Monday, November 28, 2005

The Saddamification of Meles Zenawi

Saddam Hussein is playing cutesy about democratic rights and how he’s being “mishandled”. Hm.

Approaching the microphone in the dock, he said he had been deprived of his notes and a pen before entering the court, and roughly treated by American guards who had taken his Koran from his manacled hands as they ascended the stairs to the court.

He was bitter about having to climb up four flights of stairs because the elevator was on the blink.

In the kind of borderline adorable, psych ward belligerence reminiscent of… who does that remind me of…? Mr. Hussein continued his rabid inanity.

…Mr. Hussein invoked a verse from the Koran, on this occasion one that seemed intended to suggest that the ultimate judgment on the events that occurred during Mr. Hussein's 24-year rule in Iraq would rest with God, not with the court. "Do you think that you will enter paradise without Allah judging those among you who fought hard in his cause, and remained steadfast?", Mr. Hussein said, reciting the verse from memory.

I ain’t no Qoran expert, but I am sure it must say something in there about not gassing people to death.

And back in October,

When presiding judge Rizgar Amin asked for his full name, Hussein refused to give it. "You know me," Hussein said at one point. "If you're an Iraqi, then you know."

Okay… everybody together … awwwww.

Back in July 2004, Mr. Hussein made his first court appearance.

Saddam Hussein, described by reporters at the hearing as both defiant and downcast, denounced the proceedings as "theatre" and questioned the validity of the law he was to be tried under.

"I am Saddam Hussein, President of Iraq," he replied when asked to confirm his identity at the hearing…

This… it just sounds so familiar… I just can’t pinpoint who it reminds me of…

Hearing the charge relating to Halabja, where about 5,000 Kurdish civilians died in a single day, Saddam Hussein said, "Yes, I heard about that."

He became most agitated when he was accused of invading Kuwait in 1990.

"How can you, as an Iraqi, say the 'invasion of Kuwait' when Kuwait is part of Iraq?" he asked the judge, whose face was not shown on the film and whose identity is being kept secret for security reasons.

He said he invaded Kuwait "for the Iraqi people" and referred to Kuwaitis as "dogs", for which he was rebuked by the judge.

Ahhh… delusion of unsung proportions, regressive, lethargic logic… yes… it’s coming to me…

Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said Wednesday that opposition leaders and newspaper editors under detention will face treason charges, which carry the death penalty in Ethiopia, for their alleged roles in protests last week in which at least 46 people were killed.

I knew it reminded me of someone! And then comes the Saddamification of Ato Meles:

"I don't know what the prosecution will ask for but the death penalty is still legal in Ethiopia. On a personal note that is not the penalty I would like to see applied," Meles said. "It is for the prosecution and courts to decide, but if I have any say on it I would prefer prison sentences rather than death sentences."

Never mind that in a normal society it would be the prosecutor that brings up charges. Here, Prime Minister Meles has brought the charges, already convicted his opponents and then quibbles about the punishment.

The way Mr. Hussein talks about civil rights is the way Ato Meles talks about democracy and due process: they both pepper their rhetoric with that certain brand of deranged ignominy exclusive to autocrats.

It gets better when Prime Minister Meles tries to live up to his “enlightened African leader” lore.

Ato Meles was lobbed softball questions at the conclusion of something called the German-Africa Partnership Forum on November 7, which the prime minister saw fit to attend despite the heightened tension in Addis after government forces gunned down another 46 unarmed people.

Asked for an update on the situation back home…

In addition to the answers that President Mbeki gave which is that I talked to President Koehler even when he was the Managing Director of IMF for only one reason, not for the colour of his eye.


Oh. He’s being cute. I get it. Not that discussing the color of President Koehler’s eyes is necessarily off topic in meetings like this with Africa’s “enlightened leaders.”

We have very frank discussions. He told me I was wrong. I told him he was wrong on one specific issue and that we agreed on remaining issues and he told me as no IMF Managing Director has told me before that we shall agree to disagree on the points of disagreement and proceed together on the points of agreement. That principle for me was a very important principle and I couldn’t under any circumstance allow myself to be absent from the meeting whether there is a room to agree and proceed together on the points of agreement and rooms to disagree and agree to disagree.

Of course. This is the kind of obfuscation that makes Jeffrey Sachs’ handy gauge for “one of the most brilliant leaders in the world” get a hard on.

I wanted to discuss the problems on my country with two of my senior and very close friends, big brother Obasanjo, very broad shoulders and of course, President Thabo Mbeki. And we did discuss the disturbances in Addis.

At which point I am sure Mbeki was offended that his shoulders were not referred to as “broad.”

Here’s an idea… how about talking to, I don’t know, opposition leaders about what was happening in Ethiopia? Oh, yeah. They’re all in jail.

So, we said let’s have dialogue to resolve these practical issues and also address the root causes.

Ahh… before you get all excited that this refers to domestic turmoil Ato Meles finds himself in these days…

Our cousins in Eritrea have not yet been prepared to engage in the dialogue. That is the problem we face. We have a peace plan, the five-point peace plan that I share with both President Obasanjo and President Mbeki which was supported by them and many others and still is on the table.

And so on… and so on.

Prime Minister Meles is not aware that the jig is up. His attempts to sound reasonable only resonate as the ragged cogitation of a desperate man, shrill and revisionist as he attempts to shove the toothpaste back in the tube. Just like Saddam Hussein, whose newfound religiosity strikes no one as a genuine connection to the Almighty, Ato Meles’ frail attempt at playing “enlightened leader” on TV (even as his thugs shoot a wailing mother in front of her children) sound more and more like the utterances of a schizophrenic warlord.

In Ethiopia today, thousands of mothers and fathers roam the city holding pictures of their missing sons and daughters.

Many have already searched the hospital morgues. Often the Red Cross visit proves fruitless. Inundated each day by hundreds of people, the Red Cross has to turn some away, telling them to return later.

But soon, stories and pictures of teens and pre-teens dumped in disease-infested camps will come to light. Ato Meles’ western supporters (read: Tony Blair) will trample all over themselves to dissociate themselves from him.

And Ato Meles will keep on giving interviews echoing Saddam Hussein’s wretched babbling.

“How can you say I am not a democrat?” a flustered Ato Meles will say. “I allowed those dogs their day in court and it was the prosecutor who asked for the death penalty. How can you say I am not a democrat? I released 8,200 prisoners.”

And people will look at him and shake their heads. The jig is truly up.

Hmm… The New York Times actually opined on Ato Meles.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know, this piece didn't do much for me.

Hey, but how about one juxtaposing the US reaction to the Ethiopian demos:

The United States deplores the political violence in Ethiopia and urges all parties to prevent actions that could directly or indirectly incite violence, harm individuals, or lead to the destruction of public or private property.

the US reaction to the Azerbaijan demos:

"We deplore the unjustified and unprovoked use of force against citizens peacefully exercising their right to freedom of assembly," said the statement issued by the US embassy in Baku.

and strong press coverage of the 'cheetah story':

Two cheetah cubs held captive and abused at a remote village restaurant in eastern Ethiopia are now in the custody of a government veterinarian and U.S. troops, a senior official said Monday.

"They are in the custody of the authorities and will receive medical treatment," Kifle said. "The U.S military has also agreed to divert a plane to Addis Ababa on Tuesday so we can bring the cheetahs and the vet to the capital."

1:33 PM, November 28, 2005  
Anonymous artificiality said...

I talked to President Koehler even when he was the Managing Director of IMF for only one reason, not for the colour of his eye.

color of his eye? does he have just one? color and eye?

me likes the p.m. he is so hip.

2:42 PM, November 28, 2005  
Anonymous not anonymous said...


I am encouraged by the cheetah story! It's an unmistakable sign that the U.S. has finally gotten its head out of the sand to take on the hot-button issues of the day on the ET-scene, "freedom from brutality and captivity!"

Now, if only those damn kids "dumped in those disease-infested camps" were cute-little cheetah cubs!

4:00 PM, November 28, 2005  
Anonymous blasé said...

With all due respect to anonymous, dear old meles is hanging on to power by the skin of his capped toof. peeling back the layers of his duplicity has become a duty, at this point. i say rah.

4:05 PM, November 28, 2005  
Anonymous molqaqa said...

Obasanjo, Mbeki and Meles... shit. if that ain't the three stooges of african politics. it must be hard deciding who pokes whom in the eyes while who kicks whom on the broad shoulders.

very testiculous, if you ask me.

4:28 PM, November 28, 2005  
Blogger EthiopianPolitics said...


9:06 AM, November 29, 2005  
Anonymous lagos_blogrunner said...

Unfortunately, attending pointless meetings and giving press conferences where our leaders are not questioned seriously by a press that is impressed that the “enlightened” leaders in New Africa don’t actually swing from trees has become de rigeur. You have to become a Mugabe to get serious attention these days. I enjoyed your piece on Sachs.

9:43 AM, November 29, 2005  
Anonymous ye mankussaw welafen said...

lij Not Anonymous--

zm alu tadiya? wetader hager meTebeq t'to e-sew g'wada gebto yebwaTun yeqoTun seegorogur? Tadya, be hager anbessa Tefa. ay zemen.

alamareNNNNm b'yewot alneber? biyE neber eko.

12:33 PM, November 29, 2005  
Anonymous not anonymous said...

yidres telijE tewedajE aya Mankussaw,

le-Hidar Mikael teNa zend t’zelqaleh biyE te-goregoru basTebiqh mnew qerehissa? yelem! ager selam bayhon neyeee, indiaw ma yimoot ye-Mikaeln tabot sayaneg’ssma indet yiqeral biyE sissega keremku. ay, dehna kehonkiss yihun! g’delem! bayhon le-Dejach Bantirgu moot-amet adera indatasafreN.

lassasibih yemiwedew, indiaw be-Qolawa Mariam, indeeech bleh leziach le-Qinijit timerTina huwala alnegereNim indatil. ayhonim! ayhonm biyalehu! nefTeNa new blew assarihn indayasayuh!

mn yidereg meches, yekutara zemen honena, ye woTeTe meboreqia honen qeren. yezarEn ayargewna lij Mankussaw, d’roma . . .wei mewzEr! wei wujigra!

“ye-Mankussaw Tebay ijig yaschegiral,
Telatun ij nesto lewedaj yikoral . .”

alech azmari! ay mewzEr, ay Belgeeg!

4:01 PM, November 29, 2005  
Anonymous ye mankussaw welafen said...

Lij Not Anonymous,

Dehna senbtew siyabequ new?

Ayee. Ye Mikayel negeriss zm n’w. Y’hEwulowww… kutayEn taTiqE, snqyEn angichE, “bey tenesh!” biyE s’dada, Emet Memenasha “E-heh! WendimE ymeTal biyeh alneber indE!” b’la, gurorrowan morida, gelamTaN wede gebeya iyetemenaqerech TlaN w’llllq.

Lij Not Anonymous, ye zemenu’n setoch, gd’yelem… ke poletikaw gar yemeTaw awlo nfass miyakl zar sytenekulachew alqerem. Ye zeit shro be bre dist mamasel kejemeru huwala new hager yetebelashewwwww bai neN.

Tadya’ko ya wendimwa… ay! Endiaw T’om le hamEt amechim inji… wendimwa… aba CHeguwarE! dffn Mankussan kosskusso… kosskusso… ere be snt shimagle lmenna, be snt qess subayE meselow Iyesus Kristos erasu wede mEret werdo, menqilo wede Addis A’ba yelakeln.

Effoyye b’len sanabeqa… min yaregal…. Erso indalut zemenu gundan enkwa mytegabet zemen new. Tadiya be snt ametu balefew HamlE Abo sinqejeqej indE gunfan idejachin ketef ale’a. eNaa snawqew, Lij Anonymous, qodaw qorfadda, shemizzu Temama, edifam melti neber. Tadiya ahun, “ye miniTsiyo ministayer neN” bai hono, “CHama Tregu” lemalet deresse! Warka belElebet mn adbar y’honal alu!

YetegelabiTosh new. Addis A’ba mn nekawww, jal? Eh-eh sn’l, CHrash “abiyotawi dimmocracy” iyale siyasheberqbn, meTihaff siyaTb’bn senebete. Abiyotu fendito keCHeresse senbet alalem indE? EnnEm negeru alamr silEn, “Lenegeru, a’nt Demssisew. Ere Lenegeru… d’ro snawqih, znb anten neber “eshhh!” milew. Ahun indik, indik ministayEr drss yaderesseh mnnnnnnndrrrr new,” biyE b’l… “Ante nefteNa!” blo sileN, innEm dehna neger yiweTawal biyE, “AbbbEt” alku.

Tadya behuwala eko new ya, ye Weizero Milikitish lij, “GashiyE, NefTeNa eko zarE s’db new” blo merdo yaredaN.

YetegelabiTosh zemen, new Lij Not Anonymous. TegelabTo arrwal.

9:26 PM, November 29, 2005  
Anonymous Yohannes said...

it's mankussaw's and not anon's kind of madness that's keeping me sane these days.


11:50 AM, November 30, 2005  
Anonymous not anonymous said...

Aya Mankussaw,

leka Emet Memenasha hunalech yihin yaregech? alsema bleh enji, zadya eko negireh neber! Yelem, yichin agasses te-betih asweTa-aaa biyeh neber. Yaw inde-ferahut, mezezwan ameTachaaa!

Anten yemesele Zigna ye-zeit shiro tabelach wedia isswa mn sew nat bleh new tidar aleN mitil? Indiaw lemehonu-uuu, mn aynetu debtera new lijE indih yazorebih?

Inde? beNa gizE eko, Aya, gobez sibal yimot neber! Lemistu, lemeretu, lehaimanotu! Tadia ye-Gobez mist gobez enji, indih yalech galemota-ma beye-mesheta betu mech Tefta new gobez mimotilat?

zarE, mistum balege, meretum ye-Mengist, Haimanotum botelika hunwal. Botelika bihonma new, Kotelikochu inkwan baqimachew ye-Mengistn Tiffat siawegzu, yeNawochu Ardodoxoch joro daba alalum?

igzio-meharene-kiristos, egzio mehar. . .Eredia!

3:16 PM, November 30, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

not anonymous,

I love your writing. The antakara with Ye Mankussaw is funn-ii. But at the risk of eviction from Wonqville for saying this, you let the air out of my bubble with your last retort. Four paragraphs on calling poor fictional 'tiye Memmu a whore? ("galemota-ma beye-mesheta betu mech Tefta new") Ah, come on! You were given a perfect pitch- Demsisse, the brother, who is a clone of all past and present EPRDF cabinet members.. and you came out with...? (I am not ging to say that someone has serious issues with the fairer sex." I thought parody was funny only when directed towards the powerful. Especially political parody.

If it was anyone else I would have pooh-poohed and moved on. But you, I assume, are above that.

Can we have a re-do?

No, I am not a bra burning misanthrope. Just a Wonqettier who has finally found respite.

Please? Re-do? (No putti-putti.)

7:51 PM, November 30, 2005  
Anonymous def. not said...

um wicha anonymous. except he did mention the silence of the orthodox leadership in ethiopia. that kinnnnddddddaaaaaa lessened the blow.

(who DOESN'T have serious issues with the fairer sex?)

9:32 PM, November 30, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One time a long time ago I could not make it in the biology and chemistry classes in college mainly because I was reading the subject that was written in English language, then process it in Amharic in my head and then translate that back to English in order to understand it. Imagine how much of the questions I can fully address in a one hour exam. After a few years in the US the process went full circle where it was becoming difficult for me to read Amharic books because I have now to read in Amharic and then process the info in English in my head in order to understand the book. And now to make matters even worse some one is writing in this blogg Amharic words using English characters. For sure Faras have inherited the heaven that was once Wechegud. It was good for about six months, and now I guess I have to let it go. I am ready to get insulted, go ahead, and let me make your day, as long as you do it your usual way - Amharic words using English characters.

12:40 AM, December 01, 2005  
Blogger Amigo ZoroMeta said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6:16 PM, December 25, 2005  
Blogger Amigo ZoroMeta said...

My Forum

Political Cartoons

My Blog site

ከላይ የተመለከቱት ዊብ ስይቶችን ለሁላችንም ትምህርት ሰጪ ስለሆኑ ብትመለከቱልኝ በጣም ደስ ይለኛል- በተለይም My Forum የሚለው በአመርኛና በንግሊዝኛ መጠቀም ስለሚቻል እንዲሁም ደሞ አዲስ ስለሆነ ለኢትዮጵያኖች ሁሉ ለማስተዋወቅ እፈልጋለሁ - ለትብብራችሁ በቅድሚያ ከልብ አመሰግናለሁ -

6:20 PM, December 25, 2005  
Blogger MHG/PhD said...

I prefer "Saddamization of Meles". Sounds like an old-style French film, strictly for adults. Nevertheless, I enjoyed reading this blog- it is all over the place, wow, N Africa to East Africa, to West Africa. And Central Asia as well. Whatever happened to Haile Selassie??
It was fun, I have to come back when I have more time.

3:44 PM, April 21, 2006  

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