New Speech From Dr. Berhanu Nega in Asmera
Best Blogger Tips


Latest News in Ethiopia (September 28)



Dear mother,

By now you already know that I am an activist or should I say a freedom fighter (የነጻነት ታጋይ) Along side my best friends, I fight for justice, freedom and democracy in this country of ours. I assure you when I say I fight, I don’t mean fighting with guns or in any violent way. No, we fight with our pens, computers, with our minds, creativity and imagination. I want you to know that ours is uncompromisingly peaceful and non-violent struggle. It is the other side (the government that is) as you know, who is employing brute force on our peaceful struggle, including, mass arrest, torture and extrajudicial killings. Regardless of the government’s behaviour however, we are unflinchingly committed to continue our struggle for justice in a peaceful way because, we strongly believe, in the end those who are on the side of justice and truth always win not those with guns and bullets.

Dear mother,

You have thought me so many valuable lessons that I am applying at this critical juncture of my life and our country’s history. Do you remember when you told me to take other people’s pain and suffering as my own? You said, “we are all God’s children so that when one suffers we all suffer, when one weeps we all weep, when one mother loses a child we all share that grief, when some one’s child is tortured we are all tortured. So, you said “feel those sufferings as if they are your own. Feel them and most importantly act upon them” those lessons are my discipline, my motivation and my guiding principles. I am very proud to call you my mother. Thank you for all the motherly love you gave me.

Every morning when I wake up I remember those lessons and I make sure that my emotional and spiritual being is aligned with those important lessons you imprinted in me. They help me anchor myself on a firm ground. I remember as a little boy sitting next to you as you holding me close to your heart and asking you about your heart beat and you teasing me and saying “you have a big drum in your chest.” I also remember, you were expressing your wishes for me and what kind of person I should be. “Loving, caring, thoughtful and compassionate” you said. I think, with all my shortcomings and failings I am trying to be that person you wanted me to be. I do feel the pain of my people, their suffering is mine, their sorrow is my sorrow, when they bleed I do too. When they are locked up in the dark dungeons, I couldn’t pretend to be free simply I am in an open air prison. That is why, I committed myself to this worthy struggle. To bring about fundamental change. So that, our dream of building free and democratic society in the land of my forefathers could become a reality.

Mother,

I confess that It is hard to be away from home and moving from place to place all the time. I wish we didn’t have to go through this difficult challenges to achieve our freedom. I wish I could spend most of my free time with you and my little sister. I wish I could use my talent, creativity and imagination on new scientific discoveries or academic research that will put this ancient and proud land on the path of progress and development. Unfortunately, we are not blessed with that privilege and that is why we are fighting for it. I wish, I could do this from home but we all left home because you know how it goes with the regimes security forces if they know where we are.

I know you also wish for me to have a good career, to be a teacher, a doctor or a lawyer and get married have a family and give you grand children. I know all these things are important in life as well, and I do understand your wishes and hopes for me but, I want you to understand this, at this moment in history there is something more important more urgent that needs to be done. Every generation has its own historical burden and responsibility and my generation is tasked freeing this country from the chains of oppression and injustice. I have committed myself to be part of this historical responsibility and pay whatever sacrifice is required.

Mother,

I know this is hard on you and on my sister, I remember when I was jailed for 8 months 2 years ago, your frequent travel to the jail where I was it took heavy tool on you and my sister. I am so sorry you have to suffer with me, but I know deep in my heart you support what I do. I think about you and my sister everyday because you are the two most important people in my life. I know you worry about me a lot but I want you to know I am in the company of good friends. We get along very well, there is a higher purpose that binds us together, we look after each other. Sometimes, we argue but in the end we overcome our minor differences and move on. Here there is no time for complain. Everyone is resourceful and creative. Problems are solved quickly and decisions are made swiftly because life here is fast moving and there is no time for endless discussions and debates. We also don’t have the luxury of being pessimists or hopeless because our struggle is hopeful one. As we glimpse, at the rising sun above the horizon we are motivated to wake up every morning hopeful and inspired with the swiftly moving wind of freedom reaching the four corners of our country. The freedom train is rolling through our majestic mountains, farm fields, towns, villages and cities and we (my generation) is in the drivers’ seat as this is our fight, our journey and our moment to shine before the court of history. If we don’t do this, if we don’t get it right history will judge us harshly.

Mother,

Our days are very busy here. Organizing, writing and communicating with others, once in a while we get sometime to sit and contemplate when that happens, I write short poems and short stories. Those quite moments are the special moments in which we visualize our freedom. We see that day when we speak freely, we organize and express ourselves with out fear and intimidation. The poem below is my most recent one. I hope you and my sister like it.

I am the change

Darkness hell that besieged this land

Our warm tears that wet the ground

The nourishment of our blood

That enriched our homeland

is beginning to show fruit

bright morning sun

smiling on our mountains

telling us to continue

to keep on struggling

to keep on marching

to keep on fighting

until that day, day of freedom

we sing the song of liberty

I am the change

You’re the change

We are the change

Let’s stand in unison

For our freedom, for the rising sun

ለውጡ እኔ ነኝ

በእምባ ደማችን ጠብታ የዳበረው ከርሰ ምድር

ፍሬ ማፍራት ሲጀማምር ደምቆ ሲያምር

ፈገግ ሲል የማለዳው ብርሃን ቀንዲል

የነጻነት ጉልህ ጮራ ብሩህ ቀለም ሲቀጣጠል

የእኩልነት የፍትህ አለም

ፍንትው ሲል ጎላ ብሎ ሲያስገመግም

ለውጡ እኔ ነኝ ለውጡ አንተ ነህ

ለውጡ አንቺ ነሽ ለውጡ እርስዎ ንዎት

ለውጡ እኛ ነን ሌላ አይደለም

እናቀናጅ ባንድ እናልም

ለነጻነት አብረን እንቁም ።

Mother,

I know you need help with so many things, and I wish I could be there to give you a hand with the garden and other things but at this moment my country, your country our needs my help. I promise, as soon as our country is free from this brutal regime, I will be home to be with you and help you and will never leave you again.

I have to go now; we have been told that the security forces are conducting a sweep in the neighborhood. You know how they behave, their violent actions sometimes make us wonder what is happening to their very of humanity and decency. For the sake of the success of our struggle, we have to be a step ahead of them. We have to move to another safe location quickly. I will be writing another letter very soon.

Mother,

Please give a kiss to my little sister on my behalf. I miss her dearly, I miss her smiles and giggles. I hope she is helping you with your daily household chores while doing her school work. I love you and thank you for teaching me all those valuable lessons. I will see you when freedom bells ring in the four corners of our country. Stay strong, freedom is coming!

Mother,

Please destroy this letter after reading. I don’t want to cause trouble for you and my sister.

I miss you, I wish I could be with you.

The struggle for justice, freedom and democracy continues!

ለፍትህ ፣ ለነጻነትና ለዲሞክራሲ የሚደረገው ትግል ይቀጥላል!

With love,

Your son,

Name withheld for security reasons

Note: I have translated the letter from Amharic to English to the best of my ability making sure the authenticity and originality of the letter is maintained. The young activist also wants the world to know, the suffering and injustice that the Ethiopian people experience everyday under the rule of brutal authoritarian regime.

Translated by Alem Mamo

Alem6711@gmail.com



By Risk Advisory

The Ethiopian government is looking increasingly unstable, and the security environment in Ethiopia is looking more dangerous. Opposition protests over the past few months have been larger and more frequent than any in Ethiopia since the end of the civil war. The ethnic nature of these protest movements means that a mutiny within the police or security forces is more likely than in recent years.

We also warn that higher impact scenarios, like a change of prime minister, or a coup, are both credible scenarios in the medium to long term. This is because, other than these demonstrations, there are underlying indications that the government’s position is increasingly precarious. The ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front’s (EPRDF) grip on power appears to have been weakening in recent years, and the country’s economy has unresolved structural problems.

Despite restrictions on local and international media operations in Ethiopia, social media users have reported on the protests. Attendance at weekly protests in cities and towns countrywide over the past few months has tended to vary, but we have seen images of rallies with what appears to be several thousand protesters in Addis Ababa, Dessie, Mekele and Gomar. The scale of such public opposition to the government is unprecedented.

Analysis of protests

The motivations behind the recent protests have varied widely between regions of the country and between organising groups. But a common theme has been opposition to the government. In Oromia, protests were originally against a plan to expand Addis Ababa into surrounding areas but have turned into a broader anti-government movement. In Amhara and Tigray, protests have been against the purported mistreatment of the Amhara ethnic group. We have also seen images on social media of Muslim groups protesting outside mosques in the past month, reportedly against government interference in religious affairs.

The government has blamed the protests on ‘people with terror links’ and overseas activists who they claim are trying to destabilise the country. This approach has in some cases, exacerbated the risk of protests. Earlier this year, government heavy-handedness in response to protests in Oromia prompted other groups to join the demonstrations. So far, the various recent protest movements appear to have remained organisationally distinct. But they do seem to have become less single-issue oriented and converged on a more broadly anti-government stance.

Protest outlook

Although it is unclear how these protests will play out in Ethiopia, we think that there are several credible scenarios in the coming months that point to increasing risks in the country. If the protests persist at their current size and frequency, the EPRDF may attempt to replace the current prime minister, Hailemariam Desalegn. Such a move would probably be an attempt by the ruling party to appease protesters, but would be likely to result in little tangible political change.

We also think it is credible that the security forces might mutiny, or the army may attempt a coup. This is particularly likely if the current protests escalate into a more widespread and sustained anti-government movement – a development similar to the popular protests and subsequent coup in Burkina Faso last year. An early warning sign of this would be the government ordering local military units to violently suppress demonstrations related to ethnic grievances.

The nine regional states of Ethiopia are in part divided along ethnic lines, and the government claims that the security forces in each region are predominantly made up of members of that ethnic group. Given that the protests in Amhara, Oromia and Tigray appear to be at least partly motivated by perceived ethnic-biased issues, a mutiny, in which the police or soldiers refuse to follow orders to use heavy handed tactics against protesters of the same ethnic group, is a credible scenario in our view.

Despite this risk, we anticipate that the Ethiopian government will use more forceful tactics to suppress the protests, particularly if they continue to spread, grow and intensify. The use of heavy handed tactics by the security forces is already commonplace. Human Rights Watch claims that more than 400 people have been killed at demonstrations by the security forces since late 2015. This response suggests that there is a high level of concern in government about the effect the protests will have on its stability.

Political outlook

We have seen several indications that the EPRDF has been losing public support in recent years, especially since Hailemariam became prime minister in 2012. He is widely seen as less charismatic than his predecessor, and anecdotal reports suggest that he is generally perceived by the population as having failed to move to a more democratic and inclusive style of government.

One of Hailemariam’s central claims to legitimacy is his government’s handling of the economy. Over the past decade, the Ethiopian economy has grown by an average of 11.7% per year, according to the World Bank. But the country’s GDP per capita is still amongst the lowest in the world, and it appears that the high growth rate is not benefiting the growing youth population.

None of this points to an improving outlook. The US government estimates that 71% of the population is younger than 30. But Ethiopian labour ministry statistics from 2015 show that 25% of under 30s in Ethiopia are either under- or unemployed. Such high rates of joblessness significantly increase the risk that protests movements will become more frequent and intense in the coming months.



Written by Girma Tefera

The famous African-American minister and activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr is one of the most successful world leaders of a nonviolent resistance to injustice. During one of his inspiring speeches many decades ago, he once said:

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”

In this 21st century, unfortunately, most of our so-called “politicians” and “scholars” from Ethiopia do not seem to comprehend such a simple but principled concept by MLK. Maybe we Ethiopians are better off without these politicians and scholars. Despite these pseudo-scholars instigating hate and division, many Ethiopians have come together- as exemplified by the recent unity & solidarity between “Oromoprotests” and “Amharaprotests.”

But lo and behold, hate always finds a way to lurk back into Ethiopian politics!

This is what we find when we read the latest article titled, “The Special Interest: the affirmation of denial” written by Mr. Tsegaye Ararssa.

Using hateful labels like “aliens,” “hosts,” “settlers” and “guests,” Mr. Tsegaye Ararssa decided to divide our people instead of uniting. It is sad. Those Oromo and Amhara Ethiopian protesters who were shot and massacred by TPLF must be rolling over their graves. It is unfortunate.

Sadly, Our politicians seem to always snatch DEFEAT from the jaws of victory.
Mr. Ararssa should learn from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr that hate will not drive out hate. We can not win against the tyranny in Ethiopia by preaching more hate, bitterness and division.

In his new divisive article disguised as a legal and scholarly piece, Mr. Tsegaye Ararssa presented his wild opinions as indisputable facts. He erratically handed out negative labels of alien and “settlers” to us Amharic speaking Ethiopians. For Mr. Ararssa, we are foreigners who do NoT belong in Addis Ababa. Despite the fact that our ancestors arise from Oromo, Sidama, Welayta or any of 80 other ethnicities, Mr. Tsegaye said we are now “aliens” and “guests” just because we speak Amharic.

Apparently, he is our generous “host.”

According to him, I am supposed to be one of his foreign “guests” so let me introduce myself to you, Mr. Ararssa, the self-proclaimed Oromo owner of Addis Ababa.

I don’t know what village you come from, But I am a proud Ethiopian born and raised in Addis Ababa city. My great-grand parents and ancestors have lived in this area that you now call “finfinne” as well as in Shoa and Wollo for many centuries. Some of them have fought and died in wars to protect our country from the Italians, Turks, Egyptians and other invaders. If it wasn’t for their unity, hard work and bravery; Addis Ababa would not have been the historically and internationally important city that it is now. This Addis Ababa (including your finfinne: the tiny portion of current Addis Ababa where Oromos lived in after 1500s) would have probably remained undeveloped and insignificant if it was not for my patriotic ancestors. My ancestors have built and served this city and our nation in government and as civil servants while some members of my family have also served as critics in opposition with MEISON and MTA, to name a few. No matter which side of history and politics they partook, all of my ancestors belong here in Addis Ababa, whether you like it or not.

My ancestors have many different ethnolinguistic background, including Gurage, Tigre, Oromo and Amara. For example, on my paternal side, my “Oromo” great-grand father willingly married my great grand mother in southern Wollo region. All branches of my ancestors have their own unique history and experience that makes this country special and diverse. And they all belong here….we are not aliens or guests.

But Mr. Ararssa, do you know who else belongs in Addis Ababa? EVERYONE! Every Ethiopian belongs here.

One wonders….If writers and scholars like you continue to alienate and antagonize Ethiopian people against each other; then what exactly makes you any different from the TPLF/EPRDF regime that you protest against?

Thanks to the poisonous politics of the TPLF ruling party, I am sure there are many brainwashed people like Mr. Ararssa who really believe that we Ethiopians are aliens and “guests” in Addis Ababa. The TPLF’s dangerous “ethnic-federalism” system has oversimplified our complex identities in order to divide and put us all in separate boxes. TPLF’s constitution has institutionalized this impractical, tribal and genocidal interpretation of our identities. That is why pseudo-scholars like Mr Tsegaye Ararssa love to obsessively quote the TPLF constitution. In essence, It is their manifesto.

The current constitution is a narrow manifesto to benefit Oromo, Amhara, Tigray and other narrow nationalists at the expense of millions of Ethiopian nationalists. Indeed, until we draft and implement a new all-inclusive constitution to benefit all Ethiopians, we will not have lasting peace. Mr. Ararssa and other ethic nationalists should not waste their time and energy on the useless piece of paper that does not recognize the existence of millions of us Ethiopians of diverse, mixed and complex identities.

For the record, Many of us Ethiopian nationalists in Addis Ababa actually support the right of Oromos to oppose the “Addis Ababa master plan.” We support you because every Ethiopian (including Oromo) should enjoy basic human rights and freedom of speech & assembly. Secondly, instead of being ruled by TPLF puppets like OPDOs, all Ethiopians agree that Oromos should have the right to self-govern in towns and villages where they are the overwhelming majority and where they can democratically elect their own representatives. Thirdly, Oromo and non-Oromo farmers near the city also have a right to protect their interests against improper urbanization. So for many reasons, we support the “#oromoprotests” against the master plan.

But we oppose the idea that any group or tribe is a “guest” or a “host” in Ethiopia. Addis Ababa is not owned exclusively by the Oromo or by any ethnic group. It is for all Ethiopians. Yes, Oromo clans lived in Addis Ababa area for many centuries. But before Oromos, many other ethnolinguistic communities have lived in this land. For example, Gurage people’s southern migration, Muslim sultanates and Christian kingdoms are all part of the whole Shewa region’s history over a thousand years. So Oromos are not the only “natives” of this land. For many reasons, Addis Ababa belongs to every Ethiopian citizen. Unfortunately, some Oromo nationalists like to recklessly throw around “settler” and “colonialist” labels against non-Oromos. That is shameful. Mr. Ararssa even complained about Oromos “material and cultural loss, humiliation, dispossession of land…” But he forgot to mention the same “dispossession” has happened to the Sidama, the Dawaro, the Adal, Damot, Argoba and many others who lost their land and identity at the hands of Oromo warriors. If you are a real scholar, why selectively hide parts of our history? Thanks to the Oromo’s Mogassa and Gudifecha systems and other mass assimilation campaigns by the Oromo, many distinct ethnic communities have lost their past identities, territories and they have “become Oromo.” Despite these historical events, we still might not know every detail of how pieces of our history fit together. What we know for sure is that we are ALL here now in the land that we all call Ethiopia. We are all here in Addis Ababa. Let us move on. Whether we like it or not, we have to find ways to get along and co-exist peacefully.

We can not achieve this goal by attacking and labeling each other.

When scholars & politicians instigate violence using the “us vs them” tactic, or divide people using the “host vs guest” labels, they are playing into the WORST of our emotions and our instincts. Exploiting people’s tribal instincts is very unscholarly and weak. If people like Mr. Ararssa want to show how smart and scholarly they are, they should provide comprehensive solutions to our complex identities and our complicated problems. So please Stop taking the easy way out. It is very easy to preach tribal propaganda to the choir. It is hard to present progressive ideas that break ethnic barriers, and solve the economic, social and political problems of a multiethnic nation. It is very easy to rubber-stamp one-sided historical accounts from the A-to-Z liberation fronts in Ethiopia. It is hard to do a balanced, inclusive and extensive research of our diverse Ethiopian history. As leaders and thinkers of our nation, We can either choose to take the easy path, or we can choose to take the hard but honorable and rewarding path. For the Mr. Ararssas and Mr. Jawars out there, I challenge you to take the honorable path. The crisis in Ethiopia requires an in depth approach and multifaceted solution. Let us shine light into the darkness, because more darkness can not drive out existing darkness.



By Keffyalew Gebremedhin

Ethiopia and the United States held face-to-face discussion in New York on September 21, 2016 on the side of the UN General Assembly. The respective sides were led by the TPLF Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and his opposite number US Assistant Secretary of State Linda Thomas-Greenfield.

The subject of their discussion was not the usual back-patting and praises. This time there is no way of hiding the dangerous situation evolving in Ethiopia because of popular uprising against the ruling Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

The US official made it plain that the situation in Ethiopia is dangerous. In particular she put her stress how much the United States is very concerned about the deepening instability and the violence, particularly in the Oromia and Amhara regions, according to an editorial on the Voice of America.

Ms Thomas-Greenfield criticized the response by the TPLF regime to protests in the country as “intense and somewhat harsh crackdown”. She added:

“We have had discussions with the Ethiopian government encouraging that they have dialogue, and that they open the possibly for press freedom, civil society’s ability to function, and that many of the people who have been put in jail be released.”

Consequently, the Assistant Secretary of State realistically pointed out that the United States believes the situation in Ethiopia “could deteriorate and that the Ethiopian government is aware of that possibility as well.”

“We’ve met with Prime Minister Hailemariam [Desalegn] in New York, and we have encouraged him to look at how the government is addressing this situation.”

It is so pathetic that without even feeling how much the United States Government would contempt him and his colleagues for distorting the real gist of its message, the prime minister to whom lies always are a second nature released a new story on the TPLF news agency Fana that pleases his bosses. In that story, he told the Ethiopian people how much the US was pleased with the actions the TPLF has been taking to end the instability in the country.

For me, the way the news was couched, firstly sounded exaggerated and secondly it was intended to please the people in the security and the army’s top brass. Unfortunately, the language rather was saying the US was supporting TPLF killings in the country, instead of the search for stability.

That same day, i.e., on September 21 after reading that news item, I twitted the following:



Actually, what the US had said to the prime minister, whose problems with personal integrity is common knowledge among Ethiopians, read:
“We think,” she said, “it [the Ethiopian situation] could get worse if it’s not addressed – sooner rather than later.”

Any normal person could get a sense of what is happening in Ethiopia, much less a superpower. After all, the United States Security Advisory for Ethiopia this time around is pretty long, extending into February 2017, which is an indication that the US has anticipated that the current crisis would linger, getting worse with every passing time.

The fear now is the possibility of widespread bloodshed in the country, although nothing under the Ethiopian skies is out there to reverse the likelihood of collapse of the most hated and corrupt regime in Ethiopian history.

TPLF’s hands are stained with lots of blood of our people. On this very Monday, according to documentation by social media, there were killings in many parts of Oromia – from Harare to Mendi in Wollega. In Amhara region, it is the same story of killings and abductions.

By the time, the TPLF is down Ethiopia is likely to have fewer youth than at the start of the popular uprising. That is the extent of the killings and imprisonments everywhere in unmarked prisons and those that get tortured on a daily basis. Many have been cruelly killed and churches quietly report that in Amhara night burials by unknown people have become common experience, as the TPLF security forces remove the bodies of those they have killed under the cover of darkness.

For now, Amhara and Oromia regions are getting media covers. Of course it is a deserved coverage, though not enough because these two regions have enormously suffered, continue to suffer and having heroically shown their resolve not to give up their struggle.

On September 13, 2016, I urged the US to cleanse its name and image the alliance with the TPLF has hurt. In that article, I expressed my disappointment with President Obama’s policy, which “While Ethiopia has been in the TPLF hell, he has chosen to close not only the eyes of the people of the United States, praising the murderers. But also he has restricted the rest of the Western world, since no one country could dare take action against the US’s best African ally.”

While I have a sense of the US dilemma in the Horn of Africa, as an Ethiopian witnessing the cold-blooded massacre of my fellow countrymen, I could not help being angry at the US allowing its name to be soiled by the alliance it has forged with the TPLF.

Nonetheless, since the affairs of normal states must continue, we see in the Horn of Africa that the United States is taking measures to ensure its security interests, especially in fighting the Al-Shabab terrorism, at a time when the TPLF is bogged down with massacring Ethiopians and the Mogadishu government is lame duck and like all other African regimes is preoccupied with its power and forthcoming election.

And now I somewhat feel the US has chosen to take the right course of action regarding the TPLF. If you ask me my opinion, as I indicated earlier, there is nothing to reform inside the TPLF. Therefore, the only reliable action for the rest of Ethiopians is prosecution of the habitual criminal murderers. This would create for Ethiopians the right condition to rebuild their future and their country the guerrillas in state power have wracked.

As to US interests in the Horn of Afraid, we see that Jordan is becoming Horn of Africa’s partner in security matters. Today, for the first time, King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein of Jordan is in Nairobi on a state visit.

Kenya’s Capital FM indicated the purpose of the Jordanian monarch’s visit, a very good friend of the West, is to hold talks with President Uhuru Kenyatta on security issues among other planned activities.

Recall also that in the third quarter of August 2016, Secretary of State John Kerry was in Kenya to discuss security arrangements for the Horn. I concluded already then that the US has decided to move on, with the rest of the East African nations. In Nairobi, turning to East African states, Mr. Kerry noted:

“And I think we all were agreed, and I know that both the Somali, I know that Kenya, and I believe the Ethiopians are prepared (emphasis added) to work with the United States in order to put greater pressure on al-Shabaab in the meantime.”

One latest regional development is also the increasing opening up for Eritrea, because of which it has been first called from the cold by the European Union and then on a bilateral basis with some individual European nations.

Ethiopians should only strengthen their resolve to see the back of the TPLF, since there is nothing in their midst that is reformable or salvageble.



Latest News in Ethiopia (September 27)





Beware of TPLF's minority card

Written by Jawar Mohammad

Recently you might have noticed that TPLF is propagating 'Somalis' protesting against OLF, G7 etc. Its important to know that these are members of the TPLF's puppet party in Somali region ( its like OPDO and ANDM members rallying in support of the regime). In fact many of the thugs are not from Somali regional state but from Djibouti, Somalia, Somaliland and even Kenya. Back home the psychopathic president of the region has forced residents of Jigjiga to stage a rally. Why all this? First it shows the regime have given up on its puppet parties in Oromia and Amhara regions. Pro-regime rallies planned in Oromia and Amhara were either cancelled due to fear of turning into protest or no one showed up.

But there is more sinister motive than just this. It is part of the minority card TPLF leaders are trying to play as they fight for survival. Two weeks ago Seyoum Mesfin and Abay Tsehaye gave interview where they repeatedly pulled the minority card. They have two objectives in doing so. First they want to mislead and gain sympathy of the liberal international community that their minority ethnic group (Tigreans) are facing genocide from alliance of the two largest ethnic groups Oromo and Amhara. They have been telling diplomats that it's not just Tigreans facing existential threat but also other minorities. Second, they want to implement their long held plan of 'minority coalition' to withstand pressure from Amhara and Oromo forces. Since the days of their armed struggle, TPLF leaders believed that the best way to cope with being outnumbered is to forge alliance (under their domination) with other minorities. The controversial map that connects Tigray with Benishangul-Gumuz and all the way down to Gambela on the West, and Afar and Somali through the East is not some simple error or latest development. It has been on the works since 1980s. Although it failed due to economic competition with Tigrean businessmen, they have also tried to bring urban minorities to their side as well.

But is TPLF an ally of minorities in Ethiopia? Its records say NO!

  • - Its military carried out ethnic cleansing against Ethiopian Somalis as meticulously recorded by human rights organizations. Abdi Illey was their henchmen who was facilitating the massacre.
  • - It massacred the Agnuwak in Gambella region in 2003 and still continue to kill in the region.
  • - The Sidama were massacred at Loqe in 2002.
  • - Entire villages in Konso are being burned down as we speak.
  • - The Mursi are killed en mass and those captured alive are chained like animals as might have seen on pictures
  • - Silte and Gurage businessmen have been pushed out of the market and replaced by Tigreans.
  • - Afar land is all but taken over by Tigrean land grabbers.
  • - On and on and on......
  • Yet as it faces increasing resistance in Oromo and Amhara, TPLF will be aggressively using this 'minority card' in the up coming weeks and months. This will be done with action that will create rift between minority ethnic groups and Oromo/Amhara. We should henceforth expect the following:
  • - More rallies in diaspora and targeted regions in Ethiopia with participants holding slogans that offend Oromo/Amhara.
  • - Intensified campaign on media using languages that provoke debate and counter attack.
  • - Physical attack on Oromo/Amhara activists and institutions with the aim of provoking counter attack on Somalis.
  • - They will intensify instigating conflict on regional boarders. We are already hearing provocation on Benishangul-Amhara boarders, Somali -Oromia boarders.
  • If left unchallenged, these tactics could cause serious short and long term problem between various nations of the country. Therefore, the following steps should be taken to counter that:
  • - Oromos and Amharas shouldn't fall for the provocative trap. Avoid debates and arguments against Somalis and others.
  • - Let activists, political leaders and organizations respond to debunk them.
  • - Beware that the regime's agents will engage in nasty exchanges pretending to be Oromo, Amhara, Somali etc.
  • - Prominent activists, political leaders should be careful against attacks by hired thugs. Community and religious institutions should be protected. In case attacks occur, the situation must be wisely contained. No doubt the regime agents in Amhara and Oromo communities will try to instigate counter attack on Somali and others. Hence no matter the severity, the possible attack on Amhara/Oromo personalities, the response should never be communal; the individual who committed the crime should be singled out and brought to justice.

Such old and tired tactic of divide and rule cannot extend TPLF's dictatorship.
Protesters chant slogans during a demonstration over what they say is unfair distribution of wealth in the country at Meskel Square in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, August 6. TIKSA NEGERI / Reuters

Written by Tsegaye Tegenu (PhD)

There is an interesting parallel between the popular uprising in Tigray led by TPLF in the 1980s and the recent popular protests in Oromo and Amhara regions. All popular movements, including Eritrea's secession led by EPLF, reveal the true characteristics, limitation and historical nature of the Ethiopian central state. These movements profoundly questioned the capability of the Ethiopian central government to change the material wellbeing of the local people. All popular uprisings did not trust the central government when it comes to economic development. Whatever the characteristic or name given to it, be it unitarist or federalist, the popular movements revealed the unchanging profound nature of the Ethiopian central state. What is the hidden nature of the Ethiopian central state or government which all popular movements revealed or underlined to those of us who oversight history?

I would like to ponder over this question by reflecting back on the comments made by Professor Emeritus Donald Crummey about my book on the evolution of the Ethiopian absolutist state in the nineteenth century. In 1996 Professor Donald Crummey sent to my institute a book review message saying:

“Tsegaye Tegenu’s The Evolution of Ethiopian Absolutism is a carefully argued account of the origins of the modern Ethiopian state. It stresses that the foundations of the modern Ethiopian state rested on an increased military capacity, rather than on reforms which might promote economic development.”

I really could not understand why Professor Donald Crummey came to such a conclusion without being overwhelmed by minute details narrated in 289 pages. Why did Professor Donald Crummey summarized the book in few lines that underlined the interest of the Ethiopian state “increased military capacity, rather than on reforms which might promote economic development”? That was absolutely contrary to my view and expectation about the Ethiopian central state. I see the Ethiopian state as defender of colonialism and put it on parallel ground path like the European state, despite cultural and geographical differences. Why Professor Donald Crummey interpreted century of history in the way that I did not mean to be interpreted.

What I wrote in the book was how the Ethiopian state systematically used land and labor as an economic base for its military growth and involvement. I saw the state as defender of freedom and unity in the face of internal and external enemies. What Professor Donald Crummy saw was the implication of such “state growth” for the economy. I have discussed the economic implications of centralizing policies in chapters seven and eight because my interpretation model forced me to analyze the issues in a comparative perspective. Professor Donald Crummey used these chapters as starting point and framework to interpret the preceding chapters. While I see the period from the military perspective, Professor Donald Crummey brought up the economic side of the history in a way that I cared less to emphasis. I was literally obsessed in glorifying what I considered as collective achievements of the Ethiopian people.

Nonetheless his comments sat in the back of my mind and when felt uncomfortable I tried to ignore it as past historical event. The current protest in Oromia and Amhara before that the popular movement in Tigray led by TPLF made me to reflect back on the comments of Professor Donald Crummy. Is it true that the Ethiopian central state cares for its own growth: “an increased military capacity, rather than on reforms which might promote economic development”. Is history repeating itself now? The popular movements in Tigray, Oromo and Amhara helped me to further understand the conclusion of Professor Donald Crummey and to reconsider my ongoing research analysis model about the role of the Ethiopian state in economic growth and transformation.

As Professor Donald Crummey said and as the empirical evidences show the Ethiopian state is concerned primarily for its own growth, safety and wellbeing. The people of Tigray, Oromo, Amhara and other local people understand the central government the way Professor Donald Crummy interpret it.

Sharing the views of the regional and local people, in 1991 the EPRDF government declared self-governing principle and conferred the regions with power to be used as mechanism development and wellbeing. It seems that in the choice of economic policies, design of instruments, EPRDF slipped back into the same tradition of unitarist or centralist. The central government took back the power it conferred to the people. Knowingly or unknowingly, EPRDF used economic policies to increase its own capacity rather than changing the life of the ordinary people.

History shows that whatever mantle it wears, unitarist or federalist, the central Ethiopian state is true to its tradition: very much elitist and extractivist. Irrespective of time and place, in the eyes of the regional and local people, it always cared for itself. The popular movements in Tigray, Oromo, Amhara and Eritrea are testimonies of distrust of the central government of Ethiopia. These movements did not trust the central Ethiopian government when it comes to the design, oversight and implement of economic and institutional reforms.

The question is, given such historical record of path-dependent development, how can the central government of Ethiopia be trusted in the future? Trust is important for the eradication of poverty. OECD’s latest report (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) states that “trust in institutions is important for the success of many government policies, programmes and regulations that depend on cooperation and compliance of citizens” (see http://www.oecd.org/gov/trust-in-government.htm)

For comments the writer can be reached at tsegaye.tegenu@epmc.se



Is VOA acting like kangaroo court to exonerate Woyane offenders on the expenses of Ethiopian victims?

Woyane will die unceremonious death soon so its sorry Mafia operatives but, unless the political elites’ superficial knowledge dies with it, we Ethiopians will continue to struggle to secure our freedom and liberty.

Written by Teshome Debalke

False confession, conversion and exoneration of Woyanes to thwart Ethiopian democratic revolution from ending the corrupt ethnic Apartheid rule on make-believe Medias is getting out of hand. In a nation where a Mafia regime is running amok with firearms in the wrong hands to shoot-and-kill our people and gasoline to burn down the country if it doesn’t get its way, the last thing Ethiopians expect from so called Medias is to act as kangaroo courts or a platform to exonerate Mafia offenders on the expenses of the victims instead of being advocates for the truth.VOA Amharic walking a tight rope in Ethiopia

The recent VOA drama playing Kangaroo court presided by reporter Tsion Girma acting as Judge to vindicate Junedin Sado, the Former ‘fake’ (his own word) Oromyia President of TPLF led Apartheid regime is another debacle of the out of control Media operatives violating their journalistic oath and mandate.

The staged VOA kangaroo court’s testimony (interview) not only gave the offender a platform to declare his innocence on all crimes against the people of Ethiopia and the nation without his victims presence to confront him but, the charges of promoting a radical Islamic sect his own ‘fake’ regime brought against him – contracting and incriminating himself and his former regime he willingly served for 15 years in both charges.

On the first allegation, he admitted serving ‘fake’ Federal regime playing as Oromo President and in the second, he confess not only receiving fund from the Saudi Embassy cultural attaché but, many of his Muslim compatriots did with the knowledge of the regime – further incriminating the Mafia regime he served for allowing the Saudi government involvement in expansion of religion sect throughout Ethiopia in direct violation of diplomatic relation and against the law — no interference government let alone a foreign in the religion affair of the nation.

Such explosive allegation from a man that came out of his hiding to spill the beans about the ‘fake’ ethnic Apartheid Federal regime should alarm Ethiopians in general and Muslim followers in particular. Moreover, VOA’s reporter Tsion Girma and associates’ motive to stage such a drama with a colorful Woyane man coming out of his hiding to tell-tell the extent the ‘fake’ Mafia regime involvement with the Saudi government to finance the expansion of religion should be examined extensively. Is Tsion Girma VOA and associates implying the Ethiopian Muslims movement for freedom of religion associated with the Saudi regime or is she opening religious front to further polarize Ethiopians to sustain the Mafia regime?

If VOA credential is an indication, there is no question there is something fishy going on that requires every Ethiopian attention. Given VOA reporters on the ground (in Ethiopia) failed to generate a single independent reporting on the ongoing Ethiopian revolution or on the Mafia regime atrocities and corruption in general throughout its reign, there is no surprises in what they do. But, in this particular case, putting up a drama with the long forgotten former Woayne in hiding without his victims that flee from terror of his former regime is not only crime against humanity but, cover up the extent of the Mafia regime crimes against Ethiopians.

Quit honestly, the numbers of Make-believe Media playing as kangaroo courts- platforms with clandestine journalist-operators acting as judges to exonerate offenders of all kinds quadrupled in the recent past and getting out of hand. What they are doing now is the tip of the iceberg to come to undermine the people’s revolution for their democratic rights and justice by trampling on the blood of Ethiopians being spilled by the regime with impunity.

Moreover, by muddying the political water further thus, poisoning the ongoing grassroots revolution; the campaign to sustain the status qua is in full gear. Fanning TPLF made up conflicts and polarizing Ethiopians further to make it look like the sky will fall if the Mafia group masquerading as government bit the dust or if their own twisted agenda not accepted is populating the make-believe Medias in the cyberspace.

It appears, the political elites are not yet done slicing-and-dicing Ethiopians’ rights to be free from dictatorship. Therefore, the long awaited simple solution of sorting out criminals from the innocent in body politics Ethiopian demands is taking an ugly turn again on the make-believe Medias playing kangaroo courts and pseudo journalists acting judges and mediators than the important public service their profession demands.

The same people that were part-and-partial of the problem the Mafia group brought showing up to be part of the solution is unfortunate. But, in their trifling minds, they not only think Ethiopians have no democratic rights to decide our fate or deserve justice for the pain-and-suffering we endured from Mafia group masquerading as government and others but, not capable of sorting out our own problems without recycling the same offenders. Once again, it shows the incompatibility of the elites’ interest with people of Ethiopia. And, nowhere is it evident than in the make-believe Medias run by clandestine pseudo journalists. Where is the justice for the people in that?

But again, what we can learn from political elites of our time in general is; the application of their superficial knowledge made them oblivious to what legitimacy means and the mandate that comes with it. Noting exhibits such incompetent and arrogance than VOA reporters/journalists (among them the Former VOA reporter/journalist and the present mouth piece of the Mafia group Mimi Sebhatu) that slice and dice the meaning of legitimacy and the mandate or the responsibility that comes with it.

Speaking of the queen of defamations Mimi Sebhatu’s recent tantrum on the ongoing revolution and on good governance analyzed in her little mind would make any decent person throw up. But, when you think about it; she isn’t the exception but the rule of the elites’ superficial knowledge that drive them to believe; the Ethiopians rights and liberties rotates around it. She happen to have access to trumpet her superficial knowledge because she serve the Mafia group like many to lesser extent that gave her the microphone.

As we witness the make-believe Medias’ clandestine operatives agonize to thwart the ongoing Ethiopian revolution and undermine the patriots of the struggle, we should remember what the humble hero of the struggle Feyisa Lilesa said speaking on behalf of Ethiopians. The moral superiority of the humble young Ethiopian breaking Woyane’s barrier speaks 1000s of words than what all the political elites’ failed to do all these years.

The moral of the story is, just because one have access to magnify superficial knowledge to serve a Mafia regime or any interest group doesn’t earn her-him creditability or the right to own the truth. Woyane will die unceremonious death soon so its sorry Mafia operatives but, unless the political elites’ superficial knowledge dies with it, we Ethiopians will continue to struggle to secure our freedom and liberty. And, the shortest and the easiest way to end the proliferation of superficial knowledge is to end the make-believe Medias’ clandestine operatives from promoting it and defending and supporting real Medias to bury it for good.

After all, Woyane came and remained to cause unimaginable havoc because of the make-believe Medias amplified the political elites’ superficial knowledge not the other way around. Therefore, the sooner Ethiopians identify the make-believe Medias and their clandestine operators trumpeting superficial knowledge in general and the Mafia group in particular as the root cause of the problem the better Ethiopians will be.