Meles Zenawi savors fiasco number one

By Ephrem Madebo / April 15, 2011

I didn’t really want to go to Saturday’s Growth and Transformation meeting here in the Nation’s capital because I was already disgusted by its hysteria and exaggeration.  Though I badly wanted to confront the high profile gluttons form Addis Ababa, the little doubt that abruptly crossed my mind made me look hopeless and nervous. But, I quickly woke up from the hallucination and asked myself . . .  to hell Ephrem!…. Isn’t it the moment of most profound doubt that gives birth to new certainties? I answered my own question – yes, it is.  It is true that hopelessness is the very soil that nourishes human hope; and one could never find sense in life without first experiencing its absurdity.  Well, that is exactly why I drove to Washington, DC – to experience the absurdity and to be certain.

Besides, the soccer game I played that Saturday morning [in which my team lost] rekindled my energy. I hate losing twice in a row, so I went to the meeting to win. As I drove from Suburban Virginia to Washington, DC, a voice from across the seas and from across generations kept on asking me…who are you…. who are you?  I was neither puzzled nor terrified by the voice because I knew exactly whose voice was talking to me. It was the voice of selfless heroes who shielded me from Zenawi’s bullet and redeemed my freedom.  So, as I drove across the Potomac River, I turned off my iPhone, focused on the traffic in front of me and gave my full attention to the voice. Here is what the voice said: “please don’t give up!  Remember when hopelessness is hurting you; it’s the fixtures and the fittings that finish you off. Defeat is often temporary – giving up is what makes it permanent… don’t give up!”

I work in DC, but I really hate driving in DC, especially on those streets where the speed limit is under 35 mph. But, on Saturday April 9, it really didn’t matter how slowly I was driving so long as I was going to Howard University. Hence,  I accelerated my Japanese made car, and as I approached to the entrance of Cramton Auditorium, I saw a large number of gluttons that are bleeding my country. I looked up to the heavens and mumbled – Oh my God, I got a job to do!

The heavy presence of police inside and outside Cramton Auditorium got me worried… but what the hell- after all this is the land of the free, not the land where the savage agazi rules, though the bizarre act of Howard University Police inside the auditorium was no different than a typical African brute force that kills the genesis of democracy and enforces rules that suppress free speech. I’m sure, General Oliver Howard, a Civil War hero and the founder of Howard University, did not envision Howard University Police and a female professor will team up with a proven brute force from Ethiopia to muffle free speech in an auditorium not that far from the three symbols of American democracy.

As I got closer to the gates of Cramton Auditorium, I pulled my invitation paper [signed by the ever opportunist Girma Biru] and shuffled towards the check point. I was cleared to enter the auditorium after two middle aged men and a police officer checked my invitation paper.  The large, diverse, and enthusiastic crowd outside the auditorium and the predominantly Tigrygna speaking crowd inside reminded me Charles Dikens’ Tales of Two Cities. To be honest, I felt I was somewhere in Mekele and I thought the meeting was a prelude to the upcoming TPLF congress. What surprised me the most is not the homogeneity of the crowd- at least there was a small enclave of heterogeneous crowd here and there in the auditorium.

What puzzled me and what immersed me in total disbelief was that almost all of the civilian security personnel inside the auditorium were Tigrygna speakers and they were the ones who were vitally responsible for the kicking, the shoving and finger pointing at people who are opponents of the regime in Ethiopia. Instead of wagging their tails every time Zenawi lies to them, I urge Zennawi’s men in the Diaspora to give me a proper explanation of how 6% Tigreans represent the lion’s share of Ethiopia’s security forces inside and outside Ethiopia. Actually, what I just said is the tip of the iceberg. In today’s Ethiopia, two out of every five fighter pilot graduates [40%] are Tigreans while out of every 100 Ethiopian 5.8 are Tigreans. After all you [Zenawi’s puppets] have been preaching about the equality of nations and nationalities for 20 years. Does your definition of equality include political and economic equality? Or  is it just Zenawi and his ‘golden group’ are first among equals and the rest of us are unequal among equals?

The first part of the meeting, the part that included the power point presentation was as boring as a life-less soccer game between teams who have already made it to the next round. In short, it was the same clumsy pile of talk ETV has been broadcasting for the last six months. The presentation was less dramatic, monotonous, and it was presented by the less charismatic and by the un-persuading Demeke Mekonen who had troubles in handling the technology part of the presentation. The real drama in Cramton Auditorium started when a man in front of me stood and asked the audience to join him in a movement of silence for the over 200 patriot Ethiopians who were mercilessly killed by Zenawi’s killing squad. For Girma Biru, Berhane G/Kiristos, Demeke Mekonen and Redwan Hussein, this was a moment of truth that they have been avoiding for the last six years. For those of us who lost brothers, sisters, sons, daughters and friends, it was a confrontation with the killers.


The poor Ethiopian man and many others after him who tried to be a voice for the voiceless were quickly surrounded and overpowered by Znawi’s thugs in the Diaspora and by Howard University Police officers who at times resembled private security guards for Zenawi’s delegates in the auditorium. Instead of defending the First Amendment of the US Constitution, the police force of one of America’s prominent Black college shamelessly stood against the First Amendment.  In the other bizarre, rather bewildering drama that annoyed the entire audience, the actor was not even an Ethiopian citizen or national.  It was a female American professor who jostled her intellectual integrity for the love of a dictator that kills people. If I say anything more on this self-regarding professor, I think I am wasting my time on a non-noble cause.  

Another weird moment that dumbfounded the audience was Girma Biru’s complete ignorance of where he is and whom he was addressing. April 9, 2011 was a day of reality check for Girma Biru who came to the United States for the sole purpose of winning the Diaspora for his master Meles Zenawi. Of course Ambassador Girma is not new to a hostile audience; he lived in it for 20 years. The difference last Saturday was that the Diaspora is not under the TPLF gun, the Diaspora is free, and the Diaspora is not under any kind of duress to involuntary applaud for every mumbo-jumbo Girma and his puppies throw at it.  I’m sure the Girma I knew in high school and college knows this very well. But, this Girma is not the Girma I knew. Just like his phony party OPDO, Ambassador Girma Biru is a handmade toy of Meles Zenawi. Hence, he started warning the audience flapping and pointing his index finger at the audience – a lesson he learned from his master. Good job Girma! I know you’re very good when it comes to quick learning.

At first, Girma seemed to withstand the confrontation, but as the heat of the room increased, the beleaguered ambassador yelled at the audience and said: “keep quiet and listen, otherwise…”  Later as the meeting progressed and as Girma noticed the increased security presence, so did his heart beat and his lack of judgment. The imprudent ambassador – not once, not twice, but three times assured the audience that the meeting will proceed peacefully and will end the way it started. However, the truth is that, thanks to the Washington, DC area forces of democracy, the TPLF thugs were forced to discontinue the meeting and move it to the future Embassy of Ethiopia where Girma feels comfortable and can easily manipulate the course of the meeting. All in all, at the end of the day, Girma Biru and the other puppets of Zenawi fought fire with fire and they all ended up with ashes! Yes, they ended up with ashes, and a handful of ash is exactly what they take to their master in Addis Ababa who is anticipating to receive the Diaspora on a silver platter… like the Biblical Herodias who wanted the head of John the Baptist on a plate.

To many who may not know him well, Girma’s opportunism is hard to notice. Not  always! I was fourteen when I first met Girma, and even at that tender age; it didn’t take me much to notice his self-seeking attitude. I noticed Girma’s “only me” attitude when we played high school soccer in Ethiopian Evangelical College in Debre Zeith. Girma was good soccer player who cared mostly for what he did in the team than the performance of the team. He was extremely happy when he was praised even when his team lost.

Sadly, the self-infatuation grew with him. Today, Girma Biru,  a man who went to school with me and a man who carried the “Land to the Teller” slogan with me on the streets of Debre Zeith, is an ardent defender of Zenawi’s land policy; a policy that made the Ethiopian peasants permanently landless. Moreover, Girma is the face of Zenawi in Washington, DC- a face whose face value is murder, abuse, torture, divide and rule, and prejudice. The “Tale of Two Cities” continues and so does that struggle between good and evil. As the struggle of the Ethiopian people changes gears, so does Girma’s opportunism . . . .  trust me – he is a committed opportunist enveloped in cynicism and yet audaciously proud of it.  

I don’t know how he feels, as long as I am concerned- I’m so happy Ambassador Girma Biru’s first stand-off with the Diaspora ended with a defeat. I applaud and tip my hat off to the Washington, DC area civic organizations and to the many unsung heroes for a job so well done.  Here is my message to and to the navies around him:  please join a force that will ultimately triumph than serving a dictator  that will ultimately fail.  Diaspora one Zenawi ZILCH …..Amen!