Mr Samuel Alemayehu: The Grand Hero (12 Jun 1942 – 29 Dec 2005)

Mr Samuel Alemayehu was born in 1942 in Dembidollo, Ethiopia.He did his schooling at Arbegnoch School and then the Addis Ababa School of Commerce.

He then left to the United States for further studies got his Bachelor and Master’s at Cornell University.

He got involved in the early days of the formation of the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Party (EPRP).He then returned to
Addis Ababa to work closely with his underground movement and held Inter Zonal positions and Central Committee membership first in Addis and then Harar and Wollo. He was detained by the Mengistu regime in 1976 with all the labor movement leaders… When the urban struggle collapsed under the ruthless Menguistu’s regime, he found himself struggling from one side the notorious TPLF which has always been an undemocratic movement and is now the champion of oppression in Addis Abeba and Menguistu himself…
Once the West managed to choose their preference on the alternative for Menguistu and helped the TPLF seize power, the latter crashed heavily the EPRP. A reminiscence of the group struggled some how from neighboring Sudan and Samuel was at the heart of the resistance. When roaming in Sudan became extremely dangerous and deadly – since he was well known – due to the collaboration of the Sudanese government and the Woyane against EPRP, he was forced to leave the area. Lately, he was mostly in Europe and lately in the US still actively organizing the Diaspora.Till his last breath last week, he remained the organizer, the teacher, the wise man and the history of the EPRP itself.

He passed away on 29 December 2005.

Samuel is surviving by his mother Woizero Etaferahu, his brothers (Iyassu and Daniel) and sisters (Hanna and Saba).
May Samuel rest in peace…
   

 

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Published in: on December 30, 2006 at 8:18 pm  Comments (6)  

Meles/Bush Blunders in Somalia: War Mongering Agents of Destabilisation and Mass Destruction

By Yilma Begashaw 

1.   Introduction  

The Islamic Court has used some unnecessary aggressive words against
Ethiopia. We may also have some past bitter memories. However, currently they do not have any capacity to threaten the Ethiopian sovereignty. Meles Zenawi went to this proxy war to pay back favours for those foreign powers that enabled him to stay in power despite a disastrous defeat at the May 2005 National Election. He may also be trying to leave behind a legacy of bad memory and hatred against our people for many years to come. This may be part of the 100 years of homework the Woyanes and the Shaabiyas gave
Ethiopia when they came to power. The AU Deputy commission supported Meles exactly as he did following the rigged 2005 election.  Together with peace loving Somalis, Erithreans, the Sudanese and the international community, we have to oppose unnecessary wars. Those responsible for war crimes must be brought to the International Court of Justice. We have to learn from past mistakes. We want democracy, peace and prosperity in the region, not aggression, destabilisation, displacement and our peoples’ continued sufferings.  

 

2.            We have never been Aggressoss,but Defenders   

We Ethiopian are peace loving citizens of the world.  We have a clean history.  We don’t go out to attack any nation, big or small.  But we always successfully defend ourselves against and foreign aggression, big or small.  As we fight only just wars, our mighty creator was always on our side.  Religion, ethnicity or greed did not divide us during our resolution to defend our mother land, except very few traitors this was because we were only forced to fight a just war, to defend our sovereignty, a just war that was the concern of every citizen, regardless.  It is true there were times when we were threatened or even invaded by the Somali dictatorial regimes, notably that of Ziad Barre.  But, every time they came, we taught them good lessons.  We may not like the unnecessary and provocative propaganda of the Somali Islamic Court. However, they do not have any capacity to threaten our territorial integrity at the moment. We do not have to go to wars simply because we heard some threats from some corners. We have to create a democratic, stable, peaceful and strong Ethiopian nation that cannot be threatened by any war mongers.

 

3.         We Always Provided Safe Haven for those that were under aggressions  

When the Muslims crossed over to
Ethiopia, for protection, we gave them a safe haven.

That is why the Holy Quran warns every Muslims not to ever attack
Ethiopia.
Ethiopia, a country that has never been colonised, gave all the genuine assistance to the African Freedom Fighters that led them to independence from colonialism. We have thus been respected in the World because of our peace-loving nature. We do not want to lose that golden legacy.

 

4.         So, why is Meles breaking yet Another Record against the Ethiopian People’s Aspirations? 

4.1.      Meles is a fascist dictator that was put in power in1991 by the Anglo American brochures Western conspiracy, following the last days of the brutal dictatorship of Mengistu Haile Mariam Military regime.

 

4.2       Despite his regime’s criminal records, the Meles regime was sustained on power for 15 years by the Western powers.  Prime Minster Tony Blair even recruited him as one of the Commissions for Africa Development while Meles was well known for being one of the causes of chronic African problems.

 

4.3        Those very Western Powers (notably the American and the British Administrations) still sustained him on power after the May, 2005 Ethiopian National Election, in which the opposition political parties made a landslide victory, as evidenced by reputable International Election Observers- notably their own European Union, headed by Hon. Anna Gomez and the Carter Administration.

 

4.4      He is sustained on power to serve the mistaken polices of the American State Department of President Bush’s Administration and the Foreign Department of P.M. Blair’s British Government.

 

4.5  Meles will therefore go extra miles to serve or to pretend to serve his foreign masters, to pay back favours for staying in an unbelievable power for so long.

 

5.                  How About the Support from the African
Union?
 

Most of the leaders of the member countries are also dictators. They always scratch each others’ backs. When respected International Election Observers such as the European Union and the Carter Administration presented valid reports of massive vote rigging, intimidation and harassment conducted by the Meles Regime, the Deputy Commissioner of the African Union surprisingly gave support to Meles Zenawi. Thousands of international petitions were signed, asking the Deputy Commissioner to resign. Instead of resignation, he is adding another blow by supporting the illegal intervention of the Meles regime in the internal affairs of
Somalia. Until the African nations are democratised, one cannot except much from the bunch of corrupt dictators.

 

6.         The Way Forward 

The African Union is corrupt and incompetent. The United Nation is under the control of the Super Powers. The only way forward is the coordinated and concerted people-to-people struggle, nationally, regionally and internationally, for democracy, justice, stability and global peace and prosperity. Peace-loving citizens have to struggle jointly to bring to the International Court of Justice, those leaders responsible for war crimes inflicted against their own people and elsewhere.

Published in: on December 30, 2006 at 6:16 pm  Comments (2)  

Your enemy’s enemy is your friend

 By Leoul Mekonen

I read the following piece in Los Angeles Times under the title “Somalia could be Ethiopia’s quagmire”, and I would like to comment on the Ethio– Somali war.


“The U.S. has worked closely with Ethiopia, including training elements of its military, in its four-year effort to contain the spread of Islamic extremism in the Horn of Africa. U.S. officials repeatedly have denied using Ethiopia as a proxy against Somali Islamists, and have insisted that they argued against an Ethiopian invasion with officials in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital.”

It is very easy to deny the involvement of U.S. in the Ethio-Somali war and it is understandable. Is it politically correct to approve that U.S. is using  Ethiopia as a proxy against  Somali Islamists? What will be the reaction of United Nations and the Islamic states around the world if the U.S. approves the invasion of Somalia. We know that in our complicated world, the most important thing is political correctness and not honesty. We knew from experience that sometimes leaders like Yassir Arafat gave order to terrorist attacks and at the same time lament and condemn the terrorist acts. Such kind of political game is not new in our world and in some ways U.S. is also a part of this game.

When it comes to the strong relationship between U.S. and the Meles Zenawi regime in Ethiopia, the U.S. government has never been honest to the rest of the world. First of all, Meles Zenawi is holding power by squashing opposition groups who won during the May 2005 election. The Ethiopian people have demonstrated their support to the opposition groups mainly to Coalition to Unity and Democracy(KINIJIT) by flooding the streets of Addis Ababa like Tsunami. Not a single African country has witnessed such human wave of support for political oppositions as it happened in Addis Ababa during May 2005. The opposition political leaders who now languish in Ethiopia were high profile scholars who have studied, worked and lived in U.S. for many years. They are academics who have been committed to build a democratic society and there is a great deal of resemblance between the incarcerated leaders and the American civil and political rights activists of the 1960’s. While U.S. was aware of the fact that the Meles Zenawi regime was tyrannical and hold power by guns, the U.S. state department kept a blind eye and deaf ears for the call of Ethiopians to denounce and stop supporting the Meles Zenawi regime. Despite to the atrocities Meles Zenawi regime inflicted on peaceful citizens, the U.S. continued its strong ties under the pretext of “war on terror”.

One of the reasons for the failures of the U.S. foreign policy both in the Middle East and in Horn of Africa is, its old and short-sighted theory which is based on “your enemy’s enemy is your friend”. We have seen how this principle affected U.S. and our world generally during and after the cold war period. The enemy’s enemies who were supported by U.S. against Soviet Union, during the cold war era were turned to be the nightmares of U.S.A. We Ethiopians used to believe that U.S. was committed to the establishment of democracy and good governance in Africa. But to our grief, sorrowand dismay, we have learned that political interest is more valuable to U.S. than democracy and human rights. When the Meles Zenawi government was clearly condemned by the European Union and criticized for massacring  more than 190 peaceful demonstrators in a broad daylight, the U.S. state department was admiring the tyrannical regime of Meles Zenawi as good ally to “war on terror”.

It is clear that the Somali Islamists are enemies to the U.S. but arming and supporting a dictatorial regime with the notion of supporting the enemy’s enemy will not bring positive outcome to the U.S. as well as Ethiopians. After all, Ethiopians feel as captives under the Meles Zenawi regime and U.S. is perceived as the main contributor to the misery they face each day. During the 1960’s there was a saying “if you are black, stay at the back, if you are white you are alright.” Now this saying is no more valid but “As long as you stand with U.S., you are free to kill and harass” seems to be the dominant attitude among dictatorial African leaders.

How can U.S. win war on terror by supporting a regime that terrorises its own citizens? In my opinion, it is lunatic to think that the Ethiopian army will crush the Islamists. Instead it will raise the patriotic spirit of Somalis and even those who have had negative attitude towards Islamists will prefer to join them. Hating Saddam doesn’t necessarily mean to love USA. Any Iraqi father or mother who lost her son by American bomb will sooner or later hates the presence of U.S. army in Iraq. Any Somali who hates the Islamists will not necesarily like the precence of Ethiopian troops in Somalia but be compelled to join the Jihadists when their airport is bombed by Ethiopian aircrafts.

To conclude my comment, it would be wonderful to the U.S. if the government shifts its attitude of supporting the enemy’s enemy. This can give a short term advantage but its consequences and outcomes are grave in the long run. The U.S. can make a fundamental change in our world specially in 2007, by upholding the principles of democracy, human rights and rule of law above political and economic interests. It is wise to learn from previous mistakes and it is not late for the U.S. to make the world a better place by sanctioning dictatorial regimes like Meles Zenawi’s and promoting democratic forces. This will lead U.S. to a long lasting victory. As the Holy Bible teaches us “Man harvests what he has sown” and it is the time for the U.S. officials to evaluate what the country has harvested due to its wrong and sometimes unethical foreign policy.

The writer can be reached: leulmekonen@hotmail.com

Published in: on December 26, 2006 at 10:49 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Revitalization of Ethiopia’s Most Tragic, Nightmarish and Painful Memories of the 1970s: The Clash of Generations (Part II)

By Maru Gubena 


This article is part two of my contribution entitled “The Revitalization of Ethiopia’s Most Tragic, Nightmarish and Painful Memories of the 1970s: The Clash of Generations.” As you may remember, the first part of this article has already been published on various Ethiopian websites, including other websites engaged with the historical and current issues of Ethiopia between the 26th and 28th of November 2006.  

As stated in the preface to part one, it is this important part – part two – that provides a clear definition of the two generations under discussion; distinguishes the socio-economic and political conditions these generations have experienced; assesses the many interlinked historical factors and actors that are the immutable sources of our unhealed wounds, divisions and obstacles – obstacles not just to a search for possible solutions to our longstanding and persistent socio-economic and political problems, but even to our living side by side and working together. It is also this part of the article that examines the role of the complex mechanisms used by the Dergue regime to forcefully inculcate the images they preferred into the minds of the War Born Generation. 
To obtain a clear picture of the complex sources, processes, problems and issues involved, it is advisable to read parts one and two together. 
 

Distinguishing the Two Generations and their Socio-economic and Political Conditions 


Before tackling the remaining issues of this paper, let me first attempt to clear up the clouds surrounding the two generations, including my definitions and the reasons I have found it necessary to introduce these two concepts – the Golden Period Generation and the War Born Generation. 

To begin with, our current difficulties seem to me to be explained by the “Cold War” these two generations are waging against each other, with devastating and destructive effects to the path of the Ethiopian resistance. Therefore it is necessary to make a clear distinction between them. Additionally, the concept of the generations that I am suggesting can, I believe, be helpful in assessing the impact of the socio-economic and political experiences and backgrounds in which each generation was born and brought up. 
 

Each generation encompasses a range of ages. The Golden Period Generation, for instance covers those individuals who were born between 1938 and 1966, with an average age of 22 in 1974 and 53 in May 2005 – the year that marked the first national parliamentary election in the history of our country – Ethiopia. A good number of the Golden Period Generation are said to have been contributing forces to, and in some cases instrumental in, the upheaval of the bloody 1974 Ethiopian revolution, which marked the end of Emperor Haile Selassie’s forty-four year rule and the disintegration of the long established feudal system, including the suspension of Ethiopia’s constitution; they came predominantly from rural Ethiopia and belonged to rural families. The War Born Generation, on the other hand, encompasses those born between 1967 and 1986, with an average age of 14.5 in 1991 – the year that marked the end of Mengistu Hailemariam’s era – and 28.5 in May 2005.   

I prefer, however, to define these two generations not in terms of years, but rather on the basis of Ethiopia’s political conditions, relationships or affiliations, and in relation to the experiences of the two generations with the country’s rulers, including the process of victimization some experienced, inflicted by certain regimes. This determined their ability or inability to participate in political activities such as demonstrations, and the chance they ran of being picked up and arrested, or being gunned down by the security forces of the regime in question. As has already been said, and as might be expected, there are thus substantial differences in the experiences and ideologies of the Golden Period Generation and the War Born Generation, as in other many aspects.  

First and most essentially, the time in which the Golden Period Generation was born and grew up was relatively stable, with few or no rebel groups. The Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF) was still in an organizational phase. The number of active ELF members, including the founders, was small; it had not yet even reached one hundred. At that time, most well known founders and some members of the ELF lived in the Middle East other Islamic African countries. The entire Ethiopian population, including the Golden Period Generation, was free to move from one border to the other, all the way across the country. In fact, at that time Ethiopians had never seen a compulsory identification card, something they were suddenly required to carry with them. This requirement was introduced for the first time in Ethiopia’s history by the regime of the Dergue. Even in the first few months of the Dergue era, permission was not required to travel from one border to the other, for example from Moyale to Massawa. It was also true that life in the entire nation of Ethiopia was extremely cheap and it was easy. In relatively small restaurants in Finote Selam, Bahir Dar, Dessie, or any other medium or small Ethiopian cities and towns, it was for example quite normal to order an extended lunch or dinner for just ten cents in Ethiopian Birr.  

As the educational system of Ethiopia had been seriously and carefully established, aimed at producing well trained graduates with a bright future, the students of the Golden Period Generation were loved, respected and regarded by the general public of Ethiopia as the future representatives and symbols of the country. Wherever they went, all Ethiopian mothers and fathers – in both urban and rural areas – always welcomed Ethiopian students and youth of that memorable period. Indeed, throughout the youth of the Golden Period Generation the educational system was complex and exams were tough to pass, especially the two ministry exams (from 6th to 7th grade, and from 8th to 9th grade) and the third so-called “matrix exam,” which enables students, if they pass, to enter one of the Ethiopian universities. The quality of Ethiopia’s educational system and educational outputs were extremely high. During the generation of the Golden Period it was not strange, for example, to hear little children in the fourth or fifth grade speaking English well and helping foreign visitors. As the result of the relatively professionally established educational system of the time, the attitudes and views of the Golden Period Generation were and are far broader and more international than those of others.  
 


As the name clearly suggests – and in strong contrast to the environment and socio-economic conditions in which the Golden Period Generation was born, grew up and lived – the period of the War Born Generation was and still is marked with external wars, conflicts and internal armed confrontations among an increasingly number of rebel groups, each with a lengthy list of demands for independence. The War Born Generation is the first in the history of Ethiopia to experience living in officially registered locations (called “Kebeles”) with house numbers, and with a requirement that individuals who would like to have visitors – even family members and friends from other Ethiopian cities, towns or villages – must register their names and the duration of their stay in advance, and ask permission.
Moreover, the War Born Generation has had little or no freedom to move from city to city, or from a city to certain regions of rural Ethiopia, without proper legal permission and without carrying an ID. It is also undeniably true that the socio-political and economic conditions in which the War Born Generation has been born and brought up have been torturous – isolationist and impoverished. The impact of the worsening economic conditions on social relations among Ethiopians has been heavy, and has resulted in persistent increases in hostilities. Due to the substantial decreases in the quality of education under the Dergue regime, the educational level of the War Born Generation is exceptionally low. For example, a disproportionately high number of the War Born Generation who have completed high school, even among those who have attained the second or third year of university, don’t speak English. Many of those among the War Born Generation who are living today with us in Europe or the United States, when applying for political asylum, could not manage to articulate their own profile or the reasons for applying for asylum to an immigration officer without the help of an interpreter. 
 

Further, as the result of the intensity of the war between the then two guerrilla rebel forces – the EPLF and TPLF forces – and the regime of Mengistu Hailemariam, the War Born Generation has continued to be both a direct and indirect potential victim of the parties involved in the war. An indirect victim, because there is not a single person among the War Born Generation whose family members were not affected, who could escape from being forcefully snatched, conscripted by the fascist regime of Mengistu Hailemariam to go the warfront and sacrifice his or her life. And directly, in the case of those who were themselves conscripted to fight the war – a war created and expanded by the regime of the Dergue itself. And finally, for children of Dergue members, and of those who served the regime of Mengistu Hailemariam in one way or the other, including members of the former Ethiopian armed forces – it is certainly and undoubtedly this generation, the War Born Generation, that has been and is directly and badly affected and victimized by the defeat and eventual ousting of Mengistu Hailemariam from power by EPLF and TPLF forces in May 1991. Most lost their loved ones, close friends and colleagues as well as personal property and other essential belongings. 
Due to their ages and because they were the children of the Dergue system itself, the War Born Generation was vulnerable: it could easily be molded in accord with the desires and wishes of the system and leadership of the Dergue regime. It is additionally true that given the complete lack of educational alternatives, the War Born Generation had no choice but to listen to their parents, go to school and learn from their school teachers. The schools, together with the Dergue controlled media outlets – an indispensable tool in molding this generation – were the only institutions available to provide information. It is also true that not a single person in the world can stand and watch when his or her parents are being criticized or attacked – it doesn’t matter how bad the parents might be. So the repeated denials and defense by the War Born Generation of the Dergue, even given the atrocious crimes committed and the damage inflicted upon the people and the territorial integrity of Ethiopia are understandable. The problem, however, does not end with these denials of the appalling crimes of the parents, other family members and the War Born Generation itself. The problems and the clashes between the Golden Period Generation and the War Born Generation are much deeper and are getting out of hand: we are at a point where the War Born Generation is ready, not only to politically outsmart and socially silence the Golden Period Generation, but, appallingly, is also working day in and day out to physically eliminate all individuals who belong to the Golden Period Generation. The big question is: why are such great cruelty and creatively invented, unsubstantiated charges necessary? Who is really going to benefit from this intensified, volatile war of words? What are the historical sources of the clash between the two generations?
 

Looking at the Historical Sources 


As widely recorded evidence clearly shows, from early in the 1950s the Golden Period Generation was an active force in resisting and challenging, directly and indirectly, the policies and government of Emperor Haile Selassie, demanding socio-economic, political and leadership changes. It was seen as an indispensable symbol and voice of the people of Ethiopia. However, despite well-researched historical evidence on the incalculable influence and contributions of the Golden Period Generation to relative improvements in areas related to health, education, agriculture and basic infrastructure in various regions of Ethiopia, and while knowing perfectly well that the 1974 Ethiopian revolution had been partly or fully the result of the uninterrupted concerted efforts and sacrifices of this generation, the Dergue, with its
unpatriotic and greedy members – and which later became the uncontested, most ruthless ruler of my country and oppressor of my people – conspired against the Golden Period Generation and the Ethiopian people in general, and decided to snatch the socio-economic, political and leadership changes from them all. The months that followed the end of Emperor Haile Selassie’s rule were to be the beginning of urban and city dominated war, terrorization and self-destruction among Ethiopians themselves – with the new military rulers and those supporting military rule against those emphatically opposing the imposition of power and rule by an unelected military dictatorship. The new self-installed fascistic military dictatorship was also quick to take inconceivable, cruel and irreversibly destructive measures against the Golden Period Generation as well as a large section of other Ethiopians who rejected the idea of military rule in the
land of Ethiopia.  

Indeed, the Golden Period Generation was seen not only as a potential enemy, but also a direct threat to the long term desires and plans of the Dergue to forcefully impose its oppressive and repressive rule upon our country for an unspecified period. These new rulers were faced with increasing and spreading challenges including dangerously escalating resistance in both urban and rural Ethiopia, and were unable either to convince or silence the concerted opposition to military rule by political means, rationally and wisely devised mechanisms and instruments, the parents of the Warn Born Generation – the members of the fascistic dictatorial military regime declared open war on the Golden Period Generation and its political party, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Party (EPRP) – a war aimed at exterminating the entire Golden Period Generation and those associated or suspected of being involved with or related to EPRP members, activists or their families.  

To help sharpen its teeth, and in an attempt to justify its appalling war policies and strategies to the Ethiopian people and the international community, even though these were exclusively directed at its targeted victimsthe Golden Period Generation and its political party, the EPRPthe then military dictatorship, the Dergue, publicly accused the EPRP and the civilian left of being anti-peace and anti-Ethiopian unity. By employing the Dergue-controlled Ethiopian media outlets as effective and indispensable propaganda machines in the war against my generation, the Dergue accused the civilian left organization, the EPRP, whose activists included students, the entire body of Ethiopian intellectuals, teachers and trade union associations, the Ethiopian business community and even some members of the Ethiopian armed forces, of being a political organization that was working hand in glove with the growing number of newly emerging separatist rebel groups engaged in terrorist activities and working towards the disintegration of Ethiopia’s territorial integrity. The accusations and charges made by the then Ethiopian military dictatorship against my generation were not only entirely politically motivated and disproportionate, but were also totally unfounded.  

Contrary to the unfounded accusations and charges declared against my generation by the fascistic regime of the Dergue, the EPRP’s suggestions and proposals – as can be read in well-documented records – were presented as a lasting solution to the conflicts arising between the new military dictatorship and the new rebel groups of the period, were entirely and exclusively focused on peaceful, immediate resolution of the issues and problems raised by a few of the rebel groups, before they become more organized, grew and expanded and before their ideas and strategies took root in the land of Ethiopia. Because the demands of the rebel groups were straightforward, the EPRP believed that sitting together and talking with even one rebel group – the EPLF – could help to bring a lasting solution, stop the emergence of other rebel groups and clear up the heavy, dark cloud of possible protracted internal and external conflicts and wars hanging over the head of Ethiopia.  

Regrettably, however, the Ethiopian army officers who had forcefully snatched power from Ethiopians who had struggled over many painful years, attempting to cultivate the habits and culture of democracy in our country and to create an opportunity for our people taste both the fruits and challenges of freedom and democracy, were unconvinced. They continued a ruthless and fascistic policy of war, intensifying the process of extermination of the most irreplaceable Ethiopian assets, along with the destruction of the many complex and most valuable Ethiopian cultural and patriotic symbols, along with norms and values including the deep respect and love Ethiopians had for each other. Yes, indeed, the greedy, power thirsty, irresponsible and arrogant Dergue members who ruled my country during those nightmarish years chose for prolonged internal and external wars in preference to engagement in discussions and an attempt at a peaceful resolution to the newly emerging armed confrontations and conflicts. 

Although the responsibility for the decision to eradicate my generation rests entirely with the Dergue, since Dergue members themselves made this decision, the conflict that arose within the civilian left during the early and mid 1970s – for strategic reasons plus ideological differences and convictions, and which led to the eventual split, to irreconcilable animosity and to further self-destruction of one another – served not just to embolden and radicalize the hearts and minds of the Dergue, but also led them to escalate and expand the war machines against the civilian left. The decision made by the All-Ethiopia Socialist Movement, often referred to by its Amharic acronym, Meison, to form an alliance with the Dergue regime and work cooperatively with the most ruthless regime of the period (in the expectation of diverting the revolution from within) was indeed an unforgivable historical error of the then leaders of Meison, Mr. Haile Fida and Dr Negede Gobeze – a painful memory to the Meison figures and activists who finally managed to escape the cruel and deadly war machine of Mengistu Hailemariam.  

A major reason behind the irreconcilable disagreement of Meison with the EPRP and their alignment with the repressive regime of the Dergue was the use of arguments by the then leaders of Meison based on a theory that asserted the positive contributions of military dictatorship. This  presumably was borrowed from the well known social scientist, Andre Gundar Frank, who is best known as the post-Second World War exponent of his dependency theory – the idea that despite the undemocratic nature of military rule, in countries such as Ethiopia, the deep-rooted feudal mode of production and relations among the members of society cannot be simply eradicated and fundamental structural socio-economic and political change cannot be implemented just by ending the rule of a monarchy and replacing it with a democratically elected leadership. The Meison leaders concluded with confidence and certainty that if Ethiopia were not to be ruled by a well-organized and armed military leadership, the people’s revolution would not survive, and the old rule that had been deposed would certainly revive, once again forcing its feudal system upon the entire population of Ethiopia. Therefore they insisted on the importance of military rule in Ethiopia for an unspecified period.  

Emphatically rejecting both the stated arguments of the then Meison leadership and the collaboration between Meison and the new military dictatorship in Ethiopia, the EPRP leadership challenged the Meison leadership on grounds of practical experience in countries that had been ruled by fascistic military dictatorships. In making clear its case to the Ethiopian people, the EPRP leadership of the 1970s stood firm, saying that the reasons given by Meison were unjustifiable and in contradiction to the history of military dictatorships. According to well established historical documents covering military dictatorships, argued the EPRP leadership, where such dictatorships have come to power in a nation state not a single country has witnessed a peaceful and democratic transfer of power to an elected leader or leaders. Military dictators have by nature little or no respect for their people or country. They are allergic to the idea of being replaced by an elected civilian leadership.  

Not surprisingly, the persistent self-incrimination and escalation in the wars of words and deeds between Meison and EPRP became an energizing force for the military regime of Mengistu Hailemariam in the radicalization and escalation of its own war, not only against EPRP, but also against everyone who did not express his or her unreserved, loud and clear support for the war and the destructive policy of the Dergue. As not publicly supporting the war policy and the war machine of the Dergue became tantamount to committing a crime, being accused, charged, hunted and gunned down became a daily urban phenomenon in all cities of Ethiopia. Again, not surprisingly, after sharpening its teeth and firmly reorganizing the foundation of its power structures, the ruthless dominant figures of the Dergue turned the barrel of the gun towards the entire leadership of Meison, who had been working hand in glove with the Dergue itself towards the destruction of my generation. A few among the active leadership of Meison who managed to escape the killing machines of the Dergue – killing machines they themselves helped to create and sharpen – live today with horrifying memories and never-ending nightmares.  

What is more interesting in this connection, however, is this: it is these same rebel groups, newly born at this earlier time and each founded in the land of Ethiopia by three to seven individuals, concurrently with the emergence of the new military dictatorship, that eventually became – after 17 years of protracted war – a source of the complete destruction of the Dergue itself, including the loss of life of the most dominant leaders of the Dergue, those who initially so emphatically rejected sitting and negotiating with the small rebel groups to resolve the emerging problems of the period in a timely fashion. 

Incidentally, it is probably worth noting that the falsely and creatively invented accusations and charges declared by the Dergue regime against the Golden Period Generation more or less resemble the treason and genocide charges more recently imposed upon Ethiopian elected and jailed leaders, Ethiopian Free Press Journalists and many other Ethiopians by the tyrannical unelected TPLF leadership that is currently ruling our country and its people with its repressive machine and with the barrel of the gun. The obvious major difference between the victims of the Dergue and those of the current unelected TPLF leadership is that a disproportionately high number of the Dergue’s victims didn’t have an opportunity to be arrested, imprisoned and visited by their loved ones, by journalists and international leaders, or to challenge the illegally and falsely made charges against them. Those of my generation who were charged by the Dergue did not have the prospect of being released someday after serving two to fours years of prison time. They were simply hunted and gunned down wherever and whenever they were found. The elected Ethiopian jailed leaders who were forcefully picked up in their houses, offices or on the street since the 31st of October 2005, however, are alive and are challenging their charges in the courts, even though these courts are simply the mouthpieces, the personal property, of the unelected TPLF leader, Meles Zenawi. It should in addition be obvious that for most, some 98 or more percent, of the Kaliti prisoners who have been imprisoned under politically motivated charges the prospects of being released are not clouded, although the duration of their imprisonment is almost entirely dependent upon the political heat and dust surrounding the future political stability or instability of our country. In other words, if the uncertain, dark clouds surrounding the political power and leadership structures of the TPLF leadership begin to stabilize, then the prospects for the release of Kinijit’s jailed leaders will be brighter than is the case today. Again, the timeframe for the release of all Kaliti political prisoners will depend heavily upon the speed of the process of stabilization in the power and leadership systems of the unelected leadership of Meles Zenawi, unless something miraculous happens, such as a military coup d’etat or any other event that deposes the regime.  

As discussed in the sections above, it appears that the socio-psychological damage inflicted upon the War Born Generation has been overwhelming, to the point that we have become unable even to live side by side in foreign countries – in our countries of asylum and immigration. Although I may be wrong since I have not been in Ethiopia for some time, the clash of the two generations – the conflict currently underway between the Golden Period Generation and the War Born Generation – I would argue that this is more clearly manifested in the Diaspora than in our country of origin. I also dare to argue that the impact of the clash of generations is more obvious within the Diaspora political organizations, more specifically on the Kinijit Diaspora leadership and its active members, than in the Kinijit we knew in Ethiopia. 

The Direct Repercussions of the Clash of Generations: The Kinijt Diaspora Leadership as a Prisoner of the War Born Generation 

Although the lifeless Kinijit Diaspora leadership persistently and blindly denies the obvious huge differences between the Kinijit we knew in Ethiopia and the Kinijit Diaspora leadership, the well-known, respected and loved Kinijit led by Engineer Hailu Shawel, which won the 2005 Ethiopian parliamentary election, was founded and functioned upon a cardinal foundation of Ethiopianess: it embraced and involved all Ethiopians from all regions without discrimination based on religion, sex or age group. The jailed Kinijit leaders were leaders for everyone, every single Ethiopian. The jailed Kinijit leaders loved and respected the old and young, the wealthy and the poor, the powerless and defenseless as well as the powerful. The house and the entire Kinijit family was always open and willing to shelter every child, man and woman who needed its help, its protection or its defense. “Every Ethiopian belongs to Ethiopia and to the family of Kinijit.” was the Kinijit motto. Yes, Kinijit in Ethiopia was radically different from the Kinijit Diaspora leadership. In my recollection, in Ethiopia Kinijit was a political organization in which everyone was welcome to actively participate and contribute to its growth and development. Every generation, old and young, had the opportunity and in fact the responsibility to become a leader and spokesman as well as a sympathizer, supporter or member of Kinijit. For example, it was quite normal to find members of three different generations – my father’s generation, my generation and my daughter’s generation – among the individual leaders, activists, members and sympathizers within Kinijit in Ethiopia. It is further true that the spirit, policy frameworks and strategies of Kinijit in

Ethiopia were all consistent with an aggressive attack on the factors dividing us, and towards a revival of the unity, harmony, love and respect among all Ethiopians. There was little or no sign of a clash of generations to be seen in the house and family of Kinijit in Ethiopia – Kinijit as it was under the leadership of Engineer Hailu Shawel,

What about the Kinijit Diaspora leadership? But what is it – what is the Kiniji Diaspora leadership? The Kinijit Diaspora leadership came into existence in the final weeks of the spring of 2006, not through the collective voice of the Ethiopian Diaspora community, but due to the initiative of a few individuals. Despite the lack of a collective voice, the Ethiopian Diaspora community was willing to accept and support the coordination of the Ethiopian resistance by the Kinijit Diaspora leadership.   And still, despite persistent complaints and accusations related to ineffectiveness and ongoing refusals to coordinate multiple projects and lead the Ethiopian resistance cooperatively, working closely with civil organizations and other political parties, the Ethiopian Diaspora remains reluctant to openly criticize the Kinijit Diaspora leadership. Much to the sadness and disappointment of many Ethiopians and to the terrible embarrassment of our jailed leaders and their families, however, the now lifeless Kinijit Diaspora leadership has became a prisoner of a single generation – the War Born Generation, who have been directly affected by the war that defeated the regime of Mengistu Hailemariam. Completely contrary to the spirit and principles of Kinijit as we knew it in Ethiopia, the Kinijit Diaspora leadership and about 80 percent or more of its active members, supporters and sympathizers, with their aggressive and militaristic character and behaviour, are a part of the War Born Generation. Consequently, the Kinijit Diaspora leadership has today become an open battlefield in a war being waged by the revengeful children of the Dergue regime – the War Born Generation – not only against the tyrannical regime of the TPLF, but mainly against the civilian left of the 1970s, whom the War Born Generation sees as the historical enemy of their parents.  

The direct effects and repercussions of the clash of generations are growing rapidly, worsening by the day and getting out of hand. They have effectively paralyzed not just the Kinijit Diaspora leadership, but the entire Ethiopian resistance. 

Indeed, the long-standing clashes between the two generations, the deep-seated hostilities and animosities of the War Born Generation towards the Golden Period Generation, have in recent times been transformed into a total, open war. Although the exchanges are not systematically structured, the Kinijit Diaspora media outlets and their paltalk rooms, Ethiopian Current Affairs Discussion Forum, and Ethiopians in Switzerland Discussion Forum, which along with Negat Radio and the newly born station called Radio Kaliti, focus entirely on the favorite talking points and interview channels of Mr. Andrachew Tsigie, have openly declared war against the Golden Period Generation and flatly denied that any crimes were committed by the Dergue regime. The revengeful children of the Dergue have argued emphatically that not one of the Ethiopian armed forces, police or cadres during the era of Dergue regime killed a single person. While admitting that atrocious crimes were committed against the Ethiopian people during the terrible, painful period of the 1970s, and while admitting the shameless obliteration of over a half million of my generation, the paltalk room participants who support the radical militant Kinijit Diaspora leadership, especially those who are themselves former members of the armed forces of the Dergue regime, instead charge the EPRP with responsibility for the atrocious crimes committed against more than one-half million Ethiopians. Unfortunately, however, the militant paltalk room participants provide absolutely no information about how the EPRP managed to kill so many Ethiopian youth of the period, what weapons were used or with whose permission.  

For example, on the first of October 2006, the radical Admins (Administrators) and participants in the paltalk room called the “Ethiopian Current Affairs Discussion Forum,” such as those nicknamed Green_Yellow_Red, @balwe_1, VIVA MINILIK, @selamhunu and others have shamelessly stated that few if any Ethiopian youth or students were killed during the Dergue era with the knowledge or by the order of Dergue government officials. The Ethiopian youth of the period were eradicated by EPRP leaders and activists, says VIVA MINILIK. VIVA MINILIK added that “EPRP leaders and their cadres killed a large number Ethiopian youths, compared to the number of Ethiopians killed by the regimes of either Mengistu Hailemariam or Meles Zenawi.” In explaining the impossibility of future cooperation between Kinijit and UEDF, VIVA MINILIK, who is said to be the undisputed boss of the paltalk room mentioned, poses the following question to himself and the other participants in the room: “how can Ethiopians work and cooperate with such cruel people and such cruel behaviour? How can we do that? We can’t! We cannot work and live with those who have committed the most terrifying crimes on earth,” insists VIVA MINILK, himself a former soldier under Mengistu Haile Mariam’s regime. 



While VIVA MINILIK was still engaged with his endless, totally unfounded accusations against my generation, “tadeaa,” another active participant in the Ethiopian Current Affairs Discussion Forum, proudly wrote in. He expressed his joy to VIVA MINILIK, saying that his voice, behaviour and way of speaking are exactly the same as the former Ethiopian dictator Mengistu Hailemariam. VIVA MINILIK in turn responded to “tadeaa” in an extremely loud voice, showing deep emotion and a feeling of enormous pride in tadeaa and the other participants in his room, to whom he said that they deserve such a bold nationalist, with a most courageous voice, to motivate paltalk room participants and energize their mood and feelings of Ethiopian nationalism.  

Hearing such statements made by former members of the armed forces under Mengistu Hailemariam’s regime, whose hands are covered with the blood of the Ethiopian youth of my generation, reminds me of an Italian politician named Alessandra Mussolini, the granddaughter of Benito Mussolini – the cruel fascist dictator who ruled Italy from 1922 to 1943 – who continually argues that her grandfather was never a fascist dictator and never killed a single person, or even a single bird for that matter. Alessandra Mussolini also says that her grandfather was in fact a loving person, valuing all human beings, and a well known humanist.  


For the Ethiopian Diaspora as a whole, apart from the question of how we will be able to reconcile with each other, given the views and convictions of individuals who talk like Alessandra Mussolini and the above mentioned Admins of these paltalk rooms and media outlets, what is more worrisome, even most depressing of all, are the immediate effects and repercussions of the clash of generations – the war currently being waged by the War Born Generation against the Golden Period Generation. And since we Ethiopians have never given the required attention to these issues and problems, which should be seen as the equivalent of a big foreign enemy advancing towards us, armed with complex and highly advanced weapons, the Ethiopian Diaspora community will soon not be able to work collectively to support the Ethiopian resistance against the common enemies of our country. The politics of the Ethiopian Diaspora, it seems, is in its closing pages, at least for the coming few years, until the previous wounds that have been revitalized, given a new life, by the War Born Generation are healed a bit, and until certain individuals those who are currently faced with memories of pain and nightmare of the 1970s are recovered. 
 

A final note. It is also appropriate to use this opportunity to thank friends and colleagues who have been helpful to me, including those who recorded and sent discussion messages, or passed on statements and written texts from the various paltalk rooms. Thanks also to those who notified me when discussions related to my work were underway in one or more paltalk rooms.


Finally, this paper has been written in memory of my generation – the youth of Ethiopia of the 1970s, particularly those who were inhumanly exterminated, to their families and to those who managed to survive the ruthless death squads of Ethiopia’s historic enemy, the Dergue, which left irremovable scars on the body of my generation, our country and its people. 

Dr. Maru Gubena, from Ethiopia, is a political economist, writer and publisher. Readers who wish to contact the author can reach me at info@pada.nl 

Published in: on December 16, 2006 at 7:05 pm  Comments (18)  

Tension Created by Two Despaired Allies

Seifu Tsegaye Demmissie.
 

The strong link between the tyrannical regime of Meles Zenawi and the increasingly bankrupt  administration of Bush in the United States, has been a matter for concern among Ethiopians struggling for democracy and freedom. Now a days, their unholy alliance appears to be driven by desperation and conflict sniffing or war mongering. The Bush administration is despaired by the set back it is suffering mainly in Iraq. It is collecting the dividends of its undesirable war in the form of daily dying service men, plummeting domestic popularity and diminishing international acceptance, influence and respect. Its wrong ally, Meles Zenawi is also in desperation and is fighting for his survival. Meles Zenawi is politically dead and is like a tyre that has gone flat. His regime has never been to the liking of the great majority of Ethiopians and he has lost the farce election he had staged simply for the consumption of his donors. Despite brutally killing hundreds and incarcerating many thousands, he could not extinguish the flames of democracy and freedom and he is encountering mounting domestic opposition and resistance. He is barely surviving because he is riding on the back of his loyal ethnic army and getting financial infusions and political support from some western circles.  

The bankruptcy of his ethnic tyrannical rule is evident in every sphere of it. His grand treacherous schemes of milking the western tax payers under the guise of combating poverty and advancing democracy have been exposed to be deceptive and sinister.  I see the current tension between the regime of Meles Zenawi and the Union of Islamic Courts in Somalia chiefly as the making of the two above mentioned desperate allies.

It is obvious that southern Somalia has descended into chaos and the United States and the rest of the International community have abandoned it to its fate in the last 15 years. It had meant that events in southern Somalia had taken their own course and have led to the emergence of the relatively stronger force, the Union of Islamic Courts. The Union of Islamic Courts are reported to have brought some semblance of law and order to after dislodging the various waring factions led by warlords. It is also reported that the Bush administration had  covertly supported these factions of warlords as bulwarks against terrorism in the form of an alliance that could not hold ground against the courts. An additional  source of embarrassment and setback for the Bush administration.

 

 

 

It is a glaring fact that Meles Zenawi can not be the guardian of Ethiopian interest and security. Not at all. It is like assigning the devil to guard the gates of Heaven. Meles Zenawi is the product of the anti-Ethiopian school of the EPLF and other enemies. The high doses of the anti-Ethiopian injections he had received circulate still in his body system and he is ready to go to to any length he can to protect foreign interests at the expenses of that of Ethiopia. He is an eccentric creature endowed with the despised human attributes of cheating, lying and servitude. The reasoning that Meles Zenawi has proactively interfered in Somalia in defence of Ethiopian security and sovereignty can be categorically dismissed as preposterous and ridiculous. No sane Ethiopian in his right mind would entertain the idea of Meles Zenawi standing for the national interest and sovereignty of Ethiopia. To our bewilderment and dismay, he has been very consistent and outright only in one issue, and that is the betrayal and undermining of Ethiopian national interest and security. Betrayal and treason are the hallmarks of the regime of Meles Zenawi who has assumed the role of the Anglo-American watchdog in the horn of Africa. He has plotted to drag Ethiopia into a diversionary and proxy conflict and he and his foreign backers should be the only ones to pick up the bills from this conflict if it degenerates into a fully blown war.

 

 

The Bush administration and some other western powers have abandoned the forces of democracy and freedom in Ethiopia and opted to side with one of the repressive and terrorist regimes in the world. Thus, we Ethiopians should not be part of this diversionary and proxy conflict and do all we can to at least thwart it or use it to our advantage. We have been lamenting their continued counterproductive support for Meles Zenawi and they have not heeded. Emboldened by their prodding and support, Meles zeanwi is now in the business of destabilizing the horn of Africa. This diversionary tactic can only exacerbate the crisis in Ethiopia and the region as a whole. It is important to bear in mind that he is doing all this at the expense of the long term interests of Ethiopia.

 

 

 

As long as I know, the relationship between the state of Somalia (until its collapse in 1991) and Ethiopia has not been smooth. Somalia`s persistent claim of part of the sovereign Ethiopian territory had been a source of rough relations, skirmishes and wars. I recall hearing the description of Somalia as the problem child of Africa apparently because of its belligerent attitude to its bigger neighbour, Ethiopia. The ill-conceived and ill-fated military adventures of the last Somali regime are known to be among the causes that precipitated the civil war that resulted in the current predicament the Somalis find themselves in. The TPLF led by the ethnic warlord, Meles Zenawi is among the anti-Ethiopian liberation fronts that were also assisted and hosted by the then Somali government that collapsed in 1991.

 

 

Ethiopia is the biggest country in the region in terms of both its size and population and can play a decisive role in recuperating and stabilizing the horn of Africa. I think it is not an overstatement to assert that it holds potentially the key to regional stability and prosperity. Therefore, the building of democratic and free Ethiopia will have favorable regional repercussions and can have a multiplier effect to rehabilitate the whole area. The interests of Ethiopia are also best served with stable and prosperous neighbours with whom it can coexist forging mutually beneficial and amicable relationships. The region can not be rehabilitated and set on democratic and stabilising course with out cleansing it off the group of warlords that have been blocking the path to improvement, peace and progress. I concur with those who maintain that the ethnic warlord, Meles Zenawi with his backward and primitive tribal mind setup and mode of governance, is a stumbling block to progress in Ethiopia and the region as a whole would be better off with out him.

 

 

The attainment and prevalence of durable peace and stability are in the best interests of the inhabitants of the troubled and volatile horn of
Africa. I believe that their fates are intertwined and concentrating on issues that are common and require their collective efforts, should take precedence over the destabilizing and destructive measures taken by power thirsty groups. The region should work for the common goals of alleviating the chronic famine, poverty and  tyranny afflicting it.

 

 

Democratization and the full participation of the citizens of the region are indispensable for tackling these plagues of humanity. I believe that getting rid of the warlords, ethnic or religious, would pave the way for building bridges between the diverse communities as an essential component of regional peace and stability. It is also of paramount importance to avoid unnecessary and unwanted foreign interference and so that the peoples of the region can have free hands to sort out their problems through the mechanisms of their choice. I think that lasting peace and stability can be achieved in the region through the free and open engagement of the stake holders, i.e. the fraternal communities of the region. 

 

 

I condemn Meles Zenawi for his violation of International law through intruding into the sovereign territory of a neighbour that is not in a position to defend itself. Meles Zenawi is a home grown aggressor and violator long known as an internal enemy of Ethiopia.

 

 

We have been resenting his violation of the territorial integrity and sovereignty our own country and can not remain indifferent to such a brazen act of breach of international law. The high sensitivity we display to his aggression against our own country and people should also extend to others experiencing the same irrespective of their geographic location.

 

 

What is special about today`s Ethiopia is the fact that it is a country controlled by its enemy and the best strategic option for us is to remove the domestic or internal threat, Meles Zenawi. The precondition for the revival of Ethiopia as a free country requires decisive action on the home front against regime of Meles Zenawi that is increasingly operating as a force of occupation. Normally, the Ethiopian armed forces are entrusted with the duty and task of defending the country and they should not be part of the blatant aggression against a neighbour and get bogged down in a costly and protracted conflict designed to prolong the misrule of the treasonous tyrant in the service of foreign interests. 

 

 

Instead, the guns bought with tax money of Ethiopians should be turned against a home grown enemy, Meles Zenawi. The armed forces must listen to the people of Ethiopia and not allow themselves to be led into another round of suicidal mission under the command of the supreme traitor, Meles Zenawi.

Published in: on December 16, 2006 at 6:44 pm  Leave a Comment  

Fifteen Years After: Recalling our Anticipation at the end of the Cold War

By Maru Gubena

At the very end of the 1980s, when we witnessed the irreversible and forceful speed of the winds at the end of the Cold War, we all anticipated that a relatively peaceful, free world and a harmonious international community were being shaped and set on the right path. We were convinced, as we were told repeatedly by the powerful international media, that as soon as the undesired economic systems – socialism and communism, our common enemy which had been a source of division and permanent tension, and an obstacle to human progress – were gone from every aspect of world society, everyone, whether poor or rich, would say goodbye to poverty, disease, conflict and war forever. It was also emphasized again and again by the leaders of western countries and by respected, well-known media commentators that every member of the international community would have enough to eat, enjoy inexpensive or even free health care, and would live in peace and prosperity. Because of these high expectations of sharing and enjoying the fruits of the end of the Cold War, the excitement among both poor and rich, young and old was explosive and out of proportion. 

It is additionally worthwhile to note that in the early stages of the end of the Cold War, this widespread hope for economic prosperity and political stability was mainly planted in the minds of Africans. At that time, Africans expected that Africa would quickly emerge from its chronic, long-standing economic poverty and dependence upon other nations. They also thought these winds of change would bring new leadership, democratization and political stabilization; more social affiliation, including the cultivation of habits of peaceful transfer of power; and the diversion of expenditures from the military to health, employment, education and other essential sectors of society. A particular conviction among Africans was that one enemy – internal and external conflict – would, along with the Cold War, be gone. In other words, it was expected that Africa would no longer be a battlefield for dictators – and certainly not that it would be controlled and ruled by a newly emerged empire – the United States.  

It was moreover true that, given the end of East–West competition and Africa’s potential resources, including its population of over eight hundred million people (of which almost 54 percent is Muslim), it was hoped that a path to closer and cooperative cultural, political and economic relations between Africa and the US/Europe would be carefully crafted and cemented. The same was true for the over 250 million people in the Middle East. The hopes and expectations of the Middle East were particularly focused on improving and strengthening socio-cultural, linguistic economic links and relations with the Arab/Muslim countries of Africa, on the one hand, and on conflict resolution on the other. Although almost all the states of the Middle East remained under the influence of the United States and its European allies throughout the Cold War, the beginning of the 1990s was marked by hopeful signs among Arabs/Muslims for a lasting solution to the longstanding Arab-Israeli conflict and a peaceful, harmonious coexistence and relations with the United States in particular and the international community in general. 

Even Europeans and a good portion of US society, who have not seen war at their backdoor for over six decades, had more or less the same expectations of the end of the Cold War. At that time, only a few people who tended towards gloomy thoughts continued to insist that the permanent enemies of man, such as poverty, disease and war would never be banished from human society, despite the end of the Cold War. In fact, highly influential, internationally respected experts in history, peace and war in modern society argued convincingly, with enormous confidence and certainty, not only that the hopes and expectation of the people of developing countries would be dashed, but that political instability and war in some regions of the world would deteriorate, going from bad to worse immediately as the end of the Cold War approached and thereafter. They predicted an enormous loss of human life, with the number of people suffering increasing astronomically and exceeding the number killed and suffering during the events of the Cold War period. 

Indeed, while the United States and its European allies have continued to enjoy the fruits of the end of the Cold War on many fronts, including the fields of economy and politics, the repercussions for the African and Arab/Muslim countries that were previously protected by the iron walls and fences of the Cold war have been and continue to be immense – suffering to an immeasurable degree, including the loss of human life, irreparable destruction of cities and of health and educational sectors, the loss of irreplaceable artifacts and other valuable assets – due to the imbalance in power created by the end of the Cold War.  

The end of the Cold War had obvious advantages for countries that helped to devise the political and economic techniques that enabled the successful toppling and annihilation of the entire social and economic fabric of the former Soviet Union and its allies, which had been regarded as a common enemy and rival of capitalism: that is, a system based on the ideal of the freedom of individuals to own wealth, even if acquired by exploiting the forced labour of others, and also by violent extortion of the land, property and money of other countries and peoples. 

The most obvious advantage of the end of the Cold War for Western countries is that Europe and the United States have profited heavily. They continue to enjoy life, with an increasing amount of political stability along with total freedom of movement even in the former East block countries, and with little or no possibility of development of a hostile ideology in the near future; relative economic growth due to decreasing military expenditures (in western European countries) and an accelerated expansion of opportunities for small and larger industries and businesses in the former socialist and communist countries, and free access to global domination, including the silencing of the United Nations by the United States. More importantly, there is the enormous confidence and pride inculcated in the minds of a good number of Americans that has accompanied becoming the only remaining major military and economic power on earth, with the opportunity to expand their cultural and economic interests and military power around the globe.  

On the other hand, however, almost all developing countries, especially those with potential in the form of natural resources and a cheap labour force and other human capital, will be forced to listen attentively to every statement formulated and shaped in cooperation with the state of Israel and presented to them by the United States and the coalition of the “willing,” (if this has ever existed). Such countries have no legal means or tools to modify or reject the lists presented to them; they have no international body with the required economic and military power to protect them. Those countries are and will remain powerless and helpless, unless the US decides someday to respect and listen to the organization that represents the entire international community. These wealthy countries that are the current and future victims of US foreign policy must therefore accept any proposed shopping lists formulated and presented to them by the Secretary of State of the United States. Rejecting or neglecting to effectively implement any of the demands of these lists can have immeasurable repercussions, including limitless physical and psychological destruction. Further, while American and European populations can rest, sleep quietly and spend relaxed days and nights, enjoying the multiple results of the end of the Cold War, Africans and Arabs/Muslims spend sleepless nights and live in the uncertainty of not knowing of what tomorrow or after tomorrow will bring.  

Dr. Maru Gubena, from Ethiopia, is a political economist, writer and publisher. Readers who wish to contact the author can reach me at info@pada.nl

Published in: on December 11, 2006 at 3:12 pm  Comments (2)  

*Remembering the Forgotten Victims: What do we Ethiopians know about the Sources that Led to the Abrupt Resignation of Aklilu Habte-Wold’s Cabinet?

By Maru Gubena 


As shown by the historical records of the past three decades, the people’s power has not been effective in Ethiopia. It is therefore difficult to consider this power as a source of protection for political leaders who are ready to take risks. In practical terms, the people’s power in Africa, and in Ethiopia in particular, is radically different from the experience in Latin America, Asia and, as seen in recent political events, in many countries of the former East Block. 


Looking at political events and developments in my country retrospectively, one sees that Ethiopians have never been to collectively share and enjoy the fruits of political events that have resulted from the people’s action, uprising and power. It is to be remembered that the people outright rejected the forceful imposition of power and rule by the undesired, uninvited military regime of Mengistu Hailemariam – yet he managed to rule my country with an iron hand for a long 17 years, with little or no effective, meaningful challenge from those being ruled. By using viciously crafted mechanisms of destruction to eliminate both intellectuals and the youth of Ethiopia – the future assets of the country – with the cooperation of our own families and relatives, the regime of the Dergue also managed to permanently divide and demoralize the people of Ethiopia, to the point of becoming unable either to rise up and challenge the Dergue itself, or to fight against external enemies such as the TPLF and EPLF. It is indeed depressing to painfully recall and admit that so many, perhaps millions, of Ethiopians were used by the cruel regime as tools to willingly expose their own friends, neighbours and colleagues, and hand them over to the killing machines of the Dergue. It was these actions of the Dergue regime that created permanent wounds and animosities among Ethiopians to the point that it seems difficult, if not impossible, to reconcile and cure. Perhaps because of this, we remain persistently reluctant to talk, write and debate about those painful histories and still fresh memories. 

Even worse and more painful, in addition to these unhealed wounds and unforgettable scars in our recent history, we also know so little about the sources and causes that contributed to the abrupt resignation of Prime Minster Aklilu Habte-Wold’s entire cabinet on the 26 or 27 (embarrassingly, no exact date of resignation is to be found anywhere) of February 1974. Although this became a fertile ground for the emergence of the people’s enemy, the Dergue, and the subsequent structural crisis within Ethiopian society, this has not been explored and written up. Except through verbal stories and jokes told in family get-togethers and around coffee tables, most, if not all, Ethiopians have had no factual account – for example, based on meeting reports or recorded videos showing when, at which date and time, or indeed the exact reasons that led to the resignation of the late Prime Minister Aklilu Habte-Wold’s cabinet. And who was or were precisely responsible for this resignation of then Prime Minister Aklilu Habte-Wold and his ministers? Many Ethiopians say it was the Dergue that forced the entire cabinet to resign. But surely there was no Dergue or military committee at that time of their resignation? There was not someone in Addis Ababa at that time by the name of Mengistu Hailemariam. I saw him with my own eyes in early March 1974, a simple army officer or an obscure major, together with another officer from the Dire Dewa anti-aircraft division, talking to my uncle and his wife at the Harar Military Hospital while we were visiting my uncle’s wife younger brother, a member of the Ethiopian Air Force who was stationed in Dire Dewa. The Provisional Military Administrative Council had not yet been founded. There was as yet nothing in the compound of the fourth army division which was, and perhaps is still, located in Meshwalekia, Addis Ababa. The political tensions and crises that existed from January to the very day of Aklilu Habte-Wold’s cabinet resignation were nothing compared to the persistent and quite explosive political challenges, combined with armed confrontationsoften with deadly resultsthat have faced and tested the unelected leadership of the TPLF since its arrival in May 1991. In 1974, there were only three or four demonstrations. The last (and a major) one, probably held on 26 or 27 February, is said to have resulted in the culmination of Aklilu Habte-Wold’s cabinet by resignation: it was indeed supported by the various sections and divisions of the Ethiopian armed forces. Can such demonstrations alone be seen as the decisive source and cause of the resignation of Aklilu Habte-Wold’s cabinet? How then? How come measures were not taken by the Emperor himself, as well as by Aklilu’s cabinet, in an attempt to silence the uprising? And why did Emperor Haile Selassie return home from the OAU African Heads of States Summit held in Mogadishu in late June 1974, knowing that the political temperature was heating up so dangerously and irreversibly? Didn’t he have reasonably wise advisors at that time? 

Other Ethiopians argue that Aklilu Habte-Wold and his ministers were forced by Emperor Haile Selassie himself to give up their responsibilities. But how? Where are the documents, the written and recorded evidence? Does Ethiopia lack all historical records related to such resignations and the subsequent tragedies? What a huge embarrassment and deficiency for Ethiopia and its people! How is it possible that such extremely fascinating tragedies, such historically valuable and important events are not documented? How can they be so neglected, so that they are forgotten by entire generations, even that of my father? How in the world is it possible that the multiple, incalculable contributions to Ethiopia’s political development and political history, including the enormous achievements and respect my country gained from the international community through the hard, devoted work realized by those irreplaceable Ethiopian figures, can be so neglected and forgotten? Why is that? Where is the concern, the respect and the love Ethiopians generally have for the people and the history of Ethiopia, and towards those who played a crucial role in representing our country on the world political stage, who made history for our country? 

The story surrounding the tragic, untimely and sudden murder of ministers, together with their compatriot army generals and civil servants, by the power hungry and power intoxicated Dergue members under the leadership of the most inhumane, cruel, anti-social animal called Mengistu Hailemariam, has remained buried, in exactly the same way as the story of the resignation of Aklilu Habte-Wold’s cabinet. No books, no films or video recordings based on facts seem to have been produced. It is probably due to our resulting ignorance that most Ethiopians of my generation often feel uncomfortable, even embarrassed, to talk or engage in debates involving these two tragic events. Yes, since there are no written meeting reports or video records that might indicate why and how the members of the Dergue reached their extremely cruel conclusions and decided to murder their own compatriots, most of us know little or nothing about the precise facts behind the killing of those 60 Ethiopian citizens in just a few minutes on 23 November 1974 – we only know that they never faced due process in a court of law for the crimes of which they were accused. 

As time passes, later generations, including that of my daughter, will know even less. What is most remarkable of all is the lack of concern and the disinterest of Ethiopians in boldly confronting, exploring and writing about these painful events, the history of our own crises, which are also our own creations. Isn’t it tragic, even shameful, to realize that we Ethiopians still live without books, professionally produced films or video records of such important, fascinating but painful historical events? 


I would further be interested in understanding why the Ethiopian Diaspora, including the opposition political parties and the Diaspora media outlets and websites, are so reluctant to provide forums that would bring together individual Ethiopians who have information about those two important historical events, so that they can be widely discussed and more deeply explored? It is to be remembered that in recent times Chapters of Ethiopian political parties and the Ethiopian Diaspora in general have been engaged in exploring and explaining the origins of TPLF and its founding fathers, as well as the later historical developments. How is it then possible that the personalities and immense historical contributions of those 60 or more Dergue victims, the events themselves, the whys and hows of their resignations and murders, can be seen as irrelevant, or less important than the history of the TPLF and its founding figures? Why is that our interest and fascination are more profound with respect to the histories of our enemies than regarding the historical achievements, contributions and personalities of our own people? What kind of Ethiopianess is that?
 

Dr. Maru Gubena, from Ethiopia, is a political economist, writer and publisher. Readers who wish to contact the author can reach me at info@pada.nl 

*    The above text has been excerpted from one of my previously posted articles, Looking at Forgotten Events and Future Strategies Conducive to a Mature Political Culture for Ethiopia: Putting the Cart Before the Horse?” 

Published in: on December 7, 2006 at 8:57 pm  Comments (4)  

*Remembering the Forgotten Victims: What do we Ethiopians know about the Sources that Led to the Abrupt Resignation of Aklilu Habte-Wold’s Cabinet?

By Maru Gubena 

As shown by the historical records of the past three decades, the people’s power has not been effective in Ethiopia. It is therefore difficult to consider this power as a source of protection for political leaders who are ready to take risks. In practical terms, the people’s power in Africa, and in Ethiopia in particular, is radically different from the experience in Latin America, Asia and, as seen in recent political events, in many countries of the former East Block. 

Looking at political events and developments in my country retrospectively, one sees that Ethiopians have never been to collectively share and enjoy the fruits of political events that have resulted from the people’s action, uprising and power. It is to be remembered that the people outright rejected the forceful imposition of power and rule by the undesired, uninvited military regime of Mengistu Hailemariam – yet he managed to rule my country with an iron hand for a long 17 years, with little or no effective, meaningful challenge from those being ruled. By using viciously crafted mechanisms of destruction to eliminate both intellectuals and the youth of Ethiopia – the future assets of the country – with the cooperation of our own families and relatives, the regime of the Dergue also managed to permanently divide and demoralize the people of Ethiopia, to the point of becoming unable either to rise up and challenge the Dergue itself, or to fight against external enemies such as the TPLF and EPLF. It is indeed depressing to painfully recall and admit that so many, perhaps millions, of Ethiopians were used by the cruel regime as tools to willingly expose their own friends, neighbours and colleagues, and hand them over to the killing machines of the Dergue. It was these actions of the Dergue regime that created permanent wounds and animosities among Ethiopians to the point that it seems difficult, if not impossible, to reconcile and cure. Perhaps because of this, we remain persistently reluctant to talk, write and debate about those painful histories and still fresh memories. 

Even worse and more painful, in addition to these unhealed wounds and unforgettable scars in our recent history, we also know so little about the sources and causes that contributed to the abrupt resignation of Prime Minster Aklilu Habte-Wold’s entire cabinet on the 26 or 27 (embarrassingly, no exact date of resignation is to be found anywhere) of February 1974. Although this became a fertile ground for the emergence of the people’s enemy, the Dergue, and the subsequent structural crisis within Ethiopian society, this has not been explored and written up. Except through verbal stories and jokes told in family get-togethers and around coffee tables, most, if not all, Ethiopians have had no factual account – for example, based on meeting reports or recorded videos showing when, at which date and time, or indeed the exact reasons that led to the resignation of the late Prime Minister Aklilu Habte-Wold’s cabinet. And who was or were precisely responsible for this resignation of then Prime Minister Aklilu Habte-Wold and his ministers? Many Ethiopians say it was the Dergue that forced the entire cabinet to resign. But surely there was no Dergue or military committee at that time of their resignation? There was not someone in Addis Ababa at that time by the name of Mengistu Hailemariam. I saw him with my own eyes in early March 1974, a simple army officer or an obscure major, together with another officer from the Dire Dewa anti-aircraft division, talking to my uncle and his wife at the Harar Military Hospital while we were visiting my uncle’s wife younger brother, a member of the Ethiopian Air Force who was stationed in Dire Dewa. The Provisional Military Administrative Council had not yet been founded. There was as yet nothing in the compound of the fourth army division which was, and perhaps is still, located in Meshwalekia, Addis Ababa. The political tensions and crises that existed from January to the very day of Aklilu Habte-Wold’s cabinet resignation were nothing compared to the persistent and quite explosive political challenges, combined with armed confrontationsoften with deadly resultsthat have faced and tested the unelected leadership of the TPLF since its arrival in May 1991. In 1974, there were only three or four demonstrations. The last (and a major) one, probably held on 26 or 27 February, is said to have resulted in the culmination of Aklilu Habte-Wold’s cabinet by resignation: it was indeed supported by the various sections and divisions of the Ethiopian armed forces. Can such demonstrations alone be seen as the decisive source and cause of the resignation of Aklilu Habte-Wold’s cabinet? How then? How come measures were not taken by the Emperor himself, as well as by Aklilu’s cabinet, in an attempt to silence the uprising? And why did Emperor Haile Selassie return home from the OAU African Heads of States Summit held in Mogadishu in late June 1974, knowing that the political temperature was heating up so dangerously and irreversibly? Didn’t he have reasonably wise advisors at that time? 

 

 

Other Ethiopians argue that Aklilu Habte-Wold and his ministers were forced by Emperor Haile Selassie himself to give up their responsibilities. But how? Where are the documents, the written and recorded evidence? Does Ethiopia lack all historical records related to such resignations and the subsequent tragedies? What a huge embarrassment and deficiency for Ethiopia and its people! How is it possible that such extremely fascinating tragedies, such historically valuable and important events are not documented? How can they be so neglected, so that they are forgotten by entire generations, even that of my father? How in the world is it possible that the multiple, incalculable contributions to Ethiopia’s political development and political history, including the enormous achievements and respect my country gained from the international community through the hard, devoted work realized by those irreplaceable Ethiopian figures, can be so neglected and forgotten? Why is that? Where is the concern, the respect and the love Ethiopians generally have for the people and the history of Ethiopia, and towards those who played a crucial role in representing our country on the world political stage, who made history for our country? 

The story surrounding the tragic, untimely and sudden murder of ministers, together with their compatriot army generals and civil servants, by the power hungry and power intoxicated Dergue members under the leadership of the most inhumane, cruel, anti-social animal called Mengistu Hailemariam, has remained buried, in exactly the same way as the story of the resignation of Aklilu Habte-Wold’s cabinet. No books, no films or video recordings based on facts seem to have been produced. It is probably due to our resulting ignorance that most Ethiopians of my generation often feel uncomfortable, even embarrassed, to talk or engage in debates involving these two tragic events. Yes, since there are no written meeting reports or video records that might indicate why and how the members of the Dergue reached their extremely cruel conclusions and decided to murder their own compatriots, most of us know little or nothing about the precise facts behind the killing of those 60 Ethiopian citizens in just a few minutes on the 23rd of November 1974 – we only know that

they never faced due process in a court of law for the crimes of which they were accused 

As time passes, later generations, including that of my daughter, will know even less. What is most remarkable of all is the lack of concern and the disinterest of Ethiopians in boldly confronting, exploring and writing about these painful events, the history of our own crises, which are also our own creations. Isn’t it tragic, even shameful, to realize that we Ethiopians still live without books, professionally produced films or video records of such important, fascinating but painful historical events? 

I would further be interested in understanding why the Ethiopian Diaspora, including the opposition political parties and the Diaspora media outlets and websites, are so reluctant to provide forums that would bring together individual Ethiopians who have information about those two important historical events, so that they can be widely discussed and more deeply explored? It is to be remembered that in recent times Chapters of Ethiopian political parties and the Ethiopian Diaspora in general have been engaged in exploring and explaining the origins of TPLF and its founding fathers, as well as the later historical developments. How is it then possible that the personalities and immense historical contributions of those 60 or more Dergue victims, the events themselves, the whys and hows of their resignations and murders, can be seen as irrelevant, or less important than the history of the TPLF and its founding figures? Why is that our interest and fascination are more profound with respect to the histories of our enemies than regarding the historical achievements, contributions and personalities of our own people? What kind of Ethiopianess is that? 

 

Dr. Maru Gubena, from Ethiopia, is a political economist, writer and publisher. Readers who wish to contact the author can reach me at info@pada.nl 

 

*    The above text has been excerpted from one of my previously posted articles, Looking at Forgotten Events and Future Strategies Conducive to a Mature Political Culture for Ethiopia: Putting the Cart Before the Horse?” 

 

 

Published in: on December 7, 2006 at 8:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

Who wants to march to war with a traitor?

Dr Menbere Asfaw

(December 1, 2006Meles Zenawi’s recent speech in his house of clapping puppets and clowns that he calls “parliament” was not only funny but also absurd. Ethiopia’s much hated dictator told his parliament that the sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of Ethiopia was threatened by Somali Jihadists with the backing of Isaias Afeworki. With his typical trademark of arrogance, he beat his favourite war drum with a sense of self-adulation as a patriot ready to defend Ethiopia at any cost.  

“The trouble with this country is that there are too many politicians who believe, with a conviction based on experience, that they can fool all of the people all of the time,” said the American Franklin P. Adams. In our case though, there is a foolish tyrant who believes with a great conviction that he can fool all the people all the time just by  hanging his masks. But the consequences of his reckless foolishness have already brought numerous tragedies and untold misery to the poor people of Ethiopia for over three decades as a rebel and ruthless tyrant. 

Even though the tyrant suffers from short memory, history never forgets. Historical records show that Meles Zenawi, a classic example of a footloose traitor, once made himself available to the service of Ethiopia’s worst enemies including the late Somali dictator Siyaad Barre and his former mentor Isaias Afeworki. 

In return to his treacherous service, the Somali dictator, who happened to be fond of the extremist Zenawi as a promising foot soldier, supplied him with weapons, money, a hideout in Mogadishu, links to anti-Ethiopian elements and a diplomatic Somali passport that even the most loyalist Somali was not entitled to. In some of his anti-Ethiopian sermons that he used to preach before he came to power, Meles openly declared that “colonial” Ethiopia occupied and exploited not only Eritrea but also Somali territories including the Ogaden region. According to Meles, as well as his narrow minded ethonocenric group coached by Shabia, the 1977 invasion of Ethiopia by Siyaad Barre to annex the Ogaden region was a holy war of liberation. On countless occasions, Meles has condemned Emperor Menelik as a colonialist for unifying the nation and making Ethiopia a much stronger state that could fend off colonial invasions.

Since the fall of Sayaad Barre and Mengistu Hailemariam in 1991, both Somalia and Ethiopia have continued to experience tragic upheavals under clan and ethnic warlords. Both failed states, which cannot even feed their people, continue to face uncertain futures as wars, hunger, floods, abject poverty, clan and ethnic conflicts have cast huge shadows of doubt on their destinies.  

Published in: on December 1, 2006 at 7:58 pm  Comments (3)