Is Ethiopia’s Sovereign Debt Sustainable?

Seid Hassan, Minga Negash, Tesfaye T. Lemma and Abu Girma Moges[1]

Determining the sustainability of a developing country’s public debt is a challenge. This is because most developing countries in general and Sub Saharan Africa (SSA) countries in particular face an undiversified export base, a large share of agriculture in GDP (which itself is characterized by low yields) with large share of labor force in the primary sector, and complex governance and instability problems. Debt management becomes even more complex if the countries in question have persistent current account and budget deficits and low savings and investments rates relative to their GDPs. Most of these countries follow public investment-led growth strategy, with all the dangers for the debt equation to unravel if and when the government-led growth “stumbles or stagnates.”[2] Such a scenario worries lending institutions especially when the public investment programs happen to be externally financed.[3] Whenever the IMF and the Work Bank think that the public debt of the debtor countries could be unsustainable, as in the case of Ethiopia now, they raise warning flags.[4] It worries citizens and observers as well since the adverse effects of debt crisis hit hard the poorest segment of the population, often sparking social unrest, which in turn negates some of the economic theories of positive linkages between debt and development.[5] Despite the current optimism about Africa’s growth opportunities and the increased appetite of emerging markets by fund managers on the SSA region, according to some estimates[6] about two-thirds of the nations in the developing world are spending a significant portion of their export earnings on external debt repayments.

Although sovereign debts have usually been at the root of many of the financial crises in recent history, scholars allude to the complexity of assessing the sustainability of a nation’s public debt and hence the lack of consensus on the most apt approach. The financial economics literature identifies various models and proxies that could be used for the purpose of gauging the sustainability of a country’s debt. The commonly used benchmarks to measure the sustainability of a country’s debt include, inter alia, a country’s: (i) debt to GDP ratio; (ii) debt to export ratio; (iii) debt to revenue ratio; (iv) trade balance; (v) the primary fiscal gap; (vi) debt service to budgetary revenue; (vii) interest to GDP ratio; and (viii) interest to domestic budgetary revenue. We make a number of important observations with respect to the sustainability of Ethiopia’s public debt by invoking relevant benchmarks and other contextual variables. To make the text readable we have attempted to keep the technical analysis at the minimum.

In late 2010, Ethiopia adopted the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP 2010-2015) with rather ambitious targets. The plan was supposed to be driven mainly by growth and productivity improvements in the agricultural sector, industrialization and infrastructure development. Whereas the largely foreign aid and concessional financed infrastructural investment has increased remarkably from a weak base, the most decisive aspect of the plan in terms of agricultural-led growth and industrialization is yet to materialize. Apparently, on the basis of limited information that is available in recent years, there is in fact de-industrialization in many parts of Sub-Sahara Africa (SSA), including Ethiopia, in which the manufacturing sector is unable to cope with the fierce competition coming from cheap imports from Asia.[7]  Furthermore, the performance of the agricultural sector, both in total output and productivity, continues to be rather weak. The country faces chronic food deficit and its ability to fill the deficiency from global markets is limited.[8] That is why close to 10% of the population has continued to live on donor community supported safety net programs. The agricultural sector is burdened by complex demographic, economic, environmental and political forces depriving the country’s household-based agriculture to play a transformative role and contribute to the country’s export earnings and pay off the escalating domestic and external debt. This state of the national economy and the challenges facing the agricultural sector have both immediate as well as long term implications regarding the sustainability of external debt in the country.

Globally, the stock of sovereign debt has been increasing and has now reached to levels higher than they have ever been in times of peace. This is particularly true of countries in the Global North although there are significant disparities across countries. For instance, while the average debt to GDP ratio of OECD countries stands at a 112.5 per cent as of 2014, Estonia appears to have kept her house in order sitting at 14.5 per cent. On the same vein, we note of Japan whose stock of sovereign debt is at a staggering 224 per cent of the size of its overall economy. While Japan isn’t facing debt crises despite its very high debt-to-GDP ratio, a major culprit behind the recent financial crises in the Euro-Zone has been excessive borrowing by member countries such as Cyprus, Greece, Ireland, Portugal, etc. A plausible explanation for these differing outcomes of sovereign debt burden is partly due to the fact that Japan’s public debt is largely denominated in its local currency, and that the country is experiencing the lowest interest rate in the world. On the other hand,  most sovereign debt issued by the Eurozone countries are denominated in Euros or U.S. dollars for which the individual countries didn’t have the authority to print. Thus, we see that even lower levels of sovereign debt denominated in a foreign currency [or a currency over which a country does not have monetary policy-making power] can create serious problems for the country.

Lately, SSA’s ability to access international bond markets has been on the rise – at least a dozen SSAs countries have been able to successfully access international sovereign bond markets in the last decade alone. These countries issued sovereign debts for a number of reasons including: (i) to finance mega and often turnkey projects; (ii) to help attract foreign direct investment; (iii) to provide a benchmark for sovereign, subnational, and corporate issuances; and (iv) to restructure existing public debt. And, the usual precursors to these issuances were obtaining “independent” evaluation of the investment grade of sovereign debts of these governments which is often done by credit rating agencies (CRAs). The donor community tends to tout an SSA country’s sovereign debt rating as a process of facilitating inward capital flows. Nonetheless, empirical evidence shows that the relatively low interest rates in the Global North and portfolio diversification opportunities offered by SSA countries to global investors were the primary incentives driving the increased demand for sovereign debt instruments issued by countries in the region. Many countries in SSA (including Angola, Republic of Congo, Ivory Coast, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, South Africa, and Zambia) have been rated which subsequently allowed them to raise funds through the issuance of sovereign debt instruments. However, it is important to note that at present, a number of these SSA countries have already failed to comply with the terms and conditions of the debt or are engaged in rescheduling and restructuring negotiations. For instance, while Ivory Coast and Seychelles have already defaulted on their sovereign debts, Gabon and Ghana (countries with relative strength in export earnings) are struggling to find money for the repayment of their soon to mature Eurobond.

Following the sovereign rating frenzy in the region, in May 2014, Ethiopia also obtained her own rating from major CRAs, which assigned an average sovereign rating of B, implying that the country is a “highly speculative” investment destination and therefore makes the investment security similar to a subprime mortgage. Notwithstanding this, the rating puts Ethiopia on par with Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameron, Mozambique, Rwanda, Seychelles, and Uganda but a notch below Ghana, Kenya, Senegal and Zambia.  The reader needs to be cautioned that credit ratings are not stationary. The CRAs may down-grade or up-grade any country’s rating should new developments in that country warrant such an action. In fact, in the report where the grading news was issued, Moody’s makes the usual disclaimer and suggests the possibility that Ethiopia’s sovereign debt rating could go down if there is “acceleration of external debt that does not support growth and if there is an escalation of political and social tensions”. Furthermore, the CRAs are notoriously infamous for weighing State Owned Enterprises’ (SOEs’) debts for which governments grant explicit and implicit surety in revising sovereign debt ratings. Moody’s down-grading of South Africa’s sovereign debt rating in early 2013 is a case in point. The same agency was warning Kenya to keep an eye on its State Corporations’ debt.

Amidst a growing suspicion that Ethiopia would follow the footsteps of other countries in the region and go for a debut in the international capital markets to quench its growing thirst for funding, the government in Addis Ababa was trying to tout the rating exercise as an effort to attract foreign direct investment (FDI). Nevertheless, in a latest turn of events, the authorities, partly motivated by the higher than expected rating and also pressed by the investment resource gaps, are considering issuing Eurobond starting from early 2015. But here, we raise two important issues: (1) What are the benefits and costs associated with Ethiopia’s endeavor to access external commercial borrowing? (2) Is Ethiopia’s borrowing trajectory sustainable? In what follows, we attempt to explore plausible answers to these important questions.

On the up side, for a developing and landlocked country like Ethiopia which is trapped in a quagmire of mega projects while at the same time facing low capital formation due to its low productivity, low income and low savings, sovereign external debt provides the escape needed to acquire a direly needed funding to complete overdue projects.[9] Other things being equal, accessing external non-concessional commercial funds and completing the electric power, railway, road, telecommunications and other projects could prove to be vitally important. Furthermore, if the commercial debt issuing  goes well, with, for example, securitization and use of derivatives to hedge against the escalation of debt servicing costs, the access to external capital markets may potentially encourage the government to reduce its dependence on domestic borrowing and pave the way for domestic enterprises to access international capital markets. In addition to broadening the  investor base, a successful issue of Eurobond allows a room for the country to restructure its sovereign debt, should the need arises, and external debt brings with it the effect of disciplining the government’s way of managing the  economy. Finally, access to the international bond markets may provide benchmarks for determining interest rates for subnational and corporate bonds.

On the downside, the temptation to borrow in foreign currencies from non-concessional sources and relying on weak export sector may prove to be a risky proposition for a number of reasons. Firstly, large bond issues could potentially lead to maturity concentrations, a large pile of debt that may account for a significant percentage of the country’s GDP needing to be refinanced at the same time. It is uncertain whether investors would be willing to provide fresh money at that time. Past experience indicates that global investor’s investment behaviors in developing country bonds are extremely fragile and sensitive. Secondly, relative to concessional finance,[10] sovereign debts generally involve higher interest rates which tend to be a function of a host of country risk factors[11] (such as political, economic, country/sovereign, exchange rates, etc.). However, on July 7, 2014 Ethiopia was able to borrow from Credit Suisse AG a 12 year bond with 3 years grace period and a 6 year bond at LIBOR 6M + 4.59% and LIBOR +3.75 respectively.[12] Hence, unless there is securitization, lease finance such as the one done for the Ethiopian Airlines, or a possible moral hazard and/or information asymmetry situation in the debt market, it is likely that the yield on Ethiopia’s new bond would hover around the rate obtained from Credit Suisse AG. Indeed, according to Reuter’s report of October 27, 2014, one day before the release of this commentary, the country was able to obtain new syndicated loan of seven and thirteen years split, aggregating to U.S. $865 at LIBOR +3.75, and supported by export guarantee entities, for a specific railway project.[13] Added to these are underwriting fees, brokerages, commissions, legal services and insurance premiums which will be paid to the international banks and their associates.  Ethiopia’s proposition to borrow from international capital markets is, therefore, a potential drain on public budgets and on the economy as a whole.  The recent default and rescheduling of SSA sovereign debts adds a new upward pressure on the yield. Other things being equal, rising interest rates raise the debt serving obligations of the country. This could eventually lead to the vicious circle of downgrading of the sovereign debt which in turn further exacerbates the cost of borrowing. Thirdly, now that Ethiopia has decided to use international financial markets, it will have to deal with a larger number of creditors and face monitoring from international asset managers.

Economic theory provides little practical guidance on the optimal level of public debt. However, the scanty guidelines available agree on one thing: For developing countries like Ethiopia, high external debt often has immediate consequences for economic performance and financial crises. In their work based of eight (8) centuries of financial data, Reinhart and Rogoff of Harvard University concluded that economic growth in emerging economies suffers once the debt-to-GDP ratio hits a threshold of 60 per cent[14], [15],[16]. Other researches carried out within the specific context of developing and low income countries suggest a much lower (30 – 40 per cent) threshold of debt-to GDP ratios. Obviously, if these results are robust, the implications for developing countries like Ethiopia are important. An examination of Ethiopia’s existing public debt relative to its GDP shows that the average figure for the just ended decade hovers around 41 per cent. This average gets lower if we exclude the pre-2006 period, for Ethiopia received a significant debt relief through the HIPC (highly indebted poor countries) initiative.  At any rate, Ethiopia’s debt/GDP ratio is lower than the figures that we observe in developed countries and more in tandem with the threshold for developing countries and a similar metric for SSA.

We, however, contend that assessing the sustainability of a country’s public debt using the typical debt-to-GDP ratio (as reported in the IMF and other official statistics) underestimates the looming crises that a country actually faces. These statistics, with a blessing from the accounting profession, treats contingent liabilities as “off balance sheet items” unless and until something happens, and hence, fails to take into account the explicit (or implicit) surety that countries provide for the debts amassed by public enterprises. This treatment “window-dresses” the credit standing of countries and allows them to raise debt financing without having to suffer a corresponding increase in debt/GDP ratio. But the recent Euro crises and the series of [forced] bailouts that followed reveals that debts that come with explicit (or implicit) government guarantees could quickly make their way into government’s balance sheets in the event that a primary obligor fails to make good on its promises. In what appears to be a recognition of this problem, Eurostat, the statistical unit for the European Union, recognizes a “special case” and takes difference to the accounting profession’s stance in situations where the need for governments to make debt service payments on the loan is open and notorious from the outset. In circumstance under which a government enters into a debt guarantee agreement that obliges the government to repay the debts of primary obligors, even though the liability is issued by the SOEs or similar enterprises, it may be right away considered with certainty as an actual government liability, not in the enterprises’ liability.[17] In other words, there is reason to add Ethiopia’s SOEs and by extension SSA’s SOEs’ debts into the national balance sheets for an effective and prudent debt management policy.

In recent years, the infrastructural developments that we witness in Ethiopia has been (and are being) financed through external loans. The air transport, telecommunications, rail and sugar projects are being financed by external loans. Some commentators argue that these state monopolies are profitable and hence warrant the incurrence of new external debt.[18] However, it is also important to note that SOEs in Africa and elsewhere are generally and inherently known for their poor financial performance, and hence the call for their privatization. The Ethiopian SOE monopolies might have indeed been “profitable”, thanks to the suffocating monopoly power bestowed on to them by the government, and the negative real interest rate they enjoyed by preferential access to artificially cheap and directed credit from local financial institutions. However, such nominal profitability is achieved at high economic cost, poor service quality, and meager varieties to consumers. Furthermore, as is often the case with SSA’s SOEs, some of Ethiopia’s SOE monopolies are known to be employment shelters for preferred elites and social groups.[19] Secondly, and more importantly, perhaps with the exception of the national airline and shipping lines, the profits of the monopolies are earned from the local market and denominated in the local currency. As a result, they fail to contribute in alleviating the country’s foreign exchange shortages and servicing its external debt. Thirdly, Ethiopia depends, just like other SSAs, on commodity exports, whose prices are determined by international markets and policies of trading partners. The closure of sugar estates in many parts of Africa, when Ethiopia is starting its new ones, as a result of dumping from China and India, serves as a case in point.[20]

A review of the Government of Ethiopia’s recently released public debt statistics shows that about 79% of the external debts of the country are either owed directly by the government or the government is a guarantor to a primary obligor (SOE). The government statistics further indicates that the country’s official external debt stands at 14.07 billion US dollars in 2013-2014 and the new loan has made it close to 15 billion. Over the most recent five year period (2009/10-2013/2014), external debt increased by 249%. About 43% of the debt is sourced from concessional lenders, 32% from bilateral (concessional) and from the non-Paris club groups, China being in the top of the list of Ethiopia’s lenders. The debt that the country has been accumulating under the Ethiopian Airlines for the procurement and lease of aircrafts, under the Ethiopian Roads Authority (ERA) for the construction of roads and bridges, under the Ethio-telecom for the expansion of telecom infrastructure, under the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCo) for dams, and to finance many other state-owned and ruling party owned enterprises could thus become a “time bomb of contingent liabilities” that could “detonate at any time” should the original obligors fail to make good on their promises. Furthermore, as we alluded earlier, the profitability of these enterprises must be examined in light of the foreign debt burden and their contribution (rather lack of) to revenues from exports. This probably explains why the World Bank’s officer, Sri Mulyani Indrawati, expressed her concern that the “current trend of borrowing will definitely create additional risk exposure” to the country.[21]

A review of the World Bank’s external debt statistics reveals that Ethiopia’s external debt stock hiked by 356 per cent from a low of $2,293.7 million in 2006 (period of debt relief) to a high of $10,462.4 million in 2012. Put differently, the country’s external debt stock grew at a compound annual rate of circa 29 per cent during the seven years leading up to 2012 which is a much higher growth rate compared to a 10 per cent growth rate in SSA, and an even much higher growth rate (5 per cent) in other low income countries. A rising sovereign external debt would be less of a problem if it is accompanied by similar growth rates in export earnings and/or flow of inward foreign direct investments (FDI). Unfortunately, Ethiopia’s exports grew only by 166 per cent from a low of $2,254.3 million in 2006 to a disappointing high of $6,002.6 million in 2012, gauged by GTP’s projections, in particular. The saving grace for Ethiopia is that, her export growth has been better than the timid growth in export earnings registered by SSA and low income countries over the same period (110 per cent for SSA and 66 per cent for low income countries). Unfortunately, however, the inward FDI performance of the country was dismal. Except for the good performance in 2006 and later in 2011, Ethiopia’s growth in inward FDI between 2005 and 2012 was virtually negligible. On the upside, although still very small relative to the size of its diaspora community, the steady growth observed in personal transfers and compensation of employees has been increasing.[22] Remittances increased by a stupendous 263 per cent from a low of $172.2 million in 2006 to $624.4 million in 2012.[23] Unlike the Ethiopian case, inward FDI flows in low income countries shot up by 365 per cent from a low of $5,316 million to a high of $24,211.8 million between 2006 and 2012. And, unlike Ethiopia, equity portfolio flows in low income countries has impressively grown. Likewise, inward FDI in SSA countries rose by 112% from a low of $17,482.8 million to $37,048.8 million during the same period. Thus, the far from adequate performances in export earnings and inward FDI in Ethiopia should raise warning flags regarding the sustainability of non-concessional external debts.

Another way to look at the sustainability of the country’s external debt is to examine the country’s external debt to exports ratio. The World Bank’s records show that this ratio grew from a low of 101.8 per cent in 2006 to a high of 174.3 per cent by the end of 2012. By taking the inverse of this ratio, we see that the proportion of export earnings to external debt has deteriorated from 98.2 per cent in 2006 to a shocking 57.3 per cent in 2012, and early indications suggest that the ratio has further deteriorated in recent years. To put this in perspective, as of 2012, the external debt to export ratios of SSA and low income countries was about 71.2 per cent and 95.6 per cent, respectively. By taking the inverse again, we see that the proportion of export earnings to external debt of SSA countries is an impressive 140 per cent while that of low income countries is 104.6 per cent. Not only have the SSA and low income countries had better performance in this regard but they also enjoyed a cushion provided by equity portfolio flows which Ethiopia lacked.  Research carried out in the context of developing and other low income countries suggests that the ratio of external debt to exports should at most be somewhere between 160-170 per cent. The lesser this ratio, the better it is. The 174.3 per cent that we observe in the case of Ethiopia was just outside the maximum range by the end of 2012. The gap has increased in recent years. Part of the problem is the weak performance of Ethiopia’s undiversified export sector. Most of the export earnings, except gold and international air transport services, originate from agricultural products which have been subject to declining prices. Even though most recent data shows modest increase in exports, the rate of growth does not match the growth rate of external debt, and the trade deficit is expected to widen reaching some 8.9 billion dollars.[24] Ethiopia’s earnings have been so weak that fuel imports alone absorbed nearly 70 percent of the country’s total export earnings.  As a result, the economy runs persistent current account deficits. (It stood at $2, 986 million as of 2012). Again, the continuously decreasing proportion of external debt that the country’s export earnings is able to cover, the disappointing performance of inward FDI flow, and the non-existent equity portfolio corroborates  that the country’s external debt stock is nearing a dangerous zone that could stifle  growth and trigger debt crises.

Investors’ concerns become elevated when they discover the government’s track record of fiscal responsibility, debt management, the unreliable and un-transparent nature of the country’s statistics, the emerging ownership structure and the complex political and social tensions in the country and in the Horn of Africa region. The evidence showing that some SSAs being already in trouble servicing their external debts has all the vulnerabilities and the adverse consequences of being engulfed in the infamous debt-crisis bandwagon effects.  Furthermore, the recent U.S. court ruling against deadbeat Argentina should serve as a wake-up call to Ethiopian and by extension SSA authorities that international financiers will eventually win.[25]

To complicate matters, just three months after the “highly speculative” sovereign debt rating was announced, the World Bank’s lead economist in Ethiopia suggested that the local currency is overvalued by about 31% and urged the Government of Ethiopia to consider currency devaluation, even though one of the drawbacks of currency devaluation is to increase a country’s debt obligations, a proposal that was criticized by Hassan[26] and Alemayehu.[27] The overvaluation and the over $14 billion external debt might have obliged the IMF to produce, on October 3, 2014, a negatively toned report about the sustainability of Ethiopia’s debt.[28]

In summary, based on the evidence that is in the public domain, we argue that Ethiopia’s and by extension many of the SSA’s recent sovereign debts are likely to create problems. The external debt of Ethiopia has returned back to and even surpassed the level it was before the debt-write-offs. Ethiopia’s external public debt should be a concern in that its growth rate has been dramatic and has not been matched by a vibrant and diversified export sector. External debt sustainability largely depends on how the new funds are allocated and on the expected foreign exchange earnings capacity of the economy. Many SSA and developing countries were and are in the vicious circles of debt. Hence, even if new loans are made available from non-concessional sources, by way of new issues of Eurobonds and followed by the usual news of “over-subscription”, the country should learn to prioritize its resource allocation across projects and design realistic financial plans that could promote sustainable growth and development.




[1] Seid Hassan is Professor of Economics at Murray State University, Minga Negash is Professor of Accounting at Metropolitan State University and the University of the Witwatersrand, Tesfaye T. Lemma is Associate Professor of Accounting and Finance at the University of the District of Colombia and Associate Fellow of World Business Institute and Abu Girma Moges is Associate Professor of Economics at the Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Japan.

[2]Bloomberg interview with Ken Ohashi, former World Bank’s country director for Ethiopia.

[3] Addis Fortune, Vol, 15, No. 753, October 5, 2014.

[4] See, for example, The Reporter, September 20, 2014:

[5] See for example “Ethiopia: International Borrowing and Its Consequences”, by Professor Daniel Teferra,

[6] One World News quoting Jubilee Debt Campaign, October 10, 2014.

[7] Several economic theories, empirical analyses and disturbing commentaries have already been advanced in regards to the de-industrialization effect of Chinese economic relationship with Africa. Examples include the following links:;;;; and


[9] In a recent appearance at the Ethiopian Parliament, Prime Minster Hailemariam Dessalegn was suggesting that some of the railroad and sugar projects under the GTP would not be completed within originally planned time frame owing to lack of funding.

[10] On a positive note, the size of Ethiopia’s concessional debt relative to its external debt (66 per cent as at 2012) is comparable to similar low income countries (68 per cent) and higher than is the case for SSA countries (29 per cent). However, the declining trend coupled with the country’s recent decision to raise finance using sovereign date could change the picture and deserves closer attention.


[12] Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, Public Sector Debt, Statistical Bulletin No. 13 September 2014.


[14] Reinhart, C. and Rogoff, K. (2009a). This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly, Princeton University Press.

[15] Reinhart, C. and Rogoff, K. (2009b). Growth in a Time of Debt: American Economic Review, May 2010, pp. 573-78.

[16] This is a figure similar to the threshold provided for Eurozone countries in the Maastricht Agreement.

[17] Buchheit, L. and Gulali, G. (2013), The gathering storm: contingent liabilities in a sovereign debt restructuring.

[18] We thank Professor Tsehai Alemayehu for privately commenting on the draft of this commentary. His piece entitled “The Role of Credit in Ethiopia’s Economic Progress” is available at

[19] For more on this see “Ethnicity, nepotism and employment in public enterprises in Sub Sahara Africa, a theoretical note, by Richard Agesa, African Finance Journal, Volume 2 No. 1, 2000.

[20] See, for example, this brief Wall Street Journal article: “Africa’s Sugar Ambitions Turn Sour.”

[21] The Reporter, Ibid.

[22] However, this encouragement needs to be tempered by the negative impact on remittance flows resulting from the recent expulsion of Ethiopian migrants, estimated to be 160,000 and counting from Saudi Arabia alone and the many disturbing sides of increased outmigration.

[23] This figure appears understated for other estimates of diaspora remittance put it much higher.



[26] Seid Hassan: “The Devaluation of the Birr: A Layman’s Guide, Part 2.”

[27] Tsehai Alemayehu: “The Likely Outcome of a Birr Devaluation.”  


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Get well Dr. Craig Spencer

By Yilma Bekele

What kind of place would the world be without people like Dr. Craig Spencer? Dr. Spencer is the medical doctor that is currently in New York Hospital with symptoms of the Ebola virus. Before his privacy was breached and his name associated with the dreaded virus Dr. Spencer was an International Emergency Medical (IEM) fellow at Columbia University in New York.

According to his Profile in Emergency Physicians International, Dr. Spencer is a tireless advocate of introducing modern medical practices in Africa and is dedicated to helping local health providers get knowledge so they can help their people better. In May he was in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Burundi helping Doctors and sharing his knowledge. Dr. Spencer is quoted to have said ‘sometimes even aspirin just weren’t available’

A University of Columbia educated medical doctor is someone we would refer to as a high achiever. It is a result of dedication, drive and plenty of sweat. It opens the door for whatever the individual feels is important in his/her life. Dr. Spencer choose to help those that are less fortunate and make his mark in life in a quiet way.

That is the reason he travelled to Guinea as part of Doctors without Borders team to treat Ebola patients and was back in Ney York October 17. Today our friend is in isolation getting the best treatment possible to overcome this virus that is killing Africans in the thousands. There is no question he would come out of this a better and stronger person for the prayer of all Africans is with this angel of a human being that showed up when we needed him most.

As an Ethiopian I feel kinship with the good doctor. I am more energized when I see such a human being that cares for those that are unable to help themselves due to different circumstances we all face in life. I envy his dedication and I promise myself to double my efforts to help the less fortunate.

My people face the same enemy like the Ebola virus. I am not trying to belittle the human catastrophe that is being faced by our African brothers and sisters. There is a saying in my country and it goes for a child whose mother has died or went to the market would cry the same, since the immediate absence is what matters. Our brethren in West Africa are dying in droves and the family is being decimated.

In our case for the last twenty years we have been dying a slow death in so many ways. Some are faced with lack of basic nutrition to sustain life and it is called famine. A lot are faced with the absence of hope and the constant dread of not knowing what tomorrow would bring. That results in untold mental anguish. Families fret because their children are left to roam the streets for lack of anything worthwhile to do. The little girls are forced to sell their body using the cover of darkness. The boys are left to poison their mind and body with drugs to numb the spirit caused by boredom and lack of drive.

Families are forced to sell their valuable cattle, personal belongings to send their children to the Middle East hoping they will be able to make something for themselves. A very minuscule achieve that goal while the vast majority suffer in silence unable to return due to shame and but forced to stay by unscrupulous Arab slave owners.

Yes it is true Ebola is fast and merciless. Watching the human toll in West Africa is a lesson in how fragile the human existence is. The whole world is in shock but a few dedicated individuals like Dr. Spencer rush to where danger awaits and offer their services. There was no financial gain, no fame and no recognition awaiting but he did what he thought has to be done because it was in his power to do.

The starvation for freedom and human dignity is an important cause in our country that should be put on an emergency footing. Physical death is not the only form of dying. Denying a human being to experience life to its fullest, muzzling his freedom not to dream and achieve and condemning his family to live a wretched life is a form administering a slow death. We need human beings like Dr. Spencer that feel the pain of others and dedicate themselves to offer relief.

We Africans wish Dr. Craig Spencer a fast recovery and a happy reunion with the ones he love.


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The honorable Ato Gebru Asrat and his politics

By Yilma Bekele

The honorable Ato Gebru Asrat has written a very fat book that is five hundred pages long. I am assuming that the purpose of the book was to present himself as a person of vision and to show us his leadership ability to show us the road to the future. Unfortunately, he has a handicap that cannot be glossed over since for many years he has operated as member of that infamous organization TPLF (ሕዝባዊ ወያኔ ሓርነት ትግራይ) that is still creating havoc in the life of our people and our country. It is a tough challenge for anyone to try to explain or to find justification for a party that is viewed by a vast majority of Ethiopians in a negative light. I doubt anyone envies the individuals dilemma.

There are plenty of reasons people write a book about an experience they have gone through. It could be to teach others from both the positive and the negative aspects of the experience and/or to help them achieve a goal or avoid pitfalls. Some write to explain themselves so that they could avoid being misunderstood or to avert someone else writing about their life. It is usually an attempt to have the final say.

Ato Gebru’s book is titled ‘Sovereignty and Democracy’.  I am not sure why he chose this title. At the moment Ethiopia’s sovereignty is not threatened by any outside power known to us and Democracy is one commodity that is in short supply in our country.  Ato Gebru, as member of the ruling party, is the one that made it scarce in our ancient land.

He was interviewed by VOA. The Interviewer focused on Ato Gebru’s description of the internal criminality of the TPLF organization, his views on the last war with Eritrea, and his prescription to solve the problem which he determines are vital and must be solved. I am assuming such a venerable organization like VOA must have people that go over the book and suggest discussion points on what they think to be the central message in the book.

Out of a five hundred page book they felt that those two points where the central point the author was attempting to make – who am I to disagree with them? That is what I will concentrate on. I am aware VOA’s trust and appeal has taken a nose dive since the establishment of ESAT. Their tendency to side with the dictatorial regime, their attempt to distort the news to fit some reporter’s bias, and the fact that we really do not need them anymore should be a wake-up call to VOA management to improve their service and ethical standards.

Like all books written by Woyane officials present or past this book is also fiction trying to pass as a serious work. I am sure the Honorable former Woyane politburo member, governor of Tigrai Kilil, has a lot of useful inside information to tell us, if he so wishes, yet he choose to weave a web of imaginary tales, self- serving stories, and deliberately vague memories to lead us to another dead end street. This book was not written not to enlighten us with policies formulated and decisions made while the individual was in position of great power, but it was written with the sole aim of continuing the single ethnic rule at the expense of the rest of us that are left to be observers in our own country.

I have no doubt Ato Gebru is aware of his attempt to revise history that happened yesterday in our presence is not a winning idea nor would it convince anyone of us of the validity of his prejudiced memory. The simple question would be why do it when it is a child’s play to refute his faulty analysis. The answer is simple. It is that sickness called delusion, that afflicts those that are used to operate in a totally different dimension. Folks like that are usually surrounded by people that totally agree with them and who reinforce the false memories and the baseless lies that begin to take a life of its own when told over and over again.

According to our TPLF central committee member and governor of the number one Kilil, there are two issues that are facing our country at the moment. The lack of a sea port and the unsettled issue of Eritrea. It is not the lack of Democracy, the absence of the rule of law, the marginalization of the 94% Ethiopians that are forced to be silent observers in the governance of their nation, the constant abuse of all political organization not affiliated or subservient to TPLF, the hundreds of reporters and newspaper editors that are languishing in Woyane jail. No sir, it is the dreaded Shabia and the Port of Assab that should consume our passion and once we deal with these two issues the sun will rise once again and peace will prevail.

The crazy part about this obsession is that the Honorable Ato Gebru was there sitting around the table while both issues were decided and the argument supposedly settled. The 94% were not asked their opinion. There is no need to dump it on Ato Meles since at that point in time he was just one politburo member among many without extra power or influence. Seyoum Mesfin, Seye Abreha, Sebhat Nega, Arkebe Okubay, Abay Teshaye, Abadi Zemo, Azeb Mesfin, Tsegay Berhe among others were part of the decision making process. This idea of back pedaling is both cheap and a reflection on the ethics of the individual.

Since its inception, the TPLF always had this obsession regarding maps and boundaries both International and National. They were very busy drawing lines, designing flags and creating satellite organization during the many years of their cave life. If you notice, Tigrai is the only region that showed a bigger foot print when they were done with their map making effort. Thus a little bit of Gondar that included the fertile Setit Humera was generously taken, and the Wolikait people were ethnic cleansed with new arrival from Tigrai. Wollo contracted so much it is a miracle it did not disappear, and Afar was not spared from their sharp pencil. If it was not true, it would be considered comical. Why would anybody do that when the Nation was one whole entity?  What is good for Tigrai should have been good for all of Ethiopia. TPLF does not think like that. They are incapable of looking at the bigger picture.

The fate of Assab or a sea outlet for Ethiopia was completely made fun of and they were happy to point their fingers and accuse the rest of us as being unduly concerned and imbued with the usual neftegna mentality. Even Herman Cohen the white peace maker was a little puzzled by their dismissal of the need for a port. Today in 2014 I am not playing the game whether Assab is ours or belongs to the Eritreans but any Ethiopian leader worth his salt should have weighed the ramifications of such a decision. There could have been one hundred and one ways to reach an accommodation where the two Nations could fully utilize the port for the benefit of both people. That would require leadership ability and the ability to protect ones interest for future generations to come. TPLF is incapable of such heavy thinking. They have a retail mentality and wholesale concept is alien to the bird brain organization.

Notice that the Honorable Ato Gebru is seriously telling us about a truck full of coffee and some cereal being transported to Eritrea while his party was negotiating about changing the name of our Airlines and appointing Eritreans to the National Bank of Ethiopia. Hello Ato Gebru can we have a little respect here?

When Eritrea achieved its independence in 1992 Woyane leaders were the number one cheerleaders on the podium led by the evil dead tyrant. Ato Gebru and the rest of the politburo members were in accord with this outcome. We did not hear a peep out of them. Woyane upon settling in Addis had a conflict of interest with Eritreans on how to divide the loot. Their contradiction reached such a high point that the two toothless nations went to war to prove their manhood.

The rest of Ethiopia was dragged into this senseless war. We are told by foreign war specialists over eighty thousand Ethiopians and twenty thousand Eritreans lost their life. Ethiopian soldiers were used as sacrificial lambs to pierce the heavily fortified Eritrean position. The rest of Ethiopia was used to protect Tigrai Kilil. Our dead soldiers were left to be eaten by wild animals. Ethiopian mothers and fathers were not even told who died where and were denied to mourn their children by Ato Gebru’s TPLF party.

The supposedly ex-Woyane is now telling us that we have to prepare for another war to take over Assab. In his VOA interview he goes further and advocates tearing down the agreement with Eritrea and starting from scratch. As far as this war monger is concerned the Eritreans are expected to lie dead while we march north and take over their country. He actually believes the Eritreans will allow TPLF Woyane to do to their country what they have been doing to Ethiopia the last twenty years. That is not all he even envisions including Somalia that his TPLF army has been committing war crimes as part of his future greater Ethiopia. Coming from a person that created Kilil and tolerated ethnic cleansing (remember Wolkait) to even think of such a scheme is a little radical wouldn’t you say? I know some people whose delusional behavior leaves me with an open mouth, but when it comes to Comrade Gebru my brain ceases to function, my heart palpitates, and my knees buckle by the sheer audacity of his madness.

Before we go further lets us deconstruct the life of our esteemed country man. As I said, he was a member of the politburo of that curse of a party (ሕዝባዊ ወያኔ ሓርነት ትግራይ) and he was the governor of the Tigrai Kilil from 1991 to 2001. We were told he was kicked out of the party in the aftermath of the war with Eritrea. The fact that after leaving the organization he was able to lead a life as a high school teacher in his Kilil is not a normal situation for our country. It did not stop there. He was able to form an opposition Party to TPLF and lived to tell about it. This I would like to say is a miracle. From experience, the TPLF is not such a forgiving organization, and anyone that challenges our warlords does not get a chance to live and tell about it unless of course one belongs to the ‘golden tribe’ as referred to by the dead tyrant.

Kinijit leaders suffered two years in Kaliti, and upon their humiliating release some were told to leave if they valued their life. Dr. Berhanu was exiled and Weizero Birtukan was given a lesson regarding the wisdom of rising up again, Secretary Andualem Arage is still in Kaliti, and Professor Asrat was murdered. Today we have leading members of Andenet, Semayawi Party and righteous reporters and editors in Kaliti to teach the rest of us a lesson. Ato Gebru formed ‘Arena Tigrai Party’, and today he is a member of the loyal opposition. It does not stop there. Ato Gebru and his comrade in arms Ato Seye Abreha rose to prominence and were able to infiltrate Andenet Party establishing the so called Medrek that gave the elections of 2010 a legitimacy in the eyes of their foreign sponsors. As loyal solders, they never stopped serving their good old organization.

I was present in California where Medrek leaders were touring the US. At that time I asked a very simple question, why are these gentlemen wasting our hard earned money that was being used for transportation, hotel and food to campaigning in America among the non-voters while the election was being held in Ethiopia? No one had an answer. The gentlemen Medrek representatives spoke near our city. Their Chairman Weizero Birtukan was in Kaliti and none of them mentioned her by name. The delegation touring in America included Ato Gebru Asrat, Ato Seye Abreha, Ato Gizachew Shiferaw, Dr. Merera Gudina and Dr. Negasoi Gidada. A few Andenet support groups found the whole affair so nauseating that they politely requested for some of the delegates not to be included as guests in their town. Ethiopian drama never know ends.

Today Ato Gebru Asrat’s book is being advertised among the Diaspora, and the author have showed up in America to give interviews to sell his fiction. Where do most of the Diaspora and those at home rely to get their news and information in 1014 is a good question. The last three years ESAT has become the premier go to media to be informed, entertained and educated both at home and for those in exile. One would think anyone that wants his book to be read by many would approach ESAT. From what I know he has chosen VOA and the Tigrean speaking radio programs to talk to the rest of us. He is still preaching to his own Kilil.

They have a saying in the English language it goes like this ‘the third time is a charm’. It means that to wish and hope that since the previous two attempts failed one would succeed the third time. I really doubt the Honorable gentleman would have such luck. He failed with forming the so called satellite organization called EPDRF. Today all Ethiopians abhor this half baked entity for what it is – enforcer of Woyane rule by proxy. He failed by forming Medrek with the help of a few spineless individuals and disrupt Andenet. Today Andenet is still alive and working hard to regain relevancy. Medrek succeeded in the 2010 election as a Trojan horse of TPLF but ended up exposing the weakness of the leaders for life that are becoming the laughing stock of our people. This third attempt to insistently bring Eritrea into our discussion will not work.

Our problem is the lack of the rule of law and the imposition of single ethnic rule over the rest of us. Dear Ato Gebru when the time comes we will sit like civilized people with whoever governs Eritrea and reach an accommodation on all subjects based on self-interest, international norms and that age old relationship the two people have had and that cannot be wished away by anyone. Unlike the way TPLF has tried to solve this vexing problem, ours way will work because it will be based on rationality, self-restraint and the bigger benefit that would come out of love and respect.

Finally, I see a pattern in this attempt by some to engrain themselves to the victims by pretending to be reasonable and impartial. They see the writing on the wall. Woyane philosophy has reached its apex and it is on the decline. The opposition forces are slowly realigning and focusing on the common enemy. What Woyane wants at the moment is to freeze everything as it is and we all go in a slow incremental fashion to see a new Ethiopia. They are dreaming of reconciliation without justice. That would not work.

The concept of ‘truth and reconciliation’ has been attempted in many places that went through what we are experiencing today in Ethiopia. We can clearly see where it worked and where it failed. The TPLF is thinking of Rwanda, while we are focused on South Africa. The Rwandan road ended up benefiting the same victimizers and their society is still sitting on an explosive device waiting to ignite. We do not need to duplicate that. We want justice that is lasting. We prefer the South African model but with an eye to making it work in our country.

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By Hama Tuma

EBOLA  or whatever that is ravaging people in West Africa is no joking matter  and trivializing  it is not my intention at all. Condolences and sympathies to those who lost a kin or are suffering is due.

And yet, Ebola raises many questions needing immediate answers. Is Ebola really Ebola? is Ebola a plot? Is it man made? Is it an inflated malaria? A Meningitis gone wild? What is its color–black? white? Is it the white man’s perpetual desire to reduce the black population? In Ethiopia, we say a person who escaped from a snake’s attack will jump in fright when he or she sees a vine on the ground. Aggrieved, duped and hurt so many times, we Africans have become suspicious of all things bad attributed to our beloved continent. Some people attribute most viruses and plagues to Africa. Some think the A in AIDS refers to Africa.  Bill Maher said AIDS came from the copulation of an African with a monkey. Ebola is now said to be a result of eating monkeys though it did not appear in Asia where monkey meat is a delicacy in some countries. Is Ebola a conspiracy against Africa? Some seem to think so as the following article does suggest: The recent Ebola outbreak in Africa coincides with a massive Meningitis Vaccine campaign targeting over 100 million Africans; notably including all four African countries (Guinea, Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone) caught in the epicentre of the viral spread. The cost-effective vaccine, MenAfriVac®,(less than US$0.50 per dose) was “kept outside the cold chain for up to four days at up to 40°C”. Vaccine Resistance Movement is investigating the link between this extremely toxic experimental vaccine and the sudden surge in cases of Ebola. Symptoms of ‘Acute fulminating Meningococcal Septicemia’, a virulent form of bacterial meningitis (marked by extreme vomiting, hemorrhaging – excessive bleeding around the eyes & mouth, severe blackish bruising on the arms & legs), closely resemble those seen in Ebola victims. Why has the Ebola virus suddenly erupted in a region of Africa known as the “Meningitis Belt”? Because the WHO & CDC/enter for disease control–USA) are deliberately trying to cover up their bloody tracks once again. This supposed outbreak of Ebola bares all the hallmarks of a rarified, virulent strain of bacterial Meningitis, ‘Acute fulminating Meningococcal Septicemia’, also known as ‘Waterhouse-Friderichsen Syndrome’. Another case of a dangerous, untested vaccine triggering a tsunami of viral mutations – in impoverished regions“.

The accusation that the depopulation of blacks–specially Africans–has for long been on the agenda of western countries is not to be dismissed  as a stupid right wingers’ raving. More, Ebola must definitely be worse and more dangerous than Boko Haram and the region’s version of Al-Qaida for America to send soldiers and not medical personnel like Cuba. Deadly as it is, the color and texture of  Ebola baffles. My very cynical friend from Ghana insists that Ebola is as African as Cassava and caused by a costly desire to be noticed on the part of  a  West Africa jealous of the Somalia status (drones and invasions). He further stated that Syria, and the Kurds especially, are dying with envy as Syria has no American soldier on its soil and is praying for a Middle East Ebola. Africa’s alleged double digit annual economic growth that ought to be envied by China and France among others has not become a best seller fiction (though fiction it is) –we need money and attention and voila Ebola! And so, Ebola could very well be an African greed and money con act that misfired–curse on the corrupt regimes. Attractive as this argument seems, I am not satisfied that Ebola is black. It is obvious that Africans are prone to slaughter Africans so much so that some African Americans  do not want to be called African at all and one TIME magazine journalist even blessed his ancestors for leaving Africa as slaves. (By the way can one take the slave trade as mass migration, forced as it was, and a blessing?). After much observation and absolutely no research in West Africa, I am convinced that Ebola is white. Such catastrophes over Africa were in the past the doings of whites–colonialists and imperialists. Western pharmaceutical giants (Pfizer in Nigeria for example) have always taken Africa and blacks as guinea pigs or monkeys for experiment. Why not Ebola then? Could it be the result of their misfired experiment? Ethiopians, who are a suspicious lot and know far too much about death be it from famine or brutal State terror, say those who are not suspicious (doubting) will be weeded out (killed) . Or as Mizner said: ” I respect faith, but doubt is what gets you an education” is worth quoting in this instance.

Now that Ebola is appearing in the Western countries, its alleged “Africanness” is also being put to test. In this connection, one wonders why the vaccine that saved another American was not given to the Dallas patient (color black) who has now died. While more than 4000 Africans have perished and millions are expected to be infected come next year, not one white person has died from Ebola (minus two Spanish missionaries–we know how they always steal our thunder- and a very sick nurse  who may try to challenge my assertion by dying) . What about the thousands of Chinese in West Africa ? I have not heard of one dying up to now. The thousands of exploitative and racist Lebanese merchants? Not one has died from what I have tried to gather. Ebola is apparently very much anti black. As was and is Aids. As they say, no statue has ever been erected for a critic but this should not frighten us unto saying nothing.  Ebola is anti African. If it has now appeared in the West then it can only mean that THEY have goofed somehow. Of course, some Africans would see it as deserved revenge  on the colonialists and predators of the West. Ebola in the West would force them to find a vaccine, Ebola in Africa who cares !  It is like malaria, perhaps more deadly but so long as it is an African curse why bother. All those who argue that Africans are already too many and not concerned by birth control would be happy. The less blacks the better.  Ebola is definitely white and racist if we have to bluntly put it. So, what is the tomorrow of Ebola? It will kill more Africans and will, as they say now, spread to the West too and shake up their world till they realize that sending  soldiers is not the solution. Till they get it that  Ebola may be as dangerous as those the West calls terrorists and the solution is not soldiers and drones but medical mobilization and vaccines. That said what the hell is Ebola? The result of messed up experimentation? a biological test gone awry?  a virus on Africa? The easiest is to conclude that Ebola is some devil that detests Africa and Africans. As the Chinese would say a white devil.  All said, Ebola is, alas, very real. Fortress Europe and America have now one more reason to say blacks please go back.

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Anarchy vs. Stability: Dictatorships and Chaos Go Hand in Hand

A Commentary By Mathieu von Rohr


A bullet-riddled portrait of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad, Iraq, in 2003

The argument that a stable, autocratic state is better than a failed one has become increasingly fashionable. But it misses the fact that autocracies are ultimately the source of that chaos.

The fall of dictators is not always a cause for joy, my colleague Christiane Hoffmann wrote in an essay published yesterday on SPIEGEL International. If the citizens of a country were to have the option of choosing between a “functional dictatorship and the chaos of a failing or failed state,” she argued, the dictatorship would often be the “lesser evil” because it promises continued stability.

It’s a seductive thesis that has gained renewed traction since the outbreak of civil war in Syria. The Arab Spring unleashed exaggerated hope for Middle East democratization — and now that idealists have been disappointed almost everywhere, the proponents of so-called realpolitik are once again arguing that, although their message of stability may sound unsympathetic and maybe even cynical, it’s realistic. But is it really?

Some citizens or members of the international community may understandably want to reminisce about the intermittently prevailing sense of order that existed under a toppled dictator, as gruesome as the leader might have been. But it is also an optical illusion. The mistake lies in even describing a dictatorship as stable: If the dictatorships of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, Moammar Gadhafi in Libya or Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali in Tunisia had been stable, they wouldn’t have collapsed. Despite what some may think, the trajectory of the Arab uprisings does not support the argument that dictatorship is a better alternative to chaos. It tells the story of authoritarian regimes that were in part propped up by the West for decades — using exactly this argument — and then ultimately fell apart surprisingly quickly. Their foundations had been eaten away by youth unemployment, economic problems or state-instituted degradations. These regimes had long been rotten at their core. They came to an end because of their inner contradictions and inability to satisfy the basic needs of their citizens. Those needs weren’t necessarily freedom of expression and democracy, which are often secondary, but work, food and a dignified existence. No ‘Functional Dictatorship’ The question is not whether democracy is fundamentally, morally preferable to dictatorship — nobody is seriously questioning that. But even from the perspective of realpolitik, it is erroneous to argue that dictatorships and stability go hand in hand. Functioning democracies are, in the long term, usually more stable than dictatorships. Dictatorships only appear stable if they are highly repressive or able to provide prosperity to a broad swath of their population. But dictatorial rule is fundamentally precarious, which is why it must be upheld by force. They usually create the conditions leading to their own collapse, ultimately falling apart as a result of their dearth of social legitimacy. That’s another reason why the belief that a “functional dictatorship” is “more tolerable” than chaos, is misleading. The states where chaos emerged and state structures dissolved didn’t have a “functional dictatorship,” whatever that may mean, in the first place. Dictatorship often merely creates the conditions for later chaos. How absurd is it to wish for the return of a system that was responsible for the instability in the first place? The only response dictatorships tend to have for popular discontent, social tension or ethnic conflict is repression. The rigidity of these systems of rule makes them unable to smooth out conflicts within society, which means that, although social or political conflicts can be repressed for lengthy periods of times, these problems have the capacity to destabilize the entire state in the long term. There is no such thing as a benevolent dictator. In authoritarian systems, the regime, military and economy usually combine to form a power-clique that, in turn, fosters cronyism and corruption. If nothing else, these Mafia-like conditions among the leadership are what lead many citizens to revolt. Even in supposedly well-functioning China, these side-effects represent an inside threat to the Communist Party’s system of rule. Inside vs. Outside Regime Change Once the regime comes to an end, chaos usually follows. That, though, has nothing to do with democracy as such, it is merely a statement of logic. Stability is clearly and fundamentally better than instability, but the crucial question is how that stability can be created. It can’t be created by the West bombing dictatorships out of existence, as we’ve learned since the disastrous 2003 Iraq War — an attempt to impose democracy from the outside. Nor can, as the Arab Spring showed, stability be fostered by supporting dictatorial regimes. The Arab Spring also demonstrated that the decisions about the fate of a country aren’t made by the West, but within the countries themselves. In this discussion, it’s important to make the distinction between “regime change” from the inside and from the outside. It is now by-and-large undisputed that the United States’ decision to topple Saddam Hussein was a mistake. But there is no comparison here to the Arab uprisings, in which the regimes were destabilized from the inside and toppled by their own people. The West weren’t the ones that deposed Ben Ali and Mubarak. Nor was it responsible for the revolts in Libya and Syria. In Tunisia and Egypt the United States and France even tried to prop up the dictators at first. The West only intervened in Libya when Gadhafi threated to commit mass murder in Benghazi. And while the West has pushed for Assad to step down in Syria, it hasn’t yet tried to overthrow him. Interestingly, the world’s current instability tends to stem from countries that were ruled by authoritarian regimes for decades or are still governed by them today. Changed Interventionism The Islamist terrorism that has become the world’s current source of concern also emerged because of repression carried out in Western-supported Arab dictatorships. Many of the perpetrators of the September 11 attacks came from Saudi Arabia. The Assad regime’s repression also spurred the emergence of jihadist fighters in the early 2000s. Many of the donations that built Syria’s Jihadist militias into their current positions of prominence came from citizens of authoritarian states like Saudi Arabia and Qatar. And it’s no coincidence that the originator of the second current global crisis is Russia: an authoritarian regime whose aggressive behavior in the Ukrainian crisis also stems from the fact that it is less domestically stable than it seems. The current crises in the Arab world are not the consequence of naïve Western interventionism. On the contrary: Following the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, the West appears to have learned its lesson. The US under President Barack Obama has been particularly reluctant to engage in military interventions in recent years. When it does, it is usually to comply with the UN’s “Responsibility to Protect” dictum — and in Syria, it didn’t even do that until recently. It is possible to accuse Western governments of inaction in the face of Assad’s atrocities. Accusing them of the opposite is absurd. Who, then, is the target of warnings against the ill-considered toppling of dictators? If it includes the people themselves, those who have risen up against dictators in recent years, the warning appears to be paternalistic: “Think carefully about the chaos you might trigger by overthrowing your dictator.” History Lessons The people who stormed the Bastille in 1789 and the revolutionaries who ultimately beheaded King Louis XVI certainly didn’t entertain such considerations at the time. The French Revolution was also followed by terrible years of terror, then a dictatorship. Six decades would pass before a French democracy would emerge. Would the French, then, have been better advised to skip the revolt? Revolutions can seldom be controlled externally because their causes are internal. In 18th century France, they were set off by an economic crisis and social tension between the estates. Had there been think tanks producing geopolitical analyses at the time, they likely would have frowned upon the revolution and the beheading of the king and fretted about its consequences for European stability. And it is doubtful that the people of France would have cared. One country where the toppling of a dictator led to months of chaos, and then another dictatorship is Egypt. For those who favor stability at any price, it may be a desirable outcome. But the case of Egypt is really only effective as a counterexample. Although many Egyptians, in their disappointment with democracy, welcomed the reestablishment of a military dictatorship by General Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi, that move will, at most, buy a bit of time for the regime. All of the economic and social problems that led to the end of Mubarak’s reign persist and could soon lead to renewed protests and violence. The idea proposed in my colleague’s essay, that a military putsch against Assad in Syria would pave the way for stability’s return, is delusional — conflicts that have already erupted cannot be solved by replacing one authoritarian structure with another. A Compelling Example

When war broke out in former Yugoslavia in the 1990s, some became nostalgic for the former dictator, Tito, in the belief that he had managed to hold together the multi-ethnic state. But they were just as wrong as those who now say that the confessional conflicts between the Alawis and Shiites on the one side and the Sunnis on the other were defused under Assad. A dictatorship can seemingly freeze these kinds of conflicts for decades, even as they worsen beneath the surface. What was the case in Yugoslavia is now the case in Syria: Like a pressure cooker, when the seal breaks, the steam explodes. What does that teach us? The idea that dictatorships foster stability is a fairy tale; chaos is often the product of the autocratic systems it follows. People themselves make the decision whether to rise up against dictatorships. The only question for the West is when it should intervene in such a rebellion — and that cannot be answered in the abstract with pleas in favor of, or in opposition to, dictatorships. It can only be decided on a case-by-case basis. One nation in particular should know that it takes time to create a functioning democracy — that it is a learning process, but that even people who have a history of authoritarianism can create democratic stability: The Germans. A country that created history’s most appalling dictatorship is now an exemplary democracy. It is hard to find a better rebuttal to the theory that there are cultures ill-suited for democracy.

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The violent arrival of Woyane.

By Yilma Bekele

We Ethiopians witnessed what those that control our country are capable of doing to unarmed citizens. I am sure the action of the TPLF solder in front of their Embassy in Washington DC is the talk of the town. It is unfortunate that we are not equipped to discuss the criminal act in all its attributes. It has to be put in some form of context to fully understand the criminal act.

Why did the Woyane soldier felt threatened by the action of peaceful unarmed protesters and felt comfortable discharging a lethal weapon is a good question to ask. The whole idea of a protest is to make noise, to call attention and disrupt the daily routine of the targeted enterprise. Protests are normally loud, chaotic and messy. There are times when protesters close a boulevard or a highway, block the entrance, lay down in the middle of the street and use various means to make themselves heard. It is also considered legitimate to plan actions that will attract the media and make the evening news.

Our Ethiopian compatriots were doing that in front of the Woyane Embassy in a peaceful but loud manner to make themselves heard. Now the Embassy has plenty of options on how to handle the situation. They could report the incident to the State Department if they think laws protecting Diplomatic offices were broken. They could call the DC police if they felt threatened. They could ignore the whole situation since from experience of the last few years they know the protesters are not armed no one has ever been hurt and it will be over with no incident.

Why do you think the TPLF solder choose to fire his weapon? Because he is an idiot and savage Woyane is not a satisfactory answer. The reason goes beyond that. How could one person take it upon himself to commit such criminal act is a question that begs for an answer. The video that was shot by the protesters shows the so called Ambassador standing by the door with confusion and bewilderment written all over his face. How could one of his employee act in such outrageous manner is a legitimate line of inquiry. And finally the most important question of all what emboldened this lone solder to do what he did in a place where more Ethiopians reside outside of our homeland is the question that boggles the mind.

The question of the Ambassador is a no brainer. We are most familiar how the TPLF operates. By default we Ethiopians know what is fake and what is real. The vast majority of Woyane Embassies are run by the first secretary while someone from another ethnic group is presented as the person in charge for show.

There is plenty of testimonials from yesterday’s Ambassadors and todays refugees that live among us. I believe our ‘Ambassador’ was unfortunately exposed for the fake he is by the recent event. You really do not think a simple solder would even carry a weapon outside the Embassy gates let alone fire a bullet. I am sure Ato Girma was as surprised as the rest of us.

When it comes to the cadre he was just doing what he does when he sees Ethiopians dare to challenge the authority of Woyane. It just comes natural to our masters and I am sure he is probably confused when the police took him for questioning. We should not be surprised if he is not aware of what illegal and dangerous act he committed. He was probably proud of the tremendous restraint he showed for not killing a few of the protesters that were in his opinion not even afraid when he brandished his gun. He has never come across such rowdy and ill-mannered Ethiopians that showed no fear and refused to back down when told by a TPLF soldier.

The third point I raised is what interests me the most. How does such criminal act take place where so many Ethiopians live is what bothers me the most. Am I surprised? Not really, I have seen it coming the last year or so. We are or should be aware by now Woyane is on the offensive. A few dedicated patriotic Ethiopians have been able to check the advance but that has not stopped TPLF from devising all kinds of ways to circumvent our efforts.

We should be proud that the Ponzi scheme to rob us of our hard earned money to build the so called dam on Abay was made to fail. It is not that we do not think building a dam is a good idea but having seen how Woyane operates we knew it was a well-organized scheme to commit robbery in broad day light. We were not fooled.

Not all of us. There were the unfortunate among us that were forced to play along because they have been neutralized due to the ‘investments’ they made in Woyane land. They were forced to secretly attend the meetings and contribute under the cover of darkness. It was pathetic to see some of them wearing hats and glasses, ducking under the seat of their car and wishing they could be made invisible to go to a meeting they were forcefully ‘invited’. Once you bow to Woyane there is no end to the ass kicking like a donkey administered by illiterate Woyane.

Today our people cannot afford the price of Teff, Berbere, Mitmita even the lowly Shuro due to the fact it is exported to the honorable Diaspora. Today Ethiopian groceries and restaurants that make their money from us have no shame selling these products in their places of business.

Today the Diaspora have no qualms about building condominiums on land stolen from their own parents using Woyane produced cement and imported material. Reminds me of a paper written by Professor Mesfin where he witnessed a long line in Arat Kilo and was sad to find out that it was young people standing to get a job to dismantle their parents’ houses that was taken by Woyane. Most probably the investors were from the Diaspora. They were actually paying for something that was legitimately their own. How in the world do you think Woyane would have any respect for such spineless individuals?

A few months back TPLF solders massacred a lot of students in Ambo, Lekemt and Adama because they have the nerve to protest confiscation of their parents land. We heard it and we kept quiet. We knew it was wrong but we did not do anything about it.

A few years back TPLF deported Ethiopians based on their ethnic origin and some cheered and a lot pretended not to know or care. We kept quiet.

A year or two ago the TPLF using its surrogates deported Amhara’s from the southern region and the west and some protested but plenty covered their eyes and ears. We kept quiet.

The apathy we exhibit is what made our cadre soldier/first secretary/real Ambassador fire his gun without thinking twice. In his trained eye we are not worthy of respect. We are not humans. I do not blame him I blame us for giving him the power to think and act like that. Even here where we live in peace and where there is so much money to be made by legal means some of us think it is acceptable to use our economic might to pray on our people. The mind is a powerful machine but it is also gullible. I am sure those that dance with Woyane criminals convince themselves that they are helping their country and they are honorable people doing honest work. No you are not. You enable TPLF criminals.

I have no business passing judgment on your activities but when your activity gives a rogue regime like we have in Ethiopia a sense of invincibility to frighten my sisters and brothers that were peacefully protesting it makes me angry. We are here because home is not such a good place to live in peace, live without fear, live with honor and love. Now they have come here to do to us what they do to our people back home. Some of you due to your selfish act are inviting them over to disturb our peace. The question is what more nefarious plan do they have for us?

I have not enough words to praise those that took a day off their schedule to act as the voice of their people. All I could say is we are all proud of you and we are glad no one was hurt and I only wish I was there with you doing the most important thing in life – showing you care for those that due to circumstances are currently unable to fight back. I am sure your actions gives them hope and pride.



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Hama Tuma

Africans are used to the unkindest cut them of all, most leading to brutal deaths. Bad governance and tyranny, famine and poverty, ethnic cleansing and massacres—you name it and we have lived it even when the neo colonials pamper us with praises of non-existent double digit economic growth as we starve and die. Oh yes, Obama is an honorable man!

However, our dictators are having a hard time trying to compete with the unkindest Kim cut that the hapless North Koreans have been forced to endure. Not that they have not been trying to make themselves the master of the undercut. Kenya legalized polygamy and cut out the first wife from having say in the process. Oil rich and corrupted Brunei, where the Sultan rules under emergency laws since 1962 and has thousands of luxury cars and a palace with 1788 rooms, made Sharia and hudud into laws and said those who criticize the regime in Facebook will also be judged by 8th century laws. Maldives, a Muslim country but the lair of decadent tourism. also issued Sharia as law and since the age of criminal responsibility is deemed to be only 10 years made it clear that preteens will face the death sentence. Under Morsi, Egypt was fast surpassing Saudi Arabia as the country of harshest laws and Salafist Sheiks were quick to edict fatwas supporting husbands to see their prospective wives shower naked (to see what is hidden to make a good choice), the right of the husband to abandon his wife to her fate if she faces dangerous rapists (no obligation to try to save her),etc.. A 15 years old girl who was raped was given 100 lashes for engaging in premarital sex and India moved in with the unkindest cut against women by telling the women facing rape to enjoy it while it lasts. Burundi banned jogging in groups as it leads to subversion! A death sentence for all those who preach the mingling of men and women in Saudi Arabia which is ruled by medieval and otherwise decadent sheikhs.

But all such flimsy measures pale in the face of the Kim cut, the notoriously bad haircut of Kim Il, the Korean dictator. If asked many Koreans would surely prefer the lashes rather than have the Kim cut and yet they have little or no choice. Male university students in North Korea are required by the Sate to have the same haircut as their “beloved leader” though the cut is traditionally associated with the style of Chinese smugglers. North Korea has associated hair style with socialism of its brand and the State has sanctioned only 10 hair styles for men and 18 for women. The former and now dead leader Kim Yong Il had a bouffant style in order to look taller some wags had alleged. isn’t this a gem all over?

Some from Zimbabwe blame God for the unkindest cut of all times for giving Mugabe a long life. Many Africans consider China to be their curse, a land grabber and predator with a big  and cruel stomach. The politics of the stomach defines all. Leaders are bought and corrupted to their core, countries are sold and innocent people die in their thousands. Eritrea has become the main exporter of citizens whose organs are harvested by vicious  traffickers. Almost every religious extremist and terrorist group owes its existence to Saudi and Qatari money and support and yet these two rogue States are part of the so called coalition set up by Washington to combat against the ISIL. Whichever way one turns the cuts are curl and unkind.

To come back to the Kim Il cut the whole farce came to the fore when a mischievous (maybe good natured) barber in London posted a picture of the young Kim Il with his haircut with the caption : Bad Hair Day? 15% off all Gent Cuts through April. Two serious and very threatening gentlemen from the North Korean embassy visited him and more less forced him to remove the “disrespectful”  poster which he promptly did though he did say “this is England and not North Korea”. Words! Reminds me of the days of old when we saw a film of Julius Caesar with the fatal stabbing scent cut out by the censors who had also simply banned a film titled King of Thieves which was feared of giving bad ideas to the subjects of Emperor Haile Sellasie. The Kim cut is really bad for African hairs (and for baldies) but then again it makes us laugh and enjoy a laugh . The African cut of our unelected leaders kills more often than not and, alas , the present day rebels have no redeeming side. They are crude, often lumpen, barbarian and violent. Al Shabab, Boko Haram, the LRA or Seleka and the Al Qaida affiliate groups are  far from being classical liberation movements or guerrilla groups. As far as Africa is concerned their declared enemies have not changed their neocolonial face one bit.

What is in a haircut? Some and more actually. Those with a different haircut than their ruler may very well be advocates of difference and following one’s path as opposed to that of the supreme leaders. A dangerous tendency that smacks of dissent and possible rebellion. For want of a shoe a kingdom was lost and tolerating a different haircut may auger the doom of a regime. Oh yes, a small fire can lead to a conflagration–ask the Tunisian who burnt himself and burnt a regime as a consequence. Ask the Ethiopian teacher who also burnt himself and was royally ignored by his compatriots. The whole issue comes down to the question if there is the liberty to choose one’s hair style what about tomorrow? What may the people demand? Not only long hair but rights heaven forbid. The Korean tyrants are not fools as their keeping power within the family and ruthless way in which the young Kim executed his own uncle did show. For want of a different hair cut a whole regime may collapse. Beware!





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Ethiopia/Eritrea-Anatomy of love/hate relationship.

Yilma Bekele

This issue of Eritrea has been with us for more than I can remember. In fact it is fair to say like most of you I have lived all my life being affected by the problem with our relatives to the North. Considering the life expectancy in our ancient land it would not be farfetched to conclude for the vast majority of our people the Eritrean question has been like an albatross hanging our neck stopping us from thinking in a straight and rational manner.

I am not a historian by training thus I would not attempt to explain what exactly happened a thousand years back not even as recent as a hundred year ago. Today I felt we should strive to be equipped with some knowledge however rudimentary so we could have a little appreciation of a problem that has vexed our people and country for quite a while. My attempt is not to go on some intellectual fishing expedition but rather to put the current issue in perspective for us ordinary people to come to grips with.

I beg my esteemed reader’s forgiveness if I have broached a subject which most of us seem to be expert in and have no qualms throwing opinions left and right no matter the merit. Mine might be considered as one but I felt I have to say it and let you be the judge. I will by no means consider it the last word on the subject. I normally try to present my case in two pages or less. I am afraid this time that task became impossible due to the very importance of the subject matter. I have done all I could to edit a very long article to what it is now. I again ask for your patience and implore you to read it all with care. I worked very hard at it.

Anyway I wanted to present another aspect of the issue due to the successive articles being presented by my good friend the editor of Ethiopian Review News and Information Web site impacting our current relationship with Eritrea. My intention is not to prove or disprove my colleague’s argument but rather to give a different perspective on the subject.

Going back to my point, I apologize it took long but one has to create a starting point to tell a story and that is what I was trying to do. I have chosen 1951- the aftermath of World War II as day one of my analysis (the Europeans are the ones that fought most but what the heck they include all of us as usual). The British defeated the Italians in 1942 and Eritrea was placed under their military administration until 1951. In 1952 the UN voted for Eritrea to be federated with Ethiopia. In 1962 Emperor Haile Selassie dissolved the Eritrean Parliament making it a province of Ethiopia.

The Eritreans did not appreciate being another province under Imperial rule thus organized under the ELF (Eritrean Liberation Front) and started their long struggle for self-determination. The ELF gave way to EPLF with the Isaias Afwerki as the new leader in the 1970’s and the Liberation movement entered a new phase. The fall of the Derg in 1991 was the culmination of almost forty years of war and destruction. Eritrea became an independent nation on May 24 1993.

There is no question that the referendum that was carried out in April of 1993 that led to the declaration of independence was a hastily arranged divorce that contained lots of ambiguities, left many questions an answered and ignored plenty of vital issues that have come to haunt both nations years after the resolution of the issue. This was definitely a perfect example of ‘haste makes waste’ syndrome. (ሲሮጡ የታጠቁት ሲሮጡ ይፈታል)

Here we are twenty years later and it is clear that we Ethiopians have not been able to reconcile our objections and accept the new situation staring us in our face. The love hate relationship with our cousins is something that is eating us from the inside and a cause of many heated arguments including fist fights that clouds our thinking and creates a stressful situations between family, friends and acquaintances.

It is not unreasonable to expect twenty years to be enough time to come to terms with a situation that for all practical reason could not be reversed. The fact of the matter is that there is a country called Eritrea with an internationally recognized borders and a membership in all International institutions as an independent Nation State. That fact cannot be changed without the consent of the people Eritrea or some out of the world calamity that no one wishes nor likely to happen at all.

The problem most definitely lies with us Ethiopians that are refusing to let go, accept reality and move on. There are many reasons for our dilemma but having an excuse is not considered a valid point for our sometimes irrational and overboard behavior. The main cause of this unfortunate situation that is causing untold problems is the TPLF regime that holds absolute power in Ethiopia and is so adept at knowing where to poke our inner feeling to stoke fear and hate.

Although the EPLF was the primary organizer, cultivator, trainer and all around baby sitter of the TPLF (ሕዝባዊ ወያኔ ሓርነት ትግራይ) the love affair came to an end not long after the TPLF was able to get its feet firmly planted in Addis Abeba. True to their nature the Woyane’s showed no qualms betraying their close friend and sponsor. Like any dictatorial regimes that survives by creating division and dissent they found Eritrea a convenient target to use as an enemy that is poised to destabilize and dead set in trying to control Ethiopia. Like their predecessors the Imperial regime and the Derg it was not hard to for Woyane to fan the flames of war and destruction that is always poised to strike from the north.

Eritrea is a country with six million people limited resources and is one of the youngest nations in the process of rebuilding its economy after years of war. Ethiopia is a country with ninety million people with plenty of resources but due to the succession of autocratic and military regime has failed to use its God given potential to escape recurring famine and poverty. Thus it was the most absurd moment in history when the two nations went back to war between May of 1998 to June of 2000 using modern airplanes and tanks. The conflict caused the death of over seventy thousand lives and millions of dollars – a resources both poor nations are ill equipped to handle.

Today there are thousands of soldiers on both sides of the boarder waiting for an excuse to start the conflict over again. The Woyane regime in Ethiopia spends millions of dollars to maintain one of the largest armed forces in Africa, uses scarce foreign exchange to purchase military hardware from East Europe and large sums of money on propaganda to keep the level of anxiety high, use it as a wedge issue to divide the population and is constantly beating the drums of war to create fear and uncertainty.

We Ethiopians welcomed Woyane into our capital without a single shot being fired in anger. The Derg was despised by all sector of society and its downfall was celebrated and a cause for hope and a new beginning. Except for a few remnants of Derg and its Party members no one mourned the demise of Megistu and his comrades. Unbeknown to us and most unfortunate for our nation the new liberators did not come equipped with open heart, hope for the future and love for anything Ethiopia. We should have known at the outset that things do not bode well for our people and country when the midget warlord first words of wisdom was to trample our flag and question our unity. We are harvesting this evil and petty mentality for the last twenty one years and the death of the evil kingpin does not seem to have made any difference.

Where we stand today is what this paper is all about and not to hash ancient history, shift blame and find a scapegoat for our failure to build a just and democratic Ethiopia. By all indications it has become clear the Woyane warlords in power are not interested in peace, harmony and respect for fellow citizens to be involved in the rebuilding of our country.

Independent parties are demonized to no end and abused to the extent that being elected a leader of the opposition is the most dangerous job in our country. The media is controlled by the party and there is not even the semblance of a fine line between the State and the TPLF party. The Woyane group has made it clear on many occasions and dared the opposition to pick up arms if they really want to share power. Anybody that is advocating a peaceful means to get rid of Woyane is only either burying their head in the sand or completely overtaken by delusion and wishful thinking.

We are forced to fight to be free and regain a sense of dignity to be able build a peaceful and harmonious society where our children could live in peace, our people can taste liberty and our mountains and streams can be utilized to sustain our growing population. No one chooses war over peace but there comes a time when one has to stand up stiffen the spine and do what is necessary to protect life and liberty. We have produced many groups that have resolved to do just that.

Like everything in life the only way to prove ones theory is to put it to practice. There is no guarantee success will be achieved fast, harmony will reign at a drop of a hat and the road will be easy. Experience have shown it to be a tortuous journey with plenty of pitfalls. Our country has sacrificed many sons and daughters that have stood for what they believe and given their life to bring freedom and dignity to all of the children of Ethiopia. Every one of us have lost a loved one, a close friend a relative or a neighbor in one of the many patriotic organizations such as EPRP, OLF, TPDM, ONLF, ALF, Kinijit, Andenet, Semayawi and plenty other beautiful freedom loving groupings that dared to stand up on our behalf.

Today the geopolitical situation in our neighborhood has become very complicated for one easy answer. The rise of Islamic militarism, the breakdown of Somalia the international isolation of Sudan, the demonizing of Eritrea by the West have created a very difficult and a challenging state of affairs to traverse for our political leaders. Compared to the situation we are in today fighting the Imperial regime and the Derg can be considered a walk in the park. There were many places to catch ones breath and regroup to fight another day.

Where do we Ethiopians prepare, get the training and organize to confront the ethnic thugs lording it over us is a very important and vital question. Fortunate for us there is Eritrea that due to circumstances we have come to forge a common ground. Today fate and our God have forced us to help each other overcome adversity. One can say we are very lucky. The job has to be done with or without Eritrea but the cooperation with our cousins has the benefit of reducing our sacrifice and hasten the day of our liberation.

This is exactly the reason we find all Ethiopian liberation fronts and opposition groups welcomed in Eritrea. To be sure the Eritrean government have its own interest in mind for helping us get rid of Woyane warlords. As they say all nations act out of selfish interest. There is no such animal called selfless act. The Eritreans have their own axe to grind when it comes to their old Woyane friends. We Ethiopians have our own interest in mind when we impose on our family from the north to accommodate us while working for our freedom. Both of us have come to realize that we have a confluence of interest at this particular point in time. It is no different than the US working with its arch enemy Iran to destroy and degrade what is called the ISIS threat. Conflict creates strange bed fellows and that is the nature of geo politics.

What we have at the moment is various Ethiopian organizations using setting up offices and training centers in Eritrea to confront degrade and destroy the cancerous growth called Woyane. It is not a simple task by any stretch of the imagination. TPLF controls a country with unlimited resources that can be used to preserve the power of a few at the expense of the many. We are fighting an enemy that is using our own people and financed by our own money. Furthermore due to narrow interest and mistaken policy the rich west and China have aligned themselves with our enemy making our task a little bit more difficult.

More difficult does not mean impossible. We just have to work harder and smarter. We have to show Woyane that we are capable of defending ourselves, prove to their enablers that their long term is better served allying with us and convince our people the future will be darker and more bleak if Woyane is allowed to stay around one more day than necessary. It is a tall order but no one said achieving independence and determining ones future is an easy matter. We witnessed the sacrifice paid by the Eritreans to reach the goal of standing tall on ones two feet. Yes we do not have to go far to site an example.

To quote President Kennedy we Ethiopians ‘..shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and success of liberty.’ That is what our combatants are doing from the deserts of Eritrea. They are paying the price so our children will live in peace. We honor, celebrate and are proud of those that have decided to pay the ultimate price in the quest for liberty. We are most grateful to the government and people of Eritrea that have under difficult circumstances opened their doors and wallets so we can do the job that could only be done by us the stake holders. We have a debt to pay if not today but hopefully by our children tomorrow whose life would be made easier due to the good will of our family from the north.

I am sure some of you would think that I have gone overboard with my praise of Eritrea. A few would object that I have not raised the issue of Democracy and good governance in Eritrea. I plead guilty on both points. I really believe both objections are not valid at all. When someone invites you to their home and share the limited resource of the family to finish the job you set up to do I do not think it is good manners not to thank your host and show appreciation. As for the second issue I felt it should be left to the Eritreans to work on whatever problem they currently have. For a tenacious people that sacrificed so much in pursuit of Independence and self- determination I believe they are up to the job of righting what they believe wrong.

My hands are currently full dealing with a varmint that is sucking my blood and causing me untold misery and pain. I have no inclination not do I have the moral authority to rant about other people’s business. I do not stress about Sudan, I never stay up nights thinking about Somalia nor do I make Kenya a Starbucks discussion why as an Ethiopian I would want to editorialize regarding the Eritrean condition is not clear at all.

Finally I would not attempt to try answer the questions raised by Ethiopian Review. It would not solve the problem we are having and unfortunately there is not an alternative being offered to offset what is alleged to be Eritrea’s attempt to muzzle the Fronts operating from their country. I find the charges leveled to be without merit and go against all logic. I would consider it to be self-destructive policy for the Eritrean Government that has not shown any love to the Woyane regime. Why they would kill, torture and abuse the forces that are attempting to overthrow their common enemy does not seem to make sense for a rational thinking mind. Why would they allow them to set camp in their country and turn around weaken them is not a logical argument nor a sound and reasonable proposition.

In my humble opinion ER failed to make a solid case and relied on half-truth, innuendos and second hand stories that seem to serve the speakers interest rather than the group. The so called ‘audio’ presentations being doled out in small clips are nothing but a marketing ploy to increase google ads. It is a sad day for professional Journalism when even if true the musings of disgruntled individuals is taken as factual truth and presented as news. Hate and negativity has some times the effect being the cause of what is called the inability not to see the forest for the trees. That is what is afflicting the ER editors.

There is one more issue I would like to raise in tandem with this question we are trying to come to terms with. It is an important lesson that we should be familiar with since we now have a negative experience we went thru to learn from. The issue is self-determination and the most appropriate way to handle such an important concept. The late Woyane warlord has left us with a time bomb ticking.

In order to govern for a short time and amass money using criminal means TPLF have used what is called Nations and Nationalities concept to divide and conquer. For twenty years TPLF has managed to distort, bastardize and define it to suit their nihilistic purpose. Today how we deal with this burning issue is a very important matter and have to be careful not to drop the ball like the last time around and leave our children with another vexing problem.

May I suggest we closely study the manner the issue was discussed and the civilized way the opposing sides presented their case in the recent referendum carried out in Scotland. I urge you my friends to see how no one was demonized, old history dug from the grave and used to attack the integrity of one’s opponent. We owe our people that much. I am also aware the issue I have raised would invite Woyane supporters and their minority but loud puppies to cry foul, call me names and try to confuse the issue. Settle down and present your argument in a rational manner, we are capable of listing to both sides and making up our mind with the interest of all of Ethiopia in our heart. I say to all cadres -Amor Vincit Omnia-Love Conquers All!




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The divide


It was a show the invited African tyrants put at Mandela’s memorial in South Africa. Watching them tripping over each other to pay homage to a man, who, if truth be told, would have banished or put to death, given the opportunity, was incredible. As if that was not enough, ESAT gave the stage to Mengistu  to “honor” Mandela .

At the time, curious minds have asked the questions-; What if Mandela was not a South African? In fact, what if he was an Ethiopian?  Would he have walked to freedom and mourned and eulogized upon his timely death, or would he have been tortured, killed, at a much younger age, and his corpse thrown into the streets for all to see, or buried somewhere in an anonymous grave?

Attempts to resuscitate the tyrant and his minions from their political deaths are neither new nor isolated phenomena. They speak to a culture that denigrates and devalues the lives of everyday Ethiopians, and contemptuous of their struggles to be free.  Who forgets the self declared “democrats” defending the colonel’s right to sell his book and profit from his crimes under the guise of free speech? Who also forgets the professor who unabashedly condemned Ethiopians, under the same guise, for demanding the host institution rescind its invitation, to the now dead, head of the TPLF, Meles Zenawi?

Even at face value the democratic ideals that the domesticated Ethiopian elite claim to uphold are fake. Democratic ideals are not neutral ideas.  They do not confuse killers with their victims. They do not blur the distinctions.  They take sides.

What is also at issue is a question of identity- a glaring cultural rupture between this elite and Ethiopia. The two don’t speak the same language. They don’t share the same space. Their goals are diametrically opposite.

For the domesticated Ethiopian elite, 1991 was no tragedy, but a business opportunity. So, it was ready to exploit the anti-Ethiopian campaign. It hailed the London conference as the birth pang, and the coup, as a transition to democracy.  . It cheered the separation of Eritrea and the ethnicisation of the rest of Ethiopia.  It went along with the massacres at Gondar, Arbagugu, Water, and the Anwar Mosque; kept silent when Professor Asrat was thrown to jail, when Assefa Maru was gunned down in broad day light and when Aberash Berta was kidnapped and disappeared.

If it invoked Mandela and Gandhi, it was not because it believed in their revolutionary ideas, but because, it knows they are safe bets to hide behind, and attack the home grown heroes-the likes of Colonel Asnake, Tesfaye Debessai, Tsegaye (Debteraw), Dillai, Gaim… If it glorified faraway revolutions from faraway countries, it is because it wanted to erase the traditions of Yekatit and the revolutionaries who made it happen, from our consciousness. And if it finds itself in the opposition, it was not because of principle, but because it was kicked out.

Particularly, the non-Tigrean domesticated elite has found out that no matter how much it tried hard to be on the good side of the TPLF, it is expendable. It thought it was immune to TPLF’s racism, and forgot that it was an excess baggage. Even in Its attempt to use the fallout between the TPLF and the EPLF, to its own advantage, it found itself becoming the collateral damage.

The domesticated elite is a captive elite. It is everyone’s proxy (the TPLF, the EPLF and/or their backers), but, the Ethiopian people.  It serves as their Trojan horse. It is alien to national consciousness and national pride.

The domesticated elite see politics as business, and behave and act on this imperative. So, it has no Home to fight for.  Hama Tuma describes this species as root-less.  Ama Ata Aidou calls it, Afro-Saxon.  On their part, the everyday Nigerians have a name for it.  They call it “Johnny comes home”.  Mandela highlighted this, upon his release from Robin Island, when he ignored the plea from the apartheid puppet Chief Gasha Buthelezi, to meet him in person. .

The national struggle is antithetical to these elite, because it is anchored on Ethiopia’s proud anti-colonial history.   It is home grown, organic, independent, and accountable to no one, but, Ethiopians.  It is a struggle that honors Ethiopia’s patriotic children of the past and the present.  Its goal goes beyond dislodging the TPLF from power.  Its goal is to reclaim Ethiopia for Ethiopians.

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The perils of outsourcing the fight for freedom.

By Yilma Bekele

I could have titled this piece ‘Obama and his Africa peace keepers’ but that would not be fair. Anybody with half a brain can see that I am trying to make my issue to be his problem. Excuse me just because fighting for my right is beneath my dignity there is no reason to impose on him that I am unable to do for whatever reason. Dear Mr. President we Africans are not amused! This is what appeared on The Guardian

‘According to President Obama, who announced a series of American support and initiatives generated from the summit, the US government would be creating what it called “the African Peacekeeping Rapid Response Partnership (APRRP, “A-Prep” for short), with “a new investment of $110 million per year for three to five years to build the capacity of African militaries to rapidly deploy peacekeepers in response to emerging conflict, a concept that holds powerful life-saving potential.”

It is President Obama’s lasting gift to Africa. He is helping Africa by training and arming soldiers from countries that rely on the gun to stay in power. Compared to all other abuses our continent receives from outsiders this one seems to hurt the most. It was a moment of Et tu, Obama? Is this how you pay your cousins? Sending the gun instead of bread? Sending the solder instead of the doctor? Calling them ‘Peace Keeping Force’ is that good old American trick of giving an awful thing a pretty sounding name. It was not long ago President Regan named the MX missile that was capable of turning the Soviet Union into one big parking lot the ‘Peacekeeper’.

The African peace Keeping force he is proposing conjures up visions of the condition of Latin America in the sixties, seventies and eighties that saw the procession of Military Juntas with the training and active support of the US. We are watching history repeat itself – the game is the same but the venue has changed.

We Ethiopians in the US supported Obama’s Presidency among other reasons is the hope and belief that he would forcefully bring the issue of Human Rights and Good Governance to the table. Despite his high sounding and intoxicating rhetoric he has failed to contribute positively towards the African Renaissance.

Right now my focus is not on the policy advanced by the administration that would only increase Africa’s suffering. Looking at the composition of the group nominated to be in charge I have no doubt burning, looting, and rape are considered peace keeping methods. Assembling solders from Ethiopia, Uganda, and Rwanda is like picking the City police force from the local penitentiary. I doubt any African is excited about being a continent trotting mercenary in the employ of one super power or another. What the heck we Ethiopians are good at killing each other why not kill strangers and still get paid for it is another way of looking at it. Do you think it is a win-win situation for savage Woyane?

Let us talk about Ethiopia and our reaction to the policy of coddling tyrants, insane and certified psychopathic African strongmen by the ‘Democratic’ West. We never tire pointing out the inconsistency between word and deeds by the West. Are we correct in calling them coward and selfish? Do you think they should have done more including using economic and military tools to punish dictators and human rights abusers?

I am sure all my readers agree the West has not done much to help the aspirations of non-white people to be free. In fact it can be said the West has actively worked to thwart the quest for freedom. Everybody knows that. Putting that aside do we Ethiopians believe the West to be entirely responsible for our misfortune? Or do we share the blame?

In the interest of fairness this is what policy makers in the West witness when they see their options on how to interact with our country and people. They look at the Ethiopian government and see one big pyramid scheme with a taint of ethnocentrism and a dash of thuggish behavior mixed with a spoon full of ignorance. Unfortunate for us they also get to notice how the population both at home and in the Diaspora react to such abuse and mis-use of power. The Western policy maker gets to see as we really are-warts and all. 

I am not going thru a laundry list of the crimes of the TPLF or their lack of empathy and their capacity for unsatisfiable greed.  I am sure Western Policy makers are aware of Woyane’s sick state of mind. Thanks to Wiki leaks we are today sure the US knows where all the skeletons are buried. Time will tell. Anyway let us not worry about outsiders.

What else do you think they see? They see a Diaspora that fled Ethiopia through different means and in the process of rebuilding in foreign lands. They also notice the same Diaspora that has become the cash cow of the government that is still practicing the policy of displacement that made them flee their homeland. The western policy maker observes the Diaspora to be a primary contributor to the welfare of the Woyane regime.

What are the ways the Diaspora help the TPLF Government to rule with an iron fist and abuse our people and country? The Diaspora money is cash with no strings attached. The Diaspora is a major player in the condominium building process on land leased from Woyane owners. The Diaspora is a sure market for Ethiopian Airlines. The Diasporas contribution lubricates the Woyane cash need the lease scam is used to corrupt the civil servant,the building frenzy keep EFFORT floating and Ethiopian Airlines is a Woyane taxi and cash cow with plenty of fringe benefits doled out by TPLF based on ones’ ethnic origin.

Today the Diaspora can dine on injera that’s is made in Ethiopia and flown packed in plastic to the USA. It is no surprise to see Ethiopian owned dining and entertainment establishments here in the US stock their bars with Woyane controlled Brewery and its Woyane supply chain, cook our food with spices from home imported by Woyane business men (always in the background) and swear by butter and grain brought in container ships all facilitated by the ruling group in one way or another. They export those basic necessities to amass dollars that in turn finds its way out of the country to be deposited in savings or buy Real Estate with cash all over the world, especially here in the US. We have the list.

This behavior is definitely not good or end good for all involved. How we got into this is part of our history. We are not the first one to fall on hard times nor will we be the last. Right now our concern is how to climb out of the deep hole we have dug for ourselves. We totally do not want to insistently dwell on the past and relive our mistakes or endlessly recount the many ways Woyane’ are evil. No sir we want to about talk what we can do in response.

The last few years activists and community organizers allocated plenty of time, cash and other resources to closely work with Politicians, community leaders and other decision makers in the West to bring change at home. We are proud to make Human Right in Ethiopia the discussion in the halls of the US Congress and European Union. Our country will always remember all those brave Ethiopians that stood with their people despite extreme heat and freezing cold all over the world. It is safe to say that our effort has at times tamed the savage regime.

Our effort has shown promise at times but it is becoming obvious that it never is a game changer. It is our problem and we are the only ones that can solve it to our satisfaction. When solution is imposed or incubated by outsiders it never lasts long and one is back to the drawing board within a short time. Logic dictates that we devise a way to do the job ourselves. Once outsiders see that we are trying I am sure they will be happy to help because no one is loved and worshiped more than a winner.

The solution to our problem is all around us. We learn from those that fought for freedom before us. I know it is our second time around but I wouldn’t mention that if I were you. The American Revolution started by dumping English tea in Boston harbor. The colonies were refusing to pay taxes without consent and the rest is history.

Ever since then history book is full of wars, civil wars, civil strife and civil unrest where people fought to be free. That is what we are doing now. Fighting to be free once again. Finishing the job that started over fifty years ago.

The answer is very simple in the face of it but very difficult in the implementation. Normally humans act based on selfish interest. But there are times due to circumstances we act in ways that is hurtful not only to others but ourselves. That is what is happening in Ethiopia. We the children that were lucky to leave our home and build a good life outside at times do things that end up hurting those we love while empowering the evil doers. I am sure some do it because that is what they are, morally bankrupt and weak. On the other hand there are a lot that given the fact would not hesitate to do what is morally right.

We have to strive to empower our people. Our culture, the relentless war waged against our core values by the Woyane regime is toxic but we have shown we are resilient. That is exactly the reason there are no credible grass roots organizations based on ethnicity or religion in our home land. The ones we see today (OPDO, ANDM blah blah) are the brain child of Woyane and the laughing stock of our nation.

That is the wonderful foundation we are given the opportunity to build on. Surely devising a way and convincing our people to act in self-interest is not beyond our capacity is it? 

The culture of being held accountable and behaving in a responsible manner towards each other are values we have to encourage. Being aware Woyane to be the root cause of our problem, we have to have the strength and conviction to take the next logical action – avoid all dealings with Woyane. It is consciously staying away from all situations that would force us to deal with the regime or its agents unless it is of utmost importance. Marginalization of Woyane, their supporters and their products is one of the most potent weapon we possess.

Should we form an Organization, a Committee or a Chapter to organize this momentous undertaking? May be. My experience in such matters is not encouraging. On the other hand it is a good idea to come out with different ways of reaching the stake holders. Educating the people is the key to the campaign. We are able to undertake the task of education when we stop our voracious appetite to hear the evil Woyane tales and fables. Enough said.  

It is not about the West. It is not about TPLF Woyane. It is all about each and every one of us. How could they have respect for us when we tolerate the abuse of our people? A few knowingly or out of ignorance participate in this feeding frenzy. (See how easy it is to get diverted?) I forgot it is not about them. The question I should answer is if I am following the program of loving Ethiopia and avoiding Woyane and associates?  Nothing less nothing more. It is not about my neighbor it is about me.  

What we are about to do is proven to work. Gandhi used it against the British, Martin Luther King Jr. used it against segregationists, South Africans thru ANC urged all foreigners to divest from their country and today it is widely used to force Corporations change their behavior when it gets out of line.

Indians went without salt during the salt boycott and endured, Black Americans walked miles to avoid taking the bus and won, manufacturing companies closed or reduced work hours and Black South Africans lost wages and today they enjoy freedom. To discuss whether our action will hurt our people is insane. Human life and dignity is not something to bargain with. No one is willing to serve as a slave no matter the pay. We will not serve Woyane rule under any circumstances or negotiate about servitude.     

Surely going without injera, not drinking Woyane beer, not taking Ethiopian Air Lines, not building on stolen land, not sending money using Woyane agents is a sacrifice we should bear with dignity on behalf of freedom and equality. Here is a wonderful quote ‘To achieve goals you’ve never achieved before, you need to start doing things you’ve never done before’. Avoiding Woyane is a good place to start.


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