Gondar Diaspora, it ain’t a sleeping giant no more.
                                                                                                                PART III
By Aklilu Abreha

“‘Positive Christianity,’ which the Jewish people wanted, clashed with ‘Negative Christianity’ as Jesus himself represented it!... Friends, can we risk going with our nation without forgiveness of sins ……which, when all is said and done, clings in repentance and faith to Jesus as the Savior of sinners? I cannot and you cannot and our nation cannot! Rev. Martin Niemoller.TIME Magazine Feb 21, 1928.

A one time supporter of Hitler and later who broke with the Nazis when Hitler came to power.

Here I come again.  I apologize for a belated Part III as I have been a little busy with my employment related work.  I hope you had a chance to do some reflection on yourself and others as it relates to issues I discussed on my previous Part I and Part II versions of this release.  I know you have, because, I have received very encouraging feedback from my esteemed readers.  Some, understandable, are upset and hurl insults at me.  I guess for some, it is difficult to believe they are being challenged in America, something they considered to be the opposition’s turf.  I personally would have preferred them to pick on my article and offer rebuttals.  They did not.  Not even a single person.  They became rude and they are full of empty threats.  They should know that we are the Highlanders (Semienegnoch) and we do not back down when confronted.  A good Ethiopian saying goes: “LeMaTeGeDLeW BaLe DeMie NeW AtBeLeW” Or “AB  ZeYTiQeTLo BeAL DeMeY AyTBeLo.”  I told you I can speak Tigrigna.

I don’t know if it helps, but I want to say one thing here; I have witnessed some opposition supporters tend to threaten, yell and scream.  First of all, this “Emama Ethiopia” you think you are protecting belongs to all of us equally.  Not an inch more to anyone.  For it to continue to exist, all of us have to reach a consensus and agree to live together despite our disagreements.

Out of all people, the opposition sympathizers should not be the ones threatening to harm and destroy their opponent.  How can they accuse the government of alleged killing of opposition members when the opposition themselves are telling us they would do the same if they had the means to it carry out?

Speaking of yelling and screaming; I was watching the US Assistant Secretary of State Jendayi Frazer’s interview on Straight Talk Africa the other day.  The host asked her about her recent meeting with Prime Minister Zenawi and proceeded to take calls from his listeners.  An Ethiopian came on-line and started yelling at the top his tongue, he begged her “PLEASE, PLEASE, HELP US.  GIVE THIS TYRANT ASSYLUM IN THE US.  HE HAS GOT TO GO.  HE IS DESTROYING ETHIOPIA.” She laughed at him and didn’t bother to honor him by responding to his yelling.  The dear ambassador has a first hand knowledge that Ethiopia is not being destroyed.  Not even close.  You see, in an Ethiopian culture, when you yell and scream and threaten, people tend to fear you and they would do what you wanted them to do.  But in an American culture, when you yell and scream and cry, Americans think you are crazy or you are a person with behavioral problems, even when you are telling the truth, they won’t give you the time of the day.  Some opposition supporters may need to change their tactics; they need to cool down, be patient and be understanding of the other person’s opinion.  There is no need to threaten and yell and scream.  Otherwise you will be suspect of having a hidden agenda or, worse yet, they will send you to jail and force you to attend anger management classes.

Now, my brothers, without further ado, as I promised on my first and second release of this article, I will proceed to discuss the rest of the issues I raised.  Namely: the alleged pillage of Gondar, boycotting businesses including Dashen Brewery and Pepsi, cronyism in our government including Tigraians holding all position of authority, and the annexation of Humera and environs into Kilil One.  And most importantly, I will expan on strategies to meet the three objectives I outlined on Part I.

·         Pillaging of Gondar

As for pillaging Gondar, to begin with, I do not think we have something to be pillaged.  We are as poor as, if not poorer than, the other regions of Ethiopia.  But I know there is a story that alleges TPLF stole the electric generator that used to light Gondar and took it to Tigrai.  I say alleged because it is hearsay; no one has been able to show me evidence that they indeed transported it to Tigrai.  However, let us, for argument sake, assume that TPLF did take it.  Then a reasonable question becomes: did they leave Gondar in the dark or was there an alternative and better source of Energy available for Gondar?  If the answer is the first, then shame on TPLF, and they should apologize to us.  But I think the answer is most likely the latter.  I have witnessed that there is a significant improvement in electric power availability in Gondar coming from Bahirdar.  And I speculate that the generator was removed probably because there may have been another comparable size town in another part of Ethiopia, may be even in Tigrai, which desperately needed that generator. 

Whatever the motive was is in the past, I think we should thank the government for doing away with that generator.  Because that generator was expensive as it worked with fuel, it was unreliable as it broke down more often, and it made a deafening noise right smack in the middle of the city.  Come to think of it, my hearing may had been affected by that generator’s noise as I passed in front of it for more than six years while I was attending Fasiledes High School.  But as I said before, if you look at the present-day Gondar, the people are enjoying more electric power availability and less frequent power interruptions than ever before.  And in less than three years of time, more electric power is on its way after the completion a 460MW and a 300MW hydro-electricity dams over the Beless and Tekezie rivers, respectively.  The amount of power that will be generated is abundant that there is even a plan to sell some of it to the Sudan.  All you have to do is listen to the Lead Engineer’s interview on VOA. 

Moreover, the current government has opened new industries like Dashen Brewery and has invested million to make Gondar more attractive for business and to improve the lives of our people. Allow me to add a few more examples.  First, to increase drinking water availability, the government has dug-in a huge water reservoir on Angereb Wonz.  Gonderies use to suffer from acute shortage of drinking water so much so that even Aklilu Seyum of Police Orchestra wrote a song about it.  Remember the song: WoTaTeWa KoReDa ANGeTuWa TeGoDa WuHa TeSheKiMa SeTeHeaDe ARaDa.  But now, you do not see young girls carrying a pail full of water on their heads.  During the Derg days, I am sure most of you remember very well how many “ENaT AGeR TeRi” bazaars and auctions (Chereta) we had to improve water availability in Gondar.  Sadly, for 17 years no improvement materialized.  Second, the newly opened Gondar University at a cost of over $700 million birr is a case in point.  It is located close to Aba Samuel; you would not recognize that neighborhood if you were to see it now.  There is even an American village with beautiful residential houses in that area.  Third, do you remember we used to walk more than 15 km from Piazza all the way Air Marefia just to see a turbo prop planes land and take off?  Now most residents of Gondar fly on a 50 passenger seat Fokker to Bahirdar and Addis through a modern terminal and on a smooth asphalt runway. 

My brothers, why do we tend to conveniently overlook these four gigantic investments that minuscule that old and worthless electric generator issue?  Please let us be considerate and fair and let us not wallow in a propaganda designed by our enemies to antagonize us.  The current government has done so much for Gondar in short eight peaceful years (not 14 years) that it shames whatever the previous two administrations did for us in over 60 years.  And there is more on the way if we chose, work, and live in peace and have stability.  Let me leave you with two interesting facts:  Gondar has the second largest number of Taxis next to Addis Ababa, our parents now go to Arada in a Taxi, and not the bumpy horse drawn carriages (Garies) any more.  And Gondar now has an oil repository and the oil from Gondar is distributed to the rest of Ethiopia.

Having presented my argument, at this point, your honor, I rest my case.  Do you think I should have been a lawyer?  I know, you are probably saying Johnny Cochran, the famous American lawyer, is turning in his grave on this audacious remark.  I wanted to though when I came to America.  But I did not because I was afraid my command of English was not good enough. 

·         The Decree to Boycott Dashen Brewery and Pepsi.

This is one of the most distressful issues to me.  Because I know our people do not deserve this kind of economic restriction.  I am sure this is an issue not for amateur politicians or a confined savant such as my self.  I leave it for an economist to better articulate the consequence of boycotting businesses and stopping foreign aid.  But I will tell you this; I have had discussion with the General Manager of Dashen Brewery on this issue, and I am not at liberty to discuss everything as the company may loose its competitive advantage.  But there is more than what meets the eye, as the investment is headed by a group of Ethiopian investors affiliated with non-governmental organizations.  The ownership of the Brewery is more complex than what the opposition would like you to believe.  Also, contrary to the oppositions claim, “Woyane” need not be in the Brewery business just to pillage.  If they want to, they can do that in broad day light without going through the hardship of owning and operating a Brewery.  After all, that is what the oppositions claimed, is it not?  You have read about “TPLF” robbing three billion dollars from the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia, haven’t you?  I am not kidding.

I have to tell you, I befriended the manager and I was amazed when I was afforded a personal tour of the Brewery by the dear manager himself.  I don’t think there is anything like it in America (we say that about anything in Gondar!).  The Brewery is so futuristic that it even has built in features and additional designs to protect the environment from pollution.  I also admired the dedication of the employees to make the Brewery successful.  Currently, the Brewery is going through major expansion at the cost of over 100 million birr, and the investment is expected to increase the Brewer’s capacity by 150%.  When all is said and done, Dashen Brewery would produce about 50% percent of the total beer consumed in Ethiopia.

I believe, the presence of the Brewery has made Gondar more attractive as a business destination and has improved the standard of living of our people.  Several other industries have sprung up around Dashen Brewery as well.  A sesame filtering, a plastic factory, and others I cannot remember.  Roads are maintained better and the new asphalt road from Gondar to Ayer Marefia and to Addis Abeba has been completed. Now it takes you less than ten hours to reach Addis Ababa, as opposed to more than 48 hours it used to take before.  At the same time, several Gonderies have taken a Beer distributor agent license, including an agent in Humera, and they are making a more than comfortable living.  Other Gonderies who own trucks have secured a contract and they are delivering Dashen Beer to local and surrounding areas.  After the expansion project completes and with the increased production capacity, things can only get better.  I didn’t have the money, but even I thought about buying a truck or an 18 wheeler and subcontracting with the Brewery.  It would have been an excellent supporting income to me and it would have helped my family as well.

There are other business opportunities to the Diaspora as well, if needed.  If you want, you may want to do a research and import Dashen Beer to USA.  The beer is conveniently packaged just like American six-pack beer, which would make it a whole lot easier to sell at groceries and convenient stores.  Think about it.  The Manager has told me that they are ready to accept and consider application for exporting Dashen Beer to Europe and North America.  Can you imagine something labeled “Made in Gondar, Ethiopia” being sold here?  I cannot wait.  Let me know if you need their e-mail address or visit http://www.beerme.com and search for Dashen or Gondar.

My fellow Gonderies, the Brewery is ours and it is improving the lives of our people and the image of our region.  Do not let misguided propaganda hurt our people.  Please help to make it more successful.

On a personal note, I have to say the Manager is a highly dedicated individual.  He is neither a Gonderie nor a Tigrai.  He is a proud Ethiopian.  He himself researched and selected the Brewery site to be in Gondar.  He himself travels to remote places to select, verify, and buy quality sand for making concrete which is used to hoist the humongous fermenting barrels.  One of the only two master brewers in Ethiopia, he could have made a better living somewhere else like the capital city of Ethiopia, but he chose to contribute to the development of our region.  We have to show him and his co-workers our appreciation.  Here is mine: Thank you very much Dashen Brewery for all your hard work to make Gondar a better place.

Before I close the Dashen Brewery issues, I have to mention something I found to be funny.  I have told you I was in Ethiopia during the May 2005 elections.  I stayed a week in Addis Ababa before I went to Gondar.  I made it a point to always order Dashen Beer wherever I went.  Some customers looked at me funny when they saw me drinking Dashen.  Then I went to Gondar, and when the opposition claimed about winning it all including Gondar, I heard some EPRDF supporters refused to patron Dashen Beer on account that it is Kinijit’s beer.  And as for people who looked at me funny when I ordered it before, well, they started drinking Dashen like there is no tomorrow.  And now that Kinijit has lost, they called for a boycott.  You see what I mean?

As for boycott of Pepsi, I do not think this needs explanation.  Who are we hurting?  I hope you are not saying Sheik Alamoudi, because his wealth is estimated in billions that it will take several life times to shred it all.  If he were to change all his wealth into one dollar bills, his money can go around the earth’s equator many times.  My friends, the boycott will only hurt the employees of Pepsi in Gondar.  This is a privately held company and there is no public financial statement for me to cite.  But I heard that the factory in Gondar looses money on a yearly basis.  And yet, Mr. Alamoudi not only keeps all his employees, but he also gives them pay increases every year.  Compare that with an American business and think of what the owner would have done if his business operates in the red year in and year out.  For sure, the American business man will lay off all his employees and move the operation to China. 

·         Cronyism in our government

You know, this is really amazing.  I never thought I will ever say “our government.” And “Prime Minister Meles.”  But here it is, it took me a long time to admit and accept the current and present reality in our country.  And the first step to reconciliation is recognition and admission.  That is what grief counselors advise you to do first and foremost.  EPRDF has been in power for over 15 years, and Ethnic based Kilil and politics is here to stay.  I no longer consider that anti-Ethiopian nor do I believe Ethiopia will be disintegrated as the result this policy.  I guess, that is what it took to cast the demon out of all of us.  I am more convinced now in light of what we are all witnessing right here among Ethiopian Diaspora.  We have lived in relative peace and harmony for almost 15 years.  We just need to work hard and engage peacefully to guarantee Ethiopia’s continuous existence. 

Now, let me get back to the alleged favoritism of Tigrai and its people.  I think this is mostly a perception.  I can see you jumping, my brother, please wait, and let me explain.  We know our brothers from the north are very resourceful.  Even before EPRDF, all the rich people I knew in Gondar were either Eritrean or Tigraian.  Just now, I tried to count all the rich people I knew from Ambajinie all the way down to Autobus Marefia.  Except Ato Irkihun and Kasie Waleligne, and Ato Negatu, I could not come up with anyone else who is/was a rich Gondar Amara.  Those of you who are old enough may remember what Basha Woldu, the Eritrean and former owner of Fasil Hotel, was alleged to have said about Gondar Amara.  I don’t want to repeat the exact words here.  But it was something to the effect that he said he will become filthy rich while we are still standing around and talking about other people.  Well, he was right, he became extremely rich.

But now that same Fasil Hotel is owned or leased by a Gonderie.  We are making progress.

I have to tell you another story I heard about the resourcefulness of Tegaru.  There is an old (sorry) former EPRP member I know and respect.  He mentioned to me that during his guerilla fighting days, whenever they ambushed and defeated a Derg convoy, his Ganta would carry whatever loot they could and retreated back to their established camp.  This tactic was very limiting to their survival especially during the rainy season.  He then told me that TPLF’s tactic was different.  He said that not only TPLF took the loot, but also they either drove or dismantled the trucks and took them to the Sudan.  They repaired and put the trucks back in service in the Sudan and managed to generate constant revenue for their organization.  I thought, if anyone is planning to fight with TPLF, this is good information to share with them so that they do it differently next time around.

Another thing is that we have to keep in mind that the Tigrai Diaspora is very active and involved in the development of their region.  They do not have a lot of baggage like us.  I remember a while back, some of our friends from the Bay Area in California had a project to build additional ten classrooms for Fasiledes High School students.  I got involved and tried to help.  Guess what, some accused us of collaborating with “Woyane” and they refused to make contributions.  And this was at a time when I myself was involved protesting against EPRDF.  The project took longer than we anticipated but got completed at the cost of more than $100,000 US.

No doubt, there could be individuals who have fared better financially under this government.  That goes for all ethnic and persuasion of Ethiopians.  That is the case in any government.  Even in America, we have companies like Halliburton, a Texas company which was under the executive leadership of the current Vice President Dick Cheney, winning billions of dollars worth contracts and allegedly embezzling billions more.  You also have the energy companies like the bankrupt Enron of Huston.  The executives of Enron and other energy companies were personal friends and major money contributors for Bush and Cheney campaigns.  The energy companies helped the Bush administration to draft a corporate favorable policy and ended up making billion of dollars.

If our opposition party was to take power tomorrow, it would be the same thing except with different individuals becoming the beneficiaries.  The “charismatic” opposition leader has already told you that he has “personal connections.” and he can “cook numbers” better as a result of his consulting experience. 

My friends, the democratic thing to do is that if anyone has evidence of wrong doing, then we need to file a law suit and let the legal process take its course.  It is tabloid journalism and inflammatory to engage in defamation and write internet articles claiming to know inside information about EPRDF leaders and their spouses wealth.  Let alone the wealth of government officials, no one has access to my financial information unless I or the Federal government gives a written authorization.  I do not think what we read on the internet is factual.  I could have posted it for all you know.

I have to say, however, we all hear allegations that EPRDF is pillaging Ethiopia.  I think the incumbent Party is also responsible for perpetuating this pillaging perception.  The incumbent Party needs to clearly let the Ethiopian people know which businesses are owned by the government of Ethiopia and which businesses are owned by TPLF or members of EPRDF organizations.  We know, when EPRDF took over, the good old Derg did not transfer to it money to cover budgetary expenses.  In order to keep government working, at that transitional period, we also know that EPRDF made its own money available.  So it is an established fact that EPRDF came with money and other assets of its own.  But now that EPRDF is a government, a governing political Party owning business raises serious questions about conflict of interest.  For lack of a better example, and based on my experience, in America when one is elected into public office or when one becomes a political appointee, one immediately releases all his financial ties to business including sale of his company stocks.  The release of financial interest is sometimes voluntary to avoid perception of conflict of interest and other times it is legally obligated.  And a governing party owning a business is never heard of in America, at least not that I know of.  All I can say is that the sooner the government takes steps to resolve this issue, either perceived or real, the better for all of us.

And as for Tigrai people holding leadership position in Gondar, I would say they are Gonderies as well.  Gonder is not only for Amaras.  Tigrians are Ethiopians and the resident of the Kilil.  They have the constitutional right to be elected and administer Gondar.  If we do not want an individual to be in that position, and if we think another Gonderie or Amara can do better, then one needs to work with the system to get elected and become a viable alternative.  If you believe ANDM is full of Tigrai and does not serve the interest of Amaras, then join the Party and make it more Amara. 

Did you know, in the old days, the Democratic Party in America was the most conservative and racist party.  Black Americans joined the Party and became members and changed it.  Our other alternative is to form a different party, though it might be a bit harder to gain a license after the Kinijit debacle, and work in our region to be elected.  That is what we need to do if we want the democratic process to continue, not to start armed struggle whenever we disagree or we do not like the elected individual.

Also, we have to remember that EPRDF recruited most of its members while they were engaged in armed struggle.  That is how the Party’s leadership and membership got established.  That was when confidence and trust among leaders and members got cemented.  And after they won and started their administration, most of us have been shunning them personally and their Party membership communally.  We did not give them a chance even if they wanted to transfer some of it to us.  To the contrary, we rush to give “hodam Amara” and an “ashanguliet” label when one tries to work with the incumbent government.  And yet we complain that “they” control it all.  A governing Party makes a political appointment based on its political agenda.  And the government appoints individuals who will support and work to implement the government’s agenda.  That is how it works all around the world.  We need to work with the current government to get appointed and we can help it to implement its policy better for Ethiopia and for our region .

·         Annexation of Humera and environs to Killil One

This is an issue that I like to make my stand clear right of the bat:  I do not agree with it and it was not fair.  It went against the natural demarcation line, Tekeze River.

Having established that, I want to ask the following questions.  The way I discuss issues is by asking questions.  We need to look at the current situation in Ethiopia and ask questions:

1.       Is this a burning issue that we have to start armed struggle right away? 

I think not.  Right now, the very survival of us as a people and as a country is on the balance.  This is something we can negotiate peacefully at a later time. 

2.       Is the lost voting power to Killil Three so severe that we have to start armed struggle to annul the annexation?

Well, if the severe loss is the increase of the voting power, then if we make better use of it, Kilil Three has enough voting power. As a matter of fact, Killil One and Killil Three have so much in common when it comes to political interest and future of Ethiopia that we will vote as a bloc together and become a voting force to be reckoned with in Parliament.

3.       Is the loss the amount of available arable land for our people in our region?

Last time I went to Gondar, I saw many people from Gondar and Tigrai engaged in commercial farming in those areas.  As a matter of fact, all you need is a starting capital to get your own land and start farming.  The local administration will give you a license and as much land as you need regardless of your Kilil of residence.  I have heard of a Gonderie who went there from Texas and he is farming sesame and cotton worth millions of Birr.  I met one of his chauffeurs and he gave me a detailed account of the situation in Humera.  Furthermore, there is an abundant of arable land still left over for all of us.  I always dream of the potential of the Armachiho area.  When we were trekking to the Sudan, even at that time, I felt sorry when I saw all that fertile and arable land left to grow weed and grass for millenniums while our people are starving.  All we need is peace and stability and technology, there is more than enough left over to feed all of Ethiopia.  I am not just saying this, I think it was two weeks ago, I was watching Awode Ethiopia TV Program.  There was a three week consecutive program about Gondar and development activities.  Did you get a chance to watch it?  I heard one expert from Ethiopia saying that only less than 15% of the Amara Kilil’s wealth and potential has been tapped so far.  You see; that is what I meant when I say you need to listen and learn about the truth as it shall set you free.  No sooner will you be saying, “Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, I am free at last.”  We have more than 85% of our wealth waiting to be exploited.  I say let us get to work. 

In the future, if we still want, there is a way to annul the annexation through the democratic space.  I think one of the solutions is to introduce an initiative and let the residents decide by casting their vote, sort of a referendum.  If that is not practical, then the representatives in Parliament should ask for redistricting.  It happens all the time in State legislations here in America.  That is the democratic and peaceful approach.  But I do not think we should start armed struggle over this nor do I think we should reject to work with the current government as the result of this issue.

My fellow brothers and sisters, I think I have discussed as much as I can to make my case to continue the peaceful struggle, to work with our government, and to defeat the vocal minority, extreme right wing, Taliban like opposition.  As I keep telling everyone, some of the opposition party leaders have lain down an extreme and dangerous path. They are no longer competing or debating the merits of a government policy.  The extreme right wing seems to be heading down on a path that goes against the basic principles of democracy that is best for all of us.  These are difficult times for our generation and for our country, and we need to rise to the occasion.  I tell you, the stakes are so high to sit idle.  The very existence of which we are, including our country Ethiopia and the safety of our people are under unprecedented threat of demise.  We need to step back, understand the gravity of the situation, and decide what we need to do next to avert the impending catastrophe that will be unleashed if CUD’s (Kinijit) strategy continues unabated.  The opposition appears to be insulated from reality and is bent to label any and every descent as disloyal.  Do not fall for it.  Do not let the extreme right wing hijacks our future and our democratic aspirations.

Whoever is in power is not important to us as long as their policy encourages economic development of Ethiopia in general and our region in particular.  Everything else is secondary.  Even the people of Canada and America have their respective political problems, but since they are economically developed, and the vast majority of their population lives comfortably, the political issues have become secondary, and that is why most of their population pays little or no attention to it.

Even now, as I am sitting here on my desk and writing to you late at night, people are calling me and asking me if the news about starting armed struggle in Gondar is true.  So many people have called their family in Gondar to verify the authenticity of the “news.”  I assure you it is false, and it is a lie, and it is propaganda. 

I have told you already on my very first article on Jan 2, 2006.  This is the kind of malicious propaganda what got me involved in the first place.    The opposition camp is bent to cause misery and suffering against Gondar when they can.  And when they cannot, it seems like they are salivating at the thought of seeing us suffer.  I ask them why not they say Menz has started armed struggle.  Why not Merhabete?  Why not Gojjam?  Why not Wollo?  Why do they always talk about Gondar and armed struggle?  Do they have past grudges that they still want to avenge over us?  Haven’t we paid them dearly already?  Hasn’t Gondar suffered enough for them to rip the benefits?  I leave the answer to you for now.  I will revisit it at a later time. 

They are broadcasting this armed struggle nonsense on their radio, what would they benefit if the government bombs the area and tells the world that it bombed it because there was an armed resistance to the constitutional order in Gondar?  And who will suffer and who will benefit if that continues for years?

In conclusion, my fellow Gonderies, I suggest to us to first focus to work within our people and our region.  Though it is impossible for me to claim to know all that is good for our region, I can confidently say that my thinking and feeling resonates with most of you.  Following is a detailed strategy on how we will meet these immediate objectives:

1.      Defeat the extremely right wing Diaspora

Our approach must be multi dimensional.  We need to educate our people at home and Diaspora not to fall prey to the extreme hardliners.  We need to deprive hater’s potential recruits.

I propose the following action to meet our goal:

·         Eliminate or minimize their capability to preach discrimination and hate using tax payer supported mass mediums in America.  Most of the public programming channels require participants not to engage in discriminatory broadcast.  We need to notify the channel director and enlist the help of human rights organizations like ACLU to stop discriminatory broadcast by the extreme right wing.  Our case is solid:  these broadcasters are encouraging people to discriminate against us because of our political belief and doing it using a tax payer supported public channels.  Make sure to have evidence, a recording or a print out of their discriminatory broadcast.  This is a good enough ground to bar their program from public airwaves.  If need be, we will hire civil rights lawyers.

·         Call your family in Ethiopia and tell them to engage peacefully.  Inform them that if the current violence continues, you may not be able to go home and visit them again nor be able to send them your financial support just like the Derg days.  Ask them to patronize all businesses and befriend all people regardless of political persuasion or ethnic heredity.

·         Seek out people who you think are brainwashed by the opposition apocalyptic prophecy.  Most Ethiopians are hard-working and law abiding people.  The only connection they have to Ethiopia and Ethiopian issues are the weekend public broadcast programs.  Engage them in conversation and tell them the reality on the ground.  We need not be afraid because our motives will be suspected and our patriotism questioned.  We are as much Ethiopian as the next person. 

·         Lobby Senators and Congressmen.  We will write letters and make contributions to their election campaign and we let them know there is another and better alternative.  They need to listen to a differing point of view for them to make an informed decision.

·         Work against the decree issued by CUD to discriminate against people and businesses.  Go out and befriend people and shop at business establishments regardless of the owner’s political persuasion or ethnic background.

2.      Support opposition and administration political parties

·         Write to our government and ask them to be merciful and forgiving of our little brothers and sisters.  As they may be conscripted and may not fully understand the consequences of their actions.

·         Write to the opposition to stop making soldiers out of our little brothers and sisters.  And ask the opposition to be forgiving as well and work with the government for peace and stability.

·         Provide moral support to candidates and political organization who commit to work within the system.  It will take a long time to bring about change peacefully.  But it is all worth it at the end as the achievements are guaranteed to be long lasting.  No end justifies putting our people at risk.  They have gone through enough hardship already.

·         Write and ask the current government to stay on course.  We need to encourage our government to works with centrist and liberal political parties who are willing to work within the system.  We need to emphasize to our government that making consensus and compromises should be part of the democratic political process and we need to develop it as a culture. 

·         Start to contribute to a fund to help political organizations.  We have heard some opposition members are piloted by the right wing Diaspora as the result of their dependency on the financial support they received.  We need to liberate them and help them become free thinkers.

3.      Help improve the economic condition our region

We need to realize that we should not expect the government alone to alleviate the economic condition of our region.  We ourselves need to contribute to the development activities.  

·         Start a fund to contribute to our regions development

·         Come up with projects with immediate benefits.  One project I have in mind is to teach our people computer programming.  The government is laying the foundation for a fiber optic network.  One such project just got underway to connect Metema and the Sudan.  By the time the government project is completed, we can train our people and make our region ready to become the Hyderbad or Bangalore of Africa, just like the high tech off-shoring cities in India.  It is easier than you think; I know how people have done it in India.

·         All we need to have is 10,000 members contributing $100 a year.  We can take on a million dollar project every year.  It is as easy as 123.

My fellow Gonderies, the sleeping giant, please awaken.  Though not surprising, there is unprovoked attacked against Gondar by the opposition.  Though they understand Gondar Diaspora’s vast power, the opposition has nevertheless developed disdain towards it.  Unlike Japan’s attack against America, if we do not work to stop the opposition’s malicious propaganda and out right despise, the violence against our people and our region will be devastating that we will never recover from it.  The opposition is beating war drums for us.  We should reject it unconditionally.  I like us to beat wedding and celebration drums, I like Serkalem to show us the beautiful Gonderie Eskista, I like Tamagne Beyene to get back to what he does best and make us laugh with his hilarious jokes, I like Shambel Belayneh to play for us with his wonderful Masinko, I like to see my people eating Choma Sega, Drinking Tej, and watching their children grow. Do not procrastinate or be complacent.  Let us prevent war and stop the suffering of our people.  Let us get started to alleviate poverty and disease.    Our people have suffered enough.  All our elders are grown very old or have passed away.  We are it.  We are the promise keepers.

I have already made representatives available in each of the major cities in the US and Canada.  Please send me your contact information, and they will contact you once I get your contact information.  Until we start our own medium of discussion and communication, let us use my

e-mail address to communicate for now.

Send me your contact information to:


God bless our nation.  May God help us and incapacitate our enemies.

Your loving brother “Aklilu Abereha.”
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