Ethiopia: Regarding heroes and Villains

Renegade General Mola Asghedom after crossing the Eritrea Sudanese border with his handful of fighters.

Regarding heroes and Villains

By Yilma Bekele

If only I could have charged a penny for the many times my friends ask me ‘what is new in Ethiopia’ I would be a rich person by now. That is a very common question when Ethiopians meet. I always try to answer in a positive manner. It is not a simple matter trying to put a positive spin on a situation that by any stretch of the imagination does not give one a chance to embellish the truth no matter how hard one tries.Ethiopia's heroes and Villains

I am not saying nothing good comes out of Woyane land. Stuff happen no matter how the regime is working hard at dumbing-down our home land. If you care to dig deeper or pay attention to the detail all of the good news is due to ‘individual’ achievement not something involving the mafia government in power.

Archaeologists dig up bones showing our country to be the fountain of humanity, biologists identify old DNA that has not been seen before, our athletes find a way to smash old records, and most satisfying of all those that left home with nothing go to places and shine like the northern star making us all proud. We are better of without our government.

Go ahead I dare you. I am talking about independently verifiable facts not some ‘Mamo Kilo’ story churned out by the communication and disinformation department. Without going far into the past let us look at a situation that has taken place just a month or so ago. I am talking about the ‘light train’ project that has been hailed by many as an achievement.

For those without memory may I remind you about the train service that was the result of Emperor Minilik’s brilliant move to counter balance the advance of the British from the south and the west. Our Emperor brought in the French from the East to checkmate the British. So train service is not something new nor earthshaking. It is all about timing and knowing one’s priorities.

Why did our Woyane masters think ‘light train’ is what is needed to solve one of the many myriad problems faced by our country? When you look closer you will discover that building the train has nothing to do about solving a problem but rather it is all about how much can be stolen, who could be bribed and ultimately the cheap and temporary propaganda value to the ruling party.

$450 million that we know of was borrowed from the Chinese to build this legacy project .The Chinese were chosen because there is no such thing as accountability and transparency when dealing with the Peoples Republic and that suits our Woyane perfectly good. The subcontractors were either the Military or EFFORT. The train, rail and entire building material was produced in China. Our country is just one small assembly line. There is no transfer of technology of any residual value to Ethiopia.

The TPLF party is looking at it as the second coming. We are told it is due to the far farsightedness of our ignorant leaders that our country was blessed with the first light train service in sub-Sahara Africa. We have entered the civilized world due to this colossal achievement led by the Tigrai Liberation Front.

I fail to see why borrowing money from someone to construct something that would not move the ball one inch forward is considered anything to crow about. Here let me give you a comparison that we could all understand as immigrants. Upon arrival at the new home what exactly are one’s priorities. I would say food, shelter and clothing comes first. And when one is lucky enough finding a job it would be irrational to go buy a car with credit. Walking, public transportation, carpooling and other ways are a winning idea to be able to build the future on solid foundation. Buying an expensive car might feel good and appear good to others but it is too much of a price to pay for vanity sake.

Vanity is what is driving the TPLF regime. This illness is common in Africa. Dictators like mega projects to feel useful. Westerners and now the Chinese love to throw money at this fools and get almost all of it back. Meles has his ‘Great Renaissance dam’ on the Nile that will never be built and Debretsion/Abbay have ‘light rail’ and a few of us are cheer leading on the side.

Ethiopia’s business is agriculture. It is Coffee, Cereal. Oil Seed, Khat, Flowers, Minerals that sustain the economy while the rest of the budget is begged money. Where does building a light rail system for a city that does not have adequate water, sewer service, electricity come into the picture? And on borrowed money too. Is that really a priority in this time of famine?

The UN has been warning regarding the lack of food and the consequences to follow. The TPLF regime has been denying it every turn. Ask Redwan he will lecture you regarding the abundance of food in Ethiopia. Double digit economic growth that is the the envy of Africa what famine are you talking about is how they would sneer and accuse of one being anti ‘tigrean’ or against progress.

The famine is real. It is not happening due to lack of rain, El Nino effect or an act of God. It is happening due to lack of leadership and is the consequences of dictatorship. The ferenjis are slowly being allowed to visit visit our starving people while no independent Ethiopian is allowed to report on the dire situation. What we hear and see is the tip of the iceberg. Our people are once again faced with man made catastrophe.

Tigrai region that is supposed to be the envy of the Nation is the epicenter of the famine. Food donation is transported from Djibouti to Tigrai directly. It is unfortunate some of the food aid is being diverted to be sold for profit. The TPLF Party is good at such diversion. They profited a lot from the great famine in the eighty’s. Ethiopia is the only country that has a name for the recurring famine faced by our poor people. The last three Governments cost the Ethiopian people millions of lives. People are not statistics. How do Ethiopians allow this to happen over and again?

You see the simple fact is the Government is supposed to foresee and prepare for such disaster. In any other place a regime that wastes peoples money on toy trains while they are starving would not get to see tomorrow. A regime set up to loot and plunder is only focused on doing projects that benefit the ruling group with little crumbs thrown to their underlings. They sell land so Middle East Hotels can serve fresh fruit, they destroy farm land so they could put flowers on European tables and tell us we are doing good.

We have become numb. They have succeeded in dumbing-down an entire country. How exactly one goes about dumbing-down a whole nation is a good question. Total control of the communication media and use of Security Forces without even provocation gives them the means. TPLF controls what is taught in schools, what is written on any media like newspaper, Journal and even fiction. They control Television and radio. From this vantage point they carry out the dumming-down of every Citizen.

The old is discarded as backward, useless and not suitable for today. New myths are created and new heroes are conjured up. The way the new Ethiopian understands the world is defined in a new manner. Today some of us are caught between what we know to be rational and true and the new reality as defined by the regime. This idea of creating myth and the upside down definition of what constitutes a hero is bound to create havoc in our society for long time to come.

Myths are important tools society uses to help understand the world and define what is considered good or evil. Myths give guidance to generations and also teach important lessons so we are all on the same page. We Ethiopians are aware of Queen Sheba that ruled all the way across the Red Sea and her famous visit to meet King Solomon. This makes our country feel ancient and important. The stone Obelisk at Aksum are proof our ancestors were far advanced and left something like this behind.

Emperor Tewodros sacrificed himself rather than be caught by the British. That was defined as an act of heroism. Taitu Betul behind her cannons blasting away the enemy is the vision we grew up with. Our gorilla fighters that did not give the enemy a minute of peace on our land were considered hero extraordinaire.

Abreha Deboch and Moges Asgedom, our Eritrean brothers that disrupted Graziani’s festival in our City are some one to look up to. Abebe Bikila that won the marathon bare foot was showing what we are made of in Rome the capital that Mussolini ruled. My dear brother Eskinder Nega that refused to bow down to dictatorship is the definition of selflessness. That is our myth and those are our heroes.

Today it is different. Things are standing on their head. Aksum is not for the rest of Ethiopian so exclaimed the dead dictator. Ethiopia is less than a century old became party line. Tewodros and Minilik are looked on with derision and have become objects to be tossed around by every pea brain cadre. Even our ancient alphabet the pride of Africans is considered an imposed nuisance. They know how to disparage and condemn but they just have not figured out how to build like an Ethiopian.

Recently I was proud to be present at a funeral of a genuine Ethiopian hero. He was a decorated Ethiopian Air force Colonel. He is credited for shooting down a Somali MiG fighter jet. Colonel Balcha Hunde served his country honorably and with distinction. He was willing to die to keep his country free. Today the combatants operating from Northern Ethiopia are our new heroes fighting to regain a freedom lost. That is our old definition of what a hero is and what heroes are.

A few months back a certain character named Molla Asgedom was paraded on Woyane TV and celebrated as a hero. So you see betrayal of friends and selling to the highest bidder is the new definition of what a hero is. Folks like Ben of Ethiopia First, Dawit of Awramba Times, Amare of The Reporter are what the new look of what a journalist is all about while Eskinder, Temesgen, Taye, Reyot are considered terrorists. Woyane creates myths and defines heroes to degrade our character. Liars are appreciated, verbal excellence is encouraged over actual work of substance.

It is time for Ethiopians to hold hands and promise to put country and people first. As you are reading this thousands, millions of Ethiopians are starving. Some are dying. The people that have been holding power for the last twenty two years have failed to protect our people, bring our country together and lead by good example. The nature of the regime is more than clear by now. It is time we come together and support those that have resolved to confront and remove the mafia group. Saying No to dictatorship is the beginning.