Archive for the ‘Ethiopian News’ Category

Meles and our BEKA! moment

Friday, April 8th, 2011

By Yilma Bekele

By all accounts the minority based dictatorial regime in Ethiopia is in big trouble. Circumstances in the neighborhood are a bit disconcerting to Meles and company. You can tell from the flurry of activity being orchestrated the last three months that Arat Kilo is on pins and needles. The Woyane regime is doing its best to keep the Ethiopian people at home and their Diaspora relatives focused on something else other than the vision of an uprising. The events in North Africa and the Middle East have unnerved our TPLF bosses. It is rumored a few of them are in need of diapers, may we suggest Huggies due to their patented leakage protection.

The regime has devised a two-pronged attack to postpone the inevitable uprising. At home the Junta leader is busy wagging his fingers and huffing and puffing to scare and bully. The last two weeks he has put on a performance with the local cadre press to assure his followers that their job is safe due to the phenomenal economic growth that the chances of upheaval is deemed to be non-existent. No one believed him. Looks like it was not enough.

He decided to use his podium in the kangaroo Parliament to vent some more. There is a video posted on his web site. It is as usual two a part series. I listened to part two. Is it possible that all tyrants attend the same school? Castro used to speak for four hours, Mengistu used to speak for hours, Gaddafi was given a fifteen-minute slot to speak at the UN but rambled for an hour and half and our own orator spoke for an hour and twelve minutes in part one and an hour and thirty-four minutes in part two. He must love his voice. Of course it was a captive audience. He knows no one will dare leave his lecture. I am sure most of the cadre parliamentarians have no idea what he is talking about and the fact is he was not actually addressing them. They are just a prop.

This lecture was more focused on preparing the ground for his actions when the people’s demand for democracy begins. He was lining up the new enemies that are going to get the blame. This time around Egypt got the top billing. According to Ato Meles Egypt is in the process of undermining our way of life. Egypt in collusion with archenemy Eritrea and the local opposition including OLF, Andenet and Medrek and others are conspiring to topple our democratically elected government. He was very theatrical when he started waving his fingers and adjusting his glasses. It looks like the subject is dear to his heart. He just wanted to say I told you so when his sharp shooters start the mayhem.

His Diaspora strategy is unfolding as we speak. His cadre representatives are in North America. According to the World Bank the Diaspora sent in remittances $3.2billion USD in 2009 which is about $52 billion Bir. In 2009 Ethiopia earned $375.8 million from coffee, $158 million from flowers, $205 million from Khat and $129 million from sesame seed. You see what I mean. The Diaspora contributes ten times as much as the number one export. We are the premier benefactors of our precious homeland. I can say ‘may the almighty bless the Ethiopian Diaspora’ but I won’t. It is not something to be proud of. If the regime attracts $3.2 billion without working for it the question becomes what is the meaning of the current tour?

The fact that the illegal regime is dispatching its ‘top guns’ to face the fury of the dreaded Diaspora is a little, shall I say strange. Why at this juncture in time is a good question? It is not logical to think the DLA Piper advised regime would send its officials into the lion’s den and in broad daylight without a valid and compelling reason. My hunch is there is more to it than selling land. When you consider the temperature reaching a boiling point against tyranny around the neighborhood I have a feeling Woyane probably felt this to be a good time to shift the attention of the Diaspora away from lighting the fuse.

Nice try but it won’t work this time. Looks like all the vital ingredients for a ‘BEKA’ moment are all present and accounted for. Based on our recent experience in North Africa and the Middle East we pass the test with flying colors. Let us see, the main causes for the peoples uprising were, leaders in power for too long, rampant corruption and runaway nepotism, economic stagnation and recurring high inflation, high unemployment and a vast majority under thirty and under utilized, general hopelessness and resignation with high rate of migration. It is what is commonly referred to as volatile situation.

The weakest link in our peoples yearning for a better future is a small section of the Diaspora. It is a sad fact. To see those that got away due to a matter of chance using their new found success to bring misery on their own people is shameful. Without the cash inflow from the Diaspora the Ethiopian regime will not have been emboldened to be so arrogant. Remittances enable the regime to live for another day. This is not about the few hundred dollars that is sent to keep a family alive. That is a humanitarian act. It is about the big money. The money, that goes to buy stolen land to build a fake foreign looking building in collaboration with government and government affiliated businesses at an inflated price. The dollars that come in without strings attached enable the regime to pay its many employees that exist to torment our people.

Today we have government cadres in our cities promoting the so-called Growth and Transformation Plan. It sounds like something DLA Piper will come up with to give it a positive and friendly spin. What ever it is you can be sure that the Ethiopian people do not have any input in this plan. Their representatives are government cadres chosen for loyalty not ability. They are not capable of understanding the issue and they do not have expert staff to help them. The plan is the brainchild of Meles and company in consultation with IMF and World Bank. Eighty million people are beholden to a handful of cadres that are in power because they have big guns.

What they want from the Diaspora is more cash to be invested in enterprises they choose. Buying land, building a house, establishing bar and nightclub is encouraged. It is not allowed to start an Internet provider company, private television transmission, private radio station, independent newspaper and magazine or a printing press. The TPLF regime is allergic to knowledge-based investment.

So what is the rational for investing? Some say it is patriotic and that it creates jobs. That argument has been tried before. That is what the Western governments said about their investment in Apartheid South Africa. They called it ‘constructive engagement’. It was a big lie. They were just greedy and slave labor was always cheaper. The South Africans response was best delivered by Noble Laureate Albert Luthuli, President of the African National Congress who said ‘“The economic boycott of South Africa will entail undoubted hardship for African. We do not doubt that. But if it is a method which shortens the day of bloodshed, the suffering to us will be a price we are willing to pay.”

The use of economic muscle to modify an adversary’s behavior is common in International dealings. One of the earliest examples is In fact the American Revolution that owes its inception from the movement that erupted when the British Parliament passed what is known as the ‘stamp act’ in March of 1765. The act required printed materials in the colonies to be produced on stamped paper from London and carry revenue stamp. Colonial America revolted. The stamp act was the spark that started the prairie fire that led to the American Revolution. The American colonies took exception to the ‘stamp act’ because they felt they were being taxed without consent. Since they have no representation in the British parliament the colonies felt the act to be an affront to the system of local representation that they have put in place. The colonies said ‘no taxation without representation.’

A few months back here in the US the state of Arizona passed a draconian bill to control the so-called illegal immigration problem. Some people felt it was an attempt to increase the power and intrusiveness of the State and should not be tolerated. Labor organizations, liberal groups and Human Rights advocates went on the offensive and organized boycotts of all business associated with Arizona. They used their economic muscle as a leverage to advocate change.

Mrs. Rosa Parks’s refusal to give her bus seat to a white man sparked the ‘Montgomery Bus boycott.’ Our African people in North America used their economic power to fight injustice. Martin Luther King was in the forefront of using boycott as a weapon to secure the rights of black people in America. The freedom we enjoy here today came because some fought using every means necessary. Today’s Diaspora is working, learning, raising a family and helping their brethren back home because MLK, Malcolm X, Rosa Parks and others said BEKA, GEYE, BAS, ALONE, WETANDEM, YAAKEL, GIDES, DETEM!

Dear Diaspora, don’t you think it is a BEKA moment today. Do you really think the cadres that have been in power the last twenty years are capable of bringing change and transformation? Do you think they have the interest of Ethiopia at heart or are they focused in staying in power using any means necessary? I am sure a lot of you went to check on your investment, tell me were you satisfied with what you saw? I know the Woyane regime have prepared all that is necessary to make your stay comfortable and fun. When you consider the vast number of Hotels, nightclubs and whorehouses set in place to suck your dollars did you think that reflected the reality your parents and cousins face everyday? Did you notice the fear permeating the society, the unfriendly stare by cadres and security to remind you of your place? May be you thought that foreign passport afforded you some form of protection but how about your brothers and sisters? No matter how you look at it is a betrayal of country and people to wine and dine with killers and psychos. A mistake has been done but there is no point compounding it further. Today is a BEKA time.

When you consider how India, Korea, Israel and others used the potential of their Diaspora for transforming their country it is sad that we are still fighting against a predator regime that is hell bent in dividing us, setting us against each other and spending our resources in useless, unsustainable projects that do not help our country. Those countries did not invite their Diaspora to come and lease their parents land to build condominium. No they asked for investment in education, agriculture, industry and manufacturing. They wanted brainpower, they encouraged and subsidized knowledge not fell good projects for show and tell.

Change is coming. Mubarak did not stop it. Gaddafi tried but it looks like his days are numbered. Meles is trying to devise new ways of buying another week, another month but it is a useless exercise. He is not stupid, but he is blinded by power and false sense of security. It is the nature of dictators to think they are unique and what ever happened to their neighbor is not possible in their house. History has shown us otherwise. Ato Meles and company will not escape the judgment of their people. For now we will be in their face where ever they show up and say loud and clear BEKA!

Addis Dimts Radio live broadcast on Woyanne USA trip – today

Friday, April 8th, 2011

Starting at 6 PM Washington DC time today Addis Dimts Radio will host live broadcast on the Woyanne cadres North America disinformation campaign.

Listen the discussion by calling 712-432-3920 access code 854226 or online by going to the website

Egypt prepares for military action to stop Nile dam

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

The recent announcement by Meles Zenawi to build a massive dam along the Nile River has been received by Egypt’s government as a grave threat to country’s survival so much so that the military has been instructed to make preparation for war, according to an exclusive report by World Net Daily.

A better strategy for Egyptians is to help Ethiopians remove Meles Zenawi, instead of going to war with Ethiopia. They will be doing themselves and the people of Ethiopia a big favor if they do that. A democratically elected government in Ethiopia will not incite war with any of its neighbors.

Egypt must understand that for Meles, the Nile dam project is an attempt to cause a regional instability that is intended to divert the attention of the people of Ethiopia not to rise up against his regime. Ethiopia has several underutilized rivers that can be used for hydroelectric power. Building dam on the Nile River doesn’t make an economic sense. Like the Tekeze River dam, it is a politically motivated project. Read the full report here.

Why Ethiopia struggles to meet people’s basic needs

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

The short answer is poor governance.

By Roy Byrnes

I was cycling indoors at home recently while watching a tape of the just completed LA Marathon. Like the movie Groundhog Day, Ethiopians moved to the front of the both the men’s and women’s races. Ethiopia’s Bizunesh Deba, looking freakishly fresh, sat on American rookie Amy Hastings for the first 18+ miles at which point she slowly put 150-200 meters into her for victory in 2:26:34. Deba, 23, has won seven of the nine marathons she’s entered. Someone is mismanaging her, but I digress.

In the men’s race 26 year-old Ethiopian marathon rookie Markos Geneti ran a 1:02+ half and blew away the field coasting home in a course record 2:06:35. He’s a preeminent short and middle distance runner, but the marathon is where the money is in track and field these days. From now on, he’ll get six figures to show up at races.

The LA Times reported that Geneti plans to invest his $125,000 in earnings in a school in Addis Ababa.

I was intrigued by Amy Hastings grittiness and guts. When she fell off Deba she crawled back into touch, fell off again, and got back in touch, before fading right before the finish. It was an incredible debut. Afterwards, I read an interview with her from before the race that included this question: One of the appeals of elite-level running is that the people, by and large, are smart, nice, insightful, introspective, all those good things. In addition to the fact that you obviously love the sensation of running, I would think that the kind of people that you meet in running, the kind of people you’ve been teammates with, the kind of people you’re rivals with, have been a big part of the appeal, isn’t it?

This got me thinking about what else we may be able to generalize about elite marathoners. To the interviewers list I’ll add: self confidence, intense competitiveness, extraordinary self-discipline, resilience, optimism, and off the charts toughness.

If I were to write about every elite Ethiopian runner, you’d have to set aside the next hour. It’s Kenya, Ethiopia, then all the other countries of the world combined. I like Geneti and Deba in London (assuming Deba starts spreading out her races better).

And when I taught at a private international school in Addis Ababa, my best students were Ethiopian public school students who won scholarships to our school and went to Harvard and other elite universities after graduating. These athletes and these students accomplishments beg the question, how does a country with Geneti and Deba and Nebiyeleul Tilahoun type of human resources continue to struggle to meet people’s basic needs?

The short answer is poor governance. No doubt Meles Zenawi celebrates “his” runners accomplishments and uses them to bolster his own image among his people.

I hope Ethiopia’s runners, young students, and other citizens find inspiration from the Middle Eastern protestors to help close the Great Rift Valley that exists between their impressive human potential and bitter day-to-day realities. And I hope upon hope that Meles Zenawi is living in exile when Geneti and Deba walk into the opening ceremonies in London in the summer of 2012. Assuming, that is, they make the team.

Ethiopians prepare to confront Meles cadres this weekend

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

Ethiopians in several cities in North America are preparing to confront Woyanne agents who have called for meetings with their supporters this coming weekend. The cadres and high level officials were sent by dictator Meles Zenawi as part of his recent disinformation campaign that is intended to prevent popular revolt against his regime. Protests are being organized in the following cities (will be updated as we receive more information):

Washington DC: April 9 at Howard University
New York: April 9
Ottawa: April 9 and 10
Minneapolis: April 10
Los Angeles: April 10
Columbus OH: April 9

Also listen to this audio:


HRW calls for the release of ethnic Oromo prisoners

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

Human Rights Watch issued a statement today asking the Meles dictatorship in Ethiopia to release over 200 Ethiopians from the Oromo ethnic group who have recently been detained without charges. Read the full statement below:

Ethiopia: Free Opposition Members
Mass Arrests of More Than 200 Ethnic Oromo Appear Politically Motivated

(London) – The Government of Ethiopia should immediately release members of the ethnic Oromo political opposition detained without charge after mass arrests, Human Rights Watch said today.

In March 2011, Ethiopian authorities carried out several waves of apparently politically motivated mass arrests of more than 200 ethnic Oromo Ethiopians. On March 30, the government confirmed that 121 were in detention without charge, alleging that they were members of the Oromo Liberation Front, a banned rebel armed group. The government told journalists that it had obtained court orders to continue to hold the 121 individuals while it gathers evidence against them.

“The Ethiopian government appears to be back to the old tricks of ‘detain first, ask questions later,’” said Rona Peligal, deputy Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “The authorities should immediately free the Oromo opposition members unless they can bring credible charges against them.”

Ethiopia’s international partners should press the government to release the detainees immediately if it cannot credibly charge them, Human Rights Watch said.

The authorities arrested 40 members of the Oromo People’s Congress (OPC) in a mass roundup from March 12 through March 14 in several districts of Ethiopia’s Oromia region. Those detained included long-serving party officials and many candidates in the 2010 regional and parliamentary elections. Several of them remain unaccounted for, OPC party officials told Human Rights Watch.

At least 68 members of the Oromo Federalist Democratic Movement (OFDM), an opposition political party, are among those arbitrarily arrested between March 1 and March 15, according to party officials. Those arrested include former members of Parliament, former local government candidates for election, civil servants, teachers, and students. OFDM officials reported that at least two were beaten at the time of arrest, and the whereabouts of several remain unknown.

Torture is a routine practice at Addis Ababa’s Maikelawi, or Central Investigation Unit, where the majority of the detainees are believed to be held, Human Rights Watch said.

Reports of the arrests broadcast on Voice of America’s Amharic service have been jammed by the government the radio service said in a statement on its website, further raising concerns that the roundups are politically motivated.

Oromia is Ethiopia’s largest and most populous region. Its regional government is controlled by the Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO), a member of the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF).

The Ethiopian government has a long history of using accusations of support for the Oromo Liberation Front, an armed rebel group that has been carrying out a low-level insurgency for more than a decade, as a pretext for cracking down on political dissent among the Oromo population.

While Ethiopia has valid security concerns related to sporadic bombings and other attacks, the government has routinely cited terrorism to justify suppressing nonviolent opposition and arbitrarily detaining peaceful government critics. The authorities have indicated that they may charge several of the detainees under the new Anti-Terrorism Law, which Human Rights Watch and others have criticized on human rights grounds.

Enacted in July 2009, the Anti-Terrorism Law severely restricts the right to freedom of expression. It contains an overly broad definition of acts of terrorism that could be used to suppress non-violent peaceful protests, and greatly expands police powers of search, seizure, and arrest. The law also provides for holding “terrorist suspects” for up to four months without charge. These provisions violate basic human rights requirements of due process. Human Rights Watch expressed concern at the time that the new law would become a potent tool for suppressing political opposition and legitimate criticism of government policy.

The Ethiopian constitution requires the government to bring a person taken into custody before a court within 48 hours and to inform the person of the reasons for their arrest, a protection that is already systematically violated. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Ethiopia is a party, provides that anyone arrested for a criminal offense shall be brought before a judicial authority and promptly charged.

Ethiopians in New York ready for Meles cadres

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

Adama Clayton Powell Plaza
163 West 125th St., New York
Date: Saturday April 9th
Time: 12:00PM

No Confidence; No Investment!

Confidence is the prerequisite to attract investment by the Ethiopian Diaspora. The presence of genuine democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law are prerequisites to consider investment in Ethiopia. The following preconditions must be met by TPLF/EPRDF immediately.

1. All criminals involved in the murder of 193 unarmed pro-democracy protesters in June and November 2005, in Addis Abeba and the massacre of 424 Anuaks of Gambella in December 2003 must be brought to justice.

2. Ethnic apartheid is the new slavery institution in Ethiopia. Ethnocracy that has segregated 82 million Ethiopians into Killils must be abolished.

3. The separation of powers principle must be instituted by replacing the legislative- executive-judiciary branches of government that are fused into the hegemonic powers of the TPLF party.

4. All forms of media should be free and available to the public and all political parties.

5. All political prisoners should be released with appropriate compensation.

6. Repression and intimidation of opposition party members and their supporters must be outlawed and stopped immediately.

7. The police and armed forces should not get involved in politics and they need to be committed to protect the people from the government and outside enemies of the nation.

8. We hereby urge Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and his regime to stop the reign of terror and immediately transfer political power to a Transitional Government of National Salvation.

Please join us at 12:30 P.M. on Saturday, April 9, 2011 at 163 West 125th Street in Harlem to challenge the repressive regime’s charade of the so-called transformation and investment scheme crafted to hoodwink us all and the international community.

Enough to Tyranny in Ethiopia! Beka! Ga’ae!
For more info:

Ethiopians in Ottawa ready to confront Woyanne delegation

Monday, April 4th, 2011

Reject the Ethno-Fascist Foot Soldiers of Melese Zenawi

A message from the Ethiopian Embassies in the US and Canada is urging all persons of Ethiopian origin to meet a high level delegation of Melese Zenawi’s regime in 14 cities of North America. The delegation will hold its meeting in Ottawa and Toronto on April 9 and 10. The purpose of all these coordinated meetings, we are told, is to invite diaspora Ethiopians to participate in the so called “Development and Transformation Plan” of the regime. In other words we are being invited to invest in the economic plan of Melese Zenawi and his ethno-fascist regime. We are writing to request all Ethiopians to come out in force and reject the maneuvers of the regime for the following reasons:

Based on its record we can not trust this regime

  • EFFORT owns and controls every sector of the Ethiopian economy; the ruling party (the TPLF) is at the same time a trading company
  • TPLF/EPDRF is a one party dictatorship in which political power, military leadership, and economic ownership has firmly come under the control of Melese Zenawi
  • The ethno-fascist regime has wiped out the free press and independent media and Ethiopians are forced to lead a life of untold oppression and misery
  • Inflation is soaring at 10% every month and corruption of government officers is completely out of control; to get a permit or a stamp of approval citizens must pay tens of thousands of Birr or abandon their project
  • Ethiopians from North America who went back to their country to invest in good faith have been robbed by corrupt officials, cheated out of their money by the cronies of the state and returned bankrupt. We can site a number of cases, including some from our own city. A number of people have come back with broken health and empty pockets after losing millions of Canadian dollars.
  • o Melese and his band of traitors have sold away our land inch by inch, plot by plot there by uprooting Ethiopians from their land and destroying the natural environment. And now they are coming for our bank books.

Why now and what is the real objective of the regime

  • The dictator is jittery about the popular uprising in North Africa and his messengers are going around the world to divert attention
  • After having weakened the legal opposition, this is a follow-up strategy to divide and conquer and ultimately silence the diaspora opposition.
  • Melese Zenawi and his band of robbers would like to see the flow of dollars to increase in order to fatten up their Swiss bank accounts.
  • If they are lucky the errand boys of the regime would like to recruit agents among us by handing out some sugar cubes.

What must be our response to the messengers of the despot

Our response to tyrants, criminals and traitors could be just one and only one: that is rejection. It is our duty as sons and daughters of a glorious country to shame and frustrate the foot soldiers of this ethno-fascist regime. It is our duty to speak up and fight for the rights and liberties of our people. It is our duty to reject the futile maneuvers of the despot to divide and conquer us. Finally we would like to give this band of traitors a very bold and unmistakable message to take to Melese Zenawi: “Sorry pal, Mission Impossible.”

Address: 170 Colonnade Rd South, Ottawa
Time: 1፡00 pm

Ethio-Canadian Forum for Democracy and Patriotic Ethiopians

Ottawa, Canada

Economist Intelligence Unit report on Ethiopia for April 2011

Monday, April 4th, 2011

Economist Intelligence Unit Country Report – Ethiopia

Monthly Review: April 2011

• Opposition parties claimed that more than 200 members were arrested during March to prevent attempts at organising demonstrations against the government.

• There are crucial differences between Ethiopia and the African countries that have overthrown their long-time rulers in 2011; Ethiopia has a much smaller middle-class, inferior levels of education and much lower Internet penetration.

• The government adopted a more aggressive stance against Eritrea in March by calling for the removal of the regime of the president, Isaias Afewerki, although the motives behind the increase in rhetoric are not yet clear.

• The state-owned Development Bank of Ethiopia has started to sell new government bonds, but with an inflation rate of 16.5% in February, the real interest rate on the bonds is negative and demand will probably be low.

• UK state aid for Ethiopia is planned to rise to an annual average of £331m (US$533m) up to 2015, making the country the biggest recipient of British aid.

• Interventionist policies such as the limit on bank lending, currency devaluation and price ceilings have created market distortions, leading to shortages of staple products, and may eventually cause more pain than gain.

Read the full report here.

Howard University asked to cancel Woyanne meeting

Monday, April 4th, 2011

Global Civic Movement for Change in Ethiopia, a group of pro-Ethiopian activist around the word, has written a letter to Howard University president Sidney A. Ribeau asking him to cancel a meeting that is organized at the university’s campus next weekend by cadres of the brutal dictatorship in Ethiopia. Read below:

President Sidney A. Ribeau
Howard University Office of the Secretary
2400 Sixth Street, NW, Suite 440
Washington, DC 20059
(202) 806-2250

Re: Request of cancellation of the April 9th event organized by the dictatorial regime in Ethiopia.

Dear President Ribeau:

The Ethiopian-American community in the Diaspora and human rights activists, in particular, is stunned that Howard University is willing to give its space to the agents and messengers of the criminal and repressive regime of Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia. Providing a meeting venue to a regime known for egregious human rights violations, extra-judicial killings, torture and the use of rape as a weapon of war to undermine the movement for freedom and democracy is very disheartening. It casts a blemish on the reputation of this great institution of higher learning and an affront to all people, especially those of African descent. It also makes Howard University — a living symbol of the determination of the people of African descent to free themselves of oppression and enjoy the fruits of life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and prosperity as responsible citizens in a free and egalitarian society —appear to be a tacit supporter of social injustice and gross human rights abuses in Africa.
Under the regime of Meles Zenawi, Ethiopia suffers from the absence of the rule of law, independent judiciary, free press, strong civil society, a strong opposition and a vibrant private sector. The United States Department of State 2010 Country Report on Human Rights and Practices documented that Mr. Meles Zenawi’s government continued to carry out “unlawful killings, torture, beating, abuse and mistreatment of detainees and opposition supporters by security forces, often acting with impunity; poor prison conditions ; arbitrary arrest and detention, particularly of sympathizers of members of opposition groups detention without charge and lengthy pretrial detention; use of excessive force by security services..” International rights groups including Human Rights Watch and Genocide Watch have repeatedly documented and condemned the gross violation of human rights, war crimes and even genocide perpetrated in Gambela and the Ogaden regions by the regime of Meles Zenawi.

These gross human rights violations are an affront to humanity and we believe the American people will not remain silent about these abuses, especially since the Zenawi regime is funded by taxpayer money. In the 2010 parliamentary elections, violation of human rights and the absence of a fair and free election process in Ethiopia allowed the ruling minority clique to claim that it won by 99.6%. In 2005, Mr. Meles Zenawi’s government rigged the relatively free and fair election, imprisoned thousands of innocent Ethiopians and the entire leadership of the major opposition party; and killed more than 200 peaceful protestors.

Despite massive foreign aid estimated at $30 billion since 1991, and $3 billion per year fro the U.S. government alone, the latest Oxford University Multi-Dimensional Index (MDI) showed that Ethiopia is the second poorest country, behind Niger in Sub-Saharan Africa. Ninety (90) percent of the population is poor; there are 5 million orphans; 70 percent of Ethiopian youth is unemployed and an estimated 7 million Ethiopians depend on international emergency food aid to survive.

The national economy is dominated by party owned and endowed enterprises. Endemic corruption is rampant at the highest levels of the regime. Inequality is on the rise. Ethiopian economists estimate that growing inequality is a consequence of economic and other asset concentration into the hands of a few government officials and their cronies at the expense of the majority. Land, the primary source of livelihood for the vast majority of the Ethiopian people, is owned by the state. The ruling party has used its power to illegally lease millions of acres of ancestral farmlands to foreign investors engaged in a neo-colonial land grab. These foreign agri-business companies are investing millions to produce food in Ethiopia to feed their own population and the rest to export to rich countries.

Under Meles Zenawi’s single party rule, Ethiopia continues to be ruled with an iron fist and suffer from incalculable “brain drain” Howard University as the alma mater of pioneer Ethiopians, such as Dr. Melaku Beyan stands to suffer irreparable damage to its reputation by allowing a brutal regime to hold a political meeting in its prestigious ground.

We, a coalition of civic organizations, advocacy and human rights activists, strongly urge you to cancel this embarrassing event that is due to be held at Cramton Auditorium on April 9, 2011. We would be very happy to meet with you and discuss our concerns further, and we can be reached by email:


Neamin Zelleke
Global Civic Movement for Change in Ethiopiaa


Provost and Chief Academic Officer
James H. Wyche, Ph.D.

Executive Vice President and
Chief Operating Officer
Troy A. Stovall

Senior Vice President
Strategic Planning, Operations & External Affairs & Chief Technology Officer
Hassan Minor, Ph.D.

Senior Vice President and Secretary
Artis Hampshire-Cowan, J.D.

Senior Vice President and
Chief Financial Officer – Treasurer
Robert Tarola

Vice President for
Development and Alumni Relations
Nesta Bernard

Keith Miles
Chief of Staff
Office of University Communications

Latta, Judi Moore
Executive Director
Phone: (202) 238-2338
Fax: (202) 986-0409

Greg E. Carr
Associate Professor of Africana Studies
Chair of the Department of Afro-American Studies
Phone: 202-806-7581

African Studies Department
Cham, Mbye B.

David, Wilfred L.
202.238.2315 426

Edgar, Robert R
202.238.2356 410

Nyang, Sulayman S
202.238.2311 430

Serapião, Luis B
202.238.2318 406

Shams, Feraidoon
Associate Professor
202.238.2324 402

Zewde, Almaz
Assistant Professor
202.238.2321 401

Hailu, Alem
Assistant Professor

Johnson, Krista
Assistant Professor
202.238.2312 424

Africa: Democracy by Civil War

Monday, April 4th, 2011

Alemayehu G. Mariam

The Shell Game of African Democracy

If the Ivory Coast, one of the most prosperous African countries, can be considered a template for political change on the continent, democracy can replace dictatorship only by means of a civil war. For the past 5 months, Laurent Gbagbo, the loser of the November 2010 Ivory Coast presidential race has been holed up in his palace defiantly clinging to power. He claims to have won the election by order of his handpicked “Constitutional Council”, even though the Ivorian Electoral Commission declared his challenger Alassane Ouattara the winner.

Underlying Gbagbo’s electoral shenanigans to cling to power at any cost is a lingering and recurrent problem in African politics: Rigged, stolen and shell-gamed elections. African dictators set up elections just like the streetwise scammer sets up a shell game. African dictators know they will “win” the elections they set up by hook or crook. But they go through elaborate ceremonies to make the phony elections look real. They set up shills and call them “opposition parties”. They jail the real opposition leaders and intimidate their supporters. They trot out their handpicked “elections commissions” and put them on public display as independent observers to bless and legitimize the rigged elections. To please and hoodwink their Western donor benefactors, they being in international elections observers, adopt “election codes of conduct” and stage make-believe public debates. The outcome never changes: The African con artist dictators always win!

Well, maybe not always. On the rarest occasions, by some fluke an incumbent African dictator is defeated by a challenger despite massive election rigging and fraud. Even more incredibly, the whole world sides with the challenger winner. Then all hell breaks loose as it is happening today in the Ivory Coast. Gbagbo lost despite ballot-stuffing, ballot-shredding, ballot-stealing, voter intimidation and voting fraud.

For all African dictators, elections are an intolerable nuisance on their permanent clutch on power. They play the elections game because the international donors and multilateral banks make it a precondition for handouts and loans. Truth be told, neither the dictators nor the donors/banks are interested in genuine democratic elections as evidenced in many Wikileaks cablegrams. They want an election show to justify their immoral support for the criminal thugs. The dictators, donors and multilateral banks agree on one unitary principle so plainly and honestly articulated by former French President Jacques Chirac: “Africa is not ready for democracy” (a government of the people, by the people for the people). That is why so many African countries wallow in thugtatorships (a government of thieves, by thieves for thieves).

Democracy by Civil War

The manifest implications of this electoral shell game for the people of Africa are frigtening. There can be no peaceful transfer of power through a democratic election. If a challenger wins an election against an incumbent dictator fair and square, the challenger must be prepared to use force to remove the incumbent. Strange as it may sound, it may even be necessary to fight a full blown civil war to replace African dictatorships with African democracy. That seems to be the seminal lesson of the Ivory Coast which finds itself in a creeping civil war because Gbagbo has made peaceful transition impossible.

Over the past week, Ouattara’s “Republican Forces” have swept southwards from their bases in the north and seized the capital Yamoussoukro and the major port of San Pedro. They have now encircling the commercial capital Abidjan. Gbagbo’s army and civilian supporters have been fighting it out in the streets of Abidjan for months. Gbagbo has recruited an army of unemployed and illiterate youths in Abidjan to “defend the country, which is under attack from foreigners”, namely Ivorians from the north.

The ordinary people of the Ivory Coast are paying the price for a democracy betrayed. The number of innocent civilians killed increases by the dozens each day. The International Committee of the Red Cross recently reported the massacre of over 1,000 people in the western town of Duekoue. The perpetrators are alleged to be retreating Gbagbo soldiers who shot or hacked their victims to death with machetes. Since the elections in December 2010, over a million Ivorians have been internally displaced and over one hundred thousand have fled to Liberia. The great commercial city of Abidjan with over four million people is said to be a virtual ghost town. Street thugs are pillaging the city as Gbagbo blames the U.N. and the West for the bloodshed and civil war in the country.

Playing the Shell Game of African Democracy

Africa’s incumbent dictators will always win the elections they manufacture. They will win by hook or crook, and by incredibly absurd percentages. Meles Zenawi, the capricious dictator in Ethiopia, declared that his party won the May 2010 parliamentary election by 99.6. Such a claim may sound laughable and absurd to the reasonable mind, but it has a Gobellian logic to it. The Nazi propaganda minister said, “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” Goebbels’ boss said, “The bigger the lie, the more it will be believed.” To claim 100 percent or 99.6 percent of the people voted for one party is absurd, but repeated many times, the sheer audacity of such a bold-faced lie renders the listener speechless, dumbfounded and numb. Similarly, Gbagbo says he won the presidential election despite unannimous international opinion to the contrary. Elections are window-dressing exercises for thugtatorships.

When African dictators lose by some strange fluke, they will demonize a segment of their citizens and embark on a campaign to denigrate their critics and opponents just to cling to power. History Professor Gbagbo declared Ivorians from the northern part of that country “foreigners”, including Ouattara, and rejected the outcome of the election as invalid. Gbagbo has also targeted the large population of migrant workers in the country with xenophobic and hateful rhetoric. When the European Election Observer Mission declared that the May 2010 election in Ethiopia “fell below international standards”, Zenawi attacked the Mission with a torrent of insult straight from the gutter. He described the EU report as a “pack of lies and innuendoes” and “garbage”. He dismissively added that the EU report was “just the view of some Western neo-liberals who are unhappy about the strength of the ruling party.”

African dictators will exploit ethnic, religious and regional divisions to cling to power. Gbagbo has been promoting a nasty ideology called “Ivoirité” to exclude and marginalize northern Muslims from national political office. The ideology is based on the notion that there are “real” Ivorians (‘indigenous Ivorians’) and foreigners who pretend to be Ivorians by immigration or ancestry (false Ivorians). By creating such insidious classifications, Ivorians from the north have been denied basic citizenship rights.

Africa’s dictators have a love-hate relationship with the West. They are quick to blame the West for their political problems. Yet, they are always standing at the gate begging for handouts. It is a case of the dog that bites the hand that feeds it. Gbagbo blames France, the U.N. and the U.S. for his country’s civil war. Zenawi blames the EU “neoliberals” for his bogus election victory. Mugabe blames Britain and the U.S. for his country’s political and economic woes.

In all of the political turmoil and election-related violence, African organizations have failed to take any meaningful action. Prof. George Ayittey, the internationally renowned Ghanaian economist and “one of the top 100 public intellectuals” who is “shaping the tenor of our time” said that the African Union is a “useless continental organization” that “can’t even define ‘democracy’”. Today, the AU stands on the sidelines twiddling its thumbs as thousands of Ivorians are slaughtered and Gbagbo steals the election in broad daylight. The other equally comatose organization is ECOWAS (Economic Community Of West African States). For months it has been threatening to remove Gbagbo by force if a peaceful solution could not be found. The Ivory Coast is in a virtual state of civil war and the AU and ECOWAS keep on talking with little action.

The U.S. says the AU and ECOWAS will find solutions to the stalemate in the Ivory Coast. David Wharton, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Diplomacy in the Bureau of African Affairs, said “what matters is not US view, but the African view”.Wharton was merely towing the party line. President Obama said, “the ideal is African solutions to African problems” and “what US thinks is really less important than what the neighborhood feels”. Recently, the President said “It is time for former President Gbagbo to heed the will of his people, and to complete a peaceful transition of power to President Ouattara. The eyes of the world are on Cote d’Ivoire.” Should we expect Gbagbo to un-cling from power terrified by the Evil Eye of the world?!?

The Wrath of Gbagbo on the Ivory Coast

African dictators think themselves to be African gods the longer they cling to power. They demand to be worshipped and adored as living legends. For the poor and illiterate Africans, they do become the gods of fire, war, chaos, terror, anger and revenge. They become life-givers and life-takers. When they lose power — lose elections they have rigged to win — they visit their wrath upon their citizens. Today we witness the Wrath of Gbagbo on the Ivory Coast. If Gbagbo cannot have Cote d’Ivoire, no one can have Cote d’Ivoire. Apre moi, le deluge!

Ethiopia’s dictator offers Egypt partial ownership of Nile dam

Friday, April 1st, 2011

Ethiopia’s khat-addicted dictator has offered Egypt a co-ownership of the planned Nile River dam, according to the VOA (read here). Meles Zenawi said: “If there is a reconsideration, there will be time to consider many issues, including possibly joint ownership of the project itself. We are open to such ideas,” said Meles.

Ethiopia has several others rivers that can be used for hydroelectric power. Meles is going after Nile River and picks fight with Sudan and Egypt to divert attention from his domestic crisis, including an impending uprising. What is even more sinister is that he is offering a joint ownership of the dam to Egypt and Sudan, which could threaten Ethiopia’s sovereignty in the long-term.

Distinguished scholar Prof. Aleme Eshete passed away

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

We have been informed that distinguished Ethiopian historian and political science scholar Professor Aleme Eshete has passed away. Prof. Aleme has been living in Italy for the past several years. He has published several influential papers on Ethiopian history, including The Cultural Situation in Socialist Ethiopia (1982); The Role and Position of Foreign-Educated Interpreters in Ethiopia – 1880-1889; European Political Adventurers in Ethiopia at the Turn of the 20th Century; A Page in the History of Posts and Telegraphs in Ethiopia: 1899-1903; La Cia in Africa.

The Ethiopian Review staff extends its condolences to the family of Prof. Aleme Eshete.

VIDEO: Prof. Aleme Eshete on Ethiopian history

Say NO to Woyanne officials visit in north America

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

Global Civic Movement for Change in Ethiopia

This is a call to all patriotic Ethiopians to say No to the TPLF/EPRDF officials’ visit to North America searching for investment from the Diaspora community. We are not against investing and helping our country and people. On the other hand, we believe we should have a clear understanding of where our money goes and for what purpose it will be used. TPLF/EPRDF officials are asking us to invest under the following circumstances best suited to their perpetuation of their power and not the national interest of Ethiopia.

* Today, all land belongs to the government and we are supposed to lease our own ancestral land. The Ethiopian farmer is at the mercy of TPLF/EPRDF officials in his own land. As a result of these and the overall ill devised policies of the regime, millions of Ethiopians depend on donor food aid; millions of Ethiopians still live in grinding and abject poverty. While the kleptocrats of the ruling regime’s ethnic and political cronies gloat with opulence and decadence.
* Today TPLF/EPRDF officials and EFFORT (Endowment Fund for the Rehabilitation of Tigrai) are the largest owners of the major industries in Ethiopia including Banking, Construction, Agribusiness, Mining, Communication, Insurance and other pillars of the economy that are vital to the well-being and development of the country. Meanwhile, Ethiopian business owners are being pushed out of the market due to a lack of a level playing field. While the regime penalizes these business owners with trumped up charges of tax evasion etc., business owners affiliated with the regime due to their ethnicity or political loyalty are made to thrive and prosper.
* Today TPLF/EPRDF controls the rubber stamping parliament using illegal and bogus elections as we witnessed a few months back “winning” 99.6% of the seats; thus effectively turning Ethiopia into a one-party state. Meles has been in power for 20 years. He has been a cause of death and destruction. He has stolen the election in 2005, and massacred unarmed civilians. He imprisoned close to 50 000 people. At present the brutal regime is imprisoning our people in Gambela, Oromo, Ogaden, Southern Ethiopia and elsewhere.
* Today TPLF/EPRDF controls the military, security service, and the police leaving our people at the mercy of a few sick and selfish individuals. The North Africa and Middle East democratic revolutions are forcing the regime to panic. In desperation it is looking for Diaspora money.
* Today TPLF/EPRDF is selling our land to foreign investors at the expense of Ethiopian farmers and the fragile ecology of these places. Thus transferring this problem for generations to come. Our most fertile land and forest resources are being cleared to feed foreigners without regard to the grave consequences to the people of Ethiopia.
* Today we are made to be by-standers and strangers in our own land with the ruling regime working day and night to create animosity, division, confusion and hatred among Ethiopians based on ethnic background and religious affiliation.

Dear fellow Ethiopians, what we are being asked is to go against our own interest. They want us to invest our hard earned money so that TPLF/EPRDF officials and their families can reinvest it outside of our country by buying properties in Europe and America and on shopping sprees. As you are all aware, we work hard for our money. We left our homeland without anything and through hard work and perseverance we have managed to build a decent living wherever we reside.

TPLF/EPRDF and their cohorts have used and abused our people for the last twenty years. They have committed untold crimes against the people of Ethiopia. Now they want us to be part of their criminal empire. We ask you to look at this situation soberly and choose the welfare of your Motherland and your people over empty promises and shameful acts.

Washington DC, New York, NY, Dallas, TX, Seattle, WA, Las Vegas, NV, Atlanta, GA, San Josea , CA , Los Angeles, CA , Ottawa, Canada, Toronto, Canada, Denver, CO, Minneapolis, MN organizing groups and Taskforces.

It time to say no! Enough is enough! Beka! Geye! Yaekel! Aloni! Wetandem! Gides! Bass! Diiteh!

Freedom, justice, equality for the People of Ethiopia! Victory to the people of Ethiopia!

For more information contact:

Syrian cabinet resigns, political prisoners released

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

(VOA) — Syria’s state media say the government of Prime Minister Mohammed Naji al-Otari has resigned and the country’s president has accepted the resignations.

The reports say President Bashar al-Assad accepted the Cabinet resignations on Tuesday, following more than a week of anti-government protests.

The Associated Press says the 32-member Cabinet will continue running the country’s affairs until President Assad forms a new government.

News reports say President Assad could announce an end to Syria’s nearly 50-year-old emergency laws when he addresses the nation in the coming days.

The opposition protests represent the most serious threat to President Assad’s 11-year-rule and the long-standing authority of his family.

Syrian security officials have cracked down on the demonstrations, firing tear gas and live ammunition to disperse protesters. The U.S.-based rights group Human Rights Watch says at least 61 people have been killed since the unrest began.

Syrian officials say at least 12 people were killed in unrest in the port of Latakia on Friday and Saturday. Witnesses and human rights groups say security forces fired on protesters. Authorities blame armed extremists and foreign powers for inciting the violence.

The southern city of Daraa has been the focal point of the demonstrations.

(Washington Post) — The cabinet resignation, reported on state TV, marks the latest concession by Assad since protesters forced a string of political promises from his government, including a pledge to lift a 48-year-old emergency law. On Saturday, Assad released hundreds of political prisoners and pulled back security forces from the southwestern city where Syria’s burgeoning unrest began earlier this month.

Along with those concessions, anti-government activists are calling on Assad to rescind limits on civil rights, including the right to free assembly.

Opposition members say talk is no longer enough to appease the protesters.

“The issue is not what Assad will say, it is what will he apply?” said Ammar Qurabi, who head Syria’s National Organization for Human Rights. “We are tired of all this talk that the Syrian people have heard from the government for 11 years.”

Tinsae Ethiopia calls for nationwide actons to remove Meles

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011


Tinsae Ethiopia calls for the end of Meles Zenawi’s regime

Last month, the newly formed Tinsae Ethiopia Patriots Union has distributed “Beka!” (Enough!) pamphlet in Amharic, Oromgna and Tigregna using its network through out Ethiopia (read here).

In a follow up pamphlet two weeks ago, Tinsae Ethiopia has called for for nationwide protests in the month of May, 2011, to remove Meles Zenawi’s dictatorship from power (read here).

Tinsae Ethiopia has stated that Ethiopians have rejected the Meles regime during the 2005 elections, but the regime has taken brutal measures to stay in power, while continuing to misrule the country and commit atrocities.

May 2011 will be the Meles regime’s 20th anniversary in power. Tinsae Ethiopia has called on Ethiopians inside the country and around to rally around the slogan “Beka!” (Enough).

Recalling previous attempts by the Meles regime to divert attention from itself by inciting ethnic and religious clashes, Tinsae Ethiopia has asked every Ethiopian to not fall prey for such scheme and look after the well-being of each other regardless of one’s religion or ethnic back ground.

Tinsae Ethiopia has also sent out a message to the armed forces in Ethiopia to join the people’s demand for change and help bring Meles and his collaborators to justice.

Libyan freedom fighters retake Ajdabiya, advance on Brega

Saturday, March 26th, 2011

Libyan freedom fighters retook the strategic eastern town of Ajdabiya which they lost over a week ago, as air strikes by coalition warplanes pound forces loyal to Gaddafi.

(VOA) — Libyan rebels chanted and fired their automatic rifles into the air after capturing the strategic town of Ajdabiya, which controls key roadways into eastern Libya. Coalition warplanes earlier had bombed Gaddafi’s military targets in Ajdabiya, destroying several tanks. A rebel spokesman said African mercenaries were killed in the fighting. Al-Arabiya TV showed several dozen African mercenaries, captured by the rebels.

(Al Jazeera) — Libyan rebels are advancing westwards after recapturing the strategic eastern town of Ajdabiya from government controls with the help of coalition airstrikes.

Reports on Saturday afternoon suggested rebels had already pressed onto the oil-port town of Brega, 80 kilometres to the west.

“We are in the centre of Brega,” rebel fighter Abdelsalam al-Maadani told the AFP news agency by telephone.

Beka! – Shambel Belaineh (video)

Friday, March 25th, 2011

Popular Ethiopian artist Shambel Belaineh has released a new song titled ‘beka!’ (enough) that calls on Meles Zenawi’s regime in Ethiopia to resign. Watch below:

U.K. to abolish anti-press freedom law

Friday, March 25th, 2011

EDITOR’S NOTE: Ethiopian Review is one of the victims of the U.K.’s anti-press freedom law that the new prime minister is trying to abolish. (See here).

New York Times Editorial

The British government is, at last, moving to reform the country’s notorious libel law, which has long made London a magnet for frivolous lawsuits. The reform proposal presented to Parliament last week by Kenneth Clarke, the justice secretary, is far from perfect but represents a reasonable first effort to change a law regarded as so unfair that it has been condemned by the United Nations. Last summer, President Obama signed a bill blocking enforcement of British libel judgments in American courts.

Under British libel law, a defendant is guilty until proved innocent. A plaintiff does not have to show damage to his reputation. Further, under the 1849 Duke of Brunswick rule, each individual newspaper sale — or hit on a Web site — counts as a new publication and thus another libel. The law also treats opinion, however measured, just as it treats tabloid gossip until a defendant convinces a court it should be accepted as fair comment.

As a result, London has become, in effect, a center of libel tourism, and the Royal Courts of Justice favored tribunal for what a House of Commons report called “blatantly inappropriate cases, involving foreigners suing foreigners.”

The new American law — the Securing the Protection of our Enduring and Established Constitutional Heritage Act — bars American courts from recognizing defamation judgments by foreign courts if they are inconsistent with First Amendment protections. But it is no way an answer to problems of British libel law itself.

Mr. Clarke introduced the bill with lofty rhetoric. “The right to freedom of speech is a cornerstone of our Constitution,” he said. “It is essential to the health of our democracy that people should be free to debate issues and challenge authority.”

The bill includes a requirement that statements must cause the plaintiff “substantial harm” in order to be considered defamatory. The bill would allow defendants to claim “responsible publication on matters of public interest” as an argument in their favor. It does away with multiple libels and reduces London’s attractiveness as a lawsuit destination by requiring plaintiffs to prove that England or Wales is “clearly the most appropriate place” to sue someone who doesn’t live in Europe.

The proposed barrier against jurisdiction is significant and a welcome change. In most other respects, the bill is not nearly as protective of speech as American law, and the burden remains on the defendant. Still, the bill has the potential to bury London’s deserved reputation as the world’s libel capital. It deserves the measured praise it is drawing.

German parliamentarian speaks out on repression in Ethiopia

Friday, March 25th, 2011

A member of Germany’s parliament, the Bundestag, Mr Thilo Hoppe, has asked his government to review its policy toward Ethiopia. The following is the statement he released:

Development cooperation with Ethiopia should be reviewed

Thilo Hoppe, Member of the German Bundestag, has issued the following statement on the human-
rights situation in Ethiopia:

It is not only in the Arab world that the voices of those who are no longer willing to accept a lack of democracy and a disregard for human rights are growing louder; this is also happening in Ethiopia.

The German Bundestag’s Committee on Economic Cooperation and Development met with opposition politicians and human-rights activists from Ethiopia, who reported on the suppression of protests in Addis Ababa and the imprisonment of journalists, politicians and NGO representatives critical of the regime.

The Federal Government should follow up on these reports and also raise the critical human-rights situation in negotiations with Ethiopia on development cooperation.

Development cooperation with the government of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi should be reviewed.

The review must examine what kind of assistance reaches the poorest of the poor and fosters sustainable development – and what forms of cooperation may be misused by the government and may even hinder democratic development. It must be made clear to the Ethiopian government that, in Germany’s view, development cooperation cannot be separated from the realization of human rights.

Thilo Hoppe
Mitglied des Deutschen Bundestages
Stv. Vorsitzender des Ausschusses für wirtschaftliche
Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung

Syria’s president releases protesters detained by police

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

SYRIA (BBC) — Syrian President Bashar al-Assad later ordered the release of everyone arrested during the “recent events”, state media said.

Assad’s regime have also pledged to introduce reforms to meet the demands of protesters, after days of violence in the southern city of Deraa, promised to study the need for lifting the state of emergency, in place since 1963, and bring to trial those suspected of killing several protesters in Deraa.

Presidential spokeswoman Bouthaina Shaaban blamed outside agitators for whipping up trouble, and denied that the government had ordered security forces to open fire on protesters.

But she said this “did not mean mistakes had not been made”.

“We should not confuse the behaviour of an individual, and the desire and determination of President Bashar al-Assad to move Syria to more prosperity,” she told a news conference in Damascus.

Relaxing restrictions?

A committee would be set up to talk to “our brothers in Deraa” and bring to justice those responsible for killing protesters, Ms Shaaban said.

She also said the government would raise workers’ wages, introduce health reforms, allow more political parties to compete in elections, relax media restrictions and establish a new mechanism for fighting corruption.

Ms Shaaban announced a similar package of reforms in 2005, but critics say her pledges were never enacted.

Opposition groups reacted to the news conference immediately, telling Reuters news agency that the Deraa committee would do nothing to meet the aspirations of the people.

Reuters reported that dissidents in Syria and in exile dismissed the reforms, calling for the immediate scrapping of the state of emergency and freeing of thousands of political prisoners.

Abdul-Karim Rihawi, who heads the Syrian Human Rights League, later said authorities had released several activists including prominent journalist Mazen Darwish and writer Louay Husein.

Ms Shaaban accused international media, including the BBC and CNN, of exaggerating the crackdown on the protesters.

Estimates vary as to how many people were killed in Wednesday’s unrest.

Some reports quoting witnesses and activists have put the figure as high as 100; others have claimed about 15 people were killed.

The government said 10 people had died.

Security forces opened fired on crowds three times in Deraa on Wednesday, activists and witnesses said.

The first clashes took place in the early hours outside a mosque. Later, witnesses said crowds at a funeral for those who were killed were themselves fired on.

President Assad succeeded his father in 2000 and has tolerated little dissent.

Yemen president starts to negotiate terms for resigning

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh and the country’s top general are hashing out a political settlement in which both men would resign from their positions within days in favor of a civilian-led transitional government, according to three people familiar with the situation.

The outlines of that peaceful transition emerged amid rising tension over the standoff between the President Saleh and Gen. Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, who earlier this week broke ranks and declared his support for the array of protesters demanding that the president step down immediately.

Opposing tanks from units loyal to Mr. Saleh and to Gen. Ahmar have faced off in the streets of San’a all week and tens of thousands of anti-government demonstrators continued their vigil in the capital’s Change Square. … [continue reading]

Growing unease in Ethiopia – VOA

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

A sign of the government’s growing unease has been a partial resumption of jamming of VOA language service broadcasts to Ethiopia. The broadcasts are often jammed before Ethiopia’s elections, but the jamming stops after the voting. … [continue reading]

Why is Meles going after OPDO?

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

Ethiopia’s dictator Meles Zenawi is going after officials and members of the Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO) with a vengeance these days. So far over 150 officials and hundreds of members have been thrown in jail charged with corruption.

Ethiopian Review has interviewed Col. Abebe Geresu about the mass purging inside OPDO.

OPDO is one of the five parties that make up the the TPLF-dominated ruling coalition, Ethiopian People’s Democratic Front (EPRDF).

Col. Abebe left the current regime 2 years ago along with Gen. Kemal Gelchu and 600 other high- and mid-ranking officers mostly from OPDO.

The interview is in Amharic. Read below:

ጥያቄና መልስ ከኮ/ል አበበ ገረሱ ጋር

ጥያቄ – በቅርቡ የመለስ ዜናዊ አገዛዝ በርካታ ባለስልጣኖችን እያሰረና ከስራ እያባረረ ይጋኛል። ከሚታሰሩት መካከል አብዛኛዎቹ የኦሮሞ ህዝብ ዲሞክራሴያዊ ድርጅት (ኦህዴድ ) ኣባላት ናቸው። ለምን መለሰ ዜናዊ የኢህአዴግ አባል ድርጅት የሆነውን የኦህዴድን አመራር አባላት ማሰር የጀመረ ይመስሎታል?

መልስ- መጀመሪያ ለጥያቄህ በጣም አመሰግንሃለሁ። ኦህዴድ ድርጅት ተብሎ ይጠራ እንጅ የድርጅት ህልውና ያልነበረው ነው። ኣቶ መለሰ ዜናዊ በአንድ ወቅት «ኦህደድ ታክቲካዊ ድርጅት እንጂ ስትራትጅካዊ ድርጅት ኣይደለም» ብሎ ነበር። ሌላም ጊዜ «ኦህዴድ ሲፋቅ ኦነግ ይወጣዋል» እያለ በፊት ሌላ በኋላ ሌላ ወይም ፈጣን ሎተሪ ኣይነት ድርጅት መሆኑን በተደጋጋሚ እየገለጸ ቆይቷል። ለዚህም ምክንያቱ ኦህዴድ የሚባለው ድርጅት ወያኔዎች ወደ ኦሮሞ መሬት ለመግባት እርግጠኞች በነበሩበት ጊዜ ኦሮሞን የሚመስል ድርጅት ኣይነት ይዞ መሄድ የግድ ስለነበረባቸው ኦሮምኛ ተናጋሪ የደርግ ሰራዊት ምርከኞችን ኣሰባስቦ በድርጅት መልክ ማደራጀት ስለነበረበት በኣቶ ክንፈ ገብረመድህን በኩል ኣደራጃቸው። በዛኑ ዘመን «መደራጀታችን ለምን ያስፈልጋል፥ የኦሮሞ ድርጅት ኦነግ ኣለ?» ብሎ የጠየቁትን ኣጠፏቸው። ከዚያ በኋላ ምንም ማሰብ የማይችሉትን ምርኮኛች ወታደሮችን እነ ኩማ ደመቅሳ፥ እነ ኣባ ዱላ ገመዳ፥ እነ ኢብራሂም መልካና ባጫ ደበሌ የተባሉትን ዋነኞቹ የኦህዴድ ኣመራሮች ኣድርጎ ጉዞውን ወደ አዲስ አበባ ቀጠለ።

ከዚህ በኋላ ነው እንግዲህ ወያኔዎች ኦህዴድ ታክቲካዊ ድርጅትነቱን በግልጽ መጠቀም የጀመረው። ኢህኣዴግ አዲስ አበባን በተቆጣጠረ ማግስት በ1984 ዓ/ም መቱ ላይ ኦህዴድ ባደረገው ግምገማ ላይ በአንድ ጀንበር 400 ሰው አባረረ። ቀጥሎ በታጠቅ ጦር ሰፈር 16,000 የኦሮሞ ካድሬዎችን ካሰለጠነ በኋላ የደርግ ምርኮኞችን በሙሉ አባሮ የአካል ምርኮኞች ብቻ ሳይሆኑ የአዕምሮ ምርኮኞችን ኣመራር እንዲሆኑለት ለይቶ አስቀራቸው። «ትግላችን ካለፈው ይልቅ ቀጣይ፥ ውስብስና አስቸጋሪ ነው። በመሆኑም አዲሱን የትግል መስመራችንን መቀጥል የምንችለው ንቅል የሆነው ታጋይ ሳይሆን አዲሱ ትውልድ ነው በሚል» ነባሩ የኦህዴድ ታጋዮችን «ፈርተሃል፣ ጠጥተሃል፣ ሰርቀሃል፣ ትግሬዎችን ትጠላለህ፣ የደርግ ሰራዊት ናችሁ፣ የደርግ አመለካከት አለቀቃችሁም፣ ጠባብ አመለካከት አላቹ» በሚሉ ሰበቦች የአህዴድን ታጋዮች ማሰር፣ ማባረር እና ደብዛችውን ማጥፋት የጀመረው አሁን ሳይሆን ከ1984 ዓ.ም ጀምሮ ነው።

የኦህዴድ ምክትል ሊቀ መንበር የነበሩት ኣቶ ኢብራሂም መልካም ሙስና በሚል ሰበብ የተባረሩት ትንሽ ከሌሎች ምርከኞች የተሻለ ህዝባዊ አመለካከት ስለነበራቸዉ ነበር። ሌሎችም በዚሁ በተልካሻ ምክንያቶች ተባረዋል። ወያኔ እነ ኣቶ ባዩን በመኪና ገጭቶ የገደለው በዚሁ ምክንያት ነበረ። ዛሬም ወያኔ የኦህዴድን ባለስልጣኖች ከክልሉ ምክትል ፕሬዝዳንት ጀምሮ በገፍ ማሰር የጀመረው ሙስና በሚል ሰበብ ነው። በእርግጥ በኢትዮጵያ ውስጥ ሙስና፣ ዘረፋ እና የንጹሃንን ዜጎች ዳም ማፍሰስ ወንጀል ቢሆን ኖሮ ክአቶ መለሰ ዜናዊ፣ ወ/ሮ አዜብ መስፍን እና ጀሌዎቻቸው በላይ በወንጅል የተዘፈቀ ያለ አይመስለኝም። ነገሩ ሌላ ነው።

የኦሮሞ ህዝብ ብሶቱ ጣራ ደርሶ ሊፈነዳ በደረሰበት ባሁኑ ሰዓት እነ መለስ ዜናዊ የዚህን ህዝብ ሃብት፣ ንብረቱን እና መሬቱን እየቀሙ ለጀሌዎቻቸውና ለ ባዕዳን ሃገሮች ባለ ሃብት ሽጠው ስለበሉ የኦሮሞን ህዝብ አመለካከት በኦህዴድ አመራሮች አሳብበን እንቀይራለን በሚል ግዜ ያለፈበት የወያኔ ከፋፍለ ግዛ አስተሳሰብ ነው።

ይህ ደግሞ ኦህዴድን ለዋውጦ የኦሮሞን ህዝብ በማታለል ተቃውሞን እና ህዝባዊ አመጽን ለማፈን ፈጽሞ የማይቻል፣ ነገር ግን የአምባገነን መሪዎች በውድቀታቸው ዋዜማ ላይ የሚያደርጉት መፍጨርጨር አንዱ አካል ነው።

የኦሮሞ ህዝብ የወያኔ ስርኣት ቃር ቃር ካለው ሃያ ዓመታትን አስቆጥሯል። ከአንግዲህ ወዲህ ወያኔ የኦህዴድን ባለስልጣኖች አሰራቸውም ኣባረራቸውም ገደላቸውም የኦሮሞ ህዝብ ከሌሎች ኢትዮጵያ ህዝቦች ጋር ወያኔን ለአንዴና ለመጨረሻ ጊዜ ከራሱ ጫንቃ ላይ ካልጣለው በሃገሪትዋ ውስጥ ፍትህና ሰላም ምንም ቢሆን ሊመጣ ስለማይችል ህዝባዊ ትግሉን አጠናክሮ ይቀጥላል እንጂ ለኣፍታም ቢሆን ህዝባዊ ነውጡ በወያኔ ድራማ ሊገታ አይችልም። መሰረቱ የበሰበስውን ቤት ጣራውን ቢጠግኑት ቤት ሊሆን አይችልም። መሰረት የለውምና።

ጥያቄ – በሌሎቹ የኢህኣዴግ ድርጅቶች ለምን ተመሳሳይ ሁኔታ ኣልተከሰተም?

መልስ – በሌሎቹ ድርጅቶች ያልተነሳበት ምክንያት ኣሁን ህዝባዊ ነውጡ ወያኔን ያሳጋ ያለው ወይም ሕዝባዊ ነውጡ ይነሳል ተብሎ የሚጠበቀው በኦሮምያ ክልልና ኣዲስ ኣበባ ዙሪያ በመሆኑና ተቃዋሚ የኦሮሞ ድርጅቶች በሕዝብ ውስጥ የሚሰሩት ስራ ወያኔን በከፍተኛ ጭንቀት ውስጥ በመጣሉ ነው ዘመቻውን ኣስቀደሞ በኦህዲድ ድርጅት ባለስልጣናት ላይ የከፈተው።

ሁለተኛ፣ ሌሎች ድርጅቶች የሚባሉትስ እነማን ናቸው? በኢህኣዴግ ኣባል ድርጅቶች ውስጥ ኣንደኛው ህወሓት (ወያኔ) ነው። ህወሓት ማለት የመለስ ጉዳይ ኣስፈጻሚ ስለሆነ ምንም ዓይነት ችግር የሚያመጣ ኣይደለም። ብኣዴን ከሆነ ከኣዲሱ ለገሰ እና ከተፈራ ዋልዋ ውጭ ሌሎቹ ኣማርኛ ተናጋሪ ትግሪዎችና የመለስ ዜናዊ ቡችሎች የነበሩ ናቸው። ዴህዴግ የሚባሎት ድሮውኑ መለስ «ስዕብና የሌላቸው ሰዎች ስብስብ» ነው ብሏቸዋል። ሌሎችን ኣጋር ደጋፊ በሚል የኢህኣዴግ ተጎታቾች ኣድጓቸዋል። ለማናቸውም ተጎታች ድርጅቶቹ ሁሉ የሚቀርላቸው ጉዳይ ኣይደለም።

ጥያቄ – ይህ ሁኔታ ወዴት የሚያመራ ይመስልዎታል?

መልስ – ይህ ሁኔታ የሚያመራው ወያኔ የግዛት ዘመኑ ያከተመ መሆኑን በግልጽ የሚጠቁም ነው። የኢትዮጵያ ሕዝብ የወያኔ ስርዓት ኣንገሽግሾታል። ወያኔ በኢትዮጵያኖች ዘንድ በዝረራ የተሸነፈው በምርጫ 97 ነበር። ነገር ግን በማን ኣለብኝነት የሕዝቦችን ድምጽ በሰራዊት ሃይል ኣፍኖ ነበር እስከዛሬ ድረስ በስልጣን ላይ ያለው። የኢትዮጵያ ሕዝብ የራሱ የመከላከያ ሰራዊት የለውም። ኣሁን ያለው ሰራዊት የወያኔ የግል ሰራዊት ወይም የትግራይ ሚሊሻዎች፣ ማለትም የነመለስ የግላቸው ሰራዊት እንጂ ያገር ሰራዊት ኣይደለም። በመሆኑም ወያኔ ዛሬም ድረስ በነዚህ በግሉ ሰራዊት ኣባላት የኢትዮጵያን ሕዝብ ተቃውሞ እና ኣመጽን ለማፈን እስከመጨረሻ መጣጣሩ ኣይቀርም። ነገር ግን ወያኔ ምንም ያክል በትግራይ ልጆች ብቻ የሚመራውን ሕዝባዊነት የሌለው ወይም የኢትዮጵያ መከላከያ ሰራዊት ያልሆነውን ነፍሰገዳይ ስራዊት ቢያከማችም ወያኔና ሰራዊቱ የኢትዮጵያን ሕዝብ ሊያሸንፉት ኣይችሉም። የወያኔ ሰራዊትም የኢትዮጵያን ሕዝብ ደም ኣፍስሶ የትም ሊያመልጥ ኣይችልም። ኣቶ መለስ ዜናዊም የኢትዮጵያን ሕዝብ ኣስጨፍጭፎ ከዚህ በፊት እንደተዋረዱት አንምገነን መሪዎች ተዋርደው በጦር ወንጀለኛነት ከመጠየቅ ኣያመልጥም። በርግጠኝነት ሁኔታው የሚያመራው ወደዚህ ነው።

አሁን እነ መለስ ዜናዊ ኦህዴድን ባለስልጣኖች ቢያስሩም፣ ቢፈቱም፣ ቢያባርሩም፣ የስልጣን ዘመናቸውን ሊያራዝምላቸው የሚችል ኣይመስለኝም። ስለዚህ የወያኔ ባለስልጣኖች በኢትዮጵያኖች ዘንድ ቃር ቃር ያለዉን ድራማቸውን ትተው የኢትዮጵያን ሕዝብ ይቅርታ ጠይቀው በሰላማዊ መንገድ ስልጣኑን ለሕዝብ ቢያስረክቡ አገሪቱን ከከፋ ጥፋት ሊታደጉና እነሱም ከወንጀለኝነት ሊድኑ ይችላሉ። ያላቻዉም የማጨረሻ ምርጫ ይሄ ብቻ ነው። ኣለበለዚያ የወያኔ ስርዓት በከፍተኛ ሕዝባዊ ነውጥ ተመቶ ወደ ግባኣተ መሬቱ የሚመለስበት ዋዜማ ላይ ደርሷል።

African dictators try to snuff out flames of discontent

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

By By MICHELLE FAUL and ANGUS SHAW | Associated Press

Ethiopia’s 20-year government announced a cap on basic food prices within days of President Zine al Abidine Ben Ali’s flight from Tunisia. Opponents said Saturday the government has rounded up some 200 opposition members in the past week “in a preemptive action to prevent the popular uprising that is sweeping through northern Africa.”

Angola’s ruler of more than 30 years, President Eduardo dos Santos, has used mass troop deployments and arrests to quash a planned pro-democracy protest. Opposition politicians and human rights lawyers in Angola, a virtual one-party state, have been receiving anonymous death threats and the cars of two lawyers were set ablaze.

In Djibouti, riot police moved against an estimated 6,000 people at an opposition political rally on Feb. 18, and opposition politicians said five people were killed and dozens wounded. A second rally planned for March 4 didn’t happen after security forces filled the streets. Opposition leaders have been jailed.

“There is no way anybody can win against him,” opposition leader Abdourahman Boreh said from exile in London, referring to President Ismail Omar Guelleh. “He uses all the power, all the police, all the government instruments and resources, and he uses brutality.”

Uganda’s Conservative Party leader John Ken Lukyamuzi said “it is very possible” the protests will spread to sub-Saharan Africa. In his own country, police fired tear gas against people protesting alleged rigging in last month’s presidential vote that saw incumbent Yoweri Museveni, 66, who has been in power since 1986, win again. He threatened his opponents.

“I will deal with them decisively and they will never rise again,” Museveni said, promising at one point to “bang them into jails and that would be the end of the story.”

In Zimbabwe, Jeenah said, people are held back from taking to the streets by fears of the beatings and torture meted out to dissenters, while Mugabe is sustained by the lack of criticism and even support demonstrated by other African leaders.

Ivory Coast threatens to slide back toward civil war since Laurent Gbagbo refused to accept that he lost November elections. As Gbagbo’s intransigence turns the commercial capital, Abidjan, into a war zone, African leaders have been hesitant to intervene militarily. Some who side with Gbagbo are themselves anti-democratic.

If Gbagbo prevails, he would be the third African leader to refuse to accept election results, following the lead of Mugabe and Kenya’s Mwai Kibaki.

It’s a dangerous precedent. More than a dozen presidential elections are scheduled across Africa this year. If winners of free and fair elections are prevented from taking office, the people’s discontent can only build.

(Faul reported from Johannesburg. Associated Press writers Jason Straziuso in Nairobi, Kenya; Godfrey Olukya in Kampala, Uganda; Divine Ntaryike in Douala, Cameroon; and Phathizwe-Chief Zulu in Mbabane, Swaziland contributed to this report.)

Sugar and cooking oil disappearing in Ethiopia

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

Residents in Addis Ababa and other Ethiopian cities have to wait over 8 hours in line to buy sugar, cooking oil and other food items, according to Ethiopian Review sources. The photos below show a sugar line at a store on Tewodros Street in Addis Ababa yesterday, March 21, 2011. Meanwhile, it is reported that dictator Meles Zenawi and wife Azeb Mesfin have began construction of their 80 million birr house at the Menelik II Palace compound, and the ruling party TPLF is spending millions of dollars to celebrate it’s 20th anniversary in power next May, 2011.

Sugar line in Ethiopia

Sugar line in Ethiopia

Clearing people and forests for agribusiness

Monday, March 21st, 2011

The Meles dictatorship in Ethiopia continues to displace people from their land and destroy ancient forests to grow crops and flower for export, as the video below shows:

Meles talks about military action against Eritrea – VOA

Monday, March 21st, 2011

VOA’s Peter Heinlein from Addis Ababa is reporting that Meles Zenawi’s regime in Ethiopia has changed its policy toward Eritrean to “actively advocate the overthrow of the government in Eritrea.”

News agencies quoted Ethiopean Prime Minister dictator Meles Zenawi as telling an Eritrean opposition radio station his government would work in a ‘diplomatic and military capacity’ to oust the regime in Asmara, the Eritrean capital. The reports gave no further details.”

In an interview Sunday with VOA, Ethiopian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Dina Mufti said the decision to take a tougher stance was made after the international community turned a deaf ear to pleas for more pressure on Eritrea.

“We have been hoping the international community will put pressure on it. However, we do not see that, therefore time has come for us to make sure that our sovereignty is protected and our people, our country, is saved. So these are the situations that have forced us to revisit our position,” he said.

This is obviously a desperate attempt by Meles to divert attention from the various opposition voices who are demanding an end to his regime. Some Ethiopian groups are using Facebook to call for the launching of protests on May 28, 2011, the 20th anniversary of Meles Zenawi’s coming to power. – VOA

Officials, top army general in Yemen resign

Monday, March 21st, 2011

The country’s United Nations ambassador, Abdullah Alsaidi, has resigned, Reuters reports. Alsaidi is the latest member of President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s government who has stepped down from their positions, in protest of the violence and killing of pro-democracy protesters. On Friday, both the country’s tourism minister and the head of the party’s foreign affairs committee quit. On Saturday, Nasr Taha Mustafa, head of the state news agency and a leading ruling party member, resigned from both his position and his party. Party member Mohamed Saleh Qara’a also quit over what he referred to as ‘”completely unacceptable”‘ violence.


Protesters in Syria burned down ruling party’s office

Monday, March 21st, 2011

SYRIA — Protesters in the city of Deraa burned the house of the ousted district governmor as well as the ruling party’s HQ and a local culture ministry office. Al-Arabiya also reported that Syrian army tanks arrived in the city on Sunday.


On Sunday, at least five people were killed and 60 were injured after Syrian officers used live ammunition to disperse protests.

Tens of thousands of Syrians took to the streets as a governmental delegation arrived in Deraa to console families mourning for loved ones killed in previous demonstrations.

The officials promised to release 15 detainees but the protestors remained undeterred. The mourners later gathered at the al-Omari mosque in the old quarter of Deraa near the border with Jordan.

In Yemen, president Ali Abdullah Saleh has suffered a political setback, with his ambassador to Syria resigning and three top generals expressing their support for the anti-Government protesters.

Tanks took up positions around the capital Sana’a today as tens of thousands of people gathered for funerals for 50 demonstrators shot dead by loyalist forces. It’s been described as the biggest gathering of protesters against president Saleh’s 32 years of autocratic rule.

Ethiopia: Broken Contract, Broken Faith, Broken Country

Monday, March 21st, 2011

Alemayehu G. Mariam

Over the past week, Meles Zenawi has been waxing eloquent on contract and leasehold law. Asked by a local journalist whether the winds of change blowing in North Africa could make a detour to Ethiopia, he said that was impossible because he and his party have a five-year “contract” with the Ethiopian people. He explained[1],

When the people gave us a five year contract, it was based on the understanding that if the EPDRF party [Zenawi’s party] does not perform the contract to expectations it would be kicked out of power. No need for hassles. The people can judge by withholding their ballots and chase EPDRF out of power. EPDRF knows it and the people know it too. Therefore, in a situation where the people have this kind of power and have given consent to a government which has been in power for 10 months, they can wait [until the end of the five-year contract] and remove it by denying their ballots. There is no reason or logic why they would change it by other means. That is why a change similar to that in North Africa cannot happen in Ethiopia.

It is not clear what Zenawi means in his repeated use of the word “contract” to describe the relationship between the people of Ethiopia and his party, and how that “contract” became an ironclad deal for five years. The terms of the “contract” and the circumstances that constitute breach are also unclear. But the word  “contract” has special significance for those in the legal profession and students of political theory.

Legal Contract?

In the civil laws of all modern societies, a contract is a legally enforceable agreement between two or more parties with mutual obligations. There are all sorts of contracts, and certain ones have no validity in law.  For instance, there are “unconscionable contracts” in which one party imposes terms on the other party by duress (such as use of physical threats, economic pressure, misleading information, etc.), undue influence (one party takes unfair advantage of the weaknesses of the other party) or  “unconscionable bargaining” (the party in a superior bargaining position denies the subordinate party realistic opportunities to negotiate beneficial terms  leaving that party the option of only acquiescing to the deal).  A contract based on an “illusory promise” is invalid because one party has the sole option to live up to the terms of the contract or to avoid the obligations at will. If Zenawi does indeed have a legal “contract” with the people, it must be of the “unconscionable” variety.

A Social Contract?

Perhaps Zenawi is referring to a “social contract” with the Ethiopian people. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the philosophical anchor of the French Revolution theorized about a “social contract” in which individuals gave up their natural liberty to ensure their self-preservation in civil society. Rousseau penned the memorable phrase, “Man is born free, but everywhere he is in chains.” The “chains” were put on man by other men who seek domination.  Rousseau’s solution to the problem of “man in chains” was to create a community of people who establish a state that expresses their sovereign “general will” by passing laws that benefit them. Rousseau believed that government has a tendency to usurp the power of the people and supported the right of the people to alter their form of government and replace their leaders at will. The question is whether the Ethiopian people are in “chains” or “free” in their “contract” with Zenawi.

John Locke, the philosophical anchor of the American Revolution, also theorized about a “social contract”. He argued that individuals collectively formed society in mutual consent to protect each other’s life, liberty and property by establishing government. He believed the “just powers” of government derive from the consent of the governed. He wrote, “Freedom of men under government is to have a standing rule to live by, common to every one of that society, and made by the legislative power vested in it; a liberty to follow my own will in all things, when the rule prescribes not, and not to be subject to the inconstant, unknown, arbitrary will of another man.”  Locke’s basic argument is that people entered into a “social contract” to live under the rule of law (that is by application and respect for constitutional principles and legislation passed by the people’s representatives) and avoid the rule of a tyrant. Locke’s “social contract” is revocable at any time by the withdrawal of popular  consent. The question is whether Zenawi’s vaunted “contract” with the Ethiopian people is based on the “rule of law” or the “arbitrary will of a man”?

Thomas Hobbes, the English philosopher and champion of absolutism (dictatorship) also proposed a “social contract” theory. He argued that in the state of nature (before government was established), life was “nasty, brutish, and short”.  To end the “war of all against all” in the state of nature, humans entered into a “contract” and gave up their “unlimited natural freedoms” in exchange for a political community and civil society that maximized their self-preservation and personal security. Hobbes believed that a powerful and supreme sovereign (a monarch) was needed to enforce the “social contract”.  Unlike Locke who believed in the rule of law, Hobbes believed in rule by prerogative (arbitrary rule by one individual who is accountable to no one) in which a monarch would exercise supreme authority to ensure the safety and security of individuals in civil society. Having personally experienced the English Civil War, he came to believe that the burdens of the most oppressive government are “scarce sensible, in respect of the miseries, and horrible calamities, that accompany a Civil War”. In other words, having an absolute dictator is better than risking civil war. Louis XIV of France was probably echoing Hobbes when he told parliamentarians challenging his personal decrees,  “L’État, c’est moi.” (The state, it is me). More recently, Moamar Gadhafi and his sons have been pleading to extend their 42-year “contract” on the Libyan people indefinitely by claiming: “The tribes are all armed, there are forces from the Libyan army and the eastern region is armed. The situation is very dangerous. From the perspective of a civil war, the leader must play a very, very big role in calming Libya and convincing people to sit together. If something happened to the leader, who would be in control? A civil war would start.” Perhaps Zenawi is referring to a Hobbsean-type of social contract?

This idea of a “contract” with the people is nothing new. After winning the 1994 elections, Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives claimed to have concluded a “Contract With America” (CWA) aimed at “restoring the bonds of trust between the people and their elected representatives.”  They said they would bring an “end of government that is too big, too intrusive, and too easy with the public’s money.” They promised to eliminate deficit spending and reduce fraud, waste and abuse in government. Over the following decade, “Big Government” continued to grow bigger under the CWA. Republicans went on a spending spree incurring the biggest annual increases in spending over the preceding 40 years. They got entangled in a number of spectacular corruption cases and lobbying scandals.  The three “engineers” of the 1994 “Republican Revolution” publicly broke their “bonds with the people”. In 1998, following Republican losses in the mid-term elections and paying a fine of $300,000 for ethics violations, Newt Gingrich resigned both his Speakership and his congressional seat. Dick Armey served as House majority leader before retiring in 2002. He dumped the Contract With America, joined the DLA Piper lobbying firm and snagged a contract “for a minimum of $50,000 a month” with the Zenawi regime. Tom Delay, another member of the CWA team took over from Armey but was forced to resign in 2005 after he was charged with criminal money laundering. He was convicted in 2010 and sentenced to three years in prison.

Leaseholds and Land Grabs

Zenawi also offered extended legal analysis of the  “land grab” problem in Addis Ababa. The question raised by a young reporter was whether developers who held leaseholds in urban land in the capital could freely transfer their interest in the open commercial real estate market regardless of any improvements (buildings) on the land. Zenawi made the bewildering claim that “developers were grabbing land that does not belong to them in any legal sense and misusing the land lease rights they were given for personal profit and speculation.” He said such transfers were fueling “land speculation” in  the capital with “government officials facilitating such activities or turning a blind eye” to them. He said the “intention” of the law “was to transfer use rights for those who can use it better” but that “the law was open to interpretation.” He proceeded to make the following astonishing statement:

The reason why we have not taken anyone to court on that basis is simply because it is open to interpretation.  The political mistake is that it was open to be interpretation and therefore strictly speaking such acts may not have been illegal. They may not have been wise, but they may not be illegal. So those who made those unwise decisions, but they cannot be held accountable simply because the law provides for such interpretation. And so we will be taking steps to clarify those specific provisions in the law to make sure they did not open the floodgates for speculation in urban land. All of those, with the exception of one businessman have admitted they made very serious mistakes, offered to correct the mistakes and asked for administrative penalties rather than taking them to court. It does not serve our development interest to lock up so many businessmen since they admitted their mistakes, mend their ways and pay hefty fines. All government officials involved will be taken to court.

Zenawi’s analysis is remarkable for its manifest misconstruction of the urban land proclamation and non-sequitur (fallacious argument) explanation. First, the transfer of leasehold interest by developers in the open commercial market is a perfectly legal activity and can in no way be characterized as “land grabbing” or “land speculation.” Article 13 of Proclamation No. 272/2002 (A Proclamation to Provide for the Reenactment of Lease Holding of Urban Land) provides: “Any lease-hold possessor may transfer, or undertake a surety on, his right of lease-hold; and he may also use it as a capital contribution to the amount of the lease payment he has made.” The are no express or implied limitations in the Proclamation on the transfer of leasehold rights by anyone who has “lease-hold title” as defined in Article 9 (i.e. “any person, to whom lease-hold of urban land is permitted through auction or negotiation, after he has signed a contract of lease with the body permitting the land or the appropriate body.” Article 6 (1) (b) (1) provides that Addis Ababa’s urban land may be leased for “upto 60 years for industry” and “upto 50 years for commerce and other” activities. There is no textual basis in the Proclamation that limits the transfer of urban leasehold interests by a lawful title holder or renders such an  interest invalid because the title holder has found a way to generate personal profit from it.

Second, the penalty for violation of the terms of a leasehold is termination and forfeiture (give up the land) as set forth in Article 15: “The lease-hold of urban land shall be terminated where the lease-hold possessor has failed to use the land for the prescribed activity or service within the period of time set.”  It is not a crime to violate a “contract of lease”, yet Zenawi says “it does not serve our development interest to lock up so many businessmen since they admitted their mistakes”. Zenawi has no legal authority to “lock up” any businessmen for “mistakes” allegedly committed in the exercise of their contractual rights. All he can legally do is repossess the leased land following a contested court trial and seek compensation for damages, if any. To threaten businessmen to pay “hefty fines” or face “lock up” is plain extortion.

Third, Zenawi says the “law is open to interpretation.” The relevant parts of the Proclamation are plainly written and present no ambiguity which require interpretation. But if there is a dispute over the meaning or application of a particular law or provision, it is up to the courts to make authoritative determination on what the law means. Simply stated, whether the Proclamation allows commercial transfer of leasehold interests is purely a question of law (not fact) to be decided impartially by a judge; it is not a question to be decided by executive fiat in which one person becomes the policeman, judge, jury and executioner. For Zenawi to issue authoritative legal interpretation and dispositive declarations on what he concedes to be ambiguous questions of leasehold law is not only a travesty of justice but also an unconstitutional usurpation of judicial power. (Apparently, “one businessman” has chosen to try his luck in court by refusing to pay “hefty fines”. Best of luck!)  Anyone who doubts the complete absence of the rule of law in Ethiopia and entertains the fantasy that there is an independent judiciary can take hard lessons from this example.

Fourth, Zenawi says “developers were grabbing land that does not belong to them in any legal sense and misusing the land lease rights they were given for personal profit and speculation.” It hard to make sense of this statement. Nonetheless, businessmen, including developers, are in business to make profit, as much profit as they could. Few businessmen and women are in business for charity, and even fewer would remain in business if they did not make a fair profit. A leasehold is a valuable asset in its own right and can be traded for profit as a physical asset, a fact fully acknowledged in Articles 13, 4 and 5 of the Proclamation.  What must be understood is the fact that legitimate developers buy land, acquire leaseholds, finance real estate deals and build projects at great risk and expense. They often take extraordinary risks in arranging financing, obtaining loans and securing necessary regulatory approvals. More often than not, they are at the “mercy” of architects, city planners, engineers, surveyors, inspectors, contractors, brokers and building materials suppliers. It is unfair and mean-spirited to paint them with a broad brush as “land grabbers” and “land speculators” who are no better than gangsters and street criminals that deserve to be “locked up.”

Real Land Grabs and Land Speculation

On the other hand, the phrases “land grabbing” and “land speculation” are perfectly applicable to other land transactions that have been taking place throughout Ethiopia over the past several years. For instance, handing over 1.8 million hectares of farmland, “equaling nearly 40 percent the total area of the principal grain-growing state of Punjab, India” to Indian “investors” for 70 years is a prime example of “land grabbing.” Turning over 250,000 hectares of land to the Saudi Star Agriculture Development Company for decades is another excellent example of “land speculation”. Selling hundreds of thousands of hectares of land in Gambella for $1 a year “lease” is a land giveaway fest of epic proportions. Doing 815 huge land deals with foreign “investors” over a three year period without transparency, institutional mechanisms for accountability, environmental impact analysis and the forced removal of local resident from ancestral lands is not only land grabbing and land speculation, it is also a gross violation of human rights. Truth be told, it is not just urban land and it is not just farmland but the whole of Ethiopia’s land that is on the chopping block!

In the American Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, inspired by Locke, wrote that when government breaks its contract and faith with the people, the people have the right to terminate the contract at will and reinstitute government that earns their consent and deserves  their trust: “That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends [life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness], it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.” The only contract that cannot be broken is one concluded with Mephistopheles.

[1] Translation from Amharic.

U.S. fires 110 Tomahawk missiles against Gaddafi forces

Saturday, March 19th, 2011

BENGHAZI, Libya (NBC) — The United States launched its first missile attack on Libyan air defenses on Saturday, NBC News confirmed, as America and its allies began military action to enforce a no-fly zone.

A senior U.S. military official said the missile strikes were aimed at sites along the Libyan coast. The missiles were launched from U.S. Navy vessels in the Mediterranean.

The official said the assault would unfold in stages and strike at air defense installations around the capital, Tripoli, and a coastal area south of Benghazi. That’s the rebel stronghold under attack by Moammar Gadhafi’s forces.

Earlier, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said allied air forces had gone into action on over Libya and were preventing Moammar Gadhafi’s forces from attacking the rebel city of Benghazi.

A French official said a French fighter jet had fired on a Libyan military vehicle, in the first reported strike in the international campaign to enforce a no-fly zone. Overall, at least four Libyan tanks were destroyed in French attack, Al Jazeera reported.

French fighter jets flew over

Saturday, March 19th, 2011

(Bloomberg) — French military jets flew over Libya, ready to enforce an air-exclusion zone to halt Muammar Qaddafi’s attacks on rebels, as Western leaders met in Paris to consider their next steps.

The planes were in the air not far from Libya this afternoon and were ready to carry out air strikes if there are orders from President Nicolas Sarkozy, a military official with knowledge of the preparations said on condition of anonymity.

Qaddafi’s forces attacked the rebel stronghold of Benghazi today in defiance of international demands for a cease-fire, television stations reported. Al Jazeera cited the head of the rebel council, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, as saying bombing raids took place in the eastern port city of 1 million people.

Pro-Qaddafi forces entered parts of Benghazi, Al Arabiya TV reported. Forces advancing included tanks, it said, adding that 11 fighters loyal to Qaddafi were killed. A BBC correspondent reported seeing government tanks on a bridge. TV channels showed footage of a fighter jet being shot down.

(AP) — Six Danish F-16 fighter jets landed Saturday at the U.S. air base in Sigonella, Sicily, and a half-dozen U.S. aircraft arrived elsewhere as the military buildup mounted in Italy for possible action against Libya.

Danish air force spokesman Lars Skjoldan said the six F-16s would be ready for operation in Libya by Sunday.

Italy has offered the use of seven military bases to enforce the U.N.-authorized no-fly zone over Libya and protect Libyan civilians from Moammar Gadhafi’s troops.

In addition to the aircraft already in Italy, Norway said it was prepared to send six F-16 fighter jets to enforce the no-fly zone, but that they wouldn’t be operational for five to six days.

One of the two British bases in Cyprus, meanwhile, will be supporting AWACS surveillance aircraft assigned to monitor the no-fly zone over Libya, said spokesman Kristian Gray.

The aircraft are already at the Royal Air Force’s Akrotiri base on the south coast of the island, he told The Associated Press on Saturday. Also deployed to the base is a team of British personnel to coordinate movement of British aircraft.

German Foreign Minister criticized by domestic media

(Reuters) – German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle came under domestic fire on Saturday for opting out of any military involvement in Libya, drawing accusations of siding with dictators rather than Berlin’s NATO allies.

Foreign policy experts, the opposition and media commentators expressed everything from puzzlement to scorn at Berlin’s abstention on Thursday in a U.N. Security Council resolution authorising a no-fly zone over Libya.

The centre-left daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung made one of the strongest attacks on Westerwelle and Chancellor Angela Merkel for deciding to take no part in any military effort to protect Libyan civilians from leader Muammar Gaddafi’s forces. “For the first time since its inception, the Federal Republic has pulled up the anchor that secures it to the West,” wrote commentator Daniel Broessler.

Broessler equated the abstention with a direct vote against Germany’s NATO allies on the United Nations Security Council which supported the resolution.

“Now Merkel and Westerwelle are responsible for Germany voting against Americans, British and French, but with the Chinese, Russians, Brazilians and Indians — against our most important allies in the West and on the side of dictators, autocrats and two distant democracies.”

Since World War Two, Germans have been traditionally hostile to foreign military interventions and Merkel’s coalition faces a series of difficult regional elections this weekend and next.

Westerwelle, who leads the liberal Free Democrats in the coalition, attracted criticism of his performance after becoming foreign minister in 2009 but this had eased recently.

On Saturday he defended his position. “I see myself coming from a tradition of moderation when it comes to military deployments,” he told Spiegel magazine.

Over 200 opposition members arrested in Ethiopia

Saturday, March 19th, 2011

Meles Zenawi’s regime in Ethiopia has so far this week rounded up and thrown in jail over 200 members of Medrek, a coalition of eight opposition parties.

Most of the detainees are from the Oromo People’s Congress (OPC) and the Oromo Federal Democratic Movement (OFDM).

According to Medrek secretary general, 217 OFDM and 40 OPC members have been arrested this week. The whereabouts of many of the detainees are not known.

The Meles regime is rounding up opposition members in a preemptive action to prevent the popular uprising that is sweeping through northern Africa and the Middle East from erupting in Ethiopia.

Meles is also purging some of his own officials in the Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO), a member of the ruling Woyanne coalition. It’s reported that over 150 high- and mid-ranking OPDO officials have been arrested in during the past few days and charged with corruption.

Meanwhile, at least two youth groups, Ethiopian Revolution May 2011 and YeDil Qen, are preparing for nationwide protests to be launched on May 28, 2011. Their Facebook sites are attracting thousands of members.

In Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, food prices are increasing by the day, and sugar and oil are in scarce supply.

Syria security forces clash with protesters

Friday, March 18th, 2011

(Al Jazeera) — Protests have erupted in at least three towns across Syria in the most serious case of unrest in decades for a country that has been ruled with strict emergency laws for almost half a century.

(BBC) — At least two protesters have been shot dead in the south Syrian city of Deraa as security forces clamped down on a protest rally.

A resident told Reuters news agency the pair had been killed by security forces as protesters demanded political freedom and an end to corruption.

A human rights activist told AFP that four people had been killed.

President Bashar al-Assad, whose Baath party has dominated politics for nearly 50 years, tolerates no dissent.

The state news agency Sana said violence and “acts of sabotage” had broken out at a demonstration in Deraa on Friday, prompting security forces to intervene.

It accused “infiltrators” of seeking to “provoke chaos through acts of violence which resulted in damage to private and public property”.

‘Hundreds injured’
The resident who spoke to Reuters named the two dead people as Hussam Abdel Wali Ayyash and Akram Jawabreh.

They had been among “several thousand” demonstrators chanting “God, Syria, Freedom” and anti-corruption slogans, accusing the president’s family of corruption, the resident said.

Security forces, the Reuters source added, were reinforced with troops flown in by helicopters.

An anti-government website, Free Syria, also named Akram Jawabreh as one of “a number” of protesters killed.

The unnamed human rights activist contacted by AFP named both Mr Jawabreh and Mr Ayyash among four people killed.

“The security forces fired live bullets at the protesters,” the activist said, adding that “hundreds” of protesters had been wounded.

He told AFP that “many” of the wounded had been “snatched by security forces” from hospital and moved to unknown locations.

Meles Zenawi purges senior Oromo officials

Friday, March 18th, 2011

Ethiopia’s paranoid dictator has purged several senior Oromo officials in the Oromo People’s Democratic Movement (OPDO), an affiliate party of the ruling Tigray People’s Liberation Front (Woyanne).

Some of the senior officials who have been arrested recently include Zelalem Jemaneh, OPDO executive committee member; and Daba Debele, OPDO central council member and head of Addis Ababa Capacity Building Bureau.

So far, 150 OPDO officials have been rounded up and thrown in jail. The reason given for the arrests is corruption, which is a well known tactic by Meles Zenawi to remove potential opponents.

The Abyssinian character

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

The following are a couple of excerpts from an interesting book about the Abyssinian Character by a Russian Traveler Alexander Bulatovich who traveled to Ethiopia around 1896. The book was translated and edited by Richard Seltzer in 2000.

Ethiopia Through Russian Eyes: a Country in Transition, 1896-1898. Lawrenceville NJ, Red Sea Press.


It is hard to imagine so many contrasts united in one person, as are united in the Abyssinian character. Their character is like the nature around them — where precipices, cliffs, mountains and plains alternate among one another, and cold is mixed with tropical heat. If I allow myself a rather free comparison, this is how I would characterize the Abyssinian. He is talented and receptive, like a Frenchman. With his practicality, with the way he deals with those he has conquered and his governmental abilities, he is like an Englishman. His pride is like that of a Spaniard. By his love for his faith, his mildness of character and tolerance, he is like a Russian. By his commercial abilities, he is like a Jew. But in addition to all these characteristics, he is very brave, cunning, and suspicious.

At the present time, Abyssinia — with its ancient culture, Christianity, and historically shaped governmental order — appears like an island among other peoples who are almost in a childlike condition. Abyssinians have professed the Christian faith since 343 A.D., and before then, from the time of Solomon, they professed the Jewish faith, which even today is reflected in their ceremonies. To this day they separate animals into pure and impure; they give great significance to the ability to butcher cattle; and they circumcise their children. There are many other similarities, but I will tell of them in greater detail later. [...]

Only an Ethiopian uprising can save the economy

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

By Teodros Kiros

A careful study of world uprisings has convinced George Katsiaficas, the leading expert on social movements, that uprisings empower people and unleash their hitherto untapped passions and energies that fuel dormant economies and revive them in extraordinary ways.

Uprisings create spaces of organized political actions during which time the people develop some distinctly political qualities of leadership. The world has recently witnessed these new qualities in the spectacularly new models of people’s resistance to dictatorships of pharonic Egypt, a polity that was oppressed for 5000 years of successive dominance under its own pharaohs, the Greeks, the Romans, and the Mamluks.

Tahrir square gave us a new model of political action on the enterprising streets of Cairo, Alexandria and many other Egyptian towns.

George Katsiaficas defended this thesis in African Ascent, hosted by Teodros Kiros, and the interview can be viewed in YouTube by March 25th, 2011.

When people’s passions, imaginations and intelligences are freed from the snares of dictatorship; when people discover their powers and abilities on the streets of democracy; when the people learn that their liberation is tied to the liberation of the nation, then they draw from the hidden fountain of their intelligence to revive the economy. The economy can be revived only if they participate, only if they disalienate themselves and becoming the living engine of the economy.

We recently learned from Egypt that new social movements of youth, women, workers and other professionals created new spaces of action for themselves.

It is uprisings, which disclosed the protesters of Tunisia, Egypt and now Libya as actional and erotic beings and not passive and alienated spectators.

So the dormant Ethiopian economy can be energized and revived by peaceful uprisings, which will take power from dictators and their cohorts and give power directly to the people themselves.

A new vibrant Ethiopian economy is the consequence of the people’s activities.

The current Ethiopian economic crises, which the Prime Minister refuses to see from the invisible space of the palace, can be saved only by the people themselves if they are freed from political darkness, civil boredom, ethnic narrow-mindedness, skepticism and cultural decadence, and come out in millions to Meskel square and demand regime change.

If and when this happens they will immediately embark on the long road of national development organized by the empowering principle of Ethiopianity. We can for the first time witness what the people can do, when they are trusted and coached to work for the nation-selflessly and intelligently.

Obama appears to prefer a Gaddafi victory

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

Ethiopian pro-democracy forces need to closely examine the Obama Administration’s policy toward Libya that is based on short-sighted naked self interest and examine their strategy accordingly. The following is an insightful analysis by David From that was posted on The Telegraph today.

Barack Obama is in no hurry to see Gaddafi go

By David Frum

Would President Obama prefer a Gaddafi victory? If that sounds implausible, then just look at the record. On March 3, Obama announced that Gaddafi “must go”. Two weeks have passed since then – and more than a month since the uprising began on February 15. In the interim, the tide of war has turned in Gaddafi’s favour. Yet Obama has done nothing to make his own words reality.

Every proposal – from the no-fly zone and aid to rebels, to recognition of a provisional government – has somehow become bogged down.

The administration never rejected the proposals out of hand, but it never accepted them either. And now time, so very unfortunately, has run out. Admittedly, the American government moves slowly. But it does not move this slowly.

The Obama administration may not care to admit it, but it did make a decision, and one of benefit to Gaddafi. Why? One factor was surely Obama’s preference for a less activist foreign policy in general.

But there were special considerations in Libya, and they were clearly stated in a piece by General Wesley Clark for the Washington Post last Friday. The former US commander in Kosovo and a 2004 Democratic presidential candidate wrote: “We don’t have a clearly stated objective, legal authority, committed international support or adequate on-the-scene military capabilities, and Libya’s politics hardly foreshadow a clear outcome.”

The key phrase here is “Libya’s politics”. For the past few days, Washington policy circles have been worrying over a piece of research circulated last week: “On a per capita basis … twice as many foreign fighters came to Iraq from Libya – and specifically eastern Libya – than from any other country in the Arabic-speaking world. Libyans were apparently more fired up to travel to Iraq to kill Americans than anyone else in the Middle East. And 84.1 per cent [74] of the 88 Libyan fighters … who listed their hometowns came from either Benghazi or Darnah in Libya’s east.”

That might not seem a statistically valid survey of public opinion inside Libya. But given the prevailing lack of information about the anti-Gaddafi insurgency, the factoid acted to corroborate fears of an Islamist takeover of Libya – or, maybe worse, the collapse of Libya into a Somalia-on-the-Mediterranean.

Perhaps President Obama reasoned something along these lines: “Yes, Gaddafi is a very bad guy. But he quit the terrorism business a decade ago and paid compensation to the families of victims of the Lockerbie bombing. He surrendered his nuclear program in 2003. He co-operates with the EU in stopping illegal migration into Italy. He is a reliable oil supplier and a good customer for Western companies.

“It’s very sad to see Gaddafi crush an uprising so brutally. But things could be worse. Tribal leaders, fighting each other, inspired by Islamic ideology – all just 300 miles from the coast of Sicily? We could have 300,000 refugees showing up on the Nato side of the Mediterranean. Better stick with the devil we know. The blood-letting cannot last much longer, stability will return soon. And then we can express regret for the loss of life, offer humanitarian assistance and impose some kind of sanctions on the Gaddafi family – at least until the fuss dies down.”
Europeans who invested so much hope in Barack Obama may hesitate to accept the news that their man is not the idealist they had imagined. But Arab leaders have already got the message: Mubarak was a fool, don’t resign in the face of protests, instead use force. The king of Bahrain has learnt the lesson of Libya: he is importing Saudi troops to suppress local protesters. Whoever called this moment the Arab 1848 had it right – assuming, that is, that the anonymous wit remembered how the original 1848 turned out.

But let’s consider what meaning the Arab 1848 has for the West. Over the past near-decade, how often have voices in Britain and Europe reproached the Bush administration for its foolish infatuation with Arab democracy? Look at what happened in the Palestinian Authority, where the locals used their votes to vote for Hamas – and never got a chance to use them a second time. Look at what happened in Iraq, where the overthrow of a dictator opened the door to civil war, terrorism and Iranian influence. And indeed, the criticisms were powerful, as far as they went.
But Libya confronts us with the consequences of the opposite policy. As happened in Iraq in 1991, the world is acquiescing in the brutal suppression of a popular uprising by an Arab dictator. Will this violently reasserted dictatorship be “stable”? If those data on Libyan suicide bombers are correct, then Gaddafi’s dictatorship has bred Islamic resistance. Will more violence intensify Libya’s Islamification? And since no regime lasts for ever, what will Europe face across
the Mediterranean when the regime does finally go?

Libya confronts us, too, with the folly of the traditional “realist” response to Islamic radicalism: the delusion that somehow the carving of a Palestinian state out of Israel will pacify the region. Are the boys of Benghazi fighting for Palestine? How exactly would installing a Palestinian president-for-life in east Jerusalem reconcile Libyans to a second generation of Gaddafis seizing Libya’s oil wealth as their personal fortune?

Libya is Obama’s Iraq in reverse. The fighting may end faster when the dictator survives. But the consequences may reveal themselves as no less ugly, no less large, and no less enduring.

Ato Meles and his never-ending threats

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

By Yilma Bekele

The people’s uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East have been the talk of Ethiopians both at home and the Diaspora for the last month and half. We are surprised by the sudden fall of the tyrants of Tunisia and Egypt. We are watching with keen interest the volatile situation in Libya and Yemen.

You know the one thing in common these far away places have is the large number of displaced Africans caught in this wave. Most of our people are refugees from bad economy, civil war, lack of opportunity, tyranny and other curable ills. There are plenty of Ethiopians that are currently exposed to danger while searching for a meaningful life. It was sad to hear Meles Zenawi pretending about using air and sea to pluck our people from Libya. When you consider most of these people paid large sums of money to reach Libya escaping sadness and misery in their homeland it is inconceivable that they will return to hell willingly.

Even though the world media was transfixed by the upheaval in the lands of the Arabs, the Government controlled media was going to great length to pretend nothing out of the ordinary was going on in the neighborhood. The Ethiopian peoples information regarding the tsunami in their vicinity came from a few brave Independent News Papers at home, ESAT (Ethiopian Satellite TV (, Diaspora Web sites, VOA, Deutche Welle, and Al Jazeera. The regime was also investing large amounts of money and labor to jam and interfere with ESAT and Diaspora based independent Web sites.

Denial of independent news is the hallmark of a dictatorial regime. Creating confusion, misinforming and revising the news is also a prefered and a known modus operandi of a closed system. It is with this in mind the Ethiopian Prime Minster called his government certified reporters for press conference after a month long hiatus from public view to tell us his version of the story. He wanted to bully, threaten, scold and warn eighty million people against an attempt to remove him, his family and friends from power. As you know his lieutenant Berket offered some bogus explanation a la Seif Gaddafi to show why an uprising is not possible in a 12% growing economy. Needless to say he was laughed out of town.

Ato Meles decided to approach the situation from a different angle. It looks like Ato Melese’s strategy is to stick to the good old method of belligerency as the best way out of this mess he finds himself in. We the rest of ordinary Ethiopians have been looking at the unfolding situation and learning a valuable lesson in overcoming our fear and devising low cost methods of removing this TPLF tumor from our home land. It looks like Ato Meles sitting in his guarded bunker has been pouring over documents to draw a lesson on how to avert being Mubaraked by the people.

The so-called press conference was to unfurl his ‘doctrine’ regarding the hard lessons of the last few weeks. The usual suspects from Walta, Aiga Forum, The Reporter, Ben’s page etc. were summoned and given the prepared question to ask. It is always perplexing to see six microphones on the podium when one should be more than enough considering they all go to the same news editor.

Ato Meles was exhibiting a brand new haircut, a five thousand dollar Savile Row suit and a better makeup than the last time we saw him. You can tell that he has been under tremendous stress by looking at the bags under his eyes and the violent way he was pounding the table to make his point. When it came to answering the question regarding the ‘uprising’ the pounding got louder, the head scratching and fidgeting got intense and the internal fury was producing lots of heat like the crippled Japanese Nuclear plants and needed venting to avert explosion.

I want to concentrate on his response regarding the chances of an uprising in Ethiopia, but I would like to comment on a few of the points raised by the TPLF leader before he got to his main talking point.

Ato Meles seems to have a very strange understanding of the office he occupies. He said that ‘his contract with the Ethiopian people is for an eight hour a day labor’ and he does not feel it is important for him to be ‘a role model’ for anybody. That is a disturbing statement coming from a person entrusted for the welfare of eighty million souls. One would think being a leader of such a poor country with over eight million citizens suffering the scourge of hunger, double-digit inflation, high rate of unemployment etc. is more than a 24/7 responsibility. As for the issue of being a ‘role model’ who better than the head of the government and guardian of what is good and noble in all of us for the people to follow.

When asked about inflation the price of fuel and general failure of the economy, again I find his response very illiterate and far from the truth. His take on basic economics 101 is a little confusing to say the least. He said ‘ why would the price of potatoes go up due to the increase in gasoline?’ Let us see. Potatoes are generally grown in the countryside and require trucks to transport them to the market. In some instances fertilizers are applied for good harvest, tractors are used to dig out the bounty and the warehouse they are stored require electricity. What is common here is the importance of oil in this chain of economic activity. Why wouldn’t the hike in the price of fuel affect potatoes my dear Meles?

So much for economics, now to the important issue at hand, the current trend of peaceful peoples uprising to bring democracy and the rule of law. This press conference was to deal with the problem before it rears its ugly head in Ethiopia. It was Ato Melese’s response to the Ethiopian people on how he was going to handle the situation. It was his way of putting lipstick on a pig in a futile attempt to stop the impending implosion. It was a nice try. Unfortunately like everything else he tries it was an abject failure.

What Ato Meles learned from the uprisings became clear from his response to his own questions as read by his staff. From Tunisia he learnt quick exit is not the answer since Ben Ali’s exile did not save his family’s fortune from being under consideration for confiscation or stop the demand by the people to haul his criminal ass back to Tunisia for trial, Mubarak’s futile attempt to hang on only postponed the inevitable for a few days and resulted in his being a virtual prisoner in his home land, Saleh’s attempt both to offer concessions and kill at the same time has only resulted in his hanging on to power by his fingernails while Gaddafi and sons are in a do or die situation with no light at the end of the tunnel.

Ato Meles decided to attack before the idea of uprising took roots. The pres conference was to bully his people and at the same time show his followers that he is still in charge; he is not afraid and give them a nudge to intensify the offense. In a nutshell the main speaking points could be summarized as follows. ‘There is no chance of uprising here because we carried an election about ten months ago and EPDRF won overwhelmingly, we have in place a constitutional method of changing leaders unlike Egypt and Tunisia and all our problems can be traced to Shabia and Al Qaeda Islamists blah blah.’

What is revealing is the charge he leveled against his ‘enemies’ regarding the crimes they are supposedly hatching against his regime. According to him Shabia in cooperation with rogue Ethiopians and some of the legal opposition is planning to turn ‘Addis into Baghdad.’ That is his story and he is sticking to it. If you notice this madness has similarity to the charges leveled against Kinijit leaders and Civic organization heads in the aftermath of the 2005 elections where they were accused of planning a ‘genocide.’ You see even before the civil disobedience starts Ato Meles is accusing all those that oppose him of planning violence to justify his gangster type response. Not a bad tactic if you ask me. Hijacking the cry of the victim is nothing new. What is sad is the idea of a ‘government’ spending so much time and energy to sabotage and suppress the dreams and aspirations of its own population for the benefit of a few individual’s thirst for power and money.

So what do you think of Ato Meles’s take on the situation? Is he correct in his assessment of the situation both at home and the neighborhood? Is he telling the truth when he says ‘we do not consider it (the question of civil disobedience) as an immediate and relevant issue…and it is not discussed by his Politburo?’ In other words as they say here in the US ‘would you buy a used car’ from this salesman?

If you have your doubts, I understand. I concur that It is very difficult to accept Meles’s analysis as correct and based on facts. He does not seem to have a good track record when it comes to having a clear understanding of the situations in the neighborhood and his assessment of the moods and wants of the Ethiopian people. In other words the individual is clueless when it comes to relating to the people he is supposed to lead. We don’t have to go far to prove our point.

Do you remember his conclusion that Shabia is not going to attack? Shabia did and we paid the price with over eighty thousand dead and millions of dollars wasted on weapons from Korea and East Europe. We are also aware of Siyoum Mesfin’s lying declaration that the International Court have agreed with Ethiopia regarding Badme and four years later it is still unresolved issue. How could we forget the so-called ‘cake walk’ into Somalia and the ensuing humiliation? Do I need to remind you of the 2005 election and EPDRF’s loss of Addis and most of the country? There is no need to mention the utterly weird situation of 12% growth to go with hyperinflation, famine and the dwindling foreign reserve? As you can see the palace folks are poster children for miscalculation and fiction rather than a sober and realistic assessment of any situation. It is my firm belief that TPLF folks are not capable of finding the exit door in a studio apartment.

If we are permitted we can actually give our friends some advice on avoiding the fate of Ben Ali, Mubarak or Gaddafi. There is a cheaper solution that does not require spending time and energy on exotic and expensive scenarios to fight what is inevitable. History is full of examples where in the end no matter how much one tries victory of good over evil is as sure as the sun rising from the East tomorrow morning. Here is a short list of responses by Meles and company that will assure them keeping their head intact with the rest of their body and avoiding humiliation in front of the people of Ethiopia and humanity in general.

The simple and more direct solution will be to resign. The TPLF boss can say he wants to spend more time with his family and we will understand. If that is too radical then there are other options. Let us start by abandoning this self-serving Constitution and starting fresh. We can undo the illegal act of the Derge that made land property of the government instead of the people. All land and property should be returned to the rightful owners with no ifs or buts. The concept of Kilil and formation of Ethnic based party and organization should have no place in our new Ethiopia. The internal security will be dismantled never to show its ugly and brutal face ever again. The new Ethiopia will allocate large portion of its budget on education instead of Arms and repressive organs. The emerging free and democratic Ethiopia will sit down with our Eritrean cousins and resolve the issue of security and use of port facilities in amicable ways. Ethiopia will sign a non aggression pact with all is neighbors including Somalia and work towards cultural, educational and sports exchange to turn East Africa in to a zone of peace and tranquility.

Tell you what if you take our advice we will even convince Judge Wolde Michael Meshesha not to press on this issue of criminal act committed way back in October 2005. It is not easy but we will do our best in lieu of the benefits to our poor and tired country and people. We might even go as far as looking the other way regarding the loot some of you have stashed in foreign banks but it all depends on your cooperation and your solemn oath that you will refrain from denying your guilt and will ask the Ethiopian people for forgiveness and show real remorse. I believe our way is a lot better than a protracted and ugly struggle you might wage for a few days before the inevitable collapse of your ponzi scheme.

You know it, we know it and everybody and his dog knows it that there is no easy way out. The bullying and repression have bought you a measly ten years or so. It is not effective anymore because of the new international situation being allergic towards despots and finally to the current deteriorating economic situation where gas costs 18.50/liter, Oil costs 36 or more, teff costs thousands, chicken costs triple digits etc. etc. You see what I mean, people are coming to the realization that there is nothing to loose anymore. That is scary and that is what is keeping you awake at night. That is what makes you come up with scenarios like ‘Addis into Baghdad’ and the specter of all those unemployed youth breaching the palace walls with Meles and company running around in their pajamas pursued by an angry mob! It gives me shivers just to think about it. Let us agree to nip this horrible situation in the bud before it gets traction. Good luck my friend, please don’t make me say ‘I told you so!’

Revolution and Ethiopian youth

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

By Teodros Kiros

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has accused a little known Muslim extremist group of staging a wave of church burnings to provoke communal tensions in the Horn of Africa country. Meles expressed concern about regional instability, but dismissed the possibility of a North African-style popular uprising in Ethiopia. Meles says he is aware of attempts to end the ruling party’s nearly 20 years in power, both from within and without. But in a meeting with reporters, he rejected suggestions of a people’s revolution similar to those confronting entrenched authoritarian governments in North Africa and the Middle East. “It’s simply not possible. The circumstances for it do not exist. That does not mean some people will not try.’ “ – Peter Heinlein (VOA)

The Prime Minister is indeed blind to the lives of most Ethiopians who are swimming in the murky waters of poverty, political darkness and civil boredom. The Ethiopian youth are marred in a vicious cycle of poverty, which the “revolutionary democracy” of EPRDF twenty years ago promised to eradicate; and ten years ago revolutionary democracy devolved in to the living nightmare of tyranny/oligarchy framed by ethnocracy. The promise of eradicating poverty is now replaced by acceptable levels of unemployment of Ethiopian youth.

The naked reality, which glares to the Prime Minister’s palace in, clearly summarized below:

Over half of Ethiopia’s population consists of young people between the ages of 15-24 years. Many of the youth face diverse problems and live with constant life challenges. Especially in urban centers of the country, the number of delinquent juveniles is increasing. In Addis Ababa alone it is believed that there are over 100,000 people living on the streets, and more than half of these are young people. This number is increasing every day due to poverty and migration of people from the rural to urban areas in search of a better life. It is also due to children losing parents to AIDS and other causes. These young people are often involved in socially undesirable practices, such as frequenting brothels and drug and alcohol abuse. Many youth commit crimes such as robbery and other offenses. According to police reports, more than half of all the arrested criminals are young people. Other available evidence also indicates that young people commit most criminal offenses including drug abuse and other harmful practices in Ethiopia.

The mushrooming of foreign videocassettes and films in the country is also believed to negatively affect the personality of today’s youth in particular. Being left with low or no access to recreational centers or to leisure time activities, a number of youths are flooding to video shows most of which are full of violent, immoral and pornographic acts. What is still worse is that these films make the youths develop negative attitude towards their own culture, country and people. These young people seem to know nothing good about their homeland except that they despise it by comparing it with that of affluent societies. As a result it is not uncommon to observe immoral acts they often emulate from the film-shows. Since they spend much of their time watching films and practicing other socially undesirable activities, they fail to regularly attend their classes and acquire proper knowledge, which determines their future.

One of the major factors that seriously aggravate the problems of the youth is the absence of sufficient employment opportunities. A lot of school dropouts and those who complete high school education but with no opportunity to join higher learning institutes could not but remain dependent on their parents or guardians’ meager resources. Unfortunately, a considerable number of them spend almost half of their time in such a state. As a result, those youths who particularly come from low income parents often become hopeless and involved in prostitution and end up contracting HIV/AIDS. Frustrated by the challenges of getting reliable means of subsistence, some young people seem to have lost faith and a vision of tomorrow’s world. The situation calls for an immediate attention to assist in curbing the present trend of the young in Ethiopia. It is with this understanding and a sense of responsibility to serve God and people that Youth Impact came to existence.” – Youth Impact Ethiopia

This is the reality in the ground, which will soon wake up the Prime Minister from the slumbers of his deep sleep. The time bomb is ticking. Is the regime is still sleeping long hours, thinking that the intimidated Ethiopian poor are going to resign to their deplorable condition?

This is Your Revolution – Lead It!

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

Imagine having no opportunity to dream and strive to reach your full potential. Imagine watching your future pass by while living an unfulfilled life because you are one of the unlucky ones to be outside the circle of the well-connected who control the country.

Under the current system, only 0.5 percent of Ethiopian high school graduates have the opportunity to enter higher education, which is one of the lowest in the world; and the rest are left to face bleak futures. If you are one of the millions of Ethiopians who are fed up living a dreary and meaningless life under the ruthless TPLF regime, consider yourself one of the leaders of the upcoming revolution.

All major political changes often start small and at a local level. As such, you can be instrumental in igniting the Ethiopian revolution as Abdesslem Trimech did in Tunisia. To successfully direct this revolution, you need to start from your own family, and move on to convince your friends, neighbors and colleagues. The idea is to organize the society, one neighborhood at a time, while isolating TPLF and its cronies.

Once you have effectively organized your neighborhood, you can organize like-minded individuals into a group. This group will function to establish effective local based strategies that would:

a) Dismantle TPLF’s political and economic base;
b) Target TPLF‘s supporters and loyalists; and
c) Ignite and sustain a revolution.

Remember, 85 percent of Ethiopia is rural and that TPLF controls Ethiopia through kebele (local governments).You must work hard to make every kebele a TPLF Free Zone, and that starts with your own neighborhood. Amongst many other strategies, you must try to compile the names of TPLF collaborators in your kebele and begin to send them messages, directly or indirectly, to join the revolution or face justice in the post TPLF era.

Political change must come to Ethiopia to create a just and fair system for the youth, so they, too, have the opportunity to go after their dreams regardless of their places within the society. For that to happen, you must organize locally and devise strategies that would peacefully bring about democracy. As President Obama once said, “No one has written your destiny for you. Here in America, you write your own destiny. You make your own future.” The same should be the case in Ethiopia.

Commit yourself to doing your part in giving the youth of Ethiopia a chance to shape their own destiny. Make the month of May the beginning of the end of the Meles’ era! Believe in yourself, because you have the power to be a part of history.

Be ready to say enough is enough! BEKA!

The Ethiopian Revolution 2011

The Moral Hazard of U.S. Policy in Africa (Part I)

Monday, March 14th, 2011

Note: In ongoing commentaries, the author examines the Obama Administration’s policy in Africa.

Moral Hazard and Moral Bankruptcy

The concept of ‘moral hazard’ in politics may be used to explain a situation in which a government is insulated and immunized from the consequences of its risky, reckless and incompetent behavior. For instance, a regime that is heavily dependent on the safety net of foreign aid, sustained infusion of multilateral loans and perpetual supply of humanitarian assistance will behave differently if it were left to its own devices to deal with the consequences of a mismanaged economy, debilitating corruption and proliferating poverty. Many African regimes today simply avoid the demands of good governance, ignore the rule of law and commit gross violations of human rights in the belief that Western aid, particularly American taxpayer handouts, will always bail them out of their chronic budget deficits and replenish their empty grain silos. Stated simply, Western taxpayer dollars provide the fail safe insurance policy for the survival and persistence of failed regimes in Africa.

By shifting the risk of economic mismanagement, incompetence and corruption to Western donors, and because these donors impose no penalty or disincentive for poor governance, inefficiency, corruption and repression, African regimes are able to cling to power for decades abusing the human rights of their citizens and stealing elections. Western donors continue to bail out failed African states for two reasons. First, the iron fisted African dictators make excellent business partners. Recent Wikileaks cablegrams have documented that the most important objective for Western policy makers in Africa is to support a strongman who can guarantee them stability so that they can continue to do business as usual. Basically, they want a “guy they can do business with.” Second, Western donors believe that the few billions of aid dollars given every year to guarantee “stability” in African countries is more cost effective than helping to nurture a genuinely democratic societies in Africa. The moral hazard in Western policy comes not just from the fact that they provide fail-safe insurance to repressive regimes but also from the rewards of increasing amounts of aid and loans to buffer them from a tsunami of democratic popular uprising. As we have recently seen with Ben Ali in Tunisia, Hosni Mubark in Egypt and Gadahafi in Libya, supporting “strongmen” in Africa will at best produce the illusion of stability, control and permanence for the West. But turning a blind eye to gross human rights violations and complicity in the denial of democratic rights to African peoples is irrefutable evidence of moral bankruptcy.

Obama’s Foreign Policy in Africa

In 2008, when then-Senator Obama was campaigning for the presidency, his advisor on Africa, Witney W. Schneidman, laid out the candidate’s fundamental policy objectives for Africa. Schneidman argued that “Barack Obama understands Africa and its importance to the United States” and “to strengthen our common security, we must invest in our common humanity.” Unquestionably, Senator Obama was a man of little talk and lots of action. He aggressively promoted human rights and accountability throughout the continent. He co-sponsored major legislation to help end genocide in Darfur (Darfur Peace and Accountability Act of 2006), vigorously advocated for a no-fly zone in Darfur (not so in Libya today), secured funds to facilitate free and fair elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, helped bring Liberian warlord Charles Taylor to justice and worked to develop a coherent strategy for stabilizing Somalia.

Senator Obama was a straight-talker. In 2006, he visited Kenya and “spoke truth to power” “about the corrosive impact of corruption.” He visited Kibera, Kenya, a 2.5 square kilometer tract of urban land and the second largest slum in Africa and home to an estimated 1.2 million people. He told the proudly delirious mass of poor people, “I love all of you, my brothers — all of you, my sisters”. He embraced the wretched of Kibera: “Everybody in Kibera needs the same opportunities to go to school, to start businesses, to have enough to eat, to have decent clothes.” After the 2007 Kenya elections, Senator Obama rolled his sleeves and for “18 months worked with the Kenyan leadership to help resolve the post-election crisis in that country.” He called out Robert Mugabe for stealing elections in Zimbabwe and condemned his gross human rights violations. In South Africa, he “demanded honesty from the government about HIV/Aids.” He went into “refugee camps in Chad, where he heard first-hand about the experiences of Sudanese women who had been forced from their homes and had their families torn apart, and worse, by Khartoum’s genocidal policies.”

In America, Senator Obama made a “strong effort to reach out to first, second and third generation Africans who have become American citizens to encourage them to be part of the effort that will elect Barack Obama president of the United States.” He actively sought the support of Ethiopians. His campaign specifically called on the “10,000 Ethiopian-Americans in Virginia to help turn that state blue on November 4th.”. On November 4, 2008, Ethiopian Americans came out by the tens of thousands and helped turn Virginia blue.

When Senator Obama became President, his “Africa Agenda” revolved around three basic objectives: 1) “accelerate Africa’s integration into the global economy”, 2) “enhance the peace and security of African states” and 3) “strengthen relationships with those governments, institutions and civil society organizations committed to deepening democracy, accountability and reducing poverty in Africa.” Over the past two years, what we have seen in Africa is a whole lot of deepening repression, human rights violations and corruption in Africa. We have seen very little “accountability, democracy building, the rule of law, judicial reform” and the rest of it.

Much to our dismay, upon becoming President Mr. Obama morphed from a “confrontor” to an accommodator of Africa’s notorious human rights violators. He began preaching and issuing moral pleas to “strongmen” in an effort to redirect them from their evil ways and be nice, and not nasty, to their peoples. From day one, President Obama began soft-pedaling. In his inaugural speech, his message to those stealing elections and committing crimes on their citizens was a bit disarming: “To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.” We thought promising rewards to practitioners of corruption and deceit was rather odd; but we deciphered the hidden message: If Africa’s dictators unclench their fists and became nice, American taxpayers will lay some cold hard cash on their open palms. In other words, it is possible to buy off these dictators into becoming nice guys.

In April 2009, President Obama told the Turkish Parliament that the “choices that we make in the coming years will determine whether the future will be shaped by fear or by freedom; by poverty or by prosperity; by strife or by a just, secure and lasting peace.” He told them that “freedom of religion and expression lead to a strong and vibrant civil society” and “an enduring commitment to the rule of law is the only way to achieve the security that comes from justice for all people.” In July 2009, in Ghana, President Obama went on the rhetorical offensive and told Africa’s “strongmen” that they have been driving on the wrong side of history for so long that they are headed straight for history’s dustbin. “Make no mistake: history is on the side of these brave Africans [citizens and their communities driving change], and not with those who use coups or change Constitutions to stay in power. Africa doesn’t need strongmen, it needs strong institutions.” In the same month, U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, in a major speech at Georgetown University, announced that the Obama Administration’s approach to “putting our principles into action” meant demanding accountability in American global human rights policy. She warned the world that “we must be wary of the steel vise in which governments around the world are slowly crushing civil society and the human spirit.”

In December 2009, Secretary Clinton offered further enlightenment on U.S. human rights policy: “It is crucial that we clarify what we mean when we talk about democracy, because democracy means not only elections to choose leaders, but also active citizens and a free press and an independent judiciary and transparent and responsive institutions that are accountable to all citizens and protect their rights equally and fairly.” She said the “first pillar” of this policy is “accountability”, which means “governments [must] take responsibility by putting human rights into law and embedding them in government institutions; by building strong, independent courts, competent and disciplined police and law enforcement.”

In April 2010, U.S. Assistant Secretary of African Affairs Johnnie Carson speaking at the Second Annual Africa Focus at Harvard University amplified on the meaning of accountability: “A key element in Africa’s transformation is sustained commitment to democracy, rule of law, and constitutional norms…. African countries need civilian governments that deliver services to their people, independent judiciaries that respect and enforce the rule of law, professional security forces that respect human rights, strong and effective legislative institutions, a free and responsible press, and a dynamic civil society.”

In May 2010, in a keynote speech at the 35-nation Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder railed against “corruption [which] weakens the rule of law, undermines the promise of democracy, imperils development and stability and faith in our markets.” In July 2010, Holder and Johnnie Carson, announced at the African Summit in Kampala, Uganda that the U.S. is launching a special Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative to catch and prosecute corrupt foreign individuals and institutions operating in the U.S.

Egypt proved to be a test case for President Obama’s policy in Africa. In June 2009, in a speech given at Al-Azhar University in Cairo, President Obama told the young people of his

unyielding belief that all people yearn for certain things: the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed; confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice; government that is transparent and doesn’t steal from the people; the freedom to live as you choose…. You must maintain your power through consent, not coercion; you must respect the rights of minorities, and participate with a spirit of tolerance and compromise; you must place the interests of your people and the legitimate workings of the political process above your party.

In February 2011, when Egyptian students took the streets seeking to remove Mubarak after three decades of rule by state of emergency and replace it with a “government that is transparent and doesn’t steal from the people”, President Obama was visibly hesitant and wavering. He seemed to stand aloof and not with the young people of Egypt making history. He waffled on the issue of Mubarak’s departure from power and could only offer abstract moral exhortations against “violence” while calling for an “end to the harassment and detention” and the need to create a “process that is broadly inclusive of the Egyptian opposition.” Only after Mubarak took off for Sharm-el-Sheikh did President Obama step forward to take a stand: “For in Egypt it was the moral force of nonviolence, not terrorism, not mindless killing, but nonviolence, moral force that bent the arc of history toward justice once more.” He was effusive in his praise of Egyptian youth: “It’s [Egypt’s] young people who’ve been at the forefront. A new generation, your generation, who want their voices to be heard….America will continue to do everything that we can to support an orderly and genuine transition to democracy in Egypt.”

Backing Up Talk With Action

President Obama is a source of great pride for Africans on the continent and others scattered in the Diaspora. That pride carries with it extraordinarily high expectations for U.S. policy in Africa. His writings and speeches demonstrate that he is very knowledgeable, well-informed and passionate about Africa; and his African ties are deep, strong and genuine. His involvement with Africa dates back to his student days in the early 1980s at Occidental College in California protesting apartheid. Africans would like to seek qualitative changes in U.S. policy towards Africa.

The President’s Africa policy pivots on a strategy of “constructive engagement” of African “leaders”. One cannot clap with one hand alone. There is overwhelming evidence to show that most African leaders are only interested in clinging to power cushioned by the financial support of American taxpayers. They are not interested in engaging America on what matters most to Americans – democracy, freedom, human rights, the rule of law, accountability, transparency and the like. President Obama, on the other hand, has partners right here in the U.S. of A who are willing to engage him on issues of democracy, freedom and human rights in Africa. They are the tens of thousands of Ethiopians who helped turn Virginia blue for him; they are the multitudes of Nigerians in Ohio and Somalis in Minnesota and other Africans throughout the U.S. who opened their wallets, canvassed the precincts and stood in line for hours that cold November morning in 2008 to make Senator Obama President Obama. Democracy, freedom and human rights in Africa cannot be subordinated to the expediency of “engaging” incorrigible African leaders whose sole interest is in clinging to power to enrich themselves and their cronies. Like charity, we believe, constructive engagement should begin at home.

The weekly commentaries of the author are available at:

Al Amoudi gives $240,000 to his bootlickers in ESFNA

Saturday, March 12th, 2011

Ethiopian-born Saudi billionaire Ato Al Amoudi has given $240,000 to his thugs who have hijacked the Ethiopian Sports Federation in North America (ESFNA), according Ethiopian Review sources.

Al Amoudi is a major financial backer of the ethnic apartheid junta in Ethiopia that is led by Meles Zenawi. He is also a self-proclaimed member of the ruling party, Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF)

Using his enormous wealth, Al Amoudi has been trying to infiltrate various Ethiopian civic and political organizations inside the country and around the world and turn them into a political tool for the Meles dictatorship.

During the past 5 years, ESFNA has been turned into a personal club for Al Amoudi by a group of individuals in the 27-year-old organization who are prostituting themselves for the billionaire’s  crumbs.

Al Amoudi has been trying to shut down Ethiopian Review by hiring a powerful law/public relations firm in Washington DC named DLA Piper. Recently, he won a default judgment in a British court under a shameful U.K. libel tourism.

According to Forbes Magazine, Al Amoudi’s net worth grew by $2 billion in 2010 to $12 billion. Much of the $2 billion he profited last year may have come from his gold mines and farms in southern Ethiopia. One can imagine that if Al Amoudi made a net profit of $2 billion in one year, how much his business partners Meles and Azeb (the dictator and wife) may have made during the same period. Also in the same period, 2 million Ethiopians have faced food shortages, according to the UN, while Al Amoudi and Meles were looting the country.

Bill Clinton calls for Libya no-fly zone

Friday, March 11th, 2011

NEW YORK (Reuters) — Former U.S. President Bill Clinton said the United States should enforce a no-fly zone over Libya to allow a fair fight between insurgents and troops loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

The international community has been debating whether to impose a no-fly zone as Gaddafi’s warplanes carry out air strikes unhindered by insurgent anti-aircraft guns mounted on the back of pick-up trucks.

Clinton’s comments echoed those of some prominent U.S. senators calling for a no-fly zone to police Libyan air space and went beyond the caution of the Obama administration.

“I wouldn’t do it if they hadn’t asked, but if the (insurgent) leaders are on television pleading for it, “I think that we should do it,” Clinton told the Women in the World conference in New York late on Thursday.

“Gaddafi has internationalized the conflict himself by hiring people from other countries who do not give a rip about the Libyans,” Clinton said. “So that’s why (the insurgents) said, ‘Just give us the chance to have a fair fight,’ and I, for whatever it’s worth, think that’s what we should do.”

Clinton said previous no-fly zones had worked, noting such efforts over Iraq and Bosnia during his presidency, which spanned from 1993 to 2001.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the former president’s wife, has said it was up to the United Nations to decide whether there should be a no-fly zone.

She told a congressional hearing on Thursday the no-fly zones over Serbia and Iraq had not stopped the killing of civilians and did not push leaders out of power. (Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

Obama’s disgraceful policy toward Libya uprising

Friday, March 11th, 2011

The commentary below by The New Republic‘s Leon Wieseltier reflects the frustration and anger of many pro-democracy activists around the world at U.S. President Barack Obama’s shameful refusal to help Libyan freedom fighters.

Barack Obama’s policy toward the Libyan struggle for freedom is no longer a muddle. It is now a disgrace.

Here is what his administration and its allies have told the world, and the Libyan dictator, and the Libyan rebels, in recent days. The director of national intelligence declared before the Senate Armed Services Committee, in a chilling example of self-fulfilling prophecy, that “over the longer term Qaddafi will prevail.” The secretary of defense continued to insist that the imposition of a no-fly zone over Libya is too much for America to do, and to frighten the public with the warning that it would constitute a military operation, as if all military operations are like all other military operations, and therefore the prelude to the sort of wars that would require us, as he put it in an earlier outburst about Iraq and Afghanistan, to have our heads examined. Of course nobody is suggesting that a single American soldier step foot on Libyan soil: Gates’s exaggeration of the logistics and the implications of a no-fly zone, which the Libyan resistance is begging for, is the purest demagoguery, a way of inhibiting the discussion of what really can be done in this plainly just cause…

It may be, as Clinton said, that the consequences of a no-fly zone would be unforeseeable, but the consequences of the absence of a no-fly zone are entirely foreseeable. They are even seeable. We see them daily, most recently in the massacre at Zawiyah. And in a press briefing prior to the NATO ministerial meeting in Brussels, the secretary general of the alliance began by intoning that “the whole world is watching” and then announced that “NATO has no intention to intervene in Libya.” He did not grasp the heartless illogic of what he said—though if his remark could be construed as saying that the whole world is watching NATO have no intention to intervene in Libya, there was some truth to it. And he followed with these unforgettable observations: “If these systematic attacks against the Libyan people continue it may amount to a crime against humanity. And many people around the world may be tempted to say let’s do something to prevent this massacre against the Libyan civilian population.” Some of us may indeed be so tempted. But “on the other hand,” Rasmussen continued, “there are a lot of sensitivities in the region as far as foreign military intervention is concerned, or what might be considered a foreign military intervention.” Get it? We will not act to prevent a crime against humanity because by doing so we will offend—who, exactly? Not the Libyans who are clamoring for Western assistance, or the Egyptians who looked to us for unequivocal support in their fight for freedom, or the Iranians who made a similar mistake. No, we will offend only a certain doctrinaire Western notion of what the contemporary Arab world thinks about the West, a notion that the democratic upheavals in the Arab world are making manifestly obsolete. We will offend not their assumptions, but our assumptions about their assumptions… [read the full text here]

Libya rebels push back Gaddafi forces in Ras Lanuf

Friday, March 11th, 2011

Reuters is reporting that Libyan freedom fighters today have pushed back Gaddafi forces in Ras Lanuf. Yesterday it was reported that Gaddafi forces took over the eastern Libyan town after heavy bombardments with fighter jets, helicopters and tanks.

“There has been intense fighting with Gaddafi’s forces. They have withdrawn from the residential area to the west. We are now combing the area,” said rebel fighter Mohammed Aboul Hassan, told Reuters by telephone from the town.

Saudi Arabia police open fire at protesters

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

Police in Saudi Arabia opened fire Thursday to disperse a protest in the Eastern Province, injuring at least one person.

The rare violence raised concern about a crackdown ahead of more planned protests after Friday prayers in different cities throughout the oil-rich kingdom, Washington Post reports:

Despite the ban and a warning that security forces will act against them, protesters demanding the release of political prisoners took to the streets for a second day in the eastern city of Qatif. Several hundred protesters, some wearing face masks to avoid being identified, marched after dark asking for “Freedom for prisoners.”

Police, who were lined up opposite the protesters, fired percussion bombs, followed by gunfire, causing the crowd to scatter, a witness said, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of government retaliation.

The witness said at least one protester was injured and lifted by others to a car for treatment. It was not clear how the protester was injured.

Scores of protesters in Qatif had also marched in the city streets Wednesday night.

Obama intelligence chief says Gaddafi will defeat rebels

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

James Clapper, the US national intelligence director, has told U.S. Senate today that Muammar Gaddafi will defeat the rebels. That seems to be the Obama Administration’s wishful thinking. Some senators were furious at Clapper’s comments and asked for his resignation. The Libyan people are pleading for help in liberating themselves from a mass murderer, and instead of providing some help (no-fly zone), the Obama White House comes out with a moral boosting statement for Gaddafi forces.

(BBC) — James Clapper told the US Senate that Col Gaddafi’s superior military force would prevail over the long term.

In Washington, Mr Clapper, who is the top intelligence adviser to US President Barack Obama, told the Senate he saw no evidence Col Gaddafi would step down from power. He warned Col Gaddafi’s military was stronger than had previously been described.

In response to calls from some senior US Senate figures to establish a no-fly zone, Mr Clapper said Col Gaddafi’s air defences were “quite substantial.”

(Fox News) — U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, in an exclusive interview with Fox News correspondent Carl Cameron, called for Gen. James Clapper to resign or be fired as Director of National Intelligence, citing his comments before the Senate Armed Services Committee this morning, on which Graham sits.

Graham told Cameron that he lacks confidence in Clapper’s understanding of his job, that President Obama should “repudiate” Clapper’s remarks, and that this is the third time Clapper has faltered in this way. “Three strikes and you’re out,” Graham said.

( — “The situation in Libya remains tenuous and the director’s comments today on Qadhafi’s ‘staying power’ are not helpful to our national security interests. His comments will make the situation more difficult for those opposing Qadhafi,” Graham said in a statement released a few hours after his comments to Fox. “It also undercuts our national efforts to bring about the desired result of Libya moving from dictator to democracy.”

What is Beka? – VOA interview with Neamin Zeleke

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

The VOA interviews Ato Neamin Zeleke about the new worldwide Ethiopia civic movement that is working to help remove dictator Meles Zenawi from power. The civic group’s lead slogan is BEKA (enough). Listen to the interview below [Mp3).

BEKA slogan covers VOA web site

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

The Voice of America (VOA) web site’s Amharic section is filled with BEKA, a slogan in Facebook that demands the removal of Ethiopia’s dictator Meles Zenawi. Hundreds of Ethiopians have turned the slogan into their profile picture in Facebook and other social media. Click the here to see the VOA web site.

Youth groups have posted announcements in the social media about their intention to stage nation wide protests in May 2011 demanding the Meles regime to step down. May 2011 marks Ethiopian dictator’s 20th year in power.

Ethiopian Review 2011 plans

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

Ethiopian Review is celebrating its 20th year of service and commitment by organizing various activities this year. Through a series of events, we are prepared to showcase Ethiopian Review’s proud past and promising future.

Ethiopian Review has clear vision and sense of purpose. First and foremost, we recognize the struggle of the Ethiopian people for freedom is just and sacred. Ethiopian Review will continue to support the struggle in no uncertain terms, as we have done so for the last 20 years. We have come this far through the undying love and support of our readers and our dedicated team.

As we look back in pride and recommit ourselves to work more vigorously in the future, we have devised a strategy to intensify our work inside Ethiopia. Our planned activities for the future revolve around our anniversary theme: Information is Power, and Empowered citizenry is the force behind freedom and democracy.

Ethiopian Review’s board will present its 2011 Plans at a special meeting that is called for this coming Sunday, March 13, at 9 PM Washington DC time. The meeting will be held via teleconference.

To participate, please register by sending email to

Ethiopian Review Board of Directors

A message to Woyanne diplomats – from a former diplomat

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

By Lebenu Andinet

In the Time of Deceit Telling the Truth is a Revolutionary Act” – George Orwell

As a former Woyanne Diplomat I am writing this piece to call upon all Ethiopian diplomats and civil servants to stand for truth and abandon the regime that lives on deceit.

The year 2011 is a unique and crucial year for many oppressed and marginalized people of a number of Africa and Middle Eastern countries. The year has so far witnessed the freedom of people through out the Arab world where dictatorship prevailed for decades. Tunisia and Egypt have completed the removal process of their respective dictators through popular uprising, where as Libya, Bahrain, Djibouti, Yemen, Algeria, Saudi Arabia are fighting hard to topple their decayed and undemocratic regimes. The basic underpinning of these revolutions is tied to the inability of the regimes to bring about economic development, establishing the rule of law and adopting democratic system that includes freedom of speech, expression and women rights.

The underpinning factors that initiated the uprising in the Arab world that include poverty and undemocratic practices are extensively witnessed in Ethiopia in a greater level for decades. Each and every rational Ethiopian can easily understand the prevalence of these sorry realities in Ethiopia. Just taking the recent realities it is enough to mention that up to 3 million Ethiopians are in need of food aid from other donors. On the other side it is also important to point out the ridiculous EPRDF’s “99.66%” election victory, which, according to Human Rights Watch and European Union Election Observation Mission, was conducted under the environment of coercion and harassment. Ethiopian have the obligation to use the time to voice their discontent in a peaceful and legal ways so as to bring about a better and promising future to themselves and they children. It should be time Ethiopians stop going to bed empty stomach and it should be time Ethiopians feel free to express their opinions with out fear of the government intelligence apparatus. Our future is now and it is in our hands.

When people are faced with the issue of bringing about change in Ethiopia through peaceful popular uprising they seem to interpret it in terms of going out in the streets to for demonestration. Although that is part of the whole process it is not the only action.

As the British famous author and journalist George Orwell, whom we know by his controversial novel, “Animal Farm,” and the well known quote, “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others,” has suggested the most important idea as to what constitutes a revolutionary act. Not only throwing stones, shouting anti-government words, posting resentment on facebook is revolutionary, but standing for truth in the face of deceit and naked propaganda is also by far the most revolutionary of all.

We all know the white lies and dry fabrication Meles Zenawi’s regime in Ethiopia feeds the public day in and day out about economic development and democracy. But it is not secret to understand the reality prevailing in Ethiopia. After two decades of Woyanne-led EPRDF rule, Ethiopia is at the bottom of the global economic ladder and its so-called “democracy” is resulting in the triumph of a one-party state where oppositions are weakened and coerced by the incumbent party and its coercive arm of the government.

In the face of these realities, Ethiopians from all walks of life have to be true to the truth rather than be filled with the garbage information disseminated by the regime to deceive Ethiopians. Therefore, amid these limitless Woyanne/EPRDF lies we got to stand for the truth. In so doing we are executing what is needed from each of us in making the revolution our country deeply needs a reality.

As a former diplomat of the Woyanne led EPRDF government, I know that the diplomats in different countries are instructed to execute so much fabrication that does not match the reality in Ethiopia. Among others, they are expected to promote the 10% economic growth, where as millions are in need of food and the government is begging other countries for help. They are supposed to promote respect for human rights in Ethiopia while the reality is that people have no right to organize freely. They are expected to inform other countries that elections in Ethiopia are free and fair, where as the institutions necessary to conduct elections are totally controlled by the Woyanne regime.

Ethiopian diplomats and other civil servants residing in Ethiopia and through out the world have to remain true to the truth and contribute their share of revolutionary act. They must assist the revolution by giving information necessary to inform the international community about the human rights violations and the corrupt nature of the regime. It is a call for your conscience in the name of millions of Ethiopians who go to bed every night with empty stomach, walking with bare feet and afraid to express their views.

Let’s come together and stick to one of the acts of revolutionary measure. Let’s fight deceit with the truth by exposing Woyanne’s horrible crimes and by supporting the forces fighting for the new Ethiopia where all people are equal no matter what their ethnic origin or political persuasion.

I am envious of the achievement of the people of northern Africa and it is my hope that Ethiopia shall join the Tunisia and Egypt in saying “no more” to dictatorship.

(The writer can be reach at

Sudan opposition plans to stage protest Wednesday

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

Sudanese opposition groups are defying warnings by security forces not to hold the protest rally they scheduled for Wedensday.

The legal affairs official in the opposition alliance Kamal Omer, from the Popular Congress Party (PCP), said that they only notified the authorities about their intentions stressing that they need no permission to practice their right under the constitution.

The protest will take place at 1 p.m. at Abu-Janzeer square in the Sudanese capital and is scheduled to be addressed by leader of the Umma Party Al-Sadiq Al-Mahdi.

The police chief in Khartoum State, General Mohammad Hafiz Hassan Attiya, said at a press conference that he does not recognize the opposition’s reasoning adding that the law requires permission and not notification in order to organize a protest.

Attiya said that the opposition appears to be seeking “to take law into their own hands” describing this as unacceptable. — Sudan Tribune

Angola protest did not materialize

The Angola regime of President Jose Eduardo dos Santos has reacted to a call for peaceful protests by arresting several individuals, including 3 journalists, on Monday.

Novo Jornal editor Victor Silva said the journalists were part of a group of some 15 people arrested at May 1 Square in the capital, Luanda. He said all the detainees were later released.

“They were detained for no apparent reason,” Silva said of the journalists. “They were in May 1 Square to report on whether or not the protest was happening.”

(AFP) — Since last month, rumours have circulated on the internet of North Africa-style protests scheduled to begin on March 7 in Angola.

While the organisers of the protest remain largely anonymous, a Facebook page called “The Angolan People’s Revolution” had called on Angolans to march at midnight with posters “demanding the departure of Ze Du [Dos Santos' nickname], his ministers and his corrupt friends”.

Rapper Brigadeiro Mata Frakus, who recently returned from exile, is hugely popular on the internet since he released a song criticising dos Santos, in power since 1979.

The chief opposition party, the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), has said it would not take part in the protests because it does not know who is calling for the marches.
There were no signs of people gathering in May 1 Square at noon (11:00 GMT), two hours before the rescheduled protest was due to start. Military police patrolled the streets, which were unusually quiet.

Many had dismissed the anonymous call to protest as a charade but the ruling party, the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), reacted with a show of strength by organising large pro-government demonstrations on Saturday in Luanda and several other cities.

Angola is the continent’s largest producer of crude oil along with Nigeria, but the majority of its 18 million people live beneath the poverty line.

More from The Guardian’s Lara Pawson:

Since Tunisians rose up so heroically two months ago, a great deal has been written about the influence on the rest of the Arab world. Now, the spirit of revolution may be starting to blow south, stirring up protests in pockets of sub-Saharan Africa, too. In Angola, 17 people, including several journalists, were arrested on Monday at the start of a demonstration in Independence Square in the capital, Luanda. The protest began as an internet campaign two weeks ago when an anonymous group of individuals, announcing “a new revolution of the Angolan people”, set up a website calling for an end to the 32-year rule of President José Eduardo dos Santos.

Monday’s short-lived protest in Luanda is in no way comparable with the extraordinary scenes witnessed in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. Very few protesters showed up. However, people in Luanda say the atmosphere was extremely tense. There was a heavy police presence throughout the city and most people stayed at home fearing trouble. Even senior members of the ruling Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), which has held onto power since independence in 1975, have been rattled by the surge in criticism.

“Angola is not Egypt. Angola is not Libya. Angola is not Tunisia,” the MPLA provincial secretary to Luanda, Bento Bento, has insisted. He has also accused western intelligence agencies and pressure groups in France, Portugal, Italy, Brussels and the UK of instigating opposition: “They have enacted … a proper operation against Angola, the MPLA and especially our comrade and president, José Eduardo dos Santos.”

In a bid to bolster confidence and outmanoeuvre the critics, MPLA officials organised pre-emptive “pro-peace” rallies across the country on Saturday. State radio said 500,000 supporters took to the streets of Luanda waving MPLA flags, wearing MPLA T-shirts and drinking MPLA-funded beer and fizzy drinks. The Associated Press estimated a lower figure of 20,000 participants. Whatever the number, this was not an authentic outpouring of adoration for the regime. State employees were ordered to attend, and beyond the capital all did not go well. For example, in the north-east diamond-rich province of Lunda Norte, MPLA supporters were attacked by other members of the public, and the provincial governor, Ernesto Muangala, fled to safety.

Meanwhile, in direct contradiction to article 47 of the new Angolan constitution, approved in January 2010, which grants all citizens the right to demonstrate peacefully, Bento Bento announced: “Whoever tries to demonstrate will be neutralised because Angola has laws and institutions and a good citizen understands the laws, respects the country and is a patriot.” The secretary general of the party, Dino Matross, was only marginally more blunt: “Anyone who demonstrates,” he said, “we’re going to get you.”

This is not idle rhetoric. The MPLA has long relied on excessive brutality to quash opposition. As Sousa Jamba, a journalist and member of Angola’s main opposition party, Unita, wrote this week: “The scars of 1977, 1992, etc, have still not disappeared. We have a history in which demonstrations in the streets, particularly in the capital, end in tragedy.”

Jamba is referring to 27 May 1977, when two senior members of the MPLA led an uprising against the administration of President Agostinho Neto. The government’s response – supported by the Cuban army – was extreme. Violent retaliations went on for months, killing thousands – some say tens of thousands – of innocent people. Many men and women were arrested and tortured, and some were held in concentration camps for years. In 1992, following Angola’s first attempt at multiparty elections, civil war erupted once again when Unita leader Jonas Savimbi refused to accept the results. Hundreds of people in Luanda who were thought to have voted for Unita were attacked or killed by MPLA supporters.

This state-sponsored violence, coupled with the fact that the 27-year civil war ended only in 2002, helps explain why opposition parties in Angola have been so reluctant to support this week’s demonstration. Unita leader Isaías Samakuva has described the protest as “a trap” set by the government to test the political temperature of the country. He is also suspicious of the fact the organisers are anonymous. Smaller political parties agree it would be foolhardy to participate in a demonstration called for by unknown figures. The Democratic Block, which comprises several respected political figures, said it would be “extremely naive” to participate in a protest that could lead to the sort of purges that took place in 1977 and 1992.

The response from the political class this week may indicate a growing generation gap within Angolan society. Luaty Beirão, a popular Angolan rapper also known as Ikonoklasta, was one of the protesters arrested on Monday morning. He believes the political parties are out of touch with the majority of Angolan people, and are either too lazy or too old-fashioned to take action for their political beliefs. At a gig on 27 February in Luanda, he called for President Dos Santos to leave power. Each time he did, a large audience of mainly young men chanted “Fora!” (“Out!”). To the delight of his fans, he described the regime as “a son of a bitch government” and ended his performance holding up a banner which read: “Ti Zé Tira o Pé: Tô Prazo Expirou Há Bwé!” (Uncle Zé [the president], get out: your time ran out ages ago!). The crowd erupted into wild applause.

Although Angola is not ready for a revolution like Tunisia’s or Egypt’s, the past week suggests that the tide may be beginning to turn. As Rafael Marques, a journalist with an excellent track record for exposing corruption and human rights abuses across Angola, observes: “Opposition is frail, but unhappiness with the MPLA is overwhelming.” And a new generation is finding its voice.

Ethiopian businessman pleads guilty to bribing DC officials

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

A well-known Ethiopian business man in the Washington DC area acknowledged in federal court last Wednesday that he distributed more than $250,000 in bribes in a scheme to obtain lucrative licenses to operate cab companies in the District and to influence city legislation that would benefit his business.

Yitbarek Syume, 53, who has been held in the D.C. jail since his arrest in October 2009, pleaded guilty to bribery, conspiracy to commit bribery, and mail fraud. He could be sentenced to up to nine years in prison under federal guidelines.

Syume told U.S. District Judge Paul L. Friedman through an Amharic interpreter that he wanted “to apologize to my family, to the Ethiopian community and to this court.” [read more]

Social media flooded with anti-Meles slogan

Monday, March 7th, 2011

Facebook is currently being flooded with BEKA, a slogan that calls for the end of Meles Zenawi’s dictatorship in Ethiopia.

Initiated by a couple of youth groups, during the past few days hundreds of Ethiopians have changed their profile photos to posters that have the Amharic word “Beka”, which means “Enough.” The posters have different designs and colors as some of those shown here.

Two groups are also calling for a nationwide protest in Ethiopia on May 20, 2011, the 20th anniversary of Meles Zenawi in power.

Ethiopia: The Sun Also Rises

Monday, March 7th, 2011

By Alemayehu G. Mariam

Creeping Youthbellion and Youthvolution in Africa and the Middle East

“When the sun rises, it rises for everyone,” goes the old saying. The sun that rose over tyranny in North Africa will not set at the edge of the Sahel; it will shine southward on the African savannah and rainforest. The wind of change blowing across the Middle East will soon cut a wide swath clear to the Atlantic Coast of West Africa from the Red Sea. The sun that lifted the darkness that had enveloped Tunisia, Egypt and Libya for decades can now be seen rising just over the Ethiopian horizon. The sun rises to greet a new generation of Ethiopians.

Today we are witnessing a second African independence, an independence from thugtatorship no less dramatic or volcanic than the upheavals of oppressed peoples that overthrew the yoke of colonialism one-half century ago. In 1960, British PM Harold McMillan warned his fraternity of European imperial powers: “The wind of change is blowing through this [African] continent, and whether we like it or not, this growth of national consciousness is a political fact. We must all accept it as a fact, and our national policies must take account of it.”

The wind of change that has kicked up a sandstorm of youth rebellion and revolt in North Africa has laid bare the ghastly facts of oppression and youth despair to global consciousness. Arab and African youths are crying out for freedom, democracy, human rights and equal economic opportunity. The vast majority of the uneducated, under-educated and mis-educated African youths have no hope for the future. Legions of Arab youths with college degrees, advanced professional and technical training waste away the best years of their lives because they have few economic opportunities. They too see a void in their future. African and Arab youths have had enough, and they are rising up like the sun to liberate themselves and their societies from the clutches of thugs. The outcome of the youth uprisings is foreordained. As Sam Cooke, the great pioneer of soul music sang, “It’s been a long, a long time coming/ But I know a change is gonna come, oh yes it will…”

But there are some who cynically argue that the type of volcanic popular uprisings sweeping North Africa cannot happen in Ethiopia. They offer many reasons. They say the thugtators in Ethiopia have used every means at their disposal to keep the people benighted, divided and antagonized. They point to the primitive state of information technology in Ethiopia as proof of a deliberate official strategy to prevent Ethiopian youth from accessing the Internet freely to learn new ideas and create cyber civic societies. (Ethiopia has the second lowest (after Sierra Leone) internet penetration rate in Africa.) They say Zenawi has bought off the best and the brightest of Ethiopia’s youth with cash, jobs, special educational opportunities and privileges just to keep them off the streets and happy as a clam. (It seems Ethiopia’s youth are a pressurized powder keg.) They say Ethiopia’s young people (who comprise the majority of the population) have no frame of historical reference and that Zenawi has brainwashed them into believing that he is their demi-god and savior. (It is possible to fool some of the youths all of the time, but it is impossible to fool all of the youths all of the time.) They say Zenawi’s vast security network of informants, spies and thugs will suppress any youth or other uprising before it could gather momentum. They say Zenawi has permeated the society with so much fear and loathing that it is nearly impossible for individuals or groups to come together, build consensus and articulate a unified demand for change. They say Zenawi has created so much ethnic antagonism in the society that he can cling to power indefinitely by playing his divide-and-rule game and raising the specter of genocide and civil war. Regardless of what anyone says, Zenawi has made it crystal clear what he will do to cling to power. He will “crush with full force” anyone who opposes him electorally or otherwise.

The Survival Principle of Thugtatorships

African thugtators will do anything to cling to power. Hosni Mubarak used a state of emergency decree to cling to power for three decades. When he was deposed from his Pharaonic throne, there were 30,000 political prisoners rotting in his dungeons. Ben Ali in Tunisia did as he pleased for nearly a quarter of a century. Gadhafi’s actions in Libya today offer a hard object lesson on what thugtators will do to cling to power. He continues to use helicopter gunships and MiG fighter planes to bomb and strafe civilians. He is using his private army of thugs and mercenaries to commit unspeakable violence on Libyan citizens. He has offered to buy off Libyans for $400 per household and pledged a 150 percent increase in government workers’ wages if they stop the uprising. They told him “to immerse it in water and drink it” (or “to stuff it…” in the English vernacular.) Gadhafi’s son, Saif al-Islam, has threatened to dismember Libya and plunge it into a civil war and “fight to the last minute, until the last bullet, until the last drop of my blood.” Gadhafi is doing everything in his power to cling to power. The only unanswered question is whether he will resort to the “chemical option”. On March 16, 1988, toward the end of the Iraq-Iran war, Saddam Hussien used chemical weapons against the Kurds in Halabja killing thousands. Will Gadhafi use chemical weapons against Libyans in March 2011 as his regime comes to its long overdue end? Whether Zenawi will follow Gadhafi’s scorched earth policy to cling to power remains to be seen, but careful analysis of his actions, public statements, interviews, speeches, writings, ideological perspective and the irrepressible and self-consuming hatred he has publicly displayed against those who have opposed him over the past 20 years suggests that he will likely follow the tragic wisdom of the old aphorism, “Apre moi, le deluge” (After me, the flood).

But thugtators, trapped in their bubbles and echo chambers, often overestimate their prowess and abilities. “Brotherly Leader” Gadhafi thought he was so powerful and the Libyan people so cowardly that he did not expect in his wildest imagination they would dare rise up and challenge him. He was proven wrong when Libyans broke the chains of crippling fear Gadhafi had put on them for 42 years. Gadhafi thought he could prevent Libyan youths from communicating and coordinating with each other by shutting down social media such as Facebook. Libya’s young revolutionaries proved to be more creative; they used Muslim dating websites to coordinate their activities. Now Gadhafi has completely shut down Internet service in the country believing he can control and distort the flow of information coming out of Libya. Gadhafi’s murderous thugs and mercenaries have been repelled time and again by a ragtag army of Libyan shopkeepers, waiters, welders, engineers, students and the unemployed. Despite Gadhafi’s talk of tribal war, Libyans have closed ranks to wage war on thugtatorship. After 42 years of ignorant ramblings in the Green Book, Gadhafi and his Jamahiriya (“republic ruled by the masses”) are in their death throes.

The Bouzazi Factor

Mohamed Bouzazi was the young Tunisian who burned himself to protest Ben Ali’s thugtatorship. Bouzazi’s desperate act became the spark that created the critical mass of popular uprising which has caused a chain reaction throughout North Africa and the Middle East. The tipping point for change in any country cannot be predicted with certainty. In Tunisia, Bouzazi was literally the “fissile material” that catalyzed the popular uprising. In Egypt, a number of factors worked together to get rid of Mubarak’s thugtatorship. The young Egyptians who led the revolt were well educated and tech savvy and used their knowledge to organize effectively. The Egyptian military maintained neutrality and opposition elements were able to build consensus on the need to remove Mubarak and his henchmen from power after three decades. In Libya, the people just had enough of a raving lunatic running their lives.

Change is a universal imperative and it will come to Ethiopia as it has for its northern neighbors. The coming change in Ethiopia may not necessarily follow any existing template. It will originate from an unexpected source and spread in unexpected ways. The tipping point in Ethiopia will likely revolve around three factors: 1) the clarity, truthfulness and persuasiveness of the message of change delivered to the people, 2) the unity in the voices of the messengers who deliver the message, and 3) the context in which the message of change is communicated to the people. Simply stated, a convergence of democratic forces and a consensus on a clear message of change is necessary to create a critical mass for change in Ethiopia.

Overcoming the Fear Factor

The one common thread in all of the uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East is that the people overcame their fears. The thugtators waged decades long campaigns of psychological warfare to instill fear and loathing in the hearts and minds of their peoples. For decades, the people believed the thugtators to be strong and invincible, untouchable and unaccountable.   Recent evidence shows that all thugtatorships have feet of clay. The moment the Libyan people unshackled themselves from 42 years of crippling fear — the kind of fear President Roosevelt described as “nameless, unreasoning, unjustified, terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance ” — they were able to see Gadhafi for what he truly is — a thug. Ditto for Ben Ali and Hosni Mubarak. Change came to Tunisia, Egypt and Libya not because the thugtators had changed but because the people had changed. They were no longer afraid! They found out the true meaning of the old saying, “Fear makes the wolf bigger than he is.”

The Hubris of Thugtators

Thugtators believe they can cling to power by eliminating their opposition, and particularly those who helped them get into power. They ward off potential challengers by keeping their military weak and appointing their cronies and henchmen to leadership positions. They believe they are loved, respected and admired by their people. Gadhafi said, “All my people love me!” They don’t. They hate him. Gadhafi convinced himself that all Libyans are happy under his rule.” They are not. Libya has a Sovereign Wealth Fund of $70 billion and nearly as much has been frozen by the American, British and Swiss governments. Yet the vast majority of the 6 million Libyans have difficulty making ends meet. Gadhafi has squandered much of the oil money buying arms, financing terrorists, seeking to develop weapons of mass destruction, giving it away to other countries to increase his prestige and paying blood money for acts of terrorism he personally ordered. He paid $3 billion to the survivors of the bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland in which 270 people died. Zenawi said he won the last election by 99.6 percent because the people love his party. They “consider themselves and the EPRDF as two sides of a coin” and “nothing can ever shake their unwavering support for our organization,” he said in his victory speech last May. He congratulated the people for “giv[ing] us the mandate through your votes” and patronized them for their “high sense of judgment and fairness” in voting for his party.

Regardless of what thugtators say or do, they will always remain weak and anxiety-ridden because they are in it for the money and not to serve the people. State power is the means by which they pick clean the economic bones of their countries. Thugtators are incapable of anticipating or understanding the need for change. Because they lack a vision for the future and the courage to do what needs to be done in the present, they are always swept away in a flash flood of popular uprising as Ben Ali, Mubarak and Gadhafi have found out lately.

Foolishly Riding the Tiger

President Obama needs to realize that it is not enough to talk about being “on the right side of history”. The U.S. must first do the right thing. For the Obama Administration to talk about “regime alteration” instead of regime change in the Middle East and North Africa today is not being on the right side of history. It is just being plain wrong! President John F. Kennedy said that being on the right side of history is being on the side of the “people in the huts and villages of half the globe struggling to break the bonds of mass misery and helping them help themselves.” In his inaugural speech President Kennedy said:

To those new states whom we welcome to the ranks of the free, we pledge our word that one form of colonial control shall not have passed away merely to be replaced by a far more iron tyranny. We shall not always expect to find them supporting our view. But we shall always hope to find them strongly supporting their own freedom– and to remember that, in the past, those who foolishly sought power by riding the back of the tiger ended up inside.

To those people in the huts and villages of half the globe struggling to break the bonds of mass misery, we pledge our best efforts to help them help themselves, for whatever period is required–not because the Communists may be doing it, not because we seek their votes, but because it is right. If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.

The lesson of the spreading uprisings for African and Middle Eastern thugtators is a simple one best paraphrased in Gandhi’s immortal words: “There have been thugtators and murderers who have foolishly sought power by riding the back of the tiger. But in the end, they found themselves inside the tiger’s belly. Think of it, always.”

The weekly commentaries of the author are available at:

Wife of Ethiopia’s tyrant on Dubai shopping spree

Monday, March 7th, 2011

Last Saturday, Azeb Mesfin, the wife of Ethiopia’s blood thirsty dictator Meles Zenawi, flew to Dubai on another shopping spree, according to Ethiopian Review sources.

Azeb arrived at the airport around 11 AM local time accompanied by a few close friends and bodyguards. She then proceeded directly to a small private plane.

Upon arrival in Dubai, she was greeted by Woyanne embassy employees who took her shopping. After she finished her shopping, the goods she purchased were handed over to Ethiopian Airlines employees to be flown to the U.K.

As instructed, the Ethiopian Airlines employees delivered all the items at a house owned by Azeb in London which is currently occupied by Semhal Meles, the dictator’s daughter.

On Monday morning, Azeb returned to Ethiopia.

Azeb Mesfin, who is called “the mother of corruption,” reportedly owns several homes in the U.S. and Europe. She is known for her shopping trips to European and Middle Eastern cities spending hundreds of thousands of dollars at a time.

The Voices of 2005

Sunday, March 6th, 2011

By Teodros Kiros

The dark days of November 2005

It was 5 years ago on “November 1, 2005, that the ruling Tigrean People Liberation Front (Woyanne) under the leadership of Meles Zenawi unleashed a new form of terror on the people of Ethiopia. The repercussion of the terror campaign is still felt throughout Ethiopia and around the world, wherever Ethiopians reside.

Following the May 5, 2005, elections, before the votes were counted, Meles declared victory and suspended his own constitution, stripping the people of Ethiopia the right to free speech, and other basic civil rights.

When Ethiopians peacefully protested the regime’s actions, Meles responded by giving a shoot-to-kill order to his death squads. Meles Zenawi’s forces gunned down hundreds of unarmed citizens, rounded up over 40,000 young Ethiopians and sent them to detention camps in remote parts of the country. Meles also ordered the shutting down of independent newspapers and the arrest of their staff. November 2005 was one of the darkest moments in Ethiopia’s history.
Ethiopians around the world remember the November 2005 massacre, the victims of the TPLF regime for the past 20 years by honoring the martyrs who paid the ultimate price and by also resolving to intensify the struggle for freedom and democracy against the anti-Ethiopia minority ethnic dictatorship of Meles Zenawi.

Birtukan Medeksa, the symbol of MAAT, characteristically modest, moderate and brilliant was one of the victims of the dark days of remember. She was among those who were imprisoned for challenging the outcomes of the November election and became a beacon of change. The regime imprisoned her twice and now Birtukan is on her way to America for psychological treatment. Most of the heroes of November are now residing in America and Europe and desperately trying to revive the sunny moments of 2005.

These were the dark days of Ethiopian politics. The darkness that hovered over the Ethiopian nation is now twilight. Silenced voices hover the cemeteries of the dead. Those who remain are profoundly dismayed. We must ask, however, where are the voices of the taxi drivers who protested.

Where are those five million Ethiopians who protested against the rigged elections, and were called hooligans, although they were classical protestors who challenged the regime and refused to be silenced by guns.

The voices of 2005 are very much like the Egyptian voices of 2011, but their heroism did not get the media attention that the Arab world is rightly getting.

History demands of us that we remember these dark days as we engage the prevailing regime to meet us on the streets of democracy for regime change.

We appeal to the regime in the name of love of country to step down peacefully and give the Ethiopian people new voices of deciding their destiny. We must trust the people to articulate dispassionately an Ethiopian voice and frame a vision of a participatory and deliberative democracy in which merit and service to country are the new criteria by which leadership is measured and distributed.

Our guiding principle ought to be the liberation of the people is the activity of the people and their activity can be organized by a genuine participatory and deliberative democracy.

A future article will examine the structure of a new political party, which will organize a disciplined people’s uprising.

The General Will of the Ethiopian People

Saturday, March 5th, 2011

By Teodros Kiros

Jean Jacques Rousseau, the extraordinary political philosopher, famously argued:

Sovereignty is purely and simply the exercise of the general will, and can in no circumstances therefore be alienated. And I affirm further that the sovereign is purely and simply a collective being, and can be represented therefore only by itself… (Social Contract, Ed Willmore Kendall, pp33-34)


The general will is always well intentioned, i.e., that it always looks to the public good… It often happens that the will of everybody, because it is looking to private interest and is thus merely a sum of particular wills, is something quite different from the general will, which looks exclusively to the common interest. But if you shake out from those particular wills those that are most so and those that are least so, in so far as they destroy each other, the general will is the sum of the remaining differences (pp, 38-39)

When measured by this classical yardstick, the general will of the Ethiopian people, has been alienated, which is a violation of the indivisibility of the general as the exercise of the will of the people, and flagrant denial of the use of their public reason.

Eskinder Nega writes in the letter to the prime minister,

With the attainment of status and privilege dominating the thoughts of your subordinates, here is what you are hearing from them: a grateful populace enthralled by fast economic growth; political stability; a happy, hopeful youth; and content farmers. In other words, a nation on the verge of take-off, boldly united under Meles’ indispensable leadership.

Here is the gist of this letter, the real message from the grassroots: a nation outraged by high soaring inflation; a public scandalized by unprecedented corruption; rampant unemployment; political oppression; chronic shortage of land in rural areas. In sum, the nation is desperate for change.

You have essentially wasted the two decades with which you were blessed to affect change. In place of pragmatism dogma has prevailed, in place of transparency secrecy has taken root, in place of democracy oppression has intensified, and in place of merit patronage has been rewarded.
Ato Meles Zenawi: the people want—no, need—you to leave office. The people are closely watching events in North Africa as I write this letter. They are debating the implications for Africa, including Ethiopia. And they have been inspired by the heroism of ordinary Libyans. (Abudgida, March 4,2011)

For the past twenty years, and many years before that the right of the Ethiopian people to formulate their own wills have been systematically closed. Many decisions have been taken without their participation. Their voices have been silenced. Policies have been passed without their input.

That is why they are now silently observing the results of the revolutions in the Arab World, before they decide to take their cases to the ruling regimes doors and ask for a conversation at Meskel Square peacefully-as the fora in which they are going to demand for a regime change, as an exercise of sovereignty, the voice of public reason.

Mass protest hits Saudi Arabia

Saturday, March 5th, 2011

Saudi Arabia security forces have been deployed in huge numbers across the region. King Abdullah is also reported to have told neighbouring Bahrain that if they do not put down their own ongoing Shia revolt, his own forces will. In response to the massive mobilisation, protesters are planning to place women on the front ranks to discourage Saudi forces from firing on them. On Thursday, Saudi Shias population staged protests in two towns in Saudi Arabia’s oil-producing Eastern Province. – The Telegraph

The silence of Ethiopian People

Friday, March 4th, 2011

By Teodros Kiros

Silence is enigmatic. Silence speaks without speaking, hears without hearing, and sees without seeing. On the surface these enigmas are contradictory. How can silence hear without hearing, and see without seeing?

Those contradictions are the essence of silence.

We cannot see silence seeing, nor can we hear it, hearing.

Silence is silent because it has heard; silence is silent because it has seen. Sometime silence sees too much and hears too much; that is when silence remains silent.

Ever since the historic voices of the people were heard and seen in Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain, Yemen and now Libya, the Ethiopian landscape is environed by silence. You must be wondering what the people are thinking, what the people must be saying. Keep on wondering, because have determined to remain silent, for they think that silent is golden, or they may be secretly listening to Fortuna, to that moody teacher of time.

There is wisdom in this silence, in this stillness of time, when the mind is at its most active condition, when the mind is thinking about when and how to act.

The Ethiopian people have seen without seeing, heard without hearing, but they remain steadfastly silent. Perhaps, they have seen and heard it all. Some are still mourning the deaths of their beloved first in the hands of the Derg and now in the hands of the existing Tyrannical/Oligarchy.

Do not let the silence of the people disturb you. Great actions are always preceded by long periods of reflection during the stillness of time, when time is borrowed by deliberation, by public reason.

British money to prop up Ethiopia’s dictatorship

Friday, March 4th, 2011

Britain has decided to give upwards of $250 million a year to shore up the Zenawi regime under the guise of helping the Ethiopian people.  There is ample evidence that much of foreign aid to the Zenawi regime is used to brutalize and keep Ethiopians poor.

Human Rights Watch has put it bluntly to donors who pretend to help the poor in Ethiopia.  “Ethiopia’s repressive government has put foreign aid to a sinister purpose, with officials in Ethiopia’s ruling party using their power to give or deny financial assistance to citizens based on their political affiliation. Perhaps even more shocking, international donors appear to expend more energy pretending these abuses don’t exist than trying to address them.”

After thirty years of famine assistance, Ethiopia still can’t feed its people.  So-called aid is used to enrich a tyrant and his coterie who make Ghaddafi look like a boy scout.  Yet donors continue to turn a blind  eye to the suffering of the average Ethiopian as long as the regime in power continues their bidding.  Is it too much to ask “Donor Do No Harm”?

Ethiopia is Top UK Aid Recipient

Peter Heinlein | Voice of America |

Britain has chosen Ethiopia to be its biggest recipient of development aid during the next four years. Several donor governments are ramping up assistance as Ethiopia sets ambitious goals for eradicating poverty and hunger.

Ethiopia will receive $2 billion in British development assistance in a four-year period.

Howard Taylor, head of the British aid program in Ethiopia, says the decision to boost assistance was based on need as well as evidence that the country has made major strides in recent years.

Ethiopia Prime Minister Meles Zenawi says his country’s economy has grown at a rate of 10 percent or more during each of the past seven years.  International aid agencies question the method of calculating the figure.  But Mr. Meles says that even double-digit growth would not be enough because Ethiopia’s population has increased faster than the country’s rate of economic growth.  The population now stands at around 80 million people.

Taylor says that although the accuracy of the government data can be debated, there is no doubt that Ethiopia’s economic growth is accelerating. “The precision of the data is disputed, and we have an ongoing conversation ourselves with partners, including the government itself, about some of that data.  But the headline issue, which nobody disputes, is that there has been from a low base tremendous development progress in Ethiopia over the last eight to ten years or so,” he said.

Taylor says recent studies show that Ethiopia receives far less aid than it needs – half as much in assistance per capita compared to other African countries.  He attributes that partly to donor concerns about the killing of anti-government demonstrators following Ethiopia’s disputed 2005 election.

“It’s a fact that overseas aid to Ethiopia did decrease after the 2005 election.  It has since increased.  I think the size of the population in Ethiopia is a key factor in why the per capita aid is low because Ethiopia is so populous and still growing so fast,” he said.

A poverty index released by Oxford University and the United Nations last year ranked Ethiopia as the world’s second poorest country, after Niger.  But the Ethiopian government’s latest five year economic plan includes the ambitious goal of achieving self-sufficiency in food.

Taylor says international donors are increasing their aid budgets, even as they struggle with their own economic troubles. “They’re certainly in the poorest 10 countries in the world.  But I think that’s an obvious argument for continued support and increasing what we do here.  We are trying to help the millions of very poor, very vulnerable Ethiopians improve their lives,” he said.

Britain and the European Union are among Ethiopia’s biggest aid donors.

The United States is the largest bilateral aid contributor to Ethiopia, averaging more than $1 billion in assistance per year since 2007.  During that time, U.S. aid has included more than $1.5 billion in food aid to prevent famine and alleviate chronic food shortages.

Interpol issues security alert against Gaddafi, 15 others

Friday, March 4th, 2011

INTERPOL has issued [see here] a global alert known as an Orange Notice against Colonel Al-Qadhafi and 15 other Libyan nationals, including members of his family and close associates, in a bid to warn member states of the danger posed by the movement of these individuals and their assets, to assist member states in their efforts to enforce sanctions under United Nations Security Council Resolution 1970 (2011), and to support INTERPOL’s assistance to the International Criminal Court investigation into alleged crimes against humanity in Libya.

With identifying information on each of the subjects on the UN travel ban and asset freeze list added to INTERPOL’s databases and circulated to frontline law enforcement officers at key areas such as border control points, INTERPOL’s alert will help ensure that law enforcement in each of the world police body’s 188 member countries will be able to take all necessary measures to protect civilians and to enforce travel bans against all 16 Libyan nationals, as well as the assets freeze targeting six of them. The individuals subject to the Orange Notice have been identified as being involved in or complicit in planning attacks, including aerial bombardments, on civilian populations.

INTERPOL’s alert will see its Command and Co-ordination Centre at its General Secretariat headquarters in Lyon liaise with its National Central Bureaus to pool and update all relevant intelligence to ensure that the Libyan nationals are not able to circumvent the travel ban or the assets freeze.

With the UN Security Council referring recent events in Libya to the International Criminal Court and calling on all states and concerned international organizations to co-operate fully with the Prosecutor and the Court in this matter, INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble said: “INTERPOL’s constitution provides a clear mandate for the widest co-operation among law enforcement authorities in its member countries, within the spirit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in the prevention of serious human rights abuses.”

“As a first priority, we must work to protect the civilian populations of Libya and of any country into which these Libyan individuals may travel or attempt to move their assets,” said Secretary General Noble.

“If member states are expected to implement effectively the travel ban and asset freeze against the named individuals in order to prevent serious criminal conduct and abuse of human rights, they will need instant access to hard data. INTERPOL’s secure global communications system and databases will give them access to the information on which to act. The ICC Prosecutor will also need secure options for gathering and sharing information relevant to his investigation which INTERPOL can provide.

“Our co-operation with the UN Security Council on sanctions against individuals is strong and will get stronger. Once the relevant UN Committee for monitoring the implementation of these sanctions has had an opportunity to consider the matter, INTERPOL hopes to work with the UN to obtain the issuance of and ensure the reliability of INTERPOL – UN Security Council Special Notices for these individuals as we have done with the 1267 Committee,” added the head of INTERPOL.

INTERPOL’s co-operation with UN bodies has seen its global law enforcement network and system of international notices used by international criminal tribunals and the ICC to seek persons wanted for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Ethiopia’s tyrant incites religious clash; 5 churches burned

Friday, March 4th, 2011

Every time the ethnic apartheid junta in Ethiopia faces domestic crisis, it resorts to inciting ethnic and religious animosity and clashes among Ethiopians. During the 2005 election-related revolt, Meles and gang had tried to instigate hostility between Amhara and Oromo ethnic groups, incited some Muslims in Jimma and other southern Ethiopian towns to attack Christians and the following year, December 2006, invaded Somalia. Meles is repeating the same thing now as his regime faces an imminent popular uprising. International Christian Concern has reported today, and Ethiopian Review has been able to confirm the report independently from its sources in Ethiopia, that several churches have been burned in southern Ethiopia this week. Read the full report below:

International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that today Muslims killed one Christian, burned down eight churches, a bible school, and 17 Christian homes in stepping up their attacks against Christians in Asendabo, Ethiopia.

Yesterday ICC reported that the attacks started on March 2 after Muslims accused Christians of desecrating the Qur’an. Today’s attacks bring the total number of razed churches to 13. More than 150 Christians are now without homes. The attacks have spread to the villages surrounding the town of Asendabo.

Christians are calling on the government of Ethiopia for protection. The Ethiopian government sent federal security forces but they couldn’t control ten thousand rioting Muslims from continuing their attacks.

Asendabo is a town located in Jimma Zone, Western Ethiopia. Western Ethiopia was the scene of violent attacks against Christians in 2006 when Muslims killed more than a dozen Christian and burned down several churches. The attacks forces thousands of Christians to leave their homes.

UK high court decides in Al Amoudi vs. Elias Kifle

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

U.K.’s High Court of Justice has issued an order in favor of Saudi billionaire Mohammed Al Amoudi in his libel lawsuit against Ethiopian Review editor Elias Kifle. (click here to read the order)

Bloomberg’s Kristen Schweizer wrote this about the case:

Saudi sheikh Al Amoudi, who owns several properties in the U.K., said a story in the U.S.-based Ethiopian Review website has subjected him to “serious libel centered around one of his young, unmarried daughters.”

“The Al Amoudi case is definitely libel tourism because Sheikh Al Amoudi lives for the most part outside the U.K. and is not a British citizen and the majority of readers of the Ethiopian Review are outside the U.K.,” Libel Reform’s Harris said. He said the draft bill is expected in late March.

Read the full text of Kristen’s article here.


Arab League to impose no-fly zone over Libya

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

(Reuters) – The Arab League said on Wednesday it could impose a “no fly” zone on Libya in coordination with the African Union if fighting continued in the north African state, Secretary-General Amr Moussa said on Wednesday.

“The Arab League will not stand with its hands tied while the blood of the brotherly Libyan people is spilt,” Moussa said.

One of the steps it could take would be to enforce a “no fly” zone in cooperation with the African Union, he said.

The Arab League has suspended the membership of Muammar Gaddafi’s government in protest at its crackdown on protesters who have risen up


Libya opposition forces repel Gaddafi counter attack

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

(AP) — Opposition forces pushed back an attack by the Libyan dictator’s forces trying to retake a key coastal oil installation in a topsy-turvy battle Wednesday in which shells splashed in the Mediterranean and a warplane bombed a beach where rebel fighters were charging over the dunes. At least five people were killed in the fighting.

The assault on the Brega oil port was the first major regime counteroffensive against the opposition-held eastern half of Libya, where the population backed by mutinous army units rose up and drove out Gaddafi’s rule over the past two weeks.

The Gaddafi forces initially re-captured the oil facilities Wednesday morning. But then a wave of opposition citizen militias drove them out again, cornering them in a nearby university campus where they battled for several hours until the approximately 200 Gadhafi loyalists fled, according to an Associated Press reporter at the scene.

Soon after sunrise Wednesday, a large force of Gaddafi loyalists in around 50 SUVS, some mounted with machine guns, descended on opposition-held Brega, 460 miles (740 kilometers) east of Tripoli along the Mediterranean. The force caught a small opposition contingent guarding the site by suprise and it fled, said Ahmed Dawas, an anti-Gaddafi fighter at a checkpoint outside the port.

The pro-Gaddafi forces seized the port, airstrip and the oil facilities where about 4,000 personnel work, as regime warplanes hit an ammunition depot on the outskirts of the nearby rebel-held city of Ajdabiya, witnesses said.

Midmorning, the opposition counter-attacked. Anti-Gaddafi fighters with automatic weapons sped out of Ajdabiya in pickup trucks, heading for Brega, 40 miles away (70 kilometers) away. Dawas said they retook the oil facilities and airstrip. Other witnesses reported regime forces were surrounded by rebels. The sound of screaming warplanes and the crackle of heavy gunfire could be heard as the witnesses spoke to The Associated Press by phone.

By the afternoon, the regime fighters fled the oil facilities and holed up in a nearby university campus, where they came under siege by anti-Gaddafi fighters, according to an Associated Press reporter at the scene.

Machine gun and automatic weapons fire rattled in the air, and shells lobbed from the campus went over the anti-Gaddafi side to splash in the Mediterranean.

At one point, a warplane from Gaddafi’s airforce swooped overhead and an explosion was heard. A witness said it struck an empty stretch of dunes near the battle, sending a plume of sand into the air but causing no injuries in an apparent attempt to intimidate the anti-Gaddafi side.

But opposition citizen militias poured into the battle, arriving from Ajdabiya and armed with assault rifles. They moved through the dunes along the beach against the campus next to a pristine blue-water Mediterranean beach. Those without guns picked up bottles and put wicks in them to make firebombs.

At least five opposition fighters were killed in the fighting, their bodies covered with sand thrown up by shells bursting in the dunes. Angry crowds gathered around them at Brega’s hospital, chanting, “The blood of martyrs will not go in vain.”

In the late afternoon, the pro-Gaddafi force fled the campus, and opposition fighters were seen combing through the university buildings. Automatic gunfire was still heard in the distance, but it appeared the regime troops were withdrawing. The campus grounds and dunes between it and the beach were littered with casings and shells.

In Ajdabiya, people geared up to defend the city, fearing the pro-Gaddafi forces would move on them next. At the gates of the city, hundreds of residents took up positions on the road from Brega, armed with Kalashnikovs and hunting rifles, along with a few rocket-propelled grenade launchers. They set up two large rocket launchers and an anti-aircraft gun in the road. But by the evening, there was no sign of attack there.

Brega and nearby Ajdabiya are the furthest west points in the large contiguous swath of eastern Libya extending all the way to the Egyptian border that fell into opposition hands in the uprising that began Feb. 15. Ajdabiya is about 90 miles (150 kilometers) from Benghazi, Libya’s second largest city and the nerve center of the opposition.


International Criminal Court launches Libya investigation

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

The launching of an investigation by the Int’l Criminal Court (ICC) into charges of crimes against humanity in Libya is a hopeful sign that the international community will no longer tolerate dictators who brutalize their people. The ICC must be made aware that Ethiopia’s tyrant Meles Zenawi has been committing similar atrocities for the past 20 years.

(CNN) — The International Criminal Court is opening an investigation into the situation in Libya, the office of the court’s prosecutor said in a statement Wednesday.

“Following a preliminary examination of available information, the prosecutor has reached the conclusion that an investigation is warranted,” the statement said.

Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo plans to present Thursday “an overview of the alleged crimes committed in Libya” since February 15, when the protests in that country started, the statement said.

Libya is not a signatory to the Rome Statute, meaning the Libyan government does not recognize the court’s authority. But the United Nations Security Council referred the matter to the court, giving it “jurisdiction” over the situation in Libya, the statement said.

The court focuses on what it considers “the most serious crimes of concern to the international community.”

No possible charges or violations were listed in the statement.

(Reuters) — The Security Council on Saturday imposed sanctions on Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and his family, and referred Libya’s crackdown on anti-government demonstrators to the ICC.

Once the prosecutor has gathered sufficient evidence, the next step would be for the prosecutor to present his case to ICC judges, who will need to decide whether or not to issue arrest warrants.

Libya was one of a handful of states worldwide that refused to sign up to the ICC’s founding Rome statute, but because the case was referred by the Security Council, its nationals can be prosecuted as the ICC now has jurisdiction.


Ethiopians Unite Against the Meles Dictatorship

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

The winds of change that is sweeping through the Middle East and North Africa cannot be stopped by Meles Zenawi and his thugs. As the African saying goes, “No one can stop the rain.”

No amount of wind bagging about economic growth, divide and rule tactics, and state terrorism will prevent 80 million Ethiopians from demanding their liberty, human dignity, democratic rights, and a better life in their own country.

The time has now come for us to say, “Enough is Enough!” Beka! Gaye! Bass! Yiakel!

Ethiopians shall unite, rise up and take control of their destiny. They stand as one — from the rural villages to the cities and the Diaspora — to remove Meles Zenawi’s Woyanne junta. 20 years of dictatorship is enough! 20 years of massacres… 20 years of corruption… 20 years of abuse of power is enough… 20 years of mismanagement, misrule is enough!.

Meles Zenawi has been a cause of death and destruction. During the last 20 years tens of thousands of people have perished. His security forces have committed crimes against humanity and Genocide in Gambela, the Ogaden region and elsewhere in the country. His abysmal human rights records are well documented by the Department of State, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the Ethiopian Human Rights Council, the United States Congress and the European Parliament. There is an overwhelming prima-facie evidence for the United Nation’s Security Council to refer the matter to the International Criminal Court.

In 2010 he conducted a fake election, hired a lobby firm in the United States, and claimed that he won a whopping 99.6% of the seats in the rubber stamp parliament. His wicked macroeconomic policy has resulted in hyperinflation, massive devaluation, bank looting, rampant youth unemployment, spiraling cost of living, grinding poverty, and forced migration. His disastrous agricultural policy, despite the so-called big push by the West, is unable to feed the ever-growing population of the country. By the end of 2010 close to 10% of the population is living on food aid. Food aid has been used for political purposes.

Furthermore, Meles is selling the country’s virgin lands to foreigners by evicting poor peasants from their ancestral land, resulting in major land grab, environmental catastrophe and human displacement. Meles has created a landlocked country that is inhabited by more than 80 million people. That is why we, the Global Civic Movement for Change in Ethiopia have resolved that the 20 years of brutal rule of Meles Zenawi must end.

We call upon all Ethiopian civil society organizations, churches, mosques, schools and universities, professionals, business people, laborers and civil servants, the youth, men and women to rise up in nonviolent resistance as their brothers and sisters have done in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya to remove the Meles regime.

We call upon members of the Ethiopian Defense Forces, the police and security services to stand with the people and protect them from the Meles dictatorship. We make a special call to them to refrain from using deadly force against their brothers and sisters in the same way as their counterparts in Tunisia and Egypt have done.

We call upon all Ethiopian civic organizations world wide to engage in consultations with all democratic forces inside and outside of Ethiopia and provide moral and materiel assistance to bring about democratic change in Ethiopia.


For more information please contact


Ethiopia’s tyrant Exporting Terror

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

On February 27, 2011, Jon Swaine, penned a piece in the Telegraph entitled, ‘“Libya: African mercenaries ‘immune from prosecution for war crimes.’” As the title indicates, Swaine seems to be concerned about the UN Security Council’s lack of specific call for inquiry into the actions of the “mercenaries” from Algeria, Ethiopia, Tunisia and other African countries. Ethiopian Review strongly believes that the participating African regimes, rather than the soldiers, that must face international justice for crime against humanity in Libya.

It is incumbent upon the United Nations Security Council to broaden its call for investigation by including the African regimes that are at the center in the ongoing carnage in Libya against defenseless civilians.

In the case of Ethiopia, the vast majority of soldiers join the army for economic reasons. Currently the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) rules Ethiopia under the disguise of the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), headed by dictator Meles Zenawi. It is a group that runs Ethiopia as its fiefdom, more like the Moammar Gadhafi and his cohorts. The Ethiopian army and security forces take orders directly from Meles Zenawi.

In violation of the international law, Zenawi’s regime ordered the deployment of soldiers to Libya to take part in the assault against civilians — the soldiers are simply carrying out a mission.

It is vital for the United Nations Security Council to ask the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate Zenawi’s regime’s participation in war crimes in Libya. In fact, once ICC begins its inquiry into this matter, it can expand its case to include other war crimes that had been committed by Meles Zenawi’s regime in Somalia between 2006 and 2009.

We firmly believe that the United Nations Security Council must set a precedent to demonstrate its commitment to have zero tolerance for regimes that are exporting terror globally. We hope for a swift action.


Bereket and Seif El Gaddafi – birds of a feather

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

By Yilma Bekele

“When a leader’s only means of staying in power is to use mass violence against his own people, he has lost the legitimacy to rule and needs to do what is right for his country by leaving now,” said President Obama. He was not talking about Meles Zenawi. President Obama was discussing Libya’s beleaguered dictator Gaddafi.

We all know Gaddafi has been a ruthless tyrant for quiet a while. He has been abusing his people, disturbing the peace in his neighborhood and far and is the poster child for a dysfunctional and failed leadership model. The last few days all his enablers have been coming out of the woodworks to condemn his style and demand his ouster.

Some will say too little too late. I know it sort of fishy when the British, the French and the Americans all of a sudden stand in solidarity with the Libyan people. Where were you the last forty years is a legitimate question? On the other hand it is perfectly understandable if the Libyan people look at their new friends with a little bit of suspicion and put their guards up. That is the way it should be. Hopefully the Libyan, Egyptian and Tunisian people will keep their new friends at arms length until they sort out their problems their own way.

For us Ethiopians the upheaval in our neighborhood has been a godsend event. We are overloaded with lessons and information. We are thrilled thinking of the possibilities, we are happy of the fact that freedom is at hand and delirious with the knowledge our Woyane leaders are scurrying around to postpone the inevitable. The fact that junta leader Meles is holed up in his palace pouring over discarded manuals is priceless.

As we are learning from Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen and Libya, remember the tyrant and his associates are figuring how to reverse engineer the gains of the last few weeks. It is not easy but they have no choice. Libya is showing us that criminals fight to the last. How come they don’t realize it is over is a good question. The short answer is this state of mind called ‘delusion’.

This sickness is best manifested by no other than our Communication Minister Berket Simon and Gaddafi’s son Saif El Islam. These two characters will join that special place currently occupied by Mohamed Saeed al Sahaf AKA ‘Baghdad Bob’ the information Minster of dear old departed Saddam Hussein who is famous for declaring ‘ There is no presence of American infidels in the city of Baghdad’ while you can see the smoke rising in the background from US bombing. Gentlemen, that is a perfect example of being delusional and an absolute detachment from reality.

Saif El Islam decided to go on Libyan TV actually there is no such thing as Libyan TV. It should be renamed Gaddafi family TV. He spoke for ½ hr. Saif was trying to impress his listeners how educated he is by declaring that he will speak without prepared notes and from his heart. Well it was a big mistake. The playboy prince only proved that he couldn’t follow a train of thought nor make sense of his understanding of events as it unfolds all around him. His half hour presentation was gibberish at most and further proof that the Gaddafi family is in dire need of psychiatric aid. You can follow the link at the end this article on youtube and cry. Here is Saif without further ado.

Dear brothers there is a plot against Libya, the security forces will show this on TV we have arrested tens of people unfortunately from our Arab brethren and of course from the African employees in Libya. …Millions of pounds was spent on these people …proof is in Benghazi and baida you could see Arabs and Africans they were holding arms. All have their own plots ….our Arab brothers who are sitting down in their comfort chairs drinking coffee and helping us Libyans to burn and destroy our country. …then the story is very dangerous, it is bigger than the Libyans and the small young people who are in the streets trying to imitate what happened in Tunisia and Egypt and I would like to tell you Libya is not Egypt and Tunisia don’t be over enthusiastic and don’t be affected by this In Libya the situation is different Libya if any separation happen it will break it up.. Libya it is not like Egypt it consists of tribes and clans is not societies with party’s and so on it is clans everyone knows their area every ones knows their duty and obligations and then this will cause civil war back to the civil war of ’36. Libya is not Tunisia and Egypt … Libya has got oil which has united the whole of Libya….all Libyans live on it is not in the east or the west it is in the middle all 5 million live on it if we separate who is going to feed us who is going to run these oil resources who have the ability to run this and manage it how we going to divide this between us who is going to spend on our children and our food drink hospitals schools do you expect if we divide the country this is defiantly a sedation we will agree on how to divide the petrol and oil for two three months but you are wrong this will be a burning issue this will be the cause for fights and trial and tribulations between all the tribes because it is in the middle of Libya and the south and it is in the desert and it is not inhabited …..Benghazi have no oil Barka have no oil how you going to eat brothers what could happen to Libya is very dangerous…therefore we are now facing a huge test a difficult test I have to be honest with you we are all armed even the thugs and those who are unemployed they have guns …everyone is armed therefore we can have forty years of civil war and Libya will have little education no health no food no future in addition now we have companies in Libya there are 200 billion worth of projects this will go astray no one would come to Libya and do any business or investment in Libya 55 thousand housing units hospitals would not be working ….remember what I am saying very well and therefore today we are at crossroads and before a historic decision to make either we agree today we say wee Libyans and this is our country we want to reform we want freedom and we want democracy and we want real reforms and and this what we have originally agreed on now we demand as final decision everyone gives up all the five millions have arms we are tribes and clans and if we have all have arms then we will not be crying over 84 death we will be crying over thousands of death there would be rivers of blood all over Libya you will be emigrating from Libya because the oil will stop being pumped and foreigners will leave Libya and the oil companies will leave Libya there will be no money …today I will ask you for the last time before we go intoto the arms and all of us as Libyans if it goes out of control like some people want do this before we resort in to arms and every Libyan would have to carry arms in order to defend himself then blood will flow tomorrow lets go with an imitative historic tomorrow within 48 hrs within 3 days within 6 hrs just to have a general peoples assembly with one clear agenda that is to issue a number laws that everyone agrees on that is the law of information to put law and order so that we open everything for freedom and also all the penal system that was silly and we begin national dialogue and national debate we all agree on even the leader in his last meeting with the journalists he said ..we have to lay down constitution for the country… it what you call it … of course there have been steps to increase wages and also to give more loans to youth …any way we have discovered many cells many Arabs people use drugs they use Egyptians Tunisians everything will come up to the whole world with documents anyway Libyans who live in London, who live in New York and Manchester and in Germany and in Canada they are inciting you and asking you to turn against us they live in there they have health care and your kids come here and die outside the army barracks when they go to get ammunition they are happy and comfortable in Europe together with their children and they are inciting us so that you die and destroy our country why is that so they come here and run us and rule us and rule Libya …they are turning us into Iraq ..Muammar Gaddafi is not General Abedine or Mubarak he is not a classical or traditional President.

So you think it is long and rambling nonsense. I agree, I sat thru ½ hr of trash talk and have to transcribe and cut it down to its essence. Saif did us a favor. He was able to put all of his father’s argument why he should be declared leader for life. We Ethiopians are familiar with all his important talking points. We have heard it on TPLF/Woyane TV that some of us repeat it word for word.

I did not have to work hard. Our own Berket came to the rescue. Dear old communication-miscommunication Minster put in his two cents worth of stupid speak to tell us why he is safe. This is what the criminal has to say regarding his take on the uprising in the neighborhood:

There is no chance for a public uprising in Ethiopia as the predominately factor for such uprising in Egypt and Tunisia were middle income states that no longer could drive through economic growth, and failed to provide enough jobs and equitable wealth distribution creating desperation among the public hardly resembles Ethiopia …there [where popular revolts happen] are desperate people, people who have nowhere to turn to. Our people are not desperate, here we have a public that has seen hope, a public that enjoys a glimmer of hope more than ever due to the recent years’ economic growth and transformation,”

This is just the beginning. As the temperature rises Woyane enablers will come up with zillions of arguments the reasons why Ato Meles should lead us and why we worthless subjects are lucky to have such an intelligent, wise and world respected leader at the helm to steer the ship called Ethiopia.

All we got to do is substitute Libya with Ethiopia and you can see the meetings of minds between these dysfunctional individuals. They both think without their leadership the country will fall apart. Their removal will cause disintegration, economic collapse and foreign intervention. The problem is not caused due to their failed polices but due to the phantom opposition be it local or the Diaspora. You can see Seif’s rant against the Diaspora and go to Walta, Aiga or Ethiopian (Woyane) TV and you see the same train of thought.

There are certain things we noticed the last few months. God it looks like months but the dictators are tumbling down weekly. They never saw it coming is a fact of life. Ben Ali never dreamt that thirty years of bullying would be undone in just thirty days. Mubarak did not see it coming. Gaddafi was ranting against Tunisians and never believed his days are numbered. Considering that he is claiming the love of his people today, I guess he is still in the dark while sitting in his bunker. On top of it all Israeli intelligence was certain their puppy Mubarak was safe and the CIA was assuring decision makers that Mubarak was untouchable. So much for the Mossad and the CIA, I guess their PR is mightier than their analysts.

As you can see Tunisia did not experience civil war, Egypt did not disintegrate and Libyans do not seem to be killing each other but are collectively encircling the ‘leader’ and his henchmen. This is a lesson to Woyane enablers. It is not going to be different in Ethiopia. We have lived together for so long, intermarried, worshiped that no amount of propaganda and self serving wish will turn us against each other. It did not happened before when TPLF was fanning the flame of hate and shouting everybody to his Kilil concept. It did not happen when Meles and company pushed out our Eritrean citizens from their place of birth and wanted the rest of us to celebrate with them. You know what we did, our people cried following the buses taking their brothers sisters away from their home. We are gentle, loving people. Hate have no place in our Ethiopia. Woyane’s are planters of hate. The only thing they will harvest is this colossal tsunami of rage directed at the thousand or less Woyane dogs.


The interim Libyan gov't resumes oil exports

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

(The Telegraph) — According to the European Union, 80 per cent of Libya’s oilfields are now under the control of the opposition forces.

For the first time in over a week, oil was shipped from the eastern port city of Tobruk, deep in territory that has fallen to a civilian-led insurrection that has styled itself the Free Libya movement.
A tanker carrying 700,000 barrels of crude oil sailed for China, with a second bound for Italy due to leave in the next 48 hours.

Such quantities may be trifling when compared the vast amount of oil in the world’s waterways at any one time, but the resumption of Libyan exports has already done much to soothe international concern.

Oil prices have soared since the turmoil in Libya began nearly a fortnight ago, raising fears of a major setback to the faltering global economic recovery, but the cost of a barrel of Brent crude fell for the first time in days in response to the news.

That any oil is leaving Libya is little short of miraculous.

Officials involved in setting up a Libyan National Council, a de facto provisional government headquartered in the second city of Benghazi, conceded that oil production had fallen by as much as 50 per cent.

But they said they were determined to fulfil Libya’s international obligations, while ensuring that domestic demand – vital for the success of the revolt – is also met.

“The main reason to keep the oil flowing is that the crisis will be much worse, both for the international community and for us if we don’t,” said Idris al-Sharif, an official affiliated with the new authority in eastern Libya said.

Further proving the magnitude of the task ahead of the rebels, elements of the Libyan air force still loyal to Col Gaddafi bombed Ajdabiya, 100 miles south of Benghazi, striking ammunition dumps in the town.

The job of ensuring continued production and exportation in “Free Libya” has fallen to the state owned Arabian Gulf Oil Company, which ousted its pro-Gaddafi director Abdulwaris Sa’ad and now answers to the rebel leadership.

But all proceeds from oil exportation still go to the main National Oil Company in Tripoli, long the source of much of Col Gaddafi’s revenues.

Much of the oil is locked in long-term contracts, but officials in Benghazi said they hoped that they hoped to begin discussions with the international community on how to divert revenues from Tripoli to Benghazi once the national council is fully operational.

“There are various options we can look at, including the creation of escrow accounts to halt the flow of money to the regime,” one said.

In a sign that idealism has given way to realism, officials said they had abandoned plans to punish Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian leader, for his perceived support of Col Gaddafi by withholding oil. Italy depends on Libya for a quarter of its oil imports.

With Libya dependent on Italian refining technology, essential for its domestic market, any decision to exclude Italy could hurt the revolutionary cause.

Salam al Mismam, an executive at the Tobruk oil refinery, confirmed that work had resumed on ensuring that supplies to Italy were despatched as quickly as possible.

Ethiopia's ruling party wins 100% in off-term elections

Monday, February 28th, 2011

Off-term elections were held in Ethiopia over the weekend although they attracted little attention. The elections were a waste of resources since 99.9 percent of the candidates and the voters are members of the ruling party Woyanne. Out of the 10,000 candidates, only 2 were non-Woyanne members, and less than 10 percent of voters went out to vote. More details in the Amharic section here.

The Price of Liberty and Dignity

Monday, February 28th, 2011

By Teodros Kiros

The defiant citizens of Libya fought against roaring tanks, piercing guns, and fast helicopters intent on destroying the resilient human bodies to silence, to perpetual acquiescence in the culture of tyranny.

Old men and women, boys and girls, even babies, were not spared from the violence of tyranny. A shameless dictator and his family boasted that they were going to fight to the last bullet and that imperialism was going to be taught a lesson. It is not imperialism, which is being taught a lesson, it is dictatorship, which is being shamed, and dictators everywhere are watching their fate, if they do not heed to the people’s demand.

When you anger the people and when Fortuna summons to act, then the people use Virtu and fight in defense of liberty and dignity.

The Libyan people were not going to take any of it. They rose to the barbarism of tyranny and are fighting heroically. The people in combat continue to demonstrate extraordinary military coordination and firepower as they resist the forces of evil. They are resisting tanks, missiles, with anti-aircraft guns, and even dared to display an array of tanks.

The people are repeatedly repulsing the Kaddafi’s Forces outside Tripoli, as they are defending their dignities and respecting their existential rights to live in peace and harmony.

In the heat of a civil war, which began peacefully as a march of liberty, the people quickly learned that dictatorships do not listen to the summons of reason, and they quickly used Virtu, that Machiavellian technique of skillful resistance and took on the challenge, and had to respond to force with counter force, and the result is a stunning military coordination of the streets of democracy.

The stream of the quest for liberty also engulfs the Arab world and soon the African world. The Libyan challenge is not over yet, and there are many days and nights awaiting the combatants on the streets of democracy, and thousands more are going to be sacrificed in defense of liberty, and so is the price of liberty.

Liberty and dignity unlike many other existential rights are priceless and humans are destined to die for their sakes, and this lesson is one of the constants in human history. We always hope that tyranny learns from history and gives up power without bloodshed, which reasonable persons wish, but tyranny never does, and liberty and dignity are forced to resist it.

Thugtatorship: The Highest Stage of African Dictatorship

Monday, February 28th, 2011

Alemayehu G. Mariam

Thugogracy in Africa

If democracy is government of the people, by the people and for the people, a thugogracy is a government of thieves, for thieves, by thieves. Simply stated, a thugtatorship is rule by a gang of thieves and robbers (thugs) in designer suits. It is becoming crystal clear that much of Africa today is a thugogracy privately managed and operated for the exclusive benefit of bloodthirsty thugtators.

In a thugtatorship, the purpose of seizing and clinging to political power is solely to accumulate personal wealth for the ruling class by stealing public funds and depriving the broader population scarce resources necessary for basic survival. The English word “thug” comes from the Hindi word “thag” which means “con man”. In India “Thugees”, well-organized criminal gangs, robbed and murdered unsuspecting travelers over a century ago. Africa’s “thugees” today mug, rob, pillage, plunder and rape unsuspecting whole nations and peoples and secrete away their billions in stolen loot in European and American banks.

Today, we see the incredibly extreme lengths Libyan thugtator Muammar Gaddafi is willing to go to preserve his thugocratic empire floating on billions of stolen oil dollars hidden in foreign bank accounts and corporate property holdings. The British Government recently announced that it expects to seize “around £20 billion in liquid assets of the Libyan regime, mostly in London.” The Swiss Government has similarly issued an order for the immediate freeze of assets belonging to Gadhafi and his entourage. The Swiss central bank announced that it will freeze Gaddafi’s 613 million Swiss francs (USD$658 million), with an additional 205 million francs (USD$220 million) in paper or fiduciary operations. In 2008, before a diplomatic incident involving the arrest of one of Gaddafi’s sons for assault in Switzerland, Gadhafi’s Swiss holdings amounted to 5.7 billion in cash and 812 million francs in paper and fiduciary operations. In 2006, the Libyan Sovereign Wealth Fund had investments of $70 billion. The U.S. closed its Embassy in Triopli and slapped a freeze on all Libyan assets described as “substantial.”

To protect his empire of corruption, Gadhafi has ordered his air force to bomb and strafe unarmed civilian demonstrators demanding an end to his 42-year rule. His son Saif al-Islam threatened to dismember the country and plunge it into a civil war that will last for 30 or 40 years. In a televised speech, the young thug promised a bloodbath: “We will fight to the last minute, until the last bullet. I will fight until the last drop of my blood.” The buffoonish al-Islam contemptuously reassured the world: “Plan A is to live and die in Libya. Plan B is to live and die in Libya. Plan C is to live and die in Libya.” For someone who has no official role in government, it was an astonishing statement to make.

Gadhafi himself has vowed to fight on and die “like a martyr” in the service of his thugogracy. He urged his supporters in Green Square to fight back and “defend the nation.” He exhorted, “Retaliate against them, retaliate against them… Dance, sing and prepare. Prepare to defend Libya, to defend the oil, dignity and independence.” Gadhafi promised: “At the suitable time, we will open the arms depot so all Libyans and tribes become armed, so that Libya becomes red with fire.” It is not enough for Gadhafi and his thugs to have bled the Libyan people dry for 42 years, they now want to burn down the whole country to ashes. Apres moi, le deluge! (After me, the flood!)

The Ivory Coast is on the verge of civil war, according to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. In December 2010, Laurent Gbagbo refused to step down after he was decisively defeated in the presidential election. His own Election Commission said his opponent Alassane Ouattara won the election by a nine-point margin. The African Union, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the United Nations, the United States, the European Union all said Ouattara is the winner. Gbagbo has turned a deaf ear and is preparing to plunge the Ivory Coast into civil war to protect his empire of corruption. In 2000, Gbagbo imposed a curfew and a state of emergency and ordered security forces to shoot and kill any demonstrators in the streets: “Police, gendarmes and soldiers from all branches of the armed forces are ordered to use all means throughout the country to oppose troublemakers.” Like Gaddafi’s mercenaries today, Gbagbo’s troops back then went on a killing and beating rampage. The European Union, the Swiss and United States Governments have frozen Gbagbo’s assets in their countries.

In May 2010, Meles Zenawi said he won the parliamentary election by 99.6 percent. The European Union Election Observer Team said the election “lacked a level playing field” and “failed to meet international standards”, a well-known code phrase for a “stolen election”. In its 2005 report, the Observer Team said exactly the same thing. Zenawi’s EPDRF party pretty much owns the Ethiopian economy. “According to the World Bank, roughly half of the rest of the national economy is accounted for by companies held by an EPRDF-affiliated business group called the Endowment Fund for the Rehabilitation of Tigray (EFFORT). EFFORT’s freight transport, construction, pharmaceutical, and cement firms receive lucrative foreign aid contracts and highly favorable terms on loans from government banks.” The regime’s own anti-corruption agency reported in 2008 that “USD$16 million dollars” worth of gold bars simply walked out of the bank in broad daylight. A couple of weeks ago, in an incredible display of arrogance and total lack of accountability, Zenawi publicly stated that 10,000 tons of coffee earmarked for exports had simply vanished from the warehouses. He called a meeting of commodities traders and in a videotaped statement told them he will forgive them because “we all have our hands in the disappearance of the coffee”. He warned them that if anyone should steal coffee in the future, he would “cut off their hands”.

In 2005, Zenawi demonstrated the extremes he will go to protect his empire of corruption. Zenawi’s own Inquiry Commission documented that troops under Zenawi’s direct command and control mowed down 193 documented unarmed protesters in the streets and severely wounded nearly 800. Another 30,000 suspected opponents were jailed. In a meeting with high level U.S. officials in advance of the May 2010 election, Zenawi told them in plain words what he will do to his opposition if they try to “discredit the election”: “If opposition groups resort to violence in an attempt to discredit the election, we will crush them with our full force; they will all vegetate like Birtukan (Midekssa) in jail forever.” If Zenawi will “crush” those who “attempt to discredit an election”, it does not leave much to the imagination to figure out what he will do when the people ask him peacefully to leave power.

In April 2010, Omar al-Bashir of the Sudan claimed victory by winning nearly 70 percent of the vote. The EU EOM declared the “deficiencies in the legal and electoral framework in the campaign environment led the overall process to fall short of a number of international standards for genuine democratic elections.” Another election stolen in broad daylight; but that is not all Bashir has stolen. According to a Wikileaks cablegram, “International Criminal Court [ICC] Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo told [U.S.] Ambassadors Rice and Wolff on March 20 [2009] that [Ocampo] would put the figure of Sudanese President Bashir’s stash of money at possibly $9 billion.” After the ICC issued an arrest warrant for Bashir on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur, the first warrant of its kind for a sitting head of state, a sneering Bashir flipped his middle finger at the ICC: “They will issue their decision tomorrow, and we are telling them to immerse it in water and drink it“, a common Arabic insult which is the equivalent of “they can shove it up their _ _ _.” Bashir recently he said he will not run for the presidency again. (It is not clear if had decided not to run because he wants to enjoy his stolen billions or because he expects to put on the jail jumpsuit of the ICC.)

In February 2010, a group of soldiers in Niger calling itself the “Supreme Council for the Restoration of Democracy” stormed Niger’s presidential palace and snatched president Mamadou Tandja and his ministers. In 2009, Tandja had dissolved the National Assembly and set up a “Constitutional Court” to pave the way for him to become president-for-life. Niger’s state auditor reported that “at least 64 billion CFA francs [USD$128-million] were stolen from Niger’s state coffers under the government of former president Mamadou Tandja.” Tandja is sitting in jail in southwestern Niger.

In March 2008, Robert Mugabe declared victory in the presidential election after waging a campaign of violence and intimidation on his opponent Morgan Tsvangirai and his supporters. In 2003, Mugabe boasted, “I am still the Hitler of the time. This Hitler has only one objective: justice for his people, sovereignty for his people, recognition of the independence of his people and their rights over their resources. If that is Hitler, then let me be Hitler tenfold. Ten times, that is what we stand for.” No one would disagree with Mugabe’s self-description. In 2010, Mugabe announced his plan to sell “about $1.7 billion of diamonds in storage” (probably rejects of his diamond-crazed wife Grace). According to a Wikileaks cablegram, “a small group of high-ranking Zimbabwean officials (including Grace Mugabe) have been extracting tremendous diamond profits.” Mugabe is so greedy that he stole outright “£4.5 million from [aid] funds meant to help millions of seriously ill people.”

In December 2007, Mwai Kibaki declared himself winner of the presidential election. In 2002, Kibaki, criticizing his predecessor Daniel Arap Moi regime, urged the people to “Remain calm, even when intimidated or provoked by those who are desperately determined to rig the elections and plunge the country into civil war.” In 2007, Kibaki and his thugees unleashed such violence against the civilian population that 1500 Kenyans were killed and some 600 hundred thousand displaced, almost plunging Kenya into civil war. The Kroll Report revealed that Moi stole billions of dollars using a “web of shell companies, secret trusts and frontmen” and secreted the loot in 30 countries. Kibaki stonewalled further action on the report, including prosecution of Moi.

The story of corruption, theft, embezzlement and brazen transfer of the national wealth of African peoples to European and African banks and corporate institutions is repeated elsewhere in the continent. Ex-Nigerian President Sani Abacha, who was judicially determined to be a member of a criminal organization by a Swiss court, stole $500 million. Ben Ali of Tunisia and Hosni Mubarak of Egypt also have their stolen assets in the hundreds of millions of dollars frozen in Switzerland and elsewhere. Other African thugtators who have robbed their people blind (and pretty much have gotten away with it) include Nigeria’s Ibrahim Babangida, Guniea’s Lansana Conte, Togo’s Gnassingbe Eyadema, Gabon’s Omar Bongo, Equatorial Guniea’s Obiang Nguema, Burkina Faso’s Blaise Campore and Congo’s (Brazaville) Denis Sassou Nguesso, among others.

Godfathers and African Thugogracies

In previous commentaries, I have argued that the business of African governments is corruption. African thugtators cling to power to operate sophisticated criminal business enterprises to loot their national treasuries and resources. These African “leaders” are actually “godfathers” or heads of criminal families. Just like any organized criminal enterprise, African thugtators use their party apparatuses, bureaucracies, military and police forces to maintain and perpetuate their corrupt financial empires.

When the U.S. first announced its “kleptocracy asset recovery program” to the world in July 2010, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder delivered the message, not at some international anti-corruption forum, but at the African Union Summit in Kampala, Uganda. Holder told the gathered African thugtators:

Today, I’m pleased to announce that the U.S. Department of Justice is launching a new Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative aimed at combating large-scale foreign official corruption and recovering public funds for their intended – and proper – use: for the people of our nations. We’re assembling a team of prosecutors who will focus exclusively on this work and build upon efforts already underway to deter corruption, hold offenders accountable, and protect public resources.

Holder’s announcement was nothing short of breathtaking. It was as though he was addressing the national convention of the “Commissione” of all the Mafia families from New York City, Chicago, Detroit, Miami, Atlantic City, Las Vegas, St. Louis, Los Angeles and Philadelphia. In Kampala, Holder was talking directly to the African equivalents of the Godfathers of the Bonnano, Columbo, Gambino, Genovese and Lucchese crime families in one place. Absolutely surreal!

The Political Economy of Thugtatorships

Thugtatorships in Africa thrive in the political economy of kleptocracy. Widespread corruption permeates every corner of society. Oil revenues, diamonds, gold bars, coffee and other commodities and foreign aid are stolen outright and pocketed by the thugtators and their army of thugocrats. Public funds are embezzled and misused and state property misappropriated and converted to private use. Publicly-owned assets are virtually given away to supporters in “privatization programs” or secretly held in illegal transactions. Bank loans are given out to front enterprises owned secretly by the thugtators or their supporters without sufficient or proper collateral. Businessmen must pay huge bribes or kickbacks to participate in public contracting and procurement. Those involved in the import/export business are victimized in shakedowns by thugocrats. The judiciary is thoroughly corrupted through political interference and manipulation.
Armageddon: Thugtators’ Nuclear Option

One of the common tricks used by thugtators to cling to power is to terrorize the people with warnings of an impending Armageddon. They say that if they are removed from power, even after 42 years, the sky will fall and the earth will open up and swallow the people. Thugtators sow fear, uncertainty and doubt in the population and use misinformation and disinformation to psychologically defeat, disorient and neutralize the people. Gaddafi thuggish son warned Libya will “spiral into civil war for the next 30 to 40 years and the country’s infrastructure ruined” without the Gadhafi dynasty. He said Libya will be awash in “rivers of blood”. Gadhafi urged his supporters: “This is an opposition movement, a separatist movement which threatens the unity of Libya. We will take up arms… we will fight to the last bullet. We will destroy seditious elements. If everybody is armed, it is civil war, we will kill each other.”

Zenawi has been talking about “genocide” for years. The 2005 European Union Election Observer Mission in its Final Mission Report strongly chastised Zenawi and his associates for morbid genocide rhetoric:

The end of the campaign became more heated, with parties accusing each other of numerous violations of campaign rules. Campaign rhetoric became insulting. The most extreme example of this came from the Deputy Prime Minister, Addisu Legesse, who, in a public debate on 15 April, compared the opposition parties with the Interhamwe militia, which perpetrated the 1994 Rwandan genocide. The Prime Minister made the same comparison on 5 May in relation to the CUD [Coalition for Unity and Democracy]. The EPRDF [Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front] made the same associations during its free slots on radio and TV… Such rhetoric is unacceptable in a democratic election.

Zenawi “is quick to talk up threats to his country, whether from malcontents in the army or disgruntled ethnic groups among Ethiopia’s mosaic of peoples. Radical Oromos, a southern group that makes up about a third of Ethiopia’s people, often fall under suspicion.” Last year, he compared Voice of America radio broadcasts to Ethiopia with broadcasts of Radio Mille Collines which directed the genocide in Rwanda in 1994.

If Africa’s thugtators plan to use the “nuclear option” and bring Armageddon on their societies, they would be wise to know who is destined to win the final battle between good and evil. Gadhafi’s fate now dangles between what he wants to do to bring this unspeakable tragedy to a swift conclusion, the will of the Libyan people once they vanquish his mercenaries and the International Criminal Court to whom the U.N. Security Council has voted unanimously to refer Moammar Gadhafi and members of his government in Libya for investigation and prosecution for crimes against humanity and war crimes. Like al-Bashir of the Sudan, Gadhafi and members of his thugocratic empire will not escape the long arms of justice. The days of massacring unarmed demonstrators, strafing and bombing civilians and detention of innocent people by the tens of thousands with impunity are gone. Justice may be delayed but when the people open the floodgates of freedom, “justice (not blood) will run down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream” and wash out the wreckage of thugtatorship into the sea.

Thugtators and Their Business Partners in Africorruption, Inc.

Africa’s thugtatorships have longstanding and profitable partnerships with the West. Through aid and trade, the West has enabled these thugocracies to flourish in Africa and repress Africans. To cover up their hypocrisy and hoodwink the people, the West is now lined up to “freeze” the assets of the thugtators. It is a drama they have perfected since the early days of African independence. The fact of the matter is that the West is interested only in “stability” in Africa. That simply means, in any African country, they want a “guy they can do business with.” The business they want to do in Africa is the oil business, the (blood) diamond business, the arms sales business, the coffee and cocoa export business, the tourism business, the luxury goods export business and the war on terrorism business. They are not interested in the African peoples’ business, the human rights business, the rule of law business, the accountability and transparency business and the fair and free elections business.

Today, the West is witnessing a special kind of revolution it has never seen: A youth-led popular nonviolent revolution against thugtatorships in Africa and the Middle East. Neither the West nor the thugtators know what to do with this kind of revolution or the revolutionaries leading it. President Obama said, “History will end up recording that at every juncture in the situation in Egypt, that we were on the right side of history.” Well, what is good for Egypt is good enough for Ethiopia, Libya, Tunisia, the Sudan, Algeria, Kenya, Bahrain, Djbouti, Somalia…, and Zimbabwe. The decisive question in world history today is: Are we on the right side of history with the victims of oppression, or are we on the wrong side with thugtators destined to the dustbin of history?

Power to Youths in Africa and the Middle East!

Tigray is part of the Ethiopian pro-democracy movement!

Monday, February 28th, 2011

Ethiopians say enough to Meles ZenawiThe wind of change that is sweeping the Middle East and North Africa has reached at the doorsteps of Ethiopia. Ethiopians through out the country and in the diaspora have resolved to embrace the change, and through a sustained and determined peaceful struggle, will remove Meles Zenawi’s dictatorship that has been misruling Ethiopia for the past 20 years. Hence, the moment of truth has come to every Ethiopian.

The Meles regime is once again preparing to escape change by further dividing the Tigregna speaking community from the rest of Ethiopians. It is clear to all Ethiopians that Meles Zenawi’s Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF) has escalated ethnic tensions during the last 20 years. The purpose of this statement therefore is to alert all Ethiopians to be extra vigilant in separating agents of the Meles regime from the people of Tigray who are part and parcel of the Ethiopian pro-democracy movement.

Since Meles Zenawi assumed power in 1991, lacking any semblance of legitimacy, he has ruled Ethiopia with an iron fist. Without the consent of the people, it has divided the country along ethnic lines, and encouraged ethnic based politics in order to fragment and weaken Ethiopia.

Life is becoming unbearable for millions of Ethiopians who are being deprived of their lands, of their resources and of their rights. Small businesses that are not affiliated with TPLF-linked businesses are closing down in large number. While the few privileged ruling party members wallows in luxury, millions of Ethiopians live in abject poverty. To add insult to injury, the Meles regime is issuing thousands of commercial farm licenses to foreign investors from India, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and China. Today, hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians are either being evicted from their ancestral lands or turned into day laborers to foreign government-backed mega investors. Meles promotes neo-colonialism in a country that successfully defeated colonial invaders.

Since the Meles regime is looting and plundering Ethiopia in the name of Tigray, it is incumbent upon our Tigrean brothers and sisters to tell the regime: “Not in Our Name.” Ethiopians are longing for their Tigrean sisters and brothers to stand shoulder-to-shoulder in the fight against the Meles regime. Actions are needed now before it is too late.

The choice is clear. It is either to stand on the side of the Meles regime that traces its orgin to Tigray, or to be part of the popular pro-democracy movement

BEKA! Yaekelena!

(The above statement is released by Worldwide Ethiopian Civic Action Group, a gathering of activists who are working to bring about the end of dictatorship in Ethiopia. For more information:

Feb. 28, 2011

Interim government being formed in Libya

Sunday, February 27th, 2011

(Al Jazeera) — Former Libyan justice minister Mustafa Mohamed Abdel Jalil – who resigned from Gaddafi’s cabinet on Monday in protest at the killing of protesters – earlier told Al Jazeera he had led the formation of an interim government based in Benghazi, Libya’s second city, in the eastern part of the country now largely free of Gaddafi’s control.

He said the transitional government “has military and civilian personalities”.

“It will lead for no more than three months – and then there will be fair elections and the people will choose their leader,” he said.

Ali Aujali, Libya’s ambassador to the U.S., has said that he supports the interim government being formed in Benghazi by the country’s former minister of justice.

Aujali said on Saturday the caretaker administration, which announced it would lead the country for three months to prepare for elections, was “the government for the whole of Libya”.

“We want to support this government as the caretaker government until the liberation of all of Libya, which I hope will happen very soon,” he said.

Libya’s deputy UN ambassador, Ibrahim Dabbashi, also said on Saturday that his delegation supported Abud Ajleil’s caretaker government.

“In principle we support this government,” Dabbashi, one of the first Libyan diplomats to denounce Gaddafi, told Reuters. “We are seeking more information about it, but yes, I think we support it.”

Aujali, a veteran Libyan diplomat, praised Abdel Jalil.

“He is a very honest man. He was in charge of the justice issue in the eastern part of Libya when the regime asked him to hang an innocent Libyan citizen and he refused,” Aujali said.

“I am sure he will gain support of all Libyans and of the international community,” he added.

Two U.S. senators call for no-fly zone

(Fox News) — Senators Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., and John McCain, R-Ariz., both expressed disappointment Sunday that President Obama has not responded more forcefully against the violence spreading in Libya and called for the arming of rebel forces in that country. Speaking to CNN’s Candy Crowley from Cairo, Egypt, McCain said though U.S. officials had expressed concern for the safety of Americans in Libya as reason for holding back on further action and stronger rhetoric, that was not good enough.

“The British prime minister, the French president, and others were not hesitant, and they have citizens in that country. Look, America leads,” McCain said. “The president should reverse the terrible decision he made in 2009 to not support the demonstrators in Tehran. Stand up for democracy in Iran, and tell those people we are with them.”

The president did say Saturday that the Libyan president should go “now.” Still, Lieberman said, “I wish we had spoken out much more clearly and early against the Qaddafi regime…The fact is, now is the time for action.”

Lieberman said of the recent UN sanctions imposed on Libyan Leader Muammar Qaddafi and his regime that he was “glad pressure is finally being applied,” but the senator said, “Honestly, I think the world has to do more.”

The Connecticut Independent, who some have recommended to be the next Secretary of Defense, called for the imposition of a no-fly zone over Libya to ensure Qaddafi cannot continue to attack his own people from military planes and fly in armed mercenaries from Africa. The senator said the U.S. “should recognize the opposition government as the legitimate government of Libya and that we ought to give that government, certainly, humanitarian assistance and military arms.”

An Ethiopian Uprising is Now or Never

Saturday, February 26th, 2011

By Teodros Kiros

The great Machiavelli, the architect of political thinking spoke convincingly about virtu and Fortuna. Virtu is skill, the ability to be skillful and flexible, when time requires it; Fortuna on the other hand, is the tuning of one’s senses to the language of the right time. We must carefully listen to Fortuna as it directs us, to seize the moment, and act courageously and to the right degree and at the right time.

The Ethiopian world is now ready for action, except that the people might be weary, or simply waiting for a spark. The question then is not, “Are the people ready?” but rather, “Who is going is going to be the catalyst for the uprising, who is going to start the political action?

These are two separate questions, and they demand separate answers. The people are ready, but they are waiting for starters. Nor should the uprising be organized in order to start; it must start first and organization will follow. Leadership qualities are born and mature in the hands of action, of doing, of living practice. Once the uprising begins, the people will know what to do, or as I put it before:

In the people’s revolution, everyone is a leader and a follower. Sovereignty is concrete. It is expressed as lived power. The people learn for the first time they will learn leading and following, managing and obeying, directing and being directed.

The qualities of sovereignty are internalized through practice. The essential attributes of citizenship: obligation, responsibility, duty and order are learned directly by doing. These qualities are not imposed from high on as in monarchies and tyrannies. They emerged directly out of the living movement of action, the people’s action as they fight for their life and defend the lives of others.

These political qualities are practices of the self as they mature on streets, the streets of living democracy.

The people become powerful by practicing power on the streets of living democracy. The people’s revolution is an arena of practice. The streets are the nerve centers, and the practices are the engines of cultural and political transformation.

At the people’s agora, the future of the revolution is organized slowly. There the people originate power and seek to organize it-patiently and decently.

The people very much like rulers, for whom the distinctions were drawn and the advise of acting swiftly and intelligently were given, this shrewd advise also applies to the Ethiopian people.

I firmly advise the Ethiopian people to use Virtu, when real time needs it, and listen to Fortuna when it is gently blowing in the people’s ears. Wise are those, who listen to languages, the language of Virtue, which demands flexibility and the language of Fortuna, which requires stillness.

Fortuna is a woman argued the architect of politics, because woman admires heroes, those who overcome her by calculated force, when the time requires it, so is the Ethiopian real time demanding that we Ethiopians act now or never, for Fortuna is moody, its changes its mind quickly, unless we listen to its directions in the stillness of political action.

I have written a series of articles which appeared in the Ethiopian and all our other websites with concrete recommendations of what we must do to stage a civilized uprising not by the masses but by the Ethiopian people from all walks of life, in defense of dignity and liberty, the pillars of revolt and revolution.

Virtu and Fortuna are awaiting us to respond to their summons and act NOW, or NEVER. We have tried all other permutations, including waiting.

As I argued in “We cannot wait,” we have waited enough, and the more we wait both our existential rights and political rights are going to be abused.

(The writer can be reached at

U.S. freezes Gaddafi assets

Saturday, February 26th, 2011

Finally the Obama Administration starts to take action against Gaddafi today, albeit in a timid manner. What the people of Libya need is a no-fly zone so that Gaddafi will not be able to bomb them from the air and use chemical weapons against them.

(Al Arabiya) — U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday imposed personal sanctions on Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi and several members of his family, in a clear attempt to further weaken his teetering regime and punish brutal assaults against his people.

Obama wielded presidential power in an executive order to seize the assets of Gaddafi and named family members in the United States and globally within the auspices of U.S. financial institutions, saying the “human dignity” of Libyans “cannot be denied.”

Washington also shuttered its Tripoli embassy, warned its spies were seeking evidence of “atrocities” in Libya and said that Gaddafi had lost the confidence of his people, in an apparent broad hint that Washington wanted him gone.

Officials said the U.S. sanctions were a direct attempt to prevent any looting of Libya’s assets and sovereign wealth by Gaddafi and his sons amid turmoil which reports said has killed over 1,000 people and split the country.

Privately, sources said, Washington hoped the measures would encourage defections from the regime.

The move also came on the eve of a U.N. Security Council meeting to consider multilateral sanctions on the Gaddafi government, and after the Libyan strongman warned of a looming battle in Tripoli to protect his four-decades-old regime.

“By any measure, Muammar Gaddafi’s government has violated international norms and common decency and must be held accountable,” Obama said in a statement.

“These sanctions therefore target the Gaddafi government, while protecting the assets that belong to the people of Libya.”

“The Libyan government’s continued violation of human rights, brutalization of its people, and outrageous threats have rightly drawn the strong and broad condemnation of the international community,” Obama said.

“We will stand steadfastly with the Libyan people in their demand for universal rights, and a government that is responsive to their aspirations. Their human dignity cannot be denied.”

U.S. Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Stuart Levey told reporters on a conference call that Obama had taken “decisive steps” to hold the Gaddafi regime accountable.

The sanctions contained an annex specifically naming Gaddafi and four sons, but did not single out any other Libyan officials, a sign Washington was hoping to peel off key members of the ruling elite in Tripoli.

The administration did retain the power under the executive order to name other Libyan officials who could be targeted.

And a U.S. official told AFP on condition of anonymity that the measures were specifically crafted to encourage defections.
Fear for safety of Americans

Washington announced the sanctions move — along with the closing of its embassy and withdrawal of U.S. diplomats — after a chartered ferry and a plane carrying Americans and other evacuees left Libya earlier on Friday.

The Obama administration had been criticized for its relatively restrained response so far to the turmoil. But U.S. officials said fears for the safety of the Americans had tempered Washington’s response.

“(Gaddafi) is overseeing the brutal treatment of his people … and his legitimacy has been reduced to zero in the eyes of his people,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said after Libyan security forces shot protesters in the streets of Tripoli on Friday.

The U.S. embassy in Tripoli, which was only opened in 2006, during a tentative rapprochement in U.S.-Libya ties, was shuttered for security reasons and all diplomatic personnel withdrawn, Carney and the State Department said.

The White House also fleshed out its attempts to hold Gaddafi “accountable” in addition to the new sanctions regime.

It warned that it would use the full extent of its “intelligence capabilities to monitor the Gaddafi regime’s actions” and would particularly seek evidence of violence or atrocities committed against the Libyan people.

Carney, however, would not go as far as to say that the White House backed calls for Gaddafi and his lieutenants to eventually face some kind of formal justice, perhaps at the International Criminal Court.
On the financial front, the U.S. Treasury warned U.S. banks to watch out for transfers linked to Libya’s political leaders.

The department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network told banks to be aware of “the potential increased movement of assets that may be related to the situation in Libya,” in a statement released Friday.

Libya and its leaders are suspected of holding billions of dollars in foreign bank accounts, cash largely gleaned from the country’s vast oil wealth.

According to a 2010 message from the U.S. embassy in Tripoli, obtained by WikiLeaks, Libya’s sovereign wealth fund holds $32 billion in cash and “several American banks are each managing $300-500 million.”
Clinton to drum up support

With the Libyan crisis also being taken up at the United Nations, European Union governments agreed on the idea of imposing an arms embargo, asset freezes and a travel ban on the oil-producing North African nation, with diplomats saying a formal decision would be taken early next week.

The Obama administration said earlier this week it was studying a wide range of options, including the freezing of assets, a travel ban on members of Gaddafi’s government, a “no-fly” zone over Libya and military action.

In a first step, the U.S. Treasury has told American banks to closely monitor transactions that may be related to unrest in Libya for possible signs that state assets were being misappropriated.

Several U.S. energy companies in Libya — including Marathon, Hess and Occidental — have continued working through the crisis as other foreign firms have curtailed or suspended operations.

If sanctions gain traction internationally, Libya’s oil output could be restricted.

“Although Libya is not a big supplier to the U.S., any sanctions imposed by the U.S. — particularly on doing business with that country — means the U.S. or other countries affected will still have to tap other suppliers,” said Peter Beutel, president of trading consultants Cameron Hanover.

In New York, the U.N. Security Council was considering a French-British draft proposal for an arms embargo, financial sanctions and a request to the International Criminal Court to indict Libyan leaders for crimes against humanity.

The White House did not express direct support for the proposal but said it was discussing it with members of the Security Council, including the other four permanent members — China, Russia, Britain and France.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will push for unity against Gaddafi on Monday at the U.N. Human Rights Council.

The United States resumed diplomatic ties with Libya in 2004 after Gaddafi agreed to abandon his pursuit of weapons of mass destruction.

U.S. economic sanctions were progressively removed after Libya agreed to accept civil responsibility for the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Scotland in 1988.

Latest defection

Libya’s envoy to the United Nations, Mohammed Shalgham, a childhood friend of Gaddafi, became the latest official to abandon him, with a diplomat saying he had joined his deputy Ibrahim Dabbashi in defecting.

“Please, the United Nations, save Libya. Let there be no bloodshed, no killing of innocents. We want a decisive, rapid and courageous resolution from you,” Shalgham told the Security Council.

U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon on Friday demanded decisive action by the Security Council against Gaddafi’s bloody crackdown, warning that any delay would add to the growing death toll which he said now came to over 1,000.

Ban’s call and an emotional speech by the Libyan ambassador to the United Nations — in which he raised the specter of Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot — jolted the council into ordering a special meeting on Saturday to consider a sanctions resolution against Kadhafi.

In Ankara, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said “Mr. Gaddafi must go,” becoming the first world leader to demand the ouster of the former army colonel who seized power in a 1969 coup.

In a rooftop address on Friday, Gaddafi urged his partisans in the square below to “defend Libya.” “If needs be, we will open all the arsenals.

“We will fight them and we will beat them,” he said as frenzied supporters raised his portrait and waved the country’s green flag.

Almost the entire east of the oil-rich North African nation has slipped from Gaddafi’s control since a popular uprising began with protests in the port city of Benghazi on February 15, inspired by revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia.

Are Ethiopians angry enough to revolt?

Friday, February 25th, 2011

By Messay Kebede

While events of historic proportions are occurring in the Arab world, the question that haunts Ethiopians is whether similar uprisings are possible in present-day Ethiopia, that is, whether the inspiring impact of events in Arab countries would be strong enough to provoke unrests and demonstrations in Ethiopia. Since the occurrence of the French Revolution, scholars of revolution are familiar with the outcomes of demonstration effects, some going to the extent of counting as one powerful cause of revolution its tendency to spread to other countries by the sheer effect of its inspirational appeal.

That an increasing number of Ethiopians argue that decisive lessons to topple the Meles regime can be drawn from events in the Arab world is a promising evolution. In an article titled “Way Forward for Ethiopia’s Opposition” posted on various websites (June 2010), I contended that the results of the last election showed clearly that the strategy of changing the Woyane regime by winning parliamentary elections is no longer tenable. I suggested that opposition groups should design a new strategy, which is “to work toward the gathering of conditions favoring a popular outburst with a political organization and a program ready to step in.” In other words, in light of the failure of the electoralist strategy and the little chance of creating in the near future an armed movement capable of threatening the regime, the only option left was to help build up the conditions of a popular uprising and be ready to take up its leadership. Thanks to the events in the Arab world, most Ethiopians now consider a popular uprising in Ethiopia as a very likely possibility and call for opposition groups to be ready for such an event. Of course, the main question is to know whether their expectation is realistic or simply a wishful thinking.

Let me begin by saying that events in Tunisia and Egypt, impressive and mutational as they are, are not yet revolutions. The latter require the overthrow of existing states and the implementation of a new social order. The fact that the two ruling dictators were removed does not necessarily entail a drastic social change in Egypt and Tunisia unless the removal is soon followed by the initiation of profound changes. All we can say now is that the removal is just a first step in the right direction, and that it is too early to speak of revolution.

Even so, the fact that the uprisings remained mostly nonviolent (with the exception of Libya) strongly renews the conviction that nonviolent form of struggle is the best method to remove dictatorial regimes. Nonviolence means here essentially active defiance and noncooperation. So understood, nonviolence is indeed, as one of the apostles of nonviolence, Gene Sharp, puts it, “the most powerful means available to those struggling for freedom” (From Dictatorship to Democracy, p. 13). There is no doubt that protests in Egypt and Tunisia prevented the early intervention of the army essentially because they remained largely nonviolent.

What is most striking about the events in Tunisia, Egypt, and elsewhere is the metamorphosis of ordinary people. These people had so thoroughly submitted to the dictatorships that any prediction just a month ago of impeding protests would have sounded foolish. The uprisings came as a surprise to everybody. Most of all, all these protests were spontaneous in that they were not initiated by any organized opposition.

Spontaneity is undoubtedly one of the strong aspects of the movements. The dictatorships could not stop them because they could not find leaders they could put in jail or kill. People were driven by their own frustration, not by the appeal of a party or a leader. They were now in charge of their own destiny and, more importantly, free of the fear that paralyzed them for so long. How did this metamorphosis become possible?

It is a truism to say that dictatorships rule by fear and collapse the very day that they fail to inspire fear. This issue of fear is the key to the question of knowing whether similar uprisings are possible in Ethiopia. I am not impressed by the argument of those who discard the possibility of uprisings in Ethiopia on the ground that, unlike the Arab countries, Ethiopia does not have a large educated class and a vast means of internet access. Without denying the effective role of internet communications, the argument overlooks that popular uprisings have occurred before the invention of the internet, not to mention the fact that Ethiopians carried out a successful uprising in 1974 that toppled the entrenched imperial regime. Be it noted that the uprising against the imperial regime was successful because it was not initiated by an established leadership.

Another issue is to know whether the Ethiopian army can behave in a way similar to the behavior of the Egyptian army. Most Ethiopians are inclined to say the opposite owing to their belief that Ethiopia has no longer a national army per se, but a TPLF dominated mercenary army exclusively committed to protecting the interests of the ruling clique. The question is indeed a serious one, but there is no way of knowing the answer unless the uprising starts and shows some resilience. The 2005 violent crackdown on protesters cannot be taken as evidence, since except for taxi drivers and protesting young people, no massive movement of protest took place. In fact, the confined nature of the protest may have led to the belief that it could be easily suppressed. We cannot tell how the police and the army would react in the face of a determined massive protest all over the country. We should move the discussion from what the military will do to what a massive uprising can compel them to understand.

What this means is that the crucial issue is indeed the question of fear. Are Ethiopians any less fearful of the Meles regime? Stated otherwise, the possibility of uprising solely hinges on our ability to ascertain that Ethiopians are today angrier than ever before. For anger alone can dissolve fear. More than the availability of internet communications, what explains events in Arab countries is the increasing fury of ordinary people, especially of unemployed young people. When anger grips the human mind, nothing else matters, including the likelihood of death. Anger is force and defiance because it mobilizes the power of emotion. People defy bloody regimes, not because they become suddenly courageous, but because the overwhelming power of rage made them do things that they would not otherwise have done.

I know that many Ethiopians see unity as an essential condition for the occurrence of a massive uprising. In effect, people begin to protest when they see a fair chance of success, and no chance of success can be expected if ethnic divisions prevail over unity. For an uprising to succeed, it must be massive, and it cannot be massive unless ethnic alignments are put aside. What else is this requirement of unity but another facet of the same question of anger? Are Ethiopians angry enough to overcome their divisions so as to rise together against their common enemy? The overwhelming nature of anger unites more than any rational discourse in favor of unity.

Although it is true that the mobilization of emotion explains the power of popular uprisings, it is also true that rage can only be a trigger. It cannot sustain itself over an extended period of time, especially if the regime in place uses deadly means to suppress the uprising. Very quickly, organization and smart politics must take the lead. Notably, anger must be controlled in such a way that it does not burst into an orgy of violence, which will end up by giving the upper hand to the dictator. Everything must be done to minimize the intervention of the army, and the best way to do so is to keep the movement nonviolent. In other words, nonviolent movement is nothing but the control of anger, more exactly, its transformation into a force of internal resistance that wears out the repressive power of the dictatorial state. Nonviolence does not generate anger; it sublimates it by reorienting its compulsion for outward furious expressions toward the buildup of an internal force of defiance.

In sum, the possibility of popular uprising in Ethiopia wholly depends on the psychological state of the masses. No doubt, events in the Arab world can be inspirational, but they are not enough to cause revolts unless the masses are going through the state of anger. Inspiration can strengthen confidence, but it cannot generate the emotional state of anger. What is more, it is not possible to know in advance what drives people to the tipping point of anger. We can definitely say that most Ethiopians are unhappy with the regime, that they even hate it. But dislike and hate are not yet anger. While hate is a contained or differed emotion, anger is in need of immediate reaction or lashing out. You get to live with hatred, not with rage, which, as an impulsive need for outward expressions, explodes.

(Messay Kebede, Ph.D., can be reached at

Time is ticking at the doors of Meles

Friday, February 25th, 2011

By Albert Michael

Today Africa, especially its North region, is in a storm. People of the region are experiencing the momentum of the storm by physical taking part in it. People outside the region have been feeling the flame and shocked with the happenings. This phenomenal time in the history of Africa is a wow time for dictators and all the despots. Knowing that their turn is not far away, African dictators presumably taking unconscious steps in a way that can sustain them in power. Their heart is melting. Their mind is blowing. But the fact is, as some one has said that the idea whose time has come is powerful than artillery, when change begins to spark in its due time no power can hold it back . The change occurring in Africa has two fold outcome: on one hand toppling off tyrants from their comfort seats where they have been sacking the sweat and blood of their own citizen and on the other hand reforming and transforming the whole systems which have been hosting injustice. Both of the outcomes privilege the people to become source of power in Africa. Time is a perfect judge!!

The recent change geared by the people of North Africa nations, for most analysts and observers, is a point of prediction for what would happen next in the other African countries specifically countries stack in the valley of poverty and where the thugs of the ruling class are living their luxurious life. On December 17, 2010 determination of a man to express his feeling in an unusual way by setting himself on fire resulted in the massive people’s movement first in Tunisia and then spread to neighbouring countries. This a historic convergence and its effects which time and change gave birth, through the mighty power of people’s movement never ceased in North Africa but spilled over to the Middle east countries and other parts of Africa. Who thought that Ben of Tunisia, Mubarak of Egypt and most probably Gadhafi of Libya would stand before the court where the people judge in the history of Africa. That was only known by the fact of time. No one can reverse this change. When time carries change that is a real change. Time. Time. Time. A good judge

In the history of human ages, historic convergences and transitional tides have occurred at significant points. Major events befallen in different times of past have heralded socio-economic and political changes. The world we lived so far shaped by the nature of these events. The death of colonialism, the end of the two World Wars, the closure Cold War and globalization are the results of cumulative events of mini reactions occurred in the time frame of our history.

The reality we see in North Africa is not different except it should be taken as part of the foundations laid for a large scale change awaiting for the whole Africa. I am saying that all the major events of change in our history started some where in a corridor in specific places and spread to the vicinities. This reminds me what happened in the history of colonialism in Africa. The process which led to the demise of European exploitations systems started earlier in 1890s. In those early times, Chief Bambatha of Zulu and Maji Maji revolt were some of the popular uprisings which had initiated the massive anti-colonialism movement in Africa. The then factors pushed people to revolt were the colonialists wrong measures against the local people. The people became subjects of the colonial masters. When the yoke of the burden was unbearable to the local people individuals such as Bambantha took the courage to rally for liberation. That was the point to set the remaining pace of the journey to freedom. After four to five decades, colonialism became a history.

In a similar analogy my conviction is that the current phenomenon in the north part of Africa is a riddle of wave which could move the whole continent. In the coming few years Africa will be free of dictators and the will of people shall dominate in the most countries of the continent.

My prediction is based on the fact that, the factors initiated the mass movements in North Africa are similar or even worst in other parts of the continent. In countries like Ethiopia where the unemployment rate is beyond imagination, ethnic divisions is intentionally installed, economic inequalities is fostered through ill-intended policies, anti-free press laws muzzled citizens right expression , institutionalized corruption is widely practiced and one man has become the whole country and every thing in the country unless it is a matter of time popular uprising is foreseeable. In general injustices ingrained into the structure of governance and administrations of majority of countries in Africa make change intrinsic and inescapable. Time is a perfect judge!! People of Africa are fade up of living in darkness of home made slavery, poverty, oppression, and hunger. Time has come. Darkness never endures before light. Tyranny and dictatorial ship is a work of darkness. It will never be established in the land of Africa in the coming years. The next wave of people’s movement will strike East Africa and Horn of Africa, central Africa and Some West and South East African countries. Because the bell of change rung and even felt in the North is already heard in whole Africa and even in other parts of the world. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!

Time is ticking at the doors of dictators. They have only two choices: Either to open their heart to accommodate the questions of the people and start genuine reform in the interest of people after asking apology or to get ready for undignified exit by the peoples’ powerful movement. The arrow of change is sharply indicating the doors which would be bumped by the tide of change in the next round. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!

Archbishop Desmond Tutu demands action on Libya

Friday, February 25th, 2011

African Governments are “failing” Libyan citizens and all Africans


African Governments’ appalling lack of pressure to force Libyan Leader, Muammar Gaddafi, to halt the violence and step down, reflects persistent inadequacies in the African Union (AU). Their failure to act decisively threatens progress towards democracy and respect for human rights on the continent, according to leading African civil society activists speaking today at a press conference in Johannesburg.

“The response from African governments and the African Union took so long and was so feeble that it emboldens Gaddafi in clinging on to power by any means possible, and permits him to claim the protests are a Western or Al Qaeda conspiracy,” said Ingrid Srinath, Secretary General of CIVICUS.

“African leaders must realise that their failure to speak clearly and act promptly has real consequences and costs lives. Such apathy in the face of atrocities cannot persist,” she added.

Article 3 of the Constitutive Act of the AU lists the promotion of peace, security and stability on the continent as one of its key objectives. Despite this, civil society believes the AU and African governments have been slow to react.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Congress of South African Trade Union joined Srinath and more than 40 other signatories from civil society in a joint statement demanding action from the AU.

“The carnage in Libya must stop. A leader who crushes his own people does not deserve that name – or position,” said Archbishop Desmond Tutu. South Africa has a special responsibility to act

South Africa, Nigeria and Gabon currently represent Africa on the UN Security Council and as such have a special responsibility to ensure the protection of the Libyan people. Rajesh Latchman, Convenor of the Global Call to Action against Poverty in South Africa, singled out the South African Government’s need to act as a non-permanent member of
the UN Security Council since January 2011, despite their aspirations for a permanent seat.

“While an immediate and decisive response to the bloodshed in Libya is needed right now, the South African government needs to have a rapid response system to ensure diplomatic action when faced with such a crisis is not dependent on the push factor from civil society but driven by the values of our Constitution,” he said.

“For president Zuma in particular, this is not a call for you to imitate the out of office behaviour of your predecessor, it is rather a call to bring together a broad based but small collective of business, civil society and government leaders to act as a thought collective for the way our country acts when the rights of people outside our borders are violated.”

A horrifying example of an ongoing problem Latchman’s comments echo those of other civil society representatives at the press conference.

Noel Kututwa, Special Advisor with Amnesty International said that Amnesty International has accused the international community of failing the Libyan people in their hour of greatest need as Colonel Gaddafi threatened to “cleanse Libya house by house”. “The response of the UN Security Council fell shamefully below what was needed to stop the spiralling violence in Libya,” Kututwa said.

Amnesty International has called for an immediate arms embargo and assets freeze and the African Union and its member states to immediately investigate reports that armed elements are being transported from African countries to Libya, acting to secure the land borders into Libya and monitor suspicious flights.

While the situation in Libya is of immediate priority, it is also serving to highlight inadequacies on the part of the AU and African governments to respond when the security and human rights of people across the continent are threatened.

The joint statement from civil society will be distributed to the AU and African governments. It is one step in an ongoing campaign from civil society to support and protect the people of Libya as they strive to assert their democratic and human rights.

Civil society leaders pledged solidarity with all those struggling for freedom across the globe.

(For more information please contact: Rowena McNaughton, CIVICUS Media Officer,, +27 82 768 0250;

Ethiopians in Libya exposed to vigilante attacks

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

The brutal attack by mercenary forces against anti-Gaddafi protesters and civilians in Libya is now exposing refugees from Ethiopia and other African countries to vigilante attacks. The brutality of the mercenaries, many of whom were sent to Libya by planes in the past few days, is making Libyan citizens understandably bitter, and while the opposition groups are trying to calm down the angry and traumatized population and promising a fair trial for those who are suspected of being mercenaries, unfortunately incidents of harassment and attacks against innocent refugees are being reported in some of the liberated cities. An urgent call must be sent out to the people of Libya by Ethiopians around the world that most Ethiopians are as victimized as they have been by Gaddafi’s friend, Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia. Libyan’s must take care not to soil their revolution with the blood of innocent refugees.

The following is an interview by DW Radio with two Ethiopians in Tripoli.

Below is an interview with a Woyanne ambassador:

The stupid ambassador need to be told that the Ethiopian refugees have been migrating to Libya in the first place because his regime has made Ethiopia a living hell for most citizens.

Ethiopian Federal Police soldier in Libya The Woyanne ambassador says that his regime did not send mercenaries to Libya. But the evidence is indisputable. Members of the Federal Police, Meles Zenawi’s personal death squad, have been sent to Libya wearing their own standard issue uniform as this photo shows. The dead soldier in the photo is wearing the distinct Ethiopian Federal Police uniform. The Federal Police soldiers were indiscriminately shooting down Ethiopian civilians following the May 2005 elections, the same way as they are shooting down Libyan civilians now. Ethiopians have first hand experience of how brutal and barbaric Meles Zenawi’s death squads are.

Ironically, the poor Ethiopian refugees in Libya, who fled from these soldiers in their own country, are now facing an angry population in Libya for what the regime in Ethiopia and its blood thirsty death squads are doing to Libyan citizens.

A talking point has been sent out from Woyanne propaganda chief Bereket Simon’s office to every Woyanne cadre around the world to say that the captured mercenaries are refugees. While asking the Libyans to protect innocent Ethiopians, we need to also condemn Meles for the reason that the refugees are in Libya, as well as for sending his killers to slaughter civilians in another country.

Mahidere Andenet Radio Atlanta 15th Anniversary

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

Mahidere Andenet Radio Atlanta is celebrating its 15th anniversary Saturday, Feb. 26. You are invited to the celebration event:

Date/Time: Saturday, Feb. 26, at 6:00 PM
Place: 2201 Lawrenceville HWY, Decatur GA 30033

More info: 404 580 4207

Mahidere Andenet

Woyanne mercenaries captured in Libya (video)

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

Libya opposition forces continue to capture mercenaries who have arrived by planes from other African countries to carry out Gaddafi’s threat of bloodshed. Some of the mercenaries were sent to Libya by Gaddafi’s long time friend and aid recipient Meles Zenawi, who himself is a genocidal dictator. The following video shows some of the soldiers along with their Ethiopian passports.

Exporting Ethiopian girls: The story of Trungo (video)

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

Ethiopians in the Diaspora have become the largest source of hard currency for the brutal dictatorship in Ethiopia bringing over $3 billion annualy. To keep the revenue flowing, companies that are affiliated with the ruling party are busy exporting poor Ethiopian girls to Arab countries to work as maids in slavery-like conditions. These girls face constant abuse and mistreatment in the hands of their employers. We Ethiopians as a society should be terribly ashamed of ourselves for letting our defenseless girls to be exploited and abused in foreign countries. The girls should be at school and able to find jobs in their own country. The following is a gut-wrenching story of Trungo by a German TV, WDR. It’s in German language, but not difficult to follow the story, which is about a young girl named “Trungo” who comes from a remote area in the northern Ethiopia and traveled to Dubai to work as a maid. The film recounts that Trungo decided to leave her village so that she can support her family. The film also shows the dubious cooperation of the brokers in Addis Ababa and in Dubai and the savage and inhuman behavior of Arab employers who are abusing Ethiopian women. Watch below:

UK rejects call by France to impose no-fly zone over Libya

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

The U.K. government is notorious for its anti-human rights foreign policy. Rejecting the call by France to impose no-fly zone over Libya so that Gaddafi would not commit genocide should not come as a surprise. No wonder people around the world despise the morally bankrupt government of the U.K. that sells weapons to genocidal dictators like Gaddafi of Libya and Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia.

(Guardian) — Nicolas Sarkozy is leading the calls for a NATO-imposed no-fly zone to be enforced over Libya to “prevent the use of that country’s warplanes against [its] population”.

Sarkozy, the current president of the G8 and G20 economic forums, has also called for the European Union to impose sanctions against Libya and suggested that the assets of the family of the Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi, should be frozen.

William Hague, the British foreign secretary, did not join the calls for a no-fly zone, but David Cameron held out the prospect of imposing sanctions on Libya if Gaddafi continued to respond to the protests with violence. The government is wary of antagonizing the Libyan leadership while it attempts to repatriate British citizens.

In an interview with al-Jazeera television in Doha, the prime minister said: “Sanctions are always an option for the future if what we are seeing in Libya continues. Of course, if Libya continues down this path, there will be a very strong argument [for sanctions].”

Cameron’s remarks appeared to be a hardening of his position from earlier in the day, when he sidestepped questions about whether he would endorse the French president’s call for sanctions.

But the prime minister moved to play down the prospect of military action against Libya, saying: “I do not think we are at that stage yet. We are at the stage of condemning the actions Colonel Gaddafi has taken against his own people.”

It is likely the British attitude towards a no-fly zone will toughen if and when its citizens are evacuated.

The government is also concerned that Russia and China could veto a no-fly zone at the United Nations security council, leaving the international community weakened.

Demands for a ban on flights over Libya have been made by Ibrahim al-Dabashi, the country’s deputy ambassador to the UN, who is among diplomats who have abandoned Gaddafi.

He said the measure would prevent mercenaries, weapons and other supplies from reaching Gaddafi and his security forces. There have also been fears that Gaddafi could resort to bombing his own people.

Hague said he was canceling a planned trip to Washington to handle the crisis from London, adding that it would be difficult to get a security council resolution. The council has, though, made a statement condemning Libya’s actions.

Hague stressed he wanted an international inquiry into possible war crimes, saying this represented the best chance to stop murder and atrocities by the regime. “They will be held to account. They should hear that message loud and clear,” he said.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4′s Today programme, the former foreign secretary Lord Owen became the first British politician to call for a no-fly zone, adding that the west should be concerned about the possibility that Gaddafi would unleash chemical weapons.

“We know that this is a person who could unleash either chemical or biological weapons, which he possibly still has. He is one of the worst despots we have seen for many a century. He is deeply unstable, and has been for 42 years,” Owen said.

He called for a UN charter chapter 7 intervention – meaning the authorization of military and non-military means to “restore international peace and security” – to be enforced by Nato air forces with Egyptian military support to demonstrate regional backing for the effort.

He argued a no-fly zone similar to the one imposed on Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in 1991 was feasible and wholly desirable. He said he believed the US would already have put its planes on alert.

Sarkozy went further than any other leading EU politician in calling for military action. “The continuing brutal and bloody repression against the Libyan civilian population is revolting,” he said. ” The international community cannot remain a spectator to these massive violations of human rights.”

The scale of the threat to world security was underlined by reports suggesting Gaddafi had ordered the destruction of oilfields, as well as the growing likelihood that he was willing to see a massive death toll rather than relinquish power.

Legitimacy of Political Power

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

By Dejenie A. Lakew

The Temporal Sign and Demand of Society: Legitimacy of Political Power

A leader exercises power of leadership and service on a particular society. The power he/she has can be legitimate or otherwise. The legitimacy of the power of a leader comes from the people. If not from the people then the power is illegitimate.

A legitimate leader therefore has to be a person amongst the people not somebody who is outside of them, who has a better vision, established and derivable wisdom and virtues and an intrinsic courage that analyzes and understands problems of the society ahead and deliver solutions in an optimal time-shortest time possible. He/she leads the people by providing convincing methods and delivering solutions to problems the society faces in the right and progressive direction. No legal citizen should live in pain and die for a survival of an illegal leader but instead a leader has to live in pain and die for the survival of a legal individual citizen. The immediate concerns and jobs of a leader is to serve the society, not be served by society. He/she is an employee of the society not employing the society and make the society live under his/her mercy. Their power to lead the country is legitimate when it is given by the society. By the time they defy the society, develop contempt to the people and rule by their own will, then they changed the country into their real estate and the society into their own workers. That is the beginning of dictatorship, timocracy, oligarchy, etc, any form of illegal government. Once relations get sour and reach to that stage, leaders lose the legitimacy of their power and receive the rant of the society and ultimately lose their political achievements they have done in their legitimate times. The consequences are catastrophic to them to their family members and great descendants- they all be in the eternal fire of history. Therefore, a leader has to be wise enough to know and listen the society and its will as to when he/she should finish a tenure of service so that they end their power as legitimate and the good things they have done during their legitimate times remain as an eternal candle of history to the society.

Good leaders create administrative structures so that the people get conditions/or resources of life, happiness and freedom in minimal obstacles by providing effective leadership on all levels of their government structures . In order these things to be implemented, there has to be a common space of understanding between the people and the leaders. The people should give time to elected leaders as to when and how they have to come up with solutions to the common social, economic and political problems that they have promised to do so. But at the same time leaders should know that life is short and ephemeral and solutions they promised have to be delivered on time and if that does not happen, then they have to give a path way and in fact invite and solicit the people to elect other new leaders who are capable of understanding the scope and magnitude of the problems and promise to address the issues in a better and short time frame. After all governments are highest forms of social gatherings or structures of a particular society, established to take care of common welfare of the people and therefore cannot behave as an outside power but appended to the people from above for all time.

The protests that are happening in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and across the middle east are clear indicators of society running out of patience in living and carrying problems indefinitely, where society expresses outcry in multitudes to the extent of willing to die of their suffering by the hands common people who happened to be on the pinnacle of power and place of the leadership but unable to deliver anything for the society. Inability is not a sin by itself but not willing to give the place for others who are capable is the political sin. In times where society express suffrage and anger , governments should behave as part of the society and ask an apology from the society and express their willingness to leave office by arranging conditions in order problems be addressed.

Leaders should know and it is to their benefit that they feel and remain part of the society when they were in power and when they are out of power. They have to do their utmost effort to live within the society and contribute more when they are out of power but taking care of their family. It is always possible for them to be listened, heard and contribute more to their people as long as they are alive and as long as they finish legally. That is the right way to stay in politics for life long—not by hanging on power for life. These problems of appetite for hanging on power for life time are common in what are called developing or underdeveloped countries , where leaders take counties as their real estates and the society as employees in their firms — while it is non-existent in developed countries.

The consequences are sever and catastrophic not only for such bad leaders but to their all family members. There is no dictator who left power by will and allow his family members live in peace instead they make all their lifelong happiness and achievements be destroyed forever by angry society and unforgiving history. It is amazing why leaders cannot see that and make their immediate family members, children and grand children pay a price for their selfish and ill advised desire of power for life. All dictators disappear along with their descendants for ever from their society while wise leaders remain political advisors and important figures to their own society. Their descendants remain beloved society members living a good life within their own society, proud of the political works their parents have done and the recognition received by the society and history.

It is therefore the sign and demand of the time that leaders of countries irrespective of under-developed/developing, should be willing to do exactly what politically developed world leaders do:

* Put time frame for a political life-tenure in their constitution.

* Make sure their political power is legitimate.

* Know the difference between a country and real estate. It is only in real estate that individual citizens have lifelong rights to own it and live in it.

* Leave office when people demand and cry of their ineffectiveness.

* Leave office when problems remain unsolved on time and beyond.

* During turmoil times within society ( governments unwilling to yield their power from demand of society), then the police force and army should not always play as killing inanimate partners of illegitimate governments that run amuck and put their very own citizens, who give legitimacy to their power beneath their foot, but instead to carry out their responsibility by keeping the security and safety of the society in general and the rights of the people untouched.

It is only when this happens that the old style of removing governments by guns will stop and a modern and civilized political life begins which is a building block of stability, growth and social development.

(Dejenie A. Lakew, Ph.D., can be reached at

Libya opposition forces take control of more towns

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

Libyan opposition forces, with the help of troops who joined the protesters, are tightening the noose around Gaddafi by taking more town today. Gulf News reports that the opposition is now controlling 90 percent of the country. Meanwhile, Algeria, Bahrain, Jordan and Saudi Arabia have decided to take a different course by releasing political prisoners, calling for dialogue, and other positive measures to prevent uprising. In Algeria, the regime has lifted the 19-year-old state of emergency yesterday and announced greater freedom and reform. Bahrain has released 250 prisoners of conscience today.

(Gulf News) — Early yesterday, security forces loyal to Sa’edi, Gaddafi’s son, encircled Sirte, blocking the coastal highway and another highway linking Libya’s eastern and western regions. “Tanks and manned armoured vehicles have cut the coastal and the inside road linking east with the west. Sirte is the last stronghold of the man since his tribe lives in the city,” Fateh Al Talhouni, member of the revolutionary committee in Misurata told Gulf News. So far, protesters have claimed control of 90 per cent of Libya, including most of the capital Tripoli and major cities such as Benghazi, Baida, Tobruk, Misurata, Zawiya and Zantan. Guards loyal to Gaddafi have fled from checkposts on the Egyptian border and tribal elders have formed local committees to take their place.

(CBS) — CBS News’ Mandy Clark describes the scene in Libya after entering the country through Egypt: I’m across the border in Libya. We’re heading to Tobruk. Right now there’s a man passing me holding two old Libyan flags, which are pre-Qaddafi era. And he’s giving the sign of victory, and that’s what we’re seeing all over since we’ve got into Libya – people welcoming us to a free Libya. We’ve been offered rides to anywhere we want to go. People want news crews in here to report what’s happening. They’re offering as many people as they can lift to get to where they need to go. Entering here was quite difficult – going through on the Egyptian side, there were layers upon layers of security. And they certainly made you feel that you weren’t going to get into Libya. But, after you had passed the last Egyptian checkpoint, you headed to the Libyan one. There was kind of a rag-tag militia with mismatching uniforms. They were deeply friendly; they kept on saying “welcome, welcome.” When they asked who we were with, we said “CBS America.”
They said, “Welcome CBS. Welcome all international media.” And they drove us. They’re offering free lifts. The people and the mood certainly is jubilant. It’s not a new liberation flag, it’s actually the Libyan flag before Qaddafi. It’s the old Libyan flag, and people are waving it as a sign to show that the old Libya is back and that Qaddafi is gone.

Botswana joins Peru in breaking diplomatic ties with Libya

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

Botswana is the only African country with a freely elected decent government. Their action against Libya is an example of their moral decency.

(CNN) — Botswana’s foreign affairs ministry said in a statement, “In light of the massive and disproportionate force visited upon peaceful protesters by the Libyan security forces, the government of Botswana summoned the Libyan Representative in Gaborone and expressed its revulsion at the Libyan government’s response to peaceful protesters and called for restraint in dealing with the situation.”

Peru and Botswana both announced they were breaking diplomatic ties with Libya. Peruvian President Alan Garcia said his country suspended diplomatic relations after condemning “the repression unleashed by Gadhafi.”

The statement added that Botswana was joining “the international community which is calling for action to be taken against those persons who have committed crimes against humanity in the continuing conflict in Libya and hopes that such persons shall be referred to the International Criminal Court to account for their deeds.”

ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo noted that Libya is not a party to the Rome Statute, which set up the court. “Intervention by the ICC on the alleged crimes committed in Libya can occur only if the Libyan authorities accept the jurisdiction of the Court,” his statement said. “In the absence of such step, the United Nations Security Council can decide to refer the situation to the Court. The Office of the Prosecutor will act only after either decision is taken.”

French President Nicolas Sarkozy called for prompt European Union sanctions against Libya on Wednesday, such as “a ban on access to EU territory and financial monitoring.”

(Bloomberg) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy led calls for European Union sanctions against Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi as political unrest continued in the North African nation.

Merkel said that Qaddafi’s televised speech yesterday in which he threatened his own people with civil war was “alarming.” Sarkozy said today that France may suspend economic and commercial relations with Libya, according to an e- mailed statement in Paris.

The European Union in Brussels is suspending negotiations with the Libyan government on an EU-Libya Framework Agreement and said the 27-nation bloc “is ready to take further measures.” EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said “those responsible for the brutal aggression and violence against civilians will be held to account.”

(VOA) — The U.S. State Department says it is considering sanctions against Libya in response to the government’s violent crackdown on protesters.

Spokesman P.J. Crowley said Wednesday the United States has a number of options for taking action against Libya including bilateral or multilateral sanctions. He said it is important that any steps the U.S. takes should be coordinated with the international community.

Protests called in Zimbabwe, Gabon, Cameroon, Mauritania

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

The Washington Post and New York Times are reporting that anti-dictatorship protests in north Africa are spreading south.

* Anti-government demonstrations, which have spread across Northern Africa, seem to have moved across the rest of the continent to Cameroon, Gabon, Zimbabwe and Mauritania. In Cameroon, protests have been called for Wednesday to demand the ouster of President Paul Biya, CNN reports. Biya has ruled the country for 28 years. The main opposition leader, Kah Walla, told CNN that his group wants to see free and fair elections. – Melissa Bell, Washington Post

* The democracy uprising is spreading to new parts of Africa: Cameroon, Gabon, Zimbabwe, Mauritania. Nicholas Kristo, New York Times

* Activists meet in Zimbabwe to discuss the implications of Egypt and Tunisia and end up arrested. Mugabe did not learn the right lessons. – Philip J. Crowley, U.S. Department of State

* Opposition groups gain ground in Libya. They are claiming victory in Misurata, a provincial center 130 miles east of the capital, in another indication that the rebellion was encroaching on cities closer to Colonel Qaddafi’s stronghold of Tripoli. In the southern city of Sabha, considered a Qaddafi stronghold, large protests were also reported. – New York Times

Meeting with Berhanu Nega, Neamin Zeleke in Texas

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

On February 12 and 13, 2011, Ethiopians in Houston and Dallas, Texas, held public meetings with Dr. Birhanu Nega of Ginbot 7 Movement and Ato Neamin Zeleke of the Alliance for Freedom, Democracy and Justice. The meetings were held at Houston Baptist University, Houston and at Double Tree Hotel, Richardson, TX.

Ato Neamin spoke on the need for the Diaspora to come together and act in unison to help the
Ethiopian people join in the emerging uprisings to oust dictators like Meles and replace them with
people’s power. In his speech, he made specific calls for action to the Diaspora to

* Organize itself world-wide under a single umbrella

* Engage in economic fight with the TPLF through mechanisms such as non-official remittance transfer and through effective boycott of the TPLF and so called EPDRF affiliated companies

* Refrain from getting sucked into being political hostage of the TPLF by participating in its official sham investment schemes

* Support for ESAT and other similar measures.

Dr. Birhanu addressed the audience on the timely topic of the people’s uprising in the Middle East and North Africa and its implication to us Ethiopians. The speech dealt with an analysis of the significance and causes of the revolution that is sweeping our region. He emphasized the fact that the drivers of this revolution exist in Ethiopia in an even more pronounced fashion than in Egypt or Tunisia. His speech also acknowledged and identified some of the negative barriers for people’s uprising that exist uniquely in Ethiopia. Finally, he enumerated the steps that must be taken by the opposition groups, the youth and the people of Ethiopia to enable the revolution in the Ethiopian condition.

We believe the speeches by Dr Birhanu and Ato Neamin are must-listen speeches for all Ethiopians. Watch below:

After the public meeting, the participants of the meeting had an extended informal conversation over dinner with the guests about the present condition in Ethiopia. In Houston, the focus of the discussion revolved around the implication of the absence of a large middle and educated class in Ethiopia for carrying a revolution like we witnessed in Egypt. Dr. Birhanu insisted that this fact is irrelevant for the fight against dictatorship in Ethiopia. He said, “everybody including peasants can and will fight for their freedom and self government”.

In Dallas, the focus of the dinner-conversation was instigated by the provocative question from Dr. Birhanu. He asked the dinner participants on why there were only 200+ participants in the meeting in a city where there are over 20, 0000 Ethiopians. These led to a very productive exchange of ideas in what we all have to do to broaden the participation of the larger community in such event in the future.

Meeting Organizers

Peru breaks diplomatic ties with Libya

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

Here is a small nation with a big heart standing up for justice. Thank you Peru.

(AP) — Peru’s government has announced it is suspending diplomatic relations with Libya to protest the violence unleashed by its leader Muammar Gaddafi against his people.

A statement released Tuesday evening by President Alan Garcia’s office on its website said Peru would ask the UN Security Council to establish an exclusion zone in Libyan airspace “to prevent the use of that country’s warplanes against (its) population.”

Other developments

* The Arab League has suspended Libya from its sessions in light of violent crackdowns on anti-government protests, said media reports citing regional news network Al Jazeera. Earlier on Tuesday, Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa spoke of ‘Arab anger about what is happening to civilians in Libya,’ the report added. A League statement read out by Secretary-General Arm Moussa strongly condemned what it called crimes against civilians, the recruiting of foreign mercenaries and the use of live ammunition and heavy weapons by Libyan forces.

* Witnesses have reported that Benghazi has essentially been taken over by the opposition. – CNN

* On Sunday, Maj. Gen. Suleiman Mahmoud, the commander of the Tobruk Garrison, took off his shoes and entered a mosque, he said. Inside he hailed the martyrs of the revolution and told the people he was with them. Hundreds gathered around him and wept. Mahmoud said that he had participated in Gaddafi’s 1969 revolution but that his family had persuaded him in recent days to turn against the government. His daughter, who holds a doctorate, sobbed into the phone, telling him of the hundreds who had been killed in their home town of Benghazi. Many were teenage boys, and some were the neighbors’ children. “I decided to withdraw from the revolutionary army and join the people,” Mahmoud said, still in his uniform Tuesday night. – Washington Post

Conditions in Ethiopia justify revolution

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

By Shimekit Debalke

Over the last couple of weeks or months, I have been carefully listening to, watching, and reading conflicting messages about the importance and timeliness of a popular uprising in Ethiopia to topple the TPLF-led regime.

Some people argue that the “Jasmine‖” and “Nile Revolutions” that successfully took place in Tunisia and Egypt, respectively, will not be applicable to Ethiopia. Their argument centers on the fact that Tunisians and Egyptians are more literate. But, literacy is only one factor for successful revolution. There are other important ingredients of a successful revolution – unison, patriotism, resoluteness, vision, and a common goal. If literacy is even given undue emphasis, we Ethiopians have enlightened and experienced individuals in the academia, public service, civil society organizations and other walks of life who are courageous and gallant.

Others argue that the military in the Arab World is more enlightened and neutral. I strongly believe that the army in Ethiopia will draw an important lesson that if it continues to support this regime in suppressing the inevitable peoples’ revolution, its fate will be endangered in the aftermath of the successful revolution and Ethiopia will no more consider it as a national army. So the army must be for us, not against us. I understand that the military officials at all levels are from Tigray. But, the rank-and-file of the army are recruited from all ethnic groups and will never shoot their own people down. The rank-and-file of the army are tired of their racist bosses.

Others argue that the Ethiopian youth might not be able to have sufficient access to social media (such as Facebook and Twitter) since all communications are controlled by TPLF. Probably more than social media, revolution requires organization and commitment. Popular uprisings in Georgia, Ukraine, and other nations have been successful well before the advent of any social media and even of the internet. There was no internet when gallant Ethiopians such as Walleligne Mekonnen and Tilahun Gizaw were shaking the Haileselassie regime during the 1960s. There is no need to be obsessed with the importance of social media and neglect other techniques and strategies. I am not downplaying the importance of social media for the uprising. It is a necessary, but not a sufficient, condition.

Others argue that if a popular uprising is called upon, Zenawi’s police, security forces and the military will respond with brute force. I want to remind TPLF officials about John F. Kennedy’s quote ((if at all they read it):

Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”

For the last 20 years, we have been arrested, marginalized, dehumanized, and murdered by the regime. What are we waiting for? Can we express ourselves freely? Are we equally treated before the court? Aren’t we in continuous frustration of extra-judicial arrests? Generally speaking, we are in mass detention center under TPLF. The detention center is Ethiopia itself and the prison guards are TPLF thugs and gangs.

Others still argue that if a regime change takes place, some ethnic groups will claim secession. In its 20-years stay, TPLF has been successful only in one thing – that is, creating a misunderstanding among different ethnic groups, encouraging one ethnic group to take vengeance against the other ethnic group – a “divide-and-conquer” principle which the British used during the colonial period. Nonetheless, be cognizant that after this regime is dismantled, Article 39 of the TPLF/EPRDF “constitution” will no longer be in effect to be used by some ethnic groups as a pretext to raise the question of self-determination up to secession. The current”constitution” does not represent Ethiopian national interest and it is TPLF’s political programme solely designed to support “Eritrean independence” and create the Tigray Republic (though they have not sufficient and necessary resources to secede and are still busy amassing resources to make their nightmare a reality). Don’t’ worry! There will be national reconciliation to address both individual and group/ethnic rights – no fear for disintegration after the revolution. If we tolerate TPLF administration any more, we will disintegrate.

Thus, we Ethiopians have strong justification to ignite a revolution probably more than any other nation in the world – leave alone the Arab World.

Needless to say, we are in abject poverty and are fed up with Zenawi’s development/growth propaganda. The economy has fallen victim to Meles’ insatiable families and loyal groups. Probably incomparable to other countries, we Ethiopians are deprived of the indivisible and inalienable human rights — civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. All the draconian legislations passed by the most unpopular “Parliament” in the world, including the NGO Legislation, the Press Law, and the  “Anti-Terrorism” Law are all meant to suppress any opposition and plural thoughts. Recently, the government has frozen the assets of the two indigenous human rights organizations – Ethiopian Women Lawyers’ Association (EWLA) and the Ethiopian Human Rights Council (EHRC). Meles has narrowed the political space to the extent possible and declared a one-man rule. The deprivations in Ethiopia are countless both in depth and width.

Let me bring here Ernesto Che’Guevera’s quote about revolution: “It is not necessary to wait until all conditions for making revolution exist: the insurrection can create them.” The upsurge should be as peaceful as possible. Let me, however, remind you of Fidel Castor’s quote: “A revolution is not a bed of roses. A revolution is a struggle to death between the future and the past.” However, we should devise a mechanism to achieve our goals with no or minimum blood and sacrifice. We have no moral justification to be scared by the Woyanne cliques. They will immediately be inundated and engulfed by gallant Ethiopians storming from all walks of life. This regime does not have a public base. It is solely based on thugs and gangs who are good to endanger our national interest.

Finally, Let me pinpoint some strategies for our struggle (you can improve them since the list is not exhaustive):

1. Share our overall plans to prominent international media, social media professionals and owners, prominent human rights groups, the UN, the US, the UK, and other freedom-loving nations.

2. Disseminate brochures, leaflets, and posters at hotspot areas. (In Addis Ababa: Piazza, Stadium, Sidist Kilo, Arat Kilo, Amist Kilo, Anbessa Bus Stops, regional bus stations, high schools, and universities. In regional cities: high schools, universities, and bus stations). This can effectively be done at nighttime recruiting street adults – be, however, cautious that some of these street adults might be Woyanee informers!

3. Move underground as the EPRP (Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Party) did 30 years back to ignite the revolution. Hold underground consultative meetings with high school and university teachers in very small groups and exchange information through email, SMS, or call by using code names.

4. Launch the uprising in major towns such as in Addis Ababa, Adama, Hawassa, Bahir Dar, Dessie, and other perceived opposition strongholds. This may then be spread to Addis Ababa.

5. Assure the police and the army that it will not be dismantled when regime change takes place as a result of the popular uprising by any means available, especially during the revolt.

6. Once the uprising is ignited, let us stay together at the streets, churches and mosques. If we go back home in the night, the Woyanne security forces will come to our homes and take us to jails.

7. Refrain from any ethnic and religious insult throughout the period of the uprising. Woyane thugs will incite this to abort the revolution – be cautious!

The Moral Economy of A New Ethiopia in the Horizon

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

By Teodros Kiros

We Ethiopians know what we do not want, but some of us know what we do not want,  as well us what we want and could want.  When we ask for regime change, we do so with a firm vision of a new Ethiopia. We have a well thought out possibility for change, ready to be converted into a new reality by our able and underused intelligencia.  We have a blue print of a future Ethiopia, and we are ready to share it with the Ethiopian public for their considered judgment. From now on nothing is going to be practiced without the scrutiny of the Ethiopian people’s public reason. Our role is merely to suggest what we think is viable, and our people’s  public reason judges our proposals. Together, we practice radical democracy, the peoples’ democracy.

A sharp twitter recently observed:

But as food prices continue to rise and economic hardship tightens its grip on the region, it is plausible to imagine Africans revolting and using means other than the often meaningless ballot box to remove their leaders.

“What people want is the democratization of society, of production, of the economy, and indeed all aspects of life,” says Manji. “What they are being offered instead is the ballot box.”

But, Manji adds: “Elections don’t address the fundamental problems that people face. Elections on their own do nothing to enable ordinary people to be able to determine their own destiny. “

This, according to Kisiangani, is because “the process of democratization in many African countries seems more illusory than fundamental”.

Gabon, Zimbabwe, even Ethiopia may never have the online reach enjoyed by Egyptians, and the scale of solidarity through linguistic and cultural symmetry may not allow their calls to reach the same number of internet users. But this does not mean that a similar desire for change is not brewing, nor that the traditional media and online community are justified in ignoring it.

Screens were put up in Tahrir Square broadcasting Al Jazeera’s coverage of the protests back to the protesters. It is difficult to qualify the role of social media in the popular uprisings gaining momentum across the Arab world, but it is even more difficult to quantify the effect of the perception of being ignored, of not being watched, discussed and, well, retweeted to the throngs of others needing to be heard.

Ignoring the developments in Africa is to miss the half the story.

“The protests have created the ‘hope’ that ordinary people can define their political destiny,” says Kisiangani. “The uprisings … are making people on the continent become conscious about their abilities to define their political destinies.”

Follow @azadessa on Twitter.

What follows is an outline of a vision for the New Ethiopia that we will march for peacefully and confidently.

The new Moral Economy, which I propose, can democratize the entire nation.

MAAT was to ancient Egypt as Wisdom was to ancient Greece. Wisdom was to Plato’s aristocratic regime as Maat was to Egypt ’s social and political life. The concept of Maat insinuated itself with every aspect of Classical Egypt. Pharaohs and the majestic slaves who erected the pyramids swore by Maat. Rich and poor, men and women, slaves and free citizens worshipped the magic of Maat. Matt was the moral organizer of everyday life in classical Egypt.  Every facet of Egyptian life was organized by the expansive principle of Matt. Maat framed every facet of Egyptian life. Why did Matt have such a presence in Egyptian life? What was its magical spell? I should now like to address these questions. The human self required an organizing

moral principle. Moral life cannot function without a moral frame, a frame that furnishes the self with boundaries and limiting conditions of social action. It is precisely this lacuna that was lacking in Egyptian morality until the self-creating Egyptian gods originated the expansive concept of Maat. Matt, was symbolized by the feminine principle of “truth, balance, order and justice”. Maat was harmony, righteousness, patience and vision, born out of the feminine principle of patient labor. For the ancient Egyptians, the order of the universe was also the ideal order for the human world.

Logos ordered the universe, by the rational word. It is this order that Plato used in his Republic, when he constructed an ideal city out of Logos. This principle was later translated into, “In the beginning was Logos”, and was with God and the Logos was God (John1:1). Jesus himself was Logos, in marked contrast, for the ancient Egyptians, the organizing principle of Logos was replaced by the organizing principle of Maat. Kings who personified Maat ruled the Egyptian city. The human heart, which was worshipped by the Egyptians, and which was the seat of thinking, was also the seat of Maat. The pharaohs were expected to rule with Maat, and not without it. The pharaoh’s greatness was measured by the quality and quantity of Maat that he or she internalized. After death, the scale of Maat, the scale of Justice, would weigh their hearts.

When famines occurred and deep inequalities became a way of life, it was the duty of the rulers to uphold Maat and measure the depth and extent of the suffering. Not that this ideal was perfectly upheld, particularly when nature overwhelmed the rulers ideals, but there was at least an absolute and objective standard by which social/ political life was judged and measured.

Maat as a moral form requires an appropriate economic form, which has yet to be how elastic and flexible the dominant capitalist economic form, and however generously it is stretched, the capitalist economic form is plainly speaking morally vacuous to accommodate the greatness of Maat as a moral form. The most fitting moral form that could work in tandem with Maat is an economic form that is anchored on a solid moral foundation. Maat is precisely that moral foundation, which is yearning

for an economic form, particularly relevant for the African condition.

A moral form requires a supportive economic form. Classical Egypt had the right moral form but not the right economic form. Whereas Maat singled out the self as capable of stepping out of its ego shell and embracing other egos outside of it, the corresponding famine and hunger situations forced the actual Egyptian motto embrace the other, but to destroy other selves. It is these particular moments of despair and anguish that killed the enabling moments of patience, justice and love, Maat’s feminized principles. The Egyptian self was thus denuded of its potential grandeur, which would make many Afrocentrists, intent on proving the moral superiority of the African self, cry in despair. To say that material deprivation produced moral deprivation is not to argue that at no point, did the African self ever present itself as moral. The idealized attempts by Egypt’s leaders that led to internalize the limiting conditions of Maat proves the Afrocentric hypotheses that there was a particularly Egyptianized/Africanized effort at internalizing moral greatness, but it was not institutionalized in Egyptian life, the way that the capitalist form did in the 17th century and beyond.

The moral form of life that Maat promised remained on paper, as nothing more than an ideal. The ideals were not institutionalized as ideas, which can be lived, which can be practiced. African thinkers did not take the time to embody these ideals in the lifeblood of institutions. In short the moral form did not produce a corresponding economic form, in the precise way that the capitalist form produced a corresponding moral form, and institutionalized the latter in far reaching institutions of the state and its civil society. That is the task that I should like to impose on myself. The celebrated moral features of Maat are generosity, justice, uprightness, tolerance and loving patience. Indeed, these are demanding virtues that capitalism as the dominant economic form cannot support, no matter how diligently it tries.

Adam Smith, the world-famous economist, but who was also a moral philosopher, argued that unless capitalism is restrained by morality, as a limiting condition of greed and superfluity, it would eat itself up. To that effect, he developed an elaborate moral theory comprising of what he called “moral sentiments” to control the excesses of the market. He proposed compassion and sociality as two powerful moral sentiments that could regulate the excesses of the market. The moral sentiment, he thought, could counter the purely instrumental features of the capitalist economic form. Of course, to this day, his warning of an inevitable doom has yet to be heeded, and capitalism itself continues to marvel of its resiliency to create crises and immediately correct them, thereby proving its “naturalness” and making it easy for its proponents to present it to the world as a God-chosen economic form. Any attempt to counter it with something like Maat is dismissed as a pipe dream. No one in his or her right mind is expected to take Maat seriously. And the fact that the geographical origin of Maat is an African civilization conveniently results in dismissing Maat as irrelevant and wishful thinking.

Maat as a moral form is considerably deeper than the passing moral sentiments that the Scottish moral philosopher, David Hume, proposed. Generosity, justice, uprightness, tolerance, wisdom and loving patience go directly against our natural proclivity of injustice, dishonesty, intolerance, closedmindness, ignorance and hate. These vices seem to fit the ready-to-hand tapestry of our makeup, which by now has become so second nature that no Maat is going to dissemble these powerful vices, which were effectively used to build empires and economic forms that support the visions of the rich and powerful. In contemporary life revitalizing the features of Maat requires nothing less than manufacturing a new human being.

We must create new Ethiopians, who have to be willing and capable of acting generously, patiently, tolerantly and lovingly. We do not have such  Ethiopians in sufficient numbers that matter to construct an economic \form that values justice, uprightness, wisdom, tolerance and loving patience. Taking the virtues singly, the following picture emerges. Let us begin with generosity.

Generosity is a virtue. It is a virtue that is willing to give without receiving, or is willing to give without the deliberate intent of receiving anything, or that the receiving is only an accident, and not an intentional act. The generous person then gives a particular good A to person B; and person B does not simply receive A as a matter of course. B receives A with a profound respect of the giver, and even plans, if she can, to one day reciprocate not in the same way, but in someway. The reciprocity need not be of equal goods. A and B need not be two equal goods, in which equality is measured by money. What makes the act morally compelling is the desire to reciprocate, and not the quantity of the reciprocity.

One of the economic forms of Maat, as illustrated above, is a vision of the self as generous, and generosity itself does not require a calculated practice of reciprocity but simply the desire and the commitment to give when one can, and sometimes to give A to B, although A has to sacrifice good C for the sake of giving A to B, even when one cannot, and perhaps should not, and yet the generous gives nevertheless. One of the central pillars of Maat as an economic form is the cultivation of a human self willing and capable of acting generously in the relational moral regime of giving and receiving, or simply giving without receiving, or receiving with a profound sense of gratitude and respect. The celebrated moral features of Maat are generosity, justice, uprightness, tolerance and loving patience. Indeed, these are demanding virtues that capitalism as the dominant economic form cannot support, no matter how diligently it tries.

Justice is one of the features of Maat and it is also a potential source of a Moral Economy, appropriate for the African condition.

As Aristotle taught, one does not become just merely by abstractly knowing what Justice is; rather, one becomes just by doing just things. The puzzling question is this: if one does not know what justice is then how can she know what just things are, so that she could choose only just things and not others? The question is not easy to answer. But an example might give us a sense of what Aristotle means, and then proceed to discuss the matter at hand, justice as one of the economic forms of Maat.

It is Christmas evening and a family is gathering for a dinner and the table has been set for ten people. Among the popular dishes are five pies, and shortly before the guests arrive, one of the family members has been asked to cut  ambashas into exact sizes, such that no single person would feel that he has mistakenly picked one of the smallest pies, in the event that a person picked a piece and it turned out to be the smallest.

The task of the pie cutter is to observe that justice is served and that all the pies are cut evenly and fairly. This is of course an exceedingly difficult task, but justice demands it, and the just cutter must prove the worthiness of her moral action. What must this person do? That is the moral question. Well, at the minimum the person herself must be just in order to perform just action, and in this instance, justice means nothing more than cutting the pieces equally to ones best ability, and that she must do so fairly.

She must cut the pies with a moral imagination and an intuitive mathematical precision, and must pray to the transcendent to make her see justly, and that she is enabled to measure precisely. There is a spiritual dimension to the science of measurement, which could have been simply done with a measuring tape. That possibility, however convenient, is not elegant. She is not going to stand there with to make an effort to be precise, because her intention is to be just and (2) that her eyes are just, or that she prays that they would be. (1) and (2) are the requirements; the rest is left to moral imagination.

She cuts the ambashas, and it turns out that all the pieces appear to be equal, and when the guests arrived, they randomly pick the pieces, and appear to be clearly satisfied. What we have here is a display of justice in the Aristotelian sense, in which justice is defined as an activity that is guided by a measure of equality, and equality itself is manifest in the attempt at being fair to everyone, and in this example, an attempt to be fair to the guests, without their ever knowing that they are being worked on. They judge the event as illuminated by justice, and the event as uplifting. They eat, drink, converse, dance and leave.

Justice presents itself in this event, through the presence of those delicious pies, each of which was a duplicate of the other. Generalizing this to a higher level, what we can say is that any economic form must be guided with justice as an event of doing things fairly and that all the commodities that human beings should want must be distributed with such a standard, the standard of justice as fairness. Given justice as fairness, commodity A can be distributed between persons B and C  in such an equitable way that B and C share commodity A by getting the same amount at any time, any place and for a good reason.

Compassion is another feature of Maat; indeed, it is one of the cardinal moral forms for the new moral economy that I am theorizing here. Compassion is to moral economy as greed is to capitalism. One cannot imagine capitalism without the salient principle of greed, and similarly, one cannot imagine moral economy without the originary principle of compassion. Class, race, gender, ethnicity and groups divide the modern world. Out of these divisions it is class division that is the most decisive, as it is also the one that seems to be so natural that we cannot surmount the pain and agony that it produces. In a class-divided world, compassion is the least present because there is no compelling reason that persuades individuals to be compassionate if they are not naturally compassionate, or are inclined toward it. Of course, where compassion is not naturally present, it could be taught either by example or directly through teaching.

An example should elucidate the place of compassion in moral economy. It’s summer, and exhaustingly hot. People that you encounter are hot tempered too. Everybody is on edge, including you. You happen to be a coffee lover, so there you are standing behind a long line of people to get your fix. The heat has made you really impatient, and you are ready to explode on anything around you. You are also naturally generous but not this day. Soon, before you leave the coffee shop, a homeless person smiles at you and tries to engage you in a conversation, hoping that you will understand the purpose of the conversation. Of course you understand, but you ignore him and walk by. But then something bothers you, and you come back to the coffeshop and generously give the man what he wanted. You are proud of yourself, because you have done what generosity demands, that

you control your temper and perform the morally correct action. Surely, you say to yourself it was not easy, but you did it.

Now you wonder what all this means, and why you did it. It is obvious to you why you did the action. Indeed, it is because you are really a compassionate human being but also a religious person. You really have no obligation topay attention to that person. He is not related to you, he is not an ex friend that fortune turned against, nor did you do it so as to be a hero by the media.

Your action is morally worthy only because you have internalized compassion. To you compassion comes quite naturally. It is part of your moral frame. Any repeated action becomes a habit. So compassionate action comes habitually to you. You rarely fight it. Rather, you exuberantly let it lead your way, as it eventually did on that hot and difficult day. But even on that day you conquered the temptation of doubt, and excessive self-love, by the moral force of compassion. That is why you corrected yourself, when you were briefly but powerfully tempted by forgetfulness on that hot day and returned to do the morally right thing.

Compassion is morally compelling when it is extended to a total other, which has nothing to do with our lives, other than the silent duty we have toward those who await our moral attention. It is much easier to be compassionate toward a loved one, a friend, a relative and even an acquaintance; harder is the task when the subject is a real other, such as that homeless person by the coffee shop. In order for any action to be morally worthy the motive must be pure, and the purity is measured by the quality and quantity of the compassion that is extended to any needy human being, uncontaminated by external motives, such as love, friendship, acquaintance and relation.

It is in this particular way that I am arguing that compassion serves Maat.

Tolerance is a crucial feature of moral economy. In fact, it could easily be argued that it is an indispensable organizing principle, which works in tandem with loving kindness. Just as we cannot love a person without respecting her, except delusorily, we cannot live with one another without tolerating each other’s needs, habits, likes and dislikes.

In the economic sphere tolerance is subtly pertinent. We cannot readily sense its inner working unless we pay attention to its musings at the work place, as we interact with one another as bosses and employees.

Consider the following example to underscore the point. There is this employee who does things in ways that many people find annoying. She customarily comes late to work; she procrastinates; she spreads papers, cans and food stuffs all around her sometimes she cannot even find herself amid the dirt, the pile and the dust. Yet, and this is the point, whatever she does is done flawlessly, as flawless as human products could be. Her boss has agonized over what to do with her; he has contemplated firing her numerous times. Lulled by the elegance of her work and his loving-kindness toward her, he decides to keep her. He has promised himself to erase those occasional thoughts of getting rid of her. As he told one of his friends, he has learned, and not very easily, the ways of tolerance as a principle of management, of managing employees who will not and cannot change their habits for the rest of their lives.

I consider this manager very wise and skilled at the art of management. He

decided, obviously because he could change himself as hard as it was, rather than expect his employee to change. The structure of his thoughts could be put syllogistically. Y can change his way / X cannot change easily / Therefore Y must change for the sake of Z.

Y is the manager. X is the annoying employee. Z is the organization where Y and X work. In this situation Z is saved precisely because the manager internalizes tolerance and loving-kindness as the organizing principles of the organization. Y controls his ego and chooses to advance the interests of Z over and against his own private needs. He did not fire X because his ego demands it. Nor does he ever insist that X must change. He has intuitively and empirically concluded that it is not pointless to expect X to change, nor would it benefit Z to lose X, since X is an intelligent and skilled worker.

Where tolerance is habitually practiced at workplaces it becomes an indispensable good that could save many employers the unnecessary cost that is incurred on hiring and firing employees and ease the distress of the families and loved ones of employers and employees. Tolerance can easily remedy the situation. If it is much easier for managers to change than it is for excellent employees with annoying habits, and then it is those who can change their ways who must change for the sake of a functional and democratic moral economy.

Patience is a feature of Maat. The ideal leader as well as the ideal citizen must patiently wait to witness the appearance of the Transcendent. Nothing great is accomplished without a transcendental intervention, the seal of completeness, of Generosity and Justice, two other features of moral economy, as I have argued in previous essays.

Rarely is patience, however, associated with economic forms. Economic forms are founded on seizing the opportunity before it vanishes. The activity is everything but patient. Patience and quick money making are the virtues of capitalism. In that worldview, success is measured by shrewdness, quickness, impatience and opportunism. Whereas patience is undermined by capitalism, the economic form for Maat reveres it. The economic form for the African condition demands it. Without this virtue the disadvantaged citizen of the African continent is doomed, fated to starve and die.

A moral economy, in contrast, when founded on Maat, shares with Maat an ardent belief in-patient waiting, and this is particularly true during times of famine, poverty and loss. Patient waiting is the much-needed virtue that both generosity and justice demand. An example might illuminate the abstraction.

African Economy in country A has been blooming, and the Western world has been hailing it as a model for the future. Country A gets spoiled and its inhabitants shop madly. No commodity is beyond their reach, so they think. Suddenly, all things, with the exception of the Transcendent change, since no condition is permanent. The oil fields drain. The spoils of the economy are distributed unevenly.

The citizens become impatient with country A, which had introduced them to the pangs of luxury, which have now become the pangs of hunger. Friends turn against friends. The shopping frenzy slows down. Their lovers do not love the men anymore. The rate of divorce increases, since the men’s ability to maintain expensive lifestyles are no more.

Patient waiting for better days is not a norm. Loves and friendships founded on comfort, wealth and excessive wealth are not permanent. They flounder as easily as they initially sprawled. Things that last must be built slowly, in the furnace of time, and be sculpted in accordance with the laws of beauty.

Country A is no longer a model of hope, but a model of despair. Uneconomic form that does not institutionalize patient waiting as a way of life digs its grave when conditions change. That is why patient waiting also must be systematically insinuated in the African citizen’s psyche, as an ethics of living, and a stylistics of what I have previously called-existential seriousness. A responsible economic form must inculcate the virtue of patience among its citizens, from early on. This complicated and demanding virtue must be taught at all levels of school. It must be part of economic principles, and be taught as such, and not be pushed to the sidelines, as part of religion and theology, which does not have much to do with morals, and has nothing to do with economics. It is this dogma of capitalist economics that must change.

My argument here is a modest contribution to challenge one of the foundational dogmas of bourgeois economics. The morals must guide economics and a new moral economy that works in concert with moral philosophy and religion is precisely what the African condition requires. More morality, with a distinct religious voice, such as the notion of patient waiting, will strengthen and expand our horizons as we struggle with poverty, famine and other sorrows of modern life.

We need more people who can patiently wait as everything changes, hopeful that no condition is permanent, including the conditions of nations, when their economies get distorted and the citizens are hardened and become cruel towards one another, and that the notion of helping your fellow citizens sounds indeed very

strange, to those who are comfortable. Instead, during trying times, citizens do not patiently wait for things to change; instead, they give up altogether, or become irreligious and immoral.  It is in this way that patient waiting, I argue, becomes one of the pillars of moral economy, one of the features of Maat, along with generosity and justice, which I examined in previous essays.

Justice is one of the features of Maat and it is also a potential source of a Moral Economy, appropriate for the African condition.  As Aristotle taught, one does not become just merely by abstractly knowing what Justice is; rather, one becomes just by doing just things. The puzzling question is this: if one does not know what justice is then how can she know what just things are, so that she could choose only just things and not others? The question is not easy to answer. But an example might give us a sense of what Aristotle means, and then proceed to discuss the matter at hand, justice as one of the economic forms of Maat.

It is Christmas evening and a family is gathering for a dinner and the table had been set for ten people. Among the popular dishes are five ambashas, and shortly before the guests arrive, one of the family members has been asked to cut the Ambashas (bread) into exact sizes, such that no single person would feel that he has mistakenly picked one of the smallest pies, in the event that a person picked a piece and it turned out to be the smallest.

The task of the  ambasha cutter was to observe that justice is served and that all the ambashas are cut evenly and fairly. This is of course an exceedingly difficult task, but justice demands it, and the just cutter must prove the worthiness of her moral action. What must this person do? That is the moral question. Well, at the minimum the person herself must be just in order to perform just action, and in this instance, justice means nothing more than cutting the pieces equally to ones best ability.

She must cut the pies with a moral imagination and an intuitive mathematical precision, and must pray to the transcendent to make her see justly, and that she is enabled to measure precisely. There is a spiritual dimension to the science of measurement, which could have been simply done with a measuring rope. That possibility, however, convenient, is not elegant. She is not going to stand there with a ruler to cut pies. Rather, the expectations are two, that (1) She is going to make an effort to be precise, because her intention is to be just and (2) that her eyes are just, or that she prays that they would be. (1) and (2) are the

requirements; the rest is left to moral imagination.

She cut the pies, and it turned out that, all the pieces appeared to be equal, and when the guests arrived, they randomly picked the pieces, and appeared to be clearly satisfied. What we have here is a display of justice in the Aristotelian sense, in which justice is defined as an activity that is guided by a measure of equality, and equality itself is manifest in the attempt at being fair to everyone, and in this example, an attempt to be fair to the guests, without they ever knowing that they are being worked on. They judge the event as illuminated by justice, and the event as uplifting. They ate, drunk, conversed, danced and left.

Justice presented itself in this event, through the presence of those delicious pies, each of which was a duplicate of the other.

Generalizing this to a higher level, what we can say is that any economic form must be guided with justice as an event of doing things fairly and that all the commodities that human beings should want must be distributed with such a standard, the standard of justice as fairness. Given justice as fairness, commodity A can be distributed between persons B and C, in such an equitable way, that B and C share commodity A by getting the same amount at any time, any place and for a good reason.

The celebrated moral features of Maat are generosity, justice, uprightness,

tolerance and loving patience. Indeed, these are demanding virtues that capitalism , as the dominant economic form cannot support, no matter how diligently it tries. Adam Smith, the world famous economist, but who was also a moral philosopher, did argue that unless capitalism is restrained by morality, as a limiting condition of greed and superfluity, it would eat itself up. To that effect, he developed an elaborate moral theory comprising of what he called “moral sentiments” to control the excesses of the market. He proposed compassion and sociality as two powerful moral sentiments that could regulate the excesses of the market. The moral sentiment, he thought, could counter the purely instrumental features of the capitalist economic form. Of course, to this day, his warning of an inevitable doom has yet to be heeded, and capitalism itself continues to marvel its resiliency to create crises and immediately correct them, thereby proving its “naturalness” and making it easy for its proponents to present it to the world as a God chosen economic form. Any attempt to counter it with something like Maat is dismissed as a pipe dream. No body in her right mind is expected to take Maat seriously. And the fact the geographical origin of Maat is an African civilization, conveniently results in dismissing Maat as irrelevant and wishful thinking.

Maat as a moral form is considerably deeper than the passing moral sentiments that the Scottish moral philosopher proposed. Generosity, justice, uprightness, tolerance, wisdom and loving patience go directly against our natural proclivity of injustice, dishonesty, intolerance, closedmindness, ignorance and hate. These vices seem to fit the ready to hand tapestry of our makeup, which by now has become, so second nature that no Maat is going to dissemble these powerful vices which were effectively used to build empires and economic forms that support the visions of the rich and powerful. In contemporary life revitalizing the features of Maat requires nothing less than manufacturing a new human being.

We must create new human beings, human beings who have to be willing and capable of acting generously, patiently, tolerantly and lovingly. We do not have such human beings in sufficient numbers that matter to construct an economic form that values justice, uprightness, wisdom, tolerance and loving patience.

Taking the virtues singly, the following picture emerges. Let us begin with

generosity. Generosity is a virtue. It is a virtue that is willing to give without

receiving, or is willing to give without the deliberate intent of receiving anything, or that the receiving is only an accident, and not an intentional act. The generous person then gives a particular good A to person B; and person B does not simply receive A as a matter of course. B receives A with a profound respec to of the giver, and even plans, if she can, to one day reciprocate not in the same way, but in some way. The reciprocity need not be of equal goods. A and B need not be two equal goods, in which equality is measured by money. What makes the act morally compelling is the desire to reciprocate, and not the quantity of the reciprocity.

One of the economic forms of Maat, as illustrated above, is a vision of the self as generous, and generosity itself does not require a calculated practice of reciprocity but simply the desire and the commitment to give when one can, and sometimes, to give A to B, although A has to sacrifice good C for the sake of giving A to B, even when one cannot, and perhaps should not, and yet the generous gives nevertheless. One of the central pillars of Maat as an economic form is the cultivation of a human self willing and capable of acting generously in the relational moral regime of giving and receiving, or simply giving without receiving, or receiving with a profound sense of gratitude and respect .

Individuals who embody maat’s principles must lead the new Ethiopia.  All our infrastructures must be infused by these principles. Our schools and work places must nurture Ethiopians who can practice the above features.  While we are fighting for regime change , we must in our private lives and public spaces embark on this foundational cultural transformation, as I have repeatedly argued in the pages of all our websites.

I am calling for again, an act of the practice of the self and the activation of the collective Ethiopian soul. Nothing short of the originary change can give us the radical democratic change, which we are yearning.

Regime change must correspond to cultural change, otherwise the New Ethiopia will not be any different  from the one, which we are despairing to change.

The  new regime has to  be a cultural transformer and system builder. Every facet of Ethiopian life has to be guided by matt, a cultural transformer and vision giver. We have to make  maat our  very own and appropriate her principles of justice.

US Republican Congress to cut foreign aid by 41%! Bravo!

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

There is a good news coming out of the Republican-controlled U.S. Congress. Doug Bandow of Forbes Magazine reports that Congress is cutting foreign “aid” by 41 percent this year. This a great news for the people of Ethiopia and other countries who are suffering under U.S.-financed brutal dictators. For the dictators themselves, however, it is a major blow. The good people of United States are allowing their government to hand out money to other countries out of kindness, but Americans need to understand that their hard earned money is being used by the U.S. diplomats to prop up blood thirsty dictators who are using the money to brutalize their people. See here what the U.S-backed regime in Ethiopia is doing to women and children [click here]. There are tens of thousands of similar cases of atrocities that have been committed by the U.S. puppet in Africa, Meles Zenawi. Thank You, Republicans! Shame on you, Obama and Hillary Clinton for proposing $580 million in assistance for Ethiopia’s genocidal tyrant in 2011!

Foreign Aid, Or Foreign Hindrance

By Doug Bandow |

The federal budget deficit will run a record $1.65 trillion in 2011.  So why does Washington continue to subsidize foreign governments?

The House Republicans appear determined to reduce spending, and one of their targets is foreign “aid.”  This year the State Department would lose 16% of its budget; humanitarian aid would drop by 41 percent.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warns of catastrophe:  “Cuts of this magnitude will be devastating to our national security, will render us unable to respond to unanticipated disasters and will damage our leadership around the world.”

She cited the recent political upheaval in Egypt:  “We need the resources to do the job; otherwise we will pay a higher price later in crises that are allowed to simmer and boil over into conflicts.”  She also pointed to work in Afghanistan and Iraq to argue that the proposed reductions would be “detrimental to America’s security.”

Even some conservatives stand with Secretary Clinton on this issue.  For instance, Jennifer Rubin, the Washington Post’s in-house blogger on the right, termed Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) a “neo-isolationist” for proposing to cut what amounts to international welfare.

But despite Secretary Clinton’s extravagant claims, there is little evidence that foreign assistance advances U.S. interests. After all, if America writing checks — more than a trillion dollars worth since the end of World War II — made the world a better place, the globe should be at peace, the poor should be fed, and the Second Coming should be history.

Consider Egypt.  Secretary Clinton argued that events in Egypt require Americans to subsidize the new military rulers.  For what purpose?  The U.S. provided some $30 billion to Egypt over the last three decades but the country remains poor and undemocratic.   Indeed, underwriting the corrupt Mubarak dictatorship helped turn Egypt into popular volcano.

The Obama administration has proposed spending $8.7 billion in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq next year.  Yet the results of assistance programs in these three nations are no better than in Egypt.

Pakistan has been on the U.S. dole for decades.  Tom Wright of the Wall Street Journal reported last month:  “The ambitious civilian aid program is intended in part to bolster support for the U.S. in the volatile and strategically vital nation.  But a host of problems on the ground are hampering the initiative.”

The problems run deep.  Alejandro Quiro Flores and Alastair Smith of New York University charged that “The aid dynamic is similar to that of Pakistan’s war against insurgents:  as long as the United States is willing to pay Pakistan ever more to eradicate extremists, Pakistan will not decisively defeat them; the graft that counterterrorism aid brings outweighs the political cost of some continuing violence.”

The waste, inefficiency, and corruption surrounding humanitarian projects in Afghanistan and Iraq are legendary.  It doesn’t matter if these conflicts are perceived as getting better or worse.  Aid officials will always advocate an increase in funding because the situation is getting better or worse.

At least there is a security argument for trying to buttress allied governments in war.  What of the $27 billion in so-called development assistance requested for next year?  Since the end of World War II the U.S. and other wealthy nations have spent trillions of dollars trying to raise poor nations out of poverty.  These outlays have had no discernible impact on Third World economic growth.

No doubt some projects in some countries have provided some benefits.  But the detritus of failed development projects litter the globe.  Detailed cross-national studies find neither correlation nor causation between aid and growth.  Indeed, generous financial transfers to corrupt dictators often have impeded necessary reforms.  Political elites in foreign countries disagree on many things, but all want to preserve their power and position.  Observed Flores and Smith:  “Autocratic governments’ disregard for public welfare is exacerbated by international relief assistance.”

After decades of failure aid advocates claim they now are doing better.  President George W. Bush created the Millennium Challenge Corporation to reward governments with good policies.  The MCC currently is running $7.2 billion worth of multi-year programs in 20 countries.  Yet, reported the Washington Times last August, the agency:  “is giving billions of dollars to nations upbraided by the State Department for corruption in government.”

Of Senegal, observed J.P. Pham of the National Committee on American Foreign Policy:  “We have a government that did everything right, up until they got themselves into the queue to get a grant from MCC.  They know the metrics [on corruption] will lag by a few years.”  Senegal once was considered a democratic and economic “leader in West Africa,” said former deputy assistant secretary of state Todd Moss, but “What we’ve seen is a very steep and worrying decline in the last couple of years.”

The World Bank also has emphasized better governance.  Yet, reported Mary Anastasia O’Grady of the Wall Street Journal:  “In the midst of the financial turmoil that rocked the international capital markets …, the World Bank proudly announced a new $250 million ‘assistance package’ for [El Salvador].  A few months later a scandal erupted over why a similar amount of money was never accounted for on the government’s books.”

Aid incentives are all wrong.  Observed Tate Watkins of the Mercatus Center:  “Systematic foreign aid creates opportunities for corruption, cultures of dependency, and disincentives to development.  The aid faucet misaligns incentives between donors and recipients, making it extremely difficult to turn off the flow.”

Even money targeted at humanitarian needs has a disappointing record.  Disasters like the earthquake in Haiti typically open the aid spigots.  To what result?  Six months later in Haiti, reported the Wall Street Journal, “the process of reconstruction appears to have come to a halt.”

Aid groups acknowledge that progress has been limited at best.  Reported the Washington Post:  “The effectiveness of the NGOs is now being questioned, by the groups themselves, and especially by Haitian leaders who complain that NGOs have become a parallel government hobbled by poor coordination, high turnover and a lack of transparency.”

At times assistance programs have been perversely harmful.  U.S. “Food for Peace” shipments, used to dump farmers’ domestic surpluses, is notorious for ruining local farmers and thus undermining local production.  This problem continues in Haiti.  On returning from a private aid mission, Don Slesnick, the mayor of Coral Gables, Florida, complained:  “We were saddened to see rice bags travel no more than 20 yards from the gates of the distribution site before ending up in the back of a pickup truck presumably headed for the black market.  To our further dismay, we returned home to read news stories that those very same donations were undercutting Haitian rice farmers who needed income to support their own families.”

Ethiopia is the largest aid recipient in Africa.  Unfortunately, reported Tom Porteous, the London Director of Human Rights Watch:  “multi-billion dollar programs funded by the World Bank and others have been politicized and manipulated by the Ethiopian government and are used as a powerful tool of political control and repression.”

Worse is Somalia.  Even the United Nations gives aid in this tragic nation a failing grade.  Reported the New York Times last year:  “As much as half the food aid sent to Somalia is diverted from needy people to a web of corrupt contractors, radical Islamist militants and local United Nations staff members, according to a new Security Council report.”

It’s déjà vu all over again, as Yogi Berra observed.  Two decades ago President George H. W. Bush intervened in Somalia to help deliver food.  Michael Maren worked with private organizations and later concluded:  “Separately we’d arrived at the conclusion that the relief program was probably killing as many people as it was saving, and the net result was that Somali soldiers were supplementing their income by selling food, while the [insurgent force] — often indistinguishable from the army — was using the food as rations to fuel their attacks into Ethiopia.”

Government should get out of the aid business.  There are limited instances when financial transfers might supplement or even substitute for defense expenditures, but the Cold War is over.  The U.S. is the sole superpower and faces no global rival.

Most of America’s allies, including regional powers Israel and Turkey, should have graduated from U.S. assistance years ago.  Most Third World nations are tangential at best to American security.  The more than $5 billion annually to support foreign arms sales is largely a subsidy for U.S. weapons producers.

While it’s hard to criticize humanitarian aid properly delivered, private money spent by private organizations is the best way to help those in need around the world.  Any assistance from Washington should be focused on temporary disasters where the U.S. government has unique logistical advantages—such as using an otherwise unemployed aircraft carrier to assist tsunami victims.

As for development assistance, American officials should focus on accelerating economic growth in America and easing access of other nations to the international marketplace.  That means reducing trade barriers.

For instance, the U.S. limits sugar imports from Caribbean.  Pakistanis would benefit far more from lower textile tariffs than from additional subsidies to their ineffective government.  One of the most important roadblocks to international trade liberalization is American and European agricultural subsidies.

Despite this abysmal record, the Obama administration is resisting cuts in domestic “foreign aid” programs, has contributed to increased World Bank outlays, and joined other industrialized nations in calling for more International Monetary Fund lending.

Secretary Clinton should listen to her own rhetoric:  “It’s time for a new mindset for a new century.  Time to retire old debates and replace dogmatic attitudes with clear reasoning and common sense.”

One of those dogmatic attitudes is assuming that foreign “aid” really acts as assistance rather than hindrance.  For too long aid advocates have camouflaged program failures with platitudes:  aid is used to “maintain American leadership around the globe,” “invest in global development,” and demonstrate that America is “paying attention” to other countries.  However, leadership means husbanding resources, setting priorities, and acknowledging limitations.  Development requires good policies, not international welfare.  Attention is worth paying for only if it yields positive results.

Washington should stop throwing good money after bad even if we were living in bountiful economic times.  With the country drowning in red ink, Washington must cut every unnecessary program.  Misnamed foreign aid is a good place to start.

Meles and Gaddafi – partners in crime

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

By Yilma Bekele

They say ‘in any relationship, if one party wants a change, that party needs to instigate change.’ The Tunisian people felt change was necessary. The Egyptian people agreed. The Libyans, Yemenis, Algerians, Bahrinians and the Iranians are in the process of adapting the Tunisian model.

They wanted change because hopelessness and apathy were becoming the hallmark of the society their crude leaders were building. Today is like yesterday and tomorrow will be more of the same. They felt that is no way to build a country. They felt change was in order.

Ben Ali of Tunisia abused his people for over twenty years while Mubarak lingered around for thirty years. They both used the formidable power of the state for coercion. Both have no qualms about killing, jailing, bankrupting, exiling those they deemed a threat. As usual the difference between one dictator and another is in the degrees of their insanity and selfishness. If you notice both did not have any problem about sacrificing their close friends when the going got tough.

The Tunisians got the ball rolling. They had a lot of help. The rich experience of the Serbian youth movement called ‘Otpor’ with contribution from the ‘Academy of Change’ from Egypt was instrumental in the Tunisian victory. Their elegant design was based on the teachings of Gandhi, MLK and a generous dose of Gene Sharp.

The Egyptians were relentless in their pursuit of freedom. The chaotic situation we witnessed on television was a well-choreographed play directed behind the scene. The youth leaders were simple and clear on their demands. The ouster of the dictator was the core of their demands. As usual the dictator tried to pacify by promising to loosen his grip. Too little too late should be inscribed on his gravestone. He tried every trick in the book to deflect attention away from his failures. No stone was left unturned to find a way out of this calamity. He dusted old tricks from the attic, borrowed some from fellow tyrants, went along with enablers advice, invented a few himself but nothing seems to work this time.

Two lessons stand out when we look at the ‘uprising’ in both countries. Galvanizing the ‘youth’ was key. Their perseverance when faced by supposedly formidable coercive state power was vital. The fact that the leaders of the movement were those in their thirties was refreshing and a game changer. Both Ben Ali and Mubarak are incapable of understanding the fury of the youth. They were confused and unable to process the information that their subjects were rejecting them and have learnt the language of saying ‘No’ and ‘Enough’.

As an Ethiopian I was awe struck. I laughed at the obstinate Mubarak acting belligerent as he was un robed in public, I cried for those that lost their life for their country, I was filled with joy when I witnessed the raw hunger for freedom and dignity and I fantasized about the tsunami hitting my home land. The last two months have stirred our passion for freedom and self-determination.

So when is ‘people power’ scheduled to arrive in East Africa is a good question. The short answer is now. The freedom train is now boarding. It is up to each individual to board or not. The train will leave soon with or without any one of us. This train requires no fossil fuel. This train runs on raw human energy. It is the ultimate ‘green energy’ train. It is renewable, sustainable and abundant. Our freedom train is equipped with a large sweep in front of it. It sweeps tyrants, dictators and bullies out of sight.

Freedom train is coming to Ethiopia. This is the third appearance of the train in our country. We allowed some undesirable elements to board the last two times. They were able to contaminate the train with their toxic presence and hijack our precious cargo. Our train was derailed.

The Tunisians and Egyptians developed a new vaccine to overcome Fear. Fear is what paralyzes us. Fear is our number one enemy. We spend too much time trying to design a perfect plan. Fear compels us to fret about the little details even before we take the firs step. We worry about the so-called lack of unity, we stress regarding the absence of a strong leader, we exaggerate the might of the enemy and we freeze with a sack full of uncertainty. Fear is our number one enemy.

Did you notice how centralized power was in both Tunisia and Egypt? Did you see both were one man shows? Does this kind of arrangement ring a bell? When we said Meles’s Ethiopia was a one man show people doubted us. Tunisia and Egypt proved dictatorship is a solo affair. You slay the head and the body flails around. The yes people, the sycophants and the spineless around the tyrant burn away like the morning dew.

Today we got a reversal of circumstances. Ato Meles is the one in FEAR. He is the one unable to sleep. The last two months have been a time of round the clock meetings with his fellow criminals. Like Ben Ali and Mubarak he has been pouring over plans on how to instill more fear on his people. He has been working over time to transfer his overwhelming and paralyzing fear on to us. He has sent his Kebele tugs to warn mothers about the fate of their children if they dare to emulate Tunisia or Egypt and now Libya. He has indicated that snipers are stationed on top of every building and his Agazi force is deployed in every intersection. He has promised salary increases. He has invested on more technology to block our ESAT transmission, switched off the Internet and directed his agents in the Diaspora to shout louder and create confusion. He is a picture of a cornered rat.

What is clear is that internally weak regimes like Woyane do not become passive and tolerant when confronted but rather turn to proven method of belligerency. Notice Ben Ali killed a few, Mubarak sent hired tugs and the Monarchs of Bahrain went to the extreme to preserve their lifestyle and ultimately their neck and today tyrant Gaddafi has upped the ante by using helicopters and fighter jets against his own people.

Our tyrant who is in the same league as Gaddafi will not leave silently. Our little tyrant got lots of issues hanging around his neck. Our tyrant has spilled blood. His 2005 murder was duly noted by judge Woldemichael Meshesha. His ruthless act in the Ogaden has been complied and preserved by Human Right Watch. His massacre in Gambella will never be forgotten thanks to my friend Obang.

So one might ask what next? How do we get out of this nightmare? Let us just agree our leader for life does not have any incentive to leave gracefully. On the other hand the society he has built is not sustainable nor is it desirable. Twenty years have proven he is not capable of building a just and free society. No matter what yardstick one uses to measure progress his attempt has been an abject failure. Twenty years into his leadership we are still confronted with over two million in imminent starvation, double digits of unemployment and runaway inflation. The only accomplishment the TPLF regime boasts of is real estate development, even that is the result of Diaspora investment not home grown achievement.

What is needed today is a day, a week, and a month of ‘rage’ against Woyane brutality. Who better to do that than our young ones? Who better to lead us than our young and smart children? Our young people have a glorious history to fall back on. The young people of Ethiopia have always been instruments of change. I know the shoes left behind by the University and high school students of the 60’s and 70’s is hard to fill.

Despite the over forty years of anarchy and destruction our youth have stayed focused. Their strength is displayed all around us. The fact they have survived against all odds despite Woyane bullying is testimonial to their resiliency. All you have to do is look at those that have stayed at home. They wake up everyday in that hostile and hopeless Woyane environment but still manage to eek out a living. They leave no stone unturned in their attempt to make sense of a life that shows no promise of a better tomorrow.

We should also celebrate the determination of those that leave their family and their country to find a better life. How could we forget those that cross the shark infested waters to reach Yemen or those that drown in the process? We will always remember those that cross our frontiers in their trek to unknown destinations. They cross the jungles of Africa, find a miraculous way to fly to South America and cross the US borders by foot, containers trucks and any means to find a better life. Our young ones have been tested by Woyane caused calamity and emerged stronger and wiser.

It is part of Woyane strategy to marginalize the youth by subscribing and encouraging a culture of apathy. The rise in consumption of Khat, a known narcotic and importation of degenerate culture is part of Woyane’s plan to contaminate our culture and identity. The Ethiopian youth have to overcome that. Rest assured our young ones are strong. Twenty years of organized propaganda to belittle our history, revise our glorious past, turn one ethnic against another have fallen on deaf ears.

Those of us in the Diaspora will continue our cry on behalf of our people that are silenced by the illegal regime. We will march, sign petitions, contribute money and work with Senators and Representatives to force the terrorist regime to relinquish power peacefully.

We urge the opposition to refrain from unilateral negotiations with the illegal regime. We want to put the opposition on notice that listening to the foreign diplomats and sitting down with the murderer regime is not part of our strategy to get rid of this cancer imposed on us. If the opposition wants to be included in this journey of liberation we are embarking, we hope they will read the heartbeat of our people and include the young people in their delebrations. If the opposition party’s want respect from us then we expect that they will keep in mind that our respect is earned. It is not a right but a privilege. We hope the debacle of unilateral action like the recent election will not be repeated.

We are certain Ato Meles will follow the footsteps of Gaddafi and unleash unprecedented terror on our people. He will use ethnic divide, religious divide any and all divisive issues to confuse and set us up against each other. We are hopeful that we have learned a lesson from our mistakes in the past and refrain from cannibalizing each other but rather aim our collective fury at the evil regime.

Yes we can, yes we will Ethiopia will be free, that no one can change.

Desperation time for Meles and his thugs

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

Listen to the death threat in the audio clip below to understand how members and supporters of the genocidal tyrant in Ethiopia are filled with fear of an imminent uprising. Nothing has started yet but they are already having a meltdown.

Meles Zenawi's troops shoot at Libyan protesters

Monday, February 21st, 2011

A South African news site, Business Day, is reporting that among the mercenaries who are shooting at Libyan protesters are troops who have been sent to Libya by Ethiopia’s tyrant Meles Zenawi for training.

Meles Zenawi has a mercenary force known as “Agazi” that is trained to indiscriminately shoot at civilians, as witnessed in June and November 2005.