“Apart from the Kingdom of the Lord there is not on this earth any nation that is superior to any other. Should it happen that a strong Government finds it may with impunity destroy a weak people, then the hour strikes for that weak people to appeal to the
Emperor Haile Selassie.
That was after Mussolini rained mustard gas on Ethiopians. The
That is why I decided to come myself to bear witness against the crime perpetrated against my people and give Europe a warning of the doom that awaits it, if it should bow before the accomplished fact.
A few years later, World War II erupted and
In 2005, after witnessing the EPRDF pump live ammunition into an unarmed crowd in the name of preserving democracy, the world’s greatest nations are asking the Opposition party to “show restraint”-- the same languid “can’t we all get along” reprimand they gave the Italian government as it continued gassing civilians.
Meanwhile at the ranch…
Since before the elections Robo-Cop Prime Minister Meles and his hideously indifferent Cyborg sidekick Minister of Information, Ato Bereket “Baghdad Bob” Simon, have been strumming the notes of one of the most incendiary songs of our time: that the Opposition harbors lofty Hutu-style Interwhame dreams of death and destruction:
Ethiopia's Minister of Information, Bereket Simon, tells VOA the comparison of the Hutu rebel group's actions during Rwanda's genocide to the actions of Ethiopia's opposition parties is fair and accurate, especially after Sunday's opposition rally in the capital, Addis Ababa. "They are preaching for violence and for kicking out the ruling party out of
Perhaps we should all chip in and buy Prime Minister Meles & Associates a copy of “Hotel Rwanda” because it does not appear that they are familiar with what actually happened in
So why… WHY in the world would a government charge its (unarmed) opposition of wanting to reduce
So everybody wants the opposition to show “restraint.”
The strongest condemnation of what happened in Addis… er, Finfinne came from Chris Smith, a Republican Congressman from New Jersey who:
has called on Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi to call off security forces, who by Wednesday evening had killed scores of peaceful protesters, wounded at least 100 others and jailed more than 400 Ethiopians protesting the results of the recent elections in that East African nation.
You see, Jimmy Carter, that’s how it’s done. And that’s all we wanted from you. You can still be best friends with PM Meles. He can still show you his war plans. We just wanted you to say that what happened was more than just “acts of violence that appear to be the result of a lack of restraint on the part of some government security forces.” You used forceful language when you wanted Gitmo closed. How is it that Ethiopian lives fare less?
Congressman Chris Smith, school Mistah Jimm’ah, please… in your own words:
The European Union, which monitored the Ethiopian elections, declared that there were significant irregularities. Clearly, there are legitimate concerns about the results of the May 15th elections, and citizens should have the right to challenge results they feel to be incorrect. Those challenges must be taken seriously, and if the evidence shows there was fraud that skewed the results, those elections should be rerun so that citizens have their right to vote honored,” Chairman Smith said.
But Congressman, you have more to say?
President Bush must take all necessary steps to persuade the Ethiopian government to immediately halt the state-sponsored violence in
Cherub faced White House spokesperson Scott McClellan must not have gotten that memo since he, um, urged restraint.
"Everybody needs to refrain from violence and exercise restraint. The threat of violence is unacceptable and we urge students, civil society leaders and opposition supporters and members of the government and political leaders to refrain from violence and maintain a peaceful atmosphere in
That would be nice if actually killing people was considered just a “threat of violence.” Call me old fashioned but when bullets pierce through flesh… we’ve gone beyond a “threat of violence.”
But listen, Opposition- your peddlers of really, really violent… press releases, a little restraint, please? Use the time during your house arrest to write a poem. Organize your sock drawers.
On June 7, at a joint press conference with Tony “Can help but love me them Africans” Blair, President Bush stated that the way he courted Condi Rice to the position of Secretary of State was by promising her to pay attention to Africa. We are waiting, Condi.
Prime Minister Meles gave an interview to Reuters on Friday and The Society of All Two-Bit Dictators with Pronounced Inferiority Complexes around the world rejoiced. They have a new leader.
It is a morbidly skin-crawling experience, but let’s see what the Prime Minister has to say.
Meles said it was his government's duty to extend a ban on demonstrations in the capital expiring next week but he saw no risk of violence spreading across the country and there was "no turning back" from democracy.
No turning back from democracy?? Er, would freedom of assembly BE one of the tenets of a democracy? And wouldn’t the capricious banning of it for an indeterminate period of time be… what’s the word people use… insanely undemocratic? Either the Prime Minister’s bullshit filter needs changing or he has stopped caring how he comes off. “I am banning demonstrations! Long live democracy! Next?”
You know? Now I am beginning to understand the reticence felt by Tony Blair and Jimmy Carter towards condemning their buddy. They must feel exactly the same way guests at the Michael Jackson/Lisa-Marie Presley wedding ceremony must have felt. I mean, you know the whole thing is bullshit, you know Mike would rather be cuddling with a 7-yeal old-boy, and you know that the whole thing is more than a little unsightly, but… whachagonnado? You have already told people you are his #1 fan, and you’ve already bought him an expensive wedding gift? What CAN you do? There is only one thing TO do: you try not to look directly at the spectacle that is bride and groom kissing. You muster up a smile and say, “You two make a beautiful couple,” through clenched jaws even as you make a mental note to burn your “Thriller” album. I mean, c’mmoon… you KNOW that when Michael Jackson says he loves children, you know what he means is that he LOVES children--- who are of the adolescent boy variety. Much like when Meles says he loves democracy, what he really loves is the Albanian Marxist version of democracy—namely, the one that says it’s ok to put your opposition in jail in the name of preserving democracy. And heck, as long as Michael doesn’t want to share a bed with YOUR son, who are you to judge?
I get it.
So, when PM Meles says “there is no turning back from democracy,” you know he is audaciously sullying the sanctity of the institution, you know that he has molested the very concept of democracy, and he looks creepy saying it, but at least he is TRYING. Much like Michael tried to be a family man. And these days, when it comes to African politics, trying is as good as doing. Now, where can we get a piece of that lovely wedding cake?
But back to the thoughts of the Prime Minister:
My guess is that the worst is behind us, both in terms of the scale of disturbances and most certainly in terms of deaths involved.
By which the Prime Minister means “the worst is behind us… in
Here’s some of the items checked off on Meles’ “To do” list for the week of June 6-12:
- Order militia to kill first and not ask questions
- Tout the merits of democracy (remember, I am FOR democracy!)
- Take call from Kofi Anan and stifle yawn as he lectures me
- Blame opposition for making me kill people
- Make sure Bereket says something dumb (recurring event.)
- Blame opposition for making me kill people.
- Avoid call from Condi Rice
- Call Tony… again! Ask when the next Africa Commission retreat is.
- Blame opposition for making me kill people
- Place opposition leaders under house arrest and tell people they are only under “intense surveillance.”
- Oh, rough up diplomats who want to visit the opposition leaders.
That’s a full schedule. No wonder he looks exhausted. About the last item on that list:
Diplomats who arrived [at Opposition leader Hailu Shawel’s house] were searched under protest and at least one was pushed and shoved by soldiers.
"This is absolutely disgraceful," Clarke said of the behaviour of the soldiers. In a phone call to Information Minister Bereket from outside Hailu's home, Clarke could be heard saying diplomats had been assaulted.
Um. Not exactly something you’d wanna put on the Ethiopian Tourism Commission’s pamphlet… “13 Months of Sunshine… now spread ‘em!”
Anyway, if the Meles government had the nerve to commit the kind of atrocity in Addis (do we call it Addis still or Finfinne? Addis Finfinne?), can you imagine what his goons are doing in the countryside where people have to fend off brutality without the aide of an AP cameraman? Reports are filtering in from Gonder and Bahr Dar of sweeping imprisonments and killings. The Ethiopian Human Rights Council says that:
Ethiopian police have arrested more than 3 000 opposition supporters in a crackdown following deadly clashes last week during protests over alleged election fraud, a human rights group said on Monday.
Ah, the Meles democracy... over 74 million served. Tangy.
There IS no turning back from democracy, is there?
But speak, oh fearless leader.
We deeply regret that lives have been lost, and if there has been an instance of excessive use of force, that is obviously something we will look into.
Right. You know what would have made that statement a scoch bit believable, Mr. Prime Minister? If you hadn’t qualified it with “if” there has been”, and “an instance” of excessive force. There appear to be several instances of excessive force (some of us call it killings, but don't mind us). And while you are looking into matters, could you also look into not killing more people. Just.. would… be.. nice. Oh, and of course, you will "obviously" look into that rare occurence of "excessive force." Will you let us know when you make a deretmination?
He said he had received calls from U.N. Secretary-General
Tonnnnni, you not calling the most progressive leader of in
And what did these callers say to you, Mr. Prime Minister?
"Their advice has been that we should be restrained, as far as the circumstances allow us, and these are views and opinions, we share with them completely," he said.
Restraint as far as circumstances allow you?? To which the Prime Minister replied, “Well, the circumstances has thus far allowed us to only kill 36 people.”
But Meles said he remained ready to take "preventive action" to keep things from getting out of control and added a security risk in the capital of more than 3 million remained. "There is no risk of generalized violence in
Well, aren’t we glad then that the worst is over. And who knew that the best “preventative action to keep things from getting out of control” was to, hello, imprison everyone! Seriously, isn’t that the pinnacle of “preventative actions”?
Meles: Look, there’s no disturbances in the country.
The World: Yeeeahhh.. well, everyone is in prison, Mr. Prime Minister.
Meles: There is no turning back on democracy!
Of course there isn’t.
But Meles said his push for greater democracy remained on track, describing the elections as "a watershed." He added: "It's an indication that our democracy is maturing. And I believe there is no turning back."
Mmmmm. Question: I know Albanian Marxists have a different concept of democracy than say… the rest of the world, but, is it democratic to… I dunno, place your opponents under house arrest? Answer: Listen, little uppity miss. There is no turning back on democracy!
Meles confirmed opposition reports that some of their leaders had been prevented from leaving the country. "We have said you're not leaving while you're inciting violence and starting fires here. They (the opposition) have been under police surveillance just in case.
Yeah just in case they want to speak and move freely, let’s not let them. How can we? That would be turning our backs on democracy. And, pardon my ignorance about goon-tactics, but when you post hoodlums at an Opposition member’s house and cavity search his guests, heck, I would have thought that would be considered more than “police surveillance.”
But let’s not squabble over semantics. I interrupted you, Mr. Prime Minister.
If things get hotter they will be detained without any question. If that's intimidation, so be it."
No. No, that would not be intimidation. Thuggish? Maybe. Hooliganish? Ehhh. Gangsta Democracy? A little. But intimidation? Naaah.
The idiot in me wants to ask, “Well, Mr. PM… if they are inciting violence and setting fires, um, why NOT let them leave? A few more fires you wouldn’t have to stomp out/shoot at… maybe? No?
So, Prime Minister, now that you’ve lost all the seats in AddiFinfinne, when are you going to Disney World?
"I thought we would do better. I think it's more a protest vote than a vote for the opposition," Meles said of the EPRDF performance in
Lesse now. In his own diabolically cute way, the Prime Minister seems to be saying that the unemployed, ruffian constituency carried the opposition in
Prime Minister Meles told journalists after the demonstration that the Participation of the entire residents of the city was a victory for EPRDF and an embarrassment for anti-peace forces, who claim that the city is their backyard when in fact it is not.
Soooo, what happened to the entire city’s votes? Well then let’s look at the numbers:
Addis Ababa (it was
ZONE4 Constituency Woreda 1/9.
Ato Mesifin Mengsitu Dabulo CUD 77.77 %
Ato Dawit Yohans Afework EPRDF 18.35 %
Mmm. But that’s not fair… you know those Wordea 1/9 people. 77.77% hooligans. Let’s see another results.
Let’s try Woreda 15.
Pastor Tsehay Tadesse Ali CUD 77.38 %
Ato Birhane K/Mariam Yihidego EPRDF 17.43%
Well, we KNOW who lives in Woreda 15! Jobless whack jobs.
D/r Hayilu Araya W/Gebrel CUD 84.95 %
Ato Aychew Tefeta Wedaje EPRDF 10.06 %
(Aside: wouldn’t the Grand Wizard of the KKK get more votes than that if he ran in Crenshaw?)
Try Zone 4 Woreda 11:
Ato Mesifn Ayalew Ali CUD 82.35 %
Dr.Tesifanesh Belay Adal EPRDF 11.76 %
(That’s awkward because people in
No.. no.. no…Go to Zone 2, Woreda 20
Ato Kifele Tigeneh Abate CUD 89.75 %
Ato G/Wahid W/Giorgis W/Michael EPRDF 4.20 %
Okay, okay… another unfair comparison. Granted G/Wahid W/Giorgis W/Michael – not a catchy name, but 4.2%??? Zone 2 Woreda 20 must be where all the hooligans live.
But did I say Zone 2 Woreda 20?
I meant Zone 2, Woreda 21/22
Ato Ledetu Ayalew Miheretu CUD 75.47 %
W/ro Genet Zewede Biru EPRDF 21.16 %
Waitadamnminute! Same Genet Zewdie, Education Minister poseur? She… is not a “Dr”? I could have sworn she had a PhD in Grand Mismanagement. Bummer. She only lost by 75.47%? I want a recount. How does a Minister of Education, honcho EPRDF-er lose her district by 75.41%? They should dissolve the Addis Ababa Administration today! Funny coincidence, Ato Lidetu (who is the #1 baby-daddy candidate in the political groupie crowd) is one of the opposition leaders put under “police surveillance” by the EPRDF. Ato Lidetu was made to spend 30 hours in his office surrounded by trigger happy raging lunatics, surviving only on tap water. Yeah, he was a democratically elected official, but democracy has to be protected against someone like him.
But back to the numbers… the sa’siss’tix:
What about the “
Dr. Befekadu Degefe Weredafa CUD 80.72 %
Dr. Tofik Abidulahi Ahimed EPRDF 11.85 %
But… but… Zone 1, Woreda 4—the beacon of non-hooliganism:
D/r Tadeyos Bogale Degefa CUD 83.48%
W/ro Bisrat Gashawutena Tirfe EPRDF 14.72 %
(Anyone with a name Gashawutena, you would think, is a shoo-in.
I have a question:
Innaye millew-- CUD voteroch yemannachew dereqosh? (Law school... it makes you ask poignant questions like that.)
…and so on… and so on… So, with all due respect, Mr. Prime Minister, and granted “I thought we would do better. I think it's more a protest vote than a vote for the opposition" will be as gracious as your nature will ever allow you to be, but this just ain’t a protest vote. It was a good old fashioned trouncing! Ask your former No Education Minister.
But nice try. Now stop acting like an abusive husband and stop terrorizing they who dared reject your love.
And the Prime Minister concludes:
Asked if he would extend a month-long ban on demonstrations that started on May 16, he replied: "It would be irresponsible not do to so. We are considering our options: Whether we extend it for a month or a week is something we are still studying."
There you go. Prime Minister Meles: warden of responsibility. Caretaker of democracy. Guardian of justice. Sleep well, world.
Eventually, after the dust settles and some of the bleeding stops, the little matter of resolving the contested votes will resurface and the EPRDF will have to contend with 300 constituencies being under review by the embattled NEBE.
Now that it has blown off some steam by killing some people and flexing its muscle, perhaps the EPRDF will sit down to try a new version of Democracy- capital “d”… the non-Marxist version.
In a feresum/mEdawum declaration the opposition has offered this avowal:
The CUD would like to once more unequivocally and without reservations declare that it accepts all the provisions of the Declaration it signed on
And I guess
In a constructive spirit of compromise and mutual respect, the CUD would like to propose to its joint signatories that in addition to the meeting due to take place on Monday June 13th under the auspices of the NEB to discuss the complaints and appeals procedures, a meeting should also take place as soon as possible to explore how the commitments entered into by all signatories, notably in respect of commitments to non-violence and incitements to violence, can be respected
is diplo-speak for “get the hell over yourselves and act like civilized human beings!”
Ah, yes. Finesse—a lost art on the EPRDF.
The Opposition has effectively called the ERPDF’s bluff. So, you want democracy, let’s have Democracy; let’s sort out the contested votes and see where it takes us. The EPRDF will have none of that. Not when it can keep on blaming the Opposition for inciting violence—but now, with the CUD’s “we are ready to tango” proposition, it is going to be pretty hard to sell that line to the world. The chance that EPRDF will step up to that challenge is nil at this point. It has lost too much face, and it will punish the Ethiopian people for it.
And isn’t that really the difference between statesmen and despots? Compare the opposition’s statement above to “if that is intimidation then so be it!” The Prime Minster should be reminded that he is a running a country and not a second-rate football stadium.
What we have not had in
"Anyone who incites violence, other than those elected, will have to face the law"
without him being called to task about it. We have forgotten that leaders are not supposed to spray a crowd of people with live ammunition. We have forgotten that honor, above all, is the difference between a head of state and a leader. We have forgotten to seek leaders who hold
It was constantly repeated that there was not merely a conflict between the Italian Government and the
That was Emperor Haile Sellasie in
How did we get used to leaders like this?
The EU and the
It is collective security: it is the very existence of the
The same that was true in 1936 is true today.
Hopefully the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute as well as the International Foundation for Election Systems, all of whom were kicked out of
We also need the EU and the
Voting was interrupted in 16 polling stations in these six constituencies and so the electorate have to be allowed to exercise their democratic right," said Mekonnen Wondimu, the
Why in the world would voting be interrupted in the first place?
Emperor Haile Selassie:
At no time, and under no circumstances could sanctions that were intentionally inadequate, intentionally badly applied, stop an aggressor. This is not a case of the impossibility of stopping an aggressor but of the refusal to stop an aggressor.
Taps on Prime Minister Meles’ government’s wrist in the form of tepid “we are shocked.. shocked” communiqués and deliberately tortuous diplomatic statements are not enough--. just like the sanctions against the Itallian agression were a mockery. Congressman Chris Smith knows that… as do the White House,
It is international morality which is at stake and not the Articles of the Covenant.
This is the man that the EPRDF calls a ruthless dictator. I supposed he didn’t have a knack for saying “only the elected can incite violence” or “if that is intimidation, so be it” with their kind of insolence.
This is a government that holds its opponents under arrest and then heralds how there is no stopping democracy. It is a government that has so far killed 36 people in broad daylight and assert that that is an “indication that our democracy is maturing.” It is a government that cannot stop protestors without firing and killing people. By definition, this is a failed government.
It IS international morality at stake.
My favorite quote from Ethiopundit:
Ethiopians will remember who they have always been and not what they have been told to be at the point of a gun.
How long before the EPRDF finds another excuse to scrap any plans for a wide re-voting? 3…2…1.
(p.s. I will be travelling next week... any guest bloggers interested in upholding the 100% fara free dogma of Wonqittedom?)