By Golto Ayla / March 24, 2009

It is now about three years since I first started making public, my opinions about politics in our motherland. Politics has never been my cup of tea, and the decision to make my views public was out of pure frustration. Now, three years later, the sense of disillusionment and frustration is only worse. I have read the profound observations by Dr Maru Gubena; Dr. Messay Kebede; the many profoundly insightful and analytical articles by Prof. Seid Hassan; and today, an even more emotional write-up by Dr. Daniel Kendie. The common sentiment by all, in addition to the statements of facts, is that of anger, frustration, and even despair. Comforting is not the right word, but I feel the sense of companionship with them!

We Ethiopians have one universally shared strategy, and that is, when situations look bad and overwhelming we passionately pray to God Almighty and then quickly bury our heads in the sand and wait for the danger to pass, fully expecting that outcome by the time we get our heads out of the sand! I suppose it has to do with the faith and the culture of our upbringing. Since Meles Zenawi, stormed into Addis Ababa in early 1991, there has been one, and only one person and one organization that have been consistent in Ethiopia - they are Meles and his TPLF! Meles was a guerilla fighter who wanted independence for the province of Tigray, hence, the name of his organization! He has now ruled Ethiopia for 18 years, and he has not moved one inch away from his original objective of destroying Ethiopia - if anything every step he has taken since taking power has been systematic dismantling of Ethiopia! Evidence? Well, I’ll highlight a few points for you:

  1. He set up a system of fragmentation of the country along tribal lines, knowing very well he can easily establish a divide and rule policy!
  2. He succeeds in fanning the fire of ethnic hostilities, while feigning the role of peace maker between the warring parties!
  3. He installed a constitution which was supposed to guarantee autonomy up to, and including secession! Well no region or nation has succeeded to secede to date, because the secession was only meant for Meles’ TPLF, when the time is ripe!
  4. He landlocked Ethiopia, by so willingly letting Eritrea separate – did not make any attempt to retain access to the sea, since such an access would mean Ethiopia will retain its dominance in the Horn of Africa! Even after the 1998-2000 war in which tens of thousands of Ethiopian lives were lost, and he had the opportunity to regain that access to the sea, he made no effort in that regard! He’d rather have a strong Eritrea and weak Ethiopia than the other way round!
  5. He massacred innocent people in Ogaden under the pretense of fighting terrorists. He invaded Somalia – a hornet’s nest and ran away having destroyed innocent people’s lives there. Now the fundamentalists in Somalia are most likely looking for the pay back day against Ethiopia (not Meles).
  6. He secretly made deals with his thuggish friend in Sudan and gave away Ethiopian territories to that country, rendering many Ethiopians, homeless. Many homes and churches were burned down by the invading Sudanese security.
  7. After keeping Ethiopia starving for 18 years, having laundered all the billions of dollars of aid and development monies from donor countries, he is now busy selling the most fertile and arable Ethiopian lands to the highest bidders from Saudi Arabia!
  8. He has frustrated the inspiration of Ethiopians to have democratic governance in their country by stealing people’s vote in 2005. He has made every effort since then to scuttle any effort for organized, national political movement. The unexplained re-arrest and incarceration of Birtukan Mikdesa is part of the scheme to prevent Ethiopians to stand together and fight for their survival.

Dictators do not rule alone! They need people to maintain their rule of terror. Many of these people mastermind the system of oppression, but the majority are bribed into their camps or emotionally blackmailed into joining the camp. Once in the camp, the millions who inadvertently find themselves there are stuck there, and now the scene is set internecine conflict. The regime and their supporters are in the minority, the majority are people who appear to abhor Meles and his regime! How then, does this pint-sized pip-squeak, bestride Ethiopia, a nation of 70+ million people who collectively appear impotent?

I admire Dr. Maru Gubena’s courageous exposè of disgraceful behavior of liars in the Diaspora who, on the one hand are vocal in their condemnation of the Meles regime, and yet by sharing in the loot of Ethiopia, are accomplices in his grand scheme of dismantling our Motherland! Still, proportionally speaking, these miserable gluttons constitute but a mere fraction of Ethiopians abroad and at home!

What puzzles me is this: How come that Ethiopians, who truly abhor this rotten regime and it cadres, now for 18 years have completely failed to come together in unity to find a respectable path forward for our Motherland? There are provocations galore from Meles, as listed above! There are many political organizations against Meles, all have good reasons to want to get rid of him, and yet at the times of extreme provocation from Meles, the silence from these organizations is simply deafening! I wonder – What do they stand for?

Whether in Ethiopia or other parts of the world, people have risen together to fight for what they treasure: defend the sovereignty of their nation; their way of life, their livelihood, and so on and so forth! Our forbearers have done all of these things and left us with history which is the envy of the world! But what has happened to us, their off-springs? I am not asking a political question, nor am I asking a question which requires a sophisticated answer. I am asking a question which any decent, self respecting human being with some basic value system must ask himself or herself everyday!

Meles has been itching for a fight with Ethiopia! In his search for a fight he has done everything he can possibly do to provoke the people of Ethiopia, as listed above, and Ethiopia has failed, time and again to rise up to the challenge! His latest provocation is the re-arrest and incarceration of Birtukan Mideksa! This is a young mother, who put her life on the line for Ethiopia, after experiencing the insults hurled at innocent Ethiopians by a lawless regime, while she was a judge. She fought along side men (who have since abandoned her) for justice and freedom in her country and landed in jail for nearly two years! After coming out, and following the destruction of her party abroad, she returned home, picked up the pieces and re-built a formidable instrument for democracy in Ethiopia! Sensing the danger, the colonial power in Ethiopia, grabbed her from the street and hurled her back into a hole they call prison for no apparent reason! My question is – Where is the Ethiopia for which this lady has offered herself to be humiliated and tortured? In our culture, we are known to fight and die for our women and our children. Women and children die in Ethiopia more than most places on this planet, on the watch of a dictator whose single purpose in life appears to be the destruction of our Motherland and our people!

As I said before repeatedly, one day we shall wake up and learn that Meles has gone! It is not whether he will go but when! I have a hunch which tells me that day is not far off! My fear is, and this must be concern for all of us – WHAT WILL ETHIOPIA BE LIKE, AFTER MELES? i.e., when we eventually pull our heads out of the sand and learn Meles has gone, what kind of place shall we find? Do we really care?

Certain events happen by coincidence, and offer historic opportunities, which may otherwise be impossible to contemplate. Today we are in the center of such a global event with global economic crisis! So what are the opportunities for Ethiopia and what can we do so that she may benefit?

  1. The Bush Administration which sustained Meles in power has gone, and the Obama Administration is unlikely to pursue Bush’s policies in the Horn of Africa.
  2. Lack of external support and the dire economic circumstances in Ethiopia will most likely weaken Meles’ repressive machine
  3. The hostilities Meles has been fomenting inside and around Ethiopia will most likely come to hurt him at the time when he is most vulnerable.
  4. The continued incarceration of an innocent young mother whose only crime is the pursuit of justice for all Ethiopians, will hopefully jolt us into action to demand and obtain her release, and more!

Meles Zenawi has been invited to the G-20 meeting to be held in London on April 2, 2009, by Gordon Brown, the British P.M. This is a gathering of the twenty most powerful and the wealthiest nations on this globe. It is the opportunity for Ethiopians to turn this event into E-20! (Ethiopia and the twenty most powerful nations on earth!) Ethiopians living in Europe should hold demonstrations and vigils outside the embassies of every one of the twenty nations, present petitions and expose this monster for what he is! These nations must be made to understand, just who they are sharing this event with.

Most importantly, Ethiopians must figure out what to do about Ethiopia after Meles, since the head-in-the-sand strategy has not worked so far!

The writer can be reached at gurmesa51@yahoo.com