Monday, June 25, 2007

Lies of the Millennium

By Ephrem Madebo

In the last two years, Ethiopia has produced a plethora of pathological liars; in fact, it produced more public liars than honest judges. Historically, Ethiopia is a country where the supply of the truth has always been in excess of the demand. Paradoxically, in TPLF’s Ethiopia, the truth is a scarce commodity. In the past nine months, TPLF and its associates have been busy getting ready for the millennium extravaganza. As the ruling party of the last 16 years, TPLF has little to show for its relative “Pax Romana”, yet it plans to spend $25 million to tell more lies to the Ethiopian people and to the rest of the world. The lies that will be told on the week long celebration of the millennium shall be articulated by writers of the next millennium. For the millennium that we’re saying good bye, here are some lies by the TPLF officials:

-“Ethiopia’s history is no more than 100 years” TPLF members

-“Many who know Ethiopia will tell you that our party is firmly entrenched in the rural areas where 85% of the population lives. Fortunately or unfortunately the elections were never tight. Under these circumstances, the primary objective of our party was not necessarily to win seats, but to have absolutely credible and democratic elections in Ethiopia. Credible in the eyes of the Ethiopian people and secondly, credible in the eyes of the international community”
Meles Zenawi

-“Ethiopia has gradually moved through various stages of democracy in the last 16 years, culminating in the first real competitive multi-party elections in 2005”
Seyoum Mesfin


-“Well, I definitely believe that it [the violence] will tarnish the image of the country. But, what was the alternative? Let's look at it. The alternative was strife between the different nationalities of Ethiopia which might have made the Rwandan genocide look like Child’s play” Bereket Simon

-“Ethiopia has a clear-cut policy on land ownership and administration”
Addisu Legesse

-“Ethiopia could jump to the ranks of middle-income nations in two decades”
Sufian Ahemed

-“It was proved that the CUDP leaders were in the process of forming an armed wing to throw out the constitutional government of Ethiopia” Assefa Kesito (recent interview with Ande Ethiopia radio)

Today, every cadre in the TPLF power echelon makes his/her living by duplicating, re-fining, or re-generating the lies fabricated by the upper level bosses. Should this surprise us? No! As contagious as lying is, if a government is a liar; all it does is breed lies among citizens. Naturally, it is very difficult to get the TPLF rank and file agents to understand the lies of their masters when their salary depends on not understanding the truth. I really don’t blame people like Addisu Legesse, Sufian Ahemed, and Assefa Kesito, whose lively hood depends on the quality and quantity of lies they produce. The Holy Bible says:

“You are of your father the devil: and the desires of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning: and he stood not in the truth, because truth is not in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father thereof:” John 8:44

In the United States, politicians lie because the public wants to hear what it wants to hear, and what it wants to hear may not necessarily be the truth. In 1988, Michael Dukakis said he would hike taxes to reverse the Reagan deficit [the truth], but the public trusted G.H. Bush’s lie- “Read my lip no new taxes”. Politicians in Ethiopia do not have the burden of proving to be the right candidate, and unlike the US public, the Ethiopian public wants to hear nothing, but the truth. So why do politicians lie in Ethiopia? The answer is simple. The TPLF officials lie because they can’t live without it. The TPLF regime would never make the truth part of its principle; if it does, there would be no TPLF. Therefore, for them lying is a normal way of life.

The higher magnitude TPLF lies are fabricated in the politburo, interpreted as the truth by the judicial system, and disseminated by the government press. As we all know, the Ethiopian press is a great keyboard on which only Meles Zenawi plays, and he is good at it. He makes louder sounds, keeps the notes simple, and repeatedly plays the same chord until the whole room is in the same rhythm with him. Once Adolf Hitler said: “Make the lie big, make it simple, and keep saying it, eventually they will believe it” What a “good” man to learn from.

One of the most boisterous whimper of the TPLF elites is that Ethiopia is doomed to disintegrate in the absence of their “divine” rule. What a wild cry! Wasn’t TPLF created to destabilize Ethiopia? Isn’t TPLF the one that started the disintegration? Their other fooling scheme is that these barefaced part-time leaders and full time entrepreneurs tell us to sit back and watch them do things for us. In a nutshell, they want to spoon feed us. We need to say no, and we need to make our own food. If we are always spoon fed, we learn nothing, but the shape of the spoon. And this is what exactly the TPLF gangs want us to be – Dependent!

As early as last week, the father of all lies was trying to teach the “ABC” of lies to the “Kaliti” heroes through his Western tutors. During the short lived June and July 2005 negotiation, it was Meles who took advantage of the negotiation to cool off the wrath of the Ethiopian people. Let’s not fall victims to Meles Zenawi’s swindling devices again. His primary objective is to blame the crimes he committed on the victims. The plea deal is crafted to wash his hard to clean face. Meles Zenawi, the Ethiopian people, and the rest of the world know why the CUDP leaders are in jail. The arrangement to free the CUDP leaders should not be viewed as a good will gesture of Meles Zenawi. It is not the exclusive outcome of western pressure either, if it was, it should have come two years ago. The pressure to release our heroes is initiated primarily by Ethiopians inside and outside. Our enemies belittled the candle night vigils in front of the Whitehouse, and ridiculed the demonstrations in Downing Street. Regardless of what happens in Kaliti, today, we have a good reason to laugh at those who dismissed our cry for democracy as a mystified Diaspora attempt to bring back the old. Today, they are the old!

Today, the opposition has learned from its na├»ve mistakes. I don’t think the heroes who stood firm for the last two years will agree to a plea deal that grants them physical freedom, but takes away their moral freedom and leaves a blemish on their otherwise crystal clean pro-democracy dossier. Our dignified heroes in “Kaliti” deserve a wholehearted apology, not impunity. They are not criminals; they are law abiding advocates of democracy. It is the truth that set Nelson Mandela free, not a deal with the apartheid regime. The Ethiopian people are behind you; stand for the truth, the truth shall set you free. Evidently, it is hard to fight the TPLF elites, because they have a fetish faith that spins around a single ethnic group. We all know it is more difficult to fight against faith than against knowledge, but it is also difficult to win over faith without knowledge. Knowledge is in our side!

To Meles and his associates, here is my creed that I always go over with morally bankrupted people: Ethically, I am reserved from saying shame on you, for shame arises from a sense of personal failure; however, you should feel guilty of yourself, for guilt arises out of concern for others. The Ethiopian people are not upset that you lied to them; they are upset that they have a leader they don’t trust and a party in power that they didn’t elect. Trust is the Foundation of leadership. You can’t buy trust, or declare your trustworthiness. You should earn it like Professor Mesfin, Dr. Yacob, Dr. Berhanu, and the young Eyoel Muluneh!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Rumor

Seminaworq reports that the CUD prisoners of conscience have agreed to the terms of release sent to them by Meles and their release is imminent. If this report comes to fruition, then it is a great news for the prisoners, their families and all who want to see Ethiopia to return to the hopeful days of pre-May 16, 2005!

But this report should be taken with a grain of salt as Ethiopia's prisoners of conscience number in the thousands. The thousands of prisoners who languish in Meles's dungeons merely because they are suspected of being supporters of the OLF and other opposition groups and prisoners of conscience like Abera Yemaneab should never be forgotten. Their release should be given just as much attention if Ethiopia is to genuinely break away from its totalitarian past.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Meles's War Against Democracy

By Maimire Mennasemay

On June 11, 2007, the Meles regime found democracy guilty for voicing the people's demand for a government that represents the will of the people. The arrogance and contempt for Ethiopians that this "judgment" exudes was already palpable in 1991 when Meles captured power. It has now crystallized into an anti-democratic ideology – Melesism, one may call it – that considers governance as a rule of the TPLF, by the TPLF, for the TPLF. The regime's war against democracy was evident in the 1995 and 2000 elections, which it won, as neutral observers noted, through intimidation and manipulation. Thanks, however, to the political maturity of the Ethiopian people, the regime failed to stifle the democratic forces in the 2005 elections. True to form, Meles lashed back by arresting the militants for democracy, among whom the CUD leaders, and accused them of treason. Now that it knows that the great majority of Ethiopians have rejected it, the regime is openly conducting a war against democracy. Two events, among so many one could cite, illustrate this – Sebhat Nega's declaration and the Millennium mega-party.


The rank-and-file of the TPLF, who shed their blood for democracy, must have been shaken out of their wits by the recent declaration of Sebhat, one of the top TPLF leaders, who announced publicly that he and his colleagues fought for the secession of Eritrea, despite the EPLF's wish to explore a political solution that will not dismember Ethiopia. The TPLF leadership sacrificed the lives of thousands of Tigreans, without ever consulting them, to ensure that Ethiopia becomes a land-locked nation. Thus, Tigreans, whose ancestors have shed their blood for centuries to defend the integrity and independence of Ethiopia, were used, without their consent, to dismember their own country. The contempt for democracy is thus lodged in the very heart of the TPLF, right from its very beginning.


Those who believed that Meles's gospel of ethnic self-determination meant democracy for all are also finally seeing that, according to Melesism, ethnic self-determination means creating ethnic entrepreneurs committed to cultivating their private interests by serving as the fifth column of the Meles clique in the various regions of Ethiopia. More and more, Melesism appears as the latest inheritor of the 2000 old feudal system that has kept Ethiopians locked in poverty and oppression. To be sure, it is a new kind of feudalism – ethnic feudalism, if you will. A look at the TPLF's politburo discloses that most of its members are related to each other though family ties, as befits a feudal order. To ensure their power, Meles and his clique have created a nation-wide ethnic feudal organization, the EPRDF. Its tentacles siphon wealth from all over Ethiopia into the coffers of the TPLF leadership and endowments. Its officials intimidate, imprison, torture and kill those who, believing that the demise of the Derg opened the way for democracy, try to give voice to the people. Feudalism, be it of the Imperial or EPRDF variety, is the enemy of democracy.


Those who believed that the Meles regime, intoxicated as it may be by the wealth and power it has reaped from its ethnic divide-and-rule policies, will at least distance itself from the kinds of crimes against humanity the previous regimes committed have now to admit that it also is playing the fiddle while Ethiopia is burning. During the great famine of the 1970's, the Imperial regime organized a lavish feast to celebrate the Emperor's 80th birthday. Certainly, the Emperor loved Ethiopia. Nevertheless, he considered Ethiopian peasants less worthy than his chihuahua dogs to whom he fed choice meat while thousands were dying from famine. Then came the Derg. It projected Jonathan Dimblby's "Hidden Hunger" on the catastrophic famine in Wollo, and, ridding on the shockwaves that the film sent through Addis Abeba, dethroned the Emperor. The Derg proclaimed socialism. Then again, one cannot serve the Imperial Regime without being infected by the virus of contempt for the people. In the middle of the devastating famine of 1984, the Derg threw a multi-million dollar tenth anniversary party. But the story of our rulers' contempt for Ethiopians is not yet over, for the Meles regime has now reclaimed the mantel of this repulsive and obscene behaviour of shameless feasting in the midst of absolute misery and is spending millions of dollars to throw its Millennium mega-party.


For the third time in 30 years, an Ethiopian regime will be dining, wining and dancing while millions of Ethiopians are suffering and dying. Apologists of the Meles regime may shriek that there is no public famine as in the past. But Ethiopians do not die from hunger alone. They die, in the present as in the past, not only from the scarcity of food, but also from the scarcity of democracy, though it is important to remind the apologists that more than five million Ethiopians teeter at the edge of famine every year, and that Ethiopians suffer and die by the thousands from preventable causes. The social and economic indicators from the specialized UN agencies depict Ethiopia as one of the poorest countries in the world. Life expectancy is 48 years; 46% suffer from malnutrition; only 22% of Ethiopians have access to safe water. Among the 15 to 49 years old, 4.4% are HIV-positive. Malaria infects nine million Ethiopians and kills thousands a year. 90% percent of the urban population lives in shantytowns without basic sanitation. Many live over or besides open latrines. Water-borne diseases are common, and often fatal. Diarrhea alone accounts for 46% of mortality among children under five. Infant mortality rate under one year of age is 109 per thousand, one of the highest in the world. According to UNICEF, 509 000 children under the age of 5 die every year needlessly. 47% of children under five years suffer from stunting. And where does the Meles government spend its money? On a millennium party whose watering holes will be overflowing with scotch and gin from Scotland; wine, champagne and cognac from France; and beer from Holland. Of course, democracy is most unwelcome, indeed feared, for were it to be invited, it will surely transform the Millennium party into a massive popular demonstration against the tyranny and callousness of the Meles regime. No wonder then that Meles declared democracy guilty on June 11, 2007, and that the Foreign Policy review (2007) classified Ethiopia as one of the twenty most failed states in the world.


1972, 1984, and 2007 will go down in Ethiopian history as the years of infamy, of decadent and unforgivable feasting of the elite while Ethiopians are dying needlessly by the thousands. Indeed, 2007 shall be remembered as the year of a double ignominy: It marks the exit from our Second Millennium with the criminalization of democracy on June 11, 2007; and it ushers our Third Millennium with an obscene mega-party on September 11, 2007 for the ruling elite, while millions of Ethiopian children will go to bed on an empty stomach. On this day of infamy alone, according to UNICEF figures, at least 1394 children under the age of five will die from preventable causes.


But the end of the Meles regime is not far. However powerful Meles may be, he can never succeed in preventing democracy from rising again from the ashes of his victims, ever stronger, with her arteries rejuvenated by the blood of the martyrs, and her heart pulsating with the rhythm of freedom. Ethiopians shall rise and reclaim their rightful place as a free and dignified people. Meles can have his Millennium party, but the day after shall belong to Ethiopians and democracy.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Freedom on Trial!

By Ephrem Madebo

In one of his vibrant songs, the late Jamaican Reggae star Bob Marley told to all tyrants of the world - “You can full some people some time, but you can’t full all the people all the time”. Yes, yesterday’s verdict might have fooled some innocent people, but it has never fooled the majority of Ethiopians. Yesterday’s premeditated political decision or “Verdict” on the CUDP leaders was not a surprise to Ethiopians who have been following the fate of their elected leaders for the past two years. Personally, I was at both ends of a cliff for almost two years over the suspense of knowing how long I should wait before I hear the verdict. Since I always knew the anatomy of Meles Zenawi, to me, the verdict itself was clear from the get–go. To all peace loving people of Ethiopia, yesterday June 11, 2007 was both a day of sorrow and a day of jubilation. It was a day of sorrow because, at least temporally, freedom itself was on trial in the Ethiopian justice system. Yet it is a day of joy because we have heroes who gave us their yesterday so that we all can live for today.

PM Meles and his gangs might think that their sham verdict has alienated the Ethiopian heroes from the Ethiopian people. Make no mistake! If you imprison them, the truth shall set them free like Nelson Mandela. If you carry a death sentence on them, their spirit of freedom shall be renewed and shall rise from the ashes like Phoenix. Your unclean hands can kill our clean leaders; yes, you can kill them physically, but you can never kill their sprit; for their sprit is with me, with him, with her, with them and with us!

The TPLF regime has repeatedly preached to have been the first government of Ethiopia to grant freedom. To the TPLF gangs, freedom is a mere opportunity to do as one pleases, or a mere opportunity to choose between set of alternatives (seceding, not seceding). This is not freedom. Freedom is the chance to formulate choices, to argue over them -- and then, the opportunity to choose. The Ethiopian people have never been given the opportunity to formulate their choices. PM Meles, if you really like the Ethiopian people (as you claim), please wish us to be free, free to be free from your freedom. “Him that I love, I wish to be free -- even from me”
Anne Morrow Lindbergh A.

Thanks to God, I consider myself educated, affluent, and successful in life. Most of the factors that made me who I am today were implanted in me by some of the people who were found guilty yesterday. Dr. Befekadu Degefe was my role model who positively shaped my life in Addis Ababa University. Next to my father, professor Mesfin was my source of wisdom whom I followed from lounge to lounge in AAU campus. Dr.Yacob was a man who taught me patience and walked me through the ‘ABC’ of Ethiopian politics. These three battle seasoned intellectuals and all of the other “candles” around them were on a mission of transforming the socio-economic reality of Ethiopia. How can my conscious mind accept a verdict that condemns the very people that lived to make me a better citizen? How can I live in peace with myself without doing to others what Professor Mesfin, Dr. Befekadu and Dr. Yacob did to me? As to me, I will renew my covenant with the Ethiopian people to live every second of my life for their freedom, and die if death comes along the path. What about you?


Dear fellow Ethiopians, our leaders have labored in freedom and have given birth to a favorable environment in which we should get on to free our people. All in all, they labored in freedom and gave birth to freedom. June 11 will be remembered as the birth day of freedom in Ethiopia. Nurturing and raising this newly born freedom is our resposnibity. We should never entrust the care of freedom to the weak or to the timid. The month of June is the mother of good and bad. June 1 2005 was a dark day in our struggle to freedom and justice. June 11 2007 is the start of a new milestone; a milestone that takes us to the last lap before the finish line. The title of Marley’s song in my opening statement was “Get up- Stand up…don’t give up the fight”. Let’s stand up and fight, and never flinch an inch before making sure that power is at the hands of its true owner.

Friday, June 01, 2007

A Vote against Meles is BY NO means a vote for DERG!!!

By Ephrem Madebo

This past weekend, as I always do, I skimmed over aigaforum (unofficial site of TPLF) and read two articles scribbled by Engineer Ghrima. Since I have a great respect and appreciation for engineers, I took time and read the two articles. Though I always read, I usually don’t bother myself replying to aigaforum articles; however, I decided to reply to Engineer Ghrima because I thought the title of his name might have conned many innocent people [like me] to read his insidious article. I do believe this response serves as an antidote to those who might have been contaminated by Engineer Ghirma’s venomous article.

In one of his articles, Mr. Ghrima said; "Yes, the DERG may now be lying in repose. The relevant question however, is a matter of whether the Ethiopian people will allow it to resuscitate" Dear engineer, why would the Ethiopian people resuscitate a dying giant that devours them if resuscitated? In the history of man kind, no nation has collectively allowed evil to prevail over good. Ethiopia is no different. Ethiopians have neither the need for resuscitating DERG nor the desire to nurture TPLF. I have a grandfather who is at odds with TPLF and the two preceding regimes. When I call him on New Year’s day and ask him how he feels about the new year, he consistently answers - "Son, this year seems to be better than next year" My grandfather is a very optimistic person who expected better governance when Mengistu came to power, but he helplessly watched a wave of children including his grandsons marching to a never ending war. Mr. Ghrima, in May 2005, my grandfather went to his precinct [may be for the last time] to elect his representatives, but your boss denied him his life long wishes! So aren’t you ashamed when you tell me that my grandfather voted to resuscitate DERG, a government that confiscated his son’s hard earned wealth and forced almost all of his grandchildren out of their country? Do you think a vote against Meles is a vote for Mengistu? If you think so, you are more catholic than the Pope. Meles himself doesn’t think so!

Mr. Engineer, you said, "His [Mengistu’s] followers won significant number of seats in the 2005 elections" Time and again, we Ethiopians have shown to the world that we are forgiving people, but after 17 years of social and economic terror, I don’t think we have the heart that wants Mengistu back. On Election Day May 2005, the Ethiopian people did not vote for Mengistu, nor for Meles, they voted for candidates whom they entrusted to represent them in the national parliament. Unlike your deceitful claim, the opposition was more than a match to a one man show party of TPLF; however, in political games; it is not only size that matters the most, but the rule of the game and the behavior of the players. In the Ethiopian case, the rules of the game were written by Meles whose behavior invariably varies like a stock market price. In deed, as you said, there was no way the peaceful Ethiopian opposition could have been a match to the savage Agazis who like the "Toro Bravo" bulls are trained to kill.

My dear country man Ghrima, I am not as rowdy as you are to repeat the sexist and chauvinistic words you used on Anna Gomez. In my opinion, the only interest of Anna Gomez is to see Ethiopians (including you) endlessly enjoy the same peace, justice, and democracy that Europeans enjoy. If you think otherwise, what is the tangible or intangible advantage the respected Anna Gomez would gain if Ethiopia is ruled by CUDP/UEDF, or by any party for that matter? She is a person of high moral standard; unlike your TPLF scamps, she doesn’t bend her values for a moment of pleasure. You said, "EU deserves a more mature person in its parliament". Oh! What a joke! Are you a stand-up comedian from Dedebit that we never had a chance to watch on ETV, or are you the hilarious "Mamo Qilo", a character from the epic story of "Lemma Begebya"? Which ever you are, instead of talking about the European Parliament, why don’t you talk about your own parliament that coughs when Meles sneezes? Do you remember when the incongruous representative from Bademe voted for a resolution that in due course separates his constituency from Ethiopia? Imagine this is the same representative that voted to authorize war that eventually liberated Bademe from the bad man of Eritrea. Is this what you want the European Parliament to look like, or is this what you call maturity? What a shame!

You said, "I believe the time is now, for Ethiopia to become whole again" You must be one of those " F or D" grade engineers whose purpose in AAU’s School of Technology was pure political. What does "....Ethiopia to become whole" look like to you? Don’t you know that Ethiopia is a fraction of what it used to be just 17 years ago? You may forget about Ethiopia since it is not your cup of tea. How about Tigray becoming a ‘whole’ after losing Bademe? The Ethiopia of Haile Selassie had a seaport, and the Ethiopia of Colonel Mengistu did not compromise on Bademe. Today, thanks to the TPLF leadership that you praised, Ethiopia is landlocked, and Meles is on the verge of handing out the "Aceldama" of Ethiopia to Eritrea. Is this the type of whole you learned in one of your engineering classes? You also said, "However, the break-up of Ethiopia is not in the people’s mind right now" Did you say right now? Aha! So this must be a sneak pre-view of your diabolic plan! You are a true graduate of the TPLF School of Engineering! By the way were you a valedictorian? How can you realize the whole you mentioned above if your constitution allows every ethnic group to secede from the whole and go its own way? How can you even talk about Ethiopia’s unity by crafting a constitution that disintegrates Ethiopia? My poor engineer of calamity, you have no moral foundation to call any one a "bum", because you yourself are an intellectual drifter who leans on who ever drops food in your constantly open mouth.

You said, "I am proud of where Ethiopia has been throughout ancient history" Good job! So am I and so are many Ethiopians; but how about our modern history? Ethiopia’s past has never been a worry to any of us; our grave concern is its future. Ethiopians are not trying to pull Ethiopia back in time, fix her past problems, and propel her back to the present time. This is your type of ill-advised reverse engineering, and this is exactly what worries me. What worries me and what worries millions of Ethiopians is the wrong path our mother land is heading. What worries me is not federalism, but ethnic federalism. What worries me is not economic development, but the lopsided development that favors the few. What worries me is not the existence of multi party democracy, but the action of a misguided ruler who uncovers every stone to stay in power. Ideologically, die-hard supporters of TPLF do not worry me much because I’m in a constant state of war with them. Wishy-washy gluttons like you worry me a lot because you’re with me when your belly is half full, and you burp with the enemy when you’re full.

You said, "Young people were butchered by Mengistu" you’ re right many people were massacred by Mengistu. How about those young people who were equally butchered by Meles on the streets of Addis Ababa, Awassa, Ambo, and in many localities of the Oromia zone? Mengistu killed in the pretext of defending the mother land, Meles killed in the pretext of defending the constitution. Didn’t these two evil men kill to draw out their dictatorial rule? Like the analogy you used in one of your articles, both Meles and Mengistu walk like a duck and quack like a duck, so why don’t you call both a duck?

I really don’t know about your engineering skill, however, you seem to be very good in MS Word because you have properly bolded half of your two articles. Mr. Ghrima, your education was financed by the poor Ethiopian tax payers, not by TPLLF. You may serve as a civil servant in the TPLF government, I have no problem with that; but please don’t impair the very people who financed your education and who are paying your salary now. Our poor mother of antiquity can’t anymore afford giving the lion’s share of its rare resources for a group of muggers that ramble in the Menelik Palace every other decade. Finally, you concluded one of your doodle articles by saying the following; "Some would say I am being a bit too harsh. Damn right I am". My fellow engineer, my generosity surpasses your selfishness; therefore, I have no intention of denying what you asked for. Yes, you’re right; you have been extremely unsympathetic to the Ethiopian people like your role model Meles and like your nemesis Mengistu. You’re damn right, you are too harsh, too rubbish, too blandish, and too selfish.