Zenawi’s betrayals include ceding land to Sudan – By Robele Ababya
Dictator Meles Zenawi has, perhaps inadvertently, given his opponents a mighty weapon provided the latter are united to use it effectively to expedite the inevitable disgraceful downfall of his regime. It is a deadly weapon that will surely shorten the days of his endemic lack of good governance in the last 17 years. The potency of this weapon is capsuled in a powerful caveat that our ancestors issued to those with motives to infringe on their fundamental values. The caveat reads: “Be abat erist ena be mist yelem waza”. Our forebears were determined to protect and defend these inalienable values by paying the ultimate sacrifice as confirmed by the history of their glorious victories over external aggressors. (more…)
Dictator Meles Zenawi has, perhaps inadvertently, given his opponents a mighty weapon provided the latter are united to use it effectively to expedite the inevitable disgraceful downfall of his regime. It is a deadly weapon that will surely shorten the days of his endemic lack of good governance in the last 17 years. The potency of this weapon is capsuled in a powerful caveat that our ancestors issued to those with motives to infringe on their fundamental values. The caveat reads: “Be abat erist ena be mist yelem waza”. Our forebears were determined to protect and defend these inalienable values by paying the ultimate sacrifice as confirmed by the history of their glorious victories over external aggressors.
The caveat roughly translates to: “There is no leniency over inviolability of ones land or espouse”. Our forebears believed that land is indispensable source of wealth to Ethiopians. To an Ethiopian man the wife is the crown of his head; the backbone and strength of his household; fountain of happiness; the pillar of trust and loving mother of his children. The husband as written in the Holy Bible loves his wife and guards her dignity. Violations of these values are protected with ultimate sacrifice.
One may for example cite illustrious defenders of these basic values in recent period of the long history of Ethiopia:
(1) Emperor Theodros II: This writer recalls a lesson in Ethiopian history relating to Emperor Theodros. The story goes that the Emperor received two foreign ‘visitors’ cordially and gave instructions to His servants to treat them as guests of the Imperial Court. Throughout their stay, the guests were courteously treated; lavishly provided with choice wines and sumptuous meals; were allowed to visit places of their desire. Finally, at the time of their departure, Emperor gave the ‘visitors’ expensive gifts and assigned two of His loyal servants to accompany them to their ship. Upon arrival at the sea coast, the servants politely asked the foreign visitors to take off their shoes; the visitors obliged and watched the sole of their shoes being thoroughly washed before they were allowed to board their ship. The servants meticulously carried out their Emperor’s instructions to the bewilderment of the visitors who asked for an explanation of why the soles of their shoes were immaculately cleaned. In short, they (‘visitors’) were given the reply that, in spite of their ill-intention, the Emperor treated them lavishly and gave them expensive gifts they can carry with them for keeps. But He could not tolerate even a speck/grain of Ethiopian soil to be carried with them abroad.
Land was plenty and the Ethiopian population was far fewer at the time. Leaders like Emperor Theodros are visionaries born ahead of their time. The Emperor would turn in his grave if he had known traitor Zenawi is ceding fertile farmland to the Sudan in the region where the Monarch was born and rose to power in spite of his pedigree of a commoner. The Monarch would have been furious at the betrayal of the tyrant at this time when availability of land per capita is shrinking and hunger is biting with over nine million Ethiopians expecting food aid from abroad.
(2)Emperor Yohannes IV: He gave his precious life at the Battle of Metema with the Turks who had ambitions to colonize Ethiopia and impose their religion. The Emperor set aside what could have been destabilizing internal power struggles of his time and rightly decided to deal with this external predator with voracious appetite to extend its hegemony and impose its values on a country noted for tolerating freedom of worship and for that matter glorified by Prophet Mohammed.
Emperor Yohannes sacrificed his life with honor. It is in the record that Ras Gobena Dache, the prominent Oromo of Shewa, felt very sorry upon hearing of the death of the illustrious Monarch.
May be only few people are familiar with the following stanza popularly sung by Oromos in Shewa long after the death of the Emperor Yohannes – in fact as recently as during the reign of Emperor Haile Selassie:
“Shagar guba ya mana Atse Yohannisi, ya mana Atse Yohannisi
Wal fudanate bana shilligi baisi, bana shillingi baisi”
It is about a plot by young lovers to save money in order to abscond to the abode of Emperor Yohannes in Shagar (Addis Ababa). The point is that Emperor Yohannes was a beloved sovereign for all common people despite political intrigues among the kings, princes and nobilities for power. The folklore is a living tribute to ordinary people who revere their leaders regardless of their ethnic origin. It is a shame that TPLF is a tribalist regime feeding on divide-and-rule strategy to extend its brutal rule.
(3) Emperor Menelik II: He mobilized patriotic militias numbering hundreds of thousands to confront Italian aggression by issuing proclamation in which the fundamental values – sanctity of ones spouse, land and freedom of worship – were enshrined. The Monarch swore in the name of Saint Marry he is known to adore that those who fail to defend and protect these values shall not be forgiven. Our ancestors proved that those values were worth dying for and gave us a glorious eternal victory at the Battle of Adwa.
(4) Emperor Haile Selassie I: He struggled for the rightful return of Eritrea to Motherland Ethiopia with the help and sacrifice of patriotic Eritreans organized under the noble banner of “Ye enat hager fikir mahiber” – “Love of Motherland Association”. The British returned the Ogaden to its rightful owner, Ethiopia. The Emperor outright rejected any attempt by the Sudan to claim Ethiopian farmland reportedly ceded to it by Meles Zenawi.
There is no question of the impressive achievements of Emperor Haile Selassie. He was loved and trusted by His people. His popularity at home and abroad was enviable. But He was too old to cope with the dynamics of modern politics; His stubbornness to cling on to power ushered in the vicious era of brutal dictatorship of the coward Mengistu Haile Mariam and traitor Meles Zenawi who stands accused for well documented heinous crimes and betrayals including dismemberment of Ethiopia and ceding fertile Ethiopian farmland to Sudan.
The era of divine right of kings/emperors is gone. It is knowledge/information age in which we live. However, it is to their credit that the above Ethiopian Monarchs have defended, protected and bequeathed timeless basic values to their children. Zenawi is unilaterally betraying these values. He has recently offered to his admirers including ex-President Bill Clinton the availability of land to grow crops suitable for conversion to biofuel. He has agreed ‘in principle’ to surrender Badme to Eritrea despite the heavy sacrifice in lives lost, property destroyed. He has reportedly given away substantial farmland to Sudan; He has allocated to his cohorts vast lands to grow flowers. He is excited about converting arable land for growing biofuel crops. What a contradiction in a country where arable land for food is shrinking at an alarming rate. Where is the promise of providing three wholesome daily meals to each and every citizen?!
Sudan is already the largest country in the African continent. The leaders of Sudan could not have chosen a better time to become even larger by adding a tract of fertile Ethiopian farmland 1600 kilometers in length. Better time because Zenawi is in a quagmire beset by the war in Somalia and complete lack of trust in Ethiopia.
Zenawi is a drowning dictator fighting for his life. He is prepared to sell everything invaluable to Ethiopia. He has fought tooth-and-nail to give Eritrea away thus leaving Ethiopia deprived of her natural sea frontier so vital to her security and expedited development in its capacity as economic lifeline; he has gravely tarnished the image of Ethiopia by invading Somalia where his forces are committing war crimes of far reaching consequences in that future generations who will inevitably be dragged to international court of justice (ICJ) with demand to pay hefty reparations.
By his unending habitual brinkmanship, Zenawi is inviting popular uprising; he is invigorating the rationale for concerted armed struggle. Indeed, confronting the TPLF regime massively is no more a question of struggle for power whether peacefully or otherwise; it is sacred national duty of self-defense against encroachment on Ethiopian farmland along the Ethiopia-Sudan boarder. It is a cardinal question of saving our beloved Motherland from further disintegration. It is a question of bringing civilized politics to the Horn of Africa region so that grabbing power by the gun shall be a thing of the past once and for all.
Concerted confrontation to moderate Zenawi’s intransigent behavior is absolutely urgent for the sake of averting the country from plunging into a full sale civil war. It is necessary that Ethiopians must genuinely and actively unite and own their past in its glory and failures in order to forge that unity. No powerful and democratic country in the contemporary world made it to where it is today riding smoothly without facing social unrest, political turmoil and ugly wars. So, fellow Ethiopians, let us save Ethiopia first and settle our differences later.
It is time to walk the talk by joining the protest march of planned for May 15.-18. It is time to renew our vows never to forget the martyrs in the aftermath of the historic election of 2005 and the innocent victims of genocide during the brutal dictatorship of Zenawi.
Heinous crimes of TPLF are enumerated for ease of reference in the article entitled “Solidarity Forum of Ethiopia support for May 15 protest march” contributed by Golto Aila posted on Ethiomedia website on April 2008. These crimes must be repeatedly told in light of the incessant lie-machine of the misruling regime to cover them up at all costs.
It is time to mark in some creative way Guinbot 19, 2000 as a dark day in Ethiopia to counter the TPLF preparation to celebrate its anniversary with pomp.
It is time that to underscore the fact that policies of Western powers is predicated on their national interests more than the moral imperative of respecting universal human rights. Zenawi-style daylight robbery of votes in Kenya was strongly intervened by the UK, AU, and UN; that of Zimbabwe was even more elevated to for debate in the UN Security Council and the British Parliament; President Bush and Prime Minister Gordon repeatedly and publicly condemned the election debacle in Zimbabwe. Shamefully, however, these powers turned a deaf ear to the stolen victory in the Ethiopian election of 2005 as well as to the despicable atrocities in its aftermath.
Our common struggle has prevented Zenawi from publicly scorning our tri-color Ethiopian flag. However the values crystallized in it must be reclaimed as a matter of right through intensified struggle.
So, fellow Ethiopians, we must rely only on God and our own efforts to stem the excessive abuses of the puppet TPLF regime terrorizing Ethiopians at home and committing war crimes abroad as in the case of shocking humanitarian crisis in Somalia reportedly worse than in Darfur according to protests in by the international community.
LONG LIVE ETHIOPIA!!!