"The thing that lies at the foundation of positive change, the way I see it, is service to a fellow human being." - Lech Walesa

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Response to Law Professor regarding Haile Selassie and Eritrea

SelassieStandUp.org response to an International Law Professor (Greg Fox)

It is only Kwame Nikrumah's statue? What about Emperor Haile Selassie?
SelassieStandUp.org wanted to share with you the exchange below with an International Law Professor who refused to sign the SelassieStandUp.Org petition, claiming that HIM Emperor Haile Selassie unjustly annexed Eritrea against the UN’s final decision. His response was prompted by SelassieStandUp.org call for action for a statue of HIM Emperor Haile Selassie to be erected in front of the AU building.
Much as I dislike being negative in response to a project that you obviously value, I need to decline.  I am perhaps too familiar with Haile Selassie’s undermining of the Ethiopian federation with Eritrea, culminating in his annexation of Eritrea in the early 1960s.  This resulted directly in an awful 30 year civil war that killed far too many on both sides.  This was an unforgiveable act and undermined, in my view, much of his other accomplishments.  For someone who professed great faith in international organizations when he pleaded his case to the League of Nations after the Italian invasion of Ethiopia, the Emperor had surprisingly little regard for the federation, which was the result of a long and scrupulously fair United Nations process.
Sorry but you’ll need to get your support from others.
Greg Fox
Dear Fox,

Amnesty International 2013 Report: Ethiopia

Amnesty International 2013 Report: Ethiopia
The state stifled freedom of expression, severely restricting the activities of the independent media, political opposition parties and human rights organizations. Dissent was not tolerated in any sphere. The authorities imprisoned actual and perceived opponents of the government. Peaceful protests were suppressed. Arbitrary arrests and detention were common, and torture and other ill-treatment in detention centres were rife. Forced evictions were reported on a vast scale around the country.
In August, the authorities announced the death of Prime Minister Zenawi, who had ruled Ethiopia for 21 years. Hailemariam Desalegn was appointed as his successor, and three deputy prime ministers were appointed to include representation of all ethnic-based parties in the ruling coalition.

The government continued to offer large tracts of land for lease to foreign investors. Often this coincided with the “villagization” programme of resettling hundreds of thousands of people. Both actions were frequently accompanied by numerous allegations of large-scale forced evictions.

The bulldozers that tear down Woyane’s wall of division and the mercenaries that protect it

President of Somalia Region, Abdi Mohammud Omer Tribute to the countless Ethiopians that tear-down the walls of ethnic and religious divide and kept Ethiopians together and Woyane on the run. It earns them the honor of ‘terrorist’ by the regime that terrorizes the people of Ethiopia. Without them we would be watching each other over our shoulders while Woyane destroy our unity as we are watching being robed in daylight.

The struggle must zero-in on TPLF’s ringleaders and their ‘mercenaries’ that are the tool of the regime’s division and extortion; causing havoc in our society. The time has come for all Ethiopians to stand together and flash out the agents and the mercenaries by organizing search and capture team to bring them to justice.
Not dismantling the institutions of ethnic tyranny fast enough and everywhere is a luxury we can’t afford as people.
by Teshome Debalke
The Ethiopian ruling minority junta must have underestimated Ethiopians’ resolve demanding its peaceful surrender without causing more destruction than what it already did. Woyane and its hired mercenaries must be made to understand they are signing their death wish when they embarked to erect ethnic and religious wall against the people of Ethiopia.  The mastermind of the hoax, the late tyrant Melse Zenawi and his accomplices missed a one-in-life-time opportunity given to them to do right. Instead, they misused it to destroy lives, livelihoods and property and the unity and integrity of our people and country to create an ethnic banana empire on the back of Ethiopians.

Ethiopia: Asking ‘Why’ in the Land of ‘No why’

Ethiopia: Asking ‘Why’ in the Land of ‘No why’by Muktar M. Omer, 25 May 2013


Only Boethius – that Roman philosopher of fickle fate and the vicissitudes of fortune – could have consoled a puny man in Ethiopia, who woke up to the malignancy of fate on the first week of May 2013.
Boethius sat at the pinnacles of power in Rome before treachery brought him down. Accused of treason, he was imprisoned and horrifically executed within a year of his downfall. But, not before he wrote “The Consolation of Philosophy”, a monologue between himself and “Lady Philosophy” in which he recounts his experience. The allegorical Lady consoles the fallen consul of the Ostrogothic king – the Master of Italy – by “discussing the transitory nature of fame and fortune, and the ultimate superiority of things of the mind”; the gist of her consul being do good when you can, never trust fate.
I will answer for the crimes I have committed. … But, why my family? … Why? What have they done? …what kind of a country are we turning out to be?”
The words of a man with a name difficult to pronounce: Gabrewahid Wolde-Giorgis.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Bahr Dar and the wonderful art of silence By Yilma Bekele

Last Sunday May 12 a Federal police officer opened fire and murdered twelve or eighteen people depending on who is doing the counting in the City of Bahr Dar by the shores of Lake Tana. It was a random killing and the only reason he stooped shooting was because he run out of bullets. What makes this crime unique is that it was committed by some one that is trained to protect and serve. At least in most places that is what we think of the armed officers that move around with loaded guns amongst us. I said in most places, our Ethiopia is not such a place.
The Federal Police serve the TPLF party that is in charge of our country. Meles Zenawi set up the Federal Police to be accountable to him and his party and used this force to quell down any kind of native unrest against his group. The Federal Police is the most fearsome weapon of the TPLF party. Like everything else concocted by the late criminal the Federal Police is a uniquely Ethiopian force supposedly created to resemble other Federal institutions in the developed West. The name is the same but the purpose and mission is different.
In Ethiopia the TPLF party’s Federal Police is an instrument of terror. Their motto is shoot first, ask questions later. You will not find a single Ethiopian that would not be engulfed with fear when the Federal Police is mentioned. The force was purposely designed to instill fear. From what I know of the Federal system here in the US the FBI does not involve itself in local matters. The local Police that are answerable to the Mayor or elected official is the first line of response. The State Police is under the elected Governor who is accountable to the citizen. There is a clear line of jurisdiction built into the system.

Which Way Ethiopia: Revolution, Civil War, or National Reconciliation? By Prof. MessayKebede

Which Way Ethiopia: Revolution, Civil War, or National Reconciliation? By Prof. MessayKebede
Since the death of Prime Minister Meles, the political situation of Ethiopia has entered a phase of uncertainty with no clear momentum toward stabilization. Despite predictions of the imminent collapse of the EPRDF, either under the pressure of a popular uprising or splits within its ranks, the political situation shows no sign of heightened challenge to the regime. In fact, it remains a mystery that no political upheavals of any importance occurred following the death of Meles, who was after all the center and the driving force of the whole system. On the other hand, however, notwithstanding an orderly succession,the uncertainty has not been removed and symptoms of unresolved internal conflicts transpire occasionally. Above all, the extent to which the new prime minister is really in charge being anything but assured, the vacillation of the system lingers, given that the entire governmentwas designed to function under the leadership of a strong and unchallenged prime minister.
One thing is sure: the uncertainty cannot go on indefinitely and nothing can be done to improve the political climate and the economic conditions of the country without some reforms. This is to say that change is inevitable and that it will come sooner or later. The question is: which direction is the change likely to take? For my part, I have no desire to play the game of predictions. Instead, I want to present some possible scenarios and invite political leaders and activists who care about Ethiopia to reflect on them so as to be ready for various eventualities instead of being fixated on the outcome that they long for.

SMNE Urges Secretary Kerry to speak out

SMNE Urges Secretary Kerry to speak out

SMNE Urges Secretary Kerry to speak out on behalf of freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, independent judiciaries and open political space in Ethiopia.

Open Letter to Secretary of State John Kerry,
May 21, 2013
Secretary of State John F. Kerry,
US Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520

Dear Secretary Kerry,
We are pleased to know you will be one of the distinguished guests at the 50th anniversary of the African Union. This is a celebration not for Africans alone, but for the world. Sadly, the progress made over the last half-century falls substantially short of what could have been possible.

Monday, 20 May 2013

The Corruption Game By Prof. Al Mariam

House cleaning or window dressing?
Are they playing us like a cheap fiddle again? For a while, it was all about the Meles Dam and how to collect nickels and dimes to build it. That kind of played itself out. (Not to worry. That circus will be back in town. The public has the attention span of a gold fish. So they think.)  It’s time to change the flavor of the month. Time for a new game, a new hype. How about “corruption”? It’s a chic topic. The World Bank is talking about it. Everybody is talking about it. Even the corrupt are talking about corruption. Imagine kleptocrats calling corruptocrats corrupt? Or the pot calling the kettle black?
I have been talking and writing about corruption in Ethiopia for years. After dozens of commentaries on some aspect of corruption in Ethiopia, I am still drumbeating anti-corruption. I have been “lasing” corruption in my  commentaries in 2013. I was flabbergasted by the World Bank’s 448-page report, “Diagnosing Corruption in Ethiopia”. I am still reeling from the shocking findings in that report. In my commentary last week, “Educorruption and Miseducation in Ethiopia”, I focused on corruption in the education sector. It is one thing to steal an election or pull off a gold heist at the national bank, but robbing millions of Ethiopian youth of their future by imprisoning them in the bowels of a corrupt educational system is harrowing, downright criminal. Aarrgghh!