Boys Gone Wild!
So… the brain surgeons running the EPRDF’s “we are enforcing law and order” campaign must be wondering whatever they did wrong to find themselves in this pickle. Apparently killing unarmed students and getting away with it… not as easy as it used to be. Damn globalization!
A few weeks ago, Jimm’ah “[Meles] would meet me at airports in Paris, Atlanta, and London when I came into the region, spread his war maps on the floor, and describe his progress against Mengistu's forces” Ca’ra’s soldier boy was being heralded as the “one of the most progressive African leader.” By the way, at the time that Mistah Jimm’ah and Ato Meles were getting cozy-cozy over war plans, Meles was one of them… what do you call those Godless wonders… oh, yeah… Marxists. Now, you think that Mistah Jimm’ah ever said to himself, “You know, Jimm’ah… this feller is a commie. Maybe you shouldn’t be so buddy-buddy”?
So annnnnyway… PE (pre-election) Meles was the renaissance leader (remember those were
PM Meles’ co-renaissance leader was none other than Isayas Aferwerki of Ertra, another golden boy who didn’t take baby steps towards sociopath power mongering. Remember him?
But back to the story.
Then came the Ethiopian elections of 2005 and EPRDF –gulp!- didn’t have enough statisticians on hand to figure out that, for example, a voting district with, say, a population of 17,000 people couldn’t logically produce 36,000 votes—even if you counted all the split personalities. But we know who to blame for this fuzzy math… trounced Minister of Un-Education, the now damsel in distress, Ms. Genet Zewdie. (see Dagmawi’s excellent analysis on the genesis of the elections and how everything went wrong for the EPRDF.)
So that vote rigging thing and pictures of soldiers clubbing students pissed off someone at the AP because it started telling everybody that Meles is running a “sometime authoritarian” government.
You would think that that would be a hint for people like Bereket “Baghdad Bob” Simon, EPRDF spokesman and the land’s Mis-Information Minister, that maybe they should ease up on the browbeating.
You would think.
“The smooth functioning of life”?? As in “why can’t they leave us alone to kill the students” kind of smooth functioning of life? When you put a city ill at ease, Mr. Bereket, by beating up its kids, you can almost be guaranteed that there is a premise to assume that there is no “smooth functioning of life.” Seriously, look up “smooth functioning of life” in the encyclopedia when you come up for breath.
Wait. Did the Minister of Information of Ethiopia just say “…disrupted the smooth functioning of life. So the government had to use the anti-riot police to resolve the situation” ???
While he is at it, Mr. Bereket might want to look up the definition of “to resolve.” When people are dead and you have a city in siege, it’s not what anyone would call resolved.
And then of course you have the “the Opposition made me do it” excuse that doesn’t seem to be convincing anyone. It’s past time to retire that line, but it serves a greater purpose for the EPRDF. We’ll come to that.
Perhaps Ato Bereket can lean from the Oppositions’ response:
Okay, so what does a “sometime authoritarian regime” turn into when pictures of bloodied old men and women and kids keep popping up, disrupting the, um, smooth functioning of committing carnage?
Ouch! That would be the BBC finally bitch-slapping that “renaissance leader” fairytale.
Then the BBC turns a little Dr. Phil on us.
Sorry to break this to the BBC, but the EPRDF doesn’t do “reflection.” Any person keen on reflection and introspection would have thought twice about gunning down college students… but that could just be me.
Oh, Financial Times, bring it home:
According to a US State Department report, the government's human rights record remains poor, with allegations of unlawful killings and "limited freedom of association".
The economic outlook is also far from rosy, with complaints that reform has been too slow and that there are excessive state controls.
And how is the press explaining the Prime Minister’s latest about face? Financial Times, I do believe you have a theory…
Almost up to the point that his Tigrayan People's Liberation Front (TPLF) - which forms the core of the EPRDF - seized power, Mr. Meles and others reportedly called for Albanian-style socialism. But as the guerrillas marched on
"Meles is a capitalist on the outside, a Marxist on the inside, which is why they are in a state of disarray," says one analyst. Former TPLF members concur. When Mr. Meles promoted his idea of revolutionary democracy, "I never understood it myself, even though I was in the party," says one.
Ay, Caramba! You mean to tell us that Tony Blair and Jimm’ah Carter have been fraternizing with a Capi-Marxist all along? That this is a man who says one thing but practices another? You mean that he has had a sinister agenda all this time and he was fooling all of the people all of the time? Say it ain’t so.
BBC… say it ain’t so…
Uh-oh. I suppose that was bound to come out sooner or later. But wait, when did Jimm’ah and Ato Meles get acquainted?
Well we are shocked… shocked I tell you. Who knew?? And.. wow… this is going to be uncomfortable to explain.
BBC… anything else you have to say?
No good can come out of that,
It might be helpful if the next time PM Meles or Ato Bereket come out to brief the press if they wear a “I am not a Commie” t-shirt… just to give Mr. Jimm’ah a out clause.
And so we come to the elections… Financial Times...
"He underestimated that people have been suppressed for 14 years," says one diplomat. "Suddenly the cork was taken out of the bottle with the presence of the observers."
Former TPLF members say he relied too heavily on cadres to gauge opinion, arguing the party was weakened by a split in 2001. That occurred largely because of his leadership of the border war with
The split was the most serious challenge to Mr. Meles and a dozen senior party members were dismissed, removing internal threats to his leadership.
But while his position was reinforced, former TPLF members say he is alienated from the people.
"As a person he is very clever, but as a leader how can you be clever if you do not see what is going on?" says Amare Aregawi, an editor and former TPLF member.
Oh such sweet words of clarity. So that’s what’s afflicting PM Meles & Associates! Not seeing what’s going on? I just thought they were being your average, hardcore, ruthless, power-hungry, megalomaniac evil-geniuses. Shows you what I know.
And so, from progressive, to authoritarian to Godless Commie—all in three days.
Yesterday, boys and girls, we examined how the EPRDF will be going after the Opposition—not the big players, of course, but the operatives. And, ka-ching! we were right on schedule because on Wednesday the rounding up of Opposition members started.
From the Opposition’s web page:
Each and every movement of the leaders, private and business could not be free from their follow up. The problem has been more severe on Lidetu Ayalew, who have been detained the whole of today at his office with gun men. In a latest development he has been beaten by the capturers and was not allowed to move out to his house. His secretary and his relatives who came to get him dinner have just been taken to custody.
The other leaders including Engineer Hailu Shawl, Dr. Berhanu Nega and Dr. Befekadu Degefe are in what one could call a house arrest.
And what were the EPRDF’s chief buddies doing when all of this is unfolding? Well, Mr. Blair is in DC on a grand “let’s help
And Mistah Jimm’ah? What was Mistah Jimm’ah doing on a bright shiny day in Jo’ja? Oh, wait, first, here’s how he defended PM Meles’ decision to ban demonstrations:
The ex-US leader said he had been satisfied by Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi's personal explanation of his decision to ban public demonstrations in
"His opinion was that this was a cautionary measure, temporary in nature, geographically limited to prevent any confrontation of a violent nature between winners and losers here in the capital city," Carter told reporters.
It is such a magnificently condescending statement that it takes one's breath away. This is the man we are all waiting for to make a final declaration on whether the elections were free and fair? Oh, Africa...
Former President Carter on Tuesday called for the
Such reports have surfaced despite President Bush's "bold reminder that
A quick check of my map tells me that
Then of course came a windfall of statements from the west.
The EU’s chief observer Ana Gomes seems to be one of the few ones with the balls to use the “c” word when it comes to expressing her views on the EPRDF’s rampage.
The mission has conveyed to the government its condemnation of the home arrests and other harassment and threatening measures imposed on the opposition coalition ... leaders in the last days, severally curtailing their political activities and personal movement,” said Ana Gomes, head of the EU observer mission.
Well whaddaya know? I have a feeling (call it a woman’s intuition) that Ms. Gomes will soon quit her job in protest and in disgust after diplo-speak finally gets on her last nerves. She will finally be the one to blow the lid off of this cesspool, unable to keep quiet while the EPRDF rears up to do some more “law enforcing.” Perhaps she will be the one who will have the forethought and conscience to stop a looming genocide before it starts… or, if we are lucky, before a few hundred thousand people die and the
But the most pathetic “we are concerned” statement comes from Britain’s Foreign Minister, Lord Triesman, who, in a stiflingly oblique way managed to squeeze in a few words of gratuitous “Oh those little Africans, don’t they know it’s tea time?” proclamation. Your Lordship, do, please, appraise us of your feelings…
I have been alarmed to hear reports of loss of life and continuing unrest in
Yeah. Death is usually the result when you fire live bullets into a crowd, your Lordship… but perhaps your valet never told you that.
These incidents should urgently be investigated. Equally we note and regret the reported deaths of some members of the security forces.
Interestingly, I couldn’t find any reference to non-civilian deaths—not even from Baghdad Bereket. But do go on, your Lord-ness:
Can someone please explain to me what the Opposition is being urged to restrain from? From issuing Press Releases, ‘coz that’s what it’s been doing… and urging calm... y'know.. or "sissy stuff", as that kind of thing is called in EPRDF circles. So, a ruling party that kills unarmed citizens and an opposition party that’s holed up at home gets the same “please restrain yourself” scolding? The opposition is not armed. It does not have an army. It’s not as if someone raided a university and started shooting random.. oh, the government did that! Oh, well. Then it makes sense for the Opposition to be lectured on the merits of restraint.
Anything else, Lordy?
It is vital that leaders of all political parties take full responsibility… There is a clear consensus throughout the international community that all parties must respect the constitutionally established law and democratic institutions and that they should call on their supporters and the security forces to exercise restraint and respect international human rights.
Okay. Can you imagine what hackneyed, halfhearted decree LT would have come with if he wasn’t pressured by Ethiopians in the
And what’s with…
…all parties must respect the constitutionally established law and democratic institutions
I wonder if arresting opposition parties and killing students is constitutional? Let me re-read the Ethiopian Constitution and get back with you on that.
At least Kofi Annan, perhaps his conscience still wounded from the Rwandan debacle, managed to eek out a statement that included the “c” word:
The Secretary-General condemns the violence in
Hooray… and hello, Mr. Annan’s new spine. Nice to meet you.
We await Condi Rice’s and President Bush’s statement… annnyyy day now.
So… what will be the EPRDF’s next step, boys and girls? Well, let’s look at its statement from Wednesday:
… accusing the opposition of inciting violence and warned: "these destructive forces who wish to plunge our country into terminal crisis ... would not be exempt from the firm hand of the law."
“Firm hand of the law”… According to the EPRDF decoder that means, “folks, this was just the beginning. The kiddie gloves are coming off!” Most certainly a lot more Opposition members will be rounded up… some will perish. It’s classic EPRDF.
Next will come its coup de grace… It will accuse the Opposition of inciting ethnic cleansing—a charge it has already leveled several times on the Opposition since way before the elections (see Premature Evaluation for a chronicle of events). It will “find evidence” that the Opposition has “given orders to their supporters to go out and kill… let’s see, all Tigrayans, and eat their flesh before dawn.”
And thus a self fulfilling prophecy of a government that is determined to take down