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Ethiopia: Africa’s Hall of Shame in Addis Ababa



  08:07:02 pm, by admin   , 1525 words  
Categories: Ethiopia, Fekade Shewakena

Ethiopia: Africa’s Hall of Shame in Addis Ababa

Ethiopia: Africa’s Hall of Shame in Addis Ababa

By Fekade Shewakena

The debate on whether Emperor Hailesilassie’s statue deserves to stand along with that of Kwame Nkrumah in front of the newly inaugurated AU headquarters in Addis Ababa built by the government of China as a “gift” to the AU misses a lot of big points. In my view, and I am sure in the views of many observers of Africa, the entire building itself is one giant statue of shame for Africa. Nkrumah is perhaps rolling in his grave, and for all I read and heard about him and about what he wanted Africa to become, I believe he would feel ashamed and may even cry if he were to see his statue housed in there. It is also good that Hailesilassie’s statue doesn’t stand anywhere near this building. Here is why.

First of all, the building is a metaphor for the way most African countries are run. The Chinese handout in Addis Ababa that is going to house the AU is more than a symbol that perpetuates the beggar image that has defined most African countries for a better part of their modern history. Most African countries have decided to achieve development and modernization by substituting working hands and innovative minds with hands stretched toward foreign aid and largess. This Chinese handout symbolizes Africa’s failure and speaks about a leadership that has completely failed to understand that you can’t have your pride and dignity, and a respectable place in the community of nations while living on the handouts of others. Indeed, it is a testament and stark reminder to an increasingly frustrating reality that the leaders of African have given up on any attempt at self reliance.

Just ask why it should be so difficult for 54 African countries to contribute no more than four million dollars each and build this building on their own? Is it the addiction to handouts? You may even ask why any African in position of power and with minimal self respect and knowledge of history could not have wanted the building designed by African architects. You may even wonder why there was no one among these leaders to think such a structure should have an architectural design that is made of a touch of African architecture and culture, say for example, something like a combination of the pyramids of Egypt, the obelisks of Axum, Lalibella, the magnificent libraries of ancient Mali and the numerous beautiful tukuls that dot the African landscape to mention just the few we know well. Imagine how such a product owned and built by Africans could be one huge source of pride and something to show for African ingenuity. For a continent that looses tens of billions of dollars in elicit capital flight and outright theft every year, isn’t two hundred million dollars just peanuts? And don’t this honorable guys ruling Africa read history? Haven’t they read that Africa has been there before and done that? How can you forget that the first things that European colonialists brought to Africa before they began looting the land and enslaving Africans were glittering gifts to local tribal chiefs?

This building is not only a case of what we in Ethiopia call “የሰው ወርቅ አያደምቅ” – which roughly translates as, “you cannot look beautiful by wearing gold jewelry that belongs to other people”. As the history of Africa itself attests, these so called gifts are often down payments for the merciless exploitation of the continent’s natural and human resources. How do we Africans overcome the stereotype that we are incapable of changing our reality while we keep doing this crazy thing of repeating the same thing over and over again even after we have confirmed that it is not working to our advantage?

I hope there is no any idiot out there who thinks the Chinese gave this building to Africa out of compassion for Africans or out of plain generosity or reasons charity. We all know that there are more destitute people inside China than all the destitute people in sub Sahara Africa combined. It is clear that the Chinese leaders are making an investment with sacrifice to help their long term plan, their future. It is now an open secret that the Chinese think of Africa as a solution to their overpopulation and pollution problem and have already gone a long way on that line. In the last decade alone nearly eight hundred thousand Chinese have settled in Africa and China towns are proliferating in many cities in Africa. There are reports that Chinese experts are planning and working to settle some 300 million Chinese in Africa as a solution to their overpopulation related problems.

It appears that the Chinese are applying the advice of a certain racist British named sir Francis Galton who a little more than a hundred years ago, sometime in 1873, wrote that the continent of Africa which he defined as “occupied by lazy, palavering savage people” be taken over and tenanted by what he said were “industrious and order-loving Chinese”. Trends of the last decade or two shows that the Chinese seem to have taken this once despised racist advice to heart. They are working hard to make this a reality and to some extent succeeding. They are working hard and sacrificing to solve their demographic and pollution problems on the backs of Africa. Unless Africans are aware of this fast creeping Chinese takeover now, it would be too late when we wake-up tomorrow. The leaders of Africa who are blinded by their desire to preserve their power and material benefits never seem to care. The new AU building is only one in a series of bribery to Africa’s ruling elite. The Chinese know they will get back their two hundred million dollars in one or two transactions of their cheap toys to Africa and the minerals and lumber they plunder cheaply. At the end of the day it is poor Africans who will stand there holding the bag.
There is also another ugly side to look at when seeing this shameful hall of shame in Addis Ababa. If you uncover the veils and secrecy inside Chinese capitalism, you will see that it is an extremely criminal enterprise. The “gift” standing in Addis Ababa is tainted with blood, tears and sweat of other unfortunate human beings being mercilessly ruled and exploited. It is an open secret that Chinese workers are subjected to slave type labor where in many cases, protest by workers in a factory and demands of workers to be heard takes the form of committing group suicide. To see what kind of blood money the AU building may be tainted by, read this recent New York Times exclusive investigative report about the horrible life of the workers who supply products to the manufacturers of our iPads. After reading the report I could not believe that the ipad I am using is tainted with that horror. Shouldn’t Africans that have suffered merciless exploitation themselves of the kind Chinese workers suffer today be the first to reject any Chinese offer out rightly on grounds that it is a reminder of their own painful history?
I am also disappointed by the muted response of the African elite regarding this shameful “gift” and creepy Chinese takeover of Africa. It appears that we all have given up on Africa, I mean, ourselves. How many cases do we have to be ashamed of about being African? The brutal and savage killings of one another, being ruled by cruel tyrants for decades on end, our poverty in the midst of plenty and perennial beggary for food handout, are killing us already. Should accepting a down payment wrapped as a “gift” while being set up in plain sight for a new round of slavery and plunder be another one?

The leaders of Ethiopia, particularly Ato Meles Zenawi, did us a favor inadvertently by not lobbying to have Hailesilassie statue erected there along with that of Nkrumah. Ethiopians should be happy that Hailesilassie’s statue and through that Ethiopia’s contribution was not erected anywhere near this hall of shame. If the Ethiopian leaders just whispered Hailesilassie’s name, I am sure there will be a unanimous vote by African leaders to honor Hailsilassie and through him Ethiopia by building his statue there. Yes, we can debate the good and bad he did to his own country. But no one, except men with little minds and little sense of history question that he, Hailesilassie, and through him Ethiopia, stood the tallest among the tall when it comes to fighting for the independence of Africa and bringing Africans together. It is one of Ethiopia’s epic images that history will not forget and one that never needs a statue as a reminder. I am happy this image is not tainted with Hailesilassie’s statue in that hall of shame. Now the debate should not be whether Hailesilassie’s statue and though him Ethiopia’s should have been built along with Nkrumah in front of this hall of shame, it should be weather even that of Nkrumah’s should be standing there to adore a symbol of Africa’s shame.


Comment from: [Member]

“Weg new sidaru malqes”

Now everybody has to cry about this magnificent AU building the chinese built in the beautiful blooming flower Addis.
For me to conclude it must be jealousy, somthing tells me that, most of this crying babies are Ethiopians. Why should they be jealous of their own country they claim to love. And to say it must be politics, why would a politician risk his own cause by crying against the beauty of his city he claims grew up in.
The only explanation I come up with is that, this people must have lost their mind. Or their thinking process is gone wild because of hatred.

02/23/12 @ 22:53
Comment from: C'est moi senait [Visitor]
C'est moi senait

Ato Fekade sounds like Alice’s Adventure in wonderland .
Man you are more like those christian org. Oppose to chines development in Africa who pray lie and preach aDevils bible to their new iPod generation hill. I know ( welaawayy) like who open their mouth and hands to beg than work for food. You never mention these parasites western charities and NGO that are INVADING Africa for the last 50 years and infecting us with their Devils ideology ,it is because you are the result of these beggars org. tools who speak for them to criticise every development that is taking place in Africa continent by chines and india and we are seeing a rapied change for good.

Why did n’t you mention the invation of these beggars org. that are destroying Africa image? You are pointing your finger just like those western Human right(A homxxxoo ,LesXxxbian )org. Who are now demanding African to accept their dirty and disgusting homoxxxxsisem and Lessxxbianisen in exchange for their dirty money …….
Which direction do you want to go? You are stack in one corner like that girl in story Alics’s adventure in wonderland …..
do not know where to go but wait that rabit to guide you
through your wester christian brain washed dissolution …..

Wake up and smell the Harare cafe.

02/24/12 @ 00:57
Comment from: Mario [Visitor]

History repeating!!!

When white colonialists took over Africa and enslaved her people, it was through the local chiefs. Neocolonialism of Africa by the yellow people is now directly negotiated/facilitated through one person, PMZ. Before it was through many chiefs. Now it is through one person/chief.

He made this clear via his interview on the day of the inauguration of “Africa’s Hall of Shame”. The guy can sell anything as long as it is worth selling and enables him stay in power.

If I am wrong, I stand to be corrected.

02/24/12 @ 03:01
Comment from: The man from Laramy [Visitor]
The man from Laramy

You are the one who is living in a hall of shame. What is wrong with you people? The French gave a gift to the US in the form of The STATUE OF LIBERTY the same way the Chinese gave a gift of a beautiful building to the African Union. Should it be built in other African country like in Nairobi or Cairo or Lagos? Should the Chinese wait till you take power? It is difficult to understand why you want. Or is it to oppose everything for the sake of opposition? You guys have become laughable by the day. This has nothing to do with Ethiopian politics, it is only a good will gesture by the Chinese to all of Africans. If the Americans or the Russians build and give a big building for African Economic Commission, as a gift for Africa, it is well and good too. How many articles are you going to write about it? If you can please write about African Union and how it can forge economic union instead of its buiding. The proper behaviour is to say thank you to China.

02/24/12 @ 04:57
Comment from: Extraterrestrial [Member]

It is all empty pride reflected in this article, nothing absolutely noting was thought what are the problems for African leaders to come up with their own funds to build it with their own funds in particularly in Addis Ababa.

It is unlikely there will be agreement among African leaders to rise funds to build it for various reasons including the competition of many African countries to have the Headquarter in their own capital city. It is most likely Ethiopia’s idea to build the Hall with Chinese funds since Ethiopia lacks the funds and fulfilled the long standing disappointment of African leaders to relocate the union’S headquarter for lack of infrastructure reasons.

At the hart of the argument to relocate the headquarter was nothing else but, lack of infrastructure in Addis Ababa and the willingness of many African countries to build this type of Hall if the headquarter can be relocated to their own capital city.

It would have been very interesting if our “intelligent and patriotic” Ethiopian Diasporas stop crying about the AU Hall and tell us how Ethiopia can build a nuclear reactor or state of the art national stadium and many many things Ethiopia and Ethiopians lack.

Talkative Diasporas can you come up with something positive and constrictive?

Ethiopian Diasporas are empty heads and they are showing it openly to the whole world … bla bla bla … it seems the castrated Ethiopian men are writing what they over heard from their African American leftover women conversation in a typical Ethiopian style coffee ceremony gossip.


02/24/12 @ 05:03
Comment from: the hopeless continent!!!!!! [Visitor]
the hopeless continent!!!!!!

In principle, yes, those 54 countries could and should have contributed a few millions each to build this. But it is not their nature to think that way. AU is now a fake orgabization. Only a couple of countries pay thier membership contributions. Gadafi was the sole funder for long time.

It is not because the money wasn’t there in the continent. Each African dicataor is known to have a lot more than that and can build 100 of those buildings. Even the “queen” of the poorest country in the world, Azeb Mesfin, can easily afford to build thousands of those buildings.

02/24/12 @ 07:24
Comment from: John [Visitor]

A very good point of view. This was not part of Nkrumah’s vision for Africa. He would have loved to see a strong United States of Africa that doesn’t look to the east or the west for handout.

02/24/12 @ 07:47
Comment from: bika [Visitor]

….whoever comes to Africa with a goodwill is welcomed . well done and thankyou China……

02/24/12 @ 09:30
Comment from: Favioli [Visitor]

Fekade Shewakena,
Thanks for the well written article on which on a few things need to be said….This odd looking edifice is indeed, as you pointed, a long term investment and a binding contract that is wrapped up as a gift, for future settlement of Chinese peasants and the jobless. The situation in China is, to say the least, potentially volatile, unpredictable, a volcano nearing an eruption; there happen and yearly, out of the vizier of western and other media, hundreds of well organised peoples’ uprisings and mutinies in China’s vast hinterland that are constantly and instantly crushed. It is also true that all the modern-day gadgets and products that people everywhere buy so cheaply and discard bear witness to a system of insane laissez faire capitalism and inhuman greed that treats its own people even worse that slaves in a Roman galley. On the lighter side, my advise to Shewakena is..I am pleased by your politically correct stand, but keep your ipad, ipode, laptops or whatever it may be that you use….don’t throw it away or even feel any guilt. Where would we be without all these Chinese made gadgets, or where would even this very website we are on now be, not to mention the daily curse and invective of our warrior queen Cést Moi????
What China does is to ease off the demographic and ecological pressure that is slowly but surely crushing it under it sheer weight. China looks for somewhere to dump all that extra ballast that is threatening it’s very existence…solution??? go and take Africa!! Mind you I am not a bigot or an ethnocentric like all these primitive, provincial and contemptible “visitors” who foul this site with every letter. Chinese people are nevertheless a great people, a friendly, amiable folk and a credit to humankind, to say the least; Chinese aid to African countries has been going on for decades and has perhaps and despite its limited volume, nonetheless, visibly contributed more than all the so-called western aid combined. Anyway, no country on earth has ever achieved any form of development by receiving “aid”, none! Any nation’s socio-economic development is, besides all other external or global variables that may influence it in diverse ways, initially founded on the local material, human, cultural and even historical resources and could discuss on this till the end of time, but that is not the point.
The point is on Africa….it never, ever crossed the minds of these goons who parade as African leaders to build or organise an office where they, as “leaders” would congregate to deliberate or debate on vital issues. So why should they contribute even a penny for this awful building, let alone break their minds on it’s architectural and aesthetic details, while China is handing it out free of charge?? The main point is it is Emperor Haile Selassie who, to start with, initiated the African Union and built the old African Hall, not any of the leaders of those days, and certainly not Nukrumah, that tyrant whose infuriating bronze image is placed on a pedestal thousands of miles away from the country he terrorized for decades. For the African potentates, the African Union from the beginning has simply meant a welcome event for a retreat, a short rendezvous in Addis to sample whatever needs to be “sampled”. We all know what they do and where they end up at the end of the day whenever they come there.
To conclude…glad that Emperors Haile Selassie’s statue has not been made and placed beside Nukrumah’s. His time will come, and even though I am absolutely not a monarchist, I could see his magnificent bronze statue high on a pedestal and glistening in the September morning sun, and all this after Nukrumah’s has been pulled down, the place cleansed with holy Orthodox rites and holy water and blessed by our Orthodox spiritual fathers. By the way, one should not be naïve or entertain the illusion that this would ever happen under the present midgets/regime that simply couldn’t stand very many names associated with our country’s past.

02/24/12 @ 10:01
Comment from: Tefera [Visitor]

“Mognina wereqet yeyazewn ayileqm"..yibalal…move on man after all you said its good your hero and role model aka haileselassie’s statue is not there, so since you got your wish, why waste people time with such childish speculations and insults against africans.

02/24/12 @ 11:07
Comment from: Heny [Visitor]

Fekade Shewakena,
This rallying point has now faded away. It was tried but fast waned like the tens of others. So why are you coing so late on this issue? where you in a coma like sleep? hahahaha

02/24/12 @ 11:07
Comment from: tt [Visitor]

“There is also another ugly side to look at when seeing this shameful hall of shame in Addis Ababa. If you uncover the veilsand secrecy inside Chinese capitalism, you will see that it is an extremely criminal enterprise. The “gift” standing in Addis Ababa is tainted with blood, tearsand sweat of other unfortunate human beings being mercilessly ruledand exploited. It is an open secret that Chinese workers are subjected to slave type labor where in many cases, protest by workers in a factoryand demands of workers to be heard takes the form of committing group suicide. “…
…LOL kikikikikiki..aya feqade, were you in coma for the last few months or r u just practicing ur writing skill kikiki..,,,,hahahaha…

02/24/12 @ 11:12
Comment from: [Member]

Mr. Fekade, You said it rightly so. It doesn’t deserve no less name than what you gave it.
Indeed it is an embarassing symbol for all the continent citizens except a handful of “hayena defacto leaders". We, as the continent citizens, are suffering from malnutriton, disease and dispicable type of life style while the tyrants are looting left and right in either begging or loan fund. What a shame and gloomy scenario for the whole continent to be in!!!

02/24/12 @ 12:37
Comment from: Ewnetu. Yt. [Visitor]
Ewnetu. Yt.

I absolutely agree with the writer that this is an embarassment. The building should have been constructed by contributions made by Africans. It is a shame that Africa is looking for handouts in small and large things. Yes, what a shame. The people of Africa bettetr start asking the designs of China for the continent and stop biting the hands that have fed them for so long and still continue to feed them.


02/24/12 @ 13:30
Comment from: shewaalkenam [Visitor]  

Ato Fekade:

You fail to realize that even if we had a “perfect” governement, poverty will not be eradicated in Ethiopia or elsewhere in our lifetime. Your narrow-minded article is shameful. Go tell the millions of African “beggars” mothers and kids who get support from wealthier countries not to accept aid. As long as there is need for any kind of assistance it should be welcomed. I am sure Nkrumah would laugh at your ignorance.

02/24/12 @ 13:45
Comment from: Addis Alem [Visitor]
Addis Alem

It is unfortunate, you keep demonstrateing your lack of professionalism, ethical and moral standard. I had never felt ashamed of being an Ethiopian, but I feel hiding somewhere when I see people like you who could not differentiate between politics and their country. Honestly I do not believe you have anything to do with Ethiopia, but are preoccupied with personal egos in the name of politics. You are irrelevant individual with outdate,baised, negative thinking.

02/24/12 @ 14:00
Comment from: [Member]

By the way, history will not forget too that Haile Sellassie is the first African leader, who opened the Chinese door for all leaders, not just Africans but even Western Countries, when he visited China in 1971 and met Chairman Mao! I am sure the Chinese know this history well, and who loved to erect his statue infront of this “infamous” Hall, if not for Meles, who always undermines the true Ethiopian history.

02/24/12 @ 15:08
Comment from: Afe_Gubae [Visitor]

Though it is a matured and interesting article, unfortunately I have some basic differences with the author.
Sure it would be better if the building was built by the Africans. Regrettably, Africans do not have that kind of money to build headquarter. However, using this donation as an excuse to condemn Sino-African relationship without presenting enough evidence is misleading.
The reality on the ground is the opposite.
Thanks to the Chinese business partnership many African nations are in the fast development track than any time in their history. Ethiopia is among the few who significantly benefited by this friendship. Most Chinese projects are time and cost effective and less Hippocratic and bureaucratic. The Sino-African relationship is not like with the West; master and servant type; it is based on mutual respect and benefit. Besides, there is more similarity between African and Chinese economy than the west and Africa. I wonder how a rational minded person like Fekade failed to see this big fact.

02/24/12 @ 15:24
Comment from: Geranimo [Visitor]

Ato Fekade has marred an otherwise beautiful commentary by his racist , “The Chinese are coming to takeover” comment. China is populous and so is India. Transferring population of the magnitude that would be considered significant requires a lot of energy, time, and money in addition to a willing population.
Ato fekade should know the scale of such an attempt.

Besides, the high birth rate in places like Ethiopia is making the density of people to land so high that in a very short time, if not already, these countries where the Chinese are supposed to take over will be less attractive.

02/24/12 @ 16:32
Comment from: belay [Visitor]

What?! But I heard you last week on one of the DC radios saying that Hailesilassie deserved one and should have been allowed to have his statue along =side with Nkrumah or all alone at the very front of this building. I heard you also accusing all Ethiopian leaders, Halesilassie included, of being small-minded to be in a practice of undermining their predecessors contributions. So, you went back to your bed, thought of a bit about it and felt like you discovered a fresh angle and end up ridiculing all African leaders and the entire Hall. Yes?
BTW, frankly speaking, I’ve only knownfew handfuls as small-minded individuals as you are. That was since you became WPE (ESEPPA)activist through your active contributions in the Youth Association of Revolutionary Ethiopia). Remember, your becoming staff member of the AAU was not earned. It was a reward for your political contributions. I should remind you of that matter because you seem to have forgotten that very fact and dared to count yourself among the intelligent and educated.
0-tolerance for hypocritical integrity.

02/24/12 @ 16:49
Comment from: john john [Visitor]
john john

Good argument as far as I see is no western like chiness influence in Africa. The Wester fail a big time due to their own polcy which is distabilization the poor for their own intrest.

02/25/12 @ 00:13
Comment from: Jared [Visitor]

Fekade was my teacher at AAU and one of the most brilliant. He was a great student who used to tuter students while he was a fourth year student. He was loved and respected young instructors. Just go tell your lie about him to your non intellectual producing gruop from Mekele.

You guys burn with jelousy. None of you combined can size up with Fekade. For your information there were intelligent people in ESEPA and many that have done good. In my view being TPLF and looting the coungtry is more a crime tan bein ESEPA. just so you know.

You are ashemed of yourself because you cannto tel it like he does. in beautiful languge and withe substance. Keshim Woyane

02/25/12 @ 11:10
Comment from: Qit Gelbo Mekenaneb [Visitor]
Qit Gelbo Mekenaneb

my name is qit gelbo mekenaneb and i apporove comrade fekade’s message..
yes africans should have built this ugly building and if they refuse to pay Ethiopia could have easily paid for it.

02/25/12 @ 13:38
Comment from: feysa [Visitor]


that is really victim mentality that rich countries would want you to think so that you are on food aid for the rest of your lives. Keep at it saying it is impossible to irradicate poverty. That is realy victim mentality.

People let us face it, African and its leaders have slave mentality that they will never think of being “indpendent” even for their own pride of erecting buidlings. The only country and its great leader Ethiopia and Haile selassie tried to bring pride to African continents and again the colonialists won we now have another subservient Meles/TPLF to finally prove that even Ethiopia is now included in its slave mentality. So there is no one in the African continet is left, Ethiopia was their pride. Meles/TPLF should be give Nobel Laureate for asserting the colonization and ascending the power of rich countries over poor continents such as Africa. It doesn’t matter whether a nation is poor, pride, integrity is what makes a naiton stand out.

02/26/12 @ 06:36
Comment from: peace [Visitor]

LOL, I think the resurrection of Hailesealssie will make many people tremble.. indeed even after his death, these people are trembling everytime his name arises. I think it is time for the resurrection of the great leader Haile Selassie. Believe me, because he was sooo good for the empowerment of Africa even powerful countries will start to go after those who are trying to ressurrect him while the so called African leaders, TPLF, Shaebia and OLF, want the colonization to continue through their own leadership.

Lion of Judah!

By the way, did you ever listen to Bob Marley’s song called WAR? This song was written by Haile Selassie and given to Bob Marley to sing it! God bless Haile Selassie who lives in our hearts and minds forever and ever! Eat your heart out suckers!

02/26/12 @ 06:51
Comment from: Yoseph [Visitor]

I read Fekade’s article carefully. More or less, it is the same as Alemayehu’s article.

This really is a case of “You’re damn if you do it and you’re damn if you don’t". Let’s suppose, for argument’s sake, that the African countries contribute the required money. I don’t need to be a prophet to predict the reactions of Fekade and his friends. They would say, is it right for the African nations to spend the tax payers’ money in this way?

Also, Chinese involvement predates this Hall by many years. Isn’t that a classical case of ጅብ ካለፈ ውሻ ጮኸ (The dog barked long after the hayena is gone)?

Furthermore, I see no shame in receiving a gift in the shape of a beautiful building. Famine is something to be ashamed of as is failed states; children fighters; civil wars; corruption and (yes!) brain drain and so on.

02/26/12 @ 19:18

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