2012: A year of reckoning? By Msmaku Asrat

January 6th, 2012 Print Print Email Email

Yes, it has been foretold that 2012 was going to be a fateful year. It has been marked long, long, time ago. The Maya Civilization had marked their remarkable calendar by predicting that the world will end on Dec 31st, 2012. Many other sages and seers, including the Middle Ages seer Nostradamus, have predicted in a similar fashion- that the End of Times will be the year 2012. By Ethiopian reckoning we are in the second half of the Simintegaw Shih (8th Millennium). All things bad and strange will happen during this 8th Millennium. This of course is true. The two World Wars, the hundreds of regional wars, and hundreds of conflicts raging around the world now, attest to the prediction of the 8th Millennium. By Christian reckoning the End of Times could come any minute now, or in unforeseeable and unending future; that day being heralded by the return of Christ to Earth. Thus the people of the world (or the believers at least) would be in perpetual expectation and anxiety. Much similar to the Ethiopian Saga.

Ethiopia has been in End of Times since 1974. That year a group of soldiers took power, imprisoned the Emperor and his high ranking civilian and military official s. They massacred these officials in cold blood without trial in court and killed the Emperor a year later. In a sort of a voodoo macabre the leader of this motley murderous group, Col. Mengistu Haile Mariam, had the Emperor buried under his office in Menelik’s palace. The Emperor was the most celebrated world leader of his generation as well as the next.

He has met and discussed with world leaders from Roosevelt to Churchill; from Nkrumah to Tito, to Nehru, and Mao. He was also the most decorated world leader as well as being designated as “Father of African Unity” by the unanimous vote of African Leaders meeting in Rabat , Morocco In 1972 (where I was also present as a member of the Ethiopian delegation)

Ethiopia has been going downhill since 1974. Their right to own land was taken away by decree and the state became the sole owner of land. They were told to forgo with their God and worship “scientific socialism” whose Trinity were Mark, Engels and Lenin, their portraits hung everywhere. The whole country was forced to learn the philosophy of Marxism-Leninism by rote, by instructors who had not even grasped the rudimentary building blocks of the ideology. This went on until the fall of the Derg. The Derg also wrote on a huge arch at the entrance of zemecha memria proclaiming that the Derg “will put under its control, not only Man but Nature as well.”. It was silently pulled down when people started dying from hunger, drought, and famine in the hundreds of thousands. All the time, the killing juggernaut called the Derg, continued killing hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians with the help of its civilian cadres who were running the Kefitegnas, the Kebeles and the Peasant Associations. Millions went into exile and about a million perished in hunger. Hundreds s of books and articles have been written about this.

The day of deliverance came when the Weyane defeated the Derg and took power. It imprisoned the Derg members and the civilian killing squad. It is said that only three Derg members managed to escape (one is in the US, another in Canada and a third in New Zealand). Among the hundreds of non-Derg Cadres who escaped and spread around the world only one (in the US) was apprehended with the help of three brave Ethiopian women living in US and Canada, and he was deported to Ethiopia. The Weyane released thousands of Derg political prisoners and imprisoned the cadre murderers.

My mother who lost two sons has been very grateful that the Weyane came to her house and asked her to name or identify who the murderers of her children were. She of course did not know and told them so. She died a few years ago. If she had known that the photos of her two teen aged murdered children is hanging in the Holocaust Memorial Exhibit of Derg Victims , she would have been doubly grateful , but she died before it was opened. When the first of her two sons was being buried she made a funeral oration saying that his father is a Resistance hero, a Patriot who fought Fascist Italy, for five years; that if he were younger he would have taken arms against this murderous Derg. She went on to say that the Derg can kill her on the spot where she stood, on hallowed ground of St.Michael’s Church , that what has happened to her now is also happening to many mothers all over Ethiopia, that unless you, his friends here do not rise up, tomorrow it will be your turn. Many of his EPRP friends left to Asimba soon after (I later heard about this). The Derg did not do anything to her then., The cruel Derg is not only an efficient killing machine but also unreservedly cruel and macabre; they killed her youngest son exactly a month later; assuring that she would be heartbroken for the rest of her life. The cruelty and the murderous nature of the Derg has no bounds. Even Fascist Italy did not commit as grievous and as massive a crime as the Derg. I write about my mother, not because she is particular but as an example of millions of mothers who suffered the same type of trauma during the era of the Derg, as well as it to be a cautionary tale for all Derg sympathizers and supporters who ceaselessly want us to forget the Derg atrocities and only talk about the Weyane. I say that we could do both.

Fast forward twenty years , the fate of Ethiopia has not changed . There is a French saying plus ca change, plus la meme chose – “the more things change the more they remain the same.” The Weyane has become more like its predecessor as time passes. Even though it has not killed a fraction of what the Derg has, nonetheless it has killed thousands, and this should be condemned in equal measure. The perpetrators of the crimes have to face justice. Human right abuse, slave trafficking, pillage of the wealth of the nation, forcing people to become unwelcome refugees all over the world, hunger, poverty, and running a police state, is the same like the Derg. The monumental difference is that the Derg was bent on killing while the Weyane is bent on stealing. MAN is the measure of all things. Human life is sacrosanct, everything else is secondary. Thus the crime of the Derg is monumentally more superior and infinitely more damaging to the human spirit, from which destruction the Ethiopian people have not fully recovered even after twenty odd years.

Why is the opposition so fragmented? Why is the resistance to TPLF rule weakening as time passes? The best example to illustrate this is what happened in Metropolitan DC a few months ago, soon after Yenesew Gebre torched himself to death in opposition similar to Buazzi in Tunisia. A group of youth who claim to have a following of thousands through face book , twitter, internet in Ethiopia as well as in the Diaspora organized for a huge meeting in DC where a thousand were expected to attend and several thousand to follow it in other ways. When the Great day arrived only eighty persons showed up. We have to think hard why such things happened. The Metropolitan Area of DC is estimated to have 300,000 Ethiopians. Among these 2/3rd , or 200,000 are considered to be the Youth. How can only 80 attend in spite of a massive call for them to attend?

The answer is one of the two. First, like all previous immigrants to America they have become part of the “melting pot” or the “salad bowl”(my preference) of Americanism and have become Americans and turned their back to their country of origin. Their only interest in Ethiopia is as a place of R&R (rest and recreation) where they go to spend their hard earned money for as long and as frequently as their money and time permits.

The second possibility is more frightening. They may have fully accepted the Weyane system of governance and are not willing to appear in places where the Weyane is condemned. If not so, why do they appear in the hundreds in cultural festivals, churches as well as social ceremonies and events. We have to assimilate the fact that the youth in the Diaspora ,and especially in the US , (except for the dedicated few ) are not prepared to stick out its neck in opposition to the Weyane. Sad but true . Another possibility is that the organizers are not in tandem with reality in Ethiopia and its exposure to it. Ethiopia is the most isolated and closed society in the face of the earth. It has only 0.5% of population internet penetration while even in the rest of Africa it reaches up to 28.3% of population. The rest of Ethiopia with that huge population is forcibly closed in and isolated from the rest of the world. Our immediate and most concerted effort should be to open this up by all means. Whatever internet or face book communication there is, it only services the leaders who are the top 0.4% .These are the Tigrean oligarchs and their camp followers. (the TPLF has claimed that it has won 99.6% of the vote in the last election. So according to TPLF. It was only opposed by 0.4%. I take the liberty to reverse this and say that only 0.4% voted for it.)

The so-called “Arab Spring” was not able to affect Ethiopia. Yenesew Gebre’s martyrdom was received with deafening silence at home. In any event , the “Arab Spring” itself has regressed to become the “Arab winter chill.” When Egyptian women went to Tahir Square to celebrate International Women’s Day they were driven away by the men saying that this was a revolution for men only and does not include women. Coptic Christians were told that the revolution is for Muslim men only, and they were massacred in large numbers. The country is going back to the Dark Ages unless another more humanist and more democratic revolution occurs there as well as in the entire Arab region. Ethiopians have to make their own revolution, not imitate anyone else’s.

Ethiopia has not been fortunate in bringing her criminals to justice. Fascist Graziani escaped judgment . Even though he was finally sentenced to 19 years he served only one year. He died peacefully in 1955. That is 14 years after Ethiopia drove away the Fascist occupiers. Italy admitted using mustard gas on Ethiopians only in 1995. Mengistu whose crimes against the Ethiopian people is a thousand times more severe than that of Graziani has totally escaped justice. He has now even written his memoires justifying his crime. Whether he wrote it himself or in collaboration with his close relatives (as it is alleged) he has taken over 20 years to perfect his lies and justify his crimes. No one except his die-hard followers would read his book. To read it is to relive the horrors of the past and be doubly aggrieved because this alley rat who is constitutionally incapable of telling the truth. But truth will eventually triumph. Even Armenians are now exposing the genocide committed on them by Turkey over a hundred years ago. They did this because they are now a nation and above all they are a democracy. Likewise, when Ethiopia achieves democracy the truth will come out. Justice could be delayed but will not be denied . Both the Derg and Weyane crimes will be exposed and then we will be able to say NEVER AGAIN.

So we hope that 2012 will be the end of the TPLF rule – before it sells all available land, sells our young women to slavery , divides the country into ethnic enclaves, and then abandon it. The aim of Meles is to forge a union with his mentor and boss Isayias and unite Eritrea and Greater Tigray. Finally, if possible, to start a religious war so that Ethiopia will be no more. We have to contend with these dire possibilities. We must be able to forge a unity of purpose and throw off the shackles of ethnic division and destruction.

VENCEREMOS! We shall prevail. A lutta continua! The struggle continues.
Msmaku Asrat

  1. Sam
    | #1

    Msmaku is fustrated by everything he sees in Ethiopian politics since 1974. That is for sure. But one of his statment caught my attention. He wrote “the aim of Meles is … to start a religious war so that Ethiopia will be no more.” You could expect some evidence to back up his bold claim, but end up with his warning ” we have to contend with [this] dire possibility.” An outlandish statment such as Msmaku made kills the whole article. I imagined he spent considerable time to write this article, why then the need to bundle up some legitimate concerns with his wild imagination? There are abundant reasons to name why the Meles regime is the most incomptent government Ethiopia ever had without fabricating Meles’s desire to create a religious war so ” that Ethiopia will be no more.” Every statment counts. Perhaps rereading what was written before posting it might not be a bad idea.

  2. Girma
    | #2

    Mismaku Asrat:

    Trying to belittle what fascist italy has done to ethiopia to glorify the anti-derg martyrs is not appropriate. The genocide of yekatit 12 in addis ababa is enough event to quoute as far as fascist italy is concerned. i wish you were present on that day and witnessed how men, women, elders and any habeshas were slaughtered by fascist italy on a single day. What are we trying to compare mr Mismaku? I do not think you have quoted enough evidence to conclude that fascist italy was better than derg. that is prepostorous claim and remember that our fathers have been thrown from air planes, they have been slaughtered in day light and it is a deservice to the agony throughwhich our forefathers have passed tough to make such lame comparisons. Each act of fascism stands on its own. Let us not overlap one over the other. But when it comes to italian fascism those who died fighting for ethiopian independence did so accordingly. On the other hand we have to remember that some of those martyrs who died while fighting the derg were fighting to restore their land ownership. Some like the EPRP were after snatching power by violent means and were no less fascist than derg itself, although many innocent young died for it thinking that EPRP brings better democracy. In actual fact EPRP (excepting the assasination attempt at mengistu and the buzz of firing at kebele chairmen) passed out in history as a mere trojan horse and foot soldier to siad barre and isayas afeworki.

  3. koster
    | #3


    If the emperor was good as you claim, there would have been a need for DERG as successor. It is no wonder if you appreciate the emperor as one of the great benefactors for sure DERG and Woyane have also their own supporters. It is very unfortunate that Ethiopians are still languishing under woyane state terrorism and ethnic politics but no justification to appreciate the emperor or blame the DERG. Say no to woyane state terrorism and ethnic politics in Ethiopia and do whatever possible to make woyane the last fascistic regime in Ethiopia.

  4. weygud
    | #4

    Thank you Mesmku for such a wonderful article. Yes, Ethiopia has been in darkness since Mengistu took power. It will not recover unless we get rid of this TPLF cancer. Yet, Ethiopia will not be free as TPLF left us just like colonizers did to create border issue which war with its negighbors will continue. Meles and Isayas have learned very well from colonialists. Yes, Meles is welcoming Wahabists in Ethiopia trying to make Ethiopian Muslims who lived in harmony with the rest of Ethiopians more extremists so that religious war starts. That is also why OLF and ONLF are waiting for to take advantage of Ethiopia’s chaos to break Ethiopia apart.

    I am surprised Sam above keep wasting our time by arguing to back up Meles’ obvious crimes, let alone religious war, isn’t it evident for Sam that ethnic war TPLF created in Ethiopia? Ignore such Weyane stooges, Sam.

  5. Zerayakob Yared
    | #5

    “…….Ethiopia has been in End of Times since 1974…..”

    የአንኮበር ፉካሬ-ኑዛዜ !!

    “…So we hope that 2012 will be the end of the TPLF rule ….”

    ቖልዓ ትግራይ እንዲህ አለ እንዴ!?

    “..The aim of Meles is to forge a union with his mentor and boss Isayias and unite Eritrea and Greater Tigray….”

    በጌምድርና ጎጃም ‘Greater’ አማራ ክልል እንደዘረጉት ለማለት ተፈልጎ ይሆን!?

    ለማንኛውም ገና ሁለቴም እንደዚህ አይነት ፅሑፍ ሳንደጋግም 2012 ማለቅያ ብቅ ስለሚል, የትምኒተ ምፅአቱን ውጤት ለማየት ትንሽ ትእግስት ብቻ ነው የሚያስፈልገን:: እስከዚያን ጊዜ ድረስ ግን ስለ realism ትንሽ research ማካሄዱ ይጠቅማል!!

  6. Anonymous
    | #6

    Girma, really? Do you really believe the writer belittled what the fascist Mussolini army had done to Ethiopia and Ethiopians? come on, let’s be real here, do not twist peoples word.
    At least Ethiopians at that time knew the fascist Mussolini Army were coming to Ethiopia to kill them and occupy their country and they were prepared the best they could. In fact one of them that was decapitated by Mussolini soldiers was my own grand father, which affected me in directly in many ways. But, no one expected the homegrown terrorists, Meles, Mengestu and Esayas could commit unspeakable crimes on their own fellow Ethiopians and rob the country blind. So, for these reasons and others alone the writer is not alone to think that Mengestu, Meles and Esayas are worse than the fascist Mussolini soldiers. Please do not forget that Meles, Mengestu and Esayas have killed the best, the brightest Ethiopians and Meles along his TPLF mafia group have robbed the country blind, worse than foreign Italian army. Stop twisting peoples words, typical woyane!

  7. Girma
    | #7

    Why do u have to go to italian fascism which is the worst of the worst and belittle it to to speak of the derg. get out of the free ride and be rational. Shall i say also u are a typical fascvist italy’s banda feeling soft for italian fascism. do you think i do not have the mouth as vulgar as urs to blabber woyane-woyane.

  8. Zeg Fanta
    | #8

    I thank Dr. Msmaku for his remarkable account of events that led us to where we are. Many of us think that it is Meles and only Meles who is doing what have been done to Ethiopia. Not at all, and think again. There is a big force behind that is making possible what Meles could have not done by himself. It takes agreat deal of analysis and observations to reach that conclusion. I have written an article which I believe rub same ideas with that of Dr. Msmaku. I hope it will be published on the web sites that I emailed to and you will be able to read it and get hopefully a bit closely. We may or may not exaggerate things we see happening depending from different vantage points. Some have better vantage positions than other and that is the difference in opinions as we see here. Neverthless, we are getting closer to the End of Ethiopia as many within it emerge as replacement of it!

  9. Anonymous
    | #9

    Once Again, when Dr. Mismaku writes an eloquent genuine article about the historical development of our country he seems to hit weyane’s nerves. We are so proud to have an intellectual as Dr. Mismaku whose writings has depth and puts Ethiopian history into prospective.
    Please Dr. Mismaku continue your teachings to the majority of young Ethiopians in the Diaspora and back home who have not witnessed the dark age of the Derg and for those who are not aware of the hidden agenda of the vicious woyane.
    Sam tried to discredit the Article by nit picking one sentence referring to woyane’s instigation of religious war In Ethiopia which is actually true. This is not the first time that I have read woyane’s stooges as Sam calling Dr Mismaku as a frustrated individual and bla bla bla… This is because he is well informed and telling the truth and the truth hurts..especially to woyanes who wants to destroy the Ethiopian history.
    Actually, I am frustrated with the lack of unity among opposition parties and due to the fact that the overwhelming majority of the diaspora happens to be self-centered opportunists who want others to do the dirty work for them while planning to rip the benefits from the down fall of the woyane regime.
    And then Zereyakob tried to ridicule Mismaku’s Article by writing silly comments as …from Ancober.. koalya tigray…bla bla bla…. That is all nonsense.. If you think the woyane government is perfect, why don’t you go and join them… Let me tell you, a few woyane leaders are looting billions of dollars from our mother land but are not sharing to you just because you are a tigrian or opportunist supporter.
    The fact is that woyane invited all Ethiopians in the Diaspora to invest in their corrupt government scam of buying land and developing.. and guess what woyane did now.. nationalized all land over 500 sq. meters after thousands went back home and invested their life time savings…
    In conclusion, for those like Girma who want to question the patriotism of Dr Mismaku. I personally know Dr. Mismaku and his forefathers; they were the brave arbengas/shiftas who gave their life fighting the Italian fascists and their banda associates like you and Meles/Azeb’s family.

  10. Girma
    | #10

    #6 Learn to be civil. Vulgarity is not a virtue. It is a vile.

  11. Zerayakob Yared
    | #11

    ውድ Anonymous #9,

    “opportunist supporter” ከሚለው ቃል በስተቀር ሌላው እኔን አስመልክተህ ያስቀመጥከው ነጥብ ሁሉ ትክክል ነው:: ምናልባትም አንተ የማሌሊትን መፈጠር ከመስማትህ በፊት ጀምሮ እየጮህኩትና እየዘፈንኩት ያለሁት ርኡይ ጉዳይ ስለሆነ, ያው “ዘፈኔን ቀሙኝ” እንዲሉት ነገር ሆኖ, እኔንኑ በራሴው ጩሄት እያጠቃሄኝ ነው:: ግን ግድ የለም በርግጥም እንደ ታላቅ “ጥቃት” አልወስደውም::

    ቖልዓ ትግራይን በሚመለከት ግን አንድ ቃል ብቻ ልናገር ፈቃድህ ይሁን:: ተቀዳሚ ወሳኝ ተግባርን ይጫወታል:: እርሱን ተጠቅመን በትግራይ ህዝብ ላይ …. ብለው የሚያሰላስሉን ሁሉ የምመክራቸው, የትግራይን ህዝብ አክብሩለትና, ከዚያን በውሃላ በእኔ ይሁንባችሁ ነው!!

    ወያኔዎቹን የመቀላቀሉ ጉዳይን በሚመለከት:- በእኔ condition ለመቀላቀል ፈልጌ ያልገለበጥኩት ድንጋይ የለም:: እነርሱ ግን በሌሎች እንደለመድነው ሆድህን አስፍተህ በእኛው condition ብቻ ነው ተላላኪና የራቢጣዎች ኢትዮጵያን looting አስከባሪ መሆን የሚቻለው, ስላሉኝ, ይሄው ኢትዮጵያም ትቦረቦራለች, እኔም በብቸኝነቴ ተሽቀንጥሬ እንደ ፃዲቁ የእምነ ፅዮን ተአምርን እየተጠባበኩኝ ነው::

    ላሁኑ እዚህ ላይ ልሰናበትህ, ድምፅህም አይጥፋ! የተሻለ ስምም ያዝ, ቸር-ቸሩንም………….!

    ይቅርታ አንኮበርን ረስቸ ነበር:- ኢትዮጵያ ከ74 በፊትስ ምን ነበረች? ያ መረብ ላይ የመዋደቅ ቀናት እለት ስለተፃፈው ደብዳቤስ!? ግን ይሄ እንኩዋን በመፅሃፍ መልኩ ይሻላል!

  12. Anonymous
    | #12

    Girma, you said: “#6 Learn to be civil. Vulgarity is not a virtue. It is a vile.”
    First of all, calling spade a spade is not vulgar, second of all, please be specific what word or statement I used that hit your nerve? Well, if you are a woyane or a woyane sympathizer, I have done my job. Goodnight and Goodbye!

  13. Girma
    | #13

    Anonymous: You are typical anarchist. What is your yard stick to call some one woyane because he opposed a writing that is interspersed with crude logic that fails to distinguish the extent and severity of italian fascism because his brother was killed by the dergue. or some who one-sidedly wrote to gloirify only a former king whose deeds and misdeeds justified the coming of the derg and the slaughter that followed. Who are u to defecate with a band wagon of woyane characterisation?? u must be called u also “salsai woyane” (woyane iii) or dagmawi ehapa which if given power are no better. U mentione dof your father loose a leg during italian fascist invasion. Wogegna narcissit. It reminds me of the hailesilassie time few who bragged that they were the only arengnoch who fought italy.

  14. Anonymous
    | #14

    Girma, you have shown your true colors, only woyanes like you go back four decades to belittle the former leader while the rest of Ethiopians are loosing their lives, liberty, land and the country’s natural resources by the hands of dictator Meles and his thugs. HaileSelassie, had been gone for almost 40 years. Except woyanes, the rest of Ethiopians would give everything they have to bring HaileSelassie back, compare to the two evil dictators who came after HaileSelassie that slaughtered the best and brightest Ethiopians. HaileSelassie, was not perfect, but he had done the best he could. He was a multi-ethnic Ethiopian leader and also who came from a family of Christians and Muslims. Just because he communicated in Ethiopian national language, Amharic,that doesn’t make him to be only Amhara, as you have been brainwashed by the hateful racist cousins Esayas and Meles. Even if he was found to be Amhara, he was the best compare to the two bloodsuckers who came after him. HaileSelassie never did more nor give more to one province and forget the rest. Only woyanes, who control the entire Ethiopian government and major business and enjoying life to the fullest by robbing 85 million Ethiopians, have the luxury to complain about HaileSelassie, but the rest of Ethiopians are living in Woyane Hellholes as we speak and don’t have the energy and the luxury to complain about a leader who had been gone FOR FORTY YEARS.

  15. Gonderew
    | #15

    Apparently you’ve got a problem with Dr. Mismaku. You might be the same angry Girma in EDDN that always doesn’t miss opportunity to attack Mismaku. I remember how once you changed the word Adem to Adama to make confusion but failed miserably. Grow up!

    Dr. Mismaku,
    Thank you for the excellent analysis of Ethiopia’s dilemma. You are absolutely right “The aim of Meles is to forge a union with his mentor and boss Isayias and unite Eritrea and Greater Tigray.”

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