Monday, November 14, 2005

"I'm in the Mood.... for War..."

Fellow sociopath guerilla fighters turned knighted “enlightened African leaders”, and two generally los loco compadres had a good thing going: for the better part of the past few weeks they had the UN and especially Secretary General Kofi Annan twittering about nervously like a blonde who's running out of lipstick. Anan was paniky about an impending war between Ethiopia and Eritrea. The press went along with the frenzy, and so we were subjected to saber rattling that often sounded like the vapid posturing of two malcontent schoolboys.

The plan was to get the world to divert its attention from Ato Issayas “not so” Afewerqi and Ato Meles Zenawi’s mounting domestic problems. PM Meles, of course, is in the last throes of his reign and has decided the best way to leave his mark on Mother Earth is by getting completely unhinged and blanketing the land with terror. His counterpart up north… well, he’s long been ticking the wrong way for a while now. Pick a neurosis he's had a double dose of it.

So the world bought it. (Well, not all the world. Just those who wanted to buy it, and those who needed to buy it. Ethiopundit does his thang in “Rumors of War.") Some fretted what a new war would mean. Conjecture was rampant about how Ethiopians and Eritreans would rally behind their leaders out of nationalism and bury the hatchet until the time was ripe to dig up the hatchet and bury it in the backs of Atos Meles and Issayas.

The western world would be obligated to get off Ato Meles’ back about this whole democracy-gone-haywire thing, which also serves as a great relief for PM Meles’ donor nations, who have been increasingly embarrassed by their Golden Boy’s killing spree. They, too, wanted a little distraction.

And until Friday everything was working according to plan.

But like the world-class boobs that they are, Ato Meles and his buddy could not leave a good thing alone. They just had to up the crazy one more notch and the whole deck of cards came tumbling down.

Eritrea has condemned neighbouring Ethiopia for "bloody suppression and
atrocities" during a recent crackdown on unrest which left more than 40 dead and
stirred fears of instability in the region's dominant power.


A statement from Eritrea's Information Ministry also lambasted Ethiopian Prime
Minister Meles Zenawi for "farcical" recent elections where he won another
five-year term.

You see what I mean? After all the hard sell on a war of convenience, they just had to fan the flames a little too earnestly, and now it’s all gone.

In a statement sure to sting Meles, Eritrea said his government was to blame for
fanning tensions that led to the recent bloody confrontations in Addis Ababa
between police and crowds protesting against a May poll the opposition says was

And a quote? You got yourself a crazy ass quote to seal the deal?

"The recent elections had only been a farcical drama acted by the TPLF regime
for gaining more time," said the editorial on the [Eritrean] Information
Ministry's Web site …

Yes, they have a Ministry of Information, too.

"So we don't find it strange in the ethical code of the regime the acts of
stealing, perjury and falsification of the people's will and attempting to
silence the peaceful opposition by the barrels of the guns.

Oh, boys. You were just so close. So close.

It had probably taken Ato Issayas and Ato Meles months to hatch up this plan. They propably had to work through surrogates ; they probably had to use code words… “Operation What the Hell Do We Do?”… all for naught. Making it look like you are perpetually on the brink of war is a lot of work.

Well, maybe people were just not buying it, or maybe the world did not come buckling to its knees fast enough to “prevent another senseless war”, or just maybe the domestic front was not abating like it was supposed to, but the “enlightened Africans” thought ‘twas time to engage in a juvenile verbal back and forth.

Let’s guess what’ll happen next… Ato Meles will say something equally creepy back, and then Ato Issayas will volley back a “nee’ner nee’ner” rejoinder, and then Ato Meles will pretend he is offended and then Ato Isayas will pretend he is more offended, and then… another round of “Tension between Ethiopia and Eritrea is at an all time high. Annan says he is “highly anxious” about another war….” Blah, blah, blah.

We get it, boys. We get it. Except now the whole world gets it and you both look like madmen who think nothing of using war as a cheap PR stunt. If you ever needed proof that these two are working together on this cockmamie scheme, then this is it, because we know Isu is a few marbles short of a bag, but he ain’t that stupid.

Now you have to go back to the board and find another way to scare us. Bad boys! Bad, bad boys.

Now, the pernicious part two of this story on the part of Ato Meles is to whip up the frenzy about how the “chauvinists” do not care if the country is being invaded by the godless Shabia, therefore leaving the north to languish at the hands of the enemy. Tribalists will promptly be up in arms about the negtegNas yadda yadda… and maybe Professor Sachs will find another revanchist era to zero in on. We know the drill.

Nice try, boys.

Meanwhile, finally, finally, supporters of the EPRDF in the Diaspora are a comin’ out to be heard in a rally at the State Department tomorrow to voice their displeasure at the way VOA is covering events in Ethiopia, and to, um, “encourage the Government of Ethiopia to further intensify its efforts in the democratization process…”

Intensify its democratization process? So that’s what the Ethiopian government has been up to these past five months. To think some of us thought it was on a... what’s that thing called when you aim a gun at an unarmed person and shoot… no… wait… it’ll come to me…

And then Tuesday will be another rally, also at the State Department by another segment of the Diaspora that will be asking the Ethiopian government to... stop its brand of “intensifying democratization in Ethiopia.”

I have a feeling that if Ato Meles intensifies any more democracy on us we might end up over-democratized. Just like the UK. And Canada. And Germany.


Anonymous Dina said...

Hello Wonq,

your resonse to Mr. Sachs was very intersting and illuminating. I thought of sending him a letter with your main points- but I'm crap at writing such things (too subjective)and thought that you should send him a condensed, objectively worded letter explaining why his patronising weakling attitude insults Ethiopia even more.
As for life in Addis at present... People crying during church sermons, extreme sadness and frustration- we got treated to the burial ceremony of a military police office beated to death by "those unemployed CUD youths" on ETV- it was sickening, perverse and sadist, no metion of the 46+...

2:08 AM, November 14, 2005  
Anonymous ay gud said...

i know they are wholly capable, but if i may make a couple of suggestions on the wording of the slogans for the "democracy intensifiers" at the rally today:

"Ms Rice: What's Love got to do with it?"

"Ethiopian democracy will not be crushed by the real deal!"

"Let the police do what they were hired to do: intensify democracy!"

"AU says: EThiopian elections free and fair." (No one make mention of the fact that the AU has also endorsed Mugabe's elections.)

And in case Walta is writing the slogans,

"Ethiopia shall not bow to the colonial vicerory who don't know its ethiopian history that is parcelled in a new wave of democracy and its rationalization that the usurppuring of the constitution by anti-peace forces cannot have a resultant democracy that is based on pro-derg street hooligans who are chauvanists, says PM Meles before he went to North Korea to meet with the under minister of development and cooperation!"

"Anuaks for Prime Minister Meles!"

....... etc, etc.......

6:42 AM, November 14, 2005  
Anonymous ketemewa said...

I know I know, they both are evil men. But I'm equally as annoyed by those of you who spend hours finding ever fancier ways to call them names and mock them.

So let's take account of the good the bad and the ugly deeds;

1)What has meles done for/to ethiopia

2)What has wonkette done for ethiopia (It's safe to assume she hasn't done anything *to* ethiopia)

medreku yenantew new.

11:56 AM, November 14, 2005  
Anonymous Solo said...

rumor has it that berket semon aspires relocation to the VOA to further democratise the country. i am not surprised by this rumor except that i am worried by his over ambitious use of english words...

12:33 PM, November 14, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have to agree with the last comment...

I'm afraid our dear Wonkette hasn't yet gotten over her mean forenji tennis-court-owning-guadenia and her rejection from Harvard.

If Wonkette could direct some of that considerable writing talent towards something more interesting; like the structural issues that put/keep such men in power...then we might all have something to discuss.

12:41 PM, November 14, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The EPRDF buys about $10 million worth of lobbying every year here in North America. They are provided with a mature and effective professional service.

The opposition and civil society interested in promoting democracy have no lobbyists in North America. Those of us who belong to the opposition or civil society organisations have become those lobbyists.

Keeping after Sachs is an exercise in lobbying. One can't just write a couple of letters and let things lie. Persistence is necessary, especially once the issue begins to fade away, precisely so it doesn't fade away easily.

Of course, one has to be mindful of the substance and tone of the correspondence, and Wonkette's letter is absolutely superb in this regard. It's not your typical Ethiopian rant.

So writing to Sachs or one's political representative is essential and must be kept up in the long run in order to be effective.

Also very important to note that the dissecting or 'unpacking' (in current lingo) of Sachs' replies is very educational for many. People quickly get used to newspeak and don't question it. This was a good exercise in exposing EPRDF newspeak.

1:53 PM, November 14, 2005  
Anonymous Buqaya said...

I never cease to be amazed by the very common impulse in our culture to ridicule, dismiss or trivialize when one of us decides to share a personal story in a public arena.

Dear Anonymous (10:41 am), did you seriously not grasp how Wonkette used her anecdote to illustrate/make palpable our man Sach's condescending e-mail? Did you honestly believe Wonkette cut an impish swath across Brown and Harvard to soothe a squased or resentful ego?

Had you read her jeremiad more carefully you would have also noticed that she HAD addressed what interested you most: "the structural issues that put/keep such men in power."

Wonkette, dear Anonymous, was swinging an axe at one of the pillars (I believe that's a structure) that allow people like Meles to hold onto their power: legitimacy. As long as influential people such as Sachs confer an aura of international credibility and respectability on Meles, it would be difficult to convince policymakers here in it this country to take Ethiopians’ ire and grievance seriously.

Next time, Anonymous, if you don't get the point of her articles I do hope you first ask for an explanation or interpretation from her or from her readers before being so easily dismissive.

1:59 PM, November 14, 2005  
Anonymous not anonymous said...


I refuse to “mock” Isayas! If our Eritreans brethren want to roll around like some donkey on amed and let their strongman stick it to them, it ain’t no skin off my teeth!

But I want you to know ain’t nobody here is exactly wracking their brains to come up with “ever fancier ways to describe” the Fuehrer at the helm of the ET-gov’t. See what I mean? You think “Meles” and right away, you’re inundated by a torrent of unflattering “attributes” that stem from the out-and-out misery he’s brought to the land!

In other words ketemawa, his “names” flow directly from his (mis)deeds. If you’re one to call it as you see it, it’s an easy step from seeing “it” to imputing “it” to him.

Of course, if you’re one of the 20 lonely souls just back from protesting VOA’s coverage, your contract says to go easy on the man. Still, contract or no contract, unless you have an absolute aversion for the truth, you could never call this guy “progressive,” could you now?

How about “Clever?” Nah! That’s what white folks think he is! To them, a Continental Negro lipsynching Tina Turner is a harmless House-Negro bordering on Clever Negro!

Ok, what about “benevolent?” Now, THERE is a structural issue we can all discuss! I can just see the screaming headlines in Walta: “Structural Issue keeps our Man in Power!” And the text: “In a sudden fit of benevolent spirit, our benevolent Fuehrer of boundless benevolence, today, benevolently announced his desire to spare the lives of those treasonous Opposition-types by declaring his preference to have them rot in prison for the rest of their natural lives instead.

As soon as the News of His Excellency’s benevolence reached the Minitise-Goncha Administrative Zone of Region 23, residents collectively burst into a hearty rendetion of a structural song called. . .What the fuck is this Benevolence?”

3:17 PM, November 14, 2005  
Blogger Geja said...

Wonkette is too sophisticated to need my individual approval for her writings. However I will still say that her articles and our participation is one more way to tell the world that the criminal thugs in Menelik's old palace are just that - criminals and thugs that need to be removed. The likes of J Sachs are smart people who would only associate themselves with bad leaders only to a point. The moment they see Meles on the verge of falling and hurting their reputation as visionaries deserving the Nobel peace Prize, then they will drop him like a hot potato. After all J Sachs is not doing this entire Poverty Reduction thing out of pure altruism. Make it apparently clear to Sachs that Meles is a bad karma that belongs in the company of failed African criminals like Mobutu, Idi Amin and Tailor. This is our fight and Wonkette has so far shown to master the intellect and the historical base with her savvy communication style to keep the fight alive from this angle. Continue dear Wonk, your arrow is pointing at the right target and we will help all we can to make sure the bull’s eye gets it.

3:48 PM, November 14, 2005  
Anonymous xaxitu said...

Ere teregagu. I disagree with wonkette too at times. Is that a crime? Does one have to be a pro government zelot in order to have a different point of view? You are with us or against us hone eko negeru.

I like anonymous' question;

" the structural issues that put/keep such men in power..."

I find that so interesting. Why in our entire history have we never had a single leader that we can all agree was good or had our best interest at heart.

Not one.

We can explore to see if maybe all the tyrants of our history are just a reflection of our society or

...we can mock them.

seems like that is just about the only Demokrasiyawi metbt left.

8:35 PM, November 14, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

xaxitu, definitely a reflection of our society. Ethiopia, and Africa as a whole, is very socially underdeveloped and this is reflected in its institutions, including political institutions. The only way forward is to advance social development. This will overcome all other factors in favour of overall development.

That's what I think, anyway. Sociologists, where are you?

10:21 PM, November 14, 2005  
Anonymous Yohannes said...

I spent too much time reading and re-reading Sachs' response. Actually, Wonqetoch, it is pretty amazing stuff. It shows a fundamental lack of... something.

Part of me would like to think he was trying to be diplomatic, but if you read again his response to the violence it is the same Jimmy Carter hashed, patronizing crap.

Because intellectuals have been de-sensitized about how many African lives perish everyday (“15 million starving Ethiopians”, “20 million AIDS infected Africans”) they think a few hundred dying in "street violence" is nothing to get worked up about.

Wonq broke it down: if the US government had killed 42 protestors, what would have been the response? Or, if France had killed 42 North Africans in the ongoing unrest, would people like Jeffrey Sachs chalk it up to "revanchists"? The left would be up in arms.

I am glad someone called him on it--.

11:17 PM, November 14, 2005  
Anonymous makeda said...

if anyone thinks that all Weichegud and ethiopundit and the new cabal of ET punditcrasy are doing is "finding fancier words to insult" Meles, then sadly everything got lost in translation.

For the rest of us, group hug.
Whatever happened to the ET-gey resolution, btw?

11:30 PM, November 14, 2005  
Anonymous not anonymous said...


No, it’s not a crime! Of course not! I too disagreed with Wonq when I thought the occasion called for it. But when I did, I was fully aware of the possibility that folks out there might disagree with me TOO on my disagreement with Wonq; not out of some unquestioning loyalty to The Wonq, and certainly not out of some proclivity here for ostracizing people who dare to disagree with her, but out of a genuine desire to share their true opinion.

I don’t think there is a collective “you are with us or against us” one-size-fits-all MO at Wonkville! Sure, at times, there is a shared understanding amongst readers here of what is nice and what is not, but always there’s plenty of room for expressing a divergent opinion without fear of some wonqetian retribution. That’s the way I see it.

As for those of you, who felt left out of the discourse because of the absence of “structural issues that put/keep such men in power..." well, what’s stopping you? Outside of lamenting the lack of structure here, could you, er, share your thoughts on some structural issues so we can take a stab at it? So, please . . . feresum yihew, medawm yihew . . .!

3:25 PM, November 15, 2005  
Blogger kuchiye said...


We were on fire today!

20,000 of us filled Constitution Avenue to the brim...from Capitol Hill to Foggy Bottom. That is 22 blocks for Christ's sake! Only the annual gay/lesbian annual parade can muster such a huge turnout.

DC was stunned by the sheer size of the Ethiopian community. The politicians saw votes written all over us, the enemy saw a relentless protagonist and we saw in ourselves a proud and envigoratd family of "yeteran habeshoch" as Solomon Tekalegn put it in his inspiring songs today.

My karma was telling me you were right behind. Were you?

11:07 PM, November 15, 2005  
Blogger enaseb said...

enday.......yemen "if wonkette could just bla bla then we might bla bla" new demo? first of all, let me echo yohannes in sayin' this is a free forum. second of all, what Ms. Wonk (since you're nasty) has done for as long as i have been visiting here is provided a call-the-bull-as-i-see-it ANALYSIS of emeye ethiopia's realities. isn't the LACK of such people/forums, my anonymous friend, one of the "structural issues that keep/put such men in power"?

if all you have read here is "ever fancier ways to call them names and mock them" then blink several times, and re-read.
as for your provocative question of what wonkusha has done for ethiopia....she IS doing one of the most commendable deeds any human can do during paralyzing times like these. she is not only taking account of the bad and the ugly but she is speaking HER truth! if the large sleeping behemoth (AKA ethiopian diaspora) stirs as a result...engedee yeehuna, aydel?

kuchiye i wish i was there a-stirrin' hehe.

the raw and candid vigor and HUMOR with which wonkusha spins the realities around us brings up emotions for many i am sure. in an attempt to talk about "it" let me say that habesha society's "CHewanet" surpasses the necessity of "mocking" power even when it is a dire mechanism for pointing out the "obvious" in the dark labyrinth we call african politics.

1:06 AM, November 18, 2005  
Anonymous alula said...

Fakeass poet pseudo intellectual immigre Amhara that you is,
Talk is cheap.we will kill 43000 if necessary.

12:06 PM, November 23, 2005  

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