Yearly Archives: 2016

ጎሠኛነት በባዶ ሜዳ: በፕሮፌሰር መስፍን ወልደ ማርያም

በተለያዩ የኢትዮጵያ አንገብጋቢ ጉዳዮች ላይ ሁሉ የሚደረገው ውይይትና ክርክር እንደተጠናቀቀ ተቆትሮ የአማራና የኦሮሞ ጎሠኛነት ትልቁ አንገብጋቢ ጉዳይ እየሆነ ነው፤ (ስለኢትዮጵያ ለማያውቅ ሰው በኢትዮጵያ ውስጥ ከጠሩና ከጸዱ አማራና ኦሮሞዎች በቀር በአገሪቱ ውስጥ ሌላ ሰው ያለ አይመስልም!) ጎሠኛነት ጉዳያችን ያልሆነው ኢትዮጵያውያን የዳር ተመልካች መሆኑ እየሰለቸን ነው፤ ምንም እንኳን አማራና ኦሮሞ የተባሎት ጎሣዎች በብዛት ከሁሉም ቢበልጡም ከሰማንያ በላይ የሚሆኑ ጎሣዎች እንደሌሉና በኢትዮጵያ ጉዳይ ላይ ቃል እንደሌላቸው ተደርጎ የሚጎነጎነው የሚስዮናውያንና የስለላ ድርጅቶች ታሪክ ለኢትዮጵያውያን ባዕድ ነው፡፡

ሌላው የሚያስደንቀውና ዓይን ያወጣው ነገር እነዚህ ኢትዮጵያን በጠዋቱ ለመቃረጥ እየተነታረኩ ያሉ በአማራና በኦሮሞ ጎሣዎች ስም መድረኩን የያዙት ሰዎች በውጭ አገር የሚኖሩ፣ እነሱ ሌሎች መንግሥታትን የሙጢኝ ብለው ከወላጆቻቸው ባህልና ታሪክ ጋር ማንም ዓይነት ግንኙነት የሌላቸው፣ ልጆቻቸውም ከኢትዮጵያ ጋር ምንም ዓይነት ግንኙነት የሌላቸው የውጭ አገር ሰዎች ናቸው፤ የሚናገሩትና የሚሰብኩት ግን በኢትዮጵያ ውስጥ ላለነው፣ አገራችን ያፈራችውን ግፍና መከራ እየተቀበልን ለምንኖረው የነሱ ንትርክ፣ ውይይትና ክርክር ትርጉም የለውም፤ እዚያው በያገራቸው እየተነታረኩ ዕድሜያቸውን ጨርሰው መቀበሪያ ይፈልጉ፤ ሲመች ኢትዮጵያውያን ናቸው፤ ሳይመች የሌሎች አገሮች ዜጎች ናቸው፤ ሲመች የአንዱ ጎሣ አባል ናቸው፣ ሳይመች ሌላ ናቸው፤ እነሱ በምጽዋት እየኖሩ እዚህ በአገሩ ጦሙን እያደረ ስቃዩን የሚበላውን በጎሠኛነት መርዝ ናላውን ሊያዞሩት ይጥራሉ፡፡

የኢትዮጵያን ሕዝብ በጎሣ ለያይተው የሞተ ታሪክ እያስነሡ ከአሥራ አምስት ሺህና ከሃያ ሺህ ኪሎ ሜትር ርቀት አዛኝ ቅቤ አንጓች እየሆኑ ተነሥ-አለንልህ! እያሉ በአጉል ቀረርቶ ጉሮሮአቸው እስቲነቃ የሚጮሁ ሰዎች ቆም ብለው ቢያስቡ እኛና እነሱ ያለንበትን የአካል ርቀት ብቻ ሳይሆን በአስተሳሰበም በመንፈስም እጅግ መራራቃችንን በመገንዘብ አደብ መግዛት ይችሉ ነበሩ፤ የሥልጣን ጥም ያቅበዘበዛቸው ሰዎች የሚያስነሡት አቧራ በኢትዮጵያ የዘለቄታ መሠረታዊ ጉዳዮች ለመነጋገር እንዳይችሉ፣ እንዳይደማመጡና እንዳይተያዩ እያደረገ ነው፡፡

አገር-ቤት ያለነውን አላዋቂ ሞኞች ለማሳመን ስደተኞች በየቀኑ አዳዲስ ነገሮችን እያለሙ ያድራሉ፤ እኛ የምንኖረውን እንንገራችሁ ይሉናል፤ እኛ የምናስበውን እንምራችሁ ይሉናል፤ እኛ የሚሰማንን እንግለጽላችሁ ይሉናል፤ በአጭሩ እኛን የእነሱ አሻንጉሊቶች አድርገውናል፤ የእኛን መታፈን ከእነሱ ስድነት ጋር እያወዳደሩ፣ የእኛን የኑሮ ደሀነት ከእነሱ ምቾት ጋር እያስተያዩ፣ የእነሱን ቀረርቶ ከእኛ ዋይታ ጋር እያመዛዘኑ ያላግጡብናል፤ ይመጻደቁብናል፤ በስደት ቅዠት ያገኙትን ማንነት በእኛ ላይ ሊጭኑ ይዳዳቸዋል፡፡

ወላጆቹም እሱም የተወለደበትን አገር ትቶ በሰው አገር ስደተኛ የሆነ፣ የራሱን አገር መንግሥት መመሥረት አቀቶት የሌላ አገር መንግሥትን የሙጢኝ ያለ፣ ማንነቱን ለምቾትና ለሆዱ የለወጠ፣ የተወለደበትንና ያደገበትን ሃይማኖት በብስኩትና በሻይ የቀየረ፣ተጨንቆና ተጠቦ በማሰብ ከውስጡ ከራሱ ምንም ሳይወጣው ሌሎች ያሸከሙትን ጭነት ብቻ እያሳየ ተምሬለሁ የሚል፣ የመድረሻ-ቢስነቱ እውነት የፈጠረበትን የመንፈስ ክሳት በጭነቱ ለማድለብ በከንቱ የሚጥርና የሚሻክራን ስደት ለማለስለስ በሚያዳልጥ መንገድ ላይ መገላበጡ አያስደንቅም፤ እያዳለጠው ሲንከባለል የተነሣበትን ሲረሳና ታሪኩን ሲስት ሌሎች እሱ የካዳቸው ወንድሞቹና እኅቶቹ ከፊቱ በኩራት ቆመው የገባህበት ማጥ ውስጥ አንገባም ይሉታል፡፡

የአሊን፣ የጎበናን፣ የባልቻን፣ የሀብተ ጊዮርጊስን፣… ወገንነት ክዶና ንቆ ራቁቱን የቆመ፣ እንደእንስሳት ትውልድ ከዜሮ ለመጀመር በደመ-ነፍስ የሚንቀሳቀስ! ድንቁርናን እውቀት እያስመሰለ ሞኞችን የሚያታልል፣ ወዳጅ-ዘመድን ከጠላት ለመለየት የሚያስችለውን የተፈጥሮ ችሎታ የተነፈገ፣ አባቱን ሲወድ እናቱን የሚጠላ፣ እናቱን ሲወድ አባቱን የሚጠላ፣ ከወንድሙና ከእኅቱ ጋር የማይዛመድ ባሕር ላይ እንደወደቀ ቅጠል የነፋስ መጫወቻ ሆኖ የሚያሳዝን የማይታዘንለት ፍጡር፣ በጥገኛነት የገባበትን ማኅበረሰብ ማሰልቸቱ የማይገባው የኋሊት እየገሰገሰ ከፊት ቀድሞ ለመገኘት የሚመን የምኞት እስረኛ ነው፡፡

አሜሪካ፣ አውሮፓ፣ አውስትራልያ በጥገኛነት ታዝሎ፣ ከኢትዮጵያ ተገንጥሎ ከኢትዮጵያ ስለመገንጠል ይለፈልፋል! ተገንጥሎ የወጣ ከምን ይገነጠላል? ልዩ የነጻነት ታሪክ ባስተላለፉለት አባቶቹና እናቶቹ እየኮራ፣ በጎደለው እያፈረ፣ የአምባ-ገነኖችን ዱላ እየተቋቋመ በአገሩ ህልውና የወደፊት ተስፋውን እየወደቀና እየተነሣ የሚገነባው ኢትዮጵያዊ በፍርፋሪ የጠገቡ ጥገኞችን የሰለለ ጥሪ አዳምጦ የአባቶቹን ቤት አያፈርስም፤ አሳዳሪዎች ሲያኮርፉና ፍርፋሪው ሲቀንስ፣ ጊዜ ሲከፋና ጥቃት ሲደራረብ የወገን ድምጽ ይናፍቃል፤ ኩራት ራት የሚሆንበት ዘመን ይናፍቃል፡፡

 

Hacked Podesta Email Reveals Clinton Foundation “Coercing” Saudi Billionaire For Millions Of Dollars

In one of the more prominent early Podesta email revelations [4], we learned that Sheik Mohammed Hussein Ali Al-‘Amoudi [5], a Saudi Arabian and Ethiopian billionaire businessman, whose net worth was estimated by Forbes at $8.3 billion as of 2016, was one of the very generous donors to the Clinton Foundation… up to a point.

As a November 2011 email [6]from Ira Magaziner, Vice Chairman and CEO of the Clinton Health Access Initiative, sent to John Podesta and Amitabh Desai, Director of Foreign Policy at the Clinton Foundation, revealed, the “CHAI [Clinton Health Access Initiative] would like to request that President Clinton call Sheik Mohammed to thank him for offering his plane to the conference in Ethiopia and expressing regrets that President Clinton’s schedule does not permit him to attend the conference.”

To this, the response by Desai was a simple one: “Unless Sheikh Mo has sent us a $6 million check, this sounds crazy to do.

At this point, Doug Band, Bill Clinton’s former chief advisor and current president of the infamous Teneo Holding Doug Band, chimed in that it probably is a good idea: “If he doesn’t do it Chai will say he didn’t give the money bc of wjc” an assessment which John Podesta agreed with: “this seems rather easy and harmless and not a big time sink.”

* * *

To be sure, this exchange suggested that a substantial amount of cash had or was about to be exchanged between the Clinton Foundation and the Saudi “Sheikh Mo”, as shown in the photo below.

However, the details were missing: the original email from Ira Magaziner referenced a specific briefing memo which contained in it the talking points updaing on the relationship between the Clinton Foundation and The Saudi billionaire:

Now, courtesy of today’s latest Podesta email release, we have access to the missing memo [7].

The leaked memo lays out the facts on the Clinton Foundation trying to collect on Sheik Mohammed’s overdue donor commitment to CHAI. Notably, the memo gives the inference of the Sheik being shaken down by the Foundation in that the Foundation was demanding an immediate $6 million payment in return for WJC attending the 2011 International Conference on AIDS and STIs (ICASA) event.  Additionally the Foundation apparently enlisted the assistance of the US Ambassador to Ethiopia to obtain payments from the Sheik.

The memo initially lays out Bill Clinton’s history with the Sheik:

In the first bullet point we find what the initial “bid” and “ask” would be between WJC/CF and the Saudi billionaire: $2 million for every year that Bill Clinton visit Ethiopia. This, however, was subsequently changed to an greement whereby the Saudi would give $2 million per year but without any reference to visiting Ethiopia:

Sheik Mohammed approached CHAI in 2006 shortly after we opened an office in Addis Ababa.  He proposed  that he would give $2 million to CHAI every year that YOU visited Ethiopia.   We eventually negotiated an Agreement with his Washington attorney, George Salem, in which he agreed to fund CHAI at a rate of $2 million per year for 10 years.   They rejected any proposals to put a payment schedule in the agreement, but dropped any reference tying the donation to YOU visiting Ethiopia.

The next bullet lays out the initial fund transfer of $2 million in London, as well as the broad terms of the agreement whose “requirement is that the money be spent within Ethiopia.” Amusingly, the memo then notes that during negotiations the Saudi delegation “rejected our proposal that some of the money could be used for global overhead.

The Agreement was officially signed at a meeting in London in May 2007 by the Sheik and Bruce, after which the Sheik presented you with a a check for $2 million for the 2007 payment.    The Agreement is very general and does not require any specific proposals from CHAI for how the money will be spent or any reporting.  The only requirement is that the money be spent within Ethiopia.  During negotiations they rejected our proposal that some of the money could be used for global overhead.

We then learn that more cash transfers took place in the coming years, despite the Sheik having “cash flow problems” which resulted in a bulk payment of $4 million in 2010 for missed payments in 2008 and 2009.

Through 2008 and early 2009, we were told the Sheik was having some cash flow problems and that he was delaying payments for many commercial and philanthropic commitments he had in Ethiopia.  In January 2010 at a Foundation donors meeting in Harlem, Ambassador Irvin Hicks, one of the Sheik’s representatives in the U.S. and a former Ethiopian ambassador appointed by YOU  presented to YOU a check for $4 million representing payment for 2008 and 2009.

The memo then tells WJC just why the relationship was created in the first place: “The Sheik’s contribution supports most of CHAI’s activities in Ethiopia, one of its most important and successful country programs.”

A section then follow which reminds Bill Clinton just who Sheikh Mohammed is, and that the two had spent time together in his “private suite at a nightclub attached to the Sheraton” in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia:

YOU first met the Sheik in July 2006 during a visit to Addis.   He visited your suite in the Sheraton Hotel, which he owns, for coffee and then after dinner YOU dropped into his private suite at a nightclub attached to the Sheraton.  He had invited YOU there especially because he thought you would enjoy the saxophone player.   You chatted with the Sheik and played the saxophone with the band.   Shortly after this visit negotiations began in earnest regarding the $20 million commitment the Sheik has made to CHAI.

 

YOU met the Sheik in London in May, 2007, at which time the Agreement was signed and the first $2 million check was received.

 

YOU stayed at the Sheraton in July 2008 during your last Ethiopia visit, but the Sheik was not in Ethiopia at the time.  The Sheik donated the rooms and meals for the large party during an extended four-day visit, two days longer than originally planned because of aircraft problems.

Where things get interesting is in the memo’s discussion of the current (as of November 2011) situation, in which we learn that once again the Saudi billionaire was behind on his payments due to the current economic downturn:

Once again, we are told that the current economic down turn has caused the Sheik to delay payments for several commitments.  CHAI has not received the 2010 or 2011 payments.  We have contacted both George Salem, the lawyer, and Ambassador Hicks regarding payment.  Both say that the Sheik will make the payment but they have not been able to pinpoint an exact date.

Recent complications did not make matters any easier, although the Sheikh had enough cash to provide Bill with a plane to attend the upcoming African AIDS conference:

In the past two months the effort to collect the payments for 2010-2011 has become complicated by factors surrounding ICASA, the biennial large African AIDS conference that will be held in Ethiopia the first week of December.   The previous two ICASA conference in Nigeria and Senegal were beset by logistical and financial problems and Prime  Minister Meles and Minister of Health Tedros have worked hard to make the Ethiopia ICASA the most successful ever.  They have enlisted Sheik Mohammed to help and he has donated the venue and paid for an additional $8-10 million of expenses.

 

Minister Tedros invited YOU to participate in ICASA, and apparently he or someone else connected with ICASA asked the Sheik if he would provide a plane to bring YOU to Ethiopia for the event.  The Sheik agreed to provide a plane, and instructed Ambassador Hicks to tell CHAI one would be available.

Where things get hot, and where the Clinton Foundation is accused of “coercion” by the Sheik’s Washington attorney George Salem, is in the negotiation over whether Clinton should come to Ethiopia without having been wired the funds up front, or if he should assume that the billionaire is “good for the money” and just fly out there on good will.

When George Salem spoke with the Sheik about the payment, he was told by the Sheik to make sure YOU knew that the Sheik would very much like for you to attend ICASA and that he would provide transportation.  In response, Bruce told George that if the Sheik would wire $6 million to the Foundation for 2010-2012 that he would make sure YOU attended ICASA.  After Bruce’s stroke, George told Ed Wood of CHAI that the Sheik said he did not like “coercion” and that we should know that he was “good for the money.”  George reiterated that the money would be paid, but could not give a date.

 

The Sheik seems to feel that we asked him for transportation and then decided not to use it.   George and Ambassador Hicks have been told that the request for transportation did not originate with us, but we are not sure that the message reached the Sheik.

Ultimately the negotiations for Clinton flying to Ethiopia stalled, and appear to have fallen apart, leading to the original quote from the Clinton Foundation’s Amitabh Desai in which he said, as we noted earlier this month, that “Unless Sheikh Mo has sent us a $6 million check, this sounds crazy to do.” As a result, the memo gives WJC the following action point:

George Salem, Ambassador Hicks, and CHAI feel that it would be helpful if you would call the Sheik and thank him for offering the plane and saying you are sorry you can’t attend ICASA.   We don’t think it is necessary for YOU to bring up the payment issue directly.

The memo concludes with the following talking points:

  • YOU should thank the Sheik for his support of all our efforts in Ethiopia, and especially for offering to provide a plane to bring you to the ICASA meeting.
  • YOU should express your regrets that you were not able to arrange your schedule to attend the ICASA meeting since you know how important it is to Ethiopia and to the Sheik.  You should express your appreciation that he has helped make this event possible during a difficult time for the international AIDS effort.
  • YOU should say you hope to be able to visit with the Sheik again soon either in Ethiopia or elsewhere.

* * *

This memo provides valuable insight into just how the “charitable” Clinton Foundation truly operated: absent being made whole on millions of dollars in payments – by a donor who had already provided it with $6 million in the past –  the “so very concerned” about AIDS and African welfare Foundation, would not even bother to fly Bill Clinton for a 1-2 day trip – on someone else’s dime – to something as simple, yet noble, as a healthcare conference: precisely what the Foundation, and Bill Clinton’s presence, is supposed to represent and support.

It also shows that when the Foundation found itself in arrears to a prominent donor, it first and only concern was how to get paid; all else – up to and including doing the absolute minimum such as appearing for a good cause, was secondary and – as the memo documents – ultimately irrelevant unless Clinton and the CF were both generously compensated for their efforts.

And that, in a nutshell is what the “generous and charitable” Clinton foundation was all about: make sure to get the money, the rest simply did not matter.

Source:Zero Hedge

በጠብመንጃ አፈሙዝ እና በአስቸኳይ ጊዜ አዋጅ ሊታፈን የተሞከረው የወጣቱ ትውልድ ጥያቄ

 

 

ላለፉት 25 ዓመታት በጠብመንጃ ሀይል እና በከፋፍለህ ግዛ ስልት ሀገሪቷን ጠርንፎ በመያዝ የገዛው ህወሀት ኢህአዴግ አሁን ላይ በሀገሪቷ ከዳር እስከዳር የተነሳውን ህዝባዊ እምቢተኝነት ተከትሎ ወደ መቃብር ሊገባ አፋፍ ላይ ይገኛል፡፡ የህዝብን ተቋውሞና ብሶት አዳምጦ ተገቢውን ምላሽ ከመስጠት ይልቅ በግድያ፣ በጅምላ እስራት እና አሰልቺ በሆነ ፖለቲካዊ የፕሮፓጋንዳ ቃላት ሽንገላዎች ለማለፍ ሲዋትት እየተስተዋለ ነው። ህወሀት ኢህአዴግ አሁንም በመላ ሀገሪቷ የተነሳውን ተቋውሞ እንደለመደው ከልማት ቱርፋቶች አለመቋደስ እና ከመልካም አስተዳደር ጉድለቶች ጋር ለማያያዝ ሲዋትር ይታያል፡፡ በአመታዊው የፓርላማ የስራ ዘመን መክፈቻ ስነስርአት ላይ በፓርላማ ተገኝተው የመክፈቻ ንግግራቸውን ያደረጉት / ሙላቱ ተሾመ በሀገሪቷ በተያዘው ዓመት ለወጣቶች የስራ እድል የሚከፍቱ የኢንቨስትመንት መስኮች ላይ የሚውል 10 ቢሊየን ብር በላይ በጀት መመደቡን መቶ  በመቶ ብቻቸውን በተቆጣጠሩት ፓርላማ ውስጥ ለተገኙት ተሰብሳቢዎች ገልፀዋል፡፡ ይህ የፕሬዝዳንቱን ንግግር ተከትሎ የህወሀት ኢህአዴግ ማላዘን አሁንም ስርአቱ ሁሉንም ነገር በተለይም የህዝቡን የነፃነት ፍላጎት በገንዘብ ሀይል ልመልስ እችላለው በሚል እብሪት መወጠሩን ከማሳየቱም በተጨማሪ የሀገሪቷ ኢኮኖሚ በአሁኑ ሰአት ይህንን ለማድረግ የሚያስችል አቅም አለው ወይ? የሚል ጥያቄ ያስነሳል፡፡

 

ምክንያቱም ኢኮኖሚው በራሱ ከህዝባዊው ተቋውሞ ጋር በተያያዘ ከፍተኛ አደጋ ውስጥ የወደቀ በመሆኑ ነው፡፡ ከህዝባዊው ተቋውሞ ጋር በተያያዘ ኢፍትሀዊው የፍትህ ስርአት እና ኢፍትሀዊው የሀብት ክፍፍል ያንገሸገሻቸው የሀገሪቷ ዜጎች በአገዛዙ ንብረቶች እና ከአገዛዙ ጋር በሞመዳሞድ ሀገሪቷን በመዝረፍ ሀብት ያካበቱ ግለሰቦችን ንብረቶች አውድመዋል፡፡ ይህም የሚያሳየን ነገር ቢኖር በአንድ በኩል ህወሀት ኢህአዴግ አመጣሁት በሚለው የኢኮኖሚ እድገት ብዙሀኑ ህዝብ ተጠቃሚ ባለመሆኑ የተነሳ ንብረቶቹ ላይ የባለቤትነት ስሜት ወጣቱ ትውልድ እንዳያድርበት መንስኤ ስለመሆኑ ሲሆን፤ በሌላ በኩል ደግሞ በጠብመንጃ አፈሙዝም ሆነ በአፋኝ እና በጠርናፊ ፓሊሲ እንኳ ቢሆን ሀገሪቷን የመምራት አቅሙ ሙሉ ለሙሉ የተሟጠጠበት ደረጃ ላይ መድረሱን ነው፡፡ ብዙሃኑን ዜጎች ያገለለ ወገንተኛነት እና መንደርተኛነት የተጠናወተው ይህ ስርአት የጥቂት ስብስቦችን ኑሮ እና ኪስ ከመሙላት ባለፈ ሰዋዊ እና ቁሳዊ ሀብትን በማስተሳሰር የብዙሀኑን ህዝብ ኑሮ ሊያሻሽል ስለአለመቻሉ ከህወሀት ኢህአዴግ ስርአት በላይ ማሳያ ያለ አይመስለኝም፡፡ ህግ አውጪ፣ ህግ ተርጓሚ እና ህግ አስፈፃሚ የፍትህ ተቋማት መሆናቸው ቀርቶ ከአንድ ፓርቲ የወጡ ግለሰቦች በሆኑበት የሀገራችን የኢኮኖሚ ስርአት በምንም ተአምር ፍትሀዊ የሀብት ክፍፍል ሊኖር አይችልም፡፡  በተጨማሪም የቀድሞዎቹ ታጋዮች የአሁኖቹ ሀገር አስተዳዳሪዎች ሀገር ከማስተዳደር ባለፈ በሀገሪቷ ኢኮኖሚ ስርአት ላይ በነጋዴነት፣ በአምራችነት፣ በህንፃ አከራይነት በአስመጪ እና ላኪነት ተሳታፊ በሆኑበት ሁናቴ በምንም ተአምር ነው የግል ባለሀብቱ ሀብቱን እና እውቀቱን ሀገሪቷ ላይ ለማፍሰስ ተነሳሽነት ሊኖረው አይችልም፡፡

በሀገራችን ያለውን ብዙሀኑን ህዝብ በአማካይ ስናየው 65% በላይ የሚሆነው በወጣትነት እድሜ ላይ የሚገኝ ነው ፡፡ ከሀገሪቷ አጠቃላይ ህዝብ ብዙሀኑ ህዝብ በወጣትነት የእድሜ ክልል ላይ መገኘቱ  ለአንድ ሀገር ሁለት በተለያዩ ጠርዝ የተቀመጡ አዎንታዊ ጥቅሞች አሉት ፡፡ አንደኛው በወጣትነት እድሜ ላይ የሚገኝን የስራ ተነሳሽነት፣ እምቅ ጉልበት እና ብሩህ አእምሮን በመጠቀም የአንድን ሀገር ኢኮኖሚ ለማሻሻል ግብአት ማድረግ መቻሉ ሲሆን፡፡ በሌላ በኩል ደግሞ ያለው አዎንታዊ ጥቅም ደግሞ የወጣትነት እድሜ ከሚፈልገው ነፃነት ጋር በተያያዘ ለአንባገነኖች የሀይል አገዛዝ እምቢኝ አሻፈረኝ ከሚለው ተፈጥሮአዊው የወጣትነት ባህሪ ጋር ይገናኛል፡፡ ይህም ማለት ወጣቱ ሀይል በአንድ በኩል ለሀገሪቷ ኢኮኖሚ የማእዘን ዲንጋይ ሲሆን በሌላ በኩል ደግሞ ለነፃነት መስፈን ዘብ የሚቆም ሀይል ነው እንደማለት ነው፡፡ ላለፉት ሀያ አምስት አመታት ስርአቱ የወጣቱን ትውልድ ችግሮችን ከመፍታት ይልቅ ትውልዱ በባሰ ሁኔታ ለዘርፈ ብዙ ድህነት ተጋላጭ እንዳደረገው በወጣቱ ላይ የደረሰው እና እየደረሰ ያለው ፓለቲካዊ፣ ማህበራዊ እና ኢኮኖሚያ መገለሎች ማሳያ ናቸው፡፡ በወጣቱ ትውልድ ላይ ስርአቱ ካደረሰው የከፋ በደል ውስጥ በእኔ እምነት አብዛኛውን ወጣት ትውልድ ከንብረት ባለቤትነት ማሸሽ፣ በሀገሩ ሀብት እና ንብረት ውሳኔ ሰጪ እንዳይሆን በቀጥታም ሆነ በተዘዋዋሪ ጫና ማድረግ እንዲሁም ያሰበውን እና ያመነበትን የፓለቲካ አመለካከት እንዳያራምድ ተፅእኖ እና እቀባ ማድረግ ዋነኛዎቹ ከብዙ በጥቂቱ ይጠቀሳሉ።

 

በእኔ እምነት በአማራ በኦሮሚያ እና በደቡብ ክልሎች የሚገኙ የኢትዮጲያ የቁርጥ ቀን ወጣቶች ከአገዛዙ አፈሙዝ ጋር ተጋፍጠው ያሳዩትን እምቢተኝነት ለተመለከተ የሀገሬ ወጣት ስርአቱን ለአንዴ እና ለመጨረሻ ጊዜ ለመጣል ቆርጦ መነሳቱን ያመላክታል፡፡ ሞት አይፈሬ ወጣቶች እንደ አሸን በመላ ሀገሪቷ በሞሉበት በአሁኑ ወቅት ስርአቱ የወጣቱን የነፃነት ጥያቄ በአስቸኳይ ጊዜ አዋጅ እፈታዋለው ብሎ በሀገሪቷ ለስድስት ወር የሚቆይ የአስቸኳይ ጊዜ ማወጁን ተናገሯል፡፡ስርአቱ ለብዙሀኑ የወጣቱ ትውልድ የነፃነት ጥያቄ ለሚሰጠው የተንሸዋረረ መልስ መንስኤው በአንድ በኩል ስርአቱ እና ወጣቱ ትውልድ መሀል በአስተተሳሰብ እና በህይወት መስመር መሀል ልዩነት በመኖሩ የተነሳ ሲሆን በሌላ በኩል ደግሞ ስርአቱ ከሀገሪቷ ሰማይ ስር የሚነሱ ጥያቄዎችን በአፋኝ አዋጅ እና ከጠብመንጃ አፈሙዝ ባለፈ መመመለስ ባለመቻሉ የተነሳ ይመስለኛል፡፡ስርዓቱ 25 ዓመታት በኋላም ከአውራ ፓርቲ አስተሳሳብ ባልወጡ እና አሸናፊነትን ብቻ ማእከል ባደረጉ አመራሮቹ በበላይነት የሚዘወረው ህወሀት ኢህአዴግ አሁንም በህይወት ዘመኑ ከህወሀት ኢህአዴግ ውጪ ሌላ መንግስት አይቶ ከማውቀው አዲስ የለውጥ ሀይል ጋር ተፋጧል፡፡ ወገንተኝነት እና ዘረኝነት የነገሰበት ስርአተ ኢኮኖሚ ብዙሀኑን ህዝብ ለዘርፈ ብዙ ድህነት በማጋለጥ ጥቂቶች ብቻ የተደላደለ ህይወት እንዲኖሩ መንስኤ ይሆናል፡፡ የዚህ አይነቱ ስርአት አስከፊ ውጤት ደግሞ የቱንም ያህል ህዝቡ በኢኮኖሚያዊ ችግር ቢተበተብ የህዝብን ችግር ከመፍታት ይልቅ በሰው ቁስል እንጨት ስደድበት እንዲሉ ስርአቱ ሙሉ ትኩረቱን ዘረፋ እና ስልጣንን ማስጠበቅ ላይ ማድረጉ ነው፡፡ ይህ ክስተት ደግሞ በሀገራችን አሁን ላይ እንደሚታየው አይነት ህዝባዊ ቁጣ እንዲነሳ መንስኤ ይሆናል፡፡

የሀገራችን ህዝብ በተለይም ወጣቱ ትውልድ የህወሀት ኢህአዴግ ስርአት የሌብነት ስርአት ስለመሆኑ፣ የህወሀት ኢህአዴግ ስርአት የቋሚ ሽፍቶች ስርአት ስለመሆኑ ከምስራቅ እስከ ደቡብ፣ ከደቡብ እስከ ምእራብ ላለው አሁን ላይ ነጋሪ ሳያስፈልገው የገባው ይመስለኛል፡፡ አሁን ላይ በሀገራችን ከአጥናፍ እስከ አጥናፍ የሚታየው የህዝቦች ጥያቄ የህወሀት ኢሃዴግ ቋሚ ሽፍታነት ባህሪ የፈጠረው እና የወለደው ነው፡፡ የጥቂት ሽፍቶች ስብስብ የሆነው ህወሀት ኢህአዴግ ለዘረፍው ሀገራዊ ሀብት መንስኤ የሆነውን ስልጣኑን ለማስጠበቅ እና ዘለቄታዊነቱን ለማረጋገጥ ህዝቦችን ማጋጨት፣ ማፈናቀል ላለፉት 25 አመታት ዋነኛ ተግባሩ አድርጎታል፡፡በተጨማሪም ይህ ሙት ስርአት ከበፊቱ በባሰ መልኩ በአሁኑ ወቅት የህዝብን ጥያቄ ከመመለስ ይልቅ ህዝብን መግደል ስራዬ ብሎም ተያይዞታል፡፡ የአለም ታሪክ እንደሚነግረን ህዝብን ያሸነፈ ስርአት ስለአመኖሩ ነው፡፡ በመሆኑም የህወሀት ኢህአዴግ የቋሚ ሽፍትነት እና የዘረኝነት ባህሪ አንገፍግፎት በሀገራችን ከአጥናፍ እስከ አጥናፍ ቁጣውን እየገለፀ ያለውን የብዙሀኑን ህዝብ ጥያቄ እና ብሶት በጠብመንጃ እና በአስቸኳይ ጊዜ አዋጅ ለማስቆም መሞከሩ በእኔ እምነት ባህርን በጭልፋ አይነቱ ሞኝነት ነው፡፡

መፍትሄው የህዝቡን በተለይም የወጣቱን ትውልድ ማህበራዊ፣ ፓለቲካዊ እና ኢኮኖሚያዊ ጥቄዎች መመለስ ነው፡፡ የብዙሀኑን ህዝብ በተለይም ደግሞ የወጣቱን ትውልድ ጥያቄ ለመመስ ደግሞ ቋሚ ሽፍትነት እና ዘረኝነት መገለጫው ለሆነው ህወሀት ኢህአዴግ ከቶውንም አይቻለውም፡፡ ምክንያቱም ህዝቡ በተለይም ወጣቱ ትውልድ አምርሮ እየተቃወመ ያለው የህወሀት ኢህአዴግን ቋሚ ሽፍትነት፣ የህወሀትን የበላይነት እና የህወሀት ኢህአዴግን የዘረኝነት አገዛዝ ነውና፡፡

 

 

Ethiopia declares a state of emergency to stop protests

The Ethiopian government has declared a state of emergency effective immediately following a week of anti-government violence that resulted in deaths and property damage across the country, especially in the restive Oromia region.

In a televised address on Sunday morning, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said the state of emergency was declared because there has been an ‘enormous’ damage to property that was carried out in his country.

“We put our citizens’ safety first. Besides, we want to put an end to the damage that is being carried out against infrastructure projects, education institutions, health centers, administration and justice buildings,” said Desalegn on the state Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation.

“The recent developments in Ethiopia have put the integrity of the nation at risk,” he said.

“The state of emergency will not breach basic human rights enshrined under the Ethiopian constitution and won’t also affect diplomatic rights listed under the Vienna Convention,” said Desalegn.

The internet is blocked across many parts of Ethiopia, residents reported Sunday. The government has blocked the internet for more than a week to prevent protesters from using social media to get supporters to attend demonstrations.

Major towns and cities across Ethiopia’s Oromia region are experiencing unrest and widespread violent protests after dozens were killed on October 2 in a stampede triggered when police fired teargas and bullets to disperse protestors at the annual Irrecha thanksgiving celebration in Bishoftu town.

Anti-government protests continued Sunday. Many roads into and out of the capital, Addis Ababa, are blocked by protesters and those who try to drive through are targeted by people who jump out from behind bushes and hurl rocks, witnesses told the Associated Press by phone on Sunday.

The state broadcaster said details of the state of emergency will be communicated to the public later Sunday.

In a separate development, Ethiopian officials summoned Egypt’s ambassador to the country, Aboubakr Hefny, for discussions. The State Minister for Ethiopia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry talked to the Egyptian diplomat after a video appeared online which purportedly shows members of the outlawed Oromo Liberation Front sharing a stage with what Ethiopia’s state broadcaster described as Egyptians.

Source:AFP

Letter to My Son – By EskinderNega

 

 

 

The mistakes of my life. Ah! I could go on and on and on about them. (Warning, I am aiming for your sympathy.) There are the missed opportunities. (God is generous, I squandered them all, literally.) There are the wrong choices (Hey there is at least the adrenaline rush that comes with every wrong move.) There is the conceited self-absorption (Obviously more and more as I rush through middle age.) There is the lack of direction (Bitter to admit, but true.) There is the incapacitating self-doubt. (Question: are you teary-eyed or disgusted?)

But here is what my strategy is not: a crafty debasement of expectation at the outset, so that by the end the balance of sympathy could sway no way but in my favor. I simply hanker honesty Indeed, I too yearn to be a hero in my son’s eye. Somehow privy to the notion that a male child’s first hero is the father, I dream to play the role. That this phase of the child is posed to pass quickly matters not an iota to me. I insist on my 15 minutes of fame. But I am also interested in the most enduring kind of appraisal, that of respect. While the former, unexplored adoration, is innate in every child, the latter, empathy and regard of the person, is the result of a complex process. And it has to be earned. Whether I merit this honor should be clear by the end of this letter.

I have reluctantly become an absent father because I ache for what the French in the late 18th century expressed in three simple words: liberté, egalité, fraternité. Before the advent of my son in my life, I was a nonchalant prisoner of conscience on at least seven occasions. The blithe was hardly unnoticed by my incarcerators.

It troubled them greatly because they did not know how to defeat it. Tyranny is a function of fear: the terror of state violence, the menace of imprisonment, the dread of imposed penury. None of these, however, could be applied against an entire population. But strike only against a handful and copious number of peoples are hypnotized into inaction. Our collective dignity, as the world’s oldest black nation, demands that this spell be broken irrevocably.

No myth has had wider resonance than the supposed gulf in history, lifestyle, psychology and hence politics between nations. Indeed the measure of progress has trended at varying pace for disparate peoples. But between antiquity and the 16th century, when the first flicker of scientific revolution appeared with the works of Copernicus in astronomy, the rift between the most advanced and the primal was inconsequential. It took two more centuries, until the invention of the steam engine in 1789 in Britain, before science commenced to transform society. Up to this time, the structural gap between Europe, the most advanced, and Africa, perhaps the least developed, was no more dramatic than the cleavage between rural and urban Europe itself. Only in the last 100-150 years was there a recognizable paradigm shift, with rural Europe finally overtaken by the rise of cities.

No country save the British, with their Magna Carta in 1215 and bill of rights in 1689, could claim centuries old evolution of democratic institutions. The rest of the world plunged haphazardly and unceremoniously into an unexplored world of democratic reconfiguration. The trail blazer, revolutionary France, in 1789, did not seek space for evolution to abscond from the bosom of one of Europe’s most strident monarchy to the enduringly seminal rights of men men and citizen; which enshrined not merely for France but for all humanity the principle of a government constrained by law. No less significantly France and many parts of Western Europe were democratic well before a sizable middle class emerged. The same holds for Britain. The U.S., too, was not only securely democratic in the early 19th century, but was also a nation with an overwhelmingly rural citizenry.

But fast forward to the mid-20th century and democratic countries were still far from the norm. It took a world war between 1939 and 1945 for democracy to reverse catastrophic slide and settle for an uneasy parity with ascending totalitarianism in Europe. An additional four-decades long cold war, spanning 1945 to 1990, was needed to decide the winner convincingly. Only then did democracy attain momentum.

Despite the popular convention mischievously amplified by most autocrats, to deter demands for rights, no people or country could plausibly claim an extended tradition of democracy. Unless, that is, the last 200 years of humanity’s 5,000 years of communal history is deemed as elongated.

And it seems Africa has finally moved to aptly realign with history. The tempo is to boldly march the French way. The result is breathtaking. Over two decades, the period between the collapse of Communisim, in 1989, to the end of the first decade of the new millennium, Africa was transfigured from a repository of fatuous dictators to a stronghold of more democracies than Asia, the continent with the fastest growing middle class in history. How Ethiopia lagged in this transformative saga of African renaissance and reformation accounts for my imprisonment, cruelly and yet impersonally imperiling my prized duty as a father.

My parents brief matrimony was an early causalty of the intractable tension between tradition and modernity in post-liberation Ethiopia. Gruesome though the Italian occupation was, in the late 1930s, it tore down a smug culture of complacency. The need to modernize, to embrace the know-how of the outside world, was no more in doubt. The ease with which the nation had fallen to fascist Italy was proof beyond reproach. That my parents, both hailing from profoundly conservative Orthodox families, who traditionally equated modern education with Catholicism, were allowed to attend school is testimony of how deep feelings run.

Modern Singapore’s founding father, Lee Kuan Yew, idealizes, by way of his still ongoing great marriage debate, the kind of union my parents forged. Highly intelligent, both had won super-competitive scholarships to do tertiary studies in American universities. Father was in New Jersey at Rutgers University for six years. Mother’s tenure at the American University of Beirut, the jewel of higher education in the Middle East, was shorter, having pursued post-graduate studies for a year. Both returned home full of energy, with [a] plethora of bright ideas, and a healthy dose of the sanguine optimism of the inexperienced.

Like many of htier contemporaries, their rise was swift, easy and assimilated in style. Both were successful, upwardly mobile, and still hungry for more when they met. The only predicament was in how they personally embraced modernity, an allegory of the dilemma at the national level.

To his credit father did not yield to the sentiment which Lee Kuan Yew ruefully laments about: the compulsion of educated young men to marry down. In mother he met a remarkably rare Ethiopian woman: financially independent, educated, emotionally secure as a single woman, and no less ambitious than himself. But unlike many of his peers he did not dive for cover. He was in fact a persistent pursuer, her repeated protestation notwithstanding. She was not particularly wary of him, rather she was circumspect of her odds in a primeval society. But in the end, I presume, his charm, and certainly family pressure, inexorably prevailed. A lavish wedding sealed the pact.

Unlike virtually all the women of her generation, education had emancipated mother not only financially, but crucially, emotionally. Reversal of either was unsavory, to be fended off at any cost. She was in a sense a feminist, absent the creed. There was little of the past she cared for. To exemplify her feelings, she started smoking, though discretely. Had he known, her devoutly religious father would have simply died of grief. Neither, as far as I could discern, did father. He would have certainly balked at the prospect of a smoking wife. Even if he had wanted to oblige her, society, his friends and kin would have censured him. But every puff was an exhilarating expression of freedom for her. Freedom not from want, but the strictures imposed by tradition. When she finally stopped, after her divorce, it was for my sake. I was trying to emulate the only parent I knew. And by this time she also had a more serious diversion to engage her energy; the quest, unprecedented in Ethiopia, to prove that there can be a better life for a single woman after a divorce. Her vindication came, in little over five years, by way of the most successful clinic in the country, which she owned and managed. Father, awed and embarrassed, could only watch from the sidelines. A rebellious wife customarily returned to her husband chastened and humbled.

To all appearances, father was the quintessential modern man. He was moderately liberal, he lived in the right neighborhood, he dressed fashionably, his English was faultless, and until the rise of communism drove the latest cars. And he had money. But this was only the façade. His acquiescence to modernity extended only slightly beyond these parameters. The nucleus of the values he internalized from society, which were in need of metamorphosis to complement his public image, remained intact.

In this sense his profiles outlines the paradox that is the modern Ethiopian intellectual. There is the fixation with the façade of modernity—the technology, the infrastructure, the economy, the lifestyl. But there is also the corresponding resistance to its essential modus operandi—a radically transformed worldview. This means redefined relationships between husband and wife; parents and children; individual and society; the state and its citizens.

To mother, on the other hand, most established values were anachronistic. She had no compunction discarding them. In their place, a singular fixation with independence took hold. Society was, of course, less than ready to accommodate her. Though unexpressed, her husband had expected blunting of the fiery spirit, a gradual but inevitable acceptance of a place in life as a stay-at-home-mom. She thought otherwise. Forsaking a secure and well-paying job, when females with jobs were a rarity, for a precarious entrepreneurial venture was inexplicable. Both departures from convention were broadly misread as expressions of aggressive disposition. Few were able to see an indomitable spirit of individualism that make a modern society possible. This discord between a cumbersome past and a future grappling to unfold is also at the core of our national dispute over democracy.

A coarse encounter between the novel and the archaic is as old as history itself. The anecdotal evidence is rarely for the new to relinquish to the old. After all, women no[w] live in a far more liberate milieu than the yesteryears when few brave souls like mother were challenging convention.

Our modern politics has its genesis in a coup attempt in 1960. Though overwhelmed with relative ease, it left a lasting imprint on history by precipitating the rise of a fiery student movement, a precursor to the nation’s major political parties. Inspired by Egypt’s much romanticized coup, in 1952, which propelled young left-leaning revolutionary officers to power, Ethiopia’s was the first shot by soldiers to seize state power in black Africa. But while Egypt’s was conscientiously planned and executed to eschew violence, Ethiopia’s was marred by wanton carnage. Thus the debut of modern Ethiopian politics shadowed by unbridled violence. Fifty years later, the menace of brute force still lies at the heart of politics.

By the reckoning of the imperial government, father, like many of the intelligentsia, harbored suspect reformist sentiments. Though rewarded with high positions at an early age, there was tension in his relationship with the government. But it was tension devoid of danger for both sides. For the government, father and many of the young Turks, as they were propitiously called by some, posed no danger of subversion. They were impatient for hasty reform from inside, not calamitous revolution from outside. Even if the young Turks had their way, the result would be far less than catastrophic, with some measure of discomfort, they were tolerated. And indeed no sedition was ever intended by the young Turks. All they wanted was to upgrade, not change, the software. This somewhat cozy but uneasy bond between government and intelligentsia was upstaged the day university students flooded the streets in support of the coup attempt.

In 1960, the year of the coup attempt, Ethiopia’s elite center of learning was cloistered in a lone university college. A full-fledged university had yet to be realized. This was almost a generation after liberation from the Italians. In about the same interval, war-ravaged Germany and Japan had not only reconstructed but were on the verge of crossing new economic frontiers. Ethiopia’s shortcoming was manifestly evident. And finally a new generation scandalized by the inertia, indolence, stoicism and cynicism had risen. It was palpably time for change.

The 1960s could be credibly dubbed as the decade of student movements. But at its dawn, students nurtured no greater ambition than to be part of the global post-war economic boom. The revered genre of the silent, strong male, which dominated the 1950s, was still paramount. By the mid-1960s, Vietnam radicalized American youth, primarily on its colleges and universities. In France it was another war, Algeria, that was the impetus for campus militancy. In Iran and Europe [think he meant Ethiopia] it was a coup, successful in the case of the former, [a] debacle in the latter. The quartet gave the world the most animated students in history. By the mid-1970s, however, the Americans and French had fizzled out. The Ethiopians and Iranians peaked in the late 1970s, and quietly faded into oblivion in the early 1980s.

But their fleeting existence notwithstanding they left behind powerful legacies. The backlash against the counter-culture (contempt for authority and tradition) the students triggered in the US made the seminal presidencies of Nixon and Reagan possible. It took the coalition forged by Obama to win a second term to alter the dynamics of American politics. At their peak, Iranian students mesmerized the world by storming the US embassy in Tehran and humiliating a proud superpower. In less than a decade and a half, Ethiopian students inspired a nation to uproot a monarchy that had preserved for a millennium.

Though they were from four far-flung continents, had distinct histories, and promoted radically different visions, the students shared a common denominator: disdain for the status-quo. To the Americans no one older than 30 was trustworthy. As a way to unshackle tradition, they attacked its prudish sexual mores. The French were unduly agitated against their government, and vented their anger on the streets of Paris with passion unseen since the storming of the Bastille. After rejecting the modernizing pretensions of their foreign-tainted monarch, Iranian students yearned for the purity of a lost age. To the Ethiopian students, groomed by rote learning rather than critical thinking, Marxism became the Holy Grail, the panacea to all the nation’s ills.

But a pivotal divide also separated them. The Americans and the French lived in free societies. There were adept political parties, vibrant free press, useful civic organizations, multitude of professional and trade unions to channel grievances and represent interests. None of these were about to be supplanted by students. The Ethiopians and Iranians lived in tired monarchies. There were no conduits for dissent. Here was an opening for transformative impact.

Unlike the Japanese and the Chinese after the madness of the Cultural Revolution, Ethiopian students never really made the crucial connection between the indigenization of science and development. They saw national redemption primarily in the social sciences, and many of the best students flocked to them in droves despite steady underperformance on standardized reading and comprehension tests. To father and his generation, the monarchy was sacrosanct. Very few of them flirted with republicanism. Their ideal was a British monarchy. To the students who were embittered and abruptly radicalized by the events of 1960, the monarchy, and the US, which was implicated in the reversal of the coup attempt, became loathed icons. Embracing socialism seemed only logical and inevitable. And here is where an academic culture chronically short on critical thinking was to have detrimental effect. Whereas in the U.S. and France deep scholarly foundations mitigated against the swamping of the student majority by extremism, in Ethiopia and Iran intellectual buffers against infantile radicalization were ominously absent. But while Iranian students rallied around grassroot sentiments for religious chastity and nationalism, only Ethiopian students militated against all things aboriniginal. Nothing was sacred to them. The emperor was lampooned. Religion was rejected. Culture was mocked. Tradition was attacked. History was disputed. Ethnicity was politicized. It was a tsunami at full thrust against all things established. A good measure of excitement was the intriguing possibility of engineering society from scratch.

But rejection is virtually a carefree venture. There is little strenuous intellectual effort involved. The demanding undertaking lies in the pursuit and nourishment of an alternative consensus. Ultimately, this is where the students failed calamitously. Singularly transfixed with rebellion, and only perfunctorily with its aftermath, they were governed by no moral codes, were disciplined by no hierarchy, and were direly lacking sense of proportion to temper emotions. In this sense, they had no analogue in the Americans or the French. Nor indeed in the Iranians. The Americans and the French were ultimately anchored by nationalism and ingrained identity. The Iranians of course had religion. Having rejected both nationalism and religion, Ethiopian students had nothing durably satiating to replace them with. This was the pristine environment in which militancy thrived. Extremism thus became not a mere idiosyncrasy, but rather the structural building block of the movement. Tragically, what the Ethiopians radicalized was really nothing more than nihilism. The mania was to tear down an existing order. In the end, after the collapse of the imperial order, only a small minority, by now metamorphasized into armed insurgents, had the energy to tread o. The majority was too exhausted to continue, opting for exile and a well-earned rest in the West.

Of [A] multitude of vague memories from my distant childhood, the sense of dread that permanently enveloped my grandmother’s home, where my mother and I lived intermittently after the divorce, still lingers with me. Years later, in the 1990s, I was to learn, rather to my shock, ours was only one of a handful of families in the neighborhood that mourned the fall of Haile Selassie, the diminutive king who had held sway over the nation for over half a century. Initially I thought it was loss of privilege that explained our anomalous. But I know now there was more.

If one word was to render the spirit of the revolution, it would certainly be equality. An inordinate passion for equality suddenly bewitched the public—what in theory could only have meant equality of opportunity was in practice subverted to imply equality of merit. Not even the elderly, the repository of wisdom in traditional thinking, were to be deferred to anymore. The nation’s best and brightest, whose income, lifestyle and manners marked them from the majority, became more subjects of derision than role models. They were no more in vogue. It was time to celebrate mediocrity, to artificially elevate it to a higher podium. This atmosphere endured, with disastrous consequences for the entire reign of the military dictatorship, the guardian of the revolution and still influences the present. It is this pauperization of value that lies at the provenance o fthe national malaise that has numbed the intellectual elite.

To be fair, many nations, including the meritocratic U.S., where guilt-ridden 2008 (2012?) presidential candidate Mitt Romney was bullied for his wealth, occasionally toy with debased populism, but rarely has it persisted with the kind of intensity evident in Ethiopia. It was this slide to debauched populism that distressed grandmother’s household. It was a prescient reserve that anticipated an impending moral morass.

The ultimate failure of the military dictatorship, including its gross human rights violations, is the failure of Communism. But even within the narrow constraints of communism, more was possible. The Soviets failed broadly but compensated with a world-class military-industrial complex. Nothing works in Cuba except health services, one of the best in Latin America. Mao’s China at least liberated a billion plus mass of humanity from worry about its quotidian meals. Ditto for many Communist countries, where a lone bright spot attested to the restrained potential of an oppressed people. But because the principal consensus in post-revolutionary Ethiopia had been an unremitting joy derived from the leveling of society, a culture against exceptionalism gained traction. Blending became the default modus operandi both at the individual and group levels. No distinction was made between superiority stemming from privilege and superiority attained by merit. For a government fighting multiple insurgencies, this was a fatal shortcoming. Unable to build a professional army based on merit, it eventually succumbed not to superior force but to weaker adversaries who had assembled meritocratic fighting machines. It took seventeen years, but there was no avoiding it: grandmother was vindicated. And she lived to see it all. God bless her soul.

Sadly, the implosion of the military dictatorship did not necessarily entail reorientation of national disposition. On the contrary, unlike their less fortunate, American, French and Iranian brethren, Ethiopian students, untempered by outside influence, ascended to power in 1991 and had their nation at their complete mercy. And they did what was unthinkable to everyone but the puritan nihilist: facilitated—nay, promoted—the secession of Eritrea, the heartland of historical Ethiopia. Whether the nation will survive the shock that ensued is still an open question.

But while this is where we are, our future is not predestined. The future is malleable, at least in its mid to long-term facets. This is God’s way of internalizing hope into our existence. And best of all, the age of the students is fading. Consider recent events.

Even in sane democracies, the death of a nation’s leader can be the slow motion drama that it customarily is in autocracies. In contentedly democratic Ghana, where the specter of succession no more bodes the possibility of bloodletting, the president’s ill-health was the state’s most guarded secret. When John Atta Mills finally spoke of his illness, it was to insist of a successful cure. In the spirit of the famous adage, he wanted a return to normalcy. What he lacked, though, was an obliging public. This is Ghana, after all. Cynicism, one could argue plausibly, is a national brand. But in the end, even his deputy and successor, John Mahama, could not help but be caught unawares by his boss’s abrupt transition.

In increasingly Orwellian Ethiopia, the mere mention of the leader’s ailment required a radical departure from an entrenched—and prized—ethos of opacity. The enduringly hapless Ethiopian public does not expect to be told the truth by its government. The absence, not the histrionics itself, would have surprised Ethiopians. Thus only the hopelessly guileless were surprised by the delayed news of the leader’s death.

The paranoia is hardly misplaced. The death of despots has altered the course of national histories scores of times, and sometimes even world history.

One of the greatest empires in world history, that of Alexander the Great, simply collapsed with news of his early death; clearing the path for the rise of the Romans. The inopportune death of Odedai Khan saved Europe from an unstoppable Mongolian invading army in 1241. Had the Mongolians overrun Europe as they did China, world history would have changed beyond recognition. Along with the body of Oliver Cromwell was buried the political prospect of republicanism in 17th century England. Ominously, cautionary tales from local history are hardly in want. The legacies of Ethiopia’s last four kings, stretching from mid-19th century to mid-20th century, have all been marred by lack of continuity. And now there is the instinctive inkling by Ethiopia’s ruling party that history is about to repeat itself. But this time, absence of an enduring legacy awaits not merely a leader or party but an entire generation, the spirited students of the 1960s. Theirs will mostly be a legacy of infamy. To paraphrase Reagan, a legacy meant for the trash bin of history.

Life is tragically short. But only when challenged by a mid-life crisis, or when shock is triggered by illness or accident, does existence’s fleeting status dominate consciousness. How people react to the challenge is a measure of character. The broad motions people go through, however, are well established. There is the initial dazed realization of how disloyally momentary life is, then a reaction abounds, and finally, either stoically or grudgingly, acceptance of the inevitable assumes primacy. Prison has been the triggering element for me. And however exalted, the cause of justice is that has landed me here. I miss you and your mother terribly. The pain is almost physical. But in this plight of our family is embedded hope of a long suffering people. There is no greater honor. We must bear any pain, travel any distance, climb any mountain, cross any ocean to complete this journey to freedom. Anything less is impoverishment of our soul. God bless you, my son. You will always be in my prayers.

EskinderNega
Kaliti Prison

 

 

የ ኔ ነው በቃአልሰጥም ዛሬን!የ ኔ ነው አልሰጥም ዛሬን!

የበሬውን እና የእንቁራሪቷን  ፉክክር በሚያስታውሰን መልኩ  “ሰውየው” ያለአቅሙ ትልቋን ሀገር ለብቻዬ እመራለው ብሎ ዋትቶ፣ዋትቶ ሞተ፡፡ “እነሱ” የሚመሩት ስርአት  ተፈጥሮአዊውን ሞቱን መሞቱን እየሞተ ስለመሆነ መቀበል አቅቶአቸው ህዝብ ላይ ጦርነት አውጀው ህዝብ በጠብ መንጃ ወደመጨረስ ገብተዋል፡፡ ትልቁ ጥያቄ አሁን ላይ እኛስ ምን እናድርግ  የሚለው ነው፡፡ የሀገራችን ሁነት በተለየ ሁኔታ ለየት የሚያደርገው ሀገሩን በሚጠላ ስርአት ከሁለት አስርት አመታት በላይ መመራታችን ብቻ ሳይሆን ልዩነትን ማእከል ያደረገ ስርአት ከሁለት አስርት አመታት በላይ እንኳ ማእከላዊ ስልጣኑን ይዞ እንደ ህዝብ እና እንደ ሀገር ሊያፈርሰን አለመቻሉ ነው፡፡

ስርአቱ አይን ያወጣ ፈጣጣ እና ይሉኝታ ቢስ  ስርአት ለመሆኑ ምክንያነቱ እንደ እኔ እምነት ስልጣኑ የሀብት፣የሀይልእና የተድላ ምንጭ ስለሆነለት ነው፡፡ ለዚህም እኮ ነው ዛሬ ላይ የአማራ ህዝብ እምቢተኝነት ሲጠነክርበት ትላንት የአጋንንት ተቋውሞ ብሎ የፈረጀውን የጀግናውን የኦሮሞ ህዝብ ተቋውሞ ተገቢ ነው ለማለት የሚከጅለው፡፡ ይህ ስርአት ይህንን አይነት ድፍረት ያመጣው የፍትህ፣የምርጫ፣ የኢኮኖሚ፣የትምህርት እና የማህበራዊ ተቋማትን ለአሻንጉሊቱ የጉጅሌ ስርአት በሚመች መልኩ አስገብሪያለው ከሚል እብሪት ነው፡፡ ስለዚህ እንደ ህዝብ የሚጠበቅን የነዚህን ተቋማት ህግአዊ ስልጣን እና ሀላፊነት አለመቀበል እና አሻፈረኝ ማለት ነው፡፡

በየትኛውም የህወሀት – ኢህአዴግ የፍትህ፣የኢኮኖሚ እና የማህበራዊ ተቋም አልዳኝም ምክንያቱም ስርአቱ የኔ ውክልና የለውምና!

 

 

የበሬውን እና የእንቁራሪቷን  ፉክክር በሚያስታውሰን መልኩ  “ሰውየው” ያለአቅሙ ትልቋን ሀገር ለብቻዬ እመራለው ብሎ ዋትቶ፣ዋትቶ ሞተ፡፡ “እነሱ” የሚመሩት ስርአት  ተፈጥሮአዊውን ሞቱን መሞቱን እየሞተ ስለመሆነ መቀበል አቅቶአቸው ህዝብ ላይ ጦርነት አውጀው ህዝብ በጠብ መንጃ ወደመጨረስ ገብተዋል፡፡ ትልቁ ጥያቄ አሁን ላይ እኛስ ምን እናድርግ  የሚለው ነው፡፡ የሀገራችን ሁነት በተለየ ሁኔታ ለየት የሚያደርገው ሀገሩን በሚጠላ ስርአት ከሁለት አስርት አመታት በላይ መመራታችን ብቻ ሳይሆን ልዩነትን ማእከል ያደረገ ስርአት ከሁለት አስርት አመታት በላይ እንኳ ማእከላዊ ስልጣኑን ይዞ እንደ ህዝብ እና እንደ ሀገር ሊያፈርሰን አለመቻሉ ነው፡፡

ስርአቱ አይን ያወጣ ፈጣጣ እና ይሉኝታ ቢስ  ስርአት ለመሆኑ ምክንያነቱ እንደ እኔ እምነት ስልጣኑ የሀብት፣የሀይልእና የተድላ ምንጭ ስለሆነለት ነው፡፡ ለዚህም እኮ ነው ዛሬ ላይ የአማራ ህዝብ እምቢተኝነት ሲጠነክርበት ትላንት የአጋንንት ተቋውሞ ብሎ የፈረጀውን የጀግናውን የኦሮሞ ህዝብ ተቋውሞ ተገቢ ነው ለማለት የሚከጅለው፡፡ ይህ ስርአት ይህንን አይነት ድፍረት ያመጣው የፍትህ፣የምርጫ፣ የኢኮኖሚ፣የትምህርት እና የማህበራዊ ተቋማትን ለአሻንጉሊቱ የጉጅሌ ስርአት በሚመች መልኩ አስገብሪያለው ከሚል እብሪት ነው፡፡ ስለዚህ እንደ ህዝብ የሚጠበቅን የነዚህን ተቋማት ህግአዊ ስልጣን እና ሀላፊነት አለመቀበል እና አሻፈረኝ ማለት ነው፡፡

በየትኛውም የህወሀት – ኢህአዴግ የፍትህ፣የኢኮኖሚ እና የማህበራዊ ተቋም አልዳኝም ምክንያቱም ስርአቱ የኔ ውክልና የለውምና!

 

 

 

Once a Bucknell Professor, Now the Commander of an Ethiopian Rebel Army

Berhanu Nega was once one of Bucknell University’s most popular professors. An Ethiopian exile with a Ph.D. from the New School for Social Research in Manhattan, he taught one of the economics department’s most sought-after electives, African Economic Development. When he wasn’t leading seminars or puttering around his comfortable home in a wooded neighborhood five minutes from the Bucknell campus in rural Lewisburg, Pa., Nega traveled abroad for academic conferences and lectured on human rights at the European Parliament in Brussels. “He was very much concerned with the relationship between democracy and development,” says John Rickard, an English professor who became one of his close friends. “He argued that you cannot have viable economic development without democratization, and vice versa.” A gregarious and active figure on campus, he rooted for the Philadelphia Eagles and the Cleveland Cavaliers, campaigned door-to-door for Barack Obama in 2008 and was known as one of the best squash players on the Bucknell faculty. He and his wife, an Ethiopian-born optometrist, raised two sons and sent them to top-ranked colleges, the University of Pennsylvania and Carnegie Mellon. On weekends he sometimes hosted dinners for other Bucknell professors and their families, regaling them with stories about Abyssinian culture and history over Ethiopian food he would prepare himself; he imported the spices from Addis Ababa and made the injera, a spongy sourdough bread made of teff flour, by hand.

Nega remained vague about his past. But students curious enough to Google him would discover that the man who stood before them, outlining development policies in sub-Saharan Africa, was in fact intimately involved in the long-running hostility between Ethiopia and neighboring Eritrea, a conflict that has dragged on for half a century. By the start of the millennium, its newest incarnation, a border war over a patch of seemingly worthless ground just 250 square miles in size, devolved into a tense standoff, with the two nations each massing along the border thousands of troops from both official and unofficial armies. One proxy army fighting on the Eritrean side, a group of disaffected Ethiopians called Ginbot 7, was a force that Nega helped create, founding the movement in 2008 with another Ethiopian exile, Andargachew Tsege, in Washington. The Ethiopian government, which had previously detained Nega as a political prisoner for two years in Addis Ababa, now sentenced him to death in absentia. Bucknell students who did learn about their teacher’s past were thrilled. “It made his classes exciting,” Rickard says.

In Ginbot 7, Tsege served as the political leader based in Eritrea; Nega was the group’s intellectual leader and principal fund-raiser, collecting money from members of the Ethiopian diaspora in Europe and the United States. That all changed one day in June 2014, when Tsege, known to everyone as Andy, made a brief stopover in Sanaa, the capital of Yemen, on his way to Asmara, the capital of Eritrea. As he sat in the airport transit lounge, waiting to board his flight, Yemeni security forces, apparently acting in collusion with Ethiopian intelligence, arrested him and put him on a plane to Addis Ababa, where he was paraded on state television and currently faces a death sentence.

Days after Tsege’s arrest and extradition, Nega volunteered to replace him in Eritrea. “Was I going to remain an academic, sitting in an ivory tower criticizing things?” he told me. “Or was I going to do something as an engaged citizen?” Nega put his house up for sale and took an indefinite leave of absence from the university. It was an extended sabbatical, he told his colleagues. Only a handful of close friends, his wife and his two sons knew the truth.

On a hot July afternoon in 2015, Nega packed a suitcase, bade his wife farewell and was driven by comrades to John F. Kennedy International Airport. He carried a laissez-passer from the Eritrean government, allowing him a one-time entry into the country. Nega was heading for a new life inside a destitute dictatorship sometimes referred to as the North Korea of Africa; the regime was notorious for having supported the Shabab, an Islamist terrorist group in Somalia, and for a military conscription program that condemns many citizens over age 18 to unlimited servitude. Nega also believes he has drawn the scrutiny of the Obama administration and was worried about being stopped and turned around by Homeland Security. It wasn’t until the wheels on the EgyptAir jet were up and he was settling into his seat over the Atlantic Ocean, bound for one of the most isolated and repressive nations on Earth, that he was able to relax.

The New York Times Magazine Newsletter

Sign up to get the best of the Magazine delivered to your inbox every week, including exclusive feature stories, photography, columns and more.

The lights cut out above Nega one chilly night this July, and the rebel chief sat in darkness in a bungalow in Asmara, Eritrea’s 7,600-foot-high capital. Nega had spread a map on a coffee table, and he was showing me the route for a clandestine mission that he planned to undertake the following morning. At dawn, he and a comrade would drive 300 miles southwest to the mined, militarized border between Eritrea and Ethiopia to rendezvous with intelligence sources at a rebel base camp. His contacts were smuggling across the border “highly sensitive information” about Ethiopian troop positions and about the strength of resistance cells inside Ethiopia, whom Nega was hoping to link up with his own fighters on the Eritrean side of the border.

“They’ve got documents, and they insist on handing them over only to me,” Nega told me. “When there is sensitive material, they first want me to see it and then filter the information to the rest of the organization.” Nega, a burly, balding 58-year-old with a rumpled facade and an appealingly unassuming manner, rubbed his forehead as the lights flickered and then returned. In recent years, Ginbot 7 has grown, and it is now guided by an 80-member council of representatives spread around the world. As commander, Nega oversees several hundred rebel fighters in Eritrea as well as an unknown number of armed members inside Ethiopia who carry out occasional attacks in the movement’s name. During his frequent visits to the front lines, he spends his time meeting with fellow commanders, observing training and — ever the professor — leading history and democracy seminars using chalk and a blackboard in a “classroom” in the bush.

Nega turned back to the map and traced a straight line leading to the Tekeze River, the westernmost border between Ethiopia and Eritrea. The stream was a main crossing point for Ethiopian Army deserters fleeing to the rebels, and in recent weeks it had come under threat from advancing Ethiopian troops. “They are moving a sizable force into this area, because we are their main target now,” he said, referring to Ginbot 7, now known as Patriotic Ginbot 7. “And they are pushing a large part of their army, artillery and tanks into this zone. They haven’t started shelling us yet.”

The two nations, now ferocious enemies, were once joined. Eritrea, an Italian colony from 1890 until 1941, was annexed by Ethiopia after World War II; it took a three-decades-long war for the Eritreans to finally liberate themselves, in 1991. The neighbors remained at peace until 1998, when a simmering dispute over the Yirga triangle, a piece of rocky land along the border that had never been clearly demarcated in colonial maps, exploded into two years of tank and trench warfare in which 100,000 died. Today, despite a United Nations-supervised mediation that awarded the disputed territory to Eritrea, Ethiopia continues to occupy the border village Badame. Tens of thousands of troops face each other across a landscape of mines, bunkers, sniper posts and other fortifications.

Violence on the border, while infrequent, can be both sudden and brutal. In mid-June, according to the Eritrean government, Ethiopia launched a full-scale attack along the frontier at Tsorona, the first major incursion since 2012, possibly in retaliation for attacks on its forces by Ginbot 7. Eritrea claimed that it had killed 200 enemy soldiers and wounded 300, though Ethiopia downplayed its losses. “They almost always deny it,” Nega told me. “As far as the Ethiopian government is concerned, nobody ever dies.”

Ethiopia, while an American ally and an economic leader by African standards, is notoriously repressive. The minority Tigrayan regime has jailed hundreds of bloggers, journalists and opposition figures, keeping itself in power by intimidating political opponents, rigging elections and violently putting down protests. Since November of last year, according to Human Rights Watch, state security forces killed more than 400 protesters in the Oromia region, which surrounds Addis Ababa. Protests have recently spread to the Amhara region, as well; in August, security forces shot dead roughly 100 demonstrators and injured hundreds more. Thousands of Oromos, a minority group that makes up about a third of the population, have been jailed without trial on suspicion of supporting the Oromo Liberation Front, a secessionist group. The Ethiopian marathoner Feyisa Lilesa, who won the silver medal at the Olympics this year, drew global attention to the government’s abuses when he held his crossed arms over his head at the finish line in solidarity with his fellow Oromos; he says he fears returning home and is seeking political asylum.

Across the room in Nega’s bungalow, four fellow rebel commanders, all members of the Ethiopian diaspora, were finishing their supper. The men tore off pieces of injera and dipped the bread into a thick sauce called shiro, washing down the meal with bottles of the local Asmara beer. Esat, an Ethiopian opposition satellite channel broadcast from Europe and the United States, played softly on a television in the corner. The men were part of a revolving contingent of commanders who returned to Asmara from time to time to check their email and escape the primitive conditions in the bush. “We are five right now,” Nega said, introducing me to his comrades from Dallas; Arlington, Va.; Calgary, Canada; and Luxembourg. “Another, from the United Kingdom, is returning here tomorrow morning. We’ll be six when he comes. Last week we were eight — at one point we were 11.”

The house also serves as an infirmary for rebels who become ill or are wounded in combat, and it provides a temporary sanctuary for Ethiopian Army defectors who cross the front lines. One recent arrival was a former Ethiopian Air Force officer, an Oromo who had traveled north 42 hours by bus and on foot, then swum across the Tekeze River to Eritrea. He made the decision to defect while sitting in an Addis Ababa jail cell on “false charges,” he told me, of being a member of the Oromo secessionist movement.

“We have many like him,” Nega said.

Nega put on his jacket to head off in search of diesel fuel for the morning journey to the border. With another rebel comrade from Virginia, we drove down the deserted, lightless streets of Asmara, searching for an open filling station, but the one we found had run out of diesel; Nega would have to return the next morning, delaying his departure for the front lines. When we returned to his home, Nega pointed to a pile of medical supplies in the hallway — bandages, splints, antibiotics, antimalarials — that he was planning to ferry to his fighters, and three cardboard boxes packed with solar cells that would provide some rudimentary electricity in the bush. While in the camps, Nega was dependent on his mobile phone for contact with the outside world, but even that was not guaranteed. “They have shut off phone coverage since the incursion” by the Ethiopians at Tsorona, he told me. “I’ll be out of touch for days.”

When I first met Nega, in late May 2016, the conditions were decidedly more comfortable. After 10 months in Asmara, Nega had flown back to the United States to attend meetings and the graduation of his younger son, Iyassu, from the University of Pennsylvania. Given his deepening involvement in a rebellion against an American ally, it was possible that this would be the last time he could visit the United States. Indeed, Nega, who is not an American citizen, had his State Department-issued “travel document” suspended three years ago, and his application for United States citizenship has been put on indefinite hold. He now travels on an Eritrean passport; together with his green card, it gained him entry into the country — this time. The State Department would not comment on Nega or Ginbot 7, but Nega surmises that the Obama administration does not look favorably on his activities. Still, he insists, “nobody is saying, ‘Back off.’ I think they know that this is not about being against the U.S. We are upholding the basic principles under which the U.S. was established.”

We met over Memorial Day weekend on the terrace of the upscale Café Dupont on Dupont Circle in Washington, joined by his sister Hiwot, who runs a technology start-up in New York, and Iyassu, a 21-year-old former high-school track star who was starting work at a New York investment bank in the fall. Over white wine and chicken salad, the conversation touched on Lin-Manuel Miranda’s commencement address and Nega’s excitement over crossing paths, after the ceremony, with Donald Trump and Vice President Joe Biden. (Trump’s daughter and Biden’s granddaughter were members of Iyassu’s graduating class.) I asked Iyassu if he had reconciled himself to the idea of his father’s new life on the front lines, and he said that he had. “Ultimately he should continue to pursue what he believes in,” he told me. He expressed little interest, though, in visiting his father at his Eritrean rebel camp or delving deeper into the raison d’être of the Ginbot 7 movement. “I just got out of college — my life has its own direction,” he said. “I can’t take time off. … I’m a little bit removed generationally as well.”

The elder Nega is part of a generation of Ethiopians who grew up amid violence and tumult. Over lunch, he recalled what it was like to be a high-school student when a Marxist junta, the Soviet-backed Derg, overthrew Emperor Haile Selassie and ushered in a brutal dictatorship. Nega had grown up privileged, the son of a wealthy entrepreneur, and he watched as his father’s vast commercial corn and soybean farms were seized and security forces began arresting, imprisoning and executing thousands of dissidents, including many students. He and his two older sisters joined a resistance movement called the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Party (E.P.R.P.). They went underground, living in safe houses, eluding the police. His eldest sister was later captured and disappeared in the Derg’s prisons. His family searched for her everywhere.

“We had people coming to our house and telling my parents, ‘I saw her at this place.’ My mother used to go out all over looking for her,” Nega recalls. Her former cellmates later told him that she had died in prison, probably by committing suicide with a cyanide capsule that she wore around her neck. “It was common to have cyanide with you because if you were caught, you would be tortured and executed, and through torture you might be forced to betray people,” Nega said. As the crackdown in Addis intensified, the E.P.R.P. sent Nega north to Tigray province, the center of a growing guerrilla war against the Derg; there, he carried out attacks on government forces. In 1978 a power struggle erupted within the E.P.R.P. leadership, and Nega was thrown into prison. He was released one day before guards turned their guns on the remaining prisoners, killing 15. Nega escaped to Sudan, living as a refugee in Khartoum for nearly two years, then obtained political asylum in the United States in 1980.

He earned his bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York at New Paltz, where he also played on the soccer team. While studying for his doctorate at the New School for Social Research, he lived in Brooklyn and wrote his dissertation on the failures of Ethiopian agriculture under the Communist regime. Meanwhile, Ethiopia was sliding deeper into calamity. When the guerrilla movements increased their attacks in Tigray in the mid-1980s, the Derg dictator, Mengistu Haile Mariam, blocked food supplies to the region, creating a devastating famine in which one million people died. Photographs of starving children, disseminated by the news media, catalyzed an international relief effort, Live Aid, and inspired the pop hit “We Are the World,” making Ethiopia a worldwide synonym for hunger. The famine had wound down, and the rebel war was escalating, when Bucknell hired Nega as an assistant professor in 1990. “He never trumpeted his background, the fact that he had been a guerrilla fighter,” says Dean Baker, a former Bucknell colleague who now heads the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington.

In 1991, after a decade’s struggle, three rebel groups — the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front, the Oromo Liberation Front and the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front — defeated the Derg and marched into Addis Ababa. The new government, led by the Tigrayan rebel leader Meles Zenawi, set about rebuilding the war-shattered nation. Nega finally had reason for optimism. He knew Meles well — the prime minister had been in the same university class as his dead sister — and after the Tigrayans consolidated power, Nega obtained a leave of absence from Bucknell and flew with his wife and two sons, both toddlers, back to Addis, determined to help rebuild the country. Nega believed that Meles “had good intentions,” he told me.

But Nega’s enthusiasm for the new government wore off quickly. At Addis Ababa University, where he taught part-time (he had also taken over several of his father’s businesses), administrators cracked down on dissent, banning the student government and the school newspaper. When Nega encouraged his students to press for academic freedoms, police assaulted them and other demonstrators; later, as unrest spread through the city, they shot 41 people dead. Nega spent a month in jail for abetting the protests. “At night I was hearing prisoners being tortured, beaten,” he says.

‘Was I going to remain an academic, sitting in an ivory tower criticizing things? Or was I going to do something as an engaged citizen?’

In May 2005, with the economy growing rapidly and the government’s popularity appar­ently high, Ethiopia held elections, the first truly multiparty vote in Ethiopia’s history, and invited international observers to attend. But the results were not to Meles’s liking. Nega’s Coalition for Unity and Democracy won 137 of the 138 seats on the City Council in Addis Ababa. Nega was poised to become mayor, but the government denied his party the victory and jailed him along with other C.U.D. leaders. American colleagues began a campaign to free Nega. “The Bucknell faculty approved a motion to support him and call attention to his plight,” Rickard says. “We talked with journalists, ambassadors, trying to make sure that he stayed on the front burner.” International pressure helped to secure Nega’s release after 21 months, and he returned to the United States. The experience “hardened him,” says Samuel Adamassu, a member of the Ethio­pian diaspora who has known Nega and his family since the 1980s. “It made him realize these people are not willing to change without being forced.”

After our lunch in Washington, I attended a fund-raising rally for Ginbot 7 at the Georgetown Marriott, attended by about 500 members of the Ethiopian diaspora. Nega stood before a backdrop of Ethiopian and American flags. It would be a fight to the death, he assured the cheering crowd. “There is no negotiation with someone who is coming to rape you,” Nega went on in Amharic, the principal language of Ethiopia. “We have to stop them.” The contrast between the mild-mannered academic I had met on the patio of the Café Dupont and the fiery rebel leader was striking. Nega announced that he had brought news from the front lines: Guerillas claiming loyalty to his movement had carried out their most significant attack to date, outside the town Arba Minch, in southern Ethiopia, formerly the site of an American drone base. “We killed 20 soldiers and injured 50 of them,” he said, calling it “a new stage in the struggle.” (The Ethiopian government claimed they foiled the attack and killed some of the gunman.)

When Nega helped found the Ginbot 7 movement in 2008, the year he returned to teaching at Bucknell, he explained that the movement would seek to “organize civil disobedience and help the existing armed movements” inside and outside Ethiopia and “put pressure on the government, and the international community, to come to a negotiation.” Yet the Ginbot 7 platform advocated destabilizing the government “by any means necessary,” including attacks on soldiers and police. It was a discordant message coming out of a liberal American university whose first class was held in the basement of the First Baptist Church of Lewisburg in 1846. “It’s a line that he has crossed,” says Rickard, the English professor, who finds Nega’s advocacy of violence “troubling” but understandable. “He has never been a pacifist, never renounced armed struggle,” he says. “He has seen elections overturned, hundreds of people murdered on the streets. His sister died, and his best friend is in prison, in peril of his life. He sees violence as viable and necessary. It’s kind of shocking, in a way.”

While Ginbot 7 started to foment its resistance, Ethiopia was busy rebranding itself as an economic success story. Following South Korean and Chinese models of state-directed development, Meles borrowed from state-owned banks and used Western aid money to invest heavily in dams, airlines, agriculture, education and health care. Ethiopia’s economy took off, averaging nearly 11 percent growth per year for the last decade, one of the highest rates in Africa. Addis Ababa became the showpiece of the country’s transformation, with a light rail system, ubiquitous high-rise construction and luxury hotels, high-end restaurants and wine bars packed with newly minted millionaires. At the same time, the country was becoming a bulwark against the spread of radical Islam in the Horn of Africa. Today Ethiopia provides 4,400 peacekeepers to an African Union force in Somalia and helps keep the peace along the tense border between North and South Sudan. In July 2015 President Obama, on an African tour, paid the first visit ever to Ethiopia by a sitting American president.

Yet in the classroom and abroad, Nega argued that Ethiopia’s transformation was a mirage, created to placate Western observers troubled by the lack of democracy. “In 2005, it became clear that legitimacy would not come through the political process, so they started this new narrative — development,” he told me. Nega insists that Ethiopia has “cooked the books,” and that its growth rate is largely attributable to huge infrastructure projects and Western development aid, with little contribution from the private sector. “The World Bank is throwing money at Ethiopia like there’s no tomorrow,” he told me. The actual growth rate, he insists, is closer to 5 to 6 percent — per capita income is still among the lowest in the world — and the weakness of the country’s institutions will mean that even this rate cannot be sustained.

Two months before Obama arrived, the government presided over what was widely considered a sham election, in which the ruling party won all 547 seats in Parliament, But Obama, making it clear that security trumped other concerns in the Horn of Africa, stood beside Meles’s successor, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, and described the government as being “democratically elected.”

“I was shocked,” Nega told me. “ I understand the reality of power and why he supports the Ethiopian government, but to say it is ‘democratically elected’? I was disgusted.”

Three days after my first meeting with Nega in Asmara, and shortly after he returned from his border rendezvous, we drove in the late afternoon in his white Hilux pickup truck through the landscape of his new life. We passed the run-down and nearly deserted Asmara Palace Hotel, formerly an Intercontinental Hotel, and a large Catholic church that Nega couldn’t identify. “I’m a lousy tourist guide,” he said apologetically. While in Asmara, he spends most of his time hunkered down either in his residence or at a borrowed office in the center of town — one of the few places in the city with a high-speed internet connection. Eritrea has the lowest internet penetration in the world, with only about 1 percent of the population online, and this rare broadband connection allows him to catch up regularly on Skype with his sons and his wife. “I don’t think she’s very happy about my being here,” he admitted, shifting uncomfortably. “We have really stopped talking about it.”

‘He has seen elections overturned, hundreds of people murdered on the streets. His sister died, and his best friend is in prison, in peril of his life. He sees violence as viable and necessary. It’s kind of shocking, in a way.’

Immediately following its independence in the early 1990s, under the rebel-leader-turned-president Isaias Afwerki, Eritrea was briefly considered one of the hopes of Africa. When I visited the country in 1996, five years after it won its liberation from Ethiopia, the former rebels were starting to revive the wrecked economy — rebuilding roads, bridges and a railway to the coast, calling on the Eritrean diaspora to invest. But after the border war between 1998 and 2000, Eritrea’s leadership turned inward, growing increasingly suspicious of the outside world. Afwerki suppressed dissent, expelled Western journalists and NGOs, turned down foreign aid, nationalized industries and discouraged foreign investment; according to the World Bank, per capita income is about $1,400 a year. In 2009 the United Nations Security Council imposed sanctions on Eritrea, including an arms em­bargo and a travel ban and a freeze on the assets of top Eritrean officials, for providing weapons to the Shabab, the radical Islamist group that has carried out hundreds of terrorist attacks in Somalia and neighboring Kenya. (Eritrea called the allegation “fabricated lies.”) A June 2016 United Nations report accused the Eritrean government of committing “crimes against human­ity,” including torture, jailing dissidents and the open-ended military conscription program that the government justifies as preparation against another Ethiopian invasion.

With virtually no investment coming into the country, Asmara has become a city frozen in time. Two donkeys meandered down Harnet Avenue, the capital’s main boulevard, stopping to nibble at a patch of grass around a palm tree. As we watched the crowds walk down the tidy avenue lined by an imposing red brick cathedral, a 1930s-era Art Deco movie theater and crumbling Italian bakeries and cappuccino bars, Nega defended his decision to turn to the dictatorship for support.

“Do we really have to discuss the kind of dictatorships that the U.S. sleeps with?” he asked me. “Here is a country that was willing to give us sanctuary, a country that had once been part of Ethiopia. I look at any of these people, I talk to them, and they are just like me, they are as Ethiopian as I am. Why should I not get help from them?”

Nega insisted that he saw some positives in the dictatorship. “This is the only country that says, despite its poverty, ‘We are going to chart our own course — whether you like it or not,’ ” he told me. “They are not corrupt. You see these government officials driving 1980s cars, torn down the middle. I have seen their lives, their houses. There is some element of a David-and-Goliath struggle in this thing.” He called the United Nations report describing crimes against humanity an “exaggeration.” (A Western diplomat in Asmara I talked to, who asked not to be identified because of the political sensitivities of his position, agreed with Nega’s assessment of the report, saying it was based on testimony of refugees in Europe who had “an interest in depicting their country as badly as possible to justify their status.”)

It goes without saying that Nega was reluctant to speak harshly about the nation that was providing his movement with a refuge — and that could snatch it away at any moment. “I don’t want to butt into their personal issues,” he said carefully. “They’ve always been nice to us.” Out of the public eye, however, the rebel leader can be more critical. “He holds no illusions about Eritrea,” says his friend and former Bucknell colleague Dean Baker.

I asked Nega if he was confident that pressure by the rebel groups could bring down the Ethiopian government. Nega believed that momentum was on his side. “This resistance to the state is coming in every direction now, in all parts of the country,” he said. He was giving himself “four or five years” before he and his rebel forces entered Ethiopia as part of a new democratic dispensation. “It certainly won’t be a decade,” he told me.

Until that happens, Nega will continue planning and preparing from a precarious and lonely limbo. Back at the bungalow, he led me down the corridor and showed me where he slept: a monastic chamber furnished with a single bed, an armoire and a night table strewn with jars of vitamins and blood-pressure medication. (He lost his medical insurance when he left Bucknell, but still has American insurance coverage through his wife, and he picked up a three-month supply of the medicine on his May trip to the United States.) He retrieved from the freezer a chilled bottle of Absolut and poured two glasses. We sat in the concrete courtyard, beside a clothesline draped with Nega’s laundry. The power failed again, casting us into total darkness, then returned a few seconds later. The contrast with his previous life in the States — cheering for the Lewisburg Green Dragons, his son’s high-school track team; vacationing on the beaches of Maryland and North Carolina with his extended family — could hardly have been more extreme.

“If you like comfort, and that’s what drives you, you’ll never do this,” he told me, taking a sip of the ice-cold vodka. “But sometimes you get really surprised. Once you have a commitment to something, all these things that you thought were normal in your day-to-day life become unnecessary luxuries.”

Source: the New York times Magazine

የቋሚ ሽፍቶቹ ስርአት እና ህዝባዊው ተቋውሞ

መቶ በመቶ በኢትዮጲያ ህዝብ ተመርጫለው ብሎ ካወጀ  አንድ አመት እንኳ ገና  ያልሞላው ህወሀት-ኢህአዴግ በመሬት አንቀጥቅጥ ህዝባዊ ቁጣ ከምሰራቅ እስከ ሰሜን ተወጥሯል፡፡ ከአፈጣጠሩ ጀምሮ ህዝባዊነት ሽው ያላለበት ህወሀት ኢህአዴግ ከምስራቅ እስከ ሰሜን የተነሳውን ህዝባዊ ቁጣ እንደለመደው በጠብመንጃ አፈሙዝ ለመመለስ እየተሯሯጠ ይገኛል፡፡ ከዚህ በፊት በሀገራችን ከታዩት ህዝባዊ ቁጣዎች በተለየ አሁን ላይ ከሀገራችን ሰማይ ስር የተቀጣጠለው ህዝባዊ ቁጣ የህወሀት ኢህአዴግ የሀያ አምስት አመት የግፍ፣የዘረኝነት እና የሽፍታነት አገዛዝ የወለደው ብቻ ሳይሆን ለአንዴ እና ለመጨረሻ ጊዜ አንባገነኑን እና ዘረኛውን ህወሀት-ኢህአዴግ ማስወገድ ላይ ያተኮረ ይመስላል በእኔ እምነት፡፡

ህወሀት ኢህአዴግ አንድም ቀን ህዝብን ሳይሰማ ህዝብን በቃላት ጨዋታ የሸወደ እየመሰለው እና ህዝብን እያስለቀሰ ላለፉት ሀያ አምስት አመታት መዝለቁ ፀሀይ የሞቀው እውነት ነው፡፡ ከሀያ አምስት አመታት የህወሀት ኢህአዴግ አገዛዝ በሁአላ አሁን ላይ ሀገራችን በኢኮኖሚውም ሆነ በማህበረሰባዊ ረገድ የደረሰችበትን ሁኔታ ላየ ያለፉት ሀያ አምስት አማታት የባከኑ ስለመሆናቸው ለመረዳት አያዳግተውም ቢባል በእኔ አምነት ማጋነን አይሆንም፡፡ በሀገራችን ተቀጣጥሎ ህወሀት ኢህአዴግን ለአንዴ እና ለመጨረሻ ጊዜ በሀይል ከያዘው ስልጣን ላይ ለማውረድ ከጫፍ የደረሰው ህዝባዊ አብዮት ብዙ መንስኤዎች ቢኖሩትም እስኪ በዚህ ፅሁፍ ኢኮኖሚያዊ መንስኤዎቹን ከህወሀት ኢህአዴግ የኢኮኖሚ ተግዳሮቶች ጋር በማገናኘት እንያቸው፡፡

ከበረሀው ትግል ጀምሮ ህዝባዊ ባንኮችን በመዝረፍ የሚታወቀው ህወሀት-ኢህአዴግ ስልጣን ይዞ ታላቋን ኢትዮጲያ ማስተዳደር ከጀመረበት ጊዜ አንስቶ እስከ አሁን ድረስ የስርአቱ መገለጫ ከሆኑት ውስጥ ከአናቱ እስከ ጥፍሩ በመንግስታዊ በሌብነት መነከር እና በህዝብ ዘንድ አመኔታ ማጣት ነው፡፡  ለመንግስታዊ ሌብነት ሲባል ብቻ ህዝብን ከቀየው ማፈናቀል፣ ህዝብን እና የሀገር መሬትን መቸብቸብ፣ በሀገር ሀብት እና ንብረት መነገድ እና ለግለሰብ አገልግሎት ማዋል  በስርአቱ የተለመዱ ሆነዋል፡፡ ቀጣይነት ያለው የኢኮኖሚ እድገት በህዝብ የጋራ እንቅስቃሴ የሚመጣ መሆኑን ያስተዋለ ሰው ህወሀት-ኢህአዴግ ህዝብን እያጉላላ ፣ህዝብን እያስለቀሰ ተከታታይ የኢኮኖሚ እድገት አመጣው ማለቱን ሲሰማ የህወሀት ኢህአዴግ ፕሮፓጋንዳ ቢያስቀው የሚገርም አይመስለኝም፡፡

በዘመነ ህወሀት-ኢህአዴግ ከታዩት መንግስታዊ ቅሌቶች ውስጥ አንዱ ለልማት በሚል የዳቦ ስም ህዝብን ከቀየው ማፈናቀል አንዱ ነው፡፡ አንድን ሉአላዊት ሀገር የሚመራ መንግስት ከሚጠበቅበት ግዴታ ውስጥ አንዱ የህዝብን ማህበራዊ እና ኢኮኖሚያዊ መስተጋብር በማስጠበቅ እና በማጎልበት በሀገሪቷ ላይ የተረጋጋ ኢኮኖሚያዊ ስርአት መፍጠር አንዱ ነው፡፡ ይህንንም ለማሳካት ደግሞ ቀጣይነት እና ዘላቂነት ያለው የተቀናጀ ኢኮኖሚያዊ እና ማህበራዊ ፓሊሲ መንደፍ ተገቢ ነው፡፡ ህወሀት-ኢህአዴግ ስልጣን ከያዘበት እለት ጀምሮ የህዝቡን ማህበረሰባዊ እሴቶች በመናድ ህወሀት-ኢህአዴግአዊ እሴቶችን በህዝቡ ላይ ለመጫኑ ብዙ ማመላከቻዎች አሉ፡፡ ከነዚህም ውስጥ አንዱ ለዘመናት በአንድ አካባቢ ይኖሩ የነበሩ የህብረተሰብ ክፍሎችን በማፈናቀል እና የነሱን ይዞታ ለልማት በሚል የዳቦ ስም በአንድ የፓለቲካ አስተሳሰብ ለተቃኙ ጥቂት ግለሰቦች ማከፋፋል አንዱ ነው፡፡ ይህ የፓርቲው አካሄድ በእኔ እምነት አሁን ላይ ለታየው ህዝባዊ ቁጣ መንስኤ  ከመሆን ባለፈ እና ፓርቲውን ወደመቃብር ከመክተት ባለፈ ለሀገሪቷም ሆነ ለህብረተሰቡ የሚፈይደው ነገር ያለ አይመስለኝም፡፡ ምክንያቱም ህዝብ ያላመነበት፣ያልመከረበት እና በህዝብ ተቀባይነት ያላገኘ ልማት መጀመሪያውኑ ለሀገርም ሆነ ለህዝብ የመጥቀሙ ነገር ጥያቄ ምልክት ውስጥ የወደቀ በመሆኑ ነው፡፡

ኢኮኖሚያዊ ልማት ማለት ቁሳዊ ብቻ ሳይሆን ሰዋዊውም ጭምር ነው ፡፡ የሰውአዊ ልማት መገለጫው ደግሞ የግለሰብንም ሆነ የማህበረሰብን ሰዋዊ መብት በማክበር እና በማስከበር ግለሰብንም ሆነ ህብረተሰብን ለምርታማነት በማዘጋጀት እና አምራች በማድረግ ሀገራዊ ኢኮኖሚን ማሳደግ ነው፡፡ በእኔ እምነት ህወሀት-ኢህአዴግ ከየትኛዎችም የቀድሞ የሀገራችን መንግስታት በተለየ መልኩ ሰውአዊ ልማትን የረገጠ መንግስት ብቻ ሳይሆን ለሰውአዊ ልማት ትኩረት ሳይሰጥ ኢኮኖሚውን በተከታታይ አሳደኩት በማለት በድፍረት የሚናገር መንግስት ነው፡፡ እንዴት እና በምን መልኩ ነው ቤቱን አፍርሰ አውላላ ሜዳ ላይ የጣልከውን ህዝብ ለልማት የምታነሳሳው ?   እንዴትስ ነው በማዳበሪያ እዳ ናላውን ያዞርከውን አርሶ አደር አስተባብረ ህዝቡን የሚቀልብ ብሎም ለውጪ ምንዛሬ አምጪ የሚሆን የግብርና ምርት እንዲያመርት የምታደርገው ? ከወሬ እና ከፖለቲካ ፕሮፓጋንዳ ያለፈ ነባራዊ ኢኮኖሚያዊ ለውጥ ለመምጣት ሰዋዊ ልማት ላይ ማተኮር ብቻም ሳይሆን ሰውአዊ ልማትን የሚያቀላጥፉ ነፃ እና ገለልተኛ የፍትህ እና የኢኮኖሚ ተቋማትን መገንባት እና መፍጠር ተገቢ ነው፡፡ እንደ እኔ እምነት በምንም ስሌት በአንድ ፓለቲካ አስተሳሰብ ብቻ የተሰባሰቡ ግለሰቦች በሞሉበት የህወሀት -ኢህአዴግ የፍትህ ስርአት ፍትሀዊ የኢኮኖሚ ስርአት ሊገነባ አይችልም ፣ በምንም መልኩ ወገንተኛ በሆነው የህወሀት ኢህአዴግ ስርአት ውስጥ እውቀት እና ብር ያለው የግል ባለሀብት በነፃነት በኢኮኖሚ ስርአቱ ላይ ተሳታፊ ሊሆን አይችልም ?

ወገንተኛነት እና መንደርተኛነት የተጠናወተው ስርአት የጥቂት ስብስቦችን ኑሮ እና ኪስ ከመሙላት ባለፈ    ሰዋዊ እና ቁሳዊ ሀብትን በማስተሳሰር የብዙሀኑን ህዝብ ኑሮ ሊያሻሽል ስለአለመቻሉ ከህወሀት-ኢህአዴግ ስርአት በላይ ማሳያ ያለ አይመስለኝም፡፡ ህግ አውጪ፣ህግ ተርጓሚ እና ህግ አስፈፃሚ የፍትህ ተቋማት መሆናቸው ቀርቶ ግለሰቦች በሆኑባት ሀገራችን በምንም ተአምር ፍትሀዊ የሀብት ክፍፍል ሊኖር አይችልም፣  የቀድሞዎቹ ታጋዮች የአሁኖቹ ሀገር አስተዳዳሪዎች ሀገር ከማስተዳደር ባለፈ በሀገሪቷ ኢኮኖሚ ስርአት ላይ በነጋዴነት፣በአምራችነት፣ በህንፃ አከራይነት በአስመጪ እና ላኪነት ተሳታፊ በሆኑበት ሁናቴ በምን ተአምር ነው የግል ባለሀብቱ ሀብቱን እና እውቀቱን ሀገሪቷ ላይ ለማፍሰስ ተነሳሽነት ሊኖረው አይችልም፡፡

ወገንተኝነት፣ዘረኝነት በነገሰበት ስርአት የሚዘወር ኢኮኖሚ ብዙሀኑን ለዘርፈ ብዙ ድህነት በማጋለጥ ጥቂቶች ብቻ የተዳደለ ህይወት እንዲኖሩ መንስኤ የሚሆነው፡፡ የዚህ አይነቱ ስርአት አስከፊ ውጤት ደግሞ የቱንም ያህል ህዝቡ በኢኮኖሚያዊ ችግር ቢተበተብ የህዝብን ችግር ከመፍታት ይልቅ በሰው ቁስል እንጨት ስደድበት እንዲሉ ስርአቱ ሙሉ ትኩረቱ ዘረፋ እና ስልጣንን ማስጠበቅ ላይ መሆኑ ነው፡፡ ይህ ክስተት ደግሞ በሀገራችን አሁን ላይ እንደሚታየው አይነት ህዝባዊ ቁጣ እንዲነሳ መንስኤ ይሆናል፡፡

ከምስራቅ እስከ ደበቡብ፣ከደቡብ እስከ ምእራብ ያለው የሀገራችን ህዝብ የህወሀት ኢህአዴግ ስርአት የሌብነት ስርአት ስለመሆኑ፣ የህወሀት ኢህአዴግ ስርአት የቋሚ ሽፍቶች ስርአት ስለመሆኑ አሁን ላይ ነጋሪ ሳያስፈልገው የገባው ይመስለኛል፡፡ አሁን ላይ በሀገራችን ከአጥናፍ እስከ አጥናፍ የሚታየው የኦሮሚያ ህዝቦችም ሆነ የአማራ ህዝቦች ጥያቄ የህወሀት ኢሃዴግ ቋሚ ሽፍታነት ባህሪ የፈጠረው እና የወለደው ነው፡፡ የጥቂት ሽፍቶች ስብስብ የሆነው ህወሀት-ኢህአዴግ  ለዘረፍው ሀገራዊ ሀብት መንስኤ የሆነውን ስልጣኑን ለማስጠበቅ እና ዘለቄታዊነቱን ለማረጋገጥ ህዝቦችን ማጋጨት፣ማፈናቀል ዋነኛ ተግባሩ ለመሆኑ ነጋሪ የሚያሻን አይመስለኝም፡፡ ይህ ሙት ስርአት እንደለመደው የህዝብን ጥያቄ ከመመለስ ይልቅ ህዝብን መግደል ስራዬ ብሎ ተያይዞታል፡፡ የአለም ታሪክ እንደሚነግረን ህዝብን ያሸነፈ ስርአት ስለአመኖሩ ነው፡፡ በመሆኑም  የህወሀት-ኢህአዴግ የቋሚ ሽፍትነት እና  የዘረኝነት ባህሪ  አንገፍግፎት በሀገራችን  ከአጥናፍ እስከ አጥናፍ ቁጣውን እየገለፀ ያለውን የህዝባችንን ጥያቄ እና ብሶት በጠብመንጃ ማስቆም መሞከር ጅልነት ነው፡፡ መፍትሄው የህዝቡን ጥያቄ መመለስ ነው፡፡ የህዝቡን ጥያቄ ለመመስ ደግሞ ቋሚ  ሽፍትነት እና  ዘረኝነት መገለጫው ለሆነው ህወሀት ኢህአዴግ አይቻለውም ምክንያቱም ህዝቡ አምርሮ እየተቃወመ ያለው የህወሀት-ኢህአዴግን ቋሚ ሽፍትት፣የህወሀትን የበላይነት፣ የህወሀት-ኢህአዴግን የዘረኝነት አገዛዝ ነውና፡፡

 

 

Ethiopia: Dozens killed as police use excessive force against peaceful protesters

At least 97 people were killed and hundreds more injured when Ethiopian security forces fired live bullets at peaceful protesters across Oromia region and in parts of Amhara over the weekend, according to credible sources who spoke to Amnesty International.

Thousands of protesters turned out in Oromia and Amhara calling for political reform, justice and the rule of law. The worst bloodshed – which may amount to extrajudicial killings – took place in the northern city of Bahir Dar where at least 30 people were killed in one day.

“The security forces’ response was heavy-handed, but unsurprising. Ethiopian forces have systematically used excessive force in their mistaken attempts to silence dissenting voices,” said Michelle Kagari, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

”These crimes must be promptly, impartially and effectively investigated and all those suspected of criminal responsibility must be brought to justice in fair trials before ordinary civilian courts without recourse to death penalty.”

Information obtained by Amnesty International shows that police fired live bullets at protesters in Bahir Dar on 7 August, killing at least 30. Live fire was also used in Gondar on 6 August, claiming at least seven lives.

No deaths were reported from the Addis Ababa protests, but photos and videos seen by Amnesty International show police beating protesters with batons at Meskel Square, the capital’s main public space.

In Oromia and Amhara, hundreds were arrested and are being held at unofficial detention centres, including police and military training bases.

“We are extremely concerned that the use of unofficial detention facilities may expose victims to further human rights violations including torture and other forms of ill-treatment,” said Michelle Kagari.

“All those arrested during the protests must be immediately and unconditionally released as they are unjustly being held for exercising their right to freedom of opinion.”

The protests in Oromia are a continuation of peaceful demonstrations that began in November 2015 against a government masterplan to integrate parts of Oromia into the capital Addis Ababa. Deaths were reported in multiple towns in the region, including Ambo, Adama, Asassa, Aweday, Gimbi, Haromaya, Neqemte, Robe and Shashemene.

The protests in Amhara began on 12 July 2016 when security forces attempted to arrest Colonel Demeka Zewdu, one of the leaders of the Wolqait Identity and Self-Determination Committee, for alleged terrorism offences.

Wolqait is an administrative district in Tigray Region that was part of Amhara Region before the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) came to power 1991. It has been agitating for reintegration into Amhara for the last 25 years.

Source: Amnesty International

A Massacre in Ethiopia

There was also a blanket ban on the internet over the weekend. “At least 97 people were killed and hundreds more injured when Ethiopian security forces fired live bullets at peaceful protesters across Oromia region and in parts of Amhara over the weekend, according to credible sources who spoke to Amnesty International. Thousands of protesters turned out in Oromia and Amhara calling for political reform, justice and the rule of law. The worst bloodshed – which may amount to extrajudicial killings – took place in the northern city of Bahir Dar where at least 30 people were killed in one day. ‘The security forces’ response was heavy-handed, but unsurprising. Ethiopian forces have systematically used excessive force in their mistaken attempts to silence dissenting voices,’ said Michelle Kagari, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.”

Source: UN DISPATCH

%d bloggers like this: