The “Sheik” vs. Ethiopian Review

By Yared Nerayo

Comments made on are being scrutinized by one of the largest foreign investors in Ethiopia, Al-Amoudi, and his high-powered lawyers, for possible legal action against the magazine’s publisher. Al-Amoudi, A.K.A. the “Sheik”, has embraced the Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF) economically, socially and politically. Because of this, TPLF-funded media have joined the onslaught against Ethiopian Review. These TPLF media say that no matter what our grievances against the ethnic oligarchy in Addis Ababa, we should always defend Ethiopia against groups such as the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF). This advice ignores the goals and history of the TPLF, which have always been the destruction of the Ethiopian nation state. For the last 33 years–17 years from Mount Dedebit and 16 years from the seat of power in Addis–TPLF has consistently been laying the basis for the possible disintegration of Ethiopia.

Was it not the TPLF that, under article 39 of its constitution, gave secessionist groups the right to secede from Ethiopia?

Was it not the TPLF that allowed the OPDO to massacre poor Amhara peasants in Harar and Arsi.

Was it not the TPLF that refused to ensure Ethiopia’s rights to sea ports?

The list is endless. Some who seem offended by Ethiopian Review’s stand choose to have amnesia about their advice to the terrorist regime of the TPLF soon after the May 2005 stolen election. The AIGA forum web site, on September 30, 2005, proudly posted a press release from the ”UNION of TIGRAYANS in NORTH AMERICA,” a sister organization of TPLF, in which Meles Zenawi was urged to take whatever action to reverse TPLF’s defeat at the polls. We all know what these actions were. As most Ethiopia watchers remember, the theme of the press release was summarized by the phrase “Decisive Measures” or “YEMAYADAGIM IRMIJJA” to be taken against the opposition. Why do they whine when others take “Decisive Measures”?

Now, TPLF and its supporters are shedding crocodile tears for the people killed in the Ogaden region. Six months ago, when they decided to invade Somalia, they had no sympathy for the civilians of Somalia or anyone in the “Somali Kilil”. None of the noisy Tigrayan and their opportunist allies media condemned the war crimes that were committed by the TPLF in Mogadishu. Let us not forget that even when it comes to the opposition camp, Ethiopian Review does not shy away from exposing corruption while the rest of us were paralyzed by “yelugnta” and fear.

Whatever you feel about Ethiopian Review’s coverage of events in Ethiopia, or the opinions posted on the web site, it is important to distinguish between the TPLF and the “Sheik’s” goal of suffocating anyone who dares expose their greed, corruption and human rights violations, versus those who consistently call things by their proper name, specifically Ethiopian Review.

The TPLF and Al-Amoudi never cared for Ethiopia and its honorable people. In the controversy between Ethiopian Review and the “Sheik”, it will not be difficult to show the connection between money, political favors, profits and human rights violations in Ethiopia. Is it a coincidence that DLA Piper represents the “Sheik” in his quest to silence Ethiopian Review, while the TPLF is represented by the same law firm to lobby against bills in the U.S. congress that call for respect of human rights in Ethiopia?

A couple of years ago it was Tensae radio that was the target of the TPLF’s legal intimidation. This time the target is Ethiopian Review, and the TPLF’s richest and strongest supporter is spearheading the campaign.

Beware of these political and economic alignments before you pass judgment on Ethiopian Review. If the campaign against Ethiopian Review succeeds, there is no telling which web site or political group will be the next target. Remember, money is no object to either Meles or the “Sheik”.

Yared Nerayo can be reached at [email protected]

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