ESFNA AND BIRTUKAN: A MEMBER”S PERSPECTIVE – By Tesfaye Abebe

October 25th, 2010 Print Print Email Email

“Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts”.

Daniel Patrick Moynihan


In this article I, as a member of ESFNA affiliated club, would like to address the ‘Birtukan and Guest of Honor’ issue that has come to be a discussion topic among some Ethiopians in North America from the point of view of a person on the inside.
How it started:
On October 18, 2010 the Ethiopian Review (ER) website posted a story that announced ESFNA’s invitation of Birtukan Mideksa as its guest of honor. On October 19, 2010 this same website posted a story claiming that ESFNA’s Executive Committee rescinded its invitation against the wishes of the majority, creating the impression as if these were incidents that happened on two different occasions. One day she was invited the next day that invitation is rescinded. This is not what or how it happened. Oh! How I wish ER’s editor had checked the whole story with those that were present at the meeting before it decided to print a misleading and a provocative article.
Following the confusion created by this, on October 20, 2010 the Executive Committee of ESFNA put out a press release to clear any misunderstanding that could have been created by the postings made by ER and picked up by other sites that based their stories on the initial reporting.
Most people who have read the news as posted were perplexed by it. One may say, rightly so. Respected personalities like Efrem Madebo (of Ginbot 7 writing a personal opinion), Shakespear Feyissa (a UDJ activist in Seattle writing in his capacity as a lawyer) and Abiy Teklemariam (Addis Neger Online Administrator) have also came out and expressed their views regarding this affair. And, this issue has also been one of the topics of Ethiopian radio programs and PalTalk rooms in North America.
Before I comment on the merits or demerits of the opinions expressed as regards this issue, I would like to present the actual facts that transpired regarding Birtukan’s invitation, so that conversations could be productive, and indeed be a teachable moment if you would.
Since its inception, ESFNA has developed a tradition of inviting personalities who have made significant contributions to Ethiopian sports, principally soccer – as its guests of honor to its annual soccer tournament.
In the past few years ESFNA created a second category dubbed Culture/Arts, in which it had invited cultural icons who have made immense contributions in the cultural front in Ethiopia. Past honorees in this category included the late Laureate Tsegaye GebreMedhin, Maitre de Artist Laureate Afework Tekle, Professor Richard Pankhrust and artist Tilahun Gessese (posthumously), among others.
Recently ESFNA has also started a third category called Special Guests category, whereby deserving national athletes who reside in North America are invited.

• In the annual Board of Directors meeting that was held in Atlanta from October 16-17, last year’s runner-up for Guest of Honor in the sports category, Ato Wondimu .the pioneer Ethiopian National soccer team and Mechal player and longtime coach of EELPA fame was selected by a majority vote to be ESFNA’s Guest of Honor in the Sports category.
• In the Special Guest category Ato Shewangizaw Agonafir the legendary soccer player formerly of St. George, Ethiopian National Team and All-American at UCLA was selected.
• In the cultural category Ato Mahmood Ahmed was nominated and later, so was Wzt. Birtukan Mideklsa.

What and how it happened:

As those that nominated Birtukan spoke passionately to underline the importance of inviting her, those that did not believe she should be invited expressed theirs. Reasons for not inviting her, ranged from the inappropriateness of inviting her in the cultural category to her being a leader of a political organization whose invitation might compromise our non-profit and non-political status.

Upon the insistence of those members that nominated Birtukan, and following parliamentary procedure a vote was taken by the Board Members and Birtukan narrowly won.

After that vote was taken, long standing members of the Board pleaded with the Board members to reconsider the decision, and after an emotional and one might say gut wrenching discussion, the Board members who initially put forward Birtukan’s nomination and those that voted for her withdrew their nomination and the guest of honor in the cultural category was decided to be Ato Mahmood Ahmed.

These then are the facts as they transpired in the October 17 meeting of ESFNA’s Board.

My Comments:
To begin with, I personally find the implication of Ato Efrem in the title for his piece does the ’E’ in ESFNA stand for Ethiopia, offensive. Though Ato Efrem says he wrote this piece as an individual, the fact that he is one of the leaders of a political movement that claims to fight for the liberation of the Ethiopian people from tyranny, gives an added weight to his commentary. As a leader of a political organization Ao Efrem should know better than anybody, that no one has a right to give or take away anybody’s ‘E” ie. Ethiopianess.

Having said that, I must admit that I have had the pleasure of reading some of the articles that Ato Efrem has written in the past. But I am afraid this one is a bit short on facts, unfair, and full of emotional outburst against an organization that had held aloft the banner of Ethiopia and Ethiopianess more than any other organization in North America for the past 27 years.

Ato Efrem and others must know that ESFNA is an organization for all Ethiopians irrespective of their political or religious affiliation.
I will assure Ato Efrem and others who do not know ESFNA closely, that we have individuals amongst us who long for the days of the Emperor or the Derg, as much as we have those who support EPRP, UDJ, Ginbot 7, OLF, or EPRDF for that matter, and many others that occupy the Ethiopian political landscape.

The only criterion our organization imposes on our members is that they are Ethiopians; and the only restriction we put upon them is that they can not impose their political or religious views on others and or the organization. That is the secret behind our longevity. If you have not noticed until now, we have not gathered in ESFNA as an organization to ‘fight for freedom and liberty of our people’ as lofty a cause as it is; for that, political organizations like yours are better equipped.

Ato Efrem has also suggested that ESFNA ignore by-laws when convenient…etc I do not share your views on this, and in fact as much as possible we at ESFNA always try to be true to our by-laws. But if and when by-laws need to be changed we will do so in accordance to our governing principles.

It is my hope that after Ato Efrem verifies the facts as they occurred in ESFNA’s October meeting, he will recognize his errors and maybe write a correction to his piece that was totally unfair to those dedicated members of ESFNA who have toiled tirelessly to the betterment of this venerable Ethiopian institution, and whose Ethiopianess he questioned.

At Shakespear, on his part, makes a passionate argument to establish that ESFNA must have ‘misunderstood or misinterpreted its own by-laws’ and goes on to argue that an organization that allows host cities to invite local dignitaries to make perfunctory appearance to its events can not say it will not invite Ethiopian political leaders; for this it tantamount to discrimination. (Though what Shakespear says is undisputed fact that ESFNA routinely invites Senators, Congressmen, Governors, or Mayors… I personally am not aware of any Senators or Governors who attended ESFNA events as ESFNA’s Guests of Honor and or were invited as such)
Ato Shakespear being a lawyer might be correct in saying that we might have been misunderstanding our by-laws or misinterpreted them all this time, or maybe our by-laws as he says are ‘broadly vague’. But I would like to assure Ato Shakespear that the intent of ESFNA has always been to maintain our non-profit status by following regulations as we understood them to be, so as to maintain our organization as a gathering place for all Ethiopians irrespective of their political or religious affiliation. To this end the by-laws of the organization that were drafted by volunteer Ethiopian lawyers and then adopted by our Board members are what we have and what we try to be true to, to the best of our ability.
That our by-laws might have weaknesses is something we can agree on and, if you in your capacity as a professional are willing to help our organization clarify the legal fine points incorporated in our by-laws while maintaining our core principles you are most welcome.
However, the undue pressure you try to exert on our organization to reverse its position by threatening it with’ far reaching public relations and legal consequences’ is not only unfair but verges on blackmail.
Ato Shakespear,it can not be lost on you in your capacity as a political activist, that there might be some amongst us who would wish the political personality of their choice to be invited and recognized as a guest of honor by ESFNA.

In the past, people like Dr. Beyene Petros, Dr. Taye WoldeSemaite, Dr. Merrera Gudina, Ato Abera Yemaneab, are some of the personalities that have been brought up by our members as possible guests of honor for ESFNA’s Annual event; yet we as a non-political organization felt we can not accommodate the wishes of some of our members if we are to be true to our principle of being non-political.

I personally believe it would be more appropriate for support organizations of UDJ in North America to invite Wzt. Birtukan and as you say, make her a guest of honor to all the Ethiopians who in one way or another fought for her release from prison and not insist that ESFNA make her its guest of honor.

If we are honest with ourselves Wzt. Birtukan is able to garner such widespread support among Ethiopians at large, not because she is a single mom, a moral leader or inspiration to our youth, or a respected judge as some would want us to believe, but precisely because of her courage as a leader of a political party, who against all odds tries to fight for liberty and justice. In other words above all, she is a political leader.

The other commentator that came up with a suggestion is Ato Abiy Tekle Mariam of Addisnegeronline.com web site. I had great respect for Addis Neger Newspaper and I still maintain my respect to Addis Neger online and its columnists.
Ato Abiy’s article is titled “Reforming ESFNA”.

Though I have no doubt Ato Abiy is full of good intentions in suggesting the reform of ESFNA, I am not sure how much he knows about the organization to suggest with such urgency that it be reformed.
ESFNA was established by pioneering Ethiopians who resided in different cities in North America and who felt the importance of creating a sense of community using soccer games as a medium. The constituent clubs of ESFNA have always managed their clubs, principally by money collected from their members and augmented by fundraisings in their local communities. Every year for the past 27 years members of clubs who participate in ESFNA’s annual tournament on the average spend $1000-$1500 per person of their own money to cover for transportation, food and lodging.

It is true that Mr. Al Amoudi has made generous gifts a couple of times to ESFNA and the organization was grateful for it. However to suggest that somehow ESFNA’s leadership is beholden to Mr. Al Amoudi because of these generous gifts does not hold water. ESFNA has accepted gifts before and reserves the right to accept gifts in the future as long as it is convinced there are no strings attached.

ESFNA has not depended on anticipated gifts from generous benefactors to conduct its activities in the past 27 years nor will it do so in the future. Having depended principally on its members as a source of funding to its activities it is always on the look out for possible sources of funding to lessen the financial burden on its members.
It is our earnest hope that someday all our clubs will be funded from generous sources who would be willing to support our cause. With no strings attached of course!
As for the Barcelona model and its application to ESFNA, I regret that I do not have much knowledge to comment upon.
As a final comment, I would like it to be known that ESFNA is not beholden to any individual with a large purse or any political organization and will continue to cherish its independence in continuing its mission of “Bringing all Ethiopians overseas Together”

Tesfaye Abebe
Contact ; tesabbish@hotmail.com

  1. Taszabi
    | #1

    After that vote was taken, long standing members of the Board pleaded with the Board members to reconsider the decision, and after an emotional and one might say gut wrenching discussion, the Board members who initially put forward Birtukan’s nomination and those that voted for her withdrew their nomination and the guest of honor in the cultural category was decided to be Ato Mahmood Ahmed>>
    you are missing fact. There was intimidation fights all sort of things. if you know the Esfna by laws you wouldnt waist your time to defend them. once the board pass Birtukan to be the guest of honor. the only way the EC could reverse that would be by having a discussion and vote with 2/3 majority. this is not done because everyone was scared of those who you called them > by the way they dont have a right to intimidate. So according to your long analysis when a board pass a decision we have to intimidate others or cry and change the decision. wow.

  2. Shimelis
    | #2

    Ato Tesfaye

    1. You Said “ESFNA has accepted gifts before and reserves the right to accept gifts in the future as long as it is convinced there are no strings attached.”

    Before you write this you should have read a little bit on the effect of money on humna psychology. Why do you think pharmacy companies spend a lot of money to feed health professionals without any “string” attached to the food? Why are you viewing Al Amoudin as genereous while we view him as supporter of murderers? You see you get money from him but we do not!
    In my opinion it arrognat to say “your argument does not hold water” to those who have little fate in Al Amudin. Perhaps, your argument may not hold gas not just water.

    To call Almudin genereous is an insult to the Ethiopian people. If he were generous he would have fed the starved people instead of you here in the West.

    2. You said “I personally believe it would be more appropriate for support organizations of UDJ in North America to invite Wzt. Birtukan and as you say, make her a guest of honor to all the Ethiopians who in one way or another fought for her release from prison and not insist that ESFNA make her its guest of honor”

    This totally is childish comment. I do not think you need to remind them to invite her. Wote Regeta!

    Finally I have a question for you? Are you going to be the next president of ESFNA for doing this?

    Thank you!

    Shemelis

  3. Drama
    | #3

    PEOPLE, LOOK HOW SHADY THIS ORGANIZATION IS. WHERE IS THE PR?????? WHY DOES SOMEONE WITH A REGULAR MEMBERSHIP WRITES THIS ARTICLE??? ISN’T THIS THE PR’S JOB? WHAT DOES THIS SHOW US? IT SHOWS US THAT SOME PEOPLE ARE HIDING!!!!!!!!! WHY? BECAUSE THEY KNOW THE REAL WORKS OF THE ORGANIZATION. IF INVITING BIRTUKAN VIOLATES THEIR RULES BECAUSE SHE IS A POLITICAL FIGURE, THEN THEY SHOULD TELL ALL THE RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS TO NOT COME TO ESFNA EVENTS. WHY DO THEY ALLOW RELIGIOUS FIGURES TO PROMOTE THEIR AGENDAS AT ESFNA EVENTS? NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION LAWS IN THE USA NOT ONLY PROHIBIT POLITICAL PROMOTION, BUT THEY ALSO PROHIBIT RELIGIOUS PROMOTIONS. THIS ORGANIZATION IS RUN BY HYPOCRITES AND SERIOUS ILLITERATE “HODAMS”. LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON= LIKE WOYANE, LIKE ESFNA. THEY WILL PUT ANYTHING THAT IS TO THEIR ADVANTAGE EVEN IT MEANS GOING AGAINST THE LAWS, BUT IF IT IS NOT TO THEIR ADVANTAGE, THEY WILL TELL YOU THAT THE LAWS DON’T ALLOW IT. TYPICAL WOYANES! THIS IS WHY WE HAVE PROBLEMS IN ETHIOPIA. WHEN YOU HAVE LEADERS THAT CAN’T BE ETHICAL, YOU FAIL TO EMERGE!!! I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS “DANIEL PATRICK MOYNIHAN” HAS THE GUTS TO WRITE US SUCH AN ARTICLE. WHERE ARE THE REST??? WHERE ARE THOSE HODAMS HIDING? THIS IS AN ARTICLE AFTER THE FACTS AND NOONE WILL BUY IT FOR SEVERAL RATIONALE REASONS. SORRY, MR. DANIEL, GO CONVINCE YOUR LITTLE KIDS. MAJORITY VOTE MY EARS.

  4. Drama
    | #4

    SORRY, CHANGE DANIEL MOYNIHAN TO TESFAYE ABEBE IN MY LAST COMMENT.

  5. Joseph
    | #5

    “Dear” Mr/Ato Tesfaye,

    I have read your cunningly written blurb. You are trying to defend the indefensible. The reversal of the initial board’s decision is a farce, typical child’s game of the useless bankrupt wild sentiment that is being practiced by the supporters of the current regime. Birtukan’s presence could have added vigor, theme and color of beauty to the ESFNA’s annual sport’s event.

    You talked about by-laws, non-political, non-profit making status. You seem to live in Heaven. There isn’t anything non-political, non-profit making etc. This is your idiosyncrasy. These types of reasons are the basis for our failures in making progress in our endeavors. We are a generation that is flying and floating high in vacuum. We don’t stand for principle and for mother Ethiopia, but for our own illusions.
    Mr Tesfaye, you better advise your friends whom you try to defend to reverse the reversed initial decision for the invitation of Birtukan to be re-instated, whether she accepts your invitation or not. She is a hero who paid price for you, for me and for all of us and no less than any of the guys who have been nominated as guests of honor, including Mahmoud Ahmed. What Mahmoud Ahmed has done more than Birtukan? Didn’t he go to Eritrea to sing/perform on the occasion of the celebration of its independence. He is a controversial political figure too in a addition to being an artist.

    Grow up Tesfye!!

  6. Eyosi
    | #6

    Gash Tesfaye I am so sad when you side woyani backed federation because Woyani doesn’t believe in Ethiopianism there is no way in our 3000 years history Tigray borders Sudan and 1/3 of Wollo being region 1. wake up people don’t just gather every year drink and flirt.

  7. Temam
    | #7

    Thanks Tesfaye
    You have helped somewhat clarify the differences.
    IMHO, Bitukan’s invitation, had it not been reversed by the people who voted for her in the first place, would not have helped EsfNA grow or even stay intact . The reason being the presence of members and supporters of the organization in our community who also are sympathizers or supporters of the present government. Who knows – they may in turn ask for their heroes such as Hilawi Yoseph or say Arkenbe Iqubai – be invited.
    I can imagine how people will react even if these regime functionaries were to pay their way and come to the event .
    Last Point………..
    “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.”
    Daniel Patrick Moynihan (He was a senator from Boston)

    Good lesson for the Editors of the ER

  8. jj
    | #8

    Mr. Tesfaye Abebe,

    The time is so bad for your kind, information flies like a hell in the modern communication era, so don’t try to hide the truth under the rug. We know it all, we follow it all. So don’t trash further your credibility. It is better to stay zipped than to come out and try to missinform the public, while public at large is well informed. we know all the fiasco being done at clandestine let alone in a blatent day.
    My advise to you, it ask the web-admin to remove your article. If this article stays for a couple of days, you may get unwanted response that would leave you naked.

  9. congo
    | #9

    The article is too long to the message intended. I can feel that the writer is so desperate to convince the reader of his stance. However, there is no escaping from the political aura of Birtukan’s invitation saga. If the ESFNA was true to its principles and regulations, it should not have taken the Birtukan invitation issue to a vote in the first place. But once it did the decision should stand as a majority vote. Going back and resciding the invitation is dishonorable and put the integrity of the people behind this process in to question.

    Isn’t Birtukan’s persona fit for the cultural category? She is a prominent judge, human right activist, used to be an internationally acclaimed prisoner of conscience. Adding the gender aspect to this and her revolutionary impact in the African political landscape as she is the first leader of a major political party, she could have been more than fit to be a repectable guest. Remember when Birtukan was nominated for the Sakharov prize, it is not because she is the leader of UDJ. It is easy to see how the EU considered Birtukan by just considering the list of the other nine nominees for the award.

    Another point is, I have a feeling that the Board members are now trying to collude and rearrange facts,, after realizing the outrage among the Diaspora on this particular issue and after understanding that the reaction could endanger the existence of the ESFNA itself. How can we trust you now? What if Birtukan was originally elected for the ‘special guest category’ instead of the ‘cultural category’? Why it took you such a long time to come up with this explanation? I conjecture that there has been some kind of negotiation among members of the committee and now you are trying to stand as one and confront the reaction by portraying a fabricated story about the issue.

    The whole motive for all this is the political interest of the government in Addis to divide the Diaspora. And also to show that Birtukan and her supporters don’t constitute a majority both in the country and in the Diaspora. Meles’ image has been badly damaged by Birtukan’s imprisonment, particularly her nomination for the Sakharov prize was a big blow. Now Meles is trying to mend his devastated image by showing that Birtukan is not a significant figure among the Ethiopian people and to tell the West that they are wrong. It is easy also to see this from the sudden upsurge of anti-Birtukan campaign in the blogosphere.

  10. mimi from D C
    | #10

    you are one of those ( HODAM ) by the way we know who you are
    if you want defend EC put your real name and tell us more about what dose mean 2/3 majority we know exactly how much
    you get paid for this stupid coment

  11. Raya
    | #11

    Let me tell you a simillar story happens in Japan. There was an association called ECJ which had been established as a self support organization to assist Ethiopians in Japan. During the election of the executive committee of this association, candidates promised to maintain the independence of ECJ. However, the TPLF Embassy in Tokyo had been infiltrating with some loyals within the leadership. For sometime the sleeper cells behaved good and no one was expecting TPLF is in control. Then, one day the Embassy wrote letter to ECJ leadership for a meeting in the Embassy. Some members of the leadership questioned why the Embassy has to interfere in our association. But, the sleeper cells moved and inssisted to participate in the meeting since it is to discuss issues that affect Ethiopians in Japan. Then, most of the leadership trusted their collegues and aggreed with the idea and majority voted for favourably three members voted against. In the meantime, one of the leadership committee the same night wrote letter of resignation. Though he has to accept the decision of the majority, he decide he will not compromise his principle and the trust bestowed by the people who elected him. The association was founded as non-political, non religious association in the first place. Therefore, for him the interference of politics was not acceptable. The news of the resignation sent strong shock in the association and those leaders who has been deceived by disguised TPLF loyalists came to understand the trick. As a result the meeting with the Embassy cancelled and those disguised TPLF loyalists exposed. Meanwhile, the association fired the trouble makers and change its name in to Adeyabeba Ethiopia Association and legally registered as non profit association maintaining its independence from religious and political influence. Now the Adeyabeba is marked as enemy number one by TPLF embassy. Nevertheles, it is going stronger and helping Ethiopians diligently. Therefore, if one person was not taking the initiative and choose to resign, by now the association would have been under total control of TPLF. In fact, similar to this particular case, those loyalists pointed finger and open character assasination on this guy claiming he is undemocratic and even dictator. At the initial week they even were able to confuse members. But the truth prevailed after the dust settled.
    Therefore, some people may not understood the negative effect of politicians in non profit association even if they are popular. We have to draw a line between politics and purely humanitarian work. Honoring Birtukan may be an important venture but it is not the right place. It willcertainly encourage others to bring their own heros and heroins contrary to the principle of NPO. For what ever purpose one stands, he or she must safeguard its principles at any cost. We have to recognize that non profits as well as political institutions are indispensable to us. We have a responsibility to protect and care them. And they ought to maintain their soveregnity to accomplish their stated objectives. Be it political, civil or non-profit; if it is influenced by external pressures, then it is doomed to fail. We have to understand things from the positive perspective. Not honoring Birtukan doesn’t mean an insult to her or her supporters. She is already a queen in most Ethiopian hearts and minds. We should also learn from her that she stands for her principle by releasing Seye Abrha even though she was paid by TPLF as judge. That’s how principle matters. Let us understand what ESFNA trying to explain.
    With respect

  12. kerar
    | #12

    Ato. Tesfaye. As you I am member one of the ESFNA affilated clubs. I go there to enjoy soccer. my only afilation with those guys is playing soccer. As i see most of the player use to be playing for a national team and they are easily manipulated by money. I hyave one question for you. how many of the exec body are pro EPDRF? Don’t you think when it comes to vote these people always look for their political and financial benefits? Can you add on your bylaw that any of you executive body can not be a memeber of any political party or they can not take any gift or financfial support from political affilatede groups or individual?

  13. Isubalew
    | #13

    The most sensible and ‘የበሰለ አስተያየት’comment so far came from Raya.
    I can see how the experience of working with others in an organization such as the ECJ (if he had been a member) or having knowledge of the intricacies and the delicate nature of such involment has helped RAYA to
    come up withy this sober advice.

  14. Advice
    | #14

    Trying to influence and misinform. Look at the sentences, he started to support the view of his opponents and suddenly ends up opposing them with out enough evidences. But I found this extract interesting “However to suggest that somehow ESFNA’s leadership is beholden to Mr. Al Amoudi because of these generous gifts does not hold water”

  15. aha!
    | #15

    This article supports my previous intuitive remark about the issue. And this article put to rest about bickering of supporters and core proponents of same opposition party/parties to diverge on a peripheral issues and loose sight of the common goals and strategies to achieve those goals. This reminds me of the saying “yekotun awerd billa yebituan talech”, it does not make an iota of difference to the common cause of the silent majority of Ethiopians, whether you argue this issue /orfrom political and/or legal stand points. Since after the election the major media has been innundated view points on personalities as a sideline issues nd articles presented in the context of “No Change but Durable Democracy” urging the TPLF/eprdf regime to scale back its human right violations, allow for political space, in a regime where the plan is economic developement before democracy by TPLF and TPLF affiliated enterprises and complete domination of the political system by by TPLF assisted bt the teletafi and loyalist opposition parties, maintaining ethnic and secessionist politics as its basic platform, inclined to ethnic dictatorship. For that matter, it should be noted, whoever comes to power under that scenario, will form nothing more than ethnic dictatorship and ethnocracy, but not democracy.

  16. Ganchu
  17. Yared
    | #17

    1. Good article and I think the ESFNA has to be restructured and to be clean from the WEYANE/Alamudi agents. This so called bord members said the are non profit organization with no affiliations with any political organization! What a BS because they were happy inviting american poltician inlcuding Obama in the past now they are telling us they are not involded in potitics. What a shame! for these pigs Brtukan is a very caurageaus woman who spent in dark solitary confiment for more 6 months for human right issue and she desere more than this because she stands against tyranny while this ESFNA pigs flirt with the tyrant. So i will say the majority ethiopin need to stand up against this conspiracy from TPLF/Alamudi camp and show this losers that their ESFNA is nothing withoout the respect for the majority ethiopians.

  18. Yared
    | #18

    Tesfaye you’re arrogant and corrup indvidual who has no respect for the entire ethiopian community so we need to dismantel the crrent ESFNA leadership and clean all the TPLF/Alamudi agents. Then they can join or create their own Weyane federation! Great couragous Brutkan deservers more than this for sacrificing her life for better Ethiopa for all ethiopians regardless of their ethnic background!

  19. Igor
    | #19

    In all fairness, we should also hear from the board members who first voted to invite Ms. Mideksa and later changed their vote. Any thing is possible and they could very well have changed their vote without being coerced or otherwise threatened with bodily harm or some other form of reprisal.

    The best way to set the record straight is for a panel from both groups to appear on one of the radio shows and filed questions from listeners. While Tesfaye’s efforts to explain what transpired at the board meeting is a good start, it just does not cut it for most of us. After all he spent a good portion of his write up to address some of the views expressed by recent writers.

    What do you say ESFNA board leadership? Let us hear it form the horses’ mouth this Sunday.

    My prediction is the 2011 gathering will not be a pleasant one .

  20. የካናዳው ከበደ
    | #20

    በበኩሌ ስጠብቅ የነበረውን አጥጋቢ መልስ ስላገኘሁ አቶ ተስፋየን ላመሰግን እወዳለሁ:: አብሮን የኖረ ልምዳችንን ዘወር ብለን ብንመለከት የአንድን ነገር ጥቅም የምናውቀው ካጣነው በሁዋላ ነው (ካልሞተና ካልሂእደ ይባል የለ):: ተረባርበን የማፍረስ ችሎታችን ደግሞ በጣም የሚደንቅ ነው:: ሳናውቅና ሳንጠይቅ ሆ ብሎ የመዝመት አመል አለን:: አንዳንድ ራሳቸውን በራሳቸው የሾሙ ግለሰቦችማ ዚግነት መስጠትና መንጠቅ ደርሰዋል:: የዚሕ ዓይነቱ ቅጥ ያጣ አገር ወዳድነት ለማንም አይጠቅምም:: ከኛ ወዲያ ላሳር ብለን እህትና ወንድም ሲጋደሉ የተመለከትንበት ግዚም ያን ያህል ሩቅ አይደለም:: ስለዚህ ባንስማማም ተከባብረን መነጋገርና መደማመጥ ይኖርብናል::
    ለወደፊት የሚቻል ከሆነ – 1ኛ – ስብሰባችሁ በታዛቢዎች ፊት ቢሆን ወይም በቭዲዮ ቢተላለፍ
    2ኛ – የተቃዋሚ ፓርቲዎች ደጋፊ የሆነ ሐብታም ካለ እርዳታ እንዲያደርግላችሁ ብትጠይቁ (ዘርና ሐይማኖቱንም ጥይቁ መጠየቃችሁ ስለማይቀር)

  21. THE OUTSIDER
    | #21

    ATO TESFAYE
    As an outsider who lived in North America since 1986 I have seen the best and the worest side of ESFNA. My question to u and the ppl like you is that how many of these high ranked members are on Alamudi payroll? For How many of these ppl Alamudi bought a house? For how many of these guys he paid to there weddings etc. The more you guys open your mouth , the more I become commited to BOYCOTT!!!!! By the way just because we live in US that dosn’t mean we donot care about the 82 million Ethiopians . You are deffending the dffencless acts MR.Insider . LONG LIVE ETHIOPIA!!!! ሞት ለማፈእረያ ሆዳምስ!!!!

  22. Sam
    | #22

    “a respected judge as some would want us to believe”, says this writer of ESFNA crap. Sounds like typical woyane mouthpiece.

  23. congo
    | #23

    RAYA and others who try to give the argument of political neutrality and try to warn that this will be a bad precedence, I would like to tell you that nobody is out of politics. And as long as the whole board of committee agreed to invite anybody (assuming that the committee members truly represent their constituency) I don’t have problem.

  24. congo
    | #24

    የካናዳው ከበደ,

    ማንም ዜግነት የነጠቀ የለም: ሆን ብለህ የቃላት ስንጠቃ ጨዋታ እያደረግህ አታምታታ:: ESFNA በትክክል ለኢትዮጵያውያን መቆምን ያሳይ ማለት ዜግነት መንጠቅ አይደለም:: ጥሩ መከራከሪይ ነጥብ ከሌለህ አርፈህ ቁጭ በል ወይንም ካንተ ጋር የሚቀራረብ ሐሳብ ያላቸውን ደግፍ:: አዲስ አጀንዳ አትፍጠር!!!

  25. HELELE HANBABE
    | #25

    It is shameful to reverse a decision based on the insistense of long standing board members (yager shimagilewoch?) who may have conflict of interest(some of whom may have fear for their investments in Ethiopia). The decision was reversed to please long standing board members that have been allegedly accused of financial improprities over the years. You just mentioned that the long standing board members insisted emotionally in order to let that others consider to withdraw the nomination without even mentioning the core reason or the talking points of the “emotionally wrenching discussion”. No reason? Or it was “…Ebakachihu bequlibiw gebriel yihunibachihu…” type of pleading? The rational seems to be fear of retribution by the weyanes for inviting Mrs. Birtukan Mideksa. You know well that Meles does not have any mercy for those who try to obscure his reputation politically; and you may have also heard that his intelligence agents are also operating here in the United States to collect information through the Diaspora Ministry established clandestinely in order to punishing those who support opposition groups. Are you stranger to this fact? Are you free from conflict of interest? Your fact may not hold water and ESFNA’s public relation may not recover from the damage it inflicted on itself. “Antem abatihin timeslaleh and enem endihu” type of arguement will continue until the facts would be recognized by Ethiopians in the Diaspora.

  26. Nebir
    | #26

    My fellow Ethiopains, everyone of you have the right to voice your opinion, whether you have a point or not, I will leave that to your listeners, to those people who are crying for foul play regarding ESFNA stand on Birtukan invitation, feel that she should deserve the honor, the dignity and the class like all other guest of honors of the past. I hear you and I understand how much value all of you think of the ESFNA “Guest of Honor” label, as well as the ESFNA. If noone cared about the ESFNA, we wouldn’t hear all this commotion. The most important point everyone forget to sit back, think and realize is…HOW DID ESFNA SURVIVE 27 YEARS? The answer is “IT IS BECAUSE ESFNA IS A NON-POLITICAL ORGANIZATION”. Every Executive Committee member, every Board member leaves his political, religion and ethinic affiliation at the door when he attend the meeting room. How many Political Parties have survived for 27 years? And of those parties did they ever have the influence to bring over 5000-20000 (depends on the host city) Ethiopians over a week long festivities. MY FELLOW ETHIOPIANS LET’S NOT BE BLIND TO EVERYTHING….LET’S KEEP ESFNA AWAY FROM POLITICAL SWIMMING POOL.

  27. Nebir
    | #27

    Raya, Thank you! I couldn’t say it any better…your example is what the people in ESFNA were trying to avoid. They were looking after the long-term well being of the Federation. Soon or later everyone will realize this similar story Raya told someone will tell years from now, stay tuned. To those who did use this as character assassination, the sun will shine upon them to show the truth about who they are. Again, thank you Raya!

  28. Anonymous
    | #28

    We,Ethiopians are very immotional. I love Bertukan to death she is my heroin. I sent birthday wishes to her daughter while her mom was in prison . I participated on the petition for her release. I am a mother so I share her pain when she was taken apart from her only daughter and thrown in jail. When some of her supporters in ESFNA and the other group fought on the descion to invite her or not to invite her they miss some thing.Bertukan doesn’t believe in dividing,callng names etc. Ye gebeya ger ger le leba yamechal. Of all the people Elias Kifle got himself involved and accused the hard working member of ESFNA by labeling them woyane. it is embaressing to read some “intelectuals” atricle too. Instead of suggesting ideas to have round table meeting and resolve the problem. Some of them were pouring gas on the fire. I didn’t expect less from Elias but not from the “intelectuals” ESFNA is the only organization that hold Ethiopians together. There are some “Ethiopians” and others to see this organiztion dismantelled.Man ye hone yeregemen!

  29. የካናዳው ከበደ
    | #29

    አቶ / ወይዘሮ ኮንጎ
    “የቃላት ስንጠቃ ጨዋታ እያደረግህ አታምታታ”… ለመታረም ፈቃደኛ ነኝ;ዘለፋው ግን ይቆየኝ::በመጀመሪያ ለመነጋገር መከባበር ያስፈልጋል:: አስበው የማይሰሩና የማይናገሩ ሰዎች እንኩዋን ላገር ለራሳቸውም አይሆኑም:: ለመሆኑ “በትክክል ለኢትዮጵያ መቆምን” የሚለካው ማነው? መለኪያውስ ምንድን ነው?

    ESFNA ከአላሙዲን ከ$700,000 በላይ መቀበሉን አልደበቀም:: በመረጃ ተደግፈው ያልተመለሱት ጥያቀዎች:
    1ኛ-ገንዘቡ የት ገባ? 2ኛ-አላሙዲን የሰጠበት ምክንያትና ያገኘው ጥቅም ምንድን ነው? 3ኛ-አንድ ሰው ጠላት ተብሎ የሚፈረጀው TPLFን ስለደገፈ ነው ወይ? (በነገራችን ላይ እኔ ከTPLF ጋር ፍቅርም ዝምድናም የለኝም)አቶ ተስፋየ የሰጠውን መልስ እንደወረደ የተቀበልኩት እንድጠራጠር የሚያደርግ ምክንያት ባለማየትና ባለመስማት ነው:: በተጨማሪ ግለሰቡ በቦታውና በጊዘው ነበር:: እንዳልኩት የዘግነት ግዴታና የማወቅ ፍላጎት እንጂ “ለማምታታት” የማጠፋው ጊዘና የተመቸ ሕሊና የለኝም::

  30. Yewnetu F.
    | #30

    #3, Mr. Drama I’m the PR Officer of the organization and as far as we’re concerned the press release we’ve posted tells our side exactly the way it happened. Please check our website http://www.esfna.org when you can. If you’ve any question, please call 323-351-7215.

    Having said that name calling and calling people illiterate and hodam is counter productive not to mention un-Ethiopian. You’re entitled to your opinion but not to your facts. ESFNA has been around for 28 years because it is doing something good in bringing Ethiopians from all walks of life and political affiliation together for at least a week under one umbrella to celebrate Ethiopiawinet.

    Hope you understand our position and continue to support this worthy organization that does a lot of good.

    Best,
    Fassil – Abebe
    ESFNA PR Officer

  31. It smells bad!
    | #31

    It is very troubling and disturbing that ESFNA has close connection and relation with the very man that has loot Ethiopians’ wealth and the die-hard supporter of the Ethiopian abuser, robber and killer of thousands of innocent Ethiopians…Crime Minister Meles. Please, MR.PR Officer Fassil-Abebe, don’t blame Ethiopians for questioning the greed and the integrity of ESFNA that have been accepting blood money and stashing the hardworking Ethiopians money, or not giving good enough explanation what you have done with the donated blood money. Your Association know darn well that when you deal with Alamoudi directly, you are also dealing indirectly with the tyrant that has the blood of hundreds of thousands of Ethiopian and also a dictator that has given the land our families died for to foreigners. The problems are not the people that have been writing and informing Ethiopians about the greediness and the misgiving of ESFNA. Instead come clean and explain…what good ESFNA have done to Ethiopian communities and to poor Ethiopians back home with $800,000.00 alone that you guys openly received from Almoudi and the unreported thousands of dollars profit you make every year from Ethiopians that pay good money to attend your costly events? Please come and clean…How much many some of your ESFNA officer made from this association and has it been reported correctly to all ESFNA members? Please come clean…why did you reject and reverse the invitation of our hero Birtukan after the majority of your members of ESFNA voted to invite Judge Birtukan? Who in Ethiopia forced you to reverse your decision? Something smells rotten in ESFNA and I hope Ethiopians don’t contaminate themselves with the rotten smell, unless it is cleaned out.

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