By Yilma Bekele
The Name is Ethiopian but that particular property belongs to our Woyane masters. It is there for the TPLF to do what it wants. It started with such promise and grew up to be such a proud achievement by both people and country. That is until Woyane showed up.
That promise of building an organization that belongs to us all was nipped in the bud by Meles Ashebari Zenawi and friends. Like all other institutions, Ethiopian Airlines was absorbed by the TPLF mafia and molded in its own image. Like most other institutions created by earlier generations that the TPLF inherited, the first order of business was to clean house in the name of re organization and install cadres from one tribe.
Public institutions and public corporations including Commercial bank of Ethiopia, Addis Abeba University and all its campuses, Publishing houses and plenty of others became the playground of Woyane cadres. EAL was not spared from this humiliation.
The current news has to be seen in that context. It is definitely the first time an international carrier jet has been hijacked by its own crew member. Answering ‘why’ is not a simple matter. The act by the co-pilot is intertwined with all that what is wrong with our country. It is the crystallization of all our woes in one neat package.
The alleged hijacker is reported to be in his early 30’s. To be a co pilot of a commercial jet is a big deal. It is a huge accomplishment. What sort of circumstances forces such a person to commit a crime with harsh penalties is what we should try to answer.
It is the kind of act that results from the pressure of living under a totalitarian government. A place where your employer owns you body and soul and where one is constantly reminded of his disposability on a daily basis one comes to a point where there is nothing to live and hope for? It is reported that the alleged hijacker has been an employee for five years. It is enough time for the person to know the inner working of the organization he is part of. From his current decision it is obvious that he did not agree with or like what he saw.
Some would say why did not just leave? That is one option. He must have gone to pilot school for a few years to get his certification. Of course he must have flown hundreds of hours to be promoted and occupy a co pilot seat of a big jumbo jet. If he is in his early thirties flying has occupied most of his life. With such professional resume why didn’t he just leave and get a job somewhere else is a good question.
May be he heard the fate of technicians that used to work for EAL but were offered a job by foreign carriers and were prevented from leaving by Immigration after EAL passed their names. Even if he managed to leave it is doubtful EAL will give him any reference let alone a positive one. The only option was to submit and humiliate oneself.
Yes, there is more to the story. The co pilot could be a patriotic Ethiopian that is able to see the degradation of his country and people and vowed to do something about it. Some one that decided a bold action is called for to show the unbearable situation our people are put thru and called TPLF out in a very loud manner. We are a very quiet and reserved people. We like to hush hush problems and sweep all that we do not want to see under the rug. Our co-pilot is rocking the boat. He exposed the ethnic regime for what it is – a place where such a young professional person does not feel free to leave his life in peace.
The American whistleblower Edward Snowden sacrificed so much to protect freedom and privacy and it looks to me our young co-pilot has sacrificed so much and faces a very uncertain future but showed the world how much the situation in Ethiopia has deteriorated. Whether he meant to or not is not the question. What the world is now talking about is how repressive and closed Ethiopia is. It makes the Western enablers work of propping up the minority regime a little difficult. It also makes it easy for our supporters in the European Union and the US Senate to show the other face of Ethiopia removed from Woyane pie in sky propaganda.
Situations like this are very revealing moment about the people in power. They often forget that they are accountable for their actions and words. In Ethiopia they control the means of communications. They are free to change the story from one day to the next and they make sure no one challenges their spin. It is different in the West. It was a little disorienting to see Ato Redwan Hussein with the title of ‘Government Spokesman’ answering questions regarding the incident. He is reported by Reuters to have said:
‘the flight has made a scheduled stop in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, where the hijacker or hijackers might have boarded the plane.’
ESAT carried an interview with a female passenger that boarded in Addis and deplaned in Rome. According to her it was a direct flight from Addis to Rome and continued to Milan. The hijacking took place between Milan and Rome and the plane was redirected to Geneva. How could a Government Spokesman make such a false statement in front of the media says a lot about our country. It is because it has always came very easy for Woyane officials and their underlings to tell a story any way they wish since it can always be altered and retold tomorrow.
We are relieved no one was hurt. We hope Swiss officials would take the political nature of his desperate act when they try his case. In most Ethiopian’s opinion, at least those around me he succeeded in showing the desperate situation the Human Right situation is in Ethiopia. The government in power is terrified of the people and resorting to criminal methods to instill fear and such bold acts by individuals like the brave co-pilot draw attention to our country and the dire situation.
There are hundreds that die in Somalia, Red Sea, Yemen, southern Africa and many other places fleeing Ethiopia for a better life. They appear just as numbers in UN statistics. The world might think of them as numbers but they are real and important to their family. Our young and educated are migrating out at an alarming rate. The co pilot’s action is a wake up cry for us the stake holders to wake up and pay attention.