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Postby enkuye » Fri Feb 10, 2006 2:01 am


Woyane phantom lies: why they need to stop
By Fekade Shewakena
February 8, 2006

One major casualty of the crisis that ensued the May 2005 election in Ethiopia, in addition to the many precious lives extinguished by the regime, is dear truth. I have always hoped that some of us would reign in the insanity prevailing in the country and often thought that a group of Ethiopians from across ethnicity and political persuasion coming together and honestly deliberating on the crisis would be one helpful way out of the impasse. Leaders and supporters of the TPLF sadly seem to have totally gone out of their minds making any such attempt a difficult task.
The Prime Minister lies, members of his cabinet lie, his supporters lie and lie and lie and they seem to have no inhibition to stop them. It is like a blind man trying a dulla fight, lashing his cane in every direction hoping one of his throws would get his opponent. And they say everybody and every institution challenging their lie is a liar. Amnesty international is a liar, Human Rights Watch is a liar, Anna Gomez is a liar, EHRCO is a liar even when it provides everything required to prove its statements, journalists who write critical views are liars even when they show video and audio evidences. The TPLF kills and accuses its victims of genocide, they sell the country and accuse you of treason, they terrorize the entire country, and accuse you of terrorism and they defy their own constitution and accuse you of trying to dismantle a constitutional order. How can you talk sense to these people? I sometimes think there is a mirage in front of them that shows their own image in their opponents’ faces. I am not even demanding that they should only speak the truth. Lie making and political spin are often tolerated in politics. That is not the problem. Actually, if an Ethiopian asks you to stop your Boletica, he actually means stop lying. But even then, it is not the bere wolede (the ox gave birth to a calf) kind of lie we should be subjected to. Lie-making has now reached epidemic proportions thanks to the TPLF and Meles Zenawi, that they are even unable to coordinate them. And again, my problem and fear is not that any sane and reasonable person of consequence would buy these craps as truth. My greatest fear is that, at some point, the liars themselves may believe their own lies as truth and make any meaningful and civilized discussion and problem solving more complicated.

A couple of days back, I had an encounter when I heard a story about a group of TPLF supporters, perhaps members, who went to Congress to lobby for the TPLF government and “expose’ opposition allegations, according to an aide to a congressman they were able to talk to. One of the things they told this staffer was that the killings in Addis Ababa in June and November were due to, believe it or not, “crossfire” during confrontation with the opposition. The aide was so dumbfounded and insulted by the kind of lie that he had to show them statements where Meles himself admitted he killed demonstrators. It is sometimes unbelievable that they go to this extent, but such kinds of blunt lies are becoming far too rampant in their speeches and literature.

A few weeks back, millions of Ethiopians must have heard a certain Dr. Yohannes Gebresilassie who was on a debate with Professor Getachew Metaferia on the Voice of America, Amharic Service. Dr. Yohannes, apparently a TPLF supporter, who described his job as “a development worker," whatever that may mean, kept on telling us that there is peace raging in Ethiopia. He said there is a normal teaching-learning process in Addis Ababa even as the government itself was broadcasting and writing about the problem of student protests by making another phantom lie that protestors were being paid 50 birr per head by the opposition to throw stones at the police. You see, lies are often difficult to coordinate. Yohannes said those who think everything is not peaceful and well in Ethiopia and Addis Ababa are readers of EthiomediaKom. (Believe it or not he said Ethiomediakom so repeatedly that he made me wonder what geological time he belongs to and the kind of planet he got his education from). If he is reading this, I will take this opportunity to tell him that it is “Ethiomedia dot com”. More importantly, it is also a premium source and a go-to website for up-to-date information and critical analysis on Ethiopian affairs. I might add that is also hosted by a courageous son of Ethiopia of Tigrean ethnicity - a hero respected among Ethiopia’s Diaspora, and a bright Ethiopian who is able to see the larger picture of Ethiopia far beyond the noses of the ethnocentric.

I just read another pro TPLF fabrication from G E Gorfu on the pro-government Walta. I have always considered him a far more reasonable person to echo the dumb lies of the regime. He wrote that young people in Addis Ababa threw stones at the tabot (the Arc of the Covenant) during the bloody epiphany celebrations last month. From this he jumped into a conclusion that this is because of a generation of young people that lack knowledge of its history and cultures and suggests a kind of cultural education campaign or revival of some sort. Gorfu must have seen a reverse movie or somehow got it backwards. It is true the youth threw stones. But they threw it toward the police and army that were engaged in harassing and beating them for singing songs and saying the things the regime doesn’t like. No stones by demonstrators were thrown at the Tabot according to God-fearing witnesses who saw what happened. In fact, putting a simple question to himself would have saved Gorfu from falling for this lie. What motivation, after all, do these young boys and girls have to throw stones at the Tabot? The people who needed some cultural education are the lawless soldiers and their commanders who were shooting live bullets in the direction of a huge crowd and the Tabot. People with half a brain can foresee that fatal stampedes would likely occur because of the shootings and many would be hurt. Gorfu can do his country a favor by redirecting the resource he planned to use to educate the youth to organize a seminar to the Agazi commanders to teach them how law enforcers in civilized societies do crowd control without that kind of callousness at the physical and cultural life of human beings. Gorfu simply needs to go out to any church in Addis Ababa on Sunday mornings or other religious events and see the compounds overflowing with youth attendants to prove that the problem is not enough culture and religion among the youth. It is that simple and Gorfu’s worry is totally misplaced. By the way, has anyone ever heard Meles Zenawi utter the word “God” or saw his picture attending a religious event in any church or mosque or Synagogue? Don’t forget that he is presiding over a deeply religious country and one of the earliest homes to Christianity, Islam and Judaism and other religions. I am not challenging his right to be an atheist, but I raised it here to argue why he and his commanders may be the real people that need to undergo some education in religion and cultural history.

Even the journalist who has been my favorite for some time, Mr. Amare Aregawi of the Reporter has joined the fray. All of a sudden when the going got tough, it seems he has gone into his ethnic trench. Sad. Diaspora bashing and a continuous diatribe against the political prisoners and distortion of their political positions have now turned to his prime occupation. I laughed reading his assertion that only Addis Ababa is fuming in violence while the rest of the country is living in peace. His assertion that Addis Ababans have no business in protesting election fraud in other regions is also a laughable point. According to Amare’s logic the young people who went from Addis Ababa and fought and died to save a piece of land in Tigrai killil have made a mistake. I think this narrow tribalism thing has a potential to fossilize heads while people are still alive. Where have all the sensible shimagilles gone? Have we finished them all?

Some of these lies are dangerous particularly if the lairs themselves believe their lies as truth. For example, consider the mother of all lies that the CUD has ordered its supporters to do harm to the Tigrean ethnic group. Without providing an iota of evidence and caring to quote any material from CUD leaders to tell us where and how the CUD said this obscene thing, they keep on regurgitating this lie ad infinitum. I have heard many silly accusations including the lie that CUD has ordered the burning of houses belonging to Tigreans in Addis Ababa. This silly fabrication has found its way into the charges brought against the CUD leaders.

It is not difficult to understand the reason for all these lies. Meles and his gang have run out of support from any sector of the population including the Tigrean community. Social base has dwindled to droplets. This is the tactic of frightening people so that they side with the regime out of fear. It is that simple. Ethiopia is not your savage land where people jump to kill other people that speak a different language. Now I fear that this is a self-fulfilling prophesy by Meles and the TPLF mafia and I fear they may end up using it as a pretext to unleash a massive genocide themselves. The only organization with the military capacity and the propensity to commit genocide in Ethiopia is the TPLF and only the TPLF itself. In fact, some Tigreans who understood this lie have already expressed fear that Meles would kill some of them to blame it on the CUD. Please read this letter written by ethnic Tigreans who live in Addis Ababa and posted on a Tigrean website. The title of the letter written in Amharic reads, “We have lived everyday in terror fearing that the government would come and finish us”. Read also this article from a conscientious and honest ethnic Tigrean residing in Addis Ababa entitled: “Not in my name”. The TPLF led government that has compelled Ethiopian citizens to carry ID cards with ethnic identification like the Rwandan idiots and Apartheid South Africa is ultimately responsible for any ethnic clash that may occur in Ethiopia.

The CUD boycott resolution that the lairs often don’t want to quote directly, is written in black and white and with all the necessary footnotes and precautions to avoid misunderstanding. There is no ethnic specific boycott ever mentioned in CUD’s resolutions, implicit or otherwise. The CUD even held press conferences on the subject making every clarification and warning followers not to associate any of their actions with ethnicity. Among other non-violent action items for their protest, this particular call of isolating cruel individuals was made to implement a traditional practice of out-casting, (ke idir maswotat) individuals who go out of their way to do harm to communities or injure the sensibilities of society. Such practices of boycott are very common in our tradition. Boycotting weddings, funeral services, kiristina and other community events belonging to a particular anti-social criminal, a known thief, and government stooge who torment people is an old practice in Ethiopia, and a culturally accepted social sanction. In fact, this tactic was used by the TPLF itself against Tigrean members of the EDU (Ethiopian Democratic Union) in Tigrai. It also happened during the dergue. For example, a cruel man who had butchered a lot of young people during the Red Terror period of the dergue (Asazenew Bayissa), who lived in the Casanches area in Addis, did not have a formal community funeral when neighbors and coworkers refused to show up for the funeral. It was meant to be a wonderful lesson for the living and it was. TPLF people and their stooges will tell you without shame and in your face that “the CUD called the community not to attend funeral services of all Tigreans or share community events with all Tigreans”. Just like that. I will challenge these liars to show me any evidence so that I myself can join them in condemning the CUD. Knowing the people at the helm of CUD, most of whom have shining records of statesmanship, it is just unthinkable that they can even contemplate doing anything remotely close to what their accusers say. This lie is in fact pursued so that it goes in line with the political strategy employed by Meles himself since before election-day. Does anyone remember the Enterhamwe analogy that the TPLF goons were fanning out everyday until European election monitors begged them to stop it?

People who fear neither God nor their conscience have no inhibition to stop them from making such kind of lies. Imagine Professor Hailu Araya, a conscientious human being and a Tigrean and a senior leader of the CUD now languishing in prison supporting genocide against his fellow Tigreans, himself and his family! Ask TPLF lie-makers a very reasonable question as to why the CUD even contemplates attacking the Tigrean community as a community when it perfectly knows that the community has overwhelmingly voted for them, at least in Addis Ababa and all cities outside of Tigrai. Of course, reason and lie making in the same place is an oxymoron.

TPLF lie makers would tell you in your face that the CUD is an Amhara organization trying to crush the Oromos and the rest of the minority ethic groups in Ethiopia. I can’t understand why it doesn’t occur to them that there are many Oromos including Hailu Shawul, the president of the CUD, half of whose parents are Oromos, not to mention the numerous members and leaders of the CUD that come from various ethnic groups in southern Ethiopia who would identify with the Oromo more than Meles himself. These are regions that voted for CUD overwhelmingly rather than TPLF surrogate ethnic organizations. I don’t know why these lairs think Bertukan Mideksa, the vice President of the CUD or the Honorable Bedru Adem, a senior leader of the CUD, both Oromos, would be comfortable when the CUD attempts to bring old practices of forcing school age Oromos to learn lessons in Amharic rather than their own language, Ofomoffa. TPLF lie makers know full well that Miss Bertukan Mideqsa is a courageous young lady who followed the law and her conscience and risk her job and livelihood rather than bow to the demands of authority, when she set free, a political enemy of PM Meles Zenawi, former TPLF CC member Mr. Siye Abraha, who was accused of trumped up charges while she was the presiding judge on the case. The contempt of these people for the ability of other people’s minds to reason is amazing. Imagine Meles Zenawi being more concerned about the freedom of the Oromo people than Hailu Shawul and Bertukan or Bedru Adem or even the none-Oromo leaders of the CUD. What makes Meles more Islam than the many Moslems members of CUD? It seems that Meles has totally concluded that his survival on power depends on how far he can bring the Ethiopian people at each other’s throat rather than changing their lives for the better. But still the most pathetic human beings are those that repeat these venomous lie he spews without shame.

For these lairs it doesn’t even matter the respectable statesmen of the leadership of the CUD are known for a long time to abhor this kind of ethnic politics in any shape and form. Never mind these are people who are worried about the ethnicization of our politics by the TPLF itself and that they are a party emphasizing unity than sectarian politics as a better alternative for Ethiopia. Never mind that the CUD repeatedly stated that it believes that Ethiopians are better understood as a network of people rather than a mechanical association of ethnic groups as the TPLF believes. Why can’t we discuss this philosophical difference rather than the phantom lies?

A more recent quantum leap in the art of TPLF lie making is that the CUD is collaborating with the Eritrean government and the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) to violently overthrow the government. This one is an amazing gymnastics in the exercise of lie making. Now they tell us the CUD is conspiring with Sahbia. A few months back they were telling ferenjis that if the CUD comes to power it would go to war with Eritrea over the issue of ports. Personally I have no problem if the CUD and the Eritrean government and the Oromo Liberation Front develop an understanding between them. I would think the CUD would solve more than half our problems and the region’s problems if it does collaborate with the OLF, but I have seen nothing, none, not a tiny mini bit, to tell me this is the case. I believe there will be no lasting peace in Ethiopia without the Oromo Liberation Front becoming a full participant in any political process in Ethiopia and I will be personally happy to see both work together. Unfortunately that exists in the mind of Meles Zenawi yet.

Here is another phantom lie. I just read an article on the government Walta and Pro TPLF websites, where the CUD is accused of recruiting child soldiers. I don’t think the writer knows the meaning of child soldiers but the truth he unintentionally told us is that the government is at war with children. The TPLF propagandist who wrote the article entitled the “Making of child soldiers in Ethiopia: A disturbing trend, writes that the Ethiopian opposition, is conscripting child soldiers. The writer does not think he has some responsibility to prove where and how the kids are recruited and what kind of arms these children are training with and where. He instead invokes international law against the opposition and writes that “… individuals or groups who knowingly conscript, or enlist children under the age of eighteen years into national armed forces or using them to participate actively in hostilities can be charged with committing war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide”. Anyone interested in the whole garbage can read it here. May be next week this human being would tell us how many kids were killed when they were trying to throw bombs at Agazi tanks. Given their propensity to fabricate lies, I am sure we would here more. Don’t be surprised if they tell you they saw Mesfin Woldemariam and Hailu Shawul throwing bombs and driving tanks. Meles Zenawi will tell you in your face that he is building democracy while he is systematically dismantling brick by brick anything that can be used to build a semblance of democracy.

There is only one solution to our problem in Ethiopia. Stop running the damn lying mouth and let’s go to work. Nobody is going to come out winner from this lunacy. All our people will loose the most if we go down the current road. Meles cannot kill his way to staying in power. Do you remember one of the choices he gave CUD leaders during the Negotiation? Accept what he says or go to exile or keep living in the country with their heads down. Who the hell did he think he is to give the choice of bowing our heads in our own country? I don’t know about his parents, but some of those in his prisons have fathers and grand fathers who died defending Ethiopia against Italian fascism. We need only good faith negotiation, reconciliation South Africa style, and accepting the verdict of the people. Problem number one in Ethiopia is poverty and obscene, disgusting, humiliating poverty. Ethiopia is humiliatingly poor because of bad governance. Whatever it does, the TPLF is not going to deliver prosperity to Ethiopia on its own. We have a mighty problem in that country that is hard to solve even if all citizens join hands. We all have to be a part of the solution.

TPLF goons better stop Diaspora bashing. For many countries their Diaspora is a resource not an object of ridicule. We in Diaspora are sick and tired of demonstrations and raising funds for none economic development ends. After nearly 22 billion of foreign aid over the last 14 years and being the number one beggar in sub-Sahara Africa we are still begging. But people are still dying of famine. Beggary is being developed into a fine art by Meles and his group. All of us should be sick of this. There are studies I know that, with a fraction of the World Bank aid, we can develop one of several major river basins and feed ourselves and even export. Stop the lies about the economy growing. It is not growing, and it is not coping with our population growth and the needs of a modern country.

The political prisoners have the solution in my view. These are the Engineers, the economists and the lawyers and the researchers, the products of the Ethiopian people, with a vision. Meles and a handful of his mafia are the problem in Ethiopia. They don’t belong to any ethnic group as much as they belong to their selfish personal ends and hunger for power. The rest of us should stop playing the zero sum game. Let everybody win.

Donors, please! We don’t need your guns and tanks and don’t want you to train snipers who kill our kids. We don’t need war toys and your Humvees to terrorize our children in our cities. Stop this kind of unsupervised aid to senseless killers and power hungry goons. Help us negotiate our problems using your leverages or leave us alone. We can find a way out on our own.
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