Nudged by poltergeist, the wise and otherwise of the Diaspora are gearing up to preach us their much vaunted “Sermon on the Double Tree.”

Dilwenberu Nega
April 05 2010

Having raked through my brains, and failed, to find an English word which would express effectively the force that spurs the usual suspects of disgruntled individuals and those salivating for power by crook ways, I was relieved to find the German word “poltergeist” which I, then, decided to graft onto my otherwise wholly English title of my article. It means a spirit that reveals its presence by making noises or throwing objects. As if suffering from an acute form of what the French regard as folie de grandeur had not caused enough damage to the equilibrium of the wise and the otherwise of the Diaspora, it now looks like they now are gripped by poltergeist.

The life of the Ethiopian Diaspora would be all the duller without the bread and circuses which a tiny minority of the toxic Diaspora offer us from time to time. The flow and ebb of the bread and circuses is, of course, dependent on two factors. The first is the whimsicalities of our ‘intellectuals.’ They and they only, believe that they are the “Elect of God” to deliver a panacea for Ethiopia’s drummed up problems from the comfort of their homes in Europe and America. Nothing, however, is more a tomfoolery act than to assume that one is playing the role of a harbinger of change to Ethiopia without being in the midst of Ethiopians. Never lose sight of the fact that EPDRF managed to overthrow the world’s most brutal military dictatorship and usher in an era of durable peace and sustainable development to Ethiopians, by waging its movement of change from within – not from endless 4 Star Hotel meetings and tedious anti EPDRF demonstrations at every nook and cranny in White House and White Hall.

The second factor which propels our intellectuals is the jittery state they find themselves in every time Ethiopia makes unprecedented inroads in infrastructure, education, health and agriculture. But no single factor turns them ballistic as does Meles Zenawi’s continued rise and shine at prestigious international forums. The combined effects of these factors have remained the definining characters of the leadership of the wise and the unwise of the Diaspora for the past 19 years: a leadership which continues to suffer from a dearth of wisdom to learn from its past mortifying defeats.

I vividly remember writing almost 5 years ago an article under the title of “Come not to counsel, Uncalled” (Aigaforum and Ben’s Page) under a penname reflective of the confrontational mood of the post National Elections 2005 period, Tintag, in response to an “Open Letter to Prime Minister Tony Blair” by Concerned Ethiopians whose signatories were “a motley crew of Ethiopian savants.” Their Open Letter was a knee jerk reaction to their fury over Prime Minister Tony Blair’s decision to include Prime Minister Meles Zenawi in his Commission for Africa, close on the heels of the foiled foreign-nudged-and- Kinijit-led takeover binge. Having mounted an effective rebuttal to their Open Letter, I concluded my article by stating: “one hopes that the signatories of the Open Letter will in future have the grace to pay heed to the Chinese proverb “He has a good judgment that relies not wholly on his own.”

Events of the past five years had vindicated me right and the signatories of the Open Letter wrong, as they seem not to have learnt a lesson from their past ill-conceived and ill-delivered ploys. Some of the signatories of the Open Letter have now opted to portray themselves in different nomenclatures hoping against hope that this time round, they would be able to unleash their – yet another German word – Gotterdammerung (complete destruction of an institution, regime, order,etc). Their hastily cobbled together “Advocacy for Ethiopia” (AFF) and the “Ethiopian National Priorities Consultative Process” (ENDCP) may succeed in bringing together a ghoulish of disgruntled individuals to the posh Double Tree, Crystal City, in Virginia from 9th April-11th 2010. But as the Amharic proverb “Ye zimb gagata dist ayekeftem” (a swarm of flies is incapable of removing the pan’s lid) reminds us, you may rest assured today that, as far the people in Ethiopia are concerned – and they are the deciding factor in all this ‘drama’ the much vaunted “Sermon of the Double Tree” will be falling on deaf ears. Do not getting me wrong, I am in no way demeaning the academic clout of the organizers by my parable of the fly, but it is no good denying the truth that as far as the great majority of Ethiopians are concerned, the wise and the otherwise of the Diaspora constitute ‘flies’ always on the go to prey on them.

The slated Washington Conference will display “The Guardians of Ethiopia” for everyone and anyone who can afford the registration fee the proceeds of which is destined to line the pockets of its organisers. However, nothing goes to show the organisers’ total disregard to Ethiopians than to see the name of one of the notorious masterminds of the Derg’s most brutal era, Negede Gobeze, in the list of panellists. Proof, if proof were ever required, that the organizers are out of touch with the ground reality in Ethiopia. If they were in tune with public sentiment in Ethiopia, they would have come to pay heed to the rage “Negedeism” ignited among Ethiopians when it tried to rear its ugly heads once again in Ethiopia during the 2005 National Elections: “When Negede enters through Bole, democracy will jump out through Bale.” Exhuming Negede from the scrap heap of history and recycling geriatric ambassadors of the ancient regime would then be hardly the right way of bringing the desired change – whatever that desired change might happen to be – to present day Ethiopia.

On the other hand , it is worth noting that the “Double Tree Sermon” is going to be presented against the backdrop of highly encouraging signs which favour the re-election of EPDRF: an EPDRF which has brought about order to Ethiopia’s hitherto haphazard economy which is slated to continue its ascend, the limping of a coalition of antipodal opposition parties unable to sing from the same hymn sheet let alone constitute real threat to strong and united EPDRF, an EPDRF which has evolved over the past 5 years so that it is even more wedded to the society and the real choice EPDRF has presented to Ethiopians – march ahead in freedom or rush backward in oppression.

No gathering of disgruntled individuals of the Ethiopian Diaspora would be complete without it being blessed by the presence of the “Nanny of Ethiopian oppositions,” Ana Gomez. Her dread of Ethiopians in general and Prime Minister Meles Zenawi for resisting her continued attempts to chip away at our sovereignty knows any metes and bounds. She recently even mounted a severe onslaught at the European Union’s decision to send election monitors to Ethiopia’s May 2010 National Elections. For a Member of the European Union Parliament to oppose the sending of EU election monitors to observe whether or not an election was conducted in a peaceful, fair, free and transparent manner speaks volumes of her crocodile tears. Here again, the truth of the matter is that as far as the people of Ethiopia are concerned, they have no requirement for a foreign nanny to help them with their democratization.