November 20th, 2013 Print Print Email Email

Extremely Upsetting!

These past few days we Ethiopian people have been screaming our lungs out en mass all around the world in almost all continents – even in Saudi Arabia itself and Beirut – protesting the inhumane acts being deliberated on our fellow citizens. Needless to say, the only country that crashed the attempts to protest against this crime on humanity is Ethiopia herself.

In my half a decade years stay in the U.S. I have never seen or heard a gathering this big and a movement this large all over the world. Only the May 2005 election massacre protest might beat or equal it.
Clearly we are extremely angry to our nerves. And we should be.

What is Causing This?

However, how many of us took time to think what actually caused this – the intentional targeted brutal attacks on Ethiopians in Saudi Arabia (and elsewhere)? In other words, what is the CAUSE of this shame brought on our nation? I heard several people from different spectrum of life say “poverty is the cause.” I would say NO! Poverty, backwardness, etc are all the SYMPTOMS. In fact what has been happening to Ethiopians in Saudi Arabia is a SYMPTOM. A symptom of what? What is the cause then!? Good question to ask really.

Now it is of high importance to ask oneself “WHY HAVE WE ALWAYS BEEN TREATING THE SYMPTOMS AND NOT THE CAUSE?” This question always challenges me. By the way the only difference between this current mishap on Ethiopians in Saudi Arabia and what has been going on since the mass migration has began 22 years ago is that, on the former, the Saudi government took a wide-ranging campaign of rounding up migrant workers as a national program and the maltreatment affected all migrant workers largely targeting Ethiopians.


For over two decades every single day, several Ethiopian migrant workers have been beaten, tortured, killed and driven into mental disorder in Arab countries. Former Ethiopian Airlines flight crew told me they do not like to operate the Arab bound flights due to its horrific scene in-flight. Sometimes they transport a full plane half of the passengers that went mental and screaming for the whole duration of the flight. This is to say that this SYMPTOM has been there and will be there unless the CAUSE is treated and taken care of.

So these horrendous crimes on Ethiopians have been happening for over two decades especially in Arab countries. It is happening as we speak.

Going back to what I initially was saying, the persistence, massiveness, and globalization of the organized protests are bringing attention to prominent media, human rights institutions, influential governments and entities. It is also exposing the Saudis’ serious crimes against humanity to the open world and that might give our fellow compatriots some relief when Saudi tries to save its face. However it may not completely deter them from continually tormenting our citizens.

Therefore, it is necessary and of utmost urgency that the sub-human conditions on fellow citizens suffering in Saudi Arabia stops and measures taken to transport them to safety either back home or accommodating countries through refugee and/or asylum as appropriate. Most agree that this should not be a campaign but a movement until all our citizens are rescued to safety.


The cause has always been BAD GOVERNANCE in general and the TPLF/EPRDF led “government” in particular. Here we are not even going to try to state the obvious that there is a “government” that has completely gone wrong in Ethiopia – unless we are in a complete delusional state and self denial crisis. In fact, I’d love to be off the conventional term “Bad Governance” for the Ethiopian case and call it “Nasty Governance” since that is what it is. Not out of hatred but sincerity.

Whom to Battle?

But there is no guarantee whatsoever that this won’t happen again in Saudi Arabia, Yemen, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Lebanon etc. Well in fact there are unheard voices of Ethiopians under extreme inhumane condition in those countries I just mentioned and beyond. Are we going to go out for demonstration all year round all over the globe? We all know that is not possible. But we can do what is possible – to address THE MOTHER OF ALL THE SYMPTOMS – THE CAUSE!
Again no wasting time stating the obvious fact that the TPLF led absolute dictatorship that is ruling our country by gun point for the past 22 years is the root cause for citizens to fall in despair and leave their country to seek domestic work in brutal Arab states. Not to mention all other turmoil, in all aspects of the nation and the society caused by this illegitimate regime that is leading Ethiopia and its people to the demise of catastrophe.
The battle on the frontline must be to end the cause by any means possible. The mother cause of all catastrophes to our nation’s and people is the TPLF/EPRDF led regime. The system must be dismantled, the regime fallen, and the perpetrators face justice.

Whose Problem?

It is evident that majority of the Ethiopian peoples’ lives both at home and abroad has been severely affected by the current state of our country. Our sovereignty as a nation, our unity as people, and our pride as Ethiopians is going down the drain. Our citizenship is in question. Every single one of us, as citizens, has responsibility of getting ourselves out of this disaster.
And there’s only one way of doing that – by treating the root cause. And that, in plain language is, ending the TPLF led rogue regime.

My most favorite verse from William Shakespeare’s Hamlet play goes as:
To be or not to be, that is the question:
Whether ‘tis Nobler in the mind to suffer
The Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them

Kibru Demeke

  1. aha!
    | #1

    This article is one of the few papers that approaches Ethiopia’s humanitarian, economic, political and environmental crises from the stand point of cause-effect analyses. But it falls short by putting “bad governance as the cause rather than the politics and policies expressed in the ideologies of ethnic federalism, secessionism and totalitarianism and/or state capitalism built into the constitution front and center, that denies the silent majority of Ethiopians individual freedom, liberty and equality ahead of ethnic and secessionist rights, Ethiopian nationalism, and the sovereignty of Ethiopia to form a democratic government with a constitution that puts individual rights ahead of ethnic and secessionist rights, alignment of parties along the national agenda rather than ethnic agenda i.e. ethnic federalism and/or ethnic nationalism. Bad governance as cause borders on the sphere of administration has nothing to do with the ratification of the constitution as the supreme law of the land with respect to Articles 2, 8, 29 (1), 46, etc. and the stipulation of independent braches of government as a necessary part for good governance.

  2. Baba
    | #2

    You are right half way, because our trouble did not start 22 years ago, but it just got worse. We have had problems of the landless peasants during the HIM era and we thought after 1974/75 land reform that poverty of the peasants would dessipate, but again not so. The 1974 change brought military dictatorship and with that many died and many became exiles. Those exiled during the Derg era organised themselves and came to power in 1991 and we are in our current predicament. It is not as easy as getting rid of TPLF and its cronies. We need broader views where we live in a country where there is rule of law and in this project all need to participate. I am not naive to think that those with poer now will not give it up easily and I firmly believe they need to be forced to come to their senses and work with all the parties. This way we may create a consenssus around the rule of the game and hopefully we will find a place to live in with dignity and peace.

  3. Dawi
    | #3

    aha – I know you and I don’t see eye to eye on this but you are exaggerating the “ideologies of ethnic federalism” because in practice the State controls everything.

    Yes it is Ethnic federalism but, as you already know the state controls the land, the economy and the key state owned companies. Nothing is going to stop Ethiopia from becoming a unique all inclusive Developmental State despite the ethnic based partied existing in the country because the STATE has all the ingredients/power to be that. I expect ethnic parties to eventually die off.

    When he first came to power, Meles didn’t try to continue the historical nationalist way of suppressing ethnic movements in Ethiopia as in the rest of Africa today because TPLF was an ethnic movement itself to begin with albeit Marxist oriented. Not only that they defeated the Derg with partnering EPLF who had its own agenda. OLF and others were in the mix as well with their own version of self determination. So he practically can’t be suppressing ethnic movements even if he wanted to and stay in power. So he took the ethnic federation route knowing that he is running a strong state that controls the land and the economy.

    For me the war in Ogaden which is probably our weakest link and the way the national army is not compromising when it comes to the existing Ethiopian territory, by working with local militia is a good gauge to judge the strength of the Ethiopian State. It has done more fighting there than the previous governments combined and IMO, is relatively successful to the point now they are celebrating a multi-national holiday there.

    What does that tell you?

  4. aha
    | #4

    Baba, I do not think Kibru took into account/equation, the type revolution that prevailed to set up the current TPLF/eprdf regime made up of ex-liberation fronts engaged in the oppression of nations and nationalities from the then HIM regime and latter against the Derg regime as being the same and holding power as those engaged in democratic revolution in class struggle against the HIM regime, the royals, the landlords (balabats and other land holders with respect to land reform, the manufacturing and industries withrespect workers rights, which fought both the HIM and the Derg regime from Military dictator to a civilian rule, a democratic, rather than minority ethnic rule, are not in power in the current TPLF/eprdf regime.
    By not being in power they are fighting from outside, which leaves them out of the equation for the last 17 with the Derg and 22 years with the TPLF/eprdf regime to restore to my understanding to put front and center individual freedom, liberty and equality ahead of ethnic and secessionist rights, while maintaining group rights I presume, restore Ethipian nationalism and the sovereignty of Ethiopia and the precedence of Ethiopiawinet before ethnicity and perhaps individual property ownership to the silent majority of Ethiopians anywhere in Ethiopia by resorting to the original provincial boundaries to use as a cause from Babas and mine stand point, rather than lack of good governance, where the ratified constitution in terms of the articles mentioned above including the creation of independent branches of government alignment of parties along the national agenda for unity, territorial integrity, sovereignty of Ethiopia and Ethiopians serve as supreme law of the land or the operating system from which to govern by the consent of the governed. Nothing else will save Ethiopia from disintegration to survive as one nation under one flag the has been paased from past generations.

  5. Dawi
    | #5

    OH! aha..

    [[..By not being in power they are fighting from outside, which leaves them out of the equation for the last 17 with the Derg and 22 years with the TPLF/eprdf regime to restore to my understanding to put front and center individual freedom, liberty and equality ahead of ethnic and secessionist rights..]]

    If they are left behind it is because they can’t come up with an organized party that has a better vision than “the conquest of poverty” which is known to be the “Meles Zenawi doctrine” in all fronts.

    During the Cold war, Africans could choose Socialism (Derg) or Capitalism, but both didn’t work. After the Cold war we were left with “Washington Consensus” but, with China becoming a neutralizing factor Africans found an alternative.

    The Developmental State in the African setting is a pre-requirement to get us out of poverty quickly so that we won’t end up like the Egyptian dream of unfulfilled economic aspiration. IMO, your nice wishful thinking with an empty stomach is simplistc and won’t bring any serious “liberty nor equality” to talk about. We will just be in a chaos as Egypt is today.

  6. aha
    | #6

    Dawi as ardent supporter of developmental State theory, as a complementary to totalitarianism, together with free market capitalism freely exercised by TPLF/political, TPLF/EFFORT, TPLF affiliated enterprises, cadres and foreign corporations particularly in terms of agro industry as the economic model, much like that exercised by the Dutch Boers of ex-apartheid regime of South Africa of regions designated as self rule, with free market capitalism as its economic model. In both cases the majority of non-while South Africans and now the silent majority of Ethiopians were not participants in the free market capitalism available to TPLF/political, TPLF/EFFORT, TPLF affiliated enterprises, cadres and foreign corporations from the standpoint alone from private ownership of land anywhere in Ethiopia as a means of production.

    As far as the political ramification of ethnic federalism and secessionism as component of political model and the constitution and party alignments in terms of ethnic agenda instead of national agenda has created a rift between those for Ethiopian nationalism and Ethnic federalism and Ethnic secessionism/ethnic nationalism as being positive forces of integration with the former and negative forces of disintegration with the latter two. Ethnic federalism is not only a divide and rule policy much like the Italian occupiers or the then apartheid self rule, but also a prelude to secessionism/ethnic nationalism with ill defined boundaries as a prelude to boundary disputes as opposed to resorting the old provincial boundaries of federated states. By pointing to the fallacies of ethnic and secessionist politics and policies built into the constitution, that the TPLF/eprdf regime may want voluntary ratify to re-instate individual freedom, liberty, and equality to have precedence over ethnic and secessionist rights to establish a democratic rule, instead of either minority or majority rule, as set up is with Medrek party, I am not exaggerating but asserting the crucial element in constructing a model based on the goals for unity, territorial integrity, sovereignty of Ethiopia and Ethiopians.

    Reverberating the ideas that comes from TPLF/eprdf regime and its mirror image party, this what William Davison reported: “Ethiopia has enacted a “liberal constitution” in 1994 that promised a free press, autonomy for some 80 ethnic groups, and multi-party politics”, where there are nine killils/ethnic zones, four of which are more or less pure ethnic groups, and five consist of many ethnic groups, whereby the opposition parties forming a coalition with UDJP have been engaged in gaining political space as if political space a quantitative event, and yekillil mengistats/zones ikulint mebit mekeber, along with respect of ethnic rights, human rights, a common denominator. Where does these idea of eighty autonomous ethnic groups come from. With such scenario, it would be hard to dislodge the TPLF/eprdf regime, unless all the opposition parties coalesce around the goals of national agenda for unity, territorial integrity, sovereignty of Ethiopia and Ethiopians with strategies to achieve those goals to avoid ethnic and secessionist politics and/or policies dominating the Ethiopian politics, under ethnic dictatorship for the last 22 years, while perpetrating humanitarian, economic, political and environmental crises during its rule.

  7. Dawi
    | #7


    [[..In both cases the majority of non-while South Africans and now the silent majority of Ethiopians were not participants in the free market capitalism available to TPLF/political, TPLF/EFFORT, TPLF affiliated enterprises, cadres and foreign corporations from the standpoint alone from private ownership of land anywhere in Ethiopia as a means of production...]]

    I can only think your complaint is based on the notion why the “developmental state” bullet didn’t cure all of our ills yet?

    I have no idea what makes you assume the “developmental state” is a magic bullet that cures everything at once. As far as I know the GTP is a long term plan for a reason.

    Yeah! it is a great system however, there is going to be “disproportionate development” across regions; some regions where the politics (TPLF/EFFORT) started is bound to become the first in some early developmental endeavors but it scales up to the rest of the regions even in a more accelerated fashion by avoiding the pitfalls learned. The fact is EFFORT & others are expanding and building all over.

    I don’t understand why you are saying the “majority Ethiopians were not participants”? UN statistics show over all “poverty reductions”, health improvements etc. meaning the majority benefiting from the scheme.

  8. aha
    | #8

    Dawi! You are immersed in the Developmental State theory to the point of being blind sighted to the fact that 160,000 Ethiopians have been exported by human trafficking businesses of TPLF affiliated enterprises for lack of job opportunities in their homeland. The silent majority of Ethiopians yearn for economic, political and religious freedom along with free market capitalism and liberal and/or social democracy not totalitarianism and/or state capitalism supported by a constitution, centered around individual freedom, liberty and equality having precedence over ethnic and secessionist rights, free of minority ethnic rule and/or ethnic dictatorship.

  9. tariko
    | #9

    gebru ssssssssssssshh sssssssssssssh. that ia your answer dedeb do you think we tookover the power by peacefull. we lost generations. while you were dancing and laughing. what ever you dream. you will never never ever come back to power. believe me or not while single tigre alive you wil never come near to the palace.

    so simple. end no more laptop war we will allow you if u need some investment . we we will give you acre to farm that is also the best option we can afford.

Comments are closed.