Friday, October 27, 2006

How to Hug an EPRDFffer

A while ago this blog declared June 15 “Hug an EPRDFffer Day”, which pill-popping iconoclast Wonq-villager, Dube, recently brought up.

It is a gem of an idea until you realize how irresponsible it is to send people on a EPRDFffer hugging mission without arming them with instructions. It is equivalent to sending people to war sans, say, a gun: something likely to get them, what’s that thing called when you stop breathing… killed.

Therefore, following are some pointers on how to hug an EPRDFffer straight from the desk of the senior fellow at the Institute de Wonqvillie’s EPRDF Identification Division, Dr. Menqarra Chraq, a self-appointed colonial vocal diasporan, Imperial Revanchist (™ Jeffrey Sachs), known chauvinist, proven “vanguardist” and unabashed revisionist (yes, actual title).

You’re welcome.

Hugging an EPRDFfer: Methodology and Modality to Avoid Being Maimed

  • Identification of Specimen:

While identifying the typical EPRDFffer (‘the specimen’) in its natural milieu (Sheraton Addis, parliament, at Non-Aligned Movement summits where crazy people gather to compare neurosis’- ?neurosi?) is easy, spotting specimen outside its comfort zone requires tactical dexterity and scholarly adroitness.

Essential to understand specimen does not readily admit EPRDFffing status for fear of:

a) ridicule

b) being intellectually challenged

c) possible repercussions of randomly gunning down opponents outside of Ethiopia

d) more ridicule

This has made specimen especially defensive. Therefore, diligence is required to properly identify and cozy up to the specimen.

A few pointers:

1) Sidle up to specimen and say something about “the damn Shoan Empire” and carefully note reaction. Typical EPRDFffer will start twitching involuntarily.

2) Casually insinuate how “rule of law” has to be “respected.” Perking of ears signifies positive litmus test.

3) Set up scenarios of how happy a place Ethiopia would be without the peace-hating, burgeoning democracy-smashing, constitution-usurping opposition type people. Specimen will demonstrably glow.

Note: specimen is naturally paranoid and insecure so the identification and nurturing process can be long and tedious. Patience and suspension of lucid thought are two sine qua nons huggers should ‘carb up’ on.

  • From Identification to Approach: Dos and Don’ts

Once you have identified an EPRDFffer:

I. Do NOT try dry hugging the specimen.

II. DO ease the initial hugging process with ample self important lubricant.

III. DO mention how Shabiya/Eritrea is behind everything evil.

IV. Do NOT mention that TPLF and EPLF were bosom buddies.

V. DO mention how Prime Minister Meles is a ‘modern progressive leader’ with ‘a vision of democracy’ that rivals the Founding Fathers.

VI. Do NOT mention the PM’s “psychopathic willingness to kill his own people to keep power.”

VII. DO expound on the intellectual convoy Ato Meles carries on his shoulders.

VIII. Do NOT mention any chips weighing down Ato Meles’ shoulders.

IX. DO accept specimen’s random, disconnected statistics quoting proclivities.

X. DO nod in reverence about how Ethiopia is balooning with democracy.

XI. Do NOT offer suggestions on… anything… any time.

XII. DO demonstrate and assure specimen you are not armed with stones (can result in being strangled or shot through the head at point blank range.)

Hugging the EPRDFfer: Debunking Myths and Folklore

Once the specimen has been properly identified and cautiously hugged, using proper post-hugging protocol will minimize bodily harm. Some myths:

A. Hugging specimen, while will potentially freeze your soul, will not result in Transferred Evil Syndrome. (Note, however, no long term studies to validate this claim available. Caveat emptor.)

B. Despite wishful thinking, said hug not shown to have any positive effect on specimen’s disposition towards human rights, torture or affection for bizarre ‘genocide’ trials.

C. Yes, do not breathe in deeply any specimen spores.

D. Some hugging episodes have resulted in chaffed loins. Consult your physician immediately.

E. In rare occasions, smell of sulfuric acid has followed hugging event. This should not elicit panic unless hugger’s clothing starts spontaneously combusting.

F. It is acceptable to share a cigarette post hug.

G. Do not promise to call specimen as you zip up and leave. It’s tacky and it makes the specimen crankier than normal when you don’t.

H. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Now, go hug. And... enjoy ?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

How ugly is politics?

Will be back in a sec… workin’ for the man.

Quick observation. If politics is ugly, then realpolitik is downright revolting.

1) Darfur: If you missed 60 Minutes on Sunday, watch it here or read the summary here. Reporter Scott Pelley and John Pendergrast go in search of Jacob, a Darfuri boy whose schoolbooks were found in the rubble in the aftermath of a Janjaweed massacre. Killer quote:

Sudan’s U.N. representative looked amused during Bush's speech. AlBashir threatened war against U.N. peacekeepers.

Why do these guys mock the
U.S. in public? Well, it turns out our government's relationship with Sudan is complicated. In the 1990’s AlBashir hosted Osama bin Laden for five years, so he has information on al Qaeda.

"It's been a very good deal for the government of Sudan to give little tidbits of information about suspects around the world in order to blunt United States outrage over what’s happening in Darfur," Prendergast says.

Last year, the U.S. sent a private jet to bring Sudan’s intelligence chief to CIA headquarters.

"This is the same guy who was the architect of the counter-insurgency strategy in
Darfur. What kind of signal does that send to the government of Sudan?" Prendergast asks.

"Look, this is a hard thing to swallow, because what you’re saying is, the United States is in bed with the government in Khartoum on counterterrorism issues and therefore we are looking the other way on a genocide I mean, that’s tough," Pelley remarks.

"I think it's a really heinous arrangement and one that history will judge very harshly," Prendergast replies.

As Borat would say, “We support your War of Terror.”

2) HR 5680: Ethiomedia has an article by one Don Baseman from Portland, Ethiopia: Repression worsens, calls for sanctions blocked by Hastert. Killer quote:

A foreign policy assistant to Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon) told us that his office was "lobbied hard by the State Department to vote against sanctions". The Blumenauer staffer said "the Bush administration does not want to upset Prime Minister Zenawi" because of his 'cooperation' against terrorists.

Oh yeah. That again. Prime Minister as a good soldier against terror? I wonder what the lingo will be when he turns against Washington.

3) EU and Yalemzewd: Congressman Donald Payne makes an explosive accusation in his press release of October 21:

Yalemzewd, who works for the European Commission in Addis found out late last week that a decision was made to arrest her. She decided to stay in her office to avoid arrest. After several days, she was asked by a senior EC official to leave the office.

Yalemzewd was betrayed by her own employer. Instead of protecting her, this official ruined her life. I strongly condemn this act and call on the European Commission to investigate this decision.

Woah. Inde Hewan urges us to write the EU to take responsibility, and to make sure Yalemzewd is not tortured by the EU’s ally. Here are the relevant emails: ,,

CC:, ,

(see the comments section of the previous post for a sample letter.)

So, how ugly is politics? Pretty f’ing ugly. For solace I turn to music and pictures of Ethiopia that remind me Ethiopia is more than politics.

The folks at Yag for Life have great photographs of water projects they’ve funded.

… and somehow, life goes on.

Friday, October 20, 2006

And the Second Annual Wonqville STFU Awards Go To...

It’s a couple of months too early for the Second Annual Wonqville STFU Awards, but friends, these are strange times.

This year’s award goes to…

… Ethiopian Ambassador to Britain, one His Excellency Ato Berhanu Kebede.

God help the man. It takes a special kind of self-loathing and mediocrity to articulate the Ethiopian government’s unhinged response to a damning report on its post-election massacres.

Listen to why Ato Berhanu deserves the honor. (Fast forward to minute 3:00. Thanks to Ethiomedia for the link.)

Seriously, EPRDF. You’ve been in power… how long? Can’t you manage to get just one person with a respectable… ah, never mind.

So, with resignation, we present Ato Berhane: intractably incoherent, intoxicatingly witless and brazenly, oh-so wantonly inerudite.

Just… just… STFU!

(Honorable mention to Jeffrey Sachs, fist recipient of the W-STFU Award. Has he STFUpped? We don’t hear from him a lot these days.)


Ethiopian Politics has a great round up of the unfolding events in Ethiopia, especially about the EU human rights lawyer, Yalemzewd Bekele, arrested by the Ethiopian government. There are links to Amnesty International alerts about Yalemzewd, up-to-date news stories and information.

When the Fleas Start Biting.

Oh. Oh, Timmy. It had to happen eventually.

Some really awfully written, badly punctuated Ethiopian government run newspaper called Eftin has EU Ambassador Tim Clarke in its crosshairs.

After a very awkward courting of the EPRDF and systematic turning a blind eye to the massacres and overall thugishness of a government run by semi-literate warlords in silk ties, the EU is finally realizing that maybe it should have taken the Ana Gomes route in handling Ato Meles. Alas, we all have to learn our lessons at our own pace.

To catch you up, Ethio-Zagol broke the story a couple of days ago that two EU diplomats and two Ethiopian human rights campaigners were arrested as they tried crossing the border in to Kenya. The Ethiopian government is claiming the two Ethiopians had warrants for their arrest for… well, “serious crimes.” If you are new to the Ethiopian government’s sense of judiciary, “serious crimes” could mean anything from “you breathed with the wrong nostril” to “you exercised your constitutionally guaranteed right to speak freely.” Pick anything in between.

So now the EU is outraged, outraged we tell you, that a government capable of holding a magnificently obtuse ‘genocide’ trial of 111 opposition leaders, MPs, journalists and civil society leaders, is turning its fangs on its “development partners.”

Oh, EU. Haven’t you supported, cozied up to, appeased and dealt with enough despots to realize that in the end, breaking up with megalomaniac Marxists is hard to do? You don’t listen.

So now, because the Ethiopian government loves the crazy, the two EU-sians are being deported, and the two Ethiopians have been arrested on aforementioned “serious crimes.”

Monsieur Louis Michel, EU Development Commissioner… any vague, diplospeak threats you can volley?

[Michel] said he had called Ethiopia's envoy in Brussels for an explanation. Mr Michel did not name the diplomats but said they were Italian and Swedish nationals working for the European Commission's delegation in the capital, Addis Ababa.

"There will be repercussions," he said.

Ah, but of course.

It should be noted that in February Mr. Michel was in Ethiopia to meet with Ato Meles. To Mr. Michel’s credit he visited the opposition leaders in Qality. The offshoot of that visit was… basically, “you two kids play nice. Democracy good. Now I gotta get the hell out of here.”


Continued the BBC:

[Michel] also said he had been trying since Thursday to contact Mr Meles about the incident, without success.

"Usually I can make contact quite easily with Prime Minister Meles," he said.

Yeah. Ato Meles is like that. He’s so-so about retuning phone calls when he is in the middle of a schizophrenic episode which puts him in no mood to “strengthen political dialogue, aiming at fostering the process of democratization.”

So EU is pissed. What else is new?

Brace yourselves, boy and girls. Whatever this creepy Eftin is (is it a newspaper? Seriously? The kind that has editors and thinkers?), its quivering with some kinda souped up lunacy sure to bum out EU Ambassador Tim Clarke.

Tim Clarke, God bless him, has been a fascinating subject in pre and post Election 2005. Our impression is that all he wanted was the damn thing to go through, the opposition to win a few seats, the EPRDF to be legitimized and be the first to celebrate the great European democracy experiment by doing an Irish whiskey body shot off of a nublile TPLF spokesmodel. Was that too much to ask?

Berhanu Nega tells a fascinating story in one of his speeches (London or Stockholm) where he invited Mr. Clarke to lunch and asked him what the contingency plan of the EU was in case the opposition won the elections. Mr. Clarke was like, yo, dude (or more accurately, “pishposh, my dear fellow”), the EPRDF was not going to lose these elections.

Nice planning.

With that historical background, today Mr. Clarke is faced with a new set of realities because according to the brain surgeons at whatever Eftin is:

... Commenting further on the involvement of other European Commission personnel, our sources said, the trail of evidence and facts irrefutably point to others, and, particularly the top diplomatic brass of the institution i.e. Ambassador Timothy Clarke.

Timmah! Um… Timmah?

Remember the good old days when the most foreign diplomats would be involved in were prostitute rings and drunken fests? Now they’ve graduated to smuggling hunted down human rights activists out of the country.

They do grow up so fast.

By the way, we realize a lot of journalists working for government papers have defected, but someone needs to get Eftin-tin better, what do you call it… writers, and perhaps also less windbaggy ‘sources.’ Oh jeezuz. Eftin is still talking:

Both recent and past post election deeds, such as the intentional leak of a preliminary election assessment from the desk of the "infamous EC "observer mission'' chief, Anna Gomez; the similarly orchestrated leak of a yet to be released inquiry report that followed a ''trafficking'' of a member of the inquiry commission to Germany via Bole; the sheltering of Kinigit's ex-leadership after the elections and yet without the presence of any threat or danger (the purpose being creating an image of crises and non existent abuse not to mention the arrogance of acting as if beyond the laws of a sovereign country) plus a similar sheltering of a suspect wanted by the law for offenses, and not for political conviction, as it took place very recently etc... clearly show the track record of the EU as well as some of its delegates in Ethiopia. Thus establishing the facts constituting the trail mentioned, commented the sources.

… Oh, STFU.

But here is the coup:

Additionally our sources mentioned specific instances where by Ambassador Timothy Clarke has been seen involved in relation to this present illegal exercise.

Oh, snap.

In case the Ethiopian government tries Mr. Clarke on charges of treason or “serious crimes”, we hope it will be a “fair and speedy trial” and that the Europeans will wait patiently as the Ethiopian judiciary "takes its course” while Mr. Clarke languishes in an atrocious jail cell. After all, “rule of law has to be respected.”

Of course, there is subtext to all of this EPRDF posturing. According to Ethio-Zagol, Ato Meles was terribly vexed by an observational report presented to him by an EU team about the trials of the prisoners, which anyone vaguely acquainted with reality understands is a total farce. And guess who was present at this presentation, irritating the hell out of Ato Meles? Guess.

In a meeting with the Ambassadors of the EU Troika and the commission's representative here in Addis, Timothy Clark, Meles lambasted the observation report as biased and unfounded on facts. The observer had criticized the way the court conducted the trial as unfair. Meles who rejected the report of the European Election Observers Mission last year requested to meet Mr. Elman, a renowned British human rights lawyer to make his case against the report.

When the election report by EU's mission went against him, Meles started a personal assault against the head of the mission, Ana Gomes.

Sounds about right. And what happens when Ato Meles disagrees with you? Well, if you are Ethiopian you are either killed or charged with genocide; if you happen to hail from the outside you get the honor of being called a “self-appointed colonial viceroy” or accused with running a human trafficking outfit.

You’re welcome!

Also playing into all this is a damning report the world press has picked up on (BBC, New York Times, Washington Post) that the Meles administration shot, beat and strangled unarmed citizens in post-election massacres.


So how does the Ethiopian government deflect attention from the inconvenient truth that Ato Meles is neither a reformer nor in the least bit interested in anything other than holding on to power by the barrel of the gun? Ah, yes. Ato Meles “admits” what the world has known for a while because the world has an IQ larger than 20: that there are Ethiopian troops (um, we call them ‘trainers’ now) in Somalia.

The people who should most be alarmed by what is happening in Ethiopia should be the appeasers of the EPRDF. Ato Meles has proven time and time again that he makes no allowances for criticism and straying from his talking points is tantamount to political heresy. He has proven that if it serves his purpose, he will turn on anyone at any time. He is an unreliable ally with the petulance of an adolescent, and those of you appeasing him have ample evidence that when your time is up, when you are no longer useful, when you are seen as anything but a dispensable apparatchik you will be disposed of without hesitation or ceremony. The time to jump ship is fast running out.

This blog has made two predictions: a) that Ana Gomes will the be one to blow the lid off of the whole “we did not steal these elections” bullshit, b) that Tim Clarke will be the next to have his patience tested.

It was back in December 2005 that the report of a concentration camp in Dedessa hit the news. Then Mr. Clarke was quoted as saying:

There comes a point where our patience as an international community is running out. We would like to see tomorrow, the media open up. Tomorrow, the political detainees being released. Tomorrow, the prisoners who’ve been taken without charge released. Tomorrow, the families and legal counsel get access. This, for us, is normal.

Well, tomorrow arrived today.

And even further back in September 2005 Mr. Clark told the Australian Dateline SBS program that:

It would be a major mistake for [the opposition] to pull out because there is no other way forward. … Of course, they may not be happy with the results, and they will be discontent, and they will have difficulty with their supporters perhaps, but this is the only game in town.

That’s the kind of appeasement that emboldened Ato Meles.

We wish Mr. Clarke well. We wish he had the moral clarity of Ana Gomes. But we hope he will not level any more platitudes on Ethiopians who will suffer a worst fate than resigning from an Ambassadorship.

The next one to fall will be the Ethiopian ambassador in Washington DC.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

How do you ask another generation to heal?

This was a massacre.”

A draft of the [inquiry into the June and November killings] obtained by AP says that among those killed were 40 teenagers, including a boy and a girl, both 14, who were shot.

"Old men were killed while in their homes, and children were also victims of the attack while playing in the garden."

A new generation of Ethiopians now bears the scars of a massacre.

My father and I have been exchanging emails and old fashioned letters about what’s been happening in Ethiopia, especially the responsibilities of our respective generations.

With his permission… (translation of Amharic mine.)


Perhaps you undervalue what you call your “rose-tinted glasses.” I may not have left you much, but I hope eventually you will see the value of those glasses and the prism with which they enable you to see Ethiopia.

Yes, indeed, we chose exile. But in many ways exile was imposed upon us. That meant depriving you of a childhood and adulthood in Ethiopia. How do I give you that back? The Ethiopia I grew up in and adored was not a perfect Ethiopia, but I never saw soldiers dragging children from their warm beds and shoot them in front of their mothers. When you see that, child, when you see that you want your children never to see it.

The Ethiopia we left behind was not the Ethiopia I knew. I never talked to you about those days because it was not the Ethiopia I wanted you to know.

The thought I would be raising my children in a foreign land had never crossed my mind. You see, I am indebted to Ethiopia: for the education she afforded me, and for the high expectation she had for me and for my colleagues to succeed even under the harsh circumstances of a segregated United States. We couldn’t wait to go back to Ethiopia to serve our country. I wish I could explain to you the air of enthusiasm and optimism at that time. I ask now, will your generation ever experience that kind of euphoria, even if it is fleeting? We felt so powerful. We knew our destiny. We had what is visceral and God-given: ownership of Ethiopia.

Though your mother and I have many regrets, we don’t regret sheltering you from the Ethiopia of the 70s. "Every generation has the potential to be great." Do you remember when we read that together? Mine, I thought, was to protect yours from an Ethiopia that ate her young. It was an unfortunate assignment, far different from what we thought was our calling. But someone had to stop the hemorrhaging, both spiritual and physical—a task we were ill-equipped to handle, admittedly.

Your mother and I wanted you to love the Ethiopia you never got a chance to know. For that, we had to hide what we thought would harm your nascent sense of identity.

As for what you think your generation’s responsibility is, well, whatever it is you decide it to be, I hope it involves paying back our debt to this country. It is a debt you don’t deserve to shoulder, granted. But my hope and prayer is that, despite our clumsy implementation, we have paved a road (no matter how bumpy) that will lead you, your siblings and children back to Ethiopia. If you continue to see what is good about Ethiopia, what is worth fighting for, what is worth preserving, then I think I have done my job. I like what you write when you say, “Ethiopia is much more than politics.” It is true although it gets difficult to see these days.

I pray to God you will always love this country, even with all its wretchedness and melancholy.

You are always in my thoughts, daughter.

Your father,

We thought our parents had stopped the hemorrhaging, but the EPRDF has managed to inflict a series of new horrors on a new generation. So here we are, again, sons and daughters of people who somehow survived what Mengistu did to Ethiopia, freshly wounded by a government bent on carving its brand of terror in our psyche.

What do we tell our children? Most importantly, what do Ato Meles and his supporters tell their children? Fast becoming a sad footnote in Ethiopian history, the EPRDF is busy destroying an Ethiopia it could never bring itself to love.

What happened last June and November were massacres. Ethiopians knew it. Tony Blair knew it, Jimmy Carter knew it, and the State Department knew it.

Now, the world knows it.

Monday, October 16, 2006

A Preamble to the Preamble

Update: We don’t want to unduly stress anyone, so we’ll forge ahead with the people we have. The main point is that we get this done and then take stock of the sociological underpinnings of this experiment later.

Gooch, Redeem Ethiopia fellers: what can we say?

Updated schedule:

  • Introduction and Chapter 1 (Pages 1-65) : ETW
  • Chapters 2 & 3 (Pages 66-157): His Goochness
  • Chapters 4 & 5 (Pages 158-258): __________
  • Chapter 6 & 7 (Pages 259-355): Redeem Ethiopia, hosted on their site.

That will get us halfway.


It’s like Murphy’s Law… after stomping out small clusters of fire ignited by kids who think mothers are an endless source of food, patience and love (wtf! someone break it to them gently), I thought I’d save a few hours over the weekend to write in peace. Ha! It’s like I am new to this shit.

Yes, totally lame but I have fallen short of my ambitious plan to pen down thoughts on the Introduction and Chapter One of “The Dawn of Freedom.” As a notorious overachiever and nouveau geek, believe me, nothing you say could match the derision I’ve leveled on myself.

So, with deepest apologies, we will start the discussion next week and I’ve broken up the chapters thus:

  • Introduction and Chapter 1 (Pages 1-65) : ETW
  • Chapters 2 & 3 (Pages 66-157): His Goochness
  • Chapters 4 & 5 (Pages 158-258): Not Anonymous
  • Chapter 6 & 7 (Pages 259-355): Um… YL and T at Redeem Ethiopia (?.. Don’t leave me hangin’, gentlemen.)

Even top-level consultation with Ethiopian literati well-versed in deciphering coquettishness has not helped in figuring out Ye Filwuha Lij’s response to the request she takes on this assignment, so… it shall be done for her… (C’mon girl, we need girl power!)

  • Chapter 8 & 9 (pages 356-418): Filwuha Lij

The Concoction, Dagmawi, Enset, Seminawerq, Ethiopundit, Carpediem… any interest? We can host it on your respective blogs (as will –ahem- Redeem Ethiopia) like the resourceful ferenjies do with “Carnival of Revolutions.”

One point… here is what Not Anonymous said to me about my brazen, public, unilateral milmela of people to share in this task…

Hey, wonq! for the life of me, I don't know why you thought you could just dole out chapters and such with the same air of philanthropic generosity with which one might hand out mulmul to some mender kids at buhE!

You see why he was assigned? (Aside: I would be wearing a formidable sash and a respectable housecoat as I hand out perfectly sculpted and mul-mul’ed dabo, by the way.)

Bottom line is, “The Dawn of Freedom” needs all our input since I don’t have the intellectual aptitude to do a thorough analysis. I am, however, gifted in agitation and tripping over social experiments.

This is our version of a good, old fashioned Ethiopian debbo.


Does anyone know where Tsegasaurus is???

Friday, October 13, 2006

AmlakE... feTariyE

The grandmother-in-law just became a registered voter, goaded, by the way, by one of the great-grand children who came home from first grade after participating in mock mid-term elections.

Grandmother-in-law asked the grown-ups why they never told her about this thing-- this voting thing. Grown-ups slinked away murmuring something about cleaning the gutters. Grandmother-in-law now thinks the fruits of her loins are rotten.

Grandmother-in-law now adds this line to her morning prayers: “AmlakE, feTariyE… dehnawun sew asmeriTeN…” Her nimble fingers speed through her rosary beads with assembly line efficiency. Rat-tat-ta-ta-ta…. “AmlakE feTariyE, ke erkuss sew sewireN. Antew ijEn yizeh asmeriTeN… Mela’ktoch, Emiye Mariyam.. ke innE gar teselefu.” (“My Lord, my Creator... save me from electing a heretic. Angels, Our Mother, line up with me as I vote.”)

The guilt of putting someone in office who might turn out to be a scoundrel now weighs heavy on grandmother-in-law. She frets if she votes in the wrong person she would have imposed injustice on people.

So, every morning, she looks up towards the heavens and in her raspy voice… "feTariyE… amlakE…" (“my Creator… my Lord…”)

If only the rest of us had half the angst and a quarter of the reverence for the right to vote for our leaders.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Amnesia Redux?

Our friends at Redeem Ethiopia don’t blog often enough, but when they do… goodnight! The latest entry, The Lures of War, is the kind of succinct brilliancy this blog will one day dream of being when it grows up.

Redeem Ethiopia, preach it brother:

Most western policy makers are surely a lot more naïve than the Ethiopian populace when it comes to reading the motivation of Ethiopian leaders. For instance, it has still not sunk in for most US policy makers that to support Ethiopia in Meles’ provocative invasions of Somalia can only strengthen the Islamic court by giving it a lot more legitimacy than it could muster on its own.

In many ways the rarasissboombah war of Ato Meles’ Attention Deficit Disorder should remind us of the EPRDF’s sneer-y war drumming back in 1998 when Eritrea was enemy du jour- an entity that had to be destroyed because it was, all of a sudden, destroying the Ethiopian way of life. Never mind that for seven years (longer, actually, since Meles and Iyassas were AK47 slinging Marxists guerilla buddies) Eritrea and Ethiopia could not be any more of BFFs.

So, suddenly and conveniently (or maybe because the crazy pills run out), Ato Meles became vaywee vaywee worried about Ethiopia’s borders, mainly that there wasn’t one up north. (Yes, usually you don’t grant “independence” to a province without, what is it called… actually demarcating the damn territory, but that’s not how Ato Meles rolls.) Ethiopians were asked to have amnesia: uhh, were we dreaming the whole TPLF-EPLF reign that rendered non-TPLF Ethiopians second class citizens? We were? Okay. Let’s go kill us some Eris.

Apparently that strategy worked so well that fast forward to 2006 and people in the Somali region/Ogaden, long neglected and marginalized by Ato Meles, are going to be asked to die for the glory of Ethiopia.

The US’ policy regarding the Horn of Africa and the looming catastrophe in both Ethiopia and Somalia has been lazy and chaotic. Ambassador-in-waiting Donald Yamomoto keeps turning the “Ethiopia is a strategic partner in the war on terror” wheels even as the wheels are coming to a grinding halt with a piercing squeal. Mr. Yamomoto forgets, Ato Meles thought it was a perfectly acceptable policy to deport people “if we don’t like the color of their eyes.”

Rock on, Don.

Soon, the US will learn just how unreliable an ally Ato Meles can be. For seven sloth-ridden years, the TPLF tangoed with one of the worst totalitarian African leaders next to, well, Ato Meles. When the novelty run out Ato Meles happily sacrificed tens of thousands of Ethiopians in the name of territorial integrity which left Ethiopia without a port.

Seriously? Haven't we learnt to pick our friends (Saddam Hussien call your office) a little more carefully?

Then came the Algiers agreement—where Atos Meles and Issayas shook hands and played nice by signing a treaty. An independent Border Commission would decide the final demarcation of the Ethio-Eritrean border. Ato Meles didn’t bother to take Badme (the alleged trigger point of a two-year war) out of the negotiations because… just ‘coz. Ato Meles famously said that he would accept the Commission’s demarcation even if the line cut through Addis Abeba.

Well, we all know what’s happened since. Border demarcation is for pussies… apparently.

In the negotiations after the May 2005 elections Ato Meles always pulled his trump card whenever he couldn’t handle intellectual gravitas: his famed “psychopathic willingness to kill his own people to keep power.”

Ethiopundit has surmised that the Meles regime would resort to slave trading if it meant hanging on to power. It is our contention that if the tide turns and Ato Meles thinks aligning with the Islamic Courts would extend his stay, he is taking that deal. You think that’s hyperbole? His guerilla buddy in Eritrea is sending arms to the ICU. Now, Eritrea has a measurable Moslem population. Why in the world would it dip its toes in a cesspool of fundamentalism? Because, and we hope you are taking notes, Ato Meles’ counterpart has the kind of special crazy in his heart that cultish, sh0rt-sighted warmongers can only aspire to. Allegiances between totalitarians is a very fluid situation- the Mujahadeen, the war lords in Somalia. You would think the US remembers these kinds of details.

Both Meles and Issayas have gone as far as imprisoning and torturing people who had fought with them in their liberation wars. Their loyalty is to their egos, while the people they rule with an iron fist are mere pawns to be patted on the head before they are stationed in front of cannons.

If it means holding on to power, the EPRDF will resort to any measure. For God’s sake this is an administration that has compared the opposition to the Rwandan Interwame! Bubbly government spokesperson Bereket Simon, in defending the killing by government forces of unarmed protestors, has said,

But, what was the alternative? Let's look at it. The alternative was strife
between the different nationalities of
Ethiopia which might have made the Rwandan genocide look like childsplay. This was the alternative.”

(Emphasis added)

Before the amnesia sets again, let’s remember that Ato Meles has that easily, that callously used the deaths of a million slaughtered Africans as a cheap campaign ploy. Additionally, the unfinished war between Ato Meles’ and Ato Issayas’ restless testosterone is playing out as a proxy war in Somalia.

The bottom line is, only a democracy can counter fundamentalism. That’s why, we assume, 2,775 American boys and girls and over 600,000 Iraqis have given up their lives.

The US, Tony Blair, Jeffrey Sachs and all of Ato Meles’ enablers are in for a very rude awakening.

Until then, rock on.


Additional reading: Meles’ Sea of Lies

Aside: Tsegasaurus at Egoportal… do we need to send your picture to Ethan Zuckerman? Tell us you are alive.

Monday, October 09, 2006

An now for something *really* interesting:

Blogging will be light this week. But I have had to be unglued from the computer thanks to a brilliant link from Enset about recently declassified documents from the State Department.

It shows you:

a) It sucks to be a poor nation

b) Nixon was a robot.

c) It really sucks being a poor nation.

It also makes you wonder what will emerge from the transcripts of Yamomoto, Frazer and Huddleston meetings with Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. Ato Meles forgets he is leaving a paper trail that will chronicle his cruelty, incompetence and tragic downfall.

Be back soon.

Reminder: Discussion of “The Dawn of Freedom” by Dr. Berhanu Nega will start next Monday.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Meanwhile in Somalia…

A round-up of sorts...

  • Wanna make $100 a week? The Islamic Courts are hiring part time hand choppers.
  • The ICU controls “70% of Somalia” and it is headed by someone who hates the Qat and, presumably, the hip-wriggling vocation of Beyonce.
  • Ethiopia: meet your new neighbors… fundamentalist Islamists, Ethiopia. Ethiopia, fundamentalist Islamists. Now play nice, you two.
  • Osama’s Craigslist ad:

“Wanted: African country torn asunder by tribal warfare to serve as gateway to, um, ‘law and order’ type of hush-hush operation. Access to several strategic ports a plus. If you are in close proximity of two countries with psychopath leaders who think proxy wars are fun and funny, if you like the mellifluous sounds of Jihad in the morning and long walks on the beach, contact me ASAP. AOLIM I.D. is ‘we-will-rule-the-world-11.’ Special preference given to populations which like/love/obsess over Whitney Houston (strictly in a ‘women should wear the beehive suits’ Islamic militant kind of way). Don’t miss this once in a lifetime opportunity to bring the "slam" in "Islamisist." Call today! And, oh… death to America.”

  • And no potential geo-political disaster in the Hon is complete without at least one incomprehensibly senile soundbite from the Ethiopian government. Ato Bereket Simon, do what you do best: “If the Islamic courts led by the Jihadists are attacking Baidoa, we have told them we will not let them do it.”

Never gets old.

So eight years from now, President Bush will be on CNN and some smirky reporter will ask him why he didn’t do enough to stop Islamic fundamentalism in the Horn. Mr. Bush will have his long-awaited version of the Clintonesque meltdown:

I was the decider. I was deciding at that time. And that fell’er there at that time Mekles… Medes… abu-bin-Madras (can’t recall his name right now) he was tellin’ us this was no big deal and that he would “crush” the.. the Talibanists. He was our ally in the War on Terror, you see. We believe our allies. We are… believers. The fell’er said he’d take care of it all he needed was a little money, well heck a lot of money, and license to prosecute all the so-called “opposition” which was spreading the genocide and the ethnical strife and the over throwing of his constitution. You can’t go ‘round attempting to overthrow a constitution! So we said, “Hell, yeah. Do what you must, Melkes. We’ll pretend it’s all part of the… democratization process.” Who knew he was gonna be such a … well, at least I tried. I tried and failed, but I tried. And now you did your little liberal hit job on me when all I wanted to talk about is how I love me cutting shrubs…”

In the meantime, Four Killed as Christians and Muslims Clash in Ethiopia.