Letter from Addis, Re: "Dawn of Freedom"
I got a nice email from “Mebreq” in Addis about
Berhanu Nega’s book, “The Dawn of Freedom.”
Thought I would share the redacted version. My
uncle has sworn he has sent me a copy—although
I have yet to receive it. I understand that one
can now get it online from
www.Berhanunega.com. (Which is why,
Mebreq, I have not done what you asked me to.)
Anyway… anyone who was at the discussion session in DC a few weekends ago, maybe you can update us?
I have always kept trying to follow you even when your prosesometimes takes a sudden turn to go through what Ifind to be the foreign territory of esotericreferences and usage of American culture and idioms...But it is fun. All the time. And that's extraordinary.
the main reason that led me to putfinger to keyboard and hammer out this note... is thefact that I have recently been able to get hold of Dr.Birhanu's new book "Yenetsanet Goh SiQed" It is nextto impossible to buy it in the city at the moment.
I no longer have any doubt that the reportsof 10,000 copies being sold out in 4 days areaccurate. I had some fear that the great expectationswould overwhelm the book's influence... but I have tosay, that man is something else! What with him beingin a filthy prison, I can't fathom just how in theworld he was able to put himself in that elusive stateof mind where one can even hope to write the kind ofbook he did. The words seem to flow effortlessly...and yet the book never loses its cohesiveness. Mostwho align with [or] oppose the current regime fall toaddress most points of Meles's ideology and fall backto attacking on one narrow aspect of his range ofdeeply flawed ideas. But Birhanu does a wonderful jobof showing just how thoroughly he understands the EPRDFand its mentality and gives such strong counter pointsand beautiful arguments, that countless times I endedup having to put the book down and... ask myself justwhat it all means when such a man is put behind bars,charged with genocide...
[Dr. Birhanu] has done so much, gone through much...andyet is able to keep his book from falling into what itcould easily have become - a cheap bombastic diatribe.I believe he has managed to put forth a work thatclearly, undeniably unequivocally gives him a completeintellectual/ideological dominance over any of thehogwash that Meles and his cronies keep spouting. Itis my firm belief that this should be a requiredreading for any literate, thinking Ethiopian who hasever lost a minute's thought on his/her country andits future. In addition, I think this is a potentmedicine that will show the light to anyone hypnotizedand hoodwinked by the subterfuge of the EPRDF... orfor anyone who only thought of CUD in context of theEPRDF (as just "that party" opposing the EPRDF)... itsheds so much light on their principles much more thantheir campaign manifesto ever did. Even though Dr.Birhanu writes this book as an individual and puts aclear disclaimer that it is not to be taken as astatement of the CUD, I feel there isn't a betterinsight into what the party had offered and what itcould have done. Even though he claims otherwise, andalthough many of his actions seem to indicate to anidealist (leaving his comfortable life to go into thedangerous world of Ethiopian politics), Dr. Birhanusurprises on many points by showing that he has givenmuch thought about all details of the things heproposes...and by stating and effectively defendinghis views, he inadvertently leads the reader todaydream - painting an image of an
that could Ethiopiahave been... and hopefully that will one day be. Forall those who argued (some maliciously othersunknowingly) that Birhanu and his colleagues were justa ragtag team of ergue remnants, imperialrevanchists, amhara supremacists...etc, I trulybelieve that this book will show them the right way,at least for those who want to be on it.