Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The Wonqette Grocery List

Taking a step back to take a breather…

Item One:

Can either Ethioindex or one of you innernetz savvy people please, please download the Teddy Afro interview with VOA Amharic? The two-part series was repeated partly on Monday (yesterday).

Seriously, it is nothing short of stunning this kid, Teddy Afro’s, depth of intelligence and sense of decency. His articulation of art and politics, his humor , his insight into what Ethiopia needs now more than anything else, the incredibly weighty and taboo subjects he broaches… this kid is waaaaay ahead of the curve. We are eating his dust. There was a lot I did not know about the other songs in the Yasteseriyal album, bringing to light the unpretentious intellectual heft of a kid in his 20s. I especially urge those of us in the Diaspora to learn the lyrics to Lambadina.

The thing about political turmoil is that it opens up past wounds and creates new ones. We become susceptible to bombast and create temporary but untenable alliances with “the enemy of my enemy” who all of a sudden becomes our new best friend. I’ve said it before, I will say it again… democracy is not a laxative. (My husband would like it to go on record that he thinks that saying is unbearably garish, even for me. Recorded.) Political turmoil also opens up an opportunity for professional flame fanners who thrive in chaos. Teddy talks gracefully about people with “qn menfess” (crude ETW translation: pure conscious); the challenge for us in the Diaspora is to always associate our efforts with those who have a proven track record of qn menfess. Whether it believes it or not, the EPRDF is on its way out. We can’t have a moral void.

Item two:

To me, the most effective discourses on civic and moral responsibility still remain Berhanu Nega’s speeches in Stockholm and London (Part 1 and Part 2). It would behoove someone to translate those into English. The p.h. balance of Ethiopian dialogue is changing. Hopefully it will become mainstream.

Item three:

Um… I have become a Saddam Hussein Trial junkie. My favorite part from yesterday’s proceeding was when Saddam’s half brother stood up and started bewilderingly screaming, “Down with dictatorship! Long live democracy!” Walk it off, darlin’. Walk it off.

Item four:

Ethiopian Media Forum has a very interesting interview with Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Donald Yamamoto. That’s clouty. Someone from the Ethiopian press actually having access to the State Department. We’ve come a long way , baby.

Item five:

The Ethiopia Consolidation Act of 2005 was introduced in the House on November 18, 2005 by none other than gutsy Congressman Chris Smith of, yes, New Jersey. (Sent to me from a million and one readers. Alright awreddi!)

The bill will move through the House in the following order: Starting December 6, 2005 it will be deliberated among members of the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Human Rights, and International Operations. The subcommittee will most likely vote on it before December 15, the last day of session for the year.

Upon passage by the subcommittee, the bill will be sent to the House Committee on International Relations. The Committee on International Relations will most likely deliberate on it in early January 2006. It may make amendments or send it as is to the floor for a vote by the entire House. It is likely that the entire House will vote on it in late January or early February of 2006.

Yadda, yadda… bottom line, here’s what you can do from the comfort of your own home: call all members of the House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Human Rights and International Operations between December 6 and 14, 2005. Designated schedule to call:

Tuesday, December 6
Congressman Christopher Smith: (202) 225-3765
Congressman Edward Royce: (202) 225-4111

Wednesday, December 7
Congressman Thomas Tancredo: (202) 225-7882
Congressman Donald Paine: (202) 225-3436

Thursday, December 8
Congressman Jeff Flake: (202) 225-2635
Congresswoman Barbara Lee: (202) 225-2661

Friday, December 9
Congressman Mark Green: (202) 225-5665
Congresswoman Betty McCollum: (202) 225-6631

Monday, December 12
Congressman John Boozman: (202) 225-4301
Congressman Brad Sherman: (202) 225-5911

Tuesday, December 13
Congressman Jeff Fortenberry: (202) 225-4806
Congressman Gregory Meeks: (202) 225-3461

Wednesday, December 14
Congresswoman Diane Watson: (202) 225-7084

Mark your calendars. Two phone calls a day. That’s all.

Last item:

Speaking of congress, you remember our friend Rep. Dana Rohrabacher? Yes, back in June I, um, had a few thoughts his proposed bill about aid package to Ethiopia.

Mr. Rohrabacher’s H.R. 1061, The American Property Claims Against Ethiopia Act of 2005 is all about

[prohibiting] United States assistance to the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia until the Ethiopian Government returns all property of United States citizens and entities that has been nationalized, expropriated, or otherwise seized by the Ethiopian Government in contravention of international law, and for other purposes.

The whole bill makes for an interesting read, but even more interesting is Mr. Rochrabacher’s remarks published on the Extensions of Remarks in the November 9 Congressional Record. (For those of you reading this in Timbuktu, The Congressional Record is the official record of the proceedings and debates of the Congress. Extensions of Remarks are “speeches, tributes and other extraneous words that were not actually uttered during open proceedings of the full Senate or of the full House of Representatives.”)

Monsieur Rochrabacher, you were saying…?






Wednesday, November 9, 2005

Mr. ROHRABACHER. Mr. Speaker, the international community knows that the May 15 election in Ethiopia was rigged, and yet our government and other nations along with international banks and aid agencies, continue to prop up the corrupt regime of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. Last week Meles security forces killed 76 members of the opposition party that refused to join the parliament and yet U.S. taxpayer money continues to flow. Mr. Speaker, what will it take to turn off the spigot? The United States Agency for International Development in FY 2004 spent $75 million propping up the Ethiopian dictators, in FY 2005 it was $55 million and in FY 2006 it will be $51 million. What have we received in return? We have aligned ourselves with a ruler who is complice in the murder of voters who only wanted an honest election. Thousands of good people were arrested last week when they peacefully took to the streets after the

Ethiopian political opposition refused to join parliament because of the rigged election. Many were greeted with live ammunition and gunned down dead like animals. Prime Minister Meles must now step aside and the international community must step forward to decide what to do about the stolen elections. This week thousands came out to protest in front of the White House. Today many Americans of Ethiopian origin are demonstrating at the State Department. Our Nation must support them and democracy in Africa.

Continuing business as usual with Ethiopia is not the way to do so. It’s not the American way. Let it be understood, America is on the side of the people struggling for an honest democratic government in Ethiopia. The popular opposition to Ethiopia’s current corrupt regime is comparable to the Orange Revolution in Ukraine and the brave Lebanese demonstrators who removed the Syrian puppet regime in their country. Our State Department is often wrong and timid. In the case of Ethiopia, Americans clearly back democratic reform movement and that should be our government’s policy.

Goddman. It’s all the sun in Kalleforniyaa. It makes us rambunctious. You go, Mr. Rohrabacher. Soon, Senator Lugar will be saying the same thing on the Senate floor.

In case you want to compare Mr. Carter’s November 5 statement on the November killings…. Feast your eyes on the second paragraph.

Both government and opposition party supporters must show restraint. Leaders from each side must seek meaningful, constitutional, and peaceful mechanisms for bringing election disputes to a conclusion and allow the country to move forward.

Sounds about right.


Anonymous DaEBushu said...

Teddy at VOA Amharic:

11:04 PM, December 06, 2005  
Anonymous DaEBushu said...

sorry, here is the web link at VOA:

11:11 PM, December 06, 2005  
Anonymous metasebia said...


Here's the posting for grocery shopping item #1


1:00 AM, December 07, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

daebushu's link will be inactive starting from nest week. I have created one audio clip from the two parts at the following site. There are also other clips from voa and tensae


1:07 AM, December 07, 2005  
Blogger EthiopianPolitics said...

IF you say Wonq or Wonqette one more time on your blog....I just wanted to let you know, I will be committing suicide.

That said , good job as usual …………. Keep on, keepn' on!

8:50 AM, December 07, 2005  
Anonymous Yohannes said...


the meles map of the united states is now my screensaver, although the irish in Boston are protesting their kilil. convey thanks to the 'on crack' team.

i am embarrssed to say that i am old enough to be ---teddy's older brother. boy, he put in my my place. mainstream will be the mainstream again in et-politics.

Yours in wonqvillian,
DR. Yohannes

10:54 AM, December 07, 2005  
Blogger EthiopianPolitics said...

"he put in my my place" too. :)

"dr". Gondemo

11:58 AM, December 07, 2005  
Anonymous metasebia said...

Hi folks - my previous url for Teddy's interview seems to be cut off... try this:


Incidentally, ET I am still enjoying all the interesting tid bits you put into this last posting of yours. Especially the "make the two phone calls a day deal..." I plan to do just that.

Also, regarding the way regimes descend the power ladder... you make some insightful remarks - the pathway for Ethiopian politics has so far followed an unmistakable pattern. It's time to put away the rattling sabers and start planting the seeds of growth for the future.

Despite my deep sense of frustration and anger I am prepared to accept the change might not occur in my time... however there are others that will come after me... like my children..."what kind of legacy do I want to leave them?"

Teddy alluded to this in his interviews... despite the bad rap he's gotten from various sides this young man's vision and refusal to be held down sets him apart from the crowd.

2:20 PM, December 07, 2005  
Blogger yager lij said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9:14 PM, December 07, 2005  
Blogger yager lij said...


On Item 1: Yes Tedi really deserves some kudos. Excellent interview.

On Item 4: Yamamoto said a lot of nothing. I guess it is the state department's way of trying to appear like they care. It is an achievement on the part of the Ethiopian community that he was pressured enough to give the interview, however, it is sad that he said nothing useful - or nothing that showed that he cared about Ethiopia (except of course saying he cared about Ethiopia).

9:17 PM, December 07, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unfortunately ,Tina Turner appeals to our ' great leader ' .

Please do read the cover on the Yasteseryal cd ,it is facinating !!

12:00 PM, December 12, 2005  

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