Monday, April 10, 2006

HR 4423-The Gore , The Glory

Before we talk about HR 4423…

So maybe I was not dreaming that there appears to be a palpable change in the US’ talking points about Ethiopia.

Vicky Huddleston, the charge d'affaires to Ethiopia used to be a big fan of “fair and speedy” trials for people the Ethiopian government has imprisoned on asinine charges of “genocide” and “treason”. Lovely. I dunno. I always thought that line was a bit like asking the person stabbing another person to give speedy medical attention to his victim. I guess it’s better than not saying anything, but at a certain point the stabbing needs to be addressed.

Well, it started with Yamamoto at the hearings, and now Ms. Huddleston seems to be losing patience. Jeepers whiskers. Some of the interesting parts…

AFP, April 6, 2006

The top US diplomat in Ethiopia said that opposition leaders and journalists accused of plotting a coup after deadly post-election violence last year must be freed to stabilize the country's volatile political situation.

"We feel that, in the end, their release is absolutely necessary to a reconciliation process," Huddleston said. "It can't go on like this, for this process both sides need to be ready to compromise."

"To have a dialogue with all the opposition it is terribly important for the future of the country and it is certainly an objective and a priority of our government," she said.

"We would like to see more progress, better respect for human rights, a more professional security forces and faster movement so that the opposition parties feel that they are really listened to," Huddleston said.

A far cry from give them a fair trial, and while you are at it, give them cake. Something is happening in the State Department.

So, HR 4423 was indeed reported out of Subcommittee. Considering that most bills die unceremoniously in Sub comm, wow.

It was a bit disturbing that it was a straight party line vote: republicans for it (6 votes); democrats against (4 votes). So you know what this means: Ranking member Donald Payne (D-New Jersey) is Ethiopia’s enemy #1 du jour and Chris Smith the patron saint. Alright people, walk it off.

To be sure, Payne is much more sympathetic towards the Ethiopian government than Smith, although I thought Payne was straightforward at the hearings where poor Ambassador Fisseha was henpecked. Payne, I felt, went out of his way to tell us he does not respond to pressure from the Diaspora. Ookay.

I am not sure why he seemed to have proposed an altogether new legislation… and it seems more like a new legislation than amendments to me, but what do I know. But why were all his amendments rejected?

7) (b) CREATION OF VICTIMS SUPPORT NETWORK.* The President, acting through the head of the appropriate department or agency of the Government of the United States, shall create a “Victims Support Network” for Ethiopia. The Network shall provide assistance to families of individuals who lost loved ones in Ethiopia, provide medical and financial support to individuals injured by Ethiopian Government security personnel, provide financial support for legal support for prisoners of conscience, and provide assistance to local groups or groups from outside of Ethiopia that are active in monitoring the status of individuals in prison and delivery of food, medicine, and
other necessities.

What was wrong with that?

7c “SUPPORTING INDIGENOUS HUMAN RIGHTS GROUPS” is also strong, although Smith also mentions the Ethiopian Human Rights Council by name as well.

Payne is more specific about establishing a

(d) JUDICIAL WATCH NETWORK.*The Secretary of State, acting through the head of the appropriate department or agency of the Government of the United States, shall create a Judicial Watch Network consisting of local and international groups to monitor judicial proceedings throughout Ethiopia with special focus on unnecessary government intervention on strictly judicial matters and to investigate and report ways to strengthen an independent judiciary.

The good thing about this is that it will expose just how brain numbingly injudicious the Ethiopian courts are, despite the EPRDF’s forced fantasy that there is separation of powers. Prime Minister Meles had long decided that opposition members were guilty of genocide and treason ahead of the prosecution, which woke up one dandy day and rubber stamped the charges. Remember what Ato Meles said upon the arrests? (Financial Times-subscription required)?

“What we have detained is people who have tried to overthrow the duly constituted government and that in my view is treason under the laws of the country,” he said.

Yaaa? It must be democracy with a small ‘d’ because most judiciaries do not work simply because the executive ‘feels’ like charging people.

That’s how ridiculous the judiciary is, and anything that sheds light on that should be welcomed.

My guess is that people heave-hoed into apoplectic seizures about Section 5, Article 2:

Ethiopian opposition parties suffer from internal divisions and some groups lack clear policy objectives, in large part due to repeated government harassment, detention of political leaders, inability to freely function as a political party inside the country, unhelpful interference and dominance by some exile groups, and lack of popular support for opposition-led armed insurrections.

I’m not sure what to make of “and lack of popular support for opposition-led armed insurrections.” But the rest… sure it might sting, but c’mon. The EPRDF essentially strengthened the opposition coalition that might have not seen eye-to-eye with each other. Now the CUD is seen as a martyr- a party of principle and determination because some knucklehead decided that chucking its leadership in jail was a stellar idea. But read Payne’s qualifier: “…in large part due to repeated government harassment, detention of political leaders, inability to freely function as a political party inside the country” Exactly. So not only does the opposition have martyr status, and, and whatever its divisions, it can say, “the EPRDF did it.” The EPRDF loses either way.

“Unhelpful interference and dominance by some exile groups” …I have also addressed in the OCD of OSDs and a creepy kingmaker complex that needs to be flicked.

The thing is, the silent majority in the Diaspora… the sane people who had toe tagged Ethiopian politics… is starting to speak. Voter registration initiatives are intensifying in the Ethiopian-American community. The insularity of the community is thawing as more and more Ethiopians have established a relationship with their representatives and senators. I’ve wondered this for a while: how did the EPRDF manage to fuck up its cozy position? Donor nations thought it was the best thing to happen to Africa since GMFs, and most of us had safely inoculated ourselves from Ethiopian politics: a blindingly adoring benefactor, coupled with tragically detached detractors. How perfect was that? Who pisses on that gift? The EPRDF does. And now a lot of highly caffeinated know-it-alls have stirred from slumber.

Anyway… so Payne, I guess to make sure his words are not twisted, made a not-so subtle point in the next paragraph:

(3) The EPRDF also faced its most serious internal divisions in the post-Mengistu era in 2001. A major split within the TPLF, the most important group within the EPRDF coalition, led to the ouster of nearly half of the Central Committee members and founding members of the TPLF. The ousted leaders remain a potential threat to Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, leader of the party. Restructuring and the ouster of other leaders in the coalition also took place over the past several years.

You wiley-waskly wabbit.

Both Smith and Payne are high on Nile projects and water harnessing. I hope this is taken seriously and that it is not a cynical earmark or used to needle Egypt. Harnessing Ethiopia’s hydroelectric potential and irrigation capabilities is the forgotten elixir. More on that in a later post.

Mr. Payne’s travel restrictions add “civilians who were involved in killing seven policemen.” Hm. Alrighty. It would actually be very interesting to read the Ethiopian government’s (cough!) independent investigations into the June and November killings. Why, the report is supposed to come out in April 2006… a few glitches… according to Ethiomedia, “Five out of the eleven members withdrew themselves from the commission long before the report is published. This has tarnished the image of the already 'talked-about' commission.”

Smith’s travel restrictions might cause a little ripple-ripple in the EPRDF, although I think it can be stricter.

(2) TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS.—The President

shall deny a visa and entry into the United States

to any official of the Government of Ethiopia who

the President determines is involved in the unlawful

shooting of citizens of Ethiopia in June or November

2005 or other demonstrable violations of human

rights until such time as the certification described

in paragraph (3) is made in accordance with such

paragraph.

“Any official of the Government of Ethiopia who the President determines is involved in the unlawful shooting… or other demonstrable violations of human rights…” Ohhhh, that there leaves a lot of EPRDFfers to reschedule their next Disney vacation. But they can go to China, I guess. Whatever.

The certification in Payne’s amendment reads:

(c) CERTIFICATION.*The certification described in this subsection is a certification transmitted by the President to Congress that contains a determination of the President that*

(1) all prisoners of conscience in Ethiopia have been released;
(2) the investigation of the killing of civilian protesters by Ethiopian security forces is credible,
transparent, and those involved in the unlawful killing have been punished;
(3) family members and others have unfettered access to visit detainees in Ethiopian prisons;
(4) the rule of law and human rights are respected throughout Ethiopia; and
(5) the Ethiopian judiciary is independent.

So can someone explain to me why Payne is now so unconditionally vilified?

Payne doesn’t call outright for the release of the prisoners and tucks that provision in Section 7c, which is bullshit, and he does flitter around the EPRDF like a shy bridesmaid, but Payne was clearly dismayed at the Ethiopian government’s sense of judicious dishonesty. Apparently the EPRDF has let a friend of Payne’s, one Mr. Alazar, languish in jail for fours years on ‘corruption’ charges. (Payne doesn’t mention the Anuak genocide.)

One of the obvious differences between Smith and Payne is that Smith is heavy on ‘training’ Ethiopian soldiers to be better people… i.e. don’t use citizens as target practice. I am wary of any military cooperation, mainly because we see how the Ethiopian government uses assistance for “anti-terrorism” against its own people. (The US had to suspend Humvee ‘sales’ to Ethiopia on the account that Special Forces were roaming the city in Humvees terrorizing people. Ach. The irony.)

Smith wants a

United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture to conduct an investigation of reports that 11 prisoners have been and continue to be tortured 12 while in the custody of the Government of Ethiopia;

Payne must not care for UN Special Rapporteurs on Torture. (How the hell do you become one of those.)

Smith wants to “encourage” the Ethiopian government to open up the media, the innernetz, the insane Press Proclamation No. 34 (“which allows the government to bring criminal charges against journalists for offenses such as defamation and the publication of false news”) etc etc. I don’t know what “encouragement” entails. Can that be hashed out during full committee?

Smith appropriates $10 million towards this Act, Payne is thinking more in the $20 million range. Smith’s is not broken down as well as Payne’s.

Make no mistake about it, I have long lost confidence in the Democratic party. It’s becoming marginalized by master panderers like Hilary Clinton who don’t trust the base enough so prefer to down a Bud with NASCAR dads who will vote for her at half past when hell freezes over. Look at the whip check the Democrats did last week to derail the immigration bill. Even Mr. Kennedy conceded that politics came before policy. I guess you can argue that’s par for the course, but Democrats have been wailing about Republican intransigence, and the only way they could appear strong is by weakening policy.

The Ethiopian Diaspora’s blind allegiance to the Democratic Party has been more than a little perplexing, so seeing a reassessment of that is healthy, I think. But vilifying the ranking member as a mouthpiece of Meles? Please, people.

I kinda fell in like with the spokesperson of the Ethiopian American Council who was interviewed on VOA-Amharic on Saturday about HR 4423. I was pretty much digging what he was saying until he said that Payne’s proposal is exactly what Ato Meles has been saying—just in English. Hmm. Hyperbole much?

Okay, so apparently Payne was obstructionist in HR 923. But it is unhelpful to plop him in the Meles Mini-Me category. Whatever beef the Diaspora has with Payne, some of his amendments were strong. Period. And we should push for them. And, um, Payne is the ranking member in the Subcommittee. If the political landscape changes in November, things won’t look pur-dy.

Luckily for the Ethiopian opposition, the EPRDF is always ahead of the curve in the intellectual debauchery and diplomatic malfeasance department.

The Ethiopian Embassy, very ineptly run by H.E. Fesseha Ashgedom Tessema, issued a press release in which it… yes, said that it prefers the Payne bill. I know this was the Ethiopian government’s feeble attempt at political savvy, but, didn’ I ask nicely that the Ethiopian government not write any more letters?

On April 7 the Ethiopian Embassy sent out a press release. Lordy. Ne’er hath the phrase “Ethiopian Embassy” and “sent out a press release” meshed in the pursuit of higher scholarship. Speak, oh Titans of Trite:

It starts off with calling HR 4423 a “bill designed to interfere in Ethiopia's internal politics and to adversely affect Ethiopian-U.S. relations.”

Good one, boys. But are you really in a position to posture at this particular moment? You want to pivot good relations with the US with the passage of HR 4423? I am telling you, the EPRDF goes train wreck-y with each passing day.

Donald Payne (which it calls “the ranking minority member of the subcommittee”… minority as in black? Or minority as in democrat?- ranking member means the party that doesn’t control the… anyway) had a “substitute” bill that “we felt … was more balanced and more attentive to the genuine needs of the Ethiopian people." Really? Maybe someone needs to re-read Payne’s amendments, because if the Ethiopian government wants its passage then it will be acknowledging things such as conspicuous judicial maladies, strangling the free press, intolerance of dissent… not to mention supporting a travel ban and rigorous oversight of human rights affairs. So can we take Ato Fessha’s endorsement of Mr. Payne’s version of HR 4423 as an admission that:

… Human rights conditions deteriorated significantly after the May 15, 2005, elections in Ethiopia and overall human rights conditions in the country remain poor.

Can we take it to mean that the Ethiopian government accepts one of the congressional findings, that Human Rights Watch has said:

… ‘‘[I]n the wake of the May 15 parliamentary elections, in which opposition parties won an unprecedented number of seats amidst massive controversy over the election results, federal police in the Oromia and Amhara regions have threatened, beaten and detained opposition supporters, students and people with no political affiliation, often in nighttime raids. Alongside local government officials and members of local government-backed militias, the federal police have taken the lead in intimidating and coercing opposition supporters’’?

After peevishly telling us there is a robust free media in Ethiopia during the hearings, is Ambassador Fesseha admitting that:

Journalists and editors of the independent Press have been and continue to face harassment and prosecution for alleged violations of press laws in Ethiopia. Dozens of journalists have either fled the country and some are currently in exile fearing prosecution or harassment.

You see where this is going? The EPRDF was probably thinking it was practicing a stealth political maneuver. Relax, boys. Don’t hurt yourself. It’s insane to back Payne’s bill in an effort to divide the Diaspora. Quoting Payne as saying that opposition groups in Ethiopia “have not been saints”? What’s that about? That’s what it comes down to?

The EPRDF might have also pissed off its last sympathizer in congress. Being so strongly aligned to the EPRDF might not be what Payne wants. Hasn’t been working for Tony Blair these days. But the Ethiopian government is used to misquoting and alienating its friends. Tim Clarke?

Um, is it too late to ask what the heck happened to the other Ethiopian Ambassador in DC, Kassahun Ayele? He was so good at ‘splaining. Not so much. He was good at stammering through explanations. He didn’t even say goodbye.

So anyway, when I heard the CUD- North America had responded to the passage of HR 4423, I cringed… Another Payne bashing?

The amendment introduced by Ranking Member Donald Payne was not
accepted as it was unable to get the necessary vote. But contrary to
some misrepresentations and distorted spin by the Ethiopian government
and its supporters, Mr. Payne’s amendment was not a whitewash of the
crimes of the regime in
Addis Ababa. The amendment acknowledges the
widespread human rights abuse and suggests corrective mechanisms. Our

Support Committees and community thank Congressman Payne
for the serious concern he has shown and the hard work he put in to address the problems of human rights and democracy in our country.

Someone gets it. Finally.

The passage of HR 4423 through Subcommittee is undoubtedly a huge deal. I hope some of it is amended, and I hope it passes full committee with the support of both parties.

But before we get going, we need to understand what went wrong with the democrats in sub comm. I can’t figure out if it was the standard partisan politicking or if there is something deeper. I am not a constituent of the members who voted against the bill: Congresswoman Barbra Lee (D-CA), Congresswoman Betty McCollum (MN), Congressman Gregory W. Meeks (D-NY), and Donald M. Payne (NJ) but I hope those of you who are will ask them why. Hopefully the civic organizations working on HR 4423 can mediate between the community and Payne. I know we live in districts that have been jerrymandered to ridiculousness, but it is still curious that there was a straight party line vote.

As long as the “not silent no’ mo’” majority sticks to people and organizations with a proven track record of moderation, the Ethiopian Diaspora is well on its way to becoming a weighty entity. Like most people, I admire the Cuban-American clout. But it has a shoot from the hip tendency. The debacle over the Elian Gonzalez case brought that to light. With all its power, Cuba is still being led by a crotchety commie; daily life is unbearable for most Cubans who risk life and limb to reach American shores. But try getting elected in Florida without the Cuban vote.

The moderate voice should be the one leading the HR 4423 success. The one thing about extremism is that it is easily penetrable and that makes it weak. People who align themselves only with organizations which are virile preachers of “with me or against me” have short political shelf lives. Brother Gooch was trying to examine why so many Ethiopian civic organizations fail. I ain’t no sociologist, but I think it might have to do with outfits organized around extremism… hating EPRDF or hating the opposition. Opposition supporters in the Diaspora faltered big time when they allowed vilification of Berhanu Nega during the post election negotiations. Beyene Petros and Merara Gudina have been denigrated for joining parliament. The EPRDF started arresting CUD members and essentially bailed out supporters of the opposition in the Diaspora. But we can’t keep on depending on EPRDF to make bone headed mistakes. And now people I thought were sane are sending me information about the freakin’ EPRP??? Give me a break. These convenient and ephemeral allegiances are bound to fail, and when they do it gets ugg-lee.

My favorite Ethiopundit quote:

Ethiopians will remember who they have always been and not what they have been told to be at the point of a gun.

Do your part: Website for International Relations Committee. Here are the members of the IRC. Henry Hyde is the chairman.

22 Comments:

Blogger Wegesha said...

Wonk, the way I see it, making convenient allegiances until you get what you need is what politics is all about. That is how the derg got to power aided by Meison, and convenient alleginace is why they ended up in the communist camp. It is not a far fetched idea to think Mr. Smith is also making a convenient allegiance with the Ethiopian diaspora. Isn't that the reason why they say "politics is a dirty game"? TPLF had to make convenient allegiances to become a sham EPRDF to get to where they are today. Failure to organize or not, one glaring problem with most of the diaspora organizations is that they operate with some basic principles that are very ideal and they just do not go hand in hand with politics. Politicains, at the end of the day, focus on the final numbers and as a result individual lives lost for a cause and the emotions that come with that are not extremely important (unless you believe Bush is really losing sleep over the 2000 American deaths or Meles is really crying for the mother who lost her 14 year old boy). Although convenient alleginaces may not be very palatable to most of us, I think we have to be realistic when trying to bring about change in the real world. My argument is not specifically about EPRP but the concept of alleginaces and if I am way off on that, why don't you retrace back and tell me at which point there has not been a convenient alleginace. Start with the U.S and the Mujahidin, followed by the U.S and Iraq. We can finally top it off at around the beginning of the 20th century when lij Eyasu decided to side with the Germans during world war I.

1:19 AM, April 11, 2006  
Anonymous ETW said...

Wege,

The examples you give of convenient alliances are themselves fine arguments against it. The pitfall of convenient alliances is that exactly: convenient. There is the actual alliance that is worrisome, and then the aftermath. Derg. How did that work out for us? What came out of that ungodly alliance? TPLF and EPLF?

Working together with parties you have to hold your nose at is a political reality. No doubt. (Beyene Petros did that, and if I remember correctly, people went into “he’s dead to me” mode.) But there is finesse to choosing which one, and you have to know when to hold them, when to fold them and when to git the heck out. If you ally yourself with everyone who agrees with you, you’re setting up yourself for failure. Example: if you are an environmentalist, would you ally yourself with… the KKK, which, believe it or not, is into cleaning streams and highways. Know when to fold. The political machinations after the Ethiopian elections were actually very interesting times for sociologists, I am sure. All of a sudden, Berhanu Nega was an ‘EPRDF spy’. That’s the kind of mentality that convenient alliances allow.

The other thing is, it is damn hard extricating yourself from convenient alliances. Derg eliminated MEISON, and with it thousands of lives. A more contemporary example: McCain pandering to the Christian Right, after comparing it with Farrakan but on the other side of the political spectrum. Let’s say McCain gets the blessing. But the moment he steps out of line, the CR is going to be on his case, and those people are chiko. With Ethiopia, instead of marginalized groups like the EPRP stay marginalized, we extend their shelf lives. Not a good move.

I think of convenient alliances like one night stands: it might end up a good time and you say goodbye in the morning totally satiated. But then again, you might end up in a ‘Fatal Attraction.’ If you choose a deranged chick, Wege, then don’t be surprised if she axe picks you after cotius.

And I haven’t even had a cup of coffee

10:02 AM, April 11, 2006  
Anonymous moderate? yemin moderate? said...

Ajeb, ajeb Wonqilat. I got 10 emails on Thursday about how Payne is eating our children. Ere point me to the moderates so I can worship at their feet.

I would not sweat the straight party line vote. It was no more than party line politics. Half of congress voted for the Patriot Act without reading the thing. Lee and Weakly were not going to vote against Payne under any circumstances. But co-opting Payne is a good move.

12:54 PM, April 11, 2006  
Anonymous shaanq said...

do you know Wegesha, Wonq? You broke it down for him so well: in one night stand metaphors. we, his avid fans, know that's the best way to get to him.

Ditto on the straight line vote. it's how washington works. but there has to be a cohesive group working on hr4423. we need to have workshops on how to lobby the government for ethiopian americans, btw.

so can bills get ammended at full committee?

1:34 PM, April 11, 2006  
Anonymous tarik A. said...

Yes, bills can be ammended at full committee. One of the members in the IRC is my representative and I contacted her today. Her office was very receptive. who is spearheading this effort at a grassroots level? is it advocacy ethiopia?

2:03 PM, April 11, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

honestly, it was a pissing contest between payne and smith. you know what they say happens to grass when two elephants fight. nontheless, a big move, and diaspora involvement played a major role.

3:19 PM, April 11, 2006  
Anonymous Zimpunditry said...

Weichegud,

Big fan of your blog. And welcome to Afri-blog.

I hope the Ethiopian grassroots movement expands to an African lobbying effort. I was stuck in traffic for two hours yesterday watching 500,000 Latinos waving flags from 10 different countries.

Keep up.

4:26 PM, April 11, 2006  
Anonymous Gooch said...

Exactly, ETW, no point jumping all over Payne and co. No doubt they've been lobbied, spoken to experts and confidantes that ascribe to a certain point of view, etc. There's no reason we - Advocacy Ethiopia, CUD-NA Support Group, or anybody like that - couldn't have cultivated a long-term relationship with Payne and influenced him in the same way. And there's no reason we can't do it now.

Yes, this cultural trait of hurriedly demonizing those (and their families) who say something we don't like must be exorcised if we are to be able to get along and work cohesively.

On ephemeral alliances, well, it depends on what we mean exactly. In principle, I have no problems working with different people on common causes. In fact, I can't see an argument against it. In practice, it depends on what we agree on and various other factors. For example, if the OLF and CUD-NA support cooperate in pushing for HR-4423, well and good.

But the real benefit of something like this is getting to meet and interact and hopefully learn to empathize with people we might have heretofore considered sub-human, scum of the earth, etc. This is the essence of tolerance and moderation. As long as one is grounded in one's principles, there ought to be no problem with such interaction - in fact, it would be quite beneficial. We might learn something, perhaps find that there is even greater common ground, etc. This, IMHO, is far more valuable than the temporary political gains from alliances of convenience.

A little personal anecdote, if I may. There was a time in my youth when all I knew about the EPRP was that it was some black cloud which was partly responsible for the dark days of the Dergue. As I studied Ethiopian history, and much more importantly, as I got to know people who participated in the EPRP, I began to gain a better understanding of the organization and the people so loyal to it. It was a fascinating sociological phenomenon. Suffice it to say that the psychological scars of living and dying with the EPRP and the resulting loyalty for fallen comrades and an unrealized seductive idealist Marxist and nationalist dream really explain well the continued existence of the EPRP in the diaspora, despite its irrelevance inside today's Ethiopia.

So, yes, let's interact and join with people on constructive common agendas so that we could all grow and learn and strengthen our own principles and consciences.

11:08 PM, April 11, 2006  
Anonymous Inde Hewan said...

Well put Gooch! I have to say I don't operate in the inner (or for that matter outer) circles of CUD-NA, but from my very few contact points, I get a sense that the party -- which I strongly support on the Ethiopian political landscape -- or at least its diaspora incarnation, wants to stay "pure" and not sully itself with any association that may dilute its pristine state.

For example, I couldn't believe that CUD-NA ended up refusing to hold a seminar -- a seminar for godssake, this is not a life-long marriage -- with Hibret and OLF in Chicago. Anyone who knows the inner machinations, please feel free to enlighten me on the real issues of Chicago, but it struck me as downright childish. I know ETW ascribes to the purity principle, so Wonk, you are probably going to disagree with me on the above. But, as various posters on this comment page said, you want to be in politics, you have to know with whom to form a coalition and with whom not, with whom to talk (just TALK) and with whom it's not even worth talking.

ETW, while I agree with you that you don't want to make a lifelong pact with the devil just to defeat common enemies -- good examples of that are the last ones Wegesha marshalled, thus weakening his own argument -- you also can't afford to be a mature, serious political party and yet that sees itself as too good to even communicate with parties with which you may have important differences, but also substantial common ground.

In a way, it is a sad day when a party like CUD is willing to dialogue with EPRDF once latter opens up to dialogue, but refuses to get together in a one or two day seminar with the OLF.

12:12 AM, April 12, 2006  
Blogger kuchiye said...

"..talk is the beginning, the middle and the end of politics" so the saying goes.

Leaders who lack clarity on conceptual and topical issues avert discourse. I can't convince myself this is not the case in the Chicago dibacle.

3:08 PM, April 12, 2006  
Anonymous Gooch said...

Inde Hewan,

I don't mean to nitpick, but I think this is important.

I don't know if we can categorically state that we know the reasons behind the conference not taking place. Did CUD-NA support group officially say that they don't want to talk with the likes of the OLF and UEDF? If not, then let's give them the benefit of the doubt. Though we can assume that there are some or many who think in this way, we cannot label the whole organization as such. This makes people defensive and more likely to actually fulfill your accusations.

From what I know, Kuchiye's point applies. Certainly CUD-NA support group has been having to do a lot of thinking, the results of which will be shared during the May conference.

4:21 PM, April 12, 2006  
Anonymous Qest said...

Read this book review and analysis. Lot's of relevant pointers for the ET blogging (political) community.

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/18910

5:52 PM, April 12, 2006  
Anonymous anon007 said...

Gooch,

If EPRP is indeed irrelevant, as you say, in Ethiopia, I wonder then why it is EPRDF does not let it enter the country as a political party? Is it not because it believes that adherents as well as their networks [of people] still exist and this poses a threat to it?

10:16 PM, April 12, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Payne
Woyane

Not exactly phonetically matching; but just look at them without reading them...they compliment eachother.

10:06 AM, April 13, 2006  
Blogger kuchiye said...

quest,

Thanks for the link. I enjoyed the review and truely believe CUD officials have a lot to learn from what the Dems are going thru. Parties that fail to baldly and constantly examine their options and ways of doing business can never dream of triumphing over a much more organized and vicious adversary.

10:09 AM, April 13, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon007,

It is just simply political plunder and commiting suicide inviting the fascist dergists, like CUD did, to bring back EPRF to life.

EPRP synonymous with the fascist Dergue.

11:21 AM, April 13, 2006  
Anonymous Gooch said...

anon007, it's a good question. Many have been saying for years that the EPRP has little following in Ethiopia because of its association with the Dergue era. Of course, you can say we never knew for sure, until these elections, that is. The UEDF, which in North America is dominated by the EPRP, was in Ethiopia reduced to the sum of the ONC and SEPDC. I think this clearly shows that the EPRP has little support in Ethiopia.

Of course, one could argue that if the EPRP were given a chance to run as the EPRP, a chance to mobilize over time, it could do better. Well, I mean, perhaps yes, though I think it quite unlikely.

Why does the EPRDF prevent the EPRP from participating in the political process? In my opinion, the danger the EPRP presents to the EPRDF is that it's so much like the EPRDF. You've got a bunch of loyal, tight-knit people with a leftist revolutionary bent who will do anything to gain power. It can destabilize the EPRDF. But I don't think the EPRDF believes the EPRP could win a real election.

12:36 PM, April 13, 2006  
Blogger kuchiye said...

I am not a big fan of EPRP, but in politics you invest more time talking to people and organizations that don't know enough about you and that don't share your views but still could affect your success adversely. What is the use of calling me to town hall meetings over and over again? I am already a convert and my additional participation does not increase the member’s roaster by a bit. Was it Emperor Susneos who told the Jesuits "Why do you waste your time among Christians, go preach to the none believers?"

Kinijit should step out of its comfort zone and engage the none believers and the doubters of our community. Engaging the OLF, EPRP, Hibret, and all others who have stake in Ethiopia is not only necessary but a must. Whether or not EPRP or any other is fit to lead is upto the Ethiopian voter. It is rather hypocritical to think otherwise.

1:30 PM, April 13, 2006  
Anonymous eskista said...

This might be inappropriate but----

Gooch, marry me.

YemirrEn new.

2:53 PM, April 13, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gooch & kuchiye miin nekachuuh! If your democracy is to revive Derg & EPRP then it is no more democracy.

EPRP with only UEDF is another misleading presentation. Do you need proof?

Cheers

5:05 PM, April 13, 2006  
Anonymous Inde Hewan said...

Gooch,

Following up on your comment several postings above: Fair enough, I didn't mean to label everyone in CUD-NA as purist and haughty. But we do have to acknowledge: Whoever in the party decided they didn't want to be seen in the same room with OLF et al. -- and yes, perhaps I am speculating on this, but unfortunately none of the subsequent postings shed light on what the Chicago fallout was all above, so on I speculate -- obviously had enough influence and "seniority" to make the whole seminar fall apart. So they can't have been random members on the periphery of the party.

Kuchiye, I'm all aligned with your various comments above ... until I couldn't but be amused by your statement: "Kinijit should step out of its comfort zone and engage the nonbelievers and the doubters of our community." Speaking of benefit of the doubt, I'm going to assume you didn't mean this quite the way it sounds: Talk patiently with them heathens until they see the light. As I said, I'm a strong supporter of CUD, but I have not just yet elevated them to the status of infallible god to be worshipped.

They may get closer to that status, however, once I see some democratisation from within as I said a couple weeks back. What voice do supporters have in the formation/composition of party leadership? What feedback mechanism is there? What efforts are they making to mobilise us, regular Ethiopians in the Diaspora, to help out where we can? (When are they going to ditch their answering machine, with a voice only in Amharic as opposed to Amharic and English) and replace it with a live person who is there to talk to, and take in, volunteers?)

10:33 PM, April 13, 2006  
Anonymous imperial revanchist said...

gooch--- don't take the bait on this. my Bole'an friend had this to say when one of her suitors told her that he went to Catedral School: "Catedral? Esu neger timhrt bEt new indE? Sefer yimesleN neber. Astemari mnamn yalew tmhrt bEt neber?"

so that's what i say about eprp... esu neger poletika party neber??? sefer yimesleN neber.

8:35 AM, April 14, 2006  

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