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MW • 4 years ago

Dear all,
In the above article I noticed a curious comment that considered the particular brand of Marxism-Leninism that Abraham Ghebreghiorgis and the EPLF were enchanted by. They branded the Soviet Union as revisionist and social imperialist and debated the need for the denunciation of it. About the same time that debate happened the TPLF and the EPRP had also the same deliberations. Since the TPLF was hooked up with the EPLF, it can be thought that the EPLF shared ideological updates with the TPLF. On the other hand, they both claimed they had differences in the past so whether they sat together to formulate emerging ideological updates is not clear. However, the EPLF and the EPRP were not doing ideological peer reviews of each other. In fact the TPLF and the EPRP were enemies seeking the demise of one another at the time. How is it possible then that all three came up with identical ideological updates with exactly the same terms and expressions describing positions? It is not possible unless there is a third party common to them all reviewing their doctrines. My suspicion is that they all had a common foreign puppeteer captaining them.

DGM • 2 years ago

False. EPLF was a nationalist organization that was supported by it's racial national brethren the Eritrean people. It never relied on any foreign power for support whereas Ethiopia was supported by three foreign powers if not more. They were Israel, the USA before 1977, the Soviet Union after 1977, Cuba, South Yemen, North Korea, East Germany and even some western powers in Europe.

r.dachuben • 4 years ago

"To me, that story narrated above is about her - a story of a great Habesha woman. She is the one who deserves admiration"

Dear MW, Sir
I agree with you a million times about the indefatigable,wise and loyal Habesha WOMAN. And I am also in tune with your analysis about the LOST generation of Habesha Intellectuals with their toxic "modern education" system -- which leaves its victims with artificial superiority complex, camouflaging the true consequence i.e. INFERIORITY complex.
Over the years ( indeed, a long time) I have already enunciated my opinion in fragmented pieces, here and there, written and verbal.
"Eritrea" will NEVER reach it potentials greatness unless it is prepared to recognize and accept the REALITY of its true TRUE history -- along with the reality of international politics

r.dachuben • 4 years ago

Re: Lat paragraph
" it potentials", please correct it to read: "its potential"
"true", delete. [retain TRUE as is]
Thank You.

Guest • 4 years ago
r.dachuben • 4 years ago

Dear Brother Daniel Yemane,

You better believe your eyes. Yes, I am the r.dachuben -- still flapping and swimming (erratically as it may be)! Long story!

Thank you very much for the generous and heart-warming
welcoming gesture (I mean it).

May “Eritrea”, one bright day, come to its senses and find
its way by itself for its OWN benefit. Fragmentation requires no imagination.

Thanks, Daniel

Daniel Teclegiorgis • 4 years ago

This is a phenomenal summary of the sacrifice paid in the making?? of Eritrea. Trying to read it line to line with a sensation of the immense sacrifice, the tragedy and loss of direction in the Eritrea of now takes graphic image, job well done Asmarino staff!

But the challenge out of the box of sacrifice is obscurity in bridging the starting and end points in the process. In other words to make it easier understand where we are now history needs more about where we were. And if the style of the emperor who recognizes quality and intellect by awarding scholarship plus an omega watch was part of where we were, no wonder confusion or loss of direction to be part of an image of where we are.

Guest • 4 years ago
Zekre Lebona • 4 years ago

Dear John592,
I promise to calm down, and say this: the emperor was progressive in his early years governing Ethiopia; say some historians. Had he stepped down and let some sort of constitutional monarchy or other kind of government, the empire would have been spared the military regime under Mengistu, and equally the guerrillas, who are simply glamorized military, who weren't from the barracks, but student radicals who lived by imposing themselves on poor peasants in Eritrea and the rest of Ethiopia. Had he stepped down, the minuscule bureaucrats and technocrats together with the support of the West would probably have come up with a better governance and avoid the war by the fanos of the left. I therefore blame the emperor and the nobility for leaving us with these wolves. I blame however much more my generation, and myself for the horror we delivered in the region. Your comparison to student riots in the West isn't fair at all. People in the west demonstrated, grew their hair, and wore bell bottom pants, took drugs, but society restrained them before they were able to launch millenarian movements. Our society failed to do that for many reasons, and lived in hell for decades.

Some communist guy • 4 years ago

I believe there's nothing surprising in the "I became poitically active in the US" part of comrade MIT's life. Most African students - including Eritreans - were turned into hardcore revolutionaries because of their stay in the US.
Most of them faced racism for the first time. The only antiracist campus movements at the time were Marxist-Leninist organizations (Spartacist League, RCP-USA, Black Panthers...etc) or Panafricanist movements.
Kwame Nkrumah became politically active only after his studies in the US for example.

They also became aware of Eritrean nationalism because of the conceptual framework they evolved in their American years. For the first time, key issues such as self-determination and social justice were openly discussed.
On the other side, they gave their friends and siblings at home revolutionary material that didn't exist in Addis or Asmara (cf Bahru Zewde's research on the Ethiopian student movement.

Very interesting article ! It's the first time in a long time i found anything that interesting on asmarino.com
keep it up

Simon Kaleab • 4 years ago

Selam Some communist guy,

Haile Selassie University's Kennedy library was full of the works of Marx, Engles, Lenin, Trotsky, Mao and other communist authors at that time. It was also possible to get these Marxist books and Peking Review, for free, by writing to the Chinese Communist Party publishers.

Asmarino.com always produces Gold Nuggets!

Simon Kaleab • 4 years ago

Abraham Ghebreghiorgis, what a marvellous chap!

To be a left-wing Marxist when young, and to turn into a full blown liberal at middle age is a natural path of development for many a healthy and dynamic mind. For example, if one checks the backgrounds of most of the prominent neo-Con individuals in the USA, one will discover that they used to be Trotskyists in their youth.

The 60's and the 70's were times of revolutions. From Latin America through Africa and all the way to the Far East, a universal feeling of change was in the air. Even the USA and Europe were not spared from this emotional tide. Frustrated with the failure of the post-war dream, the hippie and anti-war movements in the USA, student uprising in France, the Baader-Meinhof terror gang in Germany, the Red Brigades in Italy were all caught up in the tide of youth idealism trying to challenge the established order. All of these were leftists, some were seriously enamoured with Marxism as a panacea for all ills of society. But this was a false path, as history has shown.

Meanwhile, in the countries that the Western and Third-World youth idolised, i.e. the Soviet Block, China, North Korea, Cuba, and later on in Indo-China (Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos) dictatorships were being consolidated, and individual rights being crushed. Tanks were rolling in Hungary, Czechoslovakia and the notorious cultural revolution was in full swing in China, all crushing every sign of dissent in their path.

A friend of mine with cynical and sarcastic inclination once observed as follows: A paradox - Most of those Third-World students who go on scholarships to the West end up being left-wing Marxists, while those sent to the Eastern block turn to be business men.

I can with a good deal certainty state that Marxism was imported to the Ethiopian student movement, single handedly, by none other than Dr. Eshetu Chole (Economics) of Haile Selassie University. Eshetu was on a scholarship to the USA. Well known friends of Eshetu were individuals such as Yohannes Sebhatu (Eritrea- Digsa) and Afeworki Teklu (Eritrea- Adi Teklezan), who, after joining the EPLF, were labelled, defamed, isolated and murdered by Isaias and his friends (some of whom, now, claim to be democrats and are thrown, by their former friend, to prison).

The youth were caught in the spirit of the time. During the French Revolution, the English poet William Wordsworth wrote:
Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive,
But to be young was very heaven!

Of course, there were problems during the Haile Selassie's regime. The most important being:

1) An unjust land holding system,
2) Economic stagnation and lack of social mobility,
3) The exclusion of most ethnic groups from power sharing (southern groups were made invisible, punishment was meted out to Tigray etc.)

These and some others provided an alibi for a revolution.

But in Eritrea, there were two major problems. The age old ambition of Muslim Arabs to complete the unfinished business of capturing highland Ethiopia/Eritrea through their proxies (local clones), and the intense desire of the urbanized Eritrean highland petty-bourgeoisie to be its own boss.

The rest is history.

But, now, with sufficient hindsight, have any lessons been learnt by all those groups, on both sides of the problem, or are they still in denial?

Amha TD • 4 years ago

Touching. Endrearing. Abrham's life is emblematic of sheer brains, exceptional intellects, along with the corresponding pristine personality make-ups that a certain 'rising' Eritrea had produced. Dashed, lost in the march of history cum other translations, or still living as a model, a guide, of what should be about a good and true Eritrean today and in the future? The most outstanding aspect of this piece is that it is by its very composition much more than a standard eulogy of a departed, It records, it opens a register, for lives and itineraries of the many 'unsung', It provides crucial elements that have to,,one day, be factored in and knowledgeably processed to seriously understand the free fall of our society and the tenebrous situation it is i these last decades.

pdelargy • 4 years ago

These two articles, reflecting very different sides of a truly remarkable man, not only help us all know him better but also bring Eritrean history alive. They tell so many stories which are so important for all Eritreans to know. Stories not only about how the young revolutionary Eritreans thought about things and organized themselves in those early years of the struggle but also are a reminder of the most important aspects of Eritrean culture - love of learning, commitment to justice, gentle caring for friends and family. In these difficult times, these values are the anchors which all Eritreans (and those who love Eritrea) should hold on to with all our strength.

Zekre Lebona • 4 years ago

I think, this article is the first of its type to discuss the role of an Eritrean nationalist and his generation in a critical way. In methodology, it resembles the works of the deceased. What I don't understand is this: how did the educational system in Ethiopia produce such kind of people like Abraham and the rest of his generation, who easily get smitten with foreign ideologies, but had little understanding of the political and social landscape of their country, and not least the obligation to the family. Did Haile Selassie's educational system fail them? Or, were they the ones at fault, or both? What went wrong with the primers like Lema Be Temheri Bet, and Lema Be Gebeya etc.? The Omega watch was the familiar prize from the emperor for gifted students, but did the winners understand their times. If not, does this generation deserve an homage?

Some communist guy • 4 years ago

How did the education in Ethiopia produce such kind of people like Abraham ?

1) Odd Arne Westad's "The Global Cold War": Ethiopia in the early 1950s and 1960s did not have enough teachers so the Imperial government relied on foreign teachers as the peace corps p.e. Westad explains that many of the US peace corps were leftist sympathizers and brought their ideologies with them in Third World countries.

2) It's not only the educational system but also the social and political tructure. Feudalism was a reality to many Ethiopian farmers. Modern education and feudalism are incompatible. And of course, the lack of democracy contributed to radicalize student and workers' movements (Also remember that for a short 10 years period Eritrea had autonomous institutions and a vaguely democratic society which was replaced by Ethiopian feudalism, that triggered a lot of reactions).

3) Why foreign ideologies ? As soon as the Eritrean national movement and the Ethiopian student movement started to embrace Marxism-Leninism, theoretical discussions were so profound that they produced local interpretations of socialism and communism. The EPRP, the EPLF, the ELF or MEISON were not copycats of the Soviet Union communist party, they were truly unique !

-> Of course this generation deserves an hommage. For the Eritrean cause, they incarnated the second wave of heavy politicization (after the 1950s). For Ethiopia, they were the first to openly discuss social and democratic revolution. What actually defeated this wonderful political period is Mengistu's clique.

MW • 4 years ago

Dear Zekre Lebona,
While dinning at a restaurant together, a self proclaimed Ethiopist - Chicago University Sociology Professor Donald Levine, once told me to my face that there is no Ethiopian scholar -modern scholar- at all. I was confused at the time. Delving into the matter more later, I saw that he was right. There is no such thing as modern Ethiopian scholar at all. There is only modern zombie.

My answer to your question will be this: I think Atse Haileselassie failed them. After his return from exile the British had already entrapped Atse Haileselassie while in exile. The British accompanied the king in ousting Italy not because they wanted to help Ethiopia but because they wanted to enslave Ethiopia. When the British came to "drive out" Italy, there was a flurry of Q'nie (allegory synthesis) being spun in Q'nie bets and in traditional schools. Among the Ge'ez Q'nies, one roughly translated goes:

Here comes one vowing to drive out the other.
What are we to make of it?
When the good book warns to wit
That Satan never casts out Satan
Except even more to indwell therein.

So the British came and demanded to occupy Midre Bahri peaceably
and they pushed and pressed the Muslims to write in Arabic and to demand more space for Islam. They also incited the locals, especially manipulating those who were imbued with foreign religion-like doctrines like WoldeAb WoldeMariam for turmoil. Meantime in mainland Ethiopia they demanded to start modern (European) schooling and by peace they got what they asked for. Quickly they provided soaps, goat milk and other luring tokens to get the public to send children to school. The British (and the Americans later) formulated curricula of indoctrination (not education). In brief the schools indoctrinated students on the supremacy of Europe over Ethiopia.
In subtle language the schools taught children how to look down upon their
ancestors, the immediate need to throw away their faith, that heroes are in Europe and never in Africa, that speaking English is a mark of great distinction but speaking Ge'ez is woefully primitive, that opening up one's resources for foreign plundering is stylishly modern, that protecting the national treasure is backward and dictatorial. The schools told students that Ethiopian history is to be told strictly by the European and all documents and monuments and artifacts and oral tradition in Ge'ez, when used by Ethiopians, are to be seen as non credible and ignorant but these same documents can be deemed credible only when a European cites them. So
these students excelled in the indoctrination and many became doctors in
"economics" and in "philosophy" and in linguistics and in sociology and in engineering and in physics etc. So, dear Zekre, it is this indoctrination that produced that destructive and mindless generation. I think Atse Hailesselassie, being a negligent shepherd, gave up the sheep to the wolves.

Addis Alem • 4 years ago

Hi MW, I am not convinced at all if it's fair or justified to dump all blame on Haileselassie. It's just a matter of fact that any long declining power like Ethiopia would have to contend with the whims of the contemporary super powers such as GB; Haileselassie simply cannot demand to be the exception since no super power can be expected to line up its power in the service of charity. Empty pride simply won't cut it. So, Haileselassie tried to do the one thing that was in his power to restore a semblance of dignity to his nation by sending her children to the best schools he can hardly afford! I just don't see why it was his fault those students resorted to turn against their own people! The students were supposed to transform the backward nation into a modern one, step by step; not drag it through a bloody, aimless revolution that slowly degenerated into primitive tribalism! I have always blamed Haileselassie for hanging onto power, an old helpless man, for a little too long, thus plunging the nation into chaos! But no, I won't blame him for the madness of these students!

G. Gebru • 4 years ago

You are right every one his merits and demerits and is with the Emperor. But unlucky he is criticized by the very people who were educated under his belly

MW • 4 years ago

Selam Addis Alem,
There is no dignity in "western education". There is only disgrace. To explain what indoctrination is and what it does, I shall tell you about a conversation I had with a couple of friends few weeks ago. We were discussing European colonialism and stuff. One of them said: "if someone advances to colonize and conquers your territory, you can fight and recover both the territory and your freedom. However, if your enemy conquers your brother's mind, you can't fight and free yourself from it". He cited the Arabs as an example. He said: "it was better the Arabs came and settled, then we would fight to drive them away. But the Arab made our brothers and sisters Muslims. Now the Arab does not have to leave Arabia to colonize us. He has our brethren as agents to do his bidding. What do you do when your brother becomes a Muslim and demands to cater to the Arab desires in your midst? It is not something you can fight, not something you can be free from, it is just an endless nightmare". The guy who said this did not go to college and he is from rural Ethiopia and he taught me better than any professor I had known in school.

Seeing its dramatic effects, the European copied the art of
mind conquest from the Arab but he improved it and made it a little bit more subtle and complex. The European went about mind conquest in multiple avenues. One such avenue is the liberal so called "education" which in fact is indoctrination. Western "education" doesn't teach you beneficial wisdom, but exercises deception upon your mind and provides a false show to the fancy of your thought. It is an extended practice of cheating the senses. In practical effect, it makes you ambivalent toward things that matter and passionate about things that don't. We can take a simple example. Really, the most pressing problem of greater than ninety percent of Ethiopians today is the absence of food on their table or on their lap for the daily nourishment. And you have greater than ninety percent of the western educated elite railing for "democracy." See there? People are dying of starvation and the elite's demand is some illusion called democracy from their morbid imagination. There is no correlation between absence of this illusory "democracy" and the absence of food, but even if there was, why would you demand for something which is vague and unknown quantity when you can directly demand for the real deal? In fact going directly for the things that matter will result speedy changes and improvements, but by design the elite was trained to be delusional. Let me put it in one sentence. The reason greater than ninety percent of the Ethiopians don't have food to eat is directly caused by western indoctrination.

The other avenue the European uses is, like the Arab did,
bamboozling using Protestantism. These mind conquests using "religion" is like afflicting society with generational disease. Unlike Islam, which comes with a raised sword in the open, Protestantism walks right into a Tewahdo Church and removes the faithful from inside and makes them the enemy of the Church and Ethiopia instantly. It separates sister from sister, brother from brother, children from parents, husband from wife, society from society. It is a social disease - a social leprosy. Leprosy, like Protestantism, separates your fingers, your limbs etc from your body while you watch - right under your nose. The first day an Ethiopian becomes a protestant, his or her first words are: "we should give away the Ark of the Covenant to the Jews".

All that we discussed above was conceded by Atse Hailesselassie. He was great but he was also fallible. He could resist like the Japanese did, but he didn't. The Japanese, confronted with western "education", took what they deemed good and rejected what they thought was bad.

Addis Alem • 4 years ago

Dearest MM,
But first, I would like to extend, once again, my deepest admiration to Asmarino for its tenacity in the defense of unrestricted flow of ideas. Nobody can do this better than Asmarino. If the gang in Asmara is a brute oppressive force beyond accountability; Asmarino is quietly pushing back forcefully by offering its powerful, unapologetic antidote - the most serious and free arena for open discussions. God bless Asmarino!
Now, dearest MW, I am afraid you would never convince me to see the so called "Western education" as something to be dreaded and avoided at all cost. I just don't buy into the notion that science is the sole-personal property of the West. Its mastery of science at this very moment in history might give the appearance that the West discovered it for the first time; while in fact, it only borrowed it from other prior civilizations and improved upon it. But most importantly, nobody can ever afford relegating the general sphere of science to the West alone. That is not how Japan did it. The Japanese copied furiously, until they made science their own. The South Korean's and Chinese won't be where they are today had they banished science as a Western pest. But, and this is a huge but, I agree with you completely with what you said about how Haileselassie let his guard down to the spread of Protestantism in Ethiopia; most costly, in Wollega, where the brightest of Oromos hail from; and with the adoption of this foreign religion, they were rendered less inclined to embrace their own Habesha identity. For God's sake, they just discarded our precious Habesha alphabets as a tool of cultural domination, and embraced a foreign alphabet! So, yes, Haileselassie failed miserably on this issue. I have always bitterly lamented the failure of Haileselassie to open Ethiopian Tewahdo churches all over Wollega and staff each one of them with native Oromos. Alas! He left and abandoned all these brilliant virgin Ethiopian minds to fall for this foreign religion! Not that I am suggesting that this foreign religion is breeding terrorism like the Saudis; only that there is no doubt in my mind Ethiopia would have been much better-off had Haileselassie won the hearts and minds of these brilliant Ethiopians before the foreigners arrived with their destructive indoctrination agenda. So, dear MW, if what you mean is the indoctrination of religion, and not science; then yes, Haileselassie failed the Habesha nation miserably!

MW • 4 years ago

Selam Addis Alem,
Gimme the meat. I think the discussion must base itself on
data, so give me data - even indirect data will do.

To be fair to you, besides you also there are many Habeshas
here, many with PhDs and I think they should engage as you do. I will try to provide data for every claim I make but I expect others to say: "no that is wrong, your data can be falsified by the fact of such and such data etc." For the colossal problems we have as Ethiopians (pardon me, Midre Bahri is forever Ethiopian for me although current data contradicts me for the time being) to read and keep quite is a bit selfish.

So I'm saying western "education" is not really education but rather indoctrination. In fact it is the opposite of education. It's proper name should be western delusion. I have already provided one data. More than ninety percent of the western educated Ethiopians who engage in the so called "politics" devote their time demanding "democracy" and they say they do that for the "wellbeing of the Ethiopian people." A recent economic study from Addis indicated that ninety percent of people in Addis don't have enough food to eat. Nation wide, close to fifty percent of the people don't have enough food to eat (irinnews.org). In fact, it was shown in the data that Ethiopia produces food that is sufficient to all its citizens. In fact the amount food it produces can also feed Somalia, Djibouti, Midre Bahri and the Sudan too. The food is produced but the people don't have it. The people need food but the elite want to give them an illusion called democracy. It is easy to see that the elite are possessed by some kind of disease - intellectual disease, which I say is a result of being indoctrinated by the western delusion. I know you don't see it and many here don't see it either because we are all inflicted
by the same disease. Everyone has gone bonkers by the indoctrination.

Let me be a little more analytical on this. Last week the Roman Catholic Pope addressed the United States Joint Congress. In a very polite and subtle language he indicted Congress in his speech. Despite his words being one of rebuke, Congress received his speech with multiple standing
ovations. He relayed his indictment not directly but by implying. Here I summarize his indictment and they have twelve points. These are his accusations against those in the audience, in other words, against the US:

1- Your policies make global slavery
2- Your politics is a slave to your economics and finance
3- You are hating immigrants forgetting that you too are immigrants
4- You seek security while denying security to others
5- You love life while denying it to others
6- Life is sacred but you have legislated death penalty
7- You did not defend life at every stage (in the womb)
8- You are rearing conflicts around the world
9- You sell weapons to those who kill, which means you partook in the killings
10- Your country was built on the family, now you have
demolished its foundation by legislating sodomite marriage
11- You have disoriented the young and they are trapped in
bloody violence yet you consider it not to be your problem
12- You have instituted a culture to discourage the young
from starting a family

A radio journalist (some call him conspiracy theorist) named
Alex Jones responded to the popes message as being communistic or some kind of income redistribution scheme. He said: "if the pope's message were to be heeded, a billion third world people will die tomorrow." So he accused the
pope of intent to kill one billion people. He argued that people in third world countries are able to live simply because rich western nations are giving them charities so these people can survive. So, what he is saying is that the exploiting of third world resources by the west is a necessary condition for the survival of third world people. To be fair to him, this is actually a standard western view.

Now back to you. Alex Jones is not wrong because third world people like Ethiopians depend on their distant exploiters for their survival. Why? You can see the power of the distant exploiters by going to Ethiopia with a few bucks. For one thousand dollars you can buy the entire treasure of a village. The simple math is that if the government in Ethiopia wants to buy a passenger airplane, it has to starve at least one million people for about three months to generate the dollar equivalent of the price of a Boeing 737. That is equal to a day's meal of the entire Ethiopian people. Western nations on the other hand prosper by what they extract from third world people. In other words, countries like Ethiopia pay for the luxury of the West.

Before there was any western delusion (western "education") in Ethiopia, Ethiopians produced what is good and enough for them from within. For example even massive structures like the Fassiledes building in Gondar, the MoTa bridge by Gojjam, the massive Lalibela structures with the fascinating doors, hinges, stair cases, upper floor rooms, drainage ditches, reservoirs, the meticulously built Axum structures, the stair cases, the corpse preserving capsules etc were built
out of materials produced from within Ethiopia. The techniques of building were homegrown, so they are mastered. Nothing was imported. On the other hand today, Ethiopians can not build even a small residential structure without importing stuff from overseas. The reinforcement bars used in concrete structures are imported. The Portland
cement is imported. The roof materials are imported. the windows and doors and decorative materials are imported. Even if the government builds cement plants to produce cement for concrete structures, the equipment and spare part needed for the production of cement are imported. So the first thing the western delusion did to the Ethiopian mind was make it impotent as to make it incapable of creating the tools for self-sufficiency. The Ethiopian mind is trained and certified as far as being useful to western needs. Then the delusion does its most devastating bite on trade - the so called international trade. Since those who engage in the trade transactions are western trained, they take the language of trade as it is defined by the west no questions asked. There is no such thing as "fair trade" for Ethiopia in western quarters. Countries like Ethiopia are targeted for natural resource exploitation but they are not entitled to any fair value reciprocity. For plundering Ethiopia's resources the west awards Ethiopia with what it calls "charity" (Frankel 2010). In other words, nations like Ethiopia are designed for poverty in the book of western education and the purpose of their poverty is to enrich the west. How does the west achieve this? The west has devised many venues to achieve this. One is indoctrination and duplicating elites - the more elite Ethiopia produces the more starved it gets. The other venue is corruption, by installing puppet regimes it can maneuver.

So this mental disease is everywhere now. The disease gedli-Asmarinos have is a version of that disease too. The Ethiopiawinet of the Asmarino is made by God. The non-Ethiopiawinet of the Asmarino is made by Europe. Therefore, the Asmarino that goes around saying: "I am Eritrean" carries in him a worship of the ferenji though outwardly he is not aware of it.

Before I conclude, I should mention that when reading Abraham Ghebreghiorgis' story what I saw was a declining Abraham lifted up from near ruin by a woman - his wife. I can see that he was by nature a good person from a peasant country and he had his parents in his heart when he thought of them by sending money out of his 100 birr stipend when he was in Addis Ababa. As he got more and more indoctrinated overseas he lost his natural warmth and compassion and he abandoned his parents. From what I can tell from the story, if he had not met his wife in 1984, his life would have been a total waste. She came and turned him around. She showed him affection, gave him family, gave him new value to cherish life - his beautiful children. She turned his heart back to his parents and she made him a full-fledged man - an Habesha man. To me, that story narrated above is about her - a story of a great Habesha woman. She is the one who deserves admiration.

Addis Alem • 4 years ago

Dearest MW,
Maybe you are right we need PhDs to sort all this out. No, I am kidding; I think I know what is really bothering you with this Western education stuff. You are kind of all over the place to address each of your concerns one by one, but what you are really afraid of I believe is Western democracy. I have myself reservations about rushing to impose a Western style democracy in Habesha lands, but not for the same reason as you do. I do believe that there is no better way to impose accountability on governments than representative democracy. There is no better way to preserve and protect the dignity and human rights of the individual than through democratic institutions that are anchored in the rule of law; all sanctioned by a representative democracy. Even markets function better, not perfectly, in democratic societies. There is no better way to unleash the full creative potential of the individual than to allow him to exercise his/her full right to life, thought, and speech. But I also know that, in today's hyper competitive world, where most of the prosperous and powerful nations tend to be democracies, poor nations like ours are often pressured to "adopt democracy" - while in reality what these rich countries mean is open your markets and resources for us to plunder! I don't want our Habesha lands to fall for this. Once you hand economic control over to foreigners, like it is the case in most African countries, then your so called democracy is tainted, and would never be free enough to really serve your own people. So, you see MW, I have myself reservations over the timing of the implementation of representative democracy in our Habesha lands. But unlike you, I am not really afraid of representative democracy. Yes, MW, you might as well run with the banner of BOKO HARAM! No, I am not saying you would sanction the barbaric actions of those deranged Muslim Nigerians; but in all honesty, yes, I do think that you are both motivated by the same fear! Fear of the "sodomite marriage"! Fear of abortion! Fear of the death penalty! You know, all the things the Pope said to Congress! You see, this is why you are confusing me. You lead me to think that we were discussing the merits or demerits of Western education, but you are actually worried about Western democracy, and its excesses. I don't think these excesses of democracy are anything to be lauded. Some of these excesses disturb me to my core. For example, I worry about how some of these new couples ecommercialize the sacred act of human procreation; dismissing the delicate and complex psychological needs of children, and treating them almost as if they were pets! I don't like the fact that some gay couples want to have their cake and eat it too; dumping all the social and psychological costs on the poor heads of their children! But, alas! I still DO NOT think these excesses of democracy are bad enough to join BOKO HARAM!

MW • 4 years ago

Selam Addis Alem,
I know you are an intelligent person, you can't miss my points that horribly. You must have written that in jest, to make fun being simplistic.

If You and I lived in the same compound and I told you that you have the right to breathe, did I give you democracy? My friend, when someone declares to you that you have the right to do this and to do that, remember that he just owned you. I'm compacting ideas hoping to be understood and it frustrates me losing an audience. Who else can I tell these stories to if I fail to relay it to a caliber such as yours? the reason I brought the pope and Alex is to tell you that the problem is real, verified in two diverse corners. under a diversionary delusion named "democracy," most Ethiopians are being starved. Resources are finite. By the time we wake up we will probably find our resources completely drained and along side the barren house, we will probably find ourselves enveloped in an environmental horror too. Imagine a stranger went into a family home and told them that there are killer insects in their basement and told them that life is to prevent these insects from coming out of the basement. So he refocused the purpose of their lives to fighting the insects. So they started spraying insecticides and he started living there takes their food and clothing etc. That he is taking their meals and clothing is no object because they have other priority now: the insects. By the time they found out that there were no insects, all the food they had and the clothing and the money gone. That is what the so called democracy is. It is an illusion, a diversion. It doesn't exist. I don't know why you are discussing its applicability in Ethiopia when my discussion is way beyond that? What I am telling you is that if the elite, who are made delusional by reason of indoctrination, start addressing the real problems like lack of food, lack of shelter etc, then you can be sure that can be addressed for sure because these things are measurable and are immediately verifiable. But to demand democracy and get people killed for it is nonsense. Why would you get people killed for an illusion? The Derg said it was a democracy. The current rulers say they are a democracy and they have the West blessing their claim. Those who oppose the current rulers say they oppose the government because they want to furnish democracy. The reason everybody, including diametric opposites, claim to be it is because it is an illusion.

I am not sure if you understood what I meant by the problem of trade. There is trade imbalance, in fact trade robbery. The economists, the finance people etc that we have in Ethiopia are simply people who speak the language of the West. All you hear them say is "hard currency, hard currency." They will sell the whole nation for "hard currency" and this hard currency is just paper someone else prints on a printer somewhere to give it the fools in Ethiopia to collect all the produce, the coffee, the gold the hide and skin, the grain etc. It is just as simple as me printing a couple of papers on an inkjet printer and coming to you to ask you to give me all your furniture in exchange for the papers. If you are an economist, tell me if that is not the case. If you are not, go research it and that is what is happening.

I think you misunderstood me. Perhaps western "education" has benefited me personally more than most Ethiopians. The best thing for me to do in person would be just to say things are fine because life is enjoyable to me the way it is. If I were an atheist I wouldn't even care for the poor, I would simply say, they are weak and I would marvel at the strong who robbed them and would be with the strong, because there is no standard morality I would name to feel one way or another. Then morality would be to do what is expedient and profitable to me in person. In the case of atheism the mighty make the rules and the weak will have to live with them. But I believe in God and God's ways are to defend the poor. That is the singular reason why I am discussing these things here.

Addis Alem • 4 years ago

Dearest MW,
I want to assure you from the onset that I was not at all trying to make fun of your profoundly beautiful religious convictions. I was intending no offense whatsoever; only frankness, and I reserve this only to people I have a great deal of respect for. I had a feeling that your strong religious convictions, and the optimism that comes with it, is making you to nonchalantly dismiss the tremendous potential for utter cruelty and human rights violations of non-democratic regimes, including ours. You know how they say absolute power corrupts absolutely. The fact of the matter is, we don't live in heaven; we live in the real practical world; but I completely appreciate that you are entitled, even justified, to project your positive attitude on human nature to our brute world. I have always deeply admired good and decent spiritual individuals who do not hesitate to engage in acts of extraordinary selflessness, often assuming significant risk to their person; but still, while applauding their convictions and courage to do good, I also believe that the practical ways of the world doesn't always heed to their expansive humanity and sacrifices. For example, I may not agree with the actions of this Kentucky Clerk who refused to issue Same-sex marriages, but I am also deeply moved by the strength of her convictions to stand for what she assumes to be a good service to humanity. I mean, at some point this woman was ignoring the rulings of the Supreme Court of the United States! It's not lost on me that it was exactly extraordinary individuals like her who fought bravely the savagery of slavery in this country against a frightening array of odds. However, I also know that decent individuals like this woman, or you for that matter, can dare hope to change the brute ways of the world all you want, but your generosity of heart is not often adequate to make the required positive impact. I still believe that the effective antidote for brute undemocratic regimes remains to be the accountability that can only be achieved with representative democracy. As moving and humbling individual acts of generosity remains to be, it's never enough to alter the brute currents of an unforgivingly practical world. If we are to live in a decent world where our individual rights are protected, then I strongly feel that we are better off to aim and shoot for the possible; and not simply for the ideal, which is inaccessible outside of the realm of our dreams and hopes. The practical world, in my opinion, responds better to democracy than our individual acts of decency to make it a decent place to live.

MW • 4 years ago

Sorry for the typo and stuff, I had an inconvenient device

Addis Alem • 4 years ago

I just love Zekre really. I was myself anguishing over the exact same questions you raised. An Omega golden watch and a stipend big enough to be a teacher's salary from such a dirt poor nation and .... a stab in the back! I don't know if Kebessa is lacking the simple decency or the basic intellect to appreciate the moral paradox that is packed full in this sheer betrayal. He actually feels no shame whatsoever to declare that it was only appropriate that the education they got from Ethiopia helped them to "recognize the wishes and heartbeats of their people resulting in answering the call of duty." He talks as if the peasant masses, and not these students, ignited the ghedli madness! How could a person who talks like this not be a Sudanese nomad? And, I swear I don't mean this as an insult; just thinking out loud. Thank God there are decent and courageous Habeshas like Zekre who won't shrink from tackling the mind boggling state of Habesha affairs.

Adhanet • 4 years ago

Dear Zekre Lebona,

If history is to be fair to Emperor Hailesellasie, it will be his radical and abrupt departure from his predecessors who had been in the gutters of morbid backwardness where he clearly understood the transcendental value of modernism and invested heavily in higher learning education among other things. Sure enough, partly to appease particularly Eritreans who hailed from the highlands, they reaped benefits from the perks where it is safe to say that Abraham was a quintessence to that effect. However, the Emperor's genuine effort to modernize the nation came with a detrimental price when he suffocated the political space by abrogating the Federation. The historical watershed if you will pushed a generation to extreme measures where the much touted investment in education particularly on the highlanders became a thorn on the Emperor's legacy.

Addis Alem • 4 years ago

What kind of reasoning is this? You can't just laud the investment in education as "much touted" and then quickly dismiss it as a "thorn on the Emperor's legacy" in the same sentence. Some of you here make it sound as if the students were sent to do hard labor in some godforsaken labor camps; and not to places of higher learning, out of which they were supposed to come out and lift the Habesha nation out of its backwardness as it hoped, not plunge it into primitive tribalism!

Kebessa • 4 years ago

Selam ZL,
"What I don't understand is this: how did the educational system in Ethiopia produce such kind of people like Abraham and the rest of his generation, who easily get smitten with foreign ideologies, but had little understanding of the political and social landscape of their country, and not least the obligation to the family."

Here is my question: did the educated like Abraham and so many others voluntarily join the fray because they got smitten by "foreign" ideology, or did education help them recognize the wishes and heartbeats of their people resulting in answering the call of duty? You read Abraham's story. Did you get any impression him holding unusual or some sort of Arab or foreign views? To suggest that they were after foreign ideology is to suggest they were out of touch with the general public which opposed them, which opposed Ghedli and that's why independence never materialized.
To put it differently, If we assume HS education system indoctrinated the educated in favor of the "alien" or "foreign" idea of independence, who or what will be responsible for the fact that the vast Eritrean masses from all walks of life (the majority being uneducated) were just for that - independence?