Friday, May 27, 2005

EPRDF’S Gift to the Opposition

Hm.. my husband came back from a weeklong business trip and mentioned that the reason he hates going out of town is that he never knows what he’ll come back to. (Notice there is nothing in there about actually missing his wife and kid.) Well, he came back to ET Wonkette, and now dinner conversation revolves around politics and elections, which I feel is grating on his nerves. So, I’m taking the long weekend off. (btw, he asked me not to quote him, but I will: “Why can’t you just redecorate like all other women?” Yeah.) Next blog after today’s will be on Tuesday… unless the EU comes back with news we could use.

By the way, does anyone know where to see pictures of yesterday’s rally in DC? And where I can see Teddy Afro’s new video? Apparently it’s the cause of consternation in Addis.

Anyway, to ze blog we go…

Politics is a funny game… not funny ha-ha… unfortunately.

One of the greatest disasters for the Republican Party and what terrifies its leaders would be if Roe vs. Wade actually got overturned. Now, on the surface, of course, nothing gives the Christian Right more of a recurring wet dream than the day Rehnquist dodders out and proclaims Roe v. Wade dead.

But secretly, the larger Republican Party knows that that would mean alienating all the moderates and the God-fearing, middle America republicans who think that the whole abortion platform is dragging down the party. The politicos don’t want that. You want the moderates in your party to be just republican enough to be sedated by their love of tax cuts, but appeased by the assurance that the Christian Right will never take completely over. You might remember, even with the far right’s prominence in the 2004 elections, who spoke at the 2004 Republican Convention during primetime (and to much applause): “Benito” Gulliani and za Tahmeenator, both pro-choice, very moderate Republicans. This time Buchanan wasn’t allowed to spit fire and brimstone about an impending cultural war. The heavy rhetoric came from Crazy Zell, a, um, Democrat. It’s what’s called smart politics.

So, bitterly decrying against abortion but secretly hoping that it is never banned has been great for the Republican Party. Besides, Roe V. Wade is a great cash cow... a fundraising favorite.

At the last anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Christian Right held a rally outside of the White House. Guess who did not join them? President George Bush (who phoned in his message of support even though he was only a feet away) … or any other notable republican senator or congressman/woman for that matter—people who think that life begins in a pietre dish (see the current debate on stem cell research.)

Same thing with gay marriage. With a majority both in the House and the Senate, no Republican is breaking bones trying to bring an amendment banning same sex marriage. After all the frenzy about that issue, you’d think that it would be the first thing on the agenda. The red states are left scratching their heads.

Which brings me to the ban on demonstrations that the government of
Ethiopia has imposed.

Imagine if the rally on May 8 had gotten rowdy and people stomped over each other… you know the drill. CNN, the New York Times and all the major western media would be on a body count watch; they’d have sent reporters wearing protective gear to witness those wild Africans acting so uncivilized. Well, everything went peacefully, so.. ho-hum… who's Michael Jackson molesting these days…?

So imagine if there was another rally on May 20… 2 million people at Mesqel Square (I need to consult someone about my wanting to still call it Abiyot Adebabaye… When I was in Addis I asked a taxi driver to take me to Abiyot Adebabaye… “YetigNaw abiyot?” he shot back. I had to over-tip.)

Anyway, so pretend we have 2 million people at Mesqel Square. People are pissed off royally. Pretend someone got into a fisticuff… 2 million agitated people…20 of them start a fisticuff. Guess which will make news? Guess which image will be broadcast all over the world... “Didn’t we tell you that they can’t behave..?”

And guess how Baghdad Bereket would spin that little morsel.

Transcript from Ato Bereket Simon interview on CNN:

CNN: We have on the phone Mr. Bereket Simon, the Ethiopian Information Minister. Welcome, Mr. Simon.

Ato Bereket: Thank you, John.

CNN: Oh my God.. so, what happened at this rally?

AB: Oh, the opposition group. They are animals. They are uncontrollable.

CNN: I can see that. The opposition says that there were about 2 million people…

AB: Ha!

CNN: Care to elaborate, Mr. Simon?

AB: There was a maximum, maximum of 320 people.

CNN: Wow. It seemed more than that to me on the video.

AB: Well, the camera adds 10 pounds. And actually in Ethiopia it adds 50 pounds.

CNN: Oh, okay. Well, that makes sense. Mr. Simon, your government has likened the opposition to Rwanda’s interhamwe. Would you say that was an exaggeration?

AB: Absolutely not.

CNN: Care to elaborate?

AB: Well for starters, CUD actually stands for “Center for Interhamwe Development.”

CNN:Really… ? Because it’s C-U-D, right? Not C-I-D…

AB: That’s a lie. They are lying!

CNN: About…?

AB: Their lies are lies within themselves.

CNN: Wow-wee. That’s… interesting. Now, about the EU and its report…

AB:You mean the EU who proclaimed our win not just by a landslide but by a mudslide as well?

CNN: Ummm… yes. I guess.

AB: What about it?

CNN: Nothing.. well, it was great having you on CNN, Mr. Simon. You’ve certainly enlightened us.

AB: Thank you for having me. By the way, the opposition likes to drink blood.

CNN: Oh, that’s terrible!

AB: It is. And they also roast little children.

CNN: Eww.

AB: Thanks for having me on, John from CNN.

Sorry… where was I? (I think I am secretly in love with Ato Bereket.)

So, the greatest gift the government has given the opposition is the ban on demonstrations for 30 days. It gives the opposition righteous indignation (which they have in abundance to start with) and to milk the “We told you, these people don’t believe in free speech and democracy” line ad nauseum-- which they are doing, by the way, very brilliantly.

But secretly, I am sure they are happy that they are not dealing with crowd control and being blamed for any and all disturbances. They have bigger things to worry about right now… like how to exorcise the extra duty demons from Genet Zewdie’s office. If there was a rally and by any, any chance it is not 100% peaceful (and the government would make sure it wasn’t), the opposition would be bogged down with the PR nightmare of assuring the world that they can control their supporters.

Instead now, they have cornered the moral highroad. Everybody who is anybody (except Mistah Jimm’ah) thinks that freedom of assembly is the cornerstone of democracy. So, bad, bad government for banning demonstrations. Bad government! Meanwhile, the opposition can lean back and watch the government take all the blame. Why stop your opponent when he is tightening the noose on his neck? So, as far as the ban on demonstrations: the opposition has its cake and sipping machiato with it, courtesy of the EPRDF. (Good manners dictate a thank you here… )

I know, I know… I’ve also read the zeraff! dissertations by supporters of the opposition who are besides themselves with testosterone-y indignation that “the peoples voice is being muzzled.” Right. Let me tell you what will muzzle the people’s voice: tear gas and being clubbed to death.

Oh, by the way, I’ve taken Ato Engineer Hailu Shawel off the time out chair. In what I think is another brilliant move, the opposition is now thinking of having a day of prayer, in lieu of mass demonstrations. You see? You see how they are workin’ it like seasoned politicos?? Now, you are talking! Imagine the whole country taking a moment to give props to the feTari. The natural feriha igzihaber and feriha Allah as well as an overdose of yilugNta swimming in our Ethiopian gene pool makes a “National Day of Prayer” the perfect response to the government’s ban. In politics, when life gives you a lemon, you peel it, halve it and then squeeze the juices it in your opponent’s eyes.

Meanwhile at the Menelik palace, Ato Bereket Simon is working on the spin on any future “Day of Prayer gathering”…

We have Mr. Simon again… Tell us about the Day of Prayer, Mr. Simon. From what we could tell, it was pretty peaceful.

Do you know who they were praying to?

No, as a matter of fact we don’t but…

They are praying to the devil.


Yes, Did you hear the drums?

Yes. It sounded beautiful, actually…

That was the devil talking back to them… We all know they are planning for bloodshed… like the interhamwe…

But wait a minute.. it all looked so…

Do you know what “Kinijit” means?

No, can’t say I do.

John, Kinijit means Interhamwe in Amharic.

That’s just awful.

It is. Thanks for having me in the CNN.

No, thank, you!

And so it goes, folks.

Happy a great Memorial Day, those of you in the States. We live in a great country.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

So I stumble upon this Blog and my first reaction is "Who opened your tap sister?" (think direct translation: sorry, that's what I visualized). But then again, I don't even think for a second and suspect there is someone out there who is either reading my mind or is somehow spying on me: you you you! I have been looking for an analysis from a lighter side, without insinuating reportages from the trenches: and believe me, there are essays and essays being written by either party's supporters that are not even in line with what the parties stand for. Aaaaaaanywhooo with all the media and party-supporter blitz surrounding the post election fever, I am all read out, been in a vicious cycle of happy, sad, shocked and whatever's in between! I am hurt. Really hurt. Even the mellow sounds of Instrumental streams from Addislive cannot refrain the hair on my back from standing up and give an Abiot TebaQi salute. I take a break this weekend, as will the ballot counters I am sure... but I'll be back for more enlightenment.

12:08 AM, May 28, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If y'er still looking for Teddy's new video, it's at

12:09 AM, May 28, 2005  
Anonymous bahiru-B. said...

AH MY God-y God! Where did you come from , Wonkette?? I have been on a lot of medication so I am hoping that I am not reading this in my dreams-- Although I don't agree with you 58.7% of the time, I love you-- and not in a brotherly way, either. You might be right about the ban on demonstrations, but it still feels wrong. "feels" being the operative word here. And by the way, after i read your riff on Jimm-hah Cart-tar, i switched to being a Republican. Enenim beQQQQQaN indanchi!

1:19 AM, May 28, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You sound like another confused democrat with a lot of time in her hands, just like the real wonkette you are trying to imitate...

8:08 PM, May 28, 2005  
Anonymous Yohannes said...

Thank you for the great job. reversly, don't you think that the opposition is also secretly hoping that they don't get a majority? i think they were as surprised as any by their success. although i am still not sold on your argument that the opposition might want to be masters of their domains in 2005, and then national leaders in 2010, i think you gave a solid argument. Either way, it is safe to say that EPRDF is a relic. Thanks again for the elevated political "wonkkette-ary". btw, i could not help notice but notice that there are not a lot of women commenting on this blog. what's up, sistahs?

11:35 PM, May 28, 2005  
Blogger tsegasaurus said...

your sarcasm sooths my rage and fuels my insanity.

6:28 AM, May 30, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yohannes, sistahs are present. you assume all comments come from men by default.. unless self labeled. Take another gender-neutral read.

3:13 PM, May 31, 2005  

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