Friday, April 14, 2006

How, um, NOT to silence the ET Blogverse

You can’t masticate on organically-grown chat in peace these days without another Ethiopian blog harshing your mellow… or boosting the buzz , depending on where you stand politically.

I have a theory about the mushrooming ETblogverse.

Most of us have been frustrated by the lack of Ethiopian bloggers from Ethiopia, and all of a sudden the Ethiopian government deports/orders to leave/ makes thuggish gestures towards ‘Addis Ferenjie’, an anonymous European blogger in Addis Abeba, and whachu got? A veritable home grown ET blogging outbreak.

I wonder what happens at EPRDF Central after some ersatz paper shuffler comes up with the brilliant idea to deport/’encourage to leave’ a salty, saturnine Euro chick on a mission? Does he get a promotion? Does he become the Chargé at the DC embassy? The ambassador to London?

So now Addis Ferenjie is agitated and back in Europe … and talking to organizations such as FIDH - International Federation of Human Rights leagues, International Commission of Jurists Human Rights Watch , World Council of Churches , World Organization against Torture and Association for the Prevention of Torture on EPRDF malfeasances. Good job, boys. Way to silence AF.

She, as I, is disappointed by yet another ‘convenient’ alliance with some blah blah ‘patriotic front’ whose ‘heroism’ is broadcast without scrutiny on some Ethiopian websites. Sweetmotherofchrist, will it ever end?

Says AF:

Armed struggle is a reality and THE main subject during my conversations with Ethiopians in Diaspora. We all fear guerilla will only bring a new dictator, many express doubts about the newly-created or older fronts, the reliability of their leaders, their attitude towards democracy. Activists say supporting the “Arbenoch Ginbar” is not compatible with a successful lobbying in Europe or US, an analysis I quite agree with. The fact that Eritrea is obviously financing some of those groups is truly disturbing, too. Notwithstanding this general feeling, temptation is strong and respectable and rational members of the community are now whispering: “This is the only solution that remains”. Freedom Fighters are likely to receive funds from expatriates soon.

I am appalled things reached that point, a massive repression on the government’ side combined with indifferent West‘s apathy have built the conditions of bloody conflicts and savage murders… again.

Preach on, sistah. was swift in finding a new blogger from Ethiopia, an actual Ethiopian. Meet Urael. In one of the most intriguing lamentations ever, Urael narrates what Addis Abebans go through whenever Prime Minister Meles needs to travel from the Palace (“the bunker”) to the airport. (Apparently our fearless leader doesn’t do leader-ly things such as, let’s say, appear in public.)

The first thing you notice is that federali are posted, armed with an AK47 almost every 100 meters from the bunker up to Bole Airport and side roads. They sit or walk and wait. Unarmed assistants are brought in and at a certain moment parking on the route is forbidden. Cars that stop are summand to drive on and as time goes by the parking ticket girls and boys are send out to find the owners of the remaining vehicles. Drunk and chat intoxicated dwellers are ordered to move ahead sometimes with a treat or a push. The single car left is opened by force and pushed away. Then traffic starts to diminish and disappears. All is quiet and remains so at least 20 minutes.

The officers with radios instruct the soldiers. The public is forced not to walk on the street side of the walking area. A federali car rushes by, the last inspection. A BMW races through the route with big, head shaved, sunglass wearing baboons in it, watching around. These must be the experts.

Silence..... then motorcycles with their blue lights on and sirens, two BMW with similar baboons and then 5 limousines all with blackened windows and followed by another [pair] of BMW's and motorcycles rush by. If I remember correctly it used to be 3 limousines in the past, so security has increased recently, or the paranoia of course.

After that we still can enjoy the quietness for five minutes and then traffic appears again, the soldiers are picked up with trucks and life returns to normal.

It begs the question, is the Prime Minister planning on living in Ethiopia after he resigns? What kind of life does he think he’ll lead? At least in Zimbabwe he can be shuttled to Mengistu’s retreat and the two can lament about their good old days.

Seminnawerq, is yet another yet another new Ethiopian blogger from Addis who has published a smuggled letter from Ato Muluneh Eyuel, the imprisoned CUD Secretary. Ato Muluneh has been thrown into solitary confinement. Why? He refused to take off a pro—CUD t-shirt and insisted on speaking to his family in a language other than Amharic. Holdthephone. Whatever happened to the EPRDF being a champion of “nations and nationalities”? Have some Amhara nefTeNa imperial revanchists (© Jeffrey Sachs) infiltrated the EPRDF? Here is the letter and a powerful
picture of Ato Muluneh being shuttled from the courts to jail.

Seminnawerq is also dismayed at the formation of a new “Fake CUDP”, presumably backed by the EPRDF, consisting of the unjailed members of the CUDP. VOA Amharic interviewed (fast forward to 12:40 minutes) one of the leaders of the new, fake CUDP on Monday. Ato Ayele Chanisso, poor guy… could not quite get around to explaining how this new (“reorganized”) organization could take over administration of Addis. The conventional wisdom is that the EPRDF will then claim that the opposition is running Addis. Poor EPRDF. It must take considerable effort to be this witless.

Scoot up, ET-blogistas, Adebabay wants to sit. In “Recreating CUD” Adebabay contends that “EPRDF and the US embassy in Addis are busy cooking to RECREATE a new CUD in the image of the popular CUD.” Oh, Vicki Huddleston. She’s so becoming the Martha Stewart of Ethiopian politics— tie a big, red bow on a log of crap, smile stiffly and call it “a good thing.” Adebabay elaborates:

Like Alien gods 1, the US also can not read the reality and accept it for long. They know the fake CUD can not represent Addis legitimately. Further more, they know and finally acknowledge the significance of the issue of jailed leaders. It is not only about the leaders themselves. It is also about the whole political process of the county.

Satisfy my Soul [Ego] doesn’t blog often enough to satisfy our yearning for dead on political satire, but when he does… o’m’g! Egoportal’s non-Daily Recipe : Revolutionary Terrorism a la Meles is hands down one of his best pieces. What a mind. What a scribe.

The best newcomer to all this, though, is CoffeeChilliSun who for no reason at all I am thinking is a Returnee. Think Like a Top Class Athelete is her salient analysis of post-EPRDF Ethiopia.

How can we, as citizens of Ethiopia, make sure that we drive the next government to work for us, using the riches of this country for the greater good of all in a manner that doesn’t denude the country and degrade the resources for generations to come?

CoffeeChilliSun gets the “Best description of the EPRDF” since Ethiopundit’s unapologetic missive, “There is no rule of law or civilized standards of behavior, indeed, wearing suits and ties while sipping tea with pinkies extended before talking of Parliaments and Courts does not distinguish Ethiopia’s leaders from barbarian warlords trading on tribalism and blood” (Mommy!):

However a tyrant of the Ethiopian variety is not just a Chiraq who sheds blood and instills overt terror of the Nazi variety- he also knows how to give the impression of granting some liberties based on apparently civil negotiations and generous statesmanship.

… It is a bit like a manipulative, passive-aggressive husband- if he marries a woman used to being battered daily by her father she will not mind the “lighter”, subliminal physical and psychological terror he lets loose on her occasionally.


But unlike most of [cough!] us, CofChilSun is looking beyond EPRDF bashing.

Ethiopians in cities, towns and abroad have even better awareness about democracy and what constitutes a truly democratic state. It is up to us to ensure that people know that democracy and a new freedom don’t mean bloody revenge acts against those of the old regime, that destroying infrastructure put in place by the EPRDF doesn’t hurt Meles in any way, that a relapse into apathy and snide resistance is not conducive to a new beginning.

Use your womanly wiles to hammer it home, Cof…

Translated into modern Ethiopian politics, [thinking like a top-class athlete] means looking beyond the struggle and the vicious despair and hate that are clouding our vision. We have to be able to play make-believe, draw up plans and scenarios of how the next government will function, what our roles, rights and duties will be, how we will interact and -most importantly- how Ethiopia will look after 5-15 years of this kind of government. Daydreaming and envisaging the ideal outcome is a great stress-reliever at the least- and a brilliant plan of action for the best scenario.

Whoever owns the new FM radio station… if you are taking song requests, please… “Weizero Wonqette, from the shores and sands of the great state of floods, mudslides, earthquakes and Jennifer Lopez, dedicates Fanno! Ere Fanno! to her sister in bloghood, Weizero(it) Coffee Chilli inna Sun.”

So, EPRDF. How's the muzzling of information workin' out for ya?

Ethiopia is so much more than the EPRDF. I find a possible moral vacuum more disturbing than a power vacuum. As much fun as it is watching the EPRDF commit suicide, Ethiopians should start getting ready to say “never again.” And this time, mean it. That is why the silent majority can never be silent again.

Thank you, Qest, for linking up the review of Crashing the Gate: Netroots, Grassroots, and the Rise of People-Powered Politics.


Anonymous Ha-to-Zed! said...

Whoa. Where did all these bloggers come from? I've stopped working to catch up and I want to dedicate sum-sum to Buna-berbere-tsehai... and it ain't no song! Brava.

2:39 PM, April 14, 2006  
Anonymous getty said...

ethiopundit led the way, Wonq- so hats off to them. I hope this spurt will maintain quality, and not just quantity. Ethiopian bloggers at home need to lead us in Diaspora. The only info I was getting from the hallowed "Returnees" was to fight for more foriegn handout to Ethiopia. (And most of these folks are my friends!!)

It was sad waiting for ferenjies to post their few paragraphs so all of you from Ground Zero, big up!

Breathing easily,

3:57 PM, April 14, 2006  
Anonymous Inde Hewan said...

Yo, I can barely keep up with the blogs I already know, and now it's raining more of them from Ethiopia! Let a 1000 flowers bloom I say! And all the more gorgeous power-flowers since they come straight from the motherland.

Wonk, my call would be to cut our Ethiopian websites which uncritically posted the EPPF some serious slack. Let me start off by saying: I feel sometimes that I am the only "nonviolent-resistance-only" gal left in the diaspora, and it can feel pretty damn lonely. When I first saw the EPPF website, I was pretty aghast. Now, being something slightly less pristine than lilywhite, throw-no-stone, perfectly peaceful is one thing (ANC sends greetings), but this website: plastered from top to bottom, cover to cover with militaristic posturing, rifles, army uniforms ... didn't exactly instill comfy confidence in me that such a group could govern Ethiopia in a democratic, enlightened, 21st century kinda way!

But -- let's give our websites a break when they get ahead of themselves and post the address of the the EPPF website. Heck, even Addisferenji did that, whom you cite at length about her being aghast at EPPF. For evidence of this go to and see the 03.04.2006 posting. And still she's my heroine. Ethiopian Review posted EPPF for, like, a day and then removed it again, and he's still my hero. People make mistakes, people learn, you and I do as well.

4:00 PM, April 14, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So many bloggers, I also could not keep track.
One thing remain though, they are all pro-CUD and anti-EPRDF.
So what is new, more EPRDF bashing.
More does not always mean good, especially if all are of he same opinion

5:49 PM, April 14, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just found this Blog by an Ethiopian high school junior from California spending a year in Addis. Good reading for parents and their kids who may have thought about doing something like this.

12:25 AM, April 15, 2006  
Anonymous etw said...


It's easier to post the link.
Kids' troubles shake Seattle's East Africans

1:59 AM, April 15, 2006  
Anonymous Inde Hewan said...

ETW: pointer to a small mistake: Your "letter" link and your "picture" link both bring us to the letter of Ato Muluneh. Since I am one of the poor Ethiopian souls who can't read Amharic very well (I've honestly been looking for an Amharic teacher for a while now!) I especially would like if you do create a link to the picture.

6:57 AM, April 15, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bashing EPPF will not serve the freedom struggle of the people. We have already seen the extent of peaceful struggle. Posting well written letters from kaliti prison will change nothing! Coordinating all forms of struggle is crucial!!!

11:31 AM, April 15, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Can you post the link. I am technically challenged!

2:31 PM, April 15, 2006  
Anonymous trendsetting chriaq said...

ambassador fesseha will be writing a letter soon denouncing the upsurge of Ethiopians in the blogosphere...

Dear Mr. Blogosphere:

There are times in a diplomat's life when one must tell unpleasant troofs: so many blogs on your blogoshere about my government are negative. Though i have never written blogs, it is my understanding that there has to be a code of conduct. Unbalanced, unabashed opponents (sans one single detached academic) representing obscure organizations are allowed to testify on these blog mechanisms.

yadda....................yadda....... Despite these antipeace CUDbloggeristas we will continue the democratization.


The Ambassador
Ethiopian Embassy
Washington DC

4:02 PM, April 15, 2006  
Anonymous Z/Qdus said... (please link? please? please, please, please??)

8:00 PM, April 15, 2006  
Anonymous not anonymous said...

For those interested in the “yadda . . .yadda” that Chirac left out:

Mr. Blogosphere, in light of the recent mushrooming of “hostile, disrespectful and sometimes condescending idiosyncratic entities” in the ET-blogosphere, which refuse to “make application for permit through proper channels and procedures,” thereby “actively working to undermine the constitutional order in Ethiopia” through this here thing known as “ectoplasm” (sometimes referred to as free speech) I must, in retrospect, insist that the title of the March 28 hearings be changed.

“Ethiopia’s Troubled Internal Situation” is hardly a suitable title when the “leaders of today’s Ethiopia, through blood and tears,” have dealt with internal trouble effectively and decisively, at least for now.

A more fitting title, therefore, would be “Ethiopia’s Troubled External Situation.” What with these EXTERNAL blogs “ferreting out the truth by going where the evidence leads,” and shooting holes in our “fanciful claim” that “Ethiopia is moving in the right direction towards democratization,” it is getting increasingly difficult to sell the donor-community on our denial that we are like the late Ceaucescu.

Mr. Blogosphere, “when I stated (at the hearings ) that I could not predict what Ethiopian newspapers would write, Chairman Smith sneered at my response. If only he had used his ears and treated my words with the attention and deference they deserved,” I was trying to tell him that, when one “can no longer predict what newspapers will say about an event,” one shuts them down! See what I mean about the internal situation being under control?

But, here’s the problem we’re having, Mr. Blogosphere. Now that the local truth-tellers are no longer, just HOW do we silence those unpredictable, external sources that are incessantly fomenting trouble for us from WITHOUT? Those firebrand ET-bloggers that are growing rapidly all over your cyberspace! Could YOU help Mr. Blogosphere?

I know for sure that Chairman Smith could not! In fact, if his conduct of the hearings is an indication, he might make matters worse. “I was shocked that, when the hearing audience reacted audibly, he seemed to encourage it. This breach of protocol was not something he should have tolerated.”

Where I come from, Mr. Blogosphere, when a crowd “becomes demonstrative, whether through cheers and applause or through boos and catcalls,” you shoot to kill! Chairman Smith could “not even gavel the room to order,” much less kill the motherfuckers!

It’s obvious to me that, in the spirit of “shared political and moral values between Ethiopia and America,” there’s a whole lot that these ferenjis ought to learn from us!

6:28 PM, April 16, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

lollll... not anonymous. L-O-L. What has Ambassador Fisseha (we call him "Fish") ever done to you?

8:02 PM, April 16, 2006  
Blogger enaseb said...

ummm skuze me while i set free one "troof" up in heaaaaaaaaaaa.....

Mr. blogsphere is actually a Ms.

from london to culver city it's like that.

5:00 AM, April 18, 2006  
Blogger Keydoro said...

I am lost what is going on here. What are you beautiful people talking and bla bla about?

10:46 PM, August 22, 2006  
Blogger Keydoro said...

Hey you beautiful people what do you think of miss Ethiopia and that retarded competition miss universe ?

10:50 PM, August 22, 2006  

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