Sunday, May 21, 2006

How do you compete with THIS?

Good parody, I am told, requires a steady stream of woozy, earnest and disdainfully unglued ammunition. And who is woozier or more unglued than the EPRDF? It is the gift that keeps on giving.

Prime Minister Meles, God bless his, um, heart (?), stomps around like a bull in a botanical garden, regurgitating terribly cliff-noted diplospeak about democracy, rule of law and justice with the kind of earnestness that unclogs arteries. For those of us who feed off the wackiness of aberrant, AK 47-wielding pseudo intellectuals, it’s been one helluva trip.

Who can keep up? El primo mysterio’s tragically besotted ode to himself was a high low point in Ethiopian politics, only to be upstaged by legions of loyal EPRDF valets (here, here and here) who are sprayed all over the world to help spread the Gospel according to Melesocracy.

But now the EPRDF is beginning to parody itself, and really, who can compete with that?

So exactly one year into doing this blogging thing, I find myself sitting in front of my computer trying to satirize the on-going ‘genocide and treason’ trial of the opposition leadership, journalists and civic movement activists. But no matter what I dared come up with, nothing could beat the real thing as chronicled by Seminnawerq. You have to read it to understand why I am vexed. Goddammit, who can compete with mercurial warlords who are running low on Lithium?

The Sub Saharan Informer also covered the resumption of the trials, where the government unfurled its rock solid evidence to support ‘attempted genocide’ and treason charges.

Stuff entered into evidence? A two- hour videotape labeled, “…it is impossible to be elected by intimidating and menacing people.” Huh?!

Okkkayy. Habeas corpus on crack, but okay. Anything else?

The prosecutor also stated that on the cassette, the defendants alleged that a free election could not be expected, as there is no free government, and this made the people lose trust in the May election.

They lost so much trust that 80-90% of registered voters voted in the elections. So this was Monday. I hope they are serving popcorn and Jujubes at these CUD home movie screenings ‘coz apparently there’s a lot of ‘em.

The court sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday looked at the second and third evidence presentations, also videos lasting well over two hours.
The second videocassette, filmed on
December 2nd, 2005, showed the demonstration the CUDP called against the five-point peace plan of the Prime Minster and dealt with the issue of Ethiopia and Eritrea border tension.

“The cassette shows two of the defendants saying there will [be no] peace under a dictator regime, and speeches that incite the people to violence,” [the prosecutor] said.


Okay. It’s official. I am mad. I am mad because on my best day I could not come up with a line like “The cassette shows two of the defendants saying there will no peace under a dictator regime, and speeches that incite the people to violence.”

Makes you wonder what the evidences presented against journalists and civic organization members will entail. (“Your honor, as we shall show in this 5 hour video, these journalists, these peace-haters, these unsightly genocidal maniacs working for NGOs are seen passing by the CUD subvert-ors and sniffing in the air of constitution overturning. Would you like butter on your popcorn?”)

[Sigh] It just ain’t the same. (Read just how freaky inane these trials are here .)

So you get I am morbidly fascinated by these trials. Damn straight. They are the most fantastic courtroom proceedings I’ve read about since that time a macho classmate demanded the uncooperative judge at a moot court recuse herself because he felt inexorably attracted to her, thereby impeding his ability to adequately defend his case.

It is all sooo wonderfully creepy.

So then, then comes news of a petition signed by members of the Ethiopian parliament decrying how Voice of America and Deutsche Welle are hell bent on, goodness gracious me…

disseminating reports aimed at smearing the image of Ethiopia and marring the ongoing democratization process.

[emphasis mine]

Hm. Might have sounded credible if the Ethiopian government had not, what’s it called, charged VOA journalists with genocide! International pressure, including a strapping condemnation from the US Broadcasting Board of Governors, forced the Ethiopian government to drop the charges.

So instead of dropping the whole thing and hoping people won’t remember that the Ethiopian government had once upon a time contended American journalists hired by the US government were complicit in genocide, the brainiacs in the EPRDF insist on picking the wound.

The Ethiopian Embassy will hand over the petition to the US Congress, and (God forbid) should an ambitious congressional staffer bother to crack his fingers and Google the EPRDF’s hazy record on “freedom of the press”… wonder what that would reveal? Hopefully not Reporters without Bordersassessment. Nor the Committee to Protect Journalists’ musings. Hmm.

For God’s sake, let… it… go, already!

Unlesssssss… does “ongoing democratizing process” includes expelling AP journalists for "tarnishing the image of the nation" and jailing local ones under draconian press laws?

Has the fact that the Ethiopian government, ranked fourth in countries jailing journalists, petitioning for the censure of American and German journalists struck anyone in the EPRDF as, mmm, ironic, for example?

What exactly was the purpose of the petition? It was the EPRDF’s cripplingly lame and awkward attempt at appearing ‘statesmanlike.’ Cute. But if anyone had written a story about the Ethiopian government collecting signatures from parliamentarians to complain about radio broadcasts… Oh wait. Someone has.

Please God, don’t wake me up.

Is this the real life-
Is this just fantasy-
Caught in a landslide-
No escape from reality-

And just when we all thought the EPRDF could not possibly hand us another gift, it slaps a pretty bow on the biggest one yet.

Seminnawerq reported all ‘’ pages have been blocked in Ethiopia.

Scaramouche, scaramouche will you do the fan-dan-go!

How big was that gift? Big enough to compel His Punditness Ethiopundit to come back early from a blogging vacation. Sign of Desperation tears the EPRDF a new one.

Ego Portal joins the fray. Mesqel Square confirms the story. Ethiopian Politics opines. Aqumada provides details on how to subvert the blockage.

So how do we say ‘thank you’ to a government that has everything?

Let’s see. What makes bloggers, a tempremental bunch, from all over the world go into collective convulsions? The stench of a government … with close ties to China, a so called “ally in the war against terrorism’… pawing at the Fifth Estate that is the Blogosphere. And whose duty is it to tell all these bloggers what’s going on?

Thunderbolt and lightning-very very frightening-


Apparently, the Ethiopian government learnt nothing from the aftermath of deporting /expelling Addis Ferenjie. Yeaaaah. This latest bone-headedness move was more to control information getting out than coming in, which means that the Ethiopian “Byte (Me)” Revolution is on full force. Ethiopian bloggers in Ethiopia have touched a nerve, and leave it up to the Ethiopian government to completely miss the point of blogging.

The self destruction has shifted to second gear.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the real audience of the ongoing campaign against VOA and German radio is the Ethiopian public. What TPLF is trying to do is tarnish these outlets' credibility in the hopes that Ethiopians will gradually stop listening to them.

12:46 AM, May 22, 2006  
Anonymous Jiraf said...

ethan zuckerman has a link to the story about blogspot being blocked.

taking a hint from inde hewan, i've started my own "action corner"--- informing bloggers about this.

12:46 AM, May 22, 2006  
Anonymous itsybitsy spider said...

global voices also mentions it.

12:57 AM, May 22, 2006  
Anonymous not genet zewdie said...


Haappi berzdayz to youuuuu (m'Ts)
Happi berz-i-daye to youuuuuuu....

Can't believe you have been racontuering for one whole year! Wish you knew how much I've enjoyed.

Imma with you on the endless absurdity of the 'trial.' Yep. Things get lost in translation when warlords play democrats. The international community is *humiliated* that it did not push for more pressure for the release of the prisoners. All you have to do is ask them how the trial is going, and their faces turn beet red. Then, inexplicably, you get embarrassed. Yigermal. But it is the great unmasking of a dying regime.

I've said too much. Keep up, berzi-dayye girl!

6:19 AM, May 22, 2006  
Blogger kuchiye said...


Happy anniversary.

Surely EPRDF is in quick sand and hence all the frantic behaviors. See how the other side of the scale is tipping? ET opposition parties coming together in Holland, CUDP leadership strengthened, CUDP support group organizations mushrooming, individual and civic organization lobbies being heard…..

EPRDF is entitled to give us even more hillareous moments.

9:58 AM, May 22, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes I have read an almost legal brief writen by Ato Assefa Chabo indicting the current regime on the bombings in Addis. Yes some one should re-open Assefa's brief.
Thans for the reminder on the last blog.

11:53 AM, May 22, 2006  
Anonymous Inde Hewan said...


Sorry for being off-topic from your most recent blog, but it's got to be said while it's still hot out of the oven: You've got your task cut out for you! :

I am sure many share my mixed feelings: On the one hand some kind of elation, that groups so disparate can unite to deal with the one common goal they do share. A sense of intense anticipation. Especially after having suffered the mindboggling and suffocating diaspora infighting among US based groups opposed to EPRDF, there's something of a breeze of fresh air that accompanies this announcement.

On the other hand ... well, need I say more? Tremendous question marks about what will happen with the high credibility that kinijit has accumulated among those elements in the international community (Amnesty International, etc. ) and Ethiopian community that are ardent believers of nonviolent resistance.

I will need to do a lot more digesting before I can say anything more to this.

Meanwhile, let the political earthquake take its course (Semina Work, you didn't exaggerate).

2:16 PM, May 22, 2006  
Anonymous Aba Doyo said...

ITIYE WONQITU! Happy one year anniversary. Looking forward for more anniversaries.
As to the petition, to be submitted to U.S. Congress and German Parliament, i would say bring it on. A hearing/discussion in these chambers to shed light about the much heralded "democratization process" in Ethiopia should be welcomed. If the chambers granted them their wish, I am quite sure it would backfire on clueless Woyanes and rather help our cause.I can't wait for another superb performance by His Dishonorable Fisseha Tessema :-) Shall we help them to bring about such a moment?

5:59 PM, May 22, 2006  
Blogger Geja said...

Hiya Wonk

Needles to say I am not happy with the reason that brought the existence of your blog, but I am happy you have been here to inform us, make us laugh at the endless folly of our dictator, make us cry when we think of those noble human beings who were massacred all over the gentle rolling hills and flowing rivers of our Ethiopia, those that were shot inside kerchele and those that are still languishing in kerchele. No doubt you have done your job very well and beyond the call of duty. I wish I could be happy wishing you another twelve months of continued blogging, but that could also mean wishing to keep the current status quo of our kosso fit meles and his killer dogs at the helm of destruction. So on that sense I wish your blog could go away, only because I am not sure our Ethiopia could withstand another 13 months of a failed government. Keep up the good work, but hopefully for not too long.

7:26 PM, May 22, 2006  

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