Monday, December 19, 2005

The Problem With "LF Groupies"

So I picked up the Los Angeles Times, and as it happens every time, I wonder why I ever bother reading the Los Angeles Times.

One Mike Clough opined about Ethiopia in A Losing Bet on Ethiopia, and thus was born another “LF” Groupie, and yet another angel in heaven lost its wings.

The briefest history of the “LF Groupies.”

It all started with one erratic know-it-all.

Michela “Oh So” Wrong was a journalist without a cause. She wandered the deserts of Africa until, the gods must be crazy, she found the Eritrean Peoples Liberation front, EPLF. The heavens opened. Ever since then she’s had a borderline unhealthy, obsessively savior-complex”y relationship with Eritrea… the kind of burdensome, pulsating love that makes her write half-assed books devoid of ... what’s that thing you need to be an authority on something… facts. Hell hath no fury than a guerilla babe journalista with no credibility. As the Grand Dame of “LF”s, Ms. Wrong’s devoted groupie status remained entrenched even when confronted with solid evidence that EPLF’s part-sociopath, part-lunatic leader had turned into a fulltime sociopath lunatic.

So what’s Ms. Wrong gonna do with all that junk in her trunk? Apologize for her myopia? Do a little gut check and ask herself how come she was so astronomically duped? Please. Not when a robust “youa culpa” will do: if only Ethiopia would agree to the border demarcation, Issayas would return to being the studly good Samaritan he really is deep down. Yawn.

And so people took her seriously. Respected media outlets asked her to write sagely about Africa, even as Africans got increasingly irritated by her loquacious renderings of murderous goofballs as brave, misunderstood warriors.

Sadly, all good things must come to an end, and on December 18 Ms. Wrong’s tortured career as a Horn of Africa raconteur came to a screeching halt with her pasty, frenetic “analysis”, How Horn of Africa Brothers Fell Out . Thank you, BBC, for finally putting an end to the madness.

With the kind of dazzling ineptitude she has obviously worked hard to perfect, note her contribution to the dumbing down of human beings.

Reason 1 they fell out… get a intellectual’s scrutiny:

"We Eritreans think with our hearts, but the Tigrayans are very wily, very complicated. Just like the road," any local driver is happy to explain.

Reason 2:

[Meles and Issayas] were undoubtedly close, but brothers can also be intensely, destructively competitive. The relationship was always a stormy one, with each side brooding over perceived slights, chafing over their enforced intimacy.

Give Freud a few minutes to flip over in his grave. I ain’t touching that with a ten foot pole.

She then trashes Ras Alula, who I bet she has read exactly zero about other than the notes she has gotten from the EPLF, but facts have never been a prerequisite for Ms. Wrong. Continue, on ye lady of bottomless indignant self righteousness…

That historical resentment was offset by a more recent sense of cultural superiority.

Then, brace yourself…

Eritreans took pride in their 1890 colonisation by the Italians, a contact, they felt, that had left them better educated and more sophisticated than their neighbours to the feudal south.


Bonus noxious dishonor to journalists everywhere…

If a job was dirty and demeaning in Eritrea, it was probably done by the "Agame", as the Tigrayans were dismissively known.

How about that for scholarly analysis! Worse thing about Ato Issayas, whose halo (nailed to his head by Ms. Wrong herself) has blinded any flickering of rational thought in d’ Madame je adore la EPLF? He’s “famously prickly.” And why wouldn’t he be? The West and the UN have tag-teamed in “betraying” the Eritrean people since dinosaurs roamed the earth.

As the little known 20th century philosopher and social critic Chris L’Rock put it with nimble yet devastating finesse, “Just shut the fuck up. If you don’t know something, just shut… the fuck… up!”

There, I said it.

You will note in Ms. Wrong’s article that it is all about the Eritreans versus the Tigrayans… not Ethiopians. Wily. Retarded, but wily. Nothing left on the cliché menu for Ms. Wrong to pick. Take a break, Michela. Get your hair done. Enjoy a manicure. Muse about poetry because we have stuck a fork in you. You are done, D-O-N-E.

Scary part is that the only person calling her bullshit is, of course, the one and only Dagmawi, who didn’t even have to sharpen his knife to abzol-lewtly dismiss the “LF Missus.” The Bile of Michela Wrong is her journalistic obituary. (Please God, never let me be on the wrong side of Dagmawi.) I might have missed it, but no Eritrean website has called to question Ms. Wrong’s fantastic assertion that Eritreans loved them the colonization. Maybe they’ve been over her a while ago.

R.I.P, Ms. Wrong. If you are looking for another pet project, I have a dictatorial PTA I would like you to look into.

Continuing with the history of the LF Groupies…

Is there a more genteel LF Lover than our own Jimmy Carter? Oh he could not get enough of the TPLF, led by another “renaissance leader” turned Tina Turner quoting gale force-serpentine maniac. Oh, the love Mistah Jimmy has for the TPLF. Sure, a few hiccups here and there… who hasn’t set up concentration camps in defense of democracy?… but the love lingers between these two, much like the blisters from a cold sore.

And now, boys and girls, bow down and avert your eyes as we, on the nineteenth day of the month of December, in the year Two Thousand and Five crown a new-new “-LF Groupie”, Mike Clough. He shore loves him some OLF.

He lulls us with great prose…

Meles has been a U.S. client since 1991, when his rebel movement seized power. He is good at talking the language of democracy and development — and even more adept at manipulating Western fears of terrorism.

And then… get your knighting swords out:

Most experts on Ethiopia believe that if the Oromo Liberation Front, which was forced to leave the country in 1992, had participated [in the elections], it would have won a majority of votes in the region. That would have left Meles and his party with only a minority of parliamentary seats.

Now I know this was a commentary, but don’t you need facts anymore when you write about Africa these days? Who are these experts, and what do they base this astounding belief in? Would OLF be more popular than the ONC? Why? How? What does the OLF believe in? Ah, you don’t need to know.

After the elections, the Oromo Liberation Front abandoned its sporadic and ineffective struggle against Meles and sought a peaceful accommodation.

Exsqueeze me very much, but does this accurately depict the armed struggle for independence from Ethiopia that the OLF has been waging for the past coupla decades? You think the OLF is fighting for justice? It uses the same imbecilic vitriol used by the EPLF and the TPLF to rally its troops.

The Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) is a political organization established in 1973 by Oromo nationalists to lead the national liberation struggle of the Oromo people against the Abyssinian colonial rule.

Bring out the violin.

The change made by the Tigrean regime, that grabbed power from the Amhara rulers in 1991…

Amhara rulers in… 1991? Mengistu was Amhara? You see, its okay when people just use this kind of bullshit when they are sparring on the innernetz, where the only death is a few brain cells. Unfortunately, when it is part of official policy of a Liberation Movement, it means human beings are dying. Real human beings. The kind that breathe and think. And when you ask people to take on arms and die for you, you better be standing on more solid ground than “Abyssinian colonial rule” which apparently ran until 1991!

With all due respect to Mr. Clough, how have past liberation movements worked for Ethiopia? EPLF? TPLF? Have they been working so superbly that you saw fit to try another one?

In the end, Mike could not resist that Michela Wrong Kingmaker Complex that “experts” so often succumb to.

Washington's refusal to deal with the Oromo Liberation Front is bewildering. The party is one of the few in the Horn of Africa to bridge the Christian-Muslim divide, and there is a strong democratic tradition in Oromo civil society. It has never adopted terrorism as a tactic.

There being a “strong democratic tradition” in Oromo does not, I repeat, does not mean that the OLF has democratic tendencies. Just because someone works in, say, a courtroom doesn’t make that person more law abiding. It is this kind of intractable hubris and logic-deficient generalization that has led to unrelenting bloodshed. How many thousands of Ethiopians who have been told that they are no longer Ethiopians but Oromos (just like the Eritreans were told that they were, um, more civilized thanks to colonialism which no longer makes them Ethiopian) have been used as cannon fodder for a pipe dream of an “independent” Oromo land. You seriously think that the OLF ever thought it was possible to carve out an independent land in the middle of Ethiopia? No. But yet it lets people die for it. And Clough and his bleeding heart can march up to congress and brief lawmakers on Ethiopia without impunity, as Clough did on May 5, 2005 at a hearing of the House Committee on International Relations Subcommittee on Africa.

So after the debacle of the EPLF and the TPLF, Ethiopians are now being told to try on the OLF for size. Shut the fuck up.

Here’s something these “Ethiopia experts” might, I dunno, look into. Since thousands of Ethiopian lives died for a fuzzy concept called EPLF, and thousands more for TPLF, and thousands will die for OLF, do you think we could drop the championing of the –LFs due to...let’s say lack of one shred of goddamed evidence that LFs will miraculously morph into democratic institutions once they get power? Can we try thinking out of the pretty, rose-colored box?

It remains easy for people like Clough to gush out these inanities because he’s not being asked to die for a cause. A few thousand Ethiopian and African lives lost over ethnic maladies is collateral damage to the “experts.” But to Ethiopian mothers and fathers who have been burying their children for decades for causes that change names but not deeds, this is real life. Death is not just a theory in Africa.

It should be clear by now that curing the spoils of the various ethnic differences in Ethiopia will not come from any ethnic-based LF. Ethiopia’s ethnic divisions are not that neat and tidy. Now I’m sorry that’s not convenient to LF-ists and their groupies, but that’s a fact. Trying to understand the complexity of ethnicity in Ethiopia, the years of intermarriages and various cauldrons of melting pots is something that needs deeper thought.

May I suggest we all step back and take a break? Everyone read Berhanu Abegaz’s Ethiopia: A Model Nation of Minorities before getting a boner for another –LF.



Take a break from politics- listen to some incredible short stories on Addis Live. I am a late comer to Addis Live and have just been enjoying the music, but the stories segment. I have come to discover, is unbelievably sublime. And for the record, I am unashamed in admitting that… yes, I am infatuated with Bewqetu Seyoum. His work will remind you of the intricate Ethiopian tradition of the spoken word. And his stinging humor… That’s the Ethiopia I want to remember.

His two stories, Ye Eteye Menasho Penseeyon and Ye Eteye Menasho Restaurant will remind of an Ethiopia that stands above, way above, stupid politics.


Anonymous eskis said...

I wonder what you would write if Mengistu was still in power. Let us say, if whole villages of Ethiopians were being wiped out by their own government. What would we say if, like, hundreds of thousands of youth were killed for no apparent reason.

Apparently nothing. Nobody did anything. Except, the LF-er who shoots his way to power to "free" them. A decade later he becomes the guy gunning down the nephews of the same youth whose death outraged him into going to the bushes.

2:49 PM, December 19, 2005  
Anonymous wegesha said...

... in total agreement about Beweketu Seyoum. I met up with him last March when I was in Addis. He has written a book of short stories "Berari qiTeloch" and a book of poems "newari alba gojowoch" which I enjoyed and recommed them to anyone who wants to witness the development of a young talent. I am not saying this because he bought me lunch although that pasta was great. I truely enjoyed his books. Oh, yeah, he has also contributed a short story in "kinfam hilmoch".

On the issue of the LF groupies, I don't think I can add more on Chiris Rock's classis "Shut the fuck up" line.

3:07 PM, December 19, 2005  
Anonymous Yohannes said...

On behalf of that slice of Ethiopians who are sick and tired of being sick and tired of "Lfs", thankyoumerrymach. It's the kind of entitlement that comes from being an LF-awi that cannot sustain not just Ethiopia, but Africa. (Especially an ETHNIC based LF.)

Museveni, Kagame, Meles and Issayas. How many years do they have to be "thanked" for "Liberating" people before someone tells them they are maniacs?

The staggering evidence that LFs do not work in the long term can't be any more stark. None of them wantto leave once it becomes comforatble and they can point to highrise buildings and say, "mine, mine, mine." If it was up to TPLF, the Ethiopian people would be so grateful that it took Mengistu out that we would shut up and thank the Almighty. What Ethiopians said on May 15 was, we deserve better than Mengistu AND EPRDF.

And for that, "whole villages of Ethiopians were wiped out by their own government", and "hundreds of thousands of youth were killed for no apparent reason."


3:19 PM, December 19, 2005  
Anonymous not anonymous said...

anchi wonq, gud aregshiN eko!

When I read the phrase “the Grand Dame of “LF”s,” I thought “LF” stood for “LONELY FEMALES.”

When I Googled it to make sure, here’s what came up:

I’m wondering where YOU got “Liberation Force” from. Were you being kind?

Now, wonq, is this where you say: “oh, shut the fuck up?”

4:16 PM, December 19, 2005  
Anonymous nattering nabob said...

You know what the best cure for LFism is? Having an amara peoples liberation front. now THAT would shut *everybody* the fuck up. tplf would go ape shit about how an amara lib front can possibly lead the whole nation. olf oafs would go back to "not terrorizing" and eplf-- nah. nobody cares about eplf.

has anyone thought of the ethiopian liberation front or am i the onlyy genius?

just heard 'ye etiye menasho's restaurant'. HILARIOUS!

4:33 PM, December 19, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's ironic is that as you dismiss those deaths as "Eeee-nuff!" is how Meles is dismissing the hundreds he killed the last few months.

4:40 PM, December 19, 2005  
Blogger Geja said...

I hold off my comments for the past few weeks because I am not thick skinned when it comes to the state I have resided for the last seven years. The drawing of North America by meles on the napkin hurts. I want this baby killer to know Nevada is not a state for all those that do not fit anywhere else. I would invite him for an all expenses paid visit to Nevada, show him the beauty of Tahoe and the blazing lights of Vegas, but knowing him he may try to resettle here, lay claim to my humble abode, start his meles boutique shop, remember Addis in the summer of 1991? And generally run amuck the state’s economy to the ground. If the Mafia failed to do it, he is as good as any if not better and he will get it done, after all his records prove it. “Give me your country, your riches and your long history and I will kill, maim and destroy”. He may even find some of the inhospitable parts of Nevada to his liking as the perfect place to send all those he did not care for, let them eat sand, bitten by rattle snakes or get blown to smithereens in one of the many army and air force shooting ranges. Fine with him as long as he does not have to shave their heads with HIV painted blade.
Well, weeks passed by and to my utter disappointment no one missed my comments, Etwonk kept on writing her bloggs, others kept on replying back, meles continued incarcerating those who dared question his crime of genocide, besides, he is also lost as to what to do with those pesky diasporas, they are messing up his perfect crime. They are out of his reach and they are telling the world that after all he, the little megalomaniac king of utter stupidity does not have any cloth. The unthinkable is happening, and the world is beginning to listen to them. Whatever happened to old time crime of stealing billions of dollars from state coffers? Mass murdering of ones subjects? Finding a group of unsuspecting, law abiding scapegoats and point fingers at them? What happened to the sixties, seventies and the eighties where an African dictator is actually feared and respected for his cruelty and not castigated? Is not that God given right to fellow African big men? To steal the country’s hard earned or borrowed money, to kill in thousands at will if any one ever complain, to incarcerate the young, the educated and the future, lie if one has too, make fun of his subjects and their culture, and what if millions of them die of famine or AIDS. Didn’t Mengistu, Mobutu, and a number of fellow African strong men do the same? How about Idi Amin – at least no one can accuse meles of having his subjects for breakfast. What kind of world are we leaving in? These diasporas, the ungrateful ones – the nerve they have telling the world how bad, corrupt, and despicable of a human he is. If only he can put his hands on them. If only he had the luxury of time. Would he be on this same bed next month, next year? I believe that is how poor meles, the baby killer of Arat Kilo has been spending his nights lately.
Now I think not inviting him to Nevada, true he may be the perfect unfit person to fit here, but we all know after fifteen years he is still the big time misfit and disgraced citizen of Addis. True, his map of the US on the napkin stinks, but we all know how bad he is in redrawing boundaries, he gives land, then he takes land, and then he gets confused to the point of throwing his tantrum, only in his case hundreds of thousands of innocent die and billions of dollars wasted.
There you go, I said what I had wanted to say all these past few weeks. I am still mad as hell, but efooy, I have finally tenefsku - lezarew egzer yistilgn.

8:53 PM, December 19, 2005  
Anonymous Gooch said...

First, easy on the language, ET, please? I got all sorts of people reading your blog, and well, you know, it can get a bit ackward.

Second, nicely done on the groupie bit. But, not to get all serious and everything, but LF's exist, and inasmuch as they do, we must ask ourselves why.

Plus, now that we know the importance of tolerance and empathy to the development of our society, we must not hesitate to spread our empathy to LF's.

Ethnic nationalism is a common phenomenon the world over in multi-ethnic societies. The best way to deal with it is to be nauseatingly inclusive and to ensure strong economic growth to raise the importance of greater country in the eyes of the (potential) ethnic nationalists.

So, in the case of the OLF, what do I say? First, democracy comes first. I have no problem with the OLF gaining any power in a democratic system. Second, I believe in self-determinism in the 'democratic' sense. Let alone the region of Oromia, if Kombolcha junior votes to separate, fine. Of course, the devil is in the details. How the separation occurs, how rights and responsibilities of various stakeholders are balanced, is an issue for negotation.

And that's it. How's that for diffusing bluster?!

By the way, the above is CUD's position, as CUD has from the start worked within the current constitution. CUD would make a change if it could, as would the other two opposition parties actually, but accepts that it's highly unlikely the constitution can be changed without support from the other parties.

Now, this does not mean we should tolerate hatemongering, false history, groupies, and all that. I just wanted to add a bit on the importance of empathy and understanding.

9:44 PM, December 19, 2005  
Blogger EthiopianPolitics said...

I’m sure you’ve probably seen it by now but here it is just incase.

12:50 PM, December 20, 2005  
Blogger kuchiye said...

Even the Americans were doubtful that an LF, a minority LF at that, will be accepted by Ethiopians without reservation.

At the London negotiation in 1991, Meles pleaded with Cohen that it is in the best interest of TPLF and Tigreyans to institute democracy in Ethiopia. Only if he did that, Meles argued, would he win the hearts and minds of Ethiopians, wipe out the taint associated with his LF stigma, bit the numbers game that didn’t favor his group and establish legitimacy in ET politics. The unsuspecting Americans saw some merit in the argument and supported him.

I don't know how many times Foggy Bottom is willing to be fooled by LF style politics, but one lesson is one too many for Ethiopians. The saying... "mognin hulete ebab nekesew" did not get its birth without reason.

3:31 PM, December 20, 2005  
Anonymous Amiche said...

ET wonkette,

Same virus, got you I see. Not to burst your bubble..but some of those darn LF-ers have some good to their credit. Yeah! they got their issues..but say..don't we have them to thank for giving us a respite from "Ye'abyot Abeba Aytewelegem Zelalem Yenoral blah blah!

Not to disagree with the gust of your message, but it is the credibility that y'all lack. When the supporters of the LF's hear you they say..sure, but where were you when we were chased and killed.
Hmm..oh..yeah..there were no blog's then..
Ps. Have you read Wrong's other books on Zaire..or whatever they are calling that god forsaken place? Bet you did not! Coming from does not mean knowing of. Hats of for wrong..she probably has more african miles than you and me combined..

7:15 PM, December 20, 2005  
Anonymous Yohannes said...

It's usually us imperial chavanist revanchists who are accused of continuing to look back at past glory. Again, what LF in Ethiopia has been successful in transitioning to democracy? The proof is in the pudding. And is there a moratorium on being grateful to LFists even when they are manaical bullies? Or are we supposed to say 'thank you for not being mengistu' for the rest of our lives?

I'll give my Chris Rockesque STFU to the western LF Lobby too.

8:33 PM, December 20, 2005  
Anonymous GonTe Gonetatlew said...

I know it feels good to hit below the belt when one is talking to the imperialist chauvinst revanchists - but let me ask you this - is it the ideas represented by ET Wonkette that you find not credible or rather Wonkie herself? Me thinks it is the resentment of the inner LF flashing itself...... Really, all you LF supporters, come out and tell us where in the whole of Africa LF'ing has worked? Sorry y'all - I know everybody is yelling at the LFites STFU in unison.

GonTe Gonetatlew - the Revanchist

10:17 PM, December 20, 2005  
Anonymous ETW said...

I do sometimes feel like a fraud ranting about politics when there are so many people who are infinitely more superior minds. Gooch, thanks for your take and for saying in one tiny paragraph what I could not in several pages. (I’ll say f*** next time.)

Undoubtedly, there are ethnic tensions in Ethiopia that need to be addressed. All I am saying is--- how much more evidence do we need that ethnic based LFs are not the answer? Has the TPLF brought peace and prosperity to Tgrai? No. Why is that? It seems to me that a majority of people gravitate towards LFs out of disenfranchisement- grinding poverty, oppression, loss of hope etc. But the problem is LFs know that to continue as an organization, they need to give only the minimum required hope, just enough to build a constituency. But for an LF to survive it needs a never ending pool of disenfranchised people, and therefore it becomes in its interest to KEEP people disenfranchised, afraid, and mulling chunky subjects such as HIM’s picture not being up in certain restaurants. Hence you have the EPRDF preaching about mythical ‘chauvinists’, even after 14 years of absolute power. It hasn’t even bothered to change its main party’s name, TPLF- which I think is a wee bit chauvinist-y. (Can you imagine an Amara Peoples Liberation Front being a major player in the opposition? Oh the humanity.) Then you have the OLF preaching about Abyssinian colonial rule until 1991. Basically, it seems to me (and I am no brain surgeon), LFs cannot function unless there is chaos. That is my definition of weakness. When you are strong only when everyone else is weak, by definition (ipso facto et al) that makes you weak in my book of definitions. LFs cannot handle robust, critically thinking constituents. And LFs certainly cannot handle dissent. (What happened to the G8 who stood up to Issayas? Do you know of one EPRDFer who has spoken against the killings?) One of the ways to address ethnicity is to provide, and may I quote the very quotable ethiopundit, “liberal democracy, the rule of law and free market.” People need to have hope, inclusion and a chance to thrive no matter what kind of blood flows through their veins. (Not that that will solve everything- Osama was a millionaire, and a lot of jihadists are middle class, educated men.) But the first step is to call a spade a spade. LFs are not a viable option. Am I wrong? Sure we can give them mad props for standing up to tyranny, but they have to also take responsibility for the wreckage they brought along. But a new generation is coming of age that is not dazzled by the lore of LFs. What ever brownie points the TPLF had for ousting Mengistu, it squandered beyond imagination.

As for defending Michela Wrong? Oh that is so wrong.

Merry Christmas one and all.

(What does the blogger etiquette book say about leaving long, rambling comments on ones own blog? Very revanchist of me.)

10:36 PM, December 20, 2005  
Anonymous molqaqa imperial revanchist said...

i am confused: if you are an imperial era revanchist, can you also be a derg revanchist, or the two n'er shall meet?

p.s. ere gud. ere gud. i'm in love with bewqetu.

12:12 AM, December 21, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Homogenizing tendencies of the amara make it difficult for a so-called amara liberation front to ever materialize. Amara people still think there's an empire upholding their integrity, inventing daily in their minds the royal Ethiopia they believe exists.

The "fuzzy" concept called EPLF wasn't so fuzzy in 1991 when they, along with allied TPLF forces got hold of Addis and sent the dictator running off to Zimbabwe, was it? Maybe he should start the Amara liberation instead of living luxuriously?

Yet that has always been the Achilles heel of the Amara hasn't it? EPLF, TPLF, OLF. Potential ALFers resort to reactionary pundit pages on the web nostalgic about the imagined Ethiopia instead of going back home to rule what they consider to be their own country...

6:24 AM, December 21, 2005  
Anonymous Gooch said...

anonymous said:
Homogenizing tendencies of the amara make it difficult for a so-called amara liberation front to ever materialize.

Right, more or less. But it's not like there's something in their blood that makes them so. It's a historical reality.

Amhara, Oromo, Tigray are all, on one conceptual level, ethnic groups. But at another level, they are markedly different.

Amhara culture having been dominant and assimilationist has resulted in the creation of a pan-ethnic society that includes various ethnicities and cultures, though the Amhara contribution is strongest.

This pan-ethnic society is encumbered by its inclusiveness (as inclusive as you can get in backward Ethiopia) and it's lack of victim complex. This is why there has been no ALF to date.

However, ethnocentrism in recent years is pulling apart this pan-ethnic society. At the same time, these 'Amharas' are well on their way to feeling victimized.

In due course, the variables that are required for an 'ALF' will be set. Victimization will be such that the pan-ethnic idea will be chucked away, and the perhaps more 'ethnically pure', rural, Amharas will complete their descent into ethnic-based organization as the highest form.

Who does this help? Well, if the movement is localized in rural Amhara Region, then it could help jolt the EPRDF into rapprochement with the peaceful movements. But if it gains currency throughout, then we'll just have to do our ethnic-cleansing or Indo-Pakistan bit and see if we can do better that way.

Let there be no doubt, however, that the current regimes actions (not necessarily their policies) are hurtling Ethiopia straight towards this abyss.

9:07 AM, December 21, 2005  
Anonymous Inde Hewan said...

Well, what can I say! I have finally been shamed into it. In the ripe old age of 33, with a little help from my BBC friends and their article on Ethioblogs, I have finally come around to being shamed to reading a blog for my very first time, and ET Wonkette has the dubious honour to be the subject of my 'Happy Blogday to you, Goodbye Ludditendom' moment! Honestly, I am otherwise a dynamic with-it gal (forreal!), the blog thing, however, was always a nebulous concept to me. Anyway, as if my happy blogday was not enough excitement, upon reading a blog for the very first time, I am also posting one for the very first time, i.e. this note.

Ok, enough of sharing my intimate "the very first time" stories with so many strangers. Let's get to the heart of the matter. Two matters really.

1) Wonqit, or fellow Others: Can you shed some light on our new "Ferenj Mistress" kid on the block, Mike Clough? I know what his workplace is (or was), but: Where does his fascination with OLF come from? Has he written stuff about the OLF that would elucidate that? In short, what's his story?

2) The more pressing matter (and I don't know if blog rules permit deviating from the LF topic since here's where my posting is going, so please bear with me): So WHAT's the deal with the oh-so dynamic diaspora? Let me be concrete: So suppose an Ethio-European like me newly walks on the Ethiopian political scene, call it late awakening or whatever, and while she finds reading news and commentary informative and interesting (at least sometimes), and debating with family and friends stimulating (at least most of the time) -- all that is good and well, but she wants to do something other than read and talk. Where To Go?

So I called up the kinijit office in DC several times, left messages that I'd like to know how I can be of help, no calls back. Go to a meeting of Tegbar, leave my name and number after they ask for volunteers to help with getting the news into the American media, never to hear of them.

I could go on, but you get the idea. Sooo: if someone could be so kind to tell me how us diaspora folk, with lots of ideas in our heads, energy in our system, and each our area of expertise in our brains, can channel ideas, energy, expertise to organised and constructive action, would be greatly appreciated. Meaning: Where are the organisations, at least those with the interest and capacity to absorb volunteers? I have no doubt there are many (many!) like me who would like to graduate from reading and talking (no offense to any blogsite, by the way, I definitely plan to read and talk on as well, but that alone doesn't cut it, at least not for me) to taking action -- be that media, lobbying, PAC forming, organising demonstrations (and get the media to show up, to avoid the embarrassment of the last huge rally with no media that was called to show up!), letter-writing ... you name it, good old civic society footsoldier work that tends to work wonders in America.

Since I'm at it: Who are the "leaders" or spearheading individuals in the US, or even just DC, diaspora anyway? I see this Mesfin Mekonen guy write with some authoritative tone on, and I gather he's a chap at the World Bank, so I guess he's one of the spearheaders. What about the rest? Where is there a website that gives a Who's Who? Who's the Face behind the Movement(s) abroad? Maybe this is naive hubris on my part, but I somehow think while the receptionist line at the kinijit office or other organisation may not pay attention to expressions of interest by this would-be volunteer, the folk at the top would.

12:17 AM, December 23, 2005  
Anonymous Gooch said...

inde hewan, you wrote:
Where To Go?

First, perhaps a good look through ET's archives will give you a good idea of what you can do. Letter writing to political reps of huge, huge benefit.

Secondly, we are or should all be coming to understand that Ethiopians have trouble doing anything collectively apart from prayer, perhaps. How many Ethiopian does it take to change 10,000 light bulbs?

One, and more and they'll never be changed!

So all or us have to be better than we were on the previous day.

12:44 AM, December 23, 2005  
Anonymous Inde Hewan said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5:32 PM, December 23, 2005  
Anonymous Gooch said...

Inde Hewan,

Sorry, I posted after midnight, and it shows.

Of course, I believe collective action! I was just remarking that it's difficult for us and we have to really work hard at it. And as we are working at our collective or 'social' consciousness, I suggest that we work on our individual consciousness, that is, doing our best as individuals, too.

You ask an excellent question, and I don't know of any organizations apart from those you mentioned, and the lobby group, Ethiopian-American Council ( There was another one, CLEA (, but I don't know if it's still functioning.

I'm in Canada, where non-partisan organizations that just advocate for democracy and human rights exist in many cities.

One of the problems (you may already be aware of) is that many organizations aren't out in the open because of fear, secrecy, and suspicion. But it should be easy to work around this.

Anyway, I join you in asking your question.

9:44 AM, December 26, 2005  
Blogger Sandy said...

..Urging donors to cut aid to Ethiopia can only hurt the average Ethiopian," said one of the returnee participants,

This story reminds me of a poem that was circulating on the internet apparently by an African American economist at Stanford - Thomas Sewell. This one is slightly modified to fit the PIMPS OF MELES ZENAWI


Let us celebrate in the name of the poor
There's a market for their pain
Let us disguise our motives, change our tones and spice our fictions
their hopes, struggles, sacrifices and agonies
Get us properties, businesses and glory in Addis
Celebrate what holds them down
Let us have meetings in our business gown
Let us celebrate the poor

1:56 PM, January 26, 2006  

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