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.

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