Obama and the circus of clowns in Ethiopia By Abebe Gellaw

August 3rd, 2015 Print Print Email Email

The historic state visit of U.S. President Barack Obama to Ethiopia has just accomplished what was expected all along. On the one hand, TPLF and its cronies tried to use it as a spectacle full of absurdities, comedic political circus and amateurish propaganda. On the other hand, it was a golden opportunity for Ethiopia as the crimes of the regime were exposed at a global scale.

From the moment the U.S. President landed at Bole International Airport to his departure, there were disorganized roadshows that revealed a tyrannical clique running around like a headless chicken. While making the U.S. President stroll around on shabby doormats and rugs rolled out as “red carpets” may seem a side issue, it drew ridicule globally even from bloggers in Kenya, where he was accorded a stately and colorful welcome. But for the TPLF goons what mattered the most was the photo opportunity and the cheap propaganda.

The circus started at Bole International Airport, where ministers and senior government officials were head over heels pushing each other to see and touch Mr. Obama. They behaved as if they were kids fighting over candies. Communication minister Redwan Hussein, Deputy Foreign Minister Berhane GebreKristos and an unnamed lady who was running around like a clueless midfielder can take the trophies for their disgraceful manner and lack of self-respect as dignitaries.

But the positive outcome for the majority of Ethiopians was the fact that the repression and crimes of the TPLF junta were exposed at a global scale. Major U.S. and international media outlets have turned their cameras and sharpened their pens to expose the realities behind the hype. The crimes that the regime is committing against innocent journalists, dissidents and ordinary citizens with impunity were revealed for the world to see.

At a joint press conference with Obama came an opportunity for incompetent Hailemariam Desalegn. He was asked to explain Ethiopia’s record for being the second top jailer of journalists in Africa. It was a hard challenge that he could not coherently take up.

“Mr. Prime Minister,” said an African-American journalist. “The Committee to Protect Journalists ranks your country as the second worst jailer of journalists in Africa. Just before President Obama arrived here, some journalists were released. Many more are still being detained. Would you explain what issues or objections you have to a free press?”

Here is what he said verbatim: “As far as Ethiopia is concerned, we need journalists. We need more of them and quality of them [sic], because we have not only bad stories to be told, but we have many success stories that has [sic] to be told. And so we need you. This is very important. But we need ethical journalism to function in this country.

“And there is limitation capacity [sic] in all aspects of our works [sic]. There is also capacity limitations in journalism and that way [sic]. Maybe those of you who are in developed nations, you [sic] can help our journalists — domestic journalists — to increase their capacity to work on ethical manner [sic]. But the only thing as a leader of this nation we do not want to see is journalism has to be respected [sic] when it doesn’t pass the line [sic]; that working with violent terrorist groups is not allowed –even in the United States. And we need civilized journalism as a culture and as a profession.

“So I think my government is committed to this issue, that we need many young journalists to come up and help this country to understand what’s going on. And for us, it’s very important to be criticized because we also get feedback [sic] to correct our mistakes and limitations. So we need journalists. And I think this is our view. And rest assured that we’ll continue to do so, because the media is one of the institutions that has to be nurtured for democratic discourse. And so that’s why we agree that institutional capacity-building in all aspects of democracy in this country is essential.”

What this can be translated into, despite the incoherence, is that they only need journalists that praise them, just like the ones working for state-run media outlets. The reality is that those working for the regime ,as mouthpieces, are not even journalists. They do not have the right and freedom to report the truth as journalists. They can only do what they are told to do and echo the workshop speeches of TPLF officials.

Hailemariam was trying to say that those journalists that courageously speak out and expose the atrocities of the regime, corruption, abuse of power or human rights violations are “unethical terrorists”. Those who boldly criticize the regime will be locked up as it has been the fate of so many courageous journalists like Eskinder Nega, Reeyot Alemu, Wubishet Taye and Zone 9 bloggers, Muslim rights activists, just to mention a few among so many others.

Even if no one had asked him about capacity building, the ridiculous man appealed to the very journalist who raised the question to train and help “domestic” journalists. What a shame!

While President Obama highlighted efforts to deepen areas of cooperation, he also mentioned the need for the regime to guarantee basic freedom and human rights, as well as opening the political space that has been closed to opposition parties. In his address to African rulers, he singled out Ethiopia’s predicament. He said: “I believe Ethiopia will not fully unleash the potential of its people if journalists are restricted or legitimate opposition groups can’t participate in the campaign process.”

It is an open secret that the U.S. foreign policy is based on national interest. Such a narrowly-framed policy has undermined the claims of the United States as a paragon of freedom and human rights. Hanging out with the terrorists misruling Ethiopia will only backfire and have the unintended consequences. No power in the world can promote liberty, justice and dignity with empty rhetoric. It needs a resolve to act and consistently stand by those who are oppressed and abused by the criminals in power.

As a postscript, we may need to look at the billboards that adorned major streets in the capital. One of the billboards expressed gratitude to Obama: “Thank you for vesting Ethiopia!” Another one reads: “We Ethiopians loves you mach!” Apparently, a TPLF-connected cowboy businessman was paid over 1 million birr from the treasury. After all, Ethiopia is a nation run by corrupt 3rd graders.

For the privileged ones, there is not the need to learn how to spell before making big billboards for the whole world to see. After all, even the Prime Minister cannot form a few sensible and coherent sentences in front of the international media.

Here is my message to the “heroic” and shameless TPLF junta: “Excselent! Wat maters iz ze meni. Pliz ran awey bifor zey kech yu!”

  1. Tedy Afro (TPLF)
    | #1

    Hahaha…hHahaha… Oooooh…man,u r funny man.
    Obama get you right in your ass hhhhh…who is the clown now?
    You got to love WEYANE man

  2. Dawi
    | #2

    Abebe said:

    [[... After all, even the Prime Minister cannot form a few sensible and coherent sentences in front of the international media...]]

    As an Ethiopian PM Hailemariam Dessalegn is known to be fluent and communicates effectively in Amharic, Oromiffa and Wolayita. He also speaks English and Finish. I understand you don’t like what you quoted thus your usual smear campaign here in non issue however, I guarantee you the journalist who asked the question received a crystal clear answer. Not only that, the PM IMO, showed that he was not defensive and willing to learn; that is going to take him and country a long way.

    On the other hand, Obama is only fluent in the English language; he had a hard time saying the two Amharic words he used in his entire speech; I still gave him a B+ for trying. :)

    Talking about a “cowboy”? Did you think President Bush who was a leader of an English speaking country made “sensible and coherent sentences”? :-)

  3. Dechassa
    | #3

    The TPLF rule has been a complete sham and mono-ethnic. This is the reason for the fiasco witnessed during the reception ceremony of the US president at the airport. The TPLF foreign minister Theodros Adhanom appeared disoriented, paced and was unsteady during the official reception.The whole exercise has also embarrassed some members and supporters of the TPLF. The nominal prime minister ato Hailemariam Desalegn was so nervous during the press conference that he lost his composure and inundated the occasion with incoherent and crude lies.

  4. gem
    | #4

    tIGRE people Liberation front put door mats for obama, they should ask obama to give them some money to buy a decent red carpet

    they also need to go to school to learn how to spell simple words for bill boards

  5. Brehane
    | #5

    `Dawi`, Please do not attempt in vain to defend the fiasco of the government. I do not blame ato Hailemariam, the nominal prime minister but his TPLF bosses for the whole fiasco.

  6. Negassa
    | #6

    I feel sorry for the TPLF and hodam guys like `Dawi` because he is failing in his effort to lie and get his message through. Dawi`s lies are crude and repugnant. The Finnish language is among the most difficult European languages for foreigners to learn. i know that ato Hailemariam stayed in Finland for 2-3 years to do his masters. He did his studies for the masters degree in English. His prior secondary school and university studies in Ethiopia were also in English. Thus the puppet prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn who is deficient in the English language in which he did his education can not be fluent in Finnish. This is where and why Dawi`s false and absurd claims of ato Hailemarias fluency in Finnish become clear. I know ato Hailemariam can learn more and improve his English. The problem is that the TPLF leaders and bosses of ato Hailemariam do not admit and accept the obvious shortcomings in their system and seek solutions to improve them. Instead they make futile efforts to defend them and fall deep in their pitfalls. As a matter of fact, this behaviour and way of doing business are typical of fascist and racist political forces such as the TPLF. When concerned citizens till the truth they call them haters and bla bla.

  7. Ras Alula
    | #7

    Well siad. I couldn’t agree MORE. Bravo Dawi

  8. Tesfa
    | #8

    Abebe Gelaw said,

    “It is an open secret that the U.S. foreign policy is based on national interest. Such a narrowly-framed policy has undermined the claims of the United States as a paragon of freedom and human rights…. No power in the world can promote liberty, justice and dignity with empty rhetoric. It needs a resolve to act and consistently stand by those who are oppressed and abused by the criminals in power.”

    Just the other day Compatriot Alem Mamo too wrote an excellent article entitled “How the war on terror stole democracy in Ethiopia”. While both you and Alem wrote an excellent article, I am afraid many of us including myself are not fully aware of how policy is shaped in the U.S. If we are not equipped with facts and the right information we will be perpetually in confusion. Assuming there is a suppression of truth and vital information from the public view because of media block out. There fore information is a powerful tool to have a clarity of thought.

    First of all I like to thank you for this accurate expose of the figure head P/M Hailemariam Desalgen.
    However, as I try to point out above I beg to differ with the view you hold with the quoted statement above concerning U.S.

    It has been decades since United States ceased to be a free enterprise capitalist Nation. For long now the economic scene has been a dominant scene of Crony or Monopoly Capitalism. Monopoly Capitalism, to begin with exists, unlawfully. That is to say it took shape through a single instrumentality. That is it has ability to bend the market rule to concentrate illegal wealth in the hands of the very few. Hence, we can say who ever controls economic power also controls the political power and influence.

    By its very nature Monopolistic Capitalism needs constant or cyclic crisis to exist. Regarding this issue we see repeatedly policy being shaped by interested group for perceived economic gain. So much so some historians clearly stated the major events of modern history, especially since 1985, is PLANNED history as opposed ACCEDENTAL history.

    We live in the age of globalism. Mankind is rapidly racing towards the climax a tyrannical system that aims to establish a one world government. Constitutional Democratic rule, rule of law, liberty is becoming more an ideal words of the past.
    Our best hope is to link our struggle with the ordinary freedom loving people instead of begging government officials. To do something to the problem of Ethiopia. In any case, please watch this link from the expert’s, and a military strategist’s mouth on how the future is going to look like.


  9. Tesfa
    | #9

    Correction, please read the year 1985 as 1895.

  10. Anonymous
    | #10

    TPLF and its forerunners is born to please always Imperialists. Read history, from General Napier to the US invasion of May 30, 1991 in between Major Tossoli during the battle of Adowa in 1896 and Rudolfo Graziani in 1936 putting the puppet, Dejatmatch Haile Selassie Gugessa, and the recent expedition to Mogadishu on behalf of the US to fight “extremists”. I think the solution for all these ills is arm-struggle.

  11. Fufa
    | #11

    The performance of the figurehead prime minister in the press conference was poor and embarrassed many in the TPLF camp. This not the fault of ato Hailemariam because his former boss the late Meles Zenawi was preoccupied with picking up and promoting the most loyal,obedient and incompetent persons. Now there are voices within the TPLF that are calling for the replacement of ato Hailemariam Desalegn. `Dawi`can tell us more on this if he is a well placed person in the TPLF hierarchy.

  12. Dawi
    | #12

    Negassa – you are trying to defend the undefendable; what you meant to say was:

    “Because Finnish has no connection to Latin or Germanic language groups it has proven to be more than a mouthful for most English speakers looking to learn the language.” You forgot HD’s native language is not English.

    That was not my major point and I didn’t even say he was fluent in that language but, you went on with the usual tirade of “TPLF lies” this and that. What lies are you talking about? You should be ashamed of yourself.

  13. Gullila
    | #13

    Dawi, how low are you and how deep you go down to rot? Yours is already a done deal; that is it. How many language do you speak and was only able speak nonsense in public forum? Aren’t you trying to be better yourself than you were yesterday, why is that so hard and arduous the life you are in not even be able to distinguish between learning and knowing? Hailemariam Desalegn is already bankrupted up on the head and nothing as such left in head for a rain thought or day. Dawi, if you ever been inflicted with a deadly disease called amnesia, then you must be exempted to be a normal person, but Hailemariam Desalegn doesn’t have similar issue that you have; the problem with Hailemariam Desalegn is not that he does not like himself, it is rather that he does not or never did respect himself at all mainly because he made a choice to have his brain exploited by his keepers and as a result left he with nothing.

    First and foremost, Hailemariam Desalegn before he was recruited by what today are called, Masters of his, he was a complete stranger to the family of Woyanae-Hiwhat, and was remained so for few years being pointed at as a complete stranger in the family of Hiwhat until as time passed by and was looked into cautiously that he then was accepted as a spokesman to the masters who own his soul and brain. Is this man worth more than an item that sells a penny? Dawi, don’t bother to reply.

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