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Gondar ain?t your mama?s fool no more
PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2006 6:12 pm Reply with quote
malasay
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Gondar ain?t your mama?s fool no more
By Aklilu Abreha

I would like to extend my best wishes to all Ethiopians at home and abroad. May this New Year bring peace and prosperity to all of you and to our beloved country Ethiopia!

I live in America. And as you can imagine, it has been a very busy last couple of weeks for me. I am sure those of you who have a large family including little children would understand the hectic nature of the Christmas holiday season. On January 2, 2006, I had a break and started to enjoy a relaxed schedule. Taking advantage of the opportunity, I logged on to the internet and started browsing websites to catch-up with developments from Ethiopia.

I am sure, since the elections, most of my fellow Ethiopians are engaged in a similar activity on a daily basis. Obviously, to facilitate faster site navigation, I have bookmarked Ethiopian related news websites, including Ethiomedia, Aiga, Ethiopianreview, Waltainfo, Ena.gov.et, Nazret, Ethioindex, Awate (Eritrea), Shabait(Eritrea), kinijit.org, and a few more others. Upon navigating to Ethiomedia.com, I cannot help but notice the leading news item of the day. It was titled ?Five students killed in Gondar?. My heart sank, and I thought, here we go again. It is the content and the spirit of this ?news? item that I read on Ethiomedia.com that prompted me to write this article. Come to think of it, the last time I wrote a politically inclined article was about 12 years ago on a network of Ethiopians called EEDN. I wonder if it is still around. At that time, I have to confess, I was a fierce opponent of the EPRDF government.

You see, dear readers, I am what you call a Gonderie (Kebraraw Goderie, just kidding). My father is from Semien Ambaras and my mother is from Debretabor. I myself was born in Ambesamie, a rural small town in the proximity of Woreta and Hamusit, both located on your way south from Gondar and a few kilometers before you get to Bahir Dar, the current capital city of Amara Kilil. My parents and I moved to the city of Gondar proper when I was about two years old. I attended elementary school and graduated from a high school in Gondar. And the first and last time I left Gondar was when I escaped to the Sudan and became a political refugee. Please allow me to reminisce. Though a belated reaction, one of the reasons for my escape from Gondar was what happened a long time ago. It was the day when fourteen of my friends from Kebele One (Ambajinie) were murdered by Melaku Tefera?s Special Forces.

On that un-fateful Friday, back from school, fifteen of us worked as day laborers and packed Ghesho into a huge two meter by one meter size container sacks. For those of you who do not know, Ghesho is a plant leaf that is used to brew local Ethiopian beer known as Tella. Local merchants around Aba Gerima neighborhood purchase Ghesho from peasants coming from the surrounding farms. The farmers sell their Gesho and use the proceeding to buy and take home salt and cooking oil. The Ghesho leaves are dry and need to be compressed and packed tightly into sacks to make it easier to transport. The Ghesho merchants hire us, young students in our school off hours, to do the packing and paid us $0.75 per sack. Once finished with our task, we got paid and retired to relax and drink a few Mankorkoria (a tea keetle shaped Tella container a bit bigger in size) Tella our selves.

One thing led to another, and some of us got a little inebriated while a few of the older guys started to sing some EPRP revolutionary songs. Among the songs, the ones I remember included Wega Belew Tew Wega Belew and Asimba Meda Lay Wedikie. Sometime later, the group made a decision to go to another Tella Bet (local brew house- a Tavern or a pub- if you will). That is when I asked the group to give me my share of the left over money and begged to be let to go to my home. I reasoned, my father was very strict with me and wanted me to be present at home when he got back from work. My request was denied. I was sad as the money would have amounted to $0.25 cents or more, believe me, it was a good some of money at the time.

The group decided that the only choice I had was to join them at the other Tella Bet. Fortunately, I declined the invitation and decided to go home. I did not realize how fortunate I was until I woke up the following day and found out that all fourteen of them have been murdered by Melaku Tefera?s Special Forces. Their corpses were left on the side of a major street of our neighborhood. Left there for all to see and serve as a deterrent for anyone thinking about opposing the government. The dead bodies of my friends were being exhibited up and down the street. All of the fourteen friends of mine were laying facedown, executed mercilessly, and the infamous Red Terror campaign slogans pasted on their backs.

Time permitting in the future; I will give a full account of what transpired that unfortunate evening. Since that day, I lost my desire to live in Ethiopia. This tragic and heinous act by the Derg regime forever tainted my young and fertile mind (some that know me may not agree on the fertile part of this statement). I waited for my chance to throw the proverbial ?Tikur Dengay? and get out of Ethiopia. Again, for those of you who do not know, a well known axiom in Amarigna is that as you leave a place you never again intend on visiting, you throw a black stone (Tikur Dengay) towards it. Superstition guaranteed that your wish will be granted. I got my chance to leave Ethiopia when I turned eighteen years old, and graduated from Fasiledes High School.

On June 27, 1984, I literally walked out of the city of Gondar at the break of dawn, walked through a nearby small rural town called Robit, and then Lay Armachiho. When I got to Tach Armachiho the next day, I met up with other Ethiopians on a similar journey to the Sudan. We trekked together until we came across a TPLF guerilla fighter camp. We stayed at the camp for three days or so, and most of us got treated well. I believe one or two guys whom the TPLF fighters suspected as Derg spies or something like that were held and may got treated differently. When the condition were right to continue our journey, some TPLF fighters accompanied us for half a day long distance and made sure the Armachiho bandits did not bother us. After walking on foot for fifteen rainy days, we arrived on the border of the Sudan on my birthday July 12.

It was like I was born again, this time figuratively speaking, of course. That was twenty one years ago. Now, I am found educated, professional, and living comfortably in America. I am enjoying the fruits of a democratic political system with which my motherland was never able to afford me. I acknowledge and adhere to the responsibilities that come with being a democratic society citizen. Thank God and may Ethiopia be blessed with such a political system.

Now let me take you back to the intended point of this article. I sincerely believe that the above anecdotal, OK, a bit longer than intended, account of my background qualifies me as Gonderie, and I hope you the reader agree with me as well. With your consent and my qualification, I think I am better positioned to critically analyze the article about Gondar posted on Ethiomedi.com.

Most of the time, I get the impression that Ethiomedia.com serves as a medium to express the opinion of the opposition. It is a commendable effort when conducted in a true spirit of opposing a policy and presenting a better alternative. In general, during a contentious struggle for political power, and in particular in the African experience, standing as an opponent to a ruling government is not an easy task. An opposition media can suffer from an overwhelming feeling of fear and intimidation for ones own safety, and worse, one can become debilitated with a hair rising fear of putting ones family and relative in harms way. To a limited extent, the Ethiopian government has been one of the exceptions in this regard. It has permitted the free flow of ideas, and to the best of my knowledge, the government has not been accused of an attempt to inhibit freedom of expression. Recently, however, the government has been compelled to take action when the opposition resorted into ethnic cleansing tactic and the free press served as a fuel fanning the flame.

As the genuine opposition mediums effort deserves to be commended, with no less vigor, it deserves to be equally despised when it corroborates and becomes an instrument to disguise and spread maliciously fabricated propaganda as news.

You can imagine how agitated I was when I read the article titled ?Five students killed in Gondar?. I was extremely saddened when all those poor children died in Addis Ababa for no good reason at all. After all, the opposition has won Addis Ababa, the political capital of Africa. Did the opposition understand the magnitude of that victory and how to capitalize on it? Did they realize it as an opportunity to demonstrate good governance and gain invaluable legislation experience? Well, I am getting side tracked again. I apologize. After the June and November unfortunate incidents in Addis Ababa, I was hoping things were turning for the better and peace was prevailing. But according to the Ethiomedia ?news? item, I was wrong.

To substantiate the truthfulness this news item, as I always do, I immediately pointed my web browser to the other opposition and pro-government websites to no avail. I could not find any other news source website with similar item. I was relieved, and I immediately started to get suspicious about the authenticity of the ?news?. I went back and read it again, and, this time, I scrutinized it leaving my emotion by way side. And the ?news? started to fall apart. I will tell you what I found:

The item claims that ?The Voice of Ethiopian People (VOEP) said the funeral of Fikirte - a young female student who collapsed after she was gun-butted on her breast, was conducted at Qusquam Mariam Church last week. She died after days of treatment in hospital.?

Wait a minute. For the life of me, neither when I was growing up in Gondar nor since I left Ethiopia, have I ever heard of a memorial service being conducted, let alone a burial service, at Qusquam Mariam church.

What I always heard is that Qusquam Mariam church primarily serves as a sanctuary to mummified corpses of royalty from the time of Fasiledes reign. It has been decades, if not centuries, since a funeral or burial service ceased to be conducted at Qusquam Mariam church. The physical site where the church is located doesn?t lend itself to this blatant lie either. The church is located at a higher elevation, almost at the top of one of the cascade mountain that encircles Gondar. Even if the ?news? was to be believed, one is left to wonder why Fikirte?s relatives would want to trek and climb up a mountain, with a corpse on their back, to bury their beloved daughter while there are other 44 churches available where the burial ceremony can be conducted with ease and convenience.

May be I failed to get the hidden message in the article, as Ethiopians are famous for their double meaning as described in ?Wax and Gold?. May be she is a blue blooded Ethiopian by the way of her distant relation to Atse Fasil. May be the opposition has a plan for her to be mummified at a later date as a royal family and martyr, of course, after the liberation of Gondar from EPRDF. One is left only to speculate.

Then the item follows ?Student protests erupted earlier last week at Emperor Bakafa School but later spread to other schools, including Meseret, Zadiku Yohannes and Hibret.?

Mind you that Emperor Bakafa (Atest Bekafa) is a middle school while Meseret, Zadiku Yohannes (Tsadiku Yohannes) and Hibret (formerly Lilt Tenagne Work, my own school) are all elementary schools. The ages of the students at these elementary schools ranges from five years to eleven years old, youngest to oldest, respectively. I am not a child development expert, but as I said, I have a couple of children of my own. It is extremely unlikely and out of the realm of possibility for an Ethiopian five year olds to be involved in a political protests. To give you an example, the only time my five year old American child protests, he is a well developed and exposed child by all accounts, thanks to all the cartoons shows and video games, is when I tell him to cut down on his game play time and to go and read a storybook or to study a little math. His famous, albeit ineffective, mode of protest is to not speak to me for about five minutes. He never run out to the street and protested against the measures I took. I am inclined to believe that a similar age Ethiopian child would fall in the same category and behave accordingly. May be my imagination is failing me, but I have a difficult time envisioning five year old Ethiopians wrapped head to toe with an Ethiopian flag and carrying ?down with Meles? and ?Free Hailu Shawel? slogans and marching down the street. Oh, let us also not forget imagining the children carrying the Premier's effigy with a pair of red horns sticking out of his forehead and the swastika, a Nazi in sigma, printed in the background. Come on, get real.

Let us continue further. The item claims ?...Observers said the student protests began when TPLF troops stormed Emperor Bakafa School, and students started protesting against the presence of the armed men in their school compound. ?

Upon reading the above statement, I have had enough, and contrary to the decree issued by the opposition, I called a friend of mine who is from Tigray. He happens to own a convenient store. He is a good friend. We have been friends since our refugee days in the Sudan. Once he came online, we shared the latest jokes going around town about Kinijit, EPRDF, Primier Meles, Eritrea, Isaya Afewerki, and OLF. Then I told him that I needed a phone card to place a phone call to Gondar, Ethiopia. He asked if things were well with my family, I thanked him for his concern and told him that I have some information about Gondar that I needed to verify. He read for me the 800 number and associated pin number printed on the phonecard over the phone. I told him to put it on credit book (Ye dubae debter) and hang up. I hope my Kinijit readers will pardon this second transgression of the decree that advised Ethiopians not to conduct any business with supporters of EPRDF, as I know my friend is one supporter. Lately, I know my friend and a few others Ye Tigray Lijoch have become staunch supporters of EPRDF. Most of them don?t use to be like that, or at least not to that extreme. I wonder what happened to them. Again, one is left only to speculate.

Then I proceeded to place a call to one of my younger sisters in Gondar. After exchanging pleasantries, I told her about the news article I read and mentioned to her that I am disturbed about the government killing elementary school children. I asked her to tell me what was happening in our hometown. Suffice it to say that she asserted my suspicion that the ?news? item was a propaganda designed to provoke people into taking to the streets of America. She told me that there were no protests in the mentioned elementary schools. She also told me, however, that there was a protest in Fasiledes High school. Verbatim, she told me that the high school students protested because the government recently changed the college admission score to 3.0/4.0 from whatever lower score it required before. And the government was seeking approval from students before implementing the changed college admission policy. The protest was neither at Emperor Bakafa School, nor it had anything to do with supporting the opposition, nor was it started by the presence of armed men on Bakafa campus, as there were no armed military men present at Atse Bakafa middle high school

I have my own reservations about the government?s education policy, and this is not the purpose of this article. But if the government saw it necessary to change the college admission policy, I am not sure why the government sought approval from the students after it came up with the changed policy. If any input was needed, the consent of students and/or their parents should have been solicited while changing the admission policy was being considered, and certainly not after.

Let me pick on one more piece of the article and we will call it a day. Here goes: ?...In Gondar, where opposition to the Meles Zenawi regime runs deep? Many of the young suffered multiple injuries, including bone fractures. Eye-witnesses said the beatings were meant to kill the students, and many were left for dead in the streets.?

I have been to Gondar three times within the last 14 years. The first time I went there was in 1995. Had the above statement claiming deep opposition to EPRDF was published eleven years ago, I would have believed it. During my visit in 1995, I myself was utterly disappointed at the state Gondar. I saw dilapidated buildings, people were destitute and beggars were everywhere. It felt to me like Gondar and its people have died and there was no one around to lower the coffin to the ground. The proverbial last nail was waiting to be nailed. And at that time, rumors were rampant about the malicious intent of TPLF to destroy Gondar. Apparently, the rumor had it, EPRDF wanted Gonderies to pay dearly for putting resistance against the advancement of EPRDF army to Addis Ababa.

My second trip back to Gondar was eight years later in Nov 2003. The difference I saw between my first trip in 1995 and 2003 was as light and day. Gondar was booming and becoming a port city of a land locked Ethiopia. My third trip was when I went back in May 2005 and had a chance to witness the election firsthand. I saw an ever prospering Gondar. Before my trip, I didn?t even know elections were to be held in Ethiopia until an Ethiopian friend called me and advised me to change my travel plan to a date preferably long after the election. I appreciated his concern for me and dismissed his apocalyptic prophecy. I do not want to take your time counting all the recent developments in Gondar and how the city?s resident population enjoys an improved living standard. Go to Gondar and see for yourselves. Last time I tried to count the visible developments in Gondar to a fellow Ethiopian, he accused me of being a ?Woyane? and a selfish ?Hodam Amara?, a glutton someone who is concerned only after his self interest. I was just about to dare him to see a copy of my three year tax return, which makes me drool when I look at it myself. Truthfully, I don?t have all the money shown on my tax return, but my yearly income looks beautiful on paper. I wouldn?t change that for the world.

One thing I have to say here is that the Ethiopian government has failed and lost the propaganda war. It should do a better job of informing the Diaspora about the economic and political development in Ethiopia. But it seems to me that the government is bent on dismissing some of us living outside of Ethiopia as puppets of the opposition and not worth an iota of an effort. We hear from the rumor mill that government representatives have come to town, and left after holding a meeting at Tigray community office. Why an Ethiopian government would do that? How about notifying other Ethiopians to come and attend meetings with government official? Is it that the Ethiopians abroad are not worth courting unless they are card carrying supporters of EPRDF? Here I am not talking about political organizations, including TPLF/EPRDF. They have the prerogative to held meetings wherever they think they can get the most support. But a government representative should reach out all Ethiopians regardless of their political persuasion. Getting sidetracked, take two. Sorry.

In conclusion, I like to say that the old days of empty rhetoric are gone. I am afraid the magician has to look for a different trick in his hat. Trying to instigate Gonderies by using false propaganda designed to exploit their emotion and their love for Ethiopia won't work. Gonderies have wised up. Comparatively speaking, through its action, the incumbent administration is a government which exceeded our dream of what Gondar can become in a short period of time. Haile Sellasie had his personal grudges and political problem against Gondar. If my memory serves me right, Haile Sellasie visited Gondar only once throughout his reign over Ethiopia. Mengistu followed suit as well. Not only he visited Gondar only once, and filled the air with empty promises of making Azezo the new Gondar, he ended up sending his henchman Melarku Teffera to unleash unprecedented massacre against the residents of Gondar.

For the first time since the reign of Atese Tewodros, Gondar is becoming an economically vibrant city. And time is on Gondar side as it is positioned to become an ever important trade center. The opening of Ethiopia?s trade relationship with the Sudan should make that a reality sooner than later. Gonderies are learning that mutual economic benefit should be the guiding principle for making political alliance. And I am convinced, Gondar is better off strengthening its alliance with the current government. The opposition, on the other hand, never relented from to instigate the people of Gondar. It blames Gondar when the going gets tough, and it calls on Gondar when the struggle calls for a sacrifice. During the first years of EPRDF rule, we have heard opposition members blaming Gondar for giving EPRDF an easy passage to Addis Ababa. And recently, we have heard that some opposition members are disappointed with Gondar because Gonderies didn?t join their planned protest.

A street demonstration designed to antagonize one ethnic against the other, chaos on the street architected to build a power ascension ladder with the dead bodies of poor Ethiopians to be used as climbing steps. And every now and then, the opposition comes up with fabricated propaganda of Gondar starting armed struggle, and the government killing little children, and so on and so forth. Guess what, we have had enough. For a long time, just like our Tigrayan counterparts, we have been at the receiving end of the brunt of whatever the ruling class has perpetrated. Gondar has served as a safe heaven for every kind government oppositions guerilla fighter, may be this was because of Gondar?s geographic location including proximity to the Sudan. Or may be it is because Gondaries are highly emotional and foolishly jump up at every mention of nationalism and Ethiopian unity.

We ain?t your mama?s fool no more. We are content with where Ethiopia is at this juncture. Good times will be rolling soon. The future is so bright Gondar has to wear shades. We, including myself, no longer consider anyone less Ethiopian just because he/she does not carry conversation in Amarigna. We do not despise anyone ruling over Ethiopia just because he/she is not Amara. We do not think of everyone that is not Amara as a sellout or not holding the interest of Ethiopia at heart. All we require is qualification and fair handedness in a working economic policy, not an alternative economy policy based on ?personal connections?. And in time and with full participation in due democratic process, Gondar and the rest of Ethiopia will become economically vibrant places.

To that end, we will work for peace and democratic governance with full participation in the parliamentary system. Keep in mind, Rome was not built in a day. Nor was the American democratic system built in five years, but it took more than two hundred years and it still is not perfect. We have started a long and difficult journey and we are marching forward without a chance to look back. Join us if you will. But please do not be a speed bump and try to distract us with your venomous propaganda.

May all the fortune stars shine on Ethiopia. As she has started a journey to peace and equality.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2006 4:31 pm Reply with quote
gishta
Joined: 23 Nov 2004
Posts: 101
Location: World




I would love to hear the rest of your history. Ever thought of writing a book?


Last edited by gishta on Sun Jan 08, 2006 4:36 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2006 4:32 pm Reply with quote
gishta
Joined: 23 Nov 2004
Posts: 101
Location: World




Dear Mr. Aklilu,

Thank you for sharing your story. You are unique to analyze and seek the truth yourself, rather than settle for the stories of the propaganda machines.


Why is it so easy to hate our brothers and neignbors? We are all one. If it is not religion, its ethnicity, if not that then race, if not, then clan.... Who benifits? When do we realize we humans are all one.

Again, thank you for the inspiration.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2006 11:43 am Reply with quote
malasay
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Joined: 17 Oct 2004
Posts: 598
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Thanks, but no thanks.
By Aklilu Abreha
January 07, 2006


Contained herewith is my response to Mr. Madebo?s review of my article under the title ?Gondar ain?t your mama?s fool no more.? I promise to do my best not to stoop down and engage in personal attacks.

Dear Mr. Madebo:

First up, please allow me to get a couple of points out of the way. I may have overlooked them inadvertently. You are correct. My anger may have gotten the best of me and caused me to become prejudicial in my decision not to send a copy of the article to you. I should have sent a copy of my article to Ethiomedia. I apologize.

Second, you seem to have conveniently overlooked a number of opposition websites I listed on my article. Not only I listed them but I also commended them and encouraged them to engage in honest and truthful activity. Further, I didn?t say I visited only pro-government sites to verify the truthfulness of the news item. To the contrary, I said I visited both pro-government and opposition websites I bookmarked to substantiate the authenticity of the news item. For the life of me, I have never heard of ethiolion.com. For future reference, however, I will make sure to bookmark ethiolion.com under my list of favorite sites. I am not na?ve to expect any news medium, especially those that support a certain ideology, to publish self incriminating news. That goes for both opposition and governmental news organization all around the world.

Dear Mr. Madebo, I am always suspicious when the government summarily dismisses the opposition as former Derg members. However, it may have some truth to it, at least in your case. If you were not an active member of the Derg junta, you would have been jubilantly celebrating the conviction of Melaku Tefera for crimes he committed against humanity. I didn?t get that impression from the tone you used to remind me that Melaku has been convicted and sentenced to death. BTW, I am not sure if the sentence been carried out? I like to know. I felt disappointed when you likened my honest account with Mengistu like propaganda. You may be right as you probably have had a first hand experience on designing Mengistu?s propaganda.

Dear Mr. Madebo, I am also at loss why you found my honest account of my Ethiopian-American journey ?extremely troubling.? Is there any part of the autography that you believed to be inaccurate or deceptive? Please point it out to me and I will be glad to elaborate on it for you. Or is it that you do not believe that I am a Gonderie? I will be more than happy to come and meet with you in person, wherever that may be. Let me know, I will be waiting. What is it that you found to be chauvinistic? Is it the fact that a poor kid from Gondar that went to a public high school managed to become successful in America? Or is it because you believed this type of privilege is reserved to the children of high class Ethiopians who afforded to send their kids to private schools in Addis Ababa? Or it is because I said ?kebraraw.? Gonderie? If it is the latter, you need to lighten up brother man. Have a little sense of humor.

You asked me if I knew all that is happening in Gondar. I do not profess to possess omnipresent or omniscient powers. I do not have the power to be everywhere nor to know everything. That power is reserved to the almighty God, if you believe in one. But I can tell you that I learn about what happened in Gondar by calling my family on a regular basis; by calling and talking to tens of my Gonderie friends that live in America; and most importantly by traveling to Gondar my self.

Let me ask you a question Mr. Madebo. Are you from Gondar? Have you ever been to Gondar within the last eight years? Or are you just another person who likes to call us ?Sedetegna? and ?Tifram Gonderiewoch? and consider us a nuisance? Or are you a person who knows of Gondar through that poor Gondarie maid who enslaved for you and your parents on pay amounting less than a dollar a month?

I am an Ethiopian from Gondar. Based on my knowledge and experience, it is my firm conviction that the people of Gondar have been used as a canon fodders for far too long. As a concerned Gonderie, I am advising my people to be on a look out for the ?fox in a sheep?s clothing.? I am advising my fellow Ethiopians in general, and Gonderies in particular, to be on the lookout for groups of people that are trying to drag us into a conflict when the regions residents safety is not threatened and when our school aged children are not murdered. The ?news? item on Ethiomedia.com about the killing of school age children is a conniving propaganda disguised as news. It is not truth and it is indefensible. As such, I have questioned the motives of the author and tried to advise my people not to be instigated. Is that so wrong?

I am a person who believes humans have been predisposed with a large brain, as opposed to body size, to use it to think and reason. Use it and it will tell you have to choices to get to the bottom. Either you have to believe me when I tell you that 12 years ago I was at the forefront of demonstration shouting ?Death to TPLF.? ( they may even have my picture on a videotape to prove it), or the alternative for you is to meet me in person. Contact me at dnasmara1@yahoo.com and we can make an appointment.

In the meantime, I like you to know that I still hold the people?s cause dearly. May be my people and your people are not the same, or may be your cause and my cause are not similar. Or better yet, may be the people and the causes are the same, but we use different glass to analyze the contemporary socio-economic problems in Ethiopia. And consequently, each of our potential solution happened to differ. I have several issues I can raise that are diametrically opposite to the policies of EPRDF. But there is one thing about which I cannot dare to lie. The current Ethiopian government has managed to achieve marked economic progress and peace and stability in seven or eight short years of time.

Dear Mr. Madebo, there is no denying that Meles killed demonstrators. And there is a vociferous opposition to that killing. Ethiopians and foreign government representatives are advising the Meles administration to use a less lethal deterrent method in the future. But this doesn?t lend itself to comparing Meles with Mengistu. Doing so borders on insanity. I believe, Meles killed because the demonstration was violent. And I believe, Meles imprisoned because he was concerned that some elements of the Addis Ababa youth may follow the advice of Kinijit leaders and commit violence against supporters of EPRDF. A code word used to describe Tigrayans. BTW, I have wondered what would have happened if it were EPRDF who issued a decree asking Ethiopian not to socialize or trade with Kinijit supporters. If there is injustice as you claimed, why wouldn?t the whole residents of Addis Ababa take to the streets? Why didn?t the leaders of Kinijit failed to show up and lead the demonstration? They should have been in attendance advising their followers not to burn tires or throw stones. Had Meles?s administration opened fire and killed anyone at that kind of demonstration, the estimated 20,000 plus Ethiopians residing in Ethiomedia?s home town would be in front of the Federal building. Instead of the thirty or so who showed up. After all, that is what history?s true freedom fighters are known to do. That is what MLK did during the civil rights struggle in America. I am forever grateful to MLK, Macolm Shabazz, and others black American civil rights advocates. But the demonstration in Addis Ababa was violent and the leaders of the demonstrators were not leading it. The government took the action it deemed necessary to quell the violence, and peace was restored as soon as the government rounded up the youth bent on committing violence.

One thing though, I am afraid you are correct in stating that I am a ?couch potato?. I see myself engaged in a fruitless exercise of trying to convince a person like you. It is a waste of time, as I get the impression yours and your elk?s opinion is saturated with plain hate and despise against those who disagree with you. This is my last vacation weekend. I might as well enjoy it and get back to work next week. I also like to pass a similar message to the Ethiopian government to do the same. Get back to work. You have 77 million people to feed.

Dear Mr. Madebo, finally, in closing, I like you to rest assured. My fellow Gonderies and I will be at the forefront of the struggle when we feel injustice is committed against Ethiopians. We will be advising our people to fight, and some of us may even go to the bushes and become guerilla fighters. We may score success and manage to topple Meles. We will have some luck as EPRDF fighters may have lost their stamina and gotten fat. They have been living in the city for far too long, eating Choma Quoret Sega. They do not get exercise either. Leaders are riding in Cadillac Escalade, security forces in Lexus Land Cruisers, and soldiers use Humvees (High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle, there is a name for a car for you) to get around town. They have adapted to the life of Addis Ababa and become Beltway Boys. But, do not hold your breath as it won?t happen any time soon. What we are witnessing in Ethiopia today is not a case of struggle against oppression and injustice. I have had several conversations with my friends, and most of us believe that this is a political power contention among the elites of Ethiopia inside the Beltway. Honestly, there is a Beltway, Kelebet Mengid, in Addis Ababa. A counter part to I-495 in Washing, DC. But for now, we say thanks for the invite, but no thanks. We will wait this one out.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2006 2:10 pm Reply with quote
malasay
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The email I sent to br. Aklilu

==== // =====

Dear Aklilu,

Thank you so much for your refershing article. I have posted it in a forum http://malasay.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=346. I hope you don?t mind. Due to past injustices ... Muslims in eastern part of Ethiopia... usually associated the word "Amhara" with oppression and injustice. It is important for people with Amhara background and tolerant views such as yours to make it clear that we are all in the same boat, and that we as a people have suffered under the yoke of oppressive systems... no matter what our religious or ethnic background was. We should all recognize that none of us are more Ethiopian than the other, and should avoid such immature discourses and work for the unity and prosperity of Ethiopia.

Once again, thank you!

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2006 5:39 pm Reply with quote
malasay
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email reply from Aklilu, posted on malasay by permission.

=== // ======
Selam Alikum Mohammed:

Shkurin we jeziren. I am afraid my arabic is not what it used to be anymore. Ana kan baktib we baqra arabi lemen ishita fi Sudan. Lakin hasa, ma aqdir itkelem zey zemen.

Thank you very much for your generous review of my article. As I said, I have been out of it for a long time. But now, I have decided I cannot sit idle while the extreme right wing politicians are pulling every string to instigate ethnic conflict. I wanted them to get the message that they cannot drag us into a conflict by exploiting our emotions.
It is criminal to hold accountable the whole ethnic group for the acts of a few individuals. Let alone an entire ethnic, fraternal twins do not think alike.

Not only Ethiopia, but also the world has changed forever. We need to think Ethiopian unity from a different angle. Empty rhetoric "Enate, lemlemitua, Ethiopia, demberua yetebek" does not do us any good. We need to listen and accomodate every persuasion of political ideology and try to live in peace. It is more important to live in peace than to live in unity at any cost.

You have my permission to post the article. On the question of writting a book, I have entertained the idea several times. I still think about it. May be someday it will become a reality.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2006 9:09 am Reply with quote
malasay
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Yesterday Aklilu and I met in person over coffee and had discussions on various issues. We both agreed that this is not the time to be silent, and that we should not allow the vocal minority to drawn the voices of moderation of the rest of Ethiopians.

We also agreed that all Ethiopians should work together to advance democratic values in Ethiopia.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2006 12:39 pm Reply with quote
ahaa
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here another article by the same author intersting

By Aklilu Abreha

The Encyclopedia Britannica states the following about the idiot savant. Their "achievement is confined to a very limited area and ... shows little understanding of their ability because of average or subnormal intelligence."

An example of an idiot savant affliction is played by Dustin Hoffman in the movie ?The Rain Man.? As a supporting actor to Tom Cruise, Mr. Hoffman played a character named Raymond. Raymond is a mathematical genius. He has the ability to add, subtract, divide, and multiply large sequences of numbers rapidly in his head. But when it comes to other simple matters, Raymond is down right feeble. An excellent analogy for Raymond?s disposition is that of a parrot. A parrot is able to mimic a human's voice, but has no understanding of what it is saying.

The noun Idiot Savant is a product of the English word Idiot and the French word Savant. In the French language, the word Savant means the learned one. I would assume, literally translated, Idiot Savant means a learned idiot. It is a self contradicting word. But it will serve a purpose and help us to explain the behaviors of some of the recently infamous Ethiopian intellectuals, the learned ones.

Since the May 2005 election concluded, I have been trying to understand why some of the well educated Ethiopians are obsessed with such a careless, hateful, and destructive approach to solve the current political impasse. Now I think know: they may be suffering from a disorder similar to the idiot savant. And as the result, they are desperately in need of a behavioral treatment. There is a little twist to their affliction, however. As the aforementioned descriptions of the disorder shows, Idiot Savant is someone who has been predisposed with a highly developed specific skill by unexplained natural phenomenon. Quite the opposite, the Ethiopian Idiot Savants achieved their confined knowledge through a guided learning process. This difference of their capacity to learn gives us a glimmer of hope that they may be cured of their disorder after attending intensive lessons sessions.

Allow me to further elaborate on how I diagnosed and reached to such a conclusion. Some of us, if not most of us Ethiopians who are living outside of Ethiopia have been victims of xenophobia and racism at one time or another. For example, in America, we have racist organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan(KKK) and the White Aryan Resistance (WAR). These organizations subscribe to the ideology that alleges that the Aryan (white) race is superior than all the other races. These individuals are firm in their beliefs, and they threaten and often use violence to intimidate and subjugate all other races to the benefit of the White race. As a matter of fact, about 16 years ago, an Ethiopian named Mulugeta Siraw was beaten to death with a baseball bat by the members of the WAR organization in Portland, Oregon. The only reason for Mr. Seraw?s murder was the color of his skin. I vividly remember the leader of WAR, Tom Metzger, saying on national television that he does not want ?the beautiful? black people in America. When I heard him say that, as much as I dreamed of coming to America, I was scared out of my skin and wanted to go back home where I would be welcomed. Because, as I was a newly arrived immigrant to the Pacific Northwest where these organizations are known to be based, I thought I was going to be the next victim. His statement was in response to why his followers murdered an Ethiopian immigrant, a foreigner, as opposed to an American born and breed black person. Fortunately, in America when a leader incites his followers to commit crime against innocent civilians, and his followers act on his direction, both his followers and himself will become legally liable. The lawyer who sued the WAR leader, his organization and followers on behalf of Mr. Seraw was a white American named Morris Dee from the Southern Law Center. Mr. Dee was a blonde hair, blue eye American. If ones race and looks were the required attribute for a feeling of superiority, Mr. Dee is better positioned to qualify as a pure Aryan race than the WAR leader himself. In the pursued lawsuit, Mr. Dee successfully argued the case against all the accused and secured a verdict of more than 10 million dollars. Those of you that are living in America may have seen or have come across people like the WAR leader and his organization members. A while back, before ?reality shows? became in vogue, these type of individuals used to appear as invited guests on the ubiquitous TV talk shows. These racist individuals are known to display particularly deep rooted hate towards black Americans. In public mediums, members of these organizations were not ashamed to use derogatory and offensive names to describe people of the non-Aryan (white) race. They arrogantly yell at black Americans to go back to Africa. They foolishly declare that America belongs to white people only, and as such, non-white people should never be allowed to live in America. A close look at these organizations reveals that their membership is full of un-educated and unemployed individuals. One will be extremely hard pressed to find member individuals who are in middle class or highly educated Americans. As the result, one is led to conclude that these member individuals possessed subnormal intelligence. They probably are idiots lacking the intellectual capacity to learn and accept the need to tolerate race and ethnic differences. They failed to grasp the fact that race and ethnicity are innate characteristics of a fellow human being. One did not have a choice in the matter of selecting ones race and ethnicity during conception.

It is sad to note that some present-day Ethiopian intellectuals, who like to prefix or suffix their names with Dr., PhD, Engineer, and Professor, engage in activities similar to the members of the above mentioned racist organizations. This particular behavioral similarity led me to conclude that the educated Ethiopians possess subnormal intelligence when it comes to understanding innate characteristics. And at the same time, it is a commonly accepted notion that these Ethiopians are highly educated and have become experts in a confined and limited subject matter. In a way they are Savants, learned, Ethiopians. But they appear to have subnormal intellectual capacity when it comes to learning to tolerate and to engage with people of different opinions, to respecting other nationalities, to mastering the art of consensus building, and to presenting alternatives to important public policy issues. In another way, they behave like idiots. It may not be scientific and I cannot quote you an obscure European philosopher to prove my thesis, but it makes a whole lot of sense to me. Please read on, I hope you will find it interesting.

It seems to me that the contemporary idiot savant Ethiopians are preoccupied with self aggrandizing and desperate desire to ascend to power as quickly as possible without giving thought to what might happen to post-EPRDF Ethiopia. To meet their desired end, they have made a pact with satanic spirit, and no one should doubt their propensity to use any accessible means including isolation, ethnic mongering, and defamation of people who do not agree with their proposed solution.

A case in point is the obsessive, compulsive behavior of Kinijit leaders and member intellectuals. It is worth noting here that before CUD(Kinijit) became a spirit, and when it had members who could be seen and touched, it was alleged that the organization?s leadership was made up of highly educated Ethiopians. Assuming that may have been the case, how come the upper echelon Kinijit, who are themselves the living and breathing examples of citizens who are afforded with democratic rights, attempted to isolate and deny the same right to the rest of the citizenry who happened to hold a differing political view? One can easily extrapolate from their proclamation that if these supposed intellectuals had an armed militia at their disposal, then would have summarily executed any and every opposition. I have heard some of you trying to liken the decree issues by CUD to isolate EPRDF supporters with Mandela like strategy. Please stop denigrating; be it with Mandela or Hitler, it is extremely troubling when people draw comparisons with history?s majestic and humiliated individuals, respectively. Suffice it to say that the comparison belittles the historical significance. Having said that, I have never heard Mandela engaged or advised his followers to isolate white South Africans. To the contrary, he embraced every South African national. He was well aware that without White South Africans support, the struggle to end apartheid wouldn?t be successful. There is a lesson to be learned here for Idiot Savant Ethiopians: without the full support of the people of Tigrai, any kind of struggle to rid EPRDF or maintain Ethiopian unity is a struggle in vain. If you believe that EPRDF is a dictatorship then you should know that, by their own nature, dictatorial regimes are known to be equal opportunity oppressors. This should lead you to consider that the people of Tigrai could be victims of the regime as much any other Ethiopian.

Our Idiot Savant Ethiopians seem to have engaged in perpetual ethnic mongering as well. The leaders of Kinijit and their voracious writers refer to the members of the Federal Police as ?Agazi.? Their calculated everyday use of the Tigrinya sounding word ?Agazi? is to give the impression that people who are enforcing the law of the land are all from Tigrai, and subsequently, it is premeditated to instigate other ethnic groups to rise up against the people of Tigrai. This is a completely misdirected strategy. Here is another lesson for the Idiot Savant: had you taken the time to learn, you would find out that these are the same Federal Police and Army personnel you would desperately need to maintain peace if and when you come to power. If you are to live up to your empty rhetoric of nationalism and Ethiopian unity, and unless there is a forethought plan to dismantle the defense forces, then how do you plan to deter the unconstitutional need for secession by some groups without the present Federal police and National army? One need not be a NASA scientist to realize the fact that the police personnel are only taking orders and carrying out their duty. They would do the same for you if you were the commander in chief. If you continue to disgruntle the police and the army, and if you ever come to power, they may not be there for you, or they may be there, which I seriously doubt, but they may refuse to obey your orders to fight OLF, ONLF, and all other liberation organizations.

Moreover, the Idiot Savant Ethiopians blame the entire ethnic group for the perceived or real faults of the few. They are convinced that anyone and everyone who disagrees with them must be from Tigrai. In point of fact, after reading my previous article about Gondar, one highly educated Dr. even suspected that I may be Bereket Simon?s brother. I am proud of my family and I would be equally proud if Mr. Simon was my brother as well. But I laughed on this absurdity. Because this supposed Doctor didn?t do his homework, otherwise, if he did, he would have known differently about Mr. Simon siblings. Ours is very unfortunate, we have an abundant number of educated individuals who lack the intellectual capacity to analyze the issues raised and present alternatives or rebuttals. They hurriedly engage in defamation or suspect a sinister motive whenever you disagree with them. More lessons to the Idiot Savant: you need to tolerate and entertain opposing views. No one, not even you, the enlighten one, has a monopoly on our current issues and solutions. We live in a time of James Carville and Mary Matallin. For your information, Mr. Carville is a die-hard democratic strategist and he managed President Clinton?s presidential campaign. He is credited for coining the term ?It is the economy, stupid.? The term Clinton used to pave his road all the way to the White House. On the other hand you have Ms. Matallin who is equally a die-hard republican strategist and she managed President Bush?s (Sr.) presidential re-election campaign. One would say that these two individuals hold diametrically opposing sides when it comes to supporting a candidate or a political opinion. Regardless of their major and controversial differences, Mr. Carville and Ms. Matallin are a married couple. This gives a whole new meaning to the old adage ?politics makes strange bedfellows.? It is fascinating to see them debate on Sunday morning political talk shows. Hear me out here, I am not asking you to go out and get married to EPRDF supporters, but as an enlightened citizen, the bar for tolerance are elevated for you. Your tolerance level is bound to be measured by a comparable yardstick.

Even further, the Idiot Savants appear to have no future vision for Ethiopia either. With exquisite writing, they conjure images of Ethiopia that are ugly and pessimistic. Equally disappointing is their deafening silence when the conditions in Ethiopia appear to be encouraging and optimistic. You never see them writing when an aluminum factory started operating in Ethiopia with the future capacity to produce 3000 lb.; they conveniently ignore it when an Indian horticulture company moved half of its operation to Ethiopia; they dismiss it when news came out about the Government?s plan to educate Ethiopians using the Internet technology with the potential to put Ethiopia years ahead of the developed countries. The Idiot Savants are simply obsessed with fanning negative news and keep reminding us, time and again, that the current leaders were former guerilla fighters. You know what, the former guerilla fighters have been engaged in politics full time for over 30 years. Now they are elder statesmen with over 14 years of governing Ethiopia. They have lived through countless organizational, internal, and external challenges and controversies. That is what we like to call a graduate of the ?school of hard knocks? and a leader tested with fire. You need to possess a superb ability to manage, play and win in the game of politics for as long as they have. I seriously doubt that even an IV league college like the Harvard?s Kennedy School of Government can give you the skills required to navigate through the contemporary Ethiopian political landscape.

Now let us wake up and smell the coffee, we have too much of it and we know how to make it. Believe you me, the world is not what it used to be barely five years ago, and certainly Ethiopia is not what it was fourteen years ago. Times have changed; the days of forced assimilation of other nationalities are long gone. Here is one final lesson to the Idiot Savant: when an Ethiopian says ?Yetemare Yigdelegne? (rather die in the hands of a literary), they meant it figuratively. They meant to imply that a learned person would never kill them. As the Ethiopians have a great deal of respect for the Savant ones, and expect them to be non-violent, considerate and visionary. And on the other hand, Ethiopians expect the Idiots to be violent and war mongering. Do not let the Idiot character win over and mistake their wise saying for its literal meaning. They never envisioned you leading them to a street violence nor did they expect you to conscript them into a guerilla fighter. It is imperative to realize the fact that it is no longer possible for one to assign a Governor of Tigray, Gondar, Harar, Wollega from the comfort zone of the Menelik palace. For better or for worse, all regions are learning and have started electing their own administrators. That is the best alternative if Ethiopians are to enjoy an ever lasting unity based on peaceful coexistence, a country where each nationality and region is allowed to administers its own affairs, and community where diversity of any kind, be it race, ethnic, religious, or ideology is tolerated and respected. A case in point is the discussion I had with a person of a Harari descendent about two weeks ago in Dallas during my business related visit. He mentioned to me that he is going back to Ethiopia to visit and film a documentary in Ethiopia. He is full of pride when he talks about how the members of the Harari administration, just like the Addis Ababa administration, are elected by local residents and how people?s lives and sense of belonging has improved. He told me that the Harari?s are now proud Ethiopians more than ever before. But he mentioned, however, recently because of the Kinijit rhetoric of nationalism and ethnic mongering, that his people are gravely concerned. He flat out told me that it is a generally accepted notion in the Harari community that when Kinijit is done marginalizing Tigrai, if ever one can absurdly dream, the next target group on Kinijit agenda is the Harari people. I also had a discussion with an Ethiopian from Somali Kilil, and he also voiced a similar concern towards Kinijit. It may not be far from the truth, through deductive reasoning, if one ventures and speculates that Oromos and other nationalities may harbor the same attitude towards Kinijit. Now that is scary. It gives you a whole different perspective when you hear it from ?the horse?s mouth?. And I encourage you, the idiot savant, to seek out and discuss pertinent issues with diverse nationalities. Here is one medium when one needs to follow the discussion of the Harari community, please point your browser to http://malasay.com/forum/index.php URL.

I know there is more to say on this subject, but in the interest of time, let us conclude this period. I hope I have provided a brief lesson and encouraged the idiot savant Ethiopian to think about changing his way of thinking. If not, in the famous words of the Terminator, the current governor of California, ?I will be Back? for a second session.

Before I conclude, however, I like to say a few words to my fellow lay Ethiopian men and women: an educated person is only an expert on a particular subject matter. The more educated, the more detached he/she becomes from real life experience as he/she spends more time in a laboratory experimenting. The best analogy I heard is from a friend of mine. He said that for one to be fully knowledgeable, one has to learn everything and come full circle, and in a circle there are 360 degrees. And most educated Ethiopians, at best, have only one degree worth of knowledge, and unless they complete the rest of 259 degrees, we should not entrust them with our lives and our country.

God bless Ethiopia. And may God speed your journey to cover the full circle.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2006 11:00 pm Reply with quote
Walidad
Joined: 08 Dec 2004
Posts: 13




THUMPS UP!

Precisely, plain, simple and engaging communication from a well-mannered true lad OF MOTHER ETHIOPIA! Well-done brother Aklilu!

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