Friday, March 10, 2006

Give and ye shall be given

His Goochness on money… mouth and putting the two together.

With much, much thanks Gooch for coming through.

Always and forever,



VOA writes that Ethiopia has a bit of a population problem. No kidding!

But, what has the EPRDF been doing for the last fifteen years? Failing on both factors that contribute to population growth - economic prosperity and social policy.

The population growth rate has not changed since 1991. The rate of poverty has remained unchanged since 1991. Economic growth has been stagnant at 1.1% per capita.

Why? The EPRDF spends too much energy suppressing the population to maintain power, rather than devising policies that would increase economic growth and help decrease population growth.

Reducing population growth is also about social change, and to bring about social change, the government needs to carry out public education campaigns. Public education campaigns only work when the public identifies with and believes the source of the information. The Ethiopian people do not believe nor identify with a government that calls them neftegna, chauvinists, parasites, narrow nationalists and that makes it clear that it does not represent them, but simply governs them. The EPRDF government does not have the moral authority to bring about social change.

So, in spite of feeble announcements that they'll undertake a new campaign to limit population growth, there is no reason to expect that the EPRDF will do any better in the future that it has done until now.

There, that makes me feel better!

But what have I accomplished with this rant? I've let off some steam, perhaps passed on a little knowledge to the few ETW readers who have endured my brief tenure! That's it. The EPRDF is still terrorizing the Ethiopian population, and I'm here in the diaspora, relegated to following the news like spectator at a football match, with absolutely no impact on the outcome. Helpless.

I don't feel so good any more.

Oh, how I wish we in the diaspora could coalesce and make a strong, positive contribution to
Ethiopia and ourselves. I wish we could have the same impact on Ethiopia as, say, the Eritrean diaspora has on Eritrea.

In a North American city of about one million, where about 800 Eritreans reside, during the last Ethio-Eritrean War, Eritreans raised over one million dollars for the war effort. In the same city, after the events last November, 2000 Ethiopians raised a few thousand dollars for Kinijit.

Now, it's probably true that after a few more years of poverty and excess population, if the repression gets harsh enough, after one or two 'Hawzien equivalents', people will be up in arms, ethnic identity will kick in, and another guerilla movement will hit full stride, replete with ample funds from the diaspora.

I don't want to wait for that. I'd rather invest the time and money into peace and democracy. I would rather raise a million dollars for Kinijit today so that it can develop the capacity to promote peace and democracy for all Ethiopians, rather than tomorrow, raise a million dollars for weapons for one LF or another. I would love for there to be an Ethiopian organization like the Armenian Assembly, Indian lobby; an organization that I know would advocate for Ethiopians in the diaspora and in

At this point, I always feel the need to address those with legitimate concerns about the capacity and competence of the Kinijit North America Support Group.

Let me put it this way: We have no choice. This is the only way the diaspora can have any meaningful impact. Besides, if we are going to wait for the perfect organization to appear out of the blue so that we can all confidently get behind it, we'll be waiting forever. There are deep-seated reasons why we have not managed to develop such an organization to date, as I discussed in my last post, and these reasons are not going to disappear overnight.

So, let's move ahead and take the plunge. Let's give our money, knowing full well that it may not be used efficiently.
Let us free ourselves from helplessness!


Blogger Honest too said...

I recently joined a Church that is all American so that my kids will get the benefit of learning about God in a structured way. I came to the conclusion that I should be a member after going to the Church and seeing that it runs like a well oiled machine (I had wanted to be a member of a small Ethiopian Church before that and the Chaos was far to much to handle for me and my kids.) And boy did I learn what takes to make that Church run the way it does, THE MEMBERS GIVE THE CHURCH TIME, MONEY, .... you name it they will give anything if it is needed.

I think Ethiopians as a group have to learn that we have to be able to put our money and time where our mouth is, like the Eritreans as you put it. It is going to take us nothing less to make a difference in our country.

3:01 PM, March 10, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seattle Boy said...
I aplaud what you do, seriously. But be very informative and optimestic. I think we all are fed up with this negative remarks about ourselves. I mean look at the st. Geberiel and other churches here in seattle that are making our presence felt in various venues. I think we all can make a change if we concentrate on what makes us strong people. Join not only Kinijit or other poletical party but also
ENHAPA or ethiopian tree foundation or others. Believe me we will make a difference.

9:51 PM, March 10, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are right we must support the cause of the people through time and money. We have the capcity to do both very well being where we are. We have to be more responsible marching in washington dc or anyother state will only take us so far. Supporting the political groups in ethiopia is a must, time, money, access to the west in every possible. At the same time we should also support those willing to fight in the name of Ethiopia and her children, we must support a force that will protect those who can't protect themselves. We can't leave our leaders by themselves so they could either be jailed or killed or tortured. We must make a stand in every from and that all stems from spending time and money in the right places. Individuals like your self who provide a forum for discussion on these intergral subjects are of great value, because you carry the vehicle that can open the eye's the youth in the west. Thank you.

3:37 AM, March 11, 2006  
Blogger kuchiye said...


I passed your idea by my mother, no kidding. She is a big-time supporter of Kinijit but one who will never fail to remind you of Meles's cunning and TPLF's efficient organization. Now, you can't argue with that opinion, can you?

Well, she and my siblings attended a $100 plate fund raiser in LA just two weeks ago and her experience was that of disappointment. She is unequivocal in her conclusion that something needs to be done to Kinijit's NA leadership. Let me tell you, it's not a "like-mother-like-son" thing but I share her pain to the bone.

Much as I am tempted, I can't go into the details of our discussion for fear I will go over the limit I imposed on myself for the comments section. But I will dare to share the "teret"s she used this time around to drive her points home.

1. "One needs a thorn to pluck out a thorn that is stuck in one's bare foot" Meaning Kinijit needs to match and exceed Meles's cunning and TPLF's solid organization if it is ever going to be able to take the driver's seat and deliver its vision for Ethiopia.

2. "Trying to fill a sack with a gashing hole at the bottom is an exercise in futility. First thing first, stitch the whole." How telling, where did our decades of loyal support to political parties of every shade take us? No where! Unless we have the guts to stand up and demand better organization and measurable performance from Kinijit's leadership, even at the inevitable risk of being labeled "infiltrators", ours will remain just a leap service.

No, Gooch! We are too intelligent to take a blind "plunge" into a pool that does not hold enough water. Let most of our energy go to organization building, filling the pool with water so to speak, even as we continue to support Kinijit. Don't give me that feeling of desperation. Join Kinijit, and demand 21st century organization, transparent management, and democratic practice at every level. There is no substitute to being better organized, Jesus!

11:02 AM, March 11, 2006  
Anonymous H. Gabriel said...

Most of us agree that we need to do something. Not tomorrow but today. Most of us agree that the men and women who are the “guests” of Meles & Co. at Kaliti, Dedesa and the many other dungeons are carrying way over their share of love and duty to the motherland. Most of us agree that the students in Addis, Ambo, Dessie and every corner of the land are showing us the way by looking at the beast in the eye and saying “no more tyranny”! What can we do?

I have a simple suggestion. Instead of criticizing someone else suggestions let’s just talk about “our” suggestion. We know that a lot of these organizations are half-baked. We know that there is a huge room for improvement. But organizations like Kinjit and Hebret are “doing” something! If you can join them and help them be better, bravo! If you can’t join them, send them $100 today. Monitor how they are doing. If six months or a year from now if you believe they have been accountable and deserving of your help send them $200 then. $100 is a very small price to pay, even for a mistake.

One other simple suggestion. Send double of what you send home. Tell your family to help one other family who has a breadwinner in jail.

2:22 PM, March 11, 2006  
Anonymous phiqr said...


I think we can easily rise a million dollar. We don't have to wait some organization from some where to call on us. Thanks to Gooch, we are on the right topic. Kuchiye also suggested repeatedly that we at ETW find a way to do our part. So, here is an idea that I have been playing with for while. It is the old chain mail trick "... if you don't send this email to 10 more people a curse of death will happen to you...". Don't you like that..

1000 people contributing $1000 dollar each is a "Million Dollar". To reach this goal we only need 100 sponsors, each to find 10 contributers.

Each sponsor will be responsible to rise 10 grand. Even a sponsor does not have to find 10 contributer for that matter. If a sponsor find 3 people each in turn find 3 more people then that will do it.

The beauty of this is we don't have to live in the same city, not even in the same county. All we have to do is find 3 people. It could be family member from Europe. I think most of the diaspora can happily contribute a $1000 for Ethiopia cause. This will easily spared like a grass fire. We may go beyond and above our goal.

If we are serious about this we can take it off line on private mail group and develop it further.

Make ETW where not only talkers but doers meet.

"Talking isn't doing It is a kind of good deed to say well; and yet words are not deeds."
William Shakespeare

4:41 PM, March 11, 2006  
Anonymous ye filwiha said...

you did it again Gooch -- I'm one of those that Wonki might call 'Abebe come-lately's to ET politics.. I also know several others who just got to the scene and all what most of us do is what h.gabriel suggested - that's perhaps one of the good things that came out of this ... then again, I worry, if that is all what we do... if all what the diaspora does is telling the story and throwing some cash to those in need, who's gonna be the 800 Ethiopians to raise a million for a good cause, who's gonna take charge and pick up the torch that seems to be fast burning out -- I got my dose of ET politics last April at a fund-raising event - call me whatever you want, I didn't even know there was an election the following month - but I'm a different person since that day in general and since the aftermath of the election in particular and can't seem to find that 'organization' or 'party' or whatever where I can/should give back for the good cause -- all what I do as an individual doesn't seem to be all what I could do - if it sounds too egotistic, that's not what I want to say - you know what I'm sayin'? one of my most favorite bloggers, a 23 year old law school student (I think she will graduate in June), a die-hard liberal (yes, I'm one as well - the only person to the left of me is Jesus - if he were alive) had a very desperate post the other day -- and you can easily substitute the names and events in her blog with Ethiopian names and events and it will still make a perfect sense... I don't know who will it be our guy, lady, heck I'll take a Trans if he/she can get me to the 'promised land'

5:14 PM, March 11, 2006  
Anonymous ye filwiha said...

dear phiqr,

your post wasn't there when I logged on to do mine - I got caught up in a phone call and when I posted mine, it followed yours...

what you said makes is perfect for me -- and now the deal is, I think, if we all feel this much comfortable with Wonki, boyyy then the pressure in on her!!! she will be the perfect candidate to lead this drive -- so, Wonki here we come -- you remember once, an aiga-forum kinda wanker chastising you in his comment about "what have you done for Ethiopia?" ... let's show him the money...

phiqr, I'M IN!!!!!!!!

5:26 PM, March 11, 2006  
Anonymous phiqr said...

For those of you who are interested on the idea I posted above or want to share yours in private pls email me at

We can start a private mail group. Wonq, if you want to coordinate this let us know. I think it will be great if you have the time. I will be happy to help.

Thx. Ye Filwiha. I know we can do this.

6:18 PM, March 11, 2006  
Anonymous anon said...

Good post Gooch.

A short personal experience...I sent Kinijit NA a check for $150 twice - not a lot - yalewin yesete nifug ayibalim. I included a letter and personal email address and I wanted to know when they got the money, and I wanted to be kept informed with some level of transparency on what they have raised so far and how they have spent it. Unfortunately, one is expected to have a "Lam alegne Besemay..." attitude and wait for some milk at some future time. No acknowledgment that the money is received [I know it is, because my bank statement says so], no report on how it was used, nothing...I am not even sure why their website is bent on posting news and articles and really no strategy papers, or at least some vision for them selves...(Yifetu malet in itself is not a strategy) I think raising money is our responsibility, but when we do so it must be because we know what the plan of action is and how it is going to be used. I sent an email through their email address available at the Kinijit website...over two months now, and still no answers.

7:06 PM, March 11, 2006  
Blogger Geja said...

Hello ETW
Much thanks to His Goochiness for taking care of the shop while you were out - He did an excellent job. BTW, there is a new kid in town, actually from the town called Addis. He/she has a couple of articles already, very interesting - here is the address for those who have not seen it yet: Will Tegbar's call be a success? ...

10:23 PM, March 11, 2006  
Anonymous Ahuns mereregn said...

Looks like you all were listening to my phone calls this morning - I know you were not, but found it amazing we all are moving towards the same level of frustration with our NA CUD reps - to much inaction over a too long period, in the mean time our leaders are dying in jail, our young are shot at and kicked at, 90 % of our people, who never had it easy in the first place are fading away due to an incumbent famine, our country is disintegrating fast like a derailed train going downhill at full speed, and what are we doing about it? – oh, talking and discussing it with civility. F…civility, beam me up you all as I am going to use that email from phiqr and see you all mean it, I think you do.

10:56 PM, March 11, 2006  
Blogger Geja said...

And I am saying to Phiqr, “ yes, we can do this. We have done a lot more than that. Most of us got plucked out from the midst of loving parents, running away from brutal Derge killers, crossed inhospitable borders, spent too many hot and sweltering days in the desert (Djibouti, Sudan, etc), stayed too many cold nights on bare floors in lands that did not happily welcomed us, we were looked down as the most miserable on earth, and then after a few years in our new homeland voila – some of us went to school and became engineers, lawyers, doctors, professors, accountants, computer professionals, some of us started our own business and made it to the American dream, some of us got married, stayed home as a dedicated parent/spouse and raised our own new Ethiopians in a foreign land, so that the promise of hard work and education that our parents passed to us is kept alive wherever we call it home. What the heck, look at the huge progress we made in the main American past time called small business across this great land in cities like DC, Dallas, Seattle and so on, LA even secured its own Little Ethiopia, and all that in one tiny, tinny winnie single generation. Do you know of any new comers from another African country that has risen to this same level? No Siree. We showed it to the world that it is hard work and dedication that matters, not color or creed. While I am at it could that be a reason we never really hit it off with our Black American (forget PC, I’ve never been one and do not plan to be now) compatriots? I am sure you have heard about D. Payne and his repeated killing of bills designed to benefit the people of Ethiopia. Sorry got sidetracked – So what I am saying is we have done it folks. In more ways than one we are very hard working, focused and result oriented people. Let us put our marbles together and kick this kosso fit out of our dear Ethiopia. He never belonged there from day one, we know it and he has repeatedly acted upon it. Let us show him the gig is up sucker, we do not even wait for you to get out, we are ready to kick you out.

11:41 PM, March 11, 2006  
Anonymous ye filwiha said...

"....And then there is us—yesteryear’s lethargic yuppie Ethiopian Diasporans who had vowed not to touch Ethiopian politics with a ten-foot pole. When you manage to radicalize over-achievers like us, you are in for at least some nuisance because we are a royal pain in the ass. We have the time, money and know-how to be thorns in your side. And you know what we hate more than gussied up Marxists? Gussied up Marxists who beat up kids and make mothers cry. It takes a lot to rile us up, but in that rare case that we think something totally sucks, well gee-golly, we are going to do something about it...."

the one and only ETW, 08JUN05 -- you can read the entire post here:

3:40 PM, March 12, 2006  
Blogger kuchiye said...


Such a great idea that I lost my Sunday "siesta" trying to make it even greater. Go ahead and count me in with the following caveats:

1. I don't feel comfortable handing out money unless I have some say or control over the way the money is spent

2. Rather than collecting a cool million and giving it out to people who may not even know how to handle a million, I suggest we create an "Endowment Fund". The fund will be invested in safe instruments with an expected annual return of 15-20% .... and might even grow to several millions. I guess you will get the drift of my idea here.

3. Ethiopian political parties which share ETW Group's vision for Ethiopia will receive financing based on short project proposals. My own preference will be to finance party capacity building projects where the parties suffer the greatest deficiency. Of course other critical requests will also be financed on their merit.

I strongly believe the time has come for us to demand more from our parties. I know some would see this as too much of a luxury in light of the emergency situation we find ourselves in but being driven by emotion and acting desperately took us nowhere.

Demanding organizational excellence, accountability, and transparency is not demanding too much. Supporting and financing the proliferation of these instruments and practices, however, is a sure way of wining the war. World and Ethiopian history is replete with lessons of political parties which never made it to power for failing to attach the greatest importance to capacitty building.

Just a though....

9:10 PM, March 12, 2006  
Anonymous H. Gabriel said...

Great discussion. One other suggestion. Start a PAC (Political Action Committee). Main tasks to start a PAC. 1. IRS and state exemption 2. Organizational documents (by-law etc..) 3. Board of directors. I am sure there are enough attorneys (ETW included) and CPA’s who can help. ETW is probably the logical person to lead this drive. She has the trust of most of us and clearly is a gifted and talented individual.

Meles, besides K street lobby firms, has former ambassadors (who happen to be African-American) as lobbyists. Why do you think for the most part progressive and Africanist politicians like Donald Payne and Barbara Lee are dragging their feet on HR 4423? These mercenaries are lobbying them. We need a vehicle to do the same.

However, the PAC will not be functional next week. Therefore, in the meantime call their offices, jam their phone lines, send them any pictures or other evidence of the brutality of the Meles regime. DO NOT MAKE IT EASY FOR THEM. The worst thing for liberals like them is to be identified with Meles & Co, which is NOW clearly a fascist regime by anybody’s standards. The phone call schedule ETW did while HR4423 was navigating through the house was great. Maybe she can do another one next week when she gets back. If we can’t help HR 4423 pass I don’t see how we can do all these great things we say we want to do! We have thousands of Ethiopians in NJ and the Bay Area. Go to their offices with picket signs. Thank god you live in a FREE country. They usually have some activity every few weeks or so in their district. If a thousand Ethiopians show at every event for the next few weeks, believe me HR 4423 will be a long way on the process of being law.

I think most of us have only a vague idea of the impact of the law. It is a serious law. Read it again.

1:54 AM, March 13, 2006  
Blogger Geja said...

Thanks H Gabriel, these areas you brought are exactly where we need to go next, and we will do well if we take it offline for more discussion and planning. And also ETW, we all hope you have a peaceful and restful respite during the last few days. The thing is lots of us in your humble ETW land think you are the logical person to organize as suggested a few times here. Some of us already have started the offline thingy. Most are offering their time and effort to do the leg work, you can add me at any level you want me to participate. Anyone who wants to get in touch with me on this, here is my email, - we need to get started ASAP as it is going to be a long, dark, treacherous and arduous road ahead. As someone earlier stated Meles just pocked a beehive he should not have. Let us show him when he is hurting our children, our mothers, and fathers , then we are going to sting back.

1:49 PM, March 13, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is a wonderful project managment/collaboration online tool:

Whoever takes a lead will signup and envite people, assign tasks etc.

2:43 PM, March 13, 2006  
Blogger Geja said...

Excellent. I am going to sign up for the $12/month which is good for 3 projects @ 1 time, and a 100mb space. If anyone wants the next higher(s) then let me know ( and we will share the cost. Once I learn the ins and outs of this then I will let you know to start cracking.

5:49 PM, March 13, 2006  
Anonymous phiqr said...

Kuchiye, yes, yes, yes... your point is well taken. we need to do all that and more. The best venue to have a further discussion is offline.

There are a whole lot we need to iron out. Before we leave this posting and move on to other topic I would like us to develop email group.

So I encourage all to send me email at When and If ETW is ready to coordinate I'll pass it along. So far I heard from very few of you. Some of you already said you are interested but we don't know how we can reach you. You can create a temporary email account at one of free email servies providers and send it out until we get to know each other better.

The main goal is develop a mailing list of 100 sponsors. At this point we are very far from it. I read above lots of good ideas. Please take the first step and put you name on the list... then you can share your idea and also take some responsibility.

As I have discussed above being an sponsor is a very easy task. A sponsor finds 3 contributors and each contributor in turn will find 3 more contributors.

Above I see comments from those of you...

gooch - posted the topic. thx.
h. gabriel
ye filwiha
ahuns mereregn
h. gabriel

Lets get together... that is the first step.

I have two request for y'all:

1 - put your name on the list of sponsors - email
2 - encourage others to join the list - we need 100 sponsors. The frequent visitors of Wonqville wont be enough.

btw - menew not-anonumous yebela jib alchoh ale?

6:25 PM, March 13, 2006  
Blogger Dina said...

Apart from raising money for political organisations that always carry the potential to become corrupt and greedy there is this one alternative for diasporans:
A friend is trying to encourage returning diasporans (for holiday) to volunteer their time and also contribute some money to existing projects of local NGOs, orphanages etc. So, apart of pishing away $£$£$ at the Sharaton inviting all the "abro adeg ye sefer lijoch", they can also directly make a change through an organisation (to be set up soon) that connects volunteers with willing organisations. A couple of days or even hours giving lessons, helping elderly or anything your skillbase has to offer would make a great difference to a lot of people.

6:10 AM, March 14, 2006  
Blogger Geja said...

I have now signed up for basecamp account to manage action items we will be working on as suggested a few times on this current blogg. It is named "Hamsa Lomi" and addressed as follows: Http://
Ye filwuha lij also called me today and we had a good conversation. Our next plan is for a conference call this Friday afternoon. Mail me at "" and will pass you the phone number to call. I am a beginner on this so I need to see how the con-call will work. I will let you know. If you happen to have a better idea of how to make this kick start work better, please let me know as well. As I said I am really novice at this things, so please help.

12:03 AM, March 15, 2006  

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