Ethiopia and Syria revisited. By Yilma Bekele

February 25th, 2012 Print Print Email Email

The Syrian regime is killing its own people to save the country from terrorists (Ashebari). The world is watching and keeping score. Thanks to social media such as Twitter and Facebook we are all witnessing this display of total madness safely from our home. The Missile attack on neighborhoods is televised in living color. The old Soviet tanks lined up outside towns are not defending the country from outsiders but rearing to rain death on their own people. It was only a few years back that such atrocity by dictators was not considered newsworthy. It is not because no one cared but rather because it was done behind closed borders. Things are different now. There is no place to hide.

The last year has been a very tumultuous year in our neighborhood. We have all witnessed the happenings in Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain and Syria. All these countries have imploded from inside. There was no outside interference so to speak of. There was no scapegoat. If you look closely there is one theme that is common to all. The existence of what is called a ‘strong leader’; ‘dictator’ or ‘mad person in charge’ is what is true in every instance. Change was overdue but dictatorship and change are not compatible. Dictatorship cannot be overcome by evolutionary means. Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Syria are living examples of the validity of that statement.

I am sure the citizens of all those countries would have preferred a peaceful route to bring needed change. I am also sure they for many years, have tried to convince their respective Leaders to accommodate their demands. The upheaval is the result of the inability of the system to fulfill the aspiration of the people. When the needs of the citizen and the wishes of the dictator clash the country enters a very volatile state that can only be resolved by some sort of explosion.

There are controlled explosions and spontaneous explosion. The transition from the Derg to TPLF was a good example of controlled explosion. The transition from the Emperor to the Derg was a very haphazard, creeping and tiring kind of wimpy explosion. The last one standing won. The one with balls but no brains was victorious. Result speaks louder than words.

Syria is entering or has entered that stage. This is the last show and the curtains are coming down. There will be no repeat performance. We all know how it is going to end. By ‘we’ I mean the rest of the world except of course the Syrian ruling lass. All Dictators have a tendency for getting caught by surprise. For some the denial is so strong they don’t even have an escape plan. That is what Gadaffi aide said in an interview. The Leader never thought his ‘people’ would be able to gather their nerves and rise up against him. Didn’t he crush their will and personhood? The Idiot was surprised!

Our current object Syria is nothing but a continuation of Arab awakening or “Arab Spring” that originated in Tunisia. But it has its own unique features. In the scheme of Dictatorships in history, it gets a grade of D- at best. It looks like it will only last a single generation. It is nothing to write home about. I do not mean no disrespect or sneer at ours that is gasping to last even a half-life but that is the nature of the business. Africa is littered with wannabe dictators that have lasted less.

The Assad’s have managed to exist by all sorts of trickery and Ponzi scheme. This includes Clannish behavior, benefactor role, blackmail, extortion, assassination and every kind of criminal activity that buys them another day. Today the fabric that has been painstakingly woven is breaking apart. It has run its course and there is no new trick left to prop up the dying system. The Assad’s know it, their Alawit Clan is aware of it and the Syrian people are doing all that they could to hurry matters along.

What exactly is arrayed against the Assad clan is a good question. The main characters all are easy to spot. We are witnessing their cajoling for the best spot after the dust settles. And there are many actors in this farce. The Israelis want a weak Syria with Assad in charge. Their motto is decapitate but not kill. The Jordanians are not thrilled by another crazy regime on the other side of their border. Iraq has already caused a lot of dislocations. The Lebanese are as usual caught between a rock and a hard place. They are keeping a low profile. Turkey is delirious by the opportunity to be seen as an emerging neighborhood bully. Turkey is flexing its muscles.

Iran is depressed. This could not have come at a most unfortunate time. Iran is under siege and it its important ally is jumping from a plane without knowing if the parachute would work. The Mullahs in Quom are not happy and the Islamic Republic will do all that is necessary to prop up the dying regime. The US is walking a tight rope. Mr. Obama does not want anything to complicate matters in this election season. The Israeli Lobby is beating war drums. Mr. Obama has no intention of picking a fight with a powerful constituent no matter what the cause is.

Russia is posturing. Mr. Putin still possess a few not sea worthy submarines prone to accident and rusting nuke Silos and for some reason the West pretends he packs a punch. Clint East Wood would say “Go ahead Vladimir make my day.” Russia’s useless posturing is tolerated because it buys the West time to figure out the volatile situation inside Syria.

The Chinese are looking after number one here. They are thinking “if these foreign devils pass a resolution regarding interference in Syria what is to stop them doing the same when it comes to Tibet?” China is still smarting over being tricked into going along with the invasion of Libya. They have concluded this not to be the time to posture but send scouts to bid on infrastructure building that will definitely follow the mayhem.

Did you notice who I left for last? Yes, good old Syrian people. I am afraid they allowed this abuse by the Assad family and his minority Alawit Clan to go for so long they have become an after thought in the search for a solution to their problem. No one takes their protestations and defiance seriously. Outsiders are looking for a ‘solution’ to impose on them with little or no regard to what they want. It is exactly like what parents say to their child ‘eat your vegetables, it is good for you!’

We Ethiopians are looking closely at the situation in Syria. We have a lot in common. We are both victims of a mad leader and minority clan rule. We both live in a very dangerous neighborhood where others use our precarious existence to wage proxy wars. My interest in writing this paper is to show you what will be done to your country and people in the next few months. I hope you will not feign surprise or pretend you were in the dark. What you see in Syria will be what you will witness in Ethiopia. It won’t be exact but it will be close enough to act as a model. I promise to be the happiest person if I am proven wrong, but that would be flying against facts.

In a very simplistic term this is what we got in Syria. Assad is a second-generation dictator. His power base is the minority Alawit Clan. They consist 12% of the population and occupy all the upper echelons of the military. Security is in the hands of close family members. The economy is used to reward or punish the rest of the population including the majority Sunnis. All media is under the control of the State.

Syria has been in turmoil since March of 2011. The official figure is over seven thousand killed. The Syrian government has killed over seven thousand of its own citizens to stay in power. Bashir and his Alawit Clan are telling the rest of the Syrians either we rule or you all die. It is that simple. He owns a formidable army. Unlike in Egypt the Army is disciplined and controlled better from above. They do not hesitate to fire even into populated areas. Assad, his family and Clan today are feeling like cornered animals. Due to situation they created their escape route is narrowing as we read this. Under the circumstances the only thing to do is pray that the Syrian people put their differences aside and finish this varmint once and for all.

When we look at Syria in the mirror why do I get this feeling that we see Ethiopia. Look at the bright side. This gives us the opportunity to avoid disaster. If we share a common problem and if one of us self-destruct trying a solution I believe the second party should lean from the mistakes and adjust accordingly. That is where we come in. Observe and study all the wrong moves taken by the Dictators and circumvent it before it takes place. I agree it is not easy for Prime Minster Meles and his group. It is a little naïve to think they are doing this because they are evil or lack the expertise. The simple answer is because that is the only way they know how. But it is very easy for us to learn and adopt.

A far as Assad or Meles are concerned the last thirty years has only proved the effectiveness of their method. I said effectiveness not correct and sustainable. Since their inception the use of brute force has been the only way they have resolved any contradiction. The chances of teaching them the value of compromise and the lasting nature of give and take is not possible and utterly a waste of time. It is not going to happen. Gadaffi did not fall for that. Assad will not even consider such farce. The TPLF party is not into committing suicide. We all know they are not capable of learning.

I was talking about us. I believe we are capable of learning from the failed experience of Gadaffi, Saleh and Assad. Ato Meles is not going to invent a new reality. He is going to act exactly like his fellow criminals in a predictable manner. Killing and more killing is the only solution. They assume the more they kill the less we rise up against them. That always worked. Unfortunately once the population gets rid of its fears death is not a valid threat anymore. More killing only breeds more sacrifice and primal anger. Go ask Gadaffi he will tell you what the wrath of the people feels like.

There isn’t much the world can do for the Syrians. Send ‘coffins’ is what a Syrian said in the town of Homs. The Syrians are on their own. May be it will be a good idea to work on our collective responses when the time comes. We Ethiopians are going to find ourselves on our own pretty soon. Thus when you hear the agony of Homs think of Addis Abeba, when they mention Daraa you might as well cry for Dire Dawa when you read the shelling in Hama remember that is what is waiting Hawasa. You might say I exaggerate but really isn’t it the same Meles that killed close to three hundred unarmed kids? Isn’t it Meles and company that used their EFFORT lorries to haul any body and everybody to Zuwai, Sendafa etc? Do you think I am being an alarmist?

We have an opportunity to find a way to work together and minimize the damage that is bound to occur when this unfortunate experience implodes on itself. Sergena meta berbere kentesu is not a winning strategy.

  1. Concerned Ethiopia
    | #1

    Dear Mr. Bekele and Editors of Abugida info,

    Let me just start by saying that I sincerely hope you do not censor my comment.

    I have long been an admirer of this website and its commitment to free speech. However, of late, it has narrowed it’s focus to presenting the most hateful, bitter and destructive commentaries on Ethiopia. Although I realize a multitude of views must be entertained for Ethiopia to become a bastion of free speech, it would be well advised if the editors realize that just because an organization that this website opposes leads Ethiopia, it does not mean that we hope and encourage bad things to happen to Ethiopia. You do not need to throw the baby out with the bath water and you should not equate the common good with your personal views.

    The bile that is apparent in articles like this is frankly disturbing.I understand you love your country, but you should also realize that there are millions who also love their country and do not share your views. Try to tone it down. We have tried this type of politics in the 70′s only to lose a generation to the horrendous bloodshed that followed. Some of you might have been part of that generation, so I am a little confounded that you approve of this. The best remedy to Ethiopia’s problems will not be rage driven rants but cool headed appraisal of where Ethiopia came from, where it is and where it should be going.

    Concerned Ethiopian.

  2. Zerayakob Yared
    | #2

    Concerned !?

    Concerned of what!? ተስፋ አደርጋለሁኝ, ሃቀኛ ከሆንክ, ከገንዘብ ጋራ ብለህ ካቶሊካዊ ንስሃ እንደምትገባ!የካቶሊክ ንስሃ ነገም ‘ከምብሓዱሽ’ ወደ ሃጥያትህ እንድትዘፈቅ እና ከነገ ወዲያ ደግሞ እንደገና ንስሃ, ከዚያም ‘ከምብሓዱሽ’ ታጥቦ ጭቃነትን ይከፍታልና! ለብዙ ዓመታት የነበረችው ካቶሊካዊት ታማኜ ደጋግማ እንዳስረዳችኝ ማለቴ ነው እንጂ, ከሃይማኖቱ ጋራ ንትርክ አምሮኝ አይደለም!

    ለነገሩ የአቶ ይልማ ፅሑፍ አንድም ቀን ጥሞኝ አያውቅም:: ግን ያንተው የ’Concerned ነኝ ባይነት የባሰ ሆኖ ተሰማኝ::

    The Abugidas, እኔ በበኩሌ እስከታዘብኩት ጊዜ ድረስ, you are doing OKAY! ለወደፊትም እንዲሁ!

  3. tewbel
    | #3

    Ato Yilma Bekele’s article is perfectly correct and an excellent analysis of the situation in the Mddle East, the fact that he tell us to pay attention to what is going in Syria is absolutely true and an excellent advise for those that are REALLY CONCERNED about Ethiopia.
    I don’t think that the commentator knows the meaning of free expression which is one of the axioms of democracy. By showing his loyalty to the regime masking behind some absurd platitude, he probably things that he might get something out of the Adwa boys, who are that stupid.

  4. ConcernedEthiopian
    | #4

    Dear Editors,

    I think I speak for the vast and silent Ethiopian majority when I say that the above comments are exactly what have made Ethiopian politics noxious. I am not going to fault you for your views, but I can tell you with certainty that if you will continue on this path then what you will get are the same comments above: bitter individuals parroting the same slogan over and over again. Bravery is all fine and dandy but I suspect they wouldn’t be half as nonchalant on the concept of violence if they were living in Ethiopia. But then again according to their logic what is not white must be black.

    Regardless of their rather uncultured comments, I would advise you, the owners of this website, to look ahead 5 years or even a decade from now: do you want to be flogging the same horse on and on or do you really want to entertain a diverse and dynamic set of views from all sides? Do you want to be a respectable website or just another Ethiopian review?

  5. Dawi
    | #5

    As usual Yelma is fascinated by the “Arab spring” but chances are Mubarak, Basher, Kaddafi will be replaced by new ones.

    As he said the “spontaneous explosion” is just that. No political Parties just political meetings and some strong man may rise perhaps with some shooting of opponents and same thing all over again.

    And then again who knows, In “Spring” countries the possibility of someone preparing to declare “president for life” or until “fair election” held when he permits it is there. :-)

    Oh, well you know. Same old same old for our freind Yelma. That will keep him pipe dreaming again of chaos again instead of ……

  6. Muluken
    | #6

    Daw and conceren, are you by any chance Azeb and Melse? or one of their parasitic offspring who are in constant nightmare of African spring?
    you want too keep on looting and sucking innocent blood?. you think those brave Ethiopian in and out side the country will let to do that for generation?. Are you insulting Ethiopian as cowered and not capable of get rid off parasites such as you? Too bad it is too late!!! get a job

  7. Sam
    | #7

    Why we keep saying every uprisings in the Arab world– for that matter the world at large– is exactly a prelude to what will happen in Ethiopia? I hardly see the similarity. The Syrian uprising is not and will not be a prime example to what will happen in Ethiopia. First, if Yilma pays attention, Syria has more urban residents than Ethiopia. This is important. As he mentioned the social media has playing a major role in informing the world the atrocities of the Assad regime. In Ethiopia, almost 90 perecent of the population are farmers. They live practically out of focus as long as the world attention is concerned. They are not in position to orchestrate such a unified resistance which the world pay attention to to the regime, especially given now they were indoctrinated for more than two decades to see themselves primarily from the point of view of their ethnicity rather than their country. The very small urban residents of Ethiopia are not faring better. The social media is almost non-existent. Even in Addis– if my last visit serves me as a guide– not one percent of the population owns computers. Despite the new buildings and roads you see, Addis is not that much changed. Practically one could say there is no a solid middle class which aspires to get its fair share from the system. In Syria undoubtedly there is a middle class which is aspiring to make its own ends to be met by having a representative government. They are very determined and hopeful such aspiration will materialize. I do not see that is happening in Ethiopia. Yilma pay attention. There are no well organized opposition parties in Syria before the uprisings. But the uprising is impressive, and I have no doubt Asad’s losing his power is a foregone conclusion. Ethiopia has many opposition parties working to unseat the EPDRF government from its inception. Despite your optimisim though, Yilma, the EPDRF government has more in control now, say, it was in 2005. Yilma it is not a good politics to let wishful thinking replace afait accompli. To compare what is happening in Syria now to what will happen in near future in Ethiopia is a gross misunderstanding of Ethiopian politics. We Ethiopian should have learned from past mistakes, not to make failure a habit of us.

  8. tewbel
    | #8

    Correction to my previous comment. On my last sentence I said ” who are that stupid”, I missed a word I meant ” who are not that stupid.” Even if we disagree them with them, it does not mean that they are not a highly organized party, and that they are not likely to fall for any kind of flattery. .

  9. Dawi
    | #9

    Muluken – Here is why Yelma’s pipe dream is wrong in case youdidn’t see it.

    Yelma – Is it Albert Einstein who said Insanity is repeating the same mistakes again and again expecting different results? You said think of Mubarak etc. Why don’t you think of Haile Selassie & Mengestu instead? It was only yesterday….

    I don’t know about you but for me Ethiopians have no problem of fear as such and also understand their power in my opinion. They have defended their country from invaders, have in the last four decades overthrown the feudal kingdom of Haile Selassie regime and the military dictatorship of Mengestu.

    The Arab Spring of yesterday that happened in Egypt only came after 6 decades of same regime.

    Speaking on the BBC’s Today program, Tony Blair said that while it was better to have democracies than dictatorships, it would have been preferable if the Arab Spring could have been averted in favour of a slower “evolutionary” move towards democracy. He makes a lot of sense and went on to say:

    “I think it’s better if we had been able to promote evolution of these countries so rather than revolution that will cause quite a lot of difficulties, not simply for us, but for people of these countries. Look at what has happened to Egypt’s growth rates and tourist industry,” he said.

    Our country is in crises with abject poverty, ethnic tensions, lack of education, health and basic sanitation etc. And such enormous crises requires national emergencies, Emergencies are best dealt with in an authoritarian way. It is like Katrina or the Haiti hurricane, one needs a central authority to deal with such crises. Ours is a crises to be dealt with.

    When a country is going through a civil war or has internal tensions escalating, a dictatorship such as ours can resolve this conflicts in a more definite way than in democracies. The Chinese are dealing with similar poverty therefore, do not demand certain outcome when supporting fellow African countries fighting the underlying problem of all evils which is poverty. Once we overcome the basic necessities & get to the point where we as a whole are able to think with full stomach, yours & Prof. Al’s idea will have some merit.

  10. ጉረኞች
    | #10

    የአምባገነኑ መለስ ቱጃር አሽከሮች!!!
    የትኛው ስንኝ ነው ይሄን ያህል ጸጉራችሁን ያስነጫቹህ? Is it the one I quote below? Although your advise has little value for him, you better advise your boss to do the right thing and leave. It is increasingly becoming a reality the midget dictator Meles has never imagined Ethiopia where his kids might call home. Yilma is exactly right he will be surprised, he will be the second Gadaffi. He will be caught alive and will see his eyes blinking like a laboratory mice.
    “Ato Meles is not going to invent a new reality. He is going to act exactly like his fellow criminals in a predictable manner. Killing and more killing is the only solution. They assume the more they kill the less we rise up against them. That always worked.”

  11. Mamo
    | #11

    Since when did the TPLF care about Ethiopia and Ethiopians? Just remember that it is a Tigrean Liberation Front. I was listening to the recent interview of Sibhat Nega and I almost threw up. I do not know where this guys came from. The arrogance is limitless and he feels no shame of the apartheid system they instituted. At last the Ethiopian people are ready to liberate themselves. We do not want bloody revolution, but the TPLF has shown us its callous disregard to our humanity that it will be met with millions of angry souls who are yearning to reclaim their human dignity. Tigrean apologists have been warned repeatedly and they are busy counting their ill-gotten privileges than listening to the concerns of the multitude.
    Yes, TPLF will pay in kind.

  12. yilma
    | #12

    I always find it fascinating when TPLF cadres try to teach us about tolerance and love. ‘Concerned ‘seems to be worried about ‘bile’ in my article and my friend Dawi likes to dismiss ideas and poke fun. Concerned talks about the ‘vast and silent majority’ how quaint. To me ‘Bile’ is locking up my precious friends like Eskinder and Andualem and expose them to torture. Ato Meles will answer for that, do not doubt that. I was not aware is not a good defense either. The so called ‘silent majority’ should read ‘the silenced majority’ since their silence is not out of choice. My purpose writing this article is not out of hate rather to warn my people what cornered animals will do when there is no escape route. More than the people the article is directed at those that are causing this unfortunate situation and show them a way out before they force our people to do what they really would rather avoid doing.something like getting caught under a bridge in Adwa is not a pleasant picture. You see my friends we can discuss all this on our free Web sites and the sky will not fall down because we differ. You know it is ok to write your real name specially since you are supporters of this wonderful system and should be proud. Why hide if you are correct? Why assumed names if you are in a free land? On the other hand such ‘vile’ sites like Aiga will never dare entertain ideas different than their own, you see you are idiots even when free! Get a life and I say it with Love.

  13. Dawi
    | #13

    ጉረኞች :

    Money is a great cause of dissatisfaction if you don’t have enough; for example, to purchase food and shelter but other needs to achieve and grow are only fulfilled by causes or ideas that make our mind grow.

    You seem to be overly preoccupied by assuming the former as the only kind of motivation for folks. Yes I understand not having enough cash is a constant pain and an initial offer to cover our daily bread may cause us to jump as high as asked.

    The US recession has helped businesses explore non fiscal ways of motivating staff and close to 30% found other ways of motivating their employeeses.

    If you are living in the US/WEST, it is something to think about when you think of what motivates Ethiopians.

  14. Dawi
    | #14

    On another note: ጉረኞች :

    Meles can not be Qaddafi because he runs a non oil economy. What took him this far is his desire for knowledge and thus far adapts himself on the move, he has been fluid as water. :-)

  15. Reppi
    | #15

    Ato Yilma
    Please tell us who is protecting Banda Meles, whose boots is the Banda licking and who is behind the so called Arab spring.
    Why did the Arab rebels of Libya whom you liken to revolutionaries, start killing Africans? Do you not think that there is a plan to divide Africa by non-Africans? Have you forgotten the divide and conquer tactic that brought Africa to be colonized? With all due respect Ato Yilma,If one is an African, one should speak from an African perspective, not from the western MSM perspective.

  16. ጉረኞች
    | #16

    You are deflecting the issue to little guys. In any event, if the motivation is for purchasing food and shelter to fill empty stomach, how do you explain all African tyrants including the midget dictator and white collars adventurers keep on piling stolen millions of $$? Who know what the motivation is but clearly simple greed predominates. What Yilma alluded in this article is that, at one point, these greedy bunches will be incapable of seeing how greedy and inhumane they are!! As a consequence, while they are piling $$ they build forces that will eventually destroy them. Neither the midget dictator Meles nor his close advisers cannot see the forces they build to destroy themselves. In Ethiopia, the anger, frustration and poverty is piling above the fear-dam and the hell will brake loose pretty soon when people break the dam. Yilma is providing an honest advise to midget-dictator and his echelon. Unfortunately, this is what you don’t want to hear!
    On #13, like always, we differ here too. It seems that you are externalizing the midget’s success to his adaptability to outside factors. In my opinion, his success comes out from internal killer instinct by removing anyone at any cost if he/she comes in his way. That is the history I know of the midget. Witness the innocent private citizens he put in trial and lock them up for life, not to mention the torture they and their family are suffering while they are in jail. Look at the genocide taken place in Gambella under his watch and ethnic cleansing in Harar. I don’t see any changes here, he has been doing this for longtime, albeit crudely this time around.

  17. Ethiopian Spring
    | #17

    Kudos to Ato Yilma!

    Although your article was meant to teach the gulllible followers of TPLF from wanton destruction in the horizon, the Woyane cadres from “Aiga” flooded the Abugida website in defense of the murderous Tigre Shifta. Although it is understandable that the average Woyane Gujile are ignorant, the scenario that you have clearly outlined in your article is very plausible. It is simply a matter of time when the silent majority gets up and fight back until the Gujile parasites are cut to size.

  18. Dawi
    | #18


    [[.. In my opinion, his success comes out from internal killer instinct by removing anyone at any cost if he/she comes in his way….]]

    Isn’t Meles supposed to be known of running away from battle fields evading murder/killing of “enemy” soldiers (Ethiopian soldiers)? Wasn’t his neck online by WOYANE court for such “cowardly” deeds?

    It is obvious he pulled strings from behind however, testimony after testimony of his past comrades have established of him not being part of any kind of killing of enemy soldiers (Ethiopian soldiers). To the contrary he has faced death raw by military court for running away from “killing fields”; and you know that. However, honesty not being a virtue of for “zero sum game” opposition you choose to ignore facts.

  19. ጉረኞች
    | #19

    As you might know, tyrants rarely go for duel with their enemy. They almost always commit heinous crimes, like murder and torture, via subordinates or security apparatus operating under their tight control. I completely agree with what you said, the midget tyrant Meles is a coward and succeed in using others for his ulterior motives. ወንድሜ አኔ አንተን የምመክርሕ ወደ አገር ቤት መመላለስ ቀንስ:: ክፉ ቀን ሲመጣ አይታወቅም:: መለስ አንደሆን አገሪቱን አጥፍቶ የሚጠፋ ኩታራ ያገር ጠላት ነው::

  20. Anonymous
    | #20

    the only concern concerned has is about the looting he is what we call leba banda.

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