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Ethiopia and Syria revisited
By Yilma Bekele
The Syrian regime is killing its own people to save the country from terrorists (Ashebari). The world is watching and keeping score. Thanks to social media such as Twitter and Facebook we are all witnessing this display of total madness safely from our home. The Missile attack on neighborhoods is televised in living color. The old Soviet tanks lined up outside towns are not defending the country from outsiders but rearing to rain death on their own people. It was only a few years back that such atrocity by dictators was not considered newsworthy. It is not because no one cared but rather because it was done behind closed borders. Things are different now. There is no place to hide.
The last year has been a very tumultuous year in our neighborhood. We have all witnessed the happenings in Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain and Syria. All these countries have imploded from inside. There was no outside interference so to speak of. There was no scapegoat. If you look closely there is one theme that is common to all. The existence of what is called a ‘strong leader’; ‘dictator’ or ‘mad person in charge’ is what is true in every instance. Change was overdue but dictatorship and change are not compatible. Dictatorship cannot be overcome by evolutionary means. Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Syria are living examples of the validity of that statement.
I am sure the citizens of all those countries would have preferred a peaceful route to bring needed change. I am also sure they for many years, have tried to convince their respective Leaders to accommodate their demands. The upheaval is the result of the inability of the system to fulfill the aspiration of the people. When the needs of the citizen and the wishes of the dictator clash the country enters a very volatile state that can only be resolved by some sort of explosion.
There are controlled explosions and spontaneous explosion. The transition from the Derg to TPLF was a good example of controlled explosion. The transition from the Emperor to the Derg was a very haphazard, creeping and tiring kind of wimpy explosion. The last one standing won. The one with balls but no brains was victorious. Result speaks louder than words.
Syria is entering or has entered that stage. This is the last show and the curtains are coming down. There will be no repeat performance. We all know how it is going to end. By ‘we’ I mean the rest of the world except of course the Syrian ruling lass. All Dictators have a tendency for getting caught by surprise. For some the denial is so strong they don’t even have an escape plan. That is what Gadaffi aide said in an interview. The Leader never thought his ‘people’ would be able to gather their nerves and rise up against him. Didn’t he crush their will and personhood? The Idiot was surprised!
Our current object Syria is nothing but a continuation of Arab awakening or “Arab Spring” that originated in Tunisia. But it has its own unique features. In the scheme of Dictatorships in history, it gets a grade of D- at best. It looks like it will only last a single generation. It is nothing to write home about. I do not mean no disrespect or sneer at ours that is gasping to last even a half-life but that is the nature of the business. Africa is littered with wannabe dictators that have lasted less.
The Assad’s have managed to exist by all sorts of trickery and Ponzi scheme. This includes Clannish behavior, benefactor role, blackmail, extortion, assassination and every kind of criminal activity that buys them another day. Today the fabric that has been painstakingly woven is breaking apart. It has run its course and there is no new trick left to prop up the dying system. The Assad’s know it, their Alawit Clan is aware of it and the Syrian people are doing all that they could to hurry matters along.
What exactly is arrayed against the Assad clan is a good question. The main characters all are easy to spot. We are witnessing their cajoling for the best spot after the dust settles. And there are many actors in this farce. The Israelis want a weak Syria with Assad in charge. Their motto is decapitate but not kill. The Jordanians are not thrilled by another crazy regime on the other side of their border. Iraq has already caused a lot of dislocations. The Lebanese are as usual caught between a rock and a hard place. They are keeping a low profile. Turkey is delirious by the opportunity to be seen as an emerging neighborhood bully. Turkey is flexing its muscles.
Iran is depressed. This could not have come at a most unfortunate time. Iran is under siege and it its important ally is jumping from a plane without knowing if the parachute would work. The Mullahs in Quom are not happy and the Islamic Republic will do all that is necessary to prop up the dying regime. The US is walking a tight rope. Mr. Obama does not want anything to complicate matters in this election season. The Israeli Lobby is beating war drums. Mr. Obama has no intention of picking a fight with a powerful constituent no matter what the cause is.
Russia is posturing. Mr. Putin still possess a few not sea worthy submarines prone to accident and rusting nuke Silos and for some reason the West pretends he packs a punch. Clint East Wood would say “Go ahead Vladimir make my day.” Russia’s useless posturing is tolerated because it buys the West time to figure out the volatile situation inside Syria.
The Chinese are looking after number one here. They are thinking “if these foreign devils pass a resolution regarding interference in Syria what is to stop them doing the same when it comes to Tibet?” China is still smarting over being tricked into going along with the invasion of Libya. They have concluded this not to be the time to posture but send scouts to bid on infrastructure building that will definitely follow the mayhem.
Did you notice who I left for last? Yes, good old Syrian people. I am afraid they allowed this abuse by the Assad family and his minority Alawit Clan to go for so long they have become an after thought in the search for a solution to their problem. No one takes their protestations and defiance seriously. Outsiders are looking for a ‘solution’ to impose on them with little or no regard to what they want. It is exactly like what parents say to their child ‘eat your vegetables, it is good for you!’
We Ethiopians are looking closely at the situation in Syria. We have a lot in common. We are both victims of a mad leader and minority clan rule. We both live in a very dangerous neighborhood where others use our precarious existence to wage proxy wars. My interest in writing this paper is to show you what will be done to your country and people in the next few months. I hope you will not feign surprise or pretend you were in the dark. What you see in Syria will be what you will witness in Ethiopia. It won’t be exact but it will be close enough to act as a model. I promise to be the happiest person if I am proven wrong, but that would be flying against facts.
In a very simplistic term this is what we got in Syria. Assad is a second-generation dictator. His power base is the minority Alawit Clan. They consist 12% of the population and occupy all the upper echelons of the military. Security is in the hands of close family members. The economy is used to reward or punish the rest of the population including the majority Sunnis. All media is under the control of the State.
Syria has been in turmoil since March of 2011. The official figure is over seven thousand killed. The Syrian government has killed over seven thousand of its own citizens to stay in power. Bashir and his Alawit Clan are telling the rest of the Syrians either we rule or you all die. It is that simple. He owns a formidable army. Unlike in Egypt the Army is disciplined and controlled better from above. They do not hesitate to fire even into populated areas. Assad, his family and Clan today are feeling like cornered animals. Due to situation they created their escape route is narrowing as we read this. Under the circumstances the only thing to do is pray that the Syrian people put their differences aside and finish this varmint once and for all.
When we look at Syria in the mirror why do I get this feeling that we see Ethiopia. Look at the bright side. This gives us the opportunity to avoid disaster. If we share a common problem and if one of us self-destruct trying a solution I believe the second party should lean from the mistakes and adjust accordingly. That is where we come in. Observe and study all the wrong moves taken by the Dictators and circumvent it before it takes place. I agree it is not easy for Prime Minster Meles and his group. It is a little naïve to think they are doing this because they are evil or lack the expertise. The simple answer is because that is the only way they know how. But it is very easy for us to learn and adopt.
A far as Assad or Meles are concerned the last thirty years has only proved the effectiveness of their method. I said effectiveness not correct and sustainable. Since their inception the use of brute force has been the only way they have resolved any contradiction. The chances of teaching them the value of compromise and the lasting nature of give and take is not possible and utterly a waste of time. It is not going to happen. Gadaffi did not fall for that. Assad will not even consider such farce. The TPLF party is not into committing suicide. We all know they are not capable of learning.
I was talking about us. I believe we are capable of learning from the failed experience of Gadaffi, Saleh and Assad. Ato Meles is not going to invent a new reality. He is going to act exactly like his fellow criminals in a predictable manner. Killing and more killing is the only solution. They assume the more they kill the less we rise up against them. That always worked. Unfortunately once the population gets rid of its fears death is not a valid threat anymore. More killing only breeds more sacrifice and primal anger. Go ask Gadaffi he will tell you what the wrath of the people feels like.
There isn’t much the world can do for the Syrians. Send ‘coffins’ is what a Syrian said in the town of Homs. The Syrians are on their own. May be it will be a good idea to work on our collective responses when the time comes. We Ethiopians are going to find ourselves on our own pretty soon. Thus when you hear the agony of Homs think of Addis Abeba, when they mention Daraa you might as well cry for Dire Dawa when you read the shelling in Hama remember that is what is waiting Hawasa. You might say I exaggerate but really isn’t it the same Meles that killed close to three hundred unarmed kids? Isn’t it Meles and company that used their EFFORT lorries to haul any body and everybody to Zuwai, Sendafa etc? Do you think I am being an alarmist?
We have an opportunity to find a way to work together and minimize the damage that is bound to occur when this unfortunate experience implodes on itself. Sergena meta berbere kentesu is not a winning strategy.
It is sad to hear but the facts ring true. Ethnocentric politics and crony capitalism is the order of the day in Ethiopia. For some reason the ruling clique thinks it’s acceptable for them to enrich themselves and wallow in decadence while the average Joe can barely afford his daily injera. To those defending the regime they need to understand that just because they have benefitted from the system, it doesn’t mean it’s working for everybody. We need to build a country based on meritocracy, justice, equality, freedom of speech and association basic rights which Meles Zenawi seems to be allergic to.
Meles and his fellow dictators figured that if they raise the stakes so high then the people wouldn’t dare call their bluff. Well they called Ben Ali’s, Mubarak’s, Gadafi’s, Saleh’s and now Assad’s. But just like his fellow dictators however, Meles thinks his situation is different and that “his people love him” what has changed since 2005? They rose against you once they will rise against you again! I sure hope that he will be smart and patriotic enough to understand that times have change and he is now part of a species on the endangered list (Dictators). One more thing lets not make this an ethnic thing Tigrians are mere pawns in this game just as we are!
Ayee… Keep dreaming. You think you have freedom where ever you are. I live on west, i have seen the freedom, media and most of corporation are controlled by few. white, black. Asian all of us are slaves for few elite. They may make you feel you have freedom but try to sit down and think about it. don’t just watch CNN and believe what you read. I guess you are one of their brainwashed goat. Note, i hate woyane, but everybody is the same. free your self don’t wait to elect someone and lead you to freedom. Look at the American election it is just fraud. i don’t want my country to get destroyed for sake of democracy which it doesn’t work for people who created it, America. The most corrupted nation on earth.
Day dreamer;Please stop chewing “Derek Chat".
Amesgenalehu True Ethiopain, That is the fact not else.
Thank you Ato Yilma for such right and factual parallel in the path of the two nations. The blatant meles is no less evil than Bashir Asad. Their only language is me and my family or else!!! In the 21st century such type of medieval if not caveman mentality is hard to phatom yet we are witnessing the brutal craziness of these thugtators.
The only solution is to unite the broad mass of our Ethiopia and march onto Arat kilo and handcuff the “Evil tyrant” and bring him and his collaborators to justice. If this doesn’t work shoot shoulder launchable rocket to his bedroom.
china is the future threat to the sovereignity of african continent.today they are sending their prisoners of law next it is the red army.i hope all african regimes will come to their senses and stop chinese from infilerating africa in the name of infrastructure dev’t.the consequenses will be devastating 4 future generation of africa.
This is really funny and caught my attention comparing Syria leader with Ethiopia PM. The Syrian leader inharitate power from his deadly father who murder more than 10,000 people about a decade ago. The the PM came to power a decade ago through libration front and as a result of his good vision he was elected by majority as a EPRDFparty leader why any one with the right mind write this unless he/she shabia agent want to take opportunity.
I am fully disagree with the way painting Al assad.you just have copied and paist the western media propaganda.If you believe what the western media fabricating in order to discredit this man and trying to mislead your own people, that is the kind of brain washed person the western would like, to serve their poisened dish/ spread rummer/. CIA sent rebels to stir tension in Libya and to remove a threat to elites.and now they are doing same thing in Syria.
I do not think it will be a piece of cake like Libya,but they are paving a way to make a similar scenario.However it won’t be limited inside Syria. This could spill over to the entire middle east and might escalate in to a bigger war.This unrest is not intended to help Syrians ,it is non other than to destroy once stable country and create secterians and leading in to civil war./divide and concur/.The NATO expansion and intervining on a soverein country has made Russia and China to involve on this matter therefore Russian war ship gurding Syrian water.
you may think Egypt , Libya and Yemen have transformed in to democracy?The difference between mubarek,Ali Saleh and Gadafi…,mubarek and Ali saleh were their friend and Gadaffi was their enemy.mubarek and Ali saleh have killed many innocent people to keep the Zionist interest ,I am not his supporter but Gadafi has done a lot for his own people. did the the egyptian or yemani people get what they have struglled for or ,hope and want to bring in to their country? definately not their voice have been hijacked by Zionist by replacing a government who would continue to keep and serve theire interest.
-Assad is not a puppet like melese who is a sub servant of the west.
-He is not dividing the country that is consisted of vibrant ethnic groups and religions.
-He has not displaced his own people inorder to please the saudies or the Zionist/west.in this unrest,Turky,Jordan,Quatar,Bahrain ,the zionist western countries and Saudi are playing a vital roll to worsen the situation.
-He is not dependant of western aid,and the country does not depend on importation of food like the saudies and others who are itching American back,they are self efficient.as history thought us the western do not want self efficient people and a country.above all ,the Zionist planned and targetting to destroy a society with a rich culture and a strong relegion that is including our beloved country. They are always want a country depending on their aid, and who always seek loan and aid so in return who can hand over there voice and right in the UN assembly.And also who could perscuating their dirty mission, such as what is hapening in somalia right now.
Dear Yilma, a retired General Wesely clark,has exposed their dirty secret before the NATO bombardment of Libya and the current situation of Syria.
“in five years time would want to control the fallowing countries
Somalia on progress
Sudan still in line
Iran is the final destination
try to use a reference from independent and reliable media…………………………………….
Great advise. There is no way of return for millions of Ethiopian but to oust Meles Satanawi.
Those who are benefiting from EPRDF’s system tries to portray as the system is good for every one. What they misunderstand is that the 75 millions of Ethiopian are very dissatisfied to the point that they are ready to fight and die.
Now they are losing their farm, homes, jobs besides the repressions of their rights. The next thing is their life.
Ethiopia has never seen such kind of ominous and cruel PM and system ever even during the man eater Mengisu.
Meles is a man eater and country destroyer that has gone way over Mengistu’s crime.
Three African dictators have fallen like flies, One in Yemen now Al- assad is on the way.
Next is the perfect enemy of Ethiopia, Black Fascist Meles Satanawi the worst of all.
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