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Saturday, 28 November 2009

Welcome home Dr. Negasso Gidada and we are still waiting for Seye Abraha's arrival !!!

Tedla Asfaw

Ato Shiferaw Jarso, the Minster of Water Resources in Ethiopia, on the Ethiopian Civility Paltlak Room interview today, was answering unrelated question to the day's topic to satisfy his listeners. He said Seye Abraha and his friends struggle fruit, Article 39 of the TPLF/EPRDF Constitution is here to stay no matter "Seye" and his friend Dr. Negasso denounced it last Thursday and join the UDJP party led by charismatic leader, Birtukan Medeksa,  who has been jailed for almost a year now.

Ato Shifereaw focus on Seye was interesting. Maybe Ato Shiferaw believes that the Hidar 1987 EC imposed constitution is  Seye's TPLFmade  and other players like his OLF was not relevant. It was Dr. Negasso Gidado/OLF who apologized for his role and ask forgiveness from the Ethiopian people and Ato Shiferaw focus should remain so.

Dr. Negasso change of heart is from his own experience and what I hear from Ato Shiferew Jarso is just pure propaganda. He said that the people thanks to the sacrifice of Seye and his friends/TPLF, Ethiopian people are enjoying the fruit of article 39. The lives of Ethiopian people have changed beyond anyone imagination and those old and and new who would like to take this "peoples victory" are day dreamers.

Seye and Negasso he said, have democratic rights to join any party of their choice but their influence is limited and TPLF/EPRDF learning form past mistakes and the defeat of 2005 he will be peoples choice by wide margin and Seye and Negsso joining a unitary party, UDJP is irrelevant to the Ethiopian people.

This is the first time I heard from TPLF/EPRDF commenting on this recent development and the Diaspora as always  is divided on the Negasso and Seye's new role as UDJP for the struggle. It is hard to see the impact of such move in a country where there is no free press and media. My position on this issue does not confirm to  many here even if I see some expressing their views close to mine.

When the news broke out the same day I send my position to  EEDN. I commend Dr. Negsso Gidada for his sincere apology and if I am not wrong he is the first one from the Victors of Menelik Palace in 1991 to make such very honest apology. He denounced the heart of the TPLF/EPRDF policy of building Kilil and the reason for it is the last fifteen years of impact in our country.

Unlike Shifereaw Jarrso's  claim today that article 39 promotes development, Dr. Negasso as a president had a chance to talk to the people directly that this policy of building wall has been negative to ethnic group relationship, unnecessary contest for resources and in some areas innocent blood spilled which Ato Shifferaw never mentions when he glorify article 39 and warn all of us that the people will "rise up if you take article 39 ".

However, Ethiopians gave referendum on TPLF/EPRDF on May 2005 and the main victim of that day was of course Article 39. Similar to todays warning by Ato Shiferaw Jarso, TPLF boss Meles Zenawi called for ethnic solidarity after his defeat in 2005 and he got none. Dr. Negasso Gidada has now joined Ethiopian people five years late and he is welcome, his contribution to the struggle will be valuable on national and international level.

The TPLF Oromo Cadres like Shifferaw Jarso are still living in past and try to scare our people that "they  are coming to take your right to live in your kilil". Dr Negasso Gidada who has large followers in Dombi Dollo, Wolllega and millions of his country men who heard his apology are behind him one hundred percent.

However, Seye Abraha who was mentioned by Ato Shiferaw Jarso did not apologize for  his role on imposing the TPLF/his Constitution and it is up to the public to put pressure on him to speak up or stay , "Yetaweke Sewe" prominent person and write a book as he promised.

No one asking Seye Abraha to "Hisab Mawerarede" /accountability for crimes he or others participated and that is only possible where we have a government elected by people. The demand now is very limited in scope. The TPLF Constitution that is imposed on our people was the biggest mistake of his life and accordingly he should apologize for our people before he joins UDJP.

Some who challenged this notion that this is the business of UDJP, I say the apology is for the Ethiopian people not for a single party. A party who is struggling for Unity, Democracy, Justice (UDJ) should bring anyone to  its fold but can not be above country  and should demand official apology from Ato Seye for his anti-unity role fifteen years ago that is enshrined on article 39 of the TPLF Constitution.

Friday, 20 November 2009

Voiceless planet Earth VS voiceless Ethiopians !!!

Good Morning friend,

Nice to meet you yesterday at the reception in Manhattan. Your  expertise  in environment is overlapping to my interest as well. I am actively  involved in the Diaspora Ethiopian community which is growing in U.S.A and in areas like Washington D.C. is estimated to be more than half million and here in NY Metropolitan area we do not have accurate figure but it might be close to twenty thousands. As you know politics and environment are inseparable. The voice of our people back home can only be heard by those who are free to express it and  unfortunately our people are voiceless like the planet Earth.

My back ground is Ag. Engineering, working in soil and water management for five years in the world driest and difficult terrain in Awash Valley of Ethiopia. This is the the home of Lucy/Denkinish and the area of great interest for paleontologists and geologists alike. An active volcano is an attraction also for tourists and recent studies show that there is a new ocean born in that part of Ethiopia.

Knowing this part of Ethiopia what I care most is for the Afar people who have lead a nomadic life for thousands of years. Their livelihood is now threatened by the current government and foreign landlords who are planting sugarcane for bio fuel. Upstream where the Awash River forms a lake, Koka , it has turned green because of chemicals dumped to the rivers and streams, mostly from government owned leather factories and cash cropping flower farms grown using fertilizers.

After I saw a documentary from Al Jazerra English, I wrote a piece "Koka Turns Green" which is posted on many Ethiopian websites. You can go to and check my AV blog on the left side. I wrote few pieces related with environment and current political situation in Ethiopia.

Recently on the World Talk Radio program  I challenged an American professor from NJ  who acted as sales man for  Ethiopia," a land of investment" disregarding the big issue of land in Ethiopia which is controlled by the government. Land is now sold/leased to Saudi Arabia, India, China and many poor farmers are displaced to hand over land on a long lease agreement up to ninety years for foreigners with cash, stimulating tyranny on the way.

The rural agriculture which supports more than eighty percent of our people is threatened by conglomerates in collusion with unelected, tyrannical government of Ethiopia which has USA's full support as an ally on "terror" and China which is looking for land and resources to satisfy its appetite wherever it gets.

It is sad the West is supporting a regime that ruled people by force,currently up to 14 millions of them on food aid, out of which six millions would die if donations is not coming on time. Paradoxically, the previous communist regime of Mengistu Haile Mariam was accused for the famine of 1984 while the current rulers are rewarded for just doing the same.

The voice of our people, Ethiopian diaspora, are organizing a demo at Copenhagen, Denmark next month on the climate conference to denounce the presence of Meles Zenawi representing Africa where his record should have put him out of business in a democratic country.

We call all who care for mother Earth to show sympathy and care for fellow human being too. Westerners have ignored our call for transparency and accountability highlighting the human right and environmental record to no avail, but we will keep just doing that. Ethiopians from all over Europe will demand once again to recognize Ethiopia as a failed country in human and environmental measurement, and the person who is responsible for that Meles Zenawi should not be allowed to get a platform as a responsible person on world stage.

Ethiopia has been a disaster under Meles Zenawi for the last nineteen years and it is time to stand with our people as we are trying to stand with mother Earth. After all Earth without people  is not Earth to care for.


                                                                                   Tedla Asfaw

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Five Days, Five Months and Five Years (555) !!!!

Tedla Asfaw

The number 555 is a number which has to be seen closely after Eng. Hailu Shawel's now famous handshake with the tyrant of Ethiopia, Meles Zenawi about which many things have been said including the angle of  bow. However, President Obama might have beaten Eng. Hailu on that battle on his  famous handshake with the Japanese Royal by few degrees angle of bow.

When it comes to the substance of the handshake that cemented the " Code of Conduct"  for the coming "election"let  me say that only the  gesture by Meles Zenawi for his hated adversary  has changed our politics for good or bad back home and here in the diaspora.

Moreover, the battle in the diaspora that was sparked  by this famous handshake is now raging on Internet and pal talk rooms. Ethiopian websites and pal talks are now the battleground pitting former friends against each other added with die hard TPLF worshippers who seem elated beyond control. One thing for sure is that forgetting the angle of bow the picture of Meles with Hailu handshaking has changed our politics here dramatically.

On this battle, all the combatants wanted to score a point. The now famous, "it is  5/five days noise" by Eng. Hailu is  quoted widely as a rallying  cry to separate him and his party from his diaspora supporters. TPLF or Woyane supporters publicly are rooting for Eng. Hailu's led party, AEUP as they were rooting for Lidetu's party after he surrendered on the crackdown of May 2005 to save his life and enter parliament, finishing his term for being a polite listener on most of Meles Zenawi's lectures for the last five years..

The next Five Months/5 is going to be critical for the coming "election" if AEUP can reach to its constituencies freely as was promised on the agreement with TPLF. As we heard on the weekend on AEUP radio, its organizers from Tigray, Illubabor, Afar are ready to establish the broken contact with  their constituencies using the handshake as a cover. If that succeeded, the five months window of opportunity will change the political landscape of Ethiopia for the next Five Years/5 and maybe as a milestone for Ethiopian politics to be remembered for future..

The Medrek party leaders back home will also be on the bandwagon very soon if outsiders/Fernjis help them  find face saving formula. Some of their leaders in North America are fund raising, of course ,to participate on the" election "as they have done for the last two decades. The current stalemate with the ruling party is not about substance but positioning and selling themselves as better and strong party to "challenge" TPLF for public.

TPLF knows and worked with most of the current leaders of Medrek. The separate negotiation they requested after it was rejected by TPLF, their supporters in the diaspora,however,  have found a new enemy called "Enjerawe Hailu" and the insult and vilification is now at full speed and asking many of us what could be the motive behind all this ?

In any case if Medrek follows its "supporters" call here and go on  attacking AEUP and its leaders as sell out, the first question they will get from the public is where they have been for the last nineteen years ? Were not they working for the same policy of TPLF they seem now  new and why do the Ethiopian people believe them that they are different than Meles Zenawi's TPLF led EPRDF ?

It is also true most of noise against Eng. Hailu's AEUP is coming from Ginbot7supporters even if their leaders do not attack AEUP and its leader directly. They know that is not going to help them here in the diaspora because  Ginbot7 is not believing TPLF will give power peacefully except armed rebellion then they  should not make alliance of any kind with Medrek, the born again peaceful movement that will give excuse for TPLF to lock them up.

The victory news which Ginbot7 promised are now heard from east, the ONLF scoring victory over TPLF/Ethiopian soldiers and EPPF fighters annihilation of TPLF on the northern front. No doubt, this kind of real or make believe battle will be with us for the coming five months and Gibot7 has to focus participating, than reporting, on the joint military attack with OLF, ONLF, EPPF and  guaranteeing another liberation, similar to the TPLF victory in 1991.

What our people can not and should not do is to be  bystanders and let armed rulers or oppositions decide their future. The May 2005 verdict is still fresh in our peoples mind that people power can defeat armed thugs. The power of people is still a force that will send shiver to TPLF and all armed groups who care less for public opinion and in fact afraid of it very much.

The choice our people have is from two devils, the known armed tyrants and the future liberators. AEUP has chosen to play with the known. Ethiopians know from the recent local election experience that the  ruling party is not only with guns but also with sacks of money to buy and coerce voters. Farmers are under the mercy of TPLF cadres so do workers.

We remember also the TPLF "supporters" rally on the eve of the May 2005 election. The thousands they come out coerced as supporters of TPLF/EPRDF in fact voted for Kinijit and no buying of vote will make our people vote for the current regime this time too in a fair and free election because the majority of our people lives have getting much worst than it was five years ago.

Will TPLF cheat the voting ? Surely, Will  it win ?  Not in a free and fair election ? Can we be idle ? Hell no !!! That is the message of  Five Days, Five Months and Five Years, 555, Give me Five !!!

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

The forgotten people of Ethiopia !!!

Tedla Asfaw
We learned in school to love our king, King Haile Selassie, "Tsehaui Negusse", the shining king. . When the king was deposed by "Korartu Mere", strongman, Mengistu Hailemariam many of our people kept quiet and in fact when the king was driven away from his palace by old Volkswagen,crowds of Yong people were taunting him "Leba", thief, and nothing has been the same since that time.

Almost four decades, Ethiopia is without elected leaders and under one man dictatorship. For the first time in our history five years ago more than twenty five million people went out and voted for a party to lead them. The Ethiopian people used the window of opportunity to express themselves and influence their leaders by calling "Tebaberu Weyeme Tesebaberu", unite or perish. They got all of them, the unity that defeated TPLF overwhelmingly and later on jailed and "freed" leaders to destroy themselves. That part of our history is now played again in the month of November 2009.

This time our people are voiceless and no one bother to ask them what is good for them. TPLF boss who published "Bonaprtism" in the Badme war ten years ago to defeat its opponents is now succeeded in co authoring, "A code of Conduct" to destroy its opponents and remain the supreme leader for the next five years.

The wise leader, "Biltu Mereyachene", Meles Zenawi, is also free to sale our land for foreigners and the man who promised to feed our people three times a day is telling our people that we do not need to farm. Farming is now the business of foreign countries and our people are promised to feed themselves by selling their labor for these big foreign companies or be on food aid from donor countries for years to come.

The question now is when is our poor people to be heard. Not any kind of peaceful political dialogue will empower our people if more than 80 percent of Ethiopians live on rural land controlled and owned by TPLF. If TPLF cadres are making decisions on the land our people kept in their blood and sweat why do we believe this will change by getting whatever number of seats allotted to them in the TPLF parliament.

The next five months promise of "debate" that ignored the masses or left them under TPLF control will not bring any change to our people. The May 15, 2005 victory of our people can not be replicated this time because Meles Zenawi, co author, "Code of Conduct" has already delivered a win for TPLF in 2010 "election".

Politics without popular participation is an exercise to keep tyranny forever. Ethiopians are dying slowly by famine and poverty. Our country death is accelerating by our own political fragmentation too. If our people have their say, they will demand total liberty or death. Of course they will not ask five more years for the regime that destroyed them for two decades to stay in power.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Derartu Tulu answered for Ethiopian flag superbly in New York City!!!

Tedla Asfaw

The 40th New York City Marathon on this cloudy Sunday started and ended with grace. Derartu Tulu after escaping the entanglement of feet on the start of the run which victimized one woman and another Kenyan to withdraw before the completion of the run was a great escape for Derartu  ending with victory.

The defending Champion and the three time winner of New York City Marathon, Paula Radcliffe,  was the favorite and no wonder Derartu was running close to her sometimes looking for eye contact to see if she is OK ! Ethiopian politeness and respect which you can not teach it in school.

Derartu Tulu, the two times Olympic gold medalist in 10 thousand meters and the one time winner of London Marathon, run in the five boroughs of New York City with grace and beauty. It seems she has a job to finish and no sign of panic, a sign of true champion. As an eighteen years old cruising on the final lap of the 10,000m in Barcelona Olympic in 1992 beating the South African girl she became the first African woman to win a gold medal in Olympics.

In 1992 back home then when our national flag was considered as a rug by the ruling TPLF and those collaborating rebels and the pride of being Ethiopian was at low level Derartu Tulu wrapped herself with an Ethiopian flag and gave us hope and since then I have fallen in love with this beautiful girl and now the mother of two children.

On the 20th mile, Manhattan,  Derartu Tulu waved to the huge Ethiopian flag and kept on her mission, to win the New York City Marathon and be the first Ethiopian woman. After Paula left behind it was the Russian woman who run with Derartu and the master of the 10K sprinted at the right moment to take over the Russian and  French and be the Queen of New York City by finishing in 2:28:54.

Interviewed after the win she said  she is not yet finished and she is coming back. We are all proud of Derartu Tulu for giving us hope at our difficult  time and running with grace and beauty and you are the true Queen of New York City. I would like also to congratulate Meb Keflegzi for winning the men's marathon and be the first since the American won in 1980s.

The care Derartu Tulu showed to the defending champion at the end of the race shows who she is, a champion who loves, respects others. Her love for her flag is unmatchable. The wave at the 20th mile for the green, yellow and orange, Ethiopian flag  is the wave for all Ethiopians all over the wold who watched her on television. Derartu indeed the beautiful Queen of New York City on the 40th Marathon has always been Ethiopian Queen for almost two decades.

We love you Derartu and your beautiful family, see you next year to set a new record for women like the Ethiopian T. Jiffar did for men's marathon in 2001.