By Wondemhunegn EzezewMany TPLF apologists would want us to believe that Ethiopia has come a long way under Woyane administration and tirelessly point to the roads, bridges, schools and universities built in Ethiopia in the past eighteen years. I believe it is both important and necessary to give one’s credit when and where it is due. True, notwithstanding its appalling human rights records, the TPLF regime has achieved a lot in terms of renovating existing development hard wares or expanding new infrastructural facilities. But, the fairness of distribution and/or the responsiveness of concerned officials to relevant public ailments may be disputed. An ordinary Ethiopian living around Lemalimo may not be as pleased as his fellow compatriot around Alamata (the former fully recognizes that the terribly precipitous and twisted roads of Lemalimo won’t be renovated until the Third Arrival of the Italians!).
Nonetheless, there is one and unique facility that we all know to be equitably distributed in each and every administrative unit in Ethiopia from federal to local levels. It is the Woyane Lie Factory Chain with state-of-the-art installations for creating, processing, packing and purveying lies to the unsophisticated general public and unquestioning foreigners to meet the daily requirements of survival for the chronically paranoid regime. At the top are ‘resourceful and imaginative’ managers with proven excellence of originating new lies to fit the times and circumstances of their rule. However, the Woyane Lie Factory owes much of its success more to the android party functionaries and implementers whose education may not necessarily go beyond grade four as long as they unwaveringly support TPLF policies and strategies (much to our shock, this was how Meles argued some years back as to why Woyane is full of rustic bumpkins in a land of many well educated citizens).
The Woyane Lie Factory is not limited within the boundaries of Ethiopia. It is giant multinational franchise with its brand being used by hundreds of self-serving ‘entrepreneurs’ who earn a living by exporting lies manufactured at Arat Kilo and selling them to Diaspora consumers and Western leaders and diplomats who might have an infatuation with Ethiopian political cuisine. It is a highly profitable business especially when the cost of producing lies is negligible (at least in the short run) and there are no transportation charges to get the new lies in Western markets (you simply call your agents in Western capitals and tell them to sell the new product!). Yet, there is always some risk involved—with increasing consumer awareness, you may not be able to maintain your market share or, under the worst cases, you may not be able to sell any portion of your imported lies. It is in our fresh memory that the London based agent went bankrupt after failing to sell its newly made lie about the Third World Solidarity meeting in the capital. It was a pity!
This last month has been a boom for Woyane lie traders—which, however, could be taken as a sign of an imminent bust that would relentlessly erode the foundation of their until now vibrant business (in real world financial and capital markets a big bust is said to be preceded by a corresponding big boom!). Accordingly, Woyane lie importers and exporters, using their springboards from pro-TPLF websites, have been hassling us to buy their cheap lie products—this time round about the genius of Africa! As booming as their business has become, and as aggressive as these Woyane hucksters are, their actions and behaviour attest to the common knowledge that they have reached the acme of their capacity in collecting, distributing and selling lies and deceit to whomever credulous at home and abroad.
Some of them have turned so irrational and have found themselves drawing parallels between George Washington, who is often called the father and unifier of America and Meles Zenawi, whom we know to be the father and author of all hatred, treason and division. Tell me, if this is not the acme of lies and deceit, what is it? George Washington was such a good nationalist that, upon his death, the whole world was lamenting his death, France declared a ten day national mourning in his tribute and thousands of Americans wore mourning clothes for months (thousands for months when the population of the US was only about 3 million). Under Meles and his divisive rule, however, we are lamenting the death of our country but Woyane lie retailers hold out firmly and assertively that “greatness does not necessitate vacating power” and let him stay in power as long as he could. What do you say when you come across Woyane gagas who try to compare the American President who sowed the seeds of US economic and political hegemony with the Ethiopian leader who created a minefield wishing its weakness and destruction?
I myself have always acknowledged the intellectual firepower of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and his scholarly proclivities in dealing with issues, be it with his counterparts, his appointees or local and foreign journalists. But, going to the extremes and trying to compare chalk and cheese would be the greatest of all follies. No doubt Meles is crafty with words. He is good at inserting all kinds of jargons in his speech. He highlights the environmentalist about Jatropha and lectures the economic editor on maquiladoras, comparative advantages or the impact of the global economic crisis on the Ethiopian economy. All this could prove Meles’ intelligence but not his greatness. If you are intelligent, you are quick to learn but if you use your knowledge to attack and eliminate potential contenders, you are none other than the Prince of Machiavelli. Tesfaye Gebre Ab revealed to us in his Yegazetegnaw Mastawoshawoch how Meles uses his word power to scare off the dummies surrounding him—he mentioned them Bonapartism and the whole week the dummies were busy studying its meaning giving Meles the free path to impose his will on them!
The big point that the fans and supporters of Meles and his party miss is that Meles is only good at grammar rules but not at the rules of law. They tend to dismiss the fact that he is only using his language skills to conceal his grand failures. He had used this power effectively to the extent of beguiling Western leaders into believing that he, along with his cousin Isayas, is the new breed of African leaders. By employing his conceptual tricks, he had managed to evade so many accusations of gross human rights violations against his people. In fact, the West, despite its astounding achievements in science and technology, lags far behind in its understanding of the frame of mind of African leaders in general and that of Meles in particular. Some years back I remember my English teacher reading us out a passage about a tool called ‘lie detector’ and I always think of this tool whenever I am faced with blatant lies of Woyane leaders and their defenders. Employing a lie detector to distinguish between the correctness of grammar rules and the respect of the rule of law? A fancy idea!
One of the most visible legacies of Woyane is certainly its Lie Factories with sound establishment throughout the country. When our export sector suffered a lot due to the world economic crisis and when commodity price fluctuations led flower to overtake coffee in earning the much needed foreign currency, the Lie Factory remained the only national pride with relatively satisfactory performance. When the world witnessed hundreds of thousands of lay offs and redundancies, the Lie Factory did not fire its employees except the re-naming of the Factory, the reshuffling of its staff, restructuring of the organization and circumstantial relegation of some of its operatives as part of the new Business Process Reengineering initiative. It re-emerged as the Ministry of Communications with a new spirit, renewed vision and commitment both at home and abroad!
The mind boggling question is: Why would Woyane leaders and their defenders be interested to continue to intensify their lies and deceit at a time when everything is turning their back on them? We have already seen the greatness of Meles leadership when 18 million people are starving after 18 years of his tenure. We saw that all that brouhaha about food security and poverty reduction was about enriching few Woyane cadres and policy implementers. They came wearing “Kongo” Shoes and now they drive the fanciest cars in the world. They have become the single largest investor (in Sebhat Neoga’s own words) in Ethiopia. Yet, 95% of the population has started shifting feeding programmes, in which, if the children eat their lunch, they would forego their dinner in favour of their parents. But, the Woyane Lie factory insists that we have brought peace and prosperity and will continue to do so until we achieve a fully fledged capitalism at which point the middle class will take over power from TPLF. Fold your eyes and let us fool you!
We have been told that TPLF was the outcome of the plight of the people of Tigray. This plight, they say, was so intolerable that it encouraged Tigraways of all age groups—from lad Meles Zenawi to Shimagle Ayele Gessese (aka Sehul)—to take up arms against oppression and exploitation.. In the course of their struggle we know they were called all names such as separatist bandits, infiltrators, collaborators, terrorists and so on and so forth. All these, according to TPLF, were BASELESS LIES fabricated by the ruling regimes to discredit the mission of the struggle and to provide cover for their mis-rule. Today, with the bandits in power, we would be less surprised to see TPLF labeling G7 and EPPF as terrorist organizations and claiming no social base of support for their struggle! But, how could TPLF, having passed through all those odds and ordeals, having suffered much from Derg lies and deceit, mock the plight of Ethiopian people and regard our demand for change as a terrorist move? By the way, almost all of us are terrorists under the new Anti-Terrorism Draft ‘Law’ since we are supporters of any of the democracy movements that seek to remove TPLF!
But then, the glories and the vanities of life have blinded their eyes and Woyane defenders and supporters would rather continue to sing their “Meles is a genius; he has brought peace and prosperity!” song than recognize and share the pain and sufferings of their fellow citizens. Peasants of Wollo, Gondar, Gojjam, Shewa, Wellega, Bale etc…had fought shoulder to shoulder with their TPLF brothers (now enemies?) during the struggle against the regime of butcher Mengistu Haile Mariam. Today, much to our surprise, a Tigraway fellow would simply dismiss the substantiated accusations that Meles is conspiring against Ethiopia by giving large chunks of our Western frontier fertile land to the Sudan. Have we plunged that low recently?
May be history is repeating itself. In Rwanda, the Interahamwe (the Hutu paramilitaries who committed most of the genocide venture) had their version of song to justify their actions and eulogize their genius Habyarimana and his party the National Revolutionary Movement for Democracy (MRND). The song* goes this way:
We are the MRND Interahamwe.
We love peace, unity and development.
We don’t attack, we come to the rescue.
We are not frightened, we frighten others.
We don’t let ourselves get downtrodden,
On the contrary we trample on others.
We will silence wrongdoers.
He [Habyarimana] has brought peace and we sleep safely.
We are independent and imbued with democratic principles.
Now you can think of the peace, democracy and prosperity that Habyarimana had brought to the Tutsi who were being slain in thousands by the Hutu paramilitaries. This was in Rwanda. Replace TPLF for MRND, the paramilitaries for AGAZi and Woyane apologists, Meles for Habyarimana and re-read the poem loudly: “Meles has brought peace and we sleep safely!” True, for Woyane beneficiaries, Meles has brought peace and they sleep safely. That is why these apologists operate at the acme of their lies and deceit to defend this regime by misleading others to take their peace and prosperity for the peace and prosperity of nearly 80 million Ethiopians. They cannot and should not continue to do so indefinitely. It is high time we said ‘enough is enough!’
Today Woyane is a regime that exists only in fortresses—in fortresses of weapons and special AGAZI death squad. To think to continue to rule Ethiopia from such fortress is either arrogance of the highest peak or ignorance unique of its kind. The political analyst whose name I mentioned earlier has a piece of advice to such mix of arrogance and ignorance: “The best fortress for the prince (hence for the modern day Prince Meles) is to be loved by his people, because if he is hated by them, all the fortresses in the world will not save him.” I hope Meles knows this. I hope his fans understand this. I pray to the Almighty to visit them, to open their eyes so that they will be able to see the biggest and the most valuable of all our pictures—Ethiopia—and to wake up from their deep slumber of lies and deceit.
The writer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org