Archive for the ‘Ethiopian News’ Category

What do you expect from the coming elections in Ethiopia?

Friday, November 20th, 2009

By Messay Kebede

Articles fulminating against Hailu Shawel’s signing of the code of conduct proliferate on Ethiopian websites. For these articles, the unilateral and hasty agreement with Meles while other opposition groups, such as Medrek, are still in contention about some important issues, constitutes nothing less than betrayal on Hailu’s part. This act of sabotage suggests, according to some articles, a prior agreement with the Meles regime promising Hailu a post in the future government in exchange for his contribution in dividing and weakening the opposition.

I am not yet ready to endorse this kind of analysis, though I admit that the agreement looks fishy indeed. I also wonder why those who used to oppose Hailu’s leadership of the AEUO are surprised at the “betrayal”: not only they should have expected his reversal, but also they should have seen it as a blessing in disguise finally precipitating his discredit among his own followers. Be that as it may, there is no doubt that the agreement rests on a common interest: as it stands, it keeps Birtukan in jail to the delight of the EPRDF, Hailu, and his cronies; it also handicaps the rising multinational opposition known as Medrek.

Rather than adding to the general consternation, I would like to express my surprise at the ferocity of the criticisms, as it seems to reveal an expectation that I thought people had put behind them once and for all. To give a huge importance to negotiations with Meles strikes me as a naïve attitude. If anything, the reversal of the 2005 elections, the violent crackdown of protesters, and the imprisonment of the leaders of Kinjit have underscored the futility of reaching agreement with the present regime. So long as an autonomous power able to enforce mutually agreed documents is not in place, negotiations mean nothing. Those who blame Hailu Shawel seem to say that a fair and just election is possible in Ethiopia provided that the correct agreement is reached. In other words, it is hoped that tough negotiations will force Meles to respect the agreement. Is there an Ethiopian of sane mind really ready to give Meles such a vote of confidence?

The only broker that could have forced Meles to stick to the agreement is the international community. That is why some commentators argue that the signing of the code of conduct removed the possibility of obtaining more concessions in the direction of fair election from Meles through the pressure of the international community, not to mention the fact that said agreement with a major opposition group provides him with some “democratic” respectability.

I find the argument weak. The 2005 elections have taught us that the international community is unwilling to accompany its verbal condemnations with concrete punitive measures. Meles know this more than anybody else, especially now that the American administration seems again reluctant to add deeds to words. As to the democratic appearance that Meles might put on, I don’t think that Western governments are so gullible that they will fail to see that the agreement is yet another maneuver to divide and cripple the opposition.

Does this mean that the best option is not to participate in elections that we know are but fake? Such a conclusion would miss that elections have their own dynamics that even the most repressive regimes cannot totally control. They create events that lead to unforeseen outcomes, as witnessed by the 2005 elections and the recent Iranian elections. Moreover, fake elections generate deep frustrations that compel people to look for alternative forms of expression, perhaps even to show their discontent through non-cooperative forms of resistance, such as strikes and demonstrations.

My position is thus the following: let us continue to play the game of elections, but without creating the illusion that something decisive that would have brought victory was jeopardized by Hailu’s “betrayal.” Such an implication entertains the illusory hope that fair elections are possible under the TPLF. Instead, the elections should serve us to emphasize the extent to which the TPLF government does not even respect its own constitution. For, negotiations would have been unnecessary if the constitution had any force of law. Repeated exposures of the regime’s inconsistencies can convince people to try alternative means so as to have their voice respected.

One thing is clear: everything depends on the goal that each opposition party sets to itself. If an opposition party targets the toppling of the TPLF, then I understand that it sees negotiations as a means of creating the optimal condition for its success. Unfortunately, such a goal is unrealistic: assuming that victory is still possible, it will only lead to a repeat of the 2005 crackdown. By contrast, if an opposition party pursues the modest goals of increasing its seats in the parliament and becoming an opposing partner of the government rather than an expeller standing outside it, I understand that such a party sees negotiations with the TPLF from a different angle. This political option looks more realistic: it is based on a long-term strategy of being part of the government that it means to influence while strengthening the party and removing insecurity from those who now control power in the case of a loss of majority in the distant future.

I am not suggesting that Hailu Shawel has opted for the long-term strategy for the simple reason that I have no information concerning his motives. I raise the issue because I want us to be clear about our expectations. Put otherwise, when opposition parties decide to participate in elections, they must tell us clearly what their objectives are. If, under the present conditions, their main objective is to oust the TPLF government by winning the majority of votes, I tell them that they are obviously using the wrong method, and so should adjust the means to the end by, for instance, embracing armed struggle. Hence my question to those who castigate Hailu Shawel: What do you expect from the coming elections?

(The author can be reached at

ONLF killed 985 Woyannes, burned 6 vehicles

Friday, November 20th, 2009

The Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), an Ethiopian rebel group that is operating in eastern Ethiopia, is reporting more Woyanne regime casualties in a renewed offensive that took place since November 10. The following is a military communique:

Military operations related to the 10 November 2009 offensive have concluded in Ogaden. In total, 6 military vehicles belonging to the regime have been destroyed thus far by ONLF forces. The death toll from all fronts now stands at 985 of Woyanne regime troops killed, including 12 officers, with a large number wounded.

Military hardware was captured on all fronts of the offensive, including small arms, ammunition, communications equipment and other materials of intelligence value.

By all measures, the 10 November offensive has resulted in a resounding defeat for Meles Zenawi’s regime where our ONLF deployed.

Reliable sources confirm that the regime is now planning a counter-offensive and intends to target civilians in particular. The regime plans to resettle civilians by force and particularly target
communities near the active fronts of the 10 November offensive.

Orders have also been issued by the regime to deny international food aid to large areas of Ogaden. This denial of international food aid to the civilian population for political reasons and the forceful planned resettlement of the people into what could lead to modern day concentration camps is unacceptable and clearly a war crime.

Donor nations bear a responsibility to hold the regime accountable for their humanitarian assistance which is being used to subjugate rather than support the civilian population of Ogaden.

The regime continues to deny these actions but is clearly fearful of independent media coming to Ogaden to see for themselves the resounding victory of ONLF forces during the 10 November offensive.

The ONLF welcomes all independent individual journalists and international media organizations who wish to come to Ogaden and report on events here.

ONLF challenge the regime to allow independent media into Ogaden if it has nothing to hide from the international community.

Politicizing of U.S. aid to Ethiopia ahead of election

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

WASHINGTON DC (VOA Editorial) — The United States is committed to helping people in need all over the world, and it takes this mission very seriously. With billions of dollars spent on humanitarian, economic and other forms of assistance every year, the U.S. wants to be sure that the aid is properly and effectively distributed. So it is that U.S. officials are concerned about recent reports that the Ethiopian government may be politicizing humanitarian assistance ahead of next year’s national elections.

Amid wide-spread food shortages caused by a long-running drought across much of East Africa, Ethiopia receives considerable aid from the U.S. and other nations. It is estimated that more than 6 million of the country’s 80 million people rely on aid to survive, with another 7 million relying heavily on on the Productive Safety Net Program, a food-for-work program administered by the government and supported by foreign assistance.

A spokesman for the major opposition political coalition, the Forum for Democratic Dialogue, recently complained that the government was allowing only ruling party members to take part in the Productive Safety Net Program. To eat, he said, desperate people are forced to join the ruling party. A top government spokesman, however, flatly denies the charge.

Though unproven, the allegations echo a similar charge by the opposition that in 2005 officials in Oromiya denied food aid from international donors to residents of some communities that had voted for opposition candidates in elections that year.

The U.S. Government is aware of the recent complaints. All U.S. government humanitarian assistance agencies have monitoring systems in place to prevent or expose such activity which we are continually reviewing and working to improve. Discussions are also taking place with nongovernmental partners to ensure full compliance with the U.S. strict monitoring standards. USAID personnel in Ethiopia are increasing field visits to observe distribution dynamics with specific attention to these allegations.

The U.S. is committed to the people of Ethiopia and ensuring that its humanitarian aid does reach those most in need.

A U.S. citizen survives 107 days in Ethiopian prison

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

By Douglas McGill

jailed in Ethiopia(The McGill Report) — Okwa Omot is sleeping safely in a warm bed at his home in Washington, D.C. this week. That is something of a miracle considering that only a week ago –- and for 107 days before that -– he was sleeping on freezing cold concrete floors in Ethiopian prisons, accused of treason and threatened with execution.

The 32-year-old hotel housekeeper and U.S. citizen had traveled to Ethiopia in July to visit family members he hadn’t seen for nine years.

Instead, he was arrested for inciting revolution and shut away in prison.

He was released last Tuesday after friends in Minnesota and U.S. Embassy officials in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, worked for weeks to convince Ethiopian authorities that Omot posed no threat to their government.

The prison system of Ethiopia is one of the world’s great, dark secrets.

The Ethiopian government denies that systematic human rights abuses occur there, even as , with support from the U.S. State Department, claim that Ethiopia runs one of the most brutal penal systems on earth – a system that is a linchpin in a dictatorship that rules Ethiopia through raw fear under Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.

Omot’s experience supports that bleak view of Ethiopia’s prisons, and the story of his three-month ordeal offers a rare inside glimpse into that world.

Ethnic Cleansing

On July 26, Omot was arrested near the village of Dimma, Ethiopia, by nine Ethiopian police who grabbed him under a tree where he was resting.

“We heard you were coming,” the police told him. “We know that in America you plot against Ethiopia, but we have our supporters in America too, and they told us to expect you.”

Omot is a member of the Anuak tribe, whose indigenous territory  straddles southeast Sudan and western Ethiopia. Since 1991, when the present Ethiopian regime took power, the Anuak have been the target of intense ethnic cleansing by the Ethiopian government according to Human Rights Watch and other groups.

Omot fled that ethnic cleansing in 1992, spending three years in refugee camps in Kenya before settling in the U.S. in 1995. He became a U.S. citizen last year.

Never politically active, Omot raised suspicions on his recent trip by entering Ethiopia not through airport customs in Addis Ababa, but rather by the traditional Anuak way, which is walking across the border from an Anuak village in Sudan, to the Ethiopian Anuak village of Dimma.


Omot feared for his life every moment in prison.

‘“You will die like a dog now there is no one to defend you,”’ Omot recalls his jailers in Dimma taunting him. “They said, ‘In America, black people are treated like slaves and there are no white people who will come from America to save your life.’ I told them, ‘Did you see that in America we now have a black president?’ They said ‘Shut up!’”

After five days in Dimma, Omot was moved to a bigger prison in the town of Gambella, the capital of the western state of the same name, and the heart of the Anuak’s indigenous homeland.

The Gambella prison has for many years housed hundreds of Anuak men accused of plotting against Ethiopia.

Although Omot was not able to count the number of prisoners himself, old-timers in the prison told him there were 475 prisoners being held there, of whom only 20 or so were not Anuak.

“One night a group of soldiers came to me and said ‘We are going to teach you something,’” Omot recalls. “They blindfolded me and shoved me into a pickup truck. When they took off my blindfold they pushed me to the ground and I was surrounded by dead bodies. They were mostly skeletons but with pieces of clothing still stuck on.

“The soldiers told me, ‘Unless you confess you will look like those bodies. You will die just like they did. We will kill you right now.’”

Independent Reports

Instead of collapsing, Omot became calm.

“‘A man can never live to 200 years,’” Omot told his captors. “‘Life comes to an end for everyone. I have nothing to tell you. If you want to kill me, kill me.’ They put the blindfold back on and drove me back to the prison.”

Another day in Gambella, Omot was snatched from his cell and taken to the office of Omot Olom, the governor of the region.

Olom is deeply feared among the Anuak as a planner of one of the worst massacres ever carried out against their tribe, on Dec. 13, 2003, when uniformed Ethiopian soldiers moving door to door executed some 425 Anuak men and boys in Gambella on a single day.

The fact of the massacre, and Olom’s involvement in it, have been corroborated by independent reports including a 2004 report by Genocide Watch, and a 2005 report by Human Rights Watch connecting Olom to “crimes against humanity” committed against the Anuak.

Now meeting Olom face-to-face, Omot again feared for his life.

“He called me an American terrorist,” Omot said. “He said, ‘Omot, we know your history. You killed Ethiopian people before you left to live in America, and you have been sending money from America to kill Ethiopians. And now you are coming back to support terrorists living in Gambella. We are either going to kill you or destroy your passport.’”

Maekelawi Prison

A ray of hope appeared for Omot when a consular official from the U.S. embassy, who had been alerted to Omot’s arrest by Anuak friends living in Minnesota, flew from Addis Ababa to visit him in the Gambella prison.

That visit saved his life, Omot said. Thanks to the embassy’s intervention, he was transferred to the Maekelawi federal prison in Addis Ababa, where U.S. embassy officials were able to visit him more often.

But his trials were not yet over, as Maekelawi is an infamous dungeon of horrors.

Tales of torture, extrajudicial execution, solitary confinement in shackles, and brutal conditions at Maekelawi are legion in Ethiopia.

Tens of thousands of street protesters, journalists, and opposition politicians over the years have spent long stretches in Maekelawi – sometimes never leaving.

Lights Off

At Maekelawi, Omot was thrown into a dark basement cell, which he shared with another inmate.

“It was cold as a refrigerator,” Omot said. “I thought I was going to die from the cold. I had one thin blanket but I needed much more to stay warm.”

In his 17 days underground, the dim overhead lights mysteriously went off on four different occasions, after which each time he heard shuffling sounds in the darkness.

His cellmate told him that when a person died in prison, the lights were turned off while the body was picked up and taken away.

Michael Gonzales, a U.S. embassy spokesman in Addis Ababa, confirmed that Omot is a U.S. citizen and that a consular official in Addis Ababa met with him in Gambella and the Maekelawi prison in Addis, to win his release last week. Senior U.S. embassy officials also contacted Ethiopian officials on Omot’s behalf, Gonzales said.

Apee Jobi, an Anuak American who lives in Brooklyn Park, MN first alerted the U.S. embassy in Ethiopia about Omot’s arrest in early August, and worked with embassy officials towards his release.

Jobi said Omot’s arrest and imprisonment was standard operating procedure today in Ethiopia, as part of the system of fear that supports the regime of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.

Many ethnic groups in Ethiopia are suppressed using these tactics, Jobi said.

“From the point of view of the government, loyalty means innocence,” Jobi said. “But if you are a stranger, you are guilty.  But it doesn’t mean you have committed a crime.”

Ethiopians in Israel celebrate Sigd

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

Sigd-festival-IsraelThe Beta Israeli Sigd festival falls on the 29th of the Hebrew month of Cheshvan. It is the 50th day, starting with Yom Kippur (analogous to counting 50 days from Pesach to Shavuos), and is a festival unique to the Beta Israel community.

For their forebears in Ethiopia, the Sigd was a religious holiday renewing their covenant with God and expressing longing for Zion. But for many among the thousands marking it in Jerusalem on Monday, the festival was more of a day of ethnic pride.

“The sigd is very empowering,” said Aviva Nagosa, 32. “It is the only thing left that joins us all together.”

While in Ethiopia, the Sigd highlighted the uniqueness of the Beta Yisrael — the ancient Jewish community — amongst their Ethiopian neighbours, today it defines them as a distinguished group among other Israeli Jews.

The government last year recognised Sigd as an official Israeli holiday, meaning no one gets penalised for taking time off work to attend. And indeed the buses came from all over Israel.

As white turbaned holy men, or kessim, holding up colourful umbrellas, recited prayers in the ancient Ge’ez language, Natan Biadglin, a 25-year-old Ethiopian youth counsellor from Haifa, said that “Ninety-five per cent of people here do not understand Ge’ez.”

Still, the prayers are significant as a part of the community’s heritage.

“Young people need to know where they come from. This strengthens them and helps them because Israelis do not accept them so much.”

White-robed women prostrated themselves at key points of the prayers and a kes offered blessings — this time in Amharic — for peace, livelihood and “that god will hear our prayers”.

Soldiers given the day off strained to take pictures of the holy men with their cellphones and cameras.

Despite some gains, Ethiopian Jews remain the poorest segment of Israel’s Jewish population and are at times stereotyped as a social burden. The sense of not being accepted by other Israelis was accentuated in September when religious schools in Petah Tikva refused to accept Ethiopian children.

“Even if they do not accept us at work or in school, we are here,” Shlomo Mola, an MK from the Kadima party, told the gathering. “We do not need a kosher certificate from anyone.”

Some in the crowd walked up to the kessim and gave them money, fulfilling vows they made during last year’s Sigd to donate money if their prayers came true. “Today I made a vow for next year,” said Tzahi Ezra, 36. “My mother is sick and if she becomes healthy, I will bring her here.”

The word Sigd is from the semitic language Amharic for prostration and the root letters s-g-d are the same as in Mesgid (etymologically related to Masjid in another semitic tongue – Arabic), one of the two Ethiopian Jewish terms for synagogue. During the celebration, members of the community fast, recite Psalms, and gather in Jerusalem where Kessim read from the Orit. The ritual is followed by the breaking of the fast, dancing, and general revelry. In February 2008 MK Uri Ariel submitted legislation to the Knesset in order to establish Sigd as an Israeli national holiday, [2] and in July 2008 the Knesset officially “decided to formally add the Ethiopian Sigd holiday to the list of State holidays.”

(Source: Wikipedia,

Former Commercial Bank of Ethiopia manager gets 9 years

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA — The state-controlled news service, WIC, reports that a former general manager of the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia and two other individuals received stiff prison sentence for corruption.

(WIC) – The Federal High Court sentenced three corrupt offenders on November 16 and 17 to rigorous imprisonment ranging from 5-9 years and ordered them to pay from 1, 000-15,000 birr in fine.

According to a press release the Federal Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (FEACC) sent to WIC, the court found Tibebu Robi, former General Manager of the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia at the China-Africa Avenue Branch guilty of misappropriating 400, 000 birr and 1,000 USD, which went missing.

The Court, therefore, sentenced him to nine years of rigorous imprisonment and fined him 15,000 birr on 16 November 2009.

Similarly, Aklilu Alemayehu, former Head of the Customers Service Department with the same Branch, was found guilty of being part of the above-mentioned crime and was, therefore, given eight years of rigorous imprisonment. He was also fined 10, 000 birr.

In a related development, the Court found Genet Tadesse, former Employee of Kebelle 07/14 was found guilty of embezzling 18,514 birr. As a result, it sentenced her to five years of rigorous imprisonment and fined her 1,000 birr. FEACC filed the charges in 2008.

Woyanne kangaroo court convicts alleged coup plotters

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — An Ethiopian court on Thursday convicted 26 people who were accused of taking part in an alleged coup plot earlier this year and acquitted five others.

Judge Adem Ibrahim said most of the defendants in the case had said they were tortured by police into submitting false testimonies. But he said the witnesses had not convinced the court of the torture allegations.

In April, Ethiopia said the suspects were found with weapons, plans and information that linked them to a prominent opposition group started after the country’s disputed 2005 elections. Ethiopia has acknowledged that its security forces killed 193 civilians protesting alleged election fraud that year.

The defendants had faced charges of attempting to dismantle the constitutional order, assassinate officials, destroy infrastructure and agitate anarchy. The court said Thursday there was insufficient evidence brought against five of them.

In August, a Pennsylvania economics professor was found guilty in absentia, one of 13 previous convictions in the case. Berhanu Nega, who teaches at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pa., has denied any involvement.

Berhanu was elected mayor of Addis Ababa in 2005 but was arrested afterward along with more than 100 other opposition politicians and stood trial for treason. He and the others were freed in 2007 in a pardon deal.

More from Reuters:

ADDIS ABABA, Nov 19 (Reuters) – An Ethiopian court convicted 27 serving and former soldiers on Thursday of planning a coup and found them guilty on other charges which also carry the death penalty.

“The men were convicted of various offences including conspiring to kill government officials and conspiring to instruct the army not to obey government orders,” Mekonnen Bezabeih, Justice Ministry spokesman, told Reuters.

“The maximum sentence for the offences would be the death penalty.”

A further 13 men were convicted in absentia on the same charges in August. That group included Ethiopian-born U.S. citizen, Berhanu Nega, who teaches economics at Philadelphia’s Bucknell University.

Six more men were acquitted on all charges.

Judge Adem Ibrahim warned relatives not to “wail or show emotion” when the verdict was announced but several people cried as the men were convicted.

Scores of police ringed the courtroom and escorted the men to waiting vans.

Berhanu was elected mayor of capital Addis Ababa in Ethiopia’s last elections in 2005, but was jailed with other opposition leaders after disputing the government’s victory in the election and were accused of orchestrating street protests.

Security forces killed about 200 protesters who Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said were marching on government buildings to overthrow him.


Berhanu was pardoned in 2007 and went to the United States where he set up his “May 15″ opposition group named after the date of the 2005 election.

Prosecution lawyers said Berhanu led the 40 “May 15″ members from the United States.

Addis Ababa says the group had planned to blow up power and telecoms facilities to provoke protesters who would then march on government buildings and try to topple the government.

The arrests have worried rights groups, who say the Ethiopian government has been cracking down on dissent ahead of national elections next May.

Opposition parties say the charges have been trumped up as an excuse to arrest their members. Relatives of the men say they have been tortured in prison.

“They have been brutalised in prison and so have all the other men,” one relative told Reuters after the conviction.

“Our loved ones have been beaten and beaten and broken so that we don’t even recognize them when they come to court. One man has been blinded.”

Rights group Amnesty International says relatives of “May 15″ members have been unfairly arrested. The Ethiopian government denies that.

The men will be sentenced on Nov. 24. (Editing by Louise Ireland)

The Meaning of Hebret

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

By Teddy Fikre

I love this word. However, as an Ethiopian who lived the overwhelming majority of my life in America, I did not understand that this word has been tainted due to the origins of a propaganda campaign back in Ethiopia. Ironically, this word represents the very essence of a regime that forced my family to immigrate to America back in 1983 at the age of seven. This very word—Hebret—is a word that represented the suffering of countless many and the reason why Ethiopians are the second largest community of immigrants from Africa. But still….


The word, irrespective of history, is one that I love. To me, Hebret means unity; it means a collective effort for a collective success. The Chinese have a saying that goes “you can break on straw easily, you can’t break a hundred straws bonded together”. One man alone can accomplish little, a hundred men working together for one goal can profoundly change the world. That is the very meaning of a community, thus the saying “it takes a village to raise a child”. Let me put it another way, “50 Lomi Le 1 Sew Sekimu, Le 50 Sew Getu New”. It basically means that 50 lemons when one person is carrying is it heavy, but when carried by 50 people is enjoyable.

So is this the missing link in Ethiopia, is this the missing link in Africa, and is the missing link within the African Diaspora and African-American community at large. When I was a child in Ethiopia, I used to notice a certain inferiority complex in the community. Shocked? You should not be, I remember that certain doctors that were not from Ethiopia would be flocked to, meanwhile, doctors Ethiopian doctors would have a certain connotation—a certain stigma as if though you only go to them if your literally in dire straits. It makes me wonder why I romanticized the fact that I attended Lycee in Ethiopia. Or why, as a child, I deferred to non-Ethiopian instructors a thousand times more than my Ethiopian instructors.

Thus I came to America, and what I have noticed the utter dearth of Hebret not only in the Ethiopian community but in the African Diaspora overall. I took note of the many instances of an African-American that would try to start a business and would struggle to get support from his/her own community. How else can you explain when a black man starts a business and he goes to service his own for support and he literally gets almost no support. Oh how many times I have you witnessed a black plumber who would visit an African-American to fix his leaking toilet. Upon entrance to the house, the first question he would often get asked is “Bruh can I get a discount”? Yet these very people would NEVER ask a non-minority for a discount. Or how about an African-American mechanic who has to put up with the menace of “dude seriously I can only pay $25 for the oil change”. Yet these very obstinate consumers would gladly fork over $60 for an oil change at Jiffy Lube.

Is it no wonder that successful Ethiopians specifically or those from the African Diaspora generally often get frustrated and feel alienated from the community. And then they get blamed for being “sell-outs” when they choose to move to the suburbs and no longer feel a bond to their community. When you call them sell-outs because they made it big, did you support them when they were struggling? Thus, who is the sell-out, the person that tried to provide you a service that you neglected when he was struggling or that very same person who—out of frustration, anger, or experience—finally says good riddance when he makes it big.

This happens time and again. Through my work last during last year’s presidential campaign, what I encountered over and over again were whisper campaigns about this person or that person. “Oh you can’t trust him, he is a leba (thief)”. “Esu ma, lerasu becha new emiseraw.” “He is only using Ethiopia for his own good”. I shake my head, here is a man who is offering something profound for his community, a visionary that can advance the cause for everyone. Yet, he is a leba aydel? I am forever grateful for the many people I met during last year’s presidential campaign who worked endlessly to organize the Ethiopian community. And I know that there were countless others who did the same without me knowing about them. However, as much as we broke out back to offer our community a voice, the vast majority of our own did not support. Yet, when Obama got elected on November 4th, I could not count how many Ethiopians I saw dancing in the streets of DC.

And yet, as I point a finger, there are three pointing back at me. I recall many times of my own personal failings. There was a particular moment when it crystallized in me how my own judgments are infected with the germ of self-hate. When was this? Well, I never had a problem giving a dollar to none minority kids who were selling donuts for a basketball camp or a weekend getaway. However, one particular day, after buying groceries from Safeway, a couple of African-Americans kids asked me to give them money so they could go to football camp. My first though, to my own shame—“yeah right, I wonder what you will really do with this dollar?” I got in my car, and I ran smack dab into a cognitive dissonance. Did I ever have this question for those kids that were not minorities? Did I have this question to those children who were selling Girl Scout cookies? Most have these types of thoughts, but bury them behind facades of enlightenment and smiles of indifference.

Yes, this is uncomfortable to discuss, but truth is needed. How many of us have these types of judgment, and it’s not a one way street where Ethiopians have stereotypes about African-Americans. When I came to America in the 1980s, growing up I was called jungle monkey, antelope chaser, vine swinger, by whom you say, by my African-American classmates. The first friend I had was a white girl who asked me about Ethiopia and wanted to know my name. So lest you think that the biases and judgments are only one way, think again, it is a strain that strains the whole lot.

This is the plight of our community. We don’t trust, we don’t support. I cannot paint everyone with the same brush of mistrust, but my own experiences have taught me that this is not an isolated incident. When someone comes around tying to make a change, she is instantly questioned—her motives judged not for the facts but by the opinions of poisoned minds. I wonder if we really knew how much inherent power we have in our own community. Although we have no quantitative idea of how many Ethiopians live in America, we know that there are enough of us to make a profound change and improve the lives of many if we worked together. However, we choose to sip buna and talk about what if and what is not right. Inertia is a rule of thumb, action is always given the thumbs down.

We question and procrastinate before we support. We suspect before we accept. Guilty until proven innocent, and even then guilty regardless. Any Ethiopian who sets out to try something new is instantly branded with the scarlet letter of either greed or a some overseas political affiliation. So I circle back to the original premise. What exactly is wrong with using Ethiopia for our own benefit. After all, it’s all semantics; what one would call using others would say unity. What one would label as “using”, others would say it’s Hebret—a collective success based on a collective work.

“One man may hit the mark, another blunder; but heed not these distinctions. Only from the alliance of the one, working with and through the other, are great things born.” (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)

So how much longer shall we continue to question every man or woman who espouses to do something different—to make a change. Do we continue to brand a visionary who dares to have the audacity to believe in making an impact that will help his own people—and so what if he benefits financially while doing so? Sure there are times I can recount when my very people were selling bottles of water for four dollars while we were marching for freedom in 1996, and do I put these people (hustlers) in league with the someone who dares to dream the dream that he can make a profound impact on humanity—to achieve the impossible and to think he can make a difference in even one person’s life?

So next time you see a man or woman—Ethiopian, Nigerian, Kenyan, Jamaican or other—who starts his own business. The next time you encounter kids at Safeway who are selling cookies to go to football camp. The next time you see a visionary who just might make your life better. Pause. And ask, is what he is doing going to make my life better, or will you ask “bruh can I get a discount?” or “What do you get out of it”. Will you ask, “Is he using Ethiopia”, or will you ask, “Is he going to make a difference for Ethiopia?” Maybe, just maybe, his idea can unload some of the lemons off your back.

(Teddy Fikre isw an organizer with Ethiopian-Americans for Change,

EPPF strives to fill the leadership gap

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

By Elias Kifle

I have just returned from a 30-day field trip during which I visited and held meetings with leaders and fighters of the Ethiopian People’s Patriotic Front (EPPF), as well as the Tigray People Democratic Movement (TPDM), Benishangul People Liberation Movement (BPLM), Gambela People’s Democratic Movement Front (GPDMF), and Ethiopian People’s Front for Equality and Justice (EPFEJ — formerly known as Southern Ethiopian People’s Front for Equality and Justice). These five organizations are currently coordinating their activities after signing a cooperation agreement over a year ago. Their cooperation includes joint military missions against the Woyanne tribal junta.

Elias Kifle with EPPF fighters

Elias Kifle with EPPF fighters


I had also participated in a 2-day EPPF conference, from October 17-18, which was attended by members of the EPPF executive committee and central council, and representatives from the U.S., U.K., Germany and Denmark.

During the trip, I spent most of my time following EPPF activities and holding discussions with its leaders and members, both at the organization’s headquarters in Asmara and in the field.

I am not sure whether it is a coincidence, but while I was there visiting with EPPF fighters, the Woyanne-controlled TV aired a 4-day program about the elimination of EPPF “bandits” by “government” forces. (Derg also used to call Woyannes “bandits.”) A couple of days later I was a few hundred meters from the Tigray border with a unit of EPPF fighters taking photos and recording video. I told the fighters, who had recently returned from a military mission, what the Woyanne media was saying about them. The unit leader smiled and told me “here is the proof,” pointing to his comrades.

Such claims by Woyanne do not surprise the battle-hardned EPPF fighters. They are used to the Bereket Simon lie factory. But one thing is clear — Woyanne is increasingly concerned about EPPF. Otherwise, why air a 4-day TV program on an organization that it claims doesn’t exist? The answer is clear.

It is not only Woyanne that is questioning EPPF’s role as a viable opposition group. It is joined by others with different motives who are desperately arguing that EPPF should not be taken seriously. There is even a web site that is dedicated to telling people that EPPF doesn’t exist. As an eye witness, what I have seen is to the contrary. EPPF is becoming a leading Ethiopian opposition group that is poised to fill the current leadership gap in Ethiopian opposition camp.

Having said that, the organization is not without its own share of problems and difficulties. Its political wing is terribly ineffective and for a long time its public relations effort has been weak. With the recent launching of its own radio program — YeArbegna Dimts — and a web site,, EPPF is attempting to improve its shortcomings as far as PR is concerned.

In the political sphere, a recent attempt by the leadership to restructure its political wing has failed due to the selection of an incompetent individual who was appointed as head of political affairs. That person has now been replaced and a new political affairs office is being considered.

EPPF’s activities in the Diaspora has also been facing recurring problems. The EPPF International Committee has been disbanded for the second time after it was concluded at the October conference that the group was doing more harm than good. The conference decided that there will no longer be an “international committee” that is tasked with coordinating the Diaspora activities. From now on, each chapter in the Diaspora will report directly to EPPF’s main office. The October conference unanimously passed a resolution to this effect.

Additionally, the conference has authorized local chapters to engage in diplomatic and political activities on behalf of EPPF. Representatives in Europe and the U.S. can now contact government officials and explain to them the mission and objectives of EPPF, particularly its clear stand on international terrorism, which is one of the main concerns of the U.S. and EU governments when it comes to political activities in Ethiopia, and the Horn of Africa, in general. EPPF has made it clear in its political program that it is waging a struggle to defend the people of Ethiopia from Woyanne regime’s brutal repression. EPPF strives to maintain good relations with all governments around the world, including those in the Horn of Africa.

With all the difficulties it is facing, EPPF’s track record as an opposition force shines better than any other Ethiopian opposition group. During the past 10 years of its tumultuous existence, EPPF has been able to survive many dangers that could have splintered the organization into several small factions. Unlike many other Ethiopian opposition parties, EPPF is forging ahead as a united resistance group. With some minor adjustments and restructuring, EPPF has the potential to transform itself in to a leading opposition force that can help bring about positive change in Ethiopia.

Before I returned to the U.S., my colleague Sileshi Tilahun and I had the opportunity to meet with President Isaias Afwerki of Eritrea. It is our second meeting with him. The first one was in May 2009 for an interview. I have also held discussions with the Minister of Information Ali Abdu and other officials. I will post a report shortly about the meeting with Prsident Isaias, in which he shared with us his views about cooperations between Ethiopian opposition groups and Eritrea, and his vision on normalizing Ethiopia-Eritrea relations.

ከአቶ ምትኩ ይመር ለቀረበ ጽሁፍ የተሰጠ ምላሽ

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

ከሙታን ሰፈር ከሚሰማ የቅኔ ዘረፋ ይልቅ የሕያው አምላክን ተግሳጽ መርጠናል

ከአቤል ጋሼ


(“ሥልጣነ-ክህነት የቂም መወጫ በትር አይደለም” በሚል ርዕስ ከአቶ ምትኩ ይመር ለቀረበ ጽሁፍ የተሰጠ ምላሽ)

አቶ “ምትኩ ይመር” የተባሉ የዋሽንግቶን ዲ.ሲ ነዋሪ በሰሞንኛው “(“ሥልጣነ-ክህነት የቂም መወጫ በትር አይደለም”) በሚል ርዕስ ባስነበቡን ጽሁፋቸው በአሜሪካን ሀገር በሜሪላንድ ክፍለ-ግዛት፣ በቴምፒል ሂል ወረዳ በደብረ ገነት መድኃኔ ዓለም ቤተ ክርስቲያን የሚገኙ ሁለት የቤተ ክርስቲያኗን ታዋቂ ሰዎች ማለትም የእናታችን የወ/ሮ ውድነሽ አምሳሉንና የቀሲስ መምህር ዘበነ ለማን ስሞች ጠቅሰው በእሳቸው አስተሳሰብና፣ ቁጣና በቀል በተመላ ስሜታዊነት የሚያውቁትንና የመሰላቸውን የሞት ቃላቸውን ሰብከውናል፣ የቤልሖር መንፈስ የሞላው የጠብ ግብዣቸውን ጋብዘውናል፣ በልዩነትና ባለመግባባት እንድንተራመስ በራዕይ 6 የተጠቀሰውን ዓይነት ባለጥቁር ሰንደቅ የሀመር ፈረሳቸውን እየጋለቡ ፊታውራሪ ሆነው ለጦርነት ሊያሰልፉን “ሳይቃጠል በቅጠል” በሚል ቋንቋ በአዝማችነት ተነሳስተዋል። ጽሁፉ ለኢትዮጵያውያን ስለሚሰጠው ማህበረሰባዊ ጠቀሜታ፣ የኢትዮጵያ ኦርቶዶክስ ተዋሕዶ ቤ/ክርስቲያን ያለባትን ፈተና ለማቃለል የሚኖረው አስተዋጽኦና ‘እውነትን እፈልጋለሁ” ከሚል፣ የሀገር ተቆርቋሪ ተዘግቦ እንደሆነ አንባቢ ሁሉ በራሱ አስተያየትና ሚዛን እንዲመዝነው እተዋለሁ። ሆኖም አንባቢው ለመመዘን እንዲችል ብዬ በማሰብ በተወራው ጉዳይ ላይ ብርሃን የሚፈነጥቅ የአጸፋ መልስ እንደሚያስፈልገው አምኜበታለሁ። ለዚህም ያነሳሱኝ ቢያንስ ሶስት አበይት ምክንያቶች ስላሉ እነሱን ልግለጽ።

1ኛ) አቶ “ምትኩ ይመር” በደብረ ገነት መድኃኔ ዓለም ቤተ ክርስቲያን ውስጥ ተፈጠሩ ያሏቸው ክስተቶች ተፈጸሙ በተባሉበት ወቅት የቤተ ክርስቲያኑ አስተዳደር ውስጥ አገልጋይ ሆኜ እሰራ ነበር።፣ የቤተ ክርስቲያኑ አባላት ስብሰባ አደረጉ በተባለበት ወቅት ስብሰባውን በመምራት በቀጥታ በጉዳዩ ውስጥ ስለተሳተፍኩ የጠቅላላውን ጉዳይ አስተዳደራዊ ነክና መሰረታዊ የክስተቶችን አንኳር ጉዳዮች ሁሉ በቦርድ ጸሐፊነቴ ከሞላ ጎደል እውቅና ነበረኝ። ስለዚህም የገጠመኞችን ግራና ቀኝ ለመመልከት እድልም ስላጋጠመኝ እንዲሁ በጥራዝ ነጠቅነት፣ “እውነት”ና “ሰላም” በአደባባይ እንደ ሰንጋ ሲታረዱ ስመለከትና ትክክል ባልሆነ ወሬና አሉባልታ ሕዝብ እንዲተራመስ፣ ሰላም እንዲጠፋ፣ የኢትዮጵያውያንን የህብረት ተስፋ የበለጠ እንዲቀብጽ የሚያደርግ መልዕክት ያዘለ ጽሁፍ በዘመኑ የድረ-ገጽ መስኮት ተበትኖ ስመለከት፣ “ማን ያርዳ የቀበረ፣ ማን ይመስክር የነበረ” እንዲሉ አስፈላጊውን መረጃ ለአንባብያን በማቅረብ ስለሚገባው ነገር መስክሮ የተሰነዘረውን የሰብቅ ጦርነት በእምነት ጥሩር መመከትና መፋለም አስፈላጊ መሆኑን ስላመንኩበት ነው።

2ኛ) በሁለተኛ ደረጃ ዛሬ (ጉዳዩ ከተፈጸመ ከ6 ወር በኋላ) በእግዚአብሔር የተባረከ የሰላም መንፈስ በቤተ ክርስቲያናችን እንዳለን የደብረ ገነት መድኃኔ ዓለም ምዕመናን የምናምነውና በግልጽ የምናየው ነገር ነው። አልፎ ተርፎም አቶ “ምትኩ ይመር” ከጠቀሱት ገጠመኝ ወዲህ በርካታ ለቤተ ክርስቲያናችንንና ለሌሎችም የሚጠቅሙ ጉዳዮች በቤተ ክርስቲያናችን እየተፈጸሙ መሆኑ በግልጽ የሚታይበት፣ የቤተ ክርስቲያኗ ጠቅላላ ሰላምና አካሄድ በአይነቱ የላቀ መሆኑ በአብነት የሚጠቀስና ሌሎችም አብያተ ክርስቲያናት ከቤተ ክርስቲያኗ አሰራር ሊማሩ የሚያጠይቁበት ወቅት ነው። ታዲያ በዚህ ሁኔታ ላይ እያለን ይኸንን የመሰለ ዕቡይ መንፈስ የተጠናወተው ጽሁፍ በአለም አቀፍ ደረጃ በሚተላለፍ ድረ-ገጽ ላይ አስፍሮ የግለሰቦችን፣ የቤተ ክርስቲያናችንንና አልፎ ተርፎም የኢትዮጵያ ኦርቶዶክስ ተዋሕዶ ቤተ ክርስቲያንን ክብርና ገመና በአደባባይ ለአፈርሳታ ማውጣት በግለሰብ ላይ የተቃጣ ይምሰል እንጂ የኦርቶዶክስ አማኝነትንና የኢትዮጵያዊነትን ክብርና መንፈስ የሚጻረር ስለሆነ እንዲህ እውነታውን አንጋዶና በውሸትና በአሉባልታ በክሎ “ድንጋይ ዳቦ ነው” የሚል ሲመጣ ዝም ማለት ሕሊና ስለሚቆጠቁጥና በተለይም ባለማወቅ ከሙታን ምድር የተላኩ ደብዳቤዎችን አንብበው ውዥንብር ውስጥ የሚገቡ ወገኖች ሊኖሩ ስለሚችሉ በጉዳዩ ላይ ብርሃንን መፈንጠቅና የአቶ “ምትኩ”ን ጽሁፍ ማህበራዊ እሴቱን ማሳየት ለማህበረሰባችን የሚጠቅምና፣ የቤተ ክርስቲያናችንንም ክብር መጠበቅ የሚራዳ እንደሆነ ስላመንኩበት ነው።

3ኛ) በጠቅላላው ዛሬ የኢትዮጵያና የልጆቿ ፈተና ከምንጊዜውም በላይ ከፍቶ፣ በሀገራችን ረሀብ፣ በሽታ፣ የአስተዳደር መዛባት፣ ወዘተ.. ወገኖቻችንን በሚፈትንበት ወቅት እያንዳንዳችን እጅ ለእጅ ተያይዘን በሰከነ አእምሮ፣ በቀና መንፈስ፣ የልዑል እግዚአብሔርን ታጋዥነትን ተማጽነን ወደ ብርሃኑ ጎዳና መጓዝ ሲኖርብን “ከድጡ ወደ ማጡ” እንዲሉ በየቀኑ የምናነበው ጽሁፍ፣ በሬዲዮ ሞገዶች የምንሰማው አብዛኛው ሁካታ የክፋት፣ የሀኬት፣ የሰውን ስብዕና የማጣጣልና የማንቋሸሽ መሆኑን እያየሁ ከልብ አዝናለሁ። ታዲያ ምንም እንኳን ስለቤተ ክርስቲያን ጉዳይ የጠለቀ ዕውቀት ባይኖረኝና፣ ስለ ስነ መለኮት ሂስ ለመስጠት ችሎታው የሌለኝ ቢሆንም፣ ግን ኢትየጵዊነቴና፣ የኦርቶዶክስ እምነት ተከታይነቴ እያስገደደኝ እንዲህ በሕዝብ ዓይን ላይ የበርበሬ ዱቄት የሚበትን ዓላማ ያለው ጽሁፍ ሳነብ ስለጉዳዩ በቅርብ የማውቀውን በመንተራስ መልስ መመለስ እንዳለብኝ ግዴታ ተሰምቶኝ ነው። በተለይም ከሙታን ሀገር በሚላኩልን ደብዳቤዎች የሚተላለፉ የክፋትና የአሉባልታ ዝባዝንኬዎችን እየተመረዝን በመካከላችን ሰላምን ስላጣን፣ የሀገራችንንም ትንሳዔ እየራቀብን ስለመጣ፣ በኢትዮጵያዊነት ስም “እባካችሁ ገንቢ በሆነ ጉዳዮች ላይ እንነጋገር፣ መሰዳደብ፣ መዘላለፍ፣ ሰዎችን አውርዶ መጣልንና፣ የሰዎችን ስብዕና ዱቄት ማድረግ፣ አልፎ ተርፎም የማናውቀውን ነገር ቀነጣጥበን በወሬ የ”ባቢሎን ግንብ” እየሰራን የሞት አዝመራ ማዝመሩን ይብቃን፣፡ ይልቅስ አባቶች ያወረሱንን የኢትዮጵያዊነት አብነት ማለትም ስለሕያውነት፣ ሰውን ስለማዳን፣ ስለ መልካሙ፣ ስለቀናው ጉዳይ፣ ስለይቅርታ፣ በብርሃን ስለመመላላስ፣ ስለመማርና ጥበብን ስለመገብየት እንሽቀዳደም” ብዬ ለወገኖቼ የዜግነት ጥሪ ለማስተላለፍና ይኸንን የሚያሳዝን አጋጣሚ ቢያንስ የምንማማርበትና ወደፊት ከተመሳሳይ ማህበራዊ ዝቅጠት ውስጥ እንዳንወቅድ የምንመለከትበት ጥሩ መነጽርና፣ አስረጅ መጠቀሜ ነው።

ለ. በጽሁፉ ስለቀረቡት ግለሰቦች።

1ኛ. እናታችን እማማ ውድነሽ አምሳሉ፦ በእውነት እኒህ እናት ታላቅ ኢትዮጵያዊና የሀገር አንጡራ ሀብት ናቸው። ጸሀፊው በጽሁፋቸው ስለእኒህ ግለሰብ ማንነት ካሰፈሩትም በላይ እናታችን አንደበተ ርቱዕ፣ የውስጥ ነጻነትን የተቀዳጁ፣ የሚመስላቸውን የሚጠይቁ፣ እውነትን ለማግኘት፣ የእምነት ትጥቃቸውን ታጥቀው፣ የእውነትን ጦር በተገኘው ሁኔታ ከመስበቅ ወደ ኋላ የማይሉ፣ በመምሰል ካባ ተጀቡኖ በሚኖር አለም ውስጥ ራሳቸውን ሆነው የሚኖሩ ኢትዮጵያዊ ናቸው። እንደ እውነቱም እማማ ውድነሽ ኢትዮጵያውያን በበለጠ ለያውቋቸው የሚገባ የጠለቀ የመንፈሳዊና የአለም እውቀት ያካበቱ የነጠሩ ምሁር፣ ታላቅ እናት፣ የቤተክርስቲያናችን ዋልታ፣ መካሪ፣ ዘካሪ ናቸው። ስለኢትዮጵያ ያላቸው መቆርቆር፣ ለኢትዮጵያ ኦርቶዶክስ ተዋሕዶ ቤተ ክርስቲያን ያላቸው ቀናኢነት፣ ወጣቱ ትውልድ ሊማረው የሚገባ ሲሆን ደከመኝ፣ ታከተኝ ሳይሉ ወገንን ለመርዳት፣ የአለም ፈተናና ዕድሜ ሳያግዳቸው በነፍስ አድን የወገን ጥሪ፣ ለልጆች ተስፋ ለመሆን፣ በቤተ ክርስቲያን ደህንነት ዙሪያ፣ በደብረ ገነት መድኃኔ ዓለም መጠንከር አቢይና ለተቀባይ ትውልድ የሚዘከሩ ጉልህ ስራዎችን የሚሰሩ እናት ናቸው። በዚህ ሁኔታ በሚያደርጉት ሁሉ የሚመለከተውና ኣርኣያ የሚሆነው ላጣው ትውልድ ተምሳሌት የሚሆኑ ታላቅ ኢትዮጵያዊ ናቸው። የዛሬው ትውልድ ኢትዮጵያውያን አለመታደላችን ከሚገለጽበት አንዱ መንገድ እንደዚህ ያሉ ሊመክሩንና ሊገስጹን የሚችሉ እናቶችንና አባቶችን እየቀረብን አውቀናቸው ከአንደበታቸው የሚገኘውን ፍሬ ከናፍር አዳምጠን መማር ጥበብን መገብየት አለመቻላችን ነው። ሲነግሩንም አናዳምጣቸውም። ልዑል እግዚአብሔር እናታችንን በጤንነት፣ በዕድሜ በጸጋ ይጠብቅልን!

2ኛ. መምህር ቀሲስ ዘበነ ለማ፦ በደብረ ገነት መድኃኔ ዓለም የቤተ ክርስቲያኑ አስተዳዳሪ ናቸው። ጸሀፊው አቶ “ምትኩ” ኢትዮጵያዊና ክርስቲያናዊ ትሕትና በጎደለው አጻጻፍ “ዘበነ” እያሉ በስድና በብልግና አጠራር እንዳቃለሏቸው ሳይሆን መምህር ቀሲስ ዘበነ ለማ በወጣትነት ዕድሜያቸው “አንቱ” መባልን ያተረፉ፣ በወንጌል ገበሬነታቸው ብዙ ሺ ወጣቶችን ወደ ሕያው ጎዳና መልሰው በክርስቶስ የመዳንን ተስፋ ያስጨበጡ፣ ደከመኝ ሰለቸኝ ሳይሉ የህይወትን ቃል የሚዘሩ፣ በደብረ ገነት መድኃኔ ዓለም መንፈሳዊ ጉባዔ ውስጥ ካላቸው ሃላፊነት ባሻገር በሁለት የተለያዩ ቦታዎች (በአሌክዛንደሪያ፣ ቨርጅኒያና በሲልቨርስፕሪንግ ሜሪላንድ) የወንጌል ስብከት የሚሰጡባቸው ወንበሮች ዘርግተው ለብዙ ሺ ወጣቶች የመንፈስን ትጥቅ የሚያስታጥቁ፣ በቤሪያ ጉባዔ የወንጌል ትምህርት ለብዙዎች የነፍስ ምግብ እየሰጡ የኮተኮቱ፣ እንዲሁም ዛሬ በክርስቶስ ተከታዮች ላይ ከጨለማው ሰፈር በተለያዩ ሜዲያዎች የተቃጣውን ነፍስን የሚሰቅዝ ከፍተኛ የሆነ የመንፈስ ጦርነት ለመዋጋት በሬዲዮና በኢንተርኔት የወንጌልን ስብከትን እያካሄዱ ለኢትዮጵያ ኦርቶዶክስ ቤተ ክርስቲያንና ለአማኞቿ አለኝታና በመሆን ስማቸውንና አንገታቸውን በአደባባይ አውጠው ሰጠው ራሳቸውን በመንፈሳዊ እስጢፋኖስነት አቅርበው ሰማዕት እየሆኑ ያሉና ከየአቅጣጫው በኦርቶዶክስ ቤተ ክርስቲያን ላይ የሚዘምቱ የሞት ፊታውራሪዎችን የሚፋለሙ ዕንቁ የቤተ ክርስቲያን ልጅ፣ የሚመኩባቸው፣ የሚያኮሩ ኢትዮጵያዊ የመንፈስ ወንድም ናቸው።

መምህር ዘበነ ዛሬ ከምዕራቡ ዓለም በሚመነጩ የእምነት ሰደዶች ከፍተኛ የሆነ ጥቃት እየተሰነዘረባት ያለችዋን የኢትዮጵያ ኦርቶዶክስ ተዋሕዶ ቤተ ክርስቲያንን ለመታደግ የነፍስ ጥሪ ሆኖባቸው ከላይ ታች የሚማስኑና የሚደክሙ፣ እንደ መጥምቁ ዮሐንስ በምድረ በዳ ከሚጮሁ እፍኝ የማይሞሉ ወጣት ወንጌላውያንና ሰባኪያን አንዱ ናቸው። በርግጥም የጎደለውን ከመቁጠርና የግለሰቡን ስብዕና ከማጥቆር፣ የሞላውንና ያደረጉትን ሙከራ ለሚመለከት መምህር ዘበነ ለኦርቶዶክስ አማኞች ባለውለታ ናቸው። አሁንም እኒህን ታላቅ ወጣት መንፈሳዊ መሪ በዕድሜ፣ በጤና ጠብቆ፣ በመክሊታቸው ላይ መክሊትን አብዝቶ፣ ለኛም የበለጠ እንዲመግቡን፣ ለሳቸውም የበለጠውን ሰማያዊ የድል አክሊል እንዲያጎናጽፍልን ሁሉም ነገር የማይሳነውን ቸሩን መድኃኔ ዓለምን እማጸናለሁ፡፡ እኒህ መንፈሳዊ አባት ለቤተ ክርስቲያኑ በሰጡት ላቅ ያለ አገልግሎት ከቤተ ክርስቲያኗ ምዕመናን በተመረጡ ታላላቅ አባቶችና እናቶች ተመርጠው ለላቀ አገልግሎት ዕውቅና ካገኙ አራት ካህናት ውስጥ አንዱ መሆናቸውን መገንዘብ ከፈለጉ ከ2007-2009 በስራ ላይ የነበረው የባአደራ ቦርድ ለአባላቱ ባቀረበው የስራ አፈጻጸም ሪፖርት ላይ ሊመለከቱ ይችላሉ። በነገራችን ላይ መምህር ዘበነ እንደ ሁላችንም የሚሳሳቱ ሰው ናቸው፣ ይኸንንም ስለሚያውቁ በግልም ይሁን በአውደ ምህረት ላይ ለሰራሁት፣ ለበደልሁት “ይቅር በሉኝ” ብለው ይቅርታን የሚጠይቁ፣ ይቅርታን የሚያስተምሩ፣ መክሊታቸውም እንደ መጽሐፉ አባባል “30፣ 60፣ 100” የሚሆን ያማረ ፍሬ የሚይዝላቸው መምህር ናቸው።

3ኛ. ጸሀፊው አቶ “ምትኩ ይመር”፦ “ምትኩ ይመር” በሚል ስም የሚታወቁ በደብረ ገነት መድኃኔ ዓለም ቤተ ክርስቲያን አባል የሉም። የተጠቀሱት ጉዳዮች ሲፈጸሙና ሲነገሩ በአባልነት ተሳትፈው ጉዳዩን የተከታተሉና የሚያውቁ ግለሰብ አልነበሩምም፣ የሉምም። እንደመሰለኝ ጸሀፊው የብዕር ስም ተጠቅመው እነደጻፉት አስባለሁ። በእውን በዚህ ስም የሌሉ ግን በብዕር ስም ተደብቀው የሚጽፉ ከሆነ ከወዲሁ የጻፉበት አላማና ሊያስተላፉ የሞከሩት መልዕክት ሁሉ ጥያቄ ውስጥ ይገባል። ምክንያቱም መደበቁ የፍርሃትና የሸፍጥ ብሎም የሸንጎኛነት ምልክት ስለሆነ ነው።
የብዕር ስም በሥነ-ጽሁፍ አለም ውስጥ ለጥቅም የሚውልበት የራሱ ምክንያት አለው። የስነ ጽሁፍ አለም እውነትንና የፈጠራን ስራ ስለሚያካትት የብዕር ስም ደራሲያን ቢጠቀሙበት ስራቸው ፈጠራም ስለሚኖርበት ተቀባይነት ያለውና አንዳንዴም ገበያቸውን ለመጨመር ነው። እውነት አርነት ታወጣሃለች የሚል ሀይማኖት ለሚከተልና እውነትን ለሚሻ ጸሀፊ ግን ብርሃኑን ሸሽቶ ከጨለማ አምባ ስሙኝ ማለት ይቸግራል። እንደገባኝ ጸሀፊው “ምትኩ ይመር” የሚል የጨለመ ትንቢትን የተሸከመ ስም ያወጡት ካስተላለፉት መልዕክት አንጻር የመምህር ዘበነ ለማን ከደብረ ገነት መነሳትና በሌላ መተካት አጥብቀው ስለሚመኙ “በሱ ምትክ የሚመጣው ይመርልን” በሚል ከንቱ የልባቸውን ፍላጎት በውስጠ ታዋዊነት ማስደመጣቸው ይመስለኛል። ተሳስቼ ከሆነ ይቅርታ እየጠየቅሁ “ምትኩ ይመር” በሚል ስም የሚታወቁ በእውን ታውቀው የሚኖሩ ግለሰብ ካሉ በክርስቶስ ወንድም አድርጌ የማከብርዎ፣ መሆኑን እንዲያውቁልኝ እፈልጋለሁ። ይኸንን የአጸፋ መልስ እንድሰጥዎ ያስገደደኝ ያስነበቡን የጭንቀትና የጠብ ድግስን የሚነግር ደብዳቤ በ”ሀመር ፈረስ” ተጭኖ የመጣ ከሙታን ምድር የተቀኘ ያልተዋጣለት ቅኔ ሆኖ በጥላቻና በክፍፍል መንፈስ ተሞልቶ ከጥቅሙ ጉዳቱ አመዝኖ ስላየሁትና እኩይነቱ ስለሚያውክና ስለሚያስተክዝ ብሎም ወደ ነፍስ ውስጥ ገብቶ ስለሚመርዝ ለአንባቢያን የጽሁፉን ማህበራዊ እሴትና ጠቀሜታ መመዘን የሚያስችላቸው ተጨማሪ መረጃ ለማቀበል ነው። በዚህ አጋጣሚ የደብረ ገነት መድኃኔ ዓለም ምዕመናን በይቅርታ መንገድ ወደ ሕያዋንን ሀገር መጓዝን መርጠን፣ በይቅር ምንተእግዚአብሔር ፍቅርን ተላብሰን የሰላም የወይን ፍሬ እየተመገብን መሆኑን አቶ “ምትኩ ይመር” እንዲያውቁትም ለመግለጽ እፈልጋለሁ።

ሐ. መታረም የሚገባቸው አቢይ ስህተቶች
1ኛ. ጸሀፊው በጽሁፋቸው ላይ በደብረ ገነት መድኃኔ ዓለም የአባላት ስብሰባ ላይ እናታችን እማማ ውድነሽ “….በስብሰባው ላይ ልትገኝም አይገባህም፣ በነጻነት እንወያይበት” ብለዋል የሚል ሀረግ አስቀምጠዋል። በቅድሚያ የተከበሩ እናታችን ይኸንን አላሉም፣፡ “ይኸን አልሽ ተባለ” ቢባሉ እንኳን በጣም ያዝናሉ። አንድም ካህናት በስብሰባችን ሊገኙ አይችሉም የሚል መንፈስም በንግግራቸው ውስጥ ስላልጨመሩ፣ በሁለተኛ ደረጃም ህጉን ጠንቅቀው ስለሚያውቁት ይኸንን አይነት ያለአዋቂ አባባል ሊሉ እንደማይችሉ ስለሚያውቁት ነው። ጸሀፊው በዚህ ግድፈታቸው እናታችንን ያለቦታቸው ከማዋል ባሻገር የቤተ ክርስቲያናችንን የአባላት ጉባዔ የሌለውን ስም ሰጥተውታል።እማማ ውድነሽ ቤተ ክርስቲያኗ አሁን የምትተዳደርበትን መተዳደሪያ ደንብ ሲዘጋጅ በጸሀፊነት አገልግለዋል።በዚሁ ለ3ኛ ጊዜ ተሻሽሎ በቀረበው የቤተ ክርስቲያኗ መተዳደሪያ ደንብ ውስጥ አንቀጽ 3፡ሀ፡ክፍል 4፡ “ጠቅላላ ጉባዔ ማለት ይህን ደንብ የሚያከብሩ ካህናቱንና አባላቱን ያጠቃለለ ነው።” ይላል። በዚህ ህግ መሰረት ለአመታት በርካታ ስብሰባዎች ሲካሄዱ የካህናት በጠቅላላ ጉባኤ ሙሉ ተካፋይነታቸው ጥያቄ ውስጥ ገብቶ አያውቅም። የእናታችን አስተያየትም ይህ አልነበረም። አቶ “ምትኩ” ይኸንን ያህል ለደብረ ገነት ዋቢ ጠበቃ ሆነው ሲናገሩና የቤተ ክርስቲያናችንን አሰራር እንዲህ በቅርብ የሚያውቁ ከሆነ እንዴት የቤተ ክርስቲያኗን መተዳደሪያ ደንብ በትክክል ማወቅ ተሳናቸው? ካህናት ሳይኖሩበት የተደረገው ስብሰባ መቼ ነው? እናታችንን እንዲህ ካወቋቸው እንዴት በዚህ ስብሰባ የተናገሩትን አቢይና ትክክለኛ መልዕክት ለአንባቢያን ማቅረብ ቸገራቸው? በጣም ይገርማል!

የማናውቀውን ስንጽፍ ለኛም ለሌሎችም ፈተናንና ውዥንብርን የምንፈጥረው ለዚህ ነው። በርግጥም ጸሀፊ የሚጽፈው የሚዋጣለትና ፍሬ የሚይዝ የሚያውቀውን ሲጽፍ ብቻ ነውና ወደፊትም ስለሚያውቁትና በትክክል በማስረጃ በሚቀርብ ነገር ዙሪያ ቢጽፉ ድካምዎ ጣፋጭ ፍሬ እንደሚይዝ እመክራለሁ።

2ኛ. ጸሀፊው አቶ ምትኩ “የቤተ ክርስቲያኒቷ ምእመናን ላይ “ነግ በኔ” የሚል ከፍተኛ ጭንቀትና ሥጋት አሳድሯል።” ብለው ስላሰፈሩት ጉዳይ ይመለከታል። አቶ “ምትኩ ይመር” የደብረ ገነትን መድኃኔ ዓለምን ምዕመናን ቢያውቋቸው ኖሮ ይኸንን ደግመው አይጽፉትም ነበር። “እሱ ነው የጻፈው” ተብለውም መታወቅም አይፈልጉም። ምናልባትም በብዕር ስም ጽፈው ከሆነ ስለማያውቁን ምዕመናን ያለዎት ግምት ኃፍረትን ስለሚያመጣ የጨለማ ስም መምረጥዎ ጥሩ መደበቂያ ይሆንዎታል። ቤተ ክርስቲያናችን እንደ እማማ ውድነሽ የከበሩና ከፍተኛና የጠለቀ እውቀትንና ጥበብን ያካበቱ ምዕመናን አምልኮተ እግዚአብሔር የሚፈጽሙበት፣ በጠቅላላው ምዕመናኑ ሰላምን ፈላጊ፣ ጠንካራዎች፣ ለጋሶች፣ ያላቸውን ሁሉ ለቤተ ክርስቲያናቸው በመስጠት የኢትዮጵያ ኦርቶዶክስ ተዋሕዶ ቤተ ክርስቲያን በሀገረ አሜሪካ አብርታ የምትታወቅበትን መንገድ የሚያመቻቹ ናቸው። የቤተክርስቲያኗ አስተዳደርም በቀለጠፈና በተመሰከረለት ሁኔታ ስራውን የሚያከናውንና በዘረጋው የሰከነነና የተደራጀ አካሄድ የሚደነቅ ሲሆን በጠቅላላው የቤተ ክርስቲያኑ ማህበረሰብ ሰላምን በመሻት ረገድ የሚያደርገው ጥረትና ስኬታማ የተመላበት ጉዞው ለሌሎች በፈተና ላይ ላሉ አብያተ ክርስቲያናት አርኣያ የሚሆን ነው።

የደብረ ገነት ምዕመናን በጥቃቅኑ ጉዳይ ሁሉ የጽሁፉ አቅራቢ እንደጠቀሱት “በከፍተኛ ጭንቀትና ሥጋት” እንቅልፍ የሚያጡ ሳይሆኑ፣ በቤተ ክርስቲያኗ ውስጥ በተዘረጉት የመስተዳድር ዘርፎች ማለትም የአስተዳደር ቦርድ፣ የካህናት ጉባዔና የመንፈሳዊ ጉባዔ አማካኝነት የቤተ ክርስቲያኗን ጉዳዮች በተገቢው መንገድ እልባት እየሰጡ ሰላማቸውን የሚያራምዱ ድንቅና ግሩም ሰዎች ናቸው።

የደብረ ገነት መድኃኔ ዓለም ምዕመናን ቤተ ክርስቲያናቸው በግለሰቦች የምትመካ ሳትሆን ክርስቶስ መሰረቷ ሆኖ የጸናች፣ አለም ሳይፈጠር የነበረው፣ አለምን አሳልፎ የሚኖረው ኃያል ፈጣሪ ክቡር ስሙ ተጠርቶ መንፈስ ቅዱስ የሚከብርባት፣ ማንኛውንም የሰው ሰውኛ ፈተና መቋቋም የምትችል መሆኑን ያምናሉ። ብዙ ውጣውረድም አሳልፈዋል። በአሸናፊነትም ተወጠዋል። እንዲህ “መድኃኔ ዓለም ረድኤታችን ነው” ብለው የሚያምኑ ምዕመናንን ነው ጸሀፊው በጭንቀትና በሥጋት የሚወጥሯቸው። በእውነት እንዲህ ማሰብ የምዕመናኑን ጉባዔና እያንዳንዱን አባል (አቶ “ምትኩ” አባል ከሆኑ ራሳቸውንም ጨምሮ) መተረብ ነው። ይህ የምዕመናን ጉባዔ ነው ዛሬም መምህር ዘበነ ለማን የቤተ ክርስቲያኗ ምክትል አስተዳዳሪ እንደሆኑ ተቀብሎ፣ አምኖበት፣ ጉባኤው አለቃ እስኪሰይም ድረስ መንፈሳዊውን ክፍል እንዲመሩ አውቋቸው የሚኖረው። ይህ እኔ ስለጻፍኩት ሳይሆን ላላንቀላፋ (ከሙታን ምድር ላልሆነ) የሚያየው የሚመሰክረው ጉዳይ ነው። የደብረ ገነት መድኃኔ ዓለም ምዕመናን ይኸንን ባይፈልጉ ለቤታቸው የሚበጀውን ከማድረግ እጃቸውን የሚይዘው፣ ወይም የሚያስፈራቸው አንዳች ነገር የለም።

3ኛ. ጸሀፊው ስለዘገቧቸው በቤተክርስቲያናችን ስለተፈጠሩት ክስተቶች፦
“በምኒልክ ዘመን የደነቆረ ምኒልክ ይሙት እንዳለ ይኖራል” ሆኖ ነው እንጂ ዛሬ ስለደብረ ገነት መድኃኔ ዓለም መዘገብ ለሚፈልግ የወገን ተቆርቋሪ የሆነ ማንኛውም ግለሰብ የዛሬ 6 ወር ያለፈ ያረጀ ዜና ከመተረክ ዛሬ በዚህ አስቸጋሪ ጊዜ ቤተ ክርስቲያኗ በመተዳደሪያ ደንቧ እየተመራች እንዴት በሰላም መንገድ እንደምትጓዝና በማኔጅመንትና አስተዳደር አሰራር የዘረጋቸውን ቅልጥፍና የተመላበት አሰራር ምን እንደሚመስል በማጥናት ለሌሎች አብያተ ክርስቲያናት ትምህርት በሚሆንበት ሁኔታ ላይ በተቸና፣ በጻፈ ነበር። ግን ለዚህ አልታደል ብለን ገና ከሙታን ምድር የተላኩ ደብዳቤዎችን እያነበብን ያለን ትውልድ ነን። ለዚህ የአጸፋ ምላሽ ጽሁፍ መነሻውም እንዲሁ ሁከትን ያነገበ የሙታን ምድር ደብዳቤ በኢንተርኔት መበተኑ ነው። አቶ “ምትኩ ይመር” በዘገቧቸው ጉዳዮች ዙሪያ ቤተ ክርስቲያናችን ውስጥ ከ6 ወር በፊት የተፈጠሩትን ጉዳዮች በተመለከተ የቤተ ክርስቲያኑ አስተዳደር፣ የቤተ ክርስቲያኑ የሽምግልና ኮሚቴና፣ የካህናት ጉባዔ በአንድነትና በህብረት መክረውና ዘክረው ለቤተ ክርስቲያኗ የሚበጀውን መፍትሔ ነድፈው፣ በይቅር ምንተእግዜአብሔር ዕርቀሰላም ወርዶ፣ ሁለቱ ግለሰቦች የመንፈስ እናትና የመንፈስ ልጅ ሆነው የሚኖሩበት ጊዜ ነው። (ተሰራ ለተባለው ስህተትና መተላለፍ ሁሉ የጠብ አታሞ የሚያስመታ ነገር፡የለውም። ሁለቱም ታላላቅ የቤተ ክርስቲያናችን ሰዎች ናቸው። በሰውነታቸው ጥፋት ሰርተው ከሆነ ሁሉንም በሚያጥበው በክርስቶስ ደም ተወግዶ ዛሬ የሰላም ዘንባባ በቤታችን ተንዠርግጓል። ወደፊትም ሰዎች በሰውነታቸው የሚሰሯቸው መተላለፎች ይኖራሉ፣ አሉም፣ ሰው ከስህተት ውጭ ታስቦ አያውቅም። እግዚአብሔር ብቻ ፍጹም ነው። ይኸንን አቶ “ምትኩ” አስረግጠው ሊያውቁት ያስፈልጋል።) እንዲህ ያለ የሰላምና የይቅርታን ጥሩ መንፈስ በቤተ ክርስቲያናችን ያለ መሆኑን መዘገብ ለአንባብያን ጆሮ የሚጣፍጥ ዜና ማቀበል ይሆን ነበር። ከዚህ ይልቅ አቶ “ምትኩ” በምትኩ ለግርግርና ለፍጥጫ ጋብዘውናል – “ሳይቃጠል በቅጠል” እያሉ! የሚቃጠል ነገር አላየንም። ክብር ምስጋና ይድረሰውና ቸሩ መድኃኔ ዓለም ሁልጊዜም ወደ ብርሃኑ እየመራ ዛሬ ከደረስንበት አድርሶናል።

መ. የቤተ ክርስቲያናችንን ችግር ማን እንደሚፈታልን …
ጸሀፊው በቤተ ክርስቲያናችን አሰራር ዙሪያ አንተርሰው በመምህር ዘበነ ሥልጣን ዙሪያ ያሉብንን ችግሮች ለመፍታት የሊቃውንትን – ስም ጠቅሰው ሲጋብዙ ተነበዋል። ዛሬ ሊቃውንት የሚሰባሰቡ የደብረ ገነት መድኃኔ ዓለምን ችግር ለመፍታት ነው? “ዝሆኑን አስወስዶ በጭራው መጣላት” እንዳይሆን ያስፈራል። ዛሬ የኢትዮጵያ ኦርቶዶክስ ተዋሕዶ ቤተ ክርስቲያን ከላይ እስከታች ፈተና በዝቶባት በምታቃትትበት ወቅት የሊቃውንት መጋበዝ በአንዷ ቤተ ክርስቲያን ችግር ላይ ለመፈላሰፍና ለመጠበብ ነው? ይልቅስ ቤተ ክርስቲያናችን በሲኖዶስ ችግር ስትፈተን ሊቃውንት ስለበጎው ነገር ስለቀናው ነገር ቢመካከሩ አይሻልም? በነገራችን ላይ ቤተ ክርስቲያናችን ያላትን የመስተዳደር ጉዳይ፣ መንፈሳዊም ይሁን አስተዳደራዊ በሚገባ በተዘረጉት የመስተዳድር መዋቅሮች በመጠቀም የምትፈታ ስለሆነች የተጋበዙትን ቀሲስ ምክር አትሻም። ጸሀፊው ለጠቀሷቸው ክስተቶች መፍትሔ ለመፍታት ደግሞ ከሰው ይልቅ የልዑል እግዚአብሔርን አጋዥነት ለምነን ብዙ ወደፊት ገስግሰናል።

በርግጥ ከእከሌ ከእከሌ ሳይል በጠቅላላው በኦርቶዶክስ ቤተ ክርስቲያናችን ዙሪያ ያለው ችግር እንዲፈታ የሊቃውንትና የጠበብት፣ የካህናትና በሙሉ የቲኦሎጂ ተመራማሪዎች፣ የላቁ አባቶችና እናቶች መምከርና ከፈተናው መውጣት በሚቻልበት ጉዳይ ላይ ህብረትን አንድነትን መሻት መወያየት አልፎ ተርፎም ውጤት ማስመዝገብ ያሻል። ከሁሉም በላይ ግን ለችግሩ ሁሉ መፍትሔ ለሆነው “ሰላማችሁን እንኩ” ለሚል ክርስቶስ ሁላችንም የምንገዛ ከሆነ ከጳጳሳት እስከ ዲያቆናት እስከ ምዕመናን ድረስ በደሙ የዋጃት የአንዲት ቤተ ክርስቲያን ልጆች የሆንን ሁሉ በተቀደሰና በሰከነ፣ ትሕትና በተመላበት መንገድ ወደ አምላካችን እጆቻችንን ዘርግተን፣ እንደ ነነዌ ሰዎች አልቅሰን ጾመን፣ ቤተ ክርስቲያናችንን ወደ ቀደመ ክብሯ የመመለስ ሰማያዊና ምድራዊ አደራ፣ ሃላፊነትና ግዴታ አለብን።

ይህ አንኳር የሆነው የጠቅላላ የቤተ ክርስቲያኗ ችግር ሳይፈታ በጎን ግን እከሌ የእከሌን ችግር ይፍታው፣ እከሌ ጠበብት ይጠየቅ እያሉ አንዱን በአንዱ ላይ ማነሳሳት ግን ለሰላም ከቆመ ዜጋ የሚጠበቅ አይደለም።

ሠ. እውን የመምህር ዘበነ ቅስና ተቀባይነት አለውን?
የመምህር ቀሲስ ዘበነ ለማንም ሆነ የእያንዳንዱን ካህን ብቃት በተመለከተ በኢንተርኔት የሚያፈራርድ ምንም ምክንያት የለም። ሁላችንም የማንዘነጋው ከሁሉም በላይ የአንድን ካህን ሥልጣነ-ክህነት የሚያጸድቅለት ዋና ሿሚና፣ ቅባቱን የሚያፈስ የህያውነት ምንጭ ሊቀ ካህናቱ ጌታችን አምላካችን ኢየሱስ ክርስቶስ ነው። በክርስቶስ ስም ያልከበረ ሊቀ ካህናቱ ያልተቀበለው ክህነት ሲነባበር ቢውል የፈሰሰ ውሀ አያቀናም። በርግጥም ፍትሐ ነገስቱና የቤተ ክርስቲያናችን ሥርዓትና ቀኖና በሚፈቅደው መሰረት ካህናት ክህነታቸውን መቀበል፣ ማክበር፣ ተገቢውን የክህነት ብቃት ማሟላት ይኖርባቸዋል። ለኛ ምዕመናን ግን ለዘመናት በካህናት ፊት ቀርበን፣ በእጃቸው ተባርከን፣ የያዙትን የክርስቶስ መስቀል ተሳልመን ስንሄድ የበለጠውና በመንፈስ አይናችን የምናየው “ከበደን” ወይም “አበበ” ወይም ‘ሙሉጌታ” ወዘተ የተባለ ሰው ሰርቲፊኬት ይዞ ቆሞ ሳይሆን የሊቀ ካህናቱን ውክልና ይዞ የዘላለማዊ ሕያውነትን መንፈስ ተላብሶ፣ መስቀል ይዞ፣ በልዑል እግዚአብሔር ስም “ይፍታህ” ብሎ የክርስቶስን የድህነትን የተስፋ ቃል የሚመግበንን የክርስቶስ ወኪል ነው። ለምዕመናን ወደ ቤተክርስቲያን ስንመጣ፣ ለጸሎት፣ ለምስጋና፣ ለንስሀ እጃችንን ስንዘረጋ በልባችን ጽላት የተጻፈው ሰማያዊውን ውል የተፈራረምነው ከአንዱ አምላክ ከመድኃኔ ዓለም እንጂ ከግለሰቦችም አይደለም። እንደ እውነቱም በየደብሩ፣ በየቤተ ክርስቲያኑ በየገዳሙ ሄደን ለነፍሳችን አስቤዛ ስንሸምት ነፍሳችንን ሐሴት የምታደርገው እከሌ የሚባለውን ሰርቲፊኬት ያለውን ለማግኜት ሳይሆን በሁሉም ቦታ ሆኖ ለሚጠብቀን ለሚታደገን ኤልሻዳይ አምላክ ባለን መታመን ተከልለን ነው።

የኢትዮጵያ ኦርቶዶክስ ተዋሕዶ ምዕመናን ካህናት እከሌ ሰርቲፊኬት አለው የለውም የሚል አይነት ቋንቋ እየተነጋገሩ ካህናትንም ኑ እንመርምራችሁ፣ እናጣራ እያሉ የጠየቁበት ታሪክ የላቸውም። እምነታቸው በቂ ጋሻ ናትና!! በእምነት ድልድያቸው እየተሸጋገሩ በካህናት ላይ ሙሉ እምነት እያሳደሩ አምላካቸውን እያመለኩ ኖረዋል። በርግጥ ካህናት በቂ የሆነ ለክሀነት የሚያበቃ ስልጠና፣ ትምህርት፣ መባረክ፣ መመረቅ፣ ሊኖራቸው ያስፈልጋል። ካህናት የኢትዮጵያ ኦርቶዶክስ ተዋሕዶ ቤተ ክርስቲያን ባላት አሰራር ውስጥ አልፈው ክህነታቸውን ማግኘት ይኖርባቸዋል። ይህ የቤተ ክህነት የአሰራር መዋቅር በሚፈቅደው መንገድ የሚሰራ ነው።( በርግጥ ዛሬ በቤተ ክርስቲያናችን ውስጥ ያለው የአመራር መፈረካከስና ያስከተለውን ግርግርና ውዥንብር ከግምት ያስገቧል። ችግራችን እዚያም ላይ አለ፣ ይልቅስ ይኸን ነው መፍታት፣ እንዴት ወደ አንድ መንፈስ እንደምንመጣ!)።

የቤተ ክርስቲያናችን አንዱ ጥንካሬዋና የመጎልበቷ መገለጫም ሊቃውንቶቿ የረቀቁና የመጠቁ መሆናቸውና ኢትዮጵያዊ የሆነ ወጥ አስተሳሰብና የሐይማኖት ፍልስፍናና እይታ ያላቸው ስለሆኑ ነው። በጸሀፊው ጽሁፍ ውስጥ አንድ አውሮፓዊ ስለ ኢትዮጵያውያን ሊቃውንት ባሉት ነጥብ እስማማለሁ። ሊቃውንቶቻችን ያወቁ፣ የነቁ፣ የተጠበቡ ናቸው። ወደፊትም ይኸው አካሄድ በበለጠ ተጨምሮበት፣ መቀጠል አለበት። የእድገት ምልክቱ ባለው ላይ አሻሽሎ መገኘት ነው። ለቤተ ክርስቲያናችን መበልጸግ አሁንም ለሙያው ብቃት የሌላቸውና በአግባቡ የክህነት ሥልጠናና ሹመት የሌላቸው ካህናት ካሉ ልቦና እንዲሰጣቸውና ወደሚችሉት ሙያ እንዲሰማሩ ያስፈልጋል።

የደብረ ገነት መድኃኔ ዓለም ምዕመናን የቀሲስ ዘበነን ሥልጣነ-ክህነት እንደሌሎች ካህናቶቻችንና በሌላም ደብር እንደሚባርኩን ካህናት አውቀነው ተቀብለን፣ አምነንበት ካህኑ የአምላካችንን ስም ጠርተው “አሀዱ አብ…” ብለው ቅዳሴ እየቀደሱ፣ እየባረኩን ፣ ነፍሳችን ኃሴት እያደረገች አለን፣ ሰላምም አለን። በአጋጣሚ ደግሞ ዛሬ (11/15/09) ቀሲስ ዘበነ በዋና ቀዳሺነት አገልግለው፣ ባርከውን፣ አቁርበውን ደስ ብሎን ወደ ቤታችን ተመልሰናል። ታዲያ እውነታው ይኸ ሆኖ ሳለ፣ እኒህ ካህን ፍሬያቸውን እያየን በምንኖርበት በአሁኑ ሰዓት አቶ “ምትኩ” የሚያደርጉት በእምነታችን ውስጥ የጥርጣሬ መርዝና፣ የወሬ “H1N1” የሚበትን የነገር ቋት ከደጃችን ላይ አምጥቶ መጣል፣ ትርጉም የሚያጣ የጨለማ ጩኸት ነው። ቀሲስ መምህር ዘበነ ለማ እንደሌሎች ካህናት በእምነት ካህናችን አድርገን ተቀብለናቸው፣ በደስታ እያገለገሉን ነው። አቶ “ምትኩ’ ራሳቸው መምህር ዘበነ በሚያገለግሉበት ጊዜ እየተሳተፉ ግን ሥልጣነ ክህነታቸው “አልዋጥ” ስላላቸው ከሆነ የሚጽፉትን የጻፉት ራስን መቃረን ይመስለኛልና ከራሳቸው ጋር እንዲታረቁ ያሻል። የመምህር ዘበነን የክህነተ ሥልጣናቸውን እሴት ዝርዝሩና ውስጠ ነገሩ በካህኑ፣ ዕልቅናውን በሰጧቸው አባት፣ በኢትዮጵያ ኦርቶዶክስ ተዋሕዶ ቤተ ክርስቲያን ሲኖዶስና በተለይም በሊቀ ካህናቱ በኢየሱስ ክርስቶስ እጅ ያለ ነው። እኛ መንፈሳዊ ዕውቀት የሌለን ግን የማንችለውን ነገር ከምንቧጥጥና የሀገራችንንና የቤተ ክርስቲያናችንን ጉዳይ በማይገባው አይነት ለአፈርሳታና ለአሉሽ አሉሽ ከምንዳርግ በቦታችን ሆነን የመድኃኔ፡ዓለም ክርስቶስን ጥበቃ እንለምን። የሚያዋጣው እሱ ስለሆነ!

ጠቅላላውን ጸሀፊው ለእኛ እንኳን ባያስቡልን ለራሳቸው የውስጥ ሰላም ለምን እንደማይጨነቁ አጠይቃለሁ። ምን ለማትረፍ ነው ይሆን? እላለሁ። ግዴለም እኛስ የምድር ሰዎች ትቢያ ስለሆንን ብዙ አያሳስብ ይሆናል። በታላቁ ጌታ በክርስቶስ ስም ተሰይሞ የሚቀድስን አንድ ካህን ሰርቲፊኬት አለው ወይም የለውም ብሎ ለማከራከር በድህረ ገጽ አፈርሳታ ከማውጣትስ በፊት ስለጉዳዩ እውነትነትና አግባብ ያለው አካሄድ በሕሊና ማመላላስ ተገቢ አይሆንም ወይ? እውን እንዲህ የአምላካችንን ስም በከንቱ ለአእምሮአዊ አጠይቆና አሉሽ አሉሽ መዳረግ በእሳት መጫወት አይሆንም ወይ? ሆኖም እንኳን ቢሆን ምነው የቤተ ክህነት አዋቂዎች በአርሞሞና በጸሎት ቢመክሩበት? እኛ ምዕመናን ስለሰማያዊው አለም ያለን ግንዛቤ በጣም ውሱን እንደመሆኑና ካህናት በሚመግቡን የመንፈስ “ወተት” የምናድግ ሆነን ሳለን፣ የከበረውን የቤተ ክርስቲያናችንን ክብርና፣ ህልውና ምነው በአለም ቋንቋ በአደባባይ ባንዘባበትበት? ለእኛ ብዙ ለማናውቀው እምነታችንን ያጠነጠነባቸውን የቤተ ክርስቲያን ምሥጢራት እንዲህ ውል እንደሌለው ልቃቂት ሲጎለጎሉ ስናይ ውስጣችን በውዥንብር እንዲጋይ የታሰበ ይመስላል። ለምን? ማንን ለመጥቀም? አቶ “ምትኩ” እንዲህ ያስነበቡንን ነገር ሲዘክሩ በምን አይነት መልኩ የኢትዮጵያ ኦርቶዶክስ ተዋሕዶ ቤተ ክርስቲያንን ትጠቀማለች ብለው አስበውት ነው? ምነው ነገራችንንና የሕይወት መገለጫችንን ሁሉ “ያላዋቂ ሳሚ” ባናደርገው። በነገራችን ላይ እኒህ ጸሀፊ ለምን እንዲህ ያለ ጽሁፍ ጻፉ ብየ ሳስብ ያገኘሁት በቂ መልስ ባይኖርም፣ ቅዱስ ጴጥሮስ በ1ኛ መልእክቱ ምዕራፍ 5፡(8-9) ላይ፣ “እንግዲህ ዐዋቂዎች ሁኑ፣ ትጉም፣ ጠላታችሁ ጋኔን የሚውጠውን ፈልጎ፣ እንደሚያገሳ አንበሳ ይዞራልና። እርሱንም በእምነት ጸንታችሁ ተቃወሙት፣ እንዲህም ያለ መከራ በዓለም በአሉ ወንድሞቻችሁ ላይ እንደሚፈጸም ዕወቁ” ብሎ የመከረው ትዕይንቱ ከፊቴ ድቅን አለብኝና አዘንኩ። ምናልባት በዓለም በአሉ ወንድሞች ላይ ይፈጸማል የተባለው ፈተና እንዲህ ይሆን ይሆን?፣ የሚውጠውን የሚፈልገውስ የተባለው ጋኔንስ ተሳክቶለት እየዋጠን ይሆን? ብዬም ፈራሁ።

ረ. ምነው የጎደለውን ማጉላት መረጥን?
በጠቅላላው ከዚህ ትርምስምስ ውስጥ ጎልቶ የሚወጣው አንድ ነገር ለምንድነው እንዲህ መራር የሆንነው የሚል ነው፡ ሁላችንም እኮ ስህተት እንሰራለን። ግን የይቅርታ ቋንቋ የት ሄደ? ምነው ጌታችን አምላካችን ኢየሱስ ክርስቶስ “ከባቴ አበሳ” አይደለምን? እውን እንደ ቸርነቱ ስለሚምረን እንጂ የስንታችን ኃጢአት ቀላል ሆኖ በእርሱ ፊት ያቆመናልን? የተበዳደልነውስ ነገር ካለ አጋጣሚውን እየፈለግን በደመኛችን ላይ በጀርባው ጦር ለመውጋት ከምናሰፈስፍ፣ ለምን የበደለንን ሰው መስቀል ተሸክመንለት አንጓዝም? በሮሜ 12፡20-21 ሐዋርያው ጳውሎስ የመከረን በፍቅር ጠላትን የማሸኘነፍን አብነት መቼ እንተረጉመው ይሆን? ክርስትና ትርጉሙስ ከቂም በቀል ነጻነትን ማወጅ አልነበረምን? ታዲያ እንዲህ ቂም በቀልን የሚተፋ ብዕር እንደምን በክርስቶስ ስም ይጽፋል? እውን የኢየሱስን ስም ኃይል ያወቀ እንዲህ ይደፍራል? ለመሆኑ ስንቶቻችን ነን ከኃጢአት ሳንነካካ እንደ በረዶ ነጭ የሆንነው? ስንቶቻችን ነን የመምህር ዘበነን የሰውነት ድክመቶች ናቸው የምንላቸውን በኩራዝ እያፈላለግን እየተነተንን በድረ-ገጽ ትራጂክ ተውኔቶችን ስንጽፍ ሕሊናችን ብሩህ የሚሆንና ሀገራዊ አስተዋጽኦ አደረግን ብለን የምንኮራ? ማነው በማን ላይ የመጀመሪያውን ደንጋይ የሚወረውር? በንጹሐን ደም የታጠቡት እነ ኮሌኔል መንግሥቱና ተባባሪዎቻው በአውሮፓ፣ በአፍሪካ፣ በአሜሪካና በሌሎችም አለማት አለማቸውን እየቀጩና አብረውን እየኖሩ ባሉበት ዘመን ጥሩ የሰሩልንንና ሊያድጉ የሚችሉ ወጣት መሪዎችን የአፍ እላፊያቸውንና ትንንሽ ድክመታቸውን እየቆጠርን በዘመኑ የ”ዲጂታል ድንጋይ” በቁም ስንወግራቸውና በነጋታው ደግሞ ለኢትዮጵያ ትንሳዔ ወደፈጣሪ እሮሮ ስናሰማ የትኛውን ሰምቶ ፈጣሪ አቤት እንደሚለን ለማሰብ ይቸግራል። አንዳንዴ ስራችን አህያውን ትቶ ዳውላውን ይመስላል! የኢትዮጵያን ሕዝብ በቁሙ የሚቀብሩ ስንቶች የሉምን? ለነገሩ “ባልንጀራው ቢያጠቃው ወደሚስቱ ሮጠ” ይባል የለ። ይሁንና እንዲህ እርስ በእርስ እየተጠላለፍን፣ ወንድማችን የሚወድቅበትን ጉድጓድ እየቆፈርን ቀናችንን ስናጠፋ በረከቱም እንደራቀን፣ እንደተቸገርን ውሉ እንደጠፋብን እንቀጥላለን። …..ኦሮማይ!

ሰ. ከሙታን ምድር ቅኔ ዘረፋ የሕያዋን ሀገር ሀ፣ ሁ.. ነፍስን ያለመልማል።
“ሥልጣነ-ክህነት የቂም መወጫ በትር አይደለም” በሚል ርዕስ አቶ “ምትኩ ይመር” የዘገቡልን ጽሁፍ ከየት ሀገር የተላከ ነው ቢባል “ከሙታን አለም” ይሆናል ብዬ እወራረዳለሁ። ምክንያቱም በሕያዋን አለም መድኃኒታችን ኢየሱስ ክርስቶስ በሚገዛው መንግሥት ውስጥ “የአሳደህ በለው” ቋንቋ የለም። በወንጌሉ የሰፈረው ትምህርት ሁሉ ወደቀራንዮ መስቀል፣ ለእኛ ሲል ደሙን ያፈሰሰውን ክርስቶስን ያመለክተናል። እርሱም ዘላለማዊ ሕይወት ለማግኘት ህግጋቱን ፈጽሙ ይላል። የህግጋቱ ሁሉ የበላይ አድርጎ ሁለቶችን ሲመርጥልን፣ አምላክህን ውደድ፣ ጎረቤትህንም ውደድ፣ በእነዚህ በሁለቱ ላይ ህግጋትና ነቢያት ይፈጸማሉ ነበር ያለን። ከሁለቱ የትኛውን ህግ ተጠቅመው ይሆን አቶ “ምትኩ ይመር” ጽሁፋቸውን ያስነበቡን? የትኛው ህግ ነው እራሳቸው አንጋፋ ባሉት ቤተ ክርስቲያን ውስጥ ከፍተኛ አድናቆትን አትርፎ የሚሰብክን ሰባኪ መምህር ከዚህ በታች ለናሙና የተጠቀሱትን ጸያፍ ገለጣዎች ተጠቅሞ ለመናገር የሚያደፋፍራቸው?
“ለስጋ ለገበያና የሚለፈልፍና የሚቀባጥር ካድሬ አይደለህም”
“ሸቀጥ ለተጠቃሚዎች ለመሸጥ እንደሚንገበገብ ማስታወቂያ ተናጋሪ የቃላት ወንጭፍ በጆሮአችን አትወርውር፡”
“በኛ በምእመናን በራሳችን ገንዘብና ማዕድ አትስደበን፡”
“የእግዚአብሔርን ቃል ከማንብነብ ባሻገር”
“እንደ ዘበነ ያሉ አጥፊዎች ….” ወዘተ
እያሉ ተራና መረን የሆኑ የስድብ ውርጅብኙን ያወርዱታል። አዎ! የአቶ “ምትኩ” ደብዳቤ እነዚህንና ሌሎችንም ለጆሮ የሚዘገንኑ የመደዴና የስድነት ባሕሪ የተጠናወታቸውን ሐረጓች ያካተቱ ናቸው።

እንዴት ያለ ክርስትና ነው ካህናትን ሲመዝን “በኛ በምዕመናን በራሳችን ገንዘብ…” እያለ የቅዱሳን አባቶችን አገልግሎት በሥጋዊ ሚዛን የሚለካ? ድሮስ ቢሆን የቤተ ክርስቲያን ሕንጻ በምዕመናን እንጂ በማን ይሰራል? ካህኑማ ስራው መቅደስ ውስጥ ነው። እውን የመንፈስ አባቶች ከሚመግቡን ወርቃማ የሕይወት ቃልና ከሚያገለግሉት አገልግሎት የሚበልጥ እኛ የምንሰጣቸው ነገር ይኖራል? ለመሆኑ በ”እኛ ማዕድ አትስደበን” የሚያሰኝ ምኑ ማዕድ ነው? ከአገልግሎት በኋላ የሚቀርበውን ሙት እህል ነው? ወይስ ይኸ መሰረታዊ የስጋ ፍላጎታቸውን የማይሸፍን ብል የሚበላው አፈር የሚሆን “መደጎሚያ ደመወዝ” እያልን የምንሰጣቸውን ገንዘብ ይሆን? ወይንስ ምኑን እየቆጠርን ይሆን “በኛ በምእመናን በራሳችን ገንዘብ..” እያልን የምንገዳደርና የምንለፋቸው? እግዚኦ ነው! ማንኛውም ቤተ ክርስቲያን ሕያው የሆነ፣ የብዙዎች እጅ እንደ አንድ እየሆነ እየተጣመረ እየሰራው፣ ሃላፊዎች ለአዲሶች እያስረከቡት፣ በቀጣይነት ለትውልድ በሚያልፍበት መንገዱ ተዋቅሮ የሚሄድ በክርስቶስ ደም ላይ የሚታነጽ ዘላለማዊ ውቅር እንጂ እንደ ግል ርስት “የእኔ” እያሉ የሚገዳደሩበት አይደለም። እንዲያውም ሰማየዊው መቅደስማ ሰው የሚሰራው አይደለም፣ በቅድምና የነበረ ነው። ለመሆኑ ሰው ለእግዚአብሔር ቤት የሚበቃ ምን በቂ መባ አግብቶ ቢቆጥር ነው “በእኛ ማዕድ” “በእኛ ገንዘብ እያለ” የሚፎክር? እውን “እኔ ባስገባሁት መባ” እያሉ መገዳደር ለእግዚአብሔር ቤት ይሰራልን? ለእግዚአብሔር የሚያስደስተው የተሰበረ ልብ እንጂ ክፋት እንደቡና ከሚያፈላ ልብ የመጣን እምክ እምክ የሚል ዶላር አይደለም። ልባችን ሳይነጻ፣ ወንድሞቻችንን እየበደልንና ካህናትን በስጋዊ እይታ እየለፈፍን የምናቀርበውን መባና “የእኛ ገንዘብ..ማዕድ” እያልን የምንመካበት ገንዘብ በአምላካችን ፊት እንደ ፋንድያ የሚቆጠር ይመስለኛል። በመሰረቱ ቤተ እግዚአብሔር በግል መንፈስ መነካካትም የለበትም፣ ቤተ ክርስቲያን ሲታሰብ ሥጋ መገነዝ አለበት። ነፍስ ብቻ እግዚአብሔርን ታገልግል። ከዚህ ውጭ እንዲያው በሙታን አለም መመላለስ ነው!

ለነገሩ ለቤተ ክርስቲያናችን ዕድገትና ግንባታስ ቢሆን መምህር ዘበነ ለደብረ ገነት ህንጻ መሰራትና በጠቅላላ የቤተ ክርስቲያኑ ሞገስና ክብር መጨመር ያደረጉትን አስተዋጽኦ ምን እንደሆነ አቶ “ምትኩ” ያውቃሉ? ለደብረ ገነት ግንባታ መምህር ዘበነ ያደረጉት ተዋጽኦ ቀላል ነውን? የደብረ ገነት አባል ቢሆኑ የተናገሩትን ለመናገር አይደፍሩም። አዎን ደብረ ገነት ከ30 ዓመት በላይ ሲለፉ፣ ሲማስኑ፣ ሲወድቁ፣ ሲነሱ ከሌላቸው ቆርሰው እየሰጡ ቤቱን ከአሁኑ ደረጃ እንዲደርስ የገነቡ የብዙ ጠንካራ ኢትዮጵያውያን ውጤት ነው። በዚህ ጉዞ ውስጥ አብሮ ደግሞ መምህር ዘበነም የራሳቸውን አመርቂ የሆነ አኩሪ ውጤት አስመዝግበዋል። ሁሉም በመክሊቱ፣ በችሎታው አበርክቶ ነው ደብረ ገነት ዛሬ ከደረሰበት ደረጃ የደረሰው። ለመሆኑ አቶ “ምትኩ” ደብረ ገነትን ካወቁ ስለ”ዘሩባቤል እጆች”ና ስለ”ዳግማዊ ዘሩባቤል” ፕሮጀክቶች ያውቃሉ? ለአብነት ለመጥቀስ ያህል መምህር ዘበነም በበኩላቸው የዘሩባቤል እጆች የተባለውን ከፍተኛ የልማት እንቅስቃሴ መርተው በአንድ ቀን ከግማሽ ሚሊዮን ዶላር በላይ እንዲሰባበስ ከፍተኛ የመንፈሳዊ ቅስቀሳ እንዳበረከቱ የቤተክርስቲያናችንን ታሪክ ከስሩ የሚያውቁ ይመሰክራሉ። በቅርቡም ዳግማዊ ዘሩባቤልን በመንፈሳዊ መሪነት እንዲከወንና አመርቂ የሆነ ገንዘብ እንዲሰበሰብ የበኩላቸውን ላቅ ያለ ድርሻ አበርክተዋል። ታዲያ የሰራን ሰው ማመስገን እኮ ተገቢ ነው (Let us give credit where credit is due!)፣ የሰራን ሰራህ ብሎ “እሰየው” “ጎሽ” ማለት የዕድገት ምልክት ነው። አብሮም በተገቢው መንገድ መገሰጹም አስፈላጊ ነው። ግን ተግሳጽ ክብረ ነክ ሲሆን ወደሞት አፋፍ ይወስዳል። ማህበረሰባችን ጥሩ የሰራን የሚደግፍ፣ የሚያጠፋን በአግባቡ የሚገስጽ ነበር፣ የምህረትን ቋንቋ እየተናገረ። እንደዛሬው ጀግኖችን በቁም የመቅበር፣ በጥይት የመረሸን ባሕል ሳንላበስ ጀግኖች እንደ ኮከብ የሚያበሩባት የኢትዮጵያ ምድር ልጆች ነበርን!

ይኸም እንኳን ቢቀር በቅዱስ መጽሀፉ እኮ “የእግዚአብሔርን ቃል የሰጧችሁን ዋኖቻችሁን አስቡ” የሚል ማስታወሻ ነበረ። እስኪ አቶ “ምትኩ” በጢሞቴዎስ 1፡5(17-18) እንዲሁም፣ መምህራንን ስለማክበር በዕብራውያን 13፡(17-19) የተጠቀሰውንም ያንብቡት። ወንጀል እንኳን የሰራ ግለሰብ በፍርድ ቤት ሲከሰስ በአግባቡና በክብሩ ይጠራል። በሰሞኑ በዚህ የምንኖርበት ሀገር በቴክሳስ ግዛት 13 ሰዎችን በመግደል ከፍተኛ ሀገራዊ ወንጀል የፈጸሙት ሜጀር ሁሴን የተባሉ መኮንን እንኳን ስማቸው በየሜዲያው ሲነሳ ከነሙሉ ማዕረጋቸው እየተጠሩ ነበር። እንዲያው ምን አይነት ስልጣኔ ተላብሰው ይሆን አቶ “ምትኩ ይመር” የአንድን ቤተ ክርስቲያን ምክትል አስተዳዳሪ፣ ሺዎች በወንጌል ሰባኪነታቸው የተጠቀሙባቸውን የተከበሩ የቤተ ክርስቲያናችንን ካህን “ዘበነ” እያሉ የሚያንጠለጥሉ? ይህ ነው የእውቀት ድንበሩ? ይህ ነው የክርስቲያንነት መገለጫው? ይህ ነው ኦርቶዶክስ እምነታችን የምታስተምረን? ያሳፍራል! ታዲያ እንዲህ የበላንበትን የእምነት ወጪት ስንሰብር እንዴት በረከት ይኖረናል? በእውነት አቶ “ምትኩ” የጻፉበትን አላማ ሊመረምሩት ያሻል።

ዛሬ ሀገራችን ከደረሰችበት የውድቀት ደረጃ የደረስንበት አንደኛውና ዋነኛው ምክንያት ሰውን ያህል በአርኣያ ሥላሴ የተፈጠረ ፍጡር ከእንስሳ አሳንሰን ሸክም ስናከብድበት፣ ስሙን ማጥፋትን፣ ማሳደድን፣አልፎ ተርፎም ግድያን እንደ ልማድ ስለቆጠርነው ነው። አዎን ላለፉት 35 አመታት በአንጻራዊ አመለካከት ሰው እየረከሰ ጤፍና በቆሎ እየተወደደ መጧል። ራሳችንን አረከስነውና ከፈጣሪያችንም ተጣላንና የሞት ከበሮ በየቀዬው እየተመታ፣ የኃዘን ድባብ በሀገራችን ላይ አጥልሎ ይገኛል። በአብዮት ስም ሰውን በሜዳ ላይ የማረድና ደሙን እንደ በግ የማፍሰስን ጭካኔ ተመለከትን። ደነዘዝንና ሰዎች ሰዎችን ማሳደድ ነውር መሆኑን የሚያስተምረንን ዕንቁ ኃይማኖታችንን፣ ትውፊታችንንና ገንቢ ባህላችንን ቀስ በቀስ እየናድነው መጣን። ፓትርያርክ የሚረሸንበትን ዘመን አየነው፣ የሰው ነፍስ ቀልድ ሆነ። በጦርነት መቶ ሺ፣ ሁለት መቶ ሺ..ወዘተ.. ማጣት ተለመደ። በዘርና በጎሳ ፖለቲካም ሆድና ጀርባ ሆንን;፤ ..ፕሮፌሰር መስፍን “የክህደት ቁልቁለት” በሚል መጽሀፋቸው እንዳስጨበጡን መቆሚያችን ሳይታወቅ እንዳንቆም ሆነን ቁልቁል መንከባለሉን ቀጥለናል።… አዎ ዛሬ የሰዎችን ስም በአደባባይ ጭቃ መለወስ፣ ትንሽ እንኳን ብቅ የሚሉትንና ለሀገር ተስፋ የሚሆኑትን እንደ ጫማ ሚስማር ወደ ውስጥ መቀብቀብ ክብራችንን ይጨምርልን ይመስል በአንድ ጊዜ ለሺዎች በሚበተን የዘመኑ ድረ-ገጽ ላይ ችሎት መሰየምና እንካስላንትያ መግጠም ባህል ሆኗል። በምን ሂሳብ? የትኛውን ገነት ለመውረስ? እንዴት ተደርጎ የማሸነፍ ስሌት እየተሰራ ነው? አረ ደሙን በቀራንዩ ባፈሰሰው ስሙ ሁሉንም ኃይላትና ሥልጣናት በሚገዛው በጌታችን በኢየሱስ ክርስቶስ ስም ወደአእምሮአችን እንመለስ፣ አረ ልቦና እንግዛ! አረ እብደታችን ይብቃን!

ጸሀፊው አቶ “ምትኩ ይመር” ማንን እንደወከሉ ባይነግሩንም በአቃቤ ህግነት ፍርዳቸውን ሲመሰርቱ “እኛ ለዘበነ የምንለው…” ብለው ቁጣቸውንና ዘለፋቸውን ሲያፈሱት ይነበባሉ። “ለመሆኑ እናንተ እነማን ናችሁ?” የሚል ጥያቄም አብሮ ያስነሳል። የሰዎች ስብስብና ለቤተ ክርስቲያን የምትቆረቆሩ ወይስ ይኸ ጠበል ሲረጭ እንደሚወጣው አይነት “መናፍስት”? እነማን ናችሁ? አቶ “ምትኩ ይመር” አንድ ግለሰብ ሆነው ቀርበው እንደገና “እኛ” እያሉ ድንገት ሲቀየሩ በመጽሀፉ የተጠቀሰው በአንዱ ግለሰብ ውስጥ 2000 ሆነው የተቀመጡትን የሌጌዮን መናፍስትን ታሪክ ወደ አእምሮ ያመጣል። እናንተ ስንት ናችሁ? ምሳችሁስ (አድርግ አድርግ የሚላችሁ) ምንድን ነው? ምዕመናንን ማራበሽ፣ የሰውን ስብዕና ማቆሸሽ፣ ሌላስ? በአንድ አእምሮ ውስጥ ብዙ ሆነው የሚነጋገሩ ድምጸቶች ሲሰሙ በኢንተርኔት ጦርነት ለማዋጋት ከመነሳት የፃድቃኔን ጸበል ከወዲሁ ማሰቡ ይበጃል። ከጨለማው አደባባይ የሚያስደብቅ ምን ጉዳይ አለ? የሚገርምዎት የደብረ ገነት መድኃኔ፡ዓለም ድንቅና ጠንካራ ምዕመናን በጨለማው ውስጥ ሆነው፣ በብዕር ስም ተደብቀው፣ ራሳቸውን እየሰደቡ፣ የሚወዱትን ቤተ ክርስቲያን ጉዳይ አፈርሳታ አያወጡም። የደብረ ገነት መድኃኔ፡ዓለም ቤተ ክርስቲያን ጨዋና፣ የከበሩ የዕድሜ፣ የዕውቀትና፣ የልምድ ባለቤት የሆኑ እናቶችና አባቶች የመሉበት ሲሆን፣ ምዕመናኑ ስለቤታቸው ጉዳይ ሁሉ በሰከነና ዲሲፕሊን በተመላበት የዲሞክራሲን አሰራር በጠበቀ መልኩ እየመከሩና እየተወያዩ በብልጽግናና በዕድገት ጎዳና የሚጓዙ ለሌሎች ተምሳሌት ናቸው።

አቶ “ምትኩ” በወኪልነት ከሆነ የሚናገሩት ማንን ወክለው ነው? አባልስ ከሆኑ ለምን ቤተ ክርስቲያኗ በምትከተለው የመተዳደሪያ ደንብ ስርዓት ተጠቅመው የጠቀሷቸው ችግሮች እንዲፈቱ አይጠይቁም? ታዲያ ከጨለማው ውስጥ “እኛ” የሚሉንና በድብቅ ስም ተሸፍነው የሚናገሩ ከሆነ ይህ ከሙታን ምድር፣ ብርሃን ከሌለበት፣ ሕሊና ከጠፋበት አለም የተከሸነ የሙታን ደብዳቤ እንጂ ሕያዋን የጌታችን የአምላካችንን የኢየሱስ ክርስቶስን ክቡር ስም እየጠቀሱ የሚጽፉት ጽሁፍ አይደለም። አዎ! የሙታን ምድር ደብዳቤ ያስታውቃል፡፡ ሞት ሞት ይሸታል! ማሳደድ ቋንቋው ነው! ስድብ ዝልፊያ፣ ሸንጎን ያራምዳል። እንዲህ ያለ ቋንቋ በሕያዋን ምድር፣ በሰላም ፈላጊዎች ሰፈር አይነገርም። በርግጥም የደብረ ገነት መድኃኔ ዓለም አባላት አቶ “ምትኩ” የተጠቀሙበትን ቋንቋ አይጠቀሙም፣ እንዲህ ያለ የጨለማ አካሄድ መርጠው፣ ቤተ ክርስቲያናቸውን ለአፈርሳታ አያወጡም፣ የቤተ ክርስቲያናችን አባላት ለቤታቸው ተቆርቋሪዎች ናቸው። ማንኛውም አይነት አስቻጋሪም ይሁን ቀላል ጥያቄ ካላቸው በስነ ስርዓት ተደማምጠው የሚግባቡበትና መፍትሔ የሚፈልጉበት የምዕመናን ጉባዔና አስተዳደራዊ መዋቅሮችና መንገዶች አላቸው። አቶ “ምትኩ ይመር” የመረጡትን አይነት አክብሮትና ብስለት የጎደለው ስነጽሁፍ የትህትናን አካሄድ የሳተ የስድብ ውርጅብኝ የደብረ ገነት ምዕመናን ይጸየፉታል፣ አይቀበሉትም፣ እኛንም አይወክልም።

የሰላምን ቋንቋ የሚናገር፣ የክርስቶስ ባሪያ የሆነ ሰው የበደለው ጠላቱን እንኳን ሲያገኝ በእርምት የተሻለ ሰው የሚሆንበትን መንገድ ያሳያል። ይቅርታ ቋንቋው ነው። በሀገራችንን አነጋገር “ሰው ለሰው መድኃኒት ነው” እንላለን። እውነት ነው ሰው ለሰው አጋር፣ መድኃኒት፣ አለኝታ፣ ድጋፍ ነው። ሰው እንዲህ ያለ መድኃኒትነት የሚገለጽበት መልካም ስራ የሚሰራ የተቀደሰው የእግዚአብሔር መንፈስ በውስጡ ሲኖር ነው። ሰው በራሱ ምንም አያደርግም። በተቃራኒው ደግሞ ሰው የሰው ገዢና የስቃዩ ምንጭ ሆኖ ሲወከል ስናይ በውስጡ የሚሰራውንም መንፈስ እንድናጠይቅ እንገደዳለን። የዚህን አካሄድ በአጭሩ ለመረዳት ከፈለግን ከአቤልና ቃየል ወዲህ የሰውንና የአለምን ታሪክ ዝም ብሎ ማጤን በቂ ነው። ሰው ለሰው አጥፊው የሆነበት ከበቂ በላይ ማስረጃ አለን። ከኦሽዊዝ (Auschwitz) እስከ ሩዋንዳ፣ ከ911 እስከ መካከለኛው ምሥራቅ፣ ከኢትዮጵያ የጦርነት ታሪኮች እስከ ተለያዩ የሀይማኖትና የእርስ በእርስ ትንንቆች ድረስ ምክንያቶች የሰው በጨለማ አስተሳሰብ ውስጥ መኖር ነው፣ ምክንያቱ ቢባል ሰው የጨለማ ቋንቋን ሲነጋገር የሰውን ክቡርነት ስለሚረሳ! ፕላዩተስ (Plautus) የተባለ ሮማዊ ተናገረው የሚባል “ሰው ለሰው ተኩላ ነው” (Homo Homini lupus or Man is wolf to man”) የሚል ብሂል ከላይ የጠቀስናቸውን የሰው ልጅ የጥፋት ታሪኮች የሚገልጥ መስሎ ይገዝፍብናል። ታዲያ የትኛው ባሕሪያችን በድርጊታቸን ውስጥ እንደሚጎላ ሁልጊዜም ማመዛዘን ይገባል። ለሰው ልጅና ለወንድማችን መድኃኒት ነን ወይስ ተኩላ ነን? ሰውን ሲርበው እናበላዋለን ወይስ ለራሳችን ዝና የሰውን ስብዕና አጉድፈን እንጥላለን? ይኸው ነው የዘመናችን የመኖር ወይም ያለመኖር ሐምሌታዊ ጥያቄ!

አቶ “ምትኩ” ይመር የቤተ ክርስቲያን ተቆርቋሪ፣ ቅዱስ መጽሀፉን አዋቂና ጠቃሽ ሆነው የቀረቡትን ያህል፣ በጻፉት ጽሁፋቸው የሰው ፈጣሪው ልዑል እግዚአብሔር የደነገገውን “ጎረቤትህን እንደራስህ ውደድ” በሚል መርሆ ስር እየተዳደሩ ከሆነ ጽሁፋቸው አክብሮትን የሚገልጸውና፣ ይህን ህግ በስራ ላይ የሚያውለው፣ የት ላይ ነው? ሰው ለሰው አዛኝ መሆኑን የሚመሰክሩልን እንዴት ነው? የት ላይ ነው የይቅርታን ቋንቋን የሚጠቀሙት? ምነው እንዲህ ያለ ቁጣ? ምን ለማትረፍ? ሰዎችን እያሳደዱና እየዘለፉ ሰው ለሰው ተኩላ መሆኑን በሚመሰክር አካሄድ መጓዝ? ለምን አስፈለገ? እውን ስለቤተ ክርስቲያናችን ሲጽፉ ይኸንን መሰረታዊ ህግ ማሰብ አያሻም ነበርን? የሚጽፉትን ማወቅ መሰረታዊ ነው፡፤ የፈላስፋዎች ቁንጮ የሆነው ሶቅራጥስ የሚያውቀውን ሁሉ አውቆ በጣም ከሚደነቅባቸው ብሂሎች በዋናነት የሚጠቀሰው “የማውቀው አለማወቄን ነው” ማለቱ ነው። ምነው በሚያውቁት መጠን መተዳደርና አንደበትን ማሰራት የትህትና መገለጫውና የጥበብ ትሩፋቱ መሆኑን አቶ “ምትኩ” ባወቁት! አባቶቻችን “ዝምታ ወርቅ ነው” የሚል ብሂል ሲያስተላልፉልን ያለምክንያት አልነበረም። አላዋቂ ሲናገር ጥፋትን ስለሚተፋ ነው።

ሸ. ምዕመናንና መምህር ዘበነስ ከዚህ ስንክሳራችን ምን እንማራለን?
በርግጥ ሰው ጥሩ የሚሰራውን ያህል በአካባቢው ላሉ ሰዎች የማይመች ንግግር፣ ስራና ባሕሪ ሊያሳይ ይችላል። ከዚህ ነጻ የሆነ ሰው የለም። መምህር ዘበነም ከዚህ የሰው ተፈጥሮ ነጻ ሊሆኑ አይችሉም። በተለይ በአሁኑ ሰዓት እንዲህ ከተለያየ አቅጣጫ የሚሰነዘሩ ጥቆማዎች ሲኖሩ የግለሰቦችን ክብር የሚነኩ፣ እንደ ትዕቢት ሊቆጠሩ የሚችሉ አካሄዶችን የሚጠቁሙ አስተያየቶችና የመረሩ ስሜቶች ሲመነጩ፡ በተለይም አመኔታ የሚጣልባቸው ሰዎች ለቤተ ክርስቲያንና ለሀገር የሚቆረቆሩ ሰዎች ሲመክሩ “እውን ሕዝብ የሚያስቀይም ነገር እየፈጸምሁ ነውን?” በማለት ራሳቸውን ሊገመግሙና ሊያጠኑ ከስህተታቸውም ሊማሩ ያስፈልጋል። ይኸንንም የሚያደርጉ ሰው ናቸው ብዬ አምናለሁ። ከዚህ በፊት በአውደ ምሕረት ላይ መስቀል ይዘው “ይቅር በሉኝ” ብለው ንስሐ ሲገቡ አይቻለሁ። ስህተት መስራታቸውን ካመኑበት ይቅርታን ይጠይቃሉ፡ ይኸንን አብረን በሰራንባቸው ጊዜያት ሁሉ በሚገባ ታዝቤያለሁ።

ለሁላችንም ልንገነዘበው የሚያስፈልገዉ ነገር ግን ችግር የሚመጣው ከስህተት መማር ሳይቻልና ስህተት ልማድ ሆኖ ጉዳት ማስከተል ሲጀምር ነው። መሪዎችና በሕዝብ ፊት ያሉ ሰዎች ስሕተታቸው ቶሎ ይታያል፣ ከታዬም በኋላ ጎልቶ ይወጣል። ታዲያ በሕዝብ ፊት የሚንቀሳቀስ መሪ ትሕትናን ገንዘቡ አድርጎ፣ ለሚሰራው ስህተት ይቅርታን እየከፈለ፣ ለትሕትና ተምሳሌት እየሆነ መሄድ ይገባዋል። የኢትዮጵያ ሕብረተሰብ መሪዎቹን አክብሯቸው የሚኖር ስህተት ስለማይሰሩ አልነበረም፣ ብዙ ስህተቶችን የሰሩ መሪዎች አሉን። ዛሬም እየተሰሩ እንመለከታለን፡፤ ግን ሕዝቡ የሞላውን እየቆጠረ፣ በጎደለው ይቅር እያለ መሐሪነትና ታጋሽነትን ባሕሪው አድርጎ የኖረ መልካም ሕዝብ ስለሆነ ነው። ታዲያ የኢትዮጵያ ሕዝብ ሲጠላም ያንኑ ያህል ነው። ከዚህ ታሪካችን መማር አለብን፡፤ ለዚህ ነው መሐሪነትንና ታጋሽነትን ገንዘባችን ማድረግ የሚገባን። የሚያሳዝነው ግን የኛ ትውልድ ለዚህ ልቡ ደንዳና ሆኗል። በሀሳብ መለያየት ማለት ደም የተቃባ ባላጋራ የመሆን ያህል መጠላላት ሆኗል። ከዚህ አካሄዳችን መለወጥ ይኖርብናል። ዛሬም እንደትላንትናው አባቶቻችን እንደተጠቀሙበት በይቅርታ መንፈስ፣ ተግባብቶ፣ ተከባብሮ ተቻችሎ በፍቅር መኖር ከምንም በላይ ምርጫችን ሊሆን ይገባል። በመስቀሉ ላይ የተሰዋው አንድያ የእግዚአብሔር ልጅ በደሙ የጻፈልን ኑዛዜ ይኸንኑ የፍቅር አብነት ነው። ትላንት ለአሜሪካ ፕሬዚዳንትነት የተወዳደሩት ሴኔተር ክሊንተንና ሴኔተር ኦባማ ምን ያህል የሃሳብ ፍጥጫ ላይ ደርሰው እንደነበረ የምናውቀው ነው። ዛሬ ደግሞ አንዱ የሌላው መከታ ሆነው እየሰሩ ነው። ይህ በአለም ሕይወት እንኳን እንዲህ ከተቻለ በክርስትና ጥሪማ ምን ያህል የዕለት ተግባራችን በሆነ! በእውነት ይህ በሆነበት የአሜሪካ ምድር እየኖርን ከዚህ ቅዱስ አካሄድ ተምረን የማንለወጥና የራሳችንም ሀገራዊ፣ ማህበራዊና፣ ግላዊ ሕይወት ለማስተካከል የማንጥር ከሆነ እግዚአብሔርስ ምን ምሳሌ ሊያቀርብልን ይችላል?

ቀ. ማጠቃለያ
(1ኛ) በአጭሩ ከላይ ምክንያቶችን ጠቅሰን እንዳነበብነው “ሥልጣነ-ክህነት የቂም መወጫ በትር አይደለም።” በሚል አቶ “ምትኩ ይመር” ያስነበቡን ጽሁፍ “ቢከፍቱት ተልባ” ነው። ምክንያቱም፡

(ሀ)፣ የተሸከመውን መልዕክት በትክክል ለማስተላለፍ የተጠቀሱት ግለሰቦች ተናገሩት የተባለውን ነገር እንኳን በትክክል ጠቅሶ አያስቀምጥም። ለአብነት ያህል ካህኑን “በስብሰባው ላይ ልትገኝ አትችልም” ብለዋል ብሎ የተጠቀሰው በስብሰባው ላይ ያልተባለ፣ ተናገሩ የተባሉትንም ግለሰብ የሚያሳዝን ነው።

(ለ) ጸሐፊው የአንድን ቤተ ክርስቲያን ጉዳይ በተቆርቋሪነት ተፈርጀው ሲናገሩ የቤተ ክርስቲያኗን መተዳደሪያ ደንብ እንኳን አጥርተው አያውቁትም። ካህናት የጠቅላላ ጉባዔ አባላት መሆናቸውንና እንደማንኛውም አባል በእኩልነት መሳተፍ የሚችሉ መሆናቸውን እንኳን አያውቁም። ይኸንን ቢያውቁ ኖሮ ሲጀመር ከላይ በ(ሀ) የተጠቀሰውን፣ እከሌ ተናገረው ብለው እንኳን ለማለት አይታሰባቸውም ነበር። የስብሰባ ባህላችንን ቢያውቁት ሁልጊዜም በስብሰባችን መካከልም ካህናት መኖራቸውንም ያውቁት ነበርና።

(ሐ) ለሺዎች አንባቢያን የኦርቶዶክስ እምነት ተቆርቋሪነታቸውን ለማስገንዘብ የተነሱ እኒህ ግለሰብ፣ ከአንድ ክርስቲያን የሚጠበቀውን የትሕትና አቀራረብና አጸጻፍ አፋልሰው መድረኩን መዘራጠጫ ሊያደርጉት ሞክረውል። እንዲህ ያለ የስድብ ውርጅብኝ፣ ዘለፋ፣ ያካተተ ጽሁፍ በየትኛውም ቦታ ሞገስ ኖሮት አያውቅም። እስኪ አቶ “ምትኩ” በገላትያ 5፡19- 21 ድረስ የጠቀሳቸውን የስጋ ስራዎችንና በአንጻሩ ደግሞ በተቃራኒው ሐዋርያው ጳውሎስ እዚያው ወረድ ብሎ በቁጥር 5፡ 22- 26 የተጠቀሱትን የመንፈስ ፍሬዎችንም ይመርምሩ። እስኪ የሥጋንና የመንፈስን ፍሬዎች አወዳድረው ከሁለቱ አማራጮች የርስዎ ጽሁፍ በየትኛው እንደሚፈረጅ በእውነት ይፍረዱ። ይኸንን ቢያውቁ ኖሮ እውን ብዕርዎን ያነሱ ኖሯል? ለዚያ ነው ጽሁፉ በቁምነገር ወንፊት ቢነፋ እብቅና እንክርዳድ ብቻ የሚወጣው!

2ኛ) ሌላው በዚህ አጋጣሚ ላሳስበው የምወደውና ሊታወቅ የሚገባው ጉዳይ ለሀገራችን የወደፊት ትንሳዔ፣ ለእድገቷና ለብልጽግናዋ ለኢትዮጵያ ኦርቶዶክስ ተዋሕዶ ቤተ ክርስቲያናችን ደህንነት ስንል ኢትዮጵያውያን ሁሉ በችሎታችን ያለውን አንድ ነገር ማድረግ የትውልድና የዜግነት ግዴታ አለብን። ይኸውም በጽሁፍም ይሁን በአየር ሞገድ በሚተላለፉ ዜናዎች በጆሮአችን የምናዳምጣቸውና የምናስተላልፋቸው መልእክቶች ስለጤናማነታቸውና ስለገንቢነታቸው መመርመር ይገባናል። ክፉ መናፍስት አለምን ያጣበቡበት ዘመን ነው። የሚተላለፉልን መልዕክቶች ወይ የሕይወትን ቃል በውስጣችን የሚያሰርጹ ወይንም የሞትን ጡሩንባ የሚነፉ ናቸው። ከሁለቱ መምረጥ የእኛ ፋንታ ነው። ለመምረጥም ችሎታው አለን – በአምሳሉ መፈጠራችንን አንርሳ – የጥበብን ሀገር መሻት ብቻ ይኖርብናል። በጥበብ ሁሉም ስለሚገለጽና ስለሚታይ! የሰዎችን አብሮ የመኖር፣ ሰላምን፣ ይቅር መባባልን፣ ፍቅርን የሚያራምዱ መልዕክቶች ከሕያዋን ሀገር የመጡ በሕያው አምላክ የተቀደሰ መንፈስ የተባረኩ ጽሁፎችና ድምጸቶች ናቸው። ሰዎችን በማዋረድ ክብርን በመግፈፍፍ፣ ለጠብ በማዘጋጀት፣ በስድብ፣ በዘለፋ መልክ የተቀረጹ ጽሁፎችና የአየር ሞገድ መልዕክቶች ደግሞ ለነፍሳችን ሁከትን የሚያመጡ አብሮ መኖራችንን የሚፈታተኑ ለሀገራችን ትንሳዔ፣ ለቤተክርስቲያናችን ደህንነት ቀቢጸ ተስፋን የሚያራምዱ የሙታን ጩኸቶች ናቸው። እግዚአብሔር በሰጠን የሰውነት ጥበብ ከታገዝን የሙታንን እንጉርጉሮ ከሕያዋን ዝማሬ መለየት ስለማይቸግረን በጎውን፣ መልካሙን፣ ጥሩውን የሚያስጨብጡንን ከመርገምና ከመዝለፍ ተቆጥበን ለሀገራችን የሚበጀውን እናድርግ። ሐዋርያው ጳውሎስ በቅዱስ ቃሉ የመከረንን በጥሞና መመርመሩ ስለወንድሞቻችንና ስለእህቶቻችን ከአንደበታችን የምናፈሰውን እንድንመረምርና በጥፋት ጎዳና እንዳንጓዝ ይረዳናልና ከዚህ ላይ ማስታወሱ ይበጃል። እንዲህ ይላል፦

“የሚሰሙአችሁ ሞገስ ያገኙ ዘንድ ግዳጃችሁ እንዲፈጸም መልካም ነገር እንጂ ከፉ ነገር ሁሉ ከአፋችሁ አይውጣ። በዳናችሁ ጊዜ የታተማችሁበትን የእግዚአብሔር ቅዱስ መንፈስ አታሳዝኑት። መራራነትንና ጥፋትን፣ ስድብን ሁሉ ከክፉ ነገር ሁሉ ጋር ከእናንተ ጋር አርቁ። እርስ በእርሳችሁም ቸሮችና ርህሩሆች ሁኑ፣ እግዚአብሔርም በክርስቶስ ይቅር እንዳላችሁ ይቅር ተባባሉ።”ኤፌሶን 4፡29-32

አዎ! በኢትዮጵያውነታችን እንድንኮራና የሀገራችንን ትንሳኤ እውን እንዲሆንልን፣ በፍቅርና፣ በይቅርታ ቋንቋ እየተናገርን፣ “ለሚሰሙን ሞገስ ያገኙ ዘንድ ግዳጃችንን” እየፈጸምን፣ ለጆሮአችን ከቅዱሳን የከንፈር ፍሬ እየመረጥን እያዳመጥን በጥበብ እንደግ! ኢትዮጵያውያን ሆይ!፡ከሙታን ምድር የሚላኩልንን ደብዳቤዎችና በሬዲዮ ሞገዶች የሚለቀቁብንን የክፋት ንግግሮች ማንበብና ማዳመጥ ይብቃን! ይልቅስ ሁላችንም ተባብረን አንዳችን ለአንዳችን ዋቢና ቋሚ ጠበቃ ሆነን ሐይማኖታችንን እንጠብቅ፣ ሀገራችንን እንታደግ፣!

የሞትን ትዕዛዝ ለመፈጸም በ ሀመር ፈረስ እየጋለቡ ከሚመጡብን መናፍስት ሁሉ የይሁዳ አንበሳ የሆነው ኢየሱስ ክርስቶስ እንዲጠብቀን በእርሱ እንመን እንታመን!!

ልዑል እግዚአብሔር በቸርነቱ ይጠብቀን፣ እንደበደላችን ሳይሆን እንደ ቸርነቱ የሚያኖረን አንድ አምላክ ለሁላችንም የፍቅርንና የሰላም የአንድነትን ልቦና ይስጠን፣

የኢትዮጵያችንን በክብር መቆም ያፋጥንልን!!!

ሁሉን ለሚያደርግ፣ ሲመታትን፣ ኃይላትንና ሥልጣናትን ለፈጠረ፣ ነገስታትና ኃይለኞች ሁሉ የሚንበረከኩለት አንዱ ጌታ የልዑል እግዚአብሔር ልጅ ኢየሱስ ክርስቶስ ክብር ምሥጋና ይግባው።

UK gives $316 million to Ethiopia's tribal junta

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — The British Government announced the release of a food aid package of US$316 million to help international efforts to relief over 6 million people facing starvation to pro up the Ethiopia’s blood thirsty minority dictatorship.

Last October Ethiopia’s tribal junta appealed for 159,410 tonnes of food, costing $121 million, $8.9 million worth of fortified blended food for malnourished women and children, and for $45 million in non-food needs. The government said number of people in need of urgent assistance during the period October to December 2009 has increased to 6.2 million from 4.9 million at beginning of the year.

Also there are 7.6 million people on support through a food-for-work scheme in rural areas. This raises to 13 million the total of people in need to food assistance.

The UK Minister of State for International Development, Gareth Thomas MP, announced an aid package of four billion Birr this year to support the provision of basic services, social protection and humanitarian assistance in Ethiopia, the official news agency ENA said today.

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Thomas said that the fund will be used for expansion of health and education services as well as safe water provision and road construction over the next three years.

The visiting minister also encouraged the Ethiopian authorities to investigate allegations by opposition parties that local officials are using food aid to force opposition members to join the ruling party ahead of national elections.

“I have heard allegations from the international community about distribution of food aid and the (food-for-work) programme and I have already raised those accusations with the deputy prime minister,” Thomas, said.

He further added “These allegations should be investigated thoroughly. The government said if evidence is produced that they would investigate and that was encouraging.”

At the end of October the World Bank approved a total grant of 480 million US dollars for Ethiopia’s safety net program which is helping to uplift millions of poor Ethiopians from extreme poverty.

“The board of directors approved a US$350 million grant and a US$130 million credit to Ethiopia to support an innovative program that is keeping millions of families out of extreme poverty and helping them to achieve food security,” the bank said in a statement.

However the Ethiopian Prime Crime Minster Meles Zinawi in a meeting with the British minister said the international media have exaggerated food shortage occurred in Ethiopia. (Sudan Tribune)

Yemen police detain 191 refugees from Ethiopia

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

ABYAN — Yemeni police have arrested 191 Ethiopians who are suspected of entering the country illegally, the Interior Ministry has reported.

Police in Abyan Province have arrested nearly 150 Ethiopians, including 5 women, who arrived at Ahwar Coast by a smuggling boat.

In Marib Province, Yemeni police said they have arrested 41 Ethiopians who were trying to cross into Saudi Arabia.

All the arrested Ethiopians have been sent to the Immigration and Passports Authority in the Yemen capital Sana’a.

Africa: double trouble

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

By Scott Morgan

This posting has two concerns that if taken together can be construed as being interdependent. First of All Lets Discuss One of the Most Serious Problems currently occurring in Africa. That is the Rampant Use of Sexual Assaults by Insurgents and Government Forces in Several Countries.

The List of such occurrences is lengthy and troubling.

In Recent Days a UN Fact-finding Mission Sent to Zimbabwe found that Groups such as WOZA (Women of Zimbabwe Arise) Members of the MDC (Movement for Democratic Change) and Other Members of Civil Society have been attacked. The Allegations have been around since 2002 when the Political Crisis Began. So will the perpetrators be brought to justice?

Second is the Democratic Republic of the Congo. We all have Heard the reports regarding the use of Rape as a weapon in the Kivu Provinces. Also MONUC is suspending contacts with One Unit Operating in the East. The United States has announced that it will assist Kinshasa with this large problem. What Happens if the UN Pull out its Peacekeepers are reports over the weekend are suggesting?

Its nice to see that the crises in Zimbabwe and Congo are being noticed. But what about Darfur? Khartoum has announced that It will close some IDP camps early next year. So what happens to those being treated for their attacks? And who will protect them?

Or will Impunity be the rule of the day such as what has occured in Guniea after the Massacre after the Opposition Rally?


There are Two New Areas to be concerned with:

First Reports indicate that Militants from the Niger Delta have travelled to the Oil Producing Western Region of Ghana. Links have been established and lessons have been learned. Already Land Grabs have occured and there are reports of Arms being moved into the Region. Now the question is will ExxonMobil make the same mistakes that Chevron and Shell made in the Niger Delta?

Second area of concern is the Dar Tama Region of T’Chad. According to reports over the weekend the Chadian Security Forces have launched an Operation near the town of Tchowtchow. At least 6 People have been killed, 10 other Tortured or Castrated and one person remains missing. Now the Chadian Islamic Front has called for Jihad and the Sudanese Government would like a change in the Government of Chad. All we can say is that the devil is in the details in this situation. More to follow on this topic and check out for more information regarding Chad.

The LRA launched an Attack in Southern Sudan which killed 4 Men. However 56 members reportedly surrendered to the Southern Sudan Military. A Report Last week stated that an Estimated 100 Fighters remained in the DRC and the majority of the rest were in either Southern Sudan or the Central African Republic. The US Senate will discuss the LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act on November 17th. It is expected to be marked up.

Finally the Rebels in the Ogaden Region in Ethiopia launched an Offensive over the weekend reportedly capturing 7 towns. On Monday the Zenawi Regime Denied this. Resolving this conflict could be a viable part of resolving the Somalia Fiasco.

(Scott Morgan is a regular contributor for and writes extensively about Africa on his own blog, Confused Eagle.)

Ethiopia is sliding deeper into authoritarian controls

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

By Geoffrey York | The Globe And Mail

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia — Six months before a crucial election, one of Ethiopia’s small band of opposition MPs has a simple question: How can he campaign for votes when he cannot even hold a public meeting or meet voters freely?

Negaso Gidada, a former president of Ethiopia and now an independent MP, tried to visit his constituents in southern Ethiopia recently. It was an arduous journey.

He was not permitted to hold any meetings in public places. He was kept under surveillance, and his hosts were interrogated. Those who met him were questioned by police. He was given no coverage in the media.

“People are so intimidated that they are afraid even to speak to me on the phone,” he says. “Campaigning is totally impossible. How can it be a fair election?”

Four years ago, foreign election observers concluded that the last Ethiopian election had been rigged. Opposition supporters took to the streets, and an estimated 30,000 people were arrested in a crackdown on dissent. Nearly 200 people were killed when Ethiopia’s police opened fire on the protesters. Dozens of opposition leaders and activists were jailed.

This time, with an election scheduled for May, the ruling party is taking no chances. Ethiopia is sliding deeper into authoritarian controls. Police agents and informers are keeping a close eye on the population, with harsh restrictions imposed on opposition leaders and civil society groups.

The election matters because Ethiopia is strategically important. It is the second most populous country in sub-Saharan African, and a key U.S. ally in the Horn of Africa, where Ethiopian troops have repeatedly intervened in Somalia. And it is one of the biggest recipients of Canadian foreign aid, with $90-million donated by Canada in 2007 alone.

Mr. Negaso, who was president of Ethiopia from 1995 to 2001 but later split from the ruling party of autocratic Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, has managed to hold only a few public meetings as he travelled around the country in the past year.

One meeting in August was broken up by dozens of thugs, including some whom he recognized from the ranks of the ruling party. They shouted, whistled, grabbed the microphone and prevented people from speaking. “We were chased out,” Mr. Negaso said.

In another district, he said, the police told opposition leaders that they needed a special permit if they wanted to use a megaphone.

Even his e-mail messages and phone calls are monitored, he said. But he refuses to be intimidated. “If you are afraid,” he says, “you can’t do anything.”

Another opposition leader, Seye Abraha, is a former close ally of Mr. Meles from the early 1970s when they were both young revolutionaries fighting the military junta known as the Derg, which they finally overthrew in 1991. He became the defence minister but was jailed for six years on corruption allegations after a falling out with Mr. Meles. Now he says he is under constant surveillance, his phones and e-mails monitored, his movements constantly followed by security agents.

“In restaurants, spies sit close to me, and you can’t ask them to leave,” he says. “There is no private life, no private property. And there is nowhere you can complain. You can go to the police, but they will do nothing.”

In a desperate effort to communicate with voters, the opposition sometimes tries to distribute cellphones to its supporters. If it sends campaign letters to voters, the letters must be kept hidden from security agents. “Families are afraid to pass the letters from one to another,” said Bulcha Demeksa, an MP who heads an opposition party.

Earlier this year, eight of Ethiopia’s opposition parties formed a coalition with Mr. Negaso and Mr. Seeye in a bid to defeat the ruling party, but the move has been little help. “If tomorrow I go to my constituency and speak to people under a tree, the police will disrupt it,” Mr. Bulcha said.

The International Crisis Group, an independent think tank based in Brussels, says the Ethiopian government is controlling its population with neighbourhood committees, informers, media controls and high-tech surveillance.

“Thanks to Chinese electronic monitoring-and-control software, the government is able to block most opposition electronic communications when it desires,” the group said in a recent report.

“Few journalists, academics, human-rights advocates and intellectuals dare to publicly criticize the government. While self-censorship existed before the 2005 elections, it has now become widespread.”

Ethiopia's regime tries to cover up a new famine

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

By Francis Elliot | Times Online

ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA — It wasn’t famine that killed Jamal Ali’s mother. She died in a cholera outbreak that swept through their Ethiopian village when at last the rains came. Twenty-five years later Jamal, now a parent himself, is lining up for handouts in a food distribution centre in Harbu, Amhara, His prematurely aged face, hollow with hunger, creases further when asked about this unwelcome return. “It is a very bitter feeling. No one likes this begging. I am ashamed,” he said.

Up a steep, dusty track from Harbu to Chorisa village the tiny, duncoloured terraced fields bare witness to the third poor harvest in a row. This village is supposed to be an aid showpiece but even here fields of failed cereal crops are being turned over to lean-looking cattle.

A villager strips an ear of the cereal crop tef and cups the inedible seed in her hand for a moment before casting into a relentlessly sky. It’s not that the rains didn’t come, she said — they came just at the wrong time. The field was supposed to yield 500 kilograms of cash crop; now it might just save a few cows from starvation.

The UN warns that 6.2 million Ethiopians will need some sort of food aid in the coming months. The Government also seems highly sensitive to the idea that it needs help. Meles Zenawi, the Prime Minister, would rather the world took notice of his position representing Africa in the climate change negotiations next month than his country’s never-ending dependency on food aid.

In Addis Ababa Ethiopian and Western officials voice disapproval of doom-laden reports that fail to acknowledge the progress being made, or the differences in scale between the famine of 1984, which killed a million people, and the situation today.

In private they acknowledge that Mr Meles and his Government are deliberately frustrating and delaying official assessments of the scale of the country’s humanitarian needs and blocking access to some areas where the situation is worst.

The latest UN estimate, to be released this Friday, is due to revise its figure upwards to nine million for those who will need help. Arguing that the definition of those in need is too broad — it includes those who are in a position to sell assets to buy food — the Government wants to change the way the figures are calculated to reduce that figure to 5 million.

Donor countries and the UN fear that counting only the truly desperate is a ploy that risks understating the true scale of the crisis. There are also allegations that food aid is being withheld from the regime’s opponents.

Criticism of Ethiopia has been muted by its success in improving local healthcare and expanding education, alongside its strategic importance in the fight against Islamic extremism in the Horn of Africa. Britain, which gives the country £200 million a year, and is Ethiopia’s second-largest bilateral donor, is stepping up the pressure on what was once regarded as its showpiece partner in Africa, amid growing concerns about what could happen in the coming months.

“The Government has just got to embrace the crisis and not be frightened of the statistics,” Gareth Thomas, a minister with the Department for International Development, said yesterday. “It is different from 1984 but there’s still huge need. There’s got to be a recognition that if we are going to stop children from being malnourished and keep people alive we have got to have accurate information and we’ve got to have it in a timely manner.”

Speaking before a meeting with Mr Meles, Mr Thomas said that he also intended to raise credible reports that aid was being withheld from opponents, but insisted he was satisfied that British aid was getting through. His main message, however, was that the Government had not yet grasped the urgent need for reform. The population, about 35 million in 1984, is now about 80 million and will have doubled again by 2050. At the same time, according to some estimates, most Ethiopian agriculture is still less productive than that of medieval England.

Mr Meles blames climate change for the erratic rainfall that has led to three successive poor harvests. The state’s ownership of land and its failure to provide seeds and fertiliser is at least as a big a factor, according to observers.

Similarly, the Government has overseen the building of an impressive road network — but in the absence of a thriving private sector and a more liberalised economy the traffic, other than convoys of aid vehicles, is light.

Two million Ethiopians a year are moving into cities as pressure on the land and education increase, a movement that threatens to overwhelm the state’s efforts to provide housing and jobs.

More than half of Britain’s annual aid budget of £117 million goes on helping to fund work schemes that keep 7.5 million Ethiopians out of the food distribution centres. With less than 5 per cent of the population becoming fully self-reliant in most areas each year, the dependency on foreign aid threatens to increase not diminish.

Mix of traditional food and entertainment at DC's Little Ethiopia

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

By Tom Sietsema

WASHINGTON DC — Ethiopian Yellow Pages of the Washington Metro Area estimates there are more than 45 dining rooms serving doro wot and injera. So how does Yehune Belay, who just added the title of restaurateur to his résumé, hope to distinguish his place in Shaw from the pack?

By re-creating the atmosphere of an Ethiopian home, he says.

Little Ethiopia Restaurant (1924 Ninth St. NW; 202-319-1924) is underground, beneath the office of those Yellow Pages where Belay works with his wife, Tutu. The low-ceilinged space is unlike its competitors. Here, patrons congregate on rustic wooden stools beneath what look like umbrellas made of twigs, each cluster of seats and tables separated by a see-through shade. A small gallery’s worth of imported arts and crafts practically warrants a guide.

Tutu Belay’s sister, Nunu Tesfaye, presides over the kitchen, where she dishes out all the traditional Ethiopian fare, from the mild, beef-filled turnovers known as sambusas to cubed lamb zipped up with berbere, the fiery spice blend. The platter I’m most drawn to is the vegetarian sampler: dollops of grassy collard greens, jalapeno-ignited tomato salad, sauteed cabbage, spicy beets and faintly sweet lentil purees in three different shades. Like every main course, this one is served on (and with) injera, the slightly sour bread that doubles as a floppy utensil for the rest of the food.

Throughout the day, Belay makes his way down to greet customers. Nice touch. He’s also responsible for the late-night weekend entertainment at Little Ethiopia. “I’ve been singing since I was 9,” says the man with half a dozen CDs to his credit. (Washington Post)

Why is the U.S. giving special treatment to Ethiopia's dictatorship?

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

By Obang Metho

Addressed to Senator John Kerry, Chairman, The Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate.

As an esteemed member of the Senate, as the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and as an advocate for human rights and democracy, we in the Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia (SMNE) and on behalf of many like-minded Ethiopians, want to call into question the current United States partnership with one of the most repressive dictators and violators of human rights in Africa—Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia.

The “free pass” he has enjoyed because of this partnership with the US may no longer be justifiable in light of the increasing repression, deteriorating conditions and worsening tensions in Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa. Looming starvation, the closure of all political space, the warnings by the Washington DC based International Crisis Group of possible ethnic violence, continuing human rights crimes and the increasing radicalization of some in response to these crimes are all warning signs; any one of them a serious risk factor, but together, all the more worrisome.

As many from the Horn perceive that it is US support that is prolonging this regime, we urge you in significant positions of leadership to make swift adjustments to failing past policies that favor the dictator and increasingly alienate the people of the Horn from donor countries like the US. It may be the only way to salvage a deteriorating relationship and to avert the increasing likelihood of large-scale consequences. It is also highly imperative that the US policy makers seek consultation and assistance from those Ethiopians and others from the Horn who are most invested in peace, stability and prosperity in the Horn—not government promulgators of propaganda. In light of this, we are formally requesting a Senate hearing on Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa focused on seeking solutions.

I am writing to you as a representative of the Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia. Before informing you of a recent outrageous example of the lack of justice in Ethiopia, permit me to provide some background on the Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia. The SMNE is not an opposition group, but a non-political, grassroots social justice movement of Ethiopians who have come together in coalition across ethnic, regional, political, religious and cultural lines to bring about a more open, liberal and prosperous Ethiopia where “humanity comes before ethnicity” and where freedom, justice and the respect for human rights is available for all for “no one will be free until all are free.”

We represent Ethiopians who are not asking the US to do the work for us, but are requesting that the US and other outsiders who are supporting this totalitarian regime to stop creating obstacles to our freedom. US support is now shoring up a “strong man” instead of “strong institutions, “ in opposition to what President Obama stated would be our position in his speech in Ghana. In fact, evidence of this “strong man’s” complicity in the perpetration of widespread human rights crimes, including genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, has led to Prime Minister Meles’ referral to the International Criminal Court.

As Ethiopians face a food crisis, potentially affecting more than the food crisis in 1984-1985, Meles is blaming the US for climate change rather than taking any responsibility for his repressive agricultural policies that deny land-ownership as well as access to such supports as fertilizer, seed, agricultural experts and other resources unless one is a party member. Will the US provide food aid without looking at the root problem or the politically and ethnically based distribution of our aid?
You and others may not be fully aware of the evil underside to this illiberal government due to the repression or distortion of information coming in and out of the country; however, even the US media has been strangely silent, partially due to countless restrictions to journalists and other media. Regardless, Ethiopian Americans maintain strong informational pipelines to the country, often gaining first hand information from relatives and friends who are sometimes victims and witnesses.

In closing, allow us to recount an incident of “Orwellian Ethiopian justice” from this past week. Earlier this year, on April 25th, over 46 Ethiopians from inside the country were arrested, charged and detained for attempting to overthrow the government. Those arrested in relationship to the suspected coup plot are said to be working in partnership with the Ginbot-7 Movement for Justice and Democracy, a political opposition group led by Dr. Berhana Nega and Mr. Andargachew Tsige, both currently living in exile outside of the country. Among those arrested include family members of Ginbot-7 leaders, including the 80-year-old father of Andargachew Tsige, (known to be diabetic and to be recovering from recent heart bypass surgery) and at least one member from Nega’s family, who were reportedly taken to Maekelawi Prison.

Another, Mr. Asaminew Tsige Tebeje, had been a former Ethiopian Air force general in the Meles-controlled military whose loyalties became “suspect,” possibly a casualty of the “ethnically-based cleansing” of non-Tigrayans from the military that occurred earlier in the year. Mr. Asaminew was first demoted then fired from his job prior to his arrest. Currently, there are said to be 61 leadership positions within the EPRDF military of which 57 are held by Tigrayans, who only make up only 6% of the total population. The second general Mr. Mekonnen Worku had been retired from the military.

After many months, these two prisoners along with two other were brought into court on Friday, November 13, 2009, for a hearing. Family members, many other Ethiopians as well as some reporters were present for that hearing and witnessed the opening statement by the prosecution where a postponement was requested, citing the need to compile further evidence. Mr. Asaminew, fearing that he would again being locked up for an indefinite period of time, bluntly spoke out telling all present that he had been tortured by security agents in the prison. The other general Mr. Mekonnen, then also spoke out, alleging the same.

Immediately, the judge stopped them as the government prosecutors said it would taint the image of the Ethiopian justice system due to the presence of foreign journalists in the courtroom.; postponing it until the next hearing. At this, the former general Mr. Asaminew, broke into tears, triggering an emotional reaction by the audience, the press and most everyone present. Before it could be controlled, many were loudly sobbing and the judge ordered the spectators to be removed from the courtroom.

While others were leaving, the judge then allowed the two men to proceed. Mr. Asaminew reported having lost his left eye, his hearing in one ear and that he had sustained unknown internal injuries from severe blows to his body. He testified that an ankle bracelet had been ripped off, tearing away flesh. He said he had been repeatedly insulted and called names because of his ethnicity (Amhara). He wanted the court to do four things: 1) provide medical treatment, 2) allow visitors from the International Red Cross and Amnesty International, 3) end his solitary confinement and 4) arrest those who tortured him; all of whom he said he could name. He denied the basis for all charges saying he had done nothing wrong.

The other retired general showed the court physical evidence of a broken arm, injury to his leg and other injuries. As a result, the judge said to put their testimony in writing and to come back Monday of the following week.

This event, as reported by eyewitnesses and Voice of America, provides an example of the many incidents of torture and injustice being carried out by a government who is supposed to be our ally.
Another case involves four Anuak men, Mr. Obang Oluch Achew, Mr. Omot Okomu, Mr. Okwiia Akway Omot and Mr. Obang Ogom, who fled the Gambella region of Ethiopia in 2003 after their family members and over 400 others were killed in the government perpetrated massacre of the Anuak. No one has yet been brought to justice for these crimes, which forms part of the basis for the referral of Meles Zenawi to the ICC for complicity in genocide and crimes against humanity.

Two months ago, these Anuak were trying to return to Ethiopia from Sudan and were arrested and accused of being insurgents. While being detained, they were tortured in the Gambella region and then disappeared. Relatives were told they had been taken to a military prison in Addis Ababa, but no one seems to know their location. There are many other cases like this in the regions of Oromiya, Afar, the Ogaden, Amhara and throughout the entire country where the situation is similar.

The one and only viable human rights institution in Ethiopia, Ethiopian Human Rights Council (EHRCO), who used to document this, has been blocked in its efforts by the same government which has also passed a bill making human rights work—as well as advocacy for children’s rights, women’s rights, rights for the disabled and ethnic or religious conflict resolution—punishable by up to 15 years for any organizations receiving more than 10% of its funding from foreign sources. Please see the link of the law in its entirety (Click here: Anti-terrorism Law). This ill-defined law could be tailored to justify what are actually politically-motivated charges and the innocent could be targeted with trumped up charges while government-supported perpetrators went free.

An Ethiopian judge, whose name is being withheld, sums up the lack of justice in the following testimony: “You ask if there is justice in Ethiopia and my answer to you is, none. Even in the wild jungle there is more justice than what we have here! The bylaws and articles we have in the Constitution are meaningless. We have been ordered like dogs, to go do one thing, and then we are ordered to do the opposite—all the time. If I speak up or refuse to do what I am instructed, I will end up behind bars like those imprisoned across the country. The federal system interferes all the way, even to the district level…Justice only applies to those who have a political position… what I am saying may cost me my own life, but it may enrich other people’s lives who will not be haunted by their own thoughts as I am… I will leave it to God! My only hope is that the end is not far away and that justice will come to Ethiopia!”

Is this the kind of government you and other supporters of democracy in the Senate, House and
administration intended to support with US tax dollars? Such a government cannot be a trustworthy partner and will play us against other donors and the people. In other countries of similar nature we have suspended aid, revoked visas, barred entrance to human rights perpetrators, called elections illegitimate, given sanctions, exerted diplomatic pressure and in a few cases, intervened militarily. Why are Meles and his corrupt regime getting special treatment?

No longer can we simply excuse our position by blaming Ethiopians for not having “a viable alternative” when Meles makes sure there is none or contrives look-alike ones to his favor, which is not a problem if all others are able to openly compete for offices. However, this is not the case; instead, he is arresting any of those who present as a threat, like the leader of the Unity for Justice and Democracy (UDJ) party, Ms. Birtukan Mideksa, a former judge and the first woman ever to lead a major Ethiopian political party.

Ms. Mideksa, was elected in 2005 national election. Mr. Meles Zenawi is an individual responsible for the rigging of the Ethiopian National election where he declared himself the winner. He was complicit in the repression and shooting of 200 unarmed election protestors and in the arrest and 20-month imprisonment of Ms. Mideksa and other opposition leaders.

In October 2, 2007, Ms. Mideksa, testified in the US Congress, after she was released. In late 2008, she was again arrested and given a life sentence for refusing to recant a statement made in Sweden regarding the terms of her pardon, leaving her young child in the care of her mother.

In summary, we are hoping you will take leadership in setting up a Senate hearing to re-configure the US policy towards Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa now that the true nature of this regime has been revealed.

This request was informally made just two weeks ago, when I and some of my colleagues were in your office in Washington DC and had a very good conversation with your Assistant at Foreign Relations on Africa. We also made the same request to Donald Payne, the Chair of the House Sub-committee on Africa, who is also considering this request.

We would also respectfully ask that you send a letter to the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, requesting that she and the State Department clarify their position on how they are responding to the worsening conditions in Ethiopia and in the Horn of Africa. We hope to be part of that solution.

(Obang Metho, executive director of Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia, can be reached at

Hailu Shawel dines with Woyannes after surrender

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA (Addis Fortune) — For a change, and after several months of political doldrums, the landscape has begun to churn. Not surprisingly, the recent deal signed at the Sheraton Addis in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa between leaders of the four political parties, including the incumbent’s, has struck up the debate at the various gossip corridors across the city.

However, none of the political leaders is facing the sizzle of frying pan more so than Hailu Shawel. It is fast becoming a trying task just to find defenders of his, these days.

It seems apparent that the coming national election will hardly be harvest time for Hailu and party. The situation makes it painfully obvious that he will need to employ an abundance of damage control exercises in the few months ahead – all the while paying a huge price, much more so than any of the parties in the deal.

Negotiators from his party, the All Ethiopian Unity Party (AEUP), did not surrender easily after what was an exhaustive, two-month long inter-party dialogue.

Negotiators from the ruling party [in large part] and those from the other opposition parties [to a certain extent] have demonstrated unusual patience in keeping AEUP’s negotiators at the roundtable held inside Parliament. The latter were proven to be extremely wooly, with all the list of questions they would bring the following day, purportedly from Hailu.

The chief negotiator for AEUP was Yacob Leekie, brother of Senay Leekie, a Soviet trained Marxist. He was killed in the mid-1970s inside Menelik’s Palace, during a shoot-out between those who had supported Mengistu Hailemariam and others stood against him. Senay was a prominent personality in the early years of bloody political struggle within the junior military officers and the leftist politicians around them.

Yacob is also known to have been raised with the family of Kassa WoldeMariam, president of the Addis Abeba University, during the Emperor’s rule. His daughter, Yeshi, also a great granddaughter of the Emperor’s, is married to Hailu Shawel’s son, Shawel Hailu.

Nevertheless, none of the four negotiators of AEUP were as forceful and close to Hailu as Mamushet Amare. Once a captain in the Derg army, he was calling the shots during the negotiations.

Revealing the identities of those on the negotiating front on behalf of the ruling EPRDF is proved especially relevant: Bereket Simon, Hailemariam Desalegn, Sekuture Getachew and Muktar Kedir.

The Ethiopian Democratic Party (EDP) had been represented by its president, Lidetu Ayalew, as well as Mushie Semu and Mesfin.

There was a huge uncertainty, down to the very last day, as to whether or not Hailu’s party would actually sign the deal. They had threatened to drop out of the deal on several occasions. Reason being that they had wanted to talk about broader issues, they had felt would affect the coming election, and not simply the code of conduct. It came as a surprise to all when Yacob Leekie came around to agreeing to the signing at the end.

The final point of concern among negotiators was the supposed unpredictability of Hailu fearing he would go for a microphone in the presence of Meles Zenawi. Negotiators from the ruling party had gambled, too. They were not to be disappointed as they watched Hailu say what has earned him onslaught from his supporters and appreciation from his opponents across the aisle.

Praised, he was, at a dinner party which the ruling party, Woyanne, hosted. The party was hosted inside the Addis Top View Hotel, near Ras Amba Hotel at Arat Kilo. It was held to celebrate the deal on the electoral code of conduct the very night it was signed. Several political leaders from all the four parties were seated mingled at tables which looked designed to let them feel one another out.

Somalia is outpacing Ethiopia in mobile phone access

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

Economist reports how “once the toys of rich yuppies, mobile phones have evolved in a few short years to become tools of economic empowerment for the world’s poorest people. These phones compensate for inadequate infrastructure, such as bad roads and slow postal services, allowing information to move more freely, making markets more efficient and unleashing entrepreneurship.”

This focuses on three trends: the spread of mobile phones in developing countries and the accompanying rise in home-grown mobile operators that exceed the heretofore Western incumbent firms; the rise of China’s two leading telecoms-equipment makers from low-cost, low-quality operators to high-quality and innovative powers; and development of a raft of new phone-based services in the developing world, which go far beyond text messages and phone calls, with new data services including agricultural advice, health care and financial transfers. And whereas government-run phone monopolies do remain in places like Ethiopia, they are being dwarfed in impact and innovation by the real competition one finds in spots like war-ravaged Somalia, a poor nation with no real government where a dozen mobile operators seek market share and explain a far greater “mobile teledensity” than Ethiopia.

As telling are the many ways in which it’s now apparent that the spread of phones promotes economic development, especially money transfers or mobile banking, which derives from the custom in the developing world of using prepaid calling credit as an informal currency far more efficient than physically sending it from one place to another.

Economist: In the grand scheme of telecoms history, mobile phones have made a bigger difference to the lives of more people, more quickly, than any previous technology. They have spread the fastest and proved the easiest and cheapest to develop. It is now clear that the long process of connecting everyone on Earth to a global telecommunications network, which began with the invention of the telegraph in 1791, is on the verge of being completed. Mobile phones will have done more than anything else to advance the democratization of telecoms, and all the advantages that come with it.

Ethiopians in Israel resist interracial marriage – survey

Monday, November 16th, 2009

( — Intermarriage between between Jews from different ethnic backgrounds has increased steadily over the past several decades, and people say that this is solving the socioeconomic gaps that existed between Ashkenazim and Sephardim in Israeli society.

However, Ethiopian Israelis seem to be exempt from the trend, so far. According to a Central Bureau of Statistics report published on, about 90 percent of Ethiopians – 93 percent of men and 85 percent of women – marry within their community.

The statistical portrait of Ethiopian Israelis was published to coincide with the community’s Sigd holiday, which is celebrated every year on the 29th of Heshvan on the Hebrew calendar, which is today.

At the end of 2008, there were 119,300 people of Ethiopian descent in Israel, including nearly 81,000 people born in Ethiopia and about 38,500 native Israelis (about 32 percent of the community) who had at least one parent who was born in Ethiopia.

The urban areas with the largest concentrations of Ethiopians include Netanya, where one in 10 residents is Ethiopian; and Kiryat Malakhi, where one in three residents, or 3,400 people, are Ethiopian.

The election of Barack Obama, whose father was black and whose mother was white, highlighted the subject of interracial marriage. Nonetheless, the rate of racial intermarriage in the United States is lower than it is in Israel.

According to a study published in the U.S. two years ago, 6 percent of black people who married, married a white person, as opposed to 10 percent in Israel.

The Center for Academic Studies found last year that most Israeli respondents were not comfortable with the prospect of one of their own children marrying an Ethiopian.

Fifty-seven percent said it would be entirely unacceptable for their daughters to marry an Ethiopian, and 39 percent said so regarding their sons.

Avi Masfin, the deputy director of the Israel Association for Ethiopian Jews, says the barriers to intermarriage come from both sides.

“I think from the standpoint of Israeli society generally and from the standpoint of those of Ethiopian origin, it will take time until there is readiness for intermarriage. Portions of the Ethiopian community itself are conservative and have concerns.”

Masfin said the figures also reflect the community’s relative isolation.

“People who have left that isolation, through the army, the university [or] mixed clubs, can see that even if there are differences in culture, they can be bridged,” he said.

Masfin, who immigrated from Ethiopia in 1986, is married to a woman who is not Ethiopian, whom he met while the two were students at Bar-Ilan University.

Interview with EPPF Fighter (Part II)

Monday, November 16th, 2009

Interview with EPPF Fighter (Part II) and more news. Watch below:

Angola amb. to Ethiopia misses the point on "illegal" immigration

Monday, November 16th, 2009

Editor’s Note: The Angola Ambassador to Ethiopia is placing the blame on helpless African refugees who are migrating from one country to another to seek better life, since vampire regimes are making Africa unlivable. Where there is good governance there is no illegal immigration. What is needed is not more border security, but less corruption on the part of African governments — including the Ambassador’s own government of Angola, more free trade, more economic development, more education, and more freedom for the people’s of Africa.

Luanda – The Angolan ambassador to Ethiopia and permanent representative to the African Union (AU), Manuel Domingos Augusto, Sunday in Addis Ababa, urged a greater attention to the phenomenon of illegal immigration in Africa as it poses threat to peace and stability.

Manuel Augusto was speaking at the activities that marked the 34th anniversary of National
Independence, celebrated on 11 November.

“The experience teaches us that the stability of any nation demands the exercise of sovereignty
and the authority of the State within the national territory and effective supervision of its borders”, he stressed.

The Angolan diplomat acknowledges the hospitality and solidarity as pillars of the African Union, apart from calling for a careful reflection on the illegal immigration which is now representing a true threat to peace, stability, order and cooperation among States.

According to Manuel Augusto, the creation of a regime of migration to regulate the entry and
exit of foreign citizens is a key condition for the defence of the State sovereignty.

He added that such measure should be taken in accordance with the real capacity of each
state of receiving and keeping the residence of foreigners, within the premises of African
hospitality and dignity, without undermining the internal stability and specially the national

The Angolan ambassador advised for an interstate cooperation aiming at discouraging and
eliminating illegal immigration, thus promoting confidence in the good neighbourhood relations
among States.

Manuel Augusto recalled that the Angolan government had taken steps to respond to the
challenges of illegal immigration based on national provisions and international practice.

To commemorate the 34th anniversary of the National Independence was held a photo
exhibition that highlighted the participation of the President of the Republic, José Eduardo dos
Santos, at G-20 Summit, in Aquilla, Italy and the visit to Angola of the Pope Benedict XVI.

The visits to Angola of Russian president, Dimitri Medved, South African leader, Jacob Zuma,
United States’ State secretary, Hillary Clinton, were also portrayed at the event.

U.S. investigates claims its aid being used for politics in Ethiopia

Monday, November 16th, 2009

an Kelly, U.S. Department of States Spokesman

QUESTION: I have a couple of Ethiopia questions.

MR. KELLY: Ethiopia questions.

QUESTION: Yeah. Has the State Department or USAID investigated claims by the country’s opposition, including a former president and defense minister that some of the $850 million in food and anti-poverty aid from the U.S. is being distributed on the basis of political favoritism by the current prime minister’s party? And then, also when the Secretary met with the Ethiopian foreign minister last week, did she bring up the issue of the jailed opposition leader Birtukan Mideksa, and did she express any concerns about the fairness of the upcoming Ethiopian elections in May?

MR. KELLY: Yeah. Well, regarding the assistance, we’re committed to assisting people in need all over the world. And we provide humanitarian assistance that is politically neutral, socially impartial, and based on people’s needs, rather than on political factors. And we’re, of course, aware of these reports that you raise, Indira, about the politicization of humanitarian assistance in Ethiopia. Regarding that, let me say that we have monitoring systems in place to prevent or expose such activities, which we are continually reviewing and working to improve. Personnel from U.S. Embassy in Addis are increasing their field visits to observe how the assistance is distributed, and they’re aware of these allegations, so they’re conducting these monitoring activities specifically with these allegations in mind. We are committed to the people of Ethiopia and ensuring that our humanitarian assistance does reach those most in need.

In fiscal year 2008, the U.S. provided $934 million in overall assistance to Ethiopia, of which $479 million was humanitarian assistance. The fiscal year 2009 numbers will be available at the end of the calendar year. This – the meeting last week, I was not in that meeting, but I understand that a full range of issues were discussed. And in general, human rights are at the center of our bilateral dialogues with Ethiopia.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MR. KELLY: Thanks.

U.S. Department of State Daily Press Briefing
Washington, DC, November 12, 2009
Click here for the Full transcript.

ONLF killed 626 Woyanne troops in lastest fighting

Monday, November 16th, 2009

The Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), an Ethiopian rebel group operating in eastern Ethiopia, said today that its fighters have killed 626 Woyanne regime troops in latest fighting since Nov. 10, 2009. ONLF sent the following military communique to Ethiopian Review:

The Ogaden National Liberation Front’s latest multi-front offensive, which began on 10 November 2009, has resulted in a total of 626 Woyanne regime troops killed thus far. Among the killed are twelve field officers.

The ONLF has captured sensitive intelligence gathering material including communications monitoring equipment.

ONLF casualties were minimal given that our forces had the element of surprise on all fronts.

A significant amount of military hardware has been captured or destroyed including small
arms, ammunition, and communications equipment. Military grade maps have also been captured. A total of 4 large military transport vehicles have been destroyed.

ONLF field commanders are encouraging scattered regime troops still in the vicinity to surrender. They will be treated humanely and those wishing to be transferred to our allies the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) will receive safe passage to OLF units.

A significant number of civilians are now receiving medical care from ONLF units. Our forces have also freed Somali civilians which were detained in several of the regimes barracks taken by our forces during this operation. Many of those civilians show signs of torture.

The bodies of the regimes troops are still scattered on the battlefield in places such as Obolka where they present a health hazard to the local Somali community. Military operations are still ongoing.

Detainees accused of plotting coup brutally tortured by police

Monday, November 16th, 2009

ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA — The 46 detainees who are currently on trial after being accused by the tribal junta in Ethiopia of trying to overthrow the regime have told the court on Friday that they are being savagely beaten up by security personnel.

One of the accused, Ato Asaminew Tsige, told the court that he has lost sight in one eye from the beatings.

Upon hearing Ato Asaminew’s claim, family members started to cry loudly, prompting the judges to remove every one from the court room except the accused, the prosecutors, the defense lawyers, the police, and some journalists.

Ato Asaminew asked the court to appoint an independent physician to give the detainees medical treatment and investigate the tortures.

An official representing the prison denied the torture charge. The judges hearing the case told the detainees to file their complaints in writing.

More by Tamiru Tsige, a correspondent for The Reporter:

መንግሥትን በሃይልና በአመፅ ለመጣል ሲንቀሳቀሱ ደርሸባቸዋለሁ በሚል የፌዴራል ዐቃቤ ሕግ ክስ ከመሠረተባቸው ተከሳሾች መካከል አንዳንዶቹ በማረሚያ ቤት ውስጥ ድብደባ እንደደረሰባቸው ለፌዴራል ከፍተኛ ሁለተኛ ደረጃ ፍርድ ቤት ሁለተኛ ወንጀል ችሎት ኅዳር 4 ቀን 2002 ዓ.ም. አቤቱታ አቀረቡ፡፡ ማረሚያ ቤቱ የቀረበበትን አቤቱታ “የተቋሙን ሥም ለማጥፋት የተደረገ ነው” ሲል አስተባብሏል፡፡

በእነ ብርጋዴር ጀነራል ተፈራ ማሞ የክስ መዝገብ በተከሰሱት 46 ተከሳሾች ላይ የተደመጡትን የመከላከያ ምስክሮች ቃል (880 ገጽ) ከህግ አግባብ ጋር በማገናዘብ ውሳኔ ለመስጠት ለኅዳር 4 ቀን 2002 ዓ.ም. ቀጥሮ የነበረው የፌዴራል ከፍተኛ ፍርድ ቤት ሁለተኛ ወንጀል ችሎት “የ8ኛ፣ 19ኛ፣ 21ኛና የ32ኛ ተከሳሾች ያሰሟቸው ምስክሮች ቃል ባለ መድረሱ ሁሉንም አጠቃለን ኅዳር 8 ቀን 2002 ዓ.ም. የመጨረሻ ውሳኔ እንሰጣለን” ሲል፤ የ28ቱ ተከሳሾች ጠበቃ ተነስተው ደንበኞቻቸው ለፍርድ ቤቱ የሚያመላክቱት አቤቱታ እንዳላቸው ተናገሩ፡፡

ፍርድ ቤቱ “አሁን ምንም አንቀበልም” ሲል፤ 2ኛ ተከሳሽ የሆኑት አቶ አሳምነው ጽጌ በመሀል ተነስተው “በጌታ ስም፣ በምታመልኩት ሥም አዳምጡን እኔ ዓይኔ ጠፍቷል” ሲሉ ችሎቱን የታደሙት ዘመድ አዝማድ የፍርድ ቤቱን አዳራሽ በጩኸት አናወጡት፡፡

ለተወሰነ ደቂቃ ጩኸት በተቀላቀለበት ለቅሶ ተናውጦ የነበረው የፍርድ ቤቱ አዳራሽ ሲረጋጋ፣ “ፍርድ ቤቱ በጩኸትና በሁካታ ሊሰራ ስለማይችልና አቤቱታ አቅራቢዎቹም በተረጋጋና በተስተካከለ መልኩ መናገር ስለማይችሉ ፀጥታ ወሳኝ ነው፡፡ አሁንም ተከሳሾቹ የሚያቀርቡትን አቤቱታ በጥሞና መስማት እንዲቻል፣ ከፖሊስ፣ ጠበቃና ዐቃቤ ሕግ ውጭ ችሎቱን የታደማችሁ ትወጡና በዝግ እንሰማለን” በማለቱ ጋዜጠኞችን ጨምሮ ሁሉም የችሎቱ ታዳሚዎች ወጡ፡፡

ጋዜጠኞች ለዳኞች አመልክተን እንድንገባ ከተፈቀደ በኋላ ተቋርጦ የነበረው “ተደበደብን” ያሉት ተከሳሾች አቤቱታ መደመጥ ጀመረ፡፡

ጥቅምት 27 ቀን 2002 ዓ.ም. ከምሽቱ 12፡10 ሰዓት ሲሆን ለብቻቸው ከታሰሩበት “ትፈለጋለህ” ተብለው ሲጠሩ “የመተኛ ሰዓቴ ነው ለምን” ቢሉም እንደሚፈለጉ በድጋሚ ተነግሯቸው ወደ ሌላ ክፍል ከተወሰዱ በኋላ ግንባራቸውንና ዓይናቸውን ተመትተው ጉዳት እንደደረሰባቸው ለፍርድ ቤቱ በመጀመሪያ አቤቱታቸውን ያሰሙት ሁለተኛ ተከሳሹ አቶ አሳምነው ጽጌ ናቸው፡፡

አቶ አሳምነው ለፍርድ ቤቱ ጨምረው ባሰሙት አቤቱታ በተለይ ግራ ዓይናቸው ከፍተኛ ጉዳት እንደደረሰበትና ሰው መለየት እንደማይችሉ፣ አንገታቸው ላይ አድርገውት የነበረ ሀብል ሲበጠስ በመጐዳታቸው ከፈሳሽ በስተቀር ምግብ መውሰድ እንደማይችሉ፣ ጥቅምት 28 እና 29 ቀን 2002 ዓ.ም. ከቤተሰቦቻቸው ጋር እንዳልተገናኙ ተናግረዋል፡፡

ፍርድ ቤቱ ገለልተኛ በሆነ ሐኪም እንዲመረመሩ፣ የሰብዓዊ መብት ተሟጋች አካላት እንዲጐበኛቸው፣ እንደማንኛውም እስረኛ ከሌሎች እስረኞች ጋር ተቀላቅለው እንዲታሰሩ ትዕዛዝ እንዲሰጥላቸውም አመልክተዋል፡፡

“የተደበደበው ፍትሕ ነው” ያሉት አቶ አሳምነው ፍርድ ቤቱ ጥቃት ያደረሱባቸው ለፍርድ እንዲቀርቡ እንዲያደርግላቸው ሲሉ ለፍርድ ቤቱ አመልክተዋል፡፡

የምግብ ማቆም አድማ አድርገዋል በሚል ከታሰሩበት ክፍል ወደ ሌላ ክፍል ተወስደው እጃቸው በካቴና ከታሰረ በኋላ ጆሮአቸው አካባቢ በደረሰባቸው ድብደባ ጉዳት እንደደረሰባቸው ለፍርድ ቤቱ አቤቱታቸውን ያሰሙት 6ኛ ተከሳሽ ሻለቃ መኮንን ወርቁ ሲሆኑ፣ እርሳቸው ግን ምንም ዓይነት የምግብ ማቆም አድማ አለማድረጋቸውን ተናግረዋል፡፡

ፍርድ ቤቱ ከማረሚያ ቤት እስረኞቹን በሀላፊነት ይዘው የመጡትን ኃላፊ ስለ ሁኔታው ጠይቋቸው፤ “ይኸንን ነገር የሰማሁት አሁን ነው፡፡ እንደዚህ ያለ ድርጊት በማረሚያ ቤቱ ውስጥ አልተፈፀመም ይኸ ሆን ተብሎ የማረሚያ ቤቱን ሥም ለማጥፋት ነው” በማለት ምላሽ ሰጥተዋል፡፡

“ይኸ ፊት ለፊት የሚታይ ነገር ነው፡፡ የሆነ ችግር እንዳለ ይታያል፡፡ ተፈጥሮ ነው ወይስ ምንድነው?” በማለት ፍርድ ቤቱ ኃላፊውን ጠይቆ፤ ከሠው ጋር ተጣልተው ከሆነ “ተጣልተዋል”፣ ወይም ታመው ከሆነ “ታመዋል” በማለት መጠቆም እንደሚያስፈልግ ገል”ል፡፡

ማንም መመታት እንደሌለበት፣ ጉዳዩ መጣራት እንዳለበት ፍርድ ቤቱ አሳስቦ፣ “ተደብድበናል” ያሉት ተከሳሾች ሁኔታውን በጽሑፍ ለኅዳር 7 ቀን 2002 ዓ.ም. ይዘው እንዲቀርቡ አዟል፡፡

ፍርድ ቤቱ በተከሳሾቹ ላይ ጉዳቱን ያደረሱትንና ጉዳቱ የደረሰበትን ምክንያት የማረሚያ ቤቱ ዋና አስተዳዳሪ አጣርተው ይዘው እንዲቀርቡ ትዕዛዝ ከሰጠ በኋላ በጉዳዩ ላይ ባለው አቅም አጣርቶ አፋጣኝ ውሳኔ እንደሚሰጥ አስታውቋል፡፡

ጉዳዩ እስከሚጣራና ውሳኔው እስከሚሰጥ ድረስ በገለልተኛ ሀኪም ህክምና እንዲደረግላቸውና ትዕዛዝ እንዲሰጥላቸው የጠየቁት ደግሞ ብርጋዴር ጄኔራል ተፈራ ማሞ ሲሆኑ፤ “የትና ማነው ገለልተኛ ሀኪም? የሚለውን አጣርተን አፋጣኝ ትዕዛዝ እንሰጣለን” በማለት ፍርድ ቤቱ ምላሽ ሰጥቶ ለኅዳር 7 ቀን 2002 ዓ.ም. ተለዋጭ ቀጠሮ በመስጠት ችሎቱ ተጠናቋል፡፡

The U.S. and China in Africa: To compete or cooperate?

Monday, November 16th, 2009

BEIJING (CNN) — Large African communities are forming in China, from Guangzhou to Beijing. Many of the migrants are traders and entrepreneurs hoping to make a profit by sending China’s cheap manufactured goods back home.

Ethiopian David Bekele is searching for space to open a new restaurant in Beijing. “Almost every African country has an embassy here in Beijing,” says Bekele. “There’s a huge number of students from Africa who come on scholarships funded by the Chinese government. And there are a lot businessmen come from Africa to buy goods and do trading.”

Beijing’s first Ethiopian restaurant, Ras Ethiopian Cuisine, was opened on March 6, 2008.

As U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands with Chinese President Hu Jintao and the highest-ranking members of the Chinese Politburo, one has to wonder if he is sizing up the competition.

China appears to be leaving the United States in the dust by taking off on a global shopping spree from South America to the Middle East and especially Africa. The question is, can the U.S. keep up and does it want to?

The presidents did not address Africa in their joint statements on Tuesday in Beijing, but no doubt it is on both of their agendas.

So far this year, Obama has stopped in Ghana and Egypt while U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wrapped a seven-nation African tour in August.

Hu has stopped in Mali, Senegal, Tanzania and Mauritius while Premier Wen Jiabao just attended the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in Cairo. Among other things, he pledged $10 billion in loans to developing African countries. That is double what China promised at the same forum in 2006.

Wen emphasized that China is taking another step forward with its relationships with African countries. “This represents a new stage of development in relations with Africa,” he said earlier this month.

So far this year, China’s foreign direct investment in Africa is up 77.5 percent. China’s trade with Africa has multiplied 10 times in the last decade to more than $107 billion.

If anyone is keeping score, some analysts say the U.S. is behind.

“To my mind, the U.S. is already on the backfoot in Africa,” says David Kelly, Professor of China Studies at University of Technology Sydney. “The American public may not be terribly aware but basically most of Africa thinks it’s a great thing that China has come into the game, not necessarily because of the public goods that China provides or those alone, (but) because it must force America to raise its game.”

As the son of a Kenyan, Obama may have won African hearts, but it is China’s deep pockets that have been winning over African governments.

In the last few years, China has struck deal after deal with African countries, often buying natural resources in exchange for building infrastructure and providing loans. It is typical that the roads, hospitals, schools and more must be built primarily by Chinese workers.

In Gabon, the Chinese recently financed $800 million in railways, dams and ports in exchange for access to iron ore.

Critics say China’s actions have propped up dictatorships in Zimbabwe and Sudan. The Chinese have been supporting oil production in Sudan for years. China International Fund, a little-known Chinese company, reportedly signed a $7 billion mining deal with Guinea’s repressive military regime.

In response to criticism, Wen recently stated, “There has long been the argument that China is plundering Africa’s resources … Anyone who is familiar with history would know that the friendly relations and cooperation between China and Africa did not start just yesterday but as early as half a century ago. In those years, we helped Africa build the Tanzara railway and sent to Africa large numbers of medical teams. But we did not take away a single drop of oil or a single ton of mineral ores from Africa.”

Some leaders of African countries have indicated Africa will take money from anyone who is giving.

“Foreign direct investment has no fixed allegiance or nationality – it goes where it is most welcome,” said Ghanaian president John Atta Mills at a recent conference in Washington.

While China’s relationship with Africa strengthens, analysts say the United States may be too focused on the Middle East and, ironically this week, China to notice. Previous U.S. administrations placed Africa relatively high on their list of priorities. President George W. Bush’s heavy investment in HIV and AIDS prevention on the continent is largely considered a success.

In early October, Obama supported a $3.5 billion hunger and food security initiative focused on agriculture over the next three years in developing countries. Much of the money is intended for Africa. However, at this stage Obama’s Africa strategy has yet to be solidified.

But the vast opportunities in Africa are not without challenges. Poverty, corruption and instability are constantly changing the game. The question is how the U.S. and China choose to play.

Some analysts say Africa gives the U.S. and China a chance not necessarily to compete, but to cooperate and to make vital changes on a developing continent. Zha Daojiong, Professor of International Relations at Peking University, says the U.S. and China should consider working together on humanitarian issues including health care and food security.

“I think it is a meaningful issue for both governments to discuss,” says Zha. “Clearly there is a great potential there. We should put the interests of the African people in the center of these considerations.”

የኢትዮጵያ ሕዝብ ለሰጠን ኃላፊነት ብቁ ሆነን አልተገኘንም – ዶ/ር ያዕቆብ ኃ/ማርያም

Sunday, November 15th, 2009

ዶ/ር ያዕቆብ ኃ/ማርያም፥ የአንድነት ለፍትህና ለዴሞክራሲ ፓርቲ ም/ሊቀመንበርና የውጪ ግንኙነት ኃላፊ የነበሩ

የአንድነት ለፍትህና ለዴሞክራሲ ፓርቲ ምክትል ፕሬዚዳንትና የውጪ ግንኙነት ኃላፊ ዶ/ር ያዕቆብ ኃይለ ማርያም ፓርቲያቸውን በቃኝ በማለት ተሰናብተዋል፡፡ ከፓርቲው ራሳቸውን ያገለሉበትንና ሌሎች ጉዳዮችን በተመለከተ ከሪፖርተር ጋዜጣ አሰግድ ተፈራና ሰብለወንጌል ሃብታሙ አነጋግረዋቸዋል፡፡

ሪፖርተር፡- እርስዎን የኢትዮጵያ ሕዝብ የሚያውቆት ከ1997ቱ ምርጫ ጋር በተያያዘ ነው፡፡ ከምርጫ 97 በፊት ከኢህአዴግ የሹመት ጥሪ እንደደረስዎት ይነገራል?

ዶ/ር ያዕቆብ፡- በአንድ ወቅት ደርሶኛል፡፡ በሽግግር መንግሥቱ ጊዜ የወቅቱ አፈጉባኤ ከነበሩት ከአቶ ዳዊት ዮሐንስ ጋር እንተዋወቅ ስለነበርና ኢሕአፓም ሆነን ስለሰራን ጥያቄ አቅርቦልኝ ነበር፡፡ በወቅቱ አሜሪካ አስተምር ስለነበር ስልክ ደውሎ የፍትሕ ሚኒስትሩ እየለቀቁ ነው፣ የእሳቸውን ቦታ ወይንም የቀይ ሽብር ፍርድ ቤት ገና መቋቋሙ ነበርና ልዩ አቃቤ እንድሆን ጠይቆኝ ነበር፡፡ በኋላ እኔም ትንሽ ጊዜ ላስብበት ብዬ አንዳንድ አስተማሪዎችን ካማከርኩኝ በኋላ ኢህአዴግ በርግጥ ለቀይ ሽብር ተዋንያን ፍትህ እሰጣለሁ የሚል ከሆነ እኔ ከእዛ ልሸሽ አልችልም የምችለውን አስተዋፅኦ አደርጋለሁ፡፡ ስለዚህ ልዩ አቃቤ ሕግ ቦታ ለመያዝ ፈቃደኛ ነኝ፡፡ ሆኖም ግን በዚህ በስራዬ ላይ መንግሥት ምንም ዓይነት ጣልቃ እንዳይገባ ከበጀት በስተቀር እገሌ ይከሰስ (ትከሰስ”፣ እገሌ ይለቀቅ (ትለቀቅ) የሚለውን በምንም ጣልቃ ገብነት ዓይነት መልኩ የማልቀበል መሆኑን፤ ሹመቱ ከዚያ ውጭ ከሆነ ግን የአቃቤ ሕግ ስራን ለመስራት ፈቃደኛ ነኝ ብዬ ለአቶ ዳዊት ዮሐንስ ነገርኩት፡፡ የወቅቱ ጠቅላይ ሚኒስትር የነበሩት አቶ ታምራት ላይኔ ነበሩ፡፡ ጠቅላይ ሚኒስትሩ በጥቂት ቀናት ይደውሉልሃል፤ እናም ይሄንኑ እንድትሠራ ይጠይቁሃል በሚል አቶ ዳዊት ቃል ገባልኝ፡፡ ከዛ በኋላ ግን ከእነሱ ምንም ሳልሰማ ነገሩ የውሃ ሽታ ሆነ፡፡ በኋላ ግን ስሰማ ያዕቆብ ኢሕአፓ ስለነበረ ለተከሰሱ ሰዎች ፍትህ ለመስጠት ያዳግተዋል፡፡ በቂም በቀል ይነሳሳል በሚል ቦታው ለእኔ እንዳልተሰጠ ሰማሁ፡፡

ሪፖርተር፡- በቅንጅት አመራሮች ውስጥ ዴሞክራሲ የሚባል ነገር የለም፡፡ አምባገነንነትና ለሥልጣን መጓጓት አለ፡፡ እነዚህ ነገሮች በወቅቱ ባይኖሩ ኖሮ ምርጫውን ተከትለው የሚመጡትን ችግሮች ሁሉ መጋፈጥ/መወጣት ይቻል ነበር የሚሉ ሰዎች አሉ፡፡ የእርስዎ አቋም ምንድነው?

ዶ/ር ያዕቆብ፡- ይህንን አስተያየት የሚሰጡት ስህተት ነበሩ ማለት አይቻልም፡፡ ግን ደግሞ ሌላም ሁኔታም አለ፡፡ እርግጥ እነዚህ ነገሮች በሙሉ ነበሩ፡፡ አንድ መዘንጋት የሌለበት ነገር ቢኖር እኛ እራሳችን ከጀርባችን ምን ዓይነት ሰዎች ነበርን? የሚለው ነው፡፡ ከጀርባችን በማርክሲዝም ሌኒንዝም ታንፀን የመጣን፣ ቅራኔዎች በውይይት ሳይሆን በመጠፋፋት መፈታት አለባቸው የሚል እምነት ይዘን የመጣን ሰዎች ነበርን፡፡ እናም ችግሮችን በውይይት ለመፍታት አመቺ ሁኔታ አልነበረም፡፡ የመጣንበት የፖለቲካ ባህል ችግሮችን በውይይት የሚፈታ አልነበረም፡፡ ይሄ ትልቅ አስተዋፅኦ አድርጓል፡፡ እንደሚታወቀው የአመራሩ አባል ሁሉም ማለት ይቻላል መኢሶን፣ ኢሠፓ ወይም ኢህአፓ የነበረ ነው፡፡ ሁላችንም የየፓርቲያችንን ባህል ይዘን የመጣን ነን፡፡ እነኚህ ፓርቲዎች ደግሞ በጊዜው አስተሳሰብ እንደነበረው ሁሉ ችግሮች በውይይት ሳይሆን በመጠፋፋት ይፈቱ የሚሉ ነበሩ፡፡ እነዚህ ሁሉ ችግሮች ተደራርበው ከተባለው ከአምባገነንነት፣ ከሥልጣን ጉጉት ጋር ተደማምረው ለቅንጅት መፍረስ ምክንያት ሊሆኑ ችለዋል፡፡

ሪፖርተር፡- ከምርጫ በኋላ ፓርላማ እንግባ አንግባ በሚለው ውዝግብ እርስዎ ፓርላማ እንግባ የሚል አቋም ይዘው ነበር ይባላል፡፡ እውነት ነው?

ዶ/ር ያዕቆብ፡- በመጀመሪያ ፓርላማ መግባት የለብንም ብዬ ብዙ ስከራከር የነበርኩት እኔ ነበርኩ፡፡ ከብዙ ውይይት በኋላ ፓርላማ መግባቱንና ከተማውን መረከቡ የሕዝብ አደራ እንደመሆኑ መጠን ይሄንን ማድረግ አለብን፤ የሚል አቋም ይዤ ነበር፡፡ ይህ እንዲሆን ግን አንዳንድ ቅድመ ሁኔታዎች የምንላቸው ነገሮች መፍትሄ ማግኘት አለባቸው የሚልም አቋም ነበረኝ፡፡

በአንድ ወቅት ድርድሩ በተካረረበትና በተወጠረበት ወቅት ለአንዲት የአሜሪካ ዲፕሎማት ሌላው ቢቀር በምርጫ አካባቢ አንድ ዓይነት መግባቢያ ከመንግሥት ብታመጪልን እኔ ጓደኞቼን አነጋግሬ ፓርላማ የምንገባበት መንገድ ይፈልጋል፡፡ ይሄንን ሞክሪ ብያት ነበር፡፡

ስምንት ቅድመ ሁኔታዎች ነበር ያስቀመጥነው፡፡ ከስምንቱ አንዱ ብቻ ኢህአዴግ ይቀበል፡፡ የምርጫ ቦርድ ገለልተኝነት እንደሚሆን ማረጋገጫ ይስጠንና ወደ ፓርላማ የመግባቱ ነገር ጓደኞቼን ላሳምን እሞክራለሁ አልኩኝ፡፡ ሴትየዋ እሺ እሞክራለሁ ብላ ሄዳ ያነጋገረችውን አነጋግራ ስትመለስ ግን “ምንም ዓይነት መለሳለስ ላገኝ አልቻልኩም” አለች፤ ከዛ በኋላ ድርድሩም ውይይቱም ፈረሰ፡፡ እኛም በአቋማችን ፀናን፡፡ ወደ ፓርላማ ገብተን ከተማውን እንድንረከብ ያልኩት ቢያንስ ቢያንስ የዚህ የምርጫ ቦርድ ገለልተኝነት ብቻ ይረጋገጥልን የቀሩትን ሰባት ቅድመ ሁኔታዎች ፓርላማ ውስጥ ከገባን በኋላ እንወያይበታለን፡፡ የሚል አቋም ነበረኝ፡፡ በመንግሥት በኩል ስለምርጫ ቦርድ ሁኔታ ምንም ፍንጭ ሊሰጠን አልተፈለገም፡፡ ስለዚህ ድርድሩ ፈረሰ፡፡

ሪፖርተር፡- ዛሬ ላይ ሆነው ሲያዩት በወቅቱ የተወሰነው ውሳኔ ትክክል ነው ወይስ ብለው ያምናሉ?

ዶ/ር ያዕቆብ፡- እንግዲህ ዛሬ ላይ ሆኜ ሳየው ምን አልባት ፓርላማ ገብተን መሞከር ነበረብን እላለሁ፡፡ ፓርላማ ገብተን በሙከራ ደረጃ እንኳን የሚያሰራን ከሆነ መስራት፣ ሁኔታው የማያሰራ ከሆነ ጥለን ልንወጣ እንችል ነበር፡፡ እርግጥ ሁኔታው በጣም አስቸጋሪ ነበር፡፡ እንደሚታወቀው የከተማው በጀት ወደ ሌላ ቦታ እየተዛወረ፣ ኃላፊነቱም ወደ ሌላ ቦታ እየተቀየረ ነበር፡፡ አዲስ አበባን ብንረከብ የማያሰራ ሁኔታ ስለመኖሩ ብዙ ፍንጭ ነበር፡፡ ግን ያም ቢሆን የኢትዮጵያን ሕዝብ ፈቃድ ፈፅመን፣ ፓርላማ ገብተን ይኸውና መስራት አልቻልንም፣ የኢትዮጵያ ሕዝብ የራስህን ምርጫ ውሰድ፡፡ ሞክረናል፣ አቅቶናል መስራት አልቻልንም ብለን ያኔ ብንወስን የተሻለ ነበር፡፡ አሁን ሳየው የሰራነው ጥፋት ይህ ይመስለኛል፡፡

ሪፖርተር፡- ቅንጅትን ከፈጠሩት ፓርቲዎች ውስጥ በርካታ እጩዎችን ያቀረበውና በርካታ አባላትን ያስመዘገበው ፓርቲ የሚፈለገውን ቦታ አልተሰጠውም፤ እነዚህ ችግሮች ናቸው ፓርቲውን ወደ ከፋ ችግር የከተቱት የሚሉ ወገኖችም አሉ፤

ዶ/ር ያዕቆብ፡- ከዚህ በፊት በቅንጅትም ሆነ በራሱ ፓርቲ ከፍተኛ አስተዋፅኦ ያደረገ፣ ብዙ መስዋዕትነት የከፈለው አቶ ልደቱ አያሌው፣ ከምክትል ሊቀ መንበርነት ሊያልፍ አልቻለም፡፡ በርካታ አስተያየት ቢሰነዘርም እኔ እንደሚገባኝ አቶ ልደቱ ከፓርቲው ጋር መናቆር የጀመረው ከዚያ ጊዜ ጀምሮ ይመስለኛል፡፡ ከዛ በፊት ከፓርቲ ጋር አብሮ ነበር የሚሄደው፡፡ በእውነት ሊካድ የማይቻል ብዙ መስዋዕትነት የከፈለ ሰው ነበር፡፡ ም/ሊቀመንበር መሆን ይገባኛል የሚል እምነት ነበረው፡፡ ከዚህ በፊት በትግሉ ብዙም የማትታወቀው ወ/ት ብርቱካን ሚደቅሳ በመመረጧ እኔ እንደገመገምኩት አቶ ልደቱ ቅሬታ እንደተሰማው ነው፡፡ አቶ ልደቱ ከፓርቲው መለየትና ከቅንጅት ተቃራኒ እርምጃ መውሰድ የጀመረው ከዚያ በኋላ ይመስለኛል፡፡ አንዳንድ ሰዎች ከዚያ በፊት ብዙ የሚያወሩት ነገር አለ፡፡ እኔ ግን አልቀበለውም፡፡ እኔ የሚመስለኝ የአቶ ልደቱ ቂም የተጀመረው በምርጫው ይገባኛል የሚለውን ቦታ ባለመሰጠቱ ይመስለኛል፡፡

ሪፖርተር፡- ወ/ት ብርቱካን ሚደቅሳ ምክትል ሊቀመንበር መሆናቸው ትክክል አይደለም እያሉ ነው?

ዶ/ር ያዕቆብ፡- በእኔ በኩል ትክክል ነበረ ነው የምለው፤ ወ/ት ብርቱካን ተሞክሮዋ በፓርቲ ውስጥ ያደረገችው ትግል ብዙም የተመዘገበ ነገር ባይኖራትም፤ በጊዜው ለወጣቶችና ለሴቶች ጥሩ ማደፋፈሪያና ግሩም ምሳሌ ነበረች፡፡ በምክትል ሊቀመንበርነት ልታድግና ለወደፊቱ ሊቀመንበር ልትሆን የምትችል መሪ መሆኗን ያየንበት ነውና የምክትል ሊቀመንበርነት ምርጫው ትክክል ነበር፡፡

ሪፖርተር፡- የአቶ ልደቱ ኩርፊያ ስህተት ነው?

ዶ/ር ያዕቆብ፡- እንግዲህ የአቶ ልደቱ ኩርፊያ ስህተት ነው ማለት አስቸጋሪ ነው፡፡ በእሱ ዓይን ሆነን ብናየው ብዙ መስዋእትነት የከፈለ፣ ብዙ አስተዋፅኦ ያደረገ ሰው ነው፡፡ እና ይገባኛል የሚል እምነት አለው . . .

ሪፖርተር፡- በቅንጅት ውሰጥ ያሉ ሰዎች ለእኔነት፣ ለዝናና ለክብር የሞቱ ናቸው ይባላል፡፡ እርስዎ እኔ እንዲህ ነኝ የሚሉት ነገር . . . .

ዶ/ር ያዕቆብ፡- እኔነትና ዝና ፍለጋ ነበር፡፡ ገንዘብ የሚፈልግ የፓርቲ አመራር ግን አልነበረም፡፡ በአብዛኛው ገንዘብ ያለን፣ ራሳችንን የቻልን ነን፡፡ የስልጣን ጥም ፍላጎት ግን አልነበረም ማለት አይቻልም፡፡ ይሄን ግላዊ ስሜት ለሀገርና ለሕዝብ ጥቅም ማስገዛት ይገባ ነበር፡፡ ይህ ማለት ቅንጅትን አስቀድሞ፤ አስፈላጊም ከሆነ ራስን ማግለል ይገባ ነበር፡፡ በእውነት ይሄም ሲባል በአመራር ደረጃ የነበሩት እኔ እስከማውቃቸው ድረስ ለሥልጣን የሞቱ፣ ለዝና የሚስገበገቡ ሰዎች ነበሩም ብዬም መመልከት እቸገራለሁ፡፡ በሌላ በኩል ደግሞ ለቅንጅት መድከምና መሞት ሌላ ምን ምክንያት አለ ማለት ይቻላል? የራስን ስሜት ለሕዝብና ጥቅም ሲባል ማስገዛት ያለመቻል ካልሆነ በስተቀር፡፡ ለቅንጅት መፍረስ ሌላ ምን ምክንያት ሊቀርብ ይችላል? እኔ ግራ ይገባኛል፡፡ አንዳንዶቹም በጣም ሀብታም የሚባሉ ሰዎች አሉ፡፡ ከስሜታቸውም የገንዘብ ፍቅር የነበራቸው ሰዎች አይደሉም እገሌ፣ እገሌ ማለቱ አስፈላጊ አይደለም፡፡ ገንዘብ አይደለም ያሸነፋቸው እኔ የሚመስለኝ ያሸነፋቸው እልህ ነው፡፡ እገሌ ከእገሌ ጋር በመጣመድ “እሱ አያሸንፈኝም፤ እኔ ግን አሸንፈዋለሁ” የሚል ዓይነት እልህ መገባባት ይመስለኛል፡፡ አንዳንዶቹ ሥልጣንን ያዩ የቀመሱትም ነበሩ፡፡ የችግሩ መንስኤ በግለሰቦች መሃል ያለው አለመጣጣምና አለመግባባት ይመስለኛል፡፡ የግል ስሜትና የቂም በቀል እንጂ እነኚህ በአመራር ደረጃ የነበሩ ሰዎች በገንዘብም ሊታሙ የሚችሉ ሰዎች አይደሉም፡፡ የሥልጣን ጥም ያሰከራቸው ናቸው ማለትም አስቸጋሪ ነው፡፡

ሪፖርተር፡- እልህና ቂም በቀሉ የቱ ነው የነበረው?

ዶ/ር ያዕቆብ፡- መቼም እገሌና እገሌ ናቸው ማለት አልችልም፡፡ ከፍተኛ አመራር ውስጥ በነበሩ ሰዎች ውስጥ የሚንፀባረቅ ነበር፡፡ በከፍተኛ አመራር ውስጥ የነበሩ፣ በከፍተኛ ደረጃ በቂም፣ በጥላቻና በእልህ የሚፈላለጉ ሰዎች ነበሩ፡፡ ይሄ ደግሞ ቅንጅትን ካዳከሙት ውስጥ አንዱና ዋናው ነው፡፡

ሪፖርተር፡- እነዚህ ሰዎች እንዴት አንድ ላይ ሊደራጁ ቻሉ? ምንድን ነው ላያስማማቸው ያልቻለው? ቂም እና ጥላቻ ደረጃ እንዴት ደረሱ?

ዶ/ር ያዕቆብ፡- እንግዲህ ይሄ መቀያየምና መጠላላት የጀመረው ቆይቶ ነው፡፡ ከበፊት የተጀመረ አይደለም፡፡ ቀደም ሲል እንዲያውም ወዳጅ የነበሩና በጣም የሚቀራረቡ ናቸው፡፡ ኋላ ግን ቂሙ እየሰረፀ ነው የመጣው፡፡

ሪፖርተር፡- ምንድን ነው የቂሙ መነሻ?

ዶ/ር ያዕቆብ፡- ሥልጣኔን ቀማኝ ወይም ደግሞ አምባገነን ሆነብኝ የሚል ነው፡፡ ይሄ ደግሞ በሁለት ወይም በሦስት ሰዎች ብቻ ላይ የሚመሠረት አይደለም፡፡ ጠቅላላውን ቅንጅትን የዳሰሰ ጉዳይ ነው መጠላላቱ፣ ምቀኝነቱ በየደረጃው ያለ ስሜት እንጂ በከፍተኛ አመራሮች ደረጃ የተወሰነ አይደለም፡፡

ሪፖርተር፡- የእርስዎ ስም ባይነሣም የኢንጂነር ኃይሉ ሻውልና የዶክተር ብርሃኑ ነጋ ችግር ቅንጅትን አደጋ ላይ ጥሎታል የሚሉ አሉ፤

ዶ/ር ያዕቆብ፡- እኔ ሙሉ ለሙሉ አልስማማም፡፡ እርግጥ የእነሱ ችግር ብዙ አስተዋፅኦ አድርጓል፡፡

ሪፖርተር፡- ፓርቲ መሪ እንጂ ተመሪ አይደለም፡፡ ቅንጅት ተመሪ ሆና ወደቀ የሚሉ የፖለቲካ ተንታኞች አሉ፡፡ ይስማሙበታል?

ዶ/ር ያዕቆብ፡- ይሄ ተአማኒነት ያለው አነጋገር ነው፡፡ ፓርላማ በመግባትና ላለመግባት ሕዝቡን እናነጋግር ብለን በተሰማራንበት ወቅት ከአንድ ቀበሌ በስተቀር “እራሳችሁ ወስኑ እናንተ የወሰናችሁትን እንከተላለን እንቀበላለን” ነው ያሉት፡፡ አንዳንዶቹ ግን “የእኛ ምርጫ ባትገቡ ነው፤ ግን እናንተ መሪዎች እንደመሆናችሁ እናንተ ወስናችሁ እንግባ የምትሉ ከሆነ እንከተላችኋለን” ብለዋል፡፡ ስለዚህ ከአንድ ቀበሌ በስተቀር ፓርላማ አትግቡ የተባልንበት ቀበሌ የለም፡፡

ሪፖርተር፡- ስለዚህ ቅንጅት በወቅቱ የመሪነት ሚና ሳይሆን የተመሪነት ሚና ሲጫወት ነበር?

ዶ/ር ያዕቆብ፡- ይሄ ጥፋት ነው፡፡ መሪ መንገዱን አሳይቶ ሕዝቡን መርቶ ማሳመን እንጂ፣ ሕዝቡ በሚፈልገው መንገድ መጎተት የለበትም፡፡ መሪ የበለጠ ዕውቀት አለው ይባላል፡፡ ከተራው ሕዝብ የተሻለ ግምትና የተሻለ አስተሳሰብ ሊኖረው ይችላል፡፡ ስለዚህ ሕዝቡን የመምራት ግዴታ አለበት፡፡ ሕዝቡ አንድ ሀሳብ አቅርቦለት ያን ሀሳብ እንዲቀበል ማሳመን እንጂ፣ በፖለቲካው በቂ ግንዛቤና ዕውቀት የሌለውን ሕዝብ የወሰነውን ውሳኔ መከተል የለበትም፡፡ ይሄ የአመራር ድክመት ነው፡፡

ሪፖርተር፡- የሕዝብ አደራ በጥፋትና በድክመት ተሳቦ መቅረት አለበት?

ዶ/ር ያዕቆብ፡- ከቃሊቲ ከወጣን በኋላ አስራ አንድ የአውሮፓ አገሮችን ጎብኝተናል፡፡ በቡድን ሆነን አሜሪካም በቀረብኩበት መድረክ ሁሉ እኛ የአመራር አባላት የሕዝቡን ልብ በመስበር፣ ሕዝቡን በማስቀየም ለተሰጠን እምነትና ድጋፋ ብቁ ሆነን ባለመገኘታችን በተገኘሁበት መድረክ ሁሉ ይቅርታ ጠይቄያለሁ፡፡ ዛሬም ማንንም አልወክልም . . . . . ለሥልጣን ጉጉት ወይንም ፓርላማ ለመግባት አይደለም፡፡ ሕዝቡ ለጣለብንን አመኔታ ብቁ ሆነን ባለመገኘታችን ጥፋት ሰርተናል፡፡ እኔ በመፅሐፍም ሆነ በሕይወት ተሞክሮዬ አንድ ፓርቲ እንዲህ ዓይነት የሕዝብ ድጋፍ ሲኖረው አይቼም፣ ሰምቼም፣ አንብቤም አላውቅም፡፡ ለእዚህ ታላቅ ድጋፍ፣ አደራ፣ ውክልና ብቁ ሆነን አልተገኘንም፡፡ አዝናለሁ፡፡ እድሜዬን በሙሉ የሚቆጠቁጠኝ ነገር ሆኖ ይኖራል፡፡

ሪፖርተር፡- እስር ቤት እንኳን ተማምናችሁ ተስማምታችሁ አልወጣችሁም ከእስር ስትፈቱ ወዲያው መጣላታችሁን ያዩ እንኳንም መንግሥት ያልሆኑ ብለዋል፡

ዶ/ር ያዕቆብ፡- እስር ቤት በዚያች በጠባብ አካባቢ ለ18 ወር አብረን በቆየንበት ጊዜ አንዳንድ ግላዊ መናቆሮች ነበሩ፡፡ ይሄ ግን ወደ ፓርቲ የዘለቀ አልነበረም፡፡ አነስተኛ የሆነ የግለሰቦች መቀያየምና መነቋቆር ታይቷል፡፡ እርግጥ ይሄ ከእስር ከወጣን በኋላ በሁለት ቡድን ተከፋፍለን ግማሾቻችን አውሮፓ፣ ግማሾቻችን ደግሞ አሜሪካ በሄድንበት ወቅት ተከስቷል፡፡ ለሆነው ነገር ሁሉ የምወክለው ፓርቲ የለም፤ በግሌ የኢትዮጵያን ሕዝብ ይቅርታ ጠይቄአለሁ፡፡ በአመራር ውስጥ የነበርን ሰዎች ሁሉ ሕይወታችንን የሚቆጠቁጠን ነገር ተፈፅሟል፡፡ ለኢትዮጵያ አንድ ጮራ ፈንጥቆ ነበር፡፡ አገራችን ልዩ አቅጣጫና መንገድ ትይዝ ነበር፡፡ ሁሉም ነገር ያልተሳካውና የመከነው ደግሞ በእኛ በአመራሮቹ ጥፋት እንጂ ከሕዝቡ ድጋፍ በማጣት አይደለም፡፡ ወይንም ደግሞ በባላንጦቻችን ጥንካሬ አይደለም፡፡ በእኛ ድክመት ብቻ ነው፡፡ አመቺ በሆነ ጊዜ ሁሉ የኢትዮጵያን ሕዝብ ተንበረክከን ይቅርታ መጠየቅ ይኖርብናል፡፡

ሪፖርተር፡- ፖለቲካ እኮ ነው?

ዶ/ር ያዕቆብ፡- እንግዲህ ምን ይደረጋል፡፡

ሪፖርተር፡- ግን ከአሁን በኋላ ያ መንፈስ የሚመለስ ይመስልዎታል? በኢትዮጵያ የፖለቲካ ታሪክ ውስጥ የ1997ቱ የምርጫ መነቃቃት ዳግም አይታይም የሚሉ አሉ፤

ዶ/ር ያዕቆብ፡- በእውነት አስቸጋሪ ነው፤ በቅንጅት የነበረው መንፈስ እንደገና እንዲያንሰራራ ጊዜ የሚወስድ ይሆናል፡፡ ምንአልባት ከ5 ዓመት ወይም ከ10 ዓመት ከዛም በላይ ሊወስድ ይችላል፡፡ ምክንያቱም እንዲህ ዓይነት ሁኔታ በየቀኑ አይከሰትም፤ ሕዝብ በእኛ ምክንያት ቆስሏል፡፡

ሪፖርተር፡- ከእስር ቤቱ ከወጣችሁ በኋላ የቅንጅት ሕጋዊ መብት በምርጫ ቦርድ ተቀባይነት ይኑረውም አይኑረውም እንዲገፋፋ ተደርጎ ለሌላ ከተሰጠ በኋላ አንድነት ለፍትህና ለዲሞክራሲ ፓርቲ ተቋቁሟል በዚህ የቀድሞ ስህተታችሁን ገምግማችሁ ነበር?

ዶ/ር ያዕቆብ፡- የቅንጅትን ተሞክሮ አንስተን የተነጋገርነው ነገር የለም፡፡ መጀመሪያ ሀሳቡን ያመጣችው ወ/ት ብርቱካን ነች፡፡ የቅንጅት ወራሽ ነን በሚለው ተስማማን፡፡ የቅንጅት መንፈስ ይዘን እንጓዛለን የሚል እምነትና ፍላጎት ነበረን፡፡ አንዳንዶቹ አሁንም የቅንጅት መንፈስ ይዞ እየተጓዘ ነው የሚል እምነት አላቸው፡፡ በእውነት አንድነት ፓርቲ በሂደት በተወሰነ ጊዜ ቅንጅትን ሊተካ፣ የቅንጅትን መንፈስ ይዞ ሊሄድ ይችል ነበር፡፡ በመንገዱ ግን ብዙ እንቅፋቶች ነበሩት፡፡ በተለይ የሊቀመንበሯ የወ/ት ብርቱካን ሚደቅሳ መታሰር ይሄን የአንድነት ፓርቲ ሂደት በከፍተኛ ደረጃ አደናቅፎታል፡፡ በፓርቲ ውስጥ መከፋፈል ተፈጥሮ የተለመደው መናቆርና መጠፋፋት እየቀጠለ ነው፡፡

ምናልባት ሕዝቡ ቂሙን ረስቶ በቅንጅት ለተፈፀመበት በደል ይቅርታ ብሎ፣ ሌላ ትውልድ ተክቶ ቅንጅት አስመዝግቦት የነበረውን ድል እንደገና ለማስመዝገብ የኢትዮጵያ ወጣት ችሎታ ቢኖረውም በአሁኑ መልክ ግን ሊሳካ አይችልም፡፡ የኢትዮጵያ ወጣት አንፀባራቂ የሆነ የትግል ታሪክ አለው፡፡ ከፊውዳሊዝም ጋር ተዋድቋል፡፡ ከፋሺዝም ጋርም ተዋድቋል፡፡ አሁንም ሁኔታውን ለመለወጥ ብዙ ትግል እያካሄደ ነው፡፡ በኢትዮጵያ ወጣት ላይ ከፍተኛ እምነት አለኝ፡፡ አሁንም፣ የአሁኑ ወጣት እንደቀድሞዎቹ ኃላፊነቱን ይዞ ሀገሪቱን ወደ ዲሞክራሲ፣ ወደብልፅግናና ልማት ያመራል የሚል እምነት አለኝ፡፡

ሪፖርተር፡- ዛሬ በአንድነት ፓርቲ ውስጥ ለተፈጠረው ችግር ትልቁ ምክንያት ምንድነው ብለው ነው የሚያምኑት?

ዶ/ር ያዕቆብ፡- ቀደም ሲልም ሆነ አሁን አንድ መረሳት የሌለበት ትልቅ ጉዳይ አለ፡፡ ኢህአዴግ ቅንጅትን ለማፍረስ የራሱን ሚና ተጫውቷል፡፡ የሚጠበቅም ነው፡፡ በሰላማዊ መንገድ ለሥልጣን የምንራኮት ኃይሎች ነበርን፡፡ እናም ኢህአዴግም አልተኛልንም፡፡ ቅንጅት እንዲፈርስ ትልቁ ድርሻ የኢህአዴግ አስተዋፅኦ ነው ማለት ይቻላል፡፡ ለቅንጅት መፍረስ የእኛም ከፍተኛ አስተዋፅኦ እንዳለው ተናግሬያለሁ፡፡ አሁንም ቢሆን አንድነት ፓርቲ የተፈጠረው ከዚህ የተለየ አይደለም፡፡

ሪፖርተር፡- ኢህአዴግ ምን አደረገ?

ዶ/ር ያዕቆብ፡- ወ/ት ብርቱካንን አሰረ፡፡ በየአካባቢው የፓርቲው ንቁ ተሳታፊዎችና በወረዳ አመራር ደረጃ የነበሩትን ብዙዎቹን አስሯል፡፡ አንገላቷል፡፡ ስብሰባ ለማካሄድ እንኳን አይፈቀድልንም፡፡ የፓርቲውን ሊቀመንበር እስር ቤት ከመወርወር ሌላ ምን ያድርግ?

ሪፖርተር፡- አንድነት ጠንካራ ተቃዋሚ ሆኖ መቀጠል ሲገባው የእርስ በርስ ሽኩቻ ውስጥ ገብቷል፡፡ የፕሮፌሰር መስፍን ወገኖችና የአንድነት አመራሮች መሠረታዊ ልዩነት በእርስዎ እምነት ምንድነው?

ዶ/ር ያዕቆብ፡- መሠረታዊው ችግር ፍርጥርጥ አድርጎ በግልፅ አለመወያየት ነው፡፡ በግልፅ ጠረጴዛ ዙሪያ ልዩነትን አስቀምጦ፣ አፍረጥርጦ መናገር አለመቻል፣ እገሌ ይቀየመኛል፣ ይጣላኛል፣ በሚል ፍርሃትና የባህል ተፅዕኖ ሳቢያ፣ እያንዳንዳችን በጀርባችን ያዘልነው የቀደመው አመለካከት ሁሉ ተደማምሮ በግልፅ ለመወያየት አለመቻል ነው ዋናው ምክንያት የሚመስለኝ፡፡ በእውነት ለእኔ የገባኝ የሚያጣላና የሚያለያየው ነገር ይሄ ነው ማለት አልችልም፡፡

ሪፖርተር፡- የፓርቲው አመላመል የፓርቲው ምስጢር እንዲወጣ አድርጓል ይባላል?

ዶ/ር ያዕቆብ፡- የአንድነት ፓርቲው አመላመል ራሱ በጣም ልቅ ነው፡፡ ፎርም በመሙላት ብቻ የፓርቲ አባላት የሆኑ ሰዎች አሉ፡፡ አባላት ሲመለምሉ ጀርባቸው ሳይፈተሸ ዝም ብለው አባል የሆኑ አሉ፡፡ በዚህ ክፍተት ኢህአዴግ የሚችለውን መስራቱ የማይቀር ነው፡፡ መረጃ የሚያወጡ ተደርሶባቸዋል፡፡ ቢሆንም ግን ሙሉ በሙሉ የቆመ አይደለም፡፡

ሪፖርተር፡- እርስዎ ምክትል ሊቀመንበር ነዎት? እርስዎ ይሄ እንዳይሆን ይከላከሉ ነበር? አባል ስንመለምል ሰርገው እንዳይገቡብን እንዲህ እናድርግ ብለው ያውቃሉ?

ዶ/ር ያዕቆብ፡- ምንም አላልኩም፡፡ የኔ ስራ ብዙ ጊዜ ከውጭ ግንኙነት ጋር ስለነበረ የድርጅት ጉዳይ፣ የፓርቲ ምልመላ ጉዳይ፣ እነዚህን ሁሉ የሚመለከታቸው ሰዎች አሉ፡፡ የእነሱ ተግባር ነው በሚል፡፡ ነገሩ ይመለከተኛል ማለት ነበረብኝ፡፡ ጥፋት ነው፡፡

ሪፖርተር፡- በአብዛኛው የስራ አስፈፃሚ ስብሰባ ላይ አይገኙም፡፡ ይቀራሉ፡፡ ምክንያቱ ምንድን ነው?

ዶ/ር ያዕቆብ፡- የስራ አስፈፃሚ ኮሚቴ ወይም የምክር ቤት ሰብስባ መቅረት የጀመርኩት ከቅርብ ጊዜ ወዲህ ነው፡፡ ይህም ራሴ የወሰንኩት ነው፡፡ በፖለቲካው መድረክ ብዙ ጊዜ ስለቆየሁ ለሌሎቹ እድል መስጠት ይገባል፡፡ ወጣቶች መተካት አለባቸው የሚል ፅኑ እምነት አለኝ፡፡ ዛሬ ጊዜው የተለየ ነው፡፡ ጊዜው የዴሞክራሲ ነው፡፡ የመወያያና የመነጋገሪያ ጊዜ እንጂ የመጠፋፊያና የመነቋቆሪያ ጊዜ አይደለም፡፡ የመጠፋፊያ ባህል ያልተጠናወታቸው ሰዎች ሥልጣን ላይ መውጣት አለባቸው፡፡

ገዢው ፓርቲ ይበልጥ አክራሪና አናቋሪ ፓርቲ ነው፡፡ ከሁሉም የበለጠ ገዢው ፓርቲ የድሮ ማርክሲስቶችን አስወግዶ ወጣቶችን መተካት አለበት፡፡

ለሀገሪቱ ሰላምና እድገት አስተማማኝነት ከተፈለገ በማርክሲዝም ሌኒንዝም ታንፀው ስር ሰደው የመጡ ሰዎች በሙሉ ከየትኛውም የፖለቲካ አመራር መውጣት አለባቸው፡፡ ጠቅላይ ሚኒስትር መለስ ዜናዊ ራሳቸው መጀመሪያ ከሁሉ ሰው በፊት ሥልጣናቸውን መልቀቅ አለባቸው፡፡ እሳቸው የማርክሲስት ሌኒኒስት አደገኛ አክራሪ የነበሩ ናቸው፡፡ አሁን ከማየው አንፃር ሙሉ በሙሉ ተቀይረዋል፡፡ የሚል እምነት የለኝም፡፡ የሀገሪቱ ፖሊሲ በአብዛኛው የሶሻሊስት ፖሊሲ አቀንቃኝ ነው፡፡ የንብረት አያያዝ፣ የመሬት ባለቤትነት ከተመለከትን የኮሚኒስት ሥርዓት ነው፡፡ ብዙ ድርጅቶች በመንግሥት እጅ ናቸው፡፡ ይሄ ደግሞ የኮሚኒስት ሥርዓት ገፅታ ነው፡፡ ዴሞክራሲን ማፈን፣ የንግግር ነፃነትን ማፈን፣ የኮሚኒስት ሥርዓት መመሪያ ነው፡፡ በሀገራችን እነዚህ ሁሉ አሉ፡፡ ስለዚህ አሁን ሀገራችን በብዙም ባይሆን በከፊል ሶሻሊስት ናት ማለት ይቻላል፡፡

ዘመኑ የሊበራል ዲሞክራሲ በመሆኑ እነዚህ በኮሚኒስት የታነፁ ሰዎች ቦታውን መልቀቅ አለባቸው፡፡ ይሄ ሩሲያና በምስራቅ አውሮፓም ሆኗል፡፡ በኮሚኒዝም የታነፁ ሰዎች ሁሉ ለቀው፣ ዛሬ ከኮሚኒዝም በኋላ የተወለዱ፣ ኮሚኒዝም ሊያበቃ ሲል የተወለዱ ትውልድ ነው የሥልጣን ባለቤት የሆኑት፡፡

የሩሲያ መሪ ሃምሳ ዓመት አልሞላቸውም፡፡ የአሜሪካንም ብንወስድ አርባ ስምንት ዓመታቸው ነው፡፡ ምስራቅ አውሮፓም ተመሳሳይ ነው፡፡ ሁሉም ወጣቶች ናቸው፡፡ ኮሚኒዝም ከተዳከመ በኋላ ያደጉ ሰዎች ናቸው፡፡ ስለዚህ በአዲስ ትውልድ፣ በአዲስ አስተሳሰብ አመራሮቻቸው ተክተዋል፡፡ ኢትዮጵያውያንም ይህንን ፈለግ መከተል አለብን፡፡ የአገራችን ወጣቶች ለዚህ ይሰንፋሉ አልልም፡፡ አኩሪ የሆነና አንፀባራቂ ታሪክ አላቸው፡፡

ሪፖርተር፡- ጠቅላይ ሚኒስትር መለስን የሚተካቸው ሰው የለም የሚሉ አሉ፡፡ ፓርቲያቸው በተለይ ያለእሳቸው የሚል እምነት አለው፤

ዶ/ር ያዕቆብ፡- ፈረንጆቹ ይሄንን ዓይነቱን ነገር ካሳይኮፋንትካ (Sycophant) ይሉታል፡፡ ባዶ ነገር የሚናገሩ አሞጋሾች የሚሉት ነው፡፡

ይሄ አሞጋሾች የሚሉት ነገር ነው፡፡ ማንም ማንንም ይተካዋል፡፡ ጠቅላይ ሚኒስትር መለስም ሰው ናቸው፡፡ በግል ችሎታቸውም ቢሆን ጠቅላይ ሚኒስትሩን የሚመጥናቸው ኢትዮጵያዊ የለም ማለት ኢትዮጵያውያንን ሁሉ መስደብ ነው፡፡ ደግሞ የሲስተም ጉዳይ ነው፡፡

ሪፖርተር፡- በቃኝ እያሉ ነው? ለምን? ሽሽት ወይስ መሰላቸት?

ዶ/ር ያዕቆብ፡- አዎን” አሁን እኔ በቅቶኛል፡፡ ይሄም ማለት ከትግል ሜዳ እወጣለሁ ማለት አይደለም፡፡ በፓርቲ አመራርነት ግን አልቀጥልም፡፡ ደብዳቤም አስገብቻለሁ፡፡ ለደብዳቤው ገና ምንም ምላሽ አላገኘሁም፡፡ ምላሹም ደግሞ ተቀባይነት እንደሚያገኝ እርግጠኛ ነኝ፡፡ ምክንያቱም የበቃኝ ጉዳይ ነው፡፡ በሌላ ደረጃ ልሰራ እችላለሁ፡፡ በአማካሪነት ልሰራ ላማክር እውቀቱ ካለኝ ችሎታው ካለኝ የማውቀው ነገር ከሆነ ለማማከር ዝግጁ ነኝ፡፡ ሌላም የፅሑፍ ስራም አስፈላጊ ከሆነ ልሰራ ዝግጁ ነኝ፡፡ ግን በአመራሩ ደረጃ ከአሁን በኋላ አላደርገውም፡፡

ሪፖርተር፡- በፖለቲካው መስመር ካልሆነ በምን መልኩ ሊታገሉ አስበዋል?

ዶ/ር ያዕቆብ፡- ለአገር ዕድገትና ልማት በየአቅጣጫው መስራት ያስፈልገዋል፡፡ ንግድም ላይ እንኳን ብሰማራ ለአገር ዕድገት ነው ብዬ አስባለሁ፡፡ አንዳንድ ትንንሽ ነገሮችንም ብፅፍ እሱም ለአገር አስተዋፅኦ ይኖረዋል፡፡ እንዲሁም በምፈለግበት አካባቢ እንዲህ ዓይነት የተወሰነ ስራ ብባል ለመስራት ዝግጁ ነኝ፡፡ እኔ ሙሉ በሙሉ ከፖለቲካ ወጥቻለሁ አልልም፡፡ ማንም ከፖለቲካ ሊወጣ አይችልም፡፡ ከፖለቲካማ አይሸሽም፡፡ ፖለቲካ ልሽሽህ የሚባል ነገር አይደለም፡፡

ሰው የፖለቲካ እንስሳ ነው ይባላል፡፡ ከፖለቲካ ልወጣ አልችልም፤ ከብዙ ጊዜ ጀምሮ የያዝኩት ነው፡፡

ሪፖርተር፡- በተደጋጋሚ ኢህአዴግ የኢትዮጵያ ሕዝብ ሊረሳው የማይችለውን ታሪካዊ ስህተቶች ሠርቷል ብለው ሲናገሩ ይሰማል፡፤ እነዚህን ነገሮች የመታገያ ስልቶችም አድርገው ይቀጥላሉ?

ዶ/ር ያዕቆብ፡- ኢትዮጵያን የባሕር በር የማሳጣት ጉዳይ ዋናው ነው፡፡ አሰብን የማጣቱ ጉዳይ መቼም ቢሆን የኢትዮጵያ ሕዝብ የሚረሳው ጉዳይ አይሆንም፡፡ እኔም አቅሜ በፈቀደ፣ በሌሎችም እንቅስቃሴ የምተወው አይደለም፡፡ የባሕር በር መዘጋት የኢኮኖሚ ጥያቄም ብቻ አይደለም፣ የፀጥታም ጉዳይ ነው፡፡ ማንኛውንም ኢትዮጵያዊ ኢህአዴግ የሰራው ትልቅ ስህተት ምንድነው? ተብሎ ቢጠየቅ የባህር በር መዝጋቱ ነው የሚል መልስ እንደሚሰጥ ጥርጥር የለውም፡፡ አሰብ የኢትዮጵያ ሉአላዊ ግዛት ናት፡፡ ለዚህ ብዙ ምክንያቶች አሉ፡፡ ይሄ መንግሥት ሊያሰከብር የሚችለው የነበረ፣ ነገር ግን በድክመቱና በማንአለብኝነቱ ለቆት እንጂ አሰብ የኢትዮጵያ አካል ነበረች፡፡

ከስዊድንና ከጀርመን አምባሳደሮች ጋር በጊዜው ስለ አሰብ አንስተን ስንነጋገር በአሰብ ላይ ኢትዮጵያ ጥያቄ ብታነሳ የጀርመንና የስዊድን መንግሥት ይደግፉት ነበር ብለዋል፡፡ ዛሬ የዓለም አስተሳሰብ አብዛኛው እንደዚህ ነው፡፡ በአንድ ወቅት አሜሪካ አሰብ ወደ ኢትዮጵያ መታጠፍ ይገባዋል በሚል በተመድ ጽ/ቤት ፊት ለፊት ሰላማዊ ሰልፍ አደረግን፡፡ የፀጥታ ም/ቤት አባላትን ለማነጋገር ተከፋፈልን፡፡ እኔ የፈረንሳይና የአሜሪካ የፀጥታ ም/ቤት አባላትን አገኘሁና ስንጠይቃቸው ያሉት መንግሥታችሁ አልጠየቀንም፤ እኛ እንዴት አድርገን እንጠይቅና እንደግፍ፤ መንግሥታችሁ ቢጠይቅ ኖሮ ይሆን ነበር የሚል መልስ ስጡኝ፡፡

መንግሥታችሁ አሳልፎ የሰጠውን ነገር እኛ በምን መልኩ እንቃወማለን ብለው አሉ፡፡ በተለያዩ መድረኮች ከውጭ ሀገር ሰዎች ጋር ተነጋግሬአለሁ፤ ከወደብ የስድስት ሰዓት ርቀት ላይ ሆነን የባህር በር ተዘግቶብናል፤ ስንል የሚያምን የለም፡፡ ብዙ ሕዝብ እያላት የባህር በር የሌላት አገር ኢትዮጵያ ናት፡፡

መፍትሄ ካልተገኘለት ለትውልድ የሚቀር ቁስል ነው፡፡ ማንም ኢትዮጵያዊ የሚለቀው አይደለም፡፡ በ60 ኪ.ሜ. ርቀት ታፍነህ ሙት የሚል ሕግ የለም፡፡ በሠላማዊ መንገድ እንደሚሆን ተስፋ እናደርጋለን፡፡ በመደራደር ቢሆን ተስፋ እናደርጋን፡፡ ሌሎችንም ብዙ መፍቻ መንገዶች አሉ፡፡ ለሰላምና ለዕርቅ ሲባል ምናልባት መሬት ማሸጋሸግ ይቻላል፡፡ ለኤርትራውያኑ የእርሻ መሬት ሰጥቶ አሰብን ሊሰጡን ይችላሉ፡፡ ለሰላም ሲባል እንጂ ሃብትነቱ በመርህ ደረጃ የኢትዮጵያ ነው፡፡

ሁለተኛው የኢህአዴግ ስህተት ብዬ የምቆጥረው፣ ሕዝቡን በብሔረሰብ መከፋፈል ነው፡፡ ይሄ ሲባል ግን በቅድሚያ ላስጠነቅቀው የምፈልገው ብሔረሰቦች የራሳቸውን ቋንቋ የመናገር፣ ባህላቸውን የማክበር፣ ታሪካቸውን የማሳወቅ፣ የውስጥ አስተዳደራቸውን የመምራት መብት አላቸው፡፡ አሁን ግን ኢትዮጵያ ውስጥ የሚታየው ብሔረሰብ ተከፋፍሎ ከዚህ በፊት ባልታየ መልኩ ምንአልባት አንድ ሳምንት በማይሞላ ጊዜ የብሔረሰቦች ግጭት በተለያዩ አካባቢዎችና የትምህርት ተቋማት፣ ወጣቶች በብሔረሰብ እየተቧደኑ ብዙ ጊዜ ጉዳት የደረሰበት ሁኔታ አለ፡፡ የሰንደቅ ዓላማ ባህል በተከበረበት ወቅት አንድ ጥፋት አስተውያለሁ፡፡ ሕፃናት “ሰንደቅ ዓላማ ምን ማለት ነው?” ተብለው ሲጠየቁ የብሔር ብሔረሰቦች እኩልነት፣ በመፈቃቀድ ላይ የተመሠረተ አንድነት ማለት ነው እያሉ የተነገራቸውን ይመልሳሉ፡፡ እንግዲህ አንድ ትውልድ ኢትዮጵያ በብሔር ብሔረሰብ የተከፋፈለች አገር ናት ብሎ እያደገ ነው ማለት ነው፡፡ ከአፋቸው እነዚህ ሕፃናት አንድ ጊዜ ኢትዮጵያ ሲሉ አልሠማሁም፡፡ ይህ አደገኛ አካሄድ ነው፡፡

አንድ ሰው “ትልቅ አገር ተከፋፍሎ ትንሽ ይሆናል፤ ትንሽ አገር ደግሞ ተባብሮ ትልቅ ይሆናል” ብሏል፡፡ አሁን እኔ ስጋቴ የወደፊት ኢትዮጵያ እኛ የምናውቃት ሆና ትቀጥላለች ወይ . . . . . አንድ ብሔረሰብ ከአንድ መንግሥት ጋር ውል የመፈራረም መብት የለውም፡፡ አሜሪካ ግን ይደረጋል፡፡ አሜሪካ የተዋሃዱት እኮ ሉአላዊ ሀገር የነበሩ ናቸው፡፡ አሜሪካ እያንዳንዱ ስቴት ከሌላ መንግሥት ጋር ውል መፈራረም ይችላል፡፡ ከዛ ሌላ እኔ የማውቀው አገር የለም፡፡ በኢትዮጵያ አንዳንድ ብሔረሰቦች ወደ ሀገርነት እያመሩ ነው፡፡ የራሳቸው ልዩ ሀገር እየሆኑ ነው፡፡ ቀስ በቀስ ወዴት እየተኬደ ነው? ይህ ታሪካዊ ስህተት ነው፡፡ ስለታሪካዊ ስህተት ካነሳን ቅንጅትን ማፍረስም ሌላ የታሪክ ጉዳይ ነው፡፡

Be aware of Facebook risks

Sunday, November 15th, 2009

Facebook has become the most preferred way of keeping in touch with friends and establishing new friendships for many Ethiopians in the Diaspora. It is therefore necessary to learn more about this new means of communication, particularly the risks involved. The following are helpful tips by Newsweek and NBC:

Every day tens of millions of people log on to Facebook, the popular social-network site, and spend time playing goofy online games. But watch out. Some people playing these games are getting fleeced by scammers, tricked into signing up for products and services they didn’t want.

Worse yet, this isn’t happening by accident. The companies that develop games for Facebook make big money by selling ad space—some of it to scammers.

This week, Silicon Valley blogger Michael Arrington caused a ruckus by suggesting that Facebook itself has been turning a blind eye to the scams because it is sharing in the spoils. Arrington, who runs the influential TechCrunch blog, is on a crusade to pressure Facebook to clean up its act.

“Ultimately this is Facebook’s fault,” Arrington says. He says the social-networking site isn’t enforcing its own rules against scam ads. “It’s like with Major League Baseball and steroids. If the rules aren’t enforced, which is what’s happening on Facebook, then people are going to break the rules. Facebook needs to stop this.”

Here’s five tips to protect yourself from scams:

* If you don’t know the sender – don’t open it! Booby-trapped attachments are often disguised in clever thank you notes or e-greetings.

* Watch out for emails that request personal information. No legitimate organization will ask for your social security number.

* Be careful with e-mails that look like they are from PayPal, Facebook, or other popular sites. Often these emails are linked to a third-party site that make them look official, but are actually run by thieves or scammers. Instead, just type the Web site’s address directly into your browser.

* Watch for typos or spelling mistakes. Scam artists are street smart, but many have flunked basic grammar. If the email has multiple typos or grammatical errors, odds are it’s not real.

* Watch for red-flag phrases, like “You have won!” or “Verify your account.” Genuine firms never send e-mails like that.

5 soldiers defect complaining corruption

Sunday, November 15th, 2009

ASMARA — Police officers and soldiers under Ethiopia’s Woyanne regime continue to abandon their units and return to their homes, and many are defecting to Eritrea. This week, Ginbot 7 Radio has reported that 1,500 police officers failed to report for duty in the past few weeks. Today, Ethiopian Review’s correspondent in Asamara is reporting that 5 soldiers have recently defected to Eritrea.

The soldiers are complaining that there is no national Ethiopian army. The armed forces in Ethiopia are completely dominated by one minority ethnic group from Tigray, and the army is serving not the national interest of Ethiopia, but the interest of the ruling tribal junta.

The 5 soldiers who have just arrived in Eritrea are Corporal Berhanu Hailu from the Northern Command’s 21st Division, Corporal Tilahun Debula from Northern Command’s 11th Division, Private Bizualem Shiferraw from the Northern Command’s 14th Division, Private Kelila Hassan from the Nothern Command’s 11th Division, and Private Sisay Tesfaye from the Nothern Command’s 14th Division.

Why Hailu Shawel chose a shameful defeat

Sunday, November 15th, 2009

By Captain Woldemikael Dagnachew

Politicians of today-in-age and yesteryear continuously failed to listen, learn and level with citizens to liberate our country and shorten the sufferings of our oppressed citizens. Centuries ago, historians came up with the classic theory to explain the rise and decline of nations. The theory was that great nations start out tough-minded and energetic. Toughness and energy lead to wealth and power. Wealth and too much power lead to affluence and luxury. Affluence and luxury lead to decadence, corruption and decline. Human nature, in no form of it at all, could ever bear prosperity, John Adams wrote in a letter to Thomas Jefferson, warning against the coming corruption of his country. It is too sad that Hailu Shawul has joined the corrupted EPRDF too? For him, betraying the loyal AEUP Members and Supporters was yet another symptom of moral decay. TPLF divided Ethiopians to easily, deviously, systematically and ruthlessly rule the country and we foolishly embraced that division and remained divided for over 18 years. How stupid was that my fellow Ethiopians? Someone once said that all it takes for evil to prevail is for good people to do nothing. If this is true then, we really have to ask ourselves if good people are chosen to lead us because evil appears to be prevailing and this is becoming more apparent as we consider the level of moral decay apparent in most, if not all, of our present day politicians. How do these traitorous politicians like Lidetu, Ayele and Hailu get elected? Has our tolerant and wise society really sunk this low that whatever is wrong is right and whatever is right is wrong? Zemene GrimbiT!

I have no doubt that Prof. Tecola Hagos sounded to be an Ethiopian patriot and that I am grateful to him for spilling the beans about Halu Shawul’s past flirts with the devil. But equally I blame him for not exposing him for the past 18 long years despite criticizing most opposition parties and individuals. We could have saved our time, energy and the many millions that Hailu Shawel and his North America gangsters alleged to have stolen from the generous public in the name of Fund-Raising for Kinijit that was hi-jacked and destroyed by the TPLF with Lidetu and Ayele’s help.

Nevertheless, I was still eager to read Prof. Tecola’s articles to know why Hailu Shawel could not join TPLF in 1992 or thereafter as he admittedly wanted a position and whether he was given any position to serve in TPLF or his demands were rejected? The public may want to know also if he was used since then by TPLF as an agent to destroy Kinijit.


So what has really happened to Ethiopian politics and the so-called politicians? Did we really lose our traditional morality? No, we were the victims of our own backward politics and untrained politicians we chose and trusted to lead us. It’s a sign of our spiritual and moral decay that we expect so much as a people from politics, selfish and power hungry politicians like Ayele Chamiso, Lidetu and now, Hailu Shawul who betrayed us and that we are so much less capable of seeing through their obvious and self-serving machinations.

I believe that this stems from the decline of the Christian religion; without some hope in the next world and some balanced sense of the human good in light of eternal life, politics assumes exaggerated importance. It becomes the only hope of community, human unity, the alleviation of pain and suffering and injustice. We do not only put too much faith in politicians but also blindly followed individuals like them as cults and forget that it’s a prosaic task often undertaken by venal people. Our nation is tainted with crimes against God and humanity where human rights are systematically violated, resulting in the disappearance and death of over 6,000,000 Ethiopians since TPLF seized power without being elected by the people & for the people of Ethiopia. It was winner takes all auction or political theft made between the dictatorial Derg regime and TPLF Bandits. We cannot anymore stand as mere spectators of dismal and flagrant display of historical failures to bring a very genuine social, economic and political reforms in Ethiopia. The lying politicians especially like Lidetu and Hailu and their media talking heads and the I know-it-all commentators or writers who supported them are tying to confuse the issue, to justify their ideological and practical impotence, their immorality, which has allowed a continuous rain of betrayals without any serious attempt to end it immediately and by all means. It is now, Zemene GrimbiT indeed!

Their reaction shows how the perversion of moral values in Ethiopia and in the Diasporas has reached such a level that Ethiopian citizens are treated as cannon fodder, as peons to be used and transferred at will, peons in an immoral political process of sheer surrender in the face of TPLF’s state terrorism, of concessions, appeasement and self-destruction. Only a very harsh response to every attack against us a very painful and bloody response against the other side – can decrease the other side’s appetite to attack us and can save human lives. With the so-called “peace process” I myself used to advocate, the situation has become much worse for us Ethiopians, given that the TPLF state terrorists with automatic rifles, guns and tanks went from a few dozen before 1997 to many tens of thousands of killings, thanks to the American government of George W Bush’s brilliant idea to give them machine guns, loans & Aids to continue to loot Ethiopian wealth, terrorise the nation and now, bit by bit lease fertile lands and give away a vast place the size of an European country to weaken and destroy Ethiopia and its unparalleled history that the west have always been jealous about. There have been more and more victims of massacres since the 2005 general election. The word “peace” has been emptied of all meaning, and has become a “code word” for surrender, having been used for almost 19 years to define that which in reality is nothing but the spilling of innocent blood, offered in sacrifice to the Woyane of a murderous ideology. Those who were murdered by the TPLF terrorists, lead by Meles Zenawi (the “engineer” of the Agaazie guns, to whom he might dedicate roads, squares, football teams and tournaments in future, all under the rigorous absence of the free press in Ethiopia and the silence of the media in the West), would be called by President Obama too, who knows “sacrifices for peace and democracy”. Today, more than ever, the warning and reproach by the Prophet Ezekiel resounds profoundly true: they say, “Peace, Peace”, and there is no “peace” So, why would we want to have allies like America, It’s not only a sign of weakness knowing that the west cannot liberate us at all, but us who can liberate ourselves. Period!

As some thought all along and expressed it too, the west is knowingly appeasing the Woyanes because they have surrendered Ethiopia’s sovereignty. The gullible Ethiopians might think they have a country called Ethiopia but lately the reality speaks different. It is a country that belongs to Sheik Al Amoudin and his Arab billionaires, 1000s of NGOs and foreign forces that are running the country the way they like it. Even Hailu Shawul admitted that he was given plenty of Kurkum (a fatherly kick on the head by western diplomats in Addis) in addition to his imprisonment, which he now seemed to have accepted to be all right to be forced to sign the so-called “Code of Conduct” that destroyed his good reputation. The Diplomats argue, even the opposition leaders are dancing to their tunes and they control the country’s political affairs. The Woyanes have no other work other than celebrating food donation as if it’s their good year harvest. I don’t know how much insult and shame the people of Ethiopia can take anymore. Are you ready to betray the fallen heroes too, and give up your entire sovereignty and freedom? What a Zemene GrimbiT we live in really? What a Chat, Reggae and Traitors Twuld, we really have become? Therefore, forget, if you can, the swine flu pandemic, stormy weather and extortion, climate change, pirates, and focus instead on a deadly disease that is fast sweeping through Ethiopian politics: moral gangrene. As it infects the limbs of Politics, rotting the body tissue of Opposition Politics and its Good Cause, the stench of terminal decay becomes unmissable. The bungled attempt by Engineer Hailu against his recent critic was the latest symptom of a political necrosis too, that is destroying his own authority in AEUP.

Hailu remains a leader of AEUP but the party’s purpose will be dying, eaten away by a cascade of incompetence and turpitude cause by TPLF’s terminal disease called opportunism. It is bad enough that the AEUP Could not put an effective brake on the runaway train of Hailu. But when TPLF urge Hailu the betrayal of his friends, members and supporters, the brave, very disciplined people who stuck with him through dark nights, when Hailu the traitor and weaker finally threw in the towel, you can be sure that Ethiopian decency and patriotism are in bad decay and on death row. Hailu’s signing of a fake and biased document was fundamentally unpatriotic. Foolishly, perhaps, I had always thought he was brave and bigger than that. Worst of all, it is spectacularly inept, in need of adult supervision. He has said many patriotic things during his struggle with us and a now saying different things just before the next general election after whick he thinks would be appointed as a President to sit on that rocking chair to build his business empire. It’s telling that so many people are willing to buy this self-serving use of the passive voice. Instead of seeing an optimist politician, I instead see a typical politician, a man with great faith in himself that he hopes others will endorse him without asking too many questions. But Ethiopians are no more trusting fools after Lidetu Kihdetu’s betrayal of 2005. He is also a man that is all too plastic, willing to avoid controversy because his number one issue is not the liberation of oppressed Ethiopians, but himself and his salvific mission to riches and higher position in EPRDF government before he dies.

Hailu always wanted to be a President not because he wants to commit to any particular good policy but because he believes his mere presence will elevate our politics and his native intelligence will be able to see him through any particular issue on which he has not taken a stand up to now. He finds it unseemly and constricting to commit himself to the liberal policies he has endorsed his entire career when it was safe to do so. This is all packaging that reveals someone for whom winning will trump matters of high principle and accountability. But TPLF is not as kind or stupid as he may have thought too? He will never be a President. TPLF does not like Amharas. From now on too, Hailu shawul and the so-called code of conduct, cannot be trusted even with small change. Full marks to those on all sides of the Medrek and others who refused to sign the execution papers and refused to believe that there would ever be a free and fair election. Do we still really want thousands more aliens entering an over-crowded rubber stamp parliament only to say Squak Squack like Ducks to change nothing at all after all what we saw for five years? On 30/10/2009 Hailu Shawul grabbed the spotlight for having “no principles and no courage”. To be accused of doing a shameful thing, all because, the stink from moral gangrene was sickening. Sad!


There are many good people in our country. I would even venture to state that the overwhelming vast majority of our 80 million citizens are good people. The problem is that the good people have let their guard down and allowed selfish, weak and evil men to prevail. By following those false prophets of government solving all the ills of society, we have allowed the hangman’s gallows to grow and loom ever larger over our every day existence. Ethiopia’s so-called politicians and those who are now in the corridors of power mislead the people, abused their power to only acquire their wealth. To acquire their wealth, the more greedy ones also used all means possible to get them. They enjoyed much advantage in the art of survival. Our nation being abundant with resources and of which many were still untapped, were “goldmines” to these greedy people, and by their greed, they took and swallowed like dinosaurs, whatever things that came to their path. Their greed had domino effect because they normally cried for more and when they cried for more, they then took away most of the wealth of the country like Mengistu Hailemariam the butcher and all others did, leaving the crumbs under the table to the unfortunate who are wounded and left behind with empty hands and pockets to fight for it. This was how business morality began to slide and people began to trust each other less. The effect was that, it also created a gap where the rich became richer and the poor became poorer and sicker. There was no more equality under the eyes of the law and this then affected the country’s ancient social order. At present, equal opportunities in the fields of private business, and ownerships of property and advancement of personal skills are now no more there. People no more respect each other because the more powerful creatures around them had threatened their rights. The government became less caring where tough laws were passed to control and to curtail unwarranted norms or behaviours so that the regime and few of their close friends like Sheik Al Amoudin can cause harm to the people & control social and economic order.


The wrong policies of the TPLF government were supposed to give equal advantage to the Amharas, Oromos, Tigrians and other natives of Ethiopia, but this was not materialized. All Ethiopians did not equally share opportunities and wealth in the country. Only those Ethiopians who support the TPLF got the added advantage over those outside them. At the same time in pursing the never-ending policy of an Economic Policy, TPLF had created racial tensions from time to time. It had been purposely created with the focus to ensure that only one particular race or group of people will continue to benefit from the wealth of the country at the expense of other Ethiopians sufferings. There will be further erosion of equality of rights and opportunities. All protection of our rights and equality as enshrined in the Federal Constitution will be further diluted or be taken away. The Federal Constitution will just become a paper tiger and will be ineffective to provide economic, security, political stability, equality, and certainty. For those who were not so fortunate than those in power and being also having not so much opportunity in their paths to help them overcome the spiralling costs of living, they have no choice, but to rob, cheat and sell their bodies, sell chat or drugs to survive. Why? Morals, trusts and integrity were no more be important to them because they had to survive. There had been much moral decay and this was a disease of the 21st century created by the thugs in the TPLF government. We must examine this moral decay carefully and we must seek a cure for it. When moral decay creeps in, our society will collapse. There will be more plunders, cheats, robbers & ruthless killers everywhere. Sadly, it is Zemene GrimbiT.

When the present parliamentarians were elected they took Oaths before the Speakers of the Legislative Assemblies and or in Parliament to protect the Constitutions. The Constitutions are to ensure equality and equal protection before the law, equal opportunity for all races in the fields of business, education, possession of property and the protection of rights of citizens, but many had failed to uphold the Oaths for fear of losing popularity, labelled as OLF or other and or be kicked out in the next election and even be beaten badly by the regime’s thugs as was after the last General Election in 2005. This then created a situation of selfishness among parliamentarians and Ministers and the attitude among these politicians were also that as long as they survive, they forgot or neglected to represent the peoples’ voices in and outside the Legislative Assemblies and Parliament. This was only to ensure their own political survival and that was what the Lidetus, Ayeles and Hailus did. Their selfishness had not been dignified. Other good brains after being been marginalized would just have their political career shortened. The end result is that the country will stand losing these honest and patriotic politicians. Many cabinet ministers also dared not to speak during cabinet meetings for fear that the leadership will not pick them in coming elections and even sack them from the fake cabinet. This was because being in the EPRDF regime’s administration; the stakes are always high especially if you are not a trusted TPLF member. This is because once elected these opportunists and ordinary yobs could also gain extra allowances if given ministerial posts. They could also gain extra allowances by making them sit in the Board of Directors of government-linked companies or in statutory bodies. Since politicians in the TPLF had played a very devious role in causing all those bad political, racial, social and economic divide, they must mend it; otherwise, it will be too late and things can explode at any time. Power had been in their hands if they continue to take away people’s land, people’s rights and discriminate them, we would in these next few years see the bad effect of TPLF’s ruthless abuses. They better call for national reconciliation soon. Otherwise, people will go to the streets and we will see that law and order would be of no effect in our country. Our beloved country Ethiopia will be like some of our neighbouring countries where elected governments collapsed by demonstrations & protests in the streets. How to cure the disease? It is very simple, but the cure would be time consuming because of the rot inside. Politicians need to take the lead because they were the causes of these diseases. Politicians and administrators created peace and progress in any society and if all take the lead, the domino effect of a better society could be felt again.


The current poor state of the Ethiopian economy and the interests of our politicians, who are often openly supported by the government media and their blinded cadres, typically rule political trends. In recent years, many countries tried to ensure free and fair elections to have adopted several legal and regulatory reforms, and financial disclosure has been claimed to prevent political bribery in some cases.

Yet, even the most striving reforms were often destabilized and taken advantage of, in the name of money and glory. However, the fundamental factor that governs a nation’s political tendency is what people believe about right and wrong, what they aspire for their lives, what virtues they practice, what responsibilities they undertake, what ideals they shape and what vices they condemn. In other words, the fundamental factor in a well-governed state is moral. When it comes to good politics, immorality is a fundamental notion of the viewpoints of all political parties that are involved. For example, in the United States, conservatives oppose abortion defending the human rights of the unborn child, but they don’t support social programs that would ensure help for uneducated people. Liberals oppose death penalty on the grounds of diminishing human lives, but they strongly support abortion. Obviously, both sides are inconsistent and immoral and yet to their own minds, they try to do the right thing under the umbrella of politically correct behaviour. The problem is that in a politicised world governed by collective thinking, people typically do not question the purposes or actions of political leaders because they have voted for them. Lying and the distortion of truth become indispensable tactics for the success of political systems. Politicians imply a system of beliefs that establish their judgment on the morality of a bad situation. This explains the numerous scandals of political corruption in United States, but also in our Mother Ethiopia.

As you may all heard too, Jack Abramoff was found guilty of conspiracy, tax evasion and corruption. Duke Cunningham pleaded guilty of conspiracy to commit bribery, mail fraud and tax evasion; President Bill Clinton was accused for lying about his relations with Monika Lewinsky; and further was investigated for his relation to the White-water Development Corporation while he was Governor of Arkansas; Kenneth Lay was found guilty of security fraud and his name was related to the known Enron scandal along with the names of 158 elected Republicans and 100 Democrats in Congress in 2001. Most of the politicians, lobbyists or political allies were found guilty and sentenced for their committed political crimes. Others are still waiting for their fate in the International Court at The Hague. Meles & Co; soon would be one of them too? Yet, this is only the tip of the iceberg. We all live in an infected moral society that promotes individualism as a result of a totalitarian system of political influence that accepts a total collapse of values. And this is the result of the collapse of the political system that values irresponsibility and selfishness instead of the responsible social behaviour. State interests considerably overshadow nation’s interests. Often politicians promote the notion that we are whom we vote for, fighting for ceasing the cultural, social and ethnic conflicts around the world and having a vision of a better world to live in. Moral and political issues should be resolved under a new spirit of compromise and cooperation. Politicians should definitely reorganize their principles and reaffirm their values. They should always strive to re-establish their links to fundamental spiritual values in order to influence society both in individual and collective level. Spiritual and moral values should be the foundation for new economic, social, spiritual and cultural concerns so that politicians are able to get free from the influence of the media, greed and apply their political systems to the best of the society. The Ethiopian government should also effectively redesign the terms of employment in public service, then incentive policies would be improved and would mobilize political will for the sustained anti-corruption and anti-division. But is TPLF controlled the right kind of government for Ethiopia & even for any country in this world that would be willing to eradicate division and corruption? I very much doubt it and in fact further say that TPLF is a 21st Century political disease that poisoned, decayed and destroyed civility and morality in our country.

To awake in people a new sense of responsibility is an intricate task, especially when political and state interests are being put at stake and or at risk. However, the moral strength of a society is the reflection of the life of its members and therefore politicians should acquire a brand new perspective on politics. An issue, which received little attention from politicians and media in the election campaign, is the spiritual and moral decay of our nation. The TPLF and most opposition party leaders do not have all the answers. A spiritual and moral revival is the only answer. This will in time inspire and uplift politics and our society. It is important for all political leaders in our country and also in Diasporas to remember that they are setting an appropriate example for the general public. Often, good people can have a poorely misguided ideas. One can be a political street fighter while remaining civil, moral and patriotic. The key is to stick to the issues and remain loyal. I encourage MEDREK’s political leaders to step back to consider whether they are setting a good, civil example for the citizens of our country and all their future decisions to be for the benefit of Ethiopia, all Ethiopians and not for their personal benefits. The public should also help them to never negotiate out of fear and never fear to negotiate with nasty TPLF.

Also, I strongly urge them never to give in to the TPLF’s selfish, devious, mischievous negotiators and foreign government diplomats bullying, to agree to anything that only benefit the ruling party to stay on power at a cost of the sufferings of the Ethiopian people. Those that push “their selfish wants and rights” push the nation into more dangerous chaos. This time, it is do or die time for the opposition. TPLF’s drama must end or be stopped with blood and sweat if at all necessary. We must say enough is enough! Why too? Ambassador David H. Shinn who was a former U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia said, “The United States can impact the situation on the margins, but it does not have the power to force fundamental change even if there was agreement on what that change should be. The fact is that U.S. leverage is much more limited than most in the Ethiopian Diaspora believe. As a reader during the past 25 years of political commentary by the Ethiopian Diaspora and based on my own contacts with that community, I am really struck by the prevailing belief that the U.S. government has the ability to change Ethiopian polices and alter the fundamental direction of events in Ethiopia. This view is misguided. The opinion piece goes on to state, Congress should hold hearings and enact legislation to help Ethiopians create the conditions that are necessary to ensure that food aid is never needed again. The implication is that the U.S. government can resolve Ethiopia’s governmental, demographic, political and social issues. The United States can impact the situation on the margins, but it does not have the power to force fundamental change even if there was agreement on what that change should be. Those in the Ethiopian Diaspora who oppose the Ethiopian government usually suggest that American assistance to Ethiopia can and should serve as the leverage for forcing change in the country”. Zemene GrimbiT!

The TPLF government & pressure groups who call themselves foreign diplomats, who always pretended to care for people’s rights and the well-being of Ethiopia, but gave no thought to how rights can operate in conscious society gives rise to respect for individual rights. There is no end to the so-called rights, which was always demanded. A right-and-freedom-conscious society in effect recognises a few rights and neglects many others for the sake of peace but does not work with TPLF as proved time and time again. The rights that are recognised are those, which are demanded by the powerful, the aggressive and the nasty authorities like TPLF leaders. There cannot be a human-right without a duty. An endless cacophony of demands by foreign embassies in our country for rights has become a dominant feature of modem Ethiopian politics (fed by bad legislation, loans & food aids which encourages these demands). At the same time, there is a deafening silence on the question of individual liberty & democracy. History has continually demonstrated that the greatest of civilizations decline and fall when they succumb to indulgence at the expense of discipline and endeavour. The fates of Egyptian and Roman civilisations are prime examples. It is not too early for Western Civilization to heed the supreme lesson of human experience. It is time for them to stop appeasing tyrants like Meles Zenawi and lecturing us democracy.

The moral and spiritual decay of the nation is the root cause of the escalating political, economic, social and other problems, which confronted Ethiopia. The major political parties, many political activists, government servants and statutory employees of TPLF, (there is no EPRDF), media & educationists are not seriously confronting this on-going decay to unite and defeat our enemies. There are some genuine politicians too, among the above that are conscious of the problems but are oppressed by the secular institutional structures and obstacles. Some, who are totally antagonistic to good moral, confronts this minority, and spiritual values, as well as those who profess commitment or who are nominally religious, but at the same time pursue and promote secular ideas, ideologies and goals that indirectly if not directly, undermine the spiritual and also the good moral. The latter are unaware of the effects of their actions. There is no indication that Government, the educationists or the media have any answers to our problems. Our moral and spiritual decay is at the root of most known problems. The future of Ethiopia must depend on a spiritual, moral and patriotism revival in unison, which alone can inspire and uplift the political, economic, legal, educational, social and other sectors of Ethiopians life and make possible productive change and development. This task rests with all religions who believe in God and who recognise God’s Lordship over the earth and all who freely dwell on it. May our Almighty God eradicate evil from mother Ethiopia? May God help the opposition politicians not to be outsmarted by TPLF too? Amen!!

Long Live Mother Ethiopia and Her Loyal Children Who Stood By Her, When The Going Got Tough!

(The author of this article can be reached at:

The "Untold Story" of the Starvation in Ethiopia

Sunday, November 15th, 2009

By Obang Metho

Do Donors in the West Really Want a Strong, Independent, Unified and Democratic Ethiopia?

As Ethiopians who care about the future of the people of Ethiopia, we want to share with you the “untold story” about hunger in Ethiopia as you examine strategies to intervene in the current food crisis in the country. First of all, we deeply thank you for your recent compassionate plea before the UK House of Commons for food aid to Ethiopia due to the current risk of starvation to many millions. Many Ethiopians face certain starvation without such aid; however, unless the root reasons are examined and long-term solutions sought, Ethiopia will remain a country in constant crisis.

We represent Ethiopians who believe Ethiopia should be capable of feeding itself, even during periods of drought and famine. Unfortunately, Ethiopia has become a “culture of poverty,” with numerous “locks” in place that ensure the continuation of chronic failure and never-ending dependence on others for our basic survival. Without fundamental changes to those mechanisms, attitudes and actions that perpetuate such dependence, huge amounts of food aid will neither meet our immense and ongoing need nor will it bring about a sustainable solution.

The image of famine, hunger, poverty and dependency on outsiders for our basic survival has not always been synonymous with “Ethiopia.” In the 1950ties, most Ethiopians fed themselves and were better off than they are now despite global technological advances, most of which have not reached Ethiopia. Climate change and population increases certainly play a role, but are only part of the problem, much of which has at its core, the authoritarian government under the control of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.

I am writing to you as a representative of the Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia (SMNE) , a grassroots social justice movement of diverse Ethiopians which seeks to mobilize Ethiopians in the Diaspora and within Ethiopia to unite in a coalition across ethnic, regional, political, cultural and religious lines to work together in bringing about and sustaining a more reconciled Ethiopia where robust freedoms, the rule of law, respect for human rights, equal opportunity and good governance undergird a societal structure conducive to the enhancement of life and well-being for all its citizens.
The food crisis is an area of great concern to us. We seek to do all we can to help reduce the scope and impact of this looming crisis by focusing on long-term solutions can be found.

First we must acknowledge that Ethiopia has greatly benefited from friendships with other countries, organizations and notable individuals, which have provided a great deal of support over the years, particularly during times of crisis such as in 1984-1985 during the last major famine, when the UK and others in the world rallied to support the suffering people of Ethiopia.

Now, twenty five years later, Ethiopians are unfortunately in the same position. It is not by accident. Any investigation of the previous famine will reveal a close association with the repressive regime of Mengistu who was responsible for the large-scale destruction of food, animals, homes and crops, all accompanied with widespread human rights atrocities, only exacerbated by the drought.

Opponents were targeted and Meles was among them. He is now repeating that cycle so when one asks why Ethiopia is not better prepared for recurrent droughts, one may see that with one hand his regime is destroying the peoples’ means to sustain their lives while with the other hand, begging for food aid. As long as there is need, his regime has been financially benefiting. The problem now is that with the drought, the need has mushroomed beyond what is “manageable.”
UK House of Commons

Closer investigation will reveal longstanding and deeply entrenched corruption, mismanagement and the use of aid, development and agricultural policies as a means to exert political control. In such a system, some are rewarded and others punished, even with starvation, based on party membership, ethnicity or compliance. The disparities between regions can be seen by the map predicting which regions will be most affected.

During the last drought, the very arid region of Tigray was hard hit, but as you can see, development resources have reduced the threat in 2009. Yet, on November 6th, the government-controlled website, Walta, reported that 486,000 quintals of food was distributed in the Tigrayan region, along with seed for farmers.What about the need in the southern sections of the country?

What is the purpose of such favouritism except to create a greater divide and deeper ethnic tensions between Tigrayans, many who want this regime to fall, and the rest of Ethiopians?

It is hard to believe that Meles truly cares about the Tigrayans, but instead it is more likely a ploy to shore up more support for himself by unfairly lumping Tigrayans together with him, making them feel more vulnerable without him.

You maybe saw a hint of a bigger problem when you visited south-eastern Ethiopian a year ago to assess the condition of the people in the Ogaden; however, instead of seeing an accurate picture, you later learned that what you saw was a “staged version” as the most malnourished children were removed from their dying beds just prior to your visit in order to minimize the seriousness of the problem.

Here is a country that cares more about its image than its dying people; one where the numbers of those at risk have been covered up. What you may have seen if allowed full access was how the Meles regime has targeted the people of the Ogaden, using human rights crimes, starvation and deprivation of humanitarian aid as tools of oppression and blanket punishment of an ethnicity for any resistance.
Since that time, forty-two NGO’s have been kicked out of the region; allegedly, because of providing reports of the serious human rights violations being committed by the Ethiopian military. When the walls blocking access to the Ogaden region finally fall, the world may not be prepared for what they will see—something that may radicalize parts of this population.

It is no surprise that there is little pre-planning to help avoid starvation in a country that regularly wants more money to put into its military to suppress the people or that is now allegedly nearly “giving away some of Ethiopia’s most fertile land to investors or foreign countries rather than removing agricultural development obstacles to Ethiopians.

Even more outrageous is evidence regarding the level of corruption in Ethiopia that prevents the food and humanitarian aid from reaching many of the people for which it was intended; instead, ending up in overseas bank accounts of those in the Ethiopian government or their crony supporters who dominate most every sector of society. Research conducted on this issue revealed that the amount of money being deposited in UK bank accounts from Ethiopia exceeded or nearly exceeded what it received in financial aid. As the people of Ethiopia suffer and starve, tolerance of such corruption becomes morally reprehensible.

Why is the Meles regime allowed to repeatedly break the rules of accountability required by donor countries? This is wrong. Right now, the excuse is being given, by Meles too, that there is no viable alternative to Meles so he is better than a failed state, but the tensions rising in Ethiopia may become too great for Meles to handle and it may all end up exploding into violence and chaos. Why are donors not more concerned about empowering a viable alternative—an opposition movement—that could bring greater justice and freedom rather than empowering a dictator now accused of genocide and crimes against humanity? Where is the pressure to release such legitimate leaders such as Birtukan Mideksa who was imprisoned only because she was a threat?

Right now, no one is protecting the people or their interests and many opportunists like it that way, but this comes at a cost as the perfect storm is brewing in Ethiopia for disaster. The world of truly compassionate decision makers can now make a difference in taking a moral stand. Real solutions must be demanded, rather than ones contrived to appear humane while supporting the exploitation of a nation and people behind their backs.

The conception of Ethiopians as being incapable of supporting themselves is insulting to Ethiopians who cannot even buy fertilizer or good quality seeds without political affiliation. Ethiopia is a rich country that has ample resources and areas of richly fertile land that could feed the country. This is what donor countries should be emphasizing rather than giving food aid year after year and supporting a regime that after 19 years has instead killed the democratic voice and the God-given valuing of human life and dignity. No wonder why there is no viable alternative.

With the election coming up in 2010, the people of Ethiopia are watching carefully to see if the donor countries like the USA and UK will change or will continue with the same game plan. If they continue as is, that will be telling. Do the donor countries like the UK, US, Canada and the EU really care about a free and fair election or only about the appearance of a free and fair election because they are afraid of what kind of regime might come after Meles?

The truth is, the longer the investment is made in a dictator over the people, the deeper the resentment of the people will be and the tighter the control will have to become to limit the voice of the people. This is why many fear that Ethiopia may implode. To avoid this result, only a deep change of course, not just pretence, will bear the desired fruit for both sides.

Ethiopia has become a fragile state that could erupt and destabilize the entire Horn of Africa unless there is structural change that deals head on with the high level of corruption, serial dictators, divide and conquer policies, cronyism and the free reign given to internal and external opportunists. Emergency food aid is only the beginning of the problem. Eventually, Ethiopians will win their freedom; it is just a matter of time.

Let morality be the guide rather than economic or national interests. Ethiopians can see that some in the West really do not want a viable, more democratic alternative to Meles as long as everything is for sale in Ethiopia at “bargain” prices, but if the West loses its soul, what a tragedy for the rest of the world! Please take a stand for the moral right to be done in terms of Ethiopia.

No amount of democratic and humane rhetoric or financial aid will ease the conscience or guilt of those who gain from the plight of others. Like the brilliant and courageous Wilbur Wilberforce, who fought against the economic entrenchments that held slavery in place, we call on you, as someone who is a voice of compassion and justice, to open those locks that will otherwise condemn millions to continuing starvation, suffering, poverty and human rights crimes.

(The above is an Open Letter to the UK Secretary of State and Donor Countries to Ethiopia. Mr. Obang Metho is the Executive Director of Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia (SMNE). The writer can be reached at

Verizon to launch iPhone

Sunday, November 15th, 2009

For Ethiopians who would love to get their hands on iPhone, but do not want to switch to AT&T, Apple may have a good news for them soon. It is reported that Apple has contacted a company in Taiwan to produce UMTS/CDMA hybrid iPhone due in the third quarter of next year that will enable the company to sell a single global handset to all carriers, and specifically to Verizon Wireless in the US.

Citing its supply-chain checks, Northeast Securities, a financial services firm, said in a research note issued last week that Apple will launch a WCDMA/CDMA2000-enabled version of the device — not an LTE version — through Verizon by the summer of 2010.

Another report, from OTR Global, provided to AppleInsider, says the new “worldmode” iPhone will gain compatibility with CDMA2000 networks (including Verizon’s US network, which is currently incompatible with existing iPhone models) while retaining compatibility with UMTS 3G networks globally using a new hybrid chip produced by Qualcomm.

According to OTR’s sources, Asustek subsidiary Pegatron will build the new hybrid phone devices for Apple rather than Hon Hai, the iPhone’s current manufacturer. This decision was reportedly made to prevent the company from being “constrained by a single-source assembler.”

A smaller body

The research note identified the new phone as having a 2.8″ screen, which is significantly smaller than the current iPhone’s 3.5″ display.

Last summer, component pictures indicating the development of a smaller 2.8″ iPhone model appeared on the web next to the standard 3.5″ parts currently in production, and a Chinese-language newspaper reported that an upcoming model of the iPhone would be smaller and lighter.

Without any mention of both larger and smaller versions in OTR’s report, it appears but has not yet been confirmed that next year’s iPhone will scale down in size while also gaining compatibility with all major mobile networks.


The American technological rift between CDMA providers (including Sprint and Verizon) and GSM/UMTS providers (T-Moblie and AT&T) was widely expected to remain in place until Verizon moved to LTE, the next generation of UMTS service.

In other countries, CDMA providers have either shut down their networks and moved entirely to UMTS service (as Telstra did in Australia) or added a UMTS overlay to their existing CDMA service (as Bell and Telus just recently did in Canada). In the US, Verizon decided to do neither, and instead will only be investing in a new next generation LTE network that won’t be completed for years.

This appeared to leave little opportunity for a Verizon iPhone before 2011, but Qualcomm’s “worldmode” hybrid component enables Apple to continue offering a single iPhone version that can be sold by both AT&T and Verizon in the US, and on virtually every carrier outside the US.

UMTS is the 3G service associated with GSM providers, but it uses radio carrier technology (Wideband Code Division Multiple Access) similar to but incompatible with Qualcomm’s CDMA2000/EVDO used by Verizon. Despite the technical similarities, CDMA2000 and UMTS/WCDMA are competing, non-interoperable 3G technologies. With nearly all mobile carriers having announced plans to shift to UMTS or LTE in the future, CDMA2000 represents a dead end.

It still remains widely deployed in various markets however, including the US, where Verizon’s CDMA2000 3G network is widely regarded as having wider reach and providing better data service than AT&T’s newer UMTS 3G network. AT&T’s 3G service is rated particularly poorly in San Francisco and New York City, where coverage holes have been exacerbated by a huge influx of data-hungry iPhone users. AT&T has yet to introduce its 3G MicroCell to enable users to solve their own dead zones at home or work.

Qualcomm’s new hybrid CDMA/WCDMA chip offers the potential for a single, global iPhone that users can take to any major carrier, solving the network fractionalization problem. It also solves other issues that had served as roadblocks, including the issue of user confusion that would result from Apple selling separate CDMA and GSM/UMTS versions of the iPhone.

With one phone that works on both types of networks, any differences between the two (such as in features like conference calling and simultaneous voice and data, unique to UMTS) will be more apparently tied to the provider’s network rather than to an iPhone model itself.

Verizon’s DROID, cancellation fee launch

Verizon’s merciless attacks on AT&T’s 3G network coverage in ads spoofing the iPhone’s “there’s an app for that” slogan were another factor which left some observers to think that Verizon could not possibly be in talks with Apple to sell the iPhone anytime soon, but the OTR report indicates that Verizon and Apple have already hammered out an agreement to sell the new iPhone model within the year.

Verizon recently launched two smartphones aimed squarely at the iPhone: the BlackBerry Storm 2 and Motorola Droid. At the same time, the provider also announced a new cancelation policy that charges users a hefty $350 when they attempt to back out of contracts involving “advanced devices.”

Last year, the company found little lasting enthusiasm from users who assumed that the original Storm would be closer to the iPhone in terms of features; whether the new fee is an attempt to penalize unsatisfied users or to profit from switchers next year, it may result in users rethinking their purchases right now.

With reports breaking the news that Verizon will be selling the iPhone within the year, sales of the Storm 2, Droid, and next year’s Palm Pre may end up repressed if customers decide they’d rather wait for the iPhone to arrive instead of facing the prospect of a major cancellation penalty and the loss of their subsidy credit by buying an alternative device now.

Droid reviews have largely described it as a second place alternative for users who want to stick with Verizon. That being the case, the prospect of a Verizon iPhone appears poised to deflate Droid sales this holiday season.

Bad news for AT&T

The news might not be good for AT&T, considering that many users have switched to AT&T solely because they wanted to get the iPhone. The availability of a Verizon iPhone may cause AT&T buyers to hold off on new purchases until they see what kinds of competitive deals AT&T and Verizon will offer once the iPhone’s exclusivity with AT&T ends next summer and the new “worldmode” iPhone appears.

It does however give AT&T a year to improve its 3G network and roll out the 3G MicroCell before being hit with mass defections from iPhone users irate over service issues. AT&T can still advertise that its 3G network is faster than Verizon’s CDMA2000 coverage, and that it offers some features that CDMA2000 does not, including simultaneous voice and data and easy to use, multiple party conference calling.

AT&T has struggled to keep up with the pace of iPhone development, failing to immediately implement iPhone 3.0’s MMS and tethering features, and remaining unable to take advantage of the faster 7.2 Mbps HSPA data potential of the iPhone 3GS. The threat posed by a “worldmode” iPhone should push AT&T to deliver a year of high priority network upgrades, and potentially result in more competitive service plans.

Verizon ready to jump on the iPhone bandwagon

Ivan Seidenberg, chief executive of Verizon Communications, said last month that the decision to launch iPhone on Verizon is not up to his company. “This is a decision that is exclusively in Apple’s court,” he said during Verizon’s third-quarter earnings call. “We obviously would be interested at any point in the future they thought it would make sense for them to have us as a partner. And so we will leave it with them on that score.”

“What they have done has been successful, so we have to sit back and give them credit for that,” he said. “Our view is to broaden the base of choice for customers, and hopefully along the way, Apple, as well as others, will decide to jump on the bandwagon.”

Accused coup plotters savagely beaten up in prison

Sunday, November 15th, 2009

ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA — Some of the 46 detainees who are currently on trial after being accused by the tribal junta in Ethiopia of trying to overthrow the regime have told the court on Friday that they are being savagely tortured by security personnel.

One of the accused, Ato Asaminew Tsige, told the court that he has lost sight in one eye from the beatings.

Upon hearing Ato Asaminew’s claim, family members started to cry loudly, prompting the judges to remove every one from the court room except the accused, the prosecutors, the defense lawyers, the police, and some journalists.

Ato Asaminew asked the court to appoint an independent physician to give the detainees medical treatment and investigate the tortures.

An official representing the prison denied the torture charge. The judges hearing the case told the detainees to file their complaints in writing.

Teddy Afro in Dubai – video

Sunday, November 15th, 2009

Teddy Afro in Dubai, October 16, 2009. The video was recorded by Martha Semu, an Ethiopian who resides in UAE. Watch more videos here.

Ethiopia elections: Last ditch attempt at blowing dust

Saturday, November 14th, 2009

By Hindessa Abdul

Four political parties are said to have agreed upon and signed a “code of conduct” that would make it easier for them to run for the 2010 general elections in Ethiopia. At the moment it is the governing party which is known to the public or to whoever is concerned. The three “opposition parties” who signed the code are Coalition for Unity and Democracy (a creation of the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia and awarded to an Ayele Chamiso), the All Ethiopian Unity Organization, and the Ethiopian Democratic Party. The leaders of the latter two are much more known than the parties they supposedly represent. The agreement on the code of conduct was signed by the prime minister wearing his hat of a party leader.

The Message

The appearance of the prime minister is symbolic in view of the rare appearances he makes with opposition politicians. He is normally satisfied with sending his all too powerful lackey who officially is the communications adviser with a minister portfolio.

The TPLF boss didn’t show up there for the Ethiopian public. That was rather an attempt to hoodwink the major donors who from time to time talk of the ever narrowing political space in the country. It sells well also with those who think in absence of a “strong opposition”; Meles is the messiah who can lead the horn of African nation to the Promised Land.

In view of the pressure some of the donors exerting on those who didn’t join the charade, particularly the Forum (Medrek), the stunt seems to hit the intended target. Even more so, Forum may succumb to the pressure as they will be threatened with cancellation of their certificates as parties.

The calculation

Forum (Medrek) which is a motley group of eight parties and individuals have some personalities who can make noise. TPLF has warned from the outset it has learnt a lesson from the 2005 elections and they will not tolerate any similar behaviors. While TPLF wants some of them in the parliament as it had done ever since 1995 following the adoption of the constitution jointly written by Meles and the late Kifle Wodajo, it doesn’t want any more seats for the nominal opposition. As it has been observed recently every result must be in the 99 percent realm. The last local elections were reminiscent of the Maoist states of the 70s from which TPLF draw its ideology. In the 2008 local elections TPLF got 3.5 million cadres elected for the various local and regional councils (That is about the entire population of Congo Brazzaville). The news was that only 3 people were elected from other ranks.

Though TPLF would allow Forum to contest the elections under his own terms, what Hailu Shawel gave him was more than they bargained for. It was a God sent moment. So if Forum is forced to boycott the elections, it is the party of Lidetu and Hailu who will be contesting. Is there anyone by now who believes that they will ever win a seat in a fair election? But no surprises if both show up in the parliament next year. TPLF will work hard to get them elected.

The story of betrayal

During the 2005 elections and aftermath, in addition to the killings, torture, imprisonment and intimidation, there were a fair amount of betrayals and frequent changes of sides that undermined the opposition. Some were monumental. Like that of Lidetu Ayalew, the act of which earned him the nickname Kihdetu Ayalew.

It is almost a fresh memory when Hailu stood as a symbol of defiance just after the election with that famous footage of international media showing him under house arrest in his own compound. The same can be said of Lidetu when his former enemies ransacked his office and put him under house arrest.

While the latest betrayal doesn’t make a difference in the political scene, it was clearly aiming at gaining some short sighted benefits. The Engineer may have been calculating that the eminent release of Birtukan would send him into oblivion. So before she even got released he wanted to make a statement. One cannot hide the fact that his submission to TPLF is a blow to Forum who at the moment do not know what to do. But whatever calculation the Engineer may have in his mind, it is too late too little to save his skin. For the moment Hailu has at least gained the title he has always wanted. TPLF has ordered all their media to address him as Engineer Hailu Shawel. But at the end of the day, make no mistake he is the biggest loser of all.

Sprinkles in parliament

Since the formation of the parliament TPLF has deliberately put a couple of opposition politicians with an oratorical skill. That was supposed to give a democratic character to the rubber stamp parliament. In the mid 90s it was Major (Shaleqa) Admasse who never tired of condemning the leaders of TPLF and ANDM. When he finally passed away, the government media produced a nice obituary. Then came Professor Beyene Petros, Bedru Adem, Dr Merera Gudina, Lidetu Ayalew and the likes. Each gave the parliament some semblance of a democratic character. Obituaries abound, what they will get in exchange is yet to be seen.

Now it is the members of Forum making the noise. Dr Merera Gudina, Bulcha Demeksa, former president Dr Negasso Gidada and former defense minister Seye Abraha who are being the most outspoken. Again the public is suspicious of some of these politicians for the various roles they had played earlier. I don’t blame the public.

Seye Abraha was known for his battle rhetoric before he fell out with his brothers in arms. Some like Dr Merera were unwilling accomplices of the government for deciding to join the parliament after the carnage of unarmed civilians in 2005. Probably the most notorious of them all is the biology professor turned politician Dr Beyene Petros. He has been chairman of so many political parties that this writer may be forgiven for losing track of which party he is leading at the moment. It is true that he has been the member of the parliament for over a decade. When not in parliament he was vice minister of education when TPLF just took power.

In closing

Whatever the agreements or code of conducts there will be nothing that will change in Ethiopian politics at least for the foreseeable future. The result of the election has been a fait accompli since long time. The systematic elimination of opposition politicians has left TPLF to be the sole party that calls the shots for many years to come. In the mid 90s some leaders of the party were talking of becoming the PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party) of Ethiopia, in reference to the Mexican governing party that was in power for over 70 years. But then PRI was defeated and that talk slowly died down.

What this election is good for the ruling party is not about political transformation of the country. They also have an economic incentive. The year is already promising for Trans Ethiopia owned by the Endowment Fund for the Rehabilitation of Tigray (EFFORT) which is already amassing fortune out of the transportation of food to the drought affected areas. They will also make more money in the transportation of election materials to the various corners of the country. Party cadres will definitely benefit from the per diems and other perks when they will be assigned to carry out the elections. The party owned publishing houses like Mega will be busy printing the various materials. The list goes on and on. These are the other altruistic reasons for undertaking the elections.

(The writer can be reached at

Ethiopia: Addis Ababa Police Headquarters robbed

Saturday, November 14th, 2009

ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA — Unknown individuals have reportedly robbed the Addis Ababa Police Headquarters late last month taking with them over 20 AK-47 automatic rifles, several hand grenades, and ammunition, according to Ginbot 7 Radio.

Such a brazen attack on a police headquarters in Addis Ababa, which is watched by several layers of security agencies — the Federal Police, kebele police, the military, Ministry of Internal Security, and the Addis Ababa police itself — has caused a speculation that the robbery might be an inside job.

More from Ginbot 7 Newspaper [Amhairc]:

ከባድ የጥበቃ ስራ በሚካሄድበት አዲስ አባባ ፖሊስ ጽፈት ቤት ውስጥ የመሳሪያ ዝርፊያ ተካሄደ

የወያኔ የደህንነት፣ የመከላከያና የፖሊስ አባለት ለ24 ሰአት በተጠንቀቅ በሚጠብቋት አዲስ አበባ የመሳሪያ ዝሪፊያ መካሄዱ ፤ ዝሪፊያውም የተካሄደው በፖሊስ ጣቢያው ግቢ ውስጥ መሆኑ ብዙዎችን አስገርሟል።

ጥቅምት 24 ቀን 2002 አም ማንነታቸው ባልታወቁ ሰዎች በአዲስ ከተማ ፖሊስ ጣቢያ ውስጥ በተፈጸመው ዝርፊያ ከ20 በላይ ክላሺንኮቭ ጠመንጃዎችና በርካታ ጥይቶችና ቦምቦች መዘረፋቸውን ምንጮቻችን ተናግረዋል። ዝርፊያው የተፈጸመው በሌሊት ሲሆን፣ የወያኔ ተረኛ ጠባቂ ፖሊሶች ስራቸውን በመስራት ላይ እንደነበሩም ለማወቅ ተችሎአል።

የዘራፊዎቹ ማንነት በውል ባይታወቅም ለዝግጅታችን ሚደርሱን መረጃዎች እንደሚያመላክቱት ዝርፊያውን የፈጸሙት ራሳቸው የወያኔ ሹመኞች ሳይሆኑ አልቀረም። የወያኔ ባለስልጣናት የተወሰኑ ፖሊሶችን ለማጥቃት በማሰብ ዝርፊያውን ሆን ብለው እንዳቀነባበሩት የሚጠቁሙ መረጃዎች በርካታ ሲሆኑ፣ የግንቦት 7 ድምጽ መረጃውን አጣርቶ ለህዝብ ይፋ ለማድረግ በመስራት ላይ ነው።

በተያያዘ ዜናም ባለፈው ወር ብቻ ከ1500 በላይ ፖሊሶች ስራቸውን በፈቃዳቸው ለቀዋል። ፖሊሶቹ ከወያኔ ጋር አብረው ለመስራት አለመፈለጋቸውን በመግለጽ የመልቀቂያ ደብዳቤ ሲያስገቡ መቆየታቸውን ለማወቅ የተቻለ ሲሆን፣ ወያኔ በሚለቁ ፖሊሶች ቦታ ታማኝ ተተኪዎችን ካዘጋጀ በሁዋላ የስራ መልቀቂያውን መፍቀዱ ታውቋል። ይህን ተከትሎም ከ1500 በላይ ፖሊሶች ስራቸውን ጥለው መውጣታቸውን ከታማኝ ምንጮች ያገኘው መረጃ አመልክቷል።

ወያኔ በፖሊሶች ላይ ያለው ጥርጣሬ በየጊዜው እየጨመረ በመምጣቱ በቅርቡ በጦላይ ወታደራዊ ማስልጠኛ ጣቢያ ግምገማ አካሄዶ በርካታ ፖሊሶችን ማባረሩ የሚታወስ ሲሆን፣ ተመሳሳይ ዙር ግምገማ በቅርቡ እንደሚደረግም ለማወቅ ተችሎአል።

ወታደሮችና ፖሊሶች አገርን በመግደል ላይ ካለው የወያኔ አገዛዝ ጋር በመተባበር ወገናቸውን ከመበደል እንዲታቀቡና የነጻነት ሀይሎችን እንዲቀላቀሉ የግንቦት 7 ሊ/መንበር የሆኑት ዶ/ር ብርሀኑ ነጋ በአዲስ አመት መልእክታቸው ጥሪ ማቅረባቸው የሚታወስ ሲሆን፣ ጥሪው በሰራዊቱና በፖሊሶች ዘንድ ከፍተኛ ተቀባይነት እያገኘ መምጣቱን የሚደርሱን መረጃዎች ያሳያሉ።

Nigeria beats Kenya, secures place in World Cup 2010

Saturday, November 14th, 2009

Nigeria has guaranteed its place in the World Cup Football 2010 championships in South Africa, beating Kenya on their home pitch 3:2 on Saturday.

Trailing at half-time in a match they had to win, the Nigerians hit back with two goals inside five minutes.

The Kenyans failed to clear a cross and the former Newcastle United striker spun before hooking the ball past goalkeeper Willis Ochieng to earn Nigeria a fourth World Cup appearance.

Russia is taking on Slovenia on today in Moscow in their first game in the World Cup Qualifiers. The teams will meet up again on November 18 in Slovenia for the deciding match.

Slovenia, who last reached the finals in 2002, have put in a series of strong defensive performances during their qualification campaign, conceding just four goals, fewer than only the Netherlands.

However, Guus Hiddink’s Russian side will be relieved to have avoided neighbors Ukraine, who will meet Greece in the playoffs.

Russia qualified for the playoffs after finishing second behind Germany in Group 4. Hiddink is hoping to bring his fourth national team to the World Cup, having previously led impressive campaigns with the Netherlands in 1998, South Korea in 2002, and Australia in 2006.

Institutionalized torture of Hassan Ahmed Makhtal in Ethiopia

Saturday, November 14th, 2009

Hassan Ahmed Makhtal Article 2 of the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment states that: “Each State party shall take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent acts of torture in any territory under its jurisdiction. No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture. An order from a superior officer or a public authority may not be invoked as a justification of torture.”

Common article 3 of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 prohibits torture during internal armed conflict. States are also required to bring those responsible for torture to justice and to give redress and compensation to those who have been tortured.

Article 18(1) of the Ethiopian Constitution states that: “No person shall be subject to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

However, in the Ogaden, there is neither arrest nor interrogation without torture. Usually, Ethiopian armed and security forces systematically torture detainees to extract confessions or information under duress. A number of people were tortured to death. The OHRC has examined a large number of torture survivors; some of them were disabled, while others bore scars of torture on their bodies.

The latest victim of Ethiopian government’s institutionalized torture was Hassan Ahmed Makhtal who died from wounds sustained during his detention.

On May 17th 2007, in Jigjiga, Ethiopian security forces and the local police arrested Hassan Ahmed Makhtal and a number of his relatives from their residences in the dead of night. And then they were transferred to Garabcase military barracks and Jigjiga Police Centre. According to ex-jail mates and relatives’ accounts they have undergone severe physical and psychological torture. Hassan, who was in a poor state of health, was denied adequate medical treatment while he was in detention. (See Ogaden: Ethiopian Government Forces: Massacre, displace and starve out the civilian population with impunity ref: OHRC/AR/07).

Recently, after 22 months of detention without official charges or trial he was released on bail, and was not allowed to travel abroad for medical treatment.

Hassan’s younger brother Bashir Ahmed Makhtal who is a prominent Canadian businessman, and originates from the Ogaden region, is now serving a life sentence in an Ethiopian jail. He was accused of being a member of the Ogaden National Liberation Front. (Bashir Ahmed Makhtal: Addis Ababa Court’s Sentence: A Miscarriage of Justice ref: OHRC /PRAU/1209).

Since the arrest of his Canadian brother, the Ethiopian government has hunted down all members of his extended family without an apparent reason.

The Ogaden Human Rights Committee is concerned about the safety and well-being of the remaining members of Hassan Ahmed Makhtal’s extended family, who are in detention and asks for their unconditional and immediate release.

The Ogaden Human Rights Committee condemns Ethiopian government’s policy of subjecting detainees to torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.

(Ogaden Human Rights Committee,

Egyptian police gun down an Ethiopian man

Saturday, November 14th, 2009

EL-ARISH, EGYPT — An Egyptian security official on Saturday said border guards shot to death another Ethiopian who was trying to cross the border into Israel.

“Guards first fired a warning shot as the man tried to cross the barbed wire fence early Saturday. When he failed to stop, he was shot dead,” the Egyptian official said.

Two Ethiopians and an Eritrean were also injured in the incident and were arrested by Egyptian authorities.

In September, Egypt police shot an Ethiopian woman and arrested at least 14 people who were trying to enter Israel illegally.

Ethiopian Emperor Menelik's pocket watch on auction

Saturday, November 14th, 2009

Menelik pocket watch GENEVA (AP) — A historical pocket watch made for Ethiopian Emperor Menelik II (1844 – 1913), “The Negus Watch”, dating from 1893, is displayed during an auction preview for the media at Sotheby’s in Geneva, Switzerland, this week.

The auction, Magnificent Jewels, will go on sale November 17 in Geneva.

The Watch was a gift to Leon Chefneux in recognition of his contribution to the implementation of Ethiopia’s first railway line, as inscribed on the inside of the case ‘Don de Sa Majeste Menelik II Empereur d’Ethiopie’.

The yellow gold chronometer pocket watch’s case embraces a white enamel dial. It exhibits a blue and white enamel embellishment, Ethiopian polychrome symbols, used in place of hour markers, subsidiary seconds, a white enamel replacement dial, as well as a back cover, suggestive of the monarch’s crown, says.

Paved with rubies and diamonds, the model is offered in its presentation case and accompanied by the original First Class Geneva Observatory Certificate.

The estimated value is CHF 30,000 – 50,000 (US$ 29,100 – 48,500).

የግል ሚዲያ የዴሞክራሲ ዋስትና እንጂ ጠላት አይደለም

Saturday, November 14th, 2009

ከአውራምባ ታይምስ ዝግጅት ክፍል


ኢትዮጵያ ፈርማ ከተቀበለቻቸው የተባበሩት መንግስታት የሰብአዊ መብት ሰነዶች አንዱ በዓለም አቀፍ የሲቪልና የፖለቲካ መብቶች ቃል ኪዳን አንቀጽ 19 ስር የሚገኘውና ማንኛውም ሰው ያለምንም ጣልቃ ገብነት የራሱን አስተሳሰብ ስለመያዝ መብቱ የሚደነግገው ክፍል ነው:: ድንጋጌው ሃሳብ በነፃነት የሚገለጽባቸውን የተለያዩ መንገዶች በመብትነት ያጎናፀፈ ሲሆን አጠቃቀሙን አስመልክቶም ግዴታዎችንና ኃላፊነቶችን አካቷል:: … የኢ.ፌ.ዴ.ሪ. ህገ መንግስት አንቀጽ 29 ንዑስ አንቀጽ 4 ደግሞ ድንጋጌዎቹን የሚያጠነክርና አስፈላጊው የህግ ጥበቃ የሚደረግበትን አግባብ ይገልፃል:: … እድሜ ጠገቡ አዲስ ዘመን ጋዜጣ ህዳር 1 ቀን 2002 ዓ.ም. በ69ኛ አመት 61ኛ እትሙ አቋሙን ከሚያንፀባርቅበት የርዕሰ አንቀጽ ጎን ቆርኔልዮስ የተባሉ ፀሃፊን መጣጥፍ የአዘጋጆቹ ምንም አይነት ሙያዊ አርትኦት ያልዳሰሰው በሚያስመስል መንገድ የተዘጋጀውን አሳዛኝና አሸማቃቂ ጽሁፍ አስመልክቶ የሚወስነው በመንግስት የተዘጋጀው ኤዲቶሪያል ፖሊሲው መሆኑ እንደተጠበቀ ሆኖ ከላይ በተጠቀሰው ዕለት ከድርጊት ዘጋቢነት ይልቅ ወደ ድርጊት አስፈፃሚነት የተለወጡ ጋዜጦችና ጋዜጠኞች በሚል ርዕስ በአውራምባ ታይምስ እና በአዲስ ነገር ጋዜጦች ላይ የቀረበው ጽሁፍ ሃሳብን በነፃነት ከመግለጽ መርህ ይልቅ ከሳሽና ፈራጅ በመሆን በነፃው ፕሬስ ላይ የተቃጣ ስልታዊ ጥቃት ሲሆን የመንግስት ፖሊሲና ስትራቴጂዎች አበስራለሁ የሚለው አዲስ ዘመን ጋዜጣ ይህንኑ ጽሁፍ ከርዕሰ አንቀጹ ጎን ያለውን ገዥ አምድ በመስጠት አትሞ ማሰራጨቱ የጉዳዩን አደገኝነት ያጎላዋል:: … ለመቀጠል እዚህ ላይ ይጫኑ [pdf]

Ethiopia: ONLF forces attack multiple Woyanne targets

Saturday, November 14th, 2009

An Ethiopian rebel group, the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), is reporting that it has carried out a massive military campaign against forces of the Woyanne tribal junta in eastern Ethiopia in the past few days and occupied 7 towns. The following is a military communique from the ONLF:

Armed forces of the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) launched a broad multiple front military operation against military positions of the Woyanne regime occupation army liberating seven towns in Ogaden on Tuesday, 10 November, 2009. The operation involved thousands of ONLF troops and resulted in two days of heavy fighting. A significant number of Woyanne troops have been killed and their military hardware captured or destroyed during this operation.

ONLF forces entered the towns of Obolka located near Harar, Hamaro located to the East of Fik, Higlaaley near Degah Bur, Yucub located 40km from Wardheer, Galadiid located 35km from Kabri Dahar, Boodhaano near the city of Godey, Gunogabo located near Degah Bur,

Woyanne forces had deployed troops and positioned large amounts of military hardware in all of these towns due to their strategic military value. ONLF forces were warmly welcomed by the population in these areas and are administering medical care to those civilians attacked by retreating Woyanne forces.

Ethiopia: A senior AEUP leader resigned in protest

Friday, November 13th, 2009

A senior leader of the All Ethiopian Unity Party (AEUP), Major Argaw Kabtamu, has resigned from the party after protesting the party chairman Hailu Shawel’s agreement with head of the Woyanne regime, Meles Zenawi, on the upcoming general elections.

Major (Shaleqa) Argaw spent 2 years in jail, and was released on August 18, 2007, along with 30 other political prisoners. He is a highly respected leader of AEUP who is known for his principled stand.

In a related story, some leaders and members of the AEUP are circulating a petition within the party hierarchy in order to force Hailu Shawel to back out of the the traitorous agreement he signed with Meles Zenawi, a blood thirsty dictator who unleashed his death squads on Shibre Desalegn and thousands of other peaceful pro-democracy protesters following the May 2005 elections. During the same period, over 40,000 young Ethiopians were rounded up from Addis Ababa and other cities and were sent to malaria-infested concentration camps in remote parts of Ethiopia.

Younger AEUP activists are also currently working to force the resignation of Hailu Shawel for committing one of the worst betrayals of the people in Ethiopian history.

HRW honors Ethiopian human rights activist Daniel Bekele

Friday, November 13th, 2009

An Ethiopian human rights activist who was jailed for 2 1/2 years said Friday that his country is less free today than it was during its disputed 2005 election.

Daniel Bekele, 42, is crisscrossing the U.S. and Canada on a speaking tour after being honored for his human rights work by New York-based Human Rights Watch.

The soft-spoken lawyer — who won a court order that allowed him serve as an election monitor in Ethiopia in 2005, only to be arrested and charged with treason and attempted genocide later — says a bevy of new, restrictive legislation bodes poorly for a free vote in 2010.

“What is very interesting to note in Ethiopia is sort of the opening of democratic space until 2005, and how that … has constantly been shrinking, if not closing down since then,” Daniel said in a telephone interview from Toronto. In keeping with Ethiopian custom, he uses his first name on second reference.

Those laws, he said, include legislation implemented last year that essentially forbids cash-strapped Ethiopian organizations from doing human rights work, if more than 10 percent of their budget comes from foreign donors, and a strict new anti-terrorism law that could be used to prosecute journalists for what they publish.

The opposition won an unprecedented number of parliamentary seats in the 2005 vote, but not enough to topple Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. The opposition claimed the voting was rigged, and European Union observers said it was marred by irregularities.

The election was followed by violent protests. Ethiopia acknowledged that its security forces killed 193 civilians protesting alleged election fraud.

Leslie Lefkow, a Human Rights Watch researcher who is accompanying Daniel on his speaking tour, said rights workers in Ethiopia face increasing harassment, arrest and danger.

“The situation for human rights defenders is not only tight, it’s dangerous,” she said Friday. “There are certainly human rights defenders who are being threatened and being forced to flee the country.”

Opposition politicians have for months been pointing to signs of increased oppression in Ethiopia, notably the harassment and arrest of thousands of their candidates in 2008′s local elections that they believe allowed the ruling party to sweep the elections.

Prime Minister Meles said in September that he will run in May’s presidential election, reversing repeated avowals that he would retire. Meles has held power since he and his Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front led a 1991 coup to depose Mengistu Haile Mariam.

On Friday, more than 40 suspects arrested in April and charged with trying to plot a violent coup were scheduled to appear in an Addis Ababa court. The hearing was postponed.

“Some of the defendants made allegations that they were tortured and mistreated in earlier days,” Lefkow said. “To my knowledge, they still have not been given access to an independent medical assessment of that. In these various trials, including in Daniel’s own trial a few years ago, there’s a lot of rhetoric about the Ethiopian judicial system adhering to the rule of law, but little evidence.”

Daniel said he hopes to return to Ethiopia and resume his work after finishing his studies at Oxford University. For his own safety, he did not provide details about his time in prison with fellow activist Netsanet Demissie.

Both were initially charged with treason and attempted genocide along with 100 opposition leaders and journalists, then convicted of inciting violence and imprisoned for 2.5 years.

The main group of 38 politicians and journalists wrote a formal apology to the government and were convicted and pardoned in 2007, to great jubilation in the Ethiopian capital.

Daniel and Netsanet refused to sign the pardon deal and continued to fight their case as public attention for their situation waned. Daniel appeared undeterred by the sudden drop in attendance at the trial, appearing before the three-judge tribunal, his hands clasped, head high, speaking calmly and referring to thick law books.

“He is an incredibly courageous and committed person,” Lefkow said. “He desperately wants to help build up Ethiopia into a democratic society.”

(By Anita Powell, AP writer, Ethiopia correspondent from 2007 to 2009.)

A book about Gen. Demissie Bulto released in DC

Friday, November 13th, 2009

CRYSTAL CITY, VIRGINIA — On November 9, 2009, a crowd of over 120 gathered for a book signing event at the Double Tree Hotel in Crystal City, Virginia.

Ato Neamin Zeleke, the lead organizer and publisher, opened the event with a remark that highlighted the import of preserving the legacy of heroic Ethiopians who served their nation with honor and dignity and who sacrificed life and limb for their nation and people.

The event featured speeches by distinguished guests as well as family members of the late General Demissie Bulto.

Among those who spoke were the wife of Maj. Gen. Demissie, Wzr. Aster Adamu, his brothers Ato Kibebrew Bulto and Ato Berhanu Bulto, and Capt. Mamo Habtewold, an old friend of Gen Demissie and the most decorated Ethiopian war hero during the Korean War.

Capt. Mamo, who received the highest medal of honor from Atse HaileSelassie, Silver Star from the US Government, and King Leopold’s Star from the Belgium Government, and the highest medal from the Korean Government, spoke about his early days with Gen. Demissie at the Royal Honor Guard Military Academy and at the Korean War.

Wzr. Aster’s remarks focused on the hardship military families face on a daily basis and the struggles she faced and overcame in raising a family while her husband was fighting in the war against Somalia in the South and East and later against in Eritrea.

Those who spoke following her praised Wzr. Aster for preserving her late husband’s war dairies for over twenty years and leading a successful effort to unearth the remains of her late husband and other officers — who were killed by Mengistu Hailemariam loyalists and buried en masse in Eritrea — and conduct a proper burial in Addis Ababa.

Gen. Wubetu Tsegaye, who was imprisoned by Col. Mengistu Hailemariam following the May 1989 coup also spoke about his encounters with Gen. Demissie during one of the major battles in the North.

Gen. Wubetu described Gen. Demissie as an officer with an amazing skill as a strategic military thinker and planner in drawing up the most complex and largest military maneuver during the battle to free Barentu that included air born (several thousand that was dropped by a parachute), Heliborn troops (Troops dropped from Helicopter), amphibious landing with the Ethiopian Navy, mechanized and ground troops.

Brig. Gen. Tesfaye Habtemariam, who received the highest medal for his heroic leadership in a daring rescue mission in the Nakfa Mountains, also spoke eloquently about the time when he met Gen. Demissie for the first time when he was sent to Ethiopian Airborne in the 1960s to receive commando training. He singled out Maj. Gen. Merid Nigussie and Gen. Demissie Bulto as two officers who were highly capable army leaders. He said “I see the two of them as very similar, almost as two sides of the same coin. I recall many instances when they would show up at the battlefield and inspect the tiniest detail that one may overlook. They would look at a freshly dug foxhole and would ask the soldier to try to sit and move around in it. Then would ask the soldier how he is going to sleep in it, sit in it, relax in it. ‘You may be pinned down here by enemy fire for days,’ they would caution.”

Gen. Tesfaye added, “some times the soldiers would leave behind some of the ammunition that we would distribute for the given mission. The amount distributed depended on the nature of the mission but some soldiers would leave some of it behind to lighten their load. I have witnessed these two Generals conduct random checks of the soldiers’ sacks before sending us off to a mission. The two were the most detail oriented leaders who deeply cared about the welfare of their soldiers.”

Gen. Tesfaye also recalled an instance during the much-celebrated victory at Barentu when Gen. Demissie showed up at the front lines in Algena to encourage the troops: “He was not supposed to expose himself like that. However, he was a kind of leader who believed a general should inspect every movement and encourage his troops even when doing so posed grave dangers to his own life. The soldiers did not expect to see a senior commander at the battlefront and his presence gave us a moral boost.”

Brig. Gen Gezmu, Capt. Getachew Woldemariam, Lt. Ayal-Sew Dessie, Ato Asteway Merid — the son of the late Maj. General Merid Negussie, Ato Ayleneh Ejigou, and Ato Samson Demissie also spoke before the Q&A session.

Gen. Gezmu said he remembered the late general in particular for his unique effort to improve the welfare of his soldiers and staff. He recalled the general as a man who would try to help alleviate personal problems of officers and soldiers under his command. Capt. Getachew reminisced about his days with Gen. Demissie as a cadet at the Royal Guard Militay Academy.

An old friend of the author of the book, Ato Samson, recalled the time some fifteen years back when the author began writing the book. Samson remarked that the book has inspired him to record his own father’s story and held the book as an example of how each of us can contribute to the preservation of the history of our people.

A documentary video directed by Artist Tamagne Beyene was shown followed by a Q&A session with the author.

Artist Alemtsehay Wodajo read a poem dedicated to members of the former armed forces who gave the ultimate.

Distinguished guests present include Amb. Imiru Zeleke, Amb. Ayalew Mandefro — former Defense Minister, and journalist Ato Mulugeta Lule.

Gen. Demissie served in the Ethiopian army for a total of 38 years, 23 years during Emperor HaileSelassie and 15 years during the Derg regime. He received a total of 17 medals, 15 of which he received from Emperor HaileSellase including first level medal for battlefield heroism for his heroic deeds leading an airborne battalion at the battle of Degehabour during the first Somalia war in 1963.

(For more information about the book, write to

Ethiopian-American vote delivers in Virginia 09 elections

Friday, November 13th, 2009

VIRGINIA, USA ( — Creigh Deeds and the Democratic ticket suffered a sweeping defeat, turning what Obama turned into a “Blue State” back into the red column of the Republican Party. The loss suffered by the Democrats was stunning in scope and magnitude. Not only did the Democratic Party lose its hold of the Governor’s mansion, they also lost the Lt. Governor’s election and the Attorney General’s election. Furthermore, the Democrats also lost control of the State House. And in a completely jaw-dropping fashion, Deeds not only lost statewide, he lost in Democratic strongholds such as Fairfax and in Northern Virginia as a whole.

The one “Blue” spot in a sea of Northern Virginia red occurred in the City of Alexandria and Arlington. Amazingly, these were the only areas that Deeds won. These two cities are part of the 8th Congressional District, a district which is home to a massive Ethiopian-American community. By showing up in droves to the polls, Ethiopian-Americans were able to join a coalition of voters that kept at least one part of Northern Virginia blue. The turnout of Ethiopians in support of Creigh Deeds did not happen in a vacuum. Creigh Deeds reached out to the Ethiopian community on October 17th. Based on that outreach, Ethiopian-Americans for Change formally endorsed Creigh Deeds and the Democratic slate. In order to gauge the level of support that Creigh Deeds enjoyed, Ethiopian-Americans for Change conducted a scientific poll two days after Deed’s initial outreach.

The support Deeds enjoyed at that time from the Ethiopian-American community was anemic at best. The first poll revealed that Deed’s support level stood at an astonishing 28%. Moreover, only 45% of Ethiopians intended on voting on November 3rd. Based on these findings, Ethiopian-Americans for Change conducted an intensive voter outreach effort from October 19 through election night. In order to gauge the effectiveness of our effort,Ethiopian-Americans for Change conducted a second round of surveys to over 14,000 registered Ethiopians who live in the eight congressional district in the days leading up to the big election on November 3rd in Virginia. This was a follow up poll to get a feel of how the race is going and how much of an impact the Ethiopian-American community can have on the outcome of the state-wide race. The turnaround between the first poll (Oct 19th -21st) and the latest poll (Oct 31st-Nov 1st) was stunning.

* A 20 point increase in the number of Ethiopians who stated that they are currently registered (from 68.1% to 88%). This was not due to newly registered voters, rather, it was due in the increase of awareness on behalf of folks who voted last year yet thought they were not registered for this election
* A 26 point increase in the number of Ethiopians who stated that they were aware of the Nov. 3rd election (from 45% to 71%)
* A 22 point increase in the number of Ethiopians who stated that they plan on voting on November 3rd (from 36.3% to 58%)
* A stunning 28 point increase in the number of Ethiopians who stated that they plan on voting for Deeds (from 28.8% to 56%)

We did not have a data set from the previous poll for Jody Wagner, but on the latest poll, Jody Wagner was garnering 53% of the Ethiopian vote while Bolling was mired at 3.0%.

The massive shift can be explained in part by the sustained efforts Ethiopian-Americans for Change has made upon endorsing Creigh Deeds and the Democratic slate.


1. Made over 2,500 phone calls using the database of 14,000 + registered Ethiopian voters we have from the 8th Congressional District

2. Held the “Meet the Candidates” forum where we introduced Deeds, Wagner et al to the Ethiopian community

3. Passed out over 2,000 flyers and posters to Ethiopian businesses and individuals

4. Sent out 4 emails to our Ethiopian-Americans for Change email database

5. Sent out countless press releases to generate interest from Ethiopian media

6. Leveraged our website (, facebook and twitter accounts to build up excitement within and outside of the Ethiopian community

7. Customized a youtube commercial on behalf of Deeds to the Ethiopian community

Based on these results, we are confident that our effort in the 8th Congressional District increased turnout significantly and netted Deeds anywhere from 3,500 to 5,000 votes.  When the multiplier effect that our efforts had  in other districts that have a heavy Ethiopian presence (10th, 11th, and the 7th), the Ethiopian-American community would have cast a decisive vote if the election this year was as close as the election in 2005.

(For full detail of the poll and any follow up questions, contact  Raw numbers from the poll will be made available for all media outlet that have a valid credential.)

Ethiopia Member of Parliament resigns in disgust

Friday, November 13th, 2009

By Belete Etana Disassa

I am a member of parliament (MP) and deputy chairman of Public Account Standing Committee (PAC) of the House of Peoples’ Representatives of Ethiopia, elected as a representative of Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO) from Limu Kossa District, Jimma zone, Oromia region.

I want to give my honest and sincere testimony of the conditions currently prevailing in Ethiopia. This testimony is in no way intended to defame the ruling party and its cohorts. The main purpose of this letter is to expose the hidden facts in Ethiopia.

Today in Ethiopia there is no democracy, rule of law, respect for human and civil rights. The judiciary system in totally under the control of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). There is no justice and independent court proceeding.

If you are an MP, you are duty bound to ask questions. But if you ask questions, you are branded as OLF and you are a terrorist and a criminal. Article 54(5) of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE) Constitution, states that “No member of the House may be prosecuted on account of any vote he cats or opinion he expresses in the House, nor shall any administrative action be taken against any member on such grounds.” But the person who asks the democratic and human rights of the people to be respected is automatically branded as OLF member, and I am one of the victim.

The EPRDF/TPLF regime is simply a dictatorship. It does not respect its own constitution. It murders, detains, tortures and arbitrary arrests innocent citizens. The regime is particularly on a campaign of detaining Oromo nationalists. Human rights abuses are common and a day to day activity of the regime, particularly in Oromia. Authorities imposed the new structures the “Garee” and “Goxii” system to monitor the speech and personal lives of the rural population, to restrict and control the movement of residents. If you oppose the system, you are thrown in prison to stay there for years without appearing before court.

Article 12 (1) and (2) of the FDRE constitution requires transparency and accountability but on the ground the fact is different. In 2008, from the 20 Federal Government Institutions, over 192.5 million birr was detected as deficit (misuse). From this money, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia account for the biggest share of improperly spent money. Expenditures of 560 million birr by Revenue Authority and 121.9 million birr by the Ethiopian Customs Authority have not been backed up by any document.

The Ethiopian Mapping Agency and Ministry of Mines and Energy billing customers without the proper tariff has been approved by the Council of Ministers. Furthermore, the former Ministry of Infrastructure has collected over 47.2 million birr annual fee with out any approved tariff.

Our finding also reveals that over 226.5 million birr worth of purchase by six institutions were not in accordance with the purchase manual of the government. The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia has paid 98,000 birr to its former head as salary and allowance when the head was not at his position for 27 months.

The National Bank of Ethiopia on the recent gold scam reveals that contrary to the bank procedure, one individual has been supplying gold to the bank without registering. Package that contains the brick of gold has not been properly inspected after it was certified it was gold by the Ethiopian Geological Survey office. The bank has also paid the gold value without properly weighing it and has accepted 38 similar gold bricks that weigh the same and with equal carat levels.

The finding revealed illegal procurements, unlawful payments, spending beyond the allocated budget, and expenditure that could not be accounted for, amounting to more than 2.5 billion Birr. Also the government of improperly borrowing an extra 3.3 billion birr from banks. This borrowing has contributed to the inflation rate in the country.

Corruption remains a serious problem in the country. As to our responsibility to investigate this fact, the response of the government is to disparage and disqualify the activity. On the other hand, the government officials appeared to manipulate the privatization process, state and party owned businesses received preferential access and misuse of public funds.

Such misdeeds and crimes were causing me mental anguish for the last three years. I have been receiving death threats for speaking up against the wanton disregard for the rule of law. My conscience could no longer allow me to continue to be a member of the party, an MP and deputy hairman of PAC of the House. I have chosen to resign from the regime and its rubber stamp parliament.

Ethiopia: ONLF fighters take over military base in Dufan

Friday, November 13th, 2009

The Ogaden Liberation Front (ONLF) officials yesterday said that they took over control of more Woyanne regime military basses in eastern Ethiopia.

Abdukadir Hassan Hirmoge, deputy chairman of ONLF, claimed victory over Woyanne forces following clashes in the past few days.

Abdulkadir said that ONLF forces attacked Woyanne-controlled areas such as Dufan and Dudume Adde about 20 kilometers from Dhagahbur and many other military targets. He said that the ONLF fighters took over the Woyanne military bases in Dufan and other areas that they attacked in the recent fighting.

Ethiopian lawyer Daniel Bekele to speak at HRW event in Toronto

Friday, November 13th, 2009

By Sonia Verma | The Globe and Mail

When Daniel Bekele, an Ethiopian lawyer, takes the stage at a Human Rights Watch dinner Friday in Toronto honouring his bravery, he will give a speech but he won’t tell his story.

He fears his government will send him back to the same prison from which he has just been released if he reveals too much about his ordeal.

“In my country I know how every word would be interpreted, so when you ask me a question about what happened and I try to answer it, my mind is also thinking how every word I say could possibly be interpreted in a hundred and one ways. So, unfortunately, I can’t speak freely,” Mr. Bekele explained in an interview with The Globe and Mail.

Mr. Bekele, 42, was among an estimated 30,000 civil-society leaders, journalists and politicians arrested in the wake of Ethiopia’s disputed 2005 election, in which the opposition won an unprecedented number of parliamentary seats but failed to topple Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.

The opposition claimed the vote had been rigged, as did a team of European Union election observers. A parliamentary inquiry concluded that nearly 200 civilians were killed in a subsequent government crackdown on the opposition.

Mr. Bekele was charged with inciting violence against the government, punishable by life in prison or death.

A human-rights lawyer who had led election-monitoring efforts, he refused to sign a letter of apology, choosing instead to go to trial to test the rule of law.

He was convicted and spent 21/2 years in prison before being released by presidential pardon.

Fearing repercussions when he learned Human Rights Watch was honouring him with an award, he requested his name not be published until he and his family had left the country.

Birtukan Medekssa, an Ethiopian opposition politician who was also jailed in 2005 and subsequently released was rearrested last year after reports suggested she publicized certain conditions of her release.

“For this reason I find it difficult to go into this story of my arrest, what I was accused of and what I did to defend myself,” said Mr. Bekele, a husband and father of two.

He hopes his silence will serve to underscore the dangers still faced by human-rights advocates who are continuing to press for change in Ethiopia in the run-up to a new round of parliamentary elections in May.

“The challenge is that there is still a huge mismatch between what the constitution says and the reality on the ground,” Mr. Bekele said.

He is currently completing a PhD at Oxford University, but eventually plans to return to Ethiopia to continue his work: “I have every intention of going back and that’s why I have to be so careful,” he said.

“I need to continue to do this. Somebody needs to do this job.”

Meles blames U.S. for Ethiopia's economic problems

Friday, November 13th, 2009

By Peter Heinlein

ADDIS ABABA (VOA) — Ethiopia’s Prime Crime Minister Meles Zenawi says failures in the U.S. financial system are largely to blame for Africa’s economic crisis, and pointed to China as a possible key to recovery. Our correspondent in Addis Ababa has details of the Ethiopian leader’s keynote address to the annual African Economic Conference.

Speaking to an audience of academics and policymakers, Ethiopia Prime Minister the khat addicted dictator Meles Zenawi painted a gloomy picture of Africa’s economic outlook. He said the theme of the conference, fostering development in the current economic climate, may be impossible.

“The first question that comes to my mind is: Is it possible to foster development when we have a whole era of economic crisis ahead of us? I am going to suggest today that while it is probable that Africa will not be able to foster development in the current era, it is nevertheless possible to do so,” said Meles Zenawi.

Mr. Meles, a former Marxist rebel leader, launched a blistering attack on what he called “discredited neo-liberal economic policies” imposed on Africa from outside. He said unsustainable consumption by the United States when times were good had condemned Africa to a protracted period of low growth ahead.

“The United States has hitherto served as the consumer of last resort and helped to maintain the unsustainable division of labor and division of production and consumption,” he said. “It is no longer able to do it, and this is the main cause of the current crisis.”

Mr. Meles suggested Africa’s best hope might be a massive infusion of cash from China and other countries that have amassed surplus savings by producing goods for the consumers.

“It is possible to imagine that the Chinese will decided to redirect some of their surplus savings to infrastructural development in Africa,” said Meles Zenawi. “It is possible to do so because to some extent it is already happening. Such a shift would mean tens of billions of dollars per annum invested in African infrastructure, again opening the opportunity for the transformation of the overall economy. Indeed, it is not only possible but highly probable that the Chinese will take steps that would widen the window of opportunity for Africa.”

The Ethiopian prime minister, who will lead the African delegation to next month’s Copenhagen climate summit, expressed doubt the world is serious about tackling global warming. But he said a climate deal could be a boon to Africa, with its sources of renewable energy.

Some experts say Africa stands to receive as much as $100 billion a year from rich countries to offset the effects of climate change.

The three-day African Economic Conference is being held against a backdrop of low-growth forecasts for the near future. The 2009 growth estimate for sub-Saharan Africa is just 1.3 percent, with a prediction of an increase to four or five percent next year.

African Development Bank chief Donald Kaberuka, said prospects for recovery remain fragile. He said a full recovery would not occur until the continent returns to seven-percent growth, possibly within a few years.

Ethiopian man gets 32 years in prison for killing sister

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

MINNEAPOLIS (Star Tribune) — A 25-year-old Richfield, Minnesota, resident will spend at least 32 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to killing his sister and assaulting her infant.

Guuci Beyena Mekonnen, an Ethiopia native, entered his plea last week and was sentenced by Hennepin County Judge Tanya Bransford on Monday to a sentence determined by the plea deal.

If he had gone to trial and been convicted of first-degree murder, Mokonnen could have been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of release.

On May 2, Richfield police responded to a call about a woman lying in the parking lot at 734 E. 78th St. near the Buena Vista Apartments. The woman, who was on her back, had a slash across her throat and bled heavily. In her arms was an 8-month-old infant, the complaint against Mokonnen said.

While investigators were at the scene, police received a 911 call from the Mall of America transit stop from a man who said he had killed his sister. Police went there and arrested Guuci Mokonnen, according to the complaint.

Mokonnen told police he was angry at his sister for not allowing him to live with her. He said he was homeless and unemployed and had thought about killing her for three years. He said he took a knife from his brother’s apartment to kill her.

Mokonnen received 30 years for killing his sister and three years for threatening the baby. The sentences are to be served consecutively.

Schools to teach Amarigna, Tigrigna as Hieroglyphic languages

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

Since the release of the new book, “Amarigna & Tigrigna Qal Hieroglyphs for Beginners” (, Ethiopian and Eritrean adults have been familiarizing themselves with the controversial subject of the book. Now their children will have the opportunity to be exposed to it, too, in the classroom.

With the introduction of a companion teacher’s guide to the book, for primary and secondary education, now Eritrean, Ethiopian, and other school children in classrooms around the world will have the opportunity to learn about and examine Tigrigna and Amarigna as the founding languages of ancient Gebts. They will also for the first time be exposed to ancient Amara and Akele-Gezai, as not only the founders of ancient Gebts and writing, but also the providers of civilization to the world, which has long been attributed to ancient Gebts.

“With 30 million to 60 million Tigrigna and Amarigna speakers around the world, including those in Eritrea and Ethiopia,” says Legesse Allyn, author and publisher of the book and classroom teacher’s guide, “school-age children of Eritrean and Ethiopian parents will have a chance to see and experience their own languages in a new and exciting way – as the founding languages of ancient Gebts.”

Not only that, but for those school children who attend school outside of Eritrea and Ethiopia, especially in Western nations, their classmates will be introduced to their languages possibly for the first time in an official classroom setting. Together, Habesha and non-Habesha school children will learn about the languages of ancient Gebts as thriving, living languages as both the first written languages in the world and as the official founding languages of ancient Gebts 5100 years ago.”

The companion teacher’s guide includes a guide to synthesizing the content of “Amaringa & Tigrigna Qal Hieroglyphs for Beginners” with Bloom’s Taxonomy, which is essential for classroom learning. It also features a set of classroom exercises and the first available pronunciation guide matching the hieroglyphs to the pronunciation sounds of Tigrigna and Amarigna.

Not only that, but the pronunciation guide portion of the teacher’s guide utilizes fidel characters for the first time to teach hieroglyphic pronunciation, reading, and writing – fidel being a direct descendent of ancient Gebts hieroglyphs. The pronunciation guide is much different from what one might be accustomed to seeing in typical alphabet charts in schools and market places, where the complete alphabet is dispersed throughout a single chart.

Even if one does not agree with Legesse Allyn’s research, allowing school children to learn and benefit from current day research, in real time, that defines the origin of the very written words you are reading in this article, is invaluable to both the school children themselves and the broader global community. Never before has the fairly recent development of writing been so specifically explained as to why and how after an estimated 100,000 years modern human existence. If ancient Amara and Akele-Gezai had not developed writing for the administration of ancient Gebts, when might it have been invented?

(For more information visit

Message to Memher Zebene

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

ሥልጣነ-ክህነት የቂም መወጫ በትር አይደለም!

[click here for pdf]

ከምትኩ ይመር፣ ዋሽንግተን ዲሲ

ዘበነ (መምህር) መንገድህን ፈትን ራስህንም ጠይቅ፤ ሥጋ ከባድ ነው፣ ትእቢትም ያሳፍናል። በእምነትና በሥራ እንጅ በቲፎዞ ገነት አትወረስም፣ መጽሃፉም አላለም። በአንጋፋው የሜሪላንድ ደብረ ገነት መድኃኔ ዓለም የኢትዮጵያ ኦርቶዶክስ ተዋህዶ ቤተክርስቲያን ውስጥ በቅርቡ በተካሄደ የምእመናን አባላት ስብሰባ ላይ በማይመለከትህ ጉዳይ ላይ ጣልቃ ለመግባትና ባላት በግል ሃሳባቸውን እንዳይለዋወጡ እንቅፋት ለመፍጠር ያደረከውን ሙከራ በመቃወም የተከበሩ አዛውንት እማማ ውድነሽ “ይህ የምእመናን ጉባኤና ውይይት እንጅ የካህናት አይደለምና ጣልቃ ገብነትህን አቁም። አንተን አይመለከትህም፣ ዝም ልትል ይገባሃል። በስብሰባው ላይ ልትገኝም አይገባህም፣ በነፃነት እንወያይበት” ብለው ሃሳባቸውን ስላቀረቡ ብቻ “ሀጢአትና ሸክላ የሚገስጸውን ይጠላል” የሚባለው ደርሶብህ እኝህ እናት የጌታችንና የመድኃኒታችንን እየሱስ ክርስቶስ ሥጋ ወደሙ ለመቀበል በቀረቡ ጊዜ በሆድህ ቂም ቋጥረህ አሸምቀህ ስትጠብቅ ቆይተህ በወፈግዝት እንዳይቀበሉ ለማድረግ ያደረከው ከንቱ መከራ በመክሸፉ ልኡል እግዚያብሔር ይመስገን እንላለን። ለመሆኑ ባለቤቱ እንኳን “ሀጢአት ያላደረገ ድንጋዩን ይወርውር ነበር ያለው። አንተ በዛ ዘመን ብትኖር ኖሮ ደፋር ነህና ካድራጎትህ ትወረውር ነበር ማለት ይቻላል።

ጌታችንን መድኃኒታችንን እየሱስ ክርስቶስ “እውነት እውነት እላችኋለሁ ሥጋዬን ካልበላችሁ ደሜንም ካልጠጣችሁ ህይወት የላችሁም። ሥጋዬን የሚበላ ደሜን የሚጠጣ የዘላለም ሕይወት አለው። እኔም በመጨረሻው ቀን አስነሳዋለሁ። ሥጋዬ እውነተኛ መብል፣ ደሜም መጠጥ ነውና ስጋዬን የሚበላ ደሜንም የሚጠጣ በእኔ ይኖራል እኔም በእርሱ እኖራለሁ። ህያው አብ እንደላከኝ እኔም በእርሱ እኖራለሁ” (ዮሐንስ ም.6 ቁ. 53-57):: በዚህ ቃል እውነትነት ያመኑት ትምህርቱን ወስደው፣ ከራሳቸው ጋር ተነጋግረው በነጻነት ወስነው፣ ጾመው፣ ጸልየው፣ መጽውተው፣ ንስሐ ገብተው፣ ሕጉንና ሥርዓተ ቤተክርስቲያንና አዋጁን ጠብቀው በምሳሌነት ከቆሙትና ከምናከብራቸው አባቶቻችንና እናቶቻችን መካከል አንዷ የሆኑትና እንደ መንፈሳዊ እናትነታቸው በሁሉም የኢ.ኦ.ተ.ቤ.ክ. የማይታጡት የተከበሩ እናታችን ላይ ውርደት ለማድርስ ሞክርህ የነበረው በልኡል እግዚያብሔር ከሽፎብሃል። እኝህ አዛውንት እናታችን በጸሎት የተጠመዱ፣ መፅሀፍትን የሚያውቁ፣ በዘመኑ ትምህርትም ከፍተኛ ደረጃ ላይ የደረሱ፣ ሁል ጊዜ የሚያነቡ፣ የሚጠይቁ፣ ለቤተክርስቲያናችን ቀናኢነትና ተቆርቋሪነት ያላቸው፣ እውነትን ያለፍራቻ የሚመሰክሩና በፈጣሪያቸው የሚመኩ ቅን እናት ላይ ከዓለም የኦርቶዶክስ ተዋህዶ ቤተክርስቲያናት ደንብና ሥርዓት ውጭ እንደውም ከዓለም የቤተክርስቲያን ታሪክና አስተምሮት ያልታየና ያልተደረገ የእግዚያብሔር ሚስጢርን በማቃለል በግል ጥላቻና ቂም በመነሳት በወፈግዝት የተከበረውን የጌታችንን የመድኃኒታችንን እየሱስ ክርስቶስ ሥጋና ደም ለመቀበል እየተራመዱ እያሉ በአደባባይ አውግዧለሁ አይቀበሏትም ብለህ መደንፋትህ በርካታ የቤተርሲቲያኒቷ ምእመናን ላይ “ነግ በኔ” የሚል ከፍተኛ ጭንቀትና ሥጋት አሳድሯል። በእጅጉ Aሳዝኗል፣ አንገብግቧልም።

በመሠረቱ አዛውንቷ የአንተ ጥርስ ውስጥ የገቡት “ክህነት ማን ሰጠህ? መቼና የት? ብለው በመጠየቃቸውና መስቀልም ከአንተና ከመሰልህ ባለመሳለማቸውና ስላላመኑባችሁ በዲያቢሎሳዊ ስሜት ተነስተህ የግል ቂም በቀል መውጫ ለማድረግ እንዳይቀበሉ ለማድረግ ወፈግዝትህን በጭካኔ አወረድክባቸው። እንደተገነዘብነው ዘዴህ እኝህ ለሰማይ ለምድር የከበዱ አዛውንትን በማዋረድና በማዋከብ በአንተ ላይ ወቀሳና ተቃወሞ የሚያነሱብህን ሌሎች ምእመናን ላይ ጉልበትህን ለማሳየትና ለወደፊትም እንዳይነሱብህ ለመቀጣጫነትም እንደሆነ አይጠረጠርም። አንድ ነባር ምእመን እንዳሉት “ይህ ሰው የመለስ ዜናዊን ሥልጣን ቢያገኝ፣ ከእሱ በከፋ ሁኔታ የሰው ዘር አይተርፈውም ነበር ፣ ቂመኛና ጨካኝ ነው” ነበር ያሉት። ሁልጊዜ ይደልዎን፣ አድናቆትንና ምስጋናንና ብቻ አትጠብቅ። ስታጠፋ ለመገሰጽ፣ ስትሳሳት ለመታረም ዝግጁ መሆን አለብህ። “የሹም ዶሮ እሽ አትበሉኝ አለች” እንደሚባለው መሆን ተከባሎ አዘቅት ውስጥ መግባትን ያስከትላል።

ዘበነ ፣ልብ በል ሰባኪ ወይም መምህር ወደ ሰገነት የሚወጣው የእግዚያብሔርን ቃል ለመስበክ እንጅ ከግል ሁኔት በመነሳት ለውዳሴ ከንቱ ወይም ለእርግማንና ለወፈግዝት መሆን አይኖርበትም። በቀሪው ዘመናቸው እግዚያብሔርን እንዲያማርሩ አዛውንት ምእመናን ላይ ወጥመድ መሸመቅና ለማሸማቀቅ “ገዝቻለሁ” እያሉ በአውደ ምሕረቱ ማጓራት በጣም አስነዋሪ ድርጊት ነው። የንሥሐ አባታቸው አይደለህ፣ ብትሆንም እንኳዋ ለመቁረብ በገዛ ፈቃዳቸው የቀረቡትን ሰው “አይገባዎትም ተመለሱ” የማለት ሥልጣን ከየት አመጣህ? በተለይ በዚህ በምንኖርበት የሰው መብት በሚከበርበት Aገር ላይ ማን በማን ላይ ይጮሃል? በደንብ የሚያስቀጣ ሕግ አለው እኮ! ነገር ግን እርሳቸው በልጠውሃል በአካልና በመንፈስ ከመንገዳቸው ሳይለቁ “ይቅር ይበልህ” እያሉ የነፍስ መዳኛ ብቸኛው መድሃኒት የሆነውን የእየሱስ ክርስቶስን ሥጋና ደመ ተቀብለዋል። በእለቱ አገልግሎት ላይ የነበሩት ተረኛው ቀዳሽ ካህን ያንተን ተጽእኖ በመቋቋም ሳይታወኩ በማቀበልዎና ለእግዚያብሔር ህግ በመቆምዎ ኮራንብዎ! ለካስ ቤተክርስቲያናችን አሁንም ሰው አላት አልን። እውነተኛ አባት ህጉንና ሥርዓቱን ደንቡን ያውቃልና “በስመ አብ ወወልድ ወመንፈስ ቅዱስ አሃዱ አምላክ“ እያሉ እየገሰጹ በተፈጠረው ሁኔታ ምእመናኑ እንዳይታወክ እየጸለዩ የቅዳሴ አገልግሎትዎን አጠናቀዋልና ምስጋና ከልብ ይድረስዎ። ትክክለኛ ካህንነትዎን በፈታኝ ጊዜ አስመስክረዋልና ኮራንብዎት! እግዚያብሔርም የቀደሙ አባቶቻችንን ፀጋና በርከት እንዲሁም እድሜና ጤና ሰጥቶ ገልግሎትዎን ይባርክ።

ዘበነ እኝህ በሃሰት የውግዘት አኮርባጅ የገረፋቸው አዛውንት እውነተኛ የክርስቲያን ተምሳሌት፣ አንጡራ የኦርቶዶክስ ሐብት ሲሆኑ አቧራ ጠርገው ላይ ታች ብለው ደክመው ዛሬ እግዚያብሔርን በቦታው እንድናመልክበት ቤተክርስቲያን ከሌሎች አባቶችና እናቶች ጋር ሰርተው ለአንተ (ለዘበነ) ኮሮጆ እንድትሞላበት ስላደረጉ፣ የሥራና የመተዳደሪያ መስክ ስለከፈቱልህ ውለታቸውን በማዋረድ ከፈልካቸው። “ወርቅ ላበደረ ጠጠር” ማላት ይህ ነው። እኝህ እናት ቢሳሳቱ እንኳ ወደ ስጋ ወደሙ መቅረብ የህይወት መድሃኒት ነውና፣ ይፈውሳቸው ብለህ ልትጸልይላቸውና ልትመክራቸው በተገባህ ነበር። ለነገሩ አንተ ምን ታደርግ “ግርግር ለምን ያመቻል” እንዲሉ የቤተክርስቲያናችን በጠላቶችዋ እንድትከፋፈል መደረግ ለአንተና ለመሰሎችህ አመችቷልና። ግን እስከ መቼ? እራስህን መርምር። በኛ በምእመናን በራሳችን ገንዘብና ማእድ አትስደበን። ሸቀጥ ለተጠቃሚዎች ለመሸጥ እንደሚንገበገብ ማስታወቂያ ተናጋሪ የቃላት ወንጭፍ በጆሮአችን አትወርውር። እመቤታችን ቅድስት ድንግል ማርያም በትህትንና በአክብሮት ነው መልአኩን ገብርኤል “እንደ ቃልህ ይደረግልኝ” ያለቸው።በትህትና ነው ለተራበ ውሻ ጫማውን ውልቃ ውሃ ያጠጣችው። ሰባኪ እኮ ራሱ የእውነት መጀመሪያ መሆን ይገባዋል። የእምነትን ስብከት ከፕሮፓጋንዳ ለይ። አንተ የወንጌል ሰባኪ መምህር ነህ እንጅ ለስጋ ለገበያ የሚለፈልፍና የሚቀባጥር ካድሬ አይደለህም። ጌታችንን መድሃኒታችንን እየሱስ ክርስቶስ እንዳስተማረን እውነቱንና ወንጌሉን ብቻ መስክር። “ሰው ሊያደርግባችሁ የማትወዱትን እናንተም በሰው ላይ አታድርጉ” የሚለውን የእግዚያብሔር ቃል ከማነብነብ ባሻገር አንተም በሥራ ላይ አውለው። ቃሉን ብቻ ስበክ። የምትሰብከውንም በስራ ላይ ማዋልህን አረጋግጥ። በአዛውንቷ ላይ የወረወርከው የወፈግዝት ፍላፃ አልፏል። ወዮ ለአንተ ግን በንስሐና በይቅርታ እስካልተመለስክ ድረስ በእድሜህ የፈተና ፍላጻ ይሆናል!

ስለምንተ ማርያም፣ ስለቸሩ እግዚያብሔር ብለው በመንፈስ ቅዱስ አስተማሪነት ችግሩን፣ ረሃቡንና ጥሙን ተቋቁመው በዓለም ወደር ካልተገኘለት የመንፈስ ቅዱስ የእውቀት ውቅያኖስ በሁሉም የእውቀት ዘርፎች እጅግ ከፍተኛ ደረጃ ላይ የደረሱትን በተለይም ዘመናት ባስቆጠሩት በጎጃም፣ በጎንደር፣ በወሎ፣ በሸዋና በትግራይ የኢትዮጵያ ቤተክርስቲያናት ዋና ዋና የቅኔ፣ የትርጓሜ፣ የድጓና የዜማ ትምህርታቸውን አጠናቀው መንፈሳዊ ፒ.ኤች.ዲያቸውን ኩራት በሆነችው የኢትዮጵያ ቤተክርስቲያን ያገኙትን እውነተኛ ካህናት አባቶቻችንን መሳድብ፣ ማቃለል፣ ማብጠልጠል፣ ማንጓጠጥና መዘርጠጥ የቤተክርስቲያን ጠላትነት ብቻ ሳይሆን የአገርና የሕዝህም ጭምር ነው። ስለሆነም ስተሃልና ልብህን ከስድብ መልስ። እነዚህ ሊቃውንተ ቤተክርስቲያን በፍፁም አንተ ዘበነ እንዳዋረድካቸው “ሆዳሞች፣ልብስና ቆብ ብቻ፣ አባጨጓሬም ‘አባ’ ይባላል ወዘተ ተብለው መሳለቂያ የሚሆኑ አይደሉም። ለነገሩማ ማንም ቢሆን ያውም በቤተክርስቱያ ቅጽር ግቢ ውስጥ መስድብ፣ ማውረድና መሳለቂያ ማድረግ ክልክል ነው። ቃሉም እንደሚለው “ክፉ ሰውም ከልብ ክፉ መዝገብ ክፉውን ያወጣል” ሉቃስ 6-45።

በአንድ ወቅት አንድ እንግሊዛዊ ጸሃፊ ስለ አባቶቻችን ካህናትና ሊቃውንት ጥልቅ የእውቀትና የጥበብ ማህደርነት ሲናገር“ በአውሮፓ አንድ ሰው፣ አንድ የትምህርት ዓይነት ያጠናል ወይንም የአንድ የትምህርት ዓይነት ባለቤት ነው። በትዮጵያ ግን አንድ ሰው የባለብዙ ዘርፎች ትምህርት ባለቤት ነው። በመሆኑም በአውሮፓ አንድ ሰው ቢሞት ያው የአንድ የሙያ ባለቤት ሞተ ነው የሚባለው። በትዮጵያ ግን Aንድ ሰው ቢሞት Aንድ ትልቅ ሙዚየም እንደተቃጠለ ይቆጠራል ብሎ ነበር። ታዲያ እነዚህ በዓለም ዓቀፍ ደረጃ የተመሰከረላቸውን መንፈሳዊ ኢትዮጵያዊያን አባቶች መሳደብና መናቅ ምን ይባላል? አንተ ማነህና? ከየትኛውስ የቅኔ፣ የተርጓሜ፣ የድጓና የዜማ ትምህርት ቤት ነው የበቀልከው? ወይንስ ፌሬሰንበት ዘ….. ይሆን? እኛ ግን ጽድቅን ለማግኘትና መንግሥተ ሰማያትን ለመውረስ ይህንን ከንቱ ዓለም ንቀውና ተጸይፈው፤ ጤዛ ለብሰው ዳዋ ተንተርሰው በጽድቅ መንገድ የሄዱት ሊቃውንቶቻችንና ካህናቶቻችንን አለኝታዎቻችንና መመኪያዎቻችን ናቸውና እባክህን ከእነሱ ላይ ውረድ።

እንደዚህ ዓይነት በቤተ ክርስቲያን ውስጥ የሚደርሱ ችግሮችና እንደ ዘበነ ያሉ አጥፊዎች በጊዜው ባለመታረማቸውና አጥፊዎችም ላይ አግባብነት ያላቸው የሥነሥርዓት እርምጃዎች ባለመወሰዳቸው እነሆ ዛሬ ቤተክርስቲያናችን ከፍተኛ አደጋ ላይ ትገናለች። አንዳንድ የቤተክርስቲያን አባቶችና መምህራን በምእመናቸው ላይ ተነሳስተው በአድማ፣ በጥላቻ፣ በቁጣ፣ ‘በስገዱልኝ’ የሚመሩን መሆን የለባቸውም ። እኛ ለዘበነ የምንለው ከዚህ ከገባህበት “ከሴኬም ጉዞ” ውጣ ሲያልቅ አያምር Aይሁንብህ፣ ከዚህ በፊት ስለቤተክርስቲያን የጮህከውን እስተዋጾ ገደል ከቶታልና በጸሎት እራስህን በመግዛት ወደነበርክበት የፀጋ ስብከት ተመለስ። አንደበትህን ከስድብ፣ ከሽርደዳ፣ ከአሽሙርና ከፌዝ አርቀህ ለቃለ እግዚያብሔር ብቻ አድርገው። በተለይ መምህራን በትእግሥት፣ በግብረገብነት፣ በሥነሥርዓት የሚያስተምሩ መሆን ይኖርባቸዋል። የኋላ የቤተክርስቲያናችን ታሪክ የእነ አቡነ ተክለ ሐይማኖትና የመሳሰሉት የእምነት ጽናት፣ መስዋእትነት፣ ግብረግብነትና ሥነምግባርን አስተምሮን አልፏል። ስድብ፣ ቁጣ፣ ቂም፣በቀልና ወፈግዝት ምእመናንን የሚመርዝና ቤተክርስቲያንን የሚያጠፋ ነውና በአስቸኳይ እርግፍ አድርገህ ተወው። እዚህ ላይ ሳይነሳ መታለፍ የሌለበት የደብረገነት መድኃኔዓለም ቤተክርስቲያን አለቃና መስራች የነበሩት ትጉህ ና ታታሪው አባታችን መልአከ ገነት ልሳነ ወርቅ ውቡ በህይወት እያሉ ዘበነ ትናንትና እዚህ መጥተህ በዲያቆንነት ቅዳሴ ላይ ስምህን ስታስነሳ አይከብድህም ወይ? አገራችንስ ውስጥ የቤተክርስቲያን አለቃ ካህን እያለ የዲያቆን ስም ቅዳሴ ላይ ተነስቶ ያውቃል ወይ? እኛ ሳናውቀው የቤተክርስቲያን ህግ ተለወጠ ወይንስ ሌላ ምክንያት አለ? በየትኛውም የዓለም ክፍል ያላችሁ እውነተኛ ሊቃውንተ ቤተክርስቲያን ምን ትላላችሁ? የተከበሩ አባታችን ቀሲስ አስተርአየ በዚህ ጉዳይ ላይ ምን ይላሉ? ሳይቃጠል በቅጠል ነውና መላ በሉ!

Ethiopians in Israel struggle to succeed – video

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

Ybase Chekol, an Ethiopian Christian man, says his ancestors were among a group of Jews known as the Falash Mura who were forced to convert to Christianity more than 100 years ago.

Now, he and his family have moved to Israel, where Israeli law allows the Falash Mura to become citizens – if they embrace Judaism.

But as Al Jazeera’s Nicole Johnston reports from Jerusalem, discrimination makes it hard for many of these immigrants to succeed in Israeli society. Watch the video below

Woyanne selling out Ethiopian farmers

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

BAKO, Ethiopia — For centuries, farmers like Berhanu Gudina have eked out a living in Ethiopia’s central lowlands, tending tiny plots of maize, wheat or barley amid the vastness of the lush green plains.

Now, they find themselves working cheek by jowl with high-tech commercial farms stretching over thousands of hectares tilled by state-of-the-art tractors — and owned and operated by foreigners.

With memories of Ethiopia’s devastating 1984 famine still fresh in the minds of its leaders, the government has been enticing well-heeled foreigners to invest in the nation’s underperforming agriculture sector. It is part of an economic development push they say will help the Horn of Africa nation ensure it has enough food for its 80 million people.

Many small Ethiopian farmers do not share their leaders’ enthusiasm for the policy, eying the outsiders with a suspicion that has crept across Africa as millions of hectares have been placed, with varying degrees of transparency, in foreign hands.

“Now we see Indians coming, Chinese coming. Before, we were just Ethiopian,” 54-year-old Gudina said in Bako, a small farming town 280 km (170 miles) west of Addis Ababa. “What do they want here? The same as the British in Kenya? To steal everything? Our government is selling our country to the Asians so they can make money for themselves.”

Xenophobia aside, a number of organizations — including the foundation started by Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates — argue that Africa should support its own farmers.

“Instead of African countries giving away their best lands, they should invest in their own farmers,” said Akin Adesina, vice president of the Nairobi-based Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). “What’s needed is a small-holder, farmer-based revolution. African land should not be up for garage sale.”


Both sides of the debate agree on this much: a stark reality — underlined by last year’s food price crisis — looms large over Ethiopia and beyond. The world is in danger of running out of food.

By 2050, when its population is likely to be more than 9 billion, up from 6 billion now, the world’s food production needs to increase by 70 percent, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation.

In Africa, which for a variety of reasons was bypassed by the Green Revolution that transformed India and China in the 1960s and 1970s, the numbers are even more bleak. The continent’s population is set to double from 1 billion now.

In all, the FAO says, feeding those extra mouths is going to take $83 billion (50.2 billion pound) in investment every year for the next four decades, increasing both the amount of cultivated land and how much it produces. The estimated investment for Africa alone is $11 billion a year.

For deeply impoverished Ethiopia, sub-Saharan Africa’s second-most populous nation after Nigeria, even a fraction of those sums is unthinkable.

Yet with 111 million hectares — nearly twice the area of Texas — within its borders, the answer, in the government’s eyes, is simple: Lease ‘spare’ land to wealthy outsiders to get them to grow the food. One unfortunate consequence of that thinking is Gudina and his little plot of maize are painted as part of the problem, rather than a potential solution.

“The small-scale farmers are not producing the quality they should, because they don’t have the technology,” said Esayas Kebede, head of the Agricultural Investment Agency, a body founded only in February but already talking about offering foreign farmers 3 million hectares in the next two years.

“There are 12 million households in Ethiopia. We can’t afford to give new technology to all of them,” he said, sitting in an office adorned with maps showing possible sites for commercial farms.

Indian agro-conglomerate Karuturi Global, whose involvement in Ethiopia so far has been exporting cut-flowers to Europe, has taken the hint, branching out into food production with a sprawling maize farm in Bako. Unlike with similar land deals elsewhere in Africa, the company insists crops will be exported only after demand is met in Ethiopia — where 6.2 million people are said to be in need of emergency food aid because of poor seasonal rains.

“Our main aim is to feed the Ethiopian people,” Karuturi’s Ethiopia general manager, Hanumatha Rao, told Reuters, sitting under an awning at the Bako farm as hundreds of labourers harvested maize in the fields stretching up nearby hillsides. “Whatever we produce will go to the stomachs of the Ethiopian people before it goes to the international market.”


While many governments have been busy courting foreigners, in most cases from Asia or the Middle East, to increase Africa’s food output, small farmers like Gudina are not totally without friends.

An initiative backed by the Melinda and Bill Gates and Rockefeller foundations is aiming to kick-start an African Green Revolution, carefully avoiding the pitfalls that had engulfed previous such attempts.

In particular, Africa boasts a dazzling array of soil types, climates and crops that have defied the one-size-fits-all solution of better seed, fertilizer and irrigation that worked in Asia half a century ago.

Its perennial tendency to corruption and official incompetence has also played its part in keeping average grain yields on the continent at just 1.2 tons per hectare, compared with 3.5 tons in Europe and 5.5 tons in the United States.

AGRA’s Adesina says sub-Saharan governments are slowly realizing the importance of small farmers, who account for 70 percent of the region’s population and 60 percent of its agricultural output. But he urges governments to make good on a pledge six years ago to raise farm spending to 10 percent of their national budgets.

For its part, AGRA is pouring money into research institutes from Burkina Faso in the west to Tanzania in the east to breed higher yielding and more drought- and pest-resistant strains of everything from maize and cassava to sorghum and sweet potato.

“We’ve been studying African agriculture for several decades and the message we keep getting back from farmers is: ‘It’s the seeds, stupid,’” said Joseph DeVries, director of AGRA’s seed improvement division. “What you’re planting is what you’re harvesting.”

As yet, the work — carefully packaged as “Africans working for an African solution” — involves only conventional breeding techniques, such as cross-pollination and hybridization, as genetically modified seeds remain prohibitively expensive for farmers subsisting on one or two dollars a day.

However, AGRA does not rule out a future role for GM food crops, a stance that has stoked fears it will inadvertently pave the way for U.S. seed companies into the continent beyond South Africa, the only country that allows widespread commercial use. It also accepts a need for chemical soil additives — a source of concern to environmentalists — although it stresses the importance of “judicious and efficient use of fertilizer and more intensive use of organic matter.”

After 10 years of research, DeVries said, AGRA has developed, among other things, a cassava variety with double its previous yield and a hybrid sorghum strain that is producing 3 to 3.5 tons per hectare, compared with 1 ton before. It is also giving grants to rural shop-keepers to try to create seed distribution networks in countries that remain too small or inaccessible to attract interest from established commercial suppliers.

“There’s huge demand for these new varieties, but there’s just not nearly enough investment. It’s logistics, and it’s also capital,” DeVries said.


As ever in Africa, money — or, rather, a lack of it — is a major problem. According to AGRA’s Adesina, only 1 percent of private capital on the continent is made available to farming, due to banks’ concerns about loan collateral and a reluctance to deal with farmers who in many cases are barely literate.

However, the Green Revolution push has begun to attract some serious financial players.

With AGRA providing $10 million in loan guarantees, South Africa’s Standard Bank, the continent’s biggest bank, has earmarked $100 million over three years for small farmers in Ghana, Mozambique, Tanzania and Uganda. The pilot scheme suggests the bank is buying an argument slowly gaining traction: That Africa, a continent more renowned for war, famine and disasters, could and should evolve into the breadbasket of the world.

With less than 25 percent of Africa’s potential arable land under cultivation, according to many estimates, and its current levels of yield at rock-bottom, it is a compelling, if distant, vision.

“The first step is improving the efficiency of small farmers in Africa,” said Jacques Taylor, head of Standard Bank’s agricultural banking arm in Johannesburg, seat of the gold on which most of South Africa’s wealth has so far been based. “Can we get them to increase their yields from just over 1 ton to 3 tons to 5 tons? That’s possible. It’s not a dream. It’s a reality.”


Even though Standard Bank says it is keen to expand the funding, if all goes well, there is a very long way to go before such financing makes a dent in the $11 billion the FAO says has to be invested in Africa each year.

“Do we need more of this? For sure. $100 million is really a drop in the ocean when you look at the funding needs,” Taylor said. “But we’d like to think this is a step in the right direction.”

As such, it seems inevitable Africa will have to adopt a dual-track approach to its looming food crisis — rolling out the red carpet for more Karuturis, but also making life easier for Berhanu Gudina and his colleagues in central Ethiopia.

While it is hard to fault the thinking behind either strategy, critics of both abound.

Across the continent, foreign deals have been condemned as “land-grabs” negotiated between barely accountable administrations and outside companies or governments who care little about poverty or development.

In one notable case, in Madagascar, a little-reported million-hectare deal with South Korean conglomerate Daewoo contributed heavily to a successful popular uprising in March against President Marc Ravalomanana.

Elsewhere, from Sudan and its numerous Gulf farmer-investors, to Republic of Congo and a group of white South African commercial farmers, to Ethiopia and its Indians, land has become a hot political potato.

The prevailing view outside governments is that the little guys are being forced to make way for the mega-deal.

“It cannot just descend on them from the sky. It has to be done in consultation with the people who occupy the land,” Ethiopian opposition leader Bulcha Demeksa told Reuters. “But the government is not doing that. It is just going ahead and signing agreement after agreement with the foreigners.”

Similarly, AGRA’s detractors look to unintended consequences of India’s Green Revolution — particularly the environmental damage caused by widespread fertilizer use and drying up of water tables — to argue Africa should look before it leaps.

Furthermore, says Mariam Myatt of the Johannesburg-based African Centre for Biosafety, if India’s experience is anything to go by, a Green Revolution would leave Africa’s farmers as dependent on banks and seed and fertilizer companies as they are now on seasonal rains.

“The Green Revolution, under the guise of solving hunger in Africa, is nothing more than a push for a parasitic corporate-controlled chemical system of agriculture,” she said.

With Bill Gates also pumping funding into biotech research at bodies such as the African Agriculture Technology Foundation, Myatt said, AGRA might end up as the unwitting Trojan horse that eases GM crops — and Western corporate interests — into Africa.

“It will go a long way towards laying the groundwork for the entry of private fertilizer and agrochemical companies and seed companies and, more particularly, GM seed companies.”

(Source: Reuters. Writing by Ed Cropley; Editing by Jim Impoco and Walter Bagley)

The joy and sadness of November

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

By Yilma Bekele

November 9, 1989, is a special day for the German people, in particular, and for the rest of humanity, in general. It is a day that one more system designed to treat fellow humans as lesser beings is shattered and discarded. On November 9, 1989, the ‘wall’ that was built to keep people in fear and agony was finally breached and then there was light. It was celebrated with great fanfare. The enabler of this heroic act, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and current German Chancellor Angela Merkel held hand and crossed the border to cheers and tears accompanied by thousands of fellow citizens. Angela Merkel said “This is not just a day of celebration for Germans. This is a day of celebration for the whole of Europe; this is a day of celebration for all those people who have more freedom.”

November 1, 2005, is a special day for the Ethiopian people. On that fateful day that will live in infamy in our ancient history, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia Meles Zenawi ordered his private Agazi force to open fire using live bullets on fellow Ethiopians that were peacefully protesting the rigged outcome of the May general election.

The independent report by Chairman Frehiwot Samuel and Judge Wolde-Michael Meshesha showed that government forces massacred 197 civilians. We are eternally grateful to the courageous act by Frehiwot Samuel and Judge Wolde Michael and other inquiry commission members for shining a bright light on the despicable act committed by the Meles regime. At this critical juncture in our history where principle and integrity are traded like commodity it is rare to find such patriotic Ethiopians who are willing to tell the truth and are ready to pay the price.

The story of our November 1, 2005, does not end with the massacre. Prime Minster Meles and his cabinet of criminals detained more than 40,000 Ethiopians and transported them to all corners of the country. We became familiar with places such as Zewai, Dedessa, Bir Sheloko, Shoa Robit, Kolfe and Sendafa. People were indiscriminately picked up from their homes, work places and street corners and taken to be shaved, beaten, starved and humiliated their crime; being Ethiopian or young. How many were exposed to AIDS by the wholesale shaving using the same razor blade, how many were eaten by crocodiles trying to escape Dedessa hellhole and how many were scared for life for being treated like a herd of animals will never be known.

November 1, 2005, should be etched in the brain of every Ethiopian that values human life and hungers for freedom and equality. We commemorate Yekatit 12, 1937. We have built a monument in Arat Kilo to remind us of Yekatit 12. On Yekatit 12, 1837 the fascist forces that were occupying our motherland opened fire on the residents of Addis Abeba in retaliation to the attempted assassination of the Viceroy Graziani by Abrham Deboch and Moges Asgedom. On November 1, 2005 Agazi forces, the private army of Meles Zenawi and friends massacred our people for demanding freedom. Graziani and Meles will never be forgotten. When the time comes a monument will be erected for our heroes of November 1, 2005. No one can stop that.

The Germans celebrated their November victory. They remembered the nightmare years under Communism and rejoiced in their new found freedom. For over fifty years the East German people suffered untold hardship. Some collaborated with the regime for economic reasons, some collaborated because there was no place to go but no matter all suffered because tomorrow brought more misery and hopelessness. Today Germany is one and people are building a new free and independent society based on a strong foundation of the rule of law.

The Ethiopians still remember what November brought. November was a ‘eureka’ moment. It laid bare the character of the so-called EPDRF regime. The lies, falsehoods, empty bravado of the minority regime was exposed for all to see. We came to realize that there is no such thing as EPDRF but TPLF, that there is no such thing as the Ethiopian police but private Agazi Force, answerable to Meles Zenawi and a few of his inner circle and there is no such thing as a cabinet but a few dedicated hard core Woyanes.

No matter there are always dedicated people fighting slavery and injustice. It is no different in Ethiopia. There are those that choose immediate fame and glory and side with the enemies of the people. There are those willing to sell everything including their country because of cowardice or natural weakness. Then there are those who choose freedom and risk it all. We have encountered plenty of brave Ethiopians in this time of trial and tribulations in our history. We are emboldened by their selfless act and dedication. They make all of look good.

The heroes of the leadership of Kinijit hold a special place in our heart. Their smart organizational skills and simple message of hope galvanized the whole nation. Our country was filled with hope, possibility and unsurpassed joy. Over a million people showed up to that celebration of pre-victory and showed the whole world that we are not stupid that we can taste freedom and we are ready for the future. Dr. Berhanu and friends unlocked the doors of possibility and unleashed a powerful force that was brewing inside of us. No one can extinguish that fire. The more they try the more it glows.

Inquiry commission Chairman Frehiwot Samuel and Judge Wolde Michael Meshesha gave us the gift of standing up against dictators. The truth was told and there is no amount of revision that can change what really happened on that day. They were forced to flee their beloved homeland because they refused to be bought, intimidated or humiliated.

Judge Bertukan Mediksa is celebrating 317 days in Woyane jail. Judge Bertukan is the symbol of our suffering. She is also a bright light shining over all of humanity with a message of dedication to the truth and love for mother Ethiopia. She is a strong lady following the footsteps of Abuna Petros, Abrham Deboch and Moges Asgedom. Amnesty International has declared our dear sister, mother, and leader of Andenet Party a political prisoner. Please join the global write for Rights organized by AI. It is the duty of every Ethiopian to involve a minimum of ten people to this noble cause. You can use the following format to let your opinion be known:

We commemorate November 1, 2005 to pay our respect for those who lost their lives when they were trying to speak for us. We can do our silent prayers or attend a service for our heroes. But that would not be enough. The real commemoration is working to stop another November 1, from happening. It is doing your share wherever you are in setting aside time or money to help those who are working to stop a repeat of Nobember1. To all my country people scattered all over the planet remember we are here in a foreign land among strangers because the ‘freedom deniers’ are over there wrecking our motherland and planning more November massacres. You can stop them or sit idle. It is your choice.

North Carolina: Senseless murder of Ethiopian girl

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

By Cleve R. Wootson Jr

CHARLOTTE, NC (Charlotte Observer) — Staying in Ethiopia was a death sentence for the pretty, thin 17-year-old girl with a heart defect.

Tigist Yemane was weak. She couldn’t walk more than a few steps without passing out.

Without an operation, doctors told her in 2004, she would be dead in six months.

In the United States, the operation to fix her mitral stenosis is relatively simple and involves an overnight hospital stay. In her native Ethiopia, the operation was out of her reach.

Yemane had become the woman of the house after her mother died when she was nine. Her father, she told friends, was an alcoholic and mostly out of the picture. She cooked and cleaned and looked after her younger siblings. And as her ailment progressed, Yemane got weaker and weaker.

John Cederholm, a Charlotte heart surgeon visiting a missionary friend in the Addis Ababa slum, thought he could help. He and Brian Davidson, who runs a sports-based outreach program in Ethiopia, convinced authorities there to give Yemane a temporary visa, telling them they’d ensure her return. For the first time, Yemane had hope for living beyond her teenage years.

But nearly six years later, Yemane is dead – the 45th homicide victim this year in Charlotte, the city where she floundered for a foothold in America.

‘This is your opportunity’

In 2004, Yemane flew to Charlotte where Dr. Cederholm performed surgery at the Sanger Clinic, replacing one of the valves in her heart.

The Ethiopian teen stayed in the Cederholm’s Charlotte home and absorbed American culture as she healed and got stronger.

“She came over with a little bit of broken English,” Cederholm said. At first, “she didn’t know how to turn on a shower. She didn’t know how to turn on a stove.”

When she was better, Cederholm fulfilled his promise to Ethiopian authorities and put Yemane on a plane back to her native country. But her visa was still valid and people close to her in Ethiopia saw it as her ticket out of the slums.

“They told her, ‘This is your opportunity for a new life. This is your chance to escape,’” Cederholm said.

Family and friends collected money to pay for another flight to the U.S.

Cederholm and Davidson are unsure when Yemane returned to the United States.

They do know she arrived in Washington D.C. with little money and the phone number of a family she hoped to stay with.

“It’s only human and natural to want something better,” Davidson said. “Unfortunately, the reality of the fact is (the U.S.) is not what it looks like in the movies.

“Her life, it was a hardship.”

Back in the U.S., but alone

Yemane made the phone call but the family said they didn’t have the money or space to take her in, Cederholm said.

Yemane was homeless and alone.

For three years, she flitted from home to home, staying with Ethiopian families who took her in, sometimes sleeping on the streets or in shelters. She was married briefly to a man who friends said abused her, but she managed to get away.

Her compass always pointed to Charlotte, the only real home in the United States she knew. Around 2006, Cederholm said his family took her in once again for about a month.

In 2007, she met Loretta Caldwell, who runs a Charlotte ministry that takes in homeless women. The police were trying to take Yemane to a homeless shelter on the westside, but she’d been there before and didn’t want to go back.

“She started running up to my car saying ‘Lady, help me, help me, please help me,’” Caldwell said.

“And I pulled off looking back at her and said ‘She’s so beautiful. What happened to her?’”

Caldwell took her in.

Over the next two years, in a stable and permanent home, Yemane thrived. Caldwell helped her get a visa and a job. She used pink paint on the walls of her room, which was larger than the apartment she shared with her siblings in Ethiopia. She set up profiles on Facebook and MySpace, and her accent became fainter as she burned through calling cards talking to her siblings in Ethiopia.

One of her brothers just had a baby, and she was collecting baby clothes to send to him.

She called Caldwell “mother,” and the older woman began to think of Yemane as her daughter.

‘Are you OK? Are you safe?’

Caldwell says she was overprotective of her surrogate daughter. Even though Yemane was 23, Caldwell ran criminal background checks on the men she would date, and set a curfew.

She said she trusted Yemane’s latest boyfriend, Davon Thomas, because she knew his mother, and they seemed like “good, Christian people.”

Caldwell said she last spoke with Yemane on Friday night. Yemane had called to say she might break curfew.

“Are you OK?” Caldwell asked. “Are you safe?”

Yemane said “yes” to both, and Caldwell said she was going to bed.

The next morning, Yemane’s pink room was still empty.

“I started calling her. And I started calling him. And then I called around to find her,” Caldwell said.

“Within 30 minutes … the detectives were at my front door.”

Police say Thomas shot Yemane to death early Saturday morning inside his parents’ house in the Reedy Creek Community. Police called it a domestic homicide and searched for Thomas for two days before he turned himself in.

Thomas, 27, is in Mecklenburg jail, charged with Yemane’s murder. And the Charlotteans who helped bring a sick teenager over from Ethiopia six years ago were raising money to send her body back.

Solutions for some common Windows 7 problems

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

Windows 7 is faster than Vista, makes better use of your system resources, is packed with interesting features, and looks great. But that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. If you’ve moved to Windows 7 recently then you might have noticed various upgrade problems, interface issues and features that seem to have disappeared entirely, among many other complications with the new system.

Don’t despair. While these problems can be really frustrating, answers are beginning to appear. We’ve uncovered some of the best and most effective solutions around, so follow our guide and your Windows 7 installation will soon be back on track.

18 cool things Windows 7 does that Vista doesn’t

1. Vista upgrade hangs at 62%

Windows 7 can start causing problems before it’s even installed, as many people report their upgrade hangs forever at 62%. Which is annoying.

Reboot, and your PC should roll back to Windows Vista. You can then open the setup log file \$WINDOWS.~BT\Sources\Panther\setupact.log to view what happened. Microsoft says this is usually caused because the Iphlpsvc service has stopped responding, and just adding an environment variable to ignore it will fix the problem. Point your browser at for the fix.

If this doesn’t help (or your upgrade hangs at something other than 62%) then browse the setup log for other clues. And you might also try to boot and install from the Windows 7 disc, if possible, as that reduces the chance of any conflict with your existing Vista (or XP) setup.

INSTALL WINDOWS 7: Windows 7 upgrades are usually quick, but sometimes it doesn’t install at all

2. DVD drive not found

In some cases your DVD drive may not be found by Windows 7, even if it’s visible in the BIOS and using the standard driver.

The standard solution here is to run REGEDIT, browse to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\, then delete both UpperFilters and LowerFilters in the right-hand pane (UpperFilters.bak and LowerFilters.bak entries can be ignored).

No change? Resetting the drive letter has worked for some. Click Start, type Disk Management and choose the “Create and format hard disk partitions” link. If your optical drive is visible here then right-click it, select Change Drive Letter and Paths, click Change and choose a new letter. If the drive is now visible in Explorer, then repeat the process to change the drive letter back; if it’s still not visible, reboot and it should appear.

3. Aero isn’t running

If Windows 7 isn’t looking its best, then the Aero theme may not have been fully enabled on your system. Click Start, type Aero, choose the “Find and fix problems with transparency and other visual effects” link, and click Next to launch the Aero troubleshooting wizard. It’ll try to identify and resolve and problems. And if it doesn’t, then install the latest driver for your graphics hardware. That could be all your system needs.

Some Aero features may be disabled in the Registry, though. For example, if Aero Peek (the ability to make open windows transparent to display your desktop underneath) doesn’t work for you, then launch REGEDIT, browse to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\DWM and make sure EnableAeroPeek is set to 1, rather than 0.

NO AERO: Windows 7’s troubleshooting wizards will fix many display problems while you watch

4. Aero Snap irritations

Windows 7’s new ability to move and resize windows, all in one movement, can be a genuine productivity boost. But if you find windows moving around when you don’t expect it then Aero Snap is more of an annoyance than anything else, though at least it’s one you can disable in just a few seconds.

Launch Control Panel, click Ease of Access, and select either “Change how your mouse works” or “Change how your keyboard works”. Then browse down to the “Make it easier to manage windows” section, check “Prevent windows from being automatically arranged when moved to the edge of the screen”, click OK, and program windows now won’t go anywhere unless you specifically command it.

5. iPhone won’t sync in Windows 7

Irritated iPhone users are beginning to report major difficulties in getting their iPhone to sync with Windows 7 systems. Particularly 64-bit Windows 7 systems, based around the P55 chipset. The iPhone is usually (though not always) recognised, but iTunes then complains that it can’t connect to the unit because of an “unknown error”, usually (though again, not always) 0xE8000065.

Disabling USB power management appears to be one solution. Click Start, type DEVMGMT.MSC and press [Enter] to launch Device Manager, then click View > Devices By Type. Expand the Universal Serial Bus controllers section of the tree, right-click each USB Root Hub entry in turn, select Properties > Power Management, and clear “Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power”.

Reboot your PC after this tweak and try again. This works for some, but if you’re out of luck then check the Apple Discussions thread for other ideas.

SYNCING FEELING: iTunes on Windows 7 won’t always see, or sync with, your iPod

6. Windows 7 themes change your custom icons

Windows 7 has some spectacular new themes – there’s a great selection at the Microsoft site – but installing them can have one annoying side-effect. If you’ve previously changed a system icon like Computer or the Recycle Bin then that could disappear, replaced by the equivalent icon from the theme pack.

To prevent this, right-click an empty part of the desktop, select Personalize > Change Desktop Icons, clear the “Allow themes to change desktop icons” box and click OK. Your icons will now be preserved, and the only way to change them will be manually, from the same Desktop Icons dialogue.

7. Taskbar problems

We like the new Windows 7 taskbar, but many people seem less than impressed with the new approach to taskbar buttons, finding it difficult to tell at a glance whether an icon is a running application or a pinned shortcut. If this sounds like you then there’s an easy way to restore more standard taskbar buttons, though – right-click the taskbar, select Properties, and set Taskbar Buttons to “Never combine” or “Combine when taskbar is full”.

You can even restore the old Quick Launch toolbar in just a few clicks. Simply right-click the taskbar, click Toolbars > New Toolbar, type %userprofile%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch in the folder box and click Select Folder. The Quick Launch toolbar should then reappear, and you can move and resize it to suit your needs.

STANDARD TASKBAR: Just a few seconds work and your taskbar has that retro look

8. Missing Explorer folders

Click Start > Computer in Windows 7 and you’ll find system folders like Control Panel and the Recycle Bin are no longer displayed in the left-hand Explore pane. This seems like a backward step to us, but there’s a quick solution. Click Tools > Folder Options, check “Show all folders”, click OK and all your top-level system folders will reappear.

9. Missing applets

Windows 7 installs quickly and takes up less hard drive space than you might expect, but in part that’s down to cheating – Mail, Movie Maker, Photo Gallery and other applets are no longer bundled with a standard Windows installation. Instead you must download the programs you need from the Windows Live Essentials site.

Installing Live Essentials will also get you potentially unnecessary extras, though, like an ActiveX control to help in uploading files to Windows Live SkyDrive. And the Windows Live Sign-In Assistant, which can be useful if you want to switch between multiple Windows Live accounts. If you have only one Windows Live account, and no plans to use Live SkyDrive, then these can safely be removed from the Control Panel Uninstall A Program applet.

TAKE YOUR PICK: You can install as many, or as few of the Live Essentials programs as you like

10. Too many minidumps

By default Windows 7 now keeps the last 50 minidump files (memory images saved when your PC crashes). If you’re keen on using dump files to troubleshoot crashes then this is good news, but if you’ve no interest in that kind of advanced debugging then minidumps are just a waste of your valuable hard drive space. In which case you should run REGEDIT, browse to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\CrashControl, and set MiniDumpsCount to 1. Windows will only now keep the last dump file and you’ll free up a little hard drive space.

11. HP Multifunction Printer problems

If you’ve an HP multifunction printer with its “Full Feature Software solution” or “Basic Driver solution” installed then, after upgrading to Windows 7, you may find the printer stops working. Press the buttons on the front of the printer and nothing will happen; launch the software manually and you’ll see reports that it can’t connect to your hardware.

The problem is that a few files and Registry entries have been lost in the migration to Windows Vista, and even reinstalling the original HP software won’t help. Fortunately there’s a new version of HP Solution Center that should get everything working again, though, and you can find out more about it at the HP support site.

12. Hidden extensions

And, of course, no list of Windows annoyances would be complete without a mention of Explorer’s default settings, which even in Windows 7 remain to hide file extensions, as well as system files and folders.

To fix this, launch Explorer and click Tools > Folder Options > View.

Clear the “Hide extensions for known file types” to show file extensions, reducing the likelihood that you’ll accidentally double-click on virus.txt.exe in future.

And as long as there are no novice users on your system who might go poking around in Explorer, we’d also choose to “Show hidden files and folders” as well as clear the “Hide protected operating system files” box. It’s often important to see these files when you’re troubleshooting, or following problem-solving instructions from someone else. (Source:

Five Soldiers Defect to Eritrea

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

Five Soldiers Defect to Eritrea and more news. Watch below:

Warlord Meles says Africa can give world clean energy

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

EDITOR’S NOTE: It seems the mental condition of Ethiopia’s khat addicted tyrant is deteriorating by the day. He doesn’t have food to feed 6 million people and yet he talks about giving the world clean energy.

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Ethiopia’s Prime Minister tribal warlord Meles Zenawi, who will represent Africa at next month’s Copenhagen climate change talks, said on Thursday it was unlikely the world was serious about tackling global warming.

[Meles Zenawi is too incompetent to feed his own province of Tigray, let alone contribute any thing on climate change. To invite him to Copenhagen must be a sick joke by European politicians.]

The United Nations summit in Denmark will try to agree on how to counter climate change and come up with a post-Kyoto treaty protocol to curb harmful emissions.

“It is highly improbable … the world is serious about climate change and (will decide) to take effective measures to tackle it,” Meles told an economic conference in Addis Ababa. “But no one can say such an outcome is completely impossible.”

Meles has become Africa’s most outspoken leader on climate change and has argued that European pollution may have caused his country’s ruinous 1984 famine.

Aid workers say a five-year drought, worsened by climate change, is afflicting some 23 million people in seven east African nations, with Ethiopia worst affected.

Meles has demanded the rich world compensate Africa for the impact of global warming, and says the funding would help develop the continent’s agro-industries.

“Such a revival of the bedrock of Africa’s economies would revitalise our strategy for managing chronic poverty in the short-term while laying the basis for overall economic transformation in the long-term,” the prime minister said.


Poor nations want rich countries to cut emissions by 40 percent from 1990 levels by 2020 to avert the worst effects of climate change. But many industrialised nations fear such cuts are out of reach, especially in an economic downturn.

Some climate experts have called for rich countries to pay up to $100 billion annually to counter the impact of global warming in Africa.

Meles, who also represented Africa at G8 and G20 summits of rich nations this year, said investment could help the continent provide clean energy to the world.

“If the decision to tackle climate change effectively were to be made, then Africa with its vast resources of renewable energy — solar, wind, hydropower, bio-energy — would have an important niche in the global market,” Meles said.

Power shortages are common in African countries, costing economies billions of dollars and hindering investment, even though natural resources are abundant.

Africa contributes little to the pollution blamed for warming, but is forecast to be hardest hit by its impact.

The Geneva-based Global Humanitarian Forum says poor nations bear more than nine-tenths of the human and economic burden of climate change.

The 50 poorest countries, however, contribute less than 1 percent of the carbon dioxide emissions that scientists say are threatening the planet, it says. (Editing by Daniel Wallis and Jon Hemming)

Liya Kebede on challenges facing mothers in Ethiopia

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

In Ethiopia, 94 percent of women deliver their babies at home, without the aid of a trained birth attendant.

Follow Liya Kebede, the World Health Organization’s Global Ambassador for Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health and a native of Ethiopia, as she learns firsthand the challenges facing mothers and newborns and how new U.S.-funded programs are helping to shift the odds in their favor. Watch the video below:

2 Ethiopian men charged with fraud in Atlanta

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

ATLANTA — Bartow County Sheriff’s Office Investigators have arrested two Atlanta men — who are natives of Ethiopia — in connection with more than $2,000 worth of fraudulent purchases.

According to Sheriff’s Office reports Asaye H. Tewolde, 33, of Atlanta and Henok Biede Weldemicael, 26, also of Atlanta each have been charged with 72 counts of financial transaction card fraud from purchases they made in Bartow County over the last several weeks.

The two are accused of using invalid gift cards to make purchases at a Mapco Express in Cartersville in October and November. According to investigators, the pair were interfering with the satellite transceiver that verifies the credit card purchases, enabling them to buy numerous items on the invalid cards.

The pair were arrested when they attempted to use the cards at the same store again and store employees contacted deputies.

Investigators have recovered more than 75 invalid gift cards that were allegedly being used by the pair to purchase cigarettes and other items. Tewolde and Weldemicael also are suspected of the same crime in other jurisdictions.

Both men are being held at the Bartow County Jail pending a bond hearing.

EPPF Fighters attack Woyanne in Wolkait area

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

EPPF Fighters attack Woyanne in Wolkait area and more News. Watch below:

Tecola Hagos on Hailu Shawel's betrayal

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

By Tecola W. Hagos

The events of the last two week in Ethiopia has been painful, but a great example of political betrayal and opportunism of the worst kind. I watched on video the depiction of an open platform of November 1, 2009 attended by Ministers, Dignitaries, Ambassadors from all over the World, and the throng of journalists, at a signing ceremony presided by Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, the public humiliation and the betrayal of the people of Ethiopia in the person of Hailu Shawel, Lidetu Ayalew, and Ayalew Chamiso, who claim to represent the opposition interest of the Ethiopian people. I ask myself what happened to common decency, sense of self-worth, and communal responsibility for those individuals in attendance of the staging of the signing of the Code of Conduct to stoop so low as complete pawns in the hands of a power-crazed puppet-master.

I cannot afford to lose all faith in my fellow Ethiopians, thus I conjectured the possibility of blackmail by the Government of Meles Zenawi of Hailu Shawel, and to a lesser extent Lidetu Ayalew and Ayalew Chamiso, with some hitherto unknown horrible corruption charges or some sordid video record in order to force them play their dubious role becoming gatekeepers to ward off other opposition parties and groups, such as the Medrek group. I tried also some other explanation to justify such action by the three gentlemen, namely the question of the national interest. But when I examined closely each of the above excuses I was willing to entertain on their behalf to avoid unfounded allegations, I realized that the record of those individuals, in the past several years, indicate deliberate opportunistic and predatory activities. The signing of the Code of Conduct is simply the fulfillment of long drawn processes of marriage with the EPRDF.

I recall Engineer Hailu Shawel coming to see me in 1992 at the new office complex built during the time of Mengistu’s administration at the Menilik’s Palace grounds. What he wanted was to inform me his desire to cooperate with EPRDF, and he gave me the impression that he was seeking some appointment. [In those days, I was perceived to be some kind of king-maker.] I tried to inform him that the time was not conducive for me to talk about such personal issues and I pointed to him the fact that I was moving to a new office. I talked with him in a temporary little office that I simply used for the moment in order to accommodate his insistence to see me. Trying to cooperate with ones government is not per se evil; however, it is the motive that indicates the character flaw or strength of an individual. My assessment of Hailu Shawel in that brief moment of encounter was that of a person of opportunistic character—I am vindicated and proven right several times over in the course of the last fifteen years.

During the same period in the 1990s, I watched the birth of the AAPO led by the highly principled Professor Asrat; I witnessed the establishment of the Human Rights Commission, and the infighting of the OLF for political parity with the EPRDF. I am contrasting those developments to point out the fact that Hailu Shawel’s interest right from the start was a highly personal one compared to the activities of the leaders of such different political and civic groups I had a chance to know about due to my proximity to the center of power and due to personal acquaintances with many of the players in those organizations. Hailu Shawel played a highly personal political game. He is the quintessential Mahel Sefari. He used the frustration and hatred a number of Addis Ababean feel for EPRDF to his personal advantage by projecting himself as a man-of-the-people to the leadership of EPRDF, and not to be trifled with. When he started his All Ethiopians Unity Party, Hailu Shawel was doing that with an approval wink from EPRDF leaders because Professor Asrat’s All Amhara organization was gaining tremendous support and was becoming a real threat to the very survival of EPRDF even when the Professor Asrat was in detention. The leaders of the EPRDF needed an organization that will divide and dilute such concentrated challenge to their power.

No matter how hard one may try to change an old donkey into a stallion, it is an impossible task to achieve such fete. Just like nature, society cannot be that easily fooled. Such silly effort to fool society was amply demonstrated to the entire world to see by the event of November 1, 2009 at the Sheraton Hotel. Almost six months ago, on June 4, 2009, I wrote predicting such situation.

As he has done countless times in the past, Meles Zenawi will try all kinds of trickery dividing the opposition and driving wedges in between opposition leaders. It is no secret that Meles and his group have effectively divided and weakened the opposition in the past; for example, AAPO, OLF, CUD et cetera were all victims of the divisive schemes of launching leaders against each other. Thus, it will not surprise me if Meles Zenawi would offer Hailu Shawel the Presidency of Ethiopia in exchange for Hailu’s docility and political betrayal of the opposition.

What is well camouflaged and effectively hidden from everyone else’s scrutiny is the ambition of Hailu Shawel to be Meles Zenawi’s Ye Elfign Askelkai—a power broker position that is most favored and desired by Mahel Sefaris. The political evolution of Kinijit and Hailu Shawel’s role in the final political skirmish after the aborted election of 2005 leading to the arrest and conviction of Kinijit leaders was a situation where activities went out of control and dragged many of the leaders including Hailu Shawel into such a situation. However, the moment the Leaders of Kinjit were released from prison the split started with Hailu Shawel disassociating himself and separating his own group from the rest of Kinjit Members.

In 1991 to 1993 when I was advising the Transitional Government of Ethiopia, Ledetu Ayalew was too junior a person for me to know at all, so was Ayalew Chamiso. In fact, I never met those two gentlemen, I only know of them from reports, newspaper articles, videos, and pictures since my second exile (after 1993 to date) in the United States. Based on such reports and documentation, I wrote in a couple of articles expressing my admiration for Lidetu Ayalew as an individual who came to prominence through his own native wits and smarts without the help of any ethnic based hegemonic structure or help from academia or anybody else for that matter. It is no little achievement in a society that is densely stratified in tight hierarchical structure based on ethnic exclusivity, family prominence, and wealth, for a simple born peasant man from Lasta to make such inroad into the power structure of Ethiopia, especially an Ethiopia being ruled by the most rigid and closed Government in the history of this ancient land.

I have pointed out above the diverse personalities and interests of the three leaders who signed the Code of Conduct. Often people have pointed out to me and others that one should not focus on individual personalities when dealing with the political life of a nation. I respectfully differ from such high standard, for Ethiopian politics is driven completely by focusing on the personality of the leaders of Ethiopian political parties. It would be unrealistic for anyone to try to do politics in Ethiopia without first focusing on Ethiopian political personalities.

The Game Plan

It is imperative to understand the mind of Meles Zenawi and his close associates in order to understand why the group decided to form close alliance with Hailu Shawel. It is no surprise to me that such scheme would come about at this point. Over ten years ago, in my book Demystifying Political Thought, Power, and Economic Development (1999), I predicted the breakup of AAPO, and that fractured group in time would join forces with the faction of the TPLF corrupt leadership and would continue the repressive Government of the EPRDF under the leadership of Meles Zenawi.

The Amharas will continue in their present status, disorganized and ineffective, incapable to counter or regain the political clout they presumably had lost if the present fracturing continuous… moreover recent development indicate that AAPO officials in Addis Ababa are working together with the EPRDF undermining the very Amhara movement they were elected to lead and promote. [Referring to Qegnazmatch Nekatibeb leading AAPO and the continued detention of Professor Asrat] It is only a matter of time before the national office of AAPO in Ethiopia fractures and joins the EPRDF corrupt structure. In keeping with such trend, a faction from the TPLF with a section from AAPO, and exofficials of Mengistu’s government and the camp started by One Ethiopia will metamorphosis into a support group for Meles. (84-5)

[Tecola W. Hagos, Demystifying Political Thought, Power, and Economic Development (1999), pages 84-5. (Emphasis added)]

Meles Zenawi has perfected the art of “divide and rule” and raised it to new heights. Recent books, articles, and book reviews by former members of the TPLF have given us a glimpse of the sordid and corrupt inner workings of the TPLF. We have now a clear picture of the organizations administration and finance, more importantly the names and roles played by the core leaders responsible for the day to day functioning of the TPLF. Meles Zenawi, Sebhat Nega, Seyoum Mesfine, Abay Tsehai, Abadi Zemu, Brehane Gebrekristos, Tewodros Hagos et cetera played major roles in all the corrupt schemes hoodwinking major international humanitarian organizations and their star fund raisers whereby millions of dollars was deposited in accounts established by such individuals allegedly for the starving people of Tigray and vicinity. There was neither public auditing nor proper accounting ever to this day of all the hundreds of millions of dollars donated and received through charitable fund raising from the West and others. The individuals who had intimate knowledge of the finance and administrative process at the time, such as Gebremedhin Araya, Aregawi Berhe et cetera, have exposed the diabolical secret of the TPLF leaders diversion of donated funds into private accounts that was never audited by the organization.

Those TPLF leaders distributed a minuscule amount to the starving Tigrayan refugees in the Sudan, and kept the rest for their own use in accounts controlled by them. Because of such meager assistance most Tigrayan refugees in the Sudan tried to return to their home base even though it was under the administration of the Military Regime. The attraction was that Regime was providing sustenance far in excess of what was provided by TPLF Leaders even though the donated fund the TPLF Leaders were in charge of was far in excess of the donations that the Ethiopian Government had acquired from international donors. Furthermore, Meles Zenawi as the leader of that pack outmaneuvered Western governmental security and spying agencies by portraying himself and his close supporters as democratic and honorable leaders. The fact is that by the time the EPRDF reached Addis Ababa overrunning the Military Regime, the leaders of the TPLF were already Millioners. They all have tasted the forbidden golden apple from the tree of wealth. By then they were infested like Gollum with obsessive and insatiable appetite for wealth.

The only agenda they had was how best they could use their guerrilla forces to establish and run a puppet government in order to control the resources of a defeated country, and how best to loot it blind. We all have been wrong to a great extent in believing that they were interested in the fracturing of Ethiopia because of their hatred of the very idea of an Ethiopia and the fact that they were against the military dictatorship then in power. Some of us also wrongly believed that they were partial in their love and commitment to see an independent Eritrea. They would not have cared an iota for Eritrea if it were not in their best interest to do so in order to exploit and loot Ethiopia by themselves. In that shameful criminal activity of looting and robbery, they found Al-Amoudi, an individual who taught them a thing or too how to move huge amount of money around the world. He also might have personally facilitated the international web of investment and banking of the hundreds of millions of dollars and other hard currency thus stolen effectively hiding such fabulous looted wealth from Ethiopia including gold mined in mines allegedly owned by Al-Amoudi. In short, we are dealing here with a different breed of men unseen in the history of Ethiopia or the World before who held a nation hostage for one purpose only—to loot its wealth.

The true nature of the activities of the Leaders of the TPLF has become far more clearer now than a decade ago, since former TPLF leaders such as Gebremedhin Araya (responsible for the finance of TPLF), Aregawi Berhe (former Leader and Commander of the TPLF guerilla forces) and others have finally started writing and publishing their memoire. It is absolutely clear from such accounts that the main goal of the TPLF Leadership had shifted since 1984 from fighting for the liberation of the people of Tigray/Ethiopia to the acquisition of wealth by using the guerrilla structure that was in place to control the state structure. Meles Zenawi and his select tiny support group having tested of the forbidden golden apple born out of the famine of 1984 and after were simply dedicated to make as much money as possible looting and confiscating the wealth of a nation. They were in fact a group of mercenaries similar in their operation like the Mafia.

They used as their foot soldiers naïve peasant boys and girls from Tigray and a few from adjoining Provinces, young men and women who believed in a nationalist cause, to fight the deadliest war against a brutal military regime for seventeen years. Setting aside those patriotic naïve fighters, the leaders of the TPLF were just common criminals then as they are now.

The bond that held tight Meles Zenawi and his group is not patriotism; it is not concern for the people of Tigray; it is not the desire to help Eritreans. The bond is made of gold chain called “Money.” The interest born of money and wealth creates the most enduring and highly exclusive bonding. That is literally what we see in the current leaders of the TPLF. Opposition supporters writing endlessly ascribing the current disastrous Ethiopian government administration to narrow ethnic interest are totally wrong. Any mention of “Woyane” as the target of dissent and derision is like barking up the wrong tree. The people of Tigray are primary victims of the TPLF even worse than the rest of Ethiopia. The affinity between Meles Zenawi and the Mahel Sefaris is obvious.

The losers in the current game of the signing of the Code of Conduct and realignment of the EPRDF with its newest Member Hailu Shawel (AEUP) are the people of Ethiopia, not Hailu Shawel and his Party, not Medrek or anybody else. Meles Zenawi has gained another day to prepare for far longer and devastating fight against all those who are concerned about the vital interest of Ethiopia, the Opposition et cetera. He has extended his life to do more damage to the state of Ethiopia entrenching his divisive Killel system, alienating Ethiopian territory, selling/leasing huge chunk of Ethiopian land to foreign investors and states while millions of Ethiopians starve to death. He will keep looting Ethiopia’s gold in collaboration with Al-Amoudi.

The incorporation of new Satellite organizations, such as AEUP replacing the old ones, such as ANDM, OPDO et cetera that have atrophied over the last ten years, due to serious marginalization of the leaders of such organizations by Meles Zenawi. Starting from the arrest and imprisonment of Tamrat Layne, all Satellite organizations of the EPRDF lost their political luster. In the guise of the signing of a Code of Conduct, which is a meaningless document in itself, Meles Zenawi is putting in place a blue print for his future. There is some other subterranean purpose in the game that was fully displayed for the World to see on November 1, 2009. The bottom-line is that Meles Zenawi is replacing his old cronies wholesale with the quintessential Mahel Sefaris, who had worked diligently as shadow advisors and yes men of incredibly loyalty to Meles Zenawi in the last eighteen years. The current political development of Meles Zenawi’s budding friendship with Hailu Shawel spells doom for the old comrades of Meles Zenawi, such as
Adissu Legesse, Teferra Walwa, Kassu Illala et cetera who will soon be retired and replaced by the technocrats that Hailu Shawel would organize after the election of 2010, such technocrats are salivating right now to join the new administration with “Emperor” Meles Zenawi on the Throne for the next twenty years. This is the likely and disgusting outcome of the game plan that could only be conjured up by a sick mind.

North Carolina man shot Ethiopian girlfriend

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

By Ely Portillo | Charlotte Observer

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA — A man accused of murdering his girlfriend Saturday turned himself in to authorities Monday night, according to Charlotte-Mecklenburg police.

Investigators say Davon Londell Thomas, 27, shot his girlfriend, 23-year-old Tigist Yemane, a native of Ethiopia, shortly before 5 AM Saturday morning at his parents’ home on Willowglen Trail near Reedy Creek Park.

They say he then fled into woods near the house.

A murder warrant was issued for his arrest, but on Saturday Thomas eluded search dogs, a helicopter and dozens of officers combing the surrounding area for him.

Police warned the public that he had military training from serving in the Army National Guard and should be considered armed and dangerous.

But on Monday he surrendered at CMPD headquarters uptown.

Court records show Thomas pleaded guilty in 2008 to assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill.

His sentence was suspended and he was given probation until 2011.

Last month, he pleaded guilty to resisting a public officer and was given probation and ordered to perform community service.

He was also forbidden to possess any firearms.

Ethiopia's delusional tyrant

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

By Isaac Ugbabe

Echoing the Ethiopian government’s recent call for food aid, British diplomat, Paddy Ashdown, has requested the international community’s urgent assistance in preventing a looming humanitarian crisis. Reuters reports that 160,000 tons of food are required if the devastating effects of poor rainfall are to be avoided. According to the Economist magazine, this year has seen the worst drought in East Africa since possibly 1991. Production of Kenya’s staple crop, maize, is expected to fall by a third, with subsistence farmers suffering the most. In several parts of the country, villagers are already dependent on monthly government rations of maize-meal and cooking oil. Somalia, faced with attrition from an escalating civil war, is now also considering the daunting prospect of supplying emergency food supplies to about 3.6 million hungry people. Yet, it is Ethiopia, Africa’s second most populous nation, that is most susceptible to climate change, and, confronting the specter of famine, will have to ask itself why it is once again in this perilous situation. Paddy Ashdown, speaking to Reuters about the possibility of 6.2 million Ethiopians starving to death, said, “We can prevent this situation getting to much worse proportions.”

Although the government’s appeal for aid coincides with the 25th anniversary of the 1984 famine, a tragedy that resulted in the deaths of over 1million Ethiopians, Ashdown claims such a doomsday scenario is less likely in the twenty-first century. “A number of factors are not in place that were in place then. There was a civil war, we didn’t have the institutions we have now to deal with problems, and we reacted late.” Although agriculture remains the mainstay of Ethiopia’s economy, and most farmers continue to employ outmoded practices, the country is better prepared to avert famine than it was 25 years ago. And, thanks to the well-publicized Band Aid and USA for Africa campaigns in the 1980s, the world is much more aware. According to the U.S. State Department, agriculture is responsible for more than 80 percent of Ethiopia’s exports and provides jobs for 85 percent of its population. Coffee production is the country’s largest source of foreign reserves, and, unsurprisingly, is closely monitored by the government. Other important agricultural exports include animal skins, pulses, and “khat”, a 6-12 foot flowering shrub whose leaves are chewed for their mind-altering effects. Ethiopian farmers who survived the last famine are wary of losing their livelihoods, and indeed their lives, to the vagaries of climate change. You might even say they are paranoid. “We did not work night and day before…but we do now,” said Mesele Adhena, a farmer supporting six children, in an interview with the BBC. The government, for its part, is stockpiling grain, though it’s been reported these emergency rations will run out before the rural poor are given their share. There is also a food-for-work program that, if properly implemented, will keep famine from rearing its ugly head.

Things that obviously have not changed since 1984 include Africa’s misplaced priorities and its predilection for strongmen. The 18-year tenure of Ethiopia’s khat addicted Prime Minister dictator Meles Zenawi is proof of this. Zenawi, who came to power in 1991, the year of the last major East African drought, has, through rain or shine, managed to keep a firm grip on power. And even though it’s been suggested that he’ll step down after next year’s elections, it is widely believed that, even if he does, he’ll stay on as chairman of the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). According to the Economist, Zenawi isn’t concerned with such speculation, dismissing it as “boring.” However, a separate report by the Economist on the recent release from prison of popular reggae artist, Teddy Afro, shows the government is desperate to improve its image ahead of elections. Mr. Afro had been jailed on trumped-up charges, not, as might be expected, for possession of marijuana, but for a hit-and-run accident involving a homeless man in the capital, Addis Ababa. His fans believe he was locked away, like numerous other dissidents, including the young judge and opposition leader, Birtukan Mideksa, because he “compared Mr. Meles’s lot to a brutal junta.” Yet, securing Zenawi’s position as de facto emperor has called for more than a domestic clampdown; international concerns pose an equally destabilizing threat. Backed by the United States, with its anti al-Qaeda agenda, Ethiopia has, thus far, managed to keep intractable Eritrea and lawless Somalia at bay.

And still, food insecurity, like Zenawi’s reign, extends unchecked. It was the great famine of 1972, in fact, that led to Emperor Haile Selassie’s downfall. Selassie, a direct descendant of King Solomon of Israel, was as much renowned for fending off European occupation of Ethiopia as for his deification by Jamaican Rastafarians. He succumbed, some would say, to “the will of god” when, after 44 years in power, a global oil crisis coincided with climate change to turn his people against him.

Zenawi’s reign began with drought, and nearly two decades later, this same scourge dictates his country’s economic policy. The U.S. State Department believes Ethiopia has the potential to be both self-sufficient in grains and an exporter of numerous agricultural products, but “undeveloped water resources, and poor transport infrastructure”, among other things, have made it reliant on food aid. Far from restricted to withering crops, the current drought has caused whole herds of cattle and sheep, those “chewers of the cud” who’ve grazed East African plains for millennia, to drop dead. This, reports the Economist, will only increase tensions among feuding tribes in southern Ethiopia, while, in the east, secessionists of Somali ancestry are also expected to intensify their struggle. Within Somalia, where food aid is often used “to control the people”, Islamist militants will win even more recruits.

According to Oxfam, the international relief agency, drought doesn’t have to lead to famine. If a government invests in irrigation, grain warehouses, and wells, people will survive no matter how long the clouds withhold their precious supply of rain. But Ethiopia will not put to rest the threat of famine till it addresses its underlying causes. A report by Action Aid, entitled Who’s really fighting hunger?, states 1 billion people are unjustifiably going hungry in the world today. The report goes on to explain that hunger is a choice people make, and “not a force of nature.” Although hunger has its roots in inequalities between rich and poor, says the aid agency, it is exacerbated by policies that commoditize food instead of treating it as a right. “It is because of these policies that most developing countries no longer grow enough to feed themselves, and that their farmers are among the hungriest and poorest people in the world. Meanwhile, the rich world battles growing obesity.”

Meles Zenawi’s solution is to ask for more food aid, which, incidentally, is an industry in itself, one monopolized by Western companies. He also expects $40 billion a year in compensation to Africa for foreign-induced climate change, reports the Economist, and has openly blamed Europe for making the 1984 famine worse than it had to be. Zenawi will be representing Africa at the much-anticipated climate change conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, this December, and one can only expect him to negotiate further concessions. His decision to appeal for aid on the 25th anniversary of the 1984 famine proves that he’s either a shameless opportunist, or that, after years of helping himself to the country’s dwindling supply of khat, is delusional enough to think the brokering of such deals with the West, without the consent of his people, can continue indefinitely. It will take more khat than he can chew to ever make that dream a reality, and more coffee than he can consume to keep him awake that long.

Ethiopians in the Diaspora overestimate U.S. leverage in Ethiopia

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

By David H. Shinn

As a reader during the past 25 years of political commentary by the Ethiopian diaspora and based on my own contacts with that community, I am struck by the prevailing belief that the U.S. government has the ability to change Ethiopian polices and alter the fundamental direction of events in Ethiopia. This view is misguided.

The policy conundrum came to my attention again recently as I read an opinion piece in The Hill by Mesfin Mekonnen.

Ato Mesfin begins by urging a hastened review of U.S. policy towards Ethiopia. This is a reasonable request. Every new American administration should review its policy with counties that are as important as Ethiopia and where there is controversy about the nature of the bilateral relationship. The opinion piece goes on to state that “Congress should hold hearings and enact legislation to help Ethiopians create the conditions that are necessary to ensure that food aid is never needed again.” The implication is that the U.S. government can resolve Ethiopia’s governmental, demographic, political and social issues.

I beg to differ.

The United States can impact the situation on the margins, but it does not have the power to force fundamental change even if there was agreement on what that change should be.

While the United States does have influence in Ethiopia, in fact, more than most countries, there are distinct limits to that influence. Not only is Ethiopia a sovereign state but it interacts with dozens of other important countries and organizations.

Those in the Ethiopian diaspora who oppose the Ethiopian government usually suggest that American assistance to Ethiopia can and should serve as the leverage for forcing change in the country. The level of U.S. assistance in recent years has been impressive. In fiscal year 2007, it was about $474 million and in fiscal year 2008 about $456 million. It is important, however, to look more closely at this assistance.

In an essay in the November/December 2008 issue of Foreign Affairs, three former administrators of USAID — J. Brian Atwood, Peter M. McPherson and Andrew Natsios — wrote that in fiscal year 2007 about 50 percent of U.S. assistance to Ethiopia went to HIV/AIDS prevention, 38 percent to emergency food relief and 7 percent to child survival, family planning and malaria prevention and treatment. Only 1.5 percent went to agriculture, 1.5 percent to economic growth, 1.5 percent to education and 1 percent for improving governance.

In fiscal year 2008, by my calculations, 73 percent of USAID’s budget for Ethiopia went to HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention, 12 percent to child survival and health, 9 percent to development assistance, 5 percent for food aid and less than 1 percent for a combination of foreign military financing (FMF) and international military education and training (IMET). The amount for FMF was $843,000 and for IMET $620,000.

This is not an assistance program that has significant political leverage. In 2007, almost 95 percent of the assistance program went to HIV/AIDS, emergency food aid and child survival. In 2008, the figure was about 90 percent for these programs.

There are very few members of Congress and even fewer in the Executive Branch who are interested in cutting funding for HIV/AIDS, child survival and emergency food aid in an effort to change governmental policies in Ethiopia.

While Ethiopian officials also listen to the United States for reasons unrelated to foreign aid, the fact is that U.S. leverage is much more limited than most in the Ethiopian diaspora believe.

(Amb. David H. Shinn is an adjunct professor of international affairs at The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs. Amb. Shinn, who received his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. from GW, is a former U.S. ambassador to Ethiopia (1996-99) and to Burkina Faso (1987-90).)

4 Ethiopian women killed themselves in Lebanon

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

By Hayeon Lee |NowLebanon

Over the last two weeks, four Ethiopian women in Lebanon were found dead, probably from suicide.

From the moment she arrived in Lebanon, Martha (not her real name), an Ethiopian woman in her twenties, was subjected to abuse by her employer and her three children – a 9-year-old and two teenagers. They beat her ceaselessly, verbally abused her, locked her in the house, and bolted the fridge door. “Imagine a 9-year-old child beating you. I cried,” said Martha. Two months into her ‘contract’, she escaped to the Ethiopian consulate where she was followed by her employer, with children in tow, who tried to publically beat her. The consulate protected her and let her leave with an apparently apologetic member of the employment agency that had brought Martha to Lebanon.

Surprisingly, Martha was sent back to the same family and the brutal regime from which she had fled. “I tried to kill myself by drinking some cleaning liquid, but only my mouth burned. I did not try again,” Martha smiled sadly. In fact, Martha lasted a year and escaped when her employer asked her to go out and buy a broom. “As soon as I was outside, I started to run.”

Martha survived, but many other women who come to this country as maids, only find themselves hostages to brutality that ends up taking their lives. In the past two weeks, four Ethiopian women have died in Lebanon as a result of either suspected or confirmed suicide. Three – Matente Kebede Zeditu (26), Saneet Mariam (30), and Tezeta Yalmiya (26) – were reported in the media. Although Human Rights Watch’s (HRW) figure of more than one death out of around 200,000 domestic workers per week created waves when it was released in August 2008, the Lebanese government has taken no substantial action, and maids keep dying needlessly.

“These deaths are the tip of the iceberg,” says Nadim Houry, senior researcher at HRW. “It is only the most dramatic manifestation of a number of violations [of basic human rights] such as ill-treatment, and isolation of these workers.”

For example, it is standard practice for Lebanese employers to ‘retain’ the domestic worker’s passport, while many do not let them go out for years at a time. Verbal abuse is common as is the withholding of salaries.

Although most of these “standard practices” are illegal under the Lebanese constitution and the overwhelming majority of Lebanese, who employ domestic staff treat them fairly, the problem is that there is no law enforcement body to protect the most basic human rights of foreign maids and prosecute abusive employers.

As a result, many choose to end their lives. But even then, the suffering continues with the repatriation of the body. A Nepali woman who died at the end of August is still in the morgue.  “There are some cases where a body is left in the fridge for a long time, and neither the insurance nor the employer wants to pay for the trip home,” says Houry. The best way to stop these deaths, he says, is to hold the Lebanese government accountable. “What would be required are concrete measures by the government that would reduce the isolation that these workers feel.”

Official police sources said that the Ethiopian woman who committed suicide by jumping from the seventh floor in Gemmayze, did so because of a soured relationship with her sister. Nevertheless, Broukti*, an Ethiopian domestic worker, who has worked for more than a decade in Lebanon and is also a local community organizer, is skeptical. “I don’t believe it. If it was in Ethiopia, nobody would kill herself because she fought with her sister.”

In fact, according to the deaths recorded by HRW, much more than half of all deaths are those of Ethiopian women who make up less than a quarter of the workforce. Broukti has two explanations. Firstly, the problem is that many of the women from her country come from rural areas and pay hundreds of dollars to smugglers believing they will work in white-collar jobs abroad. When they arrive in Lebanon, they find their situation unbearable. The Ethiopian government’s ban on Ethiopians coming to Lebanon since last year has only exacerbated the problem.

Furthermore, for many of these women, the treatment as second-class human beings without family, friends, culture and humanity is insufferable.  “We are Ethiopians with a history. We have never been colonized. We colonized until the border of Saudi Arabia. We’re a very proud nation,” Broukti says.

Women worked to death in Lebanon

By Dalila Mahdawi | Guardian

They mop floors, take out the rubbish, walk the dog, buy groceries and care for the children, the elderly or disabled. Many a well-to-do and lower middle class Lebanese family relies on migrant domestic workers to take care of their household, but when it comes to providing for these women, not all return the favour.

Migrant domestic workers – women who work as live-in or freelance housekeepers, cooks, and nannies – form a vital presence in Lebanon and elsewhere in the Middle East, where women’s increased participation in the workforce has not been accompanied by state-backed social or childcare services.

There are thought to be about 200,000 women, mostly from the Philippines, Ethiopia and Sri Lanka, in Lebanon alone. But although they are becoming an intrinsic part of the country’s social fabric, their contribution is often overlooked. While many Lebanese people are careful to ensure their housekeepers are well treated, a significant number abuse them. In extreme cases, migrant domestic workers are killed or kill themselves.

The spate of suicides has become so bad in recent weeks it prompted Lebanese blogger Wissam to launch the grimly named Ethiopian Suicides blog. The website is dedicated to monitoring media reports on the deaths of foreign migrant domestic workers in Lebanon. “I have a dream,” Wissam says. “That migrant domestic workers will be treated humanely in Lebanon and will stop trying to commit or commit[ting] suicide.”

In the last three weeks alone, Wissam notes, four Ethiopian women have died. Lebanese police say the deaths of Kassaye Atsegenet, 24, Saneet Mariam, 30, Matente Kebede Zeditu, 26, Tezeta Yalmiya, 26 were probably suicides. But as human rights activists here will testify, the truth about what happened to them may never be known because police usually only take into account the employer’s testimony. Migrants who survive abuse or suicide attempts are not usually provided with a translator, meaning their version of events often does not get registered with officials.

Sadly, violations against such workers occur throughout the region and in some cases the women end up in slave-like conditions.

Reflecting the concern of sender countries for the wellbeing of their citizens, Ethiopia and the Philippines have placed bans on working in Lebanon and Jordan, but this has not stemmed the flow of illegal migrants smuggled in through third countries. Without the necessary work papers and embassy support, migrant women become even more vulnerable to human rights abuses.

One reason the women are driven to the edge is that, in Lebanon at least, they are not given protection under the country’s labour law. Such exclusion means that those who withhold salaries, confiscate passports, confine their employees to the house or otherwise abuse them, can literally get away with murder. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that five months after parliamentary elections, a Lebanese government is only now being formed.

The campaign to grant migrant domestic workers greater rights in the region has been led by Human Rights Watch. This summer, it contacted Lebanese beach resorts and found that 17 out of 27 private facilities practised some form of discrimination against such women by prohibiting them from swimming in the pool or even the Mediterranean sea.

A study conducted by the organisation last year found that more than one migrant domestic worker was dying in Lebanon each week – mostly from suspected suicide or by falling off a balcony while trying to escape abusive employers. The numbers sent ripples throughout the rights community and resulted in far more sustained local media coverage on the issue of domestic migrant workers. Judging by Wissam’s recent statistics, however, this does not appear to have persuaded the authorities to take sufficient measures to protect their rights.

The embassies of countries that supply migrant workers have a duty to protect their citizens. They could start by offering amnesty and assistance to all illegal workers, increasing their legal protection capabilities and properly informing women at home of their rights and responsibilities while working abroad. Many countries, such as Nepal or Madagascar, which are sending women to the Middle East in increasing numbers, would do well to increase their diplomatic representation from consular level to embassies.

Many migrant workers come to the Middle East seeking a better life for the families they left behind. The Lebanese themselves have a long history of migration and hardship, and should know first-hand the difficulties of living and working in a foreign country. Just as many Lebanese abroad work hard with the hopes of eventually returning home, the Lebanese should ensure that these women get to go back to their countries – alive and well, not in body bags.

American man suing FBI over wrongful detention in Ethiopia

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

NEW JERSEY (BBC) — An American man residing in New Jersey is suing the FBI for mistreatment while he was held in jail in Kenya and Ethiopia in 2007.

Amir Meshal was arrested on the Kenyan border as he fled Somalia after the ousting of the Islamist administration.

According to the lawsuit, FBI agents interrogated him there, saying he had received al-Qaeda training in Somalia.

Mr Meshal says he was then returned to Somalia and sent on to Ethiopia for three months where US agents threatened him with torture and death.

He repeatedly denied the allegations and was released in May 2007 and returned to the United States after media inquiries and protests from human rights groups.

The US State Department said it formally protested at the time about Mr Meshal’s removal from Kenya to Ethiopia, the Associated Press news agency reports.

In April 2007, the Ethiopia government admitted that it had detained 41 “terror suspects” captured in neighbouring Somalia.

It defended the action as part of the “global war on terror”, but denied the detainees had been held incommunicado or were mistreated.

An FBI spokesman has said officials will not comment on the case.

In September, an Egyptian man received a $250,000 payout from the FBI because of the way he was treated following the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks.

Mr Meshal’s lawsuit has been filed on his behalf by the American Civil Liberties Union.

“American citizens abroad who seek refuge from hostilities deserve the assistance of their government in getting home safely,” AP quotes ACLU lawyer Nusrat Choudhury as saying.

Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele nominated for IAAF Athlete of the Year

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

The International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) announced the nominations for the 2009 Athlete of the Year awards. The finalists were selected using a poll of IAAF members.

For the men, the finalists for the Athlete of the Year include Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia, Usain Bolt of Jamaica, Tyson Gay of the United States, Steven Hooker of Australia and Andreas Thorkildsen of Norway. Bolt and Gay are both short-distance runners who specialize in the 100 and 200 meters, while Kenensia Bekele focuses on long-distance races like the 10,000 meters.

Based on their results and popularity in 2009, it would seem that Bolt and Bekele are the frontrunners for this award. Usain Bolt set several world records in both the 100 and 200 meters this year, while Bekele thrilled the running world with his unbeatable performances at the IAAF World Championships in Berlin.

The finalists for the women’s award include Yelena Isinbayeva of Russia, Sanya Richards of the United States, Valerie Vili of New Zealand, Blanka Vlasic of Croatia and Anita Wlodarczyk of Poland. Isinbayeva competes in the pole vault and Vili represents New Zealand in the shot put. Sanya Richards is a 400-meter runner. Vlasic competes in the high jump, and Wlordarczyk is a hammer thrower.

The winners of the Athlete of the Year awards will be announced on November 22, 2009 at the World Athletics Gala in Monaco.

40 tonnes of gold discovered in Ethiopia

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

ADDIS ABABA — Ethiopia’s Ministry of Mines on Tuesday announced the discovery of a mine containing more than 40 tonnes of gold deposit worth 1.7 billion dollars (1.1 billion euros).

The state-run Ethiopian News Agency reported that the new find, announced by the ministry of mines and energy, will require some 200 million dollars to extract and process.

“Geological survey indicates that… an estimated 500 tonnes of gold deposit is found in the country,” the agency said, providing a figure for the whole of Ethiopia.

Some 44 companies are engaged in gold exploration, earning Ethiopia about 105 million dollars in export every year.

Yemen police arrested 72 Ethiopians

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

SANA’A, YEMEN (Saba) — Yemen police detained 72 Ethiopians, including 15 women, who have entered the country illegally by boat, Interior Ministry has reported.

Security authorities have said that the migrants who landed off Ahwar Coast in Abyan Governorate tried to reach Aden city but they were stopped by the security forces and sent to a refugee camp in coordination with the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Two weeks ago, security forces arrested 101 Ethiopians who entered Yemeni territories illegally.

Taiz Governorate authorities said that 800 Ethiopians, many of whom women and children, entered Yemen illegally in October.

Hailu Shawl comes full circle

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

By Alem Mamo

“He who has lost honor can lose nothing more.” – Publilius Syrus

The term ‘honor’ comes from the Latin honos in which a person is assessed based on the individual’s actions, mainly his or her honesty, dignity and integrity. The recent political theater performed by four honourless characters (Hailu Shawel, Ayele Chamiso, Lidetu Ayalew, and Meles Zenawi) is an atrocious act of deceit, lies and dishonesty that has appalled all of those who long for democracy, freedom, justice and human rights in Ethiopia.

It is not far fetched to say that politics is perhaps the lone profession in which some dishonorable individuals are granted the title of ‘honorable.’ What a pity. Dishonesty and deceptions are honored and dignified. How long should the people of this magnificent land be subjected to such cheap gamesmanship. It is this very fact of political opportunism that considerably delayed the process of democratization in Ethiopia.

We all know too well that if it wasn’t for the support provided to the military junta by some opportunistic intellectuals, the duration of the regime’s power may have been shorter and the suffering of the Ethiopian people could have been less traumatic and extensive. Those who betrayed the Ethiopian people at the time did it for nothing more than a few crumbs thrown at them from the military regime.

The recent choreographed publicity stunt, primarily prepared for the consumption of donor countries, is so juvenile in nature that we would hope it could impress neither donor countries nor the people of Ethiopia. No self-respecting soul with minimum integrity should buy into this vicious assault on the hopes and aspirations of the Ethiopian people for a true democracy.

It is an open secret that the history of TPLF shows its unmatched record of manufacturing surrogate political organizations deliberately created to advance its goals and objectives at the expense of the Ethiopian people. Before, coming to power TPLF used captured soldiers of the military regime to invent ethnic-based political parties, which currently form the so-called EPRDF. No one, particularly the Ethiopian people, believes for a fraction of a second that a TPLF-led regime has truthfulness or an inch of integrity.

I remember what one of my good friends from Ethiopia told me during a telephone conversation. “The only reliable information we get from the TPLF run TV, radio and print media is the date. The rest is pure lie and deception.” Well, ironically, the same was said about the military regime. The publicity stunt shown on the state-run TV and posted on the pro-TPLF website is awash with the declaration that Ethiopia has made a great advance toward democracy. Sadly, as long as TPLF is in power there will never be democracy.

As I said above, no one expects truthfulness or a hint of integrity from the TPLF regime. Some, however, would be surprised by Hailu Shawl’s political acrobatics and the bow of loyalty that he delivered to Meles Zenawi. The question one needs to ask is this: Did Hailu Shawel betray the cause of true democracy, justice, human rights and freedom in Ethiopia or did he come full circle in returning to where he began his political life?

We all know that Hailu Shawel was a Minister of Agriculture under Mengistu Hailemariam’s military regime. Although he claims that he resigned or left his post because of his profound difference with the regime’s policy, one could ask a question about his rise to a cabinet position under a regime that terrorized its citizens for 18 years. Even lower level bureaucratic positions are rewarded to those who showed unwavering support to the regime and participated in the atrocities committed against the people of Ethiopia. Therefore, the question is what don’t we know about Hailu Shawel? Is he a born opportunist who will say anything and do anything to have that “honorable” title and the power that comes along with it?

Political compromise and concessions are part of a political discourse. However, such deals are often made under one condition and that is the advancement of the greater good. In the case of the recent so-called ‘electoral code of conduct’ deal, the only thing being advanced is the strangle hold of power by the TPLF. The reality is that the TPLF and the common good are irreconcilable. The political principle of TPLF is deliberate polarization, oppression and the infliction of maximum suffering and trauma on the people of Ethiopia.

(The author could be reached at

Straightening out coffee facts in Ethiopia

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

By Wondwossen Mezlekia

The recent article by Dr. Eleni Gabre-Madhin, founder and CEO of the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange (ECX), titled “Will The Real Poor Farmer Rise” is a praiseworthy contribution to a serious public dialogue on matters of national interest. It is also courageous for a prominent figure who supports the government of Ethiopia to opt to engage in civil dialogue about complex issues in the public domain. This being a new phenomenon in Ethiopia, inability to draw a line between a personal capacity and an official capacity is totally understandable; although, the bar might be higher for individuals who grew up in a society where public dialogues and opinions are at the central core of democracy and who are rather expected to be models of democratic and civil communication, the lack of which has left the whole Africa incapacitated. It is crucial for all of us to learn to involve in intellectual discussions setting aside personal feelings and egos and rather focusing on the substantive issues at stake, in this case the problems brewing in Ethiopia’s coffee sector.

The conversation about ECX and the problems in Ethiopia’s coffee sector – a topic that provoked Dr. Eleni to weigh in — has been running for weeks now, the recent development being the secretly planned event that was held in Addis Ababa, October 21 – 24, 2009, between ECX, the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA), and others. Throughout, many questions have been raised, including the government’s use of ECX to secure its interests, the merits of the country’s property right laws, the government’s responsibilities in protecting farmers from exploitation, the risks of commoditizing the country’s finest coffee brands, ECX’s distraction from its initial noble mission, which is to help eliminate famine by creating an efficient domestic agricultural commodity market, and more. The reason why ECX is particularly scrutinized in relation to its coffee trade is because the stakes in that crop are high, too high to be left for a trial and error. Well informed industry observers warn that the government’s handling of the coffee sector could be destructive to the development of domestic private sector in general and the untapped coffee resources in particular. But, ECX seems to be maintaining its positions that all is well, as if nothing had happened. At best, the take away from reading the above article is that the problems at hand need to be spelled out in a clear and undistorted manner so that everyone who claims to have a stake in Ethiopia can have the same understanding and view from anywhere in the globe. Therefore, it will be necessary to pause the discussion about the gravity of the impending consequences of the sticky situation that ECX and the coffee sector found themselves in and first set the records straight. To that effect, the following paragraphs trail on Dr. Eleni’s main points cited in the above article for the sake of clarity and to fill the gap in ECX’s understanding of what had just happened in Ethiopia.

“Coffee trading in ECX was a hastily conceived, ill-prepared affair by people who knew nothing about the complexity of the coffee market”

The credentials of ECX’s officers has never been a point of contention throughout the discussions as there is no reason to believe that Ethiopia is short of able experts in the coffee sector. Doing so would amount to disrespecting the people who preserved the sector through three consecutive regimes. This, however, does not exempt the poor handling of the media frenzy that followed the interruption of the Specialty coffee trade because neither the government nor ECX displayed wisdom or competence in dealing with the situation. That being said, there are ample evidences to show that ECX was not prepared to trade coffee and that the project plans that led up to the realization of ECX anticipated a coffee exchange at this early stage. ECX was established as a domestic exchange for grain, not for coffee trade. The first evidence for this is found nowhere but in the Policy Working Paper prepared by Eleni Z. Gabre-Madhin and Ian Goggin, Chief Executive, Africa Commodity Exchange (Malawi) and former President, Zimbabwe Agricultural Commodity Exchange. The document dated November 2005 and titled “Does Ethiopia Need a Commodity Exchange?: An Integrated Approach to Market Development” does not mention the coffee crop anywhere in the 24 pages – not even once.

Also, ECX’s lack of experience and resources were central factors that have contributed to the coffee trade problem. The then eight-month old ECX had hardly established its own institutional capabilities, much less gaining the experience in trading agricultural commodities, when it was surprised by the government with the unexpected task of trading the global crop. Although Dr. Eleni now denies it, ECX’s understandable frustrations are documented in the PBS/Market Maker film that featured Dr. Eleni. Here is a portion of the transcript taken from pertinent segments of the film:

Narrator (Aeron Brown): “Eleni’s strategy for building the ECX is so to start to walk before you run; start with a few commodities, work out the kinks, take on more, slowly when you know the system works. … Coffee is to Ethiopia what oil is to Saudi Arabia. The coffee crash [summer of 2008] threatened the entire economy. At the highest levels of government, the question was raised: what if the ECX with its open market, efficient pricing, took up coffee now? Not years from now, but right now? Could the downturn be avoided? For Eleni, for her team, for the ECX, this is both an extraordinary opportunity and an extraordinary risk.”

Dr. Eleni: “We had a nine-hour meeting over two days with very senior people in the government, very intense, and finally the Deputy Prime Minister looked at me and said: if we said, let’s have all that come, [sic] can you handle it? And, I looked at him and said “yes.” … I was very scared. It was a very, very funny moment. I came out of that meeting and called my management team and said, ‘we are going to be trading all of Ethiopia’s coffee. This will change everything.’ ..Much better for us in the longer term but ‘can we do it?’ is what I don’t know. … Coffee is just an overwhelming situation; doing too much with too little staff, too little equipment, too little time.”

That’s it. That is what it took for the government to decide to route the coffee trading to the commodity exchange platform. The point is, the decision to trade coffee on ECX is completely a political decision driven by the government’s needs to control and enhance the flow of coffee exports.

“The inclusion of coffee in ECX was for the purpose of government control and to monopolize the coffee market”

The law that established ECX clearly states that ECX’s Board of Directors should be composed of six government and five privately appointed directors. Despite, the current Board is dominated by directors with vested interests in promoting the government’s business. Of the eleven directors, only three sits (27%) are occupied by the private sector. To argue that somehow Ethiopian Grain Trade Enterprise (EGTE) and Kality Food factory (whose managers are incumbent directors) are privately appointed is deceiving. Plain and simple. These enterprises are owned by the government and report to – through their respective Board of Directors – to the Privatization and Public Enterprises Supervisory Agency, a government body also with a sit on the ECX Board.

EGTE is now, for the first time in its history, the major player in the coffee trade as is GUNA Trading House PLC, an endowment which, according to Bloomberg, is owned by the ruling political party. GUNA has publicly announced its plans to tap into the coffee trade after five years of abandoning the sector. Independent institutions, such as the World Bank have voiced public concerns that these enterprises benefit from privileged access to policymakers and resources which gives them unfair leverage in the marketplace. If this is not a sign to monopolize the market, what is?

“ECX was an instrument to take action against private exporters”

This dimension of the problem is exhaustively discussed by many writers within the context of the country’s legal and political situation.

“The Exchange had simply not thought about specialty coffee trading until forced to by international coffee buyers in 2009″

Regardless of what ECX might have had privately thought about Specialty coffee trading, what is known for sure is that ECX’s system has effectively disrupted the export of Specialty coffee trade and all coffees are sold at commodity prices and market to this day, with the exception of some stocks sold by cooperatives and commercial farms. There is no “single origin” Specialty coffee leaving the country until ECX finds a solution because the system eliminates “traceability”. Two questions arise here: 1) If the legislation that was passed in November 2008 provided ECX the mandate to separately or concurrently handle Specialty coffee as it deemed necessary and ECX decided to trade the Specialty coffees as commodities until it finds a solution, doesn’t it also mean that ECX is solely responsible for the disruption of the trade? 2) Why didn’t ECX allow the Specialty coffee transactions to continue as is until a new system is put in place?

The bigger problem is that because ECX was of the notion that only about 3.7% of the country’s coffee production qualifies to be branded as a Specialty coffee, its focus has been on the bulk coffee trading. [3] It was only after the 2009 SCAA event in Atlanta that SCAA and ECX formed a joint working group to find a solution for the problems. The working group reported its proposal to SCAA at the ECX Specialty coffee event held late October in Ethiopia. Here is where we are now.

What’s next?

The coffee exchange strategy should look beyond the commodity market. The global coffee trade is controlled by a hand-full of multi-national corporations and international prices for commodity coffee are mostly determined by these multinationals. The daily fluctuations in price are mainly driven by the buyers’ bargaining power and speculations about coffee supply, which in turn is dependent on factors affecting coffee growing regions in the world. The competition between the biggest coffee producers, including Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Mexico, often helps multinationals as increases in supply result in a decline in prices. The compound effect on coffee dependent economies, such as Ethiopia, is that they have no say whatsoever in influencing commodity coffee export prices. Therefore, it is incumbent upon ECX to adopt cutting-edge marketing strategies that will enable Ethiopia beat the competition by making the best use of the wealth of coffee resources. The unique attributes of Ethiopia’s coffee are the strengths that the country can exploit as leverage in the fast growing Specialty coffee niche market. At this juncture, and in the short term, the best that ECX can do to help the country is to devise a system that will be conducive to the Specialty coffee trade and provide incentives to the farmers. To that end, there are impending issues and outstanding questions that need the immediate attention of the government and ECX. Hopefully, ECX will continue to lead a forward-looking dialogue by sharing the outcome(s) of the recent meetings with SCAA and the agreement the parties have reached.

(The writer, Wondwossen Mezlekia, can be reached at

Keep your eyes on the prize

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

Keep your eyes on the prize By yilma bekele
Psychologist Ellen McGrath calls it ‘the rumination rut’…. a style of thinking in which, like a hamster in a cage, you run in tight circles on a treadmill in your brain. It means obsessing about a problem, about a loss, about any kind of setback or ambiguity without moving past thought into the realm of action.’ This in turn makes us loose our focus. While our problem stays constant our focus wonders aimlessly. It is like trying to hit a moving target.
‘Land to the tiller’ was a cry in 1968. ‘Land to the tiller’ is still the cry of the vast majority of our people today. ‘Democracy, the Rule of Law and respect for basic Human Rights’ was the issue raised by Kinijit and other opposition parties during the May 2005 general election. ‘Democracy, Rule of Law and respect for Human Right’ are still the main demands today.
The last few years have shown the ‘Diaspora’ to be an agent of positive change in the affairs of our homeland. So much has been accomplished in such a short time. On the other hand those who will loose from positive change have not been idle either. Innumerable hurdles were thrown to derail the march for true Democracy.
Those within the ‘organization’ were used to disrupt the organization. It is a scientific method Biologists use to fight insects and other pests that threaten both humans and animals. They utilize what is known as ‘Sterile insect technique’. This method of biological control works by releasing millions of sterile or genetically modified insects in the general population thus disrupting the normal reproduction cycle.
When it comes to ‘human organization’ the same method is applied by inserting agents camouflaged as committed members. Properly handled they could even rise up to leadership position. Ato Ledetu is a perfect example of the ‘sterile insect technique’. Intentional or not it was executed perfectly. The opposition was in disarray. The population was subdued. The movement lost focus. There was too much up on the screen.
It was not long ago that the regime utilized its supposedly big gun to confuse and demoralize us. Upon the release of ‘Kinijit’ leaders from Woyane jail TPLF unleashed Hailu Shawel, Bedru Adem and other minions on us. ‘Sterile insect technique’ was unleashed in a spectacular manner. It was dramatic. The ultimate betrayal! The giant turned out to be a dwarf. It was meant to demoralize us, break our back, and send us to a hellhole of depression. Bullies underestimate their victims. Never again was the Diasporas reply. They forgot we have risen beyond personalities. Hailu and company were discarded and went back home with their tail between their legs. As the Ethiopian people have persevered under the constant onslaught of Woyane terror, feudal impersonators did not fool the Diaspora.
They are at it again. All you have to do is look at what has been going on the last few weeks. The TPLF machine has been busy. It is a relentless machine. It works 24/7. The main goal is to confuse and cause disarray. It manufactures news. It is constantly trying to define the news for us. The TPLF is a moving target. When we are worried about land give away to Sudan they reinvade Somalia, when we are stressing about political prisoners they release Teddy Afro and we forget the others, when we are concerned about the famine they give us Hailu Shawel and an empty code of conduct. The TPLF is one evil machine designed to kill hope.
It is de ja vu time. Hailu Shawel the crown prince of betrayal is in the process of being unveiled as the right hand man of the petty tyrant. Since Ledetu has been completely disgraced in front of our people Woyane was forced to bring out this senile old man to saw mistrust. They say during high noon in Ethiopia standing in the middle of the town square Ledetu doesn’t even cast a shadow. It is that much that he has been rendered useless. It is Hailu’s turn now. All that free money offered by the Banks, all that business empire built by Shawel engineering is coming home to roost. It is pay back time baby. Park your pride outside, discard your principles, betray your country and friends and bend over comrade Hailu. We will leave the rest to the fertile mind of Meles and friends.
The news yesterday is about the millions of our people dying of hunger. The news today is about famine and the wrong and cruel policy designed by Ato Meles and company. The news tomorrow is about pinning responsibility on those who are causing such anguish and terror on our people. No amount of ‘code of election’ is going to fix that. Without fundamental change taking place our old country cannot survive the rape and pillage by the TPLF minority mafia. As far as we are concerned the so-called election is a dead issue. With Ato Meles in charge of the nation, the security under TPLF, the judiciary under TPLF, election board under Meles, the media muzzled and under TPLF, the foreign Ambassadors echoing Ato Meles’s lies, how in the world can you have a fair and open election? Let TPLF rant about elections. Our job is to work harder to isolate the minority regime from its international supporters. Our job as the Diaspora is stop feeding dollars to the TPLF mafia. Our job is to have the nerve to be upset and do what is right to save our motherland.
The movement should stay in focus. Focus, purpose and simplicity work together to create success. Our message should be both direct and simple. Our demand should be clear and consistent. We should never react to the agenda set by others. We should set our own agenda.
We should learn to stay in focus. We should not be sidetracked. We have defined our goal and purpose and no amount of background noise should take our attention from the prize. No matter how long it takes we should learn to stay the course and win. Keeping quiet is not an option. Staying neutral is not an option. Losing is not an option. We will not be distracted by our worries and fears, but rather take strength from the lofty goal we have set for our country and people, ‘Freedom and Democracy’ and Ethiopia will rise up again.
Our focus is the struggle to bring ‘Democracy, Justice and the Rule of Law’ to our motherland. Nothing more. Nothing less. We will not be distracted by shameless ‘leaders’, nor by negative propagandists. The possibility of losing does not compare to the certainty of wining. The ultimate prize is a glorious Ethiopia leading the Horn of Africa in science, technology and human value. As they say in US Navy Seals ‘the more you sweat in peace time the less you bleed in war’. We will focus and work hard today, so tomorrow our sons and daughters will benefit from our effort.

My advice to our AEUP friends that were cruelly used by Shawel and friends is please don’t go limp on us again. Do not try to manufacture your phantom evidence to show Hailu as a freedom fighter. Do not mistake country with tribe. Do not stand with Woyane and pretend you are equal while in fact you are by the feet leaking that dirty boot. As far as the Ethiopian people are concerned Hailu is dead. Good riddance of bad rubbish.

So as you lay in your hospital bed, with no one by your side
I hope you keep on asking, what’s the reason why.
When your casket lowers, no one will shed a tear..
So good bye dear Hailu, your life is near the end
You will die a lonely death, with not one friend
So when its finally over, and you take your last breathe
Ethiopia will start life again..start fresh.

Interview with an EPPF Fighter

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

Interview with an EPPF Fighter and more News. Watch below:

The other handshake

Sunday, November 1st, 2009

While sellouts like Hailu Shawel are shaking hands with a blood thirsty tribal warlord, genuine patriotic Ethiopians like EPPF fighters are in the bushes and jungles of Ethiopia fighting to liberate our country from the Woyanne vampire regime. The photo below was taken during my recent visit with EPPF freedom fighters in the field. I have also visited and held discussions with leaders and fighters of other Ethiopian resistance groups during the past few days. Detailed reports, photos and video will be posted in the coming few days. – Elias Kifle

Elias Kifle with EPPF fighters

Why are we surprised by Hailu Shawel's betrayal?

Sunday, November 1st, 2009

When Ethiopian Review published a series of articles 2 years ago about Hailu Shawel’s corruption and treachery, his supporters were up in arms. It took them 2 years to find out that this man is a pathological traitor.

It is sickening for many of his supporters to watch him shake the hands of a monstrous tyrant whose hands are socked with the blood of the likes of Shibre Desalegn, the people of Anuak, Ogaden, Somalia… just to mention some of Meles Zenawi’s victims.

Much has been said about Engineer Enjera Hailu by angry Ethiopians in the past few days following his cowardly act. So there is nothing new to add. Instead, let’s revisit what Ethiopian Review has been writing about him since 2007 when he first exposed himself as a double-tongued scoundrel:

* Hailu Shawel’s trail of betrayal
* Hailu Shawel’s family business thriving under Woyanne
* Hailu Shawel to face angry protestors in Washington
* Hailu Shawel gets a no confidence vote by Ethiopians in DC
* Hailu Shawel lies to Washington Post

EPPF Special Report from Asmara

Friday, October 30th, 2009

EPPF Conference Special Report from Asmara and more News. Watch below:

Hailu Shawel, Lidetu Ayalew agree to fake election rules

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA — Some groups who claim to be opposition parties in Ethiopia and the ruling tribal junta, Woyanne, have agreed to new rules for June 2010 sham elections.

The new electoral laws reportedly outline campaigning, voting and party symbol guidelines and how to deal with intimidation and violence and call for the establishment of a panel to handle election disputes.

“The agreement was reached on consensus by all participants after two months of negotiations,” said Ayalew Chamiso, head of the opposition Coalition for Unity and Democracy party (CUD).

Ayalew Chamiso is a Woyanne puppet who has been installed by Meles Zenawi as chairman of the now defunct CUD, popularly known as Kinijit, that won the 2005 elections.

“The agreement enables the elections to be carried out in a peaceful, fair and free manner,” added Ayalew.

The All Ethiopian Unity Party (AAUP) led by Hailu Shawel and the Ethiopia Democratic Party (EDP) led by Lidetu Ayalew also agreed to the rules, according to the state television.

On the other hand, the Forum for Democratic Dialogue in Ethiopia (Medrek), a coalition of 8 parties, which had said key elements on security and freedom of expression and movement were not included in the code, has not signed on.

Berhanu Nega, a former leader of the Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD) and now a leader of the Ginbot 7 said Ethiopia is not a conducive country for democracy.

“All the issues that make a democratic election do not exist in Ethiopia at this time, starting from the independence of the election board, the independence of the military and the police, judiciary all are in the pocket of the ruling class. And in the absence of a fair and leveled playing ground there is no meaning in an election,” he said.

Nega said the 2010 election will most likely be similar to the 2008 local election when he said  Meles Zenawi’s ruling party won 99.9 percent of the vote.

He said two of the opposition parties that reportedly agreed on the new rules for next year’s election were created by the government.

“You know there are three parties who participated in this. Two of them are the parties created by the ruling party. So these are not serious parties. This is just simply to show to the gullible international community that there is some election taking place. But nobody in Ethiopia is taking it seriously at all,” he said.

Nega said his party would not take part in what he described as a sham election in 2010 election.

“I think by now Africans are aware what actually is going on in the name of elections. Elections are supposed to be mechanisms through which popular will would be reflected. But in our continent in most countries, especially in Ethiopia, it has become an exercise in futility,” he said.

Nega was elected mayor of Addis Ababa in the 2005 election, but he and other opposition leaders were later jail after the government charged them with genocide and treason.

He said since 2005 Ethiopia has turned into a totalitarian state and that the only option for most Ethiopians is to remove the government.

“Even by African standards, this is a suffocating dictatorship that has completely the life out of Ethiopian politics and for most Ethiopians now the only way out of this political quagmire is to get rid of this government by one means or another,” he said.

Nega concord his comments would be interpreted as seeking the overthrow of the Meles Zenawi government.

“I am very, very clear and ardent than this. Unless otherwise people are free they cannot solve their basic economic problems…we have a very unpopular government, despotic government. Unless otherwise people start to take responsibility for their lives, I don’t think you’re going to make significant change in the economic wellbeing of the people,” Nega said.

He said the recent famine in Ethiopia is the result of the Meles Zenawi government being much more interested in staying in power rather than developing the country and saving the people.

Sources: VOA/AFP/ER

Swine flu, Woyane flu, pick your virus

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

By Yilma Bekele

The talk is all about swine flu. Center for Disease Control is stressing about the shortage of vaccine. Some are not convinced about the effectiveness of the new vaccine. On the other hand the Obama administration has declared swine flu a national emergency.

Swine influenza is a flu virus usually found in pigs. This time it has mutated to infect humans. Symptoms include fever, cough, muscle ache, headache, diarrhea and vomiting among others. Despite the heightened hysteria most people are likely to recover without needing medical care. The swine flu scare started in the spring of 2009. Barely six months and scientists have already isolated the virus and come up with a vaccine.

On the other hand Woyanne virus has been around twenty years. Woyanne virus started in the western low lands of Tigrai, northern Ethiopia. Within a few years it has mutated and managed to infect most of Ethiopia. Woyanne flu is highly contagious and can spread from human to human. Woyanne flu is what you would call a hybrid. It means that it has been produced from two or more other viruses.

The closet viruses related to Woyanne flu are Fascism, Nazism, Stalinism and Apartheid. Woyane scientists call the new virus the Meles/Sebhat strain. The founders have not bothered to patent their new finding. They have opted for ‘open source’ approach so other dedicated dictators can build on their work for the good of humanity.

Methods of infection:

Woyane flu is a truly fascinating virus that is capable of change and adaptation. The initial preferred method was use of brute force. Villagers were isolated and their elders and leaders eliminated. Forced indoctrination was carried out 24/7. As the areas under control increased the newly infected villagers were dispersed among the population. Method of infection underwent change too. Blackmail and corruption became the new tools. Promise of power and personal riches became the new weapons of choice. The Woyane virus adapted to infecting the victims brain. Instead of killing the virus renders the victim useless and incapable of making simple decisions. The virus is capable of rewiring the thought process of the host.

Test and diagnosis:

Doctors are able to tell those exposed to the virus by a simple test. Victims are abnormally chatty and show a heightened sense of love for today’s Ethiopia. They are quick in their condemnation of our ancient history and carry a wide brush to paint the past in negative terms. Victims have a tendency to place themselves and others in tribal boxes for easy classification. Woyanne virus infected individuals are very disruptive in-group settings. They saw mistrust and enhance negative ill feelings between people. The virus is capable of working on human weakness and using that to disrupt good will among the population.

Woyane flu exposed views themselves as individuals first. They have a tendency to think what is good for them is good for country. The virus is good at magnifying the ego. For example what they see is my beautiful building not my displaced neighbor, my extravagant reception not my starving kin my beautiful commodity exchange not my imprisoned merchants.


The highly exposed to the virus number a few hundreds. The mildly infected probably number in few thousands. The vast majority has managed to produce immunity. The likelihood of further infection is deemed very unlikely. The Woyanne virus has run its course and at the moment it is vainly trying to reinvent itself. Scientists view it as a wana be strain that was able to incubate due to favorable circumstances at its place of birth. It was a weak opportunist virus. The Woyane virus is in the process of disintegration.


The US center for disease control advice regarding swine flu states “People who work with pigs who might be infected should use protective clothing and special breathing masks.” There is no protective cloth to avoid infection by Woyanne virus. The best protection is to avoid Woyanne. In order to avoid re-occurrences it is highly advisable to isolate the carriers and disinfect where possible or eliminate when appropriate.

(The writer can be reached at

Ethiopia: 3 soldiers defect to Eritrea

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

ASMARA — Members of the Woyanne regime’s armed forces in Ethiopia continue to abandon their units in droves, according to 3 soldiers who recently defected to Eritrea.

One of the many complaints the soldiers are expressing is that the top leadership of the armed forces are completely dominated by one ethnic group and that the army is being used to preserve the ruling party’s grip on power, not to defend the national interest of Ethiopia.

The soldiers who arrived in Eritrea are:

1) Private Worku Gemechu, 21st Division
2) Private Alemu Wudneh, 20th Division
3) Private Measho Abraha, 50th Division

The soldiers told Ethiopian Review correspondent in Asmara that the Woyanne regime is currently fighting with resistance groups in multiple fronts.

Health ministers from around the world meet in Ethiopia

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

By Pascale Harter

As health ministers from around the world meet in the Ethiopian capital to tackle maternal mortality, women suffering birth-related injuries are given a new lease of life through a simple operation.

Hailemariam Workneh is trying to amuse his son outside the Hamlin Fistula Hospital in Addis Ababa.

They have one toy – a small rubber crocodile which two-year-old Awel squeals and runs away from, before edging back towards it and squealing again.

Hailemariam says it’s not easy to keep his son distracted while his mother gets treated for fistula. But he is glad to be here. Finally.

It took him five years to save up the money to bring his wife here from their village in the north.

He is the only husband we see at the clinic.

Fifty per cent of women who have fistula are abandoned by their husbands because they leak urine or faeces, or both.

The staff at the Hamlin Hospital are full of admiration for Hailemariam for sticking by his wife.

They keep telling me how unusual it is.

When his wife Zeinat wakes from her surgery she says the same thing.

Needless shame

“I was too ashamed to leave the house because of the smell, I couldn’t see my friends,” she says. “It was so hard being alone. But my husband is a good man, he didn’t neglect me while I was leaking.”

Most women, she says, will “cry every day”, because they have no-one to help them.

Zeinat’s surgery is successful and afterwards, she cannot stop smiling.

“I am excited at participating in life again,” she says.

The last five years have involved needless pain and shame.

The causes are in part a lack of resources, in part gender inequality, according to the United Nation’s Population Fund.

Like 94% of women in Ethiopia, Zeinat had to give birth without the help of a properly trained health worker.

As is often the case for small-framed Ethiopian women, the baby was too big for her to deliver normally.

Midwife shortage

Prof Gordon Williams, medical director at the Hamlin Hospital, says women in rural areas are often stopped from eating much during their pregnancy, and are worked extra hard in the belief it will stop the baby from growing too big in the womb.

It does not. Instead, by the time she comes to give birth the woman will be weak and malnourished.

When she realises there is a complication with the birth it is usually too late.

The nearest health clinic can be more than 100km (62 miles) away – a distance women often walk, while in labour.

But even at the health clinic it is unlikely there will be the equipment to perform a caesarean section, which routinely saves the lives of mother and baby in the West.

It is unlikely there will even be a midwife.

It is said there are more Ethiopian midwives working in Chicago than Addis Ababa.

What is left after the brain drain is one midwife to every 20,000 women of childbearing age.

And they are not in the rural areas, where 85% of Ethiopians live.

Social stigma

So like Zeinat, the woman will have to give birth alone.

And like Zeinat she may lose the baby, and be left suffering with obstetric fistula – a tear between the vagina and the bladder or the rectum, making her continually incontinent.

In the five years since her first child died during labour, Zeinat conceived several times.

Having sex and giving birth again must have been excruciatingly painful.

Awel is the only one of her children to have survived birth.

But it is the social stigma that the women with fistula talk about.

Baysade Shoke is waiting to be operated on.

She has lived with fistula for 43 years.

“I have lived in darkness,” she says.

“I hardly considered myself a human being because of the smell.”


She says she is hopeful that the surgery will bring her “out into the light”.

When it is over and she feels ready, the hospital will give her money to get back to her village and a new dress to go back in.

But Abarash Muskun preferred not to make that journey.

Her surgery was not successful and the stigma of living with the smell of leaking urine is too much so she has stayed on at the hospital, working as a nurse aide.

Abarash is one of the patients the Hamlin Hospital treats each year, but is unable to cure.

What she and the doctors would like to see is prevention; health professionals in well-equipped health centres throughout the country so women do not lose their babies, and do not develop fistula in the process.


IMF corruption exposed

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following report by the BBC is one more evidence that the IMF and World Bank are corrupted organizations that are causing havoc in 3rd world countries such as Ethiopia by fueling brutal dictatorships with hundreds of millions of dollars.

Senegal admits IMF ‘money gift’

(BBC) — Senegal has confirmed it gave money to an International Monetary Fund (IMF) official earlier this month, after previously denying the allegations.

Alex Segura was given almost $200,000 (£122,000) at the end of his three-year posting – money which the IMF says was paid back as quickly as it could be.

Prime Minister Souleymane Ndene Ndiaye said it was a goodbye present — part of an African tradition.

But opposition activists have condemned what they regard as a corrupt payment.

The fund said in a statement Mr Segura was given the present after a dinner with President Abdoulaye Wade, but did not realise the gift was money until he was about to leave the country for Barcelona.

“With Mr Segura worried about missing his flight, and concerned that there was no place to leave the money safely in Senegal, he decided to take the money aboard the plane,” Reuters quoted the IMF as saying.

The cash was handed over to Senegal’s ambassador in Spain.

Government ‘exposed’

The BBC’s Hamadou Tidiane Sy, in Dakar, says the affair has sparked anger and outrage in Senegal.

He says Senegalese want to know why an IMF official was allowed to leave the country with so much money, and they also want to see whether anyone will be punished.

Anti-corruption campaigner Mamadou Mbodj said the case should be referred to the country’s High Court of Justice.

“It is unacceptable in a poor country like ours to use the taxpayers’ money to reward international civil servants who are already highly paid for their jobs”, he told the BBC.

Aissata Tall Sall, spokeswoman for the Socialist Party, said the government had “exposed its true nature to the rest of the world”.

She called for international sanctions and said it was unacceptable for the IMF and government to consider the issue closed.

The president has not commented on the affair, but Mr Ndiaye admitted the gift was given, while denying corruption.

“We in Africa have a tradition – when someone visits you, you give him a gift at departure,” he told local media.

112 Ethiopians arrested in Yemen

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

SANA’A, YEMEN (Saba) – Yemeni security services in Abyan Province have arrested 112 Ethiopian refugees, including 19 women, who illegally entered Yemeni territories by sea, Interior Ministry has reported.

According to the security services, the Ethiopians have been arrested at the coast of Ahwar District.

The security forces also said that 90 Somali refugees, including 25 women and 7 children have arrived in Abyan and Taiz provinces, 22 of them landed on Ahwar coast in Abyan province, while the remaining 68 refugees disembarked on Thubab cost in Taiz province.

The police detained all the refugees from both coasts and transported them to the refugee camp in Lahj province.

Sentencing of Ethiopian man in Maryland postponed

Monday, October 26th, 2009

SILVER SPRING, MARYLAND — Sentencing for a Silver Spring man involved in the December kidnapping of a Clinton bank manager and her family has been postponed until Dec. 4.

Yosef Tadele, 23, a native of Ethiopia, who pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact in the kidnapping, was scheduled to face sentencing Friday in Prince George’s County Circuit Judge Sheila R. Tillerson Adams’ courtroom. However, he was in Montgomery County at the time regarding a traffic matter, according to his attorney, Brian K. McDaniel, of Washington, D.C.

Tadele was implicated in the kidnapping of LaChrista Hamilton, a manager with SunTrust Bank, and her husband and their two sons. Two other men, Yohannes T. Surafel, 25, of Washington, D.C., and Beruk Ayalneh, 24, whose last known address is in Arlington, Va., according to court records, are also facing charges for their involvement in the kidnapping.

According to testimony at a January 2009 hearing, Surafel and Ayalneh allegedly held the family at gunpoint in their Briarcliff Drive home the evening of Dec. 26. The men allegedly planned to take the family the next day to the Silver Spring branch where Hamilton worked to assist with an armed robbery.

Surafel drove with the family to the bank Dec. 27, during which time the car was stopped and he was seized by police.

Tadele has been accused of driving Surafel and Ayalneh to Hamilton’s home on Dec. 26 and picking up Ayalneh the following the day with the intention of meeting up with Surafel later.

Surafel is facing charges of kidnapping, assault, false imprisonment, conspiracy to commit a robbery and several other charges associated with his possession of a handgun. His attorney, Richard Finci of Greenbelt, testified at an earlier hearing that Surafel suffered emotional trauma as a Virginia Tech student on campus during the April 2007 massacre in which 32 people died.

Surafel’s trial is scheduled for Oct. 27. Ayalneh’s whereabouts are unknown.

Assistant State’s Attorney Carol Coderre, who is prosecuting the case, declined to comment Friday.

EPPF's 10th Anniversary Conference Report

Monday, October 26th, 2009

EPPF’s 10th Anniversary Conference Report and more News. Watch below:

Message from Tesfaye GebreAb

Monday, October 26th, 2009

ይድረስ ካንባቢዎቼ [pdf]
እኔ ደህና ነኝ!
እናንተስ እንዴት ሰነበታችሁ?

“የጋዜጠኛው ማስታወሻ” የመጀመሪያው እትም ተሸጦ አልቆአል። መፅሃፉን ለገዛችሁ ሁሉ ምስጋናዬ ይድረሳችሁ። ሁለተኛው እትምም ታትሞ ለስርጭት ዝግጁ ሆኖአል። ከመጪው ህዳር ወር ማብቂያ ጀምሮም በሁሉም ክፍለአለማትና ከተሞች ይሰራጫል። “የጋዜጠኛው ማስታወሻ” ሁለተኛ እትም የጀርባ ሽፋን ላይ የፕሮፌሰር ጌታቸው ሃይሌ፤ የተክለሚካኤል አበበ እና የነአምን ዘለቀ ቅንጫቢ አስተያየቶች ታትመውበታል። መፅሃፉን ለማከፋፈል የምትሹ ወደ ደብዳቤ በመፃፍ ፍላጎታችሁን መግለፅ ትችላላችሁ።

“የደራሲው ማስታወሻ”ን ቃል በገባሁት መሰረት ፅፌ ጨርሻለሁ። 21 ምእራፋትና 406 ገፆች ላይ ተጠናቆአል። ይህ አዲሱ መፅሃፍ፤ “ቀዳሚው ውሃ ነበር!” የሚለውን ብሂል ያስታውሳል። ጥቂት የማረም ስራ እና ቀሪ ቴክኒካዊ ተግባራት ብቻ ነው የቀሩኝ። በመጪው የፈረንጆች አዲስ አመት ማግስት ለስርጭት ይበቃል ብዬ ተስፋ አድርጌያለሁ።

በመጨረሻ፤ ኢሜይል ለላካችሁልኝ ሁሉ ከልብ አመሰግናለሁ። ምላሽ ላልላኩላችሁ በጊዜ እጥረት ነውና ከይቅርታ ጋር የክብር ምስጋና ተቀበሉኝ። አብዛኞቻችሁ እንደተመኛችሁልኝ እንደ ከዋክብት ባልራቀ ጊዜ ውስጥ ተያይዘን ወደ ቢሾፍቱ እንገማሸራለን። የወንዛችንን ዘፈን እየዘፈንን ወደ ጣና፤ ወደ አባይ፤ ወደ አዳባይ፤ ወደ ጨንቻ፤ ወደ አኝዋክ፤ ወደ ሌቃ ዱለቻ፤ ወደ አይሳኢታ፤ ባገራችን ዋሽንት ታጅበን እንዋባለን። ይህ ህልምም ቅዠትም አይደለም። የአገዛዝ ስርአቱ የቆመበት መሰረት ውስጡ የተበላ ነው። ምሰሶው ቀፎውን ቀርቶአል። ጠጋ ብለው የልብ ትርታውን ሲያዳምጡት የጭንቀት ኡኡታው ጆሮ ይበጠርቃል። ዝርዝሩን “የደራሲው ማስታወሻ” ያወጋችሁዋል። በሰላም ያገናኘን።

ተስፋዬ ገብረአብ

EPPF celebrated 10th anniversary, held special conference

Sunday, October 25th, 2009

ASMARA — Marking its 10th anniversary, the Ethiopian People’s Patriotic Front (EPPF) held a special conference from October 17 – 18, 2009. The event was attended by executive and central committee members of EPPF and chapter representatives from the United States and Europe. High-level officials of the Eritrean government were invited as guests of honor.

The 2-day conference passed several resolutions after lively discussions in preparation for EPPF’s general assembly that will be held shortly. (click here to read).

The special conference was held at a secret location in Eritrea.

Ethiopian Review publisher, who had attended the conference, will present a series of reports and analysis on the activities of EPPF, as well as general observations, in the coming weeks.

J. Peter Pham: Ethiopian warlord's "Intellectual for Hire"

Sunday, October 25th, 2009

By Sophia Tesfamariam

On my flight back from London, UK, I decided to catch up on my reading and began by going through some articles that were compiled for me by a friend. It was amongst the pile that I found the piece on Somalia by J. Peter Pham; it turned out to be yet another lazy analysis… I say lazy because his entire piece was a patching together of “cut and paste” paragraphs collected from various dubious self-serving sources. Pham´s incoherent piece was an elaborate apologia for Meles Zenawi, the only terrorist lurking in the Horn of Africa, who bears full responsibility for the carnage in Somalia. Pham has become one of the most vocal apologists for the minority regime in Ethiopia and his latest “cut and paste” piece is a regurgitation of the regime´s often heard narration (tantrums), as it scrambles to get itself out of yet another self-created quagmire.

Those of us who have been observing development in the Horn region know Meles Zenawi´s modus operandi. This latest piece by Pham is a desperate and transparent attempt to divert attention away from the ill-advised, illegal and immoral US-backed Ethiopian invasion and 2-year occupation of Somalia, and international crimes committed by Meles Zenawi´s regime in Somalia. Sanctioning Eritrea (for not toeing Washington´s line on Somalia) is supposed to give Meles Zenawi a respite from his self created quagmire. For Pham and his cohorts, blaming Eritrea is somehow supposed to absolve Meles and those responsible for the crimes committed in Somalia. It may take time, but sooner or later, Meles Zenawi and his handlers will pay for the destruction of Somalia and the deaths of thousands of innocent Somalis. It is Meles Zenawi´s hands that are drenched with the blood of Somalis, not Eritrea´s. Pham is barking up the wrong tree.

My first instinct was to ignore the dishonest individual and his “cut and paste” propaganda piece, which he attempts to pass of for an intellectual analysis on Somalia. But since there may be some lawmakers who might take his statements for fact and believe his misinformation, once in a while, as we have done in the past, it’s important that Eritreans, Ethiopians and Somalis, as citizens of the Horn, call him out and expose his hypocrisy and intellectual dishonesty. This ordained Catholic priest (a credential rarely mentioned in his articles) has traded his priestly collar for a “falfalina” (bow tie), and replaced the morals and teachings of the Catholic Church, with lies and deceptions in his new found (much more lucrative) vocation as a hired gun (or is it hired pen). This embedded priest exposes the ugly side of academia and how much US Foreign Policy is damaged by self serving, morally bankrupt operatives such as Pham who have no qualms about deceiving the US public and lawmakers in order to advance their own illicit (often illegal) agendas.

Horn residents are not surprised by J. Peter Pham’s latest piece in defense of Meles Zenawi and the minority regime in Ethiopia. One of the “intellectuals for hire” that has provided the minority regime political shield in Washington with “testimonies in Congress”, Pham has deliberately lied to, and misled, lawmakers and the American public with is faulty analysis on Somalia, Somaliland, the UIC and more. Pham´s thinking is not just beyond the pale, it´s willfully dangerous and evil. This self appointed “expert” on Africa believes his brief stint as a “Vatican envoy to East Africa” gives him the credentials to write at will, without providing a single shred of evidence to support his far fetched assertions. “Cut and paste” paragraphs fit together to fit Meles Zenawi´s narratives will not cut it. Distorting the facts, omitting the truth and fabricating lies is not a Christian thing to do…as a former priest, he ought to know better.

It is no secret that Pham is closely associated with the conservative neocolonialist cartel; a dubious alliance of fundamentally different and even ideologically opposed religious and political factions such as the coalition of evangelical Christians (also known as the New Christian Right) and the aggressive political ideologues commonly known as the Neoconservatives who have launched an unprecedented evil campaign against Eritrea for the last 10 years in order to advance their hegemonic agendas in the region. Pham is also closely associated with Joseph Greibosky, the author of several erroneous reports on Eritrea and Iran and whose organization, the Institute for Religion and Public Policy, enjoyed a lucrative arrangement-to the tune of a quarter of a million dollars –with the Bush Administration´s State Department.

As a consultant for U.S. intelligence agencies who has helped place former students in intelligence positions, Pham knows a thing or two about that industry and its connections in Somalia. Pham, more than anybody else, knows that Eritrea has no interest in destabilizing Somalia. Despite what Jendayi E. Frazer and her cohorts purport, neither she, nor her hired guns have been able to provide any evidence to back up their evil allegations against Eritrea. It has been almost three years since Frazer and her accomplices fabricated the outlandish UN reports on Somalia, and to this day, neither Frazer nor her accomplices(Ethiopia, Kenya and the illegitimate TNGs), or any other independent party has been able to substantiate its contents-none. Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the UN Envoy for Somalia for Somalia, has admitted as much.

Pham, who in a recent Washington Post article had the audacity to preach to President Barack Obama about the law, continues to justify Meles Zenawi’s lawlessness and belligerence in Somalia and numerous violations of international law and over two dozen UN Security Council resolutions. Exposing his bias and pro-Ethiopia stance, distorting the facts and deliberately omitting from his latest piece, the Final and Binding decision of the Eritrea Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC) which was delivered on 13 April 2002, which unequivocally awarded Badme, the casus belli for the 1998-2000 border conflict to Eritrea, Pham attempts to divert the issue by mentioning the Eritrea Ethiopia Claims Commission (EECC), a body that chose to address an issue in 2005 that was outside of its Algiers Agreement mandate.

Had Pham done his homework, instead of parroting Meles Zenawi’s tantrums, he would have known that the Algiers Agreement, in addition to the EEBC and EECC, also called for the establishment of a Commission by the African Union and the Secretary General of the United Nations, whose mandate was to investigate the origins of the conflict. The African Union, now an appendage of Menelik Palace has yet to fulfill its obligations under the Algiers Agreements-ditto for the UN. Ethiopia continues to occupy sovereign Eritrean territories, including Badme, in violation of international law.

Eritrea´s principled position on Somalia has been consistent from day one. As far back as 1993, Eritrea has been consistently calling for non-interference in the internal affairs of Somalia and has repeatedly called on the international community to respect Somalia´s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Eritrea does not recognize the Transitional National Government of Somalia, not because of the individuals involved, but because it is an illegitimate regime that has been imposed on the Somali people against their wishes. The previous externally imposed TNGs that have been “propped up” in Mogadishu have been repeatedly rejected by the Somali people, who want to choose their own leaders. Eritrea’s non-recognition of the externally established TNG is not what is destabilizing Somalia; rather it is the Ethiopian invasion and occupation of Somalia and the installing of illegitimate TNGs in Somalia that will be amenable to the West and its allies that has threatened the peace, security and stability in the region.

Like Meles Zenawi, Pham is a flip flopping street smart “intellectual for hire” and knows how to sell his services. The man has no principles. He says one thing today and something different tomorrow, as long as it suits his handlers. There was a time when Pham opposed externally imposed TNGs in Somalia. Here is an excerpt from a piece he wrote before his conversion. On 25 May 2007, in a piece he wrote for the National Review, he said:

“…If anything, the very existence of the TFG – or any central government which in the Somali context is always viewed as an imposition from the outside – is a provocation that invites resistance and gives destabilizing forces an easy entry…”

In another article (“Do Not Resuscitate,” The National Interest Mar.-Apr. 2008) Pham went further to explain why an externally imposed TNG in Somalia would not work. He wrote:

“…It should be clear that the way forward in imported states is not to mindlessly repeat mantras about dialogue aimed at shoring up “transitional governments” that are congenitally incapable of governing. Rather, what is needed is the clarity of vision and the political courage to squarely face the facts on the ground. The interests of the international community, as well as those of great powers (like the United States) most likely to become involved in the conflicted regions like the Horn of Africa, require security and stability. That will not be achieved by propping up inherently illegitimate and destabilizing regimes constructed at some international conference center…”

In a June 2009 article he mocked the TNG led by Sheikh Sharif Ahmed:

“…Even as it was struggling to maintain control of what little bits of its capital it still holds, the TFG continues the charade of being a sovereign government…”

This embedded priest ought to know about charades.

On 02 Jul 09 Pham wrote the following in World Defense Review:

“…What this approach ignores, however, is that if the failure so far of no fewer than fourteen internationally-sponsored attempts at establishing a national government indicates anything, it is the futility—indeed, hubris—of the notion that outsiders can impose a regime on Somalia, even if it is staffed with presumably moderate Somalis duly vetted and anointed by the international community. Instead, in the context of the decentralized reality among the Somali, the concerned international community in general and the United States in particular need to invest the time and resources to seek out local partners who are actually capable of partnering to create a modicum of stability—societal, economic, and, ultimately, governmental—rather than throwing money and arms at a “Transitional Federal Government” which, as a former U.S. ambassador who dealt with Somali issues told me last week, “is neither transitional, nor federal, nor a government.”…”

Is Pham going to accuse this anonymous “former US ambassador”, as he did Eritrea, of being a spoiler, of destabilizing the Horn region? I doubt that.

Pham’s latest hypocritical piece is a perfect example of the dangers inherent in using “intellectuals for hire”. In pursuit of myopic political agendas such greedy, fame seeking individuals like Pham who have no qualms manipulating and distorting the fact lack scholarly integrity and credibility. Seldom held to account for the ramifications of their writings which are always shaped to advance a particular agenda-in this case, absolution of Meles Zenawi’s regime for its numerous international crimes, these “intellectuals for hire” have damaged US credibility and integrity in the world. US Policy for Africa is incoherent and racist because of self serving “advisors” and “analysts” like Pham.

This Islam phobic, incoherent US policy for Somalia is precisely what is threatening to destabilize the entire region. Pham and the other “intellectuals for hire” should be held accountable for the fire they helped fuel in Somalia with their faulty “analysis” and incessant lobbying on behalf of the regime in Ethiopia. With Meles Zenawi, Jendayi E. Frazer instigated and planned the invasion and occupation of Somalia. The pulverization of Somali villages and farms, the deaths of over 12000 innocent civilians, the displacement of over 2 million Somalis, the extra judicial massacres of individuals labeled by Pham and others as being “fundamentalists” and “extremists”, the indiscriminate bombings of Somali markets etc. etc. that followed is the cause behind the greatest humanitarian disaster in the history of Somalia.

The Obama Administration can do itself a favor by investigating Pham´s role in this sordid and destructive affair and ask him why he is hell bent on fueling the carnage in Somalia and campaigning for the dismemberment of Somalia. Whose interests/agenda is he promoting? Certainly, his agenda is not in the best interest of the United States or Somalia…

The rule of law must prevail over the law of the jungle.

On OLF leadership: Dropping the Substance for the Shadow?

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

By Messay Kebede

The problem with Jawar’s latest response, “Misunderstanding Nationalism: Rejoinder to Professor Messay Kebede’s Responses,” is that it moves further away from the main reason for our online debate, namely, the piece he wrote about the OLF in which he declares the organization “damaged beyond repair” and repeatedly speaks of its “demise.” His thesis is that inefficient leadership is responsible for this demise. My point was to ask him to look further or deeper, as ideological inappropriateness could also cause inefficiency. It is not clear to me why Jawar absolutely refuses to acknowledge that the ideology of an organization can impact on its efficiency.

My suspicious is that Jawar is now under enormous pressure from other Oromo nationalists. As a result, he effects a reversal: I become an enemy of the OLF while he himself rediscovers terms highly appreciative of the achievements of the organization. This does not come as a surprise since the absolute primacy of group solidarity characteristic of ethnic politics always ends up by silencing critical stands, even if they are legitimate.

That said, I agree with the last paragraph of Jawar’s reply in which he asks us to deal properly with Oromo identity and interest, provided that he tells us how the one-sided affirmation of a particular identity can agree with the need to promote pan-Ethiopian characteristics, without which there is no national unity. My quarrel is never against the affirmation of a particular identity; it is against those who at the same time do not see the need to develop pan-Ethiopian characteristics, not to mention those that are openly secessionists. I invite Jawar to read some of the many articles I wrote in which I promote the notion of a rainbow-nation, that is, a political and cultural solution crowing ethnic claims with a transcendent identity.

As to a detailed assessment of his reply, I make the following remarks:

I. Jawar writes: Messay “refuses to accept that organizational efficiency is primarily a result of strategy and committed leadership.” My reply: how is one to assess the efficiency, strategy, and the level of commitment of an organization without involving its ideology? No need here to come up with a sophisticated definition of ideology: one online dictionary defines ideology as “a set of aims and ideas that directs one’s goals, expectations, and actions.” Is it logical to argue that what defines goals, expectations, and actions has nothing to do with efficiency, all the more so as Jawar tells us that “an organization should be evaluated based on stated objectives?” Clearly, wrong objectives can make an organization inefficient.

2. Jawar complains about my “lack of objectivity”; that is why I (and people like me) “underestimate, misunderstand and mishandle nationalist movements.” This appeal to objectivity is baffling when we all know that politics is the clash of different interests. The ideal way of dealing with political conflicts is not by asking the one party to be objective. Not only does this approach forget that politics is the art of concession, but it also creates an imbalance. While the one opponent has the right to be subjective by speaking of the nation he wants to bring to existence, I am asked to silence my feelings about the nation that I want to defend. Rather than objectivity, the right attitude here is the effort to reach mutual accommodation.

3. According to Jawar, “had the OLF ideology failed, there would not exist a land known as Oromia in [the] country.” Maybe I am referring to an imaginary history, but recent events ascertain that Oromia was a gift of the TPLF, which represents another nation. Credit should be given where credit is due, even if it is for a sinister project. At any rate, Oromia was not established by indigenous victorious forces. And if Oromo are invited to be grateful to Tigrean conquerors for the creation of Oromia, I wonder why recognition is not extended to the primary benefactor, who is none other than Emperor Menilik. The latter should be praised for uniting the Oromo under the Ethiopian state, thereby saving them from utter dispersion under different colonial rulers, all the more so as this time Oromo were full participants in the conquest, as witnessed by Ras Gobena’s epic.

4. When Jawar accuses me of underestimating the force of Oromo nationalism, I respond that he has misread my previous article in which I state the following: “if the Oromo had really wanted to separate from the rest of the country, no force on earth could have stopped them.” Obviously, the problem is elsewhere. Jawar reminds me of the sacrifices that Oromo are paying for Oromia. He forgets one important thing, to wit, that more Oromo have died for the integrity of Ethiopia than for Oromia. A superficial look at the ethnic composition of the Derg’s army is enough to evince the enormity of Oromo sacrifices. Instead of one-sided affirmation, let us talk of dual commitment, that is, of ethnic self-assertion but also of common aspiration with other ethnic groups toward a nation based on citizenship or territory.

5. Speaking of Medrek, Jawar says: those who created the organization “have made a U-turn by embracing the reality as it is shown with their swift acceptance of Afaan Oromo as a national language.” Jawar fails to mention that this acceptance was made possible by the unconditional commitment to Ethiopia’s integrity, forcefully expressed through the rejection of secession. In my previous article, I have argued that the ground for mutual concessions is commitment to unity, which I portrayed as the building of a common house. What secessionists refuse to understand is that the so-called right to self-determination up to secession creates a dissimilarity that hinders democratic decisions, as it allows one group to practice political blackmail through the threat of secession unless it obtains all what it wants.

6. For Jawar, the nationalist awakening of the Oromo is a major transformational force, for “without the awakening of the giant, oppressed minorities of the South would still be called “bariya,” “Shanqilla,” “Walamo.” I do not deny that the pressure of Oromo identity constitutes a major force in the Ethiopian politics. However, I ask one more time that credit be given where credit is due. The terms “galla”, “wollamo,” etc., were banned, not by an ethnic political party, but by the Ethiopian student movement and the Derg, which both had multiethnic views. You do not have to be a member of an ethnic party to fight for the equal treatment of peoples’ culture and beliefs. There are no ethnic parties in the US, and yet people are protected in their diversity. As to the main inspiration behind ethnic politics, it is not justice and the equal treatment of peoples; rather, it is the control of state power by elites vying to monopolize scarce resources.

7. I agree with Jawar when he says that “Ethiopia is an unfinished project.” I will even go further by stating that it is a failed project. The reasons for the failure need not preoccupy us here. Even so, I find it hard to believe that ethnonationalist discourse of the kind I am hearing is liable to resume the project. When the whole issue is to marry a native attachment with a transcendent identity, the affirmation of an exclusive form of nationalism is not to finish the project; it is to sabotage it.

8. To underscore the force of nationalism, Jawar asks: “Why did “ethnic” movements outlive class struggle?” In other words, why in Ethiopia did the ethnic movements of the TPLF and EPLF defeat the defenders of socialist revolution? The notion that blood is thicker than interest is precisely the manipulative argumentation that elites use to mobilize the people. I say “manipulative” because it taps natural sentiments associated with relatedness but for the purpose of empowering elites. Both the failures of Leninist socialism and fascist regimes teach us that giving more power to states and elites, whatever their declared aims are—class interest or kinship––is not the road to liberation; the latter occurs through the containment of power. Political liberation is not a family affair. People become free when they limit and divide state power, not when they let it become boundless under the pretext of achieving a cherished goal. What is true of ethics is also true of politics: the end never justifies the means.

9. That is why we should establish political systems in which the primacy of individual and universal rights overtops the criteria of blood, class interest, religion, etc. Unlike the other criteria, individual and universal rights work toward the containment of state power by protecting the individual against unfriendly and seemingly friendly forces. Despite talks of liberation, neither the TPLF nor the EPLF has provided their respective ethnic groups with anything resembling democratic governance. Most disconcerting here is Jawar’s inconsistencies: he speaks of the TPLF and EPLF as models of liberation movements while perfectly knowing their failure, which has only exacerbated Oromo frustration. I conjure Jawar to read Dr. Negasso Gidada’s article portraying the functioning of a Stalinist political system in Wallaga. The spectacle of Oromo elites suppressing the Oromo people in the name of liberation forcefully shows the danger of ethnic politics and the need to place individual rights at the center of the struggle. What the people of Wallega needs is a federal protection of their individual rights. The height of the paradox is that, no less than the Oromo and other ethnic groups, the Tigrean people too need to be rescued by a trans-ethnic state. This is to say that Ethiopian nationalism is none other than the preeminence of individual rights over ethnic states effected through the erection of a trans-ethnic or national federal power.

10. To the question why ethnic movements outlived class struggle, the ultimate answer is that Ethiopian nationalism has been seriously undermined by the failures of socialist ideology. What explains the defeat is not the strength of the ethnic movements, but, as the great Ethiopian historian, Gebru Tareke, puts it in his recently published momentous book, “the revolutionary government ultimately lost because it failed to deliver on its big promises: freedom, equality, and prosperity” (The Ethiopian Revolution: War in the Horn of Africa, p. 2). Indeed the dictatorial method, the divisive goals, and the economic failures of the Derg combined to shatter the efficiency of the armed forces. Contrary to Jawar’s claims, here is a pertinent case of nationalist defeat that was caused by a dissolving ideology. Jawar should have seen the pertinence of the case since he maintains that the Eritrean issue could have been solved if the Derg had “negotiated for ‘Federation.’” Precisely, the inability to negotiate was how Ethiopian nationalism was made inefficient by a totalitarian ideology.

11. Jawar makes me say that “leftist ideology is responsible for growth of ‘ethnic’ nationalism, secessionist demand, and armed struggle” and then contests my alleged statement by citing liberation movements that are not leftist. Yet, my reference to leftist ideology was only echoing his own analysis of the legacy hampering the OLF. To quote him, “OLF is a foster child of the student movement that brought the revolution; as such it shares some common organizational behaviors and characteristics with all other organizations that came out that era, such as the EPRP, TPLF and EPLF”; “the political forces that emerged from the student movement were led by individuals who worshiped Mao Zedong and Stalin, so they embraced such undemocratic, rigid and control freak organizational model.” True, there are non-leftist nationalist movements, but in the particular case of Ethiopia, ethnonationalist movements have originated from a split of the student movement with which they share extremism and a vision of political struggle modeled on a zero-sum game. All the events and tragedies that occurred since 1974 are various manifestations of the rise of elites with ideologies advocating the exclusive control of state power as a means of appropriation of scarce resources. Secessionism or ethnonationalism is one of such manifestations, since it is how elites take up the cause of cultural particularism (language, religion, common descent, etc.) and argue for the natural correspondence between state and culture. In this way, they exclude their rivals as aliens and establish an exclusive entitlement to power.

(The writer can be reached at

World Bank provides $480 million to the terrorist regime in Ethiopia

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

World Bank continues to finance the tribal junta in Ethiopia that is terrorizing the people in the name of development. The following is a press release by the World Bank.

WASHINGTON – The Board of Executive Directors of the World Bank today approved a $350 million grant and a $130 million credit from the International Development Association to the Government of Ethiopia to support an innovative program that is keeping millions of families out of extreme poverty and helping them to achieve food security.

This financing is for the third phase of the Government of Ethiopia’s Productive Safety Net Program (PSNP) which provides transfers to 7.6 million rural citizens in 292 woredas in Afar, Amhara, Dire Dawa, Harare, Oromiya, Somali, Southern Nations and Nationalities (SNNP) and Tigray Regions.

Families participating in the Safety Net Program are the poorest and most food insecure in their communities. They earn a monthly transfer by working on public works projects for six months each year. For those participants who are physically unable to work, the Program provides direct grants. Transfers are predictable and timely, thereby enabling families to plan ahead to meet their food needs and preventing the sale of productive assets.

The PSNP goes beyond providing safety nets; it aims to address the underlying causes of food insecurity. Planned within an integrated watershed management framework, the public works under PSNP are designed to reverse a long history of environmental degradation and increased vulnerability to adverse weather. Since 2008, the Program became more flexible, able to scale-up the coverage, level, and duration of support to households in response to shocks in PSNP areas.

Recent reviews demonstrate that the Safety Net Program has registered some impressive results since its launch in 2005. Household food security has improved, especially when transfers are predictable and delivered on time. PSNP households reported a smaller food gap and consumed more calories (19.2%) in 2008 as compared with 2006.

Households participating in the PSNP have also invested in assets and have increased their use of education and health services. Growth in livestock holdings was 28.1% faster among PSNP households than non-participants. An estimated 73% of PSNP participants reported increased use of health facilities compared to the previous year, and the majority attributed this to the Safety Net Program.

There is strong evidence that the combination of the PSNP and investments in productive assets can improve agricultural productivity. Maize yields increased by 38% among households receiving both PSNP transfers and investments through the Government’s Food Security Program (FSP). Households that received FSP investments alone enjoyed only marginal increases in productivity.

But more needs to be done. The third phase of the PSNP will strengthen implementation to maximize the impact of the Program and will institutionalize the risk financing component of the PSNP, which allows the Program to scale up in response to shocks.

The World Bank will also provide financing to support the Government’s Household Asset Building Program (HABP), which is designed to assist food insecure households in PSNP woredas to transform their productive systems by diversifying income sources, improving productivity and increasing productive assets. The support to the HABP aims to make the program more efficient and effective, thereby maximizing the combined impact of the HABP and PSNP so that together they can support sustained graduation from food insecurity for the poorest households.

“Food aid to Ethiopia in the past was often too little, too late, which meant families were often forced to sell livestock, tools or other productive assets to meet their daily needs,” said William Wiseman, the projects’ task team leader. “These programs are different because they provide support that families can count on – and the infrastructure, credit, and training that they need for long-term food security.”

The Safety Net Program is supported by a consortium of donors, namely, the Governments of the United Kingdom, Canada, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the United States, as well as by the European Union and the World Food Program.

The British criminal legacies still plague Africa

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

By Amanuel Biedemariam

If one asks what the contributions of the United Kingdom, Great Britain, England, Britain or The UK is in Africa, the answer will be a long list of crimes against humanity! That is an undeniable historical fact.

Britain divided Africa into pieces along ethnic, religious lines to divide and rule. They stole African resources reaping the benefits and giving nothing back to Africans. They enslaved Africa and used the human resources to develop England. For centuries they plundered, pillaged and raped Africa ruthlessly without any accountability. The British hunted African animals for financial benefits and games leaving a terrible legacy that impacts Africa to this day. They belittled Africans with arrogance and pomposity that reverberates into the psyche of present day Africa like tsunami-waves. They redrew African boundaries in ways that are unfit and unnatural for the people of Africa leaving a negative legacy with consequences that linger to date.

All in all, the impact of Great Britain in Africa has been one horrendous experience for Africans without any consequences for England. The legacies still plague Africa but what is incredible is the relentless audacity of the British to continue on the path of the dead empire. They are unapologetic and straight faced as they pursue their ill-conceived hegemonic agendas using the bully pulpit at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). One such example is what is happening in the Horn of Africa, particularly in Somalia.

Great Britain and Italy partitioned and colonized Somalia for extended duration. Following World War II and after independence, Somalia remained united until 1991. At the end of the Cold War, its president, Siad Barre, was ousted and Somalia became a failed state. Since then peace has eluded the Somalis and they are going through one horrific period at this moment in their history. This is a result of divisions Great Britain and other colonialists sewed as well as the legacies of the Cold War that littered Somalia with armaments.

The West has always been interested in the Horn of Africa region for different reasons. But, over the last ten years the focus has sharpened and the tact has been getting extremely aggressive. The West uses terrorism, regional stability, conflict resolution, democracy, peace, piracy and a host of humanitarian – related issues that arise from inner-conflicts as pretexts to get involved.

Historically and in reality no outside actor can solve problems between two brothers. Conflicts that take place within a country are best left to be resolved by the people. The Europeans as well as the US went through their own struggles and came up with their own solutions. But when it comes to Africa must the Europeans and the US get involved? Are they the best guardians for the interest of African people? Are Africans not capable to solve their own problems? Europeans, England and the US care better about the Somalis than the Somalis and Africans who are directly impacted? Is it crocodile tears?

On Thursday October 08, 2009 Britain’s U.N. Ambassador John Sawers called for sanctions against Eritrea for allegedly supplying weapons to the opponents of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) in Somalia in violation of a U.N. arms embargo. He cited the African Union, IGAD and a UN monitoring group (a group formed by the former failed Bush Administration diplomat Dr. Jendayie Frazer, avowed enemy of Eritrea) who provided the supporting evidence and the call to action. Previously, in an effort to link Eritrea to terrorism, the same group made-up stories about Eritrean arms shipment to Somalia as well as the claim of 2,000 Eritrean troops fighting alongside the Somali Islamic Court Union (ICU), which turned out to be a fabrication.

The fact is the TFG that is being promoted as a legitimate representative of the Somali people was formed in Djibouti by Dr. Frazer in the wee hours of the Bush Administration by pressuring IGAD and other African leaders. Dr. Frazer excluded the major stake holders and Eritrea from the so called Djibouti-Process and used a weak UN and AU to legitimize it. Dr. Frazer also established a parliament in exile without the participation of the main stake holders, Somali people. Eritrea was vocal in her opposition because the process failed to include the key stake holders and did not allow the Somalis to come with solutions to their own problems.

Eritrea is not the arms supplier of Somalia. The country is awash with arms supplied by Ethiopia. In violation of UN resolutions, Ethiopia sells arms to various Somali factions to fan the flames because the conflict serves its interest. In fact, Ethiopia invaded a sovereign Somali nation occupying it for over two years and committed major crimes against humanities. In addition, The Obama Administration is openly sending arms to Somalia. The US is also openly involved in the Somalia conflict under the pretext of fighting terrorism and piracy. In fact, citing the Grand Rapids Press, Press TV reports US is to make Blackwater-style entry into Somalia.

Eritrea is not a problem, is not the cause of the instability in Somali and not in a position to influence the situation in Somalia in the way they are claiming Eritrea could. Somalia is entirely surrounded by US and her allies making it nearly impossible for any other nation or entity to infiltrate Somalia.

So, why is the British calling for sanctions against Eritrea? Why do the British want to punish the people of Eritrea who are struggling to come out from years of exploitation by the West and from natural calamity?

The Purpose behind the Sanction Call

One of the most useful and important tool the West uses against the people of Iran or countries that don’t tow the line is sanctions or the threat of it. The threat of sanctions is equally as potent as the actual sanction because it discourages investment by scaring investors. If and when investors’ sense uncertainty, they may hesitate to invest. That is how they apply pressure to bring change by frustrating the leadership and people. It also puts pressure on countries like Russia and China for supporting countries the West labels rogue giving the West a PR upper-hand. It is a multi faceted approach that has proven effective and has been working for decades, flawlessly. For that purpose there is no a single day that passes-by without the US or UK talking about Sanctioning Iran.

Conversely, for the first time since her independence Eritrea is openly inviting and attracting foreign investment in various areas. Eritrea is going through some visible and inevitable economic transformation as a result of rich resources the country possesses. Eritrea is undeniably full of resources ready to exploit. Eritrea is also one of the most important strategic locations and very important because she sits in the middle between Sudan and Ethiopia. How Eritrea tilts will impact the geo-political games being played by the US and China. Eritrea is the foundation because if Eritrea falls in the hands of the West the Sudan will fall in a short time because Port Sudan is located very close to Karora in the border of Eritrea and Sudan on the Red Sea.

Therefore Eritrea is a natural buffer for Sudan. The Sudanese understand this and are working closely with Eritrea. This is also taking place in the back drop of the issues in Southern Sudan, Somalia and other fluid dynamic political situations in the region. The stakes are high because it can influence Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and South-Sudan countries that are client states for the US. It possesses far reaching implications than is publicly admitted by the US and the West who are totally focused in the area.

The reality is that there is a renewed scramble for African resources. As the need for these resources grows the desperation of some countries is growing larger. That is precisely what is happening in this case. The strategy they applied in Iraq, though erroneous, was nonetheless effective and they are trying the same strategy in Africa, in this case Eritrea.

Therefore, the British calling for sanctions against Eritrea is a desperate cry that is bound to get louder. All the client regimes in the region spearheaded by the alms-dependent Ethiopia are parroting the sanction song like a new song ad-nauseam. There are new names for Eritrea in think-tank circles names like Eritrea the”Spoiler”. These are the facts.

The Sun Never Sets for the British Empire

Are the British forgetful of the fact that it is their evil design that led to thirty year war for independence costing thousands of Eritrean lives? Do the British truly care about the Somali people?

First of, Britain has no moral authority to call for sanctions against any nation in Africa. If any one should be sanctioned it is Great Britain for all the crimes of humanities it committed, for crimes they have not atoned for, for stealing from Africans for centuries, and most importantly, for the exploiting Africans as slaves.

Secondly, Great Britain needs to return back the goods it looted from Eritrea. The Italian colonizers in Eritrea had built a functional railroad and ropeway (Teleferica) that was an engineering marvel of its time as well as an operational Marine Overhaul Station (Dry Dock) in Massawa. After defeating Italy in World War II, the British Military Administration (BMA) was solely responsible for destroying and looting major part of that system. The BMA also tried to partition Eritrea along religious and ethnic lines unsuccessfully.

Furthermore, The British have no credibility. The Blair Administration openly and blatantly misled the international community with a hoax claim of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) leading up to the Iraq WAR. The whole charade was designed to serve as a pretext to get access to the huge oil reserves in Iraq. It had nothing to do with justice, democracy or concern for the Iraqis.

In addition, The British does not support the Eritrean economy in any way. They don’t import any goods from Eritrea or provide any assistance to the people of Eritrea to make calls like that. Their main contribution is and has been to create problems for the people of Eritrea.

Throwing Stones from a Glasshouse

The mistake the British could make in Africa is to remind Black people of the terrible deed the British committed in Africa. It is also a mistake to call for sanctions to a country one has no economic connection with because that exposes British products worldwide as targets for boycott and rejection unnecessarily.

For example: Eritreans, Ethiopians and Africans in general are major consumers of British products. Smoothly, and for decades the British have sold many products around the globe. In Africa, Johnny Walker is one of the best selling high-end status-drinks that has turned into liquid Gold for the British. The same with cigarettes like Rothman, Dunhill and other cigarette brands. In addition The British do not grow tea but they have sold tea grown in poor countries like Kenya as English tea for decades. These are popular tea products like Twinings of London and many the like.

The government of Eritrea and others could simply prohibit the entry of Johnny Walker into their countries and set a precedent and effectively apply unspoken sanction against these products. It also empowers Africans because they now know they have leverage because they have the power to say NO to British products.


The people of Eritrea have never committed any crimes against the British people. It is arrogant, belittling, racist and stupid to instigate hostility simply because they think Eritrea should be subservient to their whims. The British do not hold the moral authority and they are not better than their Eritrean counterpart in any way.

The Eritrean people are humble, brilliant, hard working, independent, fierce and ready to make history by creating their own path. Eritrea is a nation born in defiance from the hurdles placed by the US and British for decades. Eritreans have no illusion to believe a just view can emerge from Great Britain, United Kingdom, England or Britain because history attests otherwise.

The British need to look at their history and make amends with the past by compensating Africans of lost resources both human and natural that was unlawfully attained. They don’t need to recycle hate and thuggish behavior that is unproductive and inhuman. Hence, it is incumbent upon the British people to engage better by treating Africans equally and live with Africans in peace because they stand to lose a lot if they keep pressing on the wrong path just as they have lost their imperial prowess.

(The writer can be reached at

Misunderstanding nationalism in Ethiopia

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

By Jawar Siraj Mohammed

A Rejoinder to Messay Kebede’s Response

Although this debate began because Professor Messay claimed the ideology of self determination is to be blamed for OLF’s lack of success in the past two decades, he has not shown any evidence to back up his assertion. He has not provided us with a single case where the “right” ideology resulted in success and “bad” ideology led to the failure of insurgency, nor does he explain how exactly advocating for the right to self determination weakened the OLF. Even though I have shown cases where organizations advocating similar ideology produced different results, he refuses to accept that organizational efficiency is primarily a result of strategy and committed leadership. Instead his two articles focused on pointing out the deficiency of self determination as an ideology and he seems to be attempting to drag me into this ideological debate. I refused to engage in such a debate because my article which he reacted to took no side on the ongoing ideological debate. I concluded that ideology was not among the major factors that hindered the organization’s performance.

Reading through Professor Messay’s two essays I have come to realize that the various points he discussed arise from his distaste for “ethnic politics” in general and for the OLF in particular. I believe it is unhelpful to assess organizational performance based on our ideological preferences as doing so would take away our objectivity. Failure or success of an organization should be evaluated based on stated objectives not using what the analyst thinks is a right objective. In my views it is this lack of objectivity that leads many individuals and groups to underestimate, misunderstand and mishandle nationalist movements. In this essay I would like to briefly discuss this issue.

Underestimating Nationalism: OLF’s Ideology, Success beyond Expectation or Bankruptcy?

I challenge Professor Messay’s repeated declaration that OLF’s ideology is bankrupt. I think such an assumption is quite far from reality. Assuming that the ideology he is referring to is the “nationalist agenda”, neither me nor the professor would have been interested in debating this issue had Oromo nationalism not been the most powerful political mobilizing force that is likely to determine the future of the Ethiopian state. Had the OLF ideology failed, there would not exist a land known as Oromia in country where once it was shameful to identify yourself as an Oromo. Had this ideology bankrupted, some 20 million children would not be studying in Afan Oromo, in a place where it was taboo and a sign of backwardness to speak this language.

It’s my understanding that a political ideology is said to be bankrupted when it fails to attract supporters. Yet when we look at OLF’s “nationalist agenda”, it enjoys an incredible level of support across all sectors of the Oromo people despite the very poor performance of the organization. In fact, one can rightly argue that OLF’s biggest accomplishment(“s”) since its inception is artfully articulating and developing Oromo nationalism. The evidence for this is the fact that, although they differ on ways and means of achieving the goal, all Oromo political forces share a unanimous rejection and determination to fight cultural domination, political repression, social alienation and economic exploitation. That is why Oromo nationalists remain the number one threat to the current regime for the last two decades and as a result they make up over 95% of political prisoners as testified by several Ethiopians. This fact will continue to be the case as long as identity based injustice remains the rule of the game.

Hence, unless one kid himself/herself for the sake of the argument, OLF’s ideology has been a success beyond expectation. What led to success of this ideology is clear, it is incredible level of cultural, economic and social repressions by successive tyrants that backfired and broadened alienation of the Oromo and strengthened the spreading of nationalism.

Anyone interested in making practical influence on Ethiopian politics knows that it has long become impossible either to maintain or change the status quo without taking this force into consideration. That is why forces who oppose the demands of Oromo nationalism, both the ruling party and opposition groups, continue to make gradual concession to soften the nationalist position and win their alliances. Cornered with ever increasing uprising, the regime has been instituting reforms such as increasing local autonomy in Oromia and allowing expansion of Afaan Oromo both in academia and in the media. It is to be remembered that hundreds of students were killed in the last decade for these demands to be met. On the other side, opposition groups who in 2005 used the excuse of “no ethnic politics” either to ignore the issue or rally against the gains of the Oromo movement, now have made a U-turn by embracing the reality as it is shown with their swift acceptance of Afaan Oromo as a national language.Remembering that a few years back, some of those individuals organized a rally in Washington DC opposing the extension of time for Afaan Oromo on the VOA, their current move is an encouraging step that should be embraced by Oromo nationalists.

I encourage people to take off their vale of fear for the rising tide of Oromo and acknowledge the many positive contribution this movement had brought for Ethiopians as a whole. Its the awakening of the giant that forced successive regimes to remove state sponsored cultural and linguistic genocidal policy against the South. Without the awakening of the giant, oppressed minorities of the South would still be called “bariya” , “Shanqilla”, “Walamo” and so on by the state media who degrades them while relying on their wealth for financing.

When we speak of Oromo nationalism and its demands, the ‘self-mutilation’ the Professor wants to discuss also has to be analyzed historically. The Oromo are only a demographic majority but has always been a political and social minority. Just 35 years ago a majority of “Ethiopians” never acknowledged that a people called the “Oromo” lived in the greater part of Ethiopia, and that it constitutes of humans with certain dignities and inalienable rights. Thanks to the Oromo nationalists and the Ethiopian student movement, and as well as the sacrifices made by the Left, now the “Gimatam Galla” is accepted as a dignified “Oromo”. There are still remnants of the old, including the Woyane security, who push for an anti-Oromo stand-up comedy in Finfine, but their days are closing. Now, in the third millennia, after notable achievements by the struggle, if Ethiopians demand that Oromo nationalists move to the center and take leadership of democratizing and strengthening unity of the country, that is an understandable quest. But this demand for ‘taking the leadership’ will not echo as genuine, if one purports to demean and destroy Oromo nationalism which brought the movement to the respected position it finds itself now. Oromo nationalist will heed the call for “move to the center” if and only if that ‘call’ is supported by empathy and understanding the sacrifices they made up to this point. Otherwise it sounds like an “Arada”call that lacks genuinety.

That is also why Professor Messays’ call for unity while accusing me of an Amhara hater, without any evidence whatsoever, is a wrong approach. In the typical paternalistic fashion of elites of the dominant culture, he advises me saying “what keeps you in chains is the diatribe against Amhara, Abyssinians and the correlated discourse on the Ethiopian colonization of the Oromo.” Since the Professor is willing to sacrifice facts and along the way his honor, to defend his own ‘ideology’, he seems to have been forced to misrepresent me, while I am alive. I have no diatribe against the Amhara, nor a hang-up on a colonial theory, these are just mind creations of the Professor to appear as the ultimate defender of Ethiopia’s unity. One thing I want to say, however is that, Ethiopia is an unfinished project. All of us have a role in its final shape. But for this to happen the minimum code of conduct is to listen to each other, to feel each other’s pain, and to represent the facts as they are without misrepresenting them. The tactics and machinations which foiled the Ethiopian Student Movement and all the political movements that came in its wake are outmoded and tested by our joint failure to advance mutual understanding. We should try a new way, a new beginning.

Misunderstanding Sources of Nationalism: Elite Manipulation or Manifestation of Grievances?

Highly dismissive of the real cause of nationalism – which is identity based injustice – Professor Messay repetitively accuses “ethnic” elites for manipulating their people. Speaking of Oromo nationalism he asserts that “… what Jawar presents as a fact is not yet a fact; it is an elitist manipulation that uses past mistreatment to justify partition.” What I do not understand is how about the state backed, institutionalized and often violent “counter manipulation” orchestrated by those who oppose these “ethnic” elites? Wasn’t the entire field of academia and state institution exclusively controlled by the “unity or death” group for most part of the 20th century? Has the professor ever thought why a bunch of young college kids were able to convert peasant grievance into nationalism fueled revolutionary force and topple the guys with the “right” idea and the finest army? Why did “ethnic” movements outlive class struggle? It is too easy to dismiss nationalism as “elite manipulation” but we know that such approach has not helped in the past forty years. What those who advocate “unity-at-all-cost” fail to understand are that their violent, disrespectful and often chauvinistic approach to quell ethnic discontent helps fuel nationalism rather than defuse it.

I argued that, it’s not some abstract ideological aspiration that gave birth to ethnic based rebellion, but rather it was identity based political repression, economic exploitation and cultural subjugation. Thus, Eritreans, Tigreans, Oromos and others supported their perspective liberation front’s not because their elites were so effective in making the peasants study Stalin’s work, but because the people were yearning for an end to repression by any means necessary.

It’s this misunderstanding of the source of nationalism which leads the professor to give too much credit to Stalin on the raise of nationalism. For instance he says “According to the Stalinist vision, the liberation of the ethnic group has precedence over the consideration of unity with other groups” I am not a student of Stalin, but I never came across any research that puts Stalin as a good friend of nationalists. On the contrary, Stalin is well known for persecuting his own “Georgian” nationalists, because he ardently believed that the class solidarity of the workers takes precedence over the nationalist interest of the bourgeoisie. As an old student of Stalin, how could the Professor miss this fact? When fact and logic are thrown out the window, it seems there is no turning back but misrepresenting others is also acceptable because it serves a ‘higher purpose’ that of ‘maintaining unity at all costs’. But when trust is sacrificed to win, we will make ourselves the second Meles Zenawi of a different brand.

In connection to this, another issue which the professor keeps bringing up, but fails to substantiate with evidence, is the correlation between leftist ideology, nationalism, secessionism and armed struggle. He asserts that leftist ideology is responsible for growth of “ethnic” nationalism, secessionist demand, and armed struggle. This theoretical argument could have been persuasive four decades ago when the debate was based on assumptions, but now all those assumptions and theories have been tested and we have the benefit seeing real case studies that have made constructing imagined theories unnecessary. The world has been full of secessionist movements that do not advocate Leninist politics. There have been leftist movements who are not secessionist. There have been several secessionist struggles that are not armed. Here are some of the examples that debunk the said correlation.

* The Tibetan movement is a secessionist one but it is neither Leninist nor armed, the same is true for Quebecois secessionist movement in Canada.
* The Farc in Columbia is a leftist armed group but it is not secessionist, the same is true for the Moist in Nepal
* The BJP in India is an ultra-right wing Hindu nationalist movement which is neither armed nor leftist.
* Far left movements have taken power in several Latin American countries without armed struggle.
* At home front, EDU was a feudal party engaged in armed struggle opposing socialism, while EPRP was a leftist armed movement but it was not “ethnic” nationalist.

Many more of such cases can be listed. Therefore the reality is that movements, be it secessionists or those who want to reform an existing state, pick up guns when they think that all other venues and means of advancing their cause are no longer on the table or they avoid armed struggle when they do not see comparative strategic advantage in violent uprising. Hence, Professor Messay is making a very wild conclusion.

The issue of armed struggle leading to subordination has not been the rule as well. The Zimbabweans and South Africans were trained by Ethiopia, but never made them Ethiopia’s satellite. The EPLF was assisted by the West, but it never succumbed to their interest. Maoist China was assisted by Stalin’s Soviet Union, but it didn’t lead to China’s subordination as well. Hence Professor Messay’s argument that getting assistance from foreigners during the armed struggle will necessarily lead to subordination is not supported by life and experience. It’s worth noting here that my criticism of OLF’s relation with Eritrea is based on the nature of the relationship whereby there is neither strategic benefit due to distance from the battlefront, nor has there been tangible financial and logistical support. Worse, being in Eritrea, the leadership insulated itself from pressure and also became a hostage that cannot make independent strategic and institutional decisions.

Mishandling Nationalism: Redress or Repress Grievance

Nationalism is like boiling water, the pot is the repressive system, the heat is repression and grievance is its steam. The solution to such a problem depends at what stage the movement is or how hot the pot is. At an early stage, for instance, you defuse the tension by reducing the heat so you can prevent stream formation. If you miss the first stage and steam has formed, then you must use a combination of strategies which might include reducing the heat, adding cold water and loosening the cover. If it passes that stage, you have no control over the situation as either the pot will explode or the cover could be blown off.

Unfortunately, those who oppose nationalism often increase the pressure instead of systematically defusing such tension. At every stage they increase the heat by stepping repression which helps spreading resentment and galvanizing the oppressed. This often happens because of the gross underestimation of the potential force of grievance. By the time rulers realize their backers the real nature of the problem, they are no longer in the position to influence the outcome.

For instance so much resource and sacrifice was paid to keep Eritrea as part of Ethiopia but the effort was fruitless. Every attempt to crush the movement backfired, strengthening the rebels and further radicalizing their determination. To defuse the Eritrean nationalism and maintain the integrity of the country, Mengistu Hailemariam and his “Abiyotawi Ethiopia or Death” supporters could have negotiated for “Federation”, well before the political will for such consideration became null. And such an outcome wouldn’t have become considered a ‘defeat’ as the Professor suggested. It would have been a win-win situation. In fact, in 1981 EPLF had made the proposal for such negotiation, but was not accepted by the Dergue because it was believed EPLF was initiating a “referendum” talk because it was weakened militarily. The Professor should have learnt from his own experience from the Dergue years, that ‘politics is the art of compromise’ and not a place to shine with high sounding slogans.

The Way A Head

One might dislike the OLF or another might wish that Oromo nationalism never came to surface. These are good wishes given we add that the repressive systems that gave birth to the movement should have never existed at the first place. Now we have to deal with the reality. Oromo nationalism is a reality and we better come to terms with it and develop a strategy so that it can be channeled towards the common good. I believe that Oromo nationalism, properly understood, effectively organized and led by committed and visionary leadership, could be the greatest force, in cooperation with other movements, that can uplift the country and the wider region from the never ending crisis.

Towards this I propose that opponents and proponents of the movement understand the situation for what it is: Oromo Nationalism is borne out of identity-based injustice by successive regimes that culturally subjugated and ridiculed the Oromo reducing them to subhuman condition on their own land. It’s also a manifestation of grievance from economic marginalization of these people by forces who exploit their resources. Thus, opponents of this movement should understand that such social dynamics cannot fade away under repression or by condescending slogans such as extremism, tribalism or cover up of historical injustice. If those Ethiopians who genuinely lose their sleep over the balkanization of their country, love it earnestly and wish for a better future, they must embrace reality and work towards bringing a democratic, fair and integrated country. In short a justice based on fairness. Oromo nationalists should also know that the objective of the movement is not to “defeat” the oppressor, but to uplift our people. As such we need to overcome our bitterness that was caused by fresh scars of a century long process of dehumanization. As Paulo Freire nicely put it “the great humanistic and historical task of the oppressed is to liberate themselves and their oppressors as well”. It is not enough to blame others for all the wrongs and expect difference; we must take leadership to bring about mutual understanding. I hope to say more on this in my upcoming essays.

(The writer can be reached at

Can democracy be salvaged in Ethiopia by the 2010 elections?

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

By Alemayehu G. Mariam

While U.S. attention is fixed on Afghanistan’s contested elections and the need to insure a democratic process, in another part of the world, democracy has been under siege at the ballot box with terrible consequences.

African elections have devolved into rituals of absurdity. In the last five years we have witnessed attacks on democracy in Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria and Zimbabwe.

In Ethiopia in 2005, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi’s Ethiopian People’s Democratic Revolutionary Party was thumped in parliamentary elections by the opposition Coalition for Unity and Democracy. Zenawi hijacked that election and bushwhacked the opposition by simultaneously declaring victory and a state of emergency. In the following months, his security forces killed nearly 200 protesters and imprisoned over 30,000 others.

In Kenya in 2007, the opposition Orange Democratic Movement swept the political landscape, cleaning out the incumbent President Mwai Kibaki’s cabinet, including his vice president, foreign and defense ministers, and a host of plutocratic parliamentarians. Yet Kibaki held on to power, leading to riots that killed 1,500 people and displaced more than 250,000 Kenyans.

In Nigeria, after nine months of legal wrangling, a presidential election tribunal in 2008 upheld Umaru Yar’Adua’s declared victory, despite evidence of widespread rigging and fraud. In the same year Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF suffered massive defeat in Zimbabwe’s national elections. After intimidating supporters of his opponent, Morgan Tsvangirai, with violence, Mugabe, at 84, “won” an uncontested runoff election.

Warnings from the West have had no effect. For example, in response to Zenawi’s crackdown on the opposition, European governments temporarily withheld aid, and multilateral institutions suspended loans to the regime. The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill (H.R. 2003) to hold Zenawi’s regime accountable, but it failed to clear the Senate. And in Kenya and Zimbabwe, though the West pressed Kibaki and Mugabe to form coalition governments, the country remains more divided than ever.

Spanish philosopher George Santayana once said, “Those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it.” Because of Africa’s failure to implement reforms, we are ready to restart that cycle, as parliamentary elections are scheduled to take place in Ethiopia in May 2010.

This time Zenawi seems even more determined to circumvent Ethiopia’s democracy. In April, his regime announced that in local elections, the opposition won a paltry three out of 3.6 million “contested” seats.

Elections in Ethiopia under Zenawi’s dictatorship, now spanning two decades, have manifested two recurrent patterns. First, Zenawi has spared no effort to eliminate his opposition. He has used intimidation, threats, arbitrary arrests and detentions, bogus prosecutions, extreme violence, fraud and trickery to wipe out his opposition. Recently, Zenawi invited the opposition for 2010 election talks, but promptly demanded that they sign a “code of conduct” before discussions could be held. Leaders of an alliance of opposition parties under an umbrella organization known as Forum for Democratic Dialogue in Ethiopia walked out of the talks, plainly sensing a trap. Zenawi retaliated by initiating a campaign of harassment and intimidation that sent nearly 500 opposition members to detention.

Zenawi has succeeded in distracting the opposition from making the election about issues or a referendum on his regime to inconsequential issues about personalities and individual grievances. There is little discussion by the regime or the opposition about the formidable and apocalyptic issues facing the country.

Famine threatens to wipe out one-fifth of the Ethiopian population. There are thousands of political prisoners held in regular and secret prisons without trial. Gross abusers of human rights walk the streets free. Ecological catastrophes, including deforestation, soil erosion, over-grazing, over-population and chemical pollution of its rivers and lakes, threaten the very survival of the people. Galloping inflation has made life unbearable for most Ethiopians. Rampant corruption and plunder of the public treasury has left the country with only a few weeks of foreign currency reserves. And there has been no accountability for the reckless intervention in the Somali civil war, the squandered resources and wasted young lives, among many other issues.

Can Ethiopian democracy be salvaged by the 2010 elections? Many of us think it can be saved, but only if we restore the pre-2005 opposition. Back then, there were real opposition parties that were allowed to campaign vigorously. There were free and open debates throughout the society. A free private press challenged those in power and scrutinized the opposition. Civil society leaders worked tirelessly to inform and educate the voters and citizenry about democracy and elections. Voters openly and fearlessly showed their dissatisfaction with the regime in public meetings. On May 15, 2005, voters did something unprecedented in Ethiopian history: They used the ballot box to pass their verdict. That’s how the 2010 election can be saved – by letting the people pass their sovereign verdict.

Only a transition to a constitutional democracy can end the kind of dictatorship that robbed Ethiopians of a chance to advance. As President Barack Obama said, “Africa needs strong institution, not strong men.” Ethiopia’s history is full of strong men on horses, in tanks and boardrooms. As a result, Ethiopia has weak legislative, judicial and electoral institutions.

Clues to saving Ethiopia and other African countries from strongmen may be found in Ghana’s nascent democracy. Since Ghana’s military dictatorship ended in 1992 when it adopted a new constitution, Ghanaians have shown the essential prerequisites for a successful multiparty democracy in Africa. They institutionalized the rule of law and conformed their laws to meet international human rights standards. They created a strong judiciary with extraordinary constitutional powers that made failure to obey a Supreme Court order a “high crime.” They included strong protections for civil liberties, allowing Ghanaians to freely express themselves without fear of government retaliation.

Ghana established an independent electoral commission responsible for voter registration, demarcation of electoral boundaries, conduct and oversight of all public elections, referenda and electoral education. Above all, Ghana’s uncompromising constitutional language made it illegal to have tribal or ethnic-based political parties, the root of most conflicts in Africa.

The glimmer of hope shimmering in the Ghanaian experiment proves that multiparty democracy can be successfully instituted in Ethiopia and elsewhere in Africa, without bloodshed. Failure to do so may once again force Africans to prudently heed Victor Hugo’s admonition: “When dictatorship is fact, revolution becomes a right.” If it gets to that point, it’s going to be a quagmire too difficult to get out of this time.

(Alemayehu G. Mariam, is a professor of political science at California State University, San Bernardino, and an attorney based in Los Angeles. For comments, he can be reached at

9000 Ethiopians may soon immigrate to Israel

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

By Uriel Heilman

Israeli government representatives returned to Ethiopia to assess the eligibility for aliyah of approximately 3,000 Ethiopians who may be entitled to immigrate but had never filed petitions. Advocates had pressed Israel to expand its assessment to a much larger group of Ethiopians—8,700 people in all—but Israel had demurred.

Now, however, a campaign by advocates that stresses the health risks facing the 8,700 Ethiopians, along with the support of Israel’s interior minister, Eliyahu Yishai, may throw open the aliyah gates for all of them.

If that happens, mass Ethiopian immigration to Israel likely would continue through 2017, at a rate of 100 immigrants per month, officials say.

The group at issue is comprised of so-called Falash Mura—Ethiopians who claim links to descendants of Jews who converted to Christianity generations ago, but who now seek to return to Judaism and immigrate to Israel.

A major sign of change came last month when Yishai, who became interior minister when Benjamin Netanyahu’s government took office six months ago, sent a letter to a U.S. Jewish aid group saying there were “steps in place” to consider the aliyah eligibility of 5,700 Ethiopians in addition to the 3,000 the ministry already was checking.

The letter, sent to the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, urged the JDC to reopen its medical clinic in the northern Ethiopian city of Gondar, where the 8,700 people live. The JDC had shuttered the clinic in July after those the Israeli government deemed eligible for aliyah had moved to Israel.

At the same time, the North American Conference on Ethiopian Jewry, or NACOEJ, an aid organization and the main advocacy group for Ethiopian aliyah, stepped up efforts portraying the 8,700 aliyah hopefuls in Gondar as at grave medical risk.

NACOEJ took a prominent Israeli physician to Ethiopia to assess the medical condition of the Gondar community, whose members NACOEJ considers Jewish but whose Jewish links remain unverified by Israel. While the assessment did not include any physical exams, the physician, Dr. Arthur Eidelman, told JTA he saw “clear signs of malnutrition in children, particularly under age 6.”

Eidelman, formerly the chief of pediatrics at Shaare Zedek hospital in Jerusalem, produced a report calling for the reopening of the JDC clinic.

Once the JDC, which says it takes its cues from the Israeli government on Falash Mura-related issues, received Yishai’s letter, it began taking steps to reopen the medical clinic in Gondar, JDC officials said. Now the organization says it needs $250,000 to operate the clinic.

In the meantime, NACOEJ says children are dying of malnutrition.

“Many children in the Jewish community of Gondar, Ethiopia have already become ill or died from hunger this year,” said a fund-raising e-mail NACOEJ sent to its mailing list in mid-September, on the eve of Rosh Hashanah.

The group has sent similar e-mails throughout the past decade, even when the JDC clinic in Gondar was open. During that time, JDC officials maintained that accounts of children dying of malnutrition were untrue or unverified.

But with the shuttering of JDC’s clinic and the decline in food aid at NACOEJ-sponsored aid centers in Gondar—due to budget cuts from federation sponsors in North America, NACOEJ officials say—the health of the Gondar population has grown more precarious, according to NACOEJ.

The group’s director of operations, Orlee Guttman, told JTA that several children from the community had died in the last year from hunger, malaria and tuberculosis.

NACOEJ does not conduct medical assessments or perform autopsies; Guttman said it relies on parents to determine cause of death.

In response to JTA’s inquiries, NACOEJ disclosed the names of five toddlers it said had died over the past year. Four died of malaria and one, 2-year-old Benyam Derebie Abere, had “hunger” listed as cause of death, according to the organization.

There appears to be little dispute that reopening the JDC clinic in Gondar for the 8,700 aliyah hopefuls would improve their ability to receive considerably better health care. What is in dispute is who they really are and whether they truly are linked to Ethiopian Jews.

Many Israelis believe they are mostly Christian Ethiopians deceptively claiming Jewish links and adopting Jewish observances in a bid to escape Africa’s desperate poverty for the relative comfort of the Jewish state.

“We are creating a hell of a job for ourselves because of political correctness or trying to be nice,” Israel’s previous interior minister, Meir Sheetrit, told The Jerusalem Post in a 2007 interview about the 8,700.

Advocates say the people in Gondar are Jews who have been left behind by Israel.

Ethiopian immigration long has vexed successive Israeli governments. On several occasions, Israel has committed to bringing in a finite number of immigrants that they believed constituted all the remaining Ethiopians eligible for aliyah, only to be told once the number had been reached that thousands more had been left behind.

Israel completed the most recent phase of mass Ethiopian aliyah in the summer of 2008, when the last of some 16,095 immigrants arrived under a 2003 decision by Ariel Sharon’s government to bring those eligible from a 1999 Israeli census of possible Ethiopian olim.

But in September 2008, then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert asked the Interior Ministry to return to Ethiopia to check the eligibility for aliyah of those from the 1999 census who had never filed petitions—a group said to comprise approximately 3,000 people. The Interior Ministry representatives left for Ethiopia this summer and are still there.

Due to the difficulty of proving Jewish lineage among the Falash Mura, those who wish to make aliyah must meet several conditions: They or their spouse must demonstrate Jewish maternal links at some point in their provenance; they must have had a relative in Israel file a petition on their behalf by July 31, 2009; they must be listed on the 1999 census; and they must be among the group in Gondar.

Designed to limit the number of Ethiopians who qualify, the conditions also are more relaxed than those that apply to would-be immigrants from elsewhere in the world, such as the United States or the former Soviet Union. While Americans or Russians would be disqualified for aliyah for being less than “one-quarter” Jewish or if their only Jewish grandparent converted out of the faith, Ethiopians are not disqualified for ancestral conversion to Christianity—as long as they can demonstrate maternal links to a Jew.

Ultimately, the battle over these 5,700 additional people—an Interior Ministry list puts the total number, with the 3,000, at approximately 9,300—is part of a debate that has raged in Israel and among American Jews since the beginning of the aliyah of the Falash Mura over where to draw the line.

The line has changed with nearly every Israeli government. Where, exactly, it is drawn under Benjamin Netanyahu remains to be seen. (Jewish Telegraphic Agency)

Ethiopian scientist receives award

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

Des Moines, IOWA — World Food Prize laureate Gebisa Ejeta says he’s “greatly optimistic” that Africa can have its own green revolution because of improving national leadership and increased international support.

However, the Ethiopian-born plant breeder warned that outside aid agencies and governments need to let Africans take the lead in deciding how best to improve farming.

“An African green revolution need not be a mirage,” he said Friday at the final day of the annual World Food Prize conference.

But he said boosting crop production will “require an uncommon recognition of the empowerment of local people, local institutions and local governments.”

Ejeta, who was raised by illiterate parents in a thatch hut, discovered ways to dramatically increase yields of an African staple crop, sorghum, by making the plant resistant to drought and a parasitic weed.

He followed his achievements in genetics by setting ways to get the high-yielding seeds widely distributed to poor farmers.

Ejeta argued that small farmers in Africa could increase production of other crops and pull themselves out of poverty with training in simple agronomic practices, such as fertilizer usage and correct timing of planting.

He said an erosion in agricultural expertise in rural Africa in the past few decades fostered a reliance on aid agencies for assistance.

Ejeta also faulted the United States and other countries for reducing agricultural development assistance in favor of shipping their own food into African countries, a practice that hurt local farmers.

U.S. farm groups have traditionally pressured Congress to buy U.S. crops and ship them to areas with food needs rather than provide assistance to farmers in those countries.

However, that approach may be starting to change as result of the sharp increases in commodity prices in 2008. The United States and other members of the G-8 group of developed countries earlier this year pledged $20 billion in agricultural aid.

Although it’s unclear how much of that aid will be new money and how much was already planned, Ejeta welcomed the new emphasis on helping small farmers.

But he said “no amount of external assistance” can improve African farming without the support of an “inspired citizenry” and the commitment of political leaders.

Whether the United States and other rich countries maintain their interest in agricultural aid is an open question.

“Much of this attention is owed to the price spike of mid-2008,” said J.B. Penn, a senior official in the U.S. Agriculture Department during George W. Bush’s administration and now the chief economist for Deere & Co.

“That was a wake-up call to lots of people and lots of governments, not so much because of the hunger concern, I’m afraid to say, but because of fear of political instability.”

But he said that interest in agricultural development typically wanes once commodity prices fall. “We have to see now if the interest is going to be sustained.” (Des Moines Register)

Andargachew Tsige makes 2nd trip to Eritrea

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

Ginbot 7 Secretary General Andargachew Tsige arrives in Asmara to meet with other Ethiopian opposition groups and Eritrean government officials.

This is Ato Andargachew’s second trip to Eritrea. In his first visit last May, he held discussions with high-level Eritrean officials, including President Isaias Afwerki.

Brian Stewart's skewed reports on Ethiopia

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

By Aie Zu Guo

In 1984 Brian Stewart of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) reported Ethiopia’s worst famine of the 20th century putting the blame squarely on the communist regime of Mengistu Haile Mariam. Canadian taxpayers took his report at face value. On the contrary he praised the Tigrian People Liberation Front (TPLF) guerrillas of Meles Zenawi for distributing food aid to famine victims. Unfortunately, he never reported to us that TPLF was a Marxist-Leninist group identical to Enver Hoxha of Albania. Then one wonders about Brian’s motive of hiding the true faces of the TPLF. For those who are familiar with Ethiopian politics, then and now, two reasons remain outstanding. First is to discredit the military cum communist government of Ethiopia. Secondly is to help TPLF assume power in Addis Ababa.

In 1991, seven years after the famine, the communist military regime came to its demise. Another communist group called TPLF assumed state power. For Brian mission is accomplished. Soon he became the most favored journalist of Meles Zenawi, Prime Minister of Ethiopia. His reports are often skewed to appeasing a dictatorial regime in Africa. The journalist’s regular mantras are that Ethiopia’s social, economic and political situation improved under Meles. Since his retirement in early 2009, many Ethiopians assumed that they are free from his claptrap cyber information about their country. Unfortunately, he comes out from his retirement cell in Toronto and feeds the Canadian public and the international community with news about Ethiopia’s rulers and on the famine looming over Ethiopia.

Instead of It is time to stop gibberish reports on famine, we would request Brian tell Canadians on the state of human rights, democracy, and governance in Ethiopia. If he can’t, we have the temerity to tell this reporter about the true nature of the Government of Ethiopia (GoE), and the underlying causes of famine in Ethiopia as follows.

Frequency of famine and its causes:

Under the TPLF rule of Meles, famine occurs every 3 years (in 1993, 1997, 2007, and 2009) against that of once every ten years during the military regime.

The causes of famine are both natural and man made. Ethiopia’s fully rain fed subsistence agriculture is dependent on the vagaries of nature for which even tyrants have no control. But with the right agriculture policy, this could be offset through the introduction of irrigation. If Ethiopia has gained economic and social transformation (as Brian prophecies), the GoE would have contained famine by transforming Ethiopia’s rain-fed agriculture to irrigated agriculture.

Disjointed priorities:

Monthly the GoE pays US$50,000 (US$ 600,000/year) to DLP Piper a US lobbying firm since the 2005 popular election that revealed the emptiness of the communist rule of TPLF. Over the past 5 years the regime has paid DLP US$3 million Dollars. At Birr 3500/Mt4, this money would buy 12,857 MTs of wheat from local markets.

In Ethiopia Agriculture is a crucial activity that contributes to more than 60% of exports, 46.3% of GDP, 80% of foreign exchange revenues, and a massive 80% of employment5. It is a sector dominated by the poor and who are extremely vulnerable to natural disasters and famine. Unfortunately the GoE’s priorities are different from people’s immediate needs. TPLF uses donor money to buy guns instead of making butter. Meles invaded Somalia to spend $1 million a day to sustain the invasion all in the name of terrorism.

International Aid:

The Honourable Hugh Segal reported to The Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade that bags of Canadian wheat are stored in a warehouse in the city of Mekele, Tigray province to serve TPLF HQs when food aid is needed to starving children in the southern regions of the country. This journalist must remain honest to his profession and the organization he works with and tell us the truth about the GoE.

Population doubled yes it has doubled. Brian need to understand that international (including Canadian) aid to Ethiopia has also doubled. The G8 countries including Russia and China right off Ethiopia’s debt almost one hundred percent. This should have given GoE the momentum to contain famine and invest on food self sufficiency programs.

Governance, democracy and good government:

Lack of good governance and lack of democracy hinder development and food self sufficiency. In today’s Ethiopia a one party dictatorship has been the norm for nearly two decades. Three federal elections were held and won by the incumbent regime with 99.9% vote since 1991. In the 2005 election, the TPLF gunned down at close range 193 peaceful and innocent demonstrators, jailed leaders of the opposition and sent 70,000 to concentration camps to the south of the country. The seasoned journalist did not utter a word to the Canadian public when such gross human tragedy takes place at the door steps of the Canadian Embassy in Addis Ababa. Yet still, Canada spends millions of Tax payers’ money for human rights, governance, democratization and rule of law. Is it not that ‘Good governance is perhaps the single most important factor in eradicating poverty and promoting development7.’ In our view good governance is also one of the important factors of eliminating famine and hunger in Ethiopia and elsewhere for that matter.

The 4th federal election is scheduled for June 2010. Unlike the past, this election is won before people cast their votes. If Brain asks why, we have the audacity of telling him that public media is 100% controlled by TPLF. Private and independent media is paralyzed by draconian press law. Opposition leaders and supporters are harassed and imprisoned. For example Birtukan Midekas, a female opposition leader is imprisoned for life. Human rights are of abysmal failure. We advise Brian to refer to Amnesty International8 and State Department reports.

Let it be known that 4% of the 80 million people are ruling Ethiopia with a tyranny and impunity unparalleled in Ethiopia’s history. Ethiopians die of famine in thousands, but the most lethal one that kills the poor is bad government.

In developmental economic theory democracy, good governance, rule of law and respect of human rights are the fundamental pre-requisites of development, eradicating famine and poverty. These are also important ingredients of political, social and economic stability. Rightly so Pranab concludes that “if we take a suitably broad concept of development to incorporate general well-being of the population at large, including some basic civil and political freedoms, a democracy which ensures these freedoms is, almost by definition, more conducive to development on these counts than a non-democratic regime.”

Social Image:

True Ethiopians hate their nation’s image as perpetual victim of disasters. They are protective of their image and decency. There is high level cultural and traditional sensitivity to be called beggars. During the 1984 famine, mothers carrying their dieing toddlers waited for their cue to receive food ration with at most discipline. In many parts of the world such a situation would end in a stampede or riot. Ethiopians prefer to die of hunger than telling lies and get food rations. It is shocking to see those who are not hungry and wealthy enough to feed themselves continue feeding their audience with false information.

Since Brian and CBC are blinded by their self aggrandizement, Ethiopia appeared to them as a difficult problem for the world to fix. Fixing Meles and his Marxists tyrants is harder than fixing Ethiopia’s famine and underdevelopment. With the right leadership and governance in place, Ethiopia’s famine and poverty can be fixed without fanfare. For the moment the time to fix Ethiopia takes longer than necessary, because some media outlets like CBC are not telling their taxpayers the true causes of famine and underdevelopment in Ethiopia. So long as the truth and the only truth about the causes of famine are not told, Ethiopia’s problems continue to be hard to fix and Ethio-Canadians remain worried about Brian’s reports. In the midst of this worrisome reporting it is important for CBC to remember that of all the ills that kill the poor, none is as lethal as bad government.

(The writer can be reached at

ONLF denies defection of a high-level official

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

The Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), an Ethiopian rebel group that is operating in eastern Ethiopia, denied that a weapons cache displayed by the government Woyanne regime belonged to them and accused the authorities of trying to tarnish their image.

On Saturday, state television showed what it said was more than four tonnes of explosives and thousands of bullets discovered by security forces after an ONLF leader surrendered and showed them the location of the arms dump.

The report said he had defected after refusing to work alongside neighbouring Somalia’s hardline al Shabaab insurgents — but on Monday the Ethiopian rebel group said that was a lie.

Ethiopia Woyanne constantly parades fictitious ONLF deserters in front of the cameras … to get some semblance of credibility for its wishful claim of victory,” the ONLF said in a statement.

The ONLF is fighting for independence for the ethnically Somali Ogaden region, but it denies any links to al Shabaab, which Washington accuses of being al Qaeda’s proxy in Somalia.

Both the ONLF and Ethiopia’s government the Woyanne regime accuse each other of committing atrocities in the remote Ogaden region, which is believed to sit on top of significant mineral and oil deposits.

The ONLF has often warned foreign companies against working in the area, and in April 2007 its fighters killed 74 people at an oil exploration field run by a subsidiary of Sinopec, China’s biggest refiner and petrochemicals producer.

But the ONLF rebels said the latest allegations by the authorities in Addis Ababa were just an attempt to tarnish their reputation by linking them to Islamist insurgents in Somalia who are notorious for suicide bombings and assassinations.

“If Ethiopia Woyanne thinks that the countries it is trying to get more aid from have no intelligence services that are capable of knowing who is with whom in the Horn of Africa, it is in for a mighty shock,” the ONLF said in its statement.