Archive for September, 2010
Professor Alemayehu Gebre Mariam (aka Al Mariam) seems to have provoked some reactions by his last weekly column “Meles Zenawi Goes to College” in which he defends (!) Columbia University’s invitation of the tyrant Meles Zenawi to address students. Here below are some comments.
Selam Professor Al and all,
This is the only time I can remember disagreeing with you. Can you teach a wild animal like a lion not to kill? No, you can’t. Such a wild animal kills for a living. If it does not, it dies.
After twenty years, what can you teach Zenawi? The only way he knows how to survive is by killing. You can’t teach him not to survive. Have you ever wondered if Zenawi is teachable or not? Or are you trying to apply to him ‘teachable moments’ that may work for other human beings despite what you know about him? Are you serous Zenawi is teachable?
I don’t think so. I think you may have stepped into academic fantasy which is all too common among the elites in the Universities. It is a reflection of too much subjectivity in the face of an overwhelming cruel reality surrounding this killer.
I know you know more about his killing records than I do. But still you want to teach him. This time may be you are influenced more by your profession and the academic environment you are in rather than the naked reality Serkalem Fasil is subjected to in Ethiopia. May be that is why it is easier for you to grant this killer a teachable moment. Again you know all of these more than I do. And still you think Zenawi is teachable and you gave him the opportunity.
Well, think again. I know you don’t like this ruthless killer. You are writing about him practically every week. Working hard to teach him all these years. And you know what happened. He can’t learn.
Professor Al, you said some thing against your own experience with Zenawi. Your own experience and your conscience are witnesses against you. This time you are wrong. Sincerely wrong.
Dictators on Campus: A Free Speech Issue?
Armin Rosen | September 15, 2010
Whoever signed off on inviting Meles Zenawi to speak at Columbia University’s World Leaders Forum probably figured that the Ethiopian dictator’s obscurity would protect the school from any criticism. Let me be the first to prove that person wrong: Zenawi is like a watered-down Robert Mugabe meets a watered-down Omar al-Bashir; a strongman who has impoverished his own people in order to maintain his stranglehold on power, and who has exploited his country’s strategic significance in order to gain the backing of the United States. I suppose he could offer Columbians a hell of a seminar on dictatorial self-preservation—on how to install puppet governments in neighboring nations with the military and diplomatic blessing of the most powerful country on earth; on how to violently steal elections while provoking minimal global outcry; on how to run a country that’s 171st on the UN’s Human Development Index. One wonders, however, whether such a master class in the infliction of widespread human misery is really worth both the aggrandizement of one of the world’s worst tyrants—and the potential hit to Columbia’s reputation that could come as a result. Like what could possibly justify this?
The first answer, which is heavily implied in the World Leaders Forum’s webpage for the event, is that Zenawi is a figure worth honoring:
Under the seasoned governmental leadership of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, now in his fourth term, and vision of the Tigrai Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF) and Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), Ethiopia has made and continues to make progresses in many areas including in education, transportation, health and energy.
Note also that the talk is taking place in the Low Library Rotunda, the location of the University President’s office and the school’s semesterly University Lecture, and upon whose steps the University’s annual commencement exercises take place. It is a venue that confers honor upon the people who speak there—unlike the less stately Roone Arledge Auditorium, where I, as a slightly enraged Columbia sophomore, sat four rows away from Iranian President Mahmood Ahmadinejad in 2007.
Which brings to mind the second possible justification for inviting tinpots to speak at major American universities, a justification voiced by Columbia President Lee C. Bollinger during his now-infamous introduction of Ahmadinejad:
Second, to those who believe that this event never should have happened, that it is inappropriate for the University to conduct such an event, I want to say that I understand your perspective and respect it as reasonable. The scope of free speech and academic freedom should itself always be open to further debate. As one of the more famous quotations about free speech goes, it is “an experiment, as all life is an experiment.” I want to say, however, as forcefully as I can, that this is the right thing to do and, indeed, it is required by existing norms of free speech, the American university, and Columbia itself.
Third, to those among us who experience hurt and pain as a result of this day, I say on behalf of all of us we are sorry and wish to do what we can to alleviate it.
Fourth, to be clear on another matter – this event has nothing whatsoever to do with any “rights” of the speaker but only with our rights to listen and speak. We do it for ourselves.
We do it in the great tradition of openness that has defined this nation for many decades now. We need to understand the world we live in, neither neglecting its glories nor shrinking from its threats and dangers. It is consistent with the idea that one should know thine enemies, to have the intellectual and emotional courage to confront the mind of evil and to prepare ourselves to act with the right temperament. In the moment, the arguments for free speech will never seem to match the power of the arguments against, but what we must remember is that this is precisely because free speech asks us to exercise extraordinary self- restraint against the very natural but often counter-productive impulses that lead us to retreat from engagement with ideas we dislike and fear. In this lies the genius of the American idea of free speech.
For Bollinger, “free speech” has less to do with the right to speak freely than with the responsibility to tolerate other people’s speech. Free speech manifests itself in our paradoxical ability to tolerate the intolerable, and it is justified through our “intellectual and emotional courage to confront the mind of evil” and, nevertheless, “act with the right temperament.” When we tolerate the presence of murderous dictators on college campuses—when we act with that “right temperament”—we prove that we’re up to the challenge of living in a free society whose limits of tolerance must be constantly tested.
But in the case of Ahmadinejad—and especially in the case of Zenawi—the whole “we do this for ourselves” justification is deeply selfish. There was just an election in Ethiopia. Zenawi’s party won 99% of the vote amidst widespread allegations of fraud. In the case of Zenawi’s speaking invitation, any expansion of our own understanding of free speech (which is a dubiously self-reflexive justification for free-speech, if you haven’t noticed) will come at the expense of the actual free speech of Ethiopia’s opposition, whose oppressor will soon be feted at one of the top universities on earth. The irony, of course, is that those whose free speech is curtailed on a daily basis likely understand that the concept is more than just an abstract exercise in achieving the “right temperament”—and that free speech is hardly protected by honoring those who have absolutely no respect for it.
By Armin Rosen
Over at the Huffington Post, Political Science professor Alemayehu G. Mariam argues that Ethiopian dictator Meles Zenawi’s upcoming talk at Columbia University is in fact a free speech issue, a notion that I tried to debunk last week. Mariam is no Zenawi supporter—he’s a passionate and extremely well-versed opponent of Ethiopia’s apparent president-for life, and his description of the country’s ruination under Zenawi is pretty enraging (especially when you consider how much the United States has done to prop up his regime).
Yet Mariam defends Columbia’s invitation, arguing that free speech should be treated as a kind of categorical imperative, existing outside the messy real world of politics and human rights:
But as a university professor and constitutional lawyer steadfastly dedicated to free speech, I have adopted one yardstick for all issues concerning free speech, Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” I underscore the words “everyone” and “regardless of frontiers.”
No one’s arguing that the United States government—a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights—has jeopardized Meles Zenawi’s right to free speech. Neither has anyone argued that it should. The applicable free speech issue here is instead whether American universities, which should be society’s vanguards of free speech, are actually advancing free speech by valorizing those who have made a political career out of taking it away from others.
I think the answer is no, but my notion of free speech is different from Mariam’s. He believes that free speech is a universal right, but also a pretext for teaching people things:
I want the event to be a teachable moment for him. Perhaps this opportunity will afford him a glimpse of the clash of ideas that routinely take place in American universities. He may begin to appreciate the simple truth that ideas are accepted and rejected and arguments won and lost in the cauldron of critical analysis oxygenated by the bellows of free speech, not in prison dungeons where journalists and dissidents are bludgeoned and left to rot.
By this logic, the more oppressive a dictator is, the more urgent it is for us to use the powers of “free speech” to educate or perhaps even pacify him. Dictators, however, realize that free speech is, in fact, a civil liberty essential to any free society, which is probably why they’re none too fond of the concept.
“Education for colonial people must inevitably mean unrest and revolt; therefore, had to be limited and used to inculcate obedience and servility lest the whole system be overthrown.”
W. E. B. Du Bois
“It is the white man who creates the Negro. But it is the Negro who creates negritude.”
“White is right
Black, get back!”
Diatribe it is not. Certainly not vitriolic. Anger at a sad situation? Maybe. Fury at our inability to be free? Perhaps. The whole thing was spurred by me seeing a security guard at a super market asking (once again) a black man to open his bag for inspection.
Africans who live in Paris know a particular African species, black of course, often bald and muscular, sometimes puffed up but still looking less menacing and more pathetic, dressed in a cheap standard issue black suit, sometimes wearing dark sunglasses, often found at the doors of super markets and department stores. Maybe the species exists elsewhere. This is no African to be categorized as a paperless émigré, a street cleaner, a frightened unemployed soul, the majority, as it were, in the increasingly unwelcoming capital that Paris has become. This special species is the security guard, the keeper of His Masters gates, a trusted mastiff, underpaid but still proud–he has a job and he has his working papers in order. Two valuable things that thousands other Africans do not have at all. These guards and elderly white women share the same phobia –they fear the African. In the Metro or in the buses, if an African stands close to her, the elderly white woman will usually hold her purse tighter after casting a fearful glance towards him. The black, often African, security guard will also stare at the African entering the supermarket or the department store, follow him with his eyes and more often than not accost him as he leaves to ask him to open and show the contents of his bag just as (or while) the whites, some of whom may have indulged in shoplifting away from the prying eyes of the camera, calmly walk out. “Good day Bwana, Have a nice day Sir, Please open the bag!”– This last one addressed to the African, of course. At the airport, the black policeman or woman soften stop the black person and rarely dare to do the same with the white ones.
It is all connected to the colonization of the mind, an inculcated self hatred and inferiority complex. There is no denying that the slave trade and colonialism ruined Africa to no end and that the wounds open up even today to debilitate Africa’s search for development and overall progress. That said, it is equally true that all of Africa’s woes cannot be traced back to those two evils even though 50 years after the so called independence from colonialism, the enslaved African bourgeoisie owes its rottenness and lack of nationalism to the colonial (mis)– education and formation. Colonialism was wanton murder but it was really worse than that. True that Germans almost wiped out the Herero in Namibia, the French killed thousands over thousands in the Maghreb, the British committed heinous crimes in Kenya and in their colonies, the Belgians slaughtered 15 million Congolese, Mussolini killed at least one million Ethiopians as he attempted to colonize Ethiopia, but all this and other crimes pale when it comes to the crime of the colonization of the minds of millions of Africans. The former passed, the latter crime still persists. Slave owners of America called it seasoning, the deculturization process that knew no end, leading to total subservience of the mind and the acceptance of the slave holder’s beliefs. The slave hated himself or herself, his culture, his blackness, his name his, kinky hair, lips and nose and in general his very being. This variety of “epistemic violence”, as some call it, afflicted many colonized Africans and Indians too. Structurally, British colonial control over India ended a longtime ago but the British left “persons, Indian in blood and color, but British in taste, in opinions, morals and in intellect”. Indian society worships the white skin, hates black and millions of the untouchables are, yes, quite black. In Kenya, a typical example was the Attorney General Charles Njonjo who assumed he was British and refused to shake hands with ordinary Kenyans thereby provoking the anger of Kenyan students who, when they demonstrated, often held placards calling on Njonjo to ” Go Home to England!”. And they were not joking at all.
Brainwashing is another word for it, massive brainwashing or what some have called “menticide”. Mental colonialism as the Iranian Jalal Al-e Almadi argued in his book Occidentosis. It has afflicted most colonized peoples. African Americans had to struggle against “seasoning” to decolonize their minds, to realize that black is also beautiful. It took a long time and is still not victorious. Even James Baldwin, as Eldridge Cleaver put it in his “Soul on Ice”, could himself qualify as a “reluctant black”, Malcolm X and others had to spend hours “conking” their hairs. The struggle for national liberation in Africa was not accompanied by a cultural struggle that was just as fierce. The African leaders and ruling elite left in power by colonialism were black in colour but white at heart and in desire. The Western companies that make skin lightening creams and lotions profit millions in Africa and India as their products spread skin diseases and reinforce the feeling of self loathing. Having a pale or white skin has become a must. Many colonized people bleach their skins, want to identify themselves with the colonial entity, are ashamed of their origin and punish their hairs. The French refer to light skinned blacks as the “saved colors” (couleur sauvé) meaning saved by a miracle from the disaster that would have been “being black”. Even in Ethiopia, where colonialism never took place, we talk of color of various hues, differentiating Ethiopians as black, red and brown–ignorance being bliss and you can imagine what color is frowned upon. Wearing wigs over kinky hairs has earned millions for wig makers (Comedian Chris Rock has made an interesting film on the hair issue amidst African Americans). And the African male is accused of going wild for blondes fulfilling the white stereotype of ages–the black man yearning and lusting for blue eyed blondes. We are the eternal King Kongs, no? This is the most serious colonial crime committed on Africa–the colonization of our minds, now continued by the West under new forms. The African yearns to be a caricature of the white, to ape the white man’s culture, to have little or no self respect. We do not even consider ourselves able to express our woes and look up to self appointed stars and foreign self declared do-gooders to voice our plight and find us some solutions. The African was colonized and now he himself, devoid of an independent mind, continues with his own colonization, perpetuates negritude.
I am, however, of the opinion that Afro centrist positions often reflect, albeit in reverse and at times unwittingly, the base inferiority complex that characterizes the colonized mind. We do not have to insist that everything under the sun originated with the black person or in Africa to be proud of our heritage. Mobutu launched the authenticité campaign and changed his name from Joseph Desiree Mobutu to Mobutu Sese Seko Wazabanga but that did little to change his colonized mind or state of servility to the West. Civilization, what is right, progress and what is or is not modern are all relative and not always white. The concept of the mind as an occupied territory, this same mind becoming the enemy within of the assimilated “natives”, filled with self contempt, who imbibe the education of the colonizer (language and all) and become carbon copies of the colonizer highlights the confusion and debilitating trauma and tension the colonized have to live under. Ngugi wa Thiongo, in his book “The Decolonization of the Mind”, raises the problem as it relates to language and the dominance of English. He argues that writers should write in their native languages as a means of decolonization of the mind. How far is the relevance and even importance of Western education? Should the African elite feel proud and gloat just because, as one Western African put it, he has “sat at the foot of the white man and drank from the fountain of knowledge” in some Western university and got a degree. And yet the resort to what is generally known as tradition is fraught with deadly mines. Automatic deliverance is not offered–actually this solution may be worse than the problem in many instances. Harmful traditions are many; the overall rejection of all that is labeled Western (what is really Western and not universal?) could also be disastrous. After all the Taliban mind is not decolonized, they and the likes of the Somali Al Shabab, who rile against music, sports and the rights of women and decapitate, stone or throw acid at the faces of young girls going to school, are not a better deal over the colonized mind. Choose your poison.
Hence, the black security guards and policemen who tend to believe that all blacks are first class suspects are not to be blamed–they need to be pitied. Next time you go to a supermarket or a department store, do open your bags voluntarily to give the black security guards articles and books on the need to decolonize our minds. It is tragic to stay a slave and not know it at all. Fifty years after mostly fake independence, the real liberation of Africa demands an end to servility and to the colonization of our minds.
Read more of Hama Tuma at: http://www.debteraw.com/articles-by-hama-tuma/
It was not accidental that the legal opposition lacked the willingness and the capacity to become a viable force in the struggle against the TPLF. At each turn of events, it flaunted all opportunities handed to it by history, choosing its own survival to the advancement of the noble cause which it claimed to uphold. It chose to be bound by the TPLF draconian laws, allowing an illegal and violent regime to determine what is legal and what is not. Most importantly it lacked the courage to organically link with the people, which is paramount for launching any struggle peaceful or otherwise. But it knew what it was doing. What one can say about the many leaders fielded by the legal opposition is that these were/are not naïve political actors who were taken for a ride by the regime. Some were at the forefront cheer-leading the marauding army of the regime as it entered the capital, its hands soaked with the blood of many EPRP patriots. Some were bona fide members of the satellite groups of the regime, rising through the ranks and holding high offices. Some were just following their profession, which is, serving the powerful. All in all, they knew the kind of enemy Ethiopians were/are facing in the TPLF, and went along with it. They knew what they were doing, and what they were not doing was peaceful struggle.
It is absurd for any opposition in Ethiopia to concern itself about which of the TPLF’s laws it might break, let alone be governed by them. What is the use of opposing the TPLF without breaking all of its laws? Isn’t this confusing peaceful struggle with silence? Isn’t this outright surrender?
The legal opposition became legal, not because it chose the peaceful struggle, but because it became a relevant tool for the much needed democratic credentials that the TPLF was seeking from its handlers. From the outset, the legal opposition did not and could not have a life of its own. To that end, it submitted to all of Meles’s demands. It stayed away from any act of incitement against his regime. It distanced itself from any group that Meles considered to be his enemies. It closed its eyes and ears on the genocides (Gonder, Areka, Arbagugu, Addis Abeba…etc), on the countless disappeared, and on the many political prisoners languishing in the country’s secret and not so secret prisons. It kept quiet as Meles intensified his treasonous act of mortgaging the country to foreigners. It couldn’t even react when its own members and operatives were manhandled, jailed and killed.
Fabricated portrayals of Gandhi aside, the legal opposition could not come up with leaders who had the courage to say no to Meles. Gandhi was a revolutionary in every sense of the term who showed a peaceful struggle, if and when led by a principled and committed national movement, could break the backbone of colonial rule. He was a fearless combatant, a tireless organizer, and a rebel who provoked his people to rise against the British Empire. He was also a man of high moral ground with no appetite for personal power, wealth or comfort. In contrast, what the legal opposition gave us were street smart talkers and business men who saw the benefits (from name recognition to power sharing) of a political space that revolutionaries like Gandhi would not touch. They were wheelers and dealers who profited from Meles’s atrocities and the peoples’ call for justice. They were power hasslers who refused to be radicalized. They were too well behaved- too domesticated- to follow Gandhi’s footsteps.
Perhaps, there would be no better example that describes the nature of the legal opposition than the stance it took and the role it played right after the 2005 election. In May 2005, the people were ready to wage a peaceful struggle, meaning to break the laws which the legal opposition could not. The regime was on its heels, frightened by the potential power of a resolute mass action which could lead to another Yekatit? . Obsessed by their love of the TPLF’s rules, the leaders of the legal opposition came out condemning the people as law breakers. They joined Meles and his colleagues in declaring that the people have no business in the affairs of their lives and their country, other than coming to TPLF approved rallies and elections.
There was no and there is no legal opposition in Ethiopia. What there was and what there is, is part of the neo-liberal project that served and continues to serve as a counterforce to the organic national liberation struggle. What there was and what there is, is an appendage of Meles and the TPLF, an enemy of the Ethiopian people
Office of the President.
I am an Ethiopian writer and some years back I had presented my book in your university. I am addressing to you this protest letter following the announcement that Columbia University has invited the bloody Ethiopian tyrant to make a key note address on African leadership. What makes the matter worse is the eulogy made by the university concerning the dictator,presenting him as an innovator and falsely declaring that Ethiopia has progressed under his leadership and that of his TPLF cabal.
Meles Zenawi, the predator of the free press, is responsible for genocide in Gambella, massacres in the Ogaden, Water, Adebabaye Iyesus, Anwar mosque and many other places. He holds close to 35,000 political prisoners including Judge Ms Birtukan Midiksa, has disappeared dozens of political dissidents including Ms Aberash Berta and Tsegaye Gebre Medhin. Torture is routine and very very cruel and inhuman punishments the norm. In 2005, Meles had more than 200 people killed in Addis Abeba because they legitimately protested against his rigging the general election. Meles Zenawi presides over an ethnic organization and practices discriminatory ethnic politics. There is little in the record of this gross human rights violator that calls for admiration and , hence, the surprise and indignation at the whitewashed presentation of the tyrant by Columbia University.
I, as an Ethiopian and as a citizen struggling for democracy in Ethiopia, strongly protest against the invitation made by the University to the dictator Meles. It is an injustice and a sad example of supporting a dictator to the detriment of millions of people who are repressed now but will surely rise in the near future to get rid of the dictatorship.
Stand on the side of justice, human rights and solidarity with oppressed people.
Open Letter to Professor Joseph Stiglitz,
Chairman, Committee on Global Thought of Columbia University,
Dear Professor Joseph Stiglitz
I was shocked to read at the event page of the official website of the Committee on Global Thought (CGT) of Colombia University, that the notorious tyrant Melese Zenawi has been invited to make a key note address to the global forum on September 22, 2010. The shock was getting even intense as I continue to reckon that the CGT is a committee composed of scholars of unprecedented knowledge and education as well as wisdom chaired by a celebrated thinker I truly admire for his knowledge and humanity, Prof. Stiglitz.
I understand that you adopted the forum to “explore globalization from an innovative, interdisciplinary perspective,” aiming to “rethink what information Colombian University Students need to confront the challenges stemming from Globalization.” Taking this for granted, I was unable to sustain the unfortunate situation in my system for a while that I had to sit down and think again and again to believe that I was really reading a message truly posted by the committee you lead as a chairman. This is a tragedy indeed particularly when one considers the over 250 years of academia of the esteemed Colombia University; because:
1. Melese Zenawi is a coldblooded dictator with track record violation of human rights and suppression of the process of democracy and good governance in his ethno-centered, bloody and war mongered rules of the past twenty years. In the gruesome Ethio-Eritrea war triggered by the dictator alone over 80,000 lives have been consumed.
2. The introduction in the webpage is far beyond the fact and deliberately made so, to cover the truth about the tyrant, Melese Zenawi.
Having recognized that there is something wrong going on here that would hide the truth in a forum evidently established to enshrine the truth, I have made it my duty to correct this misinformation and request your kind permission to reconsider the cancellation of the program scheduled for September 22, at the Colombia University Global Thought Forum. Please consider the following points on the issue:
1. Melese Zenawi is not in his second term of his premiership as stated in the introduction but has completed his second to go for the third in a matter of days. A bogus election has been conducted in May 2010 and the tyrant has declared a landmark victory of 99.6%, which is impossible to contain but when dictators say “the untrue is true” the general inclination is that there is no way out but to believe the “untrue” as “true.” Thus the world is swallowing the bitter “untrue” endorsing the dictator to a third term of premiership. Since the seizure of power by the barrel of the gun, Zenawi has been 20 years in power thus evidencing a clear characteristic of totalitarianism.
2. In the first instant of his premiership there was no contender to challenge the dictator because he imposed conditions that were not acceptable by the contending parties who refused to participate after which he dumped a large number of them in jail so that his party runs solo to maintain government power and reign in the name of democracy. One of the leaders systematically convicted and killed in jail (killed by refusing medication in time) during that time was the renowned surgeon, educator and political leader, Professor Asrat Woldeyes, President of the All Amhara People’s Organization (AAPO). Professor Asrat was a fellow of the Royal Society of London and an honorary citizen of Los Angeles County in California.
3. In his next term which was 2005 the tyrant and his party had actually lost the election because they were challenged by a powerful opposition party candidates but rigged, the election and jailed those who won the election and sentenced them to death to finally release them under a phony reprieve in exchange for accepting “guilt” of the bogus crime they were convicted for.
4. In this process the tyrant himself appeared in the TV to declare that the country was under state of emergency in which time all commands to the military goes from his office. During this state of emergency, hundreds of Ethiopians including women, school children, and the aged were massacred out of which 196 were officially acknowledged by his government to have been mowed in the streets, villages and wherever they were performing their daily routines.
5. Earlier, while the tyrant was chairman of EPRDF he practiced Albanian Communism as his Party guideline and fiercely fought the Ethiopian Government Army which was a mob of communists by itself merely to enable Eritrea secede from Ethiopia and to bring his party to power by the muzzle of the gun. Imagine the aim was not to bring democracy to the Ethiopian society but to actualize his motto mentioned above. After his mission was accomplished in double edges (Seceding Eritrea from the motherland and seizure of power by the muzzle of the gun,) he personally attended the festival depicting the secession of Eritrea at Asmara and made an amazing speech, congratulating ELF leaders for seceding from Ethiopia, a nation he was leading as a president at that time.
6. Zenawi was the only person on earth to congratulate a force that seceded from a country he was supposed to lead as a president and to watch and salute the enemy combatant parade equipped with tanks, missiles and other heavy ammunitions usurped from his nation. These ammunitions belonging to the people of Ethiopia have been laid at the Assab port, before they were looted by the rebellions that forcefully occupied the port which was an integral part of the province of Afar, a region belonging to Ethiopia for years immemorial and never been a part of Eritrea except in the brief years of the colonial Italian rule of Eritrea. Assab was a regional autonomy state when it failed in the hands of the enemy combatant.
Because Zenawi allowed Eritreans to include Assab in their territory instead of negotiating for the return of the port, Ethiopia is now deprived of its right of access to the sea. Zenawi invoked the lives of millions of young Ethiopians in Tigray Province to sacrifice their lives promising for democracy to prevail in Ethiopian society but at last for the dismay of those who survived the war the result was the formation of “Land locked Ethiopia.” This was not only a tragedy, but a tragedy stained with the blood of the sacrificed youth that is now crying for justice to triumph one day. Perhaps this has come today to take place in your esteemed university and to pour in the ears of your democrat students that seek the truth.
7. Last but not least the tyrant allowed the Eritrean rebel government exist at the expense of Ethiopia for a considerable number of years allowing it rob the national wealth belonging to the people of Ethiopia including commodities such as coffee, sugar, oil seeds that the country could export and gain foreign currency. In fact Eritrea during that time became one of the African countries that export coffee without cultivating a single coffee been in its territory; but all stolen from Ethiopia by the good will of Melese Zenawi. This situation finally came into halt because the nationalists at the TPLF factions intercepted Zenawi’s intention to harm Ethiopia, a notion that finally led the dictator trigger the Ethiopian-Eritrean bloody war that consumed nearly 80,000 lives from both sides and to the dismay of the dictator ended in the victory of the Ethiopian army. There is no doubt that Melese Zenawi is responsible for this tragic war.
I am enumerating the above facts (and could enumerate many more) not for your reference but for the young Americans you instigate the idea of Columbian Global Thought so that they see the actual fact on the issue that tyrant Melese Zenawi, may present fallaciously at the event you are scheduling on September 22. I know that there is nothing hidden from your knowledge about Ethiopia. As a person of immense knowledge celebrated and recognized by many in the world, I believe that there is nothing that you do not know about Zenawi and his renegade EPRDF that is ruling Ethiopia by force. But there is a saying in my country, Ethiopia, a country with 3000 years of history and very rich in fable and adage that reflect wisdom, “Awoqo yetegna biqeseqesut Aynesam” literally meaning “One who pretends to have fallen asleep will not be awakened by niggling and pocking.” My appeal for you is therefore, to wake up by yourself and reconsider the cancellation of the event that is scheduled to be held on September 22, allowing Melese Zenawi, a dictator by his own right, to be a key note speaker.
In light of this, the Ethiopian Community in North America and elsewhere in the world would give your decision the due respect and remain admiring the legendary Colombia University’s grip to the “truth” in the fulfillment of its obligation as an Institute of Higher Learning in the past two and half centuries. Ignoring this call however, I believe will be a mistake that will lead the CGT to a direction that is not designed for it. May God bless Ethiopia and America and reveal the truth to you!
Yours Very truly,
Zenebe G. Tamirat (BA Psc, MBA)
Political Activist, Founder & Editor of the blogger, “Dewol Tedewole” (http://www.dewoletedewole.globspot.com),
Member, Amnesty International (U.S.A), the Lions Club International, BPT, LABMBA, SGAEUPLA
Available at email@example.com
Cc: The President, Colombia University,
The Ethiopians in the Diaspora
The Mass Media
By Obo Arada Shawl
September 13, 2010
It took me sixty-seven years to own a car, a car that was manufactured fifty years after my birth date. Why am I telling this is to remind my readers that as Eathiopians we were neither producers nor consumers of goods and services? As a nation, we were and are still peasant/farmers where no science and technology existed. As I wrote many times Arts was created in Africa, exported to Europe and was integrated with science before it crossed the Atlantic Ocean to reach America where technology – the application of science was packaged for sale.
In other words, back at home, let alone during my generation even currently, there is hardly any industry or factory. There is no transport or communication. There is no science or technology. So what is to be done? Do Eathiopians still need Industry, Transport and Science? Or do we need Factory, Communication and Technology? The answer lies in the Eway model which will be explained when the time comes, a time of peace and harmony.
For now, I have some messages to all our young generation who are caught between the atom and the net. Here is the message.
I want you to completely understand that the age of the 20th century of the Atom was really the symbol of individuality. We were ignorant of the symbol as we were not part and parcel of this age. As Ethiopians we were centralized by family, religious and community values. While the Eway generation was struggling to be decentralized politically, all of a sudden a new age – the age of the net with no centre, with no orbit and with no certainty has emerged to symbolize the 21st Century. The Eway Generation is beginning – though partially – do understand the century of your NET. We also ask you not to forget the Atomic age which brought psychological and political havoc to all Eathiopians. We will do our homework as you should do yours.
We have heard from the advocates of digital age and telecommunication of announcing the death of geography. We do not agree with them. We believe in the separation of place and space. My space or face book may be relevant for the net generation like yours but not so much for the Eway generation. As Eathiopians, place is very relevant and important for us all as God gave us the body, the mind and the soul in one place – dwk…
Anyhow, before delving into discussion on the above ideas and concepts, it is imperative to tell to the net generation about the History (Adwa I), the Politics (AADWA III) and the Religion (Adwa II) of Eathiopia. We have to come up with these three (HPR) concepts, theories and application before we can move on to the next level. Let me briefly explain in the following manner.
History: Adwa I
I should like to remind all Eathiopians (Eritreans and Ethiopians) to be able to recognize that there are hundreds of histories. Examples are social history, economic, military, political, and religious or any other history which we can not lump together. The best example to understand history is to read a book titled “What is history? By Edward Hallett Carr, Vintage Books, Cambridge1961
For people who are interested to know the history of Eritrea, “Amariya or Oromia” or whatever the case might be, I recommend to read, see or listen to the history of Adwa. All the so-called Liberation movements do base their claim on Adwa I.
Adwa I is about the battle of Adwa (1896) which was fought between Eathiopia and Italy. It was after this Adwa’s aftermath that our pride, our fear and our confusion have emerged and still continued to be evolved.
Again those who are interested in the history of confusion, fear and pride (CFP) as a result of Adwa I, can and should continue to harp on each other – if that is where their passion lie in contributing to solve our perceived problems.
I wish to all believers, supporters and funs for Adwa I, to receive clarity, confidence and independence (CCI) on this historic day of New Year 2003. It is to be remembered that number 3 is part of the Eway model.
Religion: Adwa II
“The age of innocence, and historians walked in the Garden of Eden, without a scrap of philosophy to cover them, naked and unashamed before the god of history. Since then, we have known Sin and experienced a Fall; and those historians who today pretend to dispense with a philosophy of history are merely trying, vainly and self-consciously, like members of a nudist colony, to recreate the Garden of Eden in their garden suburb. Today the awkward question can no longer be evaded.” (Quoted from what is History? P: 21)
So what is the relation and distinction between Adwa II and AADWA III? Adwa II which represents the current Ethiopian government, in terms of religion may seem complex to a lot of people but not to me personally. The core value of Adwa II, in my opinion is Protestantism which says that there is a ‘selfish man in everyman’. This principle has been here over three centuries and has succeeded so far in America but not in Monasteries or in the Vatican. Board Room is not only complex and complicated to the Tigrai people alone but it is also remains the same for a lot of educated Eathiopians. Christianity is the main problem in the current Ethiopian affairs. What kind of Christianity are we interested in? I leave the answer to the young generation of Eathiopians. The TPLF is playing with fire if it continues to dwell on confusing ideas and issues that were and are relevant to our societies. For now, however, let me say, happy, new year.
Politics: AADWA III
AADWA III is a generation which has come and survived for five decades. And it will continue with or without organized religion. If EPRP was the party of the government, it would be a perfect bridge between two distinct cultures of Agame and Hamasien to extend an Ethiopian hand to all be it to the majority or the minority groups of people for EPRP has worked hard to sell DEMOCRACIA.
Ethiopia was a nation with the soul of a church – moral inheritance belief in a nation. Small towns that cling to religion and prayer don’t fear EPRP as experience has shown.
AADWA III is the generation that understood the positive and negative aspects of history of religion. Although most of our parents belonged to either Christian or Islam, most of us have become less religious based on understanding our Ethiopian theology and philosophy. Historically, the majority of Eathtiopians don’t believe in rigid fundamental or rigorous practice. For this reason, the Eway Revolutionaries have become comrades so easily. Politics or Revolutionary politics have become the norms rather than the exception to a lot of the AADWA III followers.
It may be the reason why the uninitiated individual in terms of revolution accuse the Eway generation as anti-religion as anti-spiritual and what not. Actually the main reason, in my opinion, for the seemingly complex problem in political affairs in the Eway nation is because of the underlying theological and philosophical differences of Christianity among Eathiopian intellectuals. They all seem to divert from the real political solutions.
It is time to separate and distinguish among the three Adwas. Whom do we want to follow or to lead? Do we follow those who threaten us, cheat us or educate us? Let us not talk and counter talk about history or religion. They will lead us to nowhere.
Freedom is about society, state and government. Let us understand about our MAKK societies, Ethiopian state and what kind of government we should have? Those who want to follow Adwa I should get organized in order to have a common understanding of their history. Those who want to follow Adwa II, they can follow the TPLF trail and until they find themselves in more and more confusion and hallucination. Those who would like to follow the AADWA III; let them be educated mainly on political issues. Political education will liberate you as it has liberated me mentally, physically and psychologically.
The Eway model aims at justice and mercy whose duty is giving, lending and forgiving.
Happy New Year and N’GDET.
TRUTH WILL PREVAIL
For comments and questions