Response to Eleni Gebre-Medhin of Commodity Exchange. – Hankamo Gota

August 21st, 2009 Print Print Email Email

There is an old saying in Amharic and it goes ‘ke ahya yewale fes temero yemetal.’ That is what came to mind when I read your article on ethiopiareview.com. (more…)

There is an old saying in Amharic and it goes ‘ke ahya yewale fes temero yemetal.’ That is what came to mind when I read your article on ethiopiareview.com. You reduced our concern about democracy and the rule of law into ethnic based rant. The Woyane sickness is rubbing on you. In the land of Woyane all roads lead to tribal and ethnic allegiance.

You have been in the news the last year or so due to your involvement in establishing the so-called Ethiopian Commodity Exchange or ECX. A lot has been said about your educational background, your urbane style and relentless work on our behalf to improve the quality of life for our people.

Plenty of Ethiopians in the Diaspora have written well-researched articles on your plans and future dreams as it affects our country. The wonderful analysis by Professor Seid Hassan entitled ‘The dangerous hype behind the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange’ is a case in point. I don’t remember him dwelling on your ethnicity. Thus I was eager to see your response to the many questions raised by the public. I was delighted that our independent web sites were gracious enough to publish your submission.

Alas no such luck. I read it twice. I went over it for the third time. I left more confused and bewildered by your piece. We have this huge game changer concept as a commodity exchange in front of us crying for explanation but you choose to discuss your genealogy instead. Where exactly does a tribal affiliation affect ones ability to do a certain task? You were obviously born in Ethiopia from Ethiopian parents. You grew up in Ethiopia and speak any one of the Ethiopian languages including our official language Amharic. Why do you think anybody will question your Ethiopianness? Why would you dignify such query with an answer?

I believe you learnt well from Woyane playbook. Rule number five when in doubt change the subject. You cannot rationally explain your concept of a commodity exchange in a monopolistic environment thus you decided to play the ethnic card. You wanted to point out you are Amhara not Tigre for some obscure reason understood by you and your handlers. Didn’t they tell you we are against the system not individuals? Didn’t they tell you being a Woyane is a state of mind not ethnic allegiance? Havent you met Amhara,Oromo, Sidama, Adal or Somali Woyanes? What do you think Aba Dula is how about Addisu not to forget the junior Woyane shimels kemal.

There are eighty million of us. Each and every one of us have a very interesting story to tell about our journey in life. Some will be considered boring while some are colorful and fit enough for a Hollywood movie. Some are lucky to be born in a rich home with all that is necessary in life to thrive and succeed. While others are cursed by fate and circumstances and are unable to fulfill their potential in life. You were one of the lucky few.

What I would like you to discuss is the many troubling points raised by those outside that are able to question the concept of commodity exchange under the current political and economic climate existing in our country. Most of us are not interested in your lineage. We have matured enough to judge individuals by their actions instead of their social or economic background. Why are you attempting to change the subject of discussion to tribe and ethnicity instead of your actions and involvement in tandem with the illegal government against the interest of the Ethiopian people? Why did you dwell on your background and upbringing for over three quarters of your writing and relegate the central issue of your activity with the government to one paragraph?

The last paragraph is where you really speak of your philosophy and the reason d’etre of you actions now. The last paragraph is what we all like to discuss and get a clear idea if your concept of ‘Commodity Exchange’ as established will work in Ethiopia or not. Unfortunately you gave it a halfhearted cursory glance and generalities that are true under any circumstances. For example you said ‘Ethiopia is ours, to claim, to build and to restore.’ I have no quarrel with that, but I also know a few people who are involved in the destruction of Ethiopia like the TPLF folks you are associating with. You wrote ‘A market is above all a connection between humans, an exchange of goods and money that links two sides. The market is neutral as to who is on either side, it is the connection that counts. I have always found traders to be the most pragmatic people in the world.’ A very interesting statement but very shallow too if I might say so. A market does not exist in a vacuum. There is no such thing as a neutral market. As everything else in life there are rules and regulations. Who makes the rules and who enforces the rules is the central issue in the life of a nation. Thus the market here in the US where the will of the people is reflected in a representative system or in China where the Communist party is supreme, or in North Korea where a one man rule is the norm are as different as day and night.

Could you tell us about the coffee merchants and the ECX since you are very familiar with the issue? From what I understand the merchants refused to join the exchange. You appealed to the Prime Minister that threatened ‘cutting the hands’ of those who are refusing to submit to your authority. You took them to court accusing them of ‘hording’ whereas they were put in jail, their license revoked and their property confiscated. Is this the working of a neutral market? Is this the way of a just system that accuses, tries, finds guilty all in one session?

I will tell you what I think. I might be wrong but it is my honest opinion. I believe a commodity exchange cannot work in present day Ethiopia. In a country where there is no freedom of expression, where all land belongs to the government, where the party in power is the largest business enterprise in the country, where ethnicity is what matters instead of education and know how and corruption is the way of life how in the world does a capitalist concept like commodity exchange operate?

I am glad that our independent web sites published your article. It shows that they were willing to accord you respect whereas the government you are working with wastes millions of dollars in purchasing technology to block our web sites. There is no free flow of information in our country. There could not be free market in a closed society. There is no level playing field in a country where one party dominates the economic life of the people. This article will published in some of our independent web sites here in the west. You as a government official have the privilege of reading it on your virtual network set up for the ruling class. Ordinary Ethiopians cannot read this. The few that can, use proxy servers or NGO and international organization satellite links. Yours is probably a fast DSL or T1 connection while they have to wait for hours to download a simple word file. That is the reality of Ethiopia in a nutshell. Different rules for different people. We are not equal. Some are more equal than others. Please read Animal Farm by George Orwell it will give you a better understanding of reality in Ethiopia.

  1. Kiros Girmay
    | #1

    በጣም ትክክል ብለሃል:: ወያኔ ለኢትዮጵያ ጥፋት እንጂ ለማልማት የተደራጀ ድርጅት አይደለም::
    የዘር በሽታ እንዲዛመት እያደረገ ያለው የስልጣን ዘመኑ ለማራዘምና ከሻእቢያ አብሮ ኤርትራን አስገንጥሎ ስለኢትዮጵያ ሳይሆን ስለኤርትራ የሚጨነቅ የውስጥ የባእድ መንግስት ነው::
    የትግራይን ህዝብ በማታለል በማስፈራራት “ወያኔ ከሌለ ይበሉሀል ስለዚህ እኛን ከመደገፍ ሌላ አማራጭ የለህም” እያሉ ትግራይን ከኢትዮጵያ ለመገንጠል እያመቻቹት ይገኛሉ::
    የኢትዮጵያ ችግር የህግ የበላይነት, ተጠያቂነት, እኩልነት, ዲሞክራሲያዊ መብት እጦት እንጂ የዘር ችግር አይደለም::

    ኢትዮጵያ አንድነትዋን ጠብቃ ለዘላለም ትኖራለች:: የኢትዮጵያ ቀንደኛ ጠላቶች የወያኔ አመራሮች እና ጀሌዎቻቸው ናቸው::

  2. AbaDama
    | #2

    I concur with Hankamo big time with a special emphasis to the following questions he put out to you. Dr Eelni, you have obligation (at least a moral one)to answer the real questions:

    Why did you dwell on your background and upbringing for over three quarters of your writing and relegate the central issue of your activity with the government to one paragraph?

    Could you tell us about the coffee merchants and the ECX since you are very familiar with the issue?

    In a country where there is no freedom of expression, where all land belongs to the government, where the party in power is the largest business enterprise in the country, where ethnicity is what matters instead of education and know how and corruption is the way of life how
    in the world does a capitalist concept like commodity exchange operate?

  3. Free Bertukan
    | #3

    I like your reaction against the political system that is not conducive for ECX. The malice of the system can only be exposed when goo people like you and her try to do something useful in for the country. What I understood from your article is that the government is so corrupt and one should not attempt to do anything with. But, that is not fair. There are still a few good apples amongst the bad ones. Besides, the country and the people are still existing and need to go on in life. Simply because the government is corrupt you should not abandon your contribution. You know how difficult it is to change anything in Ethiopia, even for the armed TPLF. She is navigating in the system trying to introduce her program. Why should we so negative? The more she exposes the TPLF government, the more people get informed and the better for democracy to abound.

    Please, do not look down on the lady. She is well educated, qualified and committed young woman. She does not have to answer to anyone about her ethnicity/tribe as many people know her father Ato Zewdie Gebre-Medhin and her late grand father.

  4. JIGSA
    | #4

    GOTA YOU PUT IT PERFECTLY ALL ROAD LEADS TO WOYANE TPLF MAFIA GROUP VILLAGE IN ETHIOPIA.MOT LE WOYANE MOT LE TIRAI LIBERATION FRONT IN ETHIOPIA.THE ETHIOPIAN PEOPLE WILL BE FREE SOON FROM TYRRANY.DOWN WITH TIGRAI PEOPLE LIBERATION FRONT IN ETHIOPIA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Anonymous
    | #5

    *~~~You wrote ‘A market is above all a connection between humans, an exchange of goods and money that links two sides. The market is neutral as to who is on either side, it is the connection that counts.’ Dr.Elleni

    ~~That statement including, “why can’t we be like the market/?” was bother some .The author’s response is well done there.
    ! “There is no such thing as a neutral market. As everything else in life there are rules and regulations. Who makes the rules and who enforces the rules is the central issue in the life of a nation”. Exerpt from the 7th paragraph
    !!!“Could you tell us about the coffee merchants and the ECX since you are very familiar with the issue? From what I understand the merchants refused to join the exchange. You appealed to the Prime Minister that threatened ‘cutting the hands’ of those who are refusing to submit to your authority. You took them to court accusing them of ‘hording’ whereas they were put in jail, their license revoked and their property confiscated. Is this the working of a neutral market? Is this the way of a just system that accuses, tries, finds guilty all in one session?”
    ~~~This might be a missed out news/information that is disclosed here to some of us.
    Economist/Dr.Elleni:
    Until you generate another article, some of us believe this writer. He responded in a decent, logical, informative, challenging and protectively nationalist way.

  6. shame
    | #6

    this article and the comments show the real problem Ethiopia faces. It isn’t TPLF, Tigrai or commodity exchange. Its ignorance. If TPLF falls, tomorrow there will be another party ruling you fools. Shame.

  7. fish
    | #7

    Eleni is just an opportunist who want to b e reach at any coast. Simply greed driven bitch.

  8. aha!
    | #8

    What a marvelous, detailed description of the third layer and hierchical sub-model of economic and political strangle hold of Ethiopia by TPLF and TPLF affiliated enterprises as part of TPLF/eprdf political model, with Medrek Forum for democratic Dialogue as its sustenance and or/replacement political model contibuting to economic and political crises in Ethiopia for the past 18 years. Now the ECX is a way to monopolize the export of commodity market in a way similar to import of fertilizers by TPLF and TPLF affiliated enterprizes.

  9. Anonymous
    | #9

    Great analysis! She’s infected with the virus of ethnic politics; she is just incubating it. She intentionally turns a blind eye and a deaf ear to the current ethnocenteric monopoly, and tries to implicate that we care if she is Tigre or whatever,…

    Good job!

  10. guest
    | #10

    Dr. Eleni’s article is far from truth. She intentionally hides her real erhnicity. Don’t believe her. She just did what TPLF has been doing the last 17 years, namely spreading lies. It is in their vein that she too shares.

  11. xzxzxzxz
    | #11

    HanKamo Gota,

    you nailed it, Sir. Elenie,whatever her name is should return to wherever she came from. we don’t need her ECX or whatever she calls it. All EXC does is, bring pain and suffering to the poor farmers.

  12. Chombe
    | #12

    Ato Gota you’re spot on! AbaDama you are missing the point totally. Invariably, there is always a point raised similar to AbaDama’s who try to justify working with TPLF ruled Ethiopia with “because TPLF is a crook, should we stop and not do anything to help Ethiopia?” or “We know the country is run by cooks, but there are the millions who will benefit by our contribution, and we shouldn’t punish the poor and the hungry just because tribal apartheid is practiced in the country.” This mostly emanate from denial, not knowing oneself – at best, or at worst – because of selfishness.

    This is like saying, we see a leach sucking the blood of my animal, but I will keep feeding the cow and ignore addressing the leach. Failing to realize the support will only prolong the agony of the animal, where it will weather and die anyway. You can simply not ignore there is a leach sucking the blood. If you ignore the leach it will simply multiply and continue to suck all the blood getting fatter, and even sucking up on the carcus. Today TPLF is sucking on Ethiopia’s carcus, and continuing to support the carcus, will only benefit the leach.

    Dear Eleni, as the saying goes, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. I will bet you are there for your own selfish reason. In your mind, you may want to think, your tribal lineage has nothing to do for you running ECX. But, deep down inside you must know, that is probably why Melese and company appointed you. What you are doing is helping the leaches. There is no free market, unless and until there the rule of law rules the land. With out it, free market is a joke as is ECX.

  13. The enlighten one
    | #13

    I am a true believer that anyone who believes him/herself going back to achieve some of us cannot even dream of and this lady to her credit commended for her desire to change our beloved country. The real question is as the writer Mr. Hankamo Gota raised a good question “ Didn’t they tell you we are against the system not individuals? Didn’t they tell you being a Woyane is a state of mind not ethnic allegiance? Haven’t you met Amhara,Oromo, Sidama, Adal or Somali Woyanes?” The market maker needs to address this question which means she has to stop working in Addis Ababa. Addressing the above questions meant to fight this tribal regime with the very basic idea of democracy and the rule of low. The writer elegantly addressing on his concision statement in our life time the very idea of commodity exchange is a live dream as long as this tribal system is in place.

  14. ሰዮም
    | #14

    ዶ/ር እሌኒ; እሱን ወደ ፊት የብዙሃን ፅሃይ ስትወጣ ትለፈልፊያለሽ:: እሺ!!!!!!!!!

  15. Sisa
    | #15

    If Eleni wants to talk about here ethnicity, something that was besides the point anyway, why did she leave out her father and her husband? I will come back to my other points later.

  16. almaya
    | #16

    inner Adwan clique who are assuming virtual control over the economy through their mafia styled businesses in every sector of the economy. http://www.ethiotube.net/video/5312/Revolution

  17. yonatan
    | #17

    meles is a man who is realizing his long visioned eritrea’s confort up on the corps of ethiopian children and adults. in other ways ‘ eritrea is the only country in the world which has two leaders while ethiopia is the only country with out any leader’. so, it’s not meles or sibhat nega who is making the black histry; they are realising their favourite visins to help eritrea survive. but the militry, at the first place and then the ethiopian pupets who are contented by the position that meles gives them are the ones who are defying the nation’s greatness. they are making histric mistakes. they are destroying ethiopia. when ethiopia is dis-integrated, then no question abt see outlet, abt equal and fair resource distribution, abt social and economic rights, …. this is exactly what meles aims to achieve. look, meles and sebhat know verywell that no tigrayan is benefiting even a single coin from the effort sister companies. but they publicly come infront of the media and say efert generates tigray’s wealth(belongs to tigray) and is the richest business commpany in the country’s history!!!! hah!! what does that mean!!???? they think one from amhara or oromo would say the tigrians are looting oure wealth in the name of efert!!!!! but these people are putting the money not at the tigrian peoples account, but no one nows it except their pocket. so, the question becomes among the ethiopian peoples, not between these hina leaders and the people!!! then the solution they would suggest is to “peacefully” disintegrate ethiopia!!! we know how and why meles and sbhat joined TPLF!!

  18. አያና ነኝ ከበርሊን
    | #18

    ስለ ኮምፕዩተር ሚስጥር የማያቅ ልትሽውድ ትችላለህ;; ይህ ቅንብር ግን አንሞኝበትብ; ሞኝህን ፍልግ የኒ ጎበዝ;;

  19. Walta Negus
    | #19

    Eleni. sure this is nothing to anything, BUT…. but, but, but, how to say this in most delicate way. Eleni, let’s not pretend the world is really complicated. You have been Addisu Legesses girlfriend openly at the Hilton where everyone in Addis know. If ethnic isn’t this thing is. Stop preaching about the market. You are giving us headaches. If the market worked Ethiopia you would still be with your husband in America Addisu would not have a job because he is not the best man for it. This is sad for me but but you preaching is very bad joke on us. Stop it.

Comments are closed.