The fertile mind of Bereket Simon – By Yilma Bekele
I got home and powered up my computer. First thing is first; I always check Ethiopian Web sites when I get home. When you are an Ethiopian, you have to do that because you never know when the other shoe is about to fall. If you have not noticed, I want to tell you that we are a people full of surprises, and not necessarily good ones either. (more…)
I got home and powered up my computer. First thing is first; I always check Ethiopian Web sites when I get home. When you are an Ethiopian, you have to do that because you never know when the other shoe is about to fall. If you have not noticed, I want to tell you that we are a people full of surprises, and not necessarily good ones either. I find myself surfing from site to site, and today when I got to ‘ethioforum.org’ I came ‘face to screen’ with a report about First advisor to the PM, Member of Parliament from Wollo (poor Wollo) his Excellency Ato Bereket Smeon; well, at least that is how we know him now. You see with these TPLF folks, you never know if it is their original name, or if it is a recently acquired one. I stopped on my tracks, because I knew that I was in for a treat. God bless Ato Bereket, he did not disappoint me.
When I hear or read about Ato Bereket, it always brings to my mind the picture of Mohamed Said Al-Sahaf, Information Minister of the dearly departed (may his soul burn in hell) Saddam Hussein. The US media used to refer to him as Baghdad Bob. During the second Gulf War, Mohamed was famous for detailing the havoc that the Iraqi army was causing on the retreating US forces. In one of his reports where Baghdad Bob was giving an ultimatum to the US to surrender or perish, one could see the smoke rising from the bombing in the background. He was a comic figure with full military uniform, a Ranger cap cocked to the right, Armani glasses, and a friendly smile. In a weird sort of way he added color to the destruction of Baghdad. He was a very memorable character.
I agree that Ato Bereket is our own Baghdad Bob as coined by urael a bloger from Addis on nazret.com. Before the 2005 General Election Ato Bereket was full of bravado about how the TPLF juggernaut was going to annihilate the little Kinijit and render it useless. He was so sure of his victory that they chilled the Champagne, months before the election. During the ‘Prague Spring’ in Addis, the TPLF decided to go head to head against Kinijit in the famous debates. Ato Bereket was the point man involved in the delicate negotiations. The record shows that he and TPLF miscalculated miserably. To say the Government representatives were rendered speechless is a generous conclusion. The cadres were left naked in front of the Ethiopian people. The Ethiopian people said in unison ‘enezeh nachew woy ye megezune?” It was one of the most embarrassing moments for the Woyane regime. This did not deter Ato Bereket from declaring victory. It is not the first time TPLF has pretended shamelessly that defeat is victory. Let us count the ways (just the major ones please):
• There was the time when we were told that our crazy cousin from the North was getting ready to invade our country and the ‘Politburo’ intelligence said ‘very unlikely’ Unfortunate for us they were wrong. (Sergena meta berbere kentesu). For two solid years the country was on war footing.
• There was the time when they used all foreign currency reserves to buy arms from Eastern Europe and Korea and after a loss of over 60,000(?) lives on the way to Asmara, it was decided to suddenly put on the brakes and agree to a binding arbitration. You go figure this military genius.
• There was the time when ferenji lawyers were hired to argue our case and our country was taken for a ride and Badame was virtually gone, no pun intended. Never mind, it was celebrated as our victory. For Christ sake our forefathers drew the boundary and we ask who?
• There was a time when it was decided to hold an election because victory was certain. Faced with a weak and divided opposition, another coronation was predicted. Wrong again because the nightmare called ‘Kinijit’ won. TPLF declared victory and charged the winners with ‘attempted genocide and crimes against humanity’ atta boy you are on a roll.
• There was the time when they invaded a non-country called Somalia claiming they would be back in Addis for lunch. It is way past dinnertime and there are no signs of them. Americans call it ‘bogged down in Mogadishu’. There does not seem to be any light at the end of the tunnel. It is the fault of the UN, African Union, etc.
• There was a time when there was a declaration from the top of Ras Dashen that we would be joining the ‘middle income countries’ in a short time, and few weeks later they found them selves asking for leftovers due to a famine caused by a failed economic policy. We still enjoy double-digit inflation and unemployment, way to go fearless leaders!
You can see my excitement when I read that Dear old Bereket was having a POW Wow with his minions in London. Apparently, he was returning from a trip to Paris after a little disinformation campaign on the current situation or maybe after a quick shopping trip. Whatever it was, you know the poor farmer paid for it.
So our esteemed First Advisor was explaining how TPLF was able to divide and conquer Kinijit. You can read the both laughable and depressing details on ‘ethioforum.org’. I told you Ato Bereket was not about to disappoint us. He flies all the way to Europe, and I guess he thought that we might hear him better if he was closer, to tell us this fantastic strategy devised by the topnotch TPLF brains on the plan to destroy Kinijit. After all the illegal and criminal acts perpetuated by his government, there was no mention of the ballots that disappeared. The imprisonment of all the top leadership of Kinijit, including over 30,000 Kinijit and OLF supporters, Human Right activists and Civic Leaders was simply erased from memory. The declaration of the State of Emergency and the cold-blooded shooting of peaceful protesters is conveniently forgotten.
He is talking about disrupting power lines and water service. He is discussing the strategy of moderate and radical Kinijit. He was explaining how TPLF was able to divide and conquer Kinijit. It was not about disagreement in the political arena but more like explaining a battle between two opposing enemies. To him winning meant complete destruction of the other side. It is a very strange way of looking at your political opponent. As a diehard former fighter you can tell that he was relishing the havoc that he and his friends created to further their own selfish agendas. Many Ethiopians lost their lives, and many others were disrupted so that a handful can keep their privileged position. A different mindset if you ask me. It is both sad and perplexing that your own government spends so much time and resources to circumvent its own Constitution. The talk is a very scary window into the mind of Ato Bereket and the PM who actually sit and strategies to destroy their opponents not in the political arena as a Party but rather as individuals. This is the action of a psychopath not a law-abiding citizen involved in a genuine political give and take.
Let alone Kinijit or any of the other opposition party, no one can withstand a deliberate and calculated attack by all the resources a government can muster. Instead of fulfilling the responsibilities of the job they claim to have been elected for, our leaders are sitting behind closed doors and plotting to destroy fellow citizens because they have a difference of opinion on how to run the country. It seems that TPLF has declared itself and itself alone as holder of the truth and correct way and any body who thinks otherwise is a fair game and subject to imprisonment, deportation or even sanctioned killing. My dear friends is it a surprise that the opposition is in disarray? Can we blame the victim for the deliberate, calculated acts of a government-gone wild and investing so much of our limited resources to turn us against each other? We are human with certain set of predictable traits and behavior. Any organized group with the right resources and know how can create havoc upon any society. This is what is called psychological warfare. It is usually exercised against ones enemies’ not fellow citizens. Isn’t this what is being done to us by TPLF. The so called Kilils, the ethnic based organizations, the monopoly of the media is just another way of the psychological experiment to torment us and break our will. I feel like a rat in a maze.
I say to myself here we go again, snatch another defeat from the jaws of victory my dear Bereket. Thus after all what they have done he conveniently forgot that:
• Kinijit won the election. The Ethiopian people know this.
• Imprisoning the Kinijit leaders was another wrong move. The isolation and condemnation took its toll.
• The government was forced to release the leaders as a face saving excuse by the so-called elders and stuff. The Ethiopian people and their friends know it was due to the pressure and not out of kindness.
• The Love and Reverence for Kinijit cannot be extinguished and it is growing.
To conclude that because there is a family disagreement within Kinijit as sign of its impending demise is another wrong lesson to draw. Individuals inside a party can have disagreements. That does not make them enemies. Our big tent can accommodate diverse ideas. When we disagree we do not kill each other or lock up our friends. We are aware that you are instrumental in our daily bickering and animosity. There is nothing we can do except keep our eyes on the prize and continue this journey of cleansing our selves from this tendency to self-destruct. Ato Bereket does not get it. It is just another miscalculation and blunder by the TPLF mafia. As obvious as the war with Eritrea that was ultimately lost, as certain as the fact that the Invasion of Somalia is an absolute failure, so will this premature talk of victory over Kinijit. You see what is not clear to Ato Bereket is that Kinijit is not just a Party. For the hundredth time, please remember that Kinijit is a movement. Kinijit is just a manifestation of the Ethiopian peoples’ hunger for Freedom and Democracy. It is a force that cannot be defeated by conventional means. As Birtukan said ‘Kinijit is spirit’. How do you fight the ‘spirit of Kinijit’? It is possible to attract a few weak and confused individuals to your camp. You can pass a law giving the name Kinijit to who ever you like. You can even donate the Kinijit symbol to your good friends. But I would say that it would be missing the point. What about the “Kinijit Spirit”? The Ethiopian people are imbued with the spirit of Kinijit. No amount of Federal Police or Agazi force can stop the deep yearning for freedom. We are watching Kenya with deep interest. We are learning from our good neighbors. Waiting and learning. We are not going anywhere. Enjoy it now; it might be your last trip outside of Ethiopia. HR2003 is around the corner.