Sunday, July 22, 2007

Relief or victory?

The week has been one of those dramatic weeks we read in history of the world.
For a moment the release of our leaders seemed a relief. As the hour goes, citizens took it as victory (indeed it was a huge victory since the election). Had the leaders stayed longer outside, people might have taken the celebration on the streets (how I wish we could ever do that at times like this).

They were all dropped at their homes and in hours every resident of the prisoners were full of people from every direction. You could see thousands of people in each resident. The celebration lasted till midnight until our leaders got exhausted greeting everyone in their respective residents. It did not stop there. Yesterday and now as I write this, dozens of citizens are at the residents of our leaders.
The good thing is there are no sign of federal police in their uniforms to be seen in the city. It seems Zenawi has learnt the sight of federalis only creates chaos. We are not forgetting the plain cloth securities that are disbursed everywhere though. But not looking the uniform makes it easier… atleast prevents the anger from coming out for a moment.

For us here, it feels like things were moving in a fast forwarded mode. At the same time confused. It seemed same goes to our leaders. They were called to their meeting room in qaliti that fateful Friday. They had no idea they were called to go home. They thought it was one of those meetings with the shimagiles (mediator). After they were all brought to one room, they were told “you are going home right now”. They did not even have the time to change clothes or collect their stuff. All in all, things were happening as fast as they could be.

Citizens of Addis seem to learn the hardest way Zenawi is not what he says he is. Even when he does it in public to international media. When he said the pardon is absolute and in “no sense of vengeance” we would like to believe him. But in reality, that does not seem to be the case. The government media is repeating (infact fulltime after our leaders’ release) like a parrot about this “guilt letter” they started last Monday. I am wondering why we need all this at the moment. They are out from prison now. The PM is talking about “moving forward” (he neither did forget to mention about their “guilt acceptance” while talking about moving forward though.) Why are they covering the good thing that happened with mud? It takes a lot of gut standing from Zenawi’s point of view to do such a thing, “amnesty”. We might say it is the pressure that made him do what he did but still takes a lot of gut to really do it. Though there is no question they would be out at some point, Zenawi could have made their stay in prison longer than Friday. For whatever reason, Zenawi has released them. He should not be sacrificing the little good thing he did from all those terrible things he did for party consumption. He should not have campaigned to please hardliner EPRDFs who are not happy because of the leaders’ release. This is the time to think beyond the usual circle. It should be the time to think about Ethiopia. As a human being I presume Zenawi wants to have a peace of mind. Why is he not doing himself a favor? Why not all his gangs do themselves a favor? They have freed Siye a couple of weeks ago, top official during the “honeymoon” period who was thrown to jail just because a political difference arose. Now they have freed elected MPs and city council members again jailed for the right political stance the made to the rule of law and democracy in Ethiopia. This should have been the time to do the “fairytale look-alike” event Mandela did in 1995 which turned South Africa 180 degree turn. This should have been the time for the beginning of new era for Ethiopia. We had high hope for our country during the election that it blew in the air before we could enjoy the taste of freedom. We were hoping our leaders release will bring that hope we lost back. This is a message to Zenawi & co. There is still time to do the right thing. But time is really constraint. It is time to stop the not-working “opposition-kneeled-down” propaganda. It already nullified whatever agreement has been made for the good of Ethiopia which was brokered by the shimagiles. Zenawi & co. could come out champions by releasing the remaining political prisoners from all over the country prisons. Zenawi could come out champion by apologizing in public family members of those 193+ who are shot dead and wounded by his forces.

On the other hand, we might not hear anything from our released leaders official yet. It is not likely to happen till Monday evening or Tuesday. They are pretty hectic greeting everyone who are marching to their residences. They could also use some rest they can and have sometime with their families.

Leaving aside Zenawi’s plans, they should be able to discuss the way forward. Since the agreement they had with Zenawi seems to be nullified with the week long propaganda he is doing I am guessing they have no clue what he might be up to. Before entering any negotiation with Zenawi, the next couple of days (or even months) should be Kinijit only. We do not even know which one Zenawi is going to accept as Kinijit, the fake “registered” Kinijit in the parliament or the elected council members who have been in prison for the last twenty months. Kinijit as a party has lost many grounds for personal gain. Since our leaders were in prison, the air could not be cleared inside and outside the country no matter what. It is even worse outside. Many things in the struggle were done on individual basis, advocacy groups and activists. Things would have been a lot easier had all these groups been combined under one roof. We missed the leadership. Inspite of the leadership gap, the diaspora has done a commendable job for its leaders. I brought this up not to praise or downgrade anyone. This is just to emphasis the need for “house cleaning” before going into any business. Imagine what we could have achieved had we been all united under one roof. The released leaders, with the people, should also fight for the release of their colleagues and all political prisoners throughout the country. Then could come the issue with Zenawi. Here also they should never allow any filed full of foul games. The coast must be clear before starting anything when it comes dealing with Zenawi. I am sure they have known Zenawi not to be played anymore. I know our wise leaders will consider this and all other things beyond my capacity for the good of Ethiopia. Finally I only wish our leaders do not comment on the alleged “guilt letter”. It is the only thing Zenawi is barking about. If it makes him happy to bark and get the echo back, be it. Our leaders should not worry about it or the propaganda Zenawi is making. He tried to make it sound we elected our leaders just because we hate EPRDF but do not know the opposition. If thinking like that makes him feel better, again be it. I won’t help him anyway. We know our leaders. We know who we elected and why we elected them. Period. We do not need any propaganda of Zenawi’s to tell us they played foul. We know what we know. Our leaders should not be worried trying to prove Zenawi is playing. The job about the alleged “guilt letter” or document should be that of the shimagiles. That is why I feel our leaders should not be commenting on it unless and otherwise it is really necessary.
I feel this is the last chance to move forward.
I am just throwing my two cents as an individual citizen.

Friday, July 20, 2007

A not so interesting recorded tape is being played on ETV, an interview with the shimagiles.
Prof. Ephraim, Athlet Haile, Paster Daniel, Ambassador Bekele, and Ato Tamiru were being displayed for the interview. Neither the interviewer nor the interviwees talkd about the allged guilt letter which is being displayed on ETV. It was only "asking pardon" and "granting pardon" they were talking about. Haile even stressed when such thing happens, nobody should be talking about it over and over (this works for the shameless government media which are barking about "guilt letter" still now starting from Monday). "Everyone knows himself. Whether he did good or bad, he knows himself. There is no need talking about it again and again" Haile added.

Citizens of Addis are all excited that many are marching to residents of the prisoners they know of.

Meanwhile the pardon included restoring our leaders rights which were stripped off during their sentencing. Today is just the begining of everything. I strongly hope and pray it is the begining of the good for our forsaken country.

I thank God for making me able to witness such joy in my life and pray for the best.


Finally they are out. Our leaders are out of qaliti. Tried calling some of them at their residence. I could not believe my ears listening to the voices of my heros and heroines outside! I am too excited to write or even to think anything at the moment.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Today, Addis had the small fraction of the atmosphere it had like in the pre-election period. As early as 7 in the morning, you could see a crowd circling something here and there. Just like it used to be before and a little after the May 2005 election. The crowd is for information. Addis citizens are circling the local papers on the ground, The Reporter and Sendeq. It is the first time local papers (political) came out since the Monday sentencing and all what followed. Not that these papers are pro-democracy or independent. It only shows how the people are hungry for the free press. They just want to hear something other than the shameless local TV and radio. The papers’ front covers are all covered by pictures of our leaders and small headlines focusing on what has been going on since Monday. Those who can afford get in the crowd and get copies of the papers. Those who can not afford to buy just stare down at the papers on the ground and read what they can get on the front pages. People in Addis are following the situation carefully. The VOA and DW are being heard loud in public places just like it used to be then. People are also tuning the local government medias which they stopped turning them on long time ago to see what Zenawi is up to (atleast officially). Whatever they see or read, almost everybody is getting excited by the very possibility of our leaders’ release. That seems to be the only thing that matters at the moment around here.

Not only just today that reminded me of the days back in May 2005. Infact, everything since Monday seem a bit like the time during the election. After the verdict on Monday, the local TV came up with the claimed “guilt letter” flashing a scanned image of the alleged letter now and then on the screen. It seemed just like that fateful Monday in 2005 when Sekoture (of TPLF) showed up on the TV screen telling us EPRDF has won the election. It was supposed to be the election board to announce such if it had to be announced at that moment. EPRDF was just one of the constantans. With something that looked like a déjà vu, last Monday, Haileraguel (of ETV) popped up in the TV flashing the scanned document. Here again, logically it was supposed to be the shimagiles (mediators) who should have announced any if it had to be. Here again EPRDF (Zenawi) was just one of the negotiating parties. Just reminiscing.

I heard Bereket mentioned our leaders will be released in a matter of two or three days.
Still fingers crossed nothing comes in the way to keep them any longer.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Fingers crossed to see them out

Yesterday was really some day. I am not getting what Zenawi is up to and really did not know what to say or write but let me try…

What we witnessed yesterday at the Ethiopian court is beyond explanation.
It showed us how arrogant a dictator could be live in a court room… yet, in the 21st century. I don’t think a place with the name “court” ever witnessed such tragedy, from A to Z, in the history of judiciary system. It is not that I expected less but seeing it happen in the name of justice is what I called beyond explanation. By sentencing our leaders life in prison, elected MPs and ever elected Mayor of Addis are stripped off their right to elect or be elected. This is an insult to those of us who elected them. Zenawi is telling us “it is not you but me who knows what is good for you.”

History also marks yesterday how those who sworn in the name of justice to server justice failed justice itself. If a nation’s judiciary system fails a nation this way, how can one say we are in a civilized world?

Before we even stopped wondering about the court drama, there comes another surprise from Zenawi’s office, the negotiation he lied ever existed. I think Zenawi is suffering from a chronic multiple personality disorder. First he spun the news, the negotiation for what gain I really don’t know. When he indirectly broke the news, those who have been holding it for the sake of the negotiation came out with more detail. And then he said there is no negotiation with our leaders at all in front of the public. Yesterday he sentenced them for life in prison which in a way stripped of their right to elect or be elected (according to Ethiopian law, one who is sentenced to life imprisonment or death penalty shall not have the right to elect or be elected). His disorder came to climax that he could not keep quite any longer after sentencing them and late in the afternoon he came up with the negotiation news (again!), claiming our leaders have requested for pardon three weeks ago. His media also read a text which Zenawi claimed a “letter” addressed to him from our leaders requesting for pardon which is sent to the President’s office today, according to him. I am really amazed by the PM’s capability. It was him we saw in the court today, it was him we saw in the announcement of the “letter” today, and now we are going to see some of Zenawi in the President’s decision. What a creature!

By stripping off our leaders’ rights, Zenawi told us not even to think about democracy, peace and reconciliation in this country while he is on power.

Whatever game the psychopath is playing, we just want our leaders free. At the moment our priority should be their release. He could have saved all the trouble he is going through which may drive him insane sooner than later if he could just do what should be done. Whatever he does, good or bad, is never going to change what is inside us. The bad we know. The good, well, history has taught us we should know better the hardest way, anything he does that “looks” good is never good. But then again, what he is doing is not for the sake of us. We know it is for his feeders’ consumption, the so called international community. For us, Ethiopians, we have tried to give him a chance million times. A chance we probably might have taken him as our hero. He failed us (infact himself) to take him as one.
Releasing our leaders is not even an option he could take. It is a must if he ever thought of having a little peace of mind he lost long time ago. Zenawi had all the cards on his table but he played it bad that he ended the game lose-lose. He looses because he will release our leaders despite his wish to put them in forever. Our leaders loose because they have sacrificed all these for nothing. Zenawi arrogantly took off their right to serve the people who elected them. Ethiopia as a nation looses such great brains for not just being able to use it. Like I said before, what we want right now is to see those good sons and daughter of Ethiopia going out from Ethiopia’s “Robin Island”, qaliti.

Finally, whether what was read/displayed on the media is the only material in the negotiation is something we will find out soon. Knowing Meles, I even doubt its authenticity. We have reached to a stage never to believe him even if he ever tells the truth. Sorry, but that is what Zenawi made us. Infact, such release should have come out from mediators (shimnagiles) and not from either of the parties. But this is Zenawi we are talking about. To be frank with you, I really do not care whatever document that might be present now or in the future. I am positive the shimagiles will help us on this one some other time (for historical record) but kudos to Ephraim Isach and his colleagues for taking it this far. Now let us cross our fingers we see our leaders out within days if not today.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

No millennium if our leaders are not freed

"Yeminakebirew millennium Ewinetegna Yihun"

As promised, here is my first post against the millennium celebration, part of a campaign against the celebration if our leaders are not freed.

As the millennium date approaches the Zenawi squad is realizing it had done nothing significant no matter how much it tried. With the media barking day in day out, millennium this millennium that, it is really going nowhere. The so called "millennium committee" turns out to be Seyoum Bereded only. We hear/see only him when something rubbish the "committee" got to say.

I wonder when Zenawi is going to realize this isn't about dancing, it is neither about boycotting historical celebration. Zenawi miscalculated the day he started making the event political. At that time, he thought he would divert the people's attention and make the country look like it is in peace if he manages to make the celebration a success. Zenawi & co. even started forecasting statistical figures. This much of Ethiopians, this much of foreigners, this much of this, this much of that will come to the celebration – his mouthpieces started to speculate. Realizing the media is taking the empty box nowhere, almost all government organizations were made to echo the word "millennium" in every outlet they make. NGOs, embassies and other diplomatic community were contacted by the so called the Millennium Secretariat to take part in the celebration. Almost many took part in the "two trees in two thousand" campaign which one diplomat was heard saying "we can't say no when a government of one nation requests us to do such things. It is usually automatic when you get such letters from the government. Good thing is, such 'forced' environmental activity atleast benefits the country in the future. You can find many forests now, like the one around Entoto mountain, which were planted one way or another by forcing the citizens during the previous regime'.

With a simple survey I made, we may categorize the reaction to this millennium celebration campaign by Zenawi into four or five groups.

The majority of the population really do not care much. Even if this is a once in a life time celebration, they feel it is nothing without peace and reconciliation. From celebrities who officially denounced this, Tewodros Kassahun (Teddy Afro) belongs here as can be read from his interview with Addisadmas here. I belong to this group. For those in this group to take part in the celebration, Zenawi has to free our leaders and political prisoners. Zenawi has to apologize families of those 193+ victims his troops killed and wounded in June & November 2005.

The other group is TPLF members and companies (including the Saudi tycoon, Sheik Mohammad Alamoudi). By default, they try to echo what their boss is barking and do what they can in their respective area only to find themselves at where they started before. For example, the Sheik is building a huge $10m US dollar 'temporary' stage. I ask myself is it really necessary? To build something worth this much for a single concert (the stage will be bulldozed after the planned new-year concert) just to make us feel the millennium celebration is really happening? Isn't 10 million USD too much for a temporary stage, especially in a poor country like Ethiopia? I have no fuss the tycoon building this, it is just I have the feeling he is doing it not just for the event but for the political game he is playing on Zenawi's behalf.

There are some naïve who are drowned by the propaganda made by the above group and have already started flowing with the wave. This includes some diaspora who have been away from their country for so long that they like to take this opportunity to make a visit back home. I say to them they come to their senses and not be used by Zenawi & co.
Although not that significant, foreigners are also becoming victims of this propaganda. On the other hand, significant number of foreigners who are working in Ethiopia are planning to take home-leave during the month September (sometime just before Ethiopian new year and forwards) fearing the tension they feel exists especially in Addis might burst at that moment.

There are also some who care less about the impasse the country is in but care a lot about their business. Those in this group are knowingly or unknowingly used by Zenawi for his propaganda.

And ofcourse, those I mentioned in my introduction. All government organizations, NGOs and embassies who are being forced to take part in some way or another (not forgetting those few diplomats who are more than willing to be by Zenawi's side no matter what).

However strong they might think they are, however they try hard, Zenawi & co. will never succeed what they intend to accomplish with this millennium celebration "syndrome" they acquired. Read my lips, NO MILLENNIUM IF OUR LEADERS ARE NOT FREED!

Please forward "Yeminakebirew millennium Ewinetegna Yihun", an Amharic article from my contributor, to everyone you know.

Similar articles may be forwarded to

Monday, July 09, 2007

Sentencing postponed

I wonder why all the "burakereyo" had to happen if Zenawi does not know what to do. Atleast Zenawi & co. can keep quite till they figure out what to do.

They keep telling us our leaders case is in the hands of the "court" and the so called "court" said it found them guilty as charged, scheduled today to pass sentencing.

And as the day comes, all the "court" could do is postpond the sentencing for next week, Hamle 9 (July 16) and give Zenawi a week to think what to do.

Other elected leaders and journalists whose charged were dropped last May are also going to appear at the court on Hamle 12 (July 19) as Shemeles Kemal has made an appeal for their return.

Our leaders to be sentenced today!

It is expected the sham trial which has been dragging for years will end with sentencing today. It is to be remembered that the kangaroo court has found our leaders “guilty as charged”, most of them with not less than five capital crimes. According to the Ethiopian constitution one of the charges is enough to carry life in prison upto death penalty. We have also learnt the Attorney General has requested for maximum punishment, the death penalty. For those of us who have been following the funny trial for almost two years, the plea by Shemeles Kemal for death penalty is not a surprise at all. It logically follows injustice from the very beginning ends with injustice. Shemeles also appealed on those 55 whose charges were dropped back in May 2007.

The agony here is when we feel there is still a way out from this impasse, Meles seems to be determined we go back to square one. When those 55 prisoners were released, we were like “atleast”. And then comes the “agreement” between our leaders and Zenawi. We thought we were about to move one step ahead. Before we could even have the time to think about the future and how we could move forward, the PM denied any agreement or negotiation with the prisoners in the parliament. A naïve person like me thought, well may be they want the court to finish its game and make Zenawi come out as a hero by making a “pardon”. But no, this doesn’t seem to be the plan (atleast at the moment). All this time, we have been getting the propaganda against our leaders through Zenawi and once in a while through Bereket Simon (forgetting our cyber Zenawi, Aigaforum). But yesterday we got Radio Fana back in business which has been gone for quite a while regarding this issue. In fact the station was working full time misinforming and huge propaganda against those we elected during the first few months in the post election. The “good” journalists out there seem to give every “patent” to Zenawi and co. to talk about issues regarding our leaders after their imprisonment. A day before sentencing, Zenawi felt like feeding the propaganda through his hatred masterminds at the radio station. There we had a long “talk” which I could not tolerate to finish the whole program. They were trying to tell us even if the prisoners get out of prison, “their sins will never be forgotten” and wanted to tell us our leaders “begged” for their release. I really do not know what to call this.

Let’s say Zenawi is ready to release the prisoners (like it or not, for everyone’s sake especially for Zenawi’s sake – he has learnt the hardest way he will never have a single peace of mind while our leaders are in there, their release will happen sooner than later). Let’s just say Zenawi is ready to release them, why would Radio Fana come up with such propaganda at this time? Whom would it benefit? I thought the whole thing was to move forward. I mean Zenawi is going to do it not because he wants our leaders out of prison. It is just there is no way out! If that is going to happen, why so much hatred? Wouldn’t it be good if they could just put their energy on how to get back to the people they lost long ago? I mean, as a journalist, shouldn’t it be their job to know their audience? It is us they are talking to! Ofcourse this has never been their trend, they never cared for the audience but for once couldn’t they do better at this moment? Not doing what they did yesterday was more than we could ask. This is just like the so lost millennium propaganda. Day in day out, all the government media talks about the millennium “celebration”. The propaganda has become an ugly song you just want to avoid from getting into your ears. I wish they could just make a stop and think to whom they are making a crow cry. What happened yesterday at Radio Fana is no different than the ugly song to your ears. It will never do any good but shed its darkness in the Ethiopian history.

Coming back to they court, here is my shot. The sentencing will go according to plan, God forbid for even just saying it but even death sentencing may be passed. (For history sake it would have been good if the Attorney General just drops the case at the instant but I find it very unlikely for these guys do not care darkness on our history).
After sentencing, Zenawi would just bring out the agreement he said never happened. Make the “amnesty” through the president and try to make it look like it was never a political case. For your information, the prison administration is making other selected (non political) prisoners fill a form for amnesty which shall be submitted to the president and be granted during the “millennium”. Zenawi could just do it in any way he likes, we just want our leaders out of prison (freed*). Most of all, it is better he do it adding no-more fuel to the already burning flame inside us. Let’s face it, this is for everybody’s benefit.

*I try to avoid “freed” in many part of my article regarding our leaders as it is giving me a wrong impression to what Zenawi might be thinking after he releases them. As I always say, let them go out from that miserable place and what follows shall be dealt accordingly.

See you after court.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Now we got confirmation

I guess my earlier article was a bit late for the call I made.

Zenawi just officially announced (lied!) there has been no negotiation at all and that our leaders’ case is in “the hands of the court”.

“Things like ‘pardon’ or anything follow after the court’s sentencing. There is no way anyone could go in the court’s way. That would mean disrespecting the court’s order” he was heard saying to the parliament on the national TV yesterday. This just proved he already have changed his mind, or may be he had it already planned all the way along and was playing his dirty game. The point here is chances they might be released at the moment is zero.

What’s worse is he might not be able to have any deal anymore with our leaders. They have had many experience of his dirty (as Professor Mesfin put it “duriye”) games before they were imprisoned during the post election. He knows they care for the people and they might be tempted to go a mile further than they should if they feel it is for the good of the people & the country. But Zenawi, he does not have the slightest care for the people and the country. So yes, he, usually turns out to be winner of his dirty games. One good example in the post election before they were imprisoned was the last minute cancellation of the stay-home strike. Our leaders called for a stay at home strike if Zenawi does not return the votes he stole. Zenawi knew what that meant. He couldn’t risk, at that moment, the world see what really was going on in Ethiopia. A strike is one the western would not love to see. So Zenawi run up and down with diplomats residing in the country. He persuaded our leaders to call off the strike just a night before it was supposed to take place by promising them what not. Our leaders thought it was for the best of the country and the people. Little did they know Zenawi is one big crook they ever came across (oh, well they knew, but still they were optimist Zenawi would be a human being and as a government of one nation, would abide by an agreement he makes). Many occasions he done that. The latest one is the recent negotiation. It has been nineteen months and our leaders give it a shot when the agreement seemed sensible. He did it again and thinks he won. What Zenawi missing is, this was also his biggest chance he could have come out a bit of a human being and someone which our leaders might consider talking more and try to get this country out of this impasse. He had the chance to come out hero had he never rigged any of the vote we gave to our leaders in 2005. A historic moment he missed. And now this. When everybody thought he has become a lesser evil, he let us down. He let our country down. He let our leaders down. Question now is, where would he be heading if the prisoners say “okay, that’s it. We thought we were dealing in a civilized way with a civilized being. If that’s not the case we are out of any negotiation that might arise. We will just see what happens while in prison.”