Tuesday, September 26, 2006

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 prose
sometimes takes a sudden turn to go through what I
find to be the foreign territory of esoteric
references 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 put
finger to keyboard and hammer out this note... is the
fact that I have recently been able to get hold of Dr.
Birhanu's new book "Yenetsanet Goh SiQed"  It is next
to impossible to buy it in the city at the moment. 
I no longer have any doubt that the reports
of 10,000 copies being sold out in 4 days are
accurate. I had some fear that the great expectations
would overwhelm the book's influence... but I have to
say, that man is something else! What with him being
in a filthy prison, I can't fathom just how in the
world he was able to put himself in that elusive state
of mind where one can even hope to write the kind of
book he did. The words seem to flow effortlessly...
and yet the book never loses its cohesiveness. Most
who align with [or] oppose the current regime fall to
address most points of Meles's ideology and fall back
to attacking on one narrow aspect of his range of
deeply flawed ideas. But Birhanu does a wonderful job
of showing just how thoroughly he understands the EPRDF
and its mentality and gives such strong counter points
and beautiful arguments, that countless times I ended
up having to put the book down and... ask myself just
what it all means when such a man is put behind bars,
charged with genocide... 
[Dr. Birhanu] has done so much, gone through much...and
yet is able to keep his book from falling into what it
could easily have become - a cheap bombastic diatribe.
I believe he has managed to put forth a work that
clearly, undeniably unequivocally gives him a complete
intellectual/ideological dominance over any of the
hogwash that Meles and his cronies keep spouting. It
is my firm belief that this should be a required
reading for any literate, thinking Ethiopian who has
ever lost a minute's thought on his/her country and
its future. In addition, I think this is a potent
medicine that will show the light to anyone hypnotized
and hoodwinked by the subterfuge of the EPRDF...  or
for anyone who only thought of CUD in context of the
EPRDF (as just "that party" opposing the EPRDF)... it
sheds so much light on their principles much more than
their campaign manifesto ever did.  Even though Dr.
Birhanu writes this book as an individual and puts a
clear disclaimer that it is not to be taken as a
statement of the CUD, I feel there isn't a better
insight into what the party had offered and what it
could have done. Even though he claims otherwise, and
although many of his actions seem to indicate to an
idealist (leaving his comfortable life to go into the
dangerous world of Ethiopian politics), Dr. Birhanu
surprises on many points by showing that he has given
much thought about all details of the things he
proposes...and by stating and effectively defending
his views, he inadvertently leads the reader to
daydream - painting an image of an Ethiopia that could
have been... and hopefully that will one day be. For
all those who argued (some maliciously others
unknowingly) that Birhanu and his colleagues were just
a ragtag team of ergue remnants, imperial
revanchists, amhara supremacists...etc, I truly
believe that this book will show them the right way,
at least for those who want to be on it.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you expect us to use a magnifying glass?

7:51 AM, September 28, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Anonymous..\

stop whining and be creative to read the bartice... It is a a good piece of writing

10:55 PM, September 28, 2006  

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