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This week in the Ethiopian Blogosphere

The Ethiopian blogosphere continues to hit hard at the repressive dictatorial government of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. Meskel Square and Nazret.com both point to a Channel 4 special report entitled “Ethiopia's Agony” which can now be viewed online.

Meskel Square
writes

EPRDF supporters will not like its angle, summed up by a report by the same reporter Inigo Gilmore in The Observer – “Democratic dawn fades in Ethiopia” as abuses come to light.


Nazret
highlight the key points of the Channel 4 programme:

“43,000 Ethiopians in Dedesa Concentration camp, over 30 died; Mass Burial and attrocities perpetrated on citizens; free press and text messages banned; International Community Patience running out”

Redeem Ethiopia, critically examines an article from the November 10th edition of The Economist, entitled “Ethiopia, a darling of the West turns nasty.

In its conclusion the article shocks Ethiopians and anyone who follows events in Ethiopia. It states:

“Many, perhaps most, Ethiopians and many foreign observers argue that, despite the government's recent bloody brutality, Mr. Zenawi is still the best man to keep Ethiopia on a path to development.”

Using this simple sentence in its conclusion the Economist tries to absolve Meles by telling the reader that despite all the brutality, most Ethiopians still hold him in high regard. This statement can only leave the unsuspecting reader wondering what miracles this man must have performed to have such grand sins absolved by the very people he is brutalizing. It convinces the reader that he too must accept (at least not oppose) Meles Zenawi in the interest of the greater good that Ethiopians and others expect from him. The reader is asked to hop on to the bandwagon of support; albeit one that only exists in the writer’s mind.


ET Blog Diaries
calls on the international community to pay attention before it is too late to the “Atrocities in Concentration Camps in Dedessa” committed by Meles’ government.

Finally the EU representative in EThiopia admits that “We have not witnessed anything like this in Ethiopia before” refering to the Dedesa concentration camp where the Fascist Meles regime is holding thousands of Ethiopian youth. The crimes of Bosnia and Rwanda are being repeated in Ethiopia. We cry out to the world to be truthful and condemn this man and withold the money.


Ethiopian Politics
points to an article in the New York Times by Meron Agonafer, which asks “What the U.S. can do to restore a genuine government in Ethiopia?” Meron Agonafer calls for British Prime Minister, Tony Blair to evict Meles from the Commission for Africa.

“ndeed, it is an open secret that Tony Blair has been promoting Meles Zenawi, the notorious autocrat, as the “new leader” of Africa. Of course, if the word “new” is meant to indicate an introduction of ethnic division, abject poverty, intense repression, mass killing, yes, Tony Blair is right on the mark. His poster boy has a master plan to keep Ethiopia in perpetual conflict and misery which will eventually destabilize the Horn of Africa. And the last thing the world needs is lawlessness in that region.

Ethiopundit examines the ruling party of Ethiopia which he describes as “familiar massive and ruthless corporate / totalitarian empire“.

From owning every square centimenter of land in a nation of 70 million onto control of billions in aid annually and total dominance of the commanding heights of a whole national economy, the Politburo's holdings represent the greatest concentration of wealth under unitary control from Cairo to the Cape.

Weichegud!ET Politics – brilliant as usual this time takes a look at the possible contents of Prime Minister Meles’ “Diary” written in “solitary confinement solitary confinement in four-by-four meter cells make for some good reading once Prime Minister Meles settles in in the mansion next to Mengistu in the sprawling suburbs of Zimbabwe?”(where he lives as an “official guest of President Robert Mugabe)

Dear Diary,

As I have been telling you for the past three weeks, like all great leaders I am misunderstood and unappreciated during my time. In 20 years, when I head the World Bank’s “Office of What do we do with former despots”, people will finally realize the wisdom with which I led Ethiopia………………..By the way, it is vexing that other African countries are mimicking my tactics without giving me proper credit. Thieves, all of them. Museveni finally came to his senses and arrested that anti-peace opposition traitor Kizza Besigye and charged him with treason and terrorism.

3 comments

  • tom

    Democratic dawn in Ethiopia fades as abuses come to light

    Post-election protests have resulted in a wave of arrests

    Inigo Gilmore in Addis Ababa
    Sunday December 4, 2005
    The Observer

    Ethiopia is in danger of losing millions of pounds of foreign aid as disturbing new evidence of violence and mass detentions emerges from the country that until recently was being hailed as the great democratic hope of Africa.

    International donors are deeply concerned about the political chaos in a country whose prime minister, Meles Zenawi, was supposed to be setting an example of good governance.

    Five months after Ethiopia descended into political chaos following a dispute over the country’s first democratic elections, details are emerging that give a disturbing glimpse into the scale of human rights abuses taking place.

    One man who had endured 19 days of almost constant beatings at the hands of Ethiopia’s security forces is Dereje. ‘The federal police beat us with batons and big sticks,’ he said. ‘A man was shot in his leg, but he got no medication. People lost their eyes and had their feet smashed. Many people were suffering there.’

    He was referring to Dedesa camp, a former military base, in the far west of Ethiopia, where thousands of detainees have been dumped in recent weeks as part of a massive and unprecedented crackdown by Ethiopian security forces.

    Few are prepared to talk but Dereje agreed to do so. He was picked up by federal police in Addis Ababa in early November, but is not sure why, as he has no links to any political party or protests. He was stuffed inside a truck with 150 other men and wedged under a pile of mattresses. Three men suffocated to death on the way to the camp.

    Once there, he says, several men, weakened by hunger and malaria, were beaten mercilessly by the guards even as they urinated.

    He says he knew of at least 30 who died, their bodies taken away to an unknown location for burial. He discovered from overhearing conversations between two police guards that there were at least 43,000 detainees in the camp.

    Meles Zenawi has been lauded as an exemplar of good governance by Tony Blair who picked him to draft his Commission for Africa report on how to reduce poverty and promote democracy in Africa. But Zenawi now stands accused of undermining the democratic ideals he is supposed to promote.

    ‘I think it’s really disturbing,’ said Tim Clark, the head of the EU delegation in Addis Ababa. ‘The trouble is there has been a complete blackout on information.’

    This emerging picture of large-scale human rights abuses coincided last week with an announcement that the police had completed their investigation into post-election disturbances during June and November in which at least 88 people were killed by security forces.

    This followed parliamentary elections in May when millions of voters in Ethiopia voted for opposition candidates. So when the Meles government announced it had won the majority of 547 parliament seats, many critics claimed voter fraud.

    In court last week, 23 political detainees, including the leaders of the Coalition for Unity and Democracy, were refused bail. They are expected to be charged soon with treason, which carries the death penalty.

    Embarrassed by what it has called ‘disproportionate’ use of force by Ethiopian police, Britain is withholding some £20 million in aid. While the British ambassador declined to be interviewed Clark, himself a Briton, was unusually frank.

    The EU has aid projects in Ethiopia that are worth more than €1 billion and Clark warned that those projects were under review subject to the government’s response.

    Clark said: “We’ve been hearing from Dedesa camp about atrocities taking place. It’s extremely worrying. We have not witnessed anything like this in Ethiopia before.’

    At the Prime Minister’s residence heavily armed special force soldiers man the gates, and there is a palpable sense of nervousness.

    Meles Zenawi told The Observer that demonstrations following the elections had not been peaceful, and accused the opposition of plotting insurrection long before the elections were held.

    He said: ‘It was an uprising and we put down an uprising. Regrettably it involved loss of life, but it was not a peaceful demonstration at all.’

    He said opposition leaders had been instrumental in fomenting riots, during which hand grenades were thrown, and that the government would soon present evidence to back its claims. He said the donor countries’ demands to see opposition leaders in prison had been rejected because they were presented in an ‘insulting manner’.

    He has spoken to British development minister Hilary Benn and admitted the British government had expressed concern. But he insisted that there would be an open, independent investigation into the disturbances which he claimed had left seven policemen dead.

    He claimed only two or three people, already ill, had died on route to Dedesa camp and insisted there are only 6,000 being held there and promised to investigate any claim of abuses. He said: ‘I’ve always been convinced that democratisation in Ethiopia is not only a matter of choice but of survival. We shall persist with our democratic reforms, no matter the challenges we will face along the way.’

    He said The Observer would be allowed inside Dedesa. This did not happen, but a supervised visit to opposition leaders in jail was allowed.

    Four leaders were arrested on 1 November and this was the first time Hailu Shawel, the CUD leader, had been able to speak publicly since his detention. He condemned the international community for not taking tougher action.

    He said: ‘Of course they pay lip service to democracy. But after all these people have died, their response has no place at the moment. It is not proportionate to what is happening. It shocks me when they say 40 to 50,000 youths in Addis have been herded away. This is unheard of. What’s the purpose of this?’

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  • tom

    Ethiopia is in danger of losing millions of pounds of foreign aid as disturbing new evidence of violence and mass detentions emerges from the country that until recently was being hailed as the great democratic hope of Africa.

    International donors are deeply concerned about the political chaos in a country whose prime minister, Meles Zenawi, was supposed to be setting an example of good governance.

    Five months after Ethiopia descended into political chaos following a dispute over the country’s first democratic elections, details are emerging that give a disturbing glimpse into the scale of human rights abuses taking place.

    One man who had endured 19 days of almost constant beatings at the hands of Ethiopia’s security forces is Dereje. ‘The federal police beat us with batons and big sticks,’ he said. ‘A man was shot in his leg, but he got no medication. People lost their eyes and had their feet smashed. Many people were suffering there.’

    He was referring to Dedesa camp, a former military base, in the far west of Ethiopia, where thousands of detainees have been dumped in recent weeks as part of a massive and unprecedented crackdown by Ethiopian security forces.

    Few are prepared to talk but Dereje agreed to do so. He was picked up by federal police in Addis Ababa in early November, but is not sure why, as he has no links to any political party or protests. He was stuffed inside a truck with 150 other men and wedged under a pile of mattresses. Three men suffocated to death on the way to the camp.

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  • Ethiopian people’s opposition to the TPLF regime is gaining more momentum

    What started as a students uprising against the repressive Ethiopian government on Monday, 02 January 2006 at the Addis Ababa Technical Collage, has now spread to more schools, such as Teferi Mokonnen, Kokobe Atsbha highshools, Mnlik, Atsnoad, Menen Junior Highshools as well as a
    vocational training school.Furthermore, there was more disturbances around Wabi Shebele, Sengatera, Ldeta and Armed Forces Hospital.

    In the afternoon hours, the uprising spread to Ayer Tena, Belay Zeleqe with more reported clashes between the security forces in a widespread area in the city.

    As a result of the ongoing uprising from Kokobe Atsbha JHS students, one student died while over
    30 sustained various kind of injuries. It is reported that the security forces took away the students
    identity cards while beating them indiscriminately.

    It is also reported that highshool students from Mnlik put up a serious peaceful resistance against
    the security forces while those from Mnlik and Atsnoad Junior Highshools blocked with stones the
    road from and to Arat Kilo, Sdst Kilo, Kazanchs, Bete Mengst (Mnllik Palace), Central Bus
    Station, Piazza and MegenaNa. The people participating at he peaceful uprising where carrying Posters calling for the immediate release of all the opposition party leaders, calling for the government
    dominated by the Tigray’s minority ethnic clique under TPLF to hand political power back to the
    people and for the repressive regime to give back to the Ethiopian people what was stolen during the
    May 2005 election. All roads around the Oromia region are partially or totally closed and as
    a result, drivers are refusing to drive through those areas for fear for their lives.

    Out of fear of losing control of the uprisings everywhere in the country, the regime is arresting more and more members of its security forces with a concocted charges of sympathizing with the opposition
    and dereliction of duty. So far, over 300 officers and privates are reported to be arrested.

    The regime is also taking the confrontation to a much higher level by involving the parents of the
    students for failing to control their children . To date, the government is rumored to send a circular to
    all school districts to collect a three hundred Bir fine from all parents in compensation of the damages
    incurred from the uprising.
    As a result, parents of soldiers stationed in all forward frontiers of the country are calling their loved
    ones to come save their people in the hinterland or else to abandon their positions and leave the
    repressive regime for good.

    It is also reported that five students got killed in Gonder by the regime’s security forces on Monday 02
    January 2005 in a continuing confrontations resulting from the students demand for removal of the
    security forces from around the school’s parameters. It is reported more students from nearby schools
    of Meseret and Tsadiqu Yohannes and Hibret joined the uprising. The students are reported to echo
    the same slogans as those from Addis Ababa, calling for the government to resign and to release all
    political prisoners including all reporters. Many of the students are reported to be beaten severely
    while many are reported to be detained in undisclosed locations without access to lawyers and their
    parents . The confrontation between the regime and the people of Gonder is reported to be getting
    more tense by the day.

    What is starkly missing and dully noticed by the Ethiopian people is the complete silence by the Western embassies and press in Ethiopia. The Western press is yet to cover the day to day events in the country, believed to be as a result of a concern not to antagonize the West’s darling, the P.M. Meles regime. (emphasis mine)

    Note: the translation into English is not by the paper.

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