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Ethiopia: Speaking Truth to the Powerless



  01:49:08 am, by admin   , 3040 words  
Categories: Ethiopia, Alemayehu G. Mariam

Ethiopia: Speaking Truth to the Powerless

Ethiopia: Speaking Truth to the Powerless

By Alemayehu G. Mariam

In my last commentary[1] on the theme, “Where do we go from here?” I suggested that the ruling dictatorship in Ethiopia following its 99.6 percent “victory” in the May 2010 parliamentary “election” will continue to do business as usual in much the same way as it has over the last two decades. In this commentary, I focus on the Ethiopian opposition collectively and argue that they must atone and reinvent themselves if they hope to play a significant role in that country’s future.

Always speak truth to power; but sometimes it is necessary to speak it to the powerless too. Truth must be spoken not only because it renders naked the hypocrites and villains, but also because it has a cathartic (cleansing) effect on its defenders. Above all, it must be spoken because it is the quintessential requirement of freedom: “The truth shall make you free.” It is in the spirit of freedom from the burdens of past political blunders and poor judgment and the freedom to invent a new spirit of democracy in Ethiopia that I offer this commentary to the Ethiopian opposition. My aim is not to lecture or to bash; I leave that job to the dictators who are the true experts. When I speak my mind freely about the Ethiopian opposition, it is merely to help “clean out the closet”, as it were, so that we could begin afresh on the long walk to democracy. It is said that the “truth hurts”, but I disagree. I believe the truth heals, empowers and liberates its defenders.

Holding a Mirror to the Ethiopian Opposition

Now that the hoopla around Meles Zenawi’s “election” is over, it is time for the Ethiopian opposition to take stock and re-think the way it has been doing business. We begin with the obvious question: “What happened to the Ethiopian opposition in the make-believe election of 2010?” Zenawi will argue vigorously that he defeated them by a margin of 99.6 percent (545 of 547 parliamentary seats). If that were the real “defeat” for the opposition, I would not worry much. Losing a sham election is like losing one’s appendix. But there is a different kind of defeat that I find more worrisome. It is a defeat in the eyes and hearts of the people. I am afraid the opposition collectively has suffered considerable loss of credibility in the eyes of the people by making a public spectacle of its endless bickering, carping, dithering, internal squabbles, disorganization, inability to unite, pettiness, jockeying for power, and by failing to articulate a coherent set of guiding principles or ideas for the country’s future.

In the 2005 election, there was a unifying spirit among the opposition. For that reason, they were able to trounce the ruling dictatorship in a free and fair election. What was monumental about that election was not only the fact that the opposition thumped the ruling party, but they did so with overflowing and overwhelming public support. On May 7, 2005, a week before elections that year, the opposition was able to hold a rally in the capital for an estimated 3 million people. On May 15, over 26 million people voted freely giving the opposition a decisive victory in the parliamentary elections, including a clean sweep of seats in the capital. Of course, the elections were stolen by the current dictatorship after hundreds of unarmed protesters were massacred and shot in the streets and thousands more imprisoned and disappeared. The point is that in 2005 the Ethiopian people put everything on the line-- their lives, their livelihoods and their loved ones. Fast forward to 2010: “Where did the people go?” That was the question asked by Awramba Times, the only struggling independent paper in Ethiopia that is the regular object of the dictatorship’s wrath and fury.

The people did not vanish merely because Zenawi had unloosed his trigger-happy goons on the streets. Perhaps they did not show up because they had lost faith in the leadership of the opposition. When Zenawi herded the opposition leaders into his dungeons after the 2005 election, the people kept faith with them. They kept them in their hearts and minds and thoughts and prayers. Did the opposition leaders keep faith with the people after they were “pardoned” and released from prison? That is perhaps the hardest truth for the opposition leaders to face and accept. I have heard it said anecdotally thousands of times. The opposition leaders have deeply and sorely disappointed the people. In their words, deeds and conduct, they have failed to uphold and sustain the people’s dreams, aspirations and longing for justice and democracy. As best as I could summarize it, the people feel betrayed and abandoned by many opposition leaders in whom they placed so much trust.

The Opposition Through Zenawi’s Eyes

Zenawi knows the opposition like the opposition does not know itself. He has studied them and understands how they (do not) work. Careful analysis of his public statements on the opposition over the years suggests a rather unflattering view. He considers opposition leaders to be his intellectual inferiors; he can outwit, outthink, outsmart, outplay, outfox and outmaneuver them any day of the week. He believes they are dysfunctional, shiftless and inconsequential, and will never be able to pose a real challenge to his power. In his speeches and public comments, he shows nothing but contempt and hatred for them. At best, he sees them as wayward children who need constant supervision, discipline and punishment to keep them in line. Like children, he will offer some of them candy -- jobs, cars, houses and whatever else it takes to buy their silence. Those he can not buy, he will intimidate, place under continuous surveillance and persecute. Mostly, he tries to fool and trick the opposition. He will send “elders” to talk to them and lullaby them to sleep while he drags out “negotiations” to buy just enough time to pull the rug from underneath them. He casts a magical spell on them so that they forget he is the master of the zero-sum game (which means he always wins and his opposition always loses).

For the first time in nearly twenty years, he is now changing his tune a little because the opposition seems to be wising up and Western donors are grimacing with slight embarrassment for supporting him. The kinder and gentler face of Zenawi is slowly being rolled out. After his “election victory”, he extended an olive branch to the opposition wrapped in his inimitable condescending cordiality, magnanimity and paternalism. He solemnly “pledge[d] to all the parties who did not succeed in getting the support of the people… as long as you respect the will of the people and the country's Constitution and other laws of the land, we will work by consulting and involving you in all major national issues. We are making this pledge not only because we believe that we should be partners... [but also] you have the right to participate and to be heard.” In other words, he will set up a “kitchen cabinet” for the nice opposition leaders to come in through the back door and chit-chat with him. But they will never be allowed to get out of the kitchen and sit at the dining table.

Who is the Opposition in Ethiopia, Anyway?

Opposition politics in the African political context is a tragicomedy. Beginning with Nkrumah -- the father of the one-man, one-party state in Africa-- opposition parties and groups in Africa have been staged, suppressed and persecuted by those in power. Just a few days ago, it was reported that “14 opposition political parties have declared the Meles Zenawi-led EPRDF party as a winner of the 2010 elections, conveying congratulatory message.” This is like the chickens congratulating the fox who snacks on them for doing a good job guarding the henhouse. It is nutty, but quaintly African. Where else on earth could an election universally declared to be a sham and a fraud be blessed by lackeys organized to look like opposition parties? Are these 14 “parties” the Ethiopian opposition? How about those political parties that are permitted to run for elections just to window-dress the ruling party and make it look good and democratic? Is the opposition those parties that are handcuffed and chained at the starting line while the ruling party sprints to the finish line? Is the opposition that amorphous aggregation of weak, divided, squabbling, factionalized and fragmented parties and groups that is constantly at each other’s throats? Or is it the grumbling aggregation of human rights advocates, civic society organizers, journalists and other media professionals and academics? Or are the groups committed to armed struggle and toppling the dictatorship by force the opposition?

What Is to Be Done by the Ethiopian Opposition?

Atonement and Reconciliation With the People: There is the well-known parable of the prodigal son who took riches from his father and squandered it all. He returned home believing his father will reject and disown him. But the son asked for his father’s forgiveness. Filled with compassion and love, the father forgave his son. There may be a good lesson here for the opposition: They need to go back to the people and ask forgiveness for squandering their hopes, dreams and aspirations. They need to say to the people, “We did let you down. We are deeply sorry. We promise to do our very best to earn back your trust and confidence. We will correct our mistakes. ” In my view, atonement is the first thing opposition leaders need to do before they can begin to reconnect with the people. I realize that many of us (including myself) find it exceedingly difficult to admit we have done wrong or made a mistake. We feel that it is a sign of weakness to say “I am sorry, I messed up.” But the real and tragic mistake is to know one has done wrong and irrationally insist that wrong is right. The people deserve the unqualified and public apology of the opposition leaders. They will be forgiven because the Ethiopian people are decent, understanding and compassionate.

Work Collectively for the Release of Birtukan Midekssa and all Ethiopian Political Prisoners: Birtukan Midekksa is the symbol of the democratic opposition in Ethiopia. She is the one paying the ultimate price. Zenawi has made her his object of ridicule. But she is the personification of the spirit of the Ethiopian opposition. We must work tirelessly to get Birtukan and all of the thousands of political prisoners in Ethiopia released.

Learn From Past Mistakes: It is said that those who do not learn from past mistakes are doomed to repeat it. Many mistakes have been committed by opposition leaders in the past. They need to be identified and lessons learned from them.

Understand the Opposition’s Opposition: The opposition’s opposition should not be underestimated. Their strength is in dividing and ruling and in playing the ethnic card. If the opposition unites and acts around a common agenda, they are powerless.

Develop a Common Agenda in Support of Issues and Causes: The core issues democracy, freedom, human rights, the rule of law and the unity of the people and the physical integrity of the Ethiopian nation are shared by all opposition elements. Why not build collective agenda to advance and support these issues?

Agree to Disagree Without Being Disagreeable: Opposition leaders and supporters must abandon the destructive principle, “If you do not agree with me 100 percent, you are my enemy.” There is nothing wrong with reasonable minds disagreeing. Dissent and disagreement are essential conditions of democracy. If the opposition can not tolerate dissent within and among itself, how different could it be from the dictators?

Guard Against the Cult of Personality: One of the greatest weaknesses in the Ethiopian opposition has been the cult of personality. We create idealized and heroic images of individuals as leaders, shower them with unquestioning flattery and praise and almost worship them. Let us remember that every time we do that we are grooming future dictators.
Always Act in Good Faith: Opposition leaders and supporters must always strive to act in good faith and be forthright and direct in their personal and organizational relationships. We must mean what we say and say what we mean. Games of one-upmanship will keep us all stranded on an island of irrelevance.

Think Generationally; Act Presently: The struggle is not about winning an election or getting into public office. The struggle is about establishing democracy, protecting human rights and institutionalizing accountability and the rule of law in Ethiopia. It is not about us. It is about the younger generation.

Give Young People a Chance to Lead: The older generation in the opposition needs to learn to get out of the way. Let’s give the younger generation a chance to lead. After all, it is their future. We can be most useful if we help them learn from our mistakes and guide them to greater heights. Zenawi thinks he can mold the young people in his image so that he can establish a Reich that will last a thousand years. He will never succeed. If there is one thing universally true about young people, it is that they love freedom more than anything else. Let the older generation be water carriers for the young people who will be building the “future country of Ethiopia,” as Birtukan would say.

Think Like Winners, Not Victims: Victory is not what it seems for the victors, and defeat is not what it feels for the vanquished. There is defeat in victory and victory in defeat. Both victory and defeat are first and foremost states of mind. Those who won the election by a margin of 99.6 percent project an image of being victorious. But we know they have an empty victory secured by force and fraud. The real question is whether the opposition sees itself as winners or losers. Winners think and act as winners, likewise for losers.

Never Give Up, NEVER: Sir Winston Churchill was right when he said: “Never give in--never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”

What is NOT to Be Done by the Opposition: “Fool Me once, Shame on You; Fool Me Twice, Shame on Me!”

There is talk now that Zenawi is shuttling his “elders” (shimagles) to do a deal with the opposition. It is even said that if the opposition leaders have been warned that if they do not negotiate and publicy accept the “election” results, they will soon be joining Birtukan. The last time Zenawi used his Trojan horse “elders” to deal with the opposition, he put a noose around their necks. Birtukan Midekksa is in prison today precisely because she took a “pardon” deal from the “elders”. Now she is doing a life sentence because she allegedly violated the terms of her “pardon” deal. This is how she explained it a day or two before Zenawi threw her back to prison:

… Let me start with the negotiation by the elders; the basic spirit of the negotiation by the elders was to bring about an agreement acceptable to both parties and to create a spirit of reconciliation and to continue the political process. This is why its progress took several months. In this, regarding the problem that was created following the 2005 elections, instead of following the path of making one party wrong and another party right, the country elders mediated with the objective of having each party ask for forgiveness from the people and from each other, presented to both parties points that would bring about a spirit of reconciliation, mediated these points between the parties, toning down the parties' opinions as much as possible, and move forward by proving their determination to their political outlooks on fundamental issues.

The negotiation through the elders that was focused on reaching a negotiated agreement through a give and take deal was based on not only a willingness on the part of the government but also through its participation. … Nonetheless, even at that stage, the spirit of reconciliation to which the negotiation was directed did not change. Even though other points of agreement were left behind, the elders expressed that if we signed that document which was crafted on the spirit of our country's culture to say to each other let it be settled, the matter would stop at that stage, the file would be closed, and pushed on with their elderly mediation…. In connection with this, agreement was reached "to release all prisoners in the country put in jail in matters related the CUD [Coalition for Unity and Democracy] without preconditions; to start direct discussions between the government and the former CUD leaders; for the parties leaders to continue their party's duties without restrictions….

Not only was there no follow up on the “negotiated agreement” and no political prisoners released, Birtukan herself ended up being the number 1 political prisoner in the country. For Birtukan, it was Faustian bargain: In exchange for walking out of prison and staying out, Zenawi demanded her soul. But she would never sell her soul, so she is now back in Zenawi’s underworld. Just remember Birtukan when you see the slithering “elders” come bearing gifts and talk with forked tongues! “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.”

As I have argued before, much needs to be done to reinvent and revitalize opposition politics in Ethiopia.
I raised some questions above about who the opposition is in Ethiopia. I will answer them now. The opposition is anyone who believes in and stands for genuine democracy, protection of human rights and institutionalization of the rule of law, accountability and transparency in government. The Ethiopian opposition is anyone who stands against dictatorship, tyranny and despotism.

Are you part of the opposition?

Alemayehu G. Mariam, is a professor of political science at California State University, San Bernardino, and an attorney based in Los Angeles. He writes a regular blog on The Huffington Post, and his commentaries appear regularly on,,


Comment from: gebrai [Visitor]

Thank you professor.

06/08/10 @ 02:04
Comment from: kuli-bali [Visitor]

Dear Alemayehu G. Mariam

Great Analysis. Thank you for your time prof.

06/08/10 @ 02:07
Comment from: alebachew [Visitor]

looks like Al is losing hope??!!:no:

06/08/10 @ 02:43
Comment from: justin [Visitor]


The TRUTH is your last article revealed you are a little slow upstairs as you were puzzled, befuddled into thinking EPRDF won 99.6 of the votes, not the seats. But I think most of us knew the state of mind already.

ኢትዮጵያ ለዘላለም ትኑር

06/08/10 @ 04:30
Comment from: Dereje [Visitor]

Like Michael Jackson said:

“Start with the Man in the Mirror!”

That means you.

06/08/10 @ 04:34
Comment from: [Member]

“YE Abune zebesemayat torr siwerewer enji siwega ayitayim”

Nobody in Ethiopia cares about your crocodile tears you are shading from banda land artera. Ethiopians are busy building their a great enthusiasm and eagerness.
You and your likes keep on throwing your poison laced ill-will imaginery spears from banda-land. it will never land or harm anybody in Ethiopia.we keep on marching forward never to look back.
Keep on salivating Al.

06/08/10 @ 05:12
Comment from: addiiss [Visitor]

Hey Al, try to practice what you preach!!! Weren’t you the pole bearer for all the division and infighting of the opposition? didn’t you shun Hailu Shawel and flaunted with Birhanu and co?

Al, it is the lowest of all lows, to advise Birtukan, to denounce the “elders” and remain in prison!!! Don’t tell others, what you don’t want tobe done to you…

06/08/10 @ 05:21
Comment from: Korat [Visitor]

Mr. Alemayehu
You’ve got to remember 99% of Ethiopians are illetrate and ignorant! What you are emphasizing is over our head. We have been “dingay ras” for centuries and it will not change for a while. Maybe in 2060?!?!?!?

06/08/10 @ 07:27
Comment from: MonaliZ-a [Visitor]

I love opposition that has convictions —> Birtukan Mideksa in Kality concentration camp for Justice and Librity to all of us.
Revenge is always the weak pleasure of a little and narrow mind of nefsegeday tplf thugs.

your time will come to be hanged in shame.

thank you professor Al ye ethiopia amlak balehbet yettebkeh.

06/08/10 @ 07:57
Comment from: yoh [Visitor]

who ever you are professor or Doctor
of Poletical are living here int
the united States and trying to constractthe Ethiopian poletics. First of all you have to try to go back to help your country your Origin place and teach them what you learned.Second please dont try to show your self as advicor and real poletician by
feuling the diaspora.It does not help any body, not us and also not for your self.
These people are trying to build an new nation and they are ambicias. I was born during Derg and grown up during this time
and I see changes now, and I see peace and slow proceperity.. so let they work and they learned a lot and they are doing there best
so don’t talk to much if you really want to help Ethiopian go back home and help the country in its poletical development… p

06/08/10 @ 08:41
Comment from: [Member]

Not that i am in any position to give any comment, feedback what have you to this high caliber Prof. But as I sensed seriousness in his writing this time, would like to comment one of his point. With his own admissions truth does not hurt so I ll have a free ride ….. he asserts,

“In the 2005 election, there was a unifying spirit among the opposition. For that reason, they were able to trounce the ruling dictatorship in a free and fair election”

In 2005 the oppositions were neither more united nor the election free & fair than this time, period. Yet that time the people were confident the opposition had full of apt politicians and hoped to get more from them than EPRDF, they have also anticipated the opposition to be nationalist (not narrow but rational one) and more realistic what the concern of the people and the country pertains. Above all the public were confident the opposition to be smarter and wiser than EPRDF. Bluntly put none of these has materialized for the overwhelming mass! Every steps they took then after were mishap and devastating, since then they have earned no significant attention form the international community and no visible success from their domain to report. The only thing the people noticed is how hell bent and disgruntled they all are, except provoking havoc nothing new comes from. According the oppositions the country is in dire famine all the year around, illiteracy growing, nothing but ethnic tension all over and no economic growth for the last so many years. On the other hand people not blind they see at list few things are moving than anytime before, the government earns one international acknowledgment after the other in open for everyone to see. Zenawi as Al would like to call him is entrusted to administer a 100Billon dollar endeavour and to top it all he can virtually decide how to raise the money from well to do nations, i.e. not a phoney but real money. Yet, the oppositions as blind as they were/are squabble in minor issues, throw one blanket accusations after the other, denial and more craps….

What the people looking for is, a competitor, a more better one, one which is smarter to bring rigorous growth in all directions. Oppositions must be able to say look the areas administered by us, have much higher economic growth, low child mortality, clean water at their disposal and what have you this too confirmed by credible sources this and that. None of the kind were to observe! Instead they left Kebeles and Weredas uncontested and told the inhabitants afterward not to worry they will come to their rescue during national elections. If the people had not taken all this seriously, would have been a miracle! Now the consequence is many elections are necessary to get hold of any constitute at all, that too if the opposition is well organized and have a good support from out and in, above all is in a position to show a lot for the public to be persuaded. To bring a significant electorate shift will take even more and longer! If this does not hurt what else does?

06/08/10 @ 08:43
Comment from: The Benjamin’s ($100) [Visitor]
The Benjamin’s ($100)

This is what politics all about Mr. Alemayehu…Look at all your comments what they are suggesting,
“Zenawi knows the opposition like the opposition does not know itself. He has studied them and understands how they (do not) work”.
“He tries to fool and trick the opposition. He will send “elders” to talk to them and lullaby them to sleep while he drags out “negotiations” to buy just enough time to pull the rug from underneath them. He casts a magical spell on them so that they forget he is the master of the zero-sum game (which means he always wins and his opposition always loses)”.
Great politician approach should be considered with Barack Obama, Kennedy, and Ronald Reagan etc… Seeing our great leader to be mentioned with this statue must be icing on the cake

06/08/10 @ 08:56
Comment from: [Member]

I think this is one step to positive analysis,however there is an undercurrent of bittrness in the professor’s analysis. I dont know why the professor failed short of “calling a spade a spade".The opposition failed because its political views and strategies were divorced to the reality. The opposition lost because they lagged behind the people they were suppose to lead.The opposition lost because they are advancing a politics of hate. The opposition lost because they did not trust the people instead they attempted every internal issue to be decided/influenced by foreigners etc.The professors attempt to revisit the reality is something that should be encouraged, however it fails short.

06/08/10 @ 09:56
Comment from: belay [Visitor]

well this is a step to the right direction, hopefully its not too late. most of us has been saying the opposition in many ways is worst than the incumbent that has managed to more or less bring some sense to ethiopia in the past 20 years. the main problem with the opposition is its thinking that just hating, condemning and fighting the government is all that its needed from it by the people. now it seems they are begining to learn that is not enough. they are learning the people have a way to punish them and correct them as they did recently by their vote. but would they learn or just keep crying as they usually do. we will wait n c.

” But there is a different kind of defeat that I find more worrisome. It is a defeat in the eyes and hearts of the people. I am afraid the opposition collectively has suffered considerable loss of credibility in the eyes of the people by making a public spectacle of its endless bickering, carping, dithering, internal squabbles, disorganization, inability to unite, pettiness, jockeying for power, and by failing to articulate a coherent set of guiding principles or ideas for the country’s future. …

Learn From Past Mistakes: It is said that those who do not learn from past mistakes are doomed to repeat it. Many mistakes have been committed by opposition leaders in the past. They need to be identified and lessons learned from them.”

I know how difficult that is for people who see themselves as angel and the other side as devil.. so i wish you good luck but, just in case try this your biggest mistake was ‘not appreciating and protecting your surprising victory and gain in the last election and instead going after the government and its supporters as enemy’.

06/08/10 @ 09:56
Comment from: Kuku [Visitor]

The Prof. lost hope in Ethiopian politic’s long a go. and he may never recover from it, because he only understand what is in the book of utopia. that is my take of him.

06/08/10 @ 09:58
Comment from: Chala [Visitor]

Good says,
But it should start from your self as you are a head of the oppostion in diaspora you should be the first to say Sorry for the people of ethiopia.

as you wrote rubbish and guided the opposition to wrong direction.

06/08/10 @ 10:04
Comment from: sami1 [Visitor]

Thanks prof AL..
Keep on writing.

Opposition are being dumped on by Meles and the public who does not know Meles’s game.

Yes, they have thier own weakness, but that does not mean they have no hope at all as Meles and his buddies cry!
It is time for all Oppostion to be united and have one voice of bringing Democracy!

They have to build the party in UNITY to bring free ELECTION. Thier weakness is they are being fooled by Meles and his worshipers to just fight with word they talk in the city only instead of convinsing the rural they are commited to do better. United Ethiopia with freedom will do better than what is happening now. All should fight for them to get security while canvasing. Educate all supporters to wear a tishert with thier party name on it. YOu do not have to rally on square but wear T-Shirt to work and on the week end anywhere… That will intimidate the EPDRF and do something silly which will expose their harrasment.

Show you want change to unit and have a real democracy… All these progress will continue even better.

06/08/10 @ 10:19
Comment from: Ment4you [Visitor]

Meles is a dictator period!

06/08/10 @ 11:40
Comment from: woldeyesus [Visitor]

Thank you Professor!
It is a good advice to all parties (rulers, oppositions, the people).

In my opinion, the so-called opposition and the people are as guilty as the rulers in creating this unfortunate situation. After the 2005 election abortion, instead of getting at each others throat, the opposition could have tried to sit down with themselves and the administration to make ways of rectifying the problems for the 2010 and even 2015 elections. Instead, they chose to kill each other since the palace is kept out of reach anyway. In other words, they did not think about the future of the country but their own current return on investment:D

That is why I feel much safer in woyane’s hands than in new hungry ones. Until they prove otherwise, the opposition should not be allowed near that not so blessed palace!

06/08/10 @ 11:42
Comment from: Invisible [Visitor]

Why don’t you go the country, live in the country, speak to the country people, see what is improved and not in the country and talk than talking that is defecating the readers.

Haily Shawel is in the country, but you and Berhanu Nega, enjoying your life in USA not knowing you both are systematically slaves in USA. Stop preaching innocent Ethiopians.

The true freedom fighters fight with public in the country not outside of the country from closet. You chicken heads you both have your own small world with your own small brain that doesn’t make the right decision for the country to develop.

06/08/10 @ 11:42
Comment from: Arbegha [Visitor]

Tplf cadres dont change your name to our ethnic name we know you so call your self chala? you never herd of this name while you were in your cacoon tigrea donot play games in oromo name use your own TPLF or EPLF names it fits you well dont assumed Chala[ traitors] CADRES GO BACK TO SUDAN WHERE YOU BELONG LEAVE THE COUNTRY for real tigrgha GET IT ?? long live Ethiopia

06/08/10 @ 12:15
Comment from: ankober [Visitor]

al al al
as always an analysis attemted to show off your intelect.Once again you miserably failed.

06/08/10 @ 12:39
Comment from: yoni [Visitor]

“he (Meles)can outwit, outthink, outsmart, outplay, outfox and outmaneuver them any day of the week.”

Mr. Al…

The above statement was not your words…you need to reference them…

As a prof you should know better.

You need to be expelled from the University…PLAGIARISM !

06/08/10 @ 12:53
Comment from: De La Manchu [Visitor]
De La Manchu

The trashing and total rejection of the opposition by the EPRDF in the election of 2010 in Ethiopia is a lesson that the Ethiopian people love the leadership but 1. There was not a viable opposition party worthy of their trust to lead and improve their lively hood better than what they have got now.
2. The fear of the people towards those who consider themselves more equal and more Ethiopian, merited to decide the type of government and the shape of their nation, the compulsion and dictation of the language the people need to speak and the blood line that was required that excludes the majority of the Ethiopian people the whole nine yards of the failed system of the past. They had fought long and hard and shed their blood and their health to go back to carry the old rugged cross and to put on the old shackle they threw away once and for all to keep Ethiopians more equal and more inclusive that is the panacea for the UNITY OF THE NATION to have a descent chance to survive. The elites of the past old and unequal system specially those in the diaspora who will forgo the unity, health and prosperity of the nation even if it comes to the genocide of the likes of Rwanda to put themselves back on the only comfortable throne they were used to and forced to abdicated by the barrel of the gun.
In order for the people of Ethiopian to enjoy a more democratic and harmoniously united nation, those who want to regain the paradise they think they lost need to regain the trust of the Nations and peoples of Ethiopia that they don’t entertain and disavow their hidden agenda of an empire of ethnic hegemony and oppression they did practice in the past. The people of all the Nations of Ethiopia have sacrificed so much to get ride off the evil empires of feudal exploitation and fascist terror and death camps.


06/08/10 @ 14:47
Comment from: Girma Tessema [Visitor]
Girma Tessema

Alemayehu G. Mariam,

If you can’t be here, you can’t preach fool to innocent Ethiopians. What you know is how to ignite violence to peaceful Ethiopians, and for that matter, to the country as the whole.

Where were you when EPRDF were fighting to topple Dergue regime and after they succeed, they develop the country more than any other leaders in history of Ethiopia? You like to enjoy your life in someone else’s energy and blood. You should be ashamed of yourself.

A message for Berhanu:
you couldn’t even give straight answer for simple questions when you were asked by journalist. Yet you want to a leader of a big country like Ethiopia. One of qualifications to be a leader for Ethiopia is you have to live in the country and know the needs of people and know how to build good relationship with world leaders.

Education without common sense is castrated pig that doesn’t produce a fruit. You and Alemayehu are no different than castrated pig.

06/08/10 @ 15:16
Comment from: Extraterrestrial [Member]

You are the master proponent of Hate Politics, until today in your tiny dark heart hate politics against the Ethiopian government was pro forma and acceptable without regard of its consequence.

Almost in every move the Ethiopian government made wheather it was to represent Africans in Copenhagen or establishing commodity exchange with state of the art technology you make an international level of a mockery out of all the efforts.

Now all in a sudden it seems you are trying to turn around and blame the opposition in an attempt to shift the blame. You and the Ethiopian diaspora contributed to the great extent in promoting hate politics and pushed the opposition to take hate politics as a stratagy to bring change and when it fails you are now trying to run away.

You are a slow learner and worest of all you are learning from experience which is a sign of having little mind.

You and the useless diaspora world can’t escape from the blame of creating a confused opposition in Ethiopia.


06/08/10 @ 15:23
Comment from: George [Visitor]

I have the same opinion as Hayelom above. The so called prof in his long essays always potrays hate politics. It is in his current desertation that he has tried to be constructive and perhaps a little genuine.
One thing I would like to tell this man is that in the 2005 election the opposition wanted to take power of government armed with hate politics and mongering, and they managed to win in the capital. In the recent election has described the predicaments of the opposition pretty well.

One question I wish to ask the man how desrcibes a dictator? Is Meles really a dictator as Mengistu, Hitlor, Mussoloni, etc? I am really lost!!!!!!!!

06/08/10 @ 16:37
Comment from: Berhe [Visitor]

Mr G. Mariam,

You are wasting your time. We do not need educated people like you. We are not supported by educated people but depend on our force, tricks and determination to keep power.

We don’t care what the oppositions think or do. We pass laws that only works for us and against oppostions. Such as:

Closing all schools because students don’t support us and the our law does not permit them for any kind of protest.

Call in all our supporters from all over the world to come out and show support in Addis so they look like Addis’s residents.

Ban all media, election observers we thought will not support us and allow only the one that are in our control.

Threatened people to take their homes and businesses and fire them from their work if they do not vote for us.

We didn’t have to do any thing different with Britain and our foreign supporters because they already know how much we want to keep power for as long as we can.

Ethiopians do not deserve democracy but ruling them by force and we are all about force and money.

How do you expect us to get money. By going to school like you. No man that will not work for us when we are getting it right away.

06/08/10 @ 16:50
Comment from: kul [Visitor]

Dear Prof. Al Mariam:

I cannot believe you finally talked about giving the new generation a chance!!!!! Power-mongering old tugs on either sides of the political spectrum are the real enemies of Ethiopia. As long as the remains of the rotten generation of EPRP, TPLF, EPLF, OLF, WPE, etc are still alive, we, the new generation, will not see any hope at all. I just wish all of you old tugs are gone (I mean naturally)

06/08/10 @ 16:59
Comment from: Berhe [Visitor]


My friend these educated people and oppostions do not listen to us. They hope our PM and president Meles for 25 years will go down easly. They never learn from our past history.

I said it before, forget about democracy, educated people and vote.

For your and westerners sake we pretended to have an election. But the problem we created now is this big number, the 99.6 percent “victory” in the May 2010 parliamentary “election”.

As much as we were prepared to keep power in our control we were not prepared to be laughed at by this big number.

What can I say, we are in Africa and we take numbers of people they did not vote for us and turn it around and use it. That is our style of democracy and our PM is again the winner.

06/08/10 @ 17:10
Comment from: tkul [Visitor]

dear al mariam please stop your articles if you are a man go to Ethiopia and fight on the ground. WE CAN SEE YOU IF YOU CHANGE ANY THING .YOU ARE LIVING IN LYX LIFE IN AMERICAN .

06/08/10 @ 18:27
Comment from: bymeno [Visitor]

Al Mariam, who are you and what do you want?

In this article, you distance yourself from the opposition and blame “them". In your previous articles, you used to say “we the opposition".

Do you have a party? if so, what party member are you? You abandened your family by going to your home office and write these garbagges instead of spending quality time with your kids and life partner.

You know what I think Al? You are an opportunist. you are waiting for a time when the opposition comes to power you would say ” I srtuggled in cyber space for Ethiopia. I am a professor so I know better than you so give me power and let me lead Ethiopia.” Another so called professor tried this before. His name is Tecola Hagos.

Right after Eprdf controlls Ethiopia, he run back to Ethiopia from US and joined them. He didn’t sacrice anything before he joined them in Addis. They gave him a position to be assistant forign secretary. But he wanted more. They kicked him out. Now, he is crying foul sitting in US, teaching in a community college just like you spreading hate politics at his website

In Ethiopia there is a saying “Yata lemagh tesadbo yihedal” . Al Mariam, you and Tecola are “Yata Lemagh".

All you care is power. In your previous comments, you have been bombarded by negative reviws and now you changed your tone and distance yourself from the opposition while in reality you are one of them and changed your tone to confuse readers and win their “hearts".

I don’t think you succeeded. You failed now and you will fail forever unless you go back home and contribute positively.

God Bless Ethiopia!

06/08/10 @ 18:36
Comment from: jazzman [Visitor]

Good folks- It looks like

Al’s in rehab-

06/08/10 @ 19:31
Comment from: Yeha [Visitor]

Dr.Al Mariam is losing his credibility by throwing so many nasty language to his country.

I hope he will understood about Ethiopian democracy sooner than later.Dergue never be come back unless dreaming like foolish. go a head and delete my comment.

Thank you……Yeha

06/08/10 @ 19:45
Comment from: moneytalks [Visitor]

Thank you Professor Alemayehu, as always great analysis. You and the likes of you are treasures of Ethiopia. Thank God for people like you who always fight for the poor defenseless Ethiopians who are being taken advantages of, stripped off their God given rights, kicked, robbed, tortured and killed by TPLF regime. It is bad enough to see and hear the physical and mental abuse our people enduring in Ethiopia, now undeserving criticisms and insults are being thrown at you and the likes of you for defending and arguing for poor Ethiopians. Considering the sources where these insults coming from, I am thrilled know that you have touched the nerves of woyanes.
Great Leadership has nothing to do with ruling the country with iron fist, falsely accusing, abusing, robbing, torturing and killing the law-abiding citizens of a country.
Shame to all those who applaud a man like Meles hat has given orders innocent people to be arrested, tortured and killed in prison and on the streets of Ethiopia. It is hard to imagine the kind of hell on earth the parents of Meles’s victims must be going through for the rest of their lives. Ethiopians will never forgive and forget what TPLF have done to our fellow Ethiopians and our country.
Thank you again Professor Alemayehu, God bless you for caring for the poor and vulnerable Ethiopians.

06/08/10 @ 20:08
Comment from: MZ [Visitor]

Now Al is blaming the opositions for lack of performance.

Let’s wait and read what is coming out of his mind next time.

Mekoyet dug new

06/08/10 @ 21:40
Comment from: john john [Visitor]  
john john

Hi Al whats wrong with you man ? move on there is no hope for Banda dirty game your parent (ASKARI) done enough damage to Ethiopia. The best thing for you go and join Sawa kitten and dig your own grave.

06/08/10 @ 22:37
Comment from: justin [Visitor]

It’s sad. The extremist Diaspora destroyed the Ethiopian Opposition Parties for the second time in a row. In 2005 the Opposition made a bone headed move to forgo almost half of the parliament’s seats including every seat in Addis by listening the advise of the wacho Extremist Diaspora. In 2010 the Ethiopian opposition hatched up a political campaign strategy based of hate politics and riot provocation with the assistance of the Extremist Diaspora, including Dr. Nega of G7. The Ethiopian people said enough is enough with HATE politics and violence and handed the Opposition a trouncing. It’s time the Ethiopian opposition Parties stop listening to the Extremist Diaspora. That is their only HOPE!

ኢትዮጵያ ለዘላለም ትኑር

06/08/10 @ 22:43
Comment from: Endalu [Visitor]

In the eaithies Several thouseds of people diad by Derg for EPRP (Red Terror).Five years ago Kinijit want to sacrifice 15000 people to over throw EPDRF.But after 190 people sucrifice for Kinijit Their leaders cowrdly applogize to the government.Then after they arive USA they try to be a hero.The worest thing is Addis Abebas voted to Birihanu Nega for City Mayor,but he abandend the people.It is shame.Now Ethiopians are not stupid.Doctret Degree and Proffessor can not confuse no body.AL so called Birihanu Nega Get a life Ethiopians voted.They do not belive their country can be lead fron D.C or L.A.

06/08/10 @ 22:56
Comment from: [Member]


You are right, you caught the imposture prof.
He should be prosecuted or expelled for his plagiarism.
This shows how pretentious and phony this guy is.

06/08/10 @ 23:00
Comment from: Neutral [Visitor]

The only committed party for Ethiopia is EPRDF. All r power starved bunch of people

06/09/10 @ 01:03
Comment from: Eleni Hadgo [Visitor]
Eleni Hadgo

Holly cow!
I read an article by Tesfaye Habisso,
An Ethiopian Intellectual( AAU)
on Aigaforum.
WoW,What a depth difference with this air head AlMariam.
Wow What a matured analysis.
I am very proud Local Ethiopian Intellectuals are out-shinning and outsmarting the so called “west trained Professors”
You Go Tesfaye! Proud of you my man!
Keep on educating the ppl.

06/09/10 @ 01:07
Comment from: moneytalks [Visitor]

My condolences to for becoming the lynching place for people who do not support dictator Meles. Most of the comments 90% to 95% are coming from TPLF. It is sickening to see that have given woyanes an open plain field to insult and belittle Ethiopians. If the technology was possible to use actual bullets instead of words through computers, these woyanes would have shot and killed many Ethiopians as they have been doing in Ethiopia. Nazret, show your solidarity with Ethiopian people and stop these woyanes from spreading their propaganda and insulting our respected well accomplished Ethiopians who are doing their best to spread the truth and speak for the voiceless Ethiopians. TPLF have all the rights in Ethiopia, control all the businesses and the military; it is only fair to take away woyanes free speech from ridiculing Ethiopians on your website.

06/09/10 @ 08:46
Comment from: Nate Tameret ,Switzerland,Zurich [Visitor]
Nate Tameret ,Switzerland,Zurich

By : Nate Tameret,
Switzerland ,Zurich

I can’t believe I am going to defend Mengestu….but, Mengestu seems an angel compare to Meles … Mengestu never pretend to be a democrat and rob Ethiopians blind as Meles and his mobster buddies have been doing since they came to power. Mengestu loved Ethiopia and would have done everything to unite Ethiopians, instead of dividing the country and the people by ethnic groups. Unlike woyanes, Mengestu came to lead and bring Ethiopia to the 21st. Century, but, unfortunately, Mengestu became power hungry and paranoid and became a monster. In the other hand, woyanes came with olive branch, but in actuality Meles and his gangs came with evil goals in minds, definitely not for love of country. They came to divide Ethiopia and rob Ethiopians and kill whoever came on their way of evil doings. The only similarities between Meles and Mengestu is the unnecessary hundreds of thousands of innocent Ethiopians blood loss, and for that, Ethiopians will never forgive and forget all the horrors Mengestu and Meles have caused to millions of Ethiopian parents and all Ethiopians in general. But Meles is the worst Dictator in Ethiopian history that has caused not only tortures and murders, but also who gave our fertile land to Sudan and to other foreign countries to be owned and abused up to hundreds of years. Meles and the mafia TPLF group have become multimillionaire by robbing the poor Ethiopians they hate the most, and probably receiving bribery from foreigners in exchange for land our families died for, or some other kinds of illegal activities. I have a strong feeling that in the next few years, Woyanes going to bring more hell to Ethiopia and Ethiopians. OLF, ONLF–it is time to join your Ethiopian brothers and sisters and fight the real enemy TPLF. Stop hating the Amhara ethnic group that haven’t done harm to you. Amharas have been tortured and killed by Mengestu and Meles as well and their lands have been taken away from them and given to Sudan for some kind of pay off to TPLF. In the past and till now, not one Ethiopian leader ever build more roads, schools and hospitals just in Amhara province alone. It is time to brush off all the false information that was fed to you for years by the two evil brothers Esays and Meles. I happen to be an Amhara and Oromo and I have been in Amhara and Oromo province, and the life conditions and the poverty are very similar in both provinces, in fact some things are better in the Oromo area because of the schools, hospitals and the clinics the Evangelical Christians are building in that area. Please join hands with your Ethiopian brothers and sisters and fight the real enemy that have killed your family members and fellow Ethiopians and the group that have gave and sold the land of your ancestors and the group of people who have stolen your voice repeatedly in the fake democracy election–Dictator Meles and his mafia TPLF.

06/09/10 @ 08:51
Comment from: Yared [Visitor]

Hi Professor, Now you are thinking twice before you write some thing. Good start. such kind of article really helps ethiopian poltics. since you are well educated in such field, you should have been write well balanced analysis long time ago. But still you are not too late. forget hatefull diaspora. Please try to dig deeply about our oppostions and create strong politician orgnization.

06/09/10 @ 09:45
Comment from: TEDDY [Visitor]

TPLF thugs ,bunch of TOUTHLESS HYENAS ,
vultures and crickets parasite bandas .
The way you are barking each time prof Al
wrote ,shows how much you’re shitting on
your pants .The election is not already
done ,the next and the true round will be
held SOON .Where Peoples shall vote against
his evil opressors (The Tyrant Zenawi ,the
despot looter azeb ,the revisionist facist
banda Berekete ,the SS agazis as the whole,
and the leba Tigrai Mafiosis )with their
rifles and machets .hey adgi Banda ,the
only banda land ever known in Ethiopia it’s
only Eritrea ,the land of Mussolini ashkaris ,
but also TIgrai ,the holly land of bandas
of the Kehadi Yohanes and his gran son
dagmai yehuda ,Ye mussolini baryaw haile
selassie gugsa .I wonder where are then
your pride beeing a Shabyan Terafi ,LIKimKAMI
BANDA .The other moron named KORATA said"PEOPLE MEANT BY THIS YEARS ELECTION IT IS CLEAR AS A WHISTLE WHO THEY LIKE BETTER THE OLD OR THE NEW TESTAMENT.."it’s better for you moron guy ,that you stay in nap .
Ethiopian Peoples know perfectly who really
work for their well beings and prosperity
and who is materminding evil actions against their unity and sovereignty .Prof Al ,Dr.Berhanu Nega and Birtukan Mideksa are
fighting for the sake of the ethiopian peoples.While the Lebaw zenawiis destroying
the political forces and the economy activity
foe the sake of his ss agazis ,the tigrai Mafiosis .if this election is as free as your
supposing to say ,where the hell TPLF bandits

06/09/10 @ 12:55
Comment from: Ras Thomas [Visitor]
Ras Thomas

Mr. Alemanyuhu we know what you want !!!
You don’t like Males Zanawi because you want his position.
But, I would give you this advice in order to succeed you agenda.
Be patriotic like Males Zanawi.
Stop !!!! taking salary from Egypt
and Eriteria. then we may can trust you. if you also, say you would build
Dams and factories like Males.

06/09/10 @ 13:19
Comment from: kul [Visitor]


With all due respect, I do not understand why you blame for letting supporters of the ruling party post comments on their site. You blame Woyane for not letting people speak their minds and yet you still want to prevent others not speak out. Even if you and I do not agree with what the woyane supporters say, we still need to respect their views. That’s what makes you and me different from the woyanes. I think should stay impartial and that’s what they are doing.

06/09/10 @ 16:40
Comment from: Teshome [Visitor]

. The recent results show it was not a fair election with 98% unparrallel win . Even the 2% were different mostly attributed to accidental typos.Meles Zenawi recently admited that he needs to put somebody with the complete knowledge of the Karl Marx , Lenin and Engles Coomunism ideology back into the position as a Charmian for National Election Board of Ethiopia . Assefa Biru had designed the Election Board since it’s birth in 1991 to be led by people with thorough knowledge and belief of Socialism. Without that kind of a person the election board has to be organized again back from scratch and will not be as effective.

06/09/10 @ 17:09
Comment from: Gennet [Visitor]

Dear Prof.,

you said it all, concerning the so called oppostion together with you and likes so called self - made anaylists etc..:

You wrote: ‘It is a defeat in the eyes and hearts of the people’.


Now please don’t try again to give again so called ‘advices’. The majoritiy of the Ethiopian people may not know how to articulate themselves in a foreign language, but in their own language, they can send whole messages with only some words/phrases. Ethiopians are not dumb , believe me they really don’t need cut & paste phrases!. Please just stop the hate tirade!

06/09/10 @ 18:04
Comment from: john john [Visitor]  
john john

Anyone who call PM Melse is a dictator is a low life slave who suffer from infriority complaxe just like Amazing Eritrian.

06/09/10 @ 18:57
Comment from: Berhe [Visitor]

Mr G. Mariam,

I admire educated people like you. Your educated mind is refreshing.

The problem with my TPLF brothers and sisters is that they hate educated people because they have nothing in common. They feel out of place.

For me to go out of TPLF and go to school I had to make huge excuse and ask for their forgivness and mercy. Otherwise they would have killed me if I said to go to school.

They want everything the easy way & without going to use thier head. That is the reason why they are so unintelligent.

I am one of those few former TPLF who believe in education and self reliance rather than stealing.

06/09/10 @ 19:31
Comment from: Goitay [Visitor]

almariam, you had better ask EPRDF for an apology and surrender for pardon like the renowned artist Solomon Tekalign. Look! he is become the real son of Ethiopia.He has opened his mind to see the reality going on Ethiopia. He has witnessed all the strides the EPRDF government has done to Ethiopa in the last 20 years. It is never too late for you too to do so.Stop flooding with trashes as you have been doing the last five or more years. Contrary to your claims as a professor, you are playing a negative role in all developmental activities of Ethiopia.

06/10/10 @ 05:52
Comment from: Chaltu [Visitor]

Prof Al. I really wonder what u teach ur students. Hate politics followed by distancing urself from ur own guilt followed by plagiarism. Seriously what kind of lies do u tell to keep ur job?? Anyways I guess u know by now from the comments above that this should have been what u wrote BEFORE the election instead of all the other crap.

06/10/10 @ 07:31
Comment from: TEDDY [Visitor]

:)):crazy:Justin Sooner Out keep on your daily
naked ,specially childish TERET TERET lies
for yourself .Even a blind and a deaf know
perfectly that the 2005 election was willingly
sabotaged by your leba master and his agazis .
And this one is a simple comedia of democracy
to enternain ignorant Western diplomats
and fool diaspora peoples .Where the hell
have you seen an evil tyrant rejected by
the majority of the peoples ,even vomited
by the Tigrai Peoples ,whom he’s supposed
representing ,obtaining a North Korean Style,
of 99.6 % results of the vote.Ther’s none
valuable opposition forces ,all the forces
which have the capacity to challenge your
leba master (CUD ,UDJ)have been desmanteled
by your own Agazis and bandas .The others
specially the one calling UDP are simple
collection of Aderby bandas like Lidetu Kidetu
and cowards like Hailu Shawul who have willingly sold their soul and dignity to
the Devil ,your leba master ,Zenawi .

06/10/10 @ 12:53
Comment from: sami1 [Visitor]

The people of Ethiopia has said but their saying is burnt. Since the election is riged so don’t bet the drum with lies!
The hate is from Meles and his party to put down all but who agree with him.
Stop barffing your shit from the wrong side!

06/10/10 @ 13:42
Comment from: sami1 [Visitor]

The people of Ethiopia has said but their saying is burnt. Since the election is riged so don’t bet the drum with lies!
The hate is from Meles and his party to put down all but who agree with him.
Stop barffing your shit from the wrong side!

06/10/10 @ 13:43



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