The Unintended Consequences of the Ordeals of Teddy Afro – Selam Beyene, Ph.D., Beyene50@gmail.com

December 8th, 2008 Print Print Email Email

If there were any doubters about the viciousness and callousness of Zenawi’s dictatorship, those doubts must now be dispelled by the recent conviction of Tewodros Kassahun (a.k.a. Teddy Afro) in the kangaroo court of the despot [1]. (more…)

If there were any doubters about the viciousness and callousness of Zenawi’s dictatorship, those doubts must now be dispelled by the recent conviction of Tewodros Kassahun (a.k.a. Teddy Afro) in the kangaroo court of the despot [1].

Without regard to the strength of the evidence presented by the defendant [2], Zenawi ordered the excessive punishment of the artist, demonstrating to the world once again his ruthlessness and cruelty in treating innocent civilians that he perceives as a threat to his authoritarian rule.

As has been widely reported [3], there was gross inconsistency between the date the autopsy record showed when the alleged victim had died and the time when the hit and run purportedly took place. Ironically, in the dictator’s premeditated agenda to use the tragic death of the victim for vindictive political purpose, the sham judicial system has turned a blind eye to the investigation and prosecution of the “real” perpetrators of the enigmatic crime.

Behind the travesty of justice is, of course, the sinister motive of the dictator to send a signal of terror to future artists, and to divert attention from the pressing issues of the day – poverty, famine, human rights, war and sectarianism.

However, the bogus proceedings and the ensuing imposition of draconian measures have resulted in unintended consequences. The controversies surrounding the dubious arrest and sentencing of the artist have further damaged the already ugly image of the dictator even among those sections of the population that have been willing to give the tyrant the benefit of the doubt.

The members of the Millennial Generation have hitherto watched the toxic ethnic policies of Zenawi with measured skepticism, and played relatively marginal and passive roles in the fragmented struggles against sectarianism and authoritarian rule. They have now been stunned and rudely awakened by the brutality of the way the dictator has treated their idol, who has only been known to them through his extraordinary music and message of love, harmony and justice.

This is a generation that has its future in jeopardy thanks to the destructive policies of Zenawi that are designed to foment inter-ethnic animosity, to subject the population to perpetual famine, ignorance and diseases, and to promote nepotism and corruption over meritocracy [4]. This is also a cohort that is endowed with the 21st century skill set, and the temperament, drive and energy required to present an effective and credible resistance against tyranny and ethno-centrism.

The vigorous awakening of the Millennial Generation thus marks a watershed moment in the ongoing struggle that has so desperately lacked the active and passionate involvement of the youth. The anger and determination for change aroused now in this generation is a phenomenon that has not been seen since the nascent awakening movements of the 60’s and the 70’s. As the sacrifices of the youth were instrumental three decades ago to weaken Mengistu Haile-Mariam and eventually make him lethally vulnerable to the attacks of the opportunist parasites, Afeworki and Zenawi, there is no alternative to the leadership role that must be assumed by the Millennial Generation to bring to an end the current plague engulfing the country.

To the rest of the population, Zenawi has re-affirmed his trademark insensitivity and disdain for civility, at a time when many are still seeking answers to the numerous crimes and intransigencies of the dictator, including the massacre of innocent civilians [5], the stolen victory of the people in the 2005 elections [6] the genocide against the various ethnic groups [7], the use of famine as a stealth instrument of repression [8], and the adventurous war being waged in Somalia to curry favor from the West [9].

To those in the Diaspora who have guilelessly been transferring hard-currency to the repressive machinery of the dictator in the name of “investing in the homeland”, the plight of Teddy Afro shall serve as a reminder that their actions are not only emboldening the dictator, but are also lending him leverage to extend his spiteful control over their freedom. Every dime that goes for the purchase of a ticket from the TPLF controlled airline, or to acquire real estate at ridiculous prices, or to get other products and services from the network of business enterprises owned by the tyrant and his henchmen, is one more dime spent to perpetuate tyranny and to yield one’s freedom to a ruthless despot. In the current economic downturn, when the tyrant is desperate for hard-currency, uncritical transfer of funds to his coffers is a blatant expression of insensitivity to the plight of the people the money is used to exploit and repress.

To opposition groups, who credulously have been playing the treacherous game of cohabitation with the tyrant, the conviction of Teddy is a signal to refrain from participating in a political process without well-established groundrules that guarantee fairness, and without securing accountability for that tragedy that blemished the 2005 elections. The recent events in Kenya and Zimbabwe have provided a proven template for dealing with dictators that are addicted to manipulation of elections as a means of perpetuating their tyrannical rules. The people of Ethiopia expect and deserve no less in return for their votes, and they will no longer tolerate opposition leaders who will betray their trust and thwart their aspirations for democracy and justice.

To ethnic-based freedom fighters who have fallen to the dictator’s poisonous trap of sectarianism, the plight of Teddy shall serve as a catalyst to re-examine their agenda and to stand in unity against oppression and authoritarianism. Dictatorship can only be crushed with a united front of all the oppressed people – a front founded with the singular goal of establishing a united and democratic Ethiopia that guarantees equality, liberty and social justice to all of its citizens.

To those in the military who are prepared to pay the ultimate price to preserve the sovereignty of their country, the shameless conviction of an innocent artist should be a wake-up call to question their allegiance to a vicious despot. As products of a great people, with a glorious history, they have a momentous responsibility to use their organization, power and discipline to liberate their people and save the country from total destruction and disintegration.

To the sons and daughters of Tigrai, who have thus far paid blind loyalty to a manipulative dictator, let the injustice of Teddy serve as a clarion call to join their brothers and sisters in the fight against tyranny and sectarianism. In the current African reality, no ethnic-based rule can bring lasting peace and prosperity; no minority can advance its interests at the expense of the suffering of the vast majority; and no military might or wealth can protect a privileged few from the wrath and retribution of an oppressed mass.

Napoleon Hill wrote: “Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” Thus, even through this most evil of acts against the artist have come unintended opportunities – the further alienation and isolation of the despot and the dramatic awakening and determination of the Millennial Generation. It is the responsibility of all those who care for freedom, liberty, and democracy to seize these opportunities, and to bring an end to decades of repression in Ethiopia. The time has indeed never been more auspicious than now to rekindle the fighting spirit of the people of Ethiopia:

• Those in the Diaspora should mobilize their immense resources to bring together the fragmented opposition groups, and to re-ignite the drive to pass HR3000 in the US Senate. The incoming US administration and leaders like Senator Russ Feingold, who has a clearly articulated view of the danger of pampering dictators [10], are eager to restore America’s image as a symbol of hope to oppressed people around the world. Without submitting to unrealistic expectations, the Diaspora should present a counterforce against the onslaught of attacks by Zenawi’s lobbyists to trap the Obama administration and maintain control over the career diplomats.
• Opposition groups inside and outside of Ethiopia should resist the temptation to participate in any future elections orchestrated by Zenawi in the absence of strict and enforceable preconditions for free and fair elections. They must vigorously oppose any elections that are marred by fraud and violence, and be prepared to boldly apply the recent lessons from the elections in Kenya and Zimbabwe to protect the votes of the people.
• The youth should altruistically assume its fundamental responsibility to fight for freedom and social justice, and ferociously protect its future, heritage and history. The passion and anger aroused by the ruthless treatment of Teddy Afro must be harnessed and channeled to a worthy cause of establishing a just Ethiopia where all citizens enjoy liberty, equality and the pursuit of happiness sans ethnicity.

[1] http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2008/dec/03/teddy-afro-convicted-manslaughter
[2] http://www.addisvoice.com/article/ballad_of_teddy.htm
[3] http://www.ethiomedia.com/aurora/9196.html
[4] http://www.ethiopianreview.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=10466
[5] http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/6064638.stm
[6] http://www.omct.org/pdf/Observatory/2006/report/
[7] http://www.genocidewatch.org/THE%20ANUAK%20OF%20ETHIOPIA.htm
[8] http://www.abugidainfo.com/?p=5851
[9] http://www.ethiomedia.com/aurora/9184.html
[10] http://feingold.senate.gov/~feingold/statements/08/03/20080303.htm

  1. Sami
    | #1

    Yes, Meles and his followers are evils. Eventually, they will go to hell just because evil doesn’t last forever. We all know at the end of the day evil will lose as darkness loses for day light.

  2. | #2

    When Legesse Z and his Eritrean traitors advisors were were in the aiga bush they had a dream, a dream of, 1- how distroy Ethiopia with the ancient method of divide and rule in ethnic lines, 2- to become the most sophisticated slave in Africa, 3- to kill and humiliate the Ethiopian people through guns, lies, and other available methodology of psychological warfare, 4- to be the puppets of all western countries, 5- to be puppets of Chines, lastly 6- to distroy the fabric of the brotherly-sisterly that existed in the horn of Africa for many generations through backstabbing and betraying. My fellow Ethiopians if you are amazed by Teddys sentencing then you must have been asleep for the past 17 years when on slaught of Ethiopian people started!

  3. WEDI tigray
    | #3

    ohhhhhh BARVO OUR HERO MELLES ZENAWI YOU ARE THE KING OF THE BATTEL GROUND. YOUR ENEMIS CAN DO NOTHING BUT CRYING LOUDLY OHH I LOVE THE WAY OUR ENEMIS BUREN IN HELLLLLL. GOD BLESS MELLES ZENAWI. THE REAL HERO THE KING OF WAR.

  4. atuba dolla
    | #4

    No single Ethiopian is absolutely save from being the victim of the brutal regime’s crimebosss, Meles Naziawi.

    Came into Ethiopia via invasion as one of members of the barefoot bandits,cruel and sick but wealthy not healthy was called Legess Zinawi but later became Meles Naziawi has now reached the tip of the crimemountain where from the top he glances at the citizens to pick up his next victim.

    Teddy,the singer was one of the victims the crimefamily pryed upon and later when the time fits into a favourable one,the bandits trpped him into the setup trap and sent him to prision on false accusation. who will be the next victim? Anybody.

  5. Leul Tadesse
    | #5

    There’s nothing in this world that shameless tyrants won’t do to stay in power. Nevertheless they know that their days are numbered. Teddy might come out of jail through the shameful drama of “shimagiles” but how about the millions of Oromo languising in Kaliti and Shewa Robit? How about the thousands of other ethnic groups locked behind bars just because they aired dissenting views?

  6. Degu Kumello
    | #6

    The unjust ruling of the 8th criminal bench has horrified millions of Ethiopians. The Ethiopian tyrants have indeed reached their climax. But at the apex is their failure and disgrace. We must unite together to depose this rogue regime.

  7. Asrat Abera Buta
    | #7

    Tewodros sang, “the rebel leader with 17-kneedle shorts came to power but did not unleash change,” how dare he? Ato Meles Zenawi is a brave, charismatic leader who has led Ethiopia to unprecedented economic growth. Yet, he shamelessly killed an innocent man. He is getting away with six years. Are you crying for this?

  8. Tseganesh Balcha
    | #8

    Asrat you stink. How dare you yourself? Teddy is a very talented young artist, whose musical lyrics and professional efficiency as well as creativity is quite unmatched by any singer you can think of here in Ethiopia. And your despot Meles is a tyrant, who actually led Ethiopia into a dismal abyss. Ethiopia has become poorer thanks to his unwise and destructive ethnic leadership. The prosecutor could not bring any substantial evidence to convict Teddy. It’s just your kangaroo court, which does a travesty of justice. Teddy will come out soon but you’re really ethno-fascists, who’ll never learn from history because they’re so dumb.

  9. GOMORA
    | #9

    shame on you pm.melles zenawi zemenawi. how can you send this azmari teddy faro. only 6years in prison? shame shame on the rule of law in ethiopia. he must be killed or lfe in prison. I mean he should be in prison for the rest of his dumen life. ohhh shit I know soon some real heros come to gun dowen him blow his bloody head off. dedeb azmary no one gone get free when you kill inocent ppl.

  10. | #10

    Gomora for sure you are from DEDEBIT UNI.

  11. bin
    | #11

    btamnum batamnum meles leba new lager yemytekem
    hager kahadi dnber afrashe hzeb geday asari
    metfo meri new slezhe inga fetaren melemen
    aleben meles( weynae )(kingit) (hbret) le ethiopia aytkmum ibakhhu inde woyane anasb
    inde sew inseb fiker yashenfal teddy afro free new ethiopia yetebarekeh hager nat teddy free
    woyane leba new betamnum batamnum yhe new iwnetu teddy afro free God bless teddy and ethiopia melaw hizb

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