March in Geneva

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March in German, Kolen

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March 01 @ Little Ethiopia in LA

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V in LA Little Ethiopia (01 March 2007)

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Finote’s Editorial, 21 Feb 2007

Published in: on February 26, 2007 at 8:33 pm  Leave a Comment  

March Demonstration in London

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March 2 Demonistration

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CALL ME BY MY NAME: A small talk with Debteraw, part III

 Wolde Tewolde alias Obo Arada Shawl, February 23, 2007

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.“Romeo and Juliet,” Act 2, scene 2 

Perhaps Shakespeare wasn’t right when he wrote the question for Juliet. There are so many Tsegeye’s among us – prominent ones – the late “laureate” who translated Shakespeare’s work into Amharic. Another is the living Mulugheta Lule who calls himself Tsegaye GM Araya and many more tsegayes. Are these names weird coincidences or deliberate attempts to emulate somebody else?  Isn’t it true that Ethiopians have religious names and popular names and no family names? We normally address one another with adjectives or what many wrongly call feudal titles. These days, it is common practice to address people as Doctors. Why don’t we ask ourselves what our fathers’ occupation? I like to practice with the acronym of ACRM. Are you the son/daughter of an Academic, a Civil, and a Religious or of a Military father/mother? I think it is better to ask this way instead of what is your ethnicity’s background?

We are all alike in names. What about in deeds? For a start, let the living Tsegaye speak for himself and let’s us leave the dead Tsegaye alone. Celebrating the deceased Tsegaye or speaking for the living Tsegayes is not appropriate. It is not only correct to speak about those whom we do not know their whereabouts /disappeared, like Debteraw but wise to inquire. We should also give credit to the DERG era where relatives were informed there whereabouts. We all remember the “Sink Makebel” tradition, it should continue. Let us fight for it.

Debu, we know you are out there – somewhere, everywhere – in the boundless eternity of cyberspace. The invasion of Debteraw’s privacy and the shattered anonymity – all there for us not to complain but at least decipher Debteraw’s history, vision and organizational skills. This week as I clicked on Debteraw’s. Com, three pictures, one on the left, one in the middle and the other on the right hand side mesmerized my eyesight all in flash backs in memory. In the Haile Sellasie University all three pictures merged together in my memories. The good and the bad mixed up. Is it a coincidence or by design that I came to view these pictures? That of a Revolutionary, of an Artist and of a student President, posted side by side. It is appropriate to tell their stories in relations to Ethiopia and its citizens. It may be a guide to political action in revealing their works and experiences. An independent body should make a thorough study of these three personalities.

To give the devil its due credit, the “laureate” translated many of Shakespeare’s works. Many Ethiopians assisted him while in bed and admired him for his elitist work. I understand they are still trying to celebrate his death. What about Haile Sellassie I and Menghistu’s contribution to society, for sure, they cannot all be all irrelevant and useless. There should be some good things to celebrate. Tsegaye the “laureate” has celebrated his 50th year (1957) when he wrote his first piece Ye Dem Azmera. You can decipher for was not creative. He was a copycat. As far as I am concerned, he let people live in an artificial and hollow world. He.

Debteraw, Tsegeye on the other hand, was creative, looking forward to solve problems. Teaching by example is Debteraw’s mantra. Tsegeye (without an A vowel) GM is the natural scholar for Ethiopia. He was chosen or Destined to bring the country into the human electoral process. That means a complete transformation of legitimacy of governance (legitimacy from God claimed by Haile Sellassie I, Dictatorship of working Class professed by the DERG but practiced otherwise; legitimacy from the Electoral Process but rigged by ethnicity) or by the peoples’ will i.e. Democracy as was proposed by Debteraw’s Political Party. How was he and his comrades proposed to meet the objectives and goals? Debteraw told us by Naturalization. He used to tell us through openness and acting natural. That was the reason why he labeled some of us as “The Animal Group” as opposed to the “Crocodile Group”. Debteraw did not meant to divide and conquer the CCBE (Common Cause, Bond and Experience) sections of Ethiopians. All he was saying it is natural to fear and conquer fear. Both are revolutionary struggle. If we demean one over the other, that is considered arrogant or cowardice. What Debteraw could not stand though was to be an opportunist especially where there is no opportunity. On the one hand, going underground or being “crocodile” as Tekalegne Wolde Emmanuel (teacher), Gebru Gebre Wolde (social scientist), and Zeru Kihshen (economist) were not considered cowards. It just meant that they were comfortable to carry out their mission of Revolution while in underground. On the other hand, it was acceptable for Debteraw to see people such as Yohannes Berhane (geographer & geologist), Wallelegne Makonnen (Administrator), and Tecle Gebru (pharmacist) to act naturally in the open so as to pursue the Revolution in Ethiopia.

 Debteraw’s mission and vision in the countryside

Debteraw wrote a letter to me while I was in Ethiopia. He asked me about the erection of the statue of Dilachin. He was curious to know whether the statue was flat -Duldum or pointed sharp? He continued to write, if it is sharp at the top just like the Washington Monument, we are finished, if not we will survive from the onslaught of the DERG. And he was right; we are relived from the terror of the military junta. What a visionary personality!Once again we exchange letters. This time, I wrote to Debteraw to confirm whether he has lost one of his fingers in the fighting with TPLF. Actually, I was hoping that it would be one of the bad fingers that provoked literally the CCBE Community. As true to his usual sense of humor, he wrote me back, “I think you need it now than ever while in America.” I was a bit surprised, but hay, don’t we all need it? What a visionary and clarion! But to his credit, Debteraw never left the Ethiopian soil not even to the Sudan where the TPLF claimed that they had a meeting with Debteraw and his delegation. But it was not true; as usual it was a lie.

So, what was Debteraw doing in the countryside of Ethiopia? As I indicated last time in my article, Menghistu desperately needed to catch at least one leader of a “Demos” as they were popularly known to bring him down to his knees; Debteraw went to the countryside to join the Long March of EPRA.

Let us see what happened to him after the Bitena? (Let us disband and go home). Debteraw insisted that the Revolution would continue but those who want to disband can go home. They are welcome to go home. Mockingly, to some he said, you are homesick (Yenate Enjera Tayegne) like those (Ye Dem zemen, Chkona Yiwdem Yaleminm dem). To make more dramatic, he challenged them to climb a hill, he said, “if we can climb this hill without stopping – we will overcome, otherwise we will be disbanded.” A certain Ayalew Kebede witnessed this challenge by …Debteraw. What a teaching by example!

What happened after 1991 when the TPLF + EPLF with the support of the “Sudanese” government with the blessing of the Department of State (DOS) to take over the cities of Asmara and Addis? What happened to Debteraw? Whenever the trough of a Revolution climaxes, it is natural that an alignment and realignment occurs. When these huge combined armies rolled over the countryside of Ethiopia and Eritrea, no one claims to be even Pontius Pilate. We have seen this during the collapse of Haile Sellasssie I, we have seen betrays of great proportion during the collapse of the DERG. Opportunists change sides now and then. This is what Debteraw used to tell the intellectual community. Debteraw was not against those who want to take advantage of a situation. In fact, he gives due credit to those who looks for an opportune moment provided a major shift in idea and core value takes place.

From what I have learned from people who where in the Heart of Ethiopia (Godjam province) somewhere in Belaya Terrar where Debteraw was located, he was betrayed just like Peter/Judas did to Jesus. Debteraw commented about the betrayal like these. “These are people who cannot differentiate between Tekle Haimanot and Giorgis or Marx and Max. Let us leave them alone.” That was an outstanding comment.


The community of Debteraw aka CCBE should come together and do first things first. That is to write a memoir of CCBE community with special emphasis on Debteraw, a scholar of Ethiopia. Deciphering the word Debtera in the speller check will give us a debt era that is exactly why I am getting a message from Debteraw. We are deeply indebted to the CCBE community and the country known as Ethiopia. With debt, there is no freedom whatsoever. If there is please, challenge or educate us.

Published in: on February 25, 2007 at 4:05 am  Comments (4)  

Pal Talk Rooms’ Call

Published in: on February 24, 2007 at 8:17 pm  Leave a Comment  

Tribute to the late Dr Mekonnen Bishaw from UEDF

Published in: on February 24, 2007 at 12:16 am  Leave a Comment