Hailu Shawel’s reading of the riot act to the toxic Diaspora is long overdue, but is, nonetheless, all the more imperative.

By Dilwenberu Nega
Nov. 10 2009

HAILU SHAWEL – the once upon a time darling of the extremists Diaspora - is now being crucified by his former acolytes for being party to the recently signed Code for Conduct Agreement. But according to Hailu’s recent interview with The Reporter bi-weekly, he had all along been expecting the fusillade of invectives to be thrown at him by those “who don’t even know what they are opposing from the comfort of their overseas abode....and by those who threatened to dry-up AEUP’s coffers.”

No one has been better placed than Hailu to understand the resolve of the Ethiopian Homeland not to resort to street violence at National Elections, and no one knows better than Hailu the toxic Ethiopian Abroad’s penchant for resorting to mug the democratic processes at National Elections. By giving vent to his pent-up feelings of anger resentment and despair, Hailu managed to effectively expose the futility behind the loony Diaspora’s hue and cry about perceived or fabricated wrongs in Ethiopia.

Last week’s completely unexpected positive developments in Ethiopia have caught the self-styled human rights activists, political and economic gurus of the toxic Diaspora completely unawares. No sooner then had the four parties signed the Code for Conduct Agreement than Foreign Minister, Seyoum Mesfin, had posed next to US Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, and hailed the enhancement of Ethio- American relations as “traditional and of mutual benefit.” This took place at a time when the loonies were crowing about winning over the Obama Administration to their totally absurd side. This was a double-whammy for the toxic Diaspora as the sight of Hailu Shawel’s hand shake with Meles Zenawi caused them to catch flu; but Seyoum Mesfin’s handshake with Hilary Clinton turned their flu into pneumonia. The overall impact of last week’s highly encouraging developments in Ethiopia on the toxic Diaspora has, therefore, placed the loonies not in a nightmare, but in a daymare. In the despairing cry of an exiled former Derg Brigadier General: “God is on the side Woyanay!”

The truth of the matter is that Hailu has done the right thing at the right time and must be commended for speaking out against the toxic Diaspora’s intent on fishing in troubled waters. The Ethiopian Homeland knows all too well that the cowl does not make the monk (Yetemeteme hulu kes aydelem) and is, as a result, capable of deciding for themselves what is and what is not good for them and the country they live in. They do not need the guidance of power-mongers who reside in relative luxury. The Ethiopian Homeland may be poor, but he is unwilling to lay his life for money sent by loony Ethiopian Abroad so that the constitutional order in Ethiopia can be removed in an unconstitutional manner.

Though many oppose Hailu Shawel’s horse and buggy policies which would turn the clock back fifty years, many are willing to take their hats off for the courageous stand he has taken as well as for speaking out against the divisive and fractious section of the Ethiopian Diaspora. The breakthrough in multiparty talks on Code for Conduct at National Elections has prompted a wind of change in Ethiopia. This is the right time for the Diaspora to take a long hard look; to take an inventory of its thus far good-for-nothing stand on Ethiopia and to make the necessary change. The Ethiopian Homeland is being nourished by the wind of change; it is the Ethiopian Abroad that is famine-stricken by refusing to accept that Ethiopia has changed and so has the rule of the game. There is, however, one last set of choice offered to the Diaspora: make up or break up!