Irrational acts and strange behavior

By Yilma Bekele

There is no lack of that in our neighborhood. We are blessed with delusional pea brains with inflated view of themselves and their capabilities while masquerading as leaders. They have a tendency to think if they believe it, it must be so. Unfortunately life slaps them with what is commonly known as reality.

Actually ‘unfortunate’, for the rest of us is a better expression, since they already have done the damage and there is no punishment fit for their crimes. We are left cleaning the mess they leave behind. ‘C’est la Vie’ is definitely not appropriate here for the victimizer. If we have to go ferenji with it I would say ‘nolo contendre’ is more fitting. For those of you not well versed in French or Latin ‘nolo contendre’ means that the defendant does not admit the charge but does not dispute it either. Here are a few examples of ‘say it ain’t so, Joe’ moments in East Africa the last two weeks.

A week ago five Somali pirates were taken into custody by a US war ship. Two were waiting on the mother ship further away while the three boarded a ‘skiff’ (a small boat) and fired at the US Navy ship. The report states that the USS Nicholas, a guided missile frigate has been tracking the boat when the hapless pirates decided to open fire. Yes this small rowboat manned by three Kat intoxicated Somalis was going to board a US war ship and hold it for ransom.

The USS Nicholas is no ordinary ship. According to the Navy ‘she is designed to provide in-depth protection for military and merchant shipping, amphibious task force and underway replenishment groups.’ The Nicholas has 17 officers and 108 enlisted men. She has served with distinction is the first Persian Gulf War and played a role in enforcing UN sanctions against the former Republic of Yugoslavia. Its deck brisling with all sorts of radar and sonar, with its short and long range anti aircraft cannons and killer Torpedoes the Nicholas a sight to behold.

Why would a little boat with simple automatic weapons engage such an impressive war machine? Madness is one explanation. A highly inflated sense of one’s power is another. When you throw in Kat into this mix the sky is the limit to the pirate’s delusion.

The Ethiopian Prime Minster when asked about his regime’s interference with Voice of America’s broadcast to Ethiopia said ‘”We have to know before we make the decision to jam, whether we have the capacity to do it,” the prime minister said. “But I assure you if they assure me at some future date that they have the capacity to jam it, I will give them the clear guideline to jam it. But so far there has not been that formal decision to jam.”

VOA broadcasts to Ethiopia in three languages. Amharic,Tigrigna and Afan Oromoo. The regime is focused on the Amharic transmission. Why is a good question? Why are only Amharic speakers targeted not to listen to VOA, defined, as the forerunner to ‘Radio Mille Collines of Rwanda’ by the dictator is not clear at the moment. Is it possible those two groups are immune to that kind of propaganda or they don’t listen to VOA? Nonetheless our fearless leader is investing money and resources to acquire the ability to silence VOA.

I am sure with plenty of resources and know how most things are possible. Please note the key words ‘resources and know how’. Ethiopia does not meet both requirements. The country cannot feed itself and has been on international life support system for a very long time. It definitely does not have the know how inside Ethiopia to manufacture such sophisticated instrument. It looks like with its limited resources TPLF has bought some second-rate technology from the Chinese or East Europeans to interfere with VOA’s broadcast. VOA was not amused. The State Department found the dictator’s pronouncement very offensive. (በለፈለፉ ይጠፉ) A low level official responded in the usual manner dismissing it as yet another example of an African leader’s babble. VOA went into satellite mode. Go ahead find us is what VOA said. Good luck wana be jammers!

If we are bold enough to make a suggestion here the regime is better off sending cadres in to every house to shut off the radio. That is a low level technology and within reach of the totalitarian system. It could also solve the rampant unemployment problem.

According to those who are in the know regarding food our country is in dire need of food aid to feed over eight million starving Ethiopians. Our government refers to the problem as ‘acute mal-nutrition’. The people affected refer to it as hunger and famine. How do you think the regime is trying to solve the problem? May be revise the policy of ‘state ownership’ of land? Devise new policy to help farmers improve production thru education, better seed selection and subsidized fuel and fertilizer?

The short answer is none of the above. The TPLF regime’s approach is a little different. The plan is to attract foreign investment by offering virgin land and generous tax incentives. Thus these foreign entities are going to farm using state of the art means to grow cash crops to be sold on the international market. There are a few kinks in this irrational decision to solve a real problem. First there is no tax to be collected by the state due to the initial agreement. Employment is not going to be a factor since the project is capital incentive using tractors and harvesters. The run off from too much fertilizer use of course will affect the land and the next generation will have to deal with the toxic waste left behind.

It is also true that what is grown on our own land can not be purchased by us since we can not be able to compete in the international open market. So what was in it for the regime? Immediate cash at signing the contract is at the heart of such a foolish decision. For TPLF the issue is solving the problem of not enough foreign currency especially at this time of elections. For the next two months the regime is going to spend a lot of money buying, bribing and coddling their junior partners not to be embarrassed during the coronation. Please note leasing of land is relegated to Gambella, Oromia and the South. Tigrai is not for sale.

Last but not least in this madness is a report from Ethiopia heralding the introduction of Electric car. The report quotes a ‘Mr. Carlo Pironti, general manager of Freestyle PLC, the company producing the Solaris, told the BBC’s Uduak Amimo in Addis Ababa that Ethiopia’s electricity shortages were not a major obstacle to operating an electric car.’

A country unable to produce electricity to light a 20watt.light bulb consistently is in the process of manufacturing an electric car that requires charging. I guess Mr. Pironti must have lived in Ethiopia for a while since he is affected by this abesha sickness of run away imagination. He thinks electric car without electricity is not a problem. Would you say this is an example of taking the slogan ‘Yes we can’ to the extreme? Do you get the feeling that the regime wakes up trying to surpass yesterdays lies and empty bravado by more absurd news and pronouncements? It is highly possible that the policy is to come up with a combination of little fact and more fiction hoping it will deflect the real and depressing condition in the country. It is also possible that insulated from real life, our leaders have become consumers of their own lies and make believe stories.

The small Somali rowboat firing on the war ship, the banana republic challenge of VOA, the land sale to foreigners and electric car without electricity are a perfect example of irrational act raised to the level of a valid policy. Stay tuned for a free and fair election with the winners going to Kaliti and the losers to parliament.