Anteneh fights back – Response to Neamin Zeleke’s Personal Views – By Anteneh Hailu

October 10th, 2007 Print Print Email Email

Although it is true that Neamin Zeleke and I were classmates over fifteen years ago we have met only once in person, and spoken twice over the phone since then. (more…)

Although it is true that Neamin Zeleke and I were classmates over fifteen years ago we have met only once in person, and spoken twice over the phone since then.

With all due respect what I write on this paper does not constitute personal or group agendas, rather an interest in the quest for the one truth and the facts that are associated with it. Since, I believe Mr. Zeleke has mentioned my name (Anteneh Hailu) in a distorted manner in an article posted on, I have decided to comment on certain facets of his article.

I am quite astounded by the comments he has made in his article of October 6, 2007. Be it rhetoric or analysis, the conclusions were inaccurate and need more research. Therefore, let us examine the statements he has used to prove his hypothetical views:

Neamen said; “After calling Mr. Anteneh Hailu (the youngest son of Eng Hailu and a person I know as a high school classmate) upon arrival at the airport in Twin cities, Minnesota, to let him know that they have arrived, the trio-Wrt. Birtukan, Dr. Hailu Araya, and Ato Biruk- had to wait for more than three and half hours calling, again and again, a telephone number given to them by Anteneh to call”.

Mr. Zeleke is distorting reliable information. Acknowledging me as a classmate is correct, however, he could have used a different sentence to mention our acquaintance. His statement suggests that he talked to me over the phone, when he did not. To make the distortive statement clear, I did not carry on a conversation with Neamin Zeleke over the phone about the arrival date and details of the trios. His story is not derived from my side. I talked to Mr.Aklog Limeneh. Why does he distort Mr. Aklog’s name if he knew about the phone call? Consequently, he mentions that the trio, the Kinijit delegation members, had to wait for more than three and half hours calling the phone number I furnished to them. Does Neamin know why the Kinijit delegation waited for hours? I found out about the arrival of the kinijit delegations to Minneapolis only after they arrived. I did not have prior information that they were coming to see Chairman Hailu Shawel on Thursday afternoon. My father would have informed me to assist them in meeting him. In short, the delegation trio did not confirm their appointments with the mediating individuals. In which professional world does Neamin see people meeting people without arranging proper appointments ahead of time? Not only do professionals need to confirm, they ought to reconfirm their schedules, especially on a meeting that demands an airplane flight. What I gather now is that there was a talk between the Chairman and all mediating individuals to invite the delegation to Minnesota on Thursday. Apparently, the efforts failed, because it was not consistent with the Chairman’s hospital appointment changes. Hence, all mediating individuals were notified about the improbability of meeting Engineer Hailu on Thursday. The announcement went out Wednesday that he was available to meet the delegation on Friday, but not Thursday. To the trio, I did all I could in helping them find the chairman even when I was 45 minutes away from the hospital location. That evening, the chairman met the trio after a long tiresome day of hospital visits (from 7AM- 5PM) and tried to accommodate them in the hotel on his behalf. I believe their arrival was more like a “ Dub Eda”. Regardless, he requested that they stay till Friday (the next day) to have longer dialogues. I believe they should have stayed if they believed the dialogues were important enough. Instead, they left quickly to the airport. Last but not least in Neamins statement, I am not the youngest son of Engineer Hailu Shawel.

Neamin writes, “It is sobering to also note that throughout their short stay and brief meeting with Engineer Hailu, all three showed the utmost respect, concern, and consideration for his health condition. This was well observed by our first hand sources despite the fact that were made to go through such a sad situation as if it was the time of the Feudal era where one has to wait for hours for the noble or aristocrat to do the “eji Mensat” and the “dej Tinat” that goes with it. The incident in Minnesota and the misinformation purveyed to the general public by says much about those who orchestrated this sort of sad and shameful act”.

I believe Neamen at this point of his article may have reached a conclusion from the information gathered by his sources in Minnesota. He documents that the trio delegates showed utmost respect, concern, and consideration for his health condition. Was Neamin present in the room? Where did he get the story from? Does it make it confidential when what happens in the room needs to stay with the Kinijit leaders? The matter within Kinijit should be resolved by its members.

Furthermore, the gentleman inserts his views on how difficult it is to get to the Chairman in a manner which I believe is prejudicial – the same way few of our so called young professionals interpret the older generations of Ethiopians – using discriminatory remarks about age or portraying them as if they were remnants of the feudal and “Derg” system. Is there a motive for this? This is an absurd view – purely propaganda that usually emanates from groups that brainwash the young generation in order to divide our people. It seems that Neamin strongly reserves the ideology. It is not a reality! For Neamin’s information, people have to make proper schedules to meet important individuals such as the Chairman of Kinijit, any other leader, or even a manager of a small business etc, because they are busy individuals. If people do not have timetables for such individuals, then they will end up not meeting them or hanging out by their offices wasting their own time. Besides, no one was asked to do the “eji Mensat” or the “dej Tenat” to meet Hailu Shawel, if that is what Neamin is referring to. If people want to bow, it is their perogative. For the sake of civilization, people do not need to hear these kinds of culturally biased statements. It is our culture – be proud of it!!! “Eji Mensat” will not stop our people from becoming democratic. Japanese people, for instance, bow down as a sign of respect and still run one of the most respected democratic systems around the globe. I suggest Neamin stops fanning the elements that possibly form discriminatory propaganda we all stand against in the modern world. Be it race, ethnicity, gender, or age – they are all and equally discriminative by nature and are uncivilized. Finally, I suggest no one including Neamin Zeleke becomes a referee or even a linesman for Kinijit’s internal affairs, particularly without sufficient information. Our society in general needs to stop making public commentaries by stating a portion of the whole or without gathering complete evidential documents. For the sake of poor Ethiopians, the Diaspora should stop playing “ Enka Selamtas” or creating “Alubaltas”.

Anteneh Hailu

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