Which Way, L.A.? – IMNET

October 6th, 2007 Print Print Email Email

We have been informed that the newly-released Kinjit leaders who are currently touring the United States will be coming to Los Angeles this weekend. LA says hello, and welcomes all with great respect and love. (more…)

We have been informed that the newly-released Kinjit leaders who are currently touring the United States will be coming to Los Angeles this weekend. LA says hello, and welcomes all with great respect and love.

It would have been appropriate using this opportunity to give the delegates a conventional tour of this great metropolis called LA and take them to places where they could wine and dine with no let up since they have been deprived off any amenities during their captivity. Unfortunately we have so many pertinent issues to cover and so many limitations-most of all time. Still we urge our honorable guests to see the highlights LA offers as a package to the tourists as well as the historical sites where many of the Kinijit supporters and sympathizers held the candle-vigils, demonstrations and of course the discussion halls where some historic meetings were made.

These are indeed exiting and memorable times. The breaking news this week is the passage of H.R. 2003 in the House of Representatives. Using this opportunity we salute all who worked hard to make this happen and honor once again Mr. Donald Payne and Christopher Smith who are true friends of Ethiopia. We like to talk a lot about honorable people in this Press Release. Just this past weekend the Honorable Haile Gebresellassie broke a new world record in the most grueling 26.2 miles race in Berlin and brought great honor and dignity to Ethiopia and all Ethiopians world wide. More than four decades ago, in the same tradition of excellence, the late-great Abebe Bikila ran the entire 26.2 miles barefoot in the 1960 Rome Olympics and won the most coveted gold medal in the marathon. By doing so he brought honor to Ethiopia and put both Ethiopia and Africa on the map. The following day, on September 11, 1960, the Italian Press issued one of the most quotable quotes : “It took a whole Mussolini’s army to conquer Abyssinia. But a single private from the Imperial Body Guard conquered Rome.” In the post victory ceremony the Ethiopian flag – Green Yellow and Red and the Ethiopian national anthem was played for the first time in the land of fascist Italy.

Continuing in the same tradition of excellence, last May our sisters Meseret, Meskerem and Mestewat came to LA to participate in the Adidas Track Classic at the Home Depot Center in Carson. The trio were the most favored, and according to one Press Release they were dubbed the “M” golden girls of the New Millennium. As expected another honorable Ethiopian – our own sister Meseret Defar broke a world record in the 2 miles in front of very-spirited Ethiopian spectators whose deafening shouts and encouragement pulled her through to victory. And in her exclusive post victory reception she thanked and credited the Ethiopians who helped her break the world-record. One sports commentator added to this fact during his live coverage after her pacemakers dropped out and she appeared surging alone, he confidently remarked that her victory was sealed since the Ethiopians would act like a pacemaker. This is testimony to what Ethiopians can accomplish when and if they are united.

When LA welcomes Ethiopia’s de jur leaders who sacrificed a lot and contributed immensely in relatively short time towards the establishment of unity and democracy in their homeland, the expatriates should like wise show respect and offer well-behaved hospitality. To do something contrary to this spirit is treason. Kinijit as we know it stood for “solidarity and unity” as its emblem and the commercial narrated by the forceful voice of Debebe Eshetu drew the multitudes during the most amazingly-open media debates in the country’s historic political campaign. The Ethiopian people listened to all parties and understood the clear message Kinjit brought to the debate as opposed to the lies and distortions the incumbents offered. The Ethiopian people chose what Kinjit stood for and elected their leaders. Under normal democracy that would have been it. And immediate transfer of power should have ensued and winners would have taken government seats and the mantle of power. Not so in Africa and even in Floridanized democracy of the west as we know it. This is the era of the Illuminati, the multi-nationals, globalization and the one-world-order.

Although we need to write a lengthy and elaborate piece on this later, it is beyond the scope of this PRESS RELEASE to delve too much into it. However, it is vitally important to see the current Ethiopian political debate and not so-substantive-debate in relation to world politics, expediency and the so-called war on terror if the country wants to chart an independent course in the years to come. Soon after the May 2005 election whose outcome surprised almost all including the victors and the losers and their secret foreign pundits- analysts. That joyous, brief and eventful moment didn ‘t last long. The leaders of Kinijit led by Honorable Hailu Shawel-true sons and daughters of Ethiopia’s first democratic movement ended up in Kaliti jail. We are now giving them the honor they deserve in this honorable city as they are honorable men and women. We expect all including the honorable Eng. Hailu Shawel to join hands and show solidarity. It’s as simple as that. It is party time. All Ethiopians and peace loving people should rejoice. We still expect Eng. Hailu to come and attend this historic meeting. A reserved seat should be available for him when it’s time to greet the audience.

Well, notwithstanding what happened elsewhere, we should hereby acknowledge the rumored rift within the Kinjit rank and file and the leadership before, during and after incarceration. Although we don’t want to spoil the good feeling and the party spirit at this particular time, it’s incumbent upon some of us who don’t have axes to grind to speak TRUTH TO POWER and let perspectives shine, since so much is at stake. While sharing the excitement and the hoopla that has accompanied Ethiopia’s newly-minted political heroes and heroines of the new millennium we take a sober analysis of what has transpired in the last 626 days of the illegal incarceration of Kinjit members and others. We hope it shouldn’t take them another 626 days to get to the bottom of all the problems that so-called Diaspora is obsessed with.

We are interested in what happens in LA since it has been dubbed as the split-production-capital of Ethiopians. Except the zip code address change, LA is a reflection of what happens in Ethiopia as far as the socio-political, religious and other entities are concerned. During the discussions regarding Kinijit’s problems in North America some had tried to put things in historical perspective by going back to the seventies and pointed to what went wrong at that time. For example, it was in the early seventies- actually in September 1971(another September to remember) when the Ethiopian student movement officially split along the grain, following a resolution at the end of North America’s (ESUNA’S) convention. The place was UCLA. The protagonists are all dead. God bless their souls. The late Dr.Eshetu Chole was the presiding chairman. And the late Dr.Senay Likke and Mesfin Habtu had presented resolution and counter resolution. The contentious issue and the motion that led to the walk-out was, believe it or not, the national question, secession and self determination. The undercurrent struggle that followed shortly helped create the most fanatic and extreme Marxist-Leninist-Stalinist organizations in the country. The rest is history.

We repeatedly site examples here to warn Kinijitians that they are coming to a new turf in LA’s landscape where sometimes, besides the formation of mutually exclusive groups by mutating, some even get shot for wearing the wrong color. Here we are talking about the gangs. Since honorable people don’t join gangs we have no fear for that. Otherwise LA indeed is a hospitable place where a lot is being offered from the desert to the sea. The most common joke in LA is, “…Even the police treat you like a King.” We hope LA gives you the most genuine traditional Ethiopian hospitality.

Another example of what went wrong in LA some decades ago had its influence and big role in the formation of the current double Synod. The deep schism in the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Churches had its tentacles rooted in LA. In the eighties, when Dr.Paulos, the current Abba Gebremedhin used to live in LA he had played an active role in splitting a young and upcoming church congregation and divided the community for years until the two churches reclaimed their sisterhood status recently. He is now the de facto Patriarch of Ethiopia.

We hope Kinjit should look at LA’s warning signs and avoid the impending adverse consequences which may haunt Kinijit and the community at large. The myth that unity in LA is an illusion should be a thing of the past in the new millennium. Unity is possible (as Haile says “yichalal”) . Sometimes divisiveness is a state of mind. Let’s face it there are among us some demented and not so honorable people. We don’t want to honor them by mentioning their names. Since we like to talk about honorable people, so we refrain from calling them bone heads. Honorable people should learn or use the know-how for the common good and don’t lie, distort or defraud their fellow countrymen and women. When the going goes tough they try to jump on the sinking ship like the Titanic and attempt to drawn others with them. Since these individuals had familial access to Kinijit’s chairman they have used his persona and visit here in the US as Oxygen Tank to breath for some time until their political life unceremoniously expires. We ask Eng. Hailu to show some quality leadership and go against the grain in his decisions. That is what is expected of a leader.

LA will have to ask those responsible for the allegedly stolen money and most importantly get to the bottom of the real issue- why all the fund that was urgently collected didn’t go to the needy at the crucial time. Every individual who donated a penny or a dime has the right to ask for accountability. For the last year and half or so the Kinijit leadership in N. America had squandered not only precious money but also precious time. Many of the demonstrations, vigils were organized by one faction alone; or other interested action groups who took the effort to protests the regimes wicked plan of divide and rule when it selectively invited its supporters for a meeting – of all the places in the heart of Little Ethiopia.

Among the many LA’s untold stories, the one that should not be left unmentioned is the absence of any organized Kinijit officials when Addisu Legesse came to LA in August of 2006, to legitimatize the de facto regime in Ethiopia annd saw seeds of confusion among those who don’t know any better. Thanks to a gallant sister who took control of the microphone and told Addisu Legesse in no uncertain terms that he has no business coming here(LA) and urged him instead to talk to the de jur leaders in Kaliti jail. Before she gave him an earful of lecture on his regime’s wrong doings she had invoked the name of Kirostos Semra – one of the most revered Ethiopian Saints and did the Crucifixion sign on her body to drive off the devil. The irony is, not long after that incident at the Patriotic Hall in LA, Hugo Chavez of Venezuela did the same thing at the UN before his famous the devil-sulfur-smell comment pointed at Bush. His comment became headliner for sometime. All this time the LA-Kinijit troubled-trouble-makers were not seen any where.

The focus on money and alleged embezzlement is only one aspect of corruption. But the focus should be more on TRUST and accountability. LA is a great source for fund raising and asset to the Ethiopians and the future of Ethiopia. If Kinjit is willing to become a redeemer and a unifying force inside and outside Ethiopia, it has to somehow deal with the bad elements and extremists who retard progress. If kinijit or for that matter any political or other civic group succeeds in unifying the many fragmented groups, it can have one of the strongest support groups in North America. But let it be known that it won’t be that easy unless there is Know-How and a new way of thinking and a new paradigm at play. Kinijit is constantly going through phases and transformations. The Kinijit before May 15, 2005, Kinijit in Kaliti Jail, Post Kalit Kinijit and Post Grand Tour Kinjit are all distinctly different. At the same time it’s important to recognize who the real Kinijitian is and is not.

Uniformed school children for example used to freely display the V sign in front of their schools without fear from the power that be. During the campaign just before the election the peasant herding the cattle to the market would flash the famous V sign to passers-by with full confidence. Even in Addis there has been a report how people driving their cattle to the slaughter house (kera) display the V sign between the horns. We don’t know why some get jealous and pick on Kinjit for wining the hearts and minds of so many. It is a party that came at the right time and entered the collective unconsciousness of the many. It would have won votes if Kinijit came under a different name like by writing the letters backward reversing as TIJINIK. So Kinijit belonged to all who participated in the spirit of the times. That “spirit” which some want to distort and give it a metaphysical twist is what genuine Ethiopians yearned for years. Kinijit is the spirit to enjoy freedom, to participate in democracy and to have a spirit of well-being in a country that never knew peace and prosperity for generations.

What about the opposition? While acknowledging the formidable enemy that is brutal and repressive with all its might and thugs, it couldn’t kill the spirit. Kinijit may come and go but the spirit endures. There is a consensus that the de facto regime of the TPLF Oligarchy that mows innocent people in major cities as well as in the minority regions across the board has to be held accountable for so much death and destruction. The fact finding commission members who came to the US headed by Judge Frehiyot had conclusive evidence as to who shot and killed the 193 innocent victims and many more. Instead of propagating this fact to the world and help get those responsible criminals, most Ethiopian media outlets didn’t go far enough in their support of the heroic judges. One wonders why to this day not even a single Agazi thug has been held responsible for the death of so many.

As far as the pro-democracy movement goes those who are in it are actually weakening the unity by focusing their attack on the negative and are counter productive. The pro-democracy movement in Ethiopia can be strengthened only when the participants are democratic and free from corruption. For some who are hiding behind the media screens and Geez literati(debtera) poems, we tell them the revolution will not be INTERNETIZED. The era of self-aggrandizement is over. It’s time to use the current hi-tech multimedia-internet outlets for good use. Some dinosaurs are still resorting to old style Derg-era crude- Kebele-politics of the seventies. What a shame and a colossal disgrace. Aren’t we now in the era of new politics and new thinking? For example if they want to bring back totalitarian-communism and “the dictatorship of the proletariat” in this era of robotic computers, blue tooth, superconductors, ipods and iphones etc. so be it. Let there be a debate in a civic manner. If there is an ideological difference and some folks want to create a new party by whatever name they call it, like dinosaurs, green, blue, crocodile and present their agenda for change so be it. But trying to piggy bag on a party they don’t like and sometimes like; and attempting to destroy it and its leaders is just cruel and hitting below the belt. We say don’t throw the baby with the bath water.

It is worth repeating again what John F. Kennedy said in the sixties: “Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country.” The new slogan for those who want to advocate change in the country should be : Forty acres and a tractor.

That said for the starter let there be a mandatory national service in which all Ethiopians who are capable of teaching and physically able to farm go to the country side and dig and feed the nation. The county is awaiting their input, Yes you do this after scratching off Article 39.
Thanks Kinjit delegates for offering us the opportunity to raise issues in this exchange; and hopefully your trip to LA will be the best and most memorable.

Imnet Work

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