By Berhane Kahsay
Tigrai Onlne - June 24, 2014
Teddy Afro’s Ethiopian version of the world cup anthem that was sponsored by Coca-Cola had been dumped as it did not fit the ‘pop stars’ reputation according to the regional manager of the multinational company Mr Misikir Mulugeta. Angered by this action, Diaspora extremists have been vainly exerting pressure via the cyber space for the soft drink to be shunned in Ethiopia. What the fanatics are still failing to grasp is that the old Ethiopia they have in their diseased mind is no longer in existence.
The copy cat deed has already faltered as it wasn’t backed by the people who are reaping the benefits of economic prosperity of the new nation. Previous incitement for Arab style uprising landed on deaf ears and it is hardly surprising that this one has also failed to materialise. Further calls that were not heeded include boycott of Ethiopian Airlines which is expected to generate annual revenue of $10 billion by 2025, and Pepsi Cola owned by Al-Amoudi who has invested billions of dollars creating nearly 500,000 jobs. The track record of the extremists is abysmal and it is with this knowledge that Coca-Cola decided to abandon the plagiarist and mediocre singer who killed a homeless man whilst drink- driving without a licence.
In 2013, Heineken brewery which owns Bedele signed an agreement with Teddy Afro to sponsor his ‘’Journey of love’’ concert in Ethiopia. Before the tour kicked off, the ethno-centric musician gave an interview to Enqu magazine stating that Emperor Menelik’s brutal conquest and subjugation of the Oromo and others in the vicinity was a holy war. The outrageous remark infuriated Ethiopians particularly the Oromo people that were on the receiving end of the most barbaric violence and humiliation meted out by the king who surrendered Commander Alula’s Eritrea to the Italians.
A statement denying his comments was immediately released but by then an irretrievable damage had already been committed. Undeterred by this rushed and insincere statement, a crescendo of highly successful campaign was initiated to boycott Bedele and Heineken was left with no option but to withdraw the sponsorship to protect its commercial interest in the country. The much publicised gig was cancelled thanks to the swell of public opinion and the dejected second rated singer was sent packing with his dwindling reputation in tatters. Coca Cola on the other hand refused to back down knowing full well that the extremists’ instigated embargo of the soft drink wouldn’t sway the consumers from enjoying the delightful beverage. So, what attributed to the success of Bedele campaign but not Coca Cola?
Democratic federalism has completely transformed the political climate of the country and the people are no longer as submissive and subservient as they used to be. Citizens have now been empowered by the constitution and they will do whatever it takes to defend their hard won rights and to preserve their identity, tradition, religion, ethnicity, language and history. Any attempt to reverse these achievements as well as resurrecting and justifying previous atrocities committed against the people is certain to be met with very stiff challenges as proven by the capitulation of Heineken. The Bedele and Coca-Cola cases will act as vivid aide memoire to those who still hanker for the return of the old repressive system that was in place to solely serve the interest of a minority ethnic group that nearly caused the dissolution of the country.
Heineken and Coca Cola ought to be commended for scuppering the so called ‘’ Journey of love’’ show and for denying Teddy Afro the undeserving publicity that he would have gained as a result of his exposure to worldwide audiences. It isn’t entirely clear why the singer chose such a title for his ill-fated concert. Is he in any way implying that ‘love’ is missing from our nation and that his ‘’ Journey’’ was meant to address this issue? The fact of the matter is that the Ethiopian people are now united, happy and contented as they are witnessing the re-construction of their country that commenced after the removal of a brutal dictatorship.
At the time of the 2005 general election, the musician was part and parcel of Kinijit that was heavily engaged in disseminating hate against Tigrians living in the metropolis. Furthermore, Teddy Afro released ‘Yasteseryal’ during this fateful period that disrespects and demeans Tigrian martyrs who gave their precious lives for justice and democracy. This song became the anthem of kinijit and exacerbated the volatile situation that was luckily brought under control as a result of the decisive and swift action taken by the late visionary leader Meles Zenawi. If it wasn’t for Meles, the country would have plunged into an intractable civil war similar to what we are observing in the Arab world at the present moment. What has Teddy Afro done for his country apart from swelling his pockets with dollars?
How is it possible that this despicable performer can be an authority on ‘love’ when he was an enthusiastic member of the now obsolete party that was hoping to grab power using odium as a tool? Teddy Afro is simply a divisive figure and can’t be an ambassador for his country as we are repeatedly reminded by the minority Diaspora lunatics. In any case, who needs the diminutive hate preacher when we have patriots such as Kenenisa Bekele, Tirunesh Dibaba and Haile Gebreselassie who made immense contributions in promoting the new image of their country by participating in grand sporting events held throughout the world? Teddy Afro can now chant his song from the top of Entoto if he wants to make a fool of himself.