No need to fight back: A response to Anteneh Hailu Shawel – By Neamin Zeleke
Mr. Anteneh Hailu Shawel states that he is “astounded” by a commentary I wrote and posted on Abugida website under the title : (more…)
Mr. Anteneh Hailu Shawel states that he is “astounded” by a commentary I wrote and posted on Abugida website under the title :
“In Minneapolis on a Thursday: If Some Truth be told about Kinjit Delegation’s Trip to see Eng. Hailu Shawel”. But I am afraid that Anteneh’s lengthy response is a misplaced one. Not only he has missed the context but it appears to me that has also read what was not written. He goes even a step further trying to find ulterior motives and sinister intentions behind some of the phrases and words used in my article.
It is clear for all to see that his name was mentioned in relation to the trip made to Minneapolis by the three person Kinjit Delegation to see Engineer Hailu Shawel, the Chairman of Kinjit. Let me try to put matters in perspective in the following order. I hope it will promote better communication and understanding between us and all those following our exchange.
a. From the outset, the article posted on Abugida was written in order to right what I deeply felt was wrong. As stated and explained in my article , the problem started when Kinit.Org, the website, posted a highly distorted and inflammatory statement which stated that the purpose of the three person Kinjit delegation travel to Minnesota on Thursday as none other than a “A Political Stunt”. In fact, the heading of the statement read : ” Is this a Political Stunt?”. The main points of statement flatly and boldly held the following: 1. the Kinjit delegation stayed for few minutes to see the ailing Chairman; 2. they were not serious, 3. it was a show to deceive the public, 4. Therefore the delegations’ trip was a “political stunt”. I quote: “…they had no intention to go through a sincere and honest dialogue but had gone all the way to score a political stunt….”.
So declared the same statement posted on Kinjit.org website. After the statement generated uproar and due its erroneous characterization and willful disinformation that does not help the mediation and reconciliation effort, the KIC , to its credit, acknowledged the damage done by the initial statement. Therefore it had to issue another press release with an apology . In fact , they took out the inflammatory , divisive, and fallacious press release posted on Kinit.org. One can read the KIC retracting statement below to understand the base and banal extent of the previous statement and the extra mile the second statement had to go in order to dissociate itself from the first statement which has been removed from the website after the retraction was posted. ( Please see the retraction statement from KIC posted on Kinjit.org attached at the end .)
Let me assure Anteneh and others that it was only in the context of the said statement that I wrote the piece that was later posted on Abugida website a day before the retraction statement appeared on Kinjit.org. Initially,. I posted it in EEDN electronic fora as a reaction to many people jumping to the wrong conclusion and condemning the three person Kinjit Delegation . All these sad acts done because of the patently false and inflammatory disinformation posted on Kinjit.org.
b. Surely, it is obvious for all to see that I mentioned Anteneh by name in my article. But no where did I state that I “spoke” to Anteneh about Kinjit’s delegations’ trip to Minneapolis , Minnesota to see Eng Hailu Shawel. One does not have to speak with Anteneh and only Anteneh to find what , where and who of such incidents and episodes that involve several people. This is true in this very matter under discussion as in any other affairs. As I stated in the initial article , I have my sources in Minnesota who have every detail, and for now, this should suffice as reasonable explanation as the identity of the sources can not be disclosed unless one has a permission to do so.
What I can say with certainty is the fact that my sources know everything from A to Z . As a matter of fact, I had to disregard some of the details related to me by people who were up close and personally involved in the process. Using the same logical step Anteneh’s questions and concern as to how come I know what I know about the “concern” and “respect” upheld by the trio Kinjit delegates towards his father should get its satisfactory answer with the foregoing statement about my sources and their proximity to the matter at hand. I do not have to be there to know what they said, in what context they said it, where and to who it was said.
c. It is also true that Anteneh and I saw each other during the July 2005 ESFNA soccer tournament held in Atlanta. Indeed after so many years. After Atlanta, we talked over the phone three times instead of “two”, to be very exact in the past two and half years . These were in September of 2005, about a year ago, and just three weeks ago. To be very specific, the compelling reasons for all three calls , especially the first and the last were not personal or social , rather they had to do with political and what I regard as matters that are directly related to our struggle for a democratic and united Ethiopia.
I made all three phone calls not because of Anteneh and his role but in so far as , Eng. Hailu Shawel, his father has been in the middle of the public and the political. And in so far as his actions and decisions have direct and indirect consequences for me as an activist as well as for millions of Ethiopians . I will save the reader from boredom by leaving out the details of the initial two phone calls I made to Anteneh.
But let me say few words about the last one made just few weeks back. I and a fellow classmate and mutual friend of ours who also lives in Minnesota made a conference call with Anteneh to express our grave concern about the problems in Kinjit. We asked him to seriously consider pleading with his father to make the right decision; and to facilitate a line of communication for certain individuals who tried to get in touch with his father with regard to their efforts at mediation but unable to do so despite efforts they made. We also expressed our concern about his father’s health condition and wished him well. In a nut shell, these were the points.
d. A gross coming from Anteneh is none other than one that has to do with questioning motives and his attempt to attach sinister intentions and an “Ideology” that goes with it. He states the following: ” 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….”
With regard the above statement which I quoted , I quite frankly do not understand which “Ideology”, he is referring to. But I can always guess where he is heading with that. Not very far. For now, I would like to remind Anteneh that I do not judge him , his parents/relatives based on their background as “Derg” , “Feudal”, “etc, etc whatever they may be . To being with these are mutually exclusive and contradictory to be used on the same individual at one and the same time. This is obvious for anyone who has any idea as regard to the genesis of these ideologically rooted words and expressions.
Now let me address to the terms like “Feudal, “Derg”, and other words and phrases of “ideology”. To begin with I did not write or mention any thing that has to do with ” Remnants of the Derg” as Anteneh makes an allusion. What I want to say to him is that here is no need to read too much into them unless one is searching where none could be found. ” Lam Kalwalbet Kubet Lekema”, as they say.
Once again, I would like to remind Anteneh that we both know or should know better than what should be written in public. There is no need to go there. My intention in writing about the “Feudal era” Dej Tinat and Eji menstat should not lead one to conclude that I am refereeing to specific individuals as “Feudal”, “remnants of the Derg” as I know full well who is who and who was where. We all know where we come from and some idea as regard to where others come from. I am sure Anteneh does too. I hope he does unless long life in exile has made him forget certain basic facts and considerations when making careless and bold remarks as he did in the context I stated above.
What matters is that we are Ethiopians, and our common denominator being wanting and dreaming a better , democratic and free Ethiopia. As such the very reason and epicenter of my recent personal initiative of calling Anteneh to communicate my concern as I did with many other Ethiopians regarding the serious problem at hand . The same is true with regard to my recent writings that appeared in various networks.
e. Last but not least. Let it be very clear that I do not harbor ill feelings towards his father, if he is somehow under that impression. In fact , I uphold a very high respect for the sacrifice Eng. Hailu and the rest of the CUDP leaders and members paid by standing firm for the political decisions they made after the 2005 election. However, I , as any other Ethiopian citizen with conscious , I too reserve all the rights to judge any and all public figures on the basis of his/her actions and decisions made in the public sphere so far as they are public and with direct bearing on our struggle for a democratic, free, and United Ethiopia. To that effect, seen from such perspective the current squabble and sad phenomena in Kinjit is no more “internal” , as Ato Anteneh would like to believe .
Indeed, very fare from it. The very exchange we are making here on a very public network proves the extent of its impact on the general public and its dominance on all discourses and much of the ugly discord among Ethiopians, if I may point , once again, the so obvious .
When I say Ethiopians, it means all Ethiopians who have the wellbeing and welfare our people and destiny of Ethiopia in their mind and at heart regardless of the political views and “ideologies”—Kinjit, Hibret, etc , etc– we may harbor as free citizens.
Neamin Zeleke Bogale
We regret the press release of October 5, 2007, under the captioned title that was posted on the Kinijit website attributed to the entire KIC and, used by various Websites to continue to fuel ‘differences’ that the Kinijit leadership should resolve through constructive, serious and calm dialogue and discussion. The Ethiopian people, Kinijit as a political institution and its leaders, well intentioned supporters in the Diaspora, the international community that is on the side of peace, national reconciliation, pluralist democracy, the rule of law, human rights and justice in our country and, KIC are committed to the resolution of the current crisis through dialogue among leaders.
The initial courtesy meeting on October 4, 2007, between Engineer Hailu Shawel, Chairman, Wzt. Bertukan Mideksa, First Vice Chairperson, Dr. Hailu Araaya, CUDP spokesman and, Ato Brook Kebede, elected Member of Parliament is a welcome development in the right direction. It is only a first and correct step. Much, much more remains to be done in the day and weeks to come. We believe that all of us who wish to see One Kinijit with One Voice owe it to the Ethiopian people that we will pull in the same direction to strengthen CUDP as an institution.
Innocent lives were lost, jailed, forced to flee their country and, CUDP leaders were jailed because they challenged a repressive and dictatorial political and economic machine. The structural and policy issues that faced them during the May 15, 2005 elections remain today. We therefore owe it to the Ethiopian people that we prevent any obstacle that will prolong their misery. In the end, history will judge each and every one of us in the Diaspora whether we helped to sustain the democratization process in our country or whether we became part of the problem.
With this in mind, we would like to dissociate ourselves from the statement that asserts that “…they had no intention to go through a sincere and honest dialogue but had gone all the way to score a political stunt”.