Birtukan amplifies “power of the powerless” By Abebe Gellaw

January 10th, 2012 Print Print Email Email

Washington DC—Ethiopia’s “Aung San Suu Kyi”, Birtukan Mideksa, democracy activists, politicians, diplomats and advocates of freedom around the world gathered Friday at the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) to celebrate the enduring legacies of Václav Havel (1936-2011).

In a memorial held at NED to pay tribute to the late Czech President, playwright and activist, President Obama said in a statement, read by former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Chairman of the National Democratic Institute (NDI), that it was a fitting tribute that the event was held at the 35th anniversary of the publication of Charter 77, which started a liberation movement in which Havel played a key role.

“His peaceful resistance shook the foundation of an empire, exposed the emptiness of a repressive ideology, and proved the moral, exposed the emptiness of a repressive ideology, and proved that moral leadership is more powerful than any weapon. He demonstrated what he called “the power of the powerless” to effect real change through individual action and civil disobedience, placing him amongst the giants of history from Gandhi to King Mandela who have demonstrated the moral force of nonviolence,” President Obama said.

In a speech that resonated with Obama’s message, Birtukan’s amplified Havel’s “power of the powerless” that she related to her own experience during her ordeals in the jails of tyranny in Ethiopia.

“As a result of my repeated detention and time I spent as a political prisoner, some of my compatriots call me “the Aung San Suu Kyi of Ethiopia.” Regardless of the immense admiration and respect I have for this great lady, I have never considered myself worthy of this comparison. I relate more easily to the greengrocer who emerges from Havel’s imagination and ends up on the pages of his famous book, The Power of the Powerless,” she said.

Birtukan pointed out that her terrible experience in jail, coupled with the break-up of her own party, was too painful to endure. “But the truth illustrated by Vaclav Havel in “the power of the powerless” has always preserved my fervent dedication for the cause of free and dignified human life. It reminds me that even an individual’s act of defiance has the value and significance of a full-fledged revolution by threatening the integrity of the entire system,” she stated.

Birtukan quoted from Havel’s work to illustrate the immense power of ordinary individuals that defy injustice and tyranny. “The greengrocer has not committed a simple individual offense, isolated in its own uniqueness but something more serious. By breaking the rules of the game he has disrupted the game as such. He has exposed it as a mere game.”

She expressed optimism that freedom would eventually prevail in Ethiopia. She said: “I can remain cheerful while I feel the scars of those dark days of my life. I can see that the ideals of liberty and freedom will inevitably prevail in my country even though I am agonizing over the continuous suffering of the Ethiopian political prisoners like journalist Eskinder Nega.

“Even though the Ethiopian government is clamping down on all of its defying citizens harshly and without much criticism from the international community, even though those victims seem helpless and weak, I consider them victors since they have disrupted the system of coercion by despising living in a lie.”

Carl Gresham, President of NED said earlier in his welcoming address that Havel has left a great legacy to humanity. He said Havel was a great inspiration for freedom fighter around the world and would continue to do so for generations to come.

The iconic Burmese pro-democracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, said in a video message that Havel was a great friend and an inspiration. She quoted from a letter he wrote to her a few days before he passed away. “After fifty years of totalitarian rule, the road to a pluralist society won’t be easy,” Havel wrote to her in his letter. She described him as lifelong inspiration to her and so many people around the world.
Prominent democracy activists from Cuba, Iran and China also took turns to pay tribute to the leader of the Velvet Revolution of 198 that culminated in the fall of totalitarian rule in Czechoslovakia.
The power of the powerless

Birtukan Mideksa’s tribute to Vaclav Havel, National Endowment for Democracy
It is a humbling and honoring moment for me to speak at this memorial service of Vaclav Havel. For some of you, Havel might have been your friend, your mentor, or your teacher. For me, he is an icon who provided a narrative of struggle that affirmed my own political conviction and the price I paid for it.

As a result of my repeated detention and time I spent as a political prisoner, some of my compatriots like to call me “the Aung San Suu Kyi of Ethiopia.” Regardless of the immense admiration and respect I have for this great lady, I have never considered myself worthy of this comparison. I relate more easily to the greengrocer who emerges from Havel’s imagination and ends up on the pages of his famous book, “The Power of the Powerless.”

I was jailed for 21 months in 2005 after my party, the Coalition for Unity and Democracy, won a remarkable victory in general elections. Soon after, tens of thousands of people, including the leadership of the party, were imprisoned. Though going to prison despite not committing a criminal offense is the painful experience of every political prisoner, the pain did not make us weaker. The elections had aroused a groundswell of optimism where little hope for change existed before. This hope and optimism gave us a clear meaning and purpose. So, we did not simply languish in jail for the 21 months of our imprisonment.

However, my second imprisonment was entirely different from the first. I was alone in every sense of the term. I had to bear the emotional pain of solitary confinement while the party I led was fragmenting. The attention and support of the international community to the cause of Ethiopian democracy was diminishing over time. After 19 long, horrendous months of confinement, I was released in October 2010. Coincidentally, Aung San Suu Kyi and I were released just days apart from each other. However, unlike her, when I came out I found my party weakened.

After all the pain inflicted on me and my dear ones, I had to ask myself if my struggle was worth it. Was it worth the price? I could not help but ask these questions when I saw the state of Ethiopia’s opposition in the face of increased repression.

But the truth illustrated by Vaclav Havel in “the power of the powerless” has always preserved my fervent dedication for the cause of free and dignified human life. It reminds me that even an individual’s act of defiance has the value and significance of a full-fledged revolution by threatening the integrity of the entire system.

To put this as Havel did, “The greengrocer has not committed a simple individual offense, isolated in its own uniqueness but something more serious. By breaking the rules of the game he has disrupted the game as such. He has exposed it as a mere game.”
In this seminal work of his, Havel has set this clear gauge of political success in place of the usual parameters. He just told us elegantly and logically that depriving a lie of its universality by stepping outside of it is tantamount to setting the truth in the highest place of order while the system appears intact. So I can remain cheerful while I feel the scars of those dark days of my life. I can see that the ideals of liberty and freedom will inevitably prevail in my country even though I am agonizing over the continuous suffering of the Ethiopian political prisoners like journalist Eskinder Nega. Even though the Ethiopian government is clamping down on all of its defying citizens harshly and without much criticism from the international community, even though those victims seem helpless and weak, I consider them victors since they have disrupted the system of coercion by despising living in a lie.

Yet it is important to recognize one of Havel’s noble truths. The powerfulness of the life of a dissident or the lives of all who are engaged in the struggles for greater freedom does not emanate from psychological features which are assumed to exhibit strength and might. We couldn’t find that real power in our resolve to see the destruction of our abusers. In fact, we will become one of them the moment we attempt to do that.

And that kind of switch may not necessarily be something dramatic. It can even happen before we noticed it. Even those of us who are victimized by dictatorial systems are co-creators of those systems in some sense. The supposed enemy is not just only out there. Unfortunately it is within us too. So we should be vigilant and remind ourselves that the power of the powerless is directly correlated with features like friendship, compassion, forgiveness and humility, which might seem meek and weak, rather than vanity, hate and anger.

Had it not been for Vaclav Havel and others like him, I perhaps would not have the daring to speak to you as I am just now, since this world seems dominated by realpolitik and Machiavellian designs. Yet this impersonal, so-called “objective” power politics does not offer vindication of the suffering Havel encountered in his life—nor the suffering I have encountered in mine. Only the politics of the heart, which bases itself in capacities of love, friendship, solidarity, sympathy, and tolerance, are worthy of our hardship.

Obviously Havel will be missed by multitudes of his admirers like me. But I am sure his soul would smile down on the endeavors of all free men and women to constitute what he called the “family of man.” What we all owe to him is simple: to live in truth.

Watch the video

  1. Girum
    | #1

    Something to say regarding this article
    1) We have to always ask what the end-game of every thing. What is the end-game of Birtukan and similar others? The end-game of our stereotypical politicians like Birtukan is this, to make speeches in such occasions and give leap-services for their country in that she is a freedom fighter who once suffered by TPLF and to make oratory that he is fighting for freedom and democracy. Let’s wait till Birtukan makes such sorts of a lot of attractive speeches so that such speeches shall free us from the savage scourges of Ato Meles and TPLF. The end-game of such politicians in 3rd world countries is like this. If Birtukan is to make such speeches together with guys like Obama then this is the end-game and the end of the whole story. Temporary personal success story very confused with National interest and National issue. Well now Birtukan is having a new privilege and leading a new way of life there and I wish her a good life and post there. But let her stop cheating and ridiculing us as if she is our freedom fighter and that she is there to liberate us. If the end-game of our politicians is like this then I want to be a politician as well as it is such a lucrative good job. Well then to have such a privilege then we have to go to jail and some how suffer so that we claim that we are political activists. Last time regarding an article in Abugida about Birtukans association with ‘NGO’s like NED and EED I was predicting as to what will look like the end-game and it is going same way as I predict. And that is why I some how lost trust on such politicians on the Diaspora. Personal life is very confused with political life and National agenda and interest. And that is why I said once that Ethiopian politics is very confused and seriously lacks political Philosophy. Oh God how great it is that Ethiopia has such a new breed of such 21st politicians. The FERENJIS pretty know how to play games with us and how to trap us. Yes they hype us by labeling as like ‘ACTIVISTS’ and other beyond what we deserve and mislead us so that we forget our original objective. Same game is being played on Birtukan.
    2) Václav Havel is like Gorbachove of old USSR who naively and gullibly demonized their previous Socialist ideology and to the contrary who hyped the West’s Capitalist system as if it is a blessed saint that is a divine gift for humanity. However as things are getting revealed from time to time, based on during the last 20 years of global economic and social and war chaos that is the result of uni-polar world being ruled by US empire, Václav Havel indeed regretted that he was naively and gullibly cheated and mistaken in advocating the wrong capitalist ideology of the West by ignoring his own previous socialist ideology. The problem with us is that we do not have such a clear and deep-rooted well defined political philosophy that we live and die for it. And hence by the moment the we are in marvelous and attractive occasions and launch lavish dinners with the FERENJIS we forget our political philosophy and our faith. And hence what the West’s governments and Birtukn are saying about Václav Havel is totally perverted and misleading. While he was abandoning the Socialist ideology and then advocating the West’s Capitalist system he thought and expected that something good for the majority mass would have happened. But what has been happening in reality in Chekozlavakia and globally during the last 20 years is totally to the contrary. The general situations for the global mass are even deteriorating to the worst conditions as is manifested in the global mass uprisings. And hence Václav Havel admitted that he was naively and gullibly cheated by the West’s Capitalist ideology. It is well known fact that the Western governments hypes the bogus word Democracy through the invisible hands of NGOs like NED and EED with the help of naïve and gullible 3rd world politicians like Birtukn in order to sustain the status quo of the current global capitalist system and also to hide the current global mass impoverishment and misery. And yes indeed dead guys like Václav Havel are also being insidiously misrepresented as if they supported till the end their chaotic and in crisis global order system.
    3) 3rd World Politicians like Bitrukan who have made such insidious association with NGOs like NED and EED shall never bring true democracy and freedom for their respective nations. They are making such insidious association mainly in order to eventually sustain and serve the global capitalist system as their end-game. It is really difficult to keep quite and tolerate when such insidious schemes are being maneuvered under the disguise of political activism. Hey fellow Ethiopians we better stop having unwarranted trust on such politicians like Birtukan. From now onwards I really doubt that she can make a different thing regarding TPLF other than such luxurious activities.

    God Bless Ethiopia !!!

  2. Bula
    | #2

    Girum, I though it was Lucy the fosil who wrote your comment. Please update yourself. Wake up, you are in the 21st Century.

  3. Oda Tulu
    | #3

    Girum, Leave Birtukan alone. She is leader, a public personality. She is a living witness of the evil effect of torture. Your sypmathy for terrorist Zenawi is evident.

  4. Tebeje
    | #4

    Grum: Remember Havel, San su syi, Gorbachov and the grteat BIRTUKAN have one thing in common: they fought tyranny sqyarely and sought to dismantle it. The rest of your talk of east vs west is a matter of choice or even no choice. But as far as these people are concerned they fought for change and to free people from the vices of totalitarianism and tyranny. Let’s not judge people by the wind that may have swept them away but rather by the boat they courageously manuvered against the seemingly insurmountable storm of tyranny and oppression.

  5. hailemicheal
    | #5

    the democratic icon bertucan clearly indicated the highely repressive behaviour of the regime in ethiopia.using this rare and important opportunity she explained that the repressive regime in ethiopia is still imprisoning democratic activist like eskeneder nega and the west has been doing nothing about it. She said so and so.what else she should say and be. You ‘grum’ have no moral to describe our icon bertucan like that.dont hide yourself like a wolf in a sheep must be angry because woyane evil deeds has been exposed in such a big meeting.God bless ethiopia.

  6. ጉረኞች
    | #6

    Girum has a point. I don’t believe she will ever go back to Ethiopia to fight woyane’s dictatorship. The problem with Girum’s argument is, we cannot ask someone else to do things we ourselves don’t do. Girums has to go back first and then criticize

  7. anon
    | #7

    Mr.Girum how are you? This is not the first time I have differed with argument your opinion. Once before an article was posted by the same writer in this forum entitled-

    “Zenawi’s Plan to Decimate Ethiopian Democracy”.
    You argued then when there is no any sort of democracy why should this writer employ this title for his piece? However, from your writing there was no any slightest indication you dies agreed with the ideas contained in his piece, However you were adamant the title be changed. No one is saying why you raise questions but I question your motive in raising this questions.Now, your criticism of Bitrukan this time is also out of place.

    Do you really care about liberty, democracy and rule of law to prevail in Ethiopia? If so, why don’t you fight for it through practical means? Say by sacrificing your own very life. On close examination I see in you a very shallow and list committed person. For instance, You are not even on this forum on a regular basis; If you cannot dedicate some time for such a task why makes you think you have the right to be critical of Birtukan and others for what you called neglecting “national interest and issues”.
    It is not what we say but what we put in practice that is counted the most. When it comes to

    Sacrifice Birtukan none of us can match what Birtukan has done. My advice to you is this -find something good and do it for your country. Don’t try to lecture any activist what they have to do or what they have failed to do. You need freedom fight for it; complaining won’t bring solution. I think you might
    Consider to retract what you have said about Birtukan.

  8. Arera
    | #8

    Ewenetm girum! I have no other words, thank you.

    Problem – many are not willing to listen, like those with comments above.

  9. Zerayakob Yared
    | #9

    የማሌሊት ገንዘብ አጥቁዋሪዎች በሃገረ አሜሪካ ቁጥራቸው ምን ያህል ይሆናሉ!?

  10. Dawi
    | #10

    Tebeje said:

    [[..G.. Remember Havel, San su syi, Gorbachov and the grteat BIRTUKAN have one thing in common: they fought tyranny sqyarely and sought to dismantle it.]

    What I don’t understand is, why do we think the dismantling of USSR, Czechoslovakia is a better choice for us?

    Gorbachev helped (now extinct) Soviet Union, and its successor states by transitioning into a free market one party dictatorship,

    Havel watched over the dismantling of his country Czechoslovakia.

    We already know given a dictatorship in crisis like ours, it was better to liberalize the economy than to democratize, seeing as how China had a better growth rate than its neighbor former USSR that liberalized, collapsed and dissolved.

  11. Girum
    | #11

    Dear ጉረኞች you said something sensible.However,as is in the title “Power of the powerless” my power is just to tell the truth and existing realities. So I can not do things exactly like Birtukan has been doing. I was not in jail and I am not having the privilege to do things what she is doing now. If any Ethiopian or any other one necessarily needs to be in jail so that s/he shall say something confidently based on the fact that he has paid sacrifice by being in jail then that is a different story. I do not understand why we want to hype things beyond what is deserved. Are we confused? Dear guys please do not get entirely stuck with what has happened to Birtukan by TPLF but rather what I am talking is about the end-game of such political activists. Is Birtukan after all the 1st or the last to be in jail? Those who want to hype things and to have unwarranted trust on such politicians are those who want to systematically get advantage of such politicians for their insidious motives so that to maintain the status quo locally as well as globally. Dear guys believe it or not the global conditions of the mass are beyond our imagination in that it is even beyond the scope of the narrow personal issues of stereotypical political activists and it is going at its own pace in its own natural way. Who is going to stop it? No one!!!
    Some guys tell me that we are living in 21st century. So what??? As King Solomon said it already there is nothing new under the sun. Yes in 21st Century where bogus democracy is hyped to the contrary we are in modern barbarism modern feudalism where we kill and plunder each other. Dear guy, who mentioned the 21st century issue, then go and ask president Obama, the hypocrite, why he threatens to veto the independent statehood and freedom of Palestinians. Why in 21st century there is veto power? Go to UN and tell them that we are living in 21st century. Yes in 21st century millions of Iraqis died displaced impoverished, inflicted by carcinogenic Depleted Uranium and now they are getting freedom and democracy in return. In 21st Century very very few elitist oligarchies and groups managed to manipulate and accumulated unprecedented wealth under the disguise of free-market economy but billions are suffering from lack of sufficient shelter, health, food and are under severe impoverishment. In 21st century any sovereign state can be occupied any time under the disguise of No-Fly=Zone, democracy, Terrorism and humanitarian mission. And under this all paradoxical events in 21st century, yes our stereotypical politicians do not want mention all this paradoxical events, but still are stuck with the bogus word democracy and dance around this silly song in front of and together with our MASTERS. Yes while we are even starved and impoverished to death, while our national sovereignty is even deteriorating from time to time and while we are paving the way voluntarily for indirect neo-colonialism, we cover up this all paradoxical tragedy and stand together with our MASTERS and talk about democracy and human rights. If we are as such concerned about democracy for individual human beings then why we are not as such concerned for democracy of sovereign Nation-States who are the best places to advance and implement individual rights? If there is no democracy for sovereign Nation-States then there will be no democracy for individual human beings. When a sovereign weak Nation-state is invaded and occupied by powerful global empires under the disguise of irrelevant, unreasonable and unconvincing pretexts and aftermath severe mass killings dislocations and destruction is committed then we label it as humanitarian mission and applaud together, but whenever a certain alleged dictator is doing bad on his local citizens, like arresting opponents, then we shout labeling the ruler as dictator. Which violation of rights is severe and catastrophic? Violation of the sovereignty of a certain Nation-State or violation of a certain individual in a certain Nation-State?Here I do not mean that I do not oppose local dictators But why I mean is that we deeply luck consistency and coherency in our values.
    Here political activists like Birtukan has to have consistent and coherent universal and global stand regarding democracy and Human rights if they are to have the opportunity and privilege to talk with influential persons like Obama and also if they are to work with NGOs like NED and EED. And if they are not able to expose such global mass impoverishment and misery due the inherent greedy and corrupt nature of the global capitalist system then, their being hailed as political activists does not eventually hold water with regard to the mass except being indirect servants of the system.
    I see no boldness and wisdom in her to face this global reality except saying the same cliché of talking about human rights mainly related to her being harassed by TPLF while in jail. She is neither the first nor the last to suffer and indeed Meles Zenawi is also neither the first nor the last to commit such crimes against such individuals. By the way is it just because that Birtukan and others like her are in jail that we and the rest of the world conscious of for the fist time in history, regarding the situations of 3rd world peoples?Do Bush and Obama never ever know what has been happening in Guantanamo and in Iraq regarding human rights violations by their own soldiers and security officers? How about things in Gaza regarding Palestinians? How about the general situations in Somalia? Is it not in 21st century? If Birtukan is a real political activist that really stands for universal human rights let her tell Obama, Americans and Britons as to what and why they have been doing for the last 10 years following September 11.Let her tell the Israelis as to what and why they have been doing in Gaza against Palestinians. However I am not blaming her for not doing this as long as I my self are not doing this too.But what I am saying is please let’s not hide truth and lets not hype her case and similar others beyond what it deserves.
    I appreciate her as an Ethiopian for what she has been doing based on what I know and what is officially being known about her, though I do not exactly know what is behind the curtain. However,I do not want truth to be hidden and perverted under the disguise of such political activism. I do not support the unwarranted naïve and gullible expectation from such political activists. If our MASTERS, the FERENJIS demonize and say others as DICTATORS, EVILS then we automatically accept it and reiterate it if they appreciate or hail and say others as SAINTS, DEMOCRATS, POLITICAL ACTIVISTS then we do similarly. I remember the time when Bill Clinton, while in office as president that he was at some point hyping and appreciating MELES, ISAYAS and MUSOVENI as young breeds of African DEMOCRATS. Now we all know what has been happening in those three countries till now. When will we start to think and move in our own norms and standards with our own heart and mind?
    The other thing I observed as funny is guys like Anon who pose criticism regarding my being uncommitted and unfamiliar regarding Abugida.So funny!!! I laugh at it!!! Why you do not criticize me based on the issues I raised objectively? Like the role and motive of NED,EED and other NGO in 3rd world countries’ internal issues.
    And also regarding the end-game of political activists who work in collaboration with NED and EED.Regarding how Václav Havel lastly regretted before his death in his action that he naively and gullibly supported and advanced the West’s Capitalist system that has resulted in the current deterioration of the living conditions of the mass, by totally abandoning his countries previous Socialist ideology?
    As far as I can understand as to my knowledge, so many of our naive and gullible politicians and intellectuals in Diaspora especially those who live and get educated in Western countries like US are totally stuck and living and indulging the fantasy and illusion of Western style Democracy as if it is heavenly divine nature that is absolutely good for the general wellbeing of humanity. They are totally stuck and lost on attractive and misleading periodical election episodes and festivities as is seen in US or other political elections. They do not want to see things really happening covertly behind the curtain in closed doors and also their consequential results that have been happening overtly globally in the form of wars occupation, greed, plundering, mass impoverishment and misery. Many of them are entirely stuck on demonizing the local incumbent TPLF regime but fail to figure out and understand what is behind it globally. Yes we are confused!!!
    The new naive and gullible breeds of 3rd world intellectuals and politicians are stuck and lost with the bogus fashionable word Democracy and the FERENJIS pretty well know this reality and that is why they want to mislead and exploit us using this fashionable word in NED,EED and others in every possible approaches. And yes whenever and wherever our naïve and gullible intellectuals and politicians and political activists hype or sing the song of the bogus word Democracy together with them, then the FERENJIS know how to wage on us No-Fly-Zone and send us and disseminate Democracy through Tom-Hawk cruise missiles and fighter jests. Yes believe it or not political activists in Diaspora like Birtukan, when closely associated to work in collaboration with NED and EED under the disguise of democracy and human rights then the end-game is clear in that it is to work for the global capitalist system to eventually maintain the status-quo. Foreign forces help us to ‘liberate’ ourselves from our local oppressive, corrupt and plundering rulers provided that and as long as we avow to them that we will become their next loyal servants who maintain the status-quo of the current global capitalist system. The entire situation for the last 20 or more years, though the bogus fashionable word Democracy is hyped to mislead the insidious motives, the modus-operandi around 3rd world countries with regard to the West is eventually to maintain the status-quo of the current global capitalist system. We may say what ever we feel and understand but what is more vital and meaningful is with regard to the end-game in maintaining the status quo of the current global capitalist system. We are mainly focusing on intermediate bi-products rather than end-game main products and that is why we hype the case of Birtukan beyond what is deserved. What is our targeted end-game??? Only toppling TPLF???
    Can’t we think beyond that??? We better think beyond that though toppling TPLF is necessary but it is not sufficient end-game by itself. What sort of force will come next??? To answer this vital question we better scrutinize, constructively, not destructively and distractively, our freedom fighters and political activists who will liberate us. I do not understand why we usually tend to think in black and white.Let’ have the tradition of even critically criticizing objectively those whom we even ardently support in a constructive manner. Every time a certain person critically criticizes some famous political figure, then all supporters of that famous political figure collectively shout in blind support against the critique. Who says that critically criticizing some one constructively and genuinely is not at all part of supporting that someone? For us, supporting some one means blindly accepting all things that s/he says or does. That is indeed one of the indications that we are indeed confused and are also in some sort of stalemate and vicious-circle. Finally I want to assert that I am simply commenting what I am feeling about her and hence I am neither ardent supporter nor critical opposer of Birtukan.

    Good luck for Birtukan!!!
    God Bless Ethiopia!!!

  12. Abiy
    | #12

    Birtukan Medeksa has every right, when invited, to be a part of the NED to pay tribute to the late Czech President, Vaclav Havel. She has every right to participate be it as a personal decision or representing her political followers.

    In a few sentences tell us ESHI MEN YETEBES NEW YEMETELEW? You want to be tough towards the capitalists go ahead man and tell them in their face. More power to you in this. I think you can be a very nice candidate for political office; someone who will stand up in the face of the capitalists and comes and declare to them that you are born free, and they dare not tell you anything. This will be is a realistic approach to remove Leges.However doesn’t tell me my preoccupation with Melese the tyrant, as you seem to think, is wrong. As far as I am concerned He is the number one enemy i have to contend with. I want him out so badly now; I care less by what means he is replaced; I don’t even care if the agency ,in the first place, that puts him in office hand him his pink slip and say to him you are fired and get the heck out of here! No one is saying politicians are engaged in such activities .I is simply making clear my own preference and choice. Do you Remember Musharraf; be savvy and flexible and not stubborn.

  13. ጉረኞች
    | #13

    Girum said
    “I do not understand why we want to hype things beyond what is deserved.” That is the major problem we have and, in my view,a primary cause for destruction of Kinijit. The various media have been dehumanizing some while praising others beyond they deserve.
    The major issue, however, is your contention of focusing on globalization that I don’t agree with. The focus should be on the dictators. Aren’t the dictators themselves invite and open a sovereign country for abuse by corporations and powerful governments? Don’t you see even the woyane’s midget pulled his pants all the way down to his heels and invited global corporates to stuff anything they have in his little hole. How do you blame powerless activist not to stand up against globalization when dictators are the one who gave the opportunity to globalization? It is a matter of prioritization. I rather want people to focus eliminating worthless dictators first rather than fighting the most abstract and untraceable globalization. What Birtucan doing in this case is emphasize on human right abuse and expose daylight robbery of powerless people resources by dictators. I think she is doing a great job as an individual who got the opportunity to tell her story.

  14. Dawi
    | #14

    ጉረኞች says:

    [[..Don’t you see even the woyane’s midget pulled his pants all the way down to his heels and invited global corporates to stuff anything they have in his little hole…]]

    If you think that is a lot chances are if Liberal Democracy advocates take over 4 kilo today, they will need a bigger hole than the “midget” to stuff the amount of global corps to DO “Václav Havel” on Ethiopia.

    They will start by selling EAL, TELECOM, ROAD & TRANSPORT, CBE etc. Privatize every nook and cranny. BTW, such idea was recommended recently by the Zemen Bank research group? in ADDIS for Meles to do.

    The following is part of the Václav Havel accomplishment.

    “Under Czech privatization and “restitution” programs, factories, shops, estates, homes, and much of the public land was sold at bargain prices to foreign and domestic capitalists. In the Czech and Slovak republics, former aristocrats or their heirs were being given back all lands their families had held before 1918 under the Austro-Hungarian Empire, dispossessing the previous occupants and sending many of them into destitution. Havel himself took personal ownership of public properties that had belonged to his family forty years before. While presenting himself as a man dedicated to doing good for others, he did well for himself.”

  15. Girum
    | #15

    Dear all my critiques
    I am not even creating and expressing my own truth but rather existing realities are even bringing about truth to the forefront and truth is confronting us as a giant monster. It is up to us what to do with it. Every one of us has our own unique personal behavior, tradition and life experience as to how to deal with truth. And the very loudly screaming and confronting truth is that the world is in very need of a new better global social order that is better safe for the general wellbeing of all humanity and hence the status quo of the current inhuman, greedy, plundering, mass impoverishing, warmongering and chaotic global capitalist system can not sustain any more like this under the disguise of free-market economy and bogus democracy. And I want to express my deepest suspicion and fear in that political activists like Birtukan, when hyped beyond what is deserved and also when working together with such organizations like NED and EED, then the end-game is mainly to systematically pave the way in order to eventually maintain the interest of the global Capitalist system rather than the poor impoverished mass of Ethiopians she belongs to. It does not necessarily require to be a prophet to predict the end-game of this whole thing regarding Birtukan and her association with organizations like NED and EED. All those guys who simply say “Do not ask do not say any thing other than regarding the incumbent Ato Meles and TPLF” are either those who have such an insidious stake and interest from the status quo of the current global Capitalist System or are those who are so naive and gullible regarding the intricacy of global political economy.
    Personally Birtukan has the right to work with any entity she believes in and wants to work with. And I have also the right to criticize her move if I feel and believe that it has any negative implication on the future fate our country. Dear guys there is no such a thing like one hand demonizing the incumbent local savage rulers like Ato Meles, Benali, Mubarek and others for the severe damages they have inflicted on their respective nations and on the other hand supporting the status quo of the current global Capitalist System as if it is a blessing or saint. The massive and miserable impoverishment of peoples of 3rd world countries for the last 20 years is mainly due to status quo of the pervasive implementation of the current global Capitalist System in its Neo-Liberal policies as is like in SAP(Structural Adjustment Programs) than due to lack of bogus democracy. Political Activists like Birtukan are reiterating and hyping the same cliché of violation of human-rights and lack of democracy. Going this way with such sort of cliche and mediocrity does not help us any more as long as we are not able to ask critically and figure out as to why these all human right violations and lack of democracy are so pervasive in 3rd world countries.
    Why Ato Meles and similar others arrest and victimize any local civil dissidents and opponents? Why they oppress free-media and free-press? All this political moves by local dictators has any thing to do with the economic aspect also. Birtukan is being systematically guided by our MASTERS to the political aspect only by focusing entirely on human rights and bogus democracy and is totally ignoring the economic aspect of our society. Politics and Economics are inseparable entities that are two sides of the same coin. Whenever we talk about political-freedom we have to also raise the issue of economic-freedom and the converse is also true. Without real and genuine economic-freedom then there is no real and genuine political-freedom and the converse is also true. The global capitalist system is misleading naive and gullible political activists like Birtukan in that it only hypes the issues of bogus Democracy and human-rights and dictatorship beyond what is deserved and vital by ignoring the economic aspect.
    When we talk about human rights we have to think about both of political-rights and economic-rights.
    And when we also talk about Democracy we also have to seriously think not only about political-rights but also seriously about economic-rights. The global capitalist system is so crafty and intriguing in that it presents Liberal-Economy (Free-Market) and Liberal-Democracy as independent separate entities to the naïve and gullible politicians like Birtukan, as if Political aspects and Economic aspects are separately independent realms.However both Liberal-Economy (Free-Market) and Liberal-Democracy are two sides of the same coin of the prevailing Global Capitalist System. Take all the rulers who are demonized as Dictaors, and you find out that all of them are not mere dictators only who simply oppress and deny democracy to their local subject citizenry and population, but also they are all corrupt who plunder billions in collaboration with the global capitalist system. Take Mengistu Hailemariam; he was sheer dictator and oppressive but he was not having this much percentage of plundered money. The living condition of the majority mass during the times of the Derg regime was not as miserable as this time. However, at this moment of time in history, under the rule of Meles and other client-regimes in other 3rd world nations, where the Neo-Liberalism of global capitalist system is so pervasive every where we can witness live regarding the impoverishment of the mass and its miserable life compared to the unbelievable luxurious livelihoods of minorities. While we keep quite and shut up our mouths and have lost the morality and wisdom to condemn and expose this inhuman prevailing global social order, then making speeches every where regarding human rights and democracy related to a certain local dictator in luxurious festivities is like denying humanity own society. If we really stand for humanity and democracy we have to have the audacity, courage and wisdom to condemn demonize and expose not only the bad acts of local dictators in respective 3rd world nations but also this sort of inhuman global social order as a system. I tell confidently that some one who is having this sort of audacity and wisdom shall not have in the first place the opportunity to be hyped and privileged like Birtukan. All of you who criticize me, if you have the slightest love and respect for those of our impoverished and miserable poor peoples of our country and humanity in general, then there is no reason that you cover up or defend this chaotic and malfunctioning prevailing global social order and its consequential global reality.
    Let’s not hype the fashionable bogus Western style democracy beyond what existing realities can support it. And indeed let’s not hype Birtukan as well who also hypes this sort of bogus Western style democracy. Our deep-rooted and multifaceted problems are so complicated that it requires attention and wisdom beyond the issues of bogus Western style democracy. We all naïve and gullible intellectuals have been hyping it beyond what is deserved for the last 20 years and at this moment of time in history we know what we have got in return. From the acronym NED(National Endowment For Democracy) EED(European Endowment For Democracy) can we as such get democracy through ENDOWMENT like donation? So funny!!! Dear all guys like Birtukan and others who are with her, we are living in a country where 85 percent of our population is backward farmer who mainly ploughs using oxen to feed our daily bread. Please do not just get stuck and lost entirely with this catch-phrase fashionable word called democracy. Dancing around this silly song of democracy can be such a lucrative business for so many of us selfish and naïve intellectual politicians. However, it is not as such a burning issue for the majority mass of Ethiopian society. Go to a certain Ethiopian farmer or a certain poor Ethiopian and ask him what s/he really wants at this moment of time. He shall never respond to you that s/he badly needs democracy or free-press. Rather s/he tells you that s/he wants better living conditions, respect and freedom to live as an Ethiopian. Whoever comes to power through bogus democracy through election or by any other means as long as the majority mass can not get what is basically needed for life, then all this talk about democracy is irrelevant. Bogus stereotypical democracy through the usual election is just a means not an end by itself and hence it is better that our politicians not hype it as if it is of a blessing and ultimate destiny. The majority mass in our society does not care who comes to power and who goes away from power as long as its basic material and emotional needs are met as a human being.
    And hence if the fashionable and bogus democracy that is undeservedly being hyped by our naive and gullible politicians is not able to deliver this ultimate basic material and emotional needs of a certain society, then the society starts to question things critically and there is no reason that it even worries about democracy. During the previous Derg and Emperor regime democracy, let alone being hyped, it was not even mentioned. Now for the last 20 years and in continuum democracy is perpetually hyped. However from experience now the society knows pretty well what it gets and what it loses by comparing and contrasting the different regimes in power.
    Any way what I want to conclude is that as long as the prevailing global social order of the capitalist system is unchecked and even rather concealed, then hyping democracy, as is done by Birtukan through working with NED,EED is not only worthless for our society but also very misleading hindrance and destructive for the true emancipation the poor peoples of 3rd world countries.
    Any way again good luck for Birtukan!!!
    God bless Ethiopia!!!

  16. ጉረኞች
    | #16

    “BTW, such idea was recommended recently by the Zemen Bank research group? in ADDIS for Meles to do.” I have seen similar report in Bloomberg. የዘፈን ዳር ዳሩ አስክስክታ ነው! ኣለ አበሻ:: It is not new, the rumor was there for a long time. Except the telecom in which he controls information with, the woyane midget have been contemplating to sell EAL and other assets of Ethiopia for a while now. It looks like the time has come, it won’t take a rocket scientist to predict he will sell it possibly to enemy countries. As usual the revenue from it will disappear into thin air like it has happened in all other assets.

    Girum: I don’t know where you have been living in the past few years. The ardent opponent of globalization including the land grab and unfair sell of Ethiopians assets are democracy advocates not the midget dictator and their crony who want to warn us about the danger of globalization. Where did you get all these allegation? The cause of poverty are none other dictators and that is one of the reasons that we need to get rid off dictators first. Witness that the people of Ethiopia have no saying when the midget dictator sell virgin land to karturi and Saudi Star. What does the democracy advocates have to do that to be harshly criticized by you when the culprit is luxuriously living.

  17. abiy
    | #17

    [Dwai] You have stated,

    …”If Liberal Democracy advocates take over 4 kilo today, ….They will start by selling EAL, TELECOM, ROAD & TRANSPORT, CBE etc. Privatize every nook and cranny”.Your comparison of the opposttion block with t he deeds odf TPLf tugs is your own spin.How do you draw paralle between the two?In the first place there is ample evidence in our record that shows TPLF clique unilateraly craft plicy that is disastoeous to the security of that country.The last tweenty years policy of the TPLF clique,with out anysadow has proved this.

    a)Secret land transfer to the sudan by Legese.
    b)Legese’s land lease project ,the size of the land mass of Belgium, to foreign naations.
    c)The removal of the Ethiopian nationl bank gold deposit and its replacement by fake gold.
    An estimated $8-11 billion illicit money leaving the country most of it to ending in bank accounts controlled by the ruling elite.
    d) 10,000 tons of coffee stolen in broad day light.
    These and a likes of crimes are that comes to mind when consider TPLF leaders and their crime.
    There is no doubt you belong in that small group clique within TPLF.Then what evidence do you have to compare Ethiopian oppostion with that of Legese and argue that because legese is contempleting of selling EAL.Tellecom.. therefore,if the oppostion takes over it will do the same thing.I think you are one of those few Weyanes who is blinded by self interest.apparently,you seem to have no care for the people of Tigray and for the childreen of the tugs. such being your case ,you are in the dark and an able to see the gathering cloud over the horizon.

  18. Tebeje
    | #18

    Very simply democracy is better than dictatorship. You can not eelay or postpone people’s quest for liberty and democracy for fear that the economy will fail. That is foolish. Democracy is people’s power. If people choose their destiney they will choose without the coercion and dictation of some self-styled dictator. Where will that lead to now lies in the hands of the people of the country not in te hand of a lunatic power-hungry dictator. People dictate their future in democracy if that leads to failure let it be so as pereople learn from their mistake which will not happen under the slavery of a self-serving dictator whose business primarily is to repress his own people. So this westerniastion, globaloisation, etc jazz is actually the diversion dictators use to cling to power. The south african apartheid was arguing that if black were given democracy they will exterimnate each other. Kenya’s daniel arap moi was arguing multi-party democracy will give rise to ethnic conflicts. In actual fact by controlling all the means of production dictators make their peopole subservient to their needs. This is the center of gravity of the meles anti neo liberalism philosophy. Today in ethiopia meles works to make business men, intellectual, farmers and all working class subsurvient to their needs because the only way such people adavnce their career or earn better income is by becoming dummy associates to eprdf. People have become slaves to the needs of the dictator meles in ethiopia. To earn you living and earn your way to a better income you have to forcefully adavnce the meles agenda. That is it. The only way dictators now justify their grip on corrupt power is by demonisiin globalisation and liberalism. That is now the whole content of the PhD work of meles zenawi. Meles did his PhD similar to your argument by painting a failed picture of western style democracy and globalisation. In short it is a philosphy of contemprary machiavelism adn abid to spend on power indefinitely. The model of china may work for china but it was tried and never worked for other countries. The enticing part as far as meles and co. are concerned about china is not developemnt but rather the totalitaroian power that communism imposes.

  19. Dawi
    | #19


    [[..” I have seen similar report in Bloomberg. የዘፈን ዳር ዳሩ አስክስክታ ነው! ኣለ አበሻ:: It is not new…]]

    It is not new but unlike “Democratic advocates”, “Developmental States” proponents like Singapore & Korea is where the Meles Dictatorship will take its lessons from. Trust me there is a big difference.

    On the other hand, there was a survey conducted that found that democracy will have more of an effect on later rates of economic development, however at the start it retards the rate of development rather than help it. So for a poor country like ours authoritarian political system accelerates the rate of development but the kind of democracy you talk about is a luxury that will end up retarding all development. In other words, historic experience shows us richer, more equal and educated folks are more likely to be democratic.

    Saudi Star is owned by an Ethiopian born individual and the land is leased. As you & I don’t even own the plot of land except the roof & walls of a residential house, how in the world Kartauri owns vast land?

    Denying all facts on the ground and when someone points out what happens when you’re groomed to be Václav Havel? is amazing to say the least.

  20. abiy
    | #20

    Girum, you summed up your point in these terms.

    “Any way what I want to conclude is that as long as the prevailing global social order of the capitalist system is unchecked and even rather concealed, then hyping democracy, as is done by Birtukan through working with NED, EED is not only worthless for our society but also very misleading hindrance and destructive for the true emancipation the poor peoples of 3rd world countries.”

    Now you are convinced the greatest threat for Ethiopia is multinational corporations and their subsidiaries. And you argue to use your own words “Birtukan need not to work through in NEDE”.To begin with NED is not a covert or extended hand of U.S government. As such it does not enlist or recruits foreign nationals for the expressed purpose of influencing the individual’s country of birth. If you think such is the case please present some raw data to support your allegations. Otherwise you will be perceived as someone who frame talking points far removed from OBJECTIVE REALITY OF ETHIOPIA Second, globalism is not a new phenomenon, since the inception of League of Nations, and it has been around us for many decades. The only difference at the moment the lines seem to be clearly drawn. On the one hand globalism is being loudly proclaimed by its proponents. On the other hand, this idea is being fiercely resisted by citizens all over the world as many are not willing to dispose their national overnight.

    Now the question is what does this has to do with Birtukan participating in the meeting held by NED in memory of one a democracy advocate. She has every right, if invited, to participate in this conference. I will not equate her participation in this meeting is a sign that she is working with the arm of a government agencey.If you insist such is the case then present evidence. If you fail to present facts that support your allegations, you need to rethink your position.

    As far as Ethiopians are concerned the major obstacle to make political head way in the country is ruling clique. As a result there is no doubt that before anything else the party ruling the country needs to be replaced. This is the overall national strategy; the people are demanding freedom from tyranny. In the post Melese Ethiopia no Ferengi will dictate matters to presidential hopefuls. In your piece, I sense you feel like the ferengis will be in a position to tie the hands of Ethiopian politicians. I don’t share your fear; there will definitely be diplomatic relationships, but it will be based on mutual benefits. Please don’t try to rearrange our strategy by presenting Globalism a major threat for Ethiopia than the Legese clique.

  21. ጉረኞች
    | #21

    Here is for you a belated Christmas gift. Excerpts from article by Fritz and A. Rocha Menocal Sept 2006
    “…When considering developmental states, political leadership is crucial because of the way it affects the quality and autonomy of the bureaucracy. In turn, the kind of leadership that emerges is shaped by the nature of the elite and wider social structures. No capable competent civil service could emerge to guide development. The key issues identified around the problem of poor leadership are the following:
    1.The weakness of domestic as well as international incentives for state building.
    2. The problem of entrenched ‘strong-man’ politics. Leaders who stay in power too long tend to become increasingly erratic and ineffective. (Witness the woyane midget)
    3. The problem of uncertain leadership. Leaders who face constant challenges to their rule or who are highly dependent on an oligarchy which put them into power rarely govern well.
    4. The absence of institutionalised exit routes. Leadership change has to be institutionalised and routinised in order to avoid risks of destabilisation. In order to achieve this, leaders need some
    reassurance of physical and material security after leaving office. (The woyane midget did not allow to create this for himself and his gujeles)

  22. Dawi
    | #22


    [[..How do you draw paralle between the two?..]]

    Havel benefited from the return of family assets and became a millionaire. The destruction of education, health & pension system created a social catastrophe to that country. The wave of privatization and fighting over the spoils divided the country into two. I have listed the others before. So when you & others praise Havel you’re endorsing his did. Aren’t you?


    [[..So this westerniastion, globaloisation, etc jazz is actually the diversion dictators use to cling to power…]]

    What diversion? Facts on the ground are when the lack of development is the lowest people are incapable of managing political liberties usefully. Yugoslavia, USSR is case in point.

    South Korea had a pro development dictatorship for almost twenty years. The solid economic foundation we see today was realized under that Dictatorship. Taiwan 40 years of a one party system and as the result created the Taiwan Miracle.

    […Meles did his PhD similar to your argument…]

    IMO, that is why he is not a run of the mill Dictator. If any one is going to be capable of leading a Developmental State in Africa he has to be one of the few.

  23. Abel
    | #23

    The Americans should not pick our leaders.

  24. ጉረኞች
    | #24

    I’m happy we amicably closed the case for Developmental State under leadership of woyane midget is unworthy with my Christmas gift to you.

  25. Abu
    | #25

    she seem to be groomed by Americans to be imposed on us as our future surrrogate leader in a bid to loyaly serve the Americans interest .That is why she is given a head line to build false image by equating her as San sunki to which she (bertukan)has no the slightest conviction to that of the Maynamar heroine.Rather we have to remember every now and then those thousands unsung heroine of Ethiopian women currently suffering in woyane jails.

  26. Zenaab
    | #26

    Birtukan for leader of ethiopia? I can not wait to see that. I will then start to feel that i have a country.

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