Woyane and poor Addis Abeba
by Yilma Bekele
Ethiopian dictator Meles Zenawi has not been seen for over three weeks or so. We know he is not in good health after we saw his picture with the Chinese Prime Minister in Mexico. Some are claiming we did Photoshop on his picture to make him look sicker than what he was. As with everything with clueless Woyane it would have been easier to present the subject and show us with all his glory instead of blaming us for his haggard look. But that is Woyane for you if you can’t find the answer find a scapegoat to blame.
As is the situation when information is not readily available people make up all sorts of explanations to fill the void. Regarding Meles’s health the speculation has gone viral and right now it is difficult to keep count of the possible scenarios. One thing we know for certain Meles is holed up somewhere due to illness, vacation or even death. We just don’t know. His handlers are telling us he is in perfect health but are no forthcoming on why he is hiding from ‘his’ people. It is perfectly sane to assume there is something gone wrong in Arat Kilo.
What made the situation more alarming is his absence during the 24th. Tigray Martyr’s Day Celebration. That does not reflect well on the organizers when giving a party and the guest of honor is unable to attend. Normally when main guests do not show up due to conflict of scheduling or other problems they usually send a video greeting to start the ceremony. Ato Meles did not do that. It could be considered further proof our Woyane warrior is incapacitated and cannot even be propped up, applied make up and send his message. I will not dwell on that because the discussion is fruitless. What I want to discuss is this idea of holding a Tigray Martyr’s celebration in our capital city.
I don’t know where to start because the whole idea is loaded with so many ramifications to our country, people and our future as a Nation. Let us start from the beginning being careful not to bore my readers I am afraid including myself. As we all know the Military opposition that morphed to be the Derg and overthrew Haile Selassie is day one of our current tribulations. Different groups rose up to oppose the Derg as it became clear the trend was dictatorship not liberation of our country. EPRP was the most famous and organized force that confronted the Derg head on. The entire Nation became a war zone. There was no exception.
Human beings were dragged and killed on the streets of Addis Abeba, Gondar, Mekele, Wollamo Sodo, Dire Dawa, Debre Markos, Assela, Nazret (Adama), Lekempt, Asmara, Hawasa and many more localities. No one escaped from this nightmare. The urban area centered tactics followed by EPRP was not able to complement the goal of getting rid of the dictatorship. Due to proximity to the Sudan boarder and possibility of creating an alliance with the Eritrean fronts EPRP was forced to move its forces to Tigrai and Gondar regions.
It was at this juncture in time Meles Zenawi and his Tigrean friends formed what today is known as TPLF virus. In their opinion the task at hand was the liberation of Tigrai not the entity called Ethiopia. True to their word they waged an ugly relentless struggle against the multi national force of EPRP and succeeded in expelling it from their beloved Tigrai. It is also true as they continued their war against the Derg they were able to recruit other Ethiopians who fought along side with them. We are told such persons as Berket Semon, Addisu Leggese, Abadulla Gemeda, Kuma Demeksa, Junedene Sado among many others fought along side Woyane solders. As far as the Ethiopian people are concerned the Derg was an equal opportunity killing machine that did not discriminate on the basis of ethnicity or religion.
Yes it is true the Derg punished Tigrai more harshly than other regions and it has nothing to do about their ethnicity. It is because they were organized and fought as a force and it is natural the military will concentrate its might on those that challenged it more effectively. The Derg did the same when it came to Eritrea. It does not mean the Derg spared the rest of the nation any less. As a matter of fact so many of our young were forcefully recruited to fight a war they did not believe or understand. That is what war is about. You kill your opponent before he kills you. The Derg run out options, its enablers the Soviet Union and Cuba were on retreat and Mengistu saw the writing on the wall. The TPLF branded itself EPDRF and marched into Addis without firing one shot. It should also be noted that the people of Addis with the rest of Ethiopians were happy to see Mengistu go and were willing to give the new conquerors time to adapt and feel comfortable.
It is sad we have to rehash this story after twenty years. We are forced to do that because the new people in power have this nasty habit of revising history and distorting it to fit their version. That is what they were doing on July 24 in our Capital city. Mind you they were not celebrating all the martyrs that fought the Derg. Unfortunately it is always all about Tigrai’s. If they are celebrating their Martyr’s why aren’t they doing it in their own enclave rather than our City is a valid question? That is where the connection with the unforeseen illness of warlord number one comes into the equation.
There are two possibilities for such insane and idiotic action. Number one is pure panic. The real possibility of the demise of their one and only leader since inception threw them out of balance. Their house was built on a shaky ground around an individual. Meles Zenawi was the head, the body and soul of TPLF. His absence opens a gulf as wide as our famous Rift Valley. They decided the only way they could show their existence was by a show of force against a population that was not even aware if such theatrics was necessary. I mean we all know TPLF is in every house, every village, every work place and every association including Eder. The only place TPLF is absent is from our heart. To show the rest of us how strong he is their mini warlord President Abbay Woldu showed up with three hundred heavily armed Agazi solders and dispatched two army helicopters to circle Addis. The people of Addis took note. They saw it with total amusement and went on their business.
The second possibility is struggle for power among the TPLF cadres. Abbay Woldu is showing his muscle. The absence of Berhane GebreKristos, Tedros Adhanome and Samora Yunus is a telltale sign all is not well in the camp of Woyane. It is not said if Azeb attended but most probably her non-Tigrean status is enough to sideline her. If it means anything old horse Sebhat was not present either, draw your own conclusion.
What I find very revealing is after twenty years of absolute power TPLF is not sure of itself. It has to go thru this kind of useless exercise to validate its existence. It shows lack of self-esteem and obvious weakness. Sure sign of impotence if you ask me. If the illness of their boss is to make them unravel like this what would his death do is a good question? This is how Aiga saw the meeting ‘Organized by Tigray Martyrs Self-Help Association, the ceremony was attended by leaders and former fighters of Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF) and natives of Tigray drawn from Sub Cities in Addis Ababa’ Poor Woyane they still think in provincial terms. You would think as leaders of a multi-national empire they will try to meld in but not Woyane, they are stuck in that frame of mind. You can take the Woyane out of Tigrai but not Tigrai out of the Woyane. Remember it is only when faced with the rest of us they preach Tigrai unity when alone they go back to their village mentality of Adwa versus Axum, Tembien versus Agame or what ever ancestral village they came from. The learned folks of Aiga residing in the Silicon Valley of America where diversity is celebrated cannot help themselves but be drawn to their exclusive meeting and write about it. What is shameful is they wear it with pride.
We have variety of independent Web sites that celebrate our diversity. None are ethnic centered nor would they allow anyone to insult demean or put down any of our people based on ethnic identification. We have Ethiopian Review, Addis Voice, Ethiomedia, ECAD Forum, EMF, Nazret, Abugida, Ethio Lion, Quatero, Ethio Sun, Ethiopia Zare, Tadias, Ethiopia and plenty others including our ESAT the heart beat of Ethiopia. None are based on ethnic identification and serve all the children of Ethiopia equally. What do they got? Aiga Forum that insistently chews the same old chauvinistic policy geared to divide us, put us down and set us against each other. They have Tigrai on line dedicated to the beautiful people alone and here is a sample from its recent posting regarding our past history:
Menelik is adored and highly regarded by the Amahras but intensely detested by the rest of the Ethiopian people especially the Oromos. While Emperor Yohannes of Ethiopia was fighting foreign enemies in the North, Menelik was expanding his areas of influence south and eastwards. He treated the subjugated people in the most barbaric and harshest way possible; in Wollaita alone 120,000 people were massacred when they refused to submit to his rule. In their own land, the conquered were considered as second-class citizens and were forced to work as serfs for the Shoan nobility who controlled large swathes of fertile arable lands.
Menelik was not only brutal to his subjects, but he was also a traitor who connived with the Mahdists, the Egyptians and the Italians to bring about the defeat of Emperor Yohannes in order to crown himself as the king of Ethiopia. For his troubles, he received large quantities of weapons from the enemies of the country which he later used during the battle of Adwa.’ Written by a Berhane Kahsay.
There is no indication to show if Ato Berhane is a historian or a scholar on Ethiopian issues, there are no citations at the end to tell us where he got his facts from. In fact there is no email or any address to show he exisits. To reach such far reaching conclusion as Menilik being ‘intensely detested by the rest of the Ethiopian people’ Ato Berhane does not present any data. I will venter to say Ato Berhane Kahsay might not even have met the rest of the Ethiopian people except those from his village.
This is the mindset we are fighting against. Yes there are people that think like this and actually put their disturbing thought on paper for all to see. How is brother Berhane brain wired, and why would anybody be consumed by such hate after over hundred years is something to ponder. What does it prove to come up with such ugly interpretation of history to build a new and prosperous Ethiopia? Is he telling us we are condemned by the actions of our ancestors assuming his interpretation is correct? It is disturbing to think Ato Berhane residing in the US working with all kinds of people is not capable of formulating a correct response to past injustice. Rewiring his brain is a valuable course of action.
The wonderful folks of Tigrai on line after allowing such drivel that lacks documentation, pits one group of Ethiopians against another felt comfortable putting a notice which stated ‘To those who are quick to jump the guns on the writer and our website we fully understand your concern but, compare to what is published against the people of Tigrai in Ethiopian review, Abugida, ESAT, Ecadf and many other Ethiopian opposition websites on daily bases, we do a good job of censoring ourselves for the sake of our country.’ First of all I have never seen such naked hatred being published on the Web sites they mentioned. The truth of the matter is Tigrai on line is answerable to what appears on its own site and mentioning another wrong does not absolve it from its digressions. What I find sad is how such an educated generation residing in the USA will stoop down to such level in order to cultivate hate and ugly ethnic politics. Yes we do passionately oppose Woyane politics and the rule of an individual based on ethnic affiliation. It wouldn’t have mattered if that individual is Amhara, Sidama or Oromo. If brother Berhe is a historian he should have noticed that those who opposed the Imperial regime came from all ethnic groups and the student leaders were Amharas, Tigrais, Oromos etc. We shouted ‘land to the tiller’ allover Ethiopia not just in Shoa, Arsi, Gojjam, Tigrai or Harar. Shame on you my Tigrai intellectual enabler of a few sick Woyanes in power. I take solace in the fact that your ugly, useless, crappy Website has the traffic of a small pitiful dirty café and that is good enough for me.
My humble advice to mini warlord Abbay Woldu and friends, the road you are traveling is not a healthy one. Sooner or later the rubber hits the asphalt and there is no telling what it will entail. I assure you single ethnic supremacy has never worked. It shows promise for a while but in the end it explodes and explode in a very nasty way. A few of you that are benefiting from this arrangement will definitely take a whole bunch of your own people into this abyss where all our country and people will suffer for no reason. We are also aware that you think you are doing the right thing and no amount of reasoning will sway you away from your destination. But we just want to tell you fighting back did not start with you nor would it end with you. See what happened in Libya. Witness Syria that reflects your situation better. Do you think the minority Alawit with all their special forces, with all their guns are a match to the Syrian people? Now that does not require a degree in nuclear physics to figure does it? I hate to say I told you so but I have a feeling you are going to force me. Good Luck my peasant revolutionary.