Monday, January 08, 2007


As we are celebrating the birth of Christ two weeks after many around the world celebrated in accordance with their calendar (December 25), there isn’t a place to have it pleasant than having it at Qaliti in Addis, says the email to this blogger from a prison correspondent. I have put the email as is below.

Many were marching to the prison at the outskirt of Addis as early as 9 in the morning. Visit to the place is 11 to 12 noon during holidays unlike on the normal weekends which takes place 3 to 4 in the afternoon.

Going around the different zones at the prison, it couldn’t get anymore as a holiday looking at our beloved leaders many in their traditional white clothes. Going more than one zone at a time is strictly forbidden at the prison but luckily I somehow managed to do so for today. Can it get any better?

As one goes along the line, it starts from the zone where prisoners like Muluneh, Kifle, Andualem, Eskindar... and all of those who moved to Qaliti a couple of months ago from Kerchele.

Muluneh, as usual, was waving his hands and replying the greetings from the visitors who are going to the other zones. Smiling and wishing a “Enkuwan Aderesachu” (marry Christmas), Muluneh was never tired doing it for minutes of the limited one hour visitation. I just love the scene. When I woke up in the morning, it was just same sad day for me. We are having one of the famous and dearly celebrated holiday of the year in Ethiopia but our leaders are in prison not being able to do it like they used to during the good old days. But just looking at Mule’s and his cellmates’ spirit, I started to feel like I’m celebrating the holiday now. Had some lovely chat with Mule and moved to the other zone. Here, many of the elders and dear ones like Dr. Befekadu, Dr. Hailu, Eng. Hailu, Eng. Gizachew, Dr. Yacob, the young braves like Yeneneh, Tamrat, Tadiwos…. are all looking charming and greeting everyone “Enkuwan Aderesachu”. Dr. Befekadu, who just came back from a three week stay at a hospital for a minor surgery was making jokes and makes everyone laugh that I almost spent much of my time in the gathering around him. Noting the time almost half away I started rushing to go away though how much I loved to stay in this zone. I wanted to see my chances if I could make it to the next zone and eventually I did. Here, one will meet the ever charming Professor Mesfin, “Debe” (Ato Debebe Eshetu), Dr, Berhanu….. I started my greetings from Prof. Mesfin and joined the gathering who were laughing with the intellectual jokes the good professor is making. He was telling the gathering how the so called third-party “negotiation” ended sadly. He was making the joke “zare betachin ghenan yeminakebir mesilogn neber” (“I thought we were going to celebrate Christmas home today”). I almost said “we neither will celebrate it at our home till you heros and heroines are doing it at yours” but swallowed it back not to make another scene with the guard who started his day complaining the prof. is not allowed to speak in English with the visitors in which the prof. demanded he can speak in any language he want to. The prison “boss” had to come in and settle the issue, “granting” the prof’s demand. Before I knew it, the guards were telling us to move on. Time is up! How I wanted to make one last holiday minute at the last zone, where the heroines are all gathered but Alas! I couldn’t. So I just waved Burte, Nigist, Serkalem… and wished them happy holiday from a distant.

So everybody waved goodbye and “Melkam Be’al” and that ended the one hour stay at Qaliti… for me my day. I felt so much good having to spend that limited one hour with them and I really felt like I had a holiday which can never be compared to any of the holidays I celebrated in my life. All the low feelings that I had when I woke up in the morning were gone by the time I stepped out of Qaliti.

Other than this, what I didn’t mention an instant that struck me was Dr. Shimelis Tekletsadik was one of the visitors at Qaliti today. Though the prisoners were happy to see him, I could smell how disappointed they were what the diaspora has gone/is going through. One of the prisoners was saying “we wish you could be there and help the struggle but it is understandable if that is impossible”. This reminds me of all those garbage stories that were thrown at him and I can imagine what droved him all the way from the States and join us here with our prayers for the beloved ones.

Dr. Shimelis was one of the elected parliamentarian as well as central council member of Kinijit which the diaspora is making garbage out of it talking about “ewiqina” …. which he never said a single word for everything they cook including the character assasination on Tensae sometime back.

I am seeing some progress and destruction in the diaspora. I say bless you all to those who are standing for the real cause ignoring internal/party conflict. I say God damn you to those working on the destruction side forgetting the real cause. It is not that far till cyanide these people are preparing to destruct everything kills themselves.

One thing I have to mention while I am at it, some family members of the prisoners are not getting the family fund they used to get for the last four/five months (which coincides with the time the diaspora fight reached its peak). If this thing was same for every family, it might not be an issue and I would think it could be something temporary which would get resolved sometime. What is worrying me is some are “hand-picked” and are still getting the fund while others are left out. I will not say much at this point on this issue but I just want the public to demand the donations it made to if it is really going to the same cause it donated to.

Is Meles practicing the same thing he did in Ethiopia on Somalis in Mogadishu? Shooting down demonstrators? Was it not enough he made us in the Al-Qaida blacklist and now doing the crime he should be tried to in another country?