Ethiopia: Copyrights and CopyCrimes By Alemayehu G Mariam

January 23rd, 2012 Print Print Email Email

Crimes Against the Mind

If a person were to maliciously burn or vandalize another’s house, it would be regarded as a serious property crime under the laws of any nation. If one were to walk into a bookstore and steal thousands of books and give them away to any passerby, that would also be a major property crime. How about taking a copyrighted book, scanning it and making it available to anyone in digital form online? Is that a serious criminal act? Is it also an immoral and depraved act?

Is it fair?

When a publisher, author or artist produces a book, a piece of music, a painting or other similar work, s/he is creating intellectual property which is as valuable as any other kind of property recognized by law. Just as doctors, lawyers, engineers and others make a living by practicing their professions, those in the literary, artistic and publishing communities make their living from marketing their intellectual creations. But the total disrespect and contempt shown by some individuals to the intellectual property rights of Ethiopian musicians, artists and authors is downright sickening and maddening.

Today, the music of the legendary Ethiopian artists, including Tilahun Gessesse, Mahmoud Ahmed, Bizunesh Bekele, Alemayehu Eshete, Kiros Alemayehu, Kassa Tessema, Ketema Makonnen, Asnaketch Worku, Mary Armede, Hirut Bekele, Ali Birra, Aster Aweke, Kuku Sebsebie, Muluken Melesse, Teodros “Teddy Afro” Kassahun, Shambel Belayneh and so many others, are illegally and casually stored online and made freely available. The artists receive no payments and their work is distributed without their permission and often to the financial benefit (selling ads on websites, subscriptions, etc.) of the music pirates. The individuals who store the music illegally and those who download them illegally work together to not only impoverish these great artists but also destroy their creative potential and ability to enrich the culture.

Crimes Against the Press

This contemptible culture of online piracy passed another shameful milestone recently when an entire book was scanned and posted on the internet in clear violation of international and national copyright laws. The book in question was the recently published memoir of former Ethiopian junta leader Mengistu Hailemariam. The website that scanned and posted the book online justified its action as follows:

Mass murderer and brutal dictator Mengsitu Haile Mariam (exiled in Harare, Zimbabwe) has written a 500+ pages book that has been published by Tsehai Publisher of Los Angeles. This mass murderer has not yet atoned or paid for his horrendous crimes and the mass killings of the Red Terror. He now hopes to benefit from the sale of his book of lies. We strongly feel that this criminal should be tried before a court of law and should be hindered from benefitting from his crime. Thus, we have published the book in PDF and we are posting it for free usage of all interested readers.

The website operators defended their illegal copying and posting by claiming that they had a right to do so under American law:

Our action is protected by Son of Sam Law in the USA which prohibits criminals from profiting from their crimes by selling their stories to publishers. Accessories to such actions are also included in the prohibition and in certain cases the law can be extended beyond the criminal to include friends, neighbors and family members of the lawbreaker. Denying the holocaust is a crime in many countries and Mengistu denies firmly the Red Terror and the mass murders. Concerned Ethiopians are studying the possibility of a law suit against Mengistu and his LA based publisher who may also be a target of boycott by all Ethiopians. Assisting and helping mass murderers to profit from their crimes by publishing their book of lies is a crime by itself.

The illegal posting is allegedly motivated by the desire to prevent Mengistu from getting a “benefit from the sale of his book”, despite the fact that posting the digital copy of the book will give wider dissemination of what they described as a “book of lies”. Ironically, by posting the book online for all to read, the copyright infringers more likely gave great credibility to Mengistu’s claims about them than actually discrediting him. But the real target of the vengeance is the publisher, Tsehai Publishers, and not Mengistu. The copyright violators’ twisted message is simple: If they do not like the message of an author, they will retaliate by scanning and posting the author’s book online and bankrupt the publisher.

One can disagree deeply with Mengistu and the facts or lies contained in his memoir. Having read the book, I am critical of the accuracy and selective recollection of many of his “facts”; and disagree with his attempt to avoid personal and regime accountability for his gross violations of human rights. But that is the way of all dictators. They always try to tell their stories in heroic terms and attempt to justify their crimes as patriotic acts. Although I disagree with Mengistu on numerous “facts” and unreservedly condemn his human rights record, I will be the first one to stand up and defend his right to write a book and publish it, even if it is all lies. To be sure, I defend Mengistu’s right to express himself just as vigorously as I defended the free speech rights of his successor Meles Zenawi when he spoke at Columbia University in September 2010. Why shouldn’t these two dictators be allowed to express themselves? Who is afraid of their “facts”, “lies”, ideas or opinions? Don’t the people have the right to hear these dictators and make their own judgment?

Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights provides: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” “Everyone” includes dictators and human rights violators. It is the moral duty of those of us who are committed to freedom, democracy and human rights to expose the lies, fabrications and brutality of dictators at every opportunity. By suppressing the views of the dictators, we not only undermine our own moral legitimacy against their lies but also prove to the world that we are indeed their clones. “If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all.”

Those who posted Mengistu’s book online are absolutely wrong on the law. The so-called “Son of Sam Law” they tout as authority for posting the book online was adopted in the State of New York in 1983 to prevent convicted criminals from selling their stories to publishers and profiting from the notoriety of their crimes. That law was declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1991. New York adopted a narrowly tailored law in 2001 requiring, among other things, victim notification whenever a person convicted of a crime receives a certain amount of money. A similar law in California was struck down by that state’s highest court in 2002. Under federal law (18 U.S.C. § 3681 (2000) [Special Forfeiture of Collateral Profits of Crime]), the U.S. attorney may seek a federal court order authorizing “forfeiture of all or any part of proceeds from a contract relating to a depiction of such crime in a movie, book, newspaper, magazine, radio or television production…” There is no law in the United States that gives private parties the right to become “Special Prosecutors” to catch “mass murderers” who “profit from their crimes by publishing their book of lies” online, or violate the copyright of publishers in the name of preventing “mass murderers” from profiting. As a matter of law, no state or federal court has personal jurisdiction over Mengistu to deprive him of any “profits” he may get from the sale of the book. Even if such jurisdiction could be had, Mengistu would still be entitled to full due process of law before any court orders denial of proceeds from the sale of his book. Yes, dictators are also entitled to full due process before there are deprived of life, liberty and property.

Crimes Against Copyright Laws

The illegal posting of Mengistu’s memoir is not about lies, truths or criminals profiting from their crimes. It is about criminal infringement of copyrights. Since 1886, the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works “Berne Convention”, see Art. 2) has been in place to protect literary and artistic works. Under 17 U.S.C. §506 (a )(1 )(B), “Any person who willfully infringes a copyright shall be punished as provided under section 2319 of title 18, if the infringement was committed… (B) by the reproduction or distribution, including by electronic means, during any 180–day period, of 1 or more copies or phonorecords of 1 or more copyrighted works, which have a total retail value of more than $1,000.”

The whole idea in copyright law is to give the creator of an original work exclusive intellectual property rights for a specified amount of time, which in the U.S. is the lifetime of the author plus 70 years. During this period, the owner of a copyright has the exclusive right to reproduce, distribute, perform, display, license, and prepare derivative works based on the copyrighted work. Under the “fair use” rule, others may make limited use of the material for critical reviews of a work or for news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research.

Crimes Against Culture

I suspect there may be some who are not familiar with Tsehai Publishers and the young man who has toiled so hard for so many years to create a publishing outlet to Ethiopian, African and other academics dedicated to scholarship on Ethiopia and the continent in general. Elias Wondimu started Tsehai Publishers in 1998. His aim was to create an institution that will “provide a venue for writers whose works may otherwise go unpublished.” Through these efforts, Elias hopes to achieve our goals of fostering intercultural dialogue and social justice.

Elias has an extraordinary and unrivalled record in seeking to enhance Ethiopian culture. He came to the U.S. in September 1994 to participate in the 12th International Ethiopian Studies Conference held at Michigan State University. Shortly thereafter, he began service as an editor for Ethiopian Review magazine, which appeared in print form until 2000. After closing out the print version of the magazine,

href=””>he dedicated his time towards the establishing Tsehai Publishers, which is named in memory of his mother who died in Ethiopia in 1997. Over the past decade, Tsehai publishers, now based at Loyola Marymount University, has made available nearly 60 scholarly and literary works on a variety of topics, the vast majority of them concerned with Ethiopian and African affairs. The publications cover the entire political cross-section without partisanship and censorship.

Among the dozens of original scholarship and reprints of some classic works on Ethiopian and African history, politics, anthropology, sociology, economics, religion and culture include: Tradition & Change in Ethiopia (2010), Feudalism and Modernization in Ethiopia (2006), Wit and Wisdom of Ethiopia (1999), Enough with Famines in Ethiopia (2006), The Survival of Ethiopian Independence (2004), A Political History of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (2010), A History of the Beta Israel (Falasha) (2010), Protestant & Catholic Missions in Orthodox Ethiopia (2007), Life and Culture in the Townships of Cape Town (2007), AIDS Orphans and their Grandparents (2006), Wax and Gold (2005), Civil Wars and Revolution in the Sudan (2005), Ethiopia in Wartime (2004). A complete list is available here.

In 2004, Tsehai Publishers established The International Journal of Ethiopian Studies (IJES), currently available on JSTOR, the international online system for archiving academic journals. A number of Ethiopian academics and scholars including myself and professors Maimire Mennasemay, Worku Negash and Alula Pankhurst have served as senior editors. IJES is an interdisciplinary, refereed journal which is published twice a year and dedicated to scholarly research relevant to or informed by the Ethiopian experience. IJES publishes articles in English and Amharic. The Journal’s mission statement explains that

IJES will, for the first time, provide Ethiopian scholars with an Ethiopian venue for reflecting seriously on Ethiopian issues from a scholarly perspective… One of the deepest obstacles to African (including Ethiopian) progress towards democracy and economic prosperity is the peculiar situation of Africans being reduced to an object of knowledge by contemporary social science. The absence of Africans, including Ethiopians, as self-examining, self-evaluating, self-defining, and self-propelling subjects of history [has resulted in our] total dependence on external (European and American) definitions, interpretations, explanations, evaluations of who we are and what our problems and their solutions are.”

Tsehai Publishers has also organized a number of number of national conferences covering a wide range of issues and topics and sponsored a film festival for young filmmakers. The list of Elias’ contributions to the intellectual life of the Ethiopian, African and international communities is significant and much appreciated.

Those of us who take great pride in what Elias has accomplished could be faulted for speaking very highly of him. Perhaps others who have looked at his efforts could offer a more objective assessment. Prof. Wendy Belcher of Princeton University writes:

Elias is doing something unusual and important. There are very few publishers from the African continent, and, in the U.S., there are [only] a handful which are run by Africans and are publishing African texts. For an Ethiopian to have a press is more appropriate than almost any other nationality. They’ve had a written language going back 3,000 years and have long been in the business of printing and preserving the written word. He’s in a long, honorable line.”

Such is the contribution of Elias and Tsehai Publishers to the preservation, conservation and glorification of Ethiopian and African history and culture. Those who illegally copied and posted the book are not attacking the author of the book, but Elias and Tsehai Publishers. Their crimes are against the very essence of Ethiopian and African culture and those scholars and authors who spend years researching their works. All Ethiopians and Africans are victims of this cowardly crime.

It is important to know that Elias has brought great honor and pride to all Ethiopians. In 2007, he was named Ambassador for Peace by the Universal Peace Federation and the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace to help establish lines of dialogue between African scholars, poets, historians, academics, aesthetes, journalists and scholars. In 2008, he was profiled in the inaugural edition of Who’s Who in Black Los Angeles along with such distinguished individuals as Steve Wonder, Tavis Smiley, Kobe Bryant, Isaiah Washington and Dr. Maulana Karenga. He was also profiled in a special edition of the LA Weekly as one the leading independent presses in Los Angeles. He has been interviewed on the Voice of America, National Public Radio, Deutsche Welle Radio, SBS Australia and other media on various cultural topics.

Let’s Right a CopyWrong: A Special Plea to All Ethiopians and Others Who Value a Free Press

This past week, the U.S. Congress considered two laws aimed at the type of copyright crime committed against Tsehai Publishers. The Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act (“PIPA”) would have allowed the U.S. Attorney General to require domain name registries to “suspend operation of, and lock, the domain name” of a website “dedicated to infringing activity.” The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) would have expanded the ability of U.S. law enforcement to fight online trafficking in copyrighted intellectual property. While lawmakers wrestle with the issues, we can all do our part to support, protect and preserve a unique and irreplaceable institution in the Ethiopian/African Diaspora. Above all, we should defend the right to press freedom and free speech against not only dictators who shutter newspapers and close down publishing houses but also those who use copyright blackmail and the threat of financial bankruptcy against publishers.

Let us do the right thing!

Those who have downloaded the book in digital or print form aware or unaware of the criminality of the act should delete it permanently from your computers and discard the printed version.

Those who have read the book online should have the courage of their convictions to contact Tsehai Publishers pay what is justly due at the link here.

Most importantly, we all need to show moral outrage by speaking out against such copyright criminality and moral courage by doing our part to support Tsehai Publishers for it is a treasure we cannot afford to lose.

Let us make our donations in any amount we can by pressing on this link.

On a personal note, I ask those who have followed my weekly commentaries and essays over the past six years to help me help Tsehai Publishers. I believe in Tsehai Publishers and fully support the efforts of Elias Wondimu and his associates who have toiled for years to make a gift of light (Tsehai) to all of us. It is a simple choice we face: We can do nothing and let darkness overwhelm our history, culture and future. Or we can do something and keep the sun shining brightly on Ethiopia, Africa and beyond!

Would you please help me help Tsehai Publishers? Please donate by pressing here. Any amount will do. THANKS….

  1. astra
    | #1

    Alemayehu has gone beyond the pale now.Maybe Mengistu is his “hero” or even Hitler was(by implication.) Does he think that Mengistu deserves to profit from his crimes? Does he really believe that people would die a “second death” by BUYING and READING Mengistu’s NEFARIOUS LIES? Alemayehu is the classic case of “awekish; awekish; siluuat- msehaf atebech” His is knowledge has reached a new low of going down toground zero. Please do not dig deeper below the ground; there will be a danger of rotting. If you want to help the publisher, share him your money. Unlike you he clearly knows the risk he was taking while publishing the lies of the greatest mass murderers of the 20th Century.

  2. David
    | #2

    It is about time that someone respected as you are and a legal mind as that raise this issue of copyright. It has been taken very lightly by the diaspora business people and has never been considered as a serious crime. People have made illicit money by publishing other peole’s intellectual work without permission. Not only that they do it online but we also know that Ethiopian stores sell CDs and DVDs copied without permission. Most of us just go ahead and buy these products without any complaint or without realizing that we are participating in a crime. We should learn to refuse to buy such items and insist on being offered the originals only for sale.

    Your article would have been better presented its case, IMO,had it started its arguments with Elias Wondimu and goes on to the other most common and brazen crimes of illegal copying, distributing and stealing of not yet released and not yet finalized copies of songs such as Teddy Afro’s ‘Fiorinna’.

  3. Asegid
    | #3

    It is a continuation and latest manifestation of EPRP’s destructive, arbitrary, anarchist, adventurist and despicable role for anything Ethiopian. It is also a tribute to EPRP’s leadership and lumpen killer squad who are equally responsible as Colonel Mengistu for the crime against Ethiopians and primarily for the killings of hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians youth and elites on the streets of urban centers in Ethiopia.

    It is about time that the EPRP leadership account for the crimes they also commited and the continuation of their criminal behaviour. Needless to say they have continued in the divisive politics of the opposition to the Woyane rule. It should also be noted that most former EPRP cadres are currently colluding with TPLF/Woyane in the looting of the wealth and resources of Ethiopia. So we should help Tsehai Publisher to file complaint in the courts against the EPRP leaderships for this unlawful act.

  4. weygud
    | #4

    I had no idea that our artists songs are being used without any payment to these legendary singers. Ato Al. Mariam, even though I am glad that you brought this attention to us, my main concern is really not about Mengistu’s book but the artists. Why is it now that is being brought attention to us about the artists not receiving a penny and making their songs available for free! How shameful is tthis when these artists are sick and dying because they don’t have the money to go to hospital and they are impoverished. Who is responsible for this? I hope it is not the diaspora. How is it that the artists new or old for example Tamagne is not making this public? These artists should get together and sue for copyright violations. It is so sad that you brought this issue only when Mengistu’s book was published on line. I guess the artists are/were not important. Our indifference is staggering. Very sad. As for Mengistu’s book, and if it is to attack the Tsehai Publisher then we should go after these people. I am sure it is TPLF’s work. You see while we are asleep these evil are really coordinated to destroy us. They are so organized that they preemtive strike. I guess it will take us 30 years to coordinate ourselves to protect Ethiopia and Ethiopians. I hope something can be done about the artists song being violated. Let me guess, I am sure it is Shaebia and TPLF who are doing this. Any Ethiopians are not supposed to their god given right make money because of their hard work. I think there was one website that they had all of the songs of these artists and it was Shaebia’s Website. Are we Ethiopian/the Diaspora are we that lame that we can’t even protect the artists? Very sad fact. Ethiopia and Ethiopians are crying from left and right and yet, we are not organized we are not coordinated. I think it is time to start door to door activism.

    Those who published the book online should have the decency to talk to Tsehay Pubisher first and how it will affect the Publisher of course, if it is those who hate Mengistu and not Ethiopia/. AS of TPLF and Shaebia, of course they don’t care what happens to any ethiopian.

  5. Ayeeeeegoode!
    | #5

    With all do respect, I disagree with one of the most people I admire the most when it comes to the other evil-minded Mengestu. I hate to see Patriotic Ethiopian artists and publishers ripped off, but when it comes to mass murderers like Mengestu, Meles and Issayas, they can go to HELL in handbasket. A criminal that has slaughtered countless number of innocent people, as young as 14, 15 year old kids, should never be allowed to profit from a book he justified murdering millions of people. Coldblooded Killers and looters are always the biggest liars– the heartless killer machine Mengestu doesn’t know what truth means even if somebody poke his eyes out. I may be naive, but in my opinion Free Speech should have its limits when it comes to tyrants like Mengestu and Meles that will never tell the truth. One shouldn’t expect to hear the truth from Evil demented subhumans.

  6. astra
    | #6

    where was the “bleeding heart” Alemayehu before the mass -murderer Mengistu wrote his book? He knows that he is mixing apples and oranges, and using the cover of pirated songs.

  7. Ittu Aba Farda
    | #7

    Obo Al Mariam:

    I am glad to see that you are also in league with me about the right of the public to buy and read any book that is published with full provisions of copyrights. That dictator whose hands are drenched with the blood of thousands of innocents individuals also retains the same right to write about any subject he likes as long he is alive and if his writings are not intended to incite terrorism. For one reason or another he has escaped justice and he may not have his day in court at all. His victims and their surviving loved ones may not see him face judges for the crimes he committed at all either. That said, he is free to say anything he wants and can write books as he pleases. In this case, I think the publisher made one critical mistake(Innocent mistake). He should forewarn the public a year or two in advance that a book is in the offing written by the former dictator himself. And he should have been prepared for such vile action as copyrights infringement. In this internet age, nothing is off-limits to these offensive miscreants. If the publisher has any affinity with this ruthless dictator, that is also his inalienable right to do so. But I am not sure about that and it does not matter to me at all. The publisher should set the price not on a get-rich-quick scheme but at the price which sell the book fast with lower profit margin. I assume the book is a two-color print except may be the cover on a low opacity uncoated paper. I just saw it on Tsehai website it looks to have a hard cover. But the price it selling for is too high when it sells the much more valuable and scholarly book as International Journal of Ethiopian Studies for $25.00. That price range opens itself wide open for pirating. It should also try to diversify its catalog by including more books written by Ethiopian authors present and past. That said, this publisher should come out and say something about this book in lights of this piracy and tell us if he needs any assistance. From I am reading on its website, this ‘literacy terrorist’ is trying to convince families of the victims of Mengistu to go to court. The publisher should be prepared for that also. We are living in a sue-happy environment and litigation ‘gendarmes’. I am willing and ready to help but I want to hear it from the publisher himself.

  8. enough with banda meles
    | #8

    Let us not loose focus from the today’s destructive mass murderer meles, enemy of the Ethiopian people and the land.
    Professor Al.Mariam, I liked you very much for standing behind our people defending the victims/illegally imprisoned. What ever went in your head, you really need to repent. This terribly wrongful opinion is not expected from you. May be from undercover blood sucker meles’s puppets who pretend to be part of the freedom loving Ethiopians.

    As far as EPRP, I have been a bit disappointed with their slow movement, But I will always have respect for their contribution in the struggle against woyane. And unbiased stance in protecting the interst and rights of the Ethiopian people. what they did against fascist mengistu and the naive or profit monger( at any cost) I care less. Aterf by agudy.

  9. weygud
    | #9

    I slept over regarding the above article. Al Mariam understands really what democracy means. I was thinking how much tolerance we have for the hated such as Mengistu? When I say tolerance in terms of having the patience to determine what goes on in the minds of criminals such as Mengistu. That is why the West is always successful in every actions they do. Let us say he published the book, for us Ethiopians we have two advantages: one, the ability to determine his thoughts, if there is any evidence found in his writings that might bring some solutions and identifying what had happened under his rule, the ability to implicate him in his writings in order to defend himself. Of course we are not that naive enough to believe his defence and that may be the reason he is writing the book. However, we must be able to identify what message /secret he is sending so that we are prepared not to repeat any mistake. I am beginning to think these days from reading various sources, dictators are not alone when they commit crimes and therefore, what lessons can we find from his books to protect Ethiopia and Ethiopians? We Ethiopians whether we are educated abroad or not, we still have not learned politics, what it means to have democracy, what tolerance means, what observations and awareness we must take. So Ato Al I agree with you. However it is such sad fact the abuse of copyright only became known now and not before.


    Above said it all. We Ethiopians have such lack of communication, not blaming the publisher but in general that we only come out after the fact rather than communicating with professional Ethiopians. Of course majority Ethio professionals want to keep themselves without getting involved as if the existance of Ethiopia will be there once they search for it.

    Regarding the artists:

    I am also surprised that no empowerment of the artists have been made even among those who are now in the diaspora are aware of such things. There should be artist association to protect their right and to encourage them to continue their professions if that is the path they want to lead.

    Empower Ethiopia!

  10. Zenaab
    | #10

    It is wrong to steal some one’s copy right whoever did it including if it was Iyasu Alemayehu who did it although i see no proof of it. But make no mistake Mengistu earned a lot of enemies including my self whom i hated and was revulsed at throughout my young age when he was a leader of that gangster group of bad-tempered and kantankrous military men called the derg. But make no mistake EPRP fought tyranny in that dark age. It is the pioner of the struggle which we still are making: against tyranny. We are still under the vice of tyrrany. EPRP opposed the elite military officers naked dictatorship and fascisim in that dark age. But also make no mistake i equally hated and was equally revulsed by the arbitrary murder that the eprp took out in the streets of ethiopia. The leadership was very brutal but its cause was sacred: bring power to the people. Now this extreme fascist mengistu who wrote his fascistic book which is nothing but a pack of lies after lies to defend his fascistic action and shows no remorse for his barabric and murdurous deeds. Mengistu is a first hand criminal who should be brought to justice. It should be part of the struggle for democracy by the ethiopian people to bring this villain and indeed all other villains including former EPRP members who master-minded the murder terrors in ethiopia and the present contemporary woyane fascists including meles zenawei who is yet to answer a genocide charge. They should face justice. We must not rub shoulders with criminals and fascists. How are they different from woyane? It should be part of our struggle to bring these people to justice for their extra judicial killings. we want to hear mengistu speak in an independent court such as the Hague and speak the truth and defend himself rather than hatch blanket of lies in a book.

  11. Deg Aregu
    | #11

    As one of countless Ethipians who has lost family members because of the so called Red Terror, I say that whoever did this was right. As for disseminating the book of lies, this des not get more credibility just because it has been spread wide and for everyone to see.

    For fascistic elements waiting in the wings and undercver this sends a message, crime does not pay and the Ethiopian people have learnt from the past.

    As for the author of this article, your law has no heart in it, therefore it is an empty husk devoid of humanity.

  12. ዳኛው ሕዝብ እንጂ ጥቂት ግለቦች አይገባም
    | #12

    ወንጀል በመስራት ማመንና የሕዝብን ዳኝነት አለመሻት ያረጀ ያፈጀ አብሮ የሚሞት ጸባይ ነው
    ድሮም በምርጫ አያምኑም ሕዝብንም ወክለው አያውቁም
    የሚደንቅ ሳይሆን የሚጠበቅ ነው

  13. She is Ethiopia
    | #13

    Without a single doubt, I think a copyright protection law is clearly violated by the party who made a copy of the book available online for free.

    To hurt Mengistu let alone making his book available online, I will do everything I could without following the due process of law. For example, if I could, I would slowly barbecue him alive in front of his kids because at times an eye for two eyes makes things right.

    Al Mariam, please give me a break!!!

  14. ዳኛው ሕዝብ እንጂ ጥቂት ግለቦች አይገባም
    | #14

    ጎበዝ የሆነ መንግስቱ ክጻፈው ውስጥ ስህተቱን ለሕዝብ ማሳወቅ ነው

  15. Ittu Aba Farda
    | #15

    Dear Zenaab:

    You hit it right on the nose. This blood-soaked former dictator should belong to the slammer (Since I am a staunch opponent of the death penalty) until he dies. Also, those who passed the death penalty on individuals who they think were collaborators with this ruthless killer should also face justice. Human life is always human life. It should not be taken away without an open and fair trial. I know this will make a lot of people involved during that carnage period very angry and will start tongue-lashing at me and people like you. Who do they think they are to pass a judgment on human lives without being given a mandate by the people? My heart starts to bleed when I think about those wonderful and educated intellectuals who I knew in the late 60′s and 70′s here in the USA and Middle East. They responded to the calls they received from their misguided ‘leaders’ to walk right into the snare of this blood thirsty thug and they all died in the most horrible ways to no avail our people have never seen before. Both MEISONE and EPRP should see this as their mistakes and bear secondary responsibilities. As well-read leaders, they should have taken lessons which were there right in their backyards both in the Sudan and Egypt. But the responsibility for the demise (in most horrible ways) rests at the first degree on Mengistu and his inner circle henchmen. To me, anyone who killed should answer to an open and fair court of law. Both those opposition parties should have been well prepared for such onslaught. What do you expect from a thug who possesses unquenchable thirst for power? Now when I make this statement, I am gonna hear outbursts of mudslinging from people who are fanatically associated with them. I will not be surprised or even offended by it. Mengistu had not right to take away human lives and neither these two parties. Period. I had mourned(and still do) the deaths of those young countrymen who died at the hands of this thug. May They Rest In Peace!!!! Similar crimes were committed by the Eritrean and Tigrean liberation fronts. They have killed those who they thought had different opinions. I had discussed this with some countrymen here in the USA before. Some of them were overtaken by emotions and anger at me. I still remember how they stared at me with raging and blood-shot eyes. You see that is the problem. Such fanatics have been able to take full ownership platform that should belong to the public. They shoot you down with all kinds of name-calling and mudslinging. Then if they do that on a day you are in a mood to fight, then we both lose. And that is what they want. If they cannot keep the platform for themselves, then nobody will. This is a predicament which has remained stuck in our throats like a sharp chicken bone and should be taken out peacefully in a democratic process. Let’s raise our audience consciousness with our open discussions. We have done enough injustice in this regard by being pre-occupied with name calling. Mengistu should be encouraged to keep writing. EPRP, MEISON and many other organizations should be urged to come up with similar books and let’s be given the right/privilege to read them. To think we the people are stupid is nothing less than being arrogant. I don’t want to read about our history from books written by Markakis, Ottaway or any other foreigner. Such books usually have elements of sensation. But we have no choice. Some former part members such as Kiflu Tadesse had written books about their former parties. I have both books written by this gentleman. You and I can talk a lot for days on end about things mentioned in both books. I mean a lot. I would like to hear from the horse’s mouth too, both EPRP and MIESON. This Mengistu’s book should give us material to talk a lot about things he mentions in the books. And that is healthy to me. This way our rights to read are protected, both yours and mine included. What is wrong with that? May Allah help us in this regards and He Shall. The Almighty is forever the Omnipotent. He Had Done It For The People of South America (Even Venezuela), Taiwan, The Philippines, Malaysia, South Korea, Benin, Ghana, Spain, Portugal and on and on..I can go all day long. Do our people not deserve the same fresh air? Our Creator had taken the oomph out of those dictators in just a few weeks. He has unmatched power to do that. It is a very touching matter to me. May The Almighty Help Us and Save Our People!!!!

  16. ዋቆ
    | #16

    ማሞ ሌላ መታዎቂያው ሌላ:
    ፕሮፌሰር አልማርያም ከጣራ በላይ የሄዱ ይመስላል:: የህግ ባለሙያ ሆነው እያለ የወንጀለኞች ገድል በኮፒ ራይት ህግ ይጠበቅላቸው ማለት ትርጉሙ አይገባኝም:: መንግስቱ ከ66 ንጹሃን ሚኒስትሮች ጀምሮ ንጉሰ ነገስቱንና የኦርቶዶክስ ፓትርያርኩን ያለምንም ፍርድ ደማቸውን በማፍሰስ ተነስቶ በመቶ ሺዎች የሚቆጠሩ እንቡጥ ኢትዮጵያውያንን እንደጎመን ያለርህራሄ የከተፈ በሀገራችን ታሪክ ከርሱ በፊት ከነበሩ መሪዎች በጭካኔው ተወዳዳሪ የማይገኝለት አረመኔ ነው:: መንግስቱ የስንቱን እናት ማቅ ያለበሰና ስንቱን ያለልጅ ያስቀረ ሰውም እግዚአብሔርም ይቅር የማይለው ጭራቅ ነው:: መንግስቱ በህግ የሚፈለግ ወንጀለኛ እንጅ በነጻነት ተንቀሳቅሶ ሊነግድ ሊበረግድና ትርፍ ሊያጋብስ የሚፈቀድለት ሰላማዊ ዜጋ አይደለም:: በጃፓን ሀገር ከአስራ ስድስት አመት በፊት የሳሪን ጋስ ጥቃት በሳብ ወይ ባቡር ላይ በማድረስ ለ12 ሰላማዊ ዜጎች ሞትና ለብዙ መቶዎች ጉዳት መድረስ ተጠርጣሪ የሆኑ የኦኡም ሺሪንክዮ አመራሮች የተያዙት ተይዘው ያመለጡት የት እንዳሉ ካለማሳዎቃቸው በላይ ይልቁንም በዚህ ወር ከተያዙት ከአራቱ ተጠርጣሪዎች ሁለቱ ራሳቸውን ለመደበቅ ሲባል የፊት ቀዶ ጥገና በስውር በማካሄድ ራሳቸውን ለውጠው ተደብቀው ሲኖሩ ተደርሶባቸዋል:: በመሰረቱ ወንጀለኛ ራሱን በደበቅ እንጅ በይፋ ቃለ መጠይቅ ማድረግና ይባስ ብሎ በሰራው ሃጢአት ትርፍ እና ዝና ሊያግበሰብስ መሻት ይቅር ሊባል አይገባውም:: ይህ ሁኔታ ያለው አንድምታ ወንጀለኞችን እንዳይጸጸቱና ማን ይነካናል ብለው እንዲኮፈሱ ያበረታታል:: የአልማርያም ያዙኝ ልቀቁኝ ማለት ከሞራልም ሆነ ሀግ አኳያ ተቀባይነት ያለው አይደለም:: ማንም ይሁን ማንም ወንጀለኛ ከሆነ በወንጀሉ ተገቢውን ፍትህ ለመቀበል ራሱን ሳያዘጋጅ የህግ ከለላ ሊያገኝ አይችልም:: በኒውዮር የንግድ ማዕከል ጥቃት እጁ አለበት የተባለው ቢን ላድን ለራሱ ቀርቶ በእንግድነት ለተቀበለችው አፍጋኒስታንና መንግስቷ ከመወረርና ከመደብደብ የህግ ጠለላ አላገኘችም:: እንዲያውም ህግ ካለ የወንጀለኞችን ገበያ የሚያካሂድና ለወንጀለኞች አፈቀላጤ ሙያ ላይ የተሰማራው አሳታሚ ድርጅት በወንጀል መፈለግና ለፍትህ መቅረብ ነበረበት:: የአፍጋኒስታኑ የሙላህ ኡመር : የሱዳኑ አልበሽር መንግስት ወይም አሜሪካዊው አላውላኪ የተሰነዘረባቸው የቅጣት በትር ወንገለኛን በማስተናገዳቸው ወይም ከወንጄለኛ ጋር በመተባበራቸው ምክንያት ብቻ ነው:: ጸሀይ ማተሚያ ቤት የሙላህ ኡመርን ወይም የአላውላኪን መጽሀፍ ለማሳተም እንደማይደፍር ፕሮፌሰር አልማርያምም አጥተውት አይመስለኝም:: መዘዙ ብዙ ነውና:: የዲክታተር መንግስቱን መጽሃፍ ቢያንስ ከሰይጣናዊ ስራው እንዳያተርፍና በሞራል የዘቀጡ አሳታሚዎች ነን ባዮችም የዚህ ቆሻሻ ጥቅም ተካፋዮች እንዳይሆኑ ማዕቀብ ማድረግ በጣም ትንሹ ህዝባዊ ተቃውሞ ነው:: እንደኔ አመለካከት ከሆነ በተቻለው ሁሉ በህግ ፊት የሚቀርቡበትን ህጋዊ መንገድ መሻት ካልተቻለም በሀገራችን ህግ በሰፈነ ወቅት ለህግ የሚቀርቡበትን መርጃ ማጠናቀር የማንኛውም ፍትህ የተጠማ ዜጋ ግዴታ ነው:: መሬት ሲያረጅ መጠለም ያበቅላል እንደተባለው ሁሉ ምሁሩ አልማርያምን ምን ነካቸው:: የብዙ መቶ ሺዎችን ህይዎት በገንዘብ ተመኑት እንዴ? አይደለም መጽሀፉ ይህ አሸባሪ ወንጀለኛ እንደሙሶሎኒ ተዘቅዝቆ መሰቀል የሚገባው አረመኔ ነበር:: የት ላይ ነው የምሁሩ የህሊና ዳኝነት? የት ላይ ነው ፍትሕ? የርሳቸው ምናልባትም የመለኪያ ጓደኞች ኪሳራ ብቻ ነው አይናቸውን የጋረዳቸው? ሀገራችን አሁን ነው ሀዘን ቤት መቀመጥ ማቋን መልበስና የሀዘን እንጉርጉሮ ማሰማት ያለባት:: ምሁራን ልጆቿ የወንድማቸውንና የእህታቸውን ሬሳ በመጽሃፍ ዋጋ እየተመኑት ነውና! እነኝህ ምሁራን ናቸው እንግዲህ የህግ ባለሙያና ለሀገር ተቆርቋሪ ናቸው ብለን የምናሸረግድላቸው? ለመማርም እነ እንድሪያስ እሸቴ: ተቀዳ አለሙ: ወዘተርፈ ምሁራን አይደሉ የሚባሉት:: አንገት ለምን ተሰራ አዙሮ ለማየት ይባል እንጅ ዘመኑ ለራስና ኮፊያ መሸከሚያ ስላደረገው አይኑ በግራና ቀኝ እንደተከለለ ጋሪ ጎታች ፈረስ የተማረውም ያልተማረውም ወደ አንድ አቅጣጫ ብቻ ሆኗል የሚያየው:: በነዚህ ምሁራን የተመራ ትውልድስ እንዴት ያለ ትውልድ ይወጣው? ሀገሬን እግዚአብሔር ይርዳት!!!

  17. Anonymous
    | #17

    I wonder what the hundreds of thousands of Ethiopian fathers and mothers who have lost their children by the hands of tyrants Mengestu and Meles think about the book that is written by killers of their precious children?
    The despicable, coward, mad-man Mengestu shouldn’t be allowed to live and take a breath of fresh air everyday, that he denied millions of Ethiopians, let alone write a book that is full of lies, exaggeration, and false claims. Who needs to hear from a mentally disturbed man who was born with no conscience and has no Mercy for no one? Mengestu had brought our motherland to its knees, he has given Ethiopian parents the everlasting nightmares that will never go away. Mengestu had killed the highly qualified, the bravest and the brightest Ethiopian military men, Ethiopian businessmen, young and old University and High School students who could have been an asset to their motherland Ethiopia. Coward Mengestu packed up his bag, his children and that poor wife that is married to an evil man, fled with a few million Ethiopian Tax Payers money to live in luxury in another country and left Ethiopia in the hands of another coldblooded killer, tyrant Meles who is found to be worse than Mengestu himself. The last 38 years have been a never-ending horror for Ethiopians, no one thought another human being could be worse than Mengestu, but unfortunately, Ethiopians have ended up with another madman, heartless, merciless dictator Meles that hates the people and the country. Mengestu and Meles should be hanged in the middle of Merkato side by side for slaughtering unknown number of Ethiopians from East to West and from North to South, robbing the country, selling the country and for all the unspeakable horrific crimes and tortures they have committed on innocent Ethiopians.

  18. peace
    | #18


    The very inception of Marxism which was alien and imported is first and foremost is wrong thing. EPRP whose ideology is on the basis of Marixism and Leninism and still today wants to be significant to Ethiopian people. Those who adopted such idelogy, just research and find out in those countries. The very idea of Marxism and Leninism is to bring power of only few people, as in the TPLF today. We are still living this idelogoy even though the TPLF is claiming capitalist. We thought we learned a lot about this idelogy which seemingly to protect the worker is false. So that to rally behind the opressed this ideology have helped only the few. Research how many people died of starvation and torture in Russia. Russia lost a quarter of a million of her people under this ideology which benefited only the few. Of course this evil idelogy came to us through Derg and EPRP and you would think it is peaceful system. Well, we have experienced it didn’t we? EPRP and Derg also went on killing machine, did they not? So next time you are trying to adopt any outside ideology, research and find out first whether it benefited nations that practiced it.

    Whether we like it or not, Monarchies even though they are not perfect have been proven a stabilizing systems of course today it is considered archaic. Imagine if we had constituitonal monarchies countries would have been safe. Look around UK, Netherlands, Spain, etc who are under monarchies which have become the symbol of their nation and stabilizing systems although of course they don’t have as much power as they used to. So the bottom line? Let us becareful about this unrealistic and ideologies such as what TPLF, OLF, etc have that will and are causing havoc in Ethiopia. It is also unbelievable EPRP wants to become significant again after they have been the cause of Derg and TPLF.

  19. Abba Farda
    | #19

    Al Mariam did not care about the artists, until he found them useful for the defense of Mengistu. What a shame. Mengistu too uses everyone to advance his murderous politics. He even uses his family to promote his fascist book. His family should disavow him. That is what the people of Ethiopia expect from them.

    In away this is not about copyrights. It is not even about Mengistu. It is not about the EPRP. It is about Al Mariam. Upholding copyrights is a value. Standing against a dictator is a value. Values can clash, and you got to choose. Al Mariam’s choice is shameless. I am absolutly sure that almost all Ethiopians choose to stand with the victims of murderous Mengistu.

  20. Kebede
    | #20


    All monarchies are not born equal.
    Some monarchies are more human than others.

    The monarchy that left ethiopia in despicable poverty, the monarchy that kept ethiopians under the yoke of slavery to few land lords. The monarchy where the few belly-full feudals thrived while the rest were left to rot in abominable poverty. Oh sorry. I have no love for the monarchy. I hated it. My elder brothers fought against it and fought it gallantly. I wish i could retrieve some verses that displayed the anti monarch and anti feudalism popular emotion of of the time. That monarch thing is gone for food, without leaving any trace. It is history,period.

  21. Bright Hope
    | #21

    Well said!

    What EPRP needs is a very good Pychiatrist, not piracy of a legitmate book by the fine people from Tsehai Publisher.

    Dear EPRPians, please seek professional help to deal with the most traumatic experience you have experienced during the Red Terror campaign. Not only that you need to seek professional help to face your looming golden years without the feeling of overwhelming guilt and anger that you feel from not achieving your goal to democratize Ethiopia and, perhaps for putting Ethiopia through hell because of your youth full adventurous, delusional and revolutionary ideals.

    I am not sure who won? Is it Derg, EPRP, EPLF, or TPLF? We are all losers, sad but true.

  22. Anonymous
    | #22

    I wonder if it is the Kebede I knew that was brainwashed by evil demented Isayas. That Kebede used to hold the Bible on one hand and hate on the other. My friend, if it is that Kebede, you should know by now that, the two dictators that have come after HaileSelassie are the most inhumane cruel creatures Ethiopians have ever experienced with. Yes, HaileSelassie was not the greatest, but he did what he could with little he had without giving our seaport and sell Ethiopians land. By no means Haileselassie was not poor, but compare to Meles, and his TPLF leba puppets, the late HaileSelassie could be considered middle class. I’m totally against bringing back another Monarchy to Ethiopia, but if it were possible, I would send Evil Meles and the rest of TPLF looters back in the woods and take our lives back. The two heartless and hateful cousins–Esayas and Meles are the two worst creatures that happened to Ethiopia.

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