Hey our intellectual toffs! You cannot fly like an eagle with the wings of a wren.

Dilwenberu Nega
April 20 2010

I would like to start my commentary by broaching two Amharic sayings which have a direct bearing on what I am about to opine. The first is “Akimun Ayawek” which is a slanderous phrase used at someone who seems not to have a clue about his limitations. The second is “Yemeiategb enjera kemetadu yastawekal” which may be transliterated as “You can tell a nourishing pancake by having a glance at the pan.” Almost two weeks ago a motley crew of intellectual toffs, arm-chair politicians and the undead of Ethiopian politics assembled at the Double Tree Hotel, Virginia, from where we had originally expected would amplify “The Sermon of the Double Tree” – an intellectual appraisal of the state of Ethiopia. We, instead, were offered the so-called “Virginia Declaration”, which is nothing more than a catastrophists’ twaddle.

Those of us, who were in no doubt that both the organizers and discussants do not represent any constituents save men and women of their ilk, quickly joined the chorus of “Akimin Ayawek”. But it was from patriotic Ethiopians in the Diaspora that an avalanche of condemnation buried the Ethiopian blogosphere, all pointing, of course, to the virtue inherent in the Amharic proverb: “Yemiategib enjera kemitadu yastawekal.”

The glaring thing which had transpired at the end of the week-end deliberations of those who believe that they are divinely ordained to remove the democratically elected government of Ethiopia, is a brazen penchant for self-aggrandisement. These catastrophists may be eagles to a section of the Ethiopian expat communities in their places of residence. However to Ethiopians in the Homeland where people continue to be the beneficiaries of the dividends of durable peace, pluralistic democracy, freedom and equality, the catastrophists are wrens unable to fly as high and as long as an eagle.

Therefore, no sooner had the organizers made the program of the Conference and the list of speakers’ public, than patriotic Ethiopians started firing their opening salvo of condemnations. Their opposition was premised on the age old English adage: “He who does not bellow the truth when he knows the truth makes himself the accomplice of liars.” They knew did they not that the Conference was part of Shabia’s grand plan of causing havoc during the May National Elections? They knew did they not that under the guise of academic freedom intellectual toffs were in actual fact agitating the gullible section of the society to mug the forth-coming electoral process? They knew did they not that the star speakers had just got back from their pilgrimage to Asmara armed with a prescription on how to secure a “Transitional Government of National Unity”?

What sort of a mentally-challenged Ethiopian would go anywhere near this Vanity Fair?

It is not my intention here to dwell in detail on the so-called Virginia Declaration which is widely available on the blogosphere for anyone who has not got anything better to do. All I want to do at this juncture is to pick out from the fake Declaration 2 oxymoronic articles just to show that the organisers – despite their glittering academic credentials – do not seem to have what it takes to rule over us.

Here we go then; one moment our political masters-in-waiting pontificate: “We call upon all political parties, including TPLF/EPDRF to convene an all inclusive National Conference for Peace and Reconciliation with a view to establishing a Transitional Government of National Unity that prepares the country for an unfettered free and fair election.” I tell you, an arable farmer anywhere in Ethiopia is able to produce a much cogent argument that these utter twaddle. How come that they have failed to realise that the nation is in the midst of electioneering with a 200 strong EU Observer Mission already in Ethiopia? Or is this yet another of their mediocre way of expressing their plan to frog-march EPDRF into a Government of National Unity?

The next moment they exhibit the most amazing and laughable volte face ever displayed by a group of Ethiopian intellectuals by making the following statement to those very forces that are happily toeing the constitutional line back home: “Commend and applaud opposition parties, civic organizations and their leaders for the work they do under difficult circumstances, and call upon them to create unity, co-ordinate their efforts, form unbreakable coalitions, and prepare for pre and post election scenarios.”. This high-flown language is used in an attempt to place a veil on their intention of goading voters into taking the law into their own hands in the likely event that opposition parties lose the next elections.

If this does not constitute voodoo politics, I surely would be interested to know what would.

The Horn of Africa Conference far from bringing answers to Ethiopia’s perceived problems has amply demonstrated how the invisible hand of Shabia is relentlessly at work to derail our electoral process. The so-called Virginia Declaration, likewise, is not worth the paper it is written on. We, Ethiopians, have long ago turned a blind eye and deaf ear to the crocodile tears of our intellectual toffs and catastrophists.

The Horn of Africa Conference was not a failure, it was a mortifying defeat.