Do you, Meles, really think or trick? By Seifu Adam from Oslo

March 19th, 2011 Print Print Email Email

Dear Prime Minister Meles Zenawi,

Apologies if the title of this paper touches any of your nerves. It is not meant to insult your intelligence at all; it is rather deliberately made to attract your attention to the most important element of being human, (more…)

Dear Prime Minister Meles Zenawi,

Apologies if the title of this paper touches any of your nerves. It is not meant to insult your intelligence at all; it is rather deliberately made to attract your attention to the most important element of being human, genuine/quality thinking. Some of your supporters do argue that you are more intelligent and brilliant than an average Ethiopian although most of them do not seem to be aware of what that does mean and how they arrive at that conclusion. But I am not interested in your level of intelligence as such but in how you choose to be heard by millions of Ethiopians. For me, the speeches you made/make for various audiences appear to have fundamental characteristics which transcend spatio-temporal dimensions. I arrived at this conclusion following years of effort to successfully understand the quality of your thinking (I am not alone in studying people like you, you established perhaps one of the most complex and dense human networks to spy on ordinary Ethiopians). By now, it seems that I know the chemistry of your thinking better than you know it, another surprise to you. It is the qualities of your thinking as manifested in your public talks that need to be closely examined so that we Ethiopians can effectively understand you and then force you to change your mental configurations.

So now please allow me to characterize your thinking. That you do not out-think an ordinary Ethiopian. You just make dirty tricks to fool none but only your likes. Hold on Mr. Meles, we got a rough and long road to go. Whatever books you amassed and read (recall that you told editor- seems a new recruit- that the most important asset you got so far is your library), whatever schools you attended to (as far as I know Wingate and the Open University), whomever scholar you identified yourself with (such as Jeffrey David Sacks of Columbia University), and whatever awards you got (only an award from Yara Foundation?), you are useless to yourself and to the Ethiopian people if your thinking is full of manipulation.

You manipulate because you need recognition, vote, reward, and generally support from the people. You do not use sound evidence and valid reasoning in your public talks whatsoever and you just insult our intelligence by assuming that manipulation- playing tricks- will work on us. You take it for grants that we are not insightful enough to detect the evil tricks you are using. I can say that you are not even an accomplished trickster, let alone being more brilliant than most Ethiopians. You just appear to fool only those who choose to be fooled. I can see that I look a bit emotional and offensive, which I do not care about as you always offend me and million Ethiopians. We no longer afford to stay on the defensive as that leads us to nowhere; we promise that we get to attack your thinking and all the tricking.

In your so called news conference last Saturday, you released your yet latest contempt to and trick on Ethiopians, which frankly speaking blew my mind off more than before. You were asked whether a North African like uprising will take place in Ethiopia. Your answer perfectly matched popular expectation that such an uprising is unthinkable. Thank you again for not breaching your by now well understood thinking style. You remained consistent after all these 20 years of talk.

You reached at this conclusion based on invalid premises. You also raised some conditions, which are similar to the conditions in North Africa which could not silence popular revolutions there, which do not allow an uprising in Ethiopia. Your rationales behind your conclusion are that 1) EPRDF won 99.6% of the votes, 2) EPRDF entered into a five-year contract with the Ethiopian people, 3) the constitution requires that people should wait until the end of the contract to oust the party if they are unhappy about it, 4) there are enough forums for showing up grievances if the people are not satisfied with the progress made so far, and 5) EPRDF is working day and night to fulfill contract obligations. Let‟s see the truth value of each of these rationales next.

Vote count. You argued that you won almost all of the votes because Ethiopians believed that EPRDF is no match to any party with regard to bringing fast socio-economic development and democratic culture. If that was the case, I would be the first to congratulate you and your party. But in real terms, how did you get such number of votes in a country where various political parties fielded several noted individuals across the breadth of the country? Let alone other people‟s, the votes of those who stood against you (I mean those who ran for the elections), their colleagues, their family members, friends and supporters would have exceeded 1% had the election been fair and free. The EU observation report detailed some of the most pressing frauds you made, which you categorically ignored as usual. Plus, you and EPRDF itself were candidly surprised by the votes you snatched. This was partly because deep inside you, you knew from the outset that the people of Ethiopia are tired of you. You from your heart and mind knew that you did not deserve such a victory. You believed that you did not work hard to win such votes fairly. In anyway, you once again usurped the people‟s voices, at least a significant part of them.

Dear Mr Prime Minister, let me now take it for grants that you won 99.6% of the votes. Do you really think this is a necessary and sufficient guarantee against a possible popular uprising or revolution? Frankly not. Take the North African dictators who are already ousted from office and those who are still strangling with popular uprisings. They reported that they all won majority votes. The same people who were praised for choosing their parties are now being cursed. Cursed only by those who wanted to trick their people. So what is the exception to Ethiopians? Are we any less patriotic than our North Africa friends? Or, do you believe that theirs are Islamic revolutions? Not at all. There is no mention of religion in their struggle, they die for and get democracy- not in your usage of the term of course but in the true and transcendental sense of it. Muammar Gaddafi recently told the BBC that Libyans “they love me all”.

Mr Meles, you seem to be comforted with this same slogan, “Ethiopians love me all”. This way you want to communicate albeit in a tricky way that you are with the people and the people with you but deep inside you, you know the reality. You know that Ethiopians are certainly having the harshest times in modern history. You know that we the majority are governed and controlled like zoo animals. You know that most families have to break bread only once a day. You know that civil workers do not get promoted or rewarded because they are not EPRDF members. You clearly know that nationalities are seeing each other as potential threat simply because of your divide and rule policy. You know that fellow Ethiopians are crossing and dying in the Sahara and Sinai deserts and in the Mediterranean and Red seas while trying to escape your cruelty. Innocent framers are kicked out of their age-old farms in favor of your foreign investors, investors who directly export their produces to their home countries while Ethiopian markets are under supplied. You know that you suffocated the health and education sectors in the name of equality and access. The list is endless.

Do you really think that Ethiopians love you all given all these and other social-economic and political breakdowns? Get ready to face the truth my prime minister- I learned this from your Prof. Andreas Eshete. There are already several virtual groups who take the initiative to initiate popular uprisings of the North African nature. And you already begin to test some of it in Gamo Gofa. More and worse is yet to come and everywhere. And that is why you are
relaxing your muscles by ensuring huge police and military presence in Addis and major towns. You perfectly understood the conditions in your actions but deny them in your words. In your latest media briefing, you truly lacked the poise required of a gentle leader. Generally, vote count could not be considered a reason for the improbability of mass uprising in Ethiopia. Your conclusion is baseless and is just a trick, a trick which will and should not save you this time regardless of the duration of your contract.

The five-year contract. You repeatedly told journalists that EPRDF entered into a five-year contract with the Ethiopian people. Your main trick here is that Ethiopians must patiently wait until the end of the contract if they want regime change. This does not hold any water, Mr Meles. Consider again your former North African colleagues who were just ousted from power. They did have entered into contract with their respective people and their contracts were still valid by the time of the uprisings. That unexplainable oppression and frustration urged the peoples to terminate contractual agreements.

And you clearly know that Tunisia and Egypt are by far at higher points of the development continuum compared to Ethiopia. Any sensible person can see the difference. So there is no point why we Ethiopians should prolong our suffering by waiting until your contract expires. The people have had given you more than enough contract periods already. You have been tested for the last 20 years. Through the daily observable poor quality of living, the Ethiopian people have already given you more than enough notice, a notice that reminds you of terminating the contract anytime soon. So long as one of the parties is dissatisfied with the other party and so long as appropriate notices and required compensations are given to the other party, there is no logic in sustaining the contract. You got our leaders, businesses, and more importantly our kids as hostages. You amassed huge assets from the Ethiopian people. Consider them for the time being as compensations for the immature termination of the contract. There will come time when you will be asked to account for the lost national wealth though. You must accept and live the fact that contract period is not now a necessary let alone sufficient condition to depress popular uprising whatever retreat you made to your constitution.

The constitution requirement. You unequivocally indicated that the only constitutionally accepted way to change government is through denying vote cards upon expiration of the contract. You raised stuff from the constitution only when you wanted to terrorize people. You are trying to leave a message that any form of uprising is unconstitutional and thus if
people try one, they will face terrible consequences. In the first place, we are not afraid of and are used to quotes and ultimatums of this kind. If you quote, we can quote and from the same source.

In the constitution, it is indicated that people have the right to make peaceful demonstrations, the right to assemble, … Who denied that very constitutional rights in the first place? Why do you chase independent journalists day after day? Why do you refrain from allowing people to demonstrate peacefully (you know that they are all unarmed- you confiscated their rifles and pistols long before)? Why do you regularly use national resources for party (EPRDF) consumption? So you are the first and sole breacher of your own constitution. If we are denied of peaceful demonstration and all other basic human rights enshrined in the constitution, we have the natural right to go for them, and this is rather in defense of the constitution. Again your quote of the constitution is baseless and is planned to instigate fear among the people. A genuine political space as specified in the constitution was rather your right way to choose.

Open political space. You argued that there are enough forums for showing up grievances if people are not satisfied with the progress made so far by EPRDF. Really? Could you mention some of them please? Is Gimgema part of the forums? How many really independent media are shut down by you? And how many journalists and politicians are jailed and prosecuted for the mere fact that they expressed their opinions about politics in Ethiopia? How many public servants are fired and demoted simply because they used to tell the truth about TPLF and its likes? The fact is that only those few cadres and officials do have more than enough forums to shout for you. During your reign, ETV, Addis Zemen, Ethiopian Raido, Radio Fana, and others never belonged to the mass. They are your personal properties and EPRDF propaganda machines. To be frank, it is the absence of genuine political space that crippled opposition parties and individuals. It is because of the absence of political space that urged us to consider other possible alternatives in our fight for freedom.

EPRDF is working hard. Your other argument against a popular uprising in Ethiopia is that your party is working day and night to the betterment and well being of Ethiopians. What a foully trick! You have been saying this for the last two decades. What did you achieve for the mass? You reached at the helm of dictatorship because of your hard work. You worked hard to divide the country. You worked hard only to allow the Sudanese to own our fertile lands. You worked hard only to lose Eritrea and our sea ports. You worked hard only to exchange Ethiopian women for Arab money. You worked hard and make sure EFFORT controls every business that can be imagined. Army generals are from a single nationality and this is the result of your hard work. The police and soldiers are feared like starved wolves because of your hard work. College graduates do not know how to write a CV let alone to become entrepreneurs by themselves because of your hard work. A person from north Ethiopia could not get a job in western Ethiopia and vice versa simply because of your hard work. You really worked hard to rewrite Ethiopia‟s history. You worked hard and succeeded in persecuting hard-educated Ethiopian scholars and replaced them with incompetent and immoral foreign lecturers. Let me be even fairer to you- you worked hard to expand the country‟s infrastructure and used that to trick your people and western donors. The list is again endless. Your hard work is on oppressive and repressive realms of life. Trick yourself and your likes.

Concluding remarks. That an uprising will not take place in Ethiopia is nothing more than wishful thinking and ordinary trick. All your reasons in support of your conclusion do not consider current developments in society and hence are simply invalid. You covered the real stories and narrated dirty tricks. But we Ethiopians probe behind your masks. We take charge of our own mind and emotions. We are not as gullible as you thought we are. One day, Meskel Square will witness a yet another grand revolution of its kind. A kind of revolution that never took place in Ethiopia before- a revolution that should usher Ethiopianism itself in the first place.

Mr Meles, this should not be the last piece you will read from me. I determine to expose your tricks from your other talks part by part. God willing, the next paper will focus on how you trick innocent people regarding the „successes‟ you made so far. Part III deals with your dirty tricks used in relation to opposition parties and independent media. The last section of this part challenges your foul plays concerning Ethiopia‟s future if EPRDF leaves or is forced to leave office. Unlike this paper, Part I, the last two parts of my series will use conceptual frameworks to better scaffold my analysis. I will draw on international literature on thinking and tricking. Please do not get frustrated by this piece, Mr Meles. A lot interesting points could be gained from the upcoming papers too. This way, we will not let you trick the Ethiopian mass in the open. We will write and circulate papers to every node in our social networking, including your supporters and sympathizers. In the process the latter will learn or at least should not dare to preach any more how brilliant you are.

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