Lacrimosa… Redux By Tecola W. Hagos

January 12th, 2012 Print Print Email Email

The infant, on opening his eyes, ought to see his country, and to the hour of his death never lose sight of it. [Un enfant en ouvrant ses yeux doit voir la patrie, et jusqu'a la mort ne voir qu'elle.] – Jean-Jacques Rousseau


I. Introduction

I. Introduction

In criticizing the leadership of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, I need not navigate in between raindrops, because in Meles Zenawi’s administration I could walk down a wide wasteland of broken promises and of shattered lives of a people. I wrote a number of articles lamenting Ethiopia under the leadership of Meles Zenawi and the intolerable situation living under the yoke of a divisive Constitution. The facts are all out there easily discernable by anyone. My criticism should not be seen as some form of personal feud or vendetta against Meles Zenawi or anybody else. I love Ethiopia unconditionally with all my heart. I would like to see Ethiopia survive for tens of thousands of years in great glory with industrious, happy, and wealthy citizens. If it comes down to a choice between preserving the unity and integrity of Ethiopia on one hand and some ahistorical secessionist effort of an ethnic or religious group on the other, I always choose to preserve Ethiopia at all cost.

Meles Zenawi claims that he has hit the bull’s eye in his economic as well as political undertakings. He boasts about the double-digit growth rate of the Ethiopian economy often immodestly, in his addresses in the Ethiopian Parliament. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. What Meles is doing is messing up Ethiopia with extremely serious short and long term problems. Meles’s claim of success is like that of a mediocre archer who shots his arrows at a large target/wall (even a child will not miss) hitting it all over the place and later circling each of his arrows that are stuck all over that wall with bull’s eyes, and then claiming that he is a great archer who hits bull’s eye targets all the time. Funny as it seems, this metaphor of “the moving bull’s eye” is proper in analogizing the activities of Meles Zenawi and his Government.

I suggest that one ask and answer the following simple and direct questions in order to understand the depth of the problems visited upon Ethiopia under Meles Zenawi. Has there been any improvement in Ethiopia since my last lamentations in 2010? How do Ethiopians feel about themselves? Are they proud to identify themselves as Ethiopians? How far do they control their natural resources? How much wealth do they have as individuals? Is Al-Amoudi still flying out tones of Ethiopian gold without proper accounting? Are Meles Zenawi and Azeb Mesfin billionaires as claimed by many? How many Ethiopian young women and girls leave Ethiopia to become domestic workers in Middle East countries? Do Ethiopians own land? Do Ethiopians feel secure in their person and property? What is the status of rule of law in Ethiopia? In answering such questions you will affirm that Meles Zenawi has failed as a national leader beyond repair.

There is nothing unusual in drawing psychological profiles of leaders and important people. The United States Government does it routinely. Most nations of the World do some form of profiling of foreign leaders and important personalities. Profiling of leaders is a process of understanding of such individuals, helpful in negotiations and strategic planning. A few months back, in a New York Times article, Benedict Carey wrote a summary of that practice focusing on events surrounding the Libyan revolt and Muammar el-Qaddafi. [See, Benedict Carey, “Testing out policy insight from a character profile,” New York Times, March 28, 2011.] Prof Messay Kebede’s recent article is very appropriate in focusing our attention on the personality of our leaders. Thus, Messay’s article must be welcomed as a very important contribution in enriching our understanding of Ethiopian political leaders. Some time back, I wrote on psychological profiling done by leaders on other rival leaders or potential allies. “It is reported that the great Iyasu, the first Shogun of Japan, used to inquire of the ‘willow world’ madams, about the size of the ‘shaft’ of the great Samurais he was going to fight or whom he was going to appoint to leadership position.” [See Tecola W. Hagos, “EDITORIAL: Mane Amno Yewotal Ye Sembelett Mama…The CUD/Kinijit Opposition Leaders: Life Sentence/Pardon,” www.tecolahagos.com/Man_amno_yewotal.htm, July 22, 2007.]

I emphasize the fact that Meles Zenawi has endangered the national security and integrity of Ethiopia to such magnitude that it is doubtful whether Ethiopia would survive the new upcoming generation of Ethiopians unless we help them with a start-up structure of unity and a sense of Ethiopiawinet. Those who support the misguided policies of Meles Zenawi do so for the right reasons and not for personal greed. Sycophantic allegiance does not help anyone. Here under I have identified three focus-points that are of primary importance for the survival of Ethiopia: unitary political structure, free market economy, and new science and technology oriented education. I have presented in each the most serious challenge and possible solution. Volumes could be written on each of the focus-points. It is also important that one keep in mind that one is dealing here with the tip of an iceberg of problems.

II. My Concern Dealing with Political Issues

The recent theatrics, which was massively launched by Meles Zenawi in celebrating the nations and nationalities and ethnic groups of Ethiopia, clearly show the process of the fracturing of a people and a nation. I have been following the presentations and general broadcast of the Ethiopian Government/State controlled Television (ETV) for almost a year now. It is amazing to see how Meles Zenawi has changed the orientation of his anti-Ethiopia programs. I have been watching the same programs broadcasted in Ethiopia for almost a year. In the last two to three months, the programs I watched seem to have shelved States/Kilils politics along with their distinctive flags; instead what I was seeing was the Ethiopian tricolor everywhere. It has been a source of excruciating pain to me every time I see States/Kilils colors, for such flags were graphic reminders to me how Meles Zenawi was fracturing my beloved Ethiopia that my great ancestors bleed for to preserve in freedom and independence.

It is an incredible sight to see that transformation of the promotion of the Federal State of Ethiopia as opposed to the individual States/Kilils. The contents of the new ETV programs on ethnicity seem to be geared toward the enhancement of the unity of Ethiopia rather than divisiveness inherent in dividing the nation by States/Kilils. At any rate, it gave me a chance to see in such programs the many beautiful faces of Ethiopians—all exceptionally beautiful people with incredibly authenticity. Since I have been wrongly accused of harboring a pernicious ethnic affiliation, I said to my self which group would I discard or care more for? And at that time I remembered a heart wrenching battlefield scene in the movie “The Last Samurai,” when the great Samurai nationalist warrior Lord Katsumoto said, “They all are beautiful,” when in his death throes he found himself in a field of cherry flowers. Every single Ethiopian is equally dear to me irrespective of religious orientation, ethnic origin, culture, social status et cetera like a field of flowers. This should not come as a surprise to anybody, for all of my writings reflect just that.

On ETV, I watched with fascination how the propaganda machine of Meles Zenawi has changed its trademark hatemongering against imagined enemies. He seems to have changed into the premier promoter of Ethiopian unity, notwithstanding the fact of the haunting presence of the 1995 Constitution that has framed the relationship between the many States/Kilils and the central federal authority, supposedly representing the State of Ethiopia, in an extremely divisive political structure. The divisive political situation is reflected in the many provisions of the Constitution dealing with state structure, federal structure, unbalanced power structure among the organs of Government, subordination of religion to the State et cetera. The fact is that the Constitution legitimizes ethnic politics of discrimination, discord, factionalism et cetera. The Constitution has brought about a calamity where tens of thousands of individuals were driven off from places where they have settled for generations on the divisive ethnic States/Kilils enclaves. Such divisive structure must be dismantled.

Ethiopian Citizenship and the State of Ethiopia are totally undermined and deformed to such extent that one can assert they have ceased to exist in the Constitution. Ethiopians have no real Constitutional protection from the brutalizing power of leaders whether it is Meles Zenawi or the mini-tyrants of States/Kilils. There is an acute need to revise or totally discard the Constitution and start all over from scratch in order to reorient our vision of a united and strong Ethiopia. All must acknowledge the fact that Ethiopian Citizens do have preeminent rights that supersede any other social, cultural, or ethnic based collective rights. The key to the establishment and to the preservation of a just and progressive society is the preeminent position individual citizens have in that society. An Ethiopian citizen should be able to travel freely anywhere, live anywhere, acquire property including land anywhere, work anywhere without ever being challenged or restricted by any ethnicity measurement.

One effective way to defuse the divisive power of the current States/Kilils structure is to establish administrative unites at the Woreda level as the main geopolitical base as the base of the political and administrative organization of Ethiopia. Such structure is manageable and effective in promoting democratic governance. Such structure also correlates with the manpower capacity of such administrative unite. The current States/Kilils unites are far too big and far too complex for the available manpower to administer effectively. In other word these bites of States/Kilils are far too big to be chewed properly. One of the main reasons of the administrative inefficiency and corruption is the fact of such manpower deficiency in administrating States/Kilils. By contrast, the Woreda size is a manageable administrative size for the type of human capacity available in such areas.

The hypocrisy of very many Ethiopians in the Diaspora is both disappointing and depressing to me. Especially the anti democratic behavior of intolerance is alarming considering the fact that such individuals have lived for decades in the West, and are benefiting from the virtues of pluralistic Western societies and states. There is no room in our Ethiopian narrative for postmodern form of deconstructive philosophy of fracturing, dividing, and mincing viable unites into fractional societies that neither can maintain any civil community nor safeguard individual rights. As far as I can see, all liberation fronts and ethnic based political organizations in Ethiopia are primitive and destructive. There can be no accommodation for such forms of anti-Ethiopia movement in what ever guise. Whether it is the primitive Jihadist religion based movements or the pseudo-Marxist fronts rolled up in seductive rhetoric of group or ethnic rights are essentially preludes to abusive and violent dictatorships down the line of their future transformations. They would only bring about violence pitting one group against another and the ensuing genocide and persecution of the weak, the defenseless, the minority et cetera. What is quite ironic is that well versed Marxist-Leninists or Maoists in EPRP, Meison, Woz et cetera were not narrow ethnicists despite the fact that they had to deal with the question of secession.

III. My Concern Dealing with Economic Disaster

Clearly defined property rights allow for secured ownership of property that includes land ownership in fee simple/reast. The new Urban Lands Lease Holding Proclamation No. 721/2011 has started its life with tremendous controversy. From the town-hall discussions broadcasted on Ethiopian TV, I gather the problem to be on the issue of ownership (in fee simple) as opposed to lease or rights based on possession. The problem with the land lease/possession formula is the fact that the Government has made it impossible for any Ethiopian to have a secured ownership of land. The concept of ownership of land by “the Nations, Nationalities and Peoples of Ethiopia” is enshrined in Article 40 of the Federal Constitution, which relates to “Right to Property.” In sub-article three it is stated, “The right to ownership of rural and urban land, as well as of all natural resources, is exclusively vested in the State and in the peoples of Ethiopia. Land is a common property of the Nations, Nationalities and Peoples of Ethiopia and shall not be subject to sale or to other means of exchange.” This provision in the Constitution is the source of all social, political, and economic problems in Ethiopia.

In one such town hall meeting, Kumsa Demeksa, the Mayor of Addis Ababa, recanted the pseudo Marxist explanation that Meles Zenawi used to recite incessantly on the land ownership system being the main reason for Ethiopia’s underdevelopment and the poverty of its citizens. That idea is not something new, but is a continuation of the “land to the tiller” student movement from the 1960s. The fallacy in that type of sweeping generalization is the fact that it glossed over historical facts and important details. Such pre-existing land ownership by traditional title holders had distinct and legitimate historical narratives. In fact, there would have been no Ethiopia if it were not for those courageous Ethiopian pioneers who fought and created our Ethiopia that they passed down to us. If some of our ancestors owned large tract of land and passed it down to their children, that is the result of their hard labor, pioneering spirit, great courage, and endless battles and wars they fought in forging the nation of Ethiopia out of chaotic, wild, and primitive conditions. Some of the vast land owners from Emperor Haile Selassie’s generation, for example, such as Ras Abebe Aregai, were some of the legendary patriots of Ethiopia who fought against the Italians for the independence of Ethiopia. Such holdings can be considered as proper payment for service rendered to the nation. If there was a problem of distribution of land, it has to do with the size/amount and not with the basic right of owning land in fee simple/reast.

In our own time, our struggle should have been aimed at expanding the number of individuals owning land by including the middle class and the poor tenant farmers of Ethiopia on one hand and limiting or reducing huge land ownership on the other hand. Our struggle should not have been aimed at dispossessing the small number of traditional land owners. In trying to do justice for the poor we ended up nationalizing land whereby everybody lost that right to own land and the dictators, whether it is Mengistu or Meles, end up controlling all land in Ethiopia. Ownership of land in fee simple is not mere economic right but touches the very essence of being a human person that affirms the unconditional Citizenship right of every individual Ethiopian. It does not require some exceptional ability to understand the pathological connection between human beings and their property. Just think of our own attachment to our money, would anyone of you send me a hundred dollars if I ask you? How about ten thousand dollars since you have no significant attachment to your property? I hope each Ethiopian gets my meaning and message in my question. Human beings seem to be free to the extent they control their own individual property—the less they have, less is their freedom too.

One must understand the motive why Meles Zenawi and his supporters and some political organizations are opposing secured land ownership by individuals. For Meles, it is the one powerful way to control the population. For political organizations, it is a divisive agenda in preparation for future secession of “their” piece of land from the larger geographic area of Ethiopia. It is a very cynical and dubious position of the elites of such ethnic organizations. In both cases, the individual Ethiopian citizen is dispossessed and often squashed. The lack of respect of private property will lead to the lack of respect of individual rights culminating in the abuses and other violations of both democratic and civil rights. We must take the ownership of land as a very serious matter, for it is a primordial instinctive attribute of Man the animal. Denying such rights is contrary to human nature or propensity.

Before I consider a single economic policy initiated by Meles Zenawi, I would like to see the full accounting of all the monies generated and controlled by him in EFFORT and all such dummy corporations, first and foremost. In fact, I demand that Meles Zenawi disclose in detail everything about EFFORT and the wealth generated by corporations that he controls. The wealth so far horded by EFFORT and such other organizations not only belongs to “Tigriyans” but also to all Ethiopians. If “Tigriyans” have access to the wealth that is claimed in their name by EFFORT/Meles, than I too have access to the wealth of the Bank of America just because I have an account in that Bank.

The many development projects in Ethiopia are not all that “grand” on closer scrutiny. In fact, some are down-right stupid. Like all dictators, Meles Zenawi masks his misdeeds through grandiose projects. He used these projects to finance a corrupt system of exclusive economic enclaves that suck Ethiopia dry of its limited wealth and hard currency. Let me give you as an example the fact that the Ethiopian Government is spending over four billion dollars in developing vast territories in Wolkait in Tigray State, in Kesem in Afar State, at Beles in Amhara State, Finch in Oromo State, and in the South Omo basin, and also revamping older sugar cane processing factories, plantations with their dams, and feeder water-ways. Even though the effort to construct and develop the use of river basins is an excellent idea, the effort will not be productive if the end process is wasteful and poorly planned.

The sugar factories and vast plantations are clear examples of the wastefulness and mediocre planning of Meles’s government. The world is moving away from sugar cane to the cultivation of Stevia Rebaudiana plant as the source for highly concentrated and extremely economical sugar/sweetener production. The problem of sugar-cane based processes is all too well documented. Fluoride contamination of drinking water is the main problem that has devastated already the health of tens of thousands of Ethiopians in Wonji and Tendaho. The production of sugar from sugar-cane is an antiquated process, and yet Meles is wasting hundreds of millions of dollars on an industry that is on the brink of obsolescence.

Even the mainly self financed huge dams on the Omo River basin and the construction of another huge dam in the Blue Nile gorge are very problematic. Other than the poor choice of dam cites in places that are unstable and also susceptible to plate movements along major geological fault lines like that of the Great Rift Valley, there is also the socio-political possible conflict with neighboring countries. I am not suggesting that Ethiopia’s development ambition should be subjected to the approval of neighboring countries. However, I suggest a far more effective diplomatic approach than the bulldozing policy of Meles Zenawi. Millions of Ethiopians seem to be caught up in the dam building euphoria. Such important development programs ought to be done with cool mind rather than turning the whole processes into a public political fanfare. By politicizing development projects, Ethiopians pay dearly in terms of poor planning, inappropriate technology, corruption and waste. At any rate, construction of dams, roads, factories, schools, et cetera is not prima facie evidence of patriotism or care for people, brutal colonialists in our recent past, and ancient conquerors/conquistadores have done that in far more impressive magnitude than what Meles Zenawi is credited for doing.

IV. My Concern Dealing with Education

Whether we like it or not Ethiopia’s perennial problem cannot find any long term solution without totally revamping the education system of the country. Meles Zenawi has destroyed Ethiopia’s education system to such extent that there is nothing to be salvaged. We may have to think in terms of starting to restructure the system of education in Ethiopia form scratch. The emphasis on academics focused on training students for white-collar type work had severely limited the creative and dynamism of Ethiopian school graduates. The emphasis should have been on mathematics and the sciences starting from grade schools, and in vocational training high schools and beyond. At the completion of high school there may be instituted a national service program of two years of field service and training of all Ethiopians graduating from high school or on attaining the age of majority i.e., eighteen years.

True, many universities and private colleges have sprouted all over Ethiopia in the last fifteen years. I would give credit to Meles Zenawi for the construction aspect of such multitude of universities and colleges. However, I have been informed by reliable educators from several of such universities and colleges about the acute shortage of qualified professors, lack of teaching material (textbooks, academic journals, fully equipped labs et cetera). Moreover boarding/dormitories and cafeteria services are absolutely dismal or none existing. It seems education in Ethiopia is not given the type of serious consideration that it deserves. Most such colleges and universities ought to be considered as high school facilities rather than universities and colleges, and as such would serve the population better with their limited resources. In other words, the Government has constructed major buildings that can only be seen as façades and not real higher education institutions. Ethiopians in the Diaspora could turn around things on this subject by providing educational material to schools.

The amount of money budgeted and expended for education in Ethiopia is quite limited considering the fact that the base condition is highly underdeveloped and underfunded. Taking into account the degree of underdevelopment, the 5.5% of GDP allocation of expenditure for education is very low indeed. After all Ethiopia is ranked as 174th out of 194 countries in its HDI. This is not an encouraging sign at all. [See "Education spending (% of GDP) by country," United Nations Human Development Programme, 2011, http://www.NationMaster.com/graph/edu_edu_spe-education-spending-of-gdp.] I believe that the Ethiopian Government should increase its funding of education ten-fold. The Ethiopian Government focus need be foremost on the development of a) primary schools and b) elementary schools; and in its secondary phase the development of c) high schools and vocational institutions. It is absolutely useless to focus on building universities and colleges if the students graduating from high school and coming into colleges and universities have been attending substandard elementary and high schools.

The number of scholarship students from Ethiopia attending Western universities is very small, in absolute numbers insignificant. Problems of quality of education, different system of education et cetera play also a role in depressing the number of students sponsored by Ethiopian Government scholarship in Western universities. The Ethiopian Government Ministry of Education maybe overwhelmed with the magnitude of the problem of education in Ethiopia. Maybe independent agencies should be created to share the burden of providing extensive and quality education to Ethiopian students. Religious organizations such as the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, Ethiopian Muslims et cetera should step up their education programs by providing secular instructions in the sciences, art et cetera in addition to their core subjects in their respective religions. Some form of subsidy both to religious schools and to privet educational institutions should be provided by the Ethiopian Government. Community based education institutions are key in teaching the young develop into responsible citizens, thus special effort must be exerted to that end by the Ethiopian Government. There are several millionaires and even billionaires in Ethiopia now, thus such people should establish non-profit organizations to fund schools as well.

Conclusion

I am not playing in a political sand-box by engaging my fellow Ethiopians with my essays. This is serious business for me. I have no desire to participate in some form of maieutic or pedagogy. I would not have been engaged in this form of writing activity if it does not lead to a meaningful resolution of the current political and economic impasse (deadlock). For example, I am promoting my science based conviction that ownership of land is in the nature of human beings, and any watered-down right like “lease” or mere “possessory” right will not do. Just because I write on issues that infuriate some readers, readers whose reactions at times could only be described as schizoid, it does not mean that I am a sadist and a sucker for punishment. I suffer the indignation of the foul language of unscrupulous individuals who make light of my serious effort and those of others.

I believe that my effort and the efforts of other Ethiopians have impact and might give hope and inspiration to many. My suffering of bruised ego is nothing compared to the heroic deeds of the likes of Eskinder Nega, Andualem Arage and many other brave men and women of Ethiopia. And I demand that Meles Zenawi free those courageous Ethiopians he has incarcerated under horrible conditions.

I wonder at times what happened to all that hoopla about setting up a new leadership for EPRDF to replace the old generation of leaders including Meles Zenawi? That was the reason trumpeted by Meles Zenawi when he retired or pushed out the veteran leaders of the TPLF from office a couple of years ago. Here he is now entrenching himself in power and consolidating his position as if he intends to stay forever as Prime Minister. I ask Meles Zenawi do the honorable thing by falling on his sword and end the nightmarish world he created in Ethiopia. To some of my readers, it might seem that I am “preaching to the choir” in identifying the three key focus points in order to deal with the problematic leadership of Meles Zenawi. Nevertheless, as a first step on the way to solve such monumental problems, one could start by acknowledging the fact that land ownership in fee simple is the key for economic growth and for political democratization and lasting stability. There are some innovative ideas in my approach that I believe would be fresh starting points for our struggle to preserve Ethiopia. God Bless Ethiopia and Ethiopians.Ω

Tecola W. Hagos
Washington DC

  1. astra
    | #1

    A very good article Tecola. I hope Meles “will fall on his sword” after reading this. TPLF is a cancer imposed by the ‘barrel of the gun’ on the Ethiopian people. It should be carefully carved out and removed by bold surgery, never to show its ugly head again – even in Tigre Province on whose people’s behalf it says it is ruling.

  2. Samuel
    | #2

    “If some of our ancestors owned large tract of land and passed it down to their children, that is the result of their hard labor, pioneering spirit, great courage, and endless battles and wars they fought in forging the nation of Ethiopia out of chaotic, wild, and primitive conditions. Some of the vast land owners from Emperor Haile Selassie’s generation, for example, such as Ras Abebe Aregai, were some of the legendary patriots of Ethiopia who fought against the Italians for the independence of Ethiopia. Such holdings can be considered as proper payment for service rendered to the nation. If there was a problem of distribution of land, it has to do with the size/amount and not with the basic right of owning land in fee simple/reast.”

    I din’t expect that after 40 years of the struggle, I would read such revisionist theory on Feudalism. Tecola Hagos has the audacity to call farmers, serfs and peasants as “chaotic, wild, and primitive “. Tigreans are far more dangerous and chavinistic than the rest of Ethiopians. Shame on us.

  3. Samuel
    | #3

    Tecola,

    Your ship that you worked for and shaped in the early years of the occupation of Menelik palace by TPLF is sinking. No amount of propaganda wrapped in a form of solution is going to save it. From all your articles that we have been gleaning from time to time, we have been able to discern your contempt for the Oromo people. That is how you were brought up and we do not expect anything different. You do not know the fire burning in every true Oromo at this time. Your buddies may be preparing for another genocide as you are trying to suffocate the media world with antimely articles.

  4. Tesfahun
    | #4

    “Every single Ethiopian is equally dear to me irrespective of religious orientation, ethnic origin, culture, social status et cetera like a field of flowers. This should not come as a surprise to anybody, for all of my writing reflect just that.”. Really? How about your insult on “Mehal Sefari” and Atse Tewodros while glorifying your king yohannes? Wasn’t it b/c of their ethnic origin?

  5. Daisy Price
    | #5

    I find this article by Tecola Hagos very much like a love letter to Ethiopia. His criticism of the leadership of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi is appropriate because it is based on concrete factual matters that may pause clear dangers to the integrity and sovereignty of Ethiopia. I know Tecola very well for the last sixteen years. Tecola is a passionate writer with superb knowledge of Ethiopian history, philosophy, political science, and litrature. He relates such Ethiopian history with philosophical and political insights, and provides his readers with superb analysis and wisdom. I hope his vision and great love for Ethiopia bear some good fruits. Thank you Tecola for your hard work and abiding faith in the greatness of your country.
    Daisy Price

  6. Daisy Price
    | #6

    I find this article by Tecola Hagos very much like a love letter to Ethiopia. His criticism of the leadership of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi is appropriate because it is based on concrete factual matters that may pose clear dangers to the integrity and sovereignty of Ethiopia. I know Tecola very well for the last sixteen years. Tecola is a passionate writer with superb knowledge of Ethiopian history, philosophy, political science, and literature. He relates such Ethiopian history with philosophical and political insights, and provides his readers with superb analysis and wisdom. I hope his vision and great love for Ethiopia bear some good fruits. Thank you Tecola for your hard work and abiding faith in the greatness of your country.

  7. Sam
    | #7

    “As far as I can see, wrote Techola, all liberation fronts and ethnic based political organizations in Ethiopia are primitive and destructive.” I agree without reservation, Sir. The problem I have with Meles and company is why not they admit indeed ethnic politics is the politics of the retarded. To lecture for twenty years — without counting the time TPLF spent in the countryside to dislodge Derg from power– Ethiopia would be prosperous if Geday speaks for the Tigres, Amare for Amharas, and Gemuchu for Oromos might have made sense some two hundred years ago. Right now, please. One has to be devoid of any brain cells functioning to believe in ethnic politics, or the only way to govern, they believe our leaders of today, is by dividing Ethiopians based on ethnicity. I was back home some years ago. I spent a good time with one of my friends. He is Gurage, I always had known him to be Gurage– I thought he was. How is the Gurage politics? I inquired.
    “What do you mean?” he shot back.
    I mean do Gurages found ethnic politics to their liking, I persisted ?
    “Had not been you around lately?” he asked.
    You could say that, I responded.
    “That says it all my dear. There are Gurages and there are Sultes. I tell you what, he said, you could find more differences between Sultes and Gurages today than you find between Iranians and Israelis.”
    That single statment enlighted me more about Ethiopian ethnic politics than any other I heard and read before.

  8. Dawi
    | #8

    Prof. Tecola said:

    [[One must understand the motive why Meles Zenawi and his supporters and some political organizations are opposing secured land ownership by individuals. For Meles, it is the one powerful way to control the population. For political organizations, it is a divisive agenda in preparation for future secession of “their” piece of land from the larger geographic area of Ethiopia. It is a very cynical and dubious position of the elites of such ethnic organizations. In both cases, the individual Ethiopian citizen is dispossessed and often squashed. The lack of respect of private property will lead to the lack of respect of individual rights culminating in the abuses and other violations of both democratic and civil rights. We must take the ownership of land as a very serious matter, for it is a primordial instinctive attribute of Man the animal. Denying such rights is contrary to human nature or propensity.]]

    I understand how one can be attached to land, it is not that hard. Here in the States we’re all trained to be attached to our properties. As Prof. Tecola mentioned the attachment with land is similar to attaching oneself to cash money, we want to hold on to it and don’t want it to depart from our sweet hands.

    In recent meeting of City Hall in Addis, Reporter Magazine mentioned how one guy said, Ethiopians don’t play around when it comes to their “land & wives”. :-) I suppose that was true – say, before Derg nationalized land but not anymore.

    Another guy in that same meeting corrected the man by saying “marriage (Tedar) & possession (Nebret) ” is the new term buddy! not “wife & land” which is way old fashioned. Everyone laughed.

    My negative experience with land started when I listened to a native American college instructor speaking on a Thanks Giving day at a college get together a long time ago. She was talking of how the white man took her ancestors land & what she has left now is the Indian reservations that exist all over the US today. It was a depressing speech for me to say the least until she qualified her talk by turning around & staring at us few black students in the audience and telling us that but, the black man was brought in to this country without his choice. That made me green a little. I guess because I have nothing to do with her land.

    She said she has nothing against us blacks. She was literally sobbing while making this speech and I will never forget her face.

    The gist of the story is, land possession/obsession has made folks all over the world crazy for thousands of years.

    As you probably know, I support the lease made to karaturi & Saudi Star and any body else who wants to do farming for that matter. I would like to see us, as net exporters of all food for a change by any means ASAP. That is my dream.

    On the other hand, I can envision those local kids who will grow up healthy, educated and bright using the tax base of the leased land in a couple of decades questioning their parents about the land they grew up on. Who owns it Dad?

    I am glad their land is not taken by force or sold to white/brown men but, leased by the Meles Dictatorial Government to fund their educationa and all. They will also learn that the Lease Agreement can be canceled today if need be with proper compensation to the developers. I can imagine seeing the smile in their face. Won’t you?

    Taking the same line of thought, Kumsa & co. in the meeting Tecola was talking about on Youtube, may have not done a good job in answering their “Marxist/Lenist” theory on land issue but I was satisfied with the logic of their thought.

    We know today Warren-Buffett-and-Bill-gates are giving all their possessions back to the needy here in the US & else where. That will not be necessary in Ethiopia for the rich to accumulate land holding like cash and contemplate in giving it back to the poor. It will just be an exercise in futility & thanks god the land lease law has saved them the sweat & pain.

  9. Girum
    | #9

    I really appreciate Teckola in that he has the aspiration, audacity and wisdom to confront truth.
    That is what makes me impressed by this man. When we transcend well above the issues of the fashionable stereotypical party politics, when we become more human and when we become more of ourselves in our own identity as an Ethiopian and when we talk in our own languages and in our own ways of tradition then there is such an ample opportunity that we come very nearer to truth.
    From the recent writings of Teckola what I understand is that he is some how hovering around truth and also he is gravitating to truth. I do not want to be a hair splitting merciless fanatic to judge him in black and white thinking. We have to know that we have the duty and responsibility to help peoples to be good to be themselves and to come to truth in their own ways of their own life experience. Some of us are just trying so hard to deviate from truth in that we want to label others as bad as possible so that, in a way that, it fits our own self-centered self-fulfilling prophecy. When Teckola is talking about Ras Abebe Aregay and other similar NEFTEGNAS and the associated land ownership i am so honest and straightforward to understand what he wants to say. I do not understand why you dear Samuel wanted to twist his ideas in a way that fits your own perverted mentality and self-centered self-fulfilling prophecy ? What is any reason for Teckola, a guy living in US, to invoke feudalism back in 21st century? Actually there is modern feudalism in a different form. Yes Teckola is speaking in our own languages the way we can understand ourselves as an Ethiopian. Indeed he is not talking or hyping or shouting about the fashionable bogus word called Democracy, the catch-phrase of our modern intellectuals, like a parrot and I some how understand why he is not doing this. And I really respect and enjoy such intellectuals who speak in our own tradition in our own ways the way we can understand as an Ethiopian than those who reiterate stereotypical words like DEMOCRACY, DICTATOR based on shallow analysis.
    The last historical tragic blood shed ,RED TERROR, that took place in Ethiopia following the fall of the last Emperor is very evident in that its main cause was due lack of communication and understand of our conflicts and misunderstandings in our own language as an Ethiopian. Ethiopian intellectuals really need exploring themselves in that they need to talk our own Ethiopian language and methodology to explore and figure out our own internal misunderstandings and conflicts in our own way rather than simply hyping foreign and unfamiliar words like DEMOCRACY, DICTATOR,HUMAN-RIGHTS etc. Let’s interpret and decode such foreign ideals in to our own Ethiopiawinet culture and life styles. We need such dynamic and farsighted intellectuals like Teckola who serve as an interface between the civilized world ideals and our own Ethiopiwinet, and also between the naïve and gullible intellectual and the rest of ordinary majority mass in Ethiopia. I am hearing some encouraging ideas and emotions from this guy that he really loves his identity as an Ethiopian and it is this sort of good news that I aspire to hear from so many Ethiopian intellectuals like Teckola.We have to accept and admit our identity and integrity as an Ethiopian before we go far a head to talk about foreign and unfamiliar words like DEMOCRACY.
    Democracy and other i foreign ideals have to be rooted or implanted on the essential and vital foundation of unshakable meaning and purpose of Ethiopiawinet and Ethiopia. We can not develop something new on what we are not already having it as an our identity. If any of those intellectuals like Samuel who want to deny the significant role of our forefathers like Ras Abebe Aregay or others before him for their contribution for the creation and foundation of today’s Ethiopia go and read history books of the world before you make fantasy and indulgence in hyping the word Democracy. The very essence of Teckolas idea regarding mentioning Ras Abebe Aregay is not to invoke same sort of previous style of feudalistic land grabbing in today’s Ethiopia. No matter how much they can be mistaken and do bad things, but we can not deny our forefather’s role for their tremendous contribution for the creation and foundation of today’s Ethiopia and the more we want to rationalize and idealize to ridicule and deny their role then the more we deny and ridicule ourselves. Whenever we fail to build something new on their foundation it has become our tradition to resort to demonizing them. Those rulers in the past and even Derg did not deny land ownership for Ethiopians the way Ato Meles is doing now. The very sentiment of Ato Meles regarding land ownership and also allegation of Ethiopians as terrorists, when deep, deep inside investigated down to the earth, it is the psychological manifestation of his deep-rooted hatred and disregard for Ethiopians and Ethiopiawinet. If you deny some one a certain land ownership, as Teckola mentioned it, then you deny his/her citizenship of that certain country he claims and believes he/she belongs to. And to the contrary Ato Meles is leasing a large strip of fertile land for foreigners without the permission of Ethiopians. What is the motive of this and what sort of message it conveys? For me it is something like insidiously dehumanizing, denying and decoupling Ethiopians from Ethiopiawinet and Ethiopia. All the time the unprecedented grace Ato Meles wants to get enthroned is, something that is to be achieved at the opportunity cost of disgracing and dehumanizing the rest of Ethiopians out side of his affiliates. I wish him to be a good Ethiopian guy who has the required respect and love for Ethiopiawinet Ethiopia and Ethiopians. When I say all this I may be mistaken but I am just expressing what I am feeling based on things on the ground. As Teckola said it ask Ethiopians what they really feel about their Ethiopiawinet and Ethiopia? Do they feel disgrace or grace? Emotions are one of the instinctive subconscious and inherent attributes of human beings and we have to listen and honor our feelings. And hence what Ethiopians really feel about the governance of Ato Meles? Ato Meles and his supporters may try to present any rational ideals to defend their merits but the environment does not smell like that and we feel something strange and bizarre thing. Some tall buildings here and there and some bizarre and strange life styles here there can not as such conceal this strange uncomfortable ghost we feel it as insane or bad that is hovering around the nation. The majority ordinary uneducated peoples may get confused to figure it out and say it in clear political or economic terminologies but they are really confused and overwhelmed by some sort of this strange ghost hovering over the nation. And I dare to say that Ato Meles is even feeling it though not the way the rest feels it. Any way Ethiopia, Ethiopiawinet and Ethiopians, although so terribly challenged, by the mercy and blessing of Almighty God, shall not perish and shall revive even from the dust bins and shall glorify again.
    Finally I want to express by deepest appreciation for Teckola for his insightful articles.
    God bless Ethiopia!!!

  10. aha!
    | #10

    Thank for coming to the realization that Ethiopia’s problem are due to divisive constitution, but failed to enunciate those ideologies built into the constitution are ethnic fereralism, secessionism and totaliarinism. These ideologies emanated from the liberation movements spearheaded by TPLF/eprdf regime agaist oppression of nations and nationalities with Marxisist ideology. The coalition of these factions have been ruling the country as the teletafi (ethnic fedralist) parties and loyalist (ethnic federalist) opposition parties, never the less disgruntled about the election. Kinijit (CUD) failed to take over power in a peaceful transition through the ballot box in 2005 and latter in 2010 as KAUP, as the case was the same for Tigrai-Harena/Medrel/fdd/fdre in 2010, where KAEUP and others maintained the national agenda, while Tigrai-Harena/fdd/fdre consolidated the ethnic-agenda, taking with it UDJP with the objectives for democracy, human rights and justice.

    Your realization of divisive constitution is well taken, but not framed/diected to ethnic fereralism, secessionism and totaliarinism.and your conclusion by suggesting replacing Meles and veteran members would have been better nor the coalition created after 2005 as Tigrai-Harena/Medrek/fdd/fdre and now as OPDF/EDUF?fdre, a mirror image of TPLF/eprdf, will retain the divisive constitution as you put it, but perhaps be moderate in its perhaps majority ethnic rule, keeping ethnic feralism, secessionism in tact with regard to human right violiolations, in which the constitution does not give precedence to individual freedom,liberty and equality to supeced ethnic and secessinst right, to retore Ethiopian nationalism, Ethiopian National intersts and the sovereignity of Ethiopia and resort to the previous provincial boundries as the solutions to problems caused by divisive constitution as you rightly put it.

  11. aha!
    | #11

    Dawi you you are carried away by the author’s mix up private owenreship of a real estate with ethnic fereralism, a division of Ethiopian land mass of seven out of eighty ethnic groups, which understably a prelude to secession upto self-determination, and also a prelude to boundry disputes as well as a divide and rule policy of governance, different from the original from the previous political boundries of the provinces/states as federated states. The real estate apect of private ownership is a reflection of the totalitarian aspect of the ideology carried over from the Derg regime and its own marxisist inclinations including private ownership of land and telecommunication systems, as exercised in North America and Western Europe, with the exception of exploitation, political and economic strangle hold of the country and its silent majority by TPLF and TPLF affiliated enterprises and cadres, as well as lately of land availability in the form dirt chep lease to foreign corpoations contributing to the degradation of pristine land resources and land away from the inhabitants, which you are enthused about as being in favor of the masses. The way I look at it a true capitalistic and democratic government should allocate land for conservation and prservation for public good in a prestine condition, not to distribute the and mass of Ethiopia into seven major ethnic groups or put land mass of Ethiopia under totalitarianism and yet make land and capital available to TPLF and TPLF affiliated enterprises and land to foreign corporations. No regimes in the past exappropriated land to foreign corporations except as government venture in deloping land for cash crops and sisal plantations.

    In a capitalistic and democratic countries land and construction of houses and buildings have the major sources for accummulating wealth in the form of private financing and real estate transactions for transfer of ownership as on going business. I do not see both of your thoughts directed in this direction.

  12. gragn Ahmed
    | #12

    It is good religous agenda is on agenda. Education, science and technology is okay. But what has wrong with all my respect to this professor? Instead of showing us market economy is unitying force, why on ,,, did this guy forget democracy, individual rights, voting system as our best hope of unity? Why these all professors fear democracy? Is democracy danger to church of Ethiopia, I guess so because we will swip them out.

  13. Dawi
    | #13

    [[..Dawi you you are carried away by the author’s mix up private owenreship of a real estate with ethnic fereralism, a division of Ethiopian land mass of seven out of eighty ethnic groups, which understably a prelude to secession upto self-determination..]]

    Well, as we know Meles & Co. used the ethnic group path to come to power but, that can’t be their End-Game.

    As the Prof. pointed out today, the Meles Dictatorship has transformed its goals pointing to a United Ethiopia.

    [..Meles Zenawi has changed its trademark hatemongering against imagined enemies. He seems to have changed into the premier promoter of Ethiopian unity...]

    If there are those ethnic parties who are left behind and still stuck in a “prelude to secession” they will be absolutely left behind and end up disintegrating.

    A similar thing is taking place to the old OLF vs the new Gen. Kemal OLF & G7 in the opposition side as well. If you have listened to the VOA interview of the General, he has embraced the future Ethiopia with a great vision directly threatening/matching and challenging the Meles Dictatorship.

  14. gragn Ahmed
    | #14

    It is good religious issue is on agenda now even by this professor. Education, science and technology he says is essentialfor unity. But what has wrong with all this professor writes? He tried to show us market economy as unitying force, why on ,,, did this guy forget democracy, individual rights, voting system as our best hope for unity? Why these all professors fear democracy? Is democracy danger to church of Ethiopia, I guess so because we will swipe them out.lol.

    Any ways, before poiting to Meles your one index fingers, all diaspora scholars need to show us that:

    1. They apologize for doing nothing to address religious scars left by past leaders of Ethiopia including what Meles is doing to to divide the Ethiopian Muslim community using Lebanon based and importer Ah Bash cult. This cult promotes free interpretation of Quran with intent on making it suitable for investment and interest based Banking System and Movie industry formaking nude pictures. We also know that he divided the Church and or reformed it. Yet no academician dare speak the truth for fear of being labelled as agent of Arab.

    2. We have still the question of national question. What should Ethiopian official language be? If we opt Amharic Arabic for Muslims of Ethiopia as another dual official language would be helpful.

    3. Past ethnic crimes must be resolved.

    4. The Nation should openly apologize for its bloody past and the Church needs to admit it was part of it.

    5. The army should never enter the palace and people need to practice freedom of speech.

    6. All Scholars should take the blame for being cowards in not telling true story of Ethiopia but instead promoting fake unity.

    7. For labelling Ahmed Gragn an invader.

    In other words, we need to promote Ethiopia that unites us all where our stakes are to be equal.

    Writing essays is good, but we need a road map. Before the road map we need to create conditions to sit together. No body will be following theoretical suggestion or at least some of the things suggested above only will be implemented if somebody in power listens to.

    If he does not listen what should diaspora do? At least show and lead by example by honestly listening to our people’s need and come up with a better alternative than ethnic federalism.

    Just wishing Menelik era Ethiopia or Haileselassie time will only make us look unacceptable by the people. Ichallenge scholars to come with a plan that will make Meles change course or remove him through peaceful means by portraying him as the bad choice.

    We know how many people are suffering,and divided we are. This is recipe for failing.

    We need to show people that we need a better Ethiopia.

    Meles should be disarmed, UN should go in and monitor a referendum on being united versus cessation. This is our only hope to live together. The power should be largely left to the people.

    Yo do that we need to entertain new ideas.

  15. gragn Ahmed
    | #15

    It is good religious issue is on agenda now even by this professor. Education, science and technology he says is essential for unity. But what has wrong with all about what this professor writes? He tried to show us market economy as unitying force, why on ,,, did this guy forget democracy, individual rights, and /or voting system as our best hope for unity? Why these all Professors fear democracy? Is democracy danger to church of Ethiopia, I guess so because we will swipe them out.lol.

    Anyways, before pointing to Meles your one index fingers, all diaspora scholars need to show us that:

    1. They apologize for doing nothing to address religious scars left by past leaders of Ethiopia including what Meles is doing now to divide the Ethiopian Muslim community using Lebanon based and imported Ah Bash cult. This cult promotes free interpretation of Quran with intent on making it suitable for investment and interest based Banking System and Movie industry for making nude pictures.Yet no academician dare speak the truth for fear of being labelled as agent of Arab. We also know that he divided the Church and/ or reformed it. When will we stand for what we believe in? That is why Ethiopia has no role Models for World peace. Are we evan peace makers? What can we do to change that? Are we not people with vocabulary for peaceful existence? Instead of first expecting others to change why we not change ourselves?

    2. We have still the question of national question. What should Ethiopian official language be? If we opt Amharic and Arabic for Muslims of Ethiopia as another dual official language, how useful would it be

    3. Past ethnic crimes must be resolved.

    4. The Nation should openly apologize for its bloody past and the Church needs to admit it was part of it.

    5. The army should never enter the palace and people need to practice freedom of speech.

    6. All Scholars should take the blame for being cowards in not telling true story of Ethiopia but instead promoting fake unity.

    7. For labelling Ahmed Gragn an invader.

    In other words, we need to promote Ethiopia that unites us all where our stakes are to be equal.

    Writing essays is good, but we need a road map. Before the road map we need to create conditions to sit together. No body will be following theoretical suggestion or at least some of the things suggested above only will be implemented if somebody in power listens to.

    If he does not listen what should diaspora do? At least show and lead by example by honestly listening to our people’s need and come up with a better alternative than ethnic federalism.

    Just wishing Menelik era Ethiopia or Haileselassie time will only make us look unacceptable by the people. Ichallenge scholars to come with a plan that will make Meles change course or remove him through peaceful means by portraying him as the bad choice.

    We know how many people are suffering,and divided we are. This is recipe for failing.

    We need to show people that we need a better Ethiopia.

    Meles should be disarmed, UN should go in and monitor a referendum on being united versus cessation. This is our only hope to live together. The power should be largely left to the people.

    To do that we need to entertain new ideas.

    I can see that most of our diaspora scholars have not gone beyond their own ethnic background and interest. Open up and see how people respond to it.

    Finally, I note one at least spelling error. I also noted how deep this professor is hurt by insulting words used primarily by self haters. Indeed, we Ethiopian Muslims are hurt by insulting words that you and all others used to charcterize our heros and our people. I still could not find especially why Amara culture promotes such insulting culture beyond acceptance levels in any web site I could visit. I think we need to hunt those down and give them a lesson.

    I came here for sole purpose of teaching you guys how to behave as human beings. The psuchology of my people has been compromised through the abusive words and mischaracterization from coptic people.

    I hope you guys learn how to live by decent mode of conduct. We are not civilized people at all.

  16. Dawi
    | #16

    aha!:

    On another note:

    [[..as exercised in North America and Western Europe, with the exception of exploitation, political and economic strangle hold of the country..]]

    Despite the hype of Democracies the history is full of Democracies that ruled and even at present are conducted by “exploitation” and other discriminatory ways.

    Starting from the 1st Democracy of Athens which was based on thousands of slaves and the USA was a segregated society just 30-40 years ago by design of government policies etc.

    Off course India today has a Caste system which is a known hidden apartheid.

    So if you find discrepancies in the Meles Dictatorship or other Developmental State authoritarian governments, it is not designed by policy or that just Dictator Meles “loves”/prefers it as such but the price he is paying for the ethnic path Woyane took to come to power. As Meles has/is consolidating power the discrepancies are being eliminated piece by piece. That I think is a positive thing.

    I have said it several times regarding the Land Lease issue in the past. If as you say it is given away with a very cheap price, it has to be because no one else is willing to pay more for it. It is remote with no roads and infrastructure what so ever.

    All countries make all kind of concessions including giving away valuable resources for little or no money to attract FDI.

    If you see the history of Oil producing countries like Venezuela that is what you find. At the beginning those who had the CASH MONEY (usually the West) and the know how are in charge and made the rules.

    As they say, “What is the golden rule?” The answer is those who have the gold rule!. : – )

    You see- things change afterwords however; You re-negotiate the leases as Venezuela did; as a matter of fact they nationalized the oil industry all together.

    For us taking over our land back by triggering one of the clauses in the Land Lease agreement is gong to be legal and much less difficult task.

  17. Musse
    | #17

    Dawi. I am with u under ther cover of developemntal state we will make the jewish state of tigray. The ethnic apartheid thing is bloosoming very well. As long as we advance the tigre welfare agenda things will move fine. so the meles developmental state is a sexy thing. Lol.

  18. aha!
    | #18

    Meles has given you a divisisive constitution and that constitution is supported by the teletafi (ethnic feredralist) parties and the loyalist opposition parties, now posing as OPDF/eduf/fdre, a mirror image of TPLF/eprdf. What Dawi does not understand both the leadership and ethnic fedralism, secessionism have to go to come up with a constitution with individual freedom, liberty and equality to supercede ethnic and secessionist rights, much like the democratic countries in North America and Western Europe. Do you have any problem with that?

  19. ጉረኞች
    | #19

    Dawi
    In the other thread (you chose to quit) I outlined for you what experts identified unfixable traits of dictators such as woyane’s midget Meles. One of the reasons are the mdiget is too old now, he can’t learn new tricks anymore.He has been in power of leadership since the TPLF formation, if not all the time– most of the time as a dictator, close to 40 years. What we witnessed over the years is a venomous man who hated Ethiopia and Ethiopians and did everything he can to undermine the interest of Ethiopia. So comparing the woyane’s midget meles with Venuzela’s Chavez is comparing apples and oranges. Chavez is nationalist, populist, and stood up to western powers. Contrary to Chavez, Meles is not nationalist, not populist, and shamefully a known as* kisser of western government. The midget has rationalized and attempted to convince Ethiopians renting a port is cheap and great thing to do than owning a port. The midget is the one who agreed to unconditionally abide to colonialist treaty that were written against the interest of Ethiopia and not ratified by any of the past governments. The midget is the one who has been begging and borrowing $$ on behalf of starved poor and waste resources with out addressing poverty. The midget is the one who is exposed for illicit money that was borrowed and donated for development. Your argument to extend the lifeline of the brutal dictator and justify it by citing others who showed their ability of protecting their national interest and led their country in the path of development is simply bogus. It doesn’t work in case of the midget meles, he is not capable. ዝም ብልሕ የሞኝ አታካራ አታድርገው:: Sometimes use your intellect, you can do better than that!!! Tecola again is hallucinating. You can easily see the man has lost his mind when he tried to convince himself with what he is watching in ETV without verifying it from other sources. I’m surprised why he didn’t mention the ETV propaganda how democracy is flourishing in Ethiopia.

  20. Tecola W. Hagos
    | #20

    I am writing this short note in the hope of focusing your attention back to the main points of my article. I read in some of the responses a distinct railroading, or side winding, or obstructionist cherry picking. However, individuals such as Girum and Dawi have clearly understood the scope and reach of my article, even though Dawi seems to be using some phrases and sentences out of context to promote the very idea I am criticizing i.e., the leadership of Meles Zenawi. In case of Girum, I am very happy that he has expounded my points far more clearly than I did. I appreciate also Astra, my mercurial critic, for his stated open mindedness in his comment.

    The focus of my article has nothing to do with religious conflicts in Ethiopia, or revisionist interpretation of Ethiopian history. In my article, I simply pointed out three areas for current discussion in a limited scope. My main focus is the ownership of property including land, the revision or abrogation of the Constitution, and the problematic grandiose projects of Meles Zenawi. The issues dealing with democratic and human rights are the substratum of the three points. Most of all, I urge you to read the article carefully before you write any comments. For example, observe the statements of Samuel, Gragn Ahmed, ጉረኞች and others making false accusations about what I did not write. For example, whether I like a particular leader or not, or appreciate or discount a particular political group cannot be equated or used to measure my patriotism or love of Ethiopia. To do so would be to commit a fallacy of composition. Most of all, I urge such individuals to think prudently and critically before writing. Let us focus on the issues I brought to your attention in this particular article, other issues will be dealt with another time. I thank all of You for taking time to responde to my article no matter what you wrote. And in time you will have no need to use assumed names in sharing your views with fellow Ethiopians, I hope.
    Tecola W. Hagos

  21. Dawi
    | #21

    ጉረኞች says:

    [[In the other thread (you chose to quit) I outlined for you what experts identified unfixable traits of dictators … woyane’s midget meles with Venuzela’s Chavez is comparing apples and oranges. … Meles is not nationalist, not populist, and shamefully a known as* kisser of western government… convince Ethiopians renting a port is cheap and great thing to do than owning a port…]]

    The thread of “unfixable traits” wasn’t written for folks like Meles, I don’t think, because he is always work in progress. Did you read his latest write up “Rethinking Development Strategies” on Joseph E. Stiglitz latest book? The guy is in the frontier of Developmental State issue particularly on Africa.

    Meles is not a typical nationalist but he is a realist. Ethiopia’s history is full of nationalists and patriots. We have no shortage of that; what we lack is someone who is cool headed to make the country focus on development by gearing the patriotic advantage towards development as in the Renaissance Dam. It took a lot of work for him and his group to be able to get to this point.

    Our history of fighting for independence has shaped us to be most of the time hard headed fellows. Since Isayas is the hard headed one, I presume Meles knew he couldn’t work with him in one government so it was either to continue the war or let EPLF go. Isayas had as much responsibility for separating Eritrea as Meles/Woyane because he could have demanded to stay but he didn’t.

    Directing Ethiopia from continuously fighting and defending it self against enemies towards focusing her on a Developmental path is a big challenge and that is still a work in progress. I think Meles has contributed towards that by balancing the fighting with settling; other players should do same.

    Meles Dictatorship’s diplomatic achievement speaks for itself. It has to be the envy of others.

    His stand on the Port albeit being wrong was also intended to deflate the ego of his cousin Eritrean Separatists. It has done a good job on that front.

    The Port issue needs to be resolved peacefully. My proposal is for G7 to convince EPLF do similar as the new OLF of General Kemal. In other words, for Isayas to call for the old Federation with Ethiopia back. We know EPLF was forced out of the union. Isayas having the guts to bring the federation is a different question. I don’t think Meles would have any problem with that. He will be forced to sit down with G7/OLF/EPLF and talk.

    On Venezuelan oil what happened was at the beginning the Oil companies had to invest a lot of money for exploration and production so for the country & the Gomez government the choice was to stay a banana republic or take the FDI. They chose to take the FDI. Meles had a similar choice; Lease the Land or stay as a haven for western voyeurs. The next government can play Gomez in Ethiopia.

    I quoted Prof. Tecola’s observation of the latest craze of Meles’s Ethiopian Nationalism. As a “Melesite” I may have taken it out context. Sorry! :-)

  22. Dawi
    | #22

    aha! says:

    [[..both the leadership and ethnic fedralism, secessionism have to go...to come up with a . constitution with individual freedom, liberty and equality .. like the democratic countries in North America and Western Europe. Do you have any problem with that?...]]

    Recent historical experience showed us when China & USSR faced crises to reform communist systems, Soviets chose political liberalization, China went with economic freedom and didn’t need to consult others. Gorbachev with endless “democratic” negotiations ended up becoming extinct.

    “individual freedom, liberty and equality” have a positive effect on later rates of economic progress as in the Asian Tigers.. Richer, more educated and more equal countries are more likely to be democratic.

    For poor countries authoritarian systems increases the rate of economic developments. So in a way dictatorship is a short cut to a democratic system. By Meles embracing “Developmental State” as a transition to democracy and if opposition embrace same with some negotiations we will be set in accelerated pace to the “wonderland”.

  23. aha!
    | #23

    The ideology of individual freedom, liberty and equality to supecede ethnic and secessionist rights has to be looked in the Ethiopian context of ethnic fedralism, secessionism and totalirianism that ethiopians need to dismantle to reach that end point. To that effect, your campaign on the removal og the prime minister and its cronies is partial and incomplete leaving the constitution in tact for majority and or/or a combination of bicameral ethnic rule, which does not allow for capitalism and democracy to be exercised and a prelude to secessionism still prevalent unless the the teletafi and the loyalist opposition parties make a 360 degrees turn around and ratify the constitution of ethnic fedralism, secessionism and totaliarinism and totaliarinism and the ethnic secessionists go along with the ratification of the constitution. Having achieved the ratification of the constitution in terms of individual freedom, liberty and equality to supercede ethnic and secessionist rights is the only way forward to a true democratic government free of of ethnic and secessionist politics and/or policies, where if the individual rights are respected the goup rights are respected as in any democratic and capitalistic society, because the individual is the basic unit of a democratic and capitalistic society, society, living in the original provinces as fedrated states of Ethiopia.

    Then and there, the country is ready to handle, the release of all political prisoners, bring the previous leaders to justice, with independent judiciary, and the release of the journalists based on the denial of press freedom as in article 29 under the pre-text of anti-terrorist law, and restructuring the security forces, the federal police forces and the military interms of national agenda to protect the unity, territorial integrity, sovereignity of Ethiopia and Ethiopians, rather than the party apparatus, as well the exploitation, political and economic strangle hold of the country and its resources by TPLF and TPLF affiliated enterprises and foreign corporations in terms of land lease for the same reasons. The condemnation of the prime minister and old veterans is not enough.

  24. ጉረኞች
    | #24

    Dawi, it is so pathetic that you want us to believe just because you said that the midget dictator is holier than other kinds of dictators, everything is fine. You are out of arguments. Under his watch only this year 12 millions Ethiopians have been starved. All independent studies, other than the governments own statistics and lenders statistics, indicated that Ethiopia is at the bottom of all countries by all economic indicators. Even if you are in love of dictators the midget meles should be the last choice as he has proved himself in the last 20 years he contributed the most to misery of Ethiopians. It is just like wearing a single pair of pants for the last 20 years—it will wore out and show the two bottoms wide to the public through the holes. No matter what you do there is nothing you can hide, I leave it as that.
    The other like Girum who wants to convince us that democratic systems are foreign to Ethiopians and not our culture, he failed to show us what alternatives he proposes, either to keep the midget dictator or other system unique to Ethiopian culture that none of know. First, I would like to remind him that democracy is not entirely culture it is also a tool that society uses to bring relatively a just and fair society. No other systems has been proved to be just and fair like democratic society that the west are enjoying it now. It is fool hardy to fight against using this tool anywhere else in the world. Last but not least, please do not rely in ETV propaganda machine to tell us there is improvement in Ethiopia. That is simply absurd!!

  25. Haile Gabrriel
    | #25

    Tekola Hagos,Hailing from Tigray, Ethiopia, well educated, long years of work experience as an Ethiopian Civil Servant, lawyer, and Professor has expressed his views about Meles and the Future of Ethiopia very well.
    I am sure many well meaning and honest Ethiopians will support you in your efforts to change the existing situation and bring justice, equality, good governance and prosperity for the people of Ethiopia.
    Bless you and the peoples of Ethiopia!

  26. Haile Gabrriel
    | #26

    Tekola Hagos, Well done this time!

  27. Berihu
    | #27

    I would NOT say well done to Professor Tecola W. Hagos because 90% of his writing is very “narrow nationalist” and teaches intolerance and fanaticism while residing in the United States of America. I mentioned USA because although it is a country where people express their ideas freely it is also a country where the rights of citizens are respected and there are no Bantu-like citizen classifications. Or, to use Tecola Hagoses emotive term: “Peripheral Americans vs Core Americans”. It is interesting to note that in the 60s Hailesilassie I university was a breeding ground for very arrogant upper class intellectual aristocrats on the one hand and leftists and extremely intolerant radicals on the other hand, the latter of which flooded the Ethiopian political scene after the demise of the Emperor. We have seen the end result: bloodshed. Universities were supposed to be centers of free exchange of ideas, tolerance of differing views and liberalism. Sad to say that HSU university produced the likes of professor Tecola Hagos, perhaps a best example of the upper class intellectual aristocrats class who despises sharing the same name Ethiopia with what he calls Bantus (a very offensive derogatory tone as Tecola uses it..and of course he has purposefully meant to be like that). Professor Tecola has gone to the extent of explicit racial/tribal enumeration of what he calls the core ethiopian and (to use his words directly) peripheral and bantu ethiopians. While this offends and alienates a significant section of the Ethiopian population, the merit of such assertion is difficult to surmise, not least from a supposedly well learned professor. It is now academic that even the so-called part of the Core Ethiopian or the very-core Ethiopians (dubbed Mehal Sefaris or Shoan Amharas , to use the professors terminology once again) have not be spared from the indsicriminate, spiteful, hateful and venominuous attacks by Tecola Hagos which is directed at their very identity. Perhaps the definition of a very narrow nationalist fits the likes of Professor Tecola Hagos very well. We have the British National Party as an example which asserts that u can not become British by sexual intercourse (to alienate the interracial citizens of Britain). BUT, how far are many of us lurking around this forum free from the profound individualism of the feudal culture where the other creature possessing thicker lip and darker skin and speaking distorted Amharic has to be despised and if needs be killed like what Meles did to the Agnuak? What kind of Ethiopia do we want to have? The extremely intolerant view produces first and second class citizens which is the center of assertion of the school of taught expounded ad infinitum under the cover of historical heritage, the legacy of independence, affiliation with Jewish dynasty, etc. It is being regurgitated again and again while the intention is simple and apparent; keep the old empire status-quo at any cost.

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