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Ethiopia: An Ethiopian and the U.S. Presidential Debate



  05:51:12 am, by admin   , 1477 words  
Categories: Yilma Bekele

Ethiopia: An Ethiopian and the U.S. Presidential Debate

President Obama and GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney face off during the presidential debate at the University of Denver on Wednesday as moderator Jim Lehrer looks on. Michael Reynolds Getty Image

Ethiopia: An Ethiopian and the U.S. Presidential Debate

By Yilma Bekele

President Obama and his challenger Mitt Romney had their first debate this evening. Watching this debate for the highest office in the land was a learning moment. This is not the first debate I have viewed or the first election I am experiencing. But no matter what, for an election starved Ethiopian like me every time it happens it is a like being hit by a lightning bolt experience. It literally gives me a jolt.

It is not really difficult to figure out why this is so. No one has asked for my consent to be my leader. Furthermore those that have assumed the position have always abused me to no end. When I see candidates presenting their best side and begging for votes I literally find myself on the verge of mind melt. This evening was no different. I stayed tuned, I worried for my candidate, I was elated at times fretted often and sweated a lot. I watched the big event with my American friends. That by itself was most revealing on how I interpret reality and act on it.
I am an Ethiopian. I look at things black and white. Who cares about grey is my motto. The debate was an insight into my soul. Here I was with an elevated heart beat, a hyper ventilating state of being and I was supposed to sit cool and collected. Being detached and above it all was the norm. How in the world did I find myself in this company was my first question.

What I needed was some passion here. I wanted someone to push me further on this rollercoaster of emotion. I longed for an Ethiopian beside me. I wanted Obama to jab, push and humiliate Romney. What is with this idea of mentioning where you agree when the thing to do was point out the negatives of the other dude? I want my candidate to come our firing and mock his opponent. I wanted Obama to be aggressive. I wanted him to be dismissive and cute.

That is what I know. That is what I am used to. My leaders are supposed to be dismissive and and above it all. They are all knowing, expert in every field, feared and uncompromising. My last leader was like that. He will never bring himself down to debate with mere mortals about the art of leadership. You send your minions for a task like that.

Do you remember once upon a time we had a debate in good old Ethiopia? It was not that long ago. Don’t tell me you forgot, it has only been seven years. It was 2005 to be precise. That event will go down in history as the golden year of elections in Ethiopia. Woyane thought they were ready for prime time. After lengthy and silly negotiations debates were allowed. Our ‘new leader from behind’ Ato Berket was the negotiator on behalf of the clueless regime. He brought out so many do’s and don’ts to get an advantage but the opposition agreed to all his demands. Kinijit was willing to humor Woyane because they knew they were smarter and were sure that they were selling a better product to the Ethiopian people. They just wanted that TV time to talk directly to the Ethiopian people.

Shall we say that history will judge Woyane to have been humiliated beyond repair? For the first time our people saw their leaders without their clothes. It was an ugly sight. Woyane sent their best and Kinijit exposed them for what they are to the Ethiopian public, a bunch of illiterate idiots that cannot finish an idea in a coherent manner. I remember the then Foreign Minster with his shrill voice trying to explain the loss of Assab. To see that he was considered crème de la crème, one of Woyane top guns was a reality check. All Dr. Yacob could do was stare at him with amusement and watch him try to explain the impossible.

I also remember the dead tyrant panicking as usual. He can not show up at the debates due to the fact that he was the ‘leader’ and it was beneath him. He knew that he will be exposed for the empty suit he was if forced to play by the same rules as others. The only alternative was to bring the camera to the palace so he can shine all by himself. A candle inside a barrel (ye gan mebrat) at its best.

The reason Obama/Romney debate got me twisted out of shape was due to my unfamiliarity with this concept of being shown respect as a citizen. As far back as I can remember in my country no one has come to power by the will of the people. Anybody that assumes leadership without the consent of the people is not accountable to the public. Where I came from leaders don’t compete to get elected, they take it the old fashioned way, by force or a very underhanded manner.

In Ethiopia we had a change of leadership a few weeks back. It was not done by election. It was all back room dealings and we were told someone emerged as the leader. Thus the non- elected individuals somehow decided to appoint the new guy as the leader. There was no debate. There was no competition and we don’t even know who else was running for the position.

Now you know why this debate in North America was a little disorienting to my Ethiopian brain. When you consider the new guy who was presented to us insults my intelligence by claiming he was going to continue following the bankrupt polices of his predecessor you don’t fault me for assuming the fetal position and crawling back into bed. If only there was a debate I wouldn’t be in this hopeless mood.

President Obama and Mr. Romney were most respectful of their fellow citizens. They did not mock or put anybody down. They were uplifting and went out of their way to praise their people’s determination to forge ahead when faced with dire economic problem. They acknowledged that they needed everyone’s help to bring back peace and prosperity.

This I found to be in stark contrast to how things are done in my home land. The leader tells our people but does not bother to listen. The leader is not interested in being respected and loved but cultivates being feared. The leader makes sure that he is not one of the people but better and above them all. The last leader was never seen in public mixing with ordinary people but always surrounded by his bodyguards and with pre-selected fans. The leader leaves in a palace with more comfort than his people and travels in convoys with streets closed and people told to stay inside.

Our new leader was in New York to attend the UN opening ceremony. Don’t ask me why a poor country will spend thousands of dollars to transport him and his entourage to make a speech no one will care to listen to. The amount of money spent for this silly purpose is not supposed to be the concern of the citizen. That is why the leader did not bother to sit with his fellow citizens in exile and discuss common issues and encourage their participation in helping the country. When you consider the Ethiopian Diaspora is such a rich and important resource that can be harvested to move our nation in a new direction like the way it was done by India, Singapore, China and others our leaders do not see that. They would rather pick our pockets for spare change to build condominiums, bars and hotels.

Accountability is the hallmark of a successful system. Without accountability, checks and balances it is doubtful a system will work in a healthy manner. That is the reason our country is always on the verge of crisis and perpetually holding its hands out for alms. The leaders we produce have no respect for us and do not feel they have to answer or explain their policies. They come out of our midst but as soon as they assume that office they start to believe they are God’s gift to us. We elevate them so high no wonder they lose all semblance of respect to those they are empowered to care. The fault goes both ways. As they say you reap what you sow. We really can’t force the leader to change but the least we can do is change ourselves. The leader will follow our footsteps and change his ways.


Comment from: wegenaw [Visitor]

What is your point please,this time make it short.

10/05/12 @ 06:19
Comment from: Tamrat Tamrat [Visitor]
Tamrat Tamrat

Ya, we remember that debate and the whole consequence of it!! But what we did not know was that woyanes centuries poverty, back wardens, and allying themselves with isayas, number one enemy of Ehiopia, could have back fired to the misery of majority of Ethiopians who has nothing to do either their poverty or their alliance with eplf. Without no regard for the majority of Ethiopians, tplf organized EFFORT to grab any food or money it has found for the woyanes. If you any one ask or challenge what this Jewish mafia style org. is doing, then you will labeled as terrorist. What they are telling us if you want org like EFFOR for other ethnics group then forget democray. That is what they are telling us. But we choose peace and democracy. We don’t sell our selves to isaias. Even after shabia and woyanes had tarnished us and humbled until 1998, but when the war broke out we did not say it is between shabia, we went and crashed shabia. That much means Ethiopia for us.
For 21 yearsin the name of Ethiopia begged their pm any country, any org. and has sold or leased any thing what he had got in Ethiopia by the name of Ethiopia for the betterment of woyane. I admired him for one thing. He promised that woynae people eat at least three times a day. Now he is dade, but why I opposed him, as long as he was the leader he must do for all. But this thought is new for woyane. Hallo, we sit in the power. If we don’t take what ever in our disposition, you know it will be late. This far is the difference between them and us.
So we remember that debate. What we did not know was that wyoane has decided allready, death or prospreuos life for tigrians and tigray. So many sacrificed cause they thougt the differnece beteen eprdf and themselves a choice of policy.
So my editor, my respected contributer, dont compare what is happning in Ethiopia in 2005 an

10/05/12 @ 06:26
Comment from: Gebru [Visitor]

Why we (Ethiopians) have to copy everything from The west especially from the U.S poor guy you waist your time by writing your “Disqur” for nothing why don’t you come over enjoy our type of Democracy as you said “But no matter what, for an election starved Ethiopian like me every time it happens it is a like being hit by a lightning bolt experience. It literally gives me a jolt” I felt sorry for you Ethiopia needs CHINA like Democracy, because we have to finish our great leader vision so EPRDF must stay in power for at least the next 20 years. Debate ? with whom ? with you guys ..the next day you going to flee back to your western Boss, It is simple you don’t need debate or country all you need is just HEART…

10/05/12 @ 07:23
Comment from: [Member]

አቶ ይልማ በቀለ ጥሩ ትንታነ ነው ያቀረብከው::
በርግጥም የ ፕሬሲደንት ኦባማ እና ሚት ሮምንይ ትያቀያዊ ንግግር/ ክርክር ለ እና ኢትዮጵያውያን የ ህልም ምኞት ነው::
መቼ ነው በ አገራችን ህዝባዊ ምርጫ ተካሂዶ ብሎም በየ አራት አመቱ መሪዎቻችን የምንመርጠው?

10/05/12 @ 07:37
Comment from: Extraterrestrial [Member]

Dream dream dream, dreaming what he is not working for, dreaming what he don’t deserve, typical diaspora mambo jumbo.

10/05/12 @ 08:24
Comment from: MIMI [Visitor]



10/05/12 @ 09:44
Comment from: Belay [Visitor]

i dont know about you two burger boys (mesfinb and yilma), but seeing a heated debate amongst ethiopian politicians is not on the top of mine and 90% of ethiopians dream. what tops my dream is to see an ethiopia where the main transportation runs on oil not on grass, see my people get clean water, food, medicine when they are sick and school to send their children to and then debate politics….

10/05/12 @ 11:18
Comment from: Tulu Proud ET [Visitor]
Tulu Proud ET

Ethiopians have shown their respect for Democracy in 2005 when they elected KINIGIT leaders and voted out all TPLF/EPRDF juntas out of the office by 93% in Addis Ababa and other provences, districts and cities.

It is impossible to expect for EPRDF blood suckers to learn the power of living in democracy but Ethiopians are much ahead of the game.

We know Democracy will be installed when leaders are elected by people based on merits, experience and education and after it is being publicized and debated.

Ethiopians knew how TPLF politicians are lawless and dangerous to Ethiopia because these people only know how to enrich themselves without merits by manipulating people and the system. Adding more danger to that TPLF goons are so entrenched in ignorance and hate on other ethnics especially on Amaras, Gambellas, Gurages and Oromos. Whiteout these people there is no Ethiopia.

So Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF)/ EPRDF are the wrong people for Ethiopia. They hate debating because it will expose their ignorance. Those goons never have attended a high school and they don’t want to comeout and want to be known. They rather hide and do the robbing.

10/05/12 @ 15:08
Comment from: Yirgacheffee [Visitor]

Here is a little KINIJIT formula for you:

Kinijit + Y = Dingay

Dingay + reality = Kality

Abebe + Guroro = Doro

And when Abebe lays his eggs, Birhanu cahses the checks!


10/05/12 @ 18:58
Comment from: DillingerJ [Visitor]

Just like flight 409 that took off and down by mossad and the Lebanese worest currupted country on earth so is Obama made his boss(behind the scene)happy he went a mute it tells me since his staff are jews what about the talmud called president?he went a dying battery no use.

10/05/12 @ 21:16
Comment from: TEDDY [Visitor]

Hey Tchiffenee here is a little Agazi Bandits formula for you:


Azeb + Agazis = TIGRE MAFIOSI

AGazis + Pente HM = VIPERS

And when AGAZIS lay their eggs, Pente HM celebrates the mass !!!!

10/06/12 @ 02:27
Comment from: TEDDY [Visitor]

Banda Mimi ;who the hell are you trying to fool .Why don"t see by yourself how much your cricket leaders :Bereket ,Seyum ,Aba Dulla ,
Adissu had been set in pieces during
the debats with opposition leaders.
These discussions are still available on Youtube .Where you see the banda Adissu with only argument was “Hutu” and the illetterate Aba Dula “Ankes 39″and Seyum unable to respond on the subject concerning the right of Ethiopia to have an access on the sea …TCHINKILATEBIS
TELETAFFI BANDA !!!Hope you are not
the evil Mimi Sebhatu infecting the web weekly with her friends Pig Ben and co.

10/06/12 @ 02:42
Comment from: teshome [Visitor]

‘Denkoro Yilma’ what ever name you call them, they are doing every thing they can to change the Ethiopian people’s life. The Washington “denkoros"/YOU/ are not even capable to lead your family.

10/06/12 @ 06:53
Comment from: [Member]

*** To teddy***
የ ኢ ህ አ ዴ ግ ካድረዎች የተመረቁት በ ስድብ ነው::
ይህ አዲስ ነገር አይደለም::
አሁንማ ቀንደኛ መሪያቸው ሞቶ አርር ድብን ብለዋልና
ስድቡን ይለቁታል::
ከነሱ ቁም ነገር አይጠበቅም ::


አሁን ማድረግ ያለብን ቤት ጠረጋ ያስፈልጋል::
አራት ኪሎ በ ዲዲቲ ተነፍቶ ትንኞቹ ወያኔዎች ማለቅ አለባቸው::

ይህም እርምጃ ካድሬዎቹን ይጨምራል ::


10/06/12 @ 13:15
Comment from: yetazebkut [Visitor]

If I understood the main idea correctly is the need for debate in Ethiopia.
I lived in Ethiopia untill recently and I watched many debates in Ethiopia, not only on 2005 but before and after between the government and the opponenets.Even many debates were on parlament.I can remind you some. I remember there was one shaleka(major),with black tie.Professor Asrat, ledetu,Ato Temesgen…many more.I am not talking about the fairness or quality.
In my opinon the problem with our debators especially opponenets are they only critising or expressing their anger or hate on the rulling government. They dont show us who they are what they want to accomplish. Why they are important and different from other leaders.One of the few leader who told us on his debate what he would do and what he would and wouldn’t take from the current govt was Ledatu.
So my point is we dont have to immitate others but cultivate and develope our own value,culture identity.Respect,love tolerance were our(Ethiopian people) values.I dont see this on some people on this web. Let us appericaiate what we still remains.Let us start to apperciate the good ones no matter who did it.
I will give you an example.Dr/prof Efrem yesak and his friends did marveles job in Shemglina,which is our true value and tradition,but we haven’t give them enough appreciaition.
We were great people we are and we will be.
The only Let us unite

10/06/12 @ 15:07
Comment from: Ittu Aba Farda [Visitor]
Ittu Aba Farda

I had politely told you all dear countrymen before what I am going to do on November 6, 2012. After I get into the voting booth I will have a spiritual conversation with that angelic son of Obo Eskinder Nega. I will ask him if he has heard anyone from the Obama administration doing anything for the freedom of his dad. After all I will ask him if his dad is still in jail who found guilty of ‘imagining’ a political scenario that may be in the offing in the country. If that innocent boy and a son of an innocent man’s answer is ‘no’, then my answer will also be ‘no’. It is that simple. But..OMG!!! Mitt looked very presidential. He came well prepared for the debate. Despite some folk spreading scary news about him, I never doubted in Mitt’s compassion as a politician. Above all he is a man of God and I don’t think he will be such a wicked person to throw the sick, the unfortunate and the elderly under the bus. Some people used to use the same scare tactics against Reagan. If anyone one of you were here and working in the last 70’s into 1980, things were very scary. I even remember an editorial on Time Magazine where it was casting doubts in the American Capitalist system. Manufacturing companies were going out of business at an alarming rate. But we know what happened in the 80’s. I thing we need a rugged leader just as Reagan was. And I am tired of being lectured about and encouraged to demand human and democratic rights and nothing is being done when someone like Obo Eskinder is thrown in jail for more than 18 years. And as an insult to injury, we had seen one of Obama’s field lieutenants telling us all to forget about Obo Eskinder and his crying son but instead to look at the big picture. I am not sure if that was done due ignorance or insolence. I think of the latter or may be a touch of arrogance. Again, there is no question about the fact that Obo Eskinder’s son and I are going to hold a spiritual conversation on that morning of November 6, 2012. That is called democratic rights enshrined in our constitution more than 235 years ago and it is an inalienable one.

10/06/12 @ 20:37
Comment from: Anonymous [Visitor]

For 21 years the so called “opposition” has not explained to the Ethiopian people what they want to do and how they want to do it. All that they have been doing is talk and talk and talk. They write hateful and nonsense articles based on lies after lies. As a result they are not trusted by the Ethiopian people especially now and after Meles and team delivered the promise they made 21 years ago and led the country to great development and stability where all nationalities live in equality and loving and respecting each other. They earned their trust and respect. However, the so called “opposition” has been demanding respect. But you don’t demand respect, you earn it! Plus, how can you earn trust while you are spreading hateful and nonsense messages to divide Ethiopians. They have been claiming Ethiopia is hell under a horrible government but they don’t dare fight to liberate them. Mind you, they have doing this for 21 years!! They are not even well organized and they fight amongst themselves all the time even on small matters, so much so some of the groups no longer exist anymore and now they have hardly any followers. They and authors like this article don’t get it that Ethiopians at home and abroad are simply tired of them and consider them a nuisance. If they are for real and truly believe Ethiopia needs to be saved, well do what Meles and team did. Prove it to the Ethiopian people. They are just people. Look what they did when the great Meles did.

10/07/12 @ 01:33
Comment from: berta [Visitor]


If it is really that difficult for you to get the point out of this writing, I recommend you not to west your time reading anything at all n the future. You will never be able to understand anything.

How much Woyane paying ,Yirgacheffee?!!!!!!!

Can you tell your retarded friend what the writing is about?

10/07/12 @ 01:38
Comment from: [Member]

What about the debate? Who brings accountability in our country? Who builds democracy? It is the people, both the educated and the average folks. In Ethiopia we had been AWOL as educated people. Our main vehicles were killing, elimination, vilification, inability to build consensus, empty slogans, formation of hate liberation fronts and ethnic poltics. Why dont you have leadership that is capable of inspiring the Ethiopian people? What say you Ra Yilma, Bale Asir Chifra, Yeasir Aleka Ras! Yasir Dingay Halafi! I am mad as hell on people like you, always with complaint, with no leadership to inspire!

10/13/12 @ 19:23



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