which includes half a dozen members of Nega’s extended family.

One journalist in the room, Abiye Teklemariam­­, fled his homeland in 2009, but he was sentenced in absentia last month to eight years in prison.

“Terrorism is a powerful word, and the government is using it to accuse people with no reason,” said Teklemariam, 34, who ­­is studying for a doctorate at Oxford University. “Eskinder used to criticize us for leaving. He is a calm and patient person, but he is also willing to take risks that most people are not. He is like an American in his passion for freedom of expression.”

Nega’s fortunes as a journalist have followed the tortuous path of a country that emerged from decades of dictatorial communist rule in 1991, ushering in a period of political hope and change. The fragile new democracy w­as rent by ethnic divisions and breakaway militias, buffeted by war and chaos in next-door Somalia, and threatened by the permanent specter of famine.

The government of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, although popular with Western donors and praised for its innovative plans for economic development, became increasingly intolerant of dissent. According to international rights groups, the crackdown began in earnest in 2005, when bitterly contested elections led to mass protests and police shootings.

Nega chronicled every new injustice, and he was jailed seven times on charges that included anti-government agitation. In 2005, he­­ and his wife and business partner, Serkalem Fasil, were detained for 18 months. Fasil was pregnant, and their son Nafteko was born in prison. After the couple’s release, officials refused to renew their newspaper licenses, so Nega turned to blogging.

His critiques grew sharper as protests erupted across the Arab world in the spring of 2010.

“He was absolutely fearless, but he paid a heavy price,” said Mohammed Keita, Africa advocacy coordinator at the Committee to Protect Journalists in New York. He cited several blogs that upset the Meles regime: for instance, one that drew parallels between unrest in Ethi­o­pia and protests in Egypt and Yemen, and another that questioned the detention of a dissident actor in his 70s. As other journalists fled, Nega defended them in his blogs, which were blocked at home but read by a widening audience abroad.

In September, he was arrested again, this time on much more serious terrorism charges. Prosecutors alleged that he and others were conspiring with armed opponents, including rebels from neighboring Eritrea and an opposition group called Ginbot 7. Keita described their court hearing as a “show trial with no credibility” and said the judge accused Nega of trying to spark an Arab Spring-style uprising­­.

Officials at the Ethio­pian Embassy in Washington could not be reached last week for comment.

As Nega languished in prison, his blogs fell silent, but his plight gained international attention. More than 30 international rights groups circulated petitions for his release and lobbied Congress for help. Sympathetic features and indignant editorials appeared in respected journals and magazines. In May, the PEN America organization awarded Nega its prestigious press freedom prize. Fasil, an elegant and poised woman, caused a sensation when she appeared at the New York awards ceremony to represent her husband.

Although Nega found a few champions on Capitol Hill, notably Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), his high-profile case remains a source of tension and embarrassment to the Obama administration. The Meles government, despite its increasingly harsh treatment of domestic opponents, is a rare, reliable U.S. ally in a chaotic and impoverished region beset by ethnic strife and threatened by radical Islamic militancy.

The regime in Addis Ababa has provided soldiers for international peacekeeping efforts. It recently agreed to host a base for unmanned U.S. drones. Ethi­o­pia has received more than $2 billion in U.S. aidsince 2010 and major project investment from the World Bank and other international agencies, in part because of its promising economic policies and in part to stave off famine.

Last month, the State Department issued a statement saying it was “deeply concerned” about the convictions and sentences of Nega and his co-defendants, including an exiled opposition leader who was condemned to life in prison. The statement called on the Meles government to “stop stifling freedom of expression” and to release those imprisoned for exercising their rights.

There was no public suggestion, however, of economic sanctions or other tangible form of disapproval.

“It’s very frustrating,” Kelly said. “The big concern in Washington now is about security and food aid. These are legitimate concerns, but it creates an environment that puts human rights on the back burner.

“Civil society is being decimated in Ethi­o­pia, but the administration is turning a blind eye.”

The young Ethio­pian emigres gathered Thursday said they closely followed events in their homeland — most recently, rampant rumors of Meles’s ill health — on Facebook and Twitter, but they seemed reluctant to be publicly associated with any opposition groups and uncertain how to connect with the great majority of people in Ethiopia who have no Internet access.

“In a way, it is just whispering from a distance,” said one participant.

Nega’s family members in the Washington area also have kept a low profile, but in interviews last week they expressed deep anguish for him and their homeland.

Makdela Bekele, 43, a cousin, is a longtime U.S. resident who works for a software company in Maryland. She wept repeatedly as she spoke of their lifelong friendship and the weekly phone conversations they enjoyed until last September, when Nega vanished into prison.

“We had a nice talk, and he seemed to be in good spirits. Then the next day my brother called to tell me he had been arrested,” Bekele said, apologizing as she tried to blot tears from her mascara.

“Once I wanted to go back home to live, but now I have changed my mind. I’m not brave like Eskinder,” she said, bursting into tears again. “I am not brave enough to sacrifice my life like he has.”

Armenian contribution to Ethiopian music

Monday, August 6th, 2012

 One Man’s Attempt to Capture Ethiopian Armenians’ Dying Legacy

By Lilly Torosyan | Armenian Weekly

“TEZETA is a song form famous in Ethno-Jazz. In Amharic (the language of Ethiopia), it translates to ‘my memory,’ but it means much more. It conveys a sense of nostalgia that can be lost in translation,” describes Aramazt Kalayjian, an independent documentary filmmaker living and working in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. His documentary, “TEZETA [The Ethiopian Armenians],” explores the collective memory of Ethiopian-Armenians from their own perspectives, as well as others touched by their profound legacy. He aims to reveal the contributions Armenians have made to Ethiopian culture through the narrative of music and the large role they played in modern Ethiopian jazz.

Despite his disconnection physically and genealogically to Ethiopia, Kalayjian feels a profound connection to all Armenian communities in exile from their nonexistent homeland in Turkey. The unique history of Armenians in Ethiopia—namely, the story of the Arba Lijoch, the 40 Armenian orphans of the genocide who were adopted by King Selassie to be his imperial orchestra, and their contribution to modern Ethiopian music—ignited Kalayjian’s curiosity. “I am not a descendant of the Arba Lijoch,” he told the Armenian Weekly, “but I am a passionate and profound music lover, which is one of the factors driving me to produce this documentary.”

Kalayjian says that his intention is not to prevent the inevitable, that is, the decline of the number of Armenians in Ethiopia. “My documentary simply seeks to tell the phenomenal story of the Armenians of Ethiopia. It will describe the great historical and musical contributions Armenians have had in Ethiopia and bear witness to their current situation,” he explains. However, the bleak situation of the diminishing Armenian community is acknowledged though several examples, such as the country’s only Armenian church, St. Kevork, lacking a priest and a sermon. The deacon of St. Kevork’s is Vartkes Nalbandian, the son of Nerses Nalbandian—a jazz musician and instructor who wrote the first anthem of the African Union, and the great-nephew of Kevork Nalbandian, composer of the first Ethiopian national anthem, which was played until 1974 when the socialists overthrew the monarchy.

Corresponding to the Armenians’ rich involvement in the nation’s music scene, a few Ethiopian musicians have spoken candidly about the legacy of the Armenians, with warm words about the pint-sized community and its vast accomplishments. Alèmayèhu Eshèté, a prominent jazz singer endearingly called the Elvis Presley of Ethiopia, gave glowing praise to his mentor, the aforementioned Nerses Nalbandian, whom he considered as his “second father.”

Unfortunately, Eshèté remains in the minority. “Most Ethiopian lay people, as well as Armenians outside of Ethiopia, are simply unaware of the incredible contributions of Armenian Ethiopians on Ethiopian culture,” Kalayjian disappointedly notes. “Some Ethiopians see an Armenian and assume they are either European, American, or any other ‘Faranji’ (literally meaning ‘French,’ used to describe a foreigner, or ‘odar’ in Armenian). Armenians see this as a nuisance because in their heart, they feel Ethiopian and have lived [in Ethiopia] all of their lives. The only difference is the color of their skin and many people on the street won’t assume their generational presence in Ethiopia,” the filmmaker says.

Kalayjian seeks to “herald and preserve the great contributions Armenians have impressed on the cultural, musical, and historical landscape of Ethiopia” through his documentary, which stands a tough chance of being broadcasted.

In order for the documentary to meet its budget for production, Kalayjian needs to meet his fundraising goal of $10,000 by this Thurs., Aug. 9. Contributors may pledge varying amounts, with different prizes at each benchmark, on the project’s personal webpage, where preliminary interviews for the documentary are also posted. For more information about TEZETA and the Kickstarter fundraiser, visit Kickstarter.com and type “Armenian” in the search bar, or follow this link: www.kickstarter.com/projects/552004009/t-e-z-e-t-a-the-ethiopian-armenians.

Women’s Marathon: Ethiopia, Kenya and Russia battle to the finish (the full video)

Monday, August 6th, 2012

Ethiopia, Kenya and Russia battle to the finish line in the London Women’s Marathon. Watch the video below.

Day 46: Has Meles Zenawi Gone AWOL?

Sunday, August 5th, 2012

By Alemayehu G Mariam

What happens when a “prime minister” goes AWOL? That is, absent without constitutional leave of absence.  Dictator Meles Zenawi has disappeared from public view for several weeks now. He was last seen in public on June 19 at the G20 Summit in Mexico. His disappearing act has provided more grist for speculation and caused pained and grimaced official obfuscation.

On July 19, in a rambling, disjointed and incoherent press statement, Zenawi’s spinmesiter and “communication minister”, Bereket Simon, stonewalled any information on Zenawi’s health and whereabouts by offering a cryptic and manifestly dubious explanation. Simon said Zenawi was receiving medical care for some undisclosed minor health problem at some undisclosed location. The cause of Zenawi’s health problem is alleged to be exhaustion resulting from long public service. Simon’s statement strangely suggested that Zenawi was simultaneously at a medical facility and a Club Med-type vacation spot. Simon assured the public that Zenawi will return to his duties shortly.

“Deputy prime minister” Hailemariam Desalegn chimed in with the inane observation that “There is no serious illness at all. It’s minor only. As any human being, he has to get medication and he’ll be coming back soon.”

Of course, the overwhelming majority of Ethiopian human beings get no medication whatsoever when they face “serious illness”. Anyway, what exactly is Zenawi’s “not serious illness”? What kind of medication is Zenawi getting? How soon is soon for Zenawi to return to office?

Just to keep things in perspective, on July 18 an Agence France Press report citing “several diplomatic sources” reported that Zenawi “is in a critical state” at a hospital in Belgium and that “his life is in danger” and “might not survive”.

Bereket Simon put on a nice act at the press conference; but his body language betrayed his words. Simon wore a morose face as he monologued his way through his rehearsed statement. His physical gestures showed all of the forensic signs of a suspect under extreme stress fudging the truth. He was manifestly tense and visibly preoccupied. His demeanor was combative, his posture defensive and his words evasive. He was manifestly  uncomfortable answering questions about Zenawi. He fidgeted and wiggled his fingers, occasionally gesturing. He  squirmed and sat rigidly folding his arms. He avoided eye contact with his questioners. His responses to press questions were repetitive and robotic. He spoke softly and slowly but his words were calculated, halting, artful and guileful. He tried to project the appearance of  being forthcoming while actually providing very little substantive information. In other words, Simon windbagged and sandbagged at the press conference but did not say much that was informative. It was obvious that Simon was not coming clean with the real deal about Zenawi’s situation. Was Simon hiding or covering up something? Simon and Co., may expect us to believe their cock and bull story about a vacationing Zenawi, but we know when we are lied to, deceived, duped, hoodwinked, misled and bamboozled.

In a staged interview with a member of party-controlled media on August 1, Simon continued to stonewall release of any meaningful information on Zenawi’s health or whereabouts. Simon said, “the prime minister’s health is in very good condition. The medical treatment and rest have improved his health. He is in a much better health condition than before.” Simon did not say where Zenawi is getting medical treatment, the nature of his illness and the health improvements he gained over the past couple of weeks, or when he is expected to be back in office.

Bereket Simon accused Ethiopian Satellite Television (ESAT), without naming it, of engaging in a “campaign of spreading massive lies and hearsay” about Zenawi. He alleged that ESAT had falsely cited ICJ (sic) [ICG- International Crises Group] as its source of information on the demise of Zenawi which, according to Simon, the ICG had denied. Simon, in characteristic manner, misstated the facts. What the ICG stated in its press release is quite different: “Crisis Group denies media reports about PM’s fate. International Crisis Group has no direct knowledge about the state of health of Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.” Any sophisticated reader knows that the phrase “no direct knowledge” is a term of art commonly used by journalists and researchers to protect their confidential sources. “No direct knowledge” simply means the “knowledge” the ICG has on Zenawi is not based on personal observation, direct investigation or surveillance but derived from reliable informant(s). In other words, the ICG does not have direct photographic or physical evidence of Zenawi’s health or fate, but it has indirect informant-based information. This elementary journalistic technique seems to have escaped Simon.

For all his sophistry and obfuscation, Simon seems conveniently oblivious of two simple questions and the old saying that a picture (that is not photoshopped) is worth a thousand words:

1) If Zenawi is in “very good condition”, why not release a photograph of him in that condition?

2) If Zenawi is getting rest and relaxation, why not release a picture of him “vegging out” on the beach or touring the museums?

The fact of the matter is that the last photograph and video of Zenawi taken in Mexico showed him to be in extremely bad condition. Instead of accusing the opposition of lying and exaggerating information about Zenawi’s health or alleged death, would it not be easier to put them all to shame by producing a one-minute video of Zenawi “in very good condition” taking a dip in the swimming pool or hanging out with four of his crew as reported in the last couple of days? Alternatively, how about one-minute audio tape of Zenawi telling the people that he is doing well and enjoying himself on vacation.

Simon warned there will be no change: “The status quo is maintained – there is no change and there will be no change in the near future.”

Is the “status quo” an AWOL “prime minster”, an invisible “deputy prime minister”, a shadowy group of power brokers scheming behind the scenes, a manifest power and leadership vacuum, total confusion and cynicism in the country or the two decade old one-man, one-party dictatorship? At the end of the day, “Stonewall” Simon and Co., will have to answer two questions:

Is Zenawi alive, dead, or has he simply gone AWOL?

Or is Zenawi now functioning in a new capacity as “absentee prime minister”?

What Can Be Done About a “Prime Minister” Gone AWOL?

The cumulative evidence unmistakably points to the fact that Zenawi is “absent” within the meaning of Article 72(b) of the Ethiopian Constitution which provides, “The Deputy Prime Minister shall… (b) act on behalf of the Prime Minister in his absence.” Zenawi was absent from the annual parliamentary session where the country’s budget was approved. Desalegn “acted on behalf of the prime minster” during that parliamentary session. There is evidence that  Dessalegn has chaired “Council of Ministers” meetings, an act he can perform only in the “absence” of the “prime minister” under Article 72(b). Zenawi was absent from a scheduled NEPAD [New Partnership for Africa's Development] conference held in Addis Ababa. Senegalese President, Macky Sall chaired the meeting on Zenawi’s behalf. Zenawi has completely vanished from public view for some 46 days. There is no date certain when Zenawi will be present in his office to resume his duties, a fact which points unmistakably to his “absence” from office.

The evasive, equivocating and misleading statements given by Simon and Dessalegn to the public on Zenawi’s diagnosis, treatment and prognosis provide clear and convincing evidence that Zenawi is not “present” in Ethiopia let alone functioning as a “prime minister”. The fact that Simon and Desalegn downplayed  Zenawi’s illness as “minor” without revealing the diagnosis is not only manifestly absurd but also an admission of his  “absence” due to serious illness. If Zenawi’s illness is indeed “minor” as Simon and Desalegn insist, they could simply state, for instance, that Zenawi is battling a nasty bout of the flu. The total lack of transparency, the shroud of secrecy and mystery in providing accurate and timely information on Zenawi’s health and whereabouts is compelling proof of Zenawi’s  “absence”.

The key constitutional question about Zenawi’s  “absence” is not whether he is in “good condition”, “recuperating”, “resting”, on vacation or if he plans to come back tomorrow, next week or next month. The dispositive question is whether Zenawi as  “prime minister”, for whatever reason and for whatever length of time, is unable or disabled from performing the “powers and duties of the Prime Minister of the Federal Republic” under Article 74(1) (namely serving as “as head of government, chairman of the Council of Ministers and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces”)  within the meaning of Article 75(b). All of the available evidence points to one, and only one, conclusion: Zenawi is not in a position to discharge his powers and duties under Article 74 and has left his office without constitutional leave of absence.

Are There Constitutional Remedies in the Case of an AWOL Prime Minister?

In light of the clear and convincing evidence that Zenawi is absent from office for purposes of Article 75 (b), can he be declared constitutionally AWOL? If such a declaration could be made, who has the constitutional power and duty to make it?

Article 72(2) prescribes, “The Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers are responsible to the House of Peoples’ Representatives [HPR].” The plain meaning of this provision is that the prime minister is ultimately accountable to the HPR. That accountability imposes, first and foremost, an affirmative duty on the “prime minister” to formally notify and provide the HPR with accurate, ongoing and complete information on his health and whereabouts. The available evidence indicates that netiher Zenawi nor his offcie has not provided such information to the HPR.

Article 55(17) provides that the “House of Peoples’ Representatives has the power to call and to question the Prime Minister and other Federal officials and to investigate the Executive’s conduct and discharge of its responsibilities.  Article 55(18) provides, “at the request of one-third of its members, [the House of Peoples’ Representatives] shall discuss any matter pertaining to the powers of the executive. It has, in such cases, the power to take decisions or measures it deems necessary.” (See also Art. 76(3).) Under Article 58(4), “the Speaker of the House may call a meeting of the House when it is in recess” to take up urgent business.  The Speaker of the House is also obliged to call a meeting of the House at the request of “more than one-half of the members.”

Under the foregoing provisions of the Constitution, the HPR as a whole, or a subset of its members have the constitutional power to call and question the prime minster, deputy prime minster or any other federal officials to ascertain the exact whereabouts and health situation of Zenawi. The HPR has the power to investigate the actual circumstances surrounding Zenawi’s absence from office and complete disappearance from public view. Launching a formal inquiry into the absence of the “prime minister” is an affirmative obligation and unavoidable constitutional duty of the HPR.  Such an inquiry can be initiated at the “request of one-third of [HPR] members” when in session, “more than one-half of the members” when the HPR is in recess and/or by the “Speaker of the House” sua sponte at any time.

There could be other constitutional mechanisms to ascertain and secure a declaration of “absence” under Article 75(b).  It is possible for any  “concerned” or “interested parties to raise the issue of the “prime minister’s” “absence” as a constitutional matter and seek adjudicatory such relief. Article 82 provides for a “Council of Constitutional Inquiry” (CI)  and grants it the power to “to investigate constitutional disputes” and “submit its recommendations to the House of the Federation” pursuant to Article 83(1) which must “within thirty days of receipt, decide a constitutional dispute submitted to it by the Council of Constitutional Inquiry (CI).” Article 17 of the Council of Constitutional Inquiry Proclamation No 250/2001 affirms the CI’s investigatory powers and extends subject matter jurisdiction over “any law or decision given by any government organ or official which is alleged to be contradictory to the constitution…” To seek review in the CI under the Proclamation, a litigant need only be a “concerned party” (Art. 17 (3)) or an “interested party (Art. 20(1); e.g. individual, group, political party, etc.). Such a party can request “inquiry” and adjudication into the constitutionally unexcused “absence” of the “prime minister” from office under Article 75(b).

The “status quo” today, to use “Stonewall”  Simon’s phrase, is that the “prime minister” is “absent” and the  “deputy prime minster” cannot constitutionally succeed the absent “prime minister” under Article 75(b).  As a result, the country has no “head of government” (Art. 74(1)) or a functioning constitutional executive branch. Given the urgent and pressing nature of the issue, a “concerned or interested party” should be able to seek expedited review by the CI.  Alternatively, a “concerned or interested  party” should be able to seek declaratory relief in the “Federal Supreme Court” which has “the highest and final judicial power over Federal matters” under Article 80. Since Article 75(b) raises an indisputable “Federal matter”, the “Federal Supreme Court” should properly exercise jurisdiction and determine whether the “prime minister” is “absent”.

A separate two-pronged constitutional challenge could also be advanced to determine the “absence” of the “prime minister” under subsection 1 of Article 12 of the Constitution which affirmatively requires “activities of government shall be undertaken in a manner which is open and transparent to the public.” The secrecy and shroud of mystery surrounding Zenawi’s whereabouts and health situation is contrary to the constitutional mandate of maintaining an “open and transparent” government. Transparency for purposes of Article 75(b) means providing accurate, complete, timely and ongoing information to the public on the status of the “prime minister” to discharge the duties of his office. The people are entitled to know if their “prime minister” is ill, the general nature of his illness, the general nature of the medical treatment he is receiving, where he is receiving such treatment, the general prognosis and his expected or anticipated date of his return to office and whether he is actually acting as “prime minister” under Article 74(1).  For purposes of Article 72(2), transparency means providing accurate, complete, timely and ongoing information to the HPR. As a last resort, under subsection (3) of Article 12 the “people may recall any one of their representatives whenever they lose confidence in him.” A recall undertaking in Zenawi’s election district could also produce the answer to the question of whether Zenawi is “absent”.

“Simon Says…”

I have often said that talking constitutional law to Zenawi and crew is like preaching Scripture to a gathering of Heathen. All of the foregoing constitutional analysis will fall on deaf ears partly due to lack of constitutional comprehension by Zenawi and crew and mostly because they do not give a damn. They could not care less about the Constitution, the rule of law and the rest of it. Their 21-year record of trashing the principle of the rule of law proves that the Constitution to them  is not worth the paper it is written on. But as someone who believes in the rule of law, I must defend the principle even in the face of seasoned and inveterate constitutional scofflaws.

Having said that, are we all ready to play the well-known children’s game called “Simon says…”? In that game, one player takes the role of  “Simon” and issues instructions (usually physical actions such as “stand up” or “sit down”) to the other players. The instruction should only be followed if prefaced with the phrase “Simon says” as opposed to just making the statement. If a player follows an instruction that is not preceded with the phrase, “Simon says…”, the player is kicked out of the game. The object for the player acting as “Simon” is to get all of the other players kicked “out” of the game as quickly as possible. The winner of the game is the last player who has successfully followed all of the given commands. So “’Stonewall’ Simon says Zenawi will return to his office shortly.”  “Zenawi is on vacation…”  “Simon says Zenawi has gone AWOL…!!!”

Amharic translations of recent commentaries by the author may be found at: http://www.ethiopianreview.com/amharic/?author=57

Previous commentaries by the author are available at:

http://open.salon.com/blog/almariam/  and www.huffingtonpost.com/alemayehu-g-mariam/

Egyptian officials discuss new leadership in Ethiopia

Sunday, August 5th, 2012

http://www.bikyamasr.com/74615/in-ethio … ith-egypt/


Tiki Gelana Wins Marathon Gold

Sunday, August 5th, 2012

By Pat Graham | Associated Press

LONDON (AP) — Tiki Gelana of Ethiopia dodged rivals and rain drops on her way to winning the women’s Olympic marathon on Sunday.

Drenched from head to toe, she soaked up the moment as she crossed the finish line, raising her hands high in the air to celebrate. Gelana navigated the wet streets in an Olympic record time of 2 hours, 23.07 seconds to hold off Priscah Jeptoo of Kenya by five seconds. The previous mark was 2:23.14, set by Naoko Takahashi of Japan in Sydney in 2000.

Tatyana Petrova Arkhipova of Russia captured the bronze in a race that began in heavy rain, saw the sun briefly come out and ended in another downpour.

Typical London weather.

Gelana hardly minded the dreary conditions as she slipped and slid her way to the victory.

“I love running in the rain. I have been doing that since I was a small child,” Gelana said. “I slipped in the middle of the race and my elbow is still injured. But I didn’t feel any pain during the race.”

There were four runners in a bunched pack over the last three miles. But with the finish line around the bend, Gelana made her move, grimacing as she surged to the front. With the rain picking up intensity — going from a light drizzle to a deluge — she kept glancing over her shoulder to see if Jeptoo was gaining ground.

She wasn’t.

No one could catch Gelana as she easily coasted across the line to win the biggest race of her life.

While these were actually favorable running conditions — not too hot — quite a few runners dropped out of the race.

Liliya Shobukhova of Russia — a top contender — stopped halfway through the race with a right leg ailment, while British runner Mara Yamauchi’s day was ended about eight kilometers (five miles) into the competition because of a bruised heel.

Tetyana Filonyuk of Ukraine barely went 100 meters — about as far as Usain Bolt & Co. will sprint later on the track — before calling it a day. There was no reason given for her exit.

Not even the dreary weather could dampen the mood of the crowd, which lined the course holding umbrellas to ward off the rain drops. The country was treated to quite a show on Saturday night, with heptathlete Jessica Ennis, distance runner Mo Farah and long jumper Greg Rutherford all taking gold over at the track.

The British marathoners couldn’t follow up. Their best chance at a medal, Paula Radcliffe — the fastest woman ever in the marathon — didn’t compete because of a foot injury.

Although the marathon traditionally ends inside the Olympic stadium, this one took the runners past some of the biggest landmarks of London: Big Ben, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Trafalgar Square, London Bridge, Tower of London and finally right by Buckingham Palace, which was near the finish.

Jeptoo and teammate Mary Keitany were among the runners who stuck by Gelana for most of the race. Keitany was one of the favorites after winning the London Marathon earlier this year. But this course was much different and Keitany faded near the finish.

Still, Jeptoo tried to encourage her teammate, even grabbing Keitany a water bottle late in the race and handing it to her. Keitany finished in fourth place.

Before this race, Gelana’s biggest win was the Rotterdam Marathon in the Netherlands last April, when she finished in 2:18:58 to set a national record.

Tiki Gelana
Tiki Gelana of Ethiopia won the 2012 London women’s marathon Olympic gold,  coming in at 2:23.07

Day 45: Where is Ethiopian dictator Meles Zenawi?

Sunday, August 5th, 2012

It is day 45th since Ethiopia’s dictator Meles Zenawi has disappeared and there is still no officials information on his whereabouts. His wife Azeb Mesfin has also disappeared since July 20.

Agonizing defeat in London men’s 10,000-meter (video)

Sunday, August 5th, 2012

The throne is transferred to a new king of the 10,000-meter run.

Ethiopian Muslim & Christian solidarity in Washington: VOA

Saturday, August 4th, 2012

Demonstrators demand issues raised by Ethiopian Muslims be addressed

Ethiopians and people of Ethiopian origin living in the Greater Washington, D.C., area and throughout the United States staged a huge rally on Thursday, August 2, 2012, in front of the US Department of State, according to reports by the Voice of America.

Sheikh Imam Sheik Khaled Omar of Washington’s First Hejira Foundation called on the US government to put pressure on Ethiopian authorities to address the three key issues raised by Ethiopian Muslims, VOA reported.

On the Christian side, Father Philippos of the Holy Synod of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church in exile affirmed that the issues raised by Muslims are just and that the beatings and imprisonment to which they have been subjected to must be condemned, the report concluded.

Please click on link below to listen to the full VOA report in Amharic.

http://www.voanews.com/amharic/news/dc-muslims-christians-demo-164804826.html

 

Meles Zenawi personal assistant placed under house arrest

Saturday, August 4th, 2012

Personal Assistant to the disappeared Ethiopian dictator Meles Zenawi has been placed under house arrest a few days ago, Ethiopian Review sources in Addis Ababa reported.

Ato Gebretensai Gebremichael was one of the most trusted assistants of the dictator. It is not clear why he was placed under house arrest, but there is an unconfirmed report that he was preparing to leave the country.

There is also an unconfirmed report that another loyal puppet of Meles Zenawi, Muktar Kedir, who is a member of the OPDO, has been under house arrest for over week.

What does Louis Michel know what the people of Ethiopia don’t know?

Co-Chair of Africa Caribbean Pacific – European Union Joint Parliamentary Assembly and former European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid Louis Michel, who had close ties with Meles Zenawi, held a low-profile meeting with U.K. and U.S. officials on transfer of power in Ethiopia, Ethiopian Review sources reported… This is a developing story. Stay tuned for more update.

Day 44: Where is dictator Meles Zenawi?

Saturday, August 4th, 2012

Today is the 44th day since Ethiopia’s chigaram dictator Meles Zenawi disappeared. It is also the 14th day since his wife Azeb Mesfin, the mother of corruption, has disappeared.

A major official announcement was planned for this past week, but the week has ended without an agreement among the ruling TPLF junta.

The deafening silence of the international media on the dictator’s 44 day (an counting) of disappearance shows how insignificant the khat-addicted beggar dictator is to the international community.

* * * Tirunesh Dibaba blazes to victory (video)

Saturday, August 4th, 2012

Ethiopia’s Tirunesh Dibaba in London, August 3, 2012

ENTC sends request for diplomatic recognition to Italian government

Saturday, August 4th, 2012

PRESS RELEASE
3 August 2012

ENTC sends request for diplomatic recognition to Italian government

The Ethiopian National Transitional Council (ENTC) has sent a communique to Mr. Giulio Terzi di Sant’Agata, Foreign Affairs Minister of Italy, requesting a diplomatic recognition.

The letter was submitted to the Italian foreign minister by ENTC’s diplomatic representative in Italy, Mr. Yonas Legesse.

The letter explains ENTC’s mission, and discusses the worsening political, economic and security crises in Ethiopia, as well as the need for the Italian 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 over 30 cities and countries.

The Transitional Council plans to submit similar requests to several countries through its diplomatic representatives in the coming few weeks.

# # #

For more info:
ENTC Foreign Relations
85 S. Bragg St. Alexandria VA, 22312 USA
Tel: 202-735-4262
Email: entc.pr@gmail.com
Website: etntc.org

Tirunesh Dibaba Wins Olympics Gold Medal In 10000 meters

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

Gold Medal for Dibaba, she left the Kenyans by a mile. Kenya won Silver and Bronze.

ImageImage

LONDON — Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia surged away from 600 meters out to win the 10,000 meters at the London Games and defend her Olympic title.

Dibaba, who clinched the first women’s long-distance Olympic double in Beijing four years ago by winning the 5,000 and 10,000 events, collected the first track gold of the London Games in a time of 30 minutes, 20.75 seconds.

Kenyans won silver and bronze, with Sally Kipyego finishing second in 30:26.37 and world champion Vivian Cheruiyot placing third in 30:30.44.


SMNE asks Secretary Clinton not to strike secret deal with TPLF

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

Open Letter to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton

Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia

This is a critical time for not only the Ethiopian people, but also for the significant global partners. We are keenly aware of U.S. interests in Ethiopia—as it is the largest recipient of U.S. financial aid in Africa—and our shared concerns that it not become the next Syria; however, the U.S. should understand that the Ethiopian people—many of whom are now U.S. citizens—will not tolerate decisions made behind the scenes which support the continuation of autocratic rule by the Tigrian Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF).


Regarding the possible death or serious incapacitation of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who has been the darling of the west as well as the strongman behind the machinations of the TPLF/EPRDF.

 

The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton

Secretary of State

The U.S. Department of State

2201 C Street NW

Washington, D.C. 20520

 

August 2, 2012

===================//===============

“There are still too many places in the region and across the continent where democracy is threatened, where human rights are abused, and the rule of law is undermined…. Too many Africans still live under autocratic rulers who care more about preserving their grip on power than promoting the welfare of their citizens. Violent extremism, transnational crime and rampant corruption all threaten democracy …The days of having outsiders come and extract the wealth of Africa for themselves leaving nothing or very little behind should be over in the 21st century.” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

 =====================//===================

Dear Secretary Clinton

 

We in the Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia (SMNE), a non-political, non-violent grassroots social justice movement, are writing this letter to you, not as an opposition party or as contenders for power, but as an organization, representative of diverse Ethiopians, which has been working since 2008 for conditions conducive to the formation of a just, free and open democratic society, which can undergird a robust economic climate based on inclusive capitalism, offering opportunities to both Ethiopians and their partners.

 

The SMNE has brought together Ethiopians of diverse ethnicity, religion, gender, political view and regional background under an umbrella organization to advance truth, justice, freedom, equality, reconciliation, accountability, human rights and a healthy economic environment for the people of Ethiopia and beyond. The SMNE has branches in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, with chapters in Ottawa, Washington D.C., Melbourne, London, Geneva, Oslo, Stockholm, Tokyo, Brussels and other cities and countries throughout the world, including Ethiopia. You can find us through our website at: www.solidaritymovement.org.

 

We believe that the future well being of Ethiopia, the Horn of Africa, Africa and our global society rests in the hands of those among us who can put “humanity before ethnicity,” or any other distinctions that divide and dehumanize other human beings from ourselves; inspiring us to care about these “others;” not only because of the intrinsic God-given value of each life, but also because “none of us will be free until all are free.” In light of this, we heartily applaud your above-quoted statement and others made by you this week during your fourth tour of Africa.

 

Dear Secretary Clinton:

 

Your words could not have more accurately described Ethiopia under the 21-year autocratic leadership of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and his one-party, crony and ethnic-based government of the Tigrayan Peoples’ Liberation Front (TPLF), operating as the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), which controls every sector of Ethiopian society. To achieve this level of control, this regime has maintained an iron grip on the throats of the people, creating widespread grievances, anger and the resulting simmering tensions that could suddenly erupt due to its tyrannical rule.

 

Serial human rights violations, the purposeful incitement of ethnic hatred and division, the criminalization of dissent, the closure of all political space, the repression of the media and systems of communication, the use of vague anti-terrorism laws to imprison democratic voices, the use of force, fraud and collusion to seize land, minerals, water and national assets from the people, political control of the judiciary and the TPLF/EPRDF takeover of every institution within Ethiopian society, including religious institutions, have all created an intolerable life for its citizenry accompanied by the subsequent explosion in numbers of Ethiopian refugees seeking asylum throughout the world.

 

From December 2003 to 2008, as the executive director of the ethnic-based Anuak Justice Council, a human rights organization formed following the TPLF/EPRDF sponsored massacre of 424 Anuak leaders in Gambella, Ethiopia in less than three days—followed by over two more years of human rights violations—we in the AJC and later as part of the SMNE, contacted U.S. elected representatives and U.S. State Department officials regarding the increasing authoritarian nature of the Meles regime in open letters to Senator John Kerry, read.. and Senator Joseph Biden, read… during the last Republican administration and to President Obama, read.., Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, read… and to you, Secretary Clinton,  read… all under the current Democratic administration.

 

Most Ethiopians believed that the change President Obama spoke of during his campaign would change the status quo in Ethiopia, but as we all know, the U.S. foreign policy position on Ethiopia has continued to pump strength and longevity into a brutal regime which is terrorizing its citizenry. This can never be in the interests of the American or Ethiopian people and must be based on short-term convenience; for prolonging this dictatorial regime is clearly counter-productive. Aligning with this brutal regime under the rational of fighting terrorism has empowered the regime’s abuses; angering and radicalizing an otherwise peaceful population. Ethiopians’ concerns regarding an increasingly totalitarian regime were trumped as the TPLF/EPRDF promoted themselves as partners of the U.S. in countering terrorism, piracy and illicit trafficking. 

 

At the same time, the TPLF regime used their increased control to exploit Ethiopia national assets and opportunities with foreign and crony business partners. The result has been to create an unmerited economic advantage to investment partners willing to “do business” the “Meles way.” In other words, that same support the U.S. gave to work with this regime on the War on Terror at the same time opened the path to non-U.S. foreign partners to take hold of the immense economic opportunities mostly closed to more risk-aversive American companies who operated under greater transparency and accountability. 

 

Continuation of the same policies under the TPLF/EPRDF will only further entrench the advantages of those foreign partners who have fewer restrictions in their home nations, let alone in international business practices. How can American companies with ethics, high standards of compliance and a commitment to genuinely partner with Ethiopians in capitalistic ventures engage in the current business climate under the TPLF/EPRDF; particularly if the regime fails to address the root problems of regime-sponsored force, fraud and collusion in the extraction of Ethiopian land, resources and livelihoods from the people? Current claims of record economic growth are highly suspect, but not open for examination or debate under the TPLF/ERPDF.

 

Dear Secretary Clinton:

If Ethiopia is ever to rise out of poverty, there must be an atmosphere of inclusive capitalism—where the resources are not simply extracted without benefiting the people. This will require genuine democratic governance and new regulatory laws to even out the playing field—a field where American and other diverse global partners are welcome to form sustainable partnerships. The global war against terror and extremism can be fought most effectively through supporting the democratic and economic aspirations of the people. On the other hand, continued support to the status quo will only continue the current economic model requiring risky collusion with the TPLF/EPRDF.

 

Now that path has suddenly become more dangerous as highly credible rumors have emerged regarding the possible death or serious incapacitation of PM Meles, who has been the darling of the west as well as the strongman behind the machinations of the TPLF/EPRDF. Can the TPLF/EPRDF survive without the one man who has held the regime together by force of personality, the ubiquitous secret police and a vast repressive apparatus? Concerns about the lack of stability of Ethiopia, post-Meles, are causing great anxiety within the ruling TPLF and in western capitals. His absence has already unbalanced the power base of the ruling party, with dangerous implications for Ethiopia as divisions—ethnic, regional and ideological, will widen with unforeseen consequences. Interestingly enough, religious groups—Muslims and Christians—have found greater unity of purpose as leaders within each group support the religious freedom of each other and all Ethiopians, condemning extremism in any form.

The question is how Ethiopia can avert potential disaster during this vacuum of leadership. Ethiopia is of strategic geo-political importance both globally and within Africa. If Ethiopia breaks into turmoil, it could be devastating beyond its borders. We do not expect the U.S. or any other nation to free Ethiopia. No other country frees another; that is the responsibility of Ethiopians who must free themselves. Neither do we expect the U.S. or other nations to operate outside of their own national interests as Ethiopians also seek to operate according to their national interests. However, we do ask free nations to not become a roadblock to the freedom and genuine democratic change sought after by Ethiopians. 

 

In 1991, the U.S. played a strong role in bringing the TPLF/EPRDF into power and we believe the U.S. is again playing a role in the current crisis through people like General Carter F. Ham, Commander, Africom and General Ralph O. Baker, Commander, Combined Joint Task Force—Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) in order to prevent the explosion of ethnic-based violence; however, the Obama administration must understand that there are other viable alternatives to the TPLF/EPRDF—if allowed some political space—which could prove to be more reliable and to be better long-term partners in promoting peace and stability in the Horn of Africa than one of the most repressive regimes in Africa which has identified with the Chinese model of development without democracy.

 

This is a critical time of testing for not only the Ethiopian people, but also for the significant global partners. We are keenly aware of U.S. interests in Ethiopia—as it is the largest recipient of U.S. financial aid in Africa—and our shared concerns that it not become the next Syria; however, the U.S. should understand that the Ethiopian people—many of whom are now U.S. citizens—will not tolerate decisions made behind the scenes for the future of Ethiopia which support the continuation of the autocratic TPLF leadership.

 

Dear Secretary Clinton:

 

As you have witnessed in the Arab Spring, dictators go, but the people remain. The U.S. should support the democratization of a country of 90 million people rather than preserving the status quo. The status quo is not safer but could jeopardize long-term U.S. national interests in one of the most strategic and conflict-prone regions of the world, with great implications for the Middle East, Europe and Africa. As early as 2009, the International Crisis Group, Ethiopia: Ethnic Federalism and Its Discontents and Genocide Watch have issued warnings regarding the volatility of this region and the vulnerability of Ethiopia to exploding into ethnic-based violence, chaos and state failure. Ethiopians also understand how the widespread grievances could explode without carefully orchestrated change.

 

Dear Secretary Clinton:

 

The continuation of ethnic-based leadership within the TPLF, only with a new leader of the party, could trigger a dangerous reaction and the present TPLF will be far less capable of holding the country together over the next months and year should something happen. Instead, the U.S. should be on the right side of history by supporting African leaders who respect their people’s rights. In light of this, we call on you, Secretary Clinton, and Generals Ham, Baker and the US intelligence community, to use this new opportunity presented by Meles’ departure to do the right thing: to stand by the people of Ethiopia.

 

As you tour Africa and challenge Africans to embrace democracy, will the U.S. support your vision for Africa of which you have been speaking? Will the U.S. make concrete policy changes towards Ethiopia? It is not the time to please Africans with words while obstructing democratic progress on the ground with U.S. endorsement of some other member of the TPLF/EPRDF. This will not work. It is unacceptable; yet, we are willing to work together with all Ethiopians in creating an inclusive Ethiopia for the future.

 

For years now, we in the SMNE have sought to lay the foundation for the transformation of Ethiopia by challenging the thinking of Ethiopians that has been based on self-defeating tribalism, feudalism, Marxism or colonialism. As we have called Ethiopians to put “humanity before ethnicity” or any other differences and to care about other Ethiopians because “none of us will be free until all are free,” we have seen significant healing of relationships and very real possibilities to avert disaster. However, if well-intentioned outsiders become an obstacle to inclusive freedom, opportunities, reconciliation and the restoration of justice in Ethiopia, our nation’s future will be hijacked once again.

Dear Secretary Clinton:

We respectfully ask you to do the same in Ethiopia as you promised to do in Mali early this week when you said, “We encourage all parties to set aside their differences and work to restore democracy, preserve the territorial integrity of the country, and reject the appeals of violent extremism [including ethnic-based violence].” You added that the U.S. would continue to withhold full development assistance, including security aid, [which could be used against the Ethiopian people] until a democratically elected government is in place.

A window of opportunity exists right now that was not available in 1991. The reformers of Ethiopia you are looking for are here. Right now, there are hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians in the Diaspora, many well educated in western schools that are available to give back to their homeland if there were a genuinely democratic country and if they were given the chance.

 

We in the SMNE and other Ethiopian stakeholders are here and ready, willing to do whatever we can to contribute to the building of a New Ethiopia that will look forward to all the mutual benefits of healthy and sustainable partnerships in the 21st century. 

 

Respectfully yours,

 

Obang Metho,

Executive Director of the SMNE

C/R FAF 910-17th St. NW, Suite 419

Washington, DC 20006 USA

Phone 202 725-1616

Email: Obang@solidaritymovement.org.

Website: www.solidaritymovement.org

 

Cc: Designated Recipients

President Barack Obama
Vice President, Mr. Joseph Biden
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta

U.S. National Security Council Advisor, Thomas E. Donilon,

General Carter F. Ham, Commander, Africom,

General Ralph O. Baker, Commander, Combined Joint Task Force—Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA)

 

Senator John F. Kerry, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Senator Richard G. Lugar, Ranking Member of Committee on Foreign Relations

Senator Patrick Leahy, Chairman of Subcommittee on Foreign Operations and Related Programs
Christopher A.Coons, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs

Johnny Isakson, Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs
House of Representatives, Chris Smith, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Africa
House of Representatives, Gary Ackerman, Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Africa

 

Cc: Media

Executive Editor – Wall Street Journal

Editor in chief of the New York Times

Washington Post – Foreign Bureau

Guardian UK- News Desk and Editor

Al-Jazeera English – Editor-in-Chief

BBC – editor-in-chief.

Starve the TPLF beast: Boycott Ethiopian Airlines

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

Statement by Boycott TPLF Task Force

Don’t hand over your hard-earned dollars, euros, any foreign currency to them! And save your own money in the process!

Meles Zenawi is either dead, or if he is not actually clinically dead, he is as good as dead in terms of his physical and mental condition and well-being. Here is a critical question: What can every Ethiopian, especially Ethiopians living across the world, do to make it as difficult as possible for Woyanne to continue to rule the country with an iron fist without missing a beat, now that Meles is out of the picture?

One of the greatest powers we all have is the power of our money. Especially at this time of uncertainty, foreign exchange is one of the most important resources TPLF will try to hold on to and continue to amass. They are desperate for forex in order to be able to buy the necessary military and police hardware to put down any uprisings or opposition attacks against them. Perhaps more importantly: Foreign exchange is also needed to keep the military elites happy and well-taken care of—now more urgent than ever for TPLF, because some senior military officials may start getting restive in light of the death (or as-good-as-death) of their patron-saint, Meles.

One of the major sources of foreign exchange for woyanne are revenues they extract from Ethiopian Airlines, predominantly from ticket purchases by Ethiopians residing abroad. Starve the beast by stopping to hand over your money to Woyanne through Ethiopian Airlines (EAL). Moreover, EAL prices are likely to increase, in part because of inefficiencies in management—now likely to get worse since they recently removed a respected chief executive and put one of their own, a true-blue Woyanne, at the helm of EAL. Therefore, in fact EAL is more often than not more expensive than other airlines. So by quitting EAL and taking other airlines instead, you are not only depriving TPLF of foreign exchange that they need now more desperately than ever; you are also being wiser in managing your own finances.

Here is just one of many examples (see on the right) where flying EAL is more expensive than flying other airlines (screenshots from Expedia.com). For a randomly picked roundtrip flight from Washington DC to Addis and back, Lufthansa is the cheapest flight with $1,194, while EAL costs $1,382.

Day 43: Where is Meles Zenawi?

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

It’s has been 43 days since Ethiopia’s dictator Meles Zenawi disappeared.

The international news media finally has started to ask questions. The Economist writes that the dictator’s absence is causing jitters in the ruling party.

A member of European Parliament, which is based in Brussels, has informed Ethiopian Review sources that Meles Zenawi’s death has been confirmed. However, the regime still insists that he is alive and well.

Ethiopia under TPLF ranks 17th among failed states

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

The Fund for Peace today released its 2012 index of failed states.  Ethiopia under the boots of the Tigrai Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF) ranked 17th.  Countries such as Burundi, Congo, Ertirea and Libya did better than Ethiopia.

Somalia, a much suffering nation invaded by Ethiopia at the behest of the United States, ranked as the number one failed state.  Finland ranked as the least failed state at 177.

 

For the full listing, go to: http://www.fundforpeace.org/global/?q=fsi-grid2012

 

Day 42: Meles Zenawi’s body arrives in Addis Ababa – unconfirmed report

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

Today is the 42nd day since Ethiopia’s dictator Meles Zenawi has disappeared. This morning, Ethiopian Review has received an unconfirmed, but credible, report that his body has arrived in Addis Ababa from Belgium.

Abay WolduPower struggle in the ruling party TPLF intensifies. Tigray President Abay Woldu is emerging as a serious contender to replace Meles. One sign of his growing influence is that there is more security around him than an of the other TPLF leaders. During the past few days he has been observed traveling with an army of bodyguards, according to Ethiopian Review sources.

Ethiopian professor awarded U.S. Fulbright Scholar Program grant

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

Central Michigan University history professor Solomon Getahun has been awarded a 2012-2013 U.S. Fulbright Scholar Program grant to conduct research in Ethiopia.

Image

Getahun will research The Red Terror, when a group of people were imprisoned, tortured and killed between 1977 and 1979 because of communist military rulers. Being born and raised in Ethiopia, Getahun has a personal attachment to his research.

Getahun says he wants to spread awareness of the catastrophe by examining court documents, interviewing survivors of the genocide and identifying those responsible for the massive killings.

“Many people know about the Red Terror in Ethiopia, but I want to give the world a more detailed report on this terrible time,” Getahun said. “My goal is to make it so that someone won’t need to be an Ethiopian to understand the suffering that the people went through.”

The Fulbright Scholar Program each year funds all expenses for 800 U.S faculty and professionals to pursue graduate study, advanced research and various teaching opportunities. Getahun says being chosen from the thousands of applications submitted has been a proud moment.

The Fulbright program is one of the most widely recognized and prestigious international exchange programs in the world, according to Susan Pittman, Director of Media Relations for the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State.

“Getahun was chosen because he has a strong academic background, leadership potential, a passion for increasing mutual understanding among nations and cultures, and the adaptability and flexibility to pursue his proposed Fulbright project,” Pittman said.

This is Getahun’s second Fulbright award; the first was in 2002 when he published a book and two book chapters based on his studies of Ethiopian history.

CMU Clinton Township senior Stephanie Jackowski received a Fulbright student award in April to teach English in northern Poland. Jackowski will be leaving for 10 months in September to teach at the University of Gdansk.


Federal Police terrorize children in Ethiopia (photo)

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

This picture was taken today in Addis Ababa near Bole MedhaneAlem Church. It shows Meles Zenawi’s Federal Police in Ethiopia rounding up and terrorizing children as young as 12. The police round up such children, take them to prison and savagely beat them up. It is this terrorist regime that the Obama Administration is financing to the tune of $1 billion per year.

Ethiopian Federal Police in action

BBC: Ethiopian dictator is ‘getting better’ (Bereket Simon)

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

Meles Zenawi: Ethiopian leader ‘getting better’

1 August 2012 Last updated at 16:17 GMT

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi is in "a good condition and recuperating", a government spokesman has told the BBC, dismissing reports he is critically ill.

However, Bereket Simon declined to give any details about Mr Meles’ whereabouts or what he is suffering from.

Mr Bereket had earlier been quoted as saying the prime minister, 57, was on holiday.

Speculation began when he missed last month’s African Union summit.

There were reports that Mr Meles was in hospital in Belgium, suffering from a stomach complaint.

But Mr Bereket was quoted as saying by The Reporter newspaper that opposition forces were trying to "create confusion" by talking about the prime minister’s health.

He told the BBC Focus on Africa programme it was "not useful" to provide more details.

When asked who was in charge while Mr Meles was being treated, he replied: "The status quo is maintained – there is no change and there will be no change in the near future."

It is believed that Mr Meles’ last public appearance was at the G20 talks in Mexico in June.

He took power as the leader of a rebel movement which ousted the communist government of Mengistu Haile Mariam in 1991.

He has won several elections since then, but his political opponents have accused him of using repression to retain power.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-19078358


Ode to timidity – the Ethiopian experience

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

By Yilma Bekele

I knew something was missing. It kept nagging at me, the little voice in side kept saying ‘you know you have been here before.’ I was driving south on the 580 Freeway when it hit me. It was 2005 deja vu. How could I forget? I ask for forgiveness, I am an Ethiopian and memory is an option. Our long-term memory is intact and is usually retrieved at a drop of a hat. Now short term is a different matter. We are very selective about that. Why do you think I keep writing about the crimes of the regime? It is my humble attempt to act as a reminder, to help us visualize and store for easy recall.

This is what I wrote in 2009 during the Kinijit debacle “Psychologist Ellen McGrath calls it ‘the rumination rut’…. a style of thinking in which, like a hamster in a cage, you run in tight circles on a treadmill in your brain. It means obsessing about a problem, about a loss, about any kind of setback or ambiguity without moving past thought into the realm of action.’ This in turn makes us loose our focus. While our problem stays constant our focus wonders aimlessly. It is like trying to hit a moving target.”

See what I mean, what we got here is mirror image of our situation then. I am not that much of a religious person. But I am beginning to see what we commonly refer to as the Ethiopian God or Allah. What ever the force is it looks like we got some body, someone looking after our ancient land. It is too much of a coincidence to be dismissed lightly. The force is with us again. Despite our weakness it always shows up to salvage all that we mange to squander. This time it came in full glory with trumpets, whistle and drums.

There was the time when the TPLF regime in consort with Shabia declared us superfluous and discarded us as old shoes. We lost use of a port, we let our army march in shame, we opened our border as a one way highway, shared a common National bank, contemplated changing the name of our Airlines and even took a second fiddle to exporting the mighty coffee. Then the force showed up. Need I say more? No.

There was a time when Somalia and Ogaden were quiet. Poor Somalia was going thru growing pains. The whole world was dumping on our brothers. Literally dumping toxic waste on their coast and fishing their resources out of existence. The brave and fierce Somalis said enough. The arrogant west decided to practiced target shooting on live humans. Well, well, well guess who decided to be part of this game. Thus we marched into Mogadishu dressed, armed and driven with foreign sponsors. It was not long before we left in the middle of the night whipped, demoralized and in a hurry. The force showed up.

In 1993, during the conclusion of an interview, a reporter asked the lately departed Ashebari on his views of Ethiopian history and he replied, “ Ethiopia is only 100 years old. Those who claim otherwise are indulging themselves in a fairy tale.” The arrogance, the hubris boggles the mind on the other hand it leads one to do reckless stuff. Thus Waldeba Monastery was condemned to be a sugar plantation. Over fifteen hundred years of treasure was to be replaced by a farm so we can sweeten our coffee. The mighty force was not amused. Shall we say the Christian God and the Muslim Allah got together and decided to declare a recall of a defective specimen. I am not being presumptuous but some things have to be explained in a manner we can all understand. This is my take on this situation.

I believe we have been cashing our credit once too often. There should come a time when we should help our selves instead of relying on an outside power to straighten our never-ending screwups. What better than now to acquire some stiff spine or an extra pair of balls if you don’t mind my expression. Is it possible to trade in timidity with bold action? I know it is a tall order but you know what it is actually possible. May I be allowed to whisper Arab Spring in your ear please? I really don’t want to startle you, so I will try to jog that short-term memory into the front for easy recall.

I associate Arab Spring with rage. Our cup has runneth over and it is time, don’t you think? That is what happened with our Arab neighbors, their cup runneth over and they exploded.
Who would have thought forty years of Gadaffi, thirty years of Mubarak, thirty years of the Assad’s and whatever year of Ben Ali will be such a push over? It is all about rage my friend. Did the Arabs have elaborate plans of what comes next when they decided to do away with the garbage? I am afraid not. There was no user manual. There was no formula and there was no divine guidance. Just your everyday dream of hope and optimism is all they needed. There were no leaders showing the way, there were no grand coalitions, there were no Fronts and no organized Parties. It was just your average ordinary citizen taking matters into their own hands and drawing and redrawing the future one-day at a time.

The few scattered voices turned into a tsunami of screams. Some took long while a few were done is a short time. As I said there was no blueprint. What they got in common was rage. What runs thru their story is the common theme of a relentless confidence that tomorrow whatever it is cannot be as bad as today. Yesterday stank, today is more of the same thus the only thing left is to try to change tomorrow so it would be a better day. There was nothing to lose. If we can call the happenings in the last few months’ as history, no question it will be judged a success. A few hiccups but it is work in progress and no one promised a rose garden.

It could be said it is a pivotal moment in our long history. We got a choice to go forward in good faith, unsurpassed optimism or march on the same spot till we fall due exhaustion. No one can make that choice for us. As psychologist McGrath said ‘we can run that tight little circle in our brain obsessing about our problems’ or go past that rumination stage and commit our selves to act.

What we got today is a very peculiar situation that can only happen in Ethiopia. We are always different, aren’t we? Looks like our dictator is gone. The evil that has polluting our very existence has been removed by the grace of God. He was the center around which eighty million people revolved. The center has collapsed on itself. When the Sun dies an about five billion years or so all the planets revolving around it will disappear too. That is the law of physics. The death of evil Meles will result in the withering away of his evil TPLF party and those hodam teletafis revolving around him. No one can stop that.

What should our response be like? You know us; it is as muddled as anytime before. Right now we are on a freeze mode. We are unable to go beyond the ‘talk’ stage. Looks like we jabber so much we substitute that for action. I have been the beneficiary of so many incredible responses by my friends and acquaintances I consider myself immune to farce, idiocy, ignorance not to mention comedy. I had people admonishing me for celebrating the death of an evil tyrant, folks lecturing me about my giddy disposition regarding the demise of the cancerous cell in our body politic or rebuking me for falling on my knees and thanking God almighty. As you can see I am one confused Abesha. How exactly I am supposed to view the death of my countries and people enemy is not clear to me.

Our Amharic saying goes ‘helm teferto kuch belo aytaderm’ A very simple and beautiful statement. Should we have prayed to God to allow the idiot to live a little longer since we are afraid what would come next? No one seems to have told this Ethiopian insight to the Tunisians, Libyans or Egyptians. Aren’t you glad? I believe since we screwed twice before in this business of trying to bring change we area little gun shy now. It is understandable but definitely not rational. Life does not work like that. How many times have each one of us made mistakes in our everyday life? It has not stopped us from trying again has it? Of course there is no guarantee of success now but that should not deter us from trying, should it?

We also have this issue of a leader. It is associated to a simple lack of self-esteem. Following comes natural to us due to our old culture of fear of family, fear of elders and fear of authority. Thus we are always looking for a leader, a redeemer or a fall guy. We expect Dr. Berhanu, Ato Bulcha, Professor Mesfin, Judge Bertukan or others to lead us to the Promised Land. We also insist they form a Front, unite or be one for us to approve. Why do you think that is so? Is it possible that we want to avoid responsibility in case things do not work out? Is it because we always seem to prefer that others stick their neck out for our benefit? Or could it be that we can always have someone to assign blame to? Again I wonder how this philosophy would have translated in the land of the Arabs.

Fear of failure is our number one enemy. Fear of assuming responsibility is our Achilles heel. Lack of self-esteem is our undoing. I love Judge Bertukan. I respect Dr. Berhanu. I miss Eskinder. They all stood up for what they believe and paid a price. The net effect on me is that they inspire me. I pay them compliments by emulating their unselfish act. My resolve to be free makes them a better leader. By fighting for their freedom and dignity they inspire me to demand for mine too. We complement each other. We are equal human beings; they just have the added responsibility of standing in the front with my consent. It is true we are all leaders it is a matter of degrees. The difference is some of us lack faith in our good judgment.

Today same old Woyane bastards are toying with us. The evil man is dead but his evil system is still functioning by remote. Absolute idiot like Berket Semeon, a high school graduate that won his last election by cheating is giving out incoherent press conferences. A senile fatherly figure like Sebhat Nega with mind stuck in the ‘70s, and no authority from anyone we know of is trying to explain to us how things work. There is no such thing as a legitimate Ethiopian Constitution, there is no such thing as a freely elected Ethiopian Parliament and here we are trying to interpret and split hair of a non-existent phantom situation. All ado about nothing.

All I see in my head is Arab Spring. All I think about is the power of rage. I remember the brave Egyptians burning Mubarak’s headquarters to smitten and I grin from ear to ear. I dream of my brave fearless people smashing the walls of Maekelawi and letting my brothers and sisters out. I lounge for the day when the doors of Kaliti are flung open and my people march singing and dancing all the way to Merkato and Kebena and Gulele. I smile when I see in my head Meskel Square full of my people celebrating their freedom and hugging, kissing shouting “Free at last, thanks God almighty we are free at last!!” I jump with joy when Ethiopian Airlines lands at Bole with the scattered children of Ethiopia from the four corners of the world bring her future back to build and make our ancient land the center of African freedom and dignity. Yes you can make that happen but you first have to have faith in yourself, respect for your fellow human and a heart full of love and tolerance the rest will take care of itself. It is all about you talking personal responsibility and rising up to the occasion. Hate of dictatorship is acceptable. Celebration of the demise of evil is a human duty. Wanting to be free and live in dignity is as important as breathing and eating.

Meles died in Europe. Meles should be buried in Europe. Alive he did not care for Ethiopia. Dead there is no place for him in Ethiopia. We want to be free of his body and spirit. This is not about hate but a perfectly normal closure for the pain and agony he inflicted on our country and people. TPLF should be warned regarding this notion of a state burial for a tyrant. Do not thread on our sensibilities and bring the ugly in all of us. Let us open a new chapter in peace and harmony.

Day 41: Where is Meles Zenawi? Where is Azeb Mesfin?

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

Meles Zenawi and Azeb Mesfin

It has been 41 days since Ethiopia’s khat-addicted dictator Meles Zenawi disappeared. Today, Woyanne propaganda chief Bereket Simon told BBC that Meles is in “a good condition and recuperating,” but declined to give details on his whereabouts.

His wife Azeb Mesfin has also disappeared from public view for the past 11 days. It was reported on July 20 that she went to Italy. She has not been seen since then, and she is not attending the TPLF central committee meeting that is underway in Addis Ababa, even though she is a high-ranking member.

Meles Zenawi’s house of card starts to unravel

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

Meles Zenawi on feeding tube

A whisper campaign against Meles Zenawi, who disappeared 40 days ago, has started among members of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF/Woyanne) as many of them became convinced that he is dead or permanently incapacitated.

Yesterday and today, the whisper among Woyannes targeted Meles Zenawi and his close associates as traitors who are agents of the Eritrean government. This is causing concern in the Eritrean government. According to Ethiopian Review sources in Asmara, there is a heightened security alert in areas bordering Tigray in case Woyanne launches a diversionary military attack. The Eritrean government is also handing out weapons to the people in some strategic towns, Ethiopian Review sources reported.

With Azeb Mesfin’s absence from the TPLF meetings, anti-Meles forces in the ruling party seem to be gaining ground despite the fact that Meles recruits control most of the security apparatus. The problem for the Meles camp is that he had surrounded himself with yes-men who lack leadership capacity and experience, and although they have all the guns they need, they do not have the financial wherewithal to sustain themselves for long without Meles the master beggar in charge.

Sensing a problem, neighborhood Woyanne spies have already started to disappear from bars and internet cafes, Ethiopian Review sources reported today.

ወያኔ የዋልድባ መነኮሳትን ማሰር ጀመረ

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

(ደጀ ሰላም፤ ሐምሌ 23/2004 ዓ.ም፤ ጁላይ 30/ 2012)፦ ምሽቱን ወደ ገዳሙ በገቡት ዐሥር ያህል የማይ ፀብሪ ፖሊሶችና ታጣቂዎች የተወሰዱት ሁለት መነኰሳት አባ ወልደ ጊዮርጊስ ከዋልድባ አብረንታንት መድኃኔዓለም፣ አባ ገብረ ማርያም ጎንዴ ከማይ ለበጣ (የማኅበረ መነኰሳቱ ሰፊው የአትክልት ቦታ) ናቸው፡፡ ሁለቱ አበው መነኰሳት በፖሊሶቹ ተይዘው ከመወሰዳቸው አስቀድሞ በኣቶቻቸው በፖሊሶቹ ፍተሻ እንደተካሄደበት ተገልጧል፡፡ ከፖሊሶቹ አንዲቱ ከጾታዋ የተነሣ ወደ ዋልድባ ለመግባት የማይፈቀድላት ሴት መኾኗ የወረዳው አስተዳደር ለገዳሙ ትውፊታዊ ሥርዐትና ክብር መጠበቅ ያለውን የወረደ ግንዛቤ የሚያሳይ ነው፡፡

ትናንት ምሽት በገዳሙ ውስጥ ከተካሄደው ፍተሻ ሁለት ቀናት ቀደም ብሎ ዓርብ፣ ሐምሌ 20 ቀን 2004 ዓ.ም፣ ከጠዋት እስከ ቀኑ ዘጠኝ ሰዓት ድረስ በዋልድባ ዶንዶሮቃ ገዳም የሚገኙ ከኀምሳ ያላነሱ መነኰሳትና መነኰሳዪያት ቤት ቁልፎች በኀይል እየተሠበሩ ፍተሻ እንደተካሄደበት ተመልክቷል፡፡

ኻያ ስምንት ያህል የገዳሙ ማኅበረ መነኰሳት የሁለቱን አባቶች መወሰድ በመቃወም ወደ ማይ ፀብሪ ተጉዘው አቤቱታቸውን ለማቅረብ ወደ ወረዳ ከተማው ከሚወስደው ፅርጊያ መንገድ ሲደርሱ በፖሊሶቹ የኀይል ርምጃ መገታቱ ተነግሯል፡፡ የጉዟቸው መገታት ብቻ ሳይኾን ‹‹መመለሳቸውም አሳሳቢ ነው ብለዋል›› ለአሜሪካ ድምፅ ሬዲዮ የተናገሩ አንድ የገዳሙ መነኰስ፡፡
ያለፈው ሳምንት መጨረሻ መጠነ ሰፊ ፍተሻ እና እስር ምክንያት በተለይ ከቆላ ወገራ የመጡ ናቸው በተባሉ አርሶ አደሮች ድንገተኛ ርምጃ እንዲሁም በጅብ መንጋና በእባብ በፕሮጀክቱ የጥበቃ ኀይል አባላት እና ሠራተኞች የሕይወት እና አካላዊ ደኅንነት ላይ ደርሷል የተባለው ጉዳት ነው፡፡

አስገራሚው ጉዳይ ግን በሽታቸው ይኹን የወቅቱ መገኛቸው አነጋጋሪ ስለኾነው የአገሪቱ ጠቅላይ ሚኒስትር አቶ መለስ ዜናዊ ጽኑ ሕመም የፀለምት – ማይ ፀብሪ ፖሊሶች በመነኰሳቱ ላይ የተናገሩት ቃል ነው – ‹‹እናንተ ምታታሞች [ምትሃተኞች] ለጠቅላይ ሚኒስትሩ ሕመም ተጠያቂዎች ናችኹ፡፡››

በተደጋጋሚ በወረዳው ፖሊስ ድብደባ፣ እንግልትና እስር ተጋልጠው ከሚገኙት የዋልድባ አብረንታንት ቤተ ሚናስ መነኰሳት መካከል ‹‹ፕሮጀክቱን እንቃወማለን፤ ለገዳማችን ክብር እና ህልውናም እንሰየፋለን›› በሚል ግልጽ ተቃውሞ ያሳዩ 49 መነኰሳት ስም ዝርዝራቸው ተይዞ በፖሊስ እየተፈለጉ መኾኑን ምንጮች ከስፍራው ገልጸዋል፡፡ ፖሊሶቹ በየጊዜው እየመጡ መነኰሳቱን እየለዩ ለሚያደርሱት እንግልትና እስር ከዋልድባ ቤተ ሚናስ መነኰሳት ጋራ የአስተምህሮ ልዩነት ያላቸው የዋልድባ ቤተ ጣዕማ መነኰሳት ‹‹ተባባሪዎች ናቸው›› ተብሏል፡፡ ሐምሌ 13 ቀን 2004 ዓ.ም ከዋልድባ አብረንታንት ገዳም በማይ ፀብሪ ፖሊስ ተወስደው የታሰሩት መነኮስ አባ ገብረ ሥላሴ ዋለልኝ አሁንም ያልተለቀቁ መኾናቸውን ምንጮቹ ጨምረው አስረድተዋል፡፡

በተለይም ከሰኔ ወር ጀምሮ የወልቃይት ስኳር ልማት ፕሮጀክትና የዛሬማ ወንዝ ግድብ በዋልድባ ገዳም ላይ ከሚያደርሰው ተጨባጭ አደጋ እና ታሳቢ ስጋቶች ጋራ ተያይዞ በፀለምት – ማይ ፀብሪ ፖሊስ በማኅበረ መነኰሳቱ ላይ የሚደርሰው ወከባ፣ እስርና እንግልት ተባብሶ ስለ መቀጠሉ መዘገባችን ይታወሳል፡፡

የማይ ፀብሪ ፖሊሶች እንደተናገሩት ለገዳማቸው ክብርና ህልውና መጠበቅ የቆሙት ጽኑዐኑ የዋልድባ ማኅበረ መነኮሳት ‹ምታታሞች› ባይኾኑም÷ ጠቅላይ ሚኒስትሩ አቶ መለስ ዜናዊ የተያዙበትን ጽኑ ሕመም እንደ እግዚአብሔር ተግሣጽ (እንደ መቅሠፍት) የሚቆጥሩ ኦርቶዶክሳውያን ምእመናን ጥቂት እንዳልኾኑ በሕመማቸው ዙሪያ በማኅበራዊ ድረ ገጾች የሚተላለፉ መልእክቶች ያስረዳሉ – ‹‹ደዌ ዘመቅሠፍት›› እንዲሉ፡፡

በርግጥም ሰው ኾኖ መታመም የሚያነጋግር ባይሆንም የታላቁ ገዳም መነኰሳትና ባሕታውያን አባቶች የዘወትር ሐዘንና ልቅሶ÷ በተለይም በዚህ የሱባኤያቸው ወቅት÷ ግዳጁን አይፈጽምም ለማለት አይቻልም፡፡


Meles Zenawi’s 21-year tyrannical rule comes to a screeching halt (Abebe Gellaw)

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

By Abebe Gellaw

ESAT’s decision to report that Prime Minister Meles Zenawi is dead, according to reliable sources, has never been easy. It was two weeks ago that we received the news from highly credible sources in Brussels. Our sources that want to remain anonymous as they were not authorized to speak to the media on this sensitive matter told us that the International Crisis Group (ICG) concluded that Mr. Zenawi was deceased. Headquartered in Brussels, with offices around the world, ICG is the leading independent think tank on conflict prevention and resolution around the world. It was hard to ignore information from such a highly reputable international organization.

As a responsible media outlet, ESAT tried to investigate and verify the tip meticulously before it decided to broadcast the news. To be fair to the facts, we have also scrutinized the conflicting and contradictory information coming out from the ruling TPLF clique. We have examined not only the statements and stories put out for public consumption by the TPLF, but also their conducts that tell their own stories.

As Meles Zenawi’s 21-year tyrannical rule has surely come to a screeching halt, the TPLF proved to be a heap of mess without its chieftain. Ethiopia appeared to be leaderless and cheerless. In the absence of its head, the regime appeared to be decapitated, incapacitated, incoherent, disunited, disorganized and disoriented. This is typical of a one-man regime unlike institutionally sound democratic systems (like Ghana) that cannot be easily shaken by the death or absence of one man. Like an untrained ship crew with no captain in sight, the ruling elite seem to be at a loss for direction in the face of a gathering storm.

Look no further than the contradictory statements being issued by the high priests of the ethnic front on the well-being and whereabouts of Mr. Zenawi. While rumors are abounding on the death of the dictator, none of the officials has come out with a convincing explanation where the big man is.

“He is resting from exhaustion… He will be back in ten days…. He is in hospital….No, he is on holiday…. He is in town…No, he is in Europe… No, no, no…he is relaxing in America…,” TPLF officials told the public in the past two weeks. But Zenawi is nowhere to be seen. He was neither in the palace nor in his rubber-stamp parliament making and unmaking laws. And yet, TPLF’s creative stories change within hours and each weird story adds more fuel to wild speculations and rumors.

After the May 18th incident that became a turning-point in the tyrannical life of Mr. Zenawi, he was not seen in public for four weeks. On June 18th, he finally surfaced in Mexico City where he flew to attend a G20 meeting. Instead of quashing rumors about his well-being, the PR stunt unwittingly started a more serious discussion. He significantly lost weight and looked more like a ghost than the charismatic dictator he once seemed. The Chinese state TV, CCTV, broadcast his emaciated image, which was recorded during his meeting with Chinese president Hu Jintao, proved the suspicion of so many people. That was followed by a photo opportunity with Mexican president Felipe Calderon. It was another flop. He looked haggard, tired and gravely ill. The effort led by Berhane Gebrekirstos turned out to be a PR disaster.

On July 15th the newly-formed Ethiopian National Transitional Council (ENTC) issued a press release declaring the passing away of Mr. Zenawi. The news was received suspiciously. Some people questioned the motive of ENTC to declare the death of Zenawi. In fact, those of us in the news media also felt that ENTC should have passed the information to the media for further investigation. In any case, ENTC attracted more attention on the mysteries surrounding Zenawi’s puzzling health and final destiny spurred heated debate among Ethiopians across the world.

On June 14, 2012 Zenawi reportedly passed away after suffering a few weeks of agony and pains at St-Luke University Hospital in Brussels. The news was received with mixed emotions. While most Ethiopians welcomed the departure of a brutal tyrant that has caused so much pain and suffering on millions of Ethiopians, the news upset the TPLF camp. “Liars! Liars! Liars!..,” cried out camp TPLF without producing any evidence to disprove the news.

For a few days, TPLF chose to be quite. Finally, it broke its silence via the Voice of America. On July 18, Sebhat Nega appeared on VOA Amharic service and told the apprehensive public that Zenawi only suffered a minor illness. He said he was somewhere in Europe getting medical care. According to Nega, who was widely believed to be the mentor of the former dictator, in the absence of Zenawi the “democratic institutions” were working smoothly. Until the chief comes back, according to him, the “deputy prime minister” is in charge. As usual, the old guard’s answers were deliberately vague. They raised more questions than providing any serious answers.

Crisis communication management needs skills and some touch of professionalism. So TPLF felt the need to bring out its topmost communication expert. Unfortunately, the “expert” is the least trusted and one of the most detested members of the ruling elite. It was unwise of TPLF to send out the minister of miscommunication to convince the public that Zenawi is still alive and kicking.

After cancelling his appointments with journalists a couple of times, Bereket Simon, came on July 19th to meet and greet local and foreign journalists. He was flanked by none other than Shimelis Kemal, who insisted all along that news on the illness of Mr. Zenawi was fabricated by ESAT.

Mr. Simon said that Zenawi was exhausted after working restlessly for over thirty years. So an unnamed doctor forced him to go on sick leave. He dismissed reports that he was gravely ill. According to Mr. Simon, the big boss suffered no serious illness but exhaustion that needed a break. He assured us that he would soon be in office after enjoying his holiday. He also contradicted Mr. Nega by saying that Zenawi is in charge of running the country. It appeared that the deputy was not the task of ruling the nation even if the boss is exhausted and took a sick leave.

Mr. Simon was also asked why the Prime Minister’s health and whereabouts have been shrouded in secrecy. According to the communication expert, this is something to do with the culture of the ruling party. He explained that since its days in the jungle, the ethnic front does not dwell on such matters. He gave little weight to rights of the public to know about the health or death of a ruler. Mr. Simon, who was visibly nervous and sipping a glass of water quite frequently, gave inconclusive and bizarre statements that failed to convince us that Zenawi was indeed enjoying his holiday in an unknown tourist resort.

Addis Fortune is a newspaper close to the ruling elite. It is an open secret that the publisher, Tamrat Gebre-Giorgis, is a close associate of the minister of miscommunication and other officials. On June 22, it published a front page interview with a screaming headline: “Meles back in town.” The story, which the paper run as breaking news claimed: “A day after the Ethiopian government officially announced his ailment, Prime Minster Meles Zenawi came back to Addis Abeba, according to a credible source. The Premier came back to town on Friday evening, July 20, 2012, and he is recovering well, the source revealed to Fortune.”

Fortune’s publisher also told everyone that Zenawi is expected to surprise the public by appearing at a press conference. Apparently, the credible source feeding false information is none other than Bereket Simon, who probably thought that disinformation may work to manipulate public opinion. But the widely expected press conference where Zenawi would take center stage never materialized.

Former TPLF propaganda chief and publisher of Ethiopian Reporter, Amare Aregawi, is also very close to the ruling elite. He is widely believed to be a privy to TPLF’s top guns including security chief Getachew Assefa. He too had breaking news for us. Contradicting Addis Fortune’s “big story”, he had a different headline: “Meles on vacation abroad”.

The story dated 25th July declared: “Following the prescribed sick leave, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi is currently on vacation outside Ethiopia, The Reporter learnt. Sources told The Reporter that Meles is enjoying the sick leave after he was ordered to take time outside office to recover from his illness resulted from “over workloads for more than three decades.” What was even bizarre was the fact that Reporter told us that Zenawi was enjoying his “holiday” in the United States.

That was not the end of the story coming from officials sources. On July 28, Addis Admas, another paper linked to the ruling elite published an interesting interview with none other than the famous TPLF veteran, Sebhat Nega. The stories keep on changing. But this time, it came to a full circle. He told the paper that Zenawi is having a speedy recovery. “Where is the Prime Minister,” asked the journalist.

“He is in Europe,” he answered. “Where exactly in Europe?” queried the journalist.

“I don’t know exactly ,” says Sebhat Nega, who was supposed to be in the know.

Tyrants are supposed to be seen in full control. How is it that the most visible and domineering man in the last 21 year vanishes into thin air? He is Europe, he is back in town…No, no, no…he is on holiday in the U.S. Who should the public trust? This must be one of the worst disappearance cases ever known in the history of tyranny.

As a journalist who tried to sift fiction from facts, Meles Zenawi is not back in town, nor is he on holiday in America. As far as I am concerned, our sources at ICG are more credible. I admit that I have not personally seen a death certificate or the dead body of Ethiopia’s former dictator.

Based on the credible information we have received from Brussels, I am convinced that Meles Zenawi is dead. I do not believe that such reputable think tanks like ICG will get this wrong. For the record, ESAT never quoted ICG. It quoted anonymous but credible sources working at ICG in Brussels. We are aware of ICG’s Tweet.

Unlike Aigaforum and Tigraionline’s claim’s ICG statement does not disprove the story that Zenawi is gone. The Twit in question reads: “Crisis Group is not in a position to speculate about the fate of PM Meles Zenawi, nor have we commented on it to date.” ESAT never relied on a speculation or comment from ICG. We only had a privileged to confidential information held by ICG that conclusively claimed Zenawi was dead.

I personally challenge the TPLF high command to disprove this fact instead of fabricating conflicting and contradictory stories to convince us that he was alive and kicking. Though some TPLF officials may believe that Zenawi is a superman who can be in Addis Ababa, Europe and America at the same time most Ethiopians do no buy such a fantasy.

The Ethiopian people has a right to know the whereabouts of its ruler. This will help the people of Ethiopia to make critical decisions on the future of the country. Bring Meles Zenawi out alive or in a coffin for a final farewell. Then we will stand corrected.

Whatever the case, Meles Zenawi’s grip on power is over. The political dynamics has changed permanently with his long absence and the rise of competing forces for power and control. A vicious power struggle has already begun in earnest within the TPLF clique and its servant parties.

It is fair to say good riddance to a brutal tyrant that has tortured our people for over two decades.

Day 40: Where is dictator Meles Zenawi?

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

Today is the 40th day since Ethiopia’s khat junkie dictator Meles Zenawi has disappeared. ESAT has reported yesterday that its sources have confirmed his death. However, there is no official word from the ruling junta yet.

The dictator’s absence is already causing the regime to start unraveling. Our sources in Addis Ababa today reported that the regime’s hard currency reserve will evaporate in the coming few days, which will lead to the shortage of fuel and other essential supplies. The regime’s spies are also disappearing from local bars, internet cafes and other public places because of fear of backlash from the angry population.

ENTC to hold a town hall meeting in Washington DC – Aug. 5

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

The Washington DC chapter of recently formed Ethiopian National Transitional Council (ENTC) will hold a town hall meeting in Washington DC on Sunday, August 5, 2012, at 2:00 PM.

Date/Time: Sunday, August 5, at 2:00 PM
Place: Sheraton
Address: 1201 K Street NW, Washington DC DC 20005

More info: etntc.org
Email: entc.pr@gmail.com

Ethiopians still looking for answers on Meles Zenawi (Tom Rhodes)

Monday, July 30th, 2012

By Tom Rhodes| CPJ East Africa Consultant

Since I published a blog last week on the lack of information about the health and whereabouts of Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, readers have deluged it with comments (over 175 as of today), reflecting the pent-up interest in the premier’s status and deeply divided views of his leadership.

For weeks, Meles’ situation has been in question. International reports have claimed he is seriously ill at a hospital in Brussels, while the local and exile press have reports ranging from Meles being on holiday to having already died. A state press conference left reporters disappointed, with no new information other than claims that Meles was “recovering” and would be back at work in “a few days”–more than a week ago. … [read more]

Abune Philipos visits Ethiopian National Transitional Council’s office

Monday, July 30th, 2012

Abune Philipos

Abune Philipos, a senior member of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church’s Holy Synod in exile, has visited Ethiopian National Transitional Council’s office in Washington DC on Saturday, July 28.

During the official visit on behalf of the Holy Synod, Abune Philipos delivered a message from His Grace Abune Melketsedik, the Secretary of the Holy Synod, and blessed the Council’s effort for transition to democracy in Ethiopia.

The Secretary General of the Transitional Council, Dr Fisseha Eshetu, explained the Council’s mission and requested cooperation from the Holy Synod.

Abune Philipos asked many questions during the discussion with the Transitional Council’s officials, shared his advise, and expressed full support for the Council’s effort.

The Transitional Council had also invited high-ranking officials from the Muslim community but they were unable to come because of the sadaka program they had on Saturday.

ESAT reports Meles Zenawi is dead

Monday, July 30th, 2012

ESAT RADIO reports Meles Zenawi has died.

18 people killed in southern Ethiopia following fierce fighting

Monday, July 30th, 2012

(AlertNet) – At least 18 people have been killed in fierce fighting between the Borena and Garri communities over land in southern Ethiopia. The fighting forced 20,000 to flee to Kenya, the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) said on Monday.

Fighting broke out last Thursday because of a dispute over the Ethiopian government’s decision to settle the Garri community on land which the Borana claim to own, KRCS said in a statement on its website.

Thousands of refugees, segregated by ethnicity, are camped out in schools and a mosque around the Kenyan town of Moyale. Others are being given refuge by local Kenyan residents.

“Most of the families are in the open cold with their children for lack of shelter,” KRCS said.

“The humanitarian situation is dire bearing in mind that the effects of the HOA drought on the populations in the conflict areas are also still being felt,” it said.

The Garri and Borana communities straddle the Kenyan and Ethiopian borders.

Life in arid northern Kenya is precarious, with millions still reliant upon food aid following a severe drought in 2011. Heavily armed pastoralist communities regularly clash over land, water and cattle in the remote borderlands.

Some refugees started to return to Ethiopia on Monday after Ethiopia’s federal government intervened in the clash-hit areas, Abbas Gullet, the secretary general of KRCS, told AlertNet.

“The federal security forces are taking control of the security situation from regional security officials and they are looking for an amicable solution to the disputes,” Gullet said.

At least 12 people have been injured, but they are reluctant to seek medical help at facilities thought to belong to rival communities, KRCS said.

“The reported injuries include gun wounds, fractures, bleeding, and internal bleeding,” it said.

The KRCS Moyale Branch response team is waiting for more casualties to reach the Kenyan border from the Ethiopian interior where the fighting is taking place, KRCS said.

39th day: Where is Ethiopia’s dictator Meles Zenawi?

Monday, July 30th, 2012

Today is the 39th day since head of the ruling tribal junta, Meles Zenawi, has disappeared from the public view. The TPLF leadership is expected to make a major announcement regarding the dictator’s disappearance in the next few days, Ethiopian Review sources in Addis Ababa said today. Until then, his condition remains top secret. Very few individuals even among the TPLF Central Committee know where Meles is and whether he is dead or alive.

Ethiopian Heritage Festival in DC attracts thousands

Monday, July 30th, 2012

Ethiopian Heritage Society in North America

The Ethiopian Heritage Society in North America (EHSNA) held its 2nd annual festival in Washington DC at Georgetown University from June 27 – 29. The festival drew thousands of Ethiopians, American-Ethiopians and friends of Ethiopia. Some came from as far as Seattle, Atlanta, and Canada.

The program was opened on Friday, June 27, by EHSNA President Dr Shakespeare Feyissa, and brief remarks by Prof. Maurice Jackson, Department of History, Georgetown University.

Prof. Maurice Jackson, Department of History, Georgetown University, speaks at the opening ceremony of Ethiopian Heritage Society North America's 2nd annual festival in Washington DC, July 27 - 29, 2012.

Friday’s program included reception, an art show and discussion on Ethiopian culture.

On Saturday, the main part of the Festival started with cultural shows at the Georgetown University Stadium. Families with their children came in thousands to enjoy the festival, educate their children about Ethiopian culture, meet old friends, sample Ethiopian food, and buy books and Ethiopian cultural items.

On Sunday, the main event was the cultural shows by various artists who performed songs from several Ethiopian ethnic groups, and introducing the guest of honor.

This year’s EHSNA Guest of Honor was His Grace Abune Meletsedik. EHSNA honored him for his life-time achievement, for his contribution to the preservation of Ethiopian heritage, and for strongly speaking out in defense of the human rights of all Ethiopians. His recent call on all Christians to come to the defense of Ethiopian Muslims who are being brutalized by the ruling Woyanne junta is a demonstration of his greatness as a religious father and an elder statesman.

His Grace Abune Melketsedik

Abune Melketsedik was received with a standing ovation and cheers when he entered the stadium accompanied by several priests and EHSNA officials. Secretary General of EHSNA, Ato Yeshitila Araya, read a brief biography of Abune Melketsedik, and Dr Shakespear Feyissa presented him with a plaque.

With highly successful events for the second year in a row, EHSNA has established itself as a great Ethiopian cultural institution that promotes Ethiopia’s 3000 years old heritage.

Ethiopian National Transitional Council

Ethiopian National Transitional Council officials Dr Fisseha Eshetu, Wz. Fifi Derso, Ato Dereje Demissie, and Ato Abebayehu Alula were present in person at the festival to explain the Council’s mission and answer questions.

Representatives of Ethiopian Review, ESAT and Addis Dimts Radio were also present to meet their audiences and readers in person, get feedback, and answer questions.

Congratulations for a job well done to EHSNA’s executive committee, board members, and volunteers who worked tirelessly to make the event successful. Special thanks to Georgetown University for making its facility available to the festival, and to the United States of America and the City of Washington DC for making Ethiopians feel welcomed.

Ethiopia in Constitutional Crises?

Sunday, July 29th, 2012

Alemayehu G Mariam

Flag2In an interview I gave to the Voice of America Amharic program last week, I was asked to comment on the nature of constitutional succession in the event of death, disability, resignation, illness, incapacity or removal from power of the prime minster (PM) in Ethiopia. The answer I gave seems to have surprised, shocked, dismayed and appalled many. The Ethiopian Constitution makes no provisions for the orderly transfer of power in the event of a vacancy in the PM’s office. Simply stated, there is no constitutional process for succession of executive power in Ethiopia!

The issue of succession has become critical in light of the prolonged and mysterious absence of the current holder of PM’s office and the garbled official explanation for his complete disappearance from public view. Some Ethiopian opposition leaders have apparently argued for the installation of the deputy prime mister (DPM) as a constitutional successor to the PM or at least serve as acting PM until the final health status of the current holder of the PM’s office is established. Their argument is neither textually nor inferentially supported by any reasonable reading of the relevant provisions of the Ethiopian Constitution.

The office of the DPM is mentioned 4 times in the Ethiopian Constitution, three of which occur in Art. 75; and once in Article 76 in which the DPM is mentioned as a member of the Council of Ministers. Article 75 defines the totality of powers, duties and roles of the DPM:

1. The Deputy Prime Minister shall: (a) perform the duties assigned to him by the Prime Minister; (b) represent the Prime Minister in his absence. 2. The Deputy Prime Minister is accountable to the Prime Minister.

Under Article 75, the DPM is a political creature of the PM’s making, and not an actual constitutional officer with prescribed duties and functions. Unlike the PM (art. 73), the DPM is not “elected”, rather s/he is a mere political appointee who is selected by the PM. Whatever powers the DPM has comes directly and exclusively from the PM, and not the Constitution. The DPM   “performs duties assigned by the prime minister” and has no independent or residual statutory or constitutional duties or powers. The PM directs the activities, functions and roles of the DPM as the PM sees fit. The DPM can be dismissed or replaced by the PM at any time. In short, the  DPM’s office is in reality an empty constitutional shell –  a make-believe office — devoid of any constitutional or statutory responsibilities.

It is important to examine the constitutional nature of the DPM’s office more closely to understand the enormity of the constitutional crisis facing Ethiopia today regardless of whether the current holder of the PM’s office returns to office. The DPM is constitutionally designated as the “representative” of the PM. The term “representative” in Article 75 does not have the same meaning as the term “representative” in the “Council of Representatives” whose members are “elected for a term of five years” with full authority to “represent” their constituencies (Article 58).  The DPM as the PM’s “representative” is not a “PM in waiting or in the wings”. The DPM could stand in or appear on behalf of the PM as directed and assigned, or possibly “represent” the PM as an agent or proxy if specifically authorized. But the DPM  has no independent constitutional powers to “represent” the PM or perform the PM’s duties and responsibilities as the PM’s “representative”.

To be sure, there is no textual basis in Article 75 or in any other part of the Constitution to infer that the DPM can exercise any of the PM’s powers under Article 74. For instance, the DPM has no constitutional authority to function as “the head of government, chairman of the Council of Ministers and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces” under any circumstances. Nor does s/he have the power to act as “acting prime minster” or perform in any other similar capacity in the event of a vacancy in the PM’s office or in the absence of the PM. The DPM does not have the constitutional power or authority to “direct, coordinate and represent the Council of Ministers,” or to “appoint all high government officials.” The DPM cannot “perform other duties assigned to him by this Constitution and other laws” because neither the Constitution nor other “laws” give the DPM any “duties” whatsoever to perform. Whatever the DPM does, s/he does at the direction, supervision and pleasure of the PM.  Practically speaking, the DPM is the PM’s “gofer” (errand runner) and factotutm (handy person), and not a true constitutional officer.

Analysis of Articles 72-75 (“Executive Power”) demonstrates that the DPM’s office was structurally designed as a shadow, symbolic or make-believe office with the manifest aim of giving the public impression that there is a deputy PM who could take over in the event of a vacancy in the PM’s office in the same sense as a vice president would  succeed a president. It is an office created with constitutional smoke and mirrors with the  intention of creating the illusion of a constitutional plan of executive succession without actually creating one. Article 75 could be an amazing constitutional sleight of hand or an egregious omission in constitutional design!

Is Ethiopia in Constitutional Crises?

It is manifest that Ethiopia is now facing not only a leadership and power vacuum but also a monumental constitutional crises in the absence of a constitutional plan or procedure for succession.  A constitution without a clear plan of succession is an invitation to political chaos, conflict and instability. In the United States, the Presidential Succession Act of 1947 (which supersedes other prior succession Acts) establishes the line of succession to the powers and duties of the office of President of the United States in the event that neither a President nor Vice President is able to “discharge the powers and duties of the office.” The Twenty-fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution establishes procedures for filling a vacancy in the office of the Vice President and responding to Presidential disability.

Article 60 of Ghana’s Constitution also provides clear provisions on presidential succession: “(6) Whenever the President dies, resigns or is removed from office, the Vice-President shall assume office as President for the unexpired term of office of the President… (8) Whenever the President is absent from Ghana or is for any other reason unable to perform the functions of his office, the Vice-President shall perform the function of the President until the President returns or is able to perform…” Even North Korea has a plan of succession though the process is a dynastic family affair in which power is passed from grandfather to son to grandson as we have witnessed recently.

Why is there no plan or clear statement or language on succession of executive power in the Ethiopian Constitution? I noted above that the particular design of the office of the DPM could be an amazing constitutional sleight of hand or an egregious omission and irremediable defect in constitutional design. If the drafters of the 1995 Ethiopian Constitution never anticipated, imagined, calculated or believed the person who becomes PM of Ethiopia will ever be removed from office by any means and for any reason and thus designed the DPM’s office as it is, then their omission could be regarded as a grossly negligent act of incompetence for which they should collectively suffer public condemnation and castigation. But it is unlikely that the DPM’s office was designed with such obvious oversight or inadvertence. It is not an act of omission; it is an act of commission.

A reasonable analysis of Article 75 suggests that the drafters intentionally and with great foresight designed the DPM’s office the way they did (toothless, powerless, duty-less) out of an abundance of caution to guard against any potential future loss of the PM’s office (and with it control of the state, armed forces, economy, etc.,) from the hands of those elements who have had a chokehold on the office for the past 21 years.  Given the ethnically tangled nature of Ethiopian politics, the individuals who controlled the drafting of the Constitution understood that the PM’s and DPM’s office could not be in the hands of members of the same ethnic group. That is to say, if the PM is a member of one ethnic group, the deputy prime ministership must necessarily be given to a person from another ethnic group to maintain the illusion of power sharing and play a clever political balancing game. If there is a real possibility of succession under this “power sharing” arrangement, the outcome could be potentially catastrophic to the power brokers controlling the PM’s office in the remote and unlikely event the PM is unable to discharge his/her duties and must leave office.

Under Article 75, the DPM could prove to be a Frankensteinian creation of the PM capable of destroying its own creator. If the DPM succeeds the PM, then the power brokers and structure that supported the PM could collapse with the supporters of the DPM as PM gaining power. As a result, there is high likelihood that the power brokers and supporters of the PM who vacated office could potentially lose power and influence and be marginalized under the new PM. However, the power brokers and supporters of the PM who vacated office could still maintain their power and influence by installing a DPM from one of the minority ethnic groups in the country. By making such an appointment, the PM and supporters effectively create the illusion that members of the country’s ethnic minorities are gaining recognition, power and  status hitherto unavailable or denied to them while immunizing themselves from the criticisms of other major ethnic group contenders who may be making claims to the DPM’s office.

The appointment of a DPM from a minority group ensures that  power remains in the hands of the power brokers and supporters of the PM whether the PM stays in office or vacates for any reason. The only way a DPM from an ethnic minority could survive politically as a PM is with the support of those who supported the PM who vacated office. The DPM as PM simply will not have  a sufficient support base in the party structure, bureaucracy, military, civic society, economic structure, etc. to be able to act independently. The DPM as PM could only survive as a mere puppet in the hands of the power brokers and supporters of the PM who vacated office.

Facing such a daunting constitutional dilemma, the power brokers and supporters of the current holder of the PM’s office will have no viable option but to ram through by unconstitutional means the installation of the holder of the DPM as PM. If such was the design, Article 75 could be regarded as a masterful stroke of political genius unrivalled in modern African constitutional history. The downside is that given the manifest constitutional problems of succession, other power contenders are unlikely to accept such an outcome which is patently unconstitutional and undemocratic. They may insist on a new election for a PM within a reasonable period of time if it comes to pass that the current holder of the PM’s office could no longer perform the duties of that office.

To dodge this enormous constitutional dilemma and avoid an election for a new PM at any cost, the  power brokers and supporters of the holder of the PM’s office could create various distractions and diversions. It is very likely that they could fabricate an emergency (internal by claiming insurrection or external by triggering conflict) and declare martial law.   They could engage in dilatory tactics by refusing to make firm and clear announcements on the status of the current holder of the PM’s office. They could seek the intervention or mediation of outside powers to help resolve the crisis by proposing a short-term transitional solution until a permanent solution is found either by constitutional amendment or new elections. They are likely to use the “constitutional court” under Article 83 to obtain an interpretation of Article 75 which is manifestly contrary to the plain meaning of the constitutional text. No doubt, they will have many tricks up their sleeves to get themselves out of the constitutional jam, buy time and cling to power.

The smart move for the power brokers and supporters of the holder of the PM’s office now would be to take this fantastic opportunity and offer an olive branch to the opposition and invite them to a dialogue on power sharing and other matters. There is no shame, defeat or harm in making a peace offering to the opposition. It has been done in Kenya and even Zimbabwe. It was done in South Africa under the most difficult of circumstances. It has been tried with different outcomes in Burundi, Guinea, Madagascar and the Ivory Coast.

In 2009, Kenya formed a “grand coalition government” among bitter political enemies. They were able to write a new constitution which was approved by an overwhelming 67 percent of Kenyans in 2011. In 2008, President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai signed a power-sharing deal. Last week, Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai pushed for approval of a draft constitution prepared by the Select Committee of Parliament on the New Constitution (COPAC). Both countries have a long way to go on the road to full democratization but they are certainly on the right track. The only sensible way out of this constitutional predicament is to follow Nelson Mandela’s prescription: “If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.” It’s the perfect time now for all to bury the hatchet, shake hands and get their shoulders to the grindstone and build a new Ethiopia.

Constitutional Transition From Dictatorship to Democracy

The DPM issue is only the tip of the iceberg of the enormous constitutional crises to face Ethiopia. Those of us in the business of constitutional law and analysis have known of the structural flaw in the design of the DPM’s office, the expansive nature of executive power as well as numerous other flaws in the current Constitution for a long time. Truth be told, our characterization of the current holder of the PM’s office as “dictator” over the years was not mere rhetorical flair but an accurate and precise description based on a careful and penetrating analysis of the Ethiopian Constitution and the way power is concentrated in one office and one person.

A dictator is a person “who has absolute power or authority.” That is what the 1995 Ethiopian Constitution created in Articles 72-75. Article 74 created a PM whose powers are total, unbridled and unlimited and without any plan of succession. The PM and his hand-selected Council of Ministers are the “highest executive authority” in the country. The “Prime Minister” is the “head of government, chairman of the Council of Ministers and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.” The PM is only nominally accountable to the Council of Deputies and the judiciary. S/he is not accountable to the Council of Ministers. In fact, the PM has total and absolute dominance over these institutions. The PM has the power to “dissolve the Council [of Representatives] before the expiry of its term so as to conduct new elections”, dismiss or replace any member of the Council of Ministers at will and nominate and dismiss judges. Under the Constitution, the PM is accountable to no one. The PM’s word is the constitution and the law. The PM is an absolute constitutional dictator though that sounds oxymoronic!

The Life and Death of African Dictators

All dictators believe they can live forever. But only the evil they have done during their lifetimes lives forever. Sitting in the saddle of power, African dictators fear no one, not the people or even God. They have convinced themselves they are heroes and “gods” in their own right. They try to project the image of invincibility and immortality. But they are neither; they are mere mortals. They get sick, they suffer pain and they die like the people they oppressed, jailed, tortured and killed. They hold their people in total contempt and treat them like dumb children. They try to convince their people that they are healthy when they are sick and alive when they are dead.

In the past 7 years, the story we hear in Ethiopia today has been told many times in Africa. In 2005, President Gnassingbé Eyadéma of Togo, at the time Africa’s longest-ruling dictator, died of a “heart attack” as he was being rushed to Europe for treatment. Though he had heart and other serious health problems for years, those facts were hidden from the public until it was suddenly announced that he had passed away. In 2009, Gabon’s long reigning dictator, Omar Bongo Ondimba, died in a hospital in Spain. Government officials in Gabon had long denied he was sick or had any serious health problems. But Bongo had cancer. In 2009, President Umaru Yar’Adua of Nigeria reportedly left the country for what was described as “routine medical check up” in Saudi Arabia. After months of prolonged absence, he returned to Nigeria and died of lung cancer. Earlier this year, President Malam Bacai Sanhá of Guinea-Bissau died at a Paris hospital from what was officially described as “advanced diabetes” and a hemoglobin problem (possibly leukemia). Sanha denied that he had health problems and said his situation “was not as serious as people want to make out”.  President Bingu wa Mutharika of Malawi also died earlier this year from what was described officially as a heart attack after being transported to South Africa in a comatose state.

In all of these cases, the serious health issues were underplayed by the leaders themselves and their officials. They often blamed the cynical opposition for exaggerating news and information of their health condition. The officials in Ethiopia have a constitutional duty under Article 12 to perform their responsibilities “in a manner which is open and transparent to the public”. That transparency includes the duty to divulge full information to the public on the prolonged absence of the holder of the office of PM.

The life and death of President John Atta Mills of Ghana last week stands in stark contrast to the other African dictators. For the past several months, the Ghanaian public was aware that President Mills was having serious health problems.  He was making few public appearances and had retreated from public view, leaving his vice president, John Dramani Mahama, to attend public functions. Though he won the presidency by a razor-thin margin in 2009, Mills soon gained the love, respect and appreciation of his people. In its online editorial, The Nation,  Nigeria’s top circulation publication observed: “The open affection Ghanaians showed President Mills and the Ghana Parliament’s fidelity to constitutional provisions are areas Nigeria can learn from. President Mills respected his office and honoured his people by working hard for them. Little wonder, the people reciprocated by treating him as a rare hero in death.” Africa needs rare heroes. The alternative for Africa’s villains has been prophesied by Gandhi long ago: “There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible but in the end, they always fall — think of it, ALWAYS.”

There is a way out of the constitutional crises and dead end Ethiopian is facing today. Nelson Mandela paved that two way road in South Africa and called it “Forgiveness and Goodness.” We should all prepare ourselves and the people to travel that two-way road. It is time for national dialogue!

Amharic translations of recent commentaries by the author may be found at: http://www.ecadforum.com/Amharic/archives/category/al-mariam-amharic and http://ethioforum.org/?cat=24

Previous commentaries by the author are available at:

http://open.salon.com/blog/almariam/  and www.huffingtonpost.com/alemayehu-g-mariam/

 

38th day since Ethiopia’s dictator disappeared

Sunday, July 29th, 2012

Today is the 38th day since Meles Zenawi, head of the ruling junta in Ethiopia disappeared from public view. The regime says he is taking break on doctors advise in an unnamed country after getting treatment for an unspecified illness, but many believe he is either dead or incapacitated. The central committee of the ruling party, Tigrean People Liberation Front (TPLF), has been holding secretive meetings for the past 10 days. It is not clear who is currently running the government, but definitely it is not the deputy prime minister Hailemariam Desallegn, who is a puppet figure for this masters, Woyannes.

Will Ethiopian crackdown stir Muslim backlash?

Saturday, July 28th, 2012


By William Davison | Christian Science Monitor

July 27, 2012

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Peaceful protests continue in Addis Ababa this week among Muslims angry over what they see as Ethiopian government interference. The government sees foreign extremist threat.

With arms raised and wrists crossed, silent Muslim worshippers surrounding the largest mosque in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital, again today peacefully protested what they call a violent government response to legitimate demands.

The act of civil disobedience from Muslims, who constitute at least one-third of the population, is a rare sign of instability in a country seen by US policymakers as a bulwark against radical Islam in the volatile Horn of Africa region.

Last month, members of a committee mediating the dispute over perceived unconstitutional state interference in Islamic affairs were taken into custody, while unrest broke out on two occasions around separate mosques in the city of around 5 million people.

“We are showing solidarity with leaders who have been arrested but who are strong,” says a demonstrator named Mohammed, referring to the vigil latched onto the end of midday prayers at Anwar Mosque. “They should be released; they were arrested for nothing.” Moments later, nervous friends ushered him away.

Through military interventions in neighboring Somalia, crackdowns against a separatist movement in its Muslim-majority Ogaden region, and now the detention of Muslim activists in its capital, Ethiopia has taken on a role as front-line defense against the spread of political Islam in East Africa. It’s a stance that broadly enjoys support from the West and neighboring countries, but some observers argue that Ethiopia’s hard line may be creating a backlash, strengthening the appeal of insurgents whom it is battling to suppress.

Human rights group Amnesty International called on the Ethiopian government this week to either formally charge or to release those currently in detention. Amnesty also called on the Ethiopian government to investigate allegations of torture of detainees, to allow peaceful protest, and to use “proportionality in the use of force” against demonstrators who turn violent.

For its part, the Ethiopian government justifies its actions by saying that the real troublemakers are a tiny minority of foreign-influence Salafi extremists.

“This group actually deals day and night to create an Islamic state,” says Shiferaw Teklemariam, the minister responsible for religious affairs. “This in the Ethiopian context is totally forbidden and against the constitution.”

Activists scoff at the accusations. Ethiopia is a secular, multi-ethnic state, where Orthodox Christians predominate, they say. How could any Islamist group hope to create an Islamic state in such a country? The dismissal is seconded by Terje Østebø, an academic at the Center for African Studies and Department of Religion, University of Florida, who studies Islam in the Horn of Africa. He says that Ethiopia’s historically oppressed Muslims are enthusiastic backers of the current secular system.

“Islamic reformists in Ethiopia have been very little concerned with politics, and certainly not advocated ideas in the direction of an Islamic state,” he says. “In my numerous conversations with Muslims in Ethiopia, I never came across anyone favoring such ideas.”

Other regional experts lean toward the official line that there are some externally-supported radicals that have hijacked the language of democratic rights to covertly pursue fundamentalism.

Protester demands

The committee’s stated demands are for Islamic council elections to be held at mosques rather than at local government offices; for the government to stop its unconstitutional promotion of the moderate al-Ahbash sect popular in Lebanon; and for the Awalia Mosque in Addis Ababa to be returned to the community from a corrupted Islamic council.

The committee and its followers accuse Ethiopia’s Islamic Affairs Supreme Council of being an undemocratic body packed with government stooges. Shiferaw, the Minister for Federal Affairs, denies any state meddling, saying there has been no promotion of al-Ahbash, and elections that begin on August 26 for two weeks are overseen solely by the Ulema Council of scholars, which he describes as Ethiopian Islam’s highest authority.

On July 13, violence broke out for the first time in the capital since the nine month dispute began, after Muslims at the Awalia Mosque compound ignored warnings from the government to not hold a sadaqa (charity) gathering on the day that African heads of states were in town for an African Union meeting. The real purpose of the event, which was shut down before it began through a police raid, was to plot the Islamic takeover, Shiferaw claims, and the timing was “deliberately provocative.”

“It’s about killing the image of the country and trying to destroy the trust of African leaders in their own capital,” he says. “I don’t think you quarrel with your wife when guests are at the door, if you’re really genuine enough for your wife.”

The government said 74 arrests were made, which was followed a week later by the detainment of the leadership committee based at Awalia. The crackdown, however, did not prevent a huge number of worshippers at Anwar Mosque in the Mercato area on the first day of the holy month of Ramadan a week later, showing solidarity with those arrested. Ahmedin Jebel, a now-detained spokesman for the 17-man committee, said the government’s attitude betrayed its authoritarianism. “Even if Muslims come to the AU summit to protest, if it’s peaceful, it shows Ethiopia is democratic,” he says. “Preventing and attacking shows Ethiopia is undemocratic.”

Unrest followed the next day, instigated by masked extremists penning in worshippers, according to the government. On a Saturday afternoon at one of Africa’s largest markets, all shops were shuttered and riot police patrolled normally heaving streets.

‘They want to label us’

“They want to put our questions aside and label us, saying we have a political agenda, saying we are extremists,” says Ahmedin.

Shiferaw is confident that the incidents have, in his view, unmasked Ahmedin’s group in the eyes of Ethiopian Muslims, draining any support they had. “Heavy education” campaigns are also being conducted on state television to show a strategic alliance between the movement and forces including Somalia’s al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Shabab militia and secular Ethiopian insurgents, he says. “We would like to clear any confusion and grey areas for people who joined them without knowing who they are,” he says. “We will educate them a little bit and they will go home.”

Mr. Østebø says he believes the government has misconstrued the rise in Salafism, which he says is largely a religious movement seeking to purify Islam.  “This is not to downplay the potential of such movement becoming a threat to political security and stability, but one should not overlook the fact that representations of Salafism mostly take nonviolent forms,” he says.

Salafists are welcome in Ethiopia as long as they don’t coerce others to join their sect, says Shiferaw. But, at “hotspots” around the country, extremists “bring people to the mosque, they put them to the point of the gun and they request them if you’re not converting yourself to the Wahabi, Salafi sect, you’re gone, you’re subject to be killed,” he argues. Activists say such “wild allegations are the government’s ploy to scare Ethiopians about a rise in extremism, and also score points with international backers.”

While Salafism’s rise has raised tensions there have been “hardly any reports of violent confrontations between so-called Sufis and Salafis,” says Østebø.

“We are Muslims, nobody can divide us,” says Ahmedin.

Bad response to real threat

Medhane Tadesse, an analyst of conflicts in the region, believes the government is making a belated and heavy-handed response to a genuine threat. Ethiopia has historically been a crucible for Islam’s battle with Christianity, and foreign Wahabbist forces have been – and currently are – at work trying to control mosques and now the Islamic council to ensure ascendance, he believes.

“Ethiopia is important because of historical significance, and because of demography, it has more Muslims than Saudi Arabia, it’s a big stake,” he says.

The government needs to make a measured response by empowering Muslims while distinguishing foreign-influenced radicals from those with “genuine concerns,” Medhane says.

“I think it’s a significant event and unless it’s managed in sober and legitimate way through democratic means then it may aggravate,” he says. “The problem of the Ethiopian state historically is rather than playing the role of an arbiter between different interests and social classes it tries to decide, which is counter-productive.”

37th day: Where is Ethiopia’s dictator Meles Zenawi?

Saturday, July 28th, 2012

Today is the 37th day since Ethiopia’s brutal dictator Meles Zenawi disappeared. Only the top echelon of the ruling TPLF junta and some foreign governments know what happened to him. The people of Ethiopia, and even rank-and-file members of the ruling party, are in the dark.

To make matters worse for the regime, the ruling party, Tigrean People Liberation Front (TPLF), broke up its 8-day long meeting Friday because it is unable to come to an agreement on the future of the party.

Ethiopian Heritage or Hear Us Age

Saturday, July 28th, 2012

Our heritage is our 88 beautiful tribes who are bonded not by federalism but above all Ethiopiawinet::

by Teddy Fikre  dated: Friday, Juy 27th, 2012

Do you know the sound of age? It does not sound like tic, tic, tic; age is more like a tick that sucks the blood from your soul and leaves you in senior citizen amongst the denizen of the soon to be lifeless bodies.  I know, a bit graphic right but it is the blunt truth.  We are all bonded and bound to the rest that came before us.  We will in due time disappear into the ether and be buried in graves. The only thing that will remain when we are nothing more than memories are our legacies.  Our legacy is our heritage.

So this s the crux of the matter before us, our legacy is our heritage.  Our heritage is timeless and endless.  Long after our time on this earth is finished, what will stay behind and be written in the stars is the history of our culture, our tradition, and our common aspirations—the only thing that will remain is our heritage. Heritage is the core of a people; we are defined not by our existence but by the very essence of our history and our culture.  Our heritage is our inheritance, we are nothing more and nothing less than the history of Ethiopia passed down to us one generation the next.

Our heritage is Adwa.  Our heritage is undefeated.  Our heritage is buna.  Our heritage is 13 months of Sunshine.  Our heritage is our enat (mother) Ethiopia.  Our heritage got Obama elected! In our hearts beats the heritage of ten thousand Adwa Jegnas and forty million emamas.  Our heritage is our genes and our menfes, we breathe and live our history through our stories and our fables.  Irrespective of our philosophy, our ideology, our God, or our preferences, we are all in the end tied and wedded to our heritage and our intertwined interdependence.

Our heritage is our flag without a symbol on it. Our heritage is found in our names; Desta, Tesfaye, Fikre, Haile, Emnet, Luladey, Aster, Makeda, Meron—in these names you will find a folklore of our heritage and our oneness to the ones before us.  We are the manifestation of our parents’ aspirations and the dreams of our forefathers.  We are heritage through our eskista and our injera, each shoulder shake and every gursha is the continuation of our heritage by other means.  Our heritage is found in the smiles of innocent children and in the grasp and slow walk of old men.  Our heritage is in our musika and our getems, our heritage is timeless and classic.

Our heritage is not acronyms because liberation fronts are a front that murder people instead of liberating them.  Our heritage is not found in… (Continued)…

CLICK ON THIS PARAGRAPH TO READ FULL ARTICLE.  PLEASE READ ENTIRE ARTICLE BEFORE FORUMLATING YOUR OPINION AND FORMING YOUR COMMENTS BELOW.  AMESEGENALEW::

[click to VIEW our HERITAGE IN FULL HD QUALITY GLORY]

Ethiopian Heritage Festival Weekend

[click to visit ESHNA and find out about this weekend's event]

This weekend, July 27th – July 29th, The Ethiopian Heritage Society of North America (EHSNA) is sponsoring the second annual Ethiopian Heritage Festival at Georgetown University. The event will be a cultural extravaganza featuring some of Ethiopia’s most famous singers, food, culture, history, and activities for children.

The Ethiopian Heritage Society of North America (EHSNA) was founded to preserve and retell the story and history of Ethiopians by Ethiopians for all people who ove Ethiopia. Ethiopia is a land of blessings and a history unparalleled in human civilization. Ethiopia was the first African country to defeated a Western Colonial power (Italy) in the battle of Adwa. Ethiopia is where coffee was discovered. Ethiopia is mentioned in the Bible 13 times, only Israel surpasses Ethiopia’s name in the bible.

AUTHOR

Teddy Fikre

[click to view profile and follow on twitter @teddyfikre]

email: teddy.fikre@browncondor.com

ፍትህ ጋዜጣን የሚያትም ማተሚያ ቤት መጥፋቱን ምንጮቼ ነገሩኝ

Friday, July 27th, 2012

አቤ ቶኪቻው

ይህ ወሬ “ዜና ብጤ” ተብሎ የቀረበው ድሮም የሚጠበቅ በመሆኑ የተነሳ ነው!

ፍትህ ጋዜጣ በትላንትናው እለት ብርሃንና ሰላም ማተሚያ ድርጅት፤ “ፍትህ ሚኒስቴር እንዳታትም ብሎኛል” በሚል ክልከላ እንዳደረገባት አውርተን ነበር። የጋዜጣው አዘጋጅ ተመስገን ደሳለኝ ከባልደረቦቹ ጋር በመሆን ወደ ፍትህ ሚኒስቴር ቢያመሩም ፍትህ ሚኒስቴር ደግሞ “እኔ አልከለከልኩም ማሳተም ትችላላችሁ!” ብሏቸው ነበር። ነገር ግን ወደ ብርሃንና ሰላም ማተሚያ ቤት ሲሄድ ከስራ በመወጣታቸው የተነሳ ትላንት ሳትታተም ቀርታለች።

በዛሬው እለት ሌላ ሙከራ ያደረጉት የፍትህ ጋዜጣ ባልደረቦች ብርሃንና ሰላም ማተሚያ ቤት በአቋሙ ቢፀናባቸው በድጋሚ ፍትህ ሚኒስቴር ሄደው አቤት ቢሉም “ማተሚያ ቤቱ ራሱን የቻለ ተቋም ነው እንጂ በኛ የሚታዘዝ አይደለም” በሚል አሰናብተዋቸዋል። አሁንም ፍትሆች በታጋሽነት ወደ ብርሃንና ሰላም ማተሚያ ቤት ሄደው ደጅ ቢጠኑም የማተሚያ ቤቱ ሃላፊዎች “ቢላ በአንገቴ” ብለዋቸዋል። (ቢላ በዚህ ጊዜ ከየት ይመጣል…!?)

የጋዜጣው ባልደረቦች አሁንም ተስፋ አልቆረጡም ወደ ቦሌ ማተሚያ ቤት ሄደው “እስቲ እናንተ አትሙልን!?” ብለው ጠየቁ። ነገር ግን ቦሌዎች “የደንበኞቻችንን ብቻ ነው የምናትመው” ብለው እምቢኝ አሉ። ፍትሆችም በሆዳቸው “እኛስ ደበኛችሁ ነን እንዴ?” ብለው በአንደበታቸው ግን፤ “አረ እባካችሁ ወደፊት ደንበኛ እንሆናለን!?” ብለው ቢያግባቡም እሺ ብሎ የሚያትምላቸው አላገኙም።

በነገራችን ላይ ፍትህ የሚያሳትመውን ከሰላሳ ሺህ በላይ ኮፒ ጋዜጣ ማተም ብቃት ያለው ሌላ ማተሚያ ቤት በኢትዮጵያ የለም።

ስለዚህ አሁንም ፍትህ በኢትዮጵያ ምድር የለችም! የሰዎቻችን ፀብ ከስሟ ከሆነ ምናልባት ስሟን ቀይሮ መሞከር ይሻል ይሆን!? እንጃ….!


United Nations alarmed by intimidation of journalists in Ethiopia

Friday, July 27th, 2012


[High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay. UN Photo/JC McIlwaine]

(UN News Center) — The top United Nations human rights official today said she is “seriously alarmed” by the current climate of intimidation against journalists and human rights defenders in Ethiopia due to an overly broad interpretation of laws concerning terrorism and civil society in the country.“The recent sentencing of 20 Ethiopians, including prominent blogger Eskinder Nega, journalists and opposition figures, under the vague anti-terrorism law has brought into stark focus the precarious situation of journalists, human rights defenders and Government critics in the country,” the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, said in a news release.Charging journalists and political opposition members with terrorism and treason charges is seriously limiting their legitimate rights to freedom of expression and association, Ms. Pillay noted, and urged the Government to review its legislation, as well as its interpretation and application by the courts.

“The overly broad definitions in the July 2009 anti-terrorism law of Ethiopia result in criminalizing the exercise of fundamental human rights,” Ms. Pillay said. “Taken together, such laws have created a climate of intimidation.”

The human rights chief emphasized that the harsh sentences handed down to journalists and the excessive restrictions placed on human rights and non-governmental organizations are stifling dissent and undermining the freedom of opinion in Ethiopia.

She also noted that, since 2009, there has been a dramatic reduction in the number of organizations working on human rights issues, particularly on civil and political rights, which she referred to as “deeply disturbing.”

“Laws to combat terrorism must be consistent with the Government’s human rights obligations under international conventions as well as the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and other regional instruments to which Ethiopia is party,” Pillay said, reiterating that the United Nations is ready to help Ethiopia review its legislation.

Seye Abraha: Ethiopia Faces political Crisis

Friday, July 27th, 2012

http://www.voanews.com/content/ethiopa_ … 47250.html

VOA NEWS

Ethiopia does not have a firm leadership succession plan if Prime Minister Meles Zenawi is no longer able to head the government, according to a former defense minister.

Seeye Abraha, who worked with Meles on the ruling party’s executive committee but who is now a member of the political opposition, said Tuesday that uncertainty and anxiety is growing over the nation’s leadership during the prime minister’s so-far unexplained absence. He blamed it on the country’s one-party electoral system and Meles’ one-man-rule style of governing over the past 12 years.

​​“They don’t have a system" [of leadership succession], Seeye said. “This is a crisis situation and the dust has not settled.”

He said leaders of the ruling Tigrai People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and larger Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) parties had discussed a succession plan, but postponed any decisions until prior to a scheduled 2015 national election.

Meles has not been seen in public for about three weeks, even missing the African Union conference in Addis Ababa that was attended by 29 other heads of state or government. Some reports in the international press have speculated he is suffering from a serious illness and has been receiving treatment since June 26 in a Brussels hospital.

Information Minister Bereket Simon told reporters in Addis Ababa last week that a doctor has prescribed sick leave for the prime minister. Bereket assured the public that Meles is in “good and stable condition” and will return to work when he has recuperated.

Bereket, however, would not identify the illness or say where the prime minister was receiving treatment.

Reliable news about the prime minister’s health has been hard to come by in Ethiopia. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, the most recent edition of the independent weekly newspaper, Feteh, contained a report on the prime minister’s health, but that issue of the publication was confiscated by the government printing house.

Ethiopia ‘approaching the end of the one-party system’

Seeye Abraha said he does not know where the prime minister is or the nature of his illness.

“I have serious political differences with the prime minister and his party,” Seeye said of Meles and the TPLF. But he said that now is the time for Ethiopia’s political and military leaders to work with the nation to plot a peaceful way forward.

“We are approaching the end of the one-party system,” Seeye said.

Seeye was commander of the TPLF’s rebel forces and a member of the small leadership team of TPLF fighters who ousted Mengistu Haile Mariam’s Derg leadership in 1991. They then created the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. Seeye was defense minister for five years and later led planning strategy for Ethiopia’s border war with neighboring Eritrea.

The former defense minister said he and Meles finally parted ways over continuation of the costly two-year war with Eritrea. Meles expelled Seeye and three others from the TPLF executive committee.

Then, Seeye was thrown in jail for six years on corruption charges he says were bogus. When he got out of prison, Seeye joined the opposition Unity for Democracy and Justice Party along with a former president, Negaso Gidada.

He left Ethiopia for the United States in 2011. Seeye, 59, now lives in Boston where he recently completed graduate studies in public administration at Harvard University.

If Meles cannot lead, who will?

A member of the TPLF’s old guard, Sebhat Nega, told a VOA correspondent last week in Ethiopia that the government is functioning normally despite Meles’ absence.

“The system does not depend on one person,” Sebhat said, adding that whatever Meles’ medical issues are, the government is secure.

David Shinn, a former U.S. ambassador the Ethiopia in the 1980s, speculated last week that if Meles was aware of the need to plan for a successor, he would have had such a plan in place. He added, however, that if Meles’ health problem came on suddenly, the political fallout could be more serious.

“If this is a more abrupt situation, then it could be far more difficult,” Shinn said.

Opposition leader Seeye also warned of possible trouble, saying, any leadership transition would be difficult without Meles taking part. For the time being, Seeye said he believed a form of collective leadership was acting during Meles’ absence.

Sebhat of the TPLF said such opposition speculation was the product of “wishful thinkers” hoping to take advantage of the current situation. He also denied that Meles ruled with an iron fist, noting the prime minister’s efforts to de-centralize government rule in ethnically diverse Ethiopia over the past two decades.

“He doesn’t have any hand in the affairs of the Oromo, of the Amhara, of the Tigre, or of the Afar, et cetera,” said Sebhat. “He cannot have an iron hand. He can never be a despot.”

Does Meles rule by consensus or by fiat?

Seeye disagreed, saying that Meles has been consolidating power for years.

“Meles is not just the chief executive officer of the administration, he is the law of the courts,” said Seeye. “He could make his wishes the law of the land in a matter of hours. That’s how he has been working.”

Despite his political differences with Meles, Seeye said he hopes the prime minister will recover soon.

“I don’t celebrate the pain of another human being or the passing of another human being,” Seeye said. “I wish him recovery and I wish that he ends his political exit with a positive and constructive and historic note


36th day: No sign of the dictator; foreign leaders say he is dead

Friday, July 27th, 2012

Today is the 36th day since Ethiopia’s dictator Meles Zenawi has disappeared from the public view. The ruling Woyanne tribal junta says Meles is recovering from a minor illness, but there is a growing belief that he is dead.

A pilot who was flying top officials of a certain African country has informed Ethiopian Review Intelligence Unit today that the officials have told him Meles Zenawi is dead. (Names are withheld for the pilot’s safety.)

Also today, one foreign journalist who is based in Addis Ababa told Ethiopian Review that she has received warning from Woyanne propaganda chief Bereket Simon not to write any thing about Meles Zenawi’s condition, or else face expulsion from the country.

The highly secretive TPLF meeting is continuing for the 8th day today. A major announcement is expected by early next week, according to Ethiopian Review sources.

Ethiopian cultural festival in DC opens Friday

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

Ethiopian Heritage Society in North America’s annual Ethiopian cultural festival will open Friday, July 26, 2012, at Georgetown University. Click here for more info.

Opening Ceremony: Friday, July 27, 2012 at 5:00 PM
Place: Georgetown University, 3700 O St NW, Georgetown University, Washington, DC 20007

  • Welcome to the 2nd EHSNA Annual Celebration: by Dr. Shakespeare Fayissa, President, EHSNA
  • Welcome to Georgetown University: by Prof. Maurice Jackson, Department of History, Georgetown University
  • Official opening of the Art Gallery
  • Reception (with Ethiopian music)
  • Poem Reading
  • Presentation of Brief Ethiopian History
  • Art presentation at the gallery
  • Book Reading and Signing: Ambassador Zewde Retta

Ethiopian Heritage Society North America

Honoring His Holiness Abune Melketsedik

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

Abune Melketsedik will be honored by the Ethiopian Heritage Society in North America this weekend at the annual Ethiopian festival for his life time contribution for the betterment of Ethiopia.

By Yilma Bekele

I have the good fortune of residing in Oakland, California where His Holiness Abune Melketsedek, Secretary of Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church in exile and head of Mekane Selam Medhane Alem Cathedral resides. Writing about his Eminence is not easy. Most famous people are attracted to the limelight. Being the story is part of their psychological makeup. Their motto ‘It is all about me’ is what attracts people towards them. Politicians, actors, athletes are perfect examples of the self-centered among us. Here in the US even religious leaders are not immune from this disease of me first philosophy.

Our Orthodox Tewahedo experience is different. Pictures of our church leaders are not the main attraction. Their name is not written in big letters outside the church or lit in neon for all passers by to see. The emphasis is where it should be, mans relationship to his/her God. Our father dearly refereed to as Abatachen by all exemplifies that doctrine. His holiness is no more than a simple servant of God doing his work to serve his beloved Church and his dear country. There is nothing complicated about him. For such a giant of a person in the life of our Church and Country, for a person with decades of unsurpassed service to both he surprises us all by the simplicity in his interactions with all and his sunny disposition under all circumstances.

These values did not just happen. They are the result of his devotion and strong belief that has sustained him ever since he embarked on the road of serving God. He has traveled many happy and not so happy roads. He has reached the apex of his Tewahedo Church as well us being imprisoned like a common criminal. He has humbly advised Emperor Haile Selassie on spiritual matters, as well as the Deanship of Trinity Cathedral the largest Orthodox Church In Addis Abeba. He has also experienced the life of an exile, a common refugee in a place he never dreamt he would find himself. When you see Abatachen you will never read all the trials and tribulation he has gone thru. What you see is a kind smiling face always worried about the comfort and well being of others. When you meet him personally his eyes twinkle with all the love and his face brightens like the mid day sun to welcome you.

Our holy father has this ability to make you feel safe and comfortable around him. He speaks simply and clearly. He listens intensely and makes his points direct and easy to understand. As a young one he has fulfilled the requirements of his church as deacon, priest, and studied Zema, Quine among others. Abatachen was one of the first chosen to go abroad and study the modern workings of religion, philosophy and how the outside world functions. He received his degree in theology from Halky Greek Theological College in Istanbul, Turkey. He speaks Geez, Amharic, Greek, and English fluently and understands Tigregna, Arabic, Hebrew, Turkish and Italian. He has found the time to write several books both in Amharic and English on spiritual matters to help his people understand this ancient religion he is a leader of.

Upon exile from his beloved homeland he did not land into an established Church and a functioning congregation. He started from scratch and was able to build a home away from home for all his children. When he came to Oakland he found a congregation that was being tossed around from Greek Orthodox to Serbian Orthodox Churches with no place of its won. In 1993 at long last an old abandoned Catholic Church was acquired and the process of rebuilding started with earnest. The inside was filled with stray animals and discarded items while the outside has turned into a weed garden. Here is a story as told to me by my friend Asrat one of the founders of the church. Abatachen ordered ten brooms and gathered all the young people in the Church. When they got there Abatachen after blessing the place got the brooms to the side of the room while all eyes were looking to see what was going to happen. Most were assuming locals would be hired to do the cleaning while they supervise. To their surprise Abatachen picked one broom fore himself at which point everybody run towards him to take the broom away to stop him from such menial labor. To their surprise he handed them each their own individual broom and started to clean without wasting a second. How could anyone walk away from this act of leadership by example?

The fact that his room did not have adequate heating, even had broken glass in the window did not deter Abatachen from making the Church a place where all felt welcome and proud. It was a lesson in humility to see Abatachen prepare meals for the young deacons that have to go to adult school. Today Oakland Medhane Alem Tewahedo Cathedral is located in a modern building with a large Kitchen, meeting facility that also serves as a school for the young ones, office space and a parking lot. That is not all Abatachen helped increase the number of Churches in North America from five to over forty with the number of members estimated over fifty thousand. The modernizing influence he started in Ethiopia has continued in attracting and promoting a bigger role for women in church matters. There is no question his vision has resulted in strengthening the church beyond anyone’s expectations. If Oakland is a clue to that assertion it is easy to see the important and key role our mothers, sisters and daughters are playing in making the congregation strong and vibrant.

At the ripe age of ninety his Holiness has become a globetrotting ambassador traveling as far away as Australia and South Africa not counting all of North America his home base. Abatachen is both a peacemaker and a combatant. He was forced to flee his homeland because he would not accept wrong deeds no matter where they come from. Exile has not been easy. The illegal regime that has circumvented our Tewahedo Church at home is always waging a relentless war abroad too. Abatachen due to the central role he plays in keeping his flock together has been the target they would like to destroy. Our Holy father has dealt with this unequal struggle against a State with patience, wisdom from long experience and guidance from God and been able to steer his flock in the path of steadfastness, focused and unyielding to being bullied by cowards.

It is with deep satisfaction we witnessed the resolution by the Holy Synod in Exile standing on the side of our Moslem brethren in their bitter conflict with the dictatorial regime currently in power in Ethiopia. That is what love for country and religion is all about. Our two religions have lived side by side since time immemorial and the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church’s firm stand on this matter is in the tradition of our ancient religion and its adherence to preserving peace and tranquility in our country. This act alone is proof that our Holy Father’s presence in North America at this critical time in our history our God is always looking after our ancient land, that he will not abandon his children where ever they might be scattered.

This year it is a proud and joyous moment in North America. His spiritual children are celebrating and honoring Abatachen at the annual Ethiopian Heritage Society celebration in Washington DC on July 27th. His Holiness is the guest of honor and what a deserving leader they picked. No one exemplifies lifetime dedication and service to country and people. Ethiopians in Oakland are blessed to have such a shepherd who has managed to keep his flock together in peace and love in this time of turbulence in our homeland and places of exile. We are proud that our people in North America are cognizant of his tireless work on behalf of his people and country and are paying due respect for decades of service. We all wish him a long life; we pray that our God allows him to return to his native land in peace and health. God be with Abatachen.

If you live in the DC Metro area please go to Ethiopian Heritage Society festival at George Town University, Harbin field Multi sports facility from July 27 to 29th. As we made our country proud during the recent ESFNA event in Dallas let us show our unity in diversity to all those that preach our demise. Our love for each other and our ancient land is what keeps us going when all else seem to fail.

መለስ ዜናዊ ሥልጣን ላይ ያለመኖር አንድምታ ዙሪያ ትንታኔ (VOA)

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

የተለያዩ ምንጮች የጤና ይዞታቸውን አስመልክተው የሚያቀርቧቸው መረጃዎች መለያየትና ይፋ ተጨባጭ መረጃ ያለመኖር የአቶ መለስን ወደ አገር መሪነት መንበር መመለስም ሆነ የአገሪቱን አመራርና ቀጣይ ሁኔታ ይበልጥ አነጋጋሪ አድርጎታል።

ይሄንኑ ወቅታዊ ሁኔታ አስመልክቶ ተንታኝ ጋብዘናል። ፕሮፌሰር ዓለማየሁ ገ/ማርያም በካሊፎርኒያ ዩኒቨርሲቲ ክፍለ ግዛት የካሊፎርኒያ ዩኒቨርሲቲ የፖለቲካ ሳይንስ መምህርና የኅግ ባለ ሞያ ናቸው።

ፕሮግራሙን ለማዳመጥ እዚህ ይጫኑ፡

Where is Meles Zenawi? (Tom Rhodes, CPJ)

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

By Tom Rhodes | CPJ East Africa Consultant

If you search for the name of Ethiopia’s prime minister, Meles Zenawi, on Twitter these days, you’ll see a flurry of incongruent postings: Meles is hospitalized in critical condition; he’s fine and returning to work; he died two weeks ago; he’s on holiday. Journalists for international news outlets have tried to sort out fact from rumor, but they’ve gotten no help from Ethiopian government officials who offered only vague assurances that the country’s longtime leader was ill but recovering. In Ethiopia, where the government has imposed increasingly repressive measures on the domestic press corps, news coverage has been minimal and contradictory. … [read more]

Amnesty protests beatings and abuse of Ethiopians Muslims

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

Ethiopia: Widespread violations feared in clampdown on Muslim protests

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL PUBLIC STATEMENT

25 July 2012

Ethiopia: Widespread violations feared in clampdown on Muslim protests Amnesty International is concerned over the fate of scores of Muslim protestors arrested in Ethiopia during July. The arrests took place in the context of ongoing protests against alleged government restrictions on freedom of religion in the country. The detainees are at risk of torture and other ill-treatment, and there have been numerous reports of beatings in detention against those arrested. Some detainees have been held in incommunicado detention since their arrest without access to family members, often in unknown locations. Amnesty International is further concerned at widespread reports of the beating of protestors during demonstrations, and other examples of excessive use of force by the police during the arrests and the dispersal of protests, resulting in many injuries to protestors. Those arrested in July include members of a committee of representatives selected by the Muslim community to represent their grievances to the government and at least one journalist. Amnesty International fears that the arrests of community leaders, protestors and others in the Muslim community, and the pending charges against certain individuals, are based on their lawful exercise of the right to freedom of expression and the right to organize and participate in peaceful protests. Addis Ababa’s Muslim community has staged regular peaceful protests throughout 2012 over grievances including an alleged government-backed effort to impose the teachings of the minority Al Ahbash sect of Islam on the majority community, and government interference in elections for the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs. Ethiopia’s Constitution prohibits state involvement in religious affairs. The protests have regularly attracted large numbers of people over the last six months.

On 13 July a police operation targeted a gathering at the Awalia Mosque and Islamic school compound, in north-west Addis Ababa. The gathering was reportedly discussing further protests and also planning and preparing for a Sadaqah (charity) event two days later, to distribute food to people living in poverty. On entering the compound, police are alleged to have used excessive force against those present, beating many men and women in the compound and made numerous arrests.

The same evening, in response to news spreading about the events at Awalia, large numbers of people headed towards Awalia. Witnesses estimate several thousand tried to reach the compound. But the roads were blocked by police and violence flared between police and protestors. Protestors allege that police again used excessive force including beating protestors. Several sources say that police fired live ammunition, resulting in some serious injuries among the protestors.

Large numbers of those on their way to Awalia were arrested. The government confirmed that over 70 people had been detained on 13 July. Protestors and witnesses reported numbers of between 100 and 1,000 people arrested. Those detained were taken away in large military- style trucks. Detainees were first transported to Kolfe Keranyo police station, and later transferred to police stations closer to their respective homes, according to reports. Many of those detained have alleged widespread beating of detainees inside the police stations. One woman reported that she had been subjected to sexual violence by a police officer during the night of 13 July.

 

 

A large proportion of the detainees were released without charge after one or two days’ detention. However, many continue to be detained. Several members of the Awalia student council are reported to be detained in Maikelawi federal police detention centre in Addis Ababa, notorious for the use of torture against detainees during interrogation, as documented on numerous occasions by Amnesty International. Whilst the family of one detainee has been able to have contact with their relative, the families of the other members of the student council say they have not been permitted to contact or visit their relatives, in violation of the right of all detainees to have access to family members.

Other detainees arrested at Awalia on 13 July are reportedly being held in incommunicado detention without access to family members, in unknown locations. Ethiopia’s Criminal Procedure Code demands that all arrested persons are brought before a court within 48 hours to challenge the legality of the detention. Further, incommunicado detention, without access to family members and legal representatives increases detainees’ risk of being subjected to torture or other forms of ill-treatment.

Between 19 and 21 July, members of the committee of chosen representatives of the Muslim community were arrested, including Chairman Abubakar Ahmed, Spokesperson Ahmedin Jebel and committee members Kamil Shemsu, Sultan Aman, Adem Kamil, Jemal Yasim and Meket Muhe. The Committee members are reported to be detained in Maikelawi and are therefore at risk of torture or other forms of ill-treatment.

On 21 July thousands of Muslims gathered at Anwar Mosque, the largest Mosque in Addis Ababa, to protest against the events at Awalia and the arrests of members of the committee. The event became violent as protestors clashed with police. The government states that protestors threw stones and broke the windows of nearby buildings. Protesters allege that the police fired tear gas and that scores of protestors were beaten by the police. An unknown number of further arrests were made.

Other representatives of the Muslim community have been arrested at different points over the last two weeks, including at least one journalist – Yusuf Getachew of the magazine ‘Ye’muslimoch Guday’ (Muslim Affairs). Getachew is also reported to be detained in Maikelawi, and family members are currently denied access to visit him. Another person told Amnesty International that their sister was arrested and continues to be detained, after police caught her carrying a pamphlet entitled ‘Let our voice be heard.’ One woman reported that she and a group of other women had been temporarily detained by the police and threatened ‘not to go to the Mosque making demands.’ Religious scholars, artists, and other journalists are also reported to have been arrested.

Members of Addis Ababa’s Muslim community have told Amnesty International that they now feel targeted and unsafe. Significant police presence has been reported around Mosques.

The government has confirmed to Amnesty International that those members of the committee of community representatives arrested will be charged with criminal offences based on attempting to undermine the Constitutional order. However, Amnesty International is concerned that the men may have been arrested solely because of their legitimate roles as representatives of the community and their organization and participation in a largely peaceful protest movement over the last six month period.

Crimes against the Constitution are included in both the Criminal Code and the Anti Terrorism Proclamation. For many years, hundreds of members of opposition parties have been charged with such offences under the Criminal Code. More recently journalists and opposition members have been charged with similar offences under the Anti Terror law, including in prosecutions related to peaceful protests. The Anti Terrorism Proclamation contains provisions that are excessively broad and can be used to criminalize the exercise of freedom of expression, freedom of association and freedom of peaceful assembly, including organizing or participating

 

 

in peaceful protests. In recent prosecutions under the Anti Terrorism law the government has equated calls for peaceful protests with terrorist activities, and several journalists and opposition members have been sentenced to lengthy prison terms on that basis.

The Ethiopian government regularly exhibits intolerance of any form of dissent. Journalistic reporting on the Muslim protests has been restricted over the last six months. In May, the Voice of America correspondent was arrested while attempting to report on a rally of the protest movement at Awalia, and was detained overnight in Maikelawi and beaten by police officers. In late July the distribution of the newspaper Feteh, one of the very few remaining independent publications in Ethiopia, was blocked by the government reportedly because its front cover, featuring stories about the Muslim protests and the health of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, posed a threat to national security.

Amnesty International calls on the Ethiopian government to immediately and unconditionally release any individuals who have been arrested solely on the basis of their legitimate exercise of their right to freedom of expression, association or peaceful assembly, including by representing the Muslim community and engaging in peaceful protests.

All allegations of torture and other ill-treatment in detention and excessive use of force by police against demonstrators should be subject to immediate, impartial and effective investigations, and where enough admissible evidence of crimes is found, suspected perpetrators should be prosecuted.

Anyone currently held in detention must be brought immediately before a court to challenge the legality of their detention, and subsequently must be promptly charged with a lawful criminal offence consistent with international standards or released. Family members of detainees must be informed of their whereabouts and permitted access to visit them in detention. All detainees must be informed promptly of their right to consult a lawyer.

While some protestors are alleged to have used violence during recent incidents, including by throwing stones at security forces, the use of force, including lethal force, by security forces must comply with human rights standards at all times in order to protect the right to life. Amnesty International urges that any police response to further protests must comply with international requirements of necessity and proportionality in the use of force, in line with the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials. These principles state that in the case of violent assemblies, security forces must only use firearms when less dangerous means are not practicable, and only to the minimum extent necessary. They can only be used in very limited circumstances, such as where there is imminent threat of death or serious injury and when strictly unavoidable to protect life. The use of “less than lethal” weapons including tear gas should be carefully controlled to minimise the risk of endangering people not involved in the incident. Amnesty International urges that only those law enforcement officials who are trained in the use of equipment that involves use of force such as tear gas should be authorized to handle such equipment.

Finally, Amnesty International urges the Ethiopian government to respect all Ethiopians’ right to peacefully protest, as guaranteed under the Ethiopian Constitution and in accordance with Ethiopia’s international legal obligations.

Power vacuum in post-Meles Zenawi Ethiopia

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

By Messay Kebede

The trouble with tyranny and personalized power is that institutional mechanisms of power transfer do not work. In most cases, such mechanisms exist and are enshrined in written and exalted constitutions. Nonetheless, to the extent that tyranny and the exercise of arbitrary power irreparably tarnish them, institutions do not command any respect or legitimacy. Instead, the need to pass on power unleashes a bitter struggle among various contenders. The proliferation of contenders is a natural effect of the arbitrary exercise of power: when power is exercised without the aura of legitimacy, it sends the message that it is up for grab, thereby fostering contenders. Another effect of the demise of arbitrary power is the tendency to stimulate popular uprisings. People who so far had accepted tyranny without protest suddenly feel an impetus to rebel because they sense the weakening of the repressive power of the state: both power struggle among the ruling elite and the orphan condition of repressive forces (police and armed forces), which repressive forces were shaped by an exclusive loyalty to the now disabled or dead dictator, give the picture of a disintegrating power system.

The above description exactly defines Ethiopia’s present condition. Whether Meles is already dead, incapacitated by disease, or has no much time left, one thing is sure: there is now a power vacuum and a struggle among contenders for his position has already started. The bare fact that the government has so far refused to provide any reliable information about his condition is indication enough that Meles’s time is over. The assurance that he is now receiving treatment or resting and that he will soon resume his work is just a lie destined to prevent a popular uprising and conceal the on-going power struggle until the emergence of a winning faction. On top of economic disasters, the failure to establish any firm institution demonstrates that the two decades of TPLF rule have been nothing but a colossal waste for Ethiopia and Ethiopians.

What concerns Ethiopians most is neither the fate of Meles nor of his cronies, but what developments are likely in post-Meles Ethiopia. My intention here is not to predict the future. Personally, I do not believe that the future is simply unfolding from past conditions. The direction of history depends on unpredictable variables and, mostly, on decisions that people and individuals make. The future is the outcome of a creative process and as such bound to be unpredictable in its novelty. The best that analysis can do is to present possible scenarios, which are then possibilities, potentialities, not predictions.

As previously indicated, Meles’s death or incapacitation has created a situation of power struggle. This power struggle is essentially occurring within the EPRDF, but more importantly, within the TPLF, which is the decisive force. It is translated by the appearance of factions, often around individuals supposed to be influential. We already know the names of the individuals. However, there is no guarantee that said individuals are really or remain the main players. In a fluid situation of power vacuum, little known individuals often emerge, just as new factions can appear, while the old ones disappear or are integrated into the new factions. In other words, we must expect some form of restructuration within the TPLF, a different alignment of competing forces.

Most probably, the winning faction will be the one that secures the support of the armed forces. In this raw situation of power struggle, no individual or faction can impose its will without the support of repressive forces. Since the TPLF alone is able to claim (at least at this stage) the loyalty of the armed forces, it follows that it is likely to stay in control after an internal redistribution, which can even take a violent form. Even if the deputy Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, stays as head of the government, he would simply be a figurehead. My guess is that, given the complete impotence of Hailemariam, the winning faction may find it wise to promote him to prime minister, at least until things settle down.

What factors could possibly alter this scenario? One important factor could be that the army ends up by developing its own political ambition to the detriment of the civilian power of the TPLF. This possibility is not farfetched: experience shows that each time a faction appeals to the army to prevail over other factions, it incites the ambition of the army. Why would the army work for somebody else when it could have it all for itself? But this scenario depends on the unity of the army: conflicts among or between senior and junior officers or dissenting voices from the rank and file can incapacitate the army and force it to accept the civilian leadership.

Another important factor that can jeopardize the continuation of the rule of the TPLF is popular uprising. Given the bubbling general discontent, the rule of the TPLF cannot continue without the support of a strong and loyal repressive force. Any sign of weakening cannot but encourage uprisings. The occurrence of a generalized uprising will greatly complicate the situation. It will further divide the ruling party, including the army, as the start of a bloody confrontation is necessarily fraught with dangerous and uncontrollable developments. One uncontrollable development is, of course, the ethnic reaction. Two decades of misrule and ethnicization of Ethiopia direct animosity, not only to state power, but also to ethnic groups. Some such confrontation will break up the EPRDF and will force people to align around ethnic lines rather than class or national unity.

There are also other complicating factors. For instance, the Eritrean element: in the face of a serious unrest, Eritrea may again resort to military action both to recover the territories that it claims and punish the TPLF for its 2000 military victory. One other factor that is difficult to measure is the possible role of the opposition. If the opposition presents a united face, and this is a big if, it can have some role in avoiding the worst scenario, namely, ethnic confrontations. It can even present itself as an alternative course if a popular uprising occurs. At any rate, its ability to displace the TPLF is congenitally dependent on the occurrence of a popular uprising. Even then, it will not have much impact if it remains divided. I note that Medrek has finally upgraded itself to a front, which is good news. But this is not enough: to appear as a real alternative to the TPLF, the union must be credible and reach out to other opposition parties as well as to the bureaucracy and military apparatus.

Lastly, the direct intervention and real pressure of Western powers can have a serious impact in the direction of facilitating the creation of a government representative of all contending forces. Their pressure can thwart the scenario of military coup or of a refurbishing rule of the TPLF; it can even prevent the start of a popular uprising. The two basic conditions for Western pressure to be effective are: (1) Western powers themselves must show a united front and act as honest brokers; (2) the opposition must speak with one voice and credibly argue in favor of a transitional inclusive government. This last possibility is by far the best course, for it alone promises a peaceful transition.

(The writer can be reached at mkebede1@udayton.edu)

Ethiopian refugees thrown on Yemeni streets

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

Ethiopian refugees in Yemen

Ahlam Mohsen (writer), Nicholas Linn (photographer) | Yemen Times

Ethiopian refugees and asylum seekers demonstrated outside the Human Rights Ministry in Hadda on Monday morning, protesting excessive force used by Yemeni security forces to remove them from the country’s immigration prison the previous evening.

According to the former prisoners, security forces forcibly removed them from the prison.

Security forces used tear gas and rubber bullets, the former prisoners said, throwing tear gas canisters into cells to disorient them, before dragging them out and beating them with steel rods.

Ethiopian, Eritrean and Somali refugees who were in the prison now live on the streets.

Following last year’s 11-month demonstration, refugees set up tents outside UNHCR’s Sana’a office before being removed by Yemeni security forces. UNHCR said it offered the refugees a one-time payment to end demonstrations outside the office. Refugees said they were offered $400 per family, though those who accepted UNHCR’s offer said they only received $200 of the promised $400.

During the height of the political uprising, refugees—facing increased violence from Yemeni security forces—demanded a durable and permanent solution to their situations.

“Many of us have been here for 10, 15, 20 years,” said one Oromo-Ethiopian woman. “We asked for Yemeni citizenship or repatriation elsewhere. They rejected all of our demands, and after being removed, we agreed we would go to Al Kharaz refugee camp. They took three buses to Al Kharaz; the rest of us were taken to prison.”

UNHCR estimates 400 refugees were initially taken from outside the UNHCR building and placed in immigration prison. Prior to Sunday’s removal of refugees from the prison, UNHCR estimated there were 120 men, children and women inside. Prisoners said there were 114 refugees—102 Ethiopians, seven Eritreans and five Somalis, including 40 women and 54 children. The youngest of the imprisoned was 3 months old.

“They threw tear gas canisters into the men’s cells,” Makya Ahmed, 25, said. “The gas drifted over, women and children were crying and vomiting. After they removed us from our cell, they hit me in the back with a steel rod and then picked me up and threw me into a van.”

Refugees at Monday’s protest, now living on the streets with no food or water, sounded increasingly desperate.

“We aren’t allowed any dignity,” Ahmed said. “We can’t live like this; take back your IDs. They’re of no use to us,” she said about her Refugee Status identification card.

Desperate for justice

Some refugees threatened to harm themselves if their situations didn’t improve. Several mentioned self-immolation as an option.

“We have no work, no one treats us well, we’ve contacted all the human rights groups,” Yousef Aman, an Oromo-Ethiopian, said. “At this point, we are just tired. I don’t know if there are human beings anywhere else on the planet who live like this. It’s been 10 years for me. I can’t go on; I’d rather destroy myself.”

Ramadan difficulties

The majority of the refugees are Muslim and spend the month of Ramadan fasting, praying and thinking of God. Refugees reported that immigration prison authorities did not provide food or water during their last three weeks in prison. They instead relied on friends or community members to bring food and water once a week from outside.

Today, the refugees, who have no blankets, mattresses or clothes other than what they are wearing, sleep on cement pavements, unprotected from the elements. It is Ramadan, but they have no Suhoor or Iftar—one woman wondered aloud if God will accept her fast.

Yemen’s obligations

According to the U.N.’s 1951 Refugee Convention, to which Yemen is a signatory, the state has obligations to refugees. These include protecting a refugee’s right to non-refoulement—protection against forcible return. While the Yemeni government grants prima-facie refugee status to Somalis fleeing two decades of war, it does not recognize the refugee status of Ethiopians and Eritreans. Yemeni policy is to arrest and deport them, behavior that is contradictory to international law, according to Human Rights Watch.

35th day since Ethiopia’s dictator has been missing

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

Except for very few individuals in the ruling TPLF junta, no body knows exactly where Ethiopia’s khat-addicted dictator currently is. Today is the 35th day since he disappeared from the public view. Rumor is surfacing again this morning that he — or his dead body — is hiding or placed in a refrigerator at Berhane GebreKristos’ house in Brussels, Belgium.

Western diplomats — who can easily get such information from the intelligence services of their countries — are keeping mum or they just don’t care. The international media is not asking questions. If Al Bashir, Mugabe or another dictator disappears for this long, every major international news media would have assigned several reporters to investigate. This shows how inconsequential Ethiopia under the Woyanne junta has become to the international community.

In the mean time, it is not clear who is in charge of the “government,” in Ethiopia currently. The TPLF Central Committee is holding another secret meeting today, and the security apparatus Meles has put in place seems to be running the show for now.

Missing Ethiopian man in Philadelphia found on I-95 Freeway

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

By Bonnie Cook | philly.com

(Philadelphia) — An Ethiopian man who had become separated from family members Monday during a visit to Center City was found safe by police wandering along the northbound lanes of Rte. I-95.

Kifleyohannes TessemaA Pennsylvania State Trooper on routine patrol found KifleYohanesse Tessema, 62, walking along the highway at 7 a.m. Tuesday and took him to Episcopal Hospital. From there, he was transferred to a shelter for the homeless.

Towamencin Township police had circulated a news release Tuesday describing Tessema as missing. They were notified Tuesday night that he had been located. Tessema’s family lives in the township.

Once Tessema was positively identified as the missing person, he was transported by State Police to SEPTA police headquarters and turned over to a family member.

When he vanished Monday, Tessema had no money and no identification on him. He does not speak English. Tessema disappeared near the Market Street East Station after he and his family rode the regional rail line into Center City.

TPLF leadership holds meetings under extremely tight security

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

While the Woyanne propaganda machine is sending out conflicting information about dictator Meles Zenawi’s condition, there has been a series of meetings in Addis Ababa at Arat Kilo over the past five days involving Central Committee members of the ruling Tigrean People Liberation Front (TPLF). Bereket Simon, Hailemariam Desalegn and other non-Tigrean members of the Woyanne junta have not been participating in any of the meetings, which are being held under extremely tight security. Azeb Mesfin is also absent, even though she is a central committee member, our sources added.

Tension is running high as some of the TPLF old-guards such as Sebhat Nega are being bullied by Meles Zenawi’s personal recruits who are controlling the meetings, including the security. The meetings are co-chaired by Berhane Gebrekristos and Getachew Assefa, according to Ethiopian Review sources. It is all Tigrean affairs. The other puppet groups such as OPDO and ANDM are excluded from the discussion on the future of the Woyanne tribal junta… stay tune for more update

Meanwhile, The Reporter, whose editor is close to the ruling party, reported today that Meles is in a foreign country getting rest. It seems Amare Aregawi is once again “circling the wagon” to protect his beloved TPLF.

አቶ መለስ ሃኪም ይረፉ አላቸው፤ ህዝቡ ግን “ይረፉ” ካለ ቆይቷል

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

አቤ ቶክቻው
ባለፈው ሳምንት አቶ በረከት ስምኦን መግለጫ
ሰጥተው ነበር። በመግለጫቸውም የጠቅላይ
ሚኒሰትሩን ህመመም በይፋ አምነዋል።
በነገራችን ላይ ጋዜጣዊ መግለጫው እየተሰጠ
ድንገት ወደ አዳራሹ የመግባት እድል ቢያገኙ አቶ
በረከት ስምኦን መሀል ላይ ቁጭ ብለው በግራ
እና በቀኝ ጋዜጠኞች ከበዋቸው፤ ከጀርባቸው
የአቶ መለስ እና የአቶ ግርማ ፎቶ ተሰቅሎ
ሲመለከቱ ሃዘን ቤት የመጡ ነው የሚመስልዎ!
ከሁለቱም ፎቶ ስር የሆነች ብልጭልጭ ነገር
ቢሰቀልማ ፎቶግራፋቸውን እያዩ እንባዎ እርግፍ
እርግፍ ሊል ይችል ነበር። የምር ግን ይሄ ፎቶ
ሰቀላ ለማሟረት እንጂ ለወዳጅነት አይመስልም!
እኔ የምለው አቶ ግርማንስ በቃ ረሳናቸው ማለት
ነው!?
በነገራችን ላይ አቶ ሽመልስ ከማል
ባለፈው ጊዜ ስለ ጠቅላይ ሚኒስትሩ መታመም
ከጋዜጠኞች ለቀረበላቸው ጥያቄ ሲመልሱ “ይሄ
የኢሳት ወሬ ነው!” ብለው ነበር። ያን ግዜ
ብዙ ሰው አልገባውም ነበር። ይሄ የኢሳት ወሬ
ምንድነው? የሚለውን ጥያቄ የአቶ ሽመለስ
አለቆች አቦይ ስብሐት እና አቶ በረከት ስሞንን
መጠየቅ በቂ ነው። እነርሱ እንዳረጋገጡት ታድያ
“የኢሳት ወሬ” ማለት ታማኝ ምንጭ ማለት ሆኖ
እናገኘዋለን።
እኔ የምለው አቶ ሽመልስን ግን መንግስታችን
እንዲህ መጫወቻ ያደረጋቸው በምን ጥፋታቸው
ይሆን!? የሆነ ጊዜ “የአሜሪካን ድምፅን እኛ
አላፈንም ኢህአዴግ እንዲህ አይነት አፈና ማድረግ
ባህሪው አይደለም።” ብለው መግለጫ በሰጡ
በስንተኛው ቀን አቶ መለስ “እሱን ዝም በሉት
የአሜሪካን ድምፅን አፍነናል!” ሲሉ ተናገሩ።
አሁን በቅርቡም “ስካይፕ ይከለከላል የተባለው
ውሸት ነው።” አሉ አቶ በረከት ደግሞ ተነስተው
“እሱ ምን ያውቃል ስካይፕንም ሆነ ሌሎች
የኢንተርኔት ቴክኖሎጂዎችን እንቆጣጠራለን!”
ሲሉ መግለጫቸውን ውድቅ አደረጉባቸው።
ደግመው፤ “ጠቅላይ ሚኒስትሩ አልታመሙም!”
አሉን ነገሩ ግን ወዲህ ሆነ… በጥቅሉ እርሳቸው
የሚሰጡት መግለጫ ማላገጫ እንዲሆን ስለምን
እንደተፈረደባቸው ግራ ያጋባል!
የሆነ ሆኖ መለስ አሁን ተይዘዋል።
ከወዳጅነታችን የተነሳ “ተይዘዋል” አልን እንጂ
እንደ አንዳንድ ወገኖች ብንሆን ኖሮ በቁጥጥር
ስር ውለዋል” እንል ነበር። የህመማቸው መንስኤ
ረጅም ጊዜ ያለ እረፍት መስራት መሆኑን ሀኪም
ነገሯቸዋል። “ይረፉ” ሲልም አሳስቧቸዋል።
አሁንም ሌላ በነገራችን ላይ ህዝቡ መለስን
“ይረፉ” ካላቸው ቆይቷል። በተለይ ደግሞ
በምርጫ 97 “ብዙ ደከሙ ብዙ ለፉ! እስቲ ደግሞ
ይረፉ” ብሎ ሊያሳርፋቸው ሞክሮ ነበር እርሳቸው
ግን ምን ሲደረግ ብለው ይረፉ ያላቸውን ህዝብ
ረፈረፉት።
ከዛ በኋላም አለም አቀፍ ተሸላሚው ጋዜጠኛ
እስክንድር ነጋ፤ “ሌላ ምንም ምክንያት ሳያስፈልግ
አቶ መለስ ያለ ምንም እረፍት ይሄንን ያህል ጊዜ
መስራታቸው ብቻ ለኢህአዴግም፣ ለእርሳቸውም
ሆነ ለህዝቡ በጎ ባለመሆኑ በቃዎ ሊባሉ
ይገባል!” ብሎ ተናግሮ ነበር። ነገር ግን ይህንን
ባለ በነጋታው የፖሊስ ኮሚሽነሩ ጠርተው “ምን
ሲደረግ እንዲህ ትላለህ… በዚህ የምትቀጥል
ከሆነ ወዮልህ…! እኛ አንተን ማሰር ሰልችቶናል
እስከዛሬ የደሃ ልጅ ነበር የምንደፋው አሁን ግን
የመጀመሪያው አንተ ነህ!” አሉት። ልብ አድርጉ
መለስ “ይረፉ” ባለ ነው ይሄ ሁሉ ዛቻ!
እዚህ ላይ የአሽሟጣጮች ስጋት ትመጣለች
እነዚህ ሰዎች ሃኪሞችን በሙሉ “እንዴት
ይረፉ ይሏቸዋል!?” ብለው እንዳይዘምቱባቸው
ያሰጋል። ብለው የሚጠረጥሩ ሽሙጠኞች
አይጠፉም።
የምር ግን ወዳጄ ህዝቡ በዘጠና ሰባት በቀልድ
አድርጎ የተናገራትን እኮ ነው ዛሬ የቤልጄም
ሃኪሞች እየነገሯቸው ያሉት። ባለፈው ጊዜ እነ
ውብሸት ታዬ በተከሰሱበት መዝገብ ራሱ ዋና
የክስ ማስረጃ የነበረው “መለስ በቃ” ብላችኋል
የሚል ነበር። ዛሬ እነ ውብሸት “መለስ በቃ
ይረፉ” ማለታቸው ስለተረጋገጠ ሽብርተኛ
ናቸው ተብለው ታስረዋል።
ይኸው ዛሬም ሐኪሞቹ እያሉ ያሉት ይህንኑ
ነው። “መለስ ሆይ ደክሞዎታልና በቃዎ!”
ብለዋቸዋል ልዩነቱ በእንግሊዘኛ መሆኑ ብቻ
ነው። እንጂ የቤልጄም ሃኪሞች “21 ዓመት
ያለማቋረጥ መምራትዎ ነው ለዚህ የዳረገዎት
እና ይረፉ” ማለታቸውን ራሳቸው ጓደናቸው አቶ
በረከት ነግረውናል።
ይሄን ጊዜ አቃቤ ህግ ሀኪሞቹን
በሽብርተኝነት ለመክሰስ እየተሰናዳ ይሆናል!
ብለን እናላግጥ ይሆን!?
በመጨረሻም
እመክራለሁ!
ያለ እረፍት መስራት አዎ ያሳምማል።
መለስ ባለማረፋቸው በቃኝ ባለማለታቸው ይኸው
አጓጉል ሆነዋል። በቀጣይም ራሱ ኢህአዴግ
እረፍት እንዲያደርግ እመክራለሁ። አለበለዛ
በእረፍት እጦት ሳቢያ የአልጋ ቁራኛ ቢሆን
የማን ያለህ ይባላል!? ጎበዝ የግድ ሐኪም
እስኪነግረንማ አንጠብቅ እንጂ!


የሠላም ራዕይ ለኢትዮጵያ

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

ከፕሮፌሰር ዓለማየሁ ገብረማርያም

ትርጉም ከነጻነት ለሃገሬ

ፕሬዜዳንት ኔልሰን ማንዴላ ባለፈው ሳምንት 94 ዓመታቸውን አከበሩ፡፡እግዚአብሔር ረጂም ዕድሜንና ጤናን ይስጣቸው፡፡

ፕሬዜዳንት ማንዴላን የሚያከብሩና የሚያፈቅሩ ሰዎች ‹‹ማዲባ››ብለው ይጠሩዋቸዋል፡፡እሳቸውም የሰብአዊ ፍቅር ተስፋ፤ ትእግስት፤ራዕይ ናቸው፡፡ ደቡብ አፍሪካ በጭለማው ሰአት ማዲባ ከጭለማ እስር ሲወጡ ፈገግታ ለብሰው፤ በእጃቸው ሻማ ይዘው ሕዝባቸውን አፓርታይድ ከሚባል እስር ቤት ለማውጣት ተዘጋጅተው ነበር፡፡ደቡብ አፍሪካ ሕዝቦቿ ጦር አስልተው ለመጋደል ሲዘጋጁ፤ማዴባ ነሃል ገብተው ‹‹አንተም ተው አንተም ተው›› ብለው እጅ ለእጅ አያይዘው፤ አጨባብጠው፤ ጦራቸውን፤ቀስታቸውን፤ጎራዱያቸውን፤አቅልጠው አዲሲቷን ደብብ አፍሪካ መገንቢያ ብረት እንዲሆን አድርገዋል፡፡ይሄንንም ሲያደርጉ ያሉት ‹‹መቼም፤መቼም ፤መቼም ቢሆን፤ሃገራችን ውስጥ አንዱ አንዱን ቀጥቅጦ ሊገዛ፤ ካሁን በኋላ አይችልም›› ነበር፡፡ የዓለም ሕዝብ በስራቸው ተደንቆ ሲመለከት ማዴባያሉት ‹‹ እኔ እኮ መልአክ አይደለሁም ምናልባት ሙከራ የሚያደርግ ሃጢአተኛ መልአክ ነው ብላችሁ ካላመናችሁ፤በስተቀር፤መላክ ለመሆን የምሞክሩ ሃጥአን የአፍሪካ መሪዎች ብናገኝ እንዴት ደስ ባለን ነበር::››

እኔ ከማዴባ ጋር ሃሳባዊ ንግግር ብዙ ጊዜ አደርጋለሁ፡፡በግንቦት 2011 ላይ በሳምናታዊ ጦማሬ ላይ ስለአንደኛው ንግግሬ ለአንባቢዎቼ አቅርቤ ነበር፡፡ በችኮላ መንፈስ፤ማዴባን እንዲህብዬ ጠየቅኋቸው ‹‹የአፍሪካ ፈላጭ ቆራጮች ለምን ይሆን የሚደነፉት?›› መልሳቸውም በደቡብ አፍሪካ ላይ የተወሰነ ነበር፡፡ እንዲህ ነበር ያሉት ‹‹ፈጽሞ ፈጽሞ ፈፅሞ፤ ይህች ውበት የሞላት ሃገራችን፤አንዱ ሌላውን ቀጥቅጦ የሚገዛባት ሃገር አትሆንም›› ነበር ያሉት፡፡ቀጥለውም ‹‹ግን›› አሉ፤‹‹የውቧ ሃገራችን ህልማችን የምትደርስበት ቦታ በይቅርታ ባይነትና በጥሩ ልቦና ስንሄድ ብቻ ነው፡፡››

ሕልምና ቅዠት ስለ ውቧ ኢትዮጵያ

የሰብአዊ ተሟጋችና የምሁር  ለሰሚ መናገር እውነትን ለስልጣን ያዦች መከሰትና ወደፊት ካለፈው ይሻላል የሚለውን ተስፋ ይዞ መጓዝ ነው፡፡ እውነተኛ የሰብአዊ መብት ተሟጋች የፖለቲካ ስልጣን ፍላጎት የለውም፡፡ የሰብአዊ መብት ፖለቲካ፤ የሰው ልጅ ክብርና ሞገስ መጠበቅ ፖለቲካ ነው፡፡ ስለ አይዲዎሎጂ አለያም ወገናዊነት ፖለቲካ ወይም የሥልጣን ሽሚያ አይደለም፡፡የሰብአዊ መብት ተሟጋች ስለወደፊት ተስፋ ነው የሚያተኩረው፡፡ ቫክላክ ሃቬል የቼክ ፕሬዜዳንትና ሰብአዊ መብት ተሟጋች ሲናገሩ ‹‹ተስፋ የአእምሮ ግንዛቤ ነው፡፡ በጥልቀት ስናየው ተስፋ የአእምሮ ግንዛቤ ነው፡፡ጠልቀን ስናየው ደግሞ ተስፋ መደሰት ማለት አይደለም፤ተስፋ አንድ ጥሩ ነገርን ማድረግ ነው ብለዋል፡፡አንድ የሰብአዊ መብት ተሟጋች፤በሚያደርገው ድርጊት ለሚያገኘው ለጥቅም ወይም የገነነ ስም አይደለም፡፡ የፈጠነ የፖለቲካ ለውጥም ይመጣል ብሎ አይደለም፡፡ ሃቫል እንዳሉት አንድ ጥሩ ነገርን ማድረግ፤ ያ ነገር በርግጥ ሁኔተኛ ይሆናል በማለት አይደለም፡፡ ባለፉት ዘመናት ስለ ሰብአዊ መብት በኢትዮጵያ ስጮህ ፈላጭ ቆራጮቹን ስቃወም፤የማደርገው ድርጊት ፈጣን ውጤት ያመጣል ብዬ አይደለም፡፡ወይም በአንድ ሌሊት መዋቅሩ ይለወጣል በማለት አይደለም፡፡ለረጂም ጊዜ ስለ ሰብአዊ መብት የተናገርኩት፤ የጻፍኩት፤የተሟገትኩት መልካም ጥሩ ነገር በመሆኑ ነው፡፡

በቅርብ ጊዜ ኢትዮጵያ ውስጥ ይሆናሉ አይሆኑም የሚሉ ቅዠቶች እየተከሰቱ ነው፡፡ውቢቷ ኢትዮጵያ የት ትደርሳለች የሚል ሕልም በብዛትም አይሰማም፡፡ ሹክሹክታውም ኢትዮጵያ ከመለስ በኋላ ወደ የርስ በርስ ጦርነት ውስጥ ልትወድቅ ትችላለች የሚሉ አሉ፡፡ ግን በእግዜር አይንም ሆነ በሰው የኢትዮጵያ እድል ከአንድ ሰው እጣ ጋር የታሰረ ሊሆን አይችልም፡፡ ሌሎች ደሞ ስለ መአት እያወሩ፤በንዴትና በማማረር ይበሳጫሉ፡፡ ግን የሚታያቸው ጀንበር የሚጠልቅበትን ስርአት እንጂ ጸሃይ የምትፈነጥቅበትን አዲሱን ቀን፤ለማየት አልተቻላቸውም፡፡እንዲሁም ሌሎች ስለመከፋፈል፤ መበታተን፤መቃቃር፤ሲረበሹ ይደመጣሉ ይታያሉ፡፡ ቤተሰብ በቋንቋ፤በባህልና በሃይማኖት መተሳሰራችንን የዘነጉት ይመስላል፡፡ ሌሊች የሚያስጨንቃቸው፤በአንድ ሰው ጀርባ ላይ የተመሰረተ መንግስት ምን እንደሚደርስበት ነው፡፡ ሁሉም ግን ለሚገምተው፤ ለሚያስበው፤ ለሚመኘው፤ ለሚጨነቀው መልሱ “አረ አለሁ በነፍስ፤ እኔ መለስ” ሊሆን ያችላል፡፡ ግን ይህን ያህል አንድ ሐሙስ ለቀረው መንግስት አስፈላጊና አሳሳቢ ነው?

ይህ ዓመት ሲጀመር ‹‹ኢትዮጵያ ከፈላጭ ቆራጭ አገዛዝ ወደ ዴሞክራሲ›› በሚል ርእስ አንድ መጣጥፍ እያቀረብኩ ነበር፡፡ አንዱ ጦማሬ ላይ፤ እንዳልኩት በፈላጭ ቆራጭና ዴሞክራሲያዊ ሽግግር ድልድል ላይ ብዙ አታላዮች፤ ወንበዴዎች ሥልጣን ለመስረቅ ይዘጋጃሉና ከባድ ጥንቃቄ ያስፈልጋል ብዬ ነበር፡፡ ባለፈው ወር ደግሞ ቀደም ያለ ሕገመንግስታዊ ንግግር እንጀምር ምክንያቱም የለውጥ ጊዜ እየተከሰተ ነው ብዬ ነበር፡፡በቅርብ ጊዜ የሚታዩ እውነታዎች ከፍተኛ ለውጥ በኢትዮጵያ እንደሚከሰት ነው ሁኔታው የሚያመላክተው፡፡ አንዳንዶች ኢትዮጵያ የምትወድቅበት ሁኔታ ቢያቃዣቸውም እኔን ደግሞ ከባድ ሃሳብ ላይ የጣለኝ የተቃዋሚው ቡድን፤ አንድ ሰው ስለ ኖረና ስላልኖረ የሚያደርጉት ነገር ነው፡፡

ኢትዮጵያ ውስጥ የስርአት ለውጥና ሽግግር ሁሌም ክፉኛ አስቸጋሪ እንደሆነ ይታወቃል፡፡ ታሪክ ይህን ይመሰክራል፡፡ ከንጉሳዊ አገዛዝ ወደ ሶሻሊዝም የነበረው ሽግግር በጣም አስከፊ ነበር፡፡ በሶሻሊዝም ስም በሚሊዮን የሚሆኑ ኢትዮጵያውያን ህይወታቸው አልፏል፡፡ ከሶሻሊዝም ወደ ሪቮሊውሽናሪ ዴሞክራሲ ደግሞ አናቂና ሰላቢ መንግስት ይሄው በአፍሪካ ታይቶ የማይታወቅ ፈላጭ ቆራጭ ግፈኛ መንግስት ለ21 ዓመታት ተቀምጧል፡፡ በ1977 የታየው የዴሞክራሲ ብርሃን በአንድ አፍታ ጠፍቷል፡፡ አሁን ሕዝብን እስረኛ ያደረገው ስርአት፤ ጸሃይ እየጠለቀችበት ነው፡፡ የእስረኞቹም ዋና ሹም መጋረጃ ወደ መከናነብ እያመራ ይመስላል፡፡

ሆኖም በሃገሪቱ የእሳተ ገሞራ ፍንዳታ እየተከሰተ ነው፡፡አነስተኛ ፍንዳታዎች በየቦታው ይታያሉ፡፡ ያለው ሁኔታ ሕዝቡን አስከፍቶታል፡፡ ሙስናው፤ስልጣን አለአግባብ መጠቀም፤ ያስተዳደር ጉድለት በገሃድ ይታያሉ፡፡  ይህን በአረብ ሃገሮች የሚደረገውን ለውጥ ስንመለከት ያሉት ገዢዎች ከፍ ያለ የሃሳብ ስጋት ሳይደርስባቸው የሚቀር አይመስለኝም፡፡ ሆኖም ቅሉ የጨቋኞቹ ስርአት ምን ይድረስበት አይድረስበት ብዙም አያስጨንቀኝም፡፡ የሚያስጨንቀኝ የተቃዋሚ ቡድኖች ምን እንደሚያደርጉ ነው፡፡እንደተለመደው የተገኘውን እድል ለማጣት ይጥሩ ይሆን? እኔ ብቻ ላሸንፍ ሌላው ይውደቅ ይሉ ይሆን? አንዱ ሌላውን እኔ ከሱ ልብለጥ የሚል ሂደት ይከተሉ ይሆን? ወይስ አንዱ ሌላውን፤ በብልጠት፤ ባሻጥር፤በዘዴ ለማሸነፍ ይሞክሩ ይሆን?

አለዚያስ ከፍ ብለው ይነሱስ ይሆን? አንዱ ሌላውን ይቅርታ ይጠይቅ ይሆን? አብረን ለሃገራችን እንስራ ይሉ ይሆን? ከሁሉም በላይ በወንድምነትና እህትነት እጅ ለእጅ ተጨባብጠው የያዙትን ጦርና ቀስት ወርውረው ኢትዮጵያን ለመገንባት ይዘጋጃሉ ይሆን?፡፡ማዴባ ያሉትን ተቀብለው በስራ ላይ ያውሉ ይሆን? ይሄ ነው የሚያሳስበኝ፡፡ ‹‹ነጻነት ጎህ ቀዳ ስትወጣ ስራችንን በበለጠ አጠናክረን መስራት አለብን፡፡ነጮችንም ያገራችንንም ልጆች አስገብተን ደቡብ አፍሪካን እንዲገነቡ ማድረግ አለብን፡፡ይህ የነጻነት ንቅናቄ የናንተም ነው ልንላቸው ይገባል፡፡›› እናዳሉት ማዴባ!

ሃጢአቱን እንጂ ሃጢአተኛውን አንጥላ

ጋንዲ ሲጽፍ፤የሰው ልጅ ሁለት ባህሪ አለው፡፡ ጥሩ ሲሰራ ማመስገንና ክፉ ሲሰራ ደግሞ መንቀፍ ነው፡፡ ያም ሆኖ የሰውን መጥፎ ስራውን መጥላት እንጂ ሰውዬውን መጥላት ተገቢ አይደለም፡፡ አንዱ ሌላውን በዘሩ፤ በቀለሙ፤በቋንቋው፤በሃይማኖቱ፤ቢጠላው ትርፉ ብዙ ጥላቻ ብቻ ነው፡፡ ማዴባ ሲናገሩ፤‹‹ማናቸውም የሰው ልጅ ሲወለድ ጥላቻ ይዞ አይደለም፡፡ ሰው ጥላቻን ተምሮ ነው ያገኘው፡፡የሰው ልጅ በተመሳሳይ መንገድ ፍቅርንም ሊማር ይችላል፤ ምክንያቱም ፍቅር ከተፈጥሮ ጋር የሚመጣ ጸጋ ነውና!፡፡” ይህም ከሆነ የጥላቻ ትምህርትን አለመማር ይቻላል በቦታው ፍቅርንም በሃገር ማስተማር ይቻላል፡፡

የጋንዲን ትምህርት መማር ተገቢ ነው፡፡ በጥላቻና በክፋት የተሰሩ ነገሮች ስሪታቸው ከመቃብር በላይ ለረጂም ጊዜ ይኖራል፡፡ ክፋትን ተከትለን ክፋትንም ከሰራን ቅዱስ ወንጌል እንደሚለው ‹‹ቤቱን የሚያውክ ሰው ነፋስን ይወርሳል፤ ሰነፍም ለጠቢብ ተገዢ ይሆናል››ይላል፡፡ ጥፋትንና ተንኮልን ተንኮለኞችንና አጥፊዎችን ከተከተልን እኛም ነፋስን እንወርሳለን፡፡ ነፋሱም ያገራችን መዋቅር ሊገነጣጠል ይችላል ሆኖም ሃጢአቱ ላይ አተኩረን አብረን ኤሎሄ ኤሎሄ ብንል የምንወርሰው ከፈላጭ ቆርጭነት አገዛዝ ዴሞክራሲ፤ ከሰብአዊ መብት ጥሰት፤ሰብአዊ መብት ክብረት፤ከጥላቻ ፍቅርን፤ ከንትርክ ይቅርታን እንወርሳለን፡፡ በስልጣን ቁንጮ የተቀመጡትም ማወቅ ያለባቸው ለውጥ መውጣቱ እንደማይቀር ነው፡፡ ሰላማዊ ለውጥ ሊመጣ ይችላል፤ ብልህ ከሆንን የምንተሳሰብ ከሆንን:: ግን ለውጡ መምጣቱ አይቀሬ ነው፡፡

በኢትዮጵያ አሁን ስንት ሰአት ነው

ቅዱስ ወንጌል እንደሚለው ‹‹ለሁሉም ጊዜ አለው›› ለፍቅር ጊዜ አለው፤ ለጥላቻ ጊዜ አለው፤ለጦርነትም ሆነ ለሰላም ጊዜ አለው፡፡ አሁን ለኢትዮጵያስ ጊዜው ምንድን ነው? …ጊዜው የሰላም ነው፤ጊዜው ከመራራነት ወደ መግባባት የሚለወጥበት ሁነኛው ወቅት ነው፡፡ጥላቻን ጥሎ መፈቃቀርያ ጊዜ ነው፡፡የተስፋ የእምነት የእውነት የመተሳሰብ የመተማመን የእውቀትና የብልጽግና ጊዜ ነው፡፡

ማዴባ ሲናገሩ ‹‹ለአፍሪካ ሕልም አለኝ ይሄውም በሰላም እንድትኖር ነው፡፡ብዙዎቹ አስተዳዳሪዎች አዋቂና ብልሆች ናቸው፡፡ተባብረው ችግርዋን ለፈቱላት ይችላሉ፡፡›› ብለው ሲቀጥሉም‹‹ይህች ዓለም የዴሞክራሲ የሰብአዊ መብት የሚከበርባት መሆን አለባት፡፡ አለም ከችጋር ከድንቁርና፤ የእርስ በርስ ጦርነት ተወግዶ በሚሊዮን የሚቆጠሩ፤በስቃይ ላይ የሚኖሩ ሰዎች ከስደት መትረፍ አለባቸው፡፡”

ማዴባ ሁል ጊዜ የመንፈስ ጥንካሬና፤ተስፋ ያሰጡኛል፡፡በ2011 መስከረም ጦማሬ ላይ ስጽፍ እንዳሰፈርኩት ‹‹ኢትዮጵያ በተዘበራረቀ ሁኔታ ላይ ትገኛለች፡፡ በፈላጭ ቆራጭ መዳፍ ስር ነው ያለችው፡፡ መለስ አንዴዬ ሲናገር እንዳለው፤‹‹እኛን የሚቀናቀን ካለ እናደቀዋለን፤ እንደዱቄት!፡፡” ማናቸውም ዜጋ፤ ማንም ሰው፤እንደዚህ ዓይነት አሰቃቂ አነጋገር የሚነገርባት ቦታ፤ ኢትዮጵያ መሆን የለባትም፡፡ ማናቸውም ዜጋ አለፍርሃት፤ረሃብ ጭቆና ለመኖር የሚቻልባት ሃገር መሆን አለባት፡፡ ይሄንንም ስል በረጂም መንገድ ማዴባ ባጭሩ ደቡብ አፍሪካ በማናቸውም አይነት ካሁን በኋላ አንዱ ወገን ሌላውን በጭቆና ቀጥቅጦ የሚገዛባት ሃገር ልትሆን አትችልም እንዳሉት ነው፡፡

የኢትዮጵያን ሰላም የምመኘው ኢትዮጵያዊያኖች በጎ አሳቢዎች ናቸው በሚለረ እምነት ነው፡፡ ማዴባ በዓለም ላይ ካሉት በጎ አሳቢዎች ሁሉ ግምባር ቀደም ናቸው፡፡ እሳቸውም አንድ ወቅት ላይ ሲናገሩ፤‹‹በህይወቴ የነጭ ጭቆናን ተቃውሜያለሁ፤ የጥቁር ጭቆናን ተቃውሜያለሁ:: ዘወትር የምመኘው ደቡብ አፍሪካ ነጻና በዴሞክራሲ ስርአት እንድትተዳደር ነው፡፡ ለዚህም ምኞቴ በስፋት እታገላለሁ፡፡አስፈላጊ ከሆነም ይህ ተግባራዊ እንዲሆን እራሴን አሳልፌ እሰጣለሁ››ብለው ነበር፡፡ ሆኖም ግን ምኞታቸው ከፍ ያለ ቢሆንም ሁኔታውንም ይገነዘባሉና፤ ችግራችንን በሰላምና በምክር መፍታት ካልቻልን ቀሪው ምርጫ ሕዝብን ማስጨፍጨፍ አስከፊ ሁኔታ ይሆናል፡፡ ማዴባ ሲናገሩ: “ባሁኑ ጊዜ ችግርን በሰላም ለመፍታት  ከአምባ ገነን መንግስት ጋር መጯጯህ ፍሬ ከርስኪ ጉዳይ ነው የሚሉ ወገኖች አሉ፡ምናልባት ይህን አስተያየት ተመልሰን ልንመለከተው ይገባል፡፡ለመሆኑ በቂ ጥረት አርገናል ወይ?” በዚሁ መልክ በኢትዮጵያ ንግግር መጀመር፤ ከንቱ ውዳሴ ይሆን? ደጋግሞስ መነጋገር፤ከጨፍጫፊወች ጋር የሰላማዊ መፍትሄ መንገድ መሻት ከንቱ ነው? ………አይመስለኝም፡፡

እንደምናየው ሁሉ የአንድ ሰው አንድ ፓርቲ፤ አንድ ሁሉ ነገር፤የሚባል ዓምልኮ በወደፊቷ ኢትዮጵያ ተስፋ ያለው ነገር አይደለም፡፡ ከታሪክ መማር ተገቢ ነው፡፡በሶርያ በሊቢያ፤የሆኑ አሳዛኝ ነገሮች ከዚህ መዘዝ የመነጩ ናቸው፡፡

ማዴባ ከአፓርታይድ ጭቆና ወደ ዴሞክራሲ ስርአት መሸጋገር ምን እንደሚያስፈልገው ተናግረዋል፡፡‹‹ሕዝቡ መጠየቅ መሳተፍ አለበት፡፡ድርድርም ሲደረግ ፊት ለፊት መሆን አለበት፡፡ “የወደፊቷ ደቡብ አፍሪካ፤የምትተዳደረው፤ዘረኝነት በሌለበት መንገድ ነው፡፡ነጮች የሥላጣን ማነቆ ይዘው ያለበት የረጀ ያፈጀ ሁኔታ መጥፋት አለበት” ማዴባ ብለዋል::

በዚህ መሰረት በኢትዮጵያም ቢሆን ሕዝቡ መሳተፍ አለበት፤ የሃገሪቷም የወደፊት ዕጣ ፈንታ በዴሞክራሲያዊ ስርአት በተመረጠ ጎሳና ዘር በማይል መሰረት ላይ መጣል አለበት፡፡ብልጦች አፈጮሌዎችና አወናባጆች ቦታ አይኖራቸውም፡፡

ሥራው ከባድና ፈታኝ ቢሆንም ሁላችንም ልንሳተፍበት የግድ ነው፡፡

ማዴባ ከእስር የወጡ የመጀመርያው እለት የተናገሩት፤ ስለ ሕብረትና መግባባትና መደማመጥ እንጂ፤ በደቡብ አፍሪካ ባለፉት ረጂም ዘመናት ስለተከናወኑት ሂደቶች አልነበረም፡፡‹‹ሕዝባችንን ማስተባበር በአሁኑ ጊዜ ታላቁ ስራችን ነው፡፡ማናቸውም መሪ በግሉ ሊሰራው የሚችለው ጉዳይ አይደለም፡፡ የመሪዎቻችንና የድርጅታችን ምግባር ዴሞክራሲያዊ በሆነ ስርአት፤ ወደፊት መቀጠልን ነው፡፡መረጋገጥ ያለበት ጉዳይ የእንቅስቃሴውን መሪ ሕዝቡ መምረጥ እንዳለበት ነው፡፡›› ነበር ያሉት:: በኢትዮጵያም ቢሆን፤አንድ መሪም ሆነ ድርጅት ማንም፤የሕዝብን አንድነት ሊፈጥር አይችልም፡፡ ስለዚህ የፖለቲካ ፓርቲ መሪዎች፤በስቪክ፤ በሃይማኖት፤ በወጣቶች፤ በሴቶች እንዲሁም ሌሎች ድርጅቶችና መሪዎች ሊፈጥሩ ይችላሉ፡፡

ማዴባን እንኳን ለ94ኛው የልደታቸው በዓል አደረሳቸው፡፡

ባለፈው ሳምንት አርክ ቢሾፕ ዴዝሞንድ ቱቱ ሲናገሩ፤‹‹ለማዴባ ከምንሰጣቸው ታላቅ ስጦታ ምሳሌያቸውን ስንከተልላቸው ነው›› ብለው ነበር:: ስለዚህ ለማዴባ የማበረክትላቸው ታላቅ ስጦታ ከአሁን በኋላ በእሳቸው ጫማ ፈለግ እንደምከተል ማረጋገጥ ነው፡፡ ማዴባ በቃላቸውም በሥራቸውም በጣም ብርታት ሰጥተውኛል፡፡ እስከ አሁንም ዕውነትን ሥልጣን ለጨበጡ እንድናገር ለኢትዮጵያም መልካም ሕልም እንዳልም ያደረጉኝ እሳቸው ናቸው፡፡ ከአሁን በኋላም በሳቸው ምሳሌ ለማስተማር፤ ለማሳወቅ ወደፊት በጥንካሬ የሚቀጥል ነው፡፡የጉዞዬም አቅጣጫ መልካምነትንና እርቀ ሰላምን የሚዬዝ ነው፡፡የማዴባ መንገድ ጉዞ ወደምንሄድበት ቦታ ያለጥርጥር ያደርሰናል ማለት አይደለም፤ሆኖም ግን ባሁኑ ጊዜ እሳቸው ከቀየሱት መንገድ ውጪ ወደ እርቅና መልካምነት የሚያደርሰን ሌላ መንገድ አይታየኝም፡፡

ምናልባት በዚህ አባባሌ እንደአላዋቂና ተላላ ሊመለከተኝ ይችል ይሆናል፤ ግን በተረጋጋ መሬት ላይ እንደቆምኩ አውቃለሁ፡፡ ከኔም ጋር የሚቆሙ ተመልካቾች ሊኖሩ ይችላሉ፡፡ የማዴባንም መንገድ መከተሌን የሚደግፉ ይኖራሉ፡፡ ቢቻልም ከኔ ጋር የማዴባን ጎዳና አብረው ለመሄድ ፍላጎት ያላቸው ሊኖሩ ይችላሉ ብዬ አምናለሁ፡፡ ካልሆነም ብቻዬንም ቢሆን ጉዞውን ለመቀጠል መርጫለሁ፡፡ የብቻ ጉዞ ቢደክመኝም በሚሊዮን የሚቆጠሩ ኢትዮጵያዊያኖች በሚያዘግሙበት ጎዳና ነጻነታቸውን ክብራቸውን ለማግኘት ከነሱ ኋላ ሆኜ እያነከስኩም ቢሆን እከተላለሁ፡፡ ለማደርገው ጉዞ ግን ከማውገዝም ሆነ ከማወደስ መዘንጋት የሌለበት በጎ አሳቢ ኢትዮጵያዊ መሆኔን ነው፡፡ እንደተባለው ሁሉ ‹‹አንዳንድ ሰዎች ነገር ተመልክተው ለምን ይላሉ፤ እኔ ግን ስላልነበሩ ጉዳዮች እያለምኩ ለምን እላለሁ፡፡›› ስለዚህም የማዴባን የጫማ ፈለግ ተከትለን አንሄድም? ለምን ኢትዮጵያ በሰላም ሆና አናልምም? የአንዳችን ሕልም ከሌላችን ሕልም ስለኢትዮጵያ ሠላምና ብልጽግና ለምንስ አይሆንም? በጎ አሳቢ ኢትዮጵያዊያኖች እንሁን! ለምንስ መሆን ያዳግተናል?

(ይህን ጦማር ለሌሎችም ያካፍሉ::)

ካሁን በፊት የቀረቡ የጸሃፊው ጦማሮችን  ለማግኘት እዚህ ይጫኑ::

34th day since Ethiopia’s dictator disappeared

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

Ethiopia’s dictator Meles Zenawi’s last public appearance was 34 days ago on June 21. At that time he looked terribly sick and when Ethiopian Review and other media reported about his illness, the Woyanne junta propaganda machinery vigorously disputed the report. Two weeks later, the junta’s liar-in-chief Bereket Simon was forced to admit the dictator’s illness, but claimed that he is recovering and will return to office shortly. That was 5 days ago and Meles is not to be seen any where. Instead, it is reported that the TPLF junta’s leadership is holding a series of closed-door meetings to try to come to a consensus on who will replace Meles. The power struggle among at least 4 different TPLF factions is reportedly so intense that the TPLF junta is at risk of splintering.

Can the Ethiopian change his skin or leopard its spots?

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

By Yilma Bekele

Is Meles Zenawi dead or alive has become the burning question of the day. It is sad even in death or near death the tyrant does not get any respect. You would think after dominating the Ethiopian scene for over twenty years the individual is entitled to some love. I am afraid all he has harvested in this short life is a lot of hate and loathing. He lived a violent life and his current condition whatever it is has turned up to be more violent than most of us dreamt of. Tumor in the brain is not a simple matter. Blood cancer is terminal. Chemotherapy treatment is a painful process. He came suddenly into our life and he is leaving us before sundown afraid of what the night might bring. It would have been better if he was made to answer for his crimes. That would have brought closure. As usual the coward is trying to slip away without accountability. Good riddance!

It is a sad ending and we all feel the pain. The situation creates all kinds of conflict in each of us. No one relishes pain and suffering on a fellow human being. But Meles Zenawi is not an ordinary human being. I have been reading all kinds of obituaries written both by foreigners and fellow Ethiopians the last few days. The analysis written by our foreign experts verges on the border of incoherence, are mostly disjointed and full of what I consider to be a sloppy cocktail of cultural bigotries.

The article by The Atlantic magazine and the attempt by AFP to do analysis are both poorly researched shameful works that will never be presented regarding events in any European country. It is Africa and all westerners are considered experts. What is surprising in both instances is their constant use of the term ‘intellectual, technocrat, sharp witted’ to explain Meles. If you notice no one calls Mr. Obama an intellectual or explain any of the Western leaders by the number of degrees they hold. In fact leaders like Mr. Obama or David Cameron go out of their way to present themselves as ordinary citizens. African leaders on the other hand are judged by the diplomas they hold and the size of their library rather than their work in the service of their people. It seems to shout ‘see he has a degree from one of our Universities thus he is not just another African savage, but an educated baboon’

The best Obituary is written on Aiga by someone named Aesop. Of course after the customary lauding of Meles as an intellectual, voracious reader etc. Aesop wrote the following: “Some of the “past leaders” managed to identify “some” problems but failed in action. But most have failed to even identify the problem and waited until the problem (or natural causes) consume them. Haile Selassie knew what the youth wanted and what the military was conspiring upon. However, he failed to reform- hence, was toppled. Tewodros identified “backwardness” but failed in action. Mengistu’s failures were in both fronts-a schizophrenic “little Tewodros” who left for Zimbabwe when reality hit on May 1991.” See what I mean, they have to knock all others down to lift their midget. I have no idea why he is not judged by his own deeds with out making those who came before him bad and unworthy?

This is the beginning of Woyane style of revision of history. Good try but that won’t happen. This time all his victims are present and accounted for. Today we write our own history. Twenty-one years ago most of Ethiopia was not aware of Meles Zenawi. We knew more about his mentor Isaiyas Afewerki. Meles and his TPLF group were a footnote. An after thought in the separatist war that has been going on forever in the northern part of our country. The emergence of the ill prepared junta leader Shaleka Mengistu created an opportune moment for the northern warriors to flourish. The demise of the Soviet Union, enabler of the Derg assured even for Meles to shine.

With the help of the US Woyane marched into Addis victorious. Some could consider that day the start of the degradation of our motherland. Woyane did not come to build but to destroy, not to plant the seeds of love and harmony but ready to harvest hate and animosity. During the dark days of living in caves and tunnels Meles and company were not dreaming of building a prosperous Ethiopia upon victory but rather were burning the midnight oil designing maps of separation and drawing flags of a different kind. For over twenty years they have been implementing the destruction of the country that nurtured them.

Meles Zenawi and his Woyane accomplices are responsible for the death and destruction of over one hundred thousand Ethiopians. I did not weave that figure from thin air or imagined it to hate on a dying or dead person but my assertion can be proved without much digging. In fact I believe I erred on the conservative side. The figure is much, much higher. I did not include those dead during the war with the Derg. I believe that was a legitimate form of uprising against a ruthless regime. I hold Meles and his Woyane friends responsible on what they did after they assumed power. Gambella, Hawasa and the Ogaden are the places we are aware of where Meles sent his Agazi forces to massacre citizens that were only asking for their god given right to live free. I am not going to argue the numbers but I believe the death of one Ethiopian is one too many. A sane and responsible government does not resort to using lethal force to silence its critics. Our Somali citizens in Ogaden have paid and are paying a heavy price for no other reason other than Meles’s desire to curry favor with the US.

The unnecessary war with Eritrea brought about by the behind the scene dealings between the two mad leaders has resulted in the death of over eighty thousand Ethiopians and Eritreans. Meles Zenawi and his Woyane party were not even respectful of the death of our solders to give them a decent burial nor gave recognition for their sacrifices. They were left to be eaten by wild animals and rot in the mountain and valleys of the Semen plateau. In early 2001, a concerned Ethiopian woman asked Meles as to the whereabouts of her son who did not return from his war with Eritrea. Irritated by the tone of her question, he said: “Lady, if your son does not return in 6 months time, then you’ll have your answer!”

We are not even told how many of our people died in the desert of Somalia fighting a phantom army conjured up by the US and Meles Zenawi. In addition to the death of our young people our country harvested hate and animosity with our brothers across the border for generations to come and money that could have been used to build schools, hospitals and infrastructure was wasted by Meles and his Woyane enablers.

I am not even going to mention what the mad criminal did when he lost the election in 2005. The whole world was a witness to that naked use of force to murder, intimidate and bully eighty million people to submission. Meles Zenawi was not a good human being. He was curse on our country and people. Building shoddy roads using borrowed money that we have to pay, building useless condominiums that look good on the outside but liable to deteriorate before the year is up using hard earned Diaspora money is not a sustainable economic development to crow about. Meles Zenawi spends more money on his personal security than all budget allocated to two of his Kilils.

The title of this article came from the Holy Bible. It goes “can the Ethiopian change his skin or the Leopard its spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil.” Jeremiah 13:27
It struck me as the best lesson to describe our current situation. So the prince of evil is on his way to receive the ultimate judgment. Who do you think is scrambling to inherit the crown? It is no other than the same Woyane thugs that have been part of the criminal empire as lieutenants or enablers. It should be obvious that they are going to continue the process of marginalizing, bullying, exiling and killing of those that do not see eye to eye with them.

Again I am not just making this up. Why you doubt me in the first place is not clear to me but I will give you evidence. The tyrant has not been seen or heard the last four weeks and nothing has changed in the land of the Habeshas. The rubber stamp Parliament was called into session and dutifully approved what was explained to them as the budget. The Moslems cry for justice was answered by jailing of their leaders and harsh beating of all those that dared not to disperse when told do so. The one and only independent newspaper Feteh’s edition dealing with matters not approved by the Communication department was confiscated. It looks like things are going to stay the same. This is what is known as ‘meet the new boss same as the old boss’ situation.

I believe it as about time we stop this game of good Woyane and bad Woyane, Woyane with an ounce of Eritrean blood and pure Woyane nonsense. We have to stop this insane discussion of the Constitution and the rules of succession of the mafia outfit. It is imperative that we define exactly what we want and stick to our demands until all are addressed. Compromise on certain principled issues is not the way to achieve success. Key issues are not open to negotiation and give and take. There is nothing wrong with standing firm on issues that are vital for survival and are the foundation stone for building a strong, free and democratic society. This half baked idea of accepting a piece of the pie has not taken us anywhere except see our country sink lower and lower in any index that measures human achievement. What exactly do we want? I am glad you asked.

First thing that is key and vital is a Constitution that is drawn by all Ethiopians and that reflects our dream and wishes for a united, strong and prosperous Ethiopia. A house without a solid foundation how pretty it looks is not a viable structure. A foundation with cracks, fissures and sub-par concrete mix or recycled metal will not be able to carry the weight of the building for long. The current Constitution was drawn by the dictator and his friends to serve the needs of the TPLF Party and his ethnic group. It has been revised time and again to serve particular situations that arose during his reign. Case in point is the amendment during his tiff with Ato Seye Abreha, his paranoia of Ginbot 7 that brought us terrorism and his attempt to outlaw the free press with the communication amendment.

The demise of the current Constitution is not a negotiable item. The new Constitution to be drawn after a lengthy discussion in the absence of coercion and open transparent debate will go along way to correct the many imperfection built in to Meles’s evil scheme. True Federalism that respects our diversity without creating a Chinese wall between us will put the concept of Kilil on the right path. As the concept of Apartheid as conceived by the White South African was smashed by Nelson Mandela our new document will place Kilil in the trash bin of history.

Again learning from the experience of South Africa under Mandela that prohibited establishment of political parties based on ethnicity, we in Ethiopia will put this toxic idea to rest once and for all. The TPLF party that has been one of the most evil organizations that has caused so much misery to all Ethiopians including the Tigrai people will not be allowed to ever raise its head in our ancient land. As the Germans got rid of the Nazi Party, as the South Africans marginalized the National Party so would Ethiopians will the TPLF out of existence. Doing away with Kilil and ethnic based parties is non-negotiable item.

I believe the opposition has to clearly present its wishes for the future Ethiopia to be built on the ashes of the current rotten system. There is no room for equivocation, sophistry and dead end short cuts. There is no room for generalized statements and debate on peripheral issues. Any opposition worthy of its organization has to tell the current legitimate wanna bees that are trying to build a new structure on the old, cracked foundation in no uncertain terms that the fate of Mubarak, Gadaffi, Ben Ali awaits them around the corner. No one predicted Meles would be faced with terminal illness at the young age of fifty-seven. No one can predict what the Ethiopian people will do when their anger boils over. No amount of arms, sharp shooters on every corner, spies in every household will contain the wrath of the people when they declare ‘Beka’ ‘Gaye’ ‘Bass’ ‘Yiakel’!

Ethiopian man visiting Philadelphia is missing – police asking your help

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

(CBS) – Towamencin Township police in Pennsylvania are searching for a 62-year old Ethiopian man who was separated from his family in Philadelphia. Kifleyohanesse Tessema was visiting family.

Kifleyohannes TessemaAuthorities report that the family traveled to Philadelphia from Towamencin Township on SEPTA’s regional railway on June 23, 2012. At about 10 a.m., the family became separated from Tessema near Market East Station.

Tessema’s family has not seen or heard from him since the time of their separation.

Police say Tessema does not speak English, has no identification on him, has no means of support, and needs medication for high blood pressure.

Tessema is described as a black male, 62, with a medium complexion. He is about 5’6” and 150 lbs with gray hair. He was wearing gray pants, a white shirt, and a red and white ball cap.

Police are asking anyone with information to call 215-368-7600 or 7606.

President of Ghana John Atta Mills died

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

Ethiopian Review extends condolences to the family of President Mills and the people of Ghana.

President John Atta Mills was seating next to Meles Zenawi last May in Washington DC when Ethiopian journalist Abebe Gelaw gave Meles a heart attack. The difference between President Mills and Dictator Zenawi is that Mills is a democratically elected leader while Zenawi is a brutal tyrant whose hands are soaked with the blood of tens of thousands of Ethiopians.

(RT) — Ghanaian President John Atta Mills has died at the age of 68, a statement from the president’s office says. He has been serving as the west African nation’s president since 2009.

“It is with a heavy heart…that we announce the sudden and untimely death of the president of the Republic of Ghana,” the statement reads, as quoted by Reuters.

The statement also said the president passed away at a military hospital in the country’s capital Accra, within a few hours of being taken ill.

Chief of Staff John Henry Martey Newman addressed the nation in a televised broadcast, confirming news of the president’s death. State-run television channels GTV and TV3 broke into regular programing for the announcement.

Meanwhile, a presidential aide said Mills died on Tuesday afternoon after complaining of pains on Monday.

Vice President John Dramani Mahama is to be sworn as the country’s new president at 1800 GMT, a parliament official said.

Mills celebrated his 68th birthday on Saturday.

Last month, Mills visited the United States for what he described as a “routine medical check-up.” He, [along with Ethiopia's dictator Meles Zenawi,] also met with US President Barack Obama. Prior to his trip, he dismissed rumors regarding the state of his health.

A Western-educated university professor specializing in taxation, Mills served as the country’s vice president from 1996 to 2000. He was the leftist National Democratic Congress nominee for the presidency on three occasions: in 2000, 2004 and 2008.

In 2008, Mills won a closely contested election on a platform of change and greater economic equality.

As president, Mills oversaw the start of oil production in the country. He was planning to run for a second term in December.

33 days since Ethiopia’s drug junkie dictator disappeared

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

Meles Zenawi
[The above photo is a simulation]

It’s been 33 days now since Ethiopia’s khat-addicted dictator Meles Zenawi disappeared from the public view. There are strong indications that he has expired, but the ruling Woyanne junta insists that he is alive and recovering from a minor illness. If the regime is telling the truth, why did they go to the extent of blocking the distribution of newspaper last Friday in Addis Ababa that reported about the seriousness of his health? The reason the regime gave for shutting down the newspaper is “national security.”

This is just another evidence that Ethiopia is being ruled by a North Korea-type secretive regime where a report about whose leader is considered a crime. Sadly, it is this regime that the U.S. and E.U. are supporting to the tune of over $1 billion per year. It is this drug junkie dictator that President Obama invited to discuss about food security in Africa last May.

What is even more sad is that the Ethiopian opposition parties are not able to come together and topple the decayed regime that is led by a dictator who is lying in a morgue or an ICU. The Ethiopian opposition can bring down the Woyanne junta with economic boycott alone.

This is the most opportune time to liberate Ethiopia from the tribal junta that has been brutalizing the people of Ethiopia during the past 20 years. It can be done without firing a single bullet. Let’s wage an all out economic boycott campaign, as called by over 12 Ethiopian media organizations a couple of months ago, and starve the Woyanne beast to death.

ENTC requests diplomatic relations with Australian government

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

PRESS RELEASE
23 JULY 2012

ENTC requests diplomatic relations with Australian government

The Ethiopian National Transitional Council (ENTC) has sent a communique to Mr. Bob Carr, Foreign Affairs Minister of Australia, requesting a diplomatic recognition. The letter was submitted to Mr. Carr by ENTC’s diplomatic representative in Australia, Ms. Minisha Girma.

The letter Ms. Minisha Girma submitted explains ENTC’s mission, and discusses the worsening political, economic and security crises in Ethiopia, as well as the need for the Australian government to help with a peaceful transition to democracy.

The Australian Government is among the first countries that the Transitional Council has asked for diplomatic recognition since it was founded at a 3-day conference in Dallas, Texas, that was convened from July 1 – 3, 2012, with the participation of representatives from over 30 cities and countries.

The Transitional Council plans to submit similar requests to several countries through its diplomatic representatives in the coming few weeks.

###

For more info:
ENTC Foreign Relations
85 S. Bragg St. Alexandria VA, 22312 USA
Tel: 202-735-4262
Email: entc.pr@gmail.com
Website: etntc.org

Joint Communiqué of ALEJE and OLF

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

July 21, 2012

It is to be noted that the alliance of the Ethiopian opposition political forces has been the persistent demand of the Ethiopian people ever since the TPLF dictatorial regime of the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) has ascended to power some 21 years ago. Thus far, this important but very demanding effort of united struggle of the opposition forces has been frustrated by several factors. However, given the stages of the contradictions in the country and the difficult circumstances our people are facing daily, there are some encouraging efforts and prospects on the horizon. The much demanded united struggle of the opposition may soon come to fruition. Evidently, it has now become more than obvious that scattered and fragmented struggles of the opposition forces are never to bring about the desired changes. One such positive development in this direction is the initiation of an alliance formation between ALEJE and OLF.

Leaders of ALEJE and OLF led by General Kemal Gelchu in several of the joint meetings they have been conducting for the last few months, have agreed on the following two major issues in order to remove the political system instituted by the TPLF and to establish a just and an all inclusive democratic order.

  1. ALEJE and OLF have agreed to facilitate a speedy formation of a broader and all inclusive united front of all willing opposition political forces that have the objective of united struggle in order to launch a resolute struggle and movement in any possible form.
  2. In the meantime, until the desired broad united front is established, ALEJE and OLF have resolved that they will coordinate and collaborate on all activities including matters of foreign relations, political, public relations, and organizational issues inside and outside of Ethiopia.

As we have always been expressing our commitment to the main and cardinal principles of the struggle of the Ethiopian people without any equivocation in the past, ALEJE and OLF have reaffirmed their sincere commitment and pledge to continue on the same path until the TPLF rule is removed and replaced by democratic order. To this effect, they have agreed that:

  1. The source of all political powers, at local, at regional or Federal levels, shall be fair and free elections.
  2. The federal system to be established shall be real and genuine.
  3. They shall use all forms of struggle that are timely and possible to remove the TPLF rule.
  4. A transitional provisional government that will be established shall be composed of all political and civic organizations.
  5. All the aforementioned activities shall be conducted in a country that is known as sovereign Ethiopia.

Victory to the struggling people of Ethiopia!

Terrorizing Ethiopians in the name of counter-terrorism

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

By Jillian C. York | EFF

Last week, EFF was dismayed to learn that Ethiopian journalist and blogger Eskinder Nega had been sentenced to eighteen years in prison under a sweeping and overbroad Anti-Terrorism Proclamation.  More than one hundred other Ethiopians, including nine journalists, have been sentenced under the vague law.  In December 2011, two Swedish journalists were convicted on charges of supporting terrorism.

Nega’s sentence has been roundly condemned by both the United States government and the United Nations, as well as a bevy of human rights organizations including Human Rights Watch.  We join these groups in condemning the sentences handed to Nega as well as five other bloggers, all of whom are living in exile.

A Dangerous Precedent

Back in June, we highlighted Ethiopia’s censorship and surveillance practices. from the blocking of websites to the Telecom Service Infringement Law that, in addition to protecting the state service provider from the competition of VOiP services, also aims to harshly punish citizens for using or having in their possession any telecommunications equipment without prior permission from the government.

The latest convictions demonstrate the Ethiopian government’s determination to restrict freedom of expression and association.  The use of anti-terrorism legislation to silence writers is a tactic seen elsewhere, including Turkey and Burundi, where just last month a journalist was sentenced to life under such legislation.

In Ethiopia’s 2009 Anti-Terrorism Proclamation, terrorist acts are broadly defined by a person or group “intending to advance a political, religious, or ideological cause by coercing the government, intimidating the public or section of the public, or destabilizing or destroying the fundamental political, constitutional or, economic or social institutions of the country” by a number of actions.  Furthermore, and not unlike material support laws in the United States, the definition of “rendering support for terrorism” includes the act of providing a “skill, expertise or moral support or advice.”  ”Encouragement for terrorism”—which includes the publication of statements “likely to be understood as encouraging terrorist acts”—is also prohibited.  It is this section of the law that has been used most consistently against journalists.

When Counter-Terrorism Becomes Anti-Freedom

While Ethiopia has reason to be concerned about terrorism, it is abundantly clear at this point that the government is taking advantage of foreign support for its counterterrorism measures.  The United States alone provided $847 million in assistance to Ethiopia in 2011, some of which went to fund non-lethal military training.  Between 2002 and 2007, however, Ethiopia received nearly $20 million in military assistance from the U.S., which included arms aid.  In addition to providing financial aid, the U.S. has been outwardly supportive of Ethiopia’s counter-terrorism measures against al-Shabaab.

At the same time, as a cable released by WikiLeaks reveals, the U.S. ambassador to Ethiopia expressed concerns about the then-draft Anti-Terrorism Proclamation, writing in a comment entitled “Opposition Beware”:

Ethiopia is a U.S. partner in a rough neighborhood, and, with the turmoil in Somalia, faces an ever rising threat stream from Somalia and the Arabian peninsula. Though the ATP gives the GoE legal authorities to confront these threats meaningfully, the draft statute’s overbroad nature, the lack of legal safeguards for persons accused of terrorism, as well as the ruling party’s tendency to brand mainstream domestic opposition members as terrorists, presents the potential for abuse. Post will raise these concerns with GoE officials at the earliest opportunity.

It would appear that any efforts to “raise concerns” with the Ethiopian government fell on deaf ears.  Sadly, the weak condemnation expressed in those previous cases is still more than has been expressed toward Nega.  In 2011, following the conviction of the two Swedish journalists, Deputy Spokesperson Mark C. Toner stated that the U.S. “[recognizes] the authority of the judicial process in Ethiopia and [respects] the Ethiopian Government’s legitimate concerns about terrorism” before noting that “a free press is an important element of democratic society.”

Even the Department of State’s comments on Nega’s conviction do not go as far as condemnation, instead merely expressing “deep concern.”

Human Rights Watch has called on Ethiopia’s international partners to immediately call for the release of Nega and the many journalists and opposition supporters who have been unlawfully prosecuted, as well as the revision of the law that put them behind bars. As Charlayne Hunter-Gault—a board member at the Committee to Protect Journalists—writes in an opinion piece for the New Yorker, the U.S. has recently made democracy promotion a top priority; referring to Nega, Hunter-Gault remarks: “Here is a great test case.”

Indeed, the new “U.S. Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa” includes both democracy promotion and advancement of peace and security through the countering of terrorist groups. The U.S. government must be extremely cautious and ensure that its efforts to counter terrorism in the region don’t result in any more journalists behind bars.

Ethiopian newspaper blocked on “grounds of national security”

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

(CPJ) — Ethiopian authorities blocked the publication of a prominent independent newspaper over the weekend in connection with its stories on the health of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, according to local journalists.

The state-run printing company Barhanena Selam told the weekly Feteh on early Sunday morning that the government had ordered that week’s edition of the paper, about 30,000 copies, to be blocked on grounds of inciting national insecurity and endangering the government and the public, local journalists said. The paper had prepared pieces citing reports from the BBC and the exiled opposition group, Ethiopian National Transitional Council, local journalists said. A government spokesman did not return CPJ calls seeking comment.

News accounts have reported that Meles has been hospitalized in Brussels with an undisclosed condition.

“The ban on Feteh’s latest issue illustrates the depth of repression in Ethiopia today, and authorities’ determination to suppress independent coverage of the prime minister,” CPJ East Africa Consultant Tom Rhodes said. “Every citizen has a right to be informed about the well-being of their leader and the conduct of their government. Authorities should reverse their decision and allow the publication of Feteh’s weekend edition to proceed.” … [read more]

Ethiopian Review on a backup system

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

We have activated Ethiopian Review’s backup site because the current high volume of traffic, on top of the DoS attack by the Woyanne thugs, is causing the main server to crash repeatedly. We have multiple backup (mirror) sites to make sure that Ethiopian Review is online with minimum interruption. We appreciate the concerns many of you expressed. Thank you for your support.

To increase our system capacity and also expand our sources of information inside Ethiopia, we have launched a sponsorship program. We urge all Ethiopian Review readers to support our effort by signing up as supporters/sponsors. Click here for more information.

የመለስ ዜናዊ መሰወር (ጀርመን ራዲዮ)

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

የኢትዮጵያ ፀጥታ አስከባሪዎች፣ ቤተ እምነቶችን ለማርከሰም ሆነ የእምነት ነፃነት ጠየቅን ያሉ ሙስሊሞችን በአስለቃሽ ጢስ እያፈኑ፣ በዱላ እየቀጠቀጡ ፥ለማሰር የሐገሪቱን ጠቅላይ ሚንስትር ቀጥተኛ ትዕዛዝ መጠበቅ አላስፈለጋቸዉም።አዲስ አበባ የአፍሪቃ መሪዎችን ጉባኤያ ለማተናገድ የትልቅ መሪዋ አለመኖር አላጎላትም።ኢትዮጵያ በደቡብ ሱዳን የነፃነት በአልና በአፍሪቃ ሕብረት ጉባኤ ላይ በአዲሰ ምክትል ጠቅላይ ሚንስትሯና በዉጪ ጉዳይ ሚንስትሯመወከሏ ክብሯን አልቀነሰባትም።የአንጋፋ ዋና መሪዋ ግራ-አጋቢ ጤንነት የዉር ድንብር እያዳፋት፣ እሳቸዉ በሌሉበት ባለችበት መቀጠሏን-ካለመቀጥሏ ቃርጮሽ መሸጎጡ ነዉ ፈተናዉ።እንዴት ላፍታ አብረን እንጠይቅ።

በኢትዮጵያ የቀድሞዉ የዩናይትድ ስቴትስ አምባሳደር ዴቪድ ሺንና የቀድሞዉ የሕዝባዊ ወያኔ ሐርነት ትግራይ ጦር አዛዥ ዶክተር አረጋዊ በርሔ በአካል መተዋወቅ አለመተዋወቃቸዉን እኛ አናዉቅም።ጠቅላይ ሚንስትር መለስ ዜናዉን ግን ሥልጣን፣ ጊዜና ሥፍራዉ ይራራቅ እንጂ ሁሉቱም በቅርብ ያዉቋቸዋል።

የመለስን መታመም የሰሙት፣ ሥለ ሕመማቸዉና በኢትዮጵያ ፖለቲካ ላይ ሥለሚያደርሰዉ ተፅዕኖ አስተያየት የሰጡትም ከቋንቋ፣ ቦታ፣ ሠዓታት ልዩነት ባለፍ እኩል ነዉ።«መለስ» አሉ የኢትዮጵያዉን መሪ መጀመሪያ እንደ ፕሬዝዳንት ኋላ እንደ ጠቅላይ ሚንስትር በቅርብ የሚያዉቋቸዉ የቀድሞዉ አሜሪካዊ ዲፕሎማት «መለስ አስቀድመዉ የሚያቅዱ አይነት መሪ ናቸዉ።»

ሺን መለስን በቅርብ ከማወቃቸዉ ከብዙ አመታት በፊት አረጋዊ በርሔ መለስን እንደ አለቃ እያዘዙ፣ እንደ የበላይ እየመሩ፣ እንደ ቀዳማዊ ታጋይ እየመከሩ የነፍጥ ትግልን አብረዋቸዉ ኖረዉበታል።#
ዶክተር አረጋዊ በዚሕ ሁሉ ዘመን በጣም በቅርብ የሚያዉቋቸዉ መለስ ግን ሺን ከገለጧቸዉ መለስ ተቃራኒ ናቸዉ።

የኢትዮጵያ የሕዝብ ተወካዮች ምክር ቤት ዘንድሮ ለእረፍት የሚዘጋበት ቀን ተላልፎ ነበር።በልማዱ፣ በምክር ቤቱ ሕግም ምክር ቤቱ የሚዘጋዉ በሚዘጋበት ጊዜ የምክር ቤቱ አባላት በሥራ ዘመናቸዉ ያከናወኑትን ለየመረጣቸዉ ሕዝብ እንዲያስረዱና የሕዝቡን አስተያየት ሰብስበዉ እንዲመለሱ ነዉ። የምክር ቤቱ የእረፍት ጊዜ ሲራዘም እንደራሴዎቹ ከየመረጣቸዉ ሕዝብ ጋር ለመወያየት የያዙት ቀጠሮ ይታጎላል።ጊዜዉም ያጥራል።

እንደራሴዉ በሕዝብ ከተመረጠ ከመራጩ ጋር የሚገናኝበት ቀጠሮ የታጎለ ወይም ጊዜዉ ያጠረበትን ምክንያት ለመረጠዉ ሕዝብ ማስረዳት ሥላለበት የእረፍት ጊዜዉ የተራዘመበትን ትክክለኛ ምክንያት ማወቅ ግድ በሆነበት ነበር።ምክር ቤቱ በተራዘመዉ የእረፍት ጊዜዉ የቴሌኮም ረቂቅ ሕግንና የመጪዉን ዘመን በጀት አፅድቋል።

የበጀቱን መጠን፣ ምንጩን፣ የሚዉልበን መስክ፣ ማቅረብና ማስረዳት የነበረባቸዉ የሐገሪቱ ጠቅላይ ሚንስትር መሆን ነበረባቸዉ።እንደሚባለዉ በሕዝብ የተመረጡት ጠቅላይ ሚንስትር ከሕዝብ አሰብስበዉ ለሕዝብ የሚያዉሉት በጀት በሕዝብ ተወካዮች ሲፀድቅ አልነበሩም።ጠቅላይ ሚንስትሩ ያልነበሩበት ምክንያት፥ ብቸኛዉ ተቃዋሚ የምክር ቤት አባል አቶ ግርማ ሠይፉ እንደሚሉት አልተነገረም።

የሕዝብ ተወካይ የሚባሉት እንደራሴዎችም-አልጠየቁም።አሜሪካዊዉ የቀድሞ ዲፕሎማት እንዳሉት አስቀድመዉ የሚያቅዱት ጠቅላይ ሚንስትር መለስ ዜናዊ ምክር ቤቱም ሆነ መንግሥታቸዉ የሚፈፅመዉን አስቀድመዉ ያቀዱት ኢሕአዴግን የዘጠና-ዘጠኝ.ሥድስት ከመቶ የድምፅ ድል ሲያጎናፅፉት ሊሆን ይችላል።

ለመለስና በመለስ የረጅም ጊዜ ዕቅድ ምክር ቤት የገቡት ሰዎች ከፓርቲያቸዉ ሌላ የሚያስረዱትም፣ የሚፈርቱም፣ የሚያከብሩትም፣ የሚጠይቃቸዉም ሕዝብ የለም።እነሱም አልጠየቁም።መለስም አልነበሩም።የመለስን መታመም የተለያዩ መገናኛ ዘዴዎች ዘግበዉበት፥የሕመማቸዉን አይነት፥ ደረጃና የሚታከሙበትን ሥፍራ ሁሉም እንዳሻዉ ተናግሮት ሲያገባድድ ባለፈዉ ሳምንት ሐሙስ የመጀመሪያዉ የመንግሥት ይፋ መግለጫ ከአዲስ አበባ ተሰማ።

#አቶ በረከት ሥምኦን የኢትዮጵያ መንግሥት ቃል አቀባይ።የመለስ መንግሥት ሥለ መለስ ጤና ለመናገር የዘገየዉ ሺን እንዳሉት መለስ አስቀድመዉ ሥላላቀዱት ይሆን።አቶ ግርማ እንደሚሉት ደግሞ የመንግሥት ባለሥልጣናት ሥለ ጠቅላይ ሚንስትሩ ጤና ለመናገር መዘግየት ብቻ ሳይሆን የሰጡት መረጃም የተሳሳተ ነዉ።

ዶክተር አረጋዊ በርሔም ከመዘግየቱ መሳከሩ ይላሉ።

ዶቸ ቬለ እንደማንኛዉም መገናኛ ዘዴ ሁሉ ሥለመለስ ጤንነት የኢትዮጵያ ባለሥልጣናትና ጉዳዩ የሚመለከታቸዉን ሐገራት ሹማምንት ማብራሪያ እንዲሰጡት በተደጋጋሚ፥ በተለያየ መንገድ ጠይቆ ነበር።ከሚንስትር በረከት መግለጫ ካንድ ቀን በፊት ጠቅላይ ሚንስትሩ ይታከሙበታል የሚባለዉ በብራስልስ-ቤልጂግ የኢትዮጵያ ኤምባሲ በኢሜይል የሠጠን መለስ ግን ጠቅላይ ሚንስትሩ ሕክምና ላይ ናቸዉ መባሉን «ሐሰትና ስሕተት» ብሎ ነበር።

ዛሬስ-ሐሰት-ስሕተቱ የትና የማን ነዉ? እዉነቱ ግን መለስ ያኔም-ዛሬም መደበኛ ሥራቸዉ ላይ የሉም።ይሕን በርግጥ ሺን እንደሚሉት አቅደዉት ሊሆን አይችልም።የኢትዮጵያ ከፍተኛ ፍርድ ቤት ባለፈዉ አርብ ሐምሌ ስድስት ጋዜጠኛ እስክንድር ነጋንና የተቃዋሚዉን የአንድነት ለዲሞክራሲና ለፍትሕ ፓርቲ ከፍተኛ ባለሥልጣንን ጨምሮ ሃያ-አራት ጋዜጠኛና ፖለቲከኞችን በአሸባሪነት ወንጀል-ከሰባት እስከ እድሜ ልክ በሚደርስ እስራት ቀጥቷቸዋል።

የዚያኑ ዕለት ማታ ፖሊስ የአወሊያንና የሌሎች ቢያንስ ሰወስት የአዲስ አበባ መሳጂዶችን እየረመረመ በየመስጊዶ የነበሩ በሺ የሚቆጠሩ ምዕመናን በአስለቃሽ ጢስ እያፈነ፣ በዱላ እየቀጠቀጠ በየዕሥር ቤቱ አጉሯል።ፓሊስ ባለፈዉ ቅዳሜ ደግሞ ቤተ-እምነቶችን ደፍሮ በርካታ ሙስሊሞችን በጢስ ጋዝ አፍኗል፥ ደብድቧል፥ አስሯልም።

ይሕ ሁሉ አስቀድሞ የማቀድ የመሪነት ልምድና ችሎታ ያላቸዉ ጠቅላይ ሚንስትር መለስ ዜናዊ አስቀድሞዉ አቅደዉ አዘዉም ሊሆን ላይሆንም ይችላል።በዚሕ ሁሉ ጊዜ ግን መለስ መደበኛ ሥራቸዉ ላይ አለመኖሯቸዉ እርግጥ ነዉ።

ዶክተር አረጋዊ በርሔ እንደሚሉት ደግሞ መለስ ለኢትዮጵያ መንግሥት ብቻ ሳይሆን ለታገሉለት ፓርቲም ሁሉም ናቸዉ።

መለስ የሉም ማለት ለኢትዮጵያ ሁሉም የለም ማለት ይሆን? አቶ ግርማ።

በሥልጣን ላይ ላለዉ ገዢ ፓርቲ ለኢሕአዲግ ግን መለስ ሁሉም ናቸዉ በሚለዉ ሐሳብ አቶ ግርማ ይስማማሉ።

የኢትዮጵያ መንግሥት የመለስን መታተመም በይፋ ካመነ-ካለፈዉ ሐሙስ ወዲሕ አንዳድ የሐገሪቱ ባለሥልጣናት የመለስ አለመኖር የመንግሥትን የዕለት ከዕለት ሥራ አያጉልም ባይ ናቸዉ።የገዢዉ ፓርቲ አሠራር-አወቀቃቀርም በነበረበት ይቀጥላል።ዶክተር አረጋዊ በርሔ ይሕን አይቀበሉትም።

ባለፉት ሃያ-አንድ አመታት ኢትዮጵያን የመሩት ጠቅላይ ሚንስትር መለስ ዜናዊ ለረጅም ጊዜ ከመደበኛ ሥራቸዉ ከተለዩ በሐገሪቱ ፖለቲካዊ ሒደት ላይ የሚያደርሰዉ ተፅዕኖ አይኖርም ማለት ያሳስታል።የኢትዮጵያ ፖለቲካ ማለት የተቃዋሚ ፓርቲዎችም እንቅስቃሴ ማለት ነዉ።

ዶክተር አረጋዊ በርሔ፥በይፋ እንደሚታወቀዉ፥ የሐገሪቱ ሕግ እንደሚያዘዉም የሐገሪቱ ምክትል ጠቅላይ ሚንስትርና ዉጪ ጉዳይ ሚንስትር ሐይለ ማርያም ደሳለኝ ጠቅላይ ሚንስትሩን ተክተዉ ይሠራሉ።እስከ መቼ-አይታወቅም።ነጋሽ መሐመድ ነኝ ቸር ያሰማን።

የሙስሊሞች ተቃውሞና የፖሊስ እርምጃ

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

መንግሥት በሃይማኖት ጉዳዮች ጣልቃ አይግባ የሚል መልእክት የሚያሰሙ ሙስሊሞች አደባባይ እየወጡ፣ በሰላማዊ መንገድ ጥያቄዎቻቸውን ሲያቀርቡ ወራት ማለፋቸውን የተለያዩ መገናኛ ብዙኀን የዘገቡበት ጉዳይ ነው። ከሰሞኑ፣ ግን ለየት ያለ ሁኔታ ማጋጠሙን ፤ ጌታቸው ተድላ ኃ/ጊዮርጊስ የላከልን ዘገባ ያስረዳል።

Where is dictator Meles Zenawi?

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

Today is the 32nd day since Ethiopia’s khat-addicted dictator Meles Zenawi disappeared from the public view, and except for very few trusted associates, no body knows where he is currently. Over the weekend, Ethiopian Review Intelligence Unit has looked for him at all the morgues and hospitals in Brussels, where he was reported to have been receiving medical treatment, and there is no sign of him. His bodyguards have left St. Luc Hospital.

One thing there is no doubt about is the seriousness of the dictator’s illness. His health was deteriorating fast, and according to U.S. diplomatic sources, when he was in Washington DC on the invitation of President Obama last May, he collapsed at least once and forced to skip a dinner reception at the Woyanne embassy.

It is also not clear who is currently running the regime in Ethiopia, although it is rumored that Berhane GebreKristos is in charge. Certainly it is not the puppet “deputy prime minister” who was dispatched to China last week by his TPLF masters, while former foreign affairs minister Seyoum Mesfin returned to Addis Ababa from China.

While strongly stating that Meles is alive and recovering, senior members of the TPLF junta are sending their close family members out of the country with loads of foreign currency. Seats on most Ethiopian Airlines flights are currently being completely filled with families of the ruling junta.

 

Dreams of an Ethiopia in Peace

Sunday, July 22nd, 2012

Madiba-003President Nelson Mandela turned 94 on July 18, 2012. May he live long with gladness and good health!

All who love and revere President Mandela call him Madiba. He is the ultimate symbol of human love, hope,  courage, charity, endurance, patience and perseverance. He is the personification of good will, tolerance, generosity, forgiveness and reconciliation.

In South Africa’s darkest hours, Madiba emerged from the darkest dungeons of Pollsmoor Prison wearing a big smile on his face and carrying a torch light in his hand to free all his people from a wretched prison called Apartheid. When South Africa’s fate dangled between the forces of good and evil, Madiba stepped in the middle and said, “Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another.” He convinced those armed for war to disarm for peace, to bury the hatchet, dagger and arrow and to beat their swords into ploughshares, shake hands, hold hands and put their shoulders to the grindstone to build a new South Africa. When the world stood in awe of what he had done, he humbly reminded us: “I am not a saint, unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.” Don’t we all wish we had more sinners in high places in Africa who just keep on trying?

I have had many imaginary conversations with Madiba, but only one that I have dared to make public. In one of my weekly commentaries in May 2011, I reported on one such imaginary conversation. The topic was the triumphalism of African dictators. Somewhat impatiently, I asked Madiba: “What the hell is wrong with African dictators?!?” Madiba did not want to generalize, but he was very clear about Apartheid dictatorship and what needed to be done to restore South Africa to its timeless beauty. He said, “Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another. If there are dreams about a beautiful South Africa, there are also roads that lead to their goal. Two of these roads could be named Goodness and Forgiveness.”

Nightmares and Dreams of a Beautiful Ethiopia

Among the few privileges of being a human rights advocate and an academic are telling the unvarnished truth to anyone who cares to listen, speaking truth to power and defiantly hoping (even against hope) for a future that is much better than the past. That privilege comes from the special nature of human rights advocacy. A true human rights advocate has no 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. As Vaclav Havel, the late Czech Republic and human rights advocate put it, “Hope is a state of mind, not of the world. Hope, in this deep and powerful sense, is not the same as joy that things are going well,…  but rather an ability to work for something because it is good.” Defense and advocacy of human rights is something one does because it is good. As Havel said, “Work for something because it is good, not just because it stands a chance to succeed.” 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.

Lately, there has been much talk about nightmare scenarios and very little about dreams of a beautiful Ethiopia and the two roads that could take her to that place and moment in time where she “will not experience the oppression of one by another”. Some whisper of the nightmare of civil war if one man goes or stays? Is Ethiopia so insignificant in the eyes of man and God that her destiny is tied to or determined by what happens or does not happen to one man? Others bemoan the horrors of the past and seethe with anger and bitterness. They can only see the twilight of a vanishing order and are blinded to the sparkling new day dawning over the horizon.  Far too many exercise themselves with things that are divisive, disruptive and discordant. They seem to forget that we have strong bonds of family, history, culture, language and religion that bind us in a beautiful mosaic called Ethiopia.

There are some  who seem obsessed with speculation and rumors about the fate of a state built on the shoulders of one man. Would it not make more sense to be concerned about the plight and state of suffering of the other 90 million? Louis XIV, the absolute monarch of France who reigned for 72 years is reported to have said, “L’etat, c’est moi” (“I am the state”). Must we subject ourselves to the Sturm und Drang of  what could happen to Ethiopia after the fall of a one-man, one-party state that has been in power for 21 years? For all the speculation, guestimation and supposition on the part of the Ethiopian opposition and the secrecy, mystery, fudging, hedging and dodging by discombobulated regime officials, the answer may be the same as Mark Twain’s who upon reading his premature obituary quipped: “The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” Should we really be concerned about a moribund regime?

Truth be told, we should be concerned about a nation that has been in intensive care and on life support for the past 21 years and beyond. We should pray for the healing, speedy recovery and and well-being of Ethiopia. We should be searching high and low in our hearts, minds and souls for the best medication to heal Ethiopia from the cancer of tyranny and dictatorship and the pathology of hate and narrow-mindedness. We should work tirelessly to detoxify the Ethiopian body politic from the poison of ethnic domination,  sectarianism and bigotry.

To restore Ethiopia to good health, we must begin national dialogue, not only in the halls of power, the corridors of the bureaucracy and the military barracks but also in the remotest villages, the church and masjid meeting halls and other places of worship,  the schools and colleges, the neighborhood associations and in the taverns, the streets and markets and wherever two or more people congregate.  We have no choice but to begin talking to each other with good will and in good faith.

Since the beginning of 2012, I have been penning special commentaries in a series I called “Ethiopia’s transition from dictatorship and democracy”. These commentaries were fragments of my dream that Ethiopia will soon make a transition from dictatorship to democracy. Of course, dreams could easily change into nightmares.  In one such commentary, I shared my nightmares about what could happen “on the bridge from dictatorship to democracy.” I wrote, “there is often a collision between individuals and groups doggedly pursuing power, the common people tired of those who abuse and misuse power and the dictators who want to cling to power.  The chaos that occurs on the transitional bridge from dictatorship to democracy creates the ideal conditions for the hijacking of political power, theft of democracy and the reinstitution of dictatorship in the name of democracy.” In another commentary last month, I pleaded for constitutional “pre-dialogue” (preparatory conversations) in anticipation of some potential roadblocks on Ethiopia’s inexorable march to a constitutional democracy.

Recent events seem to signal the imminence of a sea change in Ethiopia. While some are preoccupied with the nightmare of what could happen in Ethiopia if one man or one party stays or goes, my nightmares have been about what those opposed to the one man will do whether he stays or goes. History shows that political transitions in Ethiopia have been nightmares, a race to the bottom. The transition from monarchy to military socialism proved to be a colossal disaster. In the name of socialism, millions perished from famine and political violence. The transition from military “socialism” to “revolutionary democracy” led to the creation of a police state in Ethiopia unrivalled in the modern history of Africa. The flicker of democracy that was seen in 2005 was snuffed out in the blink of an eye. Now, the sun seems to be setting on the police state; and it could be curtain time for the chief of police. There is volcanic pressure building up slowly but surely in Ethiopia. We see small precursor eruptions here and there.  Public dissatisfaction with the status quo has turned to utter public desperation. People cannot afford the basic necessities of life as inflation and cost of living soar to new heights. Corruption, abuse of power, massive repression and poor governance are about to blast the dome on the grumbling volcano. The situation is deteriorating by the day. One has to assume that against the backdrop of the “Arab Spring”, Ethiopia’s iron-fisted rulers must be a little worried about the winter of discontent of the Ethiopian people being made glorious by a democratic Summer.

What the managers of the police state will do or not do concern me less than what those who profess to stand for democracy, freedom and human rights will do or not do. Will they do what they have always done in the past: Never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity? Continue to play the same old zero sum game (that is, they win and everybody else loses) of politics? Play games of one-upmanship trying to outdo,  outwit, outthink, outsmart, outplay, outfox, outmaneuver and outbully each other, while those in the saddle of power laugh at them? Play the blame game, finger pointing game and demonization game to show how bad everybody is and how good  they are? Will they invent new games?

Or will the opposition collectively be able to soar to new heights of greatness? Will they forgive each other for the injuries of the past and pledge to work for a secure and just future for all Ethiopians? Will they be able to forge a partnership to deal with the multiplicity of problems facing the people? Will they lead the people to consensus by prioritizing and focusing on things for which there is broad agreement, or will they nitpick their way into a stalemate over minutiae? Above all, will they have the courage to reach out to each other in the spirit of brotherhood and sisterhood, shake hands, bury the hatchet and put their shoulders to the grindstone to work together in the cause of  freedom, democracy and human rights in Ethiopia? Will they have the courage to walk in Madiba’s footprints?:

The sight of freedom looming on the horizon should encourage us to redouble our efforts. It is only through disciplined mass action that our victory can be assured. We call on our white compatriots to join us in the shaping of a new South Africa. The freedom movement is a political home for you too…

As freedom looms over the horizon in Ethiopia, do we all have the courage, humility and foresight to say to  those in power and out of power,  “If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.” Is it possible to create a broad partnership of justice, equality, freedom, democracy and human rights in Ethiopia today? Could we say now to those who have a tight grip on power what Madiba said to his white compatriots then, “The freedom movement is a political home for you too…”

Hate the Sin, Not the Sinner

In his autobiography, Gandhi wrote, “Man and his deed are two distinct things.  Whereas a good deed should call forth approbation and a wicked deed disapprobation, the doer of the deed, whether good or wicked, always deserves respect or pity as the case may be. ‘Hate the sin and not the sinner’ is a precept which, though easy enough to understand, is rarely practiced, and that is why the poison of hatred spreads in the world….” If one hates another because of race, color, religion, ethnicity or other factors, the result is more hate. Madiba said, “No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” If hate is learned, it can also be unlearned. If love can be taught, it can be spread across the land.

We must follow Gandhi’s precept that if we must hate, we “hate the sin and not the sinner.” It is a tough precept to follow and live by. We have all been part of the problem and part of the solution at one time or another. If this is not true, then “He who is without sin should cast the first stone.” But now all of us have an opportunity  to become part of the grand solution to the political problems facing Ethiopia. It is a rare chance that comes once in generations. Let’s not squander it.

In William Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar, Mark Antony as part of his funeral oration following the death of Caesar said, “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.” Those who have lived in hate and done evil in their lifetimes will have a testament in history for their deeds which will live long after they are dead and gone. If we obsess with the sinners, we will surely inherit the wind of those who have troubled their houses. We will inherit a tornadic wind that will tear the basic fabric and foundation of the Ethiopian nation. But if we focus our attention on the sin and together  atone for it, we stand to inherit democracy from the ashes of dictatorship; human rights from the depths of human wrongs; freedom from oppression, love from hate; reconciliation from animosity and forgiveness from rancor. Such are the wages of good. Those who hold the reign of power should realize that things cannot continue the way they are now. They have a simple choice to make; and in the words of  Robert Kennedy: “A revolution is coming — a revolution which will be peaceful if we are wise enough; compassionate if we care enough; successful if we are fortunate enough — But a revolution which is coming whether we will it or not. We can affect its character; we cannot alter its inevitability.” Why is it not possible to have a revolution in Ethiopia where we can all win because we are all on the side of freedom, democracy and human rights?

So, What Time Is It In Ethiopia Now?

Scripture teaches that there is “A time to love and a time to hate; a time for war and a time for peace.” So, what time is it in Ethiopia now? I say it is time for peace–high time to dream for peace. It is time to replace bitterness with reconciliation; hate with love that heals the community; revenge with forgiveness; despair with hope; hurt with healing; fear with courage; division with unity; doubt with faith; shame with honor;  deceit with candor and sincerity; anger with reason; cruelty with kindness and caring; enmity with friendship; duplicity with openness; complacency with action; indifference with passion; incivility with gracefulness; suspicion with trust; selfishness with altruism; dishonesty with integrity; convenience with virtue; cunning  with scruples; ignorance with knowledge; benightedness with imagination; acrimony with civility, desire with fulfillment and sniping and carping with with broad national dialogue. The time to talk and act is now!

Dreams of an Ethiopia at Peace: Roads to Goodness and Forgiveness

Madiba had a great dream for Africa. He said, “I dream of an Africa which is in peace with itself. I dream of the realization of unity of Africa whereby its leaders, some of whom are highly competent and experienced, can unite in their efforts to improve and to solve the problems of Africa.” Madiba said, “This must be a world of democracy and respect for human rights, a world freed from the horrors of poverty, hunger, deprivation and ignorance, relieved of the threat and the scourge of civil wars and external aggression and unburdened of the great tragedy of millions forced to become refugees.”

Madiba has always inspired me to have dreams of an Ethiopia at peace freed from the horrors of poverty, hunger, deprivation and ignorance and the scourge of civil wars. In September 2011, in one of my weekly commentaries I tried to pull together the pieces of my dream:

Ethiopia is today a dystopia–  a society that writhes under a dictatorship that trashes human rights and decimates all opposition ruthlessly. Last year, Zenawi told two high level U.S. Government officials what he will do to his opposition: “We will crush them with our full force.” All Ethiopians, regardless of ethnicity, language, religion, class or region must be able to imagine an Ethiopia where no petty tyrant will ever have the power or even the audacity to say he will “crush” another fellow citizen, or has the ability to use “full force” against any person just because he can. Ethiopians must be able to dream of a future free of ethnic strife, famine and oppression; and strive to work together for a little utopia in Ethiopia where might is NOT right but the rule of law shields the defenseless poor and voiceless against the slings and arrows of the criminally rich and powerful. It is true that Utopians aspire for the perfect society, but Ethiopians should aspire and work collectively for a society in which human rights are respected, the voice of the people are heard and accepted (not stolen), those to whom power is entrusted perform their duties with transparency and are held accountable to the law and people.

In my long-winded way, what I was trying to say was this: “Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another.”

This past January, I spoke of the paradox of being a utopian Ethiopian:

Even utopian Ethiopians know that as we work for unity, they will be working double overtime for disunity. For every act done to create trust, they will fabricate ten acts to create suspicion and distrust. It is said that a thousand mile journey begins with the first step. In making its declaration, the OLF has taken a giant leap for all Ethiopians. Each one of us must now take our own small steps for our Ethiopianity (humanity before ethnicity or nationality).

My dream of Ethiopia at peace is a dream based on the idea that all Ethiopians need to be a little bit utopian. Madiba is the greatest utopian in living memory. He was utopian enough to say, “I have fought against white domination and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and — and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.” Yet, he was realistic  enough to warn that if discussions and negotiations fail to resolve issues, there could be alternatives dreadful to contemplate: “There are many people who feel that it is useless and futile for us to continue talking peace and non-violence – against a government whose only reply is savage attacks on an unarmed and defenceless people. And I think the time has come for us to consider, in the light of our experiences at this day at home, whether the methods which we have applied so far are adequate.” Is it futile to begin talking in Ethiopia now? To continue talking? To choose the path of nonviolence in the face of “savage attacks on an unarmed and defenceless people”? I think not.

It is plain to all that the present system of one-man, one-party, one-everything has no future in Ethiopia. It will come to an end peacefully or otherwise, sooner or later.  But we must learn from recent history. “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” That is what happened in Libya not long ago, and is happening in Syria today. There is no need to make the mistakes made in Libya or Syria.

Madiba understood that the transition from Apartheid dictatorship to majority democratic rule must involve all South Africans, not just the elites and others whose aim is to become power contenders. Madiba said:

The people need to be consulted on who will negotiate and on the content of such negotiations. Negotiations cannot take place — Negotiations cannot take place above the heads or behind the backs of our people. It is our belief that the future of our country can only be determined by a body which is democratically elected on a non-racial basis. Negotiations on the dismantling of apartheid will have to address the overwhelming demands of our people for a democratic, non-racial and unitary South Africa. There must be an end to white monopoly on political power and a fundamental restructuring of our political and economic systems to ensure that the inequalities of apartheid are addressed and our society thoroughly democratized.

All Ethiopian political and civic leaders must understand that “the people need to be consulted” and the future of our country can only be determined by a body which is democratically elected on a non-ethnic basis. It is delusional to think that the one-man, one-party model will continue unchanged. It is dumb to think that the  clever, cunning and shrewd could outwit and out power play the rest and seize political power and continue the same old game of one-man, one-party, one-everything rule. It is wise to remember the saying that “you can fool all of the people some of the time and some of the people ofall of the time; but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.” These days it is hard to fooll anybody. Those who may be scheming to play this game should give it up and not waste their time.  It is foolhardy to think that anything other than genuine multiparty democracy fortified by the rule of law, reinforced by respect for human rights and sustained by the good will of the people could bring peace to Ethiopia. Regardless, the one-man, one-party party that has been going on for the past 21 years is now over!

It is a Tough Job, But All of Us Have to Do it!

When Madiba was released from Pollsmoor Prison in 1990, his first public words were about the unity of all South Africans, not the evils of Apartheid or the crimes and inhuman acts committed by one race over the other. Madiba said uniting the people is job one on day one:

The need to unite the people of our country is as important a task now as it always has been. No individual leader is able to take on this enormous task on his own. It is our task as leaders to place our views before our organization and to allow the democratic structures to decide on the way forward. On the question of democratic practice, I feel duty-bound to make the point that a leader of the movement is a person who has been democratically elected at a national conference. This is a principle which must be upheld without any exceptions.”

No individual leader or single organization in Ethiopia can take on the enormous task of uniting the people. It is the task of all leaders of political organizations, faith institutions, civic associations, youth and women’s groups and others to inspire the people to come together, to unite and to dream together about a new Ethiopia where no one shall again experience the oppression of one by another. It is impossible to unite the people without  detoxifying the conversation and abandoning the obsession about one man. To do what Madiba did in South Africa, we must commit to the important task now, and that is “uniting the people of our country.”

My Birthday Present to Madiba

Last week Archbishop Desmond Tutu said that “the  greatest gift we can give Madiba is to follow his  example.” So I shall give him Madiba his birthday gift by pledging to walk in his footsteps. I am eternally grateful to Madiba for what he has done for all humanity. His words and deeds have inspired me not only to speak truth to power and dream about a bright future for Ethiopia and Africa, but also to begin teaching, preaching and reaching out to all to begin a journey on the road to forgiveness and goodness. I understand Madiba’s way does not come with an iron clad guarantee of success, but I have yet to find another way that could lead to a durable peace in Ethiopia but the ways of forgiveness and goodness. I could be wrong, but I would rather take the wrong turn on Madiba’s road than take the road to nowhere because that is the alternative. Some may think I am just a naïve and gullible lawyer whose head swoons in the clouds of the ivory tower. I should like to think I have my feet firmly planted in the ground.

I do hope that there will be people who will agree with me that I am right in following Madiba’s example. Perhaps they may even consider joining me on that long and hard road despite their fears of being sneered and jeered along the way. But I shall travel that road in Madiba’s footsteps alone if I must. Henry David Thoreau said, “If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.” And if I should get tired walking alone, I will just limp along behind the millions of Ethiopians who will be marching on Madiba’s way lockstep to the drumbeat of freedom, democracy, dignity and peace. But before rushing to judge me harshly or kindly, forget not that I am just a utopian Ethiopian. “Some men see things and say, ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say, ‘Why not?’”.  Why not walk in Madiba’s footsteps? Why not dream of Ethiopia with her children at peace? Why not outdream each other about what is possible, viable and attainable in beautiful Ethiopia? Let us all become utopian Ethiopians! Why not?

Happy 94th Madiba! Long Live Madiba!  Long Live Nelson Mandela! Long Live Ethiopia!

የስልጣን ሽግግር በተመለከተ የወያኔ ሕገ መንግሥት አንቀጽ ክፍተት አለበት ተባለ

Sunday, July 22nd, 2012

አቶ ዮሐንስ ወልደ ገብርኤል፣ የሕግ ባለሙያ
አቶ ዮሐንስ ወልደ ገብርኤል አዲስ አበባ በቅሎ ቤት አካባቢ ነው የተወለዱት፡፡  የመጀመርያ ደረጃና ሁለተኛ ደ

“ጉልቻ ቢለውጥ ወጥ አያጣፍጥም” (የኢትዮጵያን ሪቪው ወቅታዊ ርዕሰ አንቀጽ)

Sunday, July 22nd, 2012

 “ጉልቻ ቢለውጥ ወጥ አያጣፍጥም” የኢትዮጵያን ሪቪው ወቅታዊ ርዕሰ አንቀጽ   በፒ.ዲ.ኤፍ. ለማንበብ እዚህ ላይ ይጫኑ በኢትዮጵያ ላይ እንደ አልቅት ተጣብቆ የህዝቡን ደም እየመጠጠ፣ እየገደለ፣ እያሰቃየና የፈለገውን እያደረገ ለሃያ አንድ ዓመታት በሥልጣን ላይ የቆየው ቅጥረኛው፣ ጎሰኛው፣ አምባገነኑና ዘራፊው የህወሃት አገዘዝ ቁንጮ መለስ ዜናዊ በስልጣን ላይ ቢቆይም ወይም በትረ ስልጣኑን ለሌላ ወያኔ ቢያስተላልፈው፣ አጠቃላዩ የአፈናውና የግፈኛው ሥርዓት [...]

ፍትህ ጋዜጣ እንዳትሰራጭ ታገደች

Sunday, July 22nd, 2012

Tweet(ፍትህ – ተመስገን ደሳለኝ) በትላ ንትናው ዕለት ለስርጭት መብቃት የነበረባት ፍትህ የጠቅላይ ሚንስትሩን መታተም ተከትሎ በተፈጠረው የስልጣን ትግል እያሸነፈ በመጣው አክራሪ ሀይል ተስተጓጉላ የነበረ ቢሆንም በማግስቱ እንድትታተም ተፈቅዷል ተብሎ ታተመች፡፡ ትላንት ከምሽቱ 2 ሰዓት ላይም ሙሉ በሙሉ ታትማም አለቀች፡፡ ነገር ግን አንባቢያን እጅ ልትደርስ አልቻለችም፡፡ ምክንያቱ ደግሞ (በዛው ኃይል ትዕዛዛ ይመስለኛል) በአቃቢ ህግ ብርሃኑ ወንድምአገኝ [...]

From an Ethiopian Muslim to Ethiopian Christians

Sunday, July 22nd, 2012

By Bilal Mohammed

By now most of you have most probably heard of the peaceful questions that we Ethiopian Muslims are raising. In simple terms we are asking for independent religious representatives (known us Mejlis) to be elect by us in the mosques . The seventeen committee members elected as representatives in this quest have tried to persuade the government to solve this easy problem. In the process, we have strongly supported them by signing petitions from cities and villages from all over Ethiopia and abroad.

The committee and the protestors have made it clear that our questions are religious and religious only. We never asked anything that can threaten or even can be in the disadvantage of the Ethiopian non-Muslims. In fact, our wise committee members and the protestors at large have made sure that even in the very outrageous situation, we keep peaceful methods as our only means of struggle. Like any other citizens, we are citizens, hence no other group, including the government itself has a basis to claim that they are better concerned about our country’s peace and stability.

Despite this, the protestors had to endure deliberate false accusations from the unelected Mejlis and the government. They call the protestors “a few terrorist individuals who want to overthrow the constitution by force”. The imaginary “terrorist” word does not need explanation, we have recently witnessed journalists being called “terrorists”. As you might have seen the videos of last Friday, the more than a million protestors cannot be considered “a few”. And at this moment who is unconstitutional: the people who are going to the mosque and showing their disapproval of the Mejlis in a peaceful manner or the people in power who authorize brutal means including using teargas and lethal weapons against innocent citizens in the mosque? How do you feel if your young child, helpless old mother or father was a victim of such an attack?

No political party taught us Ethiopian Muslims and Christians how to be tolerant amongst one another. Our parents and grand parents did not have ETV and Federal police as a peace-keeping force. What they had was the beautiful culture that we inherited, exercise today and proudly talk about.

The divide and rule method is an old strategy that colonial powers applied against the citizens of their colonies. Sadly, we see this method being applied by people who claim to protect the constitution against their people. There is no need to explain the damage of the divide and rule strategy if we were not the people we are. But they seem relentless and they keep on trying.

No one is immune from being part of history, it is only a matter of how good or bad. The question is: are we going to persist in our unity, or fall for the lies of politicians and disintegrate. We have the opportunity to make a shiny history, to join hands and root out dictatorship once and for all.

Dear Christian Ethiopians,

I would like to call upon you to independently seek for information on the matter. It is my strong belief that you will easily understand our peaceful question and can contribute to change it from an Ethiopian Muslims only question to an Ethiopian question. After all, we are part of the motherland who share its joy and pain.

At this historic moment, please let us discuss the manners and the means to express support. An example is to create awareness to strengthen unity, influence relatives who are part of security forces not to cooperate in illegal and brutal suppression, spread the word so that the outside world hears it.

(The writer can be reached at billalmohammedamin@gmail.com)

ቃሌ የመወያያ ክፍል 5 የፖለቲካ ፓርቲዎችን ጁላይ 28 ቀን ለውይይት ጋበዘ

Sunday, July 22nd, 2012

Tweet(ዘ-ሐበሻ) በፓልቶክ ውስጥ ካሉት በርከት ያሉት የመወያያ ክፍሎች መካከል አንዱና ግንባር ቀደሙ የሆነው ቃሌ የመወያያ ክፍል 5 የተቃዋሚ የፖለቲካ ፓርቲዎችን በጁላይ 28 ቀን 2012 በወቅታዊ ጉዳዮች ላይ ለማወያየት መጋበዙን ለዘ-ሐበሻ በላኩት ጥሪ አስታወቁ። የጥሪውን ሙሉ ቃል እንደሚከተለው አቅርበናል። July 21, 2012 ለተከበራችሁ፡ የጥምረት ለነጻነት ለእኩልነትና ለፍትህ በኢትዮጵያ የኦሮሞ ነጻነት ግንባር የኢትዮጵያ ሕዝብ የጋራ ትግል ሸንጎ [...]

Woyanne police clash with Ethiopian Muslim protesters (Reuters)

Saturday, July 21st, 2012

(Reuters) – Ethiopian Woyanne junta police clashed on Saturday with scores of Muslims protesters complaining that the state is interfering in their religion, witnesses and officials said.

The protesters, some wearing masks, blocked the entrance of the Anwar Mosque in the west of the capital Addis Ababa and hurled stones at riot police who had surrounded the compound after noon prayers.

“Police broke inside the mosque and arrested many people, including several members of the (protest organising) committee. They also fired teargas at protesters outside,” said an activist who declined to be named for fear of reprisals.

Another witness said he had seen empty tear gas canisters strewn on the ground. It was not immediately possible to verify these reports.

Thousands of Muslims have staged sporadic street protests in the capital since late last year, arguing that the government is promoting an alien branch of Islam, the Al Ahbash sect, which is avowedly apolitical and has numerous adherents in the United States.

The government denies promoting Al Ahbash, but is determined to prevent Islamic militancy spilling over from neighbouring Sudan or lawless Somalia.

Around 60 percent of Ethiopians are Christian and 30 percent Muslim, mostly of the moderate, pragmatic Sufi tradition.

Diplomats and analysts say there could be potential for any militant groups to exploit sectarian divisions and trigger violence.

The government accuses “extremist elements” of sparking violence at the protests.

Government spokesman Shimeles Kemal said police had arrested ‘several’ people on Saturday but denied that police had used teargas.

“These were masked assailants from extremist groups that prevented mosque attendants from leaving the compound after the completion of noon prayers,” he said.

“They tried to incite violence, they threw stones and damaged property.”

Activists have reported several deaths during previous clashes, but no casualties were reported on Saturday.

Al Ahbash, also known as the Association of Islamic Charitable Projects, was founded in the early 1980s by Sheikh Abdullah al Harrari, an Ethiopian cleric who was forced to leave his country for Lebanon in 1950.

The protesters say the government is promoting the ideas of the group through Ethiopia’s highest Muslim body, the Supreme Council on Islamic Affairs, and preventing overdue elections that could bring alternative views onto the Council.

Shimeles denied that the government was trying to influence Muslim affairs. “Our constitution bans any government interference in religion,” he said.

Shocking beatings of Ethiopian Muslims by TPLF goons (video)

Saturday, July 21st, 2012

The Woyanne junta security forces on Saturday savagely attacked unarmed peaceful Ethiopian Muslims who were protesting the regime’s intervention in their religion. Watch the video below:

በፍጥነት እንሰብሰብ (አክሎግ ቢራራ)

Saturday, July 21st, 2012

ዶ/ር አክሎግ ቢራራ በቁጥር ሰባት የደመደምኩት፤ አገርን ከአስከፊ አደጋ ለመከላከል ከተፈለገ፤ መላውን የኢትዮጵያ ሕዝብ ለሰው ርህራሄ ከሌለው፤ ዘርፎ ለዘራፊ ዳራጊ ከሆነ የዘረኛ ስርአት አላቆ ለፍትሃዊ አማራጭ የሚቨጁ አገር አቀፍ ተቋሞችን መገንባት ያስፈልጋል። አለበለዚያ፤ አገራችን ሁልጊዜ ያልተረጋጋ ች ሆና ትቆያለች፤ ህዝቧም በድህነት አለንጋ ሲገረፍ፤ ወጣቱ ሲስደድ ይኖራል። መፍትሄው በእጃችን ነው። ይህን አስፈላጊ ለውጥ ለማድረግ የባህል፤ በመጀመሪያ፤ [...]

Eyewitness account of savage beatings in Addis Ababa

Saturday, July 21st, 2012

An eyewitness tells Ethiopian Review about the savage beatings of Ethiopian Muslims in Addis Ababa today.

July 21, 10 AM PM EST
The Woyanne junta security forces are savagely beating and rounding up young Muslims in the streets of Addis Ababa. Muslim leaders are also being rounded up. Anwar Mosque is under siege.  Shops are being closed… [read more]
July 20, 8:00 PM EST
The Woyanne junta has charged Ethiopian Muslim leaders with terrorism today in court… [read more]

July 20, 6:00 PM EST
At the Anwar Mosque in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa today over 1.5 million Ethiopian Muslims protested silently and peacefully against the Woyanne junta’s intervention in their religion. The regime has arrested several Mulsim leaders, but its action caused even more anger from Muslim Ethiopians… follow updates here

[Source: Ethiopian Review]

ESAT: Azeb Mesfin driver defects

Saturday, July 21st, 2012

Azeb Mesfin arrives in Rome; Sebhat Nega back on the TPLF saddle

Friday, July 20th, 2012

Ethiopian Review has received information that Ethiopian dictator Meles Zenawi’s wife, Azeb Mesfin, went to Rome, Italy, last night. Two days ago, we had reported that she received an Italian visa.

It is believed that Azeb left the country to escape from Sebhat Nega whom she forced out of the ruling party’s top leadership in 2009 [read here]. She also kicked him out of his chairmanship of the multibillion-dollar conglomerate named Endowment Fund for the Rehabilitation of Tigray (EFFORT) around the same time.

Ever since Meles Zenawi’s absence in the past two weeks, Sebhat Nega has been trying to come back as the TPLF kingmaker. It was Sebhat who engineered Meles Zenawi’s rise to power and he was the second most powerful figure in the ruling party until he was humiliated and kicked out by Azeb.

Sebhat is said to have the support of key TPLF leaders, including Tsegaye Berhe, Abay Woldu, Gen. Se’are Mekonnen, and Getachew Assefa, among others.

Sebhat Nega has no interest to replace Meles Zenawi, according to observers, but he wants to restore his honor and reclaim his status as the kingmaker.

Although Meles’s choice as the next TPLF chief is Berhane Gebrekiristos, Sebhat is vehemently against it, our sources said.

In the midst of all this power struggle inside the ruling party, the regime currently has no leader. The so-called “deputy prime minister,” Hailemariam Desallegn, is a puppet with no power. He is currently in China to attend some meeting. That could be an excuse for him NOT to get caught in the middle of a potentially bloody power struggle among his TPLF masters.

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ENTC seeks diplomatic recognition from the U.S. government

Friday, July 20th, 2012

PRESS RELEASE
20 JULY 2012

Ethiopian National Transitional Council asks for diplomatic recognition from the U.S. government

The newly formed Ethiopian National Transitional Council (ENTC) has submitted a formal letter to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton requesting a de jure diplomatic recognition from the U.S. Government.

The letter was submitted to Secretary Clinton by the ENTC’s diplomatic representative in the U.S., Ato Solomon Ephrem.

In the letter, the ENTC states its mission, explains the worsening political, economic and security crisis in Ethiopia, and urges the U.S. Government to help with a peaceful transition to democracy.

The U.S. Government is the first country that the Transitional Council has asked for a diplomatic recognition since it was founded at a 3-day conference in Dallas, Texas, that was convened from July 1 – 3, 2012 with the participation of representatives from over 30 cities and countries.

The Transitional Council plans to submit similar requests to several countries through its diplomatic representatives in the coming few weeks.

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For more info:
ENTC Foreign Relations
85 S. Bragg St. Alexandria VA, 22312 USA
Tel: 202-735-4262
Email: contact@etntc.org
Website: etntc.org

Woyanne arrests Muslim leaders ahead of Friday prayer

Friday, July 20th, 2012

The Woyanne junta has been arresting Ethiopian Muslims leaders ahead of the Friday prayer today. The detainees yesterday include Imam Sayd Ali… state tuned for more updates

[Some of the detained Ethiopian Muslim leaders]

Meles Zenawi is said to be dead – multiple sources

Friday, July 20th, 2012

An Ethiopian Airlines employee, who wants to remain anonymous, informed Ethiopian Review this afternoon that Ethiopia’s dictator Meles Zenawi has died 4 days ago. But according to our sources, his bodyguards are still at St. Luc Hospital in Belgium. If Meles is dead, what are they doing in Belgium? Is it a diversionary tactic?

When asked how he found out the information, the EAL employee said that he overheard it by accident on Monday from senior airline officials who are members of the ruling party. He added that he receives Ethiopian Review email updates regularly and decided to contact us with this information after hearing Bereket Simon’s interview this morning and was offended by what he heard.

Coupled with similar information we have been receiving since Sunday from several credible sources, the story about the dictator’s death is gaining more credence by the day.

Woyanne propaganda chief Bereket Simon’s press conference this morning (watch below) raised more questions than answers. Observers speculate that the Woyanne junta could be keeping the dictator’s death secret because there is a growing dissatisfaction with Meles Zenawi’s choice of Berhane Gebrekristos as his successor.

Western money keeps Ethiopians poor, oppressed

Friday, July 20th, 2012

Donor Dollars aiding political repression in Ethiopia

By Graham Peebles | mwcnews.net

July 16, 2012

An ideological poison is polluting all life within Ethiopia, flowing into every area of civil society. Local governance, urban and rural neighbourhoods, farming, education and the judiciary all are washed in Revolutionary Democracy’, the doctrine of the ruling party. Human Rights Watch (HRW) in their detailed report ‘Development without Freedom’ (DWF) quote Ethiopia’s Prime Minister for the last twenty years Meles Zenawi explaining that “when Revolutionary Democracy permeates the entire society, individuals will start to think alike and all persons will cease having their own independent outlook. In this order, individual thinking becomes simply part of collective thinking because the individual will not be in a position to reflect on concepts that have not been prescribed by Revolutionary Democracy.” A society of automatons is the EPRDF vision, The Borg Collective in the Horn of Africa, men women and children of the seventy or so tribal groups of Ethiopia all dancing to one repressive tune sung by the ruling EPRDF.

Dollars and nonsense

Ethiopia receives around $3 billion dollars in long-term development aid each year (second only to Indonesia); this is more than a third of the country’s total annual budget. Funds and resources donated to support the needy, in the hands of the Zenawi regime are being employed as a means of manipulating the Ethiopian people along partisan ideological lines. HRW states in DWF, “the Ethiopian government is using development aid as a tool of political repression by conditioning access to essential government services on support for the ruling party.”

The EPRDF has complete control of funds donated to Ethiopia by the Development Assistance Group (DAG), a consortium of the main donors, including the World Bank, USA, the European Commission and Britain. The government holds the purse strings of every dollar and cent allocated for the four major areas of development work: Protection of Basic Services (PBS), the Productive Safety Net Programme, Public Sector Capacity Building and the General Education Quality Improvement.

The largest single donor is the USA, which in 2011 according to US state department figures “provided $847 million in assistance, including more than $323 million in food aid.” The European Commission gives 400 million and Britain, via the Department Foreign Investment and Development (DFID) has committed £331million ($516million) per year until 2015. The British taxpayers’ pounds according to DFID “will meet the needs of the very poorest and support proven results-driven programmes that will bring healthcare, education and water to millions of people.” Well intentioned perhaps, however in attempting to ‘meet the needs of the very poorest’, as DFID claim, HRW research found that all international development aid, “flows through, and directly supports, a virtual one-party state with a deplorable human rights record, [whose] practices include jailing and silencing critics and media, enacting laws to undermine human rights activity, and hobbling the political opposition.” Facts well known to donors, who are content it seems to allow, indeed support the politicization of aid, a catalogue of human rights violations and the widespread suppression of the people,forced to live in an ideological straight jacket fastened tight by agents of the Zenawi government, at national, regional and community level.

Conditional support

The EPRDF government controls all areas of government and civil society in Ethiopia, from the judiciary to the classroom, the media to the farm, telecommunication and the banks.

The EPRDF controls all areas of government and civil society in Ethiopia, from the judiciary to the classroom, the media to the farm, telecommunication and the banks. Its reach into urban neighborhoods and rural communities was greatly increased before the 2008 elections, when the number of seats in the woreda and kebele were expanded from 15 to 300. Only the EPRDF was able to field candidates in all councils and with opposition parties largely boycotting the unfair elections, the EPRDF ‘won’ over 99.9% of the seats, meaning as HRW state “the ruling party had total control of the rural majority of the Ethiopian population.”

Through the regional offices of the woreda and kebele the government exercises its ability to control ordinary rural and urban Ethiopians; it is here that the administration of daily life takes place. Local offices approve or reject, applications from farmers for seeds and fertilizer, decide on micro credit support, distribute food to the needy (10 – 20 million rely on food aid), allocate education and employment opportunities, issue business permits and ID cards. The result, as HRW state is “state/party officials have significant influence over the livelihoods of citizens.” An understatement, in fact they govern all aspects of life, within the city or the village, for the teacher or the judge, the women seeking to start a small business, or the Mother desperate to feed her family. All are at the mercy of government officials.

Emergency food relief is given as part of the PBS program, a highly expensive complex development scheme, which assigns around $1 billion a year reports HRW, in a “block grant to the federal government,” they disperse the funds through their kebele’s and woreda offices. Distribution is based not on need, but on political association, support the opposition groups in Ethiopia and find your name scratched from the food aid list and go hungry, HRW found “the partisan allocation of food aid, [is] a problem that has been anecdotally reported in many areas and over many years in Ethiopia, especially in recent years in Somali region.” Such political discrimination of food aid distribution is not only immoral; it is in violation of international law. Farmers who Express dissent towards the government have the agricultural seeds and fertilizer needed to grow crops for their family and community withheld, voice concern over local governance as a teacher and find your career destroyed and your job taken away. HRW found “the EPRDF controls every woreda in the country, and can discriminate against any household or kebele within these administrative areas.” Given such repressive illegal actions it is inexplicable that the DFID in its Plan For Ethiopia (PFE) state the government shows “a strong commitment to fight corruption.” What the EPRDF shows is a strong commitment to suppress dissent, silence all critical voices and control the people utterly.

Big Ethiopian brother

Ethiopia is a one party state, with no freedom of speech, or assembly nor freedom of the media and where opposition forces critical of the government are silenced in the most brutal fashion. It is puzzling then, that the DFID (PFE) states, “Ethiopia has also made some progress toward establishing a functioning democracy,” It is certainly not an image of democracy recognizable to anyone who holds human rights and freedom of expression central to such an ideal and is contradicted by USAID’s statement in its Strategy Plan for Ethiopia where they acknowledge the“$13 million+ that USAID/Ethiopia invested between 2006 and 2010 specifically to promote democratic transition produced little in the way of tangible results, and specific programs have been the subject of stalling and even outright hostility.” The DFID however, go on to compound the misrepresentation asserting, “Ethiopia has achieved a strong degree of political stability through decentralized regional government.” If by ‘stability’ the DFID mean lack of popular resistance to imposed governance, through the fearful subjugation of the people, then yes this the EPRDF has succeeded in doing.

Opposition to the government is not tolerated nor is there decentralized governance, as Thomas Staal, USAID Mission Director to Ethiopia recently stated, and “the [Ethiopian] government wants to be able to control political space very carefully The kebele, woreda and sub kebele’s are extensions of central government, carrying out the divisive partisan policies of the EPRDF, the sole expression of democratic principles in Ethiopia are those found within constitutional articles, that sit neatly filed upon ministerial shelves, collecting dust, as HRW make clear “democracy [is] a hollow concept in a country steered by a powerful party-driven government in which the distinction between party and state is almost impossible to define.” And In their report “One Hundred Ways of Putting Pressure Violations of Freedom of Expression and Association in Ethiopia“ HRW echo USAID’s comment, observing that “despite the lip service given to democracy and human rights, respect for core civil and political rights such as freedom of expression and association in Ethiopia is deteriorating.” DFID officials it seems have been duped by a plethora of conformist federal laws and signatures to multiple international treatises, into accepting the word of a government that terrifies its people and tramples on international human rights law.

Partisan monitoring

Not only are all key development programs implemented by the EPRDF, but also monitoring is also undertaken in partnership with government agencies. Objective accurate monitoring is essential in determining the effectiveness of development programs; it is difficult to see how unbiased data can be collected under such highly restrictive circumstances.  HRW makes the point that “donors should recognize that Ethiopia’s own accountability systems are moribund, and that the principal barrier to detecting distortion is the Ethiopian government.” Their view that independent monitoring “is needed (without the participation of the Ethiopian Government)” is clearly correct and the bare minimum donors should insist on.

In its wisdom however, the DFID – a key donor, whilst recognizing the importance of monitoring appears happy to rely on the Ethiopian government, in which they naively invest such trust. They plan to “continue to monitor progress using national data drawn from administrative and survey sources,” i.e. the Ethiopian government. This demonstration of neglect by the DFID is an abdication of duty not only to British taxpayers, but also to the people of Ethiopia, who the EPRDF, with the help of international donors, continue to suppress and intimidate. They cannot and should not be trusted, HRW Deputy Director Jan England’s Open Letter to DFID Secretary of State Andrew Mitchell makes this plain, “the Ethiopian government is extremely resistant to scrutiny the British government and other donors to Ethiopia should not allow the Ethiopian government to dictate the terms on which British public money is monitored, and every effort should be made to prevent British development aid from strengthening authoritarian rule and repression.”

Ideological imposition

At the core of the EPRDF’s suppression and disregard for human rights is an ideological obsession. Revolutionary Democracy. Evangelical party political indoctrination takes place in within schools, teacher training institutions, the civil service and the judiciary. All contrary to international law, the Ethiopian constitution and federal laws, composed to conform to universal legal standards, conveniently cited by politician and diplomats, ignored and unenforced they mean nothing to the people.

School children above grade 10 (aged 15/16 years) are required to attend training sessions in the party ideology, policies on economic development, land sales and education. Admission to university, although not legally the case is implicitly dependent upon membership of the party, HRW found “students were under the impression that they needed party membership cards to gain admission to university.” The EPRDF stamp is also required to secure government jobs after graduation. All teachers, civil servants and judges are under pressure to tow the party line, to join the EPRDF and follow its doctrine, failure to do so impacts on employment and career prospects. Ethiopia’s largest donor, the USA, in the State Department human rights country report for 2011 notes, “Students in schools and universities were indoctrinated in the core precepts of the ruling EPDRF party’s concept of “revolutionary democracy…. the ruling party “stacks” student enrolment at Addis Ababa University… Authorities did not permit teachers at any level to deviate from official lesson plans and actively prohibited partisan political activity and association of any kind.”

Educational brainwashing of course contravenes the Ethiopian constitution, which clearly states in Article 90/2 “Education shall be provided in a manner that is free from any religious influence, political partisanship or cultural prejudice.” Words, righteous and legally binding are of no concern to Zenawi, his ministers, foreign diplomats and the cadres or spies who patrol the city neighbourhoods, university campus and civil service offices, infiltrate villages and towns of rural Ethiopia intimidating and blackmailing the people. International donors however, should be deeply concerned and take urgent actions to stop such violations of national and international law and the politicisation of aid distribution including emergency food relief.

Mixed Motives distorted action

Western governments reasons for providing development aid to Ethiopia are both humanitarian and strategic, USAID in its country plan, calls Ethiopia “the most strategically important partner in the region,” and the DFID states, “Ethiopia matters to the UK for a range of development, foreign policy and security reasons.”

Regional stability and the ‘fight against terrorism’ is cited as justification for continuing to support the EPRDF, in spite of extensive human rights abuses, the partisan distribution of aid and state terrorism. In fact, far from bringing stability to the area, the Zenawi regime is a cause of instability, this Anna Gomez makes plain “the Al-Shabab militia [Islamist group in Somalia] have only grown stronger [emphasis mine] and survival has been made more difficult since Ethiopian troops invaded in 2006, at the behest of George W. Bush.”

With conflicting interests, some might say corrupt and corrupting, donor countries find themselves funding a deeply repressive violent regime, enabling a coordinated policy of ideological indoctrination to take place, as HRW found “the government has used donor-supported programs, salaries, and training opportunities as political weapons to control the population, punish dissent, and undermine political opponents” Western donors silence and complicity in the face of such violations of international law is as Anna Gomez rightly says in the Bureau of Investigative Journalism 4th August 2011 “letting down all those who fight for justice and democracy and increasing the potential for conflict in Ethiopia and in Africa.”

The politicization and manipulation of aid distribution by the EPRDF violates international law and all standards of moral decency. Those providing aid must take urgent action to ensure this illegal practice comes to an end. Donors are well aware of the human rights abuses taking place, but have turned a blind eye to the repression of civil and political rights and a deaf ear to the cries of the many for justice and freedom. Western governments silence amounts to collusion; it is a gross misuse of taxpayer’s money and a betrayal, of international human rights laws and the Ethiopian people.

Graham is Director of The Create Trust, a UK registered charity, supporting fundamental social change and the human rights of individuals in acute need.

የመለስ ዜናዊ የጤና ሁኔታ ውዥንብር

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

በጥሩ የጤና ሁኔታ ላይ እንደሚገኙ ማስታወቁን የሃገር ውስጥና የውጭ የዚና ወኪሎች ዘግበዋል ። ስለ ጠቅላይ ሚኒስትር መለስ የጤና ሁኔታ ለማጣራት ዶቼቬለ የኢትዮጵያ መንግሥት ባለሥልጣናትንም ሆነ የቤልጂግ የውጭ ጉዳይ ሚኒስቴርን ሃላፊዎችን ለማነጋገር ያደረገው ሙከራ አልተሳካም።

የኢትዮጵያ ጠቅላይ ሚኒስትር አቶ መለስ ዜናዊ መታመማቸውና ህክምና ላይ የመሆናቸው ጭምጭምታ መሰማት ከጀመረ ጥቂት ወራት ተቆጥረዋል ። የጤናቸው ሁኔታ አነጋጋሪነት ተጠናክሮ የቀጠለው ግን መለስ ሰኔ መጨረሻ ላይ በኢትዮጵያ የህዝብ ተወካዮች ምክር ቤት ስበሰባ ላይ ሳያገኙና በኃላም ባለፈው ሳምንት እሁድና ሠኞ በተካሄደው የአፍሪቃ ህብረት የመሪዎች ጉባኤ ላይ ሳይካፈሉ ከቀሩ በኋላ ነው ። ባላፈው ሳምንት መጨረሻ ላይ ደገሞ ብራስልስ ቤልጅየም ውስጥ በሚገኝ ሉክ በተባለ ሆስፒታል ታከሙ የተባሉት አቶ መለስ ሳያርፉ አልቀረም የሚሉ መላምቶችም መሰንዘር ጀምረው ነበር ። እነዚህን የመሳሰሉ የተለያዩ አስተያየቶች ከተለያዩ ምንጮች ሲሰሙ ከኢትዮጵያ መንግሥት በኩል ስለ ጠቅላይ ሚኒስትር መለስ የጤና ሁኔታ ምንም ነገር ሳይባል መታመማቸው በአፍሪቃ ህብረት ጉባኤ ወቅት ነበር በይፋ የተነገረው። በአዲሱ የአፍሪቃ የልማት አጋርነት ወይም ኔፓድ ስበሰባ መክፈቻ ላይ የሴኔጋሉ ፕሬዝዳንት ማክ ሳሊ መለስ በጤና እክል ምክንያት አለመገኘታቸውን ካሳወቁ በኋላ የኢትዮጵያ ምክትል ጠቅላይ ሚኒስትር ኃይለ ማርያም ደሳለኝ ብሉምበርግ ለተባለው የመገናኛ ብዙሃን በሰጡት ቃለ ምልልስ አቶ መለስ ከባድ ሳይሆን ቀላል ህመም እንዳጋጠማቸው ፣ እንደማንኛውም ስው ህክምና እንደሚያስፈልጋቸውና በቅርቡም እንደሚመለሱ ተናግረዋል ። የፈረንሳይ ዜና አገልግሎት ኤ.ኤፍ.ፒ ትንንት ባሰራጨው ዜና ግን የኢትዮጵያ ጠቅላይ ሚኒስትር አቶ መለስ ዜናዊ በጠና ታመው ብራሰልስ ቤልጅየም ውስጥ በሚገኝ ሆስፒታል ህክምና እንድተደረገላቸው አንዳንድ ዲፕሎማቶች መናገራቸውን አስታውቋል። በዚሁ ዘገባ የ 57 ዓመቱ የአቶ መለስ የጤና ሁኔታ አስጊ መሆኑ ተጠቁሟል ። ሆኖም የኢትዮጵያ መንግሥት ቃል አቀባይ አቶ በረከት ስምኦን፦ አቶ መለስ «በጠና አልታመሙም፤ ጤናቸውም በጥሩ ሁኔታ ላይ ይገኛል» ማለታቸዉን ኤ.ኤፍ.ፒ. በዘገባው ጠቅሷል።

አቶ መለስ ብራሰልስ ውስጥ ህክምና እየተደረገላቸው ስለመሆን አለመሆኑ በብራሰልስ የኢትዮጵያ ኤምባሲ ማብራሪያ እንዲሰጠን ከዶቼቬለ የአማርኛዉ ክፍል ከትናንት በስተያ ላቀረብነዉ ጥያቄ፦- ኤምባሲዉ በኢሜይል በላከልን መልስ፤ አቶ መለስ በህክምና ላይ ናቸው መባሉን «ሃሰትና ስህተት» በማለት ገልፆ ታመሙ የሚለዉን ዜና «የሃሰት ታሪኮችን በማሰራጨት በተጠመዱና በተወሰኑ ወገኖች የተፈጠረ» በማለት አጣጥሎታል። ኤምባሲው ይህን ቢልም የፈረንሳይ ዜና አገልግሎት ግን አቶ መለስ ለተወሰኑ ቀናት ብራሰልስ ከሚገኙት ዋና ዋና ሆስፒታሎች በአንዱ በግል መደበኛ ህክምና እንደተደረገላቸው ብራሰልስ የሚገኙ አንዳንድ ዲፕሎማቶች መናገራቸውን አስታውቋል።

ዶቼቬለ ስለ መለስ የጤና ሁኔታ ከኢትዮጵያ መንግሥት ባለሥልጣናት መረጃ ለማግኘት ከዚህ ሳምንት መጀመሪያ አንስቶ በተደጋጋሚ ያደረገው ሙከራ አልተሳካም ። አቶ መለስ ብራሰልስ መታከም አለመታከማቸውን እንዲያረጋግጥ ዶቼቬለ ለቤልጂግ ውጭ ጉዳይ ሚኒስቴር መስሪያ ቤት ጥያቄ ቢያቀርብም የመስሪያ ቤቱ ምክትል ቃል አቃባይ በዚህ ጉዳይ ላይ ምንም ዓይነት መግለጫ ሆነ ማስተባበያም እንደማይሰጡን ነው በስልክ የነገሩን ። ሆኖም ሪፖርተር ጋዜጣ ጠቅላይ ሚኒስትሩ በመጪዎቹ ጥቂት ቀናት ውስጥ የውጭ ሕክምና ክትትላቸውን ጨርሰው ወደኢትዮጵያ እንደሚመለሱ የምንጮቹን ማንነት ሳይገልፅ ዘግቧል። በዚሁ ዘገባ እንደተጠቆመው መለስ፣ ወደአገራቸው ሲመለሱ ወዲያውኑ ሥራ እንደማይጀምሩና ለተወሰኑ ጊዜያት ካለባቸው ከባድ ኃላፊነት ርቀው ዕረፍት እንዲያደርጉ በሐኪሞቻቸው መመከራቸውን ማንነታቸውን ካልጠቀሳቸው ምንጮች መስማቱን ሪፖርተር አስታውቋል። የሕመማቸውም ምክንያትም የሥራጫና መሆኑ ነው የተመለከተው ።ይህን መረጃ ግን ከመንግሥት ባለሥልጣናት ማረጋገጥ አልቻልንም።

ጠቅላይ ሚኒስትሩ ሕክምናቸውን ሲከታተሉበት የቆዩበት አገር ለደኅንነታቸው ሲባል እንዳይገለጽ ጠይቀዋል ያላቸው ምንጮቹ፣ ከፍተኛ የመንግሥት ባለሥልጣናት መለስን ያሉበት ድረስ ሄደው እንደጎበኙዋቸውም ዘግቧል። ላለፉት 21 ዓመታት ኢትዮጵያን በፕሬዝዳትነት እንዲሁም በጠቅላይ ሚኒስትርነት የመሩት አቶ መለስ ዜናዊ 20 ዓመት ሳይሞላቸው ነበር የህክምና ትምህርታቸውን አቋርጠው የደርግ መንግሥትን ለመውጋት የትግራይ ህዝብ ነፃ አውጭ ግንባር ህወሀትን የተቀላቀሉት። በ1981 ዓም የግንባሩን መሪነት የተረከቡት መለስ ከዓመታት በኋላ ግንባሩ ከሌሎች ድርጅቶች ጋር ተዋህዶ የመሰረተው፣ የአሁኑ ገዥ ፓርቲ የኢትዮጵያ ህዝቦች አብዮታዊ ዲሞክራሲያዊ ግንባር ኢህአዲግ ሊቀመንበርም ናቸው። በተቃዋሚዎችና በሰበዓዊ መብት ተሟጋቾች ሰብዓዊ መብትን በመጣስ የፕሬስ ነፃነትን በመጨቆንና ተቃዋሚዎችን በማዋከብ የሚወገዙት መለስ በደጋፊዎቻቸው ደግሞ ባለራዕይ መሪ ተደረገው ይወደሳሉ። ለጊዜው የመለስ ህመም ምንነትም ሆነ ለምን ያህል ጊዜ ከህዝብ እይታ ተሰውረው እንደሚቆዩ ግልፅ አይደለም። በአፍሪቃ ህብረት የመሪዎች ጉባኤ ላይ እርሳቸውን ተክተው የተገኙት ምክትል ጠቅላይ ሚኒስትር ኃይለማርያም ደሳለኝ ናቸው። አቶ ኃይለ ማርያም እስከ መቼ የእሳቸውን ቦታ ሸፍነው እንደሚሰሩም በግልፅ የታወቀ ነገር የለም።

ያዳምጡ
 

Meles Ashebari Zenawi and death

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

By Yilma Bekele

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Power of Reconciliation by Teshale Sebro

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

ይህች ምድር የሁላችንም ናትና በኢትዮጵያ ጉዳዮች ላይ የጋራ መግባባት መፍጠር አለብን::

By Haile Mulu  Dated: Sunday, 08 July 2012 00:00

አቶ ተሻለ ሰብሮ፣ የኢራፓ ፕሬዚዳንት

ምርጫ 97ን ተከትሎ በኅብረተሰቡ ዘንድ የተፈጠረውን ከፖለቲካ የመሸሽ ሁኔታ ለማስተካከልና ተስፋ የቆረጠውን ሕዝብ ተስፋ የማለምለም ራዕይ ሰንቆ መቋቋሙን የሚናገረው የኢትዮጵያ ራዕይ ፓርቲ (ኢራፓ)፣ የተመሠረተበትን ሦስተኛ ዓመት በቅርቡ አክብሯል፡፡

የፓርቲዎች የጋራ ምክር ቤት አባል የሆነው ኢራፓ ሰሞኑን ለገዢው ፓርቲና ለተለያዩ ባለድርሻ አካላት የብሔራዊ መግባባት ጥሪ አቅርቧል፡፡ አቶ ተሻለ ሰብሮ የፓርቲው ፕሬዚዳንት ናቸው፡፡ ፓርቲው ባቀረበው የብሔራዊ መግባባት ጥሪና በሌሎች ተያያዥ አገራዊ ጉዳዮች ኃይሌ ሙሉ አነጋግሯቸዋል፡፡

ሪፖርተር፡- ኢራፓ ብሔራዊ መግባባት ያስፈልጋል የሚል ሐሳብ ይዞ መጥቷል፡፡ ብሔራዊ መግባባት ማለት ምን ማለት ነው? እንዴት ነው የሚገለጸው?

አቶ ተሻለ፡- በእንግሊዝኛው ብዙ ስያሜዎች አሉት፡፡ ‹‹National Reconciliation›› ይባላል፡፡ ‹‹National Dialogue›› ይባላል፡፡ ‹‹National Debate›› ይባላል፡፡ ብዙ ስሞች አሉት፡፡ የዚያን ቀጥተኛ ትርጉም ለመናገር ፈልገን አይደለም፡፡ በመሠረቱ ዓላማችን በሰላማዊ ትግል የተሻለችና የተሻሻለች ጠንካራ ኢትዮጵያን መመሥረት ከሆነ ከብሔራዊ መግባባት የተሻለ አማራጭ የለም፡፡ ወደድንም ጠላንም ወቅቱ የሚጠይቀን ይህንን ብቻ ነው፡፡

ብሔራዊ መግባባት ስንል ተራ እርቅ አይደለም፡፡ ተራ ሽምግልና አይደለም፡፡
ከዚህ ቀደም ብዙ ፓርቲዎች፣ ብዙ ግለሰቦችና ብዙ ጋዜጠኞች ብሔራዊ እርቅ ይደረግ ሲሉ ሰምተናል፡፡ ትክክል ናቸው፡፡ ነገር ግን ያ የመጨረሻ ምዕራፍ ነው፡፡ ከብሔራዊ እርቅ አስቀድሞ የኢትዮጵያ አጀንዳ በሚመለከታቸው አካላት መካከል ብሔራዊ ውይይት መጀመር አለበት፡፡ ብሔራዊ ውይይት ወደ ብሔራዊ መግባባት፣ ብሔራዊ መግባባት ደግሞ ወደ ብሔራዊ እርቅ ይመራንና ይደመደማል፡፡ የፖለቲካ ሰዎች፣ መሪዎች፣ ጉዳዩ የሚመለከታቸው ግለሰቦችና የፕሬስ ሰዎች አንዱ በሌላው ላይ ሳይጠቁም፣ ጠርዝና ጠርዝ ይዞ የቃላት የጥላቻ ፖለቲካ ከማራመድ ባለፈ ተቀራርበው በአገሪቱ ዋና ዋና አጀንዳዎች ላይ ውይይት ማካሄድ አለባቸው፡፡ ክርክር ማካሄድ አለባቸው፡፡ ያ ወደ ብሔራዊ መግባባት ይወስደንና በሁሉም በአገሪቱ ጉዳዮች ላይ ሰፋ ያለ አካል ተፈጥሮ ብሔራዊ እርቅ የሚቀርጽ ሥራ ይሠራል፡፡

ሪፖርተር፡- ብሔራዊ መግባባትን አልፎ በቀጥታ ወደ ብሔራዊ እርቅ መግባት አይቻልም?

አቶ ተሻለ፡- አሁን ኢትዮጵያ ውስጥ ለብሔራዊ መግባባትም ሆነ ለብሔራዊ እርቅ የሚመች ሁኔታ አለ ወይ? ብለን መጠየቅ ይገባናል፡፡ ጊዜው እያለፈብን ነው፡፡ እንዲያውም የእኛ ስጋት 11ኛው ሰዓት ላይ ደርሰናል የሚል ነው፡፡ ዕድሎች እያመለጡን ነው፡፡

ሪፖርተር፡- አሥራ አንደኛው ሰዓት ላይ ደርሰናል ለማለት ያስደፈረዎት ምክንያት ምንድን ነው?

አቶ ተሻለ፡- አሥራ አንደኛው ሰዓት ላይ ምን ሊመጣ እንደሚችል ማየት አለብን፡፡ የአገራችን ነባራዊ ሁኔታዎች ምን ይመስላሉ ብሎ ማየት ያስፈልጋል፡፡ የፖለቲካ ቋንቋ አለ፡፡ ለምሳሌ ገዥው ፓርቲ አባላቱን ይገመግማቸዋል፡፡ በመስመር ውስጥ ናቸው አይደሉም? ተልዕኳቸውን ይወጣሉ አይወጡም? ብሎ ይገመግማል፡፡ እኛ ደግሞ በአገራችን ጉዳይ ላይ ኢሕአዴግ እንደ አንድ ባለቤትና ባለጉዳይ ሆኖ ሌሎች የፖለቲካ ሽኩቻዎችን ትተን ዜጐች፣ ምሁራን፣ የፕሬስ ሰዎች ሁሉም ኢትዮጵያ ውስጥ ያለውን የውስጥ ተጨባጭ ሁኔታ መገምገም አለብን፡፡ ለምሳሌ በሃይማኖት ጥያቄዎች፣ በሰብዓዊ መብት አጠባበቅ፣ በዲሞክራሲ ጥያቄዎች፣ በኢንቨስትመንትና በአገር ልማት አካሄድና በመሳሰሉት አንኳር አገራዊ ጉዳዮች ላይ ተወያይቶ ሁሉም ኢትዮጵያዊ ወደ አንድ መግባባት መድረስ እንዳለበት የሚያሳዩ ጠቋሚ ምልክቶች አሉ፡፡ አዎ ልማት ይካሄዳል፡፡ ግን ልማቱ የሌሎችን ዜጐች ዲሞክራሲያዊ መብት የሚነካ ነው ወይስ አይደለም? ብለን መነጋገር አለብን፡፡ ልማቱን እንደግፋለን፡፡ ይህንን ልማት አብዛኛው ዜጋ የእኔ ነው ብሎ መቀበል አለበት፡፡ ዜጋው ዲሞክራሲያዊ መብቱና ተሳትፎው ሲረጋገጥለት ነው ልማቱ የእኔ ነው ብሎ የሚጠብቀውና የሚንከባከበው፡፡ ደርግ አንዳንድ ቦታዎች ላይ ግድቦች ገድቦ ነበር፡፡ ደርግ በወደቀ በሰዓታት ልዩነት እነኛ ግድቦች ፈርሰዋል፡፡ ለምሳሌ ሀዲያ ውስጥ አንድ ቦታ ላይ ለምንም አገልግሎት በማይውል መሬት ላይ ልማት ይካሄድ ሲባል ሕዝቡ አልሳተፍም አለ፡፡ ደርግ ሲወድቅ በብዙ ሚሊዮኖች ወጪ የተገነባው ግድብ ፈረሰ፡፡ ጨለምተኛ ሆኜ ክፉ ነገር   … (CONTINUED)

CLICK ON THIS SENTENCE TO READ THE REST OF THIS INTERVIEW BEFORE FORMING YOUR OPINION SO THAT YOU ARE FULLY INFORMED ABOUT TESHALE SEBRO’S PERSPECTIVE AND INSIGHT INTO ETHIOPIA.

EDITORS NOTE:  The information from this point forward is not in any way affiliated with Teshale Sebro.  The information below is the view of the Brown Condor staff and editorial board and should not be taken as a continuation of Teshale Sebros’ message of the “Power of Reconciliation”. 

HEBRET Circle

Petition Obama to Stop Supporting Meles Zenawi & TPLF

[click logo to sign change.org petition]

Those of you who are comfortable with putting your name behind the cause of seeing Meles Government fall, please sign the petition. This is not just to attempt to make a change. This is about standing together with your fellow Ethiopians in Solidarity. If we can’t sign a petition that takes a minute, what other change do we expect to make in our country or in our lives. If you believe that Meles TPLF regime should remain in power, please disregard this message.

CREDIT Circle

Organizer

Selam Ashenafi Mentire

[click to view profile]

Tsion Tesfaye

[click to view profile]

Click on either picture above and ask Selam or Tsion about their petition drive.  We as Ethiopians cannot get things to change if we do not organize and petition the US government for relief and justice for our home Ethiopia.

[Source: Ethiopian Review]

Meles Zenawi “may not survive” — The UK Telegraph

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

Meles Zenawi, the Ethiopian prime minister, is in a “critical” condition in hospital in Brussels and may not survive, according to diplomatic sources.

ByAislinn Laing, Johannesburg and Bruno Waterfield in Brussels | The Telegraph

The 57-year-old premier dictator has not been seen publicly for several weeks and missed a crunch African Union summit his country was hosting at the weekend at which a new chair was elected.

The Ethiopian government Woyanne junta has confirmed that he is unwell but repeated promises of updates on his condition have been delayed.

On Wednesday, a Western diplomatic source in Brussels told the Telegraph that he is now “critically ill”.

“He is being treated as a private person and the information is confidential but it is understood that he is critically ill,” the diplomat said.

Mr Zenawi is thought to be receiving treatment for an unspecified condition at the Saint Luc University Hospital in Brussels. The hospital is a centre for the treatment of blood or “haematological” cancers.

Other diplomats told the AFP that Mr Zenawi might not survive his illness.

“He is in a critical state, his life is in danger,” said one.

“He is in a critical state but is alive,” another added.

Ethiopia’s ambassador in Brussels and the hospital authorities refused to comment on the reports.

In Addis Ababa, however, Bereket Simon, a government spokesman, insisted that Mr Zenawi, who has held power in the populous Horn of Africa nation for over two decades, was recovering. “He is not in a critical state. He is in good condition,” he told AFP.

Questions surfaced about Mr Meles’s health when he missed a two-day African Union summit Sunday and Monday in Addis Ababa, apparently for the first time since 1991. He was last seen looking thin and pale at the G20 summit in Mexico in June.

Whatever Mr Zenawi’s condition, anger is growing among Ethiopians at the refusal of his government to provide clarity on the situation and speculation has begun to swirl about possible successors.

The one-time Marxist, who toppled the brutal dictatorship of Mengistu Haile Mariam in 1991, has run Ethiopia through strongly centralised control for two decades and analysts struggle to envisage how the country would be operate without him.

Adjoa Anyimadu, Chatham House’s Horn of Africa expert, said that Mr Zenawi’s force of personality meant that few other Ethiopian politicians were well-known.

“He is the face of the Ethiopian ruling class so it’s difficult to see who would take over from him,” she said.