Messay Dejene’s Straw man Argument Tecola W. Hagos

June 4th, 2013 Print Print Email Email

The brief article by Dr. Messay Dejene is an ad hominem focusing on my person rather than focusing wholly on the contents of the articles I wrote. Even more distressing to me is the typical straw-man argument Messay chose to adopt, wherein he distorted the words and meaning of my article and then proceeded to refute such artificial constructs. I never painted a “rosy picture of Ethiopia under Hailemariam” or anybody else for that matter. In my articles, I pointed out clearly several times that Hailemariam inherited a terrible record of human rights violations and abuses. Moreover, I am advocating an approach that is far more realistic and appropriate to the political condition in Ethiopia at this time of our history. In order to counter simplistic and unrealistic advocacy of changing the Ethiopian situation through violence and revolution, I cautioned the importance of taking “baby-steps” in bringing about lasting changes.

There are no magic formulas that could solve our national problems as easily as conjuring up a fantasia—a magical place. Is there a way to solve our problems with minimal death and destruction. If there is I would like to hear it. But what Messay is writing about is about bundles of silly assertions that “Woyane is unreformable entity,” that “Woyane-appointed tribal riffrafs of whom most have barely seen the four walls of high schools” et cetera. I wonder how anyone can make any progress in convincing even friends let alone enemies to accept one’s political goals with such type of juvenile writings. I am not defending the record of the Government of Meles Zenawi or his policies dealing with the integrity and sovereignty of Ethiopia. I have stated clearly in countless articles how much I am opposed to the Kilil system and vehemently opposed dividing Ethiopia by language groups. I even went to the extent of writing several times that we need to establish administrative systems that reflects the Tekli Gizatte systems or close to such a system.

About exiling Eskinder Nega, Andualem Aragie it is not meant to be as solution to help the Ethiopian Government but rather to save very courageous individuals from being imprisoned in harrowing prison cells in an Ethiopian jail for years. I clearly stated that my suggestion is in “desperation” to free two individuals and others I greatly admire and respect for their love of Ethiopia and the people of Ethiopia. I know what it means to be imprisoned in the Ethiopian Prison systems. I spent in Alem-Bekagn prison detained without trial for the period 1974-75 by the Derg. Losing one’s freedom and liberty under constant threat of violence is no easy matter. I was in the same prison compound when the Military Junta wantonly and criminally murdered sixty Ethiopian officials including two Prime Ministers, generals and great patriots who fought the Italians during the occupation. The horror of hearing all that gunfire, and listening the gruesome description of the massacre by fellow prisoners who collected the bodies of those murdered and buried them in a mass grave was most traumatic to me that even all these years after still relive the horror now and them. I do not want anything to happen to such great heroes like Eskinder, and I do not want them to suffer. In my suggestions for exile my concern is to get these heroes out of hellhole. I am not in any way undermining the human rights and political rights of any Ethiopian including Eskinder and Andualem. I would ask Messay, if he would be willing to substitute himself for these heroes even for a week of imprisonment. Of course, he will not. He is just a paper-lion (paper-tiger) and roars on paper with “zero” courage.

Meessay called my writing “gibberish,” then if that was the case, why did he bother to write back to me with such ostentatious public manner. If I want to go back home, this is not the way to do it by publicly stating controversial suggestions. A few others like Messay in different Websites have asserted that I was seeking public office, may be even my old position. Such irresponsible statements tell me that we are still infants in our political thinking and writing as well. Mind you all that I am dealing with in all of my essays are serious national issues of administrative reforms, leadership changes, the direction of national policy changes, et cetera. And here I read such banal and self congratulatory statements by the likes of Messay Dejene. What is tragic in all these bantering, the use of foul language, and self mutilation is the fact that such individuals have minimal impact in the life of Ethiopia. However, I do not want anyone to read my response as if I am censoring Messay Dejene or anyone else from writing critiquing my work, but that they do it intelligently without insulting me. Ethiopia will persist, its people will work out the problem facing them as they always have done for thousands of years. We, in the Diaspora, are the losers for we have turned ourselves into paper-Tigers.

Tecola W. Hagos
Washington DC

  1. margda
    | #1

    Professor Tecola,

    it is not just Eskinder and Andualem who are suffering in tplf created prisons. there are tens of thousands no-names being tortured physically and mentally throughout the country. you find ways to minimize the pain of two known victims, what about the rest? your motive was not to save these two prisoners in the first place. it was to save tplf from international condemnation and isolation. Eskinder and Andual are not more human than 80 million ethiopians. they know what they are doing. stop the distraction

  2. Oda Tulu
    | #2

    The writer was one of the architects of the Ethiopia’s major problems now threatening the disintegration of the country

  3. Mustafa
    | #3

    Professor Tecola Hagos is a Tigrayan nationalist and was the member of the Tigray People`s Liberation Front (TPLF). Like the other Tigrayan nationalists, he hates and denigrates the Amharas because the TPLF has this anti-Amhara policy as an important part of its politics. However, professor Tecola Hagos had never liked the control of the TPLF by Eritrean born persons like Meles Zenawi. This is also the position he shares with the other Tigrayan nationalists and TPLF members. Hence, if the TPLF is liberated from the hands of Eritreans, the professor and others with similar political views will rejoin the front and keep the Amhara away from political power.

  4. Tesema
    | #4

    I wonder why Dr. Tecola needed to post his rebuttal message to Dr.degen’s piece here in Abugida. Dr.messay’s message has been posted In Ethiomedia and so is your response; could not that been enough. But again you know what you are up to.
    The reason, I think, many Ethiopians reacted negatively to your message is because you are perceived as one who come across to save assist in delaying our freedom. You have stated you have in the past opposed to EPRDF’s policy regarding the national integrity and sovereignty of the county. Let me take your words as it is and give you credit. However, the issue of national sovereignty is separable with the wellbeing of Ethiopians. I tend to believe, if you in deed you opposed the division of Ethiopia on the bases of language; you could have also opposed the effect of such policy upon the people. Ethiopians purposely have been internally displaced as a result of the policy of the regime. I have not seen your outrage over this.

    It is interesting you stated the wrong policies of derg. Next to this you asked, this.

    “There are no magic formulas that could solve our national problems as easily as conjuring up a fantasia—a magical place. Is there a way to solve our problems with minimal death and destruction?” I don’t think anybody will give you readily answer for your inquiry. However, we must both agree when the Ethiopian people have the autocratic rule of Derg to the nose. They showed Derg the way out by refusing to support its senseless war. In the same Ethiopians showed the way out the military junta they are saying BEKA, Geye, and Yeakel to Weyane. As far as I am concerned this is where we are; this is the direction we are moving.

    Personally, I envision no compromise with TPLF leaders. Ethiopians for the past twenty years, gave ample chance for TPLF to reach agreement with the people. This method is tried and failed. H.D become P/m for Two reasons. One, because of the the pressure of the western donors specifically the U.S. Second, the lack of consensus that was seen within TPLF to come up with some one among themselves. In the end after many closed meeting discussion they reached a compromise that H.D to be P/M at least till 2015.Halie Mariam has been sworn in since September 28;that is over 245 days. In practical sense What has he done thus far? He is virtually mute perhaps by order or thru intimidation. and it is easy to predict that he is waiting the remaining two years to expire and leave space for one of TPLF who is waiting in the wing. This is their calculation. The fact he spent great deal of the first four months reassuring the continuation of the legacy of Melese.
    Luckily, the Ethiopian people are fully aware and have means in place to cut and check the hidden motive of TPLF cabal. From Tigray to Moyale Jima to Deghabur ,,by all means, the people’s struggle will continue however form it takes to bend the will of TPLF in to submission. That is why I am against compromise with TPLF which has nothing to do with Tigrians or Ethiopians. To me from get go TPLF is an international mercenary who will bid for any thing. Remember, Somalia, Southern Sudan.

  5. Zerayakob Yared
    | #5

    አቶ Mustafa #3,

    አሁንም ነገሮችን እያወላገድክ ነው!

    1. መለስ, ራሱም ሂይወቱን በሙሉ ሲለፍፈው እንደነበረው, “ከወርቁ ህዝብ” ትግራይ-ዓድዋ የተወለደ ነው!
    ከእርሱ ጋራ የተፈጠረው ችግር, ኤርትራዊነት ስላለበትም አይደለም, ችግሩ ባንዳ ስለሆነና, ትግራይንም ሆነ ኤርትራን ለስልጣኑ ማራዘምያ ስለተጠቀመባቸውና ከዚያም አልፎ የትግራይን እናቶች ስላልተከባከበና ስላላከበረ ነው! በተረፈ ግን ማንኛውንም ባንዳነት የሌለብትን የሰው ልጅ ሁሉ ከኡጋዴን እስከ ሽረ, ከአሜሪካም ሊመጣ ይችላል, ትግራዋይ ነኝ, ለትግራይ ጉዳይም ልታገል እፈልጋለህኝ ካለ እንቀበለዋለን….! እንደ ቸጉቫራ ኩባ ውስጥ……..!

    2. መቶዎች “ኤርትራውያን” TPLF ውስጥ አሉ, እንዲሁም ሺዎች ተጋሩ የኤርትራ ሃይሎች ውስጥም አሉ! በስር መሰረቱ ደግሞ ትግርኛ ተናጋሪውን ሁሉ እኛ እንደ ትግራዋይ ስለምናየው(ትግራይን, ዓጋመ ነውና አልፈልገውም ብሎ, ለአረብና ለጣልያንነት ልሁን ባይነት እስካልተሽቀረቀረ ጊዜ ድረስ), ችግራችን የመንደሮች ቆጠራ አይደለም…! ያለብን ችግር የባንዳነት ችግር ነው……! ሁለቱ የኤርትራ ሃይሎች ደግሞ ባንዳነት ስላለባቸው, ከሁለቱም ጋራ ችግር አለብን….! ከዚህ ጉዳይ ራሱን ነፃ ያወጣን ሁሉ, ዓድዋም ይወለድ ሰናዕፈ, የፅዮን ልጅ ነውና ከምንም ነገር አንለየውም…! ባንዳ ሆኖ ከተገኘ ግን, እንኳን ሌላ ቦታ የተወለደን ይቅርና, ይሓ ወይንም አክሱም ውስጥ ቢወለድም እንደ የፅዮን ልጅ ሳይሆን እንደ ባንዳ ስለምናየው, ከእንደዚህ አይነቱ ፍጡር ጋር ችግር ይኖርብናል….!!!!!!!

    ለማውሳት ያህል, ከሌሎች መንደሮችና አካባቢዎች የፈለቁ ከዳተኛ ባንዶችም የሉም ማለት አይደለም…!

  6. Yohannse
    | #6

    Dr.Tecola W.Hagos is real Ethiopian and I do have unlimited respect for him.He stands for united Ethiopia and I read his web site for many years and he is one of the scholar Ethiopia has, he is strongly defender for our country Ethipia. You might say that I am from northern part of Ethiopia, but I am from the central part of Ethiopia,what Ethiopia needs now a scholar like Dr.Tacola as a million people. Thank you Doctor Tacola W.Hagos for standing up right for Ethiopia.

  7. Anonymous
    | #7

    Tecola said: “…the Diaspora, are the losers…”
    Once again, Ethiopians beware of snakes in the grass. Some people like Tecola disguised as supporters of Ethiopia, but their past experiences tell us all who they really are and where their heart is. This man has a nerve to call Ethiopians who speak and stand against TPLF as “LOSERS”. The real losers are those who watches TPLF government controlled propaganda machine-ETV, and believes and admires their lies. No roads or cheap tall buildings in the world minimize the selling of Ethiopia’s land, leaving Ethiopia landlocked, the sufferings of the hundreds of thousands innocent Ethiopians who are rotting and being tortured in cold rat infested prisons, and the unknown number of Ethiopians who are being mistreated, chased out of their properties and thrown like a piece of trash, beaten and the hundreds of thousands who have been massacred. There is no good enough excuse in the world for one innocent person’s mistreatment and death, let alone the 89 million law abiding Ethiopians who are living and treated as second class citizens, robbed, tortured, slaughtered at the hands of TPLF. Totally disgusted to say the least. ETHIOPIANS BEWARE OF POISONOUS SNAKES!

  8. Tefera
    | #8

    No one I know is more Ethiopian than Dr. Tecola for that Ethiopia is highly proud of him. Those who bash him just because he came out of the region where the TPLF came out are LOSERS.

  9. dodo
    | #9

    Ato Tecola is at it again. By repeating a falsehood time and again he wants us to forget his past. An incorrigible Amara hater and a supreme Tigrian tribalist he is the real straw man for hypocrisy. He wants the imprisoned journalist to go in exile while he plans to go back to power at his old age. What a sham and a heartless suggestion which can only come from a totally evil mind. “Can a leopard change its spots” or Tecola his evil self. I wonder.

  10. Dawi
    | #10

    Tesema says:

    [[..That is why I am against compromise with TPLF which has nothing to do with Tigrians or Ethiopians...]]

    You being against “compromise” has nothing to do with Tigrians. We can say then Prof. Tecola willing to look at “compromise” has nothing to do with Tigrians. That should cut the crap.

    We can also say, the Nile Dam, Adwa, Dogali, Alula, or Zeray Deres etc. has nothing to do with TPLF.

    We don’t oppose the wheel because it is marketed by big auto companies. Do we?

    My problem with those against “compromise” however is they don’t even have a working alternative for the present regime. Opposition fronts today at the maximum are united fronts (even that “unity” is suspect), so you are in the blind and don’t know where you are heading

  11. Deres
    | #11

    Look how bully, old, feudalistic akaki zeraf sentiment this man has. He says “paper tiger” to project the image that he is the real tiger. he says “straw man” as if he is the one person in this world who has a spinal cord. But how on earth did this man escape execution by the Derg? Because from what he is taking he looks to be a very very evil person, a very good candidate for execuiton by the derg. How can a person hate an entire ethnic group and belittle the history and achievement of great peope of a great nation to advancee his agenda of an air-thin ethnic demagogue. This is man who is a woyane Ku Klax Klan who wants us to believe that woyane can not be removed from power. ” Unrealistic” he says. He masquarades as having a genuine intention. Look Mr. tecola we reopeat what Dr. mesay said: ‘Woyane-appointed tribal riffrafs of whom most have barely seen the four walls of high schools”. That is super true. I beleive that you are still an advisor to woyane and your love affair with woyane is running full blooded. It really puzzles me so mcuh that people give you so mch of a platform to attack an entire ethnic group and to advance your narrow image of ethnic demamgogue, a superiority of the tigrean race as you claim it to be. I can only point to one problem in you. I see in you a deep seated inferiority complex.

  12. Money or life?
    | #12

    “Diaspora, are the losers”
    You runaway desperate Ethiopian refuges, why don’t you listen to Dr. Tecola?
    How dare you complain when the entire Ethiopian government and its major businesses is controlled and ruled with iron-fist by a small minority Tigrea People Liberation Front and stripped Ethiopians’ God given rights?
    How dare you complain when TPLF left Ethiopia landlocked?
    How dare you protest against TPLF when 70 to 80 thousand peace loving, intellectuals, well educated, intelligent, brave and patriotic Ethiopians intentionally picked up and incarcerated and being tortured as we speak?
    How dare you complain when young men and young girls gunned down on the streets of Ethiopia?
    How dare you complain when Gambelans and Gonderaes thrown out from their residence and 500 Gambelans slaughtered so that their fertile land can be given to Sudan and to other foreign billionaires?
    How dare you complain when TPLF selling young poor Ethiopian women to be Arab Slaves?
    How dare you complain when TPLF use Ethiopian orphans as money making business?
    How dare you complain about TPLF when your motherland Ethiopia gets robbed blind and the penniless dictator and his close friends became multimillionaires and billionaires?
    How dare you Diaspora Ethiopians protest and speak on behalf of Ethiopian people for lack of Freedom of speech, Freedom of the press, Imprisonment, Torture, Massacre and over all violation of Human Rights? Haven’t you seen the progress on ETV?

  13. Anonymous
    | #13

    Come on! Why are you posting Woyanes’ comments like Dawi’s and Tecola’s time and time again and deleting some of ours? Which side are you on?

  14. Tesema
    | #14


    “My problem with those against “compromise” however is they don’t even have a working alternative for the present regime”.I can’t speak for political organizations. However, my personal view how to deal with the TPLF dominated EPRDF is this.

    The crime committed by TPLF led government against Ethiopia and here citizens is huge and well documented. As a result, time will fail me to catalogue all the crimes committed by that party hitherto. However, I just like to mention few of the blatant once.

    1- TPLF leader with out the consent and knowledge of the parliament sold Ethiopia’s vast tract of land to the Sudan.
    2- TPLF stole the 2005 election.
    3-TPLF-chief before his death announced 4 million hectares available for lese.
    4-The massive arrest of peaceful political opponents.
    5-Illegal transfer of the national wealth in to the hands of EFFRT and the officials of the ruling party.
    6-Wrong economic policy of the regime has left young citizens without any opportunity and were forced to leave their country in search of better life else where. Many are ding before they reach the third country. The women who made it to the middle east are constantly exposed for danger and humiliation.
    7- The TPLF dominated federal government is responsible for ethnic cleansing of the Ethiopians.
    It is in this light I opposed compromise with the regime ,and it is with this confidence I stated TPLF has nothing to do with Tigrians or Ethiopians. Concerning this I want to hear from honest non TPLF Ethiopian Tigrians if they want to associate themselves with what TPLF has done in their name.

    To the question how to deal with TPLF or what alternative means Do I give?
    Because the road traversed by TPLF regime is blood trailed and cluttered with broken promises, before any thing else TPLF meet these preconditions for her to be taken seriously.

    1- Release all political prisoners now.
    2- Currently 99% of the army generals are TPLF members; If H.D is indeed independent leader he must substitute 73% of the generals by non TPLF multi national Ethiopians.

    3- The current 90% dominated TPLF embassy need to be replaced by by 73% none TPLF Ethiopians.
    4-There must be transparency and accountability of wrong doings of past and present by government officials.

    5- Immediately put stop TPLF culture of corruption.

    If these conditions are met then I will consider compromise or how to peacefully coexist with TPLF EPRDF in a new Ethiopia. Personally, I need to see the above lists met without any condition before any thing else.

    Here the evidence about the amount of land has been made available for lease.

  15. Anonymous
    | #15

    Responding to Dawi is talking to a wall and a waste of time. You see Dawi, you see TPLF. They are one and the same. They justify their own wrong doing and the gruesome crimes they’ve been committing on Ethiopia and Ethiopians for over four decades. Dividing and ruling the country with iron fist is their PROGRESS. Leaving the country land locked is TPLF progress, because in the end that seaport will be part of Greater Tigrea. In Dawi’s and TPLF minds selling Ethiopia’s fertile land and leaving Ethiopia in the hands of foreigners is their progress. Demoralizing, breaking the spirit of Ethiopians, incarcerating and getting rid of patriotic journalists, teachers, other Ethiopian intellectuals is TPLF’s PROGRESS… In the last four decades alone, TPLF have proven that they don’t have an ounce of conscience to do the right thing for the country and the people of Ethiopia, period!

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